voir aussi la métaliste sur les tentatives de différentes pays européens d’#externalisation non seulement des contrôles frontaliers (►https://seenthis.net/messages/731749), mais aussi de la #procédure_d'asile dans des #pays_tiers*
voir aussi la métaliste sur les tentatives de différentes pays européens d’#externalisation non seulement des contrôles frontaliers (►https://seenthis.net/messages/731749), mais aussi de la #procédure_d'asile dans des #pays_tiers*
Brigitte Espuche : « Le Royaume-Uni se défausse de ses responsabilités en matière d’asile »
Le Royaume-Uni a franchi le pas de la sous-traitance de l’asile en signant un accord avec le Rwanda, en avril dernier, afin d’y envoyer ses demandeurs d’asile. Mais la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme en a décidé autrement, clouant le premier avion au sol mi-juin.
RWANDA legal challenge latest. Later than I had hoped due to other commitments. Today was an important day because we got to hear the government’s full legal arguments for the first time. Some takeaways:
First off, Lord David Pannick QC is leading for the government (yes the very same). One of his lines of defence is quite simple amid the 100,000,000s of documents in this case.
Basically… back in 2004 Tony Blair’s government passed an immigration act that gives ministers the power to send an asylum seeker to another safe country. Here’s the relevant part of that power
That power says the Home Secretary can transfer an asylum seeker to another state, providing they’re not a citizen of that place and - importantly - she is of the “opinion” that a) they will be safe and b) they won’t be bundled on a plane to somewhere that’s dangerous.
And that’s basically the heart of it. Lord Pannick today told the court that it could not decide for itself that the Home Secretary should comply with some other criteria that Parliament had not written into the law.
Lord Pannick: “The obligation on the UK is to either assess the claim or return the asylum seeker to a safe third country. If we choose to return the individual to a third country that is safe, then we, the UK, have complied with our obligations under the Refugee Convention.”
He added that while the Convention bans governments from imposing “penalties” on asylum seekers, that would not apply to sending them to a safe third country. (The other side say relocation to Rwanda would be a penalty.)
Now the pinch point in all of this for the government is the UN Refugee Agency’s warning that it does not think Rwanda has the capacity to manage the migrants and it may not treat people fairly and well. (See yesterday’s thread).
So the government is making a big play in court that the deal it has struck with Rwanda is water-tight. Here are some of those assurances Rwanda has provided to the UK. And the government’s team says these should carry “great weight”.
The assurances carry a caveat that if Rwanda breaches them, they can’t be taken to court:
That’s been highlighted by the other side - and the court is also asking Govt lawyers for a detailed response to the UN’s concerns about Rwanda. The case continues tomorrow and in theory Friday. Judgment won’t be for some while. Thanks for reading.
BROCHURE SUR L’EXTERNALISATION DES FRONTIÈRES
Il y a beaucoup de gens qui, pour toutes sortes de raisons, essaient de déménager pour vivre sur un morceau de terre où ils ne sont pas nés. S’ils sont riches, ils sont « expatriés ». S’ils sont pauvres, ils sont des migrants irréguliers, des « illégaux ». Rien qu’au cours des prochaines décennies, le nombre de personnes contraintes de se déplacer en raison du changement climatique d’origine humaine se situe entre le 200 millions et les milliards. Et la plupart d’entre eux sont originaires de pays économiquement « pauvres », les plus touchés dans un avenir immédiat par la crise climatique que les pays plus industrialisés ont créée. Tout comme les réfugiés fuyant les guerres financées par l’Occident sont de plus en plus nombreux. Ou les plus pauvres qui cherchent une vie meilleure, fuyant les pays où les multinationales et les États les plus riches font tout ce qu’ils peuvent pour s’emparer des ressources naturelles à des prix dérisoires et payer les travailleurs une misère pour créer davantage de profits.
(Sans surprise) que fait l’Union européenne ? Il augmente le budget consacré à l’externalisation des frontières. Il augmente l’argent pour le contrôle, les passeports biométriques, les moyens de refus. Sélectionner et arrêter bien avant les personnes que le système économique de l’Union ne veut pas voir arriver en Europe ; faciliter les rapatriements ; et gagner à chaque étape du processus.
Ces pages traitent de cette question.
Nous invitons chacun à les télécharger, à les lire et, pour ceux qui le souhaitent, à partager leurs réflexions, lectures et raisonnements.
Status agreement with Senegal : #Frontex might operate in Africa for the first time
The border agency in Warsaw could deploy drones, vessels and personnel. It would be the first mission in a country that does not directly border the EU. Mauretania might be next.
As a „priority third state“ in West Africa, Senegal has long been a partner for migration-related security cooperation with the EU. The government in Dakar is one of the addressees of the „#North_Africa_Operational_Partnership“; it also receives technical equipment and advice for border police upgrading from EU development aid funds. Now Brussels is pushing for a Frontex mission in Senegal. To this end, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled personally to the capital Dakar last week. She was accompanied by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, who said that a contract with Senegal might be finalised until summer. For the matter, Johansson met with Senegal’s armed-forces minister and foreign minister.
For operations outside the EU, Frontex needs a so-called status agreement with the country concerned. It regulates, for example, the use of coercive police measures, the deployment of weapons or immunity from criminal and civil prosecution. The Commission will be entrusted with the negotiations for such an agreement with Senegal after the Council has given the mandate. The basis would be a „model status agreement“ drafted by the Commission on the basis of Frontex missions in the Western Balkans. Frontex launched its first mission in a third country in 2019 in Albania, followed by Montenegro in 2020 and Serbia in 2021.
New EU Steering Group on migration issues
The deployment to Senegal would be the first time the Border Agency would be stationed outside Europe with operational competences. Johansson also offered „#surveillance equipment such as #drones and vessels“. This would take the already established cooperation to a new level.
Frontex is already active in the country, but without uniformed and armed police personnel. Of the only four liaison officers Frontex has seconded to third countries, one is based at the premises of the EU delegation in #Dakar. His tasks include communicating with the authorities responsible for border management and assisting with deportations from EU member states. Since 2019, Senegal has been a member of Frontex’s so-called AFIC network. In this „Risk Analysis Cell“, the agency joins forces with African police forces and secret services for exchanges on imminent migration movements. For this purpose, Frontex has negotiated a working agreement with the Senegalese police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The new talks with Senegal are coordinated in the recently created „Operational Coordination Mechanism for the External Dimension of Migration“ (MOCADEM). It is an initiative of EU member states to better manage their politics in countries of particular interest. These include Niger or Iraq, whose government recently organised return flights for its own nationals from Minsk after Belarus‘ „instrumentalisation of refugees“ at the EU’s insistence. If the countries continue to help with EU migration control, they will receive concessions for visa issuance or for labour migration.
