segunda-feira, 20 de abril de 2015
Lord Ashdown: destroy migrant smugglers' boats before they leave port / Guardian.
Lord Ashdown: destroy migrant smugglers' boats before they leave port
Former Lib Dem leader claims there is a case for using special forces to destroy migrant vessels before they leave port
Tuesday 21 April 2015 05.46 BST / http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/21/lord-ashdown-strategy-needed-to-attack-north-african-migrant-smugglers
Lord Ashdown has called for a fresh strategy to target networks of people smugglers in north Africa, including the possible use of armed force to destroy boats before they can ferry desperate migrants across the
Ashdown, who served as a royal Marine before entering parliament, said: “It is unsustainable and unacceptable to have a policy of drowning refugees when we should be attacking the smugglers.
“We should be helping countries like
the departing nations, to attack people smugglers. Tunisia
“There may also be a case for using special forces of interdiction to destroy the boats before they leave port.”
He also said the European Union must put in place a fairer system when dealing with those who made it to
Ashdown’s comments come as the EU said at an emergency meeting of interior and foreign ministers in
Luxembourg on Monday that it would launch
military operations against the networks of smugglers in sending
migrants to their deaths. Libya
Ministers also decided to bolster maritime patrols in the
Mediterranean and will meet
again on Thursday to hammer out the detail.
Ashdown said: “There must be much greater coordination among EU countries about dealing with refugees. It is simply not fair that it falls on
to do so.” Italy
The 28 EU governments also called for much closer cooperation with
neighbours, such as Egypt, Tunisia and , to try to close down the
migratory routes. But senior political figures and EU officials conceded this
would be difficult and were sceptical about emphasising traffickers. Niger
Retired Royal Navy Lt Cmdr Lester May said the proposals posed myriad questions.
“You have to consider international law at sea,” he said. “If you have a boat full of people, you can’t simply stop them in international waters. It is only when they hit landfall, or if you have strong reasons to suspect wrongdoing, that you can act – and is being on a boat in the Mediterranean wrong? The law, as it stands, says it is not.”
The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said: “I believe all of us have been shocked and appalled by events in the
Mediterranean. We cannot stand by as people drown in
European waters simply to escape conflict in Libya
and . Syria
“It was wrong to end the search-and-rescue operations and they should be immediately restarted. We must recognise our humanitarian responsibility. If I was prime minister, I would be working with other European leaders to act.
“Our country is known throughout the world for our generosity of spirit. It’s time to reflect that and take action in the face of this terrible tragedy.”
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesman, said: “The Liberal Democrats will press for an immediate EU review of both search and rescue, and current EU anti-trafficking programmes.
“If reinstating regular patrols would reduce the numbers of deaths, we must reinstate search and rescue in the
Mediterranean. Ultimately, we need to stop trafficking,
and help countries build peace to make these journeys a less rational prospect.
We must work together for the human dignity and security of everybody.”
Cmdr Graham Edmonds, who between 1966 and 2007 served on 10 Royal Navy warships, said a naval blockade of countries where people-smuggling was rife was practical, and added he believed the combined navies of southern
Europe had the tools to do so.
He said: “There is a duty to help people in distress. It is international maritime law. You cannot let people drown. You could enforce a blockade and stop these boats from coming. Once they are out of territorial waters, you can hove up and have a look. It would not be difficult to coordinate.”
He added that the missing element from the issue was whether the
sixth fleet could also be involved. “The Americans have been very silent,” he
said. “If they are in international waters, the sixth fleet could deal with it.” US