In the first Christmas message of his pontificate, Pope Francis asked that “that migrants in search of a dignified life may find acceptance and assistance.”
In response, several immigrants in Rome who have been on hunger strike since last Saturday have ended their protest, deciding instead to write a letter to the Holy Father to inform him of their situation. The letter was given yesterday to Emanuele Giannone, director of Caritas in Rome.
The migrants sewed their mouths with needle and thread to denounced the conditions that they have been living in for months. Some are detained awaiting documents granting asylum, others are awaiting deportation.
Since last week, some 20 migrants locked up in various centers in Rome have participated in the hunger strike. Ignazio Marino, mayor of Rome, has said that the moment has come to reopen the debate on the inhuman treatment of migrants in these centers and has called for legislation to protect migrants escaping war, violence and poverty.
According to the current immigration law in place in Italy, migrants can be detained in these centers for up to 18 months waiting until their situation is resolved or for proper documentation from their country of origin arrives.