10 July 2023 - Spain

Save the Children calls on the EU to take responsibility to save lives at sea, following reports that a boat carrying children missing off Canary Islands.

Save the Children red and white statement card

Save the Children has called for the EU and its Member States to urgently improve search and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean and Atlantic following reports that a ship carrying at least 200 migrants and refugees, including children, has gone missing near the Canary Islands. The charity is urging state-led search-and-rescue operations to do everything within their power to find survivors. 

This tragedy comes just weeks after one of the deadliest shipwrecks in Europe in recent years, when a boat carrying hundreds of men, women and children capsized off the coast of Greece. According to Spanish NGO Walking Borders, at least 951 migrants and refugees have died trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023.

Federica Toscano, Senior Advocacy Advisor for Children on the Move, at Save the Children Europe, said:

“Once again, hundreds of lives at sea are lost as people and families on the move try to make their way to safety in Europe. Deaths on the move are not inevitable: one of the reasons for such deaths at Europe’s land and sea border is the EU’s failure to provide safe and legal routes for those seeking safety.

“Children and families fleeing war, hunger, persecution and the impact of climate change have the right to seek protection and asylum in safer countries.

“No more empty words – it’s time for the EU to act. Save the Children calls on the EU and its member states to take responsibility and prevent migrant deaths at sea by improving search and rescue efforts and ensuring ships in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, whether they are NGOs or merchant vessels, face no obstacles when they rescue people in distress and help them reach safety.”



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Nina Teggarty, Global Media Manager, Save the Children: Nina.Teggarty@savethechildren.org

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