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“Let’s stop criminalising the NGOs, because they save lives”, says Iratxe García


23 Nov 2022


Justice & Home Affairs

Ahead of the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on Friday, the Socialists and Democrats call for an Action Plan for Search and Rescue operations for persons arriving by sea and a new Pact on Migration and Asylum that includes an effective relocation mechanism.

During a debate in the European Parliament, the leader of the S&D Group, Iratxe García, urged EU governments to show solidarity and to stick to their international obligations to rescue people at risk at sea.

S&Ds had called for this plenary debate after the new far right Italian government abandoned its duties under international law by preventing NGO boats from entering Italian ports and stopping asylum-seekers from disembarking. The unfair portrayal of NGO organisations, who save lives, as criminals is a damaging narrative peddled by the far right.

S&D Group leader, Iratxe García, said:

“Every life counts. Let’s stop criminalising those who save lives. Let’s stop using migration for partisan purposes. I reach out to the Conservatives and the Liberals in this House to find a solution based on solidarity and responsibility. We need actions that lead to concrete, sustainable results from a European perspective, not a nationalist one, nor an intergovernmental one.

“People’s lives and human dignity must be our guiding principle to adopt this new Pact for Migration and Asylum. That is the spirit of the Geneva Convention and also that of the European treaties. We need to make it a reality. It cannot only be the responsibility of the southern countries. It is our shared responsibility.”


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