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Monday, October 18, 2004

Italy: A Hard Life in Slum And Camp


The rapid expansion of a slum built by illegal immigrants in the eastern part of Rome shows the ineffectiveness of a strict anti-immigration policy.

Italy is supporting a proposal in the European Parliament to create transit camps for asylum seekers in North African countries, and has already concluded bilateral agreements with Libya, but such expansion in the capital raises questions about the policy. Immigrants just keep flowing in. The refusal to promote integration or provide social care means they face the slum or the refugee camp.
Concern is rising meanwhile on immigration from another immigration front, the thousands of Africans landing on the tiny island of Lampedusa in Sicily. The migrants seek asylum after risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean.
Migrants whose applications are under consideration are kept at camps called Centres for Temporary Stay and Assistance (CPTA in Italian). ...

There are 11 CPTAs and five other camps that work similarly, including one in Lampedusa. Access to the centres is forbidden, except to parliamentarians and members of associations looking after people there, such as the Red Cross. IPS was denied access.
Calogero Miccichè, a legislator from the Green Party said the Lampedusa centre is "terribly dirty, and there are extremely unsafe sanitary conditions. CPTAs don't actually differ much from warehouses, and they don't even guarantee those basic freedoms and rights recognised in normal prisons."

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) published a report on these centres in January criticising the running and legal background of the camps. MSF was stopped from working in the CPTAs.

Read that last paragraph again. MSF, a well known international medical humanitarian organisation, was stopped from working in Italian migrant camps. Stop and think about the fact that MSF was even working in a European Union country in the first place. Let alone why they should be stopped from so doing ..


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