The German captain of a humanitarian rescue ship with 40 migrants aboard has been arrested after she rammed her vessel into an Italian border police motorboat while docking at a tiny Mediterranean island Saturday in defiance of Italy’s anti-migrant interior minister. Jeering onlookers shouted “handcuffs, handcuffs” as Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old captain, was escorted off the boat at Lampedusa, which is closer to north Africa than to the Italian mainland. The migrants, meanwhile, hugged personnel of the German Sea-Watch charity who helped them during their 17 days at sea. Some kissed the ground after disembarking from Sea-Watch 3 at dawn’s break. The migrants had been rescued from an unseaworthy vessel launched by Libya-based human traffickers but Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had refused to let them disembark on Lampedusa until other European Union countries agreed to take them. Five nations pledged to do so on Friday: Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal. The humanitarian rescue operation ended dramatically and violently when Rackete decided she could no longer wait for permission to dock given the odyssey of the migrants aboard. “It’s enough. After 16 days following the rescue, #SeaWatch3 enters in port,” the organization tweeted early Saturday shortly before the ship started heading dockside. The captain steered her vessel toward the island before dawn, ramming the much smaller police boat, which was blocking Sea-Watch 3?s path to the dock. In past years, Lampedusa had won international praise for its generous welcome to many of the hundreds of thousands of rescued migrants.
In the desert of western Libya, hundreds of African migrants were held for months in a hangar filled with maggot-covered garbage and sewage. They shared a couple of buckets of water between them and barely survived on one meal a day. More than 20 died from disease and hunger, they said. The migrants and their advocates accused U.N. aid agencies of turning a blind eye or responding too slowly to their plight. The U.N refugee agency, or UNHCR, denies it’s been unresponsive, saying it has been unable to access parts of the facility, run by one of Libya’s many militias. The commander in charge of the facility denied there was any lack of access. Internal memos and emails leaked to The Associated Press also show disagreement among the UNHCR and other aid agencies over conditions at the site in the town of Zintan, with one NGO working on behalf of UNHCR denying there was lack of food, even as it acknowledged it hadn’t been able to see the majority of migrants held there. The suffering of the migrants held in Zintan underscores the impact of the European Union’s effective yet much-criticized policy of blocking Africans from sailing across the Mediterranean to its shores and keeping them in Libya. Funded and trained by the EU, Libyan border guards have been stepping up efforts to stop migrants from crossing. As a result, thousands of migrants are trapped in a country thrown into chaos by war. At least 6,000 are locked up in
“If they are going to open the program up in these numbers and they can’t even manage the influx facility that they have in a humane way, then compounding that is going to be disastrous,” said Holly Cooper, an attorney at the Immigration Law Clinic at University of California, Davis who represents detained youth.
More than 40,000 people have been intercepted in the Mediterranean and taken to detention camps and torture houses under a European migration policy that is responsible for crimes against humanity, according to a legal document asking the International Criminal Court to take the case Monday. Citing public European Union documents, statements from the French president, the German chancellor and other top European Union officials, the document alleges that European Union officials are knowingly responsible for deaths of migrants at land and sea, and their widespread rape and torture at the hands of a Libyan coast guard funded and trained at the expense of European taxpayers. It names no EU official but cites an ongoing ICC investigation into the fate of migrants in Libya. “We leave it to the prosecutor, if he dares, if she dares, to go into the structures of power and to investigate at the heart of Brussels, of Paris, of Berlin and Rome and to see by searching in the archives of the meetings of the negotiations who was really behind the scenes trying to push for these policies that triggered the death of more than 14,000 people,” said Juan Branco, a lawyer who co-wrote the report and shared it with The Associated Press. The ICC is a court of last resort that handles cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide when other countries are unwilling or unable to prosecute. Germany’s government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, rejected any responsibility for conditions in Libya and said any
Young migrants in New Jersey who are seeking legal status in the United States after allegedly suffering abuse or neglect in their home countries sued the Trump administration on Monday, saying it is unfairly denying their claims.
It is the fourth such lawsuit of its kind around the country filed since last year over rejections of so-called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions, which have increasingly been denied to migrants as President Donald Trump’s administration tightens immigration policy.
Monday’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of four anonymous people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who say they were victims of family abuse and gang violence in their home countries but that their applications for immigration status were unfairly denied because they are between the ages of 18 to 21.
“It doesn’t matter what rules (Trump’s) government imposes we cannot go back to our countries. I have a bullet in my arm and another in my shoulder. If I go back home, it’d be better for me to go with a casket,” said 30 year-old Julio Caesar from Honduras, who declined to give his last name.
Civil rights law firm Nexus Derechos Humanos is representing the migrants. The suit also claims the US is forbidden to send its troops across the Mexican border to block asylum-seekers because the claim process begins as soon as a prospective immigrant indicates they intend to apply for asylum.
More than a thousand Honduran migrants broke through a Guatemalan police cordon on the border with Mexico Sunday as they attempted to join a larger caravan of compatriots heading towards the United States, police and rights groups said.
Mexican authorities reiterated on Sunday that Honduran migrants would be allowed to enter as refugees.
Amadhou Kabaseke Taty, Kasai’s provincial director of the Congolese border agency (DGM) told Reuters that he believed there had been “serious violations of human rights” during the Angolan operation.
“I am worried about the situation,” he said. “Congolese people have been expelled in degrading conditions. They have been molested, beaten and killed, especially in Lucapa, by the Angolan military police.”