Italy Declares Humanitarian Emergency Over Refugee Influx
If you listen to the mainstream media you would believe that the people of Tunisia are happily on their way to a new democratic government and everything will be just fine.
The truth is, the radical Islamists have taken over since the recent protests and thousand of Tunisian people are fleeing for their lives – mostly landing on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa. If they are deported back to Tunisia they will be arrested.
From Deutsche Welle:
The Italian cabinet on Saturday “proclaimed a state of humanitarian emergency following the influx of the large number of citizens from North Africa,” the government said in a statement.
Rome said the decision would enable authorities “to take immediate action needed to control this phenomenon and assist citizens who have fled from North Africa.”
Interior Minister Robert Maroni said on Sunday he would formally ask Tunisia for permission to deploy Italian police within the North African country to block further immigrants from leaving for Italy.
“The Tunisian system is collapsing,” Maroni said on television.
Earlier on Sunday, the Italian coast guard said almost 1,000 Tunisian immigrants had arrived in Italy overnight.
That follows statements on Saturday by local authorities on the island of Lampedusa which said that nearly 4,000 people had landed there since Wednesday. The majority are Tunisians seeking asylum in the wake of the political unrest that unseated President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Most of the refugees arrive packed into smalls fishing boats intercepted by Italy’s coast guard and then taken to Lampedusa.
The arrivals are threatening to overwhelm local authorities on the small island, which recently shut down camps designed to house illegal migrants.
Most refugees face deportation
Italy has begun to transport the majority of the immigrants to identification centers in Sicily, but authorities are struggling to keep up with the influx. Should they fail to make a case for asylum, most of the refugees will be deported back to Tunisia.
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni already on Friday had warned of an impending crisis. Rome also made a formal request for EU assistance.
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini requested “the immediate deployment of a (EU border security agency) Frontex mission for patrolling and intercepting off the Tunisian coast.”
By Andreas Illmer