Italy Investigates "Degrading" Treatment of Migrants on Lampedusa After Video

A video showing a migrant being sprayed has sparked outrage.

Posted: 12/19/2013 09:53 AM EST
Italy Investigates "Degrading" Treatment of Migrants on Lampedusa After Video

A video showing a man being sprayed with disinfectant by an aid worker on the island of Lampedusa, Italy, has sparked outrage from the country's government and the European Union.

The treatment of this man and other survivors of two shipwrecks, in which hundreds died off the coast of the island in October, was called "degrading" by Laura Boldrini, the Speaker for Italy's lower house of Parliament.

The spraying was secretly recorded on a cell phone an has many comparing the center to World War II concentration camps. Officials describe the sprayings as a medical treatment used to prevent a contagious skin condition called scabies, according to CNN

"We have already started investigations on the deplorable conditions in many Italian detention centers, including Lampedusa, and we will not hesitate to launch an infringement procedure to make sure EU standards and obligations are fully respected," the EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malstrom said in a statement Wednesday.

A leader at the camp is denying any wrongdoing in light of the video surfacing. He said the treatment usually takes place in showers in an enclosed cabin. But several migrants who no longer wanted to wait in line for the treatment asked to be sprayed out in the open.

This is the latest incident in a string of reports of mistreatment against Africans who make the dangerous journey every year across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, in hopes for a better life. In November, reports surfaced of rape and torture against women by human trafficking gangs, who operate in the region. 


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(Photo: CNN)

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