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UN rights expert urges reversal of UK decision to halt Mediterranean migrant rescues

India Blooms News Service | | 31 Oct 2014, 10:23 am
New York, Oct 31 (IBNS) The United Nations human rights expert on migrants on Thursday urged British authorities to reconsider a decision not to support search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, saying allowing people to die at Europe’s borders just because of their administrative status "is appalling."

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said in apress release issued in Geneva on Thursday that “governments that do not support the search and rescue efforts have reduced themselves to the same level as the smugglers.”

“They are preying on the precariousness of the migrants and asylum seekers, robbing them of their dignity and playing with their lives,”  Crépeau said.

The United Kingdom this week announced that it will not support any future search and rescue operations to prevent migrants and refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, stating that such operations can encourage more people to attempt the dangerous crossing to enter Europe.

“Migrants are human beings and just like the rest of us they too have rights. They too have the right to live and thrive,”  Crépeau said. “To bank on the rise in the number of dead migrants to act as deterrence for future migrants and asylum seekers is appalling.”

“It’s like saying, let them die because this is a good deterrence,” said.

More than 130,000 migrants and asylum seekers are estimated to have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, compared with 80,000 last year. More than 800 people have died in the Mediterranean so far this year.

“Despite good initiatives like the increase in search and rescue operations which have saved many lives, the emphasis remains on restricting the entry of migrants rather than on creating new legal channels for migration,” the press release said.

“Sealing international borders is impossible, and migrants will continue arriving despite all efforts to stop them, at a terrible cost in lives and suffering,” the Special Rapporteur said repeating his message on border management in an open letter he sent to the European Union last month.

He cautioned that the absence of regulated open migration channels for much-needed low-wage migrants drives migration further underground, increases the precariousness of their situation, and entrenches smuggling mafias and exploitative employers, resulting in more deaths at sea and more human rights violations.

“It is paradoxical that, in the name of securing borders, European States are actually losing control over their borders, as mafias will often be ahead of that game. Moreover, the increasing number of persons fleeing from conflict, violence and oppression requires a new and concerted strategic approach by European States towards asylum seekers,” he said.

He also said that search and rescue programmes cannot be the sole responsibility of the frontline countries and appealed “for more concerted efforts by EU Member States to assist frontline countries such as Italy, Malta, Greece and Spain.”

Crépeau was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any Government or organization and serves in his individual capacity.

He has undertaken a one-year study to examine the rights of migrants in the Euro-Mediterranean region, focusing in particular on the management of the external borders of the European Union.


 

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm