Migrants aboard the Aquarius have been stranded in the Mediterranean.
Doctors Without Borders said the migrants – 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children with family members and six pregnant women among them – were “exhausted and stressed” and warned of severe health risks to a significant number.
But Italy can not simply expel hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants without severe repression, and Italy doesn’t yet have the agreements with many key countries of origin needed to facilitate returns.
Italy has been the main entry point for Europe-bound migrants since 2015, and even previous interior ministers – more moderate than Salvini – complained about insufficient help from European Union allies.
Hundreds of people who are stranded on a rescue ship in the Mediterranean will be taken to safety in Spain.
More than 600 migrants, including over 120 teenagers and children, had to be rescued from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya in Africa.
Spain, which announced Monday that it would accept the ship, is also led by a brand-new government, after a no-confidence vote in the former prime minister put the Socialists in power on June 1. “We comply with global commitments regarding humanitarian emergencies”.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Tuesday branded rescue charities “accomplices of the people-trafficking mafia” which make millions of dollars packing migrants into boats headed for Europe. Asylum seekers leaving Africa and the Middle East typically set off in rubber vessels that have little chance of making it across the Mediterranean.
Numbers have dropped dramatically in recent months, but rescues have increased in recent days, presenting Mr Salvini with his first test as minister.
Italy on Tuesday threatened to cancel a summit with France after Paris strongly criticized an Italian decision to close its ports to a vessel carrying more than 600 migrants, according to Italian media. The proposed changes would arguably increase the pressure on Italy without ensuring a more equitable distribution of responsibility. Since the start of the year, almost 14,000 migrants have arrived in Italy; an additional 500 have died attempting the journey.
Porro said: “At the moment we are like an ambulance that has been stopped and we don’t know where to go”.
“It’s our duty to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer a secure port for these people”, Sanchez said.
Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who seems ready to vie even with his hero Donald Trump in cruelty toward the most vulnerable, declared victory on Monday in his campaign to defy global law by refusing to accept more than 600 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean this weekend.
The Aquarius rescue vessel was however caught in a dramatic standoff over the weekend that saw Italy and Malta refuse to allow it to dock.
“Given the boat’s location, it is between Italy and Malta”.
To resolve the problem, two Italian boats moved alongside the Aquarius on Tuesday to share out the migrants before heading west through what were forecast to be stormy seas.
But UNHCR said letting a boat dock did not mean a country would have to take long-term responsibility for those on board.
The ship said it had been ordered on Sunday night by Italy’s coast guard to remain 35 miles off Italy and 27 miles from Malta.
“This happens, if there are not enough rescue assets in place and a safe passage is absent”, the NGO said. “And then more people will die”.
MSF welcomes the important gesture of humanity from Spain to disembark in Valencia.
“I wish I had tens of slaps like these”, Salvini said.