1. 40,000 in the streets of Rome against racism and the new immigration bill
They gathered on Saturday, November 10 asking for the “immediate withdrawal of the security and immigration bill”. A 40,000-strong march walked the streets of Rome, from Piazza della Repubblica to San Giovanni, with almost 500 different groups organising the event. The banners in the peaceful, colourful demonstration read, “United in solidarity against racism” and “Asylum for all”. Despite the numbers, the event was barely covered by the media, according to organisers and citizens alike.
Oggi a #Roma in tanti hanno sfilato contro il razzismo, la xenofobia e le politiche di esclusione di questo governo.
Ci meritiamo solidarietà e umanità.
— Sea-Watch Italy (@SeaWatchItaly) November 10, 2018
2. The security and immigration bill has been approved by the Italian Senate
End of humanitarian protection, extended detention in permanent repatriation centres, revoked citizenship for those charged with terrorism-related offences, downsizing of the SPRAR network, extended detention of asylum seekers in hotspots, revoked refugee status for those convicted of certain crimes. These are some of the measures introduced by the new security and immigration bill that was approved by the Italian Senate, analysed by Annalisa Camilli for Internazionale.
From the 35€ subsidy for migrants (now down to 19€) to the management of hotspots, Redattore Sociale analysed the many financial cuts, while La Stampa focused on the new rules for asylum seekers fleeing war zones: applications will be granted only if their country of origin is considered at risk
The Italian Council for Refugees has collected all the critical issues in the bill in one document.
The bill is scheduled to be discussed in the Chamber of Deputies on November 22nd.
3. Concerns over unlawful practices at the Lampedusa hotspot
Informal detention and limitation of personal liberties, critical living conditions, lack of information on legal status and access to application for international protection. These are only a few of the unlawful practices found by the Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights, the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration, Indiewatch and ActionAid while monitoring the Lampedusa hotspot within the In Limine project.
The practices that were documented and collected in a new report might become legalised following the passing of the new security and immigration bill.
4. A conference on Libya in Palermo
While Palermo is hosting a Conference on Libya attended by authorities and military leaders, the situation in the African country is still far from peaceful. As a UNHCR spokesperson warned “Don’t bring rescued people back to Libya”, a country where conditions for migrants are not safe, we keep reading accounts of violations suffered by detainees in Libyan camps.
An Eritrean refugee has described instances of violence and deprivation, acts of self-harm due to extreme conditions in cave-like spaces. Thomas Issak told the Guardian about his life in a Libyan camp.
On November 7th, despite continued fighting near the airport, the UNHCR successfully transferred 44 refugees from Libya to Italy.
5. The Central Mediterranean is the deadliest place for migrants and refugees
As shown by data release by the UNHCR, the waters between Libya and Italy are still the deadliest sea route for refugees and migrants. Despite a drop in the number of arrivals, over 2,000 lives have been lost in the attempt to cross the Central Mediterranean this year, representing a return to pre-2014 levels.
The substantially reduced search and rescue capacity is no doubt one of the main causes of the surge in deaths at sea. One of the few ships left to provide help at sea is the Mare Jonio with Mediterranea, which sailed from Lampedusa last week
Meanwhile, in Ragusa, the authorities have heard the migrants who were rescued on June 12th by the US Navy ship Trenton. According to the survivors, the ship ignored their cries for help, and only intervened after the boat capsized, killing 76 people.
6. Data and figures reveal the true face of immigration
A few reports have been published recently that provide valuable insight on migration in Italy. Writing for Avvenire, Maurizio Ambrosini cited 27th Caritas-Migrantes Report as well as the 2018 IDOS Dossier on Immigration to explain how the number of foreign nationals in Italy has remained stable for years, and debunk the myth of poverty as a driving force of migration from African countries: Romania, Albania, Morocco, China, the Ukraine, The Philippines and Moldova are the main countries of origin of migrants in Italy.
A report from the Leone Moressa foundation illuminates the link between migration and the economy. According to the report, migrants are not stealing job nor impacting public expenditure, and their contribution to the pension system is crucial: in a fast-aging country like Italy, more integration would be beneficial for everyone.
7. Spain in the face of migrant deaths
As some routes are closed, others are opened. While Italy sees a drop in sea arrivals, Spain is experiencing a surge in tragedies at sea, with the latest one occurring in Cadiz, where 15 migrants have been rescued, while another boat capsized, killing 8 people. These tragedies have brought EL Pais to reflect on 30 years of migrant deaths that might have been avoided.
8. Trump frightens migrants by suspending some asylum rights
On Friday, the Trump administration introduced new measures to deny asylum to illegal migrants. The measure was deemed necessary to stop the caravan of hope that is about to reach the Mexican border, but it will in fact restrict asylum rights to those who enter through official border crossings.
“We want people to come into our country, but they have to come into the country legally”, president Trump said.
His words were met with hostility by those who, as the American Civil Liberties Union, believe that they violate the American Constitution. The ACLU has already announced that it will file suit against the administration.
9. The EU has built 1,000 km of border walls since fall of Berlin Wall
Few events carry more symbolic value than the fall of the Berlin Wall. But despite celebrations this year, a new study has found that EU states have built over 1,000 km of border walls to block migrants and refugees.
From Spain to Latvia, ten out of 28 member states have built 15 new walls, the equivalent of more than six times the total length of the Berlin Walls, since the nineties, according to a research published by the Transnational Institute of Amsterdam.
10. Niger, Europe’s southernmost border
It is a doorway to a better future. But it’s also the place where migrants go after being deported from Algeria and evacuated from Libya, and where Europe is focusing its effort to stop migrants from leaving. Writing for Sette, Alessandra Muglia explored the virtual borders in Niger, where the migrants are paying the price of wars, instability and human trafficking.
In copertina: migranti che attraversano un corso d’acqua dopo una tempesta sulla rotta sahariana verso la Libia (foto di Giacomo Zandonini)