Tragic shipwreck off the Italian coast: Flash quote from Marco Bertotto, Head of Operations MSF Italy

Faced with yet another heartbreaking count, 21 bodies and over 60 missing in just 10 days in the Mediterranean Sea, the institutional silence is shameful. It is a silence that disregards the pain of survivors, a dehumanizing void that is intolerable.

There has been no response from the Italian government and European institutions to the over 1,000 deaths in the Mediterranean this year alone. Their inertia has depleted the Mediterranean of search and rescue resources.

Six deaths per day are more than just a demonstration of the failure of the Italian authorities; they reveal a humanitarian tragedy deliberately constructed, measure by measure, by the successive governments over the years.

Instead of taking concrete actions to prevent further tragedies at sea, such as strengthening search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean or creating legal and safe pathways to Europe, the Italian authorities and European institutions have consciously chosen lethal policies of deterrence, violence at the borders, forced pushbacks, agreements with third countries that persecute migrants, and the systematic criminalization of those attempting to rescue people in danger at sea.

None of these inhumane political choices, however, have prevented entire families from being swallowed by the sea off the Italian coast yesterday. In the wake of yet another tragedy at sea, the pain of the survivors and the families of the victims demands answers, actions, and accountability from the Italian and European institutions to prevent further deaths.

By Marco Bertotto, Head of Operations MSF Italy

Rome, June 18, 2024

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