UN ‘Human Rights Experts’ Demand Italy Reopen Ports, Slash Immigration Controls

Migrants wave aboard a Salvamento Maritimo sea search and rescue agency vessel after they were rescued from a boat stranded in the Strait of Gibraltar during a rescue operation with the Spanish Guardia Civil on September 8, 2018.

Only open borders policies can prevent human trafficking, UN ‘human rights experts’ have said, ordering Italy to reopen the country’s ports to boatloads of illegal immigrants.

The Italian foreign ministry received a letter signed by six Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council urging populist interior minister Matteo Salvini to end his blockade policy on migrant search-and-rescue boats and for Italian lawmakers to block the League leader’s proposals to fine NGOs €5,500 (£4,800/$6,100) for each immigrant they bring to Europe.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, commented on the row over Italy’s ports to say the international body did “not want to interfere in Italian law, but Guterres’ message is that international standards on the protection of refugees must be respected”.

Speaking at a press briefing Monday, Dujarric stressed that “refugees and migrants must be treated with dignity and respect for their human rights”, adding that the letter to Italy was “sent by figures who play an important role but are independent from the UN”.

The letter, which was received by foreign affairs minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi, demanded authorities in Italy “stop endangering the lives of migrants … by invoking the fight against traffickers”, stating that “the right to life” should always be prioritised over immigration controls.

The Italian authorities’ assertion that the blockade punishes criminal smuggling gangs is “misleading and is not in line with both general international law and international human rights law”, according to the UN Special Rapporteurs, who claimed that “instead, restrictive migration policies contribute to exacerbating migrants’ vulnerabilities and only serve to increase trafficking in persons.”

Statistics show there has been a sharp drop in the number of deaths in the Mediterranean since Salvini made it much more difficult for NGOs to operate a ‘taxi service’ for migrants seeking to reach Europe from Libya.

The populist League leader put forward a staunch defence of his immigration policies this week after what he described as an “amazing” personal attack by bishop Domenico Mogavero, who is reportedly known as the “migrant bishop” due to his enthusiastic shows of “solidarity” towards illegal immigrants seeking to make Italy their home.

Mogavero, who Breitbart London previously reported was accused of embezzling €180,000 (£158,000/$200,000), claimed that supporters of the deputy prime minister “cannot call themselves Christian because they have reneged on the commandment of love”.

Salvini hit back to say he was “saving human lives”, with the interior ministry sending the bishop figures which it said “gave evidence” to the populist’s claim to be “a good Christian”, revealing the steep decline seen in the number of migrants reported dead and missing in the Mediterranean Sea before and after Salvini cracked down on NGO boats last summer.

Taken from UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) data for May, the statistics showed 402 migrants have been reported dead or missing so far this year, compared with 2,277 who died or disappeared in 2018.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.