FRONTEX Mediterranean mission: Replacing Mare Nostrum rescue operation a death sentence for refugees
On 1 November, a new Frontex mission called Triton starts in the Mediterranean, replacing the earlier Mare Nostrum mission, which focused on saving lives at sea in the aftermath of the Lampedusa disaster last year. The Greens have expressed concern that stopping Mare Nostrum will lead to more deaths in the Mediterranean. The focus of the new Triton mission is combating irregular migration, rather than rescuing refugees in distress. Commenting ahead of the new mission, Green migration spokesperson Ska Keller said:
"The Mare Nostrum Mediterranean rescue mission cannot simply be discontinued. Replacing Mare Nostrum with a new FRONTEX mission solely focused on combating irregular migration would be a death sentence for large numbers of refugees. This new FRONTEX mission effectively ensures higher number of refugee casualties by focusing on a much smaller area of operation directly off the coast, with significantly less resources than Mare Nostrum.
"The Mare Nostrum operation has been callously and inhumanely decried by some as a 'bridge' for refugees to Europe. This is all the more cynical given refugees are forced to take perilous journeys across the Mediterranean to escape persecution precisely because Europe's national borders are essentially sealed. If we want to combat human trafficking and smuggling effectively, the answer is not reducing rescue operations but providing for safe and legal access for refugees to Europe."