André P DeBattista, a writer at OneEurope, and a citizen of Malta, wrote these passionate comments on the ongoing issues with migration through the Mediterranean. A big challenge for Europe, which doesn't receive the necessary attention by our leaders, and has even led to accusations of human rights issues:

− Thousands of people lose their lives whilst trying to cross the Mediterranean. It is thus very fitting that Pope Francis chose the island of Lampedusa for his first visit outside Rome. This island has received thousands of migrants throughout the past decades. Its  seas are  the permanent resting place of thousands of others who never made it.

− The de-humanisation of migration policy (or any policy for that matter) is a damning indictment on the value-system some subscribe to. 

− Rescuing individuals travelling in open waters whose lives are in great danger is always good news. It can never be bad news! On a human level, it does not matter whether these individuals happen to be passengers on a luxury yacht or migrants seeking a new life. 

− Individuals have an inherent right to life, dignity and respect. The US Declaration of Independence sums this up brilliantly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable  Rights.” Basic human rights are not granted by the state but by virtue of birth (although history shows that some nation-states may deny such rights) 

− Nonetheless, those who claim that immigration does not pose serious challenges are being very economical with the truth. Some of the challenges include over-burdened welfare systems, cultural concerns, security concerns and logistical problems.

− The journey across the Mediterranean is the last leg of a journey which would have taken months, if not years, to complete. Attempting to solve this issue without solving the root-causes is like trying to build a house with no foundations.

− The response to migration has ranged between two extremes. FRONTEX, the EU agency for border management, has been largely ineffective in the Mediterranean and failed to bring about any significant improvement. On the other hand, push-back policies raise concerns on human rights violations.

− Jingoism and populism fuel stirring rhetoric and patriotic sentiment; but the reality and the solutions are greater than any geographic expression. 

by Andre P. Debattista