Migrant Crisis Demands Political Response

Migrant Crisis Demands Political ResponseMigrant Crisis Demands Political Response

The United Nations said on Saturday that “much more is required” to prevent the deaths of migrants fleeing to Europe after hundreds were reported dead in recent days.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a “collective political response” to avert “a crisis of solidarity and called on states involved to “expand safe and legal channels of migration,” BBC reported. Ban said he was “horrified and heartbroken” at the latest loss of life. A large majority of people undertaking these arduous and dangerous journeys are refugees fleeing from places such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The international community must also show greater determination in resolving conflicts and other problems that leave people little choice but to flee.”

On Thursday 71 people, thought to be Syrians, were found dead in a truck in Austria. Some 200 others were feared dead after two boats sank off Libya. Ban called on nations to observe international law on asylum requests, and not to “force people to return to places from which they have fled if there is a well-founded fear of persecution ... This is not only a matter of international law; it is also our duty as human beings.”

He called the migrants’ soaring death a “human tragedy that requires a determined collective political response. It is a crisis of solidarity, not a crisis of numbers.”

Hungarian police on Friday arrested four people over the discovery of the bodies of 71 migrants in an abandoned truck in Austria, near the Hungarian border.

The victims were 59 men, eight women and four children who are thought to have been dead for about two days.

Officials said the victims probably died after suffocating in the vehicle, before it crossed into Austria from Hungary.

Tens of thousands of migrants from conflict-hit states in the Middle East and Africa have been trying to make their way to Europe in recent months. A record number of 107,500 migrants crossed the EU’s borders last month.

UNHCR says more than 2,500 people have died trying to reach Europe so far in 2015, not including Thursday’s deaths.