For First Time In A Decade, Italian-Flagged Vessel Returns Migrants To Libya. Open Borders Activists Outraged

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Damien Cowley
TheGatewayPundit.com
August 1, 2018

For the first time since 2009, an Italian ship has returned migrants from the high seas to a Libyan port, an operation which has enraged open borders NGOs and which is likely to bring strong rebuke from international bodies.

The UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) has already announced the opening of an enquiry following Monday’s events, which saw an Italian registered supply ship rescue 108 migrants from a vessel in distress, delivering all aboard to Tripoli on the instruction of the Libyan navy. Since late June, the management of Libya’s SAR (Search And Rescue) zone has been the responsibility of the Libyan navy. The zone extends beyond the country’s territorial waters, covering a maritime area where traffickers’ boats have been met by NGOs, and migrants transported to ports on the European mainland.

”No words are enough to describe the outrage we are feeling at the moment!”, French NGO Watch the Med – AlarmPhone announced Monday evening, describing the event as the ”first push-back in years” by an Italian vessel.

”We are shocked!”, claimed Berlin-based NGO, Sea Watch; ”Yesterday, the Italian ship Asso Ventotto brought rescued persons back to Libya in violation of the Geneva Convention on Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights.” The group insisted that the EU evacuate the migrants to Europe ahead of any legal decision which may follow from the European Court of Human Rights.

Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister in Italy’s newly-elected populist government stated early Tuesday that the Libyan coastguard had rescued and returned 611 migrants in recent hours.

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