Hope Sometimes Comes From Unexpected Places As Spain Offers Migrants Succour

Migrants on a wooden boat are rescued by the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) in the central Mediterranean in international waters off the coast of Sabratha in Libya, April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

The Aquarius ship picked up the migrants, including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 other children and seven pregnant women, from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya at the weekend.

The recently sworn-in Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, has given instructions for the boat to be admitted to the eastern port of Valencia, his office said in a statement.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Picture: Reuters.

Italy’s refusal to accept the ship is part of efforts the new wave of anti-immigrants position that is sweeping through Europe and epitomised by Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who is also head of the far-right League, and US President Donald Trump.

“Malta takes in nobody. France pushes people back at the border, Spain defends its frontier with weapons,” Salvini wrote on Facebook. “From today, Italy will also start to say no to human trafficking, no to the business of illegal immigration.”

More than 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat from Africa in the past five years. Numbers have dropped dramatically in recent months, but rescues have increased in recent days, presenting Salvini with his first test as minister.

“My aim is to guarantee a peaceful life for these youths in Africa and for our children in Italy,” Salvini said, using the Twitter hashtag “We are shutting the ports”.

Kudos to Spain for letting its humanity shine through by coming to the rescue of the helpless migrants when she could easily taken the same position as Italy and Malta.

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