News (EN)

Letter to the Greek Ambassador on the threats against Iasonas Apostolopoulos

Iasonas Apostolopoulos is an activist and Rescue Coordinator on board the Mare Jonio, currently on its 10th mission in the central Mediterranean.

For months Iasonas has the target of threats by Greek neo-Nazi groups because of his rescue work at sea and his denounciation of human rights violations and the illegal pushbacks by the Greek authorities in the Aegean Sea.

These repeated attacks against him culminated a few days ago. In an attempt to intimidate him and threaten his and his family’s safety, his personal details were published online and immediately shared by accounts linked to Greek neo-fascist right.

After this grave and dangerous attack against Iasonas, we sent a letter to the Greek Ambassador in Rome, asking him to intervene with the Greek government to ensure the protection and safety of Iasonas and his family. We have also asked him to take all necessary measures to stop the threatening and intimidating activities of neo-Nazi organisations of the extreme right.

 

Here the letter in its full version:

Ambassador_sito
News (EN)

Press Release: Government and Parliament to answer for crimes against humanity

From the articles published today, January 18, by Nello Scavo in Avvenire and Enrico Caporale in La Stampa, we learn that finally, after years of atrocities committed against women, men and children in Libya and after tens of thousands of deaths in the Central Mediterranean, the International Criminal Court of Aja was presented with a complaint also against Italy and Malta for complicity in “crimes against humanity”. This was done by experts and jurists from “UpRights” (Holland), “Adala for All” (France) and “StraLi” (Italy) – who, thanks to rigorous work and documented evidence, have already sentenced the criminals and executioners of massacres from Bosnia to Rwanda.

At last. Not because a court, however authoritative, is needed to convince us to do something to fight against the shame of the violation of human rights and the life of our brothers and sisters. Women and men who have the only fault of being poor, in a world where the “Pandemic of inequality” as Oxfam defines it, makes a handful of billionaires own most of the wealth produced in a world of 7 billion inhabitants.

Photo Credit: L'Avvenire

It is finally said, evidence in hand, that those Libyan torturers, bandits, unscrupulous criminals, have accomplices! They don’t do what they do on their own, they don’t emerge from the darkest depths of human nature. For years now they have been “on the payroll” of “very civilized” European governments, they received funding of hundreds of millions of euros voted by equally civilized and democratic parliaments. How to define the “gift” of 20 Italian patrol boats to a so-called “Libyan coast guard”, which has among its members a wanted criminal like Bija? Patrol boats provided to capture and deport women, men and children who are trying to escape death and suffering. Concentration camps set up in Libya to prevent people from seeking asylum in Europe. Those captures, those deportations, operated with means provided by Italy and often coordinated by Italian ships and European surveillance agencies, violate everything there is to violate in terms of international conventions and constitutional principles.

Now we hope that the “sincere democrats” who sit in Parliament and in the government, who voted to refinance the “Italy – Libya” memorandum thanks to which these crimes against humanity are committed, will read and reflect. The alibi according to which “to stabilize Libya it was necessary to turn a blind eye to atrocities” no longer holds. The disastrous outcome of the electoral attempt last December 24 is there for all to see. And it is precisely those gangs funded by Italian and European money and means what makes a stabilization process in Libya impossible. A country, where thanks to this policy of sorcerers’ apprentices has caused so much suffering to innocent people, where Italy no longer counts for anything, if you want to play the friend of militias and mafias of all kinds, there is always someone better at doing it, like Turkey, for example, which coherent with what it is, an authoritarian regime, is much more “professional” in handling the subject.

We will continue to fight, at sea and on land, against crimes and criminals. We believe in the courage of the judges to go all the way. For us, however, it is one more reason to go on.

Mediterranean Saving Humans

On a monitoring mission in the central Mediterranean to observe the violation of human rights and civilian rescue at sea.

News (EN)

MEDreport December 2021

curated by Silvia Decina, Sara Tosoni and Gabriele Suriano

In December, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee, forced to cross the Mediterranean, and who managed to arrive in Italy is 4,097. Since the beginning of this year, 67,040 people have arrived in Italy.

In contrast, Frontex has stated that a little less than 200,000 migrants arrived in Europe in 2021 – the highest number since 2017. The central Mediterranean was, once again, the most traveled route taken by approximately a third of total arrivals- an increase of 83% compared to 2020. This route saw more arrivals from the Tunisian and Libyan coasts, but also more arrived directly from the Turkish coast. Tunisian nationals comprised the highest number of those taking this route, along with Egyptians (a seven fold increase) and Bangladeshi.

In line with the previous year, less than 1 in 10 arrivals were women. Compared to 2019, the number of women arrivals dropped significantly. In contrast, the percentage of minors remained largely unchanged as did that of unaccompanied minors.

