An estimated 100 of the approximately 300 detainees at the East Japan Immigration Center in Ushiku, Ibaraki, are involved in a hunger strike that began on May 10. Strikers are demanding an end to exceptionally long detention periods — now typically exceeding a year — and a relaxation of the provisional release system, which places severe and impracticable restrictions on the lives of temporarily released detainees. Detainee anger is aggravated by the isolation, lack of information, and alleged medical neglect experienced at the detention center, where many long-term detainees suffer from deteriorating physical and mental health.
Tag Archives: Migrations
When did you notice the word “migrant” start to take precedence over the many other terms applied to people on the move? For me it was in 2015, as the refugee crisis in Europe reached its peak. While debate raged over whether people crossing the Mediterranean via unofficial routes should be regarded as deserving candidates for European sympathy and protection, it seemed as if that word came to crowd out all others. Unlike the other terms, well-meaning or malicious, that might be applied to people in similar situations, this one word appears shorn of context; without even an im- or an em- attached to it to indicate that the people it describes have histories or futures. Instead, it implies an endless present: they are migrants, they move, it’s what they do. It’s a form of description that, until 2015, I might have expected to see more often in nature documentaries, applied to animals rather than human beings.
But only certain kinds of human beings. The professional who moves to a neighbouring city for work is not usually described as a migrant, and neither is the wealthy businessman who acquires new passports as easily as he moves his money around the world. It is most often applied to those people who fall foul of border control at the frontiers of the rich world, whether that’s in Europe, the US, Australia, South Africa or elsewhere. That’s because the terms that surround migration are inextricably bound up with power, as is the way in which our media organisations choose to disseminate them.
Quattordici paesi europei hanno trovato un accordo per attivare “un meccanismo di solidarietà” che serva a ricollocare i migranti soccorsi nel Mediterraneo. Lo ha annunciato il 22 luglio il presidente francese Emmanuel Macron in una conferenza stampa a Parigi, dopo aver ricevuto l’Alto commissario dell’Onu per i rifugiati Filippo Grandi e il direttore generale dell’Organizzazione mondiale delle migrazioni (Oim) Manuel de Carvalho Ferreira Vitorino e al termine di una riunione informale tra i ministri dell’interno e degli esteri dei paesi europei.
Tra i quattordici che si sono detti disponibili all’accordo voluto da Parigi e Berlino ce ne sono otto che saranno particolarmente attivi nel progetto: si tratta della Francia, della Germania, del Portogallo, del Lussemburgo, della Finlandia, della Lituania, della Croazia e dell’Irlanda. Il ministro dell’interno italiano Matteo Salvini non ha partecipato al vertice convocato da Parigi e ha fatto sapere che non intende sottoscrivere la proposta francese.
It’s been four days since Isaac, Fréderic and their friends arrived in the port of Lampedusa on board the Sea-Watch 3, captained by Carola Rackete. They can hardly believe they’re really here. The sun is setting and the temperature has become a bit more bearable as they sit on the steps of the San Gerlando church.
It is shortly after 9 p.m. on this Tuesday and they have just received a message on their smartphones: “Carola libera.” Carola is free.
The reference is to Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old German captain of the Sea-Watch 3 who has become a rival to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini — and a figurehead for a less restrictive migration policy.
But the migrants standing in front of the church merely see her as the woman without whom none of them would have made it to Europe. They cheer when they read the news that she has been released.
“Carola Rackete saved our lives. Without her, we would all be dead,” says Fréderic Samassi, a 24-year-old from Ivory Coast. He says he spent three years in Libya, most of it behind bars, an ordeal during which he says he saw many terrible things. Now, he has reached the goal that he had imagined when he left his home in 2016: Europe.
Horrific pictures of drowned migrants should not distract us from the fact that far more people die on EU borders
Four years ago, I was standing by the grave of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old child who drowned when the rubber boat carrying him and his Syrian Kurdish family from Turkey to Greece was flipped over by high waves. The picture of his small body in a red shirt and black shorts lying face down on a Turkish beach with his head in the surf was supposed to have focused public attention on the hideous plight of refugees in the Mediterranean.
Alan’s grave was an ugly stone rectangle in a cemetery beside the ruins of the Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria which Isis had ferociously assaulted and nearly captured in a prolonged siege in 2014-15. I found the scene all the more moving because there were no flowers and Alan’s little grave was surrounded by fresh earth gouged out by a bulldozer preparing the ground for more graves.
I thought of Alan again this week when a photo was published of a father and daughter, also refugees, lying face down in muddy brown water close to the bank of the Rio Grande which they had been trying to swim to reach the United States. Like Alan and his family, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez drowned together with his 23-month-old daughter Valeria on what they hoped would be the last lap of their journey to a better life.
Undaunted by a dangerous journey over thousands of miles, people fleeing economic hardship and human rights abuses in African countries are coming to the U.S.-Mexico border in unprecedented numbers, surprising Border Patrol agents more accustomed to Spanish-speaking migrants.
Officials in Texas and even Maine are scrambling to absorb the sharp increase in African migrants. They are coming to America after flying across the Atlantic Ocean to South America and then embarking on an often harrowing overland journey.
In one recent week, agents in the Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector stopped more than 500 African migrants found walking in separate groups along the arid land after splashing across the Rio Grande, children in tow.
That is more than double the total of 211 African migrants who were detained by the Border Patrol along the entire 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) U.S.-Mexico border in the 2018 fiscal year.
“We are continuing to see a rise in apprehensions of immigrants from countries not normally encountered in our area,” said Raul Ortiz, head of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector.
The immigrants in Texas were mostly from the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. Cameroonians have also been traveling up through Mexico and into the U.S. in larger numbers and seeking asylum at ports of entry.
Dal 2015 al 2017 ho visto mutare profondamente l’atteggiamento dell’opinione pubblica rispetto a questi viaggi e a chi li intraprende, nel giro di un tempo ancora più breve ho assistito all’esplosione di un clima di sospetto verso i soccorritori, i volontari, chiunque pratichi la solidarietà. Un clima, occorre dirlo, che si è diffuso in tutta Europa, in particolare nei paesi governati dai partiti della destra. I soccorritori, con le loro denunce e le loro testimonianze, sono diventati testimoni scomodi e sono stati oggetto di una campagna di discredito, un processo di criminalizzazione che è partito dal basso e ha trovato ampio spazio nelle dichiarazioni e nelle iniziative più o meno esplicite di diversi politici. Le voci di chi cercava di aiutare, di salvare vite, di intervenire là dove l’Europa si mostrava incapace sono state marginalizzate e lo spazio umanitario d’intervento si è rapidamente ridotto, non solo in mare ma anche sul fronte dell’accoglienza.
As fighting between rival forces rages on the outskirts of the Libyan capital, thousands of refugees and migrants locked up in detention centres inside Tripoli say they are terrified of what might happen to them.
Renegade General Khalifa Haftar on Thursday ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a parallel administration in the east, to march on Tripoli, the seat of the country’s internationally recognised government which is protected by an array of militias.
Since its creation in 2015, Europe’s military operation in the Mediterranean — named “Operation Sophia” — has saved some 49,000 people from the sea. But that was never really the main objective.
The goal of the operation — which at its peak involved over a dozen sea and air assets from 27 EU countries, including ships, airplanes, drones and submarines — was to disrupt people-smuggling networks off the coast of Libya and, by extension, stem the tide of people crossing the sea to Europe.
European leaders have hailed the operation as a successful joint effort to address the migration crisis that rocked the bloc starting in 2015, when a spike in arrivals overwhelmed border countries like Greece and Italy and sparked a political fight over who would be responsible for the new arrivals.
But a collection of leaked documents from the European External Action Service, the bloc’s foreign policy arm, obtained by POLITICO, paint a different picture.
In internal memos, the operation’s leaders admit Sophia’s success has been limited by its own mandate — it can only operate in international waters, not in Libyan waters or on land, where smuggling networks operate — and it is underfunded, understaffed and underequipped.
Vorig jaar was de wereld wekenlang in de ban van voetballertjes, vastgeraakt in een Thaise grot. Ze werden voor het gemak ‘Thaise jongens’ genoemd. In werkelijkheid was een kwart van de ploeg staatloos. Hun beproeving werd niet veel later beloond met de Thaise nationaliteit, iets waar etnische minderheden in het land doorgaans tien jaar op moeten wachten, soms een heel leven. Een heldendaad hielp ook de Malinees Mamoudou Gassama, illegaal in Frankrijk. Hij klom op een gebouw om een kleuter van de dood te redden. Van alle eretekens die hij ontving, was een Frans paspoort het meest waardevolle. Iets waarvan migranten als hij meestal alleen kunnen dromen.
Het zijn uitzonderlijke verhalen. De snelste weg naar een nieuwe nationaliteit is niet moed maar poen. Hoe de Thaise ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra aan zijn Montenegrijns paspoort kwam? Hij kocht een eiland. Shinawatra werd in 2006 door de militairen afgezet en veroordeeld voor corruptie. Zijn Thais paspoort werd door de versnipperaar gehaald, maar dat hinderde Shinawatra niet om met zijn privévliegtuig de wereld rond te vliegen. Op een bepaald moment zou de gewezen eigenaar van Manchester City in het bezit zijn geweest van zes verschillende paspoorten, geen enkel daarvan was Thais.