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EMERGENCY opposes the European Council and Italian government’s recent measures regarding migrants and refugees

Monday, February 6, 2017

EMERGENCY opposes the European Council and Italian government’s recent measures regarding migrants and refugees.The number of people fleeing war and poverty increases around the world. Meanwhile, European leaders and the Italian government continue to respond by proposing a stop to the flow of people and the construction of barriers, without any plan to inhibit the true causes of migration. They particularly pertain to countries at war, whereby the international community is deeply responsible for the origins and evolution of conflicts.

The recent foreign ministry decree follows this pattern. The fund for Africa, originally intended for development cooperation, is now focused on strengthening security, controlling borders in countries of origin and transit of migrants, and repatriation schemes. The previous government, however, had announced that this fund would be appropriated to projects meant to improve the socioeconomic conditions of the migrants’ countries of origin.

The latest demonstration of the new approach is the ratification of a cooperation agreement between the Italian government and the Libyan Government of National Accord, analogous to the arrangement between the EU and Turkey and Afghanistan.

If the Libyan coast guard were to intercept migrants along the country’s entire shore — an improbable circumstance right now given both the conflicts between various groups which are contending for power in Libya, and the Al-Sarraj government’s lack of territorial control — this would impede the escape of thousands of people towards Europe.

These people would be forced into facilities run by unscrupulous criminals. International and humanitarian organisations would not be able to access the migrants, nor intervene.

With its decision, the Italian government shows that it does not understand migration. Nor does it take into consideration the suffering of thousands of individuals, who have been fleeing towards Europe in their only hope for survival. All this is testified to by migrants, whom our staff meets every day in Italy, and other countries in which EMERGENCY operates.

The government’s approach has already demonstrated its own total inadequacy and, above all, its total inhumanity.

Giving control of European borders to a nation at war, namely Libya, is a harsh and irresponsible decision for thousands of people’s lives, and contrary to the principles on which the EU was founded. The decision was taken with total disregard for the human rights conventions which Italy, along with all EU countries, has formally approved.