Freitag, 3. Februar 2017

The Deal with Libya and Migrant Raids: Italy and the EU's Approach to Immigration Is Increasingly Disturbing

Press release.

Borderline Sicilia is deeply concerned about the agreement signed in Malta today between Italy and Libya, as well as about the telegram sent by Giovanni Pinto (Chief of Border Police) to Italian police stations on January 26th, which ordered the tracking down of undocumented Nigerian citizens in order to place them in detention centres and deport them. This meant that it is not only their lack of papers which has been given as a criteria for the operation, but also connection with a specific nationality.

The collective rejection and deportation of people according their nationality, aside from contravening anti-discrimination rules, opens a worrying and dangerous rift in the system for the rights and protection which our country is obliged to guarantee with due attention for every individual case and personal story. Among the Nigerians currently in Italy there is a very large number of asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking, in the context of which the European Council recently criticised Italy for not having enacted all the measures provided for in the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings relating to the individuation and protection of those who have been victims of exploitation. Furthermore, irregular document status is for many people a situation which they suffer due to a system which produces rather than fights such irregularity.

There are, in fact, increasingly more people who are deported or rejected immediately after their arrival in Italy, without receiving and information on how to access international protection, instead left on the street, entering and exiting the detention centres according to the Ministry of the Interior's need to have free spaces, or arriving as minors and then being shown the door as soon as they turn 18. People who join the trailing queue of the undocumented, ready to be exploited and abused.

The only way to push back against irregularity is to open up legal channels of entrance, and to respect the rights of every single person.

The telegram from the Department of Public Security evokes a series of raids which cannot be conceivable in a situation where rights are thus respected, in the same way that it is not conceivable to sign an agreement like that made today in Malta between Italy and Libya. Every day we hear the traumatic witness accounts of men, women and children who have arrived in Italy only after having survived the horrors and violence of the camps in Libya, a country which cannot in any way be thought of as a safe country with which to make deals to arrest the flow of migrants. Only a year ago, Europe stained itself through the agreement with Turkey, building walls and continuing to sacrifice the lives of human beings in the name of protection at its borders. All of this is entirely unacceptable, and must be stopped before it is too late.

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

Translation by Richard Braude