For some years now, certain videos posted on Facebook, Algerians’ preferred social network, have been causing a sensation here: They show groups of young Algerians brandishing smartphones and singing, taking videos of one another as they laugh, looking at once happy and worried. Over time, more and more young women and small children appear among them. Diversity may be frowned upon throughout the country, but it reigns, apparently, on the little vessels that ferry illegal migrants away.
Tag Archives: Migrations
The refugee crisis that dominated the news in 2015 and 2016 consisted primarily of a sharp rise in the number of people coming to Europe to claim asylum. Arrivals have now dropped, and governments have cracked down on the movement of undocumented migrants within the EU; many thousands are stuck in reception centres or camps in southern Europe, while others try to make new lives in the places they have settled.
Five myths about the refugee crisis – podcast
But to see the crisis as an event that began in 2015 and ended the following year is a mistake, because it obscures the fact that the underlying causes have not changed. To see it in those terms only gives the impression of a hitherto unsullied Europe, visited by hordes of foreigners it has little to do with. This is misleading. The disaster of recent years has as much to do with immigration policies drawn up in European capitals as it does with events outside the continent, and the crisis also consists of overreaction and panic, fuelled by a series of misconceptions about who the migrants are, why they come, and what it means for Europe.
More than 70 years after Benito Mussolini’s death, thousands of Italians are joining self-described fascist groups in a surge of support that antifascist groups blame on the portrayal of the refugee crisis, the rise of fake news and the country’s failure to deal with its past.
The shooting in Macerata on Saturday that left six Africans injured was only the latest in a series of attacks perpetrated by people linked to the extreme right. According to the antifascist organisation Infoantifa Ecn, there have been 142 attacks by neofascist groups since 2014.
As Luca Traini, 28, was questioned over the Macerata shooting, four North Africans in Pavia told police on Sunday that they had been beaten up during the night by a group of 25 skinheads. On 13 January in Naples, dozens of people belonging to the far-right association Forza Nuova broke into a bar where a meeting on Roma culture was being held, causing damage and wounding a female organiser.
Eight men from Africa step in front of the prison gate. It is a dark night and they look around expectantly. It is their first step into freedom, a moment for which they have been waiting for quite some time – the end of a journey during which they have faced more than human beings can bear: crossing the desert,the war in Libya, fleeing across the sea, people drowning, and then two years locked away in this high-security prison near Palermo, Sicily.
But now they are free, eight young men around 20 years of age, with narrow faces and thin beards, released after a judge handed down his verdict on this dark morning. And yet the feelings they had on the high seas are still with them, the feeling of being hunted and in danger, the inability to discern between good and bad. They have lost all sense of orientation. With their belongings – sneakers, jeans and some notebooks – stuffed into trash bags thrown over their shoulders, they glance up at the moon and then start walking toward a brighter patch in the sky, assuming the light comes from the city.
In October of 2016 and again in October a year later, I worked as a volunteer at a women’s center on the Greek island of Chios, a hot spot in the refugee geography of European migration. At one point, I met a young woman I’ll call Asma. With a row of piercings lining the curve of each ear, and loosely coiffed curls bouncing to what feels like a hip-hop beat as she walks, you could mistake Asma for an American—if it were not for her limited English. Hailing from Iraq, Asma and her husband, who manages a chronic condition, were initially cleared to travel to the United States as part of the Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) during their temporary stay in Turkey. But something big had changed between those two Octobers: the United States had elected a president who campaigned on a pledge to crack down on refugee assistance and immigration.
Those wishing to visit ground zero of European ignominy must simply drive up an olive tree-covered hill on the island of Lesbos until the high cement walls of Camp Moria come into view. “Welcome to prison,” someone has spray-painted on the walls. The dreadful stench of urine and garbage greets visitors and the ground is covered with hundreds of plastic bags. It is raining, and filthy water has collected ankle-deep on the road. The migrants who come out of the camp are covered with thin plastic capes and many of them are wearing only flipflops on their feet as they walk through the soup. Children are crying as men jostle their way through the crowd.
Near the town of Lacolle, Quebec, just across the border in upstate New York, a cluster of blue-trimmed beige trailers has just arrived to provide temporary shelter for the unending wave of refugees, many of them from Haiti, who walk up on foot from Trump’s America. Inside the new heated trailers are beds and showers, ready to warm up frozen hands and feet, while processing and security checks take place.
