Tag Archives: Migrations

La legge del mare

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.

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Posted by on May 20, 2019 in European Union


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Libya: Detained refugees ‘terrified’ as clashes near Tripoli rage

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.

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Posted by on April 15, 2019 in Africa


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Europe’s deadly migration strategy

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.

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Posted by on March 11, 2019 in European Union


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Gouden ticket voor Europa

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.

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Posted by on February 26, 2019 in Reportages



Refugees in the Channel are fleeing Middle East instability created by the west

A black rubber inflatable boat was found abandoned earlier this week on the shingle at Dungeness on the Kent coast. Eight men, reportedly Iranians or Kurds, were later found close to the beach or in the nearby village of Lydd.

An Iranian living in south London was later charged with helping the migrants to cross the Channel illegally from France to the UK.

Sea crossings by small numbers of asylum seekers are highly publicised because the short but dangerous voyage makes good television.

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Posted by on January 24, 2019 in Middle East


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The Left Case against Open Borders

Before “Build the wall!” there was “Tear down this wall!” In his famous 1987 speech, Ronald Reagan demanded that the “scar” of the Berlin Wall be removed and insisted that the offending restriction of movement it represented amounted to nothing less than a “question of freedom for all mankind.” He went on to say that those who “refuse to join the community of freedom” would “become obsolete” as a result of the irresistible force of the global market. And so they did. In celebration, Leonard Bernstein directed a performance of “Ode to Joy” and Roger Waters performed “The Wall.” Barriers to labor and capital came down all over the world; the end of history was declared; and decades of U.S.-dominated globalization followed.

In its twenty-nine-year existence, around 140 people died attempting to cross the Berlin Wall. In the promised world of global economic freedom and prosperity, 412 people died crossing the U.S.-Mexican border last year alone, and more than three thousand died the previous year in the Mediterranean. The pop songs and Hollywood movies about freedom are nowhere to be found. What went wrong?

Of course, the Reaganite project did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Reagan—and his successors from both parties—used the same triumphalist rhetoric to sell the hollowing out of trade unions, the deregulation of banks, the expansion of outsourcing, and the globalization of markets away from the deadweight of national economic interests. Central to this project was a neoliberal attack on national barriers to the flow of labor and capital. At home, Reagan also oversaw one of the most significant pro-migration reforms in American history, the 1986 “Reagan Amnesty” that expanded the labor market by allowing millions of illegal migrants to gain legal status.

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Posted by on December 21, 2018 in Reportages


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The idea of a borderless world

As the 21st century unfolds, a global renewed desire from both citizens and their respective states for a tighter control of mobility is evident. Wherever we look, the drive is towards enclosure, or in any case an intensification of the dialects of territorialisation and deterritorialisation, a dialectics of opening and closure. The belief that the world would be safer, if only risks, ambiguity and uncertainty could be controlled and if only identities could be fixed once and for all, is gaining momentum. Risk management techniques are increasingly becoming a means to govern mobilities. In particular the extent to which the biometric border is extending into multiple realms, not only of social life, but also of the body, the body that is not mine.

I would like to pursue this line of argument concerning the redistribution of the earth. Not only through the control of bodies but the control of movement itself and its corollary, speed, which is indeed what migration control policies are all about: controlling bodies, but also movement. More specifically I would like to see whether and under what conditions we could re-engineer the utopia of a borderless world, and by extension, a borderless Africa, since, as far as I know, Africa is part of the world. And the world is part of Africa.

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Posted by on December 21, 2018 in Africa, Revolution


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Are Ships in the Med Ignoring Refugees in Distress?

When they first saw the USNS Trenton, waves were already crashing into their inflatable boat out on the open sea. The 117 people onboard had crammed into the 12-meter (40-foot) vessel to escape the torture in the Libyan camps and to continue their journey to Europe. Now, they ripped off their T-shirts and began waving them and crying for help. Among them was Josef, a Nigerian man whose name we changed for this story. On this Tuesday, June 12, 2018, he was hoping for a new life in Italy, both for himself and his pregnant girlfriend.

But the USNS Trenton, a 103-meter, high-speed, twin-hull catamaran outfitted with a helicopter and surveillance equipment, did not turn toward the distressed migrant ship, but away. And soon, the U.S. Navy vessel disappeared over the horizon.

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Posted by on December 12, 2018 in Reportages


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La caravana migrante y los federales ignoraron las leyes mexicanas

Miércoles 24 de octubre. La romería de migrantes centroamericanos se ha internado ya más de cien kilómetros en territorio mexicano sin que ninguna autoridad se atreva a detener su paso.

Este miércoles 24 de octubre, miles de personas recorrieron los 65 kilómetros que separan al municipio de Huixtla -donde acamparon durante dos noches- y Mapastepec, en el sureño estado de Chiapas. Aunque avanza como bloque, la marcha dejó de ser una masa compacta en las carreteras, para separarse con kilómetros de por medio a lo largo del trayecto: los primeros en llegar se apoderaron de la plaza central del Mapastepec desde las 10 de la mañana; mientras que los más rezagados caminaban bajo un calor vaporoso a lo largo de los últimos 25 kilómetros.

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Posted by on October 26, 2018 in South America


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It’s 34,361 and rising: how the List tallies Europe’s migrant bodycount

The boat capsized in rough seas in March close to Italian territorial waters. A search and rescue operation fished bodies from the sea, dead and alive. Many of the ship’s passengers remained unaccounted for. No one knew quite how many.

It’s a grimly familiar tale that sounds like one of the tragedies that occurred on Europe’s southern rim over the past couple of years. But in fact, the events described occurred in 1997. Some details of these depressing disasters have changed over the years – then, the victims were Albanians, and it was the Adriatic, not the Mediterranean, that was the death trap.

But the similarities throw up a deeply uncomfortable truth: people have been dying while trying to get into Europe for more than 20 years.

These stories, and thousands of others, have been collated by the Dutch NGO United for Intercultural Action (UNITED) over the years, in a document – the List – which the Guardian is publishing today, on World Refugee Day.

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Posted by on October 5, 2018 in Reportages


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