UK Should End Rescue of Migrants in Mediterranean 'At Earliest Opportunity'

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UK was urged to stop rescuing illegal migrants in the Mediterranean by a UK Member of Parliament.

MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) — UK Member of Parliament James Brokenshire has urged the country's government to stop rescuing illegal migrants in the Mediterranean as soon as possible.

Britain's operations in the Mediterranean should "be stopped at the earliest possible opportunity," The Guardian quoted Brokenshire as saying Thursday.

Brokenshire's approach came under a barrage of criticism by the Labor Party representatives, who labelled the politician's stance on the issue as "a barbaric abandonment of British values," The Guardian noted.

Meanwhile, BBC quoted Brokenshire as arguing that the move would "save lives rather than putting them in peril."

On Monday, it was announced that Britain would cease providing support to the search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, and that it would only contribute to an EU border protection program referred to as Triton. All this comes despite the contribution that the United Kingdom has made to the rescue of 150,000 people in the Mediterranean over the past year, according to The Guardian.

Each day, scores of migrants from Eritrea, Syria, Mali, Egypt, Libya and other countries try to cross the Mediterranean Sea, even though some of the sea crossings have caused deadly hazards. This September alone, 500 migrants drowned while attempting to cross the sea, UN Committee Chair on Migrant Workers Francisco Carrion-Mena confirmed last week.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 90,000 people crossed to Europe, while another 2,200 died while doing so between July 1 and September 30 this year. Both numbers registered an increase, compared with crossings by 75,000 people and 800 deaths that occurred between January 1 and June 30. The total number people, who crossed the Mediterranean until September, stands at 165,000, a number which is almost twice larger compared with the whole of 2013, which saw crossings only by 60,000 people.

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