• Migrations : l’agence européenne #Frontex mise en cause pour des #refoulements en mer

    Des investigations menées par plusieurs médias dénoncent les pratiques illégales des #gardes-frontières_grecs impliquant parfois l’agence européenne de surveillance des frontières.

    Une enquête de plusieurs médias, dont le magazine allemand Spiegel, affirme que Frontex, l’agence européenne de surveillance des frontières, est impliquée dans plusieurs incidents de refoulement en mer de bateaux de demandeurs d’asile traversant la mer Egée entre la Turquie et la Grèce.

    Les investigations menées « montrent pour la première fois que les responsables de Frontex sont conscients des pratiques illégales des gardes-frontières grecs – et sont en partie impliqués dans les refoulements eux-mêmes », écrit le Spiegel dans un article disponible en ligne samedi 24 octobre.
    Les journalistes assurent avoir documenté six cas survenus depuis avril en mer Egée dans lesquels des équipes de Frontex ont au minimum assisté sans réagir à des refoulements vers la Turquie de bateaux de réfugiés se trouvant dans les eaux grecques, une pratique illégale. Dans un cas, en juin, une vidéo montre un navire de Frontex bloquant un bateau de réfugiés, puis, dans une autre scène enregistrée, passant devant le bateau de réfugiés à grande vitesse avant de quitter les lieux.

    Des dizaines de vidéos, d’images satellites, de récits comparés

    Outre le Spiegel, les recherches ont été menées par un magazine de la chaîne allemande ARD, le collectif de journalistes Lighthouse Reports, la plate-forme d’investigations Bellingcat et la chaîne de télévision japonaise TV Asahi. Les auteurs expliquent avoir comparé des « dizaines » de vidéos, d’images satellites, de récits de témoins oculaires, dont des réfugiés et des employés de Frontex. L’agence européenne de surveillance des frontières a engagé plus de 600 agents en Grèce, une des portes d’entrée de l’Union européenne, ainsi que des bateaux, des drones et des avions, selon l’article.

    Frontex n’a pas commenté les cas précis soulevés par la recherche, explique le Spiegel, mais a déclaré que ses agents étaient liés par un code de conduite en matière de droits de l’homme et respectaient l’interdiction des refoulements. Sans mentionner l’article, Frontex a annoncé vendredi soir sur son compte Twitter avoir été « en contact avec les autorités grecques à propos d’incidents en mer ces derniers mois » et qu’Athènes avait ouvert une « enquête interne ». Frontex agit « dans le respect des droits fondamentaux et de la loi internationale », souligne l’agence sur Twitter.
    Le gouvernement conservateur grec a toujours rejeté les allégations de refoulements illégaux à ses frontières dont font régulièrement état plusieurs organisations non gouvernementales.

    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/10/24/migrations-l-agence-europeenne-frontex-mise-en-cause-pour-des-refoulements-e
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #Mer_Egée #Grèce #Turquie

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • Frontex at Fault : European Border Force Complicit in ‘Illegal’ Pushbacks

      Vessels from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, have been complicit in maritime “pushback” operations to drive away refugees and migrants attempting to enter the European Union via Greek waters, a joint investigation by Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD and TV Asahi has found.

      Open source data suggests Frontex assets were actively involved in one pushback incident at the Greek-Turkish maritime border in the Aegean Sea, were present at another and have been in the vicinity of four more since March.

      Although Frontex assets were not at the immediate scene of those latter four incidents, the signature of a pushback is distinctive, and would likely have been visible on radar, with visual tools common on such vessels or to the naked eye.

      The Greek Coast Guard (HCG) has long been accused of illegal pushbacks.

      These are described by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a legal and educational non-profit, as incidents where refugees and migrants are forced back over a border without consideration of individual circumstances and without any possibility to apply for asylum or to put forward arguments against the measures taken.

      In the Aegean Sea, pushbacks generally occur in two ways. The first type is the most common: Dinghies travelling from Turkey to Greece are blocked from landing on Greek soil by the HCG. This could mean either physically blocking the dinghy until it runs out of fuel, or disabling the engine. After the engine no longer works the dinghy can then either be pushed back into Turkish territorial water with waves, or towed if the wind is not favourable.

      The second type of pushback is employed when people have managed to land on Greek soil. In this case they are detained, placed in a liferaft with no means of propulsion, towed into the middle of the Aegean Sea and then abandoned.

      Pushbacks will often result in standoffs between the HCG and Turkish Coast Guard (TCG), both of which will standby, refusing to aid dinghies in distress and carrying out unsafe manoeuvres around them.

      The role of Frontex assets in such incidents, however, has never been recorded before.

      Dana Schmalz, an international law expert at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg said the incidents highlighted in this investigation were likely “illegal” and “violate the prohibition of refoulement and maritime law.” The prohibition of refoulement refers to rules banning the forcible return of refugees or asylum seekers and is described by the UN Refugee Agency as a “rule of customary international law.”

      Schmalz added that if Frontex personnel stopped an overcrowded dinghy of the type seen in footage documented during this investigation, they would be obliged to rescue its occupants immediately. “If they don’t do that, even make waves [or] instead drive away and then let the Greeks do the dirty work – then they are involved in the illegal pushback.”

      Despite being presented with numerous examples of the practice, a spokesperson for the Greek Maritime Ministry Greek denied claims of pushbacks, describing allegations of illegal actions relating to the incidents documented in this article as “tendentious.” They added that HCG officers act in compliance with the country’s international obligations.

      Frontex said that the host states it works with have the final say in how operations on its territory or search and rescue zone are carried out. However, it added that Frontex had notified HCG which confirmed an internal inquiry had been launched into each of the reported incidents. Yet Frontex did not say when it notified HCG or when the inquiry had begun.

      On July 24, the director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, told the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) at the European Parliament that the agency had observed and recorded just a single incident which may have been a pushback in the Aegean.

      Our investigation — which looked at the presence of Frontex assets in the Aegean Sea and observed their movements over many months — appears to contradict that assertion.

      This was despite the difficulty in tracking many Frontex assets because their transponder information was either not registered, not turned on, or was out of range. As such, we were only able to view a snapshot of Frontex operations.

      Frontex, an agency of the European Union, is tasked with border control of the Schengen Area. Its activities in the Aegean are called Operation Poseidon.
      How we Recorded Pushbacks: Identification of Assets

      There were two main steps to establishing that Frontex had participated in pushback operations. The first was to identify what assets had been deployed in Operation Poseidon. The second was to establish whether these assets had participated in pushback operations.

      The first step was carried out using open sources. These included social media posts, vessel tracking sites and information published by Frontex itself. We were also able to establish the number of personnel and assets present in the operational area thanks to questions asked in the European Parliament.

      According to this response, Operation Poseidon has 185 personnel, one offshore patrol vessel (OPV), eight coastal patrol boats (CPB), one coastal patrol vessel (CPV), four thermal vision vehicles (TVV) and three patrol cars.

      There is also a “Rapid Border Intervention”, which contains additional assets on top of those dedicated to Operation Poseidon. This includes 74 personnel, two CPBs, two CPVs, one helicopter and three TVVs.

      In total we used open sources to identify 22 assets, including vessels, helicopters and planes, which operated in the Aegean during 2020. Although this is more than the total given in the answer to parliamentary questions above, some of these assets were rotating in or out of theater.
      Tracking Assets

      Some assets featured regularly on the open source record. For example, Romanian and Bulgarian vessels regularly transit through the Bosphorus strait, where there is an active ship-spotting community. As such it was possible to identify their operational rotations, including vessels heading to and returning from deployments roughly every three months. However, other assets were more difficult to track, and their presence on the open source record consisted of a single image or video.


      https://twitter.com/YorukIsik/status/1262417193083510784

      In order to track these assets and identify if they had participated in pushbacks, we required far more data than was available on social media. As such, we turned to AIS and transponder data, publicly available information about the location of particular ships or aircraft, available through sites such as Marine Traffic or Flight Radar 24.

      Many of the assets we identified either did not have their information publicly listed, or appeared to only turn on their transponders under certain circumstances, such as when in port. This made them extremely difficult to track. However, some assets did have their transponders on. We began to collect this data, buying additional, more granular data from ship and flight tracking companies on dates when pushbacks had been reported.

      We combined this tracking data with our own database of reported pushbacks, which we obtained through both public reports and information collected by NGOs such as Consolidated Rescue Group (CRG), Monitoring Rescue Cell (MRC) and Alarm Phone, who track these events. These included the coordinates of reported pushback events, frequently sent by the occupants of the dinghies. By overlaying these datasets we identified multiple pushback incidents in which Frontex assets were in the vicinity. Once we had identified these priority incidents we could then examine the specifics of what had happened.
      Incidents

      Using this data we identified six pushback incidents since March in which Frontex assets were either in the vicinity or participated directly. We have separated these into four “proximity incidents,” where Frontex assets were within five kilometers of the incident, and two “confirmed incidents,” where we can be certain that Frontex were present at the site of pushbacks themselves.
      Proximity Incidents

      April 28-29: In an incident we have previously reported, a group of refugees and migrants made landfall on Samos. They claim they were then detained, placed in a life-raft without any means of propulsion and towed into the middle of the Mycale Strait. A surveillance plane overflew the area twice while this pushback took place.

      June 4: Two dinghies were reported to have been pushed back from Northern Lesbos. Portuguese vessel Nortada appears to have been present around 15 kilometers from the first incident and just over one kilometer away from the second.

      June 5: A dinghy was reported to have been pushed back from Northern Lesbos. Portuguese vessel Nortada was approximately two to three kilometers away.

      August 19: A dinghy was reported to have been pushed back from Northern Lesbos. Portuguese vessel Molivos was five kilometers away and appears to have changed course and headed towards the pushback before its transponder either lost signal or was turned off.

      In these cases, Frontex assets were recorded as being within a certain range, rather than participating directly. Their exact knowledge of what was happening at these distances is difficult to confirm. Operation Poseidon’s mission includes a significant number of tasks requiring surveillance, and its assets are able to use both radar and visual tools, such as low-light or infrared cameras, to observe the environment around them.

      For example, we know that the Molivos is equipped with an FLIR camera similar to this one seen on another Portuguese Frontex vessel. This model is capable of x36 magnification, with low light and infrared cameras.

      The boats that migrants use to make this crossing are very basic, inflatable rubber dinghies several meters long with a single outboard motor. Due to their construction, it is unlikely that these boats would be visible on radar. However, pushbacks don’t just involve a single dinghy. By their definition they must involve at least one other vessel. From images and videos of pushbacks we have reviewed, it is clear that they often involve multiple ships from both the Greek and Turkish coast guards.

      As stated above, ships from both Greece and Turkey will frequently attempt to push the dinghies across the sea border using waves. These vessels manoeuvre in a circular pattern at a relatively high speed close to the dinghy. This manoeuvre is not only dangerous because of the risk of collision, the waves it generates also represent a threat to the overcrowded and often fragile dinghies.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8BdEHtBWp4&feature=emb_logo

      As such, although a dinghy itself may not show up on radar, the signature of a pushback would. Multiple large and small vessels from both TCG and HCG, some of which are carrying out unusual manoeuvres in order to create waves, would be very difficult to miss. Indeed you can even see this kind of event from space.

      There’s also the matter of visual range. The same factors that make a pushback visible on radar will also make it visible to the eye or other visual systems such as surveillance cameras. Even at a range of a few kilometers in calm seas and good conditions, a dinghy would likely be visible, although exact details such as the nature of its passengers might not be. The other aspects of pushbacks which we have already described would also certainly be visible.

      The case of the April 28-29 pushback is a good illustration of surveillance assets passing very close to the results of a pushback.
      April 28

      In an incident previously covered by Bellingcat, a group of 22 migrants who landed on Samos were detained by Greek law enforcement. They were then placed on a life raft without any means of propulsion, and towed into the middle of the Mycale Strait by the Greek coast guard. In response to our request for comment at the time, the Greek government denied these people had ever reached Greek territory, despite witness statements, images, and videos showing this had in fact happened.

      As the life raft was floating in the strait, a private sureveillance plane passed over the area twice at 5,000 feet, once at 02:41 AM and once at 03:18 AM. This plane, G-WKTH, belongs to DEA Aviation, which provides aerial surveillance services to Frontex. In a promotional video from Frontex, it is claimed these feeds are live-streamed back to the Frontex HQ in Warsaw

      The plane is reportedly equipped with an MX-15 camera, which has both low-light and infrared sensors. Considering this plane is specifically employed for aerial surveillance, it would be surprising if it did not identify the life raft full of people and, according to one member of this group, the presence of Greek and later Turkish vessels.

      Indeed, the Frontex executive director’s response to the LIBE committee of the European Parliament indicates this may have been the incident Frontex reported as having seen. In this reply a “Serious Incident Report (‘SIR’) was created based on a sighting of an incident by aerial surveillance where people were transferred on a rubber boat from a vessel and later on rescued by Turkish authorities.
      Active incidents

      In two cases on June 8 and August 15, it seems certain that Frontex was aware of pushbacks as they took place. Indeed, on June 8, it appears that a Frontex vessel participated in a pushback, physically blocking a dinghy from reaching Greek territory.

      We will first address the incident on August 15, where a Frontext vessel was present at the scene of a pushback, before examining the June 8, where a Frontex asset appears to have participated in a pushback.
      August 15

      On the morning of August 15 there were reports of a confrontation between the Greek and Turkish coast guards. As well as multiple photos posted to social media by locals, this was also reported as a pushback by CRG, MRC, Alarm Phone and Aegean Boat Report.

      CRG and MRC also posted videos from people on this dinghy, with CRG’s video showing an engine without a starter cord, claiming it had been taken by the Greek Coast Guard. In the videos, the dinghy is surrounded by vessels from both the Greek and Turkish coast guards. We have previously noted that disabling the motor of dinghies is a tactic that has reportedly been used by the Greek Coast Guard.

      Most of the images of this incident are taken from a distance, making identification of the vessels difficult. However, we were also sent an image of this confrontation that is very clear. In this image we can clearly see the presence of MAI1102, a Romanian border forces vessel which had just arrived in theater.

      The metadata of this image is consistent with the date and time of this incident. Indeed, the ships can be seen arrayed in almost exactly the same manner in a video filmed by the people on the boat.

      Although it is not possible to be certain of exactly how far away MAI1102 is from this pushback, we can see that it is certainly within visual range of the confrontation and the dinghy itself.
      June 8

      On the morning of June 8 a pushback was reported to have taken place, again off the north-east coast of Lesbos. The Turkish coast guard reported it rescued 47 migrants after a pushback by the Greek Coast Guard that day. Footage published by Anadolu Agency appeared to show the Romanian Frontex vessel MAI1103 blocking a dinghy.

      We investigated this incident further, obtaining other videos from the TCG, as well as tracking data of vessels that appeared to be in the vicinity at the time, such as the NATO ship, Berlin. Using these sources we were able to reconstruct what happened.

      After initially trying to cross under the cover of darkness, the dinghy was intercepted and physically blocked from proceeding by MAI1103 early in the morning.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoNJXY3pa_U&feature=emb_logo

      We can see the exact time and a set of coordinates in one of the videos we obtained.

      We plotted the coordinates visible on the screen as they changed. It became clear these were not the location of the vessel with the camera, but rather the location of the dinghy and MAI1103.

      We can visually confirm the general location by comparing a panoramic view that is visible in one of the videos against the appearance of the landscape from the coordinates which appear on the camera feed.

      We can now start to build a picture of what happened that morning.

      We can see that the dinghy was extremely close to MAI1103, and is being physically blocked by the ship. Indeed the two vessels are close enough that it appears that personnel on MAI1103 are communicating with people in the dinghy.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qD_I--2LPA&feature=emb_logo

      At one point MAI1103 makes a pass close to the dinghy at enough speed to generate waves, a maneuver that previously only HCG and TCG have been seen making. It is especially dangerous due to the overloaded and unseaworthy nature of the dinghies.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iUm1_e2R6A&feature=emb_logo

      Eventually HCG vessels arrive and MAI1103 leaves, resulting in a standoff between the TCG and HCG. This lasted several hours and gradually moved to the north-west, observed by the NATO ship Berlin.

      During this period the dinghy was approached at least twice by a rigid-hulled inflatable boat 060 (RHIB) from the HCG.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WODSvxnmoc&feature=emb_logo

      In what appears to be the final segment of video taken at about 09:30 AM we see the TCG radar screen, which can be exactly matched with the Turkish coast. This radar screen matches perfectly with the location and heading of the Berlin at this time, as we can see by overlaying a plot of the Berlin’s course with the radar screen.

      As well as matching the movement of vessels to AIS data, we can further verify that these videos are from the same incident by examining the passengers in the dinghy. We can see that in the earliest videos, showing the MAI1103 with the dinghy, there is clearly a person wearing a white hood, alongside someone who appears to be wearing a reddish top. The presence of these passengers helps to verify that all these videos are indeed from the same incident on June 8.

      In the final stage of the pushback at 10:30 AM it is possible to see the Portuguese Frontex vessel Nortada within 5 km with both AIS data and on the TCG radar screen. The Nortada had been in that vicinity since at least 09:11 AM that morning. Although it may not have been able to pick up this dinghy on its radar, it would have certainly been within visual range of the larger ships surrounding it. After the pushback, the Nortada continued its patrol off North Lesbos.

      Conclusion

      Over the course of this investigation we collected a huge amount of information on Frontex activities in the Aegean Sea. Most of Frontex’s assets were impossible to track because their transponder information was either not registered, not turned on, or was out of range. As such, we were only able to view a snapshot of Frontex operations.

      Despite this limited view, we still managed to identify multiple instances in which Frontex was either present at pushbacks, or close enough to be able to understand what was taking place. In at least one incident it appears that a Frontex vessel actively participated in a pushback. It is possible that there are other incidents we have not been able to capture.

      In a statement provided in response to this investigation, Frontex stated that it applies “the highest standards of border control to its operations” and that its officers are bound by a code of conduct that looks to prevent refoulement and to uphold human rights.

      The statement continued that Frontex’s executive director had notified the HGC regarding all reported incidents and that Greek authorities confirmed that an internal inquiry had been launched.

      A spokesperson for the Greek Maritime Ministry said the actions of HCG officers were “carried out in full compliance with the country’s international obligations, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue.”

      The spokesperson added that thousands of migrants had been rescued throughout the refugee crisis of recent years by the HCG, that allegations of illegality were “tendentious” and that the “operation practices of the Greek authorities have never included such [illegal] actions.”

      https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2020/10/23/frontex-at-fault-european-border-force-complicit-in-illegal-pushbacks

      #forensic_architecture #architecture_forensique

    • EU Border Agency Frontex Complicit in Greek Refugee Pushback Campaign

      Greek border guards have been forcing large numbers of refugees back to sea in pushback operations that violate international law. #DER_SPIEGEL and its reporting partners have learned that the European Union is also complicit in the highly controversial practice.

      Jouma al-Badi thought he was safe when he first set foot on European soil on April 28. Together with 21 other refugees, he had been taken in a rubber dinghy from Turkey to the Greek island of Samos. The young Syrian planned to apply for political asylum. He documented his arrival in videos. Local residents also remember the refugees.

      Greek security forces captured the migrants. Under international law, it is their duty to give the new arrivals a hearing and field their applications for asylum. Instead, according to al-Badi, the officers dragged them back out to sea and released them on an inflatable rubber raft. Videos obtained by DER SPIEGEL also show him on the raft.

      For an entire night and a morning, Greek border guards kept pushing the men and women away as their raft floated around in circles. The Turkish coast guard filmed the maneuver.

      An aircraft used by the European border protection agency Frontex also passed over the refugees. The crew of the surveillance plane, with the registration identifier "G-WKTH,” were part of a European Union operation in Greece. The plane twice flew over the Strait of Mykali, where al-Badi and the other migrants were located. According to flight data that has been viewed by DER SPIEGEL, the first flight happened at 2:41 a.m. and the second at 3:18 a.m.

      The plane’s crew has a standard MX-15 camera on board with an infrared sensor and a sensor for poor lighting conditions. Even at night, the sensors are capable of detecting small objects on the water. According to a Frontex promotional video, the camera images are streamed live to Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, Poland. But Frontex didn’t send any help.

      The waves struck the Syrian in the face. He eventually ran out of strength and thought he was going to die.

      The Greek government denies it conducted pushbacks of refugees to Turkey, even though DER SPIEGEL and other media have fully documented several of these operations, known as pushbacks. Greek border guards are growing increasingly ruthless. As in the case of al-Badi, they are now pushing even refugees who have reached the Greek isles back to sea in operations that are illegal under international law.

      Frontex officials have publicly claimed that they know nothing about pushbacks by Greek border guards. The agency has 600 employees deployed in Greece as well as ships, drones and aircraft.

      Together with Lighthouse Reports, Bellingcat, "Report Mainz” — a program on ARD, the German public broadcaster — and Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi, DER SPIEGEL spent several months reporting in the Aegean Sea region. The reporters tracked the positions of Frontex units and compared them with position data from pushbacks recorded by NGOs and migrants. They interviewed witnesses, refugees and Frontex staff. They viewed internal documents and dozens of videos and satellite photos.

      Their research proves for the first time that Frontex officials know about the Greek border guards’ illegal practices – and that the agency itself is at times involved in the pushbacks. Breaking the law has become an everyday occurrence at Europe’s borders, and the EU is allowing it to happen.

      Samira Mohammad could already see Lesbos when the men with the masks arrived. The Syrian woman, who does not want to provide her real name, is 45 years old. That morning of August 15, she was sitting in a rubber dinghy with dozens of other people. She recalls how Greek border guards tried in vain to stop the arrivals and how they steered toward the boat repeatedly and pushed it back toward Turkey multiple times. She says the Turkish coast guard held them off. Locals even have a name for the cynical game: "Greek water polo.”

      Mohammad claims the Greek officials took their gasoline and destroyed the engine. And that masked Greek border guards then boarded the dinghy. Several refugees claim that they forced the migrants to tie the shaky rubber dinghy to a speedboat at gunpoint. The border guards then towed the boat toward Turkey. Videos corroborate the statements made by the refugees, and the destroyed engine is clearly visible.

      Mohammad said she was scared to death during those moments. Her entire family had been onboard, including her pregnant daughter-in-law, who was later hospitalized with severe bleeding.

      The maneuver off the coast of Lesbos lasted hours, and the Turkish Navy didn’t rescue the refugees until noon.

      A Romanian Frontex boat was also on site that morning. The MAI 1102 was located only a few hundred meters away from the refugee boat. The boat can be clearly identified in a photo. A German navy ship on a NATO mission that observed the incident reported it to the German government. It also stated that Frontex people had been present. This is documented in an internal paper that has been obtained by DER SPIEGEL. Nevertheless, this pushback has never been revealed publicly before now.

      On June 8, Frontex officials went one step further, with the MAI 1103, a ship also flying the Romanian flag. It directly blocked a refugee boat. The incident can be seen in several videos recorded by the Turkish coast guard and verified by DER SPIEGEL. It shows officials standing on the deck, where they are obviously communicating with the refugees floating in the water in front of them.

      Later, the MAI 1103 passes the refugees traveling at high speed, with waves beating against the boat. The Romanian officials then withdrew and the Greek coast guard took over the operation.

      "These pushbacks violate the ban on collective expulsions and international maritime law,” says Dana Schmalz, an expert on international law at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg. She notes that if Frontex officials stopped a completely overcrowded inflatable boat, they would be required to rescue the people immediately. "If they don’t do that and even make waves instead, only to drive away and let the Greeks do the dirty work, then they are still involved in the illegal pushback,” she says.

      Reporting by DER SPIEGEL and its partners found that a Frontex surveillance plane or Portuguese or Romanian Frontex ships were near at least six pushbacks in the area since April. The number of undetected cases could actually be much higher.

      The vast majority of Frontex vessels patrol the Aegean Sea with their AIS transponders switched off or untraceable in order to prevent giving away their positions. Their presence can only be verified with difficulty through videos and photos.

      When contacted for comment by DER SPIEGEL, Frontex did not deny the individual incidents, instead stating that the officials protected the fundamental rights of migrants and respected their right to non-refoulement. It further stated that the incidents that had been reported were forwarded to the Greek coast guard, which opened an investigation into the matter. The Greek government gave a blanket denial to the allegations, saying that it complies with the law and does not carry out illegal deportations.

      Under Frontex’s statutes, police officers are required to file so-called Serious Incident Reports to document violations of the law. But people familiar with the situation say that fewer and fewer of these reports are getting filed. The sources said the Frontex border guards, who are sent to Greece from all over Europe, frown upon such reports because they cause trouble for the host country.

      https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/eu-border-agency-frontex-complicit-in-greek-refugee-pushback-campaign-a-4b6c

      –---

      en allemand :
      https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fluechtlinge-frontex-in-griechenland-in-illegale-pushbacks-verwickelt-a-0000

    • Bruxelles veut des explications de Frontex, accusée de procéder à des refoulements illégaux de migrants

      La #Commission_européenne a sollicité une réunion extraordinaire urgente du conseil d’administration de Frontex, l’agence européenne pour la protection des frontières, mise en cause pour des refoulements illégaux de migrants en mer Égée. Un article d’Euroefe.

      « Après s’être coordonnés avec la présidente de la Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, mes services ont demandé, au nom de la Commission, la convocation d’une réunion extraordinaire du conseil d’administration de Frontex le 10 novembre pour discuter des incidents présumés de refoulement en Grèce et de la protection des droits fondamentaux », a écrit Ylva Johansson, la commissaire chargée des migrations, dans un tweet.

      D’après des enquêtes menées par différents médias, Frontex aurait procédé à des refoulements illégaux de migrants en mer Égée, à la frontière entre la Turquie et la Grèce. Et ce à au moins six reprises.

      L’hebdomadaire allemand Der Spiegel a révélé le 23 octobre qu’il avait enquêté sur ces incidents en collaboration avec les médias numériques néerlandais Lighthouse Reports et britannique Bellingcat, ainsi qu’avec deux chaînes de télévision, l’Allemande ARD et la Japonaise Asahi.

      Ces médias disposent de films montrant comment, depuis le mois d’avril, des agents de Frontex ont procédé à ce que l’on appelle des « pushbacks » (refoulements) de migrants pour les empêcher d’atteindre le sol européen, une pratique illégale.

      Une vidéo montre comment un bateau de l’agence européenne bloque le passage d’une embarcation occupée par des migrants, avant de les dépasser à grande vitesse, provoquant ainsi de grosses vagues. Par la suite, les garde-côtes grecs obligent la barque à faire demi-tour vers la Turquie.

      De son côté, Frontex a nié les accusations et assuré au Spiegel que ses agents protégeaient les droits fondamentaux des migrants et respectaient le droit au non-refoulement.

      Le gouvernement grec a également nié catégoriquement ces accusations.

      https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/bruxelles-veut-des-explications-de-frontex-accusee-de-proceder-a-des-refoulements-illegaux-de-migrants/?_ga=2.223583131.1633915392.1603989521-379746837.1590938192

    • Greek coast guard performed huge pushback involving 197 people and 7 life rafts!

      A boat carrying 197 people tried to cross from Turkey to Italy on Tuesday, but got in to bad weather and sat course towards Crete. Close to the south shore of Crete they had engine problems and the Greek Coast Guard was alerted 09.00.
      The coast guard divided the people on two coast guard vessels, 121 men and boys on one vessel and 76 people, families on the other. Reports from the refugees clearly states that some of them where abuse while onboard the HCG vessel, footage and video testimony has been provided. Most of their phones was confiscated by the Greek coast guard, but a few managed to hide their phones, and was able to send out distress messages.
      The first group containing the 121 males was forced in to 3 life rafts before first light on Wednesday the 21th just north of Rhodes, and found and picked up by Turkish coast guard 08.50 south of Marmaris.
      The second group with the families, 76 people, was put in 4 life rafts around noon north west of Simi, drifting for hours and not picked up by Turkish coast guard before 17.30 south west of Datça.
      This shows that the Greek coast guard is determined to prevent anyone to reach Greek soil, no matter the consequences or potential harm they may inflict on innocent people fleeing war and persecution.
      This is by far the largest pushback Aegean Boat Report has been able to document, but I guess nothing is a surprise anymore. No measures have been taken by the EU to try to stop this illegal practice by the Greek government, even do they have received overwhelming amounts of evidence.

      https://www.facebook.com/AegeanBoatReport/posts/951612422028529

    • Έστειλαν πίσω 200 πρόσφυγες γιατί ήταν… τζιχαντιστές

      Τεκμηριωμένη καταγγελία για τη μεγαλύτερη ώς τώρα καταγεγραμμένη επαναπροώθηση προσφύγων από το Λιμενικό προς την Τουρκία με μεγάλη και κρυφή επιχείρηση του Λιμενικού εν μέσω σφοδρής κακοκαιρίας νότια της Κρήτης ● Έντεχνη προσπάθεια οι 200 άνθρωποι, μεταξύ αυτών και γυναικόπαιδα, να εμφανιστούν ως… ισλαμιστές τρομοκράτες.

      Ακόμα μια καταγγελία για βίαιες επαναπροωθήσεις προσφύγων από το Λιμενικό έρχεται στο φως τις τελευταίες ημέρες, την ίδια στιγμή που η κυβέρνηση πανηγυρίζει για τη μείωση των προσφυγικών ροών προς τα νησιά, χωρίς όμως να εξηγεί πώς έχει επιτευχθεί η μείωση αυτή.

      Η υπόθεση αφορά πλοιάριο με περίπου 200 ανθρώπους που έφτασαν στα ανοιχτά της Κρήτης, προερχόμενοι από Τουρκία και με τελικό προορισμό την Ιταλία. Στη συγκεκριμένη περίπτωση υπάρχει μια περίεργη αλληλουχία γεγονότων και « ειδήσεων » τόσο στα κρητικά όσο και τα κεντρικά ΜΜΕ. Το πρωί της Τρίτης 20 Οκτωβρίου σε όλα τα ηλεκτρονικά ΜΜΕ της Κρήτης μεταδίδεται η είδηση για « κινητοποίηση του Λιμενικού » για σκάφος με 200 μετανάστες στη θαλάσσια περιοχή νότια της νήσου Χρυσής (Γαϊδουρονήσι), στην Ιεράπετρα. Το προηγούμενο βράδυ η Κρήτη είχε χτυπηθεί σφοδρά από την κακοκαιρία και το πρωί τα βλέμματα όλων ήταν στις εκτεταμένες καταστροφές που προκάλεσε το χαλάζι σε καλλιέργειες και υποδομές, κυρίως στην ανατολική πλευρά του νησιού. Την ίδια κακοκαιρία προφανώς αντιμετώπισαν και οι 200 επιβαίνοντες στο σκάφος, μεταξύ των οποίων υπήρχαν γυναίκες και παιδιά.

      Στις πρώτες αναφορές και σε ερωτήσεις δημοσιογράφων προς το Λιμεναρχείο Ιεράπετρας γινόταν λόγος για « αδυναμία του Λιμενικού να εντοπίσει το πλοιάριο », ωστόσο δινόταν η πληροφορία πως τα σκάφη θα έμεναν στα ανοιχτά λόγω της κακοκαιρίας και για την περίπτωση που χρειαστεί, να παράσχουν βοήθεια αν εντοπίσουν τους πρόσφυγες. Λίγες ώρες αργότερα η είδηση εξαφανίστηκε από τα ΜΜΕ και δημιουργήθηκε η εντύπωση πως τα σκάφη του Λιμενικού δεν βρήκαν ποτέ το πλοιάριο με τους πρόσφυγες.
      Τους βρήκαν ;

      Ωστόσο τα πράγματα φαίνεται πως έγιναν διαφορετικά. Τέσσερις μέρες μετά, η οργάνωση Aegean Boat Report, η οποία και στο παρελθόν έχει αποκαλύψει παράνομες επιχειρήσεις επαναπροώθησης λέμβων με μετανάστες προς την Τουρκία από τις ελληνικές αρχές και τη Frontex, καταγγέλλει πως το Λιμενικό όχι μόνο βρήκε τους πρόσφυγες στα ανοιχτά της Κρήτης αλλά προχώρησε και με συνοπτικές διαδικασίες στην επαναπροώθησή τους στην Τουρκία. Η οργάνωση καταγγέλλει πως η ελληνική Ακτοφυλακή εντόπισε τους πρόσφυγες στις 9 το πρωί της Τρίτης (όπως δηλαδή μετέδιδαν αρχικά και τα κρητικά ΜΜΕ). Στη συνέχεια, πάντα σύμφωνα με την καταγγελία, οι άνδρες του Λιμενικού επιβίβασαν τους 197 πρόσφυγες σε δύο επιχειρησιακά σκάφη χωρίζοντάς τους σε δύο ομάδες. Στην πρώτη ομάδα μπήκαν 121 άνδρες και αγόρια, ενώ στη δεύτερη μπήκαν οικογένειες με γυναίκες και παιδιά, συνολικά 76 άτομα. Και οι δύο ομάδες, πάντα σύμφωνα με την καταγγελία, μεταφέρθηκαν στη θαλάσσια περιοχή βόρεια της Ρόδου, όπου και εξαναγκάστηκαν με τη βία να επιβιβαστούν σε συνολικά επτά θαλάσσιες σωστικές σχεδίες αφού προηγουμένως τους είχαν αφαιρεθεί όλα τα κινητά τηλέφωνα. Και οι επτά σχεδίες « σπρώχτηκαν » προς τις ακτές της Τουρκίας, εν μέσω κακοκαιρίας και κατά παράβαση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων και του δίκαιου της θάλασσας.

      Στιγμιότυπα από την επαναπροώθηση των προσφύγων (Φωτογραφίες από την οργάνωση Aegean Boat Report).


      Οι τρεις πρώτες σχεδίες, με 121 άτομα, εξωθήθηκαν τα ξημερώματα της Τετάρτης 21/10 προς την περιοχή της Μαρμαρίδας, όπου και εντοπίστηκαν από το τουρκικό Λιμενικό που τους περισυνέλεξε. Το δεύτερο γκρουπ, όπου βρίσκονταν οι γυναίκες και τα παιδιά, εξαναγκάστηκε να επιβιβαστεί σε τέσσερις σωστικές σχεδίες και επαναπροωθήθηκε προς την Τουρκία από τη θαλάσσια περιοχή δυτικά της Σύμης, το μεσημέρι της Τετάρτης. Τους περισυνέλεξε το τουρκικό Λιμενικό το απόγευμα της ίδιας μέρας στην περιοχή νοτιοδυτικά της πόλης Ντάκτα. Οπως αναφέρουν μάλιστα κάποιοι από τους επιβαίνοντες, χτυπήθηκαν από τους Ελληνες λιμενικούς, ενώ υπάρχει και σχετικό φωτογραφικό υλικό που τραβήχτηκε μετά την περισυλλογή τους από τις τουρκικές αρχές. Σε μία από τις φωτογραφίες φαίνεται ένας άνθρωπος με μώλωπες στην κοιλιά και με γύψο σε σημεία και των δύο χεριών του.


      Πρωτοσέλιδο

      Την ίδια μέρα, πάντως, που έγινε η καταγγελία από την Aegean Boat Report (το Σάββατο) η εφημερίδα « ΤΑ ΝΕΑ » κυκλοφορούσε με τίτλο « Προετοιμαστείτε για Τζιχαντιστές », αναφερόμενη στο μήνυμα που, σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες της εφημερίδας, έστειλε σε Ελλάδα και Κύπρο ο Αιγύπτιος πρόεδρος Αλ Σίσι κατά την τριμερή συνάντηση που πραγματοποιήθηκε στη Λευκωσία. Το μήνυμα υποτίθεται πως αφορούσε τις πληροφορίες που έχει η Αίγυπτος για τις κινήσεις του Ερντογάν και το πώς χρησιμοποιεί τον ισλαμιστικό παράγοντα. Σε κάποια κρητικά ΜΜΕ οι δύο υποθέσεις δεν άργησαν να συνδεθούν με αναφορές για το… περίεργο σκάφος στο οποίο, σύμφωνα με τα δημοσιεύματα, επέβαιναν « άτομα εμφανιζόμενα ως μετανάστες » και το οποίο, σύμφωνα με τις διοχετευμένες πληροφορίες, έχει κινητοποιήσει όχι μόνο το Λιμενικό αλλά και τον Στρατό, την ΕΥΠ ακόμα και ξένες μυστικές υπηρεσίες !

      Όπως αποκαλύπτεται, πάντως, οι επικίνδυνοι « τζιχαντιστές », τόσο οι άνδρες όσο και τα γυναικόπαιδα, είχαν ήδη από την Τετάρτη επαναπροωθηθεί παράνομα στην Τουρκία. Η Οργάνωση Aegean Boat Report αναφέρει πως αυτή είναι η μεγαλύτερη περίπτωση « pushback » που καταφέρνει να καταγράψει και τονίζει πως η Ευρωπαϊκή Ενωση δεν έχει επιβάλει ακόμα καμία κύρωση στην Ελλάδα για τις παράνομες επαναπροωθήσεις, παρά τα ακλόνητα στοιχεία που έχουν τεθεί στη διάθεση των ευρωπαϊκών αρχών.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/efkriti/koinonia/265835_esteilan-piso-200-prosfyges-giati-itan-tzihantistes

    • Greece’s coast guard accused of mass migrant pushbacks

      An NGO, the #Aegean_Boat_Report (ABR), has accused the Greek coast guard of pushing back 197 migrants at sea last week.

      Greek coast guards have been accused by the NGO Aegean Boat Report (ABR) of performing illegal pushbacks involving 197 people and seven life rafts off the coast of the island of Crete in the Southern Aegean.

      A boat carrying 197 people was on its way trying to cross from Turkey to Italy on October 20 but ran into bad weather and changed course towards Crete, the NGO said.

      Close to the south shore of Crete, the vessel reported engine problems and, according to the Norwegian organization, the Greek coast guard was alerted at 9 am.

      ’’The Greek coast guard divided the people into two groups onto two coast guard vessels, 121 men and boys on one vessel, and 76 people, mostly families, on the other.

      Abuse on board

      Reports from the refugees clearly state that some of them were abused while onboard the Hellenic coast guard vessel, with footage and video testimony being provided,’’ said ABR via a media statement.

      According to ABR, the first group with the 121 men and boys were forced into three life rafts in the early hours of Wednesday, October 21 just north of Rhodes, before being found and picked up by the Turkish coast guard at 8:50 am south of Marmaris.

      The second group of 76 people, made up of families, were put into four life rafts at around noon north-west of the islands of Simi, drifting for hours and not picked up by Turkish coast guards before 5:30 pm south-west of Data.

      ’Largest pushback’ ABR has documented

      ’’This shows that the Greek coast guard is determined to prevent anyone from reaching Greek soil, no matter the consequences or potential harm they may inflict on innocent people fleeing war and persecution’’, added ABR.

      ’’This is by far the largest pushback Aegean Boat Report has been able to document, but I guess nothing is a surprise anymore. No measures have been taken by the EU to try to stop this illegal practice by the Greek government, even if they have received overwhelming amounts of evidence.’’

      29 NGOs and humanitarian groups sent an open letter to Parliament Last week’s incidents were reported after an appeal was launched by several prominent NGOs and humanitarian groups earlier this month on the topic of illegal pushbacks.

      A total of 29 organizations sent an open letter to Parliament urging it to investigate reports of illegal pushbacks at the country’s land and sea borders with neighboring Turkey.

      The letter called on the Greek Parliament to ’’immediately conduct an effective, transparent and impartial investigation into allegations that personnel from the Coast Guard, the Greek Police and the Greek Army, sometimes in close cooperation with masked men in uniform, have engaged in such actions, which are not only illegal but also endanger the lives and safety of displaced people."

      Tensions on migration in Greece

      Tensions on the migrant issue in Greece continue to run high following September’s fires which destroyed the controversial Moria open camp on Lesbos, and widespread lockdowns at refugee camps across the country following outbreaks of coronavirus cases.

      The reports of pushbacks taking place have prompted action from humanitarian rights groups, with the joint-appeal calling for disciplinary and criminal sanctions, as deemed appropriate, “on anyone in uniform who are found to have participated in such illegal activities, but also for their superiors who are responsible for the administration of these bodies.”

      “The investigation should establish the identity and relationship of the masked men and other unidentified officers to law enforcement, and take steps to hold them to account.”

      State pushes ahead with migrant camps

      Meanwhile, in related developments, the government is pressing ahead with plans to create more secure and strictly controlled ’’closed’’ migrant reception centers on the Aegean islands.

      With the COVID-19 pandemic creating further challenges and complications for the operation of existing camps, most of which are under lockdown due to positive cases of the virus, the state is aiming to build new ’’permanent’’ structures, starting with one on Lesbos.

      The situation on Lesbos is the primary concern right now, as the current temporary facility which was hastily set up in the Kara Tepe area on the coast after Moria was burned down, has already flooded twice with the first rainfalls of the season.

      Lesbos Mayor Stratis Kytelis met with government officials in Athens last week to discuss the location of a new permanent facility on the island, although the plans are being met with resistance from local community groups.Greece’s health authorities, meanwhile, are also conducting regular COVID-19 tests at migrant camps on the Aegean islands to ensure that any outbreak is quickly contained.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/28139/greece-s-coast-guard-accused-of-mass-migrant-pushbacks

    • Frontex sous pression après des accusations de refoulement de migrants aux portes de la Grèce

      C’est une première : mardi 10 novembre, le conseil d’administration de l’Agence européenne des garde-frontières et de garde-côtes Frontex devra examiner des accusations de refoulements illégaux (ou « pushbacks ») de migrants en mer Egée. Elles ont été portées contre Frontex par un groupe de médias. En octobre, le site d’investigation Bellingcat et le magazine Der Spiegel notamment, avaient rapporté, images et témoignages à l’appui, six épisodes au cours desquels des embarcations avaient été bloquées, contrairement aux règles internationales sur le non-refoulement.

      Celles-ci stipulent que des personnes ne peuvent être renvoyées vers un pays, avant un examen de leur situation, si leur existence est en danger en raison de leur race, leur religion, leur nationalité ou leur appartenance à un groupe social ou politique.

      Il aura apparemment fallu une intervention ferme de la Commission européenne pour que la direction de Frontex, devenue le premier corps en uniforme et la plus importante agence de l’Union avec un budget de quelque 500 millions d’euros, accepte de convoquer un conseil extraordinaire. Dans un premier temps, elle s’était contentée d’affirmer, le 24 octobre, qu’elle respectait la loi internationale et était en contact avec la Grèce, qui devait ouvrir « une enquête interne ».
      Enquête interne

      « Si l’agence est impliquée dans de telles actions, c’est totalement inacceptable », déclarait pour sa part la commissaire à la migration, Ylva Johansson, le 26 octobre. Le lendemain, Frontex promettait une enquête interne et, même si elle n’exerce pas une tutelle directe sur l’agence, la Commission obtenait la convocation d’une réunion. A charge pour Fabrice Leggeri, le directeur français, de fournir des explications détaillées.

      « La Grèce ne participe pas à des refoulements, a affirmé de son côté le ministre grec des migrations, Notis Mitarachi. Nous gardons nos frontières en respectant le droit international et nous continuons à sauver des centaines de migrants tous les jours en Méditerranée », a-t-il précisé.

      Athènes fait face depuis des mois à de nombreuses accusations de refoulement en mer Egée et à la frontière terrestre avec la Turquie, dans l’Evros. Le 14 août déjà, le New York Times avait affirmé que les gardes-côtes grecs avaient abandonné en « pleine mer » des canots remplis de migrants. Interviewé par CNN, le premier ministre conservateur Kyriakos Mitsotakis avait démenti : « Cela n’est jamais arrivé. Nous sommes les victimes d’une vaste campagne de désinformation », suggérant que les journalistes avaient interrogé principalement des sources turques voulant décrédibiliser les autorités grecques.

      Depuis l’envoi par la Turquie de milliers de réfugiés à la frontière terrestre de l’Evros, en mars, Athènes a toujours assuré vouloir « protéger ses frontières » qui sont aussi celles de l’Europe et faire face à « une menace ». Le gouvernement a renforcé le contrôle des frontières en embauchant notamment du personnel supplémentaire. Entre avril et juillet, les arrivées à Lesbos ont diminué de 85 % par rapport à l’année dernière, selon le ministère des migrations.
      Des « abus sont trop nombreux pour être ignorés »

      Pour de nombreuses ONG présentes sur le terrain, cette diminution spectaculaire est le résultat de « pushbacks ». Selon Human Rights Watch, « les preuves et les rapports décrivant les abus sont trop nombreux pour être ignorés ». L’organisation dit avoir interrogé des victimes et des témoins qui décrivent comment les garde-côtes grecs, la police, et des hommes masqués et vêtus d’habits sombres ont effectué depuis les îles de Rhodes, de Samos et Simi, des refoulements illégaux de personnes sur de petits canots gonflables.

      A la fin août, le Haut-Commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) de l’ONU se disait « inquiet de l’augmentation des publications depuis mars 2020 attestant de refoulements illégaux ». « Le HCR a reçu des rapports et des témoignages de personnes abandonnées en pleine mer pendant un long moment, souvent sur des rafiots surpeuplés », précisait le communiqué.

      L’Observatoire grec des accords d’Helsinki a déjà déposé une plainte auprès de la Cour suprême grecque pour le refoulement de plus de 1 300 personnes en s’appuyant sur les témoignages recueillis par plusieurs ONG. En septembre, 29 organisations de défense des droits de l’homme ont par ailleurs adressé une lettre au premier ministre et au parlement grecs pour réclamer une enquête. Leur courrier est encore sans réponse alors que 35 membres d’ONG font, eux, l’objet d’une investigation : ils sont suspectés d’avoir renseigné des migrants sur les positions des gardes-côtes ainsi que des passeurs sur des lieux d’accostage. Ces humanitaires travaillent pour des organisations qui ont dénoncé avec le plus de véhémence les refoulements vers la Turquie par les gardes-côtes grecs.

      Frontex, qui a engagé en Grèce quelque six cents agents dotés de divers moyens de surveillance, a déjà fait l’objet d’autres accusations mais affirme à chaque fois respecter un code de conduite qui prohibe strictement les refoulements. La communication très cadenassée de l’agence ne détaille toutefois pas comment les contrôles sont vraiment exercés. L’action du service interne chargé de contrôler le respect des droits fondamentaux reste également nébuleuse. Une situation déplorée par le HCR, membre du forum consultatif chargé de conseiller l’agence européenne dans son action.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/11/05/frontex-sous-pression-apres-des-accusations-de-refoulement-de-migrants-aux-p

    • EU: Probe Frontex Complicity in Border Abuses. Ensure Independent and Effective Investigation

      The top governing body of the European Union Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) should urgently establish an independent inquiry into allegations of its involvement in unlawful operations to stop migrants from reaching the European Union (EU), Human Rights Watch said today.

      The agency’s board will hold an extraordinary meeting on November 10, 2020. Frontex should also address serious and persistent violations by border and law enforcement officers of the countries where it operates.

      “The fact that Frontex may have become complicit in abuses at Greece’s borders is extremely serious,” said Eva Cossé, Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Management Board of Frontex should quickly open an inquiry into Frontex involvement in – or actions to disregard or cover up – abuses against people seeking protection from conflicts and persecution.”

      On October 23, a group of media outlets published a detailed investigative report alleging Frontex involvement in pushback operations at the Greek-Turkish maritime border, in the Aegean Sea. The reports said that asylum seekers and migrants were prevented from reaching EU soil or were forced out of EU waters. Such pushbacks violate international law, Human Rights Watch said.

      EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on October 28 that she had asked, in coordination with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, “to convene an urgent extraordinary Frontex Management Board meeting on 10 November, to discuss alleged push-back incidents in Greece and fundamental rights protection.”

      Frontex’s mandate obliges officers and the officers of member states deployed to respect fundamental rights, but the agency has been under heavy criticism for the shortcomings of its internal monitoring and accountability mechanisms. On October 27, Frontex announced an internal inquiry into the incidents reported by the media.

      In recent years, nongovernmental groups and media outlets have consistently reported the unlawful return, including through pushbacks, of groups and individuals from Greece to Turkey, by Greek law enforcement officers or unidentified masked men who appear to be working in tandem with border enforcement officials.

      Since Frontex deployed officers along the full length of the Turkey-Greece land border in March, Human Rights Watch has documented that Greek law enforcement officers routinely summarily returned asylum seekers and migrants through the land border with Turkey. Human Rights Watch found that officers in some cases used violence and often confiscated and destroyed migrants’ belongings.

      Greek authorities have said that police officers wearing dark blue uniforms work at police stations. Border patrol police officers wear military camouflage uniforms. Frontex guards wear their national uniforms, with a blue armband with the EU flag.

      In July, Human Rights Watch documented collective expulsions, through the Evros river land border, of asylum seekers rounded up from deep inside Greece.

      In a June 19 response to questions posed by Human Rights Watch, Frontex wrote that no abuses against migrants by Greek border guards or by police or border guards of other EU member states deployed under Frontex had been reported to Frontex. It said that Frontex does not have the authority to investigate allegations of abuse by EU member states’ police or border guards deployed in Greece. It said that such investigations are conducted by the competent national authorities.

      In June, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it was deeply concerned about persistent reports of pushbacks and collective expulsions of migrants, in some cases violent, at Greece’s border with Turkey. In August, the UN Refugee Agency flagged concerns over the increasing number of credible reports of pushbacks at Greece’s land and sea borders.

      In May 2019, Frontex told Human Rights Watch that it had not detected any human rights violations or pushbacks during its operational presence at Croatia’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite consistent evidence of brutal pushbacks, reports from international and regional organizations, and the confirmation by Croatian officials that such abuses were taking place.

      Under the Frontex mandate, its executive director has the authority to, and should, withdraw financing, and suspend or terminate its activities if there are serious violations of fundamental rights related to its activities. The executive director is also expected to take into account information provided by relevant international organizations.

      On July 6, during a debate at the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on fundamental rights at the Greek border, Johansson said that pushbacks by Greek border guards should be investigated. In its new Pact on Migration and Asylum, presented on September 23, the European Commission recommended to member states to set up an independent monitoring mechanism, amid increased allegations of abuse at the EU’s external borders.

      Members of the Frontex Management Board should set up an independent, prompt, effective, transparent, and impartial investigation into allegations that officers deployed by Frontex were involved in unlawful operations of pushbacks of asylum seekers. Any officer found to have engaged in such illegal acts, as well as their commanding officers and officials who have command responsibility over such forces, should be subject to disciplinary and criminal sanctions, as applicable.

      The investigation should also identify whether Frontex failed to report or otherwise address allegations of serious fundamental rights violations committed by law enforcement or border officers of the member state hosting operations.

      “An EU agency with a clear mandate to act in compliance with fundamental rights has the responsibility to do everything possible to prevent such severe violations,” Cossé said. “If Frontex not only turned a blind eye to abuses committed under its sight, or worse, directly took part in them, it becomes every EU member state’s responsibility.”

      https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/11/09/eu-probe-frontex-complicity-border-abuses

    • Frontex calls for committee to consider questions related to sea surveillance

      Today, Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri has called for the creation of an evaluation committee to consider legal questions related to the Agency’s surveillance of external sea borders and accommodating the concerns raised by Member States about “hybrid threats” affecting their national security at external borders where the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will deploy its standing corps.

      Under the Frontex proposal, the committee would be coordinated by the European Commission with the participation of Member States on a volunteer basis. It would address various questions, in particular those related to Regulation 2014/656 in the light of the current operational situation.

      Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri also expressed the Agency’s continued commitment to highest standards of protection of fundamental rights.

      “Any allegation of misconduct or infringement of international treaties or fundamental rights in the framework of joint operations coordinated by Frontex is treated with grave concern and carefully investigated,” said Fabrice Leggeri.

      “I am committed to reinforce the office of the Fundamental Rights Officer and to gradually increase its budget,” he added.

      Leggeri also proposed that the Frontex Fundamental Rights Officer to play a bigger role in raising awareness of the operational officers on the legal requirements that they need to apply on everyday basis in the field.

      “This could apply not only to the Frontex-deployed staff, but also to the staff of the International Coordination Centres, who often play an essential part in deciding to react to complicated events,” Leggeri said.

      https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-calls-for-committee-to-consider-questions-related-to-sea-surv

    • #Ombudsman opens inquiry to assess European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) ‘#Complaints_Mechanism’

      European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has opened an inquiry to look into how the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) deals with alleged breaches of fundamental rights. In particular, the investigation will assess the effectiveness and transparency of Frontex’s Complaints Mechanism for those who believe their rights have been violated in the context of Frontex border operations, as well as the role and independence of Frontex’s ‘Fundamental Rights Officer’.

      In 2013, as part of a previous inquiry, the Ombudsman recommended that Frontex set up an individual complaints mechanism, and that its Fundamental Rights Officer be in charge of the mechanism. Since then, such a mechanism was put in place and further developed, with a view to providing safeguards for fundamental rights in the context of Frontex’s expanding mandate, as well as ensuring increased accountability and redress for those impacted by its actions.

      This inquiry focuses on whether the Complaints Mechanism and the Fundamental Rights Officer are truly empowered to deal with the issues faced by migrants and asylum seekers who feel their rights have been violated under Frontex operations.

      In opening the inquiry, the Ombudsman has sent a set of detailed questions to Frontex on the Complaints Mechanism and the Fundamental Rights Officer. She has also informed members of the European Network of Ombudsmen (ENO), with a view to their possible participation in the inquiry, as part of the ENO’s parallel work. This is important, given the role of national authorities in Frontex operations, and the fact that some national ombudsmen are responsible for following up on complaints related to this.

      Among other things, the questions set out by the Ombudsman look at: how and when Frontex will be updating the mechanism to reflect its expanded mandate; what happens to complainants who are faced with forced return while their complaint is still being processed; what appeal possibilities are open to complainants; how Frontex monitors complaints against national authorities; how those who have been affected by Frontex operations but are in non-EU countries can complain about alleged breaches of fundamental rights, including the issue of language; and the role of the Fundamental Rights Officer in this process.

      https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/news-document/en/134739

    • Frontex: Cover-Up and Diversion. Outcomes of and Responses to the Frontex Management Board meeting on 10th November

      An extraordinary meeting took place on Tuesday 10th November, between the EU Commission and Frontex, regarding alleged Frontex involvement in illegal pushbacks in Greece.

      Why did the meeting take place?

      This meeting was called due to an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting the involvement or complicity of Frontex in pushbacks. Reports by Spiegel, Report Mainz, Bellingcat and other international media, including Josoor and other members of the BVMN, had led to this meeting taking place. These investigations show Frontex involvement in at least six pushbacks through, for example, blocking boats and making waves to deter boats from getting any closer to the shore. According to Frontex insiders, mission reports were routinely altered into something more positive, excluding explicit mentions of pushbacks, before being sent to Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, Poland.

      We, at the Border Violence Monitoring Network, took advantage of the opportunity presented by the meeting on 10th November by sending a letter of concern to the Executive Director of Frontex and the FRO. This letter included evidence from testimonies, collected by BVMN partners, including Josoor, from people-on-the-move who claim that Frontex personnel were involved or complicit in pushbacks operations at the borders between Greek and Turkey, and Albania and Greece. The letter questioned Frontex’s knowledge and understanding of these allegations, and demanded an investigation into these claims. The letter was also addressed to the EU commissioner of Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, and her officer and we hoped this was presented as evidence at the management board meeting on 10th November

      What were the outcomes?

      Johansson remarked on twitter after the meeting:

      “Today’s @Frontex extraordinary management board was a good start to what I want to be a transparent process. The @EU_Commission has asked the Frontex Executive Director to reply to Qs ahead of the next scheduled board meeting (end November).”

      Leggeri, the Executive Director of Frontex, has been ordered by the EU Commission to answer questions concerning these accusations by the end of November. Frontex is yet to comment in detail on the allegations and reported incidents have been forwarded to the Greek coastguard, where also the Greek authorities have refused to comment and denied involvement. Both Frontex and the Greek authorities have launched internal investigations in response to these allegations. Unsurprisingly, after just 48 hours of their investigations, Frontex announced that they were innocent.

      The meeting also included a discussion on whether Frontex should withdraw from missions, such as the one in the Aegean Sea in the event of serious and persistent human rights violations. Such a directive can be found already in Frontex’s regulations. Officials of a few member states vetoed the application of this rule, and Greek representatives in particular were concerned that this could expose the Greek government.

      In the end, a compromise was met. A Frontex statement outlined that a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ will now be made to deal with legal questions concerning operations at sea borders. This will be coordinated by the EU Commission.

      “Any allegation of misconduct or violation of international agreements or fundamental rights within joint operations coordinated by Frontex will be treated with grave concern and investigated closely,” Leggeri said.

