Blockade of Mare Liberum’s rescue vessels ended after court rules German decree on ship security violates EU-law. ‘Open Arms’ rescue vessel released after two weeks by Italian authorities. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders condemns Italy’s crackdown on people saving lives at sea. People in distress rescued in Greek and Maltese SAR, five returned to Libya. Unimaginable horrors in Libya continue.
The administrative court in Hamburg has ruled in favor of German sea and rescue organisation Mare Liberum whose vessels where blocked in port because of alleged violations of a decree on ship security put in place by the German Federal Transport Ministry. Leaked e-mails from the Ministry revealed that officials had deliberately targeted rescue organisations. Last Friday judges found that the security decree was violating EU-law which ends the blockade of Mare Liberum’s vessels in the Aegean Sea. The ‘Open Arms’ rescue vessel was finally released by Italian authorities on Friday after being blocked at the port of Palermo for two weeks.
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, condemned the criminalisation of eleven human rights defenders who face criminal proceedings in Italy for having saved lives of people in distress at the Mediterranean Sea. Lawlor said “The Italian Government must publicly recognise the important role of human rights defenders in protecting the right to life of migrants and asylum seekers at risk in the Mediterranean and must end the criminalization of those who defend their human rights.”
59 persons who faced rough sea and bad weather off the island of Crete were rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard last Thursday. Two persons who had been identified as the ship’s skippers were arrested for alleged human smuggling, the rest was accommodated in Hania. 38 persons in distress were rescued by Maltese authorities last Friday and brought to the island. A Home Affairs spokesperson emphasised their asylum claims would be processed instantly with the aim of returning the survivors who were said to be Moroccan nationals as soon as possible. On Monday, the NGO hotline Alarmphone was contacted by five persons in distress in Maltese SAR zone, with one of them in urgent need of medical treatment. After prompting Maltese authorities to rescue in vain, Alarmphone learnt the group was returned to Libya.
As UN and government officials confirmed on Wednesday, a Nigerian factory worker was burned alive in Libya’s capital Tripoli after three persons stormed the factory he was working at, poured gasoline on him and set him on fire. Three others were injured and had to be treated in hospital. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric commented the incident saying: “This underscores, as if we needed to underscore yet again, how unsafe Libya is for migrants, for refugees, and how much the authorities on the ground still need to do to ensure the protection of these vulnerable people.” A report by the UN Human Rights Office published last week highlights the “unimaginable horrors” migrants face in Libya.
IOM Libya confirms that 11 bodies washed up on shore in Libya between 28 September and 5 October. Since the beginning of the year, about 9,225 people were returned to Libya, 196 died and 275 went missing.
For further information:
- ECRE, Med: Death Toll Rising, Search and Rescue Capacities Low and the Pact Misses Opportunity to Decriminalise Saving of Lives at Sea, October 2020
- ECRE, Med: More Tragedies Unfolding at Sea while Italy Confines Sea-Watch 4 and EU Member States Remain Unwilling to Coordinate Disembarkation, September 2020
- ECRE, Med: New Stand-off Developing as Survivors From the Etienne Have Finally Disembarked, September 2020
- ECRE, Med: the Moonbird Grounded Amid Crisis on the Med, Etienne Stand-off Continues, Horrifying Conditions in Maltese Detention Centres, September 2020
- ECRE, MED: 353 People Disembarked in Italy, 27 Remain Stranded off Malta, Increase of Arrivals in Lampedusa, September 2020
- ECRE, Med: Series of Deadly Shipwrecks While Civilian Search and Rescue Fleet is Blocked, August 2020
- ECRE, Med: 65 Lives at Risk, Inaction Continues, Evidence Culminates, NGOs Blocked, July 2020
- ECRE, Med: 118 Rescued, 211 into Quarantine while Italy Faces Legal Action for Pull-backs, June 2020
- ECRE, NGOs Resume Rescues amid Mounting Death Toll and Continued Pull-Backs, June 2020
- ECRE, Med: Malta Under-Fire for Continued Rights Violations but PM Dodges Homicide Charges, June 2020
- ECRE, Med: Continued Violations Topped with Dodgy Deals, May 2020
- ECRE, Med: New Evidence of Malta’s Deadly Strategies, May 2020
- ECRE, Med: 78 to quarantine on Italian Ship, 163 still Stranded amid Spike in Departures and Depleted Rescue Capacities, May 2020
- ECRE, Med: Hundreds Remain Stranded at Sea as Ports are Still Closed, Solidarity Remains Lacking and Interceptions Continue, May 2020
- ECRE, Med: Former Maltese Official Admits Push-Back while another 62 People are Left Stranded, 08 May 2020
- ECRE, Med: 180 Quarantined on Italian Ship while NGO takes Legal Actions against Maltese Decision-Makers, April 2020
- ECRE, Med: 12 Left to Die and 182 Stranded as EU States Refuse Rescue, April 2020
- ECRE, Med: 150 Stranded at Sea as Malta and Italy Declare Ports “unsafe”, April 2020
- ECRE, Med: IRINI Ships will Not Search but Rescue – Civilian Search and Rescue Vessel Back at Sea, April 2020