Members of far-right organizations, mainly from Germany, Italy and France, chartered a 40-meter boat claiming to fight the uncontrolled immigration. Their purpose is to prevent refugees from reaching Europe by patrolling the coasts of Libya and Italy.
The far-rightists claiming that with this action they want to protect Europe named this business ‘We Defend Europe’. The real purpose of their action is revealed from the statements of Clemen Golan, a leading member of this network, who says their team wants to collect evidence to prove the cooperation between NGOs and traffickers. They also argue that they will rescue irregular immigrants and call Libya’s coastguard to save them, caring for their safety until they arrive. Their aim is to return immigrants back to Libya.
Many NGOs involved in rescue operations in the Mediterranean expressed their concern at the arrival of this ship. Verena Pakce from the humanitarian organization “SOS MEDITERRANEE” said: “These are suspicious, armed groups that the last few weeks and months have harassed various NGOs. They threaten ships and take people back with violence”.
According to international, European and national law for EU Member States, the direct or indirect (via third country) return of refugees and asylum seekers in the country from which they have escaped or their resignation when they reach the border is prohibited. The repelling businesses deprive people of the right to explain their individual circumstances and to raise any protection or other issues. Therefore, they constitute violations of international obligations and EU law.