Tag Archives: Italy

Italy News | Black

Italian MEP convicted of defamation for racist remarks
  • Mario Borghezio was convicted for comments against former Italian MP Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black national minister.
  • Borghezio had stated in a 2013 interview that Kyenge, who immigrated from the DRC, wanted to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo” and was “a good housewife, but not a government minister.”
  • Kyenge has faced numerous racial attacks as a result of her political visibility, and the ruling is the latest in a series of successful defamation cases she has brought.
Read

Northern League MEP must pay €50,000 to ex-minister over racial slurs” (The Local | May 2017)

Italian in Europe’s Parliament Convicted of Defamation for Racial Insult” (The New York Times | May 2017)

Italian MEP Cecile Kyenge: ‘I feel vindicated’” (BBC News | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Gianni Cipriano/The New York Times)

Italy Feature | Women & Migrants

The Enduring Exploitation of Italy’s Grape Harvesters

Two years after the plight of its grape harvesters crashed into the global consciousness, Italy continues to struggle to uproot the labor practices that have been called “modern-day slavery” by human rights and labor rights advocates. Recent legislation has prioritized the eradication of exploitation, but underground organizations continue to take advantage of the dire conditions of Italy’s most vulnerable. Overworked, underpaid, and subject to extortion by recruiting and transportation agencies, the migrants and poor Italian women enduring the strenuous work of picking and cleaning grapes continue to struggle with difficult choices between precarious work, personal health, and acquiescence in a system designed for their failure.

Read

A Woman’s Death Sorting Grapes Exposes Italy’s ‘Slavery’” (The New York Times | April 2017)

Additional

Fire kills two in Italy migrant farm workers’ ‘ghetto’” (Reuters | March 2017)

(Image Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen/The New York Times)

Interregional News | Migrants & Asylum-Seekers

Italy rescues almost 2,500 asylum-seekers in Mediterranean over three days as trips and deaths surge
  • The Italian Coast Guard pulled 1,100 from nine vessels in one day following the rescue of 1,360 in the previous two days as migrant deaths are up by more than 330% over 2016.
  • More than 10,700 have crossed the Mediterranean in the first months of 2017, an increase of a third over 2016.
  • Recently, Italy and the U.N. agreed to fund migrant camps, Coast Guard training, and anti-smuggling efforts in Libya to stem the flow of migrants into southern Europe, a move criticized by humanitarian groups because of Libya’s political insecurity and harsh treatment of migrants.
Read

Italy says 2,500 boat migrants rescued at sea in three days” (Reuters | February 2017)
Migrant Fatalities Surge on Libya-Italy Mediterranean Route” (Voice of America | February 2017)
Can E.U. Shift Migrant Crisis to the Source? In Libya, the Odds Are Long” (The New York Times | February 2017)

(Image Credit: Reuters, via Voice of America)

Interregional News | Refugees & Migrants

At least 700 migrants and refugees die in last week along trans-Mediterranean route
  • The UNHCR concluded from survivor interviews that some 550 of 670 died after a boat capsized on its way to Italy from Libya, with other scattered wrecks throughout the week leading to at least 150 other deaths.
  • As warmer temperatures have created more favorable travel conditions, an estimated 13-14,000 have been rescued over the last week during Italian naval operations in the Mediterranean.
  • The U.N. believes most of those making the trek have been sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees caught up in smuggling networks.

Read more:
Over 700 Migrants Died Trying to Reach Italy in Past Week, U.N. Says” (The New York Times)
More than 700 feared dead in recent Mediterranean crossings” (AP)
Refugee crisis: 13,000 people rescued in Mediterranean in one week” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Marina Militare, via The New York Times)

Italy News | LGBT

Same-sex civil unions in Italy on track to become reality following lower house vote
  • Italy’s lower house voted to support PM Matteo Renzi’s government and, by extension, a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions.
  • Following Senate approval in February, the confidence vote removed the potential for last-minute attempts to revise the bill, making final approval a formality.
  • The bill has undergone a controversial history including massive anti-LGBT protests and pro-LGBT outrage over the continued exclusion from marriage and removal of a provision granting same-sex partners universal adoption rights to their partners’ children.

Read more:
Italian MPs support introduction of same-sex civil unions” (The Guardian)
Italian MPs back same-sex unions in vote for Renzi” (BBC)
Italy Approves Same-Sex Civil Unions” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images, via The Guardian)

May Day || Global

Global May Day 2016

One of the few truly global holidays, International Workers’ Day (May Day) is both a worldwide celebration of the working classes as well as a day to draw attention to ongoing insecurities workers around the world face. May Day has historically had a twofold purpose: a day for workers to voice their concerns over contentious labor policies and for governments to reaffirm their commitments to workers’ rights and just labor practices. At times little more than public relations campaigns and at others violent clashes between governments and workers, global May Day events have highlighted the diverse relationships between labor, employers, and government around the world. Here are the highlights of May Day 2016 in more than 30 countries:


Asia Pacific

Bike rallies were held in Pune as Indian PM Narendra Modi saluted workers on Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, a public holiday. Pakistan‘s major labor unions convened in Lahore to speak out against poor working conditions, violations of international labor conventions, and ongoing privatization in the country. As Bangladeshi officials addressed labor relations and welfare reforms amidst a day of union-organized programming, in Kathmandu, Nepali workers marched while awaiting the ratification of the Labour Act, which guarantees greater social security for workers. Across the Indian Ocean, Australian union leader singled out penalty rate protection and tax reform as major Labour Day issues, with the date of the holiday having been a point of contention as well.

