Saturday, Apr 19th

Last update12:43:14 PM GMT

Immigration news

Italy asked to approve asylum law

Italy needs to approve asylum law in order to avoid confusing refugees with irregular immigrants, Mr. Piero Fassino of the Democratic Party has said.

Mr. Fassino, who a Mayoral Candidate for Turin said the crisis in Libya which has made it possible for a large number of immigrants to come to Italy, has found the country unprepared to handle the problem.

He warned against confusing asylum seekers with irregular immigrants, and called for a tougher stance against irregular immigrants.

Mr. Fassino criticized the government’s delay in transporting away from Lampedusa immigrants who keep arriving at the island.

He said they should be distributed to all Regions and appealed to all Regional authorities and the EU to work together in handling the emergency.

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Naval vessels to ferry all immigrants from Lampedusa

On Wednesday six naval vessels will arrive at Lampedusa to transport away all immigrants in the island, Mr. Giuseppe Caruso, Special Commissioner handling the humanitarian emergency at Lampedusa has said.

The six naval vessels can transport up to 10,000 immigrants.

Mr. Caruso confirmed that they’ll ferry away all immigrants from the island and transport them to different parts of the country where they’ll be accommodated in tents and in former military barracks.

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HIV positive migrants denied medication in British detention centres

60% of detainees faced interruption in their treatment due to detention

Deadly facts on treatment of HIV-positive immigrant patients have surfaced. The doctors say hundreds of HIV-positive immigrants are routinely denied essential medication in British detention centres. As a result, their lives are being put at risk.

The doctors have also called for improved healthcare facilities in immigration detention centres. Or, in alternative, they are seeking the release of those suffering from the condition.

Carried in a report by the charity Medical Justice, the evidence will be placed before the Court of Appeal in April. It will come up for consideration, as three HIV-positive migrants seek to have their detention ruled unlawful because of the centres’ failure to treat them properly.

The first to examine the treatment of HIV-positive immigration detainees in Britain, the report examines the case of 35 detainees with the condition, including women and children.

Approximately 60 per cent of the detainees studied faced interruption in their treatment due to detention. As a result, many developed resistance to mainstream antiretroviral drugs. In the process, their lives were put to risk. In some cases, the resistance made it impossible for them later to find effective medication.

The study also found more than three-quarters were deported with little or no medication, even though the doctors say this presents a serious public health risk.

This was also against the government guidelines stating that they should be given a three-month supply before removal.

Some detainees were forced to undergo medical examinations while they were handcuffed to guards, even though they were not guilty of any crime. Some others were even denied access to hospital appointments with HIV specialists.

Quoting an example, the report says a pregnant detainee had less than a month’s medication, when an attempt was made to deport her, even as it is vital that treatment is continuous during pregnancy to avoid infecting the unborn child.

According to UNICEF, approximately 60 per cent of all new HIV cases in the UK were sub-Saharan African immigrants. As many as 6,630 new cases of HIV infections were in Britain in 2009. It was more than double the number recorded 10 years before. Most of those studied fled their native land for refuge in the UK. Nothing less than 80 per cent discovered their HIV infection after arriving in Britain.

Dr. Indrajit Ghosh, a GP and HIV specialist, said: “The UK Border Agency claims that healthcare in its centres is equivalent to that in the NHS, but the report shows that being in detention leads to a situation in which these patients cannot access proper medical care. In the case of HIV, this is a threat to the patients’ lives. HIV-positive people should therefore be released and properly cared for.”

Diane Abbott, the shadow public health minister, claimed that poor treatment resulted in a “serious public health hazard”. “I’ve long been concerned at the medical facility for detainees. I think it’s shameful they’re given such poor treatment, but the situation with HIV is particularly worrying as it presents a very serious public health hazard,” she said.

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Certificate of approval scheme to be scrapped

Green: We’ll “not tolerate immigration abuse, including sham marriages”

The certificate of approval scheme is to be scrapped. The Home Office had been using the scheme to help minimise the occurrences of sham marriages. The scheme meant people not legally permanently settled in the UK needed Home Office permission to marry in the country.

But in 2008, Law Lords ruled that the powers discriminated against foreign nationals on human rights grounds. And changes made following subsequent court rulings have weakened the scheme, meaning that it is no longer an effective method of countering the practice of sham marriage.

The Home Office has therefore confirmed that the certificate of approval scheme will be scrapped shortly. Sham marriages are usually attempted as a way of gaining long-term residency and the right to work and claim benefits. They involve situations where a non-European national marries someone from the European Economic Area, including the UK.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said they’ll “not tolerate immigration abuse, including sham marriages.”

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First migrants from Libya arrive in Italy

A woman gave birth to a healthy baby assisted by an Italian medical team

Nearly 830 African migrants from Tripoli and Misurata in Libya who arrived on the Italian Island of Linosa between 26th and 28th March are today being transferred to Sicily.

The migrants are mostly from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia, but there are also some sub-Saharan Africans. This is the first group of migrants fleeing Libya to arrive in Italy since the onset of the Libyan crisis more than a month ago.

IOM staff say 80 women and 12 children are among the passengers. One woman gave birth to a healthy baby assisted by an Italian medical team. The woman was immediately transferred by helicopter to Lampedusa for medical assistance.
The vessels were intercepted by the Italian coastguards and taken to the small Island of Linosa some 40 kilometres from the island of Lampedusa, where more than 6,000 Tunisian migrants are currently hosted in increasingly difficult conditions.

IOM staff on Lampedusa say the Italian authorities avoided sending the new arrivals to Lampedusa not only because of the overcrowding and lack of facilities on the island, but also because of growing tension among the island's inhabitants, unhappy over the increasing numbers of migrants.
The new arrivals are likely to be first sent to a migrant reception centre at Porto Empedocle in Sicily before being taken to the Mineo reception centre, near Catania.

The arrivals from Libya present a new challenge to the Italian Government which is still trying to find accommodation for thousands of migrants currently hosted on Lampedusa, Puglia and Sicily. More than 18,430 Tunisian migrants have arrived on Lampedusa since February, nearly 1,580 at the weekend.

In 2008 the Italian government signed a friendship treaty with Libya which led to a drastic reduction of irregular immigration. However, the continued violence in Libya has seen a temporary suspension of the agreement.

The Italian government has sought increased assistance from the European Union to help it deal with increasing populations of the migrants and asylum seekers.

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