Tag Archives: detention centres

Migrant stories from Fortress Italy

It’s spring, and while most of us are already organising our summer holidays, some people have very different journeys in mind. In Northern Africa, migrants from all over the continent try to reach the Sicilian coast by any means. Crowds of men, women and children leave in little boats at the mercy of the sea, without knowing whether they’ll get to the other side alive. A few days ago an inflatable boat with more than 50 people on board was rescued in the Sicilian Channel just before sinking due to a broken engine. It was coming from Lybia, and it’s not the only one. Another boat was rescued south of the island of Lampedusa – renamed “The New Alcatraz” for its infamous detention centre. The Maltese authorities hadn’t done anything about it because it carried “illegal immigrants”. Many more boats have been sighted, some rescued, some left to their destiny: a story so common we’ve got used to it. Continue reading

Revolts and riots in migrant detention centres

Fortress Europe: is it finally falling apart?

1 March: after a revolt that has gone on for days, the detention centre in Gradisca is in a state of collapse: one single cell left for the 100 detainees, people eating and sleeping in the corridors and in the canteen, one bathroom for everyone. You can see some pictures here. The detainees’ revolt almost completely destroyed the building,  but the detainees couldn’t be transferred, as the other detention centres were packed full. Revolts and riots are not new to this detention centre; things have been worsening over the last couple of years. In September 2009, a similar revolt was brutally repressed by the police. Continue reading

A long, hot, Italian Summer (Part II): winds of war in migrants’ detention centres

After last year, 2010 brought another fiery summer in Italy’s detention centres for migrants (C.I.E.), where people are detained waiting to be deported. At the beginning of the summer the length of time of detention increased to 6 months, thanks to new  “Security Package” approved by the government. Also, the Italian government has made a special agreements with Algeria and Tunisia to speed up the deportations of migrants coming from those countries. In many CIE’s Tunisians especially have been on the front line of revolts. Here follows a brief and incomplete chronicle of the past few months: Continue reading

Italy pays, Libya deports and tortures

Another “success” in the “war on illegal migrants”: Against all international Conventions the Italian government keeps refusing refugees from Eritrea and deporting them back to Libya, whose detention centres are notoriously famous for the constant violations of human rights.

On 29 June dozens of Eritrean refugees detained in Misurata were asked to cooperate with the same Eritrean authorities they were fleeing from in order to provide identification. Their refusal was followed by a violent repression at the hands of the police. The refugees were then deported to Libya, their whereabouts unknown. Appeals by the UNHCR and the European Parliament have gone unheard. The Italian government keeps on supporting Gaddafi’s politics against all international conventions and despite the fact that Eritrean refugees, like all refugees, have the right to claim asylum according to the Geneva Convention. Continue reading

Mobilisations against Centres of Identification and Expulsion of Migrants (C.I.E.)

Modena, 19th June

Hundreds of people took part in a demo around the Ghirlandina CIE to demand the closure of CIE’s. The demo was organised by a network of social centres, anarchist and radical groups from all over Italy.

The protest managed to paralyse for at least half day the centre of Modena, and was closely controlled by police and carabinieri forces. Chants and slogans were targeted at the racist party Northern League and, especially, at Daniele Giovanardi. Giovanardi is President of the Catholic organisation “Misericordia” (literally, “mercy”…what a laugh!), which manages the Ghirlandina CIE in Modena. In recent months many CIE’s in Italy have been at the centre of scandals and accusations of violence, beatings and, in some cases, rape against the detainees. Poor food and poor general conditions are the norm. Continue reading