AFD International is urgently calling on European states to help the 134 migrants who have been on the Open Arms ship for several weeks, as well as the 350 others still on the Ocean Viking. They suffered several refusals from Italy and the island of Malta. The authorities in question refused to take into account the fact that more than 32 minors are on the Open arms ship. On August 5, 2019, the Italian Parliament even promulgated a decree, to which the Government gave the force of law, imposing fines of up to € 1 million and a term of imprisonment of 10 years in prison to any captain who would decide to land on the Italian coast without prior authorization. In addition, the Italian authorities have asked the commander of the Open Arms to turn back and go to Libya. We remind Italy that Libya is a country at war and that slavery and inhuman treatment of the African populations have been denounced by many international organizations. Therefore, it is unacceptable that a democratic European state pretends not to know it, pushing these people in distress towards this region considered extremely dangerous.
AFD International denounces this situation and reminds the European states of their moral and legal responsibilities. The European Convention on Human Rights recalls in its articles the right to life (art 2), the prohibition of torture (art 3), the prohibition of slavery and forced labor (art 4), the right to liberty and security (art. 5). Thus, by refusing to welcome these migrants fleeing famine and war, the European states flagrantly violate these articles.
Europe & Central Asia Department
August 18, 2019