Europe
Lampedusa

Italy immigration law: ‘devastating impact’ on rights

Human Rights Watch (HRW)¬†warned¬†that Italy’s newly passed Cutro law will have “devastating impacts” on migrants’ rights, threatening their ability to seek protection, access fair asylum procedures, and move freely throughout the country. Ironically, the law was passed in response to a February shipwreck on the coast of southern Italy that left more than 80 migrants dead. HRW called upon Italy to “reverse course and ensure a humane and rights-respecting response to sea crossings.”¬†(Photo: Sara Creta/TNH)

Central Asia
Kashagan

Kazakhstan: environmental suit against Caspian consortium

The government of Kazakhstan has brought a legal action for violation of environmental protection laws against the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC), the consortium leading development of the country’s massive Kashagan oil field, seeking $5.14 billion in fines. In the complaint, the Ministry of Ecology & Natural Resources cites storage of sulfur on site¬†in excess of permitted limits, burning of crude gas on flares without a permit, improper discharge of wastewater, and other violations. Kashagan is one of the largest oil-fields discovered on Earth over the past 40 years, with recoverable reserves estimated at up to 13 billion barrels. The consortium includes the Italian Eni, French Total, US-based ExxonMobil, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Chinese CNPC, Japan’s Inpex, and KazMunayGas, the Kazakh national operator. (Map:¬†US Energy Information Administration¬†via¬†Jurist)

Europe
Cospito

Italian anarchist on prison hunger strike

Supporters are warning that Italian anarchist militant Alfredo Cospito is in danger of dying in prison after more than a month on hunger strike. Cospito, being held at Bancali prison in Sardinia, began his hunger strike in October to protest the inhumane conditions he faces under Article 41-bis of the Italian legal code, with harsh restrictions on his mobility and communication with loved ones, and no prospects for a review of his life sentence. The European Court of Human Rights in 2019 ruled that Article 41-bis, designed for terrorist and Mafia-related cases, violates the European Convention on Human Rights. Cospito is charged in a 2012 attack on a nuclear industry executive in Genoa. (Photo: Dinamo Press)

Europe
Hagal

Propaganda exploitation of Italy neo-Nazi bust

Italian police¬†carried out raids against¬†an armed neo-Nazi network called the Order of Hagal, arresting five suspected militants. Searches in Naples and other cities¬†turned¬†up large caches of fascist regalia. In addition to swastika flags and Mussolini¬†portraits was a banner of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, with whom one member of the network is said to have fought. This is avidly jumped on by Putin propaganda outlet Grayzone, under the headline: “Blowback: Italian police bust Azov-tied Nazi cell planning terror attacks.” Grayzone of course fails to mention that in the press photos where the regalia is displayed, the Azov Battalion ensign appears directly below¬†that of the European Solidarity Front for Syria,¬†a pro-Assad formation rooted in Italy’s far-right Casa Pound movement. (Photo: IPA/Fotogramma via ¬†Sky TG24. Fair use rights asserted.)

Europe
Lampedusa

EU doubles down on asylum double standards

More than 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers have entered Germany this year‚ÄĒoutpacing the 890,000 that arrived during the Mediterranean migration crisis in 2015. Back then, the vast majority were Syrians. This year, around one million of those who have entered are Ukrainians, although Syrians, Afghans, and others continue to arrive. For Ukrainians, the EU Commission has¬†extended the Temporary Protection Directive‚ÄĒfirst activated in March, and allowing them to live, work, and access services throughout the EU. Some 4.2 million Ukrainians have registered under the directive, which is now valid until March 2024. Meanwhile, the EU is pursuing much less welcoming policies for asylum seekers and migrants from other parts of the world. These include the the Dublin Regulation, that since 2003 has required asylum seekers to apply for protection in the member state they first entered‚ÄĒoften prolonging perilous journeys to reach sanctuary beyond countries with harsh immigration policies, such as Poland and Hungary.¬†(Photo: Sara Creta/TNH)

