Concerns Over Italy’s Push-Back Practices in HRC’s UPR Report

The 14th regular session of the Human Rights Council begins on 31 May.   The report of the Working Group on Universal Period Review on Italy will be considered by the Council on 9 June.

The Working Group’s report identifies concerns with Italy’s treatment of migrants and asylum seekers, including whether migrants or asylum-seekers have been transferred to another country without proper assessment of the need for refugee or other protection and whether persons intercepted at sea have access to proper assessment of their asylum claims in accordance with international human rights standards.

Italy’s general response to date has been that “in cases of human trafficking, international law permitted the return of migrants to their countries of origin, unless they were in need of urgent medical assistance and had not expressed the intent to apply for asylum or other forms of international protection.”

Excerpts from the Report of the Working Group:

A. Presentation by the State under review [***]

11. Over the past few years, the country had been exposed to a massive inflow of migrants, which increased by 250 per cent over the last few years, and could, in some instances, affect public order. Italy is at the forefront of efforts to rescue migrants and asylum-seekers on the high seas. It affirmed that, in cases of human trafficking, international law permitted the return of migrants to their countries of origin, unless they were in need of urgent medical assistance and had not expressed the intent to apply for asylum or other forms of international protection. [***]

B. Interactive dialogue and responses by the State under review [***]

52. Italy noted that it had a comprehensive system of asylum and that new arrivals were regularly informed about their right to international protection. With nearly 50 per cent positive responses to all applications made, Italy’s rate of acceptance was above the EU average. Italy once again highlighted its efforts to provide rescue at sea, not only in its own waters, but also beyond. [***]

72. Denmark asked Italy to elaborate on criticism regarding the transfer of migrants and asylum-seekers to another country without proper assessment of the need for refuge and other protection. ***  [***]

76. New Zealand *** requested details on measures taken by Italy to ensure the individual circumstances of each asylum-seeker are genuinely considered. *** [***]

II. Conclusions and/or recommendations

84. The following recommendations will be examined by Italy, which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the fourteenth session of the Human Rights Council: [***]

67. To strengthen efforts to protect asylum-seekers and refugees (Yemen); to continue the implementation of laws on migration and amendments, to ensure that the laws are always fully in line with international standards (Kyrgyzstan); to make additional efforts in work with refugees and migrants (Kyrgyzstan); and to take further steps to ensure the full respect of the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees (Sweden);

68. To strengthen cooperation with UNHCR in order to guarantee access to a just procedure in identifying the protection needs of those travelling to or are in Italian territory (Mexico);

69. With regard to the concerns expressed in the Italian-Libyan agreement to prevent ships with immigrants from sailing to Italy, to ensure that intercepted persons have access to proper assessment of their asylum claims in accordance with international human rights standards (Netherlands);

70. To ensure satisfactory asylum procedures for all migrants and asylum seekers rescued at sea (Denmark);

71. To review its legislation and practices, ensuring that they comply fully with the principle of non-refoulement, and to ensure the accountability of persons responsible for any violation thereof (Czech Republic);

72. To take appropriate legislative measures to decriminalize irregular entry and stay in Italy (Brazil); to eliminate the provision criminalizing irregular entry and stay on Italian territory as contained in law No. 94 of 2009, as well as those provisions that regard non-documented status as an aggravating circumstance in the commission of criminal offence, and the creation of vigilante groups, as contained in law No. 125 of 2008 (Mexico); [***]

77. To increase the transparency of arrival and return procedures concerning immigrants and refugees (Japan);

78. To intensify efforts in the resettlement of refugees, especially with regard to the protracted refugee situations identified by UNHCR (Morocco);

79. To ensure the full enjoyment of human rights for those hoping to find a better life in Italy, especially by strengthening structures to guarantee the rights of migrants (Burkina Faso);

80. To strengthen respect for the human rights of migrants, including those in detention centres (Cuba);

81. To repeal all discriminatory laws against irregular migrants and take action to investigate and prosecute discriminatory acts by public and security officials, in particular where racial and religious motives are aggravating factors (Pakistan);

82. To continue close cooperation with countries of origin and transit in finding an effective solution to the problem of illegal immigration (Viet Nam);

83. To continue measures to end trafficking in human beings (Yemen); and to strengthen further its efforts to end trafficking in women and children, and to take effective measures to prosecute and punish trafficking in persons (Canada);

84. To increase measures to identify women and child victims of trafficking effectively in order to provide them with adequate assistance, and to consider not penalizing them for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked (Philippines);

85. To strengthen efforts to combat trafficking in women and children, and to take effective measures to prosecute and punish trafficking in persons, as raised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee against Torture (Japan); and to take effective measures to prosecute and punish trafficking and the exploitation of persons, as recommended by the Committee against Torture (Israel); [***]

Click here for the Report of the WG.

Leave a comment

Filed under Human Rights Council, Italy, Mediterranean, News, Reports

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s