Differential treatment of specific nationalities in detention

Italy

Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in detention Last updated: 20/05/22

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As of November 2021, the most 5 represented nationalities in CPRs were Tunisia (2,465 persons, representing almost 55% of CPRs’ population), Egypt (471 persons, 10%), Morocco (329 persons, 7%), Albania (191, 4%), and Nigeria (168, 3,7%), [1] similarly to 2020, when  the 5 most represented nationalities were Tunisia (2,623, more than 59%), Morocco (490, 11%), Nigeria (204, 4%), Egypt (125, 3%), and Albania (110, 2%).[2]

Similarly to what already noted in Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure, it is to be reported that persons coming from specific countries – and especially Tunisia – are particularly targeted for what concerns detention. Tunisia is indeed by far the most represented nationality in CPRs, as well as the Country where most returns are carried out to.

In 2020, as reported from the Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, 4,387 people – 94% of them males – had been detained in CPRs, roughly 50% out of which (2,232) were actually returned. Tunisia is by far the most represented nationality amongst detained migrants and the country with the highest return rate (2,623 out of 4,387 detained migrants are Tunisians and 1,865 out of 2,232 returned migrants are returned to Tunisia).[3] As of November 2021, 4,489 migrants had been detained in CPRs, out of which 2,231 (less than 50%) were returned. Tunisia remains the most represented nationality (55%, followed by Egypt, whose nationals represent the 10% of detained migrants) and the country where most of the returns (72%) take place.[4]

It has been noted how the speed with which returns to Tunisia continue being carried out has led to serious violations of the rights of Tunisian nationals transiting through CPRs, from the violation of the right to be informed about the possibility of applying for asylum, to the practice of not formalising applications for international protection, to, where an application for international protection is finalised, subjecting Tunisian asylum seekers to a fast track procedure.[5]

In the past, other nationalities have been targeted for detention and repatriation. This was the case of Nigeria: in 2017, the Moi issued a circular ordering the emptying of all immigration detention centres (at that time, these were still called CIEs) to make room for Nigerian nationals.[6] Record numbers of returns to Nigeria were registered in 2019, with 734 persons returned via 8 charter flights.[7] In 2020 and 2021, detention and returns of Nigerian nationals decreased.[8]

To approach the issue from a gender perspective, see section on Detention of vulnerable applicants.

[1] National Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, Update on immigration detention as of 15 November 2021, available in Italian at:  https://bit.ly/3tj7Hq4

[2] National Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, Relazione al Parlamento, June 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3qfLXtg

[3] Annexes to the yearly report of the National Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, June 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/36nWIT6.

[4] National Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, Update on immigration detention as of 15 November 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3tj7Hq4.

[5] CILD, Buchi Neri, available in Italian at:  https://bit.ly/3u710qg.

[6] Open Migration, Perché sono i nigeriani a venire rimpatriati più spesso, July 2017, available at: https://bit.ly/3tgbuV1.

[7] National Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, Relazione al Parlamento, June 2020, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3CPliIB.

[8] Annexes to the yearly report of the National Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, June 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/36nWIT6.     ​

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