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'France sends migrant minors back' states Caritas

Organization denounces police behaviour at Ventimiglia border

17 November, 09:30

    (ANSAmed) - ROMA, 17 NOV - The organization denounces behaviour at the border between Italy and France which is violation of the Treaty of Dublin, where border workers must undergo controls by the French military police (Gendarmerie).

    These border workers now threaten to take the issue up with the European Court.

    In the discussion on migration, at national and European level, the first to pay the price are those who are the weakest, women and minors in particular. After the criticism coming at the Italian government from many directions for the situation off the coasts of Catania - which at first only allowed for the most vulnerable to disembark and only later allowed the rest of the migrants to leave the NGO boats- now it's time for France to be criticized. Caritas points its finger against France for events that took place at the border with Ventimiglia. Women and minors whose aim is to reach France are obliged to stay on Italian turf. "The serious issue is that the French do this often", is the accusation made by Caritas. At the border between Ventimiglia-Ponte San Ludovico, the 7,000 border workers have to undergo strict controls by the French military police.

    Border workers threaten to take their case to the European Court The promise, made by the border workers coordinators, is to appeal to the European Court for the violation of art. 45 of the European Charter, which guarantees the free circulation of free citizens at the border. The French military police is not preoccupied at present with this aspect: with its dark eye glasses and holding a machine gun, its members implement orders from Paris, especially when at the border there are trucks, caravans or vans. The Gendarmerie has also deployed, most likely with deterrence purposes rather than necessity, 15 of its mobile vehicles, known as "the Jaune" (the Yellow). These vans are empty, parked at the border, as if to say "you cannot go through here". But in Ponte San Luigi, the 'upper' border between Ventimiglia and Menton Garavan - where the Italian and French police stations are - is where the sad procession of migrants who were found in France and were sent back to Italy with the 'entry refusal' takes place.

    'France sends back minors and violates the Dublin Treaty' In theory France could not send minors back to Italy. However, in a document of the French Directory of Legal and Administrative information of the French Ministry of Interior, dated 28 June, 2021, it is clearly written that: "If you are a minor, you can also be refused entry". Meaning that "if you are a minor you too could be refused entry [into France]". And this is what has been happening for some time: at the Italian border they say France has been doing this all the time, "forging" documents. "The most serious issue is that the French send back minors modifying their age", noted Christian Papini, Director of Caritas Intermelia, a volunteer organization in Ventimiglia.

    "This goes against the Treaty of Dublin. And they also send families back", he added. "We must put people at the center, sheltering them and supporting their integration", this is the appeal of father Camillo Ripamonti, President of the Astalli center, the Italian Jesuit Service for Refugees.

    (Reinforced French police controls on migrants and seasonal workers at the Ventimiglia-Ponte San Ludovico border, 14 November 2022. ANSA/TENERELLI) (ANSAmed).

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