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SOS Méditerranée picks up migrants at sea. Photo supplied

Salvini: ‘Insults by leftists and do-gooders are medals’

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said insults by leftists and do-gooders were like "medals to him". It follows a spat with a powerful NGO.

Published: September 27, 2018, 10:31 am

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    A director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Judith Sunderland, on Wednesday said in an article on the Aquarius migrant rescue ship that “the current Italian government’s inhuman approach to refugees and migrants has touched the bottom once more.”

    Salvini responded to Sunderland by saying that “the insults of the leftwing do-gooders are all medals”.

    He said “Italy has received in the last few years 700 000 immigrants from all over the world, and yet we keep getting unwanted lectures on reception. “The migrant smugglers are inhuman”.

    Sunderland repeated fake claims that the Italian government, led by Salvini, put pressure on Panama to stop the ship using its flag, as FWM reported.

    HRW depends on wealthy donors who like to see the organisation’s reports make headlines. For this reason, according to The Times of London, HRW tends to “concentrate too much on places that the media already cares about”.

    According to The Times, HRW “does not always practice the transparency, tolerance and accountability it urges on others.” They accused HRW of imbalance, alleging that it ignores human-rights abuses in certain regimes while covering other conflict zones intensively.

    Financier and philanthropist George Soros of the Open Society Foundation announced in 2010 his intention to grant US $100 million to HRW over a period of ten years to help it expand its efforts internationally.

    He praised the organisation: “Human Rights Watch is one of the most effective organisations I support. Human rights underpin our greatest aspirations: they’re at the heart of open societies.”

    But in the February 2013 issue of The Spectator Nick Cohen wrote, “Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch look with horror on those who speak out about murder, mutilation and oppression if the murderers, mutilators and oppressors do not fit into their script.”

    Bias allegations include the organisation’s being influenced by United States government policy.

    In May 2014 an open letter was published criticising Human Rights Watch for what were described as its close ties to the US government. The letter was signed by two Nobel Peace Laureates and over 100 scholars and cultural figures.

    Italian police on Wednesday meanwhile busted a gang that smuggled migrants from Libya to Italy, run by a Bangladeshi businessman. He charged migrants 6 000 euros a head to get into the EU, and arranged for them to get humanitarian permits.

    Once arrived, they were then forced to do slave labour in the businessman’s firms and paying to sleep in property he had leased, Italian police said.

    The Aquarius, operated by SOS Méditerranée and Doctors Without Borders, was rejected by Italy and drifted around for three days before before finding a docking spot in Malta.

    Its 58 migrants will be distributed among France, Spain, Portugal and Germany.

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