Sicily challenges Rome on migrants

On Sunday (23 August), Sicily’s governor, Nello Musumeci, signed an ordinance closing the island’s migrant centres and banning new migrants from arriving to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“By midnight on Monday, all migrants in the hotspots and in every reception centre in Sicily will have to be transferred to structures outside the island”, said Musumeci, noting that “it is not possible to guarantee a visit to the island while respecting measures to prevent infections spreading.”

Sources from the interior ministry made it clear that the ordinance has no value since it is a state competence, adding that the government is committed to finding solutions that ease the pressure on Lampedusa and Sicily.

The ordinance states: “To protect and guarantee public health and safety, in the absence of suitable reception facilities, it is forbidden to enter, transit and stop in the territory of the sicilian Region by every migrant who reaches the Sicilian coasts with large and small boats, including those of NGOs.” (Valentina Iorio |

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