A Statement from the SMA General Council
The General Council of the Society of African Missions (SMA) on behalf of its members and associates expresses its deep sorrow and offers prayers for the hundreds of victims of the shipwreck which occurred Sunday 19th April in the Mediterranean Sea and condolences to the families of those shipwrecked, as well as to the families of all migrants who have died.
In 2014, according to the UNHCR, some 3,419 migrants died out of the 207,000 who attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Itis high time that all of us and our countries (Europeans, African, and of Middle East) become aware of the reality of migration and of its causes and act accordingly.
The Society of African Missions shares and supports the Statement of the United Nations Agency for Refugees urging European leaders to put human life, rights, and dignity first today when agreeing upon a common response to the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. Particularly
- Setting in place a State-led, robust, proactive, and well-resourced search-and-rescue operation, urgently and without delay, with a capacity similar to Mare Nostrum and a clear mission to save lives.
- Creating sufficient channels for safe and regular migration, including for low-skilled migrant workers and individuals in need of family reunification, and access to protection where needed, as safe alternatives to resorting to smugglers.
- Making a firm commitment to receive significantly higher numbers of refugees through EU-wide resettlement, in addition to current quotas, and on a scale which will make a real impact, combined with other legal means for refugees to reach safety.
- Bolstering arrangements to support those countries receiving the most arrivals (Italy, Malta, and Greece) and to distribute responsibility more equitably across the European Union for saving lives and protecting all those in need.
- Combatting racist and xenophobic rhetoric vilifying migrants and refugees.
Rome 23 April 2015
On 27 April, President Michael D Higgins spoke against the totally inadequate response of the EU to the migrant crisis and said that the plan to destroy migrant boats was ‘monstrous‘.