1. Young Rami’s heroism and Kean’s goals spark new debate on citizenship
A 13-year-old boy becomes a hero by rescuing his classmates, while a 19-year-old one scores a goal, leading the national soccer team to victory. What do they have in common? The former, born and raised in Crema, dreams of citizenship – and his heroic act might earn him just that – while the latter, born of Ivorian parents who have been living in Italy for more than 30 years) already has it, but said on TV after his goal: “How old was I when I got citizenship? Since I was born, here in Italy, where my parents had been living for more than 30 years. What do I think? Everyone must be treated as Italians, there are no differences. We are all in the same country.”
Their stories have sparked a new debate over citizenship, in the light of a statement by interior minister Salvini: “Rami likes birthright citizenship? He can have it once he’s elected in Parliament.”
Citizenship should be a right, not a prize, Luigi Mastrodonato wrote in Wired, while Giulio Cavalli in Linkiesta urged Adam to take the minister on his word: “We need many new Luther Kings, Malcolm X’s, Rosa Parks’s, young and old, willing to take what they think is rightfully theirs, without waiting for white Italians to give it to them.”
2. On the 50 migrants rescued by the Mare Jonio
Last Tuesday, after waiting all day outside the port of Lampedusa, the ship Mare Jonio from the Mediterranea project was allowed to disembark the migrants it had rescued the day before.
In the hours before the authorisation, Italian interior minister Salvini had said: “This is not a rescue operation, it’s abetting illegal immigration,” and immediately after landing, the authorities had launched an investigation and impounded the ship under the same charges.
After 8 hours of questioning, Mediterranea head of mission Luca Casarini was formally placed under investigation. He is said to have shared the decisions made by the ship’s commander, Pietro Marrone (also under investigation), who said to reporters: “I could not have stopped in the middle of the storm,” adding: “Salvini never had the responsibility that I had. A duty to bring live humans to shore. They could have been my children.”
As Felice Florio wrote in Open, on board the Mare Jonio there were people Bakary who, despite being only 25 years old, has already been sent back to Libya 4 times by the Coast Guard, and suffered torture in the country’s notorious detention centres.
3. Where are the migrants from the Mare Jonio?
Where are the 50 people who were rescued by the Mare Jonio and then transferred to the Lampedusa hotspot?
According to a report by project In Limine, an initiative by ASGI, ActionAid, Indie Watch and CILD, the migrants have been held arbitrarily and with no access to protection in the migrant centre on Lampedusa.
The issue of unlawful detention in the Lampedusa hotspot had already been raised by the Ombudsman for the rights of people detained, and Open Migration had visited the island on multiple occasions to report on the poor living conditions inside the hotspot.
However, according to local media sources, the migrants have been transferred to Porto Empedocle.
Le 50 persone soccorse dalla #MareJonio e condotte all’Hotspot di Lampedusa sono da allora trattenute nella struttura.
Con @asgi_it, @Cild2014 e #Indiewatch chiediamo chiarimenti su accesso a protezione internazionale e tutela dei minori.
— ActionAid Italia (@ActionAidItalia) March 25, 2019
4. Florence court overrules Salvini decree: civil registration is a right
Yosef is a Somali asylum seeker who lives in a reception centre in the town of Scandicci. On applying for civil registration in October last year, he was denied as a consequence of the Salvini decree.
On March 18, however, a Florence court overruled the decision and ordered the City of Scandicci to allow Yosef to register as a resident. The ruling came following an appeal in January by the attorneys from the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASG), as the statement issued by the Questura alone is sufficient proof of legal residence.
Civil registration is required for issuing a residence certificate and an identity document, which in turn are necessary to access certain public services, especially social services such as affordable housing and subsidies. In order to help aid workers with issues of registration and access to services, CILD had created this short guide.
5. French attorneys go on strike over video-hearings for migrants
After the Lyon Bar, Paris is mobilising against video-hearings for asylum seekers. Parisian lawyers at Cour nationale du droit d’asile (CNDA) will go on strike during the days of the scheduled auditions.
Video-hearings are intended to speed up appeal procedures. According to their opposers, this would harm asylum seekers who would rather be heard in person and whose stories would be trivialised on a screen. According to Basil Ader, vice president of the Paris Bar association, video-hearings are the sign of a “dehumanisation of justice.” “Asylum rights have been abused since 1981,” he said to Libération. “But this is a whole new level of appalling, the very opposite of justice.”
