During 2017, the Italian Government adopted a series of controversial measures in order to stem the increasing flow of migrants from Libya, with the full backing of the European Union. The Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and the Libyan Government of National Accord of 2 February 2017 provided the legal basis for most of them. In actual fact, those measures rapidly led to a significant reduction in the number of migrants arriving in Italy, while increasing that of migrants intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and transferred to the detention centres managed by the Libyan Department for Combatting Illegal Immigration. As a result, the already inhuman conditions of detention therein further worsened. This article investigates whether and to what extent Italy can be held responsible under international law for human rights violations against migrants on Libyan soil and, at the hands of the Libyan Coast Guard, at sea. It is submitted that, owing to the active support to the Libyan Coast Guard and the adoption of a code of conduct restricting NGOs’ search and rescue activities, Italy is complicit in violations of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment against migrants intercepted at sea and forcibly returned to Libya. It is also stressed that Italy would be responsible for directly violating the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment enshrined in Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, if it were ascertained that Italian military personnel exercise de facto control over Libyan Coast Guard vessels transporting migrants back to Libyan territory. In the light of this, the author highlights the urgent need for the Italian Government to rethink its migration control policy, amending the said Memorandum of Understanding and modifying the aforementioned measures so as to prioritise the protection of migrants’ fundamental human rights.

Italy's New Migration Control Policy. Stemming the Flow of Migrants from Libya Without Regard for Their Human Rights

MANCINI, Marina
2018

Abstract

During 2017, the Italian Government adopted a series of controversial measures in order to stem the increasing flow of migrants from Libya, with the full backing of the European Union. The Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and the Libyan Government of National Accord of 2 February 2017 provided the legal basis for most of them. In actual fact, those measures rapidly led to a significant reduction in the number of migrants arriving in Italy, while increasing that of migrants intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and transferred to the detention centres managed by the Libyan Department for Combatting Illegal Immigration. As a result, the already inhuman conditions of detention therein further worsened. This article investigates whether and to what extent Italy can be held responsible under international law for human rights violations against migrants on Libyan soil and, at the hands of the Libyan Coast Guard, at sea. It is submitted that, owing to the active support to the Libyan Coast Guard and the adoption of a code of conduct restricting NGOs’ search and rescue activities, Italy is complicit in violations of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment against migrants intercepted at sea and forcibly returned to Libya. It is also stressed that Italy would be responsible for directly violating the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment enshrined in Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, if it were ascertained that Italian military personnel exercise de facto control over Libyan Coast Guard vessels transporting migrants back to Libyan territory. In the light of this, the author highlights the urgent need for the Italian Government to rethink its migration control policy, amending the said Memorandum of Understanding and modifying the aforementioned measures so as to prioritise the protection of migrants’ fundamental human rights.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/1289
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