Med Report is the monthly online magazine that investigates specific and topical issues in the context of Europe's increasingly externalised sea and land borders.
At the heart of the work is data collected day by day on events in the search and rescue (SAR) zones in the central Mediterranean.
The magazine also contains analyses from borderline-europe.
In July, the number of people forced to flee across the Mediterranean and who managed to arrive in Italy was 23,944. Among them were
2,663 unaccompanied minors. Since January 2023, just as in previous years, the debate around the migration emergency in Italy has been characterized by alarmist tones and catastrophic forecasts. The data for these eight months, however, show a much more nuanced picture which is far from the proclaimed emergency. In the first seven months of 2023, about 88,000 people landed on the Italian coast.
19 August 2023 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In June, the number of people who were forced to flee and cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 15,234. Among them were 1,329 unaccompanied minors. According to data provided by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, the number of people who landed on Italian shores increased by 30% compared to the same period last year. The main migration routes to Italy during June were from Libya and Tunisia. Once again, the available reception capacity was exceeded, creating numerous tensions. Some reception centres were overloaded, resulting in poor hygiene conditions and overcrowded situations. Humanitarian organisations have raised concerns about the lack of resources and the conditions in which people landing on our shores are accommodated.
18 July 2023 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In May, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean and who managed to arrive in Italy was 7,619. Among them were 1,331 unaccompanied minors. In recent weeks, due to bad weather and adverse conditions, there has been a significant decrease in the number of migrants entering Italy by sea compared to the first months of this year, during which the highest levels since 2016 were reached. The significant reduction in arrivals can also be attributed to the drastic decrease in departures from Tunisia, which is by far the country of origin of the majority of migrants reaching Italy by sea.
14 June 2023 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In April the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean and who managed to arrive
in Italy is 14,794. Among them, there are 1,532 unaccompanied minors.
Improved maritime and weather conditions after the winter have favoured
an increase in migration flows in the Central Mediterranean: thousands of people undertook the dramatic journey in boats
overcrowded and unsuitable for safe navigation.
Risky crossings that repeatedly resulted in the drama of shipwrecks and tragic human losses. The humanitarian organisations have continued to play a crucial role in saving lives and providing assistance to people in distress.
25 May 2023 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In March the number of people who found themselves forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean and who managed to arrive in Italy was 12,847. Among them, there were 929 unaccompanied minors.
The month of March was marked by the many initiatives to remember the Cutro tragedy, which saw the tragic toll of victims rise to 91. "The whole world should be grateful for what this little 'neighbourhood' of Brussels lost in the middle of the Mediterranean is doing. We have made hospitality an added value and we will not back down, despite the many difficulties we experience on a daily basis, as long as it is necessary'. These words were spoken by Filippo Mannino, mayor of Lampedusa, in front of the daily landings on the island, often autonomous and ignored by the news.
21 April 2023 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In February, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee, crossing the Mediterranean and who managed to arrive in Italy was 9,474. Among them, there are 1,205 unaccompanied minors.
The dramatic tragedy in front of the costs of Cutro brings back to the centre of the debate, once again, the issue of migration flows on Italian territory. Numbers to which the strategy of the Meloni government, aimed at clamping down on the work of non-governmental organisations and, also, at political and diplomatic pressure in Europe to change the rules on the right to asylum, finds a response.
'We cannot die like this, each of us could have done more'. This was one of the messages that appeared on a banner outside the PalaMilone, where the funeral chamber was set up with the bodies of the victims of yet another shipwreck that took place, this time, off the coast of Cutro. The boat had set sail from the Turkish coast with about 180 people on board.
These data are processed on the basis of information provided by the Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration of the Ministry of Interior. The data refer to disembarkation events detected by 8 a.m. on the reference day. A few hours later, reached by a caique, more people had boarded. On the evening of three days later Frontex identified the fragile vessel, describing it as being in "good buoyant condition". "Good condition", and yet, that would lead to her splitting in half a few hours later, in the night, with hundreds of lives in the sea. More than half will drown: a number that will increase more and more in the following days.
16 March 2023 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In the month of January, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean and who managed to arrive in Italy was equal to 4,959.** Among them, there were 507 unaccompanied minors.
