Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

World Report 2014 - European Union: Italy

Publisher Human Rights Watch
Publication Date 21 January 2014
Cite as Human Rights Watch, World Report 2014 - European Union: Italy, 21 January 2014, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
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.

Over 35,000 people reached Italy by sea by October, a significant increase over the previous year; over one-fourth were Syrians. Reports emerged of Italy instructing commercial vessels to return rescued migrants to ports in Libya if closest, raising concerns about refoulement.

After several extensions, the North Africa emergency plan for receiving migrants that was initiated in 2011 during the Libyan conflict ended officially on March 31, and emergency shelters closed. Rejected asylum seekers were given the chance to reapply or receive a one-year permits to stay and 500 euros; many traveled elsewhere in Europe. In September the government announced an increase from 3,000 to 16,000 spaces in specialized reception centers for asylum seekers and refugees. In July, UNHCR, which welcomed the move, emphasized the need for a comprehensive reform of the reception system to improve vastly insufficient support measures for refugees.

In April, UN special rapporteur Crépeau criticized Italy's immigration detention system, including substandard conditions and inadequate access to justice. Detainees protested in several centers, including over the death of a Moroccan man in the Crotone center in August. Crépeau reiterated concerns about automatic summary returns to Greece, and inadequate safeguards in "quick return" agreements with Tunisia and Egypt. Crépeau and UNHCR called on Italy to introduce an effective age determination procedure to ensure that children enjoy appropriate protections.

Three UN experts expressed concern over the illegal deportation of the wife and daughter of Mukhtar Ablyazov, a critic of the Kazakhstan government, from Rome in May, saying it appeared to be "extraordinary rendition." Acknowledging improper involvement of Kazakh authorities, the government rescinded the deportation order in July, though mother and daughter remain in Kazakhstan under travel restrictions.

A European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) report in November criticized overcrowding in prisons and ill-treatment, particularly of foreigners, by police and Carabinieri.

The lower house of parliament approved a bill in September to extend hate crime protections to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people (LGBT). LGBT organizations criticized an amendment to the bill, which must pass the Senate, exempting a range of organizations from criminal liability for hate speech.

In February, an appeals court sentenced three US citizens, including a former Rome CIA station chief, for their role in the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian cleric in Milan, overturning a lower court's finding of diplomatic immunity. Separately, the court found guilty five Italian intelligence officers whose involvement had been cloaked in state secrecy.

In January, Italy became the first EU country to ratify the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. In October parliament converted into law an August government decree creating new measures against domestic violence and stalking including stiffer penalties in certain cases, and humanitarian visas for undocumented victims. UN expert Joy Ngozi Ezeilo called on the government in September to ensure a national approach to all forms of trafficking, including for labor as well as sexual exploitation.

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