17 Jul 2011

Detention camps await migrants to Europe

2:50 pm on 17 July 2011

Europe is a magnet for people from other countries who want to make a better life for themselves.

To get there, migrants often have perilous journeys and take incredible risks.

Many never make it and those that do can end up in detention camps.

Five boats recently arrived in Lampedusa in 24 hours - part of a continuing exodus from the war in Libya.

The BBC reports they were originally from countries like Nigeria or Ghana.

They did the jobs that Libyans chose not to. They learnt Arabic and sent part of their wages home. They worked, but enjoyed few rights.

Now in Italy, their future is unclear. Some clearly are refugees. Some may claim asylum. Some will return to sub-Saharan Africa.

The BBC reports this is the second migration wave sparked by the Arab Spring.

Over 50,000 Tunisians previously travelled to Lampedusa, an island off the coast of Italy.

They were economic migrants, who headed for France. But their arrival has led to temporary border controls, suspending the free movement of people as guaranteed under Europe's Schengen agreement.

Now, many Tunisians have left France also. The BBC reports the French government is paying them 300 euros (£266) each to return home and they are leaving in increasing numbers.