April 23, 2015 / 12:12 PM / 2 years ago

U.N. calls for urgent EU steps to save migrants and admit refugees

GENEVA (Reuters) - The European Union must urgently set up a rescue operation for migrants at sea and commit to receiving significantly higher numbers of refugees, top U.N. officials and the International Organization for Migration said on Thursday.

Migrants arrive at the Sicilian harbor of Augusta April 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

“The European Union response needs to go beyond the present minimalist approach... which focuses primarily on stemming the arrival of migrants and refugees on its shores,” they said in a joint statement ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

The statement was co-signed by the U.N. human rights and refugee agency chiefs Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and António Guterres, U.N. special representative for migration Peter Sutherland and William Lacy Swing, head of the International Organization for Migration.

Reporting by Tom Miles; editing by Stephanie Nebehay

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