Civil Society Warns Against a Breach of the Geneva Convention. EveryOne Group: “Italy must respect the Geneva Convention and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights”.
Rome, December 15th, 2011.
The Italian Government today renewed – on the quiet, and without any media coverage – the infamous friendship treaty between Italy and Libya, with the same form of cooperation in combating illegal immigration that was part of the previous treaty signed by Berlusconi and Gaddafi back in 2008.
Despite the many protests against the treaty by the major international organizations that defend the rights of refugees and the articles of the Geneva Convention, the President of the National Transitional Council of Libya (CNT) Mustafa Abdel Jalil and Prime Minister Mario Monti have signed the same anti-immigration pact. In essence, the treaty ensures cooperation in the fight against illegal immigration through tight controls along the Libyan coast, as well as Italian investments in Libya. They also agreed to renew the financial compensation to Libya for the era of colonial rule. No guarantee has been sought from the Libyan authorities with regard to the protection of migrants entitled to refugee status or international protection as victims of persecution.
After the meeting with Prime Minister Monti, Jalil was received by President Giorgio Napolitano, Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Gianfranco Fini. EveryOne Group and other NGOs have sent an urgent appeal to the Italian government, President Napolitano, President Fini, the High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, and the European Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg, asking Italy and Libya to sign an undertaking to respect the Geneva Convention and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights in their policies on immigration.