Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Migrant boat rejects order to leave Italian port

Catania, Sicily ( Associated Press) – The captain of a migrant rescue ship run by a charity refused Italian orders to leave a Sicilian port in Italy on Sunday after authorities refused to let 35 migrants off board. Had given. – Flagged rescue ships.

The government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who has been in office for two weeks, is denying safe harbor four ships operating in the central Mediterranean that have rescued migrants in distress, some of whom have spent up to 16 days at sea. Only those identified as vulnerable have been allowed to disembark.

On Sunday, Italy ordered Humanity 1 to evacuate the port of Catania, leaving 144 rescued migrants, including children, more than 100 lonely minors and those with medical emergencies.

But its captain refused to fulfill the order “until all survivors rescued from the dangerous situation at sea were disembarked,” SOS Humanity, the German charity that operates the ship, said. The ship remained in port with 35 migrants on board.

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Later on Sunday, a second ship, the Geo Barents, operated by Doctors Without Borders, reached Catania, and the screening process was repeated with all 572 migrants on board. The sorties were completed in the evening, and 357 people had disembarked, but 215 were not allowed to go down.

The family were the first to leave the ship. “Thank you, Geo Barrantes, thank you,” expressed his gratitude as a child nurse expressed his gratitude as he left. Another man in a wheelchair was brought down by Red Cross workers.

However, two other boats run by NGOs were still at sea and no port was ready to accept those rescued by them.

Humanitarian groups, human rights activists and two Italian lawmakers who traveled to Sicily protested, calling the selection process illegal and inhumane. Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, is eyeing NGOs that Italy has long accused of promoting human trafficking in the central Mediterranean. The group denies such allegations.

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“Free all the people, free them,” Italian lawmaker Abubakar Soumahoro said in an emotional appeal addressed to Humanity 1 to Meloni, describing his government’s new policy as “inhumane.”

Soumahoro, who spent the night on the ship, said passengers “have suffered trauma, they have suffered everything we can define as prolonged agony.”

Later, in port, he accused Meloni of playing politics at the expense of “newborn babies, women, all kinds of traumatized people”, including torture in Libyan prisons.

He stated that there were neither translators nor psychologists in the selection process in Italy, and that many migrants were from The Gambia and could not speak French, English or Italian.

“Their mistake is speaking another language. Their mistake is that they have a different colour,” Soumahoro said, accusing the Italian government of using migrants to divert attention from other problems, such as high energy prices.


Barry reported from Milan. Emily Schultheis in Berlin and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

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