Culture And Media

Italy: Doctors refuse to report illegal immigrants, survey says

Rome, 25 Feb. (AKI) - A survey of Italian doctors shows 85 percent of them have rejected a move by the Berlusconi government allowing them to report illegal immigrants to authorities when they seek medical care. The survey, released on Wednesday, sought the doctors' reaction to the measure contained in a series of tough security laws recently approved by the Italian Senate or upper house of parliament.

The survey was conducted by Quotivadis, an online daily produced by the medical and scientific organisation, Univadis.

Despite the measure, 21 percent of doctors said they would "continue to act in the same way".

Research by Adnkronos found there has been a decline of 10 to 15 percent in the number of immigrants using hospital services in Italy since the measure was approved, however.

Allowing doctors and medical staff to report illegal immigrants reverses a previous prohibition that dated to 1998.

An emergency decree issued by the government last Friday also allows authorities to detain immigrants for up to six months, instead of two months, as they try to identify them and process asylum requests.

The decree also sets a mandatory life sentence for the rape of minors or attacks where the victim is killed, and establishes rules for citizen street patrols to be conducted by unarmed and unpaid volunteers.

The conservative government led by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi passed the measures after a recent spate of rape attacks allegedly committed by Romanian immigrants.

Racial tension and attacks against Romanians and other immigrants are on the rise throughout Italy.




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