Fight for the right to rescue migrants: Activists attach giant life vest to Berlin's Molecule Man

Activists supporting the sea rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea attached a giant life vest to the Molecule Man sculpture in Berlin yesterday.

According to an Agence France-Presse report, German charity Sea-Watch reported rescuing 65 migrants in distress off Libya on Wednesday, sparking an immediate warning from Rome to stay away from Italian waters.

In Rome, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini issued a snap directive banning the Sea-Watch vessel from entering Italian waters, saying that "our ports are and remain closed".

Rome's populist government has taken an increasingly hard line on migration, and Mr Salvini last month banned charity vessels from rescuing migrants off Libya.

Charity ships have drawn fire from Rome by attempting on occasion to stop migrants being taken back to crisis-hit Libya, which human rights organisations say is not safe for repatriations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2019, with the headline 'Fight for the right to rescue migrants'. Print Edition | Subscribe