Syracuse, Sicily, 24 September 2014 –“After a long detention in a “connection house” in Libya, in the evening the smugglers took us to the beach, and they told us: today we will leave Libya to Italy. Everyone was celebrating because we will be free from slavery, anger, hunger, kidnapping, torturing, domestic work with no reward and robbery.” Abdullhai (fictive name), a young 17-years-old migrant from Gambia who was rescued and disembarked in Sicily in May 2014. Today Abdullhai is still hosted in a temporary reception centers in the Syracuse province, waiting to be transferred in a permanent structure for unaccompanied minors.

reception center in Syracusa

From transit to permanent stays in reception centres

“The reception centres for unaccompanied minors in Syracuse province are meant to be temporary and transit structures, in reality unaccompanied minors turn remaining too long in such inadequate centres. Children wait indefinitely for long-term solutions, and this represents an additional trauma to the one they already suffered during their journey” said Lilian Pizzi, Terre des Hommes project coordinator in Syracuse.

Unaccompanied minors arriving here should be considered as a resource for Europe, and not only as an emergency migratory problem. This is why we must consider them as a social opportunity for Europe, as de facto, most of them end up staying in Europe. Therefore, they must be seen as future citizens who will establish in Europe, entitled to rights and protection since their arrivals”