News / Europe

    Italian Migrant Center Cleared After Protests

    Migrants wait to board a ferry boat from the port of Lampedusa, for Sicily, southern Italy, where they will be sent to other camps based on their legal status, Oct. 7, 2013.
    Migrants wait to board a ferry boat from the port of Lampedusa, for Sicily, southern Italy, where they will be sent to other camps based on their legal status, Oct. 7, 2013.
    Reuters
    Italian authorities began clearing a migrant reception center on the island of Lampedusa on Tuesday after a row over harsh living conditions that prompted detainees to sew their lips together in protest.
     
    The facility, originally intended to house up to 850 migrants for up to 48 hours before transfer to other centers, has been steadily transformed into a long-term refugee camp where detainees are housed in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, prompting domestic and international criticism.
     
    Deputy Interior Minister Filippo Bubbico told the daily Avvenire newspaper that 200 migrants would be transferred to other centers. Only 17 individuals, still caught up in registration processes that require their identities be established before they are moved, would remain, he said.
     
    Khalid Chaouki, a deputy of the center-left Democratic Party who went to the island to demand action, announced on his Facebook page that transfers had started with two planes chartered to take migrants off the island.
     
    "We should finally manage to free this center up by today," he wrote.
     
    Lampedusa, midway between Sicily and Tunisia, has been the center of a chronic migration crisis which has worsened this year due to turbulence in the Middle East and Africa and the civil war in Syria.
     
    Tens of thousands of desperate immigrants, most fleeing poverty and upheaval in search of a better life in Europe have braved the hazardous sea crossing from North Africa to Lampedusa. Thousands have died in the attempt, including hundreds who drowned when two overloaded boats sank in October.
     
    The plight of the migrants left in Italy's reception centers, starved of resources in the economic crisis, was highlighted last week by a video which showed people in another center left standing naked in the cold while they were sprayed for scabies.
     
    Last week nine North African migrants stitched their lips together to protest against the conditions they were forced to live in and to demand their release.
     
    Unacceptable
     
    The UNHCR last week described conditions in the Lampedusa reception center as "unacceptable" and urged the Italian government to take urgent steps to remedy the situation which has persisted for many years.
     
    Criticism of the center has been a severe embarrassment to Italy, which has generally prided itself on the efforts its coast guard and navy have made to rescue thousands of migrants at risk of drowning in flimsy vessels.
     
    At the request of the interior ministry, the Italian Red Cross sent eight staff to Lampedusa on Tuesday to boost its presence on the island following calls for it to take over management of the immigration center.
     
    According to Frontex, the European Union's border agency, more than 10,000 migrants arrived by sea in southern Italy last year, most from Eritrea, Tunisia and Somalia and the numbers have risen sharply this year as thousands have fled from the fighting in Syria. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said 7,800 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in Italy in the first half of the year alone.
     
    The scandal at the migrant reception center has fed into a wider debate over immigration in Italy and Prime Minister Enrico Letta said this week that his government would move to overhaul a law against clandestine immigration blamed by some for encouraging abuses against migrants.
     
    He said he also favored moves to make it easier for the children of immigrants to gain Italian citizenship.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora