It made my heart sink to read the crude, if not horrible, criticism towards Richard Gere’s visit on Open Arms. The social networks can give the best of us, but can also show the extreme lack of sensitivity of many. I want to make my tiny contribution towards what is exactly happening on Open Arms and why these lifesavers have decided to invest all their efforts, energy and passion into saving human lives.
It’s been over ten days since Open Arms awaits at sea for a port to allow the entry of over 150 migrants from African countries to European shores. Among them are sick, injured, children and pregnant women who have been trying to reach Europe crossing the Central Mediterranean route from Libya. Malta has recently accepted to rescue the last 36 to board the boat but denies access to the other 121 and refuses responsibility for these lives. Oscar Camps, the founder of Open Arms, has refused to accept this offer for safety reasons and will continue to wait for the nearest ports, Malta and Italy, to allow disembarkation.
‘According to the maritime law’, says Camps, ‘any person in international waters and in danger must be rescued however, the European Union has established a blockade concerning migration from African countries, refusing to provide a solution to the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from war, violence and famine.’
The pictures, video and text below are from the Open Arms website