Last winter, after Donald Trump’s inauguration, there was a sharp increase in “irregular border crossings” all across the Canada-U.S. border: people sidestepping official ports of entry and trying to reach safety by walking through the woods, across clearings, or over ditches. Since January 2017, Canadian authorities intercepted nearly 17,000 migrants from the U.S. (and others crossed without detection). The applications for asylum begin once migrants are safely in Canada, rather than at border crossings, where they would likely be turned back under a controversial cross-border agreement between the two countries.
The risks of the irregular crossings are especially great in winter, and this one looks to be a cold one. Last year, during the coldest months, there were wrenching reports of frostbitten toes and fingers having to be amputated on arrival in Canada. Two men from Ghana lost all their fingers after they walked across to Manitoba — one told reporters he felt lucky that he had managed to keep one of his thumbs.
“È da stamattina che parlo con questi ragazzi, ognuno di loro è una tragedia: chi ha perso un fratello, chi è stato venduto all’asta degli schiavi in Libia, chi è stato torturato”. Lino, 62 anni, ex operaio del petrolchimico di Marghera, scoppia a piangere quando racconta le storie dei ragazzi della Costa d’Avorio, della Nigeria, del Mali con cui ha passato qualche ora nella parrocchia di Mira, una cittadina a venti chilometri da Venezia.
Sono circa quaranta e hanno dormito per terra in canonica, avvolti in coperte e sacchi a pelo, dopo aver marciato per tre giorni dall’ex base militare di Conetta, in Veneto, per raggiungere a piedi la prefettura di Venezia, a cinquanta chilometri di distanza. Fanno parte dei 250 profughi che protestano contro le condizioni di un centro di accoglienza in cui vivono 1.400 persone e dove il 3 gennaio del 2017 una richiedente asilo della Costa d’Avorio di 25 anni, Sandrine Bakayoko, è morta per una tromboembolia polmonare acuta che l’ha colpita all’improvviso mentre era nella doccia, scatenando una rivolta tra gli ospiti.
Da Campolongo Maggiore i ragazzi sono arrivati stremati nelle sei parrocchie di Mira e di Chioggia, ma hanno trovato decine di persone – parrocchiani, attivisti, semplici cittadini – ad accoglierli con pasti caldi, vestiti e coperte. La sera del 16 novembre il patriarca di Venezia Francesco Moraglia aveva chiesto alle parrocchie della zona di aprire le porte per la notte ai profughi.”La popolazione si è mobilitata e i ragazzi per fortuna hanno potuto passare una notte al caldo, perché sono stati due giorni e due notti molto fredde e la situazione stava diventando davvero pesante per loro”, afferma Barbara Barbieri, un’attivista del sito d’informazione Progetto Melting Pot Europa.
La riforma del regolamento di Dublino sull’asilo ha ricevuto l’appoggio del Parlamento europeo il 16 novembre, con 390 voti favorevoli, 175 contrari e 44 astenuti. Dopo l’approvazione il 19 ottobre da parte della Commissione per le Libertà civili, la giustizia e gli affari interni (Libe), il testo non avrebbe dovuto passare in aula. Ma 88 europarlamentari, principalmente rappresentanti di paesi dell’Europa dell’est, contrari alla riforma, avevano chiesto che fosse messa al voto in aula.
È l’anticipo della battaglia che ci sarà nel Consiglio europeo, che deve dare la sua approvazione. In particolare i paesi dell’est sono contrari alla ripartizione dei richiedenti asilo nei diversi paesi dell’Unione. La riforma, presentata dalla parlamentare liberale Cecilia Wikström è frutto di un lungo negoziato che ha messo d’accordo sinistra, socialisti, verdi, liberali e popolari.
Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, presented animportant new report to the UN General Assembly on Friday. The report is on “Unlawful Death of Refugees and Migrants” — already an unordinary focus for her mandate. In recent years, her office has focused nearly exclusively on counter-terrorism, particularly on deaths by drone attacks.
As she explains, the report concerns “an international crime whose very banality in the eyes of so many makes its tragedy particularly grave and disturbing.” The contention is rather dramatic, and we believe that it is indeed historic, at least as far as reports by UN bodies are concerned.