An unmarried man of 21, who supports his younger brothers, sisters and mother at home, explains why he left Eritrea to try to find a better life in Europe:
"I want to change my life in a democratic (...) country which respects human rights. But still I didn't arrive the place I wanted to arrive. Up to now (from) the things I saw, the treatment of (refugees by the) Italian community is a developed way of treatment. This is not just respect, even they serve us. Not only respect, even they serve us (ie. they don't just respect the refugees' basic rights, the organisations here also try to help them)."
He talks about the difficulties of navigating complex legal systems and asylum processes within and between EU member states:
“As we have no official documents and we are guests (…) As you are strangers (...) as guests we don't know the places so we go by, we move by intention, and when they ask where, they tell us to go, the organisations activities here we go, but (in terms of the) people or the treatment really I prefer (to) live here. They treat us in a developed way here, I prefer to be (treated as though) I'm a human being here, the treatment (is better here). They know the reason we come and they know the reason why we are here, the Europeans. So to treat us (...) as human beings even for the future of our freedom, we don't have to lose our future."
This extract is from an interview conducted during the summer of 2016 as part of the Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat project, which was led by Vicki Squire: www.warwick.ac.uk/crossingthemed. Fuller stories from which these excerpts are taken can be explored here: https://crossing-the-med-map.warwick.ac.uk/