In the dispute over the reception of refugees on board the rescue ship “Sea-Watch 3” Italy has agreed with six other European countries. The refugees are allowed to leave the ship after two weeks.

Seven EU countries have agreed to accept migrants, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. In the next few hours, therefore, the migrants could get off the train. Besides Germany, Italy, Malta, Romania, Luxembourg, Portugal and France want to take in refugees from the ship.

The “Sea-Watch 3” had taken 47 migrants on 19 January before Libya. The ship was last at anchor for several days off the Sicilian coast near Syracuse, but was not allowed to enter the harbor. Where the migrants now go ashore and whether the ship may invest in Syracuse, was initially unclear.

Italy demands fair distribution

Since taking office last summer, the populist government in Rome has already denied several rescue ships access to the country’s ports. It insists on a fair distribution of migrants to the EU states. But the EU member states can not agree on this for years.

Italy Food for the Sea-Watch 3 (Reuters / G. Mangiapane)

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Italy to take care of the 47 migrants on the rescue ship

“Distribution issues need to be addressed on land, and while there should be a solution now, it remains a moral and political declaration of bankruptcy on the part of the EU states,” said Sea Watch spokesman Ruben Neugebauer. On board were also 13 minors and 22 crew members. The hygienic conditions worsened enormously in the past few days. Sea-Watch had also filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights .

Refugees should be brought to Libya

Italy’s right-wing Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had insisted that the migrants be taken to the Netherlands or Germany. Since the “Sea-Watch 3” is under Dutch flag and it is a German aid organization. Italy and the EU are supporting the Libyan Coast Guard to bring these migrants back to civil war in distress. There, however, people are threatened with severe mistreatment in camps.


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