3 October 2018
Newsletter BORDERLINE SICILIA – September 2018
- New case of criminalisation of rescuing at sea: Tunisian fishermen arrested and then set free
- The hidden economy and practices of exploitation
- Bad hostel management and lack of sea rescues continues
NEW CASE OF CRIMINALISATION OF RESCUING AT SEA: TUNISIAN FISHERMEN ARRESTED AND THEN SET FREE
The crew of a Tunisian fishing vessel made up of six people – including Chamseddine Bourassine, President of the association “Zarzis le Pêcheur”, well known for the countless rescue operations effected since the Tunisian revolution of 2011 – was arrested on 20th August at Lampedusa. They were accused of aiding and abetting illegal immigration, after the vessel had trawled a vessel with 14 migrants into Italian waters.
The arrest led to a range of protests in Italy and abroad, including in Palermo and Catania, organised by the newly-constituted regional anti-racist coordination, which brings together different associations and movements working across the island. The demonstrations were held on September 21st, the day of the hearing at the Court of Re-Examination in Palermo, which accepted the arguments of the defense council and decided to liberate the crew.
THE HIDDEN ECONOMY AND PRACTICES OF EXPLOITATION
Autumn in Sicily means the important harvest of olives and grapes, which annually shed light on the chronic situation of exploitation within seasonal farm labour, especially for migrants. For this reason, Borderline Sicilia organise a conference in Marsala, in collaboration with Middlesex University, on hidden economies and exploitative practices. Academics, institutional agents, journalists, associations and migrants engaged in a discussion on the issue, in order to create a debate around the range of concrete measures that might confront the problem of exploitation, gang-labour and the precarity of seasonal workers.
The accounts of what is taking place across the Province of Trapani in relation to the harvests repeats that which has happened every year: emergency solutions, invisibility to be hidden away but also exploited. All of this is happening while the propaganda campaign based on a non-existent reality is managing to provide the final blow to the few fragile rights that remain, through Salvini’s ‘security law’, creating the basis for further social conflicts. https://www.borderlinesicilia.org/en/the-hidden-economy-and-the-exploitation-of-seasonal-workers-theory-practice-and-comparing-views-1209-marsala/
BAD HOSTEL MANAGEMENT AND LACK OF SEA RESCUES
We continue to observe irregularities in the management of reception centres. Borderline Sicilia has documented the lack of freedom of movement of residents at the emergency hostel in Rosolini, who are not allowed to leave the building unless accompanied, thus subject to a lack of rights, while civil society also continues to alienate and negate such rights.
As for the Mediterranean Sea, the cases of lack of assistance continue, such as that of September 18th, when the Colibri reconnaissance plane operated by Pilotes Volontaires, in collaboration with Sea Watch, witnessed the lack of support from Italian authorities and transiting commercial vessels (the latter concerned to then be refused entrance at a European port) in the rescue of a rubber boat containing 80 people on board, which was instead taken back to Libya by motorboat, thus ensuring that those who had only just managed to flee the Libyan concentration camps were again detained there.
Sea Watch has issued a communique, accusing the EU and its member states of enacting policies that result in murder.
Project “OpenEurope” – Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus
Translation by Richard Braude