Protecting the human rights of migrants


So we have been here for four days now and we’ve been to a number of centres where migrants and refugees are arriving. We’ve
seen a disembarkation and my main impression of the last four days has been, one, an overwhelming
lack of information that the people arriving are being faced with, not just when they first
get off the ship but in the centres, the children that have been there for months, the adults,
that are in vulnerable situations that have no idea what their future is going to hold. The other overwhelming impression that I have
is of people that have been brutalised and traumatised, from their country of origin.
Some of them are fleeing horrible atrocities. A lot of them, if not the majority of them,
have come through conditions that are possibly even worse than what they found in their countries
of origin. Those that have been through Libya, which is the majority, are fleeing unimaginable
experiences. So they end up in Italy traumatised. And each and every one of them has a protection
need. And I think this had been a clear learning of the last four days that whether it is because
of sexual violence faced in Libya, whether it is because of torture, and arbitrary detentions
in prisons, whether it is simply, simply, the result of a sea journey which has been
so brutal and degrading to them, that by the time they come to Italian shores they are
all in need of some protection. Italy is on the frontline of Europe and is
in a sense doing the job of trying to receive and accommodate the people that are coming
in. The problem shouldn’t be that of Italy alone and there is an urgent need for solidarity
from the rest of Europe. The problem in a sense is that Europe has
collectively decided to apply a security focus to this problem, to say that the issue is
one of border control and expulsion, rather than as we would expect it to be an issue
of protection of the human rights of every person that arrives, as I said, brutalised
and traumatised from their journey to Italy.

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