Sea-Watch 3 Released
The Sea-Watch 3 vessel was released by Italian authorities on Saturday.
After the rescue of 65 people on May 15, the Sea-Watch 3 crew were allowed to disembark those rescued at Lampedusa. However, Sea-Watch 3 was taken into “probationary confiscation” and was asked to proceed to the port of Licata.
On the vessel's release, the human rights group Sea-Watch said on Facebook: “We have not broken any law, on the contrary, we have once more upheld the law of the sea and the Geneva Refugee Convention! We will be returning to the SAR zone to rescue people fleeing the Libyan war zone as soon as possible. Sea rescue is not a crime!”
Italian minister of the interior, Matteo Salvini, has staunchly opposed African immigration and has ordered Italy's ports closed to rescue vessels.
The landing in Lampedusa occurred around the time that a group of UN human rights experts issued a joint condemnation of Italy's restrictive immigration policies. “We urge authorities to stop endangering the lives of migrants, including asylum seekers and victims of trafficking in persons, by invoking the fight against traffickers. This approach is misleading and is not in line with both general international law and international human rights law," six UN special rapporteurs wrote in a missive published by UN Human Rights. "Instead, restrictive migration policies contribute to exacerbating migrants’ vulnerabilities and only serve to increase trafficking in persons.”