- Rescue ship Ocean Viking saved 233 people from two overcrowded boats in the Libyan SAR. Among them are 6 pregnant women and a 3-months old baby. Survivors told the crew that one man drowned a few hours before the NGO arrived because he fell off the boat.
- 119 people disembarked in Roccella Jonica, southern Italy. They are mainly Syrian and Afghan
- The Italian government announced that it will prolong the use of quarantine ships until May 31st, without saying whether they will be abolished or prolonged again after that date. Even if the Covid19 state of emergency has been lifted in Italy, the use of quarantine ships continued without any official explanation.
- Amnesty International and ASGI launched a call not to renew the Italy-Libya Memorandum of Understanding (which will expire in February 2023 and will be automatically renewed) and to stop financing the so-called Libyan Coast Guard. Indeed, the Italian Parliament will discuss in a few weeks the financing of Italy’s military missions abroad, including in Libya.
- EuroMed Rights was present at Festival Sabir in southern Italy with a panel on identification procedures for dead and missing migrants in the Maghreb region. The panel included representatives from CSOs in Tunisia, Libya, Morocco and Algeria and denounced the lack of national and international identification procedures, to give answers to those families who lost loved ones on deadly migratory journeys.
- On 16 May 2022, Alarm Phone reported about approximately 500 people in distress in the Maltese SAR who had left from Tobruk, Libya. The Italian Coast Guard rescued them during the night, and they disembarked in Lampedusa.
- On 15 May 2022, Alarm Phone reported about a distress case of 26 people off the coasts of Benghazi. They had been at sea for three days, had no food nor drinking water left and water was entering their boat. The people entered the Maltese SAR zone, but no authority intervened. A merchant vessel nearby was ordered by Maltese authority not to intervene. After 40 hours of non-intervention by relevant authorities, the people reached the Italian SAR zone. Finally, the people were rescued by Italian authorities and disembarked in Pozzallo, Sicily.
- Between 9-12 May 2022, MSF vessel Geo Barents rescued 470 people in the Central Mediterranean. After 7 days at sea, they were able to disembark in Augusta, Sicily. On 9 May, the NGO Sea Watch rescued 145 people in the Mediterranean, who were disembarked in Augusta, Sicily after over a week at sea.
- On 11 May 2022, a fire broke out during the night in Borgo Mezzanone, in Apulia, in an informal settlement where migrants live. Twenty shacks burned down but luckily no one got injured.
- So far in 2022, 550 people have lost their lives along the Central Mediterranean route.
- On 4 May 2022, civil rescue ship Sea Watch rescued 57 people.
- By the end of April, civil rescue ship Ocean Viking rescued a total of 295 people in different operations. The NGO had to wait 10 days at sea for the assignation of a port of disembarkation, which was finally assigned in Pozzallo, Sicily.
- MSF rescue ship Geo Barents rescued 101 people in the Central Mediterranean, who disembarked in Augusta, Sicily, after five days at sea.
- On 30 April 2022, 218 people disembarked in Calabria, Italy, after being rescued by Italian authorities. Among the people on board, there were also two babies who were born while at sea. The people on board are Syrians and Lebanese.
- On 24 April 2022, Alarm Phone reported about a distress case of 51 people adrift near the island of Lampedusa. Finally, they were rescued by Italian authorities.
- The weekend between 9-10 April 2022, the humanitarian ship Sea Watch 3 rescued more than 200 people in the Central Mediterranean. Unfortunately, in one of the operations, not all the people on board a dinghy could be saved, and several remain missing.
- On 8 April 2022, Italian far-right politicians Matteo Salvini, appeared in Palermo, Sicily, for his trial for kidnapping migrants and abuse of power. The trial refers to the Open Arms case, dating back to summer 2019 when Salvini was Minister of Interiors.
- On 31 March, the BBC interviewed a Senegalese man who was accused of people smuggling soon after he survived crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Hundreds of innocent migrants are currently locked up in Italy waiting for the legal process to be concluded.
- In 2022, a reported 6,701 migrants disembarked in Italy – around half were rescued at sea and the other half landed on their own.
08/03/2022 – 22/03/2022
- As of 15 March 2022, 6,263 migrants disembarked in Italy, including 1,518 Egyptians and 737 unaccompanied minors.
- On 14 March 2022, the search and rescue NGO vessels Open Arms and Geo Barents were finally allowed to dock at the port of Augusta, Sicily, where the 28 and 111 migrants who were on board, respectively, were allowed to disembark. The SAR vessel Sea-Eye 4 left on 13 March to arrive in the central Mediterranean to survey the search and rescue area.
