Appeal for the respect of the fundamental rights of exiles at the Franco-Italian and other borders


Translation of an appeal circulated by Roya Citoyenne on 17 August 2020, concerning the violation of peoples' rights at the Franco-Italian border through denial of access to the asylum procedure, refoulements, lack of proper accommodation and no access to health care.

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Roya Citoyenne is calling for more signatories to the appeal and can be contacted via roya-citoyenne [at]

The original appeal (in French) is available here (pdf). Translation by Statewatch.

Appeal for the respect of the fundamental rights of exiles at the Franco-Italian and other borders

On 31 July, Interior Minister Darmanin announced from Rome the creation of a special Franco-Italian brigade to be placed under a single command in the Ventimiglia-la Roya-Menton border region, officially to track down smugglers' networks.

Don't believe a word of it: what human rights associations have been denouncing for years was confirmed on 8 July 2020 by the Council of State: "France is violating the right to the French-Italian border".

For years, French law enforcement agencies have refused to register any asylum applications in this territory, and illegal practices multiply on a daily basis (refoulements, failure to take into account minorities, etc.).

Moreover, France was severely condemned by the European Court of Human Rights on 2 July 2020 for "inhuman and degrading treatment" of asylum seekers. In the name of "humanity and firmness", France increasingly favours repression.

On 1 August, the Italian government closed the "Campo Roia" transit reception camp run by the Italian Red Cross, which is under the authority of the Ministry of the Interior. At the beginning of August, nearly 200 people were already sleeping outside, in deplorable sanitary conditions, without access to drinking water and with very limited access to health care.

France is currently turning back 100 to 150 people per day in Menton on the lower border: families, minors... They are detained in the containers of the PAF Saint-Louis bridge, without distinction, nor any sanitary precautions; they often have to leave on foot to Ventimiglia 10 km away, whatever their health condition.

The meaning of the dual French and Italian decision on this cross-border territory is clear: the invisibilisation and criminalisation of people in search of a POSSIBLE life.

It is the same criminal and barbaric political basis that leads to the detention, for spurious administrative reasons, of rescue vessels in the Mediterranean such as the Ocean Viking, or to the harassment of destitute migrants in Calais and elsewhere.

Let us remember the refrain of Pastor Martin Niemöller (1946): "When they came for them... I said nothing. / When they came for me, there was no one left to protest."

We ask all those who still think that there cannot be a "sub-humanity" in France, Italy, Europe, to sign this petition, to make this situation known to those around them, and to participate as much as they can, financially, materially, or by their concrete assistance, in the actions of the organizations that oppose this barbaric dehumanization, the breeding ground of a rampant fascisation of our societies.

Roya Citoyenne and all the signatory organizations urge:

  • A decent transit reception centre on both sides of the border
  • Immediate consideration of the asylum application declaration by the police at the border, before the direction to a reception platform for asylum seekers
  • The use of public funds to favour hospitality over repression
  • A genuine policy of welcoming exiled people, involving the various political bodies and the population in France and in Europe

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