NGO takes legal action against Italy for preventing migrants from disembarking rescue ship – JURIST | Media Pyro


SOS Humanity, a humanitarian search and rescue organization, announced on Monday that it is taking legal action against the Italian government for not allowing the 35 migrants on the SOS Humanity rescue ship to disembark. The Italian government rejected the move because of a decision by the Italian Ministers of the Interior and Infrastructure.

Italian authorities on Saturday allowed SOS Humanity’s rescue ship, Humanity 1, to enter port in Catania. In line with new rules on illegal immigration issued by Italy’s right-wing government, authorities conducted medical checks on passengers on the rescue boat. Italian authorities allowed pregnant women, mothers, young children and vulnerable people to land. However, 35 people who were deemed “healthy” were not allowed to emigrate. The Italian authorities asked the captain to leave the port. The captain agreed, citing his responsibility under maritime law “to complete the rescue of the people in distress by sending all survivors to the port of Catania as a place of safety.”

The law, passed last month, prohibits rescue ships from stopping in Italian waters “except when necessary for rescue operations and assistance for people in emergency situations and health conditions.”

In a Facebook post, Construction Minister Matteo Salvini said, “[W]Rescue and aid are guaranteed, but we ban foreigners [nongovernmental organizations] from standing in Italian territorial waters. In May 2021, Salvini escaped prosecution for the decision to prevent 119 from landing on Italian shores in 2019.

SOS Humanity considers all passengers entitled to a safe port under international law, stating, “[I]It is illegal to allow only a selected number of survivors to emigrate.” SOS Humanity argues that the Italian government’s decision to return the 35 survivors seeking safety violates the protections of in the European Convention on Human Rights and the Geneva Refugee Convention.

SOS Humanity initiates a fast-track process to ensure the right to access an asylum procedure on the ground. The call for 35 survivors to continue to descend.


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