We recently submitted a briefing document, with substantial contributions from the non-governmental organisations Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI), WeWorld, Diaconia Valdese and Befree, in advance of the adoption by the Committee against Torture (hereafter The Committee) of a list of issues prior to the Committee’s consideration of Italy’s Seventh Periodic Report on its implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (hereafter the Convention).
This briefing presents several concerns of RRE regarding Italy’s shortcomings in regards to the implementation of Articles 3, 11 and 16 of the Convention. In particular, RRE is concerned about Italy’s failure to uphold the principle of non-refoulement by engaging in summary pushbacks as well as implementing bilateral readmission agreements and for instance in the case of Slovenia, asylum seekers are at risk of being ‘chain-refoulement’, to Slovenia first, and subsequently to Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia where the living conditions and the right to seek asylum are not always respected.
Moreover, the decision to renew the agreements with Libya, in February 2020, raises particular concern for the human rights violation in the country and the high possibility to expose people to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. Throughout 2018-2019, Italy adopted a policy of “closure of ports” delaying the access to the procedure of international protection and in 2020, during the Covid-19 emergency, declared itself as “not a safe harbour” with an inter-ministerial Decree. The new Decree Law No. 53/2019 directly affects rescue operations at sea, discouraging boats to undertake such operations.
Moreover, RRE is alarmed over insufficient safeguards in the asylum procedures increased by the D.L. 113/2018 converted into Law No. 132/2018 that introduce:
- the concept of the Safe Country of Origin, without specifying particular categories of persons or parts of a certain country which cannot be considered safe
- the non suspensive effect of the appeal for some procedures
- the possibility to detain people up to 180 days in the center for repatriation (CPR)
- the possibility of detaining people, in locals different from CPR, for up to a maximum of 30 days if nationality cannot be established
- the inadmissibility of the subsequent application during the execution of an expulsion order
- The change of the reception centers from SPRAR to SIPROIMI, a shift which means that asylum seekers can no longer benefit from socio-economic integration and psychological support.
RRE is concerned over the substandard living conditions for asylum seekers and displaced individuals in reception facilities and camps, where the Law No. 132/2018 has had a big impact due to the transition from SPRAR to SIPROIMI. The latter is accommodation exclusively for holders of international protection and unaccompanied minors, while asylum seekers can now only enter in the CARA and CAS where they are no longer provided with economic, social integration and psychological support services, but are merely provided with food and accommodation. Prolonged and arbitrary detention characterised by a lack of procedural and legal safeguards, as well as insufficient external access to and monitoring of detention sites and reception facilities are of further concern.
Furthermore, the situation of vulnerable people for instance people experiencing trafficking in human beings (THB), sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and psychiatric problems raise concern. In fact, the new reception facilities are not equipped to provide aid to vulnerable people and the system of identification of people experiencing THB is lacking. This risks leading to the expulsion of people who are at heightened risk being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment as well as torture.