Statement on migrant deaths from boat capsize en route to Canary Islands
BRUSSELS, 22 June 2023 – Following the capsize of a small boat carrying up to 60 migrants and refugees en route to the Canary Islands, with at least 35 people including at least one child feared dead, Federica Toscano, Senior Advocacy Advisor for Children on the Move, at Save the Children Europe, said:
“While Greek authorities are still investigating the horrifying shipwreck of last week, and trying to recover the bodies of the hundreds of people thought to have died, another avoidable tragedy happened close to the Spanish coast, and tragically at least one child is among the victims. During the last 5 years, Spanish NGOs have counted at least 11.286 deaths in Spanish waters, and among them 277 were children.”
“How many more children will need to die on deadly sea routes before the EU finally takes action? Children continue to die at sea, unveiling the abject failure of the EU to allow children and families seeking refuge to reach Europe safely. We must stop blaming shipwrecks solely on people smugglers and criminal networks – instead, let’s shift the focus to the responsibilities of national authorities for saving lives, and on what the EU can do: set up a European coordination for state-led search-and-rescue operations, and make it easier for those seeking asylum - which is a fundamental human right - to enter the EU.
“Human tragedies are playing out at Europe’s land and sea borders on a daily basis. The EU must stop dragging its feet and reform its policy of deterrence at EU borders and externalisation, or more children will lose their lives because of the increasingly dangerous routes towards Europe – children and their families fleeing war and violence are not criminals.”