Senegal also demands something in return for allowing a Frontex mission. The government wants financial support for the weakened economy after the COVID pandemic. Possibilities for legal migration to the EU were also on the agenda at the meetings with the Commission. Negotiations are also likely to take place on a deportation agreement; the Senegalese authorities are to „take back“ not only their own nationals but also those of other countries if they can prove that they have travelled through the country to the EU and have received an exit order there.
Deployment in territorial waters
Senegal is surrounded by more than 2,600 kilometres of external border; like the neighbouring countries of Mali, Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, the government has joined the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Similar to the Schengen area, the agreement also regulates the free movement of people and goods in a total of 15 countries. Only at the border with Mauritania, which left ECOWAS in 2001, are border security measures being stepped up.
It is therefore possible that a Frontex operation in Senegal will not focus on securing the land borders as in the Western Balkans, but on monitoring the maritime border. After the „Canary Islands crisis“ in 2006 with an increase in the number of refugee crossings, Frontex coordinated the Joint Operation „Hera“ off the islands in the Atlantic; it was the first border surveillance mission after Frontex was founded. Departures towards the Canary Islands are mostly from the coast north of Senegal’s capital Dakar, and many of the people in the boats come from neighbouring countries.
The host country of „Hera“ has always been Spain, which itself has bilateral migration control agreements with Senegal. Authorities there participate in the communication network „Seahorse Atlantic“, with which the Spanish gendarmerie wants to improve surveillance in the Atlantic. Within the framework of „Seahorse“, the Guardia Civil is also allowed to conduct joint patrols in the territorial waters of Senegal, Mauritania and Cape Verde. The units in „Hera“ were also the only Frontex mission allowed to navigate the countries‘ twelve-mile zone with their vessels. Within the framework of „Hera“, however, it was not possible for Frontex ships to dock on the coasts of Senegal or to disembark intercepted refugees there.
Spain wants to lead Frontex mission
Two years ago, the government in Madrid terminated the joint maritime mission in the Atlantic. According to the daily newspaper „El Pais“, relations between Spain and Frontex were at a low point after the border agency demanded more control over the resources deployed in „Hera“. Spain was also said to be unhappy with Frontex’s role in the Canary Islands. The agency had seconded two dozen officers to the Canary Islands to fingerprint and check identity documents after a sharp increase in crossings from Senegal and Mauritania in 2020. According to the International Organization for Migration, at least 1,200 people died or went missing when the crossing in 2021. The news agency AFP quotes the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras which puts this number at over 4,400 people. Also the Commissioner Johansson said that 1,200 were likely underestimated.
The new situation on the Canary Islands is said to have prompted Frontex and the government in Madrid to advocate the envisaged launch of the joint operation in Senegal. With a status agreement, Frontex would be able to hand over refugees taken on board to Senegalese authorities or bring them back to the country itself by ship. The Guardia Civil wants to take over the leadership of such an operation, writes El Pais with reference to Spanish government circles. The government in Dakar is also said to have already informed the EU of its readiness for such an effort.
The idea for an operational Frontex deployment in Senegal is at least three years old. Every year, Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri assesses in a report on the implementation of the EU’s External Maritime Borders Regulation whether refugees rescued in its missions could disembark in the respective eligible third countries. In the annual report for 2018, Leggeri attested to the government in Senegal’s compliance with basic fundamental and human rights. While Frontex did not even consider disembarking refugees in Libya, Tunisia or Morocco, the director believes this would be possible with Senegal – as well as Turkey.
Currently, the EU and its agencies have no concrete plans to conclude status agreements with other African countries, but Mauritania is also under discussion. Frontex is furthermore planning working (not status) arrangements with other governments in North and East Africa. Libya is of particular interest; after such a contract, Frontex could also complete Libya’s long-planned connection to the surveillance network EUROSUR. With a working agreement, the border agency would be able to regularly pass on information from its aerial reconnaissance in the Mediterranean to the Libyan coast guard, even outside of measures to counter distress situations at sea.
#Sénégal #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Afrique #Mauritanie #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #renvois #expulsions #AFIC #Risk_Analysis_Cell #services_secrets #police #coopération #accord #MOCADEM #Operational_Coordination_Mechanism_for_the_External_Dimension_of_Migration #accords_de_réadmission #accord_de_réadmission #frontières_maritimes #Atlantique #Seahorse_Atlantic #Hera
ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers :
et plus précisément ici :
L’Union européenne veut déployer Frontex au large des côtes sénégalaises
À l’occasion de la visite au Sénégal de cinq commissaires européennes, l’UE propose au gouvernement le déploiement de Frontex, l’agence européenne de garde-côtes et de gardes-frontières. La Commission européenne envisagerait un déploiement d’ici à l’été en cas d’accord avec les autorités sénégalaises.
C’est pour l’instant une proposition faite par Ylva Johansson. La commissaire chargée des Affaires intérieures a évoqué la question avec les ministres des Affaires étrangères, des forces armées et de l’Intérieur ce vendredi à Dakar.
Pour l’Union européenne, l’intérêt immédiat est de contrôler le trafic d’êtres humains avec les embarcations qui partent des côtes sénégalaises vers l’archipel espagnol des Canaries. Mais le principe serait aussi de surveiller les mouvements migratoires vers l’Europe via la Mauritanie ou bien la route plus longue via l’Algérie et la Libye.
L’idée est une collaboration opérationnelle des garde-côtes et gardes-frontières de l’agence Frontex avec la gendarmerie nationale sénégalaise et sous sa direction. L’UE envisage le déploiement de navires, de personnel et de matériel. La commissaire européenne aux Affaires intérieures a évoqué par exemple des drones.
L’agence Frontex de surveillance des frontières extérieures de l’Union est en train de monter en puissance : son effectif devrait s’élever à 10 000 gardes-côtes et gardes-frontières dans quatre ans, soit dix fois plus qu’en 2018. Elle n’a jamais été déployée hors d’Europe et cette proposition faite au Sénégal illustre à l’avance la priorité que va mettre l’Europe sur les questions migratoires lors du sommet avec l’Union africaine dans une semaine.
EU seeks to deploy border agency to Senegal
European Commissioner Ylva Johansson on Friday offered to deploy the EU’s border agency to Senegal to help combat migrant smuggling, following a surge in perilous crossings to Spain’s Canary Islands.
At a news conference in the Senegalese capital Dakar, Johansson said the arrangement would mark the first time that the EU border agency Frontex would operate outside Europe.
