800 more refugees in Lampedusa welcomed into 'appalling' conditions

International NGO Médècins Sans Frontiers (MSF) speaks out on "appallingly inadequate conditions" and the failure to provide assistance  and protection to those fleeing from North Africa.

Last night, Lampedusa witnessed the arrival of a fifth migrant boat in just over 12 hours.

Last night's landings raised the arrivals total to 831. A bout of bad weather had put a temporary halt to migrant flows from Libya, now in full swing.

Docking at Favaloro quay, of yesterday's five landings, two boats alone accounted for some 500 migrants; two other boats accounted for 216 Libyans and 50 Tunisians. Nine other Tunisians are reported to have landed on the island of Linosa.

Since last December, when popular uprisings and violent confrontations began to shake the Arab world, some 27,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented migrants have fled by sea from North Africa to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. Most of the boats that made the journey originated in Tunisia, but increasing numbers are coming from Libya.

International NGO Médècins Sans Frontiers (MSF) has spoken out on the "appallingly inadequate conditions" and the failure to provide assistance assistance and protection to those fleeing from North Africa.

Since February 2011, MSF has conducted 765 medical consultations for migrants and refugees in Lampedusa and has provided them with a total of 4,500 hygiene kits and blankets.

"MSF is deeply concerned about victims of violence among the groups the organization has assisted in Italy. Many have been directly affected by violence and war in North Africa or have been firsthand witnesses of violence," MSF said in a briefing paper.

"Some report suffering sexual abuse and torture, both in their home country or in the other countries where they have gone to survive and seek refuge. Most have experienced extreme hardships and suffering from the day they left their country of origin to their eventual arrival in Italy."

MSF has also witnessed children and unaccompanied minors being kept in closed centers in Lampedusa due to the lack of designated structures to shelter them, when EU minimum reception standards oblige member states to place minors "with adult relatives, foster families, in accommodation centers with special provisions for minors, or in other accommodations suitable for minors."

While conducting medical and mental health assessments in newly created reception centers in Kinisia, Manduria, and Mineo, MSF teams observed that the refugees and asylum seekers had received no clear information.

"In view of the regular and longstanding pattern of arrivals of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers in southern Italy from North Africa, MSF is highly concerned about the lack of concrete preparation for continued arrivals in the coming weeks and months. Despite the generally predictable nature of arrivals, reception centers currently take an unacceptably ad hoc approach that barely covers basic needs and does not adequately ensure the safety and security of new arrivals, particularly for the most vulnerable, including those who have experienced violence," MSF said.

"The stories told by refugees and migrants reveal the extreme mental and physical hardship they have escaped and endured. Upon their arrival in Italy, poor reception conditions expose them to further suffering and renewed vulnerability and uncertainty.

"MSF calls on the Italian authorities to develop a concrete strategy to ensure an adequate, humane reception for all migrants and asylum seekers already in the country or soon to arrive, but particularly for the most vulnerable, including women, children, unaccompanied minors, and victims of violence."

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Slight correction. The 15,000 illegal immigrants should have been 25,000 + the more than 2,000 that have arrived after them, meaning that more than 27,000 illegal immigrants in Italy are nor problem for Italy according to Malmstrom.
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MSF and the rest of the gang would do better if they tackled the injustices in the illegal immigrants own countries. The EU has now agreed that under certain very grave circumstances, member countries may be able to be allowed by the EU Commission to reinstate control on their frontiers. If anyone thought that this would mean closing the flood gates of illegal immigration they had better think twice because Cecilia Malmstrom said that 15,000 illegal immigrants in a very short time in Italy are not considered as exceptional circumstances and is "not under extreme migratory pressure" which would allow Italy to impose frontier control with the EU Commission permission. http://euobserver.com/9/32268 Border checks to be allowed only under strict EU criteria I wonder why Malmstrom doesn't put her money where her mouth is and take the illegal immigrants to her own country?
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Instead of thanking and praising Italy for accepting these illegal immigrants, MSF shows its true political colour by criticising it. MSF’s arguments are so preposterous that it expects Italy to prepare ever better conditions “for continued arrivals in the coming weeks and months” and “for all migrants and asylum seekers already in the country or soon to arrive”. Does MSF expect Italy to issue invitations to the boat people as well? What would Malta do if we ever, heaven forbid, received the thousands arriving in Lampedusa? Unlike Lampedusa we don’t have the luxury of being able to send them to mainland Italy. And what does MSF base its case on? “The stories told by refugees and migrants”. All sources, starting with the Maltese Refugees Commissioner, confirm that these stories are most often unreliable.