1. Austria will not sign the Global Compact on migration
Following similar decisions by the USA and Hungary, l’Austria is withdrawing from the Global Compact on Migration.
The country is backing out of the UN pact over concerns of infringing state sovereignty, blurring the lines between legal and illegal immigration and that it might help lead to the recognition of a human right to migrate.
“There are some points that we view critically and where we fear a danger to our national sovereignty “, Kurz said, whose government coalition includes the far right.
Despite criticism from the UN and the EU, Austria’s decision might prompt other Visegrad countries to follow suit, with Poland and the Czech Republic also ready to withdraw.
The Global Compact on Migration is not a legally binding document. It is due to be formally approved at a December 11-12 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco. Marta Foresti explained its importance to Open Migration.
2. Juncker says North Africa migrant camps are not on the EU agenda
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday that a suggestion that the European Union might try to set up migrant camps in North Africa was no longer on the agenda.
“This is no longer on the agenda and never should have been“, Juncker told a news conference in Tunis with Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.
Meanwhile, on October 5th the EU signed a an agreement on border management cooperation agreement with Albania. Under the idea, the Frontex agency will be able to take action at the external borders, under the control of Albanian authorities. It is the first agrement of this kind between the EU and a third country.
3. More and more Italian cities are suspending the Salvini bill
End of humanitarian protection, a shrinking of the SPRAR network and reduced safeguards within the new hotspot regulation are some of the reasons why ActionAid has called on Italian cities to approve an agenda to contrast the Salvini bill.
Following Turin, the city council in Bologna has also called for ,suspending the enforcement of the new law on security and immigration, in order to reassess its social and economic impact on the local communities.
Gaetano Silvestri, the president emeritus of the Constitutional Court, also touched on the issues during his speech at the Italian School for the Judiciary, which was titled “The right to effective judiciary protection for those seeking international protection”.
4. Inside the undergrounds solidarity network in Lampedusa
Lampedusa has seen a surge in patrol activities, but this time it’s out of solidarity. An informal (and on paper, illegal) network bringing aid to arriving migrants. Technically they could be charged with “abetting illegal immigration“, but when a foreign national needs to call home to reassure his or her family, in Lampedusa there is always a home, a telephone, or a network connection available to the newcomers. Writing for Avvenire, Nello Scavo takes us to know the island’s underground network of solidarity on .
On the other hand, red tape and buck-passing are why the bathrooms requested on the island by Dr. Pietro Bartolo and delivered by the Renzi Cabinet to ensure proper living conditions for migrants are still closed and unused.
Meanwhile there have been more arrivals in Southern Italy, with 81 Pakistani refugees disembarking in Salento.
5. Mediterranean crossing still fatal to migrants
Despite a sharp drop in departures from Libya, crossing the Mediterranean is still lethal for migrants. According to the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project , there have been 1m987 recorded deaths since October 28th, with over two thirds drowning in the waters between North Africa and Sicily. There have been 97,857 arrivals by sea in Europe, with 48% arriving in Spain and all-time peak in October.
Meanwhile, reports from Libya confirm the terrible living conditions inside migrant detention camps, while fewer and fewer ships carrying out search and rescue operations in the waters south of Italy. Among these few is Mediterranea’s Mare Jonio, a vessel that Financial Times has described as “the ship that challenged Salvini”.
6. Migrants in Riace to be transferred
One month from the charges against Mimmo Lucano, an letter has been issued from the Italian Ministry of Interior ordering the city and the organisation running the local SPRAR project to transfer the migrants in Riace to Roccabernarda, in the province of Crotone. There are still 76 migrants in Riace; as La Repubblica reported, those who do not accept the transfer will be evacuated from their current shelters
7. Safely out of Syria, thanks to humanitarian corridors
82 Syrian refugees from Lebanon have safely reached Italy thanks to the humanitarian corridors set up by Comunità di Sant’Egidio, the Italian Federation of Evangelical Churches, the Waldensian Board and the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs.
2,100 people have arrived in Europe (more than half of which in Italy) since February 2016. Many were fleeing war-torn Syria. Recently, Associated Press reported that thousands Syrians are risking starvation amid dwindling supplies at the Rukban refugee camp near the Jordanian border.
8. UN criticises plan to repatriate Rohingya refugees
Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to begin the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. Over the last few years, thousands of Rohingya have fled military violence in Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh (Giuliano Battiston wrote a report from Cox Bazar, one of the largest Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh). However, the UN has criticised the deal. The refugees do not appear to have been informed about the plan, leading many to fear involuntary returns. The UNHCR has not been consulted, spokespersons have said, and for the UNHCR, the conditions in Rakhine state are not yet conducive for a return to Myanmar.
9. Is climate change the unseen driver behind the migrant caravan?
Violence, organised crime and corruption have been cited as the reasons for the exodus of Honduran migrants. But another crucial driving factor has been harder to grasp. According to the Guardian, crop failure and poverty due to climate change are exacerbating an already critical situation.
Meanwhile, in the USA soldiers are not the only one patrolling the southern border where the caravan is expected to arrive. Hundreds of civilians have taken up Donald Trump’s call to arms; as the Independent reminds us, Trump has made the issue central to the mid-term elections. During the campaign, the president also announced his plan to end birthright citizenship by executive order.
10. A documentary on Pontine field workers to be screened at the European Parliament
Crushing working hours, fake contracts and sweat shop salaries: the dark side of made in Italy is now documented by a film: ‘The Harvest’, chronicling the exploitation of farm workers in the Pontine Plain. The film will be screened at the European Parliament on November 7th. Over 11,000 Sikhs live in the province of Latina, working in the fields to repay the debt they incurred to reach Italy. Daniela Sala wrote about their lives and the exploitation they suffer. A similar situation is found in other parts of Italy, as in the rural province of Foggia.
In copertina: Campo di Kutupalong. Foto di Giuliano Battiston