U.N. Wants to Let Europe Use Military Force to Stop Migrant Smuggling Boats

Italian sailors rescued more than 100 refugees from Africa in the sea between Italy and Libya on Oct. 4, 2014. The migrants said they had left Tripoli, Libya, the night before. Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

The United Nations Security Council plans to put forth a draft resolution that would authorize Europe to use military force to stop migrant smuggling boats that set off from Libya across the Mediterranean Sea, signaling the Continent’s resolve to stanch the tide of migrants fleeing the Middle East and North Africa.

The measure, which is likely to be discussed with the European Union foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, on Monday, when she is scheduled to meet with the Security Council, raises a host of tricky legal and diplomatic issues, including whether to offer safe passage to the people on those boats or return them to Libya or their countries.

International law prohibits countries from returning migrants who are fleeing persecution in their own countries…

…This is especially thorny because there are two rival Libyan governments, and they are engaged in delicate political negotiations mediated by the United Nations…

…The draft measure was proposed by European members of the Council, as well as by Italy, which bears the principal burden of rescuing migrants who try to cross the Mediterranean Sea…

Naturally, the usual suspects are protesting:

UN urged not to allow migrant boat ‘bombing’: Italy’s Red Cross president on Wednesday spoke out against European plans to destroy migrant boats used by smugglers in the Mediterranean, as the United Nations weighed whether to endorse the military campaign.

Check out this chart of where they “migrants” are from:


More charts…