• Think ’sanctions’ will trouble China? Then you’re stuck in the politics of the past
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/06/sanctions-china-politics-us-showdown

    Wed 6 Jan 2021 by Ai Weiwei - The Trump administration has floated the idea of sanctioning Chinese officials and members of the Communist party of China. Before we ask whether this is a good idea, let’s ask how Sino-US relations got to this stage.

    The US cold war with the Soviet Union was over ideology, but today’s standoff with China is different. The Chinese state has no ideology, no religion, no moral agenda. It continues wearing socialist garb but only as a face-saving pretence. It has, in fact, become a state-capitalist dictatorship. What the world sees today is a contest between the US system of free-market capitalism and Chinese state capitalism. How should we read this chessboard?

    The US and China are entering a new cold war. Where does that leave the rest of us?
    Timothy Garton Ash
    Timothy Garton Ash
    Read more

    The post-Mao dictatorship in China has lived by the principle of “repress at home and be open to the world”. It has imported knowhow from abroad. There are an estimated 360,000 Chinese students currently enrolled who have come through America’s open door. Over 40 years, at least a million have returned to China and fed their new technical knowledge into the existing authoritarian structures that have built the dictatorship. It might be the most momentous personnel transfer in history.

    When I applied to study in the US in the 1980s, I filled out a questionnaire that asked if I had ever been a member of the Communist party. The point of the question was presumably to avoid ideological risks. But it is beyond doubt that the Chinese students coming in with me included many party members who were headed to some of the US’s finest schools, often with scholarships. Americans generally assumed that these students would feel the appeal of liberal values, which they would then take back to China. What happened more often, though, was that Chinese students were quick to see the cultural differences between the two countries, and to draw the very logical conclusion that American values are fine for America but would never work in the Chinese system.

    If those US hopes for the exportation of values had panned out, much of China would have been won over by now. But what has actually happened? Returnees are now leaders in much of Chinese business and industry, but anti-American expression in China is as strong today as it has been since the Mao era.

    Washington bears much of the responsibility for what has happened. In the years after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, administrations of both parties touted the absurd theory that the best plan was to let China get rich and then watch as freedom and democracy evolved as byproducts of capitalist development.

    But did capitalist competition, that ravenous machine that can chew up anything, change China? The regime’s politics did not change a whit. What did change was the US, whose business leaders now approached the Chinese dictatorship with obsequious smiles. Here, after all, was an exciting new business partner: master of a realm in which there were virtually no labour rights or health and safety regulations, no frustrating delays because of squabbles between political parties, no criticism from free media, and no danger of judgment by independent courts. For European and US companies doing manufacture for export, it was a dream come true.

    Money rained down on parts of China, it is true. But the price was to mortgage the country’s future. Society fell into a moral swamp, devoid of humanity and difficult to escape. Meanwhile, the west made their adjustments. They stopped talking about liberal values and gave a pass to the dictatorship, in which Deng Xiaoping’s advice of “don’t confront” and Jiang Zemin’s of “lie low and make big bucks” made fast economic growth possible.

    European and American business thrived in the early stages of the China boom. They sat in a sedan chair carried up the mountain by their Chinese partners. And a fine journey it was – crisp air, bright sun – as they reached the mountain’s midpoint. But then the chair-carriers laid down their poles and began demanding a shift. They, too, sought the top position. The signal from the political centre in China changed from “don’t pick fights” to “go for it”. Now what could the western capitalists do? Walk back down the mountain? They hardly knew the way.

    Covid-19 has jolted the US into semi-awareness of the crisis it faces. The disease has become a political issue for its two major political parties to tussle over, but the real crisis is that the western system itself has been challenged. The US model appears to others as a bureaucratic jumble of competing interests that lacks long-term vision and historical aspiration, that omits ideals, that runs on short-term pragmatism, and that in the end is hostage to corporate capital.

    Are sanctions the way to go? A foreign ministry spokesperson in Beijing recently remarked words to the effect that the US and China are so economically interlocked that they would amount to self-sanctions. The US, moreover, would be no match for China in its ability to endure suffering. And there he was correct: in dictatorships, sacrifices are not borne by the rulers. In the 1960s Mao said: “Cut us off? Go ahead – eight years, 10 years, China has everything.” A few years later Mao had nuclear weapons and was not afraid of anyone.

