Migrants waiting to be transferred to the quarantine ship 'Rhapsody' on Lampedusa on September 21, 2020 | Photo: ANSA/Elio Desiderio
Migrants waiting to be transferred to the quarantine ship 'Rhapsody' on Lampedusa on September 21, 2020 | Photo: ANSA/Elio Desiderio

Italy's National Guarantor for the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty expressed "perplexity and concern" over the transfer of migrants to a quarantine ship after they tested positive for the coronavirus. They had previously been hosted for some time at migrant reception centers.

The National Guarantor for the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty in Italy expressed to Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese his "perplexity and concern" on the transfer of migrants who tested positive for COVID-19 to a ship set up to carry out a period of quarantine.

The Guarantor said that the practice is "considered devoid of a juridical foundation and factual motivation, as well as critical under a profile of rights and guarantees to the people involved, service providers included."

The migrants and refugees had previously been hosted by some time at various migrant reception centers.

Transfer to quarantine ship "infeasible solution"

According to the Guarantor, the use of ships to apply the precautionary health measures seems "an infeasible solution if it doesn't maintain the traces of an initial measure of an exceptional nature."

He said that if it is applied to people who regularly stay in Italy, "it risks becoming a collector of territorial difficulties and creating a discriminatory effect towards people who are particularly vulnerable."

Recent statements by Interior Minister Lamorgese in the Lower House of Parliament on the exceptional and contingent nature of such transfers "reassure" the National Guarantor, who said he would however keep a watchful eye on the application of quarantine measures.

Update on migrant distribution in Italy

The Office of the Guarantor meanwhile took stock of the situation of migrants in CPR Repatriation Centers operating nationally, in hotspots as well as in quarantine centres.

In the 10 CPR centers, there were 344 people being held (including eight women) out of a total of 548 available places as of October 22. Those being held were mainly in centers in Rome (102), Turin (73), Gradisca d'Isonzo (58) and Macomer (45).

The rest were distributed in the CPRs in Bari (32), Brindisi (27), and in the reopened center in Milan (8).

On the same date, there were 250 people staying at the hotspots, with 174 in Lampedusa and 76 in Pozzallo. In addition, based on information from the prefectures, there were 1,632 migrants in quarantine centers across Italy — 1,078 of whom were hosted on quarantine ships.

 

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