landings collapsed but more dead- Corriere.it

landings collapsed but more dead- Corriere.it
landings collapsed but more dead- Corriere.it
of Claudio Del Frate

The renewal of the pact signed in 2017 by the Gentiloni government arrives in the Chamber. Humanitarian associations against, doubts between parties. All figures of 4 years of application. Di Maio: “No funding in Tripoli”

The discussion on the renewal of the Italy-Libya agreement, the controversial pact signed in January 2017 to regulate the influx of migrants from the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Controversial because it is strongly contested by humanitarian organizations, which denounce the torture to which migrants are subjected in the camps of Libya. In fact, doubts about whether to extend the agreement have been growing in the last few hours, even among the parties. Here’s what they are in general the results of four years of operation of the pact.

The agreement is often referred to as the “Minniti memorandum”, named after the Minister of the Interior Gentiloni government who signed it. The memorandum committed Italy to train the Libyan Coast Guard , to provide it with means and funds. How many? According to the data provided by the NGO Oxfam they are 150 million euros in the first 3 years, to which must be added as many provided by the European Union. In exchange, Tripoli would have had to restore surveillance and rescue operations in the Mediterranean area under its responsibility. By helping and bringing back the boats in distress. But here the first problem arises: in Libya, migrants are subjected to torture and inhuman treatment, to the point that the country is considered “Port not safe” and the EU prohibits bringing people rescued at sea back to Libya.

The first effect determined by the agreement was undoubtedly the collapse of landings. At the time of entry into force in January 2017, the annual moving average of arrivals from North Africa to Italy was approximately 180,000 people; according to a calculation made byIspi (institute for international political studies) and translated into an eloquent graph, six months later this figure had plunged below 100,000, to touch the lowest point towards the end of 2017 with less than 10,000 arrivals. From then on, landings resumed but the overall volume remains very far from the most acute crisis periods.

To understand the other side, the most painful, of the coin it is necessary to look to the other side of the Mediterranean and pay attention to the complaints of all humanitarian acronyms. If on the one hand Italy is asking Libya for collaboration for sea controls, on the other the price is paid by the migrants themselves. According to theIOM (international migrant organization) in the first six months of 2021 just over 20,500 people landed in Italy but others 15,700 were intercepted and brought back by the Libyan Coast Guard and locked up in camps where they are deprived of their liberty and subjected to torture and rape. Another humanitarian source, Save the Children, points out that the dead at sea are increasing: 754 people drowned in the crossing of the central Mediterranean in 2019, 955 in 2020, while in the first half of the current year the figure has already touched 677. An emblematic video released a few weeks ago in which it is seen a Libyan naval unit – paid by Italy – groped to ram a boat of migrants.

On the eve of the return to discussion of the agreement, therefore, all pro migrant associations and humanitarians ask for di cancel the pact. The former missionary father Alex Zanotelli started a hunger strike and doubts are also appearing within the Democratic Party, which even those agreements had completed them in 207: the secretary dem Enrico Letta asked that the European Union take responsibility for the problem. For his part, the foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, responding to the question time at Montecitorio, specified that “the Italian government has not arranged and will not arrange funding for the Libyan coast guard”.

July 14, 2021 (change July 14, 2021 | 15:16)

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