Left adrift in the Mediterranean

“The most important thing for these people here is that they get to a safe port and be allowed to get off the boat,” said Richard Gere, speaking from the Proactiva Open Arms NGO rescue ship today. The Hollywood star had come to Lampedusa in southern Italy to help raise awareness of the plight of 121 asylum seekers who have now been at sea for eight days. On board are more than 30 children, among them two babies, but Italian and Maltese authorities are refusing to let them disembark.

The most important thing for these people here is that they get to a safe port and be allowed to get off the boat

Richard Gere, actor

Many of those on board are reportedly suffering injuries including third degree burns and gunshot wounds inflicted during their detention in Libya, from which they recently fled. At least one man claims to have sustained injuries during last month’s attack on Tajoura detention centre in Tripoli. Yet, despite searing temperatures and mounting concerns for their well-being, Italian and Maltese authorities will not allow them to disembark.

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26. August 2019