Human rights crusaders are up in arms following a controversial repatriation of 48 Sudanese migrants from Italy on August 24, according to Breitbart.
The migrants were rounded up from Ventimiglia, near the French-Italian border, and deported back to Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, on a chartered EgyptAir flight.
Their repatriation was reached in an agreement between Sudanese police officials and the Italian government in August as part of the border cooperation among the European Union, EU Emergency Trust Fund, and Sudan.
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“Cooperation in key areas, such as fighting international organized crime, illegal immigration, trafficking in human beings, telecommunications and financial crimes (such as money laundering), counterfeiting of documents, and corruption constitute some of its fundamental points,” the Italian embassy in Khartoum said about the agreement last month.
Angry human rights activists in Italy staged peaceful protests at the Malpensa Airport in Milan on the day of repatriation. They contend that it is unethical to deport destitute migrants to a country where their fundamental freedoms and rights are not guaranteed.
Some Italian politicians were among those opposed to the move. “How can we say that Sudan guarantees the protection of their human rights? How can we put in danger the lives of these people forcibly returned?” Senator Luigi Manconi of the ruling center-left Democratic Partysaid.
In order to avoid protesters at Milan airport, the migrants were flown back to Sudan through Turin-Caselle airport.
Three human rights activists from the No Borders network were arrested as they tried to climb on to a radar tower at Malpensa Airport.
“We cannot run the risk of returning anyone without proper guarantees on his safety,” Senator Manconi added.
African Immigration Dilemma
The International Organization for Migration estimates that close to 5,000 Sudanese migrants fled to Italy between January and June.
However, this is a decrease from the previous 6,000 Sudanese refugees who moved to Italy via the Mediterranean route in the same period last year.
Since the beginning of July, Libyan authorities have detained more than 500 illegal migrants from Africa — among them more than 100 Sudanese — trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
Under President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, the Sudanese government has continuously been accused of infringing on the rights of civilians, with torture, killings, and the detention of opposition leaders and political activists.