    The west needs to reconsider its systems, its political and cultural prospects, and rediscover its humanitarianism. These challenges are not only political, they are intellectual. It is time to abandon the old thinking and the vocabulary that controls it. Without new vocabulary, new thinking cannot be born. In the current struggle in Hong Kong, for example, the theory is simple and the faith is pure. The new political generation in Hong Kong deserves careful respect from the west, and new vocabulary to talk about it.

    “Sanctions” is a cold war term that names an old policy. If the US can’t think beyond them, the primacy of its position in this changing world will disappear.

    Ai Weiwei is an artist and activist. This article was translated from Chinese by Perry Link

    #Chine #USA #sanctions

  • Beirut explosion: The missing Lebanese link | Middle East Eye
    Article by Mayssoun Sukarieh
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/beirut-explosion-how-much-responsibility-lies-world-global-shipping
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/images-story/beirut+port%202020%20afp_0.jpg

    Is it certain that the ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut purely accidentally and remained there purely through local incompetence and international shipping lawlessness? Or was political agency involved?

    Interesting discussion on Facebook between Reinoud Leenders and Laleh Khalili, among others.

    Before we let this getting buried by the ‘this is all to blame on global neoliberalism’ mantra. Besides, how many other cities in the world get blown up at 4.5 on the scale of Richter just because global shipping is so awfully capitalist and unruly?

    https://www.facebook.com/reinoud.leenders/posts/3272992076122766
    The first criticizes a neoliberal understanding of the blast that is used by Lebanese elites to divert responsability outside of Lebanon.

    Laleh Khalili answers that her argument, in the Guardian article (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/08/beirut-explosion-lawless-world-international-shipping-) linking the blast to the lawless world of international shipping has been edited by the Gardian in a way that almost absolves the local elites.

  • Greece has a deadly new migration policy – and all of Europe is to blame | Daniel Trilling | Opinion | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/27/greece-migration-europe-athens-refugees
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/35b3d2f1b4b923b386c7831a5e351ac9b729ef65/12_159_4086_2453/master/4086.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    But if every country looks only to its own interests, and behaves as if asylum seekers are someone else’s problem, then you very quickly end up with a system that traps people in situations where their lives are at risk. That is the system bequeathed by Europe’s panicked response to the 2015 refugee crisis, and in recent months, partly under cover of the emergency conditions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, it has got worse. The revelation by the New York Times that Greece has secretly expelled more than 1,000 asylum seekers, abandoning many of them on inflatable life rafts in the Aegean Sea, is the latest example of this disturbing trend. Since 2015, Greece has effectively been used by the rest of the EU as a buffer zone against unwanted migration, leaving thousands of refugees in unsanitary camps on islands in the Aegean and on the mainland. At the same time, a hastily arranged EU deal with Turkey saw the latter agree to act as border cop on Europe’s behalf, preventing refugees from crossing to Greece in return for financial aid and other diplomatic concessions.This spring, amid rising geopolitical tensions, Turkey decided to send thousands of migrants towards the Greek border as a way of exerting pressure on Europe. It provoked a nationalist backlash, followed by several hardline and legally questionable border control measures from Greece’s conservative New Democracy government. Earlier this year, the New York Times also reported that Greece was operating a secret detention centre at its land border with Turkey, so that it could carry out summary deportations without giving people the right to claim asylum; the latest revelations about its actions in the Aegean fit the same pattern.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#UE#politiquemigratoire#asile#sante#politique

  • We need a full investigation into Siri’s secret surveillance campaign
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/14/apple-siri-secret-surveillance-campaign-investigation

    The public deserves to know the extent to which Apple employees have been listening to our private conversations and intimate moments No one wants their most private activities secretly monitored. That’s why wiretapping is strictly regulated in the US and most of the world. Federal law makes it a crime for the government to surveil communications without a court-ordered warrant. This is not the issue here. Nor is this a case involving one-party consent. Who authorized the makers of Apple’s (...)

    #Apple #Google #Microsoft #Amazon #Facebook #algorithme #Alexa #Assistant #Cortana #Siri #domotique #consommation #procès #consentement #reconnaissance #écoutes #voix #travail (...)

