Tag Archives: Mediterranean

UN criticizes Salvini opposition to illegal migration

The United Nations confirmed their human rights experts have reiterated criticism expressed in a letter sent to Italy over the government’s proposal for a new decree on security.

The aim of the Italian new legislation is to build on the security-and-migration decree that was approved last year and drafted by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini,  focus on stemming illegal migration and human trafficing. The UN said that the proposed decree would result in NGO-run ships fined for every person picked up at sea and transported to Italian territory, and vessels risking the loss of their licences.

The UN experts said that if the decree is approved and comes into force, it would undermine the human rights of asylum seekers and the victims of torture. The UN position is firmly based on core Refugee Convention (1951), dating the colonial era, when there was no single free state in Africa, and the population was a half of European. However, in spite of the drastic change of the context the UN experts continue to use the Convention without any adaptation to contemporary realities.
The right to life and the principle of non-refoulement should always prevail over national legislation or other measures purportedly adopted in the name of national security,” the experts said in a letter to the Italian Government.

We urge authorities to stop endangering the lives of migrants, including asylum seekers and victims of trafficking in persons, by invoking the fight against traffickers…This approach is misleading and is not in line with both general international law and international human rights law”, the letter said.
Instead, restrictive migration policies contribute to exacerbating migrants’ vulnerabilities and only serve to increase trafficking in persons“.

“The United Nations is full of bureaucrats rooting for mass immigration”, Salvini said after the UN criticised his proposed security package for fining illegal migrant transporters.
Minister and MPs elected by the Italians decide on the security and happiness of the Italians,” he said.
Unknown bureaucrats who are fans of mass immigration do not,” he added.

 

 

Migrant vessel captain escapes imprisonment

The captain of a illegal migrants rescue ship received fine of €10,000  by a Maltese court, after being found guilty of intruding into national waters almost one year ago without respecting procedures for crossing state borders.

In issuing the fine, the court recommended that the funds be  used for charitable migrants causes.

The court is concerned by the level of rhetoric and racism surrounding this case and migration in Malta,” Joseph Mifsud ,the Magistrate, said in his ruling.

The magistrate also underlined they will not impose 12 month prison sentence, foreseen for this kind of illegal activities,  because the court “immediately understood the circumstances of the case”.

ClausPeter Reisch 57, born in Munich Germany, as captain of the vessel Lifeline,  was charged with entering Maltese territorial waters illegally and without proper registration, and a licence.

The MV Lifeline vessel was impounded by transport authorities of Malta in June 2018 after disembarking 234 illegal migrants it had according to their own words “rescued off Libya coasts“. Maltese politicians repeatedly accuse the NGOs of aiding people smugglers, contributing to existence of criminal networks.

The skipper, Mr.Reisch, as subsequently charged with operating a ship that was not registered for rescue operations.

Mr.Reisch gave an explanation to the court that his ship was logged in the Netherlands, but Magistrate Joseph Mifsud said documents supplied by the Dutch Registry clarified they did not recognize the vessel as registered under their flag.

The captain was granted bail on a personal guarantee of €10,000 euros and had to deposit his passport in court. Mr.Reisch was facing a maximum jail term of one year and an €11,600 fine, or a combination of both.

The ship was removed from the custody of the court, but it is unclear what further procedures would be applied.

The court case, and fine do not hinder in any way the activities of the NGO, which is determined to continue, and recruits people to fulfill the mission of transporting illegal migrants from Libyan costs to Europe: “Join our crew too! Apply for one of our rescue missions! “, says the ad of the Lifeline.

 

 

 

 

MEPs endorse stronger corps of border guards

Members of European Parliament have approved the proposal to assign to the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027 to strengthen the security in Mediterranean. 

Europe’s external borders have seen an unprecedented rise in the numbers of illegal migrants and refugees wishing to enter the EU in recent years. The plans,adopted by MEPs during April Plenary will see the EU agency equipped with a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027. The standing corps will consist of staff members employed by the agency as well as staff seconded on a mandatory basis by EU countries. 

“You have to be fair with those who deserve protection, harsh with those prey on the vulnerable and firm with those who seek to break the rules” the rapporteur Roberta Metsola (pictured above), the rapporteur said.

The critics of the measure say the measure is superficial and does not address the problem of the illegal migration in a meaningful way. Often articulated promises to apply  different approach to people who have right for asylum, and those who don’t are largely exclusionary, because it is impossible to trace their identities in principle.

African population is largely following verbal traditions, and has no custom to issue documents at birth. According World Bank 500 million Africans have no birth certificate and have no information on date of their birth, including day, month, year. This phenomena became notorious in Europe, when young men were successfully claiming to be minors, but there were no legal mechanism to establish their age. Subsequently in absence of population register in SubSaharan Africa the promises to make difference between different categories of illegal migrants crossing Mediterranean, are totally illusory.

