UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk criticised on Monday international “indifference” to the increasing number of migrant deaths, especially by drowning at sea. Speaking at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Turk expressed his dismay at the “politics of indifference” regarding humanity and vulnerable people.
“I am shocked by the nonchalance that becomes apparent in the face of more than 2,300 people reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean this year, including the loss of more than 600 lives in a single shipwreck off Greece in June,” he told the council.
He also mentioned the deaths of migrants and refugees who are dying, without anyone apparently noticing, in the English Channel, the Bay of Bengal, the Caribbean Sea, at the US-Mexican border, and at the Saudi border, where his office is seeking urgent clarification about allegations that border guards are killing and ill-treating migrants.
The contribution of climate change to human rights emergencies in several countries, said the High Commissioner, highlights the need to fight the culture of impunity for those who plunder the environment.
“Climate change is pushing millions of people into famine,” he continued. “It is destroying hopes, opportunities, homes and lives. In recent months, urgent warnings have become lethal realities again and again all around the world.”
We don’t need any more warnings, Turk added. “The dystopian future has already arrived. We need urgent action, now.”