Tag Archives: Bernardino De Rubeis

Tunisian Migrant Boats Stop Arriving in Italy (for the time being) – Amnesty Int’l Criticises “Collective Summary Removals”

Italy has been continuing to deport newly arriving Tunisian migrants pursuant to the terms of its new agreement with Tunisia, the terms of which have not been made public.  Under the agreement, Tunisia has apparently agreed to the expedited returns of its nationals from Italy.  300 Tunisians were flown to Tunisia from Italy last week.

The mayor of Lampedusa, Bernardino De Rubeis, declared that the “immigration crisis” on Lampedusa is over (only 27 migrants remain on the island as of 26 April). The mayor called for the 500 extra police and military personnel who were brought to the island to deal with the migrants to leave as soon as possible so that tourists can use the hotel rooms currently occupied by the security personnel.

Amnesty International issued a Briefing Paper on 21 April: “Amnesty International findings and recommendations to the Italian authorities following the research visit to Lampedusa and Mineo.”  Amnesty is highly critical of the expedited return practices that have been implemented by Italy.

Excerpts from the Briefing Paper:

“Collective summary removals, reportedly of Tunisian nationals, from Lampedusa, from 7 April 2011 onwards, following the signing of an agreement between the Italian and Tunisian authorities.

Amnesty International is extremely concerned by the enforced removal that began on 7 April from Lampedusa, following the recent signing of an agreement between the Tunisian and Italian authorities. At the time of writing these forcible returns were ongoing and had reportedly been carried out twice a day by air since 11 April.

On 6 April, the Italian Ministry of Interior announced that Italy had signed an agreement with Tunisia pursuant to which the latter committed itself to strengthening border controls with a view to preventing departures, and to accepting the speedy readmission of people who had recently arrived and who will be arriving in Italy. Amnesty International is particularly concerned that, according to the above-mentioned announcement, Tunisian migrants arriving onto Italian shores may be “repatriated directly” and with “simplified procedures”.

In the light of this announcement, and given, in particular, Amnesty International’s findings in relation to the total inadequacy of asylum procedures on Lampedusa, the organization believes that those people who have been subjected to “direct repatriations” following “simplified procedures” have been victims of collective summary removals.

As far as Amnesty International could ascertain, people have been removed from the island within one or two days of arrival. Thus, it appears highly unlikely that they would have had access to any meaningful or adequate opportunity to assert that they should not be returned to Tunisia on international protection or other grounds. In the circumstances those removals would amount to summary expulsions (cf. the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hassanpour-Omrani v Sweden and Jabari v Turkey). Such practices are strictly prohibited under international, regional and domestic human rights and refugee law and standards. Additionally human rights and refugee law and standards require that the removing state must provide an effective remedy against removal. Removing people without giving them the chance of exercising their right to challenge their removal through an effective procedure gives rise per se to a human rights violation. This is independent of whether removal would place the individuals concerned at a real risk of serious human rights violations, which, in turn, would constitute a breach of the non-refoulement principle.

Amnesty International calls on the government of Italy to:

  • disclose the agreement reached with the Tunisian authorities;
  • immediately desist from any further summary removals;
  • ensure that anyone arriving on Italian shores is adequately screened to assess any potential protection needs, and that they are provided with adequate information about their right to challenge removal on international protection or other human rights grounds; and
  • ensure access to fair and effective asylum procedures as well as access to procedures to challenge removal on other grounds.”

Click here and here for articles. (IT)

Click here for Amnesty’s Briefing Paper.

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Filed under Italy, Mediterranean, News, Reports, Tunisia

Inhumane Conditions on Lampedusa; Local Residents Block Ship Carrying Supplies for Migrants in Effort to Prevent Construction of Tent City

Hundreds of migrants from Tunisia continue to arrive on Lampedusa.  While thousands of the migrants have been moved to other locations in Italy, over 4000 are now on the island.  Their living conditions are dangerous and unsanitary.  Many of the newly arriving migrants have wet clothes and lack shoes and are being housed outdoors without shelter.  Hundreds do not have access to toilets, wash facilities, or adequate food.  About 700 migrants reportedly arrived yesterday, but only 300 migrants were able to be transferred off the island yesterday.   An Italian navy ship is expected to arrive in the “coming hours” which will have the capacity to transport at least 1000, perhaps 2000, migrants from the island.  The mayor of Lampedusa, Bernardino De Rubeis, said “[t]he attitude of the State is a shame. Italy is allowing thousands of these immigrants to be treated like animals, forced to sleep under the water. All of Italy should be ashamed. («L’atteggiamento dello Stato è vergognoso. L’Italia sta consentendo che queste migliaia di immigrati vengano trattati come bestie, obbligati a dormire sotto l’acqua. Tutta l’Italia dovrebbe vergognarsi».)

Hundreds of local residents engaged in a new round of demonstrations yesterday by preventing the unloading of a ship carrying tents, portable toilets, and other supplies for the migrants on the island.  The residents are trying to prevent the creation of a tent city.  They fear that if conditions for the migrants are improved, it is less likely that the migrants will be moved from the island to other locations.

Click here and here for articles. (IT)

Click here (IT) for update from EveryOne Group.

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Filed under Italy, Mediterranean, News, Tunisia