The Malta Independent 9 December 2018, Sunday

MV Lifeline captain honoured with Austrian human rights award

Albert Galea Wednesday, 5 December 2018, 11:25 Last update: about 4 days ago

The captain of the MV Lifeline Claus-Peter Reisch will receive a Human Rights award from the Austrian League for Human Rights later this month in recognition of his efforts to protect and preserve human rights.

Reisch was the captain of the MV Lifeline when, after saving 234 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea, the ship became the focal point of a six-day standoff between Malta and Italy because neither country would allow the ship to dock. 

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The ship was eventually allowed to dock in Malta, but only after an agreement for the sharing of migrants between eight European Union member states. 

Upon arrival, Reisch was also charged over an alleged problem with the ship’s documentation, wherein authorities claimed that the ship did not have the required registration to be operating as a rescue vessel.  The case against Reisch is in fact still ongoing.

Reisch dedicated the award to the whole crew of the MV Lifeline and said that as the ship's captain, it was his duty to rescue anyone at sea; “I do not have to think about it for long and I'm even legally obliged to do that - after all, you cannot let anyone - no matter where he comes from - drown.”

This is the second award that Reisch will have received this year after having been honoured by the Bavarian Social Democratic Party earlier in the year.

The Austrian League for Human Rights describes itself as being committed to the implementation of human rights, with special attention to the situation in Austria and in the European Union.

Barbara Helige, the President of the Austrian League for Human Rights explained that “at a time when politics - all over Europe, but especially in Austria - promotes inhumane tendencies, Claus-Peter Reisch at the top of his team not only saves lives, but gives all those courage, who do not just want to watch.”

Reisch will receive his award on 8 December during a ceremony which is part of the International Human Rights Film Festival “This Human World”.

 

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