The Pasquetta tragedy: “Migrants die at sea, while contraband reaches Libya”

Second part of interview with top Italian investigative journalist

Top investigative Italian journalist Nello Scavo speaks exclusively to about what the Italians have described as the Pasquetta Tragedy. The tragedy took the lives of twelve migrants. The rest were returned to Libya which experts in migration do not consider as a safe port as the returning migrants will most probably be once more exploited, beaten and tortured.

Scavo is one of the best Italian journalists investigating migration in the Mediterranean Sea. He writes for the L’AVVENIRE, the newspaper and news portal owned by the Italian Bishops.

From the first part of the interview:

  • FRONTEX accused of tacitly aiding and abetting the pushback of migrants to Libya.
  • FRONTEX pulled the visibility of its aircraft from the public domain
  • A  mysterious ‘fishing boat’ towed the sinking dinghy and migrants to shore in Libya. This ship has no name, carried no flag, had no call sign and there is no indication as to who was the captain, the crew or the country to which the boat was registered, noted the journalist.
  • Neither Rome nor Brussels has denied any part of the statement by the Government of Malta,”

Trafficking open highway

One of the observations Nello  Scavo made to was that the FRONTEX vessels were patrolling far from the Libyan shores and Libyan SAR. This he said is very odd given that the UN had asked the EU to help in blocking the trafficking of arms and fuel to the warring Libyan factions. How, asked Scavo, can the arms and fuel trafficking be stopped when EU naval vessels are staying studiously aloft. He remarked that the issue of immigration was so politically fraught with so many consents and agreements required that the EU naval vessels preferred to give the central Mediterranean clear berth. This was resulting in open seas for contraband.

“Migrants are a huge political problem and the issue of Coronavirus is being used as an excuse. So, while migrants die at sea, arms and fuel keep passing through Libya,” said Scavo.

From cradle to a graveyard

The movements of migrants are indeed orchestrated by the warring militias to cover up their illicit trading, added Scavo. He said that he is soon to publish material which shows how organised crime in Sicily, Malta and Libya are working together in this smuggling trade covered up by waves of migrants.

The arms arrive in Libya, the fuel makes its way to its destination and it is the migrants who are left to face shipwreck and death, said Scavo. He said that Libya has even requested €100 million out of the EU to help deal with the pandemic. This request seems a bit rich when, all the money which has, over the years been poured into Libya has solved nothing in improving human rights.

He said that Europe, originally the cradle of human rights risks becoming the graveyard of these same rights. Scavo said that migrants should be returned to a port of safety and the EU has, so far opened no serious dialogue with Libya to make sure that that country becomes a signatory to the convention of human rights.

The Italian investigative journalist criticised the EU’s track record on this, adding that this means that crimes against human rights in Libya remain undocumented. Scavo concluded that the European Court of Human Rights is looking into a series of such crimes, particularly as documented by journalists such as himself. will keep its readers updated on the investigative work of Scavo about organised crime in Sicily, Malta and Libya and the web of contraband that has been spun.