More than 60 per cent more than arrivals in the same period in 2022. Teams on board humanitarian vessels contributed to the rescue of 527 people, just over ten per cent of the total. The remaining ninety per cent landed independently or with the support of the patrol boats of the Italian Coast Guard.
In the same weeks, sixty-six victims, at the frightening rate of two per day.
A confirmation, the umpteenth, of how the central Mediterranean route is the most dangerous one, especially at a time when the humanitarian fleet faces so many difficulties in rescues, mostly forced to navigate so far from the place where there is a real need for a presence.**
12 February 2023 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In December, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 10,799. Among them were 735 unaccompanied minors. Over one hundred thousand people arrived in Italy in 2022. 28 December, in particular, was the day in December with the most arrivals: 939. The month with the most landings, on the other hand, was August, with 16,822.
Following the approval of the Italian government's decree imposing a new code of conduct on rescue activities at sea by non-governmental organisations, criticism came from the Garante dei detenuti e delle persone private della libertà (Italian Ombudsman for prisoners and persons deprived of their liberty), Mauro Palma, who expressed a number of perplexities. These concerns concerned the applications for international protection on board, the single rescue, and the sanctions issued administratively and without the scrutiny of the judiciary.
Guarantor Mauro Palma specified that 'international maritime law does not identify the master of a ship as competent to determine the status of those who temporarily fall under his care following a rescue operation and is therefore in no way obliged to ask the rescued persons whether they wish to apply for international protection'.
Figures updated to 11 December 2022, provided by the Missing Migrants Project, by the International Organisation for Migration, show that 25,331 migrants have died or disappeared in the Mare Nostrum since 2014. To add to the horror of the numbers, it is understandable that this figure is in any case inaccurate, because the number of victims is certainly much higher considering those who have been killed or missing along the land routes through the Sahara desert and border areas.
Here is the full report for December 2022.
15 January 2023 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In November, the number of people who were forced to flee and cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 9,300. Among them were 2,022 unaccompanied minors.
At a summit on 25 November, the European Commission presented a 20-point programme of guidelines. An attempt, this one, to appease Italy with an action plan for the central Mediterranean while waiting for the 27 EU countries to reach a still far-off agreement on the asylum and immigration pact that would radically change the Dublin regulation.
Among the points, a partnership with African countries, paths of legal immigration, reinforcement of solidarity mechanisms (which will in any case remain voluntary), acceleration of repatriations. Nothing more than guidelines, once again: nothing more than proclamations that Europe has not already committed itself to without ever putting into action. In recent weeks new invitations have also come from President Mattarella: the management of migratory flows as "a decisive and global issue" that will not be eclipsed. It is necessary 'to face these challenges together in a spirit of strong solidarity'. "Diplomacy, national and international organisations, starting with the European Union, are called to a common commitment. At stake are the lives, destiny and dignity of human beings."
Here the full report of November 2022
15 December 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In October, the number of people who were forced to flee and cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 13,716. Among them were 2,161 unaccompanied minors.
Numbers, again, extremely close to those of the previous month and so far removed from the immigration emergency rhetoric that has characterised previous months. 3 October was the ninth anniversary of the shipwreck that occurred that day in 2013, when 368 people lost their lives off the coast of Lampedusa. Since that 3 October, more than 24,000 refugees and migrants have died or are missing in the Mediterranean Sea.
On 26 October, in an interview with La Stampa, the new Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi supported the thesis that the ships of ungoverned organisations 'are a pull factor for migrants'.
A thesis already put forward several times by those who seek to criminalise sea rescue, yet never proved true. There is no study, in fact, that supports the 'pull factor' theory. The contribution of NGOs is not followed by an increase in migrant arrivals. An unsound thesis, yet so much used in political proclamations.
Here the full report for October 2022
15 November 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In September, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 14,157. Among them were 1,719 unaccompanied minors.
Numbers extremely close to those of the previous month. Yet, not at all close to the rhetoric of the immigration emergency that has characterised the previous months. In the politicians' cries we find a description of a country that is not at all close to reality. An ordinary phenomenon, conversely, used and exploited for personal interests, with a precise emotional and propagandistic communication.
Sunday 25 September saw the celebration of World Migrant and Refugee Day.
