Tuesday 28 March 2017

Ireland should be strong voice in migrant crisis

A rescuers gestures as migrants wait to disembark from the Irish military vessel Le Naimh after its arrival in the port of Palermo this week.
A rescuers gestures as migrants wait to disembark from the Irish military vessel Le Naimh after its arrival in the port of Palermo this week.
Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

At a time of global instability, war and mass displacement of populations in the Middle East and Africa, we need wise counsel. Given the tendency of media and politics to focus on sensational aspects of migration such as the numbers arriving in Europe and how to "stem the flows" of migrants, the voices of tolerance are few and far between.

It is always a relief to hear former Attorney General and special UN representative on migration Peter Sutherland. His political, legal and business experience makes him credible in public policy and morality. He has consistently called for a more effective response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

The toll of death and displacement is unprecedented in modern times, with flows of desperate migrants taking to the seas in unsafe vessels. This week, our own Le Niamh was involved in the rescue of 367 people from a sinking vessel in the seas off Libya. But despite their best efforts, up to 200 were drowned, adding to over 2,000 who have drowned recently in similar tragedies. But more than 200,000 have been rescued and taken to refugee centres in Italy last year and 127,000 in the first six months of this year.

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