Following the skyrocketing of deaths in the Mediterranean, human rights and refugee aid organisations from across Europe call on European Commission to take decisive action
Amidst harrowing reports of increased numbers of drownings due to European Governments’ blocking of humanitarian assistance on Central Mediterranean, rights and aid groups from across Europe come together in a call for decisive action by the European Commission to halt the further loss of lives in the Mediterranean.
In an open letter to the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management, Mr. Christos Stylianides, the cross-European organisations call for decisive and immediate measures to stop the unacceptable drowning of hundreds of babies, children, women and men on Europe’s doorstep.
This call to action follows on from a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) report which stated that more than 600 people attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean have drowned or are presumed drowned in the last four weeks due to the absence of NGO rescue boats active on the Central Mediterranean. These deaths represent approximately half of the total deaths in 2018 thus far.
While the European Union and its Member States, following the Summit on 28 June 2018, are seeking a long-term solution to migration and asylum, European civil society actors are demanding that the activities of search and rescue vessels cease to be obstructed, that they are released from their current docking positions, granted access to European ports, and that they are not subjected to fears of criminalisation and legal repercussions due to their rescue work.
In their letter to EU Commissioner Stylianides, these 13 civil society organisations argue that the transfer of responsibility to the Libyan Coastguard to handle the migratory situation in the Mediterranean appears to directly contravene all values upon which the European Union was built. There can be no doubt about the atrocities unfolding on Libyan soil, including rape, extortion, torture and killings, as well as reports of slave auctions.
About the letter
The letter was sent to EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management, Mr. Christos Stylianides, on 13 July 2018, signed by 13 civil society organisations working across Europe:
- Advocates Abroad
- Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme
- Greek Helsinki Monitor
- Help Refugees
- Human Rights 360
- Immigrant Council of Ireland
- MEENA Centre for Women and Children
- Refugee Info Bus
- Refugee Rights Europe
- Refugee Youth Service
- The School Bus Project
- Women Refugee Route