United Nations — Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, on Wednesday urged the United Nations to launch a “global war without mercy” against migrant smugglers, after a surge of arrivals on the island of Lampedusa.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, right-wing prime minister Giorgia Meloni said that Italy, which next year heads the Group of Seven wealthy democracies, was ready to lead efforts against the “slave traders of the third millennium.”
“Can an organization like this which reaffirms in its founding document the faith in the dignity and worth of human beings turn a blind eye to this tragedy?” she asked.
“I believe it is the duty of this organization to reject any hypocritical approach to this issue and wage a global war without mercy against the traffickers of human beings,” she said.
“To do so we need to work together at every level. Italy plans to be on the frontline on this issue.”
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Meloni, who heads the post-fascist Brothers of Italy party, took office in part on pledges to crack down on migration.
Some 8 500 people landed on Italy’s southern island of Lampedusa from 199 boats between Monday and Wednesday last week, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
The group is largely made up of people from sub-Saharan Africa who have gone to Tunisia, which is suffering from economic tumult and where President Kais Saied has railed against dark-skinned people.
Meloni put the blame on human traffickers, calling them a “mafia” who earn as much as drug smugglers, but said Italy would also work to address root causes and help African nations “grow and prosper.”
“Africa is not a poor continent. To the contrary, it is rich with strategic resources,” she said.