With Italy having taken over presidency of the European Union (EU) until December 2014, questions remain regarding Europe’s migration policies as reports of migrants dying at sea while trying to reach Italy regularly make the headlines.
Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their home country have come up against a less than accommodating “Fortress Europe”.
“We walk inside an area that is 128 steps long and seven-and-a-half steps wide. This is the path they made for us: two metres of bars over our heads, and upon the bars, two metres of plexiglas. We are like canaries in a cage, like birds of different races all in one cage.”
Asylum seekers who travel to the United States to escape persecution in their home countries receive no assistance from the U.S. government and are not allowed to work for months, which activists say lead many to live on the streets or work illegally.
After what is remembered as the North Africa emergency of 2011, Italy is again seeing an increase in the arrivals of migrants, especially asylum seekers.
The Australian asylum policy of rejecting boat arrivals has been condemned by the United Nations Refugee Agency, Pacific island leaders, migration experts and human rights organisations.
Zeki Gorbuz, a Turkish asylum seeker in Greece, who was arrested on Feb. 12, remains detained today due to an international warrant that was transmitted by Turkish authorities to Greece just one day before his asylum interview. Turkish media were quick to report the arrest, describing Gorbuz as a radical leftist and regional leader of the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLCP), which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government.
As fighting rages on throughout Syria, civilian families desperate to escape are fleeing west to Greece.
Faraj Alhamauun, a Syrian national now residing in Istanbul, was detained while crossing Greece, in the hopes of heading north, last September.