PRO ASYL - Human Cargo Arbitrary Readmissions From the Italian Sea Ports to Greece

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PRO ASYL tarafından Temmuz 2012 tarihinde yayınlanan Human Cargo; Arbitrary Readmissions From the Italian Sea Ports to Greece başlıklı raporun Giriş bölümünü aşağıda bulabilirsiniz.

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Every year, thousands of refugees and migrants hide in passenger ships, traveling in high-speed inflatable boats or in any other maritime transport, in an attempt, to cross the Adriatic Sea. These crossborder movements on this internal EU-border,
in most of the cases, concern people in need of international protection, coming from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea, who upon arrival to the Italian ports, wish to lodge an asylum international protection application[1]. Among them, there are many unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable groups.

These people are trying to escape from Greece, their first European country of entry, which has been condemned by the European Court of Human rights (ECHtR) in the case of MSS v Belgium and Greece[2] as not being safe for people in need of international protection (among other reasons due to the lack of access to the asylum procedure[3], lack of legal safeguards against refoulement, absent or insufficient reception conditions, inadequate, to say the least, welfare and integration policies)[4]. Furthermore, refugees and migrants have become the first victims of the profound financial and
social crisis that struck Greece. At the same time, an unprecedented increase of racist violence is putting their lives daily, at risk[5].

Inevitably, more people are desperately trying to leave Greece by any means through the Adriatic Sea, as well, attempts which consequently result in the loss of lives of an unknown number of irregular border crossers[6]. Only in the last week of June 2012 two Afghans died on their way to Ancona, two are in a coma and one is hospitalized with severe injuries when a group of refugees hidden inside a bus, suffered from the heat and lack of oxygen (23.06.12)[7]. Five days later a boat carrying 84 refugees reached the coast of Leuca in the province of Lecce (28.06.12). Eight of the boat people are
still missing[8]

While official statistics indicate that a certain number of people are being readmitted annually from Italy to Greece, NGOs in Greece in their daily operations have registered a much greater number of people who have been readmitted from Italy.
Apparently, the research findings clearly indicate that in the majority, people in need of international protection and unaccompanied minors who are detected and apprehended in the Italian ports and in the southern coasts of Italy, are either refused entry to the Italian territory or are readmitted back to Greece[9], without being granted any access to
international protection, to any sort of registration of their claim, identification and individual evaluation of their case and/or vulnerability. 

Italy on the one hand halts the return of people back to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation recognizing that Greece is not a safe country and complying with the MSS ruling. On the other hand by denying the registration of asylum claims on the border it disregards its obligations deriving from the Dublin II Regulation.

This practice violates directly the European Asylum Law: the principle of non refoulement (article 33 of the 1951 Geneva Convention); the prohibition to return someone in a country where he risks exposure to torture or other forms of degrading, inhuman or cruel treatment or punishment (article 3 ECHR); the prohibition of collective expulsion (article 4 of Protocol 4 ECHR) and the international obligation to protect unaccompanied minors. Although Italy has been already condemned by the ECHR in the case of Hirsi and others v Italy[10] concerning the massive removals from Italy to Libya
breaching article 4 of Protocol 4 ECHR (prohibition of collective expulsion of aliens), article 3 (risk of ill-treatment in Libya and in the country of origin) and article 3 in conjunction with 13 (violation of an effective remedy), it continues until today
the practice of arbitrary removals in all of its sea borders[11].

In light of Sharifi and others v Greece and Italy[12] case (lodged on 25.3.2009), pending before the ECtHR Grand Chamber, concerning a group of people in need of international protection readmitted back to Greece, where they faced further risk of being readmitted back to Turkey (chain readmission), this report aims to highlight the systematic character of the ongoing arbitrary massive readmissions from Italy to Greece, as well as the procedure followed by the Italian authorities upon apprehension. 

  1. According to UNHCR 2008 written submissions: «In 2008,fckLRthe proportion of asylum-seekers among boat arrivals was approximately 75% of whom some 50% were recognized as refugees or as needing another form of protection.”
  2. M.S.S v Belgium and Greece (Application 30696/09).fckLR{%22dmdocnumber%22:[%22880339%22],%22itemid%22:[%22001-103050%22]}
  3. See also: “Asylum campaign Report”
  4. See also: Joint Submission of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in the case of M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece (Application no. 30696/09).
  5. “I came here for peace” – The systematic ill-treatment of migrants and refugees by state agents in Patras., Racist incidents recordedfckLRin Greece.fckLRfckLR more info see also: Racist Violence Recording Network., “Walls of Shame” - Accounts from the inside. The detention centres of Evros .”,GCR 2012: “Evros Region. Unaccompanied Minors in the Greek-fckLRTurkish Borders.”, Greek Council for Refugees, Press Release, The Trial of the Policemen of the Ag. Panteleimon Police Station has been completed,published on 20/12/2011.
  6. For more about deaths in the mediterranean see:
  9. According to the Italian Ministry of Interior, Central Directorate of Immigration and Border Police during 2008 5,644 persons were returned to Greece from the Adriatic sea ports: 2,106 from the port of Ancona, 1,610 from the port of Venice, 1,198 from the port of Bari and 730 from the port of Brindisi.
  10. Hirsi and others v Italy
  12. The submission contains 27 cases, which occurredfckLRbetween April 2008 and September 2009. The list is based on the testimony of affected individuals (interviews conducted by UNHCR at border areas and in detention facilities), and on reports from UNHCR partners, including non-governmental organizations. In all cases, the persons were later located, either in their countries of origin after onward removal from Turkey; in Greece, after a new attempt to reach the European Union; or in Turkey. In one case, the individuals were asylum-seekers whose claims were notfckLRregistered in Greece despite intervention by UNHCR and otherfckLRagencies. Asylum-seekers and people who may be in need offckLRinternational protection have been returned to Greece withoutfckLRbeing informed adequately about their right to seek asylum infckLRItaly, and without being afforded the possibility to lodge an asylumfckLRapplication. Among these problematic cases, UNHCR is aware offckLRcases of removal in which deportation orders have been issued tofckLRunaccompanied minors without any assessment of their needs, norfckLRexamination or referrals to competent authorities of requests forfckLRinternational protection. In UNHCR’s view, such practice is contraryfckLRto the principle of the best interest of the child, which should befckLRa primary consideration in all actions regarding children. UNHCRfckLRWritten Submission


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