Human Rights at Sea & other leading NGOs express concerns over the ongoing handling of the Mediterranean crisis in open letter to UNHCR
Author: Alarmphone, Human Rights at Sea, Jugend Rettet, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Mission Lifeline, Proactiva Open Arms, Pro Asyl, Sea-Eye, Sea-Watch, Published on: 1 August 2018
To the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi,
The signing organizations have been closely monitoring the latest developments on the Central Mediterranean... We are well aware of the challenges and limits that UNHCR is subjected in operations in Northern Africa. Nonetheless, at the intergovernmental level, UNHCR remains the central actor responsible (...) critically reminding states of their humanitarian and legal obligations... UNHCR has stated they will not take part of an arrangement that is not based on strong commitments from the EU to take responsibility towards refugees and act in solidarity... Looking at UNHCR’s meeting with the European Commission (...), we hope that UNHCR will remind the European states of their responsibility towards refugees - a responsibility which cannot be transferred to third countries... We urge UNHCR to take a resolute stand regarding past and future blockades of vessels at the Central Mediterranean and to insist on disembarkation to a place were people‘s dignity and protection can be fully guaranteed. Based on its essential role worldwide, we expect UNHCR to fulfil its mandate, which first and foremost is: the protection of refugees - people who strongly depend on the valuable assistance of UNHCR.