Advocates of international rights chastised the European Union on Wednesday for renouncing its humanitarian obligation after the bloc admitted to pulling out ships inspecting the Mediterranean for immigrants trying for the dangerous voyage.
After much bickering, the EU confirmed this week to offer its Mediterranean naval mission called Operation Sophia for six months after the end of March, but only for air patrols and training of the Libyan coast guard.
Amnesty International stated that its barbaric relinquishment of EU governments’ responsibilities. It also stated that it’s a disgraceful decision and has nothing to do with the needs of people who endanger their lives at sea, but everything to do with the failure of European governments to concede on a way to share responsibility for them.
The human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, a European watchdog bigger than the EU, urged the bloc to accelerate sea rescues. Group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) stated that the EU move was “immoral and reckless”.
EU states have been clashing over migration since an increase in Mediterranean arrivals caught the bloc by surprise in 2015, extending social and security services and intensifying support for far-right, nationalist and populist groups.
Sea arrivals have fallen from over a million in the peak year to some 140,000 people last year, according to U.N. data. However, political tensions related to migration ran high in the EU, chiefly before the European Parliament election in May. Currently, EU air patrols would only report about emergencies to the Libyan coast guard, which can turn the people back to the nation where rights abuses are rampant.
U.N. aid agencies have long criticized the abuse of human rights in the camps such as lack of medical care, rape, and forced labor.