An Egyptian parliamentarian said the hundreds of migrants who died in a shipwreck off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast “deserved” it.
Elhamy Agina, in a callous effort to shield the Egyptian government from blame, stated the parents of the victims are to be held responsible for the tragedy for “not bringing them right” and that the migrants “do not deserve sympathy.”
"If young people travel behind their parents' backs or without their permission it is their own fault what happens and they do not deserve sympathy," the MP told the Egyptian press. “The parents of young people who migrate illegally, get caught trying to do so or die [in the process] should be punished… because these young people are reckless and have not found anyone to tell them right from wrong.”
"If the government, which has eased travel procedures, had been the one who told these young people to flee on that boat and drown then we would immediately hold the government accountable," Agina added.
Such heartlessness is not new from Agina who, earlier this month, urged women to undergo female genital mutilation — a practice that has been deemed illegal in Egypt since 2008 but is still widespread.
The MP said Egyptian men suffered from “weak” sexual drives so it was only fair that women suffer through his agonizing procedure to create balance.
Survivors of the shipwreck informed around 450 migrants were onboard the jam-packed fishing boat heading to Italy when it capsized on Wednesday. The country’s rescue workers saved 163 lives and recovered 168 bodies from the wreckage. The International Organization for Migration said many who were rescued included Sudanese, Eritreans, a Syrian and even an Ethiopian.
The tragedy has sparked heightened measures against smugglers who risk lives for paltry compensation.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail ordered increased patrols of ports used by migrant boats while a new bill, if passed, would consist of "deterrent penalties" against people smugglers.
The recent tragedy has taken the estimated number of migrants to die in the Mediterranean to over 3,500 this year. If this crisis continues, the death toll for 2016 will soon pass the record-highest 3771 deaths in 2015.