Naples helping refugees, defying right-wing Italian government


This 3 January 2019 video says about itself:

Naples is ready to defy Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and let in a charity-run ship carrying 32 migrants that is blocked in the stormy Mediterranean, the city mayor said today.

His offer adds to a growing challenge from opposition politicians to Salvini’s far-right League [party], which has vowed to bar migrants and make life difficult for those already here.

Both Italy and Malta are refusing to let the Sea-Watch 3, a ship operated by a German non-governmental organisation (NGO), dock and set down the migrants who were rescued off Libya on Dec. 22. …

Naples’ centre-left mayor Luigi de Magistris said Salvini was playing politics with peoples’ lives. “To leave people and children in the middle of cold and stormy seas is a crime — not simply indecent, immoral and appalling”, de Magistris told Radio Crc. “I hope that this boat approaches the port of Naples because, unlike what the government says, we will launch a rescue operation and we will let it enter the port,” he said.

“I will be the first to lead the rescue.” …

Malta overnight allowed the boat into its waters to sail closer to land where the seas are less choppy, but is refusing to let it dock.

Several local politicians from opposition parties have defied Salvini’s anti-migrant policies. On Wednesday, the mayor of the Sicilian capital Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, said he would join other cities in ignoring a new security law because it abolishes asylum protection for many migrants. Salvini on Thursday threatened mayors with legal action. “Anyone who helps clandestine migrants hates Italians. … ” Salvini tweeted. …

On taking office last year, Salvini barred NGO boats and moved to help Libya

Which of the warring governments and paramilitaries in Libya?

prevent people leaving its shores.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant today:

Naples wants to allow migrant ship Sea-Watch 3 in, ‘whatever the government says’

The Italian city of Naples is prepared to admit the ship Sea-Watch 3 to its port and to accommodate the 32 migrants on board. Mayor Luigi de Magistris said on Thursday. He thus expressly opposes the line of the Italian government, which believes that there can be no question of admitting them. …

The ship Sea-Watch 3, sailing under the Dutch flag, has been floating around the Mediterranean for almost two weeks. On 22 December, 22 migrants from countries such as Sudan, Congo and Mali were picked up from the sea off the coast of Libya by the German NGO Sea-Watch, which manages the ship. They have been wandering since then. None of the countries around it wants to let the migrants in. Italy, Spain and Malta keep their ports closed. …

According to the center-left mayor De Magistris, this is an inhumane attitude. “To leave people, including children, in the middle of the cold and stormy sea is not only indecent, immoral and terrible, it’s a crime”, he said in front of the radio. “I hope the ship will come to Naples because, whatever the government says, we will start a rescue operation and allow it in the harbour.” …

Among the crew of the Sea-Watch 3 are seven children: four teenagers without their parents and three small children, including a baby.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Naples wants to allow the ship the Sea-Watch 3 with 32 migrants on board to land. The left-wing mayor of Naples said that. With this he defies the right-wing Italian Interior Minister Salvini, who does not want any migrants at all.

In Italy there is increasing opposition to the harsh anti-immigration policy of Salvini and his right-wing Lega party. Mayors from several large Italian cities have announced that they will not comply with Salvini’s law on security and immigration. …

The Netherlands is said to be willing to allow a maximum of six people in. They would then enter the ordinary asylum procedure, so it would not be certain that they can stay. …

Malta has allowed the Sea-Watch, under pressure from the Netherlands, to shelter close to the coast for a storm that has been going on for days. Many people on board have become seasick. But the ship is not allowed to moor in Malta. …

The Sea-Watch saved the migrants before Christmas in the vicinity of Libya and since then has been trying unsuccessfully to find a port where they are welcome. According to a Sea-Watch spokesperson, they are traumatized and weakened.

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