- Commemorating the Victims, Shutting Out the Survivors: Fortress Europe's Crocodile Tears
- Sicily: An Improvised Reception System Producing Inhumane Detention and Illegal Practices
- Militarised Coasts and Invisible Borders: The Fatal Tools of a Europe Turning Its Back on Migrants
- News and events
- Information and contacts
Freitag, 18. November 2016
Migrant Sicily Newsletter, October 2016
Commemorating the Victims, Shutting Out the Survivors: Fortress Europe's Crocodile Tears
On October 3rd 2016, a fishing boat which had left Libya caught fire due to a petrol leakage, and sunk off the Libyan coast. The victim count is hard-hitting: 368 dead – including women, men and children – and 30 lost at sea. Three years' later, during the “National day for the victims of immigration”, the Askavusa collective has published a thorough document analysing this shipwreck, pointing the finger at those aspect which fail to find space within the commemorative speeches, such as the delays in the rescue missions and the European laws which make for closed borders.
In the official speeches for the October 3rd ceremonies, no space is given for the hundreds of migrants who continue to die at sea, or those who, on arrival, end up being deported or detained within the Hotspot, where they remain for far longer than the permitted period of time, even when the detention pertains to unaccompanied minors or other vulnerable people.
The memory of this massacre fails to lead Europe to a good reception system, a Europe which simply does not want to learn any lessons from the errors of the past. On the institutional level, simultaneously, there is a complete lack of thought given to the possibility of opening the humanitarian corridors which might allow migrants to travel in a safe and legal manner.
Sicily: An Improvised Reception System Producing Inhumane Detention and Illegal Practices
The failure of the Hotspot approach and the relocation programme has become brutally clear within the Sicilian reception system, unable to deal with the ever-increasing arrivals on the island's coasts. The break downs are evident even in the management of the landings, the duration of which are frequently longer for those who have already been hard tried by the difficulties and dangers of a long journey across desert and sea.
But the difficulties in the reception system are breaking out all across the refugee hostels, where migrants are forced to stay in overcrowded conditions, often for months, without any appropriate divisions based on age and gender, excluded from society, and where there are frequently protests and spontaneous departures which are creating a new mass of invisible people.
The situation in the hostels for minors is particularly critical, where young migrants pass the time to the indifference of the managing bodies, and there is a systematic lack of contactable professionals. And so they prefer to run away from these buildings, putting themselves at risk of ending up in the jaws of criminality or the black labour market.
Militarised Coasts and Invisible Borders: The Fatal Tools of a Europe Turning Its Back on Migrants
On the night of October 21st, the Libyan Coast Guard attacked the Sea-Watch 2, a vessel run by the German NGO Sea-Watch, during the rescuing of a rubber boat in distress, with 150 people on board. Following the violent intervention of the Libyan soldiers, many refugees – beaten with batons – fell into the sea and drowned.
Europe is equipping itself with a border police and increasing Frontex's funding, while Italy signs deals with Al-Bashir's bloodied Sudan, so as to carry out forced deportations to a country in which persecution, repression and abuse await those returning after having fled in search of a better future.
And then there is the invisible wall of discrimination and indifference, one which mercilessly blocks migrants' journeys, as difficult to scale as any physical barrier, even when dealing with trying to get a simple response on how to send a request for the issuing of a permit to remain.
NEWS AND EVENTS
Melting Pot Europe presents the #Overthefortress campaign, a two-month journey from Sicily to Rome within and beyond the Central Mediterranean route, carrying out independent research and communication alongside migrants and local communities, discussing common locations and dominant narratives, and making space for examples of good reception, solidarity and civic engagement.
INFO 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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Translation: Richard Braude