Kompass-newsletter No. 108 - 10/2022


30.9./1.10: in Brussels: March for "Rights, no Death!"  +++ 1.10. in Berlin: Right to stay instead of deportation prison - protest against deportation centre BERlin +++ 1-3.10. in Frankfurt: Symposium on cosmopolitanism from below - approaches to global democracy +++ From 6.10. in many cities: Infotour with Activists on the struggles at the Polish-Belarussian Border +++ 15.10. in Berlin, Brussels, Madrid...(?): Stop Italy-Libya Memorandum +++ From 4.11. in Berlin: Exhibition "Three Doors" on Dessau and Hanau +++ 4-6.11. in Cologne: National Meeting on Church Asylum +++ CommemorAction in Zarzis - Statements against Cochetel +++ Central Med: Echoes No.2 - Missing at the EU Border +++ Free El Hiblu 3 - Open Letter to the Attorney General +++ Western Med and Atlantic: The criminalisation of people on the move +++ Aegean/Evros Region: "A dilemma between unbelievable violence and death" +++ Review: Late justice for the survivors of Farmakonisi +++ Outlook: 9/10 December in Geneva: Days of action in front of UNHCR

Dear friends,

More than 100 participants - among them especially mothers, fathers and siblings of the disappeared and drowned from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Senegal - came together at the beginning of September for the central CommemorAction in Zarzis, Tunisia. Several impressive assemblies, including a declaration of solidarity by the fishermen of Zarzis, were followed by a loud demonstration through the city with subsequent commemorative actions on the beach and on two fishing boats. "Echoes from the Central Med", the new publication of the Civilian Rescue Coordination (CivilMRCC), dedicates its second issue to this struggle of the relatives and thematises it as a "new anti-neocolonial voice in the struggle for global social justice". 

In the face of the families' protests against the EU border and visa regime, the UNHCR's Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, felt compelled to send a tweet in which - in classic perpetrator-victim reversal - he blames the mothers for the deaths of their children and even calls for their "symbolic persecution" and criminalisation. Although he has to row back after many outraged reactions and the UNHCR apologises to the families, the incident sheds - further - light on the unbelievable conditions and personnel within the UN Refugee Agency.

In line with this, but with a focus on the struggles of the https://www.refugeesinlibya.org , two days of action with sit-in protests and demonstrations are being prepared in Geneva for 9 and 10 December 2022 - International Human Rights Day. Under the motto "From Tripoli to Geneva - Amplify the Voices of Refugees in Libya!", the UNHCR headquarters will be besieged and sounded for at least 24 hours.

One year ago, on 2 October 2021, the self-organised mass protest of refugees in Libya started, whose demands have lost none of their urgency. They will also be at the centre of the rallies against the extension of the Italian-Libyan Memorandum, which will take place in several cities on 15 October.

Now that the polls in the Italian elections have been largely confirmed and a far-right government will soon take power there, it should be clear that any remaining room for negotiation with Rome on the issue of migration and sea rescue has been set at zero. Instead, attacks of all kinds on the anti-racist movements in Italy in general and on the civilian rescue fleet in particular must be expected in the coming months. 

On the day of the election results, Sea Watch presented its new and so far largest rescue ship - the Sea Watch 5. With SOS Humanity and the Italian health organisation Emergency, the civilian fleet has been strengthened by two more ships and actors. The cooperation in rescues in the central Mediterranean with the Alarm Phone hotline, with three small aircraft and the numerous large and small rescue ships has taken on a new dimension in the summer of 2022. They all now face new challenges in view of the foreseeable escalation at the EU's southern border. 

Friends of the Italian organisation Mediterranea have already pointed out before the elections: there will be a new polarisation in Italy, which, however, also contains the chance of a re-politicisation of the democratic spectrum and thus could even lead to the strengthening of the left, human rights forces in the medium term. This makes the continuous expansion of infrastructures "from the sea to the cities" and their joint coordination and cooperation all the more important.

In this spirit and with this hope!

The Compass Crew