J’essaie de compiler ici des liens et documents sur les processus d’ externalisation des frontières…

/705401

  • Exposed : Malta’s secret migrant deal with Libya

    OPM’s Neville Gafà acts as intermediary in agreement

    Malta has secretly negotiated an agreement with Libya that sees the Armed Forces of Malta coordinating with the Libyan coastguard to intercept migrants headed towards the island and returned to the war-torn North African country.

    The agreement for “mutual cooperation” was struck between members of the AFM and the Libyan coastguard, with government official Neville Gafà acting as an intermediary.

    Mr Gafà, who works out of the OPM in an undisclosed position, has faced repeated allegations of bribery linked to the issuing of medical visas to Libyan nationals, claims he denies.

    He has come under fire for posing as a “special envoy of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat” during meetings with the Libyan government and was exposed as having held a meeting with a Libyan militia leader who ran extortion rackets and a private detention centre, where former regime officials and sympathisers were held.

    In one such meeting, held on June 18, Mr Gafà sat in on talks with the Libyan deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq, attended by Colonel Clinton O’Neill, head of plans and intelligence at the AFM.

    The meeting was led by Malta’s new ambassador to Libya, Charles Saliba.

    However, a senior government source told The Sunday Times of Malta that talks between Mr Gafà, the AFM and the Libyan authorities, on the subject of cooperation, first started around a year ago.

    “We reached what you could call an understanding with the Libyans. When there is a vessel heading towards our waters, the AFM coordinates with the Libyans who pick them up and take them back to Libya before they come into our waters and become our responsibility,” the source said.

    He added that had the agreement not been reached with Libya then the island would have been “drowning in migrants” by now.

    A spokesman for the Prime Minister said last night that bilateral meetings on various sectors are held on a regular basis and Malta always acts in accordance with applicable international laws and conventions.

    “The EU is actively advocating in favour of compliance with instructions of competent authorities and against the obstruction of operations of the Libyan EU-funded and trained coastguard to help support migration management and fight smuggling.”

    The search and rescue areas form part of high seas where foreign military assets have every right to investigate any illegal activity departing from their coast, the spokesman added.

    Without an agreement, the island would have been ‘drowning in migrants’ by now

    “In the past months, Malta has continued to welcome on a humanitarian basis migrants and asylum seekers, even when not legally obliged to do so, in a spirit of cooperation with other European states and solidarity with migrants.”

    The OPM did not respond to a question asking whether in at least one instance the Libyan coast guard had entered Malta’s search and rescue area or whether it recognises Libya as a safe port. In a tweet on one such particular incident, which took place on October 18, Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s special envoy for the Central Mediterranean, said he believes the case may have constituted a violation of maritime law.

    “The problem is that the migrants were disembarked in Libya. That’s certainly a violation of maritime laws. It’s clear that Libya isn’t a safe port,” he said.

    A spokesman for UNHCR office in Rome said they had reached out to the Maltese authorities for an explanation and were still waiting for the relevant information to be handed over.

    The list of accusations against Libya’s coastguard is long: human rights violations, including torture, hindering rescue operations of volunteer rescue groups, and ties to smuggling gangs are but a few.

    This picture taken on October 1 shows rescued migrants sitting on a pier next to a Libyan coast guardship in the town of Khoms, 120 kilometres east of the capital.

    The government source however, justified the deal, saying it followed a similar understanding reached between the Libyan and Italian governments.

    It also tallied with the EU’s highly-criticised position of supporting the Libyan authorities, he said.

    The number of migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean from Libya declined dramatically over the past years, from almost 120,000 migrants in 2017 to around 23,000 in 2018. So far this year, the number of migrants arriving from Libya diminished even further.

    While Malta received few or no migrants at the height of the migration crisis in the Central Mediterranean between 2014 and 2017 when Italy was in charge of the rescue effort and accepted the disembarkation of virtually all migrants rescued, the tide turned around 2018 when a right-wing government was elected in Italy.

    During the past two years, the Italian government effectively closed the country’s ports to humanitarian search and rescue operations, and scaled down its rescue operations, re-routing hundreds of migrants towards Malta.

    In September, the EU extended its anti-migrant-smuggling mission along the Libyan Mediterranean coast, by six months. However, actual naval operations by the EU remain halted, with the mandate now mainly consisting of air support and training Libya’s ill-equipped coastguard.

    Human rights groups have repeatedly called on the EU to stop its policy of allowing migrants to be returned to Libya, where they face hellish conditions in detention centres, according to UN organisations.

    Mr Cochetel insists there is no safe port in Libya for migrant arrivals.

    https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/exposed-maltas-secret-migrant-deal-with-libya.748800
    #Malte #externalisation #frontières #asile #migrations #Libye #accord

    Ajouté à ce fil de discussion :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705401

    • Malta Has Deal With Libya Coastguard Over Migrant Interceptions: Report

      Malta’s armed forces have started cooperating with Libya’s coastguard to turn back migrant boats heading into Malta’s search and rescue zone, a newspaper reported on Sunday, citing a secret government deal.

      The government declined to comment directly on the report in the Sunday Times of Malta, but told Reuters the Mediterranean state had been working with the Libyan coastguard for many years and always operated within the law.

      Under the terms of the deal, when a migrant boat is spotted sailing toward Malta, the island’s armed forces seek the intervention of the Libyan coastguard to intercept them before they enter Malta’s territorial waters, the paper said.

      Non-governmental organizations have denounced previous deals by which Italy has directed the Libyan coastguard to pick up migrant boats in Libyan territorial waters, saying refugees face torture and abuse in the lawless north African country.

      The Malta deal appears to go a step further by encouraging the Libyan coastguard to intervene beyond its own coastal waters, which extend some 22.2 km (14 miles) from its shore, and into the broad search-and-rescue zone operated by Malta.

      “Search and rescue areas are not areas where the coastal state exercises sovereignty or has jurisdiction, but areas forming part of high seas where foreign military assets have every right to investigate any illegal activity departing from their coast,” the Maltese government said.

      Malta has taken in several hundred migrants in recent months, but almost always from charity rescue ships that had picked them up in the central Mediterranean. There have been few reports of migrant boats reaching the island autonomously.

      In a sign of growing cooperation between Valletta and the Tripoli-based Libyan government, Malta seized in September a shipment of unofficial Libyan currency believed to have been destined for rebel military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

      Two containers packed full of the recently introduced currency, printed in Russia, were discovered when the ship carrying the money stopped in Malta, local media reported earlier this month.

      The Customs Department did not announce the find at the time and has made no subsequent comment on the operation.

      https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2019/11/10/world/europe/10reuters-europe-migrants-malta.html

  • Le 2 novembre 2019, l’#accord de #2017 entre #Italie et #Libye se renouvellera automatiquement...

