Diaconia valdese, Oxfam Italia and others: systematic violations of rights on the French-Italian border by Ventimiglia

In a joint press release, different expressions of the Italian civil society working with migrants spoke of very serious rights violations even towards unaccompanied minors. In the meantime, they sent a letter of complaint to the European Commission and to the Italian authorities

"Fingerprints in the eyes" - Drawing by Francesco Piobbichi

Rome (NEV), April 12, 2108 – A harsh condemnation of the rejections of unaccompanied migrant minors carried out by the French authorities at the border of Ventimiglia, so as of rights violations  perpetrated in Italy against this group of vulnerable migrants, came from a platform of civil society associations and organizations, operating in the area. The platform is formed by Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Association of Juridical Studies on Migration, ASGI); Diaconia Valdese (Waldensian diaconate); Oxfam Italia; INTERSOS; Terres des Hommes Italia and Caritas Diocesana of Ventimiglia-Sanremo.

In a joint letter sent to the European Commission and to the Italian authorities the platform asked to check whether the competent Italian and French authorities have violated the European legislation, assessing whether there are grounds for opening an infringement procedure, is written in the press release issued on the 10th of April. In the letter it is also stated: “we observed that the French police introduced a practice of identification of persons as adults, while they declare themselves to be minors and who had previously been identified as minors in Italy”.

It is known that under the Dublin Regulation and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, unaccompanied foreign minors, applying for asylum in France, can not be returned to Italy. Serious shortcomings also on the Italian side, linked in particular to the extreme length of the examination times of family reunification applications, the lack of information regarding minors and the conditions of the reception centers.

In the monitoring carried out in Ventimiglia, “many minors, even after several months of their arrival, were not enrolled in school or training courses, they did not receive a residence permit or were not able to apply for asylum, they did not have a tutor or other adult reference figures to take care of them. Some even complained about the lack of satisfaction of primary needs, such as the availability of food, clothing and adequate space, and the inadequate protection from violence and abuse”.

The organizations concluded that, in Italy, at the date of February 28, 2018, 4,307 unaccompanied foreign minors were untraceable, having moved away from the reception facilities in which they were placed.