“In the 21st century, we cannot let people drown before our eyes”, warns SOS Mediterranean which demands the liberation of the Viking Ocean

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The humanitarian ship of the NGO has been detained for a month in Sicily by the Italian authorities.

“We cannot let people drown in front of our eyes, it is absolutely unacceptable today in the 21st century. So we absolutely have to put these boats back into service.”, demanded Saturday August 22 on franceinfo Sophie Beau, co-founder and general director of SOS Méditerranée, while the Viking Ocean, the humanitarian ship of the NGO has been held since July 22 in Sicily by the Italian authorities.

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“It is absolutely necessary to dismantle the channels of smugglers, continues Sophie Beau. But we must also reach out to the people in front of our eyes at the gates of Europe. One does not prevent the other.”

The Mediterranean Sea does not have to be a vast cemetery.Sophie Beau, Managing Director of SOS Méditerranée

“The rescue boats must be released to be able to carry out this mission. Because today, the humanitarian situation is catastrophic in the Mediterranean Sea”, she added.

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To public officials who believe that the rescue actions of NGOs such as SOS Méditerranée encourage migrants to risk themselves at sea, Sophie Beau responds with a road analogy: “People do not have road accidents because there are ambulances that exist to rescue them. It’s the same thing at sea. There is no correlation,” defends the CEO of SOS Méditerranée.

There is no correlation between the number of people crossing and the presence or absence of rescuers.Sophie Beauto franceinfo

“On the other hand, there is a very strong correlation with the death rate which has skyrocketed because there is no one to help them.”

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Sophie Beau believes that the Covid-19 crisis has further worsened the situation in the Mediterranean. “Each State has closed its borders, stopped accepting these castaways from the Mediterranean. Suddenly, Italy and Malta find themselves again alone and completely isolated on the front line. But beyond Italy and Malta “which block ships”, the general manager of SOS Mediterranean denounces “the inaction of European states which are not united and which have never been so with the two states on the front line”.

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