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Migrants Use Libya as a Transit Point; The Race for 10 Downing Street; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired April 15, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:18] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) high seas as aid agencies ask how many more people have to die before Europe
wakes up to this crisis.
Also ahead, here in Britain, political leaders are gearing up for another head-to-head TV debate. We'll get insight from one of the most astute
newspaper editors in the world.
And later we'll tell you why conservation means war in Africa.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
The Italian coast guard is working overtime, desperately trying to rescue thousands of migrants as they attempt a treacherous journey from Africa
across the Mediterranean to Italian shores. And the numbers from the last few days speak for themselves. The Italian coast guard says that it's
rescued nearly 10,000 of these wretched and huddled masses in just five days and they are the lucky ones.
Nine hundred people have drowned so far this year, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, compare that to just 17 in the same period last
So why is it? Most of these making this dangerous crossing and escaping war and extreme poverty in -- come from West Africa, Somalia and Syria and
we're going to go straight to CNN's Ben Wedeman, who's in Sicily, watching the Italians ferrying the rescued to shore -- Ben.
Are you there?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christiane. What we saw is -- yes, I'm here; I'm here.
What we saw today was a ship with 117 people, most of them from Gambia and Nigeria, arriving on the Italian shores. They've been picked up by Italian
tugboat that under normal circumstances is servicing oil rigs off the Libyan coast. But I spoke to the captain of that tugboat -- he was from
Montenegro -- who told me that they'd seen these two ships -- I guess boats, really, wooden boats right off the Libyan coast. They looked like
they were about to sink. So they picked these people up, brought them to shore to the shores of Sicily, where they were treated by Italian medics.
And they're going to be shipped, we're told, transported to Northern Italy, where they will end up in camps for migrants.
Now speaking to these people, they come for a variety of reasons. One woman from Kano in Northern Nigeria told me that her family sent her on
this trip to get her away from the possibility of being captured by Boko Haram. Another man, a Liberian, told me he had been working in Libya for
15 years but was now terrified of the fact that ISIS is taking control of many parts of that country.
Others simply said that they cannot look -- they see nothing left for them in places like Gambia, in Nigeria because of poverty and they're coming to
Italy in the hopes of finding a better life -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: They really do sound desperate.
What news, what further confirmation or clarification can you manage to find of this report of some 400 who are missing, presumed dead?
Do we have any further information on them, their boat apparently in real distress in this last few days.
WEDEMAN: We understand from the UNHCR and from Save the Children that this was a ship, a ship, not one of these smaller vessels, which had 550 people
on board, a multilevel ship that simply capsized; 150 people approximately were rescued and have been brought to the Italian mainland but 400 remain
Now they were able to find around a dozen bodies in the sea nearby. But as far as the other 400 goes, their fate is unknown and it's presumed,
however, that they are dead at this point -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: It really is a tragic situation. Ben, thanks for joining us from Sicily.
And now we're going to ask what is the solution? The International Organization for Migration is trying to find one and their director-
general, William Swing, joins me now live from Geneva.
General Swing, good to -- Director-General Swing, good to see you. Tell me what solution you are trying to come up because the last time we talked,
you were talking about a kind of a task force and has that got any further because the problem has obviously got a lot worse.
[14:05:00] WILLIAM SWING, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, IOM: Well, thank you very much, Christiane. Clearly we have a lot of work to do. If we make as our
top priority saving life then it seems the rest follows fairly logically after that. We have to do something to arrest the -- and prosecute the
smugglers. We need to open up more legal avenues of migration. We need to ensure that there are alternatives for these migrants, including the
possibility of temporary protective status, asylum for those who qualify. Some will have to be returned home because they're in an irregular status.
Some will be sent further north to their families to join them, particularly the Syrians.
I think we have to recognize that we are in a period of unprecedented human disasters and emergencies, from the west coast of Africa and the Gulf of
Guinea across to South Asia, we have a series of conflicts like we've never seen before, at least in my 50 years in diplomacy, and there are no
political processes or active negotiations right now that offer us any hope of a short- to medium-term solution.
Therefore, we have to find a way to save life. I think we can set up temporary migration reception centers in countries of origin and transit.
Unfortunately, Libya, which was our hope, as the place to have these centers, is now unstable. We can't do anything really meaningful there.
