1. “I am with MSF”: Roberto Saviano calls for solidarity out at sea
“I am with Médecins Sans Frontières. I want to state this clearly at a time where the most dangerous thing is happening, the criminalisation of humanitarian action.” Read Roberto Saviano’s op-ed in Repubblica, defending (and explaining) the motives of the NGOs out at sea and MSF’s refusal to sign the Code of Conduct, taking a stance against the introduction of “humanitarian crime”.
2. Who are the “identitarians” of Defend Europe and what do they want?
They have taken to the sea to stop the “migrant invasion” and the NGOs that are “guilty” of wanting to rescue them; they have been deported from Cyprus over suspicions of people smuggling (!) and they are currently located off the Libyan coast, stalking and intimidating NGO vessels that carry out rescue operations. Who are the “identitarians” of Defend Europe, and what do they want? Read five facts about the far-right group explained by Richard Hall in Refugees Deeply and Chris York and Paco Anselmi’s report for Huffington Post UK, as well as our own in-depth story, featuring interviews, on the Gefira foundation and the identitarian movement that triggered the smear campaign against the NGOs.
3. Tunisian fishermen block anti-migrant ship from docking
Meanwhile, in Tunisia, someone has decided to take action. A group of fishermen in the southeastern port of Zarzis, who have been saving lives at sea and burying the bodies of the drowned, have prevented a ship carrying European far-right activists from docking. “Us let in racists here? Never”, a port official said. Read the article on the BBC website and Joseph Hincks’s report in Time magazine.
4. The role of Defend Europe in the investigation into the Iuventa
There’s a link between the investigation into the ship Iuventa and the European far-right operation “Defend Europe”: the contacts between Imi Security Service – the contractor that reported the “anomalies” of the Iuventa, causing the Prosecutor’s office in Trapani to open an investigation – and the former Italian navy officer Gian Marco Concas, one of the spokespeople for Generation Identity. Read Andrea Palladino’s investigative report in Famiglia Cristiana.
5. Italy’s naval mission in Libya will endanger migrants’ lives
The recently launched Italian naval mission in Libya will not solve the “migrant crisis”; it will actually jeopardize migrants, said Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo’s article in A-dif explains the details of the mission and why Italy’s strategy is a failure (something that has already cost the country a condemnation by the European Court of Human Rights): given the current situation, sending migrants back to Libya will only expose them to abuse, torture and violence in the detention centres of a devastated country.
6. “Sending them back to Libya is sending them to hell”
Libya cannot and should not be regarded as a “safe place” to take migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. In an interview with La Stampa, Italy’s deputy minister for foreign affairs Mario Giro explains why migrants must not push migrants back to the Libyan hell, with its inhuman detention centres run by militias. Also read the guide to solidarity at sea made by the Italian Coalition for Civil Rights and Liberties, with a detailed explanation of what constitutes a safe place according to international law and why Libya cannot be considered one.
7. More and more asylum seekers from Bangladesh are taking boats from Libya to Italy
Bangladesh has become the biggest country of origin for refugees on the Central Mediterranean route after Nigeria (8,687 Bangladeshis have arrived in Italy since January, compared to only a few dozens in the same period last year). This is largely due to the fact that the 20,000 Bangladeshis in Libya are now being targeted by criminal groups, and their only way out is a perilous crossing of the Mediterranean. Read Annalisa Camilli’s report for Internazionale on board the MSF ship Aquarius.
8. Italy’s “Lord of the Spies” plan to solve the migrant crisis
What exactly is the Italian government’s plan to handle the “migrant crisis”, and who is behind it? Read this long profile of Italian Interior minister Marco Minniti in the New York Times.
9. The irreversible damage caused by the smear campaign against humanitarian NGOs
Originating from a post by the sinister Dutch think tank Gefira, the smear campaign against the NGOs at sea has swayed the political orientation of an entire country, fuelling generalised suspicion and eroding the fundamental values of humanity and solidarity. Read Leonardo Bianchi’s article in Vice on how we got there, and the serious damage caused by the attacks against NGOs saving migrant lives at sea.
10. How fear of immigration has opened the door to the worst populism
Italians are becoming increasingly fearful of a “migrant invasion” (despite no consistent increase in the number of arrivals having been recorded) and are feeling “abandoned” by the EU, resulting in the dangerous spread of populist and anti-European sentiments. Read James Politi’s in-depth report for the Financial Times, with infographics.
Translation by Francesco Graziosi.
Header photo: Mar Mediterraneo, via Pixabay (CC BY 2.0).