Interviews

At least 117 refugees drowned trying to reach Europe in the last 12 days

Activists vow to continue the fight against Fortress Europe’s deadly border regime ACTIVISTS vowed to continue to fight against Europe’s deadly border regime today, following the deaths of at least 117 refugees at sea in the past 12 days. Thirty-six people are feared to have lost their lives in a shipwreck that occurred off theContinue reading “At least 117 refugees drowned trying to reach Europe in the last 12 days”

‘The EU must be held accountable for the crimes it has committed against people trying to reach its borders’

Refugee turned activist YAMBIO DAVID OLIVER tells The Civil Fleet what led to the protests outside a UNHCR registration centre in Tripoli Europe must be held accountable for the human rights abuses committed against the people trying to reach safety across its borders, refugees trapped in Libya told The Civil Fleet today. A group ofContinue reading “‘The EU must be held accountable for the crimes it has committed against people trying to reach its borders’”

‘It is absolutely necessary for a civil eye to be present in Aegean Sea’

The Mare Liberum’s Marie and Abby tell The Civil Fleet how European governments have tried to stop the ship and her crew from carrying out their human rights monitoring missions, and why they must return to the sea today despite many threats to the mission IT’S BEEN close to two years since the activist crewContinue reading “‘It is absolutely necessary for a civil eye to be present in Aegean Sea’”

‘There were too many people on the rubber boat, and we were too few’

Open Arms SAR Coordinator DAVID LLADO tells The Civil Fleet about the moment 118 refugees fell into sea when their boat split in half and how his team rescued them RIGHT at the moment when the Open Arms‘ rescuers began transferring the first person onto a rigid-hull inflatable boat (Rhib), the back of the refugees’Continue reading “‘There were too many people on the rubber boat, and we were too few’”

‘This would not have happened if the people we found were white’

LEA REISNER tells The Civil Fleet about the Louise Michel, a feminist refugee rescue ship named after the famous anarchist and funded by the world’s most elusive street-art star — and how the civil fleet came to its aid when Europe abandoned it “THE revolt of the tribes was deadly serious,” wrote the French anarchistContinue reading “‘This would not have happened if the people we found were white’”

‘The Libyan Coastguard’s interceptions of refugees couldn’t happen without Europe’s planes’

Sea Watch’s head of airborne operations TAMINO BOHM tells The Civil Fleet about Frontex’s role in forcing refugees back to hell. THE Moonbird took off from the airport on the Italian island of Lampedusa on June 25 looking for stranded refugees in the central Mediterranean. “We were on two missions that day because it wasContinue reading “‘The Libyan Coastguard’s interceptions of refugees couldn’t happen without Europe’s planes’”

‘Europe will continue with its border control policies, and we will continue fighting for human rights’

IÑIGO MIJANGOS tells The Civil Fleet how his charity’s ship, the Aita Mari, was seized in Italy after saving the lives of 47 refugees “WE WERE on our way back from Syracuse to Spain when we received a message from Malta of some boats adrift to the south,” Iñigo Mijangos, chairman of the Basque refugeeContinue reading “‘Europe will continue with its border control policies, and we will continue fighting for human rights’”

‘It is absolutely tragic that people have died on Europe’s doorsteps’

IOM spokeswoman SAFA MSEHLI speaks Ben Cowles following a week of refugee tragedies in Libya and the Mediterranean and the importance of NGO rescuers LIBYA is a country in disarray, a war zone battled over by two opposing proxy factions, jihadists, strongmen and human traffickers. In the last week, 30 migrants were gunned down inContinue reading “‘It is absolutely tragic that people have died on Europe’s doorsteps’”

‘I pray day and night to get out of Libya’: An interview with a slave (pt.2)

LIBYA is not a safe place. It is not safe for Libyan people and it is certainly not safe for Afghan, Syrian, Bangladeshi, Sudanese, Ivorian or Somali refugees. Since 2014 the country has been fought over by the UN-backed Government of National Accord and the rebel commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (which controls theContinue reading “‘I pray day and night to get out of Libya’: An interview with a slave (pt.2)”

The far-right and Italian spooks spied on our rescue missions

DARIUSH BEIGUI and HENDRIK SIMON, former members of the NGO rescue ship Iuventa, describe how Matteo Salvini and the Italian secret services tried to criminalise them for saving lives at sea IT’S normal now for the NGO refugee rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean to expect to be met with outright hostility by the EuropeanContinue reading “The far-right and Italian spooks spied on our rescue missions”

‘They lock our legs together with a chain’: An interview with a slave

Ben Cowles speaks with a Somali refugee being held in a bogus ‘refugee camp’ in Libya, caught while trying to reach Europe I SPOKE with a slave last week. An African man from Somalia trapped in a detention centre in Libya. He told me his name but I promised not to mention it. He fearsContinue reading “‘They lock our legs together with a chain’: An interview with a slave”

Watching an EU-sanctioned breach of international human-rights law

Last month the crew on board the NGO rescue ship Sea Watch 3 saw Libyan Coastguard intercept migrants attempting to flee the country’s humanitarian disaster. MINA NAGUIB, a volunteer doctor on board the ship, talks to Ben Cowles about the incident IN JANUARY, Mina Naguib and the crew on board the civil migrant-rescue ship SeaContinue reading “Watching an EU-sanctioned breach of international human-rights law”

‘It shouldn’t be civil society versus European governments’

SOS Mediterranee’s DAVID STARKE tells Ben Cowles how EU member states have abandoned their commitments to international maritime and refugee laws when it comes to rescues carried out by the civil rescue fleet THE Ocean Viking, a refugee rescue ship operated jointly by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), saved the lives of 60Continue reading “‘It shouldn’t be civil society versus European governments’”

The civil refugee rescue fleet is no ‘pull factor’

Speaking to Ben Cowles, Italian researcher MATTEO VILLA debunks the idea that search and rescue operations are encouraging people to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean to Europe THE European Union recently agreed to extend its anti-human trafficking naval mission, known as Operation Sophia, for a further six months. Though ostensibly a military mission, OperationContinue reading “The civil refugee rescue fleet is no ‘pull factor’”

‘It will not be easy to reconcile how Europe is allowing this to happen’

HANNAH WALLACE BOWMAN speaks about her time on board the Ocean Viking, an NGO migrant rescue ship that has saved hundreds of lives despite Fortress Europe’s dogged efforts to stop them “I CAN’T even begin to describe how overwhelming the situation in Libya and the Mediterranean is,” says Hannah Wallace Bowman, communications manager on boardContinue reading “‘It will not be easy to reconcile how Europe is allowing this to happen’”

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