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Open Arms warns Spain against disembarking migrants in Libya

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – Proactiva Open Arms, a non-governmental organization based in Lesbos, provided on Monday humanitarian aid to migrants on board a Spanish fishing boat which has been trapped in international waters near Libya for five days after rescuing those migrants.

Both Malta and Italy refused to let the rescued migrants be taken to some of their ports.

Head of Open Arms, Riccardo Gatti, told Spanish newspaper Eldiario that “these people are fine, we heal some wounds and we gave them blankets and food.”

He also warned the Spanish government that disembarking migrants in Libya would constitute a violation of international law.

Gatti recalled Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention by which “no State may, by expulsion or refoulement, place in any way a refugee on the borders of territories where his life or liberty is endangered because of his race, religion, nationality, belonging to a certain social group, or their political opinions. ”

Gatti added, “all the international conventions on rescue dictate that the rescued people have to be taken in the shortest possible time to a safe place, and Libya is not a safe place.”

The migrants got on the fishing boat after they left the Libyan port of Khoms the previous night on a different boat. When a patrol of the Libyan Coast Guard approached their boat, the migrants jumped from the boat and began to swim towards the Spanish fishing boat.

Proactiva Open Arms on Twitter quoted a migrant as saying, “I jumped into the water because I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of Libya. I arrived in Libya when I was 12, now I am 16. Libyans imprison people for money, I was not able to shower while I was there. My mother died.”

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