Switzerland: UNHCR urges Italy to ‘reconsider’ migrant policy

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UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Spokesperson Charlie Yaxley urged Italy to “reconsider” its policy on migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

Yaxley also condemned the criminalisation of migrant rescuers, noting that “people saving lives should not be criminalised or stigmatised for doing so.”

The UNHCR spokesperson also stressed, “It’s a moral obligation but also a fundamental legal obligation under international maritime law, and fundamentally it is the right thing to do a well.”

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that 14 EU members states had tentatively agreed to a new ‘solidarity mechanism’, proposed by France and Germany, to redistribute migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has criticised the efforts, railing against France and Germany’s role in determining EU migration policy.

Sea-Watch 3 Captain Carola Rackete has been probed by an Italian prosecutor for allegedly aiding undocumented migration. Rackete was arrested in Italy on June 29, after refusing to comply with a ban on entering Italy’s territorial waters, and docking her vessel in the port of Lampedusa, with 40 migrants on board.

Mandatory Credit: UNTV

Video ID: 20190723-035

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