    Des ONG en Italie essaie de l’arrêter...
    NO al rinnovo del #Memorandum Italia – Libia

    INTERSOS chiede programma di ricerca e salvataggio europeo e canali di ingresso regolari
    Il 2 novembre, in mancanza di un intervento del Governo, scatterà la proroga automatica del memorandum d’intesa siglato nel febbraio del 2017 con la Libia. Accordo sulla base del quale, l’Italia continua a sostenere con milioni di euro la cosiddetta Guardia Costiera libica e i centri di detenzione in Libia.
    Come organizzazione umanitaria operativa a Tripoli e nel Sud della Libia con programmi di aiuto e protezione per i minori, chiediamo con forza che il Governo italiano annulli il memorandum del 2017 e i precedenti accordi con il Governo libico e che, fatti salvi gli interventi di natura umanitaria, non vengano rifinanziati quelli di supporto alle autorità libiche nella gestione e controllo dei flussi migratori.
    Nelle relazioni con la Libia per la gestione dei flussi migratori è il momento della discontinuità. Occorre un nuovo inizio, che rimetta al centro la ricerca di soluzioni finalizzate alla tutela della vita delle persone e del diritto internazionale che ne è garanzia. Chiediamo che si stabilisca un programma efficace di ricerca e salvataggio in mare a livello europeo e che si prevedano canali di ingresso regolari, in modo che le persone non siano più costrette ad affidarsi ai trafficanti.
    Quanto accaduto in questi anni non può non essere preso in considerazione. È dimostrato come i finanziamenti italiani siano andati a sostegno anche di veri e propri criminali, come il trafficante di esseri umani Bija, sottoposto a sanzioni dal Consiglio di Sicurezza ONU per i crimini contro l’umanità su cui indaga la Corte penale internazionale.
    È dimostrato come i migranti intercettati in mare dalla Guardia Costiera libica e riportati forzatamente in Libia vengano rinchiusi nei centri di detenzione, in condizioni disumane, e siano sistematicamente sottoposti a torture, stupri e violenze. Quando tentano di opporsi al ritorno in Libia, gli ufficiali libici non esitano a sparare e a uccidere.
    Come dichiarato dalle Nazioni Unite, dal Consiglio d’Europa e dalla Commissione europea nonché dalla stessa magistratura italiana, la Libia non può in alcun modo essere considerato un Paese sicuro e dunque le persone che tentano di fuggire non possono essere rimandate in quel Paese. Lo vietano il diritto internazionale e la nostra Costituzione. I respingimenti “delegati” dalle autorità italiane alla Guardia costiera libica comportano esattamente le stesse violazioni per le quali l’Italia è già stata condannata dalla Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo nel 2012.

    https://www.intersos.org/intersos-no-al-rinnovo-del-memorandum-italia-libia

    –--------

    Plus d’informations sur le memorandum de 2017 sur ce fil :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/600874

    Et plus en général sur l’#externalisation_des_frontières en Libye :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705401

    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Méditerranée

    ping @isskein

    • Memorandum. Accordo Italia-Libia sui migranti: il mistero dei 5 miliardi (per Tripoli)

      Equipaggiamenti, elicotteri, gommoni, milizie.... Nessuno sa quanti soldi siano partiti dalle cancellerie europee verso Tripoli, né quanti altri prenderanno la stessa via. Un segreto ben custodito.

      È il segreto meglio custodito sui rapporti con la Libia. Nessuno sa esattamente quanti soldi siano partiti dalle cancellerie europee verso Tripoli, ne quanti altri prenderanno la via del deserto libico. Perciò, fermare il rinnovo automatico del Memorandum italo-libico significa anche rischiare di mettere a nudo una contabilità da svariati miliardi di euro.

      Nel corso del colloquio con Avvenire il guardacoste e presunto trafficante Abdurahman al Milad, nome di battaglia Bija, aveva accennato a una «trattativa di anni» tra Italia e Tripoli poi approfondita nella lunga intervista a «l’Espresso». Bija sapeva quel che diceva. Proprio nel 2008, infatti, il trattato di amicizia firmato da Gheddafi e Berlusconi prevedeva che l’Italia impiegasse cinque miliardi di dollari in aiuti. Un impegno mai rimangiato. In cambio, Tripoli si sarebbe impegnata a intensificare i pattugliamenti in mare e via terra per fermare i migranti.

      Nonostante tutte le accertate violazioni dei diritti umani, nel 2012 l’Italia aveva rinnovato l’accordo con Tripoli, ribadito poi con il Memorandum del 2017 e che verrà prorogato per altri tre anni senza condizioni. Di certo c’è che negli ultimi anni Roma ha elargito ai libici almeno 150 milioni solo per la cosiddetta Guardia costiera e per “migliorare” le condizioni dei diritti umani. Risultato: per l’Onu e per l’Ue i campi di prigionia sono irriformabili, e vanno tutti chiusi. Milioni di euro degli italiani letteralmente spariti tra le dune, non meno di quanto non avvenga con i fondi europei. A Tripoli sanno di impugnare il coltello dalla parte del manico.

      Il 20 marzo del 2017 il premier libico al Sarraj ha presentato una lista della spesa mai ritoccata. Valore, oltre 800 milioni di euro: 10 navi, 10 motovedette, 4 elicotteri, 24 gommoni, 10 ambulanze, 30 fuoristrada, 15 automobili accessoriate, almeno 30 telefoni satellitari ed equipaggiamento militare non sottoposto all’embargo sulle armi votato dall’Onu. Nello stesso periodo il governo italiano assicurava che entro il 2020 sarebbero stati investiti oltre 280 milioni solo per le autorità marittime.

      C’è poi il capitolo milizie. Un contratto, visionato da «Avvenire», riporta l’accordo tra il governo riconosciuto dall’Onu e le principali milizie anti Haftar. Ci sono poi benefit a costo zero. L’Europa ha ritirato gli assetti navali dell’operazione Sophia, così proprio da Zawyah - ha rivelato ieri Euronews – continuano a operare senza alcun rischio di ispezione le 236 navi sospettate di essere coinvolte nel traffico di carburante.

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/i-soldi-a-tripoli-accordo-migranti

    • Italy to renew anti-migration deal with Libya

      Foreign minister says deal has reduced number of arrivals and deaths at sea

      Italy is to renew its deal with the UN-backed government in Libya under which the Libyan coastguard stops migrant boats at sea and sends their passengers back to the north African country, where aid agencies say they face torture and abuse.

      The foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, told the lower house of parliament it would be “unwise for Italy to break off its agreement with Libya on handling asylum seekers and combating human trafficking”.

      The deal was agreed in February 2017 in an attempt to stem the flow of refugees and migrants to Sicily’s shores. Italy agreed to train, equip and finance the Libyan coastguard, including providing four patrol vessels.

      The deal, due to expire on Saturday, will be renewed automatically unless one of the parties opts out. Di Maio said: “The document can be amended but it is undeniable that it has reduced the number of arrivals and deaths at sea.”

      Sources close to the Italian government said amendments should include evacuation programmes to resettle asylum seekers and measures to ensure the presence of humanitarian organisations in Libyan detention centres. It is not clear whether Tripoli would agree to such changes.

      Médecins Sans Frontières said the proposed changes would serve only to “perpetuate policies of rejection and detention” in Libya.

      “The only possible solution is to completely overcome the arbitrary detention system and end the support offered to the Libyan authorities that feed suffering, violations of international law and the odious work of smugglers,” said Marco Bertotto, MSF’s head of advocacy.

      Early in October the Italian newspaper Avvenire revealed that a man described as one of the world’s most notorious human traffickers attended a series of meetings in Italy in May 2017 between Italian officials and a Libyan delegation to discuss controls on migration flows from north Africa. The alleged trafficker, Abd al-Rahman Milad, nicknamed Bija, is a captain of the Libyan coastguard.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/31/italy-to-renew-anti-migration-deal-with-libya

    • L’Italie renouvelle son accord controversé sur les garde-côtes libyens

      Malgré de nombreuses critiques, l’accord controversé signé en 2017 entre l’Italie et la Libye a été renouvelé mercredi 30 octobre par le chef de la diplomatie italienne. Soutenu par l’Union européenne, le texte prévoit une aide financière et la formation des garde-côtes libyens pour bloquer les départs de migrants.

      L’annonce a été faite au Parlement mercredi 30 octobre par le chef de la diplomatie italienne Luigi di Maio. L’Italie renouvelle l’accord controversé signé avec la Libye en 2017 afin de stopper les départs de migrants depuis les côtes libyennes. Le texte prévoit, une nouvelle fois, une aide financière et la formation des garde-côtes libyens.

      « Une réduction de l’assistance italienne [à la Libye] pourrait se traduire par une suspension de l’activité des garde-côtes libyens, avec pour conséquence : davantage de départs, des tragédies en mer et une détérioration des conditions des migrants dans les centres d’accueil », a justifié le ministre des Affaires étrangères. « Le texte fonctionne » et « personne ne peut nier qu’il a permis de passer de 170 000 débarquement [de migrants en 2016] à 2 200 en seulement deux ans ».

      L’accord est ainsi prolongé pour trois ans à partir du 2 novembre.

      Face aux critiques, Luigi di Maio a promis que le gouvernement « travaille pour améliorer » les termes de l’accord : selon le chef de la diplomatie, Rome va chercher à « impliquer davantage les Nations unies et la société civile dans l’amélioration de l’assistance aux migrants » en élargissant l’accès des ONG aux centres de détention libyens, à augmenter les fonds pour le rapatriement vers les pays d’origine quand ils sont considérés comme sûrs comme la Tunisie et pour financer des projets de coopération.

      « La seule solution humanitaire possible est de mettre un terme au système de détention arbitraire »

      Médecins sans frontières (MSF) ne croit pas en ces « modifications envisagées ». C’est du « maquillage humanitaire » car elles sont « difficilement réalisables » estime Marco Bertollo de MSF/Italie dans un communiqué. Le gouvernement italien dit « vouloir améliorer la situation mais en réalité, on perpétue des politiques de renvoi et de détention », a-t-il encore insisté.

      MSF a ainsi demandé à l’Italie et à la communauté internationale de « cesser d’apporter un soutien aux autorités et aux garde-côtes libyens qui ne fait qu’alimenter les souffrances, les violations des droits de l’Homme et l’odieuse activité des trafiquants d’êtres humains, à terre et en mer ».

      L’ONG est présente en Libye et fournit une assistance médico-humanitaire aux migrants présents dans les centres de détention. « La seule solution possible est de mettre un terme au système de détention arbitraire », et d’évacuer les migrants et réfugiés, a ajouté MSF, soulignant que le Haut-commissariat des Nations unies aux réfugiés (HCR).
      L’accord italo-libyen avait été négocié par Marco Minniti, un ancien communiste passé par les services secrets, et devenu ministre de l’Intérieur en décembre 2016, du gouvernement de Paolo Gentiloni (en place jusqu’au printemps 2018). Fort de vieux contacts en Libye, il avait signé un « mémorandum » avec les autorités de Tripoli mais aussi avec des milices pour bloquer les migrants.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/20545/l-italie-renouvelle-son-accord-controverse-sur-les-garde-cotes-libyens

  • #métaliste (qui va être un grand chantier, car il y a plein d’information sur seenthis, qu’il faudrait réorganiser) sur :
    #externalisation #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #migrations #réfugiés

    Des liens vers des articles généraux sur l’externalisation des frontières de la part de l’ #UE (#EU) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/569305
    https://seenthis.net/messages/390549
    https://seenthis.net/messages/320101

    Ici une tentative (très mal réussie, car évidement, la divergence entre pratiques et les discours à un moment donné, ça se voit !) de l’UE de faire une brochure pour déconstruire les mythes autour de la migration...
    La question de l’externalisation y est abordée dans différentes parties de la brochure :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/765967

    Petit chapitre/encadré sur l’externalisation des frontières dans l’ouvrage « (Dé)passer la frontière » :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/769367

    Les origines de l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers (maritimes) : accord #USA-#Haïti de #1981 :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/768694

    L’externalisation des politiques européennes en matière de migration
    https://seenthis.net/messages/787450

    "#Sous-traitance" de la #politique_migratoire en Afrique : l’Europe a-t-elle les mains propres ?
    https://seenthis.net/messages/789048

    Partners in crime ? The impacts of Europe’s outsourced migration controls on peace, stability and rights :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/794636
    #paix #stabilité #droits #Libye #Niger #Turquie

    • Un bon article de #Matteo_Villa qui résume ces questions, paru en septembre 2018 :

      Outsourcing European Border Control : Recent Trends in Departures, Deaths and Search and Rescue Activities in the Central Mediterranean

      In our previous blog post ‘Border Deaths in the Mediterranean: what we can learn from the latest data?’ on Border Criminologies (March 2017) we discussed the existing data sources on Mediterranean Sea migration and provided an analysis of key patterns and trends. We found that Search and Rescue (SAR) has little or no effect on the number of arrivals, and it is rather the absence of SAR that leads to more deaths. These results, which are in line with other research, were covered by various European media outlets and also resulted in a peer reviewed publication in Sociology (also available as a free preprint).

      These findings covered the period until December 2016. Since then, however, the context of European border policy has changed considerably:

      Through a mix of political pressure, financial incentives and military assistance, the EU has tried to induce transit countries in the Sahel to close their borders to Europe-bound migrants. According to European parliament president Tajani, this resulted in a 95% drop in crossings through Niger, a key transition point for migrants on the way to Libya, although it cannot be excluded that migrants are taking different, more dangerous routes in order to reach Northern African countries (either via Niger or through Algeria).
      From the beginning of 2017 onwards, the Italian government backed by the EU has increasingly cooperated with Libyan authorities to block depatures in exchange for financial and logistical support. The UN-backed government in Libya in turn, has allegedly forged deals with a number of militias.
      Increased European support for the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG), resulting in an increase in interceptions and the declaration of a Libyan SAR zone.
      Increasing legal and political attacks on NGOs engaged in SAR have culminated in Italy’s decision to declare its ports to be “closed” to NGO vessels and (temporarily) to EU rescue ships in June 2018.

