Italy Introduces a € 1 Million Fine For Rescuing Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is seriously concerned by the Italian Government's decision to approve by law the imposition of fines on ships rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.
Parliament-approved amendments provide for fines of up to EUR 1 million for private salvage vessels that violate the territorial water entry order. At the same time, the ship is subject to immediate confiscation.
The Commission reiterates that the introduction of financial or other fines for ships can undermine the activity of private craft in sea rescue activities. Most European countries have refused to carry out rescue operations in the Mediterranean. At present, only non-governmental organizations are helping to save the lives of refugees and migrants who are making dangerous attempts to cross the sea and reach Europe.
The High Commissioner for Refugees believes that the manifestation of humanity by non-governmental organizations should not be regarded as a crime or stigmatized.
Non-governmental organizations and private vessels should not be forced to return rescued people to Libya or transfer them to the Libyan Coast Guard, which would endanger the lives of migrants and refugees.
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