The new head of the UN migration agency, Amy Pope, expressed her concern on September 2 that deaths of people on boats in the Mediterranean are becoming “normalized.”
According to a Reuters report, Pope pledged to collaborate with governments to address the crisis. In 2023, more than 2,500 people have gone missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean, according to data from the UN refugee agency.
Pope’s statement comes at a time when there is growing criticism of Germany for supporting NGOs that assist migrants in crossing to Europe through the dangerous Mediterranean route. Both the Italian minister and billionaire Elon Musk have criticized Germany for its policy towards charities operating in the Mediterranean.
Commenting on the issue, Pope stated that her agency’s “biggest concern is that deaths in the Mediterranean have been normalized, and people take for granted that this is just a cost of human movement.”
“If we’re truly going to prevent people from crossing the Mediterranean on rickety boats and dying in the process, we need to approach the situation far more comprehensively,” she was quoted as saying in the report.
To work on her new plan for migration, Pope mentioned that she is scheduled to visit East Africa to meet with the African Union Commission in Ethiopia. The UN official will also visit Brussels to meet with senior European officials to work on a deal to address irregular migration.