Lawyers protest against what happened at the Center for repatriations in Turin where Moussa Balde, 23, of the Gambia after being attacked and beaten in Ventimiglia, took his own life, Turin, Italy | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/TINO ROMANO
Lawyers protest against what happened at the Center for repatriations in Turin where Moussa Balde, 23, of the Gambia after being attacked and beaten in Ventimiglia, took his own life, Turin, Italy | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/TINO ROMANO

The Italian Coalition for Freedom and Civil Rights (CILD) has reported that between 2018 and 2021, nearly €44 million were spent by private agencies to manage ten Centers for Residence and Repatriation (CPR) for migrants in Italy -- a sign that detention has become a "very profitable sector" in Italy, according to CILD.

Over the 2018-2021 period, nearly €44 million euros were spent for the management by private actors of ten Centers for Residence and Repatriation (CPR) -- in Milan, Turin, Gradisca d'Isonzo, Rome-Ponte Galeria, Palazzo San Gervasio, Macomer, Brindisi-Restinco, Bari-Palese, Trapani-Milo, and Caltanissetta-Pian del Lago, according to the Italian Coalition for Freedom and Civil Rights (CILD).

The network of human rights organizations said that this is a sign that "administrative detention has become a very profitable sector whose costs are supported by all of society through taxes."

There were also additional costs to maintain the centers and police personnel, the organization said.

Overall, "the average daily expenditure was €40,150 to detain on average less than 400 people a day who, in 50% of cases, were denied freedom without any possibility of being actually repatriated to their country of origin."

The estimate was made in a report called "Black holes. Detention without crime in Centers for Residence and Repatriation" drafted by the Italian Coalition for Freedom and Civil Rights.

CILD presented the report to the Senate on October 15.

Facilities 'in many cases don't respect standards' against torture

The coalition highlighted that "there are hundreds of people detained in facilities that don't respect, in many cases, even the standards dictated by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture."

It reported "a structural shortage of personnel", in particular of cultural mediators. It also said that, in some cases, "the square meters of single rooms don't appear to respect the standards minimum vital space required by the European Court of Human Rights."

"Over the past few years social cooperatives that usually manage such facilities have been progressively joined by real multinationals that manage detention centers or services inside penitentiaries across Europe," said the network of organizations.

NGOs and media don't have access to centers

The report was based on information gathered through reports provided by Italy's guarantor for the rights of detainees, prefectures, agencies managing them, judges and lawyers, without being able to access the facilities.

Patrizio Gonnella, the president of the rights association Antigone, who presented the report, said that, "thanks to the institution and the work of the National Guarantor of the Rights of Detained Persons, the walls of CPRs have partially collapsed and external witnesses have started to discuss and denounce what is going on inside."

"It is as important, however, for NGOs and the media to have access to the centers as undeniable representatives of collective interests," he said.

 

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