GENEVA / ITALY SEA RESCUES

06-Aug-2019 00:01:46
A move by Italian lawmakers to impose fines of up to one million Euros on vessels and organizations carrying out search and rescue operations off the country’s coastline sparked a new warning on Tuesday from the UN that the measure risks deterring future lifesaving efforts in the Mediterranean Sea. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / ITALY SEA RESCUES
TRT: 1:46
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 06 AUGUST 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
06 AUGUST 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior
2. Med shot, dais
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Charlie Yaxley, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Under changes approved by parliament, fines for private vessels that undertake rescue of people and do not respect the ban on entry into territorial waters have risen to a maximum of one million Euros. In addition, vessels will now be automatically impounded.”
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Charlie Yaxley, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“NGOs play an invaluable role in saving the lives of refugees and migrants attempting the dangerous sea crossing to Europe. Their commitment and humanity should not be criminalized nor stigmatized.”
6. Med shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Charlie Yaxley, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The extremely volatile security situation, ongoing conflict, widespread reports of human rights violations and routine use of arbitrary detention underline the fact that it is not a viable place of safety.”
8. Med shot, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Joel Millman, Spokesperson, International Organization for Migration (IOM):
“There were 49 migrants who arrived in Lampedusa by sea late Monday. They apparently were not escorted by any official authority or any kind of rescue NGO vessel. We understand 46 of the 49 came from Côte d'Ivoire, that survivors reported that 20 people on board with them when they left the coast of Africa had perished.”
10. Various shots, journalists
STORYLINE
A move by Italian lawmakers to impose fines of up to one million Euros on vessels and organizations carrying out search and rescue operations off the country’s coastline sparked a new warning on Tuesday from the UN that the measure risks deterring future lifesaving efforts in the Mediterranean Sea.

Speaking in Geneva, UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Charlie Yaxley explained that the Italian Parliament development came at a time when other European countries had largely stopped sea rescue activities.

SOUNDBITE (English) Charlie Yaxley, Spokesperson, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Under changes approved by parliament, fines for private vessels that undertake rescue of people and do not respect the ban on entry into territorial waters have risen to a maximum of one million Euros. In addition, vessels will now be automatically impounded.”

So far this year, nearly 4,000 people have made the treacherous crossing to Europe via the so-called Central Mediterranean Route from North Africa to Italy, Yaxley said, nearly 80 per cent less than in the first seven months of 2018.

The UNHCR warning coincided with a report that around 20 people are believed to have died in recent days after making the same journey by boat.

The alert was raised late on Monday evening by around 50 survivors who reached the Italian island of Lampedusa, according to the UN Migration Agency (IOM).

“There were 49 migrants who arrived in Lampedusa by sea late Monday,” spokesperson Joel Millman Millman told journalists, noting that there are few details about the tragedy. “They apparently were not escorted by any official authority or any kind of rescue NGO vessel. We understand 46 of the 49 came from Côte d'Ivoire, that survivors reported that 20 people on board with them when they left the coast of Africa had perished.”

IOM also reported that several tragedies had occurred in the Mediterranean area in recent days.

In one incident alone, an estimated 150 people died in a shipwreck off the Libyan coast near Al Khums, on 25 July. Fishermen rescued more than 130 survivors who were then returned to shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, Millman said.

Amid ongoing clashes in and around the outskirts of Tripoli, UNHCR insisted that no rescue vessel should be ordered to hand over survivors to the Libyan authorities.

“The extremely volatile security situation, ongoing conflict, widespread reports of human rights violations and routine use of arbitrary detention underline the fact that it is not a viable place of safety,” Yaxley said, before highlighting the key role played by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in saving lives at sea.

“NGOs play an invaluable role in saving the lives of refugees and migrants attempting the dangerous sea crossing to Europe,” he said. “Their commitment and humanity should not be criminalized or stigmatized.”
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