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Lec­turer fights for rights of young refugees

- Crime · Society · European Politics · Discrimination · Immigration · Human Rights · Politics · European Union · Libya · Italy · Malta · The Association · Cairo · United Nations · Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights · Africa · Human Rights Committee · Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

ASENIOR Law Lec­turer at Edge Hill Univer­sity is fight­ing for the rights of two young refugees who she be­lieves ex­em­plify the con­se­quences of Europe fail­ing to live up to its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

As Europe con­tin­ues to de­bate over how best to deal with mi­grants and refugees, Dr Mariag­iu­lia Gi­uf­fré is rep­re­sent­ing two refugees, JAA and AMI, who were try­ing to es­cape wartorn Libya.

JAA and AMI made the cross­ing from Libya to Italy on a dan­ger­ously over­crowded boat in Oc­to­ber 2019 with the hopes of start­ing a new life in a safe coun­try.

In­stead, they were picked up within the Mal­tese Search and Res­cue (SAR) zone and pulled-back to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard with the co­op­er­a­tion of Ital­ian and Mal­tese au­thor­i­ties.

In Libya, the two boys suf­fered un­law­ful de­ten­tion and beat­ings at the hands of kid­nap­pers re­sult­ing in in­juries so se­vere one lost an arm and the other was left per­ma­nently blind.

Dr Gi­uf­fre ar­gues that had Italy and Malta fol­lowed their le­gal obli­ga­tion to res­cue and as­sess the claims of asy­lum seek­ers flee­ing Libya these in­juries and ex­pe­ri­ences never would have hap­pened.

Work­ing with The As­so­ci­a­tion for Juridi­cal Stud­ies on Mi­gra­tion (ASGI) and the Cairo In­sti­tute for Hu­man Rights Stud­ies (CIHRS), they have filed a com­plaint against Italy, Malta and Libya with the UN Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee.

Dr Gi­uf­frè has sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­uted to this com­plaint also thanks to her re­search, funded by the Global Chal­lenges Re­search Fund (GCRF), on Europe-Africa Co­op­er­a­tion: Refugee Rights and the New Fron­tiers of Ex­ter­nal­iza­tion of Mi­gra­tion Con­trols.

Dr Gi­uf­fré said: “These pull-backs of mi­grants and refugees are in­creas­ingly per­formed within a frame­work of sub­tle in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion, which sees the so-called Libyan Coast­guard in­vited and left to do what

Ital­ian and Mal­tese au­thor­i­ties should not do by them­selves.

“We trust the Com­mit­tee will con­trib­ute to make jus­tice for all those mi­grants who strive to reach Europe and end up be­ing vic­tims of un­speak­able abuses and vi­o­lence.”

She be­lieves this case is vi­tal to high­light­ing the plight of refugees, in­clud­ing preg­nant women and chil­dren, flee­ing dan­ger, war and per­se­cu­tion.

Ex­plain­ing the ex­ist­ing ar­range­ments, Dr Gi­uf­fre said: “Euro­pean States are legally bound to en­sure that refugees can flee to safer coun­tries and have their in­di­vid­ual case as­sessed.

“Sadly, it seems the law is not al­ways be­ing fol­lowed.

“In this case, Italy and Malta failed to take ur­gent mea­sures to en­sure the nec­es­sary as­sis­tance and dis­em­bark the sur­vivors in a ‘place of safety’ – which Libya un­doubt­edly is not.”

In Libya, mi­grants are no­to­ri­ously ar­bi­trar­ily de­tained, ex­ploited, abused, tor­tured, traded, ran­somed, or de­ported il­le­gally.

If the case is suc­cess­ful, ASGI and CIHRS have asked the UN Hu­man Rights Com­mit­tee to al­low JAA and AMI to safely en­ter and sub­mit an asy­lum claim ei­ther in Italy or Malta and be given full apolo­gies by Euro­pean au­thor­i­ties as well as full and ad­e­quate repa­ra­tion for the harm they suf­fered.

 ?? Edge Hill Univer­sity ?? Dr Mariag­iu­lia Gi­uf­fre
Edge Hill Univer­sity Dr Mariag­iu­lia Gi­uf­fre

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