Migrant boat at sea. Editorial credit: Anjo Kan via Shutterstock.com

Demonstration planned for Wednesday against Italy-Libya memorandum

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Forty NGOs have urged civil society to demonstrate against the Italy-Libya memorandum. They are organising a demonstration on Wednesday 26th October at 5.30 pm in Rome’s Esquilino square.

The NGOs are concerned about the automatic renewal of the memorandum before November 2nd.

“If by November 2 the Italian government will not decide for its suspension the memorandum will be automatically renewed for another three years.

 “It is an agreement that has had dramatic consequences for the past five years on the lives of thousands of migrant and refugee women, men and children.

“From 2017 to October 2022, nearly 100,000 people have been intercepted at sea by Libyan coast guards and forcibly taken back to Libya; a country which cannot be considered safe.

“The organisations are asking the Italian government to recognise its responsibility and not renew agreements with Libya”.

The NGOs are also asking to “shed light on the management of European funds financing Libyan coast guards”.

NGOs will hold press conference before demonstration

A press conference at 2:30 pm at the Sala Cristallo of the Nazionale Hotel will precede the demonstration. Then the organisations will illustrate the consequences of the memorandum on people held in Libya; this includes abuse, arbitrary detention and torture.

The NGOs promoting the event, many of which operate to support and defend migrant rights, include the Agency Habeshia, Alarm Phone, Amnesty International Italia, Centro Astalli, Fondazione Migrantes, Intersos, Medici del Mondo Italia, Mediterranea, Medici Senza Frontiere, Open Arms, Oxfam Italia, Refugees Welcome Italia, ResQ – People Saving People, Save the Children, and Sea-Watch.

Government migrant policy put to test

Two NGO-operated search-and-rescue ships look set to test Premier Giorgia Meloni’s new government’s migrant policy. They have saved a combined total of 118 people in the southern Mediterranean.

The Ocean Viking, which is run by German NGO SOS Mediterranée, has 73 people on board. The Humanity One, flying the German flag and run by another German NGO, SOS Humanity, is carrying 45. In both cases they were rescued in international waters in the Maltese search-and-rescue zone. Deputy Premier and Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility Minister Matteo Salvini has a say in the running of Italy’s ports. While he was interior minister from 2018 to 2019, he adopted a tough stance of closing Italy’s ports to NGO-run migrant-rescue vessels. Only recently he was in court regarding the Sea Watch vessel he refused entry into Italy.

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