HomeWorldAlbania's top court approves asylum deal with Italy - Times of India

Albania’s top court approves asylum deal with Italy – Times of India

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TIRANA: Albania’s Constitutional Court on Monday ruled in favour of a controversial deal signed with Italy to host two holding centres for migrants rescued in Italian waters.
The agreement has been condemned by opposition parties in both countries, as well as rights groups, resulting in a legal challenge taken up by the top court in Tirana.
“The agreement does not harm Albania’s territorial integrity,” the court said in a statement that backed the deal.
The ruling by the court comes just days after Italian MPs voted in favour of the agreement — with the lower chamber of parliament backing the protocol by 155 votes to 115, along with two abstentions.
The text now goes to the Senate, where it is also expected to be approved.
The accord allows for two centres to be established near the Albanian port of Shengjin, where migrants would register for asylum, as well as a facility in the same region to house those awaiting a response to their applications.
The two centres — to be managed by Italy — would accommodate up to 3,000 migrants per month, according to official estimates.
They estimated the cost at more than 650 million euros over the five-year term of the accord.
The Albanian right-wing opposition has lambasted Prime Minister Edi Rama for an alleged lack of transparency over the agreement, calling the deal an “irresponsible and dangerous act for national security”.
The International Rescue Committee NGO has condemned the agreement as “dehumanising”, while Amnesty International described it as “illegal and unenforceable”.
Albanian authorities have said the agreement is in line with previous treaties signed with Italy, with international laws on asylum seekers and with the country’s constitution.
“We are not selling a piece of land of Albania,” Interior Minister Taulant Balla told AFP during an interview last month.
“We are offering this land to Italy like we usually do for example when we set up an embassy.”
Jurisdiction inside the camp would be Italian, but the land would remain in Albanian hands, he added.
Italy would entirely cover the cost of building the two centres and necessary infrastructure, as well as expenses relating to the security and medical care of asylum seekers, according to Albanian authorities.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni — leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party — was elected to office in late 2022 after promising to stop the migrant boats arriving on Italy’s shores from North Africa.
In fact, numbers have risen from around 105,000 migrant landings in 2022 to almost 158,000 in 2023, official figures show.
Albania’s Rama has called the agreement a gesture of “solidarity” with Italy, which opened its doors to thousands of Albanians after the fall of the Communist regime in the early 1990s.





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