Should the Senegalese government agree, the commissioner added, the EU could send surveillance equipment such as drones and vessels, as well as Frontex personnel.
Deployed alongside local forces, the agents would “work together to fight the smugglers,” she said.
“This is my offer and I hope that Senegal’s government is interested in this unique opportunity,” said Johansson, the EU’s home affairs commissioner.
The announcement comes amid a sharp jump in attempts to reach the Canary Islands — a gateway to the EU — as authorities have clamped down on crossings to Europe from Libya.
The Spanish archipelago lies just over 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the coast of Africa at its closest point.
But the conditions in the open Atlantic are often dangerous, and would-be migrants often brave the trip in rickety wooden canoes known as pirogues.
About 1,200 people died or went missing attempting the crossing in 2021, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras last month put the figure at over 4,400 people.
Johansson also said on Friday that the 1,200-person figure was likely an underestimate.
She added that she had discussed her Frontex proposal with Senegal’s armed-forces minister and foreign minister, and was due to continue talks with the interior minister on Friday.
An agreement that would see Frontex agents deployed in Senegal could be finalised by the summer, she said.
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who was also at the news conference, said a Frontex mission in Senegal could also help tackle illegal fishing.
Several top European Commission officials, including President Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Senegal this week to prepare for a summit between the EU and the African Union on February 17-18.
EU: Tracking the Pact: Plan for Frontex to deploy “vessels, surveillance equipment, and carry out operational tasks” in Senegal and Mauritania
The EU’s border agency is also due to open a “risk analysis cell” in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in autumn this year, according to documents obtained by Statewatch and published here. The two “action files” put heavy emphasis on the “prevention of irregular departures” towards the Canary Islands and increased cooperation on border management and anti-smuggling activities. Earlier this month, the Council authorised the opening of negotiations on status agreements that would allow Frontex to operate in both countries.
Senegal: Fiche Action - Sénégal - Renforcement de la coopération avec l’agence Frontex (WK 7990/2022 INIT, LIMITE, 7 June 2022, pdf)
Action 1: Jointly pursue contacts with the Senegalese authorities - and in particular the Ministry of the Interior, as well as other relevant authorities - at political and diplomatic level to achieve progress on the commitments made during the visit of President von der Leyen and Commissioners on 9-11 February 2022, in particular with regard to the fight against irregular immigration, and Frontex cooperation, as part of a comprehensive EU-Senegal partnership on migration and mobility. Take stock of Senegal’s political context (i.a. Casamance) and suggestions in order to agree on next steps and a calendar.
Action 2: Taking up the elements of the previous negotiations with the relevant Senegalese authorities, and in the framework of the new working arrangement model, propose a working arrangement with Frontex in the short term, depending on the will and the interest of the Senegalese authorities to conclude such an arrangement.
Action 3: Depending on the response from the Senegalese authorities, initiate steps towards the negotiation and, in the medium term, the conclusion of a status agreement allowing direct operational support from Frontex to Senegal, particularly in terms of prevention of crime and irregular migration, including in the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings.
Action 4 Give substance to the messages expressed by the Senegalese authorities in the framework of policy exchanges and work on joint programming (Joint Strategy Paper - JSP). Identify support and cooperation measures of major interest to the Senegalese authorities (e.g. explore with Senegal the interest in concluding a Talent Partnership with voluntary Member States, if progress is made in other aspects of migration cooperation; propose an anti-smuggling operational partnership and explore possibilities to strengthen cooperation and exchange of information with Europol). Make use of the Team Europe Initiative (TEI) on the Western Mediterranean and Atlantic route to frame cooperation projects on migration issues. Promote cooperation with Frontex on border management also in the broader framework of cooperation and exchanges with the Senegalese authorities.
Mauretania: Fiche Action - Mauritanie - Renforcement de la coopération avec l’agence Frontex (WK 7989/2022 INIT, LIMITE, 7 June 2022, pdf):
Action 1: On the basis of the exchanges initiated and the cooperation undertaken with the Mauritanian authorities, identify the main priorities of the migration relationship. Determine the support and cooperation measures of major interest (e.g. support for the implementation of the National Migration Management Strategy, continuation of maritime strategy actions, protection of refugees and asylum seekers, support for reintegration, fight against smuggling networks, deployment of an additional surveillance and intervention unit of the “GAR-SI” type, creation of jobs for young people, involvement of the diaspora in the development of the country, etc.). Use the Team Europe Initiative (TEI) on the Western Mediterranean and Atlantic route to coordinate cooperation projects on migration issues, including on root causes.
Action 2: Propose to the Mauritanian authorities the holding of an informal migration dialogue between the EU and Mauritania, focusing notably on the fight against migrant smuggling and border management, in order to best determine their needs in this area and identify the possibilities for Frontex support.
Action 3: On the basis of the exchanges that took place between Frontex and the Mauritanian authorities in the first semester of 2022, finalise the exchanges on a working arrangement with Frontex, depending on their interest to conclude it.
Action 4: Depending on the interest shown by the Mauritanian authorities, initiate diplomatic steps to propose the negotiation and conclusion of a status agreement allowing direct operational support from Frontex at Mauritania’s borders, in particular in the area of prevention of irregular departures, but also in the fight against migrant smuggling and other areas of interest to Mauritania, in the framework of the Frontex mandate.
La #coopération UE-Égypte sur les politiques migratoires : dépolitiser les enjeux, soutenir un régime autoritaire
Le président égyptien Abdel-Fattah #Al-Sissi affirme avec fierté qu’aucun bateau d’immigration dite « clandestine » n’a quitté les côtes égyptiennes depuis 2016 à destination de l’Europe – un discours largement démenti par les communautés migrantes en Égypte. Or, depuis 2016, la coopération entre l’#Union_Européenne et l’Égypte sur le contrôle des migrations n’a cessé de s’accroître, permettant la création d’un « Comité national de lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière et le trafic d’êtres humains », la promulgation d’un texte de loi réprimant le trafic des passeurs, ainsi que la tenue de dizaines d’« ateliers » internationaux à destination des garde-frontières, policiers et juges égyptien·ne·s.
Le texte de 2017 définissant les priorités de partenariat entre l’Union Européenne et l’Égypte affirme que cette coopération est « guidée par un engagement commun pour les valeurs universelles de démocratie, de l’État de droit et du respect des droits humains ». Pourtant, depuis l’arrivée au pouvoir du régime militaire d’Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi en 2013, le nombre de prisonnièr·e·s politiques est estimé à plus de 60 000 (Human Rights Watch, 2018). Les militant·e·s des droits humains et les avocat·e·s en droit des personnes étrangères, accusé·e·s de « porter atteinte à la sûreté de l’État », ont été particulièrement ciblé·e·s par cette répression. Les arrestations et la détention des personnes étrangères (y compris celles qui possèdent un statut de réfugié·e) ont également augmenté de manière exponentielle entre 2015 et 2017. Le gouvernement militaire du maréchal Al-Sissi a par ailleurs défini les zones frontières comme des « zones militaires » où la répression des migrations irrégularisées échappe à tout contrôle de la loi.
