Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the German Jugend Rettet did not sign a ”code of conduct” on Monday proposed by Italian officials for all NGOs involved in migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Save the Children and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) instead signed it, ANSA reports.
MSF objected most strongly to a requirement that aid boats must take migrants to a safe port themselves, rather than transferring people to other vessels, which allows smaller boats to stay in the area for further rescues.
Italy fears the groups are facilitating people smuggling from North Africa and encouraging migrants to make the perilous passage to Europe, and it proposed a code containing around a dozen points for the charities.
Those who refused to sign the document had put themselves “outside the organized system of sea rescues, with all the concrete consequences that can have”, the ministry said as quoted by Reuters.