Ground update from Ventimiglia – April and May 2021

During the months of April and May 2021, Progetto 20K and other groups operating in Ventimiglia have observed the following trends – all pointing towards a further exacerbation of the situation at the French-Italian border:

  • A sustained increase in arrivals from the Central Mediterranean route.
  • Covid related restrictions gradually lifted for Europeans, while racial profiling and border control have been tightened for non-white people and carried out on Italian soil.
  • Continued evictions of settlements in abandoned buildings, with private companies sealing off entrances and preventing access to water.
  • Continued evictions of outdoors living spaces (beaches, under bridges, etc), despite cold and rainy weather.
  • An increased number of expulsion papers
  • Continued pushbacks and denial of the chance to ask for asylum reported by unaccompanied minors.
  • At least 10 people reported having their personal belongings stolen or confiscated (phones, documents and money) while in French custody.
  • A tragic death, reportedly by suicide, took place in a detention Center in Turin. Moussa Balde (23) had previously been beaten up with iron bars by three Italian citizens in the streets of Ventimiglia, and was detained in solitary confinement upon being discharged from hospital despite being in a fragile state.
  • One person drowned in attempt to swim to France.

Find our more in the full briefing available here.

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