Migrants' return to Libya by Italian boat could breach international law – UN

Posted by On 7:06 AM

Migrants' return to Libya by Italian boat could breach international law â€" UN

Italy Migrants' return to Libya by Italian boat could breach international law â€" UN

Vessel might have broken international law by returning 108 people rescued from Mediterranean to Tripoli

People line up for food after arriving on rescue boats
It is against the law for one country to return people to another territory that is at war, or where they could be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhumane conditions. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

A search and rescue charity has alleged that an Italian ship returned scores of people rescued from the Mediterranean to Libya, even though Libya is not regarded by Europe as a safe place under international law.

In what would be an unprecedented case if confirmed, the Asso 28, an oil rig support vessel, allegedly saved 108 people from a dinghy and then took them to Tripoli.

The allegation was made by Ã'scar Camps, the founder of Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish sea search and rescue NGO.

“The Asso 28, with an Italian flag, rescued 108 people in international waters and is now deporting them to Libya, a country where human rights are not respected. No chance [for them] to get asylum or shelter,” Camps wrote on Twitter.

Camps’ allegation was supported by Nicola Fratoianni, an Italian politician with Free and Equal, a small leftwing party, who was on board the Proactiva rescue ship.

“We don’t know yet if this operation was instructed by the Italian coastguard, but if so it would be a very serious precedent, a real collective rejection, which Italy and the captain of the ship would have to respond to in court,” Fratoianni said.

Italy’s coastguard said Asso 28’s rescue activities were “carried out under the coordination of the Libyan coastguard, which managed the whole operation”.

Two weeks ago Italy assured Germany that it would continue to accept migrants rescued at sea until an EU-wide plan on redistributing people across the continent was established. The pledge came after high-profile moves by Matteo Salvini, the interior minister and leader of the far-right League, to block rescue ships from docking at Italian ports.

In a response to Camps’ allegation on Tuesday, Salvini made no mention of the alleged involvement of an Italian ship in the incident. He wrote on Twitter: “The Libyan coastguard has rescued and brought back 611 immigrants in recent hours. The NGOs protest and the traffickers lose business? Fine, we’ll continue in this direction!”

In another post, on Facebook, he wrote: “The Itali an coastguard has not coordinated and participated in any of these operations, as falsely declared by a foreign NGO and a poorly informed leftist MP.”

Almost 350 people were taken back to Libya, a major point of departure for those seeking to make it to Europe, overnight on 30 July, according the International Organisation for Migration.

Under the Geneva conventions, it is against the law for one country to return people to another territory that is at war or where they could be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhumane conditions. Aid agencies and others have long said that migrants in Libya suffer torture and abuse.

Under a controversial pact between Italy and Libya, the latter’s coastguard has the authority to rescue people at sea and bring them back to the country.

Topics
  • Italy
  • Libya
  • Migration
  • Refugees
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Europe
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Source: Google News Italy | Netizen 24 Italy

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