Italy — A Senator in Minister Salvini’s Lega party, who “Liked” a Facebook comment calling for migrants to be put in “ovens”, will chair the Senate Human Rights Commission.

On November 13th, 2018, Senator Stefania Pucciarelli, a member of Matteo Salvini’s “Lega” party, became Chairman of the Italian Senate’s Human Rights Commission.

Senator Pucciarelli made the headlines in June 2017 when someone noticed her “Like” under a Facebook comment suggesting “ovens” in place of council houses for migrants. The “League” Senator later “unliked” the post and apologised for her “absent-mindedness”.

A faux pas, one might say, were it not for the fact that her Facebook profile has always betrayed — and still does — a certain view of the world: last week, Pucciarelli welcomed the controversial dismantling of an emergency migrant camp in Rome with a meme showing Minister Salvini with a toy bulldozer and the caption “Restoring lawfulness, order and security.” It’s very hard to find there any sympathy for the rights of LGBT women and men, or members of the Roma community. There are disparaging remarks against young people frequenting left-wing social centres, called “ticks” by the Senator.

After the tragic overdose death, last October, of a 16-year-old girl found lifeless in a derelict building in Rome, where she had apparently gone to buy drugs, Senator Pucciarelli took on Italy’s Partisans Association (ANPI.) The girl’s death, quickly followed by rumours that she had been gang-raped and murdered by a group of foreign drug dealers (which later proved largely unfounded,) sparked a wave of revulsion, and convinced Interior Minister Salvini to pay a visit to the spot where the body of 16-year-old Desirée had been found. Salvini’s visit was met with protests, and an ANPI flag was visible among the protesters.

Commenting on Facebook, Senator Pucciarelli wrote that “The ANPI has now proved to be entirely useless. With this protest, the ANPI and the feminists have killed Desirée a second time.”

The appointment has been criticized by — among others — the former President of the Lower House Laura Boldrini and Amnesty’s Italian spokesman Riccardo Noury. Left-wing MP Nicola Fratoianni went a bit further, saying the appointment was akin to “inviting Hannibal Lecter to a vegan meeting.”

Comitato Provinciale dell'ANPI di Brescia, http://t.co/Ui87fg4pNE - Facebook: Anpi Brescia. English: http://t.co/dYHCAaxsDM

Comitato Provinciale dell'ANPI di Brescia, http://t.co/Ui87fg4pNE - Facebook: Anpi Brescia. English: http://t.co/dYHCAaxsDM