At an assembly of cardinals at the Vatican on Friday, Pope Francis compared the conditions in Libyan detention centers for refugees and migrants to what one minister referred to as “concentration camps.”
The pope had criticized the European Union for having “a fascination with safe passes, the results of which are to be found in the detention centers,” the Guardian reported. Francis went on to say that there “must be no dignity for human beings” in these centers and that those who engage in trafficking must be prosecuted.
In response to the pope’s remarks, the Libyan government, which backs the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, issued a statement that condemned the Italian general directorate for foreign affairs’ plan to build 400 housing units in Italy. The Libyan officials said that the government would create a “less depressing environment” for refugees inside the country by working with United Nations agencies and conducting migrant training programs for coast guards.
To highlight the plight of asylum seekers, the Italian foreign ministry announced that Sicily would open a temporary holding center for refugees at an Italian air base.
“The priority in such centers is the protection of migrants and refugees and their regularization through the appropriate mechanisms,” the statement said.
According to the government, the relocation of asylum seekers from Italy to other parts of Europe had contributed to a surge in Italian crime. At an assembly in Sicily, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini vowed to be “a brake on human trafficking,” according to the Guardian.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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