      Also, Frontex seeks to strengthen the role of the Fundamental Rights Officer, but experts agree that the internal mechanisms at Frontex are insufficient and therefore see this move as insufficient. As of yesterday, Frontex is advertising for the vacancy of the FRO.

      Members of EU Parliament reactions:

      Tineke Strik (from Netherlands, Green) commented, according to Spiegel, “The announcement did not mention the human rights violations at the border. A committee does not replace a truly independent and transparent investigation. Strik stated “Citizens need to know what has happened and how human rights violations are to be prevented in the future”

      Dietmar Köster (from Germany, SPD) stated, quoted from Tagesschau, "It is a unique cover-up attempt to divert attention from one’s own responsibility and failure to observe human rights”. Köster further stated that Leggeri’s statements showed the arrogance and ignorance of Frontex. “Basic and human rights apply to all. The European Border Management Agency is not exempt from their observance, it is not above the law.”

      An successful outcome: an independent inquiry:

      On the morning of Thursday 12th November, the European Ombudsman tweeted that they would open an inquiry into Frontex, assessing the effectiveness and transparency of their ‘Complaints Mechanism’ and the role and independence of the ‘Fundamental Rights Officer’ (FRO). The latter is especially important as the current ad interim FRO, Annegret Kohler, appointed in 2018, and re-appointed in September 2020, was selected from the Executive Director’s former cabinet, where she was an advisor to the Executive Director. This raises questions about independence and objectivity of the FRO and the FRO’s team to carry out their duties and avoid potential conflicts of interest. Josoor welcomes this investigation.

      https://www.josoor.net/post/frontex-cover-up-and-diversion

    • EU erhöht Druck auf Frontex-Chef

      Die EU-Grenzschutzagentur gerät durch Recherchen des ARD-Magazins Report Mainz und weiterer Medien in Bedrängnis. Heute musste die Frontex-Führung der EU-Kommission zum Thema illegale Pushbacks Rede und Antwort stehen.

      Die Europäische Kommission erwartet Antworten vom Frontex-Chef. Bis Ende November muss sich Fabrice Leggeri zur Verwicklung seiner Grenzschutzagentur in illegale Pushbacks von Flüchtlingen äußern. Das ist das Ergebnis einer Dringlichkeitssitzung des Frontex Management Boards. Das Treffen sei ein guter Anfang gewesen, sie wolle den Prozess transparent gestalten, twitterte die zuständige EU-Kommissarin Ylva Johansson. Leggeri solle bis zur nächsten Zusammenkunft des Management Boards auf die Fragen der Kommission antworten.
      Recherchen bringen Frontex in Bedrängnis

      Johansson hatte das Treffen einberufen, um über eine gemeinsame Recherche des ARD-Magazins Report Mainz, des „Spiegel“ und der Medienorganisationen Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports und tv Asahi zu diskutieren. Die Medien hatten aufgedeckt, dass Frontex-Einheiten in der Ägäis in illegale Zurückweisungen von Flüchtlingen verwickelt sind.

      Seit April waren Frontex-Beamte nachweislich bei mindestens sechs sogenannten Pushbacks in der Nähe. Auf einem Video ist zu sehen, wie ein Frontex-Schiff ein überladenes Flüchtlingsboot zunächst blockiert, die Insassen aber nicht rettet. Stattdessen fahren die Frontex-Beamten mit hohem Tempo an dem Flüchtlingsboot vorbei und verlassen dann den Ort des Geschehens. Vertrauliche Gespräche mit Frontex-Beamten legten zudem nahe, dass diese ihre Berichte schönen, bevor sie an die Zentrale in Warschau geschickt werden.

      Keine Äußerung von Frontex und Griechenland

      Frontex ist auf die Vorwürfe bis heute nicht im Detail eingegangen. Alle gemeldeten Vorfälle seien an die griechische Küstenwache weitergeleitet worden, diese habe eine interne Untersuchung eingeleitet, teilte die Genzschutzagentur in einem Statement mit. Nach der Antwort der griechischen Behörden seien seine Zweifel ausgeräumt, sagte Leggeri zudem in einem Interview.

      Auch die griechischen Behörden hatten sich zu den Pushbacks nicht im Detail äußern wollen. Sie bestreiten die Vorwürfe pauschal, obwohl die ARD, der „Spiegel“ und andere Medien die Pushbacks mehrfach dokumentiert haben. Nach Angaben von Teilnehmern im „Spiegel“ sahen sich vor allem die griechischen Mitglieder des Management Boards bei dem Treffen Fragen ausgesetzt. Diskutiert wurde unter anderem ein Statement, welches betonen sollte, dass Frontex sich bei schwerwiegenden und anhaltenden Menschenrechtsverletzungen von Missionen wie der in der Ägäis zurückziehen muss.

      Griechen haben Angst vor Bloßstellung

      Ein solche Vorschrift findet sich schon jetzt in den Frontex-Regularien. Beamte einiger weniger Mitgliedsstaaten legten ihr Veto dagegen ein, dass die Anwendung dieser Regel nun in den Raum gestellt werden soll. Besonders die griechischen Teilnehmer fürchteten, dass das Statement die griechische Regierung bloßstellen könnte.

      Am Ende einigte man sich auf einen Kompromiss. Es soll ein Komitee geschaffen werden, das sich mit rechtlichen Fragen zu Einsätzen an der Seegrenzen beschäftigt, heißt es in einem Frontex-Statement. Die Kommission solle dem Vorschlag zufolge die Arbeit des Komitees koordinieren, Mitgliedsstaaten könnten sich auf freiwilliger Basis beteiligen. Im Komitee sollen auch die Sorgen einige Mitgliedsstaaten vor „hybriden Bedrohungen“ eine Rolle spielen. Vor allem Griechenland hatte immer wieder davor gewarnt, dass türkische Geheimdienste sich unter die Migranten auf den Inseln mischen könnten.

      Außerdem will Frontex nach eigener Aussage den sogenannten Fundamental Rights Officer stärken. Der Beamte ist bei Frontex dafür zuständig, dass die Grenzschützer die Grundrechte von Schutzsuchenden achten. Allerdings halten Beobachter alle bestehenden internen Überwachungsmechanismen bei Frontex für unzureichend.
      Kritik aus Europaparlament

      Nach den Enthüllungen der ARD und ihrer Recherchepartner hatten mehrere Europaparlamentarier von Leggeri eine vollständige Untersuchung der Vorwürfe gefordert. Die Grünen-EU-Abgeordnete Tineke Strik kritisierte das Frontex-Statement. Die Ankündigung erwähne die Menschenrechtsverletzungen an der Grenze nicht, sagte sie. Ein Komitee ersetze keine wirklich unabhängige und transparente Untersuchung. „Die Bürger müssen erfahren, was geschehen ist und wie Menschenrechtsverletzungen in Zukunft verhindert werden sollen“, so Strik.

      „Das Ganze ist eine große Nebelkerze“, sagte Europaparlamentarier Dietmar Köster von der SPD. „Es ist ein einzigartiger Vertuschungsversuch, von der eigenen Verantwortung und dem Versagen bei der Einhaltung von Menschenrechten abzulenken“,

      https://www.tagesschau.de/investigativ/report-mainz/frontex-pushbacks-103.html

    • EU-Grenzpolizei Frontex: Keine Untersuchung zu Verstößen gegen Menschenrechte

      Im März war die EU-Grenzpolizei Frontex in einen versuchten Verstoß gegen Menschenrechte verwickelt. Wie von uns veröffentlichte Akten zeigen, untersuchte Frontex den Vorfall aber nicht, sondern kehrte ihn unter den Teppich.

      Als ARD, Spiegel und Bellingcat vor drei Wochen aufdeckten, dass die Europäische Grenzpolizei Frontex an illegalen Pushbacks an EU-Grenzen beteiligt ist, versprach der Frontex-Direktor Fabrice Leggeri schnell Aufklärung. Die EU-Agentur werde die Vorwürfe untersuchen, nach denen Frontex Geflüchtete völkerrechtswidrig aus der EU abgeschoben hatte.

      „Jeder Vorwurf des Fehlverhaltens oder der Verletzung internationaler Verträge oder Grundrechte im Rahmen gemeinsamer Operationen, die von Frontex koordiniert werden, wird mit großer Besorgnis behandelt und sorgfältig untersucht.“

      Frontex-Direktor Fabrice Leggeri (Übersetzung von FragDenStaat)

      Ein interner E-Mail-Verlauf von Frontex, den wir per Informationsfreiheitsanfrage erhalten haben, zeigt jetzt jedoch, dass die EU-Agentur in vergleichbaren Fällen offenbar kein Interesse daran hat, Verstöße gegen Menschenrechte zu untersuchen. EU Observer hatte zunächst darüber berichtet.
      Dänemark widersetzt sich Frontex-Befehlen

      Bereits am 2. März diesen Jahres hatte Frontex in der Nähe der griechischen Insel Kos versucht, ein Boot mit 33 geflüchteten Menschen, die griechische Gewässer erreicht hatten, in die Türkei abzuschieben. Das griechische Frontex-Kommando befahl einem Schiff der Dänischen Marine mit dem Namen „Stela Polaris“, die Geflüchteten nicht an Land zu bringen, sondern wieder in ein Gummiboot zu setzen und aufs offene Meer Richtung Türkei zu schleppen. Der dänische Befehlshaber des Schiffes widersetzte sich dem rechtswidrigen Befehl jedoch und erreichte durch seine dänischen Vorgesetzten, dass er aufgehoben wurde.

      Frontex hatte den Vorgang bisher nie öffentlich zugegeben. Der dazugehörige E-Mail-Verkehr aus der Frontex-Zentrale in Warschau, den wir veröffentlichen, zeigt, dass Pushbacks die Entscheidungsträger um Direktor Fabrice Leggeri kaum interessierten. Erst aus der Presse erfuhr das Hauptquartier überhaupt davon, dass Frontex in einen versuchten Verstoß gegen die Menschenrechte verwickelt war.

      Einen Bericht – intern Serious Incident Report genannt – gab es trotz der Schwere des Vorfalls nicht. Die Frontex-Pressesprecherin forderte deswegen in Erwartung von Presseanfragen am Morgen des 6. März, vier Tage nach dem Vorfall, bei ihren Kolleg:innen einen Bericht zu den Vorfällen an. Am Nachmittag wurde sie informiert, dass es in der Tat einen versuchten Pushback gegeben hatte.

      Menschenrechte geprüft in vier Stunden

      Bemerkenswert ist, wie die Frontex-Zentrale anschließend mit den Informationen umging: Es schloss die Akten. Bereits vier Stunden nach der Meldung über Vorfall kamen die Frontex-Mitarbeiter:innen zu der Einschätzung, der versuchte Pushback sei ein „Einzelfall“. Er wurde noch nicht einmal beim täglichen Treffen der Befehlshabenden in der Frontex-Mission besprochen.

      Weitere Informationen zu dem Vorfall finden sich in den Akten laut Frontex nicht. Die Frontex-Mitarbeiter:innen überprüften nicht die Kommando-Strukturen und prüften nicht, warum es keinen internen Bericht zu dem rechtswidrigen Befehl gab. Sie unternahmen auch sonst keine Versuche, um sicherzustellen, dass Pushbacks durch das Frontex-Kommando nicht mehr vorkommen würden. Im Sommer schließlich gab Frontex-Direktor gegenüber dem Europäischen Parlament zu Protokoll, der versuchte Pushback sei ein „Missverständnis“ gewesen.

      Einige Monate später fanden Journalist:innen Beweise dafür, dass es sich offenbar nicht um einen Einzelfall handelt und Frontex mindestens im Juni an weiteren Pushbacks beteiligt war. Die EU-Agentur hatte offenbar kein Interesse daran, Verstöße gegen Menschenrechte zu unterbinden.

      https://fragdenstaat.de/blog/2020/11/18/frontex-pushbacks-denmark

    • Council of Europe’s anti-torture Committee calls on Greece to reform its immigration detention system and stop pushbacks

      In a report published today on a rapid reaction ad hoc visit to Greece in March 2020, the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee (CPT) once again urges the Greek authorities to change their approach towards immigration detention and to ensure that migrants deprived of their liberty are treated both with dignity and humanity.

      The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its ad hoc visit to Greece, which took place from 13 to 17 March 2020, together with the response of the Greek authorities.

      In the report, the CPT acknowledges the significant challenges faced by the Greek authorities in dealing with large numbers of migrants entering the country and that it requires a coordinated European approach. However, this cannot absolve the the Hellenic Republic from their human rights obligations and the duty of care owed to all migrants that the Greek authorities detain.

      The CPT found that the conditions of detention in which migrants were held in certain facilities in the Evros region and on the island of Samos could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment. The report again underlines the structural deficiencies in Greece’s immigration detention policy. Migrants continue to be held in detention centres composed of large barred cells crammed with beds, with poor lighting and ventilation, dilapidated and broken toilets and washrooms, insufficient personal hygiene products and cleaning materials, inadequate food and no access to outdoor daily exercise. Extreme overcrowding in several of the facilities further aggravated the situation. In addition, migrants were not provided with clear information about their situation.

      The CPT once again found that families with children, unaccompanied and separated children and other vulnerable persons (with a physical or mental health illness, or pregnant women) were being detained in such appalling conditions with no appropriate support. The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to end the detention of unaccompanied children and of children with their parents in police establishments. Instead, they should be transferred to suitable reception facilities catering to their specific needs.

      The report also highlights that the CPT again received consistent and credible allegations of migrants being pushed back across the Evros River border to Turkey. The Greek authorities should act to prevent such pushbacks. The CPT furthermore raises concerns over acts by the Greek Coast Guard to prevent boats carrying migrants from reaching any Greek island and it questions the role and engagement of FRONTEX in such operations.

      The CPT calls upon the Greek authorities to take vigorous steps to stamp out ill-treatment of detained migrants by the police. The report refers to a number of allegations by migrants that they had been ill treated by members of the Hellenic Police and/or Coast Guard either upon apprehension or after being brought to a place of detention. The ill treatment alleged consisted primarily of slaps to the head and kicks and truncheon blows to the body.

      In their response, the Hellenic Police provide information on the steps being taken to improve the conditions of detention for detained migrants. They also state that the alleged practice of pushbacks to the border is unsubstantiated and completely wrong. As regards unaccompanied minors, reference is made to a new strategy to end their detention and to their transfer from reception centres on the islands to safe accommodation facilities on the mainland.

      https://search.coe.int/directorate_of_communications/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=0900001680a06bcf

    • Annex to the reply of Fabrice Leggeri to the LIBE Committee

      https://www.tinekestrik.eu/sites/default/files/2020-11/Answers%20to%20the%20questions%20from%20the%20LIBE%20Commitee.pdf

      –---

      Thread sur twitter:

      It looks like Frontex are NOT denying that they may be involved in #pushbacks after all. FL partly evades (’...always committed...’) and partly seems to blame the ’uniqueness’ of operational areas & ’complex geography’ of the Greek and Turkish border for FX being involved in pushbacks.

      –---

      The earlier letter sent to the EP President might offer some clues. I’m not a legal expert, but FL seems to suggest that Art. 6 of Reg. 656/2014 (on interception at sea) needs to be clarified so as to define what constitutes a #pushback. Interesting.
      https://www.tinekestrik.eu/sites/default/files/2020-11/Letter%20to%20EP_Frontex%20maritime%20operations%20at%20EU%20external%20

      –—

      Yet not all pushbacks happen at sea. While the request for interpretation above might mean that FX is looking for a way out re: #pushbacks at the Aegean, what about those at the
      Greek-Turkish land border? I think there’s less concern with #pushbacks at #Evros, though. No videos...

      –---

      Back to the Annex: We know SIRs weren’t submitted as they should. The real question is why. It might be down to officers on the ground lacking in training (they shouldn’t, but...) or not wanting to get their colleagues in trouble (the spirit of camaraderie...).

      –---

      BUT: Today’s Spiegel article refers to a ’Frontex official in charge’ advising a Swedish officer not to submit a SIR. FX management were aware few SIRs being submitted for years. Is it a practice dictated from the top? To avoid having evidence of violations?

      https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/pushbacks-in-der-aegaeis-wie-frontex-menschenrechtsverletzungen-vertuscht-a-

      –—

      Suspension/non-launch of operations has never happened. The ED didn’t take into account reports by NGOs or human rights bodies when considering the 2016 recommendation to suspend operations in Hungary. He relied on the very low number of SIRs to reject it.
      https://respondmigration.com/wp-blog/fundamental-rights-accountability-transparency-european-governance

      –—

      Same with the 2019 & 2020 recommendations of the FRO to consider suspension of operations in #Evros. As for taking into account media reports ... well, I’d say the reply to the LIBE committee reads like the media accounts are being dismissed.

      https://twitter.com/lk2015r/status/1331662031095787521

    • E.U. Border Agency Accused of Covering Up Migrant Pushback in Greece

      Frontex is under fire for letting Greece illegally repel migrants as the agency expands to play a more central role at the bloc’s external borders.

      Mounting evidence indicates that the European Union’s border agency has been complicit in Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back migrants to Turkey, according to documents obtained by The New York Times and interviews with officials.

      In at least one case, Frontex, as the E.U. border agency is known, is accused of having helped cover up the violations, when a crew said it was discouraged by agency officials from reporting that they had seen the Greek authorities setting a boatload of migrants adrift in Turkish waters.

      The case is currently being investigated by Frontex. But it has fueled suspicions that the agency, newly boosted in its role as upholder of the rule of law at E.U. borders, is not just sporadically aware of such abuses, but that it plays a role in concealing them.

      “We are seeing an erosion of the rule of law at the E.U. borders which is willful,” said Gerald Knaus, a migration expert. “This is deeply worrying because it is eroding the refugee convention on the continent on which it was created.”

      Throughout this year, The New York Times and others have reported on growing operations by the Greek Coast Guard to repel migrants from Greek waters back to Turkey, reports the Greek authorities deny amount to breaches of international laws.

      But revelations that Frontex has witnessed pushbacks have thrown the agency into a governance crisis that threatens to further blight the European Union’s liberal values, once again calling into question the bloc’s commitment to upholding its own laws on refugees.

      The cases have also highlighted a conundrum at the core of E.U. ambitions to tighten external borders by pooling resources and involving the bloc in the sensitive, zealously shielded work of sovereign border guards.

      Frontex is the European Union’s best-funded agency, with a budget of over $500 million, and will soon deploy the first uniformed officers in the bloc’s history. It has been built up specifically to help in migrant-rescue operations as the burden of policing Europe’s borders has fallen most heavily on its peripheral states, like Greece.

      It was also intended as a deterrent to the kind of mass arrival of refugees that sowed political crises across Europe after 2015, and fanned nationalist and populist movements.

      Yet Frontex is not empowered to stop national border guards from committing violations, and it is not clear how it can play a role as standard-bearer of E.U. laws when informing on national forces risks the working relationships on which its operations depend.

      Refugee arrivals to the European Union peaked five years ago and have dropped drastically since, but thousands of asylum seekers, many fleeing the wars in Afghanistan and Syria, still attempt the crossing. Unlike in the past, Greeks and their government have turned hostile to the new arrivals, exhausted by years in which asylum seekers have been bottled up in overrun camps on Greek islands.

      There is also a growing belief in the Greek and several other European governments that aggression at the borders and poor conditions at migrant camps will make the attempt to reach Europe less attractive for asylum seekers.

      Earlier this year, an analysis by The Times showed that the Greek government had secretly expelled more than 1,000 asylum seekers, often by sailing them to the edge of Greek territorial waters and abandoning them in flimsy inflatable life rafts in violation of international laws.

      The Greek Coast Guard has rescued thousands of asylum seekers over the years but has become much more aggressive this year, especially as Turkey used migrants to provoke Greece by encouraging them to cross the border.

      The Greek government has denied it is doing anything illegal in repelling migrant boats from its national waters, characterizing the operations as robust border guarding. But Mr. Knaus said “the denials are not serious,” and the practices are effectively happening in the open — under the eyes of E.U. border patrols.

      The documents obtained by The Times describe, in Coast Guard vernacular littered with acronyms, codes, time-stamps and coordinates, a seemingly incessant Ping-Pong of migrant dinghies between Greek and Turkish waters, with Frontex crews on vessels or aircraft in observer status.

      Four officials with direct knowledge of Frontex operations said that agency officials have been discouraging crews from filing reports on pushback incidents, and, in some cases, have stopped initial alerts of violations from being filed as “serious incident reports,” at times after consulting with the Greek authorities.

      They all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were concerned about losing their jobs, or were not authorized to brief the press.

      The Frontex spokesman, Chris Borowski, said the agency took the reporting of violations very seriously. “Pushbacks are illegal under international law,” Mr. Borowski said.

      In the latest case to come to light, a Swedish Coast Guard crew on deployment under Frontex witnessed a pushback to Turkish waters of a boat full of migrants by the Greek authorities on Oct. 30 off the Greek island of Chios.

      The Swedish crew was later advised by a Frontex officer to not report it, documents reviewed by The Times show. The Swedish representative to the management board of Frontex described the incident, and the suppression of the attempt to report it, at a meeting on Nov. 10 — the first known case of an E.U. member state reporting active interference by Frontex officials.

      The Swedish government did not comment. A spokesman for Frontex said the agency wouldn’t comment because of an “ongoing procedure.”

      Frontex has been working in Greece for more than a decade, providing sea, land and aerial surveillance and rescue capabilities and deploying crews from other member states under its command.

      The details now emerging push the agency deeper into a governance crisis which began in October when a consortium of news organizations, including the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, reported a number of occasions when Frontex crews witnessed pushbacks in Greece.

      The European Commission, which is part of the Frontex oversight system but does not control the agency, pushed for a special inquiry into these allegations and, at an emergency agency board meeting on Nov. 10, asked its leadership to answer detailed questions in writing.

      The answers arrived with a four-day delay, just 15 hours before the start of another meeting to discuss the problems on Wednesday. Yet another emergency meeting has been called in December, mounting pressure on the agency.

      Frontex has promised internal investigations but also quickly dismissed allegations, saying for example, in a letter seen by The Times, that it would look into the Swedish case, but that it had so far found no evidence that it happened.

      How these investigations shake out will matter a great deal for the future of Frontex, which was once little more than a back-office operation in Warsaw but now finds itself on the front lines of the nettlesome issue of migration that has the potency to make or break governments.

      Apart from helping member states with asylum-seeker arrivals, Frontex’s role as an E.U. agency by law is to respect fundamental rights, and bring up human-rights standards across national E.U. border agencies, which often don’t have a strong culture of upholding them.

      But claims that Frontex does not take fundamental rights seriously enough are growing. This year, only one million euros in its budget of 460 million euros — about $548 million — was allocated to rights monitoring.

      The agency was supposed to hire 40 fundamental-rights officers by Dec. 5 but the jobs have not yet been advertised. The agency is currently hiring for their boss, after years of staffing issues around that position. A Frontex spokesman said the delays stemmed from the coronavirus pandemic.

      Documents seen by The Times laid out how in one episode the Greek authorities were consulted before a report was made, and were able to suppress it. On Aug. 10, a German crew deployed by Frontex reported that a Greek Coast Guard vessel “took up border control measures prohibiting the landing to Samos.”

      The expression refers to maneuvering and making waves around a dinghy to repel it. The event was not recorded as a “serious incident,” because, the document said, the Greek Coast Guard argued the activities “do not provide any ground” to initiate such a report.

      Another incident, which a Frontex aerial crew observed and reported in detail to its headquarters, took place on the evening of April 18 to 19 off the coast of Lesbos, and lasted more than five hours.

      A dinghy was detected by the Greek authorities and approximately 20 migrants were rescued and put on board a Greek Coast Guard vessel shortly after midnight, their empty dinghy towed by the Coast Guard toward the island.

      But instead of being taken to shore, at 2:45 a.m., the migrants were put back on their dinghy and tugged to Turkish waters by the Greek Coast Guard, the Frontex aerial crew reported.

      As events unfolded, the Greek command center twice asked the Frontex aircraft to change its flight path, directing it away from the incident.

      “At 03:21 Frontex Surveillance Aircraft communicates that the rubber boat has no engine and it is adrift. Greek assets are departing the area leaving the rubber boat adrift,” the document said.

      The internal Frontex report detailing this incident and categorizing it as a fundamental-rights violation was “dismissed,” the document shows.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/world/europe/frontex-migrants-pushback-greece.html

    • La Grèce fortement soupçonnée de refouler les migrants

      L’agence européenne Frontex, potentiellement impliquée dans les refoulements, mène une enquête interne et doit fournir des explications à la Commission européenne fin novembre. Une plainte a été déposée le 17 novembre auprès du comité des droits de l’homme de l’ONU.

      L’étau se resserre autour de la Grèce, de plus en plus fréquemment accusée de refouler les migrants vers la Turquie, aussi bien en mer qu’à terre. Le soupçon n’est pas nouveau, comme l’atteste le terrible récit de Fadi Faj. Ce jeune Syrien de 25 ans est arrivé en 2015 avec l’immense vague de demandeurs d’asile en Allemagne. Berlin lui octroie alors le statut de réfugié et un permis de séjour avec lequel il se rend en Grèce en novembre 2016, à la recherche de son jeune frère de 11 ans dont il a perdu la trace lors de sa traversée de la frontière greco-turque à Evros.

      Fadi Faj est alors arrêté par la police grecque qui lui confisque ses papiers et l’expulse vers la Turquie avec une cinquantaine d’autres demandeurs d’asile. Devenu un sans-papier, il sera à treize reprises repoussé de part et d’autre de la frontière par les forces grecques ou turques. Ayant enfin mis un pied à terre en Grèce en décembre 2017, il y vivra encore deux ans dans le dénuement avant d’obtenir un visa pour regagner l’Allemagne qui lui délivrera un nouveau permis de séjour en mai 2020.

      Une plainte auprès du Comité des droits de l’homme de l’ONU

      Ce récit glaçant fait l’objet d’une plainte à l’encontre de la Grèce déposée le 17 novembre auprès du Comité des droits de l’homme de l’ONU, par le Global Legal Action Network (Réseau mondial d’action juridique) basé en Irlande et l’ONG grecque HumanRights 360.

      Entre-temps, les cas du même type se sont multipliés. Surtout depuis le printemps dernier, après que le président turc Erdogan a menacé d’ouvrir les frontières et incité les migrants à se diriger vers la Grèce. « J’ai vu de mes yeux vu deux refoulements en mer depuis ma maison sur la côte nord de Lesbos », dénonce ainsi Christina Chatzidaki, une habitante de l’île qui jouxte les côtes turques, et y dirige l’association Siniparxi (Coexistence).

      Alarm phone qui reçoit les appels de détresse des embarcations en mer se déclarait en mai dernier « très préoccupé par la récente augmentation des rapports d’attaques sur les bateaux de migrants ». L’ONG avait alors engrangé les témoignages de survivants de 18 bateaux. « Ils ont fait état d’actions dangereuses, telles que le fait de tourner autour de leurs bateaux et de provoquer des vagues, des menaces avec des armes à feu, le vol de leur essence, la destruction de moteurs et, également, le remorquage de bateaux vers les eaux turques où ils ont été laissés à la dérive », précise l’ONG.
      Intimer la Commission d’agir

      Les dénonciations de pratiques qui violent les droits humains, et contreviennent au droit de la mer et au droit européen n’ont pas cessé par la suite. Le porte-parole du Haut-Commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) déclarait le 12 juin dernier : « le HCR a continuellement fait état de ses préoccupations auprès du gouvernement grec et a demandé des enquêtes urgentes sur une série d’incidents présumés ». Il soulignait alors la corrélation entre la forte baisse du nombre d’arrivées de migrants en Grèce et l’augmentation du nombre de refoulements signalés. En 2019, 60 000 personnes avaient débarqué en Grèce par la mer et 15 000 par la terre. En 2020, jusqu’au 22 novembre, ils ne sont plus, respectivement, que 9 400 et 5 400.

      Jusqu’à présent la Grèce a nié ces allégations. « Nous protégeons nos frontières en accord avec les lois internationales et européennes » a encore affirmé le ministre grec de l’immigration Notis Mitarakis le 13 novembre dernier au site Infomigrants. Deux mois auparavant, le 22 septembre, les ONG Oxfam et WeMove adressaient une plainte auprès de la Commission européenne pour l’intimer de mener « une enquête sur les violations systématiques du droit européen concernant le traitement des demandeurs d’asile en Grèce ».
      La possible implication de Frontex

      Enfin, le site d’investigation Bellingcat et le magazine allemand Der Spiegel apportèrent en octobre un coup de grâce supplémentaire, en dénonçant, images à l’appui, le laisser-faire, voire l’implication, de l’agence européenne de surveillance aux frontières Frontex - qui a déployé plus de 600 agents en Grèce - dans six cas documentés de pratique illégale de refoulement.

      Un soupçon repris par le comité contre la torture du Conseil de l’Europe. Dans son rapport publié le 19 novembre, le comité a indiqué « avoir de nouveau reçu des allégations cohérentes et crédibles de migrants repoussés vers la Turquie ».

      Il s’est déclaré « inquiet des actes commis par les garde-côtes grecs pour empêcher les bateaux transportant des migrants d’atteindre les îles grecques » et « s’interroge sur le rôle et l’implication de Frontex dans de telles opérations ».

      Face à une telle avalanche, l’Union européenne pouvait difficilement continuer à se voiler la face. La suédoise Ylva Johansson, commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures a réclamé des explications pour fin novembre à l’agence Frontex, laquelle a indiqué avoir ouvert une enquête interne.

      https://www.la-croix.com/Monde/Grece-fortement-soupconnee-refouler-migrants-2020-11-24-1201126401

    • Refoulements de demandeurs d’asile : le directeur de Frontex interrogé par les députés

      La supposée implication d’agents de Frontex dans les refoulements de demandeurs d’asile à la frontière grecque sera au cœur du débat en commission des libertés civiles mardi.

      Les députés seront en attente de réponses de la part du directeur exécutif de l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes, Fabrice Leggeri, concernant les incidents révélés récemment par les médias au cours desquels des garde-côtes grecs (avec la connaissance présumée et même l’implication d’agents de Frontex) ont arrêté des migrants qui tentaient d’atteindre les côtes de l’UE et les ont renvoyés dans les eaux turques. Les députés devraient s’enquérir des résultats de l’enquête interne menée par l’Agence européenne de gestion des frontières et de la réunion du conseil d’administration convoquée à la demande de la Commission européenne.

      En octobre dernier, avant les révélations des médias, le forum consultatif de Frontex (qui réunit notamment des représentants du Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile (EASO), de l’Agence des droits fondamentaux de l’UE (FRA), du HCR, du Conseil de l’Europe et de l’OIM) avait exprimé son inquiétude dans son rapport annuel. Le forum pointait du doigt l’absence de véritable système de contrôle permettant de prévenir et de traiter les violations potentielles des droits fondamentaux dans les activités de l’Agence.

      Le 6 juillet, au cours d’une précédente réunion de la commission des libertés civiles, Fabrice Leggeri avait assuré aux eurodéputés que Frontex n’était pas impliquée dans les refoulements et avait qualifié l’incident avec l’équipe danoise à bord de l’un des navires de l’Agence de ‘‘malentendu’’.

      DATE : mardi 1er décembre de 13h50 à 14h45

      LIEU : Parlement européen à Bruxelles, bâtiment Antall, salle 4Q2 et à distance

      https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/fr/press-room/20201126IPR92509

    • EU border chief urged to quit over migrant pushback claims

      European Union lawmakers lashed out Tuesday at the head of Frontex over allegations that the border and coast guard agency helped illegally stop migrants or refugees entering Europe, calling for his resignation and demanding an independent inquiry.

      The lawmakers grilled Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri over an investigation in October by media outlets Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD and TV Asahi, which said that video and other publicly available data suggest Frontex “assets were actively involved in one pushback incident at the Greek-Turkish maritime border in the Aegean Sea.”

      The report said personnel from the agency, which monitors and polices migrant movements around Europe’s borders, were present at another incident and “have been in the vicinity of four more since March.” Frontex launched an internal probe after the news broke.

      “In his handling of these allegations, Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri has completely lost our trust and it is time for him to resign,” senior Socialist lawmaker Kati Piri said in a statement after the parliamentary civil liberties committee hearing. “There are still far too many unanswered questions on the involvement of Frontex in illegal practices.”

      Pushbacks are considered contrary to international refugee protection agreements, which say people shouldn’t be expelled or returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or being members of a social or political group.

      Frontex’s board met to discuss the allegations late last month. The board said afterwards that the European Commission had ordered it to “hold a further extraordinary meeting within the next two weeks in order to consider in more detail the replies provided by the agency.” That meeting is scheduled to take place on Dec. 9.

      “Migrants and refugees are very vulnerable to pushbacks by border guards,” Greens lawmaker Tineke Strik said. “We must be able to rely on an EU agency which prevents human rights violations from happening and not inflict them. But Frontex seems to be a partner in crime of those who deliberately violate those human rights.”

      Strik raised doubts about whether the internal Frontex probe would produce results and urged the assembly’s political groups to consider launching their own inquiry.

      Leggeri said that no evidence of any Frontex involvement in pushbacks had been found so far. He said EU member countries have control over operations in their waters, not Frontex, and he called for the rules governing surveillance of Europe’s external borders to be clarified.

      “We have not found evidence that there were active, direct or indirect participation of Frontex staff or officers deployed by Frontex in pushbacks,” he told the lawmakers. When it comes to operations, Leggeri said, “only the host member state authorities can decide what has to be done.”

      Leggeri also said that Frontex staff were under extreme pressure around the time of the alleged incidents in March and April. He said that Turkish F-16 fighter jets had “surrounded” a Danish plane working for Frontex, while vessels were harassed by the Turkish coast guard and shots fired at personnel at land borders.

      He called for EU “guidance” on how to handle such situations.

      The allegations are extremely embarrassing for the European Commission. In September it unveiled sweeping new reforms to the EU’s asylum system, which proved dismally inadequate when over 1 million migrants arrived in 2015, many of them Syrian refugees entering the Greek islands via Turkey.

      Part of the EU’s migration reforms includes a system of independent monitoring involving rights experts to ensure that there are no pushbacks at Europe’s borders. Migrant entries have dropped to a relative trickle in recent years, although many migrants still languish on some Greek islands waiting for their asylum claims to be processed or to be sent back.

      EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she still has confidence in Frontex’s managing board but remains deeply concerned about the allegations.

      During a visit to Morocco, Johansson said that the report “concerns me a lot. If it’s true, it’s totally unacceptable. A European agency has to comply to EU law and fundamental rights with no excuse.”

      Johansson said she has “full confidence in the process that (has) gone on in the management board and the sub-group they are setting up” to continue the investigation, but, she noted that “there were a lot of questions put to the director. And he has not answered these questions.”

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/259789/article/ekathimerini/news/eu-border-chief-urged-to-quit-over-migrant-pushback-claims

    • Frontex is taking us to court

      The EU border police Frontex is under fire for its involvement in human rights violations at the EU’s borders. Now, they want to silence those exposing their wrongdoing.

      For many years, we have been fighting to make Frontex, the EU’s border police, more transparent and accountable. We have made public over a thousand of their documents, including those that show the agency has been complicit in human rights violations and violence against migrants at the EU’s borders.

      Frontex is currently under fire for its involvement in illegal pushbacks in the Aegean and for having concealed evidence about these illegal acts. Confronted with such serious accusations, the EU border agency has now chosen to go after those who investigate them: they are taking us to court.

      Frontex has filed a case against us before the General Court of the European Union in order to force us to pay them a large amount of money. Last year, we lost our lawsuit for information about Frontex and now, the agency is demanding from us excessive legal fees. The message is clear: they want to make sure that we never take them to court again.
      Details must remain secret

      For the time being, we will not be able to disclose further details related to the case due to the court’s rules on keeping all information secret while proceedings are ongoing. Back in January, the agency justified their excessive legal fees on their decision to hire expensive private lawyers.

      Frontex, which has a billion-euro budget, making it the best resourced EU agency, employs a well-staffed internal legal department. Both the decision to hire private lawyers and to then claim these costs from civil society are highly unusual in court cases against the EU authorities.
      What happens if Frontex wins?

      If Frontex succeeds, in the future only corporations and the rich will be able to afford legal action against EU authorities. Activists, journalists, NGOs and individuals will not be able to defend human rights before the EU court. Frontex bringing a case like this directly against civil society, let alone winning, discourages others from holding them accountable in the future. It’s this chilling effect that we believe they’re hoping for.

      In the spring, more than 87,000 people petitioned Frontex to withdraw their legal bill. 44 civil society organizations also called on Frontex to retract its demand. Frontex has nonetheless chosen to ignore their voices.

      In recent years, Frontex has experienced an enormous increase of power and resources. Not only is it about to receive € 11 billion under the next EU budget, but it can also now hire its own border guards and buy its own equipment, including aircrafts, ships, drones and weapons.

      Investigating Frontex and holding it accountable is now more important than ever. As recent publications have revealed, the EU border force has been involved in numerous human rights violations at the EU borders.
      What you can do

      Our freedom of information work is financed by individual donations. We will fight in court for a judgement that gives Frontex as little money as possible. If you want to support us in this, we would be very happy to receive a donation. We will use every extra euro for new investigations and legal action against Frontex.

      https://fragdenstaat.de/en/blog/2020/12/02/frontex-costs-court-transparency

    • S&Ds call for Frontex Director to resign

      The S&D Group in the European Parliament today called for the Executive Director of Frontex to resign following months of allegations on the agency’s involvement in illegal practices and violations of fundamental rights.

      In today’s hearing of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee (LIBE), Director Fabrice Leggeri failed to answer questions relating to the agency’s involvement in pushbacks at the EU’s external borders aimed at preventing asylum-seekers from entering the EU.

      Following the hearing, S&D MEPs concluded Mr Leggeri’s position at the head of Frontex is not sustainable, especially in light of the important role for Frontex in the new Pact on Migration and Asylum.

      Kati Piri, S&D vice-president for migration and LIBE member taking part in the hearing, said

      “In his handling of these allegations, Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri has completely lost our trust and it is time for him to resign. After months of the S&D Group calling for explanations, Director Leggeri had the chance to set the record straight. But there are still far too many unanswered questions on the involvement of Frontex in illegal practices.

      “Pushbacks are a violation of international law and every single incident must be fully investigated. Do we have the confidence in Frontex to ensure alleged incidents are properly investigated? After today, the answer is no.

      “As long as allegations hang over Frontex, its reputation remains severely damaged and in desperate need of repair. In our view, Director Leggeri is not the right person to fix the damage.”

      Birgit Sippel, S&D LIBE coordinator, added:

      “We have to ask ourselves how we got to the point where we have to rely on journalists and whistle-blowers in Frontex to inform us of instances of fundamental and human rights violations at our borders. This is unacceptable and deeply disturbing, in particular when considering the potentially increased role of Frontex as part of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

      “The series of alleged pushbacks and cover-ups from Frontex show that we need a strong and independent border monitoring mechanism to investigate any and all alleged violations of fundamental and human rights and international laws at European borders.

      “Under the 2019 Frontex mandate, the Agency was obliged to have recruited at least 40 Fundamental Rights Monitors by 5 December 2020. It is now clear that Frontex will not even have come close to fulfilling this task, and therefore will not comply with the new mandate. Blaming bureaucratic hurdles for the delay of such an important task is insufficient, while the Commission’s role in this delay requires further examination as well. Mr Leggeri has failed in many of his responsibilities and must bear the consequences of his actions.”

      https://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/newsroom/sds-call-frontex-director-resign

    • E.U. Border Agency Accused of Covering Up Migrant Pushback in Greece

      Frontex is under fire for letting Greece illegally repel migrants as the agency expands to play a more central role at the bloc’s external borders.

      Mounting evidence indicates that the European Union’s border agency has been complicit in Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back migrants to Turkey, according to documents obtained by The New York Times and interviews with officials.

      In at least one case, Frontex, as the E.U. border agency is known, is accused of having helped cover up the violations, when a crew said it was discouraged by agency officials from reporting that they had seen the Greek authorities setting a boatload of migrants adrift in Turkish waters.

      The case is currently being investigated by Frontex. But it has fueled suspicions that the agency, newly boosted in its role as upholder of the rule of law at E.U. borders, is not just sporadically aware of such abuses, but that it plays a role in concealing them.

      “We are seeing an erosion of the rule of law at the E.U. borders which is willful,” said Gerald Knaus, a migration expert. “This is deeply worrying because it is eroding the refugee convention on the continent on which it was created.”

      Throughout this year, The New York Times and others have reported on growing operations by the Greek Coast Guard to repel migrants from Greek waters back to Turkey, reports the Greek authorities deny amount to breaches of international laws.

      But revelations that Frontex has witnessed pushbacks have thrown the agency into a governance crisis that threatens to further blight the European Union’s liberal values, once again calling into question the bloc’s commitment to upholding its own laws on refugees.

      The cases have also highlighted a conundrum at the core of E.U. ambitions to tighten external borders by pooling resources and involving the bloc in the sensitive, zealously shielded work of sovereign border guards.

      Frontex is the European Union’s best-funded agency, with a budget of over $500 million, and will soon deploy the first uniformed officers in the bloc’s history. It has been built up specifically to help in migrant-rescue operations as the burden of policing Europe’s borders has fallen most heavily on its peripheral states, like Greece.

      It was also intended as a deterrent to the kind of mass arrival of refugees that sowed political crises across Europe after 2015, and fanned nationalist and populist movements.

      Yet Frontex is not empowered to stop national border guards from committing violations, and it is not clear how it can play a role as standard-bearer of E.U. laws when informing on national forces risks the working relationships on which its operations depend.

      Refugee arrivals to the European Union peaked five years ago and have dropped drastically since, but thousands of asylum seekers, many fleeing the wars in Afghanistan and Syria, still attempt the crossing. Unlike in the past, Greeks and their government have turned hostile to the new arrivals, exhausted by years in which asylum seekers have been bottled up in overrun camps on Greek islands.

      There is also a growing belief in the Greek and several other European governments that aggression at the borders and poor conditions at migrant camps will make the attempt to reach Europe less attractive for asylum seekers.

      Earlier this year, an analysis by The Times showed that the Greek government had secretly expelled more than 1,000 asylum seekers, often by sailing them to the edge of Greek territorial waters and abandoning them in flimsy inflatable life rafts in violation of international laws.

      The Greek Coast Guard has rescued thousands of asylum seekers over the years but has become much more aggressive this year, especially as Turkey used migrants to provoke Greece by encouraging them to cross the border.

      The Greek government has denied it is doing anything illegal in repelling migrant boats from its national waters, characterizing the operations as robust border guarding. But Mr. Knaus said “the denials are not serious,” and the practices are effectively happening in the open — under the eyes of E.U. border patrols.

      The documents obtained by The Times describe, in Coast Guard vernacular littered with acronyms, codes, time-stamps and coordinates, a seemingly incessant Ping-Pong of migrant dinghies between Greek and Turkish waters, with Frontex crews on vessels or aircraft in observer status.

      Four officials with direct knowledge of Frontex operations said that agency officials have been discouraging crews from filing reports on pushback incidents, and, in some cases, have stopped initial alerts of violations from being filed as “serious incident reports,” at times after consulting with the Greek authorities.

      They all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were concerned about losing their jobs, or were not authorized to brief the press.

      The Frontex spokesman, Chris Borowski, said the agency took the reporting of violations very seriously. “Pushbacks are illegal under international law,” Mr. Borowski said.

      In the latest case to come to light, a Swedish Coast Guard crew on deployment under Frontex witnessed a pushback to Turkish waters of a boat full of migrants by the Greek authorities on Oct. 30 off the Greek island of Chios.

      The Swedish crew was later advised by a Frontex officer to not report it, documents reviewed by The Times show. The Swedish representative to the management board of Frontex described the incident, and the suppression of the attempt to report it, at a meeting on Nov. 10 — the first known case of an E.U. member state reporting active interference by Frontex officials.

      The Swedish government did not comment. A spokesman for Frontex said the agency wouldn’t comment because of an “ongoing procedure.”

      Frontex has been working in Greece for more than a decade, providing sea, land and aerial surveillance and rescue capabilities and deploying crews from other member states under its command.

      The details now emerging push the agency deeper into a governance crisis which began in October when a consortium of news organizations, including the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, reported a number of occasions when Frontex crews witnessed pushbacks in Greece.

      The European Commission, which is part of the Frontex oversight system but does not control the agency, pushed for a special inquiry into these allegations and, at an emergency agency board meeting on Nov. 10, asked its leadership to answer detailed questions in writing.

      The answers arrived with a four-day delay, just 15 hours before the start of another meeting to discuss the problems on Wednesday. Yet another emergency meeting has been called in December, mounting pressure on the agency.

      Frontex has promised internal investigations but also quickly dismissed allegations, saying for example, in a letter seen by The Times, that it would look into the Swedish case, but that it had so far found no evidence that it happened.

      How these investigations shake out will matter a great deal for the future of Frontex, which was once little more than a back-office operation in Warsaw but now finds itself on the front lines of the nettlesome issue of migration that has the potency to make or break governments.

      Apart from helping member states with asylum-seeker arrivals, Frontex’s role as an E.U. agency by law is to respect fundamental rights, and bring up human-rights standards across national E.U. border agencies, which often don’t have a strong culture of upholding them.

      But claims that Frontex does not take fundamental rights seriously enough are growing. This year, only one million euros in its budget of 460 million euros — about $548 million — was allocated to rights monitoring.

      The agency was supposed to hire 40 fundamental-rights officers by Dec. 5 but the jobs have not yet been advertised. The agency is currently hiring for their boss, after years of staffing issues around that position. A Frontex spokesman said the delays stemmed from the coronavirus pandemic.

      Documents seen by The Times laid out how in one episode the Greek authorities were consulted before a report was made, and were able to suppress it. On Aug. 10, a German crew deployed by Frontex reported that a Greek Coast Guard vessel “took up border control measures prohibiting the landing to Samos.”

      The expression refers to maneuvering and making waves around a dinghy to repel it. The event was not recorded as a “serious incident,” because, the document said, the Greek Coast Guard argued the activities “do not provide any ground” to initiate such a report.

      Another incident, which a Frontex aerial crew observed and reported in detail to its headquarters, took place on the evening of April 18 to 19 off the coast of Lesbos, and lasted more than five hours.

      A dinghy was detected by the Greek authorities and approximately 20 migrants were rescued and put on board a Greek Coast Guard vessel shortly after midnight, their empty dinghy towed by the Coast Guard toward the island.

      But instead of being taken to shore, at 2:45 a.m., the migrants were put back on their dinghy and tugged to Turkish waters by the Greek Coast Guard, the Frontex aerial crew reported.

      As events unfolded, the Greek command center twice asked the Frontex aircraft to change its flight path, directing it away from the incident.

      “At 03:21 Frontex Surveillance Aircraft communicates that the rubber boat has no engine and it is adrift. Greek assets are departing the area leaving the rubber boat adrift,” the document said.

      The internal Frontex report detailing this incident and categorizing it as a fundamental-rights violation was “dismissed,” the document shows.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/world/europe/frontex-migrants-pushback-greece.html?smid=tw-share

    • #Seehofer deckte offenbar griechische Verbrechen

      Griechische Grenzschützer setzen Flüchtlinge systematisch auf dem Meer aus. Ein internes Dokument legt nun nahe, dass Innenminister #Horst_Seehofer einen Rechtsbruch kaschierte. SPD-Vize Kühnert stellt ihm ein Ultimatum.

      Die Sprecherin von Bundesinnenminister Horst Seehofer war sichtlich nervös, als sie sich Ende November den Fragen der Journalisten stellen musste. Zwei Tage zuvor hatten der SPIEGEL und das ARD-Magazin »Report Mainz« berichtet, dass die Bundespolizei in der Ägäis in eine illegale Zurückweisung von Flüchtlingen verwickelt war. Wiederholt fragten die Journalisten nach. »Ich weiß nicht, wie Sie zu der Einschätzung kommen, dass es sich hierbei um einen illegalen Pushback gehandelt hat«, sagte die Sprecherin schließlich.

      Dabei lagen dem Bundesinnenministerium zu diesem Zeitpunkt längst Informationen vor, die genau darauf hindeuten.

      Im Auftrag der EU-Grenzschutzagentur Frontex patrouillierten die deutschen Einsatzkräfte am 10. August in der Ägäis, nur wenige Hundert Meter von der griechischen Insel Samos entfernt. Dabei entdeckten sie ein Schlauchboot mit 40 Flüchtlingen an Bord. Auftragsgemäß hielten sie es an, allerdings nahmen sie die Menschen auf dem völlig überfüllten Boot nicht an Bord. Stattdessen warteten sie mehr als eine halbe Stunde, bis die griechische Küstenwache das Schlauchboot übernahm.

      Wenig später fanden sich die Flüchtlinge plötzlich in türkischen Gewässern wieder. So beschreiben es interne Dokumente der EU-Grenzschutzagentur Frontex, die dem SPIEGEL vorliegen. Die türkische Küstenwache musste die 40 Migranten später retten. Fotos zeigen Männer, Frauen und kleine Kinder auf dem überfüllten Schlauchboot. Offensichtlich wurden die Menschen von den griechischen Grenzschützern illegal zurückgedrängt.

      Als die griechischen Beamten in den Hafen zurückkehrten, wunderten sich die deutschen Polizisten. Die Küstenwache hatte keine Migranten an Bord und auch kein Schlauchboot im Schlepptau. Die Deutschen meldeten im Anschluss zwar die Details des Einsatzes – aber keine mögliche Menschenrechtsverletzung.
      Was genau haben die Deutschen von diesem illegalen Pushback mitbekommen?

      Bis heute haben die Bundespolizei und das Innenministerium nicht auf die Fragen des SPIEGEL geantwortet. Dabei finden sich die Antworten auf diese Fragen seit Wochen im Intranet der Bundespolizei, also in einem nur für Mitarbeiter zugänglichen Netzwerk. Anhand der elf SPIEGEL-Fragen legte die Bundespolizei-Führung ihre Sicht der Dinge ausführlich dar – noch am Tag der Veröffentlichung des Berichts. Die Fragen waren also längst beantwortet, nur abgeschickt wurden sie nie. Das Innenministerium erklärt das inzwischen auf Anfrage mit einem »Büroversehen«.

      Die Ausführungen im Intranet der Bundespolizei sind politisch heikel. Auf den ersten Blick entlasten sie die deutschen Einsatzkräfte. Wörtlich heißt es, die Bundespolizisten hätten beobachtet, »dass durch die (…) griechischen Einsatzkräfte Migranten physisch an Bord genommen wurden.« Die deutschen Frontex-Beamten konnten also davon ausgehen, dass die Flüchtlinge zunächst in Sicherheit waren. Schließlich wurden sie vor ihren Augen auf ein Schiff der griechischen Küstenwache geholt und trieben nicht mehr in ihrem überfüllten Schlauchboot.

      Warum hat das Innenministerium dieses Detail trotzdem bis heute verschwiegen? Will man im Ministerium die Griechen nicht als Lügner entlarven? Das Flüchtlingsboot, so hatten die griechischen Behörden erklärt, sei beim Anblick der Küstenwache umgekehrt und zurück in türkische Gewässer gefahren.
      Beobachtungen der Deutschen entlarven die Ausrede der Griechen

      Die Beobachtungen der Bundespolizisten widersprechen dieser Darstellung, die Bundespolizei stellt das in ihrem Bericht selbst fest. Wenn die Geflüchteten bereits an Bord des Schiffes der griechischen Küstenwache waren, können sie unmöglich freiwillig auf ihrem Schlauchboot umgekehrt sein. Sollten die Aussagen der Deutschen zutreffen, und davon ist auszugehen, bleibt keine andere vernünftige Erklärung als ein illegaler Pushback der griechischen Küstenwache.

      Horst Seehofer muss sich deshalb die Frage gefallen lassen, warum sein Haus die Verbrechen der griechischen Behörden deckt. Statt aufzuklären, führt er die Öffentlichkeit offenbar in die Irre. So fügt Seehofer sich in das System des Schweigens.

      Seit Juni hat SPIEGEL in gemeinsamen Recherchen mit der Medienorganisation Lighthouse Reports und »Report Mainz« genau dokumentiert, wie die griechischen Pushbacks ablaufen: Die Küstenwache fängt die Migrantinnen und Migranten meist noch auf dem Wasser ab. Manchmal zerstört sie den Außenbordmotor der Schlauchboote, um diese manövrierunfähig zu machen. Dann werden die Schutzsuchenden mit gefährlichen Manövern Richtung Türkei zurückgedrängt. Die Menschen werden auf den Booten oder auf aufblasbaren Rettungsflößen mit Seilen aufs offene Meer gezogen, vom SPIEGEL ausgewertete Videos belegen das.

      Griechische Grenzschützer bedrohen die Geflüchteten mit Waffen, nicht selten fallen Schüsse. Bisweilen schleppen die Beamten sogar Menschen aufs Meer, die es schon auf die griechischen Inseln geschafft haben.

      Auch Frontex-Einheiten stoppen immer wieder Flüchtlingsboote und übergeben sie anschließend an die griechische Küstenwache. Seit Anfang März wird das so gehandhabt. Die Frontex-Einheiten, darunter deutsche Bundespolizisten, unterstehen in der Ägäis der griechischen Küstenwache. Sie werden so zu Gehilfen der Griechen, die bei ihren illegalen Praktiken nicht mal besonders verdeckt vorgehen.

      »Das Innenministerium scheint sich zum Komplizen der Griechen zu machen«, sagt der menschenrechtspolitische Sprecher der Sozialdemokraten, Frank Schwabe. »Dazu müssen sowohl Frontex als auch Innenminister Seehofer dem Bundestag Rede und Antwort stehen.«

      Das Innenministerium teilte auf Anfrage mit, dass eine abschließende Bewertung des Sachverhaltes aufgrund der vorliegenden Informationen nicht möglich sei. Die Bundespolizei habe sich jedenfalls nicht an illegalen Pushbacks beteiligt. Eine vollständige Aufklärung bleibe abzuwarten und Berichte von griechischen Behörden würden nicht kommentiert.

      Die griechischen Behörden bleiben bei ihrer Version der Ereignisse. Das für die Küstenwache zuständige Ministerium teilte mit, der Fahrer der Schlauchbootes sei in Richtung Türkei zurückgefahren, nachdem er die griechische Küstenwache erblickt habe.
      »Wir müssen davon ausgehen, dass Seehofer die Regelverstöße der griechischen Küstenwache deckt, weil sie ihm politisch in den Kram passen«

      SPD-Vize Kevin Kühnert

      Doch in der Opposition und auch beim eigenen Koalitionspartner ist der Unmut groß. Selbst SPD-Vize Kevin Kühnert schaltet sich nun in die Debatte ein. Durch die schriftlich festgehaltenen Erkenntnisse der eigenen Beamten festige sich der Eindruck, dass es in der Ägäis in der Tat zu Pushbacks komme, sagt er. Deshalb müsse Seehofer nun politisch reagieren. »Frontex muss die mutmaßliche griechische Pushback-Praxis endlich effektiv verhindern und die Zugänge zum Asylverfahren sicherstellen«, so Kühnert. »Sollte dies durch die Bundesregierung kurzfristig nicht durchsetzbar sein, muss das deutsche Kontingent unverzüglich aus der Mission abgezogen werden.«

      Kühnert möchte nun von Seehofer »noch in diesem Jahr dargelegt bekommen, wie und bis wann er auf Frontex einwirken wolle, um die Zusammenarbeit mit der griechischen Küstenwache wieder auf eine rechtskonforme Grundlage zu stellen.« Mit seiner Salamitaktik bei der Preisgabe von Informationen werde der Innenminister auch der Fürsorgepflicht gegenüber seinen eigenen Beamten nicht gerecht, mahnt Kühnert. »Wir müssen davon ausgehen, dass Seehofer die Regelverstöße der griechischen Küstenwache deckt, weil sie ihm politisch in den Kram passen. Alles daran wäre inakzeptabel.«

      Neben Seehofer gerät auch Frontex-Chef Fabrice Leggeri durch die Beobachtungen der deutschen Polizisten in Erklärungsnot. Bis heute beteuert Leggeri, dass sich seine Grenzschützer nicht an Pushbacks beteiligen oder von ihnen wissen. Daran zweifelt aber inzwischen selbst die EU-Kommission.

      Auf deren Drängen schilderte Leggeri schriftlich die Details des Vorfalls vom 10. August. In seinen Antworten verschwieg aber auch Leggeri, dass die griechische Küstenwache laut den Deutschen die Flüchtlinge bereits an Bord geholt hatten – obwohl er wohl davon hätte wissen müssen. Die Bundespolizei jedenfalls hat auch dieses Detail des Einsatzes nach eigener Aussage an Frontex gemeldet.