- According to FTDES, the number of minors arriving to the Italian coast from Tunisia quadrupled in 2021 compared to 2017, reaching a “record number”, especially for those who arrived alone.
- As of 3 March 2022, 5.474 migrants arrived in Italy by sea. The top-three nationalities are Egypt, Bangladesh and Tunisia.
- Almost 100 asylum-seekers were evacuated from Libya to Italy via the UNHCR evacuation flights.
- Civil rescue ship Sea Watch rescued 129 people off Libyan coasts on 25 February 2022. After many days at sea, they could disembark in Porto Empedocle, Sicily.
- Between 21-22 February 2022, the Italian Coast Guard rescued 573 people off the coasts of Sicily. They were travelling on two overcrowded ships, and among them there were 59 minors and one dead person.
- Fondazione ISMU published its annual report on migration in Italy in 2021, which especially highlights the impact of the pandemic on migratory fluxes to Italy and the situation of Afghan refugees.
- By providing a new mobile container connected to the radar of the naval base of Abu Sitta, on the Libyan coast, Italy is continuing playing a key role in intercepting and returning migrants back to Libya.
- On 1 March 2022, EuroMed Rights was invited to present its concerns and recommendations on the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum before the Human Rights Commission at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Parliament. (watch the recording here).
08/02/2022 – 22/02/2022
- On 19 February 2022, Sea Watch rescued 121 people. Later, it rescued 8 people in a second operation.
- On 12 February 2022, Alarm Phone launched an alarm about a boat in distress in the Maltese SAR zone with approximately 90 people on board. Maltese authorities ordered a merchant vessel in the vicinity not to intervene. The people were in distress for over 9 hours, until they were finally rescued by the Italian civil ship Ocean Viking. The NGO ship has conducted five SAR operations and rescued a total of 247 people.
- Between 12-13 February 2022, more than 400 people were rescued and disembarked in Lampedusa. Among them, a group who was on board a dinghy that was accidentally hit by a fishing boat off Libyan coasts. During the accident, 3 people went missing and their relatives have no news as to whether they are alive or not.
- On 10 February 2022, 65 people from Tunisia arrived in Lampedusa in 4 different boats.
- ActionAid and Openpolis launched a new platform called Centri d’Italia which collects all information on the reception system in Italy and on the various reception centers in the country. The platform was launched together with the report L’emergenza che non c’è and highlights a first important point: from 2018 to 2020, the number of people in reception centers in Italy has diminished by 43%, but most of them are still held in Centers for Extra-Ordinary Reception (CAS). Indeed, 52,451 people are currently in the Centers for Extra-Ordinary Reception (CAS), 22,152 are in the Centers for Reception and Integration (SAI – ordinary reception) and 1,633 are in the First Reception Centers.
- Amnesty International launched a petition to withdraw the Italy-Libya Memorandum of Understanding. The petition can be signed here.
25/01/2022 – 08/02/2022
- The 2 February 2022 marked the 5th anniversary of the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya. In the past 5 years, more than 82,000 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, in detention centres where human rights abuses are systematic.
- A court in Agrigento, Sicily, archived the case on the rescue ship Mare Jonio, from the NGO Mediterranean Rescue. According to the judge, ruling on the case of a rescue operation carried out on 9 May 2019, the ship was properly equipped to perform SAR operations since Italian law does not require any specific certification to perform SAR activities. Moreover, the crew acted according to international law when rescuing 30 people in the Libyan SAR zone who were at risk of capsizing.
- The rescue ship Aita Mari saved 176 people in two different operations who were disembarked in Lampedusa.
- On 24 January 2022, Alarm Phone launched an alarm about a boat with 280 people in the Maltese SAR zone. After 6 hours from the alert, they were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard but 7 people were found dead, probably from hypothermia. They were mainly from Bangladesh, Egypt, Sudan and Mali. They disembarked in Lampedusa.
- 11 Syrian refugees in Lebanon landed in Italy via humanitarian corridors. Another 11 will be evacuated in the next days, mostly for family reunifications. On 28 January 2022, another 48 people arrived via humanitarian corridors from Athens, mostly from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Syria, Iraq and Somalia.
- SOS Méditerranée’s ship Ocean Viking was released after being detained for two weeks. It is heading back to the Central Mediterranean.
- On 27 January 2022, applications for work permits under the new decree Decreto Flussi opened on the Ministry of Interiors’ webpage.
11/01/2022 – 25/01/2022
- Between 20-21 January 2022, two patrol boats from Italian authorities disembarked 141 and 164 people in Lampedusa, bringing the total number of people present on the island’s hotspot to 570.
