Loujin died in this manner by pleading for water.
There aren’t many NGO search and rescue ships, and because of restrictions imposed by legislation and bureaucracy, they cannot respond to emergencies, putting migrants in the care of the Libyan coast guard or making them wait days to land at safe ports.
Instead, Emergency aims to respond to the distressed ships by being present and providing “Life Support.”
The Italian government is a “bureaucracy,” the European Court of Justice responded in August, explaining why Sea Watch vessels will be blocked for months in Palermo and Porto Empedocle in 2020.
The “Life Support” will therefore sail out into the vast ocean.
Due to this, a brand-new vessel with a large white “E” will go through the Mediterranean Sea. The ship is over fifty metres long, has a red hull, and has low decks. It is about to sail out into the open sea from Genoa’s harbour. The “Life Support” would not have been hailed by the cheers of a crowded plaza on a late summer night in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia if residents residing on the north shore of that “water cemetery” with the name of Mediterranean had chosen life. If they had chosen life, that ship would have another task; it wouldn’t be ready to set sail right now.
I’m thirsty, mom. Loujin died in this manner by pleading for water. She was four years old and had spent ten days at sea on a boat when an SOS was sent out, but nobody saw it until it was too late in a still-extremely-hot September. She and her family were attempting to flee the conflict in Syria with the hopeless dream of finding sanctuary in a camp in Lebanon. Along with six other refugees, she passed away: According to Chiara Cardoletti, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees representative in Italy, “they died of thirst, hunger, and serious burns.” The daily Avvenire reported that “the dead were dumped into the water according to the accounts of the survivors who are being checked by the police.” A few days later, the water claimed at least eighty bodies, dead off the coastlines of Lebanon and Syria. In the first half of October, eleven other decomposing bodies were discovered off the coast of Tunisia. Before that, water had claimed so many lives that it was impossible to count them all.
Loujin might still be alive if there had been a ship like the one with the big white “E” on its crimson sides. The “E” stands for Emergency; an Italian NGO established in 1994 to provide relief to those suffering from poverty and war.
Emergency has made its decision: Regardless of the “barriers” built in that water, it will sail the Mediterranean searching for people. Barriers erected by laws, regulations, and occasionally arbitrarily do not stop women and men from looking for a better future; far too frequently, they result in the corpses that wars and starvation were unable to produce.
Emergency, an organisation that has transformed the defence of human rights and its radical “No war” stance into practical operations in the world’s most challenging areas, had its annual gathering in Reggio Emilia with 10,000 attendees. These figures, which have doubled since the previous year, show how desirous Italy is of tranquilly and friendliness.
“It is simply unacceptable to see and know that hundreds of people are perishing off our shores. According to Pietro Parrino, Emergency’s director of the Field Operations Department, “With us think to represent many Italians who do not want to see this happen.
25,034 persons have perished or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea since 2014 as of the date of this writing, which is mid-October this year. According to a statement from the NGO, “They were more than 1,100 only in the absence of a coordinated search and rescue operation at the European level.” Parrino emphasised that we had to be at sea to preserve lives. Whatever the motivation for those people’s choice to go on the riskiest of journeys, he continued, “They just need help and we are, and we try to be, in the locations where help is needed.”
But going there is a difficult decision. There aren’t many NGO search and rescue ships, and because of restrictions imposed by legislation and bureaucracy, they cannot respond to emergencies, putting migrants in the care of the Libyan coast guard or making them wait days to land at safe ports. Their work is complex, and in a nation where the need for a “naval blockade” has been a campaign slogan for those who won the most recent presidential election, they have even been accused of being “sea taxis” or “accomplices” of traffickers.
Deciding to live requires bravery.
The final leg
Mare Nostrum, the name given to the sea by the Romans, has barriers, or “walls,” created within it by other political decisions, such as the Malta Declaration that was later signed or the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that Italy and Libya signed in 2017. Amnesty International cited agreements “that constitute the basis of a close relationship that entrusts the patrolling of the central Mediterranean to Libyan coastguards” and the creation of the Libyan SAR. Libya was given control over search and rescue operations in this sizable maritime area. One of the groups advocating for the suspension of the Memorandum is the human rights organisation: Over 85,000 migrants have been detained at sea and returned to Libya in the past five years, including men, women, and children who have endured arbitrary detention, torture, harsh, inhuman, and humiliating treatment, rape and sexual assault, forced labour, and illegal killings.
Even with the help of boats, any attempt to remove such barriers will fail and cause suffering. The migration does not cease; as laws or European policies change, new routes emerge while older ones close and reopen. The final leg of a lengthy journey, where people trafficking is a business based on desperation run by the same groups that smuggle drugs and oil, is crossing the sea. Trips are a good that may be purchased on the market for money or a person’s body.
The Mediterranean route will always be costly. When dirty money, or currency, is sophisticatedly mobilised, it finds its way into the pockets of people we don’t know, or more accurately, of people, we know what they do, and is used to fund other illegal enterprises. It involves a far more intricate mechanism than just the concept of “transit.”
The number of people choosing to come to Europe is claimed to have increased due to NGOs’ search and rescue operations. However, as the Huffington Post reported last year, information from the Italian Ministry of the Interior demonstrates that this is untrue. Even though there were fewer ships in the Mediterranean in 2021 than the year before because some of them were blocked by “bureaucracy,” there were still a significant number of arrivals. Because those who fled violence and famine always found new ways to organise the journey, there were fewer ships but more arrivals.