      Each of these developments can be seen as part of a broader strategy to close the European borders by externalizing border control to third countries, a practice that was tried earlier with Turkey, and to relax commitments enshrined in international law, such as search and rescue at sea and non refoulement.

      In view of these recent developments, we document estimated trends in arrivals, deaths, mortality rates and rescue activities covering the most recent period, between January 2016 and July 2018. In doing so, we strongly rely on detailed statistical analyses conducted by the Italian research institute ISPI. Our analyses are based on publicly available data from the IOM and the UNHCR for arrivals and interceptions, and IOM’s Missing Migrants Project for deaths. It is important to note that recorded deaths are a lower bound estimate of the actual death toll, because some deaths are likely to remain unreported. We provide an extensive discussion of data sources, data quality and challenges for their interpretation in our academic article on the issue. Since most of the above developments relate to the situation in Libya, we focus on migrants departing from that country. Libya is also the only Northern African country where interceptions at sea by the Coast Guard are independently monitored by both IOM and UNHCR personnel at disembarkation points.

      Although each of these individual developments have been reported elsewhere, together they paint a picture of Europe’s resolve to close its external borders and deter irregular migration, regardless of the (human) cost.

      Trend #1: A sharp drop in departures

      Figure 1 plots trends in the number of migrants departing irregularly from Libya by sea since January 2016. Until mid-2017, migrant departures show a remarkably regular seasonal pattern, with around 20,000 departures during the summer months. As of July 2017, however, the number of arrivals dropped dramatically, and it has stayed at comparatively low levels up to the present. The decrease in arrivals occurred after alleged ’deals’ between Libyan authorities and the militias in Western Libya that control the smuggling networks, and a few months after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Italy and Libya. Convergent diplomatic action induced some militias to switch from smuggling to preventing departures. Other factors, such as the activity of the LCG, private and public SAR providers, or dynamics in the rate of dead and missing along the route, are relevant per se but appear to play no significant role in the decrease in arrivals to Europe. Europe’s efforts to block migrants passing though transit countries may have played a role as well, but evidence is still too sparse to be reliably assessed.

      Trend #2: An increased risk of interception by the Libyan Coast Guard

      The Libyan Coast Guard plays a pivotal role in Europe’s strategy of externalizing migration control to third countries. A report by Human Rights Watch suggests that in recent months “the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (IMRCC) has routinized a practice, tested since at least May 2017, of transferring responsibility to Libyan coast guard forces in international waters even when there are other, better-equipped vessels, including its own patrol boats or Italian navy vessels, closer to the scene.” This practice has been termed ’refoulement by proxy’ because the LCG is financed, equipped and instructed by the Italian and European authorities, as described in this recent investigative report. Migrants who are forcibly returned to Libya are imprisoned in detention centres for indefinite periods, and they face systematic violence—including torture and rape—as has been documented in numerous reports.

      The new Italian government intensified and formalized the policy of transferring responsibility to the LCG. Since June, it has instructed ships undertaking rescues in the Libyan SAR zone to refer all emergency calls to the Libyan authorities, who will then arrange their interception and pull-back to Libya. The declarations that Italian ports are “closed” to NGO ships are also part of this strategy, as their operations are considered to interfere with LCG interceptions. In late July, this practice resulted in the first instance of a non-Libyan vessel, the Asso Ventotto, being instructed to coordinate with the Tripoli Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC). The ship ultimately disembarked the rescued persons on Libyan territory and thus effectively engaged in refoulement and collective expulsion of migrants.

      The practice of outsourcing European border control to the Libyan Coast Guard has brought about a sharp increase in its activity: by the end of July 2018, the LCG had intercepted 12,490 migrants at sea compared to 8,851 during the same period in the previous year, which amounts to a 41% increase. In combination with the drop in departures, this policy has resulted in a rapid increase in the risk of interception. To illustrate this fact, in July 2017 just 6% of migrants leaving Libya by sea ended up being caught and brought back, while almost 94% made it to Europe. In July 2018, instead, 71% of migrants leaving Libya’s shores were intercepted and brought back, while just 24% arrived safely in a European country (see Figure 2).

      Trend #3: An increase in the absolute and relative mortality rate between mid-June and July 2018

      In this section, we look at trends in absolute mortality (the number of dead and missing people at sea) and relative mortality (the risk of crossing) of migrants departing from Libya. In particular, we analyse the widely reported spike in deaths that occurred in late June 2018, after virtually all SAR NGOs had been prevented from operating as a result of policies introduced by the new Italian Minister of Interior Salvini from the far-right Lega and the continued denial by the Maltese authorities to offer Valetta as a port of entry. On June 10, Italy unilaterally decided to declare its ports to be “closed” to NGO rescue ships, as well as (temporarily) to commercial and EU vessels carrying rescued migrants. Also Malta tightened its position on rescue activities and cracked down on two SAR NGOs in early July. Since then, rescue operations close to the Libyan coast have been almost entirely delegated to the LCG.

      First, we look at trends in the absolute mortality rate. Figure 3 shows a reduction in the monthly number of deaths since July 2017, commensurate with the reduction in the number of departures described above. For example, 20 deaths were recorded in April 2018, and 11 in May (Figure 3). In June, however, an estimated 451 migrants died on their way from Libya to Europe—of which 370 between 16 and 30 June. It is important to note that these deaths occurred during a time when departures were comparatively low. As a result, the risk of crossing has increased from 2.8% in the previous months to a staggering 7% since mid-June 2018 (Figure 4). These findings are also robust to using different time frames for the pre-NGO absence period, including the entire period since the drop of arrivals in July 2017 until the NGO ban. Whereas relative mortality has fluctuated in recent years, 7% constitute an extraordinary spike.

      Figure 5 maps shipwreck events occurring between 16 June and 31 July 2018 with at least estimated 15 dead or missing persons, using geocoded data provided by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. While the precise location of each shipwreck is only an estimate, as “precise locations are not often known” (as explained in the “Methodology” section of the Missing Migrants Project), such estimates do provide an indication of where such shipwrecks have taken place. In particular, IOM data shows that shipwrecks between 16 June and 31 July took place well within 50 nautical miles from Libya’s shores, an area which used to be patrolled by either the LCG or NGO vessels. Yet, during the time when deaths spiked, only two NGO vessels had been operating, and only discontinuously.

      These observations are reminiscent of what happened in 2015, when the withdrawal of competent SAR providers (the Italian mission Mare Nostrum) similarly created the conditions for avoidable loss of life. Although these findings are based on a relatively short time period, they are suggestive of the risk of leaving the Libyan SAR zone to the operations of the LCG alone. Continuous monitoring of the situation remains of utmost importance.

      Conclusion

      In combination, the three trends described above highlight the harsh realities of recent European migration policies, which seek to limit irregular migration regardless of the moral, legal and humanitarian consequences. The current European obsession with reducing migration at all costs is even less comprehensible when considering that arrivals decreased drastically prior to the most recent escalation of rhetoric and externalization of migration control. Arrivals to Italy in the first half of 2018 were down by 79% compared to the same time frame in 2017. Although increasingly inhumane policies are often cloaked in a rhetoric about reducing deaths at sea, it is important to remember that those who are prevented from crossing or forcibly returned are generally not safe but remain subject to precarious and often lethal conditions in countries of transit. Rather than providing a sustainable response to the complex challenges involved in irregular migration, Europe has outsourced the management of its migration ’problem’ to countries like Libya and Niger, where violence and death often remains hidden from the public view.

      https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/09/outsourcing

    • Arrivées en Europe via la Méditerranée :
      2018 :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/705781
      Arrivées en Europe toute frontière confondue :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/739902
      –-> attention, c’est les « crossings »... rappelez-vous de la question des doubles/triples contages des passages :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/705957

      Pour #2016 #2017 et #2018, chiffres de Matteo Villa :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/768142
      database : https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ncHxOHIx4ptt4YFXgGi9TIbwd53HaR3oFbrfBm67ak4/edit#gid=0
      #base_de_données #database

    • Arrivées par la #Méditerranée en #2019 :
      Europe : plus de 21.000 migrants et réfugiés arrivés par la Méditerranée depuis janvier

      Selon l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les migrations (OIM ), les arrivées de migrants en Méditerranée ont dépassé le seuil des 21.000, ce qui constitue une baisse d’environ un tiers par rapport aux 32.070 arrivés au cours de la même période l’an dernier.

      Ce sont exactement 21.301 migrants et réfugiés qui sont entrés en Europe par voie maritime à la date du 29 mai. Les arrivées en Espagne et en Grèce représentent 85% du total des arrivées, le reste des migrants et réfugiés de cette année ont pris la direction de l’Italie, de Malte et de Chypre.

      La Grèce a désormais surpassé l’Espagne au titre de première destination des migrants et des réfugiés rejoignant l’Europe via la Méditerranée. Selon l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), le nombre total d’arrivées par mer cette année est de 10.200 dont 2.483 arrivées signalées entre le 1er et le 29 mai dernier.

      Le Bureau de l’OIM en Grèce a indiqué mercredi dernier que les garde-côtes helléniques ont confirmé que pendant plus de 48 heures entre le 28 et le 29 mai, il y eu sept incidents nécessitant des opérations de recherche et sauvetage au large des îles de Lesbos, Leros, Samos, Symi Kos et le port d’Alexandroupolis. Ils ont ainsi sauvé 191 migrants qui ont été transférés par la suite dans les ports respectifs grecs.

      De plus, à la date du 30 avril, ce sont 3.497 migrants qui ont réussi à atteindre la Grèce via sa frontière terrestre avec la Turquie.
      519 décès de migrants, dont plus de la moitié sur la route de la Méditerranée centrale

      L’Espagne reste la deuxième porte d’entrée des réfugiés en Méditerranée, avec 7.876 arrivées dont 1.160 hommes, femmes et enfants pour le seul mois de mai. Sur la même période l’an dernier, Madrid a comptabilisé 8.150 migrants et réfugiés ayant réussi à franchir la route de la Méditerranée occidentale. En outre, plus de 2.100 ont atteint l’Espagne via sa frontière terrestre avec le Maroc.

      Par ailleurs, l’OIM rappelle que les arrivées ont considérablement baissé en Italie où seuls 1.561 migrants ont réussi à franchir les côtes siciliennes.

      Mais la route de la Méditerranée centrale (Italie et Malte) reste tout de même la plus meurtrière avec 321 décès, soit plus de la moitié du total de migrants et réfugiés ayant péri en tentant d’atteindre l’Europe. Les décès enregistrés sur les trois principales routes de la mer Méditerranée pendant près de cinq mois en 2019 s’élèvent à 519 personnes, soit un quart de moins que les 662 décès confirmés au cours de la même période en 2018.

      A cet égard, l’OIM rappelle que dans l’ouest de la Méditerranée, l’organisation non gouvernementale Alarme Phone a signalé qu’un jeune Camerounais avait disparu le 21 mai dernier. Selon les témoignages des huit survivants qui l’accompagnaient, il serait tombé en mer avant que leur navire ne soit intercepté par la marine marocaine. Son corps n’a pas été retrouvé.

      En Méditerranée centrale, des migrants interceptés et renvoyés en Libye le 23 mai ont également indiqué aux équipes de l’OIM que cinq hommes s’étaient noyés au cours de leur voyage. « Aucun autre détail concernant l’identité, le pays d’origine ou d’autres informations personnelles concernant les disparus n’est disponible », a souligné l’OIM dans une note à la presse.

      https://news.un.org/fr/story/2019/05/1044671

  • Autour des #gardes-côtes_libyens... et de #refoulements en #Libye...

    Je copie-colle ici des articles que j’avais mis en bas de cette compilation (qu’il faudrait un peu mettre en ordre, peut-être avec l’aide de @isskein ?) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/705401

    Les articles ci-dessous traitent de :
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Méditerranée #push-back #refoulement #externalisation #frontières

    • Pour la première fois depuis 2009, un navire italien ramène des migrants en Libye

      Une embarcation de migrants secourue par un navire de ravitaillement italien a été renvoyée en Libye lundi 30 juillet. Le HCR a annoncé mardi l’ouverture d’une enquête et s’inquiète d’une violation du droit international.

      Lundi 30 juillet, un navire battant pavillon italien, l’Asso Ventotto, a ramené des migrants en Libye après les avoir secourus dans les eaux internationales – en 2012 déjà l’Italie a été condamnée par la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme pour avoir reconduit en Libye des migrants secourus en pleine mer en 2009.

      L’information a été donnée lundi soir sur Twitter par Oscar Camps, le fondateur de l’ONG espagnole Proactiva Open Arms, avant d’être reprise par Nicola Fratoianni, un député de la gauche italienne qui est actuellement à bord du bateau humanitaire espagnol qui sillonne en ce moment les côtes libyennes.

      Selon le quotidien italien La Repubblica, 108 migrants à bord d’une embarcation de fortune ont été pris en charge en mer Méditerranée par l’Asso Ventotto lundi 30 juillet. L’équipage du navire de ravitaillement italien a alors contacté le MRCC à Rome - centre de coordination des secours maritimes – qui les a orienté vers le centre de commandement maritime libyen. La Libye leur a ensuite donné l’instruction de ramener les migrants au port de Tripoli.

      En effet depuis le 28 juin, sur décision européenne, la gestion des secours des migrants en mer Méditerranée dépend des autorités libyennes et non plus de l’Italie. Concrètement, cela signifie que les opérations de sauvetage menées dans la « SAR zone » - zone de recherche et de sauvetage au large de la Libye - sont désormais coordonnées par les Libyens, depuis Tripoli. Mais le porte-parole du Conseil de l’Europe a réaffirmé ces dernières semaines qu’"aucun navire européen ne peut ramener des migrants en Libye car cela serait contraire à nos principes".

      Violation du droit international

      La Libye ne peut être considérée comme un « port sûr » pour le débarquement des migrants. « C’est une violation du droit international qui stipule que les personnes sauvées en mer doivent être amenées dans un ‘port sûr’. Malgré ce que dit le gouvernement italien, les ports libyens ne peuvent être considérés comme tels », a déclaré sur Twitter le député Nicola Fratoianni. « Les migrants se sont vus refuser la possibilité de demander l’asile, ce qui constitue une violation des accords de Genève sur les sauvetages en mer », dit-il encore dans le quotidien italien La Stampa.

      Sur Facebook, le ministre italien de l’Intérieur, Matteo Salvini, nie toutes entraves au droit international. « La garde-côtière italienne n’a ni coordonné, ni participé à cette opération, comme l’a faussement déclarée une ONG et un député de gauche mal informé ».

      Le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR) a de son côté annoncé mardi 31 juillet l’ouverture d’une enquête. « Nous recueillons toutes les informations nécessaires sur le cas du remorqueur italien Asso Ventotto qui aurait ramené en Libye 108 personnes sauvées en Méditerranée. La Libye n’est pas un ‘port sûr’ et cet acte pourrait constituer une violation du droit international », dit l’agence onusienne sur Twitter.

      http://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/10995/pour-la-premiere-fois-depuis-2009-un-navire-italien-ramene-des-migrant

    • Nave italiana soccorre e riporta in Libia 108 migranti. Salvini: «Nostra Guardia costiera non coinvolta»

      L’atto in violazione della legislazione internazionale che garantisce il diritto d’asilo e che non riconosce la Libia come un porto sicuro. Il vicepremier: «Nostre navi non sono intervenute nelle operazioni». Fratoianni (LeU): «Ci sono le prove della violazione»

      http://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2018/07/31/news/migranti_nave_italiana_libia-203026448/?ref=RHPPLF-BH-I0-C8-P1-S1.8-T1
      #vos_thalassa #asso_28

      Commentaire de Sara Prestianni, via la mailing-list de Migreurop:

      Le navire commerciale qui opere autour des plateformes de pétrole, battant pavillon italien - ASSO 28 - a ramené 108 migrants vers le port de Tripoli suite à une opération de sauvetage- Les premiers reconstructions faites par Open Arms et le parlementaire Fratoianni qui se trouve à bord de Open Arms parlent d’une interception en eaux internationales à la quelle a suivi le refoulement. Le journal La Repubblica dit que les Gardes Cotes Italiennes auraient invité Asso28 à se coordonner avec les Gardes Cotes Libyennes (comme font habituellement dans les derniers mois. Invitation déclinés justement par les ong qui opèrent en mer afin de éviter de proceder à un refoulement interdit par loi). Le Ministre de l’Interieur nie une implication des Gardes Cotes Italiens et cyniquement twitte “Le Garde cotes libyenne dans les derniers heures ont sauvé et ramené à terre 611 migrants. Les Ong protestent les passeurs font des affaires ? C’est bien. Nous continuons ainsi”

    • Départs de migrants depuis la Libye :

      Libya : outcomes of the sea journey

      Migrants intercepted /rescued by the Libyan coast guard

      Lieux de désembarquement :


      #Italie #Espagne #Malte

      –-> Graphiques de #Matteo_Villa, posté sur twitter :
      source : https://twitter.com/emmevilla/status/1036892919964286976

      #statistiques #chiffres #2016 #2017 #2018

      cc @simplicissimus

    • Libyan Coast Guard Takes 611 Migrants Back to Africa

      Between Monday and Tuesday, the Libyan Coast Guard reportedly rescued 611 migrants aboard several dinghies off the coast and took them back to the African mainland.

      Along with the Libyan search and rescue operation, an Italian vessel, following indications from the Libyan Coast Guard, rescued 108 migrants aboard a rubber dinghy and delivered them back to the port of Tripoli. The vessel, called La Asso 28, was a support boat for an oil platform.

      Italian mainstream media have echoed complaints of NGOs claiming that in taking migrants back to Libya the Italian vessel would have violated international law that guarantees the right to asylum and does not recognize Libya as a safe haven.

      In recent weeks, a spokesman for the Council of Europe had stated that “no European ship can bring migrants back to Libya because it is contrary to our principles.”

      Twenty days ago, another ship supporting an oil rig, the Vos Thalassa, after rescuing a group of migrants, was preparing to deliver them to a Libyan patrol boat when an attempt to revolt among the migrants convinced the commander to reverse the route and ask the help of the Italian Coast Guard. The migrants were loaded aboard the ship Diciotti and taken to Trapani, Sicily, after the intervention of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella.

      On the contrary, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has declared Tuesday’s operation to be a victory for efforts to curb illegal immigration. The decision to take migrants back to Africa rather than transporting them to Europe reflects an accord between Italy and Libya that has greatly reduced the numbers of African migrants reaching Italian shores.

      Commenting on the news, Mr. Salvini tweeted: “The Libyan Coast Guard has rescued and taken back to land 611 immigrants in recent hours. The NGOs protest and the traffickers lose their business? Great, this is how we make progress,” followed by hashtags announcing “closed ports” and “open hearts.”

      Parliamentarian Nicola Fratoianni of the left-wing Liberi and Uguali (Free and Equal) party and secretary of the Italian Left, presently aboard the Spanish NGO ship Open Arms, denounced the move.

      “We do not yet know whether this operation was carried out on the instructions of the Italian Coast Guard, but if so it would be a very serious precedent, a real collective rejection for which Italy and the ship’s captain will answer before a court,” he said.

      “International law requires that people rescued at sea must be taken to a safe haven and the Libyan ports, despite the mystification of reality by the Italian government, cannot be considered as such,” he added.

      The United Nations immigration office (UNHCR) has threatened Italy for the incident involving the 108 migrants taken to Tripoli, insisting that Libya is not a safe port and that the episode could represent a breach of international law.

      “We are collecting all the necessary information,” UNHCR tweeted.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/santiago-anti-abortion-women-stabbed-chile-protest-a8469786.html
      #refoulements #push-back

    • Libya rescued 10,000 migrants this year, says Germany

      Libyan coast guards have saved some 10,000 migrants at sea since the start of this year, according to German authorities. The figure was provided by the foreign ministry during a debate in parliament over what the Left party said were “inhumane conditions” of returns of migrants to Libya. Libyan coast guards are trained by the EU to stop migrants crossing to Europe.

      https://euobserver.com/tickers/142821

    • UNHCR Flash Update Libya (9 - 15 November 2018) [EN/AR]

      As of 14 November, the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) has rescued/intercepted 14,595 refugees and migrants (10,184 men, 2,147 women and 1,408 children) at sea. On 10 November, a commercial vessel reached the port of Misrata (187 km east of Tripoli) carrying 95 refugees and migrants who refused to disembark the boat. The individuals on board comprise of Ethiopian, Eritrean, South Sudanese, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Somali nationals. UNHCR is closely following-up on the situation of the 14 individuals who have already disembarked and ensuring the necessary assistance is provided and screening is conducted for solutions. Since the onset, UNHCR has advocated for a peaceful resolution of the situation and provided food, water and core relief items (CRIs) to alleviate the suffering of individuals onboard the vessel.

      https://reliefweb.int/report/libya/unhcr-flash-update-libya-9-15-november-2018-enar
      #statistiques #2018 #chiffres

    • Rescued at sea, locked up, then sold to smugglers

      In Libya, refugees returned by EU-funded ships are thrust back into a world of exploitation.

      The Souq al Khamis detention centre in Khoms, Libya, is so close to the sea that migrants and refugees can hear waves crashing on the shore. Its detainees – hundreds of men, women and children – were among 15,000 people caught trying to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy boats in 2018, after attempting to reach Italy and the safety of Europe.

      They’re now locked in rooms covered in graffiti, including warnings that refugees may be sold to smugglers by the guards that watch them.


      This detention centre is run by the UN-backed Libyan government’s department for combatting illegal migration (DCIM). Events here over the last few weeks show how a hardening of European migration policy is leaving desperate refugees with little room to escape from networks ready to exploit them.

      Since 2014, the EU has allocated more than €300 million to Libya with the aim of stopping migration. Funnelled through the Trust Fund for Africa, this includes roughly €40 million for the Libyan coast guard, which intercepts boats in the Mediterranean. Ireland’s contribution to the trust fund will be €15 million between 2016 and 2020.

      Scabies

      One of the last 2018 sea interceptions happened on December 29th, when, the UN says, 286 people were returned to Khoms. According to two current detainees, who message using hidden phones, the returned migrants arrived at Souq al Khamis with scabies and other health problems, and were desperate for medical attention.


      On New Year’s Eve, a detainee messaged to say the guards in the centre had tried to force an Eritrean man to return to smugglers, but others managed to break down the door and save him.

      On Sunday, January 5th, detainees said, the Libyan guards were pressurising the still-unregistered arrivals to leave by beating them with guns. “The leaders are trying to push them [to] get out every day,” one said.

      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/rescued-at-sea-locked-up-then-sold-to-smugglers-1.3759181

    • Migranti, 100 persone trasferite su cargo e riportate in Libia. Alarm Phone: “Sono sotto choc, credevano di andare in Italia”

      Dopo l’allarme delle scorse ore e la chiamata del premier Conte a Tripoli, le persone (tra cui venti donne e dodici bambini, uno dei quali potrebbe essere morto di stenti) sono state trasferite sull’imbarcazione che batte bandiera della Sierra Leone in direzione Misurata. Ma stando alle ultime informazioni, le tensioni a bordo rendono difficoltoso lo sbarco. Intanto l’ong Sea Watch ha salvato 47 persone e chiede un porto dove attraccare

      https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2019/01/21/migranti-100-persone-trasferite-su-cargo-e-riportate-in-libia-alarm-phone-sono-sotto-choc-credevano-di-andare-in-italia/4911794

    • Migrants calling us in distress from the Mediterranean returned to Libya by deadly ‘refoulement’ industry

      When they called us from the sea, the 106 precarious travellers referred to their boat as a white balloon. This balloon, or rubber dinghy, was meant to carry them all the way to safety in Europe. The people on board – many men, about 20 women, and 12 children from central, west and north Africa – had left Khoms in Libya a day earlier, on the evening of January 19.

      Though they survived the night at sea, many of passengers on the boat were unwell, seasick and freezing. They decided to call for help and used their satellite phone at approximately 11am the next day. They reached out to the Alarm Phone, a hotline operated by international activists situated in Europe and Africa, that can be called by migrants in distress at sea. Alongside my work as a researcher on migration and borders, I am also a member of this activist network, and on that day I supported our shift team who received and documented the direct calls from the people on the boat in distress.

      The boat had been trying to get as far away as possible from the Libyan coast. Only then would the passengers stand a chance of escaping Libya’s coastguard. The European Union and Italy struck a deal in 2017 to train the Libyan coastguard in return for them stopping migrants reaching European shores. But a 2017 report by Amnesty International highlighted how the Libyan authorities operate in collusion with smuggling networks. Time and again, media reports suggest they have drastically violated the human rights of escaping migrants as well as the laws of the sea.

      The migrant travellers knew that if they were detected and caught, they would be abducted back to Libya, or illegally “refouled”. But Libya is a dangerous place for migrants in transit – as well as for Libyan nationals – given the ongoing civil conflict between several warring factions. In all likelihood, being sent back to Libya would mean being sent to detention centres described as “concentration-camp like” by German diplomats.

      The odds of reaching Europe were stacked against the people on the boat. Over the past year, the European-Libyan collaboration in containing migrants in North Africa, a research focus of mine, has resulted in a decrease of sea arrivals in Italy – from about 119,000 in 2017 to 23,000 in 2018. Precisely how many people were intercepted by the Libyan coastguards last year is unclear but the Libyan authorities have put the figure at around 15,000. The fact that this refoulement industry has led to a decrease in the number of migrant crossings in the central Mediterranean means that fewer people have been able to escape grave human rights violations and reach a place of safety.
      Shifting responsibility

      In repeated conversations, the 106 people on the boat made clear to the Alarm Phone activists that they would rather move on and endanger their lives by continuing to Europe than be returned by the Libyan coastguards. The activists stayed in touch with them, and for transparency reasons, the distress situation was made public via Twitter.

      Around noon, the situation on board deteriorated markedly and anxiety spread. With weather conditions worsening and after a boy had fallen unconscious, the people on the boat expressed for the first time their immediate fear of dying at sea and demanded Alarm Phone to alert all available authorities.

      The activists swiftly notified the Italian coastguards. But both the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, and in turn the Maltese authorities, suggested it was the Libyan coastguard’s responsibility to handle the distress call. And yet, eight different phone numbers of the Libyan coastguards could not be reached by the activists.

      In the afternoon, the situation had come across the radar of the Italian media. When the Alarm Phone activists informed the people on board that the public had also been made aware of the situation by the media one person succinctly responded: “I don’t need to be on the news, I need to be rescued.”

