Italy government adopts tough anti-refugee decree in clampdown on immigration

Young journalists club

News ID: 29218
Publish Date: 21:50 - 24 September 2018
In a highly controversial move, Italy’s government has issued a hard-line security decree that will make it easier to expel refugees and strip them of Italian citizenship.

Italy government adopts tough anti-refugee decree in clampdown on immigrationTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on his Facebook page that the Italian council of ministers had unanimously approved of the plan on Monday.

The new bill is "a step forward to make Italy safer," he said, adding that it would help Italy "be stronger in the fight against the mafia and [people] smugglers, reduce the costs of excessive immigration … and give the police greater powers.”

The so-called "Salvini Decree" also stipulates six criteria based on which asylum seekers can be awarded humanitarian protection, a provisional status and a lower level of asylum based on Italian rather than international law.

Among the criteria was urgent medical need or whether the applicant was the victim of a natural disaster, according to Salvini.

The Italian minister further said those seeking refugee status would have their requests suspended if they were "considered socially dangerous or convicted in the first instance" of crimes, while their applications were processed.

Salvini claimed that the decree streamlined the rules for processing asylum requests and brought Italy into line with other EU countries.

Italy’s parliament has 60 days to vote the bill into law.

The controversial bill has been heavily criticized in recent weeks, including by members of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement which governs in coalition with Salvini's far-right League. 

Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister, has adopted a hard-line stance on immigration and refugees since the coalition came to power in June, refusing to allow ships carrying refugees and asylum seekers rescued in the Mediterranean to dock at Italian ports.

Last month, Rome refrained from letting a group of refugees disembark from a coastguard ship, until other EU states agreed to accept some of them.

Salvini, known for his tough stance on immigration, has said that Italy "cannot take one more" asylum seeker.

Italy was one of the main destinations for refugees fleeing war and poverty in Africa before the new populist government took office in Rome.

Last year, Italian authorities reached an agreement with the internationally-recognized government as well as the militia in Libya, the main embarkation point for refugees seeking to reach Europe, to curb the flow. However, Salvini has threatened to seize rescue ships or bar them from Italian ports altogether as he tries to keep his word on campaign promises to stop the influx of refugees.

Over the past five years, more than 600,000 refugees have reached Italy by risking their lives on board rickety boats in the sea. Some 500,000 of them are still staying in the country.

According to UN figures, at least 500 people have died this year while trying to cross the central Mediterranean. Some 2,853 also lost their lives last year.

Source: Press TV

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