Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is threatening to withdraw funding from the UN after a comment by the United Nation’s Human Rights chief, former Chilean President Michel Bachelet, who said that her agency is investigating human rights abuses in Italy and Austria after reports of violence and racism against migrants, persons of African descent, and the Roma community.
Salvini lashed out at the UN’s criticism, saying Italy had taken in over 700,000 migrants without any support from Brussels or other EU Member States and accused the UN of having a political bias against the populist government that he is a key part of and added that Bachelet should focus her attention on “other countries with real human rights abuses”.
In his statement, Salvini said the UN is an organisation that “costs billions of euros” marred in “mismanagement, waste, embezzlement, and theft”, before threatening that Italy would reconsider the usefulness of continuing to provide funding to the UN.
Lega, the right-wing party that Salvini heads, on a promise to deport 500,000 illegal migrants as quickly as possible. Since the elections earlier this year, Salvini has complained that at the current pace, Italy would need 80 years to expel half of a million illegal migrants due to the absence of bilateral treaties with most of the migrants’ countries of origin including, Sudan, Niger, Ivory Coast, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Lega’s anti-migration stance has, for the most part, been popular with the Italian electorate. Support for the party has surged since the May elections from a 17% electoral result to 32% in the most recent poll.