      And yet media attention catapulted the story into the highest political spheres in Italy. According to a report in the Italian national newspaper Corriere della Sera, the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, took charge of the situation, stating that the fate of the migrant boat could not be left to Alarm Phone activists. Conte instructed the Italian foreign intelligence service to launch rapid negotiations with the Libyan coastguards. It took some time to persuade them, but eventually, the Libyans were convinced to take action.

      In the meantime, the precarious passengers on the boat reported of water leaking into their boat, of the freezing cold, and their fear of drowning. The last time the Alarm Phone reached them, around 8pm, they could see a plane in the distance but were unable to forward their GPS coordinates to the Alarm Phone due to the failing battery of their satellite phone.
      Sent back to Libya

      About three hours later, the Italian coastguards issued a press release: the Libyans had assumed responsibility and co-ordinated the rescue of several boats. According to the press release, a merchant vessel had rescued the boat and the 106 people would be returned to Libya.

      According to the survivors and Médecins Sans Frontières who treated them on arrival, at least six people appeared to have drowned during the voyage – presumably after the Alarm Phone lost contact with them. Another boy died after disembarkation.

      A day later, on January 21, members of a second group of 144 people called the Alarm Phone from another merchant vessel. Just like the first group, they had been refouled to Libya, but they were still on board. Some still believed that they would be brought to Europe.

      Speaking on the phone with the activists, they could see land but it was not European but Libyan land. Recognising they’d been returned to their place of torment, they panicked, cried and threatened collective suicide. The women were separated from the men – Alarm Phone activists could hear them shout in the background. In the evening, contact with this second group of migrants was lost.

      During the evening of January 23, several of the women of the group reached out to the activists. They said that during the night, Libyan security forces boarded the merchant vessel and transported small groups into the harbour of Misrata, where they were taken to a detention centre. They said they’d been beaten when refusing to disembark. One of them, bleeding, feared that she had already lost her unborn child.

      On the next day, the situation worsened further. The women told the activists that Libyan forces entered their cell in the morning, pointing guns at them, after some of the imprisoned had tried to escape. Reportedly, every man was beaten. The pictures they sent to the Alarm Phone made it into Italian news, showing unhygienic conditions, overcrowded cells, and bodies with torture marks.

      Just like the 106 travellers on the “white balloon”, this second group of 144 people had risked their lives but were now back in their hell.
      Profiteering

      It’s more than likely that for some of these migrant travellers, this was not their first attempt to escape Libya. The tens of thousands captured at sea and returned over the past years have found themselves entangled in the European-Libyan refoulement “industry”. Due to European promises of financial support or border technologies, regimes with often questionable human rights records have wilfully taken on the role as Europe’s frontier guards. In the Mediterranean, the Libyan coastguards are left to do the dirty work while European agencies – such as Frontex, Eunavfor Med as well as the Italian and Maltese coastguards – have withdrawn from the most contentious and deadly areas of the sea.

      It’s sadly not surprising that flagrant human rights violations have become the norm rather than the exception. Quite cynically, several factions of the Libyan coastguards have profited not merely from Europe’s financial support but also from playing a “double game” in which they continue to be involved in human smuggling while, disguised as coastguards, clampdown on the trade of rival smuggling networks. This means that the Libyan coastguards profit often from both letting migrant boats leave and from subsequently recapturing them.

      The detention camps in Libya, where torture and rape are everyday phenomena, are not merely containment zones of captured migrants – they form crucial extortion zones in this refoulement industry. Migrants are turned into “cash cows” and are repeatedly subjected to violent forms of extortion, often forced to call relatives at home and beg for their ransom.

      Despite this systematic abuse, migrant voices cannot be completely drowned out. They continue to appear, rebelliously, from detention and even from the middle of the sea, reminding us all about Europe’s complicity in the production of their suffering.

      https://theconversation.com/migrants-calling-us-in-distress-from-the-mediterranean-returned-to-

    • Libya coast guard detains 113 migrants during lull in fighting

      The Libyan coast guard has stopped 113 migrants trying to reach Italy over the past two days, the United Nations said on Wednesday, as boat departures resume following a lull in fighting between rival forces in Libya.

      The western Libyan coast is a major departure point for mainly African migrants fleeing conflict and poverty and trying to reach Italy across the Mediterranean Sea with the help of human traffickers.

      Smuggling activity had slowed when forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to take the capital Tripoli, home to Libya’s internationally recognized government.

      But clashes eased on Tuesday after a push by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) back by artillery failed to make inroads toward the center.

      Shelling audible in central Tripoli was less intense on Wednesday than on previous days. Three weeks of clashes had killed 376 as of Tuesday, the World Health Organization said.

      The Libyan coast guard stopped two boats on Tuesday and one on Wednesday, carrying 113 migrants in all, and returned them to two western towns away from the Tripoli frontline, where they were put into detention centers, U.N. migration agency IOM said.

      A coast guard spokesman said the migrants were from Arab and sub-Saharan African countries as well as Bangladesh.

      Human rights groups have accused armed groups and members of the coast guard of being involved in human trafficking.

      Officials have been accused in the past of mistreating detainees, who are being held in their thousands as part of European-backed efforts to curb smuggling. A U.N. report in December referred to a “terrible litany” of violations including unlawful killings, torture, gang rape and slavery.

      Rights groups have also accused the European Union of complicity in the abuse as Italy and France have provided boats for the coast guard to step up patrols. That move has helped to reduce migrant departures.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security/libya-coast-guard-detains-113-migrants-during-lull-in-fighting-idUSKCN1S73R

    • Judgement in Italy recognizes that people rescued by #Vos_Thalassa acted lawfully when opposed disembarkation in #Libya. Two men spent months in prison, as Italian government had wished, till a judge established that they had acted in legitimate defence.
      Also interesting that judge argues that Italy-Libya Bilateral agreement on migration control must be considered illegitimate as in breach of international, EU and domestic law.

      https://dirittopenaleuomo.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/GIP-Trapani.pdf

      Reçu via FB par @isskein :
      https://www.facebook.com/isabelle.saintsaens/posts/10218154173470834?comment_id=10218154180551011&notif_id=1560196520660275&n
      #justice

    • The Commission and Italy tie themselves up in knots over Libya

      http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-344-Commission-and-Italy-tie-themselves-up-in-knots-over-libya.pdf

      –-> analyse de #Yasha_Maccanico sur la polémique entre Salvini et la Commission quand il a déclaré en mars que la Commission était tout a fait d’accord avec son approche (le retour des migrants aux champs logiques), la Commission l’a démenti et puis a sorti la lettre de Mme. Michou (JAI Commission) de laquelle provenaient les justifications utilisées par le ministre, qui disait à Leggeri que la collaboration avec la garde côtière libyenne des avions européennes était legale. Dans la lettre, elle admit que les italiens et la mission de Frontex font des activités qui devrait être capable de faire la Libye, si sa zone SAR fuisse authentique et pas une manière pour l’UE de se débarrasser de ses obligations légales et humanitaires. C’est un acte de auto-inculpation pour l’UE et pour l’Italie.