The Diciotti ship saga, moored in the port of Catania with 150 migrants still on board entered its third day and is charged with new political and judicial tensions.
The ship had arrived in Catania the night between Sunday and Monday last with 177 migrants on board.
On Wednesday night 27 unaccompanied minors were dropped, including a girl, who were assisted by Red Cross, UNHCR and Save the Children.
The go-ahead was given by the Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini after the inspection carried out on board by the Agrigento Public Prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio and the numerous appeals, including that of the Minors’ Office of the Court of Catania, which had sent an official request .
There are still 150 adult migrants still waiting for the division between the European Union countries.
The government is stressing that it is compacted on the case of the Diciotti ship in port in Catania, but the institutional crisis is on fire.
“I do not go back a millimeter, they are all illegal immigrants”, says Matteo Salvini, certain that he has “the majority of Italians”. And Luigi Di Maio gives him strength by threatening the EU to no longer pay the Italian contribution of 20 billion, if the member countries do not actually accept the redistribution of migrants.
In an interview on Corriere Della Sera, Matteo Salvini says «Hostages? The hostages were Italians. They are immigrants and Europe, for too long. With this government they will not be anymore. An era is over ». He added “With a nice plane coming from one of the European capitals to the airport of Catania. The Europeans will show their great heart by charging all the aspiring refugees. We have done our part with the young “. “Europe must know that the Italian government is irritated. Enough with many words and few results. The EU had committed itself to taking 35 thousand immigrants: they stopped at 12 thousand. If the seriousness is this, it is not surprising that we have decided a fixed point. With the NGOs we have succeeded, now we must force the EU to take responsibility for what is due to it “.
The United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, urged the Italian government to allow refugees and migrants saved on board the coastal ship Italian Eighteen to disembark.
“We welcome the efforts of the Italian Coast Guard to save the lives of these men, women and children, but an urgent resolution to this impasse is needed,” says Roland Schilling, UNHCR’s deputy regional representative in Rome.
“Many of those on board may need international protection and have already faced incredibly traumatic experiences.” Some vulnerable people – including 17 people in need of medical care and 27 unaccompanied minors – have already been allowed to leave the ship for humanitarian reasons, while 150 passengers – all adults – are currently on board the Eighteen, docked in the Sicilian port of Catania from 20 August. While welcoming Italy’s decision to allow the disembarkation of some of the most vulnerable people, says the joint UNHCR and OIM note, it remains essential to allow all those who remain on the ship to disembark as their humanitarian needs can not be fully satisfied on board.
“Migrants arriving from Libya are often victims of violence, abuse and torture, their vulnerabilities should be promptly and adequately identified and addressed” adds Federico Soda, Director of the OIM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean and Head of Mission for Italy and Malta.
According to organizations, without timely and predictable landing mechanisms together with strong demonstrations of solidarity for people rescued, there may be delays in responding to distress calls – potentially jeopardizing the sanctity of the seafaring principle.
This is why European solidarity, support and collaboration have become more important than ever.
There are contacts between some EU countries for the reception of the Diciotti migrants. “On this issue some EU countries are in touch at the moment, but the decision process can not be anticipated,” a German government spokesman replied to an ANSA question as to whether Germany is willing to accept part of the ship’s refugees.
On Thursday, the Vice-premier Salvini in an interview with the radio station Rtl 102.5 said “I do not fear anything, I have a clear conscience, I work very well with Premier Conte, there is perfect harmony … Yesterday he asked me for information and I gave it to him while as minister and as father I was giving instructions to minors from the Eighteen ship “.
I do not fear anything at all” “Intervention of the Quirinale? I fear nothing at all, yesterday I spoke with President Conte, I gave him all the information on the case Diciotti, I reminded him that Europe did not respect the agreements on repatriations, only the French have fulfilled “, says Salvini. “I’m tired of doing the refugee camp in Italy, now no one goes down anymore”. “If anyone wants to investigate me I’m ready” “If someone wants to investigate me and some prosecutors want to question me, I’m ready tomorrow morning to explain my reasons … Everyone does his job conscientiously, I’m a public employee and I’m responsible for security”. ”
The prosecutor of Agrigento, Luigi Patronaggio, has boarded the ship Diciotti in Catania. The magistrate is the owner of the investigation into the detention of refugees on board the Diciotti.
The investigation, which could also hypothesize the kidnapping in person, is still the responsibility of unknown persons: if they were identified responsibility by government officials, the ball would pass to the court of ministers. “The situation on board is critical: there are several cases of scabies, and in any case, according to international conventions and Italian law, the 29 unaccompanied minors have the right to disembark”, the prosecutor then said at the end of the inspection .
The Prosecutor of Agrigento has opened an investigation for kidnapping and illegal arrest on detention on board the 177 migrants.
The offenses envisaged initially could be modified on the basis of regulatory assessments that are still evolving due to the complexity of the case. “On board a devastating reality” The magistrate then denies any interference: “I can not interfere in the operational choices of ministers because any criminal appraisals would be the responsibility of the Court by the ministers, so no interference with politics”.
Regarding the situation found on board, Patronaggio explains that he “found that they are almost all suffering from scabies, a devastating reality, starting from the bad smells that remain on you.”