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UN Appalled by Ship Crews Abandoning Migrants in Mediterranean

Earlier this week, over 700 migrants, most believed to be from Syria, were rescued by the Italian coast guard

Baku. 3 January. REPORT.AZ/ The United Nations has expressed concern over the emerging trend of ships smuggling migrants across the Mediterranean, being abandoned by their crews, following the latest such incident off Italy's coast.

Report informs, The United Nations said in a statement Friday that the abandoning of a ship with 450 migrants on the same day was "the latest cynical chapter in the ongoing tragedy of irregular migration at sea that has resulted in 3,000 reported deaths in the Mediterranean alone in 2014".

On Friday, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson held discussions with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration and Development Peter Sutherland and Director General of the International Organization for Migration William Swing.

According to the UN statement, they "discussed international migration and the emerging appalling trend in the human trafficking of migrants – the abandonment of larger cargo ships by traffickers in the Mediterranean".

Praising ongoing rescue efforts, in particular by the Italian Navy and Coast Guard, the United Nations said Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson emphasized the responsibility of all UN member-states "to ensure the protection and human rights of migrants", stressing that there was an urgent need to address the root cause of the problem.

Earlier this week, over 700 migrants, most believed to be from Syria, were rescued by the Italian coast guard, after the crew abandoned the ship and left it to sail on autopilot.

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