22:51 GMT +313 November 2018
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    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini gestures during a news conference with Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeg in Rome, Italy July 5, 2018

    Italian Deputy PM Banned from Spain's Mallorca for His Stance on Migration

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    The authors of the motion, declaring Matteo Salvini persona non-grata, derided his statements and policies as “terrible and outrageous.” Earlier this year the leader of the right-wing Lega party was appointed Italy’s interior minister, evoking criticism across the EU after blocking rescue ships with migrants from the country’s ports.

    The Mallorca Council has approved the motion, declaring Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, persona non-grata on the Spanish holiday island for his statements and policies on migration, as the newspaper Diario de Mallorca reports.

    The declaration was proposed by the left-wing party Podemos, which is a local branch of the Socialist party (PSIB), and the Més Per Mallorca coalition.

    The approved text also condemns "the lack of compliance guarantees with the defense of human rights suggested by the European migration policies." The motion also specifically laments Salvini’s proposal to subject Romany people to a census.

    According to the Podemos’ spokeswoman Aurora Ribot, cited by the newspaper Diario de Mallorca, the motion sought to "recognize the immense humanitarian work of NGOs such as Proactiva Open Arms, Lifeline, Proemaid and SMH, for rescuing tens of thousands of people from certain death in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea." Their activities have been repeatedly called into question by the Italian official, who has slammed the NGOs for being accomplices in human trafficking and banned their ships from the country’s ports.

    The party which authored the motion, has criticized Salvini’s "terrible and outrageous statements and policies," "distilling a very serious and worrisome xenophobia and an obvious disregard for human life and dignity," as quoted by the newspaper Diario de Mallorca.

    READ MORE: Italy's Salvini Accused of 'Climate of Hate' as Black Athlete Attacked

    A similar motion, declaring US President Donald Trump persona non-grata for his migration policy of separation children from their parents at the Mexican border, has also been proposed to the council, but the draft didn’t even make it to the plenary agenda. 

    Migrant sea rescue charities have been at loggerheads with the new Italian government and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has sought to dramatically cut the number of migrants arriving on Italy's shores since he took his post this year.

    In June, Italy turned away two ships loaded with hundreds of migrants trying to dock at Italian ports in the first major anti-migrant move made by Salvini, who had earlier called for an end to Sicily being Europe’s “refugee camp.”

    At the end of July, the United Nations started an investigation into allegations about an Italian ship violating international law after it returned more than 100 migrants it had earlier rescued in the Mediterranean to Libya, even though the country is not regarded as safe, The Guardian reported.

    On Tuesday, Salvini refuted a pro-migrant charity’s allegations that an Italian ship had violated international law by returning rescued migrants to Libya.

    Some 640,000 refugees have landed in Italy, mainly from Libya, since 2014 – although numbers this year have fallen, with 14,500 arriving so far since January.

    A pact between Italy and Libya has led to a 70 percent decrease in arrivals since last summer.

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    Tags:
    search-and-rescue operation, NGO, illegal migrants, migration, persona non grata, Podemos, Matteo Salvini, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Italy
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