Access to the territory and push backs

Italy

Country Report: Access to the territory and push backs Last updated: 20/05/22

Author

In 2021, according to MOI data, 67,040 people disembarked in Italy.

Over 31,500 came from Libya, more than 20,000 from Tunisia and 13,000 from Turkey. The number of people refouled to Libya in the same year was 32,425.[1]

On 21 December 2021, the Court of Rome ordered the Italian state to release entry visas pursuant to art. 25 Visa Code EU Regulation 810/2009 to two young Afghans, deemed to be at risk in their country of origin.[2] The case originated from a visa application presented on their behalf by an Italian Asgi lawyer, based on their belonging to risk categories (journalists, activists, etc.). The first decision was motivated by the immediate risk for the applicant and the necessity to issue a visa to consent them to reach the Italian territory without further risks. On 28 February 2022, the same Court annulled the order, stating that the applicants should have accepted the proposal, made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to renounce the individual visas application and access the humanitarian corridors that would have been launched, on an indefinite date, for Italy.

Following the first decision of the Court, however, the visas had been released.

On 18 January 2021, the Civil Court of Rome accepted the urgent appeal lodged, with the support of ASGI and Border Violence Monitoring Network, by a Pakistani man, asylum seeker, who was informally readmitted in July 2020 by the border police of Trieste to Slovenia according to the Readmission Agreement signed by the Italian and Slovenian Government in 1996. From Slovenia, within 48 hours, the man reported to have been then readmitted to Croatia and then pushed back to Bosnia, according to a consolidated mechanism of readmissions by chain. The Court declared the informal readmission procedure implemented on the Italian eastern border on the basis of the mentioned agreement that was never ratified by the Italian Parliament, unlawful.[3]

The Court observed that the readmission procedure was carried out in clear violation of the international, European and internal rules that regulate access to the asylum procedure. The concerned persons were not offered any remedies and their individual situations were not examined. The Court therefore concluded clear infringement of the right of defence and the right to an effective remedy. The Court also observed de facto detention carried out without any order from the judicial authority and It further concluded that the procedure clearly violates the obligation of non-refoulement, which prohibits exposing persons to risks of inhuman and degrading treatment, which, as documented by numerous NGOs, is a systematic practice at the Croatian border.

In direct application of art. 10 paragraph 3 of the Italian Constitution, the Court recognized the applicant’s right to enter Italy immediately in order to have access to the procedure for examining his application for international protection.[4]

The applicant was allowed to enter Italy with a visa and to formalise the asylum application. However, immediately after, on 3 May 2021, the Court of Rome accepted the appeal submitted by the Ministry of Interior considering that the personal involvement of the applicant in the readmission procedure was not proved. In this decision the Court did not deny the reconstruction of the first court regarding the illegitimacy of the readmission procedures.[5]

After the mentioned decision of 18 January 2021 of the Civil Court of Rome, readmission procedures at the eastern border have been suspended. However, since July 2021, mixed patrols of Italian and Slovenian police have been started (see internal borders, Slovenia).

According to testimonies collected by the Adriatic ports Network, in 2021, readmission practice continued from Italy to Greece.

Also, on 11 January 2021, the Civil Court of Appeal of Rome confirmed the decision taken on 28 November 2019 by the Court of Rome accepting the appeal lodged with the support of ASGI and Amnesty by 14 Eritrean citizens based in Israel, who were victims of a collective refoulement by Italian authorities to Libya in 2009. The Court recognized their right to access the asylum procedure in Italy and sentenced Italy to compensate the damage they suffered due to the illegal behaviour of the Italian authorities.[6]

The Court recognized the need to expand the scope of international protection to preserve the position of those who were prevented from submitting an application for international protection due to the fact that they could not access the territory of the State as a consequence of an unlawful act committed by the authority of the referring State, inhibiting the entry to the territory in the form of a collective refoulement, in violation of the Constitution and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.[7]

 

Arrivals by sea

In 2021, 67,477 persons disembarked in Italy,[8] almost doubling the number of arrivals of 2020 (34,154) and an even more relevant increase when compared to 2019 (11,471) and 2018 (23,370), but still considerably lower than 2017 (119,369). In 2021, there were a total of 56,388 asylum applicants.[9]

The number of MSNA also increased to 10,053, compared to 4,687 of 2020.[10]

The main nationality of people disembarked remained Tunisian, who were 15,671 in total. The number of Tunisian nationals registered as asylum seekers was 7,102.

Over 31,500 came from Libya, more than 20,000 from Tunisia, 13,000 from Turkey and 1,500 from Algeria. At least 32,425 persons, in 2021, were returned to Libya (already over 3 thousand as of March 19, 2022).[11]

Italy continues to play a key role in indirect refoulements to Libya, continuing to equip and train the Libyan authorities thus preventing access to protection for thousands of fleeing people;[12] additionally, the way to classify arrivals lacks in transparency. Out of the people arrived in Italy only one fifth is classified as rescued as part of SAR activities coordinated by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) of Italian Coast Guard. The Ministry of Interior informed that out of the 21,000 people rescued at sea, 9,000 were rescued by NGOs.

Around 38,887 arrivals were classified as traced during law enforcement operations.[13] In fact, from 2019, the Italian coastguard started to classify most of the search and rescue operations as law enforcement operations, which results in ambiguities regarding their actual number.[14] Since 2020 however, it stopped publishing data on search and rescue operations.[15]

On 31 March 2020, the Sophia Operation, started in 2015, ended definitively and was replaced by the IRINI Operation which changes its main task in implementing the arms embargo against Libya imposed by the UN. A note published by the Chamber of Deputies states that after the Sophia operation, in fact, naval devices useful for the purpose of rescuing people in one of the routes most affected by migratory flows no longer operate.[16] In this regard, the study by the Senate Commission notes that, with the Irini mission, the displacement of the intervention area will bring ships to very decentralised areas with respect to the routes of human traffickers and therefore the “search and rescue component” of the new operation should be strongly reduced compared to Sophia.[17] The report of the Council of Europe Commissioner for human rights, observes that the focus of the EUNAVFOR MED IRINI operations area was the eastern part of the Libyan Search and Rescue Region and the high seas between Greece and Egypt, strongly reducing the possibility of encountering refugees and migrants in distress at sea.[18]

UNHCR data shows that in 2021, 67,477 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea and 1,496 died or disappeared during the route,[19] compared to 34,154 in 2020 and 11,471 in 2019.[20]

In 2021, the highest number of monthly sea arrivals was recorded in August when 10,286 persons reached the Italian coasts.[21]

Regarding the external sea borders with Tunisia, on 9 December 2020 the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a technical agreement with the UN Office for Services and Projects (UNOPS) to support the North African country in border control activities and in fighting migrant trafficking.[22] With at least 1,922 Tunisians repatriated in 2020 and 1,872 in 2021, Tunisia remains the main destination for repatriation from Italy (73.5% of the total number of migrants repatriated).[23]

The “closure of ports”

The Decree Law 130/2020 repealed the law provision introduced by Decree 53/2019 [24] and introduced a new provision to give a legal basis to the Minister of the Interior bans on transit or stop to ships engaged in rescue at sea,[25] thus leaving the risk of penalization of rescues at sea to persist.

