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Interview: Giulia Binazzi

 Red Petal 20 June 2019

Giulia Binazzi has a degree in Political Science and she attended a Master’s in Human Rights and Conflict Management. Since the beginning of her career she has worked in defense of children and adults in need and she has faced very hard topics. Together with UNHCR she attended to refugees. With Doctors Without Borders she looked after people landed in Sicily. Today she is working for Naga, a NGO that offers free medical, legal and social assistance to foreigner citizens, Roma, Sinti, asylum seekers, refugees and victims of torture. (886 Words) - By Eleonora Terrile

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Red Petal_Giulia Binazzi

Giulia Binazzi.  Photo courtesy of Red Petal

Q: Last month Naga made an action against the Lega North and the PDL Parties, in order to ask the court to remove the campaign posters in Milan against Pisapia, that used the discriminatory expression Islamic Zingaropoli. *How did it go?

A: First of all I would like to clarify that all the association's activities are made by volunteers. I am in charge of communication activities, in collaboration with Naga's volunteers. We lodged a petition to the Civil Court of Milan because we thought there was a pressing need to do something against the discriminatory contents of the posters that were in the city and against the statements of the Italian Prime Minister. We wanted to contain a process of the normalization of the discrimination. After our action we received many emails that demonstrated the people's solidarity. The mass media were really interested in the issue and Naga's site also had a record of accesses.

*Last April and May there were the elections of the Mayors in many Italian towns. Letizia Moratti and Giuliano Pisapia run for the election in Milan. The first one, who was the Mayor of Milan from 2006 to 2011, was supported by the PDL and the Lega North Parties, that used really discriminatory expressions against Giuliano Pisapia and his program.

Q: The Naga's report "Double disease" shows meaningful data. How was it considered?

A: In Lombardy it is very difficult for people without the Residence Permit Card to receive the primary healthcare. The fundamental right to the health is often denied. We thought it was important to denounce this situation and to propose solutions as, for example, the possibility to register these foreigners to the lists of the general practitioners. The Naga's report caused a gret deal of mass media's comments and we hope it will be the first step to the access to the primary healthcare for people without the Residence Permit Card.

Q: Today you are in Milan, the Italian city with the largest number of documented and undocumented immigrants. In 2004 you were in Sicily as a Field Coordinator of the Doctors Without Borders' "Mission Italy" project in the region. How were you able to provide assistance and relief to people landed in a year when the Italian government was criticized for not allowing the access to the CPTA (Centers for Temporary Permanency and Assistancy)?

A: Doctors Without Borders had established a protocol of understanding with the Prefectures and the ASL (Local Sanitary Company) that enabled us to provide basic health care to people who were landed in Lampedusa. Basically, the doctors carried out a screening for any diseases that should be followed.

Q: Since 2004 the landings in Lampedusa continue to get the mass media's attention and, above all, to be exploited. From your point of view are they increased over the years?

A: No, they aren't. Lately they are increased due to what is happening in the North of Africa. Unfortunately this inevitable increase wasn't suitably handled without alarmism. The management was absolutely inadequate.

Q: You have ever worked for not for profit associations that are dealing with people in need. Do you remember any story that impressed you?

A: I will always remember the meeting in Rome with a guy who was just escaped from Togo because of the tortures. I had to collect his story and to explain him the required procedure for obtaining the refugees status in Italy. During our first meeting he never looked at me. He looked down, cried and was still afraid of what he had suffered. A couple of weeks later he came back to show me a letter sent by his family. He seemed another person. He left behind his fear and he had a lot of plans for the future…

Q: In view of your experience with refugees, undocumented foreign nationals, asylum seekers and victims of torture, what advice would you give to those who have to write an article, do a story, create an information, awareness and fundraising campaign on such sensitive issues?

A: I definitely suggest to ask for time and to get near situations with sensitivity and discretion, without hurry to find "sensational" stories. It's important to try to grasp the atmosphere and the tiny hidden stories. Regarding of information, awareness and fundraising campaigns, I think it might be useful to spread information and checked data that can help to enlighten unknown worlds and to remove the stereotypes. I also believe it is useful to seek original points of view and to use creative and ironic languages, in order to effectively communicate and to not fall into self-pitying and trite representations. The immigration universe has certainly a dramatic side, but it has also a lot of positive and optimistic projects that need to be known!

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