    ##FTC
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a043de08a6156dde538cdd6e00c76affe13506ac/0_0_4592_2755/master/4592.jpg

  • #Priti_Patel derided over #Royal_Navy threat towards France as Home Office’s approach to migrants is questioned

    Priti Patel’s threat to send the Royal Navy into the English Channel has been derided and her department’s border policy questioned on Twitter.

    The home secretary’s threats come after suggestions a record number of migrants crossed the Channel on Thursday.

    The BBC reports up to 235 migrants made the perilous journey across Britain’s maritime border with France, bringing the total of arrivals since January at nearly 3,900 people.

    https://twitter.com/Otto_English/status/1291633665475334145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

    According to a Home Office source in the Daily Mail, Patel has accused France’s border force of deliberately allowing migrants to make the crossing and has now threatened to deploy the Royal Navy to tow any new arrivals back to France.

    The move could be illegal under international maritime law and risks alienating the French government, who has partnered with the Home Office to stem the flow of crossings.

    Patel has said the Navy may be used to deploy floating “booms” to block the way for migrant dinghies or stop boats by clogging their propellers with nets.

    A government source acknowledged these were “all [the] options that are being considered”. The source added: “She [Patel] has instructed her officials to speak to the Ministry of Defence about how we can proceed. She has also requested a discussion with the French interior minister, Gerald Darmanin.”

    People vented their frustration with the approach on Twitter, while others questioned the effectiveness.

    Otto English wrote: “When Priti Patel says she ‘wants to send in the Navy’ to stop Channel migrant crossings - what’s her intention? Are warships going to fire shells at kids in rubber dinghies? Is a destroyer going to run them over? What are they going to do that the Border Force isn’t?”

    Rae Richardson called it a load of “meaningless posturing”. “It’s just a load of meaningless posturing to make the government seem effective. (Good luck with that!),” he wrote.

    “The Royal Navy have no authority in French waters so they can’t escort any boats out of UK waters, i.e. they can only do what Border Force are already doing.”

    Michael Moran said: “Sending a gunboat is a tried and trusted method of making things worse.”

    In October, Patel made a pledge to eliminate crossings by spring and negotiated a deal with French authorities.

    The news comes as footage of migrants arriving on the Kent coastline on Thursday surfaced on social media.

    The boat carrying the asylum seekers had ten young children and a heavily pregnant woman, among others, on board.

    In the footage, the woman is seen holding her head in her hands and appears weary while one of the children lays exhausted on the pebbled beach with his arms spread out.

    The Daily Mail suggested the total number of asylum seekers reaching Britain this year is double that from 2019. It failed to provide an explanation for the spike.

    https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/priti-patel-mocked-on-twitter-over-daily-mail-royal-navy-threat-1-

    #UK #Angleterre #France #frontières #Manche #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #Calais #armée
    ping @isskein

    • ‘Inappropriate and disproportionate’: Priti Patel suggestion to use navy to combat migrant crossings attacked by MoD

      Priti Patel is discussing using the royal navy to tackle the number of migrants crossing the Channel, prompting accusations from Ministry of Defence sources that the idea is “inappropriate and disproportionate”.

      While facing increasing pressure from MPs on her own back benches, the home secretary also called on France to help prevent people coming to the UK’s shores.

      At least 235 people arrived on small boats on Thursday – a new high for a single day.

      The Home Office is yet to provide a full breakdown of the crossings, meaning the total number could be higher still.

      The home secretary is understood to be keen to know what royal navy vessels and other assets could be deployed.

      It is thought they would be expected to stop boats and send them back to France.

      But a Ministry of Defence source told the PA news agency the idea of using the navy was “completely potty” and could put lives at risk.

      “It is a completely inappropriate and disproportionate approach to take,” they said.

      “We don’t resort to deploying armed force to deal with political failings.

      “It’s beyond absurd to think that we should be deploying multimillion-pound ships and elite soldiers to deal with desperate people barely staying afloat on rubber dinghies in the Channel.

      “It could potentially put people’s lives at even greater risk.

      “Border Force is effectively the Home Office’s own navy fleet, so it begs the question: what are they doing?”

      Ms Patel is facing increasing calls, including from Tory MPs, to deal with the issue.

      The Commons Home Affairs Committee has announced that it has launched an investigation into the crossings.

      Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP and chair of the Commons Defence Committee, backed the use of navy patrols.

      Natalie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover, also backed the use of the royal navy, saying: “All options need to be on the table.”
      Immigration minister Chris Philp said he shares “the anger and frustration of the public” at the “appalling number” of crossings.

      Mr Philp is to visit France next week to speak with counterparts following what is understood to have been a “constructive” meeting with the country’s deputy ambassador earlier this week.

      Earlier Ms Patel appeared to call on France to do more.

      She tweeted that the number of illegal small boat crossings was “appalling and unacceptably high” and said she was working to make the route unviable.

      She added: “We also need the cooperation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France.”

      Almost 4,000 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK so far this year, according to analysis by PA.

      Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, said the numbers showed the Home Office had “lost control and all credibility on this issue, fuelling chaos, criminality and untold trauma for those who feel forced to make these dangerous crossings.”

      Resorting to tougher enforcement was “naive grandstanding”, she said.

      “What is needed is recognition that people who reach France will have valid claims to protection in the UK and the urgent development of safe and legal routes for them to do so.

      “This would end the crossings overnight.”

      Yvette Cooper, chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said it was “particularly troubling to see children being put at risk”.

      Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, said: “No one wants to see people making these perilous attempts to cross the Channel. It’s heartbreaking to think how desperate people must be to cram themselves into tiny boats and try.

      “The Tories have been trying the same approach of getting tough on Channel crossings for years, but it’s failed.

      “The only way to prevent these dangerous crossings is to ensure there are safe, legal routes to the UK – especially for vulnerable refugees fleeing war and persecution.”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/priti-patel-migrants-channel-royal-navy-record-a9659346.html

    • The Guardian view on Channel migrants: shame on the scaremongers

      Ministers should respond with compassion and pragmatism to an upsurge in arrivals of small boats. Instead, we get histrionics

      What do the images of cramped dinghies in the Channel make you feel when you see them? Or pictures of their passengers on the decks of grey Border Force vessels, or disembarking on beaches? More than 4,100 migrants and refugees have reached the UK this year so far in small boats, most of them arriving in Kent. Almost 600 arrived in a surge of crossings between Thursday and Sunday last week.

      While they remain a tiny proportion of the total number of asylum seekers in the UK, which was 35,566 in 2019, the steep increase in arrivals has thrust immigration and asylum back to the top of the news. But the hate mill has been grinding away for months, with the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, using his social media channels and appearances to churn up public anxiety about what these migrants might do when they get here – while crushing out any grains of more generous impulses.

      There is no question that the crossings are a problem. The Channel is the world’s busiest shipping lane. Unlicensed journeys in small boats across the Mediterranean have ended in disaster. The new arrivals include children, around 400 of whom are being looked after by Kent county council.

      No one knows exactly why the traffic has increased so much. Boris Johnson and his ministers, as well as Mr Farage, appear determined to amplify the role of traffickers. But the more likely explanation could be that the pandemic has made entering the UK by other means (air, lorry, ferry) harder, while the weather has made crossing by boat safer than at other times. The conditions at Calais are awful. Far worse are the political and humanitarian situations in many of the countries where the migrants come from – Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan – and from which they view the UK as their longed-for safe haven.

      Whatever the reasons for the surge, the UK government’s reaction has been reprehensible. Migration is a difficult global issue that requires international cooperation. For European democracies, with long histories of entanglement with many of the nations that people are fleeing, it presents particular challenges. But having set their face against the EU with their campaign to “take back control” and lacking a plan to replace the Dublin Convention, which enables EU countries to remove some asylum seekers, ministers now appear to be panicking.

      How else to describe the threats by the home secretary, Priti Patel, to make the navy force boats back to France, or the creation of the new post of “clandestine Channel threat commander”? What does it mean for Boris Johnson to declare crossing the Channel in a small boat to be “dangerous and criminal”, when people have the right to travel to claim asylum under UN rules dating back to 1951?

