Human rights group says Italy puts migrants' lives in danger by sending them back to Libya.
ROME - Italy's government and Amnesty International clashed on Thursday over a report by the human rights group saying the country put migrants' lives in danger by sending them back to Libya.
"Italy continued to deport people to places where they were at risk of human rights abuses," Amnesty said in its report on human rights around the world in 2009.
"Italian authorities took the unprecedented decision to transfer migrants and asylum-seekers rescued at sea to Tripoli, Libya," where they are not protected by the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, Amnesty said.
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini replied saying the report was "unworthy of the work of the men and women of our police corps, who save lives every day, the complete opposite of what Amnesty is saying."
Amnesty said asylum seekers to Italy dropped to 17,000 in 2009 from 31,000 in 2008.
"The Italian and Maltese governments disagreed over their obligations to carry out rescue operations at sea, leaving migrants stranded for days without water and food and posing a serious risk to their lives," Amnesty said.
In its 2009 report on Italy, the Council of Europe's anti-torture committee warned the return of migrants to Libya was a breach of Rome's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.