Mittwoch, 26. Oktober 2016

Migrant Landing at Pozzallo: “Improvised, Overcrowded Centres, The Closed Borders Are Pushing the Reception System into Collapse”



Paola Ottaviano from Borderlin Sicily, an association of legal experts which is extremely active in assisting migrants, explains the situation of the Sicilian Hotspot: “The Italian system of helping migrants has not been reorganised, nor rethought through so as to manage this consistent influx of people.”



When you see them disembark without shoes, with their arms and legs marked by cuts and burns, with confused gazes, you ask yourself what their future holds. Where they will be taken, if they will be listened to with respect, be protested, heard – or if, on the contrary, they will remain for months within the so-called Hotspots such as that at Pozzallo. Overcrowded, filthy complexes where humanity is forgotten.



With around 6,000 new arrivals on our coasts in the last two days, the Italian reception system is collapsing even more. 153,450 migrants landed in the first 10 months of 2016, of whom 20,000 are unaccompanied minors. This represents an increase of 10% in comparison with the same period last year.



The number is much greater than in the past, but no one could possibly talk of an emergency”, comments Paola Ottaviano from Borderline Sicily, an association of legal experts which is extremely active in assisting migrants, as well as making official complaints regarding cases of failed reception. “Given the situation in Libya, what's happening here is entirely predictable and calculable.” The reception system is being pushed into collapse – Ottaviano explains – by the closing of the borders. “The Hotspot approach includes Italy being responsible for 100% of identifications, and Europe for the relocations. But the result has been that of the 160,000 positions foreseen for migrants arriving in Italy and Greece, there have been only 5,000 “relocated” thus far. In the meantime, our reception system has not been reorganised, nor rethought through so as to manage this consistent influx of people.”



Every day there are official complaints against new cases of failed reception in Sicily, Borderline's legal experts emphasise. “Improvised, overcrowded centres, lack of qualified staff, degrading and out of control situations.” Those who pay the most are frequently the unaccompanied minors. “The Prefecture has promised the opening of new “emergency” reception centres for 50 minors at most. But these centres would automatically be the 'extraordinary' reception centres where young people risk being abandoned for months” Ottaviano concludes.



Anna Vullo




Project "OpenEurope" - Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus  


Translation: Richard Braude


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