Report from the Mineo Cara (Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers)

The interethnic meeting in front of the Mineo megaCara (Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers) finished a short time ago. The event did not get off to a good start due to the excessive military presence at the entrance (some groups of Police and Carabinieri, several vehicles and a significant army presence). They were there as the result of yet another protest within the Centre which took place yesterday morning involving dozens of Ethiopian asylum seekers who were complaining about the length of time their applications were taking.

Dozens of migrants took part in the musical performance put on by Senegalese percussionists despite the cold and the incessant rain. This took place following a meeting where members of the associations who had organised the event, as well as several migrants, had given speeches. A huge turn out was not expected due to the tense climate which always follows a revolt (8 have occurred since the centre’s opening). The situation had not entirely abated, despite the fact the centre’s management wanting to give the impression that everything was paradisiacal, letting it be known that there over 2700 migrants inside when the centre’s capacity is only 1800/1900 (over 40% extra).

What was of much greater concern was the lack of media presence (with the exception of some local media activists); it is almost a year now that the Mineo Cara has ceased to be in the media spotlight, so as not to disturb the Director of this inhumane laboratory of segregation for asylum seekers. In order to obtain information as to what happens within the Centre it is necessary to listen to first person accounts, to hear from the people who lived through the experience of the escape from their own country, their journey across the Mediterranean (how they managed to avoid the refoulements which continue to occur at sea) and the pseudo-reception system. It is important to speak in first person with the migrants to find out how they manage to avoid deportation which is becoming more and more frequent following the disgraceful readmission agreements. Instead, when forced to speak, today’s media prefers to report acritically of the official line about how much business is being carried out at the migrants’ expense. Over the next couple of weeks all that is possible will be done in order to strengthen an alternative proposition to this current shameful Cara. It will be based on the construction and development of SPRAR (Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees) projects in the surrounding towns and villages.