National day to welcome migrants eyed in Italy
Criticism on Italy’s poor action to help migrants who have died trying to reach the country’s coast has led three Democratic Party (PD) politicians to propose a new holiday aimed to welcome and remember migrants.
Statistics reveal that in 2013, 45,000 migrants arrived in Europe by sea, more than three times the figure in 2012. Criticism on the Italian government reached a boiling point last year after a shipwreck off Lampedusa led to 366 deaths. A total of 700 migrants perished trying to cross the sea in 2013.
Proposal supporter and MP Ermete Realacci said Italy’s view of migrants is short-sighted and that Italians should remember their history: ‘The same things that are now said against people that arrive in Italy were said against Italians.’
MP Polo Beni said this issue should be brought back to the political agenda. His PD colleague Khalid Chaouki agreed and added ‘The government is not responding with the measures it committed itself to. For me, this fact is very problematic and critical.’
In their proposal, the politicians said ‘The Mediterranean seabed has been transformed into an enormous cemetery. They were men, women and children escaping from persecution, violence and destitution.’
The national day will boost government’s initiative to make its citizens understand and welcome migrants. This will go hand-in-hand with a more widespread goal of improving integration to the Italian society forwarded by Integration minister Cecile Kyenge.