Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini | Credit: ANSA
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini | Credit: ANSA

Migrant rights organizations have expressed concern and criticized new legislation on immigration and security in the so-called 'Salvini decree'.

After the Italian council of ministers approved a decree on security and immigration, international human rights organizations and Italian associations criticized the legislation that cracks down on residency permits, international protection and citizenship. 

Organizations including Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the Astalli Center, the Italian refugee council (Cir) and the National association of Italian municipalities (Anci) have expressed concern for the so-called 'Salvini decree', after the name of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Dramatic impact on people's lives and health 

MSF expressed ''deep concern'' for the measures in the decree and the ''dramatic impact that they risk having on the life and health of thousands of people today present on Italy's territory''. The organization in a statement strongly criticized ''the way in which the decree appears to be aimed at further dismantling the Italian hosting system, already fragile and uncertain, prolonging the administrative detention of people who did not commit any crime and reducing the protection currently available for vulnerable people''.

The Centro Astalli, a Jesuit refugee center, expressed concern for ''the effects the new measure could have on the lives of migrants and on social cohesion in the entire country''. The organization registered ''as a substantial regression the reform of the protection system for asylum seekers and refugees and the exclusion from this type of service of those applying for international protection''. Father Camillo Ripamonti, president of the Centro Astalli, said it was a ''step backwards that does not take into account the lives and stories of people and of the work done, on the other hand, by humanitarian and civil society organizations for decades in close cooperation with institutions''. 

'Very dangerous' legislation that 'affects everybody' 

The director of Cir, Mario Morcone, described the legislation as ''extremely dangerous'', saying it affected the rights ''solemnly recognized by our Constitution''. Morcone, who worked as cabinet chief for former Interior Minister Marco Minniti, expressed concern, stressing that the measures approved will ''significantly deteriorate the protection level, hosting system and possibility of integration of those arriving'' in Italy. 

The abolition of humanitarian protection will also affect the way in which migrant flows are managed, he said. ''You create irregularity and immigration is not managed'', said Morcone. With the decree, ''the government decides to scale back the hosting system of municipalities in favor of an emergency system of centers of first arrival''. This choice will impact local areas with ''more concentration in the presence of foreigners and the inevitable effect of increasing difficulties in the management of integration'', said Anci's official in charge of immigration, Matteo Biffoni.

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