Italian PM slams France for forcing Burkina Faso to hand over imports
20th November 2022

Italy’s new firebrand PM launches blistering diatribe saying immigration from Africa would STOP if countries like France halted exploitation of continent’s valuable resources

  • Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has called out France and its policy over its former territory Burkina Faso 
  • Meloni suggested France operated a policy which saw it taking a huge slice of the money made from gold found in its mines worked by children 
  • During a live TV broadcast, she held up a photo of a child working in a gold mine
  • More than 70,000 migrants have arrived on Italy’s shores this year 
  • Meloni is now taking a hardline stance on immigration which saw a ship full of migrants turned away from the port of Rome only to later dock in France 

Italy’s firebrand new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni launched a blistering diatribe claiming immigration from nations in Africa would stop if countries like France resisted exploiting the continent’s people and natural resources.  

IMeloni  has slammed France and its president, Emmanuel Macron, for child labor being used in gold mines that allegedly benefit the European country.

Speaking in front of a television audience, Meloni showed photos of children are mining gold in Burkina Faso, an African country that France once controlled. The Italian prime minister claimed that France is still forcing the African nation to hand over 50% of its exports to them.

Burkina Faso has been independent from France since 1960 but Meloni suggests the former colonial power still holds considerable sway over its former territory.   

Meloni, leads what is Italy’s most right-wing government since World War Two. 

Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has called out France and its policy over its former territory Burkina Faso that she claims has young children working in gold mines

On the rocky ground of Nounou, in Burkina Faso at a gold mining site, about 3000 people work on a daily basis, 1000 or so of them children

Her far-right Brothers of Italy party is a part of a coalition that has made reducing immigration a key part of their agenda – with many of the migrants coming from the African continent.

‘This is called the CFA Franc,’ Meloni began as she held up a West African CFA franc bank note. ‘It is the colonial currency that France prints for 14 African nations to which it applies seigniorage (a profit made by issuing currency) and by virtue of which it exploits the resources of these nations.’

Meloni then held up a photograph of a young child working in one of the country’s gold mines.

A UN report from 2016 suggested out of 3,000 people working at a mine in Burkina Faso, a third are children.  

‘This is a child who works in a gold mine in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest nations in the world. France prints colonial money for Burkina Faso, which has gold,’ Meloni explained.

Meloni’s claims in front of a live TV studio audience as she highlighted the plights of migrants

The Italian PM brought a number of photos to use as props to highlight her stance on migrants

‘This is called the CFA Franc,’ Meloni said as she held up a West African CFA franc bank note. ‘It is the colonial currency that France prints for 14 African nations … by virtue of which it exploits the resources of these nations.’

‘In return, they demand that 50% of everything that Burkina Faso exports ends up in the coffers of the French treasury. The gold that this child goes down a tunnel to extract, mostly ends up in the coffers of the French state,’ Meloni said as she became visibly riled. 

‘So, the solution is not to take Africans and bring them to Europe. The solution is to free Africans from certain Europeans who exploit it and allow these people to live off what they have.’

Meloni wants to see the migrants stay in their own country rather than make the treacherous voyage across the Mediterranean to Italian shores.

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni’s new government wants to see the migrants stay in their own country rather than make the treacherous voyage across the Mediterranean to Italy’s shores

Last week, a rescue ship carrying more than 230 migrants was refused entry by Italy, only to have them welcomed into France. 

The Ocean Viking, operated by a French NGO, picked up the migrants near the Libyan coast before beginning a week’s long search at sea to find a port willing to accept them.

The vessel docked at the southern port of Toulon after Rome denied it access.

The Ocean Viking charity-run ship carrying the migrants initially sought to dock on Italy’s coast, which is closest to where the migrants were picked up, stating that health and sanitary conditions on board were rapidly worsening. 

But Italy refused the ship entry, saying that other nations needed to shoulder more of the burden in taking in the thousands of migrants attempting to reach Europe from north Africa every year. 

The refusal is part of Meloni’s new government regime which is allowing only those identified as vulnerable to disembark.

It pitted French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government against Italy’s right-wing government.

Italian authorities refused to let 35 migrants disembark a charity ship docked in Sicily (Pictured: Migrants asleep on deck of NGO rescue ship ‘Ocean Viking’)

With immigration a hot-button issue in both countries, unusually harsh words were exchanged between Paris and Rome. 

France criticized Italy’s decision not to let the ship dock in Italy as ‘selfish’ and ‘unacceptable’.

The confrontational stance taken by Meloni’s government is reminiscent of the standoffs orchestrated by Matteo Salvini, now Meloni’s infrastructure minister in charge of ports, during his brief 2018-2019 stint as interior minister. 

Nongovernmental organizations say Italy is obligated by the law of the sea to rescue people in distress and that coastal nations are obligated to provide a safe port as soon as feasible.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration has said that 1,891 migrants have died or disappeared so far this year while trying to cross the Mediterranean in the hope of a better life in Europe.

Italy is one of the main entry points into Europe for many migrants. Since the start of this year, 70,000 migrants have arrived on boats on the country’s shores, reports BBC News. 

Meloni is looking to tighten the system and for asylum seekers to be choked off from such ‘irregular migration’, which Meloni claims threatens the security and quality of life of Italian citizens.

The vessel docked at the southern port of Toulon last Friday after Rome denied it access. Pictured – Migrants are transferred to the CCAS Centre du Levant on the Giens peninsula 

Child miners in Burkina Faso are paid a pittance as they squat on the ground clawing at dirt and rocks all of which is placed into bowls in the hope of striking gold which may lead to them getting a little money in return. 

Children work in the mines despite there being laws against it. Every day, youngsters’ risk being seriously injured, not to mention poisoned from constant exposure to dust, toxic chemicals, and heavy manual labor. 

‘Burkinabe boys and girls are lured to the artisanal gold mines in the hopes of a better life, but find themselves stuck in a dead-end cycle of danger and despair. You cannot eliminate child labour in a community when the income of the family is so low,’ said Marc Rubin, a UNICEF Burkina Faso Resident Representative. 

‘You need to tackle the issue of the livelihoods for the parents, help raise awareness about child labour laws and build government capacity to monitor and enforce the laws. In order to avoid exploitative child labour we must offer schooling, financing, vocational training and alternative employment.’

In 2016, UNICEF reported the rescue of 25,000 children from gold mines across the country over a seven year period.

Source: Read Full Article