- A legal team composed of lawyers from the associations UpRights, Adala For All, and StraLi filed a Communication to the International Criminal Court demanding the investigation of war crimes against migrants carried out by Libyan armed groups and officials with the support of Italian and Maltese authorities. As the organisations state “The Communication requests the ICC to investigate international crimes committed by Libyan armed groups against thousands of migrants, including women and children, trapped in detention centres in Libya following their interception at sea. Once returned to Libya, the victims were routinely and systematically subjected to various forms of mistreatments and abuse including murder, torture, rape, forced labour and forced conscription. The Communication underlines that the ICC Prosecutor should scrutinise, in addition to Libyan actors, the potential criminal conduct of Italian and Maltese authorities and officials for the support they provided to Libyan actors.”
- Civil society rescue vessels saved multiple lives in the Central Mediterranean: Mare Jonio rescued 208 people, Louise Michel rescued 62 people, and Geo Barents rescued 439 people. Meanwhile, a boat arrived autonomously to Lampedusa with 60 people on board and one dead body. Between 20-21 January 2022, 305 people, including 17 women and six minors, disembarked in Lampedusa, mainly from Syria, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Eritrea and Egypt.
- On 11 January 2022, SOS Méditerranée’s ship Ocean Viking was put in administrative detention after an 11-hours inspection that found ‘irregularities’ in the containers where migrants are sheltered. The ship had previously been detained for five months in 2020.
- All Out shared an online petition to defend the rights of LGBTQI+ refugees and change the categorisation of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Senegal and Ghana as “unsafe countries of origin” since they criminalise homosexuality.
- The Italian Red Cross threatened to leave from the quarantine ships where migrants are held to protest against rights violations. Indeed, migrants are detained for periods longer than 14 days as they cannot access public transportation to reach reception centres, since they are not vaccinated against Covid-19.
- The Italian organisation CILD published the first webpage entirely dedicated to the situation for migrants detained in the Centres for Expulsion (CPR). These centres are infamous for the numerous violations that take place inside, for the (attempted) suicides and deaths taking place inside them. The recent cases of Ezzedine Anani, who committed suicide, and Abdel Latif who died while being detained show the horrible conditions inside these centres.
- The Italian Preventive Mechanism Against Torture published its annual report on forced repatriations in 2021. The report estimates the total amount of forced repatriation in 2021 to be 2,731, 73,5% of which were repatriated to Tunisia. The report is available here.
- The Italian organisation MEDU (Medici Per I Diritti Umani) published the report ‘Margini’ about the socio-sanitary conditions of migrants living in informal settlements in Rome. The report is available here.
- In 2021, 66,770 people disembarked in Italy. The first five countries of origin are Tunisia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Iran, and Ivory Coast. At the same time, 1,506 people went missing in the Central Mediterranean route in the whole of 2021.
- The Court of Rome ruled in favour of two Afghan journalists asking for humanitarian visas to reach Italy. Despite the ruling, the foreign ministry is showing resistance and presenting new demands for the applicants.
- On 4 January 2022, 104 people disembarked in Roccella Ionica, most of them were Afghans and departed from Turkey. In 2021, arrivals to Calabria and Puglia from Turkey saw an increase, with 11 thousand people disembarking in the two regions.
- On 2 January 2022, 38 migrants autonomously arrived in Sardinia with different boats.
- In the last weeks of December 2021, civil society rescue vessels rescued more than 1,300 people in the Central Mediterranean:
- In the night between 3-4 January 2022, the vessel Louis Michel rescued 31 people. It also spotted about 70 people who climbed on the Shell oil platform Miskar in the Maltese SAR zone to seek shelter. After more than 14 hours, the 70 people were intercepted by Tunisian authorities and unlawfully brought back to Tunisia.
- Sea Watch rescued 446 people in different operations. They disembarked in Pozzallo on the 1 January 2022.
- MSF’s vessel Geo Barents rescued 558 people in different operations during the last days of December. All survivors disembarked in Augusta on the 30 December 2021, including an 8-months pregnant woman.
- The vessels Sea Eye 4 and Mo Chara rescued 223 people in the last days of December and disembarked in Pozzallo.
- Sos Méditerranée’s vessel Ocean Viking rescued 114 people in international waters off the Libyan coast, including a 11-days-old baby. After 8 days at sea, they could disembark in the port of Trapani on the 24 December 2021.
- On 27 December 2021, 27 people were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and disembarked in Crotone, Calabria. They were at sea for various days, and Alarm Phone had to repeatedly insist with the authorities for a rescue operation to be launched as the boat’s engine was on fire.
- On 25 December 2021, Alarm Phone communicated a distress case of about 108 people in danger off the coasts of Calabria. The people were finally rescued by Italian authorities.
- On 24 December 2021, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi signed the so-called ‘Decreto Flussi’, a decree that doubled the number of work permits for non-EU citizens compared to previous years. In 2022, 69.700 work permits will be granted to foreigners who enter Italy to work in the transportation, construction, agriculture and tourism industries, also for seasonal workers. Despite an improvement compared to previous years, many believe these numbers are still too low compared to the needs of these industries. Civil society also demands a more structural shift towards regularisation of those who already are in the country and more legal channels to enter Italy.
- On 22 December 2021, all the accusations against Sea Watch’s captain Carola Rackete Previously, the Court of Cassation had declared the arrest of Carola Rackete illegal; in May 2021, the accusation of resisting public officials and attacking a military ship were also dropped. Now, the request to archive all the accusations against Carola Rackete was officially accepted, proving how her behaviour was in line with international and Italian law.
- The Court of Cassation in Italy expressed a historic judgment on the case of two migrants accused of resisting public officials and opposing their refoulment to Libya. The migrants were part of a group of people who was rescued three years ago by the private vessel Vos Thalassa and once on board, protested against their deportation back to Libya. In 2020, the Court of Palermo condemned the two migrants to three and a half years in prison and a EUR 52.000 fee. However, last 17 December 2021, the Court of Cassation overruled this judgment and declared that the migrants had the right to oppose their refoulement to the Libyan detention camps.
- On 17 December 2021, during a rescue operation close to Lampedusa, Italian authorities rescued 26 people but one woman died.
- Ezzedine Anani, a Moroccan citizen, committed suicide in a centre for expulsions (CPR) in Gradisca d’Isonzo. He was being detained and isolated due to Covid19 at the time of his death. Previously, in November 2021, 26-year-old Abdel Latif also died while being detained in a CPR in circumstances yet to be clarified.
- The Association Carta di Roma published its ninth report on the narration of migration in Italian media. The report is available here.
- The Hermes Centre for Transparency and Digital Human Rights published the report ‘Technologies for Border Control in Italy: identification, facial recognition and European financing’. The report is available here.
30/11/2021 – 14/12/2021
- So far in 2021, 63,062 migrants disembarked in Italy. The five main countries of origin are Tunisia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Iran and Ivory Coast. At the same time, about 1 out of 2 migrants who attempted to depart from Libya to reach Italy have been intercepted and returned to Libya.
- The Italian military ship San Giorgio was sent to Libya to deliver a new mobile unit for the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to the Libyan authorities. The new MRCC unit is made of high-tech containers and costs 15 million euros, which were provided by the EU. Italy will train Libyan personnel working at the MRCC. According to Brussels, the new unit is a step froward to improve the efficiency of the so-called Libyan Coast Guard.
- The Italian organisation ARCI demands that the Italian government oppose the Commission’s proposal on emergency measures at the external border with Belarus: “Dangerous, useless, demagogic emergency measures that endanger the fundamental principles of the state of law, like the right to apply for asylum, to defend borders from those people who – rather than representing a danger – should be protected”.
- The Guardian released the short documentary ‘Unsafe Passage: on board a refugee rescue ship racing for Europe’ about one of the missions carried out by MSF in the summer. The documentary shows the complexity and danger of rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean, with migrants escaping on unseaworthy boats, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard threatening and intercepting migrants, and finally, long stand-offs at sea before receiving a Place of Safety to disembark.
- 26-year-old Abdel Latif died on 28 November 2021 in unclear circumstances. He was a Tunisian citizen who arrived to Italy across the Mediterranean and was staying in a center for expulsions (CPR) waiting to be repatriated. From the information gathered so far, it seems that Adbel Latif was suffering from psychiatric issues and was sent to the psychiatric unit of the San Camillo hospital in Rome, where he died. In October, the Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights published a report on the harsh living conditions inside Italian CPR centers.
16/11/2021 – 29/11/2021
- On the 28th of November 2021, 240 people were rescued by Italian authorities and disembarked in Calabria, in the ports of Crotone and Roccella Jonica.
- On the 21st of November 2021, the rescue ship Astral from the Catalan NGO Open Arms, assisted two boats with respectively 68 and 70 people on board until they were rescue by Italian authorities.
