IMO and IOM heads release joint statement on Med crisis

IMO and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) agree on joint action amid unprecedented migration by sea.
Outgoing IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu and IOM director-general William L. Swing
Outgoing IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu and IOM director-general William L. Swing

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The heads of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to urgently address the Mediterranean migration crisis.

In a joint statement that two organisation described the dramatic increase in unsafe mixed migration across the oceans, particularly the Mediterranean, as a humanitarian crisis.

Outgoing IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu and IOM director-general William L. Swing met at IMO Headquarters in London and observed a minute’s silence in honour of the thousands of migrants who have lost their lives.

They reiterated their concern about the loss of life, injury, trauma and serious human rights’ violations affecting migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees travelling by sea.

In a joint statement on enhanced cooperation and collaboration between the two organizations, Sekimizu and Swing recognised the need for concerted global action to address this major challenge to the international community and pledged to work together on a number of specific actions.

These include the establishment of an inter-agency platform for information sharing on unsafe mixed migration by sea and the dissemination of information material on the dangers of such migration, in collaboration with other interested agencies.

They also agreed to facilitate discussions to find solutions to unsafe migration by sea and urged the international community to take robust measures against people smugglers “who operate without fear or remorse and who deliberately and knowingly endanger the lives of thousands of migrants at sea”.

The IMO and IOM heads also agreed to promote the relevant provisions of the IMO treaties addressing the safety of life at sea, search and rescue and facilitation of maritime traffic and to promote international migration law.

Sekimizu and Swing’s meeting follows a series of discussions at the IMO on unsafe mixed migration by sea, including a special session on the matter held during the Maritime Safety Committee’s 95th session (MSC 95) earlier in June.

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