July 2023

"Europe must not get used to the deaths of children on the move"


The fishing boat that sank off the coast of Pylos on the night of 13 June is Greece’s deadliest migrant shipwreck in years and allegedly the second deadliest in the history of migration in the Mediterranean Sea. Witnesses reported that 100 children were on board.

Reminding in the strongest terms the ENOC 2021 Position statement on ending persistent violations of the human rights of children in the context of pushbacks[1], and previous statements on the rights of children on the move[2];

We urge the European authorities:

  • To take action to ensure that appropriate and immediate assistance is always provided to those in distress at sea;
  • To ensure that an independent and rigorous investigation into the circumstances of this terrible tragedy is conducted in the most transparent way;
  • To create safe and coordinated pathways for children on the move and their families and take comprehensive action to avoid perilous journeys;

We furthermore remind the European authorities and the European states that children, whether unaccompanied, accompanied or separated, should never be refused entry to a country in accordance with the non-refoulement principle and the prohibition of collective expulsions deriving from international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.



[1] ENOC 2021 statement “Violations of the Human Rights of Children on the Move in the context of pushbacks”, 29 September 2021

[2] ENOC ad-hoc Policy Area > Migration: https://enoc.eu/what-we-do/ad-hoc-advocacy-areas/