Italy – Niger: another case of outsourcing of borders

One week ago, three actors from Italian civil society, Rete Disarmo, Asgi, and Cild, published a report on the agreement between the governments of Italy and Niger.

The agreement was signed on September 15, 2017, but, so far, the document has never been discussed in Parliament, as required by Italian law on international treaties.
Rete Disarmo, ASGI and Cild published the report (link) and asked for immediate clarification from the government.

The point is that, although the central focus is the detention of migrants in transit from Niger, the agreement is a commercial treaty. Particularly relevant is the part of the treaty that deals with the cooperation related to defense products, which seems to transform collaboration between Italy and Niger into an industrial collaboration.

This translates into the sale of military material by our country and the possibility for private individuals to export military assets by circumventing the law on arms trade.

The way this agreement is concluded is part of a broader context in which Italian authorities are increasingly resorting to simplified agreements. These agreements, entering into force at the time of signature, are subtracted from the procedure of prior legislative authorization to ratify and, therefore, the control of the Chambers and the President of the Republic. In other words, the Italy-Niger agreement is carrying out its effects since the autumn of 2017, but to date it has not yet been subject to scrutiny by Parliament.

It uses the topic of migrants as a tool to promote Italian companies, stipulating agreements with countries that do not respect their individual rights. This and other cases of outsourcing of borders impose more and more a reflection on the ethical sense of these agreements.


by Christian Elia