Restart Mediterranean migrant rescue missions, UN bodies tell Europe

UN agencies have appealed to European countries to restart government rescue operations for migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. More needs to be done to improve inhumane conditions for displaced people in Libya as well.

EDIT: In other words, carry on with the UN agenda of getting rid of “Nationalist tendencies” in every country in Europe!

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have called on the EU to implement a series of measures aimed at assisting people trapped in Libya or at risk of dying on the Mediterranean Sea. The suggestions include restarting a program of organized sea rescues.

“In the past European State vessels conducting search and rescue operations saved thousands of lives, including through disembarkations in safe ports,” the IOM and UNHCR noted in a statement on Thursday. “They should resume this vital work and temporary disembarkation schemes should urgently be established to share responsibilities within Europe. NGO boats have played a similarly crucial role on the Mediterranean and must not be penalized for saving lives at sea.”

From November 2014 to February 2018, the EU’s border control agency, Frontex, conducted Operation Triton, which replaced a 2013-2014 Italian mission to save migrants called Operation Mare Nostrum. Those missions, which brought at least 150,000 migrants safely to Europe, have either ended or been significantly cut back in scope.

Read more: Rescue boat captain: Don’t let my case distract from refugee crisis

Independent rescue operations such as Sea-Eye (pictured), which rescued 44 people near Libya earlier this week, have attempted to fill the void left after earnest EU efforts ceased, but non-government organizations face increasing persecution from governments such as Italy’s, which has tried to frame their efforts as criminal. Germany’s government has formally requested that Italy open its harbors to displaced people rescued at sea, but the country has frequently refused, often forcing vessels to seek refuge in Malta, which has occasionally begrudgingly permitted the boats to dock in its ports.