Open letter to the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and to the Vice-Presidents Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini


“Knowing the main countries of emigration, attention was paid to immigrant communities and new arrivals from the Mediterranean and we investigated the issues relating to the need for correct management of migratory flows, producing documents and making proposals to the institutions”.
The open letter from the development and humanitarian NGOs of the LINK 2007 network to President Giuseppe Conte and Vice-Presidents Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini on migration issues highlights the limited nature of the government’s approach and frankly summarizes the point of view of the NGOs. Starting with the “hard stance of the Minister of the Interior on NGOs and their humanitarian work”, considered “generic, superficial, gratuitously defamatory”.
“Some Ministers like frankness. Us too,” the letter continues. “In the correctness of the institutional relationship, we think it helps to understand each other better and to hopefully discern the best options. If preventing the Aquarius from docking seemed like a ‘victory’ to the Government, it was not for us. The rescue of the 629 people on board, including 7 pregnant women, 15 burned people, 123 unaccompanied minors and 11 children, was not a ‘sea taxi’ or ‘cruise’ initiative, it was not a “business ” but, as you well know, of a SAR, Search and Rescue service, as a duty of humanity and solidarity,
The LINK 2007 letter goes on to recall the reasons that led NGOs to carry out rescue operations in the Mediterranean after the end of the Mare Nostrum operation in 2014, to then comment on the modalities adopted by the Government in relations with Europe. “The Italian government has ‘raised its voice’ towards the EU and the European states which ‘have left Italy alone’. The EU could undoubtedly have done more, but the European constitutional treaty does not give the Union significant powers on immigration, which instead remain a matter for the individual member states. ‘Raising one’s voice’ also means expecting other states to do so: and it is by no means certain that whoever raises it the loudest will win. We believe that only all together, in a stronger and more united Europe, we can get out of the current stagnation and face and govern complex phenomena such as migrations, which are worldwide and which will last and expand”. “We are convinced that, if raising one’s voice can serve as a one-off to attract attention, what makes Italy strong is being able to present itself with its head held high, with all the papers in order, in full compliance with humanitarian obligations and with political alliances in favor of collaboration, sharing and the interventions we hope for”.
The letter explains some of the proposals contained in the documents produced by Link 2007 ranging from the international dimension to relations with the EU, agreements with countries of origin and transit, cooperation relations, management of entries, integration, the closure of detention centers in Libya, the creation of transit and protection centers avoiding “colonial-style decisions”, etc. “Does the Government intend to combat illegal and irregular entries? Immediately issue a decree to admit, program and regulate legal, regular, controlled and therefore managed entries, which have been prevented for years by current laws. Thus removing from the hands of crime those who have valid reasons to come to our country, for our own benefit”… “We have long been convinced that the path taken by Italy and the European Union of agreements with the main countries of origin and transit of immigrants – including Libya, as far as possible – remains the main road. Agreements, listening in advance to the Authorities of those countries. Not impositions of a neo-colonial nature which would produce disastrous effects” … “Helping them to be free at home must go from being a slogan to an instrument of change, with a turning point in international partnerships and in particular with Africa: which in thirty years will double its population reaching 2.4 billion people; and will find itself with a large young majority, largely educated, ready for work, facing the aging and shrinking European continent”.
The severity of the contents expressed in the letter is finally combined with the willingness to confront institutions. “The NGOs of the LINK 2007 network, independently, have always dialogued with the institutions to contribute to the best responses to today’s challenges”. At the end of the letter, the NGOs report to President Conte and to Vice-Presidents Di Maio and Salvini some of the documents produced in recent years.

The text of the open letter