UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency is appealing to European Union member States urgently to offer relocation places to some 150 rescued persons who remain on board the Italian coast guard vessel ‘Diciotti’. In the meantime, UNHCR urges Italian authorities to allow the immediate disembarkation of those on board.
The boat has been docked in Italy in the Sicilian port of Catania since 20th August – the majority of those on board are reportedly from refugee producing countries.
“Throughout history, Europe has recognized a fundamental moral and legal obligation to come to the aid of people fleeing war, violence and persecution,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “The time has come to end the back-and-forth that has seen countries competing in a race to the bottom on who can take the least responsibility for people rescued at sea. It is dangerous and immoral to put the lives of refugees and asylum-seekers at risk while States engage in a political tug-of-war on long-term solutions.”
342 refugees and migrants from Egypt, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea and Sierra Leone arrive in Sicily, Italy on May 13th, 2016. © UNHCR/Patrick Russo