Alors que les dispositifs d’accueil et de protection des organisations internationales sur le territoire égyptien ne cessent de se dégrader, le gouvernement « gère » l’accueil des personnes migrantes et réfugiées avec des méthodes contre-terroristes. Dans ce contexte, et en totale opposition avec les valeurs affichées, la coopération européenne avec l’État égyptien agit comme un soutien au gouvernement autoritaire d’Al-Sissi et à sa politique de répression généralisée des personnes en migration tout comme des citoyen·ne·s égyptien·ne·s.
Le présent rapport - fruit d’une enquête de terrain de cinq mois (octobre 2019-février 2020) basée principalement au Caire - s’attache à déconstruire les discours officiels sur la question migratoire en Égypte, en montrant que la coopération euro-égyptienne sur la « gestion migratoire » a servi de prétexte à une forte instrumentalisation de la question des migrations par le gouvernement égyptien depuis 2013-2014. Loin d’avoir garanti les droits des personnes en migration en application du droit international, cette coopération a entraîné une dégradation des libertés et des conditions de vie pour l’ensemble de la population (nationale, immigrée, réfugiée) vivant sur le territoire égyptien. Une coopération, qui répond avant tout aux intérêts stratégiques des États membres de l’UE et de l’État égyptien...
et plus précisément :
Webcafé - rapport Égypte (FR) - 07/12/21
Lors de ce Webcafé, #Sarah_Bachellerie a présenté son rapport sur l’Égypte, fruit d’une mission de 5 mois organisée fin 2019/2020, principalement au Caire. Elle a partagé à cette occasion avec les membres de Migreurop ses principales observations sur la coopération UE-Égypte sur les questions migratoires.
1. Management Board Decision 36/2021 authorising the Executive Director to negotiate working arrangements with selected third countries (2021) :
2. Management Board Decision 37/2021 authorising the Executive Director to negotiate working arrangements with selected EU entities (2021) :
ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
et plus précisément ici :
Chantage dans les Balkans : comment l’UE externalise ses politiques d’asile
Le développement d’un système de collecte de données des personnes exilées dans les Balkans illustre l’orientation globale des politiques migratoires de l’Union européenne (UE) : externaliser la gestion des migrations à tout prix, au détriment de l’accueil. Pour tenir à distance celles et ceux qu’elle considère comme « indésirables », l’UE irait-elle jusqu’à étendre le mécanisme Dublin (déterminant l’Etat responsable de la demande d’asile) au-delà de ses frontières, au risque d’aggraver encore un peu plus les violations de droits le long de la route des Balkans ?
Dublin : l’échec de la solidarité européenne
« Nous allons abolir le règlement de Dublin et le remplacer par un nouveau système européen de gouvernance de la migration (…). Il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité » . Ainsi s’exprimait la cheffe de l’exécutif européen Ursula von der Leyen en septembre 2020, une semaine avant la présentation par la Commission européenne de son nouveau pacte sur la migration et l’asile.
Abolir le règlement Dublin et davantage de solidarité : deux promesses a priori bienvenues dans une Europe en pleine crise de l’accueil. De fait, le règlement Dublin essuie depuis plusieurs années d’âpres critiques. Prévoyant que, sauf critères familiaux, le pays responsable de l’examen de la demande d’asile soit le premier État membre européen foulé, et dans lequel les empreintes digitales ont été collectées, Dublin fait peser de manière inéquitable l’accueil des personnes en besoin de protection sur les États membres situés aux frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne.
Après l’arrivée de plus d’un million de personnes exilées sur le territoire européen en 2015, principalement en Grèce et en Italie, la Commission mettait alors en œuvre « l’approche hotspot » destinée à soutenir ces deux pays « en première ligne », en renforçant conjointement leurs capacités en matière de traitement de la demande d’asile et d’expulsion . Mais alors que cette approche devait s’accompagner d’un plan de relocalisation destiné à mieux répartir l’accueil des exilé·e·s à l’échelle européenne, celui-ci a échoué , faute de volonté politique des États membres. Surnommés « les camps de la honte », les hotspots des îles grecques, où s’entassent des milliers de personnes dans des conditions indignes, sont ainsi devenus l’emblème de la faillite de la solidarité européenne, tant à l’égard des exilé·e·s qu’entre les États membres.
Le nouveau pacte européen : un mécanisme de « solidarité » pour les expulsions et l’externalisation des politiques migratoires
Dans le nouveau pacte sur la migration et l’asile rendu public le 23 septembre 2020, la solidarité promise par Ursula von der Leyen sonne de manière étrange. De la solidarité, il n’y en aurait qu’entre les États membres, et non pas vis-à-vis des personnes exilées pour les accueillir équitablement et dignement, mais avant tout pour mieux les expulser. Le « mécanisme de solidarité obligatoire » inscrit dans le nouveau pacte ouvre la possibilité pour les États membres qui refusent le mécanisme de relocalisation de « parrainer » l’expulsion d’une personne en situation administrative irrégulière sur le territoire européen.
Les États peuvent également choisir de se dérober à leurs responsabilités en matière d’accueil en soutenant un autre État membre pour renforcer les capacités de contrôles aux frontières de celui-ci, ainsi que sa coopération avec des pays tiers (non-membres de l’UE) en la matière. Comme le note le réseau Euromed Droits, « [c]e point manque de clarté dans le Pacte et suscite des inquiétudes car les États membres pourraient facilement l’interpréter au sens large […]. Par exemple, un pays comme la Hongrie pourrait choisir de soutenir l’Espagne dans ses relations bilatérales avec le Maroc sur des projets spécifiquement liés à la gestion des frontières et à l’augmentation de la capacité d’interception » . Cette seconde option s’inscrit ainsi au cœur de la stratégie d’externalisation de l’UE par laquelle cette dernière, depuis le début des années 2000, sous-traite à des pays non-européens non seulement le contrôle de ses propres frontières, mais également la gestion des personnes migrantes qu’elle juge « indésirables ».
Solidarité entre les États membres pour augmenter la cadence des expulsions, pour renforcer des frontières déjà meurtrières et sous-traiter la gestion des migrations à des pays tiers qui n’ont rien de « sûrs » pour les personnes exilées… A défaut d’une Europe solidaire dans l’accueil, la Commission mise ainsi sur une Europe « solidaire » dans la mise à distance des personnes exilées, au mépris de leurs droits fondamentaux. Aussi, le nouveau pacte fait-il du renforcement de la coopération avec les pays tiers l’une de ses priorités.
Les pays des Balkans, au cœur des chantages migratoires européens
Dans le processus d’externalisation des frontières de l’Union européenne, les pays des Balkans occupent une place centrale. D’une part, parce que ladite « route des Balkans » continue d’être une voie d’entrée sur le territoire européen. En juin 2020, Frontex estimait qu’elle était devenue « la route migratoire la plus active » avec plus de 2 000 détections de « franchissements illégaux » de frontières, soit trois fois plus que l’année précédente à la même période . Malgré la diminution drastique des arrivées depuis 2016, les documents officiels de l’UE continuent de mentionner un « niveau de pression migratoire » élevé sur cette « route », alimentant la rhétorique d’une « crise » perpétuelle face à laquelle les pays des Balkans sont sommés d’endosser le rôle de garde-frontières au service de l’UE. La plupart des personnes qui empruntent cet itinéraire viennent de Syrie, d’Afghanistan, d’Irak ou encore du Pakistan , fuyant aussi bien des guerres, des persécutions politiques que des situations économiques devenues invivables.
Les États des Balkans sont d’autre part au cœur du dispositif de sous-traitance migratoire de l’Union européenne, en vertu de leur statut particulier. Depuis le Sommet de Thessalonique de juin 2003, tous ont été identifiés comme des candidats potentiels à l’adhésion à l’Union. À ce titre, ils bénéficient d’une assistance financière et technique de l’UE (notamment via l’Instrument d’aide de préadhésion – IPA), pour renforcer leurs capacités dans divers domaines, tels que la démocratie, l’État de droit, le respect des droits fondamentaux, le but étant à terme d’aider ces États à répondre aux critères d’adhésion. Particulièrement depuis l’année 2015, le renforcement des capacités en matière de gestion des migrations et de contrôle des frontières n’a cessé de prendre de l’importance , mettant les États des Balkans face à un véritable chantage migratoire dans le cadre de leur processus d’adhésion. L’UE ne laisse aucun doute sur le fait que le soutien des pays des Balkans dans ce domaine est essentiel s’ils veulent poursuivre le processus.
Entre 2007 et 2019, plus de 216 millions d’euros du fonds IPA ont ainsi été alloués à ces pays des Balkans dans le domaine des migrations . Cela comprend, entre autres, le soutien à la construction de nouveaux postes frontières, la formation et la fourniture d’équipements modernes aux autorités en charge de la protection des frontières, ou encore l’ouverture de centres de rétention et d’expulsion. Depuis 2015, 141 millions d’euros supplémentaires d’aides européennes ont été débloqués pour les aider à faire face à l’arrivée de plusieurs centaines de milliers d’exilé.e.s. Conjointement à sa tentative d’imperméabiliser ses frontières extérieures, l’UE a ainsi financé la construction de dizaines de camps le long de la « route des Balkans » pour y « stocker » les personnes qu’elle refuse d’accueillir.
« Partenariat » UE-Balkans : priorité à l’échange de données
Ces dernières années, l’UE a notamment concentré ses efforts sur le renforcement des capacités des pays des Balkans en matière de collecte et d’échange des données. Dans un document publié en janvier 2020 , Frontex, EASO (Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile) et Europol appelaient ainsi au développement d’un nouveau « mécanisme de surveillance des réseaux sociaux », invoquant la nécessité de lutter contre les réseaux de passeurs et l’immigration « irrégulière » dans la région des Balkans. Opérée pendant un temps par EASO, cette surveillance avait finalement été condamnée par le Contrôleur européen de la protection des données, lequel avait jugé qu’il n’existait pas de base légale permettant à EASO de collecter des données personnelles . D’où le besoin pressant de confier cette tâche à un nouvel acteur.
Dans ses conclusions du 5 janvier 2020, le Conseil européen affirme sa volonté de « réfléchir à la mise en place, par les partenaires des Balkans occidentaux, de systèmes nationaux interopérables d’enregistrement biométrique et de partage des données sur les demandeurs d’asile et les migrants en situation irrégulière, et de soutenir cette démarche ». Le Conseil mentionne en outre que les systèmes de collecte et de partage des données devraient « être calqués sur les principes techniques et de protection des données d’Eurodac, permettant ainsi un échange régulier d’informations au niveau régional et garantissant leur interopérabilité et leur compatibilité futures avec les systèmes de l’UE ». Dotée d’un système automatisé de reconnaissance d’empreintes digitales, la base de données Eurodac contient les empreintes des personnes ressortissantes de pays tiers ayant déposé une demande d’asile ou ayant été interceptées à l’occasion du franchissement « irrégulier » d’une frontière extérieure. Elle est utilisée par l’Union européenne dans le cadre de l’application du règlement Dublin pour déterminer l’État membre responsable d’une demande d’asile. A noter que la base de données a vocation à être considérablement étendue dans le cadre du nouveau pacte européen sur la migration et l’asile.
On retrouve cette volonté de renforcer les États des Balkans en matière de collecte et d’échange de données dans le programme IPA financé par l’UE intitulé « Regional support to protection-sensitive migration management in the Western Balkans and Turkey Phase II » . Si les documents publiés par la Commission européenne sur ce programme manquent de transparence concernant le type de données échangées, divers témoignages confirment la mise en place dans ce cadre d’une base de données régionale construite sur le modèle de la base de données Eurodac et compatible avec cette dernière. Un document à accès limité résumant les échanges tenus lors d’une réunion du Conseil JAI avec les pays des Balkans vient également confirmer cette initiative de l’UE : « Les partenaires des Balkans occidentaux se sont déclarés favorables à l’amélioration de l’échange d’informations avec l’UE et dans la région grâce à la mise en place de systèmes d’information nationaux interopérables, inspirés des normes Eurodac, pour enregistrer les données relatives aux migrants. L’UE s’est déclarée prête à fournir un soutien technique ».
D’après les diverses délégations de l’Union européenne présentes dans les pays des Balkans, c’est l’agence Frontex qui serait en charge d’évaluer pour chaque pays les travaux nécessaires pour assurer l‘interconnectivité à l’échelle régionale des bases de données nationales et leur compatibilité avec les bases européennes. Dans la région, Frontex est déjà en charge de développer des centres de coordination nationaux pour la collecte et l’échanges de données liées à la gestion des migrations et au contrôle des frontières . Ces centres sont construits sur le modèle de ceux des États membres en vue de leur future interconnexion.
