Category Archives: Immigration

Open Arms refuses to navigate to Spain

The Mediterranean Open Arms migrant rescue vessel has firmly rejected an offer of a safe port in Spain, explaining that the six day journey to Algeciras would be too risky for the passengers, whose moods have been already critical.

Open Arms map

Today, ignoring the maritime border,  some of 107 migrants have been jumping off the vessel and attempting to swim towards Lampedusa in refusal to respect the concept of border as such, demonstrating their determination to enter Italy. The NGO Open Arms has been flexing mussels, signaling to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, that his orders don’t mean anything to them, while international players, supporting illegal migration are more powerful than a sovereign state.

In his turn Salvini has used social media to expose the Spanish offer to point out it was made to cast him as a “racist”. He accused those 27 migrants who were allowed to disembark on humanitarian grounds of lying about their age and their illnesses.

They told me from Lampedusa that out of the 27 immigrants for whom the landing was ordered are minors, 8 have already declared themselves older! We will see others …
After the “imaginary sick”, here are the “imaginary minors”!
While others give in, I don’t change my mind.” Salvini wrote.

We do not accept Spain as a port to go because we are in a state of extreme humanitarian emergency. What they need is to be disembarked now,” Open Arms NGO spokesperson said.

The migrants, most of whom are  from Sub-Saharan Africa, were collected off the coast of Libya by the Open Arms NGO vessel navigating under Spanish flag, , transported upon their own initiative to Italy, and from the moment of arrival to Lampedusa island. they have been waiting for the permission to disembark.

Open Arms: 27 migrants allowed ashore

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has agreed to let ashore 27 migrants from Mediterranean NGO rescue ship Open Arms, all of them claim that they are “unaccompanied teenagers”.

Those who claim they are minors were allowed to disembark on the Italian island of Lampedusa after more than sixteen days at sea, and considerable international pressure, however so far only six EU state expressed readiness to welcome some of the passengers on the vessel navigating under Spanish flag.

At present there are more than 500 million Africans without birth certificate or/and passport, according to the World Bank, subsequently their age can be estimated only approximately through medical tests in cases it is requested by prosecution.  Among those without birth certificate 494 million are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Reportedly more than 100 migrants remain on board the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, and the NGO insists on Lampedusa (Italy) landing.

 

Dutch burqa ban challenges

Around one hundred people, mainly women, protested in  The Hague, The Netherlands on August 9 against “Burqa ban“, which came into effect in the on August, 1.

Around couple of dozens of women wore a niqab and carried plates with texts like “I am getting robbed of my freedom“, “Hands off my niqab”, “We are the victims of symbolized politics” and “Human rights are being violated” during the silent protest.

The demonstration took place at the Koekamp Park, and passed without incidents. The protesters demand the Dutch government to recall the law. A few secular human rights activists were present to demonstrate their solidarity and support to the Muslim believers.

According to the organizers, the law violates freedom of movement, freedom of religion and self-determination of women. In addition, they think that woman wearing a niqab/burqa are excluded from social life and that the law leads to polarization of society.

The new Dutch law partially prohibits face-covering clothing. It means that people are no longer allowed to enter public space such as hospitals, government buildings, schools and public transport with face-covering clothing, such as a burqa, niqab and balaclava.

The Party for Freedom (PvV) leader Geert Wilders sees it differently: as far as he is concerned, the Dutch government should deport all those burka/niqab groupies to Saudi Arabia, where then can practice their cult without risking to clash with democracy, fundamental rights and equality.

However the biggest challenge of Dutch government is that the overwhelming majority of these women were born in the Netherlands, and have Dutch nationality. Their mothers were eager to integrate, and they were not wearing Muslim veils.

When the law passed in June 2018, Upper House of the Parliament press officer Gert Riphagen estimated that it concerns between 200 and 400 burqa or niqab-wearing Muslims  in the Netherlands, out of a population of 17 million people.

The Dutch law is similar to bans in the other European countries: in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Denmark, some of which go further than the prohibition, but they impose fines: 1,000 Danish kroner (€100) in Denmark and  €150 in France.

In October 2018 the United Nations Human Rights Committee opposed the bans, explaining that it violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.” However the opinion of international experts did not have any effect on the implementation of the legislation.

