mercoledì 30 maggio 2012

No More Push-Backs!

June 20, 2012 - World Refugee Day, screenings of Mare Chiuso throughout Italy

June 20 is World Refugee Day. It is an occasion for individuals, organizations, and governments across the world to consider the challenges facing refugees and what can be done to improve their status and the conditions they face.
To commemorate World Refugee Day, the Italian video documentary production studio ZaLab, in cooperation with the Open Society Foundations and Amnesty International-Italy, will launch a national campaign aimed at obtaining a commitment from Italian authorities to end “push-back” operations in which Italian authorities have turned back boatloads of refugees fleeing violent conflict and persecutions.

ZaLab’s documentary film Mare Chiuso (Closed Sea), shows how hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants were picked up at sea and pushed back to Libya without being identified. Many of them were asylum seekers trying to escape from political persecution and war. They were returned to Libya where they were tortured and abused by Gaddafi’s police. The “push back” policy was the result of a 2008 treaty between Italy and Libya and other border and immigration-related agreements signed in 2007.

On February 23, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Italy’s “push back” policies as a violation of international human rights laws. . However, the Italian government has yet to reject its use of “push-back” operations. . When polled about the policy, a significant percentage of Italians consider the “push back” operations not only as necessary, but also as a successful approach to dealing with refugees.

The  “NO MORE PUSH-BACKS,”’campaign aims to make policymakers and the Italian public more aware of the horrible conditions and threats that turn people into refugees. The campaign also aims to help bring about policies and attitudes that are more sympathetic to the plight of refugees. To achieve these goals, the campaign is  asking Italian citizens and organizations that are concerned about the abuse of refugees  to organise screenings of Mare Chiuso in squares, cinemas, schools, theatres, universities, and on local and national televisions.

If you want to organise a screening of Mare Chiuso, write to specifying "No more push-backs" in the subject.

If you wish to join the campaign and get more info, write to

Working together as part of the campaign, Italians who want their government to treat refugees with sympathy and in accordance to international human rights law can make a difference. World Refugee Day is a unique opportunity for citizens to  help Italy regain its dignity as a welcoming country.  Getting the government to reject and cease its outrageous “push-back” operations  will be a first step toward developing more humaneimmigration and asylum policies.

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