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  • Israel: Release Body of Slain Palestinian
    September 14, 2020 | Human Rights Watch
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/14/israel-release-body-slain-palestinian

    (Jerusalem) – Israeli authorities have held the body of a Palestinian man, Ahmed Erekat, for more than ten weeks after officers killed him seemingly without justification at a checkpoint, in violation of international humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch said today. Video footage shows Erekat’s car crashing into a checkpoint in the West Bank on June 23, 2020, knocking over an Israeli officer, and then Israeli forces shooting him after he emerged from his car in circumstances in which he no longer appeared to pose an imminent threat to life.

    Israeli authorities have held Erekat’s body ever since and said in a September 7 court filing that they would not return it to his family. The filing follows their reported decision on September 2 to continue withholding the bodies of dozens of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in what they consider security incidents, many unaffiliated with any political or armed group, in large part as leverage to secure the release of two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers evidently held by Hamas authorities, unlawfully, in Gaza. (...)

  • Big Tech’s Heavy Hand Around the Globe
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/08/big-techs-heavy-hand-around-globe

    Facebook and Google’s dominance of developing-world markets has had catastrophic effects. US regulators should take note. Billions of people around the world have come to rely on the services Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google provide to exercise their basic human rights. But for many people, both within and outside the U.S., the concentration of power in these companies has meant considerable harm. It’s nearly impossible to avoid using one of these companies’ products when online. Facebook (...)

    #Google #Facebook #Instagram #WhatsApp #domination #HumanRightsWatch

  • Greece: Investigate Pushbacks, Collective Expulsions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sea Pushbacks to Turkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Collective Expulsions Across Land Border

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    –—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      –---

      Pour télécharger le #rapport:


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

      #Mer_Egée #Méditerranée

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

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

      Introduction

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

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

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

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

      https://giphy.com/gifs/U6MK9HH9ZdM33U74aA

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

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

      Geolocating of the 11 July Incident

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

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

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

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

      Identification Of HCG Vessel Involved in the July 11th Incident

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

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

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

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

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

      Identification of the officers present in the 11 July Incident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

      Contextualizing the incident on 11 July

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

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

      https://giphy.com/gifs/J4ClIZSSzrAUjmFySd

      Conclusion

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

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

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

  • Colombia: Armed Groups’ Brutal Covid-19 Measures | Human Rights Watch
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/15/colombia-armed-groups-brutal-covid-19-measures

    Since the arrival of the novel coronavirus to Colombia, armed groups in several parts of the country have imposed curfews, lockdowns, and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus. To enforce their rules, the groups have threatened, killed, and attacked people they perceive are failing to comply.

    “In communities across Colombia, armed groups have violently enforced their own measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “This abusive social control reflects the government’s long-standing failure to establish a meaningful state presence in remote areas of the country, including to protect at-risk populations.”

    Between March and June 2020, Human Rights Watch interviewed 55 people in 13 states in Colombia by phone, including community leaders, prosecutors, staff at humanitarian organizations, police officers, and local residents. Human Rights Watch also reviewed pamphlets signed by armed groups, as well as a range of secondary sources, including publications by the Human Rights Ombudsperson’s Office and local human rights groups, and media reports.

  • #Burkina_Faso: Residents’ Accounts Point to Mass #Executions | #Human_Rights_Watch

    Identify Remains of 180 Men Found in #Djibo; Prosecute Those Responsible

    (Bamako) – Common graves containing at least 180 bodies have been found in a northern town in Burkina Faso in recent months, and available evidence suggests government security force involvement in mass extrajudicial executions, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should seek assistance from the United Nations and other partners to conduct proper exhumations, return remains to families, and hold those responsible to account.

    Residents of the town of Djibo who saw the bodies told Human Rights Watch that the dead, all men, had between November 2019 and June 2020 been left in groups of from 3 to 20 along major roadways, under bridges, and in fields and vacant lots. With few exceptions, the bodies were found within a 5-kilometer radius of central Djibo.

    Residents buried most in common burials in March and April, while other remains are still unburied. They said they believed the majority of the victims were ethnic #Fulani or #Peuhl men, identified by their clothing and physical features, and that many were found blindfolded and with bound hands, and had been shot. Several residents said that they knew numerous victims, including relatives.

    "The Burkina Faso authorities need to urgently uncover who turned Djibo into a ’killing field’ said #Corinne_Dufka, Sahel director at Human Rights Watch. “Existing information points toward government security forces, so it’s critical to have impartial investigations, evidence properly gathered, and families informed about what happened to their loved ones.”

    Since November, Human Rights Watch has interviewed 23 people by telephone and in person who described seeing the bodies. Several interviewees provided hand-drawn maps of where they found and buried the dead. All believed that government security forces, who control Djibo, had executed the vast majority of the men. However, none had witnessed the killings and Human Rights Watch could not independently verify those claims. Human Rights Watch is analyzing satellite imagery of the locations of common graves in the vicinity.

    On June 28, Human Rights Watch wrote the Burkinabè government detailing the major findings of the research, and on July 3, the Minister of Defense responded on behalf of the government, committing to investigate the allegations and to ensure the respect of human rights in security operations. He said the killings occurred during an uptick in attacks by armed Islamists and suggested they could have been committed by these groups, using stolen army uniforms and logistics, noting it is at times “difficult for the population to distinguish between armed terrorist groups and the Defense and Security Forces.” The minister also confirmed the government’s approval for the establishment of an office in Ouagadogou by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    Beginning in 2016, armed Islamist groups allied with Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State have attacked security force posts and civilians throughout Burkina Faso, but mostly in the Sahel region bordering Mali and Niger. Human Rights Watch has since 2017 documented the killing of several hundred civilians by armed Islamist groups along with their widespread attacks on schools. Human Rights Watch has also documented the unlawful killing of several hundred men, apparently by government security forces, for their alleged support of these groups, including 31 men found executed after the security forces detained them in Djibo on April 9.

    The 23 people interviewed, including farmers, traders, herders, civil servants, community leaders, and aid workers, believed the security forces had detained the men as suspected members or supporters of Islamist armed groups.

    “So many of the dead were blindfolded, had their hands tied up … and were shot in the head,” said a community leader. “The bodies I saw appeared in the morning … dumped at night on the outskirts of Djibo, a town under the control of the army and in the middle of a curfew imposed and patrolled by the army.”

    Some residents said that they found the bodies after hearing the sound of vehicles passing and bursts of gunfire at night. “We’ve grown accustomed to hearing the sound of shots ringing out at night, and later seeing bodies in the bush or along the road,” an elder from Djibo said.

    “At night, so many times I’d hear the sound of vehicles and then, bam! bam! bam!” said a farmer. “And the next morning we’d see or hear of bodies found in this place or that.”At least 114 men were buried in 14 common graves during a mass burial on March 8 and 9 organized by residents with the approval of the military and local authorities. Local residents also buried 18 men, found around March 18 about a kilometer east of Djibo, in a common grave in early April. The bodies of another approximately 40 men, including 20 allegedly discovered in mid-March south of Djibo and another 18 found in May near the airport, had yet to be buried.

    An ethnic dynamic underscores the violence in Burkina Faso. The Islamist armed groups largely recruit from the nomadic Peuhl or Fulani community, and their attacks have primarily targeted agrarian communities including the Mosssi, Foulse, and Gourmantche. The vast majority of men killed by alleged security forces are Peuhl because of their perceived support of the armed Islamists.

    “Djibo reidents should feel protected by, not terrified of, their own army. The government’s failure to make good on promises of accountability for past allegations of security force abuse, including in Djibo, appears to have emboldened the perpetrators,” Dufka said. “The authorities need to put an end to unlawful killings through credible and independent investigations.”

    Bodies Appear in Djibo

    Residents of Djibo said they first started seeing bodies in the more rural, less inhabited parts of the town in November 2019. “Human remains are strewn all over the outer limits of Djibo town … along sides of road, near a pond, by the Djibo dam, near abandoned houses, under a bridge, and in the bush,” one man said.

    “From November 2019, so many bodies started showing up,” another man said. “Five or six here, 10 or 16 there, along the three highways out of town ... to the north, east, and south.”

    Residents said the vast majority of the dead were ethnic Peuhl, identified as such by their clothing, features, and, in about 10 cases, by those who knew individual victims by name.

    The people interviewed were extremely anxious as they spoke with Human Rights Watch and said they feared reprisals from the security forces, who had been implicated in the extrajudicial killing of 31 men in Djibo in April, and other killings there, since 2017.

    The residents did not believe the men were killed in a gun battle. “Yes, Djibo has been attacked and there are jihadists [armed Islamists] not so very far from Djibo,” said a resident who had observed several groups of bodies. “But on the days before seeing bodies, we weren’t aware of any clashes or battles between the jihadists and army in the middle or outskirts of Djibo. Word travels fast and we’d know if this were the case.”

    Another resident, who said he frequently travels from Djibo, said: “Had there been clashes with the terrorists, the public transport would have stopped.… We never would have been able to travel.”

    Nine people identified some of the dead by name, including family members, whom they had either witnessed being detained by the security forces or had been informed by someone else who had seen the men being detained. In each of these incidents, the body they identified had been found with numerous other victims. One man, for instance, recognized “a man named Tamboura from a village further south, who I’d seen arrested in the Djibo cattle market by soldiers some days earlier.” Another recognized a man who worked as a security guard and who had been arrested by soldiers days before his body was found. Others described seeing the bodies of men they had seen being arrested by the authorities at the market, the hospital, during a food distribution, or at the bus station.

    Several residents said they believed many of the unidentified victims had been detained during army operations or were internally displaced villagers who in recent months had settled in and around Djibo after fleeing their home villages. “Djibo isn’t such a but town that we wouldn’t recognize people, which is why we think so many of the dead were displaced,” one resident said.

    Many residents speculated that the army had arrested the displaced people for questioning, fearing infiltration by armed Islamist groups, which had attacked Djibo on several occasions. “The army has really hit the IDPs [internally displaced persons],” a resident said. “They’ve gone for them in the animal market, as they come in to Djibo to buy and sell. After so many major jihadist attacks in Mali and Burkina, they’re really afraid of infiltration.”

    Apparent Extrajudicial Executions

    Residents described seeing groups of bodies near their homes as they grazed their animals or as they walked or drove along the major roads leading out of Djibo.

    Apparent Execution of Five Men on June 13, 2020

    On June 14, several residents described seeing the bodies of five men scattered over a half a kilometer in two of Djibo’s southern neighborhoods, sectors 3 and 8. One of those found, 54-year-old Sadou Hamadoume Dicko, the local chief and municipal councilor of Gomdè Peulh village, had been seen arrested by soldiers the previous day. Residents could not identify the other four bodies.

