Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • US condemns school shelling as Israel calls up 16,000 more reservists

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with creditors

    Read more

Europe

UN expresses concern over Italian refugee camp

Latest update : 2009-01-24

In a rare critique of a single country’s immigration policies, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed “mounting concern” over conditions at an immigration centre on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

AFP - About half the residents of Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa, the main arrival point in Europe for migrants from Africa, protested Friday against plans to set up a new immigration centre there.
  
More than 3,000 people gathered at the island's existing detention centre to voice their opposition to another. The government says the new centre will help identify illegal immigrants and speed up their deportation.
  
The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees expressed "mounting concern" over conditions at the existing centre, where 1,677 would-be immigrants crowd a site meant to house half that number.
  
"The centre has a capacity for only 850 people and hence cannot accommodate such high numbers," the UNHCR said in a statement.
  
"The result is that hundreds of people are now sleeping outdoors under plastic sheeting and adequate reception standards cannot be maintained."
  
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni announced at the end of December that immigrants would be sent straight back to their country of origin instead of being transferred to other centres on the Italian mainland.
  
On Friday, he said the new Centre for Identification and Expulsion would allow immigrants to be directly expelled more easily from Lampedusa back to their country of origin.
  
"This coming week, I will visit several countries with which we have cooperation agreements for repatriation with the aim of firming up these pacts and to authorise speedier expulsion procedures," he told a press conference.
  
"The aim is to have the plan for direct repatriations from Lampedusa up and running within the next few weeks," he said. "Since January 1, we have directly sent back 150 people from Lampedusa," mostly Egyptians and Nigerians, he said.
  
On Friday alone, 250 migrants were repatriated on three flights, said the centre's director Cono Galipo quoted by the ANSA news agency.
  
Italy's interior ministry estimates that 31,700 immigrants landed on Lampedusa in 2008, a 75 percent increase on the previous year.
  
According to UNHCR, preliminary figures for 2008 showed that about 75 percent of those who arrived in Italy by sea last year applied for asylum.
  
Around 50 percent of those who applied were granted refugee status or other protection on other humanitarian grounds, it added.

Date created : 2009-01-24

COMMENT(S)