Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Prosecuting humanitarianism

It seems that Australian attitudes to refugees aren't confined to our nearest neighbour. A boatload of African refugees rescued from their sinking vessel at sea has finally been allowed to land in Sicily, after a two week standoff reminiscent of the Tampa episode. But the Italian authorities have gone one better than the Australians - they've arrested the captain of the rescuing vessel, and are charging him with "aiding and abetting illegal immigration".

The message from the Italian government is clear: refugees must be left to drown. Basic human decency, not to mention obeying the Law of the Sea, is now a crime in Italy.

If you'd like to let the Italian government know how you feel about this, you can email their ambassador here.