In a letter addressed to the Minister of the Interior of Italy, Matteo Piantedosi, published today, Commissioner Mijatović calls on the government to consider withdrawing or revise the Decree Law No. 1/2023. The Decree’s provisions could hamper NGO search and rescue operations and, therefore, be at variance with Italy’s obligations under human rights and international law. The Commissioner also notes that, in practice, NGO vessels have been assigned distant places of safety to disembark persons rescued at sea, such as ports in Central and Northern Italy.
“The decree and the practice of assigning distant ports to disembark people rescued at sea risk depriving people in distress of life-saving assistance from NGOs on the deadliest migration route in the Mediterranean," writes the Commissioner.
In addition, the Commissioner reiterates her call on the Italian authorities to suspend co-operation with the Libyan Government on interceptions at sea, as set out in her Recommendation on the Central Mediterranean.
Finally, the Commissioner requests further information about the allegations of returns of persons from Italy to Greece on private ships, where they are reportedly deprived of their liberty in worrying conditions. Drawing on her Recommendation on ending pushbacks in Europe, the Commissioner recalls that carrying out individual assessments of the protection needs of each person arriving at the border remains a crucial safeguard against refoulement.