Spain rails against Salvini’s refusal to accept rescued migrants

Madrid, Aug 20 (AFP/APP):Spain on Monday stepped up criticism of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s refusal to allow 107 migrants on board a charity vessel to disembark at an Italian port, calling it “a disgrace to humanity”.
The Open Arms has been anchored since Thursday within swimming distance of Lampedusa island, and some of those rescued have spent 18 days on board.
Six European Union countries — France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg — have offered to take in the migrants.
But far-right Salvini, who has plunged the Italian government into crisis by calling for fresh elections, has refused to allow migrant rescue vessels to dock as part of his hardline policies.
“What Salvini is doing in relationship with the Open Arms is a disgrace to humanity as a whole,” Spain’s Defence Minister Margarita Robles told reporters in Madrid.
Salvini was “putting human lives at risk” for “exclusively electoral purposes”, she added.
Late Monday, Open Arms told AFP by phone that the coast guard has authorised the evacuation of eight people “needing urgent assistance” to Lampedusa island.
These migrants were suffering from wounds or infections and like the majority on board, post-traumatic stress, it said, adding in a later tweet that the situation was becoming “more complicated every minute.”
But the charity continues to demand that all onboard be allowed to disembark at Lampedusa.

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