    A trader described the arrest of Dicko on June 13:

    Being the chief, he’d just finished picking up sacks of rice and millet for his people, now in Djibo after fleeing their village, about 125 kilometers away. Mr. Dicko had in April 2018 been abducted and held for several days by the Jihadists but this time it was the army who took him. At around 11:30 a.m. four men in uniform on motorcycles surrounded him and about six others and took them into an unfinished building for interrogation. Eventually, the soldiers let the others go but left with Mr. Dicko.

    Three residents said they heard gunshots on June 13 and found the bodies of the five men the next day. “The gunshots rang out around 8 p.m. and the next day, June 14, I was called to be told the chief was dead,” one resident said. “It was what we feared. His hands were bound tightly behind his back and he had been shot in the head and chest.”Said another: "The shots rand out a few hours after the 7 p.m. curfew...[L]ater we saw one body to the north, near La Maison de la Femme [Women’s Center], another south near a large well, and three others next to an elevation of sand.” All of the men were buried later the same day.

    Apparent Execution of 18 Men, May 13 and 19, 2020

    Residents described seeing the security forces arrest 17 men near a Djibo market on May 13. The bodies of the 17 were found the next day along a path going through sector 5, also known as Mbodowol. The men had been shot in the head, according to the residents. Another man, with a mental disability, was found around the same place after having been arrested on May 19. At writing, the bodies had not yet been buried.

    Said one resident:

    I was in the market, when at around 10 a.m. I saw two vehicles with about 10 soldiers drive up. I don’t know if they were gendarmes or army. I was too afraid to stare at them, but I saw they were in uniform, with helmets and vests and all held semi-automatic weapons. The 17 men had come from other villages to buy and sell that day. I recognized many of them, who worked as blacksmiths.

    A sector 5 resident who heard gunshots on May 13 and saw the bodies a day later near the Djibo airfield said:

    They were killed as darkness fell. I saw a vehicle from afar, coming from the direction of town. Sometime later we heard shots. Around 15 minutes later the same vehicle returned, this time with the headlamps on. On Thursday, May 14, around 9 a.m. we discovered the bodies – eight on one side close together … their faces covered with their shirts – and around 20 meters away, nine more bodies. They’d been shot in the head. You could see this clearly…and there were bullet casings on the ground. The men looked to be from 25 to 45 [years old.] The body of another man was found in the same place a few days later. That one, I’d seen arrested…he lives near me. He is not normal [has a mental disability] … He was picked up outside his house listening to his radio. There is a curfew and only the army can drive around at night like this.

    Apparent Execution of 18 Men, March 17, 2020

    Residents said that on March 18, they saw 18 bodies about 500 to 700 meters east of Djibo. The bodies were found near several large publicity signs that line the Djibo-Tongomayel road.

    A man who feared his brother was among the dead explained why he believed government security forces were responsible for killing the 18 men:

    On March 17, around 7 a.m., I got a frantic call from the bus station saying my brother and another man had just been arrested by gendarmes as they boarded a bus to Ouagadougou [the capital]. Later that night, around 9 p.m. I heard many gunshots, and thought, oh God, my brother is dead.

    Just after dawn, I went in the direction of the shots and found 18 bodies. Their hands were tied, and they were blindfolded, each shot in the forehead. The blood flowed like a pond. The bodies were all together in a pile. I looked for my brother among the corpses … moving them enough to see if he was there. But he wasn’t. Among the dead, I recognized six men … they’d all been arrested by the FDS [Defense and Security Forces]. One was [name withheld] who had recently had a foot operation and had been arrested in front of many people near the hospital. I recognized his boubou [wide-sleeved robe]; his foot was still bandaged. Five others were traders I myself had seen arrested by the FDS on market day a week prior. As for my brother, he is still missing, even today.

    Apparent Execution of 9 Men, January 15, 2020

    A man who saw nine bodies on the road going east to Tongomayal, including a close relative, on January 16, said:

    I discovered the bodies of nine people some meters off the road, one of whom was my 23-year-old nephew. They’d been arrested the day before. A friend called around 11 a.m. saying there was trouble in the market, that my boy had been arrested. I went to the market immediately and saw all nine, tied up and face down on the ground. Four gendarmes led them into their vehicle and took them away. That night around 8 p.m. I heard shots near the Djibo dam, and in the morning saw them in the bush, hands tied, riddled with bullets … Eight were Peuhl and one was a Bellah. We were too afraid to even bury them … we had to watch my nephew turn into a skeleton. He was not laid to rest until the mass burial in March, with dozens of others, but it was hardly a funeral and my boy was not a jihadist.

    Bodies Found Near Djibo’s Sector 4, November 2019 and January 2020

    Five residents of Djibo’s Sector 4 (also known as Wourossaba and Boguelsawa), south of the town, described seeing three groups of bodies within what they said was a one kilometer radius: a group of 8 bodies and a group of at least 16 bodies in November 2019, and a group of between 16 and 19 bodies around January 8, 2020. The total number of bodies seen largely corresponds to the 43 bodies buried in this sector during the mass burial on March 8 and 9.

    A resident of Sector 4 described the three groups of bodies:

    Many didn’t have shirts, and most were tied — some their eyes, others by the wrist, and they’d been shot. I knew none of them but believe all 43 were prisoners because all three times, I’d heard vehicles coming from the direction of town and saw the headlights … and heard gunshots. It was too far and too dark to see their uniforms but there wasn’t a battle and the jihadists can’t be driving around in a heavy truck that close to Djibo.

    Another resident of Sector 4 described seeing 19 bodies around January 8:

    I saw them around 7 a.m., 19 bodies in a line – all men, save one around 15 years old. The night before, I’d seen lights of a vehicle – it was around 8 p.m. and we were under curfew. Then I heard the shots. The bodies were about one kilometer south of Djibo, and 150 meters west from the highway – many bound at the arms, and with their eyes blindfolded. They’d been shot in the head, others in the chest, others the stomach. We didn’t know any of them, so they just stayed there until the March burial, by that time they were almost skeletons.

    A health worker said that in February on the way to Ouagadougou she saw five bodies from her bus window, about 15 kilometers south of Djibo, near the village of Mentao: “They were 20 meters from the road – the bodies smelled – it seemed they’d been there for a week or so. By their dress, all the men appeared to be Peuhl. When I returned a week later, they were still there.” These bodies were not buried during the March mass burial.

    Burials in March and April 2020

    Djibo residents described an organized mass burial on March 8 and 9 during which at least 114 bodies were collected and buried in 14 common graves.

    Residents who attended the burials said the bodies were in various stages of decomposition. “Some had just been killed, others had started to decompose, and many others were skeletons,” one said.

    “Given how long the bodies had been outside, notably under the hot sun, many were only identifiable by their clothing,” said another.

    Several residents said the dead were left unburied both because the families were either not from Djibo or because they were too frightened to claim the body. “Fear stopped people from burying the dead,” a village elder said. “You need permission from the security forces to bury a body and given the level of tension in Djibo these days, people are just too terrified that if they claim the body of a man accused of being a terrorist, they too will be taken and end up dead.” Many residents described the burials as “a delicate subject” which was not covered by local media. “Fear has kept us from talking much about the mass burials,” a village leader said.

    “The bodies were scattered along and not far from the major roads leading to and from Djibo,” a resident said. “The first day, we worked from 9 a.m. to noon and buried 42 bodies to the south, along the Djibo-Ouagagdougou road. On the second day it was worse … working from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. we buried 72 people, 20 to the north and 52 to the east, along the Djibo-Dori road. Some people gathered the bodies while others dug the graves. The dead were buried in 14 common graves with from 3, 6, 7, up to 23 bodies.”

    They said Djibo residents had obtained permission from both the civilian and military authorities based in Djibo to bury the dead largely because of the potential health and sanitation risk. “We were fearful of epidemics, especially as we approach the rainy season,” a community leader said. “We were overwhelmed seeing the bodies of lifeless people and so we organized ourselves and asked the authorities for permission to bury the dead,” said another.

    Other residents spoke of the mental health impact on the town. “We organized the burial on health grounds but also because of the psychological impact on people, especially children, having to walk by the bodies every day on their way to market or school,” one resident said.

    A herder said: “Imagine what it’s like to see these bodies every day, some eaten by dogs and vultures. It’s not easy living with that terrible reality day after day.”

    Those who observed the mass burials said they were attended by the civilian authorities, who they said helped organize the funeral; the health authorities, who provided masks and sanitizer; and the security forces, which provided security. They said they were “strictly forbidden” from taking photographs of the burials. “No one would dare do that because the FDS was watching,” a resident said.

    A resident who was at the burial said:

    After getting authorization – from the army – and after involving health officers – we spent two days burying the dead who were in groups of 5, 7, 9, 20 – scattered all over. I didn’t recognize any of them, but several of those watching the burial later told me they’d recognized their father, brother, or son … that he’d been missing since being arrested by the soldiers in Djibo or in their village – weeks or months earlier. They didn’t say anything during the burial though … out of fear that they too would be arrested.

    A man who buried 13 of the bodies found in north Djibo, including a family member whom he had last seen in the custody of the security forces in January, said “The road to Tongomayel was full of corpses and remains. Honestly, many were only skeletons … and their bodies had been scattered by animals. We were divided in groups, and went about looking for ribs, body parts.”

    Two people described the burial in early April of the 18 men whose bodies were found on the road to Tongomayel around March 18. The bodies appeared after the security services had allegedly arrested the men. “We dug a large hole, big enough for all of them, and put sand and branches on top of it,” one man said. “The road to Tongomayel is full of bodies … the 52 buried during the mass burial, the 18 from mid-March, and it hasn’t stopped.”

    Bodies Found, Left Unburied

    Three residents described seeing 20 bodies that they said had been left in mid-March about 100 meters from the cemetery in Boguelsawa neighborhood, several kilometers south of Djibo.“Just days after we buried over 100 bodies, we woke up to find another 20 bodies,” a resident said. “It’s like, whoever is doing the killing is mocking us.” They told Human Rights Watch on June 14 that the bodies, now scattered and decomposed, have yet to be buried. “With death all around, we feel like tomorrow could be my turn to die,” a resident wrote.

    Another man said that on June 1, “My nephew came across three dead while gathering wood north of Djibo, including two [ethnic] Bellahs we know well. He was so frightened he ran straight home without the wood.” As of June 30, the 18 dead found near the airport in mid-May had similarly yet to be buried.

    Recommendations

    Residents who spoke with Human Rights Watch were unaware of any judicial investigations into the apparent killings. Some killings allegedly implicating the security forces had occurred after the government’s pledge to fully investigate the apparent execution of 31 men detained by the security forces on April 9, 2020.

