Tag Archives: NGO

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.

Lifeline vessel docks in Malta

A NGO vessel Lifeline with 233 illegal migrants from Libyan coasts on board stranded in the Mediterranean since Friday, June 22 will finally dock in Malta, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. The vessel was rejected by Italy, under policies of fighting illegal migration and human trafficking  conducted by Interior minister Matteo Salvini.

Conte said he had reached an agreement to allow the Lifeline to dock after telephone talks with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
In a statement, Conte said that Italy would host some of the migrants and called on other countries to “do the same.”
Italy, Malta, France and Portugal have already confirmed their participation, according to a spokesman for the Maltese government. The spokesman added that Spain and the Netherlands were evaluating the situation and that Germany could yet participate.

V4 declines EU attempts to reach informal deal on migration

Today in Brussels the leaders from 17 member states have attended an  informal Summit on Migration, while  Hungary’s Prime minister, Viktor Orbán, announced his country and three other Visegrad (V4) Four members would boycott the meeting. With the decision of V4 countries to deny EU their support in migrants relocation policy, the European crisis on the issue of illegal migration reached a new low.

Although the meeting is informal, without any press-conferences, trading barbs took place ahead of the event between Italy and France, while new Italian government was accusing French President Emmanuel Macron of “arrogance”.

The Italian government assessed France proposal on migration “out of reality”, including a suggestion to apply  financial sanctions on EU states that refuse migrants.

The Visegrad group decided not to attend the informal Summit called by president Juncker, because they “believe that it is not the Commission’s task to organise any summit for heads of government: that is the duty of the Council and the President of the Council”.

“We want to make it absolutely clear that the prime ministers of the four Visegrád states have agreed that they will not attend it (Informal Summit on Sunday – ed) because it would be improper to attend a meeting with a status which is unclear in terms of the European Union’s internal practices and rules. We shall therefore state our position on migration and other issues at the Brussels summit next Thursday” – Hungarian Prime Minister Orban said, explaining the position of V4.

“The future of a prosperous continent that will always be open for those in need,
but that will also deal with the challenge of migration together,
and not leave some to cope alone,” – Juncker wrote in a paper produced by the institution he leads for the occasion of migrants Summit.

Apparently the traditional President Juncker’s call for unity, solidarity and “more Europe” does not serve as a remedy for the mass-migration crisis, taking into consideration the situation in Southern Europe, where Italy alone receive more than half-a-million illegal migrants crossing Mediterranean with the help of NGOs vessels.

(Image: MSF courtesy).

 

 

 

‘Aquarius’ continues to rescue migrants in Libyan waters

According to the information released by #Aquarius vessel crew they rescued 73 men, women and children from a rubber boat in international waters off of #Libya. Everyone is safely onboard, the vessel continues partoling. Image: illustration.

AFP news agency published a picture of happy migrants, making selfies on the boat, presumably on their way to Italy, where they will seek for asylum. #Aquarius is a is a robust and seaworthy ship that offers wide spaces below deck, making it very suitable for year-round use as a rescue ship in the Mediterranean. The vessel is managed by NGO SOS MEDITERRANEE  – a European association with teams in Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland supported by a European network, jointly financing and operating the rescue ship #Aquarius, which has been in continuous operation since February 2016 in international waters between Italy and Libya. The medical aid is provided by #MSFDoctors without Borders.

Image: illustration

Russia ‘foreign agent’ label reduces access to information

“The “foreign agent” legislation goes against Russia’s human rights obligations and commitments, and the extension of its scope to foreign media, in addition to its existing application to Russian NGOs, is a further threat to free and independent media and to access to information, and yet another attempt to shrink the space for independent voices in Russia.” – says the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS), reacting of new law, regulating operation of foreign outlets.
The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed legislation allowing the Ministry of Justice to impose the use of the “foreign agent” label against any foreign media receiving, directly or indirectly, foreign funding.
“The European Union has a longstanding and clear position that the existing Russian legislation on labelling NGOs as “foreign agents” and the ensuing fines, inspections and stigmatisation for the organisations labelled, further tighten the restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia, consume the scarce resources of NGOs and inhibit independent civil society in the country” – the EEAS statement concludes.

Hundreds of migrants rescued in Libya waters

Aquarius, the vessel of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), saved 421 migrants, mostly from Eritrea. There is no further information in what European port they will bring the migrants.

Meanwhile the Libyan coastguard has been also conducting sea rescue operations.

More than 200 were rescued on Saturday after their boats foundered off Libya’s western coast, the Libyan navy said.

The coastguard conducted two rescue operations off the city of Garabulli, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli, spokesman Colonel Abu Ajila Abdelbarri said.

He added that patrols had found 31 bodies and 60 survivors from one boat, while all 140 passengers had survived in a second boat.

Migrants from Somalia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and four from Pakistan were among those rescued.

Libyan patrol boat commander Nasser al-Ghammoudi said one of the vessels was three-quarters under water when the coastguard arrived.

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