Italy’s government is planning to issue a decree that would mean NGO rescue boats would be fined up to €5,500 (£4,760) for each migrant they disembark on to Italian soil.
Aid groups said the planned decree from Matteo Salvini amounted to a “declaration of war against the NGOs who are saving lives at sea”.
The far-right interior minister’s decree – which will be proposed to the council of ministers in the next few days and then voted upon by parliament – would allow NGOs to be fined “from €3,500 to €5,500 for each transported foreigner”, according to draft text seen by the Guardian.
In the most serious cases, the licenses or authorisation to transfer people on board will be suspended for one month to a year.
The new decree reinforces the powers of the ministry of the interior in the matter of immigration and has the objective of putting an end to the NGO rescues. Médecins Sans Frontières, for example, would have had to pay €440m for saving 80,000 people if the decree had been in place during the last three years.
“The new decree is threatening legal principles and the duty of saving lives,” said Claudia Lodesani, president of MSF Italy. “It is like fining ambulances for carrying patients to the hospital.
Source: The Guardian