The new legal provision no longer bases the mentioned MOI power to Article 19 (2 g) of the Montego Bay Convention (UNCLOS), according to which, a passage of a ship is not considered innocent in case of – in particular- loading or unloading of persons contrary to the immigration or sanitary laws of the coastal state but, it generically refers to the UNCLOS convention asking that action be taken in compliance with it. [26]

Furthermore, the new legal provision has changed the sanction:  from administrative it becomes criminal and the fine provided – no longer an administrative penalty – is from 10,000 to 50,000 euros, therefore a reduced sum compared to that foreseen by Decree Law n. 53/2019.[27]

According to Decree Law 130/2020 as amended by L 173/2020 the Minister of the Interior, in agreement with the Minister of Defence and with the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, prior information to the President of the Council of Ministers, can limit or forbid the transit and the stop of Italian or foreign merchant ships, or governmental ships used as merchant ships, for reasons of public order and public safety, as long as in compliance with the Montego Bay Convention (UNCLOS). The Decree Law provides both the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Transport with the competence to stop, limit and the transit of ships. In some cases, they have overlapping competences.[28]

The decree, however, excludes its application in case of rescue operations immediately notified  to the coordination centre responsible for rescues at sea and to the flag State and carried out in compliance with the indications of the competent search and rescue authority, issued on the basis of the resulting obligations by International conventions on the law of the sea, by the European Convention on Human Rights and by national international and European laws on the right to asylum, without prejudice to what provided for by the Additional Protocol of the Convention of  the United Nations Against Transnational Organised Crime to combat the illicit trafficking of migrants by land, sea and road air (L. 146/2006).[29] This means that the law requires that rescue ships immediately communicate the rescue operation to the coordination centre and to the flag state of the ship and that they conduct the rescue operation according to the instructions received from the search and rescue authority.

The Decree further foresees that the authorities must give indications to the rescue ships that respect the conventions and laws referred to.

As highlighted by jurists, this must imply that, on the one hand, if the indications require not to intervene, these should be respected unless, however, the evolution of the situation demonstrates that, in the absence of other interventions, the risk of injury for people materialises. On the other hand, entrusting people to an unsafe destination cannot be considered compliant with the aforementioned rules, which could be the case when the Libyan authority is indicated as the competent authority.[30]

In 2020, the main measure implemented against NGO ships operating in rescues at sea was that of administrative detention, based on the pretext of technical irregularities.

As recorded by Ispi, in a study published by the journal Corriere della Sera,[31] from spring 2020 the measure was applied to the following ships: Alan Kurdi and Alta Mari in May-June, Sea Watch3 and Ocean Viking in July, Sea Watch4 in September, again Alan Kurdi and then Louise Michel in October.

Between 9 October and 21 December 2020, the government simultaneously blocked seven NGOs ships (Jugend Rettet, Sea Watch3, Sea Watch4, Eleonore, Alan Kurdi, Ocean Viking and Louise Michel).

On December 2020 the Administrative Court for Sicily, Palermo, forwarded a request for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU regarding the applicability of the Directive 2009/16 / EC to ships that mainly carry out SAR activities. It did so following the appeal filed by Seawatch 4 against the notice of detention for the master, applied in September 2020, following the rescue at sea of 354 people, which took place at the end of August 2020.

After the rescue and the authorization for the transfer of people on the Allegra ship, in Palermo, the Ministry of Health, imposed anchoring in Palermo for a quarantine period of 14 days for the crew and, at the end, the sanitization of the ship. After sanitization, the Port Authority of Palermo, carried out an inspection as “port state control” (PSC) for unspecified overriding factors recognized with respect to the boat. Following that inspection, it imposed the detention on the ship, observing how it did not respect a series of technical requirements and in particular it was not equipped to systematically carry out the rescue of large numbers of people at sea.

The Administrative Court observed that neither in the European, international or in domestic law there are requirements dictated specifically for private ships which can be classified as SAR ships. Therefore, according to the Court, ships carrying out SAR activities should be excluded from the application of international standards (implemented by the Member States and the European Union) on safety in navigation and the protection of the marine environment.

This means that it should not be possible for the authorities of the port state to carry out inspections to impose requirements on merchant ships operating as SAR ships, as the evaluation of these requirements fall under the sole responsibility of the flag State authorities. [32]

Later, on 3 March 2021, having acknowledged the non-application of the accelerated procedure by the CJEU, the Court decided to accept the interim request for suspension advanced by the lawyers of the Seawatch 4. It observed that the Seawatch could not carry out its statutory purposes consisting in saving people at sea, and, since, at the moment, only NGOs carry out this task, the impediment deriving to such activity from a prolonged detention of the ships appears more relevant than the dangers connected to marine pollution raised by the Port Authorities and by the Ministry of Transports.[33]

The Administrative Court decision however was declared as void by the High Administrative Court of Sicily,[34] following the appeal submitted by the Minister of Interior.[35]

The policy to block the rescue ships for administrative reasons continued in 2021. The ship Sea Eye 4 was again stopped in the Port of Palermo in June 2021 following an inspection.

In December 2021, the Geo Barents of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Sea-Watch had to wait a long time offshore before being assigned a safe landing place after complicated rescues. In January 2022, the Ocean Viking of SOS Mediterranee was blocked in Trapani after an 11-hour inspection by the Coast Guard for “malfunction of the onboard power supply” and “presence of flammable liquids stored in unsuitable premises of the ship” and then subjected to administrative detention.[36]

For what concerns the Gregoretti case,[37] the former Minister of Interior, Matteo Salvini, faced a criminal trial,[38]  but in May 2021 the Court of Catania decided not to indict him for kidnapping.[39] On 17 April 2021, the former Minister of Interior, Salvini, was indicted by the Court of Palermo for the kidnapping of 147 migrants aboard the Open Arms, kept aboard the ship for six days in August 2019. The trial that started on September 15, 2021 is still pending at the moment of writing.[40]

On 10 August 2020, the Court of Rome ordered new investigation in a case in which it had already indicted two officers of the Italian coastguard and of the navy, for the delay and failure of rescue in the shipwreck which occurred on 11 October 2013, and in which over 250, many children, died at sea.[41]

On 9 December 2020, the Court of Agrigento sentenced the crew of the Aristeus ship for delay and failure of the rescue in the shipwreck occurred on 3 October 2013 in Lampedusa waters, when 368 migrants lost their lives. The court sentenced the ship’s captain to six years in prison and each crew member to four years.[42]

On the other hand, in March 2021, the Public Prosecutor of Ragusa ordered the search and seizure against the Mar Jonio’s tugboat, accused of aiding and abetting illegal immigration for taking refugees on board from the Etienne oil tanker on 11 September 2020 and having later accepted a donation from it.[43] In  January 2022, another investigation against Mar Jonio concerning  the resque and transportation of 30 migrants in 2019 was archived by the Judge for Preliminar  Investigation  (GIP)  of Agrigento.[44] 

Refoulement to Libya

In February 2020, the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya was renewed,[45] even though a Criminal Court ruled that it was not conform the Italian Constitution and international laws.[46] The Memorandum was heavily criticised by numerous associations including ASGI,[47] and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.[48]

Recently, many associations subscribed an appeal to reject the Memorandum.[49] According to the agreement,[50] Italy undertakes to continue to financially support, with training courses and equipment, the Libyan coast guard of the Ministry of Defence, for search and rescue activities at sea and in the desert, and for the prevention and fight against irregular immigration.

