Dienstag, 18. Oktober 2016

Migrant Sicily Newsletter, September 2016

- Drawn-out Landing Operations and Facilities in Free-fall: The Failure of the Italian System Creates Violence and Exploitation

- Continual Rejections and Illegal Detention, Inhuman Consequences of the “Hotspot” Approach

- Hotspots and Extraordinary Reception Centres: The Non-Places of the Reception System for Unaccompanied Minors

- News and Events

- Information and Contacts




Drawn-out Landing Operations and Facilities in Free-fall: The Failure of the Italian System Creates Violence and Exploitation

The practice of a “long landing” seems to be becoming a recurrent feature in the treatment of migrants arriving in Sicily. At the landings which took place in September at the ports of Palermo, Messina, Pozzallo and Augusta, extremely long times were observed for the carrying out of the identification and registration procedures. In some cases, such as the landings in Palermo on the 6th and the 12th of September, the operations lasted more than 36 hours, with a large part of that time spent by many migrants left waiting in the rain.


In Palermo the identification operations for the most recent landing, on September 12th, had to be carried out in the police station, and lasted until the evening. Rejection notices were distributed on the basis of nationality alone, ordering direct repatriation. The crisis of the reception system in Palermo is sharply felt in the centres for minors, frequently hit by protests. The young residents often choose to run away from these centres, putting themselves at risk of becoming the working hands in the market of organised crime, and €2 per hour labourers for the bosses in the fields.


Dozens of migrants at the port of Augusta, the majority of them unaccompanied minors, have been living for weeks at a time stuck in the tent settlement, in the terrible hygienic and sanitary conditions. Some of the adolescents met by the Catania Antiracist Network at the city's train station, tell of having been able to escape after several days detained in the tent-city, suffering from the heat and without any information on how to request asylum and humanitarian protection. Others say they were forced to give their finger prints after being beaten with an electrified baton; still others, once identified, have been abandoned in the street and have travelled along some 40km of asphalt to return to Catania.



Continual Rejections and Illegal Detention, Inhuman Consequences of the “Hotspot” Approach

We can only call it a new wall, perhaps invisible but still difficult to cross, set up by Fortress Europe to put into practice a disastrous, unwelcoming politics of excluding migrants. The checks and identifications held at the landings point towards a “selection”, with the final aim of carrying out ever more numerous rejections. And for those who remain, their treatment is certainly no better: the unaccompanied minors and vulnerable persons – pregnant women, single mothers with children, those who are sick and psychologically fragile – are illegally detained for months at a time, in conditions of overcrowding and without any appropriate divisions of gender and age, forced into a painful survival with neither adequate support nor any answers about the future which awaits them.


Hotspots and Extraordinary Reception Centres: The Non-Places of the Reception System for Unaccompanied Minors

Minors continue to arrive at Pozzallo, hosted in the overcrowded Hotspot and in the new Extraordinary Reception Centres (CAS) for minors opened by the Prefecture of Ragusa in the centre of the coastal town. The minors do not receive any information about the new system in which they have been placed, and are left in the dark regarding their rights and duties. In this way the practice of illegal detention is allowed to continue, so as to control and manage migrants like numbers rather than people. Inasmuch, at the community for minors at San Michele di Ganzaria the situation remains difficult. After the serious episode of violence in which four young Egyptian men were attacked there have been charges and arrests following protests over the lack of pocket money. Yet again, an incompetence of management and mediation, and the lack of the educational approach essential in a community for minors, impeded any sane solution to the conflicts. Already having only just escaped death by land and sea, the minors are leaving the centres, escaping a process of integration which could, instead, make them feel finally saved.


In dealing with newly arriving children and unaccompanied refugees, the number of whom has doubled since last year, the Italian reception system has demonstrated all of its ineffectiveness. In the first quarter of 2016, more than 5,000 children have been declared “missing”, having either run away or been driven out from the minors' centres. The situation is denounced by the new Oxfam report, “Great Expectations Left to Drift”.


News and Events

MEDU presents the “Exoduses” project in Rome, an interactive map of the migrant routes from Subsaharan Africa to Europe; “A partisan told me” has launched the crowdfunding for a new book by Gabriele Del Grande; the project “Mediterranean Missing” was presented to the Chamber of Deputies, a joint project from the University of York, City University London and the IMO, which attempts to provide a name to those who have died in the Mediterranean.





Information and Contacts


For information on how to donate to Borderline Sicilia Onlus - Banca Etica Popolare di Palermo Agenzia di Via Catania, 24 IBAN IT 28 Q 0501804600000000141148 Codice BIC CCRTIT2T84A – and for updates on the current situation of migration in Sicily see the blog:

www.siciliamigranti.blogspot.com  or follow our Facebook page:



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

 Translation: Richard Braude


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