29 March 2015: On March 25th, Italy’s Chamber of Deputies installed an Inquiry Commission regarding detention and reception centres for immigrants and asylum seekers (known by their Italian acronyms as CIEs, CDAs and CARAs).
28 March 2015: Since January 1st until today, 10,132 migrants have landed on Italy’s shores, a slight decline (6%) from the 10,744 that landed during the same period in 2014, according to data cited by the head of the Italian Interior Ministry’s Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration, Mario Morcone. While arrivals during the first two months of 2015 exceeded those during the same period in 2014, in March, there was a decline of arrivals, perhaps due to harsh sea conditions, or due to changes on the ground in Libya, Morcone speculated. However, the Ministry remains concerned that the level of arrivals in 2015 will be high, and even if they reach but don’t exceed the total in 2014, the pressures regarding reception, timely processing of applications, and integration will be great, since there are currently already about 80,000 individuals in Italian reception centres, including about 13,000 unaccompanied minors.
26 March 2015 (Geneva-UNHCR): The UN refugee agency reported on Thursday that the wars in Syria and Iraq, as well as armed conflicts, human rights violations and deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in other countries, pushed the number of asylum applications in industrialized countries to a 22-year high last year.
25 March 2015: Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights met recently with Giusi Nicolini, the Mayor of Lampedusa, in Strasbourg. “Lampedusa has become a symbol of the modern tragedy and the proof of the failure of Europe’s immigration policy. But the humanity and solidarity shown by its inhabitants it is also a symbol of hope.
23 March 2015: A legislative proposal to introduce the crime of torture into Italy’s criminal code is underway in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies. The text of the law, which has been proceeding through Parliament for two years, had already been approved by the Senate, but later underwent modifications by the Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, and therefore had to return for a second reading. Sponsors of the bill note that the effort to create a crime of torture, still absent from Italy’s laws, aims to implement recommendations in the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the text of the draft law follows language in that Convention. (From ANSA reports).
22 March 2015: According to data recently published by EUROSTAT, in 2014 there were a record number of asylum requests in the EU, about 626,000, a 44% increase over 2013. Asylum requests filed in Italy more than doubled to 64,000, an increase of 143% over 2013. Italy experienced the largest uptick in asylum requests of all the EU countries, where the average increase was 44%. Italy followed Germany and Sweden as the countries receiving the highest number of asylum requests in 2014. Syrians represented 20% of those applying for asylum in the EU in 2014.