1. One in three migrant dies in the Mediterranean on the Libyan route
“In 2019, on the route from Libya to Europe, 1 person has died for every 3 that have made it to European shores”, UNHCR Global Spokesperson for Africa and the Mediterranean Charlie Yaxley tweeted. He pointed out that “there is no safe haven in Libya, but no State or NGO boats carrying out search & rescue”.
Nel 2019 una persona ogni 3 ha perso la vita nel tentativo di arrivare in Europa lungo la rotta dalla Libia.
Non esiste un porto sicuro in #Libia, ma nessuna nave governativa o di ONG effettua operazioni di ricerca e soccorso.
E' chiaro che questa situazione non può continuare. https://t.co/zgH1QyYC1V
— UNHCR Italia (@UNHCRItalia) May 6, 2019
This is certified by the latest UNHCR report, showing that, as the number of those arriving in Europe via the Mediterranean has dropped, the mortality rate has risen sharply, particularly among those arriving from Libya, often after months travelling on land.
Going back to the numbers, as Arnoldo Liguori reported in Il Fatto Quotidiano, in the first five months of 2018, 13.362 people arrived in Italy by sea, compared to 60,228 in 2017, marking a 78% fall.
2. On Libya and the role of its Coast Guard
As the UNHCR continues working to evacuate refugees and migrants trapped by the Libyan war, hundreds are being intercepted and forced back to the country by Coast Guard units.
BREAKING: Less than 48 hrs after UNHCR evacuated 146 #refugees & #migrants out of #Libya, another 98 people were forced back to the country after being intercepted at sea. They disembarked in Khoms around 2am today, where MSF provided medical care. They are now back in detention.
— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) May 1, 2019
According to the ONG Mediterranea Saving Humans, two boats have been blocked by the Libyan Coast Guard. The first operation took place 65 miles north of Al Khoms, after which second boat was intercepted. About 180 migrants were sent back to Libya: “Capturing people fleeing war zones and forcing them back violates every international convention on human rights”, the NGO reported.
“Libya is no safe haven. It wasn’t before and it isn’t now that a war has broken out. Conditions are inhuman, and citizens and migrants are exposed to mortal dangers”, added UNHCR spokesperson Carlotta Sami.
Porsia wrote about power play and the Libyan Coast Guard in her article on the human traffickers sanctioned by the UN.
3. Conte, Salvini and Di Maio talk immigration in Tunis
Immigration and the Libyan crisis were the main topics during the bilateral meeting in Tunis between Italian and Tunisian government leaders.
“Tunisia is an essential partner to Italy; when the Libya route closes, the Tunisian route will be the only one left” ISPI researcher Matteo Villa explained. “Libyans fleeing the war will attempt to cross the Tunisian border to stay in the country, which might become a serious problem to Essebsi’s government”.
We recently covered the Tunisian route to Italy, the many who died in their attempt to reach Europe, the Tunisians who decided to return to their country or were forced to do so – in two reports by Ilaria Romano and Romina Vinci.
Spring has also marked a return of sea arrivals in southern Sardinia: three boats landed carrying 22 people identified as Algerian nationals on the night between May 2 and 3.
4. The incredible story of Great, Italy’s pole vault record holder
Great Nnachi was born in Turin of Nigerian parents 14 years ago. On Saturday, she set the Italian record for pole vault by jumping 3.70 meters, and became one of the most promising young athletes globally.
But despite her success story, and having been born in Italy, there are obstacles in the form of red tape. Great will have to wait until she is 18 to obtain the official documents for Italian nationality. Her record cannot be made official yet.
Since January 20, 2016, Italian law recognises the principle of birthright citizenship in sports, allowing foreign minor residents registration in sports associations with the same procedures as Italian citizens. Yet no one knows what to do with their records.
FIDAL (the Italian Federation of Athletics) said: “The issue of record nationality is controversial. On May 24, the federal council will discuss the interpretation of the sports nationality regulation. Can the record held by a foreign resident be classified as Italian?”
As Il Post noted, “The Nnachi case is similar to the ones of Romanian-born Eduard Cristian Timbretti Gugiu, Italy’s ten meter diving vice champion, who cannot be admitted to national selections while awaiting citizenship, and Alessandra Ilic, a Serbian who grew up in Veneto, a junior champion of judo who was excluded from the national competition because she is under 18.”
5. Rome police has not extended residency permits for beneficiaries of international protection
“For months we have witnessed an unlawful practice: the police in Rome has decided not to extend residency permits for beneficiaries of international protection with a certificate of residency at a conventional address. That is, all homeless people and those who cannot provide evidence of legal residence, such as a regular lease agreement”, said Valentina Calderone, head of A Buon Diritto. The association and CIR (Italian Refugee Council) have appealed twice before the Court of Rome against the police’s immigration office.
