European protection now!

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This is a call to Italian civil society. This appeal requires a rapid response as Italy is going through a difficult moment: as could be predicted, the number of migrants attempting to reach our shores by sea is increasing.

According to UNHCR, “the number of migrants arriving by sea in the first three months of 2015 is substantially equal to the total amount in 2014 when the Mare Nostrum was in full operation.”

As of today, in less than 3 months, a registered 900 migrants have lost their lives at sea, that is 30 times higher than the total amount of deaths in 2014. This demonstrates that cutting back the Mare Nostrum rescue operation has not served to reduce the number of migrants risking their lives but rather has increased the number of deaths at sea.

Within the next few hours, our country could find itself facing an immigration reception system, which international organizations have been denouncing for some time as being on the verge of collapse. The thousands of refugees making the perilous trip are people – men, women and children – fleeing violent conflicts and oppressive regimes. It is their right to receive, and our duty to guarantee them adequate protection and reception conditions and services, also in accordance with the international treaties of which Italy and Europe are members.

For these reasons, we call upon:

– the Member States of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament to establish regular European search and rescue at sea operations, also beyond the 30 miles limit;

– the Italian Government to launch a structural plan of widespread reception, which guarantees, within July 2015, the transposition of European Directives 2013/32 and 2013/33 – the so-called reception conditions and asylum procedure directives – in order to definitively overcome and be ready to face emergency situations. In particular, the government must facilitate the dismantling of the mass asylum reception centres (CARA) and the formal and informal extraordinary reception system, which is inefficient and incapable of guaranteeing protection, reception and integration conditions and services to asylum seekers and which is often characterised by serious collusion with organised crime;

– the Italian Parliament and its new Investigation Committee on CIE, CARA and immigration centres (including the CAS) to strictly monitor systems of primary and secondary reception.


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