At least 32,425 people were returned to Libya throughout 2021. Among them, 1,500 were minors. From the start of 2022 to 19 March, over 3,000 people were returned in total.[51]

For the two-year period 2020-2021, the Ministry of Interior had foreseen an additional 1,2 million euros in naval supplies.[52]

On July 2021 the Italian Parliament approved the re-financing and support to the Libyan coast guard.[53]

In the same days, Amnesty International reported the grave abuses connected with pushbacks and detention in Libya in 2021.[54]

Based on the previous agreement, Italy has since 2017 equipped Libya with naval units, supplied and financed the rehabilitation of several patrol boats and ensured the presence in Tripoli of an Italian naval unit (Nave Tremiti, Nave Capri, and then Nave Caprera[55]) to provide to Libya technical assistance and training.[56] Nave Capri and Caprera also coordinated Libyan naval units in the tracking of boats at sea.[57]

As of December 2021, a new mobile “search and rescue” coordination centre (MRCC) was handed over to the Libyans. It was set up to be able to connect to the surface surveillance radar installed at the Abu Sitta naval base in Libyan territory (where Italian Navy assets are also moored). The small centre’s purpose is – on paper – to “monitor” the Libyan “search and rescue” (SAR) area that Italy itself contributed to be established in 2017-2018 and recognised before the International Maritime Organization.

The funds for the MRCC come from the “Support to integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya” (Sibmmil) project coordinated by the Italian Ministry of the Interior since 2017 and linked to the Trust Fund for Africa, set up by the European Commission at the end 2015, with the intended objective of “addressing the root causes of instability, forced displacement and irregular migration and to contribute to a better migration management”. The Sibmmil project is divided into two phases: the first has a budget of 46.3 million euros, the second of 15 million.[58]

The resulting effects of Italy’s indirect pushbacks to Libya and the consequences on people suffering inhuman and cruel treatments are now being examined by the European Court of Human Rights in the case S.S. and others v. Italy concerning a rescue operation of the Sea Watch ship hindered in November 2017 by the Libyan coastguard through a patrol boat donated by Italy and with the coordination of the Italian MRCC.[59]

From January 2020 to September 2020, at least 9,000 people were tracked down by the Libyan coastguard and brought back to Libya.[60] According to data collected by IOM present at the landing sites in Libya, by the end of 2020, 12,000 people were intercepted and brought back by the Libyan authorities meaning that, in 2020, more than 42% of the people who attempted to leave Libya, have been brought back.[61]

Confirming what was previously mentioned regarding the number of people returned to Libya, Amnesty International recently reported that “in 2021, the Libyan coastguards, with the support of Italy and the European Union, captured 32,425 refugees and migrants at sea and brought them back to Libya: by far the highest number recorded so far, three times higher than the previous year. 1,553 people died or disappeared at sea in the central Mediterranean in 2021”.[62]

Moreover, as highlighted by the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) on 18 December 2019, through a complaint filed against Italy with the UN Human Rights Committee, Italy appears to play a key role in the privatised pushbacks policy which would consist in engaging commercial ships to return refugees and other persons in need of protection to unsafe locations. [63] The complaint concerns the case of an individual refouled to Libya together with 92 migrants after being intercepted in the high seas by a Panamanian merchant vessel, the Nivin, in November 2018.  The legal submission is based on the Forensic Oceanography report, which shows how the operation was fully coordinated by the MRCC of Rome.[64]

Between June 2018 and June 2019, the Forensic Oceanography recorded a total of 13 privatized pushback attempts in the so-called EU and Italy’s system of refoulement by proxy. Except for two that failed as a result of migrants’ resistance, at least 11 of these 13 privatized pushbacks were successful–with three of these diverted to Tunisia. According to the report the outcome of these operations has been exacerbated by the closed-ports policy in Italy, which prevents ships that carried out rescue operations entering Italy’s waters to disembark rescued persons.[65]

In February 2021, five Eritrean citizens, with the support of the ASGI and Amnesty International, initiated a civil action to declare the illegality of the refoulement to Libya carried out on 2 July 2018 by the ship “Asso Ventinove” of the Augusta Offshore during an operation coordinated by the Italian authorities stationed in Libya and with the collaboration of the Libyan Coast Guard.

In June 2021, IOM and UNHCR, confirmed that over 270 migrants and refugees were handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard by the ship “Vos Triton”. The two organisations made a joint declaration: “Vos Triton had rescued the group in international waters during their attempt to reach Europe on 14 June. On 15 June, the Libyan Coast Guard returned them to the main port of Tripoli, from where they were taken into detention by the Libyan authorities.

The two organizations reiterate that no one should be returned to Libya after being rescued at sea. Under international maritime law, rescued individuals should be disembarked at a place of safety.”[66]

On 14 October 2021, the criminal Court of Naples sentenced a commercial vessel captain, Asso28, to a one-year imprisonment, due to having returned migrants to Libya. On 30 July 2018, the vessel intercepted a rubber dinghy with 101 people on board and, having taken on board a Libyan customs officer, he let him carry out the rescue and return operations to Libya of the migrants.

The captain was acquitted of the charge of “disembarkation and arbitrary abandonment of persons”, pursuant to art. 1155 of the navigation code, and of “abandonment of minors” pursuant to art. 591 of the penal code. For the first time, the return to Libya led to the condemnation of a private boat.[67]

Attempt to criminalise Migrants refusal to be pushed back

As reported in 2020 AIDA report, in June 2020 the Criminal Appeal Court of Palermo overturned the decision of the Criminal Court of Trapani that had acquitted two migrants rescued at sea by Vos Thalassa ship in 2018 who had rebelled aboard the ship threatening the captain and the crew once they realized that it was bringing them back to Libya. The judge had recognized they acted in self-defence, and that the act of bringing them back to Libya would have been a crime.[68] Instead, according to the Court of Appeal, the defendants had voluntarily placed themselves in a dangerous condition, having planned an extremely dangerous sea crossing and having then asked for help in order to be recovered from rescue boats. Consequently, according to the Court their violent and threatening conduct – aimed at preventing the crew of the Vos Thalassa from returning them to the Libyan Coast Guard – cannot be considered self-defence.[69]

Through Decision n. 15869/2022,[70] adopted on 16 December 2021, and published on 26 April 2022, the Court of Cassation overturned the decision issued by the Court of Appeal of Palermo, reaffirming the principle that the migrants rescued at sea, asserting their right not to be refouled to Libya, were justified in resisting return procedures, as soon as their reaction to the risk of refoulement was proportionate and there were no prove of collusion with the traffickers.[71]

Pushbacks at Adriatic ports

As monitored by ASGI, No Name Kitchen, Ambasciata dei Diritti di Ancona and Associazione SOS Diritti, refoulements continue to be carried out from Italy to Greece at Adriatic maritime borders, based on the bilateral agreement signed by the Italian and Greek government in 1999, which became operational in 2001, even if it was never ratified by the Italian Parliament.[72] In 2021, readmissions and refoulements were recorded also to Albania and Croatia.[73]

As provided in the readmission agreement with Slovenia, the readmission agreement with Greece excludes the informal transfer between the two countries of illegally staying third-country nationals only for those recognized as refugees by the state requesting readmission.[74]

Access to the asylum procedure and to asylum information is very poor and transfers or re-admissions are being immediately executed to send foreign nationals back to Greece.

In many cases where the person has managed to get in touch with the mentioned network of NGOs operating at the Adriatic ports, he or she has managed to apply for asylum. In the others the push back was carried out to the port of departure. According to the testimonies collected by the Network, if the ferry leaves immediately the person is kept on board. Otherwise, he or she is dropped off, held in a police station inside the port, and then taken back to the ferry.

