In 2018, the Baobab association managed an informal migrant camp near the Tiburtina station in Rome. Photo: ANSA
In 2018, the Baobab association managed an informal migrant camp near the Tiburtina station in Rome. Photo: ANSA

The Baobab Experience association in Rome is appealing to the local government to take measures to protect migrants and the homeless from the coronavirus. The Greens party is asking on a national level that refugees not be forgotten in this emergency, while the liberal Radicals are asking for the suspension of all admittances to repatriation centers.

The Rome volunteer association Baobab Experience, which works in migrant reception in the capital city, is asking Mayor Virginia Raggi and the Rome prefecture to take special measures to protect migrants and the homeless from the coronavirus. 

"Locate as soon as possible areas in which homeless people in Rome can be accommodated; provide for the distribution of protective masks, disinfectants, a medical dispensary and health checks; ensure the availability of essential survival services for people who cannot provide for themselves, such as soup kitchens, food distribution, and the use of showers and restrooms," it said in its request. 

In particular, in a formal complaint it called on the city government to account for actions that will be taken on behalf of the homeless, including refugees and asylum seekers. Activists with Baobab said that in the Italian government's coronavirus decree, "currently no health information is available on the precautionary behaviour that those who are homeless can and must adopt". 

Greens appeal to not forget refugees and homeless 

"In these days of emergency tied to Covid-19 we express our concern and our solidarity above all for the most vulnerable such as the ill, the elderly, and all healthcare workers involved in facing the situation, but let's not forget refugees and the homeless," said the Greens of Bolzano. 

"Asylum seekers, refugees, the homeless, families with children, vulnerable and ill people, unaccompanied women and children who are fleeing war or poverty must be better protected together with the workers, volunteers, and doctors of the mobile clinic and socio-health services," they said. 

They are calling on institutions, "considering the Covid-19 emergency and the relative measures to be applied in collective centres, to increase the number of places for the homeless and asylum seekers to cope with the number of people on the waiting list and on the street." 

Radicals call for stopping admittances to repatriation centers 

The Italian Radicals party is calling on Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese to "suspend new admittances" in irregular migrant repatriation centres (CPR) "that could spread contagion within the centers."

"In the coming weeks, police chiefs should not sign further measures to hold people at the CPRs, if necessary using alternative measures, thereby obtaining a temporary suspension of admittances and avoiding further risks of contagion," they said. 

In addition, in response to the closure of immigration offices to the public in police stations across the country, the request is to "suspend during the emergency the expirations of stay permits that would need to be renewed in these weeks, along with all other procedures that foresee a short-term expiration."

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