Wednesday, 22/1/2020 | 1:46 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Answer – Complaints of cooperation between NGOs and refugee traffickers in the Mediterranean – E-009621/2016

The 2017 risk analysis of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency(1) (EBCGA) stresses the unintended consequences of the search and rescue (SAR) missions close to, or within, the 12-mile territorial waters of Libya, with migrant smugglers organising crossings with the main purpose of being detected by EU, civilian and non-governmental organisations (NGO) vessels(2).

However, this should not be interpreted as an allegation of collaboration between the migrant smugglers and the NGOs. The Commission has not received official information about prosecution of NGOs for having cooperated with criminal networks.

The Commission will continue to closely monitor the situation, including through reports from the EBCGA, the European mission EUNAVFORMED/Operation Sophia, and the relevant authorities of the most directly involved Member States, including Italy.

In line with international law, coordination of the rescue efforts is ensured primarily by the State of the SAR region where an incident takes place through its rescue coordination centre (RCC). Any assisting vessel, be it private-owned or State-controlled, must therefore follow the instructions of the responsible RCC. Under the current circumstances, increased coordination between all participants in the SAR operations in the Mediterranean is required(3).

The Greek authorities are establishing a registry of NGOs to better monitor the organisations currently active in Greece.

(2) Ibid, p. 33.
(3) Ibid, p.33.