UN agencies report two shipwrecks causing 64 missing in Mediterranean Sea News
UN agencies report two shipwrecks causing 64 missing in Mediterranean Sea

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported two shipwreck accidents that took place in the Mediterranean Sea on Monday, in a joint statement published with the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF. The UN agencies recorded 10 deaths in the first accident and 64 missing refugees at sea in the other.

The first incident records 10 deaths and 51 survivors. The incident involved a wooden boat from Libya which was first approached by German NGO Resqship after the shipwreck. In the second incident, the Italian Coast Guard rescued 11 people and 64 are still missing. These two events add up to the more than 800 people who died seeking refuge through the Mediterranean Sea since 2024. Chiara Cardoletti, representative to Italy, the Holy See and San Marino for UNHCR, stated that the increasing number of victims of journeys through the Mediterranean is unacceptable.

Under international law, the rights of refugees are protected under relevant international charters and covenants such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The primary international document concerning refugees – the 1951 Convention Relating the Status of Refugees –  expands and confirms that refugees equally enjoy human rights under the UDHR.

In addition, the ICCPR recognizes under Article 6 the right to life. This right is supreme and inherent to all human beings, including refugees. Moreover, the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment is also occasionally cited to ensure the rights of refugees during their journeys. The UNHCR contended that the accidents demonstrated “incapacity of States to protect the most vulnerable people.”

In the end of the statement, the UNHCR, IOM and UNICEF emphasized the importance of European support to search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea. They also urge the EU to promote access to safe journeys for refugees.