The Italian government has defended a controversial new law that limits the number of rescues of migrants that NGO vessels can carry out on the high seas. The far-right Administration assured that this policy has no responsibility for the recent tragedies in the Mediterranean and, specifically, for the deadly shipwreck last Sunday in the Calabria region.
The Italian government describes the new decree that modifies the way in which NGOs can operate to rescue migrants abroad as unavoidable.
The rule “is very necessary because, in a context of numerical growth, the percentage of landings on our coasts due to the naval resources of NGOs has decreased considerably,” said Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi.
His statements come after the shipwreck last Sunday, February 26, near the Steccato di Cutro resort, on the east coast of Calabria – which left at least 64 dead – once again ignited the controversy over the strict anti-migration policy .
But Piantedosi insisted that “there is no relationship between the new rules and the possible increase in deaths at sea.”
“Those who put the Cutro shipwreck in relation to the new regulations are saying a falsehood or out of ignorance or bad faith, since it is a route that NGOs have never been on,” Piantedosi said.
The debate has been reopened after the recent tragedy.
What is the new Italian immigration decree?
Among the controversial measures is limiting the number of rescues that a humanitarian organization can carry out. In this sense, it forces the vessel to ask the authorities for the assignment of a port, after carrying out a first rescue and to go to that place without deviating to respond to more ships that may be in danger.
In addition, non-profit organizations point out that for weeks the Italian authorities have been diverting their ships along the entire national coast, even in the center-north of the country or the coast of the Adriatic Sea. A measure that forces them to take long journeys of up to five days to disembark the migrants, instead of directing them to places close to the areas where a rescue takes place.
In case of non-compliance with government stipulations, salvage organizations are exposed to sanctions of 50,000 euros for the ships and up to 10,000 euros for the captain and the owner of the ship, as well as the detention of the ship and the seizure of the same if it occurs a recidivism.
Different humanitarian organizations, such as the Spanish NGO Salvamento Marítimo, point out that the new provisions violate International Law.
Increases to 64 the number of deaths from the shipwreck in Calabria
The death toll rose to at least 64 – including eight children – in the migrant tragedy off the southern coast of Italy, after rescue teams recovered several more bodies in the past 24 hours.
However, the figure could be higher because dozens of people are missing. In fact, Afghanistan pointed out that 80 of its citizens would have diedin that fact.
“It is with great sadness that we learned that 80 Afghan refugees, including women and children, traveling from Turkey to Italy in a wooden boat, drowned and died in the sea south of Italy,” the foreign ministry of the controlled country said. by the Taliban group.
Another 80 people survived and according to his account, about 200 individuals were traveling in the precarious boat. The boat hit some rocks and broke in half, just when it was about 150 meters from the beach.
The Italian interior minister says that everything possible was done to attempt the rescue, but that the sea conditions “were terrible.” “Many of them didn’t know how to swim and they saw people disappear in the waves; they saw them die,” said Save the Children spokeswoman Giovanna Di Benedetto.
Given what happened, the authorities have already arrested three men (two Pakistanis and one Turk) on charges of “alleged traffickers” of people.
According to the Italian authorities, people from Iran and Pakistan were also traveling on the boat, nations plunged into a spiral of violence, conflicts and economic crises, for which many try to flee and reach European territory, paying high prices to the mafias and putting risk their lives.
In the midst of the difficult situations that do not cease in the countries of origin, the flow of migrants increases, while governments such as Italy tighten their anti-immigration measures.
With Reuters and EFE