      Not a single refugee has been legally resettled in the UK since March, when an existing scheme was suspended due to Covid-19. Restarting this system (or explaining when the pause will end), so that claims can be processed without people having to present themselves first, is the obvious route back to some form of order. Serious talks with the EU, above all France, will obviously require give as well as take. Last year Germany processed 165,615 asylum claims, and France 151,070. Neither they nor other governments are obliged to help the UK out.

      Two years ago Donald Trump showed the world how low an elected western leader could go on migration with his policy of separating families at the Mexican border. This week, the UK’s home secretary was singled out for praise by our most xenophobic national political figure, Mr Farage. Ms Patel, and more importantly her boss, Mr Johnson, a man who purports to venerate Winston Churchill and the postwar international order that was his legacy, should both be ashamed.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/10/the-guardian-view-on-channel-migrants-shame-on-the-scaremongers

    • Refugees crossing Channel tell of beatings by French police

      Asylum seekers give accounts of injuries, as Priti Patel says many refugees feel France is racist.

      Asylum seekers in the UK and France have described injuries they have received at the hands of French police, as Priti Patel said many were making the perilous journey across the Channel because they believe France is racist.

      The home secretary made her comments in a conference call with Conservative MPs concerned about the recent surge in numbers attempting the voyage in small boats.

      One man in Dunkirk told the Guardian he had recently received injuries to his hands after French police beat him.

      Another man who has reached the UK said he was struck in the face, causing injuries to his eyes. “I was beaten very badly by the French police. I have some injuries to my eyes and I’m still suffering from these injuries,” he said. “The French police are very bad for asylum seekers.”
      Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
      Read more

      According to reports, Patel told Conservative MPs that refugees and migrants were worried they may be “tortured” in France. Government sources told PA Media that she had made clear she did not share those views and was simply explaining the “pull factors” that led so many people to risk their lives by making the Channel crossing.

      Clare Moseley, of Care4Calais, a charity that works with many asylum seekers in northern France, expressed concern about some of the French police’s treatment of asylum seekers that she had witnessed. “The police seem to be a law unto themselves, “ she said. “It’s the culture I find so shocking.”

      A number of asylum seekers have said one of their reasons for crossing the Channel was to escape police violence, which is especially traumatic for those who have survived torture in their home countries. Another reason cited was the long delay after making an asylum claim before they receive accommodation or support.

      Orsi Hardi, of the Taise Community, which supports and cares for many asylum seekers who congregate in northern France, said many believed reaching the UK was their last chance to find safety after a difficult journey through mainland Europe.

      “The only way to stay in France at the moment is to claim asylum, and the system is overloaded, which makes it very inhuman during the time when people are waiting to get accommodation and support,” she said.

      The Guardian has learned that more people who crossed the Channel in small boats were rounded up by the Home Office on Thursday and Friday and placed in Brook House immigration detention centre near Gatwick airport.

      More than a dozen of them say they have gone on hunger strike. The men, who have come from a variety of conflict zones including Yemen and Sudan, say they would rather die in the UK than be sent back to France or other European countries.

      Speaking from Brook House, one man who is refusing food told the Guardian: “I am a dead person in detention.”

      Nobody who has been arrested and detained in the last few days has been given a ticket for a new removal flight, but the large number of arrests suggest more removals are likely soon. The Home Office is not supposed to detain people unless there is an imminent prospect of removing them.

      One man from Yemen said he had tried to claim asylum in Spain and had been told he would have to wait more than a year sleeping in the streets before his claim could be processed, so he decided to try to reach the UK.

      “My journey was terrible. I crossed many countries – Mauritania, Mali, where traffickers wanted to sell me as a slave, Algeria, Morocco. I crossed the desert. I spent 12 hours in the sea when I crossed the Channel in a small boat in March. I thought I would freeze to death but I was rescued by the Border Force. I’m sending my voice to the public. This is the last opportunity to tell people what has happened to us on our journey and what is happening to us now in detention.”

      Another man from Yemen who said he was on hunger strike in Brook House said he had been abused by smugglers who agreed to help him cross the Channel to the UK. “The smugglers have guns and sometimes they shoot people. The smuggler who was taking us across the Channel pointed a gun at us and said if we made any noise he would shoot us,” he said.

      The Home Office and the French embassy have been approached for comment.