      Frontex teilte auf Anfrage mit, wegen der laufenden Untersuchung keine Angaben zum Vorfall machen zu können.

      Für Leggeri ist die Angelegenheit besonders misslich, weil sich in seinen Aussagen ein Muster erkennen lässt: Der Frontex-Direktor täuscht die Öffentlichkeit, um die Pushbacks zu vertuschen. Vor den EU-Parlamentariern verteidigte er sich unlängst mit einer Falschaussage, indem er behauptete, dass der SPIEGEL und seine Recherchepartner sich bei ihren Recherchen zu einem Pushback im April geirrt hätten. Am fraglichen Tag habe es gar keinen Frontex-Aufklärungsflug gegeben, sagte Leggeri. Keine zwei Tage später musste er einräumen, dass das nicht stimmte. Weitere Vorfälle, die Experten als klare Pushbacks werten, erwähnte Leggeri entweder gar nicht oder nur auf Nachfrage in internen Schreiben.
      EU-Kommission rechnet mit Leggeri ab

      Inzwischen wirft auch die EU-Kommission Leggeri »irreführende« Aussagen vor. Das geht aus einem Brief der Kommission an ihn hervor. In dem Streit geht es um die Einstellung von Grundrechtsbeobachtern. Eigentlich hätte Frontex bis zum 5. Dezember 40 Mitarbeiter einstellen müssen, die darauf achten soll, dass die Rechte von Migranten an Europas Grenzen gewahrt werden. Bis heute hat Leggeri allerdings nicht einen solchen Mitarbeiter eingestellt.

      Der Frontex-Direktor macht die Kommission für die Verzögerung verantwortlich, die wiederum gibt Leggeri die Schuld. Leggeris Äußerungen zu dem Thema würden die Kommission »bestürzen« und »beunruhigen« heißt es in dem Brief. Das Schreiben liegt dem SPIEGEL vor, es liest sich wie eine Kampfansage.

      Die Verzögerungen bei den Grundrechtsbeobachtern seien skandalös, sagt die Grünenbundestagsabgeordnete Luise Amtsberg. Die Sache zeige, dass die Grenzschutzagentur den Menschenrechtsschutz schlicht nicht ernst genug nehme. »Die Bundesregierung muss endlich klare Konsequenzen aus den völkerrechtswidrigen Handlungen im Rahmen von Frontex-Missionen ziehen.«

      https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/frontex-skandal-horst-seehofer-deckte-offenbar-griechische-verbrechen-a-bd06

    • Push backs and violations of human rights at sea: a #timeline

      The following timeline provides a non-exhaustive compilation of main reports of push backs and other violations of human rights at the Greek-Turkish sea borders since March 2020, following Greece’s decision to impose a one-month suspension of its asylum procedure in response to declarations by Turkey that it would not prevent refugees from crossing its western borders. On 2 March, the Hellenic Armed Forces began live-fire military exercises along the Aegean, from Samothrace to Kastellorizo.

      Timeline dates refer to the date of publication of reports, separately indicating the date of alleged incidents, where available.

      This timeline solely purports to reproduce material made publicly available by media and civil society organisations and does not amount to an assessment by RSA or PRO ASYL of the allegations contained therein.

      https://rsaegean.org/en/push-backs-and-violations-of-human-rights-at-sea-a-timeline
      #chronologie

    • EU: Frontex director accused of misleading parliament over fundamental rights obligations

      Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri has been accused by a senior European Commission official of making statements “in a misleading manner” at a parliamentary hearing in December, when MEPs questioned him over the agency’s alleged role in pushbacks and the new fundamental rights monitoring framework included in 2019 legislation.

      Bang to rights

      In a letter obtained by Statewatch, Monique Pariat (the Director-General of the Commission’s migration and home affairs department), expresses “dismay” at Leggeri’s appearance before the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee (LIBE) on 1 December and rebukes, in no uncertain terms, the account he provided of the agency’s attempts to implement its new fundamental rights obligations.

      Those obligations include a fully functioning and independent fundamental rights office, an accessible complaints mechanism, and a credible serious incident reporting mechanism – the aim of which is to prevent, or at least ensure the reporting and investigation of, human rights abuses witnessed or committed by officials deployed on Frontex operations.

      A key role is foreseen in all this for the fundamental rights officer (FRO), who is supposed to head a team of at least 40 fundamental rights monitors – all of whom the agency was legally obliged to have recruited by 5 December 2020. However, it failed to do so.

      Blame game

      Leggeri told MEPs that although he personally prioritised the swift recruitment of fundamental rights staff, vacancy notices published by the agency in November 2019 were withdrawn on the request of the Commission, and subsequent delays in agreeing the seniority of the posts meant that vacancy notices were only published again in November 2020.

      Pariat does not dispute these points, but underlines that the Commission was obliged to request the withdrawal of the notices, because the Management Board had not approved them, as required by the 2019 Frontex Regulation. Without that approval, the letter says that “the publication of these vacancies was plain and simply unlawful” (emphasis in original).

      She adds that the Frontex Regulation requires the involvement of the FRO in the appointment of their deputy, but there was no such involvement prior to the 2019 vacancy notice publication. The Commission had to intervene to request removal of the vacancy notices, says Pariat, “to prevent serious irregularities which could jeopardise the well-functioning and the reputation of the Agency.”

      Bad reputation

      The agency’s reputation has nevertheless taken a battering in recent months. Frontex has faced numerous accusations that it either knew of or has been involved in pushbacks at Greece’s sea border with Turkey, leading the Socialists & Democrats – the second-largest group in the European Parliament – to call for Leggeri’s resignation. There are numerous other reports of similar violent incidents in the Balkans involving officials deployed on Frontex missions.

      The EU anti-fraud agency, OLAF, has also launched an investigation into the border agency, although the exact reasons for this remain unclear. OLAF’s remit allows it to carry out “administrative investigations for the purpose of fighting fraud, corruption and any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the Union.”

      Leggeri has said that the agency will be undertaking a thorough investigation into the allegations of pushbacks, although the working group set up to investigate the affair is made up representatives from the agency’s Management Board and does not include the Fundamental Rights Officer or the agency’s Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights.

      “Active resistance”

      A document cited by Greek newspaper Kathimerini suggests that fundamental rights are not one of Leggeri’s main interests. The document, provided to the paper by someone described as having “knowledge of the inner workings of Frontex,” says Leggeri told agency staff that “reporting pushbacks involving Frontex personnel is not a route to popularity or promotion,” and that the serous incident reporting (SIR) mechanism is “intentionally centralized to be slow, cumbersome and very discreet”.

      According to the paper, the document also says that Leggeri “actively resisted” hiring the 40 fundamental rights officers required by the Frontex Regulation, and told staff at the agency in early 2020 that “it is not a priority.”

      Pariat’s letter suggests that Leggeri himself delayed the procedure for recruiting new fundamental rights staff by five months, because of his “insistence on an arrangement which would not have been compatible with the EBCG [Frontex] Regulation”.

      There was a “surprising reluctance” from the agency to follow the Commission’s advice on implementing the new fundamental rights framework, says Pariat. She argues that “if the Agency had followed the Commission’s timely guidance and suggestions, the main milestones… could have been completed on time.”

      Even though the recruitment procedure is now going ahead, concerns remain. At the LIBE hearing in December, several MEPs questioned whether the staff grade applicable to the 40 posts will confer adequate authority and independence to the fundamental rights officers.

      At the time of publication, Frontex had not responded to a request for comment.

      Documentation

      - European Commission letter to Mr Leggeri, 18 December: Subject: Your letter of 4 December 2020 (ref: CAB/KARO/10563/2020) (pdf): https://www.statewatch.org/media/1708/eu-com-letter-to-frontex-18-12-20.pdf
      – Fabrice Leggeri, Answers to written questions following the LIBE Committee meeting 1 December (pdf) - annex to this letter (pdf): https://www.statewatch.org/media/1709/eu-frontex-written-questions-answers-libe-hearing-1-12-20.pdf

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/january/eu-frontex-director-accused-of-misleading-parliament-over-fundamental-ri

    • Refoulements et gestion contestée : la pression s’intensifie sur le patron de Frontex

      Fabrice Leggeri, directeur exécutif de l’agence européenne de protection des frontières, est sous la pression de la Commission et du Parlement.

      Ce n’est pas un appel à la démission de Fabrice Leggeri, directeur exécutif de Frontex, mais cela y ressemble fort. Rencontrant, lundi 18 janvier, plusieurs médias européens, dont Le Monde, Ylva Johansson, commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures et à la migration, a été interrogée sur un éventuel départ du patron français de ce qui est désormais l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes. « Je ne fais pas de commentaire là-dessus. Des procédures ont été lancées, elles ne sont pas terminées. Mais je pense qu’elles doivent l’être », indiquait la commissaire socialiste suédoise.

      Des propos prudents mais qui cachent mal le fait qu’entre la Commission et Frontex le torchon brûle. Pour preuve, une lettre envoyée au siège de l’agence en décembre 2020 par #Monique_Pariat, chef de la direction générale de la migration et des affaires intérieures à Bruxelles. Un long réquisitoire reprochant à M. Leggeri des retards, des carences dans la gestion et des « hésitations incompréhensibles » à suivre les instructions. Voire un #mensonge au sujet du recrutement des personnels qui devaient être chargés de veiller au respect des droits fondamentaux au sein de l’Agence.

      Les « procédures » visant M. Leggeri et évoquées par Mme Johansson sont multiples. Et elles visent essentiellement la possible implication de Frontex dans des « pushbacks », des refoulements illégaux de migrants aux frontières de l’Union, avant qu’ils aient pu introduire d’éventuelles demandes d’asile. En octobre 2020, plusieurs médias évoquaient, témoignages et images à l’appui, six cas de refoulements en mer Egée. Avec, notamment, les manœuvres dangereuses d’un navire de Frontex, qui aurait pu entraîner le #naufrage d’une embarcation. La direction de l’Agence démentait à l’époque toute infraction.

      Constitution d’un groupe de travail

      L’Office de lutte antifraude de l’Union a lancé une enquête et, le 7 décembre 2020, les bureaux de M. Leggeri et de son directeur de cabinet ont été perquisitionnés. L’investigation porterait, aussi, sur des faits de #harcèlement et des erreurs de gestion.

      Plusieurs groupes politiques du Parlement européen ont, eux, transmis une longue liste de questions au directeur exécutif après qu’il a été entendu, le 1er décembre 2020, par l’Assemblée. M. Leggeri avait indiqué qu’une #enquête_interne n’avait pas prouvé l’implication de membres de Frontex dans des refoulements illégaux. Peu convaincus, les eurodéputés du groupe socialiste ont exigé sa #démission, d’autres groupes ont réclamé des explications complémentaires.

      Au sein de Frontex même, un #groupe_de_travail avait été constitué en novembre, sur insistance de la Commission. Son rapport devrait être examiné lors d’une réunion du conseil d’administration, mercredi 20 et jeudi 21 janvier. Ce conseil est composé de représentants des pays membres de l’Union et de deux membres de la Commission.

      L’un des principaux reproches adressés à M. Leggeri est qu’il aurait tergiversé pour embaucher la quarantaine de personnes qui, en théorie, auraient dû être à pied d’œuvre dès décembre 2020 pour veiller au respect des droits des migrants et demandeurs d’asile. Dans la lettre de Mme Pariat qu’il a reçue en décembre, le directeur se voit reprocher d’avoir agi « de manière trompeuse » en ne livrant pas les explications correctes aux parlementaires quant à l’absence de ces employés. Mme Johansson pense également que certains des propos qu’il avait tenus n’étaient « pas vrais ».

      Action « illégale »

      La commissaire suédoise n’a, jusqu’ici, pas officiellement retiré sa confiance au directeur. Elle endosse cependant les critiques qui lui sont adressées par sa direction générale, qui évoque encore une action « illégale » de M. Leggeri en 2019, avec la publication de deux vacances de postes dirigeants qui n’avaient pas été approuvées par le conseil d’administration.

      Au Parlement, où la plénière débattait, mardi, du pacte migratoire proposé récemment par la Commission, la tension monte également. Mme Johansson a insisté sur la nécessité pour les pays de l’Union, les candidats à l’adhésion et « les agences européennes aussi » d’adhérer pleinement au respect des #droits_fondamentaux. Et plusieurs députés ont à nouveau mis en cause Frontex, l’élue socialiste bulgare #Elena_Yoncheva jugeant qu’en matière de « pushbacks » l’agence fait désormais « partie du problème, pas de la solution ».

      Une situation embarrassante pour toute l’Union : dotée maintenant d’uniformes, d’armes et d’un budget passé au total à 5,6 milliards d’euros pour la période 2021-2027, l’agence des garde-frontières peut difficilement voir la #légitimité de son principal dirigeant remise en question au plus haut niveau. A ce stade, celui-ci n’a pas réagi officiellement aux accusations qui le visent. Il pourrait le faire prochainement, selon un membre de son entourage.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/01/20/refoulements-et-gestion-contestee-la-pression-s-intensifie-sur-le-patron-de-

    • Le garde-frontière Frontex en pleine tourmente

      Les refoulements aux frontières européennes fragilisent la position du directeur de Frontex, l’agence européenne de garde-frontières. La Commission reproche à Fabrice Leggeri d’avoir ralenti l’embauche d’officiers de contrôle des droits fondamentaux. Son agence est soumise à plusieurs #enquêtes, dont une de l’#office_européen_anti-fraude. Des députés demandent sa #démission.

      Bruxelles (Belgique).– Fabrice Leggeri, le directeur de Frontex, est cerné de toutes parts. Sa position, à la tête de l’agence européenne de garde-côtes et de garde-frontières, est fragilisée suite à de récents scandales concernant des refoulements de demandeurs d’asile vers la Turquie, auxquels aurait participé Frontex. Des députés appellent à sa démission. La médiatrice européenne, #Emily_O’Reilly, a ouvert une #enquête le 11 novembre dernier pour évaluer le fonctionnement du mécanisme de #plainte_interne à Frontex. Même l’office européen de lutte anti-fraude investigue et scrute la gestion de l’agence.

      Le dernier coup de boutoir vient de la #Commission_européenne. Dans une lettre du 18 décembre, la directrice générale chargée des migrations et des affaires intérieures, Monique Pariat, adressait des mots durs à Fabrice Leggeri au sujet d’irrégularités et de retards dans les procédures de recrutement d’un officier des droits fondamentaux, de son adjoint et de 40 contrôleurs des droits fondamentaux, qui devaient faire partie de l’agence le 5 décembre 2020 au plus tard et qui ne sont toujours pas embauchés : « C’est la responsabilité de la Commission […] d’intervenir pour empêcher que des irrégularités sérieuses viennent compromettre le bon fonctionnement et la réputation de l’agence. »

      La réputation de Frontex a pourtant déjà été écornée à de multiples reprises dans le passé, sans que l’exécutif bruxellois s’en émeuve. « Pendant longtemps la Commission a protégé Fabrice Leggeri, commente #Birgit_Sippel, eurodéputée allemande du groupe des socialistes et démocrates. Il semble que le vent tourne, notamment sous la pression du #Parlement_européen. »

      C’est le 23 octobre 2020 que le vent a tourné. Une série de médias européens, dont Der Spiegel et Bellingcat, publiaient alors une enquête fouillée suggérant que l’agence européenne avait, entre mars et août 2020, soit assisté à des refoulements de demandeurs d’asile en mer Égée par des garde-côtes grecs, sans les avoir rapportés, soit participé activement au renvoi de canots vers les côtes turques, alors que les refoulements sont strictement prohibés par le droit international. Le 8 juin, un navire de l’opération « #Poséidon » de Frontex, battant pavillon roumain, aurait même bloqué un canot de migrants avant de contribuer à le repousser.

      Fabrice Leggeri est venu s’expliquer devant le Parlement européen le 1er décembre. Selon lui, l’enquête interne menée par ses services concluait à « l’absence de preuves » de refoulement dans les cas mentionnés par la presse. Il insistait sur le fait que les activités de contrôle aux frontières avaient toujours lieu « à la demande et sous le commandement des autorités nationales », Frontex intervenant en coordination des opérations maritimes, en mobilisant des avions, des navires et des garde-frontières originaires des 27 États membres.

      Ces déclarations élusives ont hérissé de nombreux députés européens. « La façon dont il a répondu à nos questions montre que Fabrice Leggeri ne prend pas vraiment au sérieux ces allégations. Frontex a besoin de changements structurels, et je pense qu’il n’est pas la bonne personne pour les mener », avance Tineke Strik, eurodéputée néerlandaise des Verts.

      De la #gauche_unitaire_européenne (#GUE) au groupe centriste de #Renew, les critiques pleuvent à l’encontre de Fabrice Leggeri, mais l’attitude à adopter crée des divisions. La centriste néerlandaise, #Sophie_In’t_Veld, du groupe Renew, milite pour qu’une commission d’enquête parlementaire soit mise sur pied, « car on parle d’actes criminels ». Avant de réclamer la démission du directeur – qui ne peut être décidée que par le conseil d’administration de Frontex composé des États membres et de la Commission – la députée pense « qu’il faut d’abord faire toute la lumière sur les faits ».

      Au sein du groupe des socialistes et démocrates, des députés veulent aller plus vite. « Pourquoi perdre un an avec une #commission_d’enquête ?, s’interroge #Birgit_Sippel. Les rapports décrivant les violations des droits humains aux frontières sont là. Pour l’instant, Fabrice Leggeri se cache et échappe à ses responsabilités. » Des députés de la GUE comme des #Verts réclament à la fois une commission d’enquête et la #démission du directeur. Quant à la droite, le Parti populaire européen n’a pas encore de position sur ces thèmes, mais voit d’un mauvais œil cette idée de commission d’enquête.

      Le mastodonte sans contrôle

      Pour Yves Pascouau, directeur du programme Europe à l’association Res-Publica, par ailleurs spécialiste des questions migratoires européenne (et élu de la majorité nantaise), « l’augmentation des moyens et des pouvoirs de Frontex ne peut pas se faire sans une augmentation de ses responsabilités ».

      Frontex, au fil des ans, est devenu un mastodonte. En 2012, son budget était de 89,5 millions d’euros. Il est en 2020 de 460 millions. 5,6 milliards d’euros ont été dégagés pour la période 2021-2027. Il s’agit de la plus grosse agence de l’UE qui sera dotée, d’ici 2027, de 10 000 garde-côtes véritablement européens, avec leurs propres uniformes. « Cela permettra d’augmenter la transparence et la responsabilité de Frontex », veut croire une source européenne.

      Aujourd’hui, Frontex se déploie sous commandement des autorités nationales. Mais les agents qui agissent en son nom ne sont pas exempts de responsabilités. Ils ont l’obligation d’envoyer un rapport aux dirigeants de Frontex à chaque incident sérieux auquel ils assistent, y compris lorsque des violations des droits humains sont observées.

      Le Forum consultatif de Frontex, qui réunit des institutions européennes, des organisations internationales et ONG, s’interroge inlassablement sur « l’effectivité » de ce système. En 2018, seuls 3 incidents sérieux relatifs à des violations de droits humains furent comptabilisés par l’agence, et 9 en 2019, sans que l’on sache quel a été le suivi de ces dossiers.

      Quant à l’embauche des milliers de garde-frontières, elle doit être contrebalancée par davantage de contrôles des activités de Frontex. L’officier des droits fondamentaux, son adjoint et sa petite équipe d’au minimum 40 contrôleurs sont considérés comme la clef de voûte de ce système de surveillance du respect des #droits_humains.

      Dans la lettre adressée à Fabrice Leggeri, Monique Pariat regrette qu’au 18 décembre, aucun de ces recrutements n’ait été effectué. Elle pointe la « réticence surprenante de Frontex » à suivre les lignes directrices de la Commission, « ce qui a encore davantage entravé et retardé cet important processus ». La directrice générale dénonce encore la démarche « illégale » du directeur général qui avait publié, en 2019, une première annonce pour le poste d’officier des droits fondamentaux, sans l’accord du conseil d’administration de Frontex qui sera pourtant le supérieur hiérarchique direct de ce futur employé.

      Elle l’accuse encore d’avoir présenté les faits aux eurodéputés « de manière trompeuse ». L’attaque est frontale. Au-delà de l’enjeu institutionnel, Giorgos Kosmopoulos, du bureau européen d’Amnesty International, estime que « l’embauche de contrôleurs des droits fondamentaux n’est pas une mauvaise chose à condition qu’ils aient véritablement les moyens de mener des enquêtes, d’aller sur le terrain ». Et sur le terrain, justement, les refoulements aux frontières de l’Europe sont documentés et très nombreux. En #Grèce, en #Croatie, en #Hongrie.

      En mars 2020, le comité européen pour la prévention de la torture rapportait des allégations « crédibles et consistantes » de refoulements et détentions arbitraires, souvent accompagnées de violences, à la frontière gréco-turque. « On ne parle pas de cas isolés, ajoute Giorgos Kosmopoulos. La pratique est si répandue et généralisée qu’il est impossible que Frontex ne soit pas au courant, vu son implication sur le terrain. »

      Le directeur de Frontex, s’il estime qu’il existe « des violations graves […] des droits fondamentaux » doit mettre un terme à l’activité litigieuse à laquelle participe son agence. « Le directeur doit vérifier la situation sur le terrain et le cas échéant il doit retirer ses équipes pour qu’elles ne soient pas liées à des violations de droits humains, mais ce n’est jamais arrivé », conclut Giorgos Kosmopoulos.

      Dans ce contexte, Tineke Strik pense qu’une démission de Fabrice Leggeri, certes bienvenue, « ne résoudra pas tout. Les problèmes sont structurels. Il faudra lancer une enquête approfondie sur le fonctionnement de Frontex ».

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/210121/le-garde-frontiere-frontex-en-pleine-tourmente?onglet=full

    • Validating Border Violence on the Aegean: Frontex’s Internal Records

      The Aegean Sea, separating Turkey from Greece’s ‘hotspot’ islands, is a site of longstanding and increasingly visible border violence: the systematic use of inflatable life rafts by the Hellenic Coast Guard to push people back to Turkey has been widely documented since March last year. This maritime borderzone also stages the operational theatre of Frontex Joint Operation Poseidon, under which patrol boats, helicopters and surveillance planes have been deployed to patrol the extensive breadth of water.

      Frontex repeatedly denied any involvement in these pushbacks (see here and here), stressing its commitment to the protection, promotion and fulfilment of fundamental rights. This ‘modus operandi’ in which fundamental rights become a rhetorical defence could no longer hold after investigative reporters showed visual evidence of Frontex’s complicit role in pushbacks, prompting further media scrutiny and pressure by the European Parliament and Commission.

      In November, Efsyn, a Greek media outlet, published an eighteen-page long Frontex internal document addressed to the agency’s Management Board. The document aimed at answering questions by Member States and the Commission about the on-going pushbacks in the Aegean. The document, which fuelled Frontex’s recent internal inquiry, lists a series of so-called ‘incidents’ and, at times, offers detailed accounts of the previously denied pushbacks. However, these were not recorded as such.

      A closer look at the document reveals numerous ‘#JORA_incidents’ classified as ‘prevention of departure’, as this transcript from August 19, 2020, illustrates:

      frontex

      The #Joint_Operations_Reporting_Application (#JORA) is the main information system that collects and stores all ‘border related incidents’ from Frontex joint operations. Such incidents range from Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, interceptions, Serious Incident Reports to, as the one above, so-called preventions of departure. The leaked document contains twenty of the latter, all following a similar pattern: Firstly, the location of the rubber boat is recorded in Turkish territorial waters; second, Frontex assets are “excused from the scene” after detection; and, finally, a rehearsed ending: the boat “altered course on her own initiative/will and headed towards the Turkish coasts” or, alternately, the Turkish Coast Guard “took over responsibility”.

      Importantly, these JORA incidents coexist with the regular documenting of border violence. Descriptions of boats of asylum-seekers returning to Turkey of their own volition jar with regular testimonies describing the coercive methods employed to push them back. Alarm Phone, Aegean Boat Report and Border Violence Monitoring Network document human rights violations occurring at the same border, on the same dates and, often, at the same time as the JORA incidents.

      On the same day as the JORA incident above:

      Logging the border

      JORA incidents, together with information collected via Eurosur, form the backbone of Europe’s external borders and migration situational picture, Frontex’s narrative of the border. Yet, what is and is not accounted for in JORA and how, has not received much attention. Contrary to the few Serious Incident Reports related to violations of fundamental rights, which are dealt with by the Fundamental Rights Officer and presented to the Management Board, other incidents recorded in JORA don’t reach the public domain. Once inserted and validated, they become a dot on a map at the Frontex Situation Centre in Warsaw. They are devised to feed into risk analyses, maps and weekly analytical overviews.

      This ‘business-as-usual’ mode of reporting is mostly done by a few officers from the host Member State— in Greece, by the Hellenic Coast Guard and Police—who insert incidents into a standardised template through a set of rigid, mandatory fields. Reporting is not done by the officers on the patrol boats but mostly those who sit at coordination centres. Once inserted in the system, incidents are sent to the International Coordination Centre and the Frontex Situation Centre where they are cross-checked with reports from both Hellenic Coast Guard and Frontex deployed officers for validation. This validation process does not statically move in one direction; incidents can go back and forth in the validation chain. The final validation is done by a “specialized team of experts” at Frontex headquarters as the leaked document explains. Yet, incidents can be re-initiated and modified even after finalisation (see work by Pollozek).

      The design of the system allows for the rehearsed recording of formulaic bordering practices that, if closely examined, resemble its coexistent violent forms. Shading into the routine, the JORA records circulate regularly from the islands to Piraeus and Warsaw. While the full JORA archive is inaccessible to the public, the reviewed incidents give us insight into how a particular doctrine of border enforcement is being sustained by the agency and to what effects.

      Normalising violence, eroding rights

      The effects of these records arguably extend beyond the tactical level of border policing. Through their production, a narrative arc is formed by the recorded incidents, generating a specific mode of understanding. Data must be made intelligible to the JORA system and officials along the chain before it can be validated. As a result, even acts of violence such as pushbacks can get translated into mundane logs and thus, brought within the remit of everyday border enforcement and legality.

      The leaked document asserts that the “the notion of ‘prevention of departure”, according to which these ‘incidents’ are classified, should be interpreted “in conjunction with the provisions of Regulation 656/2014, in particular Articles 6 and 7”. While the precise legal meaning of this category in this context remains unclear, its ramifications for the right to leave a country are concerning.

      Regulation 656/2014 indeed provides legal basis (in certain factual circumstances) for the interception of boats carrying asylum-seekers. Yet, it clearly stipulates that the actions that official entities may lawfully take to enforce the border must be compliant with their obligations under EU and international law, including, inter alia, international human rights and refugee law. Moreover, it states: “This Regulation should not affect the responsibilities of search and rescue authorities, including for ensuring that coordination and cooperation is conducted in such a way that the persons rescued can be delivered to a place of safety.”

      The records, however, present an account of border enforcement that exists in isolation from human rights and humanitarian commitments. The dangerous conditions in which border enforcement takes place and the vulnerability of asylum seekers to these conditions are rendered irrelevant and thereby, banalised. Rubber boats carrying illegalized migrants are generally considered seaworthy, not recognised as in distress, regardless of how many people they carry or the fluctuating weather conditions in the Aegean. In none of the incidents contained in the leaked document was a SAR triggered by the Hellenic Coast Guard or Frontex. In this sense, JORA acts as a mediator that transforms, translates, distorts and modifies the meaning of these ‘incidents’. Through the designation of bureaucratic categories (e.g. prevention of departure), JORA codifies and transforms situations that should trigger humanitarian and human rights obligations into legitimate practices of border control. In the process, the duty to render assistance at sea is distorted, and the obligation to facilitate access to asylum is obscured.

      In the context of on-going internal discussions about the legality of interceptions at sea, Frontex’s internal records reveal the practices deemed acceptable by the agency and their interpretation of international legal obligations. The records provide insight into a vision of border enforcement, crystallised at the boundaries of the global north, that perpetuates the violent securitisation of borders to the detriment of human mobility, dignity and safety. They carve out a space where border control activities are shielded from scrutiny, erasing human rights from the operational script.

      Any comments about this post? Get in touch with us! Send us an email, or post a comment here or on Facebook. You can also tweet us.

      https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2021/01/validating-border

    • Five migrant pushback claims under scrutiny

      The board of directors of the European border agency Frontex, which met on Wednesday and Thursday, has decided to further investigate five of 13 reported cases of illegal migrants pushbacks last year, with the alleged help of Frontex guards, from Greece into Turkish territorial waters in the eastern Aegean.

      The board deemed that Frontex did not provide the necessary information and clarifications for the five cases under investigation.

      In view of this, the team investigating the claims has been given additional time to complete its work and present its final conclusions to a new extraordinary board meeting scheduled for February 26.

      With regard to the other eight cases, the board said that there is no evidence to confirm any violations. It also accepted that some of these incidents unfolded in Turkish territorial waters, and in others the migrant boats turned back on their own accord.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/261560/article/ekathimerini/news/five-migrant-pushback-claims-under-scrutiny

    • L’agence européenne Frontex fragilisée par les accusations d’expulsions illégales

      L’agence de surveillance des frontières de l’UE, qui a annoncé qu’elle suspendait ses opérations en Hongrie, est accusée d’avoir participé au « pushback », qui consiste à repousser les migrants sans leur laisser la possibilité de déposer une demande d’asile.
      Accusations d’implication dans des « pushbacks » – des refoulements illégaux de migrants et demandeurs d’asile aux frontières –, enquêtes de l’Office de lutte antifraude de l’Union européenne (UE) et de la Commission de Bruxelles, mise en cause de son directeur, Fabrice Leggeri : l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes, Frontex, chargée de surveiller les frontières extérieures de l’UE, traverse de grosses turbulences. Mercredi 27 janvier, elle a même été contrainte d’annoncer qu’elle allait arrêter ses opérations en Hongrie, une première dans l’histoire de cette institution, fondée en 2004.
      « Nos efforts communs pour protéger les frontières extérieures ne peuvent réussir que si nous veillons à ce que notre coopération et nos activités soient pleinement conformes aux lois de l’UE », a expliqué un porte-parole, en critiquant implicitement les pratiques illégales de la police hongroise, auxquelles l’agence européenne participait pourtant depuis la crise des réfugiés de 2015.
      En cause, la pratique du « pushback », systématisée par le premier ministre ultranationaliste, Viktor Orban, et développée ailleurs dans l’Union. Le fait de repousser les migrants arrivés sur le sol européen sans leur laisser la possibilité de déposer une demande d’asile n’a pas été partout aussi clairement assumé qu’en Hongrie, mais la Grèce, la Croatie, l’Italie ou la Slovénie, notamment, ont été mises an cause pour s’être livrées, elles aussi, à cette pratique illégale. Un « Livre noir », épais de 1 500 pages et présenté récemment par un réseau d’ONG, a recensé pas moins de 900 cas de ce type, concernant près de 13 000 personnes.
      Expulsions inhumaines
      Depuis une loi adoptée en 2016, la Hongrie considère, elle, que tous les migrants arrivant sur son sol peuvent être immédiatement renvoyés vers la Serbie voisine. Lorsqu’ils sont arrêtés, après avoir réussi à franchir la clôture que M. Orban a fait construire tout le long de la frontière, ou même à Budapest, les migrants se voient systématiquement refuser de déposer une demande d’asile et sont expulsés sans autre forme de procès, dans des conditions parfois inhumaines.
      Présents à la frontière hongroise depuis 2015, les agents de Frontex ont participé à cette politique, malgré les critiques des organisations non gouvernementales. « La Hongrie est le seul pays à avoir légalisé les “pushbacks” et à les pratiquer aussi ouvertement. La police hongroise publie même des chiffres tous les jours sur le nombre de personnes renvoyées en Serbie », dénonce Andras Lederer, du Comité Helsinki hongrois, une ONG spécialisée dans l’aide aux migrants. Il estime que la Hongrie a pratiqué 50 000 refoulements depuis 2016. A l’issue d’une longue bataille juridique, la Cour de justice de l’Union européenne a estimé, le 17 décembre 2020, que les pratiques hongroises enfreignent les directives régissant le droit d’asile.
      Malgré cet arrêt, le gouvernement de Budapest a refusé de modifier sa législation et a continué ces pratiques. « La Hongrie ne va pas céder devant la pression des forces pro-immigration », affirmait encore le porte-parole du gouvernement, Zoltan Kovacs, jeudi 28 janvier. « Bruxelles veut nous prendre le peu d’aide qu’on avait », a-t-il ajouté en réaction au retrait de Frontex, devenu inéluctable après l’arrêt de la Cour de Luxembourg. Pour M. Lederer, ce retrait est en revanche « bienvenu » : « La Hongrie ne pourra plus se cacher derrière la présence de Frontex pour continuer cette pratique. »
      Violences aux frontières de l’Union
      Avec un contingent censé atteindre 10 000 hommes, un budget pluriannuel passé à 5,6 milliards d’euros et son rôle de gardienne stricte des frontières, en association avec les forces nationales, l’agence dirigée par M. Leggeri est l’une des pièces essentielles de la politique migratoire de l’UE et du « pacte » proposé en 2020 pour la Commission. Sa mise en cause, alors même qu’elle est loin de tourner à plein régime, est de mauvais augure.
      Jeudi 28 janvier, alors que les vingt-sept ministres de l’intérieur, réunis en visioconférence, évoquaient – en présence du directeur de Frontex – le dossier de la migration, l’Agence des Nations unies pour les réfugiés évoquait un droit d’asile « menacé » en Europe et disait recevoir « de nombreux rapports » sur les violences exercées aux frontières de l’Union.
      D’où l’attention toute particulière que porte la commissaire aux affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, au dossier des « pushbacks ». La responsable suédoise se satisfait-elle des explications de la direction de Frontex, dont le conseil d’administration affirmait, le 21 janvier, qu’il n’avait pas trouvé de preuves de violation des droits de l’homme dans les cas qu’il a examinés ? « Sur la base des informations fournies », il n’aurait « pu établir de preuves ». Il a toutefois précisé que ses conclusions ne concernaient que certains incidents en Grèce et que des clarifications étaient nécessaires. Cinq cas problématiques de possibles refoulements impliquant Frontex sont encore examinés.
      Jeudi, devant les ministres, Mme Johansson a réclamé « toutes les analyses nécessaires » pour, dit-elle, rétablir la confiance dans l’agence. Elle a aussi évoqué un projet de réforme, incluant la nomination de trois sous-directeurs et la mise en place – enfin – d’un système de surveillance des droits humains.
      Le débat « recule »
      Au-delà du sort de Frontex, la question est de savoir si une définition d’une véritable politique migratoire européenne, avec une refonte des règles de l’asile et une solidarité accrue entre les pays, a une chance de se réaliser. Confirmant que le débat sur le « pacte » élaboré par la Commission « n’a pas beaucoup avancé », le secrétaire d’Etat belge à la migration, Sammy Mahdi, déclarait, jeudi, au quotidien La Libre Belgique qu’il fallait le rendre « rationnel ». Pour sortir les discussions de l’ornière, pour vérifier que la proposition de la Commission est opérationnelle et, enfin, pour que chacun annonce vraiment ses intentions, M. Mahdi propose « une simulation » : sur la base des chiffres de l’année 2019, chaque pays préciserait ce qu’il pourrait accomplir concernant l’accueil, la solidarité, le financement des infrastructures d’accueil aux frontières, etc.
      Un communiqué du secrétaire d’Etat évoquait une possible évolution de la Hongrie et de ses partenaires du groupe de Visegrad, à condition que soit satisfaite leur revendication (très floue) d’une solidarité « flexible ». Un participant à la réunion de jeudi faisait preuve de moins de conviction : « Faire avancer le débat ? Mais il recule ! » Vétéran des conseils européens sur la migration, le ministre luxembourgeois Jean Asselborn n’est pas loin de confirmer : « Nous sommes sans doute tous d’accord sur les contrôles aux frontières extérieures ou sur les retours. Mais pas sur la manière de respecter les droits humains des demandeurs d’asile, sur les relocalisations obligatoires ou sur l’impératif de solidarité » entre les pays européens. Les Etats prêts à respecter ces principes se compteraient, en effet, désormais sur les doigts d’une main.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/01/29/l-agence-europeenne-frontex-fragilisee-par-les-accusations-d-expulsions-ille

    • Refoulement de migrants : « Frontex se retranche toujours derrière ses États hôtes » (Migreurop)

      L’agence de surveillance des frontières de l’UE, a annoncé qu’elle suspendait ses opérations en Hongrie après une décision de la Cour de justice européenne critiquant le système d’asile de ce pays. L’Office européen de lutte antifraude enquête de son côté sur la gouvernance de l’agence par son directeur exécutif, Fabrice Leggeri dont plusieurs eurodéputés demandent la démission. Frontex a-t-elle participé à des opérations de « pushback », initiées par la Hongrie, qui consistent à repousser des migrants arrivés sur le sol européen sans leur laisser la possibilité de déposer une demande d’asile ? Le décryptage de Brijitte Espuche, co-coordinatrice du réseau Migreurop.

      https://www.rfi.fr/fr/podcasts/invit%C3%A9-international/20210129-refoulement-de-migrants-frontex-se-retranche-toujours-derri%C3%A8re-ses

    • Frontex: Management Board pushes back against secrecy proposals in preliminary report

      Statewatch is publishing the preliminary report of the working group set up by the agency’s Management Board following allegations of involvement in pushbacks from Turkey to Greece. Amongst other things, the report indicates that Frontex has proposed labelling Serious Incident Reports as EU Classified Information, which would reduce transparency and, in turn, accountability.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/february/frontex-management-board-pushes-back-against-secrecy-proposals-in-prelim

    • Scandals Plunge Europe’s Border Agency into Turmoil

      Accusations of workplace harassment, mismanagement and financial irregularities have led to chaos at Europe’s border agency. The allegations weigh heavily on Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri.

      The men and women who are part of Europe’s new elite border force meet every morning at 9 a.m. for a video conference that is viewed on screens in countries like Greece, Croatia, Bulgaria and Albania. The Frontex officials usually discuss migration movements and human trafficking, But since the beginning of January, the internal meetings have focused primarily on low morale within the team.

      "Do something at last, or soon no one will work here anymore,” one border guard warned in one of the calls. The policemen and women who regularly complain about their woes are the European Union’s first dedicated border guards. They’re part of Frontex’s standing corps.

      For months now, Frontex, the EU’s border protection agency, and its head Fabrice Leggeri, have been embroiled in a series of scandals. Frontex has been accused of being involved in illegal repatriations of refugees at Europe’s external borders, workplace harassment and a possible case of fraud linked to the agency. Now the crisis has also reached the standing corps, the border management agency’s prestige project.

      Frontex plans to deploy up to 10,000 border guards to the EU’s external borders in the coming years. The civil servants were promised brand new equipment and EU jobs with lavish salaries and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen personally pushed for the creation of the standing corps. The stars of the EU flag sparkle on the sleeves of the new dark blue uniforms worn by the reserves.

      The job may sound glamorous on paper, but it is anything but in the countries where the reserve guards have been deployed, like Greece, Croatia and Albania. Several officers have told DER SPIEGEL of a shortage of agency vehicles, such that expensive SUVs must be rented instead — with officers allegedly even having to pay for gas themselves in some cases. They claim that expenses weren’t reimbursed for bureaucratic reasons, and that parts of the new uniforms were missing and had to be bought by the border guards themselves.

      The officers should be out hunting down criminals and catching smugglers, but Category 1 officers, who are directly employed by Frontex, so far haven’t been allowed to carry weapons because the agency failed to provide the legal basis for doing so in time. The result is that the border guards, supposedly members of an elite European force, have to be escorted on every one of their patrols by national security forces.

      When contacted by DER SPIEGEL, Frontex also said that the pandemic has created additional challenges for deploying the force, but things are back on track again. Yet the agency’s own officers don’t see it that way. It’s a "Potemkin reserve,” scoffs one. "It’s not worth it,” says another officer, who is thinking about quitting.

      The establishment of the standing corps is one of the EU’s most important migration policy projects. The purpose is to control irregular immigration. But now the European Commission and the member states must stand by and watch as it becomes the focus of ridicule.

      The fiasco over the standing corps has become emblematic of an agency that has been falling short of public expectations for years, and of an agency head who is accumulating more and more power but doesn’t seem to know how to use it correctly.

      Under Leggeri, Frontex has stumbled from one scandal to the next. Last autumn, DER SPIEGEL, together with international media partners, first reported that Frontex forces in the Aegean Sea were involved in illegal repatriations of refugees, which are called pushbacks. The Frontex Management Board is investigating the allegations and the EU Ombudsman has opened an inquiry. Leggeri himself is apparently obstructing the investigations.

      In January, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) announced it had launched an investigation into Frontex. Leggeri claims that the investigators are looking into the pushback reports and that he cannot provide any further comment. But DER SPIEGEL has found in its reporting that the accusations go much further. The investigation involves a possible case of fraud involving a service provider, allegations of workplace harassment and whether information was withheld from the agency’s fundamental rights officer, whose job is to monitor Frontex’s adherence to basic human rights laid out in EU charters, conventions and international law. Internal documents suggest that Leggeri’s entire leadership style is under scrutiny.

      What happened? How could the authority charged with protecting the EU’s external borders descend into such chaos? And what does it all mean for the EU’s migration policy?

      DER SPIEGEL, the media organization Lighthouse Reports and the French newspaper Libération interviewed nearly a dozen current and former Frontex officials in the reporting of this story. Most insisted that their names not be mentioned in the story for fear that they could lose their jobs. Leggeri, for his part, rejected an interview request.

      When combined with internal documents that DER SPIEGEL and its partners were able to view, the insiders’ reports paint a picture of an agency in turmoil.

      France Télécom: How Leggeri seized power at Frontex

      The headquarters of Frontex are located in an office complex in Warsaw’s Wola district, not far from the city center. For years, only a few officials worked here compiling reports on migration routes. Actual border guards were borrowed from national police forces.

      But the agency has grown from a budget of just over 6 million euros in 2005 to 460 million euros in 2020. By 2027, Europe’s taxpayers will have provided 5.6 billion euros in funding to the agency.

      Frontex now has its own border guards, called the standing corps, in addition to aircraft and drones that will soon be complemented by unmanned airships that will provide surveillance as they circle over the Aegean Sea. Frontex’s rise has had a lot to do with Leggeri, the man who has done more than anyone else to shape the agency.

      Leggeri, 52, was born in Mulhouse, in France’s Alsace region, and speaks fluent German. He studied at the École Nationale d’Administration in Strasbourg, a university that has long produced the French elite. Starting in 2013, he worked at the Interior Ministry in Paris in the department for irregular immigration. At the time, the government advocated for Frontex’s expansion, and two years later, Leggeri was named head of the agency.

      Colleagues describe Leggeri as a technocrat. At a Christmas party once, the team gathered around and he began talking with great pathos about the achievements of the "Frontex family.” But Leggeri was reading from his notepad. "It seemed like the whole things was out of his league,” recalled one audience member.

      During the course of Frontex’s expansion, Leggeri tailored the agency to precisely fit his needs. He expanded his cabinet, filling many important posts with fellow French compatriots.

      Frontex workers say Leggeri is on rarely seen in the hallways, and that all important decisions are made by a small inner circle. They describe him as being a control freak, with some former staffers even going so far as to call him a "dictator.” Leggeri "runs the agency like it’s a sub-prefecture,” says someone who has worked with him for a long time. "You may be able to run a French ministry that way, but not an international organization.”

      Frontex staffers have taken to calling Leggeri’s cabinet "France Télécom” when the bosses aren’t around. It’s a reference to the scandal at the French telecommunications authority, which involved systematic bullying and harassment so bad that it drove a number of employees to commit suicide.

      The resentment felt by many Frontex staffers is largely directed at one of Leggeri’s closest confidants: Thibauld de La Haye Jousselin. The Frenchman comes from an aristocratic family from southern France. He once worked for Bernard Carayon, a member of the French parliament, who used to be part of a far-right student union. De La Haye Jousselin is a reserve officer in the French army and has a thing for the military and uniforms. “De La Haye Jousselin is clearly on the right politically,” says someone who has known him for years. Now, he serves Leggeri as the head of his cabinet.

      Insiders say that de La Haye Jousselin leads with an iron fist, and that he is quick to lose his temper. Employees claim he insults people and engages in disrespectful behavior. The agency stated that Frontex has not received any official complaints about de La Haye Jousselin and also claimed that no cabinet member has been hired solely on the basis of their nationality. De La Haye Jousselin dismissed the accusations as "false and baseless.”

      But the behavior of Leggeri and his cabinet chief has consequences. Dissent seems to be frowned upon. And this is likely one of the reasons internal control mechanisms at the agency are becoming less effective.

      Inmaculada Arnáez has more than 20 years of experience in human rights issues. The Spanish lawyer has worked for the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and she has been with Frontex since 2012. As the fundamental rights officer, she is supposed to operate independently of the executive director in her job as the agency’s internal watchdog. But when Leggeri took the helm in 2015, she quickly became aware of how little concern the new leader apparently had for human rights.

      Former Frontex employees report that Arnáez was left out in the cold. "We felt like Leggeri just bypassed her.” They claim that human rights had never been his priority.

      The final break between Leggeri and Arnáez came when the European Parliament granted the fundamental rights commissioner more powers in 2019. Arnáez was to be assisted by 40 human rights observers, which would have enabled her office to conduct its own investigations at Europe’s external borders. Apparently that was unthinkable for Leggeri.

      On Nov. 19, 2019, just as Arnáez was returning from an extended illness, the Frontex chief publicly advertised her position. In doing so, Leggeri had also bypassed the Frontex Management Board, since such a job posting requires the board’s approval. He had informed Arnáez only a short time before. In a written assessment obtained by DER SPIEGEL, the European Commission states that Leggeri’s move had been "plain and simply unlawful” and "could be considered as an attempt to discredit or weaken” Arnáez.

      The Commission forced Leggeri to withdraw the job posting. But the Frontex chief didn’t give up. He claimed Arnáez had to be replaced because she doesn’t have enough management experience to lead 40 employees.

      It seems likely, though, that the Frontex chief was mainly bothered by Arnáez because of her advocacy for human rights. Arnáez has repeatedly warned Leggeri against breaking the law. Colleagues say that she believed in the power of her reports. She regularly informed Leggeri about human rights violations in the Aegean Sea and recommended that he abandon the mission in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán legalized pushbacks in 2016.

      Leggeri ignored the fundamental rights officer’s reports and continued the operation in the Aegean Sea. He only withdrew his officers from Hungary a few weeks ago after a ruling by the European Court of Justice forced him to do so. When contacted for comment, Leggeri stated that he had always valued working together with Arnáez. He added that management experience is needed in the post because of the sharp increase in the budget.

      Leggeri still hasn’t hired the 40 human rights monitors to this day. When grilled by the European Parliament, Leggeri blamed the European Commission for the delays. European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who is responsible for the portfolio that includes Frontex, then accused him of having misled parliament.

      Arnáez has been on medical leave again since last March. The Frontex Management Board replaced her on an interim basis with Annegret Kohler, a German national who had previously worked in Leggeri’s cabinet. "It’s a clear conflict of interest,” says a Frontex official.
      The Pushback Affair: How Frontex Covered Up Human Rights Violations

      The walls of the Frontex Situation Centre are covered in monitors, with surveillance planes and satellites transmitting real-time images from border regions. From their desks, Frontex officers can closely monitor events taking place on the edges of Europe. “You can see how many people are sitting in a refugee boat,” says someone who knows the room well.

      A collection of images that appeared on screens here on the night of April 18-19, 2020, continue to occupy members of European Parliament until today. They come from a Frontex surveillance plane flying over the Aegean, according to several internal Frontex reports that DER SPIEGEL has obtained.

      Shortly before midnight, Greek border patrol officers intercepted a rubber dinghy just north of the island of Lesbos and transferred the 20 to 30 refugees onboard their ship. According to prevailing law, they should have then brought the asylum-seekers to Lesbos, where they could apply for asylum. Instead, though, they put the refugees back into the dinghy and then towed them back toward Turkey.

      Greek officials in the coordination center in Piraeus ordered the Frontex pilots to change course away from the dinghy. The Frontex team leader asked if there was a particular reason for the change in course. “Negative,” came the response from the Greeks.

      At 3:15 a.m., the Frontex plane began running low on fuel. The pilot took one last image, which showed the refugees alone at sea, a few hundred meters from the Turkish coast. No Turkish units were in the area, the pilot reported. The dinghy, he reported, had no motor and the Greek Coast Guard had sailed off. The refugees, including four children, were only rescued the next morning at 6:52 a.m. by the Turkish Navy.

      The Greek Coast Guard has been systematically conducting pushbacks for several months. They stop refugee boats in Greek territorial waters and sometimes destroy their motors before then towing them back toward Turkey. “Aggressive surveillance,” is the official term the government in Athens has come up with to describe the practice. In fact, it is illegal.

      Frontex regulations require Leggeri to suspend missions when he learns of rights violations of a serious nature or that are likely to persist. His forces, after all, are supposed to protect human rights. But Leggeri insists that he has no reliable information about pushbacks in his possession – despite the fact that DER SPIEGEL and its reporting partners have exhaustively documented how Frontex units were nearby during at least seven illegal pushback operations.

      During their operations, Frontex personnel are under the command of Greek border officials. Already last March, a Greek liaison officer ordered a Danish Frontex unit to abandon a group of intercepted refugees at sea, according to internal emails that DER SPIEGEL has reviewed. Nevertheless, Frontex decided nothing was wrong and closed the matter within a day. Later, in testimony he delivered before the European Parliament, Leggeri claimed the incident had merely been a misunderstanding.

      The pushback that took place off Lesbos in the night of April 18-19 was exhaustively documented by Frontex officers themselves. There is a strong belief “that presented facts support an allegation of possible violation of Fundamental Rights or international protection obligations such as the principle of non-refoulement,” reads an internal Frontex report that DER SPIEGEL has obtained.

      The case was apparently so sensitive that Leggeri took personal control over the investigation and did not, as was standard procedure, delegate it to his Fundamental Rights Officer. On May 8, he wrote to Ioannis Plakiotakis, the Greek minister of maritime affairs, a letter that DER SPIEGEL has obtained. In it, Leggeri voiced his concern and requested an internal investigation. The observance of human rights, particularly the principle of non-refoulement, is an “ultimate requirement” of the Frontex mission, he wrote.

      The answer from the Greek government is a smorgasbord of attempts to explain it away. Migration flows in the Aegean represent a “hybrid nature threat,” the response reads. Because of the corona crisis, it continues, it is more important than ever to prevent illegal border crossings and none of the migrants had requested asylum. According to an initial assessment by Greek officials, the letter claims, none of those on board were in particular need of protection.

      Legal experts see the Greek response as worthless. “The Greek Coast Guard without a doubt committed a human rights violation in the case,” says Dana Schmalz, an international law expert with the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg. From her perspective, it is a clear case of an illegal pushback. It is impossible, she says, to determine if someone needs protection or if they are faced with danger back in Turkey on board a rickety dinghy. Individual proceedings conducted on land are necessary to make such a determination, she says. Furthermore, she continues, the Greek Coast Guard put the migrants’ lives in danger by abandoning them at sea in a dinghy without a motor.

      But Leggeri was satisfied with the report. The verdict: There was no pushback, there were no human rights violations. The head of Frontex silently buried the incident. “There have been several occasions when Leggeri has not provided us with adequate information,” says Tineke Strik, a member of European Parliament from the Netherlands.

      When reached for comment, Frontex said the Greek government had not ascertained any human rights violations. The agency has to rely on national authorities to investigate such incidents, Frontex insisted, since it is not authorized to undertake such investigations itself.

      Frontex officials are actually required to report incidents where they suspect that human rights violations may have occurred, so-called “Serious Incident Reports.” But such reports are hardly ever written. For years, Frontex officials have followed the example of their boss Leggeri: When in doubt, keep quiet.

      Insiders describe the rules as a kind of omertà, a code of silence. Hardly anyone is willing to risk their career or cause problems for their host country. In one case, an official even tried to prevent a Swedish colleague from submitting a Serious Incident Report, the head of Swedish border control told the Frontex Management Board.

      A German federal police officer is one of the few willing to dissent, though he has asked that we not publish his real name. On Nov. 28, 2020, his first day on a Frontex mission on the Greek island of Samos, an article from DER SPIEGEL popped up on his mobile phone. The story was about the Uckermark, the ship on which he was scheduled to serve that very evening. The article reported that the Germans had stopped a refugee boat on August 10 and handed it over to the Greek Coast Guard, which then proceeded to abandon the refugees at sea.

      The federal policeman went to his commanding officer and said he couldn’t participate in such operations and essentially said he didn’t want to be an accessory to any legal transgressions. Later, he sent an explanation around to his comrades via WhatsApp: “I have decided for me personally that I cannot tolerate the measures taken by the Greeks and certainly cannot support them.”

      His commanding officer responded a few minutes later: “The fact is that our actions are legal! Covered by the Frontex mandate.” He apparently was referring to the requirement to obey orders from the Greek Coast Guard.

      The German Federal Police does not contradict the man’s account, but when contacted, the force denied having taken part in any legal violations. The policeman himself, however, had a different view of the situation. He refused to take part in the mission, preferring instead to stay on land. He says he will never again volunteer to take part in a Frontex mission.

      Dodgy Business: How Leggeri Landed in the Sights of the European Anti-Fraud Office

      The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) always gets involved when there are suspicions that EU financial interests have been violated. And recently, OLAF opened an investigation into Frontex. On Dec. 7, OLAF officials searched Frontex headquarters in Warsaw, including the offices belonging to Leggeri and to Head of Cabinet Thibauld de La Haye Jousselin.

      Leggeri has yet to comment publicly on the investigation. According to members of the German parliament, the Bundestag, Leggeri testified before the Committee on Internal Affairs in January in Berlin and said that the inquiry had to do with the pushback accusations and that he couldn’t say any more. That, though, is at best only half true.

      DER SPIEGEL has learned that the investigation has a much broader scope than that. For weeks, OLAF officials have been summoning witnesses and interrogating Frontex staff members.

      One focus of the investigation is apparently a possible case of fraud. A Polish IT company sold the agency a business software solution that cost hundreds of thousands of euros, in part for the training of border guards. Frontex employees complained to their superiors, however, that the software didn’t work well. But the agency nevertheless paid most of the negotiated purchase price. According to documentation DER SPEIGEL has seen, employees informed management in 2018 that the inconsistencies in the case could amount to fraud.

      Leggeri, too, learned of the allegations, and an internal investigation was undertaken. “But according to EU regulations, the Frontex director is required to immediately report potential cases of fraud to OLAF,” says Valentina Azarova of the Manchester International Law Centre. Frontex declined to comment on the OLAF investigation. The Polish software company in question insisted that it has thus far correctly fulfilled all of its contractual obligations to Frontex. And the company is still getting contracts from the European border agency, some of them worth millions.

      The OLAF investigators are also apparently interested in suspicions of workplace harassment at Frontex. They hope to find out if Leggeri or his head of cabinet have yelled at or otherwise harassed agency employees. They are also investigating whether staff members were ordered to withhold information from Fundamental Rights Officer Arnáez and her successor – and if so, by whom.

      OLAF emphasizes that the presumption of innocence still applies, despite the inquiry, explaining that the existence of the investigation offers no proof that anything untoward took place. But there are apparently serious indications of personal misconduct on the part of Leggeri. The collection of questions being asked by investigators indicate significant doubts about his leadership style.

      In Brussels, some refer to Leggeri as “Fabrice Teflon,” with the Frontex boss having thus far survived despite accusations of mismanagement and allegations that his agency was involved in pushbacks. Now, though, the pressure has been cranked up.

      European Commissioner Johansson has more or less made it clear that she no longer considers Leggeri to be tenable in his position. “It has been difficult to keep track of the missteps,” says a high-ranking Commission official. “The priority must be on the long-term reputation of the agency. But it has been hard to reconcile recent actions with that aim.”

      It is not, however, up to the European Commission to decide Leggeri’s fate. That is a decision that must be made by the Frontex Management Board. The board is essentially made up of representatives from those countries that are part of the Schengen Area, with the Commission having just two deputies on the board. EU member states have always thrown their support behind Leggeri in the past. And many of them are likely pleased by the occasionally ruthless methods employed by Frontex to prevent asylum-seekers from crossing into the EU, believes Giulia Laganà, a migration expert with the Open Society European Policy Institute.

      The question is whether the Management Board will continue to back Leggeri once the accusations of workplace harassment and even potential fraud are made public. The European Parliament has already announced its intention to conduct a four-month inquiry into the agency, with the investigation’s mandate having been kept intentionally broad. Leggeri’s leadership style and the workplace atmosphere at Frontex are to be included in the inquiry.

