UNHCR, Carlotta Sami: Italy Security decree might be in contrast to the Geneva Convention and leave up to 150.000 without any kind of support over the next two years

Carlotta Sami, UNHCR spokesperson for Southern Europe, answers Talk Europe’s questions about the consequences of anti-immigration ‘Decreto Sicurezza’. 


Rome – “The UN has no powers to dispute national laws, however it is under UNHCR mandate the power to monitor the consistency of national laws with the international laws, international legislation and, in that case in particular, the Geneva Convention. the European conventions and all the laws that concern asylum seekers, refugees and statelessness”.

“Our remark in relation to the first so called Security decree and the proposed ‘Security decree two’ highlights the possibility of some of the provision to be in contrast to the Geneva Convention. In particular our concerns are in relation to the real possibility of asylum seeker to actually access the system and more in general the system to be changed and structured in a way refugees or people holding protection status, who are at the same time vulnerable, may not access  fundamental rights”.

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“The security decree launched and implemented by the current government changed the system and set the rule just those already recognised by the international protection status, either holding refugee and subsidiary protection status may access integration projects in protection centres, (small centres spread across the country) while all those waiting for the refugee claim to be examined, have to stay in big centres while the law also abrogated the so called humanitarian protection” …

“The portion of people for whatever reason arriving to Europe through Italy is very tiny, especially the portion of refugees, as for 2019 just as few as 3000 people arrived by sea mainly through Libya, many more arrived to Spain: over 15 thousands and the same level of numbers to Greece”.

“First of all it is very difficult to know how many are those individuals that now find themselves without any kind of assistance: according to some estimates in the coming two years we may find in Italy up to 150.000 people, without any kind of support”.

About returns of illegal immigrants Sami makes clear:


“We see that returns since the first six months of this year 2019 have been between three and four thousands, in line with the past years as the effect of Italian bilateral  agreements with  Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, but we may find other nationalities that remain in a kind of a limbo. plus we have to calculate this is also costly because each return per person costs up to eight thousands  euros”.

The immediate impact of the crisis in Libya:

“The crisis in Libya is having a huge human impact, in just two days we have seen people dying in the Mediterranean trying to escape Libya,  killed and injured after the bombing of one detention centre where people were living already in unbearable conditions. We are appealing since months European states to implement an evacuation plan to evacuate at least four thousands refugees”.

About the Global Compact: is the fact  it’s non legally binding a limit to its effectiveness?

“In December there will be the first  Global Forum that will start this process launched with the Global Compact for refugees. We think this is a great opportunity  as this is the first time globally that nations along with the private sector are deciding to gather together and to create a strategy that is grounding on multilateral views of the problem and this is crucial, this is a global issue that cannot be solved or tackled by just one country. That’s why, for instance, Italy saying that ports are closed and  arrivals are decreasing cannot be considered a success because you have be in relation to many different actors not just governments, but even private sector, civil society, to tackle a problem that is global. You have to tackle the source of the problem and in order to do that you really need to create an alliance. It is non-binding, but the fact it’s non-binding is not a reason to not engage in a global process that for the first time has the possibility to create an alliance. We need that…”