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Do rescue missions in the Med really encourage more migrants to make the dangerous crossing?

This argument has been made frequently since the refugee crisis but the evidence reveals a more complicated picture   

By Jessica Abrahams  

A search and rescue mission in the Med. Photo: Laurin Schmid/SOS MEDITERRANEE/DPA/PA Images

Last weekend, the captain of a humanitarian rescue ship was arrested after docking without permission in an Italian port, carrying around 40 migrants who had been saved from a drifting raft in the Mediterranean Sea. Carola Rackete and the crew of the Sea-Watch 3 had picked up the migrants two weeks earlier off the coast of Libya, but had then entered a stand-off with European authorities over where they could disembark.

International law prevents the return…

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