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    • EU: Frontex splashes out: millions of euros for new technology and equipment (19.06.2020)

      The approval of the new #Frontex_Regulation in November 2019 implied an increase of competences, budget and capabilities for the EU’s border agency, which is now equipping itself with increased means to monitor events and developments at the borders and beyond, as well as renewing its IT systems to improve the management of the reams of data to which it will have access.

      In 2020 Frontex’s #budget grew to €420.6 million, an increase of over 34% compared to 2019. The European Commission has proposed that in the next EU budget (formally known as the Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF, covering 2021-27) €11 billion will be made available to the agency, although legal negotiations are ongoing and have hit significant stumbling blocks due to Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and political disagreements.

      Nevertheless, the increase for this year has clearly provided a number of opportunities for Frontex. For instance, it has already agreed contracts worth €28 million for the acquisition of dozens of vehicles equipped with thermal and day cameras, surveillance radar and sensors.

      According to the contract for the provision of Mobile Surveillance Systems, these new tools will be used “for detection, identification and recognising of objects of interest e.g. human beings and/or groups of people, vehicles moving across the border (land and sea), as well as vessels sailing within the coastal areas, and other objects identified as objects of interest”. [1]

      Frontex has also published a call for tenders for Maritime Analysis Tools, worth a total of up to €2.6 million. With this, Frontex seeks to improve access to “big data” for maritime analysis. [2] The objective of deploying these tools is to enhance Frontex’s operational support to EU border, coast guard and law enforcement authorities in “suppressing and preventing, among others, illegal migration and cross-border crime in the maritime domain”.

      Moreover, the system should be capable of delivering analysis and identification of high-risk threats following the collection and storage of “big data”. It is not clear how much human input and monitoring there will be of the identification of risks. The call for tenders says the winning bidder should have been announced in May, but there is no public information on the chosen company so far.

      As part of a 12-month pilot project to examine how maritime analysis tools could “support multipurpose operational response,” Frontex previously engaged the services of the Tel Aviv-based company Windward Ltd, which claims to fuse “maritime data and artificial intelligence… to provide the right insights, with the right context, at the right time.” [3] Windward, whose current chairman is John Browne, the former CEO of the multinational oil company BP, received €783,000 for its work. [4]

      As the agency’s gathering and processing of data increases, it also aims to improve and develop its own internal IT systems, through a two-year project worth €34 million. This will establish a set of “framework contracts”. Through these, each time the agency seeks a new IT service or system, companies selected to participate in the framework contracts will submit bids for the work. [5]

      The agency is also seeking a ’Software Solution for EBCG [European Border and Coast Guard] Team Members to Access to Schengen Information System’, through a contract worth up to €5 million. [6] The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the EU’s largest database, enabling cooperation between authorities working in the fields of police, border control and customs of all the Schengen states (26 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and its legal bases were recently reformed to include new types of alert and categories of data. [7]

      This software will give Frontex officials direct access to certain data within the SIS. Currently, they have to request access via national border guards in the country in which they are operating. This would give complete autonomy to Frontex officials to consult the SIS whilst undertaking operations, shortening the length of the procedure. [8]

      With the legal basis for increasing Frontex’s powers in place, the process to build up its personnel, material and surveillance capacities continues, with significant financial implications.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/june/eu-frontex-splashes-out-millions-of-euros-for-new-technology-and-equipme

      #technologie #équipement #Multiannual_Financial_Framework #MFF #surveillance #Mobile_Surveillance_Systems #Maritime_Analysis_Tools #données #big_data #mer #Windward_Ltd #Israël #John_Browne #BP #complexe_militaro-industriel #Software_Solution_for_EBCG_Team_Members_to_Access_to_Schengen_Information_System #SIS #Schengen_Information_System

    • EU : Guns, guards and guidelines : reinforcement of Frontex runs into problems (26.05.2020)

      An internal report circulated by Frontex to EU government delegations highlights a series of issues in implementing the agency’s new legislation. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency is urging swift action to implement the mandate and is pressing ahead with the recruitment of its new ‘standing corps’. However, there are legal problems with the acquisition, registration, storage and transport of weapons. The agency is also calling for derogations from EU rules on staff disciplinary measures in relation to the use of force; and wants an extended set of privileges and immunities. Furthermore, it is assisting with “voluntary return” despite this activity appearing to fall outside of its legal mandate.

      State-of-play report

      At the end of April 2020, Frontex circulated a report to EU government delegations in the Council outlining the state of play of the implementation of its new Regulation (“EBCG 2.0 Regulation”, in the agency and Commission’s words), especially relating to “current challenges”.[1] Presumably, this refers to the outbreak of a pandemic, though the report also acknowledges challenges created by the legal ambiguities contained in the Regulation itself, in particular with regard to the acquisition of weapons, supervisory and disciplinary mechanisms, legal privileges and immunities and involvement in “voluntary return” operations.

      The path set out in the report is that the “operational autonomy of the agency will gradually increase towards 2027” until it is a “fully-fledged and reliable partner” to EU and Schengen states. It acknowledges the impacts of unforeseen world events on the EU’s forthcoming budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework, MFF) for 2021-27, and hints at the impact this will have on Frontex’s own budget and objectives. Nevertheless, the agency is still determined to “continue increasing the capabilities” of the agency, including its acquisition of new equipment and employment of new staff for its standing corps.

      The main issues covered by the report are: Frontex’s new standing corps of staff, executive powers and the use of force, fundamental rights and data protection, and the integration into Frontex of EUROSUR, the European Border Surveillance System.

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

      A new standing corps of 10,000 Frontex staff by 2024 is to be, in the words of the agency, its “biggest game changer”.[2] The report notes that the establishment of the standing corps has been heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. According to the report, 7,238 individuals had applied to join the standing corps before the outbreak of the pandemic. 5,482 of these – over 75% – were assessed by the agency as eligible, with a final 304 passing the entire selection process to be on the “reserve lists”.[3]

      Despite interruptions to the recruitment procedure following worldwide lockdown measures, interviews for Category 1 staff – permanent Frontex staff members to be deployed on operations – were resumed via video by the end of April. 80 candidates were shortlisted for the first week, and Frontex aims to interview 1,000 people in total. Despite this adaptation, successful candidates will have to wait for Frontex’s contractor to re-open in order to carry out medical tests, an obligatory requirement for the standing corps.[4]

      In 2020, Frontex joined the European Defence Agency’s Satellite Communications (SatCom) and Communications and Information System (CIS) services in order to ensure ICT support for the standing corps in operation as of 2021.[5] The EDA describes SatCom and CIS as “fundamental for Communication, Command and Control in military operations… [enabling] EU Commanders to connect forces in remote areas with HQs and capitals and to manage the forces missions and tasks”.[6]

      Training

      The basic training programme, endorsed by the management board in October 2019, is designed for Category 1 staff. It includes specific training in interoperability and “harmonisation with member states”. The actual syllabus, content and materials for this basic training were developed by March 2020; Statewatch has made a request for access to these documents, which is currently pending with the Frontex Transparency Office. This process has also been affected by the novel coronavirus, though the report insists that “no delay is foreseen in the availability of the specialised profile related training of the standing corps”.

      Use of force

      The state-of-play-report acknowledges a number of legal ambiguities surrounding some of the more controversial powers outlined in Frontex’s 2019 Regulation, highlighting perhaps that political ambition, rather than serious consideration and assessment, propelled the legislation, overtaking adequate procedure and oversight. The incentive to enact the legislation within a short timeframe is cited as a reason that no impact assessment was carried out on the proposed recast to the agency’s mandate. This draft was rushed through negotiations and approved in an unprecedented six-month period, and the details lost in its wake are now coming to light.

      Article 82 of the 2019 Regulation refers to the use of force and carriage of weapons by Frontex staff, while a supervisory mechanism for the use of force by statutory staff is established by Article 55. This says:

      “On the basis of a proposal from the executive director, the management board shall: (a) establish an appropriate supervisory mechanism to monitor the application of the provisions on use of force by statutory staff, including rules on reporting and specific measures, such as those of a disciplinary nature, with regard to the use of force during deployments”[7]

      The agency’s management board is expected to make a decision about this supervisory mechanism, including specific measures and reporting, by the end of June 2020.

      The state-of-play report posits that the legal terms of Article 55 are inconsistent with the standard rules on administrative enquiries and disciplinary measures concerning EU staff.[8] These outline, inter alia, that a dedicated disciplinary board will be established in each institution including at least one member from outside the institution, that this board must be independent and its proceedings secret. Frontex insists that its staff will be a special case as the “first uniformed service of the EU”, and will therefore require “special arrangements or derogations to the Staff Regulations” to comply with the “totally different nature of tasks and risks associated with their deployments”.[9]

      What is particularly astounding about Frontex demanding special treatment for oversight, particularly on use of force and weapons is that, as the report acknowledges, the agency cannot yet legally store or transport any weapons it acquires.

      Regarding service weapons and “non-lethal equipment”,[10] legal analysis by “external experts and a regulatory law firm” concluded that the 2019 Regulation does not provide a legal basis for acquiring, registering, storing or transporting weapons in Poland, where the agency’s headquarters is located. Frontex has applied to the Commission for clarity on how to proceed, says the report. Frontex declined to comment on the status of this consultation and any indications of the next steps the agency will take. A Commission spokesperson stated only that it had recently received the agency’s enquiry and “is analysing the request and the applicable legal framework in the view of replying to the EBCGA”, without expanding further.

      Until Frontex has the legal basis to do so, it cannot launch a tender for firearms and “non-lethal equipment” (which includes batons, pepper spray and handcuffs). However, the report implies the agency is ready to do so as soon as it receives the green light. Technical specifications are currently being finalised for “non-lethal equipment” and Frontex still plans to complete acquisition by the end of the year.

      Privileges and immunities

      The agency is also seeking special treatment with regard to the legal privileges and immunities it and its officials enjoy. Article 96 of the 2019 Regulation outlines the privileges and immunities of Frontex officers, stating:

      “Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union annexed to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to the TFEU shall apply to the Agency and its statutory staff.” [11]

      However, Frontex notes that the Protocol does not apply to non-EU states, nor does it “offer a full protection, or take into account a need for the inviolability of assets owned by Frontex (service vehicles, vessels, aircraft)”.[12] Frontex is increasingly involved in operations taking place on non-EU territory. For instance, the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states, primarily in the Western Balkans, concerning Frontex activities in those countries. To launch operations under these agreements, Frontex will (or, in the case of Albania, already has) agree on operational plans with each state, under which Frontex staff can use executive powers.[13] The agency therefore seeks an “EU-level status of forces agreement… to account for the partial absence of rules”.

      Law enforcement

      To implement its enhanced functions regarding cross-border crime, Frontex will continue to participate in Europol’s four-year policy cycle addressing “serious international and organised crime”.[14] The agency is also developing a pilot project, “Investigation Support Activities- Cross Border Crime” (ISA-CBC), addressing drug trafficking and terrorism.

      Fundamental rights and data protection

      The ‘EBCG 2.0 Regulation’ requires several changes to fundamental rights measures by the agency, which, aside from some vague “legal analyses” seem to be undergoing development with only internal oversight.

      Firstly, to facilitate adequate independence of the Fundamental Rights Officer (FRO), special rules have to be established. The FRO was introduced under Frontex’s 2016 Regulation, but has since then been understaffed and underfunded by the agency.[15] The 2019 Regulation obliges the agency to ensure “sufficient and adequate human and financial resources” for the office, as well as 40 fundamental rights monitors.[16] These standing corps staff members will be responsible for monitoring compliance with fundamental rights standards, providing advice and assistance on the agency’s plans and activities, and will visit and evaluate operations, including acting as forced return monitors.[17]

      During negotiations over the proposed Regulation 2.0, MEPs introduced extended powers for the Fundamental Rights Officer themselves. The FRO was previously responsible for contributing to Frontex’s fundamental rights strategy and monitoring its compliance with and promotion of fundamental rights. Now, they will be able to monitor compliance by conducting investigations; offering advice where deemed necessary or upon request of the agency; providing opinions on operational plans, pilot projects and technical assistance; and carrying out on-the-spot visits. The executive director is now obliged to respond “as to how concerns regarding possible violations of fundamental rights… have been addressed,” and the management board “shall ensure that action is taken with regard to recommendations of the fundamental rights officer.” [18] The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation.

      The state-of-play report says that “legal analyses and exchanges” are ongoing, and will inform an eventual management board decision, but no timeline for this is offered. [19] The agency will also need to adapt its much criticised individual complaints mechanism to fit the requirements of the 2019 Regulation; executive director Fabrice Leggeri’s first-draft decision on this process is currently undergoing internal consultations. Even the explicit requirement set out in the 2019 Regulation for an “independent and effective” complaints mechanism,[20] does not meet minimum standards to qualify as an effective remedy, which include institutional independence, accessibility in practice, and capacity to carry out thorough and prompt investigations.[21]

      Frontex has entered into a service level agreement (SLA) with the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) for support in establishing and training the team of fundamental rights monitors introduced by the 2019 Regulation. These monitors are to be statutory staff of the agency and will assess fundamental rights compliance of operational activities, advising, assisting and contributing to “the promotion of fundamental rights”.[22] The scope and objectives for this team were finalised at the end of March this year, and the agency will establish the team by the end of the year. Statewatch has requested clarification as to what is to be included in the team’s scope and objectives, pending with the Frontex Transparency Office.

      Regarding data protection, the agency plans a package of implementing rules (covering issues ranging from the position of data protection officer to the restriction of rights for returnees and restrictions under administrative data processing) to be implemented throughout 2020.[23] The management board will review a first draft of the implementing rules on the data protection officer in the second quarter of 2020.

      Returns

      The European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) – a network of 15 European states and the Commission facilitating cooperation over return operations “as part of the EU efforts to manage migration” – is to be handed over to Frontex. [24] A handover plan is currently under the final stage of review; it reportedly outlines the scoping of activities and details of “which groups of returnees will be eligible for Frontex assistance in the future”.[25] A request from Statewatch to Frontex for comment on what assistance will be provided by the agency to such returnees was unanswered at the time of publication.

      Since the entry into force of its new mandate, Frontex has also been providing technical assistance for so-called voluntary returns, with the first two such operations carried out on scheduled flights (as opposed to charter flights) in February 2020. A total of 28 people were returned by mid-April, despite the fact that there is no legal clarity over what the definition “voluntary return” actually refers to, as the state-of-play report also explains:

      “The terminology of voluntary return was introduced in the Regulation without providing any definition thereof. This terminology (voluntary departure vs voluntary return) is moreover not in line with the terminology used in the Return Directive (EBCG 2.0 refers to the definition of returns provided for in the Return Directive. The Return Directive, however, does not cover voluntary returns; a voluntary return is not a return within the meaning of the Return Directive). Further elaboration is needed.”[26]

      On top of requiring “further clarification”, if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate. Statewatch has launched an investigation into the agency’s activities relating to voluntary returns, to outline the number of such operations to date, their country of return and country of destination.

      Frontex is currently developing a module dedicated to voluntary returns by charter flight for its FAR (Frontex Application for Returns) platform (part of its return case management system). On top of the technical support delivered by the agency, Frontex also foresees the provision of on-the-ground support from Frontex representatives or a “return counsellor”, who will form part of the dedicated return teams planned for the standing corps from 2021.[27]

      Frontex has updated its return case management system (RECAMAS), an online platform for member state authorities and Frontex to communicate and plan return operations, to manage an increased scope. The state-of-play report implies that this includes detail on post-return activities in a new “post-return module”, indicating that Frontex is acting on commitments to expand its activity in this area. According to the agency’s roadmap on implementing the 2019 Regulation, an action plan on how the agency will provide post-return support to people (Article 48(1), 2019 Regulation) will be written by the third quarter of 2020.[28]

      In its closing paragraph, related to the budgetary impact of COVID-19 regarding return operations, the agency notes that although activities will resume once aerial transportation restrictions are eased, “the agency will not be able to provide what has been initially intended, undermining the concept of the EBCG as a whole”.[29]

      EUROSUR

      The Commission is leading progress on adopting the implementing act for the integration of EUROSUR into Frontex, which will define the implementation of new aerial surveillance,[30] expected by the end of the year.[31] Frontex is discussing new working arrangements with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). The development by Frontex of the surveillance project’s communications network will require significant budgetary investment, as the agency plans to maintain the current system ahead of its planned replacement in 2025.[32] This investment is projected despite the agency’s recognition of the economic impact of Covid-19 on member states, and the consequent adjustments to the MFF 2021-27.

      Summary

      Drafted and published as the world responds to an unprecedented pandemic, the “current challenges” referred to in the report appear, on first read, to refer to the budgetary and staffing implications of global shut down. However, the report maintains throughout that the agency’s determination to expand, in terms of powers as well as staffing, will not be stalled despite delays and budgeting adjustments. Indeed, it is implied more than once that the “current challenges” necessitate more than ever that these powers be assumed. The true challenges, from the agency’s point of view, stem from the fact that its current mandate was rushed through negotiations in six months, leading to legal ambiguities that leave it unable to acquire or transport weapons and in a tricky relationship with the EU protocol on privileges and immunities when operating in third countries. Given the violence that so frequently accompanies border control operations in the EU, it will come as a relief to many that Frontex is having difficulties acquiring its own weaponry. However, it is far from reassuring that the introduction of new measures on fundamental rights and accountability are being carried out internally and remain unavailable for public scrutiny.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Note: this article was updated on 26 May 2020 to include the European Commission’s response to Statewatch’s enquiries.

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

      “the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states... under which” replaces “the agency has entered into working agreements with Balkan states, under which”
      “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in any detail in the Regulation beyond monitoring the agency’s ’compliance with fundamental rights, including by conducting investigations’” replaces “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation”
      “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it further exposes the haste with which legislation written to deny entry into the EU and facilitate expulsions was drafted” replaces “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate”

      Endnotes

      [1] Frontex, ‘State of play of the implementation of the EBCG 2.0 Regulation in view of current challenges’, 27 April 2020, contained in Council document 7607/20, LIMITE, 20 April 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/may/eu-council-frontex-ECBG-state-of-play-7607-20.pdf

      [2] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

      [4] Jane Kilpatrick, ‘Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards’, Statewatch Analysis, March 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-355-frontex-recruitment-standing-corps.pdf

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

      [6] EDA, ‘EU SatCom Market’, https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/eu-satcom-market

      [7] Article 55(5)(a), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex 2019 Regulation), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [8] Pursuant to Annex IX of the EU Staff Regulations, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:01962R0031-20140501

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

      [11] Protocol (No 7), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2016.202.01.0001.01.ENG#d1e3363-201-1

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

      [13] ‘Border externalisation: Agreements on Frontex operations in Serbia and Montenegro heading for parliamentary approval’, Statewatch News, 11 March 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/frontex-status-agreements.htm

      [14] Europol, ‘EU policy cycle – EMPACT’, https://www.europol.europa.eu/empact

      [15] ‘NGOs, EU and international agencies sound the alarm over Frontex’s respect for fundamental rights’, Statewatch News, 5 March 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/mar/fx-consultative-forum-rep.htm; ‘Frontex condemned by its own fundamental rights body for failing to live up to obligations’, Statewatch News, 21 May 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/may/eu-frontex-fr-rep.htm

      [16] Article 110(6), Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

      [21] Sergio Carrera and Marco Stefan, ‘Complaint Mechanisms in Border Management and Expulsion Operations in Europe: Effective Remedies for Victims of Human Rights Violations?’, CEPS, 2018, https://www.ceps.eu/system/files/Complaint%20Mechanisms_A4.pdf

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

      [24] ERRIN, https://returnnetwork.eu

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [28] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

      [30] Matthias Monroy, ‘Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders’, Statewatch Analysis, February 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-354-frontex-drones.pdf

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

      [32] Section 7.2, state of play report
      Next article >

      Mediterranean: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/eu-guns-guards-and-guidelines-reinforcement-of-frontex-runs-into-problem

      #EBCG_2.0_Regulation #European_Defence_Agency’s_Satellite_Communications (#SatCom) #Communications_and_Information_System (#CIS) #immunité #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains #Fundamental_Rights_Officer (#FRO) #European_Return_and_Reintegration_Network (#ERRIN) #renvois #expulsions #réintégration #Directive_Retour #FAR (#Frontex_Application_for_Returns) #RECAMAS #EUROSUR #European_Aviation_Safety_Agency (#EASA) #European_Organisation_for_the_Safety_of_Air_Navigation (#EUROCONTROL)

    • Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards

      On 4 January 2020 the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) adopted a decision on the profiles of the staff required for the new “standing corps”, which is ultimately supposed to be staffed by 10,000 officials. [1] The decision ushers in a new wave of recruitment for the agency. Applicants will be put through six months of training before deployment, after rigorous medical testing.

      What is the standing corps?

      The European Border and Coast Guard standing corps is the new, and according to Frontex, first ever, EU uniformed service, available “at any time…to support Member States facing challenges at their external borders”.[2] Frontex’s Programming Document for the 2018-2020 period describes the standing corps as the agency’s “biggest game changer”, requiring “an unprecedented scale of staff recruitment”.[3]

      The standing corps will be made up of four categories of Frontex operational staff:

      Frontex statutory staff deployed in operational areas and staff responsible for the functioning of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) Central Unit[4];
      Long-term staff seconded from member states;
      Staff from member states who can be immediately deployed on short-term secondment to Frontex; and

      A reserve of staff from member states for rapid border interventions.

      These border guards will be “trained by the best and equipped with the latest technology has to offer”.[5] As well as wearing EU uniforms, they will be authorised to carry weapons and will have executive powers: they will be able to verify individuals’ identity and nationality and permit or refuse entry into the EU.

      The decision made this January is limited to the definition of profiles and requirements for the operational staff that are to be recruited. The Management Board (MB) will have to adopt a new decision by March this year to set out the numbers of staff needed per profile, the requirements for individuals holding those positions, and the number of staff needed for the following year based on expected operational needs. This process will be repeated annually.[6] The MB can then further specify how many staff each member state should contribute to these profiles, and establish multi-annual plans for member state contributions and recruitment for Frontex statutory staff. Projections for these contributions are made in Annexes II – IV of the 2019 Regulation, though a September Mission Statement by new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urges the recruitment of 10,000 border guards by 2024, indicating that member states might be meeting their contribution commitments much sooner than 2027.[7]

      The standing corps of Frontex staff will have an array of executive powers and responsibilities. As well as being able to verify identity and nationality and refuse or permit entry into the EU, they will be able to consult various EU databases to fulfil operational aims, and may also be authorised by host states to consult national databases. According to the MB Decision, “all members of the Standing Corps are to be able to identify persons in need of international protection and persons in a vulnerable situation, including unaccompanied minors, and refer them to the competent authorities”. Training on international and EU law on fundamental rights and international protection, as well as guidelines on the identification and referral of persons in need of international protection, will be mandatory for all standing corps staff members.

      The size of the standing corps

      The following table, taken from the 2019 Regulation, outlines the ambitions for growth of Frontex’s standing corps. However, as noted, the political ambition is to reach the 10,000 total by 2024.

      –-> voir le tableau sur le site de statewatch!

      Category 2 staff – those on long term secondment from member states – will join Frontex from 2021, according to the 2019 Regulation.[8] It is foreseen that Germany will contribute the most staff, with 61 expected in 2021, increasing year-by-year to 225 by 2027. Other high contributors are France and Italy (170 and 125 by 2027, respectively).

      The lowest contributors will be Iceland (expected to contribute between one and two people a year from 2021 to 2027), Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg. Liechtenstein is not contributing personnel but will contribute “through proportional financial support”.

      For short-term secondments from member states, projections follow a very similar pattern. Germany will contribute 540 staff in 2021, increasing to 827 in 2027; Italy’s contribution will increase from 300 in 2021 to 458 in 2027; and France’s from 408 in 2021 to 624 in 2027. Most states will be making less than 100 staff available for short-term secondment in 2021.

      What are the profiles?

      The MB Decision outlines 12 profiles to be made available to Frontex, ranging from Border Guard Officer and Crew Member, to Cross Border Crime Detection Officer and Return Specialist. A full list is contained in the Decision.[9] All profiles will be fulfilled by an official of the competent authority of a member state (MS) or Schengen Associated Country (SAC), or by a member of Frontex’s own statutory staff.

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

      border checks and surveillance;
      interviewing, debriefing* and screening arrivals and registering fingerprints;
      supporting the collection, assessment, analysis and distribution of information with EU member and non-member states;
      verifying travel documents;
      escorting individuals being deported on Frontex return operations;
      operating data systems and platforms; and
      offering cultural mediation

      *Debriefing consists of informal interviews with migrants to collect information for risk analyses on irregular migration and other cross-border crime and the profiling of irregular migrants to identify “modus operandi and migration trends used by irregular migrants and facilitators/criminal networks”. Guidelines written by Frontex in 2012 instructed border guards to target vulnerable individuals for “debriefing”, not in order to streamline safeguarding or protection measures, but for intelligence-gathering - “such people are often more willing to talk about their experiences,” said an internal document.[10] It is unknown whether those instructions are still in place.

      Recruitment for the profiles

      Certain profiles are expected to “apply self-safety and security practice”, and to have “the capacity to work under pressure and face emotional events with composure”. Relevant profiles (e.g. crew member) are required to be able to perform search and rescue activities in distress situations at sea borders.

      Frontex published a call for tender on 27 December for the provision of medical services for pre-recruitment examinations, in line with the plan to start recruiting operational staff in early 2020. The documents accompanying the tender reveal additional criteria for officials that will be granted executive powers (Frontex category “A2”) compared to those staff stationed primarily at the agency’s Warsaw headquarters (“A1”). Those criteria come in the form of more stringent medical testing.

      The differences in medical screening for category A1 and A2 staff lie primarily in additional toxicology screening and psychiatric and psychological consultations. [11] The additional psychiatric attention allotted for operational staff “is performed to check the predisposition for people to work in arduous, hazardous conditions, exposed to stress, conflict situations, changing rapidly environment, coping with people being in dramatic, injure or death exposed situations”.[12]

      Both A1 and A2 category provisional recruits will be asked to disclose if they have ever suffered from a sexually transmitted disease or “genital organ disease”, as well as depression, nervous or mental disorders, among a long list of other ailments. As well as disclosing any medication they take, recruits must also state if they are taking oral contraceptives (though there is no question about hormonal contraceptives that are not taken orally). Women are also asked to give the date of their last period on the pre-appointment questionnaire.

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

      Frontex training materials on forced return operations obtained by Statewatch in 2019 acknowledge the likelihood of psychological stress among staff, among other health risks. (One recommendation contained in the documents is to “never touch yourself with gloves”). Citing “dissonance within the team, long hours with no rest, group dynamic, improvisation and different languages” among factors behind psychological stress, the training materials on medical precautionary measures for deportation escort officers also refer to post-traumatic stress disorder, the lack of an area to retreat to and body clock disruption as exacerbating risks. The document suggests a high likelihood that Frontex return escorts will witness poverty, “agony”, “chaos”, violence, boredom, and will have to deal with vulnerable persons.[13]

      For fundamental rights monitors (officials deployed to monitor fundamental rights compliance during deportations, who can be either Frontex staff or national officials), the training materials obtained by Statewatch focus on the self-control of emotions, rather than emotional care. Strategies recommended include talking to somebody, seeking professional help, and “informing yourself of any other option offered”. The documents suggest that it is an individual’s responsibility to prevent emotional responses to stressful situations having an impact on operations, and to organise their own supervision and professional help. There is no obvious focus on how traumatic responses of Frontex staff could affect those coming into contact with them at an external border or during a deportation. [14]

      The materials obtained by Statewatch also give some indication of the fundamental rights training imparted to those acting as deportation ‘escorts’ and fundamental rights monitors. The intended outcomes for a training session in Athens that took place in March 2019 included “adapt FR [fundamental rights] in a readmission operation (explain it with examples)” and “should be able to describe Non Refoulement principle” (in the document, ‘Session Fundamental rights’ is followed by ‘Session Velcro handcuffs’).[15] The content of the fundamental rights training that will be offered to Frontex’s new recruits is currently unknown.

      Fit for service?

      The agency anticipates that most staff will be recruited from March to June 2020, involving the medical examination of up to 700 applicants in this period. According to Frontex’s website, the agency has already received over 7,000 applications for the 700 new European Border Guard Officer positions.[16] Successful candidates will undergo six months of training before deployment in 2021. Apparently then, the posts are a popular career option, despite the seemingly invasive medical tests (especially for sexually active women). Why, for instance, is it important to Frontex to know about oral hormonal contraception, or about sexually transmitted infections?

      When asked by Statewatch if Frontex provides in-house psychological and emotional support, an agency press officer stated: “When it comes to psychological and emotional support, Frontex is increasing awareness and personal resilience of the officers taking part in our operations through education and training activities.” A ‘Frontex Mental Health Strategy’ from 2018 proposed the establishment of “a network of experts-psychologists” to act as an advisory body, as well as creating “online self-care tools”, a “psychological hot-line”, and a space for peer support with participation of psychologists (according to risk assessment) during operations.[17]

      One year later, Frontex, EASO and Europol jointly produced a brochure for staff deployed on operations, entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety – Deployment Information’, which offers a series of recommendations to staff, placing the responsibility to “come to the deployment in good mental shape” and “learn how to manage stress and how to deal with anger” more firmly on the individual than the agency.[18] According to this document, officers who need additional support must disclose this by requesting it from their supervisor, while “a helpline or psychologist on-site may be available, depending on location”.

      Frontex anticipates this recruitment drive to be “game changing”. Indeed, the Commission is relying upon it to reach its ambitions for the agency’s independence and efficiency. The inclusion of mandatory training in fundamental rights in the six-month introductory education is obviously a welcome step. Whether lessons learned in a classroom will be the first thing that comes to the minds of officials deployed on border control or deportation operations remains to be seen.

      Unmanaged responses to emotional stress can include burnout, compassion-fatigue and indirect trauma, which can in turn decrease a person’s ability to cope with adverse circumstance, and increase the risk of violence.[19] Therefore, aside from the agency’s responsibility as an employer to safeguard the health of its staff, its approach to internal psychological care will affect not only the border guards themselves, but the people that they routinely come into contact with at borders and during return operations, many of whom themselves will have experienced trauma.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

      [1] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [2] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [3] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [4] The ETIAS Central Unit will be responsible for processing the majority of applications for ‘travel authorisations’ received when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System comes into use, in theory in late 2022. Citizens who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for authorisation to travel to the Schengen area.

      [5] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [6] Article 54(4), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [7] ‘European Commission 2020 Work Programme: An ambitious roadmap for a Union that strives for more’, 29 January 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_124; “Mission letter” from Ursula von der Leyen to Ylva Johnsson, 10 September 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/mission-letter-ylva-johansson_en.pdf

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

      [9] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [10] ‘Press release: EU border agency targeted “isolated or mistreated” individuals for questioning’, Statewatch News, 16 February 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/feb/eu-frontex-op-hera-debriefing-pr.htm

      [11] ‘Provision of Medical Services – Pre-Recruitment Examination’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-documents.html?cftId=5841

      [12] ‘Provision of medical services – pre-recruitment examination, Terms of Reference - Annex II to invitation to tender no Frontex/OP/1491/2019/KM’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-document.html?docId=65398

      [13] Frontex training presentation, ‘Medical precautionary measures for escort officers’, undated, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-presentation-medical-precautionary-measures-deportation-escor

      [14] Ibid.

      [15] Frontex, document listing course learning outcomes from deportation escorts’ training, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-deportation-escorts-training-course-learning-outcomes.pdf

      [16] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [17] Frontex, ‘Frontex mental health strategy’, 20 February 2018, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/89c168fe-e14b-11e7-9749-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

      [18] EASO, Europol and Frontex, ‘Occupational health and safety’, 12 August 2019, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/17cc07e0-bd88-11e9-9d01-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-103142015

      [19] Trauma Treatment International, ‘A different approach for victims of trauma’, https://www.tt-intl.org/#our-work-section

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/frontex-launches-game-changing-recruitment-drive-for-standing-corps-of-b
      #gardes_frontières #staff #corps_des_gardes-frontières

    • Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders (27.02.2020)

      Instead of providing sea rescue capabilities in the Mediterranean, the EU is expanding air surveillance. Refugees are observed with drones developed for the military. In addition to numerous EU states, countries such as Libya could also use the information obtained.

      It is not easy to obtain majorities for legislation in the European Union in the area of migration - unless it is a matter of upgrading the EU’s external borders. While the reform of a common EU asylum system has been on hold for years, the European Commission, Parliament and Council agreed to reshape the border agency Frontex with unusual haste shortly before last year’s parliamentary elections. A new Regulation has been in force since December 2019,[1] under which Frontex intends to build up a “standing corps” of 10,000 uniformed officials by 2027. They can be deployed not just at the EU’s external borders, but in ‘third countries’ as well.

      In this way, Frontex will become a “European border police force” with powers that were previously reserved for the member states alone. The core of the new Regulation includes the procurement of the agency’s own equipment. The Multiannual Financial Framework, in which the EU determines the distribution of its financial resources from 2021 until 2027, has not yet been decided. According to current plans, however, at least €6 billion are reserved for Frontex in the seven-year budget. The intention is for Frontex to spend a large part of the money, over €2 billion, on aircraft, ships and vehicles.[2]

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

      The upgrade plans include the stationing of large drones in the central and eastern Mediterranean. For this purpose, Frontex is looking for a private partner to operate flights off Malta, Italy or Greece. A corresponding tender ended in December[3] and the selection process is currently underway. The unmanned missions could then begin already in spring. Frontex estimates the total cost of these missions at €50 million. The contract has a term of two years and can be extended twice for one year at a time.

      Frontex wants drones of the so-called MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) class. Their flight duration should be at least 20 hours. The requirements include the ability to fly in all weather conditions and at day and night. It is also planned to operate in airspace where civil aircraft are in service. For surveillance missions, the drones should carry electro-optical cameras, thermal imaging cameras and so-called “daylight spotter” systems that independently detect moving targets and keep them in focus. Other equipment includes systems for locating mobile and satellite telephones. The drones will also be able to receive signals from emergency call transmitters sewn into modern life jackets.

      However, the Frontex drones will not be used primarily for sea rescue operations, but to improve capacities against unwanted migration. This assumption is also confirmed by the German non-governmental organisation Sea-Watch, which has been providing assistance in the central Mediterranean with various ships since 2015. “Frontex is not concerned with saving lives,” says Ruben Neugebauer of Sea-Watch. “While air surveillance is being expanded with aircraft and drones, ships urgently needed for rescue operations have been withdrawn”. Sea-Watch demands that situation pictures of EU drones are also made available to private organisations for sea rescue.

      Aircraft from arms companies

      Frontex has very specific ideas for its own drones, which is why there are only a few suppliers worldwide that can be called into question. The Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1, which Frontex tested for several months on the Greek island of Crete[4] and which is also flown by the German Bundeswehr, is one of them. As set out by Frontex in its invitation to tender, the Heron 1, with a payload of around 250 kilograms, can carry all the surveillance equipment that the agency intends to deploy over the Mediterranean. Also amongst those likely to be interested in the Frontex contract is the US company General Atomics, which has been building drones of the Predator series for 20 years. Recently, it presented a new Predator model in Greece under the name SeaGuardian, for maritime observation.[5] It is equipped with a maritime surveillance radar and a system for receiving position data from larger ships, thus fulfilling one of Frontex’s essential requirements.

      General Atomics may have a competitive advantage, as its Predator drones have several years’ operational experience in the Mediterranean. In addition to Frontex, the European Union has been active in the central Mediterranean with EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. In March 2019, Italy’s then-interior minister Matteo Salvini pushed through the decision to operate the EU mission from the air alone. Since then, two unarmed Predator drones operated by the Italian military have been flying for EUNAVFOR MED for 60 hours per month. Officially, the drones are to observe from the air whether the training of the Libyan coast guard has been successful and whether these navy personnel use their knowledge accordingly. Presumably, however, the Predators are primarily pursuing the mission’s goal to “combat human smuggling” by spying on the Libyan coast. It is likely that the new Operation EU Active Surveillance, which will use military assets from EU member states to try to enforce the UN arms embargo placed on Libya,[6] will continue to patrol with Italian drones off the coast in North Africa.

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

      In addition to Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) are also investing in maritime surveillance using drones. Together, the three agencies coordinate some 300 civil and military authorities in EU member states.[7] Their tasks include border, fisheries and customs control, law enforcement and environmental protection.

      In 2017, Frontex and EMSA signed an agreement to benefit from joint reconnaissance capabilities, with EFCA also involved.[8] At the time, EMSA conducted tests with drones of various sizes, but now the drones’ flights are part of its regular services. The offer is not only open to EU Member States, as Iceland was the first to take advantage of it. Since summer 2019, a long-range Hermes 900 drone built by the Israeli company Elbit Systems has been flying from Iceland’s Egilsstaðir airport. The flights are intended to cover more than half of the island state’s exclusive economic zone and to detect “suspicious activities and potential hazards”.[9]

      The Hermes 900 was also developed for the military; the Israeli army first deployed it in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The Times of Israel puts the cost of the operating contract with EMSA at €59 million,[10] with a term of two years, which can be extended for another two years. The agency did not conclude the contract directly with the Israeli arms company, but through the Portuguese firm CeiiA. The contract covers the stationing, control and mission control of the drones.

      New interested parties for drone flights

      At the request of the German MEP Özlem Demirel (from the party Die Linke), the European Commission has published a list of countries that also want to use EMSA drones.[11] According to this list, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and also Greece have requested unmanned flights for pollution monitoring this year, while Bulgaria and Spain want to use them for general maritime surveillance. Until Frontex has its own drones, EMSA is flying its drones for the border agency on Crete. As in Iceland, this is the long-range drone Hermes 900, but according to Greek media reports it crashed on 8 January during take-off.[12] Possible causes are a malfunction of the propulsion system or human error. The aircraft is said to have been considerably damaged.

      Authorities from France and Great Britain have also ordered unmanned maritime surveillance from EMSA. Nothing is yet known about the exact intended location, but it is presumably the English Channel. There, the British coast guard is already observing border traffic with larger drones built by the Tekever arms company from Portugal.[13] The government in London wants to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. The drones take off from the airport in the small town of Lydd and monitor the approximately 50-kilometre-long and 30-kilometre-wide Strait of Dover. Great Britain has also delivered several quadcopters to France to try to detect potential migrants in French territorial waters. According to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, eight gendarmes have been trained to control the small drones[14].

      Information to non-EU countries

      The images taken by EMSA drones are evaluated by the competent national coastguards. A livestream also sends them to Frontex headquarters in Warsaw.[15] There they are fed into the EUROSUR border surveillance system. This is operated by Frontex and networks the surveillance installations of all EU member states that have an external border. The data from EUROSUR and the national border control centres form the ‘Common Pre-frontier Intelligence Picture’,[16] referring to the area of interest of Frontex, which extends far into the African continent. Surveillance data is used to detect and prevent migration movements at an early stage.

      Once the providing company has been selected, the new Frontex drones are also to fly for EUROSUR. According to the invitation to tender, they are to operate in the eastern and central Mediterranean within a radius of up to 250 nautical miles (463 kilometres). This would enable them to carry out reconnaissance in the “pre-frontier” area off Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Within the framework of EUROSUR, Frontex shares the recorded data with other European users via a ‘Remote Information Portal’, as the call for tender explains. The border agency has long been able to cooperate with third countries and the information collected can therefore also be made available to authorities in North Africa. However, in order to share general information on surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea with a non-EU state, Frontex must first conclude a working agreement with the corresponding government.[17]

      It is already possible, however, to provide countries such as Libya with the coordinates of refugee boats. For example, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that the nearest Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) must be informed of actual or suspected emergencies. With EU funding, Italy has been building such a centre in Tripoli for the last two years.[18] It is operated by the military coast guard, but so far has no significant equipment of its own.

      The EU military mission “EUNAVFOR MED” was cooperating more extensively with the Libyan coast guard. For communication with European naval authorities, Libya is the first third country to be connected to European surveillance systems via the “Seahorse Mediterranean” network[19]. Information handed over to the Libyan authorities might also include information that was collected with the Italian military ‘Predator’ drones.

      Reconnaissance generated with unmanned aerial surveillance is also given to the MRCC in Turkey. This was seen in a pilot project last summer, when the border agency tested an unmanned aerostat with the Greek coast guard off the island of Samos.[20] Attached to a 1,000 metre-long cable, the airship was used in the Frontex operation ‘Poseidon’ in the eastern Mediterranean. The 35-meter-long zeppelin comes from the French manufacturer A-NSE.[21] The company specializes in civil and military aerial observation. According to the Greek Marine Ministry, the equipment included a radar, a thermal imaging camera and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for the tracking of larger ships. The recorded videos were received and evaluated by a situation centre supplied by the Portuguese National Guard. If a detected refugee boat was still in Turkish territorial waters, the Greek coast guard informed the Turkish authorities. This pilot project in the Aegean Sea was the first use of an airship by Frontex. The participants deployed comparatively large numbers of personnel for the short mission. Pictures taken by the Greek coastguard show more than 40 people.

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

      Human rights organisations accuse EUNAVFOR MED and Frontex of passing on information to neighbouring countries leading to rejections (so-called ‘push-backs’) in violation of international law. People must not be returned to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Frontex does not itself return refugees in distress who were discovered at sea via aerial surveillance, but leaves the task to the Libyan or Turkish authorities. Regarding Libya, the Agency since 2017 provided notice of at least 42 vessels in distress to Libyan authorities.[22]

      Private rescue organisations therefore speak of so-called ‘pull-backs’, but these are also prohibited, as the Israeli human rights lawyer Omer Shatz argues: “Communicating the location of civilians fleeing war to a consortium of militias and instructing them to intercept and forcibly transfer them back to the place they fled from, trigger both state responsibility of all EU members and individual criminal liability of hundreds involved.” Together with his colleague Juan Branco, Shatz is suing those responsible for the European Union and its agencies before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Soon they intend to publish individual cases and the names of the people accused.

      Matthias Monroy

      An earlier version of this article first appeared in the German edition of Le Monde Diplomatique: ‘Drohnen für Frontex Statt sich auf die Rettung von Bootsflüchtlingen im Mittelmeer zu konzentrieren, baut die EU die Luftüberwachung’.

      Note: this article was corrected on 6 March to clarify a point regarding cooperation between Frontex and non-EU states.

      Endnotes

      [1] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/PE-33-2019-INIT/en/pdf

      [2] European Commission, ‘A strengthened and fully equipped European Border and Coast Guard’, 12 September 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-coast-guard_en.pdf

      [3] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Medium Altitude Long Endurance Maritime Aerial Surveillance’, https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:490010-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML&tabId=1

      [4] IAI, ‘IAI AND AIRBUS MARITIME HERON UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM (UAS) SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED 200 FLIGHT HOURS IN CIVILIAN EUROPEAN AIRSPACE FOR FRONTEX’, 24 October 2018, https://www.iai.co.il/iai-and-airbus-maritime-heron-unmanned-aerial-system-uas-successfully-complet

      [5] ‘ European Maritime Flight Demonstrations’, General Atomics, http://www.ga-asi.com/european-maritime-demo

      [6] ‘EU agrees to deploy warships to enforce Libya arms embargo’, The Guardian, 17 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/17/eu-agrees-deploy-warships-enforce-libya-arms-embargo

      [7] EMSA, ‘Heads of EMSA and Frontex meet to discuss cooperation on European coast guard functions’, 3 April 2019, http://www.emsa.europa.eu/news-a-press-centre/external-news/item/3499-heads-of-emsa-and-frontex-meet-to-discuss-cooperation-on-european-c

      [8] Frontex, ‘Frontex, EMSA and EFCA strengthen cooperation on coast guard functions’, 23 March 2017, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-emsa-and-efca-strengthen-cooperation-on-coast-guard-functions

      [9] Elbit Systems, ‘Elbit Systems Commenced the Operation of the Maritime UAS Patrol Service to European Union Countries’, 18 June 2019, https://elbitsystems.com/pr-new/elbit-systems-commenced-the-operation-of-the-maritime-uas-patrol-servi

      [10] ‘Elbit wins drone contract for up to $68m to help monitor Europe coast’, The Times of Israel, 1 November 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/elbit-wins-drone-contract-for-up-to-68m-to-help-monitor-europe-coast

      [11] ‘Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the European Commission’, https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2019/12/E-2946_191_Finalised_reply_Annex1_EN_V1.pdf

      [12] ‘Το drone της FRONTEX έπεσε, οι μετανάστες έρχονται’, Proto Thema, 27 January 2020, https://www.protothema.gr/greece/article/968869/to-drone-tis-frontex-epese-oi-metanastes-erhodai

      [13] Morgan Meaker, ‘Here’s proof the UK is using drones to patrol the English Channel’, Wired, 10 January 2020, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-drones-migrants-english-channel

      [14] ‘Littoral: Les drones pour lutter contre les traversées de migrants sont opérationnels’, La Voix du Nord, 26 March 2019, https://www.lavoixdunord.fr/557951/article/2019-03-26/les-drones-pour-lutter-contre-les-traversees-de-migrants-sont-operation

      [15] ‘Frontex report on the functioning of Eurosur – Part I’, Council document 6215/18, 15 February 2018, http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6215-2018-INIT/en/pdf

      [16] European Commission, ‘Eurosur’, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/border-crossing/eurosur_en

      [17] Legal reforms have also given Frontex the power to operate on the territory of non-EU states, subject to the conclusion of a status agreement between the EU and the country in question. The 2016 Frontex Regulation allowed such cooperation with states that share a border with the EU; the 2019 Frontex Regulation extends this to any non-EU state.

      [18] ‘Helping the Libyan Coast Guard to establish a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre’, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-000547_EN.html

      [19] Matthias Monroy, ‘EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean’, 7 July 2018, https://digit.site36.net/2018/07/03/eu-funds-the-sacking-of-rescue-ships-in-the-mediterranean

      [20] Frontex, ‘Frontex begins testing use of aerostat for border surveillance’, 31 July 2019, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-begins-testing-use-of-aerostat-for-border-surveillance-ur33N8

      [21] ‘Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission’, 7 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002529-ASW_EN.html

      [22] ‘Answer given by Vice-President Borrell on behalf of the European Commission’, 8 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002654-ASW_EN.html

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/drones-for-frontex-unmanned-migration-control-at-europe-s-borders

      #drones

    • Monitoring “secondary movements” and “hotspots”: Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency (16.12.2019)

      The EU’s border agency, Frontex, now has powers to gather data on “secondary movements” and the “hotspots” within the EU. The intention is to ensure “situational awareness” and produce risk analyses on the migratory situation within the EU, in order to inform possible operational action by national authorities. This brings with it increased risks for the fundamental rights of both non-EU nationals and ethnic minority EU citizens.

      The establishment of a new ’standing corps’ of 10,000 border guards to be commanded by EU border agency Frontex has generated significant public and press attention in recent months. However, the new rules governing Frontex[1] include a number of other significant developments - including a mandate for the surveillance of migratory movements and migration “hotspots” within the EU.

      Previously, the agency’s surveillance role has been restricted to the external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or “selected third-country ports.”[2] New legal provisions mean it will now be able to gather data on the movement of people within the EU. While this is only supposed to deal with “trends, volumes and routes,” rather than personal data, it is intended to inform operational activity within the EU.

      This may mean an increase in operations against ‘unauthorised’ migrants, bringing with it risks for fundamental rights such as the possibility of racial profiling, detention, violence and the denial of access to asylum procedures. At the same time, in a context where internal borders have been reintroduced by numerous Schengen states over the last five years due to increased migration, it may be that he agency’s new role contributes to a further prolongation of internal border controls.

      From external to internal surveillance

      Frontex was initially established with the primary goals of assisting in the surveillance and control of the external borders of the EU. Over the years it has obtained increasing powers to conduct surveillance of those borders in order to identify potential ’threats’.

      The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) has a key role in this task, taking data from a variety of sources, including satellites, sensors, drones, ships, vehicles and other means operated both by national authorities and the agency itself. EUROSUR was formally established by legislation approved in 2013, although the system was developed and in use long before it was subject to a legal framework.[3]

      The new Frontex Regulation incorporates and updates the provisions of the 2013 EUROSUR Regulation. It maintains existing requirements for the agency to establish a “situational picture” of the EU’s external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or the ports of non-EU states – which is then distributed to the EU’s member states in order to inform operational activities.[4]

      The new rules also provide a mandate for reporting on “unauthorised secondary movements” and goings-on in the “hotspots”. The Commission’s proposal for the new Frontex Regulation was not accompanied by an impact assessment, which would have set out the reasoning and justifications for these new powers. The proposal merely pointed out that the new rules would “evolve” the scope of EUROSUR, to make it possible to “prevent secondary movements”.[5] As the European Data Protection Supervisor remarked, the lack of an impact assessment made it impossible: “to fully assess and verify its attended benefits and impact, notably on fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data.”[6]

      The term “secondary movements” is not defined in the Regulation, but is generally used to refer to journeys between EU member states undertaken without permission, in particular by undocumented migrants and applicants for internal protection. Regarding the “hotspots” – established and operated by EU and national authorities in Italy and Greece – the Regulation provides a definition,[7] but little clarity on precisely what information will be gathered.

      Legal provisions

      A quick glance at Section 3 of the new Regulation, dealing with EUROSUR, gives little indication that the system will now be used for internal surveillance. The formal scope of EUROSUR is concerned with the external borders and border crossing points:

      “EUROSUR shall be used for border checks at authorised border crossing points and for external land, sea and air border surveillance, including the monitoring, detection, identification, tracking, prevention and interception of unauthorised border crossings for the purpose of detecting, preventing and combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime and contributing to ensuring the protection and saving the lives of migrants.”

      However, the subsequent section of the Regulation (on ‘situational awareness’) makes clear the agency’s new internal role. Article 24 sets out the components of the “situational pictures” that will be visible in EUROSUR. There are three types – national situational pictures, the European situational picture and specific situational pictures. All of these should consist of an events layer, an operational layer and an analysis layer. The first of these layers should contain (emphasis added in all quotes):

      “…events and incidents related to unauthorised border crossings and cross-border crime and, where available, information on unauthorised secondary movements, for the purpose of understanding migratory trends, volume and routes.”

      Article 26, dealing with the European situational picture, states:

      “The Agency shall establish and maintain a European situational picture in order to provide the national coordination centres and the Commission with effective, accurate and timely information and analysis, covering the external borders, the pre-frontier area and unauthorised secondary movements.”

      The events layer of that picture should include “information relating to… incidents in the operational area of a joint operation or rapid intervention coordinated by the Agency, or in a hotspot.”[8] In a similar vein:

      “The operational layer of the European situational picture shall contain information on the joint operations and rapid interventions coordinated by the Agency and on hotspots, and shall include the mission statements, locations, status, duration, information on the Member States and other actors involved, daily and weekly situational reports, statistical data and information packages for the media.”[9]

      Article 28, dealing with ‘EUROSUR Fusion Services’, says that Frontex will provide national authorities with information on the external borders and pre-frontier area that may be derived from, amongst other things, the monitoring of “migratory flows towards and within the Union in terms of trends, volume and routes.”

      Sources of data

      The “situational pictures” compiled by Frontex and distributed via EUROSUR are made up of data gathered from a host of different sources. For the national situational picture, these are:

      national border surveillance systems;
      stationary and mobile sensors operated by national border agencies;
      border surveillance patrols and “other monitoring missions”;
      local, regional and other coordination centres;
      other national authorities and systems, such as immigration liaison officers, operational centres and contact points;
      border checks;
      Frontex;
      other member states’ national coordination centres;
      third countries’ authorities;
      ship reporting systems;
      other relevant European and international organisations; and
      other sources.[10]

      For the European situational picture, the sources of data are:

      national coordination centres;
      national situational pictures;
      immigration liaison officers;
      Frontex, including reports form its liaison officers;
      Union delegations and EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions;
      other relevant Union bodies, offices and agencies and international organisations; and
      third countries’ authorities.[11]

      The EUROSUR handbook – which will presumably be redrafted to take into account the new legislation – provides more detail about what each of these categories may include.[12]

      Exactly how this melange of different data will be used to report on secondary movements is currently unknown. However, in accordance with Article 24 of the new Regulation:

      “The Commission shall adopt an implementing act laying down the details of the information layers of the situational pictures and the rules for the establishment of specific situational pictures. The implementing act shall specify the type of information to be provided, the entities responsible for collecting, processing, archiving and transmitting specific information, the maximum time limits for reporting, the data security and data protection rules and related quality control mechanisms.” [13]

      This implementing act will specify precisely how EUROSUR will report on “secondary movements”.[14] According to a ‘roadmap’ setting out plans for the implementation of the new Regulation, this implementing act should have been drawn up in the last quarter of 2020 by a newly-established European Border and Coast Guard Committee sitting within the Commission. However, that Committee does not yet appear to have held any meetings.[15]

      Operational activities at the internal borders

      Boosting Frontex’s operational role is one of the major purposes of the new Regulation, although it makes clear that the internal surveillance role “should not lead to operational activities of the Agency at the internal borders of the Member States.” Rather, internal surveillance should “contribute to the monitoring by the Agency of migratory flows towards and within the Union for the purpose of risk analysis and situational awareness.” The purpose is to inform operational activity by national authorities.

      In recent years Schengen member states have reintroduced border controls for significant periods in the name of ensuring internal security and combating irregular migration. An article in Deutsche Welle recently highlighted:

      “When increasing numbers of refugees started arriving in the European Union in 2015, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary quickly reintroduced controls, citing a “continuous big influx of persons seeking international protection.” This was the first time that migration had been mentioned as a reason for reintroducing border controls.

      Soon after, six Schengen members reintroduced controls for extended periods. Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway cited migration as a reason. France, as the sixth country, first introduced border checks after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, citing terrorist threats. Now, four years later, all six countries still have controls in place. On November 12, they are scheduled to extend them for another six months.”[16]

      These long-term extensions of internal border controls are illegal (the upper limit is supposed to be two years; discussions on changes to the rules governing the reintroduction of internal border controls in the Schengen area are ongoing).[17] A European Parliament resolution from May 2018 stated that “many of the prolongations are not in line with the existing rules as to their extensions, necessity or proportionality and are therefore unlawful.”[18] Yves Pascou, a researcher for the European Policy Centre, told Deutsche Welle that: “"We are in an entirely political situation now, not a legal one, and not one grounded in facts.”

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

      “there has been a noticeable lack of detail and evidence given by the concerned EU Member States [those which reintroduced internal border controls]. For example, there have been no statistics on the numbers of people crossing borders and seeking asylum, or assessment of the extent to which reintroducing border checks complies with the principles of proportionality and necessity.”[19]

      One purpose of Frontex’s new internal surveillance powers is to provide such evidence (albeit in the ideologically-skewed form of ‘risk analysis’) on the situation within the EU. Whether the information provided will be of interest to national authorities is another question. Nevertheless, it would be a significant irony if the provision of that information were to contribute to the further maintenance of internal borders in the Schengen area.

      At the same time, there is a more pressing concern related to these new powers. Many discussions on the reintroduction of internal borders revolve around the fact that it is contrary to the idea, spirit (and in these cases, the law) of the Schengen area. What appears to have been totally overlooked is the effect the reintroduction of internal borders may have on non-EU nationals or ethnic minority citizens of the EU. One does not have to cross an internal Schengen frontier too many times to notice patterns in the appearance of the people who are hauled off trains and buses by border guards, but personal anecdotes are not the same thing as empirical investigation. If Frontex’s new powers are intended to inform operational activity by the member states at the internal borders of the EU, then the potential effects on fundamental rights must be taken into consideration and should be the subject of investigation by journalists, officials, politicians and researchers.

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

      [1] The new Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU in mid-November: Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [2] Article 12, ‘Common application of surveillance tools’, Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 establishing the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32013R1052

      [3] According to Frontex, the Eurosur Network first came into use in December 2011 and in March 2012 was first used to “exchange operational information”. The Regulation governing the system came into force in October 2013 (see footnote 2). See: Charles Heller and Chris Jones, ‘Eurosur: saving lives or reinforcing deadly borders?’, Statewatch Journal, vol. 23 no. 3/4, February 2014, http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=33156

      [4] Recital 34, 2019 Regulation: “EUROSUR should provide an exhaustive situational picture not only at the external borders but also within the Schengen area and in the pre-frontier area. It should cover land, sea and air border surveillance and border checks.”

      [5] European Commission, ‘Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action no 98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) no 1052/2013 and Regulation (EU) no 2016/1624’, COM(2018) 631 final, 12 September 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-com-frontex-proposal-regulation-com-18-631.pdf

      [6] EDPS, ‘Formal comments on the Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard’, 30 November 2018, p. p.2, https://edps.europa.eu/sites/edp/files/publication/18-11-30_comments_proposal_regulation_european_border_coast_guard_en.pdf

      [7] Article 2(23): “‘hotspot area’ means an area created at the request of the host Member State in which the host Member State, the Commission, relevant Union agencies and participating Member States cooperate, with the aim of managing an existing or potential disproportionate migratory challenge characterised by a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving at the external borders”

      [8] Article 26(3)(c), 2019 Regulation

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

      [12] European Commission, ‘Commission Recommendation adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)’, C(2015) 9206 final, 15 December 2015, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/securing-eu-borders/legal-documents/docs/eurosur_handbook_annex_en.pdf

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

      [14] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [15] Documents related to meetings of committees operating under the auspices of the European Commission can be found in the Comitology Register: https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=Search.Search&NewSearch=1

      [16] Kira Schacht, ‘Border checks in EU countries challenge Schengen Agreement’, DW, 12 November 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/border-checks-in-eu-countries-challenge-schengen-agreement/a-51033603

      [17] European Parliament, ‘Temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders’, https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2017/0245(COD)&l=en

      [18] ‘Report on the annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area’, 3 May 2018, para.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0160_EN.html

      [19] Elpseth Guild et al, ‘Internal border controls in the Schengen area: is Schengen crisis-proof?’, European Parliament, June 2016, p.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/571356/IPOL_STU(2016)571356_EN.pdf

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2019/monitoring-secondary-movements-and-hotspots-frontex-is-now-an-internal-s

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • #Frontex wants to disembark refugees in Senegal

    #Hera“ is the only Frontex maritime mission on the territory of a third country. A new agreement might extend this joint border #surveillance.

    The EU border agency Frontex wants to bring back refugees picked up in the Atlantic Ocean to Senegal. The EU Commission should therefore negotiate a so-called #Status_Agreement with the government in Dakar. The proposal can be found in the annual report (https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6294-2020-INIT/en/pdf) on the implementation of the Regulation for the surveillance of external sea borders (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32014R0656). It regulates the maritime „operational cooperation“ of Frontex with third countries.

    It would be the first agreement of this kind with an African government. So far, Frontex has only concluded Status Agreements with a number of Western Balkan countries for the joint surveillance of land borders. The only operation to date in a third country (https://digit.site36.net/2019/11/25/frontex-expands-operations-in-eu-neighbouring-countries) was launched by the Border Agency in Albania a year ago.

    Frontex has been coordinating the joint operation „Hera“ in the Atlantic since 2006 (https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/longest-frontex-coordinated-operation-hera-the-canary-islands-WpQlsc). The reason for the first and thus oldest EU border surveillance mission (http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-307-frontex-operation-hera.pdf) was the arrival of many thousands of refugees in boats on the Canary Islands via Morocco, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Senegal. For a short period of time, the German Federal Police had also participated in „Hera“ (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/16/098/1609888.pdf), in addition to Portugal, France, Italy, Finland and Luxembourg. Already in 2007 the arrivals decreased drastically. For the past year, Frontex’s „Migratory Map“ (https://frontex.europa.eu/along-eu-borders/migratory-map) records only 711 irregular arrivals (by December) on Gran Canaria, Tenerife and the other Spanish islands. According to media reports (https://www.laprovincia.es/canarias/2020/03/03/canarias-supera-1200-personas-llegadas/1260792.html), this number has been nearly doubled in the first two months of 2020 alone.

    „Hera“ is the only maritime mission in which Frontex coordinates an operation which, with Senegal, also takes place in the 12-mile zone, the exclusive economic zone and the airspace of a third country. In „Themis“, „Indalo“ and „Poseidon“, the operational plan only covers waters under the jurisdiction and monitoring of EU Member States.

    Currently, „Hera“ is operated by Spain as the „host state“ with support from Portugal. The two countries patrol with frigates and smaller ships and carry out aerial surveillance with a helicopter. They first transmit their information to a control centre in Las Palmas, to which Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal have sent liaison officers. Processed intelligence is then forwarded to the International Coordination Centre (ICC) in Madrid, which manages all operations of the Spanish border authorities and is also responsible for cooperation with Frontex.

    If suspicious boats are detected in the area of operations in „Hera“, a report is made to the competent Maritime Rescue Operations Centre (MRCC). All those picked up in the Spanish Search and Rescue zone have been able to disembark in the Canary Islands in recent years.

    If the refugees are still in the Senegalese #SAR zone, the national coast guard brings them back to the West African country. With a Status Agreement, Frontex assets could do the same. According to SAR Info, a Canadian information platform, the Senegalese national #MRCC (https://sarcontacts.info/countries/senegal) is also responsible for the rescue coordination off the coast of Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania.

    Before each operation, Frontex is required to assess the possible disembarkation of intercepted refugees in the third countries concerned. In the report for 2018, Leggeri writes that his agency, with the „host states“ of the missions „Themis“ (Italy) and „Indalo“ (Spain), considered such disembarkations to Libya and Tunisia as well as to Morocco to be incompatible with regulations to which Frontex is bound.

    From Frontex’s point of view, however, disembarkations would be possible for Turkey and Senegal, as the governments there do not violate basic fundamental and human rights and also adhere to the principle of non-refoulement, according to which refugees may not be returned to countries from which they have fled. So far, says Leggeri, Frontex and the EU Member States involved in „Poseidon“ and „Hera“ have not forced any persons to Turkey or Senegal.

    The report signed by Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri is as usual one year late, the paper published last week refers to 2018. That was the same year in which the European Union once again wanted to set up „regional disembarkation centres“ in North Africa (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_18_4629). There, asylum applications of persons seeking protection would be examined even before they reach Europe. All the governments in question rejected the proposal, and the African Union also opposed it a year ago. Led by Egypt, the 55 member states criticise the planned EU facilities as „de facto detention centres“ (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/24/african-union-seeks-to-kill-eu-plan-to-process-migrants-in-africa).

    In the report, Leggeri complains that Frontex has too little competence in its four maritime missions. Bilateral agreements, such as those Italy has concluded with Libya (https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/02/12/italy-halt-abusive-migration-cooperation-libya) or Spain with Morocco (https://english.elpais.com/elpais/2019/02/21/inenglish/1550736538_089908.html), allow for much closer cooperation with North African coastguards.

    https://digit.site36.net/2020/03/01/frontex-wants-to-disembark-refugees-in-senegal
    #Sénégal #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #désembarquement #surveillance_frontalière #accord #accords #frontières

    Et pas mal de matériel sur seenthis autour de...
    #plateformes_de_désembarquement #disembarkation_paltforms #plateformes_de_débarquement #regional_disembarkation_platforms #Albanie #Océane_atlantique #Atlantique #Allemagne

    –-> voir notamment ici, dans la métaliste sur l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765334

    ping @karine4 @isskein @_kg_

  • Turkey to open #Idlib border and allow Syrian refugees free passage to Europe

    Route out of northwestern Syria to be opened for 72 hours, officials tell MEE, after 33 Turkish troops killed in attack by pro-Assad forces.

    Turkey will open its southwestern border with Syria for 72 hours to allow Syrians fleeing the pro-government forces’ assault free passage to Europe, Turkish official sources have told Middle East Eye.

    The decision came after a security meeting chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara late on Thursday after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria’s Idlib province.

    A senior Turkish official said on Thursday that Syrian refugees headed towards Europe would not be stopped either on land or by sea.

    The official said that Ankara would order police and border and sea patrols to stand down if they detected any Syrian refugees trying to cross into Europe.

    Groups of Syrian refugees and migrants from other countries began heading to Turkey’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria after the announcement was made.

    Various Turkish refugee groups have also organised buses for Syrian refugees intending to head to Turkey’s border with Europe.

    The governor of Hatay province said that Turkish soldiers were killed in a Syrian government attack in Idlib, a province where forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been staging an offensive against rebels since December.

    Since then, about a million civilians have been displaced towards the Turkish border - more than half of them children - and hundreds have been killed in the onslaught.
    Nato meeting

    Turkey blamed Thursday’s air strike on Syrian government forces, who are backed by Russia.

    However, Russia’s defence ministry was cited by the RIA news agency on Friday as saying that the Turkish troops had been hit by artillery fire from Syrian government forces who were trying to repel an offensive by Turkish-backed rebel forces.

    Russia is sending two warships equipped with cruise missiles to the Mediterranean Sea towards the Syrian coast, the Interfax news agency cited Russia’s Black Sea fleet as saying on Friday.

    North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ambassadors were meeting in Brussels on Friday at Turkey’s request to hold consultations about developments in Syria, the alliance said.

    Under article four of Nato’s founding Washington Treaty, any ally can request consultations whenever, in their opinion, their territorial integrity, political independence or security are threatened.
    Migrants not allowed through

    Turkey’s Demiroren news agency said around 300 migrants, including women and children, had begun heading towards the borders between European Union countries Greece and Bulgaria and Turkey’s Edirne province at around midnight on Thursday.

    Syrians, Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Moroccans were among those in the group, it said.

    It said migrants had also gathered in the western Turkish coastal district of Ayvacik in Canakkale province with the aim of travelling by boat to the Greek island of Lesbos.

    Video footage of the migrants broadcast by pro-government Turkish television channels could also not immediately be verified.

    Turkish broadcaster NTV showed scores of people walking through fields wearing backpacks and said the refugees had tried to cross the Kapikule border into Bulgaria, but were not allowed through.

    It said the same group of migrants had then walked through fields to reach the Pazarkule border crossing into Greece, but it was unclear what happened to them thereafter.

    Greece has tightened sea and land borders with Turkey after the overnight developments in Idlib, government sources told Reuters on Friday.

    The sources, who declined to be identified, said Athens was also in contact with the European Union and Nato on the matter.
    ’Turkey is currently hitting all known regime targets’

    The Turkish soldiers’ deaths are the biggest number of fatalities suffered by Ankara’s forces in a single day since it began deploying thousands of troops into Idlib in recent weeks in a bid to halt the military push by Assad’s forces and their allies.

    The latest incident means a total of 46 Turkish security personnel have been killed this month in Idlib.

    Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s communications director, said in a written statement that the Turkish government had decided in the meeting to retaliate against Assad’s forces by land and by air.

    “Turkey is currently hitting all known regime targets. What happened in Rwanda and Bosnia cannot be allowed to be repeated in Idlib,” he said.

    Attacks on Turkish forces have caused severe tensions between the Syrian government’s key ally, Russia, and Turkey, which backs certain opposition groups in Idlib.

    Erdogan had vowed to launch a military operation to push back Syrian government forces if they did not retreat from a line of Turkish observations posts by the end of February.

    The nine-year war in Syria has devastated much of the country. An estimated half a million people have been killed and millions have been forced to live as refugees.

    Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, having taken in some 3.7 million Syrians.

    Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to open the gates for migrants to travel to Europe.

    If it did so, it would reverse a pledge Turkey made to the EU in 2016 and could draw western powers into the standoff over Idlib.

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/turkey-syrian-refugees-free-passage-europe-soldiers-killed-Idlib

    #turquie #frontières #ouverture_des_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Erdogan #bras_de_fer #Europe

    –-

    ajouté à la métaliste sur les refoulements dans l’Evros :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/914147

    • La #Grèce bloque des centaines de migrants à sa frontière avec la Turquie

      A la suite de la montée des tensions en Syrie, Ankara avait plus tôt affirmé que le pays « ne retiendrait pas » les migrants qui cherchent à rejoindre l’Europe. La Grèce a annoncé avoir renforcé ses patrouilles à la frontière.


      https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/02/28/la-turquie-menace-d-ouvrir-la-porte-de-l-europe-aux-migrants_6031137_3210.ht

    • Greek police fire teargas on migrants at border with Turkey

      Greek police fired teargas toward migrants who were gathered on its border with Turkey and demanding entry on Saturday, as a crisis over Syria abruptly moved onto the European Union’s doorstep.

      The Greek government reiterated its promise to keep migrants out.

      “The government will do whatever it takes to protect its borders,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters, adding that in the past 24 hours Greek authorities had averted attempts by 4,000 people to cross.

      Live images from Greece’s Skai TV on the Turkish side of the northern land border at Kastanies showed Greek riot police firing teargas rounds at groups of migrants who were hurling stones and shouting obscenities.

      Media were not permitted to approach the Greek side of the border in the early morning, but the area smelled heavily of teargas, a Reuters witness said.

      A Turkish government official said late Thursday that Turkey will no longer contain the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers after an air strike on war-ravaged Idlib in Syria killed 33 Turkish soldiers earlier that day.

      Almost immediately, convoys of people appeared heading to the Greek land and sea borders on Friday.

      An estimated 3,000 people had gathered on the Turkish side of the border at Kastanies, according to a Greek government official. Kastanies lies just over 900 km (550 miles)north-east of Athens.

      Greece, which was a primary gateway for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016, has promised it will keep the migrants out.

      However, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that some 18,000 migrants had crossed borders from Turkey into Europe. Speaking in Istanbul, he did not immediately provide evidence for the number, but said it would rise.

      Greek police were keeping media about a kilometre away from the Kastanies border crossing, but the broader area, where the two countries are divided by a river, was more permeable.

      A group of Afghans with young children waded across fast-moving waters of the Evros river and took refuge in a small chapel. They crossed into Greece on Friday morning.

      “Today is good” said Shir Agha, 30 in broken English. “Before, Erdogan people, police problem,” he said. Their shoes were caked in mud. It had rained heavily the night before, and by early morning, temperatures were close to freezing.

      Greece had already said on Thursday it would tighten border controls to prevent coronavirus reaching its Aegean islands, where thousands of migrants are living in poor conditions.

      Nearly a million refugees and migrants crossed from Turkey to Greece’s islands in 2015, setting off a crisis over immigration in Europe, but that route all but closed after the European Union and Ankara agreed to stop the flow in March 2016.

      https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN20N0F6
      #Evros #région_de_l'Evros

    • ’Following last night’s announcement of Turkish plans to open the borders with Greece for 72 hours, a large number of people attempted to cross the Evros/Meriç border near the 11km-long fence in Kastanies.
      They were stopped and are now trapped in the buffer zone between the two countries, surrounded by Greek and Turkish armed forces. Tear gas and stun grenade were reportedly used to dispersed the crowds.
      Human Rights 360 and @ForensicArchi have obtained material from the ground, including proof of people being pushed back across the border from Greece to Turkey and are monitoring the situation.
      As night has fallen, these people fear their human rights will be violated further. We urge the European, Greek, and Turkish authorities to safeguard their rights and safety.


      https://twitter.com/rights360/status/1233468982788841479

    • ’Number of migrants leaving Turkey reaches 36,776’

      Migrants departing from Turkey via northwestern border province of #Edirne, says country’s interior minister.

      The number of migrants leaving Turkey via its northwestern border province of Edirne reached 36,776, the country’s interior minister said on Saturday.

      In a statement on Twitter, Suleyman Soylu said that the number was registered as of 9.02 p.m. local time (1802 GMT).

      Turkish officials announced Friday that they would no longer try to stop irregular migrants from reaching Europe.

      The decision was made as 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred at the hands of regime forces in Idlib, Syria. The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.

      Since then, thousands of irregular migrants have flocked to Edirne to make their way into Europe.

      Turkey already hosts some 3.7 million migrants from Syria alone, more than any other country in the world.

      It has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.

      https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/number-of-migrants-leaving-turkey-reaches-36-776/1750216

    • Erdoğan says border will stay open as Greece tries to repel influx

      Turkish leader claims 18,000 people have crossed into EU but some are met with teargas.

      Thousands of migrants may be in no man’s land between Turkey and Greece after Ankara opened its western borders, sparking chaotic scenes as Greek troops attempted to prevent refugees from entering Europe en masse.

      Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, claimed 18,000 migrants had crossed the border, without immediately providing supporting evidence, but many appear to have been repelled by Greek border patrols firing teargas and stun grenades.

      Erdoğan has long threatened to allow refugees and migrants transit into the EU, with which Turkey signed an accord in 2016 to stem westward migration in return for financial aid.

      He stressed the frontier would remain open. “We will not close these doors in the coming period and this will continue,” he said in Istanbul on Saturday. “Why? The European Union needs to keep its promises. We are not obliged to look after and feed so many refugees. If you’re honest, if you’re sincere, then you need to share.”

      Erdoğan complained that funds transferred to Turkey from the EU to support refugees were arriving too slowly, saying he had asked Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to send them directly to his government.

      But the policy shift appears to be intended to force the EU and Nato to support Ankara’s new military campaign in the north-western province of Idlib, Syria’s last rebel stronghold, where thousands of Turkish soldiers are supporting opposition forces facing an onslaught from regime forces backed by Russian air power.

      Erdoğan said Turkey could not handle a new wave of migration, in an apparent reference to the growing humanitarian crisis in Idlib.

      The Idlib offensive has pushed almost a million displaced civilians toward the Syrian-Turkish border, and hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians remain between advancing Syrian government forces backed by Russia and rebel fighters supported by Turkey.

      In the largest single loss of life to Turkish forces since their country became involved in the Syria conflict, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike on Thursday night.

      After officials briefed on Friday that police, coastguard and border guards had been ordered to stand down, meaning passage to Europe would be no longer prevented, thousands of refugees and migrants made haste to Turkey’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Many travelled on buses provided by the Turkish state.

      They were met by Greek border patrols reportedly firing teargas and stun grenades. Some young migrants and refugees appeared to hurl rocks at the guards.

      “A titanic battle [is being waged] to keep our frontiers closed,” said Panayiotis Harelas, who heads the federation of border guards during an impromptu press conference at the scene.

      A 17-year-old Iranian who had made it into Greece overnight along with a group of friends told the Associated Press he had spent two months in Turkey and could not sustain himself there. “We learned the border was open and we headed there,” he said. “But we saw it was closed and we found a hole in the fence and went through it.”

      Greek authorities said 52 ships were patrolling the seas around Lesbos, along with other Aegean isles, in an apparent show of force to deter clandestine voyages. Greece has also bolstered its eastern land border, while Bulgaria has sent an extra 1,000 troops to its border with Turkey.

      A Greek government spokesperson, Stelios Petsas, said after an emergency meeting of ministers that security forces had repelled “more than 4,000 illegal entries”. Sixty-six people had been arrested after making their way through forest land into the country, none of whom were believed to hail from Idlib, according to Petsas.

      On Saturday morning high winds on Lesbos were mostly preventing arrivals there, with just one boat containing 27 people from various African countries reported to have reached the island. Another 180 reached other Greek islands from Turkey between Friday morning and Saturday morning, according to the coastguard.

      There are more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, along with many others fleeing war and poverty in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Turkey’s borders to Europe were closed to migrants following a £5.2bn deal with the EU in 2016 after more than a million people crossed into Europe by foot.

      As that policy was effectively reversed, Erdoğan claimed that the number of people entering Europe from Turkey could rise to up to 30,000 on Saturday.

      He also said he had told Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to end his support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria so that Turkey could more easily battle Assad’s forces.

      “We did not go [to Syria] because we were invited by [Assad],” he said. “We went there because we were invited by the people of Syria. We don’t intend to leave before the people of Syria [say] OK, this is done.”

      Syrian and Russian warplanes kept up airstrikes on the strategically important Idlib city of Saraqib on Saturday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There were reports that nine Assad-supporting Hezbollah forces were killed by Turkish smart missiles and drones.

      Russia’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that the two sides had agreed this week to reduce tensions on the ground in Idlib, though military action will continue, after Nato envoys held emergency talks at the request of Turkey, a member of the alliance.

      While urging de-escalation in Idlib, Nato offered no immediate assistance but said it would consider strengthening Ankara’s air defences.

      The UN secretary general, António Guterres, called for an immediate ceasefire and said the risk of ever greater escalation was growing by the hour, with civilians paying the gravest price.

      https://seenthis.net/messages/828209

    • Austria says it will stop any migrants trying to rush its border

      Austria will stop any migrants attempting to rush its border if measures to halt them in Greece and through the Balkans fail, conservative Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said on Sunday.

      Greek police fired tear gas to repel hundreds of stone-throwing migrants who tried to force their way across the border from Turkey on Sunday, with thousands more behind them after Ankara relaxed curbs on their movement. It was the second straight day of clashes.

      The rush echoes Europe’s migration crisis in 2015-2016, when Austria served as a corridor into Germany for hundreds of thousands of migrants who traveled through Greece and the Balkans. Austria also took in more than 1% of its population in asylum seekers in the process.

      “Hungary has assured us that it will protect its borders as best it can, like Croatia’s,” Nehammer told broadcaster ORF, referring to two of Austria’s neighbors. Migrants coming up through the Balkans would almost certainly have to pass through either of those countries before reaching Austria.

      “Should, despite that, people reach us then they must be stopped,” he said when asked what Austria would do.

      Nehammer’s boss, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, built his career on a hard line on immigration, pledging to prevent a repeat of 2015’s influx. He governed in coalition with the far right from 2017 until last year, and is back in power with the Greens as a junior partner.

      When Kurz was foreign minister in 2016, Austria coordinated border restrictions in neighboring Balkan countries to stop migrants reaching it from Greece.

      Austria is prepared to do the same again if necessary, Kurz and Nehammer have indicated. Kurz is an outspoken critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s government, a popular stance in his conservative Alpine country.

      Turkey said on Thursday it would let migrants cross its borders into Europe, despite a commitment to hold them in its territory under a 2016 deal with the European Union.

      Turkey’s turnabout came after an air strike killed 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria, and appeared to be an effort to press for more EU aid in tackling the refugee crisis from Syria’s civil war.

      “The second safety net, and here the Austrian security services have a lot of previous experience, is close cooperation and also support, whether that be financial, material or in terms of personnel, with countries along the (migrants’) escape route,” Nehammer said, referring to Balkan countries.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-austria-idUSKBN20O2CS
      #route_des_Balkans #Autriche

    • Evros: Greek Army announces exercise with live ammunition on March 2

      Real ammunition will be used on Monday, March 2, 2020, across the Evros river, an announcement by the Greek Army said late on Sunday.

      The 4th Army Corps has announced military exercises with live ammunition at all border outposts at Kipoi and Kastanies where thousands of migrants and refugees have amassed. The broader area of the 24-hour exercise is where also all migrants crossings are in general.

      According to the announcement, guns, machine guns, rifles and pistols will be used during the military exercise with live ammunition.

      Listing the specific areas where the exercise will take place, the Army warns that “movement or stay of persons, trucks and animals during shooting hours is prohibited to avoid accidents.”

      “Non-exploded bullets that may be found, shod not me removed,” and the nearest police authorities should be immediately notified.”

      The timing of the military exercise and thus on a Greek holiday – Clean Monday – is peculiar, but it may serve rather the “internal consumption” and to scare off the migrants, comments news website tvxs.gr

      On Sunday, Greek special police forces and army fired warning shots during patrol in the Evros area in order to deter migrants trying to cross into the country.

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/03/02/greece-army-exercise-live-ammunition-mar2

      #armée #militarisation_des_frontières #armes #armes_à_feu

    • Greece Suspends Asylum as Turkey Opens Gates for Migrants

      Greece took a raft of tough measures Sunday as it tried to repel thousands of migrants amassed at its border with Turkey.

      It deployed major military forces to the border, seeking to fortify the area after Turkey allowed migrants to pass through to the European Union over the weekend. The Greek government also said it would suspend asylum applications for a month and summarily deport migrants entering illegally.

      The developments were increasing tensions between the two countries, leaving thousands of people exposed to winter weather and caught in an increasingly volatile situation.

      Neither move announced by Greece is permitted by European Union law, but the Greek government said it would request special dispensation from the bloc. International protocols on the protection of refugees, of which Greece is a signatory, also prohibit such policies.

      “Turkey, instead of curbing migrant and refugee smuggling networks, has become a smuggler itself,” the Greek government said in a statement.

      Military officials would not say how many additional troops were being deployed, but they confirmed that they were stepping up joint military and police operations along the border. Dozens of military vehicles were seen moving toward various outposts along Greece’s 120-mile boundary with Turkey.

      The fortification of the area came after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey confirmed on Saturday that he was opening Turkey’s border for migrants to enter Europe, saying that his country could no longer handle the huge numbers of people fleeing the war in Syria.

      Mr. Erdogan accused European leaders of failing to keep their promise to help Turkey bear the load of hosting 3.6 million Syrian refugees. And he demanded European support for his military operation against a Russian and Syrian offensive in northern Syria that has displaced at least a million Syrians, many of whom are now heading toward the Turkish border. The Turkish Army also suffered significant casualties last week in an airstrike in northwest Syria.

      The president of the European Council said he would visit the Greek-Turkish line on Tuesday with the Greek prime minister, and the European Union announced an urgent foreign ministers’ meeting sometime this week to deliberate on the crisis.

      Thousands of migrants languishing in Turkey were on the move this weekend after Mr. Erdogan said he would not stand in their way. Many dropped everything the moment they heard the border was opening and rushed by bus or taxi, fearing they might miss the chance to get across.

      The Greek government, alarmed at the unfolding migrant wave, said it had sent a warning through mass text messages to all international phone numbers in the area. “From the Hellenic Republic: Greece is increasing border security to level maximum,” the message said in English. “Do not attempt illegally to cross the border.”

      Many migrants went ahead anyway, and some succeeded. Many ended up clashing with the authorities in Greece as riot police officers with batons, shields and masks tried to block their path, sometimes firing tear gas.

      Turkey’s interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, wrote Sunday on Twitter that more than 76,000 people had left Turkey for Greece — a drastically inflated number, according to ground reports from both sides of the border.

      The United Nations estimated that about 15,000 people from several countries, including families with children, were on their way in Turkey to the northern land border with Greece.

      Hundreds of people crossed the Turkish border, either over farmland or the Evros River. Nearly 500 others arrived by boat on the islands near Turkey in the northeastern Aegean, creating small-scale scenes reminiscent of the 2015 crisis that paralyzed parts of Europe.

      The Greek government said it had thwarted nearly 10,000 crossing attempts in 24 hours and arrested 150 people over the weekend.

      But dozens of migrants in small groups could be seen scattered in the region’s villages. The Greek government claimed that those attempting to cross into Greece were all single men and that none were Syrians, but families and Syrians did manage to reach Greece.
      Image

      One man with his wife and small children took shelter in a church, trying to warm up and regroup after the arduous crossing.

      Another migrant, Kaniwar Ibrahim, a 26-year-old tailor from Kobane, Syria, said he had heard from friends that Mr. Erdogan was opening the borders to Europe, so he rushed north.

      Mr. Ibrahim, his face ashen and his lips blue from the cold, was planning his next move at the train station in Orestiada with three West Africans and a few Palestinian migrants who had crossed the border with him overnight.

      He had spent two terrible years in Turkey, he said, so he grabbed the chance to join relatives legally settled in Germany.

      On the Turkish side, where thousands were gathering and smugglers were flocking to offer rides, boats and other services, others were less fortunate, and the hazards of attempting the crossing were becoming clear.

      One migrant died from the cold overnight, according to other migrants, and others said they were badly beaten by Greek border guards or vigilantes — an assertion that the Greek government denied.

      Abdul Kareem al Mir, 23, from the city of Al Salamiyah in central Syria, reached Edirne, Turkey, near Greece, but he was already having second thoughts.

      “I’ve been stuck here for three days in the rain and cold,” he said in a series of messages. “I guess the promises and statements were just a lie.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/01/world/europe/greece-migrants-border-turkey.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimesworld

    • Greece freezes asylum applications from illegally entering migrants

      Greece will not accept for a month, beginning Sunday, any asylum applications from migrants entering the country illegally and, where possible, will immediately return them to the country they entered from, Greece’s government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced Sunday.

      The announcement was made at the conclusion of a cabinet meeting on national security.

      Greece will also ask the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, also known as Frontex, to engage in a rapid border intervention to protect Greece’s borders, which are also EU’s borders, Petsas said.

      The above decisions will be communicated to the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council so that Greece can benefit from temporary measures to face an emergency.

      Petsas said Turkey is violating its commitments from the 2016 EU-Turkey agreement and of becoming itself a trafficker instead of cracking down on them. He called the migrant movement “a sudden, massive, organized and coordinated pressure from population movements in its eastern, land and sea, borders.”

      Charles Michel, President of the European Council, tweeted a few minutes ago:

      “Support for Greek efforts to protect the European borders. Closely monitoring the situation on the ground. I will be visiting the Greek-Turkish border on Tuesday with @PrimeministerGR Mitsotakis.”


      http://www.ekathimerini.com/250097/article/ekathimerini/news/greece-freezes-asylum-applications-from-illegally-entering-migrants

      #procédure_d'asile

    • Griechenland setzt Asylrecht für einen Monat aus

      Der Lage an der griechisch-türkischen Grenze spitzt sich weiter zu: Nun kündigte der griechische Ministerpräsident an, dass sein Land für einen Monat keine neuen Anträge auf Asyl annehmen werde.

      https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/fluechtlinge-griechenland-setzt-asylrecht-fuer-einen-monat-aus-a-14421c7e-80

    • Clashes as thousands gather at Turkish border to enter Greece

      EU border agency Frontex on high alert as Turkish president keeps crossings open.

      Migrants trying to reach Europe have clashed violently with Greek riot police as Turkey claimed more than 76,000 people were now heading for the EU as a result of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to open the Turkish side of the border.

      Officers fired teargas at the migrants, some of whom threw stones and wielded metal bars as they sought to force their way into Greece at the normally quiet crossing in the north-eastern town of Kastanies.

      As the situation escalated, Turkey’s interior minister, Süleyman Soylu, fuelled the anxiety in Greece and Bulgaria, which also shares a border with Turkey, by tweeting on Sunday morning that 76,385 refugees had left his country through Edirne, a province bordering the two EU member states. He provided no evidence pto support the claim.

      The UN’s International Organization for Migration had said earlier in the day that at least 13,000 people had gathered by Saturday evening at the formal border crossing points at Pazarkule and İpsala, among others, in groups of between several dozen and more than 3,000. The majority were said to have been from Afghanistan.

      Greek police confirmed that at least 500 people had arrived by sea on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos near the Turkish coast within a few hours.

      The Greek government said on Sunday evening that it would suspend EU asylum law to implement summary deportations over the next month, a fix allowed within the treaties.

      Earlier in the day the government in Athens had sent a mass text message to all international numbers in the border region appealing for people to stay away. “From the Hellenic Republic: Greece is increasing border security to level maximum,” read the message in English. “Do not attempt illegally to cross the border.”

      The EU’s border protection agency, Frontex, said it was on high alert and had deployed extra support to Greece, as the country’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, held a meeting of his national security council.

      “We … have raised the alert level for all borders with Turkey to high,” a Frontex spokeswoman said. “We have received a request from Greece for additional support. We have already taken steps to redeploy to Greece technical equipment and additional officers.”

      The Greek government accused Turkey of orchestrating a “coordinated and mass” attempt to breach the country’s borders by encouraging thousands of asylum seekers to illegally cross them.

      Mitsotakis said he would visit the land border Greece shares with Turkey along the Evros river alongside Charles Michel, the European Council president, on Tuesday. “Once more, do not attempt to enter Greece illegally – you will be turned back,” Mitsotakis said after the national security council meeting.

      Along the north-eastern mainland border, some people waded across a shallow section of the Evros river to the Greek side. Witnesses said there were groups of up to 30, including an Afghan woman with a five-day-old infant.

      Erdoğan opened his western border after an airstrike on Thursday night in Syria’s Idlib province killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers recently deployed to support the Syrian opposition.

      The deaths came as fighting in north-west Syria between Turkish-backed rebels and Russian-backed Syrian government forces escalated, raising the risk of the two regional powers being brought into direct confrontation.

      The Turkish president had repeatedly said he would break his country’s deal with Brussels to prevent migrants entering the EU unless he received greater support from the 27 member states for his intervention in Syria.

      Erdoğan said in a speech on Saturday that he had no intention of rethinking his decision. “What did we say? If this continues, we will be forced to open the doors,” he told a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development party.

      “They did not believe what we said. What did we do yesterday? We opened our border. The number of people crossing the doors to Europe reached around 18,000 by Saturday morning, but today the number could reach 25 or even 30,000, and we will not close the passages during the period to come.”

      The EU has insisted it expects Ankara to abide by a €6bn (£5.2bn) deal signed in 2016, under which Turkey agreed to halt the flow of people to the EU in return for funds. Turkey hosts about 3.6 million refugees from Syria.

      The European council president, Charles Michel, spoke to Erdoğan on Saturday. “The EU is actively engaged to uphold the EU-Turkey statement and to support Greece and Bulgaria to protect the EU’s external borders,” he said in a statement.

      The Kremlin said on Sunday that it hoped Vladimir Putin and Erdoğan would hold talks in Moscow on Thursday or Friday. Istanbul police released Mahir Boztepe, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish edition of Sputnik, the Russian news website, on Sunday.

      Boztepe had been held for two hours as part of what the Ankara public prosecutor’s office said was an investigation into whether Sputnik had been involved in “degrading the Turkish people, the Turkish state, state institutions” and “disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state”.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/01/thousands-gather-at-turkish-border-to-cross-into-greece#maincontent

    • Migrants : Erdogan ouvre sa frontière, la Grèce la ferme

      Mécontent du manque de soutien de l’UE, le président turc a mis à exécution vendredi sa menace de laisser passer des réfugiés.

      « Yunanistan ! » C’est avec ce cri de ralliement, qui désigne la Grèce en turc, que plusieurs centaines de réfugiés se sont amassés dès vendredi matin le long du fleuve Evros qui marque la frontière terrestre entre la Grèce et la Turquie. Très vite, les autorités grecques ont fermé le principal point de passage situé à Kastanies, alors que le chef d’état-major des armées se précipitait sur place pour annoncer l’arrivée d’hélicoptères et de renforts militaires pour empêcher toute incursion massive. Les menaces d’Erdogan d’ouvrir les vannes des flux migratoires, qui lui permettent depuis cinq ans de souffler le chaud et le froid vis-à-vis de l’Europe, ont donc été mises à exécution. Furieux du peu de soutien de l’Occident après la perte de 33 soldats jeudi en Syrie, Erdogan a joué la pression sur le point faible de l’UE. Et un simple effet d’annonce a suffi pour ressusciter le spectre d’un remake de 2015, lorsque la Grèce, et l’Europe, avaient dû faire face à un afflux massif de réfugiés, considéré comme le plus important mouvement de population depuis 1945.
      Promesse

      Et pour Athènes, cette menace réactualisée ne pouvait tomber à un plus mauvais moment. Alors que la surpopulation des camps de réfugiés sur les îles grecques faisant face à la Turquie a déjà conduit à une situation explosive, cette semaine des affrontements d’une violence inédite ont eu lieu sur les îles de Lesbos et Chios. De véritables batailles rangées entre les forces de l’ordre et les populations locales, qui refusent la construction de nouveaux centres. Longtemps les habitants avaient pourtant fait preuve d’une générosité et d’une patience à toute épreuve. Mais l’inaction des autorités, qui ont laissé les camps se dégrader jusqu’à l’intolérable, et l’indifférence de l’Europe, qui a renié sa promesse de partager le fardeau migratoire, ont fini par provoquer la colère populaire sur les îles. Et c’est dans ce climat toxique que la Turquie fait soudain basculer le fragile dispositif censé contenir les réfugiés aux portes de l’Europe.

      En réalité, le deal conclu en 2016 entre Ankara et l’Union européenne avait dès le départ tout d’un marché de dupes, sacrifiant de facto la Grèce, chargée de jouer les zones tampons en confinant les nouveaux arrivants sur les îles. Or les flux n’ont jamais totalement cessé. Ils sont même repartis à la hausse en 2019, avec plus de 70 000 arrivées depuis les côtes turques, faisant à nouveau de la Grèce la principale porte d’entrée en Europe.

      En comparaison, les mouvements observés dans la journée de vendredi n’avaient rien d’impressionnant dans l’immédiat : quelques centaines de réfugiés regroupés le long de l’Evros, certes, mais seulement deux canots pneumatiques ont accosté dans la journée de vendredi dans le petit port de Skala Sikaminia, dans le nord de Lesbos. Le premier transportait une quinzaine de personnes, le second une cinquantaine. Alors que pour le seul mois de janvier, 3 136 réfugiés avaient débarqué à Lesbos.

      Mais le vrai sujet d’inquiétude est ailleurs. « Le problème, ce n’est pas seulement que la Turquie annonce qu’elle ne surveille plus ses frontières. Ce qui est plus grave, et totalement nouveau, c’est que les autorités turques semblent organiser et encadrer ces départs vers la Grèce », souligne un humanitaire joint à Athènes. Toute la journée de vendredi, les médias turcs ont ainsi relayé les images de réfugiés invités à monter dans des bus, mis spécialement à disposition pour eux, et qui les ont conduits de la périphérie d’Istanbul jusqu’à la frontière grecque. Au même moment, plusieurs chaînes de télévision, dont la version turque de CNN, filmaient d’autres réfugiés se rassemblant sur des plages pour grimper tranquillement dans un canot pneumatique en partance vers la Grèce, comme pour une banale balade en mer. « Du jamais-vu. En 2015, au moins, la Turquie prétendait ne pas voir et ne pas pouvoir contenir les flux en partance vers la Grèce », soulignait vendredi un internaute grec.
      Horizon

      Par ailleurs, la crise syrienne, qui sert de prétexte à la Turquie pour rompre le statu quo migratoire, a pour l’instant motivé non pas les innombrables réfugiés du pays qu’elle accueille à quitter son sol, mais en priorité des Afghans, à l’image de ceux arrivés en canots vendredi à Lesbos. Sur cette île, où se trouvent près de 20 000 réfugiés, nombreux sont ceux qui dans les prochains jours guetteront l’horizon avec inquiétude. Et d’ores et déjà, les habitants ont noté un fait révélateur : vendredi, Athènes comme Bruxelles sont restés très discrets. Comme si les deux principaux interlocuteurs d’Ankara étaient totalement tétanisés. Sans aucune stratégie face à un voisin pourtant notoirement imprévisible.

      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/02/28/migrants-erdogan-ouvre-sa-frontiere-la-grece-la-ferme_1780087

    • Schreie der Verzweiflung am Grenzzaun

      Rund 15.000 Migranten stehen am türkisch-griechischen Grenzübergang inzwischen den Polizisten gegenüber. Die griechischen Beamten treiben die Geflüchteten mit Tränengas zurück. Premier Mitsotakis bittet um Hilfe von Frontex.

      Die Migranten, die am Samstag durch die Straßen auf der griechischen Seite der Grenze zur Türkei laufen, haben es eilig. „Wir wollen nach Deutschland“, sagt eine Frau aus Algerien. Sie ist mit drei Männern unterwegs, in der Nacht haben sie den Evros überquert, der Fluss markiert die Grenze zwischen Türkei und EU. Ihre Kleidung ist noch nass. Jetzt haben sie Angst, von der griechischen Polizei oder dem Militär festgenommen zu werden. So wie 66 andere Geflüchtete, die es auf griechischen Boden geschafft hatten.

      Der Grenzposten Kastanies ist zum Mittelpunkt eines Kräfteringens zwischen Türkei und Griechenland geworden. Nach SPIEGEL-Informationen schätzen Behörden, dass inzwischen 15.000 Migranten in der Nähe ausharren. Am Samstag versuchten immer wieder Gruppen von Migranten den Grenzzaun zu überwinden, auf Videos sind ihre Schreie der Verzweiflung zu hören. Die griechische Polizei setzte Tränengas ein, um sie daran zu hindern. 4000 Grenzübertritte verhinderte sie nach eigenen Angaben.

      Einige Hundert Migranten wateten durch den Evros, um die griechische Seite zu erreichen. Andere waren in der Pufferzone zwischen dem türkischen und dem griechischen Grenzposten gefangen. Vor ihnen: Stacheldraht und griechische Grenzschützer.

      Der türkische Präsident Recep Tayyip Erdogan bekräftigte am Samstag in Istanbul noch einmal, was schon am Freitag offensichtlich war: „Wir haben die Tore geöffnet“, sagte er. Es ist das faktische Ende des Flüchtlingsdeals zwischen der Europäischen Union und der Türkei.

      Sein Land könne so viele Flüchtlinge nicht versorgen, sagte Erdogan. Außerdem habe Europa seine Versprechen gebrochen. Die Türkei spricht von 35.000 Migranten, die es bereits nach Europa geschafft hätten. Das ist wohl übertrieben, wahrscheinlich waren es bisher nur ein paar Hundert.

      Erdogan hatte die Anweisung am Donnerstagabend erteilt, nachdem bei Kämpfen in Idlib mindestens 36 türkische Soldaten gestorben waren. Im Syrienkrieg hat er sich in eine Sackgasse manövriert. Wenn er noch eine Chance haben will, die türkische Einflusszone im Norden Syriens zu sichern, braucht er nun amerikanische oder europäische Unterstützung.

      Dass die Europäer sich noch in den schon neun Jahre andauernden Bürgerkrieg einmischen wollen, ist unwahrscheinlich. Mit der Grenzöffnung versucht Erdogan nun, die EU zu Konzessionen zu zwingen.

      https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/tuerkei-schickt-fluechtlinge-nach-europa-schreie-der-verzweiflung-am-grenzza

    • Réfugiés : « La Turquie se sert des Syriens pour faire pression sur l’UE »

      La Turquie a annoncé vendredi qu’elle n’assurait plus le contrôle de ses frontières européennes, ajoutant qu’elle ne souhaitait pas accueillir davantage de réfugiés sur son territoire. Les télévisions turques ont filmé desmilliers de Syriens se mettant en route vers la Grèce. Face au chantage d’Ankara, l’UE craint une nouvelle crise migratoire, comme avant 2016.

      « La Turquie n’est plus en mesure de retenir les réfugiés souhaitant se rendre en Europe », a affirmé vendredi 28 février le porte-parole du Parti de la Justice et du Développement (AKP). Cette déclaration intervient dans un contexte particulier : la nuit précédente, 33 soldats turcs ont été tué dans le bombardement d’un bâtiment dans la région d’Idlib.

      Militairement présente dans cette région, la Turquie soutient les rebelles syriens, alors que Bachar Al-Assad tente de récupérer cet ultime bastion rebelle avec l’aide de la Russie. Ces dernières semaines, il a ainsi reconquis près de la moitié de la province, entraînant des mouvements de population qui tentaient de fuir les bombardements. Au total, depuis décembre 2019, l’offensive du régime de Damas a engendré le déplacement de plus de 900 000 Syriens.

      De son côté, la Turquie, qui accueille sur son territoire 3,6 millions de réfugiés syriens, maintient fermée sa frontière avec la Syrie. Ses frontières européennes, en revanche, ne sont désormais plus contrôlées. « Le pays ne souhaite pas accueillir davantage de réfugiés sur son territoire et, aucune sortie de conflit n’étant en vue à Idlib, elle ouvre ses frontières aux réfugiés et facilite leur passage vers l’UE, ce qui s’appelle du chantage », estime une chercheuse indépendante basée en Turquie, sous couvert d’anonymat.

      « La Turquie se sert de nouveau des Syriens pour faire pression sur l’UE », poursuit-elle. « Certains Syriens sont choqués d’être ainsi utilisés et disent qu’ils ne vont pas être manipulés par les Turcs, alors que d’autres saisissent cette opportunité pour fuir la Turquie où les conditions de vie sont de plus en plus précaires. » Depuis l’annonce d’Ankara, des centaines de réfugiés ont pris la direction de la Bulgarie et de la Grèce. « Beaucoup sont sur le départ, tout le monde veut tenter sa chance. Les gens se rendent à Edirne et dans les ports maritimes. Des bus gratuits sont mis à leur disposition et de plus en plus de bateaux partent. »

      “Ce ne sont pas tant les intérêts des réfugiés qui sont au cœur de la question, mais ceux de la Turquie, ou plutôt ceux de sa classe dirigeante.”

      Cette instrumentalisation de la question migratoire de la part de l’AKP n’est pas nouvelle. « Ce ne sont pas tant les intérêts des réfugiés qui sont au cœur de la question, mais ceux de la Turquie, ou plutôt ceux de sa classe dirigeante », explique Juliette Tolay, professeure de Sciences politiques à l’Université de Penn State Harrisburg. Elle ajoute que le Président turc Recep Tayyip Erdoğan menace régulièrement de rouvrir la frontières turque à des fins diverses : accélérer la libéralisation des visas pour les citoyens turcs, éviter toute critique sur le référendum constitutionnel de 2017 ou obtenir un soutien pour la création d’une zone de sécurité en Syrie.

      Dans un article du New York Times, Matina Stevis-Gridneff et Patrick Kingsley observent que les autorités locales ont acheté plusieurs milliers de billets, qu’elles ont aidé les réfugiés syriens à monter dans des autocars Mercedes et les ont conduits à la frontière. 

Tout cela a été filmé par les médias pro-gouvernement, précisent-ils, tandis que les chaînes de télévision ont retransmis en direct des scènes où l’on voit de familles se dirigeant vers les îles grecques, rappelant la crise de 2015.

      La situation évoque désormais celle précédant l’accord de 2016 entre l’UE et la Turquie, venant ainsi mettre unilatéralement fin à ce traité devenu moribond. Signé avec les 28 États membres de l’UE de l’époque, l’objectif de cet accord était de faire cesser l’arrivée quotidienne des migrants sur les îles grecques. Il prévoyait également, en échange d’un considérable soutien financier, le renvoi systématique de tous les migrants vers la Turquie. 

Le traité n’a pourtant pas empêché l’arrivée de migrants sur les îles de la mer Égée et, depuis cet été, le nombre de réfugiés est en hausse. Alors que les patrouilles turques étaient toujours présentes, certains chercheurs affirmaient que la Turquie laissait délibérément passer les réfugiés.

      Quelques heures après l’annonce de l’AKP, ce vendredi, des réfugiés tentant de se rendre en Grèce par voie terrestre se sont retrouvés coincés dans le no man’s land séparant les deux pays. Renforçant sa sécurité à la frontière de Kastanies, la police grecque a réprimé à coups de gaz lacrymogènes toute tentative de traversée. Le porte-parole du gouvernement Stelios Petsas a indiqué que la Grèce avait empêché 4000 migrants venant de Turquie d’entrer « illégalement » sur le territoire.

      Selon Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, depuis vendredi, 18 000 migrants auraient franchi les frontières de la Turquie pour se rendre en Europe.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Turquie-syriens-pression-UE

    • Réfugiés : catastrophe humanitaire en vue sur les frontières de la Grèce

      Depuis vendredi, des milliers de réfugiés tentent de passer la frontière terrestre entre la Turquie et la Grèce, avec le soutien d’Ankara qui joue cette carte pour faire pression sur l’Union européenne. Des réfugiés débarquent aussi sur les îles de la mer Égée, où la tension ne cesse de monter avec la population locale.

      Depuis que la Turquie a annoncé qu’elle n’était « plus en mesure de retenir les réfugiés souhaitant se rendre en Europe », vendredi 28 février, la Grèce est débordée à ses frontières. Au poste de Kastanies, dans la région de l’Evros (nord-est de la Grèce, sur la route d’Edirne), plus de 13 000 migrants sont arrivés durant le week-end depuis Istanbul pour tenter de passer. Un chiffre toutefois « gonflé » par la Turquie, qui utilise les réfugiés pour faire pression sur l’Union européenne. Des chaînes de télévision turques ont même diffusé des cartes du chemin à suivre pour se rendre en Europe...

      Vendredi, la Grèce a doublé ses patrouilles à la frontière terrestre et sur les îles de la mer Egée, face à la Turquie. Des drones ont été déployés à la frontière terrestre pour localiser les réfugiés et les avertir par haut-parleur que la frontière était fermée. Des SMS en anglais ont été envoyés sur tous les téléphones portables étrangers à la frontière : « Personne ne peut traverser les frontières grecques. Tous ceux qui tentent d’entrer illégalement sont dans les faits empêchés d’entrer ». L’agence européenne de contrôle des frontières Frontex a également annoncé avoir « redéployé de l’équipement technique et des agents supplémentaires en Grèce ».

      Les autorités grecques ont déclaré le lendemain avoir empêché « 9972 entrées illégales » dans la région de l’Evros, le long des 212 km de frontière terrestre avec la Turquie. « Personne ne venait d’Idlib, mais la plupart venaient d’Afghanistan, du Pakistan et de Somalie », ont précisé les autorités grecques, dénonçant le « chantage d’Ankara ».

      Dimanche, les autorités grecques ont annoncé avoir arrêté, dans la journée, 5500 migrants tentant de traverser illégalement la frontière. Depuis vendredi, des échauffourées ont lieu entre les forces de l’ordre et les migrants au poste-frontière de Kastanies, où des gaz lacrymogènes ont été tirés. Selon une source gouvernementale grecque, des gaz lacrymogènes auraient aussi été distribués par les autorités turques aux migrants pour les utiliser contre la police grecque. Le Haut-Commissariat aux Réfugiés de l’Onu (HCR) a appelé « au calme et au relâchement des tensions à la frontière ». Mais dimanche, la situation restait tendue : un policier grec a été blessé et transporté à l’hôpital.

      Sur les îles, la tension monte

      Sur les îles grecques, alors que la situation semblait calme vendredi et samedi, au moins 500 migrants ont débarqué dimanche, en raison d’une météo favorable, sur l’île de Lesbos et près de 200 à Chios et Samos, selon l’Agence de presse grecque ANA. Dimanche, les gardes-côtes turcs ne répondaient plus à l’appel de leurs homologues grecs et laissaient passer les embarcations. Alors que le camp de Moria accueille déjà 19 000 personnes dans des conditions sordides et que les habitants de Lesbos s’opposent à la construction de nouveaux camps fermés, la tension a augmenté. Un groupe de personnes a notamment empêché un canot chargé d’environ 50 migrants de descendre à terre en leur criant de rentrer chez eux. Certains insulaires en colère s’en sont également pris aux journalistes, à un représentant du HCR et à des membres d’ONG. D’autres habitants ont bloqué l’accès d’autocars transportant des demandeurs d’asile vers le camp de Moria.

      En rompant de facto l’accord signé avec l’UE en mars 2016 pour lequel elle a perçu six milliards d’euros, et en laissant passer les réfugiés en Europe, la Turquie cherche à obtenir de l’UE et des membres de l’Otan leur soutien dans ses opérations militaires en Syrie. Dimanche, Joseph Borrell, haut-représentant pour les Affaires étrangères européennes, a annoncé la tenue extraordinaire d’un conseil des ministres des Affaires étrangères pour répondre à l’urgence de la situation et soutenir la Grèce et la Bulgarie. Selon son communiqué, « l’accord UE-Turquie doit être maintenu ».

      La procédure d’asile provisoirement suspendue

      En attendant, le Conseil grec de sécurité nationale, convoqué dimanche soir par le Premier ministre, a décidé le renforcement maximal de la garde des frontières orientales, tant terrestres que maritimes. Les forces de l’ordre et l’armée se chargent de refouler les migrants « illégaux » qui essaient d’entrer sur le territoire.

      La procédure d’asile a par ailleurs été suspendue pour une durée d’un mois. Ce qui signifie que ceux qui entrent « illégalement » en Grèce ne pourront pas y déposer une demande d’asile. Ils seront immédiatement expulsés, si possible dans leur pays d’origine, sans procédure préalable d’identification.

      Athènes a également demandé à Frontex de déployer ses unités RABIT pour protéger les frontières du pays, qui sont aussi de frontières de l’UE. Cette décision sera communiqué au Conseil des ministres des Affaires étrangères de l’UE, où la Grèce demandera la mise en application de l’article 78 paragraphe 3 de la Convention européenne, afin que, dans le cadre de la solidarité entre les États membres, des mesures provisoires de protection du territoire soient prises pour faire face à l’urgence.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/La-Grece-debordee-par-l-arrivee-de-milliers-de-migrants

    • Réfugiés : la #Bulgarie envoie la gendarmerie à la frontière turque

      La Bulgarie a dépêché vendredi la gendarmerie à sa frontière terrestre et maritime avec la Turquie, le Premier ministre Boïko Borissov évoquant le « danger réel » d’une pression migratoire, suite à la menace d’Ankara de ne plus retenir les candidats au départ.

      La Bulgarie a dépêché vendredi la gendarmerie à sa frontière terrestre et maritime avec la Turquie, le Premier ministre Boïko Borissov évoquant le « danger réel » d’une pression migratoire, suite à la menace d’Ankara de ne plus retenir les candidats au départ.

      M. Borissov s’est notamment inquiété devant des journalistes « du retrait des garde-frontières turcs » et dit attendre un entretien téléphonique avec le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan. « Avec ce qui se passe, le danger est réel en ce moment : les gens fuient face aux missiles », a-t-il déclaré à Sofia, annonçant avoir déployé « tôt ce matin » des renforts.

      La Turquie accueille sur son territoire quelque 3,6 millions de Syriens ayant fui la guerre et craint l’arrivée de nouveaux réfugiés. Un haut responsable turc a assuré vendredi à l’AFP qu’Ankara n’empêchera plus ceux qui essaient de se rendre en Europe de franchir sa frontière, après la mort d’au moins 33 militaires turcs dans la région d’Idleb (nord-ouest de la Syrie) dans des frappes aériennes attribuées par Ankara au régime syrien.

      La Bulgarie partage 259 km de frontière terrestre clôturée avec la Turquie. Elle est membre de l’Union européenne (UE), mais pas de l’espace de libre circulation Schengen.

      En mars 2016, la Turquie et l’UE ont conclu un pacte migratoire qui a fait chuter drastiquement le nombre de passages vers l’Europe. Dans le passé, la Turquie a plusieurs fois menacé d’« ouvrir les portes » de l’Europe aux candidats à l’asile, les observateurs y voyant une manière de faire pression sur Bruxelles.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/280220/refugies-la-bulgarie-envoie-la-gendarmerie-la-frontiere-turque

    • Violations des droits humains à la frontière gréco-turque : l’Union européenne complice !

      Les expulsions d’exilé·e·s décidées par la Grèce, qui annonce vouloir les renvoyer non seulement vers la Turquie d’Erdogan mais même dans leur pays d’origine, sans aucun examen de leur situation et de leur besoin de protection, sont insupportables.

      La situation à la frontière gréco-turque est la conséquence de la politique de l’Union européenne fondée sur la fermeture des frontières, l’externalisation de l’asile et le marchandage avec des États sans scrupules.

      La xénophobie, le racisme et leur normalisation doivent être combattus partout où ils apparaissent, que ce soit en Turquie, en Grèce ou ailleurs. L’instrumentalisation de la vie des migrants, des demandeurs d’asile et des réfugiés réduite à une menace et à une monnaie d’échange doit cesser, tant dans les campagnes électorales nationales que dans les relations entre le gouvernement turc et l’UE.

      Les politiques de rejet qui poussent des milliers de personnes déjà déplacées dans les limbes et les régimes frontaliers qui provoquent le cycle sans fin de la violence à leur encontre doivent être abandonnées.

      Dans l’immédiat, les États membres doivent assurer la libre entrée des exilé·e·s nassé·e·s à la frontière grecque en attente de protection et de soins et l’UE doit cesser de mobiliser Frontex pour les refouler.

      Ce que nous exigeons, c’est la paix, les droits et libertés fondamentaux de chaque personne en déplacement.

      Les frontières tuent, ouvrez les frontières !
      Arrêtez la guerre contre les réfugié·e·s et les migrant·e·s !
      La solidarité transnationale contre le racisme et la guerre !
      Liberté de circulation et d’installation pour tou·te·s !

      Nous appelons à des rassemblements de protestation partout où ce sera possible, et à Paris ce lundi 2 mars à 18 heures devant la représentation de la Commission européenne, 288, boulevard Saint-Germain, métro Assemblée nationale.

      http://www.migreurop.org/article2957

    • Entre crispation et la solidarité, l’UE en ordre dispersé sur la situation des migrants à la frontière greco-turque

      Tandis que certains pays européens prennent leurs dispositions à la perspective d’un nouvel afflux de migrants, d’autres appellent à la solidarité européenne. L’agence européenne de garde-frontières, Frontex, a déployé des dizaines d’agents en Grèce et réfléchit à muscler davantage ses opérations, à la demande d’Athènes.

      « Après que nous avons ouvert les portes, les coups de téléphone se sont multipliés, ils nous disent ’fermez les portes’. Je leur ai dit : ’C’est fait, c’est fini. Les portes sont désormais ouvertes. Maintenant, vous allez prendre votre part du fardeau’. » Dans un discours prononcé lundi 2 mars à Ankara, le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a sommé l’Europe de prendre ses responsabilités quant aux milliers de migrants massés à la frontière greco-turque depuis vendredi.

      En face, les réactions sont nombreuses, à commencer par la Grèce, première concernée, qui a envoyé l’armée à la frontière et a annoncé la suspension de toute demande d’asile, en vertu de l’article 78.3 du Traité sur le fonctionnement de l’Union européenne. En invoquant ce texte, le Premier ministre grec Kyriakos Mitsotakis veut s’assurer d’avoir « le soutien total » des Vingt-sept.

      Celui-ci n’a pas tardé. Dès samedi, la commissaire européenne Ursula von der Leyen avait indiqué que l’Union européenne (UE) observait avec « préoccupation » l’afflux de migrants depuis la Turquie vers ses frontières orientales, en Grèce et en Bulgarie. « Notre première priorité à ce stade est de veiller à ce que la Grèce et la Bulgarie reçoivent notre plein soutien. Nous sommes prêts à fournir un appui supplémentaire, notamment par l’intermédiaire de Frontex (l’agence européenne de garde-frontières) aux frontières terrestres », avait-elle affirmé dans un tweet.

      https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/status/1233828575029186567?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      Dimanche, Frontex a répondu présent en déployant des renforts. « Nous (...) avons remonté le niveau d’alerte pour toutes les frontières avec la Turquie à ’élevé’ », a déclaré une porte-parole de l’agence européenne dans un communiqué. « Nous examinons d’autres moyens de soutenir les pays de l’UE frontaliers avec la Turquie », ajoute la porte-parole qui précise que l’agence suivait également de très près la situation à Chypre, un membre de l’UE dont la partie nord est contrôlée par la Turquie mais qui n’est pas reconnue par quiconque sauf Ankara.

      https://twitter.com/Frontex/status/1234075394619400193?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      Actuellement, la plus grosse opération de Frontex se trouve dans les îles grecques avec 400 personnes sur le terrain, tandis qu’un petit groupe d’agents se trouve dans la région grecque d’Evros, à la frontière turque. Soixante agents sont également déployés en Bulgarie, selon Frontex.

      « Une menace à la stabilité de la région », selon la Bulgarie

      Bien que la frontière bulgare n’a connu aucun mouvement comparable à ceux en cours en Grèce, Sofia a pris les devant. Ainsi, le Premier ministre bulgare Boïko Borissov, dont le pays est voisin de la Turquie, doit rencontrer lundi à Ankara le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan pour discuter de l’aggravation de la situation à Idleb et de l’afflux de migrants aux portes de l’UE.

      Boïko Borissov a déjà prévenu qu’un nouvel afflux de migrants clandestin constituait, selon lui « une menace à la stabilité de la région » alors même que l’Europe « peine à gérer l’épidémie de coronavirus ». La Bulgarie entretient des relations diplomatiques et économiques privilégiées avec son voisin turc. Les deux pays partagent plus de 250 kilomètres de frontière le long de laquelle Sofia a fait installer depuis 2016 une clôture pour bloquer les migrants.

      https://twitter.com/BoykoBorissov/status/1232666456283844608?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      La Bulgarie n’est pas la seule à avoir a fait un pas vers Ankara. Recep Tayyip Erdogan a indiqué, lundi, que des responsables européens - sans préciser lesquels - lui avaient proposé de se réunir avec lui pour un sommet « à quatre ou cinq » pays. Il a aussi déclaré avoir eu un entretien téléphonique avec la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel. L’Allemagne, de son côté, affirme que sa chancelière s’est entretenue avec son homologue bulgare et qu’ils ont convenu ensemble qu’il était nécessaire d’ouvrir le dialogue avec Ankara.

      Fidèle à ses positions conservatrices, l’Autriche a prévenu dès dimanche, par la voix de son ministre de l’Intérieur Karl Nehammer, qu’elle empêcherait tous les migrants clandestins d’entrer sur son territoire. Des déclarations qui font écho à celles prononcées en 2015 et 2016 au pic de la crise migratoire, lorsque l’Autriche servait principalement de pays de transit pour des milliers de migrants en provenance des Balkans qui souhaitaient atteindre l’Allemagne. « La Hongrie nous a assuré qu’elle ferait tout pour protéger ses frontières, tout comme la Croatie. Mais si des migrants arrivent quand même à passer, nous les stopperons », a expliqué Karl Nehammer qui se dit prêt à réinstaurer d’importants contrôles aux frontières comme ce fut le cas en 2015-2016.

      « La Hongrie n’ouvrira ou ne laissera passer personne », a déclaré pour sa part Gyorgy Bakondi, conseiller du Premier ministre nationaliste Viktor Orban. Des renforts policiers et militaires ont été envoyés aux frontières du pays qui avait vu, lui aussi, transiter des dizaines de milliers d’exilés en 2015-2016.

      Autre pays de transit, la Macédoine du nord qui voit le nombre de migrants à sa frontière en augmentation ces derniers mois, se dit prête à faire face à un nouvel afflux. Sa position est de demeurer « un pays de transit » en n’autorisant les migrants à rester sur le sol macédonien que 72 heures, a rappelé lundi le Premier ministre Oliver Spasovski. Se voulant rassurant, celui-ci affirme que la situation est sous contrôle et que la communication avec la Grèce à cet égard était fluide.

      https://denesen.mk/spasovski-nema-da-ima-nov-migrantski-bran-kje-prodolzi-dogovorot-pomegju-eu-

      « Nous devons agir ensemble pour éviter une crise humanitaire et migratoire », dit Paris

      Le président français Emmanuel Macron assure, de son côté, que « la France est prête à contribuer aux efforts européens pour prêter [à la Grèce et à la Bulgarie] une assistance rapide et protéger les frontières. » Et le dirigeant français d’appeler à la solidarité de tous : « Nous devons agir ensemble pour éviter une crise humanitaire et migratoire », a-t-il lancé dans un tweet.

      https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron/status/1234233225700048900?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      Même discours d’appel à la solidarité pour la Croatie, située sur la route migratoire des Balkans et qui a récemment pris pour six mois la présidence tournante de l’UE : « La Croatie se tient aux côtés de la Grèce et la Bulgarie pour protéger les frontières de l’Europe. Nous exprimons notre pleine solidarité et nous tenons prêts à intervenir si besoin », a déclaré le gouvernement croate sur Twitter.

      https://twitter.com/MVEP_hr/status/1234134767328747529?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      Reste que l’UE n’a jamais réussi à parler d’une seule voix depuis le début de la crise migratoire en 2015. Bruxelles appelle à une réunion d’urgence des ministres européens des Affaires étrangères afin de décider des prochaines étapes dans cette affaire. Le président du Conseil européen Charles Michel se rendra dans la région d’Evros à la frontière turque mardi aux côtés du Premier ministre grec Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

      https://twitter.com/eucopresident/status/1234188948735430656?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12
      Les Nations unies ont appelé dimanche au calme et à la retenue : « Les États ont certes le droit légitime de contrôler leurs frontières et de gérer les mouvements irréguliers, mais ils devraient se retenir d’user d’une force excessive et disproportionnée et mettre en place un système permettant de faire une demande d’asile de manière ordonnée », a écrit un porte-parole du Haut commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR), Babar Baloch, dans un email à l’AFP. Le HCR appelle également les demandeurs d’asile à « respecter la loi et se retenir de créer des situations perturbant l’ordre public et la sécurité aux frontières et ailleurs ».

      La Turquie accueille sur son sol plus de quatre millions de réfugiés et migrants, en majorité des Syriens, et affirme qu’elle ne pourra pas faire face seule à un nouvel afflux, alors que près d’un million de personnes fuyant les violences à Idleb sont massées à sa frontière. L’Organisation internationale des migrations (OIM) a annoncé samedi soir que quelque 13 000 migrants s’étaient amassés à la frontière gréco-turque, dont des familles avec de jeunes enfants qui ont passé la nuit dans le froid. Environ 2 000 personnes supplémentaires sont arrivées au poste-frontière de Pazarkule (Turquie) dimanche, dont des Afghans, des Syriens et des Irakiens, a constaté un journaliste de l’AFP.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/23128/entre-crispation-et-la-solidarite-l-ue-en-ordre-disperse-sur-la-situat

    • Le quotidien grec Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn a publié le communiqué de l’armée qui dit en somme que le 4ième corps de l’Armée fera un exercice avec des tirs à balles réelles à diverses région frontalières dont la forêt de Kastanies et l’endroit dit Gefyra Koipôn (Pont des Jardins) :
      Βολές με πραγματικά πυρά στον Έβρο την Καθαρά Δευτέρα

      Ξεκάθαρο μήνυμα με συγκεκριμένους αποδέκτες έστειλαν οι ελληνικές ένοπλες δυνάμεις, το βράδυ της Κυριακής, ανακοινώνοντας πως το Δ’ Σώμα Στρατού θα προχωρήσει σε βολές με πραγματικά πυρά, την Καθαρά Δευτέρα, 2 Μαρτίου καθ΄ όλη τη διάρκεια του 24ώρου στην περιοχή του Έβρου.

      Η ανακοίνωση γίνεται τη στιγμή που χιλιάδες πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες βρίσκονται στα ελληνοτουρκικά σύνορα και επιδιώκουν να εισέλθουν σε ελληνικό έδαφος, και ενώ το ΚΥΣΕΑ αποφάσισε (μεταξύ άλλων) την « αναβάθμιση σε μέγιστο επίπεδο των μέτρων φύλαξης των ανατολικών, χερσαίων και θαλάσσιων, συνόρων της χώρας από τα σώματα ασφαλείας και τις ένοπλες δυνάμεις για την αποτροπή παράνομων εισόδων στη χώρα ».

      Επίσης, στην ανακοίνωση γίνεται σαφής αναφορά για βολές « ευθυτενούς τροχιάς με πολυβόλα, τυφέκια και πιστόλια με πραγματικά πυρά », ενώ υπάρχει ξεκάθαρη προειδοποίηση πως « απαγορεύεται κάθε κίνηση ή παραμονή ατόμων... για αποφυγή ατυχημάτων ».

      Η ανακοίνωση

      Το Δ΄ ΣΩΜΑ ΣΤΡΑΤΟΥ ανακοινώνει ότι, από την 02 Μαρτίου 2020 και καθόλη τη διάρκεια του 24ώρου, θα εκτελούνται βολές ευθυτενούς τροχιάς με πολυβόλα, τυφέκια και πιστόλια με πραγματικά πυρά, σε όλη την παρέβρια περιοχή όπως παρακάτω :

      Επικίνδυνες περιοχές είναι αυτές , που περικλείονται από τα σημεία : α. ΕΦ Διλόφου – Λυκόνησος – Μουσμουλιές – ΕΦ Μαρασίων .β. ΕΦ Μαρασίων -Δάσος Καστανιών – ΕΦ 1- Περιοχή αποτρεπτικού εμποδίου- ΕΦ 5 – Πράσινη Πόρτα.γ. Πράσινη Πόρτα- ΕΦ 10- ΕΦ Γέφυρας Πυθίου.δ. ΕΦ Γέφυρας Πυθίου -ΕΦ Μαύρου Όγκου- ΕΦ 126- ΕΦ Σουφλίου-ΕΦΜανίτσας.ε. ΕΦ Μανίτσας -ΕΦ. Πλαγιές- Περιοχή Τυχερού- ΕΦ Γεμιστής- ΕΦ ΓέφυραΚήπων- ΕΦ Πετάλου- Αινήσιο Δέλτα.

      Στις παραπάνω περιοχές απαγορεύεται κάθε κίνηση ή παραμονή ατόμων, τροχοφόρων και ζώων κατά τις ώρες των βολών, για αποφυγή ατυχημάτων.

      Βλήματα μη εκραγέντα, που τυχόν θα βρεθούν, να μη μετακινηθούν και να ειδοποιείται άμεσα η πλησιέστερη Αστυνομική Αρχή.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/node/233421

    • Βολές με πραγματικά πυρά σε Έβρο και νησιά

      Βολές με πραγματικά πυρά, την Καθαρά Δευτέρα, καθ΄ όλη τη διάρκεια του 24ώρου στην περιοχή του Έβρου και σε περιοχές των νησιών του ανατολικού Αιγαίου ανακοίνωσε το Δ’ Σώμα Στρατού και η Ανώτατη Στρατιωτική Διοίκηση Εσωτερικού και Νήσων (ΑΣΔΕΝ).

      Οι ανακοινώσεις γίνονται τη στιγμή που πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες βρίσκονται στα ελληνοτουρκικά σύνορα (χερσαία και θαλάσσια) και επιδιώκουν να εισέλθουν σε ελληνικό έδαφος.

      Σύμφωνα με πηγές του στρατού, καθ’ όλη τη διάρκεια του 24ώρου, θα εκτελούνται βολές (Έβρος) « ευθυτενούς τροχιάς με πολυβόλα, τυφέκια και πιστόλια με πραγματικά πυρά », ενώ υπάρχει ξεκάθαρη προειδοποίηση πως « απαγορεύεται κάθε κίνηση ή παραμονή ατόμων... για αποφυγή ατυχημάτων ».

      Στα νησιά, η ΑΣΔΕΝ ανακοίνωσε βολές « ευθυτενούς τροχιάς » στις θαλάσσιες περιοχές ανατολικά των νησιών του ανατολικού Αιγαίου από τη νήσο Σαμοθράκη μέχρι Μεγίστη.

      Στο μεταξύ, στη Λέσβο βρίσκεται εκτάκτως ο υφυπουργός Εθνικής Άμυνας, Αλκιβιάδης Στεφανής, προκειμένου να δει από κοντά την κατάσταση που έχει δημιουργηθεί.


      https://www.efsyn.gr/node/233432

    • Πρωτοφανής ποινικοποίηση της αίτησης ασύλου

      Σε ευθεία και κατάφωρη παραβίαση των διεθνών και ελληνικών νόμων περί ασύλου έχει προβεί η κυβέρνηση της Νέας Δημοκρατίας, με αφορμή τα γεγονότα που εξελίσσονται τις τελευταίες ημέρες στα ελληνοτουρκικά σύνορα.

