Friday 20 December 2013

Appalling Treatment Of Migrants In Lampedusa Sparks Outrage In Italy

Italian government has cancelled the contract with Lampedusa Accoglienza, the cooperative that was running the detention centre in Lampedusa where migrants were forced to strip naked in mixed company while being sprayed for scabies.
Home Affairs Minister Angelino Alfano said they were considering entrusting the centre to the International Red Cross.

The footage, which was aired on Italy's Rai 2 television channel, was filmed secretly on a mobile phone by a Syrian asylum seeker.

It shows migrants being treated like animals.

The images of migrants forced to strip naked, and then line up in a crowded, open-air courtyard in winter conditions, have caused outrage in Italy and in Europe.

The European Commission yesterday threatened Italy with legal action for possible breaches of the EU's rules on asylum.

European Commission's home affairs chief, Cecilia Malmstrom said: “The images we have seen from the detention centre in Lampedusa are appalling and unacceptable. We will contact the Italian authorities to ask more information on these events and we ask them to shed full light over what happened.

“We have already started investigations on the deplorable conditions in many Italian detention centres, including Lampedusa, and we will not hesitate to launch an infringement procedure to make sure EU standards and obligations are fully respected.”

Ms. Malmstrom warned that the European Commission’s “assistance and support to the Italian authorities in managing migratory flows can only be continued if the country guarantees humane and dignified reception conditions to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.”
Giusi Nicolini, the Mayor of Lampedusa said the images reminded one of a concentration camp. She added that they showed lack of respect for human dignity. The whole country should be ashamed of what happened at the detention centre in Lampedusa, Ms. Nicolini said.

Laura Boldrini, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies said the way migrants were treated was “unacceptable” and "unworthy of a civilised country".

She added that the images “tarnished the country's honour.”

Valerio Cataldi, the journalist who prepared the report, said it showed the "shameful medical treatment" in Lampedusa.

Italian authorities have already launched an inquiry into the treatment of migrants at the detention centre in Lampedusa.

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