Europe’s Migration Apartheid Is Killing Asylum Seekers

22 June 2023: FP: The EU rails against people smugglers, but its draconian policies keep them in business.

In Europe, we take photos of migrants before they die.

On June 13, aircraft from both the European border agency Frontex and the Greek coast guard equipped with cameras flew around a dangerously overcrowded fishing vessel around 50 miles off the coast of Pylos, a town on Greece’s southern Peloponnese peninsula. On June 14, by the time the ghostly images had circulated online, most people in the photos had perished after the boat capsized. But even before we knew who they were, and who had survived, Greek authorities very quickly made it known that the people on the boat had “refused assistance,” as their goal was apparently to continue sailing to Italy.

The absence of an effective rescue effort for the vessel raises a number of disturbing questions. Who exactly among the reported 750 passengers refused assistance on this boat? Was a referendum conducted? Was it the smuggling crew violently managing its cargo? And if so, why are the coastguard taking their orders from the crew rather than beginning a coordinated rescue operation as multiple international maritime conventions require? In recent days, media coverage of this mass drowning has been eclipsed by the sad case of five explorers trapped on the Titan submersible, and the huge resources being rallied to rescue them—a striking contrast in itself.

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