Rescuing lives is not a crime! Freedom for the Open Arms boat
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The Italian authorities are currently detaining a boat that belongs to a Spanish NGO called Proactiva Open Arms in the Italian port of Pozallo. This NGO is dedicated to rescuing refugees fleeing to Europe through the Mediterranean.
We are calling for their urgent release - they haven't done anything wrong and are simply trying to save hundreds of people's lives. As of 2017, this NGO has rescued 57718 people. If they don't release the ship now, innocent people will continue to die in these waters.
Originally the NGO ran into problems with the Libyan coastguard. The coastguard threatened to shoot them if they did not hand over the women and children who they had just rescued 73 miles off the coast of Libya (which nowhere near the Libyan coastguard's jurisdiction).
The Italian authorities then detained members of the NGO and seized their boat in Catania. They accused them of being a criminal organisation that supports illegal immigration. But this NGO and its ship are simply trying to keep people alive, and that should not be a crime.
Life is more important than any political issue. The law of the sea obliges everyone to rescue people in distress, regardless of their religion, origin or the colour of their skin.
We're therefore calling for the immediate release of the vessel Open Arms and for the Italian authorities to revoke the unfounded allegations that have been made against them. We need them now, because people are still dying on the deadliest border on the planet, the Mediterranean.
Without Open Arms' humanitarian presence, we'll undoubtedly see a lot more deaths in the Mediterranean. We must all stand together for human rights and for life itself. We must support those who dedicate their lives to helping others.
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