1. Diciotti migrants “on the run” want to continue their journey
Interior ministry sources said on Wednesday that 50 of the migrants who were disembarked from the Diciotti ship appear to have deliberately gone missing. While transport minister Toninelli has described it as an “extremely serious act”, interior minister Salvini commented: “It is further confirmation that not all who arrive in Italy are ‘little skeletons’ fleeing war and starvation.”
During the ensuing manhunt, law enforcement officers have tracked down 16 of the migrants near the Baobab centre in Rome – where the workers have admitted to helping them – and near the French border in Ventimiglia.
The migrants, all of them Eritreans, were not subjected to any surveillance or limitation of their freedom of movement, therefore, as the director of Caritas Italiana don Francesco Soddu pointed out, they were not on the run: “People run when they are being detained and these migrants were not; it is a well-known fact that no one wants to stay in Italy”. To the Eritrean community, Italy is often a country of transit, as we explained in this article from a few years ago.
2. More and more migrants detained in Libya amid rampant violations
Smugglers and traffickers in Libya are approaching migrants, posing as UNHCR staff, only to subject them to abuse and torture: the latest in a seemingly endless series of violations of human rights.
With the fighting over the control of Tripoli still ongoing, a new report to the United Nations Security Council accuses even official detention centres of “torture, including sexual violence; abduction for ransom; extortion; forced labour; and unlawful killings” while “The number of detainees increased owing to more interceptions at sea and closure of sea routes to migrants, preventing their departure.”
Incidents of violence and abuse have been confirmed by the Diciotti migrants, Annalisa Camilli wrote in Internazionale.
3. Six Tunisian fishermen arrested for assisting a boat in distress near Lampedusa
Anis Souei, secretary general of the Zarzis Fishermen Association, has no doubt: “Chamseddine had no choice. Some of the young people he rescued were about to die, the engine of their boat had broken down. He was going to call the Tunisian coast guard, but the migrants threatened to kill themselves when they heard that”. Chamseddine is one of the six Tunisian fishermen who were arrested in Agrigento on August 31 under charges of abetting illegal immigration: they crossed to Lampedusa on a makeshift boat with 14 rescued migrants.
The six men are from Zarzis, a Tunisian port on the Libyan border, and their job means they have often been the first to rescue migrants in distress (we wrote about them here). Hundreds have protested outside the Italian embassy at Tunis, calling for the release of the fishermen, and one of the rescued migrants has said, “Without them, we would all be dead”.
As yet another act of solidarity is criminalised, the New York Times reminds us how the death rate in the Mediterranean is at its highest since 2015, despite a sharp drop in unauthorized migration along the route.
4. Interior Minister Salvini investigated for kidnapping migrants
Interior minister Salvini has announced in a recent video on Facebook Live, during which he opened a letter with a notice from Palermo’s chief prosecutor, that he is being formally investigated for kidnapping migrants over the Diciotti standoff.
This does not seem to have affected Salvini’s hard line on immigration, at least judging by the most recent draft of the new immigration bill. Among the proposals: more resources to the return fund, a crackdown on citizenship rights and on humanitarian protection.
According to researcher Matteo Villa, ending humanitarian protection would mean 60,000 new undocumented migrants in Italy over the next few years, while ARCI has said it is an egregious step back, marking “the death of asylum rights for those seeking protection in Italy.”
🤔📈La bozza di decreto #Salvini diffusa oggi da @Adnkronos prevede l'eliminazione della protezione #umanitaria.
Con rimpatri ai livelli di oggi, significa 60.000 nuovi #irregolari in Italia in due anni, da aggiungersi ai 72.000 che verranno "prodotti" anche senza eliminarla. 👇 pic.twitter.com/FnTXJMoZ7t
— Matteo Villa (@emmevilla) September 6, 2018
Meanwhile, the newly appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said on Monday that the UN plans to send personnel to Italy “to evaluate reports of a sharp increase in acts of violence and racism against migrants, people of African descent and Roma.”
5. The SPRAR model works, but the Ministry of Interior has frozen the funds
From ANCI spokesperson on immigration (and mayor of Prato) Matteo Biffoni to prefect Mario Morcone, no one has a doubt: the SPRAR model works, but the funds have been frozen. “The SPRAR system has been working for six years in cities ruled by any political party, including the League,” Biffoni pointed out. “When I was working at the Ministry, officials came from all around the EU to study our model, known for its excellence” – Morcone added: – “How can it be attacked from within now?”
6. Syrian swimmer hero imprisoned under charges of people smuggling and spying
The story of Sara Mardini is almost unbelievable: a refugee from Syria travelling on a flimsy boat with her younger sister, she rescued the lives of 18 of their fellow passengers who were about to drown off the coast of Lesbos. After her inspiring story made her a symbol of solidarity, she returned to Greece and started working with the Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI). Now she has been arrested along with two other aid workers – Nassos Karakitsos and Seán Binder – under charges people smuggling, espionage and membership of a criminal organisation.
7. Sweden Democrats make gains in the general election, but not as much as expected
After the general election, the ruling Social Democrats remains the largest party in Sweden, although with a record low result: 28, 3 per cent of the vote.
Despite Sweden being considered a model country for asylum, the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Sweden Democrats attracted the attention of international media. The party won about 18 per cent of the vote, giving them a sway over future decisions.
More news are coming from the German town of Chemnitz, which is witnessing a wave of violent right-wing protests. According to the Welt am Sonntag, during the protest a group of neo-Nazis staged an attack against a local Jewish restaurant while shouting anti-Semitic slurs at the owner.
8. No end in sight to the Venezuelan migration crisis
The current exodus of Venezuelans has generated the largest migration crisis of its kind in recent Latin American history. Human Rights Watch has published a new report: “The Venezuelan Exodus – The need for a regional response to an unprecedented migration crisis“. The organisation points out how, in some Caribbean countries, Venezuelan refugees are subjected to arbitrary arrests and deportations, and that recent incidents of xenophobic violence are also a growing concern.
Los caminantes venezolanos son un reflejo de la desesperación de quienes huyen de Venezuela.
— HRW Venezuela (@HRW_Venezuela) September 3, 2018
While more than 2.3 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2014, according to the United Nations, Venezuela’s vice president Delcy Rodriguez has said that migration flows from the country are “normal”, and that the situation is being used as a tool to justify foreign intervention in the country.
9. Nauru employees warned against talking about refugees during Pacific Islands Forum
Talking about refugees could cost you your job. Employees at the immigration centre of Nauru say they have been threatened if they speak to journalist.
The island is hosting the Pacific Islands Forum, and even reporters have experienced restrictions: New Zealand correspondent Barbara Dreaver was detained by the police and stripped of her media accreditation for independently interviewing some of the refugees without permission from the authorities.
Refugees seeking to enter Australia by sea are intercepted and sent to Nauru; the issue of detained refugees has overshadowed all others during the forum.
10. A Spanish court will reopen the Tarajal case
In February 2014, Guardia Civil officials near Ceuta attempted to prevent migrants from reaching the Spanish shore using tear gas and rubber bullets, which resulted in the death of 14 people. Since then, the case has been dismissed twice. A court from Cadiz has now reopened the investigation once more, and instructed that 2 previously unheard alleged witnesses be listened to.
Foto di copertina via nemo kanenas