국제앰네스티는 이탈리아 당국에 바다에서 구조된지 48시간 만에 이집트로 강제 송환된 68명의 사람들이 국제적 보호를 받을 기회가 주어졌었는지 긴급하게 조사할 것을 요구했다.
이 68명은 지난 10월 26일, 131명을 태운 채 이탈리아 시실리 해역에서 이탈리아 당국에 붙잡힌 배 안에 있었다. 최초로 발표된 경찰 고위직의 발표에 따르면 이들은 스스로를 팔레스타인 난민이라고 밝혔다.
이탈리아 당국은 이들을 카타니아 주의 시실리로 이송했고 44명의 어린이를 포함한 모든 사람들을 24시간 이상 체육시설에 구금했다. 이탈리아 당국은 이들의 신원을 파악하고 송환하기 위해서 구금이 불가피 했다고 밝혔다.
그러나 10월 27일 밤, 당국은 68명의 사람들을 팔레스타인이 아닌 이집트에서 온 “불법 이민자”로 판단하고 이집트 카이로로 전세기에 탑승시켜 출국시켰다.
국제앰네스티는 이탈리아가 이들이 보호를 받을 권리를 생각하지 않고 망명을 신청한 사람들을 보호할 의무와 인권법 및 기준을 무시한 채 대규모의 강제추방을 한 것으로 파악하고 있다.
또한, 이탈리아 당국이 이들 개개인의 신상정보를 확인하고 나이에 따른 도움이 필요여부를 파악 했는지, 이들에게 망명신청을 할 권리에 관해 말했는지, 혹은 망명신청서를 나누어 줬는지에 대한 여부를 분명히 할 것을 요구했다.
국제앰네스티 존 달후이센 유럽•중앙아시아국 부국장은 “바다에서 구조된 모든 사람들은 망명을 신청할 기회가 주어지며 그들의 처지에 대하여 공정하고 납득할만한 심사를 받을 권리가 있다”며 이번 사건에 연루된 68명의 사람들에게는 이러한 기회들이 주어지지 않았을 우려가 있음을 지적했다.
ITALY MUST STOP MASS EXPULSIONS
28 October 2010Amnesty International is calling on the Italian authorities to investigate urgently whether 68 people rescued at sea and then forcibly returned to Egypt within 48 hours were given the opportunity to apply for international protection.
The 68 people were on board a boat carrying 131 people in all that was intercepted on 26 October 2010 by the Italian authorities near the coast of Sicily. According to an initial statement made by senior law enforcement official those on board identified themselves as Palestinians.
The Italian authorities transferred them to Catania, Sicily, and detained all of them, including 44 children in a sports facility for more than 24 hours. The Italian authorities maintained that detention was necessary to undertake identification procedures and arrange returns.
In the evening of 27 October, the Italian authorities expelled 68 of them to Cairo, Egypt, by charter flight, claiming that they were in fact “illegal immigrants” from Egypt and not Palestinians.
Amnesty International believes that these mass expulsions appear to have taken place with no regard for the right of people to seek asylum and in breach of Italy’s obligations under international refugee and human rights law and standards.
The organization calls on the Italian authorities to clarify whether and how they identified the individuals, determined their age and their possible protection needs, if they were informed of their right to seek asylum, and if any asylum application was lodged. “All people rescued at sea must be given the opportunity to seek asylum and to have their claims assessed in a fair and satisfactory asylum-determination procedure,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia. “There are concerns that in this case none of the individuals, included the 68 deported, was given such an opportunity.”
Organizations such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration, Save the Children and the Italian Red Cross were denied access to those taken ashore, despite repeated requests. These organizations are all members of a project funded by the Italian Government and the European Union, aiming to provide immediate assistance to anyone arriving on Sicilian shores in distress.
Amnesty International understands that this is the first time in Italy since 2005 that UNHCR has been denied access following an official request.
Nineteen members of the group were arrested in connection with the smuggling of people, while 44 were identified as minors and handed over to social services. Although those identified as minors were not summarily expelled, Amnesty International is concerned that they have been detained for more than 24 hours, without access to any specialized assistance.
“In their rush to expel them, the Italian authorities are ignoring normal procedures and international standards for the protection of refugees, and asylum-seekers” said John Dalhuisen.
“The Italian authorities must immediately put a stop to mass summary expulsions of foreign nationals.”