The opponents of Roberta Metsola insist that at present shape the Coast Guard Agency is designed to accommodate illegal migrants plans to enter Europe safely, however it does not serve the interest of the European nations, some of which, like Italy, were overwhelmed by the influx of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

NGOs attack Castaner over collusion with smugglers

My comment on the role of NGOs is unambiguous. […] I have never questioned the sincerity of NGOs”, said French Minister of Interior Christophe Castaner in a video posted on his Twitter micro blog, while ensuring that his statements, concerning NGOs were based on “facts“.

It is documented that in some cases there have been de facto interactions between smugglers and some NGOs,” he said, citing “two Frontex reports in November and December 2016“.

On April 12, while ensuring that NGOs “play a vital role in providing assistance to migrants” in the Mediterranean, Christophe Castaner had considered that they “could be accomplices” smugglers and had called them to “have a responsible attitude“. The SOS Mediterranean Association sent him a letter denouncing “serious accusations“, assuring that none of these allegations “has ever been proven or substantiated by the slightest evidence” and that “none of the judicial proceedings initiated did not succeed“.

Our enemies, our real enemies, our only enemies, are the smugglers. The smugglers, and nobody else“, also underlined Christophe Castaner, who denounced the reactions of indignation coming from the NGOs.

Sea-Watch blames EU for migrant piracy

Malta informed its navy has seized control of a tanker ship hijacked by migrants in the Mediterranean, according to a government statement. (Image above: illustration).

The Captain repeatedly stated that he was not in control of the vessel and that he and his crew were being forced and threatened by a number of migrants to proceed to Malta. AFM Patrol Vessel P21 stopped the tanker from entering the Maltese territorial waters,”  the  government statement said.

Maltese maritime  authorities established contact with the vessel’s captain when the tanker was about 30 nautical miles (55 km) off the coast.

Italy‘s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, , said that relevant authorities would not have allowed “criminals” who had committed an act of piracy to enter its ports.

Regardless an act of piracy the Sea Watch, NGO which carries out search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, criticized Salvini‘s comments, blaming Europe for despair, pushing Africans to criminal path.

We must look to these 108 people with an eye of humanity and understand that any actions taken yesterday were in self-defense against the deadly consequences forced upon them by Europe’s inhumane border policy,” says Johannes Bayer, Chairman of Sea-Watch.

Several police vans were lined up in the port to take custody of the migrants for investigation, and five migrants were removed from the ship in handcuffs.

Malta officials report 100 illegal migrants arrived on board of a hijacked vessel  — 38 men, 15 women and 47 claiming to be minors. In absence of documents the real age of the “minors” is impossible to establish in ordinary legal procedures, the status of a minor automatically foresees a set of advantages, and makes it much easier for migrants to obtain asylum status.

Mogherini for “open new avenues” in Mediterranean

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini calls Mediterranean countries to work together on issues of migration: “we share a challenge and we can only solve and address this phenomenon if we take a cooperative approach based on partnership among equals”.

“…What happens around the Mediterranean and in the Mediterranean matters to the whole of Europe and not just to the countries that are around the coasts of our common sea.

“It is not just about migration – it made itself evident that we need to come together to manage the phenomenon -, it is also about security; about economic development; about climate change..”

“…Some of us have experienced war inside their countries or at their borders and we have all seen how difficult a transition can be – be it a transition from war to an inclusive peaceful reconciliation and the building of state institutions or be it from a war economy to a solid peace economy. These trends have fostered migration from our countries, through our countries and towards our countries.”

“.. I believe that it is high-time today to try to find and open new avenues of cooperation across the Southern shore of the Mediterranean, in particular in the Maghreb, as a win-win exercise, starting on practical matters” – Mogherini concluded.

Above the extracts from Federica Mogherini speech at “Working together: A sustainable future for the Western Mediterranean“, at the 15th meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 5+5 Western Mediterranean Dialogue. France, Italy,  Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia gathered inValletta  January, 18.

EU Council adopts measures for migration control

European Council addressed the implementation of its approach to migration, which combines more effective control of the EU’s external borders, increased external action and the internal aspects.

European Council notes that the number of detected illegal border crossings has been brought down to pre-crisis levels, and that the overall downward trend is continuing. This is the result of the external migration policy of the Union and its Member States, based, in particular, on control of the external borders, the fight against smugglers and cooperation with countries of origin and transit, which has been intensified in recent months. This policy should therefore be continued, further developed and fully implemented.

Vigilance on all existing and emerging routes should be maintained, in particular in view of recent increases on the Western and Eastern Mediterranean Routes.

As regards the internal policies, the European Council invites the co-legislators to rapidly conclude negotiations on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG).

It welcomes the agreement reached at the level of the Council on 6 December 2018 with regard to enhancing the EBCG’s mandate in the area of return and cooperation with third countries. It also calls for further efforts to conclude negotiations on the Return Directive, on the Asylum Agency and on all parts of the Common European Asylum System, respecting previous European Council conclusions and taking into account the varying degree of progress on each of these files.

 

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