23 August 2018
Italy’s hard-line Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is refusing to allow an Italian Coast Guard ship, the Ubaldo Diciotti, to disembark the 177 people it rescued off the island of Lampedusa last week until assurances are received that they will be relocated elsewhere in Europe.
Co-chairs Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer express concern at the situation:
"Only a couple of months after two other rescue ships (Aquarius and Sea Watch 3) were refused permission to dock in Italy and Malta, here we are again: A standoff between governments that don’t respect basic fundamental rights, a refugee system that does not work, and suffering being endured by those most in need of urgent help.
"By refusing their disembarkation Salvini is effectively holding the migrants hostage and using them as bargaining chips to trade off Italian and European rules on human rights.
"Apart from putting at risk long standing international rules on asylum, the very essence of the Italian constitution is at stake. A constitution which was built by people who fought fascism and embraced Italy’s participation in the European project from its very beginning.
"Greens have long called for an urgent and fair reform of the Dublin system, which places disproportionate pressure on member states with external EU borders by granting them primary responsibility towards refugees. Green and other group Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have been trying to break the deadlock on migration reform for months, but Five Star and Lega MEPs opposed the Parliament’s position in November, proving Salvini and the government and party he represents to be hypocritical!
"We applaud the Italian prosecutors who have already launched an investigation into the illegal detention of the migrants onboard the ship. We call on the EU institutions to react immediately by sending a delegation to Catania and urge the European Commission to issue an immediate infringement procedure against Italy."
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