Samstag, 18. Februar 2012

Migrants- social. "They arrived in Italy, help us"

The delegation representing the families of 250 young Tunisians who left Tunisia in March for Italy and then disappeared, has arrived in Rome: "They arrived, we are sure of that." On Tuesday the group has a meeting with the Viminal (The Minister of the Interior).
The dossiers which Noureddine Mbarki, Imed Soltani and Meherzia Raouafi have put together, have been done with great care. They have had to become investigators. They have had the support of very few and been viewed with suspicion by many. But the lives of their children are at stake: children that they hope one day to be able to hug again, despite the fears that they have got into some kind of trouble. "Help us, help us to solve this mystery," Meherzia said yesterday in front of the Tunisian embassy in Rome.

Meherzia, Imed, Nourredine are Tunisian and their children left for Italy in March. Everyone knows about the ships which they travelled on: the day and the port of departure; how many people were aboard; the names of practically all of the passengers. But the arrival? The arrival is a big problem. According to the parents, their children definitely arrived. They say this based on several pieces of evidence. Both Meherzia and Nourredine have identified their sons in a video broadcast on the Italian news. And there are also phone calls that some parents received: "Mum, we have arrived; we can see the coastline; the Finance Police are with us," -then nothing.
The three parents arrived in Italy as part of a delegation of a group which represents 250 young Tunisians who left Tunisia in March on four boats. But the actual figures of those missing are thought to be much higher. The group of parents of  "the March boats" put the estimate at 800 -an enormous and horrifying statistic. It is evident that many of them died during the crossing on boats that sank- ghost wrecks. But what happens if some of them did actually make it to Italy? "We are asking the Italian and Tunisian governments to help us. All we need is to exchange fingerprints," says Nourredine. Oh yes, fingerprints- a means of control which is demonstrating its exclusive function at border controls. When the fingerprints could be used to guarantee the safety of the migrants, as is the case here, the government inexplicably blocks their use. The Italian and Tunisian governments are in contact with one another in order to try to resolve this situation, which has become one of the diplomatic knots in the new diplomacy between these two countries. Tunisia is hesitating as to whether it should supply the fingerprints over fears that Italy want to create a precedent for deporting Tunisians more easily. Italy does not want to supply the fingerprints of those who arrived to Tunisia. The negotiations are delicate.
But at the centre of all this, there are the families, who are not concerned with such discussions and are only seeking answers. On Tuesday they will meet the Viminal (Minister of the Interior), an opportunity which they greatly appreciate after three weeks in Sicily with doors continually being closed in front of them. The delegation want to have access to the detention centres for migrants and be able to talk with those inside and show the photos of their missing relatives to find out if anyone met them in Lampedusa. But the doors of the CIEs (DetentionCentre(s)) remain closed.
Cinzia Gubbini
Taken from: