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Personal Documents of Migration, now translated in German

Homecoming agony

Migrants of the Mediterranean (MotM), the Humanitarian Storytelling organization, introduces its Journey Story Archive now translated in German.

Migrants of the Mediterranean understands the value of people in the migrant community being seen, understood and integrated with society, and believes its archive of journey stories are the first step in making sure that can happen.

The organization is proud to make them available to the German-speaking public that has such a vital influence on the EU culture, economy and policy.

Years after the peak migration flow of 2015, many Europeans remain doubtful of the human rights abuses and extreme terror that unfolded across the Central Mediterranean Sea that people in the migrant community have suffered, as well as how the logistics of it unfolded.

The journey stories are a record of that. Migrants of the Mediterranean aims for a more complete historical record in its documentation.

The organization’s methodology ensures a moment of dignity restored to the people who have been hurt and exploited. The people it profiles are personally met and greeted upon arrival – or later in the course of fieldwork in Italy, Germany and the greater EU.

It is an exercise in compassion that enables personal connection, an honoring of the migrants’ fraught journeys, and a building of trust and empathy.

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Many of the people in the MotM migrant community stay in touch with its correspondent, who continues to follow them as they venture across Italy, and now into Germany, France, Belgium and elsewhere. The organization stays with them and available to talk and connect, sometimes when no one else will.

Being a migrant is an isolating experience, especially in a nationalistic-trending and COVID-19 world.

In spite of Republican Donald Trump’s defeat as the anti-immigration candidate in the recent US presidential election, and the specter of two viable coronavirus vaccines on the horizon reported over the past two weeks, borders continue to stand between communities.

The Migrants of the Mediterranean mission is to support the people they meet and to always stay connected, so they are never alone.

The Journey Story Archive has been developing since autumn 2016 on Lampedusa island, and its expansion to Italian, Spanish (limited), and now German is aimed to help facilitate understanding about the migration journey among European citizens both wary of outsiders within their national borders and armed with misconceptions about African people and their objectives now that they are in Europe.

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MotM organizes followup “reunion” stories that document living realities of the asylum and integration process, details that can be useful to scholars, professionals in the media and in public policy.

Migrants of the Mediterranean hopes that with further light on these vulnerable individuals, those in charge of helping institute societal change can do so in a way that reflects what is true to our shared living experience.

In January 2020 the organization launched the complete Journey Story Archive in Italian, for the first time allowing Italians to connect with people in the migrant community.

Now, Migrants of the Mediterranean invites you to read its migrant profiles in German. New translations are published ongoing, and soon, on a rolling basis as stories from fresh rounds of fieldwork become available.

About Migrants of the Mediterranean
Migrants of the Mediterranean (MotM) is an Humanitarian Storytelling organization that documents the individual journeys of people who have crossed continents, countries, desert and sea from their countries of origin to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, where they are brought post-rescue after escaping Libya. They are also greeted increasingly across greater Italy, Germany and the EU.

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The primary mission of MotM is to give dignity to the world’s most vulnerable and to ensure a platform where they may be seen and heard. MotM creates an account for the historical record, and tracks its subjects – some since 2016 – documenting all issues of the migrant experience in an effort to inform public policy, scholars and the media, and to provide a stable platform for migrants – the most marginalized of people – to find voice and, finally, home.

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UNHCR and IOM shocked and dismayed by deaths near Belarus-Poland border

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and are deeply saddened by the deaths of four individuals near the border between Poland and Belarus. The organizations express their condolences to the families of the deceased and are calling for an immediate investigation into this tragedy. The nationalities of the all the victims have yet to be confirmed but two Iraqi nationals reportedly died of hypothermia.

In recent months, groups of asylum-seekers and migrants have been transiting through Belarus, to seek asylum in neighbouring EU Member States – Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

The two agencies have been following with growing concern, reports of pushbacks of people at these borders. Groups of people have become stranded for weeks, unable to access any form of assistance, asylum or basic services. Many were left in dire situations, exposed to the elements, suffering from hypothermia. Some were rescued from swamps.

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Recognizing the significant challenges posed by irregular movements, the agencies have called for the situation to be managed in accordance with international legal obligations, and for States to work collaboratively to resolve the situation, prioritising human rights.

UNHCR and IOM call for immediate access to those affected, in order to provide lifesaving medical help, food, water and shelter, especially in light of the approaching winter.

While States have the sovereign right to manage their borders, this is not incompatible with the respect for human rights including the right to seek asylum. Pushbacks endanger lives and are illegal under international law.

UNHCR and IOM have been engaging with relevant authorities to explore various options for the people who continue to be stranded at borders; from access to asylum, family reunification procedures, and voluntary return for those found not to be in need of international protection.

