Italy opens first detention centre for migrants from 'safe' countries

Italy has set up its first centre for asylum seekers deemed to have come from so-called safe countries.

The Italian government hopes the facility in the Sicilian port city of Pozallo will accelerate the processing of asylum claims. It will house people who can't claim refugee status as they've arrived from countries not considered to be dangerous.

As part of efforts to ease the country's migrant problem, people are being relocated to various rescue centres in an effort to address both the humanitarian and logistical challenges of the current situation.

Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and Italy's Premier Giorgia Meloni visit the island of Lampedusa, in Italy, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023 - Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse

The move comes as Italy struggles to cope with severe overcrowding at its migrant centre on Lampedusa island.

The extent of the problem was highlighted earlier this month when some migrants broke out of the centre because of a lack of space and essential provisions.

In an effort to reduce the number of arrivals, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's cabinet is implementing measures against young adults posing as unaccompanied minors in order to claim state protection.