MV Aquarius: mgr. Hernandez (Valencia), “a significant event, Europe is incapable of handling migration”

Mons. Olbier Hernandez Carbonell, delegato episcopale per le migrazioni, arcidiocesi di Valencia (foto: A.Saiz)

(from Valencia) – “What happened with MV Aquarius aptly shows what we are going through all over the world. Migration is a complex, complicated phenomenon, that Europe is incapable of dealing with”. This was said to SIR by mgr. Olbier Hernandez Carbonell, episcopal delegate for migration of the diocese of Valencia. “Since Greece and Italy are more widely controlled right now, the route is going through Spain: they land in Valencia, Alicante, Murcia. Most of them want to move to other European countries. A lot of them come through Valencia”. His comment is accurate and goes against the trend: “That MV Aquarius was not let to land in Italy is a bad thing – he states – but the fact the migrants have been taken in by Spain only temporarily is not a good thing either, because we do not know how they will be treated: what programmes will we put them through? The issue is not whether they will be perfectly homed or not, but what for? What will happen to these people in six months, in one year? Where will they live? In the streets or in well-organised social-inclusion programmes? This is a global challenge”. Speaking of Italy, mgr. Hernandez Carbonell knows that the Italian Minister of the Interior is threatening of closing ports to all NGO ships once and for all and wonders: “What is the difference between an NGO ship and a Navy ship? None. Because, if people are put at sea by smugglers, who is going to rescue them makes no difference. These are desperate people. The problem is at the source”. In his opinion, “NGO ships are essential, because, if you are not in the Search and Rescue areas, more people would die at sea. NGOs are part of society, they are not the State. That there’s society amidst the crisis is a good thing. Otherwise, it would turn into a dictatorship”. Of course, he admits, “as they do not report to any boss or real policy, but just to charitable, humanitarian purposes, having witnesses in the forefront may feel threatening for a government. But saving people is the priority. The reflection about a country’s resources and capacity must take inspiration from this. We must change the mechanisms and policies, but first we must save lives”.