Attack by the Libyan Coastguard on the rescue vessel "Lifeline"
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Statement by Mission Lifelife originally posted on YouTube, 27 September 2017
Our civilian rescue ship, the "Lifeline", was attacked yesterday by the Libyan coast guard during its first rescue operation in the Mediterranean.
While our crew provided humanitarian aid 19 miles off the Libyan coast (in international waters), the Libyan Coast Guard attacked our ship by firing shots and entering our rescue ship without the consent of our captain.
During this act of piracy, the Coast Guard tried to force us to hand over the rescued people to take them back to Libya. The Coast Guard had insisted that our ship operate illegally in the Libyan waters, which was not the case.
Our crew refused to surrender the rescued people to the LCG not only because of the moral obligation but also because of the non-refoulement principle, which is a principle of international law prohibiting the repatriation of persons in countries where they are threatened with torture or other serious human rights violations, which is the case in Libya. This basic principle of humanitarian treatment is systematically ignored by the European Union who funds the LGC. Luckily, the attackers left the area after intense discussions and both the crew and the rescued people aboard the Lifeline are fine and in good condition.
However, this case clearly shows that the Libyan coast guard has repeatedly hindered rescue operations and the carrying out of humanitarian aid, threatened the lives of the crew on board as well as of the migrants and tried to defend the arbitrary expansion of their territory.
The criminal and life-threatening acts of the Libyan coast guard are still financially supported by the European Union and our government.
Hereunder you can find the video documenting yesterdays attack of the LCG. We are waiting for reactions from Brussels and Berlin and will do all we can to ensure that the responsible persons are held accountable while ensuring the saving of human lives in the Mediterranean.
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