Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Ong - Ngo, Unione Europea

Malta rimanda in Libia i migranti intercettati in mare. A bastonate.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-03-18.

2020-03-17__Libia 001

Malta ha consegnato un barcone carico di migranti, tra cui donne, bambini e malati, alla guardia costiera libica, che se li è riportati indietro. E non è certo la prima volta.

«On Saturday, 14 March 2020, RCC Malta coordinated a push-back operation from the Maltese Search and Rescue (SAR) zone to Libya in cooperation with the EU border agency Frontex and the so-called Libyan coastguards»

«Similar to the events we documented on 18 October 2019, the Maltese authorities instructed the so-called Libyan coastguards to enter a European SAR zone in order to abduct about 49 people and force them back to Libya»

«Instead of complying with refugee and human rights conventions, the Maltese authorities coordinated a grave violation of international law and of the principle of non-refoulment, as the rescued must be disembarked in a safe harbour»

«testimonies of torture, rape and other forms of violence against migrants detained in Libyan camps and prisons»

«On the same day, we alerted the Armed Forces of Malta to a second boat in distress in the Maltese SAR zone with 112 people on board. Before their eventual rescue, the people spent about 48 hours at sea. Malta delayed the rescue for more than 18 hours, putting 112 lives at severe risk»

«Europe continues to delegate border enforcement to the Libyan authorities to evade their responsibility to rescue the distressed to Europe»

«confidential sources have informed us that a Frontex aerial asset had spotted the migrant boat already at 6:00h when it was still in the contested Libyan SAR zone»

«before the push-back occurred they saw a helicopter circling above them. About 30 minutes later, according to their testimonies, a vessel of the so-called Libyan coastguard arrived on scene»

«About 30 minutes later, according to their testimonies, a vessel of the so-called Libyan coastguard arrived on scene»

«The people stated that the Libyan officers behaved brutally toward them, beating them repeatedly»

* * * * * * *

Riassumiamo.

Malta, in collaborazione con la sorveglianza aerea del Frontex dell’Unione Europea ha segnalato il barcone già entrato nelle acque di sua competenza alla guardia costiera libica, che è stata autorizzata ad andare a prelevare i migranti e riportarseli in Libia. Poiché i migranti non ne volevano sapere, la guardia costiera libica li ha bastonati per benino.

– Notiamo in primo luogo la totale assenza di navi delle ngo, pronte a raccogliere sotto la propria bandiera migranti da sbarcare poi in continente. Evidentemente qualcuno che può le ha dissuase.

– In secondo luogo, L’International Organisation for Migration (IOM) è «very concerned about the safety of people detained there and have received no response from the Libyan authorities who were asked to clarify the fate of those reported missing» e «called on the EU “to end the return of vulnerable people to Libya and uphold the principle of non-refoulement” …. Libya is not a safe place to send people back to».

– In terzo luogo, dovrebbe essere evidente il mutato indirizzo dell’Unione Europea in materia di recezione dei migranti clandestini illegali. Questa svolta era già evidente con il supporto dato dalla Commissione Europea alla Grecia che aveva bloccato i migranti al proprio confine con mezzi molto violenti.

– In quarto luogo, se si resta sconcertati dal silenzio dei media occidentali, si rimane ancor pi stupiti dal silenzio di liberal socialisti dell’europarlamento, da sempre sostenitori di un’accoglienza immediata e completa di chiunque si fosse presentato ai confini dell’Unione sono scomparsi. Sembrerebbero essere eluiti nel nulla.

*


Malta pushing refugees back into Libya war.

Malta has let the Libyan coastguard drag a boat of migrants from Maltese waters back to Libya, violating international law, a UN agency said.

The incident occurred on Sunday (15 March) after the wooden boat, carrying 49 people, became stranded because its engine failed, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said on Monday.

Malta did it despite the fact Libya is currently in the grip of civil war, with shelling, air strikes, and street battles in the suburbs of Tripoli.

And the 49 people risked being taken back to a notorious facility in the Libyan capital run by the interior ministry, from which people have vanished in the past.

“At least 600 migrants returned from the sea to this facility have been reported missing since January. IOM is very concerned about the safety of people detained there and have received no response from the Libyan authorities who were asked to clarify the fate of those reported missing,” it said in a statement.

It called on the EU “to end the return of vulnerable people to Libya and uphold the principle of non-refoulement”.

“We remind states that … they have a legal and moral responsibility to respond to distress cases at sea,” the IOM said.

“We have confirmation the boat was in fact in Maltese waters when it was picked up by the Libyan coastguard … Libya is not a safe place to send people back to,” an IOM spokeswoman told EUobserver.

Neither Maltese authorities nor EU institutions were immediately available to comment on Monday.

Malta, over the weekend, did rescue another 112 people, the IOM said.

But the Libyan coastguard also intercepted and dragged back 400 more people from Libyan and international waters in the same period.

“The [Libyan] coast guard has returned over 2,500 people to Libya this year. Some were disembarked in Tripoli, hours after the main port in the city came under heavy shelling,” the IOM said.

And EU states’ navies in the region have long faced accusations of working with the Libyans to stop people from coming.

“The Libyan coastguard is not able to locate and track migrant boats itself. In order to do interceptions, they need to be fed from aerial surveillance,” Tamino Böhm, from German NGO Sea Watch, told British newspaper The Guardian in a recent investigation into the collusion.

Sunday’s Maltese incident also comes after Greece pushed back tens of thousands of would-be asylum seekers into Turkey in the past two weeks.

In one case also last weekend, Greek authorities put 450 migrants on a boat on the Greek island of Lesbos and sent them back.

