New York

31 May 2016

Statement Attributable to Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the loss of lives of refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean Sea

The Secretary-General is deeply saddened that, once more, hundreds of men, women, and children have died in the Mediterranean Sea in the last few days. He expresses his deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who perished. The Secretary-General notes with great distress that 2016 is proving to be particularly deadly with some 2,510 lives lost, compared to 1,855 in the same period in 2015.

While the Secretary-General commends the brave efforts of the joint Italian and European search and rescue operations, he calls on concerned Governments and organisations to redouble their efforts to save those at risk at sea and to counter the migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.

At the global level, he calls for a comprehensive and collective response to large movements of refugees and migrants, including expanded legal pathways. The 19 September high-level meeting at the United Nations on this issue is a unique opportunity to agree on such a framework. The meeting will also be an opportunity to demonstrate greater solidarity and shared responsibility with countries which host the vast majority of refugees.