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Leading charities questioned on refugee routes through Mediterranean

22 February 2016

The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee launches its inquiry into the European Union Naval Force – Mediterranean (Operation Sophia) by taking evidence from leading charities. The inquiry is looking at how effective Operation Sophia is in disrupting the business model of smugglers in the Southern Central Mediterranean.


Thursday 25 February in Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster.

At 10.05am

  • Dr Natalie Roberts, Adviser on Refugees and Migration in Europe, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)
  • Mr Steve Symonds, Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme Director, Amnesty International UK

Possible questions

Questions the Committee is likely to put to the witnesses include:

  • Can you explain to us the migration and refugee routes through to Europe? How do they it change throughout the year? What are the volumes coming through the Central Mediterranean?
  • The UNHCR estimates that approximately one million refugees and migrants will enter the EU in 2016 and possibly 2017. Is Operation Sophia a deterrent? If the refugee and migrants flows are likely to remain the reality, what steps could the EU and Member States to impose more order and organisation into the situation?
  • The Council Decision on Operation Sophia does not explain what will happen to the smugglers and traffickers once they have been apprehended. Various course of action have been suggested from criminal prosecution within the jurisdiction of one of the Member States or extradition or release to a third country. What would you advise?
  • Operation Sophia is intended to be part of a broader EU response to the refugees and migration. What are the critical steps to be taken by the EU to address the political and economic root-causes of the movements of people?


The Committee is holding oral evidence sessions for the inquiry from February until March 2016.

Further information