Migrants beaten during a push back operation towards Libya

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The NGO Sea-Watch International has published a video of the Libyan coastguard brutally pulling back approximately 60 migrants to “horrific conditions” in Libya.
The NGO confirmed that the incident happened last Tuesday as a boat full of migrants was sinking. It also accused the captain and the crew of the vessel of being complicit and responsible “for this crime”.
According to the video, the captain of the vessel is heard informing Sea-Watch International of risking being arrested together with his crew, if he ignores the orders issued by the Libyan coastguards, and therefore he should resume with the handing over of the saved migrants.
The video also shows migrants being beaten by the Libyan coastguard using wooden bats during their transfer to the Libyan coastguard vessel recently gifted by the Italian government.
Sea-Watch International warned the captain that Libya is not considered as a place of safety.
Meanwhile, over the weekend of 7th-8th June 2024, at least 17 bodies were spotted floating at sea. Twelve of them were retrieved by civil search and rescue ships Geo Barents and Ocean Viking. The deaths indicate a shipwreck in which an unclear number of people have died.
The bodies were discovered during a monitoring flight by Sea-Watch. “We spotted even more bodies, which are still at sea”, says Tamino Bòhm, who was part of the monitoring team that discovered the dead. “These deaths were not an unforeseeable accident, but the result of calculated political decisions by the European Union: this is what the European border policy looks like.” The fact that the bodies have remained undiscovered for more than a week shows once again how necessary civilian monitoring is in the Mediterranean. However, human rights monitoring over the Mediterranean is under threat: the Italian aviation authority ENAC is currently trying to ban Sea-Watch’s monitoring flights. “If this attempt is successful, there will be no more witnesses of such deaths,” says Bòhm.
It was the civilian organisations MSF and SOS MEDITERRANEE that recovered the bodies from the sea. “Had it not been for civilian Search and Rescue ships and aircraft, this recent tragedy would have likely been one of many invisible shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. We know that more bodies were spotted at sea, which we were not able to recover. We will never know their identity, nor how many people died in this shipwreck,” says Soazic Dupuy, Director of Operations of SOS MEDITERRANEE. “Humanitarian Search and Rescue fills a deadly blind spot in the Mediterranean – the obstruction and criminalisation of our vital work must end.”
“We have received requests from families reporting they had lost contact with their loved ones who had taken the sea. We call on the Italian authorities to immediately put into action and apply the proper forensic mechanisms to capture and document DNA profiles of people who lost their lives”, said Juan Matias Gil, MSF Search and Rescue representative. “Proper identification of the victims is our duty to help families have answers about the disappearance of their loved ones”.

– Foto: Agenzia Fotogramma –


Source: medNews