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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Italy: Cemetery exclusively for migrants to be built for 1.5 million euros on Lampedusa

By: V4 Agency

The mayor spearheaded the burial ground project, complete with a building erected on the site, which among other things, will provide accommodation to the relatives of the deceased. Local residents and several politicians fear that the project will be carried out to the detriment of citizens’ needs.

According to the current proposal, the new cemetery is to serve as the burial place exclusively for migrants. Mayor Toto Martello is set to implement the project in the coming months. The plans include construction of a building on the site to keep a registry of deceased persons and provide short-term accommodation for bereaving relatives. The project is expected to cost approximately one and a half million euros.

As the new graveyard for foreigners will be established next to the old cemetery, which is nearly at capacity, residents on the island fear that they will have no place to bury their own dead.

“There are many migrants buried in the Cala Pisana cemetery. Unfortunately, they are neither the first, nor the last victims lost at sea. I hope that the project will not leave us, local residents, without a burial place. There’s little room in the old cemetery, and laying to rest a deceased relative always poses a problem,” a Lampedusa islander explained.

The idea of a cemetery for migrants came as no surprise to Angela Maraventano, former senator of the Lega Party. “The decision was made by a mayor who supports the admission of migrants, so I am not surprised by his initiative. I have not yet inquired about the project and its costs, but I hope the mayor will take care of the citizens as well. I agree that migrants should have a proper burial, but I hope this will happen while keeping the residents’ needs in mind, as well.”

Slightly fewer illegal immigrants are currently on Lampedusa than in May, when in the second week, for example, thousands of people landed on the island daily. The reception centre with a capacity of 250 people, was overwhelmed during last month’s siege. It was unable to perform its duties, resulting in many illegal migrants on the island without a negative COVID test. On the initiative of the interior minister, the migrants were later distributed across Italy.

Both the League and the Brothers of Italy backed the prevention of the mass dockings in May. League leader Matteo Salvini explained in a tweet that “as millions of Italians are in a difficult situation, it is our duty to close the borders and prevent landings.”

Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy, believes Lampedusa shows the consequences of the open borders policy. “Overcrowded centres and people who pose a public health risk. Fighting illegal migration is also a fight against degradation,” the politician said in her tweet.

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