Protecting the rights of seasonal workers in the Covid-19 Emergency

The daily work of INTERSOS mobile team in the province of Foggia, is strongly intertwined with the commitment to denounce the exploitation and improve living conditions of seasonal worker.

 

 

We are talking, only in in the area where INTERSOS is operational, of a population of about 2400 people in the winter months to over 6000 during the summer. A population mostly, but not only, composed by men forced to live in what are defined with the certainly not positive term “ghettos”, slums characterized by very serious hygiene-sanitary gaps, promiscuity and degradation.

 

In a context like this, our direct medical action cannot be separated from witnessing and advocating for the protection of fundamental rights: housing, health and citizenship above all. This link between the promotion of access to health care and human rights, that has guided our project in Foggia over the past two years, is now assuming, if possible, even greater urgency and centrality in the face of the threat posed by the Coronavirus epidemic.

 

There are several initiatives in which INTERSOS has been participating in response to this emergency, starting with the request for regularization of migrants without a residence permit, to encourage the emergence of those who are forced to live and work irregularly.

 

INTERSOS itself was the promoter of a letter addressed to the Regions and signed by various associations, asking to guarantee, even in informal settlements such as the “ghettos”, some minimum measures essential for the prevention of the epidemic, such as water supply, periodic distribution of hygienic kits, provision of latrines and periodic collection of waste.

 

We supported a campaign launched by Terra! and FLAI CGIL, with an open letter, addressed to the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and to the competent ministers, expressing “profound concern and concern for the thousands of foreign workers who live in the many ghettos and makeshift camps that have sprung up in our country” and pointing out that the Prefects – recipients of new powers following the emergency – may “adopt provisions aimed at making the migrants and asylum seekers present in the territory safe, by setting up or temporary requisitioning properties for accommodation purposes“.

 

Finally, we have also moved at European level, by joining a document promoted by numerous organizations to ask the Commission and the European Parliament to take measures to protect the rights of seasonal workers.

 

WHAT WE ASK:

 

  • Regularization of migrants without a residence permit, to encourage the emergence of those who are forced to live and work irregularly.
  • Housing solutions: relocating people living in the ‘ghettos’ into small housing units, so that they can put prevention measures into practice.

 

Flavia Melillo
Flavia Melillo

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