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ECSA urges the revival of Operation Sophia

Namely, in his statement at the Foreign Affairs Council, High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell stated that the EU needs to revive Operation Sophia. It was in May 2019 when the European Union decided to suspend the EUNAVFOR MED ‘Operation Sophia’ until 30 September 2019, with only air patrols to continue.

Italy court rejects charges against German rescue captain

The Supreme Court of Cassation in Italy confirmed that the German captain of a migrant-rescue ship, should never have been arrested. Specifically, the Master of “MV Sea Watch 3”, Carola Rackete, was arrested on 29 June 2019 by Italian authorities for helping and abetting illegal immigration and for forcing her way into the port of Lampedusa.

Call to end exploitative recruitment fees for seafarers and fishers

Human Rights at Sea published its latest briefing note concerning the exploitative recruitment fees in the maritime industry and further calls for an end to such fees for workers in a call to action. Namely, Human Rights at Sea note that such “misleading and exploitative recruitment practices by some labor recruiters and overseas employment agencies are a continued blight on raising social welfare and human rights standards in the global maritime sector”.

18 dead after migrant boat sinks off Lampedusa

After a migrant boat sank off Lampedusa, on November 23, divers recovered more bodies from the scene, increasing the death toll to 18. The vessel was carrying 170 people, and sank around 1.5 nm off the island of Lampedusa.

EU invests in stronger European Border and Coast Guard

The EU Council officially adopted the Commission’s proposal to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard, in a bid to respond to the challenges facing Europe in managing migration and its external borders. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency will have a standing corps of 10,000 border guards.

Libyan-flagged vessels fire shots to stop NGO rescue vessel

As the German NGO “Sea-Eye” reports they were shot in warning by Libyan-flagged speedboats to stop the volunteer rescue staff during a SAR operation, when they tried to save migrants off Libyan territorial seas. Both speedboats were flying under the Libyan flag, and one of them had a mounted machine gun towards the bow.

Qatar ends kafala system with major labour reforms

As part of recently-announced labour reforms, Qatar is planning an end to the kafala system, marking a momentous step forward in upholding the rights of migrant workers. The reforms will mean removal of exit permits and non-discriminatory minimum wage for migrant workers by January 2020.

New Italian government allows migrant rescue ship into port

Italy’s new government allowed the French charity ship ‘Ocean Viking’ to bring ashore 82 migrants to the southern island of Lampedusa on Saturday, opposing to the practices of the previous far-right government, which had closed ports to migrants.

More migrants lose their lives crossing the English Channel

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) published a statement on the loss of migrants trying to pass through the English Channel in small boats to reach British waters. In August alone, a record of 270 attempted to cross the Channel. 

Italy allows migrants to disembark after EU agreement

Italy gave permission to 116 rescued migrants to disembark from a coastguard ship, on 31 of July, as Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s took a step back, after five EU countries and the Church agreed to share the responsibility of looking after the migrants.

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