This morning, in his speech to a Strasbourg conference, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, warned against the dual problems of migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
He stated: “Last year, there were more recorded deaths than ever among refugees and migrants on the Mediterranean Sea, a great many of them having paid smugglers to send them to their fate.
“The fact that this will not deter thousands more from seeking to make the perilous journey to European shores this year is testament to their deep desperation,”
The conference brought together experts and representatives of governments and international organisations, to exchange best practices and experience on preventive measures and on the criminalisation of the smuggling of migrants.
They also tackled how to improve international co-operation and to better protect smuggled migrants.
Jagland added: “The Council of Europe cannot solve the political problems that lead so many people to risk their own lives – and those of their children – in search of a better existence.
“Nor is it within our remit to manage migration.
“But we can and must ensure that the dignity and human rights of migrants in our member states are upheld.”
Interview with Andreas Schloenhardt, Professor of Criminal Law in the School of Law at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia and Professorial Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Vienna, Austria