European countries should open harbors to help Italy: UN refugee agency

GERMAN PRESS AGENCY - DPA
GENEVA
Published 29.06.2017 19:29
Migrants wait to disembark from the Vos Hestia ship as they arrive at the Crotone harbour, in Crotone, Italy June 21, 2017. (REUTERS Photo)
Migrants wait to disembark from the Vos Hestia ship as they arrive at the Crotone harbour, in Crotone, Italy June 21, 2017. (REUTERS Photo)

Italy should not be the only country taking in migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean Sea, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Thursday, backing Rome's call for burden-sharing.

On Wednesday, Italy threatened to turn away foreign ships run by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) carrying rescued migrants unless other EU countries agree to help.

"Solutions cannot just be in Italy," UNCHR spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told dpa in Geneva.

"Greater solidarity from other countries is needed, including broader regional responsibility sharing responses for disembarkation," she said, adding that such plans should be developed urgently.

Italy has become the main entry point for refugees and migrants in Europe, with over 81,900 new arrivals since the beginning of the year.

Rome's hard-line message filtered out following the record rescue of nearly 10,000 migrants since the weekend, and in the wake of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni's failure at last week's EU summit to convince partners to take in more asylum seekers.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter