UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has urged Europe to do more to save lives in the Mediterranean migrant crisis.
Speaking in Dublin ahead of a trip to Brussels, the world leader said a two-pronged approach was needed to help hundreds of thousands who are risking death at sea in a desperate bid for a future.
“I’m urging European leaders to address this issue in a more comprehensive way and collective way,” he said.
Mr Ban, at the end of a three-day official visit to Ireland, said more search and rescue missions were needed for refugees at sea in the Mediterranean, the Andaman Sea in Asia and in Syria.
At the same time, leaders must tackle the roots causes of mass migration, he added.
This could not be done without compassion, he told reporters.
“We have to first of all do our best to save lives, for they (the migrants) do not have any means to protect their lives,” he said.
“So search and rescue operations should be further strengthened.”
After a brief meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings in Dublin, Mr Ban commended Ireland for despatching a naval ship to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean.
“This should be shared collectively by European countries, it should not be borne by just one or two countries,” he said.
Mr Ban also noted Ireland’s role in resettling migrants, some of whom he met during his visit.
But he added every country could do more to tackle the twin global priorities of climate change and sustainable development.
“This 2015 is a crucially important year for humanity,” he said.
“It’s not for Europeans, it’s not for the United Nations – it’s for the humanity of all the world, seven billion people and our planet earth.”
He added: “I am urging world leaders, including Ireland and European leaders to show their leadership, visionary leadership.”
Mr Ban was awarded the International Tipperary Peace Prize during his trip to Ireland.
He will travel on to Brussels today where he is to address the European Parliament.