Dynamic support for boat drivers criminalised by the Italian state
The Sea-Watch Legal Aid Fund is supporting a unique project aiming to help criminalised migrant boat drivers in Italy.
The funding covers the cost of a paralegal working on the ground who will work in solidarity with boat drivers (individuals who drove boats into Italian territory carrying migrants) accused of smuggling for their solidarity and targeted by the state. The paralegal will support a new collaboration with Porco Rosso, Borderline Sicilia and borderline-europe,
The team identified a lack of expert and in-depth support for boat drivers, including a support system to address a wide range of legal questions that include administrative, criminal and migration laws for the migrants who are criminalised for driving boats arriving in Italy with other migrants on board. ARCI Porco Rosso researched the areas requiring further attention to fight back against criminal legal challenges and how to secure funding to shift the public narrative on border enforcement.
The legal team working at the heart of this collaboration approached SWLA with a key position which required funding for the provision of services. These include legal and social welfare advice, building networks of solidarity and support locally, nationally and internationally, and extending research into the processes and cases of criminalisation. This funding was granted in 2022.
ARCI Porco Rosso is accessible to arrested boat drivers across Italy and builds a solidarity network that can support them and campaign alongside them. The paralegal will help bring public attention to the challenges they face and will support the work of the project in speaking for people on the move in the wider debate about the legal and political framework that has led to so many arrests and imprisonments.
This is the first instance of the SWLA funding a specific role in this manner, reflecting its wide statute and the need for creative, joint-thinking where different migrant-support organisations collaborate.
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