Operation Sophia: Naval operation launched by the European Union against human smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean Sea.
The term Operation Sophia was in news on 7 October 2015 as the European Union Naval Force for Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) launched its second phase.
The launch has become necessary as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated that the death toll due to the ongoing the Mediterranean Migration Crisis could go up to 30000 in 2015 as around 1 million refugees are set to cross the sea in unregulated and illegal vessels owned by traffickers.
About Operation Sophia
• Its aim is to undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels as well as enabling assets used or suspected of being used by migrant smugglers or traffickers.
• Its first phase was launched by the EUNAFOR MED as part of the European Union's Comprehensive Approach to Migration on 22 June 2015.
• While the phase 1 was limited to gathering information and detecting and monitoring the smuggling networks on the high seas, the second phase involves efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels as well as enabling assets used or suspected of being used by migrant smugglers or traffickers.
• Though the phase 2 involves military operations it will be conducted in full compliance with international law including humanitarian, refugee, and Human rights.
• In the third phase that is yet to begin would allow the disposal of vessels and related assets, preferably before use, and to apprehend traffickers and smugglers.
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Where: In the Mediterranean Sea
What: Launched by EUNAVFOR MED
When: 7 October 2015