The tragedy of Lampedusa is a tragedy for us all

The Fare network stands in solidarity with economic migrants across Europe and today we stand with those who died yesterday off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

At least 130 African migrants have died and many more are missing. The UN has said most of those on board were from Eritrea and Somalia. The boat was believed to have been carrying up to 500 people at the time.

It is thought that some of those on board set fire to a piece of material to try to attract the attention of passing ships, only to have the fire spread to the rest of the boat.

Migrants from many parts of Africa and Asia are entering Europe through boats on dangerous seas, in lorries overland from the east and stowed in transport cargo. Their journeys are made, like many others before them, in a bid to find a better life for their themselves and their families.

Many are exploited by criminal gangs and thousands die unknown deaths before they reach Europe. Many that arrive in a Europe in economic crisis face attacks, receive inhumane treatment and become the symbols of extremist political ideologies.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said that more than 1,500 people drowned or went missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in 2011, making it the "most deadly stretch of water for refugees and migrants".

In an audience in the Vatican Pope Francis became the first public figure to express what we feel, "The word is disgrace: This is disgrace!"

A statement from the Fare Board said, “The tragedy of Lampedusa is a tragedy for all of us in Europe regardless of who we are or where we live. It symbolises the tragedy that many of us from migrant backgrounds face in our quest for a better life. It is the type of tragedy that would not have to happen if the world were to share its resources equally .

“The Fare network will launch an annual action weeks period in two weeks time. The period is called Football People as an attempt to celebrate the diversity of this continent, we will remember our brothers and sisters in humanity that have met the worst possible fate in their struggle for an equal life.”

The Fare Italian partner UISP nazionale said through President Vincenzo Manco, “UISP states once again it is absolutely necessary to guarantee migrants a good reception and safe passage for those who escape from war, who need help and protection. Italy and Europe have to find solutions urgently: at stake is civil awareness and the ethics and credibility of the society in which we live.

"We want to send a clear message to the national and international institutions: sport can and should help in promoting social inclusion, intercultural dialogue and wellness for all”.

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