Montag, 18. Februar 2013


Conference organised by the University of Palermo - Research Doctorate in "Human Rights: Protection, Evolution and Limits"

Association Borderline Sicilia - "Noureddine Adnane" Observatory against Racial Discrimination

Introduction and moderation of work
Prof. Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo (University of Palermo): From Humanitarian Reception to the State of Exception

Dr Judith Gleitze (Borderline Sicilia Onlus/ Bordeline-Europe)
Dr Diana Pisciotta ("Noureddine Adnane" Observatory against Racist Discrimination)
Dr Raffaele Lupo (Civil Protection- Sicily)
Dr Claudio Lombardo (ARCI- Caltanissetta)
Lawyer Paola Ottaviano (Court of Modica)
Lawyer Gaetano Pasqualino (Court of Palermo)
Lawyer Daniele Papa (Court of Palermo)

Despite the significant reduction in the number of migrants reaching the Italian coast, only 20% compared with last year, when the State announces that its finances for the Civil Protection's work carried out as part of the North Africa Immigration Emergency (ENA) will stop if no extensions are introduced by the 28 February 2013, the politics of emergency continue to be played out. And the emergency which last year was concentrated on the island of Lampedusa, will be transferred as a result of the choices made by the government which is about to leave office, concerning the reception centres where the migrants are transferred. These are migrants who have been blocked for weeks on Lampedusa and are already exasperated by the long wait and the intolerable judicial limbo in which they find themselves. They have been held in conditions which do not favour the dignity of human beings. In the Mineo mega CARA (Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers), which can take in a maximum of 1800 migrants, there have been as many as 3000 people in recent months. Many of those there have been waiting over a year for the decision on their asylum applications.
Above all, it is not clear which reception centres will be able to continue to run after the 28 February 2013, which is the date established by the Monti government for the end of aid for the "North Africa" Emergency (ENA). They will be without other prospects and will also have their daily allowance for each asylum seeker cut (from €46 to €35 per head per day). Some of the Centres will certainly risk closure, which will result in the abandonment of those people who have not yet been able to complete the long administrative procedures in order to obtain the permit of stay and the necessary documentation to travel. What is sure, as has already been highlighted in numerous reports, is the lack of legal information specifically aimed at the asylum seekers' needs and the possibility for them to appeal against any eventual unfavourable decisions will also be greatly reduced. The situation will be further exacerbated by the increasing difficulty in obtaining access to government funded legal aid. There is therefore a very high risk that, in front of the predictable declarations which are still being used, the closing down of the reception system for migrant asylum seekers will undoubtedly become yet another question of public order to be resolved using police force.
While waiting for a new government and a new set of norms, it is necessary to modify the practices which are currently applied by the administrative authorities. This conference aims to examine the concrete possibilities outlined below:
ensuring the rapid transfer of migrants (24-48hrs) who arrive on Lampedusa to other Centres throughout Italy, and not only directly to Mineo, in order to carry out a quick examination to ascertain the legal position of each individual;
issuing in the shortest time possible, a permit of stay for international protection or for humanitarian protection to all migrants who were forced to flee Lybia as a result of the war and its consequences, and who are still potential asylum seekers if arriving today;
restructure and finance a decentralised reception system for refugees and asylum seekers throughout the whole of Italy, doubling the number of places available in the CARAs, with the closure of the Mineo CARA and the completion of all asylum applications and pending appeals in court, within a limited time frame;
the financing of the passage of responsibility for overseeing the system from the Civil Protection to local governments, transferring from the Ministry of the Interior to the State-Regional Conference the responsibility for the placing of asylum seekers throughout the country;
prevent migrants and asylum seekers from being housed in places such as stadiums, gyms and warehouses of various types on their arrival in Italy. It is a spurious form of administrative detention in places which come to be called First Reception Centres, but with a lack of any type of individual formal notification procedures, which could amount to an arbitrary detention;
facilitate the professional integration of the asylum seekers and those who have acquired legal status, as outlined by the European Directive 2003/9/CE;
guarantee asylum seekers information and legal assistance for the presentation of their application and during the entire asylum procedure, without limiting access to the associations which work to protect them within the centres where the asylum seekers are staying;
provide asylum seekers who have their applications for international protection rejected the possibility to have quick access to legal advice;
guarantee access to the right to a defence and government funded legal aid- these are rights which are currently being suppressed by some courts, most notably that of Catania;
identify credible solutions to guarantee the activation of integration pathways for those leaving the reception system.