The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has obligated the Italian government to pay compensation to four Tunisians who arrived in 2017 and were later deported.
The four Tunisian migrants were rescued at sea and brought to the island of Lampedusa, where they were taken to migrant centre-like facilities for identification, registration and interviews, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The court points out that the migrants who were staying at these places for ten days, weren’t, reportedly, unable to leave and interact with authorities. The Tunisian migrants consider their treatment to have been inhuman and degrading.
Later that month, these four applicants, in addition to 40 other migrants, were taken to the island’s airport and then given documents that they didn’t understand, sign documents that later were found to be ordered to refuse entry, which prohibit these migrants from returning to Italy.
The applicants also pointed out that poor hygiene and limited space at the Lampedusa hotspot were evident. The facility was surrounded by several barriers such as bars, fences and gates, making migrants feel deprived of their liberty.
The court ordered Italy to pay each applicant €8,500 for damages caused and €4,000 for costs and expenses, as applicants weren’t able to appeal against the Italian authorities’ decisions back in 2017.
The Italian organization, the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration has revealed that expulsion orders against Tunisians arriving in Italy have surged between November 2020 and January 2021, finding that Tunisian citizens represented 80.5 per cent of foreign citizens transiting through the CPRs in Italy, which are Detention and Repatriation Centre. Around 75.5 per cent of foreign citizens were ordered to return to their home country from Italy.
The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, recently pointed out that the Central Mediterranean route, which includes Italy directly, has experienced the highest number of border crossings in January and February 2023.
More specifically, the number of arrivals at the Central Mediterranean route rose by 119 per cent compared to the first two months of 2022, reaching a total of 28,130 illegal border crossings, with 11,951 of those recorded in January alone. Two of every five irregular border crossings recorded during this period were in the Central Mediterranean route, which remained the most active for nationalities from Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Pakistan.
Similarly, the Eastern Border experiences a surge in border crossings at the beginning of the year, recording increases of 145 per cent. The majority of arrivals at this route were recorded from Ukraine, Iran and Iraq.