In 2020, the testimonies recorded by the NGO No Name Kitchen regarding readmissions to Greece from the Italian Adriatic maritime borders were published by the Border Violence Monitoring Network. They were collected in the Black Book of Pushbacks, published by BVMN on December 2020.[75]

No Name Kitchen recorded – inter alia – the readmissions to Greece of many Afghans:

  • 5 Afghans, out of which 2 unaccompanied minors, from Bari maritime border between October and November 2020;[76]
  • 9 Afghans, out of which 1 minor, from Venice maritime border between September and October,[77] and on February 2020;[78]
  • 2 Afghans from Brindisi maritime border, on September 2020;
  • 4 Afghans, out of which one unaccompanied minor, from Ancona maritime border, on October 2020 and April 2020.[79]

Cases have been reported of readmission to Greece from Bari port also in 2021.[80]

In May, six Turkish nationals, including a woman, were denied the opportunity to apply for protection in Italy, despite having immediately expressed their willingness to seek asylum. Foreign nationals had arrived at the port of Bari in the morning, hidden inside a truck that arrived with a ferry.

Immediately after their tracing, cell phones, documents and some essential medicines were confiscated from the group of foreign citizens, of which a seventh person belonged. They have been prevented from any contact with lawyers, associations and family members; legal information and the assistance of a mediator were not guaranteed; the organisation which, in agreement with the Prefecture, is in charge of the information and reception service at the border crossing had not been contacted.[81]

Through F.O.I.A request sent to public administrations, the mentioned NGOs belonging to the Adriatic network came to know about the following readmissions or pushbacks carried out from the 1 January 2020 to 15 April 2020:

  • 311 refoulements at Bari maritime border;
  • 53 refoulements at Brindisi maritime border;
  • 17 refoulements at Venice maritime border;
  • 13 refoulements at Ancona maritime border.

Also, through another F.O.I.A request, they came to know that, from 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2020, from the air and maritime border of Ancona there were 149 readmissions and 56 pushbacks.

Early 2020, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe rejected the request made by the Italian Government to close the supervision processes initiated following the Sharifi ruling.[82]

The procedure is still pending at the moment of writing, following the observations made by NGOs in February 2022,[83] and the consequent notes of the Italian Government on march 2022.[84]

 

Arrivals by air

As reported to the Parliament on 25 November 2020 by the Central Director of the Immigration and Border police, of the MoI, Massimo Bontempi, the number of refoulements carried out from air borders in 2020 was 3,100, a number that the director defines as very high considering that the flow of air traffic has been extremely low. [85]

Different cooperatives are entrusted by public tender or other temporary contracts to provide information services in the main airports, directly by the local Prefectures.

At the Fiumicino airport of Rome, the Prefecture of Rome entrusted the social cooperative Albatros1973 with informing and managing foreign people arriving at the air border who want to seek asylum or who are Dublin returnees in 2020. For 2021, the service was in charge of ITC cooperative.

At the airport of Milan Malpensa, Valdensian Diakonia, charged with implementing services for asylum seekers arriving from the air border in 2020, was replaced by the cooperative Ballafon in early 2021, in charge of the service until December 2021.

In Venice, the cooperative Giuseppe Olivotti was responsible, up to January 2022, under the agreement with the Prefecture of Venice, of arrivals of asylum seekers and Dublin returnees.

 

Arrivals at the Slovenian land border

In 2021, the Border Police of Trieste traced 5,181 migrants coming from the border between the province of Trieste and Slovenia,[86] and, as of October 2021, the total number of migrants traced at the Italian-Slovenian border was 8,600.[87] Numbers that highlight the growth in arrivals considering that, as of 20 November 2020, the total number of migrants traced at the Italian-Slovenian border was 4,121.[88]

In 2020, cases of re-admissions to Slovenia from Trieste Udine and Gorizia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, without any formal procedure or decision were massively implemented.[89] The readmissions were carried out based on the Readmission Agreement signed by Italian and Slovenian Government in 1996,[90] never ratified by the Italian Parliament, contrary to what Article 80 of Italian Constitution dictates for the ratification of international treaties that are of a political nature.[91]

According to the agreement, the two states are required to readmit without formalities irregular third-country nationals which are delivered by the state in which they are located within 26 hours of crossing the border or which are tracked within 10 km of the common border.[92]

As regards the asylum procedure, the agreement excludes from the application of the readmission procedures only those who have obtained the recognition of refugee or stateless status in the state requesting the transfer.[93]

On 14 January 2020, the region Friuli Venezia Giulia Region announced its intention to purchase camera traps to be placed on the paths near the eastern borders to identify the transit of irregular migrants in real time.[94] In mid-May 2020, the Minister of Interior announced an increase in readmissions to be made to the eastern border, as agreed with Slovenia, and the sending 40 agents to the border.[95]

On 28 May 2020, the Prefect of Trieste then stated that “(..) the readmitted migrant is not deprived of the possibility of applying for asylum, as Slovenia is part of the European context”.[96]

On 2 June 2020, replying to ICS- Refugee Office and Caritas, responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers in Trieste, the Prefect of Trieste added that according to the directives received from the Government, readmissions are implemented to complete the provisions set up in the Dublin Regulation.[97]

On 24 July 2020, the Ministry of the Interior, responding with a written note to the urgent question presented by the Member of Parliament Riccardo Magi, on the situation of the “informal readmissions” of foreign citizens at the Italian-Slovenian land border, confirmed that these readmissions take place without formal provisions and, above all, stated that readmissions against foreign citizens are applied “(..) even if the intention to request international protection is expressed “and that” (..) if the conditions for the readmission request are met (..), the request is not sent to the responsible Questura for the formalisation of the asylum request (…)”.[98]

The Italian Minister of the Interior declared, in response to a second parliamentary request on 13 January 2021, that, in 2020, 1,301 people were readmitted to Slovenia.[99] However, replying to a data request access made by the journal Altreconomia, the Ministry of the Interior – Central Directorate of Immigration and Border Police – reported that readmissions to Slovenia in 2020 had been 1,294.

Slovenia, on the other hand, in the data published by the Slovenian State Police[100] reports that in 2020 readmissions from Italy to Slovenia affected 1,116 people.

On 18 January 2021, the Civil Court of Rome accepted the appeal submitted, with ASGI’s support, by a Pakistani man that was readmitted to Slovenia on July 2020 without having access to asylum, and then readmitted and subjected to chain-refoulement to Croatia and Bosnia. (See Access to the territory). On 3 May 2021, the Court of Rome accepted the appeal submitted by the Ministry of Interior, considering that the personal involvement of the applicant in the readmission procedure had not been proven. While dismissing the case, the Court did however confirm the illegitimacy of the readmission procedures that was at the base of the motivation of the first court.[101] A new appeal has been submitted before the Court of Rome, and the case is currently pending.

In the meanwhile, a new appeal for compensation for a man readmitted in 2020 from Italy to Slovenia, and immediately after from Slovenia to Croatia, has been submitted before the same Court.

While families and vulnerable people should have been excluded from the procedure, readmissions were also carried out against those who claimed to be minors at the border, as reported by the network Tavolo Minori Migranti (Minor Migrants).[102] This took place on the basis of two directives on the age assessment sent on 31 August and 21 December 2020 by the Public Prosecutor at the Juvenile Court of Trieste. Contrary to the guarantees enshrined in the Zampa Law (L 47/2017), these Directives generally authorize the police to consider migrants intercepted at the Italy-Slovenia border as adults in case the police itself has no doubts about their adulthood, regardless of their eventual declaration of minor age and the consequent judicial review required by law. These indications assign a discretionary power to the Public Security authority for the attribution of age to migrants and refugees subjected to border controls and in so doing clearly contrasts with the provisions of the L 47/2017, which provides that the age assessment must be carried out through documents or through socio-health examinations, always through a multidisciplinary procedure, as part of a proceeding under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court.[103] (See Age assessment).

