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The Fight Against the Smuggling of Migrants in the Mediterranean. The Italian Experience


In recent years, Libya has become the main transit route toward the Italian coasts for illegal migrants, African and Asian nationals, trying to enter Europe by sea. Over time, Italy has established a set of rules aimed at developing international cooperation with countries of origin and transit that have made the prevention and suppression of illegal migration by sea more effective. Italian legislation concerning law enforcement operations complies with international rules and provides national authorities with a broad range of initiatives, in terms of both rescue of human beings and combating smuggling of migrants. Since preventing and countering the smuggling of migrants must be conducted in conformity with the obligation to protect human rights, the principle of "non-refoulement" has to be guaranteed during operations, as do the rights of refugees and other categories of foreign nationals. The cooperation Italy is promoting with Libya and other states affected by illegal smuggling of migrants at sea is effective and should be supported. It aims not only at ensuring prevention and suppression of criminal phenomena and guaranteeing foreign nationals’ fundamental rights, but also at building the capacity of the states involved according to European models.

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