• Le #Kosovo va-t-il rejoindre les normes européennes ?

    3 avril - 18h30 : #Frontex a récemment conduit une #évaluation des systèmes #IT au Kosovo, pour préparer la mise en place d’un système compatible avec #Eurodac dans le cadre du projet « #Regional_Support_to _Protection-Sensitive_Migration_Management in the WB and Turkey ». En effet, le Kosovo a déjà des systèmes de collectes de #données efficaces mais qui ont été mis en place par les Américains et qui ne respectent pas les normes européennes. Par ailleurs, Le Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile (#EASO) a préparé un plan pour la mise en place d’un #système_d’asile au Kosovo aligné sur les #normes_européennes.

    Enfin, du fait de son statut particulier, le Kosovo n’a que peu d’#accords_de_réadmission pour expulser les ressortissant.e.s de pays tiers sur son territoire. L’idée de l’UE serait de mutualiser les retours à l’échelle des Balkans pour contourner cette difficulté.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/refugies-balkans-les-dernieres-infos

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #réadmission #retours #renvois

    –-

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    Et plus précisément :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message782649

  • The fortified gates of the Balkans. How non-EU member states are incorporated into fortress Europe.

    Marko Gašperlin, a Slovenian police officer, began his first mandate as chair of the Management Board of Frontex in spring 2016. Less than two months earlier, then Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar had gone to North Macedonia to convey the message from the EU that the migration route through the Balkans — the so-called Balkan route — was about to close.

    “North Macedonia was the first country ready to cooperate [with Frontex] to stop the stampede we had in 2015 across the Western Balkans,” Gašperlin told K2.0 during an interview conducted at the police headquarters in Ljubljana in September 2020.

    “Stampede” refers to over 1 million people who entered the European Union in 2015 and early 2016 in search of asylum, the majority traveling along the Balkan route. Most of them were from Syria, but also some other countries of the global South where human rights are a vague concept.

    According to Gašperlin, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s primary interest at the EU’s external borders is controlling the movement of people who he describes as “illegals.”

    Given numerous allegations by human rights organizations, Frontex could itself be part of illegal activity as part of the push-back chain removing people from EU territory before they have had the opportunity to assert their right to claim asylum.

    In March 2016, the EU made a deal with Turkey to stop the flow of people toward Europe, and Frontex became even more active in the Aegean Sea. Only four years later, at the end of 2020, Gašperlin established a Frontex working group to look into allegations of human rights violations by its officers. So far, no misconduct has been acknowledged. The final internal Frontex report is due at the end of February.

    After allegations were made public during the summer and fall of 2020, some members of the European Parliament called for Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri to step down, while the European Ombudsman also announced an inquiry into the effectiveness of the Agency’s complaints mechanism as well as its management.

    A European Parliament Frontex Scrutiny Working Group was also established to conduct its own inquiry, looking into “compliance and respect for fundamental rights” as well as internal management, and transparency and accountability. It formally began work this week (February 23) with its fact-finding investigation expected to last four months.

    2021 started with more allegations and revelations.

    In January 2021 the EU anti-fraud office, OLAF, confirmed it is leading an investigation over allegations of harassment and misconduct inside Frontex, and push-backs conducted at the EU’s borders.

    Similar accusations of human rights violations related to Frontex have been accumulating for years. In 2011, Human Rights Watch issued a report titled “The EU’s Dirty Hands” that documented the ill-treatment of migrant detainees in Greece.

    Various human rights organizations and media have also long reported about Frontex helping the Libyan Coast Guard to locate and pull back people trying to escape toward Europe. After being pulled back, people are held in notorious detention camps, which operate with the support of the EU.

    Nonetheless, EU leaders are not giving up on the idea of expanding the Frontex mission, making deals with governments of non-member states in the Balkans to participate in their efforts to stop migration.

    Currently, the Frontex plan is to deploy up to 10,000 border guards at the EU external borders by 2027.

    Policing Europe

    Frontex, with its headquarters in Poland, was established in 2004, but it remained relatively low key for the first decade of its existence. This changed in 2015 when, in order to better control Europe’s visa-free Schengen area, the European Commission (EC) extended the Agency’s mandate as it aimed to turn Frontex into a fully-fledged European Border and Coastguard Agency. Officially, they began operating in this role in October 2016, at the Bulgarian border with Turkey.

    In recent years, the territory they cover has been expanding, framed as cooperation with neighboring countries, with the main goal “to ensure implementation of the European integrated border management.”

    The budget allocated for their work has also grown massively, from about 6 million euros in 2005, to 460 million euros in 2020. According to existing plans, the Agency is set to grow still further and by 2027 up to 5.6 billion euros is expected to have been spent on Frontex.

    As one of the main migration routes into Europe the Balkans has become the key region for Frontex. Close cooperation with authorities in the region has been growing since 2016, particularly through the “Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey” project: https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Partners/Third_countries/IPA_II_Phase_II.pdf.

    In order to increase its powers in the field, Frontex has promoted “status agreements” with the countries in the region, while the EC, through its Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) fund, has dedicated 3.4 million euros over the two-year 2019-21 period for strengthening borders.

    The first Balkan state to upgrade its cooperation agreement with Frontex to a status agreement was Albania in 2018; joint police operations at its southern border with Greece began in spring 2019. According to the agreement, Frontex is allowed to conduct full border police duties on the non-EU territory.

    Frontex’s status agreement with Albania was followed by a similar agreement with Montenegro that has been in force since July 2020.

    The signing of a status agreement with North Macedonia was blocked by Bulgaria in October 2020, while the agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina requires further approvals and the one with Serbia is awaiting ratification by the parliament in Belgrade.

    “The current legal framework is the consequence of the situation in the years from 2014 to 2016,” Gašperlin said.

    He added that he regretted that the possibility to cooperate with non-EU states in returns of “illegals” had subsequently been dropped from the Frontex mandate after an intervention by EU parliamentarians. In 2019, a number of changes were made to how Frontex functions including removing the power to “launch return interventions in third countries” due to the fact that many of these countries have a poor record when it comes to rule of law and respect of human rights.

    “This means, if we are concrete, that the illegals who are in BiH — the EU can pay for their accommodation, Frontex can help only a little with the current tools it has, while when it comes to returns, Frontex cannot do anything,” Gašperlin said.

    Fortification of the borders

    The steady introduction of status agreements is intended to replace and upgrade existing police cooperation deals that are already in place with non-EU states.

    Over the years, EU member states have established various bilateral agreements with countries around the world, including some in the Balkan region. Further agreements have been negotiated by the EU itself, with Frontex listing 20 “working arrangements” with different non-member states on its website.

    Based on existing Frontex working arrangements, exchange of information and “consultancy” visits by Frontex officials — which also include work at border crossings — are already practiced widely across the Balkan-EU borders.

    The new status agreements allow Frontex officers to guard the borders and perform police tasks on the territory of the country with which the agreement is signed, while this country’s national courts do not have jurisdiction over the Frontex personnel.

    Comparing bilateral agreements to status agreements, Marko Gašperlin explained that, with Frontex taking over certain duties, individual EU states will be able to avoid the administrative and financial burdens of “bilateral solidarity.”

    Radoš Đurović, director of the NGO Asylum Protection Centre (APC) which works with migrants in Serbia, questions whether Frontex’s presence in the region will bring better control over violations and fears that if past acts of alleged violence are used it could make matters worse.

    “The EU’s aim is to increase border control and reduce the number of people who legally or illegally cross,” Đurović says in a phone interview for K2.0. “We know that violence does not stop the crossings. It only increases the violence people experience.”

    Similarly, Jasmin Redžepi from the Skopje-based NGO Legis, argues that the current EU focus on policing its borders only entraps people in the region.

    “This causes more problems, suffering and death,” he says. “People are forced to turn to criminals in search of help. The current police actions are empowering criminals and organized crime.”

    Redžepi believes the region is currently acting as some kind of human filter for the EU.

    “From the security standpoint this is solidarity with local authorities. But in the field, it prevents greater numbers of refugees from moving toward central Europe,” Redžepi says.

    “They get temporarily stuck. The EU calls it regulation but they only postpone their arrival in the EU and increase the violations of human rights, European law and international law. In the end people cross, just more simply die along the way.”

    EU accused of externalizing issues

    For the EU, it was a shifting pattern of migratory journeys that signified the moment to start increasing its border security around the region by strengthening its cooperation with individual states.

    The overland Balkan route toward Western Europe has always been used by people on the move. But it has become even more frequented in recent years as changing approaches to border policing and rescue restrictions in the Central Mediterranean have made crossings by sea even more deadly.

    For the regional countries, each at a different stage of a still distant promise of EU membership, partnering with Frontex comes with the obvious incentive of demonstrating their commitment to the bloc.

    “When regional authorities work to stop people crossing towards the EU, they hope to get extra benefits elsewhere,” says APC Serbia’s Radoš Đurovic.

    There are also other potential perks. Jasmin Redžepi from Legis explains that police from EU states often leave behind equipment for under-equipped local forces.

    But there has also been significant criticism of the EU’s approach in both the Balkans and elsewhere, with many accusing it of attempting to externalize its borders and avoid accountability by pushing difficult issues elsewhere.

    According to research by Violeta Moreno-Lax and Martin Lemberg-Pedersen, who have analyzed the consequences of the EU’s approach to border management, the bloc’s actions amount to a “dispersion of legal duties” that is not “ethically and legally tenable under international law.”

    One of the results, the researchers found, is that “repressive forces” in third countries gain standing as valid interlocutors for cooperation and democratic and human rights credentials become “secondary, if at all relevant.”

    APC’s Radoš Đurović agrees, suggesting that we are entering a situation where the power of the law and international norms that prevent illegal use of force are, in effect, limited.

    “Europe may not have enough power to influence the situations in places further away that push migration, but it can influence its border regions,” he says. “The changes we see forced onto the states are problematic — from push-backs to violence.”

    Playing by whose rules?

    One of the particular anomalies seen with the status agreements is that Albanian police are now being accompanied by Frontex forces to better control their southern border at the same time as many of Albania’s own citizens are themselves attempting to reach the EU in irregular ways.

    Asked about this apparent paradox, Marko Gašperlin said he did “not remember any Albanians among the illegals.”

    However, Frontex’s risk analysis for 2020, puts Albania in the top four countries for whose citizens return orders were issued in the preceding two years and second in terms of returns effectively carried out. Eurostat data for 2018 and 2019 also puts Albania in 11th place among countries from which first time asylum seekers come, before Somalia and Bangladesh and well ahead of Morocco and Algeria.

    While many of these Albanian citizens may have entered EU countries via regular means before being subject to return orders for reasons such as breaching visa conditions, people on the move from Albania are often encountered along the Balkan route, according to activists working in the field.

    Meanwhile, other migrants have complained of being subjected to illegal push-backs at Albania’s border with Greece, though there is a lack of monitoring in this area and these claims remain unverified.

    In Serbia, the KlikAktiv Center for Development of Social Policies has analyzed Belgrade’s pending status agreement for Frontex operations.

    It warns that increasing the presence of armed police, from a Frontex force that has allegedly been involved in violence and abuses of power, is a recipe for disaster, especially when they will have immunity from local criminal and civil jurisdiction.

    It also flags that changes in legislation will enable the integration of data systems and rapid deportations without proper safeguards in place.

    Police activities to secure borders greatly depend on — and supply data to — EU information technology systems. But EU law provides fewer protections for data processing of foreign nationals than for that of EU citizens, effectively creating segregation in terms of data protection.

    The EU Fundamental Rights Agency has warned that the establishment of a more invasive system for non-EU nationals could potentially lead to increased discrimination and skew data that could further “fuel existing misperceptions that there is a link between asylum-seekers, migration and crime.”

    A question of standards

    Frontex emphasizes that there are codified safeguards and existing internal appeal mechanisms.

    According to the status agreements, violations of fundamental rights such as data protection rules or the principle of non-refoulement — which prohibits the forcible return of individuals to countries where they face danger through push-backs or other means — are all reasons for either party to suspend or terminate their cooperation.

    In January, Frontex itself suspended its mission in Hungary after the EU member state failed to abide by an EU Court of Justice decision. In December 2020, the court found that Hungarian border enforcement was in violation of EU law by restricting access to its asylum system and for carrying out illegal push-backs into Serbia.

    Marko Gašperlin claimed that Frontex’s presence improved professional police standards wherever it operated.

    However, claims of raising standards have been questioned by human rights researchers and activists.

    Jasmin Redžepi recounts that the first complaint against a foreign police officer that his NGO Legis filed with North Macedonian authorities and international organizations was against a Slovenian police officer posted through bilateral agreement; the complaint related to allegations of unprofessional conduct toward migrants.

    “Presently, people cross illegally and the police push them back illegally,” Redžepi says. “They should be able to ask for asylum but cannot as police push people across borders.”

    Gašperlin told K2.0 that it is natural that there will be a variation of standards between police from different countries.

    In its recruitment efforts, Frontex has sought to enlist police officers or people with a customs or army background. According to Gašperlin, recruits have been disproportionately from Romania and Italy, while fewer have been police officers from northern member states “where standards and wages are better.”

    “It would be illusory to expect that all of the EU would rise up to the level of respect for human rights and to the high standards of Sweden,” he said. “There also has not been a case of the EU throwing a member out, although there have been examples of human rights violations, of different kinds.”

    ‘Monitoring from the air’

    One of the EU member states whose own police have been accused of serious human rights violations against refugees and migrants, including torture, is Croatia.

    Despite the allegations, in January 2020, Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior Police Academy was chosen to lead the first Frontex-financed training session for attendees from police forces across the Balkan route region.

    Frontex currently has a presence in Croatia, at the EU border area with Bosnia and Herzegovina, amongst other places.

    Asked about the numerous reports from international NGOs and collectives, as well as from the national Ombudsman Lora Vidović and the Council of Europe, of mass human rights violations at the Croatian borders, Gašperlin declined to engage.

    “Frontex helps Croatia with monitoring from the air,” he said. “That is all.”

    Gašperlin said that the role of his agency is only to notify Croatia when people are detected approaching the border from Bosnia. Asked if Frontex also monitors what happens to people once Croatian police find them, given continuously worsening allegations, he said: “From the air this might be difficult. I do not know if a plane from the air can monitor that.”

    Pressed further, he declined to comment.

    To claim ignorance is, however, becoming increasingly difficult. A recent statement on the state of the EU’s borders by UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, notes: “The pushbacks [at Europe’s borders] are carried out in a violent and apparently systematic way.”

    Radoš Đurović from APC Serbia pointed out that Frontex must know about the alleged violations.

    “The question is: Do they want to investigate and prevent them?” he says. “All those present in the field know about the violence and who perpetrates it.”

    Warnings that strict and violent EU border policies are increasing the sophistication and brutality of smugglers, while technological “solutions” and militarization come with vested interests and more potential human rights violations, do not seem to worry the head of Frontex’s Management Board.

    “If passage from Turkey to Germany is too expensive, people will not decide to go,” said Gašperlin, describing the job done by Frontex:

    “We do the work we do. So people cannot simply come here, sit and say — here I am, now take me to Germany, as some might want. Or — here I am, I’m asking for asylum, now take me to Postojna or Ljubljana, where I will get fed, cared for, and then I’ll sit on the bus and ride to Munich where I’ll again ask for asylum. This would be a minimal price.”

    Human rights advocates in the region such as Jasmin Redžepi have no illusions that what they face on the ground reflects the needs and aims of the EU.

    “We are only a bridge,” Redžepi says. “The least the EU should do is take care that its policies do not turn the region into a cradle for criminals and organized crime. We need legal, regular passages and procedures for people to apply for asylum, not illegal, violent push-backs.

    “If we talk about security we cannot talk exclusively about the security of borders. We have to talk about the security of people as well.”

    https://kosovotwopointzero.com/en/the-fortified-gates-of-the-balkans

    #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #frontex #Macédoine_du_Nord #contrôles_frontaliers #militarisation_des_frontières #push-backs #refoulements #refoulements_en_chaîne #frontières_extérieures #Regional_Support_to_Protection-Sensitive_Migration_Management_in_the_Western_Balkans_and_Turkey #Instrument_for_Pre-Accession (#IPA) #budget #Albanie #Monténégro #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #accords_bilatéraux

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    Et plus particulièrement ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message782649

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • The big wall


    https://thebigwall.org/en

    An ActionAid investigation into how Italy tried to stop migration from Africa, using EU funds, and how much money it spent.

    There are satellites, drones, ships, cooperation projects, police posts, repatriation flights, training centers. They are the bricks of an invisible but tangible and often violent wall. Erected starting in 2015 onwards, thanks to over one billion euros of public money. With one goal: to eliminate those movements by sea, from North Africa to Italy, which in 2015 caused an outcry over a “refugee crisis”. Here we tell you about the (fragile) foundations and the (dramatic) impacts of this project. Which must be changed, urgently.

    –---

    Ready, Set, Go

    Imagine a board game, Risk style. The board is a huge geographical map, which descends south from Italy, including the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa and almost reaching the equator, in Cameroon, South Sudan, Rwanda. Places we know little about and read rarely about.

    Each player distributes activity cards and objects between countries and along borders. In Ethiopia there is a camera crew shooting TV series called ‘Miraj’ [mirage], which recounts the misadventures of naive youth who rely on shady characters to reach Europe. There is military equipment, distributed almost everywhere: off-road vehicles for the Tunisian border police, ambulances and tank trucks for the army in Niger, patrol boats for Libya, surveillance drones taking off from Sicily.

    There is technology: satellite systems on ships in the Mediterranean, software for recording fingerprints in Egypt, laptops for the Nigerian police. And still: coming and going of flights between Libya and Nigeria, Guinea, Gambia. Maritime coordination centers, police posts in the middle of the Sahara, job orientation offices in Tunisia or Ethiopia, clinics in Uganda, facilities for minors in Eritrea, and refugee camps in Sudan.

    Hold your breath for a moment longer, because we still haven’t mentioned the training courses. And there are many: to produce yogurt in Ivory Coast, open a farm in Senegal or a beauty salon in Nigeria, to learn about the rights of refugees, or how to use a radar station.

    Crazed pawns, overlapping cards and unclear rules. Except for one: from these African countries, more than 25 of them, not one person should make it to Italy. There is only one exception allowed: leaving with a visa. Embassy officials, however, have precise instructions: anyone who doesn’t have something to return to should not be accepted. Relationships, family, and friends don’t count, but only incomes, properties, businesses, and titles do.

