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Behind higher fences
Date: 19/06/2012 - 08:46
Do the identification and deportation centres for immigrants without residence permits (CIEs – Centri di identificazione ed Espulsione) guarantee the respect of the personal dignity and of the fundamental rights of detainees?
Fourteen years since the establishment of the CIEs in Italy, which is the relevance and the effectiveness of administrative detention in opposing irregular immigration? A detailed analysis of Ponte Galeria CIE (the largest Italian centre for administrative detention), can not leave out an overall assessment of the whole CIEs’ system in Italy.
The conclusions of this research on Ponte Galeria CIE confirm what pointed out in Medici per i Diritti Umani (MEDU) previous reports: a facility genetically unable to safeguard the dignity and fundamental rights of the persons, besides being costly and ineffective for its stated purposes. The same remarks can be extended to the CIE system on the whole, as objectively, systematically and consistently shown by the most meaningful investigations carried out both by independent and institutional stakeholders in the course of the years and broadly confirmed by the first out-coming data in 2011 on the performance of the CIEs at national level and by the last visits made by MEDU in other national structures (i.e.Bologna and Turin). According to objective data, identification and deportation centres system proves to have little relevance in combating irregular immigration (in 2010 foreigners repatriated through the 13 Italian CIEs were just the 0.7% of total migrants with irregular status estimated in the country).
Detainees’ right to health appears to be much less guaranteed than in the past because of the fact that the managing body of the CIE in Rome is able to provide primary health care only. Furthermore the medical personnel of ASL (Local Health Autority) have no access to the centre and the maximum detention length was extended to 18 months since August 2011. The clinical case given in this report then shows that repeated significant delays in the diagnostic and therapeutic process inside the prison-CIE circuit can lead to serious consequences on the outcomes and prognosis of a progressive diseases, such as malignant neoplasia.
More evidently than in the past, witnesses' accounts and data gathered confirm the oppressive features of a new kind of total institution, a place generating violence and exclusion. In this sense, detention length extended up to 18 months seems only contributing to exacerbate the elements of violence and inhumanity of these facilities. Overall, the system proves to be appointed to control and punish rather than to identify and expel.
Moreover, among the anomalies found in Ponte Galeria centre, it is significant to highlight that over 800 European Union citizens (mostly Romanians) were detained in the structure during the years 2010-2011.MEDU considers that the significant and pervasive drawbacks concerning the nature and the activity of CIEs, as repeatedly observed in the years, require to phase out the system of administrative detention and to adopt concomitant more functional and flexible strategies, for controlling irregular immigration. No matter the system, however, it should above all be respectful of the fundamental human rights.
Click here to read the report
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