Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Hundreds of black body bags lined Brighton Beach in the UK on Wednesday morning during a striking demonstration over the European Union's limited response to the ongoing migrant crisis.
Amnesty International staged the action one day before the European Council is set to hold a meeting to discuss the situation in the Mediterranean, where more than 1,700 migrants have drowned while attempting to travel to Europe, since 2015 began.
Supporters were zipped into some of the body bags in the first few rows.
Alongside the bags was a banner that said #DontLetThemDrown, urging social media users to demand action from UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, equated the lives lost to those who die in other disasters.
"The equivalent of five passenger planes full of people have drowned last week alone, and this is only the start of the summer. If they had been holiday makers, instead of migrants, imagine the response," Allen in a statement released by the group.
The protest coincides with a new report from Amnesty that unpacks the magnitude of the growing migrant crisis, and calls on the EU to take immediate action to provide aid in the "stark life and death" matter.
More than 800 people drowned in a shipwreck on Saturday off the coast of Libya in the deadliest migrant incident ever recorded in the Mediterranean. The disaster has sparked outrage from international human rights groups who have criticized the EU's limited search-and-rescue response in the region.
The Italian-run Mare Nostrum Operation, created after the deadly 2013 Lampedusa migrant shipwrecks, patrolled large swaths of the sea south of Sicily, but ended in December 2014. The European Border Agency Frontex's joint program, named Triton, has since taken over operations, but it is much more limited in scope, and emphasizes policing the border rather than search and rescue.
"The clear need, and the only solution for putting an end to the deaths, is a humanitarian operation in the high seas of the Mediterranean," Iverna McGowan, acting director of Amnesty International's European Institutions Office told Mashable. "We need to look at something of the same size and scale of Mare Nostrum if we are going to be serious about putting an end to the crisis."
EU authorities are now confronted with establishing a comprehensive response to the influx of migrants, which shares responsibility rather than leaves Italy and other countries on the front line to fend for themselves.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.