- Associated Press - Sunday, May 19, 2019

ROME (AP) - The Latest on migration to Europe (all times local):

5:20 p.m.

British and French authorities have stopped 29 migrants who tried to cross the English Channel is three small boats over the weekend.

The French maritime authority for the Channel and North Sea said a patrol ship spotted a boat carrying nine migrants, including one minor, off the coast of the Cape of Gris-Nez on Sunday. The nine were suffering light hypothermia and were handed over to border police in Calais.

The British Home Office, meanwhile, said 20 migrants on two boats were intercepted Saturday off the Kent Coast. The migrants, including a 12-year-old, were handed to immigration officials in Dover. The group said they were from Iraq and Iran.



Illegal migrant crossings across the English Channel are on the rise in recent weeks despite joint British-French efforts to crack down on them.

___

1 p.m.

U.N. human rights investigators have told Italy that a proposed decree formalizing the closure of Italian ports to aid groups that rescue migrants at sea violates international law.

In a letter to Italy’s government, the investigators said the decree appears to be “yet another political attempt to criminalize search and rescue operations” that “further intensifies the climate of hostility and xenophobia against migrants.”

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, a hard-line populist, has proposed the decree ahead of the European Parliament elections this week, where nationalist, anti-migrant parties are hoping to make strong gains.

The letter from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says the measures would violate migrants’ human rights, which are enshrined in U.N. conventions. It said Italy is obliged to rescue migrants in distress and cannot impede others from doing so.

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