17th October 2019
Migrants on board Open Arms.
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Salvini still refusing safe harbour despite 6 countries willing to relocate migrants

Fourteen days after being rescued from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea by the Catalan NGO Proactiva Open Arms, 134 migrants remain stranded. Italy still refuses to offer them a safe harbour as health conditions deteriorate.

According to the NGO, 134 people remain on board the vessel, after several people were evacuated for medical concerns in the last few hours.

Italy’s interior minister and leader of the anti-immigration Lega party, Matteo Salvini, has refrained from letting the rescue vessel dock in Lampedusa, thus provoking the further rows with prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

ALSO READ: Richard Gere joins migrant rescue ship, EU president calls for ‘urgent action’

Migrants on board Open Arms.
Migrants on board Open Arms. (Proactiva Open Arms)

A recent decision from an administrative court in Italy to accept an appeal from Open Arms against Salvini’s ban on sea rescue organisations entering Italian territorial waters seemed to tip the scales in favour of the Catalan NGO. Yet, as the minister in charge of Italian ports, Salvini is managing to prolong the stalemate.

ALSO READ: UN Refugee Agency calls for ‘immediate disembarkation’ of 507 people

According to Conte, six European countries – Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Romania, and Luxembourg -have offered to relocate the rescued migrants.

In a message published on Facebook, Conte says Salvini is ‘obsessed’ with having Italy’s ports closed and accuses his minister of being ‘disloyal’.

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