In Italy, migrants and refugees take to the streets for peace and social justice

Migrants movements are calling for a two-day mobilization asking for peace, work, housing and the regularization of undocumented people

June 17, 2022 by Maurizio Coppola
Refugees and Migrants aboard fishing boat driven by smugglers reach the coast of Europe after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey (Photo: Jim Forest)

On World Refugee Day, June 17 in Naples and June 18 in Caserta, the migrant and refugee movement of Naples and Caserta, together with organizations struggling for dignity and rights for migrants, will take to the streets demanding peace, social justice and the regularization of undocumented people.

“We will present concrete proposals to the immigration offices of Naples and Caserta, to the regional government and to the Ministry of the Interior,” the organizers state. “It’s about improving the lives of both migrants who have lived in these territories for years, and those who have just arrived.”

Organizations building the two-day mobilization arranged assemblies and meetings in the fields where migrants are exploited in the agricultural industry, and in the Extraordinary Reception Centers, which are collective shelters in which refugees are forced to live.

“Growing poverty, widespread precariousness, increasing layoffs and the institutional racism to which migrant people are exposed, are demanding for a popular and determined response,” declare the organizers of the mobilization.

World Refugee Day has special significance this year. The escalation of the war in Ukraine has introduced the possibility of a new World War. The militarization of the conflict is producing even more deaths and refugees. Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 6.6 million have fled. Meanwhile, refugees from other conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia are treated far worse by Western media than Ukrainian refugees, in a hypocritical and racist double standard.

The pandemic has created an economic crisis which has worsened living conditions. The most affected are migrants, who continue to work and run the economy in the midst of the lockdowns. At the same time, migrants were the last to have access to the vaccine and are now the first to lose their jobs and residence permits.

Institutional racism has a concrete effect in the everyday lives of migrants and refugees. Long waiting times at immigration offices, the impossibility of renewing documents often due to illegitimate requests by institutions create the perfect conditions for blackmail and labor exploitation.

In August 2020, the government’s regularization program was introduced supposedly to solve these problems, but according to the organizers, two years after its introduction, the program has ended up as an empty promise. “In summer 2020, over 200,000 requests were passed in to the immigration offices, two years later, over 110,000 migrants are still waiting for their papers,” organizers explain. “Only an urgent administrative intervention can guarantee that they can emerge from irregularity and restore dignity and justice to those who live and work in Italy. That is the reason why we will take to the streets for World Refugee Day.”

Sign the call: “We want peace because we have known war!”