ICMC Statement on Migrant Tragedy in Calabria

A dark-skinned hand holds the railing of a ship at sea
The elderly hand of an African person holds the railing of a ship at sea, ©davide bonaldo/Shutterstock.com

The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) grieves the deaths of more than 60 migrants, including many children, due to the sinking of an overloaded and unseaworthy ship off the coast of Calabria, Italy. It’s feared that more than 100 people are likely to have perished. ICMC also stands in solidarity with the more than 80 survivors of this tragic event. May God grant rest and peace to those who have died and bless their loved ones and the other survivors with comfort and hope. 

This situation, as so many similar tragedies at sea, in deserts, in forests and mountains, is proof of the need for safe and legal pathways for migrants who  leave home for  a more dignified life, including access to decent work, education, and the basic necessities of life,  as well as people fleeing threats to their lives in their countries of origin.  There is an urgent need for a fair and just system of migration governance, in accord with the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which was approved in 2018 by a significant majority of UN Member States.

“Nearly ten years have passed since nearly 400 people died in a similarly horrific sinking of a ship off the coast of Lampedusa, yet nothing has changed. In fact, the situation has potentially become more dangerous for people trying to cross the deadly sea, many unable to swim, because they’d rather risk the sea than risk staying where they are,” said ICMC’s Secretary General, Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo.

“Instead, we are seeing governments putting in place restrictions that violate international human right laws and the right to seek asylum. Something has got to give, because people with no other options will continue to risk their lives while seeking full enjoyment of their God-given rights and dignity for themselves and their families.”

“This inhumanity has to end.”


For media requests, please contact Nancy McNally, mcnally@icmc.net | +39 348 4508118


ICMC provides assistance and protection to vulnerable people on the move and advocates for sustainable solutions for refugees and migrants.