Tag Archives: Southern Europe

Italy News | African Migrants & Refugees

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.
Read

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)

Italy News | Black African Migrants

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.
Read

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 Pressvia The Guardian | February 2018)

Macerata gunman had extreme right-wing background” (Euronews | February 2018)

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

Read

Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

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)

Morocco & Spain News | Migrants & Asylum-Seekers

Hundreds storm gate to Morocco-Spain border at Ceuta exclave
  • The autonomous Spanish enclave of Ceuta, one of only two land borders between Africa and Europe, saw some 850 sub-Saharan migrants and asylum-seekers scaling barbed wire fences along the five-mile border between Morocco and Spain to reach the immigration center inside.
  • The city, located on the northwest coast of Morocco, has long been the site of attempts to cross into Europe, although strong security forces have kept most attempts at bay.
  • The event follows a similar—though unsuccessful—one from New Year’s Day, when more than 1,000 attempted to breach the gate.
Read

Los saltos en la valla de Ceuta se duplican tras la amenaza de Marruecos” (El País | February 2017)

Morocco uses migrant crisis as leverage in EU free trade dispute” (France24 | February 2017)

Risking Injury and Arrest, African Migrants Storm a Gate to Europe” (The New York Times | February 2017)

(Image Credit: Jesus Moron/Associated Press, via 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)

Global Event | Women’s Marches

Global Women’s Marches

On the day following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, millions gathered in demonstrations taking place across all seven continents in support of women’s rights. Trump, who was elected despite having been accused of sexual assault by at least two dozen women, ran a campaign that attacked reproductive rights, disparaged high-profile women (including his opponent, Hillary Clinton), and equivocated on issues like gender pay equity, and of the 25 members of his incoming senior leadership team, only three are women. From Austin to Antarctica, women and allies around the world mobilized around issues including women’s security, reproductive rights, racial and immigration justice, climate change, and LGBTQ rights.

Global Overview
The Americas


Source: The New York Times (YouTube)

Europe & Africa


Source: ODN (YouTube)

Asia Pacific & Antarctica


Source: Reuters (YouTube)

Interregional News | Asylum-Seekers

Number of asylum-seekers drowned in Mediterranean reaches 5,000 for 2016
  • The U.N. refugee agency announced the figure—amounting to an average of 14 deaths per day—following the recent deaths of 100 asylum-seekers after two dinghies sank off the coast of Italy.
  • The number is highest annual total yet, with contributing factors including poor weather, decreased boat construction quality, increasingly crowded seas, and increasingly desperate attempts to avoid detection and deportation.
  • According to the International Organization for Migration, nearly 360,000 reached Europe’s shores by sea in 2016, a significant decrease from the more than 1 million in 2015.

Read more:
Migrant crisis: UN says 5,000 drown trying to reach Europe this year” (BBC)
Mediterranean death toll is record 5,000 migrants this year: agencies” (Reuters)
‘Worst Annual Death Toll Ever’: Mediterranean Claims 5,000 Migrants” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

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)

Citations | Refugee Education

Citations
Education for Refugees, from Preschool to Professorship

Global emergencies like war, natural disaster, and health pandemics have uprooted families and disrupted education at all levels as displaced students have been deprived of access to schools. Students in early childhood, primary, secondary, and higher education as well as teachers, professors, and other educational professionals have experienced delayed educational and professional development during times of crisis, disabling dreams and prospects for the future. Whether in Malaysia, Greece, or Lebanon, displaced communities have struggled to adjust to lost livelihoods, new cultures, and uncertain futures.

As the average duration of displacement has dramatically increased over the last three decades, international humanitarian organizations have been pressed to develop long-term programs and partnerships to replace short-term emergency educational provision. These challenges have been compounded by the disproportionate burden of education in emergencies shouldered by developing countries, where refugee populations vastly outnumber those in high-income countries. Over time, the educational pipeline has come to look less like a pipe than a funnel, with progressive exclusion and decreasing resources constraining opportunity as refugee children age. Workarounds developed in earlier stages have at times installed barriers for students at more advanced education stages as credentialing standardization and selective admissions disadvantage students from newly developed, temporary, and informal educational institutions outside of the national curriculum.