      Εκτός, λοιπόν, από την αναστολή που αποφάσισε χθες (Κυριακή) το ΚΥΣΕΑ για την υποβολή των αιτήσεων ασύλου —ενέργεια για την οποία ήδη έχει εκφράσει την αντίθεσή της η Ύπατη Αρμοστεία του ΟΗΕ— η κυβέρνηση προχώρησε σε δίκη και καταδίκη των ανθρώπων που εισέρχονται παράνομα σε ελληνικό έδαφος.

      Όπως ανακοινώθηκε από την κυβέρνηση, σήμερα (Καθαρά Δευτέρα) πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες δικάστηκαν και καταδικάστηκαν σε τέσσερα έτη φυλάκισης, χωρίς αναστολή και 10.000 ευρώ χρηματική ποινή έκαστος. Μάλιστα, οι καταδικασθέντες μεταφέρθηκαν σε καταστήματα κράτησης.

      Μέχρι στιγμής δεν έχει γίνει γνωστός ο αριθμός των ανθρώπων που έχουν οδηγηθεί στις φυλακές. Πάντως, από τις 6 το πρωί του Σαββάτου ως τις 6 το απόγευμα της Καθαράς Δευτέρας, έχουν συλληφθεί 183 άτομα.

      Σημειώνεται πως ο ελληνικός νόμος 4636/2019 για τη διεθνή προστασία (άρθρο 46) που εφαρμόζει τις ευρωπαϊκές οδηγίες (άρθρα 8 και 9 Οδηγίας 2013/33/ΕΕ) είναι σαφής, όπως καταγράφεται παρακάτω :

      Σε κάθε περίπτωση, οι δίκες και οι καταδίκες προσφύγων και μεταναστών διαφοροποιούν εντελώς τη μέχρι στιγμής πολιτική των ελληνικών κυβερνήσεων, που ήταν να μην προχωρούν σε διώξεις ανθρώπων που θεωρείται ότι ανήκουν σε ευάλωτες ομάδες. Υπενθυμίζεται πως μέχρι σήμερα, οι διώξεις αφορούσαν μόνο τους διακινητές προσφύγων και μεταναστών.

      Σημειώνεται ότι σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες από τα νησιά, ο υπουργός Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου ενημέρωσε σήμερα τη δημοτική αρχή Χίου ότι έχουν παραχωρηθεί δημοτικό κτήριο στην οδό Λάδης και χώρος στα Καρδάμυλα, όπου θα κρατούνται οι νεοεισερχόμενοι και θα μεταφέρονται μέσα σε τρεις μέρες σε κλειστές δομές της ενδοχώρας.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/dikaiomata/233470_protofanis-poinikopoiisi-tis-aitisis-asyloy

      –-> Commentaire de Vicky Skoumbi :

      Criminalisation sans précédent de la demande d’asile

      D’après le quotidien grec Efimerida tôn Syntatktôn, le gouvernement grec ne s’est pas contenté de suspendre la procédure d’asile pour les nouveaux arrivants- suspension contre laquelle l’HCR a exprimé son opposition- mais il franchit un nouveau seuil dans la repression en procédant à des jugements et des condamnations de ceux qui entrent ‘illégalement’ dans le territoire grec. Le gouvernement a annoncé qu’aujourd’hui des réfugiés et des migrants ont été jugés dans un procès sans doute plus qu’expéditif, et condamnés à quatre ans de détention sans sursis et à 10.000 euros d’amende chacun. Les personnes ayant écopés ces peines ahurissantes ont été déjà transférées à des prisons. Pour l’instant on ignore combien furent condamnés. Toutefois on sait du samedi matin jusqu’à cet après-midi, 183 personnes ont été arrêtées à la frontière.

      Ces faits et gestes constituent une flagrante violation de la législation grecque, car selon la loi grecque 4636/2019 / article 46, pour la protection international, et conformément aux directives européennes (articles 8 et 9 de la directive 2013/33/UE, un ressortissant d’un pays tiers, demandeur d’asile, ne peut pas être détenu du fait qu’il est entré d’une façon irrégulière au pays, ou bien du fait qu’il y séjourne sans autorisation des autorités.

      Le Ministre de l’Immigration et de l’asile, aurait informé les autorités municipales de Chios qu’un immeuble municipal sera transformé en lieu de détention et les arrivants y seront détenus pour trois jours après lesquels ils seront transférés à des centres fermés de la Grèce continentale.

    • Commission pledges border guards, aid to Greece to tackle migrant surge

      The European Commission presented on Wednesday a six-point action plan to support Greece for border policing, that includes financial aid and beefing up #Frontex patrols in the Aegean and Evros, the northeastern border with Turkey.

      More than 10,000 migrants have been trying to breach the Greek border with Turkey after Ankara said last Thursday it would no longer try to halt illegal migration flows to Europe.

      “Greece faces an incredibly challenging situation, one that is completely unprecedented and this difficult task cannot fall on Greece alone. It is the responsibility of the whole of Europe,” Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said in a joint press conference with EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson in Brussels.

      Presenting the plan, Schinas said Frontex would launch two rapid border operations both on the land and sea border, that will include an additional 100 border guards and equipment.

      Frontex, the EU’s border control agency, is also preparing the deployment of one offshore patrol vessel, six coastal patrol vessels, two helicopters, one aircraft and three thermo-vision vehicles.

      Schinas said the Commission has also asked Frontex to coordinate a new return program for the quick return of “persons without the right to stay” to their countries of origin from Greece, making use of Frontex’s new mandate on returns.

      The EU will provide immediate financial assistance of 350 million euros to support increased reception capacity on the five Greek islands receiving the bulk of migrants, voluntary returns of migrants, and all the infrastructure needed to carry out screening procedures for health and security on the islands.

      The Commission will in addition propose an amended budget to make available a further 350 million euros, if needed.

      On Greece’s request the Commission also launched the civil protection mechanism through which Greece can receive additional medical staff and equipment, blankets and tents, Schinas added.

      At the same time, the EU agency for refugees, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), will accelerate the deployment of an additional number of around 160 case workers in Greece to support the process of asylum applications.

      The Commissioner also said the EU aims to strengthen regional cooperation by developing a coordinating mechanism with countries in the Western Balkan countries on migration.

      The plan will be introduced before the extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Office Ministers who will meet later on Wednesday.

      http://www.ekathimerini.com/250222/article/ekathimerini/news/commission-pledges-border-guards-aid-to-greece-to-tackle-migrant-surge

    • Ankara déploie un millier de policiers à la frontière avec la Grèce

      La Turquie a annoncé jeudi que 1 000 policiers « pleinement équipés » allaient être déployés à la frontière avec la Grèce. Ankara espère ainsi « empêcher » Athènes de « repousser » les migrants qui tentent d’entrer sur son territoire depuis près d’une semaine.

      Le bras de fer entre la Grèce et la Turquie continue à la frontière entre ces deux pays. Ankara a annoncé, jeudi 5 mars, le déploiement d’un millier de policiers, « pleinement équipés », le long du fleuve frontalier Evros (Meriç en turc) afin « d’empêcher » Athènes de « repousser » les migrants qui essayent de pénétrer sur son sol.

      La semaine dernière, la Turquie a ouvert ses frontières avec la Grèce pour laisser passer les migrants déjà présents sur son territoire. Depuis cette annonce, des dizaines de milliers de personnes se sont massées le long de la frontière terrestre entre la Turquie et la Grèce, essayant de passer par des postes frontaliers ou en traversant le fleuve. Certains ont fini par renoncer, comme l’a confié à InfoMigrants Khaled, un Palestinien reparti à Istanbul après avoir tenté en vain de rentrer sur le territoire grec.
      35 000 migrants empêchés d’entrer en Grèce

      Une guerre de communication fait rage entre les deux pays voisins. Athènes a annoncé avoir empêché ces derniers jours près de 35 000 migrants d’entrer « illégalement » sur son territoire. La Turquie accuse de son côté la Grèce d’avoir tué plusieurs migrants, ce qu’Athènes a démenti, rejetant des « fausses informations ». De plus, selon le ministre turc de l’Intérieur, Süleyman Soylu, les forces de sécurité grecques ont « blessé 164 personnes et tenté d’en repousser 4 900 sur le territoire turc ».

      Des migrants présents à la frontière et rencontrés par une équipe d’InfoMigrants sur place ont en effet expliqué avoir été repoussés par les Grecs « violemment ». Ils « utilisent du gaz lacrymogène et des grenades assourdissantes. L’un de mes camarades a même dû aller se faire soigner à l’hôpital pour une blessure reçue au bras », a déclaré Mounir, un migrant marocain.

      L’Union européenne a qualifié de « chantage » la décision prise par Ankara d’ouvrir ses frontières, au moment où la Turquie est en quête d’un appui occidental en Syrie.

      L’afflux de migrants vers la Grèce a réveillé en Europe la crainte d’une nouvelle crise migratoire semblable à celle qui a secoué le continent en 2015.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/23219/ankara-deploie-un-millier-de-policiers-a-la-frontiere-avec-la-grece
      #militarisation_des_frontières #police

      Localisation de #Pazarkule :


      –-> ce #poste-frontière se trouve dans le #triangle_de_Karaagac, un territoire attribué à la Grèce en 1923 par le traité de Lausanne et permettant au fleuve Evros de faire une incursion dans le territoire turc (https://visionscarto.net/evros-mur-inutile), soit là où la Grèce a construit un #mur en 2012...

    • La Grèce veut « renvoyer dans leurs pays » les migrants arrivés après le 1er mars

      Le ministre grec chargé des migrations a annoncé mercredi que les migrants arrivés sur les îles grecques depuis le 1er mars seraient transférés vers la ville de Serres, dans le nord du pays, au cours des prochains jours. « Notre objectif est de les ramener dans leurs pays », a-t-il affirmé.

      Les migrants qui sont arrivés illégalement en Grèce après le 1er mars 2020 seront transférés vers la ville de Serres, située dans le nord du pays, a annoncé le ministre chargé des migrations, Notis Mitarachi dans la soirée du 4 mars. Les autorités grecques prévoient, dans un second temps, de renvoyer ces nouveaux arrivants vers leurs différents pays d’origine.

      « Notre objectif est de les ramener dans leurs pays », a affirmé Notis Mitarachi à l’agence de presse Athens News. Il a par ailleurs ajouté que les personnes entrées dans le pays avant le 1er janvier 2019 et vivant sur les îles grecques seraient transférées sur le continent dans les prochains jours.

      Le 1er mars, la Grèce avait déjà annoncé qu’elle n’accepterait plus de nouvelles demandes d’asile pendant un mois.

      Suite à l’ouverture des frontières turques la semaine dernière, plusieurs centaines de migrants ont réussi à entrer illégalement en Grèce, la plupart en rejoignant les îles via la mer. Selon le gouvernement grec, près de 7 000 tentatives d’entrées illégales ont été empêchées en 24 heures dans la région et une vingtaine de migrants y ont été arrêtés, surtout originaires d’Afghanistan et du Pakistan, entre mercredi matin et jeudi matin.

      La Turquie, qui accueille déjà 3,7 millions de réfugiés syriens, a annoncé le 28 février qu’elle se désengageait d’un accord conclu en 2016 avec l’Union européenne et qu’elle n’empêcherait plus les migrants de quitter son territoire. Une manière de faire pression sur Bruxelles et d’obtenir soit davantage de moyens financiers pour prendre en charge les migrants, soit un soutien diplomatique à ses visées géopolitiques dans le conflit syrien, accusent la Grèce et l’Union européenne.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/23230/la-grece-veut-renvoyer-dans-leurs-pays-les-migrants-arrives-apres-le-1
      #01_mars_2020

    • Migrants : la Grèce accusée de recourir à la manière forte

      Refoulement en Turquie, utilisation de gaz lacrymogènes, confiscation de biens : la Grèce est accusée de recourir à la manière forte avec les migrants qui tentent d’entrer en Europe, et Ankara lui attribue même la mort de trois personnes.

      « Des soldats grecs (...) nous ont pris notre argent, nos téléphones. Il est arrivé la même chose à nos amis », raconte Resul,un jeune Afghan, rencontré par l’AFP le long de la longue frontière terrestre qui sépare la Turquie et la Grèce sur plus de 200 km.

      D’autres candidats malheureux à l’exil rencontrés sur les routes affirment qu’ils ont été rossés par les forces de l’ordre grecques, déjà montrées du doigt pour avoir utilisé des gaz lacrymogènes aux ogives potentiellement mortelles en cas de tir tendu sur une personne.

      Depuis que le président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a ordonné l’ouverture des frontières pour laisser passer les migrants désireux de se rendre dans l’Union européenne, Athènes a complètement fermé sa frontière terrestre tout en déployant des forces le long du fleuve Evros.

      Les pratiques présumées de « push-back », qui consistent à repousser les personnes qui voudraient entrer sur un territoire sont dénoncées par plusieurs organisations internationales et des ONG, qui reprochent également au gouvernement grec de contrevenir au droit international et européen en décidant de suspendre les demandes d’asile pendant un mois.
      Etat de siège

      De source gouvernementale grecque, on assure qu’"il n’y a pas de refoulements". Le gouvernement « empêche l’entrée (sur son territoire ndlr), c’est tout à fait différent », a déclaré cette source à l’AFP.

      Parmi les mesures décidées par le conseil gouvernemental de sécurité nationale détaillées dans un acte législatif, figurent « l’arrestation, le transfert dans des centres de détention et le retour immédiat, si c’est possible dans leur pays d’origine, de tous ceux qui entrent illégalement dans le territoire grec ».

      « Le principe fondamental de non-refoulement » stipule que « personne ne peut être renvoyé dans un pays où sa vie ou sa liberté seraient en péril », a souligné mardi Stella Nanou, la responsable de l’Agence des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) en Grèce, lors d’une visite au poste-frontière de Kastanies (Pazarkule côté turc).

      L’ONG allemande de défense des droits des réfugiés Pro Asyl a elle aussi tancé les autorités grecques, jugeant « illégaux » les renvois vers la Turquie « sans que les procédures d’asile n’aient été enclenchées ».

      A la frontière, la région reculée de terres agricoles et de villages assoupis offre le spectacle d’une zone en état de siège : camions militaires et véhicules de police quadrillent la zone du nord au sud et d’est en ouest.

      La Turquie accuse aussi les gardes-frontières grecs d’avoir tué trois migrants lors de heurts à la frontière, ce qu’Athènes a fermement démenti, rejetant des « fausses informations ».
      Chaussures et téléphones portables

      Des journalistes de l’AFP ont vu le long de la frontière des soldats grecs cagoulés embarquant des migrants dans des véhicules militaires. Certains réfugiés se trouvaient aussi à bord de fourgonnettes sans plaques d’immatriculation.

      Les policiers et les militaires ont systématiquement refusé d’indiquer la destination de ces personnes interpellées.

      « On les livre à la justice pour entrée illégale sur le territoire », se contente d’indiquer à l’AFP un policier qui refuse de décliner son identité, à Tychero, un bourg collé à la frontière.

      Des forces de l’ordre grecques sont également soupçonnées d’avoir dépouillé des réfugiés de leurs effets personnels.

      A Tychero, des paires de chaussures souillées de boue sont entassées à côté de l’entrée du poste de police, ainsi que des téléphones portables. De l’autre côté de la frontière, des migrants marchent pieds nus et affirment que les policiers grecs leur ont pris leurs chaussures.

      Quand ils parviennent à entrer en Grèce, les migrants sont livrés à eux-mêmes. A la différence des îles de la mer Egée, aucune organisation humanitaire n’est déployée dans cette vaste région.

      https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/migrants-la-grece-accusee-de-recourir-a-la-maniere-forte-05-03-2020-2365952_

    • La Grèce veut dissuader les exilés de franchir ses frontières

      Depuis l’annonce d’Ankara concernant l’ouverture de la frontière, la Grèce et la Turquie mènent une véritable bataille de la communication : bataille de chiffres, accusations d’exactions, dénonciations de propagande. Côté grec, le ton redouble de fermeté.

      Lesbos (Grèce), de notre envoyée spéciale.– Les rafales de vent fouettent les visages sur le port bétonné de Mytilène, à Lesbos. Les côtes turques, à une dizaine de kilomètres, sont noyées dans la brume ce mercredi.

      Derrière des barrières gardées par des policiers, ils sont près de 560 migrants, majoritairement venus d’Afghanistan et de pays d’Afrique. Depuis des heures, ils guettent l’arrivée d’un bateau qui viendrait les extirper de l’île grecque.

      Peu d’informations circulent sur ces passagers, ce matin-là. Les quelques journalistes autorisés à observer cette scène sous haute surveillance n’ont pas le droit de leur parler. « Pour éviter tout mouvement de foule », explique d’un ton ferme un policier.

      On sait seulement que ces migrants en quête d’Europe sont les derniers à avoir accosté à Lesbos. Ils ont pris la mer à bord d’une dizaine de bateaux pneumatiques depuis la Turquie les 1er, 2 et 3 mars, encouragés par l’annonce de l’ouverture de la frontière par Ankara.

      Isolés dès leur arrivée, les réfugiés n’ont pas fait escale dans le camp surchargé de l’île, Moria, où s’entassent déjà 20 000 migrants dans l’attente de leur traitement d’asile.

      L’imposante frégate militaire s’approche du port en fin de matinée. Elle amarre. Elle devrait embarquer les réfugiés puis prendre le chemin de Serres dans le nord de la Grèce. Mais là-bas, la colère des habitants gronde déjà contre leur venue. Les réfugiés ne le savent pas encore, mais Serres ne sera peut-être qu’une escale.

      « Notre but est de les renvoyer dans leur pays », a révélé le ministre de l’immigration, Notis Mitarachi à l’agence Reuters mercredi, en évoquant l’ensemble des quelque 1 500 exilés arrivés sur les îles depuis le 1er mars.

      Le sort de ces passagers illustre la politique de dissuasion voulue par la Grèce, qui qualifie d’« invasion » et de « menace asymétrique » le déplacement de migrants à ses portes depuis l’annonce par Ankara de l’ouverture de cette frontière, jeudi 27 février. Le message se veut clair. Il n’y aura pas d’accueil pour les nouveaux exilés dans ce pays redevenu en 2019 la première porte d’entrée de l’Europe pour les demandeurs d’asile, qui peine à traiter les quelque 60 000 requêtes déjà en cours.

      La campagne de communication du gouvernement grec a commencé dès vendredi par l’envoi de renforts de police et de l’armée à sa frontière terrestre, dans le nord-est, dans le nome de l’Évros. Il faut dissuader les 12 000 migrants massés du côté turc de la frontière.

      Les images de l’afflux de soldats, puis du chef d’état-major grec et du ministre de la protection du citoyen, Michalis Chryssochoidis, en visite ce jour-là dans la ville-frontière de Kastanies, ont fait le tour des télévisions grecques. La tournée de ces hauts responsables a pour objectif d’envoyer un message fort. « La Grèce est un pays sûr. La Grèce protège les frontières », martèle le ministre.

      La frontière grecque est bien fermée : ce refrain est aussi repris par le premier ministre conservateur Kyriakos Mitsotákis. Le 1er mars, il annonçait également la suspension, à compter de cette date, du dépôt des demandes d’asile pour toutes les personnes arrivées illégalement en Grèce. Une décision illégale, dénoncent de nombreuses ONG, et contraire au droit international selon le Haut-Commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR).

      Les autorités grecques, qui dénoncent un « chantage » d’Ankara, ont également annoncé le renvoi systématique des migrants vers leurs pays, la demande de déploiement de la force de réaction rapide (Rabit) de la force européenne Frontex à sa frontière puis le soutien de l’UE « par tous les moyens possibles ».

      Kostas Moutzouris, gouverneur local des îles du nord de l’Égée, assume ce qu’il qualifie de politique de « dissuasion » du gouvernement grec. Droit dans son bureau qui surplombe le port de Mytilène, l’homme populaire à Lesbos précise lui aussi « qu’il faut décourager ces gens de venir ».

      « Les habitants ici étaient solidaires, mais ils n’en peuvent plus, il y a trop de monde », insiste le politicien de droite. « [Le président turc] Erdogan fait de la propagande de l’autre côté, il incite les migrants à venir jusqu’aux frontières depuis Constantinople [Istanbul – ndlr] et d’autres villes du pays. Ils sont pour l’instant dans le nord de la Grèce, à l’Évros, mais comme ils ne peuvent pas passer, ils commenceront à descendre vers la frontière maritime face aux îles », croit-il.

      Les deux pays se livrent une guerre de communication. Les autorités grecques accusent Ankara d’inciter les migrants à venir et de les escorter jusqu’aux eaux grecques. « Le transport [de migrants] est organisé gratuitement jusqu’à la frontière, accompagnés par l’armée turque », a expliqué mercredi 4 mars le porte-parole du gouvernement grec, Stelios Petsas, au cours d’un point presse.

      Il affirme que « des SMS [sont] reçus par les migrants sur leurs téléphones portables au sujet des frontières prétendument ouvertes… [que] la télévision d’État turque […] a diffusé une carte avec des itinéraires vers la région d’Évros et la côte ». De son côté, Ankara nie et affirme qu’Athènes tire à balles réelles sur les réfugiés aux frontières terrestre et maritime. La Grèce dément.

      Une vidéo datant de début mars a fait le tour des réseaux sociaux, relayée par les autorités turques. On y voit un bateau pneumatique de migrants en mer Égée, et une vedette qui fonce à toute vitesse faisant tanguer le zodiac. On y entend les cris des passagers apeurés, puis des tirs de sommation, visant à repousser l’embarcation, au large de Lesbos, d’après Ankara.

      « J’ignore si ce contenu est authentique, avoue Kostas Moutzouris. Mais si c’est avéré, cela ne me paraît pas étrange : il faut dissuader les gens de venir, ces hommes [garde-côtes – ndlr] ne tirent pas sur les réfugiés, mais en l’air pour les dissuader. Les migrants ne doivent pas passer et les militaires grecs feront tout pour qu’ils ne viennent pas. »

      Mercredi 4 mars, des heurts entre migrants et forces de l’ordre grecques à la frontière terrestre ont aussi fait six blessés en raison de « tirs à balles réelles », affirme le gouvernement local turc, qui précisait qu’un migrant était mort de ses blessures.

      Mohamed Al Arab avait 22 ans et était originaire d’Alep, rapporte Le Parisien. Le gouvernement grec, lui, « dément catégoriquement » ces tirs. « La police grecque n’a pas tiré, maintient M. Moutzouris, mais malheureusement cela ne serait pas surprenant que la situation dérape. »

      Une enquête vidéo (visible ci-dessous en anglais) de Forensic Architecture – laboratoire d’investigation pluridisciplinaire avec qui Mediapart a déjà travaillé – sur le meurtre de #Mohamed_Al_Arab contredit la version des autorités grecques.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/050320/la-grece-veut-dissuader-les-exiles-de-franchir-ses-frontieres

    • #Forensic_Architecture releases video confirming murder of Syrian refugee on Greek border

      London-based research group Forensic Architecture has released an investigative video yesterday debunking Greek government’s claims of fake news over the killing of Syrian refugee #Muhammad_al-Arab by Greek fire on the country’s land border with Turkey.

      Twenty-two-year-old al-Arab’s murder was first reported by journalist Jenan Moussa on 02 March on Twitter. Moussa shared videos of the incident and managed to track down al-Arab’s family in Istanbul, who confirmed his death. Greek government spokesperson Stelios Petsas immediately tweeted that the reports were fake news and “Turkish propaganda”, to which Moussa responded with a photo of al-Arab’s coffin.

      Reuters and other international media picked up the story of al-Arab’s death by Greek fire on the border, but local media’s silence on the issue has been deafening. For two days it was unclear whether a killing had actually taken place, with the government repeatedly denouncing reports as inaccurate.

      Last night, Forensic Architecture released a video of their research on al-Arab’s killing. The video confirms the time, date and location of videos shot by witnesses during the incident, using video metadata and comparing video footage with satellite images of the area. The video therefore proves that al-Arab was indeed killed by live ammunition on the Greek-Turkish border as he was trying to cross into Greece. You can watch the Forensic Architecture video here (warning: graphic content).

      This is not the first case Forensic Architecture investigates in Greece. The Turner-nominated group conducted research on the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, the lynching of Zak Kostopoulos, a shipwreck off the coast of Lesvos that resulted in the death of at least 43 people, and the extradiction of Turkish political asylum seekers by Greece. In September 2019, Forensic Architecture had its first solo exhibition in Greece at State of Concept in Athens.

      The killing of al-Arab is the result of escalating violence on the Greek side of the border and rampant racism among Greek citizens, fuelled by politicians and the media. On 02 March, the Greek armed forces announced that they would be using live ammunition on the land border with Turkey and the coast of Lesvos. Meanwhile, armed vigilante groups have emerged patrolling the border, in order to deter refugees from crossing. According to Die Linke and Twitter reports, these groups are joined by neonazi groups from Germany and Austria.

      Amnesty International has released a statement calling out Greece for betraying its human rights responsibilities and for putting people’s lives at risk, stating that Greece should do whatever possible to protect the arrival of asylum seekers to the country. The Greek section of Amnesty International has released a separate report, pointing out that the situation along the Greek-Turkish border is “a humanitarian crisis caused by Europe”, and that Greece should protect the right to asylum with support from the EU.

      Demonstrations in solidarity with refugees and against state violence and racism have been announced for today, Thursday 05 March, in various cities in Greece.

      http://und-athens.com/journal/fa-alarab-killing
      #assassinat #meurtre #preuves

    • Pourquoi les migrants bloqués à la frontière grecque évitent-ils la #Bulgarie ?

      Réputé pour faire la vie dure aux réfugiés, le pays est aussi protégé par les bonnes relations que son Premier ministre entretient avec le président turc, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

      Dans le bras de fer migratoire qui oppose la Turquie à l’Union européenne (UE), un pays pourtant géographiquement en première ligne est resté jusqu’ici bien discret. Alors qu’environ 35 000 migrants ont tenté d’entrer en Grèce depuis la fin février d’après les autorités nationales, la situation à la frontière bulgare reste calme.

      Le 28 février, au lendemain de la décision du président turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan de laisser passer les réfugiés cherchant à rejoindre l’Union européenne, le ministre bulgare de l’Intérieur, Mladen Marinov, s’est rendu au poste frontière de Kapitan Andreevo, situé à une vingtaine de kilomètres seulement du village grec de Kastaniès, pour constater « qu’aucune tentative de franchir la frontière [n’avait] été relevée, à l’exception de quelques cas isolés ». Depuis, la situation n’a pas évolué alors que migrants et réfugiés continuent à affluer à la frontière grecque.

      Ce contraste peut en partie s’expliquer par une réticence des réfugiés eux-mêmes à se rendre en Bulgarie, selon Miladina Monova, anthropologue à l’Académie des sciences bulgares et engagée dans l’aide aux migrants. « La situation est particulièrement difficile pour les migrants en Bulgarie, explique-t-elle. Depuis 2015, le message circule dans le milieu des réfugiés qu’il vaut mieux éviter de passer par ce pays car les risques d’être tabassé et dépouillé à la frontière sont particulièrement élevés. »

      Depuis 2016, Sofia a fait installer une clôture métallique équipée de détecteurs de mouvements le long des 250 kilomètres de frontière avec la Turquie. Le gouvernement défend une politique « zéro migration ». Ce mardi, le ministre bulgare de la Défense s’est même opposé à l’installation d’un camp de réfugiés provisoire dans le nord de la Grèce, à 45 km de la Bulgarie, estimant que « l’installation de migrants clandestins du côté grec, près de notre frontière, [créerait] les conditions d’une aggravation de la tension ».
      Violence aux frontières

      Les gardes-frontières bulgares sont effectivement réputés pour leurs pratiques violentes, consistant à repousser physiquement les migrants en dehors du territoire national. « L’usage excessif de la force et les vols par la police des frontières est toujours d’actualité. L’entrée irrégulière sur le territoire reste criminalisée, avec pour conséquence une détention administrative des migrants et réfugiés, y compris des enfants non-accompagnés », rappelle Amnesty international dans son dernier rapport sur la question, publié en 2018. En 2015, un migrant afghan est mort, tué par un coup de feu tiré par un garde-frontière, dans des circonstances qui n’ont toujours pas été éclaircies.

      Malgré sa situation géographique qui en fait une porte de l’UE, la Bulgarie n’a jamais constitué une grosse route migratoire. Ainsi en 2016, seuls 17 187 migrants sont entrés en Bulgarie, dix fois moins qu’en Grèce (176 906). Cette année, entre le premier janvier et la fin du mois de février, ils n’ont été que 141 à passer en Bulgarie, contre 5 854 en Grèce, selon l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM).

      Pour comprendre l’absence actuelle de tension migratoire à frontière turco-bulgare, il faut aussi regarder du côté des relations diplomatiques entre Sofia et Ankara. Le 2 mars, alors que les tensions entre la Turquie et la Grèce étaient à leur comble, le Premier ministre bulgare, Boïko Borissov, a affiché sur les réseaux sociaux sa poignée de main avec Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Et précisé devant les micros : « Nous sommes tombés d’accord pour continuer à entretenir nos relations de bon voisinage, la compréhension réciproque et la paix. » Une relation de bon voisinage qui a probablement évité à la Bulgarie le sort de la Grèce, qui a vu arriver à sa porte des migrants convoyés gratuitement par bus depuis le reste de la Turquie.

      Expulsion des gülenistes

      Au pouvoir depuis 2009, Boïko Borissov entretient depuis longtemps de bonnes relations avec Erdogan. Il a notamment gagné sa confiance en renvoyant vers la Turquie les gülenistes, ces membres d’une confrérie musulmane accusés par le président turc d’avoir organisé la tentative de coup d’Etat de juillet 2016. « On sait dans le milieu des défenseurs des droits de l’homme que le renvoi des gülénistes et des Kurdes est systématique. Mais leur nombre exact est difficile à établir, car il s’agit de renvois immédiats, avant même que ces personnes ne déposent une demande d’asile, note Miladina Monova. La Bulgarie est le seul pays des Balkans à le faire systématiquement, alors même qu’elle est membre de l’UE. » En retour, la Turquie reprend systématiquement les migrants qui tentent de passer en Bulgarie.

      Cette relation entre Borissov et Erdogan a ainsi conduit le Premier ministre conservateur bulgare à servir à plusieurs reprises de médiateur entre l’homme fort d’Ankara et les autres chefs d’Etat européens. En 2018, c’était déjà à son initiative qu’un sommet réunissant dirigeants turcs et européens avait été organisé à Varna, sur la côte bulgare, pour sauver une première fois l’accord migratoire.

      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/03/10/pourquoi-les-migrants-bloques-a-la-frontiere-grecque-evitent-la-bulgarie_

    • Notes From #Pazarkule/ #Evros, Ninth Day

      Pazarkule. Turkey. March 8, 2020. Today we learned that it had become even harder for the refugees to leave the designated area to come to Karaağaç. They are now only allowed to use the main checkpoint. They are also required to give fingerprints and accept bodily checks. The soldiers also take pictures of their eyes. As our friend told us, exists started at 10 o’clock in the morning and went on during the day despite the long queues. Our friends waited two hours in the queue and only after that, they reached to Karaağaç. They were still in a positive mood when we met them there.

      One of our migrant friends told that while they were waiting in the queue a gendarmerie yelled at him saying ‘why are you laughing?’ He answered ‘I am not laughing at anything but why are you yelling?’ Then a higher officer took him to a corner and beat him. In an earlier conversation, this very same friend told us that the soldiers were helping them to cross to Greece. They even gave them hooks and ropes to take down the last remaining fence in front of the border gate. Our friends often tell us about incidents of ill-treatment by the same soldiers who ‘help’ them to cross to the Greek side.

      We also learned that although independent aid organizations were not allowed in the fenced-off area, Yavuz Selim Association was given permission to enter and distribute aid. Our friends from the inside also told us that the Beşir Association had been present on the ground since the first day and they distributed blue clothing items today.

      Our friends went back around 23.00 and reported that their fingerprints were not taken went they re-entered.

      Today we came across a Women’s Day demo in downtown Edirne. Migrants, borders or the war were mentioned neither in the press release nor on the banners and posters; despite the existence of such a large group of migrant women just by the city.

      Today we also had a chance to chat with refugee women. Our female friends who came from the zone told us about their experiences, stories and how they live through this as women. While we were filming, one of the women told us that she studied cinema for one year in Iran and offered to use the camera and make the shooting. We gave her the camera. Thanks to this, the women we were chatting got to know each other and they were relieved because they spoke the same language.

      They told us that in Turkey migrant women were ill approached particularly by men. Their common experience involved being sexually harassed by their bosses. They also mentioned that they had to work for very low wages, could not even get their salaries paid and did not have any access to mechanisms that would guarantee their rights. They also did not have much solidarity from Turkish women. This lack of contact made them feel isolated. Two of these friends told us that although they had Masters degrees and appropriate expertise, they could only find unskilled work. A younger friend said that she wanted to continue with her education and it was not possible in Turkey. They also told us that their future seemed full of uncertainties but they still held the hope that they would be able to cross the border and realize their dreams. Despite all the hardships they had to endure, their only wish is to have an ordinary, quiet and safe life.

      They told us that the conditions in Pazarkule are particularly harsh for women and children; that the sanitary and accommodation conditions were very bad. Women in the area (including themselves) would not go out of their tents often, because they were not feeling safe. There have been incidents of sexual harassment and one woman managed to run away from those who tried to rape her.

      On top of all these problems, the aggression from the Greek side is very tough. Our friends told us with much regret that last night (March 7) the intensity of teargas was really bad, and women with babies lacked protection. Another friend told us that, the same night a mother with a baby in her arms took refuge in our friend’s make-shift nylon tent. The baby had difficulty breathing and the mother was waving a t-shift to air the tent. The baby was now fine, though.

      When we asked about how the women in the area were interacting, they told us that a group of women visited tents to discuss acting in unison. However there was not consensus because everybody had different motivations. Our friends said that they understood these women too because they all were in a struggle for themselves and their children and they would do anything to win this struggle.

      When we chatted about the Women’s Day, they emphasized that their expectation from all women was that women would not discriminate against them. They also expect solidarity between women without any reservations on the basis of language, religion, and nationality. Their wish for all women in the world is to live in equality and freedom. We also learned that some women organized a Women’s day demo in the area. There is a need for more activity directed towards women and other vulnerable groups in the area.

      We also think that sharing our experience in coordination would be useful for new initiatives:

      –Our chat with female migrant friends today reminded us of the importance of maintaining gender equality in our work.

      – All newcomers need orientation about what has been going on here and the material conditions. Short visits only allow getting used to the field, but longer stays are emotionally and physically very tiring.

      –Therefore, we prioritize groups that can stay between 2-5 days. We can manage our activities in groups of 2-5 people. More people are not necessary and larger groups increase the risk of facing interference from officials. If people want to be in the field and commit time and labour, there are plenty of political and practical arenas to contribute. We have at the moment a pool of volunteers that would be enough to do rotations in the coming weeks. If we need further volunteers, we will issue a call again.

      No border pazarkule/edirne, March 8, 2020.

      https://enoughisenough14.org/2020/03/11/notes-from-pazarkule-evros-ninth-day

    • Turkey Steps Back From Confrontation at Greek Border

      The country is winding down an aggressive two-week operation to move tens of thousands of migrants to its frontiers. But relations with Greece and Europe have suffered.

      Turkey has signaled that it is winding down its two-week operation to aid the movement of tens of thousands of people toward Europe, following a tough on-the-ground response from Greek border guards and a tepid diplomatic reaction from European politicians.

      Migrants at the Greek-Turkish land border began to be transported back to Istanbul by bus this week, witnesses at the border said, de-escalating a standoff that initially set off fears of another European migration crisis. Greek officials said the number of attempted border crossings had dwindled from thousands a day to a few hundred, and none were successful on Friday, even as sporadic exchanges of tear-gas with Turkish security forces continued.

      Also Friday, Turkish officials announced that three human smugglers had each been sentenced to 125 years in prison for their roles in the death of a Syrian toddler, Alan Kurdi, whose drowning came to epitomize an earlier migration crisis, in 2015.

      That announcement and the week’s other developments were interpreted by experts and European politicians as signals to Europe that the Turkish authorities were once again willing to police their borders and quell a second wave of migration.

      It follows a tense period in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey attempted to engineer the reverse: a new migration crisis on Europe’s borders.

      On Feb. 28, the Turkish government announced it would no longer stop migrants trying to reach Europe, and it then drove hundreds to the threshold of Greece, live-streaming the process to encourage more to follow.

      The move was perceived as an attempt to rally European support for Turkey’s military campaign in northern Syria, and more European aid for the four million refugees inside Turkey.

      On at least one occasion, Turkish officials even forced migrants to leave. In a video clip filmed onboard a bus ferrying people to the border, reluctant migrants were shown being forced off the vehicle at gunpoint by officers in plain clothes, and beaten when they resisted.

      https://twitter.com/daphnetoli/status/1236263937706004481?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      Marc Pierini, a former European Union envoy to Turkey, called it “the first-ever refugee exodus, albeit a limited one, fully organized by one government against another.”

      The border clash not only stirred fears of a new migration crisis, but it also saw both countries react with anger and tough tactics. The Greeks have been condemned for suspending asylum applications and detaining and returning some migrants to Turkey.

      To foment a sense of crisis, Turkish security forces fired tear gas over the border at their Greek counterparts and provided journalists with footage of aggressive Greek responses to migrants. Mr. Erdogan accused Greek officials of behaving like officials in Nazi Germany.

      But the Turks used aggressive tactics of their own.

      Footage captured by The New York Times showed Turkish security forces standing aside to allow migrants to tear down part of a fence dividing Turkey and Greece. And other footage emerged of a Turkish vessel pursuing a Greek coast guard vessel in the Aegean, and of a Turkish armored vehicle ramming a border fence between the two countries.

      The Turkish Interior Ministry then sent more guards to the border — not to prevent people from leaving without documents, but to stop Greece from returning them by force, according to the Turkish interior minister, Suleyman Soylu.

      The confrontation marked a low point in relations between two neighbors who have long had a fragile coexistence within NATO, and it threatened to upend a fine balance in the strategically important, energy-rich southeastern Mediterranean.

      It also brought front and center the European Union’s dependence on Turkey to limit the movement of migrants toward its territory, as well as Mr. Erdogan’s willingness to weaponize migrants for his own purposes.

      But experts said Mr. Erdogan’s mobilization of migrants and security forces at the borders with Europe could have backfired, being so provocative that it may have made European politicians less willing to make concessions.

      “The problem is that because of the blackmail used by Turkey, getting an agreement from the European Council is going to be more difficult,” said Mr. Pierini, who is now an analyst for Carnegie Europe, a research organization.

      The European Union in 2016 agreed to funnel 6 billion euros to organizations helping the nearly four million Syrian refugees in Turkey, in exchange for Turkey’s help in securing its borders with Greece.

      That deal came after nearly one million refugees left Turkey for Greece, allowing them to reach the Continent’s prosperous north relatively easily.

      But Turkey has complained that European funding has been slow in coming, and has been paid to aid groups as well as into its own government coffers, making it less efficient. At a meeting in Brussels this week, European Union leaders discussed with Mr. Erdogan whether the agreement would be extended and how to restore it.

      Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said the meeting with Mr. Erdogan on Monday had been a “good start” in restoring normalcy at the Greek-Turkish borders.

      “Migrants need support, Greece needs support but also Turkey needs support, and this involves finding a path forward with Turkey,” she said. “Clearly we have our disagreements but we have spoken plainly and we have spoken openly to each other about these.”

      https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/status/1237119313447923712?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      The European Union is likely to eventually agree to send more money to Turkey to help with challenges posed by the refugee influx, Mr. Pierini said.

      But European leaders have taken a dim view of Mr. Erdogan’s latest showmanship, and may have become even more reluctant to accede to other Turkish diplomatic priorities, Mr. Pierini added. Those include an expansion of the Turkey’s joint customs union with Europe, and further visa reforms for Turkish nationals.

      The awkward coexistence between Greece and Turkey since the mid-1990s, when the two countries came close to war, could be at even greater risk of lasting damage.

      “Greek-Turkish détente has been one of the cornerstones of geostrategic relations in the southeastern Mediterranean — and the potential of this collapsing is alarming to the region and Western allies,” said Ian Lesser, the vice president of the German Marshall Fund.

      He said that the escalation had unleashed forces that may not be easy to manage.

      “Once someone opens up Pandora’s box, in an environment when you have proxy groups, coast guards, criminal traffickers, many actors who may not be fully under the control of governments, there is always the potential to go wrong,” Mr. Lesser said.

      “That’s true in Syria but it’s also true on the Greek-Turkish border,” he added.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/world/europe/turkey-greece-border-migrants.html

    • Que sait-on de ces photos montrant des migrants quasi nus à la frontière gréco-turque ?

      Des images publiées par la chaîne turque TRT accusent la police grecque de frapper et de dépouiller des migrants. Propagande, répond Athènes. Les témoignages accablant les policiers grecs sont pourtant nombreux.

      CheckNews a retrouvé l’auteur de ces images : il s’agit du photographe Belal Khaled, qui travaille pour la chaîne turque TRT World. Joint par CheckNews, il a accepté de nous transmettre les originaux de plusieurs photos et vidéos, dont nous avons pu extraire les métadonnées. Elles montrent que ces photographies ont été prises le 5 mars 2020, entre 18 h 30 et 20 h, à quelques mètres de la frontière greco-turque, près de la ville d’Uzunköprü, dans la province d’Edirne.

      Belal Khaled raconte y avoir croisé plusieurs groupes de migrants originaires de divers pays (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syrie, Irak, Maroc…) : « Ils revenaient de Grèce vers la Turquie. Cette zone est actuellement sèche, donc les migrants peuvent passer en marchant. Ils ont été arrêtés en Grèce, parfois à la proximité de la frontière, d’autres dans des villages ou même à 100 kilomètres dans le pays, puis ont été ramenés par les policiers grecs à la frontière. » Des vues satellites consultées à l’aide du logiciel Google Earth Pro permettent de se rendre compte que le fleuve Evros (en turc Meriç) peut atteindre un faible niveau à certaines périodes de l’année.

      Le photographe a également filmé des images pour la chaîne de télévision turque TRT, dans laquelle des migrants accusent des soldats grecs de les avoir battus et dépouillés de leur argent, de leurs téléphones et de leurs vêtements.

      Des anti-migrants dénoncent une mise en scène, sans preuve

      Suite à la diffusion de ces images, des internautes hostiles à l’arrivée de nouveaux migrants en Europe ont dénoncé des mises en scène de la part de la chaîne de télévision turque. Selon eux, les hommes se seraient dévêtus peu avant d’être photographiés.

      Ils soulignent également que sur cette photo, un homme torse nu sourit. Une preuve, selon eux, qu’il ne s’agit pas de « vrais migrants », mais de propagandistes voulant nuire à l’image de la Grèce.

      CheckNews a observé de près les photos et vidéos de Belal Khaled. En comparant les visages des hommes présents sur la série prise par Belal Khaled, il apparaît que l’homme au t-shirt blanc n’est pas la même personne que l’homme entouré sur une autre photo. Les métadonnées des photos indiquent que la première image (avec l’homme en tee-shirt) a été prise à 18 h 24, tandis que celle montrant le groupe d’hommes autour du feu a été faite à 19 h 31.

      Nous avons également remarqué que le groupe présent sur les photos avec l’homme en tee-shirt blanc n’est pas le même que celui en sous-vêtements. Belal Khaled explique : « Il y avait deux groupes. Si vous observez la lumière dans la vidéo, elle est plus sombre quand il y a le groupe venu par la rivière, car il est arrivé plus tard, mais les monteurs l’ont mis au début de la vidéo [du reportage de TRT] pour commencer l’histoire. L’autre groupe [avec l’homme en tee-shirt blanc, ndlr] est celui que nous avons vu en arrivant. Nous les avons trouvés assis dans l’herbe, certains d’entre eux étaient quasiment nus, d’autres portaient des vêtements. »

      Quant aux accusations de mise en scène, prouvées selon les internautes anti-migrants par les rires des hommes près de la rivière, le photographe répond : « Si nous avions voulu falsifier nos images, nous n’aurions pas diffusé celles avec des gens qui sourient. C’est pour cela qu’on peut dire que ce sont des vraies photos. C’est normal qu’ils sourient. Je ne sais pas pourquoi ils rient ou de quoi ils parlaient, mais ils peuvent se dire : "Regarde, il prend une photo de toi !" et ça les fait sourire. »

      Contacté par CheckNews, un représentant du gouvernement grec estime que « les documents de propagande turcs ont été réfutés à plusieurs reprises par le porte-parole du gouvernement, Stelios Petsas. Quant à la vidéo présentée par la chaîne d’Etat turque, il suffit de la regarder pour pouvoir la juger. »
      Des témoignages récoltés par des ONG et le New York Times accablent les policiers grecs

      Si le gouvernement grec refuse d’accorder de la valeur aux images capturées par la chaîne turque TRT, les témoignages rapportant des abus des forces grecques à l’égard des migrants sont cependant nombreux.

      CheckNews a ainsi pu retrouver sur Twitter plusieurs photos et vidéos de migrants torse nu et affichant des traces de coups sur leurs dos. Et qui accusent les forces de sécurité grecques de les avoir battus.

      L’auteur de ces tweets est Mohammed Yaşar, un Turc qui travaille pour le groupe de solidarité Tarlabasi, une ONG basée à Uzunköprü qui vient en aide aux migrants en leur fournissant des couvertures et vêtements. Il dit avoir observé le retour de personnes sans vêtements depuis le 3 mars, et publie depuis des vidéos qu’il a lui-même réalisées au contact des migrants maltraités, pour « montrer à tous les peuples du monde comment la Grèce agit et pour que ça cesse ». Il a accepté de nous fournir les fichiers originaux, dont les métadonnées confirment que les images ont bien été prises entre le 4 et le 8 mars 2020, le long de la frontière turque.

      Dans une enquête parue le 10 mars, le New York Times révèle l’existence d’un site secret en Grèce, où les migrants sont « détenus en secret et sans accès à un recours juridique ». Le journal américain note aussi, photo à l’appui, que « plusieurs migrants ont déclaré dans des interviews qu’ils avaient été capturés, dépouillés de leurs biens, battus et expulsés de Grèce sans avoir eu la possibilité de demander l’asile ou de parler à un avocat, dans le cadre d’une procédure illégale connue sous le nom de refoulement ». Le porte-parole du gouvernement, Stelios Petsas, a réagi à l’enquête en réfutant : « Il n’y a pas de centre de détention secret en Grèce. » Avant d’ajouter que si un journal international connaît le site, c’est qu’il n’est pas secret.

      Interrogé sur de tels faits de maltraitance, le directeur adjoint de la division Crises et conflits à Human Rights Watch, Gerry Simpson, déclare à CheckNews, après deux jours d’observation près de la frontière greco-turque : « Nous disposons de preuves importantes provenant de réfugiés et de Turcs vivant dans les villages frontaliers, qui s’occupent des personnes expulsées de Grèce. Ils racontent que depuis la fin du mois de février, du côté grec, des personnes habillées en uniforme et en tenue civile ont battu et volé des réfugiés. » Dans un tweet publié le 8 mars, Gerry Simpson ajoute que « les forces grecques de sécurité aux frontières ont déshabillé et battu des réfugiés avant de les expulser presque nus avec ce genre de blessures », en postant une des photos de Belal Khaled. Dans un rapport publié en juillet 2018, l’ONG de défense des droits humains avait déjà dénoncé les « conditions inhumaines » auxquelles étaient exposés les migrants dans les centres d’accueil et de détention grecs, ainsi que les « abus et mauvais traitements » causés par la police.

      https://www.liberation.fr/checknews/2020/03/13/que-sait-on-de-ces-photos-montrant-des-migrants-quasi-nus-a-la-frontiere-

    • Turkey to Close Land Borders With Greece, Bulgaria Due to #Coronavirus

      Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT Haber said on Wednesday afternoon that the country’s land borders with Greece and Bulgaria will be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

      Thus Turkey’s borders with the European Union will remain closed to the entry and exit of people; however the usual trade which goes on between these countries is not expected to be interrupted.

      It is still unknown for how long the borders will remain closed.

      Later on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry of the country issued a statement, confirming the border closure.

      It remains to be seen if this will affect the border tensions in Evros due to the massed thousands of migrants which have been trying to enter Greece since late February.

      https://greece.greekreporter.com/2020/03/18/turkey-to-close-land-borders-with-greece-bulgaria-due-to-coron
      #fermeture_des_frontières

    • Locals on tractors assist Greek Army and Police along the Evros (video)

      With their farming tractors and headlights on, local residents moved to help the Greek army and police along the Evros river, the natural border to Turkey, to prevent illegal crossing from the Turkish border into Greece.
      Others have gathered to the South Evros with their vehicles and see themselves also as assistants to the Greek Army.

      According to a report by ccn-greece, almost the majority of the locals are on the point on Tuesday night, March 3.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSOsSJ182Tk&feature=emb_logo


      Some of the citizens who patrol in area “have a rifle,” and abuse migrants when they find them, cnn-greece reported the other day.

      Tuesday was a rather quite day at the Greek-Turkish border, although still q,500 people attempted to enter into Greece and 32 from Afghanistan and Pakistan managed it. They were arrested on the spot.

      After it became clear that the border crossing in Kastanies in the north of Evros s will not open, apparently Turkish authorities changes their plans and decided to move migrants to the south at Evros Delta. Buses were made available on Tuesday for this purpose.

      Several migrants told Greek media reports currently on the Turkish side, that they would try to cross the Evros river by boat.

      One migrant told Star TV that they will get the boats by the Turkish forces in the area. “Children and women will go back to Istanbul,” he said. “Mass crossing of the river will take place happen within or in a week,” he added.

      “It is our duty to support the authorities’ efforts, so that it is clear to everybody and especially Turkey, that Greece is a place where everyone comes in. This should have been done from the first moment, when the problem arose in 2015,” a farmer who joined the patrols with his tractor told protothema. “We are farmers, but we also live at the borders region,” the farmer added.

      In facts, the whole Farmers Association has decided to assist the army and police wherever possible.

      A total of 26,000 people were prevented from entering Greek territory via the Evros from Saturday morning to Tuesday afternoon. More than 218 people have been arrested since Saturday. They were immediately arrested, taken to court and sentence in the average to three to four y

      ears, some with an additional fine of 10,000 euros.

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/03/04/evros-citizens-tractors-patrols-greece-turkey-migration
      #milices #milices_privées

    • Les migrants évacués de la frontière gréco-turque et placés en #quarantaine

      Le Premier ministre grec a indiqué vendredi que les migrants massés depuis début mars à la frontière terrestre entre la Grèce et la Turquie avaient quitté les lieux, à leur demande et pour se protéger, selon l’agence turque DHA, de la pandémie de coronavirus.

      « Il semble que le campement installé (depuis le 1er mars) a été démantelé et ceux qui étaient (dans la région frontalière du fleuve) Evros sont partis », a indiqué Kyriakos Mitsotakis lors d’une vidéoconférence du conseil des ministres.

      Le ministre turc de l’Intérieur Suleyman Soylu avait indiqué jeudi que 4600 migrants continuaient de camper près du poste frontalier grec de Kastanies, du côté turc.

      Mais jeudi soir, les demandeurs d’asile ont été transférés à bord d’autocars vers des installations adéquates en Turquie pour qu’ils restent en quarantaine pendant deux semaines afin de garantir qu’ils ne soient pas contaminés par le virus Covid-19, a rapporté l’agence turque DHA. Cette évacuation a eu lieu « à la demande des migrants », selon DHA.
      Le campement brûlé

      De son côté, la télévision publique grecque ERT a indiqué que la police turque avait mis le feu dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi au campement désert après l’évacuation des demandeurs d’asile. Une vidéo diffusée vendredi par le gouvernement grec montre de hautes flammes le long des barrières qui marquent la frontière.

      Le Premier ministre grec a souligné que les militaires et les policiers grecs resteraient sur place et que la clôture le long de la frontière serait « renforcée ». « Un chapitre est peut-être clos mais la bataille continue », a encore déclaré Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
      Certains sont détenus en Grèce

      En quête de soutien en Syrie, la Turquie avait annoncé le 29 février qu’elle n’empêcherait plus les migrants de passer en Europe et des milliers de demandeurs d’asile s’étaient aussitôt massés à Pazrakule, du côté turc de la frontière.

      La Grèce avait alors demandé et obtenu l’aide de l’Union européenne pour empêcher les demandeurs d’asile de traverser la frontière.

      Les forces antiémeutes grecques dépêchées à Kastanies avaient fait usage de gaz lacrymogènes pour repousser les migrants. Mais certains qui avaient réussi à passer sur le sol grec sont depuis détenus dans des camps fermés en Grèce ou ont été refoulés en Turquie, selon des ONG, qui ont dénoncé des « pratiques illégales » d’Athènes.

      https://www.rts.ch/info/monde/11201770-les-migrants-evacues-de-la-frontiere-grecoturque-et-places-en-quarantai
      #évacuation

      ping @thomas_lacroix

    • Turkey moves migrants from Greek border amid virus pandemic

      Turkish authorities on Friday evacuated hundreds of migrants who had been waiting at the border with Greece hoping to make their way into Europe, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported.

      Thousands of migrants had massed at a border crossing with European Union-member Greece after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced last month that his country would no longer prevent refugees and other migrants wanting to travel to EU countries.

      Violent clashes erupted between the migrants and Greek border authorities trying to push them back.

      Anadolu Agency reported Friday that migrants waiting at the border crossing in Edirne province were transported in buses to state guest houses where they would be quarantined. They would be moved to other regions in Turkey at the end of the quarantine, the agency reported.

      Anadolu did not say how many people were transported away from the border area but an estimated 2,000 had been staying in a makeshift camp near the border gate.

      Turkey has so far reported 75 deaths related to the new coronavirus and 3,629 infections. It was not clear if any of the migrants at the border had contracted the virus.

      The Edirne governor’s office did not return calls.

      Greece hailed the development as an “important thing for our country and for Europe,” praising Greek authorities’ ability to guard its land and sea borders.

      Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaking during a teleconference with ministers on the situation at the border, said Greek authorities had “ascertained that the makeshift camp which had been created ... appears to have been dismantled and those who were on the Evros border have been moved away.”

      Greek authorities also shared a night-time video of a fire in a wooded area, which they said was Turkish authorities burning the tents left behind by the departing migrants.

      “A chapter might potentially be closing, but this battle, have no doubt, continues,” Mitsotakis told the ministers, according to a statement released by his office. “We managed to secure a very important thing for our country and for Europe. The ability and efficiency of guarding our land and sea borders.”

      A Turkish journalist based in Edirne said several buses were seen leaving the border area and that authorities later disinfected an area where the migrants had been camping.

      Anadolu said some of the migrants asked to be moved, while others had to be convinced.

      Turkey declared its borders open for migrants to cross into Europe following months of threats by Erdogan that he would allow millions of refugees into Europe unless the EU provided more support for the more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

      http://www.ekathimerini.com/251075/article/ekathimerini/news/turkey-moves-migrants-from-greek-border-amid-virus-pandemic

    • Crisis not averted: security policies cannot solve a humanitarian problem, now or in the long-term

      At the end of February, the Turkish government announced it would allow refugees to travel onwards to Greece and Bulgaria, in the hope of extracting from the EU further financial support as well as backing for its military operations in Syria. It has now taken up its role as Europe’s border guard again, but the manufactured crisis induced by the Turkish decision and the EU response highlight the long-term failings of the EU’s asylum and migration model.

      http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-359-crisis-not-averted.pdf

    • Tra Turchia e Grecia. Cani, doppiette, trattori e neonazi: la caccia ai profughi

      L’indicibile saldatura è avvenuta sul terreno. “Nacht und nebel”, proprio come nel vecchio slogan nazista, “di notte e nella nebbia” un primo gruppo di estremisti tedeschi ha cominciato a percorrere i campi dove si da la caccia ai migranti. Un richiamo per gli altri che da Austria, Italia, Ungheria si sono messi in macchina per “soccorrere - scrivono nelle loro chat - il popolo greco”. Tra loro Marin Sellner, beneficiario di 1.500 euro donati al suo movimento dallo stragista di Christchurch, in Nuova Zelanda (50 morti a giugno 2019).

      Anche nelle ultime ventiquattr’ore non sono mancati gli scontri lungo la barriera metallica che si è rivelata un muro invalicabile. Dal confine turco, però, i profughi che da giorni danno l’assalto alla frontiera stanno cambiando strategia. Gli attacchi avvengono specialmente di notte, con il fuoco di copertura (fumogeni, lacrimogeni e bombe stordenti) lanciati dalle forze speciali di Ankara. L’opposta propaganda si rinfaccia una serie di colpi, questa volta di piombo vero, esplosi contro un blindato greco. Attacco a sua volta lamentato anche dall’esercito di Ankara.

      Non si sa dove può portare una crisi nella quale due alleati della Nato, per di più confinanti, si sparano addosso. Di certo Erdogan non ha permesso ai profughi di abbandonare la presa, aspettando probabilmente un nuovo incontro con Angela Merkel.

      La contabilità della guerriglia di confine non tiene conto dei feriti. Solo degli arrestati e dei respinti prima che riuscissero a mettere piede su una zolla di Ue. Oggi 3 arresti (2 togolesi e un pachistano) e 741 tentativi d’ingresso bloccati.

      I pochi profughi che riescono a guadagnare un varco devono vedersela con un’armata brancaleone male equipaggiata ma molto determinata. C’è il vecchio Theodoros che non ha avuto il tempo neanche di staccare l’aratro dal trattore con cui si inoltra nella boscaglia. Mentre avanza fa tanto di quel chiasso da mettere in guardia chiunque stia nel raggio di mezzo chilometro. Nei villaggi vicini hanno perfino organizzato una sfilata notturna con le macchine agricole attrezzate con potenti fari alla ricerca dei disgraziati. A sud di Kastanies, dove il fiume già presagisce l’accesso al mare, i paramilitari tollerati da Atene hanno catturato nei giorni scorsi una trentina di profughi, tra cui donne e bambini. Nelle foto che i “cacciatori” si passano di telefono in telefono, si vedono i “prigionieri” a cui sono state tolte le scarpe, ammassate ad alcuni metri da loro, seduti in terra e guardati a vista da uomini armati in attesa che arrivi la polizia. Le donne e i bambini indossano in maggioranza un cappellino rosso. Un accorgimento per renderli ben visibili casomai la corrente dell’Evros li avesse trascinati.

      Dinos Theoharidis, il “colonnello” di Alba Dorata, esprime il suo disappunto con i giornalisti italiani che hanno scoperto e raccontato il suo ruolo da ex membro dei corpi speciali. Adesso fa da ufficiale di collegamento tra i civili in armi e gli ufficiali dell’esercito, mentre le forze armate continuano a riversare uomini sul confine per dare il cambio ai militari che devono vedersela con il gas urticante lanciato dalle forze speciali di Ankara. “A causa vostra ora tutti sanno quello che faccio qui - ci rimprovera Dinos - che bisogna c’era di scriverlo? Non siete dei patrioti come noi?”.

      A dargli manforte sono piombati i tedeschi del Movimento identitario. A Berlino nei mesi scorsi l’Ufficio federale per la Protezione della Costituzione, ha dichiarato che il gruppo è passato da “sospettato di estremismo” a “movimento estremista di destra”. Parte integrante del movimento nazionalista paneruopeo. Una decina di giovani sono arrivati attraverso la frontiera bulgara. Da subito si sono messi a disposizione delle ronde.

      L’internazionale xenofoba è stata accolta con l’applauso di alcuni militari. Soldati che non hanno impedito agli estremisti berlinesi di srotolare uno striscione proprio contro la frontiera turca: “No way”, non si passa. Il governo di Atene sta valutando la loro espulsione. Chiunque voglia perlustrare il confine e dare la caccia ai migranti, qui è il benvenuto. Meglio se con un fucile da caccia in spalla, ma senza farne una bandiera per ottenere visibilità politica a danno di una Grecia Che negli ultimi giorni ha perso molte simpatie.

      Accade in piena Unione Europea. C’è chi mette a disposizione i trattori per superare i muri di fango intorno agli argini. Chi guida mute di cani e, con la doppietta già caricata a pallettoni, batte zolla a zolla i campi di cotone e irrompe nei casali abbandonati. Ogni volta che incrociano un’edicola votiva, si fermano per un triplice segno di croce. Poi procedono lasciandosi strattonare dai segugi, affondando gli scarponi nella direzione decisa dai cani.Sono attesi gruppi neonazisti da ogni dove. Troppo anche per il governo di Atene. “Trovateli a mandateli via”, l’ordine giunto ai commissariati. Alcuni sono però rimasti in zona. Basta che diano una mano ad Alba Dorata e non facciano troppo baccano sui social network.

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/cani-doppiette-trattori-e-neonazi-per-dare-la-caccia-ai-migranti-nuovi-scon
      #no_way

  • Monitoring « secondary movements » and « hotspots » : Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency

    The EU’s border agency, Frontex, now has powers to gather data on “secondary movements” and the “hotspots” within the EU. The intention is to ensure “#situational_awareness” and produce risk analyses on the migratory situation within the EU, in order to inform possible operational action by national authorities. This brings with it increased risks for the fundamental rights of both non-EU nationals and ethnic minority EU citizens.

    http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/dec/eu-frontex-int-surv.htm
    #surveillance #mouvements_secondaires #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Frontex #hotspot #hotspots #risques #analyse_de_risques

    –---------

    Dans ce rapport de Statewatch, on peut lire :

    Previously, the agency’s surveillance role has been restricted to the external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or “selected third-country ports.”2 New legal provisions mean it will now be able to gather data on the movement of people within the EU.

    Ce qui n’est pas sans rappeler la carte de @reka sur les 3 frontières européennes :
    #pré-frontière
    #frontière
    #post-frontière


    https://visionscarto.net/la-mediterranee-plus-loin

    Pour une version plus récente de cette carte...


    https://asile.ch/2016/12/13/regard-dune-geographe-murs-frontieres-fantasme-controle-migratoire

    ping @etraces @karine4 @reka @isskein

    • Making misery pay : Libya militias take EU funds for migrants

      When the European Union started funneling millions of euros into Libya to slow the tide of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the money came with EU promises to improve detention centers notorious for abuse and fight human trafficking.

      That hasn’t happened. Instead, the misery of migrants in Libya has spawned a thriving and highly lucrative web of businesses funded in part by the EU and enabled by the United Nations, an Associated Press investigation has found.

      The EU has sent more than 327.9 million euros to Libya (https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/region/north-africa/libya), with an additional 41 million approved in early December (https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/all-news-and-stories/new-actions-almost-eu150-million-tackle-human-smuggling-protect-vulnerable), largely channeled through U.N. agencies. The AP found that in a country without a functioning government, huge sums of European money have been diverted to intertwined networks of militiamen, traffickers and coast guard members who exploit migrants. In some cases, U.N. officials knew militia networks were getting the money, according to internal emails.

      The militias torture, extort and otherwise abuse migrants for ransoms in detention centers under the nose of the U.N., often in compounds that receive millions in European money, the AP investigation showed. Many migrants also simply disappear from detention centers, sold to traffickers or to other centers.

      The same militias conspire with some members of Libyan coast guard units. The coast guard gets training and equipment from Europe to keep migrants away from its shores. But coast guard members return some migrants to the detention centers under deals with militias, the AP found, and receive bribes to let others pass en route to Europe.

      The militias involved in abuse and trafficking also skim off European funds given through the U.N. to feed and otherwise help migrants, who go hungry. For example, millions of euros in U.N. food contracts were under negotiation with a company controlled by a militia leader, even as other U.N. teams raised alarms about starvation in his detention center, according to emails obtained by the AP and interviews with at least a half-dozen Libyan officials.

      In many cases, the money goes to neighboring Tunisia to be laundered, and then flows back to the militias in Libya.

      The story of Prudence Aimée and her family shows how migrants are exploited at every stage of their journey through Libya.

      Aimée left Cameroon in 2015, and when her family heard nothing from her for a year, they thought she was dead. But she was in detention and incommunicado. In nine months at the Abu Salim detention center, she told the AP, she saw “European Union milk” and diapers delivered by U.N.staff pilfered before they could reach migrant children, including her toddler son. Aimée herself would spend two days at a time without food or drink, she said.

      In 2017, an Arab man came looking for her with a photo of her on his phone.

      “They called my family and told them they had found me,” she said. “That’s when my family sent money.” Weeping, Aimée said her family paid a ransom equivalent of $670 to get her out of the center. She could not say who got the money.

      She was moved to an informal warehouse and eventually sold to yet another detention center, where yet another ransom — $750 this time — had to be raised from her family. Her captors finally released the young mother, who got on a boat that made it past the coast guard patrol, after her husband paid $850 for the passage. A European humanitarian ship rescued Aimée, but her husband remains in Libya.

      Aimée was one of more than 50 migrants interviewed by the AP at sea, in Europe, Tunisia and Rwanda, and in furtive messages from inside detention centers in Libya. Journalists also spoke with Libyan government officials, aid workers and businessmen in Tripoli, obtained internal U.N. emails and analyzed budget documents and contracts.

      The issue of migration has convulsed Europe since the influx of more than a million people in 2015 and 2016, fleeing violence and poverty in the Mideast, Afghanistan and Africa. In 2015, the European Union set up a fund intended to curb migration from Africa, from which money is sent to Libya. The EU gives the money mainly through the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the High Commissioner for Refugees. (UNHCR).

      But Libya is plagued by corruption and caught in a civil war. The west, including the capital Tripoli, is ruled by a U.N.-brokered government, while the east is ruled by another government supported by army commander Khalifa Hifter. The chaos is ideal for profiteers making money off migrants.

      The EU’s own documents show it was aware of the dangers of effectively outsourcing its migration crisis to Libya. Budget documents from as early as 2017 for a 90 million euro (https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/t05-eutf-noa-ly-03.pdf) outlay warned of a medium-to-high risk that Europe’s support would lead to more human rights violations against migrants, and that the Libyan government would deny access to detention centers. A recent EU assessment (https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/sites/euetfa/files/risk_register_eutf_0.pdf) found the world was likely to get the “wrong perception” that European money could be seen as supporting abuse.

      Despite the roles they play in the detention system in Libya, both the EU and the U.N. say they want the centers closed. In a statement to the AP, the EU said that under international law, it is not responsible for what goes on inside the centers.

      “Libyan authorities have to provide the detained refugees and migrants with adequate and quality food while ensuring that conditions in detention centers uphold international agreed standards,” the statement said.

      The EU also says more than half of the money in its fund for Africa is used to help and protect migrants, and that it relies on the U.N. to spend the money wisely.

      The U.N. said the situation in Libya is highly complex, and it has to work with whoever runs the detention centers to preserve access to vulnerable migrants.

      “UNHCR does not choose its counterparts,” said Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency. “Some presumably also have allegiances with local militias.”

      After two weeks of being questioned by the AP, UNHCR said it would change its policy on awarding of food and aid contracts for migrants through intermediaries.

      “Due in part to the escalating conflict in Tripoli and the possible risk to the integrity of UNHCR’s programme, UNHCR decided to contract directly for these services from 1 January 2020,” Yaxley said.

      Julien Raickman, who until recently was the Libya mission chief for the aid group Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, believes the problem starts with Europe’s unwillingness to deal with the politics of migration.

      “If you were to treat dogs in Europe the way these people are treated, it would be considered a societal problem,” he said.

      EXTORTION INSIDE THE DETENTION CENTERS

      About 5,000 migrants in Libya are crowded into between 16 and 23 detention centers at any given time, depending on who is counting and when. Most are concentrated in the west, where the militias are more powerful than the weak U.N.-backed government.

      Aid intended for migrants helps support the al-Nasr Martyrs detention center, named for the militia that controls it, in the western coastal town of Zawiya. The U.N. migration agency, the IOM, keeps a temporary office there for medical checks of migrants, and its staff and that of the UNHCR visit the compound regularly.

      Yet migrants at the center are tortured for ransoms to be freed and trafficked for more money, only to be intercepted at sea by the coast guard and brought back to the center, according to more than a dozen migrants, Libyan aid workers, Libyan officials and European human rights groups. A UNHCR report in late 2018 noted the allegations as well, and the head of the militia, Mohammed Kachlaf, is under U.N. sanctions (https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1970/materials/summaries/individual/mohammed-kachlaf) for human trafficking. Kachlaf, other militia leaders named by the AP and the Libyan coast guard all did not respond to requests for comment.

      Many migrants recalled being cut, shot and whipped with electrified hoses and wooden boards. They also heard the screams of others emerging from the cell blocks off-limits to U.N. aid workers.

      Families back home are made to listen during the torture to get them to pay, or are sent videos afterward.

      Eric Boakye, a Ghanaian, was locked in the al-Nasr Martyrs center twice, both times after he was intercepted at sea, most recently around three years ago. The first time, his jailers simply took the money on him and set him free. He tried again to cross and was again picked up by the coast guard and returned to his jailers.

      “They cut me with a knife on my back and beat me with sticks,” he said, lifting his shirt to show the scars lining his back. “Each and every day they beat us to call our family and send money.” The new price for freedom: Around $2,000.

      That was more than his family could scrape together. Boakye finally managed to escape. He worked small jobs for some time to save money, then tried to cross again. On his fourth try, he was picked up by the Ocean Viking humanitarian ship to be taken to Italy. In all, Boakye had paid $4,300 to get out of Libya.

      Fathi al-Far, the head of the al-Nasr International Relief and Development agency, which operates at the center and has ties to the militia, denied that migrants are mistreated. He blamed “misinformation” on migrants who blew things out of proportion in an attempt to get asylum.

      “I am not saying it’s paradise — we have people who have never worked before with the migrants, they are not trained,” he said. But he called the al-Nasr Martyrs detention center “the most beautiful in the country.”

      At least five former detainees showed an AP journalist scars from their injuries at the center, which they said were inflicted by guards or ransom seekers making demands to their families. One man had bullet wounds to both feet, and another had cuts on his back from a sharp blade. All said they had to pay to get out.

      Five to seven people are freed every day after they pay anywhere from $1,800 to $8,500 each, the former migrants said. At al-Nasr, they said, the militia gets around $14,000 every day from ransoms; at Tarik al-Sikka, a detention center in Tripoli, it was closer to $17,000 a day, they said. They based their estimates on what they and others detained with them had paid, by scraping together money from family and friends.

      The militias also make money from selling groups of migrants, who then often simply disappear from a center. An analysis commissioned by the EU and released earlier this month by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (https://globalinitiative.net/migrant-detention-libya) noted that the detention centers profit by selling migrants among themselves and to traffickers, as well as into prostitution and forced labor.

      Hundreds of migrants this year who were intercepted at sea and taken to detention centers had vanished by the time international aid groups visited, according to Médecins Sans Frontières. There’s no way to tell where they went, but MSF suspects they were sold to another detention center or to traffickers.

      A former guard at the Khoms center acknowledged to the AP that migrants often were seized in large numbers by men armed with anti-aircraft guns and RPGs. He said he couldn’t keep his colleagues from abusing the migrants or traffickers from taking them out of the center.

      “I don’t want to remember what happened,” he said. The IOM was present at Khoms, he noted, but the center closed last year.

      A man who remains detained at the al-Nasr Martyrs center said Libyans frequently arrive in the middle of the night to take people. Twice this fall, he said, they tried to load a group of mostly women into a small convoy of vehicles but failed because the center’s detainees revolted.

      Fighting engulfed Zawiya last week, but migrants remained locked inside the al-Nasr Martyrs center, which is also being used for weapons storage.

      TRAFFICKING AND INTERCEPTION AT SEA

      Even when migrants pay to be released from the detention centers, they are rarely free. Instead, the militias sell them to traffickers, who promise to take them across the Mediterranean to Europe for a further fee. These traffickers work hand in hand with some coast guard members, the AP found.

      The Libyan coast guard is supported by both the U.N. and the EU. The IOM highlights (https://libya.iom.int/rescue-sea-support) its cooperation with the coast guard on its Libya home page. Europe has spent more than 90 million euros since 2017 for training and faster boats for the Libyan coast guard to stop migrants from ending up in Europe.

      This fall, Italy renewed a memorandum of understanding with Libya to support the coast guard with training and vessels, and it delivered 10 new speedboats to Libya in November.

      In internal documents obtained in September by the European watchdog group Statewatch, the European Council described the coast guard as “operating effectively, thus confirming the process achieved over the past three years” (http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-council-libya-11538-19.pdf). The Libyan coast guard says it intercepted nearly 9,000 people in 2019 en route to Europe and returned them to Libya this year, after quietly extending its coastal rescue zone 100 miles offshore with European encouragement.

      What’s unclear is how often militias paid the coast guard to intercept these people and bring them back to the detention centers — the business more than a dozen migrants described at the al-Nasr Martyrs facility in Zawiya.

      The coast guard unit at Zawiya is commanded by Abdel-Rahman Milad, who has sanctions against him for human trafficking by the U.N.’s Security Council. Yet when his men intercept boats carrying migrants, they contact U.N. staff at disembarkation points for cursory medical checks.

      Despite the sanctions and an arrest warrant against him, Milad remains free because he has the support of the al-Nasr militia. In 2017, before the sanctions, Milad was even flown to Rome, along with a militia leader, Mohammed al-Khoja, as part of a Libyan delegation for a U.N.-sponsored migration meeting. In response to the sanctions, Milad denied any links to human smuggling and said traffickers wear uniforms similar to those of his men.

      Migrants named at least two other operations along the coast, at Zuwara and Tripoli, that they said operated along the same lines as Milad’s. Neither center responded to requests for comment.

      The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration acknowledged to the AP that it has to work with partners who might have contacts with local militias.

      “Without those contacts it would be impossible to operate in those areas and for IOM to provide support services to migrants and the local population,” said IOM spokeswoman Safa Msehli. “Failure to provide that support would have compounded the misery of hundreds of men, women and children.”

      The story of Abdullah, a Sudanese man who made two attempts to flee Libya, shows just how lucrative the cycle of trafficking and interception really is.

      All told, the group of 47 in his first crossing from Tripoli over a year ago had paid a uniformed Libyan and his cronies $127,000 in a mix of dollars, euros and Libyan dinars for the chance to leave their detention center and cross in two boats. They were intercepted in a coast guard boat by the same uniformed Libyan, shaken down for their cell phones and more money, and tossed back into detention.

      “We talked to him and asked him, why did you let us out and then arrest us?” said Abdullah, who asked that only his first name be used because he was afraid of retaliation. “He beat two of us who brought it up.”

      Abdullah later ended up in the al-Nasr Martyrs detention center, where he learned the new price list for release and an attempted crossing based on nationality: Ethiopians, $5,000; Somalis $6,800; Moroccans and Egyptians, $8,100; and finally Bangladeshis, a minimum $18,500. Across the board, women pay more.

      Abdullah scraped together another ransom payment and another crossing fee. Last July, he and 18 others paid $48,000 in total for a boat with a malfunctioning engine that sputtered to a stop within hours.

      After a few days stuck at sea off the Libyan coast under a sweltering sun, they threw a dead man overboard and waited for their own lives to end. Instead, they were rescued on their ninth day at sea by Tunisian fishermen, who took them back to Tunisia.

      “There are only three ways out of the prison: You escape, you pay ransom, or you die,” Abdullah said, referring to the detention center.

      In all, Abdullah spent a total of $3,300 to leave Libya’s detention centers and take to the sea. He ended up barely 100 miles away.

      Sometimes members of the coast guard make money by doing exactly what the EU wants them to prevent: Letting migrants cross, according to Tarik Lamloum, the head of the Libyan human rights organization Beladi. Traffickers pay the coast guard a bribe of around $10,000 per boat that is allowed to pass, with around five to six boats launching at a time when conditions are favorable, he said.

      The head of Libya’s Department for Combating Irregular Migration or DCIM, the agency responsible for the detention centers under the Ministry of Interior, acknowledged corruption and collusion among the militias and the coast guard and traffickers, and even within the government itself.

      “They are in bed with them, as well as people from my own agency,” said Al Mabrouk Abdel-Hafez.

      SKIMMING PROFITS

      Beyond the direct abuse of migrants, the militia network also profits by siphoning off money from EU funds sent for their food and security — even those earmarked for a U.N.-run migrant center, according to more than a dozen officials and aid workers in Libya and Tunisia, as well as internal U.N. emails and meeting minutes seen by The Associated Press.

      An audit in May of the UNHCR (https://oios.un.org/audit-reports, the U.N. refugee agency responsible for the center, found a lack of oversight and accountability at nearly all levels of spending in the Libya mission. The audit identified inexplicable payments in American dollars to Libyan firms and deliveries of goods that were never verified.

      In December 2018, during the period reviewed in the audit, the U.N. launched its migrant center in Tripoli (https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2018/12/5c09033a4/first-group-refugees-evacuated-new-departure-facility-libya.html), known as the #Gathering_and_Departure_Facility or #GDF, as an “ alternative to detention” (https://apnews.com/7e72689f44e45dd17aa0a3ee53ed3c03). For the recipients of the services contracts, sent through the Libyan government agency LibAid, it was a windfall.

      Millions of euros in contracts for food (https://apnews.com/e4c68dae65a84c519253f69c817a58ec) and migrant aid went to at least one company linked to al-Khoja, the militia leader flown to Rome for the U.N. migration meeting, according to internal U.N. emails seen by the AP, two senior Libyan officials and an international aid worker. Al-Khoja is also the deputy head of the DCIM, the government agency responsible for the detention centers.

      One of the Libyan officials saw the multimillion-euro catering contract with a company named Ard al-Watan, or The Land of the Nation, which al-Khoja controls.

      “We feel like this is al-Khoja’s fiefdom. He controls everything. He shuts the doors and he opens the doors,” said the official, a former employee at the U.N. center who like other Libyan officials spoke anonymously out of fear for his safety. He said al-Khoja used sections of the U.N. center to train his militia fighters and built a luxury apartment inside.

      Even as the contracts for the U.N. center were negotiated, Libyan officials said, three Libyan government agencies were investigating al-Khoja in connection with the disappearance of $570 million from government spending allocated to feed migrants in detention centers in the west.

      At the time, al-Khoja already ran another center for migrants, Tarik al-Sikka, notorious for abuses including beating, hard labor and a massive ransom scheme. Tekila, an Eritrean refugee, said that for two years at Tarik al-Sikka, he and other migrants lived on macaroni, even after he was among 25 people who came down with tuberculosis, a disease exacerbated by malnutrition. Tekila asked that only his first name be used for his safety.

      “When there is little food, there is no choice but to go to sleep,” he said.

      Despite internal U.N. emails warning of severe malnutrition inside Tarik al-Sikka, U.N. officials in February and March 2018 repeatedly visited the detention center to negotiate the future opening of the GDF. AP saw emails confirming that by July 2018, the UNHCR’s chief of mission was notified that companies controlled by al-Khoja’s militia would receive subcontracts for services.

      Yaxley, the spokesman for UNHCR, emphasized that the officials the agency works with are “all under the authority of the Ministry of Interior.” He said UNHCR monitors expenses to make sure its standard rules are followed, and may withhold payments otherwise.

      A senior official at LibAid, the Libyan government agency that managed the center with the U.N., said the contracts are worth at least $7 million for catering, cleaning and security, and 30 out of the 65 LibAid staff were essentially ghost employees who showed up on the payroll, sight unseen.

      The U.N. center was “a treasure trove,” the senior Libaid official lamented. “There was no way you could operate while being surrounded by Tripoli militias. It was a big gamble.”

      An internal U.N. communication from early 2019 shows it was aware of the problem. The note found a high risk that food for the U.N. center was being diverted to militias, given the amount budgeted compared to the amount migrants were eating.

      In general, around 50 dinars a day, or $35, is budgeted per detainee for food and other essentials for all centers, according to two Libyan officials, two owners of food catering companies and an international aid worker. Of that, only around 2 dinars is actually spent on meals, according to their rough calculations and migrants’ descriptions.

      Despite the investigations into al-Khoja, Tarik al-Sikka and another detention center shared a 996,000-euro grant from the EU and Italy in February.

      At the Zawiya center, emergency goods delivered by U.N. agencies ended up redistributed “half for the prisoners, half for the workers,” said Orobosa Bright, a Nigerian who endured three stints there for a total of 11 months. Many of the goods end up on Libya’s black market as well, Libyan officials and international aid workers say.

      IOM’s spokeswoman said “aid diversion is a reality” in Libya and beyond, and that the agency does its best. Msehli said if it happens regularly, IOM will be forced to re-evaluate its supports to detention centers “despite our awareness that any reduction in this lifesaving assistance will add to the misery of migrants.”

      Despite the corruption, the detention system in Libya is still expanding in places, with money from Europe. At a detention center in Sabaa where migrants are already going hungry, they were forced to build yet another wing funded by the Italian government, said Lamloum, the Libyan aid worker. The Italian government did not respond to a request for comment.

      Lamloum sent a photo of the new prison. It has no windows.

      TUNISIA LAUNDERING

      The money earned off the suffering of migrants is whitewashed in money laundering operations in Tunisia, Libya’s neighbor.

      In the town of Ben Gardane, dozens of money-changing stalls transform Libyan dinars, dollars and euros into Tunisian currency before the money continues on its way to the capital, Tunis. Even Libyans without residency can open a bank account.

      Tunisia also offers another opportunity for militia networks to make money off European funds earmarked for migrants. Because of Libya’s dysfunctional banking system, where cash is scarce and militias control accounts, international organizations give contracts, usually in dollars, to Libyan organizations with bank accounts in Tunisia. The vendors compound the money on Libya’s black-market exchange, which ranges between 4 and 9 times greater than the official rate.

      Libya’s government handed over more than 100 files to Tunisia earlier this year listing companies under investigation for fraud and money laundering.

      The companies largely involve militia warlords and politicians, according to Nadia Saadi, a manager at the Tunisian anti-corruption authority. The laundering involves cash payments for real estate, falsified customs documents and faked bills for fictitious companies.

      “All in all, Libya is run by militias,” said a senior Libyan judicial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of risking his life. “Whatever governments say, and whatever uniform they wear, or stickers they put....this is the bottom line.”

      Husni Bey, a prominent businessman in Libya, said the idea of Europe sending aid money to Libya, a once-wealthy country suffering from corruption, was ill-conceived from the beginning.

      “Europe wants to buy those who can stop smuggling with all of these programs,” Bey said. “They would be much better off blacklisting the names of those involved in human trafficking, fuel and drug smuggling and charging them with crimes, instead of giving them money.”

      https://apnews.com/9d9e8d668ae4b73a336a636a86bdf27f

  • EU aid and development funding has provided €215 million for border security in Morocco since 2001

    Since 2001, almost €215 million has been provided to Morocco by the EU to finance border security projects. Human rights abuses against migrants and refugees committed by Moroccan authorities call into question whether financial support from the EU to Moroccan border security should continue.

    http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-347-eu-morocco-aid-border-security.pdf

    Initial EU funding efforts worth some €68 million took place between 2001 and 2010 and, despite an interlude in which financial support was concerned with reform of the country’s migration policy, in 2018 funding for border security returned with a vengeance, with €140 million promised to Morocco - half of which comes from the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

    The strengthening of the EU-Morocco relationship on migration control has coincided with a crackdown on migrant presence in the north of Morocco, during which at least 8,000 people have been arrested and internally displaced to the south by the Moroccan police.

    People on the move have often faced violence at the hands of the Moroccan authorities in the name of enforcing the country’s migration policy. Nevertheless, the European Commission is reticent to acknowledge that it may have contributed in some way to operations by the Moroccan security forces in which human rights have been violated - an official told Statewatch that Morocco “advocates for a humanistic approach that considers human rights and integration as its first priority.”

    There is little publicly-available information on the results of these funding programmes and the evaluation report for just one project is publicly available. However, the activities foreseen for each project - contained in documents released to Statewatch - indicate that development aid has been used to increase the capacity of Moroccan state institutions to control the country’s land and sea borders, to exchange and coordinate information with both African and European partners. It seems like that the projects currently being implemented will continue in this vein.

    http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-morocco-borders.htm
    #Maroc #externalisation #externalisation_des_frontières #asile #migrations #développement #aide_au_développement #coopération_au_développement #fermeture_des_frontières #frontières

    ping @isskein @karine4

    Ajouté à cette métaliste sur développement et migrations :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768702

  • Germany wants asylum seekers assessed before reaching Europe

    The German interior minister #Horst_Seehofer has called for a new European migration system which would see asylum applications decided outside Europe’s borders.

    Germany has called on the European Union to change its approach to asylum applications. The interior minister, Horst #Seehofer, said on Tuesday that applicants should undergo initial assessment at Europe’s external borders and be sent home from there as well.

