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Rights group: Europe must share immigration burden

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October 22, 2013 08:01 AM EST | AP


ATHENS, Greece — ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The head of the Council of Europe says other European countries should do more to share the burden of tackling illegal migration to the continent, a problem that has disproportionately affected the continent's southern countries.

Thorbjoern Jagland, who heads Europe's top human rights body, told The Associated Press on Tuesday it was "a shame how Europe has handled this."

The vast majority of migrants trying to enter the European Union illegally do so through the southern border countries of Greece, Italy and Spain. Hundreds have died this month alone trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa on rickety smuggling ships.

Jagland stressed it was possible for other European countries to help those that have borne the brunt of migration flows without having to accept larger numbers of refugees themselves.