We know people are dying at sea, but if you try to save them, we will punish you.
That, in a nutshell, is what the authorities in Greece and Italy, with EU support, are saying by their actions and policies, which are sure to deliver more drowning victims to Death.
Today, the trial starts in Greece of humanitarian workers Seán Binder and Sarah Mardini. They are accused of nothing more than saving lives, specifically, involvement in search-and-rescue efforts at sea.
In total, two dozen defendants face trial in Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, on charges related to the work of Emergency Response Center International, a registered nongovernmental search-and-rescue organization.
Search-and-rescue efforts are protected under both international human rights law and Greek law. But Death’s allies among the Greek authorities are clearly not bothered by the illegality of what they’re doing any more than they are of the immorality of it.
Not to be outdone, the authorities in Italy have also been ramping up their cooperation with Death.
Deepening its strategy of smearing and criminalizing nongovernmental organizations saving lives at sea, the Italian government has adopted a new migration decree aiming to further obstruct the life-saving work of humanitarian groups.
The decree prohibits vessels of search-and-rescue organizations from carrying out multiple rescues on the same voyage. After one rescue, their ships must immediately go to the port allocated by Italy, essentially requiring them to ignore any other distress calls at sea.
This breaches the duty on all captains under international law to give immediate assistance to people in distress.
Tellingly, the new rule does not apply to other kinds of vessels, only those whose primary purpose is saving lives.
As with the Greek authorities, the Italian authorities believe that saving lives is the problem and must be prevented.
The EU, with its “let them die” policy, is completely complicit in these moves by member states.
Athens, Rome, Brussels… all Death’s loyal allies.