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 Full text 
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Humanitarian assistance in the Mediterranean (debate)

  Tineke Strik (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, at sea every minute counts and that is why the Law of the Sea obliges every actor to immediately assist people in distress and to disembark them at the first safe haven. However, our Member States ignore these obligations and on top of that, they also work against NGOs which do save lives. And instead of ensuring safety and protection they organise unlawful pull-backs to Libya, where migrants are exposed to violence, inhuman treatment in detention centres and to the risk of refoulement.

We need to stop these shameful violations of international law close to our borders. We need to act united and in solidarity and that means more capacity for search-and-rescue actions at EU level and equally shared responsibility for rescued persons who ask for asylum, not ad hoc but on a sustainable basis.

It also means that we need to ensure that refugees have access to safe routes and durable protection and we welcome the announcement from Ms von der Leyen on human corridors.

But finally, acknowledging our responsibility for the drownings in the Mediterranean also requires that we ensure that the human rights of migrants and refugees are not affected as a consequence of our cooperation with Libya. So it means that we need to scrutinise the EU budget that we invest in cooperation with Libya to check it does not affect their human rights. After all, out of sight does not mean out of rights.

Last updated: 18 July 2019Legal notice