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Italy's Senate speaker deplores deadly migrant shipwreck off Libya

02 febbraio 2018 | 16.23
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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The speaker of Italy's Senate upper house of parliament, Pietro Grasso on Friday condemned a shipwreck off Libya in which 90 migrants are feared to have died and urged changes to Italy's harsh immigration law.

"This is a new tragedy at sea, the umpteenth massacre of human beings, which we should not become inured to," Grasso said.

"There are moral and ethical issues at stake...also questions over Italian and European policy. As regards Italy, we should start by abolishing the Bossi-Fini law - it has failed," Grasso stated.

He was referring to tough legislation passed by a conservative Italian government in 2002 that made it more difficult for migrants to enter and stay in Italy and which stiffened penalties for illegal immigrants.

Just three people are known to have survived Friday's shipwreck off Zuwara near Libya's border with Tunisia. Ten bodies were initially recovered, mostly Pakistanis, according to local security officials.

Some 90 people are believed to have been on board the smuggler's boat when it capsized, according the United Nations migration agency.

Survivors said most of the boat's passengers were Pakistanis - who are among the third largest group of arrivals by sea to Italy this year - according to the UN's International Organisation for Migration.

The doomed boat was heading to Italy at the time of the disaster, IOM cited the survivors as saying.

Some 6,624 migrants entered Europe by sea in January and a further 246 have died, IOM reports.

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