sabato 17 gennaio 2015

The Catholic Church will celebrate, January 18 the 101 ° World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Press release.

It seems like yesterday and yet has already been a year since the last World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which the Catholic Church will again be celebrated on 18 January. The Holy Father Francis, with his memorable visit to Lampedusa, His repeated calls to respect the dignity and human rights of all migrants and refugees, to last his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, sollecitta all of us men and women , believers and non-believers, to solidarity with those in need, who is forced to leave his country, those who are victims of war, persecution, trafficking and slavery.
 But looking at the political landscape and cultural heritage there is little to celebrate. It 'was, this past year, a year that began with high hopes and unfortunately closes instead with deep disappointment. Sure, there is the undeniable, precious result of having helped and saved very often, with the operation Mare Nostrum, over 168 000 asylum seekers, making them disembark in Italian ports. And 'the topic of which more has been talked about in the past twelve months, the media and the "feel" of the people. Much less has been spoken of the more than 3,600 who do not have it made: other 3,600 deaths in a year, an average of ten per day, which drive up to well over 23 000 on account of broken lives across the Mediterranean since 2000.
Remains the enormous importance of the chain of saves ensured by the dedication of the Italian Navy. But, as important, this is the only positive note in the entire span of this year, however, came from an emergency and now finally ended, while remain the same, even worse, all the causes that drive so many, too many young people in leave their country, because in the escape is the only way to escape from wars, dictatorships, terrorism, persecution. It happens all over the Middle East and has been the case in every corner of Africa: the eastern region, the sub-Saharan Africa, the western and equatorial.
Yet last January we started with great hope: the hope that finally the Fortress Europe you decide to open a little 'more its doors and, more generally, that began to change its policy - and that of the whole North of the world - to the countries from which come all these refugees. Authorizing these expectations the many commitments that many voices, the European Union, Italy and many other countries have taken in the aftermath of the massacre of Lampedusa when, October 3, 2013, all those dead for a time it seemed that began to weigh on the conscience of the "powerful of the earth" and the international community. Mare Nostrum was born in the wake of this emotion. And the Italian Presidency of the EU, for the second half of 2014, you could see that probably just Mare Nostrum could have become the symbol of the turn, overcoming the initial design of police operation aimed at the maritime border control, to become the first project European organic relief, as part of a general change of policy on emigration.
So many have interpreted the repeated statements of the premier Italian, Matteo Renzi, who repeatedly challenged Europe to think more to "save the banks" rather than to "save lives". Expected, in fact, that in the wake of these "calls" his presidency of the European left their mark, with acts and concrete measures. Three in particular: the transformation of Mare Nostrum in permanent program, with the contribution of all European governments; decided the launching of a plan for a single reception system for all of Europe, accepted and applied by each Member State of the Union; the abolition or at least review - as a first step of this plan - Dublin 3 of the Treaty, that the placing of the refugees to the first European country in which they ask for help, results in a violation of freedom of residence and movement, creating situations great suffering and often occasions of abuse against refugees.
None of this has been achieved, or at least has been set. Much to ask that they not only sense the commitments made in the aftermath of the sinking of Lampedusa and, even more, those reaffirmed emphatically just twelve months after, on the anniversary of the massacre, when the island was again filled with representatives leading the European Union, the Italian government, a number of other states.
It is worthwhile, then, to briefly point to individual "chapters". If only as a reminder for those "powerful of the earth" in which he addressed Pope Francis, in early July of 2013, just from Lampedusa, choice not by chance to reiterate the need to "go to the suburbs." It was his first pastoral visit outside the walls of the Vatican: a few months later, the tragedy of 3 October confirmed as his words were well founded.

The victims. According to data released by UNHCR and IOM, during the year there were at least 3,600 victims in the Mediterranean between the dead and missing. There are about 2 percent compared to those who have made it to escape. It might seem a percentage not too high, but it's broken lives: 3,600 lives. And it is only a partial census: are not, for example, how many have died in the Sahara or in any case in the countries of transit to the North African shore of the Mediterranean and in Libya, a black hole definitely huge but which has never investigated . Not to mention the hundreds of deaths in the Red Sea, an escape increasingly beaten after they become more difficult or have even closed other routes (to Sinai and Israel, for example) connected to the Mediterranean.

