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Italy seeks to house migrant minors in adult centres

September 29, 2023

ROME: Italy´s hard-right government has issued its second decree in a month on migration, with its latest attempt aimed at minors, giving authorities the right to temporarily house them in adult facilities.

Under a draft law approved by ministers late on Wednesday, local authorities will be given the power to activate temporary housing structures for unaccompanied minors in the case of a surge of migrant arrivals.

But if those become filled, minors over the age of 16 can be housed for up to 90 days in special wings of mainstream reception centres, where the vast majority of adult migrants are housed.

That provision -- yet to be approved by parliament -- was “worrying,” Unicef Italy spokesman Andrea Iacomini told AFP. “They cannot be in the same places as adults,” he cautioned.

Normally, unaccompanied minors, mothers with children or pregnant women are housed in local reception centres with social services aimed at integration, including language instruction and work training.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that the decree better protected women, as all females, and not just those who were pregnant or with children, would now be sent to these centres.