      Even Leggeri’s own staff members in Warsaw have begun wondering how long their boss will continue to cling to his post. “OLAF is onto us, morale is down,” says one official. “I wonder why he doesn’t just leave.”

      https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/missteps-and-mismanagement-at-frontex-scandals-plunge-europe-s-border-agency

    • Frontex, l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières, à nouveau mise en cause pour ses liens avec des lobbyistes

      Premier corps armé en uniforme de l’Union européenne, l’organisme n’aurait pas déclaré ses liens avec des lobbyistes de l’industrie de la surveillance et de l’armement.

      De nouvelles accusations contre Frontex ont été lancées, vendredi 5 février, par la chaîne publique allemande ZDF, laquelle a, avec la collaboration de l’ONG Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), mené une enquête sur les liens entre l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et l’industrie de la surveillance et de l’armement.

      Des dizaines de documents, auxquels Le Monde a également eu accès, démontrent des infractions aux règles des institutions européennes sur le lobbying, un défaut de transparence et une absence quasi complète de préoccupation pour le respect des droits humains. Ce dernier point était déjà au cœur d’un débat récent sur le rôle du corps européen dans des « pushbacks », des refoulements illégaux de migrants, en Grèce et en Hongrie notamment.

      Dotée d’un budget en forte hausse (6 millions d’euros lors de sa création en 2005, 460 millions en 2020, 5,6 milliards prévus pour 2021-2027) et d’un effectif qui devrait atteindre 10 000 personnes à terme, Frontex, premier corps armé en uniforme de l’Union européenne (UE), effectue actuellement des missions de sauvetage et de surveillance, en appui des forces nationales. Elle lutte aussi contre divers trafics et participe aux expulsions des migrants irréguliers.

      Mais l’agence est, en réalité, en train de devenir un véritable corps de police appelé à se doter de nombreux équipements : armes, radars, drones, systèmes de vérification des documents et de reconnaissance faciale, véhicules, avions, etc.
      Profiter des opportunités

      Devient-elle, du même coup, une sorte d’acteur du secteur de la sécurité et de l’armement ? Et échappe-t-elle au contrôle démocratique, celui du Parlement européen notamment, qui, en 2019, exigeait de l’institution dirigée par le Français Fabrice Leggeri la mise au point d’un « registre transparence », conforme aux pratiques des autres institutions de l’UE ? Ce sont les questions posées par les investigateurs de la ZDF et de CEO, qui ont examiné les dernières années de fonctionnement de l’institution installée à Varsovie.

      Le registre, qui était réclamé par les eurodéputés, devait notamment recenser l’ensemble des réunions tenues avec des représentants des entreprises. Il est « en préparation », dit-on chez Frontex. Et il ne devrait pas satisfaire les attentes : en 2018 et 2019, indiquent des documents de CEO, 91 des 125 lobbyistes reçus par Frontex (soit 72 %) n’étaient pas inscrits au registre européen de la transparence, comme le veulent pourtant les règles fixées pour les institutions de l’UE.

      Idem pour 58 % des entreprises consultées. Sur une application créée pour centraliser les demandes de contacts, aucune demande ne leur est d’ailleurs formulée quant à leur inscription dans ce registre. Etonnamment, le service de presse de Frontex affirme de son côté que l’agence « ne rencontre pas de lobbyistes ».

      Il semble évident, pourtant, que le secteur de la défense entend profiter des opportunités offertes par le développement des missions et des moyens de l’agence. Le programme Horizon 2020 avait déjà affecté 118 millions d’euros au développement de la recherche en lien avec le projet de « Sécurité aux frontières extérieures » de l’UE. Un fonds avait, lui, été doté de 2,8 milliards d’euros pour la période 2018-2020. Et la nécessité d’équiper Frontex a évidemment aiguisé un peu plus les appétits des acteurs du marché mondial du « border control », qui enfle de 8 % chaque année et frôle désormais les 20 milliards d’euros.
      « Surveillance agressive »

      L’agence dirigée par M. Leggeri est-elle sortie de son rôle en s’arrogeant un statut d’intermédiaire de fait entre l’industrie et des institutions européennes soucieuses de conjurer à tout prix le risque de nouveaux flux migratoires ? Serait-elle, même, devenue un acteur qui entend stimuler cette industrie, voire lui confier les rênes d’une politique à vocation essentiellement sécuritaire ?

      Avec son objectif de « faciliter la coopération entre les autorités de contrôle aux frontières, la recherche et l’industrie », Frontex a, en tout cas, multiplié les congrès, les rencontres et les « ateliers » où grands patrons, hauts fonctionnaires, mais aussi délégués des Etats membres échangent beaucoup. Sur des questions de technologie, de sécurité, de « surveillance agressive », mais rarement de droits humains.

      Déjà mise en cause pour avoir tardé à mettre en place un service interne chargé de la surveillance du respect des droits fondamentaux des migrants, l’agence n’aurait, en effet, presque jamais consulté le « Forum des droits fondamentaux » constitué à cette fin. Une organisation qui était membre du forum indique d’ailleurs n’avoir aucun souvenir d’un quelconque échange sur la question des droits et des libertés dans le cadre du lancement d’appels d’offres.

      « La protection des droits humains est un sujet trop important pour le sacrifier à la défense des intérêts de l’industrie », notent les responsables de l’ONG Corporate Europe Observatory

      Parmi les participants à des réunions, on a noté, en revanche, la présence de représentants de pays très critiqués pour leur politique à l’égard des migrants, comme la Bosnie-Herzégovine ou l’Australie. Des responsables du département américain de la Homeland Security ont été également conviés.

      « Les conclusions de tout cela sont extrêmement préoccupantes », notent les responsables de CEO. Ils déplorent une politique migratoire qui risque de reposer seulement sur une force de police armée et des techniques comme la surveillance biométrique. « La protection des droits humains est un sujet trop important pour le sacrifier à la défense des intérêts de l’industrie », relèvent-ils.

      « Nous vivons une métamorphose du rôle de Frontex. Il faut en prendre la mesure et s’y habituer », affirmait, vendredi, M. Leggeri, interrogé par Europe 1. On ne sait pas si Ylva Johansson, la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures, qui demande que la confiance en Frontex soit « entièrement rétablie », approuvera totalement ce propos.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/02/05/nouvelles-accusations-contre-frontex-l-agence-europeenne-des-gardes-frontier

    • PUSHBACK REPORT 2020

      VIOLENCE IS INCREASING – IN #2020 MARE LIBERUM COUNTED AT LEAST 9,000 PEOPLE ILLEGALLY PUSHED BACK

      #Mare_Liberum monitors the current human rights situation in the Aegean Sea using its own ships. As independent observers, we conduct research in order to document and publicise circumstances at the European border. Since March 2020, Mare Liberum has witnessed a dramatic increase in human rights violations in the Aegean, both at sea and on land. Illegal pushbacks, in which those fleeing and migrating people are pushed back across a national border, play an especially crucial role. Over the past year in particular, pushbacks have become an inhumane everyday reality for people on the move. Pushbacks happen almost daily at the Greek-Turkish border and in 2020 alone, we counted 321 pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, with some 9,798 people pushed back.

      Although pushbacks have demonstrably been carried out at the EU’s external border for years, media attention has now increased notably, especially in recent months. News magazines such as Der Spiegel and the research collective Bellingcat have been able to publicly demonstrate how the Hellenic Coast Guard forcibly pushes those seeking protection back to Turkey, thereby violating international, European and national law. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex, as has become all too clear, not only turns a blind eye to illegal repatriation operations, but rather actively and systematically participates.

      Within the framework of the annual report, we seek to adopt a perspective on pushbacks that looks at the long-term development of these practices at the EU’s external border. The comprehensive documentation of pushbacks forms the basis of the report and is an essential part of our monitoring work in the Aegean. Beyond the mere counting of pushbacks, our work also includes the collection of relevant information on the persons affected by pushbacks, practices by the responsible actors and related geographical data. We have gained deeper insights into these issues by conducting interviews with people who have themselves been pushed back at the Greek-Turkish border.

      https://mare-liberum.org/en/pushback-report

    • NEW REPORT ON CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN THE AEGEAN

      Since March 2020, collective expulsions in the Aegean Sea have been perpetrated with impunity.

      Legal Centre Lesvos’ new report contributes to the growing body of evidence, media coverage, civil society reports and other investigations which have documented how Greek authorities are deliberately and systematically abandoning hundreds of migrants in the middle of the Aegean sea, without means to call for rescue, on unseaworthy, motorless dinghies and liferafts. It is intended to serve as a resource for survivors of collective expulsions and solidarity actors.

      Following the Legal Centre Lesvos’ first report, the present report is based on evidence shared by over fifty survivors of collective expulsions, and underscores the widespread, systematic and violent nature of this attack against migrants. Beyond being egregious violations of international, European and national human rights law, this report argues that the constituent elements of the modus operandi of collective expulsions in the Aegean amount to crimes against humanity within the definition of Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

      Despite overwhelming evidence of collective expulsions in the Aegean, the national and European response has been to turn a blind eye: failing to even attempt to hold the responsible Greek authorities to account, let alone other public and private actors directly or indirectly involved. On the contrary, the European Commission has praised the violent “border and migration management” practices implemented in Greece and underwritten its support with substantial financial and material assistance. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic which prevented Greece carrying out “official” deportations to Turkey, collective expulsions have conveniently served as an unofficial implementation of the “EU-Turkey Deal” and other bilateral “readmission” agreements with Turkey, which form part of fortress Europe’s border externalisation drive.

      There are only so many times legal and civil society actors can list and table such human rights violations and be met with deafening silence and inaction before this itself becomes evidence of Greek and European liability for collective expulsions as an egregious attack on migrants’ lives. Such inaction also reveals how migrants’ lives are increasingly treated as disposable, in a manner that has historically accompanied the commission of atrocity crimes.

      While the systematic violence of pushbacks in the Aegean is scandalous, it is also the logical endpoint of a dehumanising and punitive European border regime that has systematically obstructed access to territory and the right to asylum by prioritising and funding the ‘hotspot’ containment system, accelerated procedures, detention, deportations, border militarisation and externalisation through deals of questionable legality with third countries; as well as by prosecuting migrants and solidarity actors in a manner that successfully obscures Europe’s own violent, imperialist role in many of the reasons people migrate.

      The absence of serious investigations, let alone practical steps to redress violations are a clear sign that collective expulsions form part of a Greek and European migration policy: instrumentalising human suffering in acts of spectacular state violence for the purpose of deterring migration, at any cost.

      In this context, it is important to ask what justice might look like for survivors of crimes against humanity in the Aegean, many of whom experience ongoing psychological trauma and distress as a result of these crimes. Survivors who have been in contact with the Legal Centre Lesvos have spoken about justice in terms of being able to safely reach Europe. Justice for collective expulsions as crimes against humanity must therefore include safe and legal routes to Europe, as well as defunding, demilitarising and dismantling Europe’s violent border regime.

      https://legalcentrelesvos.org/2021/02/01/crimesagainstumanityintheaegean

      #crimes_contre_l'humanité

      pour télécharger le rapport :
      legalcentrelesvos.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Collective-Expulsions-in-the-Aegean-LCL-01.02.2021-1.pdf

    • UE : Frontex accusée d’incarner l’« Europe forteresse »

      Soupçons de refoulements illégaux de migrants et de bafouement des droits fondamentaux, l’agence Frontex est dans la tourmente. Au point de diviser la Commission européenne.

      C’est potentiellement ce que les Anglo-Saxons appellent la « tempête parfaite », la « poly polémique » qui couve chez Frontex, l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes.

      Entre les accusations de fermer les yeux ou de participer à des refoulements illégaux de migrants, l’enquête de l’Office anti-fraude sur des allégations de harcèlement et d’inconduite ayant poussé des responsables à quitter l’agence ou l’absence, à ce jour, de recrutement des quarante agents chargés de veiller au respect des droits fondamentaux, Frontex accumule les tuiles.

      Après l’enquête de la médiatrice européenne, qui s’est aussi penchée sur son cas, c’est le Parlement européen qui s’en mêle. Outre la mise en place d’un « groupe d’enquête permanent », les eurodéputés ont aussi refusé, fin de la semaine dernière, d’octroyer « la décharge budgétaire » à l’agence, nous explique l’élue belge Saskia Bricmont (Ecolo). « Chaque année, le Parlement a un pouvoir de contrôle budgétaire. Donner la décharge, cela signifie qu’on considère que Frontex a accompli ses missions, a respecté le cadre légal et a donc droit au budget suivant », explique-t-elle. En commission des libertés civiles, de la justice et des affaires intérieures, les eurodéputés ont donc décidé de reporter de six mois cette décharge, une décision qui doit être validée en plénière mais que « tous les groupes politiques » soutiennent, ajoute l’élue. D’ici là, il est principalement attendu de Frontex qu’elle recrute les agents chargés de défendre en interne les droits fondamentaux.
      Mandat et budget élargis

      Depuis cinq ans, le mandat de l’agence a été élargi considérablement. Ses effectifs multipliés. En 2016, Frontex se félicitait du fait qu’elle emploierait 1500 agents à l’horizon 2020. Elle devrait être à 10.000 d’ici 2027, pour un budget de plus de cinq milliards sur sept ans, contre une enveloppe annuelle de 19 millions il y a quinze ans.

      Newsletter Repensons notre quotidien

      Infos positives, bons plans, solutions... Chaque dimanche, place aux initiatives qui peuvent changer votre quotidien.

      Car pour Fabrice Leggeri, le patron de Frontex, les critiques trouvent bien leur source dans ce renforcement des pouvoirs de l’agence. « Pour la première fois, une agence cesse d’être un objet simplement administratif européen, mais a du personnel sur le terrain. C’est une responsabilité d’autant plus grande que nous avons l’usage de la force, sous l’autorité et le contrôle des Etats, et qu’il y a bien sûr des contrepoids, les droits fondamentaux. C’est tout à fait normal que cela suscite des réactions, parce que c’est inhabituel », a-t-il expliqué la semaine dernière lors d’un événement organisé par la Fondation Robert Schuman. « Il peut y avoir des retards de mise en œuvre de certaines choses, tout ne sera certainement pas parfait. Il faut utiliser cette période où il y a beaucoup de questionnements sur l’agence pour expliquer, faire de la pédagogie », a-t-il ajouté.

      A ses côtés, le vice-président de la commission en charge de la Promotion du mode de vie européen, Margaritis Schinas, a évoqué la tentative de « quelques milieux » de bâtir « un narratif qui affaiblit Frontex au moment où nous avons le plus besoin de l’agence. Ça, je ne l’accepterai jamais ». Un ton qui contraste avec celui de sa collègue aux Affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, qui a démenti fin janvier les explications données par Leggeri pour justifier le retard de l’embauche des 40 agents pour les droits fondamentaux.

      Selon le quotidien français Le Monde, François Xavier-Bellamy, chef de la délégation Les Républicains au sein du groupe du Parti populaire européen (PPE, conservateurs) du Parlement européen, a écrit à Ylva Johansson en évoquant de sa part une tentative de déstabilisation voire de procès politique envers Fabrice Leggeri.
      Pas en ligne sur le lobbying

      S’ajoutent à tout cela les accusations de relations troubles avec l’industrie de l’armement et de la biométrie (par exemple, la reconnaissance faciale), étudiées de long en large par l’ONG Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) le mois dernier. Cette dernière estime que l’élargissement des compétences de Frontex et son besoin d’équipement neuf (y compris en matière de défense) ont été une aubaine pour ces industries.

      Entre 2017 et 2019, Frontex a rencontré pas moins de 108 entreprises pour discuter d’armes à feu et de munitions, d’équipements de surveillance etc. Contre dix think tanks, 15 universités et seulement une ONG. Dans les procès-verbaux de ces réunions obtenus par CEO grâce à des demandes d’accès aux documents, elle a pu constater que les droits fondamentaux figuraient rarement à l’agenda. « Sans surprise, il y a des chevauchements significatifs entre les entreprises qui font du lobbying à Frontex et celles qui bénéficient le plus des marchés publics » de l’agence, explique l’ONG.

      En outre, l’agence ne publie pas toutes ses rencontres et voit majoritairement (72 %) des représentants du privé qui ne sont pas enregistrés dans le registre de transparence de l’UE. Frontex s’en est défendu en répondant qu’elle ne faisait pas l’objet de lobbying, compte tenu du fait qu’elle n’est pas impliquée dans le processus législatif européen. Alors, acharnement ou véritable scandale ? L’enquête des eurodéputés devrait permettre d’y voir clair. C’est aussi l’avis/l’espoir de Fabrice Leggeri, qui a jusqu’ici résisté aux appels à la démission.

      https://plus.lesoir.be/358143/article/2021-03-01/ue-frontex-accusee-dincarner-leurope-forteresse

    • La droite française au secours de Fabrice Leggeri, patron de Frontex

      Le groupe #LR au Parlement européen critique la « tentative de déstabilisation » à laquelle se livrerait la commissaire Ylva Johansson à l’égard du directeur de l’agence.

      Le torchon brûle entre la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures et à la migration, #Ylva_Johansson, et la droite française. Dans une lettre au ton cinglant adressée vendredi 26 février à l’ancienne ministre sociale-démocrate suédoise et lue par Le Monde, #François_Xavier-Bellamy, chef de la délégation #Les_Républicains (LR) au sein du groupe du #Parti_populaire_européen (#PPE, conservateurs) interroge la commissaire. Et il parle de « tentative de déstabilisation », de « divergence de fond », voire de « procès politique » que la commissaire instruirait contre Fabrice Leggeri, le directeur exécutif de l’agence des gardes-frontières et gardes-côtes Frontex.

      Ce responsable français est sur la sellette depuis des mois. Pour des refoulements illégaux de migrants (pushbacks) qu’aurait favorisés l’agence. Pour des retards dans le recrutement d’une quarantaine d’officiers chargés précisément de veiller au respect des droits fondamentaux par les agents de Frontex. Pour d’apparentes réticences à se conformer à des règles administratives en matière budgétaire. Ou encore pour ne pas avoir souscrit à des obligations de transparence en ce qui concerne des réunions avec des lobbys et des responsables de l’industrie de la défense et de la surveillance.

      Le groupe socialiste du Parlement a demandé la démission du numéro un de Frontex

      Ce dernier point n’est pas mentionné dans la lettre de M. Bellamy et l’entourage de Mme Johansson semble, par ailleurs, considérer qu’il n’y a pas de quoi mettre en cause M. Leggeri pour ces contacts, dénoncés notamment par l’ONG #Corporate_Europe_Observatory. Sur les autres questions, en revanche, la commissaire a demandé des explications. Et le groupe socialiste du Parlement a demandé la démission du numéro un de Frontex. En décembre, la responsable de la direction générale des affaires intérieures de la Commission adressait, elle, une longue lettre à M. Leggeri, avec, à la clé, de nombreux griefs.

      Demande de preuves

      Les élus LR volent, eux, au secours du directeur et demandent très fermement des explications à la commissaire. Quelles preuves a-t-elle, interrogent-ils, quand elle accuse M. Leggeri de ne pas se conformer aux directives budgétaires, comme elle l’a fait le 22 février dans la commission de contrôle du Parlement ? Sans éléments incontestables, cela pourrait s’apparenter à une volonté de déstabiliser le patron de l’agence, estiment-ils.

      A propos des refoulements illégaux de migrants, les eurodéputés français endossent les explications livrées jusqu’ici par Frontex : sur treize épisodes douteux, huit ont été jugés conformes par un groupe de travail constitué par la Commission. Cinq autres cas sont encore à l’examen, sur lesquels Mme Johansson a exigé « toutes les explications nécessaires ».

      La Turquie est soupçonnée d’être à l’origine d’informations sur les refoulements illégaux de migrants

      M. Bellamy lui demande à son tour si elle a répondu à un courrier qui lui a été adressé en novembre par M. Leggeri, et dans lequel il réclamait des instructions claires quant à l’attitude à adopter à l’égard de la Turquie. Celle-ci, qui a orienté massivement des migrants vers la Grèce et la Bulgarie en mars 2020, est aussi soupçonnée par certaines sources d’être à l’origine d’informations sur les refoulements illégaux de migrants.
      « Reproches infondés »

      Le groupe LR, qui bénéficie du soutien tacite d’autres élus du PPE, exige, dès lors, de disposer de tous les échanges entre Frontex et la Commission. La lettre se termine par des questions sur l’éventuel désaccord entre la commissaire Johansson et Frontex au sujet des missions mêmes de l’agence.

      Relayant l’idée que la commissaire serait partisane des « frontières ouvertes » – ce qu’elle conteste – les eurodéputés lui demandent s’il y a, de sa part, « un désaccord de fond » sur la stratégie actuelle de la Commission von der Leyen, qui vise à garantir le « mode de vie européen » ? A savoir la maîtrise des frontières, la lutte contre l’immigration clandestine et la contribution à « la sécurité intérieure ».

      « En instruisant un procès politique au moyen de reproches infondés, vous prendriez le risque de violer les principes fondamentaux de l’Etat de droit, de salir des fonctionnaires intègres et loyaux, de fragiliser la cohérence de l’action européenne », conclut la lettre. Contacté dimanche, le cabinet de Mme Johansson a déclaré avoir reçu la lettre mais ne pas souhaiter réagir immédiatement.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/03/01/la-droite-francaise-au-secours-de-fabrice-leggeri-patron-de-frontex_6071549_

    • Un rapport d’enquête interne peu concluant sur le rôle de Frontex dans des refoulements illégaux de migrants

      Le document présenté lundi s’abstient d’impliquer des membres de l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et garde-côtes dans des incidents en mer Egée.

      Un long rapport, lu par Le Monde et présenté, le 1er mars, par un groupe de travail désigné par le conseil d’administration de Frontex, confirme qu’il ne sera décidément pas simple, voire pas possible, de démontrer que des membres de l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et garde-côtes ont été impliqués dans des « pushbacks » en mer Egée, des refoulements illégaux de migrants.

      Ce document final, pourtant très attendu, n’apporte aucune conclusion déterminante. D’autant que, sur quatre des cinq incidents encore jugés litigieux (huit ont été classés en janvier), l’enquête se poursuit.

      Sur la base des informations qui lui ont été livrées, le groupe de travail, composé de représentants de diverses institutions européennes et d’Etats membres, formule quelques recommandations qui peuvent être lues comme des critiques implicites du fonctionnement actuel de Frontex. Il prône ainsi une amélioration des rapports et de la surveillance des missions, une utilisation systématique de la vidéo, la recension de toute possible violation des droits humains et la suspension de l’aide apportée aux pays qui ne les respecteraient pas.
      Situations douteuses

      Pour le reste, la liste des « incidents » qui se seraient déroulés entre le 18 avril et le 21 octobre 2020 ne mentionne que les soupçons, parfois lourds mais jugés insuffisants, qui pèsent plutôt, en réalité, sur les gardes-côtes grecs et la marine turque, qui agissent aux limites des eaux territoriales des deux pays. Embarcations chassées, menacées, remorquées : dans certains cas, un navire suédois ou un avion danois mis à la disposition de l’agence ont recensé des situations douteuses, mais le groupe de travail conclut qu’il semble « impossible de les élucider entièrement ». D’autant que ce sont les autorités nationales qui assurent le commandement des opérations.

      Le rapport tient à souligner cependant l’importance de la mission de Frontex, présentée comme la « principale garantie de frontières solides et protégées ». Il y est rappelé aussi que, grâce aux interventions de Frontex, 28 000 personnes ont été sauvées en 2019 et près de 3 000 en 2020, tandis que 10 433 illégaux et 84 trafiquants étaient arrêtés. A propos des incidents considérés comme des « pushbacks » par des journalistes et des ONG, le document invite à considérer qu’aucun décès, aucune disparition et aucune blessure n’y seraient liés.

      Fabrice Leggeri, le directeur exécutif de l’agence, qui doit être entendu jeudi 4 mars par un comité spécial du Parlement européen, pourra se prévaloir de ces conclusions face aux diverses accusations dont il faitl’objet. L’Office de lutte antifraude (OLAF) et la médiatrice de l’Union européenne enquêtent aussi sur la gestion de l’agence, basée à Varsovie, tandis que la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, a réclamé toutes les explications sur l’action en mer Egée.
      Action de la Turquie

      M. Leggeri soulignera sans doute, jeudi, qu’il espère obtenir de la Commission qu’elle lui indique les lignes directrices précises qu’il doit suivre en ce qui concerne, notamment, l’action de la Turquie. Dans les considérations qu’il a formulées à destination du groupe de travail de son conseil d’administration, il rappelle d’ailleurs que les autorités d’Ankara entendent utiliser la migration comme un « levier politique » et il souligne que la Grèce se dit soumise aux « menaces hybrides » du régime turc.

      Soutenu entre autres par la droite française au Parlement, le directeur de Frontex transforme ainsi le débat sur le rôle humanitaire de son agence en une question géostratégique, et il incite la Commission à se positionner par rapport à l’encombrant partenaire avec lequel elle a signé, en 2016, un accord visant à réduire les flux migratoires vers l’Europe.

      Pendant ce temps, la Ligue hellénique des droits de l’homme, l’ONG Legal Centre Lesvos et l’organisation juridique Front-Lex demandent à Frontex « de suspendre immédiatement ou de cesser » ses activités en mer Egée, sous peine d’une action devant la justice européenne. Legal Centre Lesvos aurait documenté, depuis mars 2020, 17 refoulements de plus de 50 migrants entre la Grèce et la Turquie. L’ONG estime aussi que l’agence a enfreint le droit européen et violé la convention de Genève de 1951 relative aux droits des réfugiés.

      Frontex est aussi taxée de complicité dans la « détention sommaire de migrants sur les îles de la mer Egée dans des ports, des bus, des navires, des plages où l’accès aux procédures d’asile leur a été refusé ». Le 12 février, l’ONG allemande Mare Liberum faisait état, pour sa part, d’une « escalade inédite » des refoulements de migrants en mer Egée impliquant Frontex en 2020.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2021/03/03/un-rapport-d-enquete-interne-peu-concluant-sur-le-role-de-frontex-dans-des-r

    • Le patron de Frontex se défend devant les eurodéputés, Bruxelles maintient la pression

      Le patron de Frontex a souligné jeudi devant des eurodéputés qu’aucune « preuve » d’une implication de l’agence de surveillance des frontières de l’UE dans des refoulements illégaux de migrants n’avait été établie par une enquête, mais Bruxelles a réitéré ses critiques.

      Le patron de Frontex a souligné jeudi devant des eurodéputés qu’aucune « preuve » d’une implication de l’agence de surveillance des frontières de l’UE dans des refoulements illégaux de migrants n’avait été établie par une enquête, mais Bruxelles a réitéré ses critiques.

      Ce rapport interne, qui doit être examiné vendredi par le conseil d’administration de Frontex et consulté mercredi par l’AFP, n’a pas permis de « clarifier complètement » les circonstances de plusieurs incidents au cours desquels des refoulements de migrants auraient eu lieu. Il préconise d’ailleurs d’améliorer le système de signalement et de surveillance des missions de l’agence.

      « Il n’y a pas eu de faits étayés ou prouvés pour aboutir à la conclusion que Frontex aurait participé ou se serait livrée à des violations des droits fondamentaux », a déclaré son directeur exécutif, Fabrice Leggeri, devant un groupe d’eurodéputés qui a ouvert sa propre enquête sur ces incidents.

      L’agence est montrée du doigt depuis la publication en octobre 2020 d’une enquête de plusieurs médias l’accusant d’être impliquée avec les garde-côtes grecs dans des incidents de refoulement de bateaux de migrants à la frontière entre la Grèce et la Turquie.

      Ces accusations ont également entraîné une enquête du gendarme européen antifraude, l’Olaf, ainsi que de la médiatrice de l’UE.

      La Commission européenne, membre du conseil d’administration de Frontex aux côtés des 27 Etats membres, s’est montrée critique sur la gestion de l’agence, fustigeant notamment la lenteur du recrutement des officiers chargés de surveiller le respect des droits fondamentaux et des agents devant constituer le nouveau contingent permanent.

      Créée en 2004, Frontex a vu son mandat renforcé en 2019. Elle doit se doter d’agents en uniforme et armés, employés directement par l’agence, et non plus mis à disposition provisoirement par les Etats membres.

      Le directeur exécutif a notamment dit qu’un officier et 40 « moniteurs » chargés de veiller au respect des droits fondamentaux étaient en cours de recrutement et que 300 officiers du contingent permanent étaient déployés sur le terrain ou allaient l’être la semaine prochaine.

      La commissaire européenne aux Affaires intérieures Ylva Johansson a toutefois souligné que 700 officiers auraient dû être déployés en janvier.

      Elle a aussi estimé que les « clarifications » sur les accusations de refoulements n’avaient que « trop tardé », et que ce délai n’était « pas bon pour la réputation et la confiance » dans Frontex.

      « Une agence de première classe a besoin d’une gouvernance de première classe », a-t-elle poursuivi, se réjouissant toutefois d’« entendre que beaucoup de choses sont en train d’être réglées ».

      Si des eurodéputés à gauche ont demandé la démission de Fabrice Leggeri, la droite française au Parlement européen a quant à elle pris la défense du patron de Frontex.

      Dans une lettre adressée le 26 février à la responsable suédoise, le président de la délégation française du groupe PPE (droite) François-Xavier Bellamy lui a demandé des « justifications solides et vérifiées » à ses « accusations », dénonçant une « tentative de déstabilisation » du chef de Frontex et « un procès politique ».

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/040321/le-patron-de-frontex-se-defend-devant-les-eurodeputes-bruxelles-maintient-

    • Greece accused of ‘shocking’ illegal pushback against refugees at sea

      Lawsuit filed at European court of human rights says group were abandoned in life rafts after some were beaten.

      A lawsuit filed against the Greek state at the European court of human rights accuses Athens of a shocking level of violence in sophisticated inter-agency operations that form part of an illegal pushback strategy to stop the arrival of refugees and migrants.

      The suit, filed by the NGO Legal Centre Lesvos, centres on an incident in October last year in which a fishing boat set off from Marmaris in Turkey for Italy carrying about 200 people, including 40 children and a pregnant woman. The boat ran into difficulty in a storm off the south coast of Crete, leading the captain to radio for assistance.

      The legal case claims that in an operation of unprecedented size and sophistication, instead of helping the stranded people onboard, a Greek search and rescue vessel and two small patrol boats stalled the smuggler’s boat for five hours until speedboats carrying masked commandos arrived. Several passengers claim they were beaten in the ensuing incident.

      Those onboard were separated into two groups and taken to two large coastguard boats, where armed crews of between 10 and 15 men, most wearing balaclavas, searched them and confiscated belongings including phones, passports and money.

      The passengers were then reportedly forced on to several small life rafts, towed back to Turkish waters and abandoned at sea without food, water, life jackets or any means to call for help. By the time they were picked up by the Turkish coastguard, their ordeal had lasted more than 24 hours.

      “It was like watching a movie. The men from the speedboats jumped onboard screaming and shouting, they all had guns and knives and were wearing black and masks,” said Mahmoud, a witness from Syria whose name has been changed.

      “They began beating people with batons, looking for the captain. They punched me in the face and broke my glasses … I understand they don’t want us, but you could send us back to Turkey without the need for violence. When they cut us loose on the rafts we all thought we were going to die,” he said.

      The lawsuit claims the practice of “pushbacks” has become standard for the Greek coastguard since March 2020, when Turkey, in an effort to pressure the EU, told its 4 million registered refugees that it would no longer stop them trying to reach Europe as per a 2016 deal between Ankara and Brussels.

      Athens reacted by temporarily halting all new asylum applications and allegedly employing increasingly brutal tactics to dissuade people in Turkey from making the journey.

      Exact figures are difficult to verify, but rights groups and journalists have recorded hundreds of alleged pushback incidents over the last 12 months. In most cases, people trying to cross the Aegean have been intercepted and towed back to Turkish waters. They are then cut loose either in their own boats, after the Greek coastguard has disabled their engines, or on overcrowded life rafts.

      On several occasions people claim to have been pushed back after landing on Greek soil, and passengers have been abandoned on an uninhabited Turkish islet at least twice, according to reporting by Der Spiegel, Lighthouse Reports and the New York Times.

      In at least one case, the EU border agency, Frontex, is accused of covering up evidence of a Greek pushback operation.

      These collective expulsions, as they are known, are illegal under international law but not under Greek national law. The Guardian’s requests for comment from Greek officials went unanswered. Greece has denied illegality in the past.

      The incident in October stands out because of the reported level of violence involved and the size and scope of the operation, which would have taken hours to coordinate and involved eight Greek vessels and two dozen crew from different agencies.

      “‘Pushback’ isn’t even really the right term. It’s a decision by the authorities to deliberately abandon people at sea putting their lives at risk, with no means to call for rescue and no chance at all to claim asylum,” said Natasha Ntailiani, a Legal Centre Lesvos lawyer representing some of the survivors before the ECHR.

      “It’s a new and disturbing trend characterised by planned and systematic violence, which has increased over the last year in the Aegean region. Even search and rescue vessels and materials are now being used against migrants, which is a remarkable insight into the lengths the Greek authorities are now willing to go to.”

      Testimony from 11 complainants and dozens of pages of collaborating evidence – including geo-located pictures and video, GPS coordinates, and phone and message logs from the ship’s radio, passengers, the Alarm Phone hotline and the Greek and Turkish coastguards – painted a complete and damning picture of the new tactics, the centre said.

      The suit is the fifth LCL has filed at the ECHR in recent years to allege violations of migrant and refugee rights in Greece. Progress is slow, but the applicants hope the latest case will persuade the court that pushbacks, despite the fact they are now reportedly a systemic and regular feature of Greek border policing, are illegal.

      A decision at the court last year that Spain did not breach the rights of two men it expelled from the Melilla enclave on the basis they had tried to enter illegally “as part of a large group” sets a worrying precedent.

      In light of the judgment, Frontex has since asked the European commission if it can refuse to process individual asylum claims if people are travelling in groups, as is often the case in the Aegean.

      “I didn’t even want to go to Greece. We knew that they were harming refugees when they arrive, but it was shocking to experience the reality, which is that Europe doesn’t care at all about human rights and dignity,” said Yara from Damascus, whose name has also been changed. She said she had been traumatised by her experiences on the day the storm hit the fishing boat.

      “Despite all of that, I will still try again. I can’t build a life in Syria or Turkey,” she said.

      Mahmoud echoed Yara’s thoughts. “I got kicked out of Qatar because of the pandemic. I would rather have stayed there,” he said. “If there was a legal way to get to Europe I would take it, but there isn’t. I don’t want to make that journey again, but I will, because I have to.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/26/greece-accused-of-shocking-pushback-against-refugees-at-sea

    • Grèce : refoulements illégaux en Mer Egée

      En Grèce, les « pushbacks » ou refoulements illégaux de potentiels demandeurs d’asile par les garde-côtes grecs vers les eaux turques, se sont systématisés depuis un an.

      Le gouvernement grec se félicite d’avoir réussi à tenir une de ses promesses électorales : réduire le flux de migrants.

      La pratique est en infraction avec le droit maritime et l’obligation de porter assistance aux personnes en détresse en mer, mais aussi au regard du droit européen et international dont l’article 3 de la Convention des Droits de l’Homme stipule l’interdiction du refoulement des réfugiés.

      Informés, le Haut-Commissariat aux Réfugiés de l’ONU et des commissaires européens se disent “alarmés” mais semblent jusqu’à présent bien impuissants à faire respecter le droit d’asile par Athènes. Documentés et dénoncés par des avocats et des ONG internationales, ces refoulements illégaux révèlent des pratiques cruelles et cyniques. Mais rares sont les voix en Grèce à s’élever la voix contre ces renvois aux frontières de l’Europe.

      https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/102791-000-A/grece-refoulements-illegaux-en-mer-egee
      #Samos

    • Message de Claire Rodier via la mailing-list Migreurop :

      Dans une interview au Guardian, Gil Arias Fernández, ancien directeur adjoint de Frontex a déclaré qu’il était profondément inquiet de l’atteinte à la réputation de l’agence, de sa décision d’armer les agents et de son incapacité à empêcher l’extrême droite d’infiltrer ses rangs, dans un contexte de mouvements anti-migrants en Europe.

      –—

      Frontex turning ‘blind eye’ to human rights violations, says former deputy

      The former deputy head of Europe’s border and coastguard agency has said the state of the beleaguered force “pains” him and that it is vulnerable to the “alarming” rise of populism across the continent.

      In his first interview since leaving office, #Gil_Arias_Fernández, former deputy director at Frontex and once tipped for the top post, said he was deeply worried about the agency’s damaged reputation, its decision to arm officers, and its inability to stop the far-right infiltrating its ranks, amid anti-migrant movements across Europe.

      “Weapons are not needed for Frontex operations,” he said. “They are more of a problem than a help.”

      Frontex is experiencing the most acute crisis in its 16-year history. The agency is being investigated by the European parliament over allegations of illegal pushbacks of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean and its head, Fabrice Leggeri, is facing calls to quit over allegations he misled the EU commission. Leggeri has strongly rejected allegations about the agency’s operations.

      Arias Fernández, 65, now retired, lost out on the top role to Leggeri in 2015. He admits he did not get on with Leggeri when they worked together for a year.

      “From the first moment I saw that he had a perhaps excessive eagerness to change things. Maybe it was to put his personal stamp on things,” said Arias Fernández.

      He said decisions made by one of the EU’s most powerful agencies had led to complicity in human rights violations.

      “Frontex pains me,” he said. “Especially for the staff, because they don’t deserve what they are going through. We saw the agency as an instrument to help the member states and the migrants. These events put a dent in all that effort.

      “I do not believe that the agency has proactively violated the rights of migrants, but there are reasons to believe that it has turned a blind eye.”
      Gil Arias Fernández. ‘Frontex pains me,’ he said. Photograph: Jose Bautista/Courtesy of Fundation for Causa

      In January 2015, after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, several European politicians suggested the presence of refugees among the terrorists.

      When the media asked Frontex about any link between refugees and the Paris attack, Arias Fernández, a former police commissioner in Spain, told them there was no evidence.

      Arias Fernández believes this cost him the director’s job.

      The political pressure made the job a tough one, Arias Fernández said. “There is a lot of pressure on the part of certain states to put their people in positions of responsibility. Whether the agency is headed by a Frenchman or a Finn may determine whether there is more or less sensitivity to migration problems. The agency is independent, but ‘independent’ should be put in quotation marks because without a fluid relationship with the [European] commission, you have a hard time.

      “Operations have always been conducted unarmed and there have never been any problems. In operations where Libyan tribal clans smuggling migrants shot in the air to frighten the patrols, even there it was not considered appropriate to carry weapons. In this case, weapons are more a problem than a help. The proposal of carrying weapons came from the European Commission, which I do not know to what extent is influenced by lobbyists in Brussels.

      “There is no filter in the recruitment system. You cannot prevent people with extremist ideas from entering, unless they clearly express their position in favour of hate crimes, xenophobia and racism.”

      Arias Fernández pointed to the dearth of human rights training for Frontex officers. “But lack of information should not be used to justify certain things,” he said. “The incidents under investigation were carried out by Greek units following the instructions of their commanders.

      “When there are irregularities like this in operations, it is usually because there are instructions from the authorities responsible for coordinating the operation. The decision to turn back a boat with migrants is not taken by an officer but is an order from above.”
      A rescue boat escorts a dinghy with migrants from Afghanistan as a Frontex ship patrols off Lesbos in Greece. Photograph: Costas Baltas/Reuters

      He said he appreciated borders needed a certain level of security to know who was entering but added that immigration was vitally important for the survival of all European states.

      “I come to this conclusion because there are studies that show that if we do not resort to immigration and other incentives, the EU will have serious problems and the welfare state will be a chimera. We should learn these lessons. In the first half of the pandemic, migrants saved our bacon.

      “In Europe, movements that use populism are growing at an alarming rate, and the fight against immigrants is one of those arguments. States are excessively prudent in not touching this issue. The commission presented the new pact on migration and asylum, which contains no proposals for channelling migration through legal channels. They tried to satisfy all the blocs, Visegrád [Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia], southern states, northern states, and I fear that in the end it satisfies no one.”

      Arias Fernández said the lack of migrants being allowed into Europe would have a severe economic impact amid an ageing workforce: “Who will pay the pensions of the growing number of pensioners?”

      A Frontex spokesman denied the agency ignored migrants’ rights. “The executive director of Frontex has written several letters to the Greek authorities to address incidents that raised his concerns. Two inquiries, including one that was conducted by representatives of national authorities and the European Commission, have found no evidence of violations of human rights in Frontex operations in Greece.”

      The spokesman also denied that officers had always conducted operations while unarmed, saying: “Before this year, Frontex relied exclusively on officers provided by national authorities, who brought their own weapons to the agency’s operational activities. Today, Frontex has its own operational arm, the standing corps, whose core is made up of officers directly employed by the agency who require weapons for self-defence and to protect others.

      “Since Mr Arias left more than half-a-decade ago, Frontex has undergone a massive transformation that included a much bigger focus on cross-border crime, which means a greater chance that our officers may encounter life-threatening situations while patrolling the borders or performing other duties.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/jun/11/frontex-turning-blind-eye-to-human-rights-violations-says-former-deputy

      #extrême_droite

    • Human Rights in Europe are at a crossroads

      It is not a ‘one-off’. It did not take place six, twelve or eighteen months ago, and now things are better.

      It was just one of 491 incidents since March 2020, in which 14,720 men, women and children have been denied their fundamental human rights by a coastguard armed with assault rifles and behaving like a sea-militia ‘defending’ Greece against innocent, unarmed, and peaceful men, women and children attempting to find safe places to live.

      In the morning of 10 June, a boat carrying 31 people travelled towards Kos. Closing in on Ag. Fokas, on the south east side of the island, the boat was approached by several vessels from the Hellenic coast guard, and forced back towards Turkey.

      If anyone is wondering what a pushback at sea looks like, this is how it’s being carried out. And it is illegal.

      https://videopress.com/v/vPX3Vme3

      This shocking, immoral and illegal practice has become ‘normal’ in the Aegean Sea. Greece carries it out without let or hindrance, while the EU seems unable or unwilling to act.

      Human Rights in Europe are at a crossroads.

      According to the Greek government and Frontex, this isn’t a pushback, but a ‘prevention of entry’.

      There are two major problems with this assessment. First, under international law, no country is allowed to ‘prevent the entry’ of men, women and children not suspected of any crime (as these people are not) and who intend to apply for asylum. Even if the people in this boat had not entered Greek waters, the Greek coastguard would have broken international law, by forcibly preventing people who wish to apply for asylum, from entering Greece.

      But in fact, secondly, these people had in fact already entered Greek water. It cannot be a ‘prevention of entry’ if people have already ‘entered’: it is a pushback. And it is absolutely illegal.

      In the video we can hear one of the officers on the Hellenic coast guard vessel ΛΣ150, say “everyone abide by the rules, because he’s filming”. It’s disturbing that this even needed to be said. First, because what would have happened had this person not had the presence of mind, and technology, to film? What would have happened then? How would the heavily-armed coastguard have responded to these innocent, unarmed people trying to exercise their fundamental human rights? Why did this coastguard, who noticed a person filming, need to advise his colleagues to abide by the law? What did he fear they would do?

      Secondly, the disturbing images we can see in this video are in fact not ‘abiding by the rules’. It appears the coastguard does not understand – or perhaps accept – the rules. This is a video of the Greek coastguard breaking the law, even as one member of the coastguard warns his colleagues not to do something even worse.

      Nor is this an isolated incident.

      It’s how the Hellenic coastguard – and in some cases also Frontex – have been operating for the last 15 months.

      We must demand that Notis Mitarachis, and Fabrice Leggeri, are held to account for their continued, immoral, unacceptable, and illegal activity in the Aegean Sea. We must demand that the EU – or if, as increasingly seems to be the case, the EU is unwilling – the wider international community takes legal action, now, to prevent the Greek coastguard, the Greek government, Frontex and the EU, breaking international law, and shaming the whole of Europe in the process.

      None of this is acceptable. None of it is even beneficial to either Greece or the EU.

      The time to stop this is now. The time to act is now. The EU can and must act. If it refuses, it is time for the international court to prosecute Mitarachis, Nea Dimokratia, Leggeri, Frontex, and the European Commission. Anything else is to further damage, and indeed make a laughing stock of international law, and all our human rights.

      https://aegeanboatreport.com/2021/06/28/human-rights-in-europe-are-at-a-crossroads

    • Communiqué de presse : Frontex a besoin d’une #réorganisation radicale

      Les députés du groupe de travail sur le contrôle de Frontex, sous l’égide de l’eurodéputée écologiste Tineke Strik, ont présenté aujourd’hui en commission des libertés civiles (LIBE) du Parlement européen, le rapport sur le rôle de Frontex dans le #refoulement illégal des réfugiés. Un des principaux enseignements est la nécessité d’ une réorganisation radicale de l’agence pour qu’elle respecte les droits humains.

      L’enquête menée par les eurodéputés confirme que Frontex a manqué à ses responsabilités en matière de protection des droits humains aux frontières de l’UE. L’agence avait connaissance de violations des droits fondamentaux commises dans des pays de l’UE avec lesquels elle coopère, et n’a pas réagi face à ces allégations. La direction de Frontex a sciemment ignoré les rapports des journalistes d’investigation et d’ONG, les avertissements internes du personnel et même les séquences vidéo dans lesquelles ces violations étaient visibles.

      Saskia Bricmont, députée européenne Vert/ALE, membre de la commission LIBE et responsable du rapport sur la décharge budgétaire Frontex, déclare :

      “En ne faisant pas respecter les droits fondamentaux aux frontières de l’UE, Frontex a failli à son devoir. L’agence a besoin d’une réorganisation radicale. Je salue le travail d’enquête mené par mes collègues : il est essentiel d’identifier les lacunes et les fautes afin d’y remédier au plus vite.”

      “Le rapport dévoile que Frontex était non seulement conscient des violations des droits fondamentaux, mais n’a de surcroît pas réagi de manière appropriée face à son obligation de prévenir les violations des droits humains. En dépit des différents signaux d’alerte provenant d’acteurs internes et externes, l’agence a fait preuve d’inactivité manifeste, voire de réticence à agir. Nous sommes particulièrement préoccupés par le respect des normes en matière de droits humains dans les opérations menées en Grèce et en Hongrie. Nous demandons au directeur exécutif de suspendre immédiatement les opérations en Hongrie et d’évaluer les opérations en Grèce.”

      “Il existe des signes clairs de mauvaise gestion : les rapports internes faisant état de violations des droits fondamentaux ont été ignorés, le recrutement des agents spécialisés dans les droits fondamentaux a été retardé et reste incomplet. Nous ne croyons pas en la capacité de l’actuel directeur exécutif, Fabrice Leggeri, à résoudre les problèmes que nous avons exposés. M. Leggeri a induit le Parlement européen en erreur à plusieurs reprises et a encouragé une culture d’impunité, tout en continuant à nier l’existence des refoulements illégaux.”

      “Notre rapport exhorte le Conseil d’administration de Frontex à reconsidérer la position de M. Leggeri et de l’ensemble de la direction générale. Dans un tel contexte, la décharge budgétaire ne doit pas être octroyée à l’agence. Par ailleurs, il est temps que les États membres assument leur responsabilité commune dans la défense des valeurs européennes en matière de gestion des frontières et le respect des droits fondamentaux.”

      https://twitter.com/saskiabricmont/status/1415611092894724097

      Recommandations du #rapport :

      – Frontex ne doit effectuer des opérations conjointes qu’avec des pays qui agissent dans le plein respect des droits fondamentaux. Pour remplir cette obligation, Frontex devrait surveiller l’ensemble de la zone opérationnelle et enquêter sur tous les incidents ou autres indications de non-conformité.

      – Si un refoulement est signalé à Frontex, l’agence ne devrait pas seulement enquêter en s’appuyant sur les réponses des autorités gouvernementales, mais également vérifier les informations fournies.

      – La Commission européenne devrait conditionner le financement européen de la gestion des frontières au respect des droits fondamentaux par l’État membre concerné.

      https://saskiabricmont.eu/frontex-besoin-reorganisation-radicale
      #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés

      –—

      Réaction de Frontex :

      Frontex welcomes report by the Scrutiny Working Group

      Frontex welcomes the report by the Scrutiny Working Group and its conclusions which reaffirmed that there is no evidence of the Agency’s involvement in any violation of human rights.

      The agency has been working with the Parliament’s scrutiny group in an open and transparent manner, sharing information and receiving the MEPs during an online visit to Frontex. The agency remains committed to cooperating with the European Parliament.

      “I acknowledge the conclusion of Parliament’s fact-finding scrutiny and its recommendations. Frontex is a bigger, more complex organisation than a couple of years ago, so a system that was designed in the past needs to undergo further transformation. The report underlined the challenges of the Agency’s transformation in a more and more complex security environment,” said Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri.

      “We are determined to uphold the highest standards of border control within our operations. We will look into the recommendations and see how we can implement them to further strengthen the respect of fundamental rights in all our activities,” he added.

      Frontex has completed two stages of the inquiry into last autumn’s media allegations. Both an internal inquiry and the report by a special working group appointed by the Management Board (with Commission and Member states representatives) have found no evidence of any Frontex involvement in violation of human rights.

      The agency has already taken on board many of the recommendations issued by the working group, upgraded its reporting mechanism and reinforced its operational coordination centres to improve information exchange. It will continue working towards an effective and transparent management of EU external borders in full respect of fundamental rights.

      Recent events at the European Union’s external borders have shown that Frontex is an essential assistance for Member States and the whole EU in situations of increased migratory pressure. Our security environment is increasingly volatile and complex.

      Today, Frontex has officially launched its rapid border intervention at Lithuania’s border with Belarus and deployed standing corps officers and equipment to help secure EU’s common external border.

      https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news/news-release/frontex-welcomes-report-by-the-scrutiny-working-group-0AQJWY
      https://twitter.com/Frontex/status/1415654854412877824

    • EU border agency ‘has failed to protect asylum seekers’ rights’

      Author of European parliament report says Frontex agency’s director should resign or be sacked

      The EU border agency has failed to protect the human rights of asylum seekers, according to a damning European parliament report on the organisation.

      After a four-month investigation by MEPs the report’s author, Tineke Strik, told the Guardian, that Frontex “did not fulfil its human rights obligations and therefore did not address and therefore did not prevent future violations”.

      Strik, a Dutch Green MEP, wants the agency’s director, Fabrice Leggeri, to resign or be fired, but the special cross-party group of eight MEPs, spanning rightwing nationalists to the radical left, that was convened to investigate Frontex has not made that call.

      Speaking before the report was released on Thursday, Strik continued: “We should consider in the end, can we have confidence in this executive director to really implement those recommendations [in her report] and really change it into a human rights sensitive agency? My group [Green MEPs], we don’t have confidence in him any more. We think it would be sound if the management board would draw the same conclusion and start the search for a new executive director.”

      Once an obscure EU agency, Frontex has become a central pillar of EU border management. After more than a 1.2 million people sought asylum in the EU in 2015, European leaders agreed to give the Warsaw-based organisation more staff and money, a point of consensus in the often fraught EU debate on how to manage migration. By 2027, Frontex will have 10,000 border and coastguards, while its budget has already increased more than 19-fold since its creation in 2006.

      But the agency has come under growing scrutiny over its role in alleged pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, with dozens of human rights organisations calling for it to be abolished.

      Last year Frontex was accused of complicity in forcing back asylum seekers in breach of international law, after video footage emerged of one of its ships creating waves that drove back a dingy in the Aegean Sea crammed with people. That footage came through a joint investigation by Lighthouse Reports, Bellingcat, Der Spiegel, ARD and TV Asahi, which said it had found six incidents where the agency was directly involved in a pushback in the Aegean or in close proximity to one.

      The committee said they had not found “conclusive evidence” that the agency was involved in pushbacks but concluded Frontex had failed to investigate such reports promptly. “As a result, Frontex did not prevent these violations, nor reduced the risk of future fundamental rights violations,” said the report.

      Strik said it was “pretty clear that [Frontex] were at least aware of what was going on” in the Aegean Sea. The agency’s investigations were “very superficial”, she said. “They asked for a response from the [Greek] government and when the government denied [pushbacks] the case was closed.”

      She said Frontex’s modus operandi was to rely on the word of the EU member state it was working with. “They end up asking the government, the host member state, and they almost always accept this response. Our conclusion is that Frontex did not fulfil its human rights obligations and therefore did not address and therefore did not prevent future violations.”

      The agency had repeatedly failed to respond to reports of rights violations from inside the organisation and external organisations, the MEPs said.

      The blame is placed largely on Leggeri, a former senior official in France’s interior ministry in charge of illegal migration, who has been the agency’s executive director since 2015. He has been singled out for criticism for shoring up his own power base within the agency, while failing to recruit all 40 fundamental rights monitors as required by EU law.

      MEPs found that Leggeri had appointed 63 staff to his private office, a number that far exceeds the average. By contrast, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, has 30 staff in her private office. “We contrast that in the way he acts with the monitors, only delaying and undermining, yet he provides for an amazing number of staff measures for his own cabinet,” Strik said.

      The MEPs concluded that Leggeri had delayed the recruitment of three executive directors required under EU law that might have checked his power.

      “That results in a complete lack of checks and balances within the organisation and of course we blame the executive director for that, but also the management board because the management board is overall responsible for good governance in the organisation,” Strik said.

      EU member states, she said, needed to make sure their representatives on the Frontex management board had the required expertise in fundamental rights and a direct line to ministers.

      “One of the problems,” she said, was that Frontex was conceived as a security rather than a rights organisation. EU member states found the agency reassuring: “[They] talk about threats at the border. They always call for Frontex. Maybe as reassurance for their own population, ‘we have secured your borders and we have made you safe’.”

      She said there was a perception inside and outside the agency that upholding human rights was in conflict with border control. “Some of the actors still perceive that when you start acting on fundamental rights, then you become less effective on border control … [Frontex] needs to do both and it’s possible to do both at the same time, so it’s a non-discussion actually.”

      The Guardian has contacted Frontex for a response to the European parliament’s report. The agency has always denied any involvement or knowledge of illegal pushbacks.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/15/eu-border-agency-has-failed-to-protect-asylum-seekers-rights

    • Frontex wusste von Menschenrechtsverletzungen – und tat nichts

      Monatelang haben EU-Parlamentarierinnen und Parlamentarier SPIEGEL-Enthüllungen zu illegalen Pushbacks von Flüchtlingen in der Ägäis untersucht. Der Bericht ist eine Abrechnung mit Frontex-Direktor Leggeri – er soll belastendes Material vernichtet haben.

      Monatelang haben EU-Parlamentarierinnen und Parlamentarier SPIEGEL-Enthüllungen zu illegalen Pushbacks von Flüchtlingen in der Ägäis untersucht. Der Bericht ist eine Abrechnung mit Frontex-Direktor Leggeri – er soll belastendes Material vernichtet haben.

      Der europäischen Grenzschutzagentur Frontex lagen Beweise für mutmaßlich illegale Pushbacks durch griechische Grenzschützer vor, die Agentur hat es jedoch »versäumt, die Grundrechtsverletzungen anzusprechen und zu verhindern«. Das ist das Ergebnis einer monatelangen Untersuchung des Europaparlaments.

      Eine Prüfgruppe unter Beteiligung aller Fraktionen hat untersucht, was Frontex von den illegalen Pushbacks von Flüchtlingsbooten in der Ägäis wusste – und ob Frontex-Chef Fabrice Leggeri angemessen auf die Rechtsbrüche reagiert hat. Der Bericht der Arbeitsgruppe, den der SPIEGEL vorab einsehen konnte, liest sich wie eine Abrechnung mit Leggeri. Er zeichnet das Bild eines Direktors, der sich für die Einhaltung von Menschenrechten an den EU-Außengrenzen kaum interessiert und alles tut, um Verstöße zu vertuschen. Auf 17 Seiten listen die Abgeordneten seine Verfehlungen auf.

      Leggeri ignorierte sämtliche Hinweise

      Frontex habe öffentliche Berichte über Menschenrechtsverletzungen an den EU-Grenzen generell abgetan, heißt es im Report. Auch auf interne Informationen über mutmaßliche Rechtsbrüche habe die Agentur nicht angemessen reagiert. Leggeri ignoriere die Stellungnahmen und Anfragen seiner Grundrechtsbeauftragten und des sogenannten Konsultativforums. Diese sollen eigentlich dafür sorgen, dass die Agentur die Rechte von Asylsuchenden achtet.

      Trotz zahlreicher Berichte über mutmaßliche Rechtsbrüche in der Ägäis habe Leggeri nie umfassend erwogen, den Frontex-Einsatz zu beenden, oder überlegt, wie er die Menschenrechtsverletzungen verhindern könne. »Im Gegenteil, der Exekutivdirektor behauptet weiterhin, dass ihm keine Informationen über Grundrechtsverletzungen bekannt sind«, schreiben die Parlamentarierinnen und Parlamentarier.

      Darüber hinaus habe Leggeri das Parlament lange Zeit nicht angemessen informiert. Bei seinen Auftritten im Ausschuss habe der Frontex-Direktor Informationen über einzelne Pushbacks verschwiegen. In mehreren Fällen seien Grenzbeamte davon abgebracht worden, Rechtsbrüche mittels eines sogenannten »Serious Incident Reports« an die Frontex-Führung zu melden. Selbst die Einstellung von 40 Grundrechtsbeobachtern, die die Grenzbeamten kontrollieren sollen, habe Leggeri erheblich verzögert. Sie seien noch immer nicht vollständig rekrutiert.

      Frontex machte sich bei Menschenrechtsverletzungen zum Komplizen

      Die Untersuchung des Europaparlaments ist eine Reaktion auf Enthüllungen des SPIEGEL. Gemeinsame Recherchen mit den Medienorganisationen Lighthouse Reports, Bellingcat und dem ARD-Magazin »Report Mainz« zeigten, dass Frontex in der Ägäis in illegale Pushbacks verwickelt ist und sich bei griechischen Menschenrechtsverletzungen zum Komplizen gemacht hatte.

      Frontex-Beamte, darunter auch deutsche Bundespolizisten, stoppen in der Ägäis Flüchtlingsboote, bevor sie die griechischen Inseln erreichen, und übergeben sie an die griechische Küstenwache. Die Grenzschützer setzen die Geflüchteten anschließend systematisch auf dem Meer aus – entweder auf aufblasbaren Rettungsflößen oder auf Schlauchbooten, in denen sie den Motor entfernt haben. So stellen sie sicher, dass die Flüchtlinge nicht erneut griechische Gewässer erreichen können. Oft wenden die griechischen Beamten bei den Aktionen Gewalt an, stechen auf die Schlauchboote ein oder schießen ins Wasser. Bei mindestens sieben Fällen waren Frontex-Einheiten bei solchen Pushbacks in der Nähe oder in sie verstrickt.

      Pushbacks im Mittelmeer: Wie Frontex in Verbrechen verstrickt ist

      Griechische Grenzschützer schleppen Flüchtlinge systematisch aufs offene Meer zurück. Recherchen des SPIEGEL und seiner Partner zeigen, wie Frontex in die illegalen Operationen verwickelt ist. Sehen Sie hier den Film.

      In der Nacht vom 18. auf den 19. April zeichnete Frontex aus der Luft auf, wie die griechische Küstenwache Flüchtlinge auf ein Boot ohne Motor setzte und wegfuhr – ein klarer Rechtsverstoß, der die Menschen in Lebensgefahr brachte. Die Aufarbeitung des Pushbacks vom 18. April übernahm Leggeri persönlich. Dem Parlament verschwieg er den Pushback zunächst. Stattdessen stufte er den Vorfall nachträglich so ein, dass die Grundrechtsbeauftragte der Agentur fortan nicht mehr beteiligt war.

      Leggeri ließ offenbar belastendes Material vernichten

      Einer der brisantesten Vorwürfe im Bericht des Europaparlaments bezieht sich auf den Pushback in jener Nacht. Demnach wies Leggeri die Grundrechtsbeauftragte persönlich an, alle Informationen zu löschen, die sie zu dem Vorfall gesammelt hatte. Nach SPIEGEL-Informationen soll dies aus internen E-Mails hervorgehen, die die Abgeordneten einsehen konnten.

      https://www.spiegel.de/ausland/gefluechtete-in-griechenland-frontex-wusste-von-menschenrechtsverletzungen-u

  • L’UE achète des drones à #Airbus pour repérer les bateaux transportant des migrants

    Airbus et deux sociétés d’armement israéliennes ont reçu 100 millions d’euros pour faire voler des drones au-dessus de la #Méditerranée. Le but : identifier les bateaux chargés de migrants qui tentent d’atteindre l’#Europe, selon le Guardian. Un article d’Euractiv Italie.

    Dans le cadre des « services de #surveillance_aérienne_maritime » qu’elle assure, l’#UE a décidé de recourir à des #appareils_téléguidés volant à moyenne altitude à longue endurance, connus du grand public sous le nom de drones. C’est Airbus qui a été mandaté par Bruxelles pour fournir les engins. Le conglomérat européen spécialisé dans l’aéronautique et la défense travaillera avec la société publique #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI). Un deuxième contrat a été signé avec #Elbit_Systems, une société d’#armement israélienne privée. Les deux contrats s’élèvent à 50 millions d’euros chacun, selon une information du journal britannique The Guardian.

    Les opérations seront menées en #Grèce et/ou en #Italie et/ou à #Malte selon le contrat-cadre signé entre #Frontex et les fournisseurs, dans le cadre des mesures de contrôle des frontières du sud de l’Europe.

    Le #budget de l’agence européenne de garde-frontières et de gardes-côtes (Frontex), est passé de 6 millions d’euros en 2005 à 460 millions d’euros cette année, ce qui reflète l’importance croissante donnée au contrôle des frontières extérieures en raison de l’immigration. Le service de surveillance aérienne comprendra la mise à disposition d’un flux de #données fiable en temps réel et la capacité de partager ces données en temps réel.

    L’IAI affirme que son drone #Heron, employé couramment par les forces armées israéliennes et allemandes, est en mesure de voler pendant plus de 24 heures et peut parcourir jusqu’à 1 000 miles à partir de sa base à des altitudes supérieures à 35 000 pieds.

    Elbit Systems soutient pour sa part que ses drones #Hermes peuvent voler jusqu’à 36 heures à 30 000 pieds. Le mois dernier, Elbit a annoncé que des drones Hermes avaient été testés avec l’Agence maritime et des garde-côtes britannique au large de la côte ouest du Pays de Galles pour des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage.

    Les drones israéliens sont le résultat d’une technologie de surveillance qu’Israël a développée et testée lors d’une série d’attaques sur Gaza, comme le détaille un rapport de Human Rights Watch. Airbus a fait savoir que son modèle n’était pas en mesure de transporter des armes, et qu’il serait peint en blanc avec le label « Frontex ». Les premiers tests seront effectués en Grèce sur l’île de #Crète.

    Dans le cadre du programme Frontex, le drone italien #Falco_Evo de l’entreprise #Leonardo avait déjà été testé pour des activités de surveillance maritime aérienne dans l’espace aérien civil italien et maltais.

    En juin 2919, le drone avait permis de mettre au jour une pratique fréquemment utilisée par les passeurs : le transbordement de dizaines de personnes d’un « vaisseau -mère » vers une embarcation qui est ensuite laissée à la dérive. La Guardia di Finanza, la police dounière italienne, alertée par les images du drone, avait alors intercepté et saisi un bateau de pêche.

    Reste que l’utilisation de ce type de technologie suscite de nombreuses craintes. Les détracteurs les plus acharnés de la surveillance aérienne par des drones affirment que l’obligation légale d’aider un navire en danger et de sauver des naufragés ne s’applique pas à un engin aérien sans pilote, quel qu’il soit.

    https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/lue-achete-des-drones-a-airbus-pour-reperer-les-bateaux-transportant-des-mi
    #complexe_militaro-industriel #business #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #drones #contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance_des_frontières #Israël #EU #Union_européenne #UE

    ping @e-traces

  • Bruxelles crée un #programme pour le retour volontaire de 5000 migrants

    Ylva Johansson, la commissaire aux affaires intérieures, a annoncé l’instauration d’un dispositif permettant le retour volontaire de 5000 migrants de Grèce vers leur pays d’origine. Avec 2000 euros par personne en guise de #mesure_incitative. Un article d’Euroefe.

    Lors d’une déclaration conjointe avec le ministre grec des Migrations, Notis Mitarakis, Ylva Johansson a précisé que la Commission européenne financerait ce programme afin d’aider à décongestionner les #îles surpeuplées de la mer Égée.

    Le dispositif, destiné aux personnes arrivées avant le premier janvier, ne donnera qu’un mois aux candidats pour se porter volontaires. Il sera géré en coopération avec l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (#OIM) et #Frontex, l’agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes.

    Notis Mitarakis a souligné que cette initiative venait s’ajouter aux 10000 transferts que le gouvernement grec s’était engagé à effectuer vers la Grèce continentale durant le premier trimestre 2020.

    https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/bruxelles-cree-un-programme-pour-le-retour-volontaire-de-5000-migrants
    #UE #EU #retour_volontaire #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Europe #IOM #Grèce #hotspots

    • La Grèce débute les « retours volontaires » de « migrants économiques »

      Un premier vol transportant des « migrants économiques » retournant « volontairement » dans leur pays d’origine, est parti d’Athènes jeudi, dans le cadre d’un programme de l’Union européenne. Au total, 5 000 personnes se verront proposer des incitations au départ de 2 000 euros.

      Quelque 134 migrants irakiens ont « volontairement » quitté Athènes jeudi 6 août pour rejoindre leur pays d’origine. Des photos de leur embarquement dans l’avion montrent des hommes aux visages masqués. Certains brandissent fièrement leur passeport et agitent les bras en guise d’adieu.

      Il s’agit du « plus important retour sur une base volontaire de migrants économiques jamais mis en oeuvre dans notre pays, et le plus important en Europe cette année », a déclaré à la presse le porte-parole du gouvernement Stelios Petsas. Ces retours ont lieu dans le cadre d’un programme mis en place en mars par l’Union européenne dans le but de soulager la Grèce qui abrite 120 000 migrants et réfugiés. Ce programme était jusque-là resté en suspens à cause de la pandémie de coronavirus.


      https://twitter.com/YannisKolesidis/status/1291379911970693121

      Au total, 5 000 migrants, originaires de différents pays, se verront proposer des incitations au départ volontaire de 2 000 euros (2 400 dollars) par personne pour retourner dans leur pays d’origine. Une aide censée leur permettre un nouveau départ, avait expliqué en mars la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures Ylva Johansson.

      Pour faire partie de ce programme, les candidats doivent être entrés en Grèce avant le 1er janvier 2020, et être toujours présents sur les îles de Leros, Samos, Lesbos, Kos et Chios en mer Egée. Ils disposent d’un mois pour faire leur demande. Ce délai peut être prolongé d’un mois supplémentaire pour atteindre le nombre requis de candidatures si celles-ci sont peu nombreuses, a expliqué le ministère des Migrations.

      « Le gouvernement grec leur mène la vie dure »

      À l’image de ces 134 Irakiens, les migrants des camps grecs sont de plus en plus nombreux à envisager, résignés, un retour au pays, observe Yonous Muhammadi, le directeur de l’association Greek forum of refugees qui oeuvre aux côtés de migrants. "Jeudi, je me suis rendu au camp de Ritsona [à une heure au nord d’Athènes, NDLR] et j’ai dû répondre à beaucoup de questions de la part des migrants qui voulaient savoir comment faire pour rentrer chez eux’’, raconte-t-il, évoquant des personnes venues d’Afghanistan, du Pakistan et de pays africains.

      « Il est pourtant clair que la situation dans leurs pays d’origine ne sera certainement pas meilleure qu’ici et, même, pour certains, qu’ils y seront en danger, mais ces personnes sont en souffrance. Elles envisagent le départ car le gouvernement grec leur mène la vie dure », poursuit-il affirmant que l’immense majorité des migrants continuent à vouloir rester en Europe.

      Outre les conditions de vie effroyables dans les camps des cinq îles de la mer Égée, où s’entassent plus de 25 000 demandeurs d’asile pour 6 000 places et où le confinement ne cesse d’être prolongé, Athènes a récemment annoncé l’expulsion de 11 000 réfugiés de leur logement. Résultat : des migrants n’ont d’autres choix que de dormir dans les parcs du centre-ville ou entassés dans des appartements.

      ’’Parfois, on trouve 30 ou 40 personnes dans un seul appartement. Les propriétaires peuvent leur prendre 10 euros par personnes et par jour. Et la police, que nous avons prévenue, s’en moque’’, dénonce Yonous Muhammadi qui pointe le cynisme de l’État. ’’Les autorités n’expulsent pas les migrants du pays mais elles rendent leur quotidien impossible. C’est une stratégie pour dissuader ceux qui prévoient de venir, même s’ils envisagent de toute façon cette option en dernier recours."
      « Je connais beaucoup d’Irakiens sur les îles et aucun ne veut retourner en Irak »

      Malgré les difficultés du quotidien, un retour au pays semble pour certains être une décision inimaginable. Ce programme européen laisse ainsi Karim, un père de famille irakien demandeur d’asile depuis deux ans, très dubitatif. « Si des personnes veulent rentrer dans leur pays, c’est uniquement parce que c’est très compliqué de vivre de manière digne quand on est demandeur d’asile en Grèce », confie-t-il à InfoMigrants.

      De son côté, le choix est fait. « Rentrer, ça voudrait dire mourir », explique Karim, qui a été menacé dans son pays par des milices après avoir vendu de l’alcool dans son magasin de la ville de Bassora. « Je connais beaucoup d’Irakiens sur les îles grecques et aucun d’entre eux ne veut retourner en Irak. »

      En parallèle du programme de l’Union européenne, des « retours volontaires » sont également mis en place sous l’égide de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations en coordination avec les autorités locales. En juillet, un groupe de Pakistanais avait déjà quitté Athènes par avion. Sur place, le décollage avait été suivi d’un regard attentif par le ministre grec des Migrations.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26504/la-grece-debute-les-retours-volontaires-de-migrants-economiques

    • IOM, Government of Greece Assist 134 Iraqi Migrants with Voluntary Return

      The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Greece and the Hellenic authorities, in coordination with IOM Iraq and the diplomatic corps, organized the voluntary return of 134 Iraqi nationals who wished to return home. They left Athens Thursday (6/8) on a flight to Baghdad International Airport, where the first group of passengers disembarked. The flight then continued to Erbil International Airport.

      This is the first large group of migrants to voluntarily return from Greece since the COVID-19 movement restrictions were imposed. Among them were 80 men, 16 women and 38 children.

      “This initiative is an important step towards resuming operations amid COVID-19 and providing migrants with an option to return in safety and dignity,” said Gianluca Rocco, Chief of Mission for IOM Greece.

      “COVID-19 has imposed restrictions on all of us but for certain categories of migrants it also has delayed their possibility to return home. This movement was a cooperation between the Iraqi authorities, the European Commission and the Greek Government to alleviate that situation.”

      “Amid the lockdown, migrants staying in Greece continued to register for return assistance and take advantage of the special programme initiated by the Hellenic Authorities to assist with voluntary returns from the Greek islands,” he added.

      The Iraqi nationals had been residing on the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Chios and Leros, as well as mainland Greece, for several months.

      Prior to their departure, and in coordination with the Hellenic authorities, the migrants were accommodated in an IOM temporary facility in Attika and the Open Centre for migrants (OCAVRR) in Athens. Individual counselling sessions were conducted in their native languages to confirm their wishes to voluntary return. Following the protocols set by the Ministry of Health, all migrants also underwent health assessments and medical examinations, including COVID-19 tests, to confirm their fitness for travel.

      “I am glad I am returning to my home country because I missed my wife and mother,” said Salih Ahmed from Baghdad.

      On the day of departure, IOM Greece assisted the returnees with all airport procedures and one-time cash assistance was given to each of them as a contribution to their initial expenses upon arrival.

      During the flight, all passengers were required to wear masks and gloves, and disinfectant gel was provided for use on surfaces and to keep hands clean. Upon arrival in both Baghdad and Erbil, temperature checks were conducted, while new sets of masks and gloves were provided.

      Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 432 migrants have voluntarily returned to 20 countries of origin via commercial flights, with IOM’s assistance. All necessary travel documents have been provided in collaboration with the relevant consular authorities.

      Working in close cooperation with the Hellenic authorities, ΙΟΜ Greece has been implementing AVRR projects since 2010, assisting more than 50,000 migrants to voluntarily return to their countries of origin. The project “The implementation of assisted voluntary returns including reintegration measures and operation of Open Center in the Prefecture of Attica for applicants of voluntary return (AVRR/OCAVRR)” is co-funded 75% by European Funds (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund) and 25% by Greek National Funds.

      https://www.iom.int/news/iom-government-greece-assist-134-iraqi-migrants-voluntary-return

  • CE FIL DE DISCUSSION COMPLÈTE CELUI COMMENCÉ ICI :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/724156

    v. aussi la métaliste sur les ONG et les sauvetages en Méditerranée :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/706177

    –-----------

    Un bateau de pêche espagnol « coincé » en mer Méditerranée après avoir secouru 12 migrants

    Un navire de pêche espagnol est « coincé » en mer Méditerranée depuis plusieurs jours avec 12 migrants à son bord. Aucun pays n’a en effet accepté de les accueillir depuis leur sauvetage la semaine dernière, a indiqué mardi 27 novembre le capitaine du bateau.

    « Nous sommes coincés en mer, nous ne pouvons aller nulle part », a déclaré à l’AFP Pascual Durá, capitaine du « #Nuestra_Madre_Loreto ». Depuis jeudi dernier, les 13 membres de l’équipage du navire cohabitent avec 12 migrants originaires du Niger, de Somalie, du Soudan, du Sénégal et d’Egypte. Ils ont été secourus après le naufrage de leur bateau pneumatique en provenance de Libye.

    « Renvoyés vers l’endroit qu’ils fuient »

    L’Italie et Malte leur ont refusé l’entrée dans leurs ports. Quant aux services espagnols de sauvetage maritime, avec lesquels les marins sont en contact, ils ont seulement offert la possibilité de les renvoyer en Libye. ""Si nous allons vers la Libye, nous risquons une mutinerie", a indiqué le capitaine, précisant que « dès qu’ils entendent le mot ’Libye’, ils deviennent très nerveux et hystériques, il est difficile de les rassurer »."

    « Nous ne voulons pas renvoyer ces pauvres gens en Libye. Après ce qu’ils ont accompli pour venir jusqu’ici, nous ne voulons pas les renvoyer vers l’endroit qu’ils fuient », a-t-il ajouté. Le capitaine du navire assure qu’il ne dispose plus que de six ou sept jours de provisions et qu’une tempête approche.

    Depuis le début de l’année, plus de 106.000 migrants sont arrivés en Europe par la mer, selon l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations, qui a enregistré 2.119 décès pendant cette période.

    https://www.nouvelobs.com/monde/migrants/20181128.OBS6155/un-bateau-de-peche-espagnol-coince-en-mer-mediterranee-apres-avoir-secour
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #sauvetage #Méditerranée #frontières

    • #Nuestra_Madre_de_Loreto”: appello urgente dei parlamentari europei per l’apertura di porti sicuri.

      “NUESTRA MADRE DE LORETO”. APPELLO URGENTE DEI PARLAMENTARI EUROPEI PER L’APERTURA DI PORTI SICURI.

      RICHIESTA URGENTE ALL´UE ED AI GOVERNI EUROPEI PER CONSENTIRE AL PESCHERECCIO “NUESTRA MADRE LORETO” DI SBARCARE IN UN PORTO SICURO.

      Stiamo rischiando di essere testimoni di un’altra tragedia nel Mar Mediterraneo. Un peschereccio spagnolo, “Nuestra Madre de Loreto”, è bloccato da giorni in mare dopo aver salvato 12 persone che tentavano di raggiungere la costa Europea dalla Libia a bordo di un gommone.

      Nessun Paese Europeo ha consentito all’imbarcazione spagnola di attraccare e probabilmente sono in corso negoziati per riportare questi migranti, che potrebbero avere diritto di protezione internazionale, in Libia.

      Secondo l’UNHCR e la Commissione Europea la Libia non è un Paese sicuro. Per cui non può essere considerato un porto sicuro per lo sbarco. Non ha mai sottoscritto la Convenzione di Ginevra sui rifugiati, mentre media e organizzazioni internazionali riportano violazioni sistematiche dei diritti umani nei centri di detenzione per migranti.

      Mentre si attende l’autorizzazione allo sbarco, le condizioni metereologiche stanno peggiorando e l’imbarcazione scarseggia beni essenziali, cibo e carburante. Si sta esaurendo il tempo a disposizione: abbiamo urgentemente bisogno di una soluzione sensata, nel pieno rispetto delle leggi internazionali ed Europee, inclusa la Convenzione SAR. I governi Europei non possono chiedere all’imbarcazione spagnola di violare il principio di “non-respingimento”.

      Chiediamo ai governi Europei di rispettare pienamente la legge internazionale e la Convenzione SAR e di offrire un porto sicuro alla “Nuestra Madre de Loreto”, evitando così un’altra tragedia nel Mediterraneo. Chiediamo alla Commissione Europea di prendere una posizione chiara e di facilitare una soluzione rapida.

      Questo è un appello aperto, chiediamo a ciascuno di condividerlo e di chiedere ai nostri governi di rispettare i diritti umani e di dimostrare solidarietà alle persone in pericolo in mare.

      Marina Albiol, Sergio Cofferati, Eleonora Forenza, Ska Keller, Elly Schlein, Miguel Urban Crespo, Ernest Urtasun, Gabriele Zimmer (Parlamentari Europei)

      https://mediterranearescue.org/news/nuestra-madre-de-loreto-appello-urgente-dei-parlamentari-europei

    • Faute de port d’accueil, un bateau espagnol erre toujours en Méditerranée avec 12 migrants à bord

      Le Nuestra Madre Loreto, un navire espagnol, erre depuis une semaine en Méditerranée avec 12 migrants à son bord. Les rescapés refusent d’être renvoyés en Libye. Le navire demande à l’Europe l’autorisation de débarquer dans l’un de ses ports.

      Le gouvernement espagnol a indiqué mercredi 28 novembre être en contact avec l’Italie et Malte en vue de trouver un port d’accueil pour un bateau de pêche espagnol errant en mer Méditerranée avec 12 migrants à bord.

      Depuis jeudi dernier, les 13 membres de l’équipage du « Nuestra Madre Loreto » cohabitent avec 12 migrants originaires du Niger, de Somalie, du Soudan, du Sénégal et d’Egypte rescapés d’un bateau pneumatique en provenance de Libye.

      « Nous sommes coincés en mer, nous ne pouvons aller nulle part », a déclaré Pascual Durá, le capitaine du bateau.

      Le gouvernement espagnol a dans un premier temps demandé à la Libye de prendre les réfugiés en charge, comme le prévoit le droit international. Les embarcations de migrants secourues dans la SAR zone (zone de détresse en Méditerranée où ont lieu les opérations de recherche et de sauvetage) relèvent en effet de l’autorité de Tripoli depuis le mois de juin 2018.

      Les migrants refusent d’être ramenés en Libye. Face à leur refus, le navire espagnol « fait des démarches auprès des gouvernements de l’Italie et de Malte, dont les côtes sont proches du lieu où se trouve le bateau, dans le but de favoriser une solution alternative, rapide et satisfaisante » pour les accueillir, a indiqué la vice-présidente de l’exécutif Carmen Calvo dans un communiqué.

      « En aucune circonstance, [les migrants] ne devraient être renvoyées en Libye, où elles risquent d’être victimes de détention arbitraire, de torture et d’autres violences. Toute instruction donnée au capitaine du Nuestra Madre de Loreto de transférer les survivants en Libye serait contraire au droit international », s’est alarmé de son côté Matteo de Bellis, chercheur sur l’asile et les migrations à Amnesty International.

      « Si nous allons en Libye, nous risquons une mutinerie »

      Face à l’aggravation des conditions météorologiques, le bateau a pris mardi la direction de l’île italienne de Lampedusa, selon le gouvernement espagnol.

      Le capitaine du « Nuestra Madre Loreto », avait indiqué de son côté mardi que l’Italie, dont le ministre de l’Intérieur Matteo Salvini (Ligue, extrême droite) s’oppose à l’arrivée de nouveaux migrants dans son pays, et Malte lui avaient refusé l’entrée dans leurs ports.

      Il avait également souligné que les services espagnols de sauvetage maritime lui avaient seulement offert la possibilité de les renvoyer en Libye.

      Selon le capitaine, les migrants à bord de son bateau « deviennent très nerveux et hystériques dès qu’ils entendent le mot ‘Libye’ ». « Si nous allons vers la Libye, nous risquons une mutinerie », avait-il averti.

      Depuis l’arrivée du socialiste Pedro Sanchez au pouvoir, l’Espagne a accueilli un navire humanitaire, l’Aquarius, refusé par l’Italie et Malte et à trois reprises un bateau de l’ONG Open Arms. Mais elle a refusé un retour de l’Aquarius, préférant négocier avec d’autres États européens la répartition des migrants qu’il avait à bord.


      http://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/13639/faute-de-port-d-accueil-un-bateau-espagnol-erre-toujours-en-mediterran

    • #Sophia mission will cease unless rules changed - Salvini

      The EU’s anti-human trafficking Sophia naval mission in the Mediterranean will stop when its current mandate expires at the end of the year unless the rules of the operation are changed, Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday. The government says the operation currently puts too much of the burden of rescued migrants on Italy.

      “We are staying firm in our unwillingness to accept landing procedures that involve dockings only in Italian ports,” Salvini told a Schengen committee hearing.

      “Unless there is convergence on our positions, we do not consider it opportune to continue the mission”.

      http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/politics/2018/12/05/sophia-mission-will-cease-unless-rules-changed-salvini_05836d11-3f8c-474c-
      #Opération_Sophia #EUNAVFOR_MED

      #Salvini (encore lui)

    • MSF et SOS Méditerranée mettent un terme aux opérations de sauvetage de l’« Aquarius »

      Déplorant les « attaques » répétées, les ONG étudient des options pour un nouveau navire et un futur pavillon. Depuis février 2016, le bateau a secouru 30 000 personnes.

      L’Aquarius est devenu le symbole de la crise politique autour de l’accueil des migrants. Il ne sera bientôt plus. Médecins sans frontières (MSF) et SOS Méditerranée ont annoncé, jeudi 6 décembre, devoir « mettre un terme » aux opérations de sauvetage de leur navire humanitaire, privé de pavillon depuis deux mois.

      « Renoncer à l’Aquarius a été une décision extrêmement difficile à prendre », a déclaré dans un communiqué Frédéric Penard, directeur des opérations de SOS Méditerranée, en déplorant « les attaques incessantes dont le navire et ses équipes ont fait l’objet ». Mais l’ONG basée à Marseille « explore déjà activement les options pour un nouveau navire et un nouveau pavillon », et « étudie sérieusement toutes les propositions d’armateurs qui lui permettraient de poursuivre sa mission de sauvetage ». « Nous refusons de rester les bras croisés sur le rivage alors que des gens continuent de mourir en mer », a assuré M. Penard.

      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2018/12/07/msf-et-sos-mediterranee-mettent-un-terme-aux-operations-de-sauvetage-de-l-aq

    • MSF forced to terminate search and rescue operations as Europe condemns people to drown

      As men, women and children continue to die in the Mediterranean Sea, international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and its partner SOS Méditerranée have been forced to terminate the lifesaving operations of their search and rescue vessel, Aquarius.

      Over the last two months as people have continued to flee by sea on the world’s deadliest migration route, the Aquarius has remained in port, unable to carry out its vital humanitarian work.

      This is due to a sustained smear campaign, spearheaded by the Italian government and backed by other European countries to delegitimise, slander and obstruct aid organisations trying to save the lives of vulnerable people in the Mediterranean.

      Coupled with ill-conceived policies aimed at trapping people outside Europe’s borders, this campaign has undermined international law and humanitarian principles.

      With no immediate solution to these attacks, MSF and SOS Méditerranée have no option but to end the operations of the Aquarius.

      https://www.msf.org.uk/article/msf-forced-terminate-search-and-rescue-operations-europe-condemns-people-dro

    • « Aquarius » : « La #non-assistance_à_personnes_en_danger est revenue en force en Méditerranée »

      Mego Terzian, président de MSF-France et Michaël Neuman, directeur d’études à MSF expliquent dans une tribune au « Monde » pourquoi leur ONG et SOS Méditerranée, l’Association européenne de sauvetage en mer, mettent un terme aux opérations de sauvetage de l’« Aquarius ».

      « Dont acte, la politique de harcèlement judiciaire, administratif, politique aura eu raison de l’“Aquarius”, déployé entre 2015 et le milieu de l’année 2018 en mer Méditerranée. » usage worldwide/DPA / Photononstop

      Tribune. Dont acte, la politique de harcèlement judiciaire, administratif, politique aura eu raison de l’« Aquarius », déployé entre 2015 et le milieu de l’année 2018 en mer Méditerranée.
      En 2014, l’opération « Mare Nostrum », mise en place par les autorités italiennes inaugurait pourtant une séquence pendant laquelle le sauvetage d’embarcations de migrants en détresse fut pourtant considéré comme légitime.

      Ce qui est d’abord, rappelons-le, une obligation légale était alors politiquement et publiquement acceptable. En 2018, les Italiens furent de nouveau à la manœuvre, signifiant cette fois-ci qu’ils ne sauraient accepter davantage que se poursuivent ces interventions : dès le début de l’été, Matteo Salvini, tout récent ministre de l’intérieur, œuvra pour fermer ses ports aux bateaux de secours, accélérant une politique de dissuasion largement entamée par Marco Minniti, son prédécesseur, qui aboutit, in fine, à la liquidation des moyens destinés à secourir les personnes fuyant la Libye.

      Bien sûr, des organisations de la société civile tentent vaille que vaille et, avec une
      remarquable ténacité, de maintenir leurs activités de secours en mer : Sea Watch, Mare Jonio, Proactiva Open Arms sont de celles-là. Les pilotes volontaires du Moonbird et du Colibri poursuivent leurs survols, tentant de déceler entre les vagues des embarcations à la dérive et d’éviter ainsi que la longue liste des décès – plus de 17 000 depuis 2014 – ne s’allonge davantage.

      Pressions italiennes

      Mais toutes le font avec d’extrêmes difficultés : ennuis administratifs récurrents, obstacles posés aux escales techniques, interdiction d’accoster en Europe, et poursuites judiciaires, comme c’est le cas de l’« Aquarius », navire de secours affrété en partenariat avec SOS Méditerranée. Celui-ci, déjà privé de pavillon sous pressions italiennes, est maintenant menacé d’une mise sous séquestre à la suite des accusations grotesques de crime organisé, de nouveau, en Italie.

      Une partie de l’équipage et des membres des équipes de MSF sont mis en cause : leur activité de secours est criminalisée. Force est de constater que ce dispositif de secours en mer, auquel nous avons participé depuis 2015 avec cinq navires différents, quelquefois en partenariat avec d’autres organisations, est mis hors-la-loi.

      Les victimes de ce combat à armes inégales sont évidemment ces personnes migrantes, demandeuses d’asiles ou réfugiées, dont plus grand monde ne semble désormais se soucier. D’ailleurs combien sont-elles, ces victimes ? Aujourd’hui, sans témoin en mer, personne ne le sait, tandis que le piège libyen se referme, un piège dont la maintenance est assurément l’œuvre d’autorités libyennes disparates mais dont la mécanique est bien due à l’ingéniosité européenne.

      Des milliers de personnes sont condamnées à tenter de survivre dans l’entrelacs de centres de détention dits « officiels » et de prisons clandestines en Libye. On ne saurait suffisamment conseiller à nos décideurs d’aller visiter ces geôles pour se faire une idée de l’avenir qu’ils promettent à leurs frères humains. Beaucoup d’autres personnes, enfin, prises dans les mailles serrées d’un dispositif militaro-technique de pointe, meurent plus en amont sur les routes dans la vaste région sahélienne.

      Absence de l’Europe

      S’il est beaucoup question d’Italie, il ne faudrait pas négliger l’unanimisme européen dans lequel cette dynamique mortifère s’est mise en place : ni la France, ni l’Espagne, ni aucun Etat ou institution européenne ne s’est réellement opposé à la mise en coupe réglée de la politique européenne de gestion des frontières par des dirigeants aux pratiques racistes et violentes. Rien de surprenant puisque la manœuvre était en cours depuis quelque temps déjà.

      Ainsi, on ne trouva personne ou presque, pour se résoudre à accueillir quelques centaines de personnes qui, par une chance inouïe, bénéficiaient ça et là du programme de relocalisation du Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR). Depuis longtemps, le refoulement des indésirables aux frontières, notamment franco-italienne, était acté, tout comme l’abandon de 15 000 personnes sur les îles grecques dans des conditions épouvantables, laissés-pour-compte d’une mise en scène sordide de la frontière.

      L’errance durant plus d’une semaine du Nuestra Madre de Loreto, en est le dernier avatar : ayant secouru douze personnes, ce chalutier espagnol s’est vu refuser l’autorisation de débarquer dans les ports européens, y compris de l’Espagne, jusque-là bonne élève dans l’accueil des rescapés de la mer mais qui là prôna leur retour dans l’univers carcéral libyen. Ce n’est qu’après la décision du capitaine de faire, malgré tout, route vers l’Espagne, que le navire obtint le transfert des rescapés vers Malte.

      Non-assistance généralisée

      Aujourd’hui s’ouvre une séquence bien plus lourde de menaces. Aux côtés de la délégation du secours en mer aux gardes-côtes libyens, la généralisation de la non-assistance à personnes en danger est revenue en force en Méditerranée. On se souvient, en effet, qu’en 2011, en pleine intervention militaire occidentale en Libye, des dizaines de migrants étaient morts noyés, au terme d’une dérive de plusieurs jours, malgré les survols et observations d’un nombre important d’avions et de bateaux de l’OTAN.

      Ces pratiques de non-assistance ressurgissent : par crainte de ne pas savoir où débarquer leurs rescapés, les navires commerciaux se détournent de leurs routes habituelles, ou s’écartent lorsqu’ils aperçoivent l’embarcation redoutée. Telle est, en tout cas, la teneur des témoignages que nos équipes travaillant en Libye ont recueillis auprès des rescapés du Nivin, un porte-véhicules dont l’histoire raconte l’ensemble des lâchetés des responsables politiques européens et des agences internationales.

      Tous ceux-là avaient, pourtant, affirmé, à un moment ou à un autre, que les migrants interceptés ne sauraient être ramenés en Libye contre leur gré. Ce fut pourtant exactement ce qu’il s’est passé avec le Nivin, duquel les quatre-vingt-quinze rescapés qu’il transportait refusèrent de débarquer au port de Misrata, à l’est de Tripoli. L’occupation du navire se poursuivit une dizaine jours pendant lesquels nos équipes apportèrent de l’aide médicale à bord et constatèrent qu’aucune solution alternative à la remise en détention ne fut sérieusement examinée.

      Elle prit fin lorsque les forces libyennes lancèrent un assaut, au cours duquel une dizaine de personnes furent blessées, dont certaines grièvement. Certains sont aujourd’hui poursuivis par la justice libyenne pour crimes de piraterie. Telle est donc l’alternative pour les migrants de Libye : la folie, la torture, ou la mort. Et pour les marins, fuir leurs obligations ou subir les persécutions européennes.

      Alors que, de part et d’autre de la Méditerranée, les Etats s’arrogent le droit de vie et de mort sur des gens n’ayant pour motivation que celle de rendre leur vie meilleure, nous ne renonçons pas pour autant à porter secours là où nous le pouvons encore, à soutenir les initiatives de secours en mer et participer à en renouveler le modèle. Spectateurs et acteurs lucides, nous ne renonçons pas à contester ces logiques de sacrifice.

      Mego Terzian (Médecin, président de Médecins sans frontières (MSF)) et Michaël Neuman(Directeur d’études à MSF)

      https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/12/07/aquarius-la-non-assistance-a-personnes-en-danger-est-revenue-en-force-en-med

    • Le accuse a Open Arms, ovvero il mondo capovolto.

      Proactiva Open Arms è compagna di viaggio di Mediterranea fin dall’inizio. Insieme noi e a Sea Watch è parte dell’alleanza United4Med: una piattaforma aperta per un’Europa solidale in mare e in terra.
      Ma le ipotesi di reato contenute nell’avviso di conclusione delle indagini preliminari depositate dalla Procura della Repubblica presso il Tribunale di Ragusa non ci lasciano sgomenti solo perché colpiscono ancora una volta delle persone di cui conosciamo direttamente l’integrità, e perché rilanciano la criminalizzazione del salvataggio della vita umana in mare e del rispetto della dignità delle persone salvate.

      L’accusa di violenza privata, unita a quella del favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione illegale, rappresenta un pericolosissimo uso del diritto che estende all’inverosimile il concetto di violenza, e, rispetto al soggetto offeso che in questo caso sarebbe il Ministero dell’Interno come Istituzione, rappresenta un precedente particolarmente inquietante che potrebbe estendersi praticamente ad ogni azione giuridicamente rilevante. Rimandando per i dettagli all’articolata e preziosa analisi elaborata in merito dal Giudice del Tribunale di Torino Andrea Natale, quello che emerge sempre più chiaramente è che davvero il mondo per come lo conoscevamo appare capovolto.
      Il comandante della nave Proactiva Open Arms, Marc Reig Creus, e la capo missione Ana Isabel Montes avrebbero esercitato violenza privata, disattendendo gli ordini dell’Italia e poi delle autorità libiche di non intervenire, per avere salvato centinaia di persone che stavano rischiando di annegare in mare. Successivamente, quando la cosiddetta guardia libica si è presentata sul posto, la violenza privata sarebbe consistita nel rifiuto di riconsegnare le persone salvate ai libici, ovvero nel fatto di non restituire 216 donne, bambini e giovani uomini alle sevizie e alle torture già subite nei campi della Libia.
      Anabel e Marc avrebbero poi esercitato violenza privata per non aver chiesto a Malta di fornire un porto sicuro, cosa che Malta negli anni precedenti aveva rifiutato sistematicamente di fare, ed essersi diretti verso l’Italia. Il culmine della violenza privata sarebbe stato quindi quello di avere obbligato l’Italia a fornire un porto sicuro di approdo, e quindi di avere costretto il nostro governo a non avere anche questi profughi sulla propria coscienza.
      Cosa ci sia di violento e di privato in tutti questi accadimenti, e come possa un Ministero dell’Interno in quanto Istituzione essere soggetto a violenza privata è qualcosa che davvero appare ad oggi circondata da un alone di mistero, a meno che non si guardi a queste accuse come a ipotesi di reato fortemente ideologiche e orientate da una precisa visione politica.
      Appare già distintamente, a prescindere da quello che accadrà in sede processuale, che il diritto rischia sempre di più di diventare uno strumento di potere che colpisce in maniera arbitraria, paradossalmente, il rispetto del diritto stesso, proprio mentre la violazione dei diritti diventa normale maniera di procedere dei decisori politici europei e italiani innanzitutto. E questa riflessione andrebbe estesa ad ogni ambito e non solo alle politiche migratorie che colpendo le persone rese più vulnerabili sono, come sempre, un campanello d’allarme che ci dice fino a che punto le garanzie di libertà e i diritti di ogni persona siano sempre più messi in discussione.
      Rispettare i diritti umani è un reato, violarli è un merito: c’è ancora qualcuno che crede che questo capovolgimento del mondo vada arrestato prima che travolga tutti? La storia di Mediterranea, la sua comunità di mare e quella sempre più grande di terra ci racconta di sì. E si stringe intorno a Open Arms, Marc e Anabel, ringraziandoli profondamente per ogni singola vita sottratta alla morte e portata in salvo, per tutto il coraggio, per avere difeso da anni la nostra possibilità di essere umani e di immaginare una società più giusta.

      https://mediterranearescue.org/news/accuse-open-arms

    • L’Italie ferme ses ports à un navire d’une ONG et 300 migrants à bord

      Les ports italiens seront fermés aux quelque 310 migrants sauvés en Méditerranée par l’ONG espagnole, Proactiva Open Arms, a déclaré samedi le ministre italien de l’Intérieur, Matteo Salvini, après un premier refus des autorités de Malte.

      « Ma réponse est claire : les ports italiens sont fermés ! », a twitté le ministre d’extrême droite. « Pour les trafiquants d’êtres humains et pour ceux qui les aident, la fête est terminée ».

      M. Salvini a précisé que la demande de l’ONG de permettre l’accès au territoire italien des hommes, femmes, enfants et bébés sauvés vendredi, avait été déposée après une réponse négative de Malte.

      L’ONG a précisé que parmi les migrants, une femme et son bébé, né sur une plage libyenne, ont été emmenés à Malte par un hélicoptère des gardes-côtes.

      « Nous restons avec 311 personnes à bord, sans port où accoster, et avec des besoins », a twitté l’ONG de son côté.

      Proactiva Open Arms a annoncé vendredi avoir secouru près de 300 migrants au large de la Libye, dont des femmes enceintes, qui se trouvaient à bord de trois embarcations.

      L’ONG a posté en ligne une vidéo de certains des migrants secourus « d’une mort certaine en mer ». « Si vous pouviez aussi ressentir le froid, il serait plus facile de comprendre l’urgence. Aucun port pour débarquer, et refus de Malte de nous donner de la nourriture. Ceci n’est pas Noël ».

      Le navire avait repris fin novembre, avec deux autres bateaux d’ONG, ses missions de sauvetage en Méditerranée centrale, au large de la Libye.

      Cet itinéraire de l’immigration clandestine est le plus mortel, avec plus de 1.300 migrants morts en tentant de gagner l’Italie ou Malte depuis le début de l’année, selon l’Organisation internationale pour les Migrations (OIM).

      Les navires humanitaires opèrent dans cette zone malgré l’opposition farouche de M. Salvini, qui leur ferme les ports en les accusant de favoriser les affaires des passeurs, et les réticences de Malte.

      Une autre ONG, l’allemande Sea-Eye, a annoncé vendredi soir le départ, depuis Algésiras dans le sud de l’Espagne, d’un nouveau bateau vers le large des côtes libyennes, le « Professor Albrecht-Penck ».

      Une partie des 18 membres de son équipage sont d’anciens volontaires de l’Aquarius, ce bateau qui avait déclenché l’été dernier une crise diplomatique entre les États européens et mis définitivement à l’arrêt début décembre.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/litalie-ferme-ses-ports-un-navire-dune-ong-et-300-migrants-bo

    • Sea Watch 3 e Sea Eye: le due navi che nessuno vuole far attraccare

      Le navi delle due Ong vagano da giorni nel Mediterraneo con decine di migranti a bordo, senza un porto sicuro dove approdare e in condizioni sempre più complicate. I sogni delle persone salvate

      32 esseri umani, tra cui 3 minori non accompagnati, 2 bambini piccoli e un neonato, sono da 10 giorni in mare. Sono stati salvati dalla Ong tedesca Sea Watch. A questi si sono aggiunti altre 17 persone salvati da un’altra Ong tedesca, Sea Eye.
      Nessuno li vuole, nessun Paese europeo vuol farsi carico del destino di queste persone. L’Agenzia delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati ha chiesto agli Stati Ue di garantire lo sbarco delle due navi.

      «Non vogliamo che le persone che ci hanno salvato la vita, i nostri fratelli, passino dei guai per averci soccorso in mare», dice Youssef. «Siamo sfuggiti a torture e violenze. Quando abbiamo lasciato la nostra casa abbiamo perso i nostri affetti più cari, e proprio per questi motivi la nostra vita in futuro non potrà che essere migliore», aggiunge Lamin.

      Nonostante tutto, in queste parole c’è speranza. Se i loro nomi sono di fantasia, per proteggerne le identità, i loro sogni, ma anche le loro paure e le loro attese sono autentiche: così come lo sono le loro vite sottratte alla morte dal coraggio dei volontari della nave Sea Watch 3. Da dieci giorni è con queste 32 persone salvate dai marosi che l’equipaggio del comandante Anne Paul Lancet condivide umanità, cibo e riparo: «Durante la notte stiamo stretti sotto coperta, in questo modo tutti quanti possiamo stare all’asciutto ed evitare che qualcuno debba dormire sul ponte esposto alle intemperie», racconta Ayla, uno dei medici a bordo della nave della Ong tedesca.
      «Stamattina ho quasi pianto - aggiunge l’altro medico a bordo - perché tante persone mi pregavano solo di poter contattare le loro famiglie almeno per dire loro che erano al sicuro e stavano arrivando in Europa: volevano solo sentire le voci dei loro cari per qualche secondo. E noi non possiamo far nulla: e se io mi trovassi al loro posto, e se io avessi quegli stessi bisogni e desideri?», si chiede ancora il medico tedesco, guardando fuori l’orizzonte.
      L’inverno e il mare alto non perdonano, le temperature sono rigide e i rischi per l’incolumità delle 54 persone che si trovano sulla nave Sea Watch non dovrebbero venire sottovalutati. Al tavolo della politica europea, però, lontano dalle onde alte due metri, non si è ancora presa alcuna decisione sulla sicurezza di queste persone, tenute in “ostaggio” senza l’indicazione di un porto sicuro di approdo.
      Malta, Italia, Spagna, Germania e Olanda hanno rifiutato nei giorni scorsi di aiutarli e a bordo della Sea Watch 3 così come della Sea Eye si sta vivendo un’altra odissea umanitaria: molto simile nelle modalità alle crisi che avevano tenuto in scacco in estate le navi Aquarius, Open Arms e Lifeline delle ong internazionali, e i pescherecci Sarost5 e Nuestra Madre de Loreto che dovettero attendere giorni e giorni prima di potersi mettere al riparo in porto. E perfino della Diciotti, la nave della Guardia Costiera Italiana, costretta a navigare da Lampedusa a Catania e infine rimasta bloccata nel porto etneo in attesa che dal Viminale arrivasse l’ok allo sbarco dei migranti, in gran parte profughi di guerra dal Corno d’Africa.

      La situazione a bordo della Sea Watch inizia a farsi proibitiva, anche a causa del peggioramento delle condizioni meteo: «Non abbiamo problemi con il carburante - rassicura il capitano - ma lentamente stiamo esaurendo le provviste di cibo fresco e di sicuro nelle prossime settimane, pur cercando a bordo di sprecare meno acqua possibile, avremo problemi ad avere acqua a disposizione a causa del nostro sistema di filtraggio».
      «Ma perché non ci permettono di entrare in Europa?», chiede Amina che ha 31 anni e viene dal Sudan: lei è la portavoce dei sogni di tanti dei suoi compagni di sventura, ma riesce anche a dare voce all’interrogativo di tantissimi soccorritori che in mare hanno speso le loro vite per salvarne altre. «Oramai è diventato sempre più difficile spiegare alle persone che abbiamo tratto in salvo e con cui stiamo condividendo tantissime emozioni contrastanti e ore infinite di attesa, che dobbiamo restare in mare un giorno in più, perché dall’Europa non riceviamo indicazioni per un porto sicuro», spiega ancora Ayla, la dottoressa olandese, convinta che «i Paesi europei abbiano scelto finora di non assumersi la responsabilità delle vite delle persone in gioco sul confine mortale dell’Europa».
      Come abbiamo raccontato su Avvenire, Amina e le altre 31 persone sono state salvate dalla Sea Watch 3 lo scorso 22 dicembre grazie alla collaborazione con la ong Pilotes Volontaires che sorvola i cieli con l’obiettivo di avvistare gommoni e imbarcazioni in emergenza. Da allora e in attesa di ricevere indicazioni per approdare sulla terraferma l’equipaggio del capitano Lancet non si è arreso e - sostenuto anche dalle persone salvate «Sono qui per aiutare», ha detto subito Youssef mettendosi a disposizione del comandante - ha continuato a pattugliare la zona di search and rescue (Sar) libica, rispondendo alle chiamate di soccorso. Così era accaduto per le 75 persone che erano a bordo di un gommone pochi giorni fa, ma di cui non si sono più avuto notizie, probabilmente perché ingoiati dal mare o ripresi da una motovedetta libica che li ha riportati nei campi di detenzione.

      «Ho davvero paura di tornare in Libia, ho provato a scappare due volte senza riuscirci - ha raccontato ancora Amina lasciando uscire le parole con lentezza -. Quello che ho passato è stato terribile», così tanto da non riuscire quasi più a parlarne, come accade spesso con i traumi più violenti. «Avevamo molta paura quando eravamo sul gommone. Non abbiamo usato il telefono satellitare per il terrore di essere localizzati e ripresi dai libici - ha aggiunto Youssef -. Grazie a Dio siamo stati molto fortunati e i nostri fratelli ci hanno salvati. E ora possiamo prepararci a scoprire quello che sarà il nostro futuro in Europa».

      I bambini provano a raccontare i loro giorni più tristi e le paure attraverso i disegni. Uno di loro ha riportato su carta tre momenti: la vista del barcone su cui sarebbero saltati per lasciarsi alla spalle l’inferno libico, poi il gommone che si sgonfia, mentre i 32 temevano di perdere la vita, e infine la visione della Sea Watch 3, l’unico soggetto disegnato completamente a colori. Un passaggio, dal bianco e nero del gommone alla vivacità della nave di salvataggio, che da solo spiega i timori e le speranze di chi adesso, finalmente al sicuro, non si spiega il perché delle porte chiuse.
      Un sogno e un desiderio, quello dell’Europa, che emerge ancora dalle parole straziate dal dolore di Amina: «Noi donne dobbiamo essere forti – si lascia andare la donna, mentre i medici di bordo le prestano le cure –. Soprattutto possiamo essere libere in Europa. Lì possiamo vivere la nostra vita, ecco perché voglio raggiungerla». Quell’Europa che però sembra aver voltato loro le spalle.

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/sea-watch-migranti-bloccati-in-mare

    • E LA NAVE VA… È piena di naufraghi nessun porto la vuole

      Da dieci giorni in mare decine di profughi e nessuno li vuole

      C’è un bambino appena nato che ha trascorso la notte di Capodanno in mezzo al mare. Al largo di Malta. Le autorità europee hanno deciso che è bene così. Che se l’è meritata. Insieme a quel bambino ci sono due ragazzini un po’ più grandi, tre quattr’anni, altri tre adolescenti senza genitori, e poi ancora 26 adulti, tutti africani, tutti in fuga dalla guerra, scappati dai campi di prigionia in Libia. Stavano su un gommone il 22 dicembre, volevano arrivare in Sicilia, ma il gommone ha iniziato a sgonfiarsi, le onde erano alte, il vento gelido, e loro pensavano di essere a pochi minuti dalla morte. Poi li ha avvistati un piccolo aereo da ricognizione di una Ong tedesca, Dio lo benedica, ed ha lanciato la esseoesse ad una imbarcazione sempre della stessa Ong tedesca, la Sea Watch. L’aereo ha fornito al comandante della Sea Watch le coordinate del gommone, e la Sea Watch ha raggiunto i naufraghi in tempo. Li hanno fatti salire a bordo, li hanno asciugati, riscaldati, hanno dato loro da mangiare. Il bimbo neonato ha smesso di piangere. I 31 naufraghi hanno ringraziato il personale tedesco e olandese a bordo, erano commossi, non si aspettavano più di poter sopravvivere.

      Hanno raccontato a Ilaria Solaini, che è una giornalista inviata dell’Avvenire, i loro sentimenti, il terrore di morire o di finire nel lager libici. Hanno detto che avrebbero voluto poter parlare un minuto solo, al telefono, con i loro cari lasciati a casa. Ma non hanno potuto. Hanno chiesto di poter sbarcare in un porto europeo. Malta, Spagna e poi Italia hanno risposto con un no secco. Hanno detto che loro devono difendere i confini. Anche Germania e Olanda – che non dispongono di porti ( né di confini) nel Mediterraneo – hanno detto di no. Le onde da qualche ora si sono fatte più alte. Il meteo dice che da stanotte si va sottozero. Di acqua non ce n’è tantissima. Di cibo poco. I medici a bordo della nave temono che possano apparire delle malattie. I marinai temono che il mare possa alzarsi molto. Gli ausiliari temono il freddo. Fin qui sono riusciti a far dormire tutti, di notte, sottocoperta. Anche sottocoperta però, se si va sottozero, diventa dura. Intanto un’altra imbarcazione di una Ong tedesca, la See Eye, ha raccolto altri 17 naufraghi. Anche loro sono stati rifiutati da tutti i porti europei. Qui non c’è posto, hanno detto. Tornate in Libia. Buona Fortuna.

      L’altro giorno la Sea Watch ha ricevuto una richiesta di soccorso di un altro gommone ancora. Lo ha avvistato sempre l’aereo di ricognizione. Dall’aereo hanno detto che a bordo c’erano circa 75 persone. E hanno fornito alla Sea Watch, di nuovo, le coordinate. La Sea Watch però non ha trovato il gommone. Neanche l’aereo lo ha più visto. Spariti. Nella migliore delle ipotesi sono stati catturati dai libici, e portati in un lager sulla costa. Nella peggiore se li è mangiati il mare.

      E’ vero, i confini ora sono ben difesi. E i caduti tra le fila dei nemici aumentano a vista d’occhio. La vittoria è vicina. Vabbè, diciamo che comunque 32, più 17, più una ventina di persone di equipaggio, tra marinai, medici e ausiliari, in tutto fa un po’ meno di settanta persone. Cosa volete che sia se 70 persone passano il Capodanno in mare per decisione delle autorità europee. Con tutto quello che succede nel mondo volete scandalizzarvi per così poco?

      Facevo un po’ di conti. Se non calcoliamo i soccorritori, che comunque poi se ne torneranno a casa loro, si tratta di 48 persone più un neonato di un paio di chili. L’Europa comunitaria, secondo le statistiche ufficiali, ha 503 milioni, 679 mila e 730 abitanti. Voi dite che se ospita anche questi 48, più un neonato, scoppia? O dite che i suoi 15 mila 326 miliardi di Pil annuo potrebbero andare dispersi nel soccorrere questi 49 disperati?

      Eppure è così. Talvolta la politica è esattamente così. Succede che sia la ragion di Stato a prevalere sul senso di umanità. Succede spesso. Stavolta la ragion di stato non c’entra niente. C’entrano solo i calcoli politici dei leader europei. Quanto potranno costare 49 naufraghi? Qualche migliaia di euro, che sono niente per gli Stati. E diverse migliaia, o centinaia di migliaia di voti: che sono molto, molto per i partiti.

      P. S. Inizia così la dichiarazione dei diritti universali dell’uomo, redatta dall’Onu 70 anni fa: «Considerato che il riconoscimento della dignità inerente a tutti i membri della famiglia umana e dei loro diritti, uguali ed inalienabili, costituisce il fondamento della libertà, della giustizia e della pace nel mondo; Considerato che il disconoscimento e il disprezzo dei diritti umani hanno portato ad atti di barbarie che offendono la coscienza dell’umanità…» . Poi c’è l’articolo 13 che dice così: «Ogni individuo ha diritto alla libertà di movimento e di residenza entro i confini di ogni Stato. Ogni individuo ha diritto di lasciare qualsiasi paese, incluso il proprio, e di ritornare nel proprio paese».

      E infine l’articolo 14, che si potrebbe anche imparare a memoria, perché è molto breve: «Ogni individuo ha il diritto di cercare e di godere in altri paesi asilo dalle persecuzioni». Chissà se i governanti di Germania, Olanda, Spagna, Malta e Italia hanno mai letto questi articoli. Si potrebbe proporre agli Stati europei di chiedere a chiunque entri in un governo della Ue di superare un esamino nel quale dimostra di conoscere la dichiarazione dei diritti dell’Uomo…

      http://ildubbio.news/ildubbio/2019/01/02/e-la-nave-va-e-piena-di-naufraghi-nessun-porto-la-vuole

    • Le Sea Watch 3, avec à bord 32 migrants depuis le 22 décembre, a été autorisé par les autorités maltaises à pénétrer dans ses eaux territoriales, pour s’abriter de la très menaçante météo. Mais ni accostage, ni soins ni accueil

      Un bateau de l’alliance #United4Med (Sea Watch et Mediterranea) a rejoint aujourd’hui (4/1/19) SeaWatch3. A bord le témoignage d’Alessandra Sciurba (Mediterranea) :
      https://www.instagram.com/p/BsNom3NCA1X

    • Un nouveau bateau de sauvetage affrété par la société civile basque et andalouse

      Le 14 ou le 15 janvier, partira de Pasaia, port basque, l’ex-chalutier l’#Aita_Mari, pour secourir en Méditerranée les personnes fuyant la Libye.
      Il fera escale le 16 janvier à Bilbao, passera par Barcelone puis par Majorque - avant de rejoindre les eaux au large de la Libye.
      Ce bateau a été acheté, dans cet objectif, par le gouvernement basque et remis en état par la société civile.
      Le projet est soutenu par deux associations, une basque et une andalouse.
      Les rescapés à bord, le bateau tentera d’accoster à Malte ou en Italie, mais aura toujours la possibilité, en cas de refus, de faire route vers un port espagnol, puisqu’il navigue sous pavillon espagnol.
      A son bord, sept bénévoles, 5 secouristes, 2 médecins.
      Il y aussi un mécanicien et un cuisinier.
      Et les deux capitaines, celui du bateau, et celui des secours.
      Une cabine est prévue pour un.e journaliste.
      L’équipe communiquera régulièrement et aura besoin de relai.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop

    • EU nations deadlocked on rescued migrants

      Nearly 50 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by two ships run by rights groups are still looking for countries to take them in, one of the groups told AFP Saturday.

      “The situation is still the same,” a spokeswoman for one of the groups, Sea Watch, said.

      Their vessel, Sea Watch 3, was sheltering from stormy weather off the coast of Malta, which like Italy, has refused to allow the boat into port.

      It has had 32 migrants on board, three of them children, since rescuing them on December 22.

      A one-year-old baby and two children, aged six and seven, “are vomiting continuously and are at risk of hypothermia and dehydration,” Alessandro Metz of rights group Mediterranean wrote on Twitter Friday.

      The German NGO Sea-Eye also has a ship stranded in the Mediterranean with 17 migrants on board.


      https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/eu-nations-deadlocked-on-rescued-migrants-1.809725

    • Ecco la diffida al governo per accogliere i 49 migranti bloccati in mare

      Azione di cittadinanza attiva in almeno 90 Province italiane: «Abbiamo consegnato in Prefettura un documento che obbliga le autorità ad adempiere alle leggi di soccorso di mare», spiega Antonio Nigro del movimento Move to resist, che ha mutuato il testo diffuso da Possibile

      http://www.vita.it/it/article/2019/01/07/ecco-la-diffida-al-governo-per-accogliere-i-49-migranti-bloccati-in-ma/150262

    • “La Chiesa accoglierà i migranti della Sea Watch”

      L’annuncio di Nosiglia durante la festa dei Popoli: un gesto simbolico ma concreto.
      «Voglio dichiarare la disponibilità della Chiesa torinese ad accogliere alcune delle famiglie che si trovano a bordo delle navi Sea Watch 3 e Sea Eye». Lo ha annunciato l’arcivescovo di Torino, monsignor Cesare Nosiglia, oggi alla chiesa del Santo Volto, durante l’omelia nella Festa dei Popoli. «La nostra Chiesa, come si ricorderà - ha aggiunto Nosiglia - aveva già offerto questa disponibilità per i profughi della nave Diciotti, nel settembre scorso».


      https://www.lastampa.it/2019/01/06/cronaca/la-chiesa-accoglier-i-migranti-della-sea-watch-8uxIAoytx33U6r7hjA65UN/pagina.html

    • #Diaconia_Valdese e #FCEI pronti all’accompagnamento dei profughi della Sea-Watch
      Chiese evangeliche. “Il nostro sostegno alle ONG perché il soccorso in mare e l’accoglienza a terra sono un dovere umanitario. Per noi è anche la testimonianza dell’amore di Cristo”. FCEI e Diaconia valdese pronti all’accompagnamento e all’accoglienza dei 49 profughi della Sea-Watch e della Sea eye.

      “Confermiamo il nostro sostegno alle ONG che svolgono azioni di soccorso in mare e ci rendiamo disponibili a sostenere il trasferimento e l’accoglienza dei migranti salvati dalla Sea-Watch e dalla Sea eye”. Lo affermano congiuntamente il Presidente della Federazione delle chiese evangeliche in Italia, past. Luca M. Negro, e il Presidente della Diaconia Valdese, Giovanni Comba. “Come FCEI siamo impegnati in un partenariato con Open Arms, la ONG che nei giorni scorsi ha salvato oltre trecento persone in mare – aggiunge Negro – e oggi sentiamo nostro dovere esprimere il sostegno attivo alla altre navi impegnate in azioni di soccorso che da giorni aspettano un porto sicuro in cui attraccare”. E infatti la vicepresidente della FCEI, Christiane Groeben, oggi 4 gennaio parteciperà alla delegazione di politici, esponenti della società civile e del volontariato che saliranno a bordo della Sea-Watch per chiedere con forza una rapida soluzione a quella che rischia di diventare una drammatica violazione del diritto alla protezione internazionale. “Stiamo lavorando con i nostri partner per costruire un corridoio europeo e la città di Heidelberg e le sue chiese hanno già manifestato la loro disponibilità all’accoglienza. Siamo pronti a farci carico del trasporto dei migranti nella loro destinazione finale e a collaborare per la loro accoglienza" aggiunge il presidente Comba.

      https://www.diaconiavaldese.org/csd/news/diaconia-valdese-e-fcei-pronti-all-accompagnamento-e-all-accoglienz

    • #Malte profite de l’urgence pour se délester de 220 migrants

      Le Premier ministre maltais a annoncé un accord pour le débarquement des 49 migrants bloqués sur deux navires d’ONG allemandes et leur répartition dans huit pays européens. Il se débarrasse en passant de 220 migrants déjà accueillis à Malte.

      Les 49 migrants coincés depuis parfois plus de deux semaines en mer avaient été secourus dans les eaux internationales au large de la Libye, le 22 décembre par l’ONG Sea-Watch pour 32 d’entre eux, et le 29 décembre par l’ONG Sea-Eye pour les 17 autres.

      Les pays européens se sont finalement mis d’accord pour les secourir. Ils doivent être transférés « dès que possible » sur des vedettes de la marine maltaise, qui les conduiront à La Valette. Ensuite, Malte a prié les navires des deux ONG de s’éloigner « immédiatement ».

      Les deux navires avaient été autorisés il y a une semaine à s’abriter du mauvais temps dans les eaux maltaises, mais l’accord en vue d’un débarquement des migrants a pris du temps parce que Malte exigeait d’y inclure 249 autres migrants que ce petit pays méditerranéen avait secourus et accueillis ces derniers jours.

      « Un accord ad hoc a été trouvé. Sur les 249 (migrants) présents à Malte et les 49 à bord (des navires de) Sea-Watch and Sea-Eye, 220 personnes seront redistribuées dans d’autres pays membres ou rentreront dans leur pays d’origine », a déclaré Joseph Muscat au cours d’une conférence de presse à Malte.

      Les migrants seront répartis entre l’Allemagne, la France, le Portugal, l’Irlande, la Roumanie, le Luxembourg, les Pays-Bas et l’Italie, a précisé Joseph Muscat.

      Parallèlement, 44 Bangladais du groupe des migrants déjà présents à Malte seront renvoyés dans leur pays, La Valette estimant qu’ils n’ont pas de raison d’y demander l’asile. Au final, 78 des migrants du premier groupe resteront à Malte, le plus petit pays de l’UE avec 450 000 habitants.

      « Malte n’a jamais fermé ses ports et reste un port sûr. Nous voulons simplement que tous respectent les règles internationales que nous n’avons pas créées, nous », a assuré le Premier ministre, malgré l’interdiction jusqu’ici exprimée.

      « Un signe de faiblesse »

      « Nous voulions faire passer un message politique fort, à savoir que le fardeau devait être partagé car il s’agit d’un problème européen. Il ne s’agit pas d’un discours contre les ONG, nous voulons simplement que tous suivent les règles », a insisté le Maltais.

      « Chaque heure passée sans règlement n’était pas une heure dont j’étais fier », a-t-il ajouté, en regrettant que la solution n’implique que quelques pays et non l’ensemble de l’UE.

      Redoutant de voir les arrivées dans ses eaux se multiplier à l’avenir maintenant que les navires de secours plus au sud se sont raréfiés, Malte avait plaidé pour une solution « complète et globale ».

      « Malte est un très petit pays et il est dans notre nature d’aider les personnes en détresse, mais en tant que Premier ministre, je ne peux pas me soustraire à la responsabilité de préserver notre sécurité et nos intérêts nationaux », a expliqué Joseph Muscat, répétant que le présent accord ne constituait pas « un précédent ».

      Le commissaire européen chargé des migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos, s’est réjoui qu’une solution ait été trouvée pour permettre aux migrants de débarquer et a salué le geste de solidarité de Malte et des États membres.

      En Italie, la question faisait encore débat : le ministre de l’Intérieur Matteo Salvini s’oppose farouchement à tout débarquement, mais le chef du gouvernement Giuseppe Conte s’est dit prêt à aller chercher les migrants « en avion ».

      « À Bruxelles, ils font semblant de ne rien comprendre et facilitent le travail des passeurs et des ONG. Je suis et je resterai absolument opposé à de nouvelles arrivées en Italie », a réagi Matteo Salvini, également patron de la Ligue (extrême droite), dans un communiqué.

      « Céder aux pressions et aux menaces de l’Europe et des ONG est un signe de faiblesse que les Italiens ne mérite pas », a ajouté le ministre, qui a lancé mardi soir sur Twitter le mot d’ordre #SalviniNonMollare (« Salvini tiens bon »), parmi les plus partagés depuis en Italie.

      https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/malte-profite-de-lurgence-pour-se-delester-de-220-migrants

    • Migranti, anche in Spagna stretta sulle Ong: Open Arms bloccata a Barcellona

      Dopo aver fatto sbarcare ad #Algeciras 311 migranti il 28 dicembre scorso, la nave sarebbe dovuta ripartire l’8 gennaio per una nuova missione. Ma le autorità hanno negato l’autorizzazione: così nel Mediterraneo centrale non ci sono più imbarcazioni delle organizzazioni per il salvataggio

      https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2019/01/14/news/migranti_open_arms_bloccata_in_spagna-216523058

    • "Je ne pourrai bientôt plus parler, je gèle" : faute de secours, 100 migrants ont passé plus de 12 heures en mer

      Pendant plus de 12h, la plateforme téléphonique Alarm Phone a alerté dimanche les autorités italiennes, maltaises et libyennes sur une embarcation en détresse au large de la Libye. Rome et La Valette ont, toute la journée, renvoyé la responsabilité à Tripoli qui a finalement coordonné le secours de ce canot en envoyant un navire marchand, plus de 12h après la première alerte.

      http://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/14641/je-ne-pourrai-bientot-plus-parler-je-gele-faute-de-secours-100-migrant

    • Navire Sea-Watch bloqué en Méditerranée : « La mer est agitée et certains migrants sont malades »

      Après avoir été bloqué deux semaines début janvier en Méditerranée dans l’attente d’être accepté par un port européen, le navire humanitaire Sea-Watch erre une nouvelle fois en mer depuis son dernier sauvetage. Cinq jours se sont déjà écoulés, avec 47 migrants rescapés à bord dont huit enfants, et aucun signe encourageant de la part des pays européens.

      L’histoire se répète. L’ONG allemande Sea Watch, dont le navire humanitaire a secouru le 19 janvier dernier 47 personnes qui se trouvaient à bord d’un bateau pneumatique, attend depuis maintenant cinq jours l’autorisation d’accoster en Europe. Lors d’une précédente opération de sauvetage, le même navire avait erré deux semaines en mer avant d’être autorisé à débarquer ses rescapés à Malte le 9 janvier dernier. Un épisode qualifié de “record de la honte” par plusieurs ONG.

      L’équipage et les passagers actuellement à bord sont “assez stressés”, confie une porte-parole de Sea Watch contactée par InfoMigrants. “La nuit a été difficile. La mer est agitée et certains sont malades”, poursuit-elle, précisant que le groupe compte huit mineurs non-accompagnés et neuf nationalités différentes : Guinée, Sénégal, Guinée-Bissau, Mali, Sierra Leone, Centrafrique, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambie et Soudan.

      "Une fois de plus, nous sommes à la merci des autorités"

      “Aucun État n’a encore répondu à nos requêtes pour un port sûr”, déplore l’ONG sur Twitter, estimant que “l’Union européenne empêche le dernier navire humanitaire de travailler, alors que des centaines de personnes meurent en Méditerranée”.

      Les 47 migrants actuellement à bord du Sea-Watch ont été pris en charge après qu’Alarm Phone et l’avion de repérage Moonbird ont donné l’alerte. “Juste après le sauvetage, nous avons informé le MRCC de Rome puisque le port sûr le plus proche de notre position était celui de Lampedusa. Ils nous ont renvoyés vers les garde-côtes libyens. Nous avons essayé de les joindre, en vain. Nous ne savons même pas s’ils lisent nos emails”, explique la porte-parole de l’ONG jointe par InfoMigrants.

      Dans l’impasse, l’équipage du Sea-Watch s’est donc tourné vers le MRCC de Malte puis celui de Den Helder, au Pays-Bas puisque le navire humanitaire bat pavillon néerlandais. “Tous les deux ont décliné toute responsabilité. Nous avons demandé un port sûr à plusieurs reprises à tous ces interlocuteurs, mais nous sommes une fois de plus à la merci des autorités, dans l’attente d’un ordre de leur part”, affirme-t-elle.

      "La détresse des migrants comme outil de chantage politique"

      Dix jours avant ce nouveau sauvetage, le Sea-Watch et un autre navire humanitaire, le Sea-Eye, avaient finalement pu débarquer 49 migrants à Malte après plus de deux semaines d’errance en Méditerranée. Une période particulièrement difficile, les installations à bord des navires humanitaires ne permettant pas d’héberger durablement autant de personnes et les conditions météorologiques rendant la vie à bord très pénible.

      Malgré les demandes répétées des ONG, pendant 19 jours, le gouvernement maltais avait refusé de laisser débarquer dans son port ces 49 migrants : 32 secourus au large de la Libye le 22 décembre par le Sea-Watch et 17 autres sauvés le 29 décembre par le Sea-Eye.

      Redoutant de voir les arrivées dans ses eaux se multiplier et de devenir la principale porte d’entrée des migrants en Europe – l’Italie ayant fermé ses ports aux navires humanitaires – Malte a finalement négocié avec plusieurs pays européens un accord de répartition des 49 migrants ainsi que 249 autres recueillis quelques jours plus tôt par les autorités maltaises.

      "Nous voulions faire passer un message politique fort, à savoir que le fardeau devait être partagé car il s’agit d’un problème européen. Il ne s’agit pas d’un discours contre les ONG, nous voulons simplement que tous suivent les règles", avait déclaré le Premier ministre maltais Joseph Muscat au moment où l’accord a été trouvé.

      Mais Sea Watch ne l’entend pas de la sorte. “Nous ne pouvons pas nous retrouver encore dans cette impasse, c’était trop difficile la dernière fois pour notre équipage comme pour les rescapés. Il est inacceptable que les gouvernements européens utilisent des personnes en détresse comme outils de chantage dans leurs luttes de pouvoir”, conclut la porte-parole.

      http://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/14700/navire-sea-watch-bloque-en-mediterranee-la-mer-est-agitee-et-certains-

    • Dutch refuse Italian request to accept 47 migrants on rescue ship: government

      The Netherlands refused on Monday an Italian request to take in 47 migrants on a humanitarian ship that is being blocked from Italian ports, saying there was a need to distinguish between genuine refugees and economic migrants.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-italy-netherlands/dutch-refuse-italian-request-to-accept-47-migrants-on-rescue-ship-governmen
      #Pays-Bas #tri #catégorisation

      Dans l’article on parle de:
      #genuine_refugees and #economic_migrants
      #terminologie #mots #vocabulaire

      v. aussi le tweet de Sea Watch:
      Le comunicazioni intercorse tra #SeaWatch e l’Olanda per la richiesta di porto rifugio (POR).
      https://twitter.com/SeaWatchItaly/status/1089815346113069057

    • Caso Sea Watch. Il Garante, Mauro Palma: “E’ illecita detenzione”

      Inviata informativa alla Procura di Siracusa e richiesto al Ministro dei trasporti Toninelli di consentire urgentemente lo sbarco: «Le persone sono la nostra giurisdizione, anche se con bandiera straniera». Intanto 50 organizzazioni scrivono al premier Conte: «Sbarco Immediato». E il Cnca si dice disponibile ad accogliere i migranti nelle sue strutture

      http://www.agenzia.redattoresociale.it/Notiziario/Articolo/617603/Caso-Sea-Watch-Il-Garante-Mauro-Palma-E-illecita-detenzione

    • Les migrants du Sea-Watch 3 vont pouvoir débarquer grâce à un accord entre sept pays européens

      L’Italie a annoncé un accord avec six autres pays européens pour répartir les 47 migrants bloqués depuis 12 jours en mer sur le Sea-Watch. Le navire est attendu dans la nuit au port de Catane, dans l’est de la Sicile.

      Les 47 migrants bloqués depuis près de deux semaines à bord du Sea-Watch 3 au large de la Sicile vont pouvoir débarquer grâce à un accord conclu mercredi 30 janvier entre l’Italie et six autres pays européens pour répartir les migrants.

      Le Sea-Watch 3, qui se trouvait depuis vendredi au large du port sicilien de Syracuse pour s’abriter du mauvais temps, « a reçu l’instruction de se diriger vers le port de Catane », environ 70 km plus au nord, où il est attendu dans la nuit, a annoncé une source ministérielle italienne.

      A la mi-journée, le chef du gouvernement italien, Giuseppe Conte, avait annoncé que les opérations de débarquement allaient débuter « dans les prochaines heures ». Les six pays avec laquelle l’Italie a conclu un accord sont la France, le Portugal, l’Allemagne, Malte, le Luxembourg et la Roumanie. Il n’était pas clair si l’Italie elle-même garderait une partie des migrants. Giuseppe Conte l’a laissé entendre mais son ministre de l’Intérieur, Matteo Salvini, qui s’y est toujours opposé de manière catégorique, ne l’a pas confirmé.

      « Prise d’otages européenne »

      « Nous sommes heureux que cette prise d’otages européenne prenne fin », a déclaré le porte-parole de Sea-Watch, Ruben Neugebauer. « En même temps, c’est un mauvais jour pour l’Europe car les droits humains ont une fois de plus été subordonnés à des négociations au sein de l’UE. Encore un jour amer », a-t-il ajouté.

      Depuis des mois, diplomates européens et humanitaires réclament un mécanisme permanent de répartition des migrants secourus en mer pour leur épargner les interminables discussions au cas par cas.

      Mais les cas pourraient devenir de plus en plus rares avec le blocage progressif des navires humanitaires privés, comme l’Aquarius de SOS Méditerranée et Médecins sans frontières (MSF) ou l’Open Arms de l’ONG espagnole Proactiva Open Arms.

      Le choix d’envoyer à Catane le Sea-Watch 3, affrété par l’ONG allemande Sea-Watch et battant pavillon néerlandais, semble répondre au souhait formulé par M. Salvini de voir la justice enquêter sur les activités de l’équipage.

      Le gouvernement italien lui reproche de ne pas avoir laissé les garde-côtes libyens se charger des migrants, puis de s’être précipité vers l’Italie plutôt que de chercher refuge sur la côte tunisienne, qui était beaucoup plus proche. Mais l’ONG assure n’avoir jamais reçu de réponse de Tripoli ni de Tunis.

      Le procureur de Syracuse, Fabio Scavone, a estimé lundi que le commandant du Sea-Watch n’avait « commis aucun délit » et avait seulement « sauvé les migrants et choisi la route qui semblait la plus sûre sur le moment ».

      Mais à Catane, le procureur Carmelo Zuccaro s’est montré particulièrement incisif contre les ONG depuis deux ans. En mars 2018, il avait obtenu le placement sous séquestre de l’Open Arms dans le cadre d’une enquête pour aide à l’immigration clandestine contre les responsables du bateau qui avaient refusé de remettre des migrants secourus aux garde-côtes libyens.

      La source au ministère de l’Intérieur a expliqué que Catane avait été choisie parce qu’elle compte des centres pour l’accueil des 13 adolescents du groupe. Les migrants majeurs seront conduits dans un centre d’identification et de premier accueil à Messine, également en Sicile.

      « Mission accomplie ! », s’est réjoui M. Salvini mercredi. « Encore une fois (...), l’Europe a été contrainte à intervenir et à prendre ses responsabilités ».

      https://www.france24.com/fr/20190130-migrants-sea-watch-italie-catane-salvini-accord-europeen

    • No more civilian rescue boats off Libyan coast

      The civilian rescue vessel Sea Watch 3, which was detained in Italy on Friday, is the latest of such boats to stop operations in the central Mediterranean. Now, only the Libyan Coast Guard is able to save migrants risking their lives at sea in an attempt to reach Europe from North Africa.

      The main non-government organizations rescuing migrants off the coast of Libya stopped their efforts in mid-2017, mainly because of increased threats from the Libyan Coast Guard. The news agency AFP compiled this update on migrant rescue organizations and their activities:

      The Maltese aid group MOAS, which was the first to carry out migrant rescue operations in 2014 and had deployed two vessels, transferred its activities to helping the Rohingya in Bangladesh in September 2017.

      At about the same time, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ended its operations with the Vos Prudence, the biggest private boat deployed off Libya with a record 1,500 people rescued at the same time.

      Save the Children ended its search and rescue operations with the Vos Hestia in October 2017.

      In August 2017, Italian authorities impounded the Juventa, operated by small German aid group Jugend Rettet, after it was accused of helping Libyan human traffickers. Jugend Rettet has denied the charge.

      The Lifeline rescue vessel, operated by a German aid group of the same name, was impounded on arrival in Valletta, Malta, in June 2018, for alleged registration issues.

      The aid groups SOS Mediterranee and MSF stopped search and rescue operations with the Aquarius in December 2018 after it was stuck in a French port for two months following the revocation of its registration.

      In January 2019, Spanish authorities refused to allow the Open Arms ship to leave Barcelona harbor. In early 2018 the boat, operated by the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, was impounded for a month by Italy. It was then forced to take rescued migrants to Spain several times after Malta and Italy refused to allow them to disembark.

      The Sea Eye charity from Germany had several vessels impounded during 2018 but deployed another ship, the Professor Albrecht Penck, in December, rescuing 12 migrants. The boat is currently in Majorca and plans to set sail again in around two weeks, according to AFP.

      SOS Mediterranee has said it is looking for another boat and flag so it can continue search and rescue operations.

      In Italy a collective of associations launched the Mediterranea, flying an Italian flag, mainly to witness the situation for migrants off Libya.

      There are also two light aircraft which overfly the Mediterranean trying to identify and locate boats in trouble: the Colibri operated by French aid group Pilotes Volontaires, and the Moonbird operated by Sea Watch.


      http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/14966/no-more-civilian-rescue-boats-off-libyan-coast
      #the_end

    • Sea Watch 3 still held in Catania, despite rescue vessel vacuum in the Mediterranean

      The crew of the migrant rescue vessel Sea Watch 3 are ready to continue life saving operations in the central Mediterranean but the vessel remains without permission to leave from Catania harbour, the NGO said yesterday.

      With NGO vessels being barred from leaving ports and coast guard and navy ships withdrawn from the area, it is not known how many attempted crossings there have been over the past week.

      The Sea-Watch 3 vessel remains unable to leave Catania under orders of the port authority and is barred from performing essential search and rescue activities in the Central Mediterranean Sea.

      The vessel was recently caught up in another migrant stand-off between Malta and Sicily and was eventually allowed to disembark the migrants it had rescued in Catania.

      However, the vessel has not been allowed to leave, in what is reminiscent of the time it spent impounded in Malta during the summer of 2018.

      Earlier this year, the vessel, along with another ship operated by the Sea-Eye NGO, was left stranded off the coast of Malta for over two weeks.

      The rescued migrants were eventually disembarked in Malta after an agreement was reached between several member states. The vessels were then ordered to leave Maltese waters, with permission for a crew change reportedly denied.

      Maltese national Danny Mainwaring is among the crew members currently stuck on the Sea Watch in the port of Catania.

      In comments to The Malta Independent, Sea Watch said: “The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Catania stated that Sea-Watch and the crew of its last mission have committed no criminal offence and that all their actions in the rescue of 19 January were justified, as the vessel and her crew saved the lives of 47 people whose boat was bound to sink.

      “That mission culminated in a stand-off that saw vulnerable people stranded at sea on the coast of Syracuse as European leaders failed to provide a port of safety in a timely manner. Despite the public acknowledgement that Sea-Watch conducted itself within the law, the vessel remains barred from departing on technical grounds and awaits a visit from the Dutch flag state requested by the Italian Coast Guard.

      “The Sea-Watch 3 passed a flag state inspection in the summer of 2018, which also confirmed its correct registration. We find ourselves in a scenario reminiscent to that which unfolded in Malta that same summer, when the vessel was kept from leaving port for over four months while a record number of people drowned at sea.

      “EU governments have unanimously adopted a policy of attempting to criminalize sea rescue NGOs and instead finance, train and provide logistical support to the so-called Libyan Coast Guard.

      “Despite the fact that Libya remains in a state of civil war and migrants and refugees face well documented human rights abuses in its detention facilities, the EU is outsourcing a policy of forced return to the so-called Libyan Coast Guard in violation of the principle of non-refoulement.

      “This principle, enshrined in international law, prohibits governments from returning asylum seekers to a country in which they face a well-founded fear of persecution, and inhumane and degrading treatment.

      “With many national coast guard and navy assets withdrawn from the Central Mediterranean and no NGO vessels currently at sea, it is not known how many attempted crossings there have been over the past week. With absolute numbers of crossings declining but the death rate rising, one can only conclude that Europe has strayed from the spirit of cooperation and respect for human rights that it was founded on; the same spirit that breathed life into Operation Sophia when mass drownings alarmed the continent and the world in May 2015.

      “The Sea-Watch 3 and her crew are ready to sail and perform the essential life saving duties for which the organisation has been lauded across the world.

      “European governments must meet their responsibilities towards those in distress both at sea and on land. Rather than criminalize rescue NGOs, who are upholding this responsibility in Europe’s stead, governments must seek sustainable solutions while cooperating with NGOs and opening their ports to people rescued at sea.”


      http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2019-02-11/local-news/Sea-Watch-3-still-held-in-Catania-despite-rescue-vessel-vacuum-in-th

    • When commercial ships tell migrants rescued at sea they are going to bring them to Europe

      Some commercial ships that have rescued people in danger have lied about their destination, according to a telephone hotline that helps migrants lost at sea. Alarm Phone says the crews of several ships led migrants to believe they would be dropped off in Europe, but instead returned them to Libya.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/15194/when-commercial-ships-tell-migrants-rescued-at-sea-they-are-going-to-b

    • When rescue is capture: kidnapping and dividing migrants in the Mediterranean

      EU member states are holding migrants hostage while playing pass the parcel with their fates. It’s a strategy that is as cruel as it is deliberate.

      The Italian minister of the interior, Matteo Salvini, is currently under investigation for abuse of power and the kidnapping of 177 migrants. These migrants were, on Salvini’s orders, confined to the coast guard vessel Diciotti for more than one week in late August last year. While this case received international media attention, it was not an isolated event. Over the last several years Italian ministers and politicians have repeatedly violated international and domestic law as they have sought to prevent individuals from migrating over the Mediterranean Sea. The disembarkation of rescued migrants has been denied or delayed many times. On a few occasions, Italy has arbitrarily closed its ports entirely.

      While the closure of ports and the kidnapping of migrants triggered a strong reaction from some citizens and municipalities, many seemingly do not care. They do not care about the kidnapping of people by the state, nor about an interior minister who violates the law. They just do not want the migrants to land in Italy. Yet, far from being an exclusive Italian affair, the above mentioned legal and political controversies are part of a European battle, in which member states compete to not take care of a few dozen people on a boat seeking asylum. In fact, the recurrent strategy of taking migrants hostage is a sign of how deep Europe’s crisis has become.

      Kidnapping migrants is a strategy designed to deter and exhaust migrants while putting pressure on other member states.
      Migrants as hostages of European politics

      31 January 2019: after being held on a ship of the NGO Sea Watch for 13 days by the Italian authorities, the 47 migrants who were rescued in central Mediterranean were finally authorised to disembark in Sicily, or to put it better they had been liberated. During the period of their captivity the Italian government had argued that the Netherlands should receive them, due to the Dutch flag on the Sea Watch vessel. The Dutch authorities refused to do so. The standoff resulted in a meeting at the European Commission in Brussels to discuss how to deal with the 47 migrants nobody wanted to take. After days of negotiations, the Vatican offered to host the minors while eight member states (France, Germany, Romania, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg and Italy) agreed to take a few migrants each. Meanwhile, the NGO Sea Watch was defending itself against a cynical smear campaign in which the Italian government accused it of “putting migrants’ lives at risk”.

      This case is only the latest in a series of episodes that took place in central Mediterranean. The kidnapping of migrants has been repeatedly enacted by the Italian government and by Malta over the last year. It’s a strategy designed to deter and exhaust migrants, on the one hand, and to put pressure on the EU and on other member states, on the other. It is worth highlighting the continuity of this tactic. Among other episodes, in July 2018 the coast guard vessel Diciotti was prevented from disembarking rescued migrants in the port of Catania until the Italian president at the time successfully intervened. One month later, the Diciotti was again blocked for more than one week, this time with 177 migrants on board. In both these cases the rescue vessel was Italian. In more recent episodes the vessels have belonged to NGOs registered to other member states. In the closing days of 2018, 49 migrants had to wait 19 days after being rescued by the Sea Eye and Sea Watch vessels. They were finally disembarked in Malta on 9 January, and then relocated to other EU countries.

      The strategy of migrant kidnapping on the northern shore of the Mediterranean is part of a broader politics of migration containment. Together with the protracted detention of migrants on rescue vessels, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepts and rescues migrants in distress and takes them back to detention centres in Libya as a result of the 2017 Italy-Libya Memorandum of Understanding. International organisations like UNHCR and the IOM are involved in their containment in Libya once they arrive. In both cases – the confinement of migrants on rescue ships and the return of migrants to Libya – rescue at sea turns out to be a mode of capture.

      We might have been pulled out of the sea, the argument goes, but we are no less human and we are not to be bartered and haggled over.
      The European battle over numbers

      The migrants at the centre of these intra-European diplomatic battles are actually very few in number. Meetings, internal political crises, and struggles between states and non-state actors have resulted from a few dozen migrants seeking entry into Europe despite already being within European territory; confined to their rescue ships either in or just off European harbours for no other reason than member states’ refusal to take them. It is noticeable that the dispute among European countries was also predicated on migrants’ vulnerability: some member states have declared that they would welcome women and minors only. In this way, the right to protection and to mobility appear as a sort of “privilege” of those deemed to be the most vulnerable.

      The “fear of the small numbers”, as the anthropologist Ariun Appadurai calls it, has rarely been so evident. With just a few dozen migrants at issue, Salvini is by no means staving off a ‘crisis’ of quantity. Yet that is what makes recent events so troubling. They show that public sentiment does not soften when the counterargument focuses on how small the numbers are, as it has done so far. Both citizens’ active consensus and passive acceptance of migration containment has proved immoveable. The European front against migrants ultimately remains solid.

      At the same time, the anti-migrant front does not monopolise the field. Thousands of citizens mobilised across Europe and in Italy to demand the liberation of the detained migrants. Their solidaric reaction was not primarily driven by the fact that there were only a ‘few’ migrants to host, but by a conviction that those kidnapped – like with any other kidnapping – must be unconditionally released. As such, during the protests that haven taken place we have seen many more banners with the words “let them disembark!” than with more Italy-centric slogans like “not in my name”. In short, it’s not about Italy, it’s about the people on the ship.

      That central point is further enshrined in the “We are not fish” campaign, launched in Rome on 28 January 2019. We might have been pulled out of the sea, the argument goes, but we are no less human and we are not to be bartered and haggled over. The “We are not fish” campaign demands that Italian harbours remain open and that migrants are allowed to disembark. It opposes the fundamental inequality of lives that sustain the politics of migration, which is premised on the suggestion that migrants are not truly humans.

      The widespread citizen reaction against migrants’ seizure at sea and against deaths in the Mediterranean constitutes not only a fundamental ethical response, but also potentially a catalyst for actively refusing the leave-to-die politics playing out in the Mediterranean. Indeed, the ongoing civic mobilisation should be seized as an opportunity for moving beyond the horizon of a politics of rescue and the current debate that pivots around the question, should we rescue or not rescue the migrants?

      Indeed, a left-wing discourse on migration would require fighting the politics of migration containment as a whole, including the most recent bilateral agreement between Italy and Libya that the previous government led by the Democratic Party signed. It would also require challenging the racialisation and inequalities of lives enforced by the global visa regime, which forces many people across the world to become shipwrecked lives to be rescued. Neither the trial of Salvini nor the acceptance of the terms of the current debate centred around leave-to-die politics will liberate migrants from being held hostage to European politics. “We are not fish”. This motto is circulating widely. It posits the existence of a ‘we’, a common ground, between migrants and European citizens that refuses the reproduction of the asymmetries between ‘rescuers’ and ‘rescued’.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/martina-tazzioli/when-rescue-is-capture-kidnapping-and-dividing-migrants-in-mediterran

    • Un seul navire humanitaire est actuellement présent au large de la Libye

      Près de 17 000 personnes sont mortes en mer Méditerranée ces quatre dernières années. Pour tenter d’enrayer la tragédie, des navires humanitaires se sont relayés dans la zone de détresse, au large des côtes libyennes pour les secourir. Mais actuellement, un seul patrouille dans cette zone.

      Actuellement, seul le bateau Aylan Kurdi (anciennement appelé Professor Albrecht Penck) est actuellement au large de la Libye. Il appartient à l’ONG allemande Sea Eye.

      Où sont les autres bateaux d’ONG ? InfoMigrants fait le point.

      Les navires humanitaires qui sont bloqués dans des ports européens :

      – Le Sea-Watch 3 de l’ONG Sea Watch est en escale dans le port de Marseille pour un problème administratif relatif à son pavillon néerlandais (et effectuer sa maintenance). Il devrait repartir en mer mi-mars.

      – Depuis un débarquement en juin 2018 à Malte, le Lifeline de l’ONG allemande eponyme est bloqué au port de La Valette, à Malte, où les autorités contestent sa situation administrative.

      – Depuis le mois de janvier 2019, l’Open Arms de l’ONG espagnole Proactiva Open Arms est bloqué à Barcelone par les autorités espagnoles. Au printemps 2018, ce navire avait été placé un mois sous séquestre en Italie avant d’être autorisé à repartir.

      – Début août 2017, la justice italienne a saisi le Juventa de l’ONG allemande Jugend Rettet, accusée de complicité avec les passeurs libyens mais qui clame depuis son innocence.

      Les ONG qui résistent :

      –Dans les airs, les petits avions Colibri de l’ONG française Pilotes volontaires et Moonbird de Sea-Watch mènent régulièrement des patrouilles pour tenter de repérer les embarcations en difficulté.

      –L’Astral, le voilier de l’ONG Open Arms, est actuellement à Barcelone.

      –En Italie, un collectif d’associations a lancé le Mare Jonio, un navire battant pavillon italien qui entend avant tout témoigner de la situation en mer. Il est actuellement à Palerme.

      Les navires humanitaires qui ont renoncé :

      Des ONG engagées au large des côtes libyennes ont suspendu leurs activités, face à la chute des départs de Libye et face à une intensification des menaces des garde-côtes libyens, qui considèrent les ONG comme complices des passeurs.

      – Suite aux pressions politiques, privé de pavillon, l’Aquarius de l’ONG SOS Méditerranée – qui a secouru près de 20 000 personnes en deux ans et demi - a mis fin à ses missions en décembre 2018. L’ONG espère toutefois trouver un nouveau bateau pour repartir rapidement en mer au printemps 2019.

      – Médecins sans frontières (MSF) a mis fin au même moment aux activités du Vos Prudence, le plus gros navire humanitaire privé actif au large de la Libye avec un record de de 1 500 personnes secourues en même temps.

      – Save the Children a également mis fin aux activités de sauvetage du navire Vos Hestia.

      – L’ONG maltaise Moas, la première à s’engager dans les opérations de secours en 2014 et qui a compté jusqu’à deux navires dans la zone, a transféré ses activités auprès des Rohingyas au Bangladesh.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/15426/un-seul-navire-humanitaire-est-actuellement-present-au-large-de-la-lib

    • Sea Watch segreto di Stato. Viminale e Infrastrutture: no accesso agli atti

      Non è possibile sapere da chi e come fu bloccata la nave. Ed è giallo anche sull’omesso sbarco dei minori. Cortocircuito tra Prefettura, Comune e Tribunale di minori

      Nel Paese dei misteri irrisolti anche la sorte dei migranti rischia di diventare un “segreto di Stato”. Non sarà infatti possibile sapere chi, nello scorso gennaio, ha dato l’ordine di bloccare a Siracusa la nave umanitaria Sea Watch, né chi e perché ha impedito lo sbarco immediato dei 15 minorenni, dirottando poi il vascello verso il porto di Catania.

      La conferma dello stato di riservatezza degli atti arriva dal Viminale, che ha respinto la richiesta di divulgazione dei documenti depositati presso il ministero delle Infrastrutture. Intorno al caso, dopo che Avvenire aveva documentato la smentita del ministero che esclude sia mai stato dato l’ordine di «porti chiusi», è stato eretto un muro di gomma. Nei giorni scorsi il Viminale aveva assicurato che da Salvini, contrariamente alle reiterate dichiarazioni pubbliche, non era mai partito alcun ordine di stop alle navi umanitarie né alcun «divieto di sbarco».

      Non restava che interpellare il dicastero guidato da Danilo Toninelli, competente per la Guardia costiera e i porti. Ma la nuova richiesta di accesso ai documenti è stata respinta. Motivo? «La tipologia di atti richiesti non è soggetta a pubblicazione obbligatoria». Così il capo di gabinetto del ministro Salvini ha risposto all’istanza «indirizzata – viene precisato nella risposta – anche al ministero delle Infrastrutture», a cui era stata originariamente rivolta. Nella missiva, che reca la data del 26 febbraio, viene escluso per il caso Sea Watch l’obbligo di divulgazione delle informazioni.

      Secondo la legge richiamata nello scambio di documenti tra l’avvocato Alessandra Ballerini, che aveva chiesto trasparenza per contro di Adif (Associazione Diritti e Frontiere), e il prefetto a capo del gabinetto del ministro, viene invocata la norma che giustifica il rifiuto alla conoscibilità per «la sicurezza pubblica e l’ordine pubblico; la sicurezza nazionale; la difesa e le questioni militari; le relazioni internazionali; la politica e la stabilità finanziaria ed economica dello Stato; la conduzione di indagini sui reati e il loro perseguimento; il regolare svolgimento di attività ispettive». In quale di queste categorie rientri il caso della Sea Watch e dei minorenni bloccati a bordo per 13 giorni non è dato da sapere.

      Indirettamente, però, una cosa il Viminale la conferma. Se nei giorni scorsi era stata negata l’esistenza di deliberazioni riconducibili al ministro Matteo Salvini, adesso viene implicitamente riconosciuto che le decisioni furono prese formalmente dal ministero delle Infrastrutture. Una circostanza che di fatto esenta Salvini, che aveva dato “indicazioni politiche”, da responsabilità che eventualmente ricadrebbero su Toninelli.

      La gestione dei 15 minori non accompagnati e l’omissione dello sbarco immediato (come previsto dalle norme per i minorenni non accompagnati) potrebbe avere seguiti giudiziari. Da uno scambio di comunicazioni tra la prefettura di Siracusa, il Tribunale dei minori di Catania e il Comune di Siracusa risulta, infatti, che la scelta di trasferire la nave al porto di Catania, dopo giorni alla fonda davanti al “Porto rifugio” siracusano, sarebbe stata assunta dal Comando generale delle Capitanerie di porto, che dipende dal ministero delle Infrastrutture. Disposizione necessaria «in ragione della presenza di minori a bordo».

      A scriverlo è proprio la prefettura aretusea in una nota trasmessa il 31 gennaio (giorno dello sbarco) al Tribunale per i minorenni di Catania. Eppure ventiquattr’ore prima lo stesso tribunale aveva inviato i decreti di affido dei 15 minori ai Servizi sociali del Comune di Siracusa, che immediatamente aveva individuato e messo a disposizione 4 strutture del circondario. Invece, nessuno viene fatto sbarcare e in serata la Sea Watch, dopo una settimana di attesa in Sicilia, riceve l’ordine di procedere verso Catania. Una decisione, come sostiene il prefetto Luigi Pizzi in uno dei documenti ottenuti da Avvenire, dovuta alla mancanza di strutture di prima accoglienza idonee. Una carenza che però non risulta, vista la disponibilità certificata dal Comune e che sorprende anche il Tribunale che proprio dall’ente locale aveva ricevuto l’elenco dei centri di accoglienza.

      «Non c’era nessun bisogno che intervenisse il tribunale per far sbarcare i minori. La legge è chiara: andavano fatti sbarcare subito», dice Sandra Zampa, ex parlamentare del Pd e autrice della legge sui minori non accompagnati votata nella precedente legislatura con il sostegno del M5s. L’intervento del tribunale dei minorenni ha confermato l’efficacia delle norme, «interrompendo – spiega Zampa – l’omissione che si stava compiendo».

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/sea-watch-segreto-di-stato

    • Sea Watch, inchieste sugli atti «top secret». Si muovono le procure

      Dopo che il Viminale si è rifiutato di rendere pubblici gli ordini, i pm accendono un faro. Il sindaco di Siracusa: «Anomalie, abbiamo le prove. Fare chiarezza». E accusa: «Ci furono ordini politici»

      Il caso Sea Watch, con lo stallo davanti al porto di Siracusa e poi il trasferimento nello scalo di Catania, avrà seguiti giudiziari. Sono almeno due le procure che stanno esaminando i fatti riguardanti l’omesso sbarco immediato dei 15 minorenni e le modalità con cui le autorità politiche hanno eretto un muro intorno alla catena di comando. Una barriera contro cui è disposta a fare breccia la giunta di Siracusa, che si dichiara pronta ad andare davanti ai magistrati per riferire tutte le anomalie registrate a fine gennaio.
      Le inchieste, a quanto trapela, riguardano non solo Sea Watch, ma anche altri sbarchi con le navi umanitarie costrette al largo per giorni prima di poter mettere al sicuro, sulla terraferma, i naufraghi scampati ai lager libici e alle tempeste. Vari esposti erano da tempo sui tavoli della procura di Roma e di alcune procure siciliane, che hanno acquisito quanto rivelato da «Avvenire» giovedì scorso. A cominciare dalla massima riservatezza apposta dal ministero dell’Interno sugli atti relativi alla Sea Watch, mentre il dicastero guidato da Danilo Toninelli ha lasciato trascorrere i 30 giorni previsti dalle norme per rispondere alle richieste di accesso civico agli atti presentata dall’Associazione Diritti e frontiere. Uniche spiegazioni sono arrivate dal Viminale con due risposte in apparente contraddizione. La prima, firmata dal Dipartimento Immigrazione, escludeva che fosse mai stato dato l’ordine di porti chiusi e divieto di sbarco. La seconda, siglata dal capo di gabinetto del ministro, precisava che «la tipologia di atti richiesti non è soggetta a pubblicazione obbligatoria». Da qualche parte, dunque, ci sono documenti che non si vuole rendere noti. Perché?
      Quanto all’ipotetico cavillo usato per trasferire la Sea Watch copn i suoi 47 naufraghi improvvisamente da Siracusa a Catania, emerge un dettaglio da un documento della prefettura di Siracusa, che come è noto risponde al Viminale. La lettera, visionata da “Avvenire”, è del 31 gennaio 2019, giorno in cui la nave ricevette l’ordine di lasciare le acque antistanti il “Porto Rifugio” di Siracusa per recarsi, scortata da Guardia costiera e Guardia di finanza, verso Catania. La missiva, indirizzata al presidente e al procuratore del Tribunale dei minorenni, rivela che la nave è stata dirottata «proprio in ragione della presenza di minori a bordo che in quella sede saranno immediatamente accolti in idonee strutture. Diversamente da quanto sarebbe avvenuto in questa provincia, ove non si dispone di centri destinati ai minori in argomento». Sarebbe questo, dunque, uno dei grimaldelli adottati per sottrarre la Sea Watch alla procura di Siracusa - che aveva escluso irregolarità commesse in mare dall’equipaggio - consegnando la nave umanitaria alla procura di Catania, mai stata tenera con le Ong. Il procuratore Zuccaro (Catania) ha però dato ragione alle indagini del collega Scavone (Siracusa) non ravvisando comportamenti illeciti dell’equipaggio.

      I fatti emersi in questi giorni hanno provocato la reazione del Comune di Siracusa, accusato di non avere a disposizione luoghi di accoglienza per minori non accompagnati. «Bisognerà far chiarezza su come si sono svolti i fatti», afferma Alessandra Furnari, assessore alle Pari opportunità sociali. Su richiesta del Tribunale dei minorenni erano invece state individuate strutture adeguate presenti nel comprensorio. «Sul trasferimento dei minori a Catania – prosegue l’assessore Furnari - non abbiamo mai avuto notizie ufficiali, ma solo colloqui telefonici con la prefettura». Scambi verbali senza che mai «la prefettura – insiste l’assessore - desse riscontro per iscritto». Una costante durante quei giorni ad alta tensione. «Ciò che ha caratterizzato tutta la vicenda - osserva il sindaco di Siracusa, Francesco Italia – è stata proprio l’assenza di risposte formali». Come se si avesse il timore di lasciare tracce. «In tutti gli sbarchi avvenuti a Siracusa precedentemente – ricorda Italia – i minori sono sempre stati accolti nelle strutture di II livello (le stesse predisposte per la Sea Watch, in linea con l’ordine del tribunale), senza che ciò creasse alcun problema». Per il primo cittadino c’è una sola spiegazione: «Si è trattato di decisioni di tipo politico».
      Ora a Siracusa attendono solo una convocazione da parte dei magistrati inquirenti. «Non abbiamo alcun problema a raccontare quello che è successo», ribadisce l’assessore Alessandra Furnari. E a differenza del muro di gomma eretto nei ministeri, le accuse della giunta possono essere «documentalmente provate, perché molti rapporti con il tribunale e con la prefettura, almeno da parte nostra, sono avvenuti per iscritto».

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/sea-watch-inchiesta-su-atti-top-secret

    • Migrants on hunger strike in Malta after stuck for 2 months

      Many of the 49 people rescued in December by the #Sea_Watch and #Sea_Eye ships are engaged in a hunger strike, the platform Mediterranea Saving Humans reports. The migrants have been in a Malta center for two months and are protesting “against the de facto detention that they are illegally subjected to.”

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/15616/migrants-on-hunger-strike-in-malta-after-stuck-for-2-months
      #Malte #grève_de_la_faim #attente #limbe #détention #Marsa

    • Migranti, la nave ong Alan Kurdi diretta a Malta. Esposto di Mediterranea contro il governo

      Dopo il rifiuto delle madri con figli di sbarcare a Lampedusa senza i loro mariti. La Procura di Agrigento dovrà aprire un fascicolo sulla mancata autorizzazione a entrare in acque italiane e la non assegnazione di un porto sicuro. E il capitano De Falco andrà sulla nave che partirà verso la Libia per soccorrere naufraghi

      https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2019/04/06/news/migranti-223409223

    • Italy’s prime minister and Matteo Salvini under investigation over detention of migrants

      Far-right politician Matteo Salvini and Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte have been placed under investigation over the detention of 47 migrants.

      Mr Salvini said he was once again under investigation for alleged false imprisonment on Monday after a dispute earlier this year over whether the interior minister and Lega Nord party leader should be tried over the detention of 177 asylum seekers last August.

      The current case concerns the decision to prevent migrants from leaving a Sea-Watch ship, which rescued them off the coast of Libya on 19 January.

      Deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio and infrastructure minister Danilo Toninelli, also face charges with Mr Salvini and Mr Conte.

      The 47 migrants were forced to wait off the coast of Sicily for more than a week after the ship was denied the right to dock in Palermo, inspiring an emergency appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and criticism from the United Nations.

      The Sea-Watch ship was only allowed to dock after other European countries agreed to accept the migrants.

      In March, senators stopped a criminal case against Mr Salvini for blocking a rescue ship in August 2018 after an Italian court ruled that he should be tried.

      Mr Salvini has repeatedly berated rescue ships and accused charitable organisations of aiding and abetting illegal immigration.

      “I am under investigation again, but as long as I am the interior minister, the government colleagues can say what they want, the Italian ports remain closed,” he said, maintaining his hardline stance on immigration.

      “Another 18 criminal proceedings can be opened, I don’t change my mind."

      Before the senate vote on Mr Salvini’s case in March, Mr Conte and Mr Di Maio, who leads the Five Star Movement (M5S), formally defended the minister.

      “If Salvini is responsible for the seizure [of the boat] then the whole government is responsible,” they said in a statement.

      Giorgia Linardi, a spokesperson for Sea-Watch in Italy, said the organisation had worked within the law and the boat was unjustly detained.

      “The detention on board for propaganda purposes cannot once again be unjustified, because it is protected be politics,” she said.

      “People fleeing Libya must be rescued and protected, not exploited.”

      The court will reportedly have three months to decide whether the four politicians should face trial.

      If the court decides to bring charges, the senate will vote on whether their parliamentary immunity should be removed.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/matteo-salvini-italy-prime-minister-conte-migrants-detention-a8872301

  • L’Espagne appelle l’UE à aider le Maroc sur la gestion des frontières

    Le Premier ministre espagnol, Pedro Sánchez, a demandé à la Commission de mettre en place des aides pour aider le Maroc ainsi que l’Espagne à gérer la frontière Méditerranéenne.

    La mise en place d’un fonds de 55 millions d’euros dans le cadre du programme de gestion des frontières du Maroc a déjà été approuvée par l’Europe. Ces financements devraient surtout servir à équiper les #gardes-frontières_marocains.

    Le gouvernement marocain demande cependant plusieurs autres actions, des demandes reprises en annexe dans la lettre adressée à Jean-Claude Juncker, le président de la Commission européenne, par le Premier ministre espagnol, Pedro Sánchez. Selon les sources d’Euractiv, l’exécutif analyseront cette lettre « rapidement ».

    La route de la Méditerranée occidentale, qui passe par le Maroc et l’Espagne, est devenu le principal point d’entrée des migrants illégaux à l’UE. À la date du 30 juillet, 23 993 personnes sont arrivées en Europe par cette voie, alors qu’ils étaient 18 298 à arriver en Italie. La coopération hispano-marocaine est essentielle pour limiter le nombre d’arrivées.

    La lettre de Pedro Sánchez suit un engagement du Conseil européen, selon lequel le soutien aux pays d’arrivée, « surtout l’Espagne », et les pays d’origine et de transit, « en particulier le Maroc », afin d’empêcher l’immigration illégale.

    Plus tôt dans le mois, la Commission européenne a octroyé 24,8 millions d’euros à l’Espagne pour qu’elle puisse améliorer ses capacités d’accueil, notamment en ce qui concerne les soins, la nourriture et le logement des migrants qui arrivent notamment sur l’enclave de Ceuta et Melilla.

    720 000 euros supplémentaires ont été mis à disposition du ministère de l’Intérieur pour renforcer le système de retours.

    « Durant l’année écoulée, l’Espagne a vu le nombre d’arrivants augmenter et nous devons renforcer notre soutien pour renforcer la gestion de ces arrivées et le retour de ceux qui n’ont pas le droit de rester », avait alors déclaré le commissaire aux migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    Dans le cadre des programmes sur l’immigration, les frontières et la sécurité, l’Espagne doit toucher 692 millions d’euros pour la période budgétaire 2014-2020.

    L’agence Frontex a également renforcé sa présence en Espagne. Quelque 195 agents, deux bateaux, un avion et un hélicoptère ont été déployé pour contribuer à la surveillance des frontières, aux opérations de sauvetage et à la répression de la criminalité organisée.

    Les opérations Frontex en Espagne étaient jusqu’ici organisées de manière saisonnière, mais l’augmentation des arrivées a forcé l’agence à s’y établir de manière permanente.

    Plateformes de débarquement

    Des représentants de l’UE, de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations, de l’UNHCR, des pays d’Afrique du Nord (à l’exception de la Lybie et de l’Algérie) et de l’Union africaine se sont réunis à Genève le 30 juillet.

    Le principal objectif de cette rencontre était d’assurer une meilleure coopération sur les opérations de sauvetage en Méditerranée, de favoriser la mise en place de partenariats et de partager les points de vue des participants sur la création de plateformes de débarquement dans des pays tiers.

    L’UE avait annoncé ne pas s’attendre à un résultat particulier, mais espérer des discussions ouvertes avec ses voisins, afin de préparer un accord plus formel qui pourrait être négocié à l’automne.

    https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/tues-morning-sanchez-backs-moroccos-call-for-support-to-stem-migrat-flows
    #Maroc #Espagne #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Méditerranée

    • Le Maroc et l’Espagne pour un renforcement de la coopération sur l’immigration

      Le chef du gouvernement espagnol Pedro Sanchez effectue lundi sa première visite officielle au Maroc, au moment où la question migratoire est devenue centrale dans les relations entre Rabat et Madrid.

      « La migration est une responsabilité commune et nous devons renforcer notre coopération sur cette question », a dit M. Sanchez, à l’issue d’entretiens avec son homologue marocain Saad-Eddine el Othmani.

      « Le partenariat économique est également important, c’est pourquoi nous avons convenu de l’organisation l’an prochain d’un forum économique maroco-espagnol », a poursuivi le dirigeant espagnol, accompagné de plusieurs membres de son gouvernement pour sa première visite officielle dans le royaume qui s’achève plus tard dans la journée.

      « Le Maroc fait tout ce qui est en son pouvoir en matière de lutte contre l’immigration clandestine », a souligné de son côté le chef du gouvernement marocain, issu du Parti justice et développement (PJD, islamiste).

      « La question migratoire est complexe et ne peut être réglée uniquement par une approche sécuritaire malgré son importance, il faut privilégier le développement des pays de départ en Afrique », a ajouté M. Othmani.

      Le socialiste Pedro Sanchez avait annoncé vendredi avoir demandé une audience avec le roi Mohammed VI, mais sa tenue n’était toujours pas confirmée lundi en fin de matinée.

      L’Espagne est l’un des principaux alliés du Maroc en Europe et son premier partenaire commercial.

      Tout au long de l’année, plusieurs ministres et responsables espagnols se sont rendus à Rabat pour parler lutte antiterroriste et surtout migration, louant « l’excellence » des relations entre les deux voisins.

      Devenue cette année la première porte d’entrée des migrants en Europe, l’Espagne plaide depuis des mois pour que l’Union européenne débloque des aides à destination du Maroc afin de mieux gérer les flux clandestins sur la route occidentale de la Méditerranée.

      Près de 47.500 migrants sont arrivés en Espagne par voie maritime depuis le début de l’année, selon l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), et 564 sont morts ou portés disparus.

      Si certains tentent la traversée à bord de bateaux pneumatiques au départ des côtes marocaines, d’autres escaladent les barrières hérissées de barbelés des enclaves espagnoles de Ceuta et Melilla, seules frontières terrestres entre l’Afrique et l’Europe.

      Outre les migrants subsahariens, ces derniers mois ont vu se multiplier les tentatives de départ de migrants marocains, prêts à tout pour gagner le continent européen.

      Entre janvier et fin septembre, le Maroc a stoppé 68.000 tentatives d’immigration clandestine et démantelé 122 « réseaux criminels actifs », selon un bilan officiel.

      https://www.h24info.ma/actu/le-maroc-et-lespagne-pour-un-renforcement-de-la-cooperation-sur-limmigration

    • Migration : Où iront les 140 millions d’euros ?

      Le partenariat Maroc-UE en matière de migration connait un coup d’accélérateur. De nouveaux fonds ont été débloqués par la Commission européenne. « Les Inspirations ÉCO » retrace le circuit de ces fonds et leur affectation.

      C’est l’aboutissement de six mois de négociations entre le Maroc et la Commission européenne (CE) pour renforcer le soutien destiné au royaume pour « développer davantage son système de gestion des frontières, et de lutter de manière plus efficace contre le trafic d’êtres humains ». Les nouvelles annonces prises dans le cadre du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique contribueront à améliorer la capacité du Maroc et de la Libye à gérer leurs frontières.

      Une aide en trois volets

      Un montant de 40 millions d’euros a été libéré par la CE sur les 140 millions d’euros adopté à l’issue de négociations. Dans ces pourparlers, le Maroc pouvait compter sur un avocat de taille : l’Espagne. Le royaume aussi a fait prévaloir les chiffres de la lutte contre les flux de la migration irrégulière stoppés en 2018 sur les côtes marocaines. « Nous évoluons dans un contexte régional marqué par une reprise de la pression migratoire sur le Maroc », rappelle Khalid Zerouali, directeur de l’immigration et de la surveillance des frontières, au ministère de l’Intérieur. Et d’ajouter : « En 2018, nous sommes à 78.000 interceptions contre 32.000 en 2016 sur la route de la méditerranée occidentale ». Même son de cloche de Dimitris Avramopoulos, commissaire chargé de la migration, des affaires intérieures et de la citoyenneté : « Le Maroc est soumis à une pression migratoire particulièrement forte, du fait de l’augmentation des flux. C’est pourquoi, nous nous employons à intensifier et approfondir notre partenariat avec ce pays, en augmentant notre soutien financier ». Ces 140 millions d’euros seront destinés « à l’acquisition d’équipements et de moyens de détection », indique le haut responsable du ministère de l’Intérieur. Ces budgets seront gérés par le voisin ibérique à travers la Fondation internationale et ibéro-américaine pour l’administration et les politiques publiques. Ces nouveaux fonds seront axés sur « la lutte contre le trafic de migrants et la traite d’êtres humains, dont un renforcement de la gestion intégrée des frontières », indique la CE. Dans les détails le soutien européen au Maroc en matière migratoire se compose de trois volets : soutien à la gestion des frontières, lutte contre les réseaux de trafic et le soutien à la politique d’intégration des migrants. Le premier volet s’inscrit dans le programme de soutien à la gestion des frontières dans la région du Maghreb. « Sur l’ensemble de ce budget, le Maroc bénéficiera d’une enveloppe de 30 millions d’euros, ce qui aidera les services marocains de contrôle aux frontières. Ce programme est d’ores et déjà déployé, en concertation étroite avec les autorités marocaines », précise l’UE. Le deuxième volet est un programme d’une valeur de 70 millions d’euros, qui a été récemment adopté pour aider le Maroc « dans sa lutte contre le trafic de migrants et la traite d’êtres humains, au moyen, notamment, d’une gestion des frontières renforcée », continue l’UE. Le troisième volet porte sur un programme de 8 millions d’euros visant à aider le Maroc à renforcer encore ses politiques dans le domaine de la gouvernance des migrations au niveau régional. Johannes Hahn, commissaire chargé de la politique européenne de voisinage et des négociations d’élargissement, avait déclaré à ce propos : « avec le concours de ses États membres, l’UE intensifie actuellement son aide au Maroc, un partenaire de premier plan pour l’Union européenne ». Pour ce responsable de l’UE, « la coopération va cependant bien au-delà de la seule migration : nous nous employons à renforcer notre partenariat par le développement socioéconomique, la décentralisation et l’intégration des jeunes, au profit des citoyens marocains et européens ». À la fin de cette année, l’UE aura pris en faveur du Maroc des engagements à hauteur de 148 millions d’euros en matière d’assistance liée aux migrations.

      Les niet du Maroc

      Lors des négociations avec l’UE, le Maroc continue d’afficher une position ferme sur deux points : les centres de débarquement de migrants (hotspot) et un accord de réadmission globale Maroc-UE. Les dix ans de partenariat avec l’UE sur le thème de la migration, avec des engagements se hissant à 232 millions d’euros, n’ont pas changé l’avis du Maroc sur le sujet. Depuis 2013, ce partenariat s’inscrit dans le cadre de l’Accord de partenariat de mobilité. L’UE soutient la Stratégie nationale pour l’immigration et l’asile adoptée par le Maroc en 2014, dont certaines mesures mettent tout particulièrement l’accent sur l’intégration des migrants, ainsi que sur la promotion et la protection de leurs droits, mettent en place des systèmes durables en matière de retour et de réintégration et promeuvent un dialogue régional sur la migration. Depuis 2014, l’UE dispose de différents fonds et instruments afin de soutenir des actions liées à la migration au Maroc.

      http://www.leseco.ma/decryptages/grand-angle/72929-migration-ou-iront-les-140-millions-d-euros.html

    • Alemania y los países del Grupo Visegrado anuncian un plan para que Marruecos frene la inmigración, como pide España

      Alemania y los cuatro países del Grupo de Visegrado (V4) planean un proyecto de desarrollo en Marruecos con el objetivo de frenar la migración del Norte de África a Europa, según han anunciado este jueves en Bratislava la canciller alemana, Angela Merkel, y el primer ministro eslovaco, Peter Pellegrini.

      Desde el pasado verano, el Gobierno español está actuando como «el abogado de las peticiones marroquíes», en palabras del Ministro del Interior, para impulsar el desembolso de millones de euros desde la Unión Europea a Marruecos a cambio de que el país norteafricano aumente el control de la inmigración hacia España. A finales de enero, la secretaria de Estado de Migraciones, Consuelo Rumí, viajó a Bruselas para agilizar partidas por valor de 140 millones con esta finalidad.

      Entre las demandas se encontraba el apoyo a Marruecos en el desarrollo de políticas sociales, como la educación. Las reclamaciones del Ejecutivo socialista parecen haber convencido a Alemania y los cuatro países del V4 (R.Checa, Eslovaquia, Hungría y Polonia).

      «Debemos actuar sobre las causas de la migración o destierro, y por eso en el futuro nos dedicaremos a este proyecto con Marruecos», dijo Merkel en rueda de prensa tras finalizar una cumbre de jefes de Gobierno de Alemania y los países V4.

      «Queremos enviar el mensaje de que colaboramos cuando se trata de combatir las raíces de la migración», resaltó Merkel tras reconocer que la Unión Europea (UE) ya tiene «actividades» en el país africano.

      «Marruecos es un país de donde llegaron muchos refugiados y por eso queremos incidir aquí de una forma muy concreta», insistió. Ni Merkel ni Pellegrini dieron detalles sobre el proyecto.

      El jefe del Gobierno eslovaco se limitó a indicar que se prevé crear un fondo de dinero y una estructura administrativa, y que esperan estar en condiciones de concretarlo en un futuro cercano.

      Merkel consideró que el acuerdo alcanzado es un «ejemplo» de que los V4 y Alemania «quieren estrechar su cooperación también en este campo», en una alusión a las posturas hasta ahora distantes entre Berlín y las otras cuatro capitales.

      Los Estados de Visegrado son reacios a conceder asilo a refugiados o a aceptar inmigrantes, sobre todo si vienen de Oriente Medio o África, y especialmente los Gobiernos de Polonia y Hungría han criticado duramente a Merkel por su política de 2015, cuando Alemania abrió las puertas a centenares de miles de refugiados que llegaron a través de la ruta de los Balcanes.

      Los V4 se han mantenido inflexibles en su negativa a aceptar las cuotas obligatorias de reubicación solicitantes de asilo entre todos los socios de la Unión Europea (UE), propuesta por la Comisión Europea en 2015, y abogan por reforzar el control de las fronteras externas del bloque comunitario para frenar la inmigración

      «Necesitamos una migración legal y también la defensa de las fronteras, para lo cual es necesario mantener buenas relaciones con los vecinos, y uno de ellos es Marruecos», declaró Merkel.

      https://www.eldiario.es/desalambre/Alemania-Grupo-Visegrado-Marruecos-Espana_0_865464385.html
      #Allemagne #Groupe_de_Visegrad #République_Tchèque #Slovaquie #Hongrie #Pologne

    • Nouvelle #aide_en_nature de Madrid à Rabat pour contenir l’immigration irrégulière

      Dans son édition d’aujourd’hui, le quotidien espagnol El Pais annonce l’octroi au Maroc d’une aide sous forme de #véhicules. Le #don est estimé à 26 millions d’euros. Ce soutien devrait être validé le même jour, en Conseil des ministres à Madrid.

      Nouvel appui de Madrid à destination du Maroc pour la gestion de la migration irrégulière en Méditerranée occidentale. Le quotidien espagnol El Pais annonce l’allocation d’une aide de 26 millions d’euros au gouvernement marocain. Une aide qui s’inscrit dans le décaissement de 140 millions d’euros, promis par la Commission européenne au Maroc afin de “compenser les efforts [du Maroc] mis en oeuvre en matière de surveillance de ses frontières”, écrit le journal de référence ibère.

      Cette aide prendra la forme d’un achat de véhicules. Celui-ci devrait comprendre, selon El Pais, sept lots de véhicules types 4×4, dont des ambulances. Des camions-citernes et réfrigérants seraient également prévus dans ce dispositif qui attend d’être approuvé lors du Conseil des ministres de ce vendredi avant de débloquer les fonds.

      Cette aide s’inscrit dans un budget spécifique prévu pour l’année 2019 au titre de “l’appui à la gestion intégrale des frontières et des migrations au Maroc”. C’est dans ce même fonds, d’après El Pais, que Madrid avait validé l’octroi de 108 véhicules et équipements informatiques d’une valeur totale de 3,2 millions d’euros. Le Maroc, ainsi que la Mauritanie et le Sénégal, en avait bénéficié en octobre 2018.
      Peser en faveur du Maroc

      Depuis 2015, les deux voisins du Détroit ont multiplié les actions conjointes pour réguler le phénomène migratoire en Méditerranée occidentale. Nasser Bourita, ministre des Affaires étrangères, avait salué “un binôme exemplaire” lors d’une conférence de presse avec son homologue espagnol en marge de la visite d’État du roi Felipe VI.

      Le ministère espagnol de l’Intérieur a annoncé “avoir enregistré, au 13 juin, l’arrivée de 13.263” personnes en situation irrégulière. Soit une baisse de 23% par rapport à la même période janvier-fin juin 2018. En février, Nasser Bourita avait affirmé que le Maroc déployait quelque 13.000 agents des forces de l’ordre sur le littoral nord, “pour agir avec responsabilité dans la lutte contre la migration clandestine”.

      Devenue la première porte d’entrée en Europe, l’Espagne compte bien peser en faveur du Maroc pour réguler la pression migratoire accrue. Le chef de la diplomatie espagnol, Josep Borell, avait également rappelé que “l’Espagne était prête à soutenir la relance de la relation spéciale et singulière du Maroc avec l’Union européenne”. Une phrase qui prend une tout autre allure depuis ces derniers jours. En début de semaine, ce dernier a en effet été désigné à la tête de la diplomatie européenne.

      D’après El Pais, “les Vingt-huit souhaitent que la coopération et les efforts soient maintenus et négociés, au-delà des 140 millions d’euros”. “Un effort important”, pour le Premier ministre socialiste espagnol, Pedro Sanchez, qui avait appelé dans une interview en marge des législatives espagnoles à le soutenir “à moyen et long terme par un véritable partenariat stratégique entre l’Union européenne et le Maroc”.

      Parmi les dossiers qui pourraient compter pour Madrid, El Pais évoque “une flexibilité” de l’Espagne sur l’attribution des visas pour les Marocains, en échange de la coopération des autorités marocaines concernant l’expulsion de ses ressortissants en situation irrégulière sur le sol européen.

      https://telquel.ma/2019/07/05/nouvelle-aide-en-nature-de-madrid-a-rabat-pour-contenir-limmigration-irregul
      #aide

  • Il decreto immigrazione cancellerà lo Sprar, «sistema modello» di accoglienza

    Le scelte del governo: stretta su rifugiati e nuove cittadinanze. Vie accelerate per costruire nuovi centri per i rimpatri. Permessi umanitari cancellati. Hotspot chiusi per 30 giorni anche i richiedenti asilo.

    Permessi umanitari cancellati. Stretta su rifugiati e nuove cittadinanze. Vie accelerate per costruire nuovi centri per i rimpatri. Possibilità di chiudere negli hotspot per 30 giorni anche i richiedenti asilo. Trattenimento massimo nei centri prolungato da 90 a 180 giorni. E poi addio alla rete Sprar. I 17 articoli e 4 capi dell’ultima bozza del decreto migranti, che il governo si prepara a varare, promettono di ridisegnare il volto del «pianeta immigrazione». Soprattutto sul fronte accoglienza, abrogando di fatto un modello, quello dello Sprar, che coinvolge oggi oltre 400 comuni ed è considerato un modello in Europa.

    A denunciarlo è l’Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi): «Cancellare l’unico sistema pubblico di accoglienza che funziona appare come uno dei più folli obiettivi politici degli ultimi anni, destinato in caso di attuazione a produrre enormi conseguenze negative in tutta Italia, tanto nelle grandi città che nei piccoli centri, al Nord come al Sud».

    Ventitremila migranti accolti. «Lo Sprar - spiega a Repubblica Gianfranco Schiavone, vicepresidente dell’Asgi - è un sistema di accoglienza e protezione sia dei richiedenti asilo che dei titolari di protezione internazionale e umanitaria nato nel lontano 2002 con le modifiche al testo unico immigrazione della cosiddetta Bossi-Fini. Nei sedici anni della sua esistenza lo Sprar si è enormemente rafforzato passando da alcune decine di comuni coinvolti e meno di duemila posti di accoglienza nel 2002, ai circa ventitremila posti attuali con coinvolgimento di oltre 400 comuni».

    Un modello in Europa. «In ragione dei suoi successi nel gestire l’accoglienza dei richiedenti asilo e dei rifugiati in modo ordinato con capacità di coinvolgimento dei territori, lo Sprar è sempre stato considerato da tutti i governi di qualunque colore politico il fiore all’occhiello del sistema italiano, da presentare in Europa in tutti gli incontri istituzionali, anche per attenuare agli occhi degli interlocutori, le gravi carenze generali dell’Italia nella gestione dei migranti».

    Il ruolo centrale dei comuni. «Il presupposto giuridico su cui si fonda lo Sprar è tanto chiaro quanto aderente al nostro impianto costituzionale: nella gestione degli arrivi e dell’accoglienza dei migranti allo Stato spettano gli aspetti che richiedono una gestione unitaria (salvataggio, arrivi e prima accoglienza, piano di distribuzione, definizione di standard uniformi), ma una volta che il migrante ha formalizzato la sua domanda di asilo la gestione effettiva dei servizi di accoglienza, protezione sociale, orientamento legale e integrazione non spetta più allo Stato, che non ha le competenze e l’articolazione amministrativa per farlo in modo adeguato, ma va assicurata (con finanziamenti statali) dalle amministrazioni locali, alle quali spettano in generale tutte le funzioni amministrative in materia di servizi socio-assistenziali nei confronti tanto della popolazione italiana che di quella straniera».
    Il business dei grandi centri. «Lo Sprar (gestito oggi da Comuni di centrosinistra come di centrodestra) ha assicurato ovunque una gestione dell’accoglienza concertata con i territori, con numeri contenuti e assenza di grandi concentrazioni, secondo il principio dell’accoglienza diffusa, di buona qualità e orientata ad inserire quanto prima il richiedente asilo nel tessuto sociale. Inoltre lo Sprar ha assicurato un ferreo controllo della spesa pubblica grazie a una struttura amministrativa centrale di coordinamento e all’applicazione del principio della rendicontazione in base alla quale non sono ammessi margini di guadagno per gli enti (associazioni e cooperative) che gestiscono i servizi loro affidati. Invece, da oltre un decennio, il parallelo sistema di accoglienza a diretta gestione statale-prefettizia, salvo isolati casi virtuosi, sprofonda nel caos producendo un’accoglienza di bassa o persino bassissima qualità con costi elevati, scarsi controlli e profonde infiltrazioni della malavita organizzata che ha ben fiutato il potenziale business rappresentato dalla gestione delle grandi strutture (come caserme dismesse, ex aeroporti militari) al riparo dai fastidiosi controlli sulla spesa e sulla qualità presenti nello Sprar».

    La fine dello Sprar. «Cancellare l’unico sistema pubblico di accoglienza che funziona appare come uno dei più folli obiettivi politici degli ultimi anni. Che ne sarà di quelle piccole e funzionanti strutture di accoglienza già esistenti e delle migliaia di operatori sociali, quasi tutti giovani, che con professionalità, lavorano nello Sprar? Qualcuno potrebbe furbescamente sostenere che in fondo lo Sprar non verrebbe interamente abrogato ma trasformato in un sistema di accoglienza dei soli rifugiati e non più anche dei richiedenti asilo i quali rimarrebbero confinati nei centri governativi. È una spiegazione falsa, che omette di dire che proprio la sua caratteristica di sistema unico di accoglienza sia dei richiedenti che dei rifugiati dentro un’unica logica di gestione territoriale è ciò che ha reso lo Sprar un sistema efficiente e razionale. Senza questa unità non rimane più nulla».

    https://www.repubblica.it/solidarieta/immigrazione/2018/09/21/news/migrazioni-206997314/?ref=RHPPLF-BH-I0-C8-P2-S2.4-T1
    #sprar (fin de -) #réfugiés #accueil #migrations #asile #Italie #hébergement #hotspot #décret #détention_administrative #rétention #protection_humanitaire #politique_d'asile #hotspots #it_has_begun #decreto_Salvini

    via @isskein

    • Publié sur la page FB de Filippo Furri :

      « Mi permetto di riprendere il commento della splendida Rosanna Marcato che è stata uno degli attori fondamentali di un percorso di sviluppo e crescita di un modello di accoglienza innovativo, che è alle fondamenta del mio lungo lavoro di ricerca sulla nozione di CITTà RIFUGIO : le città, le comunità locali, dove può realizzarsi la solidarietà concreta e reciproca, sono e devono rimanere luoghi di resistenza ai poteri fascisti che si diffondono dovunque, alla paranoia identitaria costruita a tavolino e iniettata nei cervelli e negli spiriti di spettatori impauriti e paranoici. lo SPRAR nasceva da forme di azione sperimentale «dal basso» e solidale (antifascista, antirazzista), che i governi autoritari e fascisti detestano e combattono.

      «L 11 settembre 2001 Venezia tra le prime città italiane ha dato il via ad un sistema di accoglienza (pna) che si è poi trasformato nello SPRAR. Era il frutto di esperienze di accoglienza, di saperi professionali e della volontà di costruire un sistema di accoglienza territoriale stabile e moderno. Un servizio sociale a tutti gli effetti con regole certe e rendicontazioni esatte e controllabili. Molte delle regole, degli strumenti e delle metodologie di lavoro che ancora funzionano furono elaborati da questa città e dal servizio che dirigevo. 27 anni di lavoro buttati nel cesso. Siate maledetti voi e anche quelli di prima che ci hanno ficcato in questa situazione di merda»

    • Immigrazione, Andrea Maestri: “Nel decreto Salvini tradisce il contratto di governo”

      Andrea Maestri critica il decreto Immigrazione: “Fino a oggi lo Sprar rappresentava un modello pubblico e trasparente nella gestione delle risorse. Chi adesso non rientra nel sistema Sprar non sparisce magicamente dal territorio. E quindi finirà nei Centri d’accoglienza straordinari, i Cas, che sono tutti privati”.

      Dopo aver licenziato l’atteso Dl Immigrazione, il ministro degli Interni Matteo Salvini, a proposito del futuro degli Sprar (Sistema di protezione per richiedenti asilo e rifugiati) e del ridimensionamento di questi centri in favore dei Cas, ha dichiarato: «Il rischio è inesistente, anche qui viene messo ordine in un sistema. Da quando sono ministro abbiamo ridotto di circa 20 mila unità le presenze in tutti questi tipi di strutture. Coloro che sono nel giusto come amministratori locali e come profughi non hanno nulla a che temere da questo provvedimento». In conferenza stampa il ministro degli Interni ha spiegato che il sistema Sprar continua a sopravvivere «limitatamente ai casi di protezione internazionale e dei minori non accompagnati». Ma stanno davvero così le cose? Ne abbiamo parlato con Andrea Maestri, della segreteria nazionale di Possibile.

      Nel contratto di governo si parlava di una diminuzione della capacità d’azione dei privati nella gestione dell’accoglienza. Con questo decreto la promessa non è stata mantenuta.

      Assolutamente no. Credo che qualunque osservatore attento non possa che gridare allo scandalo per questo gravissimo inadempimento, nei confronti soprattutto dei cittadini che hanno creduto nella buona fede di chi ha firmato il contratto di governo. Secondo quel contratto sembrava si volesse puntare sul modello pubblico e diffuso. E’ in corso al contrario una privatizzazione hard del sistema dell’accoglienza. Fino a oggi lo Sprar, anche se in modo minoritario, coinvolgendo gli enti locali, rappresentava un modello pubblico e trasparente nella gestione delle risorse, che venivano rendicontate. Nel momento in cui diventa uno strumento ulteriormente residuale, perché si rivolge solo a coloro che hanno già ottenuto la protezione internazionale – si parla appunto solo dei ‘titolari’, non più di richiedenti asilo che hanno fatto domanda – comincia a riguardare solo un numero ridotto di persone. Ma chi non rientra nel sistema Sprar non sparisce magicamente dal territorio, e quindi bisognerà trovargli un’altra collocazione: cioè nei Centri d’accoglienza straordinari, i Cas, che sono appunto tutti privati, gestiti dalle prefetture, ognuna con modalità diverse di scelta del contraente, con modalità di rendicontazione a macchia di leopardo.

      Ma Salvini sostiene l’opposto, cioè che questo rischio è inesistente.

      Se avesse ragione Salvini aumenterebbe il numero di persone che vivono per strada in una condizione di fragilità sociale umana ed esistenziale: se questi migranti non vengono accolti dai Comuni all’interno degli Sprar, se non se ne occupano le prefetture attarverso gli appaltatori privati all’interno dei Cas, vorrà dire che saranno in giro. Sono persone prive di documenti, che non possono fare contratti regolari di locazione, e nemmeno condividere contratti di locazione con altri. E questo sì che farà aumentare l’irregolarità e la criminalità organizzata e disorganizzata. Con un’unica conseguenza: aumenterà la percezione di insicurezza diffusa.

      Nel testo definitivo, all’articolo 2 è confermata la norma sugli appalti per i lavori nei centri, che possono essere affidati senza previa pubblicazione del bando di gara. E’ in linea con la Costituzione?

      C’è questa norma, ma con alcuni ritocchi. In pratica la procedura negoziata, senza previa pubblicazione di un bando pubblico, può essere fatta per gli appalti sotto soglia comunitaria. Ma se si considera che la soglia comunitaria per lavori, dal primo gennaio 2018 è di circa 5 milioni e mezzo di euro, è evidente che con quella somma più che un Cas si può fare un vero e proprio carcere. Sono importi molto elevati che consentono al governo di fare procedure negoziate, limitando il confronto concorrenziale solo a 5 ditte scelte discrezionalmente dall’amministrazione. Qui c’è una lesione del principio di trasparenza e di concorrenza. Poi hanno scritto che verranno rispettati alcuni criteri, come quello di rotazione, però la sostanza rimane. L’articolo 63 del codice degli Appalti dovrebbe essere limitato a casi del tutto eccezionali: ad esempio una data amministrazione può avere l’interesse a trattare con un determinato soggetto se vuole commissionargli un’opera d’arte per una piazza pubblica; oppure sono previsti casi straordinari d’urgenza, in cui è ammissibile una deroga del genere. Ma non siamo in nessuno di questi due campi. Il governo per i prossimi tre anni sta stabilendo una procedura in deroga alle norme dell’evidenza pubblica. E’ piuttosto grave che si apra una parentesi del genere per un lasso così lungo di tempo. La prima bozza che era circolata negli ambienti dell’Anci, era spudorata, un colpo allo stomaco. Poi ci sarà stato un intervento da parte forse degli uffici ministeriali di Palazzo Chigi, o da parte dello stesso Presidente della Repubblica, che probabilmente hanno limitato un po’ il danno. Ma rimane uno degli aspetti più discutibili e negativi dell’intero provvedimento, perché è proprio uno di quegli ambiti su cui Salvini ha fatto sempre propaganda, contestando il modello del Cara di Mineo. Qui si sta dicendo che il ministero sta prospettando appalti senza evidenza publica. E la Corte Costituzionale se sarà chiamata a intervenire non mancherà di censurare quest’aspetto.

      Dal momento che il testo prevede il raddoppio dei tempi di trattenimento nei Cpr, da 90 a 180 giorni, vuol dire che ne serviranno di più? Qual è la ratio?

      E’ tutto collegato, c’è una coerenza, negativa ovviamente. Nel momento in cui tu trasformi lo Sprar, e lo snaturi, visto che non si tratta più di un sistema di accoglienza per i richiedenti asilo, ma solo per i rifugiati, avremo sempre più persone disperse nel territorio, o nei Cas. E quindi viene privilegiata una gestione emergenziale. Questo farà aumentare il numero delle persone espulse dal sistema, ma non dal territorio. Ci saranno sempre più persone irregolari, e quindi una maggiore necessità di Cpr. Quelli attuali sicuramente non basteranno, quindi se ne dovranno fare degli altri. Per alimentare la narrazione emergenziale si dirà che bisogna fare in fretta, e da qui proviene il vincolo dei tre anni per la deroga per i bandi di gara per le imprese. Quando costruiranno un nuovo centro sarà a quel punto interessante vedere quali aziende verranno chiamate a concorrere, e con quali criteri. Questa è l’economia dell’emergenza, che si deve autoalimentare non solo nella propaganda, ma anche nella sostanza.

      Cosa ne pensa del permesso di soggiorno per atti di valore civile?

      Siamo alla banalità del male. Togliendo la protezione umanitaria come istituto generale, tantissime persone che ricadevano in zone grigie, non facilmente ascrivibili ad una categoria giuridica, ma che rientravano comunque in quell’ambito di tutela ampia dei diritti umani fondamentali, si trovano adesso in difficoltà. E mi riferisco soprattutto a quelle persone vulnerabili, che arrivano in Italia deprivati, fisicamente e moralmente, dopo aver attraversato per esempio l’inferno libico. Adesso per loro non ci sarà più nessuna tutela. Ci sono al loro posto queste sei categorie molto rigide che lasciano poco spazio all’attenzione di cui necessitano invece alcuni casi particolari. Un po’ per caso, come in una lotteria, se uno è in una condizione di irregolarità, ma gli capita di salvare una persona durante un incidente stradale da una macchina in fiamme, o ipotizziamo, con un po’ di fantasia, se quest’immigrato salvasse il ministro Salvini che annaspa in mare, potrebbe ottenere il permesso di soggiorno in virtù della sua azione di valore civile. Mi sembrano delle restrizioni cieche e ottuse che non migliorano minimamente lo stato delle cose. Perché la via maestra sarebbe una riforma organica del testo unico sull’immigrazione, che rendesse trasparenti e legali i canali di ingresso in Italia. Sarebbe fortemente depotenziato il canale della protezione internazionale, che ovviamente è sotto pressione perché non esiste altro modo per entrare in Italia legalmente. Ma ovviamente questo decreto crea un consenso molto più immediato.

      https://www.fanpage.it/immigrazione-maestri-nel-decreto-salvini-tradisce-il-contratto-di-governo

    • Cosa prevede il decreto Salvini su immigrazione e sicurezza

      Il 24 settembre il consiglio dei ministri ha approvato all’unanimità il cosiddetto decreto Salvini su immigrazione e sicurezza. Il decreto si compone di tre titoli: il primo si occupa di riforma del diritto d’asilo e della cittadinanza, il secondo di sicurezza pubblica, prevenzione e contrasto della criminalità organizzata; e l’ultimo di amministrazione e gestione dei beni sequestrati e confiscati alla mafia.

      Nei giorni precedenti all’approvazione si erano diffuse delle voci su possibili dissidi tra i due partiti di maggioranza, Lega e Movimento 5 stelle, ma il ministro dell’interno Matteo Salvini durante la conferenza stampa a palazzo Chigi ha voluto sottolineare che i cinquestelle hanno approvato senza riserve il suo progetto di riforma.

      All’inizio i decreti avrebbero dovuto essere due: il primo sull’immigrazione e il secondo sulla sicurezza e sui beni confiscati alle mafie, poi nel corso dell’ultima settimana sono state fatte delle “limature” e i due decreti sono stati accorpati in un unico provvedimento. Il decreto dovrà ora essere inviato al presidente della repubblica Sergio Mattarella che a sua volta deve autorizzare che la norma sia presentata alle camere. Ecco in sintesi cosa prevede.

      Abolizione della protezione umanitaria. Il primo articolo contiene nuove disposizioni in materia della concessione dell’asilo e prevede di fatto l’abrogazione della protezione per motivi umanitari che era prevista dal Testo unico sull’immigrazione. Oggi la legge prevede che la questura conceda un permesso di soggiorno ai cittadini stranieri che presentano “seri motivi, in particolare di carattere umanitario o risultanti da obblighi costituzionali o internazionali dello stato italiano”, oppure alle persone che fuggono da emergenze come conflitti, disastri naturali o altri eventi di particolare gravità in paesi non appartenenti all’Unione europea.

      La protezione umanitaria può essere riconosciuta anche a cittadini stranieri che non è possibile espellere perché potrebbero essere oggetto di persecuzione nel loro paese (articolo 19 della legge sull’immigrazione) o in caso siano vittime di sfruttamento lavorativo o di tratta. In questi casi il permesso ha caratteristiche differenti. La durata è variabile da sei mesi a due anni ed è rinnovabile. Questa tutela è stata introdotta in Italia nel 1998.

      https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/annalisa-camilli/2018/09/24/decreto-salvini-immigrazione-e-sicurezza

    • Italy: The security decree that makes everyone more insecure

      JRS Italy (Centro Astalli) is concerned about the effects that the new measures introduced by the ’Salvini decree’ on migration and security – unanimously approved on the 24th of September by the Italian Council of Ministers – will have on the lives of migrants and on the social cohesion of the whole country.

      The combination of the Security Decree and the Immigration Decree in a single piece of legislation is misleading as it associates security issues, such as organised crime and terrorism, with the issue of managing migration, in particular forced migration. This is particularly wrong knowing that a completely different legislative approach is needed to deal with migration challenges, particularly in terms of programmes, general management and migrants’ integration.

      For JRS Italy, the reform of the Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR) foreseen by the decree represent a fundamental step back for the Italian reception system. By excluding applicants for international protection from this type of reception the reform is in clear contradiction with the principle that a successful integration process starts from the first reception, as the current Integration Plan for refugees of the Italian Ministry of the Interior also states.

      The SPRAR, recognized as a qualitative system also by international observers, is therefore cut down, despite being the only reception system that guarantees maximum transparency in the management of resources. At the same time, the large collective centres for asylum seekers are strengthened even though the experience on the ground largely shows that, also due to the lack of involvement of local administrations, establishing such centres often encounters resistance and generates social tensions.

      According to Camillo Ripamonti SJ, JRS Italy’s president, “It is a step backwards that does not take into account on the one hand the lives and stories of the people, and on the other hand the work that for decades many humanitarian organizations and civil society have done in close collaboration with the institutions - in particular with local authorities”.

      “Criminalising migrants” – Ripamonti concludes – “is not the right way to deal with the presence of foreign citizens in Italy. Enlarging grey zones that are not regulated by law and making legal procedures less accessible and more complicated, contributes to make our country less secure and more fragile."

      http://jrseurope.org/news_detail?TN=NEWS-20180925084854

    • Decreto Salvini, Mattarella firma ma ricorda a Conte gli obblighi fissati dalla Costituzione

      Il provvedimento è quello che riguarda sicurezza e immigrazione. Il presidente della Repubblica invia al premier una lettera in cui richiama l’articolo 10 della Carta. La replica di Salvini: «ciapa lì e porta a cà». Polemica dei medici sulla norma per i presidi sanitari

      https://www.repubblica.it/politica/2018/10/04/news/dl_sicurezza_mattarella_firma_lettera_a_conte_obblighi_costituzione-20814

    • “I grandi centri di accoglienza vanno superati”. Anzi no. Se Salvini contraddice se stesso

      Ad agosto il ministero dell’Interno ha trasmesso al Parlamento una relazione molto dura sul modello straordinario dei Cas, presentati come “luoghi difficili da gestire e da vivere che attirano gli interessi criminali”. Proponendo l’alternativa dello SPRAR. Ma nonostante le evidenze e gli elogi per il sistema di protezione diffuso, il “decreto immigrazione” va nella direzione opposta.

      grandi centri di accoglienza in Italia sono “luoghi difficili da gestire e da vivere”, producono “effetti negativi oltre che nell’impatto con le collettività locali anche sull’efficienza dei servizi forniti ai migranti”, e per il loro “rilevante onere finanziario” rappresentano una “fonte di attrazione per gli interessi criminali”. Per questo è necessario un loro “alleggerimento progressivo” puntando sulle “progettualità SPRAR” (Sistema di protezione per richiedenti asilo e rifugiati), autentico “ponte necessario all’inclusione e punto di riferimento per le reti territoriali di sostegno”. Garanzia di “processi più solidi e più facili di integrazione”.

      Recita così la “Relazione sul funzionamento del sistema di accoglienza predisposto al fine di fronteggiare le esigenze straordinarie connesse all’eccezionale afflusso di stranieri nel territorio nazionale”, relativa al 2017, trasmessa alla Camera dei deputati il 14 agosto di quest’anno e presentata da un ministro che sostiene pubblicamente il contrario: Matteo Salvini.

      Ad agosto, in quella relazione, il titolare dell’Interno ha infatti riconosciuto come nel circuito SPRAR, “oltre al vitto e alloggio”, venga “garantito ai richiedenti asilo un percorso qualificato, finalizzato alla conquista dell’autonomia individuale” grazie alla “realizzazione di progetti territoriali di accoglienza”. Un modello da promuovere per merito delle “qualità dei servizi resi ai beneficiari che non si limitano ad interventi materiali di base (vitto e alloggio) ma assicurano una serie di attività funzionali alla riconquista dell’autonomia individuale, come l’insegnamento della lingua italiana, la formazione e la qualificazione professionale, l’orientamento legale, l’accesso ai servizi del territorio, l’orientamento e l’inserimento lavorativo, abitativo e sociale, oltre che la tutela psico socio-sanitaria”. Ma ancora nel 2017, su 183.681 migranti ospitati nelle strutture temporanee, hotspot, centri di prima accoglienza e SPRAR, appena 24.471 occupavano l’accoglienza virtuosa del Sistema di protezione per richiedenti asilo e rifugiati. Da lì la corretta intenzione di alleggerire i grandi centri a favore dell’approccio diffuso e integrato.

      Poi però il governo ha smentito se stesso: nonostante le riconosciute qualità dello SPRAR, l’esecutivo ha messo mano alla materia attraverso il recente decreto legge su immigrazione e sicurezza (Dl 113), licenziato dal governo ed emanato dal Capo dello Stato a inizio ottobre, puntando in direzione opposta. In quella che Gianfranco Schiavone, vice presidente dell’Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione, ha definito la “destrutturazione del sistema di accoglienza”.

      L’articolo 12 del “decreto Salvini”, infatti, trasforma l’attuale SPRAR in un sistema per soli titolari di protezione internazionale, un terzo degli attuali accolti, tagliando fuori così i richiedenti asilo, i beneficiari di protezione umanitaria (sostanzialmente abrogata) e coloro che avessero fatto ricorso contro la decisione di diniego delle Commissioni territoriali sulla loro domanda. Per gli esclusi si apriranno le porte degli attuali centri governativi di prima accoglienza o dei centri di accoglienza straordinaria (CAS), proprio quelli di cui la relazione presentata dal ministro Salvini, poche settimane prima, auspicava il superamento.
      “La riforma pare fotografare la realtà della prassi precedente al decreto legge -ha evidenziato l’ASGI in un documento che mette in fila i profili di manifesta illegittimità costituzionale del decreto-. I CAS sono il ‘non’ sistema di accoglienza per la generalità dei richiedenti asilo, in violazione della Direttiva Ue sull’accoglienza che consente simili riduzioni di standard soltanto per periodi temporanei e per eventi imprevedibili, mentre le strutture dello SPRAR sono sempre più riservate a minori (non sempre), a titolari di protezione internazionale e spesso a chi si trova in condizioni (spesso familiari) disperate”.

      Non solo. Come ha ricordato l’Associazione nazionale dei Comuni italiani (ANCI), il 43% degli accolti nello SPRAR “ha concluso positivamente il proprio percorso di accoglienza ed ha raggiunto uno stato di autonomia, e un ulteriore 31% ha acquisito gli strumenti indispensabili per ‘camminare sulle proprie gambe’”. “Lo SPRAR riesce a rendere autonome le persone in un lasso di tempo indubbiamente inferiore rispetto a ciò che accade nei CAS. Nello SPRAR il tempo medio di permanenza è infatti di 6 mesi, questo significa che in un posto SPRAR vengono mediamente accolte all’anno 2 persone. Nei Comuni dove esiste un progetto SPRAR, i costi economici e sociali subiscono una notevole flessione”. Motivo per cui a metà ottobre l’ANCI ha presentato alcuni emendamenti in vista dell’iter parlamentare che porterà alla conversione del decreto. Uno di questi chiede proprio di consentire l’accesso dei “richiedenti asilo vulnerabili (compresi nuclei familiari con figli minori) all’interno dei progetti SPRAR, per evitare che ricadano, inevitabilmente, sui bilanci dei Comuni e delle Regioni i costi dei servizi socio-sanitari che sarà in ogni caso necessario erogare senza poter accedere ad alcun rimborso da parte dello Stato (stimati circa 286 milioni di euro annui”.

      Posto di fronte alla contraddizione tra la relazione di agosto e il decreto di ottobre, il ministero dell’Interno ha fatto sapere ad Altreconomia che la Relazione non è altro che un “adempimento richiesto dalla normativa” e che questa “si riferisce, nel merito, al periodo cui la stessa fa riferimento”. Come se nell’arco di otto mesi lo SPRAR fosse cambiato.

      Ed ecco quindi che il “ponte necessario all’inclusione” è diventato la “pacchia” da interrompere: la graduatoria dei progetti avanzati dagli enti locali ed esaminati dal Viminale, per ulteriori 3.500 posti da aggiungersi ai 32mila attualmente finanziati, di cui era prevista la pubblicazione a luglio 2018, non ha mai visto la luce. E le nuove richieste di adesione al Sistema da parte dei territori -altri 2.500 nuovi posti- non sono state nemmeno prese in considerazione. Il risultato è che 6mila potenziali nuovi posti SPRAR sono stati “sacrificati” sull’altare della linea Salvini. Quella di ottobre, però, non quella di agosto.

      https://altreconomia.it/decreto-salvini-cas

    • Beyond closed ports: the new Italian Decree-Law on Immigration and Security

      In the past months, Italian migration policies have been in the spotlight with regard to the deterrence measures adopted to prevent sea arrivals of migrants. After the closure of ports to vessels transporting migrants and the reduction of search and rescue operations at sea, the government adopted a restrictive approach to the internal norms, reforming the architecture of the Italian system of protection.

      On 24 September 2018, the Italian Council of Ministers unanimously adopted a new Decree-Law on Immigration and Security. Strongly endorsed by the Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, the final text of the Decree contains ‘urgent measures’ on international protection and immigration, as well as on public security, prevention of terrorism and organised crime. Following the approval of the President of Republic, the bill has come into force on October 5. The future of the Decree now lays in the hands of the Parliament, which will have to transpose it into law within sixty days of its publication or it will retrospectively lose its effect.

      The securitarian approach adopted sparked strong criticism within civil society and the President of the Republic himself accompanied his signature with an accompanying letter addressed to the President of the Council, reminding that all ‘constitutional and international obligations’ assumed by Italy remain binding, even if there is no explicit reference to them in the Decree. This blog post provides an overview of the first two Chapters of the Decree-Law, dedicated to immigration and asylum. It will further analyze their impact on the rights of protection seekers and their compatibility with European law, International law as well as the Italian Constitution.

      1. Provisions on humanitarian residence permits and fight against irregular migration

      1.1 The abrogation of ‘humanitarian protection’

      The main change introduced by the first Chapter of the Decree-Law concerns what is commonly referred to as ‘humanitarian protection’, namely a residence permit issued to persons who are not eligible to refugee status or subsidiary protection but cannot be expelled from the country because of ‘serious reasons of humanitarian nature, or resulting from constitutional or international obligations of the State’ (art. 5(6) of the Consolidated Act on Immigration).

      The humanitarian residence permit was introduced as a safeguard clause in the Italian legislation, complementing international protection within the meaning of article 10 paragraph 3 of the Constitution, which stipulates that: ‘[a] foreigner who, in his home country, is denied the actual exercise of the democratic freedoms guaranteed by the Italian Constitution shall be entitled to the right of asylum under the conditions established by law.’ The important role of ‘humanitarian protection’ has been further clarified by the Italian highest court (Court of Cassation), which stated that the right to be issued a humanitarian permit, together with refugee status and subsidiary protection, constitutes a fundamental part of the right of asylum enshrined in the Constitution (see for example judgement 22111/2014).

      In practice, humanitarian residence permits were a ‘flexible instrument’ which could cover several circumstances emerging from forced displacement where there was no sufficient evidence of an individual risk of persecution or serious harm. As explained by the Court of Cassation, prior to the entry into force of the Decree, humanitarian protection was granted to persons suffering from an ‘effective deprivation of human rights’ upon the fulfilment of two interrelated conditions: the ‘objective situation in the country of origin of the applicant’ and ‘the applicant’s personal condition that determined the reason for departure’ (see judgement 4455/2018). The Court further presented as possible example of human rights deprivation the situation of a person coming from a country where the political or environmental situation exposes her to extreme destitution and does not allow her to attain a minimum standard of dignified existence. As noted by the Court, the definition of environmental issues does not only contain natural disasters but it may also include non-contingent events, such as droughts or famines, which deprive the person from having a basic livelihood.

      However, as already mentioned, the grounds for obtaining humanitarian protection were relatively open and could be adjusted to other situations entailing a deprivation of basic human rights, such as the inability of the country of origin to protect the right to health of applicants affected by serious conditions, or the family situation of the applicant interpreted in light of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Also, the level of social integration reached by an applicant during her stay in Italy, together with the situation of poverty or instability in the country of origin, were also to be considered as a ground to grant humanitarian protection.

      By radically transforming article 5(6) and severely restricting the possibility for rejected asylum applicants to be granted residence permits in light of constitutional and international obligations or for humanitarian reasons, article 1 of the Decree-Law substantially abrogates ‘humanitarian protection’. Instead, the Decree provides for the creation of a ‘special protection’ residence permit, which can be issued only to those persons who cannot be expelled due to the non-refoulement obligations defined in article 19 of the Consolidated Act on Immigration unless the applicant can be returned to a country where she could receive ‘equivalent protection’.

      The first article of the Decree-Law further creates new residence permits that can be granted in restricted ‘special cases’, as for example: persons affected by ‘exceptionally serious’ medical conditions; persons who cannot return to their home countries due to ‘exceptional natural disasters’; and persons who have carried out ‘exceptional civil acts’. The Decree, however, does not modify the grounds for granting special residence permits to victims of trafficking, violence or labour exploitation, as already provided for in arts. 18 and 18-bis of the Consolidated Act on Immigration.

      The new Decree reduces not only the scope of protection and the number of potential beneficiaries but also the duration of the stay for third-country nationals falling into the above-mentioned ‘special’ categories. Whilst persons granted the ‘humanitarian’ status were provided with a two-year renewable residence permit, the permits issued in the new ‘special cases’ allow residence in Italy for shorter periods: six months for exceptional natural disasters or violence and one year in the other for ‘special protection’, ‘medical reasons’ and other ‘special cases’. Such permits are renewable and allow the holder to work but – differently from the humanitarian residence permit – they cannot be converted into a work permit when the circumstances for which they were issued cease to exist. Only in the event that the foreigner has accomplished exceptional civil acts, whose nature is not further specified, the person – at the discretion the Minister of the Interior – can be issued a residence permit lasting two years.

      A final important amendment contained in article 1 of the Decree is related to those persons who are already beneficiaries of humanitarian residence permits at the time in which the Decree enters into force: their permits will not be renewable anymore on humanitarian grounds, even if the circumstances for which the permit was granted in the first place still exist. Therefore, unless the beneficiary is granted a conversion of her humanitarian permit into a work or study permit, or she falls under the new special cases listed in the decree law, she will find herself in an irregular situation and will risk being returned.

      The abrogation of the ‘humanitarian’ residence permit is of particular concern as, since its creation in 1998, it has been an important legal instrument allowing to protect and regularise all third-country nationals who could not be returned to a third country. Suffice it to say that, in 2017 only, Italy has granted 20,166 residence permits on ‘humanitarian’ grounds, whereas only 6,827 persons were granted asylum and 6,880 subsidiary protection. To counter this trend, last July, the Minister of the Interior had already sent a letter to all administrative authorities involved in the asylum procedure, requesting them to adopt a stricter approach when granting protection on humanitarian grounds. Such decision has been justified with the rationale of conforming Italy to European standards, which do not provide for this third form of protection. Arguably, even if humanitarian protection is not harmonised at the EU level under the Qualification Directive, there are obligations imposed on all Member States by international refugee law and human rights law that prevent them from returning third-country nationals under certain circumstances. Looking at the practice of EU-28 Member States, in the course of 2017, 63 thousand asylum seekers were given authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons under national law. This number could be even higher as it only encompasses first instance decisions for those persons who have been previously reported as asylum applicants, and does not take into account those who have been granted a permission to stay for humanitarian reasons without having lodged an asylum application.

      Moreover, the abrogation of humanitarian protection is likely to open a protection gap under article 10 paragraph 3 of the Italian Constitution. As noted by the Italian Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI), the substitution of humanitarian protection with a restricted list of ‘special’ residence permits, means that the right to asylum set out by the Constitution is ‘no longer fully implemented by the legislator’. This could open the possibility to bring legal actions to ascertain the right of asylum guaranteed by article 10 – which can be invoked directly in front of an ordinary court even in the absence of implementing legislation – or raise questions of constitutionality.

      1.2 Making returns more effective

      The second part of the first Chapter of the Decree-Law focuses on improving returns and facilitating the return of third-country nationals in an irregular situation. In order to achieve these objectives, article 2 of the Decree extends the maximum duration of the foreigner’s detention in return centres from 90 to 180 days. Article 4 further foresees that, in case the reception capacity of pre-removal centres is exhausted and prior to authorization of a judicial authority, foreigners may also be held in other ‘appropriate facilities’ and in border offices. In addition, article 3 of the new Decree-Law modifies the Decree Implementing the Reception Conditions Directive and the Procedures Directive (Decree-Law 18 August 2015, n. 142), by expanding grounds for detention in hotspots. Thus, foreigners who have been found in an irregular situation on the national territory or rescued during search and rescue operations at sea may be subject to detention in order to determine their identity and nationality. The maximum duration of detention is set to 30 days. In case it is impossible to verify such information, the person concerned can be transferred in a return center for a maximum of 180 days. Finally, article 6 increments the funding for returns, providing for the re-allocation of 3,5 million euros between 2018 and 2020. These funds – originally provided for assisted voluntary return and reintegration – will now be allocated to facilitate not further described ‘return measures’.

      Even if the possibility to detain applicants for international protection in order to ascertain their identity and nationality is provided for in the Reception Conditions Directive, deprivation of liberty in such cases could be inconsistent with international refugee law read in conjunction with the Italian Constitution. According to ASGI, provisions connected to the deprivation of liberty in order to verify the identity and nationality are in violation of article 31 of the 1951 Geneva Convention and of article 13 of the Italian Constitution. In fact, since it is common to almost all asylum seekers not to possess valid documents proving their identity, such circumstances would not be proportionate to the ‘conditions of necessity and urgency’ required by article 13 of the Constitution to deprive someone of their liberty without judicial authorization. That been said, the debate on the lack of documentation to prove asylum seekers’ identity is likely to be of interest in the near future, as it is also fuelled by the European Commission recent proposal for a recast of the Return Directive, where the lack of documentation is included among the criteria establishing the existence of a risk of absconding to avoid return procedures.

      2. Provisions on international protection

      2.1 Provisions on asylum seekers who committed serious crimes

      The second chapter of the new Decree reforms, with a restrictive turn, the rules on the revocation of and exclusion from international protection. Article 7 extends the list of crimes that, in case of final conviction amount to the exclusion from or to the revocation of international protection. These include: production, trafficking and possession of drugs; injuries or threats made to officers in performance of their duties; serious personal injury offence; female genital mutilation; robbery, extortion, burglary and theft, if compounded by the possession of weapons or drugs; slavery; exploitation of child prostitution.

      Furthermore, article 10 of the new Decree introduces an accelerated procedure in the event that an asylum seeker is convicted – even prior to a final sentence – for one of the above-mentioned criminal offences and for the other serious crimes amounting to the exclusion from international protection already provided for in articles 12 and 16 Decree 251/2017. Thus, when the applicant is convicted in first instance, the Territorial Commissions for the Recognition of International Protection has to immediately examine the asylum claim and take a decision. In case the decision of the Commission rejects the request for international protection, the applicant is required to leave the country, even if the person concerned lodges an appeal against the asylum decision.

      The Decree Law, by abrogating the suspensive effect of the appeal for a person who has been convicted in first instance arguably goes against article 27 of the Italian Constitution, which considers the defendant not guilty ‘until a final sentence has been passed.’ Moreover, pursuant Article 45 Asylum Procedure Directive, as a general rule Member States shall allow applicants to remain in the territory pending the outcome of the remedy. An exception might be allowed under article 46(6)(a) of the Asylum Procedures Directive, if the application is determined to be unfounded on grounds that the applicant is ‘for serious reasons’ considered to be a danger to the national security or public order of the Member State. However, article 46(6) also stipulates that even in such case there is no automatism and the decision whether or not the applicant may remain on the territory of the Member State should be taken by a court or tribunal. Therefore, insofar as the Decree provides for the automatic return of rejected asylum seekers pending an appeal, without a judicial decision authorising their removal, it is incompatible with the right to an effective remedy provided for by the Procedures Directive and enshrined in article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

      In any instance, the return of a person – regardless of the fact that she may have committed a crime – cannot be performed when the individual concerned is at risk of refoulement as defined by article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. As follows from the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the prohibition of non-refoulement has an absolute character. The conduct of the person is irrelevant and even the involvement in serious crimes, such as terrorism, does not affect the prohibition to return individuals to states in which they faced a risk of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment (see ECtHR judgements in Saadi, Chahal, and Soering).

      2.2 Provisions on subsequent applications and border procedures

      Article 9 of the Decree implements into Italian legislation some restrictive provisions on subsequent applications that are allowed under the Asylum Procedures Directive (APD) but that had so far been regulated in a more favourable manner.

      First of all, the Decree provides for new grounds of exclusion from the right to remain in the Italian territory, following almost verbatim the exception from the right to remain contained in article 41 of the APD. This includes all persons who have lodged a first subsequent application merely in order to delay or frustrate the enforcement of a decision which would result in their imminent removal, or make another subsequent application after their first subsequent application has been considered inadmissible or unfounded.

      Secondly, article 9 establishes new rules on accelerated procedures for applicants who have introduced a subsequent application for international protection without new elements or findings supporting their claim. In case that the applicant was stopped following an attempt to elude border controls, this procedure also applies in border or transit zones. This is a novelty in Italian law, that until now did not provide for the possibility of carrying out the evaluation of an asylum claim at the border. According to the explanatory note to the Decree, this amendment follows the rationale of article 31(8)(g) APD. This article, however, provides for the possibility to apply accelerated and border procedure in case an application is lodged to avoid an earlier removal decision – which appears to be a stricter ground than the one provided for by the Italian decree.

      Also, the Decree sets out a new ground for the inadmissibility of an asylum application: a subsequent application is inadmissible if it is lodged to prevent the enforcement of a decision which would result in her imminent removal and it shall be dismissed without being further examined. This is not consistent with article 40 APD, which provides at least for a preliminary examination on the presence of new elements substantiating the asylum claim.

      Lastly, following the definitions of article 41 APD APD, the Decree limits the suspensive effect of appeals lodged in two circumstances. First, by all persons who have lodged a first subsequent application to delay the enforcement of a decision which would result in his or her imminent removal. Second, by asylum seekers whose application has been considered inadmissible as a subsequent application where no new elements or findings have arisen or have been presented by the applicant, whilst prior to the entry into force of the Decree-Law this only happened when an application was assessed as inadmissible for the second time.

      2.3 Reception conditions for asylum seekers

      One of the most discussed provisions of the Decree on immigration concerns the reception of asylum seekers, which undergoes substantive changes. The decree de facto abrogates the possibility for asylum seekers to access reception provided under the System for the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR). The system, operated by local institutions, in cooperation with non-governmental and voluntary organizations, had not only the aim to provide basic reception but also to favour the social integration of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of protection. With the amendments introduced by article 12 of the new decree, only already recognized refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, as well as unaccompanied minors, will be granted accommodation within the SPRAR. Asylum seekers will, therefore, be only hosted in collective reception centres (CARA, CDA). In case of unavailability of places, applicants can also be hosted in temporary reception centres (CAS) where, according to the law, only basic levels of reception conditions have to be met.

      These amendments fail to take into account the pre-existent structure of the Italian reception system. As a matter of law, the SPRAR was the only durable solution provided for asylum seekers, while the other types of reception centres have been designed only for initial or temporary reception (see articles 9 and 11 of the Decree implementing the Reception Conditions Directive). Considering the length of asylum procedures in the country, asylum seekers will be left with no alternative than remaining for months (or in some cases even years) in facilities which are often inadequate in terms of both capacity and structural and safety conditions.

      This decision is of great concern as it is likely to put further strain on the Italian reception system, which already has a record of not providing an adequate standard of reception conditions to asylum applicants – as recognised in 2014 by the European Court of Human Rights. More recently, a Dutch court annulled a transfer to Italy pointing out that the new Decree raises questions about the structural deficiencies in the Italian reception system, in particular as it restricts access to adequate reception conditions to vulnerable asylum seekers.

      Final remarks

      Whilst the number of arrivals to Italy is at the lowest level registered in the past few years, the phenomenon of migration has reached the dimension of an emergency in the internal public debate, with the Decree-Law on Immigration and Security representing a major downturn in the architecture of the Italian system of protection.

      The implementation of further grounds for exclusion and withdrawal of protection, the reduction of procedural guarantees, and the general restrictive approach on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers adopted in the Decree generate serious concerns. Above all, some of the provisions contained in the Decree may entail a risk of violation of the principle of non–refoulement, which is not only a cornerstone of the international refugee regime but also a fundamental guarantee that protects all human beings from being subject to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. What is more, some of the changes introduced with the Decree might have far-reaching practical consequences on the rights of the migrants who are already present or will arrive in the country. In particular, the repeal of ‘humanitarian’ residence permits, which have been widely used in the past years, is likely to have the unintended side-effect of increasing the number of migrants who will find themselves in an irregular situation. The new bill has been presented by the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as ‘a step forward to make Italy safer’ – however it will arguably increase the number of cases of destitution, vulnerability, and exploitation.

      It remains to be seen whether the Parliament will confirm the text of the Decree when ultimately converting it into law. However, considering that the time for discussion is limited (60 days only) it is doubtful that the bill will undergo substantial improvement. Also, as the Decree has become one of the flagship measures of the current Government, it is unlikely that it will be repealed in toto. The choice itself of the Government to use a decree having force of law – rather than of the ordinary legislative procedure – does not seem to stem from a situation of ‘obvious necessity and urgency’ as provided for by the Constitution. Rather, it appears to be a shortcut to obtain immediate results on matters where it is difficult to achieve political consensus through democratic debate. Against this backdrop, the new bill on Immigration and Security – with questionable democratic legitimacy – restricts the rights of asylum seekers and people displaced, making protection increasingly inaccessible.

      http://eumigrationlawblog.eu/beyond-closed-ports-the-new-italian-decree-law-on-immigration-and

    • Decreto immigrazione, le brutte novità nascoste sotto la fiducia

      Il governo ha presentato in aula un “emendamento interamente sostitutivo” del testo finora discusso. La “sorpresa” sono elementi di gran lunga più restrittivi in tema di diritto d’asilo. Tra questi, la nozione di “Paesi di origine sicuri”, un “cavallo di Troia” per smontare il sistema della protezione internazionale, come denunciano studiosi dell’Asgi

      Con 163 voti a favore e 59 contrari, il 7 novembre il Senato della Repubblica ha approvato la fiducia al cosiddetto “decreto sicurezza e immigrazione” promosso in particolare dal ministro dell’Interno Matteo Salvini. Il testo votato da Palazzo Madama e inviato alla Camera, però, è stato modificato rispetto all’originario attraverso un “emendamento interamente sostitutivo” del Ddl (il numero 1.900), sulla cui approvazione il Governo aveva appunto posto la questione di fiducia 24 ore prima. Non si è trattato di interventi meramente formali quanto invece profondamente sostanziali. Tanto da non lasciare praticamente più nulla del precedente sistema di asilo, incardinato al principio costituzionale che all’articolo 10 della Carta riconosce quella tutela allo “straniero al quale sia impedito nel suo Paese l’effettivo esercizio delle libertà democratiche garantite dalla Costituzione italiana”.

      Le 28 pagine di modifiche e integrazioni avanzate dall’esecutivo, secondo Gianfranco Schiavone, vicepresidente dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi, www.asgi.it), assumono infatti la forma di un “cavallo di Troia” -blindato dalla fiducia- utile a “introdurre novità di taglio iper restrittivo che nella prima versione del decreto non c’erano”. Creando così un provvedimento che è un “vero e proprio mostro”, senza peraltro dare troppo nell’occhio.
      Alla già nota abrogazione della protezione umanitaria, allo stravolgimento dell’ex Sistema di protezione per richiedenti asilo e rifugiati (SPRAR), alle illegittimità costituzionali già evidenziate nelle scorse settimane dall’Asgi, si aggiungono nuovi elementi preoccupanti.

