NGOs say Italy’s ‘code of conduct’ threatens migrants’ lives

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Series Details 12.07.17
Publication Date 12/07/2017
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On 12 July 2017, the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament held an 'exchange of views on Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean' between MEPs, the Italian coastguard, the EU border management agency FRONTEX, and nongovernmental organizations.Thousands more refugees and migrants could be at risk of dying at sea if a flawed code of conduct for nongovernmental groups conducting search and rescue in the central Mediterranean was put into practice, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said on the 12 July 2017 after reviewing a leaked draft of the document, which had been drafted by Italy.

The two NGOs said that Italy’s proposal for a code of conduct for nongovernmental groups comes amid a concerted smear campaign against these groups, and Italy’s request for more sharing of responsibility among EU member states for rescue and disembarkation.

While the EU had been extremely poor in providing Italy with the shared support and assistance it needed, it was instead focusing on training the Libyan coast guard forces, under the UN-backed Government of National Accord, to build its capacity to intercept boats.

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Related Links
ESO: Information Guide: European Migration Challenges
ESO: Background information: Central Mediterranean Route: Commission proposes Action Plan to support Italy, reduce pressure and increase solidarity, July 2017
ESO: Background information: Italy threatens EU with closure of ports to rescue boats, June 2017
Human Rights Watch / Amnesty International: News, 12.07.17: EU: Draft Code for Sea Rescues Threatens Lives
Amnesty International, 2016: Hotspot Italy. How EU’s flagship approach leads to violations of refugee and migrant rights
Amnesty International: Report, July 2017: A Perfect Storm,
Human Rights Watch: News, 19.06.17: EU: Shifting Rescue to Libya Risks Lives. Italy Should Direct Safe Rescues
ESO: Background information: Refugee and migrant flows through Libya on the rise – report (UNHCR, July 2017)
EUObserver, 13.07.17: Italy to impose tough rules on NGOs
The Guardian, 14.08.17: Three NGOs halt Mediterranean migrant rescues after Libyan hostility

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