Lampedusa refugee crisis

Posted on Monday 7th October 2013

IRiS academic Nando Sigona writes in 'The Conversation':

"The latest in a “succession of true slaughters of innocents”. This is how Italian president Giorgio Napolitano described the incident in which hundreds of migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Somalia, died after their boat passengers sank in waters near the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. The boat was believed to have been carrying between 450 and 500 passengers. Many are still missing and hope for more survivors dim as the hours go by.

The scale of the disaster is such that it is reverberating well beyond Italy. “A disgrace” in the words of Pope Francis who, only a few weeks ago, visited Lampedusa in his first pastoral visit outside Rome urging a “reawakening of consciences” to counter the indifference shown to migrants. The international attention increased the pressure on Italian government officials. They must come up with solutions to avoid similar episodes in the future. But there is also an apparent urgency to apportion blame.

At the top of the list of alleged culprits are the traffickers who expose migrants to unacceptable risks for profit. There is of course an element of truth to this, but it also conveniently obscures the fact that the traffickers have customers to transport only because there are fewer legal routes to enter the EU for low-skilled migrants."

Read the full article here

Read more contributions by Social Policy academics to 'The Conversation'