The CPR Pian del Lago in Caltanissetta | Photo:  ANSA/Courtesy of Giornale Nisseno
The CPR Pian del Lago in Caltanissetta | Photo: ANSA/Courtesy of Giornale Nisseno

The Human rights and immigration commission of the lawyers' guild in the southern Italian city of Caltanissetta has complained about a critical situation at the local CPR repatriation center.

The Human rights and immigration commission of the lawyers' guild of Caltanissetta, in Sicily, on Thursday (August 4) asked for the immediate intervention of the Italian Guarantor for the Rights of Detained Persons to inspect the local CPR repatriation center "Pian del Lago".

The commission said in a statement that it has asked the guarantor to immediately visit the facility because the situation has significantly worsened for guests over the past few months.

Some migrants who have been detained in the center have sent videos, pictures and testimonies to InfoMigrants' Facebook pages, purporting to show some beds with no matresses, and containers [where many of the migrants sleep] with no proper doors, or doors which have fallen off their hinges or cannot be properly shut.

Rubbish bins they say are not emptied frequently enough. Sheets are also not cleaned and many migrants are forced to sleep directly on stained matresses claimed one man, who sent several videos of the high fences surrounding the camp and some of his fellow inmates who appeared to have injuries on their legs which they said were not being attended to. The impression given in the videos was of a closed center with the inmates largely left there with nothing much to do all day.

'Difficulty in gaining medical assistance'

In the statement, the commission said that "the most relevant issues concern how detained persons are treated" at the facility, as well as their "difficulties in accessing adequate medical-sanitary assistance and legal assistance."

It said that "many foreigners are repatriated without having the possibility of exercising their right to legal representation, or appointing an attorney [to represent and advise them]."

In addition, "defense attorneys are only able to acquire documentation concerning their clients, and requested from the immigration office, with great difficulty and delay, even after repatriation, which compromises the right to defense. Meetings between lawyers and their clients are often hindered for alleged organizational reasons by the office," the guild's commission claimed.

Problems caused by absence of mediators at immigration office

The commission also criticized the fact that no mediators have been available at the immigration office for several weeks.

It slammed the situation as "serious because it is impossible to ensure, in an urgent and correct manner, that all essential activities are carried out for detained persons, as provided for under the law."

The absence of mediators "is also a great obstacle" for migrants who don't live in the CPR but need the assistance of the immigration office for "procedures that are often urgent, but which remain blocked", it concluded.


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