Help Secure Housing for Refugees in Italy


Target: Enrico Letta, Italian Prime Minister or President of the Council of Ministers of Italy

Goal: Provide refugees at Lampedusa with adequate housing

The living conditions for refugees that arrive by boat on Lampedusa, an eight-square-mile island located to the southwest of Sicily, are terrible. The crux of the problem is that the reception center meant to accommodate the refugees is too overcrowded and new arrivals are simply turned away.With no bedding nor convenient access to shower or bathroom facilities, these refugees—both children and adults— are subjected to inhumane treatment and neglect as they are forced to sleep outside on the ground.

The Italian state must put an end to these inhumane conditions and ensure that all refugees on the island obtain adequate access to housing. Not only should the reception center be expanded, the center should maintain a database of available refugee housing across the country to facilitate the swift accommodation of homeless refugees.

The refugees, primarily of African and Middle Eastern origin, often arrive weakened and battered after a perilous journey from nearby Tunisia or Libya. Confined to the cramped and narrow space of a fish boat or a rubber dinghy while at sea, with their discomfort exacerbated by a lack of provisions, they are starving and dehydrated by the time they make it to shore. Oftentimes, there are pregnant women on board who need immediate medical assistance.

To leave these exhausted, malnourished people,  including children and pregnant women, to fend for their lives as they must sleep on the ground and struggle to gain access to showers and bathrooms  at the reception center amounts to a willful neglect of their safety and health. Sign this petition to show your support for the Lampedusa refugees and to pressure the Italian government to provide them with humane living conditions.


Dear Enrico Letta, Italian Prime Minister or President of the Council of Ministers of Italy,

The living conditions that your government has provided for the refugees in Lampedusa are an affront to the notion of basic hospitality that a responsible host country is obliged to offer to the refugees alighting on its shores. Basic decency requires that these men, women, and children are quickly transferred to locations that can house them if the local refugee reception center is unable to accommodate them.

Deprived of the basic amenities of life such as shelter and access to bathroom and shower facilities, the very health and safety of these refugees is threatened.A  growing population of migrants that can’t meet its hygiene needs is a recipe for the spread of disease.

That is why the Italian government should make a serious effort to provide decent living conditions for these refugees by expanding the local accommodations on Lampedusa and by quickly transferring them to other locations where housing is more readily available.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Luca Siragusa via Flickr

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48 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
  • James Thrailkill
  • sheila childs
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Mal Gaff
  • Holly Hall
  • Nancy Petersen
  • jeff hopkins
  • Marianne Oelman
  • Melanie waleski
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