The Norwegian government has confirmed it will not be taking in any migrants rescued by NGO Proactiva Open Arms in the Mediterranean, despite a French request.
Norwegian Justice and Immigration Minister Jøran Kallmyr confirmed that the government rejected the French offer, saying that Norway would also reject taking any migrants from the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) vessel the Ocean Viking, NRK reports.
Kallmyr told the broadcaster his reasoning for the rejection, saying, “basic mechanisms to prevent people from going out to sea are not in place. This applies, for example, to a screening system, so that we can quickly return those who do not want to stay in Europe back to Africa. And before this is in place, we do not want to participate in a distribution [of migrants].”
The move comes after the Proactiva Open Arms ship was allowed to dock on the Italian island of Lampedusa earlier this week after prosecutors gave the order.
Spanish Naval Ship Dispatched to Pick Up Mediterranean Migrants https://t.co/gf1h1fXzfL
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 21, 2019
Oscar Camps, founder of the Spain-based NGO, tweeted shortly after the go-ahead allowing the ship to dock, saying, “After 19 days, we will land in Lampedusa today. The boat will be temporarily seized, but it is a cost that Open Arms assumes to ensure that people on board can be taken care of.”
The move comes as part of a probe by prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio, who is investigating kidnapping allegations against populist leader Matteo Salvini.
Salvini responded to the allegations and the move to allow the migrants into Italian territory robustly, saying, “If anybody thinks they can scare me with the umpteenth complaint and wants a trial, they’re mistaken.”
Open Arms could face legal trouble itself in Spain, with Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo telling media that the NGO did not have the correct Spanish permit to perform “rescue” operations and could face a fine of up to 900,000 euros ($1,000,000).
Salvini Rebukes Richard Gere on Migrants, Tells Him to Fly Them to His 'Hollywood Villas' https://t.co/GNcv89OS1u
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 12, 2019