Article originally published in Italian on A Buon Diritto Onlus, 25 March 2020 – accessible here
The extraordinary emergency conditions of the current Italian social-health situation are having serious consequences on the safety of the people involved in the formal and informal reception circuit.
Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety of:
➢ workers who continue, in compliance with the general rules of conduct, to be responsible for the reception of asylum seekers and refugees, also carrying out the fundamental task of informing people about the continuous ministerial provisions;
➢ all asylum seekers AND holders of international or humanitarian protection who are within the reception system or in informal settlements and emergency accommodation.
To date there has been no supply of Personal Protective Equipment ( masks, gloves, disinfectant gels) to the reception system, either SIPROIMI or CAS. Nor has there been any training given to project teams for the management of the health emergency.
The change in legislation following the Salvini Decree on Security and Immigration (Law Decree 113/18, converted into Law Decree 132/2018) had the effect of increasing the number of irregular foreigners present in Italy. Many of these foreigners, having received a refusal to apply for international protection or unable to renew their residence permit, have become homeless and, in many cases, forced to live in informal settlements under unacceptable structural and hygienic-sanitary conditions. The same living conditions are shared by the thousands of foreign workers employed in the agricultural sector, very often holders of regular residence permits, who live in tent camps, ghettos or makeshift camps in rural areas of our country. The spread of the disease in these areas is a cause for serious concern and could lead to an emergency that is difficult to contain as a result of situations in which compliance with the main health rules is difficult to apply.