In a new report ‘Europe’s Sinking Shame. The Failure to Save Refugees and Migrants at Sea’,Amnesty International analyses the gap in search and rescue operations in the central Mediterranean following the end of Italy’s search and rescue operation Mare Nostrum.
Amnesty’s investigation on three accidents occurred between January and March 2015, including testimonies of shipwreck survivors, reveals that in two cases, more lives could have been saved if vessels had been patrolling the sea further south, closer to Libya and meaning people could have been assisted earlier. In addition, according to the organisation, in the third accident, professional rescuers could have prevented one of the boats from capsizing. Read more
As leaders of European Union member states prepare to meet to discuss the Mediterranean refugee crisis, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights sets the bar for an adequate response.
The Mediterranean Sea has for centuries been the cradle of modern European civilisation. It has today become a huge graveyard, as thousands of migrants continue to drown under Europe’s distracted look. When in October 2013 a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa took the lives of 300 migrants, European leaders were unanimous in declaring ‘no more deaths’. Yet, 18 months and some 5,000 deaths later, we see these tragedies again and again. Read more
“Quakers in Britain have been shocked and angered by the needless deaths of thousands of desperate people in the Mediterranean in recent months. Every human life is a precious gift to be treasured – each person a child of God – and the loss of just one diminishes all of us. It is immoral to use the threat of loss of life as a deterrent to migration.
“We urge you as our Prime Minister, in your work with other European leaders, to ensure that Britain, one of the richest countries in the world, plays its part in preventing these unnecessary drownings and addressing the economic inequality and violence which leads to these desperate attempts to reach a new home.”
The letter is signed by Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain. Read more
ln the light of the debate around a replacement for Mare Nostrum and the government’s claim that search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean have created a ‘pull factor’, I would be very grateful if you could make me aware of any figures or research which suggests that an increase in the number of migrants attempting to make the journey across the Mediterranean is linked to the success of search and rescue operations.
We are not aware of any hard evidence to prove (or indeed to disprove) the claim made by Lady Anelay, the FCO Minister. lt would be difficult for any researcher to obtain hard evidence either way. One could of course interview a sample of migrants and ask them whether the efficacy of search and rescue operations was a factor in their decision to make the journey, but to our knowledge no such studies have been conducted.
For further information click here: Search and Rescue HoC March 2015
You could ask your MP and MEP what they will do to support Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean
4 Search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean
We receive minute 14/129 of Sussex West AM held on 8 November, regarding the announcement that the British Government will not support planned EU search and rescue operations to save migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea as they try to reach Europe.
We note that the Deputy Recording Clerk has signed a letter to David Cameron, calling on the Government to work with the rest of Europe to ensure that no asylum seekers are left to drown in the Mediterranean and to organise safe routes for these people to find shelter and security.
We forward this minute to QPSW for advice.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) announced today that they will launch a joint search, rescue and medical aid operation in the central Mediterranean between Africa and Europe. The life-saving operation will run from May to October, when thousands of people are expected to risk their lives attempting to reach safe haven in Europe.
Last year was the deadliest on record for people crossing the Mediterranean; more than 3,400 people died trying to reach Europe. This year the death toll is predicted to be even higher, as even less assistance is available to boats in distress. The Italian navy’s search and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, was discontinued in November 2014 due to a lack of funding from European governments and has not been replaced. Read more
Destitution We receive the following minutes from Area Meetings: South East London AM minute 14/102; Pendle Hill AM minute 10; Leeds AM minute AM14/109; North East Thames AM minute 15/36; Leicester AM minute 15/32; South Wales AM minute 14:12:07; and Oxford and Swindon AM minute 16/2015c. These minutes bring to our attention a statement made by Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network about the use of destitution as an instrument of immigration control.
Sheila Moseley of Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network has spoken to the concern. Many Friends are deeply troubled by the situation and we have heard of the work that Friends are doing locally, both as Meetings and as individuals. Many are working with local asylum and refugee groups, the Red Cross and the City of Sanctuary movement.
This is not an issue that is going to go away quickly, and we feel it would be useful to develop a public statement that we can use in working with national and local governments.
We forward this minute to QPSW Central Committee and ask them to bring a draft back to a future meeting.
Deputy Recording Clerk
Italian police say they have arrested 15 Muslim migrants after they allegedly threw 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat heading to Italy. Read more