Migrant Sicily Newsletter, March 2017
- The manhunt for the “alleged boat drivers” and the undignified reception at Sicilian ports
- Minors on the edge: between material deprivation and rights denied
- The unending massacre a stone’s throw from Fortress Europe
- Deportations, evictions and abandonment: no way out for those in search of hope
- News: Caltanissetta. After the Eviction, the Shanty Town Returns. Shacks Without Water: The Asylum Seekers Speak Out; Migrants. A Clear Way Ahead For The Minniti-Orlando Decree: The Central Points
- Info and contacts
THE MANHUNT FOR THE “ALLEGED BOAT DRIVERS” AN THE UNDIGNIFIED RECEPTION AT SICILIAN PORTS
On February 25th the Frontex ship Siem Pilot arrived in Palermo, with 995 people on board. The witness account of a volunteer provides us with a chilling picture, one in which the migrants are yet again victims of abuse and inhumane treatment, after having already crossed the Libyan hell. The script is identical to that of so many other landings on the Sicilian coast: in Palermo, as in Pozzallo, the investigations to identify the witnesses and the “alleged boat drivers” are given priority over assistance for the men, women and children exhausted by the long journey across the Mediterranean.
MINORS ON THE EDGE: BETWEEN MATERIAL DEPRIVATION AND RIGHTS DENIED
The Guarantor for Childhood and Adolescence, on visiting centres for minors in Catania and Noto, defined the structures as appropriate but while also noting serious problems such as the lack of integration and absence of places. The failings detailed in the Oxfam report, “Great Expectations Left to Drift” (in collaboration with Borderline Sicilia and the Diaconia Valdese, as part of the #OpenEurope project) are much more severe however. The long periods spent in centres of ‘first reception’, the isolation from inhabited areas, the absence of medical treatment, of basic services and protection, the overcrowding, the lack of interpreters and projects for social inclusion all induce young migrants to run away from the centres, running the risk of becoming invisible people and falling into the jaws of exploitation and criminality.
Those who have turned 18 also face an uncertain future characterised by illegal practices. Many of the new 18-year-olds who have remained for months or even years in centres of first reception or communities for minors are then transferred en masse, with only a few hours’ notice, to a place which has become a symbol of the failures of the Sicilian reception system for large numbers: the CARA at Mineo.
THE UNENDING MASSACRE A STONE’S THROW FROM FORTRESS EUROPE
The news of shipwrecks off the coast of Libya never ceases. People continue to die at sea, due to the lack of secure and legal routes for those fleeing war and misery. And yet agreements are being sealed with Libya in an attempt to block the flow of migrants towards Europe, and to criminalise the NGOs engaged in rescuing human lives at sea.
And while the sea continues to throw back the dead – as happened on the Libyan beaches, where 160 bodies were found – we receive a letter from a mother, asking us for news of the death of her son in the massacre on January 16th, speaking of him as already passed away and expressing her wish to be able to give him a proper burial.
DEPORTATIONS, EVICTIONS AND ABANDONMENT: NO WAY OUT FOR THOSE IN SEARCH OF HOPE
The consequences of the ever closer collaboration between Italy and Frontex are not hard to see: 30 Nigerians who arrived at Lampedusa have been put on a plane directed for Fiumicino airport in Rome, to then be put on a Frontex plan from Germany in order to be repatriated.
In Catania, the police evicted the former Post Office building, where many migrants and asylum seekers have been living, including Nigerians and Gambians. After being evicted they now find themselves again out on the streets.
NEWS: CALTANISSETTA. AFTER THE EVICTION, THE SHANTY TOWN RETURNS. SHACKS WITHOUT WATER: THE ASYLUM SEEKERS SPEAK OUT; MIGRANTS. A CLEAR WAY AHEAD FOR THE MINNITI-ORLANDO DECREE: THE CENTRAL POINTS
The eighty migrants who have been living out in the open ought to be taken into a reception centre, instead of living under the overpass of the S640 motorway next to the reception centre at Pian del Lago, Caltanissetta. But in the end only 20 asylum seekers were accepted by the reception centre. Following the eviction of the camp on March 17th, the others have returned to living under the bridge, without water or showers, sleeping in camp tents or wooden shacks.
In March, the Minniti-Orlando decree (now law) gained the Senate’s support, but the new norms which it introduces have been strongly criticised by humanitarian organisations concerned with immigration rights. Here is an analysis of the most opposed points.
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:
www.siciliamigranti.blogspot.com → In Italian
www.siciliamigrants.blogspot.com → In German
www.migrantsicily.blogspot.com → In English
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Project “OpenEurope” – Oxfam Italia, Diaconia Valdese, Borderline Sicilia Onlus
Translation by Richard Braude