The Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen visited Italy on 25 and 26 April 2017 to visit the Ponte Galeria Identification and Expulsion Center in Rome and the Trapani-Milo hotspot in Sicily to check the compliance of migrants’ living conditions with international standards.
This mission corresponds to commitment 4 of the Tirana Declaration, under which the Ombudsmen undertook to «intensify (their) ex officio investigations, strengthen (their) presence at border crossing points, accommodation and detention places and maximize the use of legal instruments in the performance of (their) duties».
The Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen made the following recommendations to the Italian authorities, non-governmental organizations and European and United Nations agencies:
- The Trapani-Milo hotspot should, as a matter of priority, identify and assist persons in need of protection and ensure that Italy complies with the requirements for fingerprints in accordance with European and international standards;
- Implementation of the hotspot security procedure should focus more on respecting fundamental freedoms and recording practices;
- Individuals expressing their wish to apply for asylum should benefit from individual treatment in the pre-identification procedure, taking into account their nationality, linguistic groups, proper reception and assistance to vulnerable groups;
Beyond the findings from its visit to the Ponte Galeria CIE and the Trapani-Milo hotspot, the AOM recommends in general:
- Shorten the time limit for the appointment of a legal representative for unaccompanied minors in order to make it compatible with the relocation deadline;
- Coercive measures, including the use of force and prolonged detention, should not be used when people refuse fingerprints;
- Vulnerable persons, including unaccompanied minors and victims of human trafficking, should not stay in hotspots for a prolonged period but should be transferred as soon as possible to specialized reception centers;
- The administration of the Trapani hotspot should take the necessary measures to make the entire facility accessible to people with disabilities;
- The authorities should make available comprehensive documentation on access to the rights and rules of life of these centers in a language comprehensible to all persons, including Braille;