Addis Ababa November 1/2013 African Heads of State and Government declared 3 November 2013 as a continental Day of Mourning following a boat disaster off the coast of Lampedusa in Italy which costs the lives of some 359 migrants, AU said.
On 3 October 2013, a boat carrying an estimated 545 migrants mainly from Somalia, Eritrea and Syria sank off the coast of Lampedusa in Italy, drowning some 359 migrants.
Although the decision is primarily to remember the victims of the Lampedusa incident and express solidarity with their families, it is also a time to remember all those who have perished while fleeing from insecurity, the lack of enjoyment of the basic civil and political as well as economic and social rights in their home countries, AU said.
The Day of Mourning also constitutes an opportunity to reiterate Africa’s grave concern regarding the recurrence of these preventable tragedies that hurt human rights and human dignity and threaten peace, security and stability.
Moreover, it will serve as a call for all Africans including the youth to reflect on appropriate actions to be taken with a view to finding a lasting solution to this unwarranted loss of African young people without whom the continent cannot build a prosperous and peaceful future.
The African Union Commission is committed to advocate for international protection and human rights of all migrants, regardless of their status.
The Commission will continue to work with Member States, Regional Economic Communities and Partners in promoting the rights of migrants.
The Commission invited Member States to hold special prayers on Friday, 1 November 2013 and Sunday, 3 November 2013.
Member States are also advised to fly their flags at half-mast on 3 November 2013.