08. September 2013 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Boat-people Mittelmeer: Internationales Rettungssystem und Datenbank für Suche nach Verschwundenen und Toten gefordert · Kategorien: Italien, Libyen, Mittelmeerroute, Tunesien · Tags:

Tunisian Forum for Social and Economic Rights (FTDES)
A year after the maritime incident of September 6th and 7th 2012, what situation for the boat-people in the Mediterranean Sea ?

On September 6th and 7th 2012, a maritime incident near the island of Lampione (Lampedusa, Italy) resulted in many missing boat-people, adding to the long list of migrants who disappeared between Tunisia and Italy since 2011. This incident, whose circumstances remain mysterious, occurred in spite of the fact that the area was patrolled by the Carabinieri, the Italian Finance Guard, the Coast Guard, Frontex patrols and covered by radar and satellite systems. Since then, four people have also disappeared on November the 9th, 2012 off Kelibia (Tunisia). In June and July 2013, several boats which had departed from Libya, arrived empty in Tunisia. Their passengers had drowned or died from hunger and thirst while their boat was adrift. On August the 5th , 2013, Malta prohibited oil tanker “Salamis” to enter its harbor as it had rescued migrants on its route from Libya. On August 18th and 19th 2013, two boats carrying a total of 300 people were fortunately rescued by the Tunisian navy off Kerkennah and Ben Guerdane.
The security measures implemented by European and African governments to stop migrants on their roads are apparently unable to avoid all the disappearances, shipwrecks and maritime incidents that leave migrants’ families devastated. In Tunisia and Italy, the boat people are locked up and deported, in violation of their rights, and without access from independent organizations and media to places of detention. Current legislation and policies prevents the legal movement of people between Africa and Europe for the greatest number. This policy relies on the belief that migration can be stopped by repression. It is however such a policy, that pushes migrants on increasingly risky routes, where their rights are constantly violated, such as the crossing of the strait of Sicily.
In order to stop such tragedies, our demands are the following :

  • We ask for the implementation of common emergency systems between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Areas of search and rescue (SAR) should by States to rescue to the greatest number of boat-people and not to reject to each other the assistance to boats requiring assistance. The assistance at sea is an obligation of the international law of the sea.
  • We call for an end to deportation, refoulement and detention of boat-people. Migrants rescued at sea should be discharged in safe harbors. We recall that neither Libya nor Tunisia have asylum systems that can protect people in danger in their own country. We recall that the Geneva Convention prohibits refoulement of refugees to countries where their security or their lives would be threatened.
  • We demand the creation by the Tunisian and Italian governement of a commission of inquiry on missing migrants, able to act in both Italy and Tunisia. This commission must include representatives of migrants’ families, governments and civil society. This in order to provide a clear answer to the missing migrants’ families who despair since 2011 in the uncertainty of the fate of their relatives.
  • We demand the systematic identification of any corpse found at sea, in Italy and Tunisia, and the establishment of a transnational DNA database that can be used by all families who are looking for their loved ones. We demand that that the identification procedure, number and location of all migrants found dead at sea are released by governments.
  • To end the tragedies that occur on the increasingly risky routes used by migrants, we demand that migration agreements between European and African countries give priority to the freedom of movement for the greatest number and not to repression of migrants as it is currently the case.

For the executive office, the president, Abderrahmane Hedhili
Press contact:
Nicanor Haon (FR/EN/ES): +216 52 70 18 71

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