The PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, in connection with the preparation of a report by Ms Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC) on the deaths of boat people who have died in the Mediterranean, conducted a hearing in Paris on 29 November. NATO officials who met with Ms Strik in Brussels before
attended the hearing reportedly agreed to provide additional information, which might include satellite imagery, to the PACE Committee.
From PACE Press Statement, 30 November 2011: “‘With 1971 boatpeople having perished in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach European soil from North Africa, the year 2011 sets a sad record as the deadliest year for boatpeople,’ PACE rapporteur Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC) said at the end of a hearing on this issue, organised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Migration Committee. ‘Never before the Mediterranean Sea has been as closely monitored as this year because of the war in Libya and still more boat people than ever perished or disappeared,’ the rapporteur added. ‘Is there a common understanding of a “distress situation”? Is it clear which legal framework is applicable and by whom? Do all ships, even warships, have to proceed with rescue operations even if they are situated beyond established search and rescue zones? Where does legal responsibility start and where does political responsibility end? These are some of the issues we are currently trying to clarify,’ she said. Mrs Strik’s report will focus on an incident reported in March this year, during which 63 boat people escaping from Libya died after their appeals for rescue had allegedly been ignored. ‘The testimonies of survivors of this incident are coherent, but we have to continue to collect more data and information on who was when and where in the area and we now expect Nato and the EU to provide us with satellite imagery and other relevant information,’ she concluded.”
Click here, here, here, and here for articles.
Click here for PACE Press Statement.
Click here for my last post on the topic.
The PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, in connection with the preparation of a report by Ms Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC) on the deaths of boat people who have died in the Mediterranean, will conduct a hearing in Paris on 29 November. Ms Strik was appointed in June 2011 by the PACE Committee as Rapporteur to prepare a report on the deaths of boat people who have died in the Mediterranean since January 2011.
“The hearing will look at the loss of human life at sea, it will examine the right of families to receive information on the victims, and it will consider the rules applicable under international law and maritime law relevant to rescue at sea. The hearing will also examine international co-ordination regarding interception and rescue at sea, as well as the role of the national authorities, NATO and FRONTEX. The participants include representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, FRONTEX, the Italian Council for Refugees, and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law.”
The hearing seems to be open only to members of the press and will be held at the Council of Europe, 55 avenue Kléber, 75016 PARIS (Metro: Boissière).
Click here and here for more information.
Click here for my last post on this topic.
Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati (CIR) created a special web page – Emergenza Nord Africa – which is tracking migration and other related aspects of the North African crisis.
Click here (IT).
From CIR’s web site:
“Il Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati in una lettera inviata oggi all’attenzione del Ministro dell’Interno Roberto Maroni ha espresso la sua preoccupazione rispetto al piano annunciato dal governo di trasferire al Villaggio degli Aranci di Mineo migliaia di richiedenti asilo ospitati attualmente in diversi centri di accoglienza in Sicilia, Calabria, Puglia e Friuli Venezia Giulia.
‘Il concentramento di rifugiati o richiedenti asilo in una così grande struttura inficerebbe il sistema di accoglienza che l’Italia ha costruito negli ultimi dieci anni. Rappresenterebbe il contrario dell’attuale sistema SPRAR che garantisce il pieno rispetto dei diritti delle persone e fornisce loro i servizi previsti dalla normativa comunitaria e italiana’ – sottolineano nella lettera Savino Pezzotta e Christopher Hein, rispettivamente presidente e direttore del CIR. ‘L’ottima esperienza del Sistema di Protezione per i Rifugiati e i Richiedenti Asilo – SPRAR, coordinato dall’ANCI in accordo con il Ministero dell’Interno prevede, infatti, decentramento, ospitalità in piccoli centri, coinvolgimento degli enti locali e delle associazioni, approccio che è considerato un modello per altri paesi europei. Non ravvisiamo alcuna necessità di smantellare – anzi, ciò risulterebbe un’azione controproducente – l’attuale sistema di accoglienza e le procedure per il riconoscimento della Protezione Internazionale’.
Il Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati ha voluto ricordare che già una volta, nella primavera del 1999, 5.000 sfollati kosovari furono ospitati nella ex base NATO di Comiso in Sicilia e inevitabilmente in poco tempo la situazione degenerò e divenne totalmente ingovernabile.
Il CIR ha perciò chiesto al Ministro Maroni un ripensamento sull’utilizzo del Villaggio degli Aranci di Mineo. Il Villaggio di Mineo potrebbe effettivamente servire come centro di smistamento e prima identificazione delle persone solo per un limitatissimo periodo di accoglienza in caso di arrivi massicci dal nord-Africa, caso che non è affatto da escludersi considerando anche l’attuale situazione in Libia.”
Click here (IT) for link to post on CIR web site.
ECRE conducted an interview with Christopher Hein, Director of the Italian Refugee Council. Here are some of the points he made regarding the migrant arrivals in Lampedusa and neighbouring islands:
- The expeditious deportation of the group of Egyptians who arrived on Sicily earlier this week shows that the readmission agreement with Egypt continues to function whereas the agreement with Tunisia is not functioning at present;
- CIR is concerned that if Frontex becomes involved with the current situation, Tunisian migrants may be returned indiscriminately;
- EASO is not capable of assisting at present because it has no staff;
- The migrants who have arrived need to be processed- those seeking asylum should be subjected to asylum procedures, those seeking humanitarian protection should be subjected to the humanitarian procedures; and others, where appropriate, should be offered voluntary repatriation;
- If much larger numbers of migrants were to continue to arrive, obligations under the EU Temporary Protection Direction might be triggered (COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof).
Click here for full ECRE interview
ECRE and CIR released a statement on 7 July criticising Italy and the EU in regard to the plight of over 200 Eritrean refugees, some of whom may have been subject to Italy’s push-back practice and who are now detained under dangerous conditions in Libya.
The two organisations “call upon all authorities involved to ensure that refugees are not repatriated to Eritrea where they are at risk of torture and ill- treatment. … ‘We strongly repeat our plea to the Italian Government to resettle the refugees to Italy’, says Christopher Hein, Director of the Italian Council for Refugees (CIR). ‘Some of those who are being mistreated now by the Libyan authorities have been pushed back there by Italy one year ago. Refugees are suffering the consequences of Italy’s violation of its legal obligations and EU Member States’ consenting silence’, added Bjarte Vandvik, ECRE’s Secretary General.”
Click here for the full statement.