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April 19 2015

Press Release

Shipwreck of immigrants, Sant'Egidio: it is not possible to wait. If Europe is not up to the task, let the UN intervene

Triton does not work: it is necessary to stop the massacres of the sea immediately, to create a network for regular asylum applications and to multiply the diplomatic efforts to stop ongoing wars

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ROME - The Community of Sant'Egidio expresses its deepest condolences to all the families affected by the appalling tragedy happened in the Sicilian Channel, according to the first testimonies the most severe one ever recorded, and urges immediate action: if Europe is not up to the task of stopping the unacceptable massacres of the sea, it is the UN that should take action by using all possible means, even with the urgent convening of a meeting of the Security Council. Indeed, we are faced with a number of victims that resembles that of a war.

Sant'Egidio joins the moving prayer of Pope Francis, today at the Angelus, for the people that "sought happiness", but were killed and calls for the mobilisation of the international community. The operation Triton is proving unsuccessful. Italy, which despite a thousand difficulties has saved thousands of lives in past years with Mare Nostrum, can no longer cope with it alone.

If the EU fails to address a phenomenon that affects its southern borders, it is necessary that the UN take charge, otherwise, it will remain in the consciousness of all humanity the grave fault of not having saved those that could and should have be saved: families fleeing war, as show the latest arrivals registered in the Italian ports, mostly Eritreans and Syrians seeking refuge.

It is necessary that all do their part and that action be taken in three directions:

1) To stop immediately the massacres of the sea with the use of military vessels that allow the interception of boats and rescue of migrants even in a seaway.

2) To make a European system to allow regular and controlled entries, for humanitarian reasons, with a much lower cost for refugees (who come to spend thousands of euro), and especially trips that do not involve the risk of life.

3) To intensify diplomatic efforts and mediation to stop the wars that are largely at the origin of migration.

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