European Alternatives supports the Campaign against the policy of “pushing-back” migrants “No More Push-Backs!” (Mai Più Respinti!) launched by ZaLab, the Italian production company involved in participatory videos and community documentaries projects, in cooperation with Open Society Foundations and Amnesty International on the occasion of the 11th annual World Refugee Day.
On 4 December 2000, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the Resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day observed on June 20 each year. The General Assembly therefore decided that, from 2001, the 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day to raise awareness of the inhuman condition of refugees and to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees worldwide who are forced to flee their home countries because of war, religious or political persecution during one internationally recognised day.
Since then, the World Refugee Day became an annual event and it is now celebrated in different ways all over the world. In 2012, several celebrations will take place all around Italy including more than 100 simultaneous screenings of Andrea Segre and Stefano Liberti’s documentary “Closed Sea” (Mare Chiuso) which followed the migrants “pushed-back” – most of those people being asylum seekers originating from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan – during and after that they had been rejected at the Southern Borders of the European Union and forcibly returned to Libya, where they were detained in inhumane and degrading conditions and submitted to a variety of abuses, including torture.This way, on the occasion of the 11th annual World Refugee Day, in more than 60 Italian cities so far (from the northest in Agordo to the southest scheduled in Caltagirone, Sicily), cinemas, theatres, schools, universities, community centres, libraries, museums will screen the documentary by Stefano Liberti and Andrea Segre and hundreds of NGOs, associations, institutions and private citizens are subscribing to the Campaign to say “stop” to the push-backs of migrants, for which Italy has already been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on February 2012.
The Italian Senate’s Human Rights Commission will also host a special screening open to the public (info and requests for accreditation at: ) of the documentary at 3:30 p.m.
European Alternatives supports all the initiatives launched to promote the Campaign “No More Push-Backs!” coherently with its transnational ongoing commitment calling on the governments of the Member States and on the EU institutions to act in order to ensure that civil society representatives and the press have access to the detention centres and defending migrants’ rights at the international, regional and local level.
For all these reasons, in the past few months we have continuously called, together with our European partners, on MPs and those who do have access to migrant detention centres to push for respect and improvements of the national and European legislation in this field. Furthermore, because the EU is increasingly ‘externalising’ its migratory policies, pushing non-member states to set up detention centres on their own territory to prevent migrants from entering Europe, we insisted on the need for the full implementation of procedures that guarantee openness and transparency in these non-European countries, too.