1. Fewer migrant arrivals in Italy amid growing hostility
On Tuesday, the ISMU foundation presented its “XXIV Report on migration”.
The report shows the continued trend, which began last year, of a drop in sea arrivals: “In 2018 we witnessed a paradox: while sea arrivals fell by 80%, migration was exploited and sensationalised, leading to open hostility to foreigners”, Vincenzo Cesareo, secretary general of the foundation, explained.
While sea arrivals are dropping, the number of irregular migrants is rising, and experts fear it will increase further after the Italian government approved the Salvini bill.
Also significant is the number of foreigners who have been granted Italian citizenship, 147,000 in 2017.
Spain has now overtaken Italy as the most popular destination for migrants: 55,000 arrived in Spain in 2018 (with 49,000 arriving by sea), while 29,000 arrived in Italy.
2. The Aquarius has ceased operations
As men, women and children are dying at sea, MSF and SOS Méditerranée have been forced to cease operations of the Aquarius. The two NGOs have announced the end of rescue efforts for the ship, which has been docked in Marseille since October after Panama revoked its flag.
“The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed” – the NGOs said – “this is the result of a sustained campaign, spearheaded by the Italian government and backed by other European states, to delegitimize, slander and obstruct aid organizations providing assistance to vulnerable people”.
As The Guardian reported, only a few days ago MSF had been accused of illegally dumping toxic waste at ports in southern Italy.
Following the announcement, the organisation added that as long as people are drowning or remain trapped in Libya, MSF “remains committed to finding ways to provide them with medical and humanitarian care”.
With no search and rescue operations left, more people are dying off the coasts of Libya: 15 migrants have died in a boat after spending 12 days at sea without food or water.
3. Police evict migrant squatters from abandoned penicillin factory in Rome
On Monday, police cars and vans arrived at dawn to begin the announced evacuation of the former penicillin factory on via Tiburtina in Rome.
Over the years, the building had sheltered hundreds of migrants cut out of the asylum system (we told you about them in this article),but only about 40 occupants remained at the time of the evacuation. The abandoned factory is notorious for its toxic waste that were never removed from the site. Because of this, local residents protested against the Interior Minister Salvini.
Meanwhile, in the same area, near Tiburtina Station the police stopped volunteers from distributing food and hot beverages to the migrants from the Baobab centre.
4. No agreement on Frontex, Sophia, Dublin within the EU
The EU’s Austrian presidency said that plans for a 10,000-strong Frontex by 2020 are unrealistic. Italy said that the Sophia mission will cease unless its rules are changed: “We are staying firm in our unwillingness to accept landing procedures that involve dockings only in Italian ports”, Interior Minister Salvini said.
Even the European Council is stalling on immigration. The asylum reform has been shelved, as the Commission will move forward with 5 agreed-upon proposals while dropping the more divisive ones, including the long-awaited reform of the Dublin regulation.
5. Italian towns against the Salvini decree
The effects of the Salvini decree on security and immigration are raising concerns among Italian mayors: from Milan to Roma, to Parma and Florence to Palermo, at least twenty towns and cities have passed motions against the law, amid fears over its social costs.
“Migrants denied asylum will end up in the streets, in large closed centres, in the hands of the agricultural mafia”, said Brindisi mayor Rossi.
According to Valeria Carlini from the Italian Council for Refugees, “a bill that is meant to manage immigration and increase security for citizens will instead create social marginality and destroy integration, while also creating social risks and the potential for radicalisation”.
Monsignor Calogero Peri, the bishop of Caltagirone, had harsh words for the government following the first evictions from the CARA in Mineo: “In Italy, before the summer holidays, there are campaigns against abandoning dogs in the street. However, abandoning migrants in the streets is regarded as lawful and safe.”
6. Italy according to a new Amnesty report
“Repressive management of migration”, “erosion of asylum seekers’ human rights”, “xenophobic political rhetoric”, “forced evictions with no alternative offered”, this is how Amnesty International describes human rights in Italy in its latest report : Rights Today: 2018, the year of the Diciotti.
“The authorities have blocked hundreds of people rescued at sea from entering Italy, inflicting further harm upon them and undermining the entire search and rescue system”, the report reads, adding that recent measures adopted by the government will lead to an increase in the number of irregular persons in the country.
Border deaths have not ceased in Italy: a young African man was electrocuted in Ventimiglia, as he attempted to cross into France on a train.
7. Denmark plans to confine unwanted migrants on a deserted Island
Lindholm Island is about one and a half mile off the coast of Denmark, and its facilities include medical and research centres. The government now plans to use it to house migrants facing deportation.
“They are not welcome in Denmark and they will feel it”, Danish Migration Minister Inger Stojberg wrote on Facebook. The measure is part of a coalition agreement in the government, which include the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) in the lead-up to the election to be held next year.
The party celebrated the announcement by publishing a cartoon on social media, featuring a dark-skinned man in vaguely Arabian garb being dumped on a deserted island. “Foreign criminals”, reads the text in the video, “have no business staying in Denmark. Until we can get rid of them, we will transfer them on Lindholm Island”.
8. “My son is trapped in Libya”. The tragic story of Chica Camara
Chica Camara and his 10-year-old son Alfonsine were suddenly separated off the Libyan coast. The father was rescued by MSF aid workers and is now in Palermo, while his son was taken back by the Libyan coastguard.
“I will never forget the look on my son’s face when the Libyans intercepted the dinghy. I can still hear Alfonsine screaming for help. I will never find peace without him. Without my son, my life has just no meaning”. As The Guardian explains, Camara does not yet have legal status as a refugee so cannot apply for a family reunification with his son.
9. Asylum seekers and refugees launch class actions against the Australian government
Australia has been long criticised for detaining migrants and asylum seekers on the islands of Manus and Nauru. The government is now facing a condemnation for a high court.
Human rights lawyers from the National Justice Project, representing all the remaining refugees and asylum seekers in the offshore centres, have filed two parallel cases. The government is accused of subjecting asylum seekers to torture, crimes against humanity and the intentional infliction of harm.
10. Tales of female migrants in Morocco
From January to June this year, more than 18,000 migrants reached Spain by land or sea route, according to the UNHCR. Almost 10 percent of those arrivals were women. A research revealed that one-third of the female migrants residing in Morocco were abused on their way there. Al Jazeera takes us through the streets of Rabat.
Immagine di copertina: Davanti al bar di Lamin, in uno degli edifici della Ex-Penicillina (foto di Giacomo Zandonini)