UNHCR welcomes Lithuania‘s offer to receive persons rescued at sea

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the news that Lithuania has offered to receive up to five persons in need of international protection.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the news that Lithuania has offered to receive up to five persons in need of international protection who have been rescued at sea by the boat Sea Watch 3, joining a group of seven other European States.

“UNHCR commends the Lithuanian authorities for having translated the spirit of solidarity and humanitarianism into action and for offering a life-saving solution for the persons rescued at sea. It is an important message of responsibility-sharing at a very crucial moment in time, and more States ought to follow Lithuania´s example.” says Henrik M. Nordentoft, Regional Representative of UNHCR Northern Europe.

Despite falling arrivals, Mediterranean crossings remain deadly. At least 2275 people drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2018 – an average of 6 deaths per day.

Boats rescuing people at sea must have clarity and confidence that they will be permitted to disembark, and not stranded at sea for days on end. The search for a solution to the plight of the passengers of Sea Watch 3 took more than 18 days despite the fact that those on board were desperately in need and included women and children.

UNHCR has together with IOM repeatedly called for a predictable regional approach for dealing with rescue and disembarkation on the Mediterranean.

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