Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has suspended its so-called “rescue” missions ferrying migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe.
Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier, responsible for MSF ship Prudence, has said the NGO will cease its activities pending explanations from Libya’s nominal government over warnings that “NGOs which pretend to want to rescue illegal migrants and carry out humanitarian actions” are no longer welcome in the search-and-rescue zone in and around their waters, Radio France Internationale reports.
Back in February 2017, the EU Border Agency (Frontex) described NGOs in the Mediterranean as acting “like taxis” for illegal migrants, having determined that their operations off Libya helped people-smugglers to “achieve their objectives at minimum cost [and] strengthen their business model by increasing the chances of success”.
Consequently, their “rescue” missions were encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing to Europe and, perversely, increasing total drowning deaths.
The Frontex analysis was soon followed by several accusations of direct collusion between NGOs and people-smugglers, with the Italian authorities impounding the ship Iuventa after photographic evidence appeared to show it accepting transfers of Europe-bound migrants from smuggler boats directly.