This month marks the first anniversary of the implementation of Italy’s push-back practice with Libya. The practice is based primarily on the Italy-Libya Treaty of Friendship, August 2008, and the Supplementary Protocol of 4 February 2009.
The first push-back operation occurred on 6 May. As a reminder, here is the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture’s (CPT) description of the first operation:
Operation of 6 May 2009
According to data provided by the Italian authorities, 231 migrants (191 men and 40 women) were aboard three vessels in distress. The information collected from other sources indicates that among the migrants there were unaccompanied minors and four pregnant women. Following the interception of the boats by two Coast Guard vessels and one vessel of the Guardia di Finanza, the migrants were transferred onto the three Italian vessels and returned to Libya. The CISOM [Order of Malta Italian Relief Corps] personnel and a journalist, who was aboard the vessel of the Guardia di Finanza, indicated that they were not aware that the migrants would be pushed back to Libya, and that the captains of the Italian vessels only received an order to do so in the course of the operation.
The delegation was unable to interview the migrants pushed back to Libya or, given the authorities’ refusal to provide their names, the captains of the Italian vessels involved in the operation. However, reliable information collected by the delegation would indicate that, during the operation, which lasted around 12 hours, the 74 persons on the Guardia di Finanza vessel were provided insufficient water and no food or blankets; further, physical violence, in particular with kicks, punches and blows with an oar, was allegedly used against a number of migrants by Libyan police at the harbour in Tripoli, to force them to disembark from the two Coast Guard vessels.
Click here (IT) for article and podcast from AMISnet: “Un anno di respingimenti.”
Click here for earlier post.
Click here for the full CPT Report.
Click here for the Response of the Italian Government.