Il 15 maggio L’Alto Commissariato dell’Onu per i diritti umani ha condannato il ministro dell’Interno per la violazione dei diritti fondamentali dei migranti e delle norme internazionali sui salvataggi in mare. L’ufficio delle nazioni Unite ha trasmesso il 15 maggio scorso al ministro degli esteri Moavero Milanesi il risultato di un’istruttoria sulle due direttive di Matteo Salvini indirizzate alle forze di polizia, alla guardia costiera e – in un caso – allo stato maggiore dell’esercito dove si chiedeva di bloccare le navi impegnate nei soccorsi umanitari nel mediterraneo centrale.
Il rapporto parla di una «criminalizzazione delle organizzazioni della società civile impegnate nelle attività di ricerca e salvataggio» in mare. «Siamo molto preoccupati – si legge nel documento – dall’approccio del ministero dell’Interno contro la nave Mare Ionio (vascello della Ong italiana Mediterranea, ndr) attraverso queste due direttive, che non sono basate su nessuna decisione di autorità giudiziarie. Riteniamo che si tratti ancora una volta di un tentativo politico di criminalizzazione delle operazioni di salvataggio compiute nel Mediterraneo centrale dalle organizzazioni della società civile». Secondo l’agenzia Onu per i diritti umani l’azione del ministero dell’Interno intensificherebbe «il clima di ostilità e xenofobia contro i migranti».
QUESTO IL TESTO INTEGRALE DEL COMUNICATO.
GENEVA (17 May 2019) – UN human rights experts have condemned a proposed draft decree by Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, to fine those who rescue migrants and refugees at sea, and urged the Government to immediately drop the plan.
“The right to life and the principle of non-refoulement should always prevail over national legislation or other measures adopted in the name of national security,” said the independent experts, who conveyed their concerns about the decree in a formal letter to the Italian Government.
“We urge authorities to stop endangering the lives of migrants, including asylum seekers and victims of trafficking in persons, by invoking the fight against traffickers. This approach is misleading and is not in line with international human rights law. Instead, restrictive migration policies contribute to exacerbate migrants’ vulnerabilities and serves to only increase the trafficking in persons.”
Last week, Salvini announced plans to issue the decree that would fine vessels for every person rescued and taken to Italian territory. NGO boats that rescued refugees could also have their licences revoked or suspended.
The UN experts said if the decree – yet to be approved by the government – entered into force, it would seriously erode the human rights of migrants, including victims of torture, trafficking in persons and other serious human rights abuses.
They also criticised Salvini, the leader of far-right League which forms a government coalition with the Five Star Movement, over two previous Directives banning NGO vessels rescuing migrants off Libya from accessing Italian ports. Salvini singled out the Italian ship Mare Jonio in particular for helping those at sea.
Declaring Libyan ports as “able to provide migrants with adequate logistical and medical assistance” was particularly alarming, the experts said, especially given reports that the Libyan Coastguard had committed multiple human rights violations, including collusion with smuggling networks and deliberate sinking of boats.
The experts said any measure against humanitarian actors should be immediately halted. “We are deeply concerned about the accusations brought against the Mare Jonio vessel, which have not been confirmed by any competent judicial authority. We believe that this represents yet another political attempt to criminalise humanitarian actors delivering life-saving services that are indispensable to protect migrants’ lives and dignity.”
The UN experts said Italian authorities had failed to properly consider several international norms, such as article 98 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, on the duty to help any person in danger at sea. “Article 98 is considered customary law. It applies to all maritime zones and to all persons in distress, without discrimination, as well as to all ships, including private and NGO vessels under a State flag,” they said.
The Directives stigmatize all migrants as “possible terrorists, traffickers and smugglers”, without providing evidence, the experts said. “We are concerned that this type of rhetoric will further increase the climate of hatred and xenophobia, as previously highlighted in another letter to which the Italian Government is also yet to reply.” The experts have contacted the government about their concerns and await a reply. A copy of the letter has also been notified to Libya and to the European Union.
The UN experts: Felipe González Morales, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; E. Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Michel Forst Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Obiora C. Okafor, Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity