1. NGOs under fire again
The Aquarius ship, operated by MSF and SOS Méditerranée and stuck in Marseilles since its Panamanian flag was revoked, has been seized under orders from Catania Prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro, this time for “illegal waste treatment”.
The authorities claimed that discarded clothes worn by migrants and medical materials could have been contaminated by scabies, tuberculosis, meningitis and HIV.
“It seems I did well to close the Italian ports to the NGOs”, tweeted Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
“After two years of defamatory and unfounded allegations of collusion with human traffickers, judicial investigations, and bureaucratic obstacles against our humanitarian work, we are now accused of organised crime aimed at illicit waste trafficking. This latest attempt by the Italian authorities to stop humanitarian lifesaving search and rescue capacity at any cost is sinister“, replied MSF Head of emergencies Karline Klejer.
This is only the latest chapter in the longstanding war on NGO migrant rescue ships, researcher Hannah Markay wrote in Refugees Deeply.
2. Trial papers used against NGOS detail torture in Libya
Dozens of cases of torture, illness and infections caused by unsanitary conditions in Lybian prisons are detailed in the same papers used by prosecutors against MSF and SOS Méditerranée.
“General standards for showers, toilets, access to water and space are acceptable in Anjila and Qasir Bin Ghasir but certainly not in Tajoura and Tarek al Matar”, according to the papers from the “Borderless” investigation, which also includes a 10-page file documenting the personal stories of sick and tortured detainees.
Something very similar happened in 2017, when a Milan court described Libyan prisons as “a situation comparable to that in a Nazi concentration camp”. The ruling made history, but as Maurizio Veglio wrote in “L’attualità del male”, it all started when a Somali trafficker was stopped outside Milan’s central station.
On Tuesday, the forced disembarkation of more than 80 refugees on board the Nivin cargo ship in the port of Misratah left two migrants in critical conditions.
3. New migrant arrivals in Pozzallo
264 people were disembarked at the port of Pozzallo, Sicily, on Saturday night. They had left the port of Misratah on November 22nd. Among them, 233 Eritrean migrants who spent several years in Libyan prison camps and a15-day-old baby girl who was born “in a hangar with no medical assistance”.
As the Italian Minister of Interior fire yet another tweet at Malta, for “dumping migrants on our shores”, 79 more migrants from Pakistan were disembarked in Crotone.
As the NGO ships resume their monitoring activities at along the deadliest route of the last two years, the Siracusa special force tasked with fighting illegal immigration has been shut down. The reason? “A drop in sea arrivals.”
4. A Dutch church is holding a non-stop to protect a refugee family from deportation
In a true act of solidarity and resistance, a church in The Hague which is sheltering a refugee family has been holding continuous service to protect it since October 26. The Tamrazyan family, who has been living in the Netherlands since 2009, has not been granted asylum and is facing a deportation order.
By law, police officers in The Netherlands are not allowed to enter places of worship during religious services. So, So, reverends from around the country have taken turns holding service at Bethel Church, now entering its fifth week.
“The relay service probably still has to run for a while”, wrote Theo Hettema, the chairman of the general council of the Protestant Ministers.
5. Legal changes and climate of hatred threaten migrants’ rights in Italy, say UN experts
The abolition of humanitarian protection status, the exclusion of asylum seekers from access to reception centres focusing on social inclusion, and the extended duration of detention in return centres and hotspots are some of the measures introduced under the Salvini bill are of grave concern, according to human rights UN experts .
The Special Rapporteurs are also concerned about the climate of hatred and discrimination and the increasing attacks against immigrants, which cannot be separated from politicians who have “fuelled a public discourse unashamedly embracing racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner rhetoric“.
Furthermore, according to an article in The Independent, the experts added: “Removing protection measures from potentially thousands of migrants and limiting their ability to regularise their stay in Italy will increase their vulnerability to attacks and exploitation. They will be at greater risk from traffickers and other criminal groups.”
Strong statement from @UNHumanRights experts against deeply problematic decree-law on immigration & security, as well as rising xenophobia and criminalization of migrants rights defenders https://t.co/Pou4FbsjFg pic.twitter.com/8vrOldNeLl
— Judith Sunderland (@sunderland_jude) November 22, 2018
6. The effects of Italy’s new immigration bill on foreign minors
Under the Zampa bill, foreign minors who arrive in Italy have a right to apply for a residency permit as students or future workers. However, about 59 percent of foreign minors in Italy are 17 year old, and will come of age within the next year. This means they might become irregular migrants under the new Salvini bill on security and immigration. Annalisa Camilli wrote about it in Internazionale
Meanwhile, hundreds of migrants have protested against budget cuts to the centre for accommodation of asylum seekers in Mineo, Sicily, by blocking the road between Catania and Gela
7. Australia withdraws from Global Compact on migration
The “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration undermines Australia’s strong border protection laws and practices.. This is how Australian PM Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday that his country will not sign the global pact on migration.
Australia has followed the United States in withdrawing from the Compact, joining several UN member states in their refusal to sign, while populist attacks against the Global Compact on Refugees are also on the rise.
8. A bad deal for the Rohingya
For the 700,000 Rohingya who are living in refugee camps across the border in Bangladesh, forced to live their homes by the violent Myanmar army, peace of mind is still a long way away.
Due to a private deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar, many of might have to go back to the country where they suffered what the United Nations described as genocide and a crime against humanity. Gwynne Dyer wrote about how many Rohingya have gone into hiding because they fear for their lives.
9. The migrants who terrify Trump
As the caravan of migrants from Honduras has reached Tijuana and president Trump has authorised the troops along the Mexican border to use lethal force if necessary to stop the migrants, The Guardian’s Bryan Mealer travelled alongside some of the most vulnerable among them. Couples, young people, children with severe disabilities: these are the migrants who terrify Trump.
Meanwhile, anti-caravan protesters on the other side of the border chanted “Tijuana First”.
10. Choose Love: the shop to buy gifts for refugees
“Shop your heart out, leave with nothing”: Choose Love is a pop-up store set up on Carnaby Street for the holidays, where customers can buy gifts for refugees.
From life jackets to books, “We believe funds should go straight to where they are needed most”, says Help Refugees, which created the store in partnership with creative collective Glimpse. “We can all play a part in creating the world we want to see. And choosing love seems like a pretty good place to start”.
Foto di copertina via SOS Mediterranée