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/aug/16/priti-patel-migrants-crossing-channel-uk-they-believe-france-racist
      #police #violences_policières

    • UK tested Channel ‘blockade’ to deter migrants, leak reveals

      Exclusive: official document shows tactic based on Australian ‘turn back the boats’ policy has been trialled.

      Trials have taken place to test a blockade in the Channel similar to Australia’s controversial “turn back the boats” tactic, according to official documents seen by the Guardian.

      The documents, produced in mid-September and marked “official” and “sensitive”, summarise advice from officials who were asked by Downing Street to consider “possible options for negotiating an offshore asylum processing facility similar to the Australian model in Papua New Guinea and Nauru”.

      In August it was reported that the home secretary, Priti Patel, was planning to approach French officials for cooperation in using Royal Navy and Border Force boats to block the path of refugees and migrants attempting to reach the UK in small boats.

      The document reveals this approach has been trialled. It reads: “Trials are currently under way to test a ‘blockade’ tactic in the Channel on the median line between French and UK waters, akin to the Australian ‘turn back’ tactic, whereby migrant boats would be physically prevented (most likely by one or more UK RHIBs [rigid hull inflatable boats] from entering UK waters.”

      The Australian policy was developed by the country’s former prime minister Tony Abbott, who was recently appointed as a UK government trade adviser. Operation Sovereign Borders involves turning back boats to the country of embarkation before they reach Australian waters.

      The Australian government considers the policy to be successful but it has been met with severe criticism from human rights groups. The Home Office has been approached for comment.

      The documents have been revealed by the Guardian at a time of increased tension over the UK’s asylum policy. Seven thousand migrants have arrived in the UK in small boats across the Channel so far this year, according to PA Media analysis – more than three times the number of arrivals by this route in the whole of 2019.

      The UK government has also launched a consultation with the maritime industry to explore constructing floating walls in the Channel to block asylum seekers from crossing the narrow strait from France, the Financial Times reported.

      An email from the trade body Maritime UK, obtained by the newspaper, reveals that the idea of floating barriers is being seriously pursued by Home Office officials. Maritime UK told the Guardian it had informed the Home Office that it did not think the proposal was “legally possible”.

      A Maritime UK spokesperson said: “As the umbrella organisation for UK maritime, we are a conduit between industry and government and are often asked by government for advice or input on policy matters. The Home Office engaged us to pass on a question around options to inhibit passage to UK territorial waters, which we gave to our members. The clear view, which we shared with the Home Office, was that as a matter of international convention, that this is not legally possible.”

      Downing Street said it would not comment on each of the leaked measures but said the government would soon bring forward “a package of measures” to address illegal migration once the UK has left the EU.

      The prime minister’s spokesman said: “We are developing plans around illegal migration and asylum to ensure that we’re able to provide protection to those who need it, while preventing abuse of the system and the criminality associated with it.

      “That includes looking at what a whole host of other countries do. But the work is ongoing. There’s an awful lot of speculation around today and I don’t plan on adding anything beyond that.”

      Downing Street said it did not recognise some of the more outlandish reporting – including the possibility of a wave machine in the Channel to push back migrants in small boats. “These things won’t be happening,” the spokesman said.

      A Home Office spokesperson said: “As the public will fully understand, we do not comment on operational matters because to do so could provide an advantage to the exploitative and ruthless criminals who facilitate these dangerous crossing, as they look for new ways to beat the system.

      “We are driving innovative tactics to deploy in every aspect of this operation, underlining the Government’s commitment to ending the viability of using small boats to illegally enter the UK.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/oct/01/uk-tested-channel-blockade-to-deter-migrants-leak-reveals

    • UK and France sign deal to make Channel migrant crossings ’unviable’

      Both countries agree to double police patrols on route already used by more than 8,000 people this year

      Britain and France have signed a new agreement aimed at curbing the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

      The home secretary, Priti Patel, and her French counterpart, Gérald Darmanin, said they wanted to make the route used by more than 8,000 people this year unviable.

      They agreed to double the number of French police patrolling a 150km stretch of coastline targeted by people-smuggling networks.

      However, the Home Office did not say how many more officers would be deployed.

      The announcement was criticised by a charity as an “extraordinary mark of failure” akin to “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.

      Meanwhile, Amnesty International UK said it was “profoundly disappointing”.

      Patel and Darmanin also agreed an enhanced package of surveillance technology, with drones, radar equipment, cameras and optronic binoculars.

      It is hoped the equipment will help the French deploy officers to the right places to detect migrants and stop them before they start their journey.

      The agreement also includes steps to support migrants into accommodation in France and measures to increase border security at ports in the north and west of the country.

      It builds on measures previously agreed which the Home Office said had seen the proportion of crossings intercepted and stopped since rising from 41% last year to 60% in recent weeks.

      Patel said the new agreement with France will “make a difference” to the numbers.

      Speaking inside the Foreign Office following talks with her French counterpart, she said: “We know that the French authorities have stopped over 5,000 migrants from crossing into the United Kingdom, we’ve had hundreds of arrests and that’s because of the joint intelligence and communications that we share between both our authorities.

      “This new package today that I have just signed with my French counterpart, the French interior minister, effectively doubles the number of police on the French beaches, it invests in more technologies and surveillance – more radar technology that support the law enforcement effort – and on top of that we are now sharing in terms of toughening up our border security.”

      She said the number of migrants making the crossing had grown exponentially, in part due to good weather this year, and blamed trafficking gangs for “facilitating” dangerous journeys.

      “We should not lose sight of the fact that illegal migration exists for one fundamental reason: that is because there are criminal gangs – people traffickers – facilitating this trade,” Patel said.

      She added that the cost charged by traffickers has gone down so “people are putting their lives at risk”.

      Despite deteriorating weather conditions, the UK’s Border Force has continued to deal with migrants making the dangerous trip from northern France.

      The number crossing aboard small boats has rocketed this year, with more than 8,000 reaching the UK – compared with 1,835 in 2019, according to data analysed by the PA news agency.

      This is despite the home secretary’s vow last year to make such journeys an “infrequent phenomenon”.

      A recent report chronicled nearly 300 border-related deaths in and around the English Channel since 1999.

      Written by Mael Galisson, from Gisti, a legal service for asylum seekers in France, it described the evolution of border security in and around the Dover Strait as a “history of death”.

      It claimed responses to the migrant crisis have become increasingly militarised, forcing people to resort to more dangerous routes.

      Bella Sankey, director of humanitarian charity Detention Action, said: “It is an extraordinary mark of failure that the home secretary is announcing with such fanfare that she is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

      “No amount of massaging the numbers masks her refusal to take the sensible step of creating a safe and legal route to the UK from northern France, thereby preventing crossings and child deaths.

      “Instead she throws taxpayers’ money away on more of the same measures that stand no chance of having a significant impact on this dangerous state of affairs.”

      The shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, argued that the Conservatives had “regularly announced progress and not delivered”.

      He said: “A deal with the French authorities alone is not enough. The Conservatives continue to fail on establishing safe routes and have abolished DfID [the Department for International Development], the department that has addressed the reasons people flee their homes in the first place.”

      The deal was also criticised by human rights group Amnesty International UK. Steve Valdez-Symonds, its refugee and migrant rights programme director, said: “It is profoundly disappointing that yet again these two governments have ignored the needs and rights of people who ought to be at the heart of their response.

      “Women, men and children make dangerous journeys across the Channel because there are no safe options provided for them – to either reunite with family in this country, or access an effective asylum system, to which they are entitled.

      “The UK government must share responsibility for providing sanctuary with its nearest neighbour.

      “This continued focus on simply shutting down routes to the UK is blinkered and reckless – it does nothing but increase the risks that people, who have already endured incredible hardship, are compelled to take.”

      Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said: “This package of surveillance, drones and radar sounds like the government is preparing for a military enemy.

      “These are ordinary people – from engineers to farmers and their families – they are not criminals and they do not want to make this terrifying journey.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/28/uk-and-france-sign-deal-to-make-channel-migrant-crossings-unviable

      #accord

    • #Déclaration_conjointe de la France et du Royaume-Uni sur les prochaines étapes de la #coopération_bilatérale en matière de lutte contre l’#immigration_clandestine

      29 novembre 2020

      Le ministre français de l’intérieur, M. Gérald Darmanin, et la ministre britannique de l’intérieur, Mme Priti Patel, se sont entretenus hier pour évoquer la coopération entre le Royaume-Uni et la France dans la lutte contre l’immigration clandestine à notre frontière commune.

