European Court of Human Rights
(Picture: Wikimedia Commons,
Rights Court strengthens refugee rights
23 February 2012
May 2009 a boat with about 200 forced migrants was
pushed back by the Italian authorities to Libya. The
forced migrants never got a chance to lodge a claim
for protection. Instead they were handed over to the
Libyan authorities under dictator Ghaddafi where
they were in danger of being forcibly returned to
the countries of persecution. Today the Grand
Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in
Strasbourg made public their judgment in this case (Hirsi
Jamaa And Others vs Italy). The Court
unanimously held that several human rights of the
applicants had been violated, including the
prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment and
the right to judicial remedies.
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Europe welcomes the
judgment as a major step forward towards a better
treatment of persons seeking protection from
persecution and other human rights violations.
Border controls and migration management remain
legitimate but must never violate the rights of
asylum seekers and refugees.
Europe calls on the European Union and its member
states to draw the necessary consequences: If asylum
seekers are intercepted at the European borders they
must have a chance
to lodge a claim for protection and to challenge any
negative decision. Simply closing the borders
against these human beings would violate the values
and standards which the EU is built on. Therefore
all border control operations, be it on the
Mediterranean Sea under the aegis of the EU border
agency FRONTEX, or the erection of the infamous
fence at the border between Greece and Turkey, must
contain effective safeguards for the rights of
forced migrants who seek protection.
Note to the Editor
The Jesuit Refugee
Service is an international Catholic organisation.
Its mission is to accompany, to serve and to plead
the cause of refugees and forcibly displaced people.
JRS was set up by the Society of Jesus in 1980 and
is now working over 50 countries worldwide. JRS
works with all persons in need of protection but has
a particular concern for those who are "forgotten"
due to the absense of media exposure
detainees, protracted refugees, etc.).
For more information please
contact Stefan Kessler at +32 (0)2 250 32 21 or