EU Triples Fund to Address Migrant Tragedy

EU Triples Fund to Address Migrant TragedyEU Triples Fund to Address Migrant Tragedy

Late to the rescue, European leaders came through Thursday with pledges of big ships, aircraft and a tripling in funds to nearly $130 million to save lives in the Mediterranean after the deaths at sea of more than 1,300 migrants over the past three weeks, and agreed to lay the groundwork for military action against traffickers.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, whose country has been faced with almost daily tragedy as rescuers plucked bodies from frigid waters, called it “a giant step forward,” AP wrote.

The pledge of resources came as victims of the worst-ever migrant disaster in the Mediterranean were buried Thursday in Malta. Two dozen wooden caskets containing the only bodies recovered from a weekend capsizing off Libya that left at least 800 migrants feared dead were laid out for a memorial service.

However, human rights groups say measures by the EU to tackle the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean do not go far enough. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Save the Children have all called on Brussels to expand the area its ships will patrol.

They said unless EU search-and-rescue operations cover waters near Libya then migrants will continue to drown.

Amnesty International called the meeting in Brussels a “face-saving not a life-saving operation” and urged them to go the “extra mile” to avoid any more tragedy on its doorstep.

“It’s not enough to increase EU boats at sea if they remain focused on protecting Europe’s borders rather than the people at sea who are dying trying to get there,” said Human Right Watch’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth.