Criticism of Italy’s action against refugees
Yesterday, the crew was able to say goodbye to the last of the more than 400 rescued people, among them 150 children, in the port of Pozzallo and successfully complete the first rescue mission with our new ship SEA-EYE 4.
During the search for a port of safety and during the disembarkation of the rescued people, the Italian authorities showed their deep displeasure against us and the people seeking protection. Thus, Italy responded only two days after we had requested a port of safety and thereupon assigned us a port far off, imposing another two-day sea voyage on the weakened and partly traumatized people.
When the SEA-EYE 4 arrived at the port of Pozzallo, an inhumane tragedy began with the Italian operational forces in the leading role. An employee of the port authority first refused to come on board because he was afraid that the “migrants” would transmit diseases. Associating fleeing people with diseases is a widespread racist stereotype, with the purpose of devaluing people. This incident is not only shameful, but emblematic of the entire racist policy of isolation and deterrence of EU member states.
The low point was the forcible medical examination of infants.
Dr. Jan Ribbeck head of operations on the SEA-EYE 4 reported, “The medical staff on site performed forced PCR tests on toddlers through their noses in a most brutal way. They were screaming in pain. As a doctor, I cannot understand how one can treat young children in this way. In addition, it makes no medical sense to force such tests on children at such a young age.”
On Friday evening, Italian authorities declared that the SEA-EYE 4 should go back out to sea with the remaining 141 rescued people to spend the night. The captain of the SEA-EYE 4 was worried that the remaining people might throw themselves into the water out of desperation. Thanks to his courageous protest, this unrealistic and dangerous instruction could be averted.
After two days the last rescued person left the SEA-EYE 4. Italy has once again shown itself from its worst side. We ask ourselves, what Italy would like to aim at with this inhumane and partly brutal proceeding. Does it think that this will persuade the EU states to a faster distribution of the refugees? Or does it think that we would stop our work? Why this harassment and violence against those seeking protection? Why are the EU member states fighting against refugees instead of finally doing something about the causes of flight? How many more people have to pay for this policy with their lives until it is realized in the European capitals that this policy of deterrence and isolation is inhumane?