Following the Court of Rome decision of 18 January 2021, from February 2021, readmission procedures were suspended. Consequently, in 2021, only 6 people were readmitted to Slovenia.

However, starting from 31 July 2021, mixed patrols involving Italian and Slovenian police were resumed at the eastern Italian border for a total number of 10 monthly services, out of which 7 carried out in Slovenia (Koper and Nova Gorica) and 3 in Italy (Trieste and Gorizia).[104]

Also, by responding to the immediate answer question presented by the Member of Italian Parliament Riccardo Magi on 12 October 2021, the Government excluded the future application of the readmission procedures to persons applying for asylum. However, the Government ambiguously stated that these procedures ” operate in parallel with the Dublin Regulation and govern bilateral forms of collaboration only in cases of readmission of migrants traced immediately and close to the border line “.[105]

Later, the Government on several occasions outlined the imminent resumption of readmission procedures [106]and, in January 2022, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region announced that it had purchased, on request of the Prefecture of Trieste, 65 camera traps, to be allocated to the border police and to be placed on the Italian-Slovenian border to intercept arrivals and act as a “technological wall”.[107]

On March 2022, the Governor of the region Friuli Venezia Giulia publicly expressed his solidarity and his intentions to welcome Ukrainian citizens who come to the region from the border, but affirmed the need to block “other” arrivals coming from the Balkan route.[108]

On November 2021, the criminal Court of Bologna archived the investigation for aiding and abetting illegal immigration started against the NGO Linea d’Ombra, accused due to having hosted in Trieste a family of asylum seekers who came from the Italian eastern border with Slovenia and having helped them reach Milan.[109]

 

The situation at the French land borders

In 2021, the situation at Italian French internal border remains unchanged: since November 2015 and due to the reintroduction of border controls by France, many migrants attempting to cross the borders with France, Austria and Switzerland have been subject to rejection at the border, often with the use of violence. A detailed account of the situation at the borders in previous years is available in the previous updates of the AIDA Report on Italy, and in the AIDA Report on France.[110]

In 2020, push-backs at the border with France remained systematic. In a joint press release, numerous associations operating on the Italian-French border have reported that in 2020, as well as 2019,[111] many minors, in particular Sudanese and Afghanis, were returned to Italy from Menton.

From 14 December 2020, mixed Italian-French patrols began to operate along the border of Ventimiglia with the task of patrolling the borders according to the provisions of bilateral police cooperation agreements based on the 1997 Chambery agreements,[112] providing for conjunct actions and cooperation between Italian and French police.[113]

As reported by ASGI,[114] people stopped at the border or on the train are taken to the San Luigi station, identified and given a “refusal of entry” (refus d’entrée). The rejection procedure is completed with the handing over of the concerned persons to the Italian police authorities who invite them to proceed on foot to the city of Ventimiglia. If the third country nationals are intercepted in border areas as defined by the bilateral readmission agreement, they are simply readmitted without any written measure.

Italian media realised some interviews with migrants having been readmitted to Italy or blocked at the border, and with NGOS operators at Ventimiglia. The migrants involved declared having been intercepted and sent back by French police, after all the efforts to reach France. NGOs’ operators observed that about 60 people per day attempted to reach France, and only 10 would succeed, as all the others – including UAMs – were pushed back. Volunteers regret of the closure of the red cross Ventimiglia Camp that constituted a support for all the transit people.[115]

Since 2020, due to the pandemic, both transit areas (Ventimiglia and Oulx) suddenly found themselves totally or partially without accommodation facilities, while the flows that had slowed down in the first months of the year returned to earlier levels after spring. In Ventimiglia, despite a drop-in flow, local associations have aided about 250 people a day. On 31 July 2020, the Roja Camp, managed by the Italian Red Cross, was closed,[116] after a previous period of quarantine due to two positive cases of COVID-19, which prevented new entries. Being the only formal place of accommodation for people in transit, its closure led to the proliferation of informal settlements and the occupation of public spaces to face the arrival of winter. Facilities provided by the local Caritas office are only able to guarantee a limited number of places for single parents and children.

The ongoing internal border controls and the absence of accommodation facilities has changed the routes along the border. The number of people coming from the Balkan or Adriatic routes seems to be increasing but they are accompanied only up to a certain point of the route, often in the Savona area at about two hours from the border, and invited to continue on foot following the railways. In this context, on 23 December 2020, two young Kurds lost their lives hit by a train running near Quiliano.[117]

In 2021, readmissions from France continued. According to a FOI request, taking into consideration the three-month period from February to April 2021, 8,958 pushbacks took place; 2,516 at the Bardonecchia-Briancon crossing point, and 6,442 at the Ventimiglia-Mentone crossing point.[118]

In 2021, based on data obtained by Altreconomia, there were a total of 24,589 readmissions from France, the majority of which involved nationals from Tunisia (3,815), followed by Sudan (1,822) and Afghanistan (1,769). The number increased compared to 2019 (16,808) and 2020 (21,654).[119]

As the practice of pushback from France to Italy was systematically implemented, humanitarian conditions registered in the Italian towns nearby remained dramatic. No public response was given since the closure of the Roya centre.[120] Hundreds of people remained stranded in town without access to the most basic rights such as shelter and health care. The humanitarian crisis was faced only by NGO’s, while local authorities seemed to criminalise the situation by introducing local rules against homeless people.[121]

By the end of 2021, it was announced the imminent opening of a centre for people in transit,[122] still not opened at the time of writing.

A critical aspect observed throughout 2021 were border controls operated by joint patrol on Italian territory.

The other route to attempt entry into France goes through the Val di Susa, which passes through Bardonecchia and the Frejus pass, on one side, or, on the other, through Oulx and Claviere leading to the Montgenèvre pass. According to MEDU,[123] an organization granting medical assistance to migrants at Ouilx, between September and December 2020 over 4,700 people attempted to cross the border.[124] MEDU registered an increase in arrivals in 2021 (around 1,000 per month), in particular since October, involving in most cases Afghans and Iranians.[125]

People pushed back are handed over to the Italian police in Claviere, which takes them to Oulx where they receive legal orientation on Italian legislation and on the reception system. In February 2021, the rooms set up at the Bardonecchia station that constituted the only form of government reception were made inaccessible due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

MEDU has recently reported the death of migrants that tried to cross the border walking through the Alps, underlining the increase in deaths of very young migrants or MSNA. Many NGO signed an appeal consequently the death of migrants at this border.[126]

On 9 May 2021, Moussa Balde, a 22-year-old boy, was attacked in the streets of Ventimiglia by three Italian men. After being shortly hospitalized, Moussa was ordered to be confined at the CPR of Turin waiting to be deported. At the CPR he was placed in solitary confinement and was found dead on 23 May 2021.[127]

The criminal proceeding against the NGO Baobab, accused of aiding illegal immigration for helping 9 asylum seekers to buy train tickets to reach Ventimiglia after the eviction of an informal reception centre in Rome in 2016,[128] was considered unfounded by the Criminal Court of Rome (Judge for the preliminary hearing, GUP) who acquitted the NGO on May 2022.[129]

For similar reasons, a criminal trial is pending against 4 Eritreans accused of having helped other Eritreans reach Ventimiglia.[130]

 

 

 

[1] Altreconomia, Sbarchi, i numeri non tornano. E per il Viminale i naufraghi diventano “persone scortate”, 25 March 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3NsufwE.

