8 October 2012
This is the transit centre in Porto Empedocle, closed down in June last year after allowing hundreds of minors brought over from Lampedusa to be held there illegally. This year it underwent expensive refurbishment and has once again been in use, on an on-off basis, to detain migrants awaiting imminent refoulement on flights from Palermo to Tunisia. These migrants do not pass through the CIE (Immigrant Detention Centre) system and they do not undergo any of the procedures conforming to European directives and regulations on repatriation.
Illegal practices are being added to illegal practices. It is somewhat ironic that the people who authorise these actions are the same who speak about the fight against illegal immigration. Even illegal immigrants, who it is acknowledged are present in the country, have the same fundamental human rights, starting with the right to a defence and the right to asylum. Today one of the migrants, currently in transit in this Centre, attempted to commit suicide. He stabbed himself in the abdomen with pieces of broken glass. (Fulvio Vassallo)