The sea as humanitarian space: Non-governmental search and rescue dilemmas on the Central Mediterranean migratory route

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Series Details Vol.23, No.3, 2018, p.387-394
Publication Date September 2018
ISSN 1362-9395 (print) | 1743-9418 (online)
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In 2016 only, more than 5000 migrants lost their lives while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. To mitigate this humanitarian emergency, ten different non-governmental organisations (NGOs) started conducting Search and Rescue (SAR) operations offshore Libya. While operating at sea ostensibly provides humanitarian relief organisations with the possibility to work free of political interference, non-governmental SAR entails operational and ethical dilemmas, forcing NGOs to accept uneasy compromises on the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence that underlie humanitarian action.

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