[2] Civil Court of Rome, Decision of 25 February 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3vAGro8.

[3] Civil Court of Rome, 18 January 2021,available at: https://bit.ly/33d0VnE.

[4] Civil Court of Rome, 18 January 2021,available at: https://bit.ly/33d0VnE.

[5] Civil Court of Rome, decision of 3 May 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3oYocUq.

[6] ASGI, Riconosciuto il diritto di entrare in Italia a chi è stato respinto illegittimamente in Libia, 3 December 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2yJEKtF; Amnesty, Importantissima sentenza del Tribunale civile di Roma, 2 December 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2yHXdXH.

[7]  Civil Court of Rome, decision 22917 of 28 November 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2LgCMnj; For information in English see also: EDAL, Italy: Recognition of the right to enter as compensation for illegitimate collective expulsions to Libya by the Italian Coast Guard in 2009, 28 November 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2SR3S8O.

[8] MOI Data, 31 December 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3JggFd5.

[9] Moi data, available at: https://bit.ly/3h0JJKv.

[10] MOI Data, 15 January 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3CHCT5f

[11] Altreconomia, Sbarchi, i numeri non tornano. E per il Viminale i naufraghi diventano “persone scortate”, 25 March 2022, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3NsufwE.

[12] See: Altreconomia, Nuovi affari dell’Italia sulla frontiera per respingere le persone in Libia, 1 February 2022, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3F35lzE.

[13] Altreconomia, Sbarchi, i numeri non tornano. E per il Viminale i naufraghi diventano “persone scortate”, 25 March 2022, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3NsufwE.

[14] See: Altreconomia, Se i naufraghi nel Mediterraneo diventano “persone intercettate in operazioni di polizia”. Le ricadute sui soccorsi, 8 October 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3dwtQ9p.

[15] See Altreconomia, “Soccorsi nel Mediterraneo, il report scomparso della guardia costiera italiana”, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3tgAI27, 20 July 2020

[16] Chamber of Deputies, Emergenza COVID-19: le misure in materia di immigrazione, 11 March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/2RsUUAA.

[17] Senate studies service, “Da Sophia A Irini: La Missione Militare Ue nel Mediterraneo cambia nome, e Priorità, April 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/2Rq68G4.

[18] Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Report: “A distress call for human rights”, March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/2QX5ikh.

[19] UNHCR, Operational Data Portal, available at: https://bit.ly/3t8Msaf.

[20] UNHCR, Italy Sea Arrivals Dashboard – December 2020, 29 January 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3uw3pZN.

[21] UNHCR, Operational Data Portal, available at: https://bit.ly/3y74dtj.

[22] See Asgi, Sciabaca Oruka, Strengthening the operational capacities of Tunisian authorities in monitoring the maritime borders: 8 million from the Rewarding Fund for Repatriation Policies, 13 April 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3MF4TKK.

[23] See ASGI, Sempre più politiche securitarie: lo studio sui rimpatri in Tunisia, 30 march 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3yvpnS9.

[24] In detail, Article 1 (1, c and d) DL 130/2020 repealed Articles 11 (1 ter) and 12 (6bis, 6 ter, 6 quater) of the TUI.

[25] Article 1 (2) DL 130/2020, converted with amendments by L 173/2020.

[26] According to Article 19(2) lett. g) Montego Bay Convention “a passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, order or security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities: (..) g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State).

[27] Decree Law 53/2019 foresaw an administrative penalty between € 150,000 to € 1,000,000.

[28] The provision refers to Article 83 of Navigation Code, according to which the Ministry of Transports can limit or ban the transit or stay of merchant ships for reasons of public order, navigation safety and protection of the marine environment, the last one together with the Ministry of the Environment.

[29] Article 1 (2) DL 130/2020 converted by L. 173/2020.

[30] See Il delitto d’inosservanza della limitazione o del divieto di transito e sosta nel mare territoriale, Alberto di Martino e Laura Ricci, in Immigrazione, Protezione Internazionale e Misure Penali, commento al DL 130/2020.

[31] Corriere della Sera, Migranti, Lamorgese ha bloccato più navi Ong di Salvini, 14 March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3xFLEKl.

[32] Administrative Court of Sicily, decision no. 2974 of 23 December 2020, available at:  https://bit.ly/3uldPvN.

[33] Administrative Court of Sicily, interim decision no. 145 of 2 March 2021.

[34] Consiglio per la giustizia Ammnistrativa della Regione Siciliana is the appeal body exercising, only for Sicily, the same functions as the Council of State.

[35] Consiglio per la giustizia Ammnistrativa della Regione Siciliana, Ordinanza 00322/2021, 8 May 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3ORME6r.

[36] Altreconomia, Sbarchi, i numeri non tornano. E per il Viminale i naufraghi diventano “persone scortate”, 25 March 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3NsufwE.

[37] By the end of July 2019, the thenMinister of the Interior forbade the landing of the people rescued by the Gregoretti Italian Coast Guard ship. Only after six days, on 31 July 2019, the 116 people were disembarked and transferred to the Pozzallo hotspot before being redistributed between France, Germany, Portugal, Luxembourg and Ireland. 50 people remained in Italy in charge of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI).

[38] Adnkronos, Gregoretti, nuova udienza per Salvini a Catania, 5 March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3xNLY9W.

[39] Ansa, Gregoretti: Gup, non luogo a procedere per Salvini. Prosciolto perché “il fatto non sussiste”, 15 May 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3oZysMh.

[40] Il Corriere, Open Arms, Salvini rinviato a giudizio. Decisione del ministro e sbarco su ordine del pm: le differenze con il caso Gregoretti, 17 April 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3aZKbVe; Androkonos, Open Arms, rinviata al 4 marzo udienza processo a Salvini, 21 January 2022, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3CUigmJ.

[41] Ansa, Naufragio bambini, due ufficiali a giudizio, 16 September 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3fBEFsM; see also: Alarmphone, Left-to-Die Trial in Rome, 2 December 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2LeRHyn; ECRE, Italy: Officials of the Italian Coast Guard Prosecuted for Shipwreck in 2013, 20 September 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/3ckBunh.

[42] Nuovi Desaparecidos, “Strage di Lampedusa prime condanne ma non basta, occorre indagare sui soccorsi”, 10 December 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/37mZBnz.

[43] Fanpage, Inchiesta su Mare Jonio, accusata di aver ricevuto soldi in cambio di un trasbordo di migranti, 1 March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3eWWsLh.

[44] Il Fatto quotidiano, Migranti, archiviata dal gip l’indagine sulla Mare Jonio che salvò 30 migranti, 28 January 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3t9NxyI.

[45] Avvenire, 12 February 2020, Esclusiva. Memorandum Italia-Libia, la bozza integrale: la partita dei fondi a Tripoli, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3bnLOJQ.

[46] Criminal Court of Trapani, sentence of 23 May 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3dutMHl; According to article 80 of the Italian Constitution, political agreements can be signed only with Parliament’s authorization. Furthermore, it is an agreement concluded with a party, the Libyan coastguard, repeatedly referred to as responsible for crimes against humanity. Therefore, the court found that the agreement violates the principle of non-refoulement.

