Italy: Hundreds of asylum seekers stuck in limbo, forced to live in tunnel

Hundreds of asylum seekers have been sleeping in a tunnel in the Italian town of Gorizia, on the border with Slovenia, since last August, waiting for verdicts on their asylum applications. Asylum seekers, mostly from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, were seen sleeping on blankets on the tunnel floor and being provided food and medical assistance by local volunteers. One asylum seeker described... Еще the situation as “living in Hell.” Many of them are asylum seekers whose permission to stay in various European countries — including Germany, France and Austria — expired. They therefore had to return to Italy on the basis of the Dublin Treaty, which provides that asylum seekers must stay in the first country where they were identified. According to local media, Gorizia is home to the only prefecture commission that evaluates all asylum requests in North-Eastern Italy. As a result around 400 asylum seekers — mostly Pakistani, Afghan, and other 'Dublinants' rejected by the rest of Europe — have been waiting in the city for months to learn about their destiny, all the while stuck in limbo. A majority of them have been housed in structures that the local Church has made available in agreement with the prefecture, while others had no choice but to rely on the Bombi tunnel.

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