Entry ship denied

In the afternoon we have an improvised press conference after we hear that the Portuguese Minister of defense Paulo Portas refused the Women on Waves ship “Borndiep�? permission to enter national waters.

The Portuguese minister of Defense, Paulo Portas, who is be part of an extreme right wing party, decides that the Borndiep is a threat to national security, and comparable to a airplane full of drugs or a train full of bombs. The Borndiep is not to cross the twelve-mile border into Portuguese territorial waters.

The government justifies this decision by saying that there are strong indications, by means of the media, national and international, that Women on Waves wants to enter Portuguese territory to supposedly:
1. Desembarque, distribute and publicitize pharmaceutical products that are not authorized in Portugal;
2. To have public meetings to publicize, provoke, and incite the practice of illegal acts in Portugal;
3. To develop a typical activity in a health infrastructure without license or inspection by Portuguese authorities, which will endanger the public health.

The government also claims that Women on Waves is undermining the juridical sovereignty of the Portuguese State.

We understand that the minister of defense has the obligation to protect his country, but he can and should not prevent a democratic and legal initiative taking place. Nobody working for Women on Waves has never been charged or convicted for any crimes or even incitement to a crime. We are only providing scientific information on our website and never had the intention to provide any medicines nor perform any medical act in Portugal. The Dutch health inspection and the Dutch minister of health have confirmed that the treatments provided by Women on Waves in international waters are very safe. Our medical personnel are officially licensed by the Dutch authorities and provide very high standard of care. We would never have received any certificates from the Dutch Minister of Health if any of our activities would break any laws or if it would endanger the health of any women.

The decision of the Portuguese authorities violates the international and European conventions. These international agreements, the United Nations Convention of the Laws of the Sea and the European Conventions, state that ships have the right to free entry unless they poise a threat to the security of the state . The conventions guarantee the right to free travel between member states. Only diseases with epidemic potential can justify measures restricting freedom of movement. But unwanted pregnancy and abortion are clearly not epidemic diseases. The Women on Waves ship carries no arms and women’s rights are not a threat to national security.

Women on Waves is now trying to find any possibility that will allow Borndiep into the harbor.

pressconference 28-8

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