3,200 migrants dead in Mediterranean Sea, says NGO

A Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Carlo Perego, Director General of Migrantes Foundation, said no fewer than 3,200 migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea between 2014 and 2015.

He said that the number of the migrants’ casualties in the sea had risen from 1,600 in 2014 to 3, 200, adding that children accounted for 700 of the deaths so far in 2015.

He said that Europe always found resources to drop bombs, but not to save innocent victims.

Perego said that the European Triton operation had not been able to rescue more human lives at sea than the Italian operation, Mare Nostrum.

“This is a real shame that weighs on Europe’s conscience.

“Faced with a terrorist threat, Europe seems now to justify building walls and closing of borders,” he said.

He also accused Europe of failing to create humanitarian channels that could save lives and combat human trafficking, one of the resources of terrorism.

“We keep receiving people in closed centres, the so-called ‘hotspots’, instead of in open reception centres.

“Take Lampedusa, for example, more than 20,000 people have been taken to the centre, which is closed at every entrance and exit.

“Fear, along with convenience, seems to have set Europe’s contribution to international protection years back,” he said.

He insisted that migrants seeking asylum and international protection should continue to be welcomed.

Perego said that after the appeal by Pope Francis on Sept. 6, the widespread and united commitment of churches, parishes and families, had grown.

“This intelligent way of receiving also helps to get to know the people and their stories.

“Once again, the Church is making a concrete gesture, which exceeds prejudices and ideological conflicts, and accompanies people in the prospect of a ‘culture of encounter’ that regenerates our cities,” he said.

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