Saturday, August 29, 2020

Rescuing and Protecting Refugees

The UNHCR and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) said more than 200 rescued refugees and migrants needed immediately to get off the nonprofit search-and-rescue ship Louise Michel, saying it was far beyond its safe capacity. The humanitarian imperative of saving lives should not be penalised or stigmatised, especially in the absence of dedicated state-led efforts, they said. They also reiterated concerns about the lack of dedicated EU-led search-and-rescue operations in the central Mediterranean, and the lack of coordination among European nations to support countries like Italy and Malta, which are bearing the brunt of migrants arriving by sea.
The plea from UNHCR and IOM also mentioned hundreds of migrants on two other charity ships in urgent need of safe harbour. The agencies said 27 migrants who left from Libya, including a pregnant woman and children, have been stranded on the commercial tanker Maersk Etienne for an unacceptable three-week period since their rescue on 5 August. A further 200 rescued people on the SeaWatch4, which has waited for days to be allowed to enter a port, also needed urgent help.
Banksy posted a short video on his personal Instagram account and accompanied by a comment: “Like most people who make it in the art world, I bought a yacht, to cruise the Med. It’s a French navy vessel we converted into a lifeboat because EU authorities deliberately ignore distress calls from ‘non-Europeans’.” The video ends with the words All Black Lives Matter.
Lea Reisner, head of operations for the Louise Michel, accused European states of not doing their job, saying: “They deny responsibility while we are trying to keep everyone alive … We need immediate assistance.”
Meanwhile, those who have reached a safe haven find themselves subject to intimidation by so-called patriots of the far-right Britain First. The are entering hotels which are housing refugees, disturbing them, demanding to know where they come from and accusing them of wasting "tax-payers" money.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, told the Guardian: “Every human being should be treated with dignity and compassion, and never more so when they are seeking help and support.

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