A qualitative leap in the repressive policies: tracing and repatriation on ethnical basis

ASGI condems the seriousness and illegitimacy of the telegram sent on January 26th 2017 by the italian Interior Ministry which invited the prefectures in Rome, Turin, Brindisi and Caltanisetta, “ in undertaking ad hoc services in order to trace irregular Nigerian citizens within the national territory”.

Italian Interior Ministry orders to make available ninety-five rooms – forty-five for men and fifty for women – within the currently operative CIEs, also through early dismissals.These rooms will have to be utilized to identify “irregular self-styled Nigerian citizens traced within the national territory and their successive repatriation”.

It’s a qualitative leap of the repressive policies which includes a series of concerning indications. Firstly, it’s a tracing activity of foreigner citizens based on their well-identified nationality (Nigeria), in violation to the non-discrimination principle as referred to in art. 3 of the Italian Constitution.

In addition, it’s disconcerting the prevision of a high number of rooms reserved to Nigerian women’s detentions, notoriously at risk of being potential victims of human trafficking, hence vulnerable people who need specific protection and assistance measures foreseen by the expressed regulatory framework. Eventual repatriations undertaken without any prior correct identification of possible victims of human trafficking would represent a clear violation of international, European and national dispositions in force.

It is foreseen the Embassy involvement but not as it usually occurs within the identification procedures of the citizens who already received an expulsion measure and are detained into CIEs: this time it is organized an ad hoc operation aiming to the specific citizens’ tracing of a specific country, a more disturbing element if added to the new policy of intergovernmental agreements, with specific reference to the agreements intended to the repatriation of unauthorized migrants to remain into the national territory. However, it needs to reiterate that the Embassy involvement within the operations’ framework – that can also concern asylum seekers – is excluded from the current regulations because it opposes the non-refoulement and non-discrimination ban in the political asylum field.

What happens, it clearly shows how the intergovernmental agreements policy brings to also define the Police initiatives on the territories. Nigeria has historically and significantly collaborated to identification and repatriation purposes. The qualitative leap has without any doubts political nature: the understanding with the embassy predates the tracing operations.

Furthermore, it appears serious that this telegram was issued following the GRETA publication of the Report on Italy, in which the European Council experts pool in the human trafficking field that in Rome states that our Country violated the European Council Convention on the fight against human trafficking when, in September 2015 a group of Nigerian women was detained into the Ponte Galeria CIE and repatriated later.

These Police operations organized to trace irregular migrants contribute in fomenting an atmosphere of fear and suspicion towards the foreigner citizen’s complexity.

For these reasons ASGI claims the immediate withdrawal of the telegram and more in general the overcoming of any discriminatory policy and any different treatment.
Translated by Sandra Uselli

Italian text available here

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