Speed Reads

European migrant crisis

Amnesty International report blames EU for rising migrant death toll

A scathing new Amnesty International report pins the climbing number of migrant deaths in the central Mediterranean on "failing EU policies."

So far this year, more than 2,000 migrants and refugees have died while trying to get to Europe, the report said. In 2015, the European Union strengthened a search and rescue program that prevented deaths in the Mediterranean, the report states, but now, the focus is on smugglers as they launch boats out of Libya. "European states have progressively turned their backs on a search and rescue strategy that was reducing mortality at sea in favor of one that has seen thousands drown and left desperate men, women, and children trapped in Libya, exposed to horrific abuses," the report said, adding that it's believed the Libyan coast guard is colluding with traffickers and abusing migrants.

Interior ministers from EU countries are meeting in Estonia to discuss the migrant crisis and the European Commission's plan to combat it, which calls for splitting $92 million — half to Libya to boost the coast guard's ability to stop smugglers as they launch boats and half to help Italy take care of migrants that make it to the country. The EU has not responded to the report.