From connected learning hubs in refugee camps in Kenya to elementary classrooms in Canada, technological innovation and international coordination have worked to connect displaced students to well-resourced institutions and support educational continuity through crises. Meanwhile, new momentum in the development of transnational platforms for educational financing, advising, and service delivery has reinvigorated the global education community and increased commitment to education for all, regardless of circumstance. Here is a look at select recent news, features, and open research on and resources for global refugee education and scholar protection: Continue reading Citations | Refugee Education

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

Commemorating the day when homosexuality was de-pathologized by the World Health Organization in 1990, the 13th-annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT) stands as an occasion for global mobilization towards LGBT visibility and security. The day, like many global celebrations, is also one many governments choose to speak out on global human rights and minority security, announcing initiatives to support their LGBT citizens and international projects.

Even today, ongoing disagreements between nations over LGBT rights have prompted diplomatic rows and roadblocks to international cooperation, including the recent objection of 51 Muslim countries to the participation of LGBT groups in a U.N. AIDS forum in June. The push to extinguish homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia at all geographic levels remains important to the global mobility of LGBT people worldwide.

Here are highlights from IDAHOT 2016:

Africa & the Middle East


Video Credit: Collectif Arc-en-Ciel

LGBT Nigerians have continued wrestling with conflicting legal messages, with the recent passage of the landmark HIV Anti-Discrimination Act doing little to undo the effects of a 2014 anti-homosexuality law.

While a moratorium on LGBT criminalization is officially in place in Malawi, individuals are subject to entrenched marginalization and stigmatization in healthcare services, with a national referendum on LGBT rights having stalled.

The Gay and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) organized events for IDAHOT in Bulawayo, focusing on mental health as ongoing social and healthcare difficulties plague the community.

Though homosexuality remains criminalized in Tunisia, activists have achieved increased visibility and pushed for legal reform amidst ongoing discrimination.

Israel reaffirmed its commitment to LGBT Israelis, announcing funding to support an emergency shelter for LGBT youth and a hostel for trans people who have recently undergone gender confirmation surgery.

Days before IDAHOT, activists staged a sit-in outside of a Beirut gendarmerie, protesting Lebanon‘s anti-homosexuality legal holdovers from French occupation.  Similarly, the Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) issued an appeal to the Lebanese government to decriminalize same-sex relations, arguing for recognition of homosexuality’s presence within the natural variation of human sexuality.

The Americas


Video Credit: teleSUR

U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement of support as his administration lended its voice to a national debate over the bathroom rights of trans people.

In Canada, PM Justin Trudeau announced an anti-discrimination bill protecting trans security as advocates organized a demonstration for trans healthcare rights following the firebombing of a trans health clinic.

Across Latin America, important gains in same-sex partnership and family rights and gender identity healthcare and legal protections have heartened LGBT Latin Americans, but the region continues to have some of the highest reported rates of violence against the LGBT community in the world.

LGBT organizations held cultural and political events throughout Argentina to highlight conditions facing the Argentine LGBT community, call for an anti-discrimination law, and press for federal recognition of the International Day Against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, as the day is known.

Cuba celebrated the day fresh off Pride events in Havana, where Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raúl Castro, led a parade of thousands through the city streets.

Asia Pacific


Video Credit: Out for Australia

As the country continues contentious battles including the push for marriage equality and erasure of “gay panic” legal defenses, rainbow flags and celebrations appeared across Australia, including over police stations in Canberra, in the streets of Brisbane, and in the senior-care facilities of Tasmania. In Victoria, officials announced a retreat for Aboriginal gender minorities to be held later in the year.

In China, a study conducted by the U.N. Development Programme, Peking University, and the Beijing LGBT Center, the largest of its kind to date, was released revealing that only 5% of LGBTI Chinese are fully out at school and work, but also showed encouraging levels of acceptance of LGBTI people among China’s youth. The head of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission expressed support for anti-discrimination legislation at IDAHOT festivities in the city.

In Fiji, former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau joined festivities at the French Ambassador’s residence to celebrate the island’s LGBTQI community.

Advocates took to op-ed columns in India to confront ongoing transphobia, reflect on gay representation in film, and highlight everyday homophobia in urban life.

A tug-of-war over LGBT rights between Islamic fundamentalists and pro-diversity moderates in Indonesia has led to mixed messages about LGBT security in the nation, spurring anti-discrimination protests.

