They wait for months to come to Italy, but must contend with a bureaucracy obtuse, caused by misunderstanding and mistrust. And, perhaps, even with some tacit arrangement "from above" because the adoption of a closing line and refoulement. It does not matter if this stifles established rights, creating heavy discomfort, pain, injustice. And 'what happens, the news agency Habeshia, more than 200 young refugees from the Horn of Africa, mostly Eritreans, who in fact would be denied the opportunity to rejoin the husband or the wife already resident in our country. Couples doomed to remain divided, with great difficulty, victims of indifference that smacks of violence.
It 'a story that is unbelievable. At the center of the dispute is the Italian embassy in Sudan, has come under fire from some family members of migrants stranded in Khartoum, which, in addition to having turned to Don Mussie Zerai, President of Habeshia, addressed a complaint to Laura Boldrini, the 'former spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, elected Speaker of the House two months ago. "In hope - explains Fr Zerai - that has the power to transfer the feeling that the Italian Parliament has shown in recent years for the problems of so many 'last of the earth' forced to flee from war and persecution." There is no shortage of those two hundred desperate men, but the majority are women. Some with one or more children. Or pregnant. They arrived almost all crossing the border from clandestine, as the first of their comrades, after having challenged the firing of border guards, police checkpoints, the prohibitions of the dictatorship of Isaias Afewerki that, faced with mass exodus of young people from the village, now no longer allows even domestic travel from one city to another in Eritrea. And least of all to the border areas.
Wives and mothers, has pushed these women to escape and has supported from the beginning, hoping to reunite the family. And this is still tenacious hope that induces each pair not to give up: both the spouse who is already in Italy, is that even in Africa. "Each of the protagonists of this story - says Father Zerai - has a history of suffering and courage. When finally the spouse or however the family first arrived in Italy has solved the long, hard die expected from the practices of family reunification and has got to be joined with a permit from his 'official', it was a party. Seemed to be made: do was send the documents to the embassy in Khartoum. Right here, however, has begun another Odyssey. Of which there is no end in sight. While taking note of the clearance reunification released in Italy, the consular officials seem to raise many difficulties, asking for documents it is often impossible to obtain. In particular, the certificate of marriage certificate issued by the municipal government of the country of origin of the refugee or otherwise by the official of the state where the couple were married. Or, again, a certificate showing the family where a family relationship, the number of children, etc.. Cards that have to be translated and legalized by the Italian Embassy. So it seems the easiest thing in the world and normal. Only that most of those young people have fled from Eritrea, entering in Sudan as refugees or asylum seekers. None of them, at the time of the escape, he was carrying a marriage certificate. Indeed, it often did not even have the documents. Only someone was armed with a passport or an identity card. And of course, just because refugees and persecuted are not now in a position to get any kind of certificate in Eritrea. "
There are also young people who were married in Sudan, before one of the two could to emigrate to Italy. You would be led to believe that everything is easier for them because they can take the necessary documents to the authorities in Khartoum. Many have done, paying all administrative fees and charges provided: 750 Sudanese pounds (about 150 Euros) for entry in the marriage register of the church, $ 100 for the transmission of documents to the Civil Court and the municipalities, some 200 Sudanese pounds for miscellaneous expenses at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All of these documents, however, has no legal value to Asmara, which does not recognize marriages between Eritrean and formalized contracts abroad. So hangs around, because almost never the Italian consulate, to the arguments of the refugees, deemed sufficient for marriage registration in Sudan without the "confirmation" of Eritrea. Not only that. "Very few of us have passports - is noted in the complaint addressed to Laura Boldrini - and the Italian Embassy refuses to give visas to those who are equipped only refugee card".
It looks like a puzzle with no solution. Built with requests maybe formally unexceptionable, but impossible to fulfill. Sometimes he would stop motivations paradoxical. Nell'esposto presented to the Speaker of the House, for example, mentions the case of a couple who can not get together because, despite having married at the end of 2012, registration has been postponed to January 2013, as recorded in documents "legalized" the Italian embassy in Asmara. "In this way - don complaint Zerai - spend months and months, even years, without being able to find a way out." And the more time passes, the more it aggravates the position of these refugees. In Sudan there are two types of residence permits for foreigners to work, to be renewed annually for a fee of 4,500 Sudanese pounds, or for transit, with a maximum validity period of six months. Having entered the country with the aim of continuing to Italy, almost everyone has this second type of document.
"The delays and obstacles created by the Italian - says Fr Zerai recovering messages from the spokesman of refugees - are blasting the roof limit of six months. The risk that lies ahead is enormous. For foreigners caught by the police with an expired visa takes immediate arrest. After the prison are started in the refugee camps. The Eritreans, in particular, in that of Shagarab, at no great distance from the south-eastern border, which has become a huge conglomeration of shacks, tents, makeshift homes, where they live amassed about 15,000 people (almost half of all refugees in the Sudan) and where hunger, oppression and violence are the daily norm. A tragedy endless, with this huge mass of young people left to themselves for years, without the possibility to emigrate or to turn back, because in Eritrea await them in prison or even death. It is no coincidence that from Shagarab starts most of those who, relying on fake guides in the service of international criminal organizations, are kidnapped and end up prey to human traffickers. The ransom demanded to free them arrived now at $ 40,000. Those who fail to pay are offered for sale: men become slaves to forced labor, girls enslaved prostitutes for sexual exploitation around the world. Or, men and women, become an inexhaustible source for transplants illegal sacrificed to feed the organ market. "
Every day lost, therefore, can become fatal. "That's why you can not justify in any way certain delays," protested Don Zerai. But when someone tries to even just ask for an explanation - denounced the refugees to Laura Boldrini - delays and obstacles are added often verbal and psychological violence by some consular officer in Khartoum. And a complete lack of respect. As in the case of a young pregnant woman who asked whether, in order to facilitate the reunification with her husband in Italy, it was possible for her a priority procedure, taking into account its conditions: instead of listening to a clerk would answer: "I do not care . I do not even know if your son is really the son of your husband. " And when some refugees, since their exposure had not been accepted, they went to the embassy to try to be heard, the same employee would have driven out by involving the police.
"Laura Boldrini - says Fr Zerai - has now taken charge of the problem, promising to intervene with the foreign ministry and possibly at the same embassy in Khartoum. Now the important thing is to act quickly. In Sudan the situation is explosive. In the refugee camps there are more than 30,000 foreigners. Others, by the thousands, living in major cities with work permits. And keep coming: a thousand a month just from Eritrea. The police, therefore, not sparing with irregular: it has an order to use the hard line. Most of those young Eritreans stalled for months they are terrified: their temporary residence visa is about to expire and do not have the opportunity to renew it. These people have the right to enter Italy: their family members have obtained authorization for the reunion. We can not continue to respond 'do not care', as it seems to have done several times at the Italian embassy when someone has suggested the danger of being without valid documents precisely because of bureaucratic delays in consular posts. It is perhaps the very life of over two hundred boys. "