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A hospital in Italy offers emotional support to migrants


In Calabria, southern Italy, a team from a hospital in Cosence has specialized in treating migrants who have endured the hell of the Libyan camps.

The camp is known for torture and violence. Ibrahim, 25, left Gambia in 2013, before being detained in Libya for many months.

‘‘The second place the Tuaregs who abducted us were holding people was Talanda. It was like a military camp under the control of the Tuaregs, who treated us even worse than the Libyans, and had no humanity, they treated us like animals,’‘ he said.

Here, my life has totally changed! Because for so many years, even in my country, I don't talk to anyone about my problems.

Survivors lay bare bruises to their bodies as they recount treatment meted out to them.

“There is a notorious correspondence between the description of the torture and the physical after-effects observed, but there are also psychic after-effects, that’s the problem,” said Gianfranca Gentle, a medical doctor at the facility.

Emilia Corea is co-founder of the team.

“I collect the accounts of the escape through an interview prior to the medical examination. The moment I fear most is silence, the people coming here are devastated. Often it’s enough to look them in the eye to realize how traumatized they are,’‘ Corea said.

Despite abuses suffered by the migrants, the Italian asylum authorities often refuse to grant them international protection. The Calabrian commission did not wish to speak on the subject.

“The Refugee Commission is an offshoot of the Ministry of the Interior, so after the signing of the memorandum with Libya, it would have been embarrassing for this authority to ask migrants what happened in Libya, they don’t do that anymore,” said lawyer for Kasbah, Francesco Cirino.

Since 2012, medical professionals and allied associations of this unit have been working together to help migrants start a new life.

“Here, my life has totally changed! Because for so many years, even in my country, I don’t talk to anyone about my problems,” Ibrahim added.

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