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Boat with 70 migrants south of Lampedusa - Alarm Phone

Boat with 70 migrants south of Lampedusa - Alarm Phone

'Boatpeople hotline' urges Italy to intervene

13 Novembre 2020

ROME, NOV 13 - A boat carrying some 70 migrants has been sighted south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, Alarm Phone said Friday. It said an unidentified vessel had refused to rescue the migrants. Alarm Phone urged Italian authorities to intervene. "Italia authorities have been informed, don't delay the rescue!", it said on Twitter. Alarm Phone is "a hotline for boatpeople in distress", it says on its website, especially in the Med. At least 74 migrants drowned off the coast of Libya on Thursday, the UN said. The craft that sank was carrying over 120 people including women and children, it said. The shipwreck off the coast of Khums was the latest in a series of tragedies involving at least eight other shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean since 1 October. Some 47 survivors were brought ashore by the Libyan coast guard and fishermen, and 31 bodies were retrieved. the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in the past two days at least 19 people, including two children drowned after two boats capsized in the Central Mediterranean, while the vessel Open Arms - the only NGO ship currently operating on this route - rescued more than 200 people in three operations. "The mounting loss of life in the Mediterranean is a manifestation of the inability of States to take decisive action to redeploy much needed, dedicated Search and Rescue capacity in the deadliest sea-crossing in the world," said Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. "We have long called for a change in the evidently unworkable approach to Libya and the Mediterranean, including ending returns to the country and establishing a clear disembarkation mechanism followed by solidarity from other states. Thousands of vulnerable people continue to pay the price for inaction both at sea and on land." So far this year, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach European shores, some due to delays in rescue. More than 11,000 others have been returned to Libya, putting them at risk of facing human rights violations, detention, abuse, trafficking and exploitation, as documented by the United Nations. IOM has recorded a recent upsurge in departures from the country with some 1,900 being intercepted and returned and over 780 arrivals in Italy from Libya since the beginning of October alone. Worsening humanitarian conditions of migrants detained in overcrowded centres, widespread arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, and the extortion and abuse are alarming. In the absence of any safeguards for migrants returned to the country, the Libyan Search and Rescue zone must be redefined to allow for international actors to conduct life-saving operations, the IOM said. IOM maintains that Libya is not a safe port for return and reiterates its call on the international community and the European Union to take urgent and concrete action to end the cycle of return and exploitation. (ANSA).


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