 

Read the full report for December 2021 (link to download)

 

MedReport_2021-12_ENG

 

These data are based on information provided by the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration.
These data refer to landing events recorded by 8:00 a.m. on December 31, 2021.
News (EN)

VOS Thalassa case: historic sentence by Italian high court

OPPOSING DEPORTATION TO LIBYA IS NOT A CRIME

 

On December 16th, Italy’s highest court overturned the sentence issued by Palermo’s Court of Appeal in the conviction of two shipwrecked for the crimes of aiding and abetting illegal immigration, violence, and forceful resistance of a public official. The two had been rescued by the tug boat, Vos Thalassa, and opposed being returned to Libya while on board the rescue boat.

Trapani’s Preliminary Investigation judge had held that the acts were justified as self-defense because the two young people, having fled the Libyan hell, had acted to save themselves and the other survivors from the risks of new, serious threats to their right to live, physical safety and sexual integrity, and to protect their right to be taken to a place of safety and obtain international protection.

Palermo’s Court of Appeal, on June 3, 2020, amended the decision of acquittal and sentenced the two young refugees to three years and six months in prison with a fine of 52,000 euros believing the district court judge’s approach was “ideological” pointing out that “these problems must be adequately resolved in the only context designated for such matters, namely the arena of inter-state policy debate.”

Departing from such an approach, the Supreme Court today stated, “The migrant rescued at sea, asserting their right to not be re-fouled and opposing being returned to the country of Libya, was justified in resisting a public official,” thus reaffirming that the enforcement of human rights is based on the rules of international law which ensures the protection of human life and is not a state authority matter.

We are very satisfied with this important statement which is in line with the position previously expressed by Commander Rackete. Moreover, it is in line with the much earlier verdict in Hirsi Jamaa and others v. Italy (February 23, 2012) that reiterates, yet again, rescue operations at sea which result in the return of survivors to Libya constitute a breach of the principle of non-refoulement and violate the rights of the people rescued who should be taken to a place of safety where their lives are no longer in danger and respect of their fundamental rights is guaranteed.

Fabio Lanfranca, Esq. and Serena Romano, Esq.

News (EN)

MEDreport November 2021

curated by Silvia Decina, Sara Tosoni and Gabriele Suriano

In the month of November, the number of people forced to flee across the Mediterranean and managed to arrive in Italy is 11,245.
Since the beginning of this year, the number of people who have arrived in Italy is 62,941.

Departures from Libya and Tunisia did not stop even on days when the sea was very rough despite the continuous and often brutal interventions of the socalled Coast Guards of those two countries. Mid-month, yet another massacre of migrants was added to the endless number of massacres of migrants, taking place in the sea directly off Libya’s coast. The IOM, the United Nations Organization for Migration, reported from Libya that a fragile boat carrying approximately 90 people had capsized off Zuara, in western Libya, resulting in at least 75 deaths. In recent months, there have been more departures from Libyan and Tunisian coasts compared to the same period last year.

Moreover, there still aren’t enough monitoring and rescue resources at sea to avert similar tragedies. Just the day before this innumerable tragedy, Medecins Sans Frontiers’ humanitarian ship, Geo Barents, carried out its third rescue in 24 hours in the same area. 99 live bodies and the lifeless bodies of 10 people asphyxiated at the bottom of the boat that carried them were brought on board.

 

Read the full report for November 2021 (link to download)

 

MedReport201111EN

 

These data are based on information provided by the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration.
These data refer to landing events recorded by 8:00 a.m. on November 30, 2021
News (EN)

Appeal to the Government representatives at the Paris Conference: Urgent call for safe evacuation for migrants in Tripoli

To the Government representatives gathered in Paris for the conference on the situation in Libya

 

We address the Government representatives gathered today, 12th November 2021, in Paris, at the summit on the situation in Libya.
No process of stabilisation and democratisation in a country ravaged by divisions and confrontations between internal and foreign militias can ever be achieved without the EU States and the UN taking full responsibility for the respect of human rights.

For almost 50 days, about 3,000 migrant refugees have been camped outside the UNHCR offices in Tripoli, demanding to be evacuated to safe countries to escape the tortures, rapes and violence of all kinds to which they are subjected in Libyan detention camps.

This appeal has already been signed by many European civil society organisations, and many more will sign it over the next few days.
We now present this appeal to you, who have the power to save, or to condemn to death, innocent people.
Make your decision now. You will have to answer to history.

