Since the 23rd of November 12 people are stranded out at sea after they had been rescued out of maritime distress onto the Spanish fishing boat Nuestra Madre de Loreto. Open Arms, Sea Watch and Mediterranea condemn European Union country’s negotiations with Libya to return those people, as this would be a violation of international law and a further step towards neglecting human rights and dignity at sea.
Libya is not a safe harbour and never signed the Geneva Convention on Refugees status. The European Union and its member states have the obligation to NOT authorize the disembarkation of people in a country where there have been repeated systematic violations of human rights, torture and trafficking of people. The UNHCR has issued a “non-return advisory” for Libya, considering this country, together with Yemen, as a place where vulnerable people cannot be brought back to (see in particular para 39).
The #United4Med alliance believes that the Spanish government should ask Italy and Malta to open their ports and comply with the international conventions, which all three countries have signed. In addition, all governments should defend the right to life above all, instead of blaming those who do defend it.
We demand that the situation of Nuestra Madre de Loreto will be solved as quickly as possible for the safety and wellbeing of the rescued people and the crew.
We also express public support and compliance with the behaviour of the fishermen of the vessel. Their refusal to bring these people back to Libya means that this case will not represent a dangerous precedent for similar situations in the future.
Our three organisations are ready to support “Nuestra Madre de Loreto” in everything they may need. We are also available to collaborate with authorities, as long as they are on the side of the defence of human rights and they commit themselves to not return any person to the Libyan hell.