1. Delayed rescue operations kill migrants
It was a very tense morning on May 30 off the Libyan coasts
A rubber dinghy with 90 migrants had been adrift for hours, with the Italian navy patrol ship “Cigala Fulgosi” and the NGOs accusing it of stalling.
Adding fuel to the fire was footage released by Sea Watch –you can see it in Repubblica – showing how a migrant died at sea last week after an Italian navy ship failed to intervene.
The accusations prompted outrage from Italy’s defence minister Trenta, who said on her Facebook page: “I won’t allow anyone to say that our Navy ignored people in distress who were calling to be rescued. Let this be very clear!”
The migrants were eventually rescued by military vessel Cigala Fulgosi, but news broke out again of a 5-year-old girl dying during the operation. This was later found to be false, and the Navy denied it:
“Following the rescue operations, 100 people, including 12 women and 23 minors, were taken on board and their health conditions are being verified. There were no recorded fatalities on board.”
Roberto Saviano commented the incident. “Saving to be saved. Saving to save ourselves: if we stop saving in our sea, we will be the ones who drowned”, the author wrote in an op-ed for Repubblica.
2. The Cigala Fulgosi has docked in Genoa
The Italian navy ship Cigala Fulgosi docked in the port of Genoa on June 2 at 8:42 am carrying some 100 migrants who were rescued on Thursday off the Libyan coasts; among them 17 women, 6 of them pregnant, and 23 minors.
"BENVENUTI", lo striscione che i portuali della Compagnia unica hanno messo sulla Lanterna, faro simbolo della città. Sarà la prima cosa che i naufraghi a bordo della C. Fulgosi vedranno all'arrivo, dopo una rotta vessatoria.
— Sergio Scandura (@scandura) June 1, 2019
In Calata Bettolo, near the ship, Anpas and the Red Cross set up a medical unit. As the interior minister announced, following identification and medical checks, the migrants will be hosted in Italian Episcopal Conference facilities, to be later distributed among five EU countries and the Vatican.
“There are no medical emergencies on board. Half a dozen cases of scabies have been recorded. There is a child with first degree burns from prolonged exposure to the sun””, said Sergio Gambino, Genoa’s Civil Protection officer, briefing the press on the situation on board the ship.
“These people need to stop and rest, and understand. We need to send a strong message of welcome, whether in Genoa or elsewhere. We are here to tell them we love them, that Genoa has always shown solidarity from the sea, however gruffly. We are sea people: we don’t leave others in the water”, said father Giacomo Martino, head of migrant office at the diocese of Genoa.
3. The exploitation of foreign labour
Italy is the EU’s leading tobacco producer. In 2017, the industry was worth €149m. A Guardian investigation into the tobacco industry has shed some disturbing lights over the exploitation of migrants working in the fields near Caserta.
According to journalists Lorenzo Tondo and Luca Muzi, the same fields supply three of the world’s largest tobacco manufacturers, Philip Morris, British American Tobacco e Imperial Brands.
In the Pontine Marshes, near Terracina, Indian women are being exploited, forced to work 14 hours a day under extreme duress. Sociologist Marco Omizzolo, an expert in agricultural mafia, and a researcher with Eurispes and InMigrazione – talked about it in a podcast on VaticanNews. Daniela Sala had met Marco Omizzolo for Open Migration to discuss the exploitation of Sikh workers in the area: 11,000 men and women who are paid 4.5 euro an hour and threatened to lose their jobs if they speak up or go on strike.
4. Malta rescued 75 migrants
75 stranded migrants have been rescued by the Maltese navy. They were found clinging to a tuna pen.
As the press reported, the rescue operation was carried out on Wednesday night, and the migrants were brought to land the following day.
According to Swissinfo, despite the crackdown on rescue ships and Italy’s hard-line stance, there has been an increase in the number of boats leaving Libya for Europe.
Meanwhile the Agrigento prosecutor Salvatore Vella, and judge Cecilia Baravelli, have ordered the release of the German NGO ship Sea Watch 3.
The ship had been impounded on May 18, after taking 47 migrants to Lampedusa, when the Italian government – particularly interior minister Matteo Salvini – refused to allow it to dock.
