Decree Law no. 13/2017 pushes judges and foreigners further apart

Less access to justice for asylum seekers, more power to government  in an extremely sensitive field that directly involves the protection of individual liberties.  Italian Decree Law 13/2017 is a missed opportunity according to ASGI and MD.

Decree Law 13/2017 is a missed opportunity.

The Government, instead of proposing to the Parliament a much-needed comprehensive reform of the immigration code, resorted to an emergency decree (although some of its provisions will enter into force only after180 days) that pushes judges and foreign nationals further apart.

First of all there is a clear limitation to the adversarial principle.

The judge will view a video recording of the applicant’s interview (without the presence of the parties or of a linguistic-cultural mediator) in lieu of hearing him/her in person. There is also a reduction of procedural safeguards, since first instance decisions can no longer be appealed.

Moreover, limiting territorial jurisdiction to just fourteen newly created specialized sections will objectively limit access to justice for foreign nationals.

The bolstering of forced repatriation mechanisms is also to be criticized, and so is the continued absence of provisions on initial reception and identification of migrants in hotspots, despite the ECtHR’s Grand Chamber’s recent conviction in the case Khlaifia v. Italy.

Overall, the decree on one hand restricts migrants’ access to justice, and on the other strengthens the government’s powers in an extremely sensitive field that directly involves the protection of individual liberties.

As such, the decree constitutes yet another set of provisions created ad hoc for foreigners, although it deals with fundamental principles such as equal dignity and equal rights for all people.

The Parliament will hopefully consider the above criticisms and undertake a comprehensive reform of the laws on international protection and of the Immigration code, by eliminating their most unfair and inefficient aspects.

 

ASGI – MD statement on Decree 13/2017

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