Dienstag, 4. September 2012

Newsletter Migrantsicily - August 2012


· Migrants begin to arrive again in Lampedusa. A death reawakes the political interest in deaths at sea
· NGOs denounce the situation: HRW raises the alarm over the latest massacre of migrants in the Mediterranean; Save the Children denounces the length of time taken to transfer minors off Lampedusa
· Escapes, revolts and arrests continue in the Pozzallo CSPA (First Reception Centre)
· Report delivered to CERD (Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) on the phenomena of the incitement of racial hatred- data proves alarming
· Observatory on the violation of the right to a defence: proof of illegal refoulement in the port of Palermo



Migrants begin to arrive again in Lampedusa. A death reawakes the political interest in deaths at sea
During August new arrivals have been registered on the island of Lampedusa. On 1st August, a fishing boat from Mazara dal Vallo rescued 150 migrants at sea at the request of the coast guard http://www.siciliamigranti.blogspot.it/2012/08/lampedusa-soccorso-da-peschereccio.html and, in a separate incident, another boat was also rescued approximately 60 miles from Lampedusa with 100 migrants aboard, http://www.siciliamigranti.blogspot.it/2012/08/soccorso-lampedusa-e-pozzallo.html. Following on from these rescues, between the 17th and 19th August approximately 460 people arrived on the island http://www.lampedusaonline.com/lampedusa-soccorsi-460-migranti/ http://www.siciliamigranti.blogspot.it/2012/08/nuovi-arrivi-sulle-coste-di-lampedusa-e.html.
Meanwhile on 23rd August, the Italian Navy pulled 77 migrants to safety whose ship was sinking about 70 miles of the Sicilian coast. During the rescue operation, a further 70 migrants arrived directly in Lampedusa's commercial harbour.
In total, approximately 900 people have passed through the island of Lampedusa in August 2012. The figure is not high compared to previous years, but it nonetheless provided an occasion for the ex-Minister Roberto Maroni to scream for the umpteenth time about an "invasion", and giving him the opportunity to suggest the implementation of well-practised formula such as refoulements at the border http://www.lettera43.it/politica/lampedusa-maroni-bisogna-respingerli_4367561841.htm
At the same time, the minister of the international cooperation Riccardi expressed his regret over the death of the Somalian Olympic athlete Saamiya, who attempted to reach the Italian coastline in March 2012. He, nonetheless, proceeded to underline the fact that the number of migrants arriving by boat is down on previous years. http://www.lettera43.it/politica/riccardi-a-lampedusa-sulla-tomba-di-saamiya_4367562887.htm
Although the form of the two ministers' speeches was different, there appear to be similarities in their content: both place emphasis on the number of arrivals without the smallest concern for the number of people forced to leave north Africa and cross the Mediterranean without ever reaching European shores.
It is Gabriele Del Grande, who through the blog "fortresseurope" http://fortresseurope.blogspot.it/2012/04/ragazzi-di-tunisi-dispersi-al-largo-di.html, keeps account of the deaths at sea. There has been no further official news from Frontex on refoulements at sea, despite the fact that the international agency is currently active throughout the Mediterranean.

Escapes, revolts and arrests continue in the Pozzallo CSPA (First Reception Centre)
The same scenes of escapes and revolts, and the arrests which come with them, continue to occur regularly within the CSPA in the port of Pozzallo. Reconstruction work has just been completed and the structure has resumed its role as a Detention Centre for north Africa citizens awaiting repatriation, even though officially speaking it is not a Detention Centre. In particular, the most recent episode involved a group of Tunisians who had arrived in Lampedusa and been transferred onto Pozzallo, who reacted against the news of their imminent repatriation. These are repatriations that occur arbitrarily and collectively and which deprive the migrants of their right to meet lawyers and associations.


NGOs denounce the situation: HRW raises the alarm over the latest massacre of migrants in the Mediterranean; Save the Children denounces the length of time taken to transfer minors off Lampedusa
While Italian politics does little other than present optimistic reports on the arrivals by sea, Human Rights Watch, has not only published a series of recommendations aimed at improving rescue operations of migrants at sea http://www.hrw.org/node/109494, it also provides information of the next imminent wave of migrants expected from Syria. The internal conflict which broke out there several months ago is producing thousands and thousands of refugees ready to undertake journeys of hope in order to reach Europe. "The European Union is developing a new system of surveillance for its external borders, known as Eurosur: it states that sea rescues are its principle aim, but according to the association for human rights no specific guidelines or procedures on how such objectives should be reached have been included."
Save the Children, who are present on the island of Lampedusa as part of the Praesidium project, have issued a press release denouncing the inadequate and precarious Reception conditions of the 80 minors, who have been staying in the Lampedusa CSPA (First Reception Centre). The organisation has accused the authorities of taking too long to transfer the minors from the island to the mainland.
Following the last lot of tranfers, which took place on 27th and 31st of August 2012, with a ferry boat to Porto Empedocle, the number of minors staying in the Lampedusa CSPA has gone down to around 30.

