A Turin migrant temporary holding centre | Photo: ARCHIVIO/ANSA/ALESSANDRO CONTALDO
A Turin migrant temporary holding centre | Photo: ARCHIVIO/ANSA/ALESSANDRO CONTALDO

Italy's ombudsman for the rights of detainees has said that some 2,839 foreign nationals were repatriated from the country in the first 6 months of 2019 and that roughly 5,600-6,000 are expected to be repatriated by the end of the year.

Italy's ombudsman for the rights of detainees said in a hearing before the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the Chamber of Deputies on Friday that some 2,839 foreign nationals had been repatriated from the country in the first half of 2019. "At the end of the year, thus, about 5,600-6,000 are expected to have been so, in line with previous years," ombudsman Mauro Palma said.


'Inadequate conditions in facilities' 

Palma said that he had visited repatriation centers including Palazzo San Gervasio in Potenza, Ponte Galeria in Rome, Turin, Caltanissetta, Brindisi, and Bari and noted that the conditions were ''inadequate'' in some of the facilities. 

The ombudsman also noted that of the 2,267 people held in the centers in the first 6 months of the year, only 39 percent had been repatriated. ''This,'' he noted, ''raises the issue of whether it is legitimate to deprive the remaining individuals of their liberty. In Palazzo San Gervasio, for example, 491 people have been held for various periods and only 80 left to be repatriated (16.3 percent). This means that the others were held without the outcome that the center was created for.'' 

Over 1,800 policemen to repatriate 566 people 

Palma then discussed another figure of concern. In the first six months of 2019, there were 26 charter flights - 4 to Egypt, 1 to Gambia, 4 to Nigeria, and 17 to Tunisia - for the deportation of 566 people. For these deportations, he noted, ''1,866 police personnel were used''. 

The ombudsman noted that ''there is no correlation between the time the people are held in the centers and the actual probability that they will get the necessary documentation from their countries of origin for the repatriation. The lengthening of stays only leads to the lengthening of administrative detention."
 

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