20 June 2012
Italy must sink agreements with Libya on migration control

Refugees and migrants look through an opening in their cell door at the Zlitan Detention Centre, Libya, November 2008. © Gabriele del Grande


On 3 April 2012 Italy signed a new agreement with Libya on migration control despite substantial public evidence that migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers are still subjected to serious abuses in Libya. Amnesty International repeatedly requested the Italian authorities to make the content of the agreement public but these requests were never met. The text of the agreement has now leaked.

In February 2012, the policy of push-backs previously implemented by Italy was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy. The Italian government publicly committed to implement the judgement. However, only a few weeks later, Italy and Libya agreed to start again their collaboration on migration control.

The provisions in the agreement confirm Amnesty International’s concerns: the Italian authorities seek support by Libya in stemming migration flows, while turning a blind eye to the fact that migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers risk serious human rights abuses there.

Call on Italy’s Minister of Interior to protect the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers by signing the petition below.

Dear Minister,

I am writing to you as a supporter of Amnesty International to raise concerns about the agreement recently concluded by Italy and Libya on migration control.

The text of the April 2012 agreement – not made public by either parties, but recently leaked through the press – confirms that Italy has resumed the bilateral cooperation with Libya on migration control, putting migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers at risk of serious human rights abuses.

The April 2012 agreement was concluded despite publicly available information exposing ongoing and widespread human rights abuses against migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya, and despite the fact that there are still no provisions in place in Libya for refugee status determination.

I remind you of the February 2012 judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy, which your government publicly committed to implement. I am concerned about the impact on migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers of Italy’s cooperation with Libya on migration control and that, lacking any scrutiny of cooperation practices, abuses can take place with impunity.

I urge you to make sure that Italy’s migration control policies and practices do not cause, contribute to, or benefit from human rights violations.

I therefore call on the Italian government to immediately:

  1. set aside any existing migration control agreements with Libya;
  2. make public all migration control agreements negotiated with Libya or any other countries;
  3. disclose details of past and current cooperation projects with LIbya, including those funded by the EU, as well as information on provision of official resources, personnel and equipment;
  4. commit to enter into further agreements on migration control with Libya only after Libya demonstrates that it respects and protects the human rights of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants and puts in place a satisfactory system for assessing and recognizing claims for international protection.
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