#FootballPeople weeks tournament in Italy to protest new government measures ‘criminalising refugees’

Amateur club ASD Polisportiva Atletico Diritti will host a football tournament during the 2018 #FootballPeople weeks to mark the fifth anniversary of the 60 refugee children who died whilst trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat to Italy five years ago.

The event will take place on 11th October in Rome at the Rebibbia Nuovo Complessio, organiseed by Progetto Diritti and Antigone associations, who together work to protect the rights of migrants and refugees in respect of the penal system in Italy.

Participating teams in the tournament will include those from the Vatican, reporters from Italy’s national television channel RAI, who covered the story, and a team of prisoners of Rebibbia. Atletico Diritti feature within Fare’s refugee database for championing refugee inclusion in Italy, with many representing the club regularly.


The tournament will be kicked-off by Luigi Ciotti, an Italian priest who founded the Ngo Libera and prominent activist in support of migrants in Italy. The event will take place in the Roman prison of Rebibbia Nuovo Complesso (via Raffaele Majetti 70) - a symbolic gesture to protest recent new measures announced by the Italian government that make it easier to criminalise migrants, expel them and reduce their rights to humanitarian protection.

In September, the Italian government adopted a security decree which makes it easier to expel migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship. The decree, which will go to Parliament for approval before passing into law, also allows local police to use more heavy-handed methods of dealing with migrants, arming them with Taser stun guns and increasing their powers to evict squatters by getting rid of the obligation to find provisional housing for the most vulnerable, among other new measures.

Susanna Marietti, of Antigone, one of the organisers of Atletico Diritti's #FootballPeople weeks event in Rome, said:

"The recent decree on security wanted by interior minister Matteo Salvini is another act in the shameful war against migrants. We ask Parliament not to convert it into law. To distract citizens from the real problems in Italy, the government wants us to believe that the problem is people who flee life-threatening situations and death to seek refuge in our country. Do not believe it!"

Officers of Italy's Navy and Coast Guard are under investigation for their failure to rescue hundreds of migrants during a 2013 shipwreck near Lampedusa, in which more than 260 people died, including 60 children. A criminal case is ongoing, with lawyers from the non-profit group Progetto Diritti working with victims' families on the case to shed light on who is responsible.

The tournament at Rebbibia will commemorate those people - 60 of them children - who lost their lives five years ago. For further information on the tournamentfollow Atletico Diritti on Twitter. To learn more about the work Progetto Diritti are doing to protect the rights of the less well-off in Italy, including migrants and refugees, visit their website.

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