    For a young professional, a worker, a student, an activist, anyone looking for safety, future and adventure beyond the borders of the continent, for people like me writing and perhaps like you reading, the only allies become the facilitators, those who Europe calls traffickers and who, from friends, can turn into worst enemies.

    We called it The Big Wall. It could be one of those strategy games that keeps going throughout the night, for fans of geopolitics, conflicts, finance. But this is real life, and it’s the result of years of investments, experiments, documents and meetings. At first disorderly, sporadic, then systematized and increased since 2015, when United Nations agencies, echoed by the international media, sounded an alarm: there is a migrant crisis happening and Europe must intervene. Immediately.

    Italy was at the forefront, and all those agreements, projects, and programs from previous years suddenly converged and multiplied, becoming bricks of a wall that, from an increasingly militarized Mediterranean, moved south, to the travelers’ countries of origin.

    The basic idea, which bounced around chancelleries and European institutions, was to use multiple tools: development cooperation, support for security forces, on-site protection of refugees, repatriation, information campaigns on the risks of irregular migration. This, in the language of Brussels, was a “comprehensive approach”.

    We talked to some of the protagonists of this story — those who built the wall, who tried to jump it, and who would like to demolish it — and we looked through thousands of pages of reports, minutes, resolutions, decrees, calls for tenders, contracts, newspaper articles, research, to understand how much money Italy has spent, where, and what impacts it has had. Months of work to discover not only that this wall has dramatic consequences, but that the European – and Italian – approach to international migration stems from erroneous premises, from an emergency stance that has disastrous results for everyone, including European citizens.
    Libya: the tip of the iceberg

    It was the start of the 2017/2018 academic year and Omer Shatz, professor of international law, offered his Sciences Po students the opportunity to work alongside him on the preparation of a dossier. For the students of the faculty, this was nothing new. In the classrooms of the austere building on the Rive Gauche of Paris, which European and African heads of state have passed though, not least Emmanuel Macron, it’s normal to work on real life materials: peace agreements in Colombia, trials against dictators and foreign fighters. Those who walk on those marble floors already know that they will be able to speak with confidence in circles that matter, in politics as well as diplomacy.

    Shatz, who as a criminal lawyer in Israel is familiar with abuses and rights violations, launched his students a new challenge: to bring Europe to the International Criminal Court for the first time. “Since it was created, the court has only condemned African citizens – dictators, militia leaders – but showing European responsibility was urgent,” he explains.

    One year after first proposing the plan, Shatz sent an envelope to the Court’s headquarters, in the Dutch town of The Hague. With his colleague Juan Branco and eight of his students he recounted, in 245 pages, cases of “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population”, linked to “crimes against humanity consciously committed by European actors, in the central Mediterranean and in Libya, in line with Italian and European Union policies”.

    The civilian population to which they refer comprises migrants and refugees, swallowed by the waves or intercepted in the central Mediterranean and brought back to shore by Libyan assets, to be placed in a seemingly endless cycle of detention. Among them are the 13.000 dead recorded since 2015, in the stretch of sea between North Africa and Italy, out of 523.000 people who survived the crossing, but also the many African and Asian citizens, who are rarely counted, who were tortured in Libya and died in any of the dozens of detention centers for foreigners, often run by militias.

    “At first we thought that the EU and Italy were outsourcing dirty work to Libya to block people, which in jargon is called ‘aiding and abetting’ in the commission of a crime, then we realized that the Europeans were actually the conductors of these operations, while the Libyans performed”, says Shatz, who, at the end of 2020, was preparing a second document for the International Criminal Court to include more names, those of the “anonymous officials of the European and Italian bureaucracy who participated in this criminal enterprise”, which was centered around the “reinvention of the Libyan Coast Guard, conceived by Italian actors”.

    Identifying heads of department, office directors, and institution executives in democratic countries as alleged criminals might seem excessive. For Shatz, however, “this is the first time, after the Nuremberg trials, after Eichmann, that Europe has committed crimes of this magnitude, outside of an armed conflict”. The court, which routinely rejects at least 95 percent of the cases presented, did not do so with Shatz and his students’ case. “Encouraging news, but that does not mean that the start of proceedings is around the corner”, explains the lawyer.

    At the basis of the alleged crimes, he continues, are “regulations, memoranda of understanding, maritime cooperation, detention centers, patrols and drones” created and financed by the European Union and Italy. Here Shatz is speaking about the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya to “reduce the flow of illegal migrants”, as the text of the document states. An objective to be achieved through training and support for the two maritime patrol forces of the very fragile Libyan national unity government, by “adapting” the existing detention centers, and supporting local development initiatives.

    Signed in Rome on February 2, 2017 and in force until 2023, the text is grafted onto the Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation signed by Silvio Berlusconi and Muammar Gaddafi in 2008, but is tied to a specific budget: that of the so-called Africa Fund, established in 2016 as the “Fund for extraordinary interventions to relaunch dialogue and cooperation with African countries of priority importance for migration routes” and extended in 2020 — as the Migration Fund — to non-African countries too.

    310 million euros were allocated in total between the end of 2016 and November 2020, and 252 of those were disbursed, according to our reconstruction.

    A multiplication of tools and funds that, explains Mario Giro, “was born after the summit between the European Union and African leaders in Malta, in November 2015”. According to the former undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 2013, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs between 2016 and 2018, that summit in Malta “sanctioned the triumph of a European obsession, that of reducing migration from Africa at all costs: in exchange of this containment, there was a willingness to spend, invest”. For Giro, the one in Malta was an “attempt to come together, but not a real partnership”.

    Libya, where more than 90 percent of those attempting to cross the central Mediterranean departed from in those years, was the heart of a project in which Italian funds and interests support and integrate with programs by the European Union and other member states. It was an all-European dialogue, from which powerful Africans — political leaders but also policemen, militiamen, and the traffickers themselves — tried to obtain something: legitimacy, funds, equipment.

    Fragmented and torn apart by a decade-long conflict, Libya was however not alone. In October 2015, just before the handshakes and the usual photographs at the Malta meeting, the European Commission established an Emergency Trust Fund to “address the root causes of migration in Africa”.

    To do so, as Dutch researcher Thomas Spijkerboer will reconstruct years later, the EU executive declared a state of emergency in the 26 African countries that benefit from the Fund, thus justifying the choice to circumvent European competition rules in favor of direct award procedures. However “it’s implausible – Spijkerboeker will go on to argue – that there is a crisis in all 26 African countries where the Trust Fund operates through the duration of the Trust Fund”, now extended until the end of 2021.

    However, the imperative, as an advisor to the Budget Commission of the European Parliament explains, was to act immediately: “not within a few weeks, but days, hours“.

    Faced with a Libya still ineffective at stopping flows to the north, it was in fact necessary to intervene further south, traveling backwards along the routes that converge from dozens of African countries and go towards Tripolitania. And — like dominoes in reverse — raising borders and convincing, or forcing, potential travelers to stop in their countries of origin or in others along the way, before they arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean.

    For the first time since decolonization, human mobility in Africa became the keystone of Italian policies on the continent, so much so that analysts began speaking of migration diplomacy. Factors such as the number of migrants leaving from a given country and the number of border posts or repatriations all became part of the political game, on the same level as profits from oil extraction, promises of investment, arms sales, or trade agreements.

    Comprising projects, funds, and programs, this migration diplomacy comes at a cost. For the period between January 2015 and November 2020, we tracked down 317 funding lines managed by Italy with its own funds and partially co-financed by the European Union. A total of 1.337 billion euros, spent over five years and destined to eight different items of expenditure. Here Libya is in first place, but it is not alone.

    A long story, in short

    For simplicity’s sake, we can say that it all started in the hot summer of 2002, with an almost surrealist lightning war over a barren rock on the edge of the Mediterranean: the Isla de Persejil, the island of parsley. A little island in the Strait of Gibraltar, disputed for decades between Morocco and Spain, which had its ephemeral moment of glory when in July of that year the Moroccan monarchy sent six soldiers, some tents and a flag. Jose-Maria Aznar’s government quickly responded with a reconquista to the sound of fighter-bombers, frigates, and helicopters.

    Peace was signed only a few weeks later and the island went back to being a land of shepherds and military patrols. Which from then on, however, were joint ones.

    “There was talk of combating drug trafficking and illegal fishing, but the reality was different: these were the first anti-immigration operations co-managed by Spanish and Moroccan soldiers”, explains Sebastian Cobarrubias, professor of geography at the University of Zaragoza. The model, he says, was the one of Franco-Spanish counter-terrorism operations in the Basque Country, exported from the Pyrenees to the sea border.

    A process of externalization of Spanish and European migration policy was born following those events in 2002, and culminating years later with the crisis de los cayucos, the pirogue crisis: the arrival of tens of thousands of people – 31,000 in 2006 alone – in the Canary Islands, following extremely dangerous crossings from Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco.

    In close dialogue with the European Commission, which saw the Spanish border as the most porous one of the fragile Schengen area, the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero reacted quickly. “Within a few months, cooperation and repatriation agreements were signed with nine African countries,” says Cobarrubias, who fought for years, with little success, to obtain the texts of the agreements.

    The events of the late 2000s look terribly similar to what Italy will try to implement a decade later with its Mediterranean neighbors, Libya first of all. So much so that in 2016 it was the Spanish Minister of the Interior himself, Jorge Fernández Díaz, who recalled that “the Spanish one is a European management model, reproducible in other contexts”. A vision confirmed by the European Commission officials with whom we spoke.

    At the heart of the Spanish strategy, which over a few short years led to a drastic decrease of arrivals by sea, was the opening of new diplomatic offices in Africa, the launch of local development projects, and above all the support given to the security forces of partner countries.

    Cobarrubias recounts at least four characteristic elements of the Madrid approach: the construction of new patrol forces “such as the Mauritanian Coast Guard, which did not exist and was created by Spain thanks to European funds, with the support of the newly created Frontex agency”; direct and indirect support for detention centers, such as the infamous ‘Guantanamito’, or little Guantanamo, denounced by civil society organizations in Mauritania; the real-time collection of border data and information, carried out by the SIVE satellite system, a prototype of Eurosur, an incredibly expensive intelligence center on the EU’s external borders launched in 2013, based on drones, satellites, airplanes, and sensors; and finally, the strategy of working backwards along migration routes, to seal borders, from the sea to the Sahara desert, and investing locally with development and governance programs, which Spain did during the two phases of the so-called Plan Africa, between 2006 and 2012.

    Replace “Spain” with “Italy”, and “Mauritania” with “Libya”, and you’ll have an idea of what happened years later, in an attempt to seal another European border.

    The main legacy of the Spanish model, according to the Italian sociologist Lorenzo Gabrielli, however, is the negative conditionality, which is the fact of conditioning the disbursement of these loans – for security forces, ministries, trade agreements – at the level of the African partners’ cooperation in the management of migration, constantly threatening to reduce investments if there are not enough repatriations being carried out, or if controls and pushbacks fail. An idea that is reminiscent both of the enlargement process of the European Union, with all the access restrictions placed on candidate countries, and of the Schengen Treaty, the attempt to break down internal European borders, which, as a consequence, created the need to protect a new common border, the external one.
    La externalización europea del control migratorio: ¿La acción española como modelo? Read more

    At the end of 2015, when almost 150,000 people had reached the Italian coast and over 850,000 had crossed Turkey and the Balkans to enter the European Union, the story of the maritime migration to Spain had almost faded from memory.

    But something remained of it: a management model. Based, once again, on an idea of crisis.

    “We tried to apply it to post-Gaddafi Libya – explains Stefano Manservisi, who over the past decade has chaired two key departments for migration policies in the EU Commission, Home Affairs and Development Cooperation – but in 2013 we soon realized that things had blown up, that that there was no government to talk to: the whole strategy had to be reformulated”.

    Going backwards, through routes and processes

    The six-month presidency of the European Council, in 2014, was the perfect opportunity for Italy.

    In November of that year, Matteo Renzi’s government hosted a conference in Rome to launch the Khartoum Process, the brand new initiative for the migration route between the EU and the Horn of Africa, modeled on the Rabat Process, born in 2006, at the apex of the crisis de los cayucos, after pressure from Spain. It’s a regional cooperation platform between EU countries and nine African countries, based on the exchange of information and coordination between governments, to manage migration.
    Il processo di Khartoum: l’Italia e l’Europa contro le migrazioni Read more

    Warning: if you start to find terms such as ‘process’ and ‘coordination platform’ nebulous, don’t worry. The backbone of European policies is made of these structures: meetings, committees, negotiating tables with unattractive names, whose roles elude most of us. It’s a tendency towards the multiplication of dialogue and decision spaces, that the migration policies of recent years have, if possible, accentuated, in the name of flexibility, of being ready for any eventuality. Of continuous crisis.

    Let’s go back to that inter-ministerial meeting in Rome that gave life to the Khartoum Process and in which Libya, where the civil war had resumed violently a few months earlier, was not present.

    Italy thus began looking beyond Libya, to the so-called countries of origin and transit. Such as Ethiopia, a historic beneficiary of Italian development cooperation, and Sudan. Indeed, both nations host refugees from Eritrea and Somalia, two of the main countries of origin of those who cross the central Mediterranean between 2013 and 2015. Improving their living conditions was urgent, to prevent them from traveling again, from dreaming of Europe. In Niger, on the other hand, which is an access corridor to Libya for those traveling from countries such as Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, and Mali, Italy co-financed a study for a new law against migrant smuggling, then adopted in 2015, which became the cornerstone of a radical attempt to reduce movement across the Sahara desert, which you will read about later.

    A year later, with the Malta summit and the birth of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, Italy was therefore ready to act. With a 123 million euro contribution, allocated from 2017 through the Africa Fund and the Migration Fund, Italy became the second donor country, and one of the most active in trying to manage those over 4 billion euros allocated for five years. [If you are curious about the financing mechanisms of the Trust Fund, read here: https://thebigwall.org/en/trust-fund/].

    Through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), born in 2014 as an operational branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy immediately made itself available to manage European Fund projects, and one idea seemed to be the driving one: using classic development programs, but implemented in record time, to offer on-site alternatives to young people eager to leave, while improving access to basic services.

    Local development, therefore, became the intervention to address the so-called root causes of migration. For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the newborn AICS, it seemed a winning approach. Unsurprisingly, the first project approved through the Trust Fund for Africa was managed by the Italian agency in Ethiopia.

    “Stemming irregular migration in Northern and Central Ethiopia” received 19.8 million euros in funding, a rare sum for local development interventions. The goal was to create job opportunities and open career guidance centers for young people in four Ethiopian regions. Or at least that’s how it seemed. In the first place, among the objectives listed in the project sheet, there is in fact another one: to reduce irregular migration.

    In the logical matrix of the project, which insiders know is the presentation – through data, indicators and figures – of the expected results, there is no indicator that appears next to the “reduction of irregular migration” objective. There is no way, it’s implicitly admitted, to verify that that goal has been achieved. That the young person trained to start a micro-enterprise in the Wollo area, for example, is one less migrant.

    Bizarre, not to mention wrong. But indicative of the problems of an approach of which, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains to us, “Italy had made itself the spokesperson in Europe”.

    “The mantra was that more development would stop migration, and at a certain point that worked for everyone: for AICS, which justified its funds in the face of political landscape that was scared by the issue of landings, and for many NGOs, which immediately understood that migrations were the parsley to be sprinkled on the funding requests that were presented”, explains the official, who, like so many in this story, prefers to remain anonymous.

    This idea of the root causes was reproduced, as in an echo chamber, “without programmatic documents, without guidelines, but on the wave of a vague idea of political consensus around the goal of containing migration”, he adds. This makes it almost impossible to talk about, so much so that a proposal for new guidelines on immigration and development, drawn up during 2020 by AICS, was set aside for months.

    Indeed, if someone were to say, as evidenced by scholars such as Michael Clemens, that development can also increase migration, and that migration itself is a source of development, the whole ‘root causes’ idea would collapse and the already tight cooperation budgets would risk being cut, in the name of the same absolute imperative as always: reducing arrivals to Italy and Europe.

    Maintaining a vague, costly and unverifiable approach is equally damaging.

    Bram Frouws, director of the Mixed Migration Center, a think-tank that studies international mobility, points out, for example, how the ‘root cause’ approach arises from a vision of migration as a problem to be eradicated rather than managed, and that paradoxically, the definition of these deep causes always remains superficial. In fact, there is never talk of how international fishing agreements damage local communities, nor of land grabbing by speculators, major construction work, or corruption and arms sales. There is only talk of generic economic vulnerability, of a country’s lack of stability. An almost abstract phenomenon, in which European actors are exempt from any responsibility.

    There is another problem: in the name of the fight against irregular migration, interventions have shifted from poorer and truly vulnerable countries and populations to regions with ‘high migratory rates’, a term repeated in dozens of project descriptions funded over the past few years, distorting one of the cardinal principles of development aid, codified in regulations and agreements: that of responding to the most urgent needs of a given population, and of not imposing external priorities, even more so if it is countries considered richer are the ones doing it.

    The Nigerien experiment

    While Ethiopia and Sudan absorb the most substantial share of funds destined to tackle the root causes of migration — respectively 47 and 32 million euros out of a total expenditure of 195 million euros — Niger, which for years has been contending for the podium of least developed country on the planet with Central African Republic according to the United Nations Human Development Index — benefits from just over 10 million euros.

    Here in fact it’s more urgent, for Italy and the EU, to intervene on border control rather than root causes, to stop the flow of people that cross the country until they arrive in Agadez, to then disappear in the Sahara and emerge, days later — if all goes well — in southern Libya. In 2016, the International Organization for Migration counted nearly 300,000 people passing through a single checkpoint along the road to Libya. The figure bounced between the offices of the European Commission, and from there to the Farnesina, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: faced with an uncontrollable Libya, intervening in Niger became a priority.

    Italy did it in great style, even before opening an embassy in the country, in February 2017: with a contribution to the state budget of Niger of 50 million euros, part of the Africa Fund, included as part of a maxi-program managed by the EU in the country and paid out in several installments.

    While the project documents list a number of conditions for the continuation of the funding, including increased monitoring along the routes to Libya and the adoption of regulations and strategies for border control, some local and European officials with whom we have spoken think that the assessments were made with one eye closed: the important thing was in fact to provide those funds to be spent in a country that for Italy, until then, had been synonymous only with tourism in the Sahara dunes and development in rural areas.

    Having become a priority in the New Partnership Framework on Migration, yet another EU operational program, launched in 2016, Niger seemed thus exempt from controls on the management of funds to which beneficiaries of European funds are normally subject to.

    “Our control mechanisms, the Court of Auditors, the Parliament and the anti-corruption Authority, do not work, and yet the European partners have injected millions of euros into state coffers, without imposing transparency mechanisms”, reports then Ali Idrissa Nani , president of the Réseau des Organizations pour la Transparence et l’Analyse du Budget (ROTAB), a network of associations that seeks to monitor state spending in Niger.

    “It leaves me embittered, but for some years we we’ve had the impression that civil liberties, human rights, and participation are no longer a European priority“, continues Nani, who —- at the end of 2020 — has just filed a complaint with the Court of Niamey, to ask the Prosecutor to open an investigation into the possible disappearance of at least 120 million euros in funds from the Ministry of Defense, a Pandora’s box uncovered by local and international journalists.

    For Nani, who like other Nigerien activists spent most of 2018 in prison for encouraging demonstrations against high living costs, this explosion of European and Italian cooperation didn’t do the country any good, and in fact favoured authoritarian tendencies, and limited even more the independence of the judiciary.

    For their part, the Nigerien rulers have more than others seized the opportunity offered by European donors to obtain legitimacy and support. Right after the Valletta summit, they were the first to present an action plan to reduce migration to Libya, which they abruptly implemented in mid-2016, applying the anti-trafficking law whose preliminary study was financed by Italy, with the aim of emptying the city of #Agadez of migrants from other countries.

    The transport of people to the Libyan border, an activity that until that point happened in the light of day and was sanctioned at least informally by the local authorities, thus became illegal from one day to the next. Hundreds of drivers, intermediaries, and facilitators were arrested, and an entire economy crashed

    But did the movement of people really decrease? Almost impossible to tell. The only data available are those of the International Organization for Migration, which continues to record the number of transits at certain police posts. But drivers and foreign travelers no longer pass through them, fearing they will be arrested or stopped. Routes and journeys, as always happens, are remodeled, only to reappear elsewhere. Over the border with Chad, or in Algeria, or in a risky zigzagging of small tracks, to avoid patrols.

    For Hamidou Manou Nabara, a Nigerien sociologist and researcher, the problems with this type of cooperation are manifold.

    On the one hand, it restricted the free movement guaranteed within the Economic Community of West African States, a sort of ‘Schengen area’ between 15 countries in the region, making half of Niger, from Agadez to the north, a no-go areas for foreign citizens, even though they still had the right to move throughout the national territory.

    Finally, those traveling north were made even more vulnerable. “The control of borders and migratory movements was justified on humanitarian grounds, to contrast human trafficking, but in reality very few victims of trafficking were ever identified: the center of this cooperation is repression”, explains Nabara.

    Increasing controls, through military and police operations, actually exposes travelers to greater violations of human rights, both by state agents and passeurs, making the Sahara crossings longer and riskier.

    The fight against human trafficking, a slogan repeated by European and African leaders and a central expenditure item of the Italian intervention between Africa and the Mediterranean — 142 million euros in five years —- actually risks having the opposite effect. Because a trafiicker’s bread and butter, in addition to people’s desire to travel, is closed borders and denied visas.

    A reinvented frontier

    Galvanized by the activism of the European Commission after the launch of the Trust Fund but under pressure internally, faced with a discourse on migration that seemed to invade every public space — from the front pages of newspapers to television talk-shows — and unable to agree on how to manage migration within the Schengen area, European rulers thus found an agreement outside the continent: to add more bricks to that wall that must reduce movements through the Mediterranean.

    Between 2015 and 2016, Italian, Dutch, German, French and European Union ministers, presidents and senior officials travel relentlessly between countries considered priorities for migration, and increasingly for security, and invite their colleagues to the European capitals. A coming and going of flights to Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, Senegal, Chad, Guinea, to make agreements, negotiate.

    “Niamey had become a crossroads for European diplomats”, remembers Ali Idrissa Nani, “but few understood the reasons”.

    However, unlike the border with Turkey, where the agreement signed with the EU at the beginning of 2016 in no time reduced the arrival of Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi citizens in Greece, the continent’s other ‘hot’ border, promises of speed and effectiveness by the Trust Fund for Africa did not seem to materialize. Departures from Libya, in particular, remained constant. And in the meantime, in the upcoming election in a divided Italy, the issue of migration seemed to be tipping the balance, capable of shifting votes and alliances.

    It is at that point that the Italian Ministry of the Interior, newly led by Marco Minniti, put its foot on the accelerator. The Viminale, the Italian Ministry of the Interior, became the orchestrator of a new intervention plan, refined between Rome and Brussels, with German support, which went back to focusing everything on Libya and on that stretch of sea that separates it from Italy.

    “In those months the phones were hot, everyone was looking for Marco“, says an official of the Interior Ministry, who admits that “the Ministry of the Interior had snatched the Libyan dossier from Foreign Affairs, but only because up until then the Foreign Ministry hadn’t obtained anything” .

    Minniti’s first move was the signing of the new Memorandum with Libya, which gave way to a tripartite plan.

    At the top of the agenda was the creation of a maritime interception device for boats departing from the Libyan coast, through the reconstruction of the Coast Guard and the General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS), the two patrol forces belonging to the Ministry of Defense and that of the Interior, and the establishment of a rescue coordination center, prerequisites for Libya to declare to the International Maritime Organization that it had a Search and Rescue Area, so that the Italian Coast Guard could ask Libyan colleagues to intervene if there were boats in trouble.

    Accompanying this work in Libya is a jungle of Italian and EU missions, surveillance systems and military operations — from the European Frontex, Eunavfor Med and Eubam Libya, to the Italian military mission “Safe Waters” — equipped with drones, planes, patrol boats, whose task is to monitor the Libyan Sea, which is increasingly emptied by the European humanitarian ships that started operating in 2014 (whose maneuvering spaces are in the meantime reduced to the bone due to various strategies) to support Libyan interception operations.

    The second point of the ‘Minniti agenda’ was to progressively empty Libya of migrants and refugees, so that an escape by sea would become increasingly difficult. Between 2017 and 2020, the Libyan assets, which are in large part composed of patrol boats donated by Italy, intercepted and returned to shore about 56,000 people according to data released by UN agencies. The Italian-European plan envisages two solutions: for economic migrants, the return to the country of origin; for refugees, the possibility of obtaining protection.

    There is one part of this plan that worked better, at least in terms of European wishes: repatriation, presented as ‘assisted voluntary return’. This vision was propelled by images, released in October 2017 by CNN as part of a report on the abuse of foreigners in Libya, of what appears to be a slave auction. The images reopened the unhealed wounds of the slave trade through Atlantic and Sahara, and helped the creation of a Joint Initiative between the International Organization for Migration, the European Union, and the African Union, aimed at returning and reintegrating people in the countries of origin.

    Part of the Italian funding for IOM was injected into this complex system of repatriation by air, from Tripoli to more than 20 countries, which has contributed to the repatriation of 87,000 people over three years. 33,000 from Libya, and 37,000 from Niger.

    A similar program for refugees, which envisages transit through other African countries (Niger and Rwanda gave their availability) and from there resettlement to Europe or North America, recorded much lower numbers: 3,300 evacuations between the end of 2017 and the end of 2020. For the 47,000 people registered as refugees in Libya, leaving the country without returning to their home country, to the starting point, is almost impossible.

    Finally, there is a third, lesser-known point of the Italian plan: even in Libya, Italy wants to intervene on the root causes of migration, or rather on the economies linked to the transit and smuggling of migrants. The scheme is simple: support basic services and local authorities in migrant transit areas, in exchange for this transit being controlled and reduced. The transit of people brings with it the circulation of currency, a more valuable asset than usual in a country at war, and this above all in the south of Libya, in the immense Saharan region of Fezzan, the gateway to the country, bordering Algeria, Niger, and Chad and almost inaccessible to international humanitarian agencies.

    A game in which intelligence plays central role (as also revealed by the journalist Lorenzo D’Agostino on Foreign Policy), as indeed it did in another negotiation and exchange of money: those 5 million euros destined — according to various journalistic reconstructions — to a Sabratha militia, the Anas Al-Dabbashi Brigade, to stop departures from the coastal city.

    A year later, its leader, Ahmed Al-Dabbashi, will be sanctioned by the UN Security Council, as leader for criminal activities related to human trafficking.

    The one built in record time by the ministry led by Marco Minniti is therefore a complicated and expensive puzzle. To finance it, there are above all the Trust Fund for Africa of the EU, and the Italian Africa Fund, initially headed only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and unpacked among several ministries for the occasion, but also the Internal Security Fund of the EU, which funds military equipment for all Italian security forces, as well as funds and activities from the Ministry of Defense.

    A significant part of those 666 million euros dedicated to border control, but also of funds to support governance and fight traffickers, converges and enters this plan: a machine that was built too quickly, among whose wheels human rights and Libya’s peace process are sacrificed.

    “We were looking for an immediate result and we lost sight of the big picture, sacrificing peace on the altar of the fight against migration, when Libya was in pieces, in the hands of militias who were holding us hostage”. This is how former Deputy Minister Mario Giro describes the troubled handling of the Libyan dossier.

    For Marwa Mohamed, a Libyan activist, all these funds and interventions were “provided without any real clause of respect for human rights, and have fragmented the country even more, because they were intercepted by the militias, which are the same ones that manage both the smuggling of migrants that detention centers, such as that of Abd el-Rahman al-Milad, known as ‘al-Bija’ ”.

    Projects aimed at Libyan municipalities, included in the interventions on the root causes of migration — such as the whole detention system, invigorated by the introduction of people intercepted at sea (and ‘improved’ through millions of euros of Italian funds) — offer legitimacy, when they do not finance it directly, to the ramified and violent system of local powers that the German political scientist Wolfram Lacher defines as the ‘Tripoli militia cartel‘. [for more details on the many Italian funds in Libya, read here].
    Fondi italiani in Libia Read more

    “Bringing migrants back to shore, perpetuating a detention system, does not only mean subjecting people to new abuses, but also enriching the militias, fueling the conflict”, continues Mohamed, who is now based in London, where she is a spokesman of the Libyan Lawyers for Justice organization.

    The last few years of Italian cooperation, she argues, have been “a sequence of lost opportunities”. And to those who tell you — Italian and European officials especially — that reforming justice, putting an end to that absolute impunity that strengthens the militias, is too difficult, Mohamed replies without hesitation: “to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, the authorities contacted the militias close to the Tripoli government one by one and in the meantime built a non-existent structure from scratch, the Libyan Coast Guard: and you’re telling me that you can’t put the judicial system back on its feet and protect refugees? ”

    The only thing that mattered, however, in that summer of 2017, were the numbers. Which, for the first time since 2013, were falling again, and quickly. In the month of August there were 80 percent fewer landings than the year before. And so it would be for the following months and years.

    “Since then, we have continued to allocate, renewing programs and projects, without asking for any guarantee in exchange for the treatment of migrants”, explains Matteo De Bellis, researcher at Amnesty International, remembering that the Italian promise to modify the Memorandum of Understanding, introducing clauses of protection, has been on stop since the controversial renewal of the document, in February 2020.

    Repatriations, evacuations, promises

    We are 1500 kilometers of road, and sand, south of Tripoli. Here Salah* spends his days escaping a merciless sun. The last three years of the life of the thirty-year-old Sudanese have not offered much else and now, like many fellow sufferers, he does not hide his fatigue.

    We are in a camp 15 kilometers from Agadez, in Niger, in the middle of the Sahara desert, where Salah lives with a thousand people, mostly Sudanese from the Darfur region, the epicenter of one of the most dramatic and lethal conflicts of recent decades.

    Like almost all the inhabitants of this temporary Saharan settlement, managed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and — at the end of 2020 — undergoing rehabilitation also thanks to Italian funds, he passed through Libya and since 2017, after three years of interceptions at sea and detention, he’s been desperately searching for a way out, for a future.

    Salah fled Darfur in 2016, after receiving threats from pro-government armed militias, and reached Tripoli after a series of vicissitudes and violence. In late spring 2017, he sailed from nearby Zawiya with 115 other people. They were intercepted, brought back to shore and imprisoned in a detention center, formally headed by the government but in fact controlled by the Al-Nasr militia, linked to the trafficker Al-Bija.

    “They beat us everywhere, for days, raped some women in front of us, and asked everyone to call families to get money sent,” Salah recalls. Months later, after paying some money and escaping, he crossed the Sahara again, up to Agadez. UNHCR had just opened a facility and from there, as rumour had it, you could ask to be resettled to Europe.

    Faced with sealed maritime borders, and after experiencing torture and abuse, that faint hope set in motion almost two thousand people, who, hoping to reach Italy, found themselves on the edges of the Sahara, along what many, by virtue of investments and negotiations, had started to call the ‘new European frontier’.

    Three years later, a little over a thousand people remain of that initial group. Only a few dozen of them had access to resettlement, while many returned to Libya, and to all of its abuses.

    Something similar is also happening in Tunisia, where since 2017, the number of migrants and refugees entering the country has increased. They are fleeing by land and sometimes by sea from Libya, going to crowd UN structures. Then, faced with a lack of real prospects, they return to Libya.

    For Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesman for the Tunisian Federation for Economic and Social Rights, “in Tunisia European partners have financed a non-reception: overcrowded centers in unworthy conditions, which have become recruitment areas for traffickers, because in fact there are two options offered there: go home or try to get back to the sea “.

    In short, even the interventions for the protection of migrants and refugees must be read in a broader context, of a contraction of mobility and human rights. “The refugee management itself has submitted to the goal of containment, which is the true original sin of the Italian and European strategy,” admits a UNHCR official.

    This dogma of containment, at any cost, affects everyone — people who travel, humanitarian actors, civil society, local governments — by distorting priorities, diverting funds, and undermining future relationships and prospects. The same ones that European officials call partnerships and which in the case of Africa, as reiterated in 2020 by President Ursula Von Der Leyen, should be “between equals”.

    Let’s take another example: the Egypt of President Abdel Fetah Al-Sisi. Since 2016, it has been increasingly isolated on the international level, also due to violent internal repression, which Italy knows something about. Among the thousands of people who have been disappeared or killed in recent years, is researcher Giulio Regeni, whose body was thrown on the side of a road north of Cairo in February 2016.

    Around the time of the murder, in which the complicity and cover-ups by the Egyptian security forces were immediately evident, the Italian Ministry of the Interior restarted its dialogue with the country. “It’s absurd, but Italy started to support Egypt in negotiations with the European Union,” explains lawyer Muhammed Al-Kashef, a member of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Right and now a refugee in Germany.

    By inserting itself on an already existing cooperation project that saw italy, for example, finance the use of fingerprint-recording software used by the Egyptian police, the Italian Ministry of the Interior was able to create a police academy in Cairo, inaugurated in 2018 with European funds, to train the border guards of over 20 African countries. Italy also backed Egyptian requests within the Khartoum Process and, on a different front, sells weapons and conducts joint naval exercises.

    “Rome could have played a role in Egypt, supporting the democratic process after the 2011 revolution, but it preferred to fall into the migration trap, fearing a wave of migration that would never happen,” says Al-Kashef.

    With one result: “they have helped transform Egypt into a country that kills dreams, and often dreamers too, and from which all young people today want to escape”. Much more so than in 2015 or that hopeful 2011.

    Cracks in the wall, and how to widen them

    If you have read this far, following personal stories and routes of people and funds, you will have understood one thing, above all: that the beating heart of this strategy, set up by Italy with the participation of the European Union and vice versa, is the reduction of migrations across the Mediterranean. The wall, in fact.

    Now try to add other European countries to this picture. Since 2015 many have fully adopted — or returned to — this process of ‘externalization’ of migration policies. Spain, where the Canary Islands route reopened in 2019, demonstrating the fragility of the model you read about above; France, with its strategic network in the former colonies, the so-called Françafrique. And then Germany, Belgium, Holland, United Kingdom, Austria.

    Complicated, isn’t it? This great wall’s bricks and builders keep multiplying. Even more strategies, meetings, committees, funds and documents. And often, the same lack of transparency, which makes reconstructing these loans – understanding which cement, sand, and lime mixture was used, i.e. who really benefited from the expense, what equipment was provided, how the results were monitored – a long process, when it’s not impossible.

    The Pact on Migration and Asylum of the European Union, presented in September 2020, seems to confirm this: cooperation with third countries and relaunching repatriations are at its core.

    Even the European Union budget for the seven-year period 2021-2027, approved in December 2020, continues to focus on this expenditure, for example by earmarking for migration projects 10 percent of the new Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, equipped with 70 billion euros, but also diverting a large part of the Immigration and Asylum Fund (8.7 billion) towards support for repatriation, and foreseeing 12.1 billion euros for border control.

    While now, with the new US presidency, some have called into question the future of the wall on the border with Mexico, perhaps the most famous of the anti-migrant barriers in the world, the wall built in the Mediterranean and further south, up to the equator, has seemingly never been so strong.

    But economists, sociologists, human rights defenders, analysts and travelers all demonstrate the problems with this model. “It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it,” says David Kipp, a researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs, a government-funded think-tank.

    For Kipp, however, we must begin to deflate this migration bubble, and go back to addressing migration as a human phenomenon, to be understood and managed. “I dream of the moment when this issue will be normalized, and will become something boring,” he admits timidly.

    To do this, cracks must be opened in the wall and in a model that seems solid but really isn’t, that has undesirable effects, violates human rights, and isolates Europe and Italy.

    Anna Knoll, researcher at the European Center for Development Policy Management, explains for example that European policies have tried to limit movements even within Africa, while the future of the continent is the freedom of movement of goods and people, and “for Europe, it is an excellent time to support this, also given the pressure from other international players, China first of all”.

    For Sabelo Mbokazi, who heads the Labor and Migration department of the Social Affairs Commission of the African Union (AU), there is one issue on which the two continental blocs have divergent positions: legal entry channels. “For the EU, they are something residual, we have a much broader vision,” he explains. And this will be one of the themes of the next EU-AU summit, which was postponed several times in 2020.

    It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it
    David Kipp - researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs

    Indeed, the issue of legal access channels to the Italian and European territory is one of the most important, and so far almost imperceptible, cracks in this Big Wall. In the last five years, Italy has spent just 15 million euros on it, 1.1 percent of the total expenditure dedicated to external dimensions of migration.

    The European Union hasn’t done any better. “Legal migration, which was one of the pillars of the strategy born in Valletta in 2015, has remained a dead letter, but if we limit ourselves to closing the borders, we will not go far”, says Stefano Manservisi, who as a senior official of the EU Commission worked on all the migration dossiers during those years.

    Yet we all know that a trafficker’s worst enemy are passport stamps, visas, and airline tickets.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=HmR96ySikkY

    Helen Dempster, who’s an economist at the Center for Global Development, spends her days studying how to do this: how to open legal channels of entry, and how to get states to think about it. And there is an effective example: we must not end up like Japan.

    “For decades, Japan has had very restrictive migration policies, it hasn’t allowed anyone in”, explains Dempster, “but in recent years it has realized that, with its aging population, it soon won’t have enough people to do basic jobs, pay taxes, and finance pensions”. And so, in April 2019, the Asian country began accepting work visa applications, hoping to attract 500,000 foreign workers.

    In Europe, however, “the hysteria surrounding migration in 2015 and 2016 stopped all debate“. Slowly, things are starting to move again. On the other hand, several European states, Italy and Germany especially, have one thing in common with Japan: an increasingly aging population.

    “All European labor ministries know that they must act quickly, but there are two preconceptions: that it is difficult to develop adequate projects, and that public opinion is against it.” For Dempster, who helped design an access program to the Belgian IT sector for Moroccan workers, these are false problems. “If we want to look at it from the point of view of the security of the receiving countries, bringing a person with a passport allows us to have a lot more information about who they are, which we do not have if we force them to arrive by sea”, she explains.

    Let’s look at some figures to make it easier: in 2007, Italy made 340,000 entry visas available, half of them seasonal, for non-EU workers, as part of the Flows Decree, Italy’s main legal entry channel adopted annually by the government. Few people cried “invasion” back then. Ten years later, in 2017, those 119,000 people who reached Italy through the Mediterranean seemed a disproportionate number. In the same year, the quotas of the Flow decree were just 30,000.

    Perhaps these numbers aren’t comparable, and building legal entry programs is certainly long, expensive, and apparently impractical, if we think of the economic and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic in which we are immersed. For Dempster, however, “it is important to be ready, to launch pilot programs, to create infrastructures and relationships”. So that we don’t end up like Japan, “which has urgently launched an access program for workers, without really knowing how to manage them”.

    The Spanish case, as already mentioned, shows how a model born twenty years ago, and then adopted along all the borders between Europe and Africa, does not really work.

    As international mobility declined, aided by the pandemic, at least 41,000 people landed in Spain in 2020, almost all of them in the Canary Islands. Numbers that take us back to 2006 and remind us how, after all, this ‘outsourcing’ offers costly and ineffective solutions.

    It’s reminiscent of so-called planned obsolescence, the production model for which a technological object isn’t built to last, inducing the consumer to replace it after a few years. But continually renewing and re-financing these walls can be convenient for multinational security companies, shipyards, political speculators, authoritarian regimes, and international traffickers. Certainly not for citizens, who — from the Italian and European institutions — would expect better products. May they think of what the world will be like in 10, 30, 50 years, and avoid trampling human rights and canceling democratic processes in the name of a goal that — history seems to teach — is short-lived. The ideas are not lacking. [At this link you’ll find the recommendations developed by ActionAid: https://thebigwall.org/en/recommendations/].

    https://thebigwall.org/en
    #Italie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #migrations #frontières #business #Afrique #budget #Afrique_du_Nord #Libye #chiffres #Niger #Soudan #Ethiopie #Sénégal #root_causes #causes_profondes #contrôles_frontaliers #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #propagande #campagne #dissuasion

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    Et plus précisément :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765328

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_

  • European Commission Publishes Findings of the First Annual Assessment of Third Countries’ Cooperation on Readmission

    Following changes to the #Visa_Code in 2019, the Commission (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/pdf/10022021_communication_on_enhancing_cooperation_on_return_and_readmission_) assessed the level of readmission cooperation with third countries and submitted a report to the Council. While the report itself is not public, a Communication published this week summarises the main findings of this assessment and sets out next steps regarding the EU’s own return policy and in relation to third countries.

    The Commission has completed its first factual assessment on readmission cooperation, an obligation that stems from the recently introduced Article 25a of the Visa Code. It is based on quantitative and qualitative data provided by Member States and Schengen Associated Countries and data collected by Eurostat and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) on return and irregular arrivals. The third countries covered by the assessment are not listed but based on the information regarding the selection criteria, it is likely to include around 50 countries.

    While the actual report which the Commission prepared for the consideration of the Council is not publicly available, a Communication published alongside it summarises the challenges of return procedures within the EU and highlights the gap between the number of return orders issues and readmission requests to third countries.

    The different obstacles that Member States face in returning people range from the level of cooperation of third country governments in the identification and issuance of travel documents to the refusal of some countries to accept non-voluntary returnees. Those obstacles are experienced differently, depending on which type of cooperation framework is used. Cooperation on readmission is improved through the deployment of electronic platforms for processing readmission applications (Readmission Case Management Systems – RCMS) and European Return or Migration Liaison Officers who are based in third countries.

    The Communication points out that for almost one third of the countries covered by the assessment, cooperation works well with most Member States, for almost another one third the level of cooperation is average and for more than one third the level of cooperation needs to be improved from the perspective of Member States.

    To address this, the Council will discuss more restrictive or more favourable visa measures for third countries as foreseen under the Visa Code. The Communication also makes reference to the usage of EU funding to support the objective of increasing returns, such as the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the Border Management and Visa Instrument (BMVI), the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) as well as changes introduced in the proposal for the recast Return Directive. It recalls that work on readmission will be part of the partnerships the EU is pursuing and the new proposals as set out in the Pact on Migration and Asylum. In relation to this, the model of return sponsorship and the upcoming appointment of the Return Coordinator is mentioned.

    For Further Information:

    – ECRE, Return Policy: Desperately seeking evidence and balance, July 2019: https://www.ecre.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Policy-Note-19.pdf
    - ECRE Comments on Recast Return Directive , November 2018: https://www.ecre.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/ECRE-Comments-Commission-Proposal-Return-Directive.pdf
    - ECRE, Return: No Safety in Numbers, November 2017: https://www.ecre.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Policy-Note-09.pdf

    https://www.ecre.org/european-commission-publishes-findings-of-the-first-annual-assessment-of-third

    –-> Dans le bulletin hebdomadaire d’ECRE, il est fait état d’un rapport élaboré par la Commission sur une évaluation factuelle en matière de réadmission. Ecre dit à ce propos que « Les pays tiers couverts par l’évaluation ne sont pas énumérés mais, sur la base des informations relatives aux critères de sélection, il est probable qu’elle inclue une cinquantaine de pays. »
    Ce rapport n’est pas public.

    #externalisation #réadmission #accords_de_réadmission #UE #EU #Union_européenne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #pays_tiers #code_des_visas

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765331

  • Migration and asylum: updates to the EU-Africa ’#Joint_Valletta_Action_Plan' on the way

    In November 2015 European and African heads of state met at a summit in Valletta, Malta, “to discuss a coordinated answer to the crisis of migration and refugee governance in Europe.” Since then joint activities on migration and asylum have increased significantly, according to documents published here by Statewatch. The Council is now examining an update to the ’Joint Valletta Action Plan’ (JVAP) and considering how to give it “a renewed sense of purpose”.

    "The #JVAP has an important bearing within the #GAMM [#Global_Approach_on_Migration_and_Mobility] and in the EU migration policies context, since it established the first ever framework for exchanges and monitoring of migration priorities involving a significant number of both European and African partners. The JVAP plays an important role in the implementation of the proposed new Pact on Migration and Asylum, tabled by the Commission in September 2020.

    “Over the last five years, the JVAP’s operational focus has grown in size and scope, as evidenced by the JVAP database.

    Several other benefits stem from the strategic linkage between the JVAP and the two Processes. One worth mentioning is the growing operationalisation of the regional migration dialogues through, in particular, the development of resources with an operational focus and the participant profiling, increasingly adapted to the stakes of the meetings. For example, the Rabat Process has developed the labelling mechanism, the reference countries system and the laboratory of ideas to step up the implementation and monitoring of each area of the Marrakesh Action Plan.”

    “The JVAP is therefore widely seen as having contributed to shaping the political, technical, and financial architecture of EU-Africa engagement on migration and mobility. At the same time, the JVAP provides a forum of discussion that rises to the political level and so could serve as a forum for debate and discussion in the future, especially should political circumstances call for high-level multilateral engagement on migration.”

    https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/february/migration-and-asylum-updates-to-the-eu-africa-joint-valletta-action-plan

    #update #mise_à_jour #Valletta #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #sommet_de_La_Vallette #La_Vallette #Vallette

    –---

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

  • Financement des frontieres : fonds et stratégies pour arrêter l’immigration
    Funding the border : funds and strategies to stop migration
    Financement des frontieres : fonds et stratégies pour arrêter l’immigration

    Dans la première partie de ce document, nous analysons les dépenses pour l’externalisation de la gestion migratoire prévues dans le prochain budget de l’UE ; nous sommes actuellement dans la phase finale des #négociations et le rapport donne un aperçu des négociations jusqu’à présent.
    Dans la deuxième partie, nous nous concentrons sur l’évolution des politiques d’externalisation concernant la route migratoire qui intéresse le plus l’Italie : l’article de Sara Prestianni (EuroMed Rights) présente un panorama sur la situation dangereuse de violations continues des droits de l’Homme en Méditerranée centrale. Dans les deux chapitres suivants, les chercheurs Jérôme Tubiana et Clotilde Warin décrivent l’évolution de l’externalisation des frontières au Soudan et dans la région du #Sahel.

    Pour télécharger les rapports (en français, anglais et italien) :
    FR : https://www.arci.it/app/uploads/2020/12/FR_ARCI-report_Financement-de-Frontie%CC%80res.pdf
    EN : https://www.arci.it/app/uploads/2020/12/ENG_ARCI-report_Funding-the-Border.pdf
    IT : https://www.arci.it/app/uploads/2020/12/Quarto-Rapporto-di-esternalizzazione.pdf

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #frontières #financement #budget #Mali #Méditerranée_centrale #mer_Méditerranée #Soudan #fonds #rapport #ARCI

    –-

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    ping @_kg_ @karine4 @rhoumour @isskein

  • EU concludes €6 billion contract for refugees in Turkey

    The European Union has paid the final instalment of a €6 billion fund to Turkey as part of a deal on hosting refugees. The 2016 agreement has led to standoffs, as Turkey claimed that it had not received all the money promised.

    In a statement on December 17, the EU delegation to Turkey, led by Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, said that it had finalized “the contracting of €6 billion in EU support to refugees and host communities in Turkey,” reported the French news agency AFP. On Twitter, it described the finalization as a “major milestone accomplished.”

    The EU-Turkey deal was struck in March 2016 to try to ease Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War Two, which saw more than a million people arrive in Europe in 2015. The terms of the deal stipulated that Turkey would agree to accept the return of migrants from Greece who did not qualify for asylum, and would do more to control its borders and the numbers attempting to leave Turkey for Greece and admission to the EU.

    In return, the EU promised €6 billion in aid. However, earlier this year the Turkish government accused the EU of having reneged on its payments and claimed to have spent around €32 billion on hosting the community of 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, AFP reports.

    In spring 2020, the EU and Turkey came to a standoff with Turkey saying it would refuse to control its borders to Greece if the monies were not paid. The EU said that it had paid everything it had promised up to that point. Talks between the two sides calmed the waters but not before Turkey had allegedly helped bus thousands of migrants to the Greek border, where some managed to cross but many more were blocked by Greek border guards.
    Focus on making sure refugees benefit

    The EU delegation said that now all the money has been handed over, it hopes that the two countries will “focus on making sure that the refugees and host communities will benefit from our projects.”

    AFP reported that the EU money was not paid directly to the Turkish government but had been “earmarked for specific social projects inside Turkey for helping refugees.” Some of the money supports health services for migrants and other projects seek to improve living conditions for vulnerable refugee communities.

    The English version of Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News, said the EU delegation was contracted to provide not just basic needs and healthcare for refugees but also “protection, municipal infrastructure and vocational and technical education and training, employment and support to private sector SMEs and entrepreneurship.” This was estimated to cost €780 million.
    Various projects

    Hurriyet added that the EU was allocating €300 million to support Migrant Health Services in Turkey. The Turkish Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry will take charge of two different projects to ease living conditions for vulnerable refugees and offer them “protective social services.”

    A smaller social assistance project to the tune of €245 million will be able to offer refugees cash payments when needed.

    The French development agency AFD will be receiving €59 million to improve municipal infrastructure, including “the construction or the rehabilitation of water, wastewater and solid waste systems.”

    A further €156 million will be for development projects, reported Hurriyet. A German state development bank KfW will be running vocational training projects for young people in the refugee and host communities. They will also receive €75 million to support Syrian and Turkish small and medium businesses.

    According to Hurriyet, Meyer-Landrut commended Turkey for hosting so many refugees and further promised that the EU would “be prepared to continue providing financial assistance to Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey.”

    Adnan Ertem, the Deputy Family, Labor and Social Services Minister, told Hurriyet that the Turkish Red Crescent would be Turkey’s main partner in the project.
    Turkey ’could face extended sanctions’

    Meanwhile, in Greece, the English language news site Ekathimerini sounded a more negative vote. As one deal was finalized, it warned that Turkey was “at risk of extended sanctions by March,” over its drilling operations inside the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone EEZ.

    Ekathimerini said that, if imposed, the sanctions could also be extended to entities and not just placed on individuals. Earlier in October, the European Commission handed a mandate to EU Commissioner Josep Borrell to prepare a report on the “state of play concerning the EU-Turkey political, economic and trade relations and on instruments and options on how to proceed, including on the extension and the scope” of the sanctions.

    https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/29205/eu-concludes-6-billion-contract-for-refugees-in-turkey
    #Turquie #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #EU #UE #financement #accord_EU-Turquie #Union_européenne #aide_financière #budget

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des #frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765319

  • Proceedings of the conference “Externalisation of borders : detention practices and denial of the right to asylum”

    Présentation de la conférence en vidéo :
    http://www.alessiobarbini.com/Video_Convegno_Def_FR.mp4

    –---

    In order to strengthen the network among the organizations already engaged in strategic actions against the outsourcing policies implemented by Italy and Europe, during the work of the conference were addressed the issues of the impact of European and Italian policies and regulations, as well as bilateral agreements between European and African countries. Particular attention was given to the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings and detention policies for migrants and asylum seekers.

    PANEL I – BILATERAL AGREEMENTS BETWEEN AFRICAN AND EU MEMBER STATES AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES ON DETENTION

    Detention and repatriation of migrants in Europe: a comparison between the different Member States of the EU
    Francesca Esposito – Border Criminologies, University of Oxford. Esposito ITA; Esposito ENG.

    The phenomenon of returnees in Nigeria: penal and administrative consequences after return
    Olaide A. Gbadamosi- Osun State University. Gbadamosi ITA; Gbadamosi ENG.

    European externalisation policies and the denial of the right to asylum: focus on ruling no. 22917/2019 of the Civil Court of Rome
    Loredana Leo – ASGI. Leo ITA; Leo ENG.

    PANEL II – THE PHENOMENON OF TRAFFICKING AND THE
    RIGHT TO ASYLUM

    Recognition of refugee status for victims of trafficking
    Nazzarena Zorzella – ASGI. Zorzella ITA; Zorzella ENG; Zorzella FRA.

    Voluntariness in return processes: nature of consent and role of the IOM
    Jean Pierre Gauci – British Institute of International and Comparative Law. Gauci ITA; Gauci ENG; Gauci FRA.

    Conditional refugees: resettlement as a condition to exist
    Sara Creta – Independent journalist. Creta ITA; Creta ENG.

    Resettlement: legal nature and the Geneva Convention
    Giulia Crescini – ASGI. Crescini ITA; Crescini ENG; Crescini FRA.

    PANEL III – THE RISKS ARISING FROM THE REFOULEMENT
    OF TRAFFICKED PERSONS, MEMBER STATES’ RESPONSIBILITIES
    AND LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

    Introduction of Godwin Morka (Director of research and programme development, NAPTIP) and Omoruyi Osula (Head of Admin/Training, ETAHT). Morka ITA; Morka ENG. Osula ITA; Osula ENG.

    The phenomenon of re-trafficking of women repatriated in Nigeria
    Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona – Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Benin. Kokunre ITA; Kokunre ENG.

    The phenomenon of trafficking: social conditions before departure from a gender perspective
    R. Evon Benson-Idahosa – Pathfinders Justice Initiative. Idahosa ITA; Idahosa ENG.

    Strategic litigation on externalisation of borders and lack of access to the right to asylum for victims of trafficking
    Cristina Laura Cecchini – ASGI. Cecchini ITA; Cecchini ENG.

    Protection for victims of trafficking in transit countries: focus on Niger. Yerima Bako Djibo Moussa – Head of the Department of Legal Affairs and Compensation at the National Agency for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Niger. Yerima ITA; Yerima FRA.

    PANEL IV – LIBERTÀ DI MOVIMENTO

    ECOWAS free movement area: interferences of European policies and remedies
    Ibrahim Muhammad Mukhtar – Law Clinic Coordinator, NILE University. Mukhtar ITA; Mukhtar ENG.

    The consequences of migration policies on freedom of movement: focus on Niger
    Harouna Mounkaila – Professor and Researcher, Department of Geography, Abdou Moumouni University, Niamey. Mounkaila ITA; Mounkaila FRA.

    Identification of African citizens in transit to the European Union: functioning of data collection and privacy
    Jane Kilpatrick – Statewatch. Kilpatrick ITA; Kilpatrick ENG; Kilpatrick FRA.

    EU funding for ECOWAS countries’ biometric data registry systems: level of funding and impact on the population
    Giacomo Zandonini – Journalist. Zandonini ITA; Zandonini ENG.

    The right to leave any country, including his own, in international law
    Francesca Mussi – Research fellow in International Law, University of Trento. Mussi ITA; Mussi ENG; Mussi FRA.

    Human Rights Protection Mechanisms in Africa
    Giuseppe Pascale – Researcher of International Law, University of Trieste. Pascale ITA; Pascale ENG.

    https://sciabacaoruka.asgi.it/en/proceedings-of-the-conference-externalisation-of-borders-detention-practices-and-denial-of-the-right-to-asylum/#smooth-scroll-top

    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #retour_volontaire #renvois #expulsions #détention_administrative #rétention #Nigeria #returnees #droit_d'asile #trafic_d'êtres_humains #IOM #OIM #ASGI #rapport #réinstallation #refoulement #genre #Niger #liberté_de_mouvement #liberté_de_circulation #identification #données #collecte_de_données #biométrie #ECOWAS #droits_humains

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    ping @isskein @rhoumour @karine4 @_kg_

  • Revealed: No 10 explores sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea | UK news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/sep/30/revealed-no-10-explores-sending-asylum-seekers-to-moldova-morocco-and-p

    Downing Street has asked officials to consider the option of sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco or Papua New Guinea and is the driving force behind proposals to hold refugees in offshore detention centres, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

    The documents suggest officials in the Foreign Office have been pushing back against No 10’s proposals to process asylum applications in detention facilities overseas, which have also included the suggestion the centres could be constructed on the south Atlantic islands of Ascension and St Helena.

    The documents, marked “official” and “sensitive” and produced earlier this month, summarise advice from officials at the Foreign Office, which was asked by Downing Street to “offer advice on possible options for negotiating an offshore asylum processing facility similar to the Australian model in Papua New Guinea and Nauru”.

    #migration #asile #déportation #externalisation #déterritorialisation

    • Downing Street has asked officials to consider the option of sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco or Papua New Guinea and is the driving force behind proposals to hold refugees in offshore detention centres, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

      The documents suggest officials in the Foreign Office have been pushing back against No 10’s proposals to process asylum applications in detention facilities overseas, which have also included the suggestion the centres could be constructed on the south Atlantic islands of Ascension and St Helena.

      The documents, marked “official” and “sensitive” and produced earlier this month, summarise advice from officials at the Foreign Office, which was asked by Downing Street to “offer advice on possible options for negotiating an offshore asylum processing facility similar to the Australian model in Papua New Guinea and Nauru”.

      The Australian system of processing asylum seekers in on the Pacific Islands costs AY$13bn (£7.2bn) a year and has attracted criticism from human rights groups, the United Nations and even the UK government, according to the documents, which reveal British ministers have “privately” raised concerns with Australia over the abuse of detainees in its offshore detention facilities.

      The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that the home secretary, Priti Patel, asked officials to consider processing asylum seekers Ascension and St Helena, which are overseas British territories. Home Office sources were quick to distance Patel from the proposals and Downing Street has also played down Ascension and St Helena as destinations for asylum processing centres.

      However, the documents seen by the Guardian suggest the government has for weeks been working on “detailed plans” that include cost estimates of building asylum detention camps on the south Atlantic islands, as well as other proposals to build such facilities in Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea.

      The documents suggest the UK’s proposals would go further than Australia’s hardline system, which is “based on migrants being intercepted outside Australian waters”, allowing Australia to claim no immigration obligations to individuals. The UK proposals, the documents state, would involve relocating asylum seekers who “have arrived in the UK and are firmly within the jurisdiction of the UK for the purposes of the ECHR and Human Rights Act 1998”.

      The documents suggest that the idea that Morocco, Moldova and Papua New Guinea might make suitable destinations for UK asylum processing centres comes directly from Downing Street, with documents saying the three countries were specifically “suggested” and “floated” by No 10. One document says the request for advice on third country options for detention facilities came from “the PM”.

      The Times reported that the government was also giving serious consideration to the idea of creating floating asylum centres in disused ferries moored off the UK coast.

      While composed in the restrained language of civil servants, the Foreign Office advice contained in the documents appears highly dismissive of the ideas emanating from Downing Street, pointing out numerous legal, practical and diplomatic obstacles to processing asylums seekers oversees. The documents state that:

      • Plans to process asylum seekers at offshore centres in Ascension or St Helena would be “extremely expensive and logistically complicated” given the remoteness of the islands. The estimated cost is £220m build cost per 1,000 beds and running costs of £200m. One document adds: “In relation to St Helena we will need to consider if we are willing to impose the plan if the local government object.”

      • The “significant” legal, diplomatic and practical obstacles to the plan include the existence of “sensitive military installations” on the island of Ascension. One document warns that the military issues mean the “will mean US government would need to be persuaded at the highest levels, and even then success cannot be guaranteed”.

      • It is “highly unlikely” that any north African state, including Morocco, would agree to hosting asylum seekers relocated to the UK. “No north African country, Morocco included, has a fully functioning asylum system,” one document states. “Morocco would not have the resources (or the inclination) to pay for a processing centre.”

      • Seeming to dismiss the idea of sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Foreign Office officials point out there is protracted conflict in the eastern European country over Transnistria as well as “endemic” corruption. They add: “If an asylum centre depended on reliable, transparent, credible cooperation from the host country justice system we would not be able to rely on this.”

      • Officials warned of “significant political and logistical obstacles” to sending asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea, pointing out it is more than 8,500 miles away, has a fragile public health system and is “one of the bottom few countries in the world in terms of medical personnel per head of population”. They also warn any such a move would “renew scrutiny of Australia’s own offshore processing”. One document adds: “Politically, we judge the chances of positive engagement with the government on this to be almost nil.”

      A Foreign Office source played down the idea that the department had objected to Downing Street’s offshoring proposals for asylum seekers, saying officials’ concerns were only about the practicality of the plan. “This was something which the Cabinet Office commissioned, which we responded to with full vigour, to show how things could work,” the source said.

      However, another Whitehall source familiar with the government plans said they were part of a push by Downing Street to “radically beef-up the hostile environment” in 2021 following the end of the Brexit transition. Former prime minister Theresa May’s “hostile environment” phrase, which became closely associated with the polices that led to the Windrush scandal, is no longer being used in government.

      But the source said that moves are afoot to find a slate of new policies that would achieve a similar end to “discourage” and “deter” migrants from entering the UK illegally.

      The documents seen by the Guardian also contain details of Home Office legal advice to Downing Street, which states that the policy would require legislative changes, including “disapplying sections 77 and 78 of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 so that asylum seekers can be removed from the UK while their claim or appeal is pending”.

      Another likely legislative change, according to the Home Office advice, would require “defining what we mean by a clandestine arrival (and potentially a late claim) and create powers allowing us to send them offshore for the purposes of determining their asylum claims”.

      One of the documents states that the option of building detention centres in foreign countries – rather than British overseas territories – is “not the favoured No 10 avenue, but they wish to explore [the option] in case it presents easier pathways to an offshore facility”.

      On Wednesday, asked about the FT’s report about the UK considering plans to ship asylum seekers to the south Atlantic for processing, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson confirmed the UK was considering Australian–style offshore processing centres.

      He said the UK had a “long and proud history” of accepting asylum seekers but needed to act, particularly given migrants making unofficial crossings from France in small boats.

      “We are developing plans to reform our illegal migration and asylum policies so we can keep providing protection to those who need it, while preventing abuse of the system and criminality. As part of this work we’ve been looking at what a whole host of other countries do to inform a plan for the United Kingdom. And that work is ongoing.”

      Asked for comment about the proposals regarding Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea, Downing Street referred the Guardian to the spokesman’s earlier comments. The Foreign Office referred the Guardian to the Home Office. The Home Office said it had nothing to add to comments by the prime minister’s spokesman.

      #UK #Angleterre #Maroc #Papoue_Nouvelle_Guinée #Moldavie
      #offshore_detention_centres
      #procédure_d'asile #externalisation_de_la_procédure #modèle_australien

      #île_de_l'Ascension

      #île_Sainte-Hélène


      #Sainte-Hélène

      –---

      Les #floating_asylum_centres pensés par l’UK rappellent d’autres structures flottantes :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/879396

      –—

      Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    • Ascension Island: Priti Patel considered outpost for UK asylum centre location

      The government has considered building an asylum processing centre on a remote UK territory in the Atlantic Ocean.

      The idea of “offshoring” people is being looked at but finding a suitable location would be key, a source said.

      Home Secretary Priti Patel asked officials to look at asylum policies which had been successful in other countries, the BBC has been told.

      The Financial Times says Ascension Island, more than 4,000 miles (6,000km) from the UK, was a suggested location.

      What happens to migrants who reach the UK?
      More migrants arrive in September than all of 2019
      Fleeing the Syrian war for Belfast

      The Foreign Office is understood to have carried out an assessment for Ascension - which included the practicalities of transferring migrants thousands of miles to the island - and decided not to proceed.

      However, a Home Office source said ministers were looking at “every option that can stop small boat crossings and fix the asylum system”.

      "The UK has a long and proud history of offering refuge to those who need protection. Tens of thousands of people have rebuilt their lives in the UK and we will continue to provide safe and legal routes in the future.

      “As ministers have said we are developing plans to reform policies and laws around illegal migration and asylum to ensure we are able to provide protection to those who need it, while preventing abuse of the system and the criminality associated with it.”

      No final decisions have been made.
      ’Logistical nightmare’

      Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “This ludicrous idea is inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive - so it seems entirely plausible this Tory government came up with it.”

      Alan Nicholls, a member of the Ascension Island council, said moving asylum seekers more than 4,000 miles to the British overseas territory would be a “logistical nightmare” and not well received by the islanders.

      He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the presence of military bases on the island could make the concept “prohibitive” due to security concerns.

      Australia has controversially used offshore processing and detention centres for asylum seekers since the 1980s.

      A United Nations refugee agency representative to the UK, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, said the proposal would breach the UK’s obligations to asylum seekers and would “change what the UK is - its history and its values”.

      Speaking to the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee, she said the Australian model had “brought about huge suffering for people, who are guilty of no more than seeking asylum, and it has also cost huge amounts of money”.

      The proposal comes amid record numbers of migrants making the journey across the English Channel to the UK in small boats this month, which Ms Patel has vowed to stop.

      Laura Trott, Conservative MP for Sevenoaks in Kent, said it was “absolutely right” that the government was looking at offshore asylum centres to “reduce the pressure” on Kent, which was “unable to take any more children into care”.

      In order to be eligible for asylum in the UK, applicants must prove they cannot return to their home country because they fear persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, gender identity or sexual orientation.

      Asylum seekers cannot work while their claims are being processed, so the government offers them a daily allowance of just over £5 and accommodation, often in hostels or shared flats.

      Delays in processing UK asylum applications increased significantly last year with four out of five applicants in the last three months of 2019 waiting six months or more for their cases to be processed.

      That compared with three in four during the same period in 2018.

      –—

      Ascension Island key facts

      The volcanic island has no indigenous population, and the people that live there - fewer than 1,000 - are the employees and families of the organisations operating on the island
      The military airbase is jointly operated by the RAF and the US, and has been used as a staging post to supply and defend the Falkland Islands
      Its first human inhabitants arrived in 1815, when the Royal Navy set up camp to keep watch on Napoleon, who was imprisoned on the island of St Helena some 800 miles away
      It is home to a BBC transmitter - the BBC Atlantic Relay station - which sends shortwave radio to Africa and South America

      https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-54349796

    • UK considers sending asylum seekers abroad to be processed

      Reports suggest using #Gibraltar or the #Isle_of_Man or copying Australian model and paying third countries

      The Home Office is considering plans to send asylum seekers who arrive in the UK overseas to be processed, an idea modelled on a controversial Australian system, it is understood.

      Priti Patel, the home secretary, is expected to publish details next week of a scheme in which people who arrive in the UK via unofficial means, such as crossing the Channel in small boats, would be removed to a third country to have any claim dealt with.

      The government has pledged repeatedly to introduce measures to try to reduce the number of asylum seekers arriving across the Channel. Australia removes arrivals to overseas islands while their claims are processed.

      A Home Office source said: “Whilst people are dying making perilous journeys we would be irresponsible if we didn’t consider every avenue.”

      However, the source played down reports that destinations considered included Turkey, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man or other British islands, and that talks with some countries had begun, saying this was “all speculation”.

      Last year it emerged that meetings involving Patel had raised the possibility of asylum seekers being sent to Ascension Island, an isolated volcanic British territory in the south Atlantic, or St Helena, part of the same island group but 800 miles away.

      At the time, Home Office sources said the proposals came when Patel sought advice from the Foreign Office on how other countries deal with asylum applications, with Australia’s system given as an example.

      Labour described the Ascension Island idea as “inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive”.

      After the Brexit transition period finished at the end of 2020, the UK government no longer had the automatic right to transfer refugees and migrants to the EU country in which they arrived, part of the European asylum system known as the Dublin regulation.

      The UK government sought to replace this with a similar, post-Brexit version, but was rebuffed by the EU.

      With the government facing political pressure on migrant Channel crossings from some parts of the media, and from people like Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader who frequently makes videos describing the boats as “an invasion”, Patel’s department has sought to respond.

      Last year, official documents seen by the Guardian showed that trials had taken place to test a blockade in the Channel similar to Australia’s controversial “turn back the boats” tactic.

      Reports at the time, denied by Downing Street, said that other methods considered to deter unofficial Channel crossings included a wave machine to push back the craft.

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/18/asylum-seekers-could-be-sent-abroad-by-uk-to-be-processed

  • Budget européen pour la migration : plus de contrôles aux frontières, moins de respect pour les droits humains

    Le 17 juillet 2020, le Conseil européen examinera le #cadre_financier_pluriannuel (#CFP) pour la période #2021-2027. À cette occasion, les dirigeants de l’UE discuteront des aspects tant internes qu’externes du budget alloué aux migrations et à l’#asile.

    En l’état actuel, la #Commission_européenne propose une #enveloppe_budgétaire totale de 40,62 milliards d’euros pour les programmes portant sur la migration et l’asile, répartis comme suit : 31,12 milliards d’euros pour la dimension interne et environ 10 milliards d’euros pour la dimension externe. Il s’agit d’une augmentation de 441% en valeur monétaire par rapport à la proposition faite en 2014 pour le budget 2014-2020 et d’une augmentation de 78% par rapport à la révision budgétaire de 2015 pour ce même budget.

    Une réalité déguisée

    Est-ce une bonne nouvelle qui permettra d’assurer dignement le bien-être de milliers de migrant.e.s et de réfugié.e.s actuellement abandonné.e.s à la rue ou bloqué.e.s dans des centres d’accueil surpeuplés de certains pays européens ? En réalité, cette augmentation est principalement destinée à renforcer l’#approche_sécuritaire : dans la proposition actuelle, environ 75% du budget de l’UE consacré à la migration et à l’asile serait alloué aux #retours, à la #gestion_des_frontières et à l’#externalisation des contrôles. Ceci s’effectue au détriment des programmes d’asile et d’#intégration dans les États membres ; programmes qui se voient attribuer 25% du budget global.

    Le budget 2014 ne comprenait pas de dimension extérieure. Cette variable n’a été introduite qu’en 2015 avec la création du #Fonds_fiduciaire_de_l’UE_pour_l’Afrique (4,7 milliards d’euros) et une enveloppe financière destinée à soutenir la mise en œuvre de la #déclaration_UE-Turquie de mars 2016 (6 milliards d’euros), qui a été tant décriée. Ces deux lignes budgétaires s’inscrivent dans la dangereuse logique de #conditionnalité entre migration et #développement : l’#aide_au_développement est liée à l’acceptation, par les pays tiers concernés, de #contrôles_migratoires ou d’autres tâches liées aux migrations. En outre, au moins 10% du budget prévu pour l’Instrument de voisinage, de développement et de coopération internationale (#NDICI) est réservé pour des projets de gestion des migrations dans les pays d’origine et de transit. Ces projets ont rarement un rapport avec les activités de développement.

    Au-delà des chiffres, des violations des #droits_humains

    L’augmentation inquiétante de la dimension sécuritaire du budget de l’UE correspond, sur le terrain, à une hausse des violations des #droits_fondamentaux. Par exemple, plus les fonds alloués aux « #gardes-côtes_libyens » sont importants, plus on observe de #refoulements sur la route de la Méditerranée centrale. Depuis 2014, le nombre de refoulements vers la #Libye s’élève à 62 474 personnes, soit plus de 60 000 personnes qui ont tenté d’échapper à des violences bien documentées en Libye et qui ont mis leur vie en danger mais ont été ramenées dans des centres de détention indignes, indirectement financés par l’UE.

    En #Turquie, autre partenaire à long terme de l’UE en matière d’externalisation des contrôles, les autorités n’hésitent pas à jouer avec la vie des migrant.e.s et des réfugié.e.s, en ouvrant et en fermant les frontières, pour négocier le versement de fonds, comme en témoigne l’exemple récent à la frontière gréco-turque.

    Un budget opaque

    « EuroMed Droits s’inquiète de l’#opacité des allocations de fonds dans le budget courant et demande à l’Union européenne de garantir des mécanismes de responsabilité et de transparence sur l’utilisation des fonds, en particulier lorsqu’il s’agit de pays où la corruption est endémique et qui violent régulièrement les droits des personnes migrantes et réfugiées, mais aussi les droits de leurs propres citoyen.ne.s », a déclaré Wadih Al-Asmar, président d’EuroMed Droits.

    « Alors que les dirigeants européens se réunissent à Bruxelles pour discuter du prochain cadre financier pluriannuel, EuroMed Droits demande qu’une approche plus humaine et basée sur les droits soit adoptée envers les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s, afin que les appels à l’empathie et à l’action résolue de la Présidente de la Commission européenne, Ursula von der Leyen ne restent pas lettre morte ».

    https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/budget-europeen-pour-la-migration-plus-de-controles-aux-frontieres-mo


    https://twitter.com/EuroMedRights/status/1283759540740096001

    #budget #migrations #EU #UE #Union_européenne #frontières #Fonds_fiduciaire_pour_l’Afrique #Fonds_fiduciaire #sécurité #réfugiés #accord_UE-Turquie #chiffres #infographie #renvois #expulsions #Neighbourhood_Development_and_International_Cooperation_Instrument

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur la #conditionnalité_de_l'aide_au_développement :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

    Et à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765319

    ping @karine4 @rhoumour @reka @_kg_

  • EU pays for surveillance in Gulf of Tunis

    A new monitoring system for Tunisian coasts should counter irregular migration across the Mediterranean. The German Ministry of the Interior is also active in the country. A similar project in Libya has now been completed. Human rights organisations see it as an aid to „#pull_backs“ contrary to international law.

    In order to control and prevent migration, the European Union is supporting North African states in border surveillance. The central Mediterranean Sea off Malta and Italy, through which asylum seekers from Libya and Tunisia want to reach Europe, plays a special role. The EU conducts various operations in and off these countries, including the military mission „#Irini“ and the #Frontex mission „#Themis“. It is becoming increasingly rare for shipwrecked refugees to be rescued by EU Member States. Instead, they assist the coast guards in Libya and Tunisia to bring the people back. Human rights groups, rescue organisations and lawyers consider this assistance for „pull backs“ to be in violation of international law.

    With several measures, the EU and its member states want to improve the surveillance off North Africa. Together with Switzerland, the EU Commission has financed a two-part „#Integrated_Border_Management Project“ in Tunisia. It is part of the reform of the security sector which was begun a few years after the fall of former head of state Ben Ali in 2011. With one pillar of this this programme, the EU wants to „prevent criminal networks from operating“ and enable the authorities in the Gulf of Tunis to „save lives at sea“.

    System for military and border police

    The new installation is entitled „#Integrated_System_for_Maritime_Surveillance“ (#ISMariS) and, according to the Commission (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000891-ASW_EN.html), is intended to bring together as much information as possible from all authorities involved in maritime and coastal security tasks. These include the Ministry of Defence with the Navy, the Coast Guard under the Ministry of the Interior, the National Guard, and IT management and telecommunications authorities. The money comes from the #EU_Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa, which was established at the Valletta Migration Summit in 2015. „ISMariS“ is implemented by the Italian Ministry of the Interior and follows on from an earlier Italian initiative. The EU is financing similar projects with „#EU4BorderSecurity“ not only in Tunisia but also for other Mediterranean countries.

    An institute based in Vienna is responsible for border control projects in Tunisia. Although this #International_Centre_for_Migration_Policy_Development (ICMPD) was founded in 1993 by Austria and Switzerland, it is not a governmental organisation. The German Foreign Office has also supported projects in Tunisia within the framework of the #ICMPD, including the establishment of border stations and the training of border guards. Last month German finally joined the Institute itself (https://www.andrej-hunko.de/start/download/dokumente/1493-deutscher-beitritt-zum-international-centre-for-migration-policy-development/file). For an annual contribution of 210,000 euro, the Ministry of the Interior not only obtains decision-making privileges for organizing ICMPD projects, but also gives German police authorities the right to evaluate any of the Institute’s analyses for their own purposes.

    It is possible that in the future bilateral German projects for monitoring Tunisian maritime borders will also be carried out via the ICMPD. Last year, the German government supplied the local coast guard with equipment for a boat workshop. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/194/1919467.pdf), the Federal Police carried out 14 trainings for the national guard, border police and coast guard, including instruction in operating „control boats“. Tunisia previously received patrol boats from Italy and the USA (https://migration-control.info/en/wiki/tunisia).

    Vessel tracking and coastal surveillance

    It is unclear which company produced and installed the „ISMariS“ surveillance system for Tunisia on behalf of the ICPMD. Similar facilities for tracking and displaying ship movements (#Vessel_Tracking_System) are marketed by all major European defence companies, including #Airbus, #Leonardo in Italy, #Thales in France and #Indra in Spain. However, Italian project management will probably prefer local companies such as Leonardo. The company and its spin-off #e-GEOS have a broad portfolio of maritime surveillance systems (https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/sea/maritime-domain-awareness/coastal-surveillance-systems).

    It is also possible to integrate satellite reconnaissance, but for this the governments must conclude further contracts with the companies. However, „ISMariS“ will not only be installed as a Vessel Tracking System, it should also enable monitoring of the entire coast. Manufacturers promote such #Coastal_Surveillance_Systems as a technology against irregular migration, piracy, terrorism and smuggling. The government in Tunisia has defined „priority coastal areas“ for this purpose, which will be integrated into the maritime surveillance framework.

    Maritime „#Big_Data

    „ISMariS“ is intended to be compatible with the components already in place at the Tunisian authorities, including coastguard command and control systems, #radar, position transponders and receivers, night vision equipment and thermal and optical sensors. Part of the project is a three-year maintenance contract with the company installing the „ISMariS“.

    Perhaps the most important component of „ISMariS“ for the EU is a communication system, which is also included. It is designed to improve „operational cooperation“ between the Tunisian Coast Guard and Navy with Italy and other EU Member States. The project description mentions Frontex and EUROSUR, the pan-European surveillance system of the EU Border Agency, as possible participants. Frontex already monitors the coastal regions off Libya and Tunisia (https://insitu.copernicus.eu/FactSheets/CSS_Border_Surveillance) using #satellites (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-003212-ASW_EN.html) and an aerial service (https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/26/frontex-air-service-reconnaissance-for-the-so-called-libyan-coast-guar).

    #EUROSUR is now also being upgraded, Frontex is spending 2.6 million Euro (https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:109760-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML) on a new application based on artificial intelligence. It is to process so-called „Big Data“, including not only ship movements but also data from ship and port registers, information on ship owners and shipping companies, a multi-year record of previous routes of large ships and other maritime information from public sources on the Internet. The contract is initially concluded for one year and can be extended up to three times.

    Cooperation with Libya

    To connect North African coastguards to EU systems, the EU Commission had started the „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ project two years after the fall of North African despots. To combat irregular migration, from 2013 onwards Spain, Italy and Malta have trained a total of 141 members of the Libyan coast guard for sea rescue. In this way, „Seahorse Mediterranean“ has complemented similar training measures that Frontex is conducting for the Coastal Police within the framework of the EU mission #EUBAM_Libya and the military mission #EUNAVFOR_MED for the Coast Guard of the Tripolis government.

    The budget for „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ is indicated by the Commission as 5.5 million Euro (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000892-ASW_EN.html), the project was completed in January 2019. According to the German Foreign Office (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/196/1919625.pdf), Libya has signed a partnership declaration for participation in a future common communication platform for surveillance of the Mediterranean. Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt are also to be persuaded to participate. So far, however, the governments have preferred unilateral EU support for equipping and training their coastguards and navies, without having to make commitments in projects like „Seahorse“, such as stopping migration and smuggling on the high seas.

    https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/28/eu-pays-for-surveillance-in-gulf-of-tunis

    #Golfe_de_Tunis #surveillance #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #surveillance_des_frontières #Tunisie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #Algérie #Egypte #Suisse #EU #UE #Union_européenne #Trust_Fund #Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Allemagne #Italie #gardes-côtes #gardes-côtes_tunisiens #intelligence_artificielle #IA #données #Espagne #Malte #business

    ping @reka @isskein @_kg_ @rhoumour @karine4

    –—

    Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765330

    Et celle-ci sur le lien entre développement et contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

  • Chronique Monde | #Mauritanie. Un partenariat européen au goût amer

    La Mauritanie fait figure d’exception au Sahel pour sa relative stabilité. Contrairement à d’autres États de la région, ce pays grand comme presque deux fois la France, à cheval entre le Maghreb et l’Afrique subsaharienne, n’a pas connu d’attentat terroriste depuis 2011. Dans ce contexte, Nouakchott est devenu un partenaire de choix dans le cadre de la lutte internationale contre le terrorisme et l’immigration irrégulière. Face à de tels impératifs, le respect des droits humains sur place passe largement au second plan.

    Tour d’horizon des droits humains

    Depuis le 1er août 2019, la Mauritanie est dirigée par Mohamed Ould El-Ghazaouani. Même si son élection au premier tour est contestée par l’opposition, elle marque la première transition présidentielle pacifique de l’histoire politique mauritanienne. Lors de son investiture, Amnesty International a qualifié de « déplorable » le bilan en matière de droits humains laissé par son prédécesseur, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, citant notamment l’esclavage, les discriminations raciales ainsi que les atteintes à la liberté d’expression, d’association et de réunion.

    Même si l’esclavage a été officiellement aboli en 1981, criminalisé en 2007 et élevé au rang de crime contre l’humanité en 2012, sa pratique touchait environ 43000 personnes en 2016. Dans le même temps, Haratines et Afro- Mauritanien-ne-s restent largement exclu·e·s des postes de responsabilité et donc moins susceptibles de faire valoir leurs droits économiques et sociaux. Depuis l’indépendance, la quasi-totalité des pouvoirs politiques, militaires et économiques est détenue par les Beydanes, une communauté elle-même extrêmement hiérarchisée.

    Celles et ceux qui s’attaquent à ces questions sensibles s’exposent aux représailles de la part de l’État. L’exemple le plus parlant est celui du blogueur Mohamed Ould Mkhaïtir, condamné à mort en 2014 pour « apostasie » après avoir dénoncé l’usage de la religion pour légitimer les pratiques discriminatoires dont est victime la communauté dite des forgerons. Sa peine a depuis été réduite à deux années de prison et il vit actuellement en exil après avoir été libéré en juillet 2019.

    Une tradition d’hospitalité remise en cause

    La Mauritanie est à la fois un pays de transit pour les réfugié-e-s et les migrant-e-s qui se rendent en Afrique du Nord et en Europe et un pays de destination pour celles et ceux à la recherche d’emplois saisonniers dans les secteurs de la pêche et de l’industrie minière ou d’une protection internationale. Signataire de la Convention relative au statut des réfugiés, la Mauritanie a ouvert ses portes en 2012 à plus de 55000 réfugié-e-s malien-ne-s installé-e-s dans le camp de Mbera situé non loin de la frontière malienne.

    Cette politique d’accueil doit néanmoins être nuancée à la lumière de l’externalisation des frontières européennes. L’#Union_européenne (UE) a fait pression sur la Mauritanie pour qu’elle signe en 2003 un #accord_de_réadmission avec l’Espagne qui l’oblige à reprendre sur son territoire non seulement ses nationaux, mais également les ressortissant-e-s de pays tiers dont il est « vérifié » ou « présumé » qu’ils ou elles auraient transité par le territoire mauritanien. Un #centre_de_rétention avait été mis sur pied à #Nouadhibou avec l’aide de l’#Espagne. Il est aujourd’hui fermé (voir VE 135 / décembre 2011 : https://asile.ch/chronique/mauritanie-nouvelle-frontiere-de-leurope).

    Parallèlement, la Mauritanie a reçu entre 2007 et 2013 huit millions d’euros dans le cadre du #Fonds_européen_de_développement afin d’« appuyer et de renforcer les capacités de gestion, de suivi et de planification des flux migratoires » à travers notamment la révision du dispositif pénal relatif aux migrations.

    Résultat : la politique migratoire s’est durcie durant la présidence Aziz. Les autorités ont multiplié les contrôles aux frontières, placé en détention et renvoyé de force des milliers de personnes et soumis certaines d’entre elles à des tortures et mauvais traitements.

    L’ensemble de ces mesures a contribué à déplacer les routes migratoires vers le désert du #Sahara et la #Méditerranée_centrale. Le nombre d’arrivées dans l’archipel espagnol des #Canaries en provenance des côtes mauritaniennes a chuté de 30 000 à moins d’un millier entre 2006 et 2015.

    Cette dynamique est néanmoins en train de s’inverser à mesure que la #Libye apparaît comme une zone de plus en plus inhospitalière. Cette reconfiguration préfigure une recrudescence des naufrages dans l’#Atlantique faute de voies migratoires sûres. Le 4 décembre 2019, une embarcation de fortune partie de #Gambie a sombré au large de #Nouadhibou provoquant la mort d’une soixantaine de personnes.

    https://asile.ch/2020/04/17/chronique-monde-mauritanie-un-partenariat-europeen-au-gout-amer
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UE #EU #aide_au_développement #développement #coopération_au_développement #contrôles_frontaliers #routes_migratoires
    via @vivre
    ping @rhoumour @isskein @karine4 @_kg_

    –—

    Ajouté à la métaliste « externalisation » :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765327

    Et la métaliste aide au développement et conditionnalité de l’aide :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

  • #Migration, #Agadez, #Niger : Des #migrants en moins vers l’#Europe, des problèmes en plus en #Afrique

    – Diminution de 75 % des flux migratoires vers le Nord via Agadez en 2017, contribuant plus globalement à la baisse globale des arrivées en Europe par les différents itinéraires méditerranéens. En 2018, 116 647 arrivées ont ainsi été enregistrées, soit 89 % de moins qu’en 2015, ce qui a conduit la Commission européenne à déclarer en 2019 que la crise migratoire était terminée.

    – Mais au-delà de la baisse de ces chiffres, l’approche du « tout sécuritaire » a entraîné cinq conséquences néfastes sur le terrain : érosion des moyens de subsistance pour les populations locales, déstabilisation croissante de la région, poursuite des trafics, accroissement des violations des droits humains des migrants et de l’érosion des relations entre citoyens et gouvernements.

    Via : Insitute For Security Studies (ISS) : https://issafrica.org/research/africa-report/securitisation-of-migration-in-africa-the-case-of-agadez-in-niger

    @cdb_77

  • Comment l’Europe contrôle ses frontières en #Tunisie ?

    Entre les multiples programmes de coopération, les accords bilatéraux, les #équipements fournis aux #gardes-côtes, les pays européens et l’Union européenne investissent des millions d’euros en Tunisie pour la migration. Sous couvert de coopération mutuelle et de “#promotion_de_la mobilité”, la priorité des programmes migratoires européens est avant tout l’externalisation des frontières. En clair.

    À la fois pays de transit et pays de départ, nœud dans la région méditerranéenne, la Tunisie est un partenaire privilégié de l’Europe dans le cadre de ses #politiques_migratoires. L’Union européenne ou les États qui la composent -Allemagne, France, Italie, Belgique, etc.- interviennent de multiples manières en Tunisie pour servir leurs intérêts de protéger leurs frontières et lutter contre l’immigration irrégulière.

    Depuis des années, de multiples accords pour réadmettre les Tunisien·nes expulsé·es d’Europe ou encore financer du matériel aux #gardes-côtes_tunisiens sont ainsi signés, notamment avec l’#Italie ou encore avec la #Belgique. En plus de ces #partenariats_bilatéraux, l’#Union_européenne utilise ses fonds dédiés à la migration pour financer de nombreux programmes en Tunisie dans le cadre du “#partenariat_pour_la_mobilité”. Dans les faits, ces programmes servent avant tout à empêcher les gens de partir et les pousser à rester chez eux.

    L’ensemble de ces programmes mis en place avec les États européens et l’UE sont nombreux et difficiles à retracer. Dans d’autres pays, notamment au Nigeria, des journalistes ont essayé de compiler l’ensemble de ces flux financiers européens pour la migration. Dans leur article, Ils et elle soulignent la difficulté, voire l’impossibilité de véritablement comprendre tous les fonds, programmes et acteurs de ces financements.

    “C’est profondément préoccupant”, écrivent Maite Vermeulen, Ajibola Amzat et Giacomo Zandonini. “Bien que l’Europe maintienne un semblant de transparence, il est pratiquement impossible dans les faits de tenir l’UE et ses États membres responsables de leurs dépenses pour la migration, et encore moins d’évaluer leur efficacité.”

    En Tunisie, où les investissements restent moins importants que dans d’autres pays de la région comme en Libye, il a été possible d’obtenir un résumé, fourni par la Délégation de l’Union européenne, des programmes financés par l’UE et liés à la migration. Depuis 2016, cela se traduit par l’investissement de près de 58 millions d’euros à travers trois différents fonds : le #FFU (#Fonds_Fiduciaire_d’Urgence) de la Valette, l’#AMIF (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund) et l’Instrument européen de voisinage (enveloppe régionale).

    Mais il est à noter que ces informations ne prennent pas en compte les autres investissements d’#aide_au_développement ou de soutien à la #lutte_antiterroriste dont les programmes peuvent également concerner la migration. Depuis 2011, au niveau bilatéral, l’Union européenne a ainsi investi 2,5 billions d’euros en Tunisie, toutes thématiques confondues.

    L’écrasante majorité de ces financements de l’UE - 54 200 000 euros - proviennent du #Fond_fiduciaire_d'urgence_pour_l'Afrique. Lancé en 2015, lors du #sommet_de_la_Valette, ce FFU a été créé “en faveur de la stabilité et de la lutte contre les #causes_profondes de la migration irrégulière et du phénomène des personnes déplacées en Afrique” à hauteur de 2 milliards d’euros pour toute la région.

    Ce financement a été pointé du doigt par des associations de droits humains comme Oxfam qui souligne “qu’une partie considérable de ses fonds est investie dans des mesures de #sécurité et de #gestion_des_frontières.”

    “Ces résultats montrent que l’approche des bailleurs de fonds européens vis-à-vis de la gestion des migrations est bien plus axée sur des objectifs de #confinement et de #contrôle. Cette approche est loin de l’engagement qu’ils ont pris (...) de ‘promouvoir des canaux réguliers de migration et de mobilité au départ des pays d’Europe et d’Afrique et entre ceux-ci’ (...) ou de ‘Faciliter la migration et la mobilité de façon ordonnée, sans danger, régulière et responsable’”, détaille plus loin le rapport.

    Surveiller les frontières

    Parmi la vingtaine de projets financés par l’UE, la sécurité des frontières occupe une place prépondérante. Le “#Programme_de_gestion_des_frontières_au_Maghreb” (#BMP_Maghreb) est, de loin, le plus coûteux. Pour fournir de l’équipement et des formations aux gardes-côtes tunisiens, l’UE investit 20 millions d’euros, près d’un tiers du budget en question.

    Le projet BMP Maghreb a un objectif clairement défini : protéger, surveiller et contrôler les #frontières_maritimes dans le but de réduire l’immigration irrégulière. Par exemple, trois chambres d’opération ainsi qu’un système pilote de #surveillance_maritime (#ISmariS) ont été fournis à la garde nationale tunisienne. En collaboration avec le ministère de l’Intérieur et ses différents corps - garde nationale, douane, etc. -, ce programme est géré par l’#ICMPD (#Centre_international_pour_le_développement_des_politiques_migratoires).