As Pope Francis reminded us in a passage of the encyclical Brothers All: "Migration will be a founding element of the world's future.
The construction of our future must take place together with migrants, with refugees: a truth, this one, so much forgotten in a climate of aversion to what is different. Yet, Francis reminded us that 'it is not enough to welcome migrants: they must also be accompanied, promoted and integrated'.
With this in mind, we have addressed the issue of the Italy-Libya Memorandum, which on 2 November 2022 will be tacitly renewed for the second time, unless Italy finally takes the opportunity to interrupt it. To understand the madness of this pact, it is necessary to understand it in depth, year by year, listening to the voice of those who, as parliamentarians, have experienced its implications and evolutions.
Here is the complete report for September 2022.
15 October 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In August, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee and cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 15,998. Among them were 1,705 unaccompanied minors.
The issue of immigration has returned powerfully in TV lounges and in the rallies of political figures in the run-up to the 25 September elections. Nevertheless, we are witnessing something we have already seen in the past: rescues entrusted almost exclusively to the operators on board civil ships, overcrowded hotspots in dilapidated conditions, and an ever-increasing fragility for those in need of help.
Yet, we must remember that the narrative of a 'migration emergency' is unrealistic. A narrative that, moreover, is not reflected in the documents circulated by political forces, which are often full of confused, vague solutions or, in some cases, where the issue is even totally absent.
Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration, keeps repeating that there is 'no numerical emergency'.
And again, as Francesca Paci recalled on the pages of La Stampa, 'there is no emergency in Europe, where fortunately, in the aftermath of the Russian invasion, more than 9 million Ukrainian refugees were received without a single blow, nor in Italy, where there is a serious humanitarian emergency at the Lampedusa hotspot, a narrow organisational bottleneck (...)'.
15 September 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In July, the number of people who were forced to flee and cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 13,746. Among them were 1,341 unaccompanied minors. In a Lampedusa crowded with tourists, the hotspot structure in the area is once again on its knees: over two thousand men, women, and children crammed in waiting for transfers. Something that has already happened in previous months, in previous years, but which, even this time, continues to take on the guise of something new.
As reported by journalists who give voice to the horror present, there is no longer any division between men and women, thousands of people forced to rest on filthy old mattresses, amidst dust and rubbish that invades the entire centre. To exacerbate the situation, predictably enough, the beginning of the election campaign in Italy - never actually finished - seizes the opportunity to bring the important yet fragile issue of migration back to the centre of the debate.
A tragic example of this is the case of the Gamar, the boat that saved 47 people on 3 October 2013. Today, however, it becomes a space for those who proclaim the need to strengthen ties - even more - with the ferocious Libyan Coast Guard, which, as can be seen in the following pages, continues its rejections on a daily basis.
01 August 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In June, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee and cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 8,008. Among them were 763 unaccompanied minors. Once again this month, the tireless work of the humanitarian ships made it possible to save hundreds of lives. At the same time, however, constant interception by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard has brutally interrupted the attempts of so many people to find a better future.
Extensive research by Matteo Villa, on behalf of ISPI, has provided yet further confirmation of the non-existence of the pull factor value: from June 2021 to date, 86% of arrivals by sea are autonomous. At the same time, we can see that the number of people disembarked from the Mediterranean in the same period is around 75,000: half of those fleeing Ukraine and rightly welcomed in Italy.
Can we really continue to speak of a 'landings emergency'? Even this year, the hotspot on the island of Lampedusa is at capacity: numbers that are predictable but which we constantly forget. The blame cannot lie with those who arrive, but with a political management that, for opportunism or disinterest, continues to ignore the realities of migration.
15 July 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In May, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 8,963. Among them were 979 unaccompanied minors.
The rejections by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard have continued daily this month: violent interceptions aboard swift patrol boats against hundreds of people who overcome all fears to try to escape the Libyan horrors.
On 21 April last, we recall, the European Commission confirmed that it wanted to continue strengthening the operations of the Libyan military by handing them new ships. Is this, we ask ourselves, the Europe of rights? The Europe we believe in? These data are compiled on the basis of information provided by the Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration of the Ministry of the Interior. The data refer to disembarkation events detected by 8 a.m. on the reference day. The tireless work of the humanitarian ships has made it possible to continue to save the honour of this torpid Europe: a big welcome to the new ship Aurora, with the crew of Sea Watch on board with the technical support of the British NGO SAR-Relief.
