COVID-19 has a horrible impact on the most vulnerable, including asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants including trafficked persons.
Those in precarious situations face specific risks. Vulnerable migrants do not dispose of minimal protection against the contagion, not even water to wash their hands. Many live in overcrowded centres, without any possibility to observe minimum distance and other safety measures.
Governments must adopt urgent and effective measures to protect the health and rights of these and other vulnerable groups such as homeless people, and people – migrants or nationals – working in agriculture or informal and/or irregular sectors, without any protection.
Overcrowded centres should be closed, and concerned persons should be accepted according to alternative schemes based on their diffusion on the territory. In any case people in reception centres musty immediately enjoy full access to healthcare.
People working in agriculture and other precarious activities, crammed in informal settlements, should be transferred in non-overcrowded ad-hoc structures, sufficiently close to their worksite.
The extraordinary regularisation of undocumented migrants already settled in the national territory is a necessary and urgent measure, to ensure their access to healthcare and prevent further severe exploitation.
For those arriving in an irregular manner, it is necessary to adopt alternative measures to avoid administrative detention. For those crossing the Mediterranean to escape from conflict, persecution, torture and trafficking, in Libya and elsewhere, protocols for the quick identification of a safe port must be urgently implemented.
Assistance programmes for trafficked persons must be immediately extended for a period of at least 6 months, to ensure continuity of their social inclusion process. Particular attention must be paid to unaccompanied and separated children close to adulthood. Their stay in the protection system must be extended for a minimum period of six months, to avoid that they find themselves in a situation of complete destitution when they turn 18, and at risk of re-trafficking.
Everybody should be able to respect isolation measures aimed at limiting the pandemic, including the most vulnerable people, and dispose of a home where to stay, to be protected from the contagion and to contribute to the containment of its spread.
Measures aimed at protecting the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants including trafficked persons are necessary and urgent, also in order to ensure the effectiveness of general measures against COVID-19, and they should be included in the relevant regulations.