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Humanitarian workers’ lives remain on hold in Greece as trial is adjourned

Asylum applications within the EU and EFTA between 1 January and 30 June 2015 (source: Eurostat)

The vast majority of people attempting the Mediterranean crossing pass through Libya, where they are exposed to horrific levels of violence, including kidnapping, torture and extortion. Also a lot of people from Iran and Iraq find their way to human traffickers in Turkey who bring their lives in danger. Several Dutch, French, Spanish, as well as some Greek people, did not want those refugees to come to their death on the way to the country of their dreams.

File:LE Eithne Operation Triton.jpg
Irish Naval personnel from the LÉ Eithne (P31) rescuing migrants as part of Operation Triton.

In 2018, one out of fourteen attempted crossings ended in death, adding up to more than 2.200 drowned migrants. In June 2018, when Italy and Malta refused to let the Aquarius, a rescue vessel of the French NGO SOS Méditerranée with over 600 rescued migrants on board, disembark in its ports, this kicked off a series of incidents following the same pattern.
Sea Watch 3

The year after the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean resulted in even more deaths counted and the Sea Watch 3, the last remaining rescue vessel in the Mediterranean at that time was allowed disembarkation only after the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights.

With shame, we could hear the news of ships carrying saved migrants that were refused entry to the closest ports, opening the stage for days, sometimes weeks, of dispute among European states until they finally agreed on the reception. This marks a further escalation of the deterrence policy the Italian and Greece government has been engaged in by restricting NGO search and rescue (SAR) operations in the Mediterranean.

The Diciotti, a ship of the Italian coastguard was blocked in a Sicilian port for nearly a week by Italy’s Interior Minister Salvini. On 16 June 2018, Matteo Salvini, opposing illegal immigration into Italy and the EU as well as the EU’s management of asylum seekers, said,

“These people should know that Italy no longer wants to be any part of this business of clandestine immigration and they will have to look for other ports to go to”,


“As minister and as a father, I take this action for the benefit of all”

By forcing the migrants to return back to where they came from, Italy and Greece violated two principles of Human Rights conventions they are bound by, namely the prohibition of collective expulsion and the non-refoulement principle banning returns of asylum seekers to states where they risk torture or inhuman treatment.

Today, those who tried to help those refugees are called to come before the Greece court, claiming that those NGOs are a “migrant taxi service” and are co-smuglers and human traffickers, which would mean that Greece is considering helping people would be a crime.

European attempts to stem migration by strengthening national borders and bolstering detention facilities outside its borders are pushing people into smugglers hands to get them past checkpoints, across borders, through fences, out of prisons and ultimately onto boats on the Mediterranean Sea or to find their way overland, sometimes even with help from countries like Belarus.

All European states should keep in mind that having become a member of the European Union, that requires the right attitude and protecting human rights. NGOs cannot be held responsible for the people who try to enter the Union, crossing the see and rising death rates in the Mediterranean – but rather the absence of their life-saving activities.

The current situation in Poland, Italy and Greece is proof of the urgent need for the European Union to find a permanent common solution for the reception of asylum seekers. This reformed reception system will have to truly be based on solidarity between the European states and, most importantly, respect the migrants’ right to life and humane treatment.


Middle East migrants lured into thinking Belarus would provide a gateway to Europe


Additional reading

  1. The New gulf of migration and seed for far right parties
  2. Social media a destabilisation tool in the Middle East and Syrian conflict
  3. Swallowed in the Sea but belonging to earth
  4. Migration not something to fear
  5. What we don’t say about the refugee crisis?
  6. Responses to Radical Muslims and Radical Christians
  7. A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy
  8. 60 years after creation of European Economic Community, Europeans skeptical about one of their biggest achievements this century
  9. An European alliance or a populist alliance
  10. It’s Time real lovers of God to Stand and Speak Out!



  1. Matteo Salvini: Italian right-wing politician on trial for blocking the migrant boat
  2. A Crisis From Freedom
  3. The Guardian view on migrant deaths: safe routes must be created
  4. Giant Puppet Strides Across Europe
  5. Free the Refugees. Free Yourself first!!!
  6. 117. What is Happening at the Poland-Belarus Border?: Migrant Crisis Explained!! (English Vocabulary Lesson)
  7. Why I am one of the bad migrants

Published by Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".

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