- On the 24th of November 2021, Alarm Phone reported a case of about 430 people in distress in international waters off the Libyan coast, moving towards the Maltese SAR zone. Authorities were promptly informed, but no one intervened immediately even though the boat was beginning to break. More than 24 hours later, Tunisian authorities intervened to perform a rescue operation even if the boast had already entered the Maltese SAR zone. Tunisian authorities said everyone was safe and no casualties were recorder, however testimonies on board collected by Alarm Phone said that at least three people have died.
- In the night between the 19th and 20th of November 2021, 350 migrants were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard, four commercial vessels, and assisted by two aircrafts, one from the Coast Guard and one from Frontex. The people were rescued at the borders of the Italian SAR zone and disembarked in Port Empedocle. This operation was kept hidden from the media for many hours and only came out thanks to the activities of few journalists.
- Between the 18th and 21st of November 2021, the civil society vessel Sea Watch 4 rescued 375 people in six different operations. On the 22nd of November, another 107 people were rescued, bringing the total amount of migrants on board to 482. 12 people were evacuated for medical emergencies and finally the NGO was assigned a port for disembarkation in Augusta on the 26th of November 2021.
- The rescue ship Geo Barents, from Médecins Sans Frontières, rescued 99 people off the coasts of Libya on 16th of November 2021. Alarm Phone and Sea Bird launched the distress signal, but when the rescue ship arrived 10 people had already died of asphyxiation as the boat was overcrowded. In the previous 24 hours, Geo Barents had carried out two other rescue operations, saving a total of 186 people. All the migrants were disembarked in the port of Messina on the 20th of November 2021. The 10 bodies are in the Messina’s obituary waiting to be buried.
- 77 people disembarked in Calabria on the 17th of November 2021. 40 of them were Afghans and the others from Iran and Iraq.
- Between the 13th and 14th of November 2021, more than 600 migrants arrived in Lampedusa. 550 of them were rescued by Italian authorities, whereas more than 100 arrived autonomously.
- 93 vulnerable asylum-seekers will be evacuated from Libya to Italy on the first evacuation flight in two years. The group will be the first of 500 people who will be admitted to Italy over a one-year period.
25/10/2021 – 15/11/2021
- On 14 November 2021, 514 migrants disembarked in Roccella Jonica, Calabria, who had left Tobrk, Eastern Libya. Almost all of them are Egyptians and 126 are minors. 70 people have been transferred to the quarantine ship Aurelia, while the other quarantine ship GNV is heading to Roccella to host the rest of the people. Another 200 people arrived in the Salento region, Apulia.
- As of 15th November 2021, 59,135 migrants disembarked in Italy in 2021, including 8.192 minors. Tunisia, Bangladesh and Egypt are the top three nationalities.
- In the first week of November, the civil rescue vessels Sea Eye and Ocean Viking have rescued respectively 847 and 308 migrants. On board of Sea Eye there were 170 minors and 2 pregnant women. The 847 people were rescued in different operations and disembarked on the 7th of November in the port of Trapani. After more than a week at sea, and the urgent evacuation of 2 minors, the Ocean Viking finally received the authorization to disembark the migrants in the port of Augusta on the 11th of November.
- The Italian government, together with the humanitarian organizations of Comunità di Sant’Egidio, Chiese Valdesi, ARCI, Caritas, CEI and the UNHCR, has pledged to evacuate 1,200 Afghans to Italy in the next two years via humanitarian corridors.
05/10/2021 – 25/10/2021
- As of 21 October 2021, 50,879 migrants disembarked in Italy in 2021, including 7,190 unaccompanied minors. Tunisia, Bangladesh and Egypt are the top three nationalities.
- A court in Naples sentenced the captain of the Asso28 boat to one year in prison for accepting to hand over to the Libyan “coast-guards” 101 migrants who had been rescued in international waters in July 2018. The migrants were returned to the unimaginable horrors of Libya’s detention centres. With this sentence, the Court states that Libya is not a “safe” country to return people and returning them back to Libya is a violation of the principle of non-refoulement.
- Arrivals in Rocella Jonica, Calabria, are increasing, with 11 disembarkation operations only in October 2021 and more than 7,000 people disembarked in 2021. The main nationalities are Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians and Iranians, all leaving from Turkey and Egypt.
- The 406 people who had been rescued by the NGO SeaWatch3 were finally allowed to disembark in Pozzallo, Sicily, on 23 October 2021. They were rescued in 7 different operations. On 21 October 2021, one woman shorty before giving birth was evacuated. Three women with severe fuel burns on board the SeaWatch3 got evacuated by the Italian Coast Guard on 19 October 2021. The weather is deteriorating and the situation on board is getting worse. Another 105 people have been on board the Aita Mari rescue ship for days waiting for a safe port of disembarkation. After 45 hours on board the rescue ship Nadir, from the NGO Resq, the 34 rescued people on board were finally allowed to disembark in Lampedusa.