    “Le BMP Maghreb est mis en place au #Maroc et en Tunisie. C’est essentiellement de l’acquisition de matériel : matériel informatique, de transmission demandé par l’Etat tunisien”, détaille Donya Smida de l’ICMPD. “On a fait d’abord une première analyse des besoins, qui est complétée ensuite par les autorités tunisiennes”.

    Cette fourniture de matériel s’ajoute à des #formations dispensées par des #experts_techniques, encore une fois coordonnées par l’ICMPD. Cette organisation internationale se présente comme spécialisée dans le “renforcement de capacités” dans le domaine de la politique migratoire, “loin des débat émotionnels et politisés”.

    "Cette posture est symptomatique d’un glissement sémantique plus général. Traiter la migration comme un sujet politique serait dangereux, alors on préfère la “gérer” comme un sujet purement technique. In fine, la ’gestionnaliser’ revient surtout à dépolitiser la question migratoire", commente #Camille_Cassarini, chercheur sur les migrations subsahariennes en Tunisie. “L’ICMPD, ce sont des ‘techniciens’ de la gestion des frontières. Ils dispensent des formations aux États grâce à un réseau d’experts avec un maître-mot : #neutralité politique et idéologique et #soutien_technique."

    En plus de ce programme, la Tunisie bénéficie d’autres fonds et reçoit aussi du matériel pour veiller à la sécurité des frontières. Certains s’inscrivent dans d’autres projets financés par l’UE, comme dans le cadre de la #lutte_antiterroriste.

    Il faut aussi ajouter à cela les équipements fournis individuellement par les pays européens dans le cadre de leurs #accords_bilatéraux. En ce qui concerne la protection des frontières, on peut citer l’exemple de l’Italie qui a fourni une douzaine de bateaux à la Tunisie en 2011. En 2017, l’Italie a également soutenu la Tunisie à travers un projet de modernisation de bateaux de patrouille fournis à la garde nationale tunisienne pour environ 12 millions d’euros.

    L’#Allemagne est aussi un investisseur de plus en plus important, surtout en ce qui concerne les frontières terrestres. Entre 2015 et 2016, elle a contribué à la création d’un centre régional pour la garde nationale et la police des frontières. A la frontière tuniso-libyenne, elle fournit aussi des outils de surveillance électronique tels que des caméras thermiques, des paires de jumelles nocturnes, etc…

    L’opacité des #accords_bilatéraux

    De nombreux pays européens - Allemagne, Italie, #France, Belgique, #Autriche, etc. - coopèrent ainsi avec la Tunisie en concluant de nombreux accords sur la migration. Une grande partie de cette coopération concerne la #réadmission des expulsé·es tunisien·nes. Avec l’Italie, quatre accords ont ainsi été signés en ce sens entre 1998 et 2011. D’après le FTDES* (Forum tunisien des droits économiques et sociaux), c’est dans le cadre de ce dernier accord que la Tunisie accueillerait deux avions par semaine à l’aéroport d’Enfidha de Tunisien·nes expulsé·es depuis Palerme.

    “Ces accords jouent beaucoup sur le caractère réciproque mais dans les faits, il y a un rapport inégal et asymétrique. En termes de réadmission, il est évident que la majorité des #expulsions concernent les Tunisiens en Europe”, commente Jean-Pierre Cassarino, chercheur et spécialiste des systèmes de réadmission.

    En pratique, la Tunisie ne montre pas toujours une volonté politique d’appliquer les accords en question. Plusieurs pays européens se plaignent de la lenteur des procédures de réadmissions de l’Etat tunisien avec qui “les intérêts ne sont pas vraiment convergents”.

    Malgré cela, du côté tunisien, signer ces accords est un moyen de consolider des #alliances. “C’est un moyen d’apparaître comme un partenaire fiable et stable notamment dans la lutte contre l’extrémisme religieux, l’immigration irrégulière ou encore la protection extérieure des frontières européennes, devenus des thèmes prioritaires depuis environ la moitié des années 2000”, explique Jean-Pierre Cassarino.

    Toujours selon les chercheurs, depuis les années 90, ces accords bilatéraux seraient devenus de plus en plus informels pour éviter de longues ratifications au niveau bilatéral les rendant par conséquent, plus opaques.

    Le #soft_power : nouvel outil d’externalisation

    Tous ces exemples montrent à quel point la question de la protection des frontières et de la #lutte_contre_l’immigration_irrégulière sont au cœur des politiques européennes. Une étude de la direction générale des politiques externes du Parlement européen élaborée en 2016 souligne comment l’UE “a tendance à appuyer ses propres intérêts dans les accords, comme c’est le cas pour les sujets liés à l’immigration.” en Tunisie.

    Le rapport pointe du doigt la contradiction entre le discours de l’UE qui, depuis 2011, insiste sur sa volonté de soutenir la Tunisie dans sa #transition_démocratique, notamment dans le domaine migratoire, tandis qu’en pratique, elle reste focalisée sur le volet sécuritaire.

    “La coopération en matière de sécurité demeure fortement centrée sur le contrôle des flux de migration et la lutte contre le terrorisme” alors même que “la rhétorique de l’UE en matière de questions de sécurité (...) a évolué en un discours plus large sur l’importance de la consolidation de l’État de droit et de la garantie de la protection des droits et des libertés acquis grâce à la révolution.”, détaille le rapport.

    Mais même si ces projets ont moins de poids en termes financiers, l’UE met en place de nombreux programmes visant à “développer des initiatives socio-économiques au niveau local”, “ mobiliser la diaspora” ou encore “sensibiliser sur les risques liés à la migration irrégulière”. La priorité est de dissuader en amont les potentiel·les candidat·es à l’immigration irrégulière, au travers de l’appui institutionnel, des #campagnes de #sensibilisation...

    L’#appui_institutionnel, présenté comme une priorité par l’UE, constitue ainsi le deuxième domaine d’investissement avec près de 15% des fonds.

    Houda Ben Jeddou, responsable de la coopération internationale en matière de migration à la DGCIM du ministère des Affaires sociales, explique que le projet #ProgreSMigration, créé en 2016 avec un financement à hauteur de 12,8 millions d’euros, permet de mettre en place “ des ateliers de formations”, “des dispositifs d’aides au retour” ou encore “des enquêtes statistiques sur la migration en Tunisie”.

    Ce projet est en partenariat avec des acteurs étatiques tunisiens comme le ministère des Affaires Sociales, l’observatoire national des migrations (ONM) ou encore l’Institut national de statistiques (INS). L’un des volets prioritaires est de “soutenir la #Stratégie_nationale_migratoire_tunisienne”. Pour autant, ce type de projet ne constitue pas une priorité pour les autorités tunisiennes et cette stratégie n’a toujours pas vu le jour.

    Houda Ben Jeddou explique avoir déposé un projet à la présidence en 2018, attendant qu’elle soit validée. "Il n’y a pas de volonté politique de mettre ce dossier en priorité”, reconnaît-elle.

    Pour Camille Cassarini, ce blocage est assez révélateur de l’absence d’une politique cohérente en Tunisie. “Cela en dit long sur les stratégies de contournement que met en place l’État tunisien en refusant de faire avancer le sujet d’un point de vue politique. Malgré les investissements européens pour pousser la Tunisie à avoir une politique migratoire correspondant à ses standards, on voit que les agendas ne sont pas les mêmes à ce niveau”.

    Changer la vision des migrations

    Pour mettre en place tous ces programmes, en plus des partenariats étatiques avec la Tunisie, l’Europe travaille en étroite collaboration avec les organisations internationales telles que l’#OIM (Organisation internationale pour les migrations), l’ICMPD et le #UNHCR (Haut Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés), les agences de développement européennes implantées sur le territoire - #GiZ, #Expertise_France, #AfD - ainsi que la société civile tunisienne.

    Dans ses travaux, Camille Cassarini montre que les acteurs sécuritaires sont progressivement assistés par des acteurs humanitaires qui s’occupent de mener une politique gestionnaire de la migration, cohérente avec les stratégies sécuritaires. “Le rôle de ces organisations internationales, type OIM, ICMPD, etc., c’est principalement d’effectuer un transfert de normes et pratiques qui correspondent à des dispositifs de #contrôle_migratoire que les Etats européens ne peuvent pas mettre directement en oeuvre”, explique-t-il.

    Contactée à plusieurs reprises par Inkyfada, la Délégation de l’Union européenne en Tunisie a répondu en fournissant le document détaillant leurs projets dans le cadre de leur partenariat de mobilité avec la Tunisie. Elle n’a pas souhaité donner suite aux demandes d’entretiens.

    En finançant ces organisations, les Etats européens ont d’autant plus de poids dans leur orientation politique, affirme encore le chercheur en donnant l’exemple de l’OIM, une des principales organisations actives en Tunisie dans ce domaine. “De par leurs réseaux, ces organisations sont devenues des acteurs incontournables. En Tunisie, elles occupent un espace organisationnel qui n’est pas occupé par l’Etat tunisien. Ça arrange plus ou moins tout le monde : les Etats européens ont des acteurs qui véhiculent leur vision des migrations et l’État tunisien a un acteur qui s’en occupe à sa place”.

    “Dans notre langage académique, on les appelle des #acteurs_épistémologiques”, ajoute Jean-Pierre Cassarino. A travers leur langage et l’étendue de leur réseau, ces organisations arrivent à imposer une certaine vision de la gestion des migrations en Tunisie. “Il n’y a qu’à voir le #lexique de la migration publié sur le site de l’Observatoire national [tunisien] des migrations : c’est une copie de celui de l’OIM”, continue-t-il.

    Contactée également par Inkyfada, l’OIM n’a pas donné suite à nos demandes d’entretien.

    Camille Cassarini donne aussi l’exemple des “#retours_volontaires”. L’OIM ou encore l’Office français de l’immigration (OFII) affirment que ces programmes permettent “la réinsertion sociale et économique des migrants de retour de façon à garantir la #dignité des personnes”. “Dans la réalité, la plupart des retours sont très mal ou pas suivis. On les renvoie au pays sans ressource et on renforce par là leur #précarité_économique et leur #vulnérabilité", affirme-t-il. “Et tous ces mots-clés euphémisent la réalité d’une coopération et de programmes avant tout basé sur le contrôle migratoire”.

    Bien que l’OIM existe depuis près de 20 ans en Tunisie, Camille Cassarini explique que ce système s’est surtout mis en place après la Révolution, notamment avec la société civile. “La singularité de la Tunisie, c’est sa transition démocratique : l’UE a dû adapter sa politique migratoire à ce changement politique et cela est passé notamment par la promotion de la société civile”.

    Dans leur ouvrage à paraître “Externaliser la gouvernance migratoire à travers la société tunisienne : le cas de la Tunisie” [Externalising Migration Governance through Civil Society : Tunisia as a Case Study], Sabine Didi et Caterina Giusa expliquent comment les programmes européens et les #organisations_internationales ont été implantées à travers la #société_civile.

    “Dans le cas des projets liés à la migration, le rôle déterminant de la société civile apparaît au niveau micro, en tant qu’intermédiaire entre les organisations chargées de la mise en œuvre et les différents publics catégorisés et identifiés comme des ‘#migrants_de_retour’, ‘membres de la diaspora’, ou ‘candidats potentiels à la migration irrégulière’", explique Caterina Giusa dans cet ouvrage, “L’intérêt d’inclure et et de travailler avec la société civile est de ‘faire avaler la pilule’ [aux populations locales]”.

    “Pour résumer, tous ces projets ont pour but de faire en sorte que les acteurs tunisiens aient une grille de lecture du phénomène migratoire qui correspondent aux intérêts de l’Union européenne. Et concrètement, ce qui se dessine derrière cette vision “gestionnaire”, c’est surtout une #injonction_à_l’immobilité”, termine Camille Cassarini.

    https://inkyfada.com/fr/2020/03/20/financements-ue-tunisie-migration
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #frontières #Tunisie #EU #UE #Europe #contrôles_frontaliers #politique_de_voisinage #dissuasion #IOM #HCR #immobilité

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765330

    Et celle sur la conditionnalité de l’aide au développement :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

    ping @karine4 @isskein @_kg_

  • Migrants : des #enregistrements attestent de la #collaboration entre #UE et #gardes-côtes_libyens

    Pour la première fois, des conversations captées au-dessus de la Méditerranée illustrent la #coopération cynique entre les États européens et Tripoli, destinée à bloquer les traversées de migrants. Obtenues par The Guardian et le collectif The Migration Newsroom, dont Mediapart est partenaire, ces enregistrements de 2019 font entendre les conséquences, en pleine mer, d’une politique qui interroge jusqu’au patron de Frontex, d’après des courriers confidentiels.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/120320/migrants-des-enregistrements-attestent-de-la-collaboration-entre-ue-et-gar
    #EU #Frontex #union_européenne #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Libye #externalisation

    Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation, et plus précisément avec la Libye :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765324

  • #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_

  • Libya ‘pact’: Malta facilitated return of migrants to ‘ghastly and horrific’ situation, NGOs says

    Civil Society Network calls for public inquiry into Malta-Libya deal • Aditus: ‘Do we want to be a nation that treats people with such a vile disregard for their humanity and dignity?’

    Malta ensured that hundreds of men, women and children were returned to a situation which the United Nations described as “ghastly and horrific”, the NGO Aditus Foundation said on a secret ‘pact’ to help Libya prevent boat migrants from reaching Maltese waters.

    On Sunday, Neville Gafà told MaltaToday how he helped broker an agreement in the summer of 2018, by direct order from the Office of the Prime Minister (https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/100529/neville_gaf_reveals_controversial_secret_migration_pact_with_libya.

    Gafà said that he used to receive information of boats departing from Libya and their coordinates from the Armed Forces of Malta, before relaying them directly to the Libyan coastguard. He said he carried out his job on direct orders of the Office of the Prime Minister under Joseph Muscat.

    Aditus Foundation Director Neil Falzon said that this was not an issue of a man acting alone, but of a man acting on behalf of Malta.

    “The legality of this policy of death is questionable and the present government should be warned that such practices are not as innocent as Gafà seems to believe,” Falzon said.

    In international law, countries are forbidden from returning asylum seekers to a country in which they would be in likely danger of persecution; but Gafà claims these were not pushbacks because Libyan authorities were taking in departing boats before they reach international waters.

    Falzon spoke about how asylum seekers intercepted by the Libyan coastguard are returned to a place where men are sold as slaves, women are sexually exploited and people are sent to die in detention centres. “Beyond legality questions, we should be asking ourselves if we want to be a nation that treats people with such a vile disregard for their humanity and dignity,” he said.

    Civil Society Network call for public inquiry

    The activist NGO Civil Society Network has also called for a public inquiry into the secret pact between Malta and Libya to stop asylum seekers from leaving Libyan waters.

    “Set up a public and independent inquiry into the ostensibly illegal agreement that was reached between the Maltese Government and the Libyan coastguard which could have led to several thousands of lives lost,” Civil Society Network (CSN) said.

    Neville Gafà’s recent testimony suggests an illegal pact, resulting in a potential serious breach of international refugee law, according to CSN.

    CSN said that Gafà’s statements on how he used to relay coordinates to the Libyan coastguard, suggest that the Maltese government failed to abide by its international obligations.

    “Gafà appears to have done all this with the blessing of ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat; hence, there is a pressing need for an independent public investigation to establish the exact role of the Maltese Government and of Gafà,” the statement read.

    On Sunday, former Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Arnold Cassola, also wrote to the International Criminal Court, asking them to investigate Malta’s collaboration with Libya.

    The former Green Party chairman told the criminal court that if such claims were true, there would be a violation of basic human rights and a serious breach in international law.

    Gafà reacted by implying that the entire EU has engaged in acts of refoulement. “Have you ever heard of Operation Sophia? Do you know what was the scope of Operation Sophia?” he said of the EU naval operation set up in 2015 to supplant Italy’s Mare Nostrum refugee rescue mission.

    https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/100549/libya_pact_malta_facilitated_return_of_migrants_to_ghastly_and_horrif
    #Libye #Malte #pacte #accord #externalisation #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #asile

    ping @reka @karine4 @isskein

    –---

    Ajouté au métaliste sur l’externalisation:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

  • Outrage over reports EU-funding linked to forced labour in Eritrea

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised the European Union over its funding of an infrastructure project in the brutal dictatorship of Eritrea.

    The scheme, which received €20 million from Brussels, was partially built by forced labour, according to the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/08/world/europe/conscription-eritrea-eu.html).

    The newspaper also claimed the EU had no way of monitoring the project.

    “For the EU to rely on the government to do its monitoring, I think it is incredibly problematic, especially when obviously some of the issues the EU will be discussing with the government are around labour force,” said Laetitia Bader from HRW.

    “And as we know the government has quite bluntly said that it will continue to rely on national service conscripts.”

    The funding of the road project in Eritrea is part of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, created to address the #root_causes of migration.

    Yet Eritrea has an elaborate system of indefinite forced “national service” that makes people try to flee, especially youngsters.

    For the EU, democratic reforms are no longer a condition for financial aid.

    “The EU has made support for democracy a more prominent objective in its relations with African countries since the early 2000s, I would say,” said Christine Hackenesch from the German Development Institute.

    “And the EU has put more emphasis on developing its instruments to support democratic reforms. But the context now for democracy support in Africa and globally is a very different one because there is more of a competition of political models with China and other actors.”

    The EU Commission said that it was aware that conscripts were used for the road project - but that Brussels funded only material and equipment, not labour.

    https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/10/outrage-over-reports-eu-funding-linked-to-forced-labour-in-eritrea
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Trust_Fund #Erythrée #EU #UE #Trust_Fund_for_Africa #dictatures #travail_forcé #aide_au_développement #développement

    Ajouté à la métaliste externalisation :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765340

    Et à la métaliste migrations/développement :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768702

    ping @isskein @karine4

    @simplicissimus : j’ai fait un petit tour sur internet à la recherche du communiqué/rapport de HRW concernant cette histoire, mais j’ai pas trouvé... pas le temps de chercher plus... si jamais tu as un peu de temps pour voir ça serait très bienvenu... merci !

    • Sur la page officielle du Trust Fund for Africa... voici ce qui est marqué pour l’Erythrée...

      Eritrea is a major source of asylum seekers, who either remain in neighbouring countries of the region or move onwards towards Europe and elsewhere. Our main aim in the country is to create an enabling environment that improves economic opportunities available to young people, including through education, incentives for private entrepreneurship, vocational training or apprenticeship programmes.

      https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/region/horn-africa/eritrea_en

    • Érythrée : une #plainte contre l’UE, complice de « travail forcé »

      Une plainte a été déposée ce mercredi, par un collectif d’Érythréens en exil, contre plusieurs institutions de l’Union européenne. En cause : le financement par l’UE, depuis l’année dernière, de la construction en Érythrée de routes pour lesquels sont employés, en toute connaissance de cause, des appelés du très controversé service militaire obligatoire.

      Les avocats de la Fondation droits de l’homme pour les Erythréens, basée aux Pays-Bas, avaient mis en garde l’Union européenne l’année dernière. Cette fois, face à l’indifférence des institutions de Bruxelles envers leurs arguments, ils sont passés à l’acte. Selon nos informations, une plainte d’une trentaine de pages a été déposée ce mercredi matin auprès du tribunal de grande instance d’Amsterdam. Cette plainte demande deux choses au tribunal : d’abord qu’il déclare le financement européen des chantiers de routes soutenus en Érythrée comme « illégal » ; ensuite, qu’il enjoigne l’Union européenne de le stopper.

      Dans leur plainte contre la Commission européenne et son Service d’action extérieure, les avocats Emil Jurjens et Tamilla Abdul-Alyeva s’appuient évidemment sur le droit international, qui sanctionne l’usage du travail forcé. Mais aussi sur les textes de l’UE elle-même, qui s’est engagée à refuser tout soutien à d’éventuelles « violations des droits de l’homme » dans sa coopération internationale. Et ce alors même que, dans son projet d’appui aux chantiers érythréens rendu public en 2018, elle a reconnu, noir sur blanc, que des conscrits du « service national » seraient bien employés sur les chantiers qu’elle finance, à hauteur de 20 millions d’euros en 2019 et de 60 millions d’euros en 2020.

      Pour sa défense, l’UE avait répondu par lettre, l’année dernière, à la mise en demeure des plaignants. Pour elle, d’une part l’Érythrée refuse toute « condition » préalable à sa coopération. Et d’autre part, elle fait valoir que ses financements ne sont pas destinés au gouvernement d’Asmara, mais à des sous-traitants, en l’occurrence des sociétés de construction érythréennes chargées de la mise en œuvre des travaux. Et elle assure qu’une « rémunération » est bel et bien versée aux employés.

      Les terribles conditions d’emploi des conscrits de l’armée érythréenne

      Mais pour prouver sa bonne foi, soulignent les plaignants, elle s’appuie sur la communication du gouvernement érythréen. Les avocats de la Fondation droits de l’homme pour les Erythréens ajoutent enfin que les sous-traitants érythréens sont des sociétés appartenant au parti unique érythréen, le Front populaire pour la démocratie et la justice (FPDJ) ou, tout simplement, au ministère de la Défense.

      Or, les terribles conditions d’emploi des conscrits de l’armée érythréenne ont été abondamment documentées par plusieurs enquêtes, journalistiques, universitaires ou d’institutions comme le Bureau international du travail (BIT). Mais aussi par la Rapporteure spéciale de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme en Érythrée et, surtout, la Commission d’enquête du Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU en 2015, qui les a inscrit sur une liste de « possibles crimes contre l’humanité ».

      Les appelés sur « service national » érythréens sont en effet soumis à la vie, la discipline et la hiérarchie militaire. Après avoir été enrôlés avant leur dernière année de lycée, ils sont envoyés pendant 18 mois dans l’académie militaire de Sawa, dans le désert près de la frontière soudanaise, où ils sont soumis à des mauvais traitements, surtout les jeunes filles. Les réfractaires sont enrôlés de force au cours de giffas, ces rafles organisées par l’armée dans les campagnes et dans les villes pour capturer les jeunes qui se seraient soustraits à l’appel obligatoire sous les drapeaux ou qui auraient profité d’une permission pour déserter. Officiellement, il n’existe pas de limite à ce service, maintenant tous les Érythréens entre 18 ans et la cinquantaine à la disposition de l’armée, y compris lorsqu’ils sont nommés à des emploi civils.

      Hasard du calendrier : jeudi, le Parlement européen doit également se prononcer sur le sujet. Une résolution est proposée au vote par la députée française Michèle Rivasi (Verts), appelant la Commission européenne à « reporter » tout financement de tels projets, jusqu’à ce qu’une mission d’information du Parlement puisse se rendre en Érythrée. Mission parlementaire dont le principe avait été accepté en novembre, mais qui n’a pas encore eu lieu.

      http://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20200513-erythr%C3%A9e-une-plainte-contre-l-ue-complice-travail-forc%C3%A9
      #justice

    • Eritrean organisation summons the EU for use of forced labour

      A case is being launched today in the court of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that demands a halt to the European Union (EU) aid worth 80 million EUR being sent to Eritrea. The Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans has observed that the aid project financed by the EU aid relies on forced labour. The EU acknowledges this. This contradicts the most fundamental principles of international law and is unlawful towards the Foundation, which defends the fundamental rights of Eritreans in Eritrea and in the diaspora.

      The Foundation issued a summons to the European Union in April 2019 and asked the EU to end the project, which looks to rehabilitate the roads between Eritrea and Ethiopia. However, the EU refused to stop the project, even as it recognises that forced labour was (and is) used in the context of this project. At the end of 2019, the EU announced that it would provide further funding to the project. The EU funding goes to Eritrean state companies, which use it to procure materials.

      The Eritrean regime makes use of labourers in the Eritrean national service to construct the roads under the project. The circumstances under which the Eritrean population is forced to work in the national service have been described by the United Nations Human Rights Commission in detail: “Thousands of conscripts are subjected to forced labour that effectively abuses, exploits and enslaves them for years.”

      This form of national service has been described as “enslavement” and a “crime against humanity” by the United Nations. The European Parliament has denounced it as “forced labour” and “a form of slavery”. The EU was asked by the European Parliament in January 2020 to “avoid situations where the EU could indirectly finance projects that violate human rights” with specific reference to the Eritrean road building project.

      The EU claims that it has no responsibility for the forced labourers, as it “does not pay for labor under this project”, according to the European Commission. “The project only covers the procurement of material and equipment to support the rehabilitation of roads.”

      The Foundation states that the support to a project which uses forced labour is clearly in contradiction to international law and asks the Amsterdam court that the project is stopped.

      Documents relating to this case

      Press release EN
      https://kvdl.com/uploads/PRESS-RELEASE_KennedyvdLaan_FIN_13May2020.pdf

      Case summary EN
      https://kvdl.com/uploads/Case-Summary_Eritrea-Road-building_FIN_13May2020.pdf

      Writ of summons (‘dagvaarding’) EN
      https://kvdl.com/uploads/Writ-of-Summons-Foundation-HRfE-EU.pdf

      https://kvdl.com/en/articles/eritrean-organisation-summons-the-eu-for-use-of-forced-labour

    • Érythrée | L’Europe accusée de financer le travail forcé

      La Fondation des droits de l’homme pour les Érythréens, basée aux Pays-Bas, a déposé une plainte contre l’Union européenne (UE) en mai 2020, l’incriminant de financer le travail forcé en Érythrée. En cause : les investissements du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique dans des chantiers majoritairement menés par des personnes enrôlées de force pour un service militaire indéfini, avec des salaires quasi inexistants. La Suisse est associée à ce fonds d’urgence pour l’Afrique, qui a comme but premier de freiner la migration africaine vers l’Europe. Or, le règlement de l’UE interdit « tout soutien à d’éventuelles violations des droits humains ». La plainte demande aux organes concernés de l’UE de reconnaître ces financements comme illégaux et de les stopper. Les justifications, que les dirigeants européens invoquent en réponse aux critiques déjà émises, semblent jusqu’ici hasardeuses.

      Depuis quelques années l’Érythrée a entamé un mouvement d’ouverture vis-à-vis des soutiens extérieurs au sein de ce pays africain en main du même régime dictatorial depuis son indépendance. Des délégations européennes se sont rendues sur place pour négocier et contempler dans des circuits très contrôlés par les autorités l’état actuel des choses. L’Union européenne soutient financièrement des projets sur place à travers l’utilisation du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique, doté de 4,6 milliards. Conçu en 2015 lors d’une augmentation du nombre de demandes d’asile en Europe, ce fonds a comme finalité une réduction des migrations vers l’Europe. Selon Radio France International (RFI), concernant l’Érythrée spécifiquement, les chantiers dévoilés en 2018 sont financés à hauteur de 20 millions de francs en 2019, et 60 millions en 2020.

      Une sommation en 2019, puis une plainte contre l’UE en 2020

      Or pour la Fondation des droits de l’homme pour les Érythréens, cette aide finance des chantiers où travailleraient des conscrits enrôlés de force et mal (ou non) rémunérés. Malgré les changements récents, le régime autoritaire d’Issayas Afewerki ne donne pas de signe de relâchement envers sa population. Le rapport 2019 de Human Rights Watch énumère encore de nombreuses exactions contre les droits humains et dénonce également le financement de ces chantiers par l’UE. En particulier à travers ce système de milice forcé qui enrôle hommes et femmes dès leur majorité, et parfois plus jeunes, pour des travaux nationaux sans véritable compensation financière ni limite de temps formelle. Les figures opposantes au régime sont muselées, emprisonnées ou trouvent comme seule échappatoire la fuite du territoire. Un reportage auprès de l’énorme diaspora érythréenne vivant de l’autre côté de la frontière en Éthiopie, paru dans Mondiaal Niews (01.11.2019) estime que « l’argent européen maintient simplement la dictature en place ». Autrement dit : « l’Europe n’arrête pas la migration d’Érythrée, elle [en] prépare le terrain ».

      Selon la Fondation, ce sont précisément des personnes enrôlées contre leur gré qui travaillent sur des chantiers titanesques, cofinancés par l’Union européenne dans le cadre de ce fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique. Elle s’était déjà adressée aux autorités européennes en avril 2019 pour dénoncer ces faits (RFI). L’UE s’était alors défendue de toute responsabilité. Reconnaissant « que l’Érythrée n’accepte aucune condition sur l’octroi des fonds », elle estimait que les salaires étaient versés, vu que l’argent était touché par des entreprises érythréennes directement. Or, ces arguments ont comme source directe le gouvernement érythréen. Selon les informations invoquées par la Fondation, les sous-traitants érythréens en charge des chantiers sont des sociétés appartenant au parti unique érythréen. Ce qui permet de mettre en doute leur indépendance.
      Restés lettre morte, les arguments de la Fondation ont cette fois été formulés sous forme de plainte déposée le 13 mai 2020 auprès du tribunal de grande instance d’Amsterdam. Un dossier de 30 pages demande à l’UE de reconnaître ce soutien comme illégal et de le stopper.

      La Suisse y est associée

      Un article paru dans Le Temps le 22 janvier 2020 révélait que la Suisse était associée à ce fonds. Si les autorités helvétiques disent avoir émis des critiques sur le programme érythréen, insistant sur la nécessité d’une surveillance étroite, leur contribution participe dans les faits à ces chantiers ayant potentiellement recours au travail forcé. L’article évoque celui nommé « de la route de la paix » permettant d’améliorer l’accès à la mer pour la très enclavée Érythrée. Le responsable de ce fonds pour la Suisse affirmait ne « financer que le matériel ».
      Une assurance peu fiable, si l’on en croit l’UNOPS, un bureau onusien chargé par l’UE de contrôler l’utilisation du fonds, pour qui il n’est pas possible d’effectuer la surveillance de manière indépendante. Selon l’article du Temps, des membres de la Commission européenne avaient finalement rétorqué : « Le gouvernement a indiqué qu’il était prêt à démobiliser les conscrits une fois que les conditions le permettront. Il faut que la création d’emplois soit suffisante. Cela ne peut se produire du jour au lendemain. Se retirer serait contre-productif […] »
      On le voit, les arguments avancés par les représentant-e-s de la Suisse ou de l’Union européenne ne tiennent pas la route. Et leur responsabilité reste entière. Pensaient-ils, pensaient-elles, que la crainte de l’arrivée de nouveaux ressortissant-e-s érythréen-ne-s en quête de protection suffirait à faire tolérer des alliances et financements inavouables ? C’était faire fi d’une diaspora érythréenne intimement soudée et organisée pour faire front face à un régime totalitaire qui rend exsangue tout un peuple encore à sa merci. Cette plainte vient rappeler leur présence essentielle et leur ténacité exemplaire.

      –—

      Documents clés
      • 13.05.2020 Communiqué de presse relatif au dépôt de la plainte par Foundation Human Rights for Erythreans : « Eritrean organisation summons the EU for use of forced labour » (https://asile.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/PRESS-RELEASE_KennedyvdLaan_FIN_13May2020.pdf)
      • 14.01.2020 Rapport publié par Human Rights Watch « Eritrea : Events of 2019 » (https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/eritrea)
      • 01.04.2019 Lettre de sommation envoyée à l’Union européenne « Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans / European Union » (https://asile.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Letter-of-Summons-EU-Emergency-Trust-Fund-for-Africa-1.pdf)

      https://asile.ch/2020/08/24/erythree-leurope-accusee-de-financer-le-travail-force

  • La France propose d’aider la Grèce à reconduire des #déboutés de l’asile

    En visite à Athènes, ce lundi 20 janvier, le secrétaire d’État français à l’Intérieur Laurent Nuñez a confirmé l’accueil dans les prochains mois de 400 demandeurs d’asile actuellement présents en Grèce. Il a par ailleurs déclaré que la France proposait son aide à la Grèce pour « faciliter les reconduites » dans leur pays d’origine des déboutés du droit d’asile.

    Quatre cents demandeurs d’asile présents en Grèce - dont Paris avait annoncé l’accueil dès le mois de décembre - devraient progressivement arriver sur le territoire français d’ici l’été prochain. Le chiffre reste symbolique au vu des près de 10 000 arrivées par mois en Grèce depuis l’été, mais il permet néanmoins à Paris d’appeler a davantage de solidarité européenne.

    « La Grèce a fait l’objet d’un pic migratoire important depuis l’été dernier, souligne le secrétaire d’État Laurent Nunez. Et donc la position de la France, c’est de considérer que dans ce genre de situation, il est normal que nous puissions accueillir par solidarité, en relocalisation, un certain nombre de demandeurs d’asile qui sont, ici, en Grèce, c’est ce que nous allons faire pour 400 personnes, des personnes qui sont particulièrement vulnérables. Et vous savez que dans le cadre de la réflexion en cours sur la gestion globale du système d’asile, cette question des relocalisations est au cœur des discussions. »

    La Commission européenne travaille en effet à redéfinir la législation de l’Union en termes de migrations. Un projet de « Nouveau pacte », qui doit être présenté d’ici au printemps. Les tensions croissantes entre Athènes et Ankara, qui participent aussi des difficultés migratoires actuelles de la Grèce, ne faisaient, elles, pas partie de la communication officielle.

    Par ailleurs, la France a proposé son aide lundi à la Grèce pour « faciliter les reconduites » dans leur pays d’origine des déboutés du droit d’asile, a indiqué Laurent Nuñez. Avec « notre #ambassade à Athènes, nous allons aider la Grèce à obtenir des autorisations de reconduite (...) notamment des #laissez-passer_consulaires qui sont parfois difficiles à obtenir » à la faveur des « #relations_privilégiées » de la France avec « certains pays », a-t-il précisé. Il s’agirait surtout de pays africains, selon une source grecque proche du dossier.

    http://www.rfi.fr/europe/20200120-france-nunez-asile-aider-grece-migrants
    #renvois #expulsions #aide #Grèce #France #aide #Afrique #externalisation

    Une étrange idée de la #solidarité... La France joue la carte des « relations privilégiées »... = relations coloniales...
    #colonialisme #continuité_coloniale #rapports_coloniaux

    ping @isskein @karine4

    Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749

    • Migrants. La France propose d’aider la Grèce à renvoyer les déboutés de l’asile

      La France a proposé son aide lundi à la Grèce pour « faciliter les reconduites » dans leur pays d’origine des déboutés du droit d’asile, a indiqué le secrétaire d’État français à l’Intérieur, Laurent Nuñez, en visite à Athènes.

      Soulignant la "solidarité" française envers la Grèce, première porte d’entrée des migrants en Europe en 2019, Laurent Nuñez a confirmé que la France accueillerait à l’été prochain 400 demandeurs d’asile "surtout des familles en grande vulnérabilité" se trouvant actuellement en Grèce.

      "Nous allons étudier avec nos amis grecs la possibilité d’organiser des vols groupés pour faciliter les reconduites de personnes qui ne sont pas en besoin de protection dans leurs pays", a également déclaré le secrétaire d’État, à l’issue d’entretiens avec Georges Koumoutsakos, ministre adjoint grec à l’Immigration et l’Asile.

      Ces vols franco-grecs pourront être organisés avec "le concours de Frontex", l’Agence de protection des frontières européennes, a-t-il ajouté.
      L’envoi de 24 experts français

      Avec "notre ambassade à Athènes, nous allons aider la Grèce à obtenir des autorisations de reconduite […] notamment des laissez-passer consulaires qui sont parfois difficiles à obtenir" à la faveur des "relations privilégiées" de la France avec "certains pays", a précisé Laurent Nuñez. Il s’agirait surtout de pays africains, selon une source grecque proche du dossier.

      Laurent Nuñez a aussi annoncé l’envoi en Grèce de 24 experts français pour aider le gouvernement grec à traiter le flot de demandes d’asile.

      Le gouvernement conservateur de Kyriakos Mitsotakis a durci l’octroi de l’asile et insisté sur le rapatriement des déboutés de l’asile, une question critiquée par de nombreuses ONG de défense des migrants.
      400 demandeurs d’asile accueillis en France

      La France avait annoncé mi-décembre qu’elle accueillerait 400 demandeurs d’asile. M. Nuñez a parlé d’"une mesure ponctuelle" pour répondre à une situation "d’urgence" en Grèce.

      Outre la France, le Portugal s’est dit prêt à partager le fardeau migratoire en acceptant de relocaliser 1 000 demandeurs d’asile.

      Athènes ne cesse de demander "plus de solidarité" européenne sur cette question après une hausse importante des arrivées sur son territoire et la détérioration des conditions de vie dans les camps surpeuplés de migrants.

      https://www.ouest-france.fr/europe/grece/migrants-la-france-propose-d-aider-la-grece-renvoyer-les-deboutes-de-l-