According to the Procedure Decree, upon submission of an asylum application, police authorities are obliged to provide information to applicants through a written brochure about their rights and obligations and the relevant timeframes applicable during asylum procedures (see Provision of Information on the Procedure). The Reception Decree contains a provision on the right to information, confirming the obligation to hand over the brochure, as stated above, and states that this information is to be provided in reception centres within 15 days from the presentation of the asylum application. This information is ensured through the assistance of an interpreter.
This provision, unlike Article 5 of the recast Reception Conditions Directive, does not explicitly foresee that information shall be provided orally.
Information provision on the asylum procedure and reception is also included among the activities to be conducted in the hotspot facilities. However, ASGI’s requests for access and information have shown that this is also a critical aspect, as the Ministry has argued that the information provisioning activities are entrusted exclusively to UNHCR, which, however, has never confirmed or denied this attribution. It has been proven that there is a clear link between authorities’ detention practices and information-giving practices carried out by intergovernmental organisations such as the UNHCR and the IOM, and the contribution of this relation to processes of migrant differential inclusion/exclusion.
The National Commission for the Right of Asylum has edited a Practical Guide for Applicants for International Protection, currently available in 12 languages, in which the rights and duties of the applicant and the asylum procedures are illustrated in a simple and understandable way. The leaflet also includes information on health services and on the reception system, and on how these services can be accessed. In addition, it contains the contact details of UNHCR and other specialised refugee-assisting NGOs.
In practice however, information provision to asylum seekers is carried out rarely and often raises concerns regarding its accuracy. First, the use and distribution of these leaflets is actually quite rare in the immigration offices of the Police Headquarters. Staff are often not aware of the existence of this tool, the use of which is also hampered by problems such as the failure of the Ministry to periodically resupply offices with new copies or the lack of paper to print copies. Information is therefore provided sporadically and exclusively orally by police personnel, rarely trained to carry out a complete information provision, and not always with the support of professional interpreters and language mediators.
Furthermore, it emerged over time that the guide prepared by the National Commission has not been correctly translated into some of the chosen languages, in particular Bengali, with the result that it is almost completely incomprehensible even for literate asylum seekers.
Finally, with particular regard to information provision on reception issues, ASGI was able to observe a certain reluctance from some police offices to inform applicants about their right to request access to reception, in view of the difficulty on the part of Prefectures to ensure actual access.
The gaps in information provision raises serious concerns among NGOs, as it is considered necessary for asylum seekers to receive extensive information both verbally and in writing, taking into consideration their habits, cultural backgrounds and level of education which may constitute obstacles in effectively understanding the contents of the leaflets.
Upon arrival in the reception centres, asylum seekers should be properly informed on the benefits and level of material reception conditions. Depending on the type of centre and the rules adopted by the managers of the reception centres, asylum seekers may benefit from proper information of the asylum procedure, access to the labour market or any other information on their integration rights and opportunities.
 Article 10(1) Procedures Decree.
 Article 3(3) Reception Decree and Article 10 Procedures Decree.
 Article 10-ter (1, 3 and 4) Legislative Decree 286/1998. See also the Hotspot Standard Operating Procedures, available at: https://bit.ly/3M0vILX and the 6-bis attachment to Outline of contract documents for hotspots, see Specifiche tecniche integrative dello schema di capitolato di appalto relative all’erogazione dei servizi di accoglienza ed alla fornitura di beni – lotto unico per centri di cui all’art. 10-ter del d.lgs. 25 luglio 1998, n. 286, available at: https://bit.ly/41b1UAt.
 See Calarco R., Managing Migration through Detention and Information-Giving Practices: the Case of the Italian Hotspot and Relocation System, in International Migration Institute working paper, volume 173/2022, available at: https://bit.ly/432EGxS. See also Vianelli L., The Implementation of the Hotspot Approach in Italy. CONDISOBS Policy Paper No. 2, January 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3Id658j.
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