Italian refugee camp violates human rights, European lawmakers say

[JURIST] A group of European legislators have accused Italy of violating international human rights laws in its treatment of refugees after visiting a camp for asylum seekers on the island of Lampedusa [Wikipedia backgrounder]. The 12 socialist MEPs said conditions at the camp, located off the coast of Sicily, did not meet the standards set down in the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees [text], as the facility lacked fresh water, proper hygiene, and access to legal and medical aid. The MEPs noted suspicions that Italian authorities had removed many of the refugees prior to their visit, as the camp was empty despite chronic complaints about overcrowding. One of the legislators, French MEP Martine Roure [official website, in French] said she believed the Italian government had improperly deported the refugees to Libya under a controversial agreement between the two countries. The group said they planned to gather evidence of violations at the camp for a future legal challenge. The UN High Commission for Refugees [official website] has previously condemned the deportation of refugees from Lampedusa, claiming that Italy had not afforded them sufficient legal process to determine their status. Italian MEP Stefano Zappala [official website, in Italian] warned that observers should not be quick to judge the situation and that the national context of Italy should be taken into account. The EU Observer has more.

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