Migrants Rescued by the Sea Watch: the FCEI Writes to the European, Canadian and US Churches


“A Coherent and Sustainable Management for The Migration Flow of the Mediterranean Sea is Needed.”

Rome (NEV), May 21th, 2019 – The president of the FCEI, pastor Luca Maria Negro, together with Paolo Naso and Fiona Kendall, the coordinator and legal advisor of the Mediterranean Hope project promoted by FCEI,  sent a letter to our sister churches in Germany, Hungary, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands to ask for help in receiving and relocating the migrants rescued by the Sea Watch vessel.

«We appeal to you, as a body of churches and faith organizations, to help us in facing this current impasse and put pressure on your governments to accept a quota of those who were rescued last week and are now stranded in Lampedusa. We do not know if and when the Italian government will define the FCEI in charge of welcoming this group of migrants, but, both for this and for others in the near future, we would like to highlight that actions aimed at facilitating the rapid and subsidized transfer to other European countries could be very useful in implementing a more rational and sustainable management of the migration flow in the Mediterranean Sea.

On several occasions our sister churches have expressed solidarity with the work of reception carried out by the FCEI in Italy and have asked us how to support our action (as stated Mr. Naso to the NEV Agency). With this letter we invite our sister churches to put pressure on their governments in order to facilitate the transfer of quotas of the migrants that have reached the European countries geographically more exposed to migration from North Africa – Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta, and then promoting these people relocation in central and northern Europe. What is new is that this time we made a specific appeal for the relocation of a quota of 65 refugees rescued from Sea Watch and landed in Lampedusa. Certainly, our top-down action must be combined with  the action of the Italian Government, which must exert the necessary pressure so that at least some willing countries receive a quota of refugees. However, these countries should be motivated by the fact that they know that their churches and ecumenical agencies are ready to take charge of the reception. In this case the numbers are very small and the relocations would be more symbolic than anything else, but the procedure would have an exceptionally innovative character: the ‘wall’ of the Dublin regulation is overcome, which retains asylum seekers in Italy and in the countries of first landing and recognizes the role of the European civil society in supporting refugees as for instance in Canada.»