Tag Archives: NGO

Lifeline NGO imposes migrants on Malta

Italy‘s interior minister Matteo Salvini is refusing a German NGO rescue ship #Eleonore carrying 100 migrants an opportunity of docking. Matteo Salvini continues an effective policy of protection of Italy maritime border, as well as a strategy of the imposition of solidarity on the other EU member-states, leaving Rome for too long alone to resolve the problem of exodus of Africans from Sahel, the other conflict zones, and failed states of the continent.

According to the NGO the dingy 100 passengers were taken aboard “sinking” roughly 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the Libyan coast on August 26. (Image below: illustration).Migrants boat Libya coast

Captain Claus-Peter Reisch claims that the rescue had taken place “literally in the last second.” However, he added, “we still haven’t received a positive response from EU states.”

The charity Lifeline, which operates the 20-meter (65-foot) ship, Eleonore, has urged German government to assist in finding a safe harbor. However they warned that in case of an “emergency”, the boat will have to dock somewhere without a permission.

The politicians should deal with it quickly,” Lifeline spokesperson Axel Steier informed Germany’s Catholic news agency, KNA, “Otherwise, we’ll have to deal with it.

There are about 30 people who claim that they are minors, however in absence practice of birth certificate issuing in Africa, this information can not be verified. According to the World Bank 500 million Africans have no birth certificate, neither passport or identity card.

At present the vessel is next to Malta coast, which also refuses the docking, but delivered supply to the boat. The vessel is being supplied with water, couscous, apples, disinfectant and other basic necessities, as well as toys for children.

Film-maker Jonathan Schörnig reports on difficult conditions on the Eleonore. There is not enough space for all rescued people to sleep, however they try to cheer up with songs.

In two letters addressed to the Armed Forces of Malta (and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Interior Minister Michael Farrugia) and the other to the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Mr Avramopoulos, Lifeline says that following yesterday’s rescue, they would hope for a ‘swift and humane solution for the 101 people on board.’

So far the EU has not offered a plan of sharing the migrants, claiming asylum, among the member-states.

There were about 134,000 migrant arrivals to Europe in 2018, which is a decrease from 180,000 arrivals in previous year. Spain was the biggest destination in 2018, having received some 60,000 migrants. This compares to nearly 46,000 in Greece and 23,000 in Italy, according the the European Commission report monitoring the Mediterranean sea route.

 

Italy ends NGO planes search operations

Italy has stopped two planes used by NGOs to search for migrant boats navigating from African coast to Europe in the Mediterranean.

The planes – Moonbird and Colibri – have been used by the German NGO Sea-Watch and the French NGO Pilotes Volontaires respectively and have been undertaking reconnaissance missions over the Mediterranean since 2017.

Lately neither aircraft could take off because the Italian civil aviation authority said they could “only be used for recreational and non-professional activities”.

Open Arms refuses to navigate to Spain

The Mediterranean Open Arms migrant rescue vessel has firmly rejected an offer of a safe port in Spain, explaining that the six day journey to Algeciras would be too risky for the passengers, whose moods have been already critical.

Open Arms map

Today, ignoring the maritime border,  some of 107 migrants have been jumping off the vessel and attempting to swim towards Lampedusa in refusal to respect the concept of border as such, demonstrating their determination to enter Italy. The NGO Open Arms has been flexing mussels, signaling to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, that his orders don’t mean anything to them, while international players, supporting illegal migration are more powerful than a sovereign state.

In his turn Salvini has used social media to expose the Spanish offer to point out it was made to cast him as a “racist”. He accused those 27 migrants who were allowed to disembark on humanitarian grounds of lying about their age and their illnesses.

They told me from Lampedusa that out of the 27 immigrants for whom the landing was ordered are minors, 8 have already declared themselves older! We will see others …
After the “imaginary sick”, here are the “imaginary minors”!
While others give in, I don’t change my mind.” Salvini wrote.

We do not accept Spain as a port to go because we are in a state of extreme humanitarian emergency. What they need is to be disembarked now,” Open Arms NGO spokesperson said.

The migrants, most of whom are  from Sub-Saharan Africa, were collected off the coast of Libya by the Open Arms NGO vessel navigating under Spanish flag, , transported upon their own initiative to Italy, and from the moment of arrival to Lampedusa island. they have been waiting for the permission to disembark.

Open Arms: 27 migrants allowed ashore

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has agreed to let ashore 27 migrants from Mediterranean NGO rescue ship Open Arms, all of them claim that they are “unaccompanied teenagers”.

Those who claim they are minors were allowed to disembark on the Italian island of Lampedusa after more than sixteen days at sea, and considerable international pressure, however so far only six EU state expressed readiness to welcome some of the passengers on the vessel navigating under Spanish flag.

At present there are more than 500 million Africans without birth certificate or/and passport, according to the World Bank, subsequently their age can be estimated only approximately through medical tests in cases it is requested by prosecution.  Among those without birth certificate 494 million are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Reportedly more than 100 migrants remain on board the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, and the NGO insists on Lampedusa (Italy) landing.

 

Alan Kurdi vessel ignores Italy refusal

The ‘Alan Kurdi‘  vessel run by NGO migrant rescue picked up  65 migrants off
Libya coast. The German NGO Sea-Eye said they would also ignore the refusal of Italy to land, and navigated to Lampedusa, where they wish to drop anchor and land passengers. It is the second boat this week, which ignores the orders of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to stay away from Italian ports.

There is also a woman reporter aboard reporting on the sea-rescue operation.
Italian Interior minister Matteo Salvini said the Sea-Eye  can choose between Tunisia and Germany.

“Anyone who defends the borders and security of my country is welcome,” he said.
He added that the previous NGO boat transporting migrants – Meditrannea Alex – with 54 migrants on board, was recommended to go to Malta, however later on it became clear that the captain of the vessel disobeyed and navigated to Lampedusa, ignoring Salvini‘s ban to enter Italy’s ports.

They are back to coasts of Libya: this encourages departures and the risk of shipwrecks and makes the smugglers happy. These are the NGOs. We will not be intimidated, we will not bow to blackmail, we will defend Italy” Salivin wrote in his Twitter micro blog.

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.

 

 

 

 

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