The new foreign policy of the EU Commission and Council: development funds instrumentally used as bargaining chips to reach agreements and partnerships with third countries in order to repel migrants and refugees.

The Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI) has strongly condemned the agreement reached by Libya and Italy to curb the flow of immigrants from the North African country into Europe.

Italy-based ASGI said in a statement on Monday that the memorandum signed by the Head of UN-proposed government’s Presidential Council (PC) Fayez Al-Sirraj and the Italian Premier, Paolo Gentiloni, in Rome last Thursday was shameful.

It indicated that the Italian Government had signed the memorandum with a government which is under the constant blackmail of violent and armed militias, in order to block and control the departures of fleeing migrants in return of equipment and military, strategic and technological support.

“The EU betrays basic rule of law principles and infringes the democratic basis for the peaceful coexistence of citizens” says Lorenzo Trucco, lawyer and president of ASGI.

The statement said the EU and the Italian Government circumvent their duty to receive people fleeing persecutions and wars through an immigration foreign policy largely based on agreements and partnerships with governments that are dictatorial – such as Sudan, Libya, or Niger – or wholly unable to ensure the safety of their citizens, such as Afghanistan.

“Through these agreements, the EU and Italy de facto violate the principle of non-refoulement, as they require third countries to forcibly block the passage of people in clear need of international protection.” It noted.

The ASGI asked the EU to stop policies based on third country agreements whose aim is to slow down and stop the passage of refugees, exploiting the safeguard of lives of people who try to reach Europe, and disguising their real goal – a brutal and unlawful closure of borders.

It also asked the Italian government to fully implement the Geneva Convention (and notably the non-refoulement principle), the Italian Constitution and, more generally, to fulfill the duty to receive those fleeing wars, persecutions and fundamental rights violations, by revoking the memorandum it just signed with Libya and with other undemocratic African governments.

“Italy must immediately stop repatriating people to countries of origin where their fundamental rights are not respected.” The statement reads.