UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Saturday urged the international community to take action after a second migrant ship capsized near the Italian island of Lampedusa last week during an attempt to cross from Africa to Europe. The incident resulted in nearly 30 deaths. Ban emphasized the need to adopt new approaches [press release] to migration, focusing on the vulnerability and human rights of migrants. Migrants facing political unrest and persecution in Africa and the Middle East often choose to pay smugglers to assist in their escape to Europe via the Canal of Sicily, a dangerous 70-mile pass along the Italian coast. The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants [official website] Francois Crepeau urged [JURIST report] the EU to address migration concerns after the first incident in early October, which left more than 300 dead.
Last month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on governments [JURIST report] to create human rights-based policies addressing migration. In May Crepeau visited both sides of the border in Turkey, Greece, Tunisia and Italy [official reports] to investigate the migration experience. He found that those irregular migrants related to the Arab Spring [JURIST news archive] and global south were unduly targeted for security purposes that were ineffective and indirectly exploitative. Irregular migrants are those seeking economic opportunities that do not enter through a traditional visa program, usually because a sufficient program is not offered by the EU to support the seasonal work force required by its member states' economies.