A Decree-Law on immigration and security approved by the Council of Ministers on 24 September 2018 introduces far-reaching restrictions to the Italian asylum system. The reform has been decried by civil society organisations for lowering protection standards, infringing constitutional and human rights guarantees and exacerbating social tension on migration.

The status of humanitarian protection under Article 5(6) of the Consolidated Act on Immigration (TUI) is abolished by the Decree-Law. This move follows previous efforts by the Ministry of Interior to limit the use of humanitarian status to prevent people from obtaining legal stay in the country. The reform affects a large number of persons, given that humanitarian protection is the main form of protection granted by Italy; 16,616 obtained the status in the first eight months of 2018.

The Decree-Law also restricts the System of Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR), a network of small-scale decentralised reception projects with 35,881 funded accommodation places at the moment, to beneficiaries of international protection and unaccompanied children. Asylum seekers and persons holding humanitarian protection status would thereby be excluded from SPRAR and have access only to first reception centres and temporary reception centres (CAS), where living conditions are often critical.

Among other measures, the Decree-Law also foresees detention for the purpose of establishing asylum seekers’ identity and permits temporary detention in police facilities or at the border where the capacity of pre-removal centres (CPR) has been reached.

Following its publication, the Decree-Law has to be converted into law by the Parliament.

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*This information was first published by AIDA

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.