Italian Council for Refugees publishes report on access to the territory, border controls and the asylum procedure in Italy

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Italian Council for Refugees (CIR) has published a report on the Italian legislation and practices regarding border controls, access to the territory and to the asylum procedure.

In March 2011, Italy officially declared the end of its “push-backs” policy that was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in Hirsi Jamaa and others v. Italy. According to the report, Italy has respected this commitment with a few exceptions, such as in June 2012 when a joint Italian-Libyan patrol intercepted a boat of Eritrean migrants on the high seas and escorted them to Libyan waters, at which point they were handed over to Libyan authorities. The Italian Custom police denied their involvement.

According to CIR, the law should require that law enforcement authorities must verify the treatment to which migrants would be exposed in the country where authorities intend to return them. Migrants should have the right to appeal a return order and the appeal should have a suspensive effect. Also, CIR recommends that binding rules on disembarkation of migrants and the concept of a “safe place” should be adopted.

CIR also notes that the bilateral agreements signed with North African third countries such as Libya, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia to speed up the readmission of irregular migrants arriving in Italy, may hinder access to procedural guarantees. Guarantees include the right to be informed and to receive legal assistance, the right to an effective remedy and the possibility to contact NGOs or other organisations specialised in migration-related issues and asylum.

CIR also underlines that these fast-track readmission procedures prevent an adequate identification of vulnerable groups in need of protection, such as unaccompanied children, asylum seekers and victims of torture or trafficking. In addition, these agreements do not envisage provisions concerning the respect of human rights and the principle of non-refoulement.

Read the full report (in Italian but with an English summary at the end) of the Italian Council of Refugees.

border management