From the frontline SeaWatch teams working to save life in the Mediterranean.
After witnessing a series of boats accidents including capsized boats with many dead in the Central Mediterranean Sea last week, Sea-Watch is now striking a balance and publishing tragic pictures that have to be acknowledged by the European society as the tragedies are the consequence of EU foreign policy.
The photographs we’re publishing today were taken during our mission last week. They show Sea-Watch crew members recovering dead bodies after a wooden boat had capsized off the Libyan coast. In particular the pictures are showing a shipwreck of May 27th when 350 people were found in distress and had to be taken out of the water. Many of them had already drowned when the Sea-Watch crew arrived.
As a humanitarian organisation we are very careful with regards to the ethical use of information and footage from our missions. In this specific case we have come to the conclusion that the graveness of the situation requires the publishing of material.
“If we do not want to see such pictures we have to stop producing them,” Sea-Watch funder Harald Höppner says. Sea-Watch therefore demands a SAFE PASSAGE.
“In the wake of these disastrous events it becomes obvious that the calls by EU politicians, to avoid further death at sea, sum up to nothing more than lip service.” summarizes Harald Höppner of Sea-Watch.
By this time a lot of effort is spent by different actors on the rescue of refugees that try to reach Europe on boats in the Central Med. However these accidents will not stop to occur. A policy forcing people on the boats will always lead to such pictures. We think that solely the establishment of new systems ensuring legal and safe entries to EU can finally lead to an ending of this humanitarian tragedy. The appeal to politicians seems to not bear fruit. It is now time for civil society to reinforce pressure and demand them to act.
Last week’s events anew reveal empty promises that are made by our politicians. “What’s left is the conclusion, that European politics have no interest to put an end on this unbearable and intolerable situation. The death of refugees is being tolerated to scare off others who might come after them.” states Höppner of Sea-Watch.
For more information see: SeaWatch
Human Rights at Sea Comment
Human Rights at Sea fully supports all efforts to undertake rescue at sea by all NGOs and government agencies. The ongoing migrant crisis is full of tragedy and the charity will continue to highlight the human cost for as long as the situation continues and the roots causes of instability, state impunity and lack of rule of law remain prevalent in the Mediterranean region.