A SYSTEM WHICH IGNORES HUMAN DIGNITY: FROM THE LANDING PROCEDURES TO THE RECEPTION CENTRES
Absence of communal spaces, appalling sanitary conditions, systematic violations of human rights, inappropriate lack of separation by age and gender: this is the brutal image provided by initial reception centres for migrants which one glances from the report by the National Guarantor for the Rights of Detained and Semi-Detained Persons, according to whom detention centres (CIE*) and Hotspots fail to guarantee “the basic conditions necessary for human dignity”. The identification procedures which slow down landings, subjecting migrants to drawn out waiting times, have also been criticised.
On May 28th the Vos Thalassa arrived in Palermo with 1,040 people on board – men, women and children crammed like animals. The rescued migrants remained on the ship for 4 days, with only one bathroom between them, without sufficient food provisions, sleeping in wet clothes after having travelled across the sea side by side with the seven bodies recovered along with them – five women and two young men.
The reception system even fails to guarantee dignity and respect for those who die at sea. Four months had to pass before the four brothers from the Ivory Coast, all between 5 and 8 years old, killed in the massacre of January 29th, could receive a decent burial by the town council of Valderice (province of Trapani). The burial took place in the presence of some residents from a nearby migrant hostel and their 16-year-old sister, who finally had a chance to cry for her brothers, and to reassure her mother that the children could now rest in the earth.
GUILTY OF SOLIDARITY. THE CAMPAIGN OF CRIMINALISING GIVING ASSISTANCE TO MIGRANTS CONTINUES
Informing migrants about their rights or carrying out one’s duty to rescue them at sea, or provide support to them, is becoming increasingly difficult. The campaign of defamation against the NGOs has now reached deplorable levels, and lawyers, workers, activists and ordinary members of the public are increasingly in the cross-hairs, people who in reality are doing nothing other than stepping up to their duties and respecting principle of social justice held to by international agreements and the Italian Constitution.
Nevertheless, the role of NGOs remains a precious one, not only in terms of saving hundreds of lives at sea but also because those migrants who are saved are then treated and recognised as “people”. Father Domenico Guarino, a Combonian Missionary, reflects on the developments of two landings at the port of Palermo over the space of eight days, those of the Vos Prudence (Doctors Without Borders) and the Diciotti (the Italian Coast Guard), comparing two very different approaches to immigration.
THE ‘AD LIB’ RECEPTION SYSTEM FOR FOREIGN MINORS: MAKING A BUCK FROM THE YOUNGEST‘
K.’., 16 years old, arrived in Trapani 6 months ago. After being identified in the Milo ‘Hotspot’, he was transferred to an initial reception centre for unaccompanied minors in the province of Palermo. He has limited hearing from one ear because he was savagely beaten in Libya and his skin is covered in burn marks. We met him on the street along with other young men who had left one of the centres for minors which can be opened very simply in Sicily, places without any project save for participating in the “migrant business”.
The initial reception centre for unaccompanied foreign minors “Il Nespolo” in Butera(province of Caltanisetta) has seen dozens upon dozens of people run away since it opened. Yet again, serious problems arise from an ‘ad lib’ form of reception, leading to young migrants leaving centres and joining the great mass of the invisible.
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND: A VISIT TO THE “MONDONUOVO” EXTRAORDINARY RECEPTION CENTRE AT TESTA DELL’ACQUA (SYRACUSE)
The Extraordinary Reception Centre (CAS*) “Mondonuovo” is situated in the open countryside, 2km from Testa dell’Acqua, a ward in Noto with no more than 500 residents. The town is 15km from both Syracuse and Palazzolo Acreide. The migrant centre can officially host up to 25 people. There are currently 55 migrants living there, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mali, Ghana and Libya, each of them having passed through violence, poverty and abuse, and currently sharing the discrimination and isolation of the location.
DEPORTATIONS FROM LAMPEDUSA CONTINUE, WHILE THE SITUATION IN THE HOTSPOT WORSENS
Regular deportation flights are being organised from Lampedusa for Egyptians, Tunisians and Nigerians. The most recent flights involved 19 Egyptians and 20 Tunisians. Each migrant is handcuffed and escorted by at least two police officers, and made to board flights run by Smartwings. As fas the the Hotspot is concerned, despite the change in management the situation seems only to have worsened. Last week people wandered the streets of the town centre dressed in pyjamas because the provision of clothes had finished, and others were forced to sleep under the open sky, outside of the rooms, due to a lack of beds.
NEWS: TRAPANI, THE HOTSPOT WHERE 5 MIGRANTS ARRIVE EVERY HOUR (SINCE DECEMBER 2015); THE TIN-CITY FOR MIGRANTS AT MESSINA-BISCONTE NEARS COMPLETION
There are eight Hotspots in Italy, places where migrants arriving from Africa and the Middle East enter Europe, and are then photo-identified before being transferred to reception centres. 25,800 have been transferred to Contrada Milo, Trapani, since December 2015. The periods of their stay range from four days for unaccompanied minors to around 5 days for adults.
In a few months’ time, asylum seekers will begin to be held at the former barracks of Bisconte in Messina. They will not find the pre-fab wooden housing used after the earthquakes in central Italy, but grey mono-blocks made from zinc and steel. The process of the tendering of the contract for the creation of this new shanty town for local migrants (in reality a tin-city) has come to a close, evidencing the logic of cost-cutting, obviously on the backs of the future foreign “guests”.
EVENTS: CONTROVERSIES IN EUROPEAN MIGRATION POLICY: CONCEDING PROTECTION VS. BORDER SECURITY (KIDEM). THE LAUNCH OF THE THREADABLE CROWDFUNDER, A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE TRANSFORMING HISTORIES OF EXCLUSION THROUGH ETHICAL CLOTHING
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