• April 26, 2015


The decision of EU leaders to step up Mediterranean Search and Rescue capability in response to the deaths of hundreds of migrants in recent weeks is a vindication (albeit a cruel one) of a situation that the Celtic League predicted almost five months ago.

As EU leaders, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron, stood piously to remember the dead there was little mention that these same EU leaders took a decision in November last year that led directly to the tragedy that has subsequently unfolded.

The Celtic League was one of the few NGOs that started lobbying furiously in December 2014 immediately after the EU decision.

Responding to an urgent alert from the UN Special Rapporteur for Migrants Rights we wrote immediately to the International Maritime Organisation we said:

“Are any of the States which have determined to show disregard for their safety obligations under the search and rescue convention currently members of the Council of the IMO?

If they are signatories does not the clear statement that they do not intend in the future to pursue a coordinated search and rescue policy to address this issue place them in breach of the Convention?”

(See link):


We stressed to the IMO that the decision flew in the face of solemn commitments entered into by the EU States in relation to the safety of life at sea.

To its credit the IMO responded within 24 hours indeed as I reported at the Annual General Meeting of the Celtic League in Dublin two weeks ago it was the swiftest response we have ever received from an International body.

Via its Secretary General the IMO convened a special meeting within days and called for action (see link):


However still the EU prevaricated and the grim result of their callous ineptitude was witnessed in recent weeks as hundreds (perhaps thousands) perished as European leaders looked the other way.

Now they are shamed into action and perhaps less of these unfortunate refugees from conflict and poverty will die.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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