Des millions d’euros investis pour des technologies de pointe, en pleine « crise humanitaire »
Aussi, les pays des Balkans sont-ils progressivement dotés par l’Union européenne de systèmes de collecte et d’échange de données à la pointe de la technologie. Après la Serbie , c’est maintenant au tour de la Bosnie-Herzégovine d’être outillée avec la technologie AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), laquelle permet la reconnaissance automatique des empreintes digitales, préalable à la mise en place de la base de données Eurodac. Pour améliorer ses capacités en matière de collecte de données liées aux migrations, celle-ci a reçu 17 millions d’euros du fonds IPA entre 2015 et 2020 , l’objectif étant à terme de mettre en œuvre une base de données opérationnelle, un outil analytique et un système de contrôle des données biométriques des migrants. A noter que la Suisse apporte également un soutien important dans cette entreprise.
En Bosnie-Herzégovine, pour accéder à la plupart des camps et aux différents services humanitaires de base, les personnes exilées doivent désormais donner les empreintes digitales de leurs dix doigts, sans toutefois être informées de l’utilisation qui en sera faite. Dans le camp de containeurs de Blazuj, surpeuplé et insalubre, où s’entassent plus de 3 000 personnes et où l’on manque de tout, le degré de sophistication des technologies de collectes de données tranche avec l’archaïsme des conditions de vie auxquelles les personnes exilées sont soumises. « Dans les camps de l’OIM, on souffre de la gale et on meurt encore de la pneumonie. Qui à notre époque meurt encore de la pneumonie ? » s’interroge la journaliste de Sarajevo Nidzara Ahmetasevic, faisant référence à un jeune garçon décédé faute de soins. Pas d’accès aux services médicaux, pas de toit pour des milliers de personnes obligées de dormir dehors par des températures glaciales, pas de mesures protection sérieuses contre la COVID 19 …
Dans ce petit pays, qui se remet à peine d’une guerre encore récente, qui est décrit comme étant en pleine « crise humanitaire » et où les quelques 10 000 personnes exilées qui y sont bloquées survivent péniblement, l’ampleur des fonds européens alloués à ces technologies de pointe relève de l’indécence.
Connecter les pays des Balkans à la base de données Eurodac avant même leur adhésion à l’Union européenne ?
La Commission européenne ne cache pas que l’ambition est à terme d’intégrer les pays des Balkans dans la base de données Eurodac. Mais, précise-t-elle, cette connexion ne saurait être possible avant leur adhésion à l’Union européenne . Le développement actuel de systèmes de collecte de données biométriques pour les personnes migrantes dans les pays des Balkans ne viserait donc qu’à préparer ces derniers à leur adhésion future.
Pourtant, l’absence de perspectives d’adhésion à court-terme et même à moyen-terme de la plupart des pays des Balkans pose question : pourquoi dépenser des millions pour aider des États à mettre en place des systèmes de collecte et d’échange de données qu’ils ne pourront pas utiliser d’ici plusieurs années, voire décennies, au risque que les technologies employées ne deviennent entre temps obsolètes ? De fait, cela fait longtemps que le processus d’adhésion semble au point mort, tant pour des raisons propres à l’UE (défiance envers tout élargissement, notamment depuis la crise du Brexit) que pour des raisons propres aux pays candidats, comme l’absence de volonté politique, les blocages institutionnels ou diplomatiques, ou la dégradation de la situation économique…. Davantage encore que celle des autres pays des Balkans, l’adhésion de la Bosnie-Herzégovine est plus qu’hypothétique, cette dernière n’ayant, pour l’heure, pas même le statut de candidat officiel.
De quoi éveiller encore un peu plus les soupçons : la Serbie a indiqué qu’elle mettrait en œuvre les règlements Dublin et Eurodac deux ans avant de rejoindre l’UE . Comme le remarque l’ONG Klikaktiv basée à Belgrade, « il s’agirait d’un cas unique de pays signant les règlements de Dublin et d’EURODAC avant de devenir un État membre de l’UE » . Dans son rapport 2020 sur l’état du processus d’adhésion de la Serbie à l’UE , la Commission européenne dévoile par ailleurs que le ministère de l’Intérieur serbe utilise désormais une base de données unique pour identifier et enregistrer les demandeur·euse·s d’asile et que « les préparatifs de la connexion à la base de données d’empreintes digitales des demandeurs d’asile de l’UE (Eurodac) sont dans leur phase initiale » . Mais comme le dénonce Klikaktiv, cette connexion serait illégale, la loi serbe ne permettant pas l’échange de ce type de données avec les pays de l’UE.
L’interconnexion d’Eurodac et des bases de données des pays des Balkans avant l’achèvement du processus d’adhésion constituerait également une violation flagrante des standards européens en matière de protection des données personnelles. Or, dans ce domaine, il semble que l’Union européenne n’est plus à une illégalité près . Comme on peut le lire dans un document du Conseil européen résumant les positions des pays des Balkans sur la perspective d’une interconnexion : « l’affirmation selon laquelle [la connexion à la base de données Eurodac] ne peut se faire en raison de la législation sur la protection des données ne tient pas, car les pays des Balkans occidentaux ont déjà signé un accord de coopération opérationnelle avec Europol, alors qu’en la matière les législations nationales ne sont qu’approximativement alignées sur les standards de l’Union européenne » . Que l’interconnexion des bases de données soit légale ou non, l’UE pourrait envisager la possibilité d’intégrer les pays des Balkans dans le système Eurodac, sans que ceux-ci ne fassent partie du club européen.
Frontex : le maillon pour connecter les bases de données des pays des Balkans à Eurodac ?
Pour permettre une interconnexion précoce des bases de données, l’Union européenne semble compter sur l’agence Frontex. De fait, alors qu’en 2019, le mandat de Frontex a été élargi pour accroître sa capacité à agir dans des pays tiers, l’agence est, de plus, présente dans les États des Balkans. Des accords de coopération autorisant son déploiement opérationnel ont été négociés avec l’Albanie, le Monténégro, la Serbie, la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Macédoine du Nord. En mai 2019, Frontex a ainsi lancé sa première opération conjointe officielle sur un territoire non européen, à la frontière de l’Albanie avec la Grèce , suivie par deux opérations lancées au Monténégro en juillet et octobre 2020. Alors que l’accord avec la Serbie est entré en vigueur le 10 mars 2021 après avoir été adopté l’unanimité par le Parlement serbe, la Bosnie-Herzégovine s’apprête également à donner son feu vert au déploiement de Frontex.
Or, les accords que Frontex signe avec les États des Balkans donnent à l’agence certains droits en matière de consultation des bases de données nationales. Comme le note Statewatch, « les accords avec l’Albanie et le Monténégro permettent à l’État hôte d’autoriser les membres de l’équipe [de Frontex] à consulter les bases de données nationales si cela est nécessaire pour les objectifs opérationnels ou pour les opérations de retour » . Parallèlement, l’adoption du règlement « interopérabilité » en 2019 facilite l’accès de l’agence Frontex aux différentes bases de données européennes, et notamment à Eurodac. Grâce à ce double accès, l’agence pourrait ainsi être en mesure de comparer les données collectées par les autorités nationales des pays des Balkans dans la base de données Eurodac.
Cette possibilité semble être exploitée en Albanie, où des officiers de Frontex sont déployés à la frontière grecque. Depuis le début de l’opération lancée en 2019, l’agence veille à ce que les personnes interceptées à la frontière par la police albanaise soient emmenées dans des camps de containeurs , où celles-ci sont enregistrées avant d’être généralement refoulées en toute illégalité vers la Grèce. Selon divers témoignages , les officiers de Frontex compareraient les données collectées à l’occasion de cette procédure d’enregistrement dans diverses bases de données européennes (SIS, Europol, Eurodac…). En janvier 2020, le Conseil avait d’ailleurs déjà évoqué cette possibilité . Selon le cadre juridique actuel et jusqu’à ce que les nouveaux amendements aient été adoptés, il s’agirait d’une pratique illégale concernant Eurodac. Interrogé à ce sujet, le service de presse de Frontex nie, contrairement aux informations reçues sur le terrain, effectuer de tels recoupements de données dans le cadre de ses opérations dans les Balkans
Frontex pourrait ainsi servir de maillon intermédiaire permettant à l’UE d’accéder aux bases de données des États des Balkans . N’autorisant qu’une consultation à sens unique (les pays des Balkans n’ayant pas d’accès direct à Eurodac), cette stratégie présente l’avantage de contourner les différentes restrictions en matière de protection des données personnelles et de maintenir ces pays dans une relation de centre à périphérie, dans laquelle l’UE peut continuer à servir ses propres intérêts en matière de gestion migratoire.
Des hotspots pour l’UE, hors UE
L’intérêt que pourrait avoir l’Union européenne à étendre le système Eurodac aux pays des Balkans est évident. Préalable à l’instauration d’un « Dublin hors UE », cette entreprise viendrait parachever la mise en œuvre de l’« approche hotspot » de l’UE dans la région. Pour toute personne exilée qui serait appréhendée en train de franchir « irrégulièrement » une frontière ou déposerait une demande d’asile dans un État membre européen, il serait possible, grâce à la base de données Eurodac élargie à cette région, de savoir quels pays ont été préalablement traversés au cours du parcours migratoire. Ces pays seraient dès lors en charge de l’examen de la demande d’asile de la personne, ou, dans le cas où cette dernière serait déboutée, de son expulsion vers son pays d’origine. Une personne arrivant en Italie mais dont les empreintes auraient été collectées dans un camp à Sarajevo pourrait ainsi être renvoyée vers la Bosnie.
Lors d’une réunion du groupe de travail interinstitutionnel chargé de préparer l’intégration de la Macédoine du Nord à l’Union européenne, le représentant du ministère de l’Intérieur macédonien s’inquiétait ainsi que Bruxelles « impose l’idée d’établir ce qu’on appelle BALKANDAC, suivant le modèle d’EURODAC, une base de données d’empreintes digitales dans l’UE. Cette base de données est acceptée par les pays de la région, mais elle ne nous offre pas la possibilité d’y accéder. C’est un piège pour nous car les pays de l’UE sauront quels migrants ont été enregistrés ici et les renverront, et nous ne serons pas en mesure de les renvoyer en Grèce. Il n’y a pas de mauvaise intention dans tout cela, mais il est évident que l’UE nous traite de manière paternaliste » .
Alors que la possibilité pour un État membre de renvoyer une personne ressortissante d’un pays tiers dont il est prouvé qu’elle a transité par l’un des pays des Balkans est déjà prévue dans les accords de réadmission que l’UE a signé avec ces derniers , la mise en œuvre d’un système de collecte de données spécifique pourrait donc dans le futur faire du rêve d’un « Dublin extra-européen » une réalité. Cela fait déjà plusieurs décennies que l’UE exprime clairement sa volonté de transformer la région des Balkans en lieux de stockage des migrant·e·s qui tentent de rejoindre son territoire . Dans un document daté du 12 mai 2020, la Présidence croate regrettait ainsi que les pays des Balkans occidentaux continuent de se percevoir comme des pays de transit et rappelait la nécessité d’encourager ces derniers à « renforcer leurs capacités globales en matière de migration - y compris le système d’asile, les conditions d’accueil et les capacités de retour » .
L’UE assigne de fait à cette région un triple objectif : stocker les personnes exilées bloquées aux frontières européennes, réadmettre celles dont l’UE ne veut pas sur son territoire et les renvoyer dans leur pays d’origine. Aussi l’UE soutient-elle depuis plusieurs années le renforcement des capacités des pays des Balkans en matière d’expulsion, notamment en coopération avec Frontex et l’OIM . Augmentation des capacités des centres d’enfermement et d’expulsion, formation d’escortes pour accompagner les expulsions, renforcement des programmes de retours « volontaires », incitations à signer des accords de réadmission avec les pays d’origine des personnes exilées … Tout est ainsi fait pour transformer les pays des Balkans en lieux de stockage et de pré-expulsion des « indésirables ».
Faire passer les États des Balkans pour des « pays tiers sûrs »
Pour faciliter l’externalisation de la gestion migratoire aux pays des Balkans, l’Union européenne les présente comme étant « sûrs ». Inscrit dans la Directive « Procédures » (2013), le concept de « pays tiers sûrs » permet de faciliter le renvoi de demandeur·euse·s d’asile dans des pays tiers sans examen approfondi de leur demande (application d’une procédure accélérée). Mais alors que la Commission européenne dépense des millions pour tenter de renforcer les législations et les capacités de ces pays en matière de traitement de la demande d’asile en vue de les faire passer pour des pays « sûrs », les organisations de la société civile constatent sur le terrain la persistance et parfois même l’aggravation des violations de droits des personnes exilées. Que ce soit au Kosovo, en Albanie, en Macédoine du Nord, en Serbie, en Bosnie-Herzégovine ou au Monténégro, l’accès à la demande d’asile est souvent impossible et les refoulements sont à certaines frontières systématiques.
Malgré les violations de droits incessamment rapportées par la société civile dans la région, la Commission européenne prévoit dans son nouveau pacte d’inscrire les pays des Balkans sur une liste européenne de « pays tiers sûrs » . Et alors que ce concept est pour l’heure d’application facultative pour les États membres, la Commission prévoit de rendre son application obligatoire. Ainsi serait achevée la stratégie d’externalisation consistant à sous-traiter la demande d’asile européenne à des pays dont les standards en matière de protection et de respect des droits fondamentaux sont pourtant bien inférieurs à ceux de l’Union européenne.
Reste que pour renvoyer à tout prix les personnes migrantes dans les pays des Balkans, les États membres n’ont pas attendu l’achèvement de la machine à expulser bien huilée que l’Union européenne semble être en train de mettre en place. Depuis 2016, les pratiques de refoulement des pays européens vers les pays des Balkans se multiplient, au mépris des droits fondamentaux des personnes venues chercher une protection dans l’Union européenne. Toujours plus violentes et systématiques, ces pratiques se poursuivent sous l’œil complaisant de l’UE, lorsque celle-ci n’y apporte pas directement son soutien.
Dénoncer ces violations de droits flagrantes est essentiel et urgent. Combattre le régime frontalier européen qui les rend possible et les encourage l’est tout autant. Que les personnes exilées soient tenues à distance des frontières européennes par la force d’une matraque ou par une base de données biométriques à grande échelle est dans tous les cas inacceptable.
Et plus précisément ici, en lien avec les Balkans :
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.
ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
Et plus précisément :
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.
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.”
#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 :
Et plus particulièrement ici :
The big wall
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.
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/].
#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 :
Et plus précisément :
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
–-> 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.
ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
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.”
#métaliste sur les tentatives de différentes pays européens d’#externalisation non seulement des contrôles frontaliers (►https://seenthis.net/messages/731749), mais aussi de la #procédure_d'asile dans des #pays_tiers
Tiré du livre « Entre accueil et rejet, ce que les villes font aux migrants » (►https://www.lepassagerclandestin.fr/catalogue/bibliotheque-des-frontieres/entre-accueil-et-rejet)
« Le projet du gouvernement fédéral allemand de déplacer dans des camps situés dans le Sud tunisien les demandeurs d’asile en cours de procédure » (p.95)
–-> avec cette note de bas de page :
"Il n’a, pour l’heure, pas été donné suite à ce projet. Les accords entre l’Allemagne et la Tunisie concernent uniquement le rapatriement de citoyens tunisiens déboutés du droit d’asile. Voir Jeanne Cavelier, « Tensions entre Berlin et Tunis sur les immigrés », Le Monde, 15.02.2017.
voir aussi :
Chahed : No plans for Tunisian asylum centers
With the EU looking to stem the flow of asylum seekers crossing the Sea, Chahed rejected the idea of similar proposals to those adopted by Libya two weeks ago at the EU Malta Summit.
While Libya has agreed to set up “safe” refugee camps for Europe-bound migrants, Chahed said he saw no option for such an agreement between Europe and Tunisia. “Tunisia is a very young democracy and I don’t think that it will work, or that we have the capacity for refugee camps here,” he said, adding that any prospective solution must be made in conjunction with Libya.
Les mots de Seehofer :
“We have to realize that the Dublin system has failed, (...) (This) system cannot be the basis for the EU’s future asylum policy,” Seehofer said. “We need a new philosophy that starts at the external borders. (...) Our proposition: Effective protection of Europe’s external borders, where we check whether someone has a need for protection or has to be returned immediately. This means we need a unified set of rules.”
Ni Macron ni Seehofer n’ont rien inventé...
The idea of establishing reception centres in third countries, however, is not new. It was first suggested, unsuccessfully, by Tony Blair in 2003 [►https://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/feb/05/asylum.immigrationasylumandrefugees] It was then taken over by the former German Interior Minister Otto Schily in 2005,[ “German Interior Ministry, Effektiver Schutz für Flüchtlinge, wirkungsvolle Bekämpfung illegaler Migration – Überlegungen des Bundesministers des Innern zur Einrichtung einer EU-Aufnahmeeinrichtung in Nordafrika 9 September 2005.”] who proposed to establish asylum centres in North Africa, and more recently Italy. The original 2003 Blair proposal was that any third-country national who sought asylum in the EU would be returned immediately to a centre in a third country where his or her application would be considered.
v. aussi :
#Transit_Processing_Centres (#TPCs) #UK
Österreich plant mit einigen EU-Ländern Aufnahmelager außerhalb der EU
C’est aussi une proposition danoise :
L’Autriche et le #Danemark veulent ouvrir des camps d’expulsés aux portes de l’UE
Et l’#Italie de #Salvini qui s’allie à Seehofer et Kurz sur cette idée :
Décembre 2021 : Rapport du Comité des Nations Unies de suivi de la Convention pour l’Elimination des Discrimination Raciales (CERD en anglais) —> préoccupations vives à l’encontre de la #loi récemment adopté visant à externaliser l’examen des demandes d’asile au #Rwanda :
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
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.
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.
#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 :
Proceedings of the conference “Externalisation of borders : detention practices and denial of the right to asylum”
Présentation de la conférence en vidéo :
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.
#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
Revealed: No 10 explores sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea | UK news | The Guardian
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”.
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.
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.
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 factshttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/4A05/production/_114694981_ascension_island_locator_map_640-nc.png
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
UK considers sending asylum seekers abroad to be processed
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.
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 ».
#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 :
Et à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers :
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.
„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.
#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
Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
Et celle-ci sur le lien entre développement et contrôles frontaliers :
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.
#externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UE #EU #aide_au_développement #développement #coopération_au_développement #contrôles_frontaliers #routes_migratoires
ping @rhoumour @isskein @karine4 @_kg_
Ajouté à la métaliste « externalisation » :
Et la métaliste aide au développement et conditionnalité de l’aide :
– 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
Securitisation of migration in Africa : the case of Agadez in Niger
The experience of Agadez in Niger shows the unintended negative impact of approaching migration as a security threat.
Intra-African migration is increasingly securitised due to European Union policies implemented on the continent that aim to stem African migration to Europe. Some African countries’ policies also contribute towards the securitisation of migration. Drawing on experience from Agadez in Niger, this report discusses the unintended consequences of the securitisation of intra-African migration. This includes growing insecurity for Agadez residents, more smuggling, eroded citizen-government relations, and rising regional instability.
pour télécharger le rapport :
Ajouté à la métaliste migrations et externalisation des frontières :