9 March 2017
Migrant Sicily Newsletter, February 2017
- Europe’s silent war on migrants, among illegality, mass rejections and abandonment
- The Lampedusa Hotspot: New arrivals and daily violations
- In Augusta, undignified detention, abuse and arrests await those who survive the sea
- News and Events: The Palanebiolo tent-city in Messina finally to be taken down. In Catania, the third event of the international “KideM” project
- Info and contacts
EUROPE’S SILENT WAR ON MIGRANTS, AMONG ILLEGALITY, MASS REJECTIONS AND ABANDONMENT
The Italian asylum system, and the system of reception for asylum seekers, function increasingly as a factory for irregularity, one which produces exclusion, abuse, and which erodes people’s dignity and human rights. Amid utter press silence, the bodies of two children, aged 5 and 8, were brought into the port of Trapani, children who did not survive the sea, nor Fortress Europe’s criminal politics. There was also no word in the press of the 200 rejected Moroccan men who, having reached our shores alive, were then forced to face a selection system which excluded them, condemning them to a future of invisibility, exploitation and desperation.
In the camp at Pian del Lago, in Caltanissetta, around 30 Pakistani, Bangladeshi and African citizens continue to live in make-shift housing under the motorway columns, without water, food or sanitary systems, nor any kind of support. Among them there are those who are waiting to formalise their asylum request, and a place in the reception centre (CARA*) nearby. There are also minors identified as adults; Ivorians rejected without any apparent motivation and without any adequate information regarding their rights; and young men who, having obtained international protection and in possession of leave to remain, nonetheless continue to live on the street.
Borderline Sicilia expresses extreme concern about the telegram sent from Prefect Pinto to the Italian police stations. Putting the Department for Public Security at their disposition, the telegram recommends the tracking down of irregular Nigerian citizens in order to send them to detention centres (CIE*) and repatriate them. This would be inconceivable in a state of law, creating as it does discrimination and mass refoulment – including of asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking – based solely on nationality, without taking account of each individual’s personal circumstances. We also find the fact that Italy, in order to stop the migrant flow, is signing agreements with Libya unacceptable and concerning. Libya is a country where men, women and children are closed up in camps and systematically subjected to every kind of violence.
THE LAMPEDUSA HOTSPOT: NEW ARRIVALS AND DAILY VIOLATIONS
Over three days, 1000 people arrived on the island and, as is always the case when landings occur close together, the limits and inefficiencies of a reception system in collapse became all too evident. The Hotspot at Contrada Imbriacola is packed out. Men, women and children, including unaccompanied minors, exhausted by the long journey across the Mediterranean, sleep en masse on the ground, on a dirty pavement, without clothes nor blankets, awaiting their final transfer elsewhere.
IN AUGUSTA, UNDIGNIFIED DETENTION, ABUSE AND ARRESTS AWAIT THOSE WHO SURVIVE THE SEA
In a cultural climate which is increasingly marked by a worrying racism, discrimination against migrants finds its place even at the very moment of the landings. In the space of two days more than 1,500 people arrived at Augusta. Hundreds of people are amassed in the tent-city in inhumane conditions, including families with small children, minors and pregnant women. These are unacceptable violations which are becoming consolidated practices, justified in the name of “emergency”.
NEWS AND EVENTS: THE PALANEBIOLO TENT-CITY IN MESSINA FINALLY TO BE TAKEN DOWN. IN CATANIA, THE THIRD EVENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL “KIDEM” PROJECT
For more than three years, thousands of asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have been hosted there in shameful conditions. The Prefecture of Messina has declared the tent-city of Palanebiolo to be inappropriate, and it was closed on 30 December 2016. The migrants were transferred to other centres, and the tent-city will be finally taken down in the first days of February 2017. The future of the former Bisconte barracks now remains uncertain, were 200 people are housed in three big rooms, including numerous unaccompanied foreign minors, who live without any appropriate separation from the adults.
From being trafficked to jail: the “forced” boat drivers. How can one ask protection in Europe in a historical moment when human rights and fundamental freedoms are entering into conflict with security policies and European legislation? This was the topic in Catania on occasion of the third event connected to the transnational European project on “Conceding protection versus border security (KideM)”, taking the figure of the “alleged boat driver” as a starting point.
INFO AND CONTACTS
For information on how to donate to Borderline Sicilia Onlus – Banca Etica Popolare di Palermo Agenzia di Via Catania, 24 IBAN IT 28 Q 0501804600000000141148 Codice BIC CCRTIT2T84A – and for updates on the current situation of migration in Sicily see the blog:
www.siciliamigranti.blogspot.com or follow our Facebook page:
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*CARA = Centro di Accoglienza per Richiedenti Asilo (Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers)
Translation by Richard Braude