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article imageItaly judges must examine asylum claims properly, top court rules

By AFP     Apr 26, 2019 in World

Italy's highest court ruled Friday that judges considering asylum requests must use their investigative powers to determine the risks in the claimant's country of origin rather than relying on "stereotypes", Italian media reported.

Judges are "obliged to ascertain the real situation in the country of provenance through the use of official investigative powers and the acquisition of documents, so each request may be examined with up to date information," the court said.

The rebuke followed a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in Italy under far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini.

The Court of Cassation in Rome ruled in favour of a Pakistani citizen who had appealed after his asylum request was refused by two lower courts "on the basis of generic information on the internal situation in Pakistan".

It said judges must not rely on "generic formulas" or simply cite "international sources" as a basis for their decisions, according to the reports.

The case of the Pakistani asylum seeker will now be reexamined in the Lecce region of Italy.

Meanwhile in France, la Cimade non-governmental organisation which works to help asylum seekers and refugees, on Friday slammed European asylum rules as an "infernal machine" with "Kafkaesque" procedures.

In a 60-page report, the body said the European Union's so-called Dublin asylum rules, which stipulate that the country of first arrival must process asylum seekers, was an "absurd system".

It said cases took between six and 18 months to process, adding that the overwhelming majority of requests were rejected.

Italy's populist government in September adopted an anti-migrant decree aimed at streamlining the rules for processing asylum requests by tightening the rules for awarding humanitarian protection.

The controversial bill also made it easier to expel migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship.

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