Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (Socialist) has sent a vessel to escort Open Arms from the surroundings of Lampedusa to Palma, Mallorca. This gesture has been intended to end standoff between the Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini (Lega), and the NGO, transporting migrants from Libyan coast to Italy.
Salvini vowed to upgrade the problem of the flows of illegal immigration from Africa to the level of the EU, pointing out that the Dublin regulation is not sustainable any more, and calling the other EU member-states to take their fair share participating in relocation plans for African migrants.
Meanwhile he prosecutor’s office of Agrigento (Sicily) rules the immediate landing of all persons on board of Open Arms vessel in the port of Lampedusa and the provisional seizure of the ship.
“Finally, the nightmare is over and the 83 people on board will receive immediate assistance on land” wrote NGO for the Twitter micro blog.
However the Italian government expects the EU member-states, which made the pledges, to offer their hospitality to the migrants, allowing the relocation of some of the arrived Africans. All of them claiming asylum, and some of them have already declared themselves as minors to get ashore, but almost immediately Salvini revealed eight persons misled the authorities about their age, and in reality the “boys” were young men around 30.
Joining the international pressure on Italian government, the president of the European Parliament David Sassoli, demanded to end the standoff, and allow the 83 African migrants to land in Lampedusa.
The Mediterranean Open Arms migrant rescue vessel has firmly rejected an offer of a safe port in Spain, explaining that the six day journey to Algeciras would be too risky for the passengers, whose moods have been already critical.
Today, ignoring the maritime border, some of 107 migrants have been jumping off the vessel and attempting to swim towards Lampedusa in refusal to respect the concept of border as such, demonstrating their determination to enter Italy. The NGO Open Arms has been flexing mussels, signaling to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, that his orders don’t mean anything to them, while international players, supporting illegal migration are more powerful than a sovereign state.
In his turn Salvini has used social media to expose the Spanish offer to point out it was made to cast him as a “racist”. He accused those 27 migrants who were allowed to disembark on humanitarian grounds of lying about their age and their illnesses.
“They told me from Lampedusa that out of the 27 immigrants for whom the landing was ordered are minors, 8 have already declared themselves older! We will see others …
After the “imaginary sick”, here are the “imaginary minors”!
While others give in, I don’t change my mind.” Salvini wrote.
“We do not accept Spain as a port to go because we are in a state of extreme humanitarian emergency. What they need is to be disembarked now,” Open Arms NGO spokesperson said.
The migrants, most of whom are from Sub-Saharan Africa, were collected off the coast of Libya by the Open Arms NGO vessel navigating under Spanish flag, , transported upon their own initiative to Italy, and from the moment of arrival to Lampedusa island. they have been waiting for the permission to disembark.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has agreed to let ashore 27 migrants from Mediterranean NGO rescue ship Open Arms, all of them claim that they are “unaccompanied teenagers”.
Those who claim they are minors were allowed to disembark on the Italian island of Lampedusa after more than sixteen days at sea, and considerable international pressure, however so far only six EU state expressed readiness to welcome some of the passengers on the vessel navigating under Spanish flag.
At present there are more than 500 million Africans without birth certificate or/and passport, according to the World Bank, subsequently their age can be estimated only approximately through medical tests in cases it is requested by prosecution. Among those without birth certificate 494 million are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Reportedly more than 100 migrants remain on board the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, and the NGO insists on Lampedusa (Italy) landing.
The Spanish ship Open Arms has been stranded off Italy‘s island of Lampedusa for eight days because none of the EU governments is willing to accept any number of migrants from the group of the 121 passengers navigated from Libyan coasts.
The Hollywood star Richard Gere helped to bring food and supplies to the boat and asked for support for the migrants and NGO, whose passengers include nine-month-old Ethiopian twins.
“Everyone is doing okay now,” Gere said in a video published by Open Arms.
The rescue ship has been waiting for eight days for any EU government to welcome migrants. However not everybody is convinced by migrants drama: “Richard Gere on the Open Arms? I hope you get a tan and that you feel good … Since the ship is an NGO that flies the Spanish flag, they can disembark the 120 immigrants in Ibiza or Formentera, right?” wrote Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
The 70 years old asylum legislation, created after the WWII, has not been adapted after the collapse of the colonialism. It is worth mentioning that the key documents – the Geneva Refugée Convention (1951)and its 1967 Protocol, were concluded still in colonial context, while Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence from European colonization in 1957. At times of endorsement of Geneva Convention, it was beyond imagination that the legislation would be used to enhance flows of illegal migration from African continent to Europe.