change language
you are in: home - news newslettercontact uslink

Support the Community

February 23 2012 | STRASBOURG, FRANCE

Collective expulsions of immigrants banned. A landmark judgment of the European Court

The sentence in the Hirsi Jamaa case can contribute to the reduction of deaths in the Mediterranean Sea. The prohibition of repatriation to countries with the risk of ill-treatment is confirmed. There is always need for individual examination of the condi

printable version


With the sentence in the case Hirsi Jamaa and Others vs. Italy, the Strasbourg Court condemned forced repatriation in high sea, applied repeatedly by the Italian Navy without giving the opportunity to the immigrants, pushed back against their will to the Libyan coast, to seek asylum or any other kind of international protection.

A landmark judgment, which could contribute to the reduction of the number of victims in the Mediterranean Sea: at least 1500 in 2011.

The sentence refers to the well-known Italian decision to return to Tripoli about 200 persons, with boats of the Italian Coast Guard, all of Somali or Eritrean citizenship (including children and pregnant women), against their will. The Italian authorities did not inform them of their real destination and took no steps to identify or to hear any of them. By doing so the immigrants intercepted in international waters on 6th May 2009, 35 miles South of Lampedusa, were denied the possibility to seek any form of international protection in Italy.

Upon their return in Libya, many among the refugees were subject to ill-treatment and violence. Others died by attempting again to reach Italy, according to testimonies of travel companions, family and friends who luckily reached the Italian coast, and who were met and welcomed by members of the Community of Sant’Egidio. Some of them have now received refugee status.

The Community of Sant’Egidio firmly insisted with the Italian government not to apply rules of indiscriminate expulsion, which are contrary to the European laws prohibiting:

1) According to the principle of non-repatriation, the expulsion to a country where there is a risk of being subject to torture or inhuman and degrading treatment;

2) The collective expulsion of foreigners as described in art. 4 of Protocol 4 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) before their identification and returning to the Libyan authorities;

3) The expulsion of persons without giving them the possibility to seek protection in Italy.

Several appeals were accepted and many of the refugees, after a second journey, saw their request of asylum accepted, thanks to the intervention of the UNHCR. Others fled to Tunisia after the start of the conflict in Libya, or were subject to retaliation from military groups who remained faithful to the regime.


We are not glad that Italy was condemned, even though it was a foreseeable scenario and the Community of Sant’Egidio had invited the Italian government to change its expulsion policies.

May 30 2011

Rome (Italy) – Celebrating the programme “The right to education, the right to a future”: when the schooling integration of gypsies is a success

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | CA | NL | UK
May 18 2010

"Naples, city for everybody, Naples city for the world": a march to say No to racism

IT | EN | ES | DE | PT | CA | NL | ID
February 3 2016

USA-Italy Migration Conference: Integration strengthens democracy and builds a common culture

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA
September 3 2015

Refugees Can Be Stopped Only By Peace: Sant’Egidio asks Hungarian Parliament not to pass law package on Immigration

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT
May 10 2014

From marginalized minority to "new Europeans": the proposals of Sant'Egidio on immigration at the conference on Jerry Masslo

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA
April 9 2014

On the border between Africa and Europe with young migrants that dream of a better future

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA
all news
December 17 2015
Radio France International

Sant'Egidio crée des corridors humanitaires avec le Maroc et le Liban

July 18 2015

«Nella capitale clima d'odio mai visto Una città che non accoglie non è comunità»

June 24 2015
Adista Segni Nuovi

L'immigrazione rifiutata

January 31 2015

Calais, le violenze della polizia francese sui profughi che sognano l'Inghilterra

May 9 2014
Il Mattino - ed. Caserta

Una Bibbia sulla tomba di Masslo: "I migranti sono i nuovi Europei"

May 9 2014

Sant'Egidio porta 150 studenti a Lampedusa. Non solo una visita, ma un percorso educativo e di solidarietà

all press releases
Comunità di Sant'Egidio

Cinque proposte sull’immigrazione

Appello al Parlamento ungherese sui profughi e i minori richiedenti asilo

Omelia di S.E. Card. Antonio Maria Vegliò alla preghiera "Morire di Speranza". Lampedusa 3 ottobre 2014

Omelia di S.E. Card. Vegliò durante la preghiera "Morire di speranza"

Nomi e storie delle persone ricordate durante la preghiera "Morire di speranza". Roma 22 giugno 2014

Le vittime dei viaggi della speranza - grafici

all documents

Clochard aggrediti selvaggiamente a Genova

383 visits

363 visits

464 visits

443 visits

427 visits
all the related media