Socialist Worker

Refugees rescued but left stranded on ship by EU

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2649

The ship Alan Kurdi has been turned away from Italy and Malta

The ship Alan Kurdi has been turned away from Italy and Malta (Pic: Sea-Eye)


A rescue ship carrying 64 refugees is stuck at sea after the Italian and Maltese governments refused to let it dock last week.

The German charity Sea-Eye’s ship, the Alan Kurdi, rescued the refugees off the Libyan coast on Wednesday.

The refugees, including ten women and six children, were stuck at sea at the beginning of this week in rough weather and with few supplies.

A message from the Alan Kurdi crew reported, “It’s raining, the wind is blowing ever more strongly.

“The captain has ordered everyone to go below deck. There aren’t any safe ports for us so far.

“We are in communication with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany and hope for a swift resolution.”

Italy’s racist interior minister ,Matteo Salvini of the Lega party, said the ship should “go to Hamburg”.

Carlotta Weible from Sea-Eye said sailing to Hamburg in northern Germany was “completely out of the question”.

“It’s a journey of three or four weeks and we don’t have food and water,” she said.

The standoff over the Alan Kurdi is another reminder of Europe’s deadly immigration system.

The Sea-Eye ship rescued the 64 refugees from a rubber dingy as it was looking for another boat with 50 people on board.

Missing

It has not been found, bringing the total number of refugees who have been reported as missing in the Mediterranean to 100 in just over a week. Weible warned, “Their chances of survival are low”.

Salvini has repeatedly used racism in an attempt to gain votes.

He stopped the Doctors Without Borders rescue ship Aquarius from docking last June, then later ordered its seizure. It was finally forced to cease operations.

The Italian government said the people on board the Alan Kurdi should return to Libya.

From the ship, Evans from Nigeria said, “I left Nigeria, which has many problems, after both my parents died. I got to Libya but they are selling girls.

She added, “They threaten you with violence. They beat me and they used a knife on me. I saw many people killed.

“That’s why I am on the way to Europe. The route is a bad one but we have no choice.”

Bernjamin is also on board. He went to Libya in 2015. He said, “It is a hell. It is the most terrible place I have seen. They sold me for 500 dinars then they demanded 1000 dinars from me.”

Designed

The brutal treatment of refugees flows from the European Union’s (EU) “Fortress Europe” policy, which is designed to strictly control the trading bloc’s borders.

A week ago the EU suspended sea patrols in the Mediterranean. They were dropped after the Italian government threatened to block an extension to Operation Sophia.

This EU-led military operation was launched in 2015 as growing numbers of refugees tried to make it to safety in Europe.

While rescuing some refugees, its aim was to try to stop people from making the journey.

And the EU has made it harder for refugees by closing off shorter, safer routes into Europe. The refugees are fleeing war, poverty, dictatorship and catastrophic climate change.

The only solution is to open the borders and let the refugees come here safely.


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