1) New shocking reports from detention centres in Libya
You can now read online Francesca Mannocchi’s in-depth report for L’Espresso – and after the delayed implementation on the deal with Libya, the media has finally taken an interest in the country’s inhuman detention centres, run by the same militias that are now being asked to stop migrants from leaving. Nello Scavo, reporting from Zaltan for Avvenire, wrote that migrants are practically being kept prisoner, and are now being used as a bargaining chip against the funds promised by the EU, and then wrote from Ras Agedir about the mass graves where those who died during the crossing are buried. International President for MSF
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Minniti defended his plan, met with former enemy General Haftar, who controls Cyrenaica, and spoke about “preserving our humanity” and a new plan for integration starting mid-September at the festival of Il Fatto Quotidiano in Marina di Pietrasanta. According to Mattia Toaldo, an analyst with London’s European Council of Foreign Rights who was interviewed by Redattore Sociale, the Italian deal with Libya gives human traffickers a sort of immunity at the expense of migrants.
After initially signing the Code of Conduct for NGOs, MOAS has announced that it will abandon SAR operations in the Southern Mediterranean due to the lack of guarantees for migrants in Libya, and that it will focus its efforts on supporting the Rohingya people in Bangladesh. Only SOS Méditerranée and ProActiva OpenArms are now conducting SAR operations in the Mediterranean.
2) 270,000 Rohingya are fleeing persecution in Myanmar
According to the UNHCR, the number of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar by crossing into Bangladesh has risen to 270,000. The Myanmar military has attacked them repeatedly, and fighting in the Rakhine state has blocked all UN aid agencies from delivering vital supplies of food and water. The Rohingya have fled burning villages to neighbouring Bangladesh, many with bullet wounds. An estimated 250,000 people in the region have been left without regular access to food and water, including many Buddhists in extreme poverty. The UNHCR has denounced the terrible conditions in makeshift shelters, which are now overflowing. UNHCR spokesperson Vivian Tan has given a first-hand account of the situation.
Under international pressure to take a stand on the persecution against the Rohingya, Nobel peace prize winner and de-facto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi has blamed “terrorists” for disseminating “fake news” about the violence in the country.
3) Trump has ended DACA, and no one is happy
DACA, acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was an executive order issued by Obama after Congress failed to pass the Dream Act on citizenship. Executive orders do not need Congress, but can be easily overturned by subsequent presidents. Which is what Trump did, dealing a harsh blow to his predecessor’s policies, even though its effects won’t be felt for a while, and Congress might still save the day. Up until September 5th, DACA was protecting about 800,000 young undocumented migrants, the so-called Dreamers, allowing them to be near their families and access to education, employment and healthcare, as well as serving in the military without fear of expulsion. Many negative reactions also came from Republican and conservative thinkers, and the long post by Barack Obama is also worth reading in full, as well as scholar Roger Ekirch’s reflection on how the White House is undermining the Founders’ vision: asylum for mankind. Protests were held in Denver and other college campuses.
4) Brexit leaks
This week, the Guardian obtained and published the full text of a Home Office document on its post-Brexit immigration policy, particularly its plans to deter EU immigrants, especially low-skilled workers. Over the following days, the paper has analysed the various sections of the documents, starting with the one on the crackdown on overseas students from the EU. Industry and business leaders have warned about the catastrophic consequences of limiting access to EU workers; however, according to a poll, Leave voters would be in in favour of migration of high-skilled workers.
5) EU Court of Justice dismisses complaints over refugee quotas
The Court of Justice of the EU has dismissed complaints by Hungary and Slovakia over refugee quotas under the EU relocation scheme According to the UNHCR, the Court’s decision sends a very strong message on the importance of solidarity. Read this in-depth article on the Court’s decision and the reactions to it, with a commentary by our own director Andrea Menapace.
6) More hardships for migrants on Greek islands
500 more people arrived at Lesvos, Chios and Samos by sea last weekend, Ekathimerini writes, and the UNHCR has called for action on the worrying conditions of the migrants who have been stranded for months on the Greek Islands. After covering the refugee crisis along the Balkan route, the Los Angeles Times has gone back to report from Lesbos, where refugees have been languishing for nearly two years.
7) Still no solution for migrants and refugees in Roma
The situation of the Eritrean migrants and refugees who were evicted from the building on via Curtatone in Rome is still unresolved. Their symbolic sit-in near piazza Venezia has been dispersed, and from piazza Madonna di Loreto Eleonora Camilli writes in Redattore Sociale that only temporary solutions are being found for the evicted in centres, where even families with young children are separated. Also read Annalisa Camilli’s article in Internazionale where the refugees themselves tell why so many of them are living in Rome’s squats.
8) Biometric data on refugees are at risk
Beginning 2010, the UNHCR has officially adopted the use of biometric data in their migrant identification procedures, in order to avoid confusion or identification theft. Margie Cheesman had written about it for us. The UNHCR is about to launch a new programme, to meet the needs of so many undocumented refugees, but gathering biometric data is not without its risk, Brandie M. Nonnecke writes.
9) Refugees from Choucha go on a hunger strike
Do you remember the dozens of refugees who were evacuated after spending years in the old camp at Choucha, in the Tunisian desert? Laura Cappon had met them for us in their temporary quarters in La Marsa. Today, Nawaat writes, 25 of them have been on a hunger strike since August 18 in protest for the long-awaited review of their asylum applications.
10) Here is the video for “Ero Straniero”
Translation by Francesco Graziosi.
Cover image: on September 6, Mexican artist JR posted a picture of a work he has been working on along the US-Mexico border, an oversized child’s head peeking over the barrier to look into the other side. The image soon went viral on social media, and on September 8th, JR tweeted another picture, taken from another angle, explaining that the piece will remain at its location for a month. (Image: JR)