1. Libya and Italy – what about human rights?
The much contested deal between Italy and Libya has raised concerns from the Commissioner for Human rights of the Council of Europe Nils Muižnieks, who has sought clarifications from Interior Minister Minniti over Italy’s maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters, warning against the risk of violating the principle of non-refoulement (which forbids a country receiving asylum seekers from returning them to a country where they would be facing torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment).
Minniti’s reply was as dismissive as it was clear: No Italian ship has ever taken part in refoulement activities, and does not underestimate human rights issues in Libya. The minister is walking a dangerous tightrope, Matteo Villa, head of the ISPI Migration Programme, commented in a Twitter thread.
— Matteo Villa (@emmevilla) October 12, 2017
2. Italian court ruling recognises torture in Libyan camps
For the first time, a ruling from an Italian court has recognised torture in Libya’s detention camps, by giving a life sentence for appalling violence and murder to the manager of the Bana Walid refugee camp: a historic decision which should lead the Italian government to change its policy, the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI) commented.
3. Libya, the war of militias and the failure of the Italian strategy
Meanwhile, the much contested and dangerous Minniti strategy in Libya seems destined to fail. The war of militias in the country, which are compounding the already precarious humanitarian conditions, saw the defeat in Sabratha of the militia allied with Italy and Fayez al Serraj’s government in a bid to stop the flow of migrants. Read the article by Annalisa Camilli in Internazionale, and revisit the article by Francesca Mannocchi in L’Espresso, who had warned a few weeks ago about the explosive situation in Libya, as well as Patrick Wintour’s article in the Guardian on the potential risks of the deal).
4. Italy, the debate on immigration ahead of the election
Further complicating things, Italy is approaching a general election. To learn more about the ways in which the election will affect the debate on immigration issues, read Stefano Torelli’s analysis for the European Council on Foreign Relations.
5. Italy, the battle over citizenship laws
Italy has been waiting too long for a reform of citizenship laws (which would introduced a tempered version of ius soli as well as the ius culturae), and this is really its last chance to do so, Annalisa Camilli explained in Internazionale. Meanwhile, a “Citizenship Day” picket was held on Friday October, 13 in piazza Montecitorio – read the reports by Eleonora Camilli in Redattore Sociale and Vladimiro Polchi in Repubblica.
— Eleonora Camilli (@EleonoraCamilli) October 13, 2017
6. Italy, the deadly consequences of a flawed migration system
Meanwhile, in Bolzano, on Italy’s northern border, a 13-year-old disabled Iraqi boy arrived in Italy after being denied asylum in Sweden, and was forced to sleep rough for days while awaiting proper accommodation. On his way to a Caritas foodbank following a second visit to the police headquarters to apply for asylum, Adam suffered an accident and fell from his wheelchair. He was then hospitalised and discharged, before he developed an infection and died on October 8.
Read about Adan’s final seven days, as told in Redattore Sociale and Huffington Post, as well as his father’s statements (who decried the flaws in the EU and Italian migration systems), collected by Angela Giuffrida in the Guardian. See also this cartoon by Mauro Biani.
7. Winter is coming to Greece, again
Winter is coming and things are looking bleak. This is not about the next season of Game of Thrones, it is about the situation in Greece, where the cold is approaching and the reception system is still tragically unprepared to deal with the arrivals, despite millions of euros having been invested.
Read the articles by Daniel Howden and Apostolis Fotiadis’s in Refugees Deeply and by Fotini Rantsiou in Open Democracy.
— Refugees Deeply (@refugeesdeeply) October 10, 2017
8. Europe and the Australian “model”
Europe’s fatal attraction to the Australian policies on immigration was analysed by Sasha Polakow-Suransky, who wrote in the Guardian about how European parties are increasingly embracing Australia’s hard line on refugees and asylum seeker, with the aim of keeping Muslims away. By the same writer, also read these thoughts in the New York Times on how white nationalism is destroying the West.
9. We need to keep talking about the Rohingya
Amid silence from the international community, the massacre of Rohingya between Myanmar and Bangladesh continues; you can see it in pictures by Kevin Frayer in IBS Times. Also read the atrocities recounted by Rohingya to Jeffrey Gettleman in the New York Times and Nayma Qayum’s plea for the Rohingya in the Washington Post on the humanitarian conditions in refugees camps in Bangladesh (where, the Guardian reports, four refugees were crushed by a wild elephant).
On a less desperate note, read Ali Lapetina’s report in the New York Times on the Rohingya who were able to escape and arrived as far as Chicago to rebuild their lives.
10. Trump’s America against migrants and refugees
Happy endings for refugees and migrants in the USA, however, appear to be increasingly rare. As far as refugees are concerned, the dramatic reduction of quotas in Trump’s America marks a sharp turn in reception policies, as explained by Philip Connor’s article for the Pew Research Center and this daily chart in the Economist (to be read along with this article by Jonathan Blitzer in the New Yorker on the change in US policies).
Things are not going better for migrants. Trump has consistently made any possible discussion of DACA contingent on a crackdown on immigration: the building of a wall on the Mexican border, the hiring of thousands of border officials, the restriction of laws that guarantee due process to migrants and the slashing of funds to sanctuary cities. Read Dara Lind’s article in Vox (as well as her in-depth story on the DOJ leaked memos on immigration courts) and this article in the Washington Post.
BONUS. Migration issues in film
The crucial issue of migrations has recently been the subject of a few excellent movies, including but not limited to Ai Wei Wei’s great documentary “Human Flow” (reviewed by Intercept, New York Times, Atlantic, Salon and Newsweek) and the harsh exposé “Un unico destino” by Fabrizio Gatti for Repubblica and Espresso, documenting the tragedy and the responsibilities behind the shipwreck of October 11. Last but not least comes Andrea Segre’s film “L’ordine delle cose”, which analysis the human costs of Italy’s policies in Libya; Interior Minister Minniti was invited to the screening by the filmmaker as part of the #MinnitiVieniAlCinema initiative.
Translation by Francesco Graziosi.
Header photo: Frode Ramone (CC BY 2.0).