Italy's migrant Centers for Residence and Repatriation (CPR) are "in poor material and hygienic conditions," and lack a system for registering critical events, such as a system for reporting violations. This was outlined in a review of the work in 2017 by the Italian Guarantor for the Rights of Persons Detained or Deprived of Liberty.
The report was recently presented to the Italian Parliament, and contains 380 pages on detention centers, as well as transit centers for migrants in Italy.
In 2017, there were 119,369 migrants, including 13,121 women and 17,337 children.
Increase in holds and repatriations
The report said arrivals in 2017 decreased, while holds and repatriations increased. This trend is destined to grow in light of reforms under discussion at the European level. The reforms, starting with the proposed new Dublin Regulation, confirm "the European Commission's determination to give border areas (hotspots and CPRs) the role as a filter, with the predictable outcome that in those areas there will be a high concentration of foreign citizens, including those deprived of liberty, while awaiting a possible forced repatriation," the report said.
Although the number of arrivals fell in 2017, and as a result the number of people at hotspots (65,295 in 2016 and 40,534 in 2017), the percentage of migrants transiting in holding centres rose 26 percent, and forced repatriations with international escorts rose 25 percent.
The Guarantor's staff participated in 16 of these repatriations.Thirteen were charter flights to Tunisia, and three to Nigeria, a country that has no national torture prevention measure (as in Egypt). On those flights, staff noted that migrants were bound in velcro wrist cuffs for hours, despite the fact that they did not display uncooperative behavior.
Guarantor highlights respect for rights
Mauro Palma, chairman of the Guarantor's Office, said the overall number of repatriations rose in 2017 to 6,514, "many without any advance warning." Palma said this places attention on the issue of "respect of fundamental rights." Regarding the chapter on the EU reforms, in particular on a common asylum system, Palma said "the intent, among other things, is to move a large part of asylum seekers to the southern EU border areas (above all in the southernmost regions of Greece, Italy, and Spain)" to shorten the time for evaluating applications and increasing repatriations. In addition, on the basis of the Dublin Regulation, in 2017 Italy saw 5,944 arrivals through 33,654 requests on the part of other countries, while it made 2,054 requests to other countries, but only transferred 105 people. (In the photo, migrants at the Ponte Galeria Center for Identification and Expulsion, CIE, in Rome.PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ANSA/ANGELO CARCONI)