European Union states agree to take in migrants from ‘Open Arms’ ship

Cheryl Sanders
August 18, 2019

On the heels of the announcement, Spain said Thursday it would be willing to take in some of the migrants, who have been stranded in the Mediterranean for almost two weeks due to the ban imposed by the Italian interior minister.

Both Italy and Malta have refused Open Arms permission to dock and unload its passengers.

Before Conte's announcement, Spain said it was working with other EU states and the European Commission to find a "common. and orderly solution", and was willing to "participate in a balanced distribution of migrants on board the ship".

Openly challenging the League leader, who has so far dictated Italy's immigration policy, Elisabetta Trenta said defying the court was illegal and that "politics must not lose its humanity".

But Proactiva appealed to an administrative court, which on Wednesday suspended the decree.

On Wednesday, as storms were heading towards the boat's position, a court in Rome ruled that Salvini's so-called "security decree" against the vessel was in violation of worldwide laws.

"All that is missing is that we be assigned a port", Camps said.

"We have overturned Salvini's decree which banned us from entering Italian waters under the threat of confiscating our boat.

It's important that this decree, which was boasted about so much as a great success, has turned to nothing", said Founder and Director of Proactiva Open Arms, Oscar Camps.

Since coming to power in June 2018, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has repeatedly taken a hard line against migrants.

The Ocean Viking, a Norwegian ship operated by Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, was awaiting word on where it can safely disembark 356 migrants, who were plucked to safety from human traffickers' unseaworthy boats in various operations.

Last week, Salvini's League brought a non-confidence motion against Conte's 14-month-old populist government.

The ship entered Italian territorial waters after a court overruled a ban by right-wing Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini.

Trenta sent two navy vessels to escort the Open Arms as it headed for Lampedusa, with a view to evacuating 32 minors from the vessel after 13 days at sea.

Spanish public broadcaster TVE, who are present on the Open Arms, interviewed a migrant, who said they would only really rejoice once they will have reached the shore.

"We could have a fight within a half-hour with a serious injury, or worse, someone could die on board due to violence", he told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

Numerous migrants, mainly from Africa, are suffering from "very high levels of post-traumatic stress" and anxiety over their future.

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