On 23 February, 10.30 am, the European Court of Human Rights will read in open court, at the Palais des Droits de l'Homme in Strasbourg, the judgment on the case and other Hirsi c. Italy. This is the most important ruling of the Strasbourg Court concerning rejections implemented by Italy to Libya, as a result of bilateral agreements and the Treaty of friendship between Italy and Libya signed by the previous Berlusconi government.
The Court's ruling will have a huge impact and, if he had tested positive for the applicants, will mark a turning point in the admission of responsibility and management of migration in Italy. It could eventually prohibit a definitive and binding operations refoulement of migrants intercepted and / or rescued at sea, operations in the past were made by the Italian authorities indiscriminately and without giving migrants the opportunity to apply for asylum or other form of international protection. The Court's ruling and then mark a fundamental principle of which even the government can not ignore mountains when preparing to renegotiate the agreements of cooperation with the Libyan Transition Committee.
Starting from 12.00 on February 23, 2012, the text of the judgment will be available at www.echr.coe.int in English or French.
The factsOn May 6, 2009, 35 miles south of Lampedusa, in international waters, the Italian authorities intercepted a ship carrying some 200 Somalis and Eritrea (including children and pregnant women). The migrants were transferred to Italian boats and taken back to Tripoli against their will unless they are identified, heard or notified of their actual destination. Migrants have had no opportunity to apply for international protection in Italy.
Of the 200 migrants, 24 people (11 Somalis and 13 Eritreans) were detected and supported in Libya by the Italian Council for Refugees and has instructed its lawyers Anton Giulio Lana and Andrew Saccucci Forensic Union for the Protection of Human Rights to present action before the European Court of Human Rights Proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights began in July 2009.
Subsequent conditions of life of migrants in Libya rejected May 6, 2009 have been dramatic. Most of them have been locked up for several months in detention centers where Libyans have experienced violence and abuse of all kinds. An applicant is able to leave again, Libya to Malta, where he sought and obtained protection. Another applicant, however, died in an attempt to again reach Italy aboard a makeshift boat. An applicant is able to flee to Israel, while another has returned to Ethiopia.
Most applicants were registered by the High Commissioner for Refugees United Nations and obtained by the recognition of refugee status in Libya. However, Gaddafi's government has stopped the collaboration with UNHCR, which has been forced to close its office in Tripoli in June 2010.
Then the outbreak of war in Libya, the applicants who were still in Tripoli and had since been released from detention were both victims of reprisals by militias loyal to the regime by both the insurgents and were forced into hiding for several weeks without water nor food. After the NATO bombing began, some applicants have fled to Tunisia, others have attempted to sail back to Europe.
One of the applicants, EB, managed to reach Italy and was detained for several months in the FEA of Crotone, pending a decision on his application for asylum. He was seen to recognize the refugee status by the Italian authorities on the day before the trial before the European Court of Human Rights (June 22, 2011). Well, first rejected and then judged the holder the right to asylum in our country, to final confirmation of the contradictory policy of expulsions carried out by the Italian government at the time.
Based on the evidence collected, there is reason to fear that some applicants have lost their lives attempting to reach Italy aboard a vessel tragically wrecked off the coast of the Italian and Maltese in April 2011.
In this regard, it should be noted that according to UNHCR estimates there are about 1,500 migrants who have lost their lives attempting to reach Italy by sea in 2011.
These, in summary, violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) challenged the Italian government in the application on which the Strasbourg Court will decide by February 23:
· Forced implemented by the Italian authorities are opposed to the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits, absolutely and without exception, deportation or repatriation to a country where there is the risk of being subjected to torture or other inhuman and degrading treatment ( Article. 3 ECHR). The migrants were in fact returned to Libya, a country which has not yet ratified the Geneva Convention on Refugees of 1951 and in which African migrants in transit to Europe are subjected to a practice of systematic violations of human rights and may be returned to their home countries where they would be tortured or killed. In particular, there are numerous international sources (governmental and non governmental organizations) that evident from the inhuman conditions of treatment of migrants in detention centers in Libya.
· The rejections have also violated the prohibition of collective expulsion of aliens under Article. 4 of the Protocol. 4 to the ECHR because the applicants were returned to the Libyan authorities across the board unless they are individually identified, without being able to represent their protection needs.
· The rejections have finally breached the right to an effective remedy (Art. 13 ECHR), which would ensure that people in need of protection blocking the refusal of entry. The persons intercepted, in fact, as history has shown, then, had taken refuge, which was prevented from applying for protection in Italy.
For more information
Press - Italian Council for RefugeesValeria Carlini tel. +06 69200114 ext. 216 cell. 320 81 87 167and. Email: Website firstname.lastname@example.org www.cir-onlus.org
Press office - Forensic Union for the Protection of Human RightsJoy Silvagni Tel 0039 06 8412940/8845289 Fax 0039 06 84085170 cell.3409275277and. Email: Website email@example.com www.unionedirittiumani.it