For six hours Abdallah Osman and his fellow passengers went through hell. Osman, one of hundreds of migrants from Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt and Bangladesh seeking safe haven in Europe, had boarded a ship one early July morning in Libya to cross the Mediterranean. But the voyage was cut short when the small boats which were lashed together to make a larger vessel, began to take on water.
For six hours, the hundreds on board struggled to rid the boat of water until finally they were stranded in the middle of the sea. 150 of the passengers didn't survive. The death toll makes it "the worst Mediterranean tragedy" the year so far.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions have made the treacherous Mediterranean crossing but not all of them make it across since 2014 at least 10,000 migrants have died. These tragedies will continue to happen as the migrants flee from their homelands due to war, famine and the search for a better future.
Previously, the European Union invested time and money in rescue missions meant to save those stranded in the sea. But recently, they have pulled back and put the onus of the rescue missions on the Libyan coastguard, good Samaritans, fishermen, and volunteers. Their withdrawal from rescue missions is seen as an attempt to discourage more crossings since migrants know that help is not certain to arrive if they hit rough seas.
Italy has even gone a vicious step further and has promised to punish any rescue missions that bringing rescued migrants to their ports. Those accused of doing so face having their ship impounded and huge fines.
But that doesn't fix the problem. Migrants will still come as long as there is conflict and danger in their own countries. Pulling back rescue efforts only puts the migrants more at risk. Ignoring them at sea is shameful, Europe and especially Italy has blood on their hands.
Tell the European Union to do their duty and help save the people so desperate to find safety that they would risk their lives for it. Sign the petition and demand the EU increase participation for Mediterranean rescue missions and tell Italy to repeal the cruel anti-migrant rescue laws.