Target: Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy
Goal: Stop the deportations of unaccompanied, undocumented child migrants to Greece.
Unaccompanied migrant children landing in Italy on ferries from Greece are allegedly being detained and then illegally returned to Greece by the Italian coastguard. The children, often stowaways on ferries landing in Italian ports on the Adriatic Sea, are arrested on landing. Then, placed in the custody of ferry captains, they are returned to Greece. Before and during their return, these children are confined, sometimes denied access to food and water, and there have been reports of abuse. Back in Greece, these children often face weeks of detention and then transfer to overcrowded shelters and refugee camps.
In 2014, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that summarily returning unaccompanied child migrants from Italy to Greece was illegal as it violated the right to be free of degrading and inhumane treatment. The court ruled that migrants must have the opportunity to appeal their deportation. Under international law, it is illegal to deport children without an official determination that deportation is in their best interest. Sign our petition and demand an end to these deportations.
Dear Prime Minister Renzi,
I was alarmed to hear reports alleging that the Italian Coastguard engages in the summary deportation of unaccompanied child migrants. Per the October 2014 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, this practice is illegal. Furthermore, international law prohibits the practice of deporting unaccompanied children without a determination that deportation is in the child’s best interest.
Beyond illegality, on their return to Greece these children often face prolonged detention. Often, they are confined in squalid conditions. They are not in school, and are not safe. Forcing children to endure such conditions is cruel. I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that unaccompanied children are not being forcibly deported.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Maximilian V