Monday, June 11, 2018
The Comboni Missionaries say they are “appalled and angered” by the refusal of the Ministry of the Interior to allow a ship laden with migrants to dock. They ask the government to continue receiving migrants and ask Brussels to move the epicentre of European politics to the Mediterranean. This is the text of the appeal published by the Comboni Missionaries working in Italy.

Appeal to the President of Italy Giuseppe Conte

As citizens and as Christians we are appalled and angered by the decision of the Ministry of the Interior Matteo Salvini which prevents the Aquarius ship from disembarking in Italian ports 629 migrants rescued in Libyan territorial waters.

The refusal to provide assistance to these migrants is unprecedented in our history and is a flagrant violation of international conventions, to which Italy is also a signatory, which require that those in danger of death on the seas be rescued.

Among the migrants on board the ship there are more than a hundred unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women. About fifty of the migrants were saved while in danger of drowning.

We deplore the decision of Malta, the nearest port of call, which refused to allow the Aquarius to dock and also the refusal of other France and Spain to receive the migrants. It is deplorable and shameful that Italy should take such a stand, forcing innocent and needy people to pay the price of a diatribe between states on who should accept the responsibility of receiving the migrants.

We therefore ask the new Italian government reverse the decision taken by the minister Salvini and immediately give the go-ahead to the Aquarius to dock and one of the ports nearest to its present position.

It is true that Italy cannot be left to face the problem of migration alone, a phenomenon that has enormous international implications (especially in the Mediterranean Sea) that demand the attention and geopolitical influence of the European Union. It is therefore only right that the Italian government make itself heard in Brussels, asking its European partners to take resolve the problem of migration.

At the same time, Italy cannot avoid its duty to receive people who, for the most part, seek a better life in Europe and who, in some cases, are fleeing from wars and dictatorial regimes.

It is important that Italy play a dual role: that of being a safe haven for migrants and, at the same time, that of continuing to demand Europe to find practicable solutions (not simply founded on the military control of the migrants’ transit areas, as is the case in Niger and Mali), also in the countries from which the migrants come.

The European partners must be asked to move the centre of gravity of their politics towards the Mediterranean. It is there that – especially through the pacification and stabilisation of North-African states – that it is possible to create a new political and economic equilibrium.

The Comboni Missionaries in Italy
Monday, 11 June, 2018

The appeal of the Comboni missionaries have joined:

General Council of the Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ)

Conferenza degli istituti missionari italiani (CIMI)
Segretariato unitario di animazione missionaria (SUAM)
Commissione Giustizia, Pace e Integrità del Creato (GPIC) della CIMI