“Italy, if it cares about its future, must get rid of all the roots of hatred and discrimination and focus on integration, rights, and decent work for all”, a Catholic Church solidarity group has said.

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The Community of Sant’Egidio raised the alarm as it prepares to hold a silent march to honour dead migrant workers this Saturday at the Villa Literno cemetery in the Campania region, as ANSA reports.

The march will be held on the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Jerry Essan Masslo.

Masslo was a refugee who escaped South Africa’s apartheid regime only to be murdered in Italy in the course of a robbery targeting migrant farmworkers.

Masslo’s violent death in 1989 shook all of Italy.

After the country’s first major anti-racism protest in October of that year, the Government passed the Martelli Law that permitted people from all over the world to request asylum in Italy.

This type of protection had before only been available to migrants from Eastern Europe.


Foggia bishop denounces “poison of racism” behind attacks on migrant workers

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Since Masslo’s murder “many things have changed”, Sant’Egidio said, “but a very serious problem remains concerning foreign day laborers who are exploited for little money and forced to live in extremely precarious lodgings”.

“Intolerance and xenophobia are still around – and have unfortunately grown in recent times – and they must be condemned”, the Community added.

At the silent march today, people from all over Italy will pay homage to Masslo.

But they will also lay flowers on graves next to the South African’s, of other migrants who have died while working in the fields.

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