    Human Rights Watch urges the Burkina Faso authorities to:

    Promptly and impartially investigate the killings in Djibo since November 2019, and fairly and appropriately prosecute all those responsible for extrajudicial killings and other crimes, including as a matter of command responsibility. Ensure the findings are made public.
    Send the commanders of the two security force bases in Djibo– the gendarmerie and army – on administrative leave, pending outcome of the investigation.
    Invite United Nations or other neutral international forensic experts, including those with experience working before criminal tribunals, to help preserve and analyze evidence in common graves. Exhumations without forensic experts can destroy critical evidence and greatly compromise the identification of bodies.
    Return remains of individuals found to be buried in graves or left unburied to their family members.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/08/burkina-faso-residents-accounts-point-mass-executions

  • Ethiopia Cracks Down Following Popular Singer’s Killing

    Lift Internet Shutdown, Avoid Force at Protests, Free Unjustly Held Politicians

    Protests erupted in several towns across Ethiopia in response to the June 29 killing of #Hachalu_Hundessa, a popular #Oromo singer whose songs captured the struggles and frustrations of the Oromo people during the 2014-2018 anti-government protest movement. Unidentified gunmen shot Hundessa dead in Addis Ababa, the capital. Hundessa’s uncle was also reportedly killed in Ambo today.

    While police claim to have made arrests in connection with Hundessa’s killing, the government’s responses to the protesters risks enflaming long-simmering tensions. On Tuesday morning the government cut internet services across the country, which only amplified concerns that people are being silenced and that human rights abuses and communal violence, having rocked the country last year, are not being addressed.

    The internet shutdown has also made it impossible to access information on those killed and injured in the protests. One witness told us: “There is no network. We don’t have any information flow … the government only tells people [they] are investigating, and so everyone is hypothesizing based on current affairs.”

    Despite the blackout, credible reports of violence are emerging. A regional government spokesman said that three explosions shook the capital, Addis Ababa, the morning after Hundessa’s killing. Meanwhile, independent media reports suggest that more than 80 people have been killed in the Oromia region and a further 10 people were killed in Adama after a government building was set on fire.

    An activist in Nekemte, western Oromia, told Human Rights Watch that three protesters were killed after Oromia police opened fire. A doctor in the town of Dire Dawa said that the hospital had received eight people with gunshot injuries after reportedly being fired at by security forces, and that two soldiers had also been shot and injured.

    The government’s response took another worrying turn when authorities arrested political opposition leaders Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba of the Oromo Federalist Congress party, late Tuesday morning after a reported standoff with security forces over Hundessa’s funeral site. Jawar and Bekele were initially held incommunicado, but are now known to be held in Sostegna police station in Addis Ababa. While their families have now been allowed to bring them food and medicine, it is unclear if they have access to a lawyer. Bekele’s son and daughter were also arrested, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

    The media has also reported that another prominent political opposition leader, Eskinder Nega, has also been detained.

    Rather than restoring calm, the authorities’ internet shutdown, apparent excessive use of force, and arrest of political opposition figures could make a volatile situation even worse. The government should take prompt steps to reverse these actions or risk sliding deeper into crisis.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/01/ethiopia-cracks-down-following-popular-singers-killing
    #assassinat #musique #Ethiopie #musique_et_politique #décès #mort #meurtre

    ping @sinehebdo

  • Court Corrects Flaw in UK’s Automated Benefits System
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/06/24/court-corrects-flaw-uks-automated-benefits-system

    Ruling a Victory for Claimants’ Rights, but Problems Remain When Rachelle, 35, a single working mother in London, received her first Universal Credit payment in March, she had a panic attack. It was far short of what she needed to pay the rent and support her two children, one of whom has a disability. “I am living on whatever I can find in my cupboard at the moment,” she said when we spoke in March. “I skip a meal so my children can eat and to ensure the bills are paid.” This week, the Court (...)

    #algorithme #biais #discrimination #pauvreté

    ##pauvreté

  • France Repatriates More Children from Northeast Syria - Human Rights Watch
    The French government this week announced it had returned 10 children from camps for families of Islamic State (ISIS) suspects in Northeast Syria. The children were reportedly handed over to officials from the French foreign ministry who traveled to northeast Syria. French authorities have now brought back 28 French children from the region since March 2019, including recently a 7-year-old girl suffering from a severe heart defect. They should bring home the rest.

    Conditions in the camps in this war-torn region are appallingly overcrowded and unsanitary, leading to deaths in some cases. In these conditions, the threat of Covid-19 spreading rapidly is even greater. Only six confirmed cases were reported in Northeast Syria by mid-June, but the almost complete lack of testing in the region raises fears that the number of cases may be much higher. The region is profoundly under-prepared to deal with a major outbreak, notably due to restrictions on humanitarian assistance.

    #Covid-19#Syrie#France#HRW#Enfant#Rappatriement#Camp#DAESH#Migrants#Migration

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/06/24/france-repatriates-more-children-northeast-syria

  • France : Des enfants subissent des contrôles de police abusifs et racistes | Human Rights Watch
    https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2020/06/18/france-des-enfants-subissent-des-controles-de-police-abusifs-et-racistes

    (Paris) – La police française fait usage de ses vastes pouvoirs de contrôle et de fouille pour procéder à des contrôles discriminatoires et abusifs sur des garçons et des hommes noirs et arabes, a déclaré Human Rights Watch dans un rapport publié aujourd’hui. Il est crucial de limiter ces pouvoirs pour lutter contre des pratiques policières marquées par les préjugés, notamment le profilage racial ou ethnique, et pour restaurer les relations entre police et population.

