NGO decree, government responds to Europe: fears about migrants are unfounded

NGO decree, government responds to Europe: fears about migrants are unfounded

The issue of managing migrants is back in the spotlight following a letter sent to the Italian government by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe. The communication was sent to the Italian Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, by Commissioner Dunja Mijatović who invites the Italian government to consider withdrawing or revising Decree-Law 1/2023. The news was announced by the Council of Europe, an internal organization based in Strasbourg that brings together 46 countries. The decree’s provisions, according to Mijatovic, could hamper NGO search and rescue operations and therefore conflict with Italy’s obligations under human rights and international law. The commissioner also notes that, in practice, NGO ships have been assigned to distant safe places to disembark people rescued at sea, such as the ports of central and northern Italy. “The decree and practice of designating distant ports for the disembarkation of people rescued at sea risks depriving people in need of vital assistance from NGOs on the deadliest migratory route in the Mediterranean,” writes the commissioner. Furthermore, the Commissioner reiterates his appeal to the Italian authorities to suspend cooperation with the Libyan government in matters of interceptions at sea.

The Italian government’s response was not long in coming, reiterating that the allocation of ports in central and northern Italy to NGO ships that rescued migrants is guided by “the essential need to operate a more equitable redistribution between regions, not both of migrants and of the organizational and logistical burdens related to the management of landings”. This was stated by the Ministry of the Interior in response to the concerns of the Council of Europe, highlighted in a letter from the Human Rights Commission which severely criticizes the Piantedosi decree. “The objective pursued – continues Viminale – is to relieve the structures of first reception, in the first place the hotspot of Lampedusa” and “the ships that were assigned to the Pos (place of security, ed) in the most remote locations there are large-scale structures, as such able to safely face long crossings” while “the allocation of the Pos always presupposes a prior comparison with technical entities in order to verify the absence of possible risk situations for the ‘ safety of the people on board’.

Source: IL Tempo

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