By Juan Matías Gil, MSF Search and Rescue Representative
“These kinds of tragedies are happening daily in the Mediterranean and at the European borders, right in front of everyone’s eyes. More and more people have been taking the sea to find refuge over the last few days and weeks, and several deadly shipwrecks have occurred, particularly along the Tunisian route.
On Monday, MSF teams, onboard the Search and Rescue vessel Geo Barents, overheard a boat-in-distress call over the radio. We arrived at the location and rescued a group of people, but 3 had gone overboard. After a long thorough search, we found two survivors, the third person went missing. What if we had never overheard that call? Would we be still counting deaths? Saving lives cannot be a matter of luck or coincidence, or neglect; we need an active and responsible Search and Rescue mechanism in the Mediterranean now!
These are not mere incidents; they demonstrate that European governments’ efforts to externalize border policies are not set in the favor of people on the move, but it will make their journeys more dangerous and precarious.”