Rome,September 21, 2023 – The excerpt from the video recently shared on the Facebook page of the Italian Embassy in Dakar, in which Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni states that anyone who irregularly crosses the Italian border will be detained and subsequently repatriated, regardless of the reason for entry, is cause for concern. The selection of the sequence, as well as its publication, constitute a message that is not only legally unfounded, but in clear contradiction with the indications and activities carried out by Italian cooperation, which has a historical and recognised presence in the country, whose image risks being damaged in this way.
In collaboration with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Italian NGOs have been working for years with Senegalese civil society to define the modalities and contents of our communication messages on migration, respecting the principles of accountability, transparency and protection of rights.
For some time now, we have therefore chosen not to use the term ‘clandestine’, which – as we were also recently reminded by the Court of Cassation (ruling of 16 August 2023), and earlier by the Rome Charter Association – is a legally improper term to define those who attempt to reach Europe and have not yet had the chance to ask for some form of protection, and also contains a negative judgement, which can spread hatred and discrimination.
The excerpt of the speech chosen for publication on the facebook page of the Italian Embassy in Dakar seems to contradict numerous international conventions signed by our country on protection and asylum, thwarting the efforts and resources deployed by Italian cooperation to create a relationship of trust with civil society and local partners and to raise awareness among many young people about the risks of informal migration, the opening of legal channels of entry, the requirements for applications for protection, and local development projects.
The international community has worked hard to establish a global legal framework to protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, and it is essential that Italy respects these legal and moral obligations. We call on the Italian government to report to Parliament on what happened and to speak out on this issue in accordance with the conventions it has signed.
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