Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014

NEWSLETTER Migrantsicily - April 2014

·         A permanent “Emergency”: between rhetoric and reality
-      April arrivals at  Sicilian ports
-      Reactivating the strategy of fear
-      The emergency system that kills
-      Alfano’s latest invention: the Mineo ‘hub’
·         Alexander Langer Prize 2014 to Borderline Sicilia

During the month of April a considerable and foreseeable increase in the number of migrants reaching the coast of Sicily was reported.  Thousands have arrived at the ports of eastern Sicily and, by virtue of operation Mare Nostrum, the port of Augusta is the confirmed main hub.
Of equal importance has been the flow of arrivals reported at the ports of Pozzallo (Ragusa) and Empedocle (Agrigento)
However, in some cases the ports of  Messina and  Catania have also been in use.

In the face of such numbers and, above all, in the light of the forthcoming European elections at the end of May, the “immigration issue” is firmly back at the centre of public debate.
This debate, unfortunately, seems once again to be framed within the discourse of emergency. The statement made by minister Alfano regarding the 300/600 thousand people waiting to travel across the  Mediterranean is reminiscent of the former minister Maroni, once again resorting to a strategy of fear.

Beyond the rhetoric, reports continue of emergency procedures in Sicily in the management of migrant arrivals that is actually generating a condition of real emergency.
The Italian  reception “system” for asylum seekers, which has been inadequate, chaotic and fragmented from the beginning, seems to have now disintegrated completely. In  the world of Sicilian reception, which is a mishmash of overlapping governmental centres, SPRAR centres, sorting centres and centres for extraordinary reception overseen by local government
the great majority of the  facilities are overcrowded, and reception conditions are  clearly inferior to the minimum standards endorsed by Italian regulations in the Reception Conditions Directive.
There are, if rare, some positive exceptions:

The ad hoc handling of the arrivals and transfers has cost the life of Ebrima Jaiteh, a young man from Gambia who arrived at the port of Augusta 11 April and was transferred to the Umberto I first reception centre at Siracusa despite his precarious state of health

Then there is the Mineo CARA, isolated in the middle of the Plain of Catania and now at the centre of a new controversy:
old propaganda habits die hard:
but what remains is still an unacceptable ghetto where four thousand people have been waiting for months/years for  a hearing from the Territorial Commission:

The latest “controversy” - at the moment merely hinted at but certainly guaranteed to blow up - is connected to the idea of taking advantage of the expansion of SPRAR places and transferring all the asylum seekers presently being accommodated at Mineo. This would enable the use of  the former Aranci residential area as a hub  for  the “reception” of migrants immediately after arriving at the port. As Minister Alfano stated during the meeting at the Camera dei Deputati on 16 April, a new unprecedented type of facility is being considered – a kind of hub – devised as a broad logistical base of first entry, in which, amongst other activities, identification, photo identification, healthcare triage and legal documentation of the migrant will be carried out. All in one hub.”
As the Italian proverb says: “al peggio non c’è mai fine”:  things just go from bad to worse.

The annual prize dedicated to the memory of journalist Alexander Langer
has been awarded for  2014 to the Borderline Sicilia Onlus association

Borderline Sicilia Onlus would like to dedicate this to the cause of “transparency and truth, and to all of our efforts to uncover and give voice to these in the struggle for human rights”.