Humanitarian fleet demands EU to open its ports to people rescued by fishing boat


Humanitarian fleet #United4Med demanded that the situation of Nuestra Madre de Loreto is solved quickly. The humanitarian fleet consisting of vessels from the civil search and rescue NGOs Sea-Watch, Proactiva Open Arms and Mediterranea expressed their support with the fishermen on board the fishing vessel.

The Spanish fishing boat Nuestra Madre de Loreto rescued 12 people who were stranded out at sea on 23 November.

The humanitarian fleet condemned the Spanish negotiations with Libya which aim to return the people rescued to Libya. In their joint statement, the NGOs said that this would amount to a violation of international law and a further step towards neglecting human rights and dignity at sea.

The #United4Med alliance reminded that Libya was not a safe habor and was not signatory to the Geneva Convention on Refugee status. The civil society NGOs reminded that the EU and its member states have the obligation to not authorise the disembarkation of people in a country were their fundamental rights cannot be guaranteed. The alliance also noted that the UNHCR had issued a “non-return advisory” for Libya along with Yemen. This effectively means that vulnerable people cannot be brought back to these countries.

The alliance urged the Spanish government to demand the Italian and Maltese authorities to open their ports and comply with international conventions.

The three organisations concluded their statement by making themselves available to collaborate with the authorities as long as human rights were safeguarded.