Seven Italian charities have accused French border police of falsifying the birth dates of migrant children travelling alone in an attempt to pass them off as adults and send them back to Italy.
In an appeal to the European commission and Italy’s interior ministry, the charities highlighted evidence of two cases in which birth dates appeared to have been modified on “refusal of entry” documents.
One of the alleged incidents happened in March when charity staff were monitoring the situation around the Italian border town of Ventimiglia.
Most migrants attempting the journey north into France by train pass through Ventimiglia, only to be sent back by officers patrolling Menton Garavan, the first stop along the southern French coastal route.
“We were only there by chance but saw two minors, who we knew well, being stopped by French police,” said Daniela Ziterosa, a legal assistant at the charity Intersos.
“We saw the police write the incorrect date of birth on the ‘refusal of entry’ document. One of the children took a photo of the document and you can see his date of birth has been changed from the one he declared."
“We managed to block them from being sent back and eventually the French took them in.”
The accusations threaten to worsen already fraught relations between Italy and France over the border, less than two weeks after French agents showed up at an Italian train station and forced a Nigerian migrant suspected of carrying drugs to take a urine test.
Source: The Guardian