Throughout East Asia, workers rallied to draw attention to labor conditions and call for reforms, from ending contractualization in the Philippines to protecting job security in South KoreaHong Kong saw thousands take to the streets to demand fair and standardized working hours along with a universal pension program. In Malaysia, PM Najib Razak took the day to announce an increase in the national minimum wage and an insurance scheme proposal.

Europe & Eurasia

In cities across France, tens of thousands marched in protest against proposed labor reforms that would loosen the country’s controversial employment and job security policies. Jeremy Corbyn became the first U.K. Labour party  leader to attend a May Day rally in a half-century when he spoke to a crowd of thousands in London, reaffirming solidarity against anti-immigrant sentiment and addressing anti-Semitism accusations that have plagued his party recently. Spain saw thousands across its cities gather, many protesting ongoing austerity measures. An estimated 800,000 gathered in Rome‘s San Giovanni Square, with this year’s event dedicated to slain Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Some 2,000 convened in rain-soaked Zagreb to hear labor leaders protest the increased retirement age and ongoing poverty in Croatia. Moscow hosted a mass demonstration in the city’s Red Square estimated in size from the tens of thousands to 100,000, while thousands gathered in Istanbul’s Bakirköy district under a heavy police presence in the wake of urban suicide attacks and ongoing violence across Turkey.

The Americas

From New York to Los Angeles, demonstrations in the U.S. highlighted widening economic inequality in the country and an election season marred by racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic sentiment. While most protests took place without incident, a peaceful march turned violent in Seattle, leading to five injured officers and nine arrests. A similar outbreak in Montreal led to one injury and 10 arrests.

In Latin America, Brazil‘s embattled president and Workers’ Party leader Dilma Roussef rallied alongside hundreds of thousands across the country as her impeachment proceedings continue and workers fear the inauguration of her center-right vice president. Cuba‘s May Day parade continued the national tradition of expressing support for the Castro regime rather than directly celebrating labor or expressing concerns over labor conditions. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macro backed employers and touted labor proposals that had spurred mass demonstrations only days before. Elsewhere in the region, minimum wage increases were announced in Venezuela and Bolivia and a march took place in Santiago as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a review of her labor reforms after the Supreme Court rejected a key provision granting exclusive negotiating rights to unions.

Middle East & Africa

Police in Egypt blocked hundreds of workers from assembling in a Cairo office as labor leaders and international organizations called for the government to decriminalize independent union organization. In Israel, more than 5,000 youth marched in Tel Aviv, while a Palestinian trade union renewed its call for the establishment of a minimum wage and the dismantlement of the Gaza blockade. A government-sponsored event in Dubai reportedly drew nearly 200 workers, though labor practices in the UAE continue to draw international scrutiny.

South of the Sahara, events popped up across South Africa as politicians sought to address the country’s high unemployment rate and appeal to workers ahead of August elections. In Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari spoke to thousands of workers in Abuja, touting his anti-corruption campaign. A Mozambique labor leader addressed a crowd in Maputo about the debts of state-owned companies and the need for wage and workplace reform. As the decline of oil prices has created economic hardship throughout Angola, the country’s two labor unions marched to draw attention to deteriorating worker conditions and the need for infrastructure maintenance. Workers in Ghana protested the privatization of the management of the state-owned Electric Company of Ghana, while the government insisted the company was still run by the state. Meanwhile, Ethiopia sidestepped Sunday commemorations altogether by moving May Day to May 3, when labor leaders plan to highlight ongoing struggles to organize Ethiopian workers.

Italy News | Gay & Lesbian

Thousands protest same-sex civil union legislation under review in Italian parliament
  • The protesters, estimated in size from the tens of thousands to the millions, gathered as part of Rome’s “family day,” where they expressed opposition to the legislation currently under examination by the Italian senate.
  • A similar protest in 2007 contributed to the withdrawal of a civil union proposal, but PM Matteo Renzi anticipates the legislation’s passage this time.
  • Italy remains the only holdout among the major Western powers in granting same-sex couples the right to legal partnership or joint adoption, with polls indicating around 70% of the country in support of partnership rights and 24% in support of adoption rights.

Read more:
Tens of thousands protest against same-sex unions in Rome” (Deutsche Welle)
Italians protest against civil unions for same-sex couples” (The Guardian)
2m march in anti-civil union protest in Rome, ‘Family Day’ organizer says” (Gay Star News)

(Image Credit: R. Casilli/Reuters, via Deutsche Welle)