Conference organised by the
University of Palermo – Research Doctorate in
“Human Rights: Protection, Evolution and Limits”

Association Borderline
Sicilia – “Noureddine Adnane” Observatory against Racial


Introduction and moderation of work

Prof. Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo (University
of Palermo): From Humanitarian
Reception to the State of Exception


Dr Judith Gleitze (Borderline Sicilia Onlus/ Bordeline-Europe)

Dr Diana Pisciotta
(“Noureddine Adnane” Observatory against Racist Discrimination)

Dr Raffaele Lupo (Civil
Protection- Sicily)

Dr Claudio Lombardo (ARCI-

Lawyer Paola Ottaviano (Court of Modica)

Lawyer Gaetano Pasqualino (Court of Palermo)

Lawyer Daniele Papa (Court of Palermo)

Despite the significant reduction in the number of migrants reaching the
Italian coast, only 20% compared with last year, when the State announces that
its finances for the Civil Protection’s work carried out as part of the North
Africa Immigration Emergency (ENA) will stop if no extensions are introduced by
the 28 February 2013, the politics of emergency continue to be played out. And
the emergency which last year was concentrated on the island of Lampedusa, will
be transferred as a result of the choices made by the government which is about
to leave office, concerning the reception centres where the migrants are
transferred. These are migrants who have been blocked for weeks on Lampedusa
and are already exasperated by the long wait and the intolerable judicial limbo
in which they find themselves. They have been held in conditions which do not
favour the dignity of human beings. In the Mineo mega CARA (Hosting Centre for
Asylum Seekers), which can take in a maximum of 1800 migrants, there have been
as many as 3000 people in recent months. Many of those there have been waiting
over a year for the decision on their asylum applications.

Above all, it is not clear which reception centres will be able to
continue to run after the 28 February 2013, which is the date established by
the Monti government for the end of aid for the “North
Africa” Emergency (ENA). They will be without other prospects
and will also have their daily allowance for each asylum seeker cut (from €46
to €35 per head per day). Some of the Centres will certainly risk closure,
which will result in the abandonment of those people who have not yet been able
to complete the long administrative procedures in order to obtain the permit of
stay and the necessary documentation to travel. What is sure, as has already
been highlighted in numerous reports, is the lack of legal information
specifically aimed at the asylum seekers’ needs and the possibility for them to
appeal against any eventual unfavourable decisions will also be greatly
reduced. The situation will be further exacerbated by the increasing difficulty
in obtaining access to government funded legal aid. There is therefore a very
high risk that, in front of the predictable declarations which are still being
used, the closing down of the reception system for migrant asylum seekers will
undoubtedly become yet another question of public order to be resolved using
police force.

While waiting for a new government and a new set of norms, it is
necessary to modify the practices which are currently applied by the
administrative authorities. This conference aims to examine the concrete
possibilities outlined below:

ensuring the rapid transfer of migrants (24-48hrs) who arrive on
Lampedusa to other Centres throughout Italy, and not only directly to Mineo, in
order to carry out a quick examination to ascertain the legal position of each

issuing in the shortest time possible, a permit of stay for
international protection or for humanitarian protection to all migrants who
were forced to flee Lybia as a result of the war and its consequences, and who are
still potential asylum seekers if arriving today;

restructure and finance a decentralised reception system for refugees
and asylum seekers throughout the whole of Italy, doubling the number of places
available in the CARAs, with the closure of the Mineo CARA and the completion
of all asylum applications and pending appeals in court, within a limited time

the financing of the passage of responsibility for overseeing the system
from the Civil Protection to local governments, transferring from the Ministry
of the Interior to the State-Regional Conference the responsibility for the
placing of asylum seekers throughout the country;

prevent migrants and asylum seekers from being housed in places such as
stadiums, gyms and warehouses of various types on their arrival in Italy.
It is a spurious form of administrative detention in places which come to be
called First Reception Centres, but with a lack of any type of individual formal
notification procedures, which could amount to an arbitrary detention;

facilitate the professional integration of the asylum seekers and those
who have acquired legal status, as outlined by the European Directive 2003/9/CE;

guarantee asylum seekers information and legal assistance for the
presentation of their application and during the entire asylum procedure,
without limiting access to the associations which work to protect them within
the centres where the asylum seekers are staying;

provide asylum seekers who have their applications for international
protection rejected the possibility to have quick access to legal advice;

guarantee access to the right to a defence and government funded legal
aid- these are rights which are currently being suppressed by some courts, most
notably that of Catania;

identify credible solutions to guarantee the activation of integration
pathways for those leaving the reception system.