Yet another tragedy in the Mediterranean is unacceptable. Sant'Egidio calls for new immigration policies for those fleeing every war

April 3 2022


Ensuring for all the rules in force for Ukrainians and expanding legal entry routes

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The Community of Sant'Egidio expresses its condolences to the families of the many, perhaps a hundred, migrants lost in the Mediterranean Sea in their attempt to reach Europe.

It is unacceptable to continue witnessing these slaughters of the sea  without changing the rules in force and, among other things, leaving the survivors to be sent back to Libya, where everyone knows the conditions in which they are being held.  As Pope Francis reminded us today, we must not remain indifferent and "recognise the needs of those struggling in the waves of the sea, dashed on the rocks of an unknown shore”.

First of all, Europe must resume rescue operations for those risking their lives in the Mediterranean. Secondly, the Dublin criteria, which severely penalise first host countries, should be exceeded. Thirdly, while the EU has rightly decided to grant temporary protection to all Ukrainians fleeing the war, there is an urgent need for new policies introducing the possibility of entry on humanitarian grounds also for refugees from other ongoing conflicts, some of which have lasted for years, such as in Syria.

In this sense, the model of the Humanitarian Corridors, which Sant'Egidio has carried out since 2016 with several allies in Italy, Belgium, France and Andorra - allowing the arrival in Europe of more than 4,500 people - demonstrate the concrete possibility not only to welcome but to be able to integrate. At the same time, it is necessary to establish larger quotas for legal entry for work purposes, as many entrepreneurs in agriculture, industry and personal services have been demanding for some time now.

Without new immigration policies, new tragedies at sea and in the African desert will be inevitable.