Europe's response: "Face-saving not a life-saving operation"

Photo credit: Amnesty International

The failure to extend Triton’s operational area will fatally undermine today’s commitment from several European nations to provide resources, ships and aircraft to search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, said Amnesty International.

What we witnessed today in Brussels was a face-saving not a life-saving operation
John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia

“What we witnessed today in Brussels was a face-saving not a life-saving operation. All the words and resources being thrown at this problem suggest that EU leaders are being serious about saving lives at sea. But the reality is they are still only meeting the problem halfway,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia

“Unless they go the extra mile, migrants and refugees will continue to drown and Europe will have again failed shamefully – to deal with this tragedy on its doorstep. If Triton can’t be changed, then Triton is not the solution, however many resources one gives it.”

The announcement of increased funding and assets towards existing European Union (EU) border control operations, including Operation Triton, came at the end of an emergency summit in Brussels on the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.

A planned tripling of finances towards Triton will not address the reality of the search and rescue needs in the Mediterranean unless the operational area is extended to the high seas where most of the deaths occur.

Read Amnesty International's blueprint for action to end migrant deaths in the Mediterranean here.