Lampedusa humanitarian emergency in 2011: the case of unaccompanied migrant minors

Publication Date13 Jul 2012
AuthorRita Duca
SubjectAccounting & finance
Lampedusa humanitarian
emergency in 2011: the case of
unaccompanied migrant minors
Rita Duca
Faculty of Political Science, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the situation on the unaccompanied foreign
minors in the Italian legal system, paying special attention to the Lampedusa humanitarian emergency
in 2011.
Design/methodology/approach – The legal treatment of these subjects is on the borderline
between two distinct sets of laws: those for minors, based on principles of protection and support; and
those for immigrants based on public security and therefore inspired by principles of control
and defense. For this reason the question of the legal treatment of unaccompanied foreign minors is a
decidedly complex matter because it requires the assumption of a clear responsibility on the part of the
host State that, in accordance with international conventions, must provide for the welfare of a child by
ensuring a healthy development and securing their fundamental rights.
Findings – The paper examines the legal measures regulating the status of unaccompanied foreign
minors in the Italian legal system, in order to understand if they are eff‌icient in giving protection and
offering integration to these minors.
Originality/value The paper offers insights into the most vulnerable category of illegal immigrants.
Keywords Immigration,Minors, Laws, Italy, Immigrants,Migrant workers
Paper type Research paper
In the period between 2009 and 2010 the number of migrant landings in Italy had
decreased considerably, as a result of the bilateral agreement “Italy-Libya”[1] aimed at
f‌ighting illegal immigration.
But the crisis of 2011 in the Mediterranean area has led to an inability of the
management of this phenomenon and the increase in arrivals of migrants as never
happened before.
The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia in December 2010 and the outbreak of war in
Libya in February 2011 led to the arrival of a massive inf‌lux of illegal immigrants on
the Italian shores. Therefore, the Italian government declared a state of humanitarian
emergency in the Italian territory on 12 February 2011. notorious.
Even now, the preferred destination for illegal migrants remains Lampedusa[2], also
called the Gate of Europe.
Since mid-January 2011, over 24,200 migrants from Tunisia and about 21,260
migrants from Libya arrived on the island of Lampedusa. This brings the total number
to over 45,000 illegal immigrants.
Approximately, 1,450-1,500 of these are unaccompanied migrant minors[3].
As of 30 June 2011 the total number of unaccompanied foreign minors in Italy
reported by the Committee for Foreign Minors was 5,806[4], of which 93.2 percent were
male and the remaining 6.8 percent female.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Journal of Financial Crime
Vol. 19 No. 3, 2012
pp. 279-290
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/13590791211243129

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