But we need to try to give people a chance to process themselves before they take on these criminal smugglers and get on their boats to come to
Italy and then go further north.
AMANPOUR: Let me just interrupt you for a moment because you've said, sort of, you know, you've never seen such war and its consequences in your 50
years. I mean, for instance, one of the coast guard said that he had received 20 distress calls just on Monday alone.
Why is this spike? We said like 900 people this year have drowned compared to 17 last year.
Is this just because the wars are getting more intense? Or is there another reason for it?
SWING: Well, the wars are -- so of course we're in the fifth year of war in Syria. We have conflict in Iraq. We have conflict now in Yemen, in
Libya, in Central African Republic, South Sudan. In addition, many of these migrants were going to Libya to work. Libya's so unstable and
they're being so persecuted there that they have no alternative but to take the boats. They can't go back home.
So I think that we need to concentrate on how we can help these people and save them before they get onto these boats. There needs to be more
dialogue and contribution of cooperation between the countries of origin, transit and destination.
There needs to be more attention to alternatives, a common migration policy and to get serious about the smugglers. We have proposed a global
conference on migrant smuggling. I think I mentioned this when we spoke the last time. We're serious about that. We're putting it together. But
that will be much later. Meantime, it's extremely important that Mare Nostrum, the Italian naval and coast guard operation, start operating
again. I think the Italians have been absolutely heroic in saving those 10,000 lives. But they need help. They're much more robust than the
AMANPOUR: Right. And to that point, I put that point to the president of Italy, Mattarella, just a couple of weeks ago when I interviewed him in
Rome. This is what he said to me about Mare Nostrum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGIO MATTARELLA, PRESIDENT OF ITALY (through translator): And it was not Mare Nostrum -- was not, in fact, as many people feared, a pull factor
which would increase the arrivals of migrants because in recent months, with the Triton operation, the -- there has been an increase of 16 percent
in the number of landings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So you see there, Mr. Swing, he's basically saying that everybody's fears (INAUDIBLE) Mare Nostrum just encourage people, he says
that isn't the case and actually Human Rights Watch has really taken on Europe saying that they have shown a lack of political will to help
alleviate Italy's unfair share of the responsibility.
Would you agree with that?
SWING: No, not at all. I think it's important to put this whole crisis in context. OK, 170,000-200,000 people went north last year in an irregular
status. This is not an invasion. They're going into a population area of 500 million. Lebanon, with fewer than 5 million population, is now
supporting more than 1 million migrants; Jordan, similar population,
[14:10:00] is supporting a similar number.
So I think there comes a time when we have to have something called humanitarian border management, in which people come and they're allowed to
stay usually for a temporary period. But until things are such in their country that they can return or possibly to integrate into local society,
there are many alternatives there. We need more resettlement countries in Europe; only about half of the countries are now resettlement countries.
We need larger resettlement quotas for the refugees. We need more opportunities for people to emigrate legally, even for a short period.
AMANPOUR: All right, Director-General William Swing of IOM, thank you so much for talking to us tonight on this really heartbreaking situation.
And it is a tragic migrant tale. And it comes as immigration is a divisive and hot topic across Europe, including here in Britain, where it is top of
voters' minds as they head into a historic election. Important perspective next from "The Guardian's" editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, about that
issue and his own fight to save the world -- after this.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
"A week is a long time in politics," the famous words of the former British prime minister Harold Wilson. And this week is no exception. Over the past
few days, the leaders of the U.K.'s main political parties have been hitting out hard with their manifestos, trying to break out in what's
lining up to be the closest election contest in 40 years.
Tomorrow, five of the seven major party leaders will go head-to-head in a nationwide TV debate, but not Prime Minister Cameron and his coalition
partner, Nick Clegg, even though the IMF today rated Britain's economic growth the strongest in Europe.
One man who's covered British elections extensively for more than 20 years is the editor of the Left-leaning "Guardian" newspaper, Alan Rusbridger.
Now he's stepping down after an illustrious career, coverage such important stories as Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, phone hacking and many, many more.
But he says he has one regret and that is not doing enough justice to climate change.
Alan Rusbridger, welcome to the program.