Urgent appeal to support refugee protests in Tripoli

Thousands of refugees stranded in Libya are demonstrating in front of the UNHCR headquarter in Tripoli. The protest started at the beginning of October 2021, following mass raids and arrests of refugees in Tripoli’s neighbourhoods and homes. The protesters are survivors of human rights violations, torture, arbitrary detentions, persecutions, and extortions that regularly take place in Libya. Many are also the survivors of violent pushbacks to Libya.

The global public as well as EU member states and institutions are all well aware of these atrocities. Faced with this situation, which has been ongoing for too many years, refugees in Tripoli have decided to self-organise and make their voices heard: they demand the end to this violence and the immediate evacuation to a safe place. They defy fear and the risk of violent repression, and they make their struggle for freedom heard around the world.

The refugee protesters in Tripoli state:

We are calling on the authorities and the whole world to recognize us as humans, respect and protect our rights. And the Libyan authorities should respect and apply the international law of seeking asylum applicable in Africa. We are victims of civil wars, we are victims fleeing religious and political persecutions, amongst us are those seeking decent life, education and freedom to live humanly. But the Italian authorities and the EU member states have been only aggravating our sorrowful souls, by paying the Libyan authorities and its militia groups publicly and in the backdoors to kill us while in the desert, on the sea and in horrible concentration camps. All these have been a violation to human rights and a crime against humanity. Libya today is a cemetery to thousands of innocent refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants fleeing unbearable situations in their countries of origin. And the idea or the political will was and is fully accepted and funded by the Italian authorities and EU member states. We call on the Italian authorities and EU member states pouring funds to Libya to make sure that their actions and political wills do not harm us and violate our rights. And to make sure that the forcible deportation to the Libyan inhumane detention centers then to countries of origin is stopped. We also call on them to cooperate with the Libyan authorities to close all detention centers in Libya and set free our brothers and sisters who are currently detained in inhumane conditions, being extorted, raped, tortured and killed.

We stand in solidarity with the protestors! Most urgently, together with them, we demand the immediate evacuation of the refugees stranded in Libya to countries of safety, in Europe. Many municipalities and cities throughout Europe have declared their willingness to welcome newcomers and offer them prospects to live dignified lives. EU institutions and member states, cooperating with international organisations, have the responsibility to end these atrocities now, and they have enough resources and capacities to ensure immediate evacuations.

NOW is the time for the international community to act. Recognize the refugees living and struggling in Libya as humans. Respect their rights and listen to their demands.

Alarm Phone and MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans

 

>> Please support this solidarity statement and sign it by emailing us here:solidarityreflibya(att)gmail.com

 

List of signatures:

Organisations:

Afrique-Europe-Interact
Alarmephone Sahara
All Included Amsterdam
Borderline-Europe Human Rights without Borders
Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg e.V.
Forschungsgesellschaft Flucht und Migration
Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie e.V.
Kritnet (Network for Critical Border and Migration Regime Research)
Medico International
Migration-Control
Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario – SMH
Sea-Eye e.V.
Sea-Watch e.V.
Seebrücke – Schafft sichere Häfen

 

Individuals:

Andy Anisere
Aldo Ciani
Alessandra Corrado, Università della Calabria
Paolo Cuttitta, IDPS – Université Sorbonne Paris Nord
Paula Edling
Stefanie Mürbe, Flüchtlingsrat Sachsen-Anhalt e.V.
Timothy Perkins
Matthew Stadler, The Polity of Literature
Annika Stich
Miguel Urbán Crespo (Member of the European Parliament, The Left)
Paula Wunsch

News (EN)

MEDreport October 2021

curated by di Silvia Decina, Gabriele Suriano and Sara Tosoni

In October, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean and who managed to arrive in Italy amounted to 7,108. Since the beginning of this year, the number of people arriving in Italy has been 53,399.

Over a thousand people were rescued thanks to the rescue of civilian ships. In addition, over 1,800 people managed to reach the island of Lampedusa independently. Illegal push-backs by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard also continued this month: over 1,700 people intercepted and rejected in Libya.

Furthermore, this month, Agrigento’s Public Prosecutor requests the competent Judge of Preliminary Investigation drop all charges and completely acquit the Commander of the humanitarian ship, Mare Jonio, and Mediterranea Saving Humans’ Head of Mission for the rescue carried out on May 29, 2019. Once again, the dismissal is requested for the absurd accusation of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. But there is more: for the Prosecutor of Agrigento, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, financed by the Italian government, cannot help anyone, because in reality they capture and deport.

Read the full report for October 2021 (link to download):
Data based on information provided by the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration.
These data refer to landing events recorded by 8:00 a.m. on October 31, 2021.
News (EN)

EVACUATION TO SAFETY NOW!

