1. Salvini announces a new security bill
Il ministro dell’Interno Matteo Salvini said on Friday that he would present before the Council of Ministers a security decree 2, as an integration to the first security decree – which we analysed here – mostly on matters of immigration and public order.
The decree is said to be made of 12 articles, detailing the competences of ministries on disembarkment and introducing new measures against the trafficking of human beings.
As Fanpage reported, new measures include changes to the maritime code, especially concerning the passage of cargo ships in Italian territorial waters. The powers of the infrastructure ministry would be limited to safety at sea and the protection of the marine environment, while the power to “limit passage of cargo ships, fishing vessels and recreational vessels for reasons of public safety” would be transferred to the interior ministry.
Another measure introduces sanctions for those who “do not follow obligations enshrined in international conventions during rescue operations in international waters”. As Alessandra Ziniti wrote in Repubblica, these sanctions are increasingly those attributed by Salvini to migrant rescue ships
As the minister himself said, “if the new decree were in force, the Mare Jonio would have been fined and impounded”.
2. Up to 70 dead after boat capsizes off Tunisia
As many as 70 people trying to reach Europe from Libya have drowned after their vessel capsized in international waters, 40 miles off the coast of Sfax, south of Tunis. As Lorenzo Tondo wrote in the Guardian, it was the deadliest incident in the Mediterranean since January.
The news, reported by Alarm Phone, was confirmed by Tunisian defense ministry spokesperson, Mohamed Zekri.
The migrants are said to have sailed from Libya and the death toll might rise, as reported by the Tunisian Navy which is carrying out the rescue operations.
“Sono finiti sott’acqua uno ad uno. Li ho visti morire davanti ai miei occhi“, ripete Ahmed Bilal, un contadino del Bangladesh sopravvissuto al tragico naufragio. Roberto Brunelli interviewed him for Agi and wrote about the journey.
3. Military vessels and NGOs: are the ports open or closed?
More than 60 people were rescued on Thursday by two Italian ships during two separate operations in the Central Mediterranean. In the first one, the Cigala Fulgosi, a Navy vessel, rescued 36 migrants from a boat that was about to sink. As the Navy itself clarified, the boat was found approximately 75 km from the coasts of Libya, in international waters.
Il pattugliatore Cigala Fulgosi ha soccorso 36 migranti a bordo di una imbarcazione in procinto di affondare. Comunicato stampa nr. 48 ► https://t.co/zrwvDbb0Bo #MarinaMilitare #NoiSiamolaMarina pic.twitter.com/xtd0r1Wbzi
— Marina Militare (@ItalianNavy) May 9, 2019
On the same day, Mediterranea Savings Humans said in a tweet that the Mare Jonio had rescued 29 more migrants in distress on a small rubber dinghy in the Central Mediteranean.
We carried out the operation after we spotted a deflated rubber boat which had entered our radar. Then we wrote the MRCC of the Rome Coast Guard, requesting instructions and the assignation of a safe harbour. We received no response for over an hour, until a document came in from the interior ministry, saying that we should contact Libyan authorities. Obviously we cannot consider Libya, a country at war, a safe haven”, says Alessandra Sciurba, spokesperson for Mediterranea a Vita.
As Info Migrants reported, Salvini first attacked the military vessel, then the NGO vessel, stating that the ports would remain closed.
Later came a note from the Presidency of the Council of Ministers:
“The 36 migrants on a boat in danger of sinking were rescued by Navy personnel onboard the patrol boat Cigala Fugosi, and transferred to the Stromboli unit. The unit is now en route to the military port of Augusta, where the migrants will be disembarked.”
The Mare Jonio also managed to disembark the people onboard at the port of Lampedusa, and its crew is not currently under investigation.
4. Hungary’s coerced removal of Afghan families deeply shocking
Hungary’s actions overnight to force two asylum-seeking Afghan families to leave the country under duress is deeply shocking and a flagrant violation of international and EU law, the UN Refugee Agency said today.
“The treatment of these families, including their removal from Hungarian territory with no serious effort to look at their claims to refugee status, is deeply regrettable” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Their case highlights our deep concerns about what is happening in Hungary, where asylum-seekers are rejected not on the merits of their claim, but because under Hungary’s legislation, their claims are automatically considered inadmissible.”
