A soldier in front of the Pozzallo hotspot in southern Italy | Photo: ANSA/Andrea Scarfo
A soldier in front of the Pozzallo hotspot in southern Italy | Photo: ANSA/Andrea Scarfo

The Italian guarantor for the rights of detained persons has said that the number of people in CPR migrant repatriation centers has dropped slightly but that there is still a significant number of people in hotspots.

There were 307 migrants, including 19 women, in the nine migrant repatriation centers (CPRs) across Italy on Tuesday, according to the Italian detainee rights guarantor Mauro Palma.

There remains a significant presence in hotspots, Palma said in his April 7 update on coronavirus emergency. This includes 184 people housed in the three facilities on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa. Among them are 34 migrants that landed on the island on Monday. 93 migrants in Pozzallo are waiting to be transferred elsewhere. 57 migrants in Messina are supposed to be relocated to other EU countries, according to agreements reached prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No deportations because of coronavirus

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in Italy, Palma has called on the authorities to ensure the safety and health of those detained in CPRs who "cannot be deported within the time limits set by the law."

Migrants are usually sent to CPRs when their deportation is imminent. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, deportations are currently not carried out.

Palma has said that holding migrants who can't be deported for the time being in CPRs amounts to "unlawful detention" under the so-called Repatriation Directive (2008/115/CE).

Several migrants who are currently in CPRs have challenged their detention in court. According to the national guarantor, justices of the peace and courts throughout the country have ruled differently on whether the migrants should be released. The guarantor said that the exceptional circumstances had been taken into consideration by some justices of the peace, citing ones in Rome and Melfi, who have opted not to uphold detention in the centers. Others have found that it is lawful to extend the detention of migrants at CPRs.


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