1. Families of the 2013 shipwreck seek justice in Rome
On October 11, 2013, 268 men and women and 60 children drowned in the waters south of Lampedusa in what came to be remembered as “the children’s shipwreck”. As Paolo Brogi wrote in Corriere, they all died after their repeated calls for help to Italian authorities went unheard.
Wahid Hasan Yousef, a Kurdish Syrian heart surgeon, lost 4 daughters in the shipwreck, aged 2, 5, 7 and 10. He is now in Italy alongside other survivors and families for a preliminary hearing scheduled on June 10. The judge will decide on the indictment of Luca Licciardi, a Navy officer, and Leopoldo Manna, head of the operations centre with the Coast Guard.
As Angela Gennaro explained in Open, at the time of the shipwreck, Luca Licciardi was head of current operations in the situation room of Cincnav, the Command in Chief of the naval team, while Manna was head of the third office in the situation room of the general command of port authorities.
The two have been charged with manslaughter for delaying the intervention of military vessel Libra. Licciardi has also been charged with dereliction of duty.
The survivors are hoping for a trial and will be plaintiffs in the suit. “We expect an indictment”, the families’ attorney Arturo Salerni explained to Open.
On Wednesday, several families will be received by the Pope during his general audience.
2. Migrants on the Alan Kurdi finally allowed to land
After more than a week, the Maltese government authorised the disembarkation of over 60 migrants – including 12 women (one pregnant) and one child – on board the German ship Alan Kurdi. The ship had been stranded off Valletta since April 3.
Il team #MOAS a bordo della #AlanKurdi incontra le 63 #personemigranti e l’equipaggio della nave @seaeyeorg @SeaEye_It per la donazione di acqua,cibo,medicine,coperte, vestiti.Un gesto di #amore e #solidarietà nell’attesa di una risposta Europea che stenta ad arrivare! pic.twitter.com/hnRkPdDFTk
— ReginaCatrambone (@ReginaCatrambon) April 9, 2019
EU leaders reached a solution and the migrants will be transferred to Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg. France also said it was willing to take in the migrants, Maltese PM Joseph Muscat confirmed.
Italian interior minister Salvini commented promptly: “Great news! As promised, no immigrants from the Alan Kurdi will come to Italy”, while the European Commission called to the EU to stop relying on ad hoc solutions: “We need predictable and sustainable solutions so that in the future, disembarkation of persons rescued at sea can take place systematically and safely”.
As Annalisa Camilli wrote in Internazionale, during the standoff over the migrants, conditions on board the ship had become unsustainable.
3. Thousands fleeing Tripoli, migrants in detention centres at risk
According to the OCHA, the number of the displaced has risen to 16,000 since the beginning of clashes around Tripoli. As Haftar’s militias attempt to seize control of the capital, civilians are at the highest risk, amid even greater concerns over the migrants held in detention centres:
“Many refugees and migrants in Libya endure terrible depravations. They are now at grave additional risk, and must not be overlooked in the effort to get all civilians out of harm’s way and to places where they are safer”, said UNHCRs Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, Matthew Brook. The agency also relocated more than 150 refugees from the Ain Zara detention centre in south Tripoli, to a centre in a safer area nearby.
Meanwhile, in Italy, following the prefects, the defence minister also warned Salvini: “In case of a new war, we will not have migrants, but refugees. And refugees must be welcomed”.
4. Italy issues decree to admit non-EU workers
On April 9, the Official Gazette published the 2019 decree on migrant flows, setting the quotas for non-EU workers allowed to enter Italy. The overall quota is set at 30,850 (the same number as last year), with 12,850 workers admitted for non-seasonal and freelance work and 18,000 for seasonal employment and the tourism/hospitality sector.
The quotas for seasonal workers are open to applicants from the 28 countries specified in the decree. Compared to other years, Pakistan was left out, as the government of the country did not cooperate with the return of illegal immigrants.
