As a standoff between a humanitarian migrant rescue ship and the Italian government continues into its fourth day, a leading Italian bishop has criticized the “selective” process of allowing some migrants to disembark, while turning others away.
Speaking at the opening of the World Report of the Migrants Foundation, Bishop Francesco Savino of Cassano all’Jonio, Italy and vice president of the Italian bishops’ conference (CEI), said, certain words tossed around in the current migration debate “are worrying me.”
“I am afraid and my conscience is troubled when I hear about ‘selective acceptance.’ I don’t know what this adjective means,” he said, adding, “How worried I am when I hear that these immigrants or some of these immigrants are ‘residual burdens.’”
“Here, in my opinion, the civilization of globalization, here mature democracy at the European level is at stake,” he said.
Savino’s words come as the Italian government is in the midst of a standoff with a German NGO over its refusal to let certain rescued migrants at sea come ashore.
Italy is among the main entry points for migrants seeking entry into Europe. According to the United Nations, some 85,000 migrants have arrived on boats since the beginning of this year, most of whom departed from Libya in small boats.