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Press briefing notes Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Loss of life in Mediterranean “horrific tragedy” – Türk

16 June 2023

Migrants, survivors of a deadly shipwreck after a boat capsized at open sea off Greece, wait to board a bus as they are being transferred to Athens from the port of Kalamata, Greece, June 16, 2023 © REUTERS/Stelios Misinas


Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Jeremy Laurence



The appalling loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea was an horrific tragedy, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said on Friday.

The High Commissioner expressed his condolences to those who have lost loved ones – 78 people are known to have died and up to 500 are missing, among them large numbers of women and children. He stressed his solidarity with the survivors and the families of the victims.  

What happened on Wednesday underscores the need to investigate people smugglers and human traffickers and ensure they are brought to justice, the UN Human Rights Chief said.  

The High Commissioner reiterated his call to States to open up more regular migration channels, enhance responsibility-sharing, ensure arrangements for the safe and timely disembarkation of all people rescued at sea, and establish independent monitoring and oversight of migration-related policies and practices.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva

Ravina Shamdasani - +41 22 917 9169 / [email protected] or
Liz Throssell +41 22 917 9296 / [email protected] or
Jeremy Laurence + +41 22 917 9383 / [email protected]

In Nairobi

Seif Magango - +254 788 343 897 / [email protected]

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