'It is not immigration, which causes problems - it is how it is dealt with politically. It is also not Europe, which is getting attacked - however, the walls of a fortress, are being built at the moment.'
Corinna Milborn, 'Gestürmte Festung Europa...'
In this study about the boat people in the Mediterranean the emphasis lies on Italy and on the EU policy on refugees in the Mediterranean in cooperation with African states. Regarding the EU policy it deals particularly with the border security agency Frontex that has access to a rapidly growing budget coming from the EU funds.
The advocates of the EU politics like to stress that their policies are in the best interest of the migrants themselves, their native countries and their destination countries, which means that a 'triple win situation' can be produced. However, refugee aid and other human rights organizations criticize harshly that refugees are criminalized and that their legitimate right are not guaranteed.
The author depicts state networks on illegal migration and follows the question whether the EU has the wish to grant the refugees their rights.
Chapter 3.2, In Practice: Calculated Chaos?:
Gleitze / Schultz complain that asylum applications either shown at police stations at the border or in the police headquarters (Questure) often are not accepted or given ad acta for a long period of time. If an application is accepted it gets forwarded to the territorial respectively local commission. Only a few of those commissions are functioning in practice so that asylum seekers have to cope with long travels to the commissions, partly through the whole of Italy. The scheduled time for the process would not be fulfilled according to their experiences according to Gleitze / Schultz. Puggioni also criticizes the police as she writes about the not existing handing on of information about the asylum process and an arrogant behaviour which can be seen in general concerning the police forces. Furthermore she reports that deportation decrees are enforced automatically even if the refugees came from countries who are well known for human rights violations. Puggioni implicitly assumes structural racism. Because she reports that there is a trend to let Kurds immigrate and give them a chance for a fair asylum process whereas Albanians, Roma and Maghrebines (People from northern Africa) were repelled quickly and Chinese people instantly at the borders.
For the accommodation of refugees and asylum seekers the Sistema nazionale di protezione (National asylum programme) is valid. Whereas the old PNA project (Programma Nazionale Asilo, (National Asylum Programme) offered about 2,000 places in communal managed flats and smaller residences, the new sistema nazionale di protezione foresees in the first line the CDI which means forced integration in a dormitory. From the maximum up to between seven and eleven CDIs '[…] it seems as if only the ones in Crotone (Kalabria) and in Siracusa (Sicily) are existing.' The commissions would be integrated in the CDIs directly and the hearings would take place there. The CDIs would have the same restrictions as the prisons for asylum seekers. From outside there is no possibility to enter the buildings which makes the counselling and taking care through independent lawyers and organisations very difficult. The placing into a CDI means for an asylum seeker that he or she is a clandestine refugee with an illegal status and only the simplified process is valid for him/her. Because of the new law there are almost only simplified processes where the right to appeal is restricted. Besides the CDI there are further refugee camps that I am going to describe more detailed below.
The commissions enforce residence permits in cases of acceptance and for the subsidiary safety of the asylum seekers according to Gleitze / Schultz. Persons with a right to get subsidiary shelter are people without any citizenship and citizens of non EU countries who do not fulfil the preconditions for the acceptance as refugee, but can show evident reasons for their individual suggestion of a danger for them (Regulation 2004/83/EG) as 'Migration und Bevölkerung' reports.
Concerning the personnel of the commissions they contain a member of the prefect institution, the questura, the Carabinieri, the ministry of the interior and the UNHCR. The law expert Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo of the University of Palermo called all members not independent. Some of the interview partners of Gleitze / Schultz even said about the UNHCR that it is responsible that the hearings are still handled 'that strict'. Because of a lack of funding the representative of the UNHCR was not able to be present in Italy during the travel of Gleitze / Schultz (reported about in April 2006)
As the biggest problems during the hearings Gleitze / Schultz see:
- 'No guaranteed presence of an interpreter with whom the refugee is able to communicate (often there are only English or French speaking interpreters involved);
- Mean time for the hearings is 5 -10 minutes per person;
- Mostly there are no lawyers present, because the refugees often do not get any information about their trial and their right to order a lawyer;
- Presence of personnel of the embassy of the country of origin.'
The fundament for the hearing by the commission is the first interview by the police. Giorgio Bisagna, lawyer and coordinator for the CIR (Italian refugees council) in Sicily says that there is a problem not so much concerning the right of a fair process, but concerning the facts that the refugees are under detention in prisons without possibilities to enter and on the other hand that they themselves have to pay for their lawyers who could possibly work for them. 'The most scandalous with that system is there is now effective help during the trials.' About repelled asylum seekers I am going to write something again at the end of this chapter.
The necessary prolongation of the residence permit by the commission needs a lot of time and can only be applied for at the Questura (police headquarter) which was in charge during the crossing of the border which again can mean a long journey. 'Asylum seekers with denied asylum either come under detention or are to the street with a so called 'foglio di via' (emigration/deportation order) and have to leave Italy within five days.' As soon as they get the 'foglio di via' there is the possibility to appeal against it. Many refugees get the order in advance immediately after their arrival before they apply for asylum. Whereas, because of the new law there is no chance that this stops the enforcement of the order immediately! It is said that then during the more simplified procedure it were possible to get a new hearing within five days. This has to be before the commission which has denied the application. Then it would be unrealistic that his commission withdraws its own decision. The second possibility is that the asylum seeker with the help of a lawyer who he/she has to pay for, hands on an application for immediate enforcement to the prefect (head of the police?) within 15 days after the decision of the commission. However, the application has to be delivered to the prefect within those 15 days which is also unrealistic. This way the asylum seekers find themselves in a dead end."
Julian Traublinger was born in 1981 in Bad Reichenhall, Germany. In his childhood he already has been interested in politics, particularly human rights issues. At secondary school he founded a students’ group at Amnesty International. He successfully finished his studies of geography in 2008. Alongside his studies at the university he was politically active in an ecological party as well as with the network of globalisation critics ATTAC. During a stay in Malta he got inspired to write about boat refugees. There he was able to visit a refugees’ camp with a delegation of the Maltese Green Party. He also gained experiences in the fields of spatial planning as well as regional development and nature conservation.
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- Verlag Anchor Academic Publishing
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- Veröffentlichung 01.02.2014
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