21 May 2019, GENEVA – Following a panel debate held on 25 April 2019 which served as book launch event for the Geneva Centre’s two-volume publication “The Unprecedented Rise of People on the Move in the 21st Century” published in December 2018.
The panel debate benefitted from the presence of panellists with first-hand experience in the Mediterranean Sea. The panel included Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary General of the International Catholic Migration Commission; Mr José Benavente, President of the French Association Pilotes Volontaires; Ms Julie Melichar, Citizen Mobilisation & Communication Officer at SOS Méditerranée; Ms Camille Pagella, journalist at L’Illustré and Mr Adrià Budry Carbó, journalist at Le Temps, joint recipients of the first ACANU (Association of Accredited Correspondents at the United Nations) Prize for Reporting on Human Rights Issues.
The participants expressed concern that the obligation to rescue people in distress was being replaced by the criminalization of compassion.
The brochure contains a summary of the rich and moving presentations and discussions that took place during the panel event, with vivid, first-hand accounts of experiences and difficulties encountered in rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea.
The panellists provided poignant accounts of the sufferings and dashed hopes of people desperately trying to flee to what they view as safety but very often doomed in what has become the world’s largest liquid graveyard.
The panel presentations and the ensuing, lively discussions underlined the vital importance of shared responsibility and dialogue to address root causes of this crisis, to facilitate rescue operations, and recalled the urgent need for States to respect their international obligations under human rights and maritime law.
Interested Permanent Missions accredited to UN in Geneva and other stakeholders are invited to pick-up copies of this brochure, which is at their disposal at the premises of the Geneva Centre, located at:
Rue de Vermont 37-39
1211 Geneva, Switzerland
The brochure can be downloaded below: