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  • Balkan Region Report - July 2021 – Border Violence Monitoring Network
    https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-july-2021

    The Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) documented 22 pushbacks in the July reporting period, affecting a total of 544 people-on-the-move across the Balkans. This report brings together first hand accounts of police violence with updates from various border areas, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Italy. The publication contains an in-depth look at patterns of collective expulsion and internal violence, as well as various field and policy updates from the region.

    BVMN is a network of watchdog organisations active in Greece and the Western Balkans including No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, Are You Syrious, Mobile Info Team, Disinfaux Collective, Josoor, [re:]ports Sarajevo, InfoKolpa, Centre for Peace Studies, Mare Liberum, Collective Aid and Fresh Response. Combining insights from these different members, the report analyses among other things:

  • #Refoulements_en_chaîne depuis l’#Autriche (2021)

    In a recent finding, the Styria Regional Administrative Court in Graz ruled that pushbacks are “partially methodically applied” in Austria, and that in the process, the 21-year-old complainant was subject to degrading treatment, violating his human dignity. The ruling further shed light on the practices of chain pushbacks happening from Italy and Austria, through Slovenia and Croatia, to BiH. The last chain pushback from Austria all the way to BiH was recorded by PRAB partners in early April 2021, while in 2020, 20 persons reported experiencing chain pushbacks from Austria and an additional 76 from Italy.

    Source: rapport “#Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route” (juin 2021)

    #push-backs #refoulements #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Slovénie #Croatie #frontière_sud-alpine #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Alpes

    • MEPs slam Slovenian Presidency for their role in chain-pushbacks

      In the first week of September (2. 8. 2021), MEPs in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs confronted Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs as he presented the priorities for Slovenian presidency of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. With evidence provided by BVMN and network members InfoKolpa and Are You Syrious, representatives of The Left in the European Parliament took the Presidency to task for its systemic policy of chain-pushbacks and flagrant abuse of the rule of law. Members also shamed the Slovenian Ministry of Interior for continuing to ignore a Supreme Court ruling which established Slovenia had violated the rights of a Cameroonian plaintiff and are obligated to allow him access to the Slovenian asylum system and to stop returning people to Croatia as there is overwhelming evidence of chain-refoulement and degrading treatment often amounting to tortute.

      Presenting the evidence

      Malin Björk, whose fact-finding trip to Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia was facilitated by Are You Syrious and Infokolpa, then handed over the Black Book of Pushbacks to Minister Hojs, a dossier of cases recorded by the Border Violence Monitoring Network which collates pushback violations from across the Balkans since 2017. The book has a concerningly large section on Slovenian chain pushbacks, sharing the voices of 1266 people documented by BVMN who had either been chain pushed back (via Croatia) to Bosnia-Herzegovina or Serbia. The cases speak of systemic gatekeeping of asylum, misuse of translation, the registering of minors as adults, and fast-tracked returns to Croatian police who would then carry out brutal pushbacks. All point to a high level of complicity by the Slovenian authorities in the brutalisation of people-on-the-move, a fact reinforced by the April ruling of the Slovenian Supreme Court.

      Yet this first hand evidence is in reality just the tip of the iceberg, and a recent open letter on the matter revealed how according to officially available data, over 27,000 returns of potential asylum seekers were carried out by Slovenian authorities in the recent years, resulting in chain refoulement via Croatia to non-EU countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina.

      “I expect you as a responsible Minister, not only for your country, but for the EU Presidency to take part of this document and tell us what you will do to stop the illegality, impunity and the brutality.”

      More weak denials

      Interior Minister Hojs doubled down on his stance that Slovenia was managing its borders according to the Rule of Law, even despite his own national court ruling the complete opposite. In an unsurprising move, reminiscent of many Interior Ministers across the EU, Hojs levied accusations of fake news and dismissed the Black Book set before him as a fabrication. Referring to his short attempt to actually look at the evidence presented in the book Hojs stated: “How many lies can be concentrated on one half page, I immediately closed the book and did not touch it again”. With the Minister unwilling to leaf through the 244 pages dedicated to crimes carried out by Slovenia, the network welcome him to view the visual reconstruction of a pushback published last year which vividly captured the experience of those denied asylum access in Slovenia and then brutalised while being collectively expelled from Croatia.

      “I have read the Black Book already in parliament and have seen what they write about me and the Slovenian police. All lies.”

      – Minister Hojs Speaking to Slovenian TV

      The fact is that Minister Hojs is personally not mentioned in the Black Book, though his actions are documented on countless pages, implies that someone is indeed lying. Court judgements, the testimony of thousands of pushback victims, and hard video evidence all highlight the fragility of the Slovenian government’s “fake news” line. While already deeply concerning at a national level, the fact that this administration is also spearheading the EU Presidency shows the extent to which perpetrators of pushbacks have been enabled and empowered at the highest level in Brussels. As a recent webinar event hosted by InfoKolpa and BVMN asked: Can a country responsible for mass violations of Human Rights be an honest broker in the preparations of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum? Until the ruling by the Supreme Court is implemented and people-on-the-move have their mandated right to request asylum in Slovenia, this question will continue to be answered firmly with a “no”.

      Today, our MEPs talked to @aleshojs 🇸🇮 Minister of Home Affairs about the thousands of men, women and children who have been denied over the past years the right to seek asylum in Slovenia, and forcefully handed over to Croatian. @Border_Violence #StopPushbacks pic.twitter.com/XvNLvoCLhY

      — The Left in the European Parliament (@Left_EU) September 2, 2021

      MEP statement

      “I was in Velika Kladusa in Bosnia, I was astonished to meet many migrants and refugees that had been to Slovenia, but they had been told that the right to seek asylum did not exist in you country. One of the persons that I met there was from Cameroon and had escaped political persecution. Once he thought he was in safety in Slovenia he called the police himself to ask to be able to claim asylum. Instead he was as so many others, as thousand of others, handed over to the Croatian police who brutalised him and sent him back to Bosnia.

      This case is a little bit special, compared to the many thousands of others, because on 9th April this year the Slovenian Supreme Court itself ruled that Slovenian police had violated the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsion and denied the him the right to seek international protection.

      You (Minister Hojs) have had meetings with Commissioner Johansson and you have said you will stand up for the right to seek asylum for asylum seekers. Now your own court has found that you fail in this case. So my questions are: Will you stand by your words and provide a humanitarian visa for this person so that he can come back to Slovenia to apply for asylum as he was supposed to have been granted two years ago? And the second is more structural of course, how will you ensure that people have the right to apply for asylum in Slovenia, that they are not brutally pushed back to Croatian police, who are then illegally pushing them back to Bosnia in a kind of chain pushback situation which is a shame, a shame, at European borders?”

      – Malin Björk MEP

      The case referred to is part of strategic litigation efforts led by network member InfoKolpa, which resulted in a landmark judgement issued on 16 July 2020 by the Slovenian Administrative Court. The findings prove that the Slovenian police force in August 2019 carried out an illegal collective expulsion of a member of a persecuted English-speaking minority from Cameroon who wanted to apply for asylum in the country. The verdict was confirmed on 9th April 2021 by the Slovenian Supreme Court, which ruled the following: the Slovenian police violated the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsions and denied the asylum seeker access to the right to international protection. The state was ordered to ensure that the plaintiff is allowed to re-enter the country and ask for international protection, but no effort has been made by the authorities to respect the ruling of the court. The case is thus another confirmation of the Slovenian misconduct that persistently undermines the foundations of the rule of law, specifically international refugee law and international human rights law.

      We fear for Slovenia.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/meps-slam-slovenian-presidency-for-their-role-in-chain-pushbacks

    • Briefly reviewing the topic of pushbacks at European borders, it is important to report on the case of a young refugee from Somalia who was prevented from seeking asylum in Austria and was expulsed, or more precisely, pushed back to Slovenia, contrary to international and European law. His case will soon be reviewed at the Provincial Administrative Court of Styria (https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/migrant-tuzio-austriju-slucaj-bi-mogao-imati-posljedice-i-za-hrvatsku-policiju/2302310.aspx), and if he wins the case, it will be the second verdict that indicates systematic and sometimes chained pushbacks of refugees through Austria, Slovenia, and thus Croatia all the way to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, du 16.09.2021

    • Violenze e respingimenti: la “stretta” della Slovenia sui migranti. Con l’aiuto dell’Italia

      Solo a settembre oltre 100 persone in transito sono state respinte a catena in Bosnia ed Erzegovina. Molte di loro sono state fermate a pochi chilometri dal confine italiano. I pattugliamenti misti della polizia italiana e slovena potrebbero spiegare l’aumento delle persone rintracciate. La denuncia del Border violence monitoring network

      Otto casi di respingimenti a catena dalla Slovenia alla Bosnia ed Erzegovina nel mese di settembre 2021. Più di cento persone coinvolte, in prevalenza cittadini afghani e pakistani, che denunciano violenze da parte della polizia slovena. Molte di loro (almeno 34) sono state fermate a “un passo” dal confine italiano: la “stretta” del governo di Lubiana sul controllo del territorio, in collaborazione con la polizia italiana, sembra dare i primi risultati.

      La denuncia arriva dalla rete Border violence monitoring network (Bvmn) che monitora il rispetto dei diritti delle persone in transito nei Paesi balcanici: “Non si hanno testimonianze dirette di poliziotti italiani coinvolti ma si presume che l’aumento nella sorveglianza del territorio e l’alto numero di persone arrestate nel nord della Slovenia sia una conseguenza dell’accordo tra Roma e Lubiana” spiega Simon Campbell, coordinatore delle attività della rete. Il ruolo dell’Italia resta così di primo piano nonostante le riammissioni al confine siano formalmente interrotte dal gennaio 2021.

      Nel report di Bvmn di settembre 2021 vengono ricostruite dettagliatamente numerose operazioni di respingimento che “partono” dal territorio sloveno. Intorno alle sette e trenta di sera del 7 settembre 2021 un gruppo di quattro cittadini afghani, tra cui un minore, viene fermato vicino alla città di Rodik, nel Nord-Ovest della Slovenia a circa cinque chilometri dal confine con l’Italia. Il gruppo di persone in transito viene bloccato da due agenti della polizia di frontiera slovena e trasferito in un centro per richiedenti asilo. Ma è solo un’illusione. Quarantotto ore dopo, il 9 settembre verso le 17, i quattro si ritroveranno a Gradina, nel Nord della Bosnia ed Erzegovina: nonostante abbiano espresso più volte la volontà di richiedere asilo le forze di polizia slovena le hanno consegnate a quelle croate che hanno provveduto a portarle nuovamente al di fuori dell’Ue. Una decina di giorni dopo, il 19 settembre, un gruppo di otto persone, di età compresa tra i 16 e i 21 anni, riesce a raggiungere la zona confinaria tra Slovenia e Italia ma durante l’attraversamento dell’autostrada A1, all’uscita di una zona boscosa, interviene la polizia. All’appello “mancano” due persone che camminavano più avanti e sono riuscite a raggiungere Trieste: le guardie di frontiera lo sanno. L’intervistato, un cittadino afghano di 21 anni, sospetta che “una sorta di videocamera con sensori li aveva ha individuati mentre camminavano nella foresta”. O forse uno dei 55 droni acquistati dal ministro dell’Interno sloveno per controllare il territorio di confine. A quel punto le forze speciali slovene chiedono rinforzi per rintracciare i “fuggitivi” e nel frattempo sequestrano scarpe, telefoni cellulari, power bank e soldi ai membri del gruppo identificati che dopo circa mezz’ora sono costretti a entrare nel retro di un furgone. “Non c’era ossigeno perché era sovraffollato e la polizia ha acceso l’aria condizionata a temperature elevate. Due persone sono svenute durante il viaggio” spiega il 21enne. Verso le 12 la polizia croata prende il controllo del furgone: il gruppo resta prigioniero nel veicolo, con le porte chiuse e senza cibo e acqua, per il resto della giornata. Alle due del mattino verranno rilasciati vicino a Bihać, nel cantone bosniaco di Una Sana.

      Sono solo due esempi delle numerose testimonianze raccolte dal Border violence. I numeri dei respingimenti a catena sono in forte aumento: da gennaio a agosto 2021 in totale erano state 143 le persone coinvolte, solo nel mese di settembre 104. Un dato importante che coinvolge anche l’Italia. Le operazioni di riammissione dall’Italia alla Slovenia sono formalmente interrotte -anche se la rete segnala due casi, uno a marzo e uno a maggio, di persone che nonostante avessero già raggiunto il territorio italiano sono state respinte a catena fino in Bosnia- ma il governo italiano fornisce supporto tecnico e operativo al governo sloveno per il controllo del territorio grazie a un’intesa di polizia tra Roma e Lubiana di cui non si conoscono i contenuti.

      Sono ripresi infatti nel mese di luglio 2021 i pattugliamenti misti al confine nelle zone di Gorizia e Trieste. “Al momento dobbiamo approfondire l’effettivo funzionamento dell’accordo: non abbiamo testimonianze dirette di poliziotti italiani coinvolti -continua Campbell-. Presumiamo però che l’alto livello di sorveglianza del territorio e il numero di persone che vengono catturate in quella zona dimostra che l’intesa sui pattugliamenti assume un ruolo importante nei respingimenti a catena verso la Bosnia”. Paese in cui la “malagestione” del fenomeno migratorio da parte del governo di Sarajevo si traduce in una sistematica violazione dei diritti delle persone in transito e in cui le forze di polizia sotto accusa del Consiglio d’Europa per i metodi violenti che utilizza. Elementi che il Viminale non può considerare solo come “collaterali” delle politiche con cui tenta di esternalizzare i confini.

      La particolarità dei respingimenti da parte delle autorità slovene è che sono realizzati alla luce del sole. “La caratteristica di queste operazioni consiste nel fatto che i migranti vengono consegnati ‘ufficialmente’ alle autorità croate dagli ufficiali sloveni ai valichi di frontiera sia stradali che ferroviari -spiegano gli attivisti-. Prendendo come esempio la Croazia la maggior parte dei gruppi vengono allontanati da agenti che eseguono le operazioni con maschere, in zone di confine remote”. In Slovenia, invece, spesso vengono rilasciate tracce di documenti firmati per giustificare l’attività di riammissione. “Nonostante questa procedura sia la Corte amministrativa che la Corte suprema slovena hanno ritenuto che queste pratiche violano la legge sull’asilo perché espongono le persone al rischio di tortura in Croazia”.

      Una violenza denunciata, a inizio ottobre 2021, da un’importate inchiesta giornalistica di cui abbiamo parlato anche su Altreconomia. I pushaback sloveni, a differenza di quelli “diretti” che si verificano in Croazia e in Bosnia ed Erzegovina, sono più elaborati perché “richiedono più passaggi e quindi possono durare più giorni”. “Siamo rimasti tre giorni in prigione. Non abbiamo potuto contattare nessun avvocato, non ci hanno fornito un traduttore. Ci hanno dato solo una bottiglia di acqua al giorno e del pane” racconta uno dei cittadini afghani intervistati. Oltre al cattivo trattamento in detenzione, diverse testimonianze parlano di “violenze e maltrattamenti anche all’interno delle stazioni di polizia slovene” e anche al di fuori, con perquisizioni violente: in una testimonianza raccolta dalla Ong No name kitchen, un cittadino afghano ha denunciato una “perquisizione intensiva dei genitali”. I maggiori controlli sul territorio sloveno, possibili anche grazie alla polizia italiana, rischiano così di far ricadere le persone in transito in una spirale di violenza e negazione dei diritti fondamentali.

      https://altreconomia.it/violenze-e-respingimenti-la-stretta-della-slovenia-sui-migranti-con-lai

    • “They were told by the officers that they would be taken to Serbia.... at 12am they were dropped at the Bosnia-Croatia border, near the town of Velika Kladuša”

      Date and time: September 24, 2021 00:00
      Location: Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina
      Coordinates: 45.1778695699, 16.025619131638
      Pushback from: Croatia, Slovenia
      Pushback to: Bosnia, Croatia
      Demographics: 11 person(s), age: 17-22 , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan
      Minors involved? No
      Violence used: kicking, insulting, theft of personal belongings
      Police involved: 2 Slovenian officers wearing blue uniforms, 2 Croatian officers wearing light blue uniforms, 2 police vans
      Taken to a police station?: yes
      Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of food/water, forced to pay fee
      Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
      Reported by: No Name Kitchen

      Original Report

      On 20th September 2021, 6 Afghan males between the ages of 17 and 22 attempted to cross the border from Slovenia into Italy near the city of Trieste. They had been traveling for 3 days from Serbia before reaching this point. They walked for 4 hours to the border with another group, but the weather was cold and raining so they decided to try taking a taxi instead. As they were hidden in the taxi they did not have enough space for their bags, and so during this ride they had no water or food.

      The two groups set off in two different taxis. The first made it across the border, but as the second one was approaching it after a 40-minute journey, a police car began chasing them. The driver of the taxi stopped on a small bridge and escaped on foot, but the men in the car were arrested by two Slovenian police officers. The officers have been described as one young man and one old man, both wearing blue short-sleeved tops. The men were then taken to a police station near the Italian border. Here they spent 1 night. The respondents remarked that they were treated well, that the police cooperated and did not try to scare them, and that they were given food, water, and blankets. However, it was cold, and a few of the group became ill. The police tried to interview them about their attempt across the border, but after receiving no response told them to rest and take their food.

      On the morning of 21 September, the group was all given a COVID test and taken to a quarantine facility. Here they spent 3 nights. Again, the respondent stated that they were treated well. They were allowed to use their mobile phones for 2 hours per day and were given good quality food and medical care from a nurse/doctor. The group stated that they intended to claim asylum except for one that was going to Germany because he had a brother there. They also filled out a form stating that they faced threat in Afghanistan. Communication was initially made in English, but a Pashtu-speaking interpreter from Pakistan was provided for the interview. One of the group, the 6th member, was allowed to stay in Slovenia as he was 17.

      On the morning of 24 September the group of 5, all Afghan males between the age of 18 and 22, were given all of their belongings and driven to a small checkpoint on the Croatian border. The checkpoint was described as a two-sided road with a container on each side. Here they were handed over to two Croatian officers, which the Slovenian officers spoke with. The Croatian officers have been described as one woman around 40-45 years old and one man around 50, with both wearing light blue short-sleeved shirts consistent with the uniform of the Croatian Granicna Policija (border police), and one wearing a jacket. Here the respondents remarked that the good treatment ended and that the Croatian officers began acting “insane”. They were driven to a police station near the Croatia-Slovenia border. Here their sim cards were all taken, meaning the group could not access their phones or location services anymore. In the station, there was also a group of 7 Pakistani men. Initially, the two groups were held in separate rooms, but when another detainee arrived at the station all 11 men were put in the same room. The respondents described the room as 2x2m, designed for 1 person, and smelling very bad.

      The two groups were kept in these conditions from 10 am-7 pm, with no food or water. They asked for these repeatedly and were eventually given something to eat after paying with their own money. One of the group of 5 was kicked twice for no apparent reason. The group stated their intention to claim asylum, and again filled out a form stating that they faced threat in Afghanistan. In response, the woman officer asked: “why did you leave Afghanistan? If there was war you should fight not leave”. The group remarked that they refused to engage, stating that “she doesn’t know politics, doesn’t know when someone should stay or leave, there is different reasons”.

      At around 8 pm all 11 men were given their belongings back, minus their sim cards. As the belongings were jumbled and all given at once, some things were lost or potentially stolen. They were then ordered to get in a van which was driven by the same two officers. The group of 5 asked to be returned to Serbia as they had contacts there and had spent time there. They also had Serbian refugee camp ID cards. They were told by the officers that they would be taken to Serbia. The officers then began driving slowly, stopping often and parking to pass the time. The groups asked for something to drink and gave money in return for cola and water. At 12am they were dropped at the Bosnia-Croatia border, near the town of Velika Kladuša.

      The group walked into Velika Kladuša. They spent all night outside with no blankets, sleeping bags, or comfortable places to sleep. The weather was freezing. They tried to enter a restaurant at 7am but were not allowed in. After 2 nights in the cold weather, the group of 5 decided to return to Serbia. The return cost between €500-600. They crossed the border into Serbia at a bridge, where the group remarked that there was no police in sight.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/september-24-2021-0000-velika-kladusa-bosnia-and-herzegovina

    • Voir aussi le "report of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture on the situation in Croatia"

      The European 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 Croatia from 10 to 14 August 2020. The report is made public pursuant to Rule 39 §3 (1) of the Rules of Procedure (2) of the CPT following written statements made by a senior Croatian official pertaining to the content of the report which were placed into the public domain. The Committee deemed such statements as a misrepresentation of the contents of the report, the professional integrity and modus operandi of the members of the CPT’s delegation. Consequently, the Committee decided to publish the report of the visit in full.

      In a report on Croatia published today, the CPT urges the Croatian authorities to take determined action to stop migrants being ill-treated by police officers and to ensure that cases of alleged ill-treatment are investigated effectively.

      The Committee carried out a rapid reaction visit to Croatia from 10 to 14 August 2020, and in particular along the border area to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), to examine the treatment and safeguards afforded to migrants deprived of their liberty by the Croatian police. The CPT’s delegation also looked into the procedures applied to migrants in the context of their removal from Croatia as well as the effectiveness of oversight and accountability mechanisms in cases of alleged police misconduct during such operations. A visit to the Ježevo Reception Centre for Foreigners was also carried out.

      The report highlights that, for the first time since the CPT started visiting Croatia in 1998, there were manifest difficulties of cooperation. The CPT’s delegation was provided with incomplete information about places where migrants may be deprived of their liberty and it was obstructed by police officers in accessing documentation necessary for the delegation to carry out the Committee’s mandate.

      In addition to visiting police stations in Croatia, the CPT’s delegation also carried out many interviews across the Croatian border in the Una-Sana Canton of BiH, where it received numerous credible and concordant allegations of physical ill-treatment of migrants by Croatian police officers (notably members of the intervention police). The alleged ill-treatment consisted of slaps, kicks, blows with truncheons and other hard objects (e.g. butts/barrels of firearms, wooden sticks or tree branches) to various parts of the body. The alleged ill-treatment had been purportedly inflicted either at the time of the migrants’ “interception” and de facto deprivation of liberty inside Croatian territory (ranging from several to fifty kilometres or more from the border) and/or at the moment of their push-back across the border with BiH.

      In a significant number of cases, the persons interviewed displayed recent injuries on their bodies which were assessed by the delegation’s forensic medical doctors as being compatible with their allegations of having been ill-treated by Croatian police officers (by way of example, reference is made to the characteristic “tram-line” haematomas to the back of the body, highly consistent with infliction of blows from a truncheon or stick).

      The report also documents several accounts of migrants being subjected to other forms of severe ill-treatment by Croatian police officers such as migrants being forced to march through the forest to the border barefoot and being thrown into the Korana river which separates Croatia from BiH with their hands still zip-locked. Some migrants also alleged being pushed back into BiH wearing only their underwear and, in some cases, even naked. A number of persons also stated that when they had been apprehended and were lying face down on the ground certain Croatian police officers had discharged their weapons into the ground close to them.

      In acknowledging the significant challenges faced by the Croatian authorities in dealing with the large numbers of migrants entering the country, the CPT stresses the need for a concerted European approach. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, Croatia must meet its human rights obligations and treat migrants who enter the country through the border in a humane and dignified manner.

      The findings of the CPT’s delegation also show clearly that there are no effective accountability mechanisms in place to identify the perpetrators of alleged acts of ill-treatment. There is an absence of specific guidelines from the Croatian Police Directorate on documenting diversion operations and no independent police complaints body to undertake effective investigations into such alleged acts.

      As regards the establishment of an “independent border monitoring mechanism” by the Croatian authorities, the CPT sets out its minimum criteria for such mechanism to be effective and independent.

      In conclusion, nonetheless the CPT wishes to pursue a constructive dialogue and meaningful cooperation with the Croatian authorities, grounded on a mature acknowledgment, including at the highest political levels, of the gravity of the practice of ill-treatment of migrants by Croatian police officers and a commitment for such ill-treatment to cease.

      https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/council-of-europe-anti-torture-committee-publishes-report-on-its-2020-ad-hoc-vi

      Pour télécharger le rapport :
      https://rm.coe.int/1680a4c199

      #CPT #rapport

      –-

      Commentaire de Inicijativa Dobrodosli (mailing-list du 08.12.2021) :

      Jerko Bakotin writes for Novosti (https://www.portalnovosti.com/odbor-vijeca-europe-hrvatska-policija-sustavno-zlostavlja-migrante-i-) that this report is “perhaps the strongest evidence publicly available so far in support of previously hard-to-dispute facts. First, that Croatian police massively and illegally denies refugees and migrants the right to asylum and expels them from the depths of the territory, that is, conducts pushbacks. Second, that these pushbacks are not officially registered. Third, the pushbacks are done with knowledge, and certainly on the orders of superiors.” Civil society organizations point out (https://hr.n1info.com/vijesti/rh-sustavno-krsi-prava-izbjeglica-koristeci-metode-mucenja-a-zrtve-su-i-d) that the Croatian government is systematically working to cover up these practices, and there will be no change until all those who are responsible are removed and responsibility is taken. Unfortunately, it is likely that the Croatian political leadership will instead decide to shift the blame to refugees and declare international conspiracies against Croatia (https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/jednostavno-pitanje-za-bozinovica-i-milanovica-sudjeluje-li-i-vijece-europe). As a reaction to the published report, Amnesty International points out (https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/12/human-rights-body-has-condemned-croatian-authorities-for-border-violence) that due to the European Commission’s continued disregard for Croatia’s disrespect for European law, and their continued support in resources, it is really important to ask how much the Commission is complicit in human rights violations at the borders.

    • Another important report (https://welcome.cms.hr/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Polugodisnje-izvjesce-nezavisnog-mehanizma-nadzora-postupanja-policijski) came out on Friday - in a working version that was later withdrawn from a slightly surprising address where it was published - on the website of the Croatian Institute of Public Health. It is the report of the Croatian "independent mechanism for monitoring the conduct of police officers of the Ministry of the Interior in the field of illegal migration and international protection”. Despite the tepid analysis of police treatment - which can be understood given the connection of members of the mechanism with the governing structures, as well as a very problematic proposal for further racial profiling and biometric monitoring of refugees using digital technologies, the report confirmed the existence of pushbacks in Croatia: “through surveillance, the mechanism found that the police carried out illegal pushbacks and did not record returns allowed under Article 13 of the Schengen Borders Code.” We look forward to the publication of the final version of the report.

      –-> via Inicijativa Dobrodosli (mailing-list du 08.12.2021)

  • Annual Torture Report 2020

    Torture and pushbacks – an in depth analysis of practices in Greece and Croatia, and states participating in violent chain-pushbacks

    This special report analyses data from 286 first hand testimonies of violent pushbacks carried out by authorities in the Balkans, looking at the way practices of torture have become an established part of contemporary border policing. The report examines six typologies of violence and torture that have been identified during pushbacks from Croatia and Greece, and also during chain-pushbacks initiated by North Macedonia, Slovenia and Italy. Across the report, 30 victim testimonies of torture and inhuman treatment are presented which is further supplemented by a comprehensive legal analysis and overview of the States response to these allegations.

    The violations profiled include:

    - Excessive and disproportionate force
    - Electric discharge weapons
    - Forced undressing
    - Threats or violence with a firearm
    - Inhuman treatment inside a police vehicle
    - Inhuman treatment inside a detention facility

    –-

    Key Findings from Croatia:

    – In 2020, BVMN collected 124 pushback testimonies from Croatia, exposing the treatment of 1827 people
    - 87% of pushbacks carried out by Croatia authorities contained one or more forms of violence and abuse that we assert amounts to torture or inhuman treatment
    - Violent attacks by police officers against people-on-the-move lasting up to six hours
    - Unmuzzled police dogs being encouraged by officers to attack people who have been detained.
    - Food being rubbed into the open wounds of pushback victims
    - Forcing people naked, setting fire to their clothes and then pushing them back across borders in a complete state of undress

    Key Findings from Greece:

    – 89% of pushbacks carried out by Greek authorities contained one or more forms of violence and abuse that we assert amounts to torture or inhuman treatment
    - 52% of pushback groups subjected to torture or inhuman treatment by Greek authorities contained children and minors
    - Groups of up to 80 men, women and children all being forcibly stripped naked and detained within one room
    - People being detained and transported in freezer trucks
    - Brutal attacks by groups of Greek officers including incidents where they pin down and cut open the hands of people on the move or tied them to the bars of their detention cells and beat them.
    - Multiple cases where Greek officers beat and then threw people into the Evros with many incidents leading to people going missing, presumingly having drowned and died.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/annual-torture-report-2020
    #rapport #2020 #Border_Violence_Monitoring-Network #BVMN
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #traitements_inhumains_et_dégradants #détention #centres_de_détention #armes #déshabillage_forcé #armes_à_feu #Croatie #Grèce #Evros #refoulements_en_chaîne #taser

    ping @isskein

  • Slovenia is planning to set up mixed patrols along the border with Croatia, where police officers from other EU member states would also patrol the border together with the Slovenian ones.

    –-> info reçue (avec lien ci-dessous) via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 07.04.2021

    Slovenija planira mješovite policijske patrole na granici s Hrvatskom

    Još nema službene hrvatske reakcije na slovensku najavu da će zbog pojačanih nelegalnih prijelaza migranata na granicu sa Hrvatskom postaviti mješovite patrole u kojima bi uz slovenske bili i policajci drugih država članica EU.

    Kako su naveli u slovenskoj Vladi, Slovenija se opet našla pred migracijskim pritiskom i nezakonitim prijelazima državne granice koji se ne smanjuje unatoč naporima slovenske policije i njenog djelovanja na granici s Hrvatskom, koja je i vanjska granica Schengena, i mješovite policijske patrole odgovor su na to.

    Mješovitim patrolama zapovijedali bi slovenski policajci, a ne navodi se koje bi druge države članice Europske unije slale svoje ljude u te patrole.

    Iz hrvatskog Ministarstva unutarnjih poslova do objavljivanja ovog teksta nisu odgovorili na upit Radija Slobodna Europa (RSE) o stanju na granici.
    U Hrvatskoj tvrde drugačije

    Međutim, zapovjednik policijske Antiterorističke jedinice “Lučko”, koja je također raspoređena na granici, Mate Bilobrk kazao je kako nema pojačanog pritiska migranata.

    “Mislim da je pritisak puno manji nego prošlih godina”, izjavio je Bilobrk 31. ožujka u razgovoru za Hrvatsku radio-televiziju (HTV).

    Nevladine udruge također nemaju informacije o nekom pojačanom pritisku migranata na hrvatsku granicu, ali podsjećaju da se ne mijenjaju uzroci prisilnih migracija, pa se ne može očekivati da se one same od sebe zaustave.

    “Jedina je promjena u većem broju obitelji koje su nakon požara pobjegle iz izbjegličkog kampa Moria u Grčkoj, koje se sada nalaze u Bosni i pokušavaju doći do Hrvatske i zatražiti azil, ali posljednjih tjedana nema nekog povećanja ukupnih brojeva”, kaže za RSE Sara Kekuš iz zagrebačke nevladine udruge Centar za mirovne studije (CMS).

    “Očito je ova odluka slovenske Vlade smišljena s ciljem da se zaustave migracije prema Sloveniji, tako da ta odluka ne čudi. Međutim, slovenska Vlada mora biti svjesna vlastite odgovornosti u međunarodnom kontekstu i toga da nikome ne može ograničiti pravo na traženje međunarodne zaštite, pa makar to bilo i na samoj granici. A znamo da – dok god ne uspostavimo neke sigurne i legalne putove - da će ljudi i dalje prelaziti granice nezakonitim putevima u potrazi za sigurnošću”, poručuje Sara Kekuš.

    Ona je podsjetila da se već godinama svjedoči lančanim protjerivanjima migranata iz Slovenije u Hrvatsku pa onda dalje u BiH, gdje to protjerivanje nužno ne staje.

    “Znamo i da su slovenske vlasti dugo vremena koristile readmisijske ugovore kao izgovor za zakonito protjerivanje ljudi u Hrvatsku, iako su im zapravo istovremeno onemogućavali pristup azilu i na taj način kršili njihova prava”, podsjeća Sara Kekuš.
    Reagiranje u pandemiji

    Sigurnosni analitičar Branimir Vidmarović sa Sveučilišta “Juraj Dobrila” u Puli kaže za RSE kako ovaj slovenski potez valja razumjeti kao legitimnu brigu za vlastitu sigurnost u kontekstu krize uzrokovane pandemijom.

    “Ako su slovenski obavještajci u suradnji sa drugim sigurnosnim službama dobili dojavu da se možda očekuje pojačani val migranata ili nova najava, onda je ovakva reakcija prevencijska i sasvim razumljiva, budući da nijedna zemlja sada, u osjetljivoj fazi procedure cijepljenja, ne bi htjela pritok ljudi iz područja za koje se apriori zna da su ranjivija, osjetljiva, u smislu pandemije nezaštićenija i da predstavljaju rizik”, procjenjuje Vidmarović.

    U slovenskoj Vladi kažu kako takvu suradnju policija omogućuje zaključak Vijeća EU iz 2008. o produbljivanju prekogranične suradnje, osobito na području borbe protiv terorizma i prekograničnog kriminala.

    Prema članku 17. te europske direktive mogu se formirati zajedničke ophodnje i poduzeti druge mjere djelovanja radi očuvanja javnog reda i sigurnosti, te zbog suzbijanja kaznenih djela, pojasnilo je slovensko Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova.

    Slovenija i Hrvatska nalaze se na tzv “balkanskoj”migrantskoj ruti od Grčke preko Srbije, Crne Gore i Bosne i Hercegovine do zapadnoeuropskih zemalja, nakon što je Mađarska na svoje granice prema Srbiji i Hrvatskoj postavila visoke žičane ograde.

    Nevladine udruge opetovano su upozoravale da slovenska i pogotovo hrvatska policija pribjegavaju ilegalnim “push-backovima” migranata, odnosno njihovom prisilnom vraćanju u državu za koju vjeruju da su iz nje došli – Hrvatsku, odnosno BiH.

    Nevladine udruge smještene u izbjegličkim kampovima u sjeverozapadnom dijelu BiH dostavile su medijima u više navrata i video zapise za koje tvrde da prikazuju migrante koje je zaustavila, istukla i vratila u BiH hrvatska policija, nakon što su pokušalno ilegalno ući u Hrvatsku.

    Hrvatska policija odbija ove optužbe.

    https://www.slobodnaevropa.org/a/slovenija-planira-mje%C5%A1ovite-policijske-patrole-na-granici-s-hrvatskom/31182152.html

    #patrouilles_mixtes #Slovénie #Croatie #frontière_sud-alpine #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers

  • ITALY : UPTICK IN CHAIN-REMOVALS

    While the exact number of persons arriving via the Slovenian-Italian border is unknown, there has been a sharp rise since April (http://www.regioni.it/dalleregioni/2020/11/09/friuli-venezia-giulia-immigrazione-fedriga-ripensare-politiche-di-controllo-) of people entering Italy from the Balkan route. Not only in Trieste, but also around the province of #Udine, arrivals have increased compared to last year. In Udine, around 100 people (https://www.ansa.it/friuliveneziagiulia/notizie/2020/11/30/migranti-oltre-cento-persone-rintracciate-nelludinese_9fdae48d-8174-4ea1-b221-8) were identified in one day. This has been met with a huge rise in chain pushbacks, initiated by Italian authorities via readmissions to Slovenia. From January to October 2020, 1321 people (https://www.rainews.it/tgr/fvg/articoli/2020/11/fvg-massimiliano-fedriga-migranti-arrivi-emergenza-98da1880-455e-4c59-9dc9-6) have been returned via the informal readmissions agreement, representing a fivefold increase when compared with the statistics from 2019.

    In this context, civil society groups highlight that “the returns are being carried out so quickly there is no way Italian authorities are implementing a full legal process at the border to determine if someone is in need of international protection.” The pushbacks to Slovenia appear to be indiscriminate. According to Gianfranco Schiavone (https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/11/17/europe-italy-bosnia-slovenia-migration-pushbacks-expulsion), from ASGI (Associazione per gli studi giuridici sullʼim-migrazione), “[they] have involved everybody, regardless of nationality,” he said. “They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.” As stated by Anna Brambilla, lawyer at ASGI, the Italian Ministry of the Interior (https://altreconomia.it/richiedenti-asilo-respinti-al-confine-tra-italia-e-slovenia-la-storia-d):
    “confirmed that people who have expressed a desire to apply for international protection are readmitted to Slovenia and that readmissions are carried out without delivering any provision relating to the readmission itself.”

    Crucially, the well publicised nature of chain removals from Slovenia, and onwards through Croatia, mean the authorities are aware of the violent sequence they are enter-ing people into, and thus complicit within this #violence.

    But instead of dealing with this deficit in adherence to international asylum law, in recent months Italian authorities have only sought to adapt border controls to apprehend more people. Border checks are now focusing on trucks, cars and smaller border crossings (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu4es3xXVc8&feature=youtu.be

    ), rather than focusing solely on the military patrols of the forested area. This fits into a strategy of heightened control, pioneered by the Governor of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region Massimiliano Fedriga who hopes to deploy more detection equipment at the border. The aim is to choke off any onward transit beyond the first 10km of Italian territory, and therefore apply the fast tracked process of readmission to the maximum number of new arrivals.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/BVMN-November-Report.pdf

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #refoulements #push-backs #Italie #Slovénie #droit_d'asile #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #10_km #refoulements_en_chaîne

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur la création de #zones_frontalières (au lieu de lignes de frontière) en vue de refoulements :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/795053

    • Schiavone: «#Lamorgese ammetta che l’Italia sta facendo respingimenti illegali»

      «Le riammissioni informali dei richiedenti asilo non hanno alcuna base giuridica», spiega Gianfranco Schiavone, del direttivo dell’Asgi, Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’immigrazione. Nel 2020 sono state riammesse in Slovenia 1301 persone. «Sostenere, come ha fatto la ministra dell’interno Lamorgese durante l’interrogazione del deputato di Leu, Erasmo Palazzotto, che la Slovenia e soprattutto la Croazia siano “Paesi sicuri” nonostante le prove schiaccianti della violenza esercitata dalla polizia croata sulle persone in transito, ha dell’incredibile, un’affermazione indecorosa»

      Quelle che il governo italiano chiama “riammissioni” in realtà altro non sono che respingimenti illegali dei profughi che arrivano dalla Rotta Balcanica a Trieste e Gorizia. Pakistani, iracheni, afghani, e talvolta anche siriani che avrebbero diritto di chiedere asilo nel nostro Paese ma neanche mettono piede sul suolo italiano che già sono in marcia per fare forzatamente la Rotta Balcanica al contrario: all’Italia alla Slovenia, dalla Slovenia alla Croazia, dalla Croazia alla Bosnia.

      Lo scorso 13 gennaio il deputato di Leu, Erasmo Palazzotto durante la sua interrogazione ha ricordato alla ministra dell’Interno Lamorgese quanto sia disumano quello che sta succedendo in Bosnia, alle porte dell’Europa e di come testimoni il fallimento dell’Unione nella gestione dei flussi migratori sottolinenando che "Il nostro Paese deve sospendere le riammissioni informali verso la Slovenia e porre la questione in sede di Consiglio Europeo per gestire in maniera umana questo fenomeno. Va messa la parola fine a questa barbarie”. Ma Lamorgese sembra ancora continuare a non curarsi di quello che avviene dentro i nostri confini. Nel 2020 sono state respinte illegalmente in Slovenia 1301 persone.

      «Quello che succede al confine italiano sono veri e propri respingimenti illegali», spiega Gianfranco Schiavone, del direttivo di Asgi, Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione. «Anche nel 2018 si erano registrati casi di respingimenti illegittimi ma in numero contenuto. Allora la risposta fu principalmente quella di negare i fatti. In ogni caso, oggi, il fenomeno dei respingimenti illegali è aumentato enormemente in termini di quantità ma soprattutto nella loro rivendicazione ideologica. Mentre in passato la giustificazione poggiava sulla tesi che non si trattasse di richiedenti asilo oggi si tende a giustificare (pur usando volutamente un linguaggio ambiguo) che si possono respingere anche i richiedenti perchè la domanda di asilo si può fare in Slovenia».

      Stando a quanto ha affermato la ministra le riammissioni sono possibili in virtù dell’accordo bilaterale firmato dai due Paesi, Italia e Slovenia, nel 1996. Si tratta di “riammissioni” effettuate non in ragione del ripristino dei controlli alle frontiere interne, mai formalmente avvenuto, ma in applicazione dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica di Slovenia sulla riammissione delle persone alla frontiera, firmato a Roma il 3 settembre 1996, che contiene previsioni finalizzate a favorire la riammissione sul territorio dei due Stati sia di cittadini di uno dei due Stati contraenti sia cittadini di Stati terzi.

      «In primis», spiega Schiavone, «occorre rilevare come tale accordo risulti illegittimo per contrarietà al sistema costituzionale interno italiano e per violazione di normative interne. È infatti dubbia la legittimità nell’ordinamento italiano dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica di Slovenia e di ogni altro analogo tipo di accordi intergovernativi per due ordini di ragioni: nonostante abbiano infatti una chiara natura politica, essi non sono stati ratificati con legge di autorizzazione alla ratifica ai sensi dell’art. 80 Cost.;in quanto accordi intergovernativi stipulati in forma semplificata, in ogni caso essi non possono prevedere modifiche alle leggi vigenti in Italia (altro caso in cui l’art. 80 Cost. prevede la preventiva legge di autorizzazione alla ratifica) e dunque essi neppure possono derogare alle norme di fonte primaria dell’ordinamento giuridico italiano. In ogni caso, anche volendo prescindere da ogni ulteriore valutazione sui profili di illegittimità dell’Accordo di riammissione è pacifico che ne è esclusa appunto l’applicazione ai rifugiati riconosciuti ai sensi della Convenzione di Ginevra (all’epoca la nozione di protezione sussidiaria ancora non esisteva) come chiaramente enunciato all’articolo 2 del medesimo Accordo. Del tutto priva di pregio sotto il profilo dell’analisi giuridica sarebbe l’obiezione in base alla quale l’accordo fa riferimento ai rifugiati e non ai richiedenti asilo giacché come è noto, il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato (e di protezione sussidiaria) è un procedimento di riconoscimento di un diritto soggettivo perfetto i cui presupposti che lo straniero chiede appunto di accertare. Non v’è pertanto alcuna possibilità di distinguere in modo arbitrario tra richiedenti protezione e rifugiati riconosciuti dovendosi comunque garantire in ogni caso l’accesso alla procedura di asilo allo straniero che appunto chiede il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato. A chiudere del tutto l’argomento sotto il profilo giuridico, è il noto Regolamento Dublino III che prevede che ogni domanda di asilo sia registrata alla frontiera o all’interno dello Stato nel quale il migrante si trova. Una successiva complessa procedura stabilita se il Paese competente ad esaminare la domanda è eventualmente diverso da quello nel quale il migrante ha chiesto asilo e in ogni caso il Regolamento esclude tassativamente che si possano effettuare riammissioni o respingimenti di alcun genere nel paese UE confinante solo perchè il richiedente proviene da lì. Anzi, il Regolamento è nato in primo luogo per evitare rimpalli di frontiera tra uno stato e l’altro. Violare, come sta avvenendo, questa fondamentale procedura, significa scardinare il Regolamento e in ultima analisi, il sistema europeo di asilo. È come se fossimo tornati indietro di trent’anni, a prima del 1990».

      Inoltre secondo la ministra "la Slovenia aderisce alla Convenzione di Ginevra e che la stessa Slovenia, come la Croazia sono considerati Paesi sicuri sul piano del rispetto dei diritti umani e delle convenzioni internazionali. Pertanto le riammissioni avvengono verso uno stato europeo, la Slovenia, dove vigono normative internazionali analoghe a quelle del nostro paese”.

      «Lamorgese», continua Schiavone, «ha fatto una figura veramente imbarazzante che ricade sul nostro Paese. Bisogna avere il coraggio di ammettere che abbiamo fatto una cosa illegale riammettendo i richiedenti asilo in Slovenia e da là, attraverso una collaudata catena, in Crozia e infine in Bosnia. E anche se nell’audizione dice tre parole, solo un piccolo inciso, sul fatto che non possono essere riamessi i migranti che hanno fatto richiesta d’asilo, nei fatti la sostanza non cambia. Infine sostenere che la Slovenia e soprattutto la Croazia siano “Paesi sicuri” nonostante le prove schiaccianti della violenza esercitata dalla polizia croata sulle persone in transito ha dell’incredibile. Un ministro non può permettersi di dire che quelli sono Paesi sicuri, perchè per i migranti della Rotta Balcanica non lo sono. E alla domanda “come finirà la questione?” La ministra non è stata in grado di formulare nessuna risposta chiara sul fatto che verrà posta fine alla pratica delle riammissioni dei richiedenti. Ed è forse questa la cosa più grave».

      http://www.vita.it/it/article/2021/01/18/schiavone-lamorgese-ammetta-che-litalia-sta-facendo-respingimenti-ille/158020

  • Rapporti di monitoraggio

    Sin dal 2016 il progetto ha pubblicato report di approfondimento giuridico sulle situazioni di violazione riscontrate presso le diverse frontiere oggetto delle attività di monitoraggio. Ciascun report affronta questioni ed aspetti contingenti e particolarmente interessanti al fine di sviluppare azioni di contenzioso strategico.

    Elenco dei rapporti pubblicati in ordine cronologico:

    “Le riammissioni di cittadini stranieri a Ventimiglia (giugno 2015): profili di illegittimità“

    Il report è stato redatto nel giugno del 2015 è costituisce una prima analisi delle principali criticità riscontrabili alla frontiera italo-francese verosimilmente sulla base dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica francese sulla cooperazione transfrontaliera in materia di polizia e dogana (Accordo di Chambery)
    #Vintimille #Ventimiglia #frontière_sud-alpine #Alpes #Menton #accord_bilatéral #Accord_de_Chambéry #réadmissions

    Ajouté à la #métaliste de liens autour d’#accords_de_réadmission entre pays européens...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091
    Et plus précisément ici:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091#message887941

    –---

    “Le riammissioni di cittadini stranieri alla frontiera di Chiasso: profili di illegittimità”

    Il report è stato redatto nell’estate del 2016 per evidenziare la situazione critica che si era venuta a creare in seguito al massiccio afflusso di cittadini stranieri in Italia attraverso la rotta balcanica scatenata dalla crisi siriana. La frontiera italo-svizzera è stata particolarmente interessata da numerosi tentativi di attraversamento del confine nei pressi di Como e il presente documento fornisce una analisi giuridica delle criticità riscontrate.

    Ajouté à la #métaliste de liens autour d’#accords_de_réadmission entre pays européens...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091
    Et plus précisément ici:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091#message887940

    –-----

    “Lungo la rotta del Brennero”

    Il report, redatto con la collaborazione della associazione Antenne Migranti e il contributo della fondazione Alex Langer nel 2017, analizza le dinamiche della frontiera altoatesina e sviluppa una parte di approfondimento sulle violazioni relative al diritto all’accoglienza per richiedenti asilo e minori, alle violazioni all’accesso alla procedura di asilo e ad una analisi delle modalità di attuazione delle riammissioni alla frontiera.

    #Brenner #Autriche

    –---

    “Attività di monitoraggio ai confini interni italiani – Periodo giugno 2018 – giugno 2019”

    Report analitico che riporta i dati raccolti e le prassi di interesse alle frontiere italo-francesi, italo-svizzere, italo-austriache e italo slovene. Contiene inoltre un approfondimento sui trasferimenti di cittadini di paesi terzi dalle zone di frontiera indicate all’#hotspot di #Taranto e centri di accoglienza del sud Italia.

    #Italie_du_Sud

    –------

    “Report interno sopralluogo Bosnia 27-31 ottobre 2019”

    Report descrittivo a seguito del sopralluogo effettuato da soci coinvolti nel progetto Medea dal 27 al 31 ottobre sulla condizione delle persone in transito in Bosnia. Il rapporto si concentra sulla descrizione delle strutture di accoglienza presenti nel paese, sull’accesso alla procedura di protezione internazionale e sulle strategie di intervento future.

    #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine

    –---

    “Report attività frontiere interne terrestri, porti adriatici e Bosnia”

    Rapporto di analisi dettagliata sulle progettualità sviluppate nel corso del periodo luglio 2019 – luglio 2020 sulle diverse frontiere coinvolte (in particolare la frontiera italo-francese, italo-slovena, la frontiera adriatica e le frontiere coinvolte nella rotta balcanica). Le novità progettuali più interessanti riguardano proprio l’espansione delle progettualità rivolte ai paesi della rotta balcanica e alla Grecia coinvolta nelle riammissioni dall’Italia. Nel periodo ad oggetto del rapporto il lavoro ha avuto un focus principale legato ad iniziative di monitoraggio, costituzione della rete ed azioni di advocacy.

    #Slovénie #mer_Adriatique #Adriatique

    https://medea.asgi.it/rapporti

    #rapport #monitoring #medea #ASGI
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières
    #frontières_internes #frontières_intérieures #Balkans #route_des_balkans

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Europe’s chain of migrant expulsion, from Italy to Bosnia

    ‘They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.’

    Italian authorities are drawing criticism from legal advocacy groups for returning asylum seekers and migrants across Italy’s northeastern land border to Slovenia, triggering a series of often violent pushbacks through the Balkans and out of the European Union.

    Several asylum seekers told The New Humanitarian that after being returned to Slovenia they were pushed back to Croatia, another EU member state. In turn, the Croatian authorities – accused of using systematic violence and abuse against migrants – expelled them to Bosnia, which is outside the EU.

    “Generally, in two days, the person disappears from Italy and appears again in Bosnia,” Gianfranco Schiavone, a legal expert at the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration, or ASGI, an Italian NGO that provides legal aid to migrants and asylum seekers, told TNH.

    Advocacy groups say the returns are illegal because they block people from requesting asylum in Italy, and ultimately end with them being expelled from the EU without due process.

    The Balkans serve as a key part of the migration route from Turkey and Greece to Western and Northern Europe, and the UN’s migration agency, IOM, estimates that nearly 22,000* asylum seekers and migrants are currently stranded in the region.

    The allegations of illegal returns from Italy come amidst increased scrutiny by watchdog groups, and growing concern on the part of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, over reports of widespread and frequently violent pushbacks at EU borders, especially in Greece and Croatia.

    Pushbacks violate EU law and are prohibited by the European Convention on Human Rights.

    In July, Italy’s Interior Ministry told the Italian Parliament in a letter that the returns are taking place under a longstanding agreement between Italy and Slovenia and are within the bounds of the law because Slovenia is also an EU member state. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese later backtracked on the position, saying that only irregular migrants were being returned – not asylum seekers.

    At the end of October, the governor of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, the Italian region bordering Slovenia, said 1,321 people had been returned to Slovenia this year. Last year, just 250 people were returned between January and September, according to the interior ministry.

    Civil society groups say the returns are being carried out so quickly there is no way Italian authorities are implementing a full legal process at the border to determine if someone is in need of international protection.

    “Under European law, [police are required to accept] asylum applications made on the border,” Schiavone said.

    Such returns are not new, but began to take place in larger numbers following an uptick in arrivals in Friuli Venezia-Giulia from Slovenia as the first round of coronavirus lockdowns ended in the spring.

    These arrivals fed into a charged political environment in Italy over migration during the pandemic and led Italy to increase its military presence along the Slovenian border to help “fight illegal migration”.

    In the first 10 months of 2020, local authorities in Friuli Venezia-Giulia counted 4,500 arrivals. By comparison, nearly 28,000 asylum seekers and migrants have arrived In Italy by sea so far this year.

    But it is difficult to know exactly how many people enter from Slovenia because local officials and international organisations do not regularly publish comprehensive data on land arrivals to Italy, and those crossing the border often try to steer clear of authorities to avoid being pushed back or having their fingerprints taken, which would subject them to the Dublin Protocol, requiring them to apply for asylum in the first EU country they entered.

    Much of the migration activity since May has been taking place in the city of Trieste – just four kilometres from the Slovenian border – and in the surrounding countryside.

    Trieste is a key transit point, and a destination that many migrants and asylum seekers see as offering some respite after the long and often dangerous trek through the mountainous Balkans.

    Those who reach Trieste without being returned are often in poor physical condition and find little official support.

    “Both the services and the response provided to people who arrive is not the most adequate. More should be done,” Chiara Cardoletti, the UN refugee agency’s representative in Italy, said following a visit to Trieste in October, adding: “Coronavirus is complicating the situation."
    The pushback chain

    Asylum seekers and migrants have nicknamed the journey across the Balkans “the game”, because to reach Italy they have to try over and over again, facing pushbacks and violence at each border along the way.

    For many, “the game” – if they are successful – sees them end up under the arches of an old, abandoned building close to Trieste’s train station.

    When TNH visited in October, voices echoed inside. Around 30 people – all recently arrived from Slovenia – were taking shelter on a rainy morning surrounded by worn out children’s shoes, piles of discarded clothes, rotting foam mattresses, and torn backpacks.

    Most were young men in their teens and early twenties from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Like others before them, they were resting for a couple of days before continuing on – they hoped – to Milan, France, or elsewhere in Europe.

    After crossing from Turkey to Greece, they had all reached a bottleneck in Bihać, a town in Bosnia close to the Croatian border where people often become stuck as they try repeatedly to enter the EU. Once they cross the border, it takes up to 20 days through the mountains of Croatia and Slovenia to reach Italy. Many paid thousands of dollars to smugglers to assist them along the way, but ended up with no food for days and only rainwater to drink. Most could barely walk on their battered feet.

    Umar, a 20-year-old from Pakistan who preferred not to use his real name, said he had tried to cross the Balkans nine times before landing up in Trieste. He said he had made it to Italy once before, in May.

    “[The] police caught us and put us somewhere in a [camouflage] tent with many people,” Umar said. “They took our fingerprints. I told the police we are staying here in Italy. We showed our foot injuries, but they said, ‘There is no camp. Go back’.”

    Umar said the Italian authorities handed him over the next morning to the Slovenian police, who passed the group he was with on to the Croatian police, who then put them in a small van and deposited them near the border with Bosnia. “There was no air inside,” he recalled. “The weather was hot.”

    Now back in Italy, Umar planned to travel further inland to the city of Udine, about 65 kilometres from Trieste, to apply for asylum. He was afraid to present himself to authorities in Trieste, believing it was too close to the border and that he might be pushed back again.

    Others in Trieste shared similar stories of reaching Italy on previous attempts only to end up back in Bosnia after being pushed back from one country to the next.

    Muhammed, a 21-year-old also from Pakistan, said he reached Italy on his third attempt crossing the Balkans, and he was taken to the same tent. “There was a translator, who told us, ‘you guys will be staying here in Italy’,” Muhammed said. “Despite that, we were pushed back.”

    Muhammed then described how the Slovenian authorities pushed his group back to Croatia. “The police in Croatia kicked us, punched us,” he recalled. “They… took our money and left us on the Bosnia border.”

    After making it back to Italy again on his fourth attempt, Muhammed said he had now managed to apply for asylum in Trieste.
    ‘It had become systematic’

    The pushbacks from Italy to Slovenia appear to be indiscriminate, according to Schiavone, from ASGI. “[They] have involved everybody, regardless of nationality,” he said. “They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.”

    Schiavone said the removal procedures appeared to be informal and people are not given the chance to apply for asylum before being returned to Slovenia.

    A spokesperson for the border police in Gorizia, an Italian border town in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, told TNH in a statement that the department was operating in accordance with Ministry of Interior directives, and that people belonging to “‘protected categories’ such as unaccompanied children and pregnant women or, in general, anyone in need of medical assistance”, were excluded from returns. “To safeguard each migrant’s individual circumstances, interviews take place with an interpreter… and multilingual information brochures are handed out,” the spokesperson added.

    The asylum seekers in Trieste told TNH that authorities took their fingerprints and gave them a slip of paper before sending them back to Slovenia.

    “It had become systematic,” Marco Albanese, the supervisor of a migration reception centre in Italy close to the Slovenian border, told TNH. “They were pushing back people who were unable to walk.”

    Those who are intercepted but not pushed back spend a quarantine period at a camp in the countryside before being transferred to a reception centre. Others manage to evade the authorities altogether.

    The job of providing basic services to asylum seekers and migrants not in the official system largely falls to volunteer groups.

    The square outside Trieste’s train station begins to fill with asylum seekers and migrants around 6 in the evening. The night TNH visited, around 30 to 40 people came in small groups, milled around, and sat on benches. Many had no shoes and their badly swollen feet were covered with blisters and cuts.

    Volunteers served hot meals and handed out warm clothes, and young doctors and nurses from an organisation called Strada Si.Cura – a play on the Italian words for safe streets and healing – checked people’s temperatures, performed basic medical screenings, and attended to injuries.

    Sharif, a 16-year-old Afghan whose name has been changed to protect his identity – waited in line to show an infected blister on his foot to one of the medical volunteers. He spent two years in Bosnia and said he was pushed back 15 or 16 times before finally reaching Trieste. Like nearly everyone, he had a story about Croatian police violence, recalling how he was stripped naked, beaten with a stick, and abandoned near the border with Bosnia.

    The thoughts of some in the square turned to people they had met along the way who hadn’t made it to Italy and now face harsh winters somewhere in the Balkans.

    “In our group, there were 80 people,” said Sami, a 23-year-old from Pakistan. “Other people [had] a lot of injuries, a lot of problems… So they stay in the forests in Croatia, in Slovenia, near Bosnia because the way is so hard.”

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/11/17/europe-italy-bosnia-slovenia-migration-pushbacks-expulsion

    #expulsions #refoulements #refoulements_en_chaîne #route_des_Balkans #Italie #Bosnie #Slovénie #Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #push-backs #frontière_sud-alpine #Croatie #Game #The_Game

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • “They punched me because I asked to stop the hot air - pushback from Trieste to Bihac”

      Date and time: September 16, 2020 01:00
      Location: San Dorligo della Valle, TS, Italy
      Coordinates: 45.607175981734, 13.85383960105
      Push-back from: Croatia, Italy, Slovenia
      Push-back to: Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia
      Demographics: 6 person(s), age: 25-35 , from: Bangladesh, Algeria
      Minors involved? No
      Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, dog attacks, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
      Police involved: Italian Army officers, one army van and one army car; several Italian police officers, one police van; several Slovenian police officers, one police van and several Croatian police officers (masked), one german shepard,, one police van.
      Taken to a police station?: yes
      Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
      Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
      Reported by: Anonymous Partner

      Original Report

      The respondent, an Algerian man, left the city of Bihac (BiH) on 2nd September, 2020 in a group with five other Algerians, aged between 22 and 30 years old. After 12 days of travel they arrived in Trieste (ITA). They entered into Italy near the municipality of San Dorligo della Valle (45.607871, 13.857776), in the early morning on the 14th September. While the group was walking along a the SP12B road, they were tracked down by a military convoy, composed of a car and a van. The three military officers onboard stopped them at the side of the road and called the Italian police, who arrived shortly after with a van.

      The captured group were then transferred with the van to a police station in Fernetti [exact location], a site with a military tent erected for identification procedures of people on the move and asylum seekers. The respondent claims that he found himself together with many around 60 other people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, in addition to a person from Morocco. Many of the people held at the site, according to him, were minors or had been fingerprinted previously in Greece.

      The people detained in the tent were seperated by nationality. Each person of the transit group was questioned and processed individually in a separate, smaller tent, described as a small silo, the others had to wait in a small room which he describes as a “prison-room”. Personal data was gathered, fingerprints were recorded and photos of their faces were taken. The respondent clearly expressed the will to seek asylum in Italy.

      The assigned translator for the respondent and his group, of Moroccan origin, was already attending to one person from Morocco who was present when they arrived. The respondent overheard the translator suggesting to this person that he should declare himself as a minor. The police officers also searched him and confiscated his phone, a power bank and a watch, which were put inside a plastic bag. After that, the respondent had to sign 3 different documents, one of them – an identification and domicile paper – hidden and preserved by the respondent.

      When they deport you, they make you sign this paper so that they can say you accept it. And of course, you sign it. who care about you? They just say: ‘sign’ and you sign, because you don’t have power and there is no one listening to you.”

      The captured transit group remained in the police station from 08:00 until 17:00. The food was distributed collectively and due to a massive amount of people, some were left without. At some point the respondent requested to go to the
      toilet and he was taken outside, which allowed him to understand the area where he was. The respondent saw a reception center in front of him.

      At the end of the identification procedure, the police took five of the Algerians from the transit group. The sixth person was taken away however, the respondent stating this was because he had been fingerprinted in Greece. Some other Moroccans who were present in the tent were also kept there, which the respondent suggests was due to help from the translator in assisting their access to asylum.

      “Translator plays a big role. Maybe 80%”

      The remaining five people from Algeria were put inside a van. The respondent claims that he clearly saw the officers carrying the bag with his personal items, which he thought they would return to him once left at the next destination. The vehicle did not have either windows or light and the respondent described experiencing difficulties to breath during the ride. At this point the people-on-the-move received a small bottle of water and a small cracker for the first time since the apprehension.

      “They play with you. You just think just when is it finish.”

      Once they were sitting inside the van, the group realized that they were about to be deported to Slovenia and they asked what was going on. The police officers reassured them that they would stay in Trieste. The van then moved on: inside it was very hot and from the ventilation came out hot air. The respondent knocked on a window to attract the attention of the agents, who stopped the van, got out of the vehicle and opened the hatch to ask for explanations of why they were knocking on the window.

      There was a squabble, and one of the two officers punched the respondent, but was immediately stopped by his colleague who invited him to calm down. After the incident, they continued to drive and they arrived in an area, which was described as a road border crossing (likely Pesek-Kozina) between Italy and Slovenia. There, the group found a Slovenian police van with police officers waiting for them. They were transferred very quickly from the Italian police van to the Slovenian van: according to the respondent, officers were looking around with circumspection, as if they were worried about being noticed during the operation ongoing.

      Once the captured transit group were transferred to the Slovenian police van, they were taken in a police station, in Kozina, Slovenia. Here the respondent asked for his personal belongings, but the Slovenian police replied that the Italian police had not given them anything. The respondent doesn’t know if his belongings were kept by the Italian police officers or if the Slovenian police officers lied to him, keeping his belongings.

      In the station in Kozina, the officers took the prints of their thumbs of both hands, and realized that the respondent was already registered in the police database, due to previous entrance he had made into Slovenia (on this occasion he had also signed some documents). Later on, the group was transferred from Kozina to Ljubljana for a Covid-19 screening. After that, they returned to Kozina, where
      they spent the night detained. They stayed in this this location for what the respondent estimated to be a whole night. During this detention the group members could use the toilet and were handed another small bottle of water but were not provided with any food.

      The next morning (15th September) the group were transferred to Croatia, through the Socerga/Pozane border crossing. Here the Slovenian police photographed the documents that they had signed and threw them away in the garbage, before giving the group over to the regular Croatian police. The respondent, also in this occasion, managed to hide one Italian document, putting it inside his underwear (see previous photograph).

      The respondent identified the van that they were put in afterwards to be a Croatian police vehicle. Concerning the ride to Croatia he described that the driver was driving very bumpy, braking very sharply at any given moment.

      “you know, they really try to make you hate yourself. For what you have done and so you never try again to cross border to Croatia.”

      “If they deport you in the day you stay in the police car all day till it gets night. If they deport you in the night, they let you go directly.”

      In Croatia they had to wait for 15 hours, from 10:00 to 01:00 the next day (16th September) in the van. During this time they were not provided with any food or water and just left alone in the car. While they were waiting several other people-on-the-move were brought into the van by Croatian police officers, including a Bangladeshi man. Finally, at around 01:00 two Croatian police officers drove the van to the border of Bosnian territory, about 10 kilometers out of Bihac.

      When they arrived to this location, the respondent described that a Croatian officer wearing a dark uniform and a black ski-mask with a big German Shepherd told them to leave the van and line up in a file. The group-members were then told to get undressed to their boxers and a T-shirt. The officer took all of the clothes in a bin bag and set them on fire. Another officer was waiting behind the wheel of the vehicle during the procedure. The men then had to line up in a row, crowded closely together. The policeman yelled: “haide, go,go,go,go” and let the dog off the leash, which immediately snapped at the arm of the man in the last position in the row. The other men were able to run away in this way, but the last one apparently received a severe wound in his arm. The respondent then walked another 24 hours back to Velika Kladusa, where he started his journey.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/deport-from-trieste

  • Monthly Report BVMN August 2020

    The #Border_Violence_Monitoring_Network (#BVMN) published 34 cases of illegal pushbacks during August, documenting the experience of 692 people whose rights were violated at the European Union’s external border. Volunteers in the field recorded a variety of cruel and abusive acts by officers, representing at least ten different national authorities. This report summarises the data and narrative testimony shared by people-on-the-move, highlighting the depth of violence being carried out in the service of European borders.

    As a network comprised of grassroots organisations active in Greece and the Western Balkans, this report was produced via a joint-effort between Are You Syrious, Mobile Info Team, No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, Josoor, InfoKolpa, Escuela con Alma, Centre for Peace Studies, Mare Liberum, Collective Aid and Fresh Response

    The report analyses among other things:

    - Czech presence in North Macedonian pushbacks
    - Unrest in the #Una-Sana Canton of Bosnia-Herzegovina
    - Continued Greek Maritime Pushbacks
    - Analyzing a summer of Italian pushbacks

    Special focus is given to the Greek context where in the Evros region, field partners collected several testimonies in August which referenced third-country-nationals facilitating pushbacks across the Evros/Meric River on behalf of Greek authorities. Three reports conducted by members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network allude to this practice and anecdotal evidence from the field reinforces these accounts.

    –-

    The Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) published 34 cases of illegal pushbacks during August, documenting the experience of 692 people whose rights were violated at the European Union’s external border. Volunteers in the field recorded a variety of cruel and abusive acts by officers, representing at least ten different national authorities. This report summarises the data and narrative testimonies shared by peo-ple-on-the-move, highlighting the depth of violence being carried out in the service of European borders.Special focus is given to the Greek context where testimonies in the Evros allude to the trend of Greek au-thorities using third country nationals to facilitate pushbacks across the Evros/Meric River in the last two months. Reports collected by members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network allude to this practice and anecdotal evidence from the field reinforces these accounts. Further analysis covers the way in which Czech forces have been referenced in testimonies collected from push-backs from North Macedonia to Greece in the last month. Returns from Italy to Bosnia also continue to be legitimized by the Italian state and an analysis of recent reports from these returns is included, as well as an update written by volunteers on the ground in Trieste.In this report, BVMN also discusses several cases of pushbacks across the Aegean sea where the Greek au-thorities continue to use worrying methods to force transit ships back into Turkish waters via life raphs. New developments in both Bosnia’s Una-Sana Canton and Serbia’s #Vojvodina region are also noted, showing the situation on the ground and in the legal realm respectively, as it relates to pushbacks.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-august-2020

    #rapport #push-backs #refoulements #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Italie #Grèce #Mer_Egée #Una #Sana #Bosnie #Bosnie_Herzégovine #Macédoine_du_Nord #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Serbie

    ping @karine4 @isskein

    • Policajci iz Virovitice prijavljuju šefa: ‘Ilegalno tjera migrante, tuče se pijan, zataškava obiteljsko nasilje’

      ‘Da bi dobili veću plaću, njegovi miljenici tjeraju migrante iz BiH u Hrvatsku, kako bi ih zatim mogli deportirati’, tvrde naši sugovornici...

      https://www.telegram.hr/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/hedl_policija_migranti-840x530.jpeg

      Ovo je naš zapovjednik Andrej Hegediš, kaže jedan od četvorice pripadnika Interventne policije u Policijskoj upravi virovitičko-podravskoj, pokazujući na video-snimku Border Violence Monitoringa, nevladine organizacije koja se zalaže za zaštitu prava migranata. Na tajno snimljenom videu, vide se pripadnici hrvatske policije kako, prema tvrdnjama Border Violence Monitoringa, u šumi kraj Lohova, unutar teritorije Bosne i Hercegove, protjeruju skupinu migranata prema Bihaću.

      Ta snimka prikazana je na više televizija kao jedan od dokaza nehumanog postupanja hrvatske policije prema migrantima, zbog čega su na račun Zagreba stigla i ozbiljna upozorenje iz Bruxellesa. Hrvatski MUP odbacio je takve tvrdnje kao neutemeljene.
      Tvrdnje koje zvuče upravo nevjerojatno

      No, ono što su, vezano uz migrante, Telegramu ispričali pripadnici virovitičke Interventne policije koji su sudjelovali na osiguranju državne granice, zvuči upravo nevjerojatno: “Hrvatska je policija, tvrde naši sugovornici, u nekoliko navrata ulazila na teritorij susjedne BiH da bi odatle potjerala migrante u Hrvatsku, a onda ih deportirala!”

      Zašto bi to radili? Razlog je, kažu virovitički interventni policajci, više nego prozaičan: “boravak na terenu financijski je unosan. Na taj način mjesečno mogu zaraditi nekoliko tisuća kuna više, pa treba dokazati da se na granici nešto radi”, tvrde naši sugovornici. “Tako se migrante prvo iz BiH potjera u Hrvatsku, a zatim natrag. Deportiranje se, naravno, dokumentira video snimkama, kako bi se dokazala nužnost pojačanih policijskih ophodnju iz granicu”, dodaju.
      Iz MUP-a su potvrdili anonimnu predstavku

      Četvorica pripadnika interventne policije s kojima je Telegram razgovarao ovih dana, stoje iza predstavke upućene MUP-u u kojoj iznose brojne optužbe na račun Andreja Hegediša, zapovjednika virovitičke Interventne policije. Iz MUP-a su 3. rujna Telegramu potvrdili da su primili anonimnu predstavku.

      ”Potvrđujemo zaprimanje anonimnih podnesaka te Služba za unutarnju kontrolu u suradnji s policijskim službenicima Ravnateljstva policije i Policijske uprave, sukladno Zakonu o policiji i Pravilniku o načinu rada i postupanja po pritužbama te radu Povjerenstava za rad po pritužbama, provjerava njihovu utemeljenost”, stoji u odgovoru Telegramu.
      Šef policije se napio pa nasrnuo na kolegu

      ”Također vas obavještavamo kako je, nakon provjere navoda iz ranijeg podneska, načelnik Policijske uprave virovitičko-podravske pokrenuo disciplinski postupak pred Odjelom prvostupanjskog disciplinskog sudovanja Službe disciplinskog sudovanja u Osijeku zbog sumnje u počinjene teže povrede službene dužnosti iz čl. 96. stavak 1. točke 7. Zakona o policiji. Navedeni postupak je u tijeku”, napisali su iz MUP-a.

      Kad je riječ o potonjem, radi se o slučaju o kojem je prvi pisao Telegram i koji je do tada javnosti bio nepoznat. Naime, 20. prosinca prošle godine, na božićnom domjenku za čelne ljude Policijske uprave virovitičko-podravske, zapovjednik Interventne jedinice policije, Andrej Hegediš, fizički je nasrnuo na svog kolegu, načelnika Policijske postaje Pitomača, Renata Greguraša. Ali, načelnik virovitičke Policijske uprave, Siniša Knežević, koji je sve to vidio, disciplinski je postupak protiv Hegediša pokrenuo tek tri mjeseca nakon događaja.
      Odlasci u McDonald’s i zubaru u Zagreb

      Dvojica od četvorice Telegramovih sugovornika, bivših i aktivnih pripadnika Interventne policije, kažu da su također bili žrtve Hegediševih nasrtaja i pokušaja fizičkog napada. Neki od njih zbog toga su tražili premještaj. U predstavci koju je Telegram imao prilike vidjeti, navode se i druge pritužbe na njegov rad, a zbog čega je unutarnja kontrola MUP-a prošloga tjedna dva dana provela u Virovitici. No, kako neslužbeno doznajemo, njihov izvještaj ne bi trebao zabrinuti Hegediša. Štoviše, kaže jedan od naših izvora, sada se pokušava istražiti tko su autori anonimne predstavke.

      Jedna od optužbi na koju su se interventni policajci žalili odnosi se, kako tvrde, na zapovjednikovo korištenje službenog automobila u posve privatne svrhe, kao što je odlazak zubaru u Zagreb ili u restoran McDonald’s u Sisak. ”Ako postoji volja, lako je istražiti kako si je zapovjednik Interventne obračunavao prekovremeni rad i u vrijeme kada je već četiri sata bio u Mađarskoj, na privatnom putu prema zračnoj luci u Budimpešti. Treba samo pročešljati popis prekovremenih sati i usporediti to s vremenom kada je napustio granični prijelaz, pa će sve biti jasno. No, bojimo se da u policiji, zbog politike ‘ne talasaj’, za to nitko nema volje”, kažu sugovornici Telegrama iz interventne policije u Virovitici.

      ‘Natjerao me da ostavim ministra i vozim njega’

      Upravo je nevjerojatan podatak kojeg su nam iznijeli, kada je kažu, jedan njihov kolega, morao napustiti osiguranje štićene osobe i uputiti se u Slatinu, gdje zapovjednik Hegediš živi, da bi ga prevezao u bazu, u Viroviticu. Radilo se o osiguranju i obilasku kuće tadašnjeg potpredsjednika Vlade i ministra poljoprivrede, Tomislava Tolušića, kao i nekoliko zgrada u kojima bi znao odsjedati kada dolazi u Viroviticu. Hegediš se na to nije osvrtao, kažu Telegramovi sugovornici, već je policajcu naredio da prekine posao na osiguranju štićene osobe i preveze ga u Viroviticu.

      Detaljno su opisali i navodno samovolju svog zapovjednika Hegediša, zbog čega je nekoliko policajaca zatražilo premještaj. Nabrajaju imena svojih kolega koji su zbog mobinga napustili Interventnu policiju. ”Dok se njegovim poslušnicima i miljenicima sve tolerira, drugima se traži dlaka u jajetu i protiv njih se, i zbog najmanje sitnice, pokreću stegovni postupci”, kažu.
      ‘Miljenici mu pomagali u selidbi, usred radnog vremena’

      Opisuju slučaj, u kojem je nekoliko interventnih policajaca, u radnom vremenu, svom zapovjedniku pomagalo kada je iz jedne kuće selio u drugu. Akciju preseljenja, kažu, vodio je J. J.. No, naročito su ogorčeni na svog kolegu D. S., kojem je Hegediš, kažu, pomogao u zataškavanju obiteljskog nasilja i nedoličnog ponašanja, kada se na području između Kutjeva i Orahovice, u alkoholiziranom stanju, nasilnički ponašao prema supruzi, zaustavio automobil u šumi, ostavio je i otišao.

      Njegova supruga tada je, tvrde, zvala Operativno komunikacijski centar (OKC) u virovitičkoj Policijskoj upravi, prijavila slučaj obiteljskog nasilja, a postupak su proveli policajci iz Orahovice. No, slučaj je zataškan, tvrde sugovornici Telegrama, tako što je Hegediš zatražio da se u tom slučaju ne postupa. Sve, kažu, mogu potvrditi tada dežurni u OKC D. Č. i dežurni u jedinici u Virovitici M. V.. Imena svih osoba čije inicijale navodimo poznata su redakciji.

      ”Našem zapovjedniku unatoč svemu ništa se ne događa i bojimo se da ni dolazak unutarnje kontrole MUP-a neće ništa promijeniti”, kažu sugovornici Telegrama. Zatražili smo i komentar zapovjednika Hegediša, ali nije odgovorio na našu poruku. Kada je Telegram pisao o njegovu fizičkom nasrtaju na načelnika Policijske postaje u Pitomači, također ništa nije htio komentirati. Samo je rekao da kao policijski službenik ne smije javno istupati.

      https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/policajci-iz-virovitice-prijavljuju-sefa-ilegalno-tjera-migrante-tuce-se-pi

      #Andrej_Hegedis

      –—

      Commentaire reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 29.09.2020

      Telegram, on the other hand, published the testimony of intervention police officers in Virovitica, who identified their chief #Andrej_Hegediš as one of the police officers on a BVMN video about an illegal expulsion published in December 2018. They also claimed that refugees and other migrants were expelled from BiH to Croatia and back. The Ministry of the Interior confirmed to Telegram that it had received an anonymous complaint, and Virovitica police officers accused Hegediš of other violations of police powers, including violence against police officers.

    • Bosnie-Herzégovine : les migrants pris en #otages du mille-feuille institutionnel

      La complexité du système institutionnel bosnien ne joue pas en faveur des réfugiés. Le 30 septembre dernier, les autorités du canton d’#Una-Sava et celles de la municipalité de #Bihać ont pris la décision unilatérale d’évacuer le #camp de #Bira, à la grande surprise du ministère de la Sécurité intérieure. Depuis, tout le monde se refile la patate chaude : que faire de ces centaines de personnes qui dorment tous les soirs dans les rues ?
      Le ton monte entre les représentants du canton d’Una-Sava et ceux de l’État central de Bosnie-Herzégovine. « Ils vont devoir utiliser les infrastructures qui sont à leur disposition, dans leur intérêt et dans celui des habitants du canton d’Una-Sana », a sèchement expliqué Selmo Cikotić, le ministre de la Sécurité intérieur, qui réagissait aux propos de Mustafa Ružnić, le président du canton d’Una-Sana, et à ceux du maire de Bihać, Šuhret Fazlić. Ces derniers avaient déclaré qu’ils ne permettraient pas le retour des migrants à Bira, le centre d’hébergement de Bihać vidé par les autorités cantonales le 30 septembre dernier. Suite à l’intervention de la police, certains exilés avaient été laissés libres de se diriger vers la frontière croate, d’autres avaient été conduits dans le camp de #Lipa, situé à une trentaine de kilomètres de Bihać, et ceux qui voulaient revenir vers Sarajevo avaient été autorisés à acheter des tickets de bus pour la capitale. Le camp de Lipa étant déjà plein, les migrants avaient ensuite été laissés dans les rues, sans aucun abris.

      Selon Selmo Cikotić, différentes mesures ont été prises pour fermer définitivement les camps de Bira à Bihać et de #Miral à #Velika_Kladuša. Le ministre peine donc à comprendre le refus des élus locaux de ne pas autoriser le retour temporaire des migrants. « Le plan du ministère de la Sécurité intérieure était en accord avec les institutions internationales et les différentes structures bosniennes », assure-t-il. « Nous avions tout organisé en accord avec la présidence, avec les instances internationales, les lois bosniennes, le conseil municipal de Velika Kladuša, les autorités cantonales et les représentants de l’Union européenne (UE). Le volte-face des autorités cantonales est donc pour moi très surprenant. Le camp de Bira devait de toute façon être fermé d’ici trois à quatre semaines, sans porter préjudice aux migrants ni aux habitants du canton. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi le Premier ministre du canton et le maire de Bihać ont précipité les choses. »

      « Cela fait trois ans que la municipalité est abandonnée à son sort », s’emporte Šuhret Fazlić. « C’est terminé, aucun migrant ne reviendra à Bira et nous appliquerons cette décision par tous les moyens à notre disposition. Je ne fais pas comme s’il n’y avait pas de migrants dans notre région, je dis juste qu’il n’y en aura plus à Bira. Nous avons assuré à ces gens un toit dans le camp de Lipa ». Selon le maire de Bihać, ce centre n’est pas encore plein, mais « la crise de l’accueil des migrants a mis à jour absolument tout ce qui ne fonctionne pas au sein de l’État bosnien ».L’évacuation du camp de Bira a en tout cas provoqué de nombreuses réactions. L’ambassade des États-Unis en Bosnie-Herzégovine, l’Organisation Internationale des Migrations (OIM), les Nations-Unies et Amnesty International sont unanimes : le camp de Bira ne peut être laissé vide, tant que des migrants dorment dans les rues. Dans un communiqué daté du 1er octobre, l’UE a jugé « inacceptable » la décision du canton et de la mairie de Bihać de transférer par la force les migrants vers le camp de Lipa. « L’UE a sans cesse répété que Lipa ne pouvait être qu’une solution temporaire, pendant la pandémie de coronavirus, et que ce centre ne remplissait pas les conditions nécessaires à l’accueil de réfugiés et de migrants, en particulier avec l’arrivée de l’hiver. Jamais Lipa n’a été agréé comme un centre d’accueil », précise le communiqué. Selon Šuhret Fazlić, l’UE menace de sanctions pénales la mairie de Bihać et les autorités du canton d’#Una-Sava.

      Un problème financier ?

      Reste que les désaccords persistent entre les autorités locales et le ministère de la Sécurité intérieure, alors que tous sont sous pression pour trouver rapidement une solution. « Il faut aménager le camp de Lipa », souhaite Šuhret Fazlić. « L’électricité vient d’un groupe électrogène, il faudrait 200 000 euros pour que le camp soit raccordé au réseau. L’eau est puisée dans une source, et provient en partie de notre réseau. Il faudrait 140 000 euros pour avoir assez d’eau, les canalisations existent déjà. Avec un peu moins de 350 000, on pourrait donc assurer les approvisionnements en eau et en électricité. Je ne vois pas pourquoi cela ne serait pas faisable. »

      La municipalité a donné cinq hectares de terre pour construire le camp et a pris en charge, avec l’aide du canton, une partie des frais de fonctionnement, ce que l’UE avait demandé. L’argent de l’État bosnien se fait en revanche attendre, car le Conseil des ministres n’a toujours pris aucune décision en ce qui concerne la fermeture du camp de Bira et l’ouverture de celui de Lipa. Deux millions et demi d’euros prévus pour l’accueil des migrants n’ont donc pas pu être débloqués. Selmo Cikotić estime ainsi que le problème n’est pas financier mais politique.

      Reste que pour l’instant, pas un euro n’a été débloqué pour le financement du camp de Lipa. « La présidence avait décidé de verser 2,5 millions d’euros, mais le Conseil des ministres n’a toujours pas pris la décision d’agréer Lipa comme un centre d’accueil, ni celle de fermer Bira. Je ne sais même pas s’il existe un consensus sur ces questions », s’agace le maire de Bihać.

      La société privée Bira, propriétaire du hangar où ont séjourné les migrants, n’a pas répondu aux questions de Radio Slobodna Evropa sur leur éventuel retour. « Nous ne sommes pas en capacité de vous répondre car le président du conseil d’administration n’est actuellement pas en état d’assurer ses obligations professionnelles. Pour toute précision, adressez-vous à l’OIM », a-t-elle répondu. Le principal actionnaire de Bira a également refusé de fournir des précisions sur la durée du contrat de location du hangar.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-Herzegovine-migrants-otages-mille-feuille-institutionnel-b

      #Bihac #Velika_Kladusa

    • Croatian police accused of ’sickening’ assaults on migrants on Balkans trail

      Testimony from asylum seekers alleging brutal border pushbacks, including sexual abuse, adds to calls for EU to investigate

      People on the Balkans migrant trail have allegedly been whipped, robbed and, in one case, sexually abused by members of the Croatian police.

      The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has documented a series of brutal pushbacks on the Bosnia-Croatian border involving dozens of asylum seekers between 12 and 16 October.

      The Guardian has obtained photographs and medical reports that support the accounts, described by aid workers as “sickening” and “shocking”.

      “The testimonies collected from victims of pushbacks are horrifying,’’ said Charlotte Slente, DRC secretary general. “More than 75 persons in one week have all independently reported inhumane treatment, savage beatings and even sexual abuse.’’

      According to migrants’ accounts, the pushbacks occurred in Croatian territory over the border from Velika Kladuša in Bosnia, close to Šiljkovača – a tented forest settlement of around 700 refugees and migrants.

      “All of the persons interviewed by DRC bore visible injuries from beatings (bruises and cuts), as a result of alleged Croatian police violence,” reads the DRC report. “According to the statements provided by interviewed victims (with visible evidence of their injuries), pushbacks included brutal and extremely violent behaviour, degrading treatment, and theft and destruction of personal belongings.” One of the testimonies includes a report of serious sexual abuse.

      On 12 October, five Afghans, including two minors, crossed the Croatian border near the #Šturlić settlement. On the same day, near Novo Selo, an uniformed police officer stopped them and then called two more officers. One of the migrants ran, and the other four were detained at a police station. Two days later they were taken to court, where they say they were to “appear as witnesses in the case launched against the fifth member of the group – the one who escaped”, who had been accused of violent behaviour towards police.

      The asylum seekers told the DRC that the original officers then took them “to some unknown location, where they were put in a van in the charge of 10 armed people, dressed in black and with full face balaclavas, army boots and with flashlights on their foreheads”. Their money was taken, their belongings torched and they were ordered to strip to their underwear. The migrants allege that they were forced to lie face down on the ground.

      “One man in black was standing on the victim’s hands, preventing any movements,” reads the report. “Legs were also restrained. Once the person was hampered, the beating started. They were punched, kicked, whipped and beaten.” Medical reports confirm that migrants’ injuries are consistent with the use of a whip.

      One migrant, MK, says at this point he was sexually assaulted by a man using a branch.

      Mustafa Hodžić, a doctor in Velika Kladuša, examined the man. “The patient had wounds all over the back of his body, on his back and legs. I can confirm the signs of clear sexual violence … I have never seen anything like it. Even if it isn’t the first time as a doctor [that] I have seen signs of sexual violence on migrants, which, according the asylum seekers’ accounts, were perpetrated on Croatian territory by Croatian officials dressed in black uniforms.”

      One Pakistani migrant told of being intercepted with two others near Croatia’s Blata railway station. The police allegedly ordered them to strip naked before loading them into a van and taking them to a sort of garage, where five other migrants were waiting to be sent back to Bosnia. Awaiting their arrival were men dressed in black.

      “They started to beat us with batons, and the third one took his mobile phone and took a selfie with us without clothes,” the Pakistani man said. “The first four of us were on the ground, and we lay next to each other, naked and beaten, and the other four were ordered to lie on us, like when trees are stacked, so we lay motionless for 20 minutes. The last one was a minor. He was from the other group; I saw when the police officer ask him where he was from. He tried to say that he is a minor. He was beaten a lot, and when it was his turn to take off his clothes, he was beaten even more.”

      One man added: “A minor from the second group fainted after many blows. His friends took him in their arms, and one of the police officers ordered them to lay him down on the ground. Then they started hitting them with batons. Before the deportation, police told us: ‘We don’t care where you are from or if you will return to Bosnia or to your country, but you will not go to Croatia. Now you have all your arms and legs because we were careful how we hit you. Next time it will be worse’.’’

      Small groups of asylum seekers attempt to cross from Bosnia into Croatia nightly on the migrant trail into western Europe. The EU’s longest internal border, it is patrolled by police armed with truncheons, pistols and night vision goggles. Aid workers, doctors, border guards and UN officials have documented systematic abuse and violence perpetrated along the border stretch for several years.

      Last May, the Guardian documented a case of more than 30 migrants who were allegedly robbed and had their heads spray painted with red crosses by Croatian officers.

      The UNHCR has asked the Croatian government to set up an independent assessment of the border situation.

      The details of the latest pushback are in a report that the DRC has shared with the European commission, which has yet to investigate.

      ‘’The Croatian government and the European commission must act to put a stop to the systematic use of violence,” said Slente. ‘’Treating human beings like this, inflicting severe pain and causing unnecessary suffering, irrespective of their migratory status, cannot and should not be accepted by any European country, or by any EU institution. There is an urgent need to ensure that independent border monitoring mechanisms are in place to prevent these abuses.”

      Croatian police and the ministry of the interior have not responded to requests for comment.

      In June, the Guardian revealed EU officials were accused of an “outrageous cover-up” for withholding evidence of the Croatian government’s failure to supervise border forces. Internal emails showed Brussels officials were fearful of full disclosure of Croatia’s lack of commitment to a monitoring mechanism that EU ministers had agreed to fund.

      In January, a commission official warned a colleague that Croatia’s failure to use money earmarked two years ago for border police “will for sure be seen as a scandal”.

      The recent accusations come as the commission presented its final report on the grant, in which Croatia asserted that the co-financing project had “helped make the implementation of activities of border surveillance more conscientious and of higher quality, with emphasis on the respect of migrants’ rights guaranteed under international, European and national legislation”.

      Regarding allegations of abuse, Croatian authorities stated: “Every single [piece of] information and every single complaint was inspected in the process called internal control. We did not establish that the police officers committed any criminal or disciplinary offence in any of the cases.”

      Clare Daly, an Irish MEP, is among those who have raised concerns in Brussels. “The blood of these people, so horrifically mistreated on the Croatian border, is on the hands of the European commission. They have enabled this violation of fundamental rights by ignoring the facts presented to them by NGOs and MEPs that all was not well. They turned a blind eye time and again, and now these horrible events have occurred again, even worse than before.”

      She added: “The last time such behaviour occurred, the commission rewarded Croatia with an extra grant even bigger than the first one, and said they were happy with how the funds had been spent … when is someone going to be held accountable for these crimes against humanity?”

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/21/croatian-police-accused-of-sickening-assaults-on-migrants-on-balkans-tr

      –----

      See the report of Border Violence Monitoring Network (October 21) with photos and videos:
      Croatian authorities leading choreographed violence near #Cetingrad

      In the last fourteen days, BVMN-member No Name Kitchen have collected testimonies alluding to a spike in pushback violence in the Cetingrad area of the Croatian border with Bosnia-Herzegovina. The veracity of these testimonies is further supplemented with reports from local people and media outlets. The characteristics of this trend in violence have been complex and coordinated assaults by Croatian police, consisting of repetitive baton strikes, lashing and kicking. These tactics leave an indelible mark on returned transit groups, visible in the extensive bruising and lacerations across the legs, torso and upper body of people subject to such violence. First hand testimony of recent pushbacks are examined here, alongside pictures and videos from the HR/BiH border which reveal the deterioration in border violence seen in the last fortnight.


      https://www.borderviolence.eu/15983-2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6JnnUfpulA&feature=emb_logo

      #Novo_Selo #Sturlic

  • Pubblicato il dossier di RiVolti ai Balcani

    L’obiettivo: rompere il silenzio sulla rotta balcanica, denunciando quanto sta avvenendo in quei luoghi e lanciando chiaro il messaggio che i soggetti vulnerabili del #game” non sono più soli.

    Il report “Rotta Balcanica: i migranti senza diritti nel cuore dell’Europa” della neonata rete “RiVolti ai Balcani” è composta da oltre 36 realtà e singoli impegnati nella difesa dei diritti delle persone e dei principi fondamentali sui quali si basano la Costituzione italiana e le norme europee e internazionali.

    Il report è la prima selezione e analisi ragionata delle principali fonti internazionali sulle violenze nei Balcani che viene pubblicata in Italia. Un capitolo esamina la gravissima situazione dei respingimenti alla frontiera italo-slovena.

    http://www.icsufficiorifugiati.org/la-rotta-balcanica-i-migranti-senza-diritti-nel-cuore-delleurop

    #rapport #rivolti_ai_balcani #ICS #Trieste #Italie #frontière_sud-alpine #Slovénie #push-backs #refoulement #refoulements #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Balkans #route_des_balkans #the_game

    –—

    Fil de discussion commencé en 2018 sur les réadmissions entre Italie et Slovénie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733273

    • Riammissioni tra Italia e Slovenia : 32 migranti rimandati di nuovo sulla Rotta

      „Tante sono le persone che il Dipartimento di polizia di #Capodistria ha ricevuto da parte delle autorità italiane. Nel giro di qualche settimana tenteranno nuovamente di passare“

      Continua il fenomeno delle riammissioni di migranti che le autorità italiane riconsegnano alla polizia slovena in base agli accordi firmati tra Roma e Lubiana nel 1996. Nelle ultime 24 ore sono 32 le persone rimandate nel territorio della vicina repubblica. Nel dettaglio, sono 31 cittadini di origine pakistana e una persona proveniente invece dal Marocco. La Rotta balcanica alle spalle di Trieste ha ripreso vigore nelle ultime settimane, con la conferma che arriva dai dati diffusi dal Dipartimento di polizia di Capodistria negli ultimi 10 giorni e dal corposo rintraccio avvenuto due giorni fa nella zona della #val_Rosandra, in comune di #San_Dorligo_della_Valle/Dolina.

      I dati dell’ultimo periodo

      Ai circa 150 migranti rintriaccati dalle autorità slovene negli ultimi giorni, vanno agigunti altri 13 cittadini afghani e quattro nepalesi. Dai campi profughi della Bosnia è iniziata la fase che vede i migranti tentare di passare i confini prima dell’arrivo delle rigide temperature che caratterizzano l’inverno sulla frontiera con la Croazia. Riuscire a farcela prima che cominicino le forti nevicate signfiica non dover aspettare fino a primavera. Nel frattempo, gli addetti ai lavori sono convinti che non passeranno troppe settimane prima che gli stessi migranti riammessi in Slovenia vengano nuovamente rintracciati in territorio italiano.

      https://www.triesteprima.it/cronaca/rotta-balcanica-migranti-slovenia-italia-riammissioni.html

      #accord_de_réadmission #accord_bilatéral #frontières #expulsions #renvois #refoulement #migrations #asile #réfugiés #réadmission

      –—

      ajouté à cette liste sur les accords de réadmission entre pays européens :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/736091

    • "Le riammissioni dei migranti in Slovenia sono illegali", il Tribunale di Roma condanna il Viminale

      Per la prima volta un giudice si pronuncia sulla prassi di riportare indietro i richiedenti asilo in base a un vecchio accordo bilaterale. «Stanno violando la Costituzione e la Carta europea dei diritti fondamentali». L’ordinanza nasce dal ricorso di un 27 enne pakistano

      «La prassi adottata dal ministero dell’Interno in attuazione dell’accordo bilaterale con la Slovenia è illlegittima sotto molteplici profili». Non sono le parole di un’associazione che tutela i diritti dei migranti o di una delle tante ong che denuncia da mesi violenze e soprusi sulla rotta balcanica. Questa volta a dirlo, o meglio, a scriverlo in un’ordinanza a suo modo storica e che farà giurisprudenza, è una giudice della Repubblica. E’ il primo pronunciamento di questo tipo. Un durissimo atto d’accusa che porta l’intestazione del «Tribunale ordinario di Roma - Sezione diritti della persona e immigrazione» e la data del 18 gennaio 2021. Con le riammissioni informali sul confine italo-sloveno, che si tramutano - come documentato di recente anche da Repubblica - in un respingimento a catena fino alla Bosnia, il governo italiano sta violando contemporaneamente la legge italiana, la Costituzione, la Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione Europea e persino lo stesso accordo bilaterale.

      La storia di Mahmood

      L’ordinanza emessa dalla giudice Silvia Albano è l’esito di un procedimento cautelare d’urgenza. Il pakistano Mahmood contro il ministero dell’Interno. Nel ricorso presentato ad ottobre dagli avvocati dell’Associazione studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi) si chiedeva al Tribunale «di accertare il diritto del signor Mahmood a presentare domanda di protezione internazionale in Italia». La storia di questo 27 enne non è diversa da quella di migliaia di migranti che partecipano al Game, come nei campi profughi della Bosnia è stata beffardamente ribattezzata la pericolosa traversata dei boschi croati e sloveni. A metà del luglio scorso Mahmood raggiunge la frontiera di Trieste dopo il viaggio lungo rotta balcanica durante il quale ha subito violenze e trattamenti inumani, provati da una serie di fotografie che ha messo a disposizione del magistrato. E’ fuggito dal Pakistan «per le persecuzioni a causa del mio orientamento sessuale». Giunto in Italia insieme a un gruppo di connazionali, è rintracciato dagli agenti di frontiera e portato in una stazione di polizia italiana.

      «Minacciato coi bastoni dalla polizia italiana»

      Nel suo ricorso Mahmood sostiene di aver chiesto esplicitamente ai poliziotti l’intenzione di presentare la domanda di protezione internazionale. Richiesta del tutto ignorata. La sua testimonianza, evidentemente ritenuta attendibile dalla giudice Albano, prosegue col racconto di quanto accaduto all’interno e nelle vicinanze della stazione di frontiera. Si legge nell’ordinanza: «Gli erano stati fatti firmare alcuni documenti in italiano, gli erano stati sequestrati i telefoni ed erano stati ammanettati. Poi sono stati caricati su un furgone e portati in una zona collinare e intimati, sotto la minaccia di bastoni, di correre dritti davanti a loro, dando il tempo della conta fino a 5. Dopo circa un chilometro erano stati fermati dagli spari della polizia slovena che li aveva arrestati e caricati su un furgone». Da lì in poi il suo destino del pakistano è segnato: riportato nell’affollato campo bosniaco di Lipa, ha dormito alcune notti in campagna, infine ha trovato rifugio in un rudere a Sarajevo.

      Il Viminale non poteva non sapere

      Secondo il Tribunale di Roma ci sono tre solide ragioni per ritenere illegali le riammissioni in Slovenia. La prima. Avvengono senza che sia rilasciato alcun pezzo di carta legalmente valido. «Il riaccompagnamento forzato - scrive Albano - incide sulla sfera giuridica degli interessati quindi deve essere disposto con un provvedimento amministrativo motivato impugnabile innanzi all’autorità giudiziaria». La seconda attiene al rispetto della Carta dei diritti fondamentali, che impone la necessità di esame individuale delle singole posizioni e vieta espulsioni collettive. E’ uno dei passaggi più significativi dell’ordinanza. «Lo Stato italiano non avrebbe dovuto dare corso ai respingimenti informali. Il ministero era in condizioni di sapere, alla luce dei report delle Ong, delle risoluzioni dell’Alto Commissariato Onu per i rifugiati e delle inchieste dei più importanti organi di stampa internazioanale, che la riammissione in Slovenia avrebbe comportato a sua volta il respingimento in Bosnia nonché che i migranti sarebbero stati soggetti a trattamenti inumani».

      Infine la terza ragione, che sbriciola la posizione ufficiale del Viminale, rappresentata al Parlamento dal sottosegretario Achille Variati durante un question time in cui è stato affermato che le riammissioni si applicano a tutti, anche a chi vuol presentare domanda di asilo. Scrive invece la giudice: «Non si può mai applicare nei confronti di un richiedente asilo senza nemmeno provvedere a raccogliere la sua domanda, con una prassi che viola la normativa interna e sovranazionale e lo stesso contenuto dell’Accordo bilaterale con la Slovenia».

      La condanna

      Per queste tre ragioni, il Viminale è condannato a prendere in esame la domanda di asilo di Mahmood, consentendogli l’immediato ingresso nel territorio italiano, e a pagare le spese legali. E’ la vittoria di Gianfranco Schiavone, componente del direttivo Asgi e presidente del Consorzio italiano di Solidarietà, che da mesi denuncia quanto sta accadendo sul confine italo-sloveno. Nel 2020 le riammissioni informali sono state circa 1.300. E’ la vittoria soprattutto delle due legali che hanno presentato il ricorso e sostenuto la causa, Anna Brambilla e Caterina Bove. «Siamo molto soddisfatte della pronuncia», commenta Brambilla. «Alla luce di questa ordinanza si devono interrompere subito le riammissioni informali in Slovenia perché sia garantito l’accesso al diritto di asilo».

      https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2021/01/21/news/viminale_condannato_riammissioni_illegali_respingimenti_slovenia_migranti

      #condamnation #justice

    • I respingimenti italiani in Slovenia sono illegittimi. Condannato il ministero dell’Interno

      Per il Tribunale di Roma le “riammissioni” del Viminale a danno dei migranti hanno esposto consapevolmente le persone, tra cui richiedenti asilo, a “trattamenti inumani e degradanti” lungo la rotta balcanica e a “torture” in Croazia. Il caso di un cittadino pachistano respinto a catena in Bosnia. L’avvocata Caterina Bove, co-autrice del ricorso, ricostruisce la vicenda e spiega perché l’ordinanza è importantissima

      I respingimenti voluti dal ministero dell’Interno italiano e praticati con sempre maggior intensità dalla primavera 2020 al confine con la Slovenia sono “illegittimi”, violano obblighi costituzionali e del diritto internazionale, e hanno esposto consapevolmente i migranti in transito lungo la “rotta balcanica”, inclusi i richiedenti asilo, a “trattamenti inumani e degradanti” oltreché a “vere e proprie torture inflitte dalla polizia croata”.

      A cristallizzarlo, demolendo la prassi governativa delle “riammissioni informali” alla frontiera orientale, è il Tribunale ordinario di Roma (Sezione diritti della persona e immigrazione) con un’ordinanza datata 18 gennaio 2021 e giunta a seguito di un ricorso presentato dalle avvocate Caterina Bove e Anna Brambilla (foro di Trieste e Milano, socie Asgi) nell’interesse di un richiedente asilo originario del Pakistan respinto dall’Italia nell’estate 2020 una volta giunto a Trieste e ritrovatosi a Sarajevo a vivere di stenti.

      Le 13 pagine firmate dalla giudice designata Silvia Albano tolgono ogni alibi al Viminale, che nemmeno si era costituito in giudizio, e riconoscono in capo alle “riammissioni informali” attuate in forza di un accordo bilaterale Italia-Slovenia del 1996 la palese violazione, tra le altre fonti, della Costituzione, della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo e della Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione europea. E non solo quando colpiscono i richiedenti asilo ma tutte le persone giunte al confine italiano.

      Abbiamo chiesto all’avvocata Caterina Bove, co-autrice del ricorso insieme a Brambilla, di spiegarci perché questa ordinanza segna un punto di svolta.

      Avvocata, facciamo un passo indietro e torniamo al luglio 2020. Che cosa è successo a Trieste?
      CB Dopo aver attraversato la “rotta balcanica” con grande sofferenza e aver tentato almeno dieci volte di oltrepassare il confine croato, il nostro assistito, originario del Pakistan, Paese dal quale era fuggito a seguito delle persecuzioni subite a causa del proprio orientamento sessuale e dell’essersi professato ateo, ha raggiunto Trieste nell’estate 2020. Lì, è stato intercettato dalla polizia italiana che lo ha accompagnato in un luogo gestito dalle autorità di frontiera.

      E poi?
      CB Presso quella che noi ipotizziamo si trattasse di una caserma (probabilmente la Fernetti, ndr) il ricorrente ha espresso più volte la volontà di accedere alla procedura di asilo. Invece di indirizzarlo presso le autorità competenti a ricevere la domanda di asilo, è stato fotosegnalato, trattenuto insieme ad altri in maniera informale e senza alcun provvedimento dell’autorità giudiziaria. Gli hanno fatto solo firmare dei documenti scritti in italiano e sequestrato il telefono. Dopodiché lo hanno ammanettato, caricato bruscamente su una camionetta e poi rilasciato su una zona collinare al confine con la Slovenia.

      In Slovenia, scrivete nel ricorso, hanno trascorso una notte senza possibilità di avere accesso ai servizi igienici, cibo o acqua. Quando chiedevano di usare il bagno “gli agenti ridevano e li ignoravano”.
      CB Confermo. Veniamo ora al respingimento a catena in Croazia. Il ricorrente e i suoi compagni vengono scaricati dalla polizia al confine e “accolti” da agenti croati che indossavano magliette blu scuro con pantaloni e stivali neri. I profughi vengono fatti sdraiare a terra e ammanettati dietro la schiena con delle fascette. Vengono presi a calci sulla schiena, colpiti con manganelli avvolti con filo spinato, spruzzati con spray al peperoncino, fatti rincorrere dai cani dopo un conto alla rovescia cadenzato da spari in aria.

      Queste circostanze sono ritenute provate dal Tribunale. In meno di 48 ore dalla riammissione a Trieste il vostro assistito si ritrova in Bosnia.
      CB Il ricorrente ha raggiunto il campo di Lipa, a pochi chilometri da Bihać, che però era saturo. Così ha raggiunto Sarajevo, dove vive attualmente spostandosi tra edifici abbandonati della città. La polizia bosniaca lo sgombera di continuo.

      Come avete fatto a entrare in contatto con lui?
      CB La sua testimonianza è stata prima raccolta dal Border Violence Monitoring Network e poi dal giornalista danese Martin Gottzske per il periodico Informatiòn.

      “La prassi adottata dal ministero dell’Interno in attuazione dell’accordo bilaterale con la Slovenia e anche in danno dell’odierno ricorrente è illegittima sotto molteplici profili”, si legge nell’ordinanza. Possiamo esaminarne alcuni?
      CB Il punto di partenza del giudice è che l’accordo bilaterale firmato nel settembre 1996 non è mai stato ratificato dal Parlamento italiano e ciò comporta che non può prevedere modifiche o derogare alle leggi vigenti in Italia o alle norme dell’Unione europea o derivanti da fonti di diritto internazionale.

      “Sono invece numerose le norme di legge che vengono violate dall’autorità italiana con la prassi dei cosiddetti ‘respingimenti informali in Slovenia’”, continua il Tribunale.
      CB Infatti. La riammissione avviene senza che venga emesso alcun provvedimento amministrativo. Le persone respinte non vengono informate di cosa sta avvenendo nei loro confronti, non ricevono alcun provvedimento amministrativo scritto e motivato e dunque non hanno possibilità di contestare le ragioni della procedura che subiscono, tantomeno di provarla direttamente. Questo viola il loro diritto di difesa e a un ricorso effettivo, diritti tutelati dall’articolo 24 della Costituzione, dall’art. 13 della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo e dall’art. 47 della Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione europea.

      Dunque è una violazione che non dipende dalla condizione di richiedente asilo.
      CB Esatto, anche qui sta l’importanza del provvedimento e la sua ampia portata. Poi c’è la questione della libertà personale: la persona sottoposta a riammissione si vede ristretta la propria libertà personale senza alcun provvedimento dell’autorità giudiziaria, come invece previsto dall’art. 13 della nostra Costituzione.

      Arriviamo al cuore della decisione. La giudice scrive che “Lo Stato italiano non avrebbe dovuto dare corso ai respingimenti informali in mancanza di garanzie sull’effettivo trattamento che gli stranieri avrebbero ricevuto [in Croazia, ndr] in ordine al rispetto dei loro diritti fondamentali, primi fra tutti il diritto a non subire trattamenti inumani e degradanti e quello di proporre domanda di protezione internazionale”. E aggiunge che il ministero “era in condizioni di sapere” delle “vere e proprie torture inflitte dalla polizia croata”.
      CB È accolta la nostra tesi, fondata su numerosi report, inchieste giornalistiche, denunce circostanziate di autorevoli organizzazioni per i diritti umani.
      La riammissione, anche a prescindere dalla richiesta di asilo, viola l’art. 3 della Convenzione europea dei diritti dell’uomo che reca il divieto di trattamenti inumani e degradanti e l’obbligo di non respingimento in caso lo straniero possa correre il rischio di subire tali trattamenti. Ogni Stato è cioè responsabile anche se non impedisce che questi trattamenti avvengano nel luogo dove la persona è stata allontanata.
      In questo senso è un passaggio molto importante perché allarga la portata della decisione a tutte le persone che arrivano in Italia e che vengono rimandate indietro secondo la procedura descritta.
      È noto il meccanismo di riammissione a catena ed è nota la situazione in Croazia.

      La ministra dell’Interno Luciana Lamorgese, il 13 gennaio 2021, ha ribadito però che Slovenia e Croazia sarebbero “Paesi sicuri”.
      CB Il Tribunale descrive una situazione diversa e ribadisce che la riammissione non può mai essere applicata nei confronti dei richiedenti asilo e di coloro che rischiano di essere sottoposti a trattamenti inumani e degradanti.

      Che cosa succede ora?
      CB Considerato il comportamento illecito delle autorità italiane, il Tribunale fa diretta applicazione dell’art. 10 comma 3 della Costituzione consentendo l’ingresso sul territorio nazionale al ricorrente al fine di presentare la domanda di protezione internazionale, possibilità negatagli al suo arrivo. Non c’è un diritto di accedere al territorio italiano per chiedere asilo “da fuori” però, in base a questa norma come declinata dalla Corte di Cassazione, esiste tale diritto di ingresso se il diritto d’asilo sul territorio è stato negato per un comportamento illecito dell’autorità.
      Quindi il ricorrente dovrà poter fare ingresso il prima possibile per fare domanda di asilo. Spero che possa essergli rilasciato al più presto un visto d’ingresso.

      E per chi è stato respinto in questi mesi? Penso anche ai richiedenti asilo respinti, pratica confermata dal Viminale nell’estate 2020 e recentemente, a parole, “rivista”.
      CB Purtroppo per il passato non sarà facilissimo tutelare le persone respinte attraverso simili ricorsi perché le persone subiscono lungo la rotta la sistematica distruzione dei loro documenti di identità, dei telefonini e delle foto e, anche tenuto conto di come vivono poi in Bosnia, diventa per loro difficile provare quanto subito ma anche provare la propria identità. Per il futuro questa decisione chiarisce l’illegalità delle procedure di riammissione sia nei confronti dei richiedenti asilo sia dei non richiedenti protezione. Deve essere assicurato l’esame individuale delle singole posizioni.

      https://altreconomia.it/i-respingimenti-italiani-in-slovenia-sono-illegittimi-condannato-il-min

    • Tratto dal rapporto “#Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route” (Juin 2021):

      Pushbacks from Italy to Slovenia have been virtually suspended, following the visibility and advocacy pursued by national civil society actors on chain pushbacks and potentially reinforced by the January Court of Rome ruling. However, at least two reports on chain pushbacks from Italy through Slovenia and Croatia to BiH have been recorded in May 2021, by the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN). As irregular movements continue, the question remains whether Italy will ensure access to individual formal procedures for those entering its territory from Slovenia and seeking asylum.

      https://helsinki.hu/en/doors-wide-shut-quarterly-report-on-push-backs-on-the-western-balkan-route
      https://seenthis.net/messages/927293

    • Italian Court Ruling on Chain Pushback

      A new ruling from the Court of Rome has been released, finding in favour of an applicant who was subject to an illegal chain pushback from Italy, via Slovenia and Croatia, to Bosnia-Herzegovina. This important development was brought to the court by Italian legal association ASGI, and supported by the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), who provided a first hand testimony from the applicant. The court found unequivocal evidence of violations of international law, and acknowledged the applicant’s right to enter Italy immediately, and to full and proper access to the asylum system.

      The pushback, which was recorded by BVMN member Fresh Response in Sarajevo, involved violations from all three EU member states who combined to eject the transit group into Bosnia-Herzegovina. In particular, the court found Italian authorities, who initiated the pushback, to have breached:

      - Access to asylum
      - Obligations on Non-refoulement
      - Application of detention
      - Right to effective remedies

      You can read more about the ruling in the press release below:
      https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/Decisione-del-Tribunale.pdf

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/italian-court-ruling-on-chain-pushback

  • Greece: Investigate Pushbacks, Collective Expulsions

    Greek law enforcement officers have summarily returned asylum seekers and migrants at the land and sea borders with Turkey during the Covid-19 lockdown, Human Rights Watch said today. The officers in some cases used violence against asylum seekers, including some who were deep inside Greek territory, and often confiscated and destroyed the migrants’ belongings.

    In reviewing nine cases, Human Rights Watch found no evidence that the authorities took any precautions to prevent the risk of transmission of Covid-19 to or among the migrants while in their custody. These findings add to growing evidence of abuses collected by nongovernmental groups and media, involving hundreds of people intercepted and pushed back from Greece to Turkey by Greek law enforcement officers or unidentified masked men over the last couple of months. Pushbacks violate several human rights norms, including against collective expulsion under the European Convention on Human Rights.

    “Greek authorities did not allow a nationwide lockdown to get in the way of a new wave of collective expulsions, including from deep inside Greek territory, ” said Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of protecting the most vulnerable people in this time of global crisis, Greek authorities have targeted them in total breach of the right to seek asylum and in disregard for their health.”

    Human Rights Watch interviewed 13 victims and witnesses who described incidents in which the Greek police, the Greek Coast Guard, and unidentified men in black or commando-like uniforms, who appeared to be working in close coordination with uniformed authorities, violently pushed migrants back to Turkey in March and April 2020.

    Six of those interviewed said Greek police officers rounded up people in the Diavata camp for asylum seekers in Thessaloniki, 400 kilometers from the land border with Turkey. This is the first time Human Rights Watch has documented collective expulsions of asylum seekers from deep inside Greece, through the Evros river.

    Six asylum seekers, from Syria, Palestine, and Iran, including a 15-year-old unaccompanied girl from Syria, described three incidents in March and April in which Greek Coast Guard personnel, Greek police, and armed masked men in dark clothing coordinated and carried out summary returns to Turkey from the Greek islands of Rhodes, Samos, and Symi. All of them said they were picked up on the islands soon after they landed, placed on larger Coast Guard boats, and once they were back at the sea border, were forced onto small inflatable rescue rafts, with no motor, and cast adrift near Turkish territorial waters.

    Another asylum seeker described a fourth incident, in which the Greek Coast Guard and unidentified men dressed in dark uniforms wearing balaclavas used dangerous maneuvers to force a boat full of migrants back to Turkey.

    On June 10, the International Organization for Migration reported that they had received allegations of migrants being arbitrarily arrested in Greece and pushed back to Turkey and asked Greece to investigate. On June 12, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged Greece to investigate multiple reports of pushbacks by Greek authorities at the country’s sea and land borders, possibly returning migrants and asylum seekers to Turkey after they had reached Greek territory or territorial waters.

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Greek government instituted nationwide restrictions on public movement from March 13 until early May. Migrants and asylum seekers were locked down in some camps, mainly on the Greek islands, where restrictions on freedom of movement continue, and where the closing of government offices has left them in legal limbo.

    Human Rights Watch sent letters to the Greek police and the Greek Coast Guard on June 29, presenting authorities with a summary of findings but received no response. The Greek Coast Guard indicated they would reply but at the time of publication, we had received no communication.

    Greek judicial authorities should conduct a transparent, thorough, and impartial investigation into allegations that Greek Coast Guard and Greek police personnel are involved in acts that put the lives and safety of migrants and asylum seekers at risk, Human Rights Watch said. Any officer engaged in illegal acts, as well as their commanding officers, should be subject to disciplinary sanctions and, if applicable, criminal prosecution.

    The Greek parliament should urgently establish an inquiry into all allegations of collective expulsions, including pushbacks, and violence at the borders, and determine whether they amount to a de facto government policy.

    The Greek Ombudsman, an independent national authority, should examine the issue of summary and collective expulsions, and issue a report with recommendations to the Greek authorities, Human Rights Watch said.

    The European Commission, which provides financial support to the Greek government for migration control, including in the Evros region and the Aegean Sea, should urge Greece to end all summary returns and collective expulsions of asylum seekers to Turkey, press the authorities to investigate allegations of violence, and ensure that none of its funding contributes to violations of fundamental rights and EU laws. The European Commission should also open legal proceedings against Greece for violating EU laws prohibiting collective expulsions.

    On July 6, during a debate at the European Parliament on fundamental rights at the Greek border, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that incidents should be investigated and indicated that the European Commission may consider a new system to monitor and verify reports of pushbacks amid increased allegations of abuse at the EU’s external borders. The Commission should take concrete measures to set up an independent and transparent investigation in consultation with members of civil society, Human Rights Watch said.

    Everyone seeking international protection has a right to apply for asylum and should be given that opportunity.

    Returns should follow a procedure that provides access to effective remedies and safeguards against refoulement – return to a country where they are likely to face persecution – and ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said.

    “Greece has an obligation to treat everyone humanely and not to return refugees and asylum seekers to persecution, or anyone to the real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment or worse,” said Cossé. “Putting a stop to these dangerous incidents should be a priority for the Greek government and the European Commission as well.”

    For more information and accounts from migrants and asylum seekers, please see below.

    Sea Pushbacks to Turkey

    Between May 29 and June 6, 2020, Human Rights Watch interviewed six men from Iran, Palestine, and Syria, and one 15-year-old unaccompanied girl from Syria, who were in Turkey and who described three incidents in which they said the Greek Coast Guard, Greek police officers, and unidentified men in black or commando-like uniforms coordinated summary returns from Symi, Samos, and Rhodes in March and April. In the fourth incident, the Greek Coast Guard and unidentified men in uniforms wearing balaclavas used dangerous maneuvers to force the boat full of migrants back to Turkey from the Aegean Sea.

    Marwan (a pseudonym), 33, from Syria, said that on March 8, the Greek Coast Guard engaged in life-threatening maneuvers to force the small boat carrying him and 22 other passengers, including women and children, back to Turkey:

    “[W]e saw a Greek Coast Guard boat. It was big and had the Greek flag on it…. They started pushing back our boat, by creating waves in the water making it hard for us to continue…. It was like a battle – like living in Syria, we thought we were going to die.”

    In the three cases involving summary returns of people who had reached land, Greek law enforcement officers apprehended them within hours after they landed, and summarily expelled them to Turkey. All of those interviewed said that they were forced first onto large Coast Guard boats and then onto small inflatable rescue rafts, with no motor, and cast adrift near the Turkish sea border. In all cases, they said the Greek officers stole people’s belongings, including personal identification, bags, and money.

    These findings add to growing evidence of abuses collected by nongovernmental groups, including Alarm Phone and Aegean Boat Report, and the reputable German media outlet Deutsche Welle. Human Rights Watch was able to identify 26 reported incidents published by others, that occurred between March and July, involving at least 855 people. In 2015 Human Rights Watch documented that armed masked men were disabling boats carrying migrants and asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea and pushing them back to Turkish waters.

    Karim (a pseudonym), 36, from Syria, said that he arrived by boat to Symi island on March 21, along with approximately 30 other Syrians, including at least 10 children. He said that the Greek police approached the group within hours after they arrived. They explained that they wanted to claim asylum, but the officers detained them at an unofficial port site and summarily returned them to Turkey two days later, he said. They were taken on a military ship to open water, where the asylum seekers – including children and people with disabilities – were violently thrown from the ship’s deck to an inflatable boat:

    [T]hey [Greek police] put us in a military boat and pushed us [from the deck] to a small [inflatable] boat that doesn’t have an engine. They left us on this boat and took all our private stuff, our money, our IDs. We were on the boat and we were dizzy. We were vomiting. They [the Greek Coast Guard] didn’t tell us anything…. [W]e were in the middle of the sea. We called the Turkish Coast Guard. They came and took our boat.

    Karim and his extended family were detained in the Malatya Removal Center in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey, and in three other detention centers in Turkey, for seven weeks. They were released on May 7.

    In another incident at the end of March, 17 men and women and an unaccompanied girl from Iran, Palestine, and Syria were intercepted on a highway on the island of Rhodes, an hour after landing and forced back to the shore. They were detained in a tent for two days, without food and water, and then forced onto what they believe was a Greek Coast Guard boat on the third day, then dumped at sea in a small motor-less rescue raft. Human Rights Watch gathered four separate witness statements about the same incident, in which interviewees gave similar accounts. The Turkish Coast Guard rescued them.

    Leila L. (a pseudonym), 15, a Syrian girl traveling alone, said:

    On the third day, it was night, we don’t know what time, they told us to move … they looked like army commandoes and they had weapons with them. There were six of them, wearing masks … they pointed their weapons at us. We were pushed in a horrible way and they pushed our bags in the sea. Before getting on the first boat, they took everything from us – our phones, our IDs, our bags … everything, apart from the clothes we were wearing. We were very scared. Some people were vomiting. Think what you would feel if you’re in the middle of the sea and you don’t know what would happen to you. We stayed between two to three hours [in the sea]. The boat had no engine. It was a rescue boat. It was like a dinghy. After two to three hours, the Turkish Coast Guard drove us to shore.

    In another incident, Hassan (a pseudonym), 29, a Palestinian refugee from Gaza, said that the police apprehended him and his group of approximately 25 people about three hours after they arrived on the island of Samos, during the third week of March. He said the police took them to the shore, where another group of police and Greek Coast Guard officers were waiting:

    The Greek Coast Guard put us in a big boat…. We drove for three hours but then they put us in a small boat. It was like a raft. It was inflatable and had no motor. Like a rescue boat they keep on big boats in case there is an emergency. They left us in the sea alone. There was no food or water. They left us for two nights. We had children with us….

    Hassan said that a Greek Coast Guard boat came back on the third day, threw them a rope, and “drove around for two hours in the sea,” leaving them closer to Turkish waters. The Turkish Coast Guard rescued them.

    Video footage analyzed by Human Rights Watch from an incident that allegedly took place in the sea between Lesbos and Turkey on May 25, shows what appears to be women, men, and children drifting in an orange, tent-like inflatable life raft while three other rafts can be seen in the background. The rafts appear to be manufactured by the Greek company Lalizas, which according to publicly available information is a brand that the Greek Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy purchases. The person speaking in the video alleges they were placed on those rafts by the Greek Coast Guard to force them back to Turkey.

    Human Rights Watch contacted the Lalizas company through email with questions on the use of the life rafts by the Greek Coast Guard, but received no response.

    In its June 10 statement, the International Organization for Migration notes that “footage showing the use of marine rescue equipment to expel migrants across the Eastern Aegean Sea are [sic] especially disturbing.”

    Collective Expulsions Across Land Border

    In May, Human Rights Watch interviewed six men from Afghanistan who described five separate incidents in which they were summarily returned from Greece to Turkey in March and April. They gave detailed accounts of the Greek police apprehending them in the Diavata camp, a reception facility in Thessaloniki.

    They said the police took them to what they thought were police stations that they could not always identify or to an unofficial detention site that they said was like a small jail, close to the Greek-Turkish border, robbed them of their personal belongings including their ID, phone, and clothes, and beat them with wooden or metal rods – then summarily expelled them to Turkey.

    In one case, a 19-year-old man from Kapisa, in Afghanistan, gave Human Rights Watch a photo of injuries – red strip-like marks across his back – he said were caused by beatings by people he believed were police officers.

    Reporting by Human Rights Watch and other groups suggests that collective expulsions of people with documents allowing them to be in Greece, from deep inside the mainland, appear to be a new tactic by Greek law enforcement.

    Five of the men had obtained a document from police authorities in Thessaloniki granting the right to remain in Greece for up to 30 days. While the document is formally a deportation order, the person should have the chance to apply for asylum during the 30-day period if they wish to and the document may, under certain circumstances, be renewed.

    The men said they had either not understood their rights or had been unable to apply for asylum, or to renew this document, due to Covid-19 related shutdown of government institutions. They said that before they were returned to Turkey, in the weeks following the nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19, they saw Greek police forces visiting the Diavata camp almost daily to identify and return to Turkey residents whose documents had expired.

    Greece suspended the right to lodge asylum applications for those who arrived irregularly between March 1 and 31, following tensions on the Greek-Turkish land borders at the end of February due to a significant and rapid increase in people trying to cross the border. The Emergency Legislative order said that these people were to be returned to their country of origin or transit “without registration.”

    Making the situation worse, the Asylum Service suspended services to the public between March 13 and May 15 to protect against the spread of the Covid-19 virus. During this period, applications for international protection were not registered, interviews were not conducted, and appeals were not registered. The Asylum Service resumed full operations on May 18 but the Greek Council of Refugees, a non-governmental group providing legal assistance to asylum seekers, said that no new asylum applications had been lodged by the end of May with the exception of people under administrative detention.

    Greek law requires authorities to provide for the reception of third-country nationals who are arrested due to unlawful entry or who stay in Greece under conditions that guarantee human rights and dignity in accordance with international standards. During the reception and identification procedure, authorities should provide socio-psychological support and information on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, including the right to apply for asylum, and refer vulnerable people such as unaccompanied children and victims of torture to social services.

    Mostafa (a pseudonym), 19, from Afghanistan, said that in mid-April, Greek police rounded him up from Diavata camp, took him to a police station near the camp, and then transferred him to another small detention site near the border, where he was detained for a night, then forced onto a boat and expelled to Turkey:

    When they [the police] came to check my papers [at Diavata camp] I told them I couldn’t renew them because the office was closed but they didn’t listen to me…. They didn’t allow us any time. They just took us to the bus and said: “We will take you to renew the papers.” They were beating us the whole time…. [T]hey took us to the police station near the camp, there were more people, 10 people altogether…. [T]hey kept us in the rain for a few hours and then they transferred us to the border. There were two children with us – around 15 or 16 years old….When they took us to the police station, they took my coat, I was just with pants and a t-shirt and then at the border, they took these too. They took everything, my money, ID, phone.

    Mostafa gave the following description of the detention site near the border and the secret expulsion that followed:

    It was like a small police station. There were toilets. There were other migrants there. It was around four and a half hours away from the border. They carried us in a bus like a prison. We stayed in this small jail for one night, no food was given. It was at 10 or 11 o’clock at night when they took us to the border. I crossed with the boat. There were 18 people in one boat. It took six or seven minutes – then we arrived on the Turkish side. [T]he police were standing at the border [on the Greek side] and looking at us.

    Two men giving accounts about two separate incidents, said that the police took them to an unofficial detention site near the border. They described the detention locations as “small jails” and said they were detained there for a day or two.

    Four out of the six asylum seekers said that Greek security forces had abused them, throughout their summary deportation, beating them with heavy metal, plastic, or wooden sticks.

    Mohamed (a pseudonym), 24, from Afghanistan, said:

    They had a stick that all the police have with them…. The stick was made of plastic, but it was very heavy. They had black uniforms. I couldn’t see all of the uniform – I couldn’t see their faces – if I looked up they would beat us. They beat one migrant for five minutes…. There were eight of them – they asked us if we came from Thessaloniki and we said yes and then they started beating us.

    All of those interviewed said the Greek security forces stripped them of their clothes, leaving them in either just their underwear or just a basic layer, and took their possessions, including personal identification documents, money, telephones, and bags before pushing them back to Turkey.

    In a report published in March, Human Rights Watch documented that Greek security forces and unidentified armed men at the Greece-Turkey land border detained, assaulted, sexually assaulted, robbed, and stripped asylum seekers and migrants, then forced them back to Turkey. At the end of June, Greece’s Supreme Court Prosecutor opened a criminal investigation initiated by the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a nongovernmental group, into the pushbacks and violence documented by Human Rights Watch and others, as well as into the shooting and deaths of two people in Evros in March.

    Human Rights Watch documented similar situations in 2008 and 2018. In March 2019, the Public Prosecutor of Orestiada in Evros, initiated an investigation regarding the repeated allegations of systematic violence against migrants and asylum seekers at the Evros river, based on the Human Rights Watch 2018 report, and a report by three nongovernmental groups, including the Greek Council for Refugees.

    Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), a nongovernmental group, has built an extensive database of testimony of people being pushed back from Greece to Turkey over the Evros river. Between March 31 and April 28, BVMN has reported at least 7 incidents involving more than 306 people. Among these cases, at least six people had legal documents regularizing their stay in Greece when they were summarily expelled.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/16/greece-investigate-pushbacks-collective-expulsions

    #refoulements_collectifs #migrations #asile #réfugiés #life_rafts #Grèce #refoulement #push-backs #refoulements #frontières

    –—

    sur les #life_rats :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/840285
    #life_raft #liferafts

    • Press Release: New Legal Centre Lesvos report details collective expulsions in the Aegean Sea

      Greek authorities are unlawfully expelling migrants who have arrived in Greece, and abandoning them at sea on motorless, inflatable vessels. In a report released today by Legal Centre Lesvos, testimonies from 30 survivors detail the systematic, unlawful and inherently violent nature of these collective expulsions.

      Since the Greek authorities’ one month suspension of the right to seek asylum on 1 March 2020, the Greek government has adopted various unlawful practices that are openly geared towards the deterrence and violent disruption of migrant crossings, with little regard for its obligations deriving from international law and specifically from the non refoulement principle – and even less for the lives of those seeking sanctuary.

      While collective expulsions from Greece to Turkey are not new, in recent months Greek authorities have been using rescue equipment – namely inflatable, motorless life rafts – in a new type of dystopic expulsion. Migrants are violently transferred from Greek islands, or from the dinghy upon which they are travelling, to such rafts, which are then left adrift in open water.

      In addition to the well-documented practice of non-assistance to migrant dinghies, the Greek authorities have damaged the motor or gasoline tank of migrant dinghies before returning the vessel – and the people on board – to open waters, where they are subsequently abandoned.

      These collective expulsions, happening in the Aegean region, are not isolated events. Direct testimonies from survivors, collected by the Legal Centre Lesvos, demonstrate that they are part of a widespread and systematic practice, with a clear modus operandi implemented across various locations in the Aegean Sea and on the Eastern Aegean islands.
      The information shared with the Legal Centre Lesvos is from 30 survivors, and testimonies from 7 individuals who were in direct contact with survivors, or were witness to, a collective expulsion. These testimonies, related to eight separate collective expulsions, were collected between March and June 2020, directly by the Legal Centre Lesvos.

      Collective expulsions are putting peoples’ lives at risk, are contrary to Greece’ international legal obligations and violate survivors’ fundamental and human rights, including their right to life and the jus cogens prohibitions on torture and refoulement. When carried out as part of a widespread and systematic practice, as documented in our report, these amount to a crime against humanity.

      Collective expulsions should undoubtedly be condemned, in the strongest possible terms; however, this is not sufficient: it is only through the immediate cessation of such illegal practices that the protection of human rights and access to asylum will be restored at the European Union’s external borders.

      Lorraine Leete, attorney and one of the Legal Centre Lesvos’ coordinators, said that:
      “The Greek authorities are abandoning people in open water, on inflatable and motorless life rafts – that are designed for rescue – with no regard for their basic safety, let alone their right to apply for asylum. Such audacious acts show the violence at the core of the European border regime, and the disregard that it has for human life.

      Greek authorities have denied reports of collective expulsions as “fake news”, despite a plethora of undeniable evidence, from survivors and various media outlets. This is untenable: evidence shared with the Legal Centre has shown that collective expulsions are happening in the Aegean sea, with a systematic and widespread modus operandi that amounts to crimes against humanity. They are being carried out in the open, in plain view – if not with the participation – of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. European Authorities are complicit in these crimes as they have thus far failed to act to prevent further pushbacks, or hold Greek authorities accountable.”

      https://legalcentrelesvos.org/2020/07/13/press-release-new-legal-centre-lesvos-report-details-collective-e

      –---

      Pour télécharger le #rapport:


      http://legalcentrelesvos.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Collective-Expulsions-in-the-Aegean-July-2020-LCL.pdf

      #Mer_Egée #Méditerranée

    • BVMN Visual Investigation: Analysis of Video Footage Showing Involvement of Hellenic Coast Guard in Maritime Pushback

      The following piece is a product of a joint-investigation by Josoor and No Name Kitchen on behalf of the Border Violence Monitoring Network.

      Introduction

      Since the spring, consistent and well-documented reports have shown masked men aggressively pursuing boats full of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea, before either destroying or off-loading the boats and initiating illegal return operations to Turkey.

      One investigation which Josoor contributed to, analyzed a set of materials documenting masked men operating from an inflatable boat off the island of Lesvos in early June. Testimonies recorded on the BVMN database [June 5th; June 3rd] as well as other media reports describe a series of incidents where Hellenic Coast Guard [HCG] vessels approach boats carrying men, women and children in the Aegean between Turkey and Greece and variably drove them back, intimidated them, or destroyed and removed their engines. Several of these operations have been marked by direct physical violence at the hands of the HCG. A more recent report from the New York Times referenced at least 1,072 asylum seekers being abandoned at sea by Greek officials in at least 31 separate expulsions since March.

      The consistency of these reports underscore a broader pattern of maritime pushbacks which, in many ways, mirrors the similarly illegal procedures which have become commonplace throughout Greece and along the Balkan Route.

      Despite numerous witness testimonies of this behavior, direct evidence linking specific Hellenic Coast Guard Vessels to these illegal practices remain sparse. New video evidence obtained by the association Josoor [a BVMN-member based in Turkey] from an incident on July 11th, may provide a crucial new perspective in the analysis of this behavior.

      https://giphy.com/gifs/U6MK9HH9ZdM33U74aA

      In this investigation, we will focus on a series of four videos [Link to videos 1, 2, 3, & 4] filmed on July 11th and obtained on the same day, showing masked men on a medium-sized vessel approaching a dingy filled with women and children. The man who filmed this video sent the materials over to Josoor while still on the dinghy, after this he reported being returned to Turkey and held in detention for a period of two weeks. The purpose of this analysis is to better identify the individuals and the vessel involved in the operation which resulted in the pushback of the group.

      Given the initial lack of a witness testimony for this event [which was unable to be obtained for several weeks due to the respondent’s detention in Turkey], we had limited material to work with. In order to address these shortcomings, we utilized various open-source techniques such as geolocating the video using topographic satellite renders, stitching together the scene with compiled images, and conducting research on the origins of the vessel carrying the masked men.

      Geolocating of the 11 July Incident

      An important part of this investigation was the geolocation of the incident in order to better understand the dynamics at play, and verify the pushback element.

      A useful hint in geolocating these videos was the distinct mountain lines featured in the background in two of the clips. In order to do this, we first isolated the ridge-lines shown in the backgrounds of these two clips by using a photo-stitching technique to produce a panorama of the scene.

      Using Google Earth’s topographic satellite renders of the Aegean Sea around the coastlines of Lesvos, we were then able to geolocate these two clips. In the background of the alleged pushback operation is the shore of Lesvos; Mytilini can be seen in the center right as the populated area in the background of the videos. This indicates that the dinghy was being chased east towards Diliki, Turkey as it was intercepted by the HCG vessel.

      This geolocated area matches with information posted from Turkish Coast Guard of a rescue operation on July 11th at 10:00 am off the coast of Dikili, Turkey. This was their only reported rescue of that day.

      Identification Of HCG Vessel Involved in the July 11th Incident

      The vessel in question’s colour is light grey and features a white and blue striped symbol towards the bow on the starboard side: the symbol of the Hellenic Coast Guard.

      Slightly farther towards the bow of the boat on its starboard side, the lettering marking the vehicle’s identification within the HCG can also be seen: ΛΣ-618

      The boat in question is one of two Faiakas-class fast patrol crafts (FPCs) currently operated by the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) – this one being the ΛΣ-618 and the other being ΛΣ-617. Under a contract awarded by the HCG in April 2014, the Montmontaza-Greben shipyard, located on the island of Korcula, Croatia, was awarded a 13.3 million euro ($15.5 million) contract to supply six of these vessels which are listed as POB-24G.

      The POB-24 vessels are 24.6 meters long, and are equipped with two diesel engines that enable a maximum speed of 30 knots and a range of 400 miles. The vessels are staffed by a crew of seven but can be augmented by up to 25 additional personnel if needed.

      Importantly, the acquisition of these vessels by the HCG was majority financed via the European Commission’s External Borders Fund which provided for 75% of the cost, with the rest consisting of domestic funding. The first of POB-24G vessels, ΛΣ-617, was delivered in February 2015 whereas ΛΣ-618 was launched into service several months later in August 2015. These boats have enhanced the operational capacity of the HCG by relieving pressure from its aging Dilos-Class patrol vessels.

      Identification of the officers present in the 11 July Incident

      While the men seen approaching the dinghy on board the ΛΣ-618 took steps to conceal their identities, context clues within the videos allowed us to draw a better picture of who exactly they were and what their behavior was.

      Six men can be counted standing on board the ΛΣ-618. The men wear dark colored clothing with short-sleeved shirts marked with a logo on their upper right torsos and have either dark colored shorts or long trousers on. All six have their faces covered with either black balaclava masks or neck gaiters – an important point to keep in mind when considering that in June, the Hellenic Coast Guard’s spokesperson stated that “under no circumstances do the officers of the Coast Guard wear full face masks during the performance of their duties”.

      The men in the image above are wearing clothes which share similarities with the uniforms worn by the Hellenic Coast Guard, as the picture below shows.

      The man closest to the bow of the boat holds a weapon which appears to be an FN FAL assault rifle whereas the man second from the stern looks at the group with either a camera or a pair of binoculars. FN-FAL rifles have been carried by Greek government forces since the 1970s, thus falling in line with the scene we are shown in the videos.

      Treatment of the refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers on board the dingy

      Our investigation of the events documented in this video, and what happened next to the refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers on board the dingy, prioritized a fact-finding search within the clips themselves. On the day of the incident, a Syrian man on board the dinghy sent four videos to Josoor. He claimed to have sent them from the dinghy as they were being approached by the vessels initially and then later after they were cast afloat into Turkish waters.

      In one of the videos, at least 32 people on board the now motorless dingy can be seen floating in largely calm waters. The video shows a largely mixed passenger demographic with the men, women, and children on the boat having a varied representation of skin colors. Turkish Coast Guard records from their single intervention of the coast of Dikili on July 11th reports a group of 40 refugees assisted of which 21 were Syrian, 8 Congolese, 4 Somali,
 3 Central African, 2 Palestinian, 
1 Senegalese, and 1 Eritrean. Accounting for the boat passengers not shown within the video, these numbers correspond with the video footage inside the dinghy.

      Giving his testimony of the event several weeks later to Josoor, the man who filmed these videos described that upon its initial approach of their dinghy, the AE-618 had a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) deployed next to it which approached them. Allegedly, one of the officers spoke in English to a member of the dinghy group, who expressed their intention to claim asylum. The officer responded negatively to this request and told them that because of COVID-19, they would not be allowed to enter the island and had to return to Turkey. The respondent described that at first, the driver of the dinghy did not follow that order and subsequently the officers destroyed the engine of the dinghy and beat its driver with batons. As other group members tried to protect the driver, they were also beaten with batons.


      The officers subsequently dragged them to Turkish waters and then left the group floating there with the broken engine. After spending several more hours in the water, the Turkish Coast Guard arrived at the scene to rescue the passengers aboard the dingy. They took them to a quarantine detention center, from where they were released after 15 days.

      With closer analysis, the video footage is able to corroborate this account. In the final video sent by the Syrian dinghy passenger, the dinghy is shown to be floating quietly in the ocean. There is no indication of the ΛΣ-618 being present at this point and the group inside the dinghy appears uncertain. At one point in the video, the cameraman pans towards the stern of the boat and briefly shows its motor. When comparing a still of the motor in the final video to a still from the dinghy’s motor during its initial flight from the ΛΣ-618, it becomes clear that it was tampered with in the intervening time. Given the many substantiated reports of boat motor destruction at the hands of the HCG, it is most likely that the balaclava-clad men on the ΛΣ-618 destroyed the dinghy’s motor before setting it adrift towards Turkey

      Contextualizing the incident on 11 July

      In contextualizing the incident of 11 July in the broader practices of the HCG in the Aegean, it is important to look at the documented history of aggression of the ΛΣ-618. On March 7th, 2020 the boat ΛΣ-618 was involved in an incident with a Turkish Coast Guard boat wherein the Greek boat entered Turkish waters and was chased in close proximity at high speeds by the Turkish boat. More recently, in the early morning hours of August 15th, the boat was documented participating in an incident along with Nato and Frontex vessels [and several helicopters], blocking a boat carrying women and children from entering into Greek waters.

      Pushbacks in the Aegean Sea have been reported on a daily basis these past few months. Given the persistence of pushbacks in the area as well as the strong presence of Frontex vessels on the Aegean Sea, the tacit support that the European Union lends to the Hellenic Coastguard in these illegal practices must be considered. The EU-funded acquisition of the ΛΣ-618 represents just a portion of the close to 40 million euros which the EU has afforded the HCG to procure new vessels within the last five years. These boats, as it has been shown in this investigation, are being used to illegally push vulnerable people back to Turkish waters – a gross misuse of power.

      https://giphy.com/gifs/J4ClIZSSzrAUjmFySd

      Conclusion

      This investigation began by analysing a series of four videos showing masked men in a vessel approaching a small dinghy filled with refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers on the Aegean Sea who later claimed to be pushed back to Turkey from Greek waters. Using Earth Studio and photo-stitching techniques, we were first able to geolocate the video to somewhere on the Aegean between Mytilini, Greece and Diliki, Turkey. We were then able to identify the vessel as the Hellenic Coast Guard’s ΛΣ-618 Faiakas-class fast patrol craft by highlighting the clear HCG emblem visible on its side and it’s ship identification number. This allowed us to make a strong conclusion that the masked men on this boat, who wore uniforms identical to those previously worn by the vessel’s crew-members, were acting in an official capacity. Finally, we were also able to contextualize the ΛΣ-618 documented history of aggressive pursuits of boats carrying refugees and asylum seekers in Greek waters and also highlighted the vessel’s EU-linked acquisition from a Croatian boatbuilder.

      When put together, this analysis clearly links the materials shown in the videos to the well documented trend of maritime push-backs by the HCG in the last months. To be clear, the findings of this investigation directly contradicts the claims of the Hellenic Coast Guard’s spokesperson who recently stated that “under no circumstances do the officers of the Coast Guard wear full face masks during the performance of their duties”. Going even further, this investigation disproves the statement of Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas who told the New York Times in August that “Greek authorities do not engage in clandestine activities.” This investigation also further confirms the conclusion of previous investigations that the Hellenic Coastguard is engaging in pushbacks, casting strong doubt on Prime Minister Mitsotakis statement from August 19 that “it has not happened.”Pushbacks, whether they be on land or on sea, are illegal procedures, emboldened and made more efficient by EU funding mechanisms.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/bvmn-investigations-analysis-of-video-footage-showing-involvement-of-
      #analyse_visuelle #architecture_forensiques

    • Small Children Left Drifting In Life Rafts In The Aegean Sea!

      In yet another shocking breach of international law, men, women and children have been beaten, robbed and forced onto a life raft by Greek authorities, despite repeated government claims that it does not undertake ‘pushbacks’ of refugees into Turkey. Thirteen men, women and children were forcibly removed from a refugee camp in Lesvos on Wednesday night by uniformed operatives, who claimed the refugees were being taken to be tested for COVID-19. Instead, they were forced into an isobox, repeatedly beaten with batons, stripped of their possessions and forced into the sea on an inflatable life raft.

      On Wednesday night (17th February 2021) at around 19.00 EET, a boat carrying 13 people – 5 children, 3 women and 5 men – landed east of Eftalou, in northern Lesvos. They came ashore and walked into the woods to avoid being seen by people, because they were afraid of being found and pushed back to Turkey by the Hellenic coast guard.

      At 20.00, they contacted Aegean Boat Report on Whatsapp for help. It was a cold night and the children were freezing so the group needed to find shelter. At 20.10 they sent both their live location and regular location on Whatsapp, which showed they were just 300 meters from the quarantine camp in Megala Therma, Lesvos.

      At 20.18 the new arrivals were sent the camp’s location, and directions to it from their position. At first, they were scared of the police, but they decided to listen to the advice they were given, and walked to the camp. Infuriatingly and unforgivably, in light of what happened next, the refugees were proven correct to mistrust the Greek port police to accept and protect their rights as human beings.

      At 21.15, the 13 people arrived outside the Megala Therma camp, where they were met by that night’s port police duty officers, were told to wait inside the camp, while one officer made a phone call on his mobile phone. While the officer made this call, camp residents gave the new arrivals blankets and raisins, because the 13 were freezing and no support was provided by the police. At this point, the new arrivals were inside the camp, and the women and children used the toilets. This detail is important, because what happened next means these people were removed by force from a camp managed by the Greek Ministry of Migration, and illegally deported.

      When the officer returned, he told the new arrivals they were going to be taken to be tested for COVID-19, which camp residents who overheard found odd, because this is not usually done at night. On Wednesday evening there where 29 residents in the quarantine camp, so there are many witnesses of their arrival and later removal by police. There is no doubt that the 13 people later deported were inside Megala Therma camp.

      Aegean Boat Report has obtained a detailed description of the two officers on duty that night, and in coordination with a shift protocol from the port police, it would be fairly easy to determine the identity of these two officers in any official investigation.

      Police told the new arrivals to hand over their phones. They had eight phones between them, but at this stage they only handed three to the police. The officers then demanded that they walk west on the dirt track, but the people refused. They didn’t trust the police, because residents in the camp had told them that testing was not performed at night. The police insisted and the 13 people, five of them children, did not feel they could resist officer carrying guns.

      They walked for about 15 minutes, and arrived at a small white container. They were told to wait outside the container, and about 30 minutes later an officer arrived with a key and locked them inside. When they had calmed down enough, they wrapped the children in blankets, helped them to sleep, and at 22.36 EET, made a video which they sent, along with their location, to Aegean Boat Report.

      Local residents in the area confirm that police have placed a white container/Isobox next to the dirt track in this exact location, and the video sent by the new arrivals from inside the container, combined with the location sent at the same time, confirm that this was where they were locked up.

      After about one hour, a black or dark blue van arrived, and four men wearing unmarked dark blue or black, seemingly military, uniforms and balaclavas, and carrying batons entered the container shouting. The refugees, particularly the children, were very frightened, and the uniformed men screamed “Get up! Get up!” and hit people with batons to force them to stand. They immediately frisked them one by one, even the children, and stole their belongings, bags, money and three of the remaining mobile phones. The refugees report that the men paid particular attention to the women, putting their hands in private areas by force, which was especially humiliating, a violation which they were powerless to prevent. The officers next forced the men, women and children one by one into the back of the van like cattle. Those who resisted were again beaten with batons.

      The refugees said it felt like they had travelled for hours in the van, but it was difficult to get a real feeling of time in their situation. When they eventually arrived, they were taken out of the van, each struck 2-3 times with batons and ordered to look at the ground. Those who didn’t were beaten again. They had arrived in a port, made of concrete, which had floodlights, a fence, and a flat roofed square building. But as they were beaten every time they tried to look around, it was hard for them to be certain about their surroundings. From their description, travel time from the container, and the travel time in the boat to the point they were abandoned in a life raft, it’s fairly certain that the port is the Schengen port in Petra, north-east Lesvos, which has been used frequently in the last months for illegal deportations by the Hellenic coast guard. (Another Proven Pushback!)

      In similar previous cases, people have been taken from the port in large vessels, but this time they were put on a small boat, described by the refugees as a grey rubber speedboat with two engines and a four-man crew. They were placed in the front of the boat, which was piloted by one crew member in its centre. The boat described is almost certainly a Lambro coastal patrol RIB used by the Hellenic coast guard, usually to help people in distress. The five children, three women and five men were forced onto this RIB by four men in the same dark military uniforms and balaclavas as those who had robbed, beaten and forced them into a van. The refugees could not say if they were the same four men who had picked them up and beaten them at the container, but they, too, beat the men, women and children as they forced them into the RIB, ordering them to “look down”.

      They were travelling in the boat for less than 30 minutes, including a short stop close to a large grey vessel, after only 10 minutes. One of the officers spoke on the radio with the large vessel in a language the refugees thought was Greek, and was certainly not English. They described the vessel as grey with blue and white stripes on the front – a description which matches the appearance of the Hellenic Coast Guard vessels which patrol the border area.

      The boat stopped after approximately 30 minutes, and then an orange tent shaped inflatable life raft was cast over the side. One of the officers went into the raft and put up a small light inside, then the officers pushed the people into the raft one by one. This took only a few minutes, and as soon as all 13 people had been forced into the raft, the boat with the Greek officers left the men, women and children alone, in the dark, helplessly drifting in the sea. Not one of the people – even the children – in the life raft were given life jackets, and sea water had already found its way into the life raft.

      At 01.29, they a video was sent to Aegean Boat Report, showing the people inside the life raft. Soon after, alone, cold, tired, powerless, and vulnerable, the refugees began to panic. Using one of the phones they had managed to hide when they were robbed by the uniformed officers, they called the Turkish coast guard.

      At 04.10 the Turkish coast guard reported they had found and rescued 13 people from a life raft drifting outside Behram, Turkey.

      Aegean Boat Report received a third video the following day, this time from inside a bus, and a location that showed they were heading towards Ayvacik, Turkey.

      This video is of the same people in the video from the container on Lesvos, and from the life raft helplessly drifting in the Aegean Sea.

      And there is absolutely no doubt who is responsible for their illegal deportation. Despite the fact that the Greek government continues to claim to follow all international laws and regulations.

      Last week, the minister of asylum and immigration, Notis Mitarachis, once again denied claims that Greece is pushing refugees back to Turkey, calling the allegations “fake news,” and claiming they are part of a strategy promoted by Turkey. For some reason he has not chosen to explain this strategy. (Greek migration minister calls allegations of migrant pushbacks ‘fake news’)

      And yet, even as Mitarachis and his government continues to make these claims, more and more people are illegally set adrift in the Aegean Sea, having been forcibly removed from refugee camps, beaten, stripped of their possessions, and forced onto inflatable rafts by uniformed people operating in Greece.

      https://aegeanboatreport.com/2021/02/22/small-children-left-drifting-in-a-life-raft-in-the-aegean-sea-appr

    • Uno-Flüchtlingshilfswerk zählt Hunderte mutmaßliche Pushbacks

      Das Uno-Flüchtlingshilfswerk (UNHCR) erhöht wegen der Rechtsverletzungen in der Ägäis den Druck auf die griechische Regierung. Seit Beginn des vergangenen Jahres habe man »mehrere Hundert Fälle« von mutmaßlichen Pushbacks registriert, sagte die UNHCR-Repräsentantin in Griechenland, Mireille Girard, dem SPIEGEL.

      Das UNHCR habe den Behörden die entsprechenden Hinweise übergeben. In allen Fällen lägen der Organisation eigene Informationen vor, die auf illegale Pushbacks an Land oder auf See hindeuten. »Wir erwarten, dass die griechischen Behörden diese Vorfälle untersuchen«, sagte Girard. »Das Recht auf Asyl wird in Europa angegriffen.«
      Pushbacks verstoßen gegen internationales Recht

      Der SPIEGEL hat seit Juni 2020 in gemeinsamen Recherchen mit »Report Mainz« und Lighthouse Reports gezeigt, dass die griechische Küstenwache Flüchtlingsboote in der Ägäis stoppt, den Motor der Schlauchboote kaputt macht und die Menschen wieder in türkische Gewässer zieht. Anschließend setzen die griechischen Beamten die Migrantinnen und Migranten auf manövrierunfähigen Schlauchbooten auf dem Meer aus. Manchmal benutzen sie auch aufblasbare orange Rettungsflöße. Am griechisch-türkischen Grenzfluss Evros kommt es zu ähnlichen Aktionen.

      DER SPIEGEL

      Diese sogenannten Pushbacks verstoßen gegen internationales und europäisches Recht – unter anderem, weil den Schutzsuchenden kein Zugang zu einem Asylverfahren gewährt wird. Griechenland bestreitet die Anschuldigungen pauschal, bei den Augenzeugenberichten und geolokalisierten Videos handele es sich um »Fake News«.

      Auch die europäische Grenzschutzagentur Frontex ist in die Pushbacks verwickelt, sie führt in der Ägäis gemeinsame Operationen mit der griechischen Küstenwache durch. In mindestens sieben Fällen befanden sich Frontex-Einheiten in der Nähe von Pushbacks, in einigen Fällen übergaben die europäischen Grenzschützer den Griechen die Flüchtlinge sogar, diese übernahmen dann den Pushback. Ein deutscher Bundespolizist im Frontex-Einsatz verweigerte deswegen den Dienst.

      Die EU-Antibetrugsbehörde Olaf, das EU-Parlament und die Ombudsfrau der EU untersuchen derzeit die Pushbacks. Eine interne Frontex-Untersuchung konnte nicht alle Vorfälle aufklären.

      Die griechischen Behörden schleppen selbst Geflüchtete zurück aufs Meer, die bereits europäischen Boden erreichen konnten. Der SPIEGEL konnte zwei dieser Fälle zweifelsfrei nachweisen. Im April 2020 war eine Gruppe Asylsuchender auf Samos angekommen, im November eine auf Lesbos.
      UNHCR dokumentierte Pushback von Lesbos

      Das UNHCR hat nun ebenfalls einen solchen Fall aufgezeichnet. Am 17. Februar 2021 seien 13 Asylsuchende auf Lesbos angelandet, sagte Girard. Griechische Inselbewohner hätten das UNHCR alarmiert, die Organisation habe dann den lokalen Behörden Bescheid gegeben.

      Die griechische Polizei habe die Geflüchteten in einen Container in einem Quarantänecamp im Norden der Insel geführt. Dann seien vermummte Männer gekommen, hätten die Migrantinnen und Migranten, darunter Frauen und Kinder, zum Hafen gefahren und die Menschen in einem aufblasbaren Rettungsfloß antriebslos auf dem Meer zurückgelassen. Später wurden sie von der türkischen Küstenwache gerettet.

      Das UNHCR habe den Fall detailliert rekonstruiert sowie Zeugen und die Überlebenden interviewt. Es bestehe kein Zweifel, dass die Menschen auf Lesbos angekommen und illegal in die Türkei zurückgeführt worden seien, sagt Girard. Solche Aktionen seien illegal. »Der Vorfall muss untersucht werden und Konsequenzen haben.«

      Die teilweise gewalttätigen Aktionen führten dazu, dass Geflüchtete sich inzwischen oft vor den Behörden versteckten, so Girard weiter. »Die Asylsuchenden sind ohnehin schon traumatisiert, wenn ihnen nun in Europa wieder Gewalt angetan wird, retraumatisiert sie das«, sagt Girard. »Besonders die Kinder haben damit noch jahrelang zu kämpfen.«

      https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/uno-fluechtlingshilfswerk-zaehlt-hunderte-mutmassliche-pushbacks-a-01b3fb03-

      #vidéo

  • Les députés demandent une enquête sur les allégations de refoulement de demandeurs d’asile à la frontière gréco-turque

    Les autorités grecques et de l’UE doivent enquêter sur les rapports récurrents faisant état de refoulements violents à la frontière avec la Turquie.

    Lundi, les députés de la #commission_des_libertés_civiles ont demandé au gouvernement grec de clarifier sa position concernant des reportages dans différents médias et des rapports de la société civile indiquant que la police et les garde-frontières du pays empêchaient de façon systématique les migrants d’entrer sur le territoire grec (par voies terrestre et maritime) et ce, en faisant usage de la violence et même en tirant sur eux.

    Le ministre grec de la protection des citoyens, Michalis Chrisochoidis, et le ministre de la migration et de l’asile, Notis Mitarachi, ont nié ces accusations, les qualifiant de ‘‘fake news’’ et soulignant le rôle essentiel que jouait la Grèce pour ‘‘maintenir les frontières de l’UE sûres, en respectant toujours les droits fondamentaux’’. Ils ont également averti qu’une répétition des événements qui se sont produits en mars, quand le Président Erdoğan a annoncé qu’il ouvrait les frontières turques, ne pouvait pas être écartée.

    Une majorité des députés a appelé la Commission à s’assurer que les autorités grecques respectaient la législation européenne relative à l’asile, l’exhortant à condamner l’usage de la violence et à imposer des sanctions si les violations étaient confirmées. La commissaire Ylva Johansson a convenu que les violences contre les demandeurs d’asile devaient faire l’objet d’enquêtes, non seulement en Grèce mais dans toute l’UE. ‘‘Nous ne pouvons pas protéger nos frontières en violant les droits des citoyens’’, a-t-elle déclaré.

    Certains députés ont félicité la Grèce pour son contrôle des frontières de l’UE avec la Turquie. La commissaire Johansson a également salué les progrès réalisés ces derniers mois et souligné que, malgré une situation très compliquée, les autorités grecques avaient réussi à empêcher la propagation du COVID-19 au sein des camps de réfugiés.

    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/fr/press-room/20200703IPR82627/demandeurs-d-asile-a-la-frontiere-greco-turque-les-deputes-veulent-u

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #violence #LIBE #Grèce #Evros #refoulement #push-backs #refoulements #droits_humains #îles

    • La (non-) réponse de Ministres grecs à la #commission_LIBE concernant les violences et les morts aux frontières gréco-turques (https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/libe-committee-meeting_20200706-1645-COMMITTEE-LIBE_vd)

      Αλλα λόγια ν’ αγαπιόμαστε...

      Θλίψη και ντροπή προκαλούσε η εικόνα των Νότη Μηταράκη, Γιώργου Κουμουτσάκου και Μιχάλη Χρυσοχοΐδη στη χθεσινή Επιτροπή Πολιτικών Ελευθεριών, Δικαιοσύνης και Εσωτερικών Υποθέσεων του Ευρωκοινοβουλίου ● Οι Ελληνες υπουργοί δέχτηκαν καταιγισμό ερωτήσεων σχετικά με τις αποκαλύψεις για τη βία και τους θανάτους στα ελληνικά σύνορα και δεν έδωσαν ούτε... μισή απάντηση με ουσία !

      Σε Βατερλό για τους υπουργούς Μ. Χρυσοχοΐδη, Γ. Κουμουτσάκο και Ν. Μηταράκη εξελίχθηκε η χθεσινή Επιτροπή Πολιτικών Ελευθεριών, Δικαιοσύνης και Εσωτερικών Υποθέσεων του Ευρωκοινοβουλίου με θέμα την κατάσταση στα ελληνοτουρκικά σύνορα και τον σεβασμό των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων, παρουσία της επιτρόπου Εσωτερικών Υποθέσεων Ιλβα Γιόχανσον.

      Μόνο θλιβερή μπορεί να χαρακτηριστεί η εικόνα των Ελλήνων υπουργών, που δέχονταν βροχή τις ερωτήσεις για τις αποκαλύψεις για παράνομες επιχειρήσεις αποτροπής και επαναπροώθησης και για την ανεξέλεγκτη βία και τους νεκρούς στον Εβρο.

      Καμία συγκεκριμένη απάντηση δεν έδωσαν, αντιθέτως επαναλάμβαναν γενικολογίες για τον σεβασμό των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων και του διεθνούς δικαίου και την προστασία της ανθρώπινης ζωής εκ μέρους της Ελλάδας, ζητώντας μάλιστα τον λόγο για τις αιχμηρές επισημάνσεις των ευρωβουλευτών. Η στάση τους σχολιάστηκε έντονα και επικριτικά.

      « Είναι εκτός θέματος, σαν να έχουν προσκληθεί σε γάμο και να απαγγέλλουν επικήδειους » ήταν το ειρωνικό σχόλιο ευρωβουλευτή, ενώ και ο πρόεδρος της επιτροπής, Χουάν Φερνάντο Λόπεζ Αγκιλάρ, σημείωσε : « Δεν θέλουν να απαντήσουν, αυτό είναι το πολιτικό συμπέρασμα της συνεδρίασης ». Η συνεδρίαση πραγματοποιήθηκε στον απόηχο του βίντεο της ερευνητικής ομάδας Forensic Architecture (La (non-) réponse de Ministres grecs à la #commission_LIBE concernant les violences et les morts aux frontières gréco-turques (https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/libe-committee-meeting_20200706-1645-COMMITTEE-LIBE_vd)) για τη δολοφονία του 22χρονου Σύρου πρόσφυγα στον Εβρο και πληθώρας δημοσιευμάτων για την πολιτική της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης στα σύνορα, αλλά και καταγγελιών που δέχτηκε η Επιτροπή από οργανώσεις δικαιωμάτων, όπως η Human Rights Watch και η Διενής Αμνηστία.
      Ράπισμα από Γιόχανσον

      Κατηγορηματική ήταν η επίτροπος Εσωτερικών Υποθέσεων Ιλβα Γιόχανσον : « Υπάρχουν αναφορές για απωθήσεις μεταναστών, οι οποίες απαγορεύονται ρητά. Οι απωθήσεις είναι παράνομες και καλώ τις ελληνικές αρχές να τις διερευνήσουν όλες ». Μάταια διαβεβαίωναν ο κ. Χρυσοχοΐδης ότι « η Ελλάδα φυλάσσει τα ευρωπαϊκά σύνορα με αποτελεσματικό τρόπο » και ο κ. Μηταράκης ότι η κυβέρνηση « δίνει ιδιαίτερη έμφαση στην προστασία της ανθρώπινης ζωής ».

      « Σε καμία περίπτωση δεν πρέπει να αποκλειστεί ότι θα υπάρξει νέα απόπειρα να προωθηθούν μετανάστες στην Ελλάδα και την Ευρώπη. Παραμένουμε σε επαγρύπνηση και πρέπει να είμαστε όλοι μας προετοιμασμένοι για να εμποδίσουμε κάθε νέα παρόμοια απόπειρα », σημείωσε ο κ. Κουμουτσάκος, που υπογράμμισε ότι ο ρόλος της ασπίδας της Ευρώπης, τον οποίο βέβαια προθυμότατα δέχτηκε η κυβέρνηση, συνεπάγεται μια συγκεκριμένη πολιτική στα σύνορα.

      Η ευρωβουλευτής των Πρασίνων, Τινέκε Στρικ (https://twitter.com/Tineke_Strik/status/1280181951110971392), αναφέρθηκε στους θανάτους και τους τραυματισμούς μεταναστών από πυροβολισμούς, χαρακτήρισε « ασυνεπή » τη στάση της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης και σχολίασε ότι « μας λένε ότι είναι όλα καλά και πως δεν υπάρχει κανένα πρόβλημα και ύστερα ότι φταίει η Τουρκία, άρα υπάρχει πρόβλημα. Μας λένε ότι δεν υπάρχει ζήτημα· μα αυτό το ζήτημα συζητάμε εδώ. Η ελληνική κυβέρνηση δείχνει άρνηση για ό,τι συμβαίνει ».

      Η Κορνέλια Ερνστ (GUE) ζήτησε από τους Ελληνες υπουργούς να προσκομίσουν τα σχετικά βίντεο και τους ρώτησε αν μπορούν να διεξαγάγουν μια μη κομματική έρευνα, ενώ παράλληλα κάλεσε την Κομισιόν να αναλάβει δράση και να μη μένει μόνο στα λόγια.

      Ο Ισπανός Ντομενέκ Ρουί Ντεβέσα (Σοσιαλδημοκράτες) χαρακτήρισε ακροδεξιά τη διαχείριση του μεταναστευτικού από την ελληνική κυβέρνηση, προκαλώντας την έντονη αντίδραση των υπουργών Μ. Χρυσοχοΐδη και Γ. Κουμουτσάκου (ο Ν. Μηταράκης είχε αποχωρήσει για να συμμετάσχει στη συζήτηση στο ελληνικό Κοινοβούλιο), που του ζήτησαν να ανακαλέσει και συνέστησαν στους ευρωβουλευτές να είναι προσεκτικοί.

      Οσο για τους θανάτους προσφύγων στον Εβρο από πραγματικά πυρά, ο κ. Χρυσοχοΐδης επέμενε ότι « δεν έγινε χρήση όπλων, έγινε μόνο χρήση αστυνομικών μέτρων », και επικαλέστηκε το γεγονός ότι βρίσκονταν εκατοντάδες κάμερες τηλεοπτικών συνεργείων και αυτόπτες μάρτυρες. « Αν υπάρχει καταγγελία, να τη στείλετε να διερευνηθεί », είπε. Αλλά βέβαια οι θάνατοι και οι πυροβολισμοί έχουν καταγραφεί σε κάμερες και ηχητικό υλικό, γεγονός που αναιρεί πλήρως τον ισχυρισμό του υπουργού, ενώ υποτίθεται ότι η κυβέρνηση έχει διερευνήσει τις καταγγελίες.

      Η κατάσταση για τους Ελληνες υπουργούς έγινε χειρότερη στο δεύτερο μέρος της συζήτησης, όταν ο εκτελεστικός διευθυντής της Frontex, Φαμπρίτσε Λετζέρι, παραδέχτηκε ότι σε επιχείρηση ταχείας επέμβασης στα θαλάσσια σύνορα η ελληνική ακτοφυλακή έδωσε εντολή σε σκάφος της Δανίας να μην επιβιβάσει μετανάστες και να τους επαναπροωθήσει στην Τουρκία. Οπως είπε, ζήτησε άμεσα εξηγήσεις από την Ελλάδα για να λάβει την απάντηση « ότι έγινε παρανόηση, κάποιος δεν κατάλαβε καλά την εντολή ! ».

      Στο θέμα των παράνομων επαναπροωθήσεων αναφέρθηκε και ο Μίνως Μουζουράκης από την οργάνωση Υποστήριξη Προσφύγων στο Αιγαίο, λέγοντας « είδαμε κάποιες φορές το Λιμενικό να μην κάνει επιχειρήσεις διάσωσης παρόλο που οι μετανάστες είχαν εκπέμψει SOS, ενώ έχουμε δει ανθρώπους να μένουν στη θάλασσα για 17 ώρες... ». Αλλος ευρωβουλευτής διαμαρτυρήθηκε για το επιχείρημα της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης ότι οι καταγγελίες είναι τουρκική προπαγάνδα. « Είμαστε όλοι εδώ όργανα της τουρκικής κυβέρνησης ; » αναρωτήθηκε σε έντονο ύφος.

      ΣΗΜΕΙΩΣΗ :

      Στο αρχικό κείμενο, μεταφέρθηκε λανθασμένα, με βάση την ταυτόχρονη διερμηνεία της συνεδρίασης στα ελληνικά, η δήλωση του Γιώργου Κουμουτσάκου. Ο αναπληρωτής υπουργός Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου εμφανιζόταν να λέει ότι δεν πρέπει να αποκλειστεί η ανάγκη επαναπροώθησης παράτυπων μεταναστών. Η σωστή μετάφραση της δήλωσης είναι : « Σε καμία περίπτωση δεν πρέπει να αποκλειστεί ότι θα υπάρξει νέα απόπειρα να προωθηθούν μετανάστες στην Ελλάδα και την Ευρώπη [σσ. εκ μέρους της Τουρκίας] Παραμένουμε σε επαγρύπνηση και πρέπει να είμαστε όλοι μας προετοιμασμένοι για να εμποδίσουμε κάθε νέα παρόμοια απόπειρα ». Η διόρθωση έχει περιληφθεί στο κείμενο.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/dikaiomata/250964_alla-logia-n-agapiomaste

      –---

      Du grand n’importe quoi...

      Le spectacel donné hier Notis Mitarakis (Ministre grec de la politique migratoire), George Koumoutsakos (Vice-ministre de la politique migratoire) et Michalis Chrysochoidis (Ministre de la Protection du Citoyen – euphémisme pour Ministre de l’Ordre Public) à la commission LIBE du Parlement européen est lamentable et fait honte au pays● Les ministres grecs ont reçu des salves des questions concernant les révélations sur les violences et les morts à la frontière grecque et n’ont pas réussi à apporter même l’ombre d’une réponse sur le fond de cette affaire !

      La réunion de la commission des libertés civiles, de la justice et des affaires intérieures du Parlement européen sur la situation aux postes frontaliers gréco-turcs et le respect des droits de l’homme a tourné en Waterloo pour les trois ministres grecs.

      L’image des ministres grecs, recevant des rafales des questions sur les opérations de dissuasion et de refoulements illégaux, et sur les violences incontrôlables et les morts à Evros, a été vraiment désolante. Ils n’ont réussi à donner aucune réponse précise, au contraire, ils n’ont cessé de remâcher des généralités sur le respect des droits de l’homme, du droit international et la protection de la vie humaine de la part de la Grèce, se retournant même contre les députés en raison de leurs remarques tranchantes. Leur attitude a été vivement critiquée.

      "Ils sont tout le temps hors sujet, comme s’ils avaient été invités à un mariage où ils récitent des éloges funéraires", a ironisé un député européen, tandis que le président de la commission, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar a déclaré : "Ils ne veulent pas répondre, c’est la conclusion politique de la réunion". . La réunion a eu lieu juste après la publication de la vidéo de l’équipe de recherche de Forensic Architecture sur le meurtre du réfugié syrien de 22 ans à Evros et de nombreuses publications sur la politique du gouvernement grec aux frontières , ainsi que des dénonciations envoyées à la Commission par des Organisations de défense des droits de l’homme telles que Human Rights Watch et Amnesty International.

      Ylva Johansson, commissaire aux affaires intérieures, était catégorique : "Il y a de rapports sur les refoulements de migrants qui sont explicitement interdites. Les refoulements sont illégaux et j’appelle les autorités grecques à enquêter sur tous les cas dénoncés ». En vain, M. Chrysochoidis avait affirmé que "la Grèce protège efficacement les frontières européennes" et M. Mitarakis que le gouvernement "met l’accent sur la protection de la vie humaine".

      « Il ne faut en aucun cas exclure une nouvelle tentative de pousser des migrants vers la Grèce et l’Europe. Nous restons vigilants et nous devons tous être prêts afin d’empêcher de nouvelles tentatives de ce type », a déclaré M. Koumoutsakos, qui a souligné que le rôle du bouclier européen, que le gouvernement a assumé sans rechigner, se traduit par un certain type de gestion politique à la frontière.

      L’eurodéputée du groupe de Verts Tineke Strick a mentionné les migrants morts ou blessés par tirs de balles, et a qualifié la position du gouvernement grec comme "incohérente" : elle a déclaré que "on nous dit que tout va bien et qu’il n’y a pas de problème, et ensuite on nous dit que c’est la faute de la Turquie, ce qui veut dire qu’il y a effectivement un problème. On nous dit qu’il n’y a pas de problème, mais nous en discutons ici. Le gouvernement grec est dans le déni de ce qui se passe. " L’eurodéputée Cornelia Ernst (GUE) a demandé aux ministres grecs de fournir les vidéos pertinentes et leur a demandé s’ils pouvaient mener une enquête non partisane, tout en appelant la Commission à entreprendre des actions et ne pas en rester à la dénonciation. L’Espagnol Domènec Ruiz Devesa (sociaux-démocrates) a parlé de la gestion de l’immigration par le gouvernement grec comme étant d’extrême droite, provoquant la réaction vive des ministres Chrysochoidis et G. Koumoutsakos qui lui ont demandé de retirer ce qu’il venait de dire et ont conseillé aux députés de faire attention.

      Quant aux morts de réfugiés à Evros suite à de tirs à balles réelles, M. Chrysochoidis a insisté sur le fait qu ’"il y a eu aucun usage d’arme, seules des mesures de police ont été déployés", et a évoqué le fait qu’il y avait sur place des centaines de caméras de télévision et de témoins oculaires. "S’il y a une dénonciation, envoyez-la pour enquête", a-t-il dit. Cependant, les décès et les tirs ont été effectivement enregistrés sur caméra et documents audio, ce qui dément complètement les dires du ministre, quant à l’enquête, le gouvernement est censé avoir déjà enquêté sur les allégations.

      La situation des ministres grecs s’est aggravée pendant la deuxième partie de la débat, lorsque le directeur général de Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, a admis que lors d’une opération rapide à la frontière maritime, les garde-côtes grecs ont ordonné à un bateau danois de ne pas embarquer des migrants et de les refouler vers ka Turquie. Comme il l’a dit, il a immédiatement demandé des explications à la Grèce afin de recevoir la réponse "qu’il y a eu un malentendu, quelqu’un n’a pas bien compris l’ordre !".

      Minos Mouzourakis de l’ONG RSA (Refugees Support Aegean), a également parlé sur la question des refoulements illégaux, affirmant que "quelquefois nous avons vu la Garde côtière ne pas effectuer d’opérations de sauvetage, malgré le fait que les migrants avaient lancé un SOS, et nous avons même vu des personnes rester en mer pendant 17 heures. .. ». Un autre député européen a protesté contre l’argument brandi par le gouvernement grec, selon lequel les allégations de refoulement et de tirs mortels relèvent de la propagande turque. "Sommes-nous tous ici des organes du gouvernement turc ?" a-t-il clamé.

      Traduction reçue via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 07.07.2020

    • Interpellé sur les accusations de Peter Tauber, le secrétaire d’Etat à l’Immigration #George_Koumoutsakos a indirectement mais clairement reconnu l’existence des opérations illégales de refoulement à la frontière grecque. Il a sous-entendu que de telles opérations qui violent le droit international permettent à la Grèce d’assurer son rôle de ’#bouclier_de_l'Europe' et de protéger sa propre population des migrants porteurs éventuels du virus. Il a même insisté sur le fait que la Grèce ne peut pas être à la fois félicitée de garder de frontières européennes et être mise sur le banc des accusés. Mis à part cet aveu indirect mais transparent des opérations de refoulement de plus en plus violentes par un membre du gouvernement grec, la responsabilité des instances européennes pour cette politique criminelle d’une soi-disant ’protection’ à n’importe quel prix des frontières européennes devient évidente.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/stiles/ypografoyn/255729_faidri-omologia-koymoytsakoy (en grec)

      –-----

      Un aveu qui frôle le ridicule

      Le secrétaire d’Etat à l’Immigration Koumoutsakos reconnaît que des refoulements illégaux font partie de l’arsenal de la Grèce, en tant que « bouclier de l’Europe »

      C’est l’image d’une confusion totale et d’un double langage que donne donnée le gouvernement grec, concernant les allégations très graves d’opérations illégales de dissuasion et de refoulement les réfugiés à la frontière ; celles-ci ne font plus seulement l’objet de publication dans la presse internationale et grecque, mais sont confirmées par les gouvernements des états participant à la force navale de la mer Égée, comme l’Allemagne et le Danemark, ainsi que par le directeur de l’agence FRONTEX Fabrice Leggeri.

      Le gouvernement a catégoriquement nié tout soupçon de telles opérations illégales et a vaguement fait référence à des enquêtes, sans, bien entendu, les présenter. Il a même accusé la presse et les députés de l’opposition de reproduire des mensonges de propagande turque, une accusation vulgaire et dangereuse. Tout d’un coup, le disque a changé.

      En réponse à la publication de plaintes par le gouvernement allemand, le secrétaire d’état à l’Immigration et de l’Asile George Koumoutsakos n’a pas seulement nié les allégations de violation flagrante du droit international, mais les a adoptées indirectement mais clairement dans une interview télévisée à la chaîne ANT1 ( en grec à partir du 20ième minute). Il a recouru à un certain nombre d’excuses ridicules, en mentionnant le rôle de la Grèce comme "bouclier de l’Europe", les félicitations données au pays par les dirigeants européens début mars à Evros, et il a même fait appel à l’éventuelle connexion de la pandémie du coronavirus avec l’immigration et à la nécessité de protéger la Grèce. Une protection à assurer avec des fusillades à Evros, des violences et des refoulements illégales ? Des propos qui seraient ridicules si ils n’étaient pas si dangereux qui s’adressent à l’auditoire d’extrême droite du gouvernement et à ses fidèles porte-paroles.

      Plusieurs fois dans le passé, M. Koumoutsakos a tenté d’établir un lien similaire entre les réfugiés et le coronavirus et a été solennellement démenti par des membres même du gouvernement. Mais le problème n’est pas le manque de sérieux du ministre ni son argumentation identique à celui de l’extrême droite. Le problème est que la violation du droit international des réfugiés est la politique officielle du gouvernement grec et elle sape la crédibilité internationale du pays à un moment critique.

      Reçu via Viky Skoumbi via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 17.08.2020

    • Το Βερολίνο καταλογίζει στην Αθήνα παράνομες επαναπροωθήσεις

      H γερμανική κυβέρνηση βρίσκεται « σε συνεχή επαφή » με την ελληνική για τις επαναπροωθήσεις. Της επιρρίπτει παραβίαση του Διεθνούς Δικαίου. Πρόκειται για μια αλλαγή στάσης σε σύγκριση με το πρόσφατο παρελθόν.

      Για πρώτη φορά η γερμανική κυβέρνηση καταλογίζει δημόσια στην Ελλάδα παράνομες επαναπροωθήσεις προσφύγων στην Τουρκία. Αυτό προκύπτει από επιστολή του υφυπουργού Άμυνας Πέτερ Τάουμπερ. Σύμφωνα με τον χριστιανοδημοκράτη πολιτικό, πληρώματα του γερμανικού πολεμικού ναυτικού έγιναν τους τελευταίους μήνες, σε δύο περιπτώσεις, μάρτυρες παράνομων επαναπροωθήσεων στα τουρκικά ύδατα στο Αιγαίο. Όπως τονίζει ο κ.Τάουμπερ, « η γερμανική κυβέρνηση βρίσκεται σε συνεχή επαφή με την ελληνική κυβέρνηση και εφιστά την προσοχή στους ισχύοντες κανόνες του Διεθνούς Δικαίου. »

      Η επιστολή του κ. Τάουμπερ με ημερομηνία 6 Αυγούστου είναι απάντηση σε επερώτηση του βουλευτή Αντρέι Χούνκο. Ο πολιτικός του κόμματος Η Αριστερά είχε ζητήσει να ενημερωθεί σχετικά με το εάν πληρώματα του γερμανικού πολεμικού ναυτικού και της αεροπορίας έχουν παρατηρήσει σκάφη της ελληνικής ακτοφυλακής ή και της Frontex να παρεμποδίζουν φουσκωτά με πρόσφυγες, να εισέλθουν στα ελληνικά ύδατα ή ακόμη να τα ρυμουλκούν πίσω στην Τουρκία.

      Παραδοχή των επαναπροωθήσεων

      Στην απάντηση του, ο κ.Τάουμπερ επιβεβαιώνει ότι το πλήρωμα του εφοδιαστικού σκάφους « Berlin » που ηγείται της Μόνιμης Ναυτικής Δύναμης 2 του ΝΑΤΟ στο Αιγαίο, παρακολούθησε στις 19 Ιουνίου περιστατικό όπως το περιγράφει στην επερώτηση του ο βουλευτής. Στο ίδιο έγγραφο ο υφυπουργός Άμυνας επιβεβαιώνει επίσης ότι το γερμανικό ναυτικό ήταν μάρτυρας ενός παρόμοιου περιστατικού. Από τα συμφραζόμενα προκύπτει ότι πρόκειται για πρόσφυγες που είχαν φτάσει στις 30 Απριλίου στη Χίο και οι οποίοι αυθημερόν μεταφέρθηκαν βίαια σε τουρκικά ύδατα. Παράλληλα ο κ.Τάουμπερ ενημερώνει ότι στις 4 Ιουνίου το « Berlin » διέσωσε στο Αιγαίο 32 άτομα που επέβαιναν σε λέμβο και διέτρεχαν κίνδυνο να πνιγούν.

      Η απάντηση του γερμανού υφυπουργού Άμυνας συνιστά αλλαγή στάσης της γερμανικής κυβέρνησης. Μέχρι πρόσφατα ακόμη αρνούνταν να καταγγείλει την Ελλάδα δημόσια για παράνομες επαναπροωθήσεις. Ενδεικτική για τη μέχρι πρότινος γερμανική στάση είναι η απάντηση που είχε δώσει στις 22 Ιουνίου στο γερμανικό κοινοβούλιο ο υφυπουργός Εσωτερικών Χέλμουτ Τάιχμαν σε ερώτηση της βουλευτού Λουίζε Άμτσμπεργκ. Η πολιτικός των Πρασίνων ζήτησε να ενημερωθεί κατά πόσο έχουν πέσει στην αντίληψη γερμανών αστυνομικών και στρατιωτών που συμμετέχουν σε αποστολές της Frontex και του ΝATO στην Ελλάδα παράνομες επαναπροωθήσεις. Στην απάντηση του, ο υφυπουργός Τάιχμαν είχε επισημάνει πως η « δημόσια αποκάλυψη » τέτοιων στοιχείων « θα μπορούσε να έχει αρνητικές επιπτώσεις στις δραστηριότητες του ΝΑΤΟ στο Αιγαίο καθώς και στις διμερείς σχέσεις μεταξύ Γερμανίας και Ελλάδας και επομένως να βλάψει τα συμφέροντα της Γερμανίας. » Αυτή η επιφυλακτικότητα δεν φαίνεται πλέον να ισχύει.

      Αμφισβήτηση του ρόλου της Frontex

      Σε σημερινή του δήλωση, ο βουλευτής του κόμματος Η Αριστερά Αντρέι Χούνκο καταλογίζει στο γερμανικό ναυτικό πως με την παθητική του στάση συνεργεί στις επαναπροωθήσεις και στη γερμανική κυβέρνηση ότι « παραβιάζει το Διεθνές Δίκαιο ». Οι αποστολές της Frontex στην Ελλάδα πρέπει σύμφωνα με τον κ. Χούνκο να διακοπούν διότι η ελληνική κυβέρνηση παραβιάζει την Ευρωπαϊκή Σύμβαση Δικαιωμάτων του Ανθρώπου.

      https://www.dw.com/el/%CF%84%CE%BF-%CE%B2%CE%B5%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%BB%CE%AF%CE%BD%CE%BF-%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B1%CE%BB%CE%BF%CE%B3%CE%AF%CE%B6%CE%B5%CE%B9-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B7%CE%BD-%CE%B1%CE%B8%CE%AE%CE%BD%CE%B1-%CF%80%CE%B1%CF%81%CE%AC%CE%BD%CE%BF%CE%BC%CE%B5%CF%82-%CE%B5%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%B1%CF%80%CF%81%CE%BF%CF%89%CE%B8%CE%AE%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%82/a-54527198

    • Greek Migration Min. Responds to Reports of “Organized Forced Return of Migrants”

      The Greek Ministry of Migration & Asylum refuted reports that it was “organizing the forced return of migrants” on Friday and called related media reports “a systematic effort to distort facts in order to serve specific goals.”

      The policy of the ministry is to work in observance of international laws, “as a contemporary European country that welcomes refugees who are in true need, assists them and supports them to integrate in society and function independently. However, illegal migration remains one of the most serious and sensitive issues that we face as a Greek country and Greek society the last five years, and as a country that serves as an entry gate to the European Union.”

      In this context, it noted, “we obviously proceed to departures, with an emphasis on returns - voluntary or not - of people who are not entitled to international protection” and it called for “greater attention in evaluating such facts as true and reliable.”

      https://www.thenationalherald.com/greece_politics/arthro/greek_migration_min_responds_to_reports_of_organized_forced_retur

    • UNHCR concerned by pushback reports, calls for protection of refugees and asylum-seekers

      UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, remains deeply concerned by an increasing number of credible reports indicating that men, women and children may have been informally returned to Turkey immediately after reaching Greek soil or territorial waters in recent months.

      UNHCR firmly reiterates its call on Greece to refrain from such practices and to seriously investigate these reports, which include a series of credible and direct accounts that have been recorded by the UNHCR Office in Greece and have been brought to the attention of the responsible authorities. Given the nature, content, frequency, and consistency of these accounts, a proper investigation should be launched without further delay.

      UNHCR fully respects the legitimate right of States to control their borders and recognizes the challenges posed by mixed migration movements at the external borders of the EU. However, States must guarantee and safeguard the rights of those seeking international protection in accordance with national, European and international law. Every individual has the right for their case to be heard and their protection needs assessed.

      “Greece and its people have shown immense solidarity and compassion with thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers who have sought safety in the country since 2015,” said Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR Representative in Greece. “The numbers of refugee arrivals have significantly dropped since then but there are still people who continue to seek protection and asylum in Greece and in Europe,” he said.

      “Safeguarding Greece’s borders and protecting refugees are not mutually exclusive. Both are and should be possible. This is not a dilemma but a balance that must be struck,” said Leclerc. “Otherwise, the consequences may be far-reaching and damaging: for the people whose lives and safety may be put at risk; for the upholding of fundamental principles of international and European law; for long-since recognized human rights norms and values, that may be irreparably undermined,” he added.

      UNHCR is particularly concerned about the increasing reports, since March 2020, of alleged informal returns by sea of persons who, according to their own attestations or those of third persons, have disembarked on Greek shores and have thereafter been towed back to sea. Worryingly, UNHCR has also received reports and testimonies about people being left adrift at sea for a long time, often on unseaworthy and overcrowded dinghies, waiting to be rescued.

      UNHCR has also called for further preventive measures against such practices, for clear rules of process at the border and internal monitoring mechanisms, including through the reinforcement of the role of the Greek Ombudsman.

      Saving lives must be the first priority – both on land and at sea. UNHCR acknowledges the challenges faced by frontline states like Greece and calls on EU Member States to demonstrate their solidarity with Greece, particularly through the relocation of asylum-seekers.

      Solutions can be achieved through combating smuggling, expanding legal options for migration, and ensuring that all those in need of protection have effective access to it. At the same time, the return of those who, after a formal assessment of their needs, are found not to be in need of international protection is also part of effective migration management and should be consistently addressed and supported.

      The right to seek asylum is a fundamental human right. With concerted efforts and cooperation between all concerned states and the EU, managing borders can be achieved and protection concerns of refugees addressed.

      https://www.unhcr.org/gr/en/16207-unhcr-concerned-by-pushback-reports-calls-for-protection-of-refugees-an

    • Refoulements illégaux de migrants en mer : des rumeurs relayées par des passeurs, selon Athènes

      Visées par de multiples accusations sur des refoulements illégaux de migrants en mer, les autorités grecques ont estimé que ces allégations étaient le résultat d’une « propagande » menée par les réseaux de passeurs.

      Le ministre des migrations grec, Notis Mitarachi a déclaré, lundi 31 août, que des passeurs étaient à l’origine des déclarations, reléguées au rang de rumeurs, selon lesquelles Athènes expulse illégalement des demandeurs d’asile.

      « Ces incidents n’ont rien de réel », a assuré Notis Mitarachi à la BBC. Selon ce dernier, les passeurs réagiraient aux mesures strictes prises ces derniers mois par Athènes pour freiner l’immigration illégale dans le pays. Des mesures qui, d’après lui, nuisent au business des passeurs.

      « Nous pensons qu’il s’agit du résultat d’une propagande menée par des réseaux de trafic illégal qui perdent des dizaines de millions d’euros », a-t-il affirmé.

      Multiples accusations

      Plusieurs organisations de défense des droits de l’Homme, dont le Haut-commissariat de l’ONU pour les réfugiés (HCR), ont à plusieurs reprises exhorté la Grèce à enquêter sur ces accusations de « push-backs ».

      À la mi-août, des soldats de l’armée allemande ont apporté une confirmation à ces accusations en assurant que des embarcations se dirigeant vers la Grèce avaient été repoussées vers les eaux territoriales turques.

      InfoMigrants avait par ailleurs reçu une vidéo tournée en mer Égée le 30 avril attestant de telles pratiques. Ces images montraient un navire des garde-côtes grecs faire d’énormes vagues autour d’une embarcation de migrants pour les empêcher de rejoindre l’île de Lesbos.

      Plus récemment, des révélations accablantes du New York Times ont jeté la lumière sur le fait que la Grèce a « abandonné » plus d’un millier de migrants en mer depuis le mois de mars, ce qu’Athènes dément. Le journal américain affirme que les autorités grecques laissent les embarcations dériver pour que les garde-côtes turcs leur portent secours.

      « Nous protégeons nos frontières avec détermination »

      Face à ce concert de critiques, les autorités grecques ne dévient pas de leur position. Pour toute réponse à ces accusations, Notis Mitarachi s’est contenté de souligner que les garde-côtes grecs avaient récemment secouru « des dizaines » de migrants et que les garde-côtes turcs avaient, eux, escorté « à de nombreuses occasions » des canots de passeurs dans les eaux grecques.

