MILAN (AP) – The rescue ship Alan Kurdi operated by a German non-governmental organization has been freed by an administrative court in Italy to return to Spain for routine treatment and checks, the group, Sea-Eye, said in a statement Sunday.
The ship was seized at the port of Olbia Sardinia in October, about two weeks after its arrival with more than 125 people being rescued at sea. A court date was set for November to clarify the legality of the detention. Meanwhile, an administrative court ruled on Friday that Sea-Eye would incur financial losses if it was unable to carry out routine maintenance.
Alan Kurdi is preparing to move to Spain, the group said.
Sea-Eye stated that the vessel’s detention was politically motivated, and said its lawyers had submitted documentation showing Alan Kurdi met safety standards.
Nusrat Aga is an elementary school teacher from Sydney, who is now stuck in Mumbai after traveling with her sick mother-in-law to India 10 days ago.
Her mother-in-law suffered a stroke and Aga said she had to be treated in India because her current health insurance would not cover treatment in Australia.
She is desperate to reunite with her three daughters back home, and is deeply worried about the increasing number of cases in the city, which has become a hotspot for India’s latest outbreak.
“Nobody chooses to travel at this time, it is only because of the situation of sheer desperation.”
Aga books a flight home for April, and hopes the plan doesn’t fail.
He urged the Australian government to provide more space on repatriation flights, so that more people can leave India immediately.
“Maybe the government could improve their quarantine facilities and let more people in,” he said.
Another Australian trapped in India has been trying for months to get on the plane.
Neha, a mother in Delhi, has canceled several flights after trying to get herself and her five-year-old son to Melbourne, where her husband currently lives as a permanent resident.
The growing number of infections in India is making him even more desperate to leave.
“Some of the people in my office and my environment have been positive.”
She also found it difficult to raise her son alone – a situation she said was made worse because she was born without her right arm.
India halts AstraZeneca’s exports
With 11.7 million cases, India has reported the highest number of coronavirus infections after the United States and Brazil.
India has so far provided more than 52 million doses of the vaccine, with the elderly and those over 45 with other health conditions currently eligible for the injection.
Health and frontline workers were at the forefront when India started moving in mid-January.
For some Australians in India, the vaccine launch has eased their worries about the virus.
Engineer Shalabh Jangala has been stuck in India since November, when he arrived with his wife to visit his father.
Although he wants to return to Adelaide, he is not worried about the spike in COVID-19 cases.
“I’m not too worried about getting an infection,” said Mr. Jangala.
“Because in India, people are getting vaccinated.”
Mr Jangala’s main concern is the cost of a long stay in India.
He has lost thousands of dollars trying to book flights back home and expects to pay a further $ 3,000 for a hotel quarantine in Australia.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs says its “highest priority” is assisting vulnerable Australians abroad.
Since the start of the pandemic, the government has helped bring home more than 42,500 Australians, although some 36,700 are currently trapped overseas and want to return.
Business owner Akshay Arali is happy to stay in India to care for his ailing father while he awaits flights to Australia, but says the increase in the number of cases is worrying.
“That’s one thing that we are very worried about, because we have three people in our house who are over 65 years old,” said Arali.
India has implemented new travel restrictions in response to the latest spike in COVID-19.
The government has also temporarily suspended all major exports of the AstraZeneca coronavirus injection, which is made by the Serum Institute of India, so as to meet domestic demand as infections escalate.
Toure describes a nightmare he had to go through in January, when he faced the possibility of being deported. “I became sick with worry. I could barely move for three weeks. I was nauseous, dizzy, couldn’t get out,” he told DW.
To protect his identity, Toure uses only his last name. He fears the repercussions, not from German authorities but from the security forces in his home country Guinea. Toure said Guinean police arrested and tortured him before he fled the West African country because he was affiliated with an opposition party.
There was no chance to get a passport
Usually, people like Toure will be accepted in Germany. He is fluent in German, has a steady job in a youth flat-sharing community, and plans to finish his studies in the summer. But hers the right to live in Germany far from guaranteed. Despite avoiding deportation in January, authorities gave Toure only six months’ probation.
Germany sent 755 asylum seekers back to Africa in 2020
“Sometimes I can’t sleep because I think someone will come for me in the middle of the night,” Toure said, adding that his studies were suffering because he was sometimes so nervous he couldn’t focus on the exams.
