Chronicles of a serious law infringement in the Hotspot of Lampedusa

Press release – Despite the sentence of the European Court of Human Rights on the Khlaifia case, arbitrary detentions, mass expulsions and the negation of the right to asylum continue to happen. Mister M. has been on a hunger strike for 4 days. With him, around 200 fellow Tunisians locked up in the Hotspot centre of Lampedusa are refusing to eat until they are granted their rights. One of his companions has been hospitalised a few hours ago. They are being detained without legal validation and they have not met anyone who could explain to them the procedure for a possible asylum request.

The same story is told by Mr. A., Tunisian as well, imprisoned in Lampedusa for 14 days together with 200 fellow Tunisians. “I have been denied the right to ask for asylum”, these were his words during a phone call with ARCI*.

While institutions remain intentionally silent, Italy is violating national and international law. Only thanks to the denouncement of our Tunisian partners from the FTDES (Tunisian forum for economic and social rights) we were able to talk to the detained migrants on hunger strike.

Italy remains indifferent towards the sentence by the European Court of Human Rights. A few months back, the judges of the Strasbourg Court ordered the Italian state to pay a compensation of 30.000 Euros for the treatment given to three Tunisian immigrants. According to the Court, the Italian state failed to communicate the reason of the detention of the three migrants, neither was given any possibility to appeal to them. Moreover, the conditions of their detention were defined as “profoundly degrading of human dignity”. Overcrowded rooms, people forced to sleep on the floor, no doors separating bathroom and showers from the dormitories, lack of water. No contact with the external world. A situation that is repeating itself today.

Additionally, the judges have sentenced Italy for violating the right to freedom and security of the three Tunisian men, because they were being detained without legal grounds, they were never informed of the reasons of their detention and, lastly, they could not appeal to an Italian court against the authorities’ decision.

In light of the serious situation currently taking place in the Hotspot of Lampedusa, ARCI and FTGES demand that

• all migrants detained without legal validation be immediately released

• all migrants detained be informed about the possibilities to access the request for asylum

• all detained migrants have the possibility to meet independent organisations for protection

• the Italian government stops the collective expulsions which are illegally endorsed by the Italian-Tunisian agreements

• the Italian government publishes the technical agreement with the Tunisian government regarding the rejections at sea.



*ARCI (Associazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana) is the biggest Italian non-profit association not linked with the Catholic Church.


Translation: Greta Pallaver