 

 

Open Arms migrants receive Hollywood-style support

The Spanish ship Open Arms has been stranded off Italy‘s island of Lampedusa for eight days because none of the EU governments is willing to accept any number of migrants from the group of the 121 passengers navigated from Libyan coasts.

The Hollywood star Richard Gere helped to bring food and supplies to the boat and asked for support for the migrants and NGO, whose passengers include nine-month-old Ethiopian twins.

Everyone is doing okay now,” Gere said in a video published by Open Arms.

The rescue ship has been waiting for eight days for any EU government to welcome migrants. However not everybody is convinced by migrants drama: “Richard Gere on the Open Arms? I hope you get a tan and that you feel good … Since the ship is an NGO that flies the Spanish flag, they can disembark the 120 immigrants in Ibiza or Formentera, right?”  wrote Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

The 70 years old asylum legislation, created after the WWII, has not been adapted after the collapse of the colonialism. It is worth mentioning that the key documents – the  Geneva Refugée Convention (1951)and its 1967 Protocol, were concluded still in colonial context, while Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence from European colonization in 1957. At times of endorsement of Geneva Convention, it was beyond imagination that the legislation would be used to enhance flows of illegal migration from African continent to Europe.

‘Gregoretti’ migrants distributed between EU states

Italy Interior Minister Matteo Salvini would soon be giving the go-ahead to disembarking over 100 rescued migrants still on board the Gregoretti coast guard vessel, according to his Facebook page announcement.
The boat has been in the Augusta port since July 27.
Salvini made it clear that he would not let them disembark until an agreement for their distribution would be reached among the EU member-states.
In the coming hours I will authorise the disembarking because we are sure that the migrants will not be a burden on Italian citizens,” he said, explaining that “the problem has been resolved”.

“Germany, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Portugal will take them in, alongside several Italian facilities” run by the Catholic church.

The Siracusa prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the case of the ship and the captain was reportedly questioned.

Italy cannot bear the arrival of more migrants. We have done our part and those migrants must go to Europe. However, our soldiers on that ship should not be treated like pirates,”  Labor and Industry Minister and 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio said. “Full respect” should be shown, insisted, “for the forces of order, full respect for the police and full respect for our soldiers.

The European Commission performed a mediator role, collecting information from  member-states willing to accept the migrants. After the agreement has been reached 115 adults and 16 unaccompanied minors were allowed to disembark.

African migrants at large after policeman murder in Rome

A massive manhunt has been announced for two men presumably from North Africa after an on-duty Carabiniere policeman was stabbed to death in Rome at night from 25 to 26 July.

The Carabiniere Deputy Brigadier Mario Cerciello Rega (35) was stabbed while conducting an arrest of two men suspected in theft when one of the men pulled out a knife and stabbed him several times. Both culprits escaped.

I am sure they will be captured and he will pay for his violence to the end: forced labor in prison until he lives”, Interior minister Matteo Salvini said, commenting on the killing of the policeman in Rome.

Cerciello Rega was promptly taken to hospital by his colleagues, but died of the injuries sustained in the attack: among eight blows one was lethal, hitting the heart.

Cerciello Rega was appreciated by his colleagues and friends, he also carried out volunteer work in addition to his regular job.

Around hundred friends and relatives from his native region, Campania, traveled to Rome to pay  tributes.
Cerciello Rega leaves behind a widow, whom he married just 43 days ago.

AMENDMENT:

Presumed assassin of the policeman a Moroccan citizen Mohammed SAID (44).

AMENDED: Two American citizen arrested in while conducting the investigation.

 

Migrants land in Lampedusa

A vessel run by Italian NGO Alex Mediterranea has ignored an order to stay out of Lampedusa port, navigating to dock on the island after transporting 41 migrants from  Libyan coast.

The migrants transported from Libyan coast seeking asylum are received be relevant services, while the captain and crew have been put under investigation for alleged involvement in trafficking of illegal migrants, interior ministry sources said.

Another transporting migrants NGO vessel that was engaged in an argument with the Italian authorities, the ‘Alan Kurdi‘, has changed destination and is navigating to Malta with 65 migrants on board, ANSA news agency reports.

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