Migrants on board the Sea Watch ship | Photo: TWITTER/SEA WATCH
Migrants on board the Sea Watch ship | Photo: TWITTER/SEA WATCH

Over 40 rights organizations have written a letter to Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte asking Italy to allow migrant search-and-rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 to disembark migrants on board. The Dutch-flagged German NGO-run rescue ship has been at sea outside Italian waters for two weeks.

Over 40 organizations working for the protection of minors, refugees and migrants have written a letter to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, urging the government to let 42 migrants aboard the Sea-Watch 3 rescue ship disembark. The ship has been at sea outside Italian waters for two weeks.

''We appreciate that over the past few weeks Italy has allowed children, pregnant women and other vulnerable persons to disembark'', the NGOs wrote in the letter. ''However, it remains of imperative urgency for all people on board, in particular minors and other vulnerable persons, to land at a safe port as soon as possible and to put the life and safety of human beings before political evaluations." 

'Italy must abide by its duties of solidarity' 

Recalling the words of the president of the Republic on World Refugee Day, the 40 signatories of the appeal asked Italy to respect its duties of solidarity and assistance, as provided by the Italian Constitution and international law. The appeal stressed that it is impossible for the Sea-Watch to take the rescued migrants back to Libya, which is not a safe port. It highlighted the ''need for Italy and the States involved to actively cooperate to complete the rescue operation'', letting ''all people on board'' disembark at a safe port and asking Conte to ensure that the operation ''can be carried out in the coming hours'' and that ''minors still on board and all other people who need care and support are provided for''. 

Sea-Watch asks for intervention of Human rights court 

The Sea-Watch 3 had asked the ECHR Monday to implement ''interim measures'' asking Italy to allow the vessel to disembark migrants. The ECHR sent a series of questions to both the Sea Watch 3 and the Italian government. ECHR regulations allow it to ask Italy to adopt what are defined as "urgent measures'' that ''serve to prevent serious and irremediable violations of human rights."

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg declined the request by Sea-Watch to order Italy to take in the Sea-Watch 3. The court said that there are no "exceptionally serious and urgent reasons justifying the application of the urgent measures."

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