from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – ITALY has come under criticism for refusing some 35 people to disembark from a rescue ship and the country’s efforts to push them back to sea.
The individuals were among no less than 179 people that departed Libya recently on unsafe boats.
They were rescued by Humanity 1, the German-flagged rescue ship.
Italian authorities ordered the ship to leave the port of Catania with 35 exhausted rescued men still on board.
Authorities allowed the other 144 people rescued by Humanity 1 to disembark after a selection made on the basis of a brief physical examination.
Amnesty International denounced the Italian government.
“The law of the sea is clear,” said Julia Hall, Deputy Director at the Europe Regional Office.
She explained that a rescue ends when all those rescued are disembarked in a place of safety.
“There is no room for creative interpretations of the law when people are suffering and traumatized after risking their lives at sea,” Hall said.
Hall argued by forcing 35 people to remain on board the Humanity 1, Italy is violating its international obligations and creating a risky situation which endangers the rescued people and the crew of Humanity 1.
“We urge the Italian authorities to allow all those still on board to disembark as soon as possible,” Hall said.
Amnesty has accused Italy of being “disgraceful” and complicity in Libyan authorities violating their people’s human rights.
“It adds insult to injury that the Italian government also refuses disembarkation to those who managed to leave that country,” Hall said.
Refugees and migrants in Libya are at constant risk of torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention.
– CAJ News