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  • Status agreement with Senegal : #Frontex might operate in Africa for the first time

    The border agency in Warsaw could deploy drones, vessels and personnel. It would be the first mission in a country that does not directly border the EU. Mauretania might be next.

    As a „priority third state“ in West Africa, Senegal has long been a partner for migration-related security cooperation with the EU. The government in Dakar is one of the addressees of the „#North_Africa_Operational_Partnership“; it also receives technical equipment and advice for border police upgrading from EU development aid funds. Now Brussels is pushing for a Frontex mission in Senegal. To this end, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled personally to the capital Dakar last week. She was accompanied by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, who said that a contract with Senegal might be finalised until summer. For the matter, Johansson met with Senegal’s armed-forces minister and foreign minister.

    For operations outside the EU, Frontex needs a so-called status agreement with the country concerned. It regulates, for example, the use of coercive police measures, the deployment of weapons or immunity from criminal and civil prosecution. The Commission will be entrusted with the negotiations for such an agreement with Senegal after the Council has given the mandate. The basis would be a „model status agreement“ drafted by the Commission on the basis of Frontex missions in the Western Balkans. Frontex launched its first mission in a third country in 2019 in Albania, followed by Montenegro in 2020 and Serbia in 2021.

    New EU Steering Group on migration issues

    The deployment to Senegal would be the first time the Border Agency would be stationed outside Europe with operational competences. Johansson also offered „#surveillance equipment such as #drones and vessels“. This would take the already established cooperation to a new level.

    Frontex is already active in the country, but without uniformed and armed police personnel. Of the only four liaison officers Frontex has seconded to third countries, one is based at the premises of the EU delegation in #Dakar. His tasks include communicating with the authorities responsible for border management and assisting with deportations from EU member states. Since 2019, Senegal has been a member of Frontex’s so-called AFIC network. In this „Risk Analysis Cell“, the agency joins forces with African police forces and secret services for exchanges on imminent migration movements. For this purpose, Frontex has negotiated a working agreement with the Senegalese police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The new talks with Senegal are coordinated in the recently created „Operational Coordination Mechanism for the External Dimension of Migration“ (MOCADEM). It is an initiative of EU member states to better manage their politics in countries of particular interest. These include Niger or Iraq, whose government recently organised return flights for its own nationals from Minsk after Belarus‘ „instrumentalisation of refugees“ at the EU’s insistence. If the countries continue to help with EU migration control, they will receive concessions for visa issuance or for labour migration.

    Senegal also demands something in return for allowing a Frontex mission. The government wants financial support for the weakened economy after the COVID pandemic. Possibilities for legal migration to the EU were also on the agenda at the meetings with the Commission. Negotiations are also likely to take place on a deportation agreement; the Senegalese authorities are to „take back“ not only their own nationals but also those of other countries if they can prove that they have travelled through the country to the EU and have received an exit order there.

    Deployment in territorial waters

    Senegal is surrounded by more than 2,600 kilometres of external border; like the neighbouring countries of Mali, Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, the government has joined the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Similar to the Schengen area, the agreement also regulates the free movement of people and goods in a total of 15 countries. Only at the border with Mauritania, which left ECOWAS in 2001, are border security measures being stepped up.

    It is therefore possible that a Frontex operation in Senegal will not focus on securing the land borders as in the Western Balkans, but on monitoring the maritime border. After the „Canary Islands crisis“ in 2006 with an increase in the number of refugee crossings, Frontex coordinated the Joint Operation „Hera“ off the islands in the Atlantic; it was the first border surveillance mission after Frontex was founded. Departures towards the Canary Islands are mostly from the coast north of Senegal’s capital Dakar, and many of the people in the boats come from neighbouring countries.

    The host country of „Hera“ has always been Spain, which itself has bilateral migration control agreements with Senegal. Authorities there participate in the communication network „Seahorse Atlantic“, with which the Spanish gendarmerie wants to improve surveillance in the Atlantic. Within the framework of „Seahorse“, the Guardia Civil is also allowed to conduct joint patrols in the territorial waters of Senegal, Mauritania and Cape Verde. The units in „Hera“ were also the only Frontex mission allowed to navigate the countries‘ twelve-mile zone with their vessels. Within the framework of „Hera“, however, it was not possible for Frontex ships to dock on the coasts of Senegal or to disembark intercepted refugees there.

    Spain wants to lead Frontex mission

    Two years ago, the government in Madrid terminated the joint maritime mission in the Atlantic. According to the daily newspaper „El Pais“, relations between Spain and Frontex were at a low point after the border agency demanded more control over the resources deployed in „Hera“. Spain was also said to be unhappy with Frontex’s role in the Canary Islands. The agency had seconded two dozen officers to the Canary Islands to fingerprint and check identity documents after a sharp increase in crossings from Senegal and Mauritania in 2020. According to the International Organization for Migration, at least 1,200 people died or went missing when the crossing in 2021. The news agency AFP quotes the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras which puts this number at over 4,400 people. Also the Commissioner Johansson said that 1,200 were likely underestimated.

    The new situation on the Canary Islands is said to have prompted Frontex and the government in Madrid to advocate the envisaged launch of the joint operation in Senegal. With a status agreement, Frontex would be able to hand over refugees taken on board to Senegalese authorities or bring them back to the country itself by ship. The Guardia Civil wants to take over the leadership of such an operation, writes El Pais with reference to Spanish government circles. The government in Dakar is also said to have already informed the EU of its readiness for such an effort.

