The report « Desparate Journeys » published by the United Nation’s Hgh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is alarming : For every 18 persons attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2018, one died or disappeared. A macabre toll which continues to grow in light of European migration policies.
The growing restrictions on visas, militarisation of the frontiers, exactions by state agents and milicia all constrain people to take maritime routes across the Mediterranean, which are becoming more and more deadly. The few humanitarian ships operating in the region are being treated as criminal, and the people rescued are sometimes sent back to the country of their nationality as soon as they arrive. These actions reflect totally or in part the strategies being recommended by populist xenophobic parties and only serve to reinforce their increasing power.
The international coalition Boats 4 People (B4P) published in May 2017 a guide for families – and their supporters – of people who died or were lost in the central Mediterranean on their way to Italy.
Available in several languages (English, Italian, French, Arabic and Tigrinya), the Information Guide for Families and their Supporters contributes to returning dignity to people missing or deceased during their crossing. It also brings essential support to their families and friends, because behind every person lost at sea there is always a mother, a father, a spouse, children, cousins, friends, all trapped in anticipation, anxiety and hope.
One year after publishing the paper version – a tool which is appreciated by the various actors engaged in supporting exiled persons – we have decided to develop a new on-line version of the guide in several languages: http://boats4people.org/guide. This intuitive and ergonomic format is meant to help families and the associations which support them to better access information that will help them in their search for people lost at sea from different countries.
Boats4People will present its on-line version during the Sabir Festival: Rendez-vous on October 12, 2018 at 10h at the community center Crezy Plus (Palermo)
Member Associations of the B4P steering committee include : Arci (Associazione ricreativa culturale italiana), AME (Association malienne des expulsés), Aracem (Association des refoulés d’Afrique centrale au Mali), Fasti (Fédération des associations de solidarité avec tou-te-s les immigré-e-s, France), FIDH (Fédération internationale des droits de l’homme), FTDES (Forum tunisien pour les droits économiques et sociaux), Gadem (Groupe antiraciste d’accompagnement et de défense des étrangers et migrants, Maroc), Gisti (Groupe d’information et de soutien aux immigré·e·s, France), La Cimade (France), LTDH (Ligue tunisienne des droits de l’homme), Migreurop (Euro african network).