The two families, four adults and seven children, who had been detained since January in the transit zone between Hungary and Serbia, were escorted to a border gate with Serbia at night on 7 May. They were presented with a choice of entering Serbia or being flown back to Afghanistan on a flight organized by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
5. What happens to the refugees sent back to Libya?
The EU’s efforts to stem the flow migration from Africa across the Mediterranean has meant assisting the Libyan coastguard to intercept boats. But what happens when asylum seekers are returned to war-torn Libya?
Journalist Sally Hayden tells how the thousands trapped in the camps are in danger of being caught up in the increasingly dangerous conditions within Libya as the country’s civil war intensifies. Listen to her interview with Anushka Asthana in the Guardian.
But there are more than 600,000 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Libya, and the majority are not in detention. That doesn’t mean they are safe. Journalists Francesca Mannocchi and Alessio Romenzi visited a school-turned-shelter for migrants and refugees taken out of parts of the city that had become battle zones.
6. On the link between poverty and migration
It’s no longer the poor who are risking their lives on migrant boats. It seems almost paradoxical, but with the exception of countries at war, the 100 million migrants who have moved around the world over the last 25 years are middle class. Writing for Data Room, Milena Gabanelli and Simona Ravizza analysed the link between poverty and migration, and discovered that most migrants are leaving from countries where people can afford travel expenses.
⛔️✍️ LA "GOBBA MIGRATORIA".
Probabilmente il dato meno conosciuto (o più ignorato): a migrare di più non sono i più poveri, ma chi è a un livello leggermente più alto di sviluppo.
Con lo sviluppo l'emigrazione prima *aumenta*, raggiunge un picco, e solo dopo inizia a scendere. pic.twitter.com/AQD74l2CAX
— Matteo Villa (@emmevilla) May 13, 2019
The link between poverty, development and migration has always been a difficult one. Professor Maurizio Ambrosini compared the “help them at home” rhetoric with the facts, explaining what might happen if development aid were used as an antidote to migration.
7. Return to Lesbos
Thousands of people live in tents, which are separated according to the ethnicity of each group. That is the reality of Moria, a centre for migrants on the island of Lesbos that is notorious for its terrible living conditions for the health problems of the people it hosts. Among the individuals assisted by the International Rescue Committee, 64% suffer from depression, 60% have suicidal thoughts and 29% have tried to kill themselves. Marianna Karakoulaki wrote about their dreams, their hopes and the harsh reality they are facing.
Nello Scavo is again reporting from Lesbos for Avvenire, among refugees from Afghanistan who are facing deportation to their country, torn by Taliban violence.
8. Sicilian volunteers help African LGBTI migrants
“When neighbours found out about my homosexuality, they put my picture all over social media. The police were chasing me. I had to leave quickly or I’d end up in jail. My family didn’t accept me”, says Michael Fuwobiri, 23-year-old from Nigeria, currently living in Sicily.
Since the new bill championed by interior minister Salvini abolished humanitarian protection for those not directly affected by war or natural disasters, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual people fleeing persecution in their countries of origin are being left with no protection. A small local aid group, La migration, has been trying to help them. Stefani D’Ignoti told their stories in The New Humanitarian.
9. Cardinal Krajewski brings new attention on housing occupations in Rome
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski broke a police seal to turn the electricity back on Saturday evening in an unused state-owned building where 450 people – including about 100 children – had been living. According to the Guardian, the cardinal, fully aware of the possible legal consequences, called it a gesture of desperation. As Flavia Perina wrote in Linkiesta, the Cardinal’s gesture was surprising and unexpected, but it temporarily solved a situation that was jeopardising the occupants’ health.. As we wrote in Open Migration, Rome is the only European capital with no official plan for migrants, while Eleonora Camilli and Federica Mameli had taken us on a journey through from refugee housing occupations in Rome.
10. Some thoughts on Spain after the election
Spain has been an exception to the upsurge of nationalist, far-right movements across Europe. However, the last general elections saw Vox, an openly misogynistic, xenophobic and Islamophobic party, make it to the Parliament, winning almost 10 per cent of the vote. In 2018 Spain became the main European country of arrival for migrants. What does that mean for Spain’s political course and newly arrived migrants? Aasim Saleem explained it on Info Migrants.
Cover photo via Alarm Phone