“Countries that we consider liberal democracies such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand and the US have more restrictive laws than Italy, both incoming and outgoing”. Cristina Fasone, associate professor of comparative public law at Luiss, takes stock of immigration laws in the rest of the world.
But, is a tougher line being adopted towards immigrants now also in the EU?
“Yes, even in Europe, there is an attempt to make expulsions easier. In Denmark, for example, in 2021 a law was passed regarding the expulsions of asylum seekers and irregular migrants sentenced to third countries where these people could risk their lives, such as Uganda where human rights are not respected. This has led to the protests of various NGOs and also within the Council of Europe there have been strong concerns “.
“The 47 countries (which became 46 after the exit of Russia) that adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights must be subject to a series of rules that are more guaranteed. Article 4 of Protocol 4 prohibits collective refoulements and, therefore, asylum applications must be assessed individually. Article 3, on the other hand, prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment which applies in the event that the possibility of disembarking in safe harbors is denied ”.
Apart from Denmark, are there other cases of European countries that are placing restrictions?
“In the United Kingdom, the former Minister of the Interior of the short government of Litz Struss was considering the possibility of proceeding with collective expulsions of migrants arriving from France in small boats. In Finland, a country that is considered a beacon for democracies on the other hand, there was discussion of a wall to stop the arrival of migrants from Russia. In short, there is a widespread trend in Europe to circumvent or set aside the rules “.
But Italy has problems especially with France and Germany in matters of immigration …
“France and Germany are empowered by the fact that, in Europe, the rules of the Dublin Treaty still apply and accuse us of not respecting them. In those countries, as well as in Denmark, migrants arrive secondarily and, therefore, are not invested with immediate management of the migratory flow ”.
Looking at the situation overseas, one wonders what difference is there between the wall that separates the US from Mexico and the one that separates Spain from Ceuta and Melilla? Why does the first make “more noise” than the second?
“From the point of view of law, the US and Spanish walls are walls in the same way. From the point of view of the protection of migrants, nothing changes, there is only a different media hype. In the US, then, there have been problems with family reunification and with unaccompanied minors. Maybe it was the Trump character who caused the most hype, but the problem in Spain is that we don’t know what happens with African migrants trying to arrive from the southern border. We don’t know if they are welcomed or rejected, but the presence of a wall already represents a violation of the rules of international law “.
What do you think of France rejecting migrants in Ventimiglia?
“France, according to the rules of the European Convention on Human Rights, cannot make collective rejections at the border with Italy. There is, of course, a violation of rights. Those are prohibited rejections ”.
In this context, what is the role of Frontex?
“Frontex should guarantee border security. At the moment it has only a monitoring role and I fear there will not be an upgrade of Frontex that could help the coast guards of the individual states. The point is that immigration, in the EU, is perceived as a problem that concerns only some countries and not others ”.
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“France and Spain violate the human rights of migrants”
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