Protests follow denial of docking for ship carrying migrants, murder of migrant activist in Italy
- More than 600 migrants and refugees have been stuck abroad the Aquarius and two other Italian ships after the government refused to let them dock in Italy, with Spain having finally agreed to accept them.
- Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League party, has pledged to expel undocumented immigrants, vowed to crackdown on immigration, and shared anti-immigrant memes on social media.
- Following his decision as well as the murder of migrant labor activist Soumayla Sacko, thousands of demonstrators mobilized in Rome to protest in solidarity with migrants.
“Italian official warns migrant ships not to dock as migrant supporters rally in Rome” (CNN | June 2018)
“Aboard the Rescue Ship Where Migrants Have Been Stuck for a Week” (The New York Times | June 2018)
“Italians march in solidarity with migrant workers” (euronews | June 2018)
Far-right extremist injures six in racist shooting rampage in central Italy
- The shooter reportedly drove around the city of Macerata for two hours shooting at black people, leaving six nationals of Nigeria, Ghana, the Gambia, and Mali injured (one seriously) in his wake.
- Now booked on charges of attempted murder with the aggravating circumstance of racial hatred, the man had collected Nazi and other white-supremacist paraphernalia and had ties to a number of neo-fascist political parties.
- The incident came amid increased tensions following the arrest of a Nigerian migrant in connection with the suspected homicide and dismemberment of an Italian teenager.
“Italian man held after driving through city shooting at black people” (Reuters | February 2018)
“Italy shooting: Mein Kampf found in home of suspect” (The Associated Press, via The Guardian | February 2018)
“Macerata gunman had extreme right-wing background” (Euronews | February 2018)
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.
“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)
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.
“A Woman’s Death Sorting Grapes Exposes Italy’s ‘Slavery’” (The New York Times | April 2017)
“Fire kills two in Italy migrant farm workers’ ‘ghetto’” (Reuters | March 2017)
(Image Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen/The New York Times)
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.
“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)
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.
“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)
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.
“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)