NGOs involved in search and rescue (SAR) operations in the central Mediterranean Sea as well as the identification and protection of victims of human trafficking have been recently attacked by several defamation campaigns which seek to associate them with people-smugglers and accuse them of being a pull factor for migration to the EU. This is unfortunately part of a growing trend among EU Member States to criminalise those NGOs who express solidarity with migrants and act in the name of their humanitarian commitments, which SOLIDAR shares and promotes, by saving the lives of people in danger.
At our last general assembly SOLIDAR members agreed on a statement expressing full support for the humanitarian aid and international NGOs operating in the Mediterranean to assist migrants who have been under attack. Political and media attacks on NGOs involved in search and rescue operations should not distract the institutions from their obligation to provide decent reception conditions for migrants and refugees up to the standards of the EU and international human rights frameworks. The risk is that these accusations can be easily be used to promote very worrying measures, such as the self-blockage of Italian ports recently proposed by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, which would leave migrants floating in the Mediterranean, including those in most NGO rescue ships.
Find the full statement here.