Italy authorized only the disembarkation of sick and minors from a migrant rescue ship

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35 people whom the authorities did not consider vulnerable remain on board the Humanity 1. The new far-right government insists that they must go to the countries flag-bearing ships

Italy only authorized the disembarkation of the sick and minors from a migrant rescue ship

Migrants disembark from the rescue ship Humanity 1, managed by the German organization SOS Humanity in the port of Catania, Sicily, southern Italy, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)

The new government of the far right Italian authorized this Sunday the disembarkation of minors and sick migrants from the association ship SOS Humanity, but refused to disembark 35 adult men it does not consider vulnerable, the NGO announced.

The German-flagged ship is one of four humanitarian ships that they demand authorization to put people rescued at sea to safety.

Among the four boats, they carried more than 1,000 people collected in the Mediterranean. Only the “Humanity 1″ has received permission to dock.

Humanitarian groups and two Italian legislators who traveled to Sicily protested, calling the selection process illegal and inhumane. The procedure was part of the directive presented by the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, in a new Italian campaign against non-governmental organizations that he has accused for years of promoting human trafficking in the Mediterranean central.

“Free everyone, free them”, said the Italian legislator Aboubakar Soumahoro in a moving petition to the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, from the rescue ship Humanity 1, which is in the port of Catania. The legislator described the new policy as “inhumane.”

Italy only authorized the disembarkation of the sick and minors from a migrant rescue ship

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (REUTERS/Remo Casilli/file)

The passengers, he added, have suffered “trauma, they have faced everything that we can define as a prolonged suffering, a hell”, said Soumahoro .

Italian authorities completed overnight the process of identifying vulnerable migrants on the Humanity 1, run by a German organization, and asked the Geo Barents, which was carrying 572 rescued migrants, to proceed to the port on Sunday of Catania to apply the same method.

Two other ships managed by non-governmental organizations remained at sea without reporting changes. The NGOs said that people were sleeping on floors and decks, that infections with fever and scabies were spreading, and that they were running out of < b>food and themedical supplies. Some migrants have been on the boats for more than two weeks.

The Humanity 1, carrying 179 rescued passengers, reached the Sicilian port on Sunday night and two Italian doctors began the process of identifying people in need of urgent medical attention after the ship's doctor refused, SOS spokesman Wasil Schauseil said on Sunday. Humanity.

In total, 144 people have disembarked from Humanity 1.

SOS Humanity considers all passengers vulnerable by definition after being rescued at sea and entitled to a safe harbor according to the < b>international law.

Authorities first allowed three women and a baby to disembark, then a family and then unaccompanied minors, who numbered more than a hundred, he said. Schausteil.

“As we feared, not everyone was allowed to disembark,” the spokesman said.

“Doctors declared that 36 people were not in an emergency situation. Upon receiving the news, one person fainted and lost consciousness and had to be taken to an ambulance,” Schauseil said. “That's why there are 35 people on board”.

“You can imagine the state of the people. It's very devastating,” she said.

Italy only authorized the disembarkation of sick people and minors from a migrant rescue ship

FILE PHOTO: Migrants wait to be rescued by members of the crew of the NGO rescue ship 'Ocean Viking' in the Mediterranean Sea. October 26, 2022. Camille Martin Juan/Sos Mediterranee/Handout via REUTERS

The Humanity 1 has not yet received orders to leave the port, as specified in the directive signed by three Italian ministers on Friday night. The text indicated that the ship could remain in Italian waters only long enough to determine which passengers were vulnerable, defined as minors and people with medical emergencies.

“Everyone has the right to disembark and we hope that everyone can disembark,” Schauseil said. “We do not believe this is valid under international law.”

The Norwegian-flagged Geo Barents with 572 migrants on board, reached port early Sunday afternoon time. The ship entered Italian waters east of Sicily over the weekend to seek shelter from storms.

Two other boats carrying rescued migrants were still at sea, one in Italian waters and one in international waters, after their crews repeatedly asked for a safe port.

The German-run Rise Above with 93 people rescued also entered Italian waters at the time, but spokeswoman Hermine Poschmann said on Sunday that the crew had not received any communication from the Italian authorities.

Poschmann described a crowded situation on the relatively small 25-meter boat, saying the crew had had to calm nervous migrants who saw land on Friday but couldn't get to it.

The Ocean Viking, operated by the European charity SOS Méditeranée, with 234 migrants on board, remained in international waters south of the Strait of Messina, and had received no instructions to proceed to port, a spokesman said Sunday. Her first rescue was 16 days ago.

The confrontational stance adopted by the Meloni government is reminiscent of arm wrestling with Matteo Salvini, now Minister of Infrastructure and responsible for ports, during his brief tenure in 2018 and 2019 as Minister of the Interior.

Italy authorized Only the disembarkation of sick people and minors from a migrant rescue ship

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi and Matteo Salvini, now Minister of Infrastructure and responsible for ports (REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane)

The new Italian government insists that migrants must go to the countries from which The rescue boats fly the flag. Piantedosi last Friday described those boats as “islands” under the jurisdiction of the countries where they are registered.

Germany This week, in a diplomatic note, he asked the new Italian government to provide “quick help” in the face of the “humanitarian situation on board the ship.”

In a video on Facebook, Salvini reiterated his accusations that the presence of humanitarian vessels encourages the activity of smugglers.

The non-governmental organizationsreject the government's interpretation and they claim that they are bound by the law of the sea to rescue people in trouble, and that coastal countries are obliged to provide a safe harbor as soon as possible.

85% of arrivals, according to the government.

(With information from AP and AFP)

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