When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Migrant Lives

Migrant Lives

Walls Of Shame: Trump Is Not Alone In Building Barriers To Shut Out Latin Americans

Keeping out the poor from one country to another, or even within a country, is not a new idea, though former U.S. President Donald Trump seems to have set off a new wave across the region, and the world.

If you are from Latin America and you hear the word “wall,” you most likely think of the one that Donald Trump began to build between the United States and Mexico. However, there are currently more than 60 border walls around the world, and, contrary to popular belief, Trump's is not the only one keeping Latin Americans out of a territory.

Watch VideoShow less

When Migrants Vanish: Families Quietly Endure Uncertainty

Zimbabweans cling to hope even after years of silence from loved ones who have disappeared across borders.

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Blessing Tichagwa can barely remember her mother. Like hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans, Noma Muyambo emigrated to South Africa in search of work, leaving baby Blessing, now 15, behind with her grandmother.

The last time they saw her was nine years ago, when Blessing was 6. Muyambo returned for one week, then left again — and has not sent any messages or money since.

Keep reading...Show less

Saviano v. Meloni: My Right To Curse Italy's Leaders For Letting Migrants Die

Acclaimed Italian writer Roberto Saviano is in court this month facing defamation charges from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. With this essay, Saviano stands by his words, and his right to use them.

Italian writer Roberto Saviano is facing defamation charges from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Two years ago, before she was elected, Saviano called Meloni and her right-wing ally Matteo Salvini "bastards" for demanding that Italy refuse to help save would-be migrants stranded at sea.

-Essay-

ROMEI stand in this courtroom today indicted for my harsh criticism of Giorgia Meloni and Matteo Salvini, whom I hold responsible for pushing their political propaganda upon the most desperate and vulnerable and least able to defend themselves: refugees.

It is a propaganda that not only attacks people seeking safety far from their countries battered by war, poverty and environmental destruction, but also violently lashes out against the NGOs attempting to rescue them in the Mediterranean before — or sometimes, tragically, after — the sea turns into their grave.

I find it odd that a writer is put on trial for the words he or she shares, however harsh they may be, while helpless people continue to suffer atrocious violence and relentless lies.

Keep reading...Show less

Italian Shame: Meloni's Migrant Policy Is Probably Illegal And Certainly Immoral

Vladimiro Zagrebelsky, an Italian jurist and former judge on the European Court of Human Rights, says Italy's new government's blocking rescued migrants from coming ashore is a likely violation of international law, and indication of what it thinks of basic human rights.

-Analysis-

ROME — Italy's first major showdown over immigration since the election of new right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has passed. But this is just the beginning.

Late Tuesday, Italian health officials allowed more than 250 people on NGO rescue boats to disembark on the island of Sicily, and another vessel carrying 234 people was headed to the French island of Corsica. This followed a weeklong standoff in which the Italian government would only care for those it considered “vulnerable” passengers.

Still, Meloni criticized the decision of health officials, which means we can expect the blocking of rescued migrants from disembarking appears bound to happen again.

The latest news came after the Italian government denied port access to three NGO ships that had rescued about 1,000 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in late October.

Keep reading...Show less
Migrant Lives
Carolina Drüten

How An Erdogan-Assad Truce Could Trigger A New Migrant Crisis At Europe's Border

In Turkey, resentment against Syrian refugees is growing. And President Erdogan – once their patron – is now busy seeking good relations with the man the Syrians fled, the dictator Bashar al-Assad.

ISTANBUL — At some point, they'd simply had enough. Enough of the hostilities, the insecurity, the attacks. In a group on the messenger service Telegram, Syrians living in Turkey called for a caravan – a march to the Turkish-Greek border, and then crossing into the European Union.

Tens of thousands of users are now following updates from the group, in which the organizers are asking Syrian refugees in Arabic to equip themselves with sleeping bags, tents, life jackets, drinking water, canned food and first aid kits. The AFP news agency spoke to an organizer who wants to remain anonymous because of possible reprisals. "We will let you know when it's time to leave," said the 46-year-old Syrian engineer.

Watch VideoShow less
Migrant Lives
Haïfa Mzalouat

Across Africa, Families Of Migrants Lost At Sea Join Forces For Comfort And Justice

In West and North Africa, survivors of migrants who've vanished have come together to support each other and pay tribute to their family members. But above all, they're trying any means possible to find out the truth and get justice after years of silence.

ZARZIS — “I need to know the truth! Where is my son?”

Souad’s voice resonates strongly through the square in the town of Zarzis, in the south of Tunisia. On Sept. 6, 2022, in spite of the sweltering heat, the families of people who went missing during migration marched through the town with sympathetic activists, holding banners and slogans.

This date was chosen in homage to the 80 people who went missing after a small boat departing from Tunisia sank off the coast of Italy. Ten years later, the mother of one of the lost at sea is still there, waiting for answers.