    Le rapport de 44 pages, « ‘Ils nous parlent comme à des chiens’ : Contrôles de police abusifs en France », décrit des contrôles policiers sans fondement ciblant les minorités, y compris des enfants âgés de seulement dix ans, des adolescents et des adultes. Ces contrôles comprennent souvent une palpation corporelle intrusive et humiliante ainsi que la fouille des effets personnels. La plupart des contrôles ne sont jamais enregistrés, les policiers ne fournissent pas de documentation écrite, de même qu’ils expliquent rarement pourquoi les personnes sont contrôlées, et les mesures visant à accroître la responsabilisation se sont montrées inefficaces. Plusieurs des enfants et adultes interviewés pour cette recherche ont témoigné que les policiers avaient employé des injures racistes.
    202006eca_france_police_cover

    Télécharger le rapport complet en français
    https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/media_2020/06/france0620fr_web_0.pdf
    « Il est largement démontré que les contrôles d’identité en France, particulièrement du fait de leur impact discriminatoire, provoquent une fracture aigüe et profonde entre la police et la population, tout en n’ayant quasiment aucun effet en matière de prévention ou de détection de la criminalité », a déclaré Bénédicte Jeannerod, directrice France de Human Rights Watch. « Les autorités devraient cesser d’ignorer les appels au changement. »

  • La France devrait cesser d’exporter des armes à l’Arabie Saoudite et à l’Égypte
    Bénédicte Jeannerod | Directrice France | Human Rights Watch
    https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2020/06/10/la-france-devrait-cesser-dexporter-des-armes-larabie-saoudite-et-legypte

    La semaine dernière, le gouvernement français a publié son dernier rapport au Parlement sur ses exportations d’armes [ https://www.defense.gouv.fr/actualites/articles/exportations-d-armement-le-rapport-au-parlement-2020 ], décrivant ses ventes et transferts d’armes en 2019. Après le Qatar, l’Arabie Saoudite et l’Égypte sont les pays qui ont reçu le plus d’armes françaises en 2019 – pour des montants respectifs d’1,4 milliard et de 1,029 milliard d’euros. Mais fournir des armes à des pays impliqués de manière répétée dans de graves violations, y compris de possibles crimes de guerre, contredit la volonté de la France de jouer un rôle prépondérant dans la défense du droit international.

    Ces données illustrent les profondes contradictions de la diplomatie française : d’un côté elle fait de la défense du droit international humanitaire et de la question de la protection des civils dans les conflits l’une de ses top priorités ; de l’autre, elle continue de fournir des armes à l’Arabie Saoudite, malgré les graves violations, répétées et largement documentées, dont la coalition militaire qu’elle dirige au Yémen depuis 2015, avec des conséquences humaines et humanitaires catastrophiques pour les civils dans le pays.

    Que l’Égypte figure dans le trio de tête des plus gros acheteurs d’armes françaises est tout aussi choquant et désolant : Human Rights Watch a documenté les graves abus et crimes de guerre commis par l’armée égyptienne lors de ses opérations dans le nord-Sinaï. En outre, Amnesty International a documenté l’utilisation d’équipements français dans la répression sanglante de manifestations par les forces de sécurité égyptiennes dans les années récentes. Sous la présidence d’Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, l’Égypte endure la pire répression des droits fondamentaux depuis des décennies. (...)

  • Après presque dix ans de cauchemar, le peuple syrien revient dans la danse des révoltes
    | Volte-face ! https://volte-face.info/syrian-revolt-starts-again

    Celles et ceux qui, dans leur cynisme et leur indifférence, voudraient voir l’Etat islamique anéanti et les réfugié-es syrien-nes rentrer chez elleux par l’opération du saint esprit ou par la seule force brute, devraient comprendre que l’équilibre du monde dépend de la chute des régimes qui portent en eux l’autoritarisme viril et le goût de l’argent, où qu’ils se trouvent. Le menace ne vient pas des révoltes populaires et de l’exil, mais de ces élites qui croient qu’on peut disposer des humain-es comme on dispose de pions sur un échiquier noir et blanc.

    Solidarité internationale avec le peuple syrien !!

    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2013/03/08/les-enfants-de-deraa-l-etincelle-de-l-insurrection_1845327_3210.html

    https://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2012/09/04/allez-degage-bachar-le-chant-revolutionnaire-des-rebelles-syriens_1755193_32

    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/715172/Qachouch%252C_le_rossignol_de_la_contestation_syrienne_s%2527est_tu_a

    https://www.lemonde.fr/disparitions/article/2019/06/10/abdel-basset-al-sarout-voix-des-revoltes-de-homs-mort-au-combat-a-27-ans_547

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/16/if-dead-could-speak/mass-deaths-and-torture-syrias-detention-facilities

    https://sp-today.com/en

    https://www.facebook.com/104105744468398/videos/624223138176708

    #Syrie #Daesh #Etat_Islamique #liberation_populaire

  • US: Suspend Deportations During Pandemic | Human Rights Watch
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#US#expulsion#diffusion

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/06/04/us-suspend-deportations-during-pandemic

    (Washington, DC) – The United States government should immediately impose a moratorium on deportations during the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid contributing to the global spread of the virus, Human Rights Watch said today.

