Category Archives: Immigration

Increase of deaths in Mediterranean sea

The tragic weekend deaths of an estimated 103 people, including three babies, when the rubber dinghy they were on sank off the coast of Libya.

The Libyan Coast Guard rescued 16 survivors: young men from the Gambia, Sudan, Yemen, Niger and Guinea.

The incident was followed on Sunday by the capsizing of a small rubber boat off the Libyan port city of Al Khums, east of the capital, Tripoli. The vessel was packed with migrants and while 41 people survived, 100 are reported missing.

During this same time period, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted several small vessels heading towards the open sea, returning nearly 1,000 migrants to shore.

The people were provided with food, water and health care, as well as other emergency assistance, and were interviewed by IOM staff.  They were later transferred to detention centres, where IOM continues to provide humanitarian assistance.

The Libyan Coast Guard has returned some 10,000 people to shore so far this year, according to IOM. Othman Belbeisi, its Libya Chief of Mission, reported an “alarming increase” in deaths at sea.

“Smugglers are exploiting the desperation of migrants to leave before there are further crackdowns on Mediterranean crossings by Europe,” Othman Belbeisi said.

Haftar rejects foreign military presence in Libya

Libya leader Marshall Khalifa Haftar rejected any foreign military presence in the south of the country to defeat human trafficking, after the EU leaders struck a deal to establish platforms receiving migrants in North Africa.

At the Summit (28-29 June) in Brussels the EU leaders agreed to explore the setting up “disembarkation platforms” outside Europe, most likely in North Africa, to discourage migrants from undertaking risky crossing of Mediterranean.

Human traffickers have taken an advantage of the collapse of Libyan state after the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi (2011) and swiftly established at Libyan coasts a major illegal migration hub transporting people to Europe from the entire African continent. The Libyan National Army (LNA) said any attempts by “foreign parties to deploy a military presence in some areas of southern Libya on the pretext of controlling illegal migrations” is rejected.

“The army’s general command warns these foreign parties that any such (military) deployment would be considered a flagrant violation of international law and a heinous aggression against Libyan sovereignty,” a statement said.

It added that the LNA would take “all the necessary measures to protect Libya and its borders”, without elaborating.

Marshall Haftar heads the Libyan National Army (LNA) and supports a parallel government in eastern Libya, and Tobruk parliament, that challenges the authority of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli.

Salvini offers Spain to host more migrants from Italy

Italy Interior Minister Matteo Salvini articulated that his country is “no longer the doormat of Europe”, while commenting on repelled migrants transported to Italy from Libyan coast by Aquarius NGO vessel, and the proposal of Spain to host them.  Salvini also said that Spain can also host  “another 66,000” migrants who stay in Italy now.

“Finally the Germans, the French, the Belgians, the Dutch and even the Spanish are listening to us,” Salvini underlined. The minister said he would seek to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests are rejected and work on a plan for Africa featuring development interventions to reduce migrant flows.

Reportedly Salvini demanded the Netherlands to recall Dutch-flagged ‘rescue’ ships of open borders NGOs, like Aquarius, insisting Italy refuses to be complicit in “illegal immigration business”.

Migrants shipwreck at Tunisian coast

Coastguards continue to recover bodies of migrants drowned in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean on Sunday (3/05/2018), reportedly the boat had sank next to Tunisian coast.

Tunisian authorities said 47 bodies were recovered off the country’s southern coast, close to the city of Sfax, while NGOs presume there were more passengers on the crowded boat.

The coastguard and the navy continue their search with the support of a military plane,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo cautioning on Twitter that the final number of missing was still uncertain.

Meanwhile on a visit to Sicily Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said that the island must stop being “the refugee camp of Europe“.

The leader of the Lega Nord party said his government’s plans on migrants were not “hard line… but common sense”.

Salvini added that increasing deportations and limiting new arrivals would end up in saving lives, discouraging illegal migrants to take a risky adventure in Mediterranean waters.

Tajani enhances support to Sahel

The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani had a meeting with the President of the Republic of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno. The discussion has been focused on the fragility of Sahel´s region security.

“Chad’s contribution in the fight against terrorism (Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in particular) is crucial to the stability of the region, as are the efforts of all Sub-Saharan African countries,” – said president Tajani after the meeting. “The European Union and the international community have to support Chad. In this context, I welcome and encourage the recent creation of  G5 Sahel Force”.

“We have an aligned view of the challenges posed by the situation in Libya, in particular, when it comes to the terrorist threat and persistent instability of the Sahel region. Chad is key to stability of Libya as security of its borders is to manage migration flows,” -Tajani underlined.

“Europe and Africa face the same challenge with regards to managing migration flows. We must go to the root of the problem and invest better and more in Africa, within the framework of robust economic diplomacy to create growth and employment. The recently adopted European Fund for Sustainable Development for Africa (EFSD) by the European Parliament is the step in the right direction. However, if we want to be successful, this fund has to be considerably augmented” – Tajani concluded.

Europarliament screens rescue operation in Mediterranean

To avoid migrants continuing to drown while trying to reach Italy, EU countries must offer their help the Members of the European Parliament suggest.

The Civil Liberties Committee held a hearing on search-and-rescue operations, the relations between the different actors including EU military vessels, Frontex staff and NGOs, the need to fight people smugglers as well as cooperation with Libyan authorities.

Italian Coast Guard Captain Sandro Gallinelli, Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri, as well as representatives of Doctors without Borders and Human Rights Watch presented the committee with their views.

Most MEPs in the debate defended the work of NGOs from criticism that their presence and rescue interventions are encouraging perilous journeys and even supporting human traffickers. Nevertheless, some MEPs also agreed that a code of conduct is needed to create order in operations at sea.

Many voiced doubts about the cooperation with Libya, pointing to the political instability in the country, the unreliability of its authorities and the heightened risk of abuse and violence faced by migrants who are returned to its shores.

Finally, most MEPs considered that a longer-term solution is needed, via a well-functioning asylum system, based on fair burden-sharing by all member states, combined with legal ways for migrating to the EU as well as a strategy to address the root causes of migration in the countries of origin.

 

 

MEPs discuss migration management

The European Parliament has hosted the conference on migration management ahead of the EU summit to launch a platform for regular dialogue between all actors involved.

It has addressed responsibility sharing among Member States, ensuring a stable and secure environment both in and at the external borders of the EU, and tackling the root causes of migration through cooperation with third countries.

The European Parliament is committed to acting effectively upon the Rome Declaration,
which prioritises “a Europe in which citizens are safe and can travel freely; a Europe with  secure external borders and a responsible, sustainable migration policy that complies with international standards; and a Europe that is determined to fight terrorism and organized crime”.

European Parliament Presse Centre, waiting for the president Antonio Tajani.

 

 

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