- On 23 October 2021, the trial against former Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, opened in Palermo on preventing the Open Arms migrant rescue ship from docking in Lampedusa in 2019. He is accused of deprivation of liberty and abuse of authority.
- On 21 October 2021, Alarm Phone denounced that 27 people, including a baby, were in distress at sea off Calabria.
- According to a recent report from ARCI and Alarm Phone, titled From Sea To Prison | The Criminalization of Boat Drivers in Italy, since 2013 more than 2,000 migrants have been accused of smuggling and human trafficking, criminalised and jailed in Italy.
- The migrant activist and Eritrean priest Father Mussie Zerai is calling on all Sicilian prefectures and towns where migrants are buried to not move the bodies to mass graves as happened in Sciacca, Sicily.
- The thirty-first immigration statistics report by the Studies and Research Centre Idos shows a decreasing trend in the number of migrants in Italy, for the first time in 20 years.
- According to the Annual Report 2021 on the Economics of Immigration by the Leone Moressa Foundation, the work of foreign citizens is worth EUR 134 billion and accounts for 9% of Italy’s gross domestic product.
- According to the latest report from Caritas and Migrantes, foreigners in Italy are more exposed to poverty and Covid-19 infection.
- The CILD coalition published the report “Black holes – Detention without offence in the Permanent Repatriation Centres” denouncing the conditions inside 10 repatriation centres (CPR) in Italy, where six people had died in two years.
- The University of Turin, together with the association Srl Ithaca, won a EUR 4 million project to design maps and infographic aiming at supporting Frontex activities.
23/09/2021 – 05/10/2021
- As of 4 October 2021, 47.750 migrants, including 6.883 unaccompanied minors, disembarked in Italy, mainly in Lampedusa. The top three nationalities are Tunisians (13.208), Bangladeshi (5.994) and Egyptians (4.604).
- On 3 October 2021, on the Italian National Day in memory of the victims of immigration, Italy remembers the 368 people who died in a shipwreck off Lampedusa. On 11 October 2013, over 200 people lost their lives there again. 8 years later, many lives are continued to be lost in the Mediterranean Sea, many arrivals continue in Lampedusa, without a coordinated EU search and rescue response.
- On 30 September 2021, former mayor of the small town of Riace, Domenico Lucano, known for his work for welcoming and integrating migrants in the community was sentenced to 13 years in jail for “illegal” migration. The sentence, which says a lot about the climate of criminalization in Italy – will be appealed.
- On 29 September 2021, Alarm Phone alerted that 120 people were at risk south of Lampedusa.
- On 29 September 2021, the 60 rescued people on board the NGO vessel GeoBarents were finally allowed to disembark in Augusta, after many days at sea.
- On 27 September 2021, a boat with 686 people, including 12 women and 12 minors, arrived in Lampedusa which had departed from Zuwarah, Libya – the largest boat in over two years to arrive autonomously from Libya to Lampedusa. 5 people were evacuated to the hospital and most of them were dehydrated and in critical health conditions. The main nationalities: Egypt, Morocco, Chad, Ethiopia, Syria, Nigeria, Sudan and Senegal.
- On 26 September 2021, around 9 people were in distress at sea between Algeria and Italy. The authorities were alerted but did not act.
- On 25 September 2021, all 122 rescued people on board the Ocean Viking were finally allowed to disembark in Italy.
- On 25 September 2021, around 200 migrants, who had left Libya, arrived in the port of Messina, including a woman, who collapsed at the harbour dock, and her five children.
- According to Africa ExPress, between March and end of August 2021, Italy carried out nine “readmission” flights of Egyptian citizens (for a total ranging from 180 to 350 people), despite the serious concerns raised by the Italian Guarantor for the Rights of Detained People on the deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt.
- Doctors without Borders (MSF) suspends its operations in the hotspot in Lampedusa, after 2 months and around 11 000 people assisted. They denounced that the current disembarkation methods “do not facilitate the identification of specific health needs, starting with those related to traumatic experiences, such as violence suffered in Libya”.
6/09/2021 – 22/09/2021
- Between 14 and 19 September 2021, almost 2,000 people arrived in Italy, most of them disembarked in Lampedusa in different operations. The main nationalities are Tunisia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Libya, Eritrea and Sudan. As of 21 September 2021, 43,372 people disembarked in Italy, including 6,624 unaccompanied minors.
