Criminalization of Sea Rescue: Italian Senat approves security decree made by Salvini

On the evening of 5th August, the Italian Senate passed the Security Decree (decreto sicurezza bis). Thus the decree became law. 160 senators voted in favour, 57 against and 21 abstained from voting.

The Security Decree contains 18 articles, five of which concern sea rescue. The decree allows the Italian Minister of the Interior to prohibit entry into or transit through Italian waters for "safety reasons".
Furthermore, in the event of an entry despite the prohibition, a fine of 150,000 € up to 1 million € impends in addition to the confiscation of the ship. It also offers the opportunity to arrest the captain immediately.

In addition, the financial resources for "combating illegal immigration" have been increased, with a fund of 500,000  € for 2019, 1 million € for 2020 and 1.5 million € for 2021. The money is earmarked for "combating the crime of aiding and abetting illegal immigration" and "undercover police investigations".

The law had already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies and must now be ratified by Italy's President Sergio Mattarella.

The decree had already received strong criticism from numerous aid organisations and the United Nations  a few weeks ago. It remains to be seen what negative effects the law will have on the already difficult and criminalised sea rescue. Meanwhile the Open Arms is waiting for a safe harbour since four days and the dying in the Mediterranean continues.

We continue to demand: Open the ports! The decree must be abolished immediately!