The EP adopts resolution condemning the mass expulsion of migrants from Lampedusa and the "lowest common denominator approach" to asylum

On 14 April 2005, the European Parliament narrowly adopted a Resolution that condemns Italy for the violation of human rights in relation to the mass expulsions of migrants between October 2004 and March 2005. The issues that drew the concern of the EP include the failure to take precautions to prevent the expulsion of genuine refugees to Lybia, not allowing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to the reception centre in Lampedusa, the fate of migrants that are expelled to Lybia, where there is no asylum system nor effective respect for refugee rights, where practices of arbitrary arrest, detention and expulsion occur, and where the conditions under which expulsions are executed are reported by Lybian sources to have resulted in 106 deaths. The EP found that the expulsions from Italy to Lybia (including those on 17 March 2004) are a violation of Italy's international obligations and of the non-refoulement principle, and calls on the "Italian authorities and all Member States to refrain from collective expulsions of asylum seekers and irregular migrants", to guarantee that asylum applications are examined individually and to adhere to the non-refoulement principle. Italy is invited to grant the UNHCR free access to the Lampedusa reception centre to ascertain whether any people in need of international protection are detained therein.

The EP calls on the Comission to put a stop to collective expulsion and to insist that Italy and other Member States comply with their obligations under EU law, and goes further, reiterating "its deep reservations about the lowest common denominator approach in the proposal for a Council Directive on asylum procedures (COM(2002)0326)". The Resolution calls on the Commission to conduct a transparent dialogue on this issue, on Lybia to allow access to international observers and to "halt the expulsion and arbitrary arrest of migrants", to ratify the Geneva Convention on Refugees and to make public any readmission agreements it reaches, in an apparent reference to a secret bilateral agreement reached on this issue by Lybia and Italy. 

Text of the EP Resolution, dated 14.4.2005, (P6_TA-PROV(2005)0138), provisional edition (in English)

See previous coverage:

1. The ECHR asks for information on Lampedusa deportations
2. Italy expels boat-people, the EU turns a blind eye.

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