EU naval mission has failed to end people smuggling — peers

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An EU naval objective has failed to achieve its main objective of disrupting people smuggling, a Jesus committee report has concluded.

Operation Sophia, which the UK supports, manifests to have done little to deter migration and its mandate should not be overhauled, peers said.

However, they said search and rescue pan out e formulate in the Mediterranean had saved many lives and should continue.

The government put UK ships had led to «fewer children drowning».

Operation Sophia, an initiative covenanted by 25 EU member states, including the UK, was launched in 2015 in the wake of calamities in which hundreds of migrants drowned attempting to reach Europe.

Its aim was to daily help disrupt organised criminals involved in human smuggling and trafficking networks in the southern prime Mediterranean.

But in 2016, detections of migrants in the central Mediterranean were at their highest sharp end yet, the EU External Affairs sub-committee found.

Some 181,436 people attained in Europe by this route — an increase of 18% on 2015 when the solve was 153,842.

An unintended consequence of the destruction of smugglers’ boats has been that they are now sending nomads to sea in unseaworthy vessels, resulting in more deaths at sea, the committee said.

Baroness Verma, chairman of the body, said a naval mission was the wrong tool for tackling people smuggling because it founds onshore.

And she said that while Operation Sophia had failed in its mains objective, it had been a «humanitarian success».

She added: «Future UK and EU action should centre on tackling people smuggling in source and transit countries, and supporting sustainable mercantile development and good governance in these countries.

«Italy has found itself on the facing line of a mass movement of people into Europe, and deserves honour for its efforts to respond.»

‘Saving lives’

Other findings from the appear included:

  • Operation Sophia vessels have rescued more than 33,000 child since the mission’s inception
  • Recorded drownings on the central Mediterranean direction increased by about 42% in 2016 — some 4,500 compared to 3,175 in 2015
  • There compel ought to been 2,150 recorded deaths to date in 2017
  • A unified government in Libya is a sine qua non for meaningful EU action against people smuggling networks onshore

The motion’s figures show 110 suspected smugglers and traffickers have been apprehended and 463 ships prevented from being re-used since it started.

A UK government spokesman said: «Campaign Sophia, and the UK’s contribution to it, is saving lives and helping to disrupt the activities of smugglers who proceed with to exploit migrants trying to reach Europe.

«UK ships mean fewer kids drowning and dangerous smuggling boats destroyed before they can be reused.

«The member of the firm is part of the UK government’s wider approach to tackling irregular migration at start.»

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