An Amnesty International delegation has just returned from the southern Italian islands of Lampedusa and Sicily, after collecting the testimonies of migrants and refugees rescued in the central Mediterranean Sea.
On Saturday 25 April, the Italian Navy vessel Foscari brought more than more than 300 African migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to safety after rescuing them from three separate boats on the high seas.
An Amnesty International delegation witnessed the disembarkation process at the Sicilian port of Augusta and interviewed some of the survivors shortly after they arrived on dry land. Those rescued included a large number of Somalis and Nigerians, as well as other nationalities.
It is feared that around 1,700 lives have been lost already in the Mediterranean this year.
Despite European Union and member states’ commitments last Thursday at a summit in Brussels to provide more funding and assets to its border control Operation Triton, questions remain over its operational area. As long as ships do not patrol in the area closer to where most shipwrecks occur – like Triton’s predecessor Mare Nostrum – further lives will be lost.
Amnesty International’s briefing, Europe’s sinking shame: The failure to save refugees and migrants at sea.