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Italian doctors launch campaign to fight “harmful” practice of detaining migrants

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: (Published 01 March 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q496

Linked Opinion

Doctors should not declare anyone fit to be held in immigration detention centres

  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Doctors in Italy are campaigning to stop their colleagues certifying people as fit to be detained in immigration centres, citing major concerns over the impact these centres have on health.

The campaign is a collaboration between the Italian Society of Migration Medicine (SIMM), an activist network called Mai più lager—No ai CPR [No more concentration camps—No to permanent centres for repatriation], and the Association for Legal Studies on Immigration.

It argues that the negative impact that the centres have on health mean no person can be labelled fit for detention. It is supporting doctors to reject applications to certify migrants as “suitable for administrative detention,” as required by Italy’s detention process. The assessment is commonly carried out in the presence of a police officer and doctors are usually unable to order diagnostic tests or conduct thorough examinations.

The campaign is advising doctors on ways they can reject requests for detention along with providing sample rejection forms and evidence outlining the health risks these centres pose.

In 2022, the World Health Organization in Europe called …

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