People who leave places like Afghanistan or the Horn of Africa with thousands of miles to travel on foot while having little to no money are people with courage and tenacity that are unfathomable to us, according to Parrino. They are driven by desperation, which causes them to those who offer them spot in a trash can. “These people claim that few people receive a straightforward journey. Since the traffickers make tens of thousands of euros by selling and reselling them before setting them free, many are held in captivity for years, working in the fields or as prostitutes. According to him, the goal of trafficking is to control the thousands of desperate people who are used as labour and sex slaves for months or even years before being given permission to board a boat across the Mediterranean. People engage in it because they have even less than what lies in the future. They are individuals who willingly take a risk they are aware of, Parrino emphasised.
For a study project, criminologist Gabriele Baratto of the University of Trento examined that market. He looked into the “digitalization” of trafficking in people.
Smugglers search for migrants who wish to emigrate via social media, particularly Facebook. Then Baratto and his group got in touch with them. They believed it would be challenging, that they would need to use the dark web, and that they would need to speak in code. But no, everything takes place in broad daylight. Simple keyword queries like “how to get to Europe” were sufficient.
“There are hundreds of posts, pages, and groups devoted to encouraging travel for migrants; these posts contained and still contain basic information on the point of departure and fact of arrival as well as some indication of the cost, date, and month of release. At the Emergency meeting in Reggio Emilia, Baratto said, “And the thing that left us most perplexed was that there was the phone number of the traffickers.
They are “tour operators” of suffering who request to be reached via phone, WhatsApp, or Skype because such methods are harder to eavesdrop on.
We created stories and scripts that said, “I’m in Italy, but I have my sister, my brother, and my parents.” If they don’t respond, they write to you. Otherwise, they respond. You can chat with them on the phone and get all the information in no more than 30 minutes. Travel becomes safer, more “pleasant,” and more direct the more money you pay, and traffickers are aware of changes in European governments’ laws and practises.
Baratto continued, “‘If you did this, why don’t the cops do the same?'” Simply put, it is exceedingly challenging to apprehend traffickers one by one. He thinks that “a new attitude to immigration” is the only answer.
Hell—the hell that Emergency is familiar with—lies behind that market in the sunlight.
Is it possible to decide how to act and open a humanitarian corridor? We are well aware of their origins. Europe’s accord with Libya, “‘paying’ traffickers, supplying patrol boats, money, and persuading them not to let people go, has been the only response to those questions. While the flows to the countries of arrival have significantly dropped, the flows from the countries of departure have not changed. What happens to all of these people? What do smugglers do with them?” He told us, Parrino.
Eliminating the causes of people leaving or deciding that opening the doors to Europe cannot be fate would be vital to stop the death spiral. “Access cannot happen by accident for those rescued at sea or who manage to arrive by boat on our shores. Without sounding the “invasion” alarm, we believe it could be considerably more organised, he said.
The NGO Emergency calls for anyone who must leave their nation to access safe and legal transportation. It will be at sea up until that point because the ocean absorbs everything. Parrino said from the Reggio Emilia stage, “After a few minutes the sea is flat and you don’t recognise that there has been a disaster, there are no pieces left, nothing remains.
The boat that took the souls of those 80 persons who passed away in mid-September, as happened to Loujin, did not receive any responses to its distress call. Nobody paid attention to their calls in defiance of the long-standing maritime law that requires that duty. Instead, Emergency aims to respond to the distressed ships by being present and providing “Life Support.” It will be one of the few NGOs within the small fleet that refuses to submit to the restrictions imposed by an unjust and cruel bureaucracy that drags invisible barbed wires into the ocean.
The Italian government is a “bureaucracy,” the European Court of Justice responded in August, explaining why Sea Watch vessels will be blocked for months in Palermo and Porto Empedocle in 2020. Inspection-required ships aren’t allowed to operate for “missing certifications” or “too many persons on board.” Over time, laws, political decisions, and administrative restrictions have compelled NGOs to reconsider even “how” assistance is provided.
Given that search and rescue operations were swift and disembarkation seldom took too long in the past, an emergency has already been functioning since 2016 with other partners providing health and social help, a sort of aid that was less typical. However, visiting Italy today can be timeless.
“Fifty days was the most extended expedition I can recall. 50 days at sea, of which at least 30 were spent with refugees on board since the ship was stranded in the harbour. During this time, many jumped off the boat, even psychologists who had to board, Parrino recalled.
He clarified that there are no clear-cut regulations but considerable arbitrariness and variations based on ports or the “political climate.” There were times when it took just three or four days to get from the point of identification at sea to disembarkation, and other times when it took thirty or forty days,” he continued.
Life Support’s mission will therefore last for roughly fifteen days because it may be necessary to remain on board longer. “It takes approximately a day to patrol in front of the Libyan coast if I had to leave and come back from Sicily. You go there when there are excellent weather windows because there are no departures in poor weather. The task ought to be completed in four or five days since you have to be able to identify the target within two or three days.
That is merely theory. People who travel by boat frequently have to live together for days at a time, and this forced togetherness can get challenging over time. “It is obvious that those are not cruise ships. With the knowledge we have accumulated over the years, we are fully restoring the one we purchased, but there are undoubtedly not 170 cabins, so things get heavy.
“Everything returns to memory: hunger, desperation, what you have left… what you have experienced, the for what has been and will happen,” says the author, two or three days after the rescue. Adrenaline then transforms into new worries. Because of this, you are keeping people on board for an extended period has adverse effects on everyone. In addition to hiring more doctors, nurses, and psychiatrists, “in case the ship has to stop, you have a crew under strain,” Parrino said that we need to work “on empathy” and boost staff.
NGOs’ search and rescue operations at sea can spark controversy, but saving lives is never a contentious issue. This is once again where the Emergency begins. The “Life Support” will therefore sail out into the vast ocean. It will carry the following quote from its founder Gino Strada, who won the SunHak Peace Prize in 2017 and passed away last year, on its crimson hull as it departs from Genoa: “If the rights are not for every single person, you’d best call them privileges.”
Life cannot be an entitlement.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network