Italy refugee video sparks EU outrage

Italy refugee video sparks EU outrage
Thu Dec 19, 2013 13:29:05

A video of asylum-seekers being hosed down at a migrant center in Italy has caused outrage in Europe on UN Migrants Day.

The video shows male migrants -- some of them naked -- are shown lining up to be disinfected after being checked by nurses in what appears to be an open space at the migrant center in footage shown by Rai 2 state television.

The EU's Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem on Wednesday condemned "appalling conditions" at some of the migrant centers in Italy including the island of Lampedusa and said an EU investigation was already under way.

"The EU is committed to assist Italy in receiving migrants, but it has to be done in decent conditions," Malmstroem said on Twitter.

In a statement, she added: "Our 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."

After Lampedusa's mayor Giusi Nicolini said the images were reminiscent of "a concentration camp", Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta promised to investigate and to punish anyone held responsible.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR in a statement joined the chorus of outrage, saying that the overcrowding in the Lampedusa center was "unsustainable".

The European Union has published a list of proposals aimed at avoiding a repeat of the tragedy which are to be put to an EU leaders' summit on Thursday and Friday.


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