Note to the press – To Save Migrants Today… Does It Requires a “Mea Culpa”?

Rome, March 19, 2019 – The NGO Mediterranea’s ship remained stationed yesterday in front of Lampedusa while from the Government building the usual proclamation read: “They will not set foot in Italy!” The Guard of Finanza had banned entry into territorial waters, but the Coast Guard then gave the green light. Meanwhile, just in these hours, the IOM denounces other deaths and missing persons in front of the coasts of Libya. 

“The ship “Mare Jonio”, displaying the Italian flag, I highlight, it helped 49 people, including 12 minors. It’s surrounded by three patrol boats, and it did not represent an imminent threat to Italy”, said Fr. Claudio Gnesotto, President of the Scalabrinian Agency for Development Cooperation. “It has come to the absurd: those who save lives today should almost make a “mea culpa” for their humanitarian actions. Mediterranea has only asked the Italian authorities a “safe haven” to avoid, as we all hope, what has already been experienced, for example, on the well-known Ship Eighteen. However, our authorities seem to care very little for the health of the shipwrecked persons to be precarious, as confirmed by direct funds to the ship, and that the climate on board risks worsening hour by hour,” continued Fr. Gnesotto.

The Scalabrinian Missionaries operating in Europe and Africa reiterate what the Mayor of Lampedusa himself is repeating in these hours: the “Mare Jonio” ship is Italian and there is no reason that common sense should not be used, international laws should be applied to welcome it. Furthermore, according to articles 10, 11 and 117 of the Italian Constitution, international law and international conventions also signed by Italy cannot be waived by discretionary choices of the political authority.