Provision of information on the procedure

Italy

Country Report: Provision of information on the procedure Last updated: 30/11/20

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According to Article 10 of the Procedure Decree,[1] when a person makes an asylum application, the Questura shall inform the applicant about the asylum procedure and his or her rights and obligations, and of time limits and any means (i.e. relevant documentation) at his or her disposal to support the application. In this regard, police authorities should hand over an information leaflet. The amended Procedure Decree adds that the Questura informs the applicant that if he or she comes from a Safe Country of Origin, his or her application may be rejected.[2]

The Reception Decree provides that Questure, within a maximum of 15 days from the making of the asylum application, shall provide information related to reception conditions for asylum seekers and hand over information leaflets accordingly.[3] The brochures distributed also contain the contact details of UNHCR and refugee-assisting NGOs. However, the practice of distribution of these brochures by police authorities is actually quite rare. Moreover, although Italian legislation does not explicitly state that the information must also be provided orally, this happens in practice at the discretion of Questure but not in a systematic manner. Therefore, adequate information is not constantly and regularly ensured, mainly due to the insufficient number of police staff dealing with the number of asylum applications, as well as to the shortage of professional interpreters and linguistic mediators.

PD 21/2015 provides that unaccompanied children shall receive information on the specific procedural guarantees specifically provided for them by law.[4] However, during visits to reception centres for unaccompanied children carried out in 2017, the Children’s Ombudsman found a general lack of information to children which caused distress, disorientation and distrust, and significantly increased the risk of children absconding from centres.[5]

The visits to emergency, first and second-line reception centres for unaccompanied children carried out during 2017 and 2018 by the Children’s Ombudsman together with UNHCR confirmed the same need to receive more information especially on the asylum procedure. [6]

 

Information on the Dublin Regulation

 

Asylum seekers are not properly informed of the different steps or given the possibility to highlight family links or vulnerabilities in the Dublin Procedure, particularly in the context of the specific procedure applied in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. On 25 March 2019, the Civil Court of Rome annulled a Dublin transfer on the basis that the Dublin Unit had not complied with the information obligations set out in Article 4 of the Dublin Regulation, as the Questura of Gorizia had only provided the applicant with information about the asylum procedure.[7]

The Children’s Ombudsman verified after her visits to reception centres for unaccompanied children that the children had not received the information leaflet provided for in the Dublin Implementing Regulation. This was reported to be the case in the following centres: first reception centre in Mincio-Rome, Lazio, CAS Como, Lombardy, first reception centre in San Michele di Ganzaria, Catania, Sicily, and the “House of bricks” community centre in Fermo-Ancona, Marche.[8]

 

Information at the border and in detention

 

According to the law, persons who express the intention to seek international protection at border areas and in transit zones shall be provided with information on the asylum procedure, in the framework of the information and reception services set by Article 11(6) TUI.[9]

Article 11(6) TUI states that, at the border, “those who intend to lodge an asylum application or foreigners who intend to stay in Italy for over three months” have the right to be informed about the provisions on immigration and asylum law by specific services at the borders run by NGOs. These services, located at official border-crossing points, include social counselling, interpretation, assistance with accommodation, contact with local authorities and services, production and distribution of information on specific asylum issues.

In spite of the relevance of the assistance provided, it is worth highlighting that, since 2008, this kind of service has been assigned on the basis of calls for proposals. The main criterion applied to assign these services to NGOs is the price of the service, with a consequent impact on the quality and effectiveness of the assistance provided due to the reduction of resources invested, in contrast with the legislative provisions which aim to provide at least immediate assistance to potential asylum seekers. UNHCR and IOM continue to monitor the access of foreigners to the relevant procedures and the initial reception of asylum seekers and migrants in the framework of their mandates. The activities are funded under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

The Reception Decree provides that foreigners detained in CPR shall be provided by the manager of the facility with relevant information on the possibility of applying for international protection. Asylum seekers detained in such facilities are provided with the relevant information set out by Article 10(1) of the Procedure Decree, by means of an informative leaflet.[10]

The Reception Decree also provides that asylum seekers detained in CPR or in hotspots are informed on the rules in force in the centre as well as on their rights and obligations in the first language they indicate.[11] If it is not possible, information is provided in a language they are reasonably supposed to know meaning, as ruled by Procedure Decree, English, French, Spanish or Arabic, according to the preference they give.[12]

 


[1] Article 10(1) Procedure Decree.

[2]Ibid, as amended by Article 7 Decree Law 113/2018 and L 132/2018.

[3] Article 3 Reception Decree.

[4] Article 3(3) PD 21/2015.

[5] Children’s Ombudsman and UNHCR, Minori stranieri non accompagnati: una valutazione partecipata dei bisogniRelazione sulle visite nei centri, May 2018, available in Italian at:  http://bit.ly/2TExUPE.

[6] Children’s Ombudsman and UNHCR, L'ascolto e la partecipazione dei minori stranieri non accompagnati in Italia, Rapporto finale attività di partecipazione 2017-2018, May 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2A5VxaB.

[7] Civil Court of Rome, Decision 6256/2019, 25 March 2019.

[8] Children’s Ombudsman and UNHCR, Minori stranieri non accompagnati: una valutazione partecipata dei bisogniRelazione sulle visite nei centri, May 2018, 15.

[9]  Article 10-bis(1) Procedure Decree, inserted by the Reception Decree.

[10]  Article 6(4) Reception Decree.

[11] Article 7 (4) Reception Decree

[12] Article 10 (4) Procedure Decree, to which Article 7 (4) reception decree expressly refers to.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation