Criminalising hope : human rights implications of the criminalization of irregular immigration in EU member states and the EU
Estévez Picon, Lidia Isabel
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The trend to criminalise irregular immigrants among European Union Member States entails important challenges for the protection of human rights in Europe and has created unease among human rights defenders and institutions around Europe and the world. The European Union’s security-driven approach on irregular immigration has contributed to such criminalisation, which today is increasing due to the rise of xenophobic parties in many Member States. However, after the Treaty of Lisbon, with the now binding Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Union has the opportunity to change its approach to a more human rights-centred approach. Although the respect for fundamental rights was not at the base of the preliminary ruling that the European Union Court of Justice issued on 28 April 2011, this judgement could bring an end to the criminalisation of irregular immigration in most Member States. This thesis will analyse how the European Union has contributed to this trend and if, in the future, it will continue to do so or if it could possibly reverse it. Italy will be taken as a case study because it has recently enacted a law criminalising irregular immigration that could be directly affected by the judgement of 28 April 2011.