Information provided by Paola Petrucco, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Coalizione Italiana per le Libertà e i Diritti Civili, CILD)
1. How many people are currently detained in the center and what is the centre’s maximum capacity?
The current capacity of the center is 54 places – there currently is no available information on the number of occupied places.
2. Are people still entering this detention centre? If so, what are the measures taken to prevent contagion and safeguard their right to health?
Although there is no precise data on the entries, it appears that a few people have been brought in all the centres during the epidemic. The circular note of the Minister of the Interior issued on 26 March 2020 specifies the precautionary measures to take in the event of new arrivals. These include a preliminary medical examination and, where possible, a 14-day isolation period. Although there is no specific information on the measures that have been taken in the Bari center, the National Guarantor has reported that most of the CPRs have set up quarantine wards for incomers and ensured a quarantine period of two weeks.
3. Have detainees been released from this centre due to COVID-19? If yes, which groups?
No precise information on the matter has been provided.
4. What information has been provided to detainees in this centre, in which language(s) and through what means?
As of 21 April, it seems that the CPR manager has provided detainees information on the current health emergency and the appropriate precautionary behaviour to take.
5. What healthcare measures have been taken in response to the virus? Has the number of health workers working inside the center increased?
According to the National Guarantor, almost all CPRs have improved their healthcare measures. Allegedly, they have established a thorough screening procedure and have set up medical isolation rooms. The exact number of health workers working inside the center and information on this specific center are not available.
6. What hygiene measures have been taken in response to the virus?
On 21 April, the National Guarantor indicated that “almost all the CPRs’ managers declared that they had regularly carried out disinfections to ensure the premises’ hygienic conditions. They all reported having increased the number of personal hygiene kits for all persons detained and making protective masks available to them at release. In addition, they have informed in multiple languages all detainees about the health emergency and instructed hosts on how to behave to prevent the spread of the virus”. On 27 April, however, Alda Re of the LasciateCIEntare campaign contradicted these statements. She claimed that: “personal protective equipment have never been provided, even though we are aware that the State has granted specific fundings for these centres to make up for equipment deficiencies, we are also sure that the areas have never been sanitised”.
7. What measures have been taken to comply with necessary social distancing requirements?
No information is available on the measures taken to fulfil social distancing requirements.On a general note, the National Guarantor has observed that the structures of CPRs make social spacing very difficult.
8. What measures have been taken to ensure that detainees continue to maintain contact with their family and friends in such a difficult time?
Contacts with family and friends has been a rather delicate matter in all the CPRs. Contrary to what occurred in prisons and despite visiting restrictions, the use of mobile phones in immigration removal centres was dramatically limited. While updates on the phone-situation in other centres have been provided, not much has been said on the matter from this one.
9. Are NGOs, monitors and/or volunteers continuing to enter in detention and meet detainees? If yes, what measures have been put in place to ensure their health protection? If no, what measures have been put in place to ensure that detainees continue to receive the kind of support they used to receive from these groups?
No information has been provided on the matter.
10. What measures have been taken to protect vulnerable groups (e.g., victims of gender violence and torture; people facing mental health challenges)?
No information has been provided on the matter.
11. What measures have been taken to protect staff working with detainees? Has there been an increase or decrease in the number of staff since the COVID-19 crisis started?
With regard to the National Guarantor’s bulletin, it can be assumed that the staff has been provided with appropriate hygiene and protection equipment.
12. What kind of legal measures are individuals and/or organisations pursuing in response to COVID?
Since early March, there has been a wide mobilisation of the civil society all over the country. Both jointly and individually organisations have pursued several actions - these include:
- Letter to the Minister of the Interior, to Prefectures, to Police Headquarters;
- Proposals of Tavolo Asilo to Government and Parliament on the health emergency and on measures affecting foreign nationals;
- Letter to the Justices of the Peace;
- Letter to the Councils of the Bar Associations;
- Appeal of the National Bar Association to the Government.
In this framework, legal measures have been based on the of illegitimacy and unreasonableness of immigration detention in the current national and international contexts. Requests to stop entries in CPRs emerged right at the start of the health emergency. Appeals have been submitted to Courts’ specialised departments and Justices of the Peace asking them not confirm nor extend detention orders, as well as to local bar associations urging them to monitor detention hearings and provide public defenders with all the information. Core arguments have been: the impossibility to comply with the measures foreseen to guarantee individuals’ health; the lack of real possibilities of effective repatriation; the suspension of hearings; and the availability of accommodation outside detention. On top of that, calls have been launched to ensure adequate reception protocols, and guarantee detainees’ relations with the outside world.