Italy leader: Migrants in latest standoff to disembark soon


ROME (AP) — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday that 47 migrants kept at sea for over a week as Europe squabbled over their fate will disembark “in the coming hours” after a half-dozen countries came forward to take them in.

Conte said Luxembourg had joined Germany, France, Portugal, Romania and Malta in agreeing to take some migrants from the Sea-Watch 3 ship operated by a German aid group.

The migrants were rescued Jan. 19 off the coast of Libya and have been off Sicily since Friday, drawing the ire of the U.N. and sparking an emergency appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Italy’s populist government has refused to allow humanitarian ships to dock in a bid to dissuade them from conducting rescues and to force other countries to share the burden.

In Brussels, the U.N.’s top refugee official criticized European governments for competing in a race to the bottom to avoid taking in “a few miserable people.”

“It’s a race between countries not to take people. So it’s a negative race. It’s an anti-solidarity race that the governments for political reasons are performing,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told reporters.

Watch: Tucker Carlson Says Election '100% Stolen' from Trump, Breaks Down How it Happened

Grandi said six people died on average every day trying to cross the Mediterranean last year and that the death rate in the perilous sea crossings is on the rise.

He said the fact that “this continent with all its power, money, technology, means, allows people to die in the Mediterranean at the rate of six per day is quite dramatic.”

Grandi said more ships are needed in search and rescue areas. The number of NGO boats operating has dropped from 10 to two, he said, as EU governments try to hinder their operations.

EU countries and institutions claim NGO boats are a “pull factor” that encourages people to try to cross the sea in search of sanctuary and better lives in Europe in the knowledge that they might be saved if their often-unseaworthy boats sink.

A new report from the U.N. refugee agency said that while the number of people make sea crossings has dropped, the death rate doubled over a year.

Migrants are increasingly trying to enter Europe from Morocco via Spain and the report said the death toll in that area almost quadrupled from 202 in 2017 to 777 last year.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City