- 1 This chapter is partly based on the outcomes - totally revised and updated - of a research project carried out in 2010 by the author, in collaboration with Gianluca Gatta, in the framework of the UNODC project ‘Strengthening the Criminal Justice Response to Migrant Smuggling in North Africa’.
- 2 Data concerning the phenomenon of irregular migration and its tragic consequences, especially in terms of human losses, are strongly underestimated, because of the large dark number which affects official or semi-official statistics and the on-going drownings which daily occur along the main sea routes.
3 On 23 February 2012, Italy was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for its ‘push-back’ practices in a judgement in the case of Hirsi and Others vs. Italy. Collective push-back practices, although in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights, have been widely implemented by the Italian police, even on the mainland, especially toward Egyptians
and Tunisians who, on the basis of existing readmission agreements, have been collectively repatriated to their countries of origin from the airports of Catania, Palermo and Bari without any chance to approach representatives of international and humanitarian organisations, such as UNHCR, IOM and Save the Children (Vassallo Paleologo 2012).
4 A ‘state of humanitarian emergency’ was declared by the Italian government on 12 February 2011 and then extended until 31 December 2012 (Council of Europe 2013: 6).