A recent Human Rights Watch report on anti-LGBT bullying in Japan served as a reminder of the purpose of the day, highlighting rampant anti-LGBT sentiment even as the government has initiated broad efforts to combat bullying in schools.

Europe & Eurasia


Video Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The divergent prospects for LGBTI people across Europe, from Western Europe’s distinctive commitment to the protection of gender diversity to ongoing persecution in the East, was further confirmed through a UNESCO report highlighting anti-LGBT violence in schools released as global education ministers met in Paris.

Rainbow colors appeared in the shopping district of Cyprus‘s capital as 22 organizations came together to organize events to launch the country’s third Pride Festival, focusing on the need to increase legal recognition of both sexual and gender minorities in the country.

In Gibraltar, organizers canceled event plans in support of action on marriage equality legislation currently under consideration, arguing that holding a rally in front of the Parliament as uncertainty prevails would undermine pressure on MPs.

Kosovo‘s first Pride march brought out hundreds from the LGBT community to Pristina, including the U.S. and U.K. ambassadors.

Organizations in Luxembourg planned a silent march to call attention to the plight of LGBTI individuals worldwide and call for increased international protections (including asylum).

Organizers in Serbia took the day to announce the date of this year’s Pride parade (September 18) and address concerns of homophobia as right-wing parliamentary representation has increased.

Advocates, allies, and diplomats gathered around the rainbow flag raised at the US Embassy in Latvia.

On the island of Gozo in Malta, NGO leaders celebrated gender diversity in the country.

After advocates scrapped plans for IDAHOT activities in Georgia due to security concerns, a group of activists were arrested for painting pro-LGBT graffiti on administrative buildings. A “Family Day” protest against LGBT rights and visibility, the third such anti-LGBT demonstration, brought together members of Georgia’s conservative Orthodox community and international religious groups.

In the U.K., London’s new mayor promised to make the city a more just place for its LGBT residents as a rainbow flag flew over the Mayor’s Office.

(Image Credit: EPA, via The Straits Times)

Europe & Eurasia Research | LGBTI

The State of LGBTI Security in Europe

ILGA-Europe recently released its annual report on the state of LGBT rights and security across the Europe. Covering developments in individual countries and transnational institutions from 2015, the report notes increasing legal protections for gender minorities and family and partnership rights for sexual minorities in Southern and Western Europe as well as ongoing political exclusion, persecution, and violence in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Here are some of the highlights:

Malta

Rated the most progressive European country, Malta’s groundbreaking law prohibiting surgical intervention into a person’s sex characteristics without consent and inclusive education policies for trans, intersex, and other gender minorities were cited as distinctive policies.

Finland, France, Greece, Ireland

Other countries with significant judicial or policy victories regarding the rights of gender minorities.

Ireland, Luxembourg

Countries extending marriage rights to same-sex couples

Cyprus, Greece

Countries extending civil partnership rights to same-sex couples

Austria, Portugal

Countries extending adoption rights to same-sex couples

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia

Bottom three countries for LGBTI security

Armenia, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia

Countries blocking same-sex marriage rights

Hungary, Montenegro, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine

Countries denying, limiting, or antagonizing organization and assembly rights of LGBTI civil society groups

Read:
Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe 2016 (ILGA-Europe)

Additional:
Rainbow Europe
Azerbaijan worst place to be gay in Europe, finds LGBTI index” (The Guardian)
Which EU states are out of touch on gay marriage?” (euronews)

Portugal News | Women

Portugal extends reproductive rights to gay and bisexual women and women with fertility issues
  • The Portuguese Parliament voted to extend artificial insemination access to women in same-sex relationships.
  • The bill also legalizes surrogacy for women with health conditions adversely impacting their ability to conceive.
  • The inclusive measure broadens family rights for women in same-sex partnerships following the passage of a bill legalizing adoption by same-sex couples in November 2015.

Read more:
Approved: Parliament expands reproductive rights – Portugal” (The Portuguese American Journal)
Portuguese Lawmakers Extend Pregnancy Rights to Gay Women” (AP via ABC News)
President signs same sex adoption into effect” (The Portugal News)

(Image Credit: via The Portuguese American Journal)

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)