Watch VideoShow less
Migrant Lives
Eleonora Camilli

Lampedusa Postcard: "Invisible" Migrants As Campaign Propaganda

As Italy prepares to vote, migration from Africa is once again a hot topic, even as the number of arrivals is dropping. A view from the tiny Italian island that has been at the center of the debate for more than a decade, where the specter of migrants is rolled out as prime election propaganda.

LAMPEDUSA — The double-decker boat slowly approaches the dock while Italian rock music plays. It is just after 9 p.m., and the air is warm and windy. The many people on board gather bags, shoes and towels and head for the exit.

"Nice, we had a good time," say two tourists from the northern Italian city of Bergamo as they get on the scooter parked at the end of the pier.

The evening cruise lasted four hours: it included a tour of the most beautiful beaches, dolphin spotting, an aperitif with a D.J. set, and food before returning. It was a long party on the sea, one of the countless attractions of the island of Lampedusa, which is still filled with tourists even as summer fades.

Watch VideoShow less
Rwanda
Tazreena Sajjad*

How Rich Western Countries Pay To Send Refugees Away

Western countries are shipping refugees to poorer nations in exchange for cash.

The UK government was due to begin its first deportation flight to remove asylum-seekers to the East African country of Rwanda on June 14, 2022, exactly two months after signing the UK-Rwanda agreement. The asylum-seekers were from several war-torn and politically unstable countries, including Syria, Sudan and Iran.

Each year, thousands of people – many fleeing repressive governments or poverty – attempt to cross the English Channel in fragile boats in the hope of starting a new life in the UK.

Watch VideoShow less
Migrant Lives
Jamal Barnes

Not My Problem: Individual Responsibility And Government Abuse Of Asylum Seekers

Denial and indifference drive the way ordinary Australians face the mistreatment of refugees.

-OpEd-

As one of its first acts in government, the newly elected Labor government turned back a boat of Sri Lankan asylum seekers trying to enter Australia.

Labor has vowed to continue Operation Sovereign Borders, including boat turnbacks and offshore detention. This is concerning. Not only do turnbacks violate international law, but offshore detention has resulted in torture and cruel and inhuman treatment of refugees.

Even more concerning is the lack of criticism Labor has received for continuing offshore detention and turnbacks. Apart from being condemned by human rights groups and minor political parties, Labor’s refugee policies appear to have gone without much comment from a large part of the Australian public.

As I found in my new research paper, the Australian government has used three forms of denial, creating physical and psychological distance between itself and refugees.

Watch VideoShow less
Society
Eleonora Camilli

"Jus Scholae" - Italians Seek To Establish A Right To Citizenship Through Education Status

Italy is debating a new bill that would allow foreign-born students to become Italian citizens, linked to their status within Italy's school system.

ROME — "Joseph, are you Italian?"

The question hangs in the air for just a few seconds, before the boy replies confidently: "Of course!"

Before starting to shoot the basketball again, his expression turns worried and asks: "Why? Am I not?"

Twelve years old, a lover of basketball and fan of AS Roma soccer club, Joseph was born in Italy but his document states the nationality of his mother, who arrived from Nigeria shortly before he was born.

Watch VideoShow less
Migrant Lives
Sara Perria, Monica Perosino

Taliban To Traffickers — The Perilous Journey Of Women Fleeing Afghanistan

Staying in a theocracy whose rulers subjugate women was not an option, but trying to get to destinations in Europe and beyond comes with unthinkable perils of its own.

ATHENS — Hariana* always knew that fleeing Afghanistan would not be easy. But it turned out far worse than that.

Now 29, she fled to Iran with her family two years ago, but was sexually assaulted by her employer in Tehran. That prompted her to leave on her own for Europe. Hariana found herself as the only woman following a smuggler on a perilous journey that would be on foot, by bus and by sea.

"Once on the bus I looked around and got scared," she recalled. "The trafficker told me to get off. He wanted me for himself."

Watch VideoShow less
Migrant Lives
Julie Zaugg

The 'British Dream' Is A Dangerous Trap For Too Many Migrants

The United Kingdom is seen by migrants as the promised land. Many are prepared to embark on a perilous journey to get there. But on arrival, they often find that life is not what they expected. Some even discover working conditions resembling slavery.

LONDON — Huong was full of dreams. “I thought I’d live like a queen in the United Kingdom, that I’d eat well, that I’d be well-dressed and find an easy job with a high salary,” the Vietnamese young woman recalls. Her neighbors had a close relation who emigrated to the UK and regularly sent them money. “They built a beautiful house and bought themselves a huge car,” she remembers.

So she went on a quest for a migration agent. The British dream is the cause of a migration wave during which thousands of migrants from impoverished countries risk it all to reach the British shores. At the end of this perilous journey, far from finding the Holy Grail they had hoped for, many fall into the clutches of traffickers, having to work in conditions of modern slavery.

Watch VideoShow less
EXPLORE OTHER TOPICS
chinaitalyusafrancegermany