Italy is refusing to let vessels carrying migrants dock on its shores as the administration of newly elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni tackles the ongoing migrant crisis.
An NGO ship carrying 179 migrants had attempted to dock in a Sicilian port but was refused permission to do so.
Politico reported remarks from Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi who said “the government had adopted a decree requiring German-flagged vessel Humanity 1 — currently anchored off Sicily — to remain in Italy’s waters only temporarily.”
“That will be only for the time necessary to check for emergencies on board, whether health-related or otherwise,” Piantedosi said, according to Italian press agency Adnkronos. Piantedosi said children, pregnant women and people in ill health will be let into Italy.”
The minister is also reported to have said that “People who are not in urgent need of help will have to be taken back to international waters,”.
Amnesty International described the move as “disgraceful”.
Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said “Finally we are protecting our borders again and the laws of our nation. Today in the cabinet meeting we have gone back to approving a decree and establishing a principal according to which foreign ships cannot arrive only and exclusively with illegal migrants in Italy”
According to Politico, NGOs claim that a significant number of the migrants were “children”, with “more than 100 unaccompanied minors and people with medical emergencies”.
Euronews reports “Italy’s new government is insisting that countries whose flag the charity-run ships fly must take on the migrants.”
Speaking at a news conference late Friday, Piantedosi described such vessels as “islands” that are under the jurisdiction of the flag countries.”
With Minister Matteo Salvini saying, “We stop being hostage to these foreign and private NGOs that organise the routes, the traffic, the transport and the migratory policies”