1. The Open Arms case, and what is happening in the Mediterranean
Following the new ruling by the Catania GIP, who dropped the criminal conspiracy charge, the case against the Spanish rescue vessel Open Arms is still ongoing, but focusing instead on the crew’s failure to comply with the Libyan Coast Guard (who would have brought the migrants back to detention camps), as well as on the role of Malta, which has rescued or not taken in migrants for years. The new papers also raise concerns over a direct role played by the Italian Navy. After our first analysis of the case, we provided a follow-up piece. According to Gianfranco Schiavone, an attorney with the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration, this might be “a new Hirsi case”.
Speaking on illegitimate pushbacks, Famiglia Cristiana wrote about a meeting of the International Maritime Organization on October 30, 2017, where international maritime operators declared themselves against the creation of Libyan coordination of rescue efforts in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, a group of 29 leading international law academics penned an open letter to protest the seizing of the Open Arms.
Meanwhile, the trends from earlier this year are confirmed: fewer migrants arrive but many more are dying in proportion. Earlier this month, the ship Aquarius had to negotiate with the Libyan Coast Guard in order to rescue 292 people. And even after the closure of the Lampedusa hotspot, following protests on the awful living conditions, the hotspot is just where 72 Tunisians were brought upon disembarking.
After yet another standoff between aid workers and the Libyan Coast Guard over a rescue operation, Frontex has denied the existence of an area under the jurisdiction of Tripoli. Meanwhile, in Palermo, a new photo exhibition by Max Hirzel, “Corpi migranti“, portrays the tragedy of migrants at sea through images of their bodies, and the Carabinieri in Sciacca arrested 4 people on charges of facilitating illegal immigration: all of them are Italians.
2. Migrants’ conditions in Libya
What happened to the migrants intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard? Read the answers as told to Jeff Crisp. IOM director, William Lacy Swing, has listed six ways to protect migrants on the Central Mediterranean route to Libya. Meanwhile, the office of the International Criminal Court has obtained the report by UN Secretary General António Guterres on the situation in Libya, focusing on allegations of human rights violations against migrants.
3. The situation in Niger
The much-praised agreement between Italy and Niger is faltering. Not only is Niger refusing to continue the agreed-upon evacuation from Libya, but also the number of migrants to Libya is still rising. Nellie Peyton wrote about the economic losses suffered by Nigerians since the implementation of the agreements with the EU. You can also read about the two countries and the people who plied different trades, saw their hopes betrayed and switched allegiances in the final chapter of our three-part special by Giacomo Zandonini.
4. Bardonecchia in the aftermath of the police raid
Since the French police raided a migrant centre in Bardonecchia on March 30, the controversy has never stopped. Here are an opinion by the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration on the alleged violations, and a report by Valigia Blu. Furthermore, according to Amnesty International, the proposed bill on asylum and immigration in France (we wrote about it here) is in violation of human rights. However, solidarity efforts in both France and Italy are still strong, and you can read about them in the report from the Alpine route that we published earlier this year.
5. Israel and the ongoing controversy over forced deportation
Outrage continues over Israel’s decision to deport African migrants, but it seems likely that they will be relocated to Western countries following an agreement with the UN. Read this analysis in Haaretz following international protests, a comment by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles here and a Twitter thread by Jeff Crisp here. Of the 38,000 migrants living in Israel, 28,000 are Eritreans and they suffered horrible abuse to get there: read what Marta Serafini wrote in Corriere della Sera.
6. On the EU-Turkey deal
The agreement between the EU and Turkey to stop the flow of migrants is working, but at a price: read the report in L’Espresso on the economic costs. The European Council on Refugees and Exiles wrote about the spike in arrivals in Greece (in spite of the deal), and the New York Times explained the living conditions for the migrants left stranded on Lesbos. Meanwhile, new paths are opening along the Balkan route in Bosnia.
7. Voluntary returns
We hear about them all the time, but what do they mean for those who return? Read in Refugees Deeply about the toils on the way back to Gambia, while Marta Vigneri wrote in Open Migration about the stories of those who consented to going back to Senegal.
8. Some statistics on asylum applications in Italy
Almost nine months after the summer agreements to stop migrants and the sharp drop in arrivals by sea, ISPI researcher Matteo Villa wrote a Twitter thread on why the Italian asylum system is still struggling to process applications.
Why is that? The February 2017 Minniti-Orlando decree-law lowered protection for #asylum seekers, but did not increase the capacity of the Italian system to process requests. Capacity surged in 2014-2015, but then stopped, never to rise further. 👇 pic.twitter.com/cJMzYHcYb0
— Matteo Villa (@emmevilla) April 4, 2018
9. Return to Macerata
Two months after the shooting spree that saw eight African nationals injured, and a month after the election that saw a win for the League, Annalisa Camilli has returned to Macerata (in Internazionale).
10. A fundraiser for Idy
The family Idy Diene, the Senegalese man who was murdered in Florence, has written to thank all who donated to the fundraiser in his memory, where 40,000 euros were raised in solidarity with his widow Rokhaya Kene Mbengue.
Foto di copertina dalla pagina Twitter di SOS Méditerranée ITA