Migrants on the eastern side of Tiburtina station in Rom | Photo: Massimo Percossi / Archive / ANSA
Migrants on the eastern side of Tiburtina station in Rom | Photo: Massimo Percossi / Archive / ANSA

Several Italian organizations have said that an eviction of an informal camp for transiting migrants in Rome was "ineffective" and have criticized the government for proving "no alternative solution ... for the people taking shelter there."

The clearing on July 14, of the informal humanitarian camp for transiting migrants in Piazzale Spadolini on the eastern side of Rome's Tiburtina station "was consistent with the countless evictions of recent years, yet another ineffective operation unable to cope with a complex social issue", according to the organizations Baobab Experience, Intersos, Doctors for Human Rights (MEDU) and Sanità di Frontiera (Border Health), all of whom work with migrants in Italy.

Two weeks after the operation, the organizations issued a statement criticizing the fact that, in their opinion, "no alternative solution, in fact, was planned for those who were taking shelter there." The organizations said that many of the people who were sheltering there are "in extremely vulnerable conditions."

A shelter to help the most fragile

"Close collaboration between the various associations, which have been working at the informal shelter for several years, allowed for the provision of assistance to many fragile people [unaccompanied minors, women alone, people with health problems,] migrants who recently landed on our shores and were transiting to other European countries, migrants living in Italy but excluded from the City of Rome's reception network, asylum seekers and refugees without a home," the associations said.

"In Piazzale Spadolini, these people found food, water and clothing, initial accommodation, legal and health assistance, psychological support. Every day about 20 people on average arrive in Piazzale Spadolini and the average number of people present there each day is about 100 to 120 people. The continuous reports made by the associations to the City of Rome's social services and immigration offices requesting reception for vulnerable people rarely received a response, and that is no surprise given the continuous and progressive weakening of the reception system," the associations added.

Eviction is 'sign of irresponsibility'

The associations said that now, "those who were cleared from Piazzale Spadolini have been literally replaced by flower pots, in a hypocritical operation of urban upgrading that leaves human beings without dignified alternatives."

This new operation "confirms the lack of a clear and long-term vision regarding the serious issue of social exclusion in Rome, of the ability to plan gradual but impactful social interventions and of the political will to provide answers," the associations stated.

"On various occasions the undersigned associations have said that the eviction operations, such as that of July 14, don't in any way solve the problem of social marginalization in Rome, but only have the effect of moving people a few meters, people who will be forced to find shelter in other more isolated and unreachable places. This is once again a demonstration of irresponsibility that must be promptly remedied," they concluded.

 

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