August 22, 2019
Latest News

Javier Bardem asks Spain's acting PM to end Open Arms stand-off

 Masks of acting Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez and Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, on display at a protest in support of Open Arms in Barcelona, July 13, 2019. EFE/Quique Garcia

Masks of acting Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez and Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, on display at a protest in support of Open Arms in Barcelona, July 13, 2019. EFE/Quique Garcia

Madrid, Aug 12 (efe-epa).- Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem on Monday called on Spain's acting prime minister to end a political stand-off that has left Spanish NGO rescue boat stuck at sea with some 150 migrants on board.

In a video shared on Twitter, Bardem, 50, asked Pedro Sánchez to take on a leadership role within the European Union for the distribution of the migrants Open Arms has rescued from the Mediterranean Sea.

He said: "I'm sending this video to unite my voice with all those people who are publicly demanding of our acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, along with Spain, which is where the NGO Open Arms and its workers, who risk their lives to save those of others, are from, to lead a distribution process for all the people on the boat and all the countries in the EU."

"We think that Spain is the ideal and right country to do so since it's the country of origin of the NGO Open Arms, which is doing a necessary and extraordinary job for human dignity and to save the lives of people who are fleeing from situations that we can't even begin to imagine."

Open Arms is currently located in international waters around 50 kilometers (29 miles) off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. Italy's interior minister, Matteo Salvini, a firebrand known for his far-right policies, has banned NGO boats from disembarking in Italian territory.

The NGO's mission chief, Anabel Montes, told Efe on Monday that eight of the 159 migrants on board had been successfully evacuated to nearby Malta, two of them were suffering health problems, the rest were family members who did not want to be separated.

The 151 migrants who remain on the vessel in cramped conditions were rescued in three separate operations in the Mediterranean Sea, most off the coast of Libya, a country gripped by civil war.

They applauded when the Maltese vessel headed away from Open Arms with the evacuees.

"In terms of physical condition, the situation is much more than just tiredness, they're exhausted," Montes said.

Montes said that the psychological condition of the migrants on board must also be taken into consideration, given that many have suffered hardship on their journey towards Europe and had been the victim of torture and violence in Libya.

"The psychological situation hangs in the balance," she said, warning that the risk of altercations on the boat increases the longer they remain adrift.

Open Arms has been at sea since a rescue mission on August 1.

Bardem was not the first celebrity to become involved with Open Arms.

On Friday, Richard Gere visited the vessel with supplies.

Salvini, who leads the League party, has consistently campaigned to keep ports closed to NGOs, which he accuses of boosting irregular migration and has insisted that he will not allow the Open Arms vessel to enter Italian waters.

Another NGO rescue vessel, the Ocean Viking, managed jointly by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranée, is also active in the Mediterranean Sea. It currently has 251 migrants on board, 81 of those rescued on Sunday evening off the Libyan coast.

Numerous migrants have said they were tortured during their time held in migrant detention centers in the North African nation.

One of the doctors on the Ocean Viking said: "People described to me being tortured by electric shock, of being beaten with guns and sticks, and burned with melted plastic. They described how they still feel pain from their wounds and scars sustained during their time in Libya."

The migrant crisis has become a heated topic of debate in the EU. Countries like Italy have refused to cooperate with the distribution quotas mandated by the bloc.

While the EU operates a helicopter surveillance system, it currently does not have any active rescue boats in the Med, which has become one of the principal migrant routes from Africa to Europe.

Therefore, much of the work is being conducted by NGO vessels instead. But they now face potential legal action from Italian authorities if they head to port without permission. EFE-EPA

gs/jt/sh

News history
Mattarella leads talks in bid to form Italian gov't

Rome, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Italian President Sergio Mattarella continues his round of consultations Thrusday to find a way out of the political deadlock the...

North Korea not interested in talks amid 'military threats'

Seoul, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- North Korea said Thursday that it was not interested in dialog while the United States and South Korea were engaged in "military...

Still unsafe for Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, Amnesty warns

Bangkok Desk, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Human rights organization Amnesty International warned Thursday that it was still unsafe for members of the Rohingya ethnic...

Bangladesh officials await Rohingya volunteers for repatriation

Teknaf, Bangladesh, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Bangladeshi authorities on Thursday were awaiting Rohingya refugees for voluntary repatriation back to Myanmar, from...

Police killings of civilians reaches new heights in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Rio de Janeiro recorded a 49 percent increase in civilian deaths at the hands of police in July compared to the...

Merkel, Johnson maintain stances on Brexit but say exit accord possible

Berlin, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday maintained their respective stances on...

Nur-Sultan, Aug 21 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of the five Central Asian countries met here Wednesday with US Under Secretary of State David Hale to...

Putin says Russia must respond to threat of new US missile

Helsinki, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Russian President Vladimir Putin made an appeal here Wednesday to the United States to resume arms-control negotiations even as...

Czechs denounce current leaders during rally to mark 1969 crackdown

Prague, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Tens of thousands of Czechs held a demonstration here Wednesday in which they remembered countrymen who were killed or injured on...

Children's chorus revitalizing indigenous language in Panamanian capital

By Maria M. Mur

Brazil's president points finger at NGOs in Amazon fires

Brasilia, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro insinuated on Wednesday that non-governmental organizations may be behind the fires in the Amazon, the...

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (EFE).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Death toll in Kabul wedding bombing rises to 80

Kabul, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The death toll following an attack on a wedding party in the Afghan capital Kabul has gone up to 80, police sources said on...

Bilateral deal reached on Mexican tomato exports to US

Mexico City, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- A bilateral agreement has been reached on Mexican tomato exports that will bring a halt to a United States anti-dumping...

Hong Kong activists demand release of arrested UK consulate worker

Hong Kong, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- A group of Hong Kong citizens demonstrated outside the British Consulate Wednesday afternoon urging the British government to...

Nepal bans single-use plastics in Everest region

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Fresh attempt to repatriate Rohingya refugees evokes skepticism

By Carlos Sardina Galache

Indonesia deploys troops in Papua as pro-independence protests surge

Jakarta, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Indonesian armed forces on Wednesday deployed more personnel in the provinces of Papua and West Papua to contain ongoing...

Military Council leader sworn in as president of Sudan transitional gov't

Khartoum, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, leader of Sudan's Trans Military Council (TMC), has been sworn in as president of the...

Danish politicians: Trump visit cancellation is insulting

(Update 1: adds Danish PM statement, re-ledes, changes headline)

HRW urges suspension of Rohingya repatriation amid Myanmar safety concerns

Bangkok Desk, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called for the suspension of the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh over...

Philippines' Duterte praises opposition senator on assassination anniversary

Manila, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The president of the Philippines on Wednesday praised the late senator Ninoy Aquino on the 36th anniversary of his assassination.

US says it is ready to resume talks with North Korea

Seoul, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The United States' representative for North Korea said in Seoul on Wednesday that his team is ready to resume negotiations on...

Australia joins US-led mission to protect maritime traffic in Persian Gulf

Sydney, Australia, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Australia will join a United States-led coalition to ensure freedom of international trade and navigation in the...

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.