The only way out for Toure from his predicament was to give the German authorities a passport to prove his identity. However, it is Guinea Embassy in Berlin didn’t issue a passport, so Toure had to fly back to Guinea and apply there. However, this did not occur to Toure.
“Maybe the same torture I went through will happen again. Who knows, I might get to the airport, and after that no one will hear from me again,” Toure said, struggling to get the words out.
Toure has every reason to be afraid. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, deportation from Germany continues. Last year, 755 people were deported from Germany, according to the federal government. Most of it was sent to northern African countries such as Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. Others were sent to Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia.
Deportation flights have started this year. In January, 24 people, including criminal convicts, were flown from Munich to Nigeria.
Refugee activist Rex Osa opposes this practice. Its network “Refugees 4 Refugees” supports Nigerian-born refugees in southern Germany.
“They were tied on the plane close together for a flight of six or seven hours. If there were infected people on board, it was clear they could be infected with the corona,” he told DW.
A refugee holds an identity card for the refugee that guarantees suspension of deportation notices. However this is usually only a temporary solution for refugees who wish to stay in Germany
Some worry that deportation could increase the risk of spreading the corona virus in the countries of origin of refugees.
Demands to stop deportation
Osa is not the only one demanding an end to deportation. Refugee organizations and major churches have raised similar concerns. Many African countries do not have enough doctors, ICU beds or ventilators to treat coronavirus patients. Vaccination programs are also only available in some countries. Another problem for migrants facing deportation is the poor economic prospects at home. Many don’t know how they will survive.
German courts have become more strict in determining who can be deported. In December, an administrative court in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg suspended a deportation asylum seekers from Afghanistan. He decided that the Afghanistan situation had become so bad because of the pandemic that deporting migrants without families or assets on the ground was facing “squalor”.
Additionally, some migrants – such as Toure – face deportation simply because they lack documents to prove who they are. In this pandemic period, obtaining such official documents has proved extremely difficult.
Vaccinations across Africa have been slow, and in some cases have not even started
“The pandemic has not prevented the authorities from forcing refugees to identify themselves,” said Osa. “Refugees are still being sent letters giving them a time frame to submit their documents, even though the borders are closed, and the embassy is not functioning.”
Germany is not affected
Following collective deportations to Nigeria in January, the Bavarian State Office for Asylum and Repatriation stated: “The current coronavirus pandemic poses new challenges for the State Office for Asylum and Repatriation, as well as for countries of origin. The current unusual medical situation due to this. the coronavirus pandemic has not fundamentally changed the current legal standpoint. “
The Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to DW’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, Toure is expecting a happy ending. The Guinean embassy in Paris is scheduled to start processing passport applications, and he hopes to be allowed to travel there to apply for a passport. Then maybe Toure’s dream of living in Germany and building a future with his girlfriend can come true.
CAIRO (AP) – Italy’s top diplomat on Sunday became the most senior western official to travel to Libya after the interim government took power in the North African Region.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio met Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli where they discussed relations between the two countries along with migration, according to the Libyan prime minister’s office.
Di Maio also held talks with Mohammad Younes Menfi, head of the Libyan Presidential Council, and two of his deputies.
“A little more than a year from the Berlin conference, we have a different Libya, with united institutions representing the whole country,” he was quoted as saying by the Italian news agency LaPresse.
He was referring to a meeting in Germany last year where regional and world powers discussed resolving the Libyan conflict.
Dbeibah and Di Maio discussed forming a joint committee to re-launch trade and development relations between the two countries.
Di Maio said his government would facilitate Italian business work in Libya to “create new opportunities on both fronts.”
“We will work for new opportunities for our business firms,” he was quoted as saying.
Di Maio’s visit comes after the interim government took power last week in Libya, aiming to lead the country through elections scheduled for December.
The interim administration includes a three-member presidential council, a Cabinet chaired by Dbeibah. His appointment has revived hopes of stability in oil-rich Libya.
Libya fell into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. Since then, the country has become a major transit point for African and Arab migrants seeking to reach Europe.
Italy has a controversial deal with Libya that facilitates the return of European bound migrants to detention centers in the conflict-torn country. The deal has drawn sharp criticism from humanitarian groups.