[47] ASGI; Memorandum Italia-Libia, lettera aperta del Tavolo Asilo alle istituzioni italiane: non rinnovatelo, 30 october 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2Wik9Wi.

[48] On 31 January 2020, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the Italian government to urgently suspend the ongoing cooperation activities with the Libyan Coast Guard which affect the repatriation of people intercepted at sea in Libya where they have suffered serious human rights violations, see: ASGI, Il governo italiano deve sospendere ogni cooperazione con la Guardia Costiera libica, 31 January 2020, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2zmpaEy.

[49] Available in English at: https://bit.ly/36mt4Og; see also: https://bit.ly/3i8ke9c.

[50] A copy of the agreement is published in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3ciy1FS. 

[51] Altreconomia, Sbarchi, i numeri non tornano. E per il Viminale i naufraghi diventano “persone scortate”, 25 March 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3NsufwE.

[52] Altreconomia, L’Italia continua ad equipaggiare la Libia per respingere i migranti, il caso delle motovedette ricondotte a Tripoli, 2 March 2020, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2SSmsNU.

[53] Internazionale, A. Camilli, ‘Aumentano i fondi italiani per la guardia costiera libica’, 15 July 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/364KIWQ; see also Wired, ‘L’Italia continuerà a finanziare la cosiddetta guardia costiera libica’, 16 July 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3wge7Ij.

[54] Amnesty International, Libya: ‘No one will look for you’: Forcibly returned from sea to abusive detention in Libya, 15 July 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3Jnfetn.

[55] Analisi difesa, nave Caprera ha sostituito la Capri nel porto di Tripoli, 4 April 2018, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2SP6Hag.

[56] ASGI, ASGI chiede l’immediato annullamento del Memorandum con la Libia, 2 February 2020, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2zlh1QB.

[57] Altreconomia, Il grande inganno della Libia sicura e le tappe della regia italiana dei respingimenti delegati, 18 April 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/35MIMgW.

[58] Altreconomia, Nuovi affari dell’Italia sulla frontiera per respingere le persone in Libia, 1 February 2022, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3F35lzE.

[59] ECtHR, Application No. 21660/18, S.S. and others v. Italy, available at: https://bit.ly/3dvkBGt; the Third-party intervention by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights is available at: https://bit.ly/35OFYjn.

[60] Report of Fondazione Migrantes, Il diritto d’asilo, 2020.

[61] Form elaborated by IOM for the Ministry of Labour’s Monitoring report on unaccompanied minors, December 2020; see also the following report: https://bit.ly/34nMePk, 26.

[62] Amnesty International, Cinque anni dal memorandum Italia-Libia: condizioni infernali per migranti e richiedenti asilo, 31 January 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/37Fq8gb.

[63] Communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in the case of SDG against Italy, available at: https://cutt.ly/cyv9xIT.

[64] See also: Repubblica, Migranti, un report accusa l’Italia: “Respingimento illegale dei 93 salvati dal mercantile Nivin e riportati in Libia con la forza”, 18 December 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/yyv9cb0.

[65] Forensic Oceanography Nivin report, affiliated to the Forensic Architecture agency, Goldsmiths, University of London, December 2019, available at: https://cutt.ly/Hyv9voA.

[66] Available at: https://bit.ly/3F96BBj. See also: Analysis of ECRE available at: ECRE, Med: UN Condemnation of Returns to Unsafe Libya by Merchant Ship, Survivors Rescued in Maltese SAR Zone Accepted by Italy, Parliament President Urges EU Lead on Rescues at Sea, 18 June 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3Jb1bap.

[67] Asgi, Condanna di Asso 28, un precedente che può scardinare la prassi dei respingimenti in Libia, 19 october 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3vHe5HF. See also Infomigrants, Ship captain sentenced to prison for returning migrants to Libya, 15 October 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3vK0b7s.

[68] Criminal Court of Trapani, cited above. See: Diritto penale contemporaneo, La legittima difesa dei migranti e l’illegittimità dei respingimenti verso la Libia (caso Vos-Thalassa), Luca Masera, 24 June 2019, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/7yv9bfe; see also: EDAL, Italy – Tribunal of Trapani – Office of the Judge for Preliminary Investigations (Piero Grillo), available at: https://cutt.ly/Fyv9nHb.

[69] Criminal Court of Appeal of Palermo, Decision no. 1525/2020, of 3 June 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3vIWwFg.

[70] Decision available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3vzvZgz.

[71] Espresso, “I migranti hanno il diritto di opporsi alla riconsegna in Libia»: storica sentenza della Cassazione”, 17 December 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3t9BxNz.

[72] Available in Italian and Greek at https://bit.ly/3qHhuVf.

[73] See ASGI, Network Porti adriatici: continuano i respingimenti e le riammissioni, April 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/2Rsfoty.

[74] Readmission agreement between Italy and Greece, Article 6.

[75] Border Violence Monitoring Network, Black Book of Pushback, Volume I, December 2020, available in English at: https://bit.ly/3uka61O.

[76] The readmissions took place on 7 November, 8 November, 20 November, and 12 October. The first are published on the Black book of pushbacks, the last testimony is available at: https://bit.ly/3eWf0vq

[77] Readmissions took place on 9 September 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3ejQqFs; 24 October 2020; 2 October 2020 regarding one minor who told to have been readmitted with other 6 afghans, available at: https://bit.ly/3nVxIr1

[78] See BVMN Black Book of pushbacks, Volume I, testimony of 26 February 2020.

[79] Testimony of 10 October 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3eN3DFO; 3 October 2020, available at BVMN Black Book of pushbacks, Volume I; and 23 April 2020.

[80] Domani, ‘I diritti negati dei migranti respinti in Grecia dal porto di Bari’, 29 June 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3igFTw0.

[81] ASGI, Prassi applicative di respingimento al porto di Bari, 2 July 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3Ij2DpK; see also Protecting Rights at Borders, Doors Wide Shut, July 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3tgJRLy.

[82] See: Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Communication from an NGO (Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione) (21 January 2020) in the case of SHARIFI AND OTHERS v. Italy and Greece (Application No. 16643/09), available at: https://cutt.ly/Syv9W2y; ASGI, Respingimenti: l’Italia ancora sotto indagine per il caso Sharifi, 8 April 2020, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/Tyv9ESC.

[83] Available at: https://bit.ly/3KQTUg1.

[84] Available at: https://bit.ly/3MMKzHf.

[85] See Massimo Bontempi’s audition at Parliament, Schengen Committee, 25 November 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3i46CM7.

[86] Triesteprima, “Arresti, denunce, Covid e molto altro: il 2021 della questura in numeri”, 8 January 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3Lifryh.

[87] Il Gazzettino.it, Clandestini dai Balcani, il Friuli Venezia Giulia compra 65 fototrappole: «Un muro tecnologico», 21 January 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3ILHC7v.

[88] See Massimo Bontempi’s audition at Parliament, Schengen Committee, 25 November 2020.

[89]  See The New Humanitarian, “Europe’s chain of migrant expulsion, from Italy to Bosnia”, available at: https://bit.ly/3f3nOje, 17 November 2020.

[90] Readmission agreement between the Italian and Slovenian Government, available at: https://bit.ly/3vwPuGF.

[91] Italian Consititution, Article 80 indicates : “Le Camere autorizzano con legge la ratifica dei trattati internazionali che sono di natura politica, o prevedono arbitrati o regolamenti giudiziari, o importano variazioni del territorio od oneri alle finanze o modificazioni di leggi.”

