• Migration,
  • Proactive Open Arms,
  • Refugees,
  • Sea-Watch,
  • search and rescue

ProActiva Open Arms to call for end to criminalisation of NGOs in the Mediterranean

As search and rescue NGOs come under unprecedented attacks from member states like Italy in the Mediterranean, a boat from ProActiva Open Arms will be docking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg tomorrow morning* at 08h30 demanding an end to the criminalisation of NGOs and the need for civil search and rescues at sea.

The action comes after Sea-Watch 3’s rescue of 40 migrants and the subsequent arrest of its captain Carola Rackete by the Italian authorities on Saturday. The 31-year-old German is now facing prosecution.

At least 597 deaths of migrants have been recorded in the Mediterranean in 2019 – and this excludes those who have died after being forcibly returned to Libya.

Wednesday’s arrival coincides with the first sitting of the new European Parliament this week, and the message ProActiva Open Arms wants to send to the new Parliament and incoming European Commission is for the urgent need of civil search and rescues in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the criminalisation of all search and rescue NGOs – whose job is to save lives and to prevent more deaths at sea – must end.

Sea-Watch 3 is currently impounded in Lampedusa after Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini described the incident as “a criminal act, an act of war”. Salvini has since been criticised for weaponising the Sea-Watch 3 rescue in order to deflect from the imminent massive cuts in public spending.

After the action, a press conference with Anabel Montes from Proactiva Open Arms will be held in the Parliament on Wednesday morning at 10h00, introduced by Miguel Urbán MEP. Montes had previously been charged by Italian prosecutors after she and the ship captain refused to hand over migrants to Libyan militias acting as coastguards.

*Media organisations interested in joining the boat in Strasbourg at 08h00 tomorrow morning should get in touch with Amandine Bach (+32 495 860 436 or [email protected]) or Ben Leung (+32 470 880 965 or [email protected])

You can also watch the press conference here tomorrow morning.

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