The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 01 September 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on September 1, 2014

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report



Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.




Migration in the Mediterranean


This week’s Snapshot focuses on illegal migration in the Mediterranean Sea. Many migrants, mostly refugees, overcrowd non-seaworthy boats and often drown by the hundreds. Those that do reach European shores do so mostly through Italy, which is struggling with accommodating the increasing numbers of people and constantly asking for more assistance from the European Union. This week, the EU announced the establishment of the Frontex Plus agency to complement and eventually take over from the Italian Mare Nostrum rescue operation.


News Summary of events during the week of 26AUG – 31AUG:

25AUG14: The Italian Navy said it had rescued almost 4,000 migrants over the 23AUG-24AUG weekend. (Reuters)

26AUG14: Talks on immigration were held in Rome between officials representing Italy, the European Commissioner and the European Border Agency Frontex. (AFP)

26AUG14: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that nearly 2,000 people fleeing Africa and the Middle East have drowned in 2014. (Reuters)

27AUG14: The European Commission launched Frontex Plus, an operation to replace the previous mission Mare Nostrum. (AFP)

28AUG14: 250 migrants were rescued off the coast of Malta, the largest rescue mission of its kind in Malta this year. (Xinhua)

29AUG14: Tunisian rescuers recovered 14 dead bodies near the maritime border with Libya. (AFP)

29AUG14: The UNHCR warned that Frontex Plus must match the capacity of Mare Nostrum to avoid an increase in refugee deaths. (Guardian)

30AUG14: Tunisia recovered 27 more dead bodies near the maritime border with Libya, bringing the total to 41 when a boat capsized earlier in the week leaving from Libya. (AFP)


Sample of Twitter handles regarding Migration in the Mediterranean:


@KenRoth – Kenneth Roth, Executive director of Human Rights Watch

@lizzy_davies – Lizzy Davies, Italy and Vatican correspondent for Guardian

@MalmstromEU – Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Home Affairs Commissioner

@matteodebellis – Matteo de Bellis, Campaigner, Amnesty International

@rosiescammell – Rosie Scammell, Rome-based journalist


Sample of Third Party Validators regarding Migration in the Mediterranean:


Elizabeth Collett, Director of the Migration Policy Institute, Europe

“Migration is a multidimensional policy area: it touches on everything from foreign policy, through to maritime policy, social affairs and employment. It is by its very nature, a crosscutting area, and to deal with migration effectively you have to take a comprehensive approach.”

–       EU to help Italy rescue migrants at sea, 28AUG14, Deutsche Welle


Yves Pascouau, Migration policy expert, European Policy Centre (EPC), Europe

“In the short term, it’s a good thing that we are helping Italy in this regard (…) but developing management border actions will not suffice to limit the number of people arriving in the European Union.”

–       EU to help Italy rescue migrants at sea, 28AUG14, Deutsche Welle


Chris Catrambone, Founding member, Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS)

“Our focus is on the young child who finds himself or herself on an unsafe boat through no fault of their own. We believe they deserve to be saved. They might be sent back or face problems in Europe. But at least they did not die at sea.”

–       Privately-funded migrant rescue mission launched in Malta, 25AUG14, Xinhua


Haizam Amirah-Fernández, Senior Analyst for Mediterranean and Arab issues, Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid

“Relaxing migration controls “has been used by Morocco to show dissatisfaction with Spain, or because it was not getting something it wanted.”

–       Spain Suspects Morocco Allowed a Brief Flood of Migrants, 15AUG14, New York Times


Esteban Beltran; Director, Amnesty International – Spanish Chapter

While Spanish police officials say it is difficult to identify the migrants, Amnesty International accused Spain on Thursday of “prioritizing the protection of its borders ahead of the protection of people.” Amnesty said that some of the migrants in Tarifa should be entitled to asylum protection, because they come from conflict zones in countries like Mali and Nigeria.

–       Spain Suspects Morocco Allowed a Brief Flood of Migrants, 15AUG14, New York Times


Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to Migration in the Mediterranean

1. Eighteen migrants die in new boat accident, Italy calls for EU action


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 24 August 2014

ROME, Aug 24, 2014 (AFP) – Eighteen bodies were found Sunday aboard an inflatable dinghy adrift off Italy, media reported, amid a new surge of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.

The dinghy, which was reportedly carrying 99 people, began to sink just as a rescue helicopter flew over it, an Italian navy captain told local television.

Captain Marco Bilardi of the Sirio said his crew discovered the dinghy after its motor had broken down.

“When our helicopter flew over the boat, she went down. There were people in the water. Lifejackets and flotation rings were thrown to them,” he told SkyTG24 television.

Continue reading


2. First private migrant rescue mission launched in Malta


Media: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)
Byline: N/A
Date: 25 August 2014

Valletta (dpa) – Europe’s first privately run offshore migrant aid station was launched in Malta on Monday, with one of its backers saying she was inspired by Pope Francis to take action to seek an end to a steady stream of migrant deaths at sea.

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), hosted on a 40-metre vessel, will spend 60 days at sea this year. Equipped with drones and a clinic, it aims to spot migrants at sea and provide first aid in coordination with Italian and Maltese authorities.

Shortly after the vessel, led by Malta’s former armed forces commander Martin Xuereb, set off on its first mission, MOAS co-founder Regina Catrambone told dpa she could not turn a blind eye to the tragedies in the Mediterranean.


Continue reading


3. EU rescue mission unveiled as boat migrant numbers soar


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 27 August 2014

BRUSSELS, Aug 27, 2014 (AFP) – The European Commission on Wednesday pledged to launch a new migrant rescue operation in the Mediterranean, as Italy struggles with a surge of migrants trying to reach the continent by boat.

The new operation — dubbed Frontex plus after Europe’s border agency — will replace the “Mare Nostrum” naval deployment launched by Italy after two deadly shipwrecks in 2013, which Rome has threatened to wind up without more help.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem announced the new initiative after meeting Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who said recently that “responsibility for the Mediterranean’s borders must belong to Europe”.

Calling on members states to support the project, Malmstroem said she hoped the new operation “will succeed Mare Nostrum by end of November,” with two existing Frontex missions, dubbed Hermes and Aenaes, merged together and “upgraded”.


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4. UN warning over Mediterranean crossing patrol force from EU


Media: The Guardian (UK)
Byline: Lizzy Davies
Date: 29 August 2014

The United Nations refugee agency has warned that more people will die trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea if the creation of a new EU border patrol to replace an Italian naval operation leads to a reduced search and rescue presence.

After nearly a year of Mare Nostrum, a €9m (£7.15m) per month mission launched by Italy in the aftermath of last October’s Lampedusa drownings, the EU’s home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmström said on Wednesday she hoped a new operation run by Europe’s border control agency, Frontex, in the waters between north Africa and Europe would begin by the end of November.

Italy has been calling for months to beef up the battle in the migration crisis, in which despite Mare Nostrum more than 1,800 people are estimated to have died this year, and for it to be dealt with at a European level.


Continue reading

5. Libya fighting hits migrants hard: IOM


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 29 August 2014


GENEVA: Migrants have been hit hard by the spiraling conflict in Libya which could lead to more of them taking to unseaworthy boats to try to reach Italy, the International Organization for Migration warned Friday.


“IOM is concerned that the number of migrants trying to reach Italy from Libya by sea could increase in the coming weeks, as more people decide to opt for the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to escape ongoing fighting in the Libyan capital,” the IOM said in a statement.


Migrants either working in Libya or using the country as a jumping off point as they seek to reach Europe illegally are particularly vulnerable to the country’s raging instability.


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