Freitag, 1. Januar 2016

Newsletter, December 2015

-        Europe wants new hotspots: Italy continues to violate the rights of migrants.
-        Lampedusa, Agrigento and Syracusa: rejections, detentions and expulsions among migrant protests and institutional indifference.
-        New arrivals: ever greater confusion and less respect for human dignity
-        Unaccompanied minors: when the most vulnerable are the first to be turned away.

 Europe wants new hotspots: Italy continues to violate the rights of migrants.

Europe is asking to accelerate the opening of new Hotspots in Sicily and apply the use of force in the taking of fingerprints, justified through the delay in relocations due to the low number of available migrant “candidates”. In the meantime, at Lampedusa, among other places, the 'deferred' rejections continue to be carried out, repatriations and expulsions handed out to migrants who are being selected at discretion, based on their country of origin, without collecting to any other information. This is the hypocrisy of a system which continues to speak in favour of integration and protecting refugees while tying to stop their flow through physical force and by employing practices “outside of any law”, as stated by organisations ranging from Borderline Sicilia to Radio Popolare.

The Italian government is putting its faith in previous commitments, suddenly transforming the CIE of Milo into a Hotspot. Without any defined regulation or clear juridical status, and in a building still in the process of being rebuilt, they are already proceeding with the first transferrals of migrants there.

MSF decides to close its project of medical assistence and psychological support in the CPSA of Pozzallo, and other CAS in Ragusa. Within a month since the sending of a detailed report criticising the CPSA, the organisation's team have not found the minimal political will for a serious intervention and have declared it impossible to continue their own mandate. This is a strong gesture of denunciation, by which MSF has renewed the call for the development of a urgent and concrete response, while continuing other projects in Sicily outside of the reception and sorting centres.

Lampedusa, Agrigento and Syracusa: rejections, detensions and expulsions among migrant protests and institutional indifference.

The new politics of migration is concretising into repressive police measures in relation to refugees, and yet again Lampedusa is the model on which practice followed in other centres are being based. Once again Sicily is seeing migrants forced into photo identification, deported on the bases of new agreements with countries far from secure, as well as people rejected and left on the street. Expulsions of asylum seekers still pending appeal of denial on administrative grounds, discretional evaluations by officials working on shifts, given powers of selection over the objects of their repression in an entirely illegitimate and discriminatory manner. This is all happening to hundreds of migrants from Subsuharan and the Horn of Africa in the province of Agrigento, frequently those who are vulnerable, under age, or victims of violence. People with broken lives who are seeing their desire for freedom destroyed by a country which is currently showing itself to be profoundly racist. In the mean time, the relevant institutions are calling for new deals with Europe and tertiary countries, making the right of asylum so much scrap paper.

The deplorable practice of deferred rejections are being used again in the province of Syracuse, where dozens of migrants have found themselves on the streets with an order to leave Italy by Fiumicino Airport within seven days. Whoever tries to explain the real, frequently tragic reasons that they are fleeing, hits up against invisible walls. In a moment of the gradual dismantling of every protection, Borderline Sicilia Is urgently asking for the restoration of the conditions necessary for guaranteeing the survival of fundamental rights, in a statement issued alongside other associations in Sicily.

But nonetheless the migrants are managing to make their voice heard. More than two hundred hunger striking refugees filled the roads of Lampedusa, invoking their freedom of movement and the right to chose the country in which they will build their futures. Illegally detained for weeks in the new Hotspot, put under psychological pressure and degrading detainment, they are refusing to become merely numbers for a Europe which thinks only of how to govern, select and transfer them as it pleases. Whoever is declared to be “irregular” by this exclusional system, a state of abandonment and extreme precarity is accompanied by the threats of new xenophobic attitudes, nourished by recent government practices which thus displace any attention from those for whom the institutions themselves continue to do nothing.

New arrivals: ever greater confusion and less respect for human dignity

The arrivals continue, characterised by a new rise in security measures. Whoever survives immediately encounters instruments of control and subdivision by which civil society is kept at due distance, while the admissions to the CARA at Mineo have recommenced, which for some months had seen only departures.

The investigations of the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission of the Regional Assembly of Sicily are continuing in relation to the CARA of Mineo. This has confirmed the existence of a “red thread” which brings together the events of the CARA and SPRAR centres in the area of Caltagirone and the political environment of the capital. The investigations evidence the role played by key politicians and others in hiring drivers, in the creation of purely “cosmetic” integration activities, and many others things which we still do not know about the appalling management of the CARA, where so many migrants still remain, people who might as well have disappeared.

Contrary to every human decency, false promises continue to mislead citizens about what is actually happening. Thus different institutional representative declare themselves ready for the reception of the thousand migrants disembarked at Palermo over this past year, making assurances about working first of all for the hundreds of minors. Once out of the spotlight however, it is Europe instead who the Italian government does not want to disappoint: and thus in the name of new and confusing directives, young migrants pass the night at the port and then, yet again, in inappropriate structures, while at the wharf the barbaric division is executed between those who have a hope of a future in Italy, and those who are excluded from it. The only remaining certainty is the absence of the state and law.

Unaccompanied minors: when the most vulnerable are the first to be turned away.

The continuing slaughter of migrants fleeing over land and sea includes many minors, who have lost their lives this month. The hypocrisy of those who express pain and rage in relation to these young victims becomes intolerable in the context of the treatment reserved for their peers who survive. A great deal of minors have been detained within the CPSA of Pozzallo for entire weeks, while another hundred or so have been abandoned to an indeterminate waiting in centres dispersed throughout the centre of Sicily, where the crisis and isolation awakes the revival of racism all the more easily, and a peaceful future morphs into a mirage.

Whether the different actors involved in the reception sector approach it with charity or business in mind is obvious above all in the methods of managing protection and waiting times for the relocation of minors. In the provinces of Palermo and Agrigento, the waiting time within the centres of high specialisation is months and months, with no or fair reasonable criteria adopted for their relocation to the dedicated communities. Interruptions to the process of integration, itself begun only with great effort, minors being treated like so many mailed parcels, frequently in the name of necessity and urgency of freeing up useful positions, provides the basis for protests undertaken by some migrants in Trapani, following the closure of the centre from which they were removed: a long march ending up at the Prefecture, in order to recall the rights of those who need protection.

Among many examples of an unwelcoming system, those normal citizens who take care of new arrivals simply because of who they are fortunately remain strong. The objective of the workers in the centre for minors in Mazzarino is exactly that of allowing migrants to integrate with their peers at school, and through sport and game activities, but above all to create a strong bond of trust and cooperation between the young men and the whole local community. To this end, they are announcing innovative projects created by the young guests themselves.

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Richard Braude