      Ils ont notamment abordé la nécessité d’empêcher les traversées maritimes illégales et de prévenir les troubles à l’ordre public qu’elles génèrent des deux côtés de la Manche.
      Les ministres ont souligné que le nombre élevé de passages illégaux observé cette année n’était pas acceptable et qu’il fallait y remédier avec détermination. Ces traversées à bord d’embarcations de fortune ont donné lieu à des accidents au cours des derniers mois. Elles représentent pour les femmes, hommes et enfants à bord de ces bateaux un danger mortel, qui reste un sujet de préoccupation pour les deux gouvernements. L’implication de réseaux criminels sans scrupules, qui exploitent la vulnérabilité des migrants, est l’une des causes de ce phénomène. Les autorités des deux pays continueront à s’y attaquer avec une détermination sans faille.

      Pour toutes ces raisons, les deux ministres partagent un engagement résolu à coopérer pour mettre fin au phénomène dit des « small boats », et annoncent à cette fin la mise en œuvre de nouvelles mesures conjointes qui doivent permettre de prévenir les départs et d’empêcher la formation de camps illégaux dans le Calaisis.

      Les ministres sont convenus que le travail des forces de l’ordre pour prévenir et arrêter ces passages n’a jamais été aussi efficace, le taux de réussite des interventions passant de 41 % en 2019 à plus de 60 % ces dernières semaines. Malgré ces efforts importants, le nombre de tentatives de traversées reste toutefois encore trop élevé.

      Les ministres ont reconnu et salué les récents efforts déployés pour lutter contre ce phénomène : une présence policière accrue sur la côte entre Boulogne et Dunkerque ; une augmentation du nombre de patrouilles terrestres ; une meilleure utilisation des équipements de détection ; un renforcement de la lutte contre les réseaux criminels de contrebande, permis notamment par la mise en place d’une unité de renseignement opérationnel (URO) dédiée à la lutte contre le trafic de migrants. Cette structure a commencé à donner des résultats concrets : depuis son ouverture en juillet, l’URO a permis de procéder à environ 140 arrestations et d’empêcher quelque 1 100 passages.

      Les deux ministres sont convenus de l’importance de continuer à travailler en étroite collaboration à tous les niveaux, sur la base d’objectifs communs et d’indicateurs clairs, permettant de mesurer les progrès accomplis et d’évaluer les résultats obtenus. A cet effet, le Royaume-Uni et la France se sont accordés sur la mise en place d’un nouveau plan opérationnel conjoint visant à optimiser le déploiement des ressources humaines et des équipements dédiés à la prévention de ces traversées maritimes illégales.

      Ce plan sera effectif dans les prochains jours et comprend :

      une augmentation significative des déploiements de forces de l’ordre pour enquêter, dissuader et prévenir les traversées irrégulières ;
      le déploiement d’équipements de technologies de surveillance de haute définition pour détecter et empêcher les tentatives de franchissement avant qu’elles ne se produisent ;
      des mesures visant à aider les migrants à trouver un hébergement approprié afin de les soustraire à l’emprise des trafiquants ;
      des mesures visant à renforcer la sécurité aux frontières afin de réduire les possibilités de passage irrégulier, y compris par le biais du trafic de marchandises.

      Le Royaume-Uni s’est engagé à faire un investissement financier supplémentaire de 31,4 millions d’euros pour soutenir les efforts importants de la France contre les traversées irrégulières dans ces domaines.

      Au cours des six prochains mois, les résultats seront examinés afin d’évaluer l’efficacité et l’impact de ces mesures supplémentaires. Ces engagements reflètent la conviction des ministres de la nécessité pour le Royaume-Uni et la France de travailler en partenariat étroit à tous les niveaux pour faire face à cette menace commune, briser le modèle économique des passeurs, sauver des vies et maintenir l’ordre public. Les ministres se félicitent de la poursuite du dialogue sur un large éventail de sujets afin de parvenir à une réduction de la pression migratoire à la frontière commune, à court et à long terme.

      https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Declaration-conjointe-de-la-France-et-du-Royaume-Uni-sur-les-prochain