The Ocean Viking has left Toulon, the migrants are in a closed waiting area | The migrant crisis

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The Ocean Viking has left Toulon, the migrants are in a closed waiting area | The migrant crisis

A migrant rescued by the NGO SOS Méditerranée disembarks from the boat Ocean Viking in Toulon on November 11, 2022 .

The humanitarian ship Ocean Viking left the military port of Toulon (south), from where the migrants on board experienced an unprecedented landing in France on Friday, before being placed in a “zone of d' waiting” closed, decried by defenders of the exiles.

After 20 days at sea in search of a safe port, the 234 migrants rescued between the Libyan and Italian coasts by the NGO SOS Mediterranean were all landed: 230 at the military port of Toulon on Friday and four in Corsica initially, before being transferred to the mainland.

The Ocean Viking temporarily joined the port of La Seyne-sur-Mer (Var) after leaving Toulon on Friday evening, the department prefecture and the NGO told AFP.


He will stay a few weeks in France for a technical stopover before setting off again off Libya to resume his rescue operations in the central Mediterranean. SOS Méditerranée will go back to sea because there have been more than 20,000 deaths since 2014 in the Mediterranean and we do not accept that this sea becomes a cemetery, said the NGO.

Among the 234 survivors, 189 – including 24 women and 13 minors – are now in a holiday center on the Giens peninsula, about twenty kilometers from Toulon, transformed into an international waiting area. /p>

The latter was created especially so that they are not considered to be in France and they are prohibited from leaving it before an initial assessment of their application for residence. #x27;asylum.

For the moment, everyone has indicated their wish to make this request, according to the prefecture. They will have to go through security checks before interviews with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) whose officers are expected on Saturday.

In a joint declaration for the full respect of the rights of these people, several organizations, including the National Association for Border Assistance for Foreigners (Anafé), the League for Human Rights or the Syndicate of Lawyers of France on Friday condemned the creation of this waiting area and the deprivation of liberty it engenders.

There is no the same guarantees on the rights for migrants as if they were on national soil, lamented Saturday with AFP the director of Anafé Laure Palun, denouncing a political choice of France.

Welcoming is not confinement, she said.

The 44 unaccompanied minors who were on board the Ocean Viking were taken care of by social services and relocated outside the center of Giens.

The first survivor of the 230 migrants landed in Toulon on Friday, who was evacuated from the military port, is still hospitalized.

In total, more than two thirds of the 234 people, i.e. 175, will leave France to be relocated to 11 countries, including Germany, which is to welcome around 80, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania. , Malta, Portugal, Ireland, Finland and Norway.

This is the first time that an ambulance boat has operated off the coast of the Libya unloads survivors in France, which generated a diplomatic crisis with Italy, which refused to welcome it.

The ire of the French extreme right did not subside on Saturday. The figure of the National Rally and deputy Marine Le Pen denounced an act of incitement on the part of the government which could attract more migrants.

We must tackle to the roots (…) to the smugglers, she advocated on the sidelines of a visit to the Salon Made in France in Paris.

In contrast , the left, like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, praised an act of humanity.

Four Mediterranean countries of the European Union also denounced on Saturday the system for managing the flow of migrants in the EU which weighs heavily on them and requested intervention from the European Commission.


Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus as countries of first entry into Europe (…) find themselves bearing the most difficult weight in the management of migratory flows in the Mediterranean, in full respect of the obligations international relations and EU rules, says a joint statement by the ministers of these four states as well as the Greek Minister for Migration published in Rome.

The four ministers denounce the x27;idea that countries of first entry may be the only possible European landing points for illegal immigrants and point the finger at humanitarian NGOs whose private vessels act in complete autonomy from the competent state authorities.

They demand that each state that flags a humanitarian vessel effectively exercise jurisdiction and control over it.

Rome, rejecting criticism from Paris, pleaded on Friday for a solution European. But in fact, it is more a question of implementing a European decision already taken, underlined to AFP Virginie Guiraudon, specialist in migration issues at the CNRS, recalling that a solidarity mechanism was adopted in June.

It provides for a dozen States, including France, to voluntarily welcome 8,000 migrants arriving in so-called first countries. line like Italy, but to date only 117 have been relocated, angering Rome.

Since the start of the year, 1891 migrants have disappeared in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Rescues in the Mediterranean: nearly 270 migrants rescued by the 'Ocean Viking

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