Italy: Large-scale expansion of detention centres for tougher migration control

CIE Ponte Galeria. Credit: MEDU

Following Italy’s change of government, a Circular issued on 30 December 2016 by the Head of the Italian Police and distributed to all police authorities across the Italian territory before the end of the year has outlined commitments towards a stricter policy on migration control. Among other measures, the Circular proposes large-scale use of detention as a measure to control irregular migration and to promote returns to third countries.

The Circular echoes the latest position of the Ministry of Interior, which has committed to an expansion of detention centres, known as identification and expulsion centres (CIE), far beyond their current number, with reference to a target of one CIE in every Italian region. At the end of 2016, 4 CIE were operational across the country according to the Senate.

ASGI has sharply criticised the proposal for yet again encouraging political investments in reopening detention centres despite the widely acknowledged failure of such policies in the past. High costs, degrading conditions and limited impact on returns have been highlighted by various bodies, including the Senate, and have led previous governments to drastically reduce the number of CIE in the country. On the other hand, the “hotspot” approach has reinvigorated systematic resort to detention, leading to critical violations of human rights against refugees and migrants entering Italy.

Italy was the main country of first arrival in the EU last year, reporting a total 181,436 arrivals by sea.


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About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti