December 28-31, 2010 on THE COLOR INITIATIVE on PRI's The World (PRI, BBC and WGBH)
NOMADIC MIGRATION AND SKIN COLOR
Malta is the smallest of the twenty-seven EU nations, and in the view of many Maltese, it is under siege. With other routes to continental Europe closed off, thousands of African immigrants in recent years have steered closer to Malta in their torturous and risky journey north from Libya on the waves of the Mediterranean. But most of the approximately 8,000 asylum seekers that have reached Malta in recent years are "accidental tourists”. Few ever intentionally land on the island nation of 400,000. Rather, it is leaky boats and lack of sea-know-how that LANDS them there. Once in Malta, some are detained for nearly two years, essentially living between where they come from and where they'd like to go. And many of them believe—rightly or wrongly—that their skin color plays a role in their ultimate fate. In the following multi-part series, I interview desperate asylum seekers, a detention camp warden, the new US Ambassador to Malta, fishermen who saved lives at sea and another who said he was instructed not to stop, courageous Maltese naval men, Somali women and children, Malta's Justice Minister, social workers, a Jesuit priest-advocate whose car was firebombed and Maltese who feel they're being overrun by refugees (given the size of their island nation). We also travel to Geneva to speak with a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and to Italy to speak with residents of Pozzallo and Taormina, Sicily, in this exploratory series.
Nomadic Migration Part I: From Somalia to Denver, the long way
Around the world, people are on the move in search of better lives. That is particularly true in Africa, where a wave of migrants is trying to reach Europe. Despite the dangers, they keep trying – and most do not succeed. Those who do are often on the move for years before they find a place to call home. In the first in a series of reports on nomadic migration to Europe and the United States, Phillip Martin tells the story of one man’s difficult journey to the US. Download MP3
Nomadic Migration Part II: From Libya to detention in Malta
Malta sits between Africa and Europe.Because of its location, wave after wave of illegal immigrants traveling by boat have come ashore on a regular basis.Though migration waves have slowed down dramatically in recent months from a high of nearly 3000 in 2009, the tiny island nation of 400,000 citizens, receives more asylum seekers –for its size—than any other EU country.In an effort to discourage illegal immigration, Malta has one of the toughest detention policies in Europe, and some say it goes too far.
This is part two of Phillip Martin’s special report on nomadic migration and skin color. Download MP3
Nomadic Migration Part III: The challenges faced by Africans living in Malta
Since 2002, thousands of Africans have journeyed through deserts and risked their lives to reach the shores of the Mediterranean and north to Europe. Some have been rescued at sea by the Maltese navy and transported to Malta, which lies between Africa and continental Europe. When their requests for asylum elsewhere are denied, they become stuck – often indefinitely – in the EU’s smallest nation-state. In part 3 of his series on nomadic migration and skin color, Phillip Martin reports. Download MP3
Nomadic Migration Part IV: Leaving Malta:
Since 2002, nearly 10,000 African migrants – trying to get to mainland Europe – have landed on the tiny island nation of Malta. Many were rescued from leaky boats by the Maltese navy. Once there, they can be detained in prisons for up to 18 months and then languish for years in Malta without jobs and, and in some cases, without a decent place to live. But some manage to move on – and find new homes in Europe and in the U.S. This is Phillip Martin’s final report in our special series on nomadic migration and skin color. Download MP3
The Color Initiative is funded by the Ford Foundation