Dismay at Deaths in the Mediterranean

Rome (NEV), 13th November 2020 – Can people get accustomed to deaths in the Mediterranean?  Can a child aged only a few months lose his life amidst political indifference?

Paolo Naso, coordinator of Mediterranean Hope, migrant and refugee programme of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, is “outraged”. And states: “Coordinated search and rescue (SAR) in the Mediterranean is more urgent than ever.  The government and majority must acknowledge that, faced with recurring – and ever more serious – tragedies, activating a coordinated system of humanitarian SAR action is indispensable.

In a press release published a few days ago on the German churches’ website the preseident of the evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, expressed his  “dismay at the situation in the Mediterranean”.  “The deaths of so many people within the space of a few hours is terrible.  This atrocious suffering and these senseless deaths in the Mediterranean must be brought to an end,” wrote Bedford-Strohm on his Facebook page.

In recent days – today’s EKD press release reports – the president of the Council of German Churches also had a remote meeting with Italian Minister for Transport Paola De Micheli regarding the release of the rescue ship “Sea-Watch 4 – powered by United4Rescue”, currently impounded in the port of Palermo.

During the meeting, in which commandant general of the Italian Coastguard Giovanni Pettorino and Paolo Naso, coordinator of FCEI’s migrant and refugee programme also participated, Bedford-Strohm stated: “Thus far, primarily legal queries have prevented the boat from setting sail once more.  It is regrettable that these have carried more weight than humanitarian urgency”.

“Sea-Watch 4”, bought at the beginning of 2020  thanks to donations collected by the alliance United4Rescue, promoted by the German Protestant Church, and fitted out as a rescue ship, is still anchored at the port of Palermo, where it has been since its first rescue mission last September, during which it rescued 353 migrants.