Migrants are becoming ‘radicalised’ and are increasing their demands, warns UN refugee agency
- Vincent Cochetel concerned about migrants demanding where they get asylum
- It came after rescue ship snubbed Spain’s offer after being stranded for 20 days
- Cochetel tweeted: ‘I am very concerned by radicalisation of migratory dreams & demands of some migrants & refugees in Libya & neighbouring countries’
Vincent Cochetel, the UN’s special envoy for the Central Mediterranean, expressed concern over the ‘increasing demands of some migrants’
A UN refugee official has expressed concern over the increasing ‘demands of some migrants’ after dozens of them refused to dock in Spain in favour of Italy.
Vincent Cochetel, the UN’s special envoy for the Central Mediterranean, warned against the ‘radicalisation of migrants’ in a tweet this afternoon.
He was commenting on the Open Arms migrant rescue ship which had been trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa for weeks.
The Spanish rescue boat was stuck in a stalemate with the Italian government for 20 days as Rome refused to let it dock.
Spain offered to let the migrants disembark in Mallorca but Open Arms rejected.
This prompted Cochetel to tweet: ‘Open Arms rejects Spanish offer of safe haven… while I understand the difficulty of the situation on board, I am very concerned by the radicalisation of the migratory dreams & demands of some migrants & refugees in Libya & neighbouring countries.’
Cochetel tweeted the comments after dozens of migrants refused to dock in Spain in favour of Italy
Migrants jump into the sea yesterday in a desperate attempt to swim to the Italian island of Lampedusa amid a stand-off with the Italian government
The vessel was eventually allowed to dock in Italy after an Italian prosecutor ordered the seizure of the ship.
Charlie Yaxley, a UN spokesperson for Africa, the Mediterranean and Libya, told Euronews there was a ‘rising trend’ in the number of migrants insisting on where they want to seek asylum.
He said: ‘People fleeing from conflicts in East and West African countries typically apply for asylum in neighbouring countries.
Migrants swim after jumping off Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, close to the Italian shore of Lampedusa on August 20
‘The asylum system in place since the 1951 Refugee Convention requires you to apply in the country you are in,’ he explained.
‘Asylum seekers do not have the choice on where to ask [for] asylum.’
On Twitter, Yaxley further responded: ‘A person should apply for asylum in the territory they are in. You cannot withhold your asylum claim in the hopes of getting a better offer elsewhere.’
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