GENEVA / REFUGEES SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS

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04-May-2021 00:02:11
Following the latest rescue operations of migrants to Italy by Charity Ships in the Central Mediterranean, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned today of mounting refugee and migrant deaths in the Central Mediterranean with a 170 per cent increase of sea arrivals in Italy in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / REFUGEES SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS
TRT: 2:11
SOURCE: UNTV CH
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 04 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

04 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, dais with speakers in a near-empty Room XIV in line with COVID-19 distancing measures, Palais des Nations
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Carlotta Sami, Senior Spokesperson in Italy, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Over 450 persons, among them 190 minors, are disembarking following rescue and six different operations by the NGO vessel Sea Watch. Since the very early hour of Saturday 1st of May, some 1,500 persons have disembarked in Italy following rescue by the Italian Coast Guard and Custom police or by international NGOs in the Central Mediterranean.”
4. Med shot, attendee typing on laptop, Room XIV, Palais des Nations
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Carlotta Sami, Senior Spokesperson in Italy, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“5.5 millions of refugees and IDPs are in the Sahel Countries so what we see here, in Italy, is just the tip of the iceberg. The latest disembarkation in any case brings the number of sea arrivals to Italy in 2021 to 10,400. This is more than a 170 per cent increase compared to 2020.”
6. Med shot, attendee typing on laptop to rear, side shot, Room XIV, Palais des Nations
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Carlotta Sami, Senior Spokesperson in Italy, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Solidarity from the other EU members is urgently needed. Also, UNHCR is deeply concerned about the death toll. So far in 2021, at least 500 persons are known to have lost life trying to make the sea crossing in the Central Med.”
8. Med shot, attendee using listening device Room XIV, Palais des Nations
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Carlotta Sami, Senior Spokesperson in Italy, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“In 2020, there were 150 in this period of the year, so we have an increase of 200 per cent. Of course, the tragic loss of lives underscores once again the need to re-establish a system coordinated by States for search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean.”
10. Wide shot, dais to rear and TV broadcasting in foreground, Room XIV, Palais des Nations
11. Med shot, attendees using listening devices, Room XIV, Palais des Nations
12. Med shot, attendee sitting in front of laptop in foreground and TV broadcasting to rear, Room XIV, Palais des Nations

STORYLINE:

Following the latest rescue operations of migrants to Italy by Charity Ships in the Central Mediterranean, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned today of mounting refugee and migrant deaths in the Central Mediterranean with a 170 per cent increase of sea arrivals in Italy in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

Speaking virtually to reporters in Geneva today (04 May) from the port of Trapani in Sicily, UNHCR’s spokesperson for Italy, Carlotta Sami, said “over 450 persons, among them 190 minors, are disembarking following rescue and six different operations by the NGO vessel ‘Sea Watch’.

She added that since the “very early hour of Saturday 1st of May, some 1,500 persons have disembarked in Italy following rescue by the Italian Coast Guard and Custom police or by international NGOs in the Central Mediterranean.”

The majority of arrivals departed from Libya onboard flimsy, unseaworthy vessels. UNHCR said there was a great number of children among the migrants - many of them are unaccompanied.

The majority of migrants originate from Mali, and the Sahel/West Africa, Eritrea and North Africa. Many are fleeing from war and conflicts, like in the Sahel, where indiscriminate attacks constantly lead to death and forced displacement, or they are fleeing persecution and being trafficked.

However, according to UNHCR’s global statistics, movements to Europe represent only a small part of the global refugees’ situation. Eighty per cent of people who flee stay within their region of origin.
“5.5 millions of refugees and IDPs are in the Sahel Countries so what we see here, in Italy, is just the tip of the iceberg”, said Carlotta Sami. “The latest disembarkation in any case brings the number of sea arrivals to Italy in 2021 to 10,400. This is more than a 170 per cent increase compared to 2020.”

UNHCR gathered testimonies during the past few days, including from children, who speak of imprisonment and brutalities inflicted with no respect for human life, while survivors often show severe mental health problems as a result of the traumas they have faced.

UNHCR commended Italy for keeping its ports open during the pandemic but appealed to other European countries to step up its efforts to strengthen the protection of persons travelling along this route and to provide safe alternatives to these dangerous and desperate journeys.

“Solidarity from the other EU members is urgently needed”, said the UNHCR spokesperson. “UNHCR is deeply concerned about the death toll. So far in 2021, at least 500 persons are known to have lost life trying to make the sea crossing in the Central Med.”

She added, “in 2020, there were 150 in this period of the year, so we have an increase of 200 per cent. Of course, the tragic loss of lives underscores once again the need to re-establish a system coordinated by States for search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean.”

For UNHCR, this tragic loss of life underscores once again the need to reestablish a system for search and rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean coordinated by States. The refugee agency said the deteriorating situation in Libya will continue to force people to resort to desperate measures to seek safety.

UNHCR insisted that legal pathways such as humanitarian corridors, evacuations, resettlement and family reunification must be expanded.
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