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The Human Cost of the Migrant Crisis at the French-Italian Border

The Italian town of Ventimiglia, situated just eight kilometers from the French border, has become a focal point for the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe. For the past eight years, migrants seeking to reach Northern European countries have been funneled through this small town, often encountering harsh conditions and arbitrary rejections.

In 2015, France reintroduced internal border controls, transforming Ventimiglia into a de facto bottleneck for these vulnerable individuals. The French government justified this decision as a security measure in response to the heightened threat of terrorism. However, the European Court of Justice ruled in September that pushbacks, the practice of forcing migrants back to their point of entry, are illegal under EU law.

Despite this ruling, the practice continues, causing immense suffering to those trapped in Ventimiglia. Filippo, a retired builder, volunteers to drive families rejected by the French police back to the town's train station. He describes the journey as a "psychological and moral violence" imposed on these individuals, who are left with no choice but to attempt the perilous crossing again.

The situation is further exacerbated by the lack of adequate shelter and resources in Ventimiglia. Associations working with migrants estimate that around 40,000 have been sent back to Italy this year, with 90% of them eventually making their way to their desired destinations. However, the tighter border controls only lead to more dangerous attempts, resulting in the tragic loss of lives.

Jacopo Colomba, a legal advisor for the NGO WeWorld, poignantly remarks on the "continuous and silent massacre" taking place at the French-Italian border. While the scale of the tragedy may not match that of the Mediterranean Sea crossings, it reflects a persistent and unsettling reality in the heart of Europe.

The plight of these migrants serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of the ongoing migrant crisis. The arbitrary treatment and lack of basic necessities they endure highlight the need for a more compassionate and humane approach to migration. As the European Union grapples with the challenges of integrating and protecting refugees, it must also address the systemic issues that perpetuate their suffering in places like Ventimiglia.

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Tags: #humanrights #UN #EU #NGO #italynews #migrant


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