Immigration: Italy summarily returning unaccompanied kids

Violating children asylum seekers' rights, HRW report

22 January, 17:44

(ANSAmed) - ROME, JANUARY 22 - Italy is summarily returning unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers to Greece, where they face a dysfunctional asylum system and abusive detention conditions, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report issued on Tuesday. The 45-page report includes interviews with 29 adults and children aged 13-17 who were summarily returned to Greece from Italian ports, 20 of them in 2012. None of them were given access to a guardian or social services, as required by Italian and international law, the report said.

''Most of those we met were Afghan boys fleeing danger, conflict, and poverty,'' said Alice Farmer, children's rights researcher at HRW.

In Greece, the kids are ''vulnerable to law enforcement abuse, degrading conditions of detention, and a hostile environment marked by xenophobic violence,'' HRW said.

Titled ''Turned Away: Summary Returns of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Adult Asylum Seekers from Italy to Greece,'' the report documents ''the failure of Italian border police at the Adriatic ports of Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, and Venice to screen adequately for people in need of protection, in violation of Italy's legal obligations.'' Italian and international law prohibit the removal of unaccompanied children without a determination that it is in their best interest, the report pointed out. (ANSAmed).

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