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Shelter for immigrants from the Diciotti

· Hosted by Ireland and Albania and several Italian dioceses ·

The 137 immigrants who disembarked in Messina late Saturday night from the Italian Coast Guard’s ship Diciotti spent their second night in the primary welcome shelter after ten days’ wait out at sea. The Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) will take responsibility for approximately one hundred immigrants. This morning, Ivan Maffeis, undersecretary for the Conference and head of the Office of Social Communications, said of the immigrants “They will be moved as soon as possible, in the coming hours, to the Ariccia centre run by Auxiluim, pending their transfer to the many diocese who have given their availability: Turin, Brescia, Bologna, Agrigento, Cassano all'Jonio, Rossano Calabro, to cite only those I know about”. The remaining ones will be divided between Albania and Ireland, countries that have indicated their willingness to provide shelter. At present, there are in the Messina center seven women, all victims of sexual violence in Libya, and three men who disembarked and were taken in Saturday afternoon for medical reasons. There are three immigrants in the hospital in Catania, two with tuberculosis and one with bronchial pneumonia.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, expressed “relief for the disembarkation of those persons who remained on board of the Italian Coast Guard’s ship Diciotti”, and praised “the countries and organizations that showed solidarity”, offering shelter those who remained on board. The UNHCR recalled that in 2018, more than 1600 individuals lost their lives while attempting to reach European coasts, even though the number of persons trying to cross decreased significantly compared to previous years. In connection with the Diciotti incident, a notice arrived from the court in Agrigento for Matteo Salvini, Minister of the Interior, informing him that he is under investigation together with his Cabinet Chief, Prefect Matteo Piantedosi, for the sequestration of persons, illegal arrests and abuse of the powers of their office. According to magistrates, they deprived the refugees who had been rescued by the ship of their personal freedom.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 22, 2018

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