Account of a serious violation of the law in the hotspot in Lampedusa
- In spite of the ECtHR sentence in the Khlaifa case, arbitrary detention, mass expulsions and denial of the right to asylum continue
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"Mr. M. has been on a hunger strike for four days. Another 200 Tunisian compatriots are with him, detained in the Lampedusa hotspot, and they refuse to eat until their rights are guaranteed. One of his companions was admitted into hospital a few hours ago. They are detained without any judge having authorised the measure, and they have not met anyone who would explain the procedures for filing a possible asylum request to them. Mr. A., who has been detained in lampedusa for 14 days alongside 200 compatriots, tells us a similar story. "I was denied the right to apply for asylum": these were his words on the telephone with ARCI.
With culpable silence from the institutions, Italy is violating the national and international normative frameworks. It is only thanks to the complaints from our Tunisian partners FTDES that we have been able to talk with the migrants who are held and on hunger strike.
Italy is acting with disregard for the European Court of Human Rights sentences which have found it guilty of violations. A few months ago the judges from the Strasbourg court found the Italian state to be in breach of the Convention for the treatment reserved to three Tunisian migrants, ordering 30,000 euros to be paid as compensation. According to the court, the three migrants were never told the reason for their detention and they were never given any opportunity to appeal against it. Moreover, the conditions of detention were described as "deeply degrading their human dignity". They included overcrowded rooms, people having to sleep on the floor, no doors separating the toilets and showers from the dormitories and a lack of water. No contact with the outside world was allowed.
Such conditions are happening again at present.
Furthermore, the three judges found that Italy had violated the three Tunisian's rights to freedom and security because they were detained without any law authorising it, they were not told of the reason for which they were held and, finally, they were unable to resort to an Italian court to oppose the authorities' decision.
In view of the serious situation which is unfolding in the Lampedusa hotspot, ARCI and FTDES (Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights) demand that:
- all the migrants held without any judicial authorisation be immediately released
- all the migrants detained be informed of the possibility of submitting an asylum request
- all the detained migrants have the opportunity of meeting independent bodies for their protection
- the Italian government put an end to the collective expulsions which are unlawfully provided for by the Italian-Tunisian agreements
- the Italian government make public the technical understanding with Tunisia concerning refoulements at sea."
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