Funeral held for migrants who drowned off Libyan coast


The 24 migrants buried were among at least 700 who drowned when their fishing boat capsized off the Libyan coast

Rescuers of the MOAS's ship Phoenix helping shipwrecked migrants to climb on their boat (AFP)
MEE and agencies's picture
Last update: 
Sunday 4 December 2016 14:51 UTC

A funeral ceremony was held on Thursday for 24 migrants who were among at least 700 people who drowned when a fishing boat capsized off the Libyan coast last week.

Soldiers, asylum seakers and politicians, including EU Commissioner on Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, attended the interfaith funeral ceremony held on the helipad at Mater Dei Hospital in Malta.

The Bishop of Gozo, Mario Grech, and Imam Mohammed El Sadi led the funeral ceremony while reading out excerpts of the Bible and Koran. 

It was not immediately clear what agency or country may have paid for the proceedings.

Calls have mounted in some corners for a military response to the Mediterranean migrant crisis, but experts say such plans are unworkable and mark an attempt to militarise what should be a purely humanitarian problem.

European leaders are scheduled to gather in Brussels on Thursday to discuss new strategies in the wake of the high-profile shipwreck, which one UN spokesperson called "the worst massacre ever seen in the Mediterranean".