Spain: ICJ and others intervene in case of push backs of asylum seekers

Spain: ICJ and others intervene in case of push backs of asylum seekers

The ICJ and other NGOs jointly intervened before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in a case against Spain on the denial of entry of asylum seekers in the enclave of Melilla.

The ICJ, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, the AIRE Centre, Amnesty International and the Dutch Refugee Council argued that the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits refusal of entry, and/or return of a person to face serious violations of human rights, including of the right to life, the prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or flagrant denial of justice and of the right to liberty.

They submitted that these refusals of entry are also contrary to the rights set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) and the prohibition on non-refoulement found in the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention).

The joint interventions presents the argument that, for these prohibitions to be practical and effective and not theoretical and illusory, Contracting Parties must have in place effective systems for identifying people within their jurisdiction who are entitled to benefit from the prohibition on refusing entry.

Spain-ICJ&others-AmicusBrief-ND&NT-ECtHR-GC-legalsubmission-2018 (download the thirty party intervention)

ICJ urges Maltese Government not to expel Somali nationals to Libya

ICJ urges Maltese Government not to expel Somali nationals to Libya

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today called on the Government of Malta to refrain from forcibly transferring a number of Somali nationals to Libya, where they are alleged to be at real risk of human rights violations and further transfer to Somalia.

According to media reports, the persons at risk of transfer are part of a group of some 102 persons, including 41 women and two babies, who arrived in Malta this morning.

The ICJ expresses its grave concern at the possibility that Somali nationals, who are alleged to be considered at risk of being subject to ill-treatment or persecution if sent back to Somalia, would first be sent back to Libya. According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in Libya, migrants face a “constant risk of exploitation, arrest and indefinite detention”.

The ICJ stresses that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled, in the judgment Hirsi Jamaa and others v. Italy, that sending back potential asylum seekers, including of Somali origin, to Libya, without individual assessment of their situation and access to asylum procedures, violates the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsion and the right to an effective remedy for violations of human rights.

The ICJ therefore calls on the Maltese Government to refrain from expelling or otherwise transferring to Libya any of the Somali citizens who arrived on Maltese shores today. The migrants must be fully informed of their right to apply for international or humanitarian protection under EU and Maltese law; and each of their cases must be examined on its individual merits.

Statement-ExpulsionSomalis-2013-Malta (download the statement)


Massimo Frigo, ICJ Legal Adviser of the Europe Programme, tel: 41 22 979 38 05, e-mail: massimo.frigo(a)

Róisín Pillay, ICJ Director of the Europe Programme, e-mail : roisin.pillay(a)





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