03. Juli 2012 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Italien – Griechenland: Praxis der Rückschiebungen · Kategorien: Griechenland, Italien · Tags: ,

Treated like human cargo – Italy pushes protection seekers back to Greece


Read the report here <http://www.gcr.gr/sites/default/files/humancargo.pdf>


PRO ASYL and the Greek Council for Refugees publish report on arbitrary
readmissions from Italian ports to Greece.

3 July 2012. Thousands of protection seekers try to cross the sea from
Greece to Italy every year.

If they manage to arrive in Italy however, they are immediately returned
to Greece without any individual assessment of their cases, without any
legal safeguards, the report HUMAN CARGO – Arbitrary readmissions from
the Italian sea ports to Greece by PRO ASYL and the Greek Council for
Refugees has revealed.

Just like most other EU Member States, Italy has officially stopped
returning people to Greece under the Dublin system, since the European
Court for Human Rights in January 2011 determined Greece not to be a
safe country for asylum seekers. However these massive arbitrary
readmissions to Greece are carried out in a systematic way in direct
violation of that ruling.

Almost all readmitted people interviewed for this research were homeless
before and after their readmission to Greece. They had no access to
food, water, sanitary infrastructure or to medical care. Some of them
were also victims of racist and/or police violence in Patras or Athens.

In two of the described cases, minors who were readmitted were detained
for 20 days in Igoumenitsa mixed detention centre at the port, until
being transferred to a special reception facility for unaccompanied
minors in Konitsa.

Denial of access to international protection

None of the people readmitted ever had a realistic chance to have their
request for asylum registered. Allegedly, in most of the cases the
Italian authorities did not ask any questions of the migrants; not even
their names. Others say that they explicitly told the police that they
wanted to apply for asylum, but the authorities did not register their

Lack of protection for unaccompanied children

The report finds that unaccompanied children are registered by the
Italian authorities as adults. In one case, an around 10 year old Afghan
boy was registered as being 18 years old and was readmitted from Bari to

There have also been documented cases of minors separated from their
family by the readmission procedure. In one case, two alleged under-age
brothers were separated. One was readmitted as an adult and the other
stayed in Italy.

Ill-treatment by Italian officers

Interviewees described being mishandled by Italian officers , slapped,
punched and kicked in the police station where they were taken in order
to be fingerprinted, on their way back to the ship and/or inside the
provisional detention places of the ship.

Inhuman and degrading detention conditions on board

In almost all cases, those to be readmitted were held in a cabin used as
a temporary detention cell that was made available by the ship
companies. In other cases, people were kept in metal storage rooms,
facing extreme weather conditions during winter and summer. The
readmitted persons were not always offered food and water or had access
to the toilet and sometimes had to urinate in plastic bottles.

Arbitrary readmissions must stop immediately

The findings of this report show that Italy is not fulfilling its
obligations under international and European law. The practices of
Italian authorities constitute a breach of the EU Charter of Fundamental
Rights, the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, the European
Convention on Human Rights and the 1951 Refugee Convention.

PRO ASYL and the Greek Council of Refugees urge the Italian government
to ensure access to asylum procedures for those arriving at Italy’s
sea ports. The policy of arbitrary readmission to Greece must stop

We call upon European institutions to take immediate action in response
to the human rights violations occurring in these Italian Ports. The
European Commission, the European Parliament, the Commissioner for Human
Rights of the Council of Europe, its Committee for the Prevention of
Torture (CPT) and also the EU member states cannot accept the violation
of international law by one of their members.


The report is based on testimonies of more than 50 persons that have
been pushed back from Italy to Greece in this way at least once.

For further context and background/interviews please contact:


Phone: +49/69/230695

Email europa@proasyl.de

Greek Council for Refugees (GCR)

Phone: + 30 210 3800 990

Email gcr1@gcr.gr


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