19 March 2018
Human Rights Increasingly Under Attack
Borderline Sicilia expresses its deepest concern in the face of the accusations put by the public prosecutor of Catania against the Spanish organisation Pro Activa Open Arms. The ship that carried out the rescue operation landed yesterday at the port of Pozzallo and was seized by local authorities.
After the intimidation and threats of the Libyan Coast Guard, the NGO’s crew saved 218 migrants, bringing them to Italy and thus removing them from the Libyan hell from which they had only just managed to escape.
On several occasions over the past few months, we have had reason the forcefully and critically report the consequences of the deal signed between Italy and Libya, in particular the support that Italy is providing to the Libyan Coast Guard, itself entrusted with the task of intecerpting people fleeing from Libya and bringing them back there.
In November 2017 one of the interventions of the Libyan military – which took place in relation to the German NGO Sea Watch while it was carrying out a rescue operation – caused dozens of deaths at sea.
Unfortunately, what has happened in relation to the Pro Activa Open Arms is nothing other than the latest in a serious of extremely serious series of attacks against those who – with extraordinary committment – are rescuing hundreds of men, women and children at sea, people otherwise destined to simply increase the ramks of the dead in the Mediterranean. These attacks are taking place in the context of a shameful campaign of defamation in relation to the NGOs that, only a year ago, where smeared in the public discourse about the sea rescues, a debate for which the institutional authorities bear a grave responsability.
Borderline Sicilia extends its full solidarity to the Spanish NGO, sure in the knowledge that, as in other cases – from the Cap Anamur to the Tunisian fishermen – the accusations will fall apart when put before the courts, which will instead have the duty to prosecute those who commit crimes, and not those saving human lives.
Project “OpenEurope” – Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus
Translation by Richard Braude