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Italy
17.11.20
Reports

Liability for the torture of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya

Further Information Submitted under Article 20 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Additional information relating to the request submitted by the Centre Suisse pour la Défense des Droits des Migrants on 26th June 2020 concerning Italy’s liability for the torture of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya

On 26 June 2020, the Centre Suisse pour la Défense des Droits des Migrants submitted a request to the Committee Against Torture, asking to open an inquiry under Article 20 UNCAT into the responsibility of Italy for the systematic torture of migrants pulled back to Libya. Five months later, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has contributed documenting and analyzing further information, showing a persistence of the violations, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Both organisations have jointly made a follow-up submission informing the Committee of relevant developments along the Mediterranean migration route. These developments have occurred during the summer months when migratory movements across the Mediterranean reached their peak.

The issue set out in this further information concerns the repeated occurrence of sea vessels with rescued migrants being refused permission to disembark at a safe port by authorities in both Italy and Malta. As a consequence of refusing such permission, the vessels are prevented from docking at the nearest safe port from the point at which migrants are rescued in accordance with established principles of human rights and maritime law. This has resulted in the migrants enduring prolonged periods of time in the Mediterranean Sea on board a vessel without adequate resources or medical attention, or the ability to seek protection under the Refugee Convention. For the reasons set out below, these occurrences are demonstrative of a “Closed Ports” policy and amount to evidence of a systematic practice of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of migrants by both Italy and Malta.

Read submission here


Geneva, 16 November 2020

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