Humanitarian organizations in Italy have accused French authorities of altering the documents of migrants. The organizations say the police has been altering the ages so that they can send them back across the border.
The accusations come from several humanitarian organizations, including Caritas. They say that French authorities have been altering the documents in recent weeks to make it seem like they are older. The organizations accuse the police of modifying the birth dates.
The altering of the birth dates allows authorities to return the migrants that are over 18 years of age. International rules say the countries must give protection and allow those who are under 18 years of age to cross the border and reunite with their family members.
The international rules require those older than 18 to apply for asylum in the first country they reach. Italy is among the countries that has received the most migrants in recent years. In February, estimates said that the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Italy was 4800 in January. Those reports mentioned that the numbers were double when compared to the previous month.
The alleged alteration of documents took place close to the town of Ventimiglia, which is located just a few miles from the French – Italian border. In recent years, the town has become a main transit point for migrants hoping to cross into France.
Daniela Zitarosa, a member of the charity Intersos, said that French police falsify documents of minors who try to cross into France. She added that they have the proof that many dates of birth were altered in documents. She finished by saying that officials from France take no account of what the minors tell them and write fake birth dates to send them back as adults.
The charities claim that authorities began doing this after January 22. At the time, a court in Nice issued an order saying that it was illegal to return minors to Italy. The charities have asked Italy to take action so France stops this practice.
More than half a million migrants and refugees have entered Italy in the last four years. Ventimiglia has become a main transit point, with many migrants and refugees staying nearby. In 2015, France closed its borders but the decision has not stopped migrants and refugees from making attempts to enter.