AYS Daily Digest 12/06/2019: A Year After Ports Closed, Italy Passes New Deadly Decree
People moved from Zintan Detention Centre in Libya//Concerning Developments in Bosnian Detention Centres //Hunger Strike in Austria // Lawsuit against Conditions in Samos//More news from Greece, France and more…
Feature: A New Law has been passed in Italy ‘Decreto Sicurezza Bis,’ that among other things, means exorbitant fees for all who dare to save lives at sea.
On 10 June 2018 the Italian Ministry of Interior, Matteo Salvini, officially declared Italian ports closed for NGOs rescuing lives at sea. Aquarius was the first vessel to suffer from the threats and Salvini’s absurd policy; the boat was carrying 629 people on board, including 123 unaccompanied minors, and was ordered to stop navigation 35 miles off the Italian coast and 27 miles off of Malta. In a ridiculous quarrel, playing with the lives of more than 600 people, Italy and Malta denied any responsibility and ignored calls for help, passing the ball to each other and not caring about any international law for rescue at sea. Aquarius eventually had to deviate to Spain, in order to save the lives of the people on board, after more than one week on board.
Since then, “over 18 incidents [were] publicly documented. These stand-offs add up to a combined 140 days, or over four months, that 2,443 vulnerable men, women and children have been stranded at sea while EU leaders debated their futures”.
During this year, the international law principle of saving lives in distress at sea has made insignificant, torn apart by European authorities and their inhumane accords with Libya and by the increased pressure on commercial and military vessels to stop performing SAR operations.
“Commercial and even military ships are increasingly unwilling to respond to those in distress due to the high risk of being stranded at sea and denied a place of safety to disembark. For commercial ships that conduct rescues, they are placed in an extremely difficult situation where they must risk a stand-off or return vulnerable people to Libya in violation of international law”.
Despite the fact that 1,151 people died in this last year trying to cross to Europe (543 in 2019 alone), despite the clear impossibility for Salvini to keep desperate people fleeing the Libyan hell from Italian shores, despite the actual lie of the ports being closed, the Italian parliament has passed a new law, Decreto Sicurezza Bis, aggravating and worsening fees and penal charges for those who save lives at sea.
- Fees between €10,000 and €50,000 for transporting people on the move to the Italian shores. The fee must be paid by the captain of the vessel, the owner of the vessel;
- The creation of a special kind of fund, to be used specifically for deportations to the countries of origin. For 2019, the amount of the Fund will be 2 million euros and it could be increased to 50 million euros/year;
- The vessel being permanently seized for those NGOs which repeatedly dock without authorisation, and the revocation of license to sail for those ships flying the Italian flag;
- Massive use of undercover agents and equipment to investigate possible subjects or actions connected to favouring illegal immigration and trafficking operations;
- The Ministry of the Interior will now be in charge of ordering fines against those NGOs who are caught “disobeying”, while previously this task was allocated within the competence of the Ministry of Transport.
On a final note, it is important to underline that, despite all the efforts put into practice by Salvini, Italian ports never officially closed for Italian Navy ships carrying migrants rescued offshore, nor by those “spontaneous” arrivals on the coasts of the Southern regions, but the Ministry of Interior is obviously fighting against the publication of this info.
In fact, according to UNHCR and the very same Ministry, 2,144 people arrived to Italy in 2019, despite the fascist policy adopted by Salvini.
Fascist policies would be better if, at least, adopted equally, but the creation of a common enemy out of the harmless NGOs doing the job the ICG should do is appealing to the average Salvini voter.
Refugees from the Zintan detention center have been transferred to a new place. Due to the small size, the center is severely overcrowded with many being forced to sleep outside. Lack of food has been reported at the center. The detainees fear of the spread of TB.
On Wednesday, a young father from Afghanistan reportedly drowned in the River Una. He has been staying in Bosnia with his wife and two small children for the past year. This adds up to a number of casualties of the current policies and lack of responsibility for the people stuck in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the aftermath of the recent fire and fights at Miral camp in Velika Kladuša, the situation in the town has been unusually calm, although with an almost palpable atmosphere of fear and distrust on all sides: of the locals, of those staying at the camp, and of many of those who are for one reason or another are not allowed into the camp.
People’s movement is possible only if they walk from place to place, or go by illegal taxis, so many exhausted people are seen walking in order to reach a place where they can rest or find food and so forth. Medical help is something nobody staying outside of the camp has access to, so those who have suffered wounds as a result of pushbacks or other ways are left on their own. There have been cases of several families with children in the past few days arriving in Kladuša, finding places to squat, as the Miral camp is intended only for single male residents, and also is restricted to people of certain nationalities.
Some of those we spoke to during the week complained of racist treatment by the representatives of the responsible international organization running the facility. Our team has met several groups who were pushed back from Croatia, had their belongings taken away, and some without shoes. Several boys had more serious wounds as a result of the last part of the Croatian expulsion procedure, which involves members of the team for special missions, who beat the people up, threaten them, steal their money and some even burn sleeping bags, according to the statements of the people we spoke to.
In Bihać, the tensions have led to dozens of young people, many UASC, in the hospital, and the recent move from limited movement to restricted liberties (thus directly working against a number of the EU directives, especially violating Article 5 of the Human Rights Convention) have set up a dangerous precedent, although the continuous political and rhetorical ping-pong continues between the Bosnian authorities and the international organizations regarding plans for a new camp. All efforts to understand and call for responsibility and action seem to be futile.
Aegean Boat reports that two boats carrying 44 people in total have arrived so far on the Greek Aegean Islands.
An explanatory video by Refugee Infobus about detention in Greece.
Refucomm also has information available on their website (in five languages)
See the information from the Greek Asylum Service on their website. (English)
Watch this great film from our friends at Refugee Infobus which is available in Arabic and Farsi with English subtitles.
Refugee Rescue / ‘Mo Chara’ are hiring a programme leader
As the Programme leader for Refugee Rescue, you will be involved with all facets of our operations from fundraising and administration to development. You will be responsible for strategy at the heart of our organization. To view the full position listing, including how to apply please follow this link.
Inhumane treatment of shipwreck survivors on Lesvos
Reports Arash. Lack of consideration for the fact that some of them lost children and family members — they are transported on buses and forced to wait for registration and screening by Frontex, reports Efi Latsoudi.
Still, I Rise has filed a lawsuit against management of the Refugee Hotspot on Samos.
Today, our small volunteer organization filed a lawsuit against the management of the refugee hotspot on Samos. This is an unprecedented legal milestone. Nobody has ever dared speak up before. But what has been witnessed cannot be hidden. The voices of refugee children, especially unaccompanied minors, must be heard and their rights protected.
Inhumane Conditions in Malakassa Camp
At Malakassa camp, people newly arrived from the land border and the islands are living under inhumane conditions without access to adequate accommodation or cash cards, reports RSA.
The hunger strike of rejected asylum seekers in Bürglkopf returns center continues into its second week.
The support protest has started in Innsbruck. The supporters are demanding the closure of the two centers in Fiebrunn and Schwechat, in addition to the transfer of all inmates into the universal service.
Deportation of Salah to Sudan has been suspended :
Although the deportation has been suspended for the time being, Salah is yet to be released. He has been held for over two months in detention.
This is the second attempt to deport this young man who fears for his life if he is returned to Sudan
A week after the bloody repression that left more than 100 dead in the capital, the day after massacres were perpetuated in Darfur, France continues to deport to Sudan!
Here is the petition launched on it by people in solidarity.
La Cimade has published a report that 45,000 people were detained in France in 2018. You can find the report here.
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