NGOs protest migrant decree in Italian parliament

'Discriminatory', investigation commission requested

17 January, 11:47

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, 17 GEN - A law decree including a tightening of regulations on humanitarian ships "is not amendable and should simply be abrogated since it hinders rescues at sea", NGOs involved in migrant rescue efforts in the Mediterranean Sea said before a joint meeting of the constitutional affairs and transportation committees of the Camera dei Deputati, Italy's lower chamber of Parliament.

    They suggested that, instead, "it is necessary to set up an investigative commission on what is happening in the Mediterranean".

    The NGOs discussed and protested all the points in the measure, which was signed by Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi.

    From Alarm Phone to Emergency, from ARCI to Open Arms, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Sea Watch, Sos Mediterranee, and Migrantes, all the associations used data to explain the negative effects of the decree on rescue efforts.

    MSF mission chief Juan Matias Gil said that, "now we leave after the first rescue while before we conducted 4-5 rescues on average per mission." The average number of people rescued has thus dropped from 300 to 80.

    The regulation, Sea Watch's Giorgia Linardi said, "creates problems. Recently we have been using smaller and faster vessels that can be present more in the search and rescue area".

    The NGOs will be assessing the possibility of appealing the law decree.

    "The Court of Cassation," Linardi stressed, "reiterated in 2020 that no one should neglect to save anyone who is in difficulty at sea." In the words of ARCI's Filippo Miraglia, "the sole concrete objective, beyond the criminalisation of rescues at sea, and thus of the NGOs that engage in them instead of the state, is to get the ships of the central Mediterranean away to limit their ability to operate".

    The head of the Italian Refugees Council, Roberto Zaccaria, called the law decree "incongruous and discriminatory".


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