Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), urged European countries to do more to prevent migrant boat tragedies in the Mediterranean.
Reacting to the news on Friday that as many as 40 African migrants may have perished on Wednesday as their boat sank off the coast of Libya, Brasseur said: "I am deeply saddened by yet another fatal accident in the Mediterranean. My thoughts are with those who lost their lives off the Libyan coast.
"Without safe legal channels for migration, boat people will continue to die," she added. "Once again, I urge the nations of Europe to live up to their moral responsibility and to take swift action to make this possible."
Survivors of the latest tragedy told aid agencies that more than 120 people were on the boat when it started taking in water.
In June, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Council of Europe in Strasbourg calling for greater protection of the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, in particular those crossed the Mediterranean and the sea of Andaman, as well as the Gulf of Bengal.
"Globally, nearly 60 million people are forcibly displaced," he said. "This is an all-time high that needs a record response," declared Ban.
The UN estimates that about 60,000 people have already tried to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa this year. However, more than 1,800 people have so far died, 20 times the number than in the same period last year.