Stefano Intreccialagli/ANSA
Stefano Intreccialagli/ANSA

About 2,000 migrants were stopped at the Baobab Experience humanitarian center for migrants at Rome's Tiburtina train station between April and October 2017. Associations working for migrant rights say that access to asylum and relocation procedures is difficult in the capital.

Over 2,000 migrants passed through a humanitarian center for migrants set up by the Baobab Experience association between April and October 2017. Some were in transit or asylum seekers, while others had been denied asylum, had been sent back to Italy due to the Dublin Regulation or had left state migrant reception facilities. In a report on legal assistance for foreigners, associations working with migrants have spoken out about the difficulties involved in accessing relocation and asylum request procedures in the Italian capital as well as the lack of a structured plan for taking care of those in transit.

Ever more sent back by 'Dublin', or left state centers

The report was drafted by a legal network including the associations and organizations A Buon Diritto, Baobab Experience, Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati and the Italian Radicals Party. It underscored that legal assistants had taken on the cases of 322 foreign citizens in transit between April and September 2017, most of whom from either Eritrea or Sudan. Some 82% of the legal assistance was for relocation procedures for Eritreans and Syrians. The report stressed that there had also been a ''considerable'' increase in migrants that had been sent back from other European countries to Italy on the basis of the Dublin Regulation, which requires that asylum requests be made in the first country the migrants arrive in. Another ''alarming'' figure that has emerged in the past few months is ''the ever greater request for support from those who have left the state-organized reception system due to the maximum time limit having been exceeded,'' the report stated.

'Concern' over access to asylum in Rome

The legal network expressed ''high concern over recent reports on access to the Rome immigration office for the presentation of requests for international protection''. This concern springs especially from the fact that only about 20 asylum requests are accepted per day, limited on the basis of nationality as well and that ''over the past few weeks at the entrance passports are once again being requested, which had not been happening for a long time and which is not legally required''. Another obstacle to access to asylum and relocation procedures concerns the issue of domicile. ''According to the procedure adopted by the Rome police headquarters, the (asylum request) procedure cannot be started without the declaration of a domicile'', which the migrants hosted at the Tiburtina humanitarian center do not have. Currently, there are ''120 people in the camp and we have never had so many during the winter'', Andrea Costa from Baobab Experience said at a press conference. ''We must thank Rome citizens, who have never ceased to show solidarity towards the migrants'', he said, but in Italy ''migrant reception as it currently stands is not enough''. He added that efforts must be stepped up since ''ever cent spent on reception is an investment in security''.


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