GLAN members Dr. Violeta Moreno-Lax and Dr. Itamar Mann appeared before members of the German parliament today, to address migrant drownings in the Mediterranean along with organizations such as Amnesty International, Proactiva Open Arms, the Alarm Phone Network, and our collaborators at Forensic Oceanography. Sea Watch organized the event at the Bundestag, which was hosted by the German “Left Faction” (Die Linke).
Dr. Moreno Lax and Dr. Mann discussed GLAN's ongoing litigation surrounding migration, and especially the case they recently brought before the European Court of Human Rights, S.S. v. Italy. The case, which challenges Italian “pull back” policies conducted via Libyan proxy coastguard forces, is focused on the tragic events of 6 November 2017. In this encounter between a migrant vessel, the Sea Watch, and a Libyan coast guard vessel, around 20 people lost their lives. Many others were subsequently exposed to horrible abuse. These egregious violations were not only foreseeable by Italian authorities. Italians instructed the Libyan Coast Guard vessel to arrive at the scene; and it was Italians, with the support of EU actors, who established, armed, and trained the Libyan forces.
Also discussed was the ongoing processes of criminalization, seizures, and other forms of “deterrence” increasingly directed towards human rights defenders. GLAN is currently watching how governments in the Mediterranean are shutting down rescue operations initiated both by European and North African civil society actors.