ALAN RUSBRIDGER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE GUARDIAN": Pleased to be here.
AMANPOUR: Many journalists say they want to save the world. You're really doing it -- we're going to get to that in a minute, because I cannot not
ask you first, what gives with Prime Minister David Cameron? He's locked in a tight, tight race and he's foregone the opportunity to appear with his
main very tight challenger, David Miliband, in tomorrow's TV debate.
Is that smart?
Ed Miliband, of course, not David.
AMANPOUR: That would be a whole new situation.
RUSBRIDGER: I think he's made a bad mistake in being so negative in this campaign and not projecting a positive vision of what he wants to happen in
this country. And
[14:15:00] it's almost as if he -- they decided that Ed Miliband was so weak that there was no point in giving him any airtime.
AMANPOUR: But they must have decided that a few weeks ago because the polls right now don't suggest that at all.
RUSBRIDGER: No, and Miliband's fought a good campaign. I think he did start off in a troubled position. He's fought a good campaign. I think
the danger for Ed Miliband tomorrow night is that he's going to be the establishment figure and then you're going to have all these outsiders who
are the disruptors and --
RUSBRIDGER: -- put him in a real position he doesn't want to be in, because he wants to be the challenger.
AMANPOUR: So it could work out for the current government or not?
RUSBRIDGER: Well, I don't know how much these debates change things; I don't know.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's a question. How much do they change things? I mean, listen, last one, couple of weeks ago, had a record number of viewer,
a massive number of social media click and tweets and this and that. It was very heavily viewed.
Do personalities matter a lot here?
RUSBRIDGER: Well, I think it matters in this one because the press is so hostile to Miliband and he was written off as a leader and actually when
you see him on television, he looks much more normal than people think and he's articulate, he's intelligent. But the -- basically the polling hasn't
changed much at all.
It was quite interesting. We had a debate yesterday amongst "The Guardian" staff, as we always do before we go into an election. And the split there
was in the age, as somebody said halfway through this discussion we were having, everybody over 35 is saying we should get behind Labour. And
everyone under 35 is saying, well, actually these new parties are quite interesting. They represent more of my views. And that's the problem with
this election, that Britain has this essentially two-party system. But with certain parties and that doesn't fit.
AMANPOUR: No, and this is new. I mean, we've never seen that kind of debate that we saw, plus three women, three female party leaders. And the
fact is, it's not just that they're hanging around (INAUDIBLE) for the first time. Actually be the kingmakers. So take us through that. I mean,
people say there's likely to be a hung parliament, in other words no one leader to get an outright majority.
What would happen if the Scottish National Party, which has done so well in Scotland -- OK, it didn't win the referendum but politically it's done
What demands would it make on anybody that it seeks to support?
RUSBRIDGER: Well, this is the question that must be keeping the civil service up at night as they consult their constitutional textbooks because
there really is no precedent for this. I mean, people are talking about 1974 as the precedent, but there is nothing in the last 40 years that
really tells you what the route map will be and whether the party who gets the most votes is the person who -- is the leader who first tries to make a
So I think there will be all kinds of horse trading and deals, not strict coalitions but arrangements. There's this thing called confidence in
supply, which is we're not going to make any deals but we will go on from vote to vote and the betting must be that there will be another election
before very long in order to try and achieve more stability.
AMANPOUR: But for instance, most people who watch from abroad, not necessarily from inside Great Britain, are worried about two things or two
things are on top of their minds, one, will Britain stay in Europe and, two, will Britain stay (INAUDIBLE) play in this election.
RUSBRIDGER: They are to some extent. We don't know what the Scot maps would do about putting that -- the issue of Scottish nationalism back on
the table, but that isn't, in a sense, related to the European question.
And Ed Miliband, perversely, who is portrayed as being the anti-business leader, is the one who would definitely keep us in Europe, which is what
most business leaders want. So that's why this is such a complicated jigsaw that we're dealing with.
AMANPOUR: And just quickly before I move on to climate change, which basically hasn't even been touched in this election, despite the Green
Party's valiant efforts, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have presided over a growing economy. The IMF has just said that.
Most people around the world vote their pocketbooks, so to speak, vote their economic well-being.
Why is it not, then, pushing him out ahead?
What's not resonating with the people?
