Italy Violates Human Rights and Deports Migrants

“Italy violated human rights by returning migrants to Libya, court rules” by Andrea Vogt, for the Guardian:

Italy violated international human rights laws when it intercepted migrants adrift in the Mediterranean in 2009 and returned them to Libya, the European court of human rightshas ruled.

The Strasbourg court ruling on Italy’s Berlusconi-era “push back” policies – since suspended – is now likely to play a key role in shaping future EU immigration policy at a time of political and economic upheaval in north Africa.

“It is the first time a court has recognised the unlawfulness of the push back operations with regard to international law and human rights,” said Andrea Saccucci, one of the Rome lawyers representing the migrants. “We are very satisfied, and hope it will prevent similar actions in the future.”…

Lawyers for the migrants argued that such interception violated their rights to seek political asylum and also exposed them to the risk of torture or degrading treatment in detention camps in Libya, or to expulsion back to home countries where they risked further persecution.

Italy had argued it was acting within the EU principles for controlling illegal immigration through partnerships with countries of origin and transit. At the time of the incident, Berlusconi’s interior minister, under pressure to stem the massive tide of immigration to Italy, defended the interceptions arguing they were in line with recently signed bilateral agreements with Libya…

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