Humanitarian human smuggling: the European and Italian anti-smuggling legislation. Case study of border areas in Northern Italy

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Pugnale, Cristina
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The term ‘human smuggling’ has unfortunate connotations such as criminality and fatal danger. This thesis challenges the dominant negative understanding of human smuggling by exploring underreported forms of irregular migration facilitation grounded in humanitarian reasons. Humanitarian smuggling is investigated here from an historical, philosophical, and legal viewpoint in order to capture the breadth of experiences and rationales such a complex issue entails. In particular, a combined analysis of the European and Italian anti-smuggling legislations functions to show how these regional and national frameworks tackle migrant smuggling and, especially, its humanitarian counterpart. In this sense, the recurrent criminalisation of humanitarian assistance given to irregular migrants and the increase in policing of civil society engaging with people on the move reveal grave shortcomings and deficiencies, both at the European and Italian level. This can ultimately undermine important values and fundamental rights our democratic societies are based on. A detailed analysis of three significant cases of criminalisation of humanitarianism in border areas in Northern Italy substantiates and contextualises the main arguments of this thesis. Keywords: irregular migration, human smuggling, humanitarianism, criminalisation, Facilitators Package
Second semester University: University of Graz
smuggling, irregular migrations, Italy, humanitarian assistance