Italy abandons refugees in car parks

2014-06-10 21:35
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rome - The UN refugee agency on Tuesday accused Italy of abandoning hundreds of refugees in car parks on the outskirts of Rome and Milan, abandoning them without shoes, food or money.

The criticism came as Italy struggles to deal with waves of immigrants washing up on its southern coasts in overcrowded boats, with more than 50 000 people landing so far this year - a similar number to those who arrived in all of 2013.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees slammed the "unacceptable" treatment of the refugees from Syria, Somalia and Sub-Saharan Africa, who landed in Sicily on Monday and were shipped to Rome and Milan in coaches overnight.

"There were two groups of between 160 to 170 people each. One of the groups was abandoned near Rome, the other near Milan," Carlotta Sami, the UNHCR's spokesperson in Italy, told AFP.

Those left near Rome were eventually taken in by a centre for asylum seekers in the capital on Tuesday, but those in Milan were still in the parking lot in the middle of the afternoon, she said.

The refugees "were found without shoes, disorientated, and without having been given anything to eat or drink," the agency said.

They were part of a contingent of 1 300 immigrants - including hundreds of women and dozens of babies - who had been picked up and taken to the southern Italian city of Taranto on Monday.

Hundreds of others rescued at the same time were taken to Sicily, where officials said they were no longer able to cope with the influx of people.

In the latest tragedy to hit boat refugees, Italy's coastguard said on Tuesday that three migrants drowned and six more were missing in the Mediterranean.

Favourable weather conditions mean that thousand of migrants are expected to attempt the perilous crossing from north Africa to the Italian coast in the coming days.

Gil Arias Fernandez, the head of Frontex, the European Union border co-ordination agency, said recently that "hundreds of thousands" of migrants were currently in Libya and hoping to leave as soon as possible because of growing lawlessness.

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano estimated that number at between 400 000 and 600 000 people.

Read more on:    unhcr  |  italy  |  migrants

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.