The Andes
arauca

Anti-war protests in northeast Colombia

Rural communities in Colombia’s northeastern Arauca department held anti-war protests amid inter-factional guerilla violence that has been terrorizing the region. Demanding attention from the government and international human rights organizations, some 1,200 marched in the hamlets of¬†Puerto Jordan and Botal√≥n.¬†Recent days had seen an outbreak of fighting in the area between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and “dissident” factions of the demobilized FARC guerillas that have refused to lay down arms, in defiance of a 2016 peace agreement. At least 23 were killed in the clashes, which were said to be over control of smuggling routes across the nearby Venezuelan border. About a dozen local families were also forced to flee their homes. (Photo:¬†Arauca Online¬†via¬†Colombia Reports)

Europe
Riace

Italian mayor imprisoned for sheltering immigrants

Hundreds of residents in the southern Italian town of Riace took to the streets to express support for their mayor, Domenico (Miimmo) Lucano, after he was sentenced to 13 years in prison on charges related to his policy of providing safe harbor for immigrants. Following a probe dubbed “Xenia” (ironically, the ancient Greek word for hospitality), Lucano was charged with “aiding and abetting illegal immigration” among other crimes.¬†Riace, on the Ionian coast of Calabria region, was facing population decline, like many small towns in Italy’s South, and Lucano sought to arrest this trend by welcoming migrants and asylum-seekers to settle there. Under his proclaimed modello di accoglienza (model of welcoming), the municipal government helped hundreds of migrants and asylum-seekers from Africa and the Middle East to establish themselves in Riace.¬†Despite his conviction, Lucano remains a candidate for regional president in Calabria’s upcoming elections. (Photo: Wikipedia)

North Africa
Libya detention

Migrants ‘disappearing’ in Libya

Of more than 24,000 asylum seekers and migrants intercepted at sea this year by the EU-supported Libyan Coast Guard, only 6,000 are accounted for in Libya’s official detention centers, a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told the Associated Press. The fate of thousands of others returned to the country remains unknown.¬†The situation has been worsening for months. The IOM warned last year of returnees vanishing from Interior Ministry “data-collection facilities,” and said it suspected that thousands are being sold to human traffickers.¬†(Photo: Alessio Romenz/UNICEF)

North Africa
Libya detainee

Libya: ‘horrific violations’ in migrant detention

Fresh evidence of harrowing violations, including sexual violence, against men, women and children intercepted while crossing the Mediterranean Sea and forcibly returned to detention centers in Libya, highlights the grave consequences of Europe’s ongoing cooperation with Libyan authorities on migration and border control, said Amnesty International in a report.¬†Since late 2020, Libya’s Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration, a department of the interior ministry, has¬†“legitimized abuse” by integrating two new detention centers under its structure where hundreds of refugees and migrants had been “forcibly disappeared” in previous years by militias. Amnesty is calling on European states to suspend cooperation on migration and border control with Libya.¬†(Photo: Alessio Romenz/UNICEF)

Europe
migrants

UN report blames EU and Libya for migrant deaths

Policy decisions of European Union member states and Libya have caused thousands of deaths along the central Mediterranean migrant route, according to a report from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. At least 2,239 migrants died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe last year. In 2021 alone, at least 632 have died along the route. According to the report, the deaths were not a “tragic anomaly,” and could have been prevented. The lack of human rights protection for migrants during their journey is a consequence of the “concrete policy decisions and practices” of Libyan authorities, the EU, and its member states. (Photo: US Navy via Wikimedia Commons)

Europe
openarms

Italy: Salvini to stand trial on kidnapping charges

Former deputy prime minister and current leader of Italy’s right-wing League party Matteo Salvini must stand trial for kidnapping, a Palermo judge ruled. The charges concern an incident in August 2019 in which he barred 147 migrants who had been rescued by Barcelona-based NGO Open Arms from disembarking at a Sicilian port. An indictment of the former minister was requested by Open Arms and nine migrants who were on board the vessel,¬†which had been blocked for 19 days off the coast of Lampedusa. (Photo via Twitter)

Greater Middle East
yemen

Biden pledges end to US support for Yemen war ‚ÄĒalmost

President Joe Biden announced¬†the United States will end support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen that has deepened suffering in the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country. “This war has to end,” Biden told diplomats in his first visit to the State Department as president, saying the conflict has created a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.” Biden pledged an end to “relevant” US arms sales, while giving no immediate details on what that would mean. However, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was quick to add that an end to US support for the Saudi war against the Houthi rebels will not affect US operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). (Photo: OCHA)