Statewatch News online: Italy: Medici Senza Frontiere (MSF) publishes a damning report on conditions in Italy's detention centres for foreigners

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Medici Senza Frontiere (MSF) publishes a damning report on conditions in Italy's detention centres for foreigners

Press release by Medici Senza Frontiere, the Italian branch of the international Medecins Sans Frontieres international organisation, on the publication of the report "Rapporto sui Centri di Permanenza Temporanea in Italia". Rome, 26 January 2004.

Inadequate buildings, limited contacts with the national health service, insufficient legal and psychological assistance, abuses in the use of phychiatric drugs, excesses during interventions by law enforcement officers: these are the main violations that the humanitarian organisation Medici Senza Frontiere (MSF) has found evidence of in the Centri di Permanenza Temporanea (CPT, temporary detention centres) for foreigners in Italy.

The allegations are included in a Report that was published today [26 January 2004] by the humanitarian organisation, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.

"The lack of respect for laws and procedures in the CPTs - said Loris De Filippi, responsible for the Italian MSF-run projects - all to often results in the violation of the human rights and dignity of individuals. The Italian immigration policy has some serious shortcomings, and for this reason MSF asks the Italian government and civil society to establish an independent and impartial authority capable of monitoring the respect for human rights, medical assistance and asylum procedures within the centres".

The report … is the result of the first complete monitoring of the CPTs that has been undertaken by an independent and impartial organisation: [emphasis in original] in fact, the MSF teams have visited all of the 11 Centri di Permanenza Temporanea, and the five "hybrid" Centres whose purpose is the identification of asylum seekers, over the last few months.

During the monitoring process MSF has found that asylum seekers are present in several centres.

"In the centres, there is no guaranteed provision of the legal assistance for asylum seekers that they should receive in accordance with several international conventions that, among others, have also been signed by Italy, and they should receive a wholly different kind of treatment - added Enrico Davoli, the executive director of MSF - Italy -. Furthermore, contrary to the scope envisaged by the law that established them, 60% of the guests in the CPTs comes from prison. Very frequently, the immigrants who are transferred to CPTs have already served sentences for any illegal acts they have committed: thus, their detention in CPTs becomes an inexplicable extension of their detention". MSF also believes that the forced cohabitation between former prisoners and people who are fleeing wars and persecution to seek protection in Italy is unacceptable."

The CPTs were established in 1998 by the Turco-Napolitano law [on immigration], and [the policy] was subsequently confirmed by the Bossi-Fini law [amending the law on immigration]. The purpose of the CPTs is to identify foreigners who are intercepted on Italian territory without possessing a regular residence permit, with a view to their repatriation. At present, the maximum detention period is of 60 days.

The full-text of the report (in Italian, pdf) is available on:

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