5. Salvini and the myth of migrants who bring disease
Certain diseases “are not caused by migrants, as some would have us believe, but by escalating poverty”; “migrants have record rates of TBC and scabies”. The last controversy over migrants and disease saw Marcello Lamari, head of paediatric care at the Sant’Orsola hospital in Bologna, face off interior minister Salvini.
Michele Bocci wrote for Repubblica, collecting data on contagion rates and interviewing doctors and experts to reassure readers :
“The number of recorded cases has remained stable over the years, which means that there is no epidemic. Diseases can only be transmitted by close and prolonged contact, a bus ride is not enough.”
The myth of the foreigner as a bringer of disease is still a recurring one, justifying fears and hostility, and it helps people forget that the leading cause of death for migrants is still drowning at sea. Claudia Torrisi wrote about it for Open Migration.
6. ICC submission calls for prosecution of EU over migrant deaths
The EU and the member states that played a prominent role in the refugee crisis: Italy, Germany and France, should be prosecuted for the deaths of thousands of migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean.
A 245-page legal submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC) was presented by Israeli lawyer Omer Shatz, an expert with the Paris Institute of Political Studies, and Franco-Spanish journalist Juan Branco, a WikiLeaks advisor.
According to Marta Serafini writing in Corriere della Sera, the names of the accused include Italian PMs Matteo Renzi and Paolo Gentiloni, interior ministers Marco Minniti and Matteo Salvini, as well as French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
As the Guardian reported, the submission alleges crimes against humanity: “In order to stem migration flows from Libya at all costs … and in lieu of operating safe rescue and disembarkation as the law commands, the EU is orchestrating a policy of forced transfer to concentration camps-like detention facilities where atrocious crimes are committed.”
More than 14,500 people have died between January 2014 and July 2017, making the central Mediterranean the world’s deadliest migration route.
7. Pregnant mother expelled from a CAS in Matera
Two recent TAR decisions in Basilicata ruled that Italy’s security decree was not retroactive, but they did not help 25-year-old M., with a 1-year-old daughter and pregnant with a second child: she was left out on the streets in Matera, where she was hosted at a CAS
M. is only one of the many migrants expelled from CAS under a new memo for Prefectures as a consequence of the security decree, as Anna Martino wrote in Repubblica: 30 people in Potenza alone.
Back in November, we wrote about the Salvini decree and the risk of creating thousands of new irregular migrants, including those who had already been integrated.
Last week we shared the views of attorneys, professors and experts on how the Salvini decree violates both the Constitution and international laws.
8. EU member states ask Italy to take back 46,000 migrants
Several thousands of migrants under the Dublin Regulation were required to apply for asylum in the first European country that they reached, but chose to continue their journey instead.
According to Infomigrants, 46,000 migrants might now be taken back to Italy – the country of first entrance – under the Dublin Regulation. The request was announced by the head of the interior ministry’s immigration department, prefect Michele Di Bari, in a hearing before the Lower House’s Constitutional Affairs Committee.
There are currently 40,000 requests to examine from Germany and France, followed by the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, the UK, and Luxembourg. The opposite situation – irregular foreigners in Italy who have already applied for asylum in another EU country – is markedly lower: 6,000 requests sent in 2018 and 264 transfers organized.
9. UK intercepts 74 migrants crossing English Channel
In 13 attempts in one day, 74 migrants, including minors, were intercepted by British authorities as they tried to cross the Channel. It was a record number in the strait, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the situation was “alarming”: “”Those who choose to make this dangerous journey across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world are putting their lives in grave danger – and I will continue to do all I can to stop them”.
According to the Home Office, some 539 people attempted to cross the strait last year, with smugglers serving as the conduit. Authorities worry that warmer weather conditions could fuel a rise in illegal crossings over the Channel.
Emanuela Barbiroglio visited Calais for Open Migration in February to report how, for many migrants stranded in France, crossing the Channel on boats was their last chance to reach the UK.
10. Tenants first: laughing off populist rhetoric
Close the ports, Italians first. The interior minister’s anti-migrant rhetoric is easy to read but hard to fight. The last few months have seen NGOs criminalised, and as Lorenzo Maria Alvaro wrote in Vita, the problem has been framed as one of communication
Dozens of organisations that have been mired for months in controversy over what is good and what is right now see a glimmer of hope.
The videos made by the Sansone brothers – known as I Sansoni to online communities – attempt to subvert stereotypes on migration through irony and paradox.