The Human Rights of Refugees: the Italian Solution

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Sara Cuko
This work is an analysis of the refugee protection rights within Italy as a country of asylum. Italy constitutes a controversial case within the European Union as it lacks a comprehensive asylum law. Provisions and norms regulating the asylum regime in Italy are contained, as ad-hoc paragraphs, within migration laws or in decrees that apply European guidelines on minimum provisions and rights to asylum seekers and refugees. Historically, the strategy of the Italian public sector has been in fact to adjust entry and reception policies to what it perceives as “emergency situations”, in the event of “crisis” such as the arrivals of large influxes of humanitarian refugees in recent years. Its controversial measures against asylum seekers, like the recent bilateral agreement with Libya to halt the flow of “illegal migrants” setting off from its costs, is well know internationally. Conversely, the disadvantaged situation of in-country refugees and beneficiaries of other forms of international protection has not attracted the same attention. We start with the assumption that the quest of finding a permanent solution for refugees should lie in human rights principles, to which the international community has committed. We explore the international refugee regime and the international human rights regime. On this background, we use empirical data to document rights abuses that take place within the framework of national law and municipal provisions in Italy. Such measures are denying any aspiration of integration. Refugees remain in a state of subordinate inclusion with reduced access to economic, social and cultural rights such as residency, housing and work. With the help of a constructivist approach to International Relations we investigate the link between human well-being and politics, by taking into consideration refugees identity in the Italian society and refugees claim-making processes. We map the discourses of refugees rights enacted by several actors that participate in the debate of refugee protection: refugees, Institutions, NGOs, the UNHCR and the catholic church. By evidencing the values, norms and rules they represent we propose a refugee identity based on humanity and the human rights they should be entitled to, but also based on their ability and will to be empowered to participate in finding permanent solutions for their dignity within the receiving society. We identify the importance of the creation of networks which involve all actors nationally, and refugees communities internationally. These could become the platform for the creation of a discourse of refugee integration centred in the inclusion of economic, social and cultural rights as part of States’ protection obligations towards in-country refugees and beneficiaries of international protection.
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2009
Publishing institutionAalborg University
ID: 19018362