Refugee drownings must not be ignored: Dutch Foreign Min.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders has called for an urgent meeting with his EU colleagues about preventing future boating tragedy like the incident that claimed the lives of hundreds of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.
Officials say at least 700 people are feared to have died after a smuggler's boat capsized and sank off Libya, but there are also reports that say that as many as 950 migrants may have been on board.
Only 28 people have been pulled from the Mediterranean alive. It is believed the vessel overturned when migrants moved from one side of the boat in a bid to get off and be rescued by an approaching merchant ship.
“Refugee disasters like that should never happen again,” Koenders said at a meeting in Luxemburg. He called it a “terrible humanitarian and political drama” that should not be ignored. He stressed that he knew that it is not the first time this is said.
The Minister pleaded for a series of measures, such as a better approach to human smuggling. “But we should also look at the situation in North African Libya,” he said. This war stricken country is a major transshipment point for refugees heading for Europe by boat.