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Refugees: Mediterranean Sea

Question for Home Office

UIN HL761, tabled on 23 June 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the report published on 18 June by Human Rights Watch, The Mediterranean Migration Crisis: Why People Flee, What the EU Should Do.

Answered on

3 July 2015

The Prime Minister has written directly to Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch following the publication of the report and we are currently considering its findings. The Government remains firmly of the view that the only sustainable solution to the crisis in the Mediterranean is to address the reasons why people risk their lives, to combat the organised criminals who entice them to do so, and not simply by tackling the problem once it reaches the EU.

The issue of migration in the Mediterranean was high on the agenda of the European Council. The European Commission proposals on relocation and resettlement were discussed at the Council as well as return, readmission, reintegration and cooperation with countries of origin and transit. Many of the initiatives discussed are welcome but other elements such as the relocation of asylum seekers within the EU risk exacerbating the situation and we therefore do not support them. With regard to resettlement proposals, the Government remains committed to resettling vulnerable refugees under existing national schemes and has no plans to be part of a separate EU quota scheme.

On the matter humanitarian visas for the purpose of seeking international protection within Europe, there is little evidence that providing opportunities for a small number of migrants to travel legally from source countries will have a significant impact on the very large numbers of migrants who want to come to the EU.

Answered by

Home Office