The NGO Open Arms' tugboat is anchored at the port of Naples for a series of meetings with local residents and associations as part of Refugee Week, with World Refugee Day taking place Thursday, June 20. The boat will be open to the public for visits. Those who come aboard can learn about the history of Open Arms and the NGO's work.
Meetings with local citizens
The initiative aims to promote opportunities for dialogue and discussion about human rights and their violation. On Saturday, June 29, in Naples, the city's mayor Luigi De Magistris will be present during a boat parade across the harbor to try and reset the image of the Mediterranean as a "sea of peace" instead of one of death, whilst at the same time refocusing attention on the migrant issue.
Open Arms in a statement said, "It is of fundamental importance to find chances for dialogue and discussion, where human rights and their violations are the focus." They added that in-depth discussions were needed to "better frame the complex migratory phenomenon and the geopolitical context in which it develops. We have always been convinced that our work at sea has value if it is shared on land. We consider this an important opportunity to be able to make our tugboat available for training an active and informed citizenry and for the construction of a more just, tolerant, and inclusive society."
De Magistris, Naples' mayor has already been aboard the Open Arms boat. He stated on Facebook page that he visited on Sunday. He made it clear that the Port of Naples remained "open" in contradiction to the Italian government declarations that Italian ports remain closed to rescue boats and the disembarkation of migrants. De Magistratis added: "Naples supports the NGOs working to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea that are courageously also witnesses for justice for the crimes against humanity committed by unscrupulous governments." He underlined that "Naples is neither complicit nor indifferent," and extended a warm welcome to the captain and crew of the rescue ship, calling them "courageous, humane men and women."