Boats belonging to German NGOs Sea Watch and Sea Eye await port to accept migrants
Pope Francis petitioned European leaders on Sunday, requesting that they receive a group of African migrants currently aboard two NGO vessels.
The boats, belonging to German NGOs Sea Watch and Sea Eye, each have 32 and 17 migrants onboard and are still waiting for a port to accept them.
“For the last several days, 49 people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea have been aboard two NGO vessels in search of a safe harbor where to disembark,” the pope said in his recent Angelus message.
“I would like to make a heartfelt appeal to the leaders of Europe to demonstrate real solidarity with these people,” he added.
The migrants are from the African nations of Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Libya, according to reports.
“Sea Watch 3 is not suitable for keeping women, men, and children in need of assistance and a haven for a long time. Our doctors are concerned,” the German NGO Tweeted.
But Italy maintained its stance on its migration policy.
“We will not retreat on the migration policy, which has allowed us to considerably reduce landings, but when it comes to women and children we are ready to give a lesson to all of Europe and to welcome them,” said deputy premier, Luigi Di Maio of the M5S.
“There are women and children a mile from the Maltese coast for the last 14 days,” headed, “and the EU puts its head in the sand and Malta does not do its duty. It is a shameful thing,” he said.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvin maintained his closed ports policy.
“We do not give in to blackmail: two NGO ships are in Maltese territorial waters; the people on board must be disembarked in Valletta,” he said.
“Lectures in humanity are only addressed to Italy, but we do not give in to blackmail and lies,” he said.
Pope Francis recently praised the U.N.’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in his last Angelus message.
Francis, who has continued to make the subject of immigration as a keynote in his speeches, has urged nations to be ‘welcoming’ as possible to migrants from all countries.