Donnerstag, 11. Juni 2015

Newslettter SICILIAMIGRANTI – MAY 2015

• The arrivals and the deaths nobody wants to talk about continue
• The “black holes” of the immigration policies are paid by those without alternatives
• The new decisions of the European Commission: the urgent need to decide on which side to stay
• The parliamentary commission on Sicilian CARA and CIE: the centre in Mineo not compatible with human dignity
• Observatory on racism and xenophobia: aggression to a Senegalese young man in Scordia


Alone during the last weekend of may around 3600 migrants arrived in Lampedusa and in the Sicilian ports of Trapani, Palermo, Porto Empedocle, Augusta, Catania e Pozzallo. Among them also 17 dead bodies. After the recent decision of the European Commission, we wonder what those who are forced to escape shall expect.

Who arrives in Italy with the hope of finding democracy and the respect of human dignity, finds himself/herself alone even in the moment of death. Beyond the victims of the disasters at sea, more and more numerous, remembered only in the aftermath of the tragedy, there are also several migrants who daily die in our country, invisible to the majority. The hypocrisy of those rushing in calling the migrants “brothers” is despicable, when they then prefer to forget in haste, so that they do not understand the real reasons of their escape, the current state of things and our part of responsibility as world citizens.

Among the many “invisible deaths” there is also the young man from Pakistan, who died after being run over while on his bike, on the street heading to the CARA in Pian di Lago. To the remembrance for his death there was not a single representative of the institutions, which are unconcerned of their own responsibilities, in a system which places the centres in isolated areas, connected only by run-down roads. The latest example of discrimination between first and second class people by those who seem not to strive at all for the rights and integration of the new arrivals.

The use of double standards also seems to drive the debate on the rescue of the wreck and the corpses of the victims of the enormous shipwreck from April 18th. For this reason several association - among which Borderline Sicily - make a plea: to authorise the relatives to commemorate their beloved ones and give them an adequate burial; at the same time to retrace the dynamic of the shipwreck and denounce the organisators of this death journey.


The system gives the cold shoulder to the deaths at sea, while it tries to reorganise the system of first reception in a very precarious way. The number of transfers of migrants arrived in other Italian regions increases and the prefectures try to be more transparent in appointing the management of the centres.  What happens is that new cooperatives enter into the system for managing the welcome structures, though without having any experience and limited competences in the field of immigration, while the new territorial commissions begin working with inexcusable delay and extremely slow processes. All this to the disadvantages of the migrants who, abandoned in a limbo without the chance of building their own future, become more and more attractive for the illegal market.
The inconveniences due to the shortage of funding and the delay in the reimbursements force city administrations and welcome centres to drastic cuts in theirs services. Many operators have not received their salaries in months,  which obviously has consequences on the quality of theirs services, while migrants very often do not even manage to get the pocket money foreseen by law. A chain effect which sees huge economic interests at play and leaves the refugees without any alternative and forces them to pay the highest price

The situation of those who aim at protecting the right and wellbeing of the migrants is very different. The cooperative Don Bosco 2000, managing one Cas/Sprar in Armerina Square in the province of Enna decides as a matter of fact of levelling up the quality of the services foreseen for its guests, aiming at their integration in the neighbouring territory. Among all these difficulties, due to inertia and the bureaucracy of the system, it is possible and it must be aimed at a dignified first assistance and at facilitating the full autonomy of those who struggle to start a new life.


The new decisions of the European Commission aim at the reinforcement of Frontex and at the redistribution of the migrants by establishing very questionable quotes and criteria. The promises of reviewing the Dublin System remain only vague, while those running away continue their journey. Too many among us pay very little attention to the inhuman conditions for escaping also through Europe and often for denouncing the deficit European policies, while forgetting the heavy responsibilities of the Italian “welcome machine”.

Some Member of the European Parliament have submitted a parliamentary question in reference to the episodes from last April involving migrants  from the CPSA in Pozzallo, forced to provide their fingerprints with the use of force and electricity. An important gesture to shed light over a worrying story, which shows how inadequate the Dublin System is and how often its application degenerates into episodes of structural or explicit violence.
Nevertheless the first answer to all this is the opening of a new Frontex headquarter in Catania. This action shows the will of locking up and militarising Sicily and Fortress Europe, investing precious funds in a city like Catania where at the same time the resources provided for the integration of migrants continue to diminish. The call of some associations for not forgetting the necessity of a change in the international migratory policies and the urgency for the creation of a European right to asylum.


The parliamentary commission on Cara and Cie lands in Sicily and starts by visiting the Cara in Mineo, the biggest in Europe. Exactly in Mineo, in the occasion of the celebration of the first of May, a group of antiracists has organised a meeting with some migrants, not far from the Centre. The diffidence of the refugees and their hesitance in speaking testify the difficulty of uncovering a system of blackmailing and exploitation connected to the life conditions in the Cara, which the local media often tend to ignore.

In their question time in front of the parliamentary commission, the representatives of MEDU (Doctors for Human Rights), who have been working in the centre of Mineo for months, present a report which highlights how the organisation and the exploitation of the camp produce lethal consequences for the life of the migrants. In a centre with more than 4.000 migrants, confronted with the 2.000 initially foreseen, those who find themselves in vulnerable conditions cannot be adequately assisted. The omitted emission of documents and the consequent missing registration into the national health system, the distance from every local village or city and the necessity of queuing very long lines for anything, these are some of the factors which affect the psychophysical conditions of the migrants as soon as they enter the centre.

Together with the parliamentary commission, there was also the Member of Parliament Erasmo Palazzotto (SEL-Party), who denounces a situation of complete inadequacy inside the Cara and asks a full and factual transparency in the administrative management of the centre.

The Sicilian section of the ASGI (Association for juridical studies on immigration) sends a letter to the local and national institutions asking for a review of all critical points and omissions the Cara presents, and also the reintroduction of the rule of law in the management and security of the hosted migrants. It suggests the return to a model of diffused assistance in small numbers, which follows the uniform national guidelines and which shall be a warranty of wellbeing and the possibility of integration for the migrants.


In Scordia (Province of Catania) a Senegalese man currently hosted at the local Sprar has been stubbed by unknown persons outside a night club, resulting in a scar on his face and 19 stitches. At the origin of the attack there was allegedly the request of money from the aggressors, in a blatantly climate of xenofobia and social tear, where discomforts and frustration are often lavished on the most vulnerable ones.  

Translation: Marco Baldan