Hundreds of campaigners and migrants have marched towards the venue of an EU summit meeting in Brussels which will this evening determine an EU strategy to try to stem the number of deaths in the Mediterranean.
Holding placards with statements like ‘No one is illegal’ and ‘We are not dangerous. We are in danger’, campaigners gathered around eight coffins bearing the names of migrants who actually died at sea.
Organised by Amnesty International, the ‘funeral march’ is taking place in the wake of an emergency meeting called following the biggest migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean last weekend.
A draft proposal leaked in the press said leaders will agree to beef up patrols closer to Libya and will even seek to get a military mandate to destroy migrant traffickers' boats to stop tragedies at sea.
But Carmen Dupont, Amnesty’s European Campaign Coordinator on Migration said the proposals so far are shameful. She told Times of Malta that only a beefed up search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean could stem the tragedies.
“The Italian and the Maltese have made tremendous efforts. They’ve spent days and nights at sea. It’s high time the European governments do likewise. We need to see concrete action."
Asked whether Amnesty International agrees with a proposal to destroy smugglers’ boats, Ms Dupont said this is merely diverting the attention.
The key issue at stake is that people will seeking refuge. As long as there are wars and conflict and as long and Europe continues building walls without providing safe legal means to reach Europe, then the number of deaths will shoot up, she warned.