In #Lampedusa, the Italian island infamous for the terrible #refugee shipwrecks that occurred close to its beaches in October 2013, the situation remains problematic. Due to its proximity to Libya, the island and the surrounding waters still remain a hotspot for refugees from various African countries. According to various sources, on Saturday, May 14, 285 people arrived on the island between the evening of May 14 and the morning of May 15, aboard 6 different boats, tracked down by the Port Captaincy and the Italian finance police. The arriving refugees were from #Tunisia, #BurkinaFaso, #Sudan, #Bangladesh, #Algeria, #Cameroon, #Eritrea, #Egypt, #Ethiopia, #Ghana, #Nigeria, #IvoryCoast and #Mali. There were 22 women and 6 minors aboard the boats. After health checks, all were taken to the contrada Imbriacola hotspot, which currently hosts 867 individuals – much over its intended capacity of 250. These are not the only arrivals in recent days, as reported by #Sea-Watch Italy's Twitter statements. After days spent patrolling the area without spotting any boats in distress due to the continuous round-ups and arbitrary arrests conducted by #Libyan authorities, on May 8 #SeaWatch4 rescued a dinghy containing 88 people, including a pregnant woman and 3 children. On May 14, aboard SeaWatch4 there were still 145 people rescued in the previous week; people who, as the NGO points out, would have drowned or been illegally returned to Libya were they not found. “Many of them have been at sea for more than 10 days, are exhausted, and need to disembark in a safe port as soon as possible”. For days, SeaWatch4 has been asking that the authorities give it a safe port for the rescued people to disembark. On May 10, they witnessed another illegal interception by the Libyan coast guard, who turned away 75 people trying to escape. “Just witnessing this event traumatized the people on board, who bear obvious signs of the torture they endured in Libya”. Once again, there is neither immediate nor guaranteed recognition of a fundamental right of people rescued at sea, namely to disembark at a port where their rights will be guaranteed.
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