Vienna, 13 May 2014 - Scores of people appear to have drowned yesterday when a boat carrying more than 400 migrants capsized off the Italian Island of Lampedusa. Although half of the migrants were rescued by the Italian coastguard the other half remain missing, feared dead.
These deaths follow the same tragic pattern as last year's incident in early October when some 365 migrants drowned off Lampedusa when their boat capsized.
To stop migrant smuggling the international community needs to take firm action. As a first step, countries can ratify the Protocol on Smuggling of Migrants.
So far, 138 countries have done so, but for a truly integrated response every country must become a party, and also criminalize smuggling.
But more is needed. Countries can use the protocol to develop international action against the smuggling of migrants by promoting cross-border cooperation, exchanges of information and joint operations to break-up the criminal networks.
Coordinated action also needs to be taken by the international community to track and seize the profits of migrant smuggling. No one should be allowed to profit from the desperate desire of others to seek a new life and a fresh start.
Our global challenge is to confront the criminal networks, while protecting the fundamental rights of smuggled migrants. But we can only do this by working closely together on the basis of the Protocol on Smuggling of Migrants.
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