The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in Italy said "legislators are still in time to do the right thing not only for asylum seekers and refugees but also in the name of Italy's long and proud tradition of respect for human rights" regarding a proposed law on international protection, immigration, and public safety, known as the Salvini Decree.
The decree's name comes from the country's interior minister, and the measure is currently under discussion in the Italian parliament. UNHCR called attention to the impact the new measures could have on the reception and asylum system in Italy. It said if the measures are approved in their current form, "they could negatively influence access to protection and the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Italy". It also said any new measure "must conform to the Geneva Convention, international law, and existing European standards".
The "risks" of the Salvini Decree
UNHCR said particular risks of the new measures concern issues relative to administrative detention while awaiting identification or expulsion, the so-called accelerated procedures at the border, and repeat asylum applications. "These new measures, in their current form, do not provide adequate guarantees, above all for vulnerable and special needs people, for example those who have suffered abuse and torture".
UNHCR also said that the standards and services offered in primary reception centers "must be guaranteed". It recommends that the standards in the secondary reception system must be maintained for beneficiaries of international protection, special cases, and unaccompanied minors. "The former SPRAR system is a model of best practices in integration, and it is in the interest not only of the refugees but also of the hosting communities that this is maintained," it said.
UNHCR to monitor impact of measures
UNHCR said it "recognizes the government's intention to regulate humanitarian protection, but expects an approach that is open to the application of new regulations to guarantee support for the most vulnerable people". It said that it will closely monitor the impact of the new measures on people under its mandate."Many asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless people across the country are worried about the negative impact the new measures will have on their individual situation. In the middle of the troubled debate still underway, it is important that refugees are seen not as a political question, but as people, part of the shared human family, and that laws are approved that bring an actual improvement to the condition of all".