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UN rights experts concerned about Italy treatment of migrants, asylum seekers

[JURIST] The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [official website] said [UN press release] Monday after an official visit to Italy that it has "significant human rights concerns" about the facilities where Italy holds irregular migrants and asylum seekers detained on suspicion of criminal activity and the legal basis for those detentions. The Working Group, a group of independent experts that reports to the UN Human Rights Council [official website], recognized that Italy is currently experiencing an influx of migrants, but maintained [UN press release] that "strength of commitment of a government to human rights – among them due process guarantees – is really put to the test when faced with a real or perceived emergency." The Working Group specifically took issue with a recent amendment to the Italian criminal code that provides that the immigration status of a foreigner should be considered an aggravating circumstances for purposes of sentencing.

The UN Human Rights Council created the Working Group to promote the observance of the international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [text] with regard to the deprivation of liberty throughout the world. The Working Group recently completed official visits to Ukraine and Colombia [Working Group reports].

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