Several NGOs, including Médecins sans frontières (MSF) are in the crosshairs of the Italian justice system. She accuses them of having violated the law as part of their actions to collect migrants at sea.
Italian justice wants to bring to justice Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and two other NGOs, accused of collusion with migrant traffickers and of having spread toxic waste.
In a statement released on March 3, MSF said it had received two judicial notifications from the courts of Trapani and Catania (Sicily, southern Italy). In Trapani, the prosecution concluded its investigation into 21 suspects, including four members of MSF and the NGO itself, one of the spokespersons for Médecins sans frontières told AFP.
According to several Italian media, the Trapani investigation relates to migrant relief operations carried out in 2016 and 2017 by MSF and two other NGOs, Save the Children and Iuventa, which have coordinated with migrant smugglers to set meet at sea, and turn off their satellite tracking system to conceal their movements.
MSF denounces the procedures
A spokesperson for Save the Children told AFP that he had also been informed of the end of the investigation in Trapani on some of its employees and the NGO itself. Save the Children has dismissed all accusations while claiming to have acted “only and exclusively to save lives”.
In Catania, a judge has ordered a trial against three MSF members and a dock worker, MSF spokesperson told AFP. They are accused of dumping potentially toxic waste from two ships chartered by the NGO, theAquarius and the Your Caution.
MSF has rejected the procedures underway in both Trapani and Catania, which “add to the long list of attempts to criminalize rescue operations at sea,” she said.
Italian justice is also investigating Mediterranea Saving Humans, an NGO accused of having received money from the Danish shipping giant AP Moeller-Maersk after having collected migrants stranded on board one of its cargo ships, which this organization demented.
At the same time, the Italian public prosecutor’s office has also launched proceedings against the former Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini for his attempts to prevent the disembarkation of migrants on Italian territory.
Italy faced the arrival of some 300,000 migrants by sea in 2016-2017. These arrivals then fell sharply: 11,471 in 2019 and 35,000 in 2020.