UN agencies urge Italy to let migrants get off rescue boat

The Open Arms ship is moored at the Naples harbor, Italy, Thursday, June 20,2 019. The Spanish NGO migrant ship Open Arms is in Naples with activists speaking to media and the public to mark World Refugee Day. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
The Open Arms ship is moored at the Naples harbor, Italy, Thursday, June 20,2 019. The Spanish NGO migrant ship Open Arms is in Naples with activists speaking to media and the public to mark World Refugee Day. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

GENEVA — The U.N. migration and refugee agencies on Friday urged Italy's government to let 43 migrants from Libya disembark from a boat that had rescued them in the Mediterranean Sea.

Rome hasn't let the migrants off the Sea Watch 3 onto the Italian island of Lampedusa since the June 12 rescue.

International Organization for Migration spokesman Joel Millman said Libya's capital had "offered its port to the Sea Watch. The Italian government said they should go to Tripoli."

UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said "the country in which territory this boat is, they have the obligation to let these people disembark," adding "no one should be returned back" to war-torn Libya.

"These desperate people need to disembark," Baloch said. "This is an obligation under international law."

Millman said Italian coast guard teams rescued and took another 80 people to Lampedusa overnight.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, alluding to the Dutch-flagged vessel, said the migrants "can go to the Netherlands."

Salvini says refugees escaping wars will be welcomed in Italy, but other migrants heading to Europe for economic reasons have no right to enter.

Salvini, who heads the right-wing and anti-immigration League, has adopted a hard stance on migration, refusing to open Italian ports to NGO boats that have rescued migrants in the Mediterranean.

__

This story has corrected the first quote from the UNHCR spokesman.

People also read these

Canadian polygamous leader found guilty of having...

Jul 25, 2017

A former bishop of an isolated polygamous commune in Canada has been convicted of practicing...

Montreal police arrest Laotian man on US...

Aug 29, 2017

Canadian police say officers chased down and caught a Laotian-born alleged drug smuggler who is on...

Canadian retailers see potential NAFTA change as...

Sep 22, 2017

Canadian retailers fear their survival is at stake if a change to the North American Free Trade...

Suspect in Canada attack entered US from Mexico...

Oct 4, 2017

A Somali refugee charged with ramming his car into a Canadian policeman, stabbing him and then...

Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip,...

Oct 18, 2017

Gord Downie, the revered lead singer and songwriter of iconic Canadian rock band The Tragically...

Sign up now!