The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has declared admissible the appeals brought in July and August 2017 by 14 unaccompanied foreign minors from Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Senegal, and asked the Italian government to provide clarification concerning claims that they had been "held illegally" in the hotspot in Taranto, the association for legal studies on immigration (ASGI) has said.
Held without information
ASGI lawyers claim to have found the youngsters in the hotspot "held without written communication in promiscuity with adults, in a single tent surrounded by high metal fencing guarded by Italian soldiers, without the possibility of contact with the outside world, without having received any information on the possibility and effects of applying for international protection either from police or from the association providing cultural mediation or from UNHCR staff".
The ECHR declared admissible the appeal on January 19, inviting the government to provide clarification by May 14 concerning the allegations made by the claimants.
"The request for clarification … is an important result in order to counter the serious lack of child protection uncovered in the centre in Taranto," ASGI said in a statement. "We have reported a violation of personal freedom because the claimants were held illegally in the hotspot without any formal written notification, without the possibility of accessing any form of defense or instrument for communicating with the outside world."
In addition, "the minors were detained in inhuman and degrading material conditions", while "a guardian had not even been named and they were unable to access adequate assistance," the association continued.