RUSBRIDGER: Well, I think -- it is true that they've created an awful lot more jobs. But if you look at the jobs, they're very insecure and
temporary jobs. And so I don't think people are feeling more secure about the economy. And the cost of housing is going to be a huge issue and so I
think people aren't necessarily feeling that this is -- they're not feeling that we're in recovery yet.
AMANPOUR: So you, after 20 years as editor, are stepping down. But to devote your attention
[14:20:00] and your journalism, I guess, to climate change and to trying to save the environment.
Why did you decide to do that particularly?
RUSBRIDGER: Well, I was sitting at home over Christmas and I thought, well, I've got six months to go. Am I going to have any regrets? And
climate change is really the biggest story of our lives because if things go even half as wrong as the scientists say they could, that's really bad
news for the human race. And I think journalists have a difficulty in doing justice to that story.
And it's not that we haven't done climate change ad nauseam in "The Guardian," but there's something about it that turns readers off.
So I just came back to work and I thought, let's see if I can give this my best shot.
AMANPOUR: And one of your best shots is the starting gambit is to try to get as many people (INAUDIBLE) areas.
Do you -- you find, for instance (INAUDIBLE) to do that?
RUSBRIDGER: Well, we started this campaign -- we called it Keep It in the Ground, because every scientist agrees that you cannot burn all the fossil
fuels that the -- the coal and oil and gas that companies own. And we thought that in particular these two wonderful foundations, The Gates
Foundation, that the world can trust, which are devoted to science and medicine, really ought to be the last people who own shares in these --
particularly coal but also oil and gas.
AMANPOUR: What response have you had from them?
RUSBRIDGER: Well, they say basically we agree with you. We agree that climate change is the biggest risk to humanity. Gates says we owe it to
our trust to be able to get the best return and Welcome (ph) says we like engaging with these companies.
I don't think either are very good reasons. And I think financially people are realizing that these are stranded assets and what happened to housing,
the subprime assets, when that starts happening to coal and oil and people realize that these reserves are valueless, then there's going to be an
almighty bubble which is going to burst. And so financially it's not a great thing to be in.
AMANPOUR: And very, very lastly, you've done an amazing job at "The Guardian," not just the newspaper but online as well.
What is your prediction for the future of print, of the medium, of newspapers?
RUSBRIDGER: Well, for the last 20 years I've said I don't know what's going to happen because it's out of my hands. The readers are going to
determine that. It's been more resilient than we thought. It's declining around the world at roughly 5-10 percent a year. So there's not many years
of 5 percent to 10 percent decline that you can take. So I've seen it as my job to get "The Guardian" ready for the digital age. If people want to
go on reading in print and it continues to be economic, we will do that.
But the long-term future of "The Guardian" is going to depend on its vast global audience digitally, mobile phones, laptops, however else people want
to consume it.
AMANPOUR: Alan Rusbridger, thank you very much indeed.
RUSBRIDGER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
Now the environment not only a threat to some of the Earth's endangered species, in Africa, humans with guns are proving far more lethal these
days. Poachers have hunted Northern white rhinos to the brink of extinction. The last male on Earth can be found in Kenya. And like an
African potentate, he's got his own security detail that guards him around the clock and photos of the rhino rangers have gone viral. And they're
raising thousands of dollars overnight for the 43-year-old rhino and his team at the Ol Pejeta Conservatory (sic).
The species has lasted 50 million years. Will it manage to survive for generations to come?
After a break we see another crack team fighting the war on wildlife. Imagine a world without one of its most iconic animals -- that's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we've just been talking about the disappearing rhinos. Now imagine Africa (INAUDIBLE) a frightening
possibility thanks to even more (INAUDIBLE) who are willing to do anything to get their (INAUDIBLE).
Ninety percent of the (INAUDIBLE) part of Chad's security forces. Instead the Mamba team is learning how to fight, arrest and even present evidence
against the poachers there. They're willing to protect the park's elephants at any cost.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And their dedication is (INAUDIBLE). No ivory's been taken and no (INAUDIBLE) from the park since (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) being hunted
and (INAUDIBLE) perhaps now thanks to their guardian angels, the world will never forget them.
That is it for our program tonight. And remember you can always see the whole show online at amanpour.com, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.