Agenda Item 4: Human Rights Situation that Require the Council's Attention
Statement by: International Organisation for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ
3 July 2019
Thank you, Mister Vice-President.
Our organization and Geneva International Centre for Justice are seriously concerned about the ongoing human rights situation in the Central Mediterranean Sea. In particular, we would like to draw the Council’s attention to the growing criminalisation of NGOs activities in this area by several States, some of which are currently serving as members of this Council.
In certain countries, the criminalization of NGOs engaged in search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean has resulted not only in the seizure of vessels and arrests of crew members, but also in the initiation of investigations and criminal proceedings against them.
The most recent example is the arrest of Sea-Watch 3 Captain Carola Rackete, who was arrested for saving the life of 42 persons in situation of distress at sea, a duty prescribed under international law. We welcomed the latest decision of the Italian judiciary authorities to free her and not to validate her arrest.
NGOs present in the Mediterranean are conducting activities with the sole aim of providing migrants with humanitarian aid, thus compensating for the lack of action by States. Their presence at sea has prevented the number of deaths and casualties from being higher. Our organizations want to highlight that humanitarian assistance is not and cannot be considered a crime.
Justice, Human rights, Geneva, geneva4justice, GICJ, Geneva International Centre For Justice