Hundreds of thousands of people fled Libya since the crisis began in February 2011. As of June 14, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), one million refugees had left the country ; more than 500,000 heading off to Tunisia, more than 300,000 to Egypt and 70,000 to Niger.
Every day, refugees arrive in Tunisia to stay in already overpopulated camps [1
]. The majority are nationals from Sub-Saharan African countries themselves in conflict like Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea or Ivory Coast, it is therefore impossible to repatriate them ; as time goes by, their living conditions are becoming more and more difficult, while the risk that the country hosting them may end up being destabilised as well, is still growing.
These refugees are caught in a vice-like : Gaddafi’s regime is using the migration issue as a tool by forcing thousands of people to embark on makeshift vessels ; at the same time, many Africans are accused of being mercenaries in the pay of Tripoli and fall prey of the NTC (National Transitional Council) [2
]. Meanwhile, the countries part of the coalition forces don’t seem to establish a single link between their military intervention and people in exile. The European Union still didn’t take any initiative to host these people [3
] or to save those lost at sea. On the contrary, it is reinforcing border surveillance through the deployment of the Frontex agency in the Mediterranean while the coalition forces vessels don’t provide assistance to the boat-people. The UNHCR estimates that more than 2,000 people have been reported missing since February.
Numerous organisations are now pressuring the European authorities so that refugees can enter the European Union, for support to be provided to the countries where refugees are compelled to stay, and so that measures are taken to stop deaths in the Mediterranean. Not to avail.
The lack of hospitality within the policy of European states has reached such an appalling level that it is our duty to act and to show the possibility of a Euro-Mediterranean area based on solidarity and respect for Human Rights.
Following their meeting in Cecina (Italy), the Euro-Mediterranean organisations in favour of migrants’ rights decided to charter a flotilla which will proceed to maritime surveillance so that assistance is provided finally to people in danger. The participatory organisations would also like to call on the European bodies and governments on both sides of the Mediterranean for establishing relations within this common area on the basis of exchange and reciprocity.
This flotilla will embark political figures, journalists, artists, and some representatives of the organisations involved in the project.
Such an ambitious operation will not be meaningful unless it is mobilised on a large scale.
Any organisation, trade-union, political representative, seaman, journalist, artist as well as individual interested in this initiative may join this mailing list « Intervention Call Mediterranean » [4