Migrant crisis: Europe should be 'ashamed' says Save the Children CEO

Over 300,000 people have sought to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far in 2015

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Save the Children has said “we should be ashamed to see children dying on our doorstep”, in a damning assessment of Europe-wide response to the migrant crisis.

The leading charity, which is working on the ground across the continent, made the comments in response to the tragic deaths almost of two hundred migrants in the past two days.

Libyan officials have recovered 105 bodies after a migrant boat sank on Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea. It had set off from the coastal town of Zuwara – a hotspot for people smugglers in the region.

Within the same 24-hour period, some 71 people, including a baby girl, were found dead in a truck on an Austrian highway.

Hungarian police said they arrested 21 suspected human traffickers in Budapest. They included 16 Romanians, two Syrians, two Hungarians and a Russian citizen. Police said they confiscated 16 vehicles, which had been carrying 112 people, including several Syrians, traveling along the Balkans route into the European Union.

Officials who found a Syrian travel document on-board believe those inside suffocated.

Those who have died are the latest to meet a tragic end while attempting to flee war, poverty or oppressive regimes in countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

Over 300,000 people have sought to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far in 2015, up from 219,000 in all of last year.

Some 2,636 deaths have been linked to Mediterranean crossings this year alone, and more may have been lost beneath the waves out of sight of rescuers.

The International Office of Migration has recorded 2,636 deaths linked to Mediterranean crossings this year, and more may have vanished beneath the waves out of sight of rescuers.


Justin Forsyth, Save the Children’s CEO, said: “The tragedies we’ve seen in the last 24 hours highlight the failure of Europe’s migration and refugee policy. We should be ashamed to see children dying on our doorstep.”

He went on: “The people who lost their lives in the truck in Austria, including four children, were reported to be Syrians – they had fled unimaginable horror in their home country only to die a lonely death just where they should have been safe.

“Desperate people are making dangerous journeys to reach sanctuary in Europe, and we are failing our fellow human beings if we let them die trying.”

“No single nation can solve this problem alone - EU leaders must agree a comprehensive plan that deals with root causes, takes on the trafficking gangs and puts in place an efficient, humane asylum system with burden sharing across all states and protection for vulnerable children.”