      « Nous protégeons nos frontières avec détermination, dans le cadre des obligations internationales et des règles européennes », a déclaré Notis Mitarachi. « La Grèce ne peut pas être la porte d’entrée de l’Europe. »

      Le Premier ministre grec, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a également démenti les accusations de refoulements illégaux, accusant la Turquie de colporter de « fausses informations » à propos des mesures « dures mais justes » appliquées par Athènes.

      La Grèce, pays par lequel plus d’un million de personnes sont passées au cours des années 2015-2016, entretient des relations tendues avec la Turquie. Les deux États ne s’entendent ni sur la question migratoire, ni sur celle des recherches d’hydrocarbures menées par la Turquie en Méditerranée orientale dans des zones disputées à la Grèce et à Chypre.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26982/refoulements-illegaux-de-migrants-en-mer-des-rumeurs-relayees-par-des-

    • Pushbacks Across the Evros/Meriç River: Situated Testimony

      For years, migrants and refugees crossing the Evros/Meriç River from Turkey to Greece have testified to being detained, beaten, and ‘pushed back’ across the river to Turkey, by unidentified masked men, in full secrecy, at night, and without being granted access to asylum procedures.

      Greek and EU authorities systematically deny any wrongdoing and refuse to investigate these reports.

      The Evros/Meriç river delineates the only ‘land’ border between Greece and Turkey. Spanning from the trilateral border with Bulgaria in the north, where the river is called Maritsa, to the Aegean Sea in the south, this so-called ‘natural’ border has in recent years been incorporated into a wider ecosystem of border defence. Its natural processes have been weaponised to deter and let die those who attempt to cross it and to obfuscate this violence and deflect responsibility.

      For independent researchers, the militarisation of this border region makes access extremely difficult; a restricted ‘buffer zone’ runs along both banks of the river. Detention centres and border guard stations are often located within this buffer zone, keeping detained people out of sight and without access to legal support.

      Witnesses describe having their phones, documents, and possessions confiscated and often thrown into the river, suggesting an operation that is carefully designed to remove any potential evidence of human rights violations.

      Using an interview technique called ‘situated testimony’ we collected and corroborated evidence to prove the practice of ‘pushbacks’ at Evros/Meriç river, are methodical and widespread, and to identify the agents and agencies responsible. Situated Testimony is a technique of interviewing developed by Forensic Architecture, which uses 3D models of the scenes and environments in which traumatic events occurred to aid in the process of interviewing and gathering testimony from witnesses to those events. Together with an architectural researcher, a witness is filmed reconstructing the scene of an event, exploring and accessing their memories of the episode in a controlled and secure manner.

      https://forensic-architecture.org/investigation/evros-situated-testimony

  • More deaths of refugees on the Balkan route

    “The bodies of two younger men were found in the #Mrežnica River on Thursday (https://www.jutarnji.hr/vijesti/crna-kronika/iz-rijeke-mreznice-izvucena-tijela-dvojice-muskaraca-po-svemu-sudeci-radi-s). In the last three years, not counting these cases, 25 refugees have died in this area, and drowning in rivers is prevalent. Approximately one body per month appeared in one of the rivers, and only in Mrežnica six of them were found this June.”

    Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 01.07.2020

    #décès #morts #mourir_dans_la_forteresse_europe #Croatie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #route_des_balkans #frontière_sud-alpine #Mrežnica_River #Mreznica #frontières

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur les morts à la frontière alpine :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/758646#message806448

  • EU ’covered up’ Croatia’s failure to protect migrants from border brutality

    Exclusive: Brussels officials feared disclosing Zagreb’s lack of commitment to monitoring would cause ‘scandal’

    EU officials have been accused of an “outrageous cover-up” after withholding evidence of a failure by Croatia’s government to supervise #police repeatedly accused of robbing, abusing and humiliating migrants at its borders.

    Internal European commission emails seen by the Guardian reveal officials in Brussels had been fearful of a backlash when deciding against full disclosure of Croatia’s lack of commitment to a monitoring mechanism that ministers had previously agreed to fund with EU money.

    Ahead of responding to inquiries from a senior MEP in January, a commission official had warned a colleague that the Croatian government’s failure to use money earmarked two years ago for border police “will for sure be seen as a ‘scandal’”.

    Supervision of the behaviour of border officers had been the condition set on a larger grant of EU funds to Croatia. There have been multiple allegations of violent pushbacks of migrants and refugees by Croatian police on the border with Bosnia, including an incident in which a migrant was shot.

    In response to allegations of a cover-up, an EC spokesman told the Guardian that what was known had been withheld from MEPs as the information was believed to have been “incomplete”.
    Crosses on our heads to ’cure’ Covid-19: refugees report abuse by Croatian police
    Read more

    It throws a spotlight on both the Croatian government’s human rights record and the apparent willingness of the EU’s executive branch to cover for Zagreb’s failure.

    Croatia is seeking to enter the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone – a move that requires compliance with European human rights standards at borders.

    Despite heated denials by the Croatian authorities, the latest border incident has been described by aid workers as the most violent in the Balkan migration crisis. On 26 May, 11 Pakistani and five Afghan men were stopped by a group wearing black uniforms and balaclavas in the Plitvice Lakes, 16km (10 miles) into Croatia from the Bosnian border.

    “The men in uniforms tied each of the Pakistanis and Afghanis around a tree, so their wrists were bound and they had to turn their faces toward the trees,” according to a report from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), which provides healthcare for migrants in Bosnia. “Once these people were unable to move, the men in uniforms fired several shots in the air with guns placed close to the ears of the Pakistanis and Afghanis. There were also shots fired close to their legs.’’

    “They kept shooting. They were shooting so closely that the stones under our feet were flying and being blown to pieces,” one of the men told the Guardian. “They kept saying: ‘I want to beat and kill you.’ They tortured us for three to four hours.”

    The council’s report says electro-shockers were placed on people’s necks and heads. “One of the men in uniform was cutting several victims with knives and the same person inflicted cuts on both of the palms of one person.”

    One asylum seeker said that one of the men put his knee on his neck, then cut at him with a blade. ‘‘He sliced the index finger of my left hand, and blood started spurting out like a small shower,’’ he said. “Then he smiled and cut my middle finger followed by my palm with a larger cut. The whole hand is swollen beyond recognition.”

    After a while, the men in balaclavas called other uniformed officers.

    According to the victims and a report by the DRC, “before the police arrival, one of the men in uniform made a film with his mobile phone, while others in his company were laughing, yelling and provoking”.

    Upon the arrival of police officers, the migrants were put into vans and taken to the border at Šiljkovača, a village close to Velika Kladuša. Police officers did not beat them, but ordered them into Bosnian territory.

    “All of them had bleeding wounds on their heads and numerous bruises on various parts of the body,” Nicola Bay, the DRC country director for Bosnia, told the Guardian. “Four of them had broken arms and one had a broken leg and both arms.”

    Contacted by the Guardian, the Croatian police denied the allegations and suggested that asylum seekers could have fabricated the account and that the wounds could be the result of “a confrontation among migrants” that took place ‘‘on 28 May in the vicinity of the Croatian border, near Cazin’’.

    Volunteers and charities who have treated migrants involved in the fight in Cazin, said the two incidents are unrelated and happened two days apart. Those involved in the fight in Cazin have not claimed they were attacked by the police.

    The establishment of supervisory mechanisms to ensure the humane treatment of migrants at the border had been a condition of a €6.8m (£6.1m) cash injection announced in December 2018 to strengthen Croatia’s borders with non-EU countries.

    The mechanism was publicised by the European commission as a way to “ensure that all measures applied at the EU external borders are proportionate and are in full compliance with fundamental rights and EU asylum laws”.

    Croatian ministers claimed last year that the funds had been handed over to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Croatian Law Centre to establish the supervisory mechanism.

    Both organisations deny receiving the money.

    In January this year, the commission was asked by Clare Daly, an Irish MEP in the Independents 4 Change party, to account for the discrepancy.

    A commission official responded that the UNCHR and Croatian Law Centre had established the monitoring mechanism but from “their own funds” to ensure independence from the government.

    He added: “Hopefully [this] clarifies this matter once and for all”.

    But both organisations have again denied being involved in any monitoring project, clarifying that they had only been engaged in an earlier initiative involving the examination of police files.

    Beyond the apparent inaccuracy of the response to Daly, internal emails suggest the full facts of the “underspending” – as its known to the commission – were also withheld.

    The EC failed to inform Daly that the Croatian government had decided to ring-fence only €102,000 of the €300,000 provided for the monitoring mechanism and that ultimately only €84,672 was actually spent – €17,469.87 was given to the interior ministry and €59,637.91 went to NGOs. A roundtable conference accounted for €1,703.16.

    “While we know that there has been underspending on the €300,000 … we thought that around € 240,000 were nevertheless spent in the context of the monitoring mechanism,” an EU official had written while discussing how to deal with the MEP’s questions. “Having spent only EUR 102,000, will for sure be seen as a ‘scandal’.”

    The commission did not pass on information on the spending to Daly but privately officials agreed to seek answers urgently. They also discussed in a phone and email exchange the possibility of intervening in the member state’s planned report due to the poor handling of the matter by the Croatian government.

    “Seeing how unfortunate [Croatia] is presenting this issue, [Croatia] definitively needs (your?) help in putting some ‘final touches’ to the report,” an official in the commission’s migration department wrote to a colleague. “Will [Croatia] provide you with an advance copy of the final report?”

    Daly told the Guardian: “It is outrageous – the commission appears to be colluding with the Croatian authorities in a cover-up.”

    An EC spokesperson said the EU’s executive branch was committed to the establishment of a fully independent border monitoring mechanism.

    The spokesperson said: “We would caution against drawing misleading conclusions from reading the internal email exchanges in isolation.”

    He added: “The Croatian authorities are explaining in their final implementation report how the monitoring mechanism was established, how it works in practice and outline the results.

    “Given that the report submitted by the Croatian authorities was incomplete, the commission asked the Croatian authorities for clarifications first in writing and orally regarding outstanding issues (eg factual data confirming the achievements of the project indicators relating to internal controls and trainings).”

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/15/eu-covered-up-croatias-failure-to-protect-migrants-from-border-brutalit
    #complicité #EU #UE #Croatie #violence #réfugiés #asile #migrations #violence #violences #hauts_fonctionnaires #fonds #argent #gardes_frontière #route_des_Balkans #frontières #Plitvice_Lakes #commission_européenne #Union_européenne #couverture

    • Report from Centre for Peace Studies on the pushback of children

      On 29th May 2020, the Centre for Peace Studies – a key member of the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) – presented a new report alongside the Welcome! Initiative. Addressing the Croatian Government, the “Report on violent and illegal expulsions of children and unaccompanied children” is based on testimonies collected by activists through the BVMN shared database. The publication shares the story of children who sought protection from Croatia, and how Croatia answered in violence.

      “We came to the door of Prime Minister Plenković and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Božinović, who have been turning their backs on testimonies and accusations for years and silently pursuing a policy of flattering the European Union. Even the most vulnerable are not excluded from violence – children “, said Tea Vidović on behalf of the Welcome! Initiative.

      The report submitted to the Government by the organizations provides testimonies of children and their families and unaccompanied children on violent and illegal methods that they had to experience at the hands of police authorities. This illegal and inhuman behavior violates national laws, international law and human rights, prevents access to international protection and, most importantly, marks children’s lives. Although the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Ministry of the Interior should take into account the special vulnerability of children, respect their rights and best interests, children experience police brutality and limitation of their freedom for hours without access to water and food.

      “While the government uses every opportunity to emphasize the importance of border protection, we wonder in which way is police protecting Croatian borders? By beating children, confiscating their personal belongings, locking children in police vans for several hours in which they are exposed to extremely high or extremely low temperatures, shooting and using electric shocks, is this how the police protect Croatian borders? ”, points out Ana Ćuća.

      The exact number of children who are victims of police brutality remains unknown. BVMN has reported 209 cases of violent and illegal expulsions of children from Croatia since 2017, while Save the Children recorded 2969 expulsions of children at the borders in the Western Balkans during the first 9 months of last year.

      Two cases are currently pending at the European Court of Human Rights against Croatia, both involving violence and pushback. The first is the case of the family of the tragically late six-year-old girl Madina Hussiny, who was killed at the Croatian-Serbian border. The second includes pushbacks, illegal detention and inhumane treatment of a 17-year-old Syrian boy by Croatian police, who was pushed back to Bosnia and Herzegovina despite seeking asylum in Croatia.

      The latest report presented is the sixth report on violent and illegal expulsions published in the last four years, and it is the collective work of the Centre for Peace Studies, the Society for Psychological Assistance, the Welcome! Initiative and the Border Violence Monitoring Network. It also brings a short graphic novel based on the story of little #Madina, a young girl killed in transit, for whose death no one has yet been held accountable.

      Therefore, the organisations ask the Government and the Ministry of the Interior to finally take responsibility and for those who sanction and carry out systematic violence. Responsible institutions are obliged to investigate those who commit violence and push back children in need of protection. All children deserve justice and protection.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/report-from-centre-for-peace-studies-on-the-pushback-of-children
      #enfants #enfance #mineurs

      Pour télécharger le #rapport:
      https://www.cms.hr/system/article_document/doc/647/Pushback_report_on_children_and_unaccompanied_children_in_Croatia.pdf

    • Policiers croates accusés de violences contre des migrants : l’UE réclame une "enquête approfondie’’

      Après avoir été interpellée par Amnesty International sur la « violence » des policiers croates à l’égard des migrants, la Commission européenne a réclamé à Zagreb une « enquête approfondie ». L’institution prévoit d’envoyer une mission sur place, quand la situation sanitaire le permettra.

      L’Union européenne est sortie de son ’’silence’’ au sujet des accusations de violences contre des migrants perpétrées par la police croate. Vendredi 12 juin, la Commission européenne a réclamé à Zagreb une "#enquête_approfondie'' à la suite de la publication d’un rapport à charge de l’ONG Amnesty International dénonçant des #passages_à_tabac, des #tortures et des tentatives d’#humiliation de la part de policiers croates (https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/25339/on-les-suppliait-d-arreter-de-nous-frapper-ils-chantaient-et-riaient-l).

      « Nous sommes très préoccupés par ces allégations », a déclaré un porte-parole de l’exécutif européen, Adalbert Jahnz. « La #violence, l’humiliation et les #traitements_dégradants des demandeurs d’asile et migrants n’ont pas leur place dans l’Union européenne et doivent être condamnés », a-t-il assuré.

      L’Union européenne avait été directement interpellée par Amnesty International dans son rapport. Ce document affirme que 16 migrants, qui tentaient d’entrer illégalement en Croatie, ont été « ligotés, brutalement battus et torturés » pendant plusieurs heures par des forces de l’ordre, dans la nuit du 26 au 27 mai. « L’Union européenne ne peut plus rester silencieuse et ignorer délibérément les violences et les abus commis par la police croate à la frontière », avait déclaré Massimo Moratti, directeur adjoint de l’antenne européenne de l’ONG.

      https://twitter.com/Jelena_Sesar/status/1271044353629335553?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      Une mission sur place quand la situation sanitaire le permettra

      L’exécutif européen a également indiqué être « en contact étroit » avec les autorités croates qui « se sont engagées à enquêter » sur ces accusations de mauvais traitements à leur frontière avec la Bosnie (https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/18721/plusieurs-migrants-retrouves-blesses-a-la-frontiere-entre-la-bosnie-et). « Nous attendons que ces accusations fassent l’objet d’une enquête approfondie et que toutes les actions nécessaires soient prises », a poursuivi le porte-parole.

      La Commission prévoit aussi d’envoyer, quand la situation sanitaire le permettra, une mission sur place, dans le cadre d’un mécanisme de surveillance du respect des droits fondamentaux par les autorités aux frontières lié à l’allocation de fonds européens.

      Le ministère croate de l’Intérieur a, de son côté, immédiatement démenti ces accusations, en ajoutant cependant qu’une enquête serait ouverte.

      Des milliers de migrants empruntent chaque année la « route des Balkans » pour essayer de rejoindre l’Europe occidentale. La plupart passent par la Croatie, pays membre de l’UE, le plus souvent en provenance de la Bosnie.


      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/25354/policiers-croates-accuses-de-violences-contre-des-migrants-l-ue-reclam

    • Croatia: Fresh evidence of police abuse and torture of migrants and asylum-seekers

      In a horrifying escalation of police human rights violations at the Croatian border with Bosnia, a group of migrants and asylum seekers was recently bound, brutally beaten and tortured by officers who mocked their injuries and smeared food on their bleeding heads to humiliate them, Amnesty International has revealed today.

      Amnesty International spoke to six men among a group of 16 Pakistani and Afghan asylum-seekers who were apprehended by the Croatian police on the night between 26 and 27 May near Lake Plitvice, as they tried to cross the country to reach Western Europe.

      Between eight and ten people wearing black uniforms and balaclavas identical to those used by Croatia’s Special Police, fired their weapons in the air, kicked and repeatedly hit the restrained men with metal sticks, batons and pistol grips. They then rubbed ketchup, mayonnaise and sugar that they found in one of the backpacks on migrants’ bleeding heads and hair and their trousers. Amnesty International also spoke to doctors who treated the men and NGOs who witnessed their injuries.

      “The European Union can no longer remain silent and wilfully ignore the violence and abuses by Croatian police on its external borders. Their silence is allowing, and even encouraging, the perpetrators of this abuse to continue without consequences. The European Commission must investigate the latest reports of horrifying police violence against migrants and asylum-seekers.” said Massimo Moratti, Deputy Director of the Europe Office, following the latest incident on the Croatian border.

      Physical and psychological abuse

      Amir from Pakistan told Amnesty: “We were pleading with them to stop and show mercy. We were already tied, unable to move and humiliated; there was no reason to keep hitting us and torturing us.” He said the armed men showed no sympathy. “They were taking photos of us with their phones, and were singing and laughing.” Amir had a broken arm and nose, stiches on the back of his head, and visible bruising all over his face and arms.

      Ten men suffered serious injuries that night. Thirty-year-old Tariq now has both of his arms and a leg in a cast, visible cuts and bruises on his head and face and is suffering from severe chest pain.

      “They did not give us a chance to say anything at all when they caught us. They just started hitting us. While I was lying on the ground, they hit my head with the back of a gun and I started bleeding. I tried to protect my head from the blows, but they started kicking me and hitting my arms with metal sticks. I was passing in and out of consciousness the rest of the night.” Tariq is now forced to use a wheelchair to move around and it will take months before he is able to move on his own again.

      The men told Amnesty International how they felt humiliated as militia rubbed mayonnaise and ketchup on to their bloody heads and faces. One masked man squirted mayonnaise on an asylum-seeker’s trousers between his legs, while others laughed and sang “Happy Birthday” around them.

      After almost five hours of continuous abuse, the migrants were handed over to the Croatian Border Police who transported them close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in two vans before ordering them to walk. “They were taken aback by our condition. We were drenched in blood and very shook up. We could barely stand, much less walk for hours to Bosnia. But they told us to go. They told us to carry the guys who couldn’t walk and just go.” Faisal told Amnesty.

      Some of the men eventually reached Miral, a reception centre run by the International Organization for Migration in Velika Kladusa in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but five, who were too weak to walk, stayed behind and were eventually picked up by an NGO operating in the camp.

      An emergency doctor at the medical clinic in Velika Kladusa who treated the men told Amnesty International that they all had injuries on the back of their heads which were consistent with a blow by a blunt object and required stiches. Most had multiple fractures, joint injuries, collapsed lungs, cuts and bruises and several were traumatized. Their recovery could take months.

      Routine violent pushbacks and torture by the Croatian police remain unpunished

      While only the latest in the series, the incident points to a new level of brutality and abuse by the Croatian police. In early May, the Guardian reported about a group of men who were forced across the Croatian border after being beaten and having orange crosses spray-painted on their heads. The Croatian Ministry of Interior dismissed the allegations, but the testimonies of violence and intimidation fit the trend of unlawful pushbacks taking place not only on the Croatian, but also on other external borders of the European Union.

      Numerous reports over the past three years have revealed how the Croatian border police routinely assault men, women and teenagers trying to enter the country, destroy their belongings and smash their phones before pushing them back to Bosnia. People are sometimes stripped of their clothes and shoes, and forced to walk for hours through snow and freezing cold rivers.

      A physician in the Velika Kladusa clinic told Amnesty International that approximately 60 per cent of migrants and asylum-seekers who required medical treatment reported that their injuries were inflicted by the Croatian police, while they were trying to cross the border. “Many injuries involve fractures of long bones and joints. These bones take longer to heal and their fractures render the patient incapacitated for extended periods of time. This appears to be a deliberate strategy – to cause injuries and trauma that take time to heal and would make people more reluctant to try to cross the border again or any time soon,” the physician told Amnesty International.

      The Croatian Ministry of Interior has so far dismissed these allegations, refusing to carry out independent and effective investigations into reported abuses or hold its officers to account. In a climate of pervasive impunity, unlawful returns and violence at the border have only escalated. Amnesty International has shared the details of this incident with the Ministry of Interior, but has not received an official response.

      The EU’s failure to hold Croatia to account

      The European Commission has remained silent in the face of multiple, credible reports of gross human rights abuses at the Croatian border and repeated calls by the European Parliament to investigate the allegations. Furthermore, Croatia remains a beneficiary of nearly EURO 7 million of EU assistance for border security, the vast majority of which is spent on infrastructure, equipping border police and even paying police salaries. Even the small proportion (EURO 300,000) that the Commission had earmarked for a mechanism to monitor that the border measures comply with fundamental rights and EU asylum laws, has been no more than a fig leaf. Last year, the Commission recommended Croatia’s full accession to the Schengen Area despite human rights abuses already being commonplace there.

      “The European Commission cannot continue to turn a blind eye to blatant breaches of EU law as people are being branded with crosses on their heads or brutally tortured and humiliated by Croatian police. We expect nothing less than the condemnation of these acts and an independent investigation into reported abuses, as well as the establishment of an effective mechanism to ensure that EU funds are not used to commit torture and unlawful returns. Failing urgent action, Croatia’s inhumane migration practices will turn the EU into an accomplice in major human rights violations taking place at its doorstep,” said Massimo Moratti.

      Violent pushbacks from Croatian border have been a regular occurrence since late 2017. The Danish Refugee Council recorded close to 7,000 cases of forcible deportations and unlawful returns to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019, most of which were accompanied by reported violence and intimidation by Croatian police. Despite the brief respite during the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, pushbacks continue with 1600 cases reported only in April. The figures are increasing daily, as the restrictions across the region are being lifted and the weather is turning milder.

      Amnesty International has interviewed over 160 people who have been pushed back or returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina since July 2018. Nearly one third reported being beaten, having their documents and telephones stolen, and verbally abused in what appears to be a deliberate policy designed to deter future attempts to enter the country.

      https://www.amnesty.eu/news/croatia-fresh-evidence-of-police-abuse-and-torture-of-migrants-and-asylum-se
      #rapport #Amnesty_international

    • Croatia, police abuse is systemic

      While the world is outraged and protests after George Floyd’s death to denounce institutionalised violence, migrants have been beaten and tortured on the Balkan route for years. A brutal practice often covered up, even by the EU itself.

      George Floyd’s death on May 25th sparked protests around the world against police violence and institutional racism. In the Balkans as elsewhere, sit-ins have been held in support of #BlackLivesMatter , followed by calls to report abuses committed locally by the police. And in the region there is no lack of such abuses. In fact, police violence is routine on the “Balkan route”, the flow of migrants and refugees that has crossed the peninsula since 2015 in the hope of reaching the European Union. The events of the past few weeks have unfortunately confirmed once again the link between police brutality and immigration, bringing us back to the Croatian-Bosnian border. It is a story of systemic abuse, both proven and covered up, which involves a member state of the EU, candidate for accession to the Schengen area and, according to the latest revelations of The Guardian, the European Commission itself.
      Torture in Croatia

      When it comes to police abuse on the Croatian-Bosnian border, one does not really know where to start. The accidents recorded in recent years are so many that we can no longer even speak of “accidents”, or unexpected events. On the contrary, violence is rather a common practice, the only news being the increase in brutality by the agents, who have gone from illegal pushbacks to outright torture.

      “We rarely use the word ’torture’ in Europe, but in this case we had to”, explains Massimo Moratti, deputy director of the Europe office of Amnesty International (AI). Last week, AI published yet another report of the mistreatment of migrants by the Croatian police along the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mistreatment is an understatement. The testimonies collected no longer speak of broken mobile phones, or – as has happened more recently – destroyed with a screwdriver to prevent recharging, but instead contain “actual sadism”, as Moratti puts it.

      The case in question is that of 16 Pakistani and Afghan asylum seekers arrested by the Croatian police near the Plitvice lakes between May 26th and 27th. Their testimony is chilling. “We asked them to stop and show mercy. We were already tied up, there was no reason to continue hitting and torturing us", Amir told Amnesty International. Singing and filming on mobile phones, the agents continued to beat the 16 unfortunate men hard, finally smearing their wounds with ketchup and mayonnaise found in the backpack of one of the migrants. Eventually, the group was brought back to the border and forced to walk to Bosnia. Those who were unable to walk, because they are now in a wheelchair, had to be transported by others.

      “It is a pattern, a trend. These are the same practices that we have already seen in Hungary in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Dogs, sticks, broken bones... The goal is to intimidate and frighten so that no one tries to cross the border anymore", resumes Massimo Moratti, who adds: “the fractures we saw in the latter case will take months to heal”. The Amnesty International report and the attached photos tell the rest.
      Four years of violence

      How did we get to this? It is useful to make a brief summary of recent years to understand the evolution of violence. First, the “Balkan route” became a media phenomenon in the summer of 2015, when hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans began to travel up the Balkan peninsula to reach the European Union. At the beginning, the destination of the route was Hungary, then, with the closure of the Hungarian wall, it became Croatia, which leads to Slovenia and then to the Schengen area. In 2015, Croatian policemen showed themselves to be tolerant and benevolent, as reminded by this cover of Jutarnji List .

      In the spring of 2016, the agreement between the EU and Turkey led to the closure of the Balkan route and a change of pace. “The first case of pushback is registered in 2016 on the Serbo-Croatian border. In 2017, we have the first cases of violence", says Antonia Pindulić, legal advisor to the Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) in Zagreb. At the end of 2017, Madina Hussiny, 6, died hit by a train while returning from Croatia to Serbia following the tracks. Together with her family, she had been illegally pushed back by the Croatian policemen.

      In the summer of 2018, the Croatian police fired on a van that carried 29 migrants and refused to stop. Nine people were injured and two minors ended up in hospital in serious conditions. Since then, it has been a crescendo of accidents, especially on the Croatian-Bosnian border, where what remains of the Balkan route passes. Here, the testimonies collected by NGOs speak of beatings, theft, destruction of mobile phones and, as always, illegal pushbacks. Then, the situation has deteriorated up to the torture of the last few weeks. All in the silence of the authorities.
      The silence of the institutions

      How could the Zagreb government not complete an investigation in four years, address the police abuse, punish the guilty? It just didn’t. In fact, Andrej Plenković’s government has just “denied everything” for four years, while “no investigation has produced results”, as Antonia Pindulić of CMS summarises. And this despite the fact that there have been complaints from NGOs and also the actions of the institutions themselves in Croatia.

      “In 2019, a group of policement wrote an anonymous letter to the Croatian Ombudswoman asking to be protected from having to carry out illegal orders”, recalls Pindulić. The agents then revealed the pushback technique: GPS off, communications only on Whatsapp or Viber, no official report. Also in 2019, then President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović had let slip , during an interview on Swiss television, that “of course, a little strength is needed when making pushbacks”. Later, she said she had been misunderstood.

      After dozens of complaints have fallen on deaf ears and after in 2018 the Ombudswoman, in her investigations, had been denied access to video surveillance videos with the excuse that they were lost, the CMS decided a couple of weeks ago to file a complaint “against unknown police officers” guilty of “degrading treatment and torture against 33 people” and “violent and illegal expulsion [of these people, ed.] from the territory of the Republic of Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina”. “We hope that the prosecutor will open an investigation and that people who have violated the law are identified. But since the institutions themselves have violated the law for four years, I don’t know what we can expect”, says Antonia Pindulić.

      The complaint filed brings together four cases, all of which occurred at the beginning of May 2020. “We suspect that the cases are linked to each other, as all the migrants and refugees involved have reported beatings, theft of their belongings, being stripped and, above all, having a cross drawn on their head with orange spray”, says Antonia Pindulić. This very detail had brought the story on the Guardian and sparked controversy in Croatia.
      Towards a turning point?

      In their brutality, the cases seem to repeat themselves without any change in sight. But the Croatian government may soon be forced to answer for what appears to be institutionalised violence. Not only the legal action taken by the CMS “could likely end in Strasbourg”, as Massimo Moratti of Amnesty International speculates, but a lawsuit filed by three Syrian refugees against Croatia reached the European Court of Human Rights at the end of the May . And last week, after the publication of the AI ​​report, the European Commission announced that an observation mission will be sent to Croatia.

      And there is more. This week, the Guardian also revealed that communications between officials of the European Commission show how the European body “covered up Croatia’s failure to protect migrants from brutality on the border”. In question are the European funding received from Zagreb for border security: 7 million Euros, of which 300,000 for the implementation of an independent control mechanism that should have supervised the work of the police. Not only has the mechanism never been implemented, but there have been contradictory communications in this regard, with the Commission declaring that UNHCR was part of the mechanism and the latter publicly denying at the end of 2019 .

      In short, although Brussels allocated a (small) budget for the control of the brutality of Croatian agents, the mechanism that was to be activated with those funds was never created. And the Commission is aware of this. How long, then, will the Plenković government manage to hide its system of violence on the Bosnian border?

      https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Croatia/Croatia-police-abuse-is-systemic-202952

      #violence_systémique

    • Croatia: Police brutality in migrant pushback operations must be investigated and sanctioned – UN Special Rapporteurs

      Croatia must immediately investigate reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement personnel against migrants, including acts amounting to torture and ill-treatment, and sanction those responsible, UN human rights experts said today.

      “We are deeply concerned about the repeated and ongoing disproportionate use of force by Croatian police against migrants in pushback operations. Victims, including children, suffered physical abuse and humiliation simply because of their migration status,” Felipe González Morales, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, said in a joint statement.

      They said physical violence and degrading treatment against migrants have been reported in more than 60 percent of all recorded pushback cases from Croatia between January and May 2020, and recent reports indicate the number of forced returns is rising.

      Abusive treatment of migrants has included physical beatings, the use of electric shocks, forced river crossings and stripping of clothes despite adverse weather conditions, forced stress positions, gender insensitive body searches and spray-painting the heads of migrants with crosses.

      “The violent pushback of migrants without going through any official procedure, individual assessment or other due process safeguards constitutes a violation of the prohibition of collective expulsions and the principle of non-refoulement,” González Morales said.

      “Such treatment appears specifically designed to subject migrants to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as prohibited under international law. Croatia must investigate all reported cases of violence against migrants, hold the perpetrators and their superiors accountable and provide compensation for victims,” Melzer added.

      The UN Special Rapporteurs are also concerned that in several cases, Croatian police officers reportedly ignored requests from migrants to seek asylum or other protection under international human rights and refugee law.

      “Croatia must ensure that all border management measures, including those aimed at addressing irregular migration, are in line with international human rights law and standards, particularly, non-discrimination, the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, the principle of non-refoulement and the prohibition of arbitrary or collective expulsions,” they said.

      During his official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2019, González Morales received information on violent pushback of migrants by Croatian police to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has exchanged views with relevant Croatian authorities on this issue on several occasions. Already during his official visit to Serbia and Kosovo* in 2017, Melzer had received similar information from migrants reporting violent ill-treatment during pushback operations by the Croatian police.

      * All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in compliance with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

      https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25976&LangID=E

      #OHCHR

    • Dva policajca u pritvoru u Karlovcu zbog ozljeđivanja migranta - protiv njih pokrenut i disciplinski postupak

      Zbog sumnje u počinjenje kaznenih djela obojica su, uz kaznenu prijavu, dovedeni pritvorskom nadzorniku Policijske uprave karlovačke. Također, obojica su udaljeni iz službe, odgovoreno je na upit KAportala

      Dva policajca PU karlovačke nalaze se u pritvoru i to zbog sumnje u ozljeđivanje ilegalnog migranta, stranog državljanina.

      Na naš upit iz policije su nam rekli da je u četvrtak, 11. lipnja, u večernjim satima, tijekom utvrđivanja okolnosti nezakonitog ulaska u Republiku Hrvatsku, u policijsku postaju Slunj doveden strani državljanin na kojem su policijski službenici uočili da je ozlijeđen.

      https://kaportal.net.hr/aktualno/vijesti/crna-kronika/3836334/dva-policajca-u-karlovackom-pritvoru-zbog-ozljedjivanja-migranta-protiv

      Commentaire reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 23.06.2020

      two police officers were arrested this week for injuring migrants. This is a big step for the Ministry of the Interior, but small for all cases that have not yet been investigated. However, it is important to emphasize that the violence we are witnessing is not the result of isolated incidents, but of systemic violence for which those who issue and those who carry out these illegal orders should be prosecuted.

  • Asylum seekers illegally returned from Italy to Slovenia, NGOs claim

    Two migrant-aid organizations are accusing authorities in northeastern Italy of illegally returning asylum seekers to Slovenia. They also claim that readmission procedures between Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia prevent people from asking for asylum in the EU.
    The Italian Consortium of Solidarity (ICS) and Catholic charity Caritas in Trieste published a statement on May 28, saying that they were strongly concerned about “the implementation of informal readmissions of migrants” from Italy to Slovenia.

    The two organizations provide housing to immigrants in the province of Trieste in northeastern Italy, near the border with Slovenia.

    ICS and Caritas said that it is illegal for authorities to return those who intend to apply for asylum. They said asylum requests must be registered before authorities check whether the applicant might have applied in another EU country. Under the Dublin Regulation, asylum seekers can be transferred back to the first EU country where they were registered.

    Migrants ’illegitimately sent away from EU’?

    ICS and Caritas also claimed that readmission procedures between Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia enabled authorities to “illegitimately turn away... those who have entered to apply for protection” from European Union territory. These people, “are subjected to grave violence throughout the so-called Balkan route,” they said in their statement.

    Pierpaolo Roberti, the security councilor of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, where Trieste is located, responded to the statement, saying that authorities will “move ahead with informal readmissions.” He said that the police and the prefect had his “full support.” Roberti belongs to the far-right League party, which is known for its harsh anti-migrant policies.

    He said he hopes that “as many people as possible continue to be readmitted to Slovenia and, in addition, that we strive to totally stop that migration flow.”


    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/25114/asylum-seekers-illegally-returned-from-italy-to-slovenia-ngos-claim
    #Slovénie #Italie #push-back #push-backs #renvois #frontière_sud-alpine #refoulements #refoulement #Alpes #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    ping @isskein

    • AYS Special: Italian Court StopsDeportation to Slovenia, Meanwhile Pushbacks Continue

      Italy has become the latest link in chain push backs where literally thousands of people — often violently — end up in the overcrowded camps of Bosnia and Serbia.

      Contradictory approaches in Italy

      An Italian court stopped deportation to Slovenia on the grounds that there is a risk for an asylum seeker to be subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment due to the high possibility of him (or her) being further expelled to Croatia and then to Bosnia or Serbia. However, although the court stopped the deportation of a single individual, collective push-backs from Italy are becoming increasingly common in the months since the judgement made by the court in Genova (April 7th). Thus Italian courts are acknowledging the cruel and inhumane treatment that a returnee is subjected to but, on the other hand, the Italian government is massively increasing the scope of push-backs to Slovenia, as is evident in the recent decision to deploy the army with police jurisdiction.

      16.000 people were returned to Croatia from Slovenia in the last two years.

      These are people who were caught and were processed in police stations with charges of illegal border crossing. When a person asks for asylum in slovenia, he is often faced with threats or the asylum claim is simply ignored and in the official records he is reported as an “economic migrant” — a category invented by the Ministry of Interior and the Police and not encompassed by any law. If one is classified as an “economic migrant” who has no interest to seek asylum, he can be returned to Croatia under a bilateral readmission agreement from 2006.

      The Court in Italy is concerned over systemic deficiencies in the Slovene asylum system and finds real risk for an asylum seeker to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment if deported to Slovenia. Meanwhile, reports of daily informal deportations from theItalian — Slovene border are becoming more and more common.

      COURT RULING: “…the risk of the applicant being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in Slovenia seems justified …

      In early April a court in Genoa, Italy found that:

      “Based on the submitted documentation and additional information obtained by this court proprio motu, the applicant’s complaint — given the conditions of receiving refugees in Slovenia and systemic shortcomings in the asylum procedure — seems justified. (…)

      In this case, the risk of the applicant being subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment in Slovenia seems justified (…) The data collected raise serious concerns about the reception and asylum system currently in force in Slovenia and in general about the atmosphere of cultural intolerance and discrimination prevailing in civil society, among government leaders and between police forces towards foreigners who have entered the country illegally, who have lodged or intend to lodge an application for international protection.”

      The complaint was lodged by a Pakistani asylum seeker, represented by Alessandra Ballerini, who had first filed the application for international protection in Slovenia and was consequently expected to be deported from Italy to Slovenia according to the Dublin regulation.

      The complaint stipulated that such a deportation would violate, inter alia, paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Dublin Regulation due to systemic deficiencies in the asylum system in Slovenia. The court agreed and refused to deport the asylum seeker to Slovenia, “because of the danger that he would be treated there contrary to fundamental humanitarian principles and contrary to the provisions of Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights”.

      As reported by Primorski dnevnik, the judges came to this conclusion taking into account reports of non-governmental organizations on the deteriorating treatment of migrants in Slovenia in the past two years and a 2018 report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which confirms allegations by non-governmental organizations of collective expulsions and violence against migrants in the Balkan region, including Croatia and Slovenia.

      Reports of several Slovenian and International NGOs and civil society actors (Amnesty International, Are You Syrious?, InfoKolpa, Border Violence Monitoring Network) highlight the issue of the Slovenian police authority’s illegal restrictions of access to asylum and practice of forced returns of asylum seekers without a proper assessment of whether their human rights would be violated in other countries via an informal procedure and without the possibility to appeal the deportation (push-backs).

      This was shown by several fact-finding missions: a survey from 2018 by Amnesty International obtained testimonies of 51 people in Velika Kladuša and Bihać in BiH, who were returned to the hands of the Croatian authorities by the Slovenian police, despite the fact that they wanted to apply for asylum in Slovenia.

      Report on illegal practices of collective expulsion at the Slovene-Croatian border by InfoKolpa documents numerous cases of groups of migrants rejected by Slovenian police and returned to Croatia and further to Bosnia despite explicitly showing intention to file for asylum in Slovenia between 11th September and 7th November 2018 via an Alarmphone report; reports by No Name Kitchen and Balkan Violence Monitoring show collective expulsion and violent return of asylum seekers to the Bosnian border surrounding Velika Kladuša as a routine occurrence initiated by Croatian and Slovenian police forces.

      In one year there were 4,653 out of a total of 9,149 intercepted migrants that were collectively deported to Croatia. The above-mentioned reports also cite further official statistics from the Slovenian police, which show a change in practice between May and June 2018, when returns to Croatia increased sharply, while at the same time the number of people applying for asylum dropped severely. Police statistic from police station of a border town Črnomelj state that in May 2018, 371 of the 379 migrants considered (97.88% of all) applied for asylum; after receiving different instructions from the Chief of police, in June only 13 of the 412 migrants, ie 3.15%, lodged an asylum application.

      NGOs accuse the Slovenian government and police of preventing refugees from filing asylum applications and of carrying out collective forced returns without a proper and individual assessment of whether their human rights will be violated in other countries and without the possibility of appeal.

      Returns to Croatia are carried out on the basis of a controversial bilateral agreement between the two countries from 2006 (when Croatia was not yet a member of European Union), which enables informal returns under an abbreviated procedure. According to the court in Genoa, such an abbreviated procedure violates Slovenia’s human rights obligations.

      These findings are further corroborated by an official 2018 report of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which confirms allegations by non-governmental organizations of collective rejection and violence against migrants in the Balkan region, including Croatia and Slovenia.

      Primorski dnevnik cites the court decision featuring portions of NGO reports, saying:

      “Threats, violence, abuse of power and denial of fundamental rights have become common practice at border police stations, and collective deportations to Croatia are repeated daily with the support and awareness of senior police and government officials, despite the high risk of further police violence and theft in Croatia.”

      Slovenian daily newspaper Dnevnik asked Slovenian police for comments on the judgement, and they replied that their procedures were legal and professional, that the guidelines for the work of police officers had already been made public and that UNHCR had not discovered any irregularities when visiting police stations. The Ministry of the Interior replied that they were fully implementing EU legislation in the field of international protection, and that they were not aware of the ruling and could not comment on it.

      Though there was a decrease of irregular entries into Slovenia during the past few months there was an increase of record irregular entries recorded by Italian authorities. This has resulted in minor diplomatic tension between the countries where Slovenia has been dismissed as not being diligent enough in their Schengen gatekeeping duties.
      We suspect that there are two reasons that Italian authorities are recording an increase of border crossings:

      First, as InfoMigrants reported, as part of covid-19 measure the Italian authorities announced temporary legalisation of undocumented residents. We suspect that this might be a reason for a greater number of people reporting themselves and, thus, creating a spike in official records. Connected with this reason might be the Covid-19 measures as traveling became more difficult a greater number of people might be pressed to weather the virus in border municipalities (such as Trieste).

      Migrants (as well as border tensions with Slovenia) are traditionally a convenient distraction for the Italian government(s) in time(s) of crisis. To show its commitment to regulating the frontier the Italian government deployed the armed forces to aid police in intercepting migrants via the last stretch of the Balkan route. As Uroš Škerl reported for the daily newspaper Dnevnik in the last month Italy returned more people than in the previous four months combined (29 compared to 27 from January to April). In a statement for Dnevnik Gianfranco Schiavone of the NGO Consorzio Italiano di Solidarietà — Ufficio Rifugiati Onlus stated:

      “What is new in the last week is that the Italian police started to return people for whom we are convinced that they have the same circumstances as their colleagues that applied for asylum and stayed in Italy.”

      These returns are now conducted with the aid of the armed forces whose deployment the interior ministry justified as “an answer on illegal migrations”. Schiavone is skeptical of the military as they are not trained to conduct border patrols and handle asylum seekers adding: “this is all just political theater”.

      This latest act of EU migration policy melodrama has actors that are less fortunate than others. According to Dnevnik there have been three groups of people (14,17,8) returned to Slovenia and we suspect that at least one of these groups (if not all) has ended up in Velika Kladuša (BIH). A video emerged with a statement of a member of one of these groups containing claims of violent treatment during the Italy-BIH pushback was published recently by a migrant/activist: “This boy who left his fingerprints in Trieste and applied for asylum ، was deported to Slovenia and gradually back to hell”.

      So, on the one hand, Italian courts have found that push backs are cruel and inhumane, yet at the same time the same government has doubled down on its commitment to condemning people to this fate that its own courts find inhumane and cruel.

      Although the condemnation of deportation is a necessary first step, unless this idea is used to hold the security forces to account for their oppression and torture of people, it will remain a hollow ruling. Europeans like to look down on the USA due to their police violence on minorities, state hypocrisy towards its own values and their border walls. Maybe we should stop looking across the ocean and look closer to home.

      Written by: Iza Thaler and Miha Turk from InfoKolpa

      Find daily updates and special reports on our Medium page.

      If you wish to contribute, either by writing a report or a story, or by joining the info gathering team, please let us know.

      We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness. Every effort has been made to credit organisations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

      If there’s anything you want to share or comment, contact us through Facebook, Twitter or write to: areyousyrious@gmail.com

      https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-special-italian-court-stops-deportation-to-slovenia-meanwhile-pushbacks-
      #refoulements_en_chaîne

    • Even from Trieste, Italy.

      “Working every day in the street with people-on-the-move has allowed medical volunteers in Trieste to witness the worsening situation at the Italian border with Slovenia. Here is a sum-up of the radical changes in the last two months, highlighting growing repression towards transit groups and a spike in pushbacks from Italian territory. The events are relayed in three distinct stages: from the start of the pandemic, the development of tighter police controls, and finally the expansion of pushbacks through the dubious “informal readmission” process”

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/news-from-trieste-covid-19-and-pushbacks

      Reçu via la mailing-list de Migreurop, le 15.06.2020

    • The Slovenian Administrative Court issued a judgement confirming that the Slovenian police committed chain pushbacks (https://www.cms.hr/hr/pravna-pomoc-azil-i-statusna-pitanja/slovenski-sud-potvrdio-hrvatska-sudjelovala-u-lancanom-nezakonitom-protjerivanju) in which Croatia also participated, as a result of which a person seeking international protection in Slovenia ended up in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the judgement, the young man identified as J.D. must be returned to Slovenia, he must be given the opportunity to seek asylum again and he must be paid compensation in the amount of € 5,000. This judgement demonstrated the importance of the work of Infokolpa, a civic initiative and a member of the Border Violence Monitoring Network, which played a key role in gathering evidence. Namely, in the judgment, the Slovenian court relied on their reports and the reports of other organisations within the BVMN, as well as media reports. It is precisely in such cases that the importance of independent reports and the importance of documenting violent pushbacks of refugees can be seen.

      However, in addition to warning of the illegal actions of the Slovenian police, this judgement also proves the role of the Croatian police in chain pushbacks of refugees to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is time for the Croatian authorities to conduct effective investigations and make concrete efforts to stop this illegal practice.

      The brutality of pushbacks from Croatia was also experienced by a group of 16 refugees who were tortured and humiliated for five hours by unknown perpetrators in late May before being pushed back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Precisely because of this inhumane and illegal treatment of people in search of safety, the Centre for Peace Studies filed a criminal complaint (https://www.cms.hr/hr/azil-i-integracijske-politike/cms-podnio-kaznenu-prijavu-koja-je-poveznica-policije-i-naoruzanih-nasilnika-u-c) with the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia against unknown perpetrators who tortured the group. Eight armed men in unmarked black uniforms and with balaclavas on their heads, which according to the description given by the victims may belong to a special unit of the Ministry of the Interior, the so-called “Corridor” operation (https://net.hr/danas/hrvatska/zastrasujuca-devijacija-akcije-koridor-policija-sve-dogovara-na-whatsappu-a-pose), treated in an inhumane manner people in search of protection. Armed men wearing black tied the refugees to trees, shot at their heads and feet, beat them with everything they could get their hands on, took all of their belongings under threat of death, and in the end humiliated them by rubbing mayonnaise, ketchup and sugar into the wounds they had previously inflicted. Then, they handed the refugees, some of whom could not walk due to their serious injuries, over to the police, while the police officers then pushed them back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The victim’s testimonies suggest a cooperation between the perpetrators in black and the police. The Centre for Peace Studies once again stressed the importance of promptly conducting an effective and independent investigation into these crimes and sanctioning the perpetrators.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 29.07.2020

      #Croatie #refoulements_en_chaîne #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #justice #corridor_operation

    • Slovénie : la justice reconnaît l’illégalité des expulsions vers la Croatie et la Bosnie-Herzégovine

      C’est un précédent de taille : le tribunal administratif de Ljubljana a donné raison à un jeune Camerounais qui demandait l’asile en Slovénie, mais que la police a illégalement expulsé en Croatie, et qui s’est finalement retrouvé dans les camps de Velika Kladuša et Bihač, en Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      La justice slovène a confirmé dans son verdict (https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/PRESS-KIT-FOR-INTERNATIONAL-MEDIA.pdf) rendu public le 17 juillet dernier que la police slovène avait commis une expulsion illégale, à laquelle la Croatie a également participé, et à la suite de quoi un Camerounais de 23 ans, J. D., qui voulait demander une protection internationale en Slovénie, s’est retrouvé en Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      J. D., qui fait partie d’une minorité anglophone persécutée au Cameroun, a été détenu deux jours durant par la police slovène. Bien qu’il ait demandé l’asile à trois reprises, sa requête n’a jamais été prise en compte. Il a d’abord été illégalement expulsé vers la Croatie, puis vers la Bosnie-Herzégovine. À la suite de la décision du tribunal administratif de Ljubljana, il a désormais le droit de revenir en Slovénie et d’y demander l’asile. L’État slovène a été condamné à lui verser une indemnité de 5000 euros. Ce jugement n’est toutefois pas définitif, l’État ayant la possibilité de faire appel devant la Cour suprême.

      L’affaire a été suivie par InfoKolp, membre du Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN). Dans son verdict, la justice slovène s’appuie sur un rapport de 50 pages remis en mai 2019 par InfoKolp, ainsi que sur des rapports du BVMN et de divers médias, dont Radio Študent, présente dans les camps de Velika Kladuša et de Bihač, dans le nord-ouest de la Bosnie-Herzégovine. Ce verdict constitue un important précédent qui établit les violations en série des droits de l’Homme, mais aussi l’existence d’une « chaîne » d’expulsions illégales « systématiques et routinières », selon les termes de l’avocat du plaignant, depuis la Slovénie vers Bosnie-Herzégovine avec l’aide de la police croate.

      “Une « chaîne » d’expulsions illégales « systématiques et routinières ».”

      Ce verdict confirme également ce que les ONG et institutions soulignent depuis des années : des expulsions illégales de réfugiés et de migrants ont lieu, auxquelles de nombreux pays de l’Union européenne participent. Il s’agit donc d’un indicateur fort pour les institutions européennes de ce qui se passe sur le territoire de l’UE, ainsi qu’à ses frontières extérieures et intérieures, à savoir des violations des droits de l’Homme et de l’État de droit. L’affaire étaie en outre les témoignages de milliers de réfugiés et de migrants qui ont subi des violences, expulsions illégales et violations du droit d’asile, alors que les autorités croates refusent toujours de mener des enquêtes.

      Depuis le début de l’année 2018, la police slovène a renvoyé en Croatie quelque 20 000 personnes qui ont subi des mauvais traitements de la part de la police croate. Dans le meilleurs des cas, elles ont été débarquées d’une fourgonnette à la frontière avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine, mais le plus souvent, elles ont été insultées, battues et torturées par la police.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Slovenie-la-justice-reconnait-une-chaine-d-expulsions-illegales-v

    • Italy-Slovenia border: ASGI’s open letter to the Italian government and UNHCR

      Background

      On July the 24th 2020, in the Italian Parliament’s lower Chamber, Undersecretary Variati on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior answered urgent questions by MP Riccardo Magi on the situation of the so-called “informal readmissions” of foreign citizens at the border between Italy and Slovenia. The response provided by the government in a note is exceptionally troubling, since it clearly violates principles of domestic and EU law on basic human rights. It should be stressed that the note contains a number of contradictions and provides no legal or case-law grounds for what it asserts.

      Before briefly examining the note’s content, it is worth recalling that “readmission” is a simplified procedure allowing a States to send a foreign citizen back at the border to the country s/he came from, when the foreigner does not meet the criteria for admission into the destination country. The basis for these actions is contained in bilateral States agreements, which must not conflict with European and international provisions on movement of people, the right to international protection and fundamental rights.

      Unregulated readmissions

      First of all, the Ministry has openly confirmed that informal readmissions do take place (without any written decision provided to the interested party), which obviously prevents the person to appeal the measure. The Ministry justified this modus operandi by making generic reference to “consolidated practices” of “accelerated readmission procedures”. As already highlighted in the open letter (still unanswered) that ASGI sent to the Government CCing UNHCR on June 5th, the expression “readmissions without formalities” contained in the bilateral Agreement between Italy and Slovenia for the readmission of persons at the border, signed in Rome on September 3rd 1996, certainly cannot be understood as implying no obligation to issue a written decision, as it is indisputable that the action taken by public security with forced accompaniment in Slovenia has effects on the legal situation of the person. Instead, it should be correctly understood in the sense that the procedures for reporting and coordinating readmission operations between the Italian and Slovenian authorities can take place without procedural burdens.

      Irrelevance of the application for international protection

      The assertion that readmissions by foreign citizens are applied “even if the intention to seek international protection has been expressed” is disconcerting. The right to international protection is a fundamental right and access to the asylum procedure and the identification of the country in charge of examining the application are regulated by EU law, notably by the Dublin III Regulation which states that “Member States shall examine any application for international protection lodged by a third-country national or a stateless person on the territory of any Member State, including at the border and in the transit areas”. The obligation for the Member State to register the application for international protection lodged at the border must be respected in all circumstances, even in cases where the applicant has crossed the border of a Member State irregularly from another Member State. The criteria of competence which establish which country will have to examine the asylum application are precisely indicated in the Regulation which in any case strictly excludes that the principles and procedures contained in the inter-state Readmission Agreements may apply.

      Subsequently, the text takes on ambiguous and contradictory tones, reassuring that “all the irregular migrants found are informed, through an interpreter, of the possibility to request international protection”, specifying that a special information booklet is distributed for this purpose. This assertion not only is contradicted by numerous testimonies collected, in Italy and abroad, but in any case would be a pointless exercise, in light of the imminent fate (i.e. readmission) that awaits also those who express their intention to seek asylum. As a further confirmation of this, the ministerial note states that “if the conditions for the readmission request are met and the same is accepted by the Slovenian authorities, there will be no formalization of the request in the police headquarters”. Declaring one’s intention to seek protection therefore produces no apparent legal effect and, consequently, entails no obligation for the Italian authorities, since if Slovenia accepts the readmission application “by completing and sending a special form in which the elements supporting the application are indicated” the foreign citizen is readmitted to Slovenia like those who have not asked for protection, therefore as an irregular foreigner. The note also does not consider that in this case the foreigner would be readmitted to Slovenia as an asylum seeker, thus opening the way to chain rejections as it has already happened in a number of cases.

      Risk of “chain” refoulements

      In relation to this practice, documented by numerous international reports, the Ministry of Interior merely replies that “Slovenia and Croatia are members of the European Union” and consequently “they are to be considered intrinsically safe countries, in terms of human rights and international conventions on the matter”. ASGI expresses serious concerns about the Slovenian and Croatian asylum systems and, above all, about the possibilities of effective access to the asylum procedure. According to Eurostat data, in the first four months of 2020, Croatia registered 400 applications for international protection, equal to 0.3% of the EU total. In Slovenia there were 490 applications registered against 6840 asylum applications registered in Italy. Furthermore, as already highlighted in the ASGI note of June 5th 2020, the right of States to reject or expel those who are not entitled to enter or remain on national territory, albeit lawful as an expression of the principle of state sovereignty, finds specific limits in that States have not only the obligation to recognize, guarantee and protect the human rights of people under their jurisdiction, but also the duty to respect human rights treaties and not to transform them into ineffective norms. The Italian government cannot pretend to ignore that migrants readmitted from Italy to Slovenia and then from Slovenia to Croatia are subsequently transferred coercively to Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, that these operations take place without any written decisions being adopted and served on the foreigners and that migrants are subjected to brutal violence by both the Croatian police and members of private militias. The practice of chain refoulements was also recently recognized by the Slovenian Administrative Court which on July 16th recognized the unlawfulness of the readmission from Slovenia to Croatia and then from Croatia to Bosnia of an asylum seeker. The Slovenian judge ruled that the police had not informed the interested party of his right to apply for international protection, in clear violation of national and EU law. The readmission also violated the ban on collective expulsion because the applicant was not notified of a removal order, nor was he given legal and linguistic assistance before his readmission to Croatia. As regards chain refoulement, the ruling found “sufficiently reliable reports on the possible risks from the point of view of article 3 of the ECHR” both in Croatia, where the applicant was initially removed, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he was subsequently rejected.

      Likely ineffectiveness, against the background above, of a service to assist migrants at border crossings

      Lastly, the note ends with the reassurance that an assistance service for foreigners in the province of Trieste will be soon activated and will be operated by CIR (Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati). In light of the above considerations (i.e. the substantial uselessness of the application for international protection in order to prevent the readmission mechanism), it is highly questionable whether such a service would have any effectiveness and foreign citizens could access it.

      Conclusion

      In conclusion, the note with which the Ministry of the Interior made known its position on the so-called informal readmissions of foreign citizens, including asylum seekers, on the Italian-Slovenian border, represents an ideological endorsement of unlawful procedures implemented in total contempt for domestic and EU law. Despite the controversial and sometimes obscure asylum policy in Italy, so far there hasn’t ever been such a flagrant infringement of the legality, one that may make Italian and European institutions face possible responsibilities for violations of fundamental rights taking place on the border with Slovenia.

      Due to this very serious situation

      ASGI asks the Italian government

      to immediately end the practices of unlawful readmissions at the Italian-Slovenian border;
      to give precise indications to the peripheral government offices to respect the right of asylum and in particular the effective right to access the territory and request international protection adequately;
      to report urgently before the Parliament on the situation at the eastern border by providing all the necessary data and specifically reporting on the operating procedures with which the readmissions have so far been implemented.

      ASGI asks UNHCR

      to take an open public position on the note of the Italian Government in relation to the readmissions of applicants for international protection. For understandable reasons related to its mandate, UNHCR often operates through actions of moral suasion that do not take a public dimension. However, situations, such as that covered by this analysis, require that public opinion, institutions and associations have the full right to know UNHCR’s position on such serious events taking place in the territory of the European Union;
      to implement effective direct monitoring of the situation on the eastern border which has so far been completely lacking, in the awareness that the illegal situation described has already led to the rejection of hundreds of asylum seekers and that stopping this situation must become a top priority on the part of the United Nations agency responsible for defending the very existence of the right to asylum.

      For further information, please refer to the ASGI note of June 5th 2020 and to the recent dossier “La rotta balcanica” (“The Balkan Route”) by the Network “Rivolti ai Balcani”.

      https://en.asgi.it/informal-readmissions-balkan-route-asgi-letter-government-unhcr

    • Cries for help from the Balkan Route. Access to asylum remains a problem in Slovenia.

      “They don’t care about us. We have reached the refugee shelter several times, and they send us back to Croatia.”

      This is part of a message I received on Whatsapp on July 29 from 19-year-old Mohammed from Morocco who was writing from a center in south west Slovenia where he was being held in detention.

      Mohammed explained that he had previously managed to enter Slovenia several times, crossing over the mountains, but was pushed back initially to Croatia, and then again to Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia. This illegal deportation practice has been documented in recent years by a number of human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the Council of Europe, as well as some European parliamentarians.

      NGOs and human rights collectives including Amnesty International and Border Violence Monitoring Network have also said that since July 2018, people on the move have been denied their legal right to apply for asylum by Slovenian police, who have been part of an illegal chain of push backs from the EU, along Italy and Croatia to Bosnia or Serbia.

      Mohammed further told me that since July 19 he had been held alongside a number of other potential asylum seekers in the Aliens Center in #Postojna, a town in Slovenia midway between Ljubljana and the Italian border.

      Usually, people held in this center are in the process of being deported after their asylum claims have been denied, or their stay in the country has been deemed illegal, as defined by the Aliens Act. However, until recently, asylum seekers and those wanting to seek asylum like Mohammed were not being placed there unless there were specific circumstances where they were deemed a flight risk or a danger to public order.

      Through text messages, photos and videos, some of those inside the center managed to reach out to journalists like myself, as well as to some NGOs, and civil society groups.

      A group of activists subsequently organized protests on August 25 in an attempt to raise awareness about what is going on, supporting ongoing protests being held within the center by those being held in detention. They warned the public about this practice by the Slovenian police and drew parallels with the so-called Hungarian model of locking people up during their asylum process.

      Threats and deportations

      The center in Postojna where people are being detained consists of a large hangar-like building that has only lately been equipped with 14 containers. Each has six beds. Additionally, there are two sanitary containers serving as bathrooms and toilets.

      The official capacity of the complex is 180 beds, but the number of those locked-up varies daily. At the beginning of August, through email correspondence, police said that 145 people were held in the center, including 42 in the process of deportation and 65 who had requested asylum but who had not yet received an official response..

      Out of the total number, 38 individuals were registered asylum seekers.

      A few days later, police reported that 142 individuals were being held in the center, including 111 asylum seekers.

      People held in Postojna claim that when they were brought in, police told them they would be quarantined due to the pandemic.

      The General Police Directorate denied that the center in Postojna is being used as a form of quarantine, claiming that only basic medical check-ups are carried out. But in answer to questions, they also state that “the majority stays there for more than 14 days,” the quarantine period recommended by the World Health Organization for those who have been in close contact with somebody with COVID-19.

      https://vimeo.com/453221076

      Messages from those in the center claimed that even the right to request asylum was being denied, despite promises by police upon entering the center that everyone would get a chance to apply.

      Some, like Mohammed, say they have already gone through the experience of being deprived of the right to apply for asylum, and then being deported from the EU, back to the Balkans. They say they reached out to appeal for help after being threatened with deportation to Croatia 10 days after being taken to the center.

      In one of these messages sent to a local NGO, X. from Morocco wrote that the living conditions in the center are “terrible.”

      “They put us in a closed place, some people have been here 28 days and others 25 days without knowing what will happen with us,” he wrote.

      “They take out some and leave some in, even though we have the same case and were arrested in the same circumstances. There is no logic and no law. Some leave without proof of identity, while others are sentenced to three months.

      “There’s patients here and the medical care is not good, some friends are scared about what will happen with us and others are thinking of killing themselves here.”

      https://vimeo.com/453221292

      Violation of asylum laws

      The Ombudsperson’s Office in Slovenia has warned on several occasions about the problematic role of border police in asylum procedures and about the role of Postojna’s Aliens Center, which is officially considered a detention facility.

      Furthermore, in its reports the Office acknowledges that families and children were amongst those previously detained there, a controversial practice it calls to be abolished.

      The men who are currently locked up in Postojna complain of further irregularities, including accusing the translators working for the police as being corrupt and unprofessional. These echo similar claims cited by organizations including Amnesty International Slovenia, while the Ombudsperson’s office has also mentioned it in one of its reports and called on the government to react.

      Saša Zagorc, a professor of constitutional law at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana and a member of the Odysseus Network with other experts on asylum, says that to date little has been done to address the concerns.

      “Systemic problems and irregularities when it comes to deprivation of personal liberty in Slovenia have been known and well analyzed for at least five years,” he says.

      Depriving those wanting to seek asylum of liberty is considered a measure of last resort under international law and is legal only after an individual’s specific circumstances have been taken into account and possible milder measures considered. But Professor Zagorc emphasizes a systemic lack of alternative measures in Slovenia.

      Self-organized activist collective Work-group for Asylum — part of the Ambasada Rog collective that has been working with refugees and migrants in Slovenia for years — issued a statement saying that deprivation of liberty of people who seek asylum is now used in Slovenia as a rule, and not as an exception, as stipulated in law.

      The Interior Ministry denies these allegations.

      Not standard police procedure

      The videos and photos that appeared in the public and the media at the end of July, shortly after protests within the camp, created public pressure. Three days after I received the first message from Mohammed, the men in Postojna reported they had been visited by a group of officials from the Interior Ministry with two different interpreters.

      However, three weeks later, on August 21, they still remained locked up and deprived of their liberty, with no legal counsel.

      In answer to my questions about the broader framing of the current situation in Postojna, the Ombudsperson’s Office said that part of the problem is a lack of systemic access to free legal counsel for some people deprived of their liberty in the Aliens Center.

      The official response from the Interior Ministry is that the men’s detention in Postojna might “not be a standard police procedure,” but that all police actions are lawful.

      Standard police procedure is to take asylum seekers to Ljubljana’s Asylum Center, where they have freedom of movement after a few days of quarantine and an initial interview. The Interior Ministry said that their officials can, and do, conduct first interviews with people who wish to apply for asylum in Ljubljana’s Asylum Center, as well as at other police stations.

      They explained that the asylum requests can be “deemed obviously unfounded if an individual comes from a so-called safe third country.” Such procedures aim to speed up deportations of individuals whose asylum requests have been denied.

      Human rights organizations, including the Council of Europe, however, have warned that even in such expedient procedures individual circumstances need to be considered and these may make asylum claims valid even when an applicant is from a so-called safe third country.

      The police practices are reflected in official statistics. According to the Interior Ministry, in the first half of 2020, 64 out of 120 asylum requests were rejected as “obviously unfounded.” In the same period last year, 30 out of 51 asylum requests were denied as “obviously unfounded.”

      Police instructions, exposed last month by Slovenian media, reveal that as a rule, asylum seekers are now to be taken to Postojna in an apparent attempt to speed up deportations, not to Ljubljana’s Asylum Center.

      In a phone conversation with a representative of the Legal-Informational Centre for NGOS, I find out that since late May and June they have been overwhelmed with filing legal motions to appeal the detention of asylum seekers in Postojna.

      Interior Ministry data shows that this year, police have deprived 75 potential asylum seekers of their liberty, 69 of which were in June alone. The administrative court this year annulled 35 of these measures.

      Meanwhile, based on a request made by right wing politicians in Italy, additional Italian army troops are to be deployed to the border with Slovenia. Some troops were already deployed in May, while the idea of having the army is supported by far right groups on both sides of the border.

      In Slovenia, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, a member of the right wing SDS party, openly welcomed the idea.

      For now, the struggle of people in Postojna and Slovenian civic society continues. In one of his messages sent to the activists, X. wrote:

      “We are not criminals — we are humans. The difference between us and other people is just the paper — we are people without papers and that does not mean we are not good people.”

      https://kosovotwopointzero.com/en/cries-for-help-from-the-balkan-route

  • Special Report: #COVID-19 and Border Violence along the Balkan Route

    The #Border_Violence_Monitoring_Network are publishing a feature report on the intersection of the current health crisis and border management. This new report shares first hand testimony of people-on-the-move who are experiencing the COVID-19 lockdown in transit. Its scope looks at the way restrictive measures disproportionately affect vulnerable persons in camps and at borders. Further, analysis of various countries from the region shows how COVID-19 measures have also been utilised to shape and erode the fundamental rights of these communities. Approaching the topic of COVID-19 as a period used to stage rights suspensions, some of the developments explored in this report include:

    –The deployment of military forces at borders and camps is a core feature of the securitised response to COVID-19. This was seen with proposals made by the Slovenian government to increase the army’s remit in the border area and the garrisoning of camps in Serbia.

    –The development of pushback practice in countries such as Croatia has shown a disturbing turn. Augmentation of border violence as a result of the pandemic appeared with the crude paint tagging of transit groups near Velika Kladusa. Meanwhile two officers actively involved in pushbacks in the Topusko area were tested positive for COVID-19, putting people-on-the-move at direct risk of contracting the virus at the hand of perpetrating officers..

    –Collective expulsions from camps has rapidly become a new concern for people in centres in Greece and Serbia. The lockdown measures were used on multiple occasions as an excuse to perform large scale pushbacks from inner city camps and centres hosting asylum seekers.

    –Inadequate accommodation facilities are an ongoing concern for transit groups denied the basic means to exercise relevant health protocols. Across the Balkan Route and Greece, the sealing of centres marked disproportionate deprivations of liberty and wilful neglect of hygienic standards by states and the European Union.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/special-report-covid-19-and-border-violence-along-the-balkan-route
    #violence #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #migrations #asile #réfugiés #violent_borders #violence_aux_frontières #rapport #armée #militarisation_des_frontières #Serbie #Slovénie #push-back #push-backs #refoulement #refoulements #Velika_Kladusa #Topusko #Grèce #confinement #camps_de_réfugiés #hébergement

    ping @luciebacon

  • Collective Expulsion from Greek Centres

    The Border Violence Monitoring Network are releasing new case material presenting evidence of removals from Greek centres and the subsequent pushback of at least 194 people to Turkey. The incidents, occurring from the camp in #Diavata and the #Drama_Paranesti Pre-removal Centre, show the extension of collective expulsion during the COVID-19 period. These are brazen acts which situate institutional accommodation sites and detention spaces firmly within the illegal pushback regime. Find out more in the full briefing attached below:

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/Press-Release_Greek-Pushbacks.pdf
    #push-backs #push-back #renvois #refoulements #refoulement #Grèce #Turquie #Grèce #covid-19 #coronavirus #apport #Evros

    ping @luciebacon

    • Migrants accuse Greece of forced deportations

      New findings suggest Greek authorities are illegally deporting refugees across the Turkish border. As part of an international research team, DW identified and met some of the victims who were forced back. 

      “Come with us and we will issue you new papers,” a Greek police officer told Bakhtyar on a Wednesday morning in late April. The 22-year-old Afghan man believed the offer was the key to realizing his dream of starting a new life in Europe.

      Two months earlier Bakhtyar had crossed the Evros River, a border between Turkey and Greece, and a key route for refugees seeking to reach the European Union. He continued onward to Diavata, the official refugee camp set up on the outskirts of Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki. Upon arrival he was careful to register with the Greek police, the precursor to seeking international protection — and a first step in the asylum process. A photograph of his document shows the date to be February 12, 2020.

      The coronavirus lockdown had closed most public services, and Bakhtyar says he had been anxious for the office to reopen so he could make an official asylum claim. He would not get the chance to do so.

      Recalling his encounter with police in April, Bakhtyar says he was put in a white van and taken to a police station in the center of Thessaloniki. Instead of getting the crucial papers as he was promised, Bakhtyar says the police confiscated all his belongings, including his phone. He was later relocated to another police station where, he says, officers slapped and kicked him before putting him onto the back of a truck. Bakhtyar remembers a sheet being pulled down to prevent anyone seeing who was inside the truck. He did not realize it at the time, but the truck was heading east — retracing his arduous journey back towards Turkey.

      When the truck stopped, Bakhtyar realized he was not alone. Other asylum-seekers like him were lined up along the banks of the Evros River. He recalls seeing young men loaded onto dinghies, 10 at a time. The boatman, Bakhtyar says, spoke in Greek to people he assumed were police, and to the asylum-seekers in their native Dari. DW could not independently verify that the men were Greek police officers. For Bakhtyar, he says it was clear it was not the boatman’s first such crosing to Turkey.

      Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the border between Greece and Turkey is closed. All official deportation procedures have been put on hold. When Bakhtyar and other asylum-seekers reached the far bank on the Turkish side, there was nothing and no-one waiting for them.  

      DW meets pushback victims 

      When DW met with Bakhtyar for this report, he was staying in Istanbul’s Esenler district, home to a substantial Afghan population. The city was under lockdown at the time and it was hard to move around. Wearing a red T-shirt with “New York” written across the front, Bakhtyar appeared sad and upset. He wants to get back to Greece as soon as possible to pursue his dream of living in Europe.

      Bakhtyar’s experience is not an isolated story. In a joint investigation between DW, the Dutch news publication Trouw, media nonprofit Lighthouse Reports, and the independent verification collective Bellingcat, we were able to locate Bakhtyar and other young men in Turkey and verify that they had been forcibly returned after previously being in Greece. Their accounts, all given separately, establish a clear pattern: male, under 30 and traveling by themselves. Most of them are from Afghanistan, some of them are from Pakistan and North Africa. They were either arrested in the Greek camp of Diavata or picked up seemingly at random by local police near the camp.

      Together with our news partners, we met with and interviewed multiple eyewitnesses in Greece and Turkey, collected Greek police documents and established a chain of evidence, from the refugee camp in Diavata to the streets of Istanbul. Using publicly available data, including refugees’ social media posts, which were time-stamped and featured photographs of landmarks in Greece that were geolocated, we were able to corroborate key elements of witness testimony.

      In total we contacted six people in Istanbul who recounted their experiences with “pushbacks” — the forceful return of refugees and migrants across a border — and located another four elsewhere in Turkey, all of whom could prove their previous stays in Greece.

      Pushbacks are deportations carried out without consideration of individual circumstances and without any possibility to apply for asylum or to put forward arguments against the measures taken, according to the European Convention on Human Rights.

      ’Modern slavery’

      One of the other men we met in Istanbul is Rashid, who fled his native Afghanistan three years ago and made his way to Turkey. He worked as a packer and mover in Ankara, the Turkish capital, before heading to Istanbul where he found work as a welder. He has temporary protection status in Turkey but is not provided with medical assistance or housing.

      “In Turkey, life is full of uncertainties for young Afghan men who lack access to basic healthcare and social services,” Zakira Hekmat, co-founder of the Afghan Refugees Solidarity Association in Turkey, told DW. “They are precariously employed in low-paid jobs without permits. It is modern slavery.” Afghan men in Turkey mostly toil in the underground economy working tough, physical jobs in construction, transportation or textiles.

      Hoping for a better future, Rashid left Turkey for Greece at the beginning of 2020. He recalls crossing the Evros River with about 20 other people on a boat. He says he stayed in a tent for roughly two months next to the refugee camp at Diavata. But everything changed for him in late March when he was returning from Friday prayers.

      Rashid says he was stopped by Greek police who told him to wait. He then describes to DW how a white van pulled up and armed men without uniforms appeared. They told him to get in. Rashid says he did not even know who the men were and that he only found out later that they were working with Greek police after he was taken to a police station. DW could not verify the connection between the men and the police.

      His Greek documents, originally valid for one month, had expired but renewal during the coronavirus outbreak had not been possible as immigration offices were closed. At the station, Rashid says, the police confiscated all his belongings.

      “They didn’t even give me a glass of water at the police station,” he recalls. Rashid was not asked to sign any papers by the Greek authorities. He says he was later driven for hours in a van across Greece and then forced onto a small boat to cross the Evros River back into Turkey.

      Recognizing a pattern

      Reports on alleged pushbacks, especially at the Evros border, are numerous. The witness accounts we have gathered with our news partners corroborate reports from human rights organizations working with the Border Violence Monitoring Network, an independent database. They indicate that there were at least five police raids carried out in Diavata camp between March 31 and May 5, resulting in the seemingly illegal deportation of dozens of migrants. In almost all cases, police appear to have targeted young, single men from Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa.

      Vassilis Papadopoulos, president of the Greek Council of Refugees and a migration official in a previous administration, sees a clear pattern in the pushbacks.

      “Police vans come to the camp and the officers carry out a brief check of the people who are not yet registered. They ask for their papers  [...] they detain them and tell them that they will be taken to the station, to either check their papers or to provide them with new papers and instead of that, according to the complaints, [these people] are returned to Turkey,” he says. 

      “What is important and unprecedented in these allegations, if proven valid, is that we are talking about pushbacks from [deep] inside the country and even so from a camp without any formal deportation procedure being followed.”

      When DW confronted the Ministry of Migration and Asylum with the reports of illegal pushbacks, Alternate Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos denied them. “The allegations about human rights violations by Greek law enforcement personnel are fabricated, false and uncorroborated,” he said.

      Sealing the borders

      Greece has been under intense pressure at its borders since the end of February when Turkey signaled the end of its 2016 agreement with the EU over restricting refugee and migrant flows. Ankara had encouraged migrants to head towards the land and maritime borders with Greece. Athens responded by sealing its borders and suspended access to asylum during March. While the asylum system officially resumed in April, the number of arrivals is 97% below levels for the previous April, according to statistics from the Ministry of Migration and Asylum.

      In early May, Greek media reported that the government was said to be pursuing “aggressive surveillance” aimed at preventing refugees from arriving. The government has not specified what this entails.

      DW approached the Ministry of Migration and Asylum for further details on the extent of the government’s activities. Alternate Minister Koumoutsakos said, “measures taken so far have been proportionate to the gravity of the situation and pursued legitimate aims, such as, in particular, the protection of national security, public order and public health.”

      Notis Mitarakis, the Greek Minister on Migration and Asylum, has defended the government’s harder line on asylum and migration. Speaking to state television during a visit to Samos on April 28, he said: “There have been zero arrivals to our country in April 2020 thanks to the very big efforts made by our security forces.”

      On the same day, however, residents of the Aegean island reported on local media and Facebook that they had seen newly arrived migrants in the village of Drakei. Lighthouse Reports and Bellingcat analyzed video footage from the Turkish coast guardand refugees that indicated a boat carrying 22 asylum-seekers arrived at a cove on Samos at around 7:30 a.m. that day.
      Pushed back from Samos island

      Jouma was among the refugees who climbed the steep path up from the remote cove on Samos to the village. This was the fourth time the young man from Damascus, Syria had tried to reach Greece. For a few hours on the morning of April 28 he believed he had finally made it.

      In a detailed account, Jouma recalls what he experienced after the refugees reached Samos. He says that a girl from the group who spoke a little English asked a local to notify Greek police that they had arrived. The new arrivals expected that they would be taken to the Samos’ refugee camp. Instead, the police who came detained them and took their phones. They were driven to a port where they were transferred between boats before being loaded onto a black-orange life raft without an engine or paddles. Jouma says they were towed towards Turkish waters. The raft was set adrift in the open sea with the waves pushing them back towards Greece and a Greek vessel pushing them towards Turkey.

      The worst thing, Jouma says, was a Greek power boat maneuvering around them trying to push them into Turkish waters, while the Turkish coast guard was just observing. “The Greek coast guard would retreat to make room for their Turkish counterparts to come and take us, but they wouldn’t come, and it went on all night,” Jouma says.

      The group was eventually picked up at noon the next day by the Turks. The port authorities on Samos told DW that there were no arrivals of asylum seekers to the island on April 28. The apparent use of orange life rafts in previous pushback operations was reported by Greek national newspaper Efimerida Ton Syntakton on April 7.

      Are pushbacks in compliance with EU law?

      Greece, like other EU border states such as Croatia, has long been dogged by accusations of pushbacks. Dimitris Christopoulos, who was until recently the president of the International Federation for Human Rights, says that the new intensity of incidents and the number of witnesses raises questions to what extent Greek authorities have been authorizing these pushbacks and how much the EU is aware of what is happening on the Greek border.

      “Obviously, these tactics are violating the Greek Constitution and customary international law, yet they seem to be tolerated by the EU since they serve the purpose of preventing further people from crossing the Aegean or the River Evros into Europe,” says Christopoulos.

      When DW again questioned the Ministry of Migration and Asylum about the legality of the government’s tactics, Alternate Minister Koumoutsakos categorically denied that such operations were taking place. “Greece has been complying, and will continue to do so, with its obligations under international law, including all relevant human rights treaties to which it is a party, also mindful of its obligations under the borders, migration and asylum EU legal framework, as enshrined in the EU Treaties.”

      Jürgen Bast, Professor of European Law at the University of Giessen in Germany, calls such a pushback strategy a clear violation of the law “This goes against everything European law stipulates.” The pushbacks, as described by the refugees, break all the rules of the official return directive, Bast says, referring to the orderly procedure that an asylum request entails, including a personal interview and the right of the individual to stay in Greece until a decision is made. The destination country, Bast continues, must also be informed and may have the right to refuse rejected asylum-seekers from third countries.

      None of the young men DW met said they had been notified ahead of time that they would have to leave Greece; nor did they give the impression that they had been informed of their legal rights. Instead, the experiences recounted by Bakhtyar, Jouma, Rashid, and the others interviewed suggest that forceful pushbacks across the Greek-Turkish border have become an increasingly common pattern.

      Desperate to get to Europe

      Rashid now lives in a cramped Istanbul flat with 10 other young Afghans. As an undocumented migrant in Turkey, he faces the threat of being deported back to Afghanistan. According to official statistics, 302,278 Afghans have been apprehended by security forces in Turkey in the last two years. Since 2018 it has become extremely difficult for Afghans to register for asylum in Turkey.

      Surrounded by what appear to be dead ends for him in Turkey, Rashid is desperately searching for a way to once again reach Europe. “I do not know what I will do here. We are not guilty. Of course, I want to cross the border again,” he says. “I have to.”

      https://www.dw.com/en/migrants-accuse-greece-of-forced-deportations/a-53520642

  • Are they putting up a fence around your house these days?

    In Zagreb’s neighbourhood Dugave on Friday, 13th of March, the installation of a wire fence around the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers has commenced. The fence was planned earlier and for its installation HRK 693,000 has been provided (https://www.jutarnji.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/pritisak-raste-hrvatska-se-priprema-za-novi-veliki-val-migranata-policija-ce-braniti-nasu-granicu-sa-5-bespilotnih-letjelica/9496424). Considering the psychological panic that’s been present this week in Zagreb over coronavirus - this fence will at the moment create even more division, panic and intolerance. On the komunal.org web site (http://komunal.org), some of the residents of Porin hotel as well as friends who aren’t residents posted a letter stating (komunal.org/teksti/542-welcome-to-prison-we-are-treated-like-animals-in-the-zoo?fbclid=IwAR20Y3VlB_eGrb_TOIJ0jWMxBrlsCKpm0GZMyENNOOdtttGDMRwtzpcMFvI): “Workers came with the equipment and started installing a fence around Porin. What has hitherto been a symbolic prison is just becoming a real fenced prison. The fence has been installed on the hush side, without the people living in the camp being informed or explained exactly what it will mean for their lives, and with no protest from local NGOs. The timing is ideal - the health threat has set a state of emergency, which is an ideal opportunity to distract from the repressive and restrictive policies being implemented in the background." * find the photos attached.

    Persons seeking international protection who reside in the Zagreb and Kutina shelters are under constant medical supervision. In addition, asylum seekers located in Reception centres have been warned about the occurrence of the disease and the measures that need to be taken to prevent its further spread. A doctor is present at the Reception Centres every day and all international protection seekers are constantly monitored by healthcare staff. People accommodated in the Reception Centres are advised to stay inside, and measures are taken inside the facilities to protect them (i.e. markings on the floor for distance, hygienic supplies, medical staff).

    One person was taken to the #Ježevo Detention Center, in self-isolation (https://www.24sata.hr/news/sirijac-mora-u-samoizolaciju-u-porinu-je-to-tesko-provesti-681083), due to suspected coronavirus. This is a person who has been deported from Austria under the Dublin Decree and has previously been granted asylum in the Republic of Croatia. Why is this person, who has approved international protection and almost equal rights with Croatian citizens, not placed in self-isolation in some of the facilities that the City of Zagreb intended for this purpose - such as facilities in Sljeme?

    The treatment and prevention of COVID-9 in a pandemic are a medical emergency, which means that medical treatment is free of charge for all refugees, asylum seekers, foreigners who are in the so-called irregular status and others, which was pointed, among other things, in an open letter of Trans-Balkan solidarity (https://transbalkanskasolidarnost.home.blog) - No one is safe until everyone is protected! signed by the Inicijativa Dobrodošli with over six hundred organisations and individuals from across the region.

    The letter, which is based on the knowledge of the needs in the field in countries along the so-called Balkan routes, calls for legalisation of all existences. In contrast, the opposite is already being done in practice: segregation and discrimination (prohibition of the movement of migrants in the public space within the Una-Sana Canton) (https://www.facebook.com/VLADAUSK/posts/2688585911360765?__tn__=K-R&_rdc=1&_rdr), stigmatisation (Tuzla’s civil protection headquarters called for self-isolation for all residents who were in contact with migrants without any indication that any of the migrants were actually infected) (https://www.rtvslon.ba/gradski-stab-civilne-zastite-tuzla-zatrazena-samoizolacija-za-gradjane-koji-) and militarisation (the Army of the Republic of Serbia will be safeguarding entrances and exits at the Migration Reception Centers in Šid) (https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=650566652409128).

    This week, a number of initiatives have written public letters calling for measures to be applied to the most vulnerable. Croatian Right to the City (https://pravonagrad.org) has drafted four home security requirements (https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/4-zahtjeva-za-sigurnost-doma) - a moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures, a moratorium on mortgage repayments, an urgent measure to release rent payments, and an urgent organisation of housing for the homeless. The European Network Against Racism (https://www.enar-eu.org/Leaving-no-one-behind-in-the-crisis-ENAR-network-calls-for-system-change-no) has called for a systemic change for the EU to achieve full equality in the current crisis. "It is symbolic to see that in times of crisis, equality measures become empty words for marginalised groups - although some of the most precarious jobs have become crucial right now.”

    Forum 2020 responded to EU moves (https://crosol.hr/hr/reakcija-foruma-2020-na-poteze-europske-unije-usmjerene-na-suzbijanje-pandemi) to combat the coronavirus pandemic, noting, among other things, the need to "show solidarity with refugees and migrants at the EU’s external borders and overcrowded camps, which are a particularly vulnerable group given the inadequate hygiene and health conditions’’. Meanwhile, activists in the field are reporting an extremely tense situation at the Turkish-Greek border crossing - Pazarkula. According to the people on no-man’s land, food shortages have occurred in recent days. The cessation of food distribution puts people in a state of starvation - some 14,000 people are at risk, including 12,000 adults and 2,000 children. Likelihood of new conflicts (https://insajder.net/sr/sajt/vazno/17366/Novi-sukobi-gr%C4%8Dke-policije-sa-migrantima-na-granici-sa-Turskom.htm) escalating in this area is strong. Also, MEPs Tineke Strik and Erik Marquardt warn of the situation in Greece - you can listen to their discussion at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poMbvCsxKcU&feature=youtu.be

    . Greece is “on fire” and a death of one child has been reported on the island of Lesbos at Camp Moria.

    While numerous appeals are being made to protect refugees during this extremely sensitive period, UNHCR and IOM have announced (https://www.iom.int/news/iom-unhcr-announce-temporary-suspension-resettlement-travel-refugees) the suspension of their resettlement program - due to coronavirus. Refugees are now left without the only safe and legal path they had.

    The Border Violence Monitoring Network published a report for February 2020 (https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/February_Report_20.pdf). New testimonies of refugees and other migrants speak of collective expulsions from Northern Macedonia carried out by Czech police. Cooperation between Northern Macedonia and the Czech Republic was established back in 2015 (http://www.praguemonitor.com/2018/02/20/over-1200-czech-police-help-tackle-migration-abroad-2015) with the aim of preserving the EU’s external border - this practice is a direct indicator of the implementation of the EU’s border externalisation policy, where Frontex is a major player. Police dogs used in violent expulsions are repeated in Hungary, and new testimonies are coming from families of violent expulsions from Romania to Serbia (https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/february-21-2020-0000-kikinda).

    Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 26.03.2020

    #Croatie #Zagreb #coronavirus #asile #migrations #réfugiés #grillage #clôture

    ping @luciebacon

  • Une personne grièvement blessée par la police à la #frontière entre la #Croatie et la #Slovénie, 27-28 novembre 2019

    –-------------

    Croatie : un policier ouvre encore le feu contre des réfugiés

    28 novembre - 22h : Mercredi en fin d’après-midi, un policier a ouvert le feu contre un groupe de réfugiés, près du village de #Mrkopalj, dans le comté de #Primorje-Gorski_Kotar, à 50 km à l’est de Rijeka, blessant l’un d’entre eux. La police affirme que l’homme aurait opposé une vive résistance à son arrestation et tenté de s’enfuir. Il y a onze jour, la police avait déjà ouvert le feu contre un autre groupe de réfugiés dans la même région, située sur la route reliant la région de Bihać, en Bosnie-Herzégovine, à la Croatie.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/courrierdesbalkans-fr-fil-info-refugies-2019-novembre

    #frontière_sud-alpine #montagne #mourir_aux_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #décès #morts #frontières #Croatie #Route_des_Balkans #Slovénie

    Cet accident survient seulement quelques 10 jours après l’autre personne blessée par #arme_à_feu sur la même frontière, 16-17.11.2019 :
    Migrante in fin di vita all’ospedale di Fiume, sarebbe stato raggiunto da colpi di pistola esplosi dalla polizia
    https://seenthis.net/messages/811666

    #armes #armes_à_feu

    –-------

    v. la liste des push-back à la frontière avec #armes_à_feu (août 2017-octobre 2019)
    https://seenthis.net/messages/814569

    –------

    Ajouté à cette liste des morts (même si la personne dont on parle ici n’est pas décédée) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/811660

    Et, indirectement, à la métaliste des migrant·es morts à la #frontière_sud-alpine :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/758646

    • We begin another week’s report with news of Croatian police shooting a man. Just eleven days after the case of an officer’s “accidental firing” and shooting of a man who is still recovering from serious injuries at the hospital in Rijeka, on Thursday another Croatian police officer shot a man in the area of #Mrkopalj (https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/policajac-upucao-migranta-kod-fuzina-iz-policije-kazu-da-je-kriv-migrant/2136049.aspx). The police version about the event is again unclear and blames the victim – it says that the person was “actively resisting and thereby caused the police officer’s firearm to fire". We wonder which version of the story the Croatian police will embrace this time - in the case of another “accidental firing”, the question is whether police officers are actually well trained in handling firearms, and in the case of a deliberate shooting, we expect a transparent and independent investigation into all of the circumstances of the event and the verification whether the police officer acted within his authority and in proportion to the use of necessary defence.

      Reçu via Inicijativa dobrodosli, mail du 04.11.2019.

      –---
      Policajac upucao migranta kod Fužina. Iz policije kažu da je kriv - migrant

      POLICAJAC je jučer na području Mrkoplja upucao migranta. Iz policije su javili da je došlo do opaljenja jer je migrant pružao aktivan otpor. Migrant je lakše ranjen.

      Propucavanje se dogodilo jučer, a policija je o tome izvijestila danas navodeći da je migrant sam kriv za opaljenje pištolja.

      U riječkom KBC-u doznaje se da je ozlijeđeni muškarac zadobio prostrjelnu ranu desnog ramena te je sinoć operiran. Stanje mu je stabilno i izvan je životne opasnosti.

      Utvrđuju okolnosti ranjavanja migranta, a već su ih utvrdili?

      Njihovo priopćenje prenosimo u cijelosti.

      “Jučer, 27. studenog 2019. godine, u kasnim popodnevnim satima, na širem području Mrkoplja, policijski službenici PU primorsko-goranske, koji sukladno zaključcima sastanka predstavnika policije i lokalnih vlasti na navedenom području provode pojačane aktivnosti na suzbijanju nezakonitih migracija te prevenciji imovinskih delikata, zatekli su grupu nepoznatih osoba.

      Tijekom policijskog postupanja, jedna od zatečenih osoba, u namjeri da spriječi policijskog službenika u obavljanju službene radnje, pružala je aktivan otpor i na taj način svojim djelovanjem prouzrokovala opaljenje iz vatrenog oružja policijskog službenika, kojom prilikom je došlo do posljedičnog zadobivanja ozljeda.

      Osobi je odmah pružena hitna medicinska pomoć te je zbrinuta. Prema prvim neslužbenim informacijama radi se o lakšoj ozljedi”, stoji u priopćenju.

      Na kraju dodaju kako se utvrđuju sve okolnosti pod kojima se događaj odvio, a prema njihovom priopćenju se čini da su već utvrdili način na koji je migrant upucan.

      Zadnji ovakav slučaj dogodio se prije 11 dana na području Tuhobića, gdje je policajac iz puške propucao migranta i nanio mu ozljede opasne po život. Policija je i tada izvijestila da se radilo o slučajnom opaljenju oružja.

      https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/policajac-upucao-migranta-kod-fuzina-iz-policije-kazu-da-je-kriv-migrant/2136049.aspx

    • This week started with a tragic event happened in Croatia: a man has been shot by a Croatian police officer (https://www.cms.hr/hr/azil-i-integracijske-politike/povodom-ranjavanja-osobe-u-gorskom-kotaru-pucanj-u-ljudska-prava) - at the time writing, he is still in hospital and went through more than 4 surgeries, and he’s fighting for his life. One of the multiple versions elaborated by the Ministry of the interior is that “there has been no shooting, rather it was an accidental firing”. The version of the story changed several times, and up until now, the minister decided to stay silent “while the investigations are ongoing”. We would like to underline how we don’t have trust in a system that makes Thermo camera videos disappear, or in a system that doesn’t allow other institutions like the ombudswoman to access to information regarding border management. While the European Commission gives the green light for Croatia accession to Schengen, the police officers shoot to men in search of safety: is this the idea that the European Commission has of a good way of managing the external borders of EU? Border Violence Monitoring Network reminds us how this event is not an exception nor an accident: in their press briefing (https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/Press-Briefing-19th-November-2019-1.pdf), the network underlines how the 19% of all recorded pushback cases from Croatia involved gun use, affecting 1279 people. In 2019, the pushbacks of 770 people from Croatia involved gun use. Of the 54 group cases: 31 cases gunshots were fired by police officers; in 33 cases guns were used to threaten respondents. In October 2019 alone, 17% of recorded pushback cases from Croatia involved the threatening with, or shooting of firearms by police. These firearms use targeted a total of 285 people. Across the Balkan Region, BVMN has recorded 107 incidents of gun used by police, including 63 cases where gunshots were fired by police officers; 63 cases where guns were used to threaten respondents. Here you can read the full report of the month of October: https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-october-2019

      Reçu via Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 27.11.2019.

  • Une personne grièvement blessée par la police à la #frontière entre la #Croatie et la #Slovénie, 17 novembre 2019 :

    Un inmigrante, en estado crítico por los disparos de la Policía croata cerca de la frontera con Eslovenia

    Un inmigrante, en estado crítico por los disparos de la Policía croata cerca de la frontera con Eslovenia

    La Policía croata ha dejado herido en estado crítico a un inmigrante que intentaba cruzar con un grupo de compañeros la frontera hacia Eslovenia, según han confirmado fuentes oficiales de la localidad de #Rijeka, próxima a la zona montañosa de #Gorski_Kotar, a unos 20 kilómetros de la línea de separación, donde ha sucedido el incidente. El ministro del Interior croata, Davor Bozinovic, ha confirmado las intenciones del grupo pero no ha dado detalles sobre el número de integrantes ni sus ...

    Leer más: https://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-inmigrante-estado-critico-disparos-policia-croata-cerca-frontera

    https://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-inmigrante-estado-critico-disparos-policia-croata-cerca-frontera
    #montagne

    Ajouté à cette liste des morts (même si la personne dont on parle ici n’est pas décédée, mais les blessures sont apparemment très graves et la personne est « en fin de vie » selon les informations de presse) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/811660

    Et, indirectement, à la métaliste des migrant·es morts à la #frontière_sud-alpine :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/758646

    #frontière_sud-alpine #montagne #mourir_aux_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #décès #morts #frontières #Croatie #Route_des_Balkans #Slovénie

    • Migrante in fin di vita all’ospedale di Fiume, sarebbe stato raggiunto da colpi di pistola esplosi dalla polizia

      „A riportare la notizia è il quotidiano croato Dnevnik.hr che ha registrato il grave ferimento dell’uomo, di cui non si conoscono ancora le generalità, ieri pomeriggio nella zona del Gorski Kotar. La vicenda confermata anche dal ministro degli Interni di Zagabria, Davor Bozinovic“

      Nella zona del Gorski kotar, ieri 16 novembre la Polizia croata avrebbe sparato ad un migrante che sarebbe ricoverato in fin di vita, nell’ospedale di Fiume, a causa di una grave ferita al ventre. A riportare la notizia è il quotidiano croato Dnevnik.hr in questo articolo dove spiega come le forze dell’ordine croate avrebbero esploso colpi d’arma da fuoco (non viene riferito il numero) dopo il rintraccio di un gruppo di una quindicina di migranti nella zona del monte Tuhobic e, presumibilmente, provenienti dalla rotta balcanica.

      Al momento non si hanno notizie sulle generalità dell’uomo, né sulla sua età. Il Dnevnik riporta che l’uomo, assieme agli altri compagni di viaggio, si stava dirigendo verso il confine con la Slovenia, tentando di entrarvi illegalmente. La notizia del ferimento del migrante e il suo trasferimento all’ospedale del capoluogo quarnerino, è stata confermata, come riportato sempre dal media croato, anche dal ministro degli Interni di Zagabria Davor Bozinovic. Da quanto riportato dai media croati e sloveni, dovrebbe venir aperta un’inchiesta per far luce sul grave fatto di cronaca.

      http://www.triesteprima.it/cronaca/rotta-balcanica-croazia-slovenia-migrante-ferito.html

    • Croazia: la polizia spara sui migranti

      Uno è stato ridotto in fin di vita. Aperta una inchiesta per stabilire cosa sia successo durante il pattugliamento nel Gorski Kotar.

      Spari sui migranti in una zona impervia del Gorski Kotar, non lontano dal monte Tuhobić, ad alcuni chilometri di distanza dalla più vicina arteria stradale. Tutto è avvenuto ieri pomeriggio, quando la polizia croata ha aperto il fuoco contro un gruppo di sospetti clandestini, una quindicina, che avrebbero cercato di raggiungere la Slovenia. Uno di loro è stato raggiunto al torace ed è in gravissime condizioni. È stato operato d’urgenza nell’ospedale di Fiume.
      Il ministro dell’Interno croato, Davor Božinović ha spiegato che i poliziotti erano in servizio di pattugliamento per il controllo della frontiera: aperta un’inchiesta per stabilire le circostanze che hanno portato ad aprire il fuoco contro i migranti e se ciò sia stato giustificato dagli eventi. Alla domanda se anche i migranti fossero armati, il ministro ha detto che non c’è ancora una risposta. Tutti i componenti il gruppo di migranti sono stati fermati. Da diverso tempo le organizzazioni umanitarie e per i diritti umani imputano alla polizia croata un comportamento violento nei confronti di profughi e migranti che arrivano in Croazia dalla Bosnia ed Erzegovina, da pestaggi a respingimenti oltre confine in modo violento. Finora però non era mai giunta notizia di un impiego di armi da fuoco.

      https://capodistria.rtvslo.si/news/croazia/croazia-la-polizia-spara-sui-migranti/505185

    • Et l’article avec la nouvelle dans un journal croate :
      Doznajemo : Ranjavanju migranta prethodio je napad na policajce. Kamenjem ih gađala veća skupina migranata

      Ilegalni migrant koji je teško ozlijeđen u subotu kasno popodne u Gorskom kotaru još uvijek je životno ugrožen. Očevid radi utvrđivanja okolnosti tog incidenta još je u tijeku. Neslužbeno doznajemo da su ga policajci nakon ranjavanja nosili nekoliko kilometara, sve dok ga nije preuzela služba Hitne pomoći.

      Ministar unutarnjih poslova Davor Božinović kazao je da je dovršen očevid u slučaju ranjavanja migranta koji se u KBC-u Rijeka s prostrijelnom ranom u predjelu prsnog koša i trbuha bori za život, javlja N1.

      ’Odvjetništvo uz stručnu pomoć policije provodi kriminalističko istraživanje i u ovom trenutku rano je govoriti o rezultatima tog istraživanja. Eventualno bih u ovom trenutku mogao kazati da nije utvrđeno da je korištenje vatrenog oružja bilo usmjereno prema konkretnoj osobi, s namjerom djelovanja prema osobi", izjavio je ministar unutarnjih poslova Davor Božinović.

      Prema neslužbenim informacijama, nakon incidenta u kojem je teško ozlijeđen migrant policajci su ga s nepristupačnog terena nosili sve do vozila Hitne pomoći, kojim je nakon toga prebačen u KBC Rijeka.
      Napali policajce kamenjem?

      Neslužbeno doznajemo da je riječ o djelatniku specijalne policije koji je nedavno spasio migranta kojemu je prijetilo smrzavanje nakon što ga je njegova grupa neadekvatno odjevenog ostavila u šumama Gorskog kotara na niskim temperaturama.

      Također, neslužbeno se doznaje da je do ozljeđivanja stradalog migranta došlo nakon pucanja u zrak nakon što je veća grupa migranata vrlo blizu mjesta incidenta kamenjem i drugim priručnim sredstvima napala policajce. Policajac koji je upotrijebio vatreno oružje tada je nekoliko puta na hrvatskom i engleskom jeziku upozorio da je riječ o policiji te da je primoran koristiti oružje. Potom je ispalio dva metka u zrak iz oružja koje nije bilo usmjereno prema migrantima. Kad je krenuo prema njima, policajac se spotaknuo te pritom i ozlijedio, a u tom trenutku njegovo je oružje još jednom opalilo, no nije bilo usmjereno prema migrantima, već je moguće da se hitac odbio od tvrde površine te tako ozlijedio migranta, što će utvrditi istraga.
      Ranjen u prsni koš i trbuh

      Očevid je na mjestu događaja završio, no istraga je još uvijek u tijeku, a ranjeni muškarac i dalje je u životnoj opasnosti.

      ’’Bolesnik je u jedinicu intenzivnog liječenja zaprimljen po učinjenom hitnom operativnom zahvatu. Prilikom ranjavanja zadobio je višestruke ozlijede toraksa i abdomena koje su opasne po život. U bolesnika se i dalje provode mjere intenzivnog liječenja’’, kazala je anesteziologinja riječkog KBC-a dr. sc.Vlasta Orlić Kabrić.

      Višestruke ozljede, pretpostavlja se, nastale su od metka ili od odbijanja metka o tvrdu podlogu te potom ranjavanja. Zbog incidenta je sinoć u Rijeku stigao ministar unutarnjih poslova Davor Božinović. ’’Došlo je do ozljeđivanja vjerojatno zbog uporabe vatrenog oružja, po tome će postupati nadležno županijsko državno odvjetništvo’’, rekao je ministar i kazao da ne može govoriti o detaljima.
      Kiša otežava očevid

      Mjesto nesreće udaljeno je pet kilometara od posljednjeg šumskog puta kojim se može doći vozilom. Osim teško pristupačnog terena, očevid otežavaju i veoma loše vremenske prilike, odnosno vrlo gusta kiša koja pada u tom dijelu Gorskoga kotara.

      Stanovnici Gorskog kotara već neko vrijeme imaju problema s migrantima koji uspiju pobjeći policajcima na granici s Bosnom i Hercegovinom. ’’U početku su ljudi bili susretljivi. I sami su rekli da bi trebalo pomoći ljudima. Ali, eto, kako prolazi već nekoliko godina, pogotovo u zimskom periodu, postajali su nekako agresivniji’’, govori David Bregovac, načelnik općine Fužine.

      Je li skupina na koju je naišla policijska ophodnja bila naoružana, jesu li nasrnuli na policajce, zašto je policija koristila vatreno oružje, kako je grupa ilegalaca uspjela ući tako duboko u Hrvatsku – samo su neka od pitanja na koja bi istraga koja je u tijeku trebala dati odgovor.

      https://dnevnik.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/migrant-upucan-u-gorskom-kotaru-bori-se-za-zivot-ima-prostrijelnu-ranu-prsno

    • Croatian police fire on illegal migrants near Slovenian border

      Croatian police fired on a group of illegal migrants trying to reach neighboring Slovenia late on Saturday, leaving one man critically injured, officials in the northern Adriatic town of Rijeka said.

      Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told reporters that the group was probably trying to cross into Slovenia, but did not say how many people were in the group or give their nationalities.

      Croatia is on a route taken by many migrants from the Middle East and central Asia trying to reach wealthier EU states. Some cross into Croatia from Bosnia undeclared.

      “Police officers were preventing the passage of a group which most probably wanted to reach Slovenia,” Bozinovic told media late on Saturday, adding that one man was wounded probably due to the use of firearms.

      A doctor at the Rijeka Clinical Hospital Centre said the man in a critical condition had suffered gunshot wounds.

      “The patient was admitted for urgent surgery after sustaining gunshot wounds in the area of thorax and stomach,” the doctor told Reuters by telephone on Sunday. “He is in a life-threatening condition and intensive medical treatment is continuing.”

      Bozinovic said regional authorities would investigate the incident, which took place in the mountainous Gorski Kotar area close to Rijeka, which is around 20 km (12 miles) from the Slovenian border.

      Croatia, which wants to join the EU’s border-free Schengen area, has to convince Brussels that it is able to effectively manage the bloc’s external border, a particularly sensitive issue since Europe’s 2015 migrant crisis.

      Neighboring Bosnia, which has become a migrant hot-spot since 2018, has repeatedly accused Croatia of returning migrants to Bosnia even when they are found deep in its territory. Many migrants have been complaining of brutality of Croatian police officers, allegations that Croatia has dismissed.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-croatia/croatian-police-fire-on-illegal-migrants-near-slovenian-border-idUSKBN1XR0I

    • Croatian police shoot and seriously injure refugee

      The nationality of the injured migrant has not yet been reported. The incident occurred in a wooded area of the Gorski Kotar region, between Croatia and Slovenia, on one of the routes that many migrant and refugees stuck in Bosnia take to reach Western Europe. Croatian media say that a group of 17 migrants, after being sighted while illegally crossing the woods, allegedly refused to peacefully hand themselves over to the police and began to throw rocks and other objects at the security forces. According to the official version given by the police, one policeman tripped while shooting in the air and the bullet ricocheted and hit one of the migrants. The Croatian police immediately gave first aid to the injured man and took him on foot for three kilometres to the nearest ambulance. The migrant has been hospitalised and undergone two surgeries. He is still in critical condition. Human rights organisations have expressed serious doubts about the official version of the incident and say that weapons are being used ever more frequently against migrants and have called for the interior ministry to prevent similar incidents.

      http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/generalnews/2019/11/18/croatian-police-shoot-and-seriously-injure-refugee_87deadaa-f86c-4c27-b7fb

    • Croatie : la police tire sur un groupe de migrants, un homme entre la vie et la mort

      Un homme a été touché par un tir de la police croate dans la nuit du samedi 16 au dimanche 17 novembre, dans la région montagneuse du Gorski Kotar. Selon un médecin de l’hôpital de Rijeka, ce dernier est aujourd’hui dans un état critique.

      Le ministre croate de l’Intérieur, Davor Božinović, a déclaré que l’homme « a été blessé » alors que « la police protégeait la frontière », essayant d’« empêcher un groupe de migrants [sans donner leur nombre ni leur nationalité] de passer en Slovénie ». Mais l’ONG Are You Syrious explique que ces tirs ont eu lieu « très à l’intérieur du territoire croate », loin de la frontière. La ville de Rijeka se situe effectivement à une vingtaine de kilomètres de la Slovénie.

      La Croatie, qui veut intégrer l’espace Schengen, doit convaincre Bruxelles qu’elle est capable de prendre en charge la frontière extérieure de l’UE, notamment depuis le début de la crise des migrants en 2015. « Ce n’est pas la première fois que la protection des frontières en Croatie a des conséquences fatales ou quasi-fatales », rappelle Are You Syrious. Le 21 novembre 2017, une Afghane de 6 ans est morte quelques minutes après une opération de refoulement illégale de la police croate à la frontière avec la Serbie. Le 30 mai 2018, deux réfugiés de 12 ans, un garçon et une fille, ont été atteints au visage par des tirs de cette même police.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/courrierdesbalkans-fr-fil-info-refugies-2019-novembre

    • Croatian police fire on irregular migrants near Slovenian border

      Croatian police on Friday fired on a group of migrants trying to irregularly reach neighboring Slovenia, local officials said. One man was critically injured. Thousands of migrants trying to reach western Europe are stuck in the Balkans.

      A migrant is fighting for his life after being shot by police on Friday, doctors in the Croatian port of Rijeka said Sunday. The unidentified migrant reportedly suffered multiple bullet wounds to his chest.

      “The patient was admitted for urgent surgery after sustaining gunshot wounds in the area of thorax and stomach,” a doctor at the Rijeka Clinical Hospital Center told news agency Reuters. “He is in a life-threatening condition and intensive medical treatment is continuing.”

      The incident happened when Croatian police fired on a group of irregular migrants trying to reach neighboring Slovenia. As AP reports, Croatian police said they fired the shots “to protect Croatia’s borders.”

      The Croatian interior minister Davor Bozinovic told media that “police officers were preventing the passage of a group which most probably wanted to reach Slovenia.” He further said that one man was wounded probably due to the use of firearms. Bozinovic did not say how many people were in the group or give their nationalities.

      The interior ministry said regional authorities would investigate the incident, which took place in the mountainous Gorski Kotar area close to Rijeka, a Croatian port city around 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Slovenian border.

      Critical situation

      Rights groups have repeatedly accused Croatian authorities of using excessive force against migrants irregularly entering from neighboring Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, both non-EU countries. The EU-member state Croatia has repeatedly denied the charges.

      Croatia, which wants to join the EU’s border-free Schengen area, has to convince Brussels that it is able to effectively manage the bloc’s external border. This is a particularly sensitive issue since Europe’s 2015 so-called migrant crisis.

      Croatia is on the so-called Balkan route taken by many migrants from the Middle East and central Asia trying to reach wealthier EU states. Some of those migrants cross into Croatia from Bosnia undeclared. In recent months, more and more refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe via the southern/western Balkan route: EU border agency Frontex registered 8,400 border crossings in the first 10 months of 2019 - an 82% increase compared to the same period last year.

      Storm sweeps through migrant camp in Bosnia

      In Croatia’s neighboring state Bosnia and Herzegovina, a storm on Friday blew many tents away in a bleak makeshift camp for migrants who are trying to reach western Europe. Migrants staying in the Vucjak camp near the border with Croatia were appealing for help on Saturday after spending a sleepless night looking for shelter.

      On Friday, hundreds of locals protested against the migrants’ presence and demanded the closure of overcrowded refugee camps and the relocation of the migrants from the city area.

      The European Union and numerous international organizations have repeatedly called for the closure of the Vucjak camp, which is located on a former landfill and is near a minefield left over from Bosnia’s 1992-95 war.

      Hundreds of migrants have been staying there with almost no facilities since the authorities in northwestern Bosnia set up the camp earlier this year. Bosnia, which has become a migrant hot-spot since 2018, has repeatedly accused Croatia of returning migrants to Bosnia even when they are found deep in its territory.

      This practice called “pushbacks” is prohibited under the Geneva Refugee Convention, which provided the principle of nonrefoulement.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/20899/croatian-police-fire-on-irregular-migrants-near-slovenian-border

    • https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/Press-Briefing-19th-November-2019-1.pdf

      voir aussi:
      14/10/2019: “[they] started beating men with sticks, they beat me on my shoulder and back”

      Date and time: October 14, 2019 03:00
      Location: South east of #Komesarac, Croatia
      Coordinates: 45.09186791983132, 15.769071046238082
      Push-back from: Croatia
      Push-back to: Bosnia
      Demographics: 35 person(s), age: 2 - 45 (including minors aged 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8) , from: Palestine, Syria, Iraq
      Minors involved? Yes
      Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, threatening with guns, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
      Police involved: 10 Croatian officers dressed in blue uniforms with gunns, 2 police cars, 3 vans, 6/7 officers in camourflage uniform
      Taken to a police station?: yes
      Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, no translator present, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
      Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
      Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

      Original Report

      A Syrian family joined a group of 35 people (mostly families from Syria and Palestine and a few single men from Iraq), and attempted to cross the Bosnian-Croatian border. They started walking from Velika Kladuša and walked for a day and a half through the woods and mountains. Once they were inside Croatian territory they decided to take a rest in the woods. The group fell asleep only to be woken up at 03:00 in the morning of 14th October 2019 by rapid gun fire and shouts of, “Freeze!”.

      They family noticed ten men in blue uniforms of Croatian police surrounding them, firing shots in the air:

      “like in a movie, they forced all men to lie down on their stomachs with our hands behind our heads, women no, they were just standing aside”.

      Not long after, the police ordered them to make a line and start walking, while police was escorting the line on both sides, pointing their guns at them.

      “We walked maybe 30 minutes, we reached a place with a hole already waiting for us, the fire was already burning, ready for our stuff. They took everyone’s backpacks, bags and sleeping bags and for single men they took jackets also. Everything was burned. I asked if I can take my baby’s food from the bag and they said no, took my backpack and threw it in the fire.”

      They were searched over their clothes and had their phones taken away from them. Some phones were thrown on the ground and stomped-on with police boots while some were just taken away and never returned. Two police cars and three vans arrived, everyone was forced to go inside them and driven for an hour to the police station where they were detained for two hours with no food, water, access to toilet or the presence of a translator.

      “They didn’t even talk to us, we asked them to take our fingerprints, one man in the group spoke good English and he explained to the police what we want (referring to asylum claim). The police was just laughing and didn’t do anything.”

      Instead, the transit group were again put in the three police vans which drove for around one hour and a half to the border-area, where they were made to go out of the vans and saw six to seven police in camouflage uniforms waiting for them.

      “Commandos in camouflage color started beating men with sticks, they beat me on my shoulder and back [he shows a picture of the bruises from his phone] and kicking us in our knees or behind our knees, yelling at us to start walking faster. They were walking behind us, beating and yelling for a few hundred meters than they stopped and we were told to continue by ourselves.”

      Once returned to BiH, the group walked for four to five hours to reach Velika Kladuša, where they took the bus to Sedra camp, close to Bihac.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/october-14-2019-0300-south-east-of-komesarac-croatia