** Update: A month after the seizure in the port of Pozzallo, yesterday the Open Arms ship was finally free to sail again, as the judge for preliminary investigations in the Sicilian city of Ragusa ordered its release. The motivation is extraordinarily important: “Libya is not yet able to welcome migrants rescued at sea while respecting their fundamental rights”. So, even if last March 15, the Open Arms crew refused to hand the people they had rescued to a Libyan patrol boat (possibly disobeying the orders of the Italian Coast Guard), it was because they were acting “in a state of necessity”.
1. A dossier on the violations in Lampedusa, but the hotspot is still operational
On March 13, the Italian Ministry of the Interior announced the closing of the Lampedusa hotspot, in part following protests from CILD, ASGI and Indiewatch. All the reports have now been collected in a dossier – which was presented to the press on April 10 – featuring first-hand accounts, interviews and photographs that document the inhuman treatment of the people living in the facility, also based on five urgent appeals brought before European Court of Human Rights.
The dossier has received extensive coverage in the national and foreign press: Infomigrants wrote of violence against migrants, Avvenire wrote that human rights were violated in Lampedusa, while Redattore Sociale reported: “the facilities remain inadequate”.
Despite the associations’ protests and the dilapidated state of the facilities, the hotspot is still being used, as reported by Fanpage.
Things are not going better for the migrants who were transferred to other facilities, such as the CPRs (Centri di Permanenza per il Rimpatrio), where right to counsel was violated on multiple occasions.
A delegation from the LasciateCIEntrare campaign was able to visite the CPR at Palazzo San Gervasio, near Potenz, where they once again found repeated violations of rights and uncalled-for violance.
2. CPT calls for a European approach to migration
On April 10, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published a report on the visit to Italy to examine the situation of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty in the so-called “hotspots” and immigration detention centres in a context of large-scale arrivals from North Africa.
The visit, which took place in June 2017, documented the situation then and commended Italy for its rescue and reception efforts, but it also noted that the Lampedusa hotspot is unsuitable for extended periods of stay.
The CPT has clearly stated the need for “a co-ordinated European approach and support to address the phenomenon of mass migratory arrivals”.
3. New criticism to the Italy-Libya deal
After the election, the agreement between Italy and Libya to stop migrants is still raising concerns and drawing criticism. The UNHCR has published a report detailing the scale and horror of detention in Libya (read it in full here).
Harsh criticism also came from the president of Centro Astalli – the Italian branch of the Jesuit service for refugees – father Camillo Ripamonti: “the deal with Libya is a defeat for all of Europe”.
4. MEPs call on EU countries to evacuate more refugees from Libya
A delegation of members of the European Parliament has called upon member states to do more evacuate the migrants who are being held in detention camps in Libya. Meanwhile, Niger might be taking the first step towards extraterritorial processing of asylum claims to France.
5. More tensions at the Italian-French border
On April 8, a group of dozens of migrants and volunteers who are working to help them occupied the railway station at Briançon, in France, after the local solidarity centre “Tout migrants” reached maximum capacity. A few days later, on April 10, the French police raided the occupants.
Meanwhile, the Guardian wrote about 7 Italian associations who accused the French police of falsifying birth dates of unaccompanied minors so they could send them back to Ventimiglia, in Italy, where they had been identified as minors. You can read the associations’ detailed accusations here.
6. People smugglers on Facebook
Smugglers are relying more and more social media. The European Migrant Smuggling Center – the division of Europol that fights human trafficking – has described Facebook as “the social media platform of choice for smugglers”. What’s the relationship between the visibility of human traffickers on Facebook and the users seeking ways to travel on social media? How should companies like Facebook react? Tuesday Reitano tried to answer these questions in Refugee Deeply.
7. Homeless migrants
The new report from Centro Astalli on migrant reception in Italy has just been published. According to it, the number of homeless migrants who are forced to live in the streets is rising, especially in Rome. The SPRAR network can only cover 15 % of the places that are needed.
Eleonora Camilli and Giacomo Zandonini, reporting for Open Migration, visited one of the largest occupied areas, a former penicillin factory just outside Rome.
8. The saga of the people smuggler
We have been telling you about the Eritrean man who was detained and tried in Italy as people smuggler Mered, responsible for the shipwreck of October 3, 2013. The man appears to be actually free and moving across Europe, Africa and the Gulf countries: the last sighting was in Uganda.
9. Citizenship and education in Italy
The Eurostat data on acquisition of citizenship in Europe as of 2016 are very interesting, especially with regards to Italy, the Member State which granted the most citizenships.
Also read an analysis in La Voce on the number of non-Italian students: foreigners attending high school only make up 6.8% of the total.
10. Compensation to be paid to the family of Cheikh Diouf
The Civil Court of Rome has ruled in favour of compensation sought by the attorneys of the family of Cheikh Diouf, the 42-year-old Senegalese man who was murdered 9 years ago in Civitavecchia.
Bonus: Last week, Open Migration was also at the International Journalism Perugia with a talk on migration data and fact-checking in schools, a panel discussion on a research conducted by More in Common and Social Change Initiative on public opinion and the immigration crisis and one on funding flows and migration routes.
Foto di copertina dal dossier di Asgi, Cild e Indie Watch