The year 2020 was one of remarkable juxtapositions. On the one hand, the EU introduced and developed multiple policy and legal frameworks, long-term strategies and action plans relating to a broad spectrum of fundamental rights. The reflection and foresight they embody will shape political agendas for years to come – whether on equality, social inclusion, artificial intelligence, migration, disability, victims’ rights or the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
On the other hand, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic served as a brutal reminder of how quickly unanticipated challenges can dominate world events – and underlined the importance of being able to tear up scripts and adapt on the spot. It too will surely leave a lasting mark.
Not surprisingly, this year’s focus section, ‘The Coronavirus pandemic and fundamental rights: a year in review’, explores the pandemic’s profound effect on a wide range of human and fundamental rights. The section also highlights some positive measures nimbly devised by diverse authorities. Yet mostly it paints a rather grim picture of challenges and inequalities often exacerbated by the – still ongoing – health crisis.
In this chapter:
As in previous years, throughout 2020, rescue boats in the central Mediterranean remained at sea for a long time while awaiting authorisation to enter a safe port.
In 22 instances, vessels had to remain at sea for more than a day (in some cases to carry out multiple rescue operations) before the national authorities allowed them to dock. These instances involved a total of 3,597 rescued migrants and refugees, including at least 954 children. In seven cases, they had to wait for a week or more.
A list of all vessels kept at sea for more than 24 hours while waiting for a safe port in 2020 can be found in the file below:
Annex: Vessels kept at sea for more than 24 hours while waiting for a safe port, 2020 (pdf, 94.48 KB) >>