Doctors Without Borders is suspending its migrant rescues in the Mediterranean because it feels threatened by the Libyan coastguard and that the Italian government’s policies have made its job harder. The President of the group’s Italian branch Loris De Filippi told Reuters, “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.” He continued, “Last year the coastguard fired 13 shots on our boat and that was in a situation that was much calmer than the present one.” De Filippi said the Rome government’s Code of Conduct for NGOs and its support for the Libyan coastguard showed it was now mixing the humanitarian goal of saving lives with “a political and military intention” of reducing arrivals. The aid group’s decision reflects the mounting tensions between Rome and NGOs as migration dominates Italy’s political agenda ahead of elections early next year.
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