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  • Migrants after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard, in Misrata, Libya Oct. 17, 2019

    Migrants after being rescued by the Libyan coast guard, in Misrata, Libya Oct. 17, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 October 2019

Humanitarian organizations demand that the European Union apply a landing mechanism at the nearest safe harbor.

Italy's Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese on Friday held a meeting in Rome with representatives of humanitarian organizations that save lives in the Mediterranean to address issues related to migration to this European country.

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"It is a first step towards a direct dialogue between the parties," the Interior Ministry said in a statement which seeks to highlight that Lamorgese's approach is different from her predecessor in office, the far-right right politician Matteo Salvini, who kept a strong pulse against humanitarian NGOs.

The meeting was attended by members of the French charities Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Volunteer Pilots and SOS Méditerranée; the Spanish Open Arms, the Italian Mediterranea, the German Sea Eye and Sea Watch, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Port Captaincy.

The MSF indicated that charities appreciate "the reopening of dialogue" and trust that collaboration to protect "human lives at sea" will begin now.

"Over 25 percent of the Italian delicacies are possible thanks to the migrants' contribution." 

According to the NGOs, it is essential to develop an "effective rescue system, capable of guaranteeing respect for life and human rights", a cooperative device in which the European countries actively participate in "respect to international agreements".

Besides asking that Libya be discarded as a return port for rescued migrants, the European charities demand that the European Union apply a landing mechanism at the nearest safe harbor.

This way, long waits can be avoided, such as the one that the Ocean Viking ship is currently going through, for this vessel has been carrying 104 migrants on board for five days.

During the year in which Salvini was Interior Minister, the Italian government banned migrants rescued by NGOs from landing in its territory.​​​​​​​

In addition to his "Closed Ports" policy, the far-righ politician achieved parliamentary approval of a law, the "Security Decree", which fined humanitarian ships entering or docking in territorial waters.​​​​​​​

On Sep. 5, the Five-5-Star Movement and the Democratic Party ministers swore in their positions within the government led by Giuseppe Conte, after the Salvini's League created a crisis in August.​​​​​​​

Twenty days later, Interior Ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Malta reached an agreement to manage migratory flows only from the central Mediterranean area, a pact to which humanitarian NGOs want the other European countries to join.

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