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Italy-Malta "Non Paper" wants compulsory relocation mechanism rather than the voluntary one
3.8.19

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The Italian and Maltese: Non-Paper (pdf) is presented as being in opposition to the solidarity mechanism and plan to organise orderly relocations and disembarkation in compliance with the law of the sea and the principle of the nearest safe harbour or place of safety.

This cannot be Libya. Its main points of departure from the mechanism discussed in Paris and agreed by 14 member states at the subsequent JHA Council meeting are calls for the systematic criminalisation of citizen-funded civilian SAR missions, exclusion of departures from Libya from the ordinary application of the law of the sea, and a move away from rules requiring disembarkation in Italy or Malta of people who left Libya, in compliance with rules requiring states to assist rather than obstruct sea rescues.

The plans for relocation and a redistribution mechanism, for disembarkation platforms and controlled centres in third countries in this non-paper are under discussion at the EU level, but the Italian interior minister refuses to engage, preferring to hold survivors and rescue crews hostage on boats and rescue vessels to pressure fellow member states to agree to their transfer outside of Italy before allowing survivors to disembark.

Understandably, both countries would prefer a compulsory relocation mechanism rather than the voluntary one which has been agreed involving a “coalition of the willing” due to some member states’ opposition.

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