    “We have to realize that the Dublin system has failed,” Seehofer told the interior ministers of France, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom at a meeting of the so-called #G6 group in the southern German city of Munich on Tuesday.

    The Dublin regulation refers to European Union rules which state that the EU country in which a person seeking asylum first sets foot should handle the asylum application.

    External processing

    “(This) system cannot be the basis for the EU’s future asylum policy,” Seehofer said. “We need a new philosophy that starts at the external borders.”


    https://twitter.com/BMI_Bund/status/1189152116176248832?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E11

    “Our proposition: Effective protection of Europe’s external borders, where we check whether someone has a need for protection or has to be returned immediately. This means we need a unified set of rules.”

    Under Seehofer’s proposal, only asylum seekers with prospects for receiving protection in Europe should be distributed among a group of willing EU countries. Their asylum issues would then be addressed there.

    If the initial assessment at the European external borders is negative, the EU border agency Frontex should return the asylum seeker to his or her home country.

    Most support Seehofer

    The EU migration commissioner, Dimitris Avrampoulos, who also attended the G6 meeting, welcomed the proposal and called the discussions “constructive”. He said most of the G6 ministers supported Seehofer.


    https://twitter.com/Avramopoulos/status/1188870575877492736?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E11

    Seehofer also wants to bring forward a planned strengthening of the European border agency, Frontex. Officials in Brussels on Wednesday approved plans to deploy 10,000 uniformed border guards and officers across the EU by 2027, the AFP news agency reports.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/20480/germany-wants-asylum-seekers-assessed-before-reaching-europe
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #procédure_d'asile

    Je répète ici les mots de Seehofer, car on va probablement encore et encore les réutiliser...

    “We have to realize that the Dublin system has failed, (...) (This) system cannot be the basis for the EU’s future asylum policy,” Seehofer said. “We need a new philosophy that starts at the external borders. (...) Our proposition: Effective protection of Europe’s external borders, where we check whether someone has a need for protection or has to be returned immediately. This means we need a unified set of rules.”

    –-----------

    Ceci est à mettre en lien aussi avec le même genre de proposition (celle d’une externalisation non seulement des #contrôles_frontaliers, mais aussi de la #procédure_d'asile, et du #tri et de la #catégorisation) de #Macron en 2017 :
    Macron veut « identifier » les demandeurs d’asile au #Tchad et au Niger
    https://seenthis.net/messages/704970
    #France #hub

    –-------

    Mais Macron lui-même n’avait rien inventé... C’était une proposition qui arrivait de l’#Angleterre de #Tony_Blair :

    The idea of establishing reception centres in third countries, however, is not new. It was first suggested, unsuccessfully, by Tony Blair in 2003 [https://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/feb/05/asylum.immigrationasylumandrefugees] It was then taken over by the former German Interior Minister Otto Schily in 2005,[ “German Interior Ministry, Effektiver Schutz für Flüchtlinge, wirkungsvolle Bekämpfung illegaler Migration – Überlegungen des Bundesministers des Innern zur Einrichtung einer EU-Aufnahmeeinrichtung in Nordafrika 9 September 2005.”] who proposed to establish asylum centres in North Africa, and more recently Italy. The original 2003 Blair proposal was that any third-country national who sought asylum in the EU would be returned immediately to a centre in a third country where his or her application would be considered.

    https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-publications/offshore-processing-asylum-applications-out-sight-out-mind
    #UK

    v. aussi :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/704970#message704974
    #Transit_Processing_Centres (#TPCs) #UK

    ping @_kg_ @isskein @karine4 @visionscarto

    –----

    voir la métaliste sur les tentatives d’externalisation de la procédure d’asile de différents pays européens dans l’histoire :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/900122

    • Austrian Presidency document: “a new, better protection system under which no applications for asylum are filed on EU territory”

      A crude paper authored by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU and circulated to other Member States’s security officials refers disparagingly to “regions that are characterised by patriarchal, anti-freedom and/or backward-looking religious attitudes” and calls for “a halt to illegal migration to Europe” and the “development of a new, better protection system under which no applications for asylum are filed on EU territory,” with some minor exceptions.

      See: Austrian Presidency: Informal Meeting of COSI, Vienna, Austria, 2-3 July 2018: Strengthening EU External Border Protection and a Crisis-Resistant EU Asylum System (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/jul/EU-austria-Informal-Meeting-%20COSI.pdf)

      The document was produced for an ’Informal Meeting of COSI’ (the Council of the EU’s Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security) which took place on 2 and 3 July in Vienna, and the proposals it contains were the subject of numerous subsequent press articles - with the Austrian President one of the many who criticised the government’s ultra-hardline approach.

      See: Austrian president criticises government’s asylum proposals (The Local, https://www.thelocal.at/20180715/austrian-president-criticises-governments-asylum-proposals); Austrian proposal requires asylum seekers to apply outside EU: Profil (Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-austria/austrian-proposal-requires-asylum-seekers-to-apply-outside-eu-profil-idUSKB); Right of asylum: Austria’s unsettling proposals to member states (EurActiv, https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/right-of-asylum-austrias-unsettling-proposals-to-member-states)

      Some of the proposals were also discussed at an informal meeting of the EU’s interior ministers on Friday 13 July, where the topic of “return centres” (http://statewatch.org/news/2018/jul/eu-ciuncil-returns.htm) was also raised. The Luxembourg interior minister Jean Asselborn reportedly said that such an idea “shouldn’t be discussed by civilized Europeans.” See: No firm EU agreement on Austrian proposals for reducing migration (The Local, https://www.thelocal.at/20180713/no-firm-eu-agreement-on-austrian-proposals-for-reducing-migration)

      The Austrian Presidency paper proposes:

      "2.1. By 2020

      By 2020 the following goals could be defined:

      Saving as many human lives as possible;
      Clear strengthening of the legal framework and the operational capabilities of FRONTEX with respect to its two main tasks: support in protecting the Union’s external border and in the field of return;
      Increasing countering and destruction of people smugglers’ and human traffickers‘ business models;
      Significant reduction in illegal migration;
      More sustainable and more effective return measures as well as establishment of instruments that foster third countries’ willingness to cooperate on all relevant aspects, including the fight against people smuggling, providing protection and readmission;
      Development of a holistic concept for a forward-looking migration policy (in the spirit of a “whole of government approach“) and a future European protection system in cooperation with third countries that is supported by all and does not overburden all those involved – neither in terms of resources nor with regard to the fundamental rights and freedoms they uphold.

      2.2. By 2025

      By 2025 the following goals could be realised:

      Full control of the EU’s external borders and their comprehensive protection have been ensured.
      The new, better European protection system has been implemented across the EU in cooperation with third countries; important goals could include:
      no incentives anymore to get into boats, thus putting an end to smuggled persons dying in the Mediterranean;
      smart help and assistance for those in real need of protection, i.e. provided primarily in the respective region;
      asylum in Europe is granted only to those who respect European values and the fundamental rights and freedoms upheld in the EU;
      no overburdening of the EU Member States’ capabilities;
      lower long-term costs;
      prevention of secondary migration.
      Based on these principles, the EU Member States have returned to a consensual European border protection and asylum policy.”

      And includes the following statements, amongst others:

      “...more and more Member States are open to exploring a new approach. Under the working title “Future European Protection System” (FEPS) and based on an Austrian initiative, a complete paradigm shift in EU asylum policy has been under consideration at senior officials’ level for some time now. The findings are considered in the “Vienna Process” in the context of which the topic of external border protection is also dealt with. A number of EU Member States, the EU Commission and external experts contribute towards further reflections and deliberations on these two important topics.”

      “...ultimately, there is no effective EU external border protection in place against illegal migration and the existing EU asylum system does not enable an early distinction between those who are in need of protection and those who are not.”

      “Disembarkment following rescue at sea as a rule only takes place in EU Member States. This means that apprehensions at sea not only remain ineffective (non-refoulement, examination of applications for asylum), but are exploited in people smugglers’ business models.”

      “Due to factors related to their background as well as their poor perspectives, they [smuggled migrants] repeatedly have considerable problems with living in free societies or even reject them. Among them are a large number of barely or poorly educated young men who have travelled to Europe alone. Many of these are particularly susceptible to ideologies that are hostile to freedom and/or are prone to turning to crime.

      As a result of the prevailing weaknesses in the fields of external border protection and asylum, it is to be expected that the negative consequences of past and current policies will continue to be felt for many years to come. As experience with immigration from regions that are characterised by patriarchal, anti-freedom and/or backward-looking religious attitudes has shown, problems related to integration, safety and security may even increase significantly over several generations.”

      See: Austrian Presidency: Informal Meeting of COSI, Vienna, Austria, 2-3 July 2018: Strengthening EU External Border Protection and a Crisis-Resistant EU Asylum System (pdf)

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/jul/eu-austrian-pres-asylum-paper.htm

      #Autriche

    • Germany proposed a new automatic relocation scheme for asylum seekers (https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-sets-out-plan-for-automatic-relocation-of-asylum-seekers), according to which requests for international protection would be evaluated at the external borders of the European Union. The proposal was presented last week to EU member states, with the aim of making progress in the reforming of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), ahead of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second part of next year. The document proposes the initial evaluation of cases at EU’s external borders, a new regime for determining which member state is responsible for the further processing of the application, and measures to prevent asylum seekers’ migration from one member state to another. The proposal that initial assessments of all cases should be made at the external borders is very problematic, since it determines that “clearly false and unfounded” requests would be denied immediately at the external border, as well as the fact that measures including restricting freedom of movement could be used in such proceedings. Moreover, the question of what would be the exact procedure of determining which states are responsible for processing applications for asylum also arises. According to the German plan, the key role in this would be reserved for European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which the Commission already proposes to transform into the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), that would then decide which member state is responsible for the further processing of applications. This decision would be based on factors such as the size of the population of the member state, their GDP and so on.

      Reçu via Inicijativa dobrodosli, mail du 04.11.2019.

  • New Frontex Regulation : corrected version of the text

    The European Parliament is due to approve a corrected version of the new Frontex Regulation, which was originally agreed between the Council and Parliament in April but has been undergoing revision by legal and linguistic specialists.

    See: REGULATION (EU) 2019/... OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of ... on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624 (http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/oct/eu-frontex-regulation-ep-approved-corrected-version-2-10-19.pdf)

    And: the version initially agreed between the Parliament and Council in April (http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/apr/eu-frontex-final-tAnnex%20to%20LIBE%20letter-EBCG-text.pdf)

    The Regulation was proposed in September 2018 and agreement was reached between the Parliament and Council in April 2019. The speed of the legislative process may explain why the text has to be corrected and approved in accordance with Rule 241 of the Parliament’s rules of procedure (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/RULES-9-2019-07-02-RULE-241_EN.html).

    The headline change introduced by the new Regulation is a “standing corps” of 10,000 border guards. The official intention is to introduce the standing corps by 2027, but incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has committed to doing so by 2024 - although an article in DW commented (https://www.dw.com/en/can-the-eus-ursula-von-der-leyen-fulfill-her-promises/a-49625188) that this “looks extremely unlikely, as the member states have repeatedly rejected the move.”

    The new Regulation will also give the agency expanded surveillance powers, an extended mandate in the field of deportations and new possibilities for cooperation with non-EU states. Under its current mandate, Frontex has already begun to operate outside the EU, with an operation launched in Albania in May.

    http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/oct/eu-new-frontex-reg.htm
    #frontex #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #gardes-frontières_européens #gardes-frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Albanie #surveillance #renvois #expulsions

    –---

    Sur la coopération avec l’Albanie, voir :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/782260

  • Paris et Rome adoptent « une position commune » sur la répartition des migrants en Europe

    Les pays de l’UE devront participer au « #mécanisme_automatique » de répartition, voulu par MM. Macron et Conte, sous peine de pénalités financières.

    Après des mois de brouille franco-italienne, le président français, Emmanuel Macron, et le chef du gouvernement italien, Giuseppe Conte, se sont déclarés d’accord, mercredi 18 septembre, pour mettre en place un « mécanisme automatique » de répartition des migrants.

    Après deux ans de dissensions sur cet épineux dossier, ils défendront désormais au sein de l’Union européenne (UE) « une position commune pour que tous les pays participent d’une façon ou d’une autre » à l’accueil « ou bien soient pénalisés financièrement », a expliqué M. Macron.
    Lors d’une conférence de presse commune, ils ont aussi réclamé une gestion « plus efficace » du renvoi dans leur pays d’origine des migrants qui n’ont pas droit à l’asile. Le dirigeant italien a souligné que l’Italie ne « laisserait pas les trafiquants décider des entrées sur le territoire », mais aussi jugé qu’il fallait « gérer ce phénomène », quand l’ancien ministre de l’intérieur Matteo Salvini, patron de la Ligue, refusait tout débarquement de migrants.
    La France solidaire

    Regrettant de son côté « l’injustice » vécue par les Italiens, Emmanuel Macron a répété que l’UE n’avait pas été suffisamment solidaire envers l’Italie. « La France est prête à évoluer sur ce point dans le cadre de la remise à plat des accords de Dublin », qui confient actuellement aux pays d’arrivée la charge du traitement des demandes d’asile, a-t-il dit. « Je ne mésestime pas ce que le peuple italien a vécu », a expliqué M. Macron, mais « la réponse au sujet migratoire n’est pas dans le repli mais dans une solution de coopération européenne efficace. »

    Plusieurs ministres de l’intérieur de l’UE (dont les ministres français, allemand et italien) doivent se réunir lundi à Malte pour discuter de ce dossier.

    Les deux dirigeants n’ont toutefois pas évoqué devant la presse certaines des demandes de l’Italie venant en complément de la future répartition automatique des migrants en Europe. Parmi ces points qui restent à éclaircir figurent la répartition non seulement des demandeurs d’asile mais aussi des migrants économiques ainsi que la rotation des ports de débarquement, qui devrait intégrer des ports français. Fermés aux ONG secourant les migrants, les ports italiens se sont entrouverts ces derniers jours en laissant notamment débarquer sur l’île de Lampedusa 82 rescapés.
    Un sommet bilatéral programmé

    La visite du président français, la première d’un dirigeant européen depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir d’une nouvelle coalition en Italie, visait d’abord à rétablir de bonnes relations entre les deux pays, après une année de tensions avec les leaders de la précédente coalition populiste au pouvoir, notamment sur la question migratoire.

    Le chef de l’Etat français n’a passé qu’une soirée dans la capitale italienne, enchaînant un court entretien avec son homologue, Sergio Mattarella, et un dîner de travail avec le premier ministre, Giuseppe Conte, récemment reconduit à la tête d’un nouvel exécutif où le Mouvement cinq étoiles (M5S) est cette fois associé au Parti démocrate (centre gauche) et non à la Ligue (extrême droite).

    Entre l’Italie et la France existe « une amitié indestructible », a assuré le président français dont le déplacement à Rome a permis de programmer, pour 2020 en Italie, un sommet bilatéral, rendez-vous annuel lancé en 1983 mais qui n’avait pas été mis à l’agenda l’an passé pour cause de tensions entre les deux pays.

    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2019/09/19/paris-et-rome-vont-defendre-une-position-commune-sur-la-repartition-des-migr
    #répartition #asile #migrations #réfugiés #France #Italie #solidarité #UE #EU #Europe #Dublin #règlement_dublin #coopération #ports

    L’accent est mis aussi sur les #renvois... évidemment :

    ils ont aussi réclamé une gestion « plus efficace » du renvoi dans leur pays d’origine des migrants qui n’ont pas droit à l’asile.

    #machine_à_expulsion

    Et évidemment... zéro prise en compte des compétences, envies, liens, attachements que les migrants/réfugiés pourraient exprimer et qui pourraient être prises en compte dans le choix du pays de leur installation...
    #paquets_postaux

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • Société.L’Italie obtient un accord pour la “redistribution” des migrants

      Lundi 23 septembre, à Malte, les ministres de l’Intérieur de plusieurs pays européens ont trouvé un accord pour mettre en place un mécanisme de répartition des migrants qui arrivent dans les ports méditerranéens. Un succès politique pour le nouveau gouvernement italien.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/revue-de-presse/societe-litalie-obtient-un-accord-pour-la-redistribution-des-

    • Société.L’Italie obtient un accord pour la “redistribution” des migrants

      Lundi 23 septembre, à Malte, les ministres de l’Intérieur de plusieurs pays européens ont trouvé un accord pour mettre en place un mécanisme de répartition des migrants qui arrivent dans les ports méditerranéens. Un succès politique pour le nouveau gouvernement italien.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/revue-de-presse/societe-litalie-obtient-un-accord-pour-la-redistribution-des-

    • Déplacement à Rome après la mise en place du nouveau gouvernement italien

      Deux semaines seulement après la mise en place du nouveau gouvernement italien, le Président Emmanuel Macron est le premier Chef d’État à se rendre à Rome pour un dîner de travail avec Giuseppe Conte, Président du Conseil des ministres italien. Cette rencontre était précédée d’un entretien avec Sergio Mattarella, Président de la République italienne.
      La visite en Italie du Président de la République était importante, tant sur le fond, dans le contexte d’un agenda européen chargé après les élections européennes, que sur le plan symbolique.

      (Re)voir la déclaration conjointe à la presse du Président de la République et du Président du Conseil des ministres italien, à l’issue de leur rencontre :

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUXMEP3Kifg

      Déclaration conjointe à la presse du Président de la République et du Président du Conseil des ministres italien

      Merci beaucoup Monsieur le Président du Conseil, cher Giuseppe.

      Je n’ai que très peu de choses à rajouter et rien à retrancher de ce qui vient d’être dit à l’instant par le Président du Conseil. Je suis très heureux d’être ici parmi vous, très heureux d’être aujourd’hui à Rome quelques jours après la formation de votre nouveau gouvernement.

      Je viens de m’entretenir à l’instant avec le Président de la République, Sergio MATTARELLA, après les entretiens que nous avons eu au printemps dernier, lors des commémorations des 500 ans de la mort de Léonard DE VINCI en France, et je suis heureux de vous retrouver ici, cher Giuseppe, à Rome dans ces responsabilités.

      Ma présence aujourd’hui, c’est d’abord la volonté marquée de travailler ensemble pour la relation bilatérale et pour le projet européen, vous l’avez parfaitement rappelé. C’est aussi un message fort et clair envoyé au peuple italien d’amitié de la part du peuple français. Votre Président l’a dit il y a quelques mois, cette amitié est indestructible. Parfois nous ne sommes pas d’accord, il se peut qu’on se dispute, il se peut qu’on ne se comprenne pas mais toujours on se retrouve. Et je crois que nous en sommes là et que la volonté du peuple français est véritablement de travailler avec le peuple italien et de réussir pleinement. Vous l’avez dit Monsieur le Président à l’instant, notre souhait est de renforcer, et nous venons de l’évoquer ensemble, la coopération bilatérale et européenne et je veux revenir simplement sur quelques sujets.

      Le premier évidemment c’est le sujet des migrations. Sur ce sujet je ne mésestime pas ce que depuis 2015 le peuple italien vit, ce que l’Italie a subi, et là aussi avec beaucoup parfois de malentendus, d’incompréhensions, d’injustices qui ont été vues, perçues, et qui ont suscité de la colère. Je crois très profondément, comme vous l’avez dit, que la réponse au sujet migratoire n’est pas dans le repli, la provocation nationaliste mais la construction de solutions et de coopérations européennes réelles et efficaces.

      D’abord, nous vivons une situation, aujourd’hui, qui n’est plus celle de 2015 parce qu’il y a eu un très gros travail qui a été mené pour prévenir avec les États d’origine, pour mieux travailler avec beaucoup de partenaires africains, la situation que nous avons pu connaître alors. Mais ce que nous voulons faire ensemble, c’est poursuivre ce travail. Nos ministres de l’Intérieur se retrouveront dans quelques jours pour travailler sur la base de notre échange. Ils élargiront leur discussion à d’autres collègues européens, je pense en particulier à leur collègue maltais et à l’ensemble des pays de la rive Sud, et ils se retrouveront précisément à Malte, et ils poursuivront ainsi le travail que nous avons pu lancer à Paris au mois de juillet dernier, incluant aussi plusieurs organisations internationales.

      Notre approche doit répondre à trois exigences auxquelles je crois pouvoir dire que nous sommes l’un et l’autre attachés. La première, c’est une exigence d’humanité. On ne peut résoudre, ce conflit, en le faisant aux dépens des vies humaines ou en acceptant des personnes bloquées en mer ou des scènes de noyade que nous avons trop souvent vécues. La deuxième, c’est la solidarité, et c’est ce qui a manqué bien trop souvent en Europe. Je l’ai dit, l’Union européenne n’a pas fait suffisamment preuve de solidarité avec les pays de première arrivée, notamment l’Italie, et la France est prête à évoluer sur ce point dans le cadre de la remise à plat des accords de Dublin. Je souhaite que nous puissions ensemble travailler à une solution nouvelle, plus forte et plus solidaire. Et puis le troisième principe, c’est celui de l’efficacité. Les désaccords politiques ont conduit à une approche qui est, au fond, très inefficace, inefficace pour prévenir les arrivées, inefficace aussi pour gérer ce qu’on appelle les mouvements secondaires, parce qu’avec notre organisation actuelle, nous avons au fond trop de non-coopération entre les États membres, et du coup une situation où beaucoup de femmes et d’hommes qui ont pris tous les risques pour quitter leur pays se retrouvent sur la rive de l’Europe, errent de pays en pays, où les responsabilités sont renvoyées des uns aux autres et où nous sommes collectivement inefficaces à bien protéger ceux qui ont le droit à l’asile et à pouvoir renvoyer au plus vite ceux qui n’y ont pas droit.

      S’agissant des sauvetages en mer et des débarquements, vous l’avez évoqué, Monsieur le Président du Conseil, je suis convaincu que nous pouvons nous mettre d’accord sur un mécanisme européen automatique de répartition de l’accueil des migrants coordonné par la Commission européenne, qui permette de garantir à l’Italie ou à Malte, avant une arrivée, que ses partenaires puissent prendre en charge rapidement toutes les personnes débarquées, et avoir une organisation beaucoup plus solidaire et efficace, comme je viens de le dire, plus largement.

      Pour être justes et efficaces, il nous faut donc partout pouvoir défendre le droit d’asile, qui fait partie, bien souvent, de nos Constitutions, c’est le cas de la France, qui fait partie de nos textes les plus fondamentaux, je pense justement au texte de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme.Et donc protéger le droit d’asile, c’est aussi nous assurer que celles et ceux qui n’y ont pas droit sont reconduits le plus rapidement possible vers leur pays d’origine. C’est notre volonté commune d’avoir, au niveau européen, une plus grande harmonisation du droit d’asile, plus de coopération et une politique plus efficace de réadmission vers les pays d’origine lorsque les cas ne relèvent pas de l’asile. Au total, je crois que nous avons aujourd’hui une fenêtre d’opportunité pour parachever, relancer sur certains points, plus fondamentalement, le travail de remise à plat sur le plan des migrations et de l’asile en Europe aujourd’hui.

      La discussion que nous avons eue ces derniers jours et que nous venons d’avoir avec le Président du Conseil, comme la discussion que nous avons eue avec plusieurs de nos partenaires, en tout cas, me rend déterminé et volontariste sur ce sujet à vos côtés. Je crois, là aussi, que nous pourrons défendre une position commune avec la nouvelle Commission européenne pour que tous les pays participent, sous une forme ou une autre, à la solidarité européenne en la matière, ou bien soient pénalisés financièrement.

      Le deuxième sujet extrêmement important que nous avons discuté et qui est au cœur non seulement de l’agenda bilatéral mais de l’agenda européen, c’est celui de la croissance, de la création d’emplois, du contexte macroéconomique. Le Président du Conseil l’a évoqué. Nous voyons tous les chiffres en Europe, et si aujourd’hui, la croissance se tient à peu près, elle est en deçà de ce que nous avons pu connaître parce qu’il y a les incertitudes géopolitiques, parce qu’il y a la conflictualité commerciale mondiale, parce qu’il y a un ralentissement en Chine qui pèse sur plusieurs économies de la zone euro, parce qu’il y a aussi sans doute une coordination de nos politiques économiques qui n’est plus adaptée.

      Je veux, en la matière, ce soir, et le faire ici a un sens tout particulier, rendre hommage au travail de Mario DRAGHI, et tout particulièrement à ses dernières décisions. Une fois encore avec beaucoup de courage et de clairvoyance, le Président de la Banque centrale européenne a pris les décisions qui convenaient, mais il a aussi fait des déclarations qui convenaient, même si certains ne veulent pas entendre. Je le dis avec force, il a, à mes yeux, raison. La politique monétaire, depuis 2012, a fait le maximum de ce qu’elle pouvait faire pour préserver la situation européenne, éviter la déflation et nous éviter le pire. Il appartient aujourd’hui aux chefs d’État et de gouvernement de prendre leurs responsabilités en ce qui concerne leur budget propre comme en ce qui concerne les décisions que nous aurons à prendre au niveau européen, pour avoir une véritable politique de relance et de demande intérieure. Certains États membres ont des marges de manœuvre, et je salue d’ailleurs les annonces récentes à cet égard des Pays-Bas, qui ont décidé d’un plan d’investissements d’avenir dans lequel, je dois dire, je me retrouve, 50 milliards d’investissements sur les années qui viennent.

      J’attends avec impatience les décisions des autres États membres, et je pense que les décisions budgétaires que nous aurons collectivement à prendre doivent tenir compte de ce contexte macroéconomique et être au rendez-vous de l’investissement, de la relance. Nous en avons besoin parce que nous avons des défis éducatifs en matière de recherche, en matière stratégique, qui sont fondamentaux. Et je crois que nous pouvons garder le sérieux qui relève de nos traités, nous pouvons garder la politique de réformes qui relève de chaque pays, mais que nous devons conduire, et nous pouvons garder la lucidité sur le contexte macroéconomique qui est le nôtre, et refuser, en quelque sorte, que notre continent rentre dans la stagnation et plutôt s’arme pour préparer son avenir.

      Nous avons évoqué, avec le Président du Conseil, plusieurs autres sujets, évidemment la politique culturelle et les coopérations culturelles entre nos pays. Nous avons des échéances à venir extrêmement importantes : l’exposition Léonard DE VINCI, les expositions RAPHAËL qui vont être l’objet d’échanges, de partenariats entre nos deux pays et qui sont au cœur, je crois, de ce regard réciproque, de cette fierté que nous portons ensemble.

      Nous avons évoqué et nous allons travailler ce soir sur les sujets climatiques. Là aussi, nous croyons l’un et l’autre dans un agenda ambitieux sur le plan européen d’investissement, d’une banque climatique qui doit être au cœur du projet de la prochaine Commission, d’un prix du CO2 qui doit aussi prendre en compte ce défi et d’une stratégie neutralité carbone à l’horizon 2050, pour laquelle nous espérons finir de convaincre les derniers partenaires réticents. C’est cette même stratégie que nous allons défendre ensemble à New York lors du sommet climat, puis au moment où nous aurons à prendre nos engagements pour le Fonds vert dans les prochaines semaines.

      Enfin, le Président du Conseil l’a évoqué, sur plusieurs sujets internationaux, là aussi, nous avons conjugués nos efforts et nos vues. Et je crois que le sujet de la crise libyenne, qui nous a beaucoup occupé ces dernières années, fait l’objet aujourd’hui d’une vraie convergence franco-italienne, vraie convergence parce que nous avons su travailler ensemble pour passer des messages à nos partenaires. Je veux saluer la rencontre que vous avez eue avec le Président AL-SARAJ cet après-midi, et avec une conviction pleinement partagée : l’issue ne peut être trouvée que par le compromis politique et les discussions. C’est ce que nous avons d’ailleurs porté ensemble lors du G7 de Biarritz en défendant l’idée d’une conférence internationale pour la Libye incluant toutes les parties prenantes et une conférence inter-libyenne permettant cette réconciliation de toutes les parties au sein de la Libye. Vous avez rappelé ce point à l’instant. Et à ce titre, l’initiative portée par nos deux ministres des Affaires étrangères dans quelques jours à New York, rassemblant l’ensemble de leurs homologues concernés, est, à mes yeux, la mise en œuvre très concrète de cette volonté et sera, comme vous l’avez dit, une étape importante.

      Voilà sur quelques-uns des sujets importants de coopération économique, culturelle, industrielle, sur les sujets de défense dont nous allons continuer à parler dans quelques instants, sur les sujets européens, la volonté qui est la nôtre d’œuvrer ensemble. Dans quelques semaines, nous nous retrouverons autour de la table du Conseil pour parler de ces sujets et de quelques autres, et je me réjouis, Monsieur le Président du Conseil, de la perspective que vous avez ouverte d’un prochain sommet entre nos deux pays au début de l’année prochaine, qui se tiendra donc en Italie, qui nous permettra de poursuivre ce travail commun et de poursuivre aussi les travaux que nous avions lancé pour un traité du Quirinal, et donc pour parachever aussi toutes les coopérations communes entre nos deux pays. Je vous remercie.

      https://www.elysee.fr/emmanuel-macron/2019/09/18/deplacement-a-rome-apres-la-mise-en-place-du-nouveau-gouvernement-italien

    • The “#temporary_solidarity_mechanism” on relocation of people rescued at sea - what does it say?

      Germany, France, Italy and Malta have drafted a declaration (http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-temporary-voluntary-relocation-mechanism-declaration.pdf) establishing a “predictable and efficient temporary solidarity mechanism” aimed at ensuring the “dignified disembarkation” of people rescued at sea in the Mediterranean. If those rescued are eligible for international protection they will be relocated to a participating EU member state within four weeks, while ineligible persons will be subject to “effective and quick return.”

      See: Joint declaration of intent on a controlled emergency procedure - voluntary commitments by member states for a predictable temporary solidarity mechanism (23 September 2019: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-temporary-voluntary-relocation-mechanism-declaration.pdf)

      The mechanism set out in the declaration is designed to address “the need to protect human life and provide assistance to any person in distress,” whilst preventing the emergence of any new irregular maritime routes into the EU. All signatories will be obliged to call on other EU and Schengen Member States to participate. Offers - or refusals - to do so are expected (https://www.dw.com/en/five-eu-interior-ministers-want-quotas-for-shipwrecked-refugees/a-50539788) to come at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 8 October.

      The mechanism

      Signatories to the declaration will have to ensure that persons rescued on the high seas are disembarked “in a place of safety”. Member states may also “offer an alternative place of safety on a voluntary basis”. Where rescue is carried out by a state-owned vessel, disembarkation will take place in the territory of the flag State.

      Following disembarkation, participating states should provide “swift relocation, which should not take longer than 4 weeks”, a process which will be coordinated by the European Commission - as has been the case with recent voluntary relocations (https://www.thejournal.ie/ireland-migrants-ocean-viking-4779483-Aug2019) following rescue at sea.

      The declaration requires participating states to declare pledges for relocation prior to disembarkation and “as a minimum, security and medical screening of all migrants and other relevant measures.” This should be based on “standard operating procedures, building on and improving existing practices by streamlining procedures and the full use of EURODAC,” the EU database of asylum-seekers’ fingerprints, with “support of EU Agencies, e.g. on EURODAC registration and initial interviewing.”

      It is unknown to which standard operating procedures the text refers (Statewatch has previously published those applicable in the Italian ’hotspots’ (http://statewatch.org/news/2016/may/it-hotspots-standard-operating-procedures-en.pdf)), nor what precisely “streamlining procedures” may entail for individuals seeking international protection.

      EU agencies Europol, Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) are present in the Greek hotspots, where detainees are not provided (https://flygtning.dk/system/siden-blev-ikke-fundet?aspxerrorpath=/media/5251031/rights-at-risk_drc-policy-brief2019.pdf) with either interpreters or adequate information on removal procedures; and those in Italy, where the EU’s own Fundamental Rights Agency has identified (https://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/fra-2019-opinion-hotspots-update-03-2019_en.pdf) a number of serious problems.

      States may cease participation in the mechanism in cases of “disproportionate migratory pressure,” to be calculated using two rather vague criteria: “limitations in reception capacities or a high number of applications for international protection.” There is no further detail on how these will be determined.

      The mechanism will be valid for no less than six months and may be renewed, although it could be terminated “in the case of misuse by third parties”, a term with no further explanation. Furthermore, if within six months the number of relocated people rises “substantially”, consultations between participating member states will begin - during which “the entire mechanism might be suspended.”

      At the same time, the text calls for “advance on the reform of the Common European Asylum System,” which should provide a binding and permanent mechanism - if the member states can ever agree on such rules.

      The announcement on the signing of the declaration by the four member states was welcomed by Amnesty International. Eva Geddie, Director of the European Institutions Office, said (https://www.amnesty.eu/news/malta-asylum-seeker-disembarkation-deal-shows-a-more-humane-approach-is-poss): “We hope this mechanism will put an end to the obscene spectacle of people left stranded on boats for weeks waiting to know where, or even if, they can disembark.” The President of the European Parliament also welcomed the news (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20190923IPR61761/sassoli-migration-agreement-respects-fundamental-principles-of-ep-pr). The devil, however, may be in the detail.

      Return as a priority

      Return “immediately after disembarkation,” where applicable, is one of the commitments set out in paragraph 4. This seems to imply that some form of asylum assessment will take place at sea, an idea that has previously been dismissed (https://www.ecre.org/italys-proposed-idea-of-hotspots-at-sea-is-unlawful-says-asgi) as illegal and unworkable.

      Return is emphasised as a priority again in paragraph 7, which recalls the operational support role of both Frontex and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in “the effective and quick return of those not eligible to international protection in the EU”.

      The use of “appropriate leverages, to ensure full cooperation of countries of origin,” is encouraged. Using aid and trade policy as ’incentives’ for non-EU states to readmit their own nationals has for some years now been high on the policy agenda.

      Doublethink ahoy

      The declaration also sets out certain requirements for “all vessels engaged in rescue operations”, including “not to send light signals or any other form of communication to facilitate the departure and embarkation of vessels carrying migrants from African shores” and:

      “not to obstruct the Search and Rescue operations by official Coast Guard vessels, including the Libyan Coast Guard, and to provide for specific measures to safeguard the security of migrants and operators.”

      Whether ’rescue’ by the Libyan Coast Guard is compatible with “the security of migrants” is doubtful - return to Libya means a return to inhumane and degrading conditions and there is clear evidence (https://www.glanlaw.org/single-post/2018/05/08/Legal-action-against-Italy-over-its-coordination-of-Libyan-Coast-Guard-pull) of the Libyan Coast Guard knowingly endangering the lives of migrants in distress at sea.

      EU governments are well aware of these issues. A recent document (http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-libya.htm) sent to national delegations by the Finnish Presidency of the Council highlighted that:

      Another major issue is that of migrants and refugees rescued or intercepted at sea being transferred to detention centres and the lack of traceability, transparency and accountability… The Libyan government has not taken steps to improve the situation in the centres. The government’s reluctance to address the problems raises the question of its own involvement."

      Beefing up the Libyan Coast Guard and aerial surveillance

      The increasing role of the Libyan Coast Guard - and the maritime agencies of other states such as Morocco - is being deliberately enhanced by the EU. Finance and training is being provided whilst national governments are placing increasing pressure on private rescue operations (http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/es-mo-sar.htm).

      Any member state that signs up to the declaration will be making a commitment to continue “enhancing the capacities of coast guards of southern Mediterranean third countries,” at the same time as encouraging “full respect of human rights in those countries.”

      One key means for assisting with the activities of non-EU coast guard agencies is “EU-led aerial surveillance”:

      “in order to ensure that migrant boats are detected early with a view to fight migrant smuggling networks, human trafficking and related criminal activity and minimizing the risk of loss of life at sea.”

      The EU’s Operation Sophia now has no boats and is largely relying on aerial surveillance to carry out its work. A recent internal Operation Sophia document seen by Statewatch says that:

      “Aerial assets will be used to enhance maritime situational awareness and the information collected will only be shared with the responsible regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC).”

      That is likely to be the Libyan MRCC. According to a March 2019 letter (http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-344-Commission-and-Italy-tie-themselves-up-in-knots-over-libya.pdf) from the European Commission to Frontex’s Executive Director, the Italian MRCC also acts as a “communication relay” for its Libyan counterpart.

      Member states are urged to contribute assets to these surveillance operations. It is noteworthy that the declaration contains no call for states to provide vessels or other equipment for search and rescue operations.

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-relocation-deal.htm

  • Militarisation des frontières en #Mer_Egée

    En Mer Egée c’est exactement la même stratégie qui se met en place, et notamment à #Samos, où une #zeppelin (#zeppelin_de_surveillance) de #Frontex surveillera le détroit entre l’île et la côte turque, afin de signaler tout départ de bateaux. L’objectif est d’arrêter « à temps » les embarcations des réfugiés en les signalant aux garde-corps turques. Comme l’a dit le vice-ministre de l’immigration Koumoutsakos « on saura l’heure de départ de l’embarcation, on va en informer les turques, on s’approcher du bateau... »
    S’approcher pourquoi faire, sinon, pour le repousser vers la côte turque ?
    Le fonctionnement de la montgolfière sera confié aux garde-cotes et à la police grecque, l’opération restant sous le contrôle de Frontex.

    –-> reçu via la mailing-list de Migreurop, le 30.07.2017

    #militarisation_des_frontières #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Turquie #Grèce #migrations #réfugiés #asile #police #gardes-côtes #surveillance

    –-----------

    Commentaire de Martin Clavey sur twitter :

    Cynisme absolu : Frontex utilise des drones pour surveiller les migrants en méditerranée ce qui permet à l’Union européenne de ne pas utiliser de bateau de surveillance et donc ne pas être soumis au #droit_maritime et à avoir à les sauver

    https://twitter.com/mart1oeil/status/1158396604648493058

    • Σε δοκιμαστική λειτουργία το αερόσταστο της FRONTEX

      Σε δοκιμαστική λειτουργία τίθεται από σήμερα για 28 ημέρες το αερόστατο της FRONTEX στη Σάμο, μήκους 35 μέτρων, προσδεμένο στο έδαφος, εξοπλισμένο με ραντάρ, θερμική κάμερα και σύστημα αυτόματης αναγνώρισης, το οποίο θα επιτηρεί αδιάλειπτα και σε πραγματικό χρόνο το θαλάσσιο πεδίο.

      Σύμφωνα με ανακοίνωση του Λιμενικού, στόχος είναι η αστυνόμευση του θαλάσσιου πεδίου και η καταπολέμηση του διασυνοριακού εγκλήματος. Δημιουργείται ωστόσο το ερώτημα αν οι πληροφορίες που θα συλλέγει το αερόστατο θα χρησιμοποιούνται για την αναχαίτιση ή την αποτροπή των πλεούμενων των προσφύγων που ξεκινούν από τα τουρκικά παράλια για να ζητήσουν διεθνή προστασία στην Ευρώπη.

      « Πρώτα απ’ όλα ξέρεις τι ώρα φεύγει από τους διακινητές το σκάφος, ενημερώνεις την τουρκική πλευρά, πηγαίνεις εσύ κοντά, δηλαδή είναι ένα σύνολο ενεργειών » σημείωνε την περασμένη εβδομάδα σε συνέντευξή του στον ΑΝΤ1 ο αναπληρωτής υπουργός Μεταναστευτικής Πολιτικής Γιώργος Κουμουτσάκος, μιλώντας για τα αποτελέσματα που αναμένεται να έχει το αερόστατο στην ενίσχυση της επιτήρησης των συνόρων.

      Το Λιμενικό είναι η πρώτη ακτοφυλακή κράτους-μέλους της Ε.Ε. που χρησιμοποιεί αερόστατο για την επιτήρηση της θάλασσας, δέκα μήνες μετά την πρώτη παρόμοια πανευρωπαϊκή χρήση μη επανδρωμένου αεροσκάφους μεσαίου ύψους μακράς εμβέλειας.

      « Αυτό καταδεικνύει την ισχυρή και ξεκάθαρη βούληση του Λ.Σ.-ΕΛ.ΑΚΤ. να καταβάλει κάθε δυνατή προσπάθεια, χρησιμοποιώντας τη διαθέσιμη τεχνολογία αιχμής, για την αποτελεσματική φύλαξη των εξωτερικών θαλάσσιων συνόρων της Ευρωπαϊκής Ενωσης, την πάταξη κάθε μορφής εγκληματικότητας καθώς και την προστασία της ανθρώπινης ζωής στη θάλασσα », σημειώνει το Λιμενικό.

      Η λειτουργία του αερόστατου εντάσσεται στην επιχείρηση « Ποσειδών » που συντονίζουν το Λιμενικό και η ΕΛ.ΑΣ. υπό την επιτήρηση της FRONTEX.

      Παράλληλα, στο νησί θα τεθεί σε λειτουργία φορτηγό εξοπλισμένο με παρόμοια συστήματα, προκειμένου να μπορούν να συγκριθούν τα αποτελέσματα και η λειτουργία του επίγειου και του εναέριου συστήματος.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/205553_se-dokimastiki-leitoyrgia-aerostasto-tis-frontex

    • Zeppelin over the island of Samos to monitor migrants trafficking

      Greek authorities and the Frontex will release a huge surveillance Zeppelin above the island of Samos to monitor migrants who illegally try to reach Greece and Europe. The installation of the ominous balloon will be certainly a grotesque attraction for the tourists who visit the island in the East Aegean Sea.

      Deputy Minister of Migration Policy Giorgos Koumoutsakos told private ANT1 TV that the Zeppelin will go in operation next week.

      “In Samos, at some point, I think it’s a matter of days or a week, a Zeppelin balloon will be installed in cooperation with FRONTEX, which will take a picture of a huge area. What does that mean? First of all, you know what time the ship moves away from the traffickers, inform the Turkish side, you go near, that is a set of actions,” Koumoutsakos said.

      The Zeppelin will be monitored by the GNR radar unit of the Frontext located at the port of Karlovasi, samiakienimerosi notes adding “It will give a picture of movements between the Turkish coast to Samos for the more effective guarding of our maritime borders.”

      The Deputy Minister did not elaborate on what exactly can the Greek Port Authority do when it comes “near” to the refugee and migrants boats.

      According to daily efimerida ton syntakton, the Norwegian NGO, Aegean Boat Report, revealed a video shot on July 17. The video shows how a Greek Coast Guard vessel approaches a boat with 34 people on board and leaves them at the open sea to be “collected” by Turkish authorities, while the passengers, among them 14 children, desperately are shouting “Not to Turkey!”

      It is not clear, whether the Greek Coast Guard vessel is in international waters as such vessels do not enter Turkish territorial waters. According to international law, the passengers ought to be rescued. The Greek Coast Guard has so far not taken position on the issue, saying it will need to evaluate the video first, efsyn notes.

      “There is no push backs. Everything will be done in accordance with the international law. Greece will do nothing beyond the international law,” Koumoutsakos stressed.

      PS I suppose, tourists will be cheered to have their vacation activities monitored by a plastic Big Brother. Not?

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2019/07/26/zeppelin-samos-migrants-refugees

    • Once migrants on Mediterranean were saved by naval patrols. Now they have to watch as #drones fly over
      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/8a92adecf247b04c801a67a612766ee753738437/0_109_4332_2599/master/4332.jpg?width=605&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=c0051d5e4fff6aff063c70

      Amid the panicked shouting from the water and the smell of petrol from the sinking dinghy, the noise of an approaching engine briefly raises hope. Dozens of people fighting for their lives in the Mediterranean use their remaining energy to wave frantically for help. Nearly 2,000 miles away in the Polish capital, Warsaw, a drone operator watches their final moments via a live transmission. There is no ship to answer the SOS, just an unmanned aerial vehicle operated by the European border and coast guard agency, Frontex.

      This is not a scene from some nightmarish future on Europe’s maritime borders but a present-day probability. Frontex, which is based in Warsaw, is part of a £95m investment by the EU in unmanned aerial vehicles, the Observer has learned.

      This spending has come as the EU pulls back its naval missions in the Mediterranean and harasses almost all search-and-rescue charity boats out of the water. Frontex’s surveillance drones are flying over waters off Libya where not a single rescue has been carried out by the main EU naval mission since last August, in what is the deadliest stretch of water in the world.

      The replacement of naval vessels, which can conduct rescues, with drones, which cannot, is being condemned as a cynical abrogation of any European role in saving lives.

      “There is no obligation for drones to be equipped with life-saving appliances and to conduct rescue operations,” said a German Green party MEP, Erik Marquardt. “You need ships for that, and ships are exactly what there is a lack of at the moment.” This year the death rate for people attempting the Mediterranean crossing has risen from a historical average of 2% to as high as 14% last month. In total, 567 of the estimated 8,362 people who have attempted it so far this year have died.

      Gabriele Iacovino, director of one of Italy’s leading thinktanks, the Centre for International Studies, said the move into drones was “a way to spend money without having the responsibility to save lives”. Aerial surveillance without ships in the water amounted to a “naval mission without a naval force”, and was about avoiding embarrassing political rows in Europe over what to do with rescued migrants.

      Since March the EU’s main naval mission in the area, Operation Sophia, has withdrawn its ships from waters where the majority of migrant boats have sunk. While Sophia was not primarily a search-and-rescue mission, it was obliged under international and EU law to assist vessels in distress. The switch to drones is part of an apparent effort to monitor the Mediterranean without being pulled into rescue missions that deliver migrants to European shores.

      Marta Foresti, director of the Human Mobility Initiative at the Overseas Development Institute, an influential UK thinktank, said Europe had replaced migration policy with panic, with potentially lethal consequences. “We panicked in 2015 and that panic has turned into security budgets,” she said. “Frontex’s budget has doubled with very little oversight or design. It’s a knee-jerk reaction.”

      The strategy has seen Frontex, based in Warsaw, and its sister agency, the European Maritime Safety Agency, based in Lisbon, invest in pilotless aerial vehicles. The Observer has found three contracts – two under EMSA and one under Frontex – totalling £95m for drones that can supply intelligence to Frontex.

      The models include the Hermes, made by Elbit Systems, Israel’s biggest privately owned arms manufacturer, and the Heron, produced by Israel Aerospace Industries, a state-owned company. Both models were developed for use in combat missions in the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza. Frontex said its drone suppliers met all “EU procurement rules and guidelines”.

      There is mounting concern both over how Frontex is spending EU taxpayers’ money and how it can be held accountable. The migration panic roiling Europe’s politics has been a boon for a once unfashionable EU outpost that coordinated national coastal and border guards. Ten years ago Frontex’s budget was £79m. In the latest budget cycle it has been awarded £10.4bn.

      Demand from member states for its services have largely been driven by its role in coordinating and carrying out deportations. The expansion of the deportation machine has caused concern among institutions tasked with monitoring the forced returns missions: a group of national ombudsmen, independent watchdogs appointed in all EU member states to safeguard human rights, has announced plans to begin its own independent monitoring group. The move follows frustration with the way their reports on past missions have been handled by Frontex.

      Andreas Pottakis, Greece’s ombudsman, is among those calling for an end to the agency policing itself: “Internal monitoring of Frontex by Frontex cannot substitute for the need for external monitoring by independent bodies. This is the only way the demand for transparency can be met and that the EU administration can effectively be held into account.”
      Acting to extradite helpless civilians to the hands of Libyan militias may amount to criminal liability

      The Frontex Consultative Forum, a body offering strategic advice to Frontex’s management board on how the agency can improve respect for fundamental rights, has also severely criticised it for a sloppy approach to accountability. An online archive of all Frontex operations, which was used by independent researchers, was recently removed.

      The switch to drones in the Mediterranean has also led to Frontex being accused of feeding intelligence on the position of migrant boats to Libya’s coast guards so they can intercept and return them to Libya. Although it receives EU funds, the Libyan coast guard remains a loosely defined outfit that often overlaps with smuggling gangs and detention centre owners.

      “The Libyan coast guard never patrols the sea,” said Tamino Böhm of the German rescue charity Sea-Watch. “They never leave port unless there is a boat to head to for a pullback. This means the information they have comes from the surveillance flights of Italy, Frontex and the EU.”

      A Frontex spokesperson said that incidents related to boats in distress were passed to the “responsible rescue coordination centre and to the neighbouring ones for situational awareness and potential coordination”. Thus the maritime rescue coordination centre in Rome has begun to share information with its Libyan counterpart in Tripoli, under the instructions of Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

      The EU is already accused of crimes against humanity in a submission before the International Criminal Court for “orchestrating a policy of forced transfer to concentration camp-like detention facilities [in Libya] where atrocious crimes are committed”.

      The case, brought by lawyers based in Paris, seeks to demonstrate that many of the people intercepted have faced human rights abuses ranging from slavery to torture and murder after being returned to Libya.

      Omer Shatz, an Israeli who teaches at Sciences Po university in Paris, and one of the two lawyers who brought the ICC case, said Frontex drone operators could be criminally liable for aiding pullbacks. “A drone operator that is aware of a migrant boat in distress is obliged to secure fundamental rights to life, body integrity, liberty and dignity. This means she has to take actions intended to search, rescue and disembark those rescued at safe port. Acting to extradite helpless vulnerable civilians to the hands of Libyan militias may amount to criminal liability.”

      Under international law, migrants rescued at sea by European vessels cannot be returned to Libya, where conflict and human rights abuses mean the UN has stated there is no safe port. Under the UN convention on the law of the sea (Unclos) all ships are obliged to report an encounter with a vessel in distress and offer assistance. This is partly why EU naval missions that were not mandated to conduct rescue missions found themselves pitched into them regardless.

      Drones, however, operate in a legal grey zone not covered by Unclos. The situation for private contractors to EU agencies, as in some of the current drone operations, is even less clear.

      Frontex told the Observer that all drone operators, staff or private contractors are subject to EU laws that mandate the protection of human life. The agency said it was unable to share a copy of the mission instructions given to drone operators that would tell them what to do in the event of encountering a boat in distress, asking the Observer to submit a freedom of information request. The agency said drones had encountered boats in distress on only four occasions – all in June this year – in the central Mediterranean, and that none had led to a “serious incident report” – Frontex jargon for a red flag. When EU naval vessels were deployed in similar areas in previous years, multiple serious incidents were reported every month, according to documents seen by the Observer.

      https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/04/drones-replace-patrol-ships-mediterranean-fears-more-migrant-deaths

      #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée #Libye

    • L’uso dei droni per guardare i migranti che affogano mette a nudo tutta la disumanità delle pratiche di controllo sui confini

      In troppi crediamo al mito di una frontiera dal volto umano, solo perché ci spaventa guardare in faccia la realtà macchiata di sangue.

      “Se avessi ignorato quelle grida di aiuto, non avrei mai più trovato il coraggio di affrontare il mare”.

      Con queste parole il pescatore siciliano Carlo Giarratano ha commentato la sua decisione di sfidare il “decreto sicurezza” del Governo italiano, che prevede sanzioni o l’arresto nei confronti di chiunque trasporti in Italia migranti soccorsi in mare.

      La sua storia è un esempio della preoccupante tensione che si è creata ai confini della “Fortezza Europa” in materia di leggi e regolamenti. Secondo il diritto internazionale, il capitano di un’imbarcazione in mare è tenuto a fornire assistenza alle persone in difficoltà, “a prescindere dalla nazionalità o dalla cittadinanza delle persone stesse”. Al contempo, molti paesi europei, e la stessa UE, stanno cercando di limitare questo principio e queste attività, malgrado il tragico bilancio di morti nel Mediterraneo, in continua crescita.

      L’Agenzia di Confine e Guardia Costiera Europea, Frontex, sembra aver escogitato una soluzione ingegnosa: i droni. L’obbligo legale di aiutare un’imbarcazione in difficoltà non si applica a un veicolo aereo senza pilota (UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle). Si può aggirare la questione, politicamente calda, su chi sia responsabile di accogliere i migranti soccorsi, se questi semplicemente non vengono proprio soccorsi. Questo principio fa parte di una consolidata tendenza a mettere in atto politiche finalizzate a impedire che i migranti attraversino il Mediterraneo. Visto l’obbligo di soccorrere le persone che ci chiedono aiuto, la soluzione sembra essere questa: fare in modo di non sentire le loro richieste.

      Jean-Claude Juncker sostiene che le politiche europee di presidio ai confini sono concepite per “stroncare il business dei trafficanti”, perché nella moralità egocentrica che ispira la politica di frontiera europea, se non ci fossero trafficanti non ci sarebbero migranti.

      Ma non ci sono trafficanti che si fabbricano migranti in officina. Se le rotte ufficiali sono bloccate, le persone vanno a cercare quelle non ufficiali. Rendere la migrazione più difficile, ha fatto aumentare la richiesta di trafficanti e scafisti, certamente non l’ha fermata. Invece che stroncare il loro business, queste politiche lo hanno creato.

      Secondo la logica della foglia di fico, l’UE sostiene di non limitarsi a lasciare affogare i migranti, ma di fornire supporto alla guardia costiera libica perché intercetti le imbarcazioni che tentano la traversata e riporti le persone nei campi di detenzione in Libia.

      Ma il rapporto del Global Detention Project, a proposito delle condizioni in questi campi, riferisce: “I detenuti sono spesso sottoposti a gravi abusi e violenze, compresi stupri e torture, estorsioni, lavori forzati, schiavitù, condizioni di vita insopportabili, esecuzioni sommarie.” Human Rights Watch, in un rapporto intitolato Senza via di fuga dall’Inferno, descrive situazioni di sovraffollamento e malnutrizione e riporta testimonianze di bambini picchiati dalle guardie.

      L’Irish Times ha riportato accuse secondo cui le milizie associate con il GNA (Governo Libico di Alleanza Nazionale, riconosciuto dall’ONU), starebbero immagazzinando munizioni in questi campi e userebbero i rifugiati come “scudi umani”. Sembra quasi inevitabile, quindi, la notizia che il 3 luglio almeno 53 rifugiati sono stati uccisi durante un attacco dei ribelli appartenenti all’Esercito Nazionale Libico, nel campo di detenzione di Tajura, vicino a Tripoli.

      Secondo una testimonianza riportata dall’Associated Press, a Tajura i migranti erano costretti a pulire le armi delle milizie fedeli al GNA, armi che erano immagazzinate nel campo. Secondo i racconti di testimoni oculari dell’attacco, riportati dalle forze ONU, le guardie del campo avrebbero aperto il fuoco su chi tentava di scappare.

      Nel mondo occidentale, quando parliamo di immigrazione, tendiamo a focalizzarci sul cosiddetto “impatto sulle comunità” causato dai flussi di nuovi arrivati che si muovono da un posto all’altro.

      Nelle nostre discussioni, ci chiediamo se i migranti portino un guadagno per l’economia oppure intacchino risorse già scarse. Raramente ci fermiamo a guardare nella sua cruda e tecnica realtà la concreta applicazione del controllo alle frontiere, quando si traduce davvero in fucili e filo spinato.

      Ci ripetiamo che i costi vanno tutti in un’unica direzione: secondo la nostra narrazione preferita, i controlli di confine sono tutti gratis, è lasciare entrare i migranti la cosa che costa. Ma i costi da pagare ci sono sempre: non solo il tributo di morti che continua a crescere o i budget multimilionari e sempre in aumento delle nostre agenzie di frontiera, ma anche i costi morali e sociali che finiamo con l’estorcere a noi stessi.

      L’ossessione per la sicurezza dei confini deve fare i conti con alcune delle più antiche e radicate convinzioni etiche proprie delle società occidentali. Prendersi cura del più debole, fare agli altri quello che vogliamo sia fatto a noi, aiutare chi possiamo. Molti uomini e donne che lavorano in mare, quando soccorrono dei naufraghi non sono spinti solo da una legge che li obbliga a prestare aiuto, ma anche da un imperativo morale più essenziale. “Lo facciamo perché siamo gente di mare”, ha detto Giarratano al Guardian, “in mare, se ci sono persone in pericolo, le salviamo”.

      Ma i nostri governi hanno deciso che questo non vale per gli europei. Come se fosse una perversa sfida lanciata a istinti morali vecchi di migliaia di anni, nell’Europa moderna un marinaio che salva un migrante mentre sta per affogare, deve essere punito.

      Infrangere queste reti di reciproche responsabilità fra gli esseri umani, ha dei costi: divisioni e tensioni sociali. Ed è un amaro paradosso, perché proprio argomenti di questo genere sono in testa alle nostre preoccupazioni percepite quando si parla di migrazioni. E mentre l’UE fa di tutto per respingere un fronte del confine verso i deserti del Nord Africa, cercando di tenere i corpi dei rifugiati abbastanza lontani da non farceli vedere da vicino, intanto l’altro fronte continua a spingere verso di noi. L’Europa diventa un “ambiente ostile” e quindi noi diventiamo un popolo ostile.

      Ci auto-ingaggiamo come guardie di confine al nostro interno. Padroni di casa, infermiere, insegnanti, manager – ogni relazione sociale deve essere controllata. Il nostro regime di “frontiera quotidiana” crea “comunità sospette” all’interno della nostra società: sono persone sospette per il solo fatto di esistere e, nei loro confronti, si possono chiamare le forze dell’ordine in ogni momento, “giusto per dare un’occhiata”.

      Il confine non è solo un sistema per tenere gli estranei fuori dalla nostra società, ma per marchiare per sempre le persone come estranee, anche all’interno e per legittimare ufficialmente il pregiudizio, per garantire che “l’integrazione” – il Sacro Graal della narrazione progressista sull’immigrazione – resti illusoria e irrealizzabile, uno scherzo crudele giocato sulla pelle di persone destinate a rimanere etichettate come straniere e sospette. La nostra società nel suo insieme si mette al servizio di questo insaziabile confine, fino a definire la sua vera e propria identità nella capacità di respingere le persone.

      Malgrado arrivino continuamente immagini e notizie di tragedie e di morti, i media evitano di collegarle con le campagne di opinione che amplificano le cosiddette “legittime preoccupazioni” della gente e le trasformano in un inattaccabile “comune buon senso”.

      I compromessi che reggono le politiche di controllo dei confini non vengono messi in luce. Questo ci permette di guardare da un’altra parte, non perché siamo crudeli ma perché non possiamo sopportare di vedere quello che stiamo facendo. Ci sono persone e gruppi che, come denuncia Adam Serwer in un articolo su The Atlantic, sono proprio “Focalizzati sulla Crudeltà”. E anche se noi non siamo così, viviamo comunque nel loro stesso mondo, un mondo in cui degli esseri umani annegano e noi li guardiamo dall’alto dei nostri droni senza pilota, mentre lo stato punisce chi cerca di salvarli.

      In troppi crediamo nel mito di una frontiera dal volto umano, solo perché ci spaventa guardare in faccia la tragica e insanguinata realtà del concreto controllo quotidiano sui confini. E comunque, se fosse possibile, non avremmo ormai risolto questa contraddizione? Il fatto che non lo abbiamo fatto dovrebbe portarci a pensare che non ne siamo capaci e che ci si prospetta una cruda e desolante scelta morale per il futuro.

      D’ora in poi, il numero dei migranti non può che aumentare. I cambiamenti climatici saranno determinanti. La scelta di non respingerli non sarà certamente gratis: non c’è modo di condividere le nostre risorse con altri senza sostenere dei costi. Ma se non lo facciamo, scegliamo consapevolmente i naufragi, gli annegamenti, i campi di detenzione, scegliamo di destinare queste persone ad una vita da schiavi in zone di guerra. Scegliamo l’ambiente ostile. Scegliamo di “difendere il nostro stile di vita” semplicemente accettando di vivere a fianco di una popolazione sempre in aumento fatta di rifugiati senza patria, ammassati in baracche di lamiera e depositi soffocanti, sfiniti fino alla disperazione.

      Ma c’è un costo che, alla fine, giudicheremo troppo alto da pagare? Per il momento, sembra di no: ma, … cosa siamo diventati?

      https://dossierlibia.lasciatecientrare.it/luso-dei-droni-per-guardare-i-migranti-che-affogano-m

    • Et aussi... l’utilisation de moins en moins de #bateaux et de plus en plus de #avions a le même effet...

      Sophia : The EU naval mission without any ships

      Launched in 2015 to combat human smuggling in the Mediterranean, the operation has been all but dismantled, symbolizing European division on immigration policy.


      The Italian air base of Sigonella extends its wire fencing across the green and yellow fields of Sicily, 25 kilometers inland from the island’s coastline. Only the enormous cone of Mount Etna, visible in the distance, stands out over this flat land. Posters depicting a sniper taking aim indicate that this is a restricted-access military zone with armed surveillance.

      Inside, there is an enormous city with deserted avenues, runways and hangars. This is the departure point for aircraft patrolling the Central Mediterranean as part of EU Naval Force Mediterranean Operation Sophia, Europe’s military response to the human smuggling rings, launched in 2015. But since March of this year, the planes have been a reflection of a mutilated mission: Sophia is now a naval operation without any ships.

      The Spanish detachment in #Sigonella has just rotated some of its personnel. A group of newly arrived soldiers are being trained in a small room inside one of the makeshift containers where the group of 39 military members work. The aircraft that they use is standing just a few meters away, on a sun-drenched esplanade that smells of fuel. The plane has been designed for round-the-clock maritime surveillance, and it has a spherical infrared camera fitted on its nose that allows it to locate and identify seagoing vessels, as well as to detect illegal trafficking of people, arms and oil.

      If the EU had systematically shown more solidarity with Italy [...] Italian voters would not have made a dramatic swing to the far right

      Juan Fernando López Aguilar, EU Civil Liberties Committee

      This aircraft was also made to assist in sea rescues. But this activity is no longer taking place, now that there are no ships in the mission. Six aircraft are all that remain of Operation Sophia, which has been all but dismantled. Nobody would venture to say whether its mandate will be extended beyond the current deadline of September 30.

      The planes at Sigonella continue to patrol the Central Mediterranean and collect information to meet the ambitious if vague goal that triggered the mission back at the height of the refugee crisis: “To disrupt the business of human and weapons smuggling.” The operation’s most controversial task is still being carried out as well: training Libya’s Coast Guard so they will do the job of intercepting vessels filled with people fleeing Libyan war and chaos, and return them to the point of departure. Even official sources of Europe’s diplomatic service admitted, in a written reply, that the temporary suspension of naval assets “is not optimal,” and that the mission’s ability to fulfill its mandate “is more limited.”

      In these four years, the mission has had some tangible achievements: the arrest of 151 individuals suspected of human trafficking and smuggling, and the destruction of 551 boats used by criminal networks. Operation Sophia has also inspected three ships and seized banned goods; it has made radio contact with 2,462 vessels to check their identity, and made 161 friendly approaches. For European diplomats, the mission has been mainly useful in “significantly reducing smugglers’ ability to operate in high seas” and has generally contributed to “improving maritime safety and stability in the Central Mediterranean.”

      Sophia’s main mission was never to rescue people at sea, yet in these last years it has saved 45,000 lives, following the maritime obligation to aid people in distress. The reason why it has been stripped of its ships – a move that has been strongly criticized by non-profit groups – can be found 800 kilometers north of Sicily, in Rome, and also in the offices of European politicians. Last summer, Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini began to apply a closed-port policy for ships carrying rescued migrants unless a previous relocation agreement existed with other countries. Salvini first targeted the non-profit groups performing sea rescues, and then he warned his European colleagues that Italy, which is leading the EU mission, would refuse to take in all the rescued migrants without first seeing a change in EU policy. A year later, no European deal has emerged, and every time a rescue is made, the issue of who takes in the migrants is negotiated on an ad hoc basis.

      Operation Sophia has saved 45,000 lives

      Although arrivals through this route have plummeted, Salvini insists that “Italy is not willing to accept all the migrants who arrive in Europe.” Political division among member states has had an effect on the European military mission. “Sophia has not been conducting rescues since August 2018,” says Matteo Villa, a migration expert at Italy’s Institute for International Policy Studies (ISPI). “Nobody in the EU wanted to see a mission ship with migrants on board being refused port entry, so the ‘solution’ was to suspend Sophia’s naval tasks.”

      The decision to maintain the operation without any ships was made at the last minute in March, in a move that prevented the dismantling of the mission just ahead of the European elections. “Operation Sophia has helped save lives, although that was not its main objective. It was a mistake for [the EU] to leave it with nothing but airplanes, without the ships that were able to save lives,” says Matteo de Bellis, a migration and refugee expert at Amnesty International. “What they are doing now, training the Libyans, only serves to empower the forces that intercept refugees and migrants and return them to Libya, where they face arbitrary detention in centers where there is torture, exploitation and rape.”

      Ever since the great maritime rescue operation developed by Italy in 2013, the Mare Nostrum, which saved 150,000 people, its European successors have been less ambitious in scope and their goals more focused on security and border patrolling. This is the case with Sophia, which by training the Libyan Coast Guard is contributing to the increasingly clear strategy of outsourcing EU migratory control, even to a country mired in chaos and war. “If Europe reduces search-and-rescue operations and encourages Libya to conduct them in its place, then it is being an accomplice to the violations taking place in Libya,” says Catherine Wollard, secretary general of the non-profit network integrated in the European Council of Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).

      Training the Libyans only serves to empower the forces that intercept refugees and migrants and return them to Libya, where they face torture, exploitation and rape

      Matteo de Bellis, Amnesty International

      The vision offered by official European sources regarding the training of the Libyan Coast Guard, and about Operation Sophia in general, is very different when it comes to reducing mortality on the Mediterranean’s most deadly migration route. “Operation Sophia was launched to fight criminal human smuggling networks that put lives at risk in the Central Mediterranean,” they say in a written response. European officials are aware of what is going on in Libya, but their response to the accusations of abuse perpetrated by the Libyan Coast Guard and the situation of migrants confined in detention centers in terrible conditions, is the following: “Everything that happens in Libyan territorial waters is Libya’s responsibility, not Europe’s, yet we are not looking the other way. […] Through Operation Sophia we have saved lives, fought traffickers and trained the Libyan Coast Guard […]. We are performing this last task because substantial loss of life at sea is taking place within Libyan territorial waters. That is why it is very important for Libya’s Coast Guard and Navy to know how to assist distressed migrants in line with international law and humanitarian standards. Also, because the contribution of Libya’s Coast Guard in the fight against traffickers operating in their waters is indispensable.”

      Criticism of Operation Sophia is also coming from the European Parliament, which funded the trip that made this feature story possible. Juan Fernando López Aguilar, president of the parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, attacks the decision to strip Sophia of its naval resources. The Socialist Party (PSOE) politician says that this decision was made “in the absolute absence of a global approach to the migration phenomenon that would include cooperative coordination of all the resources at member states’ disposal, such as development aid in Africa, cooperation with origin and transit countries, hirings in countries of origin and the creation of legal ways to access the EU. Now that would dismantle [the mafias’] business model,” he says.

      López Aguilar says that the EU is aware of Italy’s weariness of the situation, considering that “for years it dealt with a migratory pressure that exceeded its response capacity.” Between 2014 and 2017, around 624,000 people landed on Italy’s coasts. “If they EU had systematically shown more solidarity with Italy, if relocation programs for people in hotspots had been observed, very likely Italian voters would not have made a dramatic swing giving victory to the far right, nor would we have reached a point where a xenophobic closed-port narrative is claimed to represent the salvation of Italian interests.”

      Miguel Urbán, a European Member of Parliament for the Spanish leftist party Unidas Podemos, is highly critical of the way the EU has been managing immigration. He talks about a “militarization of the Mediterranean” and describes European policy as bowing to “the far right’s strategy.” He blames Italy’s attitude for turning Sophia into “an operation in the Mediterranean without a naval fleet. What the Italian government gets out of this is to rid itself of its humanitarian responsibility to disembark migrants on its coasts.”

      For now, no progress has been made on the underlying political problem of disembarkation and, by extension, on the long-delayed reform of the Dublin Regulation to balance out frontline states’ responsibility in taking in refugees with solidarity from other countries. Sophia will continue to hobble along until September after being all but given up for dead in March. After that, everything is still up in the air.

      https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/08/29/inenglish/1567088519_215547.html
      #Sophie #Opération_Sophia #Sicile

    • L’uso dei droni per guardare i migranti che affogano mette a nudo tutta la disumanità delle pratiche di controllo sui confini

      In troppi crediamo al mito di una frontiera dal volto umano, solo perché ci spaventa guardare in faccia la realtà macchiata di sangue.

      “Se avessi ignorato quelle grida di aiuto, non avrei mai più trovato il coraggio di affrontare il mare”.

      Con queste parole il pescatore siciliano Carlo Giarratano ha commentato la sua decisione di sfidare il “decreto sicurezza” del Governo italiano, che prevede sanzioni o l’arresto nei confronti di chiunque trasporti in Italia migranti soccorsi in mare.

      La sua storia è un esempio della preoccupante tensione che si è creata ai confini della “Fortezza Europa” in materia di leggi e regolamenti. Secondo il diritto internazionale, il capitano di un’imbarcazione in mare è tenuto a fornire assistenza alle persone in difficoltà, “a prescindere dalla nazionalità o dalla cittadinanza delle persone stesse”. Al contempo, molti paesi europei, e la stessa UE, stanno cercando di limitare questo principio e queste attività, malgrado il tragico bilancio di morti nel Mediterraneo, in continua crescita.

      L’Agenzia di Confine e Guardia Costiera Europea, Frontex, sembra aver escogitato una soluzione ingegnosa: i droni. L’obbligo legale di aiutare un’imbarcazione in difficoltà non si applica a un veicolo aereo senza pilota (UAV, unmanned aerial vehicle). Si può aggirare la questione, politicamente calda, su chi sia responsabile di accogliere i migranti soccorsi, se questi semplicemente non vengono proprio soccorsi. Questo principio fa parte di una consolidata tendenza a mettere in atto politiche finalizzate a impedire che i migranti attraversino il Mediterraneo. Visto l’obbligo di soccorrere le persone che ci chiedono aiuto, la soluzione sembra essere questa: fare in modo di non sentire le loro richieste.

      Jean-Claude Juncker sostiene che le politiche europee di presidio ai confini sono concepite per “stroncare il business dei trafficanti”, perché nella moralità egocentrica che ispira la politica di frontiera europea, se non ci fossero trafficanti non ci sarebbero migranti.

      Ma non ci sono trafficanti che si fabbricano migranti in officina. Se le rotte ufficiali sono bloccate, le persone vanno a cercare quelle non ufficiali. Rendere la migrazione più difficile, ha fatto aumentare la richiesta di trafficanti e scafisti, certamente non l’ha fermata. Invece che stroncare il loro business, queste politiche lo hanno creato.

      Secondo la logica della foglia di fico, l’UE sostiene di non limitarsi a lasciare affogare i migranti, ma di fornire supporto alla guardia costiera libica perché intercetti le imbarcazioni che tentano la traversata e riporti le persone nei campi di detenzione in Libia.

      Ma il rapporto del Global Detention Project, a proposito delle condizioni in questi campi, riferisce: “I detenuti sono spesso sottoposti a gravi abusi e violenze, compresi stupri e torture, estorsioni, lavori forzati, schiavitù, condizioni di vita insopportabili, esecuzioni sommarie.” Human Rights Watch, in un rapporto intitolato Senza via di fuga dall’Inferno, descrive situazioni di sovraffollamento e malnutrizione e riporta testimonianze di bambini picchiati dalle guardie.

      L’Irish Times ha riportato accuse secondo cui le milizie associate con il GNA (Governo Libico di Alleanza Nazionale, riconosciuto dall’ONU), starebbero immagazzinando munizioni in questi campi e userebbero i rifugiati come “scudi umani”. Sembra quasi inevitabile, quindi, la notizia che il 3 luglio almeno 53 rifugiati sono stati uccisi durante un attacco dei ribelli appartenenti all’Esercito Nazionale Libico, nel campo di detenzione di Tajura, vicino a Tripoli.

      Secondo una testimonianza riportata dall’Associated Press, a Tajura i migranti erano costretti a pulire le armi delle milizie fedeli al GNA, armi che erano immagazzinate nel campo. Secondo i racconti di testimoni oculari dell’attacco, riportati dalle forze ONU, le guardie del campo avrebbero aperto il fuoco su chi tentava di scappare.

      Nel mondo occidentale, quando parliamo di immigrazione, tendiamo a focalizzarci sul cosiddetto “impatto sulle comunità” causato dai flussi di nuovi arrivati che si muovono da un posto all’altro.

      Nelle nostre discussioni, ci chiediamo se i migranti portino un guadagno per l’economia oppure intacchino risorse già scarse. Raramente ci fermiamo a guardare nella sua cruda e tecnica realtà la concreta applicazione del controllo alle frontiere, quando si traduce davvero in fucili e filo spinato.

      Ci ripetiamo che i costi vanno tutti in un’unica direzione: secondo la nostra narrazione preferita, i controlli di confine sono tutti gratis, è lasciare entrare i migranti la cosa che costa. Ma i costi da pagare ci sono sempre: non solo il tributo di morti che continua a crescere o i budget multimilionari e sempre in aumento delle nostre agenzie di frontiera, ma anche i costi morali e sociali che finiamo con l’estorcere a noi stessi.

      L’ossessione per la sicurezza dei confini deve fare i conti con alcune delle più antiche e radicate convinzioni etiche proprie delle società occidentali. Prendersi cura del più debole, fare agli altri quello che vogliamo sia fatto a noi, aiutare chi possiamo. Molti uomini e donne che lavorano in mare, quando soccorrono dei naufraghi non sono spinti solo da una legge che li obbliga a prestare aiuto, ma anche da un imperativo morale più essenziale. “Lo facciamo perché siamo gente di mare”, ha detto Giarratano al Guardian, “in mare, se ci sono persone in pericolo, le salviamo”.

      Ma i nostri governi hanno deciso che questo non vale per gli europei. Come se fosse una perversa sfida lanciata a istinti morali vecchi di migliaia di anni, nell’Europa moderna un marinaio che salva un migrante mentre sta per affogare, deve essere punito.

      Infrangere queste reti di reciproche responsabilità fra gli esseri umani, ha dei costi: divisioni e tensioni sociali. Ed è un amaro paradosso, perché proprio argomenti di questo genere sono in testa alle nostre preoccupazioni percepite quando si parla di migrazioni. E mentre l’UE fa di tutto per respingere un fronte del confine verso i deserti del Nord Africa, cercando di tenere i corpi dei rifugiati abbastanza lontani da non farceli vedere da vicino, intanto l’altro fronte continua a spingere verso di noi. L’Europa diventa un “ambiente ostile” e quindi noi diventiamo un popolo ostile.

      Ci auto-ingaggiamo come guardie di confine al nostro interno. Padroni di casa, infermiere, insegnanti, manager – ogni relazione sociale deve essere controllata. Il nostro regime di “frontiera quotidiana” crea “comunità sospette” all’interno della nostra società: sono persone sospette per il solo fatto di esistere e, nei loro confronti, si possono chiamare le forze dell’ordine in ogni momento, “giusto per dare un’occhiata”.

      Il confine non è solo un sistema per tenere gli estranei fuori dalla nostra società, ma per marchiare per sempre le persone come estranee, anche all’interno e per legittimare ufficialmente il pregiudizio, per garantire che “l’integrazione” – il Sacro Graal della narrazione progressista sull’immigrazione – resti illusoria e irrealizzabile, uno scherzo crudele giocato sulla pelle di persone destinate a rimanere etichettate come straniere e sospette. La nostra società nel suo insieme si mette al servizio di questo insaziabile confine, fino a definire la sua vera e propria identità nella capacità di respingere le persone.

      Malgrado arrivino continuamente immagini e notizie di tragedie e di morti, i media evitano di collegarle con le campagne di opinione che amplificano le cosiddette “legittime preoccupazioni” della gente e le trasformano in un inattaccabile “comune buon senso”.

      I compromessi che reggono le politiche di controllo dei confini non vengono messi in luce. Questo ci permette di guardare da un’altra parte, non perché siamo crudeli ma perché non possiamo sopportare di vedere quello che stiamo facendo. Ci sono persone e gruppi che, come denuncia Adam Serwer in un articolo su The Atlantic, sono proprio “Focalizzati sulla Crudeltà”. E anche se noi non siamo così, viviamo comunque nel loro stesso mondo, un mondo in cui degli esseri umani annegano e noi li guardiamo dall’alto dei nostri droni senza pilota, mentre lo stato punisce chi cerca di salvarli.

      In troppi crediamo nel mito di una frontiera dal volto umano, solo perché ci spaventa guardare in faccia la tragica e insanguinata realtà del concreto controllo quotidiano sui confini. E comunque, se fosse possibile, non avremmo ormai risolto questa contraddizione? Il fatto che non lo abbiamo fatto dovrebbe portarci a pensare che non ne siamo capaci e che ci si prospetta una cruda e desolante scelta morale per il futuro.

      D’ora in poi, il numero dei migranti non può che aumentare. I cambiamenti climatici saranno determinanti. La scelta di non respingerli non sarà certamente gratis: non c’è modo di condividere le nostre risorse con altri senza sostenere dei costi. Ma se non lo facciamo, scegliamo consapevolmente i naufragi, gli annegamenti, i campi di detenzione, scegliamo di destinare queste persone ad una vita da schiavi in zone di guerra. Scegliamo l’ambiente ostile. Scegliamo di “difendere il nostro stile di vita” semplicemente accettando di vivere a fianco di una popolazione sempre in aumento fatta di rifugiati senza patria, ammassati in baracche di lamiera e depositi soffocanti, sfiniti fino alla disperazione.

      Ma c’è un costo che, alla fine, giudicheremo troppo alto da pagare? Per il momento, sembra di no: ma, … cosa siamo diventati?

      https://dossierlibia.lasciatecientrare.it/luso-dei-droni-per-guardare-i-migranti-che-affogano-m

    • Grèce : le gouvernement durcit nettement sa position et implique l’armée à la gestion de flux migratoire en Mer Egée

      Après deux conférences intergouvernementales ce we., le gouvernement Mitsotakis a décidé la participation active de l’Armée et des Forces Navales dans des opérations de dissuasion en Mer Egée. En même temps il a décidé de poursuivre les opérations de ’désengorgement’ des îlses, de renfoncer les forces de garde-côte en effectifs et en navires, et de pousser plus loin la coopération avec Frontex et les forces de l’Otan qui opèrent déjà dans la région.

      Le durcissement net de la politique gouvernementale se traduit aussi par le retour en force d’un discours ouvertement xénophobe. Le vice-président du gouvernement grec, Adonis Géorgiadis, connu pour ses positions à l’’extrême-droite de l’échiquier politique, a déclaré que parmi les nouveaux arrivants, il y aurait très peu de réfugiés, la plupart seraient des ‘clandestins’ et il n’a pas manqué de qualifier les flux d’ ‘invasion’.

      source – en grec - Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn : https://www.efsyn.gr/politiki/kybernisi/211786_kybernisi-sklirainei-ti-stasi-tis-sto-prosfygiko

      Il va de soi que cette militarisation de la gestion migratoire laisse craindre le pire dans la mesure où le but évident de l’implication de l’armée ne saurait être que la systématisation des opérations de push-back en pleine mer, ce qui est non seulement illégal mais ouvertement criminel.

      Reçu de Vicky Skoumbi via la mailing-list Migreurop, 23.09.2019

  • Info sur la refonte de la #Directive_Retour et les futurs projets de réforme du #régime_d'asile_européen_commun

    info sur la prochaine étape européenne en matière de politique migratoire. Plus précisément sur la refonte de la Directive Retour qui va passer au vote en #LIBE et aussi des infos sur l’évolution du Régime d’Asile Européen Commun (#RAEC), histoire d’informer de ce vers quoi l’on tend probablement pour la prochaine législature (donc le prochain mandat).

    Dans un effort pour réformer le Régime d’Asile Européen Commun (RAEC) et tendre vers une #uniformisation du droit d’asile au niveau européen, les directives sont revues une à une depuis quelques années (Directive Accueil, Procédure, Qualification et Retour + le règlement Dublin qui est au point mort depuis 2017 à cause du Conseil Européen).
    Ces #révisions rentrent dans le cadre de l’#agenda_européen_pour_les_migrations qui a été élaboré en 2015 par la Commission sous ordre du Conseil Européen.

    Le package est en état d’avancement prochain et l’étape la plus proche semble concerner la refonte de la Directive Retour.
    Néanmoins, il y a également un nombre assez important de dispositifs prévus dont il est peut-être pas inintéressant d’évoquer dans le sillage de l’analyse sur cette Directive.

    Il y a donc deux parties dans ce mail d’info : la première sur le Régime d’Asile Européen Commun (RAEC) et ce qu’il préfigure ; la seconde sur le texte de la Directive Retour plus précisément.

    Le Régime d’Asile Européen Commun :

    Il y a de nombreux discours actuellement autour de la mise en place d’un droit d’asile "harmonisé" au niveau européen.

    C’est une obsession de Macron depuis son élection. Il a réaffirmé, lors de la restitution du Grand Débat, sa volonté d’une Europe au régime d’asile commun : "c’est aussi une Europe qui tient ses frontières, qui les protège. C’est une Europe qui a un droit d’asile refondé et commun et où la #responsabilité va avec la #solidarité."
    https://www.elysee.fr/emmanuel-macron/2019/04/25/conference-de-presse-grand-debat-national

    La confusion est telle que les journalistes ne semblent pas toujours comprendre si ce régime d’asile commun existe ou non.

    Sur france inter par exemple :
    "Cela fait plusieurs années que l’on parle de la mise en place d’un régime d’asile européen commun. Nous en sommes encore très loin mais plusieurs textes sont actuellement en discussion, sur les procédures, sur l’accueil, les qualifications, les réinstallations, la création d’une agence européenne pour l’asile "
    https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/cafe-europe/cafe-europe-24-fevrier-2018

    Et non... ça ne fait pas plusieurs années qu’on en parle... ça fait plusieurs années qu’il existe !

    Historique :

    En vérité, cette tentative d’harmonisation des législations est ancienne et date à peu près du Conseil Européen de #Tampere en 1999 qui donna les premières impulsions pour la mise en place du Régime d’Asile Européen Commun avec tout ce que l’on connait maintenant à savoir par exemple, le #règlement_Dublin.
    Ici le résumé des orientations du Conseil sont claires :
    "il faut, pour les domaines distincts, mais étroitement liés, de l’#asile et des #migrations, élaborer une politique européenne commune (...) Il est convenu de travailler à la mise en place d’un régime d’asile européen commun, fondé sur l’application intégrale et globale de la Convention de Genève. (...) Ce régime devrait comporter, à court terme, une méthode claire et opérationnelle pour déterminer l’Etat responsable de l’examen d’une demande d’asile, des normes communes pour une procédure d’asile équitable et efficace, des conditions communes minimales d’#accueil des demandeurs d’asile, et le rapprochement des règles sur la reconnaissance et le contenu du statut de réfugié."
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/summits/tam_fr.htm#a

    Vous avez ici les bases du RAEC et notamment du règlement Dublin qui vise justement à la détermination de l’#Etat_responsable de l’asile afin de lutter contre le "#shopping_de_l'asile", un """"fléau""""" qui avait déjà touché l’Europe durant les années 90 avec la crise des Balkans (en 1992, 700 000 personnes environ ont demandé l’asile en Europe, ce qui signifie par ailleurs que non... 2015 n’est pas une situation si inédite. La situation s’est stabilisée après 1993 où 500 000 personnes ont demandé l’asile, puis 300 000 dans les années qui ont suivi, mais pas au point de ne pas "forcer" les pays à réagir au niveau européen).
    https://www.persee.fr/doc/homig_1142-852x_1996_num_1198_1_2686

    Cet acte fondateur du #Conseil_de_Tampere est corroboré par plusieurs documents et on peut en trouver aussi confirmation par exemple dans le rapport sur la #politique_européenne_de_Retour (rédigé tous les trois ans) qui commence par :
    "L’Union européenne s’efforce depuis 1999 de mettre au point une approche globale sur la question des migrations, qui couvre l’#harmonisation des conditions d’admission, les droits des ressortissants de pays tiers en séjour régulier ainsi que l’élaboration de mesures juridiques et le renforcement d’une coopération pratique en matière de prévention des flux migratoires irréguliers."
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=celex:52014DC0199

    Bref, à partir de 1999 et donc du Conseil de Tampere, la direction est prise de mener une politique migratoire à l’échelle européenne pour renforcer le contrôle des frontières extérieures.

    Les Textes du RAEC, l’échec de l’harmonisation et les règlements qui nous attendent en conséquence :

    Le Conseil (donc les États) ordonné à Tampere et donc la Commission exécute en proposant plusieurs textes qui vont dessiner le paysage actuel du droit d’asile européen commun.

    Un ensemble de textes est donc créé et adopté :

    Le règlement Dublin succède donc à la convention de Dublin en 2003
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A8glement_Dublin_II
    Avec son frère le règlement #Eurodac qui permet la mise en oeuvre de #Dublin aussi en 2003 (logique) :
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurodac

    #Frontex est lancé en 2004 :
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agence_europ%C3%A9enne_pour_la_gestion_de_la_coop%C3%A9ration_op%C3%A9

    Et les directives qui constituent le coeur du Régime d’Asile Européen Commun avec le règlement Dublin sont lancées dans la foulée :

    La #Directive_Accueil en 2003 (puis réformée en 2013)
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32013L0033

    La #Directive_Procédure en 2005 (réformée aussi en 2013)
    https://www.easo.europa.eu/sites/default/files/public/Procedures-FR.pdf

    La #Directive_Qualification en 2004 (réformée en 2011)
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32011L0095

    La Directive Retour en 2008 (qui va être réformée maintenant)
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=LEGISSUM%3Ajl0014

    L’ensemble de ces textes avait pour but d’harmoniser les législations nationales européennes (pour le meilleur et pour le pire d’ailleurs).
    Le problème concerne donc, non pas l’absence de législations européennes communes, mais plutôt les marges de manoeuvres des Etats dans l’interprétation des Directives et leur transposition dans les législations nationales. Cette marge de manoeuvre est telle qu’elle permet aux Etats de retenir ce qui les arrange dans tel ou tel texte, de sorte que toute tentative d’harmonisation est impossible.

    Dès lors, la diversité des procédures est toujours la norme d’un pays à l’autre ; un pays comme les Pays-Bas donne 4 ans de protection subsidiaire, tandis que la France avant la loi Asile n’en donnait qu’une ; la liste des pays sûrs n’est pas la même selon les Etats .... etc etc etc

    Les Etats ont tellement la main que finalement, on peut assez facilement conclure à l’#échec total des tentatives d’harmonisation et donc du RAEC, tant les Etats ont, du début à la fin, fait un peu près ce qu’ils voulaient avec les textes.
    (voir également Sarah Lamort : https://www.amazon.fr/Europe-terre-dasile-Sarah-Lamort/dp/2130734669)

    La Commission a elle-même très bien compris ces faiblesses.

    Exaspérée elle déclare en 2016 que malgré ses efforts pour la mise en place effective du RAEC : " il existe encore des différences notables entre les États membres dans les types de procédures utilisés, les conditions d’accueil offertes aux demandeurs, les #taux_de_reconnaissance et le type de protection octroyé aux bénéficiaires d’une protection internationale. Ces #divergences contribuent à des #mouvements_secondaires et à une course à l’asile (« #asylum_shopping »), créent des facteurs d’attraction et conduisent en définitive à une répartition inégale entre les États membres de la responsabilité d’offrir une protection à ceux qui en ont besoin.(...) Ces #disparités résultent en partie des dispositions souvent discrétionnaires qui figurent dans la version actuelle de la directive relative aux procédures d’asile et de celle relative aux conditions d’accueil." et de toutes les autres en vérité pouvons-nous ajouter...
    L’objectif est donc de "renforcer et harmoniser davantage les règles du régime d’asile européen commun, de façon à assurer une plus grande égalité de traitement dans l’ensemble de l’Union et à réduire les facteurs d’attraction injustifiés qui encouragent les départs vers l’UE" (les facteurs d’attraction étant le "shopping de l’asile")

    Et pour cela la Commission propose de transformer quasiment toutes les Directives citées plus haut en Règlement... :
    " la Commission proposera un nouveau règlement instituant une procédure d’asile commune unique dans l’Union et remplaçant la directive relative aux procédures d’asile ; un nouveau règlement relatif aux conditions que doivent remplir les demandeurs d’asile remplaçant l’actuelle directive du même nom, et des modifications ciblées de la directive relative aux conditions d’accueil."
    https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/FR/1-2016-197-FR-F1-1.PDF

    La différence entre la Directive et le Règlement étant que justement la Directive est soumise à une interprétation des Etats dans la transposition au sein des législations nationales de la dite Directive (dont on voit qu’elle est large), tandis qu’un Règlement est contraignant et s’applique sans interprétation, ni marge de manoeuvre whatsoever à tous les Etats (comme le règlement Dublin).
    Ici par exemple, la Commission propose de changer la Directive Procédure en un Règlement, histoire par exemple, que tous les pays aient la même liste de pays d’origine sûrs une bonne fois pour toute : https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52016PC0467

    Ce processus d’abrogation des #directives pour en faire des #règlements est en cours et il est très important puisque cela signifie qu’il va falloir surveiller de très près les dispositions qui vont apparaitre dans ces nouveaux textes qui vont TOUS s’appliquer stricto sensu.
    Ce n’est pas forcément une bonne nouvelle.

    Reste que les Etats pourraient s’opposer à l’imposition de textes aussi coercitifs et d’ailleurs, ils ont eux-mêmes bloqué la révision du règlement Dublin. Cela pose la question de l’Etat d’avancement.

    Etat d’avancement :
    Depuis l’annonce de la transformation des Directives en Règlements en 2016, les dossiers ne semblent pas avoir tant avancés que cela pour autant que je sache sauf concernant quelques dossiers majeurs, notamment la Directive Retour.

    Concernant la mise en place des règlements, la Commission est très vague dans sa dernière communication sur l’état d’avancement de l’agenda européen matière de migrations de mars 2019 : https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2019:0126:FIN:FR:PDF
    En décembre 2017, elle disait :
    "Présentées il y a un an et demi, ces propositions en sont à des stades d’avancement différents dans le processus législatif. Certaines, comme la proposition concernant l’Agence de l’Union européenne pour l’asile et la réforme d’Eurodac, sont sur le point d’être adoptées. D’autres, à savoir le cadre de l’Union pour la réinstallation, le règlement relatif aux conditions que doivent remplir les demandeurs d’asile et la directive relative aux conditions d’accueil, progressent. En revanche, la proposition de règlement sur les procédures d’asile et, comme pierre angulaire, la proposition de révision du règlement de Dublin, nécessitent encore un travail considérable. Dans ce contexte, il convient aussi de progresser dans les travaux sur la notion de pays tiers sûr au sens de l’UE, en tenant compte des conclusions du Conseil européen de juin"
    https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2017/FR/COM-2017-820-F1-FR-MAIN-PART-1.PDF

    Il y a donc fort à parier qu’en à peine 1 an et demi, les choses n’aient pas beaucoup avancées concernant les règlements.
    Bref, comme il était assez attendu, ce qui ne contraint pas totalement les Etats avancent et le reste piétine pour le moment.

    Par contre, elles avancent concernant la politique des retours et donc la Directive Retour !

    Politique des retours et externalisation de l’asile :

    Après le Conseil de Tampere en 1999, vient la "crise des migrants" en 2015, qui ne fera qu’accélérer les constatations de l’échec du RAEC.

    Le Conseil européen lance donc une réunion spéciale en avril 2015 qui annonce un changement de stratégie vers l’extérieur avec notamment un renforcement de la coopération avec les pays tiers pour le "contrôle de l’immigration". Ordre est donné à la Commission de mobiliser tous les moyens nécessaires pour mettre cette nouvelle stratégie en oeuvre.
    Ce n’est pas le lancement officiel de l’externalisation de l’Asile puisque le processus de Khartoum et de Rabat sont antérieurs et déjà lancés.
    Néanmoins, il me parait assez évident personnellement qu’un coup d’accélérateur à la stratégie d’externalisation sera donné à partir de ce Conseil qui sera entièrement tourné vers la coopération internationale :
    https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/04/23/special-euco-statement

    Dans le prolongement logique des décisions prises lors du Conseil d’avril 2015 et de l’orientation stratégique vers l’extérieur, le Conseil Européen lancera le Sommet de la Valette en novembre où il invitera un nombre conséquent de pays africains.
    Ainsi le Sommet de la Valette, "fut l’occasion de reconnaître que la gestion des migrations relève de la responsabilité commune des pays d’origine, de transit et de destination. L’UE et l’Afrique ont travaillé dans un esprit de partenariat afin de trouver des solutions communes aux défis d’intérêt commun."
    https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/meetings/international-summit/2015/11/11-12

    C’est après ce Sommet que seront initiés le Fond Fiduciaire, les accords avec la Turquie, la Libye, les garde-côtes, la transformation de Frontex etc
    Bien que tout cela ait été préparé en amont.

    Après les ordres du Conseil, la Commission s’exécute avec l’Agenda Européen en Matière de Migrations et la focale sur les retours :
    Devant la stratégie d’orientation du Conseil qui demande des réformes fortes et des actions pour transformer la politique européenne d’asile, la Commission s’exécute en mai 2015 avec l’Agenda Européen des migrations :https://ec.europa.eu/france/node/859_fr

    Cet agenda met l’emphase sur un nombre impressionnant de points, mais une large part est également réservée aux retours page 11 et 12 (puisqu’il faudrait s’assurer que les retours soient efficaces et effectifs d’après la Commission).
    https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/background-information/docs/communication_on_the_european_agenda_on_migration_fr.pdf

    Dans la foulée la Commission lance donc une réflexion sur la politique des retours qui culminera la même année en 2015 avec The Action Plan of Return.
    L’action plan partira d’un principe assez simple, si les migrants viennent, c’est parce qu’on ne les renvoie pas...
    "The European Agenda on Migration, adopted by the European Commission on 13 May 2015, highlighted that one of the incentives for irregular migration is the knowledge that the EU’s system to return irregular migrants is not sufficiently effective"
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52015DC0453

    Ce plan est censé résoudre ce problème.
    Mais il sera aussi un relatif échec, ce qui n’empêchera pas la Commission d’insister en lançant un nouveau plan en 2017, The Renewed Action Plan on return :
    "Despite this, the overall impact on the return track record across the European Union remained limited, showing that more resolute action is needed to bring measurable results in returning irregular migrants. "
    https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/20170302_a_more_effective_return_policy_in_the_european_union_-_a_renewed_

    Toujours dans la foulée d’une politique d’expulsion efficace, il sera discuté plus tard (en mars 2019 sur l’évaluation de l’application de l’agenda européen) de la meilleure façon d’exécuter les retours en Europe. C’est là où nous en sommes.
    Pour la mise en place d’une politique de retour efficace, il y a donc deux stratégies :

    1) renforcer les accords de réadmission avec des accords bilatéraux ou par le biais des accords de Cotonou (qui vont être révisés et qui ont beaucoup tourné autour des migrations justement...on en reparlera un jour).
    "Concernant donc "les retours et la réadmission, l’UE continue d’œuvrer à la conclusion d’accords et d’arrangements en matière de réadmission avec les pays partenaires, 23 accords et arrangements ayant été conclus jusqu’à présent. Les États membres doivent maintenant tirer pleinement parti des accords existants."
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1496_fr.htm

    2) renforcer les procédures de retour depuis l’Europe.
    La Commission espère en conséquence que "le Parlement européen et le Conseil devraient adopter rapidement la proposition de la Commission en matière de retour, qui vise à limiter les abus et la fuite des personnes faisant l’objet d’un retour au sein de l’Union"
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1496_fr.htm

    C’est pourquoi la Commission propose de revoir la Directive Retour.

    La Directive Retour :
    La directive retour est donc la prochaine directive sur la liste des refontes.
    Ce sera un gros sujet a priori puisque la prochaine étape c’est le vote en Commission LIBE avant donc le vote en plénière.
    L’échéance est donc proche et les discussions bien avancées.

    Un texte problématique :

    Article 6 et 16
    En gros, les problèmes qui se posent avec ce texte ont surtout à voir avec l’article 6 qui décrit une liste de 16 critères de "risque de fuites", les derniers étant particulièrement dangereux puisqu’il semblerait que "résister aux procédures de retour" ou "refuser de donner ses empreintes" peuvent représenter des risques de fuites....
    Cet élargissement des critères est à mettre en lien avec l’article 18 qui permet la détention de toutes les personnes qui représentent un risque de fuite. Avec un élargissement pareil des critères de "fuites", je crains que l’on ne se donne le droit d’enfermer tout le monde.

    Article 7
    L’article 7 oblige les Etats tiers à coopérer dans les procédures de retour.
    L’application de cet article me semblait complexe mais le Brief du Parlement sur la Directive au paragraphe "Council" (donc sur les discussions au Conseil) ajoute que les Etats réfléchissent à la possibilité de sanctions pour les pays tiers en cas de non-respect de cette obligation de coopération.
    Et à ce moment-là j’ai compris.... Ma théorie c’est qu’un chantage quelconque pourra être mis en place pour établir une pression forçant les Etats tiers à coopérer.
    Tout le problème tient sur l’amplitude des sanctions possibles. Je n’en vois pas beaucoup, sauf à menacer de rompre des accords commerciaux ou de développement.

    C’est déjà plus ou moins le cas via le Fond Fiduciaire ou les fonds d’aide au dvp puisque l’on voit parfois que l’aide au dvp dépend de la mise en place d’accords de réadmission.
    Par exemple : l’UE et l’Afghanistan ont signé un accord de réadmission en Octobre 2016 : https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eu_afghanistan_joint_way_forward_on_migration_issues.pdf
    Et dans la foulée d’octobre, 5 milliards d’aide au dvp étaient débloqués pour la période 2016-2020 à la conférence de Bruxelles (https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/eu-afghanistan_march_2019.pdf).

    Avec une opération pareille, des soupçons de chantage à l’aide au dvp me paraissent tout à fait légitime.
    Cependant, ils existaient une séparation dans la forme. C’est-à-dire que même si les liens peuvent sembler évidents, les accords de réadmission n’établissaient pas directement de chantage entre l’un et l’autre. Il n’était pas écrit que des "sanctions" étaient possibles (du moins pas dans l’exemple de l’Afghanistan ni même dans l’accord de Cotonou - exception faite de ce qui concerne l’article 96 et le respect des droits—et dans aucun autre texte à ma connaissance).
    Ici le Conseil veut faire un pas de plus dans la direction d’une politique assumée de pressions via des sanctions et donc, indirectement semble-t-il, de chantage.

    Les Pays Tiers-Sûrs
    Un autre élément dangereux dans ce paragraphe sur le Conseil dans le Brief du Parlement : c’est que les Etats de leur côté réfléchissent aussi à la possibilité de renvoyer une personne dans un pays tiers considéré comme sûr qui ne soit pas le pays d’origine.
    En d’autres termes, renvoyer les soudanais par exemple, en Egypte par exemple légalement.

    Cela rejoint a priori les discussions sur la notion de pays tiers sûrs que la Commission et le Conseil continuent de vouloir développer depuis très longtemps malgré les oppositions franches des ONG (http://www.forumrefugies.org/s-informer/actualites/le-concept-de-pays-tiers-sur-une-remise-en-cause-profonde-de-l-acces-) ou même l’avis défavorable de la Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme en 2017 (https://www.cncdh.fr/sites/default/files/171219_avis_concept_pays_tiers_sur_5.pdf)
    On ferait ici un pas de plus au sein du creuset initié par la politique des "pays d’origine sûrs" et on s’offrirait le droit de renvoyer des personnes dans des pays qui n’auraient pas les conditions pour les accueillir dignement (tant matériellement que du point de vue du respect des droits...).

    Article 22
    L’article 22 est aussi très problématique puisque les dispositions aux frontières devraient changer :
    Les migrants en zone d’attente devraient recevoir une décision de retour simplifiée plutôt qu’une explication motivée.
    Il ne devrait plus y avoir aucune chance de départ volontaire, sauf si le migrant possède un document de voyage en cours de validité (remis aux autorités) et coopère pleinement (car s’il ne coopère pas, on l’a vu, il peut être déclaré en "tentative de fuite" ou en "fuite").
    Concernant les recours, les migrants ne disposeront que de 48 heures pour faire appel d’une décision de retour fondée sur un rejet de l’asile à la frontière, et l’effet suspensif ne s’appliquera qu’à la présentation de nouvelles conclusions importantes (type CNDA) ou qu’il n’y a pas déjà eu de contrôle juridictionnel effectif.

    Article 16
    D’ailleurs, les recours peuvent subir un changement relativement dramatique à cause de l’article 16. Selon le brief de la Commission :
    " Proposed Article 16(4) imposes a general obligation on Member States to establish ‘reasonable’ time limits. In relation to appeals lodged against return decisions adopted as a consequence of a decision rejecting an application for international protection, Member States would have to establish a time limit for lodging an appeal of a maximum of five days, but would be free to fix a shorter period."
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/637901/EPRS_BRI(2019)637901_EN.pdf
    Une manière de réduire encore plus les possibilités de recours.

    Article 13
    L’article 13 apporte aussi des changements aux refus d’entrée : " the proposal would allow Member States to impose an isolated entry ban, not accompanied by a corresponding return decision, if the irregularity of a stay is detected when the third-country national is exiting the territory of a Member State"
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/637901/EPRS_BRI(2019)637901_EN.pdf

    Néanmoins, j’ai pour le moment du mal à évaluer l’étendue de cette proposition à l’article 13 et il faudrait peut-être en discuter avec l’anafé par exemple.

    #procédure_d'asile #réforme

    Reçu par email via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 06.06.2019

    • New EU deportation law breaches fundamental rights standards and should be rejected

      A proposed new EU law governing standards and procedures for deportations would breach fundamental rights standards, massively expand the use of detention, limit appeal rights and undermine ’voluntary’ return initiatives. It should be rejected by the European Parliament and the Council, argues a new analysis published today by Statewatch. [1]

      The original Returns Directive was agreed in 2008, but a proposal for a ’recast’ version was published by the European Commission in September 2018 as one a number of measures aiming to crack down on “illegally staying third-country nationals” in the EU. [2]

      The proposal aims to increase the number of deportations from the EU by reducing or eliminating existing safeguards for those facing deportation proceedings - but even if such a method could be considered legitimate, there is no evidence to suggest that the proposed measures will have the intended effect.

      For example, the proposal introduces numerous new grounds for placing migrants in detention and would introduce a new ’minimum maximum’ period of detention of at least three months. [3]

      However, in 2017, Spain (with a maximum detention period of 60 days) had a ’return rate’ of 37%, while the return rate from countries with a detention limit of 18 months (the maximum period permitted under the current Returns Directive) differed significantly: 11% in the Czech Republic, 18% in Belgium, 40% in Greece and 46% in Germany. [4]

      The report urges EU lawmakers to discard the proposal and focus on alternative measures that would be less harmful to individuals. It includes an article-by-article analysis of the Commission’s proposal and the positions of the European Parliament and the Council, as they were prior to the EU institutions’ summer break.

      The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will begin discussing the proposal again in the coming weeks.

      Quotes

      Statewatch researcher Jane Kilpatrick said:

      “The proposed recast prioritises detention for more people and for longer durations - the physical and mental harms of which are well-known, especially for people with prior traumatic experiences - over any collaborative measures. The recast would remove the option for states to adopt measures more respectful of human rights and health. The fact that it hasn’t relied on any evidence that these will even work suggests it is a political exercise to appease anti-migrant rhetoric.”

      Chris Jones, a researcher at Statewatch, added:

      “The EU cannot claim to be a bastion of human rights at the same time as trying to undermine or eliminate existing safeguards for third-country nationals subject to deportation proceedings. Given that there is no evidence to suggest the proposed measures would actually work, it seems that lawmakers are dealing with a proposal that would be both harmful and ineffective. The previous MEP responsible for the proposal did a good job of trying to improve it - but it would be better to reject it altogether.”

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-returns-directive.htm

    • New EU deportation law breaches fundamental rights standards and should be rejected

      A proposed new EU law governing standards and procedures for deportations would breach fundamental rights standards, massively expand the use of detention, limit appeal rights and undermine ’voluntary’ return initiatives. It should be rejected by the European Parliament and the Council, argues a new analysis published today by Statewatch. [1]

      The original Returns Directive was agreed in 2008, but a proposal for a ’recast’ version was published by the European Commission in September 2018 as one a number of measures aiming to crack down on “illegally staying third-country nationals” in the EU. [2]

      The proposal aims to increase the number of deportations from the EU by reducing or eliminating existing safeguards for those facing deportation proceedings - but even if such a method could be considered legitimate, there is no evidence to suggest that the proposed measures will have the intended effect.

      For example, the proposal introduces numerous new grounds for placing migrants in detention and would introduce a new ’minimum maximum’ period of detention of at least three months. [3]

      However, in 2017, Spain (with a maximum detention period of 60 days) had a ’return rate’ of 37%, while the return rate from countries with a detention limit of 18 months (the maximum period permitted under the current Returns Directive) differed significantly: 11% in the Czech Republic, 18% in Belgium, 40% in Greece and 46% in Germany. [4]

      The report urges EU lawmakers to discard the proposal and focus on alternative measures that would be less harmful to individuals. It includes an article-by-article analysis of the Commission’s proposal and the positions of the European Parliament and the Council, as they were prior to the EU institutions’ summer break.

      The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will begin discussing the proposal again in the coming weeks.

      Quotes

      Statewatch researcher Jane Kilpatrick said:

      “The proposed recast prioritises detention for more people and for longer durations - the physical and mental harms of which are well-known, especially for people with prior traumatic experiences - over any collaborative measures. The recast would remove the option for states to adopt measures more respectful of human rights and health. The fact that it hasn’t relied on any evidence that these will even work suggests it is a political exercise to appease anti-migrant rhetoric.”

      Chris Jones, a researcher at Statewatch, added:

      “The EU cannot claim to be a bastion of human rights at the same time as trying to undermine or eliminate existing safeguards for third-country nationals subject to deportation proceedings. Given that there is no evidence to suggest the proposed measures would actually work, it seems that lawmakers are dealing with a proposal that would be both harmful and ineffective. The previous MEP responsible for the proposal did a good job of trying to improve it - but it would be better to reject it altogether.”

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/eu-returns-directive.htm

    • European Border and Coast Guard: Launch of first ever joint operation outside the EU

      Today, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, in cooperation with the Albanian authorities, is launching the first ever joint operation on the territory of a neighbouring non-EU country. As of 22 May, teams from the Agency will be deployed together with Albanian border guards at the Greek-Albanian border to strengthen border management and enhance security at the EU’s external borders, in full agreement with all concerned countries. This operation marks a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and its Western Balkan partners, and is yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

      The launch event is taking place in Tirana, Albania, in the presence of Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Edi Rama, Albanian Prime Minister and Sandër Lleshaj, Albanian Interior Minister.

      Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: "With the first ever deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams outside of the EU, we are opening an entirely new chapter in our cooperation on migration and border management with Albania and with the whole Western Balkan region. This is a real game changer and a truly historical step, bringing this region closer to the EU by working together in a coordinated and mutually supportive way on shared challenges such as better managing migration and protecting our common borders.”

      Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, said: “Today we mark a milestone for our agency and the wider cooperation between the European Union and Albania. We are launching the first fully fledged joint operation outside the European Union to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.”

      While Albania remains ultimately responsible for the protection of its borders, the European Border and Coast Guard is able to lend both technical and operational support and assistance. The European Border and Coast Guard teams will be able to support the Albanian border guards in performing border checks at crossing points, for example, and preventing unauthorised entries. All operations and deployments at the Albanian border with Greece will be conducted in full agreement with both the Albanian and Greek authorities.

      At the start of the operation, the Agency will be deploying 50 officers, 16 patrol cars and 1 thermo-vision van from 12 EU Member States (Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia) to support Albania in border control and tackling cross-border crime.

      Strengthened cooperation between priority third countries and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency will contribute to the better management of irregular migration, further enhance security at the EU’s external borders and strengthen the Agency’s ability to act in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood, while bringing that neighbourhood closer to the EU.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2591_en.htm
      #externalisation

    • Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos in Albania at the official launch of first ever joint operation outside the EU

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      We are here today to celebrate an important achievement and a milestone, both for Albania and for the EU.

      Only six months ago, here in Tirana, the EU signed the status agreement with Albania on cooperation on border management between Albania and the European Border and Coast Guard. This agreement, that entered into force three weeks ago, was the first agreement ever of its kind with a neighbouring country.

      Today, we will send off the joint European Border and Coast Guard Teams to be deployed as of tomorrow for the first time in a non-EU Member State. This does not only mark a new phase for border cooperation between the EU and Western Balkan partners, it is also yet another step towards the full operationalisation of the Agency.

      The only way to effectively address migration and security challenges we are facing today and those we may be confronted with in the years to come is by working closer together, as neighbours and as partners. What happens in Albania and the Western Balkans affects the European Union, and the other way around.

      Joint approach to border management is a key part of our overall approach to managing migration. It allows us to show to our citizens that their security is at the top of our concerns. But effective partnership in ensuring orderly migration also enables us, as Europe, to remain a place where those in need of protection can find shelter.

      Albania is the first country in the Western Balkans with whom the EU is moving forward with this new important chapter in our joint co-operation on border management.

      This can be a source of pride for both Albania and the EU and an important step that brings us closer together.

      While the overall situation along the Western Balkans route remains stable with continuously low levels of arrivals - it is in fact like night and day when compared to three years ago - we need to remain vigilant.

      The Status Agreement will help us in this effort. It expands the scale of practical, operational cooperation between the EU and Albania and hopefully soon with the rest of the Western Balkan region.

      These are important elements of our co-operation, also in view of the continued implementation of the requirements under the visa liberalisation agreement. Visa-free travel is a great achievement, which brings benefits to all sides and should be safeguarded.

      Together with Albanian border guards, European Border and Coast Guard teams will be able to perform border checks at crossing points and perform border surveillance to prevent unauthorized border crossings and counter cross-border criminality.

      But, let me be clear, Albania remains ultimately responsible for the protection of its borders. European Border and Coast Guard Teams may only perform tasks and exercise powers in the Albanian territory under instructions from and, as a general rule, in the presence of border guards of the Republic of Albania.

      Dear Friends,

      When it comes to protecting our borders, ensuring our security and managing migration, the challenges we face are common, and so must be our response.

      The European Border and Coast Guard Status Agreement and its implementation will allow us to better work together in all these areas. I hope that these agreements can be finalised also with other Western Balkans partners as soon as possible.

      I wish to thank Prime Minister Edi Rama, the Albanian authorities, and the Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Fabrice Leggeri and his team for their close cooperation in bringing this milestone achievement to life. I also want to thank all Member States who have contributed with staff and the personnel who will be part of this first deployment of European Border and Coast Guard teams in a neighbouring country.

      With just a few days to go before the European Elections, the need for a more united and stronger European family is more important than ever. We firmly believe that a key priority is to have strong relations with close neighbours, based on a clear balance of rights and obligations – but above all, on genuine partnership. This includes you, fellow Albanians.

      Albania is part of the European family.Our challenges are common. They know no borders. The progress we are witnessing today is another concrete action and proof of our commitment to bring us closer together. To make us stronger.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-19-2668_en.htm

    • Externalisation: Frontex launches first formal operation outside of the EU and deploys to Albania

      The EU has taken a significant, if geographically small, step in the externalisation of its borders. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has launched its first Joint Operation on the territory of a non-EU-Member State, as it begins cooperation with Albania on the border with Greece.

      After the launch of the operation in Tirana on 21 May a deployment of 50 officers, 16 patrol cars and a thermo-vision van started yesterday, 22 May (European Commission, link). Twelve Member States (Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Poland and Slovenia) have contributed to the operation.

      New agreements

      The move follows the entry into force on 1 May this year of a Status Agreement between the EU and Albania on actions carried out by Frontex in that country (pdf). Those actions are made possible by the conclusion of operational plans, which must be agreed between Frontex and the Albanian authorities.

      The Status Agreement with Albania was the first among several similar agreements to be signed between the Agency and Balkan States, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and North Macedonia.

      The nascent operation in Albania will give Frontex team members certain powers, privileges and immunities on Albanian territory, including the use of force in circumstances authorised by Albanian border police and outlined in the operational plan.

      Frontex does not publish operational plans whilst operations (which can be renewed indefinitely) are ongoing, and documents published after the conclusion of operations (usually in response to requests for access to documents) are often heavily-redacted (Ask the EU, link).

      Relevant articles

      Article 4 of the Status Agreement outlines the tasks and powers of members of Frontex teams operating in Albanian territory. This includes the use of force, if it is authorised by both the Frontex team member’s home Member State and the State of Albania, and takes place in the presence of Albanian border guards. However, Albania can authorise team members to use force in their absence.

      Article 6 of the Status Agreement grants Frontex team members immunity from Albanian criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction “in respect of the acts performed in the exercise of their official functions in the course of the actions carried out in accordance with the operational plan”.

      Although a representative of Albania would be informed in the event of an allegation of criminal activity, it would be up to Frontex’s executive director to certify to the court whether the actions in question were performed as part of an official Agency function and in accordance with the Operational Plan. This certification will be binding on the jurisdiction of Albania. Proceedings may only continue against an individual team member if the executive director confirms that their actions were outside the scope of the exercise of official functions.

      Given the closed nature of the operational plans, this grants the executive director wide discretion and ensures little oversight of the accountability of Agency team members. Notably, Article 6 also states that members of teams shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses. This immunity does not, however, extend to the jurisdiction of team members’ home Member States, and they may also waive the immunity of the individual under Albanian jurisdiction.

      Right to redress

      These measures of immunity alongside the lack of transparency surrounding documents outlining team members’ official functions and activities (the operational plan) raise concerns regarding access to redress for victims of human rights violations that may occur during operations.

      Human rights organisations have denounced the use of force by Frontex team members, only to have those incidents classified by the Agency as par for the course in their operations. Cases include incidents of firearm use that resulted in serious injury (The Intercept, link), but that was considered to have taken place according to the standard rules of engagement. This opacity has implications for individuals’ right to good administration and to the proper functioning of accountability mechanisms.

      If any damage results from actions that were carried out according to the operational plan, Albania will be held liable. This is the most binding liability outlined by the Status Agreement. Albania may only “request” that compensation be paid by the Member State of the team member responsible, or by the Agency, if acts were committed through gross negligence, wilful misconduct or outside the scope of the official functions of the Agency team or staff member.

      Across the board

      The provisions regarding tasks, powers and immunity in the Status Agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia are all broadly similar, with the exception of Article 6 of the agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina. This states:

      “Members of the team who are witnesses may be obliged by the competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina… to provide evidence in accordance with the procedural law of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

      The Status Agreement with Serbia, an early draft of which did not grant immunity to team members, is now consistent with the Agreement with Albania and includes provisions stating that members of teams shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses.

      It includes a further provision that:

      “...members of the team may use weapons only when it is absolutely necessary in self-defence to repel an immediate life-threatening attack against themselves or another person, in accordance with the national legislation of the Republic of Serbia”.

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/may/fx-albania-launch.htm

    • La police des frontières extérieures de l’UE s’introduit en Albanie

      Frontex, l’agence chargée des frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne, a lancé mardi en Albanie sa première opération hors du territoire d’un de ses États membres.

      Cette annonce de la Commission européenne intervient quelques jours avant les élections européennes et au moment où la politique migratoire de l’UE est critiquée par les candidats souverainistes, comme le ministre italien de l’Intérieur Matteo Salvini ou le chef de file de la liste française d’extrême droite, Jordan Bardella, qui a récemment qualifié Frontex d’« hôtesse d’accueil pour migrants ».

      Cette opération conjointe en Albanie est « une véritable étape historique rapprochant » les Balkans de l’UE, et témoigne d’une « meilleure gestion de la migration et de la protection de nos frontières communes », a commenté à Tirana le commissaire chargé des migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

      L’Albanie espère convaincre les États membres d’ouvrir des négociations d’adhésion ce printemps, ce qui lui avait été refusé l’an passé. Son premier ministre Edi Rama a salué « un pas très important dans les relations entre l’Albanie et l’Union européenne » et a estimé qu’il « renforçait également la coopération dans le domaine de la sécurité ».

      À partir de 22 mai, Frontex déploiera des équipes conjointes à la frontière grecque avec des agents albanais.

      La Commission européenne a passé des accords semblables avec la Macédoine du Nord, la Serbie, le Monténégro et la Bosnie-Herzégovine, qui devraient également entrer en vigueur.

      Tous ces pays sont sur une des « routes des Balkans », qui sont toujours empruntées clandestinement par des milliers de personnes en route vers l’Union européenne, même si le flux n’est en rien comparable avec les centaines de milliers de migrants qui ont transité par la région en quelques mois jusqu’à la fermeture des frontières par les pays de l’UE début 2016.

      Ce type d’accord « contribuera à l’amélioration de la gestion de la migration clandestine, renforcera la sécurité aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et consolidera la capacité de l’agence à agir dans le voisinage immédiat de l’UE, tout en rapprochant de l’UE les pays voisins concernés », selon un communiqué de la Commission.

      Pour éviter de revivre le chaos de 2015, l’Union a acté un renforcement considérable de Frontex. Elle disposera notamment d’ici 2027 d’un contingent de 10 000 garde-frontières et garde-côtes pour aider des pays débordés.


      https://www.lapresse.ca/international/europe/201905/21/01-5226931-la-police-des-frontieres-exterieures-de-lue-sintroduit-en-albani

    • European Border and Coast Guard Agency began to patrol alongside the Albanian-Greek border in late May (https://www.bilten.org/?p=28118). Similar agreements have recently been concluded with Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina but Albania is the first country to start implementing programs aimed at blocking refugees entering the EU. Bilten states that Frontex employees can carry arms and fight “against any kind of crime, from” illegal migration “to theft of a car or drug trafficking”. Frontex’s mission is not time-bound, i.e. it depends on the EU’s need. The Albanian authorities see it as a step forward to their membership in the Union.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa dobrodosli, le 10.06.2019

      L’article original:
      Što Frontex radi u Albaniji?

      Nakon što je Europska unija službeno zatvorila “balkansku migrantsku rutu”, očajni ljudi počeli su tražiti nove puteve. Jedan od njih prolazi kroz Albaniju, a tamošnja se vlada odrekla kontrole nad vlastitom granicom u nadi da će time udobrovoljiti unijske dužnosnike.

      Agencija za europsku graničnu i obalnu stražu, Frontex, počela je krajem prošlog mjeseca patrolirati uz albansko-grčku granicu. Već prvog dana, raspoređeno je pedesetak policajaca iz različitih zemalja članica EU koji bi se u suradnji s albanskim graničarima trebali boriti protiv “ilegalne migracije”. Iako je slične dogovore Unija nedavno sklopila sa zemljama poput Srbije, Sjeverne Makedonije, Crne Gore te Bosne i Hercegovine – a sve s ciljem blokiranja mogućnosti izbjeglica da uđu na područje EU – Albanija je prva zemlja u kojoj je počela provedba tog programa. Zaposlenici Frontexa ne samo da smiju nositi oružje, već imaju i dozvolu da se bore protiv bilo koje vrste kriminala, od “ilegalnih migracija” do krađe automobila ili trgovine drogom. Također, njihova misija nije vremenski ograničena, što znači da će Frontexovi zaposlenici patrolirati s albanske strane granice dok god to Unija smatra potrebnim.

      Unatoč nekim marginalnim glasovima koji su se žalili zbog kršenja nacionalne suverenosti prepuštanjem kontrole nad granicom stranim trupama, javnost je reagirala bilo potpunom nezainteresiranošću ili čak blagom potporom sporazumu koji bi tobože trebao pomoći Albaniji da uđe u Europsku uniju. S puno entuzijazma, lokalni su se mediji hvalili kako su u prva četiri dana Frontexovi zaposlenici već ulovili 92 “ilegalna migranta”. No to nije prvo, a ni najozbiljnije predavanje kontrole nad granicom koje je poduzela albanska vlada. Još od kasnih 1990-ih i ranih 2000-ih jadranskim i jonskim teritorijalnim vodama Republike Albanije patrolira talijanska Guardia di Finanza. Tih se godina albanska obala često koristila kao most prema Italiji preko kojeg je prelazila većina migranata azijskog porijekla, ne samo zbog blizine južne Italije, već i zbog slabosti državnih aparata tijekom goleme krize 1997. i 1998. godine.

      Helikopteri Guardije di Finanza također kontroliraju albansko nebo u potrazi za poljima kanabisa i to sve u suradnji s lokalnom državnom birokracijom koja je sama dijelom suradnica dilera, a dijelom nesposobna da im se suprotstavi. No posljednjih godina, zbog toga što su druge rute zatvorene, sve veći broj ljudi počeo se kretati iz Grčke preko Albanije, Crne Gore i BiH prema zemljama EU. Prema Međunarodnoj organizaciji za migracije, granicu je prešlo oko 18 tisuća ljudi, uglavnom iz Sirije, Pakistana i Iraka. To predstavlja povećanje od sedam puta u odnosu na godinu ranije. Tek manji dio tih ljudi je ulovljen zbog nedostatka kapaciteta granične kontrole ili pak potpune indiferencije prema ljudima kojima siromašna zemlja poput Albanije nikada neće biti destinacija.
      Tranzitna zemlja

      Oni koje ulove smješteni su u prihvatnom centru blizu Tirane, ali odatle im je relativno jednostavno pobjeći i nastaviti put dalje. Dio njih službeno je zatražio azil u Albaniji, ali to ne znači da će se dulje zadržati u zemlji. Ipak, očekuje se da će ubuduće albanske institucije biti znatno agresivnije u politici repatrijacije migranata. U tome će se susretati s brojnim pravnim i administrativnim problemima: kako objašnjavaju lokalni stručnjaci za migracije, Albanija sa zemljama iz kojih dolazi većina migranata – poput Sirije, Pakistana, Iraka i Afganistana – uopće nema diplomatske odnose niti pravne predstavnike u tim zemljama. Zbog toga je koordiniranje procesa repatrijacije gotovo nemoguće. Također, iako sporazum o repatrijaciji postoji s Grčkoj, njime je predviđeno da se u tu zemlju vraćaju samo oni za koje se može dokazati da su iz nje došli, a većina migranata koji dođu iz Grčke nastoji sakriti svaki trag svog boravka u toj zemlji.

      U takvoj situaciji, čini se izvjesnim da će Albanija biti zemlja u kojoj će sve veći broj ljudi zapeti na neodređeno vrijeme. Prije nekih godinu i pol dana, izbila je javna panika s dosta rasističkih tonova. Nakon jednog nespretnog intervjua vladinog dužnosnika njemačkom mediju proširile su se glasine da će se u Albaniju naseliti šesto tisuća Sirijaca. Brojka je već na prvi pogled astronomska s obzirom na to da je stanovništvo zemlje oko tri milijuna ljudi, ali teorije zavjere se obično šire kao požar. Neki od drugorazrednih političara čak su pozvali na oružanu borbu ako dođu Sirijci. No ta je panika zapravo brzo prošla, ali tek nakon što je vlada obećala da neće primiti više izbjeglica od onog broja koji bude određen raspodjelom prema dogovoru u Uniji. Otad zapravo nema nekog osobitog antimigrantskog raspoloženja u javnosti, unatoč tome što tisuće ljudi prolazi kroz zemlju.
      Europski san

      Odnos je uglavnom onaj indiferencije. Tome pridonosi nekoliko stvari: činjenica da je gotovo trećina stanovništva Albanije također odselila u zemlje Unije,1 zatim to što ne postoje neke vjerske i ultranacionalističke stranke, ali najviše to što nitko od migranata nema nikakvu namjeru ostati u zemlji. No zašto je albanska vlada tako nestrpljiva da preda kontrolu granice i suverenitet, odnosno zašto je premijer Edi Rama izgledao tako entuzijastično prilikom ceremonije s Dimitrisom Avramopulosom, europskim povjerenikom za migracije, unutrašnje poslove i državljanstvo? Vlada se nada da će to ubrzati njezin put prema članstvu u Europskoj uniji. Posljednjih pet godina provela je čekajući otvaranje pristupnih pregovora, a predavanje kontrole nad granicom vidi kao još jednu ilustraciju svoje pripadnosti Uniji.

      S druge strane, stalna politička kriza koju su izazvali studentski protesti u prosincu 2018., te kasnije bojkot parlamenta i lokalnih izbora od strane opozicijskih stranaka, stavlja neprestani pritisak na vladu. Očajnički treba pozitivan znak iz EU jer vodi političku i ideološku borbu protiv opozicije oko toga tko je autentičniji kulturni i politički predstavnik europejstva. Vlada naziva opoziciju i njezine nasilne prosvjede antieuropskima, dok opozicija optužuje vladu da svojom korupcijom i povezanošću s organiziranim kriminalom radi protiv europskih želja stanovništva. Prije nekoliko dana, Komisija je predložila početak pristupnih pregovora s Albanijom, no Europsko vijeće je to koje ima zadnju riječ. Očekuje se kako će sve ovisiti o toj odluci. Ideja Europe jedno je od čvorišta vladajuće ideologije koja se desetljećima gradi kao antipod komunizmu i Orijentu te historijska destinacija kojoj Albanci stoljećima teže.

      Neoliberalna rekonstrukcija ekonomije i društva gotovo je uvijek legitimirana tvrdnjama kako su to nužni – iako bolni – koraci prema integraciji u Europsku uniju. Uspješnost ove ideologije ilustrira činjenica da otprilike 90% ispitanih u različitim studijama podržava Albansku integraciju u EU. U toj situaciji ne čudi ni odnos prema Frontexu.

      https://www.bilten.org/?p=28118

    • Frontex expands operations in EU neighbouring countries

      After Albania and Montenegro, the EU Commission has concluded a Frontex status agreement with Serbia, to be followed by Northern Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. A first deployment of the EU border troops has meanwhile been increased.

      The European Commission has now also signed an arrangement with Serbia on „cooperation on border management“. The so-called status agreement regulates the implementation of „Joint Operations“ with the EU border agency Frontex at the common borders with the European Union. It was already published by the Commission in January and has now been ratified by the Serbian Parliament. Kosovo’s territory is excluded.

      The objectives of the agreement include the fight against irregular migration and cross-border crime in accordance with the Frontex Regulation. The EU also promises „increased technical and operational assistance“ to the Serbian border police.

      Model status agreement for „priority third countries“

      The negotiations with Serbia followed a model status agreement approved by the Commission under the „European Migration Agenda“ for operational cooperation with „priority third countries“. The Commission first concluded a status agreement with Albania a year ago, followed by a similar agreement with Montenegro on 7 October this year. Further status agreements with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Northern Macedonia have been negotiated but still need to be ratified by the national parliaments. The European Parliament must also give its assent.

      Once all five status agreements have been signed, Frontex could be deployed throughout the whole Western Balkans with the exception of Kosovo. The EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, describes the agreements as „yet one more step towards bringing the Western Balkan region closer to the EU“. All countries concerned are considered candidates for EU membership and the agreement to the Frontex operations is intended to facilitate the negotiations.

      However, this rapprochement is likely to be damaged by the decision of the French government to refuse negotiations on EU membership to Northern Macedonia and Albania despite fulfilling the necessary conditi