GENEVA / MEDITERRANEAN SEA RESCUE

22-Jan-2019 00:03:06
A spate of migrant shipwrecks and rescues in the Mediterranean Sea in recent days is evidence that urgent action is required from European States to address the issue, the United Nations said on Tuesday. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / MEDITERRANEAN SEA RESCUE
TRT: 3:06
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 22 JANUARY 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations, cloudy.
2. Wide shot, journalist and podium.
3. Close up, journalists.
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Joel Millman, Spokesperson, International Organization for Migration (IOM):
“Three men were rescued 50 miles off Libya from a sinking boat by an Italian Navy helicopter and brought to Lampedusa, Italy. IOM staff spoke to the three survivors who said the boat carried 120 people on board. Based on their testimony, IOM estimates that 117 people went missing and presumably drowned at sea before rescue services could reach them. According to the survivors, 1 0 women, one of them pregnant, and two children were on board.”
5. Close up, press briefing.
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Joel Millman, Spokesperson, International Organization for Migration (IOM):
“IOM confirmed yesterday that the Sierra Leonean flag cargo vessel Lady Sham returned 144 rescued migrants to Libya. It remains unclear when and from where these individuals departed. IOM staff counted 26 women and four children among those rescued and taken to a detention centre in Misrata. IOM staff are monitoring their conditions and assessing their needs.”
7. Med shot, journalists.
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Charlie Yaxley, spokesperson, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“Many report going hungry for days on end, not being able to receive dire urgent medical care that they require, others allege to have been tortured in some of these centres, the non-official centres, are run by traffickers and smugglers where we have no access to those at all. And even when you know, the official centres when you have security incidents like we’ve seen popping up now and again in recent weeks and months, our own access to the official centres is restricted by security concerns.”
9. Close up, journalist hands typing.
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Charlie Yaxley, spokesperson, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“The automatic use of detention for rescued refugees and migrants, the extremely volatile situation with regards to the outbreaks of violence and together with the widespread reports of human rights violations; they play just a part of why we consider Libya to be, to have no safe port for docking rescued passengers at the moment.”
11. Med shot, camerawoman.
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Charlie Yaxley, spokesperson, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR):
“I don’t think we can point the finger at any one state, the Mediterranean States have been at forefront of receiving new arrivals crossing by sea for many years; this isn’t something that any one region of the Mediterranean, in terms of the Mediterranean States, can tackle alone, it needs European solidarity, it needs European support. And any approach needs to be a comprehensive, all-along-the-journeys’ route. You know, this is just the very end of a you know, rather desperate journeys where the refugees and migrants have faced quite horrific experiences and traumas along the way.”
13. Close up, journalist.
14. Close up, hands typing.
15. Med shot, journalist.
16. Med shot, journalist.
STORYLINE
A spate of migrant shipwrecks and rescues in the Mediterranean Sea in recent days is evidence that urgent action is required from European States to address the issue, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The warning from UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Migration Agency (IOM) comes after close to 170 people are believed to have drowned in separate tragedies off the Libyan and Moroccan coast late last week.

IOM spokesperson Joel Millman described survivors’ testimonies indicating that the victims of the incident in Libyan waters on Friday 18 January included women and children.

“Three men were rescued 50 miles off Libya from a sinking boat by an Italian Navy helicopter and brought to Lampedusa, Italy,” he said. “IOM staff spoke to the three survivors who said the boat carried 120 people on board. Based on their testimony, IOM estimates that 117 people went missing and presumably drowned at sea before rescue services could reach them. According to the survivors, 1 0 women, one of them pregnant, and two children were on board.”

According to IOM, 203 people have died on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe from North Africa and Turkey in the first three weeks of 2019.
This is the fourth January in a row that more than 200 irregular migrants and refugees have drowned trying to reach Europe, often crammed into unsuitable boats supplied by traffickers, the agency said in a statement.

In a related development, IOM reported that nearly 150 migrants – including women and children - had been “returned” to Libya and placed in custody after being rescued by a cargo ship.

This is despite serious and longstanding concerns over conditions in the country’s detention centres, amid ongoing insecurity in Libya since the ousting of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

“IOM confirmed yesterday that the Sierra Leonean flag cargo vessel Lady Sham returned 144 rescued migrants to Libya. It remains unclear when and from where these individuals departed,” Millman said and added “IOM staff counted 26 women and four children among those rescued and taken to a detention centre in Misrata. IOM staff are monitoring their conditions and assessing their needs.”

UNHCR spokesperson Charlie Yaxley confirmed that migrants and refugees held in Libya experienced awful treatment.

“Many report going hungry for days on end, not being able to receive dire urgent medical care that they require,” he said. “Others allege to have been tortured in some of these centres, the non-official centres, are run by traffickers and smugglers where we have no access to those at all. And even when you know, the official centres when you have security incidents like we’ve seen popping up now and again in recent weeks and months, our own access to the official centres is restricted by security concerns.”

The UNHCR spokesperson also spoke of the agency’s “alarm” at reports that the Libyan coastguard had been unable to respond to emergencies because of fuel shortages, before urging Europe’s politicians to recognize that Libya was not a safe place for vulnerable people on the move.

“The automatic use of detention for rescued refugees and migrants, the extremely volatile situation with regards to the outbreaks of violence and, together, with the widespread reports of human rights violations, they play just a part of why we consider Libya to be, to have no safe port for docking rescued passengers at the moment,” he said.

Citing data from the Italian authorities, IOM’s Millman said that 155 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy so far this year, meaning that January 2019 was “on track” to be the lowest month for arrivals in more than three years.

At the same time, he noted that the volunteer rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 - which rescued 47 migrants on Saturday - has yet to receive permission to dock in Europe, before reiterating IOM’s call for a “safe and orderly disembarking mechanism in the central Mediterranean”.

UNHCR’s Yaxley, meanwhile, when asked which European countries were responsible for the difficulties encountered by rescue vessels, explained that what was needed was a coordinated, multi-state policy.

“I don’t think we can point the finger at any one State,” he said. “The Mediterranean States have been at forefront of receiving new arrivals crossing by sea for many years; this isn’t something that any one region of the Mediterranean, in terms of the Mediterranean States, can tackle alone, it needs European solidarity, it needs European support. And any approach needs to be a comprehensive, all-along-the-journeys’ route. You know, this is just the very end of a you know, rather desperate journeys where the refugees and migrants have faced quite horrific experiences and traumas along the way.”

IOM data indicates that 4,883 migrants and refugees reached Europe by sea in the first 20 days of 2019. The number of people arriving from traditional “sender” countries such as Syria fell significantly in 2018, from 12,300 in 2017 to almost 7,700 last year, while Afghanistan nationals almost tripled in number, from around 3,500 in 2017 to more than 9,600 in 2018.
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