1,000 asylum seekers stranded in the Mediterranean

Italian Coast Guard launches major rescue operation with about 700 people saved, many of them children.

    A raft overcrowded with asylum seekers is photographed in early May [Kenny Karpov/SOS Mediteranee via Reuters]
    A raft overcrowded with asylum seekers is photographed in early May [Kenny Karpov/SOS Mediteranee via Reuters]

    About 1,000 asylum seekers stranded in the Mediterranean after setting off from Libya prompted a massive rescue effort with hundreds being saved.  

    Four Italian Coast Guard ships went out to recover the asylum seekers on Tuesday from at least 11 rafts and barges trying to reach European shores. Joining the Italians were vessels belonging to the UN's Save the Children, the SOS Mediterranee, and the German NGO Jugend Rettet.

    According to reports by the Jugend Rettet, its crew witnessed shots fired from a ship with Libyan Coast Guard markings in the direction of one raft. A photo posted on Twitter suggests the Libyan Coast Guard boarded one raft and held passengers at gun point.

    Jugend Rettet also said several boats were pushed back into Libyan waters, which would represent a violation of the non-refoulement principle. Under this principle of international law, asylum seekers are not to be returned to a country where they face danger of persecution.

    SOS Mediterranee reported that 700 people had been safely rescued and taken aboard. Many were children, it said.

    The head of the United Nations refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, urged Libyan authorities to free all asylum seekers and refugees from its detention centres, describing the conditions as "shocking".

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    Hate crime in India: Muslim man hacked, burned to death

    Hate crime in India: Muslim man hacked, burned to death

    Activists say that lynching of Muslim Indians is a growing phenomenon in many parts of the country.

    Where does halal meat come from?

    Where does halal meat come from?

    The $415bn halal-food industry heavily relies on meat imported from non-Muslim majority countries.