LONDON — A far-right activist who led a campaign to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean has been invited to speak at UKIP’s annual youth conference.
Martin Sellner, who is co-leader of far-right group Génération Identitaire and co-director of the Austrian Identity Movement, who oppose migration into Europe as a threat to European identity, will speak at Young Independence’s #Horizons conference in Sheffield.
Sellner led the “Defend Europe” mission which sought to monitor the activities of NGO’s operating in the Mediterranean, hampering the rescue of refugees. 2,300 migrants have died attempting to cross the route so far in 2017.
The group hailed their action as a “political success” in a statement released last week. “Only two months ago, many NGOs sailed in front of the Libyan coasts, like cabs waiting for customers, today, there is only one.”
The “identitarian” activist’s appearance at the Young Independence conference was announced in a tweet, which has since been deleted. The group refused to confirm his attendance, according to the Guardian newspaper.
Sellner himself welcomed the news that he would be speaking in a tweet:
“Defend Europe” accused charities of working with people smugglers to bring hundreds of thousands of “illegal immigrants” to Europe and “are the ones who are responsible for the mass drowning of thousand of Africans in the Mediterranean.”
The mission became farcical when one of the NGOs it was “monitoring” had to come to their aid after the group sent a distress signal.
The vessel they hired, C-Star, was blocked from docking in Sicily, Greece and Tunisia due to opposition from anti-fascists and the far-right group was eventually stopped when the ship was banned from Maltese ports.
Sellner is due to speak at the Young Independence conference alongside Anne Marie Waters, a UKIP leadership candidate who has called Islam “evil” and fellow candidate John Rees-Evans, who said last month that British Indians should be paid to leave the UK.
A spokesperson for anti-racism pressure group Hope Not Hate told the Guardian: “Young Independence has a history of courting controversy, with UKIP’s senior official Suzanne Evans previously calling it a far-right lynch mob. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that it would invite Martin Sellner and Ann Marie Waters to speak, who remain fixated with conspiracies around Islam and Muslims.
“Hope Not Hate is proud to have exposed their hatred multiple times, helping to lead to the cancellation of Sellner’s Defend Europe mission in the Mediterranean. This marks a further downturn for Ukip, which has been left rudderless since Nigel Farage departed and forced into a corner of its own making, chasing ever more bizarre Islamophobic obsessions at the expense of remaining a credible or relevant political force.”
I’m honoured to speak at the @YIofficial conference this weekend. Looking forward to the boat party afterwards ;)#defendeurope pic.twitter.com/bQKJUmyfJ7
— Martin Sellner (@Martin_Sellner) August 31, 2017
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