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  • The Aquarius rescue ship of SOS Mediterranee organization is moored at the port of Marseille, France, October 6, 2018.

    The Aquarius rescue ship of SOS Mediterranee organization is moored at the port of Marseille, France, October 6, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 December 2018

European states and governments have forced Medics Without Borders to stop the humanitarian search and rescue missions on the Aquarius ship.

The humanitarian doctors' organization, Medics Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee have been forced to stop their search and rescue operations carried out by the Migrant Rescue Ship Aquarius. The vessel has remained docked and blocked from working on the humanitarian task, but people continue to try to reach Europe through the Mediterranean sea under the most precarious conditions.

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After Standoff, Aquarius Migrants Finally Disembark in Malta

A strong campaign, mainly headed by the far-right Italian government and backed by other European governments, has been in place in order to stop organizations that bring assistance to people in danger who are migrating towards Europe. This has also been backed by anti-immigrants policies adopted by several states of the European Union (EU), which has undermined international law and humanitarian principles.

Without an immediate solution to these attacks, both human rights organizations have no choice but to put an end to operations for the Aquarius. Nelke Manders, general director of MSF,  stated that "not only has Europe not been able to provide search and rescue capabilities, but it has also actively sabotaged others' attempts to save lives. The end of the Aquarius means more deaths at sea and more unnecessary deaths than anyone will witness."

"This is a sad day," she added, arguing that people keep dying in the mediterranean sea trying to get to Europe, and they are shot down by some of the "most repressive states of the world," stated MSF.

"Despite having worked in full coordination with the authorities, at the beginning of this year the Aquarius was removed from the register twice and now faces charges of criminal activity, accusations that are clearly absurd," stated the doctor's humanitarian organization. Adding that the people rescued at sea has been mistreated and some states have denied them the possibility of accessing a port and making them stay at sea for weeks.


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