When a person wants to ask for asylum in a country member of the EU, this person can ask for it only once on European territory. Once here, this person is allowed to ask for asylum only in the first country of the Union that it enters. People who arrive to Italy by sea have, therefore, to ask for asylum in Italy. In order to check whether a person has asked for asylum in another country, the EU takes and registers their fingerprints: the information about a person and his or her fingerprints are then inserted in a database called Europec.
Syrians however, as the majority of people who arrive to the Italian shores, need Italy to be a bridge to northern Europe. Once in Italy they declare that they do not want to register here and leave their fingerprints. Until the end of 2013, however, Syrians were forced to leave their fingerprints by Italian police. The stories we have heard talk about electric guns, blackjacks, broken fingers and people being beaten on their backs. Often the police would mistreat only one person in front of a group of 100 or 200 so that the rest would not resist when asked to leave their fingerprints.
With time passing, Italy realised that Syrians were going to arrive in big numbers and keep coming, it was then decided that Syrians would have not had their prints taken anymore. Like this, they can go out of the centres in the south freely and, like ghosts, try and get to the country they wantin the North.
By doing this, Italy has not been respecting its duties to the EU and to Syrians themselves. Without giving any medical, legal, humanitarian assistance; not informing them of their rights, not allowed to denounce anybody who was taking advantage of them to the police, in the only hands of smugglers, Syrians have found themselves in the majority of cases abandoned to themselves in a country that has been pretending not to see them.