‘European Union pressure causes torture of refugees in Italy’

This Ugandan TV video says about itself:


2 July 2016

Amnesty International, the UK-based human rights organisation, has documented horror stories of migrants and refugees who faced killings, torture, rape and starvation – mostly at the hands of traffickers in Libya.

The report, released on Friday, was based on interviews with more than 90 refugees and migrants at reception centres in the Italian cities of Puglia and Sicily who had made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya over the past few months.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Amnesty: EU pressure on Italy leads to ill-treatment of refugees

Today, 00:01

The European Union pressure on Italy in the reception of refugees leads to human rights violations. That said Amnesty in a report. The organization speaks of beatings, intimidation and imprisonment.

Europe began in 2015 with the ‘hotspot’ approach. Refugees had to be identified at different locations (hotspots) in the EU. Their fingerprints had to be recorded. In the hotspots it should be decided quickly whether the refugees may remain or will be returned to their countries of origin. Because in some countries, such as Italy, there are many refugees, the applicants had to be distributed according to an EU plan to the other European countries.

Little of this plan has materialized. Last year, according to Amnesty, 150,000 people came to Italy. 1200 of them have moved to other EU countries. That should have been 40,000. “The hotspot approach has just stepped up the pressure on countries on the EU’s borders rather than lessened it,” said Amnesty. “This leads to violations of the rights of these people.” Earlier, it turned out that there are too few hotspots in Italy. Of the six ones planned, only four are open.

Many asylum seekers arriving via Italy in Europe, according to human rights organizations do not want their fingerprints taken. If they are registered, then they can be returned under the Dublin Convention, for example from the Netherlands to Italy.

People who do not want to give fingerprints are treated properly by most police, according to Amnesty. “But sometimes arbitrary detention, harassment and excessive violence is used.”

Amnesty has spoken to people who were beaten, given electric shocks or were humiliated sexually. The organization collected 24 testimonies, they were beaten in sixteen cases.

“They held my shoulders and legs firmly, squeezed my testicles with tweezers and pulled twice. It was indescribably painful”, said a man who was forced by police to remove his clothes

A 25-year-old Eritrean woman said a police officer hit her multiple times in her face, until she gave her fingerprints.

According to Amnesty, Italy under pressure from the EU also looked for ways to send more migrants back. “This has resulted in agreements with countries that commit terrible crimes,” Amnesty noted. “Eg, forty Sudanese were put by Italy on a plane back to that country. They do that while the risk per individual of human rights violations has not been studied well.”

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