Migrant NGO ‘Alarm Phone’, has expressed its disappointment that 20 migrants stranded off the Libyan coast are being returned to Libya by the coastguard.
Alarm Phone, which monitors the progress and communicates with migrants crossing the Mediterranean, criticizes the lack of action by international bodies to intervene in rescuing the migrants.
Instead, they are understood to have been rescued by the Libyan Coastguard and being returned to Libya.
In their latest tweet, they say, ‘The 20ppl are being returned to an active war zone by a militia funded by
#EU. Everyone was watching while this inhumane & illegal refoulement was carried out. Shame on you!’
#MRCC #Rome has now confirmed to us that the so-called #Libyan Coastguard intercepted the boat. The 20ppl are being returned to an active war zone by a militia funded by #EU. Everyone was watching while this inhumane & illegal refoulement was carried out. Shame on you!
— Alarm Phone (@alarm_phone) April 10, 2019
According to Alarm Phone, the migrants had called them at around 6AM to report that they were in distress. Among the 20 on board the migrant boat were women and children. They also said that eight people had fallen into the sea and were missing.
They added that the boat was drifting close to the Libyan-Tunisian border. All of the authorities in Tunis, Valletta and Rome had been informed despite no one responding in Tripoli. The NGO subsequently requested that the immediate launch of a rescue mission.
Concerns grew throughout the day as rescue NGO Sea Watch questioned why private entities and national coastguards were not prepared to go to the aid of the vessel in distress.
Newsbook.com.mt was alerted to the situation occurring at sea and duly contacted AFM to inquire if they would be intervening to rescue the migrants in distress.
They explained that they would not be getting involved.
This is not the first time that migrants have been refouled to Libya, a state which is considered to not be a ‘safe port’ for the disembarkation of refugees and migrants fleeing what is considered a warzone.