Ciné-ONU screens ‘Styx’ to highlight issue of rescue at sea

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

 Brussels | UNRIC

Styx is the dramatization of the experience of a doctor from Europe who sets out to sea alone in her sailing boat. Her holiday is quickly broken off when she finds herself near a stricken fishing boat with migrants on board. She follows maritime law and radios for help. When her request is going nowhere, she is forced to make a momentous decision.

The discussion after the screening focused on migration across the Mediterranean. The panel consisted of Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP; Inma Vazquez, MSF Representative to the EU and NATO; and Federico Soda, Director of IMO’s Coordination Office for the Mediterranean. Petra Hongell, UN Regional Information Centre, moderated.

Mr. Soda said that the film was like a punch in the stomach, a reminder that “we’re playing politics with the lives of these people”. ‘Styx’ shows one area where migrants are being failed, but the legal side and the root causes of migration cannot be ignored.

Soda talked about the need to see migration holistically and systematically.

Ms. Vazquez pointed out that there was only one search and rescue boat left, sponsored by MSF and SOS Méditerranée. Yet now, she observed, that even this has stopped as a result of actions by some European States.

For Vazquez, proactive search and rescue is a priority: “At this moment, people are dying and we need to try and prevent that.”

Ms. Lambert highlighted that the Dublin agreement was contributing to the reluctance of some countries to accept more migrants. She argued for a new system that, for example, recognises the familial links that migrants have to countries.