NGOs’ position on the Code of Conduct regulating operations to recuse migrants at sea by the Italian Government.

Rescue at Sea, NGOs and the Code of Conduct. Some needed clarifications.

2 August 2017

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No closure. The doors must remain open.

  • The NGOs that have not signed are still committed to carrying out operations at sea under the coordination of the Coastguard Command, which has been assigned this task, and in a way that fully complies with national and international standards. They will also continue to comply with all  the provisions of the code that do not contradict the points highlighted. This is a demonstration that there is agreement with the effort of coordination and systematization that the Ministry of the Interior is making, only bringing out some humanitarian imperatives which, however, do nothing to contradict this effort.
  • The Ministry of the Interior has failed to consider that the NGO world is complex and based on  principles and codes that correspond to the specific nature and humanitarian mandate which cannot be questioned on penalty of losing identity. If even international organizations such as UNICEF, according to its deputy executivedirector Justin Forsyth, have seen in the Code “changes that might inadvertently hinder relief and cause the loss of human lives”, a greater and more in depth dialogue from the Minister with the NGOs would certainly favour the search for a Code that  is truly shared, respectful of humanitarian principles, and therefore felt by all as their own and not  as some external imposition to be obeyed.
  • The NGOs’ willingness and availability for full cooperation, within the limits of the long-standing  tried and tested codes based on humanitarian principles, is also an invitation to leave the doors  open in both directions, and the Minister should take this into account. There have been several requests to set up a round table, until now unanswered.
  • The divisions in the NGO world and between NGOs and institutions at a difficult moment such as  this help no one, especially given the issues affecting the life and death of people and therefore  the fundamental values of our common life, which we cannot relinquish and cannot delegate to  others, turning our cheeks. The signals that are arriving are far from reassuring since they could  aggravate these divisions instead of remedying them for the overall benefit of our country. The authority of the State is not doubted for one minute; the proof of this is the continuous dialogue  and the collaboration with political and administrative institutions that has always characterized  our actions. We believe that, even in this matter, dialogue can help overcome the divisions. // end//


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