Nigerian Migrants Sue Italy for Repatriating Them To Libya


Seventeen Nigerian migrants who survived a deadly sea crossing last year have filed a lawsuit against Italy for violating their rights by supporting Libya’s efforts to return them to North Africa, their lawyers said on Tuesday.
The plaintiffs, two of whom have returned to Nigeria, petitioned the European Court of Human Rights last week, according to Violeta Moreno-Lax, a legal advisor for the Global Legal Action Network. She was among four lawyers and several humanitarian groups involved in the case.
The migrants, who were not identified, said Italy violated multiple articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, including that people not be subjected to torture, held in slavery, or have their lives put in danger.
The two Nigerians said they were starved of even basic food and healthcare, before returning to Nigeria with the International Organization for Migration.
This is the first lawsuit to be filed against Italy for its decision to back the Libyan Coast Guard. The country lost a case in the same court in 2012 for directly handing over migrants intercepted at sea to Libyan authorities.
The legal process can take up to three years but should the migrants win they can be awarded damages, and Italy would be forced to abandon its policy of equipping, training and coordinating the Libyan Coast Guard, Moreno-Lax said.
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