6. Italian government says Libya is a safe haven, in writing
“For the first time, we have read in a written text that Libya is a safe haven according to Italian authorities. We find it deeply concerning.”
"E' la prima volta che leggiamo in un testo scritto che la #Libia è un porto sicuro secondo le autorità italiane. Per noi è un elemento di forte preoccupazione”
— MediciSenzaFrontiere (@MSF_ITALIA) March 20, 2019
MSF head of advocacy Marco Bertotto has commented on the directive issued by interior minister Matteo Salvini, ordering law enforcement officers, the Navy and the Coast Guard to block access to Italian waters to all NGO ships that rescue migrants outside of Italy’s SAR zone
Writing for Internazionale, Annalisa Camilli listed the reasons why the directive had no legal value. However, as Repubblica reported, for the first time, the Italian has government described Libyan ports as safe, much like the ones in Malta and Tunisia, which carries strong political significance.
More and more reports describe the brutal living conditions of migrants in Libyan detention centres: you can read one in Famiglia Cristiana on the judicial aspects of what happened in concentration camps under the Tripoli regime, as told by attorney Maurizio Veglio in his book “L’attualità del male”.
7. The Salvini decree has produced 44,000 new illegal immigrants
Since the security decree came into force in Italy, there have been 44,000 new illegal immigrants. The pressure on prefectures to crack down on humanitarian protection and the new laws on how this protection is granted have resulted in nearly 50,000 asylum applications being rejected.
According to Claudio del Frate in Il Corriere della Sera, not counting those already deported, there are still 44,654 cases pending: all of these people have been left out of the system, deprived of “any legal protection, but forced to live without means.”
This is one of the reasons why Caritas Ambrosiana has decided to set up a solidarity fund for foreign nationals whose journey towards integration was cut short by the new legislation.
8. Ethiopia passes innovative law, granting more rights to refugees
Not all migrants leave Africa for Europe, and Ethiopia is one of their main destinations on the continent. Refugees come primarily from neighbouring Somalia, closely followed by South Sudan. In order to meet this challenge, the Ethiopian government has revised its refugee law.
The new legislation is highly innovative. As Eleonora Copparoni wrote in Lo Spiegone, asylum seekers and refugees will now be able to obtain work permits in sectors ranging from agriculture to industry, open their own businesses, as well as gain access to healthcare, primary education and banking services.
“The passage of this historic law represents a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s long history of welcoming and hosting refugees from across the region for decades,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “By allowing refugees the opportunity to be better integrated into society, Ethiopia is not only upholding its international refugee law obligations, but is serving as a model for other refugee hosting nations around the world.”
9. The Greek migrant crisis is not over
“Humanity first.” The words were chosen by Amnesty International to be projected on to the Acropolis in Athens, to highlight the plight of thousands of refugees trapped on Greek islands in terrible living conditions.
On 3rd anniversary of EU-Turkey deal, we projected a message on the Acropolis in Athens to call on Europe's leaders to free the children, women & men still trapped in barbed wire camps on the Greek islands. https://t.co/P5rzNi2xuS
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) March 18, 2019
“Europe is no longer experiencing the migration crisis we lived in 2015, but structural problems remain,” said Frans Timmermans, the European commission’s first vice-president, on March 6.
Also thanks to these controversial migration deals, such as the one between the EU and Turkey, arrivals in Greece have dropped by 97% from 2015. As Helena Smith wrote in the Guardian, migrants stranded on Greek islands are at risk of being forgotten.
10. What if someday you were an immigrant, too?
Increasingly, people are being forced to flee their homes not just by war and poverty, but also by climate change.
Scientists predict that over the next decade the earth will warm by 1.5 degrees, and perhaps as much as two degrees Celsius if we fail to take drastic and sustained action on climate change. Even under the best-case scenarios, we will witness huge hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and other severe weather events. The consequences will be dire: loss of homes and livelihoods, hunger and disease, probably conflict, but eventually dislocation. What to do then?
“We have to set aside antiquated ideas about barbarians at the gate and thoroughly rethink our approach to the inevitable displacements that will take place in our lifetimes. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are neither dangerous monsters nor exceptional achievers — they are ordinary people who find themselves, for a range of personal or political reasons, pulled or pushed to leave home.” Read Laila Lalaimi’s op-ed in the New York Times.
Cover photo: an oldest Syrian woman holds the hands of a baby at Moria, Lesvos. Photo: Marianna Karakoulaki