The & # 39; radicalization & # 39; and & # 39; requirements of some migrants & # 39; is a serious concern, warns the UN official
Vincent Cochetel, the UN Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean, expressed concern about the & # 39; increasing demands of some migrants & # 39;
A UN refugee official has expressed concern about the increasing & # 39; demands of some migrants & # 39; after dozens of them refused to dock in Spain in favor of Italy.
Vincent Cochetel, the UN Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean, warned that migrants were becoming more radical due to NGOs that forced them to make their demands.
He commented on the Open Arms migrant rescue ship that had had been trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa for weeks.
The Spanish lifeboat was stuck in a stalemate with the Italian government for 20 days when Rome refused to moor it.
Spain offered to disembark the migrants in Mallorca, but Open Arms rejected it.
The non-profit repeatedly said that the situation on board was desperate and that some migrants were suicidal.
This led Cochetel to tweet: & # 39; Open Arms rejects Spanish offer of safe haven … although I understand the difficulty of the situation on board, I am very concerned about the radicalization of migration dreams and demands of some migrants and refugees in Libya & neighboring countries. & # 39;
Cochetel tweeted the comments after dozens of migrants refused to dock in Spain in favor of Italy
Migrants jump into the sea yesterday in a desperate attempt to swim to the Italian island of Lampedusa amid a confrontation with the Italian government
The ship was finally allowed to moor in Italy after an Italian public prosecutor had ordered the seizure of the ship.
The migrants, mainly from Africa, were removed from the boat on Tuesday at 11.30 am in the port of Lampedusa. The passengers slept together on the deck and shared two toilets.
The Open Arms ship, run by a Spanish charity of the same name, had rescued migrants on their way to Europe off the Libyan coast.
But after Italy refused to let it dock, the ship was stranded at sea for nearly three weeks, with the charity saying that the migrants were in need and urgently needed shelter.
Charlie Yaxley, a UN spokesperson for Africa, the Mediterranean and Libya, told it Euronews there was a & # 39; rising trend & # 39; in the number of migrants who insisted on seeking asylum.
He said: & # 39; People fleeing conflicts in East and West African countries usually apply for asylum in neighboring countries.
& # 39; The asylum system that has existed since the 1951 Refugee Convention requires that you register in the country where you are located & he said.
& # 39; Asylum seekers do not have the choice where to apply for asylum. & # 39;
Migrants swim after jumping from the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, close to the Italian coast of Lampedusa on August 20
Yaxley also replied on Twitter: & # 39; A person must apply for asylum in the area where he is located. You cannot withhold your asylum application in the hope of getting a better offer elsewhere. & # 39;
Oscar Camps director and founder, Open Camp, previously confirmed on Twitter that the ship would be confiscated temporarily, adding that it was a cost that Open Arms assumes to ensure that people can board. are operated & # 39 ;.
& # 39; We consider it essential to prioritize the health and safety of migrants in this humanitarian emergency, & # 39; he said.
Spain had sent a naval ship Tuesday afternoon to rescue the migrants and bring them to Mallorca after some of them had jumped overboard.
After the charity said that nine had tried to swim ashore, images showed five more people, although it was not immediately clear whether some were saviors.
The fate of the 147 migrants is now at stake, because a European deal to redistribute them failed and Madrid said it could hit the Spanish charity with a huge fine for saving them.
WHAT ARE OPEN ARMS?
The Spanish NGO was established in October 2015 and is dedicated to search and rescue in the Aegean Sea and the Central Mediterranean Sea.
It protects migrants trying to reach Europe against war-torn countries.
Open Arms has a permanent base on the Greek island of Lesbos and conducts its rescue operations with the help of three ships and a sailing yacht.
The founder, Campscar Camps, was named Catalan of the year in 2015.
In 2016 the NGO won the H.E.R.O. Award for outstanding team contribution to a maritime SAR operation for saving the lives of more than 200 people who perished off the north coast of Lesbos.
The NGO has received several other awards, including the European Citizen Prize awarded by the European Parliament in 2016.
Italy has chosen a hard line for the arrival of migrants and said it has taken on too much responsibility for dealing with African migration to Europe. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini says charity-run ships & # 39; taxi & # 39; s & # 39; have become human smugglers.
Italy's right-wing interior minister Matteo Salvini earlier today suggested that Open Arms exaggerated the problems on board.
Of the eight migrants who were brought ashore Monday night for urgent medical assistance, he said, only two had health problems.
& # 39; Spanish NGO, Spanish ship, Spanish port: the cohesion and strength of Italy has paid off. We are no longer the refugee camp of Europe, "he said in a statement.
The impasse has fueled Salvini's campaign against migrant boats from Africa and comes when he tries to force Italy into unexpected elections.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation on Tuesday and accused Salvini of sinking the government coalition for personal and political gain.
With the Open Arms seized, the only remaining charity ship currently operating in the Mediterranean, the Ocean Viking, was still looking for a safe haven for its 356 rescued migrants.
The ship operated by the French charities SOS Mediterranean and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has retained its position between Malta and Lampedusa for 10 days.
& # 39; As maritime law states, we have requested Italian and Maltese search and rescue coordination centers for a safe haven since we made our first rescue on August 9, & quot; said Frederic Penard, head of operations for SOS Mediterranean.
& # 39; For the time being we have no answer from Italy and a rather negative answer from Malta & # 39 ;, he added.
Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo told Spanish radio: & # 39; The Open Arms has no license to rescue. & # 39;
The ship was authorized in April to leave Barcelona, where it had been immobilized for three months, to transport humanitarian aid to Greece.
It was forbidden to go to Libya, often the launching platform for migrants trying to reach Europe, but still went.
A document from the Directorate General for Spanish Merchant Marine said it risks a fine of up to € 901,000 for violating this ban.
There were initially 147 mostly African migrants on the ship, but as the days went by, some were evacuated for medical care and all minors were allowed to disembark.
Six countries of the European Union – France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and Spain – had offered to include them all.
Calvo said the military ship sent to Lampedusa could be in charge of the migrants assigned to Spain if this agreement is implemented.
France said on Wednesday that it sent a delegation from its refugee agency, Ofpra, to look at the situation of the approximately 40 migrants it accepted to take.
France also said it was ready to & # 39; a large number of migrants & # 39; from the Ocean Viking, while repeating that it would not record the ship itself.
A French presidency spokesperson said the Ocean Viking should be allowed to dock in the nearby port & # 39 ;.
The prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio intervened as part of an alleged kidnapping investigation and refused to follow orders directed at Salvini.
Salvini hit back on Facebook about the decision to let the migrants off the boat and said: & # 39; If anyone thinks they can scare me with yet another complaint and want a lawsuit, they are mistaken. & # 39;
A Spanish naval patrol boat, the Audaz, departed Tuesday from Rota in southwestern Spain on a three-day trip to Lampedusa to pick up the Open Arms migrants.
Spain had tried to break the deadlock over migrants at the weekend by sacrificing its southern port of Algeciras, which the NGO said could not be reached & # 39; because of the distance and the tensions on board.
Madrid then introduced Mallorca to the Balearic Islands, closer but still around 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from Lampedusa.
The charity described the offer as & # 39; completely incomprehensible & # 39; and continued to demand that the ship be allowed to moor in Lampedusa.
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