Sicily is a crucial European border, in the middle of Mediterranean sea, for millennia it was a crossroad among three continents. And even today it is a port and shelter for many asylum seekers coming by boats by the African coast. Sicily is also one of the Union territory where there are most reception centers for migrants, i.e. the place where newcomers start their new life in Europe. As it is easy to imagine, many aspects of the Sicilian life have been affected by this phenomena, generally in a positive way.
Therefore the University of Palermo has taken the responsibility to be part of the process aimed to realize a plural and inclusive citizenship, where locals and newcomers can grow together. Coherently with this mission, Di.Gi of Unipa (Department of Law) has developed theoretical and practical activities.
First of all, it hosts an international Doctoral School in “Human Rights: Evolution, Protection and Limits”. The board of professors and the PhD students have dedicated many researches to the issues of migration, asylum, racism, social inclusion, and other related topics. Long since, any year Di.Gi hosts a Summer school where international guests develop themes in the field of human rights studies.
Into the Di.Gi, 3 years ago, the CLEDU(Clinica Legale per i Diritti Umani) was created. It is a “Legal Clinic for Human Rights”, a program of legal education based on the method of “learning by doing”, where students – monitored by professors, lawyers, and experts – offer a pro bono legal aid and advice. Quoting the definition of the European Network for Legal Clinical Education: “Clinical legal education is a legal teaching method based on experiential learning, which fosters the growth of knowledge, personal skills and values as well as promoting social justice at the same time.”
CLEDU is specialised in promoting access to justice and offers free legal aid to vulnerable people, such as poor, migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, unaccompanied minors, victims of human trafficking and Roma people. It operates through a wide network including public institutions and civil society organisations in order to get a holistic e proactive action.