June 11, 2024

Regarding the closure of the Silos

The closure of the Silos has been welcomed by everyone: those who have seen it know that it is an undignified, dirty environment, a breeding ground for infections and diseases, a danger for migrants and for the entire city. It is not worthy of those who have been staying there for months waiting to be housed in an asylum seeker facility as provided by law; it is not worthy of a beautiful city like Trieste, with its history of many wounds to which no more should be added.
Transfers to facilities in other cities and regions have always been made, but in an insufficient way: and for this reason, many young people were forced to wait a long time at the Silos. The various reception organizations have always declared that the transfer mechanism needed to be improved (which, however, we know depends on Rome and not on Trieste).
I now hope that this will be done in a structural way, to avoid asylum seekers camping out in other dilapidated structures in the city. Our shelters are full.
I do not have the ambition to have the easy solution to complicated problems. I say that I am happy that the young people who are in the Silos are being transferred to reception facilities where - as provided by Italian law - they will be able to have a bed, toilets and a first (albeit sometimes insufficient) reception while waiting for their positions to be evaluated. Another question is whether the laws on the recognition of refugee, refugee and humanitarian protection status are adequate or not. But this, I repeat, is another problem that often leads to very divergent judgments. And to extreme politicization. Also to fears, distrust and naive do-goodism that cloud reason.
I am happy that there is a system of transfers to adequate reception facilities for asylum seekers. I hope the mechanism works: otherwise it is true that we will close the Silos but we will find these young people camping out in other corners of the city. For those in transit, as the Diocese of Trieste we have opened a night shelter in via S. Anastasio, not only for the cold emergency as initially hypothesized: even now it remains open and is always full. Thanks to all the magnificent volunteers who came forward and who, in silence, every evening, every night, lend themselves. Thank you if others want to join. All the expenses (for operators, utilities, sanitation, food ...) are borne by Caritas: thank you if someone wants to support Caritas for this reception service that almost every evening involves families with small children. Otherwise they would sleep on the street. Maybe under the water. The Campo Sacro facility is not yet ready: I hope it will be as soon as possible. The authorities have committed to this. It is not up to me to say which structure should be used for reception: I have my opinions but it is not up to me to decide whether to open Campo Sacro or via Gioia.
I believe that the good of the people should be the founding criterion of every intervention. The transfer of these young people to better facilities is the beginning of a process for which other important steps will be needed: the adaptation of other facilities and the transfers of asylum seekers are essential stages. We will need to collaborate and monitor so that they are done in the best possible way. The dignity of migrants and ours is at stake.
✠ Enrico Trevisi
Vescovo di Trieste
ph. Massimiliano Pretto