Rescued migrants start hunger strike as Italy says it will not accept lessons in human rights

Interior Minister says government “will not accept lessons on human rights”


The Italian government will not accept lessons on human rights says Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi. NGO run ships have been prevented from landing in Sicily.

The Italian government will not accept lessons on human rights in relation to migrants rescued by two foreign NGO run ships”, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said Tuesday. The ships have been stopped from landing in Sicily and described as “residual cargo”.

“If you want to focus on the exegesis of bureaucratic terms then go at it. But we don’t accept lessons from anyone from the standpoint of respecting human rights,” he said.

Pinatedosi said the migrants still aboard the Humanity 1 and the Geo Barents “are not at sea, they are safe”.

The government has allowed vulnerable migrants to land but is refusing disembarkation for the healthier migrants. Many of the migrants onboard have now started a hunger strike.

Piantedosi replied to a question on the legality of selecting migrants for landing by saying “there are ongoing appeals, it will be decided in the competent fora”.

Psych risk due to prolonged stay at sea

An elevated psychological risk has been detected among the migrants still on board the Geo Barents. This was due to their prolonged stay at sea. The new triage executed by psychologists and psychiatrists from the provincial health agency in Catania may result in them all being allowed to land, sources said Tuesday.

One of two migrant ships at Catania, the Geo Barents of MSF, is hoping to disembark over 200 migrants. Over 350 women, children and fragile elderly migrants who were allowed to land Monday.

A hunger strike started Tuesday aboard the other ship, the Humanity 1. Thirty-five rescued migrants are demanding to be allowed to land at Catania, the crew of the SOS Humanity ship said. More than 200 of their fellows disembarked at the weekend. Over 30 of the 35 have officially started to refuse food and water as they lobby to join their fellow migrants who were allowed off because of their medical condition.

Following the new psychological triage on board the Geo Barents, a similar further assessment will now be carried out on the Humanity 1, sources said Tuesday.

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