UN, church officials press Italy to let migrants disembark

ROME (AP) — U.N. agencies dealing with refugees and children are pressing Italy to allow 47 migrants, rescued at sea a week ago, to disembark.

Three U.N. agencies said in a joint statement Europe’s “boat-by-boat” approach to migrants must be replaced by a system for safe disembarking in the central Mediterranean.

Catholic Church officials also joined the call Saturday for Italy to allow the rescue boat Sea-Watch 3, now off Sicily’s coast, to have a safe port. The boat, operated by a German NGO, rescued the 47 off Libya on Jan. 19.

Fishermen, priests and ordinary citizens turned out for a solidarity rally near Syracuse, Sicily, where the boat could be seen from shore.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has refused to let private rescue boats disembark migrants, arguing they encourage human traffickers.

Categories: International News