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Italy: UN experts condemn bill to fine migrant rescuers

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

GENEVA – UN human rights experts condemned a proposed draft decree by Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, to fine those who rescue migrants and refugees at sea, and urged the Government to halt its approval.

“The right to life and the principle of non-refoulement should always prevail over national legislation or other measures purportedly adopted in the name of national security,” said the independent experts, who conveyed their concerns about the decree in a formal letter to the Italian Government.

“We urge authorities to stop endangering the lives of migrants, including asylum seekers and victims of trafficking in persons, by invoking the fight against traffickers. This approach is misleading and is not in line with both general international law and international human rights law. Instead, restrictive migration policies contribute to exacerbating migrants’ vulnerabilities and only serve to increase trafficking in persons.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Salvini announced a proposal to issue a decree that would fine vessels for every person rescued at sea and taken to Italian territory. NGO and other boats that rescued migrants could also have their licences revoked or suspended.

 

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