[92] Article 6 of the Readmission agreement.

[93] Article 3 of the Readmission agreement.

[94] Il Gazzettino, Migranti. Fototrappole per animali sul Carso per “catturare” i migranti irregolari, 14 January 2020, available in Italian at: https://cutt.ly/8yv9FKt.

[95] Triesteprima, Rotta balcanica, Serracchiani: “In arrivo da Roma 40 poliziotti a Trieste”, 14 May 2020, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2LVpjln; see also. Il Piccolo, Nuovi arrivi dalla rotta balcanica. Roma invia 40 agenti al confine, 15 May 2020, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3gpqVBV.

[96] Triesteprima, “Migranti rintracciati e rispediti indietro, come la Rotta Balcanica diventa un’Odissea, 28 May 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3f4xLNa.

[97] Il Piccolo, “Le realtà dell’accoglienza contro i rimpatri informali: pratiche inaccettabili che calpestano i diritti”, 2 June 2020.

[98] Urgent request 2/00861 presented by Riccardo Magi on 14 July 2020, https://bit.ly/3hilQxY; and the written answer by the MoI, available at: https://bit.ly/3tzWzBO.

[99] See intervention in Parliament by the Minister of the Interior, Lamorgese, minute 3:00, available at: https://bit.ly/3tzqLgH.

[100] Data available at: https://bit.ly/33vinEo.

[101] Civil Court of Rome, decision of 3 May 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3KIswAZ.

[102] The “Tavolo Minori Migranti” is a un network coordinated by Save the Children, to which belong also AiBi, Amnesty International, Asgi, Caritas Italiana, Centro Astalli, CeSpi, CIR, CNCA, Defence for Children, Emergency, Intersos, Oxfam, Salesiani per il Sociale, SOS Villaggi dei bambini and Terre des Hommes. It’s born after the approval of L. 47/2017 aiming at monitoring its full implementation regarding the effective defence of minors.

[103] See Ansa, Migranti: 12 associazioni contestano Procura Minori Trieste, 10 February 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/2Q4O1Fz; see also ASGI, “Accertamento dell’età, due direttive della Procura della Repubblica per i minori di Trieste in contrasto con la legge”, 10 February 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3q5u28p.

[104] Written response provided to the question made by the member of the Italian Parliament Riccardo Magi, signed by the undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Nicola Molteni, on 13 October 2021, attached to the bulletin of Constitutional Affairs n. 5-06810.

[105] Written response published by the undersecretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Nicola Molteni, on 13 October 2021 in the annex to the bulletin of Constitutional Affairs) 5-06810, available on the website of the Chamber at: https://bit.ly/3I9l1l4.

[106] Rai news, «“Stop ai cortei, sì alle riammissioni informali”, dice il prefetto Vardè», 9 November 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3w6N9CS.

[107] Il Gazzettino.it, ‘Clandestini dai Balcani, il Friuli Venezia Giulia compra 65 fototrappole: “Un muro tecnologico”’, 21 January 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3ILHC7v.

[108] La Repubblica, ”Lega, Fedriga avverte: fermare gli altri migranti”, 29 March 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3M6hTJo.

[109] See Asgi, La solidarietà non è reato, archiviate le accuse per i volontari di Trieste”, 26 November 2021,  available at: https://bit.ly/36JF7FE.

[110] AIDA, Country Report Italy, 2017 Update, March 2018, available at: https://bit.ly/2Ga01zb, 22-24.

[111] La Cimade, Médecins du Monde, Médecins Sans Frontières, Secours Catholique, Anafé, Help Refugees, Refugee Rights Europe, Refugee Youth Service, Safe Passage). See: L’Humanitè, Mineurs isolés : « Des pratiques contraires à la convention internationale des droits de l’enfant », 12 October 2020, available in French at: https://bit.ly/2Q4OkjH; As reported by Anafè and HRW, in 2019, some UAMs were pushed back to Italy by the French police, regardless of their minor age. See Anafé, Persona non grata – Conséquences des politiques sécuritaires et migratoires à la frontière franco-italienne, Rapport d’observations 2017-2018, février 2019 ; Human Rights Watch, « Ça dépend de leur humeur » – Traitement des enfants migrants non accompagnés dans les Hautes-Alpes, 5 septembre 2019.

[112] Riviera time, “Una ‘squadra mista’ italo-francese: parte da Ventimiglia il progetto pilota della Polizia di Frontiera”, available at: https://bit.ly/3bd9bbM, 21 December 2020.

[113] The text of the Agreement is available at: https://bit.ly/39wdS2v.

[114] ASGI, La situazione al confine tra Italia e Francia: effetti della pandemia e tendenze consolidate, 22 February  2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2RDidb9; see also Medecins Sans Frontieres, DANGEROUS CROSSINGS AT THE NORTHERN BORDERS OF ITALY, Field Visits Report| Dec. 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3evBBzV ; MEDU Rapporto sulla situazione umanitaria dei migranti in transito lungo la frontiera nord-ovest tra Italia e Francia, October 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3y1SzgQ; Refugee Rights Europe, Pushbacks and rights violation at Europe’s border, available at https://bit.ly/34BOR00.

[115] La7, “Ventimiglia, continuano i respingimenti francesi”, 26 June 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3q7LTeW.

[116] Parole sul confine, “Il Campo Roja di Ventimiglia ha definitivamente chiuso”, 24 August 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3uFs7YE.

[117] Ansa, Due immigrati travolti da un treno nel savonese, 23 Dicember 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/2QYDOLr.

[118] Asgi FOI request, June 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/39vHgpC.

[119] Altreconomia, “Al confine di Ventimiglia, dove i controlli rendono i passeur l’ultima speranza dei migranti”, 2 February 2022, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3KMe5Ma.

[120] See ASGI, Medea project, Ventimiglia, un territorio che resiste? October 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3vYAVdI.

[121] Sanremo news, Ventimiglia: firmate stamattina dal Sindaco e subito operative le ordinanze anti degrado e alcol, 21 October 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3s3VXXv.

[122] Stranieri in Italia, Il progetto. A Ventimiglia un centro di transito per accogliere i migranti, 26 November 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3vYoS02.

[123] MEDU, Ancora critica la situazione dei migranti sulla rotta nord ovest delle Alpi, 4 February 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/33u6GNZ.

[124] Medici per i diritti umani, Frontiera solidale, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3Ido7Ey

[125] Altreconomia, “Rotta alpina: il presidio medico di Medu in Val di Susa per assistere i migranti”, 1 December 2021, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/35S82ap.

[126] Medici per i diritti umani, “Si ritorna a morire alla frontiera nord ovest delle Alpi”, 4 February 2022, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/3KHwp9m. See also ASGI,Medea project, Confine italo-francese: una frontiera dove si continua a morire. Appello alle autorità, 11 february 2022,  available at: https://bit.ly/3KzYFdE.

[127] See Black book on Pre-Removal Detention Centre (CPR): when EU denies the human, 23 September 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3vxhQAx.

[128] Roma today, Baobab, il presidente rischia fino a 18 anni per favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina, 19 April 2022, availabe at: https://bit.ly/3kp6qZ9.

[129] Ansa, Migranti: assolto il presidente di Baobab, 3 May 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/39HDjy4.   

[130] Redattore sociale, Hanno aiutato i connazionali in Italia, quattro eritrei a processo: “Reato di solidarietà”, 10 Marzo 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3xQAdlx.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation