'Nigerian, Sudanese migrants need protection too', Habeshia

EU Commissioner said 80% of migrants in Italy are "irregular"

09 December, 21:41

    ROME - The Habeshia Agency (AHCS) wrote an open letter to EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos highlighting the plight of migrants from Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali and other countries and urging the EU to consider them not as irregular economic migrants but rather as refugees eligible for the right to asylum or other forms of protection.

    Avramopoulos said on Thursday that 80% of migrants who arrive in Italy are considered economic migrants and therefore "irregular" and, according to EU rules, to be repatriated.

    He said the EU doesn't intend to change criteria to add nationalities to the list of those already entitled to relocation.

    The letter was written by Don Mussie Zerai and Emilio Drudi, president and spokesman, respectively, of Habeshia, which has been working for refugee and migrant rescue and rights for years.

    "Certainly you are aware of the UN report that just a few weeks ago revealed that more than 400,000 children in Nigeria are victims of famine due to the situation caused by the fundamentalist militants of Boko Haram," the letter said, also pointing to the situation in countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Niger, Yemen, Darfur and Afghanistan.

    Regarding the fact that only Syrians and Eritreans are entitled to be accepted and relocated in the EU member states, Habeshia said: "according to international law and the Geneva Convention, asylum requests must be examined case by case, listening to the individual stories" and not based on nationality. 

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