E.U. Response to Humanitarian Disaster in the Mediterranean

The E.U. border agency Frontex announced at the end of May that its boats will now operate in Libyan waters in order to rescue migrants at risk of drowning. This is in contrast to their Triton Operation’s previous mandate to only operate within 10 km of the Italian coast.

The action comes in response to mounting international pressure over the recent catastrophic migrant death tolls in the Mediterranean with over 1,300 lives lost in April alone, making it the deadliest month on record.  (See our article “Death on Europe’s Doorstep” in our Spring 2015 issue.) In addition, the United Kingdom has sent a warship, the HMS Bulwark, to assist with rescue operations. So far the ship has taken part in the rescue of more than 1,000 migrants.

The U.K.’s new aid is a reversal of its leader’s earlier statements that they would not support the rescue of migrants as they feared it would lead to an increase in the number attempting to make the crossing from North Africa.

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