Statement of the Minister of Migration & Asylum Mr. Notis Mitarachi, regarding the sinking of a boat full of migrants in Lesvos

I would like to express my sorrow at the shipwreck that happened today in Lesvos and at the loss of human lives, despite the immediate intervention of the Hellenic Coast Guard, that rescued 32 passengers.

It is inconceivable to allow inflatable boats, that do not meet any safety requirements and are being steered by people without permission and knowledge of the rules of the sea, to cross the Aegean.

Those who allow it, in addition to violating the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration, are knowingly (unfortunately), putting human lives at great risk. Based on the testimonies of the rescued migrants, the Turkish coastguard vessel that located them initially (the migrants called an emergency number) did not help, or rescue them but allowed them instead to illegally cross the maritime borders of the European Union.

Additionally, NGOs encouraging these behaviors (unintentionally perhaps), need to realize their actual mission and immediately stop contributing to the loss of lives.

The international community must, through crucial and rigorous interventions, protect human lives, effectively contributing to the complete cessation of the illicit trafficking routes.

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