• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > Culture

Javier Bardem Asks Spain's Acting PM To End Open Arms Stand-Off

  • Oscar nominated actor Javier Bardem poses for a portrait in Los Angeles February 5, 2008.

    Oscar nominated actor Javier Bardem poses for a portrait in Los Angeles February 5, 2008. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 August 2019

Bardem followed the path of Richard Gere before him, who visited the vessel with supplies on Friday.

Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem called Monday on Spain's acting prime minister to end a political stand-off that has left Spanish charity rescue boat stuck at sea with some 150 migrants on board.

'Europe Surrenders Human Lives to Mafias', Open Arms Ship Says

In a video shared on Twitter, Bardem, 50, asked Pedro Sánchez to take on a leadership role within the European Union for the distribution of the migrants Open Arms has rescued from the Mediterranean Sea.

He said: "I'm sending this video to unite my voice with all those people who are publicly demanding of our acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, along with Spain, which is where the non-governmental Open Arms and its workers, who risk their lives to save those of others, are from, to lead a distribution process for all the people on the boat and all the countries in the EU."

"We think that Spain is the ideal and right country to do so since it's the country of origin of the NGO Open Arms, which is doing a necessary and extraordinary job for human dignity and to save the lives of people who are fleeing from situations that we can't even begin to imagine."

Open Arms is currently located in international waters around 50 kilometers off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, known for his far-right policies, has banned rescue boats from disembarking in Italian territory.

The mission chief, Anabel Montes, told Efe on Monday that eight of the 159 migrants on board had been successfully evacuated to nearby Malta, two of them were suffering health problems, the rest were family members who did not want to be separated.

On Monday, Open Arms filed an asylum request for 31 minors on board to Maltese authorities.

The 151 migrants who remain on the vessel in cramped conditions were rescued in three separate operations in the Mediterranean Sea, most off the coast of Libya, a country gripped by civil war.

They applauded when the Maltese vessel headed away from Open Arms with the evacuees.

"In terms of physical condition, the situation is much more than just tiredness, they're exhausted," Montes said.

Montes said that the psychological condition of the migrants on board must also be taken into consideration, given that many have suffered hardship on their journey towards Europe and had been the victim of torture and violence in Libya.

"The psychological situation hangs in the balance," she said, warning that the risk of altercations on the boat increases the longer they remain adrift.

Open Arms has been at sea since a rescue mission on August 1.

Another NGO rescue vessel, the Ocean Viking, managed jointly by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranée, is also active in the Mediterranean Sea. It currently has 251 migrants on board, 81 of those rescued on Sunday evening off the Libyan coast.

Numerous migrants have said they were tortured during their time held in migrant detention centers in the North African nation.

One of the doctors on the Ocean Viking said: "People described to me being tortured by electric shock, of being beaten with guns and sticks, and burned with melted plastic. They described how they still feel pain from their wounds and scars sustained during their time in Libya."

While the EU operates a helicopter surveillance system, it currently does not have any active rescue boats in the Med, which has become one of the principal migrant routes from Africa to Europe.

Therefore, rescue is being conducted only by charity vessels. But they now face potential legal action from Italian authorities if they head to port without permission. 

Post with no comments.