1. Another migrant has died in San Ferdinando
29-year-old Moussa Ba, from Senegal, has died after a fire broke out again in the migrant tent camp of San Ferdinando.
The fire appears to have originated in a shack near Moussa’s, and to have quickly propagated due to the highly inflammable materials (wood, plastic and cardboard) while the young man was asleep.
“Someone is clearly responsible for this tragedy, perhaps we all are. But it should be said that it is, first and foremost, a defeat for the state,” former Riace mayor Domenico Lucano said to La Repubblica.
Daniela Sala had reported for Open Migration from San Ferdinando on the poverty and exploitation of the migrants living in the tent camp.
2. Five Star Movement supporters to vote on the Diciotti case
Were the rescued migrants on board the ship Diciotti, awaiting an agreement among EU countries, held in the interest of the State?
This decision, at least for now, is not being made by the members of the Italian Parliament, but by supporters of the Five Star Movement.
#Migranti #Diciotti Sulla nave tenuti come ostaggi della politica per 10 giorni c'erano persone non pacchi. Nessuno gli ha mai dato la parola. Ecco il racconto di Behre. Oggi su Repubblica in edicola pic.twitter.com/ilJj7UFqAF
— alessandra ziniti (@alessandrazinit) February 17, 2019
Held for days on the Diciotti were several people fleeing the horrors in Libya. One of them, Behre, told La Repubblica’s Alessandra Ziniti:
“It was a hard time for those who, like me, had spent eight months underground in the dark, buried alive next to the dead, a prisoner to human traffickers. When we came on board the Italian ship I thought, finally it’s over. But then it was 10 more days of uncertainty, living in terror of being sent back to Libya, treated like hostages. We felt rejected without a reason by a country that we thought was friendly, and it turns out they didn’t want us.”
*Update: The online consultations on the Diciotti case has ended. 52.417 supporters of the Five Star Movement participated in the vote, of which 59.05% voted in favour of Matteo’s Salvini parliamentary immunity (to face kidnapping charges over migrants held on board the Diciotti coast guard ship in a standoff with the EU last August).
3. The Salvini bill and the boom in irregular immigrants
Following the government crackdown on international protection, Italy has rejected a record 24,800 asylum applications in the last four months. As Lorenzo Tondo reports in the Guardian, after the Salvini decree was brought into law, rejections were up 25% on the previous four months.
The strategy of closing ports to migrant rescue ships and rejecting asylum claims is meant to deter new migrants, but the effects on those in the country are devastating.
Avvenire has published the analysis of ISPI researcher Matteo Villa, showing that four months after the bill came into effect, abolition of humanitarian protection has led to an increase in the number of irregular migrants in Italy: 45,000 asylum claims denied and 5,000 expulsions.
According to Redattore Sociale, “By 2020, the number of illegal migrants will decrease by 140,000 and it might hit a record 750,000.”
As Italy’s laws tighten, more and more arrivals are trying to find a way into France, even via an alpine pass in winter, often to fatal consequences.
4. From migrant reception to detention, budget cuts don’t mean the end of business
The 35 euros for migrants have been voted out, promises made during the election campaign have been kept, and the business of migrants has been stopped. Or has it?
The Milan prefecture has published invitations to bid for migrant centres and facilities, the first such call from a major city since the Salvini bill on security and immigration came into effect. As Vita reports, budget cuts mean that the costs for centres with a capacity of 50 people have decreased to an average 21,35 euro per person, plus 2,5 euro pocket money. More cuts were made to educators, psychologists and transport. According to Gianfranco Schiavone, president of the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration, the underlying approach is to “make localised reception impracticable and minimum quality standards impossible.”
The cuts have affected many, but not all. Writing in Linkiesta, Francesco Floris analysed the numbers: “The only facilities untouched by cuts are hotspots and the CPRs (repatriation centres)”. The CPR in Milan, for example, will have a business of nearly 4 million euro. But who will manage them under the new regulations. Floris adds that, while there will be regular tenders, the “business of administrative detention” in Italy is more like a de facto monopoly. Over the last years, Italy has also outsourced management to a French company. It is Gepsa, a subsidiary of the multinational energy giant Engie [..].”
5. The business of borders
Biometric data, patrol boats, research project: the EU may allocate 33 billion euro to border surveillance. This figure has been proposed for the next Multiannual Financial Framework, currently being discussed in the Commission, Parliament and Council, and representing the total EU budget for the management of external borders, migration and refugee flows. This marks a dramatic increased compared to 2016-2010, as Paolo Riva explained in this in-depth analysis of the EU budget, when less than half the sum (12.4 billion euros) had been allocated.
6. Discrimination in Denmark
Denmark has just become a member of UN Council of Human Rights, which has raised some questions. An increasing amount of complaints against Denmark is taken to the UN Human Rights Committees, and the European Court on Human Rights in Strasbourg has several times found Danish laws to be in breach of the articles, often against the rights of refugees. The Danish government has reacted by suggesting re-writing the conventions or diminishing the power of the court. Michala Clante Bendixen writing for Refugees Denmark gives a short overview of discrimination against foreigners in the country.
7. How the British government deters migrants via the politics of exhaustion
The British government is dissuading migrants from approaching the UK through a raft of deterrence measures, “with the objective of exhausting asylum seekers, mentally and physically.” Marta Welander, writing in Refugee Deeply, explained the British government’s tactics to stop migrants on the continent:
“The politics of exhaustion consists of dispersals and push-backs, arbitrary detention and removals, evictions and demolitions, the blocking of humanitarian aid, sanitation and medical care, and the overall criminalization of solidarity. This raft of measures has contributed to the continuous application of structural and physical violence in what could be understood as a British “border zone” stretching from Calais and Dunkirk in northern France across to the capital cities of Paris and Brussels, if not further afield.”
Last week we went back to Calais with Emanuela Barbiroglio to tell you how crossing the Channel is the only chance for migrants stranded in France.
8. More controversy over migrants at the Italian-French border
The French Gendarmerie has come under fire again over its methods for fighting illegal migration at the border with Ventimiglia. Recent footage has emerged showing French officers using pepper spray against people, presumed to be migrants, hiding in the toilet of a train from Ventimiglia to Nice.
Better news are coming from the border with Spain: the mayor of Bayonne, a city in the French Basque Country, has said that he will continue sheltering African migrants crossing the Spanish border into France. Read the article in the New York Times.
9. Left to starve in Hungary, saved by the ECHR in Strasbourg
A family of Iraqi asylum seekers were left without food in a migrant camp in Hungary, as if sentenced by a cruel medieval tribunal. As Paolo Soldini wrote in La Repubblica, “Hungarian authorities denied the man and the woman food for six and a half days, and were eventually ordered to provide them with food by an emergency decision from the European Court of Human Rights under Rule 39, which applies to serious violations of human rights.”
The family had been held in the transit zone at the Serbian border for 9 months, after their asylum claim had been rejected. Since February 7, camp authorities had stopped giving them daily rations of food.
10. The plight of unaccompanied minor refugees in Greece
There are 3.600 unaccompanied minors refugees in Greece. Most begin their odyssey in reception and identification centres on Aegean islands, but too often, their journey to adulthood is made difficult by a system of fragmented services. Read the Pulitzer Center report from Thiva, a refugee camp near Athens.
Immagine di copertina: Commissariato di pubblica sicurezza. Gioia Tauro, 2017 (foto: Diego Fedele)