Prefect Michele Di Bari, at the head of the Civil Liberties and Immigration Department of the interior ministry, on a visit to the Campo Roya reception center in Ventimiglia. July 2, 2020 | PHOTO: ANSA
Prefect Michele Di Bari, at the head of the Civil Liberties and Immigration Department of the interior ministry, on a visit to the Campo Roya reception center in Ventimiglia. July 2, 2020 | PHOTO: ANSA

A delegation from the Italian interior ministry visited the Ventimiglia area in northwestern Italy near the French border to assess strategies to contain migrant flows in the area. The mayor of the border city called on the government to put an end to the reigning lawlessness of migration in the area.

"We are aware of the fact that we are in a border city but we cannot continue to be the bearers of situations of illegality or of continual arrival of people who want to go to France and are continually pushed back," Ventimiglia mayor Gaetano Scullino said Thursday. The comment was made on the sidelines of an inspection that day by an Italian interior ministry delegation to analyze the situation in the area and visit the Parco Roya reception center. 


"We are asking for definitive action," Scullino added. "This is a transit camp, which however has been here for five years and is no longer used for transit. We absolutely do not want it to become a (permanent) reception center. For the transit of migrants, ok -- but now that there is no transit I am asking what will happen to it. We want specific action for Ventimiglia, because the quality of life must improve." 

"The fact that a commission has arrived from Rome, led by a prefect, and thus for finding a solution for the city, is a reason to be confident. I hope that a definitive solution will be found soon,'' he added. 

42 hosted but 460-bed-capacity in the Campo Roya 

"There are 42 currently hosted in the Campo Roya reception center in Ventimiglia, mostly Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Nigerian and Sudanese. There are 39 men and three women," the coordinator of the center managed by the Red Cross, Marsha Cuccuvè, said on the sidelines of the delegation's visit. 

Cuccuvè underscored that the camp has capacity for 460 migrants and refugees but that since April, when quarantine was ordered for one migrant, there have not been any new entrances. Imperia prefect Alberto Intini underscored not long ago that the center was to be closed for health-related reasons. 

Strategies to contain flows 

After the inspection, the delegation went to the prefect's office in Imperia for a meeting in the presence of the highest officials of the province to decide on containment strategies for migration. "The outlet that we want is simple and will have to be summed up in a document, which the institutions have pledged to draw up as soon as possible: a flexible module for transit is required and not so much facilities, in order to avoid bivouacs in Ventimiglia," Prefect Michele Di Bari, head of the Civil Liberties and Immigration Department of the interior ministry, said at the end of the meeting. 

The strategies that will be adopted by the ministry to contain flows will be announced in the coming days. However, the idea seems to be to increase the presence of security forces in the city and to prevent more migrants from arriving at the border. 

"This does not concern only the stay of migrants in Ventimiglia,'' Di Bari added, in reference to the flexible module of transit, ''so much as stepped-up, efficient checks through a module that involves the three police forces. We will be meeting again in late September, but in the meantime we hope that the COVID-19 situation improves in order to alleviate entirely the Parco Roya facilities."
 

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