Report delivered to CERD (Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) on the phenomena of the incitement of racial hatred- data proves alarming
On 28th August 2012, a report concerning the thematic discussion of the UN Committee for the elimination of racial discrimination was presented. It focussed on the phenomena of the incitement of racial hatred in the media and in political public discourse in Italy. The report was written by a network of associations, including Borderline Sicilia Onlus, led by the legal Union for human rights as part of the project "Enhancing Italy's civil society participation to international bodies' decision making", which was financed by the Open Society Foundation.
The results of the report are worrying, and unfortunately, confirm the existence of all types of violation and abuse suffered by migrants, which associations like ours have, for some time now, been speaking out against.
Click on the link to read the complete report
It is possible to see the meeting at the link below

Observatory on the violation of the right to a defence: proof of illegal refoulement in the port of Palermo
Once again we are reporting another case of completely illegal government procedures. The case in point concerns the refoulement of a Tunisian citizen, who was not allowed back into Italy after returning from Tunisia. This is despite the fact that he had lived and worked in this country for years and that he has a daughter and pregnant wife waiting for him here. And as always happens in these cases, we are speaking about measures with catastrophic consequences, which are often irreversible. The only positive aspect to come out of the situation, is the fact that an excellent lawyer from the Sicilian section of ASGI (Association for Judicial Studies on Immigration) was able to contest the administrative act and that the Palermo Judge of Peace went on to rule against what had happened. But the episode is not yet complete and the man in question, M.A, still finds himself in Tunisia.
To get a better understanding of what actually happened, we interviewed the lawyer Gaetano Pasqualino from the Palermo Foro and a member of ASGI.
"Can you explain to us why this was an illegal refoulement?"
M.A. had been in Italy since 2005. He was the holder of a permit of stay issued by the Trapani Police Headquarters and had been waiting almost a year for its renewal to come through. A few months ago he received a letter (ex art. 10, l. 241/90) from the Police Offices requesting the production of his C.U.D (annual pay slip with tax summary) and his certificate of residence. The letter had not been translated and M.A., not fully grasping its meaning, failed to produce the necessary documentation. In the meantime, he was forced to return unexpectedly in Tunisia following a family bereavement. When he returned to Italy on 1st July 2012, he was subjected to various controls before being allowed to get off the boat. This revealed that in June his application for the renewal of his permit of stay had been denied due to the missing C.U.D and residency certificate. Yet he had never received any notification of this decision. The authorities therefore decided to carry out the operation there and then on the boat and officially informed of his refoulement as well as the decision to place him under the guard of the Captain of the boat (all of which was done only in Italian). M.A. had to stay aboard the ship for a whole week before it returned to Tunisia. I went through the Tunisian Consulate in order to authenticate his signature and was able to contest the measure on the grounds that M.A. is married to a Tunisian who is resident in Italy and who was pregnant and that the couple already had a young a daughter. Article 19 of the Italian decree, Testo Unico dell'Immigrazione, prohibits the refoulement and expulsion of pregnant women, and the Constitutional Court has since extended this ban to also include husbands. On these grounds, the Palermo Judge of Peace ruled against the refoulement."
"What is the current situation? Are there any other legal pathways that can be taken?"
"M.A. is still in Tunisia, and his wife, who lost the baby, has been placed in a reception centre with her daughter. It's highly likely that M.A. will have lost the job he had as a fisherman. His employer will probably be unable to justify such a prolonged absence, even though the matter was out of M.A.'s hands. He is currently unable to re-enter Italy due to the fact that the renewal of his permit of stay has been denied, for which we are working on an appeal through TAR (Regional Administrative Tribunal). In the meantime, we have also made a request to the Minor's Court in Palermo to allow M.A. back into the country on the grounds that he is father to a minor (ex art.31, paragraph 3, Testo Unico). We hope that the Court will act quickly given the seriousness of the situation."

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