The United Nations has urged European countries to "do the right thing" and take in migrants refused by Italy.
“The time has come to end the back-and-forth that has seen countries competing in a race to the bottom on who can take the least responsibility for people rescued at sea,” the UN’s high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement on Saturday.
“I urge European states to uphold [their] principles, to do the right thing and offer places of asylum for people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in their time of need.”
Italian PM Matteo Salvini has refused to accept the 150 or so migrants who are detained in a Sicilian port.
The migrants have resorted to a hunger strike to protest Salvini's refusal to let them into the country, and prosecutors have launched an investigation into possible "illegal detention" of the migrants.
“I heard that the prosecutor’s office in Agrigento has opened an investigation,” Salvini said. “I also heard that the suspects are ‘unknown’ at the moment. But I’m not unknown. My name is Matteo Salvini. I’m the minister of the interior. Come on, try me too, I’m here.”
“If someone is thinking about arresting me, they’re mistaken, because the Italian people are asking for order, rules, respect and controlled immigration,” he added.
(Photo: Sanjitbakshi / Flickr)