  • Greece: Move Migrant Children to Safety
    276 Unaccompanied Children Behind Bars

    (Athens) – Greek authorities should free the 276 unaccompanied migrant children currently detained in police cells and detention centers in Greece, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Releasing the children is all the more urgent amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
    “The prime minister should act on his pledge to protect unaccompanied children and make sure that hundreds of vulnerable children are freed from dirty, crowded cells, sometimes alongside adults, where they are exposed to the risks of Covid-19 infection,” said Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “There is no excuse for failing to give these children the care and protection they need.”
    According to the National Center for Social Solidarity, a government body, as of April 30, 2020, an estimated 276 children were in police custody awaiting transfer to a shelter. That is 19 more children behind bars than when Mitsotakis announced, in November 2019, the No Child Alone plan to protect unaccompanied children.
    Human Rights Watch research has documented the arbitrary and prolonged detention of unaccompanied migrant children [cf. https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/09/08/why-are-you-keeping-me-here/unaccompanied-children-detained-greece ]in police cells and other detention centers, in violation of international and Greek law. Under Greek law, unaccompanied children should be transferred to safe accommodation, but Greece has a chronic shortage of space in suitable facilities.
    While they wait for placement in a shelter, unaccompanied children can be held for weeks or months in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, sometimes with unrelated adults, in small police station cells and detention centers where following social distancing guidelines is impossible. They often have little access to basic health care and other services, hygiene supplies, or even natural light. In many cases, they do not receive information about their rights or about how to go about seeking asylum, and many experience psychological distress.
    The recent decrease in the time that an unaccompanied child can be held in protective custody, from 45 days to 25, is a step in the right direction. But international human rights standards hold that immigration-related detention, including so-called “protective custody,” is never in the best interest of the child and should be prohibited due the harm it causes, Human Rights Watch said.
    The detention of children for immigration reasons is prohibited under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. A 2019 UN global study on children deprived of liberty [cf. https://undocs.org/A/74/136 ] reported that even if detention conditions are good, detaining children exacerbates existing health conditions and causes new ones to arise, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal thoughts.
    The study highlighted that governments have found non-custodial solutions for unaccompanied children, such as open and child-friendly accommodation, periodic reporting, and foster families. There are always options available other than detention of children for migration-related reasons, the UN study said, and detaining children for their “protection,” even if alternative care is lacking, “can never be a justification.”
    The UN children’s agency UNICEF has said that all governments should release children from detention, specifically including immigration detention, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
    On April 14, Human Rights Watch opened a campaign to #FreeTheKids [cf. https://www.hrw.org/FreeTheKids ], urging people to press Prime Minister Mitsotakis to immediately release unaccompanied migrant children from detention and transfer them to safe, child-friendly facilities. Transitional options could include hotels, foster care, and apartments under a Supported Independent Living program for unaccompanied children ages 16 to 18.
    The European Commission should financially support Greece to create additional long-term care placement places for unaccompanied children. Other European Union members should speed up family reunification for children with relatives in other EU countries and should offer to relocate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children – even if they lack family ties.
    According to the latest government data, since April 30, only 1,477 out of the 5,099 unaccompanied children in Greece were housed in suitable, long-term facilities. The rest are left to fend for themselves in overcrowded island camps or on the streets or are confined in police cells and detention centers on Greece’s mainland.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/19/greece-move-migrant-children-safety

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfants #Camp #Centrededétention #Cellule #Postedepolice

  • Israël : Politiques foncières discriminatoires à l’encontre des résidents palestiniens
    Human Rights Watch, le 12 mai 2020
    https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2020/05/12/israel-politiques-foncieres-discriminatoires-lencontre-des-residents-palestinie
    https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/styles/1070w/public/multimedia_images_2020/202005mena_ip_jisr_comparative.jpeg?itok=PFg-W2HJ

    La politique du gouvernement israélien visant à confiner les communautés palestiniennes en Cisjordanie et à Gaza dans des espaces restreints est également appliqué à l’intérieur d’Israël, a déclaré aujourd’hui Human Rights Watch. Cette politique est discriminatoire à l’encontre des citoyens palestiniens d’Israël et favorise les citoyens juifs, en restreignant fortement l’accès des résidents palestiniens à des terres qui seraient requises pour construire des logements afin de s’adapter à la croissance naturelle de la population.

    #Palestine #Human_Rights_Watch #apartheid #nettoyage_ethnique #Jisr_al-Zarqa

  • Thailand Should Free Detained Migrants Amid Pandemic | Human Rights Watch
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Thailande#centrederetention#liberation

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/08/thailand-should-free-detained-migrants-amid-pandemic
    https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/styles/open_graph/public/multimedia_images_2020/202005asia_thailand_immigration.jpg?itok=qCFZA8G2

    At least 65 detainees in Thailand’s Songkhla immigration detention center – including 18 ethnic Rohingya women and children – tested positive for Covid-19, raising serious concerns about the health and safety of refugees and migrants held in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions.

  • Lebanon’s LGBT People Reclaim Their Power
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/07/lebanons-lgbt-people-reclaim-their-power

    Videos, Report Highlight Coexistence, Solidarity, New Possibility for Rights (Beirut) – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their rights in Lebanon are part and parcel of the nationwide protests that began on October 17, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in a web feature. The web feature, “‘If Not Now, When ?’ Queer and Trans People Reclaim Their Power in Lebanon’s Revolution,” shares stories of hope and solidarity told by queer women and transgender people who are (...)

    #censure #LGBT #surveillance #HumanRightsWatch

  • Grèce : Campagne #FreeTheKids

    En Grèce, les enfants migrants non accompagnés vivant dans des centres de détention insalubres sont exposés à des risques accrus face au Covid-19, comme le souligne Eva Cossé (HRW). La campagne #FreeTheKids appelle à leur transfert vers des lieux sûrs. >> www.hrw.org/fr/FreeTheKids

    https://www.hrw.org/fr/video-photos/video/2020/04/28/grece-campagne-freethekids

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Camp #Enfant #Mineursnonaccompagnés

  • Bangladesh : Rohingya Refugees in Risky Covid-19 Quarantine | Human Rights Watch
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Bangladesh#Rohingya#confinement

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/05/bangladesh-rohingya-refugees-risky-covid-19-quarantine
    https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/styles/open_graph/public/multimedia_images_2020/202005asia_bangladesh_rohingya.jpg?itok=ZQ6cXAHd

    (New York) – Bangladesh authorities have quarantined 29 Rohingya refugees without adequate access to aid on an unstable silt island in the Bay of Bengal, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities said that they are holding the refugees, who had been adrift at sea for over two months, on Bhasan Char to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak in the camps.

  • Chine : Discrimination contre les Africains dans le contexte du Covid-19 | Human Rights Watch
    Des quarantaines forcées, des expulsions et des refus de services ont été constatés à Guangzhou
    Le gouvernement chinois devrait mettre fin au traitement discriminatoire des Africains dans le cadre de sa lutte contre la pandémie de Covid-19, a déclaré aujourd’hui Human Rights Watch. Les autorités chinoises devraient également protéger les Africains et les personnes d’ascendance africaine à travers tout le pays contre les discriminations à l’emploi, au logement et dans d’autres domaines.

    Début avril 2020, les autorités chinoises de la ville de Guangzhou, située dans la province du Guangdong dans le sud du pays et où vit la plus grande communauté africaine de Chine, ont lancé une campagne de dépistage obligatoire du coronavirus à l’intention de tous les Africains, leur ordonnant de s’isoler ou de se mettre en quarantaine dans des hôtels désignés. De nombreux propriétaires ont ensuite expulsé les résidents africains, nombre d’entre eux étant alors forcés à dormir dans la rue. En outre, de nombreux hôtels, magasins et restaurants ont refusé l’entrée à des clients africains. Les autres ressortissants étrangers n’ont généralement pas subi de traitement similaire.

    « Les autorités chinoises prétendent avoir une ‘‘tolérance zéro’’ vis-à-vis de la discrimination, mais leur traitement des Africains de Guangzhou en est un exemple même », a déclaré Yaqiu Wang, chercheuse sur la Chine auprès de Human Rights Watch. « Pékin devrait immédiatement enquêter, et exiger des comptes de tous les fonctionnaires et autre individus responsables de tels traitements discriminatoires. »

    Le 12 avril, les autorités du Guangdong ont annoncé que tous les étrangers de la province devaient accepter les « mesures de prévention et de confinement pour contrer le Covid-19 », y compris « les tests, l’échantillonnage et la quarantaine ». En pratique, les autorités ont simplement pris pour cible les Africains, qui sont contraints au dépistage et à l’isolement. Elles se sont rendues aux domiciles de résidents africains, les ont dépistés sur place ou leur ont demandé de passer un test à l’hôpital. Certains ont reçu l’ordre de rester chez eux, des caméras de surveillance ou des alarmes ayant été installées à l’extérieur de leurs appartements.

    Il n’y a aucune base scientifique à une telle politique. La plupart des cas de Covid-19 importés dans la province étaient le fait de ressortissants chinois de retour de l’étranger. De nombreux Africains avaient déjà été testés négatifs pour le coronavirus, n’avaient pas effectué de déplacements récents ou été en contact avec des porteurs avérés.
    ....
    Les statistiques officielles indiquent qu’environ 14 000 ressortissants africains vivent à Guangzhou, mais des chercheurs estiment que des milliers d’autres y sont en situation irrégulière. En raison des mauvais traitements liés au virus, de nombreux Africains en Chine ont exhorté leurs gouvernements à appeler Pékin à cesser toutes les formes de discrimination contre les Africains, et certains souhaitant être évacués de Chine. Le gouvernement kenyan a annoncé qu’il évacuerait ses ressortissants de Chine le 1er mai.
    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#Chine#Guangzhou#Africains#discriminations#quararantaine#expulsion#diaspora
    https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2020/05/05/chine-discrimination-contre-les-africains-dans-le-contexte-du-covid-19
    https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/styles/open_graph/public/multimedia_images_2020/202005asia_china_africa_covid.jpg?itok=zY6ZybIF

  • Syria: Aid Restrictions Hinder Covid-19 Response - Human Rights Watch
    Restrictions on aid deliveries from Damascus and Iraq are preventing medical supplies and personnel needed to prevent, contain, and treat Covid-19 from reaching two million people in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. On April 17, 2020, the authorities in northeast Syria announced the first confirmed Covid-19-related death.
    #Covid-19#Syrie#Rojava#restriction#ONU#aide#Iraq#Pandémie#Santé#migrant#Politique#réfugiés#migration

    As of late February, almost half of northeast Syria’s 4 million inhabitants needed humanitarian assistance, including 1.34 million – almost 500,000 of them displaced people – in nongovernment-held areas. According to the UN and interviews with aid agencies, half of the displaced do not have sufficient access to services including health care, water, sanitation, and shelter. About 70,000, including 44,000 children, live in abysmal conditions in camps that shelter mostly people displaced from territory previously held by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. Aid agencies have developed a Covid-19 awareness campaign plan in camps and collective shelters.
    Many people live in dense urban centers, informal settlements, or overcrowded camps, making it nearly impossible to use the social distancing measures necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/28/syria-aid-restrictions-hinder-covid-19-response