“The Greek naval vessel carrying plus or minus 450 would-be asylum seekers has set sail from Lesbos. Yesterday, officials handed out deportation orders in Greek for people to sign, giving them no chance to lodge asylum claims,” Human Rights Watch, an international NGO, said on Saturday.

Greece also suspended asylum applications for a month and used violence to repel people from its land borders.

But EU institutions declined to censure Athens for its actions, in what amounted to tacit approval for its and Maltese-type push-backs.

And for his part, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told The Guardian in an interview published also on Monday that he had done nothing wrong.

“I will not tolerate any use of force that will endanger lives,” he said.

“It [the one-month asylum suspension] was necessary to send a clear signal of deterrence,” he added.

There were 16,900 attempts at irregular EU border crossings in the first two months of this year, up 27 percent on the same period last year, the EU border control agency, Frontex, noted.

Some 2,200 of the attempts occurred in the central Mediterranean, near Libya, mostly by people from Bangladesh, Algeria, and Ivory Coast.

More than 7,000 occurred in the eastern Mediterranean, near Greece, mostly by people from Afghanistan, Syria, and Turkey – not counting the new exodus that occurred on 1 March when Turkey gave migrants a green light to cross.

The western Mediterranean, near Spain, saw 2,300 attempts, mostly by Algerians.

And the Western Balkan route saw figures double from last year to 3,800, mostly by people from Syria and Afghanistan.

*


Returned to War and Torture: Malta and Frontex coordinate push-back to Libya.

On Saturday, 14 March 2020, RCC Malta coordinated a push-back operation from the Maltese Search and Rescue (SAR) zone to Libya in cooperation with the EU border agency Frontex and the so-called Libyan coastguards.[1] Similar to the events we documented on 18 October 2019, the Maltese authorities instructed the so-called Libyan coastguards to enter a European SAR zone in order to abduct about 49 people and force them back to Libya.[2] Instead of complying with refugee and human rights conventions, the Maltese authorities coordinated a grave violation of international law and of the principle of non-refoulment, as the rescued must be disembarked in a safe harbour.[3] Clearly, Libya is not a safe harbour but a place of war and systemic human rights abuses. Every week, the Alarm Phone receives testimonies of torture, rape and other forms of violence against migrants detained in Libyan camps and prisons.

On the same day, we alerted the Armed Forces of Malta to a second boat in distress in the Maltese SAR zone with 112 people on board.[4] Before their eventual rescue, the people spent about 48 hours at sea. Malta delayed the rescue for more than 18 hours, putting 112 lives at severe risk. Non-assistance, delays, and pushbacks are becoming the norm in the Central Mediterranean, causing trauma in survivors, disappearances and deaths, both at sea and in Libya.

Europe continues to delegate border enforcement to the Libyan authorities to evade their responsibility to rescue the distressed to Europe. We hold Europe accountable for the abuses and suffering inflicted on migrants at sea and in Libya. We condemn the role of European institutions and member states, including Malta and Italy, in these human rights violations through bilateral agreements as well as the financing, equipping, and training of the so-called Libyan coastguards.

Summary of the push-back by proxy case:

On Saturday 14 March 2020, at 15:33h CET, the Alarm Phone received a distress call from 49 people, including one pregnant woman and three children, who were trying to escape from the war in Libya. They had left Tripoli the evening before on a white fiberglass boat. They shared their GPS position with us, which clearly showed them within the Maltese SAR zone (34° 26′ 39 ” N, 14° 07′ 86″ E, at 15:33h). The people on board told us that they had lost their engine and that water was entering the boat. We immediately informed RCC Malta and the Italian coastguard via email. We received updated GPS positions from the people in distress at 16:22h (34° 26 81′ N, 014° 08′ 56″ E) and  at 17:07h (N 34° 27′ 12″, E 014° 09′ 37″), both confirming once more that they were drifting within the Maltese SAR zone.

At 17:42h, RCC Malta confirmed via phone that they had sent two patrol boats for the two SAR events in the Maltese SAR zone to which we had alerted them: one for the boat of 49 people and another one for the rubber boat with 112 people on board. Soon after, at 17:45h, we talked to the 49 people on the boat who told us that they could see a boat heading in their direction. Unfortunately, the conversation broke off and we were not able to clarify further details. This was our last contact to the people in distress after which we could not reach them any longer. Since then, we have tried to obtain further details from RCC Malta, but they claim to not have any information.

However, confidential sources have informed us that a Frontex aerial asset had spotted the migrant boat already at 6:00h when it was still in the contested Libyan SAR zone. At 18.04h, the Libyan coastguard vessel Ras Al Jadar intercepted the boat in the Maltese SAR zone at the position N34° 26’, E 14° 07’. This means that the European border agency Frontex, MRCC Rome as well as RCC Malta were all aware of this boat in distress and colluded with the Libyan authorities to enter Maltese SAR and intercept the migrant boat.

On Sunday 15 March 2020, at 7:00h, we were called by relatives of the people on board who told us that the people in distress had just informed them that they had been abducted by a Libyan vessel from within the Maltese SAR zone and returned to Libya, where, according to their testimonies, they were imprisoned and battered. In the afternoon, we were called by the people who were on the boat, and they testified that before the push-back occurred they saw a helicopter circling above them. About 30 minutes later, according to their testimonies, a vessel of the so-called Libyan coastguard arrived on scene. The people stated that the Libyan officers behaved brutally toward them, beating them repeatedly. They also stated that they were prevented from filming and documenting these abuses as their phones were confiscated. Moreover, the people reported that they had travelled together with another boat, a white rubber boat with around 60 people on board (including 7 women and 1 woman with a nine-month-old infant). Also this second boat[5] was intercepted and returned to Libya and its passengers experienced similar forms of violence and abuse.