IOM and UNHCR reiterate that asylum-seekers and migrants should never be used by States to achieve political ends. The fundamental responsibility to protect vulnerable people should be shared among States in a spirit of solidarity. Political disagreement on responsibilities must never result in the loss of life, forfeiting States international obligations and commitments.

READ  Goma volcano eruption displaces 415,700 people as IOM prepares response

 

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UNHCR calls on Libya to urgently develop plan for asylum seekers and refugees, welcomes authorization to restart evacuation

Libya. UNHCR provides assistance to asylum-seekers caught in crackdown

A refugee feeds her baby while waiting to receive assistance at an emergency distribution by UNHCR and partners in Tripoli, Libya.  © UNHCR/Mohamed Alalem

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today urged the Libyan government to immediately address the dire situation of asylumseekers and refugees in a humane and rights-based manner. Raids and arbitrary arrests by the authorities this month targeted areas largely  populated by refugees and asylumseekers that resulted in several deaths, thousands detained, and many homeless and destitute.

“Since the start of the security raids and arrests by the Libyan authorities in October, we have witnessed a sharp deterioration in the situation facing vulnerable asylumseekers and refugees in Tripoli,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean Situation. “The Libyan authorities must come up with a proper plan that respects their rights and identifies durable solutions.”

Some 3,000 people are currently sheltering outside the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli, where UNHCR and its partners have been providing medical assistance and other services. Their situation is very precarious. Many were affected by the raids, demolition of their homes, and have escaped from detention in terrible conditions. Others have joined the group hoping to be evacuated.

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“Many have been left homeless and lost all their belongings as a result of the security operation and are now sleeping in the cold and in a very unsafe environment. This is utterly unacceptable,” said Cochetel.

UNHCR and partners had to suspend operations at the Community Day Centre for security and safety reasons, but remain engaged in an active dialogue with representatives of the protesters outside the CDC to explain the limited assistance it can offer, including cash and food assistance.

Together with other UN agencies, UNHCR stands ready to support an urgent plan of action that could help alleviate the terrible suffering of asylumseekers and refugees in Libya. 

UNHCR continues to call on the authorities to respect the human rights and dignity of asylumseekers and refugees, stop their arbitrary arrest and release them from detention. 

The UN Refugee Agency has welcomed authorization to restart humanitarian evacuation flights, but warns that it is not enough. 

“This is a positive development for some of the most vulnerable refugees, who have been waiting anxiously for many months to depart. Our teams are already working to ensure humanitarian flights can restart as soon as possible,” said Cochetel “But we also need to be realistic: resettlement or evacuation flights will only benefit a limited number of people.”    

More than 1,000 vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers are currently prioritised for humanitarian flights and awaiting their resumption. UNHCR continues to urge the international community to offer more legal pathways to safety outside Libya.

READ  UAE repatriates 170 NIgerians with expired visas for from Dubai

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Free movement of people a top priority, say West African nations

Aligned migration policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons, says the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Photo: Fredrick Ejiga/IOM

Abuja – Free movement of people and goods, and fighting human trafficking should be top policy priorities, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed at talks convened with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Network for Migration and the African Union.

Three days of consultations in Abuja this week offered the first chance for ECOWAS members to collectively assess progress in implementing the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) objectives and to decide key recommendations to be put to next year’s International Migration Review Forum.

Integrated migration governance should be a key goal and Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior for Ghana, the Chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments, said it was essential African nations addressed trafficking in persons and its devastating consequences on migrants.

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“Vile stories on international media concerning migrant slavery, as well as mistreatment of young African domestic helps in some Gulf States, call for a reflection on appropriate actions to be taken with a view to finding a lasting solution to this persistent problem that leads to the loss of young Africans, without whom the continent cannot build a prosperous and peaceful future,” Dery said. “In Ghana, the contribution of migrants has played a great role in shaping our national development.”

Governments must address the root causes of trafficking and ensure the free movement of people in a safe, orderly and dignified manner. ECOWAS representatives emphasized the need to join forces and align approaches to prevent and counter smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons to promote rights-based management of migration.

The meeting, which ended Thursday, also heard that policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons.

Aissata Kane, IOM’s Senior Regional Adviser for Sub Saharan Africa, said the Global Compact for Migration was a landmark, multilateral document. “It aims to catalyze and boost combined support and assistance for addressing legal and humanitarian challenges of migration and foster its positive social, cultural and economic dividends within and outside the ECOWAS region.”

READ  Ghana excludes  stranded nationals with KLM, Airfrance return tickets from fresh payments

IOM has been working with all stakeholders at intergovernmental and national levels, as well as within the UN Network for Migration, to promote safe, orderly and dignified free movement of people and economic exchange among ECOWAS Member States.

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Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
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