Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is scheduled to meet Thursday with Libya leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi over the possibility of creating permanent refugee camps in Libya. The plan would create a processing center in Libya for separating illegal immigrants, which Italy may legally deport, from valid asylum seekers, protected by obligations Italy owes under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Geneva Convention on Refugees. Italy is hoping to stop the migrants before they set out for the island of Lampedusa, the closest access point between Africa and Europe which lately has become such a magnet for illegal arrivals that Italy started deporting migrants as soon as they arrived. Human rights groups and NGOs have expressed concern that any Libyan camps would violate the human rights of those seeking asylum and will be difficult to monitor to ensure that actual refugees are receiving the protections owed them by European countries. JURIST's Paper Chase has more on Lampedusa migration here. BBC has more.
In other international legal news...
- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed pleasure Wednesday at the conditional "yes" given by the European Commission to Turkey's bid for membership in the European Union. The report praised improvements already made by Turkey in order to bring its political, legal, and human rights norms in line with EU standards. The report cautioned that more improvements were needed, however, and that the "yes" only cleared the way for negotiations. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the build-up to the report. Zaman has more.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent the signed Kyoto treaty to the lower house of the Duma (official government site in Russian) for ratification Thursday. The treaty was approved by the Russian executive after heated debate about the possible benefits and detriments that would result from its implementation. Boris Gryzlov, the speaker of the lower Duma house, believes that the majority of the parliament are in favor of the treaty. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the approval of the Kyoto treaty. Itar-Tass has more.
- Chilean politicians have agreed to sweeping changes to the country's constitution (document in Spanish). The changes would mainly be focused on removing additions orignially inserted by former General Augusto Pinochet. The changes would allow the president of the country to remove the head of any of the military branches, as well as returning the Senate to complete direct election. Former presidents would also no longer receive an automatic lifetime status of senator. The reforms are expected to be applied within the next few days. Uraguay's Merco Press has more.
- The EU announced Thursday its intent to impose tighter sanctions on Myanmar in response to its failure to meet demands that the military junta currently in control loosen its grip on the population, as well as release Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's leading proponent of democratic processes. The new sanctions will be proposed Monday and will include an expansion of the current visa blacklist, ban EU financing of state owned Myanmar companies, and oppose funding for the country by the World Bank. EU Business has more.