- On 21 September 2021, Alarm Phone denounced that 55 people heading to Italy are at risk in the Ionian sea.
- On 16 September 2021, 37 refugees – from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – arrived in Italy under the UNICORE – University Corridors for Refugees project.
- On 16 September 2021, the Ministry of Interior announced it will disburse EUR 240 million until the end of 2021 for a new reception centre at the France-Italy border in Oulx, Piedmont, that could temporarily host up to 70 migrants and will be managed in cooperation with local civil society organisations.
- In Italy, undocumented foreign nationals continue to be in a limbo that makes it difficult for them to access the COVID-19 vaccine reservation system.
- The regularisation procedure launched in 2020 ended up being a failure with only 34% of the total requests processed. 85% of the regularisations covered caregivers and domestic workers, thus excluding most of the agricultural workers.
- On 9 September 2021, 125 migrants arrived in a small rocky island in front of Lampedusa and they were eventually rescued by the Italian Coast Guard in a difficult operation in the night.
- The Interior Minister is refusing to provide details about the Italy-Slovenia agreement on border controls. The main objective of this activity remains thus unclear. At the same time, the Slovenian government purchases 55 drones to patrol the border.
- UNHCR and Intersos are starting a new pilot project to test safe legal pathways through student visas to enable unaccompanied minors to enter Europe legally.
- On 9 September 2021, the Italian organisations from the Asylum and Immigration Board (Tavolo Asilo e Immigrazione) called on the Italian government and EU institutions for urgent action for guaranteeing the right to asylum to those fleeing Afghanistan.
19/08/2021 – 06/09/2021
- On 5 September 2021, 29 rescued people, including 18 unaccompanied minors, on board the Sea Watch 4 were allowed to disembark in Porto Empedocle, Sicily.
- On 5 September 2021, 122 people were intercepted off Calabria, in the Ionian Sea, and disembarked in Roccella Jonica, Reggio Calabria. 61 of them are Afghanis.
- As of 3 September 2021, 39 565 migrants disembarked in Italy, of those 5.806 are unaccompanied minors.
- On 28 August 2021, the NGO Sea Watch witnessed yet another shipwreck where at least 5 people went missing and 35 other people were unlawfully brought back to Libya by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard.
- On 29 August 2021, 539 people in distress in an overcrowded boat were rescued by the Italian coast guard and brought to Lampedusa. According to MSF, many of them had signs of torture.
- In the night between 23 and 24 August 2021, 272 people disembarked in Lampedusa, Sicily, in 13 different disembarkation operations, for a total of 507 people in 24 hours. The hotspot is again overcrowded with 865 people for a capacity of 250 places. On 21 August 2021, 167 people, including minors mainly from Bangladesh, disembarked in Lampedusa – they had departed from Libya.
- On 22 August 2021, the 322 rescued people on board the GeoBarents, MSF’s rescue ship, were finally allowed to disembark, after spending several days at sea.
27/07/2021 – 19/08/2021
- On 18 August 2021, the 166 survivors on board the SAR NGO ship ResQ People were finally allowed to disembark in Augusta, Sicily, after 5 days at sea. The 322 survivors on board the SAR NGO ship GeoBarents are still waiting for a safe port of disembarkation.
- On 16 August 2021, the SAR rescue ship GeoBarents rescued 63 people, including children and infants, in two rescue operations. A total of 322 people are safely on board.
- On 12 August 2021, the association Doctors for Human Rights (MEDU) denounced the dire human rights conditions for migrants at the French-Italian border in the Susa Valley.
- The Mixed Migration Centre published an analysis on access to work for migrants and refugees in Northern Italy (Piedmont and Liguria regions).
- Increased arrivals in Italy led Italian Interior Minister, Luciana Lamorgese, to seek EU support for migration management. As of 16 August 2021, 34,455 migrants disembarked in Italy, including almost 5 000 unaccompanied minors.
- On 1 August 2021, the SAR NGO ship Ocean Viking rescued 106 people in distress in Malta’s SAR zone, thus hosting 555 survivors on board. On 8 August 2021, after several days at sea, the survivors, including 118 minors, were finally allowed to disembark in Pozzallo, Sicily.
- ASGI published a policy paper on the critical conditions of unaccompanied minors at Italian internal and external borders.
- The association Mai più lager-No ai Cpr, following a visit to the Permanent Repatriation Centre (CPR) in Milan, denounced the appalling human rights violations in the centre.
