Italy treats NGOs and migrants as criminals under new far-right Decree: up to four years detention and 1mln euros fines

Rome 5 Aug 2019 – Far right Lega  Security Decree ‘bis’ has been approved by Italian Senate with a majority of 160 yes to 57 noes on a total of 238.  The new law sets tougher rules on immigration: closed harbours rule is reinforced by preventing NGO’s ships and rescue vessels to dock with the addition of fines up to one mln euros and consequent seizure of the vessel. ‘Bis’ meaning second version, brings further contrast to immigration and narrows down definition of ‘illegal’ immigrant by making it harder to migrants to obtain asylum in Italy.

Political pressure from Interior minister Salvini’s to counter Mediterranean sea routes of immigration is readable in Chapter One of the bill where NGOs are targeted with updated rules prescribing criminal charges equating rescue operations to supporting illegal immigration.

The bill also introduces tougher police controls during protests and rallies: misbehaviour is charged with two to three years detention and 2.000 to 6.000 euros fine and  use or launch “of rockets, flares, fireworks, firecrackers, instruments for the emission of smoke or visible gas or capable of nebulizing gases containing principles stinging active, that is sticks, maces, blunt objects” is punished with imprisonment from one to four years.

UNHCR Italy, Carlotta Sami said in an exclusive interview to Talk Europe the Decree would be in violation of the Geneva Convention and worsen migrants’ conditions in Italy, leaving at least 150.000 with no kind of support over the next two years”.

Anti-immigration and tougher policing Security Decree Two passed Italian Senate’s vote with decisive majority on a motion of confidence put forward by Salvini’s Lega: the vote result showed a unified coalition government after weeks of signals of possible breakdown both from Lega Nord and 5Star Movement. Opposition Democratic Party called Di Maio led populists 5StarM ‘slaves’ to Salvini’s far-right after these backed the bill.