Rome, 25 February 2014 – Medici per i Diritti Umani (MEDU) makes public national data on the Centres for Identification and Expulsion (CIE) for the year 2013. According to the State Police, overall in 2013, 6.016 migrants (5.431 men and 585 women) have been detained in Italian CIEs. Less than half of these (2.749) have actually been repatriated, making efficacy rate of repatriation (i.e. repatriated / detained) 5% lower than the previous year: 50,5% in 2012 versus 45,7% in 2013. The total number of migrants that passed through the CIEs and were actually repatriated is only 0.9% of the totality of irregular immigrants that are estimated to be on the Italian territory (294.000 according to Istituto per lo Studio della Multietnicità (ISMU) data of January 1st, 2013).
These numbers confirm both the inefficacy and the irrelevance of administrative detention as a way to contrast irregular immigration. They also confirm how extending detention from 6 to 18 months (starting from June 2011) is useless as well as unreasonable as a way to make expulsions more effective. On the other hand, the excessive lengthening of administrative detention seems to only have exacerbated the violence and dehumanization already present in these structures. This evidence has systematically been observed by the MEDU teams in the 18 visits made to all the CIEs in the last two years (for details, refer to The CIE Archipelago report). Despite the 2013 data from the State Police report an average time per person spent within the CIE of 38 days, this value needs to be dissected out: in fact, by representing the average time for all people that pass through the CIE, this includes also migrants whose detention was extremely short due to the fact that the detention was not validated by the judiciary authority. Indeed, Medici per i Diritti Umani encountered numerous cases of migrants kept for over 12 months in a CIE, even in conditions of extreme vulnerability and serious psychiatric problems (see reports on Trapani Milo and Gradisca d’Isonzo).
A confirmation of the worsening of the tensions and further deterioration of living conditions within the CIEs comes from the numerous revolts and protests of 2013 and beginning of 2014. Official institutions cannot continue to ignore these facts and it is necessary for the government to urgently face the idea of closing the CIE, which are structures that are unable to guarantee respect of human dignity and of the most basic human rights. Indeed in 2013, despite the lack of political decisions in this sense, the “CIE system” seemed to start a natural implosion on its own due to its inefficiency, to the inhumane living conditions that feed desperate revolts and protests, and to the budget cuts that have compromised even the most essential services. At the moment, eight centres have been temporarily closed due to damage to the structure or management problems, while the five CIE in Torino, Roma, Bari, Trapani Milo and Caltanisetta work well below full capacity. For all these structures, the same considerations that MEDU made regarding the CIE in Trapani Milo after a recent visit on January 23, 2014 holds true: a place of useless suffering. This suffering and discomfort affects above all the detained migrants but also spreads to everyone within the structure: from the managing authorities to the police officers.
Medici per i Diritti Umani therefore again calls for:
1) the definitive closure of the eight CIE that are temporarily not operating, as well as the closure of the five Centres that are still functioning, due to their blatant functional and structural inadequacy;
2) the reduction of an alien’s detention for repatriation purposes to an exceptional, or at
the very least completely residual, measure.
3) the adoption of a new system for the management of irregular immigration, characterised by respect for human rights and a greater rationality and effectiveness (for details on recommendations, please refer to the CIE Archipelago report) within a deep reform of migratory policy in general and of the current immigration law in particular.
Medici per i Diritti Umani (MEDU) is an independent humanitarian organisation which has conducted the “Observatory on Social and Healthcare Aid for the Migrant Population within the CPTAs/CIEs” program from 2004. MEDU participates in the LasciateCIEntrare (Open access now) campaign. The CIE Archipelago report was undertaken with the support of Open Society Foundations.