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The large-scale arrival of mixed migratory flows on Italian shores

Resolution 2000 (2014)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 24 June 2014 (21st Sitting) (see Doc. 13531, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, rapporteur: Mr Christopher Chope). Text adopted by the Assembly on 24 June 2014 (21st Sitting).See also Recommendation 2047 (2014).
1. The increased arrival of mixed migratory flows to Italian shores has put the migration policies of Europe in general, and of Italy in particular, under considerable pressure. Comprehensive approaches to the evolving trends are still required for the international protection and human rights of many children, women and men.
2. In 2013, 42 925 irregular migrants, including approximately 27 800 asylum seekers, arrived in Italy via the Mediterranean Sea. Hundreds of others perished at sea. By 12 May 2014, 36 627 had already arrived in the country.
3. On 3 October 2013, the unprecedented loss of 368 migrants’ lives in a single shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa caused a global shock wave and served as a turning point for change.
4. The Parliamentary Assembly commends the improved efforts by the Italian authorities to respond to the emergencies, in particular through the “Mare Nostrum” operation. However, there is still a dire need to meet the structural challenges to make the Italian and European systems fit for purpose. On the one hand, adequate reception capacities, proper identification and subsequent control of the movements of the identified people, and swift and transparent processing of mixed migration flows are requirements that need to be fully met by the Italian authorities. On the other hand, the European authorities have to redefine their immigration policies and regulations and to support them with adequate financial and operational means.
5. Many migrants do not want to stay in Italy because they wish to join their relatives or look for better job opportunities in other European countries. This causes irregular movements to other parts of Europe, which undermine confidence in the European legal order and highlight the need for a review of the Council of the European Union Regulation establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national, also known as the “Dublin Regulation”, and its implementation.
6. The Assembly recalls its Resolution 1820 (2011) “Asylum seekers and refugees: sharing responsibilities in Europe”, and stresses that all Council of Europe member States and the European Union should display more solidarity with Italy and other European front-line countries currently faced with arrivals of migrants from the southern Mediterranean. In return, Italy and the other European front-line countries need to assure their European partners that they will take all necessary measures to ensure that people who enter the country irregularly do not continue their journey into other member States of the Council of Europe. This resolution also calls on the European Union to “modify the Dublin system, … both to ensure fair treatment and appropriate guarantees for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection and also to assist individual member States to face possible situations of exceptional pressure”.
7. The Assembly therefore calls on the Italian authorities to implement a comprehensive series of measures to deal with mixed migratory arrivals in Italy, including:
7.1 with regard to managing the arrival of mixed migratory flows, to:
7.1.1 continue to carry out their supportive search and rescue operations, in close co-operation with other member States’ operations and joint operations of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex);
7.1.2 step up their efforts to arrest traffickers and smugglers, and ensure that those arrested are brought to justice; well-publicised deterrent sentences for those convicted should follow;
7.1.3 set up a reliable, fair and transparent system to identify migrants immediately after their arrival on shore and to establish swiftly who is entitled to asylum and international protection, in order to protect genuine refugees and asylum seekers;
7.1.4 ensure the respect for principles and provisions of the Dublin Regulation as regards the responsibilities of the country of first arrival;
7.2 with regard to reception and detention capacities, to:
7.2.1 ensure adequate reception conditions and medical assistance in accordance with relevant human rights and humanitarian standards;
7.2.2 set up an independent monitoring body to check that conditions and standards in reception and detention facilities are in compliance with international standards;
7.2.3 reduce the eighteen-month maximum period of time allowed for the detention of foreign nationals without any legal permit to stay;
7.2.4 step up the exchange of best practices in terms of governance, and provide training courses for operating staff in the field of migration;
7.2.5 facilitate access to the reception and detention centres by international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
7.2.6 properly inform irregular migrants, asylum seekers and refugees of their rights and obligations.
8. The Assembly welcomes the announcement by the Italian authorities of the priority to be given to the development of a common European response to arrivals of mixed migratory flows on Europe’s southern shores during the upcoming Italian presidency of the Council of the European Union (July-December 2014), and calls for concrete solutions.
9. The Assembly calls on Council of Europe member States to:
9.1 provide financial and operational assistance to the “Mare Nostrum” operation in order to ensure its continuing success;
9.2 promote changes in the Eurodac regulations to facilitate the identification of migrants and asylum seekers through the use of DNA records in addition to fingerprints;
9.3 implement measures to make border controls more effective;
9.4 respond positively to the suggestion of the Italian Minister of the Interior and others that camps should be set up in North African countries to process applications for asylum and international protection, and that the aim should be to intercept migrants before they set sail; consideration should be given to establishing centres to which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees would have access so that human rights can be protected;
9.5 take action to identify, arrest and bring to justice those engaged in trafficking;
9.6 respond positively to the request of the Libyan coastguard for financial and other support from the European Union to strengthen the capacity of the coastguard.