New findings point to Italy’s responsibility in mass death of migrants near Lampedusa

via The Malta Independent “Lampedusa tragedy: Did Italy let migrant boat enter Maltese SAR zone to avoid responsibility?

In an interview conducted by L’Espresso journalist Fabrizio Gatti, Dr Mohammad Jammo testified that he had called RCC Rome at 11am and warned that the boat was slowly sinking, having been holed by machinegun fire from a Libyan patrol boat the night before.[…]

One plausible theory that could explain what happened is a political dispute between Malta and Italy. Dr Jammo insists that he first got through to the Italians at 11am. At this time the migrant boat was inside the Libyan SAR zone, which is not well patrolled. Besides, according to Dr Jammo, the Libyans had fired on the migrant boat, so a Libyan rescue was probably out of the question. The Italian ITS Libra and Guardia Costiera and Guardia di Finanza boats stationed in Lampedusa were the closest assets and could have been sent to help. They could have reached the migrant boat in about an hour-and-a-half. But the lack of orders for them to do so by Italy could signify a refusal by Rome to get involved. The Armed Forces of Malta, on the other hand have never clarified if they asked for help from the Italians. It is understood that the general feeling of the Maltese authorities is that Italy was reluctant to help the migrants.

For those new to this blog, in the EU, “migrant” is nothing but a code word for Black and Brown people who are trying to reach borders without visas. They are usually referred to as “asylum seekers”, “refugees” or, in some rare cases, “illegal immigrants”. More about this language here.

As per the article linked above (which I strongly recommend reading), it seems that again, we are at the beginning stages of the ongoing and well documented shifting of responsibilities of mass deaths of undocumented migrants in the Mediterranean. 

From the archives on this very blog:

May 2011: Dozens of African migrants were left to die in the Mediterranean after a number of European military units apparently ignored their cries for help.

April 2, 2012: A catalogue of failures by Nato warships and European coastguards led to the deaths of dozens of migrants left adrift at sea.

Bonus long post I wrote at Tiger Beatdown, February 2012 with (an incomplete) list of failures in saving immigrant lives by Frontex.

Bonus 2, October 4th, 2013: on the “gender gap” in the Lampedusa death toll.

On December 20th, I posted about Italy’s treatment of the survivors of the Lampedusa boat tragedy. I used the word “torture” to describe the systematic abuse that the survivors are subjected to. On a follow up post on January 3rd, I posted about another rescue operation in the Mediterranean that involved more than 200 people in a sinking boat. Back then I wrote this:

There is a very strong focus on “exporting” the European version of human rights while at the same time refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants inside European borders are not afforded basic human dignity. A lot of the rhetoric about “promoting and exporting human rights” is merely a marketing device devoid of praxis when it applies within EU member States and the necessary accountability that would somewhat legitimize those “intentions” stated in the document.

How many more instances do we need to document before these deaths are acknowledged as both systematic and systemic within a political project that bases its marketing on “promotion of human rights”? Whose human rights are protected and who isn’t acknowledged as human enough to be cared for? I’ve asked this many times before but it bears repeating, in this political project known as The European Union, whose lives are worth cherishing?

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