Photo : Mehdi Chebil / InfoMigrants
From midnight yesterday, 1 June 2023, the Italian Red Cross took over the management of the hotspot in Contrada Imbriacola, Lampedusa.
Within the plan of the declared 'State of Emergency' regarding migration by the Meloni government, Croce Rossa is intervening on the conditions of the hotspot, making basic improvements, which unfortunately will not change its prison and detention nature.
In particular, even before officially entering into the management of this 'reception-prison' place, Croce Rossa is already carrying out renovation and adaptation work on the spaces, as well as creating new roles among the operators to guarantee some basic services that had been ignored or denied by previous managements (from effective and efficient cultural mediation, to the restoration of family links, an adequate canteen, decent health care). Within the same plan, a system for transferring people from Lampedusa to Sicily in a systematic way, by ships and planes, is also envisaged, to guarantee a minimum time in the hotspot and reduce the overcrowding that has characterised it for years.
Among the basic services, a wifi system has been installed to ensure that people arriving can connect.
Two months ago, Maldusa, together with other organisations in solidarity with the people on the move, had written to the Prefecture of Agrigento precisely to request the installation of a wifi system to ensure that people could contact their loved ones and be provided with adequate and free information tools (see here: https://www.maldusa.org/l/for-the-implementation-of-freedom-of-correspondence-with-the-outside-world-and-provision-of-a-wi-fi-network-at-the-lampedusa-hotspot/ ). Although we never received an official response to our requests, it seems that the announced changes may be heading in the right direction.
Nevertheless, we remain in observation, to monitor how the Red Cross promises will be implemented and to continue to pay attention to the structural blindness of defining migration as an 'emergency to be managed'.
While the reception of refugees from Ukraine shows that another approach with freedom of movement and free choice is always possible, the racist policy of externalisation and brutalisation of the European border regime in the south continues unabated.
The Hotspot system is prison-like, and while we welcome an improvement of the basic conditions, we continue to fight for its abolition, and for the abolition of all forms of detention, control, segregation, or restricting the freedom of movement of all!