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South Sudanese refugee condemns Salvini's immigrant-bashing Lampedusa trip

A SOUTH Sudanese refugee in Italy has condemned Matteo Salvini for an immigrant-bashing press conference on Lampedusa today, saying it will “only incite hatred, violence and grave human rights violations against people of colour across Italy.”

Yambio David Oliver, who helped organise a protest movement called Refugees in Libya when trapped in that country, told the Morning Star that Mr Salvini’s trip to the island — where many refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean first make it ashore — should alert people to his toxic politics.

“Italians are not well informed about the way their taxpayer money is used to kill thousands of people in the Mediterranean, in Libya and at the EU’s borders,” Mr Oliver said.

“Now [Salvini] is back again, centring migration and instrumentalising it as a weapon to win votes. Some people say refugees should not interfere in Italian politics — but it’s always about us, so we have to speak out.

“Understand that the graveyard of the Mediterranean and the endless cycle of suffering in Libya is not only Salvini’s responsibility or that of whoever is in office, it is the responsibility of all Italians if they do not question their elected authorities about what is happening at Europe’s borders. It is not too late to decide what kind of a leader they should elect.”

Mr Salvini used the island trip — part of campaigning for elections next month — to say Italy should not accept immigrants, who “only bring problems.”

As interior minister in 2019, he blocked rescue ships from disembarking refugees saved from drowning at sea at Italian ports, a breach of international law that saw him taken to court.

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