According to the organisations, the police violated the rights of beneficiaries of international protection by refusing to extend their residency permits.
The city of Rome has set Via Modesta Valenti as the conventional home address for all homeless people. Livia Maria Salvatori wrote an article about these fictitious addresses.
6. A fee for asylum seekers: Trump’s latest move to stop migrants
Donald Trump has directed officials to toughen rules for asylum seekers, including by introducing a fee for their applications and barring those who entered the country illegally from working until their claims are approved.
Trump signed a presidential memorandum on Monday that directed the justice department and Department of Homeland Security to introduce new regulations, including one setting a fee for asylum applications, which are currently free to file.
Even a small fee could be insurmountable for many asylum seekers. Victoria Neilson, a former official at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the government agency that accepts asylum applications, said to the Guardian: “The majority of people coming to the United States seeking asylum are coming with little more than the shirts on their back”.
Miriam Jordan and Jose A. Del Real asked four people who are awaiting asylum hearings about their cases, and how they have fared in the United States. Immigration courts are dealing with a backlog of more than 800,000 cases.
7. Among the foreign workers in the UK
Refugees are underrepresented in the UK workforce and opportunities for them to contribute to growth and better integrate in the country are being missed. The UNHCR estimates there are 120,000 refugees in the UK, all of whom have the right to work in the UK, but said studies suggest the unemployment rate among this part of the population is at 18%, three times that of the UK-born population.
“There is huge capacity for refugees to contribute to the UK economy, either by better leveraging the skills they already have or helping them add new skills”, said Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, UNHCR’s UK representative.. This is why the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration in conjunction with the charity Business in the Community (BITC) and the UK government, have drawn up guidelines on how to help businesses recruit refugees. Jamie Grierson wrote about it in the Guardian.
8. Invitations to tender for Italian migrant centres find no bidders
We are not hotel managers. This is how the associations summarised their refusal to participate in tenders for migrants centres issued by Italian prefectures.
“It is not a matter of money, as Salvini said, oversimplifying”, Eleonora Vanni, president of Legacoopsociali and one of the coordinators of Forum Terzo Settore, explained to Linkiesta. “There is indeed an issue of sustainability, because the funds allocated by the interior ministry might not cover expenses. But even if we went back to the 35 euros per migrant, facilities would only provide food and beds, without also providing integration and assistance services which are essential for those who need to start a new life in our country”. This is because under the new Salvini decree, asylum seekers in Italy will only have access to food, clothing and basic hygiene, pending their claims.
Only those who are later granted the right to stay will have access to Italian language courses and integration services: “The reception system must facilitate integration of migrants by also involving local communities. We are not only interested in the needs of migrants, but also those of communities, against the logic of large centres which fuels fear and hostility.”
9. Bologna court orders the City to register asylum seekers
“If the judges want to set policies they can run for office in the left; obviously we are going to appeal”. During a speech in Reggio Emilia, Matteo Salvini responded to a ruling issued by a Bologna court, which ordered the city to register asylum seekers.
A civil court in Bologna ruled in favour of two asylum seekers who were denied registration with their asylum claims under the new security decree pushed by Matteo Salvini.
As Corriere della Sera reported, according to the judges, “lack of civil registration excludes from constitutional rights that are connected to it, including the right to education and work”, while the security decree “does not explicitly exclude asylum seekers from civil registration, but it highlights how a residency permit pending asylum does not qualify for civil registration”.
As Lorenzo Gambardella explained in Il Foglio, the decision – promptly saluted by Bologna mayor Virgilio Merola – overrules the Salvini decree.
In order to provide useful indications to operators in the field of civil registration and access to services, CILD had published a brief guide to civil registration.
10. Migrant art on display at the Venice Biennale
Who would we all be without Mark Rothko? If the refugee from Latvia had never found the right conditions to realise his potential in the USA, hi work would not exist today. These reflections have inspired Rothko in Lampedusa, an exhibition project by the UNHCR and curated by Luca Berta and Francesca Giubilei. The aim is to promote the wealth of creativity brought by refugees. Once left free to express itself, this contribution can enormously enrich the communities that welcome refugees, and it will be displayed at the 58th International Art Exhibition in Venice.
The issue of migration is a central one at the Exhibition. After nearly three years, the port of Augusta has seen the departure of the Libyan boat which capsized in the Sicilian Strait causing the death of 800 migrants on April 18, 2015. The wreck, now renamed “Barca Nostra”, will be displayed in Venice by Swiss artist Christoph Büchel as a symbol of the migration phenomenon.
“Free from distractions and noise, it will only invite to silence and reflection”, said Biennale president Paolo Baratta.
Foto di copertina: l’opera di Christoph Büchel “Barca Nostra” arriva a Venezia. Foto via Italy in New Zealand