17 June 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In April, the number of people who were forced to flee and cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 3,683. Among them were 420 unaccompanied minors.
The Mediterranean Sea continues to be a place where more and more people, fleeing war and persecution, meet their deaths. On top of this horror are the continuous rejections by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, whose operations continue to be financed also by the Italian government. On 21 April, the European Commission announced that it would continue to strengthen the operations of the Libyan military by delivering new ships to them.
Similar rejections take place at the hands of the Tunisian military, a country where refugees - even if they are recognised as such - have no rights. Protests continue to this day in front of the Tunisian headquarters of the High Commissioner for Refugees, demanding that their rights be recognised. We cannot fail to notice how Europe, with the horror in Ukraine, has realised how easy it is to take in four million refugees in a few weeks, but prefers to continue to disregard a few thousand people fleeing other wars.
The constant work of humanitarian ships has continued to save the honour of this torpid Europe: almost four hundred rescues by the crews of Sos Méditerranée, Médecins Sans Frontières, Sea Watch and Sea Eye.
20 May 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In March, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 1,296. This number is lower compared to the previous month's arrivals of 2,439. Among those who arrived in this second month of the year were 348 unaccompanied minors.
The Mediterranean Sea continues to be a place where more and more people, fleeing war and persecution, meet their deaths. In the first fourteen days of March, more than seventy people drowned off the coast of Libya. "I am appalled," said Sara Msehli, spokesperson for the UN migration agency, "by the continued loss of life in the central Mediterranean and the lack of action to address this ongoing tragedy. Daily death bulletins continue: on 12 March, a fragile boat carrying 25 people capsized near the Libyan coast of Tobruk. The IOM continues to call for 'concrete action to reduce the loss of life on the central Mediterranean route through search and rescue activities and a safe disembarkation mechanism in accordance with international law'. More than half of the deaths this year have been recorded near the Libyan coast. "Each report," explains Federico Soda, head of the IOM Libya mission, "of missing migrants represents a grieving family searching for answers about their loved ones.
15 April 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In February, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 2,439. This number is lower when compared to the previous month's arrivals of 3,035.
Among those who arrived in this second month of the year were 299 unaccompanied minors.
In February, there were more than 2,300 rejections by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, including 228 women and 77 minors. umpteen violations of the principle of non-refoulement that continue to occur day after day. Nine thousand violations that today find even less light in the face of the horror of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the darkest hour in the West.
The spectacle of gun violence in an everyday life where people still die in the waves cannot but be desolate.
12 March 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In January, the number of people who found themselves forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean and who managed to arrive in Italy was 3,035. This number is much higher when compared to the arrivals in January 2021: 1,039 arrived (in 2020, 1,342 arrivals). Among those who arrived in this first month of the year are 195 unaccompanied minors.
In these first days of the year there are also dozens of victims: thirty-five confirmed dead, not counting those missing from at least two ghost shipwrecks. On the coast east of Tripoli, on an almost daily basis, the Libyan Red Crescent has spotted many lifeless bodies. With these data, the central Mediterranean, once again this year, can only confirm itself as the most dangerous route for those from Africa trying to reach Europe.
Victims of indifference, such as the seven nameless people who, in the night between Monday and Tuesday of the last week of the month, aboard a fragile double-decker boat bound for Lampedusa, died, killed by the cold. Alarm Phone had launched the SOS for that boat to the Italian and Maltese authorities.
15 February 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In December, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 4097.
Since the beginning of this year, the number of people who arrived in Italy is 67,040. On the other hand, Frontex pointed out that just under 200,000 migrants arrived in Europe in 2021, the most since 2017. The route most travelled, once again, was the Central Mediterranean, with about a third of total arrivals, up 83% compared to 2020, with more arrivals from the Tunisian and Libyan coasts and also directly from the Turkish coast. Tunisians are the most present nationality on this route, together with Egyptians (up sevenfold) and Bengalis from Bangladesh.
As was the case last year, women continue to account for less than one in ten arrivals, with a significant drop in their share compared to 2019. By contrast, the proportion of minors remained largely unchanged, as did that of unaccompanied minors.
