MESSINA, Sicily – As the passengers on board a lifeboat went to Sicily at the end of a terrible trip from North Africa, Seke Awa, 30 years of age, asked a friend back in Libya. when she received cell phone reception.
“I told her that we are on the big boat and I put her courage, that she must be optimistic. One day she suffers, ”says Awa, one from Cameroon. “She was crying.”
182 people, who were saved a week ago from vulnerable boats off the Libyan coast, arrived on Italy on Tuesday, full of excitement and hope, but also numerous questions about what comes to us.
Will they be allowed to stay in Europe? If so, which country? Will they have a choice? Can they go to school even if they are adults? How much does a SIM card cost?
Nelson Oyedele, 37, said he had fled violence and poverty in Nigeria with his wife and four small children.
“I don't know where I get to the end, I'm just going,” he told an Associated Press reporter on the Viking Ocean, a Norwegian flagship rescue ship run by the humanitarian organizations Doctors without Borders and SOS Mediterranee. “My daughter says she wants to be a doctor. She could not be a doctor back in our country. B & # maybe here she will. ”
Oyedele was the only man on the ship traveling as part of a whole family. The rest left behind wives, husbands, children and parents in their native countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Abdul Kerim, 20, said he had fled persecution in Togo and wanted to reunite with brothers and aunts living in Germany. He hopes that he will be given asylum and is open to any work, even though he is thinking of having his own building company.
“I'll work for Europe and I'll give everything I have,” he said. “If possible, I would like my family to come with me.” His wife and son are two years old in Togo.
However, Kerim and others landing in Messina will have no control over where they are. Their decisions will be determined in negotiations among some European countries who agreed to introduce them.
Asylum is normally reserved for people fleeing war and persecution. People from poverty in West Africa rarely qualify. In Germany, only 6.5% of Nigeria who have decided on their asylum cases this year got some protection. For Syrians, it was almost 84%.
Migrants arrived on the Viking Viking from a number of countries, including Sudan, Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Egypt, Morocco and Bangladesh. As they came to Messina, their immediate concern was to contact the people of the country for the first time since they left Libya, where there is rape, torture and widespread abuse among them. smugglers claiming ransom payments from migrant families.
The Ocean Viking went into Messina after being allowed to enter Italy, a country that closed its ports to humanitarian lifeboats until the governments changed this month, saying that their activities encouraged human smuggling. Police and Red Cross workers remained on the shore.
As they traveled to Sicily, the passengers at a gargantuan cruise ship that was on the mainland of Italy thought of the Messina Straits.
“Is there a hotel?” One of the men asked that they were watching the floating flask out of the deck of the rescue ship much less. “It's so amazing,” said another. The children woke up unrestrained.
Members of the Italian government, halfway around the world, on the lines of the US General Assembly in New York, said that most migrants to the Norwegian Ocean would be sent to other European countries.
They claimed a permanent European solution to the arrival of migrants, instead of current practice to deal with the ship's ship. They also stated that they also intend to bring back migrants who are not eligible for protection in Europe.
Premier Giuseppe Conte said Italy will deliver “good news about a repatriation system much more effectively at European level soon. Italy is preparing for a decisive turn. ”
Karl Ritter and Giada Zampano, associated writers in the Press, Rome, and David Rising in Berlin helped with this report.
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