Urgent call to support the refugee protests in Tripoli

 

Thousands of refugees stranded in Libya are demonstrating in front of the UNHCR headquarter in Tripoli. The protest started at the beginning of October 2021, following mass raids and arrests of refugees in Tripoli’s neighbourhoods and homes. The protesters are survivors of human rights violations, torture, arbitrary detentions, persecutions, and extortions that regularly take place in Libya. Many are also the survivors of violent pushbacks to Libya.

 

The global public as well as EU member states and institutions are all well aware of these atrocities. Faced with this situation, which has been ongoing for too many years, refugees in Tripoli have decided to self-organise and make their voices heard: they demand the end to this violence and the immediate evacuation to a safe place. They defy fear and the risk of violent repression, and they make their struggle for freedom heard around the world.

The refugee protesters in Tripoli state:

“We are calling on the authorities and the whole world to recognize us as humans, respect and protect our rights. And the Libyan authorities should respect and apply the international law of seeking asylum applicable in Africa. We are victims of civil wars, we are victims fleeing religious and political persecutions, amongst us are those seeking decent life, education and freedom to live humanly. But the Italian authorities and the EU member states have been only aggravating our sorrowful souls, by paying the Libyan authorities and its militia groups publicly and in the backdoors to kill us while in the desert, on the sea and in horrible concentration camps. All these have been a violation to human rights and a crime against humanity. Libya today is a cemetery to thousands of innocent refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants fleeing unbearable situations in their countries of origin. And the idea or the political will was and is fully accepted and funded by the Italian authorities and EU member states. We call on the Italian authorities and EU member states pouring funds to Libya to make sure that their actions and political wills do not harm us and violate our rights. And to make sure that the forcible deportation to the Libyan inhumane detention centers then to countries of origin is stopped. We also call on them to cooperate with the Libyan authorities to close all detention centers in Libya and set free our brothers and sisters who are currently detained in inhumane conditions, being extorted, raped, tortured and killed.”

We stand in solidarity with the protestors! Most urgently, together with them, we demand the immediate evacuation of the refugees stranded in Libya to countries of safety, in Europe. Many municipalities and cities throughout Europe have declared their willingness to welcome newcomers and offer them prospects to live dignified lives. EU institutions and member states, cooperating with international organisations, have the responsibility to end these atrocities now, and they have enough resources and capacities to ensure immediate evacuations.

NOW is the time for the international community to act. Recognize the refugees living and struggling in Libya as humans. Respect their rights and listen to their demands.

 

Alarm Phone and MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans

 

>>> Please support this solidarity statement and sign it by emailing us here:solidarityreflibya(att)gmail.com

News (EN)

Refugees in Libya – Presse conference, 28.10.2021

After the barbaric rounding up by the Libyan police against asylum seekers and refugees in the neighborhood of #Gargaresh, some thousands of people have started “Refugees in Libya”, an unprecedented experience of self-organization and struggle.

Their permanent garrison in front of the UNHCR headquarters in Tripoli has been going on for almost a month: they demand the immediate evacuation from Tripoli of all migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and demand rights and dignity!

Mediterranea Saving Humans and Amnesty International Italy organized a virtual press conference to give voice to “Refugees in Libya”.

David (24, South Sudan) and Magit (25, Senegal) told and showed to the world the unacceptable living conditions of thousands of women, men and children: the poor hygienic conditions, the difficulties in collecting food, the fears of possible attacks by the police, the tensions and the pain for the disappearance of a boy hit by a hit-and-run car.

We need an immediate safe evacuation for all people in danger!
Italy, European Union and the whole world listen to this cry for help!

There is no time to lose!

#evacuaterefugeesfromlibya

News (EN)

Press conference with REFUGEES in LIBYA – fighting for evacuation in Tripoli

After the brutal crackdown on migrants, asylum seekers and refugees a month ago in Gargaresh, one of the slums of the Libyan capital, thousands of refugees have set up a permanent protest outside the offices of the UNHCR in Tripoli demanding the respect of human rights and dignity for refugees in Libya. For the last 25 days they have been calling for an end to the violence and evacuation from the country. They have formed the “RefugeesinLibya Assembly”, an unprecedented experience of self-organisation and struggle that wants to show the world the unacceptable conditions of women, men and children forced into detention camps and captured and deported if they try to escape by sea.

MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans and Amnesty International Italy believe it is important to give the floor to the people in Tripoli by hosting their assembly in a virtual press conference to be held on Zoom on Thursday 28 October.

The press conference, which will take place at 11am CEST, will also see the participation of Luca Casarini (Head of Mission, MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans) and Ilaria Masinara (Campaigns Director, Amnesty International Italy).

For accreditation to the press conference and to receive the link to participate, please send an email to [email protected].