Urgent need to guarantee disembarkation in a safe port for the 47 migrants and refugees on board the “SeaWatch3” for 7 days
Roma 26 January - The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF express their serious concern in relation to the situation of the 47 migrants and refugees who were rescued by the "Sea Watch 3" last Saturday, and for whom a safe port for disembarkation has still not been found.
The boat is currently in Italian waters off the eastern coast of Sicily, where it has sought shelter from the adverse weather conditions currently affecting the Mediterranean. The situation on board is critical in so far as the space inside is insufficient, meaning that some people are forced to remain outside on the bridge. This situation cannot go on for long, especially given the difficult winter period with low temperatures and rough seas.
The condition of the 13 unaccompanied minors on board is of particular concern and it is compulsory that adequate protection and safeguarding measures be taken for them as soon as possible, in line with international conventions.
Nearly 200 people have died in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, including at least 130 in the waters separating Libya from Europe, and saving human lives and ensuring a safe port for disembarkation and adequate assistance for people who have already risked their lives on board rickety boats remains the absolute priority. It is therefore imperative that immediate disembarkation be ensured in the nearest safe port for the migrants and refugees on board the "Sea Watch 3".
At the same time, for as long as Libya is not considered a safe port, all European countries must at last demonstrate a sense of responsibility and solidarity towards the migrants and refugees who risk their lives at sea. Therefore, the current ‘boat by boat’ approach needs to be overcome and replaced by a safe and orderly disembarkation mechanism in the central Mediterranean.
• IOM, Flavio Di Giacomo, firstname.lastname@example.org, +39 347 0898996
• UNHCR, Carlotta Sami, email@example.com, +39 335 6794746
• UNICEF, Ufficio Stampa, firstname.lastname@example.org, +39 334 1196798