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Sat Aug 12, 2017, 11:01 AM

MSF suspends Mediterranean rescues as migrant dispute mounts

Source: Reuters

#WORLD NEWS AUGUST 12, 2017 / 10:29 AM / 32 MINUTES AGO

MSF suspends Mediterranean rescues as migrant dispute mounts

Gavin Jones

ROME (Reuters) - Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Saturday it was suspending its migrant rescues in the Mediterranean because it felt threatened by the Libyan coastguard and the Italian government's policies have made its job harder.

The aid group's decision is the latest development in mounting tensions between Rome and NGOs as migration dominates Italy's political agenda ahead of elections early next year.

"We are suspending our activities because now we feel that the threatening behavior by the Libyan coastguard is very serious ... we cannot put our colleagues in danger," the president of MSF's Italian arm Loris De Filippi told Reuters.

Almost 600,000 migrants have arrived in Italy over the past four years, the vast majority setting sail from lawless Libya in flimsy vessels operated by people smugglers. More than 13,000 migrants have died trying to make the crossing.

Charity boats have played a growing role in rescues, picking up more than a third of all migrants brought ashore so far this year against less than one percent in 2014.


Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-msf-idUSKBN1AS0L1

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