Despite propaganda depicting migrants as “a cost that the Italian government cannot afford”, foreign nationals contribute to the nation’s budget much more than they cost. We wrote about that in an article analysing the latest data from Fondazione Moressa.
5. Red zones for migrants in Calolziocorte (Lecco)
Nine red zones where access is forbidden to migrants, near schools and the train station. Five blue zones near the library and the parishes, with conditional access granted. All of this was laid out in the new regulation issued by the town of Calolziocorte, near Lecco, on the opening of migrant reception centres.
According to the League mayor, the decision was made because of the risk that foreign guests deal drugs in sensitive areas. The opposition (which also called for a Senate hearing) reacted promptly:
“Deciding that reception centres cannot be opened less than 150 metres from sensitive places such as schools means equating migrants to slot machines and labelling them as societal threats” – said city councillor Diego Colosimo – This measure from the town administration is discriminatory and exclusionary”.
6. Immigration and security, a 16 billion euro business
Who profited from the criminalisation of migration to the coats of Europe? Alessandra Briganti wrote about it in il Manifesto, and the article gives a clear answer: the business of security. It is actually a 16 billion euro business, which is expected to grow by 8% a year.
Illegal immigration is then depicted as a threat to security, to be managed with necessary surveillance: this has translated to more funds from the EU budget to border control, border externalisation, and an increasingly significant role to border control agencies such as Frontex.
As peace seems to have broken out at the border between Italy and France – following the controversy over the Gendarmerie pushing migrants back to Italy – with the implementation of shared patrolling, Spanish fire-fighter Miguel Roldán is facing up to 20 years in jail: Italian authorities have charged him with abetting illegal immigration.
7. Italians and emigration: the forgotten story of the New Orleans lynchings
Murdered “based on the only available evidence, being dagoes”, the derogatory name given to Italian immigrants in America. Eleven were killed by an angry mob in what came to be known as the New Orleans lynchings”.
A climate of hostility towards Italian immigrants fuelled one of the most significant lynchings in the history of the USA: they were “the most abject, lazy, depraved, violent and unworthy individuals amongst us”, as the mayor of the city described them at the time. Almost a century later, the current mayor has apologised to the Italian community.
8. From migrants to pirates, how identities change during Mediterranean passage
The change in the political climate seems to have affected the information shared by the Italian and Spanish Coast Guards, which have stopped posting news on migrants on their social media accounts, despite continued arrivals.
In this changed climate, even the identity of migrant is changing. Once depicted as refugees, victims of torture, sexual violence or slavery, they are now being described as criminals, terrorists and even – as in the case of the tanker El-Hiblu 1 – as hijackers and pirates.
9. Along the Balkan route, twenty years after the war
As the media remember the NATO bombing of Belgrade during the Kosovo war, Federica Iezzi wrote a compelling report from the Balkan route for il Manifesto. From Afghanistan through Iran, Turkey and Greece, and from Niger via Libya and the Mediterranean, countless stories were collected in Bihać. All of them share a history of pushbacks, violence and repeated attempts to reach Europe
Michele Luppi went to Bihać for us, and wrote about how the city has become the new hotspot of Europe over the last twelve months.
10. Trump removes top immigration officials
Trump’s agenda on immigration has been to slow to deliver, amid delays in the approval process and the firing of senior officials. The latest victims of the president’s frustration over the lack of results are Ronald Vitiello, acting head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump’s homeland security secretary. Writing for the New York Times, Eileen Sullivan and Michael Shear explore the motives behind the purge, the influence of Stephen Miller – the architect of President Trump’s immigration policy – and the president’s next steps.
As the Guardian reported, Trump appears determined to send migrants arrested at the southern border to “sanctuary cities” around the US, cities which have refused to implement legislative restrictions against migrants. A scheme meant to exact revenge on his Democratic foes, despite fierce political opposition and doubts over the legality of such a move.
These policies are a far cry even from those of a Republican icon such as former president Ronald Regan who, as Giovanni De Mauro wrote Internazionale, ended his term with words of praise for immigrants: “If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost”.