Italy Should Reconsider Plan To Fine NGO Boats Rescuing Migrants - UN Refugee Agency
Italy should reconsider its decision to fine non-government organizations that rescue migrants at sea and instead enhance protections for refugees, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a press release on Wednesday
Earlier on Wednesday, Italy passed a security and migration decree which aims to curb the activity of migrant rescue ships operated by humanitarian groups.
The UN refugee agency pointed out that the country has the obligation under international law to facilitate humanitarian action that prevents loss of lives. UNHCR also noted that the deteriorating security situation in North Africa prevents the safe return of refugees.
The decree, approved on Tuesday evening, states that any boats that ignore Italian authorities' orders and enter Italian waters in violation of international law can be fined from 10,000 Euros ($11,300) to 50,000 euros. If the violations are repeated, the boats may be seized.
Europe has been struggling with its worst migration crisis in recent history for some four years. Italy alongside Spain and Greece have been among the most affected countries as they serve as the main entry points for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.