Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

World Report 2013 - European Union: Italy

Publisher Human Rights Watch
Publication Date 31 January 2013
Cite as Human Rights Watch, World Report 2013 - European Union: Italy, 31 January 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/510fb4e8c.html [accessed 21 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

An estimated 18,000 asylum seekers who arrived in 2011 remained in reception centers, including emergency facilities, many awaiting final decisions on their applications. To date, 30 percent of those who arrived from North Africa since early 2011 had received some form of protection, including refugee status, subsidiary protection, or humanitarian leave to remain in the country.

In October, the Italian government issued rules for the reexamination of denied claims that could allow authorities to grant temporary protection. At this writing, it remained unclear what would happen to those housed in facilities at year's end, when the "North Africa Emergency," which the government declared in February 2011, is set to expire.

Concern over living conditions and integration for asylum seekers and refugees, including the risk of homelessness and destitution, led German courts, as well as the ECtHR, to block transfers to Italy under Dublin II.

In February, the ECtHR ruled that Italy's summary "push-backs" of migrant boats to Libya in 2009 amounted to collective expulsions and exposed people to torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in Libya or their countries of origin. The government indicated it would respect the ruling, but commitments reached with the new Libyan authorities in April raised questions over continued efforts to externalize border control in ways that violate human rights.

Summary returns to Greece continued, including of unaccompanied children and asylum seekers who stow away on ferries to Italy. In September and October respectively, Commissioner Muižnieks and UN Special Rapporteur on Migrants' Rights François Crépeau urged Italy to suspend all returns to Greece due to grave deficiencies in the country's asylum system.

Muižnieks urged the government to ensure implementation of the first national strategy on Roma inclusion, which it adopted in February, by establishing precise targets and allocating adequate resources. Roma continued in 2012 to face evictions from informal camps and segregation.

In March, the ECtHR ruled Italy's expulsion of a Tunisian terrorism suspect in 2010 violated the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment and the court's order to stay removal.

In March, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed serious concerns about racist violence in Italy, and urged measures to improve prevention, investigation, and prosecution. In June, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women recommended that Italy adopt a specific law on violence against women and ensure access to justice for victims, including Roma, Sinti, and undocumented migrant women.

In July, Italy's highest criminal court upheld the convictions of senior police officers for falsifying evidence in relation to police violence during the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa; it also upheld controversial long prison sentences of up to 15 years for some protesters over property destruction, ordering others to be reviewed.

In September, the same court upheld the 2011 in absentia convictions of 23 US citizens for the 2003 abduction and rendition to Egypt of an Egyptian imam known as Abu Omar, and ordered the retrial of five Italian intelligence officers, including two senior officials, whom lower courts had acquitted citing state secrecy.

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