- Operation Triton has access to planes and ships already under the command of the Italian authorities, coordinated by the commander of the Guardia di finanza in the airbase of Pratica di Mare.
- Their priorities are the finding of sea vessels for the effective rescuing, and the identification of all persons who are rescued.
- In relation to the ships utilised, he explained that they are provided by the member states, following Frontex's evaluations and directions.
- If the means used by Operation Triton are not sufficient, Frontex will ask member states for the necessary means to complete its work, which would then be included within the Operation Triton and financed by the European Union.
- Screening experts who attempt to find out the nationalities of migrants via questions put to them with the assistance of cultural mediators.
- Finger printing experts to support the police forensic officers in taking finger prints and making photographic identification.
- Debriefing experts: voluntary and anonymous interviews which will not influence the eventual asylum procedures, nor function as police statements, but to be used only for gathering information on voyage and consequent routes.
- Support for procedures relating to economic migrants: repatriation, acquisition of travel documents, financial support to the Italian state.
- The Hotspots, detention for the taking of fingerprints, the recourse to the use of force, and the lack of any juridical basis.
- The differentiation, at the moment of arrival, between “economic migrants” and refugees via the so-called “notification paper”, a brief questionnaire for the migrants issued by police, which contains misleading orders and is not clear on the difference between economic migrants and asylum seekers
- Deferred rejections, with the command to leave the country within seven days, allowing people deprived of any means of sustenance or documents to be abandoned in open countryside (Agrigento)
- The non-functioning of the relocations and the consequent tense situation in the Hotspots
- Accompanied, forced Repatriations (only a few days after entrance into the country by means of rescue operations), in particular of Nigerians and Egyptians, including the reference to “group flights” running monthly from Roma Fiumicino to Lagos.
- Lack of application of the clause in the Dublin Convention which allows migrants to join their families.
- Prolonged detention in reception centres of various kinds, such as the CSPA* at Pozzallo, where Frontex agents are also present, and which is to become a Hotspot, without any juridical validation.
- The form of cooperation of vessels included in Frontex's assets with the vessels participating in the EUNAVFORMED* operation, in particular in respect to the interventions at the borders of Libyan territorial waters and the related demand to carry out search and rescue.
- Frontex expects that all the planned Hotspots (five in Sicily) will soon be in operation, and under Italian regulations, because there are no directly binding rules on European level which order the operative details of this feature.
- A reinforcement of Frontex is planned, with a higher number of agents involved, as well as the following launch of a new border police and a new European coast guard.
- At the Hotspot at Trapani Milo, opened last December 28th, there are four Frontex agents and two from EASO*.
- At the old CPSA* at Pozzallo, where there has been a permanent Frontex presence since November, and which will shortly become a Hotspot, a presence of at least 12 Frontex agents is predicted, as well as two EASO* officials.
- At the old Lampedusa centre of initial aid and arrival (CPSA), at Contrada Imbriacola, now re-defined as a Hotspot, there are 17 Frontex agents and one from EASO*.
- It is not clear when the other two Hotspots in Sicily will open, one planned for Augusta (where there has been opposition from the local administration) and one at Porto Empedocle (Agrigento).
- The sorting HUB at Siculiana (Villa Sikania) for those who enter the reception system after having given their finger prints and registered a request for asylum, or eventually relocation, is not an appropriate structure, and the CARA* at Mineo in which no Frontex agents are currently working, has an uncertain future which depends on the Italian authorities.
- In relation to the revision of the Dublin regulations and the relocation operations, the Frontex representative held that whoever is fleeing from war cannot choose the place in which they request asylum (aside from those with family ties, as already considered in the regulations). He said that to convince migrants that do not want to be identified, and so as to accept the relocation operations, they will organise a Skype chat with someone who has already been relocated in order to relay a positive experience.
- He attacked MSF* harshly for their report on the CPSA* at Pozzallo, saying that it was all lies and that MSF* wrote it only in reaction to the missed renewal of their agreement with the Prefecture. The same Frontex representative claimed that the agency worked some time ago inside the CSPA* at Pozzallo and that which was described has no correspondence with the truth.
- By the interventions of representatives from the police station and Frontex it was also revealed that the workers who were previously part of the Praesidium project are now engaged on the basis of different agreements with the Ministry of the Interior (Save the Children, OIM*, UNHCR*), intervening only when they manage to be present, perhaps turning up to the disembarkings, during collective court hearings, but without aiding migrants individually, due to the reduced number of workers and the chronic lack of interpreters.
- They strongly request the immediate suspension of the Dublin Convention, the reconversion of the current Hotspots into centres of initial aid and reception (CSPA), with the full involvement of associations, as well as independent cultural and linguistic mediators, both at disembarkings and in centres of very first reception.
- They request the end of the administrative practice of collective rejection, carried out without distinction by the Sicilian police stations, frequently only on the basis of nationality, and the provision of full access to the procedures of international protection, including the provision in advance of information given by the EU Directorate, which still remains to be applied.
- They request the recall of the circulars adopted by the Ministry of the Interior (such as that of 6 October 2015) which establish practices deprived of any legal basis at a national level, concerning the form of the detention of persons taken to or confined in the Hotspots by police force, or other similar structures of very first reception, which manifest a limitation on personal freedom.
- They press for a reinforcement of missions of search and rescue in the Central Mediterranean, in the context of worsening marine weather conditions and the deteriorating situation in Libya, placing the saving of human lives at sea before any ends of a military nature.
*UNHCR: UN’s refugee agency
*IOM: International Organization for Migration
*CSPA: Centro di Soccorso e prima Accoglienza: Primary care and initial reception center.
*EUNAVFORMED: As a consequence of the April 2015 Libya migrant shipwrecks, the EU launched a military operation known as European Union Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med), also known as Operation Sophia, with the aim of neutralising established refugee smuggling routes in the Mediterranean.
*EASO: the European Asylum Support Office.
*CARA: Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers
*MSF: Médecins Sans Frontières
Translation: Richard Braude