Italian FM warns of migrant wave of 'Biblical proportions'

65.3 mln forced migrants in 2015, WFP report

11 October, 16:51

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, OCTOBER 11 - Italian foreign minister said Wednesday that migration seen in the Mediterranean ''is only the tip of the iceberg of an exodus that may end up being of Biblical proportions''. Alfano's comments were made during his opening remarks of the conference to present the World Food Programme report 'At the Root of Exodus: food security, conflict and international migration' at the Italian foreign ministry. Alfano noted that, according to the report, in 2015 there were ''some 244 million people who migrated internationally, while the number of those suffering from forced migration - refugees, the displaced and asylum seekers - reached a peak of 65.3 million people''.

    The study ''confirms that food insecurity is a decisive factor in migration'', he added, stressing that ''the report is a call to the international community to do a great deal more to solve the problem at its roots''. The minister said that ''no compromises can be made on human rights. Italy has saved hundreds of thousands of human lives and, in so doing, it saved Europe's honor, as recognized by European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker.'' ''In saving migrants, Italy has shown that between rigor and humanity, between rules and solidarity, between security and human rights, there is no competition,'' Alfano said. ''We cannot allow the EU to turn its face away, enabling another human tragedy on land instead of at sea. A tragedy of refugees and the displaced, who suffer both hunger and often unspeakable violence''.

    This is why, he said, ''there are two key points that we need to discuss: solidarity and responsibility, which are also as the basis of the Italian approach''. The recommendations within the report, Alfano said, ''contain elements of the Italian way: the stress put in equal measure on humanitarian assistance and protection of human rights of the most vulnerable people.'' He concluded by saying that ''the time has come for the European Union to invest without fear in Africa so that returns be achieved in terms of growth and economic development in both directions''. ''By recognizing that Europe and Africa are on a shared path of growth and development,'' he added, ''we will understand that through investing in Africa we will solve European problems.

    This is because many of our problems are symptoms of something that begins elsewhere.'' (ANSAmed).

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