      Schiavone ha il testo del maxi emendamento del governo sotto mano e scorre alle introdotte “Disposizioni in materia di Paesi di origine sicuri e manifesta infondatezza della domanda di protezione internazionale”.
      Il primo punto riguarda i “Paesi di origine sicuri”, il caso cioè di uno “Stato non appartenente all’Unione europea” che stando al nuovo articolato potrà “essere considerato Paese di origine sicuro se, sulla base del suo ordinamento giuridico, dell’applicazione della legge all’interno di un sistema democratico e della situazione politica generale, si può dimostrare che, in via generale e costante, non sussistono atti di persecuzione […] né tortura o altre forme di pena o trattamento inumano o degradante, né pericolo a causa di violenza indiscriminata in situazioni di conflitto armato interno o internazionale. La designazione di un Paese di origine sicuro può essere fatta con l’eccezione di parti del territorio o di categorie di persone”.

      Per “accertare” che uno Stato sia o meno “di origine sicuro” ed eventualmente iscriverlo nell’elenco adottato per decreto dal ministro degli Esteri (“Di concerto con i Ministri dell’Interno e della Giustizia) ci si dovrà basare “sulle informazioni fornite dalla Commissione nazionale per il diritto di asilo”. La domanda di protezione del richiedente proveniente da quel Paese verrà sì esaminata ma, se rigettata sarà “considerata manifestamente infondata”.

      “Dove è stata introdotta, la nozione di Paese di origine sicuro, che le direttive europee prevedono quale misura normativa solo facoltativa per gli Stati -riflette Schiavone- ha sempre prodotto gravissimi problemi poiché le domande di protezione sono per definizione individuali ovvero legate alla condizione specifica di un richiedente. Esaminare invece una domanda ritenendo già che un Paese di origine sia ‘sicuro’ crea una situazione di pregiudizio sostanziale nell’esame della domanda stessa e dà ampi margini per l’esercizio di un’influenza politica molto forte del potere esecutivo sull’organo di valutazione”. Ciò vale soprattutto per l’Italia oggi. Perché? “Perché chi stabilisce che il Paese di origine sia ‘sicuro’ sarà di fatto la Commissione nazionale per il diritto d’asilo, che non è organo amministrativo indipendente ed è fortemente connesso per composizione e struttura organizzativa al potere politico”. Tradotto: il Governo di turno potrà decidere che un Paese venga considerato di “origine sicuro” con obiettivi di carattere politico che nulla hanno a che fare con le domande di protezione. Schiavone pensa a casi come il Bangladesh, la Tunisia, il Senegal e così via.
      Il rigetto della domanda per manifesta infondatezza comporta un forte indebolimento della tutela giurisdizionale -continua Schiavone- poiché il ricorso ha tempi di impugnazione più brevi e non c’è un’automatica sospensiva durante il contenzioso. Molte ragioni mi inducono a pensare, anche se ancora a caldo e riservandomi approfondimenti -conclude lo studioso- che la nozione di ‘Paese di origine sicuro’ sia del tutto estranea alla nozione di asilo delineata dalla nostra Costituzione”.

      Tra le altre “novità” rispetto all’originario “decreto Salvini” c’è poi quella della cosiddetta “protezione interna” nel Paese terzo di provenienza del richiedente. “Se in una parte del territorio del Paese di origine, il richiedente non ha fondati motivi di temere di essere perseguitato o non corre rischi effettivi di subire danni gravi o ha accesso alla protezione contro persecuzioni o danni gravi e può legalmente e senza pericolo recarvisi ed essere ammesso e si può ragionevolmente supporre che vi si ristabilisca”, la sua domanda di protezione è “rigettata”. “Anche su questa norma, del tutto facoltativa nel diritto dell’Unione e che l’Italia, fin dal 2008, con saggezza, aveva evitato sono molti i dubbi di conformità rispetto all’articolo 10 della nostra Costituzione -riflette Schiavone-. È possibile segmentare un Paese in aree, evidenziando peraltro una situazione che è già di grande instabilità, visto che un Paese è diviso in due o più parti?. Cosa vuol dire in concreto che è ragionevole supporre che la persona si trasferisca nell’area del Paese considerata sicura? Quali i parametri di valutazione? È sufficiente solo la mancanza di rischio o è necessario che alla persona venga fornita una protezione effettiva e una assistenza materiale? La norma, genericissima, non fornisce alcuna risposta”. Ciò che è chiaro è che è scontata la tendenza, come ribadisce il vicepresidente Asgi, di considerare l’asilo come fosse una sorta di “extrema ratio” cui ricorrere quando nessuna altra soluzione, anche precaria e parziale all’interno di quel Paese sia possibile. “Che cosa ha a che fare tutto ciò con il diritto all’asilo garantito dalla Costituzione a coloro cui sia impedito nel suo Paese l’effettivo esercizio delle libertà democratiche? La distanza è abissale”.
      Utilizzare la nozione di area interna sicura nel Paese di origine è solo un altro modo per respingere domande di asilo che tradizionalmente vengono accolte. “Pensiamo al caso dei cittadini afghani o iracheni e riteniamo per l’appunto che le persone possano spostarsi in una presunta ‘area sicura’ del Paese. Quanto è sicura? Come si valuta? Per quanto tempo? Che tipo di stabilità e assistenza deve provvedere ad assicurare lo Stato allo sfollato interno? Domande che rimangono senza risposta”.

      Accanto al tema dei “Paesi di origine sicuri” e delle zone di “protezione interna”, il maxi emendamento interviene -come già il decreto 113- a proposito di cittadinanza. L’avvocato Livio Neri, socio di Asgi, elenca brevemente alcune delle misure del decreto legge governativo. “C’è l’aumento del contributo da versare per presentare ‘istanze o dichiarazioni di elezione, acquisto, riacquisto, rinuncia o concessione della cittadinanza’, che passa da 200 a 250 euro. C’è l’incredibile allungamento del ‘termine di definizione dei procedimenti’, da 24 a 48 mesi dalla data di presentazione della domanda. E c’è il brutto precedente della ‘revoca’ della cittadinanza prevista in caso di condanna definitiva per gravi reati”. Precedente che creerà peraltro nuova apolidia, dal momento che -come fa notare Neri- la norma così come è scritta (ed è rimasta) non prevede la circostanza che dopo la revoca sorga appunto una condizione di apolidia per l’interessato ed è perciò in contrasto con la Convenzione di New York sulla materia.

      L’emendamento del governo aggiunge a questi (e altri) elementi un termine di sei mesi per il rilascio di estratti e certificati di stato civile “occorrenti ai fini del riconoscimento della cittadinanza italiana”, che significa secondo Neri “che lo stesso documento (ad esempio il certificato di nascita di un congiunto, ndr) ha termini diversi a seconda di chi lo richiede”. E pone poi come condizione necessaria alla “concessione della cittadinanza” il “possesso, da parte dell’interessato, di un’adeguata conoscenza della lingua italiana, non inferiore al livello B1 del Quadro comune europeo di riferimento per le lingue (QCER)”, salvo per chi abbia sottoscritto l’accordo di integrazione o sia titolare di permesso di soggiorno Ue per “soggiornanti di lungo periodo”. “Questa previsione -commenta amaramente Neri- avrà un durissimo impatto sulle persone con minori strumenti culturali a disposizione e che per questo non saranno riusciti a imparare l’italiano”.

      https://altreconomia.it/decreto-immigrazione-novita

    • What will change for migrants under Italy’s new immigration and security decree?

      As the decree passed the Senate, Italy’s upper house, Matteo Salvini tweeted it was an “historic day.” The decree still needs to pass the lower house by the end of November before it is enshrined in law. At the moment, that looks likely, so what will change for migrants if it is passed?

      Like all decrees, Italy’s new security and immigration decree is composed of many complicated clauses and paragraphs. In short, it is intended to regulate immigration and public security. It has been pushed by Italy’s deputy prime minister and Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, who is also leader of the anti-immigration party, La Lega (The Northern League).

      Essentially, it will change the laws under which foreign migrants have been staying in the country since 1998. It is set to repeal the right to stay for humanitarian reasons. “Humanitarian protection” is a lower level of asylum status that is based on Italian rather than international law. Up until now, this right has been conceded for up to two years on serious humanitarian grounds and allowed migrants and refugees to access the job market, health services and social welfare.

      The new decree will take this catch-all definition ’on humanitarian grounds’ away in favor of six new specific categories which applicants will need to fulfill. Has the applicant been smuggled or exploited? Are they subject to domestic violence? Do they need specific medical attention? Was there some kind of calamity in their country of origin or have they contributed in a special way to Italian civil society which would merit a right to stay?

      Article two of the law doubles the length of time that migrants can be kept in repatriation centers whilst their cases are looked at. It will allow the authorities to build more centers too. Repatriations are expected to increase with more money being assigned to making sure they happen; three and a half million euros in total up to 2020.

      Revoking refugee status

      There will be a longer list of crimes that, if committed will lead to a refugee being refused asylum or having their refugee status revoked. The crimes include murder, armed robbery, extortion, violence towards public officials, people found to be practicing genital mutilation, armed theft and burglary, possession of drugs, slavery, sexual violence or kidnapping. Anyone found guilty of terrorist acts or trying to overturn the constitution provides another reason for expulsion under the new law.

      The new decree is expected to weaken the SPRAR networks which were set up to protect refugees and asylum seekers in 2002. Only unaccompanied migrants and those who qualify for international protection will come under the future auspices of SPRAR. Everyone else will be sent to ’welcome centers’ or CARA (Welcome center for those requesting asylum). Social cooperatives assigned asylum seekers and migrants will be required to report to the authorities every three months with a list of people that they support. The decree is also expected to slash the budget assigned for food and lodging for migrants in CARA centers from 30 euros per person per day to 15 euros.

      Anyone who marries an Italian will now have to wait four years instead of the current two before applying for citizenship. In addition, like in Germany, migrants hoping to remain in Italy will be required to pass a B1 language test.

      Jubilation and condemnation

      Matteo Salvini was pictured looking jubilant as the decree was passed by the Senate with 163 votes to 59. Not everyone was happy though. Roberto Saviano, an anti-Mafia writer who opposes the current Italian government called the decree “criminal” saying it was “self harming, [and] suicidal.” He pointed out that it would be impossible to repatriate more than 500,000 migrants without papers who are currently present in the country. “Much better,” he said “give them papers and allow them to work and pay taxes to the state.” He said the law would only serve to increase the number of “irregular migrants” in the country feeding organized crime networks.

      The Democratic Party (PD) leader in the Senate, Andrea Marcucci contests the decree too. He was quoted in the left-leaning daily newspaper, La Repubblica, saying it “creates insecurity, not security and would make 100s of thousands more migrants clandestine in Italy.” He concluded: “This is a decree against Italy, against Italians and against security.”

      Salvini disagrees. In interviews prior to the Senate vote, he said that the decree was not just about immigration but increasing security for everyone in Italy. “It’s about strengthening the anti-mafia organizations and anti-racket laws. It will make everything more serious and rigorous. […] It is a decree which will bring more money and power to the police, to mayors; will introduce more surveillance cameras.” He added that once the law has passed, he will be looking to reform the justice system too. That way, cases dragging on for years, until they enter proscription, will be a thing of the past.

      The decree is scheduled to be put before the lower house on the November 22. With the Five Star Movement and the League holding a majority there too, (along with other right-leaning parties like Forza Italia and Fratelli D’Italia,) it is expected to pass without too many problems and enter law before the end of the year.


      http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/13210/what-will-change-for-migrants-under-italy-s-new-immigration-and-securi

    • Message de Sara Prestianni, via la mailing-list Migreurop, 28.11.2018:

      Hier la Chambre des Deputé- avec un vote blindé de confiance - a approuvé le DL sécurité migration.
      Le #vote_de_confiance a permis au Gouvernement de le faire passer en toute vitesse et de balayer tout tentatif de l’opposition de faire des amendements qui pouvaient limiter les déjà tragiques dégâts.
      Nombreuses les déclaration préoccupé et les mobilisation des associations italiennes pour cette loi de la honte

      Ici le CP publié par ARCI -> Le secret loi immigration et sécurité est loi : Injustice est fait : https://www.arci.it/il-ddl-sicurezza-e-immigrazione-e-legge-ingiustizia-e-fatta

      où nous expliquons nos inquiétudes face aux dégâts sociaux d’une loi qui ne fera que créer encore plus de personnes sans documents qui seront exclu du système d’accueil en les rendant encore plus exploitables. Un énième, tragique, étape vers la violation systématique des droits de migrants et réfugiés.

      Ici les principaux changement dans le système italien (sorry only in FR) dont beaucoup intéressent les thématiques de travail du réseau :

      1- Abolition de la “#protection_humanitaire
      La protection humanitaire avait été introduit en 1998 et était attribué pour “serieux motivation de caractère humanitaire ou dérivant de obligation constitutionnels ou internationales de l’Etat Italien ; à ceux qui fuyaient des conflits, désastres naturels ou situations de particulières gravité dans les pays d’origine ou encore ceux qui ne pouvaient pas être expulsés ou encore à victime de traite ou autre type d’exploitation. En 2017 ont été présenté 130 000 demandes de protection en Italie : le 52% a été rejeté. Dans le 25% des cas a été attribué une protection humanitaire ; le 8% ont obtenu un statut de réfugié et un autre 8% la protection subsidiaire. Le 7% a obtenu un autre type de protection.
      Cela veut dire que ce permis ne sera plus donné mais aussi que ceux qui l’ont obtenu ne le pourront plus renouveler
      A sa place cette nouvelle loi a intégré un titre de séjour pour “#cas_spéciaux” : victimes de #violences_domestiques ou grave #exploitation du #travail ou pour des #raisons_médicales ou qui s’est distingué pour “actes de particulier valeur civile”. Ce permis aura une durée de deux ans et ne pourra pas être renouveler

      – Prolongation de la durée de détention dans les #CPR (centre pour le retour -> les cra italiens) -> Aujourd’hui les migrants peuvent être enfermé pour un max de 90 jours. La nouvelle loi prolonge la durée maximale de détention à 180 jours.

      – Permanence dans les #hotspot et points de frontière -> Selon l’article 3 de la nouvelle loi les demandeurs d’asile peuvent être enfermés pour une période de max 30 jours dans les hotspot et structure de “premier accueil” (#Cas et #Cara) pour l’identification. Si dans les 30 jours n’a pas été possible proceder à l’identification aussi les demandeurs d’asile pourront être enfermés dans un CPR pour 180 jours. De cette façon un demandeur d’asile pour être enfermé pour 210 jours pour vérifier et déterminer son identité. Cela sera aussi appliqué aux mineurs en famille.
      De plus est prévu que le juge de paix puisse valider la détention en “#locaux_adaptes” auprès les bureau de frontière jusqu’à’ l’expulsion pour max 48 heures.

      – Plus de fonds pour les expulsions -> A l’article 6 a été prévu un augmentation du budget pour les #expulsions : 500 000 euro en 2018 ; 1,5 million euro en 2019 et autre 1.5 millions en 2020.

      – Retrait ou refus de la protection international en cas de condamnation pour menaces ou violences à officiers public ; lésions personales graves ou vol

      – Ceux qui sont en procedure penale (meme si pas condamné en voi definitive verront leur demande d’asile analysé en procedure accelleré

      – Listes des pays sures -> La loi prévoit l’institution d’une liste de pays d’origine sure et la procedure de demande de protection internationale manifestement infondé. La liste sera stilé par le Ministere des Affaires Etrangers avec le Ministere de l’Interieur et de la Justice sur la base des info fournies par la Commissione Nationales du Droit d’Asile et les agences européennes et internationales. Les demandeurs d’asile en provenance d’un pays present dans la liste des pays sures devrait démontrer de avoir graves motivation qui justifient sa demande et elle sera analyse en procedure accellerée.

      – Restriction du système d’accueil -> Le système d’accueil pour demandeurs d’asile et réfugié (#SPRAR) - le système ordinaire géré par les mairies - sera limité à ceux qui sont déjà titulaire de protection internationales et aux mineurs isolés. Les autres demandeurs seront accueilli dans les CAS et CARA (en parallele le Gouvernement a annoncé une diminution des fonds pour demandeurs d’asile par jour de 35 à 19 euro rendent ainsi impossible donner aucun type de service - juridiques, sociale, intégration et psychologique - dans le parcours d’accueil)

      #pays_sûr #rétention #détention_administrative

    • L’Italie adopte la loi anti-migrants de Matteo Salvini

      Ce texte durcit la politique italienne en matière d’immigration, remplaçant les permis de séjour humanitaires par d’autres permis plus courts.

      L’Italie a adopté mercredi un décret-loi controversé durcissant sa politique d’immigration, voulu par Matteo Salvini, ministre de l’Intérieur et chef de la Ligue (extrême droite). La Chambre des députés a adopté le texte - après le Sénat début novembre et dans les mêmes termes - par 396 oui contre 99 non.

      Le gouvernement populiste formé par la Ligue et le Mouvement 5 Etoiles (M5S, antisystème) avait posé la question de confiance dans les deux chambres sur ce décret-loi. Quatorze députés du M5S n’ont pas pris part au vote mercredi.

      Le texte durcit la politique italienne en matière d’immigration. Il remplace en particulier les permis de séjour humanitaires, actuellement octroyés à 25% des demandeurs d’asile et d’une durée de deux ans, par divers autres permis, comme « protection spéciale », d’une durée d’un an, ou « catastrophe naturelle dans le pays d’origine », d’une durée de six mois, entre autres.
      Refus de signer le pacte de l’ONU sur les migrations

      Il prévoit une procédure d’urgence afin de pouvoir expulser tout demandeur se montrant « dangereux ». Il réorganise aussi le système d’accueil des demandeurs d’asile, qui étaient encore 146 000 fin octobre et seront regroupés dans de grands centres par mesures d’économies. Dans le volet sécurité, il généralise l’utilisation des pistolets électriques et facilite l’évacuation des bâtiments occupés.

      Le gouvernement italien a annoncé mercredi qu’il ne signerait pas le pacte de l’ONU sur les migrations (Global Compact for Migration) comme s’y était engagé en 2016 le précédent exécutif de centre-gauche dirigé à l’époque par Matteo Renzi.

      Le gouvernement ne participera pas au sommet prévu les 10 et 11 décembre à Marrakech où doit être définitivement adopté ce pacte « se réservant d’adhérer ou non au document seulement une fois que le parlement se sera prononcé », a déclaré le président du Conseil Giuseppe Conte. Non contraignant, ce texte de 25 pages, premier du genre sur ce sujet, vise à réguler les flux migratoires au plan mondial.

      https://www.letemps.ch/monde/litalie-adopte-loi-antimigrants-matteo-salvini

    • Il decreto immigrazione è legge: cambierà in peggio la vita di migliaia di persone.

      Con il voto di fiducia di ieri alla Camera, il decreto immigrazione è stato convertito in legge. Refugees Welcome Italia esprime nuovamente la propria contrarietà ad un provvedimento che cambia, in negativo, la vita di migliaia di persone, rendendole ancora più vulnerabili ed esponendole al rischio di vivere ai margini della società. Come già ribadito, lontano dal garantire “l’ordine e la sicurezza pubblica”, questo decreto va nella direzione opposta, acuendo il disagio sociale e aumentando l’insicurezza per tutta la popolazione, migrante e italiana, con pesanti ricadute anche sulla coesione sociale. Secondo alcune stime, la sola abolizione della protezione umanitaria – un permesso di soggiorno che lo Stato italiano riconosce a coloro che, pur non avendo i requisiti per ottenere la protezione internazionale, presentano comunque delle vulnerabilità tali da richiedere una forma di tutela – produrrà 60 mila nuovi irregolari nei prossimi due anni. Migliaia di nuovi senza tetto, persone senza diritti, che rischiano di diventare facile preda di sfruttamento e criminalità.
      “Un decreto di tale portata avrebbe meritato una discussione approfondita, in fase di approvazione, per tentare almeno di introdurre qualche miglioria, invece il testo è passato con la fiducia”, sottolinea Fabiana Musicco, presidente dell’associazione. “A pagare il prezzo di questo nuovo assetto normativo saranno, ad esempio, migliaia di ragazzi arrivati in Italia da minori soli che sono prossimi a compiere 18 anni. Molti di loro hanno fatto richiesta di asilo e qualora ricevessero un diniego di protezione internazionale, una volta diventati maggiorenni, non avrebbero alcun titolo per rimanere in modo regolare in Italia. Per non parlare dei tanti neo-maggiorenni che hanno già ottenuto la protezione umanitaria e che, non potendo accedere al sistema Sprar a causa del decreto, non hanno un posto dove andare. In questo ultimo mese ci sono arrivate diverse segnalazioni di ragazzi in questa situazione: diciottenni che si sono iscritti sul nostro sito per chiedere di essere ospitati in famiglia e proseguire il loro percorso di inclusione. Il rischio, per loro, è che finiscano per strada”.
      Oltre all’abolizione della protezione umanitaria, sono tante altre le misure discutibili che incideranno negativamente sull’architettura del sistema di accoglienza in Italia. Invece di potenziare l’accoglienza diffusa gestita dagli enti locali, che ha favorito, in questi anni, reali processi di inclusione per richiedenti asilo e titolari di protezione, si è scelto, con questo decreto, di rafforzare la logica emergenziale dei grandi centri che, oltre a non garantire alcuna integrazione, genera spesso, a causa dei pochi controlli, abusi e malversazioni. “Molte disposizioni del decreto, oltre a ridurre lo spazio di esercizio di alcuni diritti fondamentali, come quello all’asilo, sono contrarie al buon senso e renderanno il nostro Paese un posto meno sicuro per tutti, migranti e italiani”.

      https://refugees-welcome.it/decreto-immigrazione-legge-cambiera-peggio-la-vita-migliaia-persone

    • Azzariti: «Il Decreto sicurezza sarà bocciato dalla Consulta»

      Il costituzionalista critica il decreto Salvini votato al Senato, non celando la speranza che alla Camera venga modificato

      «Innanzitutto il provvedimento impressiona per il segno culturalmente regressivo perché appiattisce l’immigrazione ad un problema di esclusiva sicurezza pubblica: dalla legge Bossi Fini in poi c’è una progressione in questo senso di criminalizzazione del problema migratorio». Il costituzionalista Gaetano Azzariti critica il decreto Salvini votato al Senato, non celando la speranza che alla Camera venga modificato: «Così com’è è una summa di incostituzionalità, auspico si intervenga per cambiarlo in Parlamento».

      Professore, perché il decreto sicurezza sarebbe incostituzionale? Ci vuole spiegare le ragioni?
      Penso di peggio: nel testo ci sono una summa di incostituzionalità. Dallo strumento utilizzato, il decreto legge, al contenuto del provvedimento che va in conflitto coi principi della nostra Carta.

      Lei critica la formula del decreto perché dice che in questo momento non esiste un’emergenza tale da giustificare un provvedimento simile? Però posso ribattere, facendo l’avvocato del diavolo, che da anni è prassi che i nostri governi adottino la formula del decreto esautorando il Parlamento…
      C’è una sentenza della Corte Costituzionale del 2007 che ci spiega come non sia sufficiente che il governo dichiari la necessità di urgenza per emanare un decreto. Illegittimo è quindi l’uso del decreto legge per regolare fenomeni – quali le migrazioni – di natura strutturale che non rivestono alcun carattere di straordinarietà ed urgenza. In questo caso la palese mancanza dei requisiti costituzionali è dimostrata dal fatto di cui il governo si vanta di aver ridotto dell’80 per cento il problema dell’immigrazione. E allora non le sembra una contraddizione logica dichiarare l’emergenza quando lo stesso governo festeggia per i risultati ottenuti? Il governo ha pieno diritto di legiferare in materia, anche secondo il principio di contenimento dei flussi, ma tramite un disegno di legge.

      Al di là, quindi, della formula del decreto che lei reputa inopportuna, entrando nel merito, quali sono gli articoli della Costituzione che vengono violati?
      In primis, l’articolo 10 terzo comma stabilisce un diritto fondamentale che riguarda non i cittadini ma gli stranieri. A questi viene assegnato la possibilità di chiedere asilo politico allo Stato italiano. La stessa Cassazione, con diverse sentenze emesse dal 2012 al 2018, e le disposizioni internazionali ci parlano di permessi per “protezione umanitaria” come mezzi di attuazione della disposizione costituzionale. Bene, col decreto si passa all’eliminazione totale di questo status: la protezione umanitaria viene abrogata e sostituita da ipotesi specifiche. Cos’è questa se non una violazione dell’articolo 10 della nostra Carta?

      E che ne pensa della sospensione della concessione della domanda se si è sottoposti a procedimento penale?
      La presunzione di non colpevolezza è un principio di civiltà che è sancito dall’articolo 27 della nostra Costituzione. E non si fa certo differenza tra cittadini e stranieri (si riferisce in generale all’«imputato»). C’è poco altro da aggiungere: una sospensione della concessione della domanda mi sembra chiaramente violativa di questo principio.

      Si parla anche di revoca della cittadinanza in caso di condanna, anche questo aspetto secondo lei è incostituzionale?
      Si afferma per legge che qualora l’immigrato riuscisse, dopo il lungo iter burocratico, ad ottenere la cittadinanza italiana, non sarà comunque mai considerato alla pari degli altri. Come se dovesse pagare per l’eternità una pecca originaria. Questo aspetto è in contrasto con due principi: quello d’eguaglianza, introducendo nel nostro ordinamento una irragionevole discriminazione tra cittadini, e contravvenendo all’espressa indicazione di divieto della perdita della cittadinanza per motivi politici (articoli 3 e 22).

      In pratica, persone che commettono lo stesso reato avrebbero sanzioni diverse?
      Esatto, chi ha acquisito la cittadinanza è penalizzato rispetto a chi la tiene per ius sanguinis. Inoltre l’articolo 22 della Carta stabilisce che non si può perdere la cittadinanza per motivi politici. Ma se vuole continuo, gli elementi di incostituzionalità sono ancora altri.

      Ce li dica…
      Il decreto sicurezza estende la cosiddetta detenzione amministrativa cioè l’obbligo di stare in questi centri di permanenza e di rimpatrio da 90 a 180 giorni. Qui abbiamo una giurisprudenza con zone d’ombra ma che su un punto è chiarissima: la sentenza 105 del 2001 della Corte Costituzionale stabilisce che “il trattamento dello straniero presso i centri di permanenza temporanea è misura incidente sulla libertà personale”. Il governo dovrebbe dimostrare che in questi luoghi non ci sia limitazione di libertà personale, la vedo difficile.

      E sul taglio degli Sprar che ne pensa?
      È una delle parti più odiose del decreto. Si cancella quella normativa che definiva le politiche di integrazione cercando di realizzare anche un altro principio fondamentale: quello di solidarietà (articolo 2 della Costituzione).

      A questo punto, crede veramente che il testo verrà migliorato alla Camera oppure teme che Lega e M5S abbiano blindato il provvedimento con il voto di fiducia?
      La speranza è l’ultima a morire. Non posso auspicare che questa maggioranza cambi idea sull’ordine pubblico o sul nesso immigrazione-sicurezza o che faccia un provvedimento che regoli i flussi. Qui il tema di discussione non è l’indirizzo politico del governo ma il rispetto della Carta e dei limiti costituzionali. Ricordo, inoltre, che il presidente della Repubblica quando ha firmato il decreto, ha anche scritto una lettera a Conte rilevando nell’auspicio del rispetto dei principi internazionali. Il Parlamento ha l’onore di prendere in considerazione almeno questi moniti.

      E nel caso, invece, rimanga così com’è ci sarebbe l’altolà della Consulta? È un’ipotesi realistica?
      Sono certo che se dovesse essere approvato in questi termini, magari con l’aggravante della mancanza della discussione in Parlamento, tutta l’attenzione non politica ma costituzionale si riverserà sui due guardiani della Costituzione. In primo luogo sul Capo dello Stato in sede di promulgazione – che dovrà in qualche modo verificare se il Parlamento ha tenuto conto dei rilievi da lui stesso formulati – e in secondo luogo sulla Corte Costituzionale.

      La sento abbastanza convinto sulla possibilità che la Consulta bocci alcune parti del provvedimento…
      Gli elementi di incostituzionalità di questo decreto mi sembrano abbastanza evidenti.

      http://www.vita.it/it/article/2018/11/22/azzariti-il-decreto-sicurezza-sara-bocciato-dalla-consulta/149839

    • Italien verschärft seine Einwanderungsgesetze drastisch

      In Italien hat Innenminister Salvini sein Einwanderungsdekret durchgesetzt. Die Vergabe von humanitären Aufenthaltsgenehmigungen wird eingeschränkt, die Ausweisung von Migranten erleichtert.

      Drei Wochen nach dem italienischen Senat hat auch die Abgeordnetenkammer das umstrittene Einwanderungsdekret von Innenminister Matteo Salvini angenommen.

      Durch das Gesetz wird

      – die Vergabe von humanitären Aufenthaltsgenehmigungen massiv eingeschränkt und
      – die Ausweisung von Migranten erleichtert.
      – Auch die Verteilung und Unterbringung von Asylbewerbern wird neu geregelt: Die meisten sollen künftig in großen Auffangzentren untergebracht werden.
      – Als „gefährlich“ eingeschätzte Asylbewerber sollen in Eilverfahren abgeschoben werden können.
      – Migranten, die bereits die italienische Staatsbürgerschaft haben, sollen diese wieder verlieren, wenn sie in Terrorverfahren verurteilt werden.
      – Als sicherheitspolitische Neuerung ist in dem Gesetz unter anderem vorgesehen, den Einsatz von Elektroschockpistolen auszuweiten und die Räumung besetzter Gebäude zu erleichtern.

      Die Regierung hatte in beiden Parlamentskammern die Vertrauensfrage gestellt, um die Gesetzesänderung zügig durchzubringen. Einige Parlamentarier der populistischen Fünf-Sterne-Bewegung, die zusammen mit Salvinis fremdfeindlicher Lega-Partei regiert, hatten aus Protest gegen die geplanten Verschärfungen Dutzende Änderungsanträge eingereicht.

      396 Abgeordnete stimmten schließlich für die drastische Verschärfung des Einwanderungsrechts, 99 votierten dagegen. 14 Abgeordnete der Fünf-Sterne-Bewegung, die sich gegen die Pläne ausgesprochen hatten, nahmen nicht an der Abstimmung teil.

      „Ein denkwürdiger Tag“

      Salvini äußerte sich angesichts des Ergebnisses zufrieden. „Heute ist ein denkwürdiger Tag“, sagte der Innenminister, der zugleich Vizeregierungschef ist. Kritik an den Gesetzesverschärfungen wies er als Bedenken von Linken zurück, „die finden, dass illegale Einwanderung kein Problem ist“.

      Das Uno-Flüchtlingshilfswerks (UNHCR) hatte sich Anfang November besorgt zu den Gesetzesverschärfungen geäußert. Diese böten keine „angemessenen Garantien“, insbesondere für Menschen, die besonderer Fürsorge bedürften, etwa Opfer von Vergewaltigung oder Folter.

      Die italienische Regierung vertritt seit ihrem Amtsantritt im Sommer eine harte Haltung in der Flüchtlings- und Einwanderungspolitik. Schiffen mit geretteten Flüchtlingen an Bord verweigerte Salvini das Einlaufen in italienische Häfen. Der Schwerpunkt der Flüchtlingskrise im Mittelmeer hat sich seitdem stärker nach Spanien verlagert: Spanien ist in diesem Jahr zum Hauptankunftsland von Flüchtlingen in Europa geworden, weit vor Italien und Griechenland.

      http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fluechtlinge-italien-verschaerft-seine-einwanderungsgesetze-drastisch-a-1241

    • Decreto immigrazione e sicurezza, la circolare ai Prefetti del 18 dicembre 2018

      Il Gabinetto del ministero dell’Interno ha diramato in queste settimane ai Prefetti la CM del 18 dicembre 2018 per «illustrare… le principali disposizioni d’insieme» del DL 4 ottobre 2018, il cosiddetto decreto immigrazione e sicurezza. Il testo è disponibile a questo link: http://viedifuga.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Circolare_m_18_12_2018.pdf. Il Viminale ha predisposto anche un documento divulgativo dal titolo Immigrazione e sicurezza pubblica. Le risposte per conoscere il nuovo decreto: qui (http://viedifuga.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/FAQ_Decreto_immigrazione_e_sicurezza_definitivo_3_1_2018.pdf) la versione aggiornata al 3 gennaio 2019.

      Qui invece (www.redattoresociale.it/Notiziario/Articolo/612656/Dl-Salvini-la-circolare-del-Viminale-che-tenta-di-rassicurare-i-sindaci), da Redattore sociale, il giudizio dell’ASGI sulla circolare ministeriale e le pericolose ricadute del DL (convertito in legge con la 132/2018: viedifuga.org/approvato-alla-camera-il-decreto-sicurezza-e-immigrazione-e-una-pessima-legge/) secondo Oxfam Italia e secondo l’ISPI (Istituto per gli studi di politica internazionale).

      http://viedifuga.org/decreto-immigrazione-e-sicurezza-la-circolare-ai-prefetti-del-18-dicembre

    • La stretta sulla residenza è uno dei problemi del decreto sicurezza

      Il decreto immigrazione e sicurezza, diventato legge il 27 novembre del 2018 con l’approvazione in parlamento, suscita divisioni e critiche sia all’interno della maggioranza sia tra le file dell’opposizione. Dopo l’attacco del sindaco di Palermo Leoluca Orlando e del sindaco di Napoli Luigi De Magistris – che hanno annunciato di non voler applicare la legge, perché “è un testo inumano che viola i diritti umani” – molti altri sindaci hanno detto che boicotteranno la norma. Una mappa compilata dalla ricercatrice Cristina Del Biaggio raccoglie tutte le adesioni degli amministratori locali contro il decreto, in totale un centinaio.

      Uno dei punti più contestati della legge è l’esclusione dei richiedenti asilo dall’iscrizione anagrafica. Leoluca Orlando, con una nota inviata al capoarea dei servizi al cittadino, ha chiesto d’indagare i profili giuridici anagrafici derivanti dall’applicazione del decreto sicurezza e di sospendere qualsiasi procedura “che possa intaccare i diritti fondamentali della persona con particolare, ma non esclusivo, riferimento alla procedura di iscrizione della residenza anagrafica”. Ma perché è così importante essere iscritti all’anagrafe e cosa comporta esserne esclusi? E infine, ha senso sospendere l’applicazione del decreto o basta applicare correttamente le norme esistenti?

      Cosa prevede il decreto
      La legge 113/2018 (anche detta decreto sicurezza e immigrazione o decreto Salvini) prevede delle modifiche all’articolo 4 del decreto legislativo 142/2015 attraverso un comma secondo cui “il permesso di soggiorno per richiesta d’asilo non costituisce titolo per l’iscrizione anagrafica”. Secondo Enrico Gargiulo, docente di fondamenti di politica sociale all’università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia, il decreto introduce una “rivoluzione nel campo del diritto all’anagrafe”, perché “per la prima volta si nega in maniera chiara a una categoria di persone un diritto soggettivo perfetto”, contravvenendo alla costituzione e ad altre norme generali sull’immigrazione come il Testo unico del 1998.

      Dello stesso orientamento l’Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi) che in un comunicato ha ribadito l’incostituzionalità di questo punto e ha annunciato di aver già presentato diversi ricorsi, impugnando in sede giudiziaria alcuni dinieghi all’iscrizione anagrafica. “Riteniamo infatti che non sussista alcuna ragione che giustifichi sotto il profilo costituzionale una diversità di trattamento nell’iscrizione anagrafica che colpisce una sola categoria di stranieri legalmente soggiornanti (i titolari di permesso di soggiorno per richiesta di asilo), violando il principio di parità di trattamento coi cittadini italiani prevista dall’articolo 6 del Testo unico sull’immigrazione( legge 286/1998)”, si legge nel comunicato. I ricorsi che saranno portati davanti a un giudice chiameranno in causa la corte costituzionale per violazione dell’articolo 3 della costituzione. La consulta a sua volta dovrà stabilire se questa parte del decreto è in linea con la carta fondamentale.

      Di fatto nella norma non si vieta espressamente l’iscrizione dei richiedenti asilo all’anagrafe

      Tuttavia alcuni giuristi invitano a un’interpretazione diversa del decreto. Le avvocate dell’Asgi Nazzarena Zorzella e Daniela Consolo ritengono che il decreto “non pone nessun esplicito divieto, ma si limita a escludere che la particolare tipologia di permesso di soggiorno possa essere documento utile per formalizzare la domanda di residenza”. Intervistata al telefono da Internazionale Zorzella ribadisce che “anche se il decreto ha come obiettivo l’esclusione dei richiedenti asilo dalla residenza, tuttavia di fatto nella norma non si vieta espressamente l’iscrizione dei richiedenti asilo all’anagrafe, ma si sostiene che il permesso di soggiorno per richiesta di asilo non costituisca un titolo valido per l’iscrizione all’anagrafe”.

      Per l’avvocata, quindi, i sindaci potrebbero con una circolare informare gli uffici anagrafici di accettare come documento valido per l’iscrizione all’anagrafe il modulo C3 e cioè la domanda di asilo presentata in questura dal richiedente asilo al momento dell’arrivo in Italia, assumendo quel titolo come prova del soggiorno regolare del cittadino straniero in Italia. “Il decreto sicurezza coesiste con il Testo unico sull’immigrazione, in particolare con l’articolo 6 comma 7 che non è stato modificato dal decreto e prevede che allo straniero regolarmente soggiornante sia consentita l’iscrizione anagrafica”. Secondo l’avvocata i sindaci potrebbero provare a interpretare la norma in senso meno restrittivo, continuando a consentire l’iscrizione dei richiedenti asilo all’anagrafe usando un altro documento come prova del loro soggiorno nel paese.

      Cosa implica l’iscrizione all’anagrafe
      L’iscrizione anagrafica è necessaria per il rilascio del certificato di residenza e del documento d’identità. Questi due documenti di prassi sono il presupposto per il godimento di alcuni servizi pubblici, in particolare dei servizi sociali, per esempio la presa in carico da parte degli assistenti sociali, l’accesso all’edilizia pubblica, la concessione di eventuali sussidi, per l’iscrizione al servizio sanitario nazionale (per la fruizione dei servizi ordinari come il medico di base, mentre l’assistenza sanitaria d’urgenza è per principio garantita anche agli irregolari), per l’iscrizione a un centro per l’impiego. Inoltre un documento d’identità valido è richiesto per sottoscrivere un contratto di lavoro, per prendere in affitto una casa o per aprire un conto corrente bancario. La situazione in realtà è molto disomogenea sul territorio italiano, da anni molti comuni hanno stabilito che sia necessaria la residenza per accedere a questi servizi, mentre in altri municipi è consentito accedere ai servizi con il domicilio o la residenza fittizia, ma il decreto introdurrà ancora più ambiguità in questa materia e c’è da aspettarsi un aumento dei contenziosi. “Chi non ha accesso ai diritti anagrafici diventa invisibile, è una specie di fantasma dal punto di vista amministrativo”, afferma il ricercatore Enrico Gargiulo. “Anche se una persona rimane titolare di certi diritti, senza l’iscrizione anagrafica di fatto ne è esclusa”, conclude il ricercatore.

      Anche su questo punto le avvocate dell’Asgi, Zorzella e Consolo, ritengono che l’iscrizione all’anagrafe non sia necessaria per garantire l’accesso ai servizi dei richiedenti asilo. Zorzella e Consolo ricordano che lo stesso decreto sicurezza prevede che sia assicurato agli stranieri “l’accesso ai servizi comunque erogati sul territorio ai sensi delle norme vigenti”. In questo senso, secondo loro, i sindaci e gli amministratori locali dovrebbero chiarire in una circolare che è sufficiente il domicilio per accedere ai servizi pubblici territoriali senza dover esibire l’iscrizione all’anagrafe, e lo stesso varrebbe per i servizi privati (banche, poste, assicurazioni, agenzie immobiliari).

      https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/annalisa-camilli/2019/01/09/residenza-anagrafe-decreto-sicurezza

    • La delibera per iscrivere all’anagrafe i richiedenti asilo. Dalle parole ai fatti, smontiamo il decreto Salvini

      Il 2019 è iniziato con numerosi Sindaci che hanno manifestato la loro volontà di disobbedire al decreto legge “immigrazione e sicurezza” di Salvini.
      Tra tutti, Leoluca Orlando, sindaco di Palermo con una nota inviata al Capo Area dei Servizi al Cittadino, ha conferito mandato per indagare i profili giuridici anagrafici derivanti dall’applicazione della legge n.132/2018 e, nelle more, ha impartito di sospendere qualsiasi procedura “che possa intaccare i diritti fondamentali della persona con particolare, ma non esclusivo, riferimento alla procedura di iscrizione della residenza anagrafica”.

      Si tratta del primo vero atto che tenta di opporsi alle previsioni contenute nel d.l. n. 113/2018 dopo la sua conversione in legge. Precedentemente, infatti, alcuni Comuni avevano dichiarato di sospendere gli effetti del decreto ma solo fino alla sua approvazione definitiva.
      In ogni caso, il fronte che, speriamo, si stia aprendo a livello territoriale contro questo provvedimento è di fondamentale importanza.

      Le leggi razziste, securitarie e repressive come, prima, i decreti di Minniti ed , ora, il decreto di Salvini agiscono anche e soprattutto sullo spazio delle nostre città, creano sacche di esclusione e di diritti negati.

      Dalle nostre città, dunque, deve partire una nuova resistenza.

      Per questo abbiamo pensato di elaborare un primo modello di delibera che smonti un pezzetto della legge n.113/2018 proprio nella parte in cui prevedendo l’impossibilità per il richiedente, titolare di un permesso di soggiorno per richiesta asilo, di iscriversi all’anagrafe si pone in piena violazione dell’articolo 26 della Convenzione di Ginevra e comporta una grave limitazione al godimento di quei diritti che la nostra Carta Costituzionale individua come diritti fondamentali.
      L’iscrizione all’anagrafe, infatti, rimane lo strumento tramite il quale si consente ai poteri pubblici di pianificare i servizi da erogare alla popolazione; inoltre essa è da sempre presupposto per l’accesso ad altri diritti sociali e civili, come l’iscrizione al Servizio Sanitario Nazionale; l’accesso all’assistenza sociale e concessione di eventuali sussidi previsti dagli enti locali.

      Nel modello di delibera si richiama la competenza comunale in materia di istituzione di un albo anagrafico (art. 14 del d. lgs. 18 agosto 2000, n. 267), i casi in cui i Comuni hanno già esercitato tale potere istitutivo (si vedano i registri per le unioni civili); la Convezione di Ginevra; gli articoli della nostra Costituzione che tutelano l’iscrizione anagrafica e la consolidata giurisprudenza della Corte di Cassazione che ha riconosciuto un diritto alla residenza qualificato come “diritto soggettivo”.
      Il tutto per dire una sola cosa alle istituzioni locali: se volete, avete tutto il potere di istituire quest’albo e garantire ai richiedenti asilo l’iscrizione anagrafica. Avete dalla vostra, la forza della ragione e la forza del Diritto.

      Si tratta, dunque, di un modello di delibera che mettiamo nelle mani dei Comuni solidali che realmente vogliono contrastare gli effetti di questo decreto.
      Un modello di delibera che mettiamo nelle mani degli attivisti e degli abitanti delle nostre città, piccole o grandi che siano, per fare pressione sui loro governanti e sfidarli ad istituire l’albo per l’iscrizione dei richiedenti asilo.

      Un modello di delibera che è solo uno dei tanti strumenti che intendiamo mettere a disposizione di questa battaglia per la giustizia e la dignità.
      La partita per la gestione dei centri Sprar e per i regolamenti di polizia locale dei nostri Comuni è ,infatti, ancora aperta.
      Anche in quel caso gli amministratori potranno decidere da che parte stare: se dalla parte della cieca obbedienza a delle leggi disumane, che condannano migliaia di persone alla marginalità rendendole carne da cannone per le Mafie, oppure dalla parte della “sicurezza dei diritti” di tutti e tutte noi.

      https://www.meltingpot.org/La-delibera-per-iscrivere-all-anagrafe-i-richiedenti-asilo.html

    • Une nouvelle loi anti-immigration controversée adoptée en Italie

      Le parlement italien a adopté une loi introduisant des restrictions pour les demandeurs d’asile, mais aussi des mesures pour la sécurité publique et contre les mafias. Un article d’Euroefe.

      La Chambre des représentants a approuvé le projet de loi par 336 voix pour et 249 abstentions, concluant ainsi sa trajectoire après son approbation au Sénat le 7 novembre par 163 voix pour, 59 contre et 19 abstentions.

      Cette mesure a été amenée par le chef de file de la Ligue de l’extrême droite et ministre de l’Intérieur, Matteo Salvini, et présentée dans les deux chambres parlementaires comme une motion de confiance au gouvernement, une technique utilisée pour éviter les amendements et écourter leur approbation.

      Quelque 200 personnes ont manifesté devant le parlement pour manifester leur rejet de cette loi controversée, et ont organisé des funérailles pour les droits, dénonçant le racisme.

      Salvini célèbre sa loi controversée

      Matteo Salvini a exprimé lors d’une conférence de presse sa « grande satisfaction, non pas en tant que ministre, mais en tant que citoyen italien », car, a-t-il assuré, la loi « donnera plus de tranquillité, d’ordre, de règles et de sérénité aux villes ».

      La nouvelle loi repose sur trois piliers : l’immigration, la sécurité publique et la lutte contre la criminalité organisée.

      Dans le domaine de l’immigration, les permis de séjour pour des raisons humanitaires seront suspendus. Ceux-ci ont été accordés pour deux ans et ont permis aux réfugiés d’accéder au monde du travail et à la sécurité sociale. Au lieu de cela, des permis de « protection spéciale » d’un an seront octroyés.

      En outre, la protection internationale sera refusée ou rejetée en cas de condamnation définitive de l’immigré, notamment pour viol, vente de drogue, vol ou extorsion. La mutilation génitale est mentionnée dans le texte et considérée comme « crime particulièrement alarmant ».

      La nouvelle loi allongera de 90 à 180 jours la période pendant laquelle les immigrants pourront rester dans les centres d’identification, période que le gouvernement du Mouvement 5 étoiles et la Ligue considère appropriée pour identifier le demandeur.

      Par ailleurs, davantage de fonds sont prévus pour le rapatriement volontaire des immigrants et la protection sera retirée à ceux qui retournent dans leur pays d’origine, sinon pour des « raisons graves et avérées ».

      Utilisation expérimentale du Taser

      En matière de sécurité publique, la nouvelle loi stipule que les sociétés de location de voitures communiquent à la police les données de leurs clients pour vérifier leurs antécédents et éviter ainsi d’éventuels attentats à la voiture bélier comme ce fut le cas à Nice, Berlin ou Londres.

      Elle permettra aussi aux agents des villes de plus de 100 000 habitants d’expérimenter le pistolet électrique Taser, et les clubs de football devront accroître leur contribution, en allouant entre 5 et 10 % des ventes de billets à la sécurité des stades.

      La loi étend par ailleurs le « Daspo », l’interdiction d’accès aux manifestations sportives aux foires, marchés et hôpitaux pour les personnes qui ont manifesté un comportement agressif ou dangereux.

      Enfin, en ce qui concerne la mafia, les nouvelles mesures augmentent les ressources destinées à l’entité qui gère les biens saisis aux criminels et libéralise ces biens, qui peuvent désormais être achetés par des particuliers « avec des contrôles rigoureux » afin qu’ils ne reviennent pas entre les mains des clans.

      https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/une-nouvelle-loi-anti-immigration-controversee-adoptee-en-italie

    • Decreto immigrazione e sicurezza: tutti i dubbi sulla costituzionalità

      Le Regioni contro il decreto Salvini. Piemonte, Umbria, Toscana, Emilia Romagna, Lazio, Marche, Basilicata. Di ora in ora si allarga la squadra dei governatori contro il decreto sicurezza e immigrazione di Matteo Salvini.

      La strada passa per il ricorso alla Corte costituzionale e a guidare il tutto sarà la Regione Piemonte, che ha dato mandato al docente di Diritto internazionale, Ugo Mattei, e all’avvocatura della Regione di preparare il ricorso che “

      seguirà l’esempio di quanto fatto da Apple, Facebook, Google, e altri colossi della Silicon Valley quando presero posizione e presentarono ricorso contro il decreto attuativo anti-immigrazione e il blocco dei visti voluto dal Presidente degli Stati Uniti, Donald Trump” ha spiegato l’assessora all’immigrazione della regione Piemonte Monica Cerutti

      “Ugo Mattei, insieme all’avvocatura della Regione Piemonte, si occuperà del ricorso in Corte Costituzionale contro il decreto sicurezza che rischia di creare un danno all’economia piemontese” ha spiegato Monica Cerutti. “Il decreto farà finire nell’irregolarità migliaia di migranti che quindi non potranno più contribuire alla vita economica del territorio”.

      “La nostra avvocatura sta anche lavorando con le avvocature delle altre ‘regioni rosse’” ha aggiunto l’assessora della Regione Piemonte “perché ci sia coordinamento nella presentazione dei ricorsi. Stiamo infatti pensando di aggiungere un nuovo profilo di incostituzionalità, che va sommarsi a quelli che riguardano le competenze regionali in materia di sanità e politiche sociali. Questo decreto manda del resto a gambe all’aria tutto il lavoro fatto sull’immigrazione in questi anni, rendendo inutili gli investimenti messi in campo dalla nostra Regione”.

      Il professor Mattei, si precisa dalla Regione, “si è reso disponibile a portare avanti questa battaglia a titolo gratuito. Quindi il suo intervento non costituirà una spesa per il Piemonte”.

      In precedenza anche il Quirinale aveva valutato eventuali profili di incostituzionalità del decreto, ponendo l’accento – nonostante la firma arrivata dopo la fiducia ottenuta alla Camera mercoledì 28 novembre 2018 – su alcune questioni.

      Vediamo quali sono:

      Necessità e urgenza – Il primo nodo è sulla natura dello strumento scelto dal governo. Secondo la Costituzione, il decreto deve rispettare i criteri di necessità e urgenza, oltre a non essere palesemente incostituzionale. La presidenza della Repubblica aveva già manifestato le proprie perplessità sull’urgenza di un intervento del governo su questa materia.

      Revoca del diritto d’asilo – Si allunga l’elenco di reati che comportano la sospensione della domanda di asilo e causano l’espulsione immediata dello straniero. Tra questi sono stati inclusi la violenza sessuale, la detenzione e il traffico di stupefacenti, il furto, la minaccia o la violenza a pubblico ufficiale. Nel decreto è prevista la revoca dello status dopo la sola condanna di primo grado: nella nostra Costituzione è però prevista la presunzione di innocenza fino al terzo grado di giudizio. Questa disposizione potrebbe essere in contrasto con i principi costituzionali.

      Revoca della cittadinanza – È prevista la revoca della cittadinanza italiana acquisita dagli stranieri condannati in via definitiva per reati di terrorismo. La revoca sarà possibile entro tre anni dalla condanna definitiva, per decreto del presidente della Repubblica su proposta del ministro dell’Interno. Anche questa norma è in contrasto con principi della Corte Costituzionale, che considera la cittadinanza un diritto inviolabile.

      Inizialmente i decreti dovevano essere due, uno sull’immigrazione e uno sulla sicurezza e i beni confiscati alle mafie. Poi sono stati accorpati in un unico provvedimento. Ecco gli altri punti del documento:

      Abolizione della protezione umanitaria – Il decreto prevede l’abolizione della concessione del permesso di soggiorno per motivi umanitari previsto dal Testo unico sull’immigrazione (legge 286/98).

      Trattenimento nei Cpr – Gli immigrati con i documenti non in regola potranno essere trattenuti nei Centri per il rimpatrio fino a 180 giorni. Ad oggi il limite era 90 giorni.

      Sicurezza urbana – Viene prevista la sperimentazione dei taser di parte della municipale nei comuni con più di 100 mila abitanti e inasprite le pene contro chi promuove o organizza occupazioni.

      Lotta alle mafie – Per contrastare le infiltrazioni mafiose nella pubblica amministrazione, il decreto prevede la nomina di un Commissario straordinario in caso di segnalazioni di situazioni anomale o di condotte illecite da parte di un Prefetto.

      https://www.tpi.it/2019/01/08/decreto-sicurezza-incostituzionalita-regioni/amp
      #constitutionnalité

    • Protezione umanitaria, la pronuncia della Cassazione n. 4890/2019

      Pubblichiamo la decisione n. 4890/2019 della Corte di cassazione, che risolve i dubbi in tema di regime intertemporale della nuova disciplina sulla protezione umanitaria.

      In argomento, questa Rubrica ha già ospitato la requisitoria del procuratore generale presso la Corte di cassazione, l’articolo di Carlo Padula (Quale sorte per il permesso di soggiorno umanitario dopo il dl 113/2018?) contenente l’orientamento dei Tribunali di Ancona, Bari, Bologna, Brescia, Catania, Firenze, Genova, Milano, Napoli, Palermo, Perugia, Torino, Trento e della dottrina in punto di regime intertemporale della nuova disciplina della protezione umanitaria.

      http://questionegiustizia.it/articolo/protezione-umanitaria-la-pronuncia-della-cassazione-n-48902019_19
      #protection_humanitaire

    • Migranti:da inizio anno sbarcati 16.566,-79% rispetto a 2017

      Dall’inizio dell’anno ad oggi sono sbarcati in Italia 16.566 migranti, il 79,07% in meno rispetto allo stesso periodo dell’anno scorso, quando ne arrivarono 79.154. Dai dati del Viminale, aggiornati al 28 giugno, emerge dunque che per il dodicesimo mese consecutivo gli sbarchi nel nostro paese sono in calo: l’ultimo picco fu registrato proprio a giugno dell’anno scorso, quando sbarcarono 23.526 migranti (nel 2016 ne arrivarono 22.339 mentre quest’anno il numero è fermo a 3.136). Dal mese di luglio 2017, che ha coinciso con gli accordi siglati con la Libia dall’ex ministro dell’Interno Marco Minniti, si è sempre registrata una diminuzione. Dei 16.566 arrivati nei primi sei mesi del 2018 (la quasi totalità, 15.741, nei porti siciliani), 11.401 sono partiti dalla Libia: un calo nelle partenze dell’84,94% rispetto al 2017 e dell’83,18% rispetto al 2016. Quanto alle nazionalità di quelli che sono arrivati, la prima è la Tunisia, con 3.002 migranti, seguita da Eritrea (2.555), Sudan (1.488) e Nigeria (1.229).

      http://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/cronaca/2018/06/30/migrantida-inizio-anno-sbarcati-16.566-79-rispetto-a-2017-_30327137-364e-44bf-8

    • En Méditerranée, les flux de migrants s’estompent et s’orientent vers l’ouest

      Pour la première fois depuis le début de la crise migratoire en 2014, l’Espagne est, avant l’Italie et la Grèce, le pays européen qui enregistre le plus d’arrivées de migrants par la mer et le plus de naufrages meurtriers au large de ses côtes.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/280618/en-mediterranee-les-flux-de-migrants-s-estompent-et-s-orientent-vers-l-oue
      #routes_migratoires

    • Migratory flows in April: Overall drop, but more detections in Greece and Spain

      Central Mediterranean
      The number of migrants arriving in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route in April fell to about 2 800, down 78% from April 2017. The total number of migrants detected on this route in the first four months of 2018 fell to roughly 9 400, down three-quarters from a year ago.
      So far this year, Tunisians and Eritreans were the two most represented nationalities on this route, together accounting for almost 40% of all the detected migrants.

      Eastern Mediterranean
      In April, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route stood at some 6 700, two-thirds more than in the previous month. In the first four months of this year, more than 14 900 migrants entered the EU through the Eastern Mediterranean route, 92% more than in the same period of last year. The increase was mainly caused by the rise of irregular crossings on the land borders with Turkey. In April the number of migrants detected at the land borders on this route has exceeded the detections on the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
      The largest number of migrants on this route in the first four months of the year were nationals of Syria and Iraq.

      Western Mediterranean
      Last month, the number of irregular migrants reaching Spain stood at nearly 1100, a quarter more than in April 2017. In the first four months of 2018, there were some 4600 irregular border crossings on the Western Mediterranean route, 95 more than a year ago.
      Nationals of Morocco accounted for the highest number of arrivals in Spain this year, followed by those from Guinea and Mali.