Today (18 December) Safe Passage, in partnership with five Italian NGOs, sent a joint letter to the Prefect of Ventimiglia calling on the authorities to restart work to open a centre for unaccompanied child refugees in the border town between Italy and France. Refugee children in Ventimiglia are at high risk of trafficking and abuse, they are also risking their lives trying to cross the border into France.
Many unaccompanied child refugees find themselves in Ventimiglia on their journeys through Europe. Without accommodation, many are forced to sleep rough or in an accommodation centre for adults. Following protests in the town against the recent increase in the number of refugees, a project to open a centre to safeguard some of the most vulnerable refugees was suspended earlier this year.
The letter calls on the Prefect to “immediately cease the illegitimate practice of non-reception of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors in Ventimiglia, or the placement of MSNA in the ‘Roja Park’ adult reception center and prepare all the necessary measures to ensure that these minors are placed in shelters for minors, as required by current legislation, and as requested by the European Court of Human Rights, possibly on the territory of Ventimiglia or nearby, at least for minors awaiting family reunification “.
The letter was also signed by the Italian humanitarian organisation INTERSOS, Terre des Hommes, WeWorld Onlus and the Diaconia Valdese.