1. Standoff leaves 64 in limbo at sea
Ancora una volta una nave impegnata in operazioni di soccorso è lasciata in mare dopo aver salvato vite umane, Once more a humanitarian aid ship was left at sea carrying rescued migrants, with both Italy and Malta refusing it safe harbour. The 64 people on board the Alan Kurdi are still out at sea with 17 crew memegers, awaiting a safe port as a storm approached.
“We have no idea yet where we can disembark”, said Sea-Eye spokeswoman Carlotta Weibl to Associated Press. “Malta says we can’t enter their waters and we are unlikely to get permission from Italy”.
The ship is now 50 km away from Malta. On Sunday, the NGO called on EU governments to grant it safe harbour. The Italian interior ministry granted permission to disembark two of the children, their mothers, and a pregnant women, But the women refused to disembark and be separated from their families.
Italian interior minister Salvini was the first to shrare the news on Twitter: “Women and children refuse to get off the ship. We can only wish them a safe trip to Berlin”.
2. Migrants trapped in Libya forced to move weapons
Commander Haftar has launched another military assault on Tripoli, marking an escalation in the Libyan conflict.
As fighting between rival forces rages on the outskirts of the Libyan capital, thousands of refugees and migrants locked up in detention centres inside Tripoli say they are terrified of what might happen to them, Sally Hayden wrote in Al Jazeera.
According to Dossier Libia, the Qaser Ben Gashir detention centre has been turned into a recruitment facility. “We are receiving reports” – said UNHCR special envoy Vincent Cochetel – “of migrants being released, given military uniforms and told that they may have to fight.”
3. Thousands of migrants attempt to cross the border in Greece
Thousands of migrants gathered next the Diavata camp, north of Thessaloniki, in the hope of crossing the border and resumre their journey across the Balkans to Europe.
Hundreds more gathererd in the train station of Athens, blocking the trains, to chants of “Germany, Germany” and “Open the borders””. Police officers used tear gas and stunning grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowds.
For both groups, the dream is to finally leave Greece, where many of them, under the EU-Turkey deals signed three years ago, have been stranded in terrible living conditions.
The migrant protests appear to have originated from from false online rumors that restrictions on traveling would be lifted .Greek immigration minister Dimitris Vitsas promptly denied the rumors.
According to InfoMigrants, similar rumors prompted migrants to gather on the Turkish border: Turkish authorities have detained nearly 1,200 migrants.
4. Frontex: closer to an agreement to boost the agency
Frontex, the EU border management agency, will be strengthened. Ambassadors from member states confirmed that an informal agreement has been reached among the European Parliament representatives as well as the European Council on the new rules for the agency.
The agreement will add 10,000 new officers by 2027, but it will also strengthened the agency’s mandate: Frontex personnel will carry out identity checks and authorisation at borders, while the agency will be granted more powers in matters of repatriation and cooperaton with third countries.
According to EU commissioner for internal affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos: “from now on, Frontex will have full operational capability and the necessary powers to give effective and complete support to member states, at all times”.
Italy has voted against the proposal: because it disagreed with the approach, which would take away natioanal and EU resources.
The boosting of Frontex is only the latest step in a series of changes which started with the refugee crisis, and which saw the EU agencies for migration, asylym and border take on an increasingly significant role. Last week David Fernández Rojo explained how the role of the agencies has chanved since 2015.
5. Trentino goes back to large migrant reception centres
“The new pronvicial council has taken all the orders from Rome literally. It has meticulously followed the directives of minister Salvini, bypassing territorial autonomy. The small reception centres and the apartment which ensured localised, high-quality reception will be closed. The migrants will be graudally transferred to Trento, at Residenza Fersina, the largest centre in the Province. Currently, it hosts 150 migrants, but the number will soon grow. In other words, we have gone back to the big centres approach, with only custody in mind and not a thought for inclusion or support services.”
This is a statement by Stefano Bleggi, with Progetto Melting Pot Europa, collected by Riccardo Bottazzo for LasciateCIEntrare. Valentina Leone went for us to a few months after the elections, to report on the new government’s promise to dismantle the local reception system.
6. When we were migrants: in Costa Rica, along the railway built by Italians
If even today, in Costa Rica, members of the Italian communities are known as Tútiles, it’s because of the Ferrocarril al Átlantico , built mostly by Italian workers, and the chants of ‘Tutti lì!’ to which they gathered to protest the harsh living conditions which they had to endure: the first mass strike on record in Costa Rica was organised by Italians, most of them from the province of Mantua.
At a time when discussions of immigration are often limited to outcries over boat arrivals and public safety, Rossella Rocchino e Lorenzo Pirovano have rediscovered the stories of thousands of italians who left their country in the late 1800s to seek fortune across the Ocean. The journey along the railway, now half-buried, reminds us of the sacrifices of hundreds of our fellow Italians, when we were the ones who were forced to emigrate.
7. Australia spends millions of dollars to open a migrant detention centre on Christmas Island
Spendere 185 milioni di dollari per riaprire un centro di detenzione per migranti per poi chiuderlo di nuovo nel giro di poche settimane. 185 million dollars spent to reopen a migrant detention centre, only to close it again after a few weeks. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison did just that on Christmas Island. The PM justified the reopening by saying it was a deterrent.
Australia has been under the spotlight for months because of the terrible living conditions in migrant centres on Nauru or in Papua New Guinea.
According to the opposition, the prime minister’s choice was a an election stunt.
8. Riace, Court of Cassation dismisses charges against Mimmo Lucano
The Court of Cassation has dismissed the charges against Mimmo Lucano: there were now frauds, thefts or scam marriages in Riace. This can be read in the ruling that the Court issued on February 26 after mayor Lucano had appealed for a suspension of precautionary measures. The dismissed charges, as those of fraud in waste management contracts, are directly linked to the integration model exemplified by Riace, and the most serious against Lucano. While this is not acquittal, Saviano wrote in L’Espresso, the ruling has brought some light back to Riace.
9. Refugees win parliament awards, but are still undocumented
In 2016, Nisar, Naqeeb, Tariq, Wasim and Mohamad all travelled across Europe as minors to reach the UK. After languishing in the Calais refugee camp for months, all faced long delays to their asylum procedures, but used the time to contact MPs and join campaigns to highlight failings in the system. After hearing about the severe impact on young people’s mental health from delays of months and even years, chief inspector of borders and immigration David Bolt decided to launch an inquiry into how the Home Office treats unaccompanied minors. The five young men will now receive the Community Campaigner Award. Despite receiving an award from parliament, Naqeeb has been refused asylum after waiting nearly three years to have his case resolved.: he will fight for a fairer system as long as he is in the UK, he told the Guardian.
10. Refugee Deeply is ceasing publications
After years of covering the refugee crisis, Refugees Deeply has announced that it will close, at least for the present. They must be credited for their incredible journalisti work and for launching a platform for investigation and analysis to which Open Migration has had the pleasure to contribute.
Immagine di copertina: un rifugiato afferra la recinzione dell’hotspot di Moria a Lesbo, settembre 2017 (foto: Marianna Karakoulaki)