UN CAT inquiry: further informtion submitted jointly with OMCT on “Closed Ports” policy

On 26th June 2020, we asked the Committee against Torture to open an inquiry under Article 20 UNCAT into the responsibility of Italy for the systematic torture of migrants pulled-back to Libya. We have made a follow-up submission jointly with the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) informing the Committee on relevant developments along the Mediterranean migration route. These developments have occurred during the summer months when migratory movements across the Mediterranean reached their peak.

The issue set out in this further information concerns the repeated occurrence of sea vessels with rescued migrants being refused permission to disembark at a safe port by authorities in both Italy and Malta. As a consequence of refusing such permission, the vessels are prevented from docking at the nearest safe port from the point at which migrants are rescued in accordance with established principles of human rights and maritime law. This has resulted in the migrants enduring prolonged periods of time in the Mediterranean Sea on board a vessel without adequate resources or medical attention or the ability to seek protection under the Refugee Convention. For the reasons set out below, these occurrences are demonstrative of a “Closed Ports” policy and amount to evidence of a systematic practice of torture and  cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of migrants by both Italy and Malta.

Read submission here.