Thursday, 13. December 2018

As search and rescue organisations, we are grateful that thanks to the initiative of the Socialists and Democrats Group, we were nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This nomination is acknowledging the vital role which NGOs have played in saving human lives during the past years. Last year alone, NGOs have conducted about 40% of the rescues in the Central Mediterranean.

This year constitutes an extraordinary year for the protection of human rights – and simultaneously their devaluation – as it marks the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. However, in light of current EU migration policies, there is no cause for celebration. Over 2.100 people died this year, trying to reach safety in Europe. EU member states should use this anniversary to evaluate European migration policies with regards to the values agreed by the international community after the atrocities of the Second World War.

Despite the hostile environment targeting NGOs working at sea, SOS MEDITERRANEE remains fully committed to provide lifesaving assistance and is preparing to resume search and rescue operations in early 2019.

The European Initiative of Communist and Workers' Parties has released a statement in face of the 101st anniversary of the Great Socialist Revolution of October.

The European Communist Initiative (ECI), considering the October Revolution as the greatest event of the 20th century, reflects the achievements of the socialist system, including equality, social and economic rights to a great extent, reminding that "the working class in the capitalist countries was stronger thanks to the existence of socialist countries".

firIn a resolution passed with 355 votes to 90 and 39 abstentions, MEPs denounce that the lack of serious action against these groups has enabled the current xenophobic surge in Europe. The text mentions the attack that killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, the murder of UK MP Jo Cox in 2016 and the recent attack by fascist squads in Italy against MEP Eleonora Forenza. It also refers to several incidents involving fascists in Poland, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Latvia and the Nordic countries.

firThe next elections to the European Parliament will take place in May 2019. For the International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR) - Association of Anti-Fascists, its member-federations in almost all European countries and Israel, veterans of antifascist struggle and antifascists of today's generation, these elections are very important for a variety of reasons:

In recent years, we have often had to experience painfully that the present policy and development of the European Union does not correspond to the interests of large parts of the people in the European countries. In particular, the response to refugee situation and the fiscal clout of several states have deepened the social divide in Europe. Numerous decisions lead to massive social exclusion and dismantling of workers' rights, at the expense of the weakest in the respective countries. At the same time, the tendencies to foreclosure of the "fortress Europe" are massive reinforced and the development of a European military power for international missions is promoted.

An Italian member of our rescue team wrote a moving text on the tragedy that has opened the eyes of the world to the humanitarian tragedy that is still unfolding in the Mediterranean. By Alessandro Porro.

Five years. It took five years for Europe to forget the Lampedusa tragedy. On October 3 2013, a boat that departed from Libya sank near the island, causing the death of 369 people.This resulted in mass outrage and shame at the time, leading to Italy proclaiming a day of national mourning and reviewing the laws on reception and integration of refugees.

We, members of civil society, are joining the crew of the Aquarius, the last active civil rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, in demanding that all States in Europe uphold the duty to save lives in distress at sea prior to any political considerations and in full respect of applicable international law. We call upon all States in Europe to:

  • Take all measures available to allow the Aquarius to resume its life-saving mission as soon as possible,
  •  Comply with the duty to render assistance to people in distress at sea,
  • Assume their responsibilities by establishing an effective European rescue model in the Mediterranean.

1. We welcome the announcement by France and Malta of a coordinated European response: The 58 survivors of 2 rescues events, who are at the moment on board the Aquarius, will be transshipped on a Maltese asset, in international waters. According to the information released officially by the Maltese government, the survivors will be disembarked in Malta and all of them will be immediately redistributed in another four European Union member states.We have no information where these people will be redistributed.

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) exposed EU’s disregard for national sovereignty and social rights.

The Portugese Communist Party (PCP) strongly denounced and condemned the attacks ‘on democracy, social rights, fundamental freedoms and guarantees of the citizens in Hungary.’ The PCP also rejected that under the pretext of this situation the European Union (EU) tries to pave the way to increase its threats, blackmail, impositions and sanctions against the States and their peoples, which portrays the policies of the EU itself.

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