Dienstag, 10. November 2015

New landings at Augusta and Pozzallo

Migrants’ journey has not ended yet. Last week-end about 940 migrants were rescued offshore Sicily, in eight different operations. 258 of them arrived at Augusta’s port onboard of Belgian frigate Leopold Ist, in the morning of Friday, november 7, within EUNAVFORMED mission. Newspapers already write of the capture of 4 presumed smugglers, omitting the fate of all of the other new arrived, supposedly shunted in the surrounding centres. Another 713 more  migrants land from the Coast Guard’s ship “Diciotti” at the port of Pozzallo, in the same Friday afternoon.
Photo Lucia Borghi
Expected by 2.o’clock p.m., landing started toward mid afternoon lasting up to late evening, under the rain. On the quay, there where the Red Cross, the Civil Protection, MsF, UNHCR, Save the Children, Terres des Hommes and Police in numbers. There were also some members of Frontex and Europol, by that time active next to Italian Police. Among migrants, arriving from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Somalia, Palestine, Mali, Eritrea, Sudan, Algeria and Syria there are also 52 Minors. Towards such a number of refugees, concern about their future accommodation and what they are going to face, is high: will the individual protection they are entitled to by law be guaranteed to each of them? Will the migrants be able to communicate, with the Police and the operators waiting for them, in a comprehensible language, within the following hours? Shall we be present at another fast and discriminating sorting between economic and non-economic migrants? Where will Syrian and Eritrean people be located, when destined to other countries? Large numbers frighten those who know how easy it is for a migrant to become invisible amid them all. At this moment the famous Hotspots, among them the Pozzallo CPSA*, should get up to speed in short, but structural condition and internal set of rules, appear just more confused than a few months ago.

On the port, a prompt transfer of about 300 new arrivals toward Lombardia, Liguria and Toscana is taken into account: long travels that, in the past, migrants had to face without any comfort, neither eating something easily ashore, nor changing clothes after crossing the sea.
Other 270 migrants, instead, are attached to town’s CPSA*. The following day we learn that at least 135 people are to be transferred from Pozzallo to Messina’s Pala Nebiolo tent city, despite the water emergency impending for days over the city. Being already alert on a guaranteed legal assistance, now we fear a lack of basic rights such as safe and decent lodge, appropriate medical and psychological assistance and non precarious sanitation, a fear caused by the lack of structural requirements of several Sicilian centres, among which Messinian tent city altogether.
But, landing and transferring procedures go on with no variation and buses take migrants quickly away from the sight of civil society. What is going to happen during investigation and the different identification procedures will be known the next days only, this time in the hope that each migrant had his full right of verbalizing, besides knowing rights and duties he is entitled to, in a so called democratic country, that sometimes does not look like that.

Lucia Borghi
Borderline Sicily Onlus

*CPSA – Centro di Soccorso e prima Accoglienza: Primary care and initial reception center

Tranlation: Fernanda Pecile