Refugees protest plans to allow Italy to forcibly fingerprint asylum seekers entering the country

The directive has led to an outcry from officials and migrants alike

Rebecca Flood
Friday 18 December 2015 17:30 GMT
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Italy, it said, needed to develop a “solid legal framework" allowing for "the use of force for fingerprinting".
Italy, it said, needed to develop a “solid legal framework" allowing for "the use of force for fingerprinting".

Refugees are protesting at the European Commission’s insistence that Italy should use force if necessary to get fingerprints from those entering the country as they flee persecution and conflict in their own countries.

The Commission launched legal action this week against Italy, Greece and Croatia for not logging all newcomers in an EU-wide database.

It decreed that the use of force should be used if necessary to obtain all necessary details from migrants.

Italy, it said, needed to develop a “solid legal framework" allowing for "the use of force for fingerprinting and to include provisions on longer term retention for those migrants that resist fingerprinting.

"The target of a 100 per cent fingerprinting rate for arriving migrants needs to be achieved without delay," it said.

The directive has led to an outcry from officials and migrants alike.

President of Italy's social affairs commission, legislator Mario Marazziti, branded the move ‘worrying’, saying: "That the EU legitimises the use of force against migrants flies in the face of UN conventions on human rights.”

And on the Italian island of Lampedusa the announcement sparked protests from roughly 200 migrants outside the city hall on 17 December, according to the Local.

They brandished plaques saying: “We are refugees. No fingerprints!”

EU law states people must stay in the country where they first enter – determined by fingerprints.

Others read: "Europe union. Help us this Europe.”

Some claimed to have been detained on the island for over a month after refusing to be fingerprinted.

EU law states people must stay in the country where they first enter – determined by fingerprints.

Migrants fear this will impede their onward journey through the continent, stopping them reaching family.

Roughly one million migrants, the majority fleeing war-torn Syria, have poured into Europe this year alone.

There has been staunch opposition to housing migrants in the northern towns of Italy, including Pontogolio, The Local added.

A controversial sign has been installed at the entrance to the town, roughly 40 miles east of Milan.

Last week, the northern region of Lombardy amended legislation and approved a ban on wearing burqas and Islamic veils in hospitals and local government buildings.

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