Friday, January 27, 2023

Boats with migrants land in Italy

ROME ( Associated Press) – Two European aid groups anchored their rescue ships in Italian ports on Sunday and disembarked nearly 500 refugees, even as the government insisted it was stepping up its crackdown on migrant smuggling from North Africa. Will not run on strict policy.

Gio Barents, from the French group Doctors Without Borders, arrived at the port of Salerno near Naples and 248 people disembarked.

“They are as happy and relieved as we are,” said Juan Matias Gil, director of the mission in Salerno.

Further north in the Adriatic, the Humanity 1 ship, operated by the German group SOS Humanity, arrived at the port of Bari with 261 people on board and all disembarked. SOS Humanity said in a statement that the people survived a harrowing ordeal in 12-foot (3-metre) waves and the group’s request to reach a nearby port was denied.

The landing followed Lewis Mitchell’s arrival on Friday in Lampedusa, Sicily. Thirty-three people got off that ship, financed and decorated by the artist Banksy.

Italy’s new government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose allies campaigned with harsh rhetoric against illegal immigration, has sought to present a stronger stance against humanitarian groups rescuing migrants at sea.

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi initially sought to implement a policy that only “vulnerable” migrants be allowed to arrive and that countries whose flag flies on the ships would receive the others. That policy led to a diplomatic standoff with France last month in which Paris suspended its participation in a refugee resettlement plan.

Nation World News Desk
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