Italy on Friday allowed families with children to disembark from a rescue ship operating in the Mediterranean Sea by German charity Sea-Watch.
“Italian authorities have informed us of their availability to disembark families on board: children, mothers, fathers,” Sea-Watch wrote in a tweet.
But Sea-Watch said others on board remained at risk. “A pregnant woman is still on board, and it is unacceptable that Italy recognizes basic human rights only for families — all on board are human and have human rights,” said Sea-Watch spokesman Ruben Neugebauer.
The charity noted that 47 people remained on the rescue ship.
‘Ports remain closed’
Earlier Friday, Italy’s anti-migrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, ruled out assisting migrants on the rescue ship, saying “our ports are and remain closed.”
Salvini, a far-right leader, has been criticized for attempting to block migrant rescue boats from docking at Italian ports. Last year, human rights watchdog Amnesty International accused the Italian government of “repressive management of the migratory phenomenon.”
Since 2015, nearly half a million irregular migrants have made the dangerous journey across the central Mediterranean and made landfall in Italy, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).