17 January 2022 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In November, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 11,245. Since the beginning of this year, the number of people who arrived in Italy is 62,941.
The departures from Libya and Tunisia, despite the continuous and often brutal interventions of the self-styled Coast Guards of those two countries, did not stop even on days when the sea was very rough. In the middle of the month, in the sea off Libya, yet another massacre of migrants took place. It was reported from Libya by the IOM, the United Nations Organisation for Migration, according to which a fragile boat with around 90 people on board sank off Zuara, in western Libya, causing at least 75 deaths.
In recent months, departures from the Libyan and Tunisian coasts have been much higher than last year. Moreover, the control and rescue arrangements at sea are still not sufficient to prevent similar tragedies. Just the day before this umpteenth tragedy, the humanitarian ship Geo Barents of Médecins Sans Frontières in that same sea had carried out its third rescue of migrants in 24 hours, bringing aboard 99 live people and ten corpses of asphyxiated dead on the bottom of the boat.
01 December 2021 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In October, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 7,108.
Since the beginning of this year, the number of people who arrived in Italy is 53,399. Over one thousand people were rescued thanks to the rescue of civilian ships. More than one thousand eight hundred people managed to reach the island of Lampedusa on their own. Illegal rejections by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard also continued this month: over one thousand seven hundred people intercepted and rejected in Libya.
This month, moreover, the Public Prosecutor's Office of Agrigento has asked the competent G.I.P. for the complete acquittal from all charges of the Commander of the ship Mare Jonio and the Chief of Mission of Mediterranea Saving Humans for the rescue carried out on 9 May 2019. Once again, dismissal is sought for the absurd charge of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. But there is more: for the Prosecutor's Office of Agrigento, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, financed by the Italian government, cannot rescue anyone, because it actually captures and deports.
02 November 2021 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In September, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 7,209. Since the beginning of this year, the number of people who arrived in Italy is 46,291.
The number of people fleeing from Libya and Tunisia continues to rise: in the first nine months of this year it doubled compared to last year. Valuable and necessary work continues to be done by humanitarian ships: is
really imaginable a Mediterranean Sea without their presence?
The death toll is also steadily rising: the number of people who have died trying to cross the central Mediterranean since the beginning of this year has more than doubled compared to the same period last year, according to IOM. At the same time, the number of refoulement incidents also continued to rise.
In particular, September also saw the largest number of boats arriving independently from Libya: 686 people on board a fragile, old iron fishing boat about fifteen metres long.
01 October 2021 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In August, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and who managed to arrive in Italy was 9,945. Since the beginning of this year, the number of people who arrived in Italy is 39,082.
Even in recent weeks, so many people have found their deaths in the central Mediterranean, to the indifference of Europe. Despite the pandemic and the extremely critical situation in Libya, landings have not increased dramatically - as many had predicted. One cannot ignore, however, the dirty work carried out daily by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, to which Rome and Brussels continue to entrust the control of Europe's southern borders. A confirmation of the interception activity by the Libyan militiamen can be found by analysing the data of last month and, in particular, the days from 15 to 19 July: no landings in Italy despite the numerous departures from the Libyan coast.
03 September 2021 — a cura di: Med Report Team
In July, the number of people who were forced to flee, to cross the Mediterranean Sea and managed to arrive in Italy was 8,156. In particular, 883 unaccompanied minors. Since the beginning of this year, the number of people who have arrived in Italy is 28,515.
We have witnessed attempted ramming, shooting, even throwing of sticks, by armed forces whose primary task should be to rescue human lives. We have witnessed shipwrecks and the discovery of bodies on beaches as wrecks. We have witnessed delays in rescues and the withholding of valuable information for rescues.
The data of recent weeks also confirms that the fact that we have been prevented from rescuing people in distress in that stretch of sea has led to an increase in accidents and fatalities. An emblematic case occurred on the last day of the month, 31 July. Faced with a report of a boat adrift with about 400 people and a very high risk of shipwreck, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and the Tunisian Coast Guard refused to operate a rescue. In addition, a total European absence, in particular Italian and Maltese, in the face of the need for a Mass Rescue Operation for which only the civil fleet took charge in a coordinated manner.
31 July 2021 — a cura di: Med Report Team