British Committee says Operation Sophia fails to tackle people-smuggling

  • Dominika Jandová
  • 13.7.2017 08:29

The British Parliamentary EU External Affairs Sub-Committee released a report on Wednesday, 12 July, according to which the European Union’s naval mission Sophia is not successful in curbing migration and disrupting the business model of people-smugglers in central Mediterranean.

The operation, whose mandate was extended and strengthened last year, should not, according to British lawmakers, continue in its current form, since it is costly and does not deter migrants from risking their lives at sea. According to the Chair of the Committee, the people-smuggling begins inland, which is why a naval mission is ineffective. Since the start of the mission, more than 33,000 people have been rescued, and search and rescue work should continue, but should use more suitable non-military vessels. In addition, the current tactics of the naval mission, namely destroying the smugglers' boats, ultimately result in more casualties at sea, as smugglers send boats unfit for travel to the European shores. The migration flow from Libya to Europe, despite considerable risks for migrants, is on the increase, and, according to UNHCR, is likely to continue. Italy is thus dealing with the brunt of the migrant influx and has been pressing other EU member states for a response, as well as cost-sharing, for a long time. According to EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), most migrants arriving in Italy are, however, not eligible for relocation as they come from countries with a low chance of getting asylum.

About author: Dominika Jandová

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