1. The seizure of the Open Arms: doubts cast on prosecution
There has been much discussion this week around the legal case for seizing the ProActiva ship Open Arms and the events that led to it – we did just that on Open Migration in this in-depth article. Famiglia Cristiana also wrote on the non-existent SAR zone in Libya, while Annalisa Camilli wrote in Internazionale about the very low probability of evacuating the migrants in Malta (something that has not happened for ten years). Human Rights Watch has also published a report. Alessandro Simoni, a professor of comparative law at the University of Florence, has expressed his concerns over the charges against the Open Arms. Meanwhile, Riccardo Gatti, the Open Arms mission leader, has said in an interview: “we would do it all again”.
[Update: as of Tuesday, March 27, 2018, the criminal conspiracy charge has been dropped, Prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro removed from the investigation, and the investigation handed over to prosecutors in Ragusa, which was the competent authority in the first place. ]
2. The reactions to the seizing of the Open Arms
Last Saturday saw many protests in solidarity with the Spanish NGO ProActiva, with hundreds of people taking to the streets in Barcelona and other cities in Spain, as well as in Roma and Pozzallo. The Spanish NGO also received the support of Amnesty International: “Amnesty is on their side, they did well saving human lives”.
Daniel Howden wrote in The Prospect: “across Europe’s seas, anti-immigrant strategies have found a new target: the rescuers.” Among politicians, MEP Elly Schlein said: “I spoke in the Parliament to ask that the Global Compacts on migrations and asylum that are being negotiated at the UN clearly say something about the need not to criminalise solidarity”. “Rescuing lives cannot become a crime. At the risk of disobeying,” Pierfrancesco Majorino, Milan’s Councillor for Social Policies, wrote on Facebook.“Those who criminalise the NGOs want to keep them away from the Mediterranean. I think they should stay, in order to save lives and monitor what is happening at sea” PD President Matteo Orfini, wrote in a post.￼ Read the joint statement by Migreurop, EuroMedRights and FIDH. Also read the op-ed by Francesco Cancellato in Linkiesta.
3. News from Libya, past and present
The Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya, under which the current incidents at sea are taking place, has never been approved by the Italian dal Parliament and now the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration has appealed before the Constitutional Court. Avvenire has obtained a report to the UN Security Council, describing the inhuman living conditions at Libya’s detention centres – including murder, torture and rape – and denouncing the violence at the hands of the Coast Guard and the cruelty of the officers in charge of fighting illegal migration. Other reports from Libya’s detention camps came from several Italian NGOs that have been working in the country since last February. Meanwhile, Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a formal investigation over allegations that he received illegal campaign funding in 2007 from Gaddafi’s regime; the former French president is now being held in Nanterre. All of this happened thanks to this investigation by Mediapart.
4. The Lampedusa hotspot: what now?
Following months of complaints and the temporary closure of the hotspots in Lampedusa and Taranto, 600 people are in need of relocation. What will happen to them?
5. The Venice protocol: more discrimination for migrants?
The Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration and Giuristi democratici have addressed a letter to the President of the Venice Court and the President of the Venice Bar Association in an attempt to block a “Protocol for litigation management before the Immigration Section”, that was signed without being shared among those involved. The text of the protocol has raised serious concerns over the right to defense of those seeking international protection.
6. No welcome in France
On the night between March 10 and 11, at an altitude of 1,900 metres on the Col de Montgenèvre, mountain guide Benoît Duclos rescued a Nigerian woman who was 8 months pregnant, along with her husband and her 2 and 4-year-old children. They were crossing the French-Italian border. The woman gave birth in Briançon. Duclos is now facing 5 years in jail. A few days ago, another Nigerian woman, pregnant and with severe lymphoma, was rejected by the French authorities on the border of Bardonecchia while attempting to cross into France. “For us, a Nigerian mother has the same rights as an Italian mother,” says Paolo Narcisi from Rainbow4Africa, an organisation that assisted the woman (and that helps migrants at the French border, as we told you). Meanwhile, in Paris, thousands of migrants are still forced to live on the streets. A new study highlights the abuse and physical attacks that they are suffering.
7. On the evacuation on via Vaninna
Earlier this week, via Vannina was evacuated again. Roma is still the only European capital with no official plan for migrants, a situation compounded by the city’s housing crisis, leaving refugees no other choice but to occupy precarious buildings under the constant threat of eviction, as we wrote here.
8. On the collection of migrants’ personal data
This week, the Migration Policy Institute and Population Reference Bureau in Washington published an updated version of its online guide to the most credible, high-quality data on immigrants and immigration in the US and internationally (but beware the notion that better data lead to better outcomes for refugees and migrants, as Jeff Crisp warned last week). Meanwhile, in Uganda, more than 1 million refugees are being verified in the biggest exercise of this kind in the history of UNHCR.
9. USA: from the sanctuary cities to the class action lawsuits against the government
Are “sanctuary cities” doing enough to really fight Trump’s deportation machine? Read the in-depth story in The Intercept. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a class action lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security over the detention of asylum seekers.
10. Good practices around the world
We conclude our weekly reviews with some good news. As European countries struggle, the best examples for integration and openness are coming from the cities: the Guardian wrote about Sutera in Sicily, while the Green European Journal wrote about Riace in Calabria, Grande Synthe (France) and Gdansk (Poland). Here we told you how to become tutors for unaccompanied foreign minors, and kids themselves have explained what they expect from a tutor in an article in Vita. Last, a repository for design projects that deal with migration issues.
Foto di copertina dalla pagina Facebook di Proactiva Open Arms