It rains and the field is flooded. Member of the European Parliament Eleonora Forenza: “The camp needs to be closed down”

From Tempostretto

A flooded
field and migrants in the mud: nothing new in the camp close of PalaNebiolo.
After the last heavy rain, the baseball field is in an alarmingly critical
condition. Firefighters already reported the cause of the problem during an
inspection in October 2013: a defective drainage system of the baseball field
leads to frequent flooding during the winter months. Especially the ocean front
of the field has been struck very hard by this.

After the
spectacle of thirty-two flooded tents took place in front of the
parliamentarians Erasmo Palazzotto (Sel) and Francesco d’Uva (M5S) as well as Representative
Valentina Zafarana, Eleonora Forenza, Member of the European Parliament as a
candidate of “The Other Europe with Tsipras”, got to see the flooded field
while inspecting the center in Messina today. She was accompanied by civil and
regional representatives of “The Other Europe”, “Rifondazione” (Refoundation)
and “Change from Below – Messina” – namely Mimmo Cosentino, Maurizio Rella and
Alfredu Crupi – as well as several activists. Following, some impressions by
Eleonora Forenza: “This is an arrangement without any kind of legal rules and
with obvious structural flaws. It is in fact the first time I visit a
completely flooded center. The only possible reaction to this scandal is
closing down this camp. This is my answer.” Currently, approximately 60 people
are accommodated in the center, all of them of masculine gender and of
sub-Saharan origin. Conversations with the migrants reveal their discomfort
which is caused by their living in tents and in the cold. In addition, as
Forenza reports, “showers are not in a good condition and, even though some of
them are labelled exclusively for women, they are de facto communal”. The
center did in fact also accommodate women and sometimes even nuclear families
in the past.

This is
the unfortunately known state of the camp. Due to time constraints, it was
impossible to say much about the two other urban centers for migrants. These
are, firstly, the center in former barracks of Bisconte in which the ministry
of the interior wants to set up a CARA* for (at least) 600 people, and,
secondly, the controversial IPAB* “Scandurra Osservatori Riuniti”. According to
a public notice from regulatory authorities, the latter is intended for asylum
seekers. After a scandal became known last autumn concerning hundreds of unaccompanied
minor refugees who were left on their own devices in the tents of PalaNebiolo
regardless of their gender, “Scandurra Osservatori Riuniti” was converted into
a facility for approximately 150 unaccompanied minors by order of regulatory

As an
overall statement about Italian migration policy, the document by the members
of “The Other Europe Messina” states: “The reception made in Italy is an exemplar of hostility: Isolated and overcrowded
centers, in which people who differ in origin and language are pent-up and
forced to live in a prison regime or something similar even though none has
committed a crime. They have to search for work, relatives, or friends without
any right to self-determination”. About the other centers in Messina, “The
Other Europe Messina” points out that in addition to the camp scandal “the
situation in the former barracks Gasparro di Bisconte is similarly
embarrassing: the migrants live huddled in huge rooms full of bunk beds, without
any privacy or dignity, in horrible circumstances, again, without consideration
of gender”. Regarding the unaccompanied minors, it is suggested that “there are,
on the one hand, laws such as the presidential decree from August, 13th,
2014, which improve the structural standards for the admission of foreign,
unaccompanied minors, and, on the other hand, small institutions, such as
religious facilities, group homes, and housing projects, are excluded from invitations
to tender”.

This is
the case particularly for Messina and in general for Italy. In the range of
European politics, where Forenza acts as a member of the European parliament,
the debates about the Dublin III Regulation could not be ignored. This
regulation forces migrants to apply for asylum in the country in which the
first identification occurs, not in a country of their choice – even though
many migrants actually have other destinations inside Europe. As a consequence,
they have to stay in Italy to prevent illegality. Concerning this matter,
Forenza disclosed that “The Other Europe” plans to change the Dublin
Regulation. If asked how they plan to change it, she answers: “These people
flee from war and famine scenarios. This is why it is insane to prevent them
from journeying on. A possible solution might be to enable the processing of
applications for asylum in the countries of origin”.

though she is a colleague of the other Italian member of the European
Parliament Matteo Salvini, Eleonora Forenza has strong opinions on the emphasis
on control on European borders by means of operations such as Triton, which is
coordinated by Frontex: “By conducting such operations, we account for the
continuing of hundreds of people dying on sea”.

After the
camp’s inspection, the member of the European Parliament briefly greeted Mayor
Renato Accorinti at the city hall.


reception center for asylum seekers

Italian public institution for welfare and support.

Annika Schadewaldt