During the seventh edition of Dialogue 2014, an initiative aiming at promoting international discussion on urgent issues, such as protection and safeguard of people at sea, an informal discussion forum focused on “Protection at Sea” was held yesterday in Geneva.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said:
Italy’s Mare Nostrum has saved thousands of lives in a year, proving its ability to manage a humanitarian crisis of gigantic proportions and showing all its humanity. We shall always be grateful to Italy and the Italian Navy for their deeds and hope that this ability will be inherited by all institutions dealing with this crisis.
Among many distinguished participants: Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration, Laurent Muschel, Director of migration and asylum in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Home Affairs, Mohamed Dayri, Libya’s Foreign Minister, Vincent Cochetel, UN Regional Representative.
Admiral De Giorgi, the Chief of the Italian Navy, explained to over 400 delegates, representatives of the European Union, NGOs, and associations active in defense of refugees rights:
Many among those who cross the Mediterranean board crammed boats sailing behind the so called ‘mother ships’ and are then abandoned many miles off the coasts, where they are either rescued or die. Our Navy has saved over 160,000 lives since October 2013. Now the operation is handled by the EU, but our Armed Force will not stop its commitment to save human lives at sea, to grant safety of navigation and fight all forms of illegal trafficking. The Mediterranean must not become a killing sea.
The panel warmly applauded Mare Nostrum, an all Italian model of intervention that is requested to replicate on a larger scale to other seas and oceans affected by the death at sea of thousands of people who flee their homes in search of a better future.
During the three day Dialogue 2014, the Italian Navy presented “La Scelta di Catia”, a docu-fiction and a photograph exhibition dedicated to Mare Nostrum.
Press release, Image: Italian Navy