Italy pledges to fix standards for refugee centers

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Associated Press

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 23 at 9:34 AM

ROME (AP) — Premier Enrico Letta has pledged to overhaul conditions in Italy's refugee holding centers following protests and a shocking video of migrants being hosed down naked in the cold to disinfect them.

Speaking at his year-end news conference Monday, Letta said the government would take up the issue, and other aspects of Italy's immigration legislation and citizenship rules, when it charts its 2014 priorities in January.

The government had already pledged to improve conditions in its overcrowded migrant holding centers — and received 30 million in EU funds to help do so — after more than 360 would-be refugees drowned off the southern island of Lampedusa in October.

The government was put on the defensive anew after the video, shot by a Lampedusa migrant, was shown last week on state television.

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