Excerpts from ECRE letter to European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot criticizing Italy-Libya Agreement
“From 7 to 10 May, the Italian navy has seized several refugee boats in international waters and pushed them back to Libya. Over 500 boatpeople, amongst them pregnant women and numerous children, have been denied basic human rights.
“The diversion practices of Italian authorities violates international refugee law and the European Convention on Human Rights. Access to asylum procedures in the European Union is being inhibited.
“In Libya the pushed back protection-seekers are threatened by refoulment to persecuting states. In Libya a system for refugee-protection does not exist. Until today the country has refused to sign the 1951 Refugee Convention.
“A clear condemnation of Italy for its violations of international and European law, as well as the initiation of an infringement proceeding against the Republic of Italy are urgently called for.
“The police-cooperation with Libya, which is intended to cut off escape routes of protection seekers to Europe, is to be clearly dismissed.
“We are convinced that the European Union will severely damage the international refugee-protection-regime and lose its credibility referring to human rights issues, if it fails to sanction this violation of human rights in hundreds of cases.”
Click here for full text of letter.