Mare Nostrum and Frontex-Triton. The heavy death toll is likely to multiply due to the abolition of Mare Nostrum. In its place, as of November 1, 2014, now operates Triton, the European mission managed by the agency Frontex, which has the mandate to oversee the southern borders of the Union but whose vessels, less than a third of those fielded the Italian program, limited to patrolling a stretch of just 30 miles, just over the territorial waters of the various EU states. The effects were seen immediately with a tragic chain of new shipwrecks and more deaths. Brussels is justified by claiming that there is still a mandate to provide assistance in case of need. But it is clear that it is one thing to intervene from a distance of a few miles from the emergency situation, it is one thing to intervene territorial waters, with hundreds of miles of sea front to go. They denounced the United Nations itself: "There is a fear - challenged Francois Crepeau, UN special rapporteur on the rights of migrants - that without an operation such as Mare Nostrum thousands of people will die."

Reception system. There is no trace, not even as a proposal, the desire to get to a single host, the same for all Member States of the Union. Yet this is precisely the key not only to ensure a program of acceptance and inclusion of dignity for refugees in Europe, but in order to concretely implement those "channels of legal migration" (the so-called humanitarian corridors and the ability to submit applications asylum directly to the European embassies in Africa) are the only truly effective tool to exclude migrants from the blackmail of human traffickers and smugglers. Unheeded by the political appeals in this sense of various NGOs and UNHCR itself.
Not only. The lack of a single European program allows you to leave in force reception systems have proved largely ineffective and inadequate, if not worse, such as Italian and greek which, by the refugees "non-persons" without rights, creating a huge reservoir of black labor and exploitation and which have been repeatedly condemned by the European Court for Human Rights.

Mafia capital: the exploitation of despair. The investigation "Mafia capital" raised the suspicion that the breakdowns and delays of the reception system Italian are driven at least in part, in order to perpetuate a mechanism on which profit from large criminal organizations that have put their hands on the management of centers for asylum seekers and migrants (CPA, Cara, Cie, etc.). Beyond the criminal liability and criminal offenses over which the judiciary is doing light, appear more obvious that the delays and the very serious responsibility of politics. And 'absurd that anyone, at all levels (government, regions, provinces, municipalities, representatives of organizations that bring together co-operatives and institutions under indictment), has never raised the issue of how they managed the shelters despite the repeated complaints of many NGOs and the frequent protests of refugees, resulted in thick authentic riots. And even more absurd is that neither the government nor any political force have taken the opportunity to propose to implement a radical reform of the system, perhaps along the lines of the most functional of other European countries and in view of arriving, in fact, to a unique system across the Union. And 'one of missed opportunities to give a sign of real commitment to innovation: for Italy but also for Europe.

Italian foreign policy and the EU in the Horn of Africa. Probably even in the wake of the call made by Bruxelle in November 2013 Italy to "do more" for its former colonies, particularly Eritrea and Somalia, in 2014 has intensified the attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Horn of Africa. The first signal has had with the official visit made by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Lapo Pistelli in all countries of the region. E 'followed, in late November, the signing in Rome of the so-called Process of Khartoum, an agreement between the European Union and governments of Africa Maghreb and Eastern Europe for the control of migration. The treaty was presented as a tool for fighting organizations of trafficked human beings in cooperation with the countries of origin of refugees, those of transit and first stop. In fact, the characteristics of the planned measures appear to configure the construction of a further barrier to block migrants away from Europe, even before they arrive to the shores of the Mediterranean. That is: a further externalization of borders of Fortress Europe, moving further south. No matter at what price.
Not only. The start of these talks "in the dark", without any conditions ruling and without posing the need to "run the show", are proving to be an unexpected opening of credit by Italy and the European Union against some African countries.
One wonders what other interests unmentionable hide this political choice, in addition to building new barriers beyond which block the refugees.
That's why there is not much to celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This appointment will only make sense if it tries to deal with these problems, asking forcefully in Brussels, national governments, institutions, in a word, to politics, to get them to solution within a reasonable time. Otherwise it risks becoming a sterile ceremony. Almost an alibi for those who have the responsibility, the power and the duty to respond to the thousands of young men and women, who are knocking at the doors of Europe to be recognized as having the most basic human and civil rights, beginning with the right to life same.
Fr. Mussie Zerai

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