Sunday, 15/9/2019 | 12:31 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Answer – NGOs cooperating with people smugglers in the Mediterranean – E-009782/2016

The level of access to its internal documents is assessed and managed by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

The Commission has not received any official information about prosecution of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in search and rescue (SAR) activities for having cooperated with criminal networks but will continue to closely monitor the situation, including through reports from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the European Naval Operation Sophia, and the relevant authorities of the most directly involved Member States, including Italy.

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

However, nothing therein could be interpreted as allegation of collaboration between the smugglers and the NGOs. The report calls in particular for increased coordination between all stakeholders conducting SAR operations in the Mediterranean.

Based on the EU legislation on the facilitation of unauthorised entry, national authorities are competent to assess whether the conduct of any NGO or other legal or natural person that rescue people in a concrete case could amount to a form of collusion and/or cooperation with migrant smuggling networks, and to establish grounds of jurisdiction.

The Commission does not provide funding to NGOs for their SAR activities in the Mediterranean.

(1) http://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Publications/Risk_Analysis/Annual_Risk_Analysis_2017.pdf
(2) Ibid, p.34.
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