    The idea for an operational Frontex deployment in Senegal is at least three years old. Every year, Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri assesses in a report on the implementation of the EU’s External Maritime Borders Regulation whether refugees rescued in its missions could disembark in the respective eligible third countries. In the annual report for 2018, Leggeri attested to the government in Senegal’s compliance with basic fundamental and human rights. While Frontex did not even consider disembarking refugees in Libya, Tunisia or Morocco, the director believes this would be possible with Senegal – as well as Turkey.

    Currently, the EU and its agencies have no concrete plans to conclude status agreements with other African countries, but Mauritania is also under discussion. Frontex is furthermore planning working (not status) arrangements with other governments in North and East Africa. Libya is of particular interest; after such a contract, Frontex could also complete Libya’s long-planned connection to the surveillance network EUROSUR. With a working agreement, the border agency would be able to regularly pass on information from its aerial reconnaissance in the Mediterranean to the Libyan coast guard, even outside of measures to counter distress situations at sea.

    https://digit.site36.net/2022/02/11/status-agreement-with-senegal-frontex-wants-to-operate-in-africa-for-t

    #Sénégal #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Afrique #Mauritanie #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #renvois #expulsions #AFIC #Risk_Analysis_Cell #services_secrets #police #coopération #accord #MOCADEM #Operational_Coordination_Mechanism_for_the_External_Dimension_of_Migration #accords_de_réadmission #accord_de_réadmission #frontières_maritimes #Atlantique #Seahorse_Atlantic #Hera

    –-
    ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749
    et plus précisément ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765327

    ping @isskein @reka @karine4

    • L’Union européenne veut déployer Frontex au large des côtes sénégalaises

      À l’occasion de la visite au Sénégal de cinq commissaires européennes, l’UE propose au gouvernement le déploiement de Frontex, l’agence européenne de garde-côtes et de gardes-frontières. La Commission européenne envisagerait un déploiement d’ici à l’été en cas d’accord avec les autorités sénégalaises.

      C’est pour l’instant une proposition faite par Ylva Johansson. La commissaire chargée des Affaires intérieures a évoqué la question avec les ministres des Affaires étrangères, des forces armées et de l’Intérieur ce vendredi à Dakar.

      Pour l’Union européenne, l’intérêt immédiat est de contrôler le trafic d’êtres humains avec les embarcations qui partent des côtes sénégalaises vers l’archipel espagnol des Canaries. Mais le principe serait aussi de surveiller les mouvements migratoires vers l’Europe via la Mauritanie ou bien la route plus longue via l’Algérie et la Libye.

      L’idée est une collaboration opérationnelle des garde-côtes et gardes-frontières de l’agence Frontex avec la gendarmerie nationale sénégalaise et sous sa direction. L’UE envisage le déploiement de navires, de personnel et de matériel. La commissaire européenne aux Affaires intérieures a évoqué par exemple des drones.

      L’agence Frontex de surveillance des frontières extérieures de l’Union est en train de monter en puissance : son effectif devrait s’élever à 10 000 gardes-côtes et gardes-frontières dans quatre ans, soit dix fois plus qu’en 2018. Elle n’a jamais été déployée hors d’Europe et cette proposition faite au Sénégal illustre à l’avance la priorité que va mettre l’Europe sur les questions migratoires lors du sommet avec l’Union africaine dans une semaine.

      https://www.rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20220211-l-union-europ%C3%A9enne-veut-d%C3%A9ployer-frontex-au-large-des-c%C3%B4

    • EU seeks to deploy border agency to Senegal

      European Commissioner Ylva Johansson on Friday offered to deploy the EU’s border agency to Senegal to help combat migrant smuggling, following a surge in perilous crossings to Spain’s Canary Islands.

      At a news conference in the Senegalese capital Dakar, Johansson said the arrangement would mark the first time that the EU border agency Frontex would operate outside Europe.

      Should the Senegalese government agree, the commissioner added, the EU could send surveillance equipment such as drones and vessels, as well as Frontex personnel.

      Deployed alongside local forces, the agents would “work together to fight the smugglers,” she said.

      “This is my offer and I hope that Senegal’s government is interested in this unique opportunity,” said Johansson, the EU’s home affairs commissioner.

      The announcement comes amid a sharp jump in attempts to reach the Canary Islands — a gateway to the EU — as authorities have clamped down on crossings to Europe from Libya.

      The Spanish archipelago lies just over 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the coast of Africa at its closest point.

      But the conditions in the open Atlantic are often dangerous, and would-be migrants often brave the trip in rickety wooden canoes known as pirogues.

      About 1,200 people died or went missing attempting the crossing in 2021, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).

      Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras last month put the figure at over 4,400 people.

      Johansson also said on Friday that the 1,200-person figure was likely an underestimate.

      She added that she had discussed her Frontex proposal with Senegal’s armed-forces minister and foreign minister, and was due to continue talks with the interior minister on Friday.

      An agreement that would see Frontex agents deployed in Senegal could be finalised by the summer, she said.

      EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who was also at the news conference, said a Frontex mission in Senegal could also help tackle illegal fishing.

      Several top European Commission officials, including President Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Senegal this week to prepare for a summit between the EU and the African Union on February 17-18.

      https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220211-eu-seeks-to-deploy-border-agency-to-senegal

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

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

    Tour d’horizon des droits humains

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

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

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

    Une tradition d’hospitalité remise en cause

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    –—

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

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