Migrant Sicily Newsletter, December 2016
- Still more deaths and missing persons in the Canal of Sicily, yet Fortress Europe intensifies armed border control
- The suspended future facing foreign minors: overcrowding, lack of safeguard and a waiting without end
- Asylum seekers imprisoned in border countries: the failure of the Hotspot system
- Messina: €1,932,000 allocated to establish a mega-tent city at the former ‘Gasparro’ barracks
- Info and contacts
STILL MORE DEATHS AND MISSING PERSONS IN THE CANAL OF SICILY, YET FORTRESS EUROPE INTENSIFIES ARMED BORDER CONTROL
The bodies of men, women and children continue to arrive in Sicilian ports, those who did not survive the crossing, along with news of shipwrecks and missing persons – but Europe seems to have no other concern than making the borders still more inaccessible, through militarisation. For those who manage to get here alive, they are thrown into the jaws of the Hotspot, which replaces a dignified reception and protection with identification, selection and rejection.
They are dying at sea, but also at the Brenner border and Ventimiglia. In the meanwhile, Frontex is attacking the humanitarian organisations who rescue people at sea during the difficult journeys across the Canal of Sicily, while writing agreements with the Libyan Coast Guard and bloodthirsty regimes, such as that in Sudan, in order to send back to hell those who are looking for salvation from war and misery.
THE SUSPENDED FUTURE FACING FOREIGN MINORS: OVERCROWDING, LACK OF SAFEGUARD AND A WAITING WITHOUT END
In the hostels for minors in the province of Palermo we continue to observe serious failings, whose victims are young men and women living without any appropriate divisions based on age and gender, nor with adequate material or psychological support, nor adequate programs of social involvement or work experience. All too often they end up running away from such centres, becoming invisible. A similar treatment awaits pregnant women, those with young children, and other vulnerable people “welcomed” by a system which, rather than protecting them, dumps them in emergency centres and then duly forgets them.
These are dynamics, practices and issues which we have also met in Agrigento, where we visited the “La mano di Francesco” Extraordinary Reception Centre (CAS*) and the “Alfuras” centre for minors.
ASYLUM SEEKERS IMPRISONED IN BORDER COUNTRIES: THE FAILURE OF THE HOTSPOT SYSTEM
While the European Commission takes a step backwards from the legal proceedings against Italy and Greece, previously accused of not having effectively taken data from migrants in the identification centres, Borderline Sicilia has emphasised the error of the Hotspot approach and the failure of the relocation practice. This approach has automatically blocked migrants in the countries where they have landed and, with a disturbingly myopic vision, used their nationality as the only determining criteria for the recognition of their right to asylum.
MESSINA: €1,932,000 ALLOCATED TO ESTABLISH A MEGA-TENT CITY AT THE FORMER ‘GASPARRO’ BARRACKS
The failed “Mineo model” as a system for mass (hostile) reception is to be repeated in Messina, where a mega-tent city is to be set up next to the old ‘Gasparro’ barracks – where 200 unaccompanied foreign minors have already been living for months, in undignified conditions. The structure is to be given the same role as the other Hotspots on the island: the detention of migrants awaiting relocation or expulsion.
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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*CAS = Centro di Accoglienza Straordinaria (Extraordinary Reception Centre)
Translation by Richard Braude