Photo Gallery Calls for New Asylum Policy Follow Lampedusa Disaster

At least 181 refugees from Africa died when their boat sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa on October 3. The accident has sparked a debate among European Union politicians over how to more fairly distribute the burden and which countries should accept more migrants.
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Lampedusa is one of Europe's flash points for immigration, with tens of thousands of refugees from Africa making their way to its shores each year in boats that are seldom seaworthy. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 refugees have perished while making the journey over the years.

Foto: STR/ AFP
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At around 4 a.m. on October 3, 2013, a ship carrying about 500 refugees from the Libyan city of Misrata caught fire and sank.

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At least 181 lost their lives within sight of Italy, which they viewed as a promised land.

Foto: Claudio Peri/ dpa
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Authorities in Italy fear that the death toll will continue to rise. On Thursday, Lampedusa Mayor Giusi Nicoloini said survivors had stated that they had started a small fire aboard the ship to draw the attention of the Coast Guard. But the fire quickly spread and panic broke out before the ship capsized.

Foto: Nino Randazzo/ dpa
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A photo released by the Italian Coast Guard shows survivors of the deadly tragedy.

Foto: AFP/ Guardia Costiera
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More than 100 are still believed missing, as divers and the Italian coast guard battle high seas and strong winds in their recovery efforts.

Foto: Tullio M. Puglia/ Getty Images
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Local fishermen and boat crewmen prepare to throw a wreath into the waters off Lampedusa harbor on Oct. 5, 2013, to pay a tribute to those who lost their lives when a boat carring migrants sank here two days earlier.

Foto: Stringer/ dpa
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A boat filled with refugees near Lampedusa in April 2011: The recent disaster has prompted calls for changes to the Dublin Regulation, which states that any refugee who reaches Europe can only apply for asylum in the EU country he or she enters first. But the rules put the greatest burden on country's on the EU's periphery, such as Greece, Poland and Italy.

Foto: Ettore Ferrari/ dpa
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Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, is also calling for a wider distribution of the burden, and characterized the refugee issue as a "problem for all EU member states." Schulz argued that Italy should not be left alone with the task of coping with the massive influx of people from Africa and Asia. He has also characterized the way the EU is debating the issue as "horrifying."

Foto: ? Francois Lenoir / Reuters/ REUTERS
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