WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the unfolding humanitarian disaster transpiring off the Libyan coast and in the Mediterranean Sea.
“It is profoundly heart wrenching to view the anguished images of innocent refugees and migrants, men and women, old and young, who embarked on a desperate journey bound for a more hopeful future, but which ended in death on the Mediterranean Sea over these recent days.
“The majority of these individuals are fleeing conflict and persecution, seeking a better reality for themselves and their families, defined by peace and a decent life. This is a journey of by unimaginable peril, and only despairing families with nothing to lose would sacrifice their lives in the hopes that this voyage will deliver an escape from misery.
“From Syria to Iraq, from South Sudan to Yemen, multiplying conflicts, human rights violations, statelessness, and the effects of climate change, and food and water insecurity, are all contributing to millions being forced from their homes in search of safety and survival.
“The United States must work with the European Union to better address the challenges faced by thousands of people risking their lives in fleeing their homelands by strengthening search-and-rescue operations, as well as increasing safe avenues to resettlement and humanitarian visas.
“These tragedies touch the soul and require a vigorous international response to this growing crisis.”