Inside Story

Has Europe’s migration policy capsized?

Calls grow for the EU to take greater responsibility for migrants risking their lives on the high seas.

European nations have been accused of putting the lives of thousands of migrants at risk, as unprecedented numbers make the sea crossing from north Africa.

Amnesty International said the EU is “turning its back on its responsibilities” by scrapping rescue operations.

It’s estimated that more than 10,000 migrants have set off for their preferred destination of Italy in April alone, crammed aboard overcrowded old boats and rafts.

On Friday, an Italian coast guard ship docked in Sicily, carrying another 300 migrants, rescued off the coast of Libya. Most were from Somalia, Nigeria and Eritrea, with a small group from Syria.

Hundreds of others are reported to have died this week as their boats capsized or ran into difficulties, although there is no accurate figure.

The UN said the latest loss of life is “…a human rights tragedy, not a natural tragedy,” and one that needs to be addressed through a “…comprehensive human rights-based approach, that is the shared responsibility of all countries.”

European Commission spokeswoman, Natasha Bertaud, admitted the situation had become grave, but added: “We do not have a silver bullet or any kind of panacea that is going to make the situation go away … and no amount of finger-pointing is going to change that.”

So should the European Union take more responsibility for migrants heading to its shores?

Or does there need to be a broader policy to spare migrants from falling into the hands of smugglers?

Presenter: Shiulie Ghosh


Gauri van Gulik, deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

Elizabeth Collett, director of the Migration Policy Institute for Europe.

Andrea di Nicola, professor of criminology at the University of Trento and co-author of the book, ‘Confessions of a People Smuggler’.