5/07/2021 – 27/07/2021
- As of 23 July 2021, 25 845 migrants disembarked in Italy in 2021, almost three times more than the whole 2020. aming those, more than 4 000 (4 313) are unaccompanied minors. The three top nationalities are Tunisian, Bangladeshi and Egyptian. In just three days, between 21 and 23 July 2021, 1 206 people disembarked on the island. The hotspot is again overcrowded with around 1300 people for a capacity of 250. On 23 July 2021, the NGO vessel Astral of the NGO Open Arms rescued 148 migrants in distress at sea who were then brought to Lampedusa by the Italian Coast Guard.
- An increased number of arrivals in Calabria from Turkey and Eastern Libya has been registered: at least 1600 people disembarked there since the beginning of 2021.
- Despite the numerous appeals and calls from human rights organisations, on 15 July 2021, the Italian Parliament voted, with 361 votes in favor, 34 against and 22 abstentions, to continue financing and providing equipment to the so-called Libyan Coast Guard for at least one year more, with also an increasingly Turkish presence on the Libyan patrol boats provided by Italy. The cost borne by Italian taxpayers for naval missions in the Mediterranean (none of which has search and rescue tasks at sea) and in the North African country also rises to 960 million, with an increase of 17 million compared to 2020 for the Mare Sicuro mission and 15 million for Irini. At the same time, the chief of the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Jan Kubis, in his remarks to the UN Security Council reiterated that “Libya is not a safe port of disembarkation for migrants and refugees” and that “Member States who support operations to return individuals to Libya should revisit their policies, bearing in mind that migrants and refugees continue to face a very real risk of torture and sexual violence if returned to Libyan shores”.
- On 18 July 2021, migrants hosted in the hotspot of Pozzallo, Sicily, set fire to mattresses to protest against the living conditions in the hotspot, including the long period of isolation for quarantine.
- After four days of waiting for a port of disembarkation – with a man jumping overboard out of desperation – on 9 July 2021, the 572 rescued migrants on board the Ocean Viking were finally allowed to disembark in Augusta, Sicily. A 16-year-old boy from Eritrea was the first to step off the Ocean Viking. For now, only Luxembourg accepted to take in some of the rescued people. According to the EUobserver, three Syrians on board the Ocean Viking said that they prefer Libya sea-crossing than passing through Greece and Turkey.
- On 13 July 2021, 104 people who had departed from Tunisia, disembarked in Lampedusa, Sicily, onboard 7 different boats.
- On 8 July 2021, 10 people in distress at sea off Sardinia were finally rescued and brought to Sicily.
21/06/2021 – 05/07/2021
- On 2 July 2021, Médécins Sans Frontières (MSF) rescue ship GeoBarents was stopped at the port of Augusta by Italian authorities, marking the 13th time in the last 3 years that Italian authorities detained an NGO search and rescue (SAR) ship. On 4 July, MSF released a statement calling on Italian authorities to release its SAR ship in order to save lives at sea.
- On 30 June 2021, a dramatic shipwreck happened near Lampedusa when a boat that had left Tunisia with more than 60 people on board capsized during the rescue operations by the Italian Coast Guard. 7 women, including one pregnant, died and at least 10 people, including many children, went missing. UNHCR’s and IOM’s chiefs call for an EU-led search and rescue mechanism at sea. More than 900 people drowned so far in 2021 in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
- On 30 June 2021, Sea-Watch’s aircraft Seabird witnesses shocking images of the so-called “Libyan Coast Guard” shooting at a boat a few miles South of Lampedusa with many people on board and trying to ram the boat. The people eventually made it to Lampedusa and were finally rescued there. In a statement, Libyan maritime authorities acknowledged the shooting which, according to them, was carried out in an effort to stop migrants “from crossing to Europe”. At the same time, Italy is continuing to supply equipment and funding to the so-called Libyan Coast Guard with contracts amounting to EUR 5.8 million between March and July 2021. The total funding to Libyan Coast Guards from Italy increased of EUR 0.5 million in 2021 (10.5 million) compared to 2020 (10 million). On 2 July 2021, an ex-Libyan lieutenant police officer says the Libyan coast guard actively works with smugglers.
- From 1 July 2021, Médécins Sans Frontières (MSF) started operating in Lampedusa to provide psycho-social and humanitarian support to people rescued at sea and disembarked there.
- 27-year-old Camara Fantamadi, originally from Mali, died after working in the fields in Southern Italy, under the sun, with 40 degrees, for EUR 6 per hour, in deplorable exploiting conditions.
- The journalist, Lorenzo D’Agostino, revealed how eight survivors of a deadly Mediterranean shipwreck – among them 4 Libyan football players – were wrongly convicted for murder.
For the period from September 2020 to June 2021, click here.