• New report shows leading Covid-19 vaccine pharma companies fuelling unprecedented human rights crisis | Amnesty International
    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/09/new-report-shows-leading-covid-19-vaccine-pharma-companies-fuelling-unprece

    Six companies at the helm of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out are fuelling an unprecedented human rights crisis through their refusal to waive intellectual property rights and share vaccine technology, with most failing to prioritise vaccine deliveries to poorer countries, Amnesty International said today.

    In a new report, A Double Dose of Inequality: Pharma companies and the Covid-19 vaccines crisis, the organization assessed six of the companies that hold the fate of billions of people in their hands: AstraZeneca plc, BioNTech SE, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Inc., Novavax, Inc. and Pfizer, Inc. It paints a dismal picture of an industry that is woefully failing to respect human rights.

    “Vaccinating the world is our only pathway out of this crisis. It should be time to hail these companies, who created vaccines so quickly, as heroes. But instead, to their shame and our collective grief, Big Pharma’s intentional blocking of knowledge transfer and their wheeling and dealing in favor of wealthy states has brewed an utterly predictable and utterly devastating vaccine scarcity for so many others” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “Its plunging parts of Latin America, Africa and Asia into renewed crises, pushing weakened health systems to the very brink and causing tens of thousands of preventable deaths every week. In many low-income countries not even health workers and people at-risk have received the vaccine.”

    “Against the backdrop of these gross inequalities BioNTech, Moderna and Pfizer are set to make US$130 billion combined by the end of 2022. Profits should never come before lives.”

  • Philippines: ICC launches probe into deadly “war on drugs”, seeks to end impunity | Amnesty International
    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/09/icc-launches-probe-philippines-war-on-drugs-duterte

    “The ICC pre-trial chamber’s announcement sends a clear message to the perpetrators and architects of these crimes that they will not escape accountability. No one is above the law. Duterte’s government must immediately end the cycle of killings, remove those involved from the ranks of the police and bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to trial.”

    “For decades, the Philippines has been beset by a pervasive culture of impunity, but this has worsened under the Duterte administration with the widespread and systematic killing of thousands of alleged drug suspects since 2016. This probe finally offers victims a chance to obtain justice.”

    Over the past year, there has been an upsurge of human rights violations in the Philippines, including waves of killings, threats, arbitrary arrests and detention of activists and human rights defenders. Recently, two lawyers were killed by unidentified men; Rex Fernandez was shot dead in Cebu City on 26 August 2021, while Juan Macababbad was killed on 15 September 2021 in South Cotabato. Fernandez was a founding member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), of which Macababbad was also an official.

    “With the Philippines gearing up for its next presidential elections in 2022, this announcement from the ICC comes at a pivotal time. Human rights should be at the centre of discussions when the Philippines chooses its next leaders.”

    “It is now crucial that the international community steps up. It must reinforce the ICC’s investigation and mandate a comprehensive, UN-led investigation into the deeply ominous human rights situation in the country.”

    Background

  • Syria : Former refugees tortured, raped, disappeared after returning home

    Syrian security forces have subjected Syrians who returned home after seeking refuge abroad to detention, disappearance and torture, including sexual violence, Amnesty International said today. In a new report, “You’re going to your death,” the organization documented a catalogue of horrific violations committed by Syrian intelligence officers against 66 returnees, including 13 children. Among these violations, Amnesty International documented five cases whereby detainees had died in custody after returning to Syria, while the fate of 17 forcibly disappeared people remains unknown.

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/09/syria-former-refugees-tortured-raped-disappeared-after-returning-home

    #Syrie #réfugiés_syriens #torture #disparition #asile #réfugiés #retour_au_pays
    #Amnesty #rapport

    –—

    voir aussi la métaliste sur les « retours au pays » ("forcé" ou « volontaire ») des réfugiés syriens :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/904710

  • #Refoulements_en_chaîne depuis l’#Autriche (2021)

    In a recent finding, the Styria Regional Administrative Court in Graz ruled that pushbacks are “partially methodically applied” in Austria, and that in the process, the 21-year-old complainant was subject to degrading treatment, violating his human dignity. The ruling further shed light on the practices of chain pushbacks happening from Italy and Austria, through Slovenia and Croatia, to BiH. The last chain pushback from Austria all the way to BiH was recorded by PRAB partners in early April 2021, while in 2020, 20 persons reported experiencing chain pushbacks from Austria and an additional 76 from Italy.

    Source: rapport “#Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route” (juin 2021)

    #push-backs #refoulements #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Slovénie #Croatie #frontière_sud-alpine #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Alpes

    • MEPs slam Slovenian Presidency for their role in chain-pushbacks

      In the first week of September (2. 8. 2021), MEPs in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs confronted Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs as he presented the priorities for Slovenian presidency of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. With evidence provided by BVMN and network members InfoKolpa and Are You Syrious, representatives of The Left in the European Parliament took the Presidency to task for its systemic policy of chain-pushbacks and flagrant abuse of the rule of law. Members also shamed the Slovenian Ministry of Interior for continuing to ignore a Supreme Court ruling which established Slovenia had violated the rights of a Cameroonian plaintiff and are obligated to allow him access to the Slovenian asylum system and to stop returning people to Croatia as there is overwhelming evidence of chain-refoulement and degrading treatment often amounting to tortute.

      Presenting the evidence

      Malin Björk, whose fact-finding trip to Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia was facilitated by Are You Syrious and Infokolpa, then handed over the Black Book of Pushbacks to Minister Hojs, a dossier of cases recorded by the Border Violence Monitoring Network which collates pushback violations from across the Balkans since 2017. The book has a concerningly large section on Slovenian chain pushbacks, sharing the voices of 1266 people documented by BVMN who had either been chain pushed back (via Croatia) to Bosnia-Herzegovina or Serbia. The cases speak of systemic gatekeeping of asylum, misuse of translation, the registering of minors as adults, and fast-tracked returns to Croatian police who would then carry out brutal pushbacks. All point to a high level of complicity by the Slovenian authorities in the brutalisation of people-on-the-move, a fact reinforced by the April ruling of the Slovenian Supreme Court.

      Yet this first hand evidence is in reality just the tip of the iceberg, and a recent open letter on the matter revealed how according to officially available data, over 27,000 returns of potential asylum seekers were carried out by Slovenian authorities in the recent years, resulting in chain refoulement via Croatia to non-EU countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina.

      “I expect you as a responsible Minister, not only for your country, but for the EU Presidency to take part of this document and tell us what you will do to stop the illegality, impunity and the brutality.”

      More weak denials

      Interior Minister Hojs doubled down on his stance that Slovenia was managing its borders according to the Rule of Law, even despite his own national court ruling the complete opposite. In an unsurprising move, reminiscent of many Interior Ministers across the EU, Hojs levied accusations of fake news and dismissed the Black Book set before him as a fabrication. Referring to his short attempt to actually look at the evidence presented in the book Hojs stated: “How many lies can be concentrated on one half page, I immediately closed the book and did not touch it again”. With the Minister unwilling to leaf through the 244 pages dedicated to crimes carried out by Slovenia, the network welcome him to view the visual reconstruction of a pushback published last year which vividly captured the experience of those denied asylum access in Slovenia and then brutalised while being collectively expelled from Croatia.

      “I have read the Black Book already in parliament and have seen what they write about me and the Slovenian police. All lies.”

      – Minister Hojs Speaking to Slovenian TV

      The fact is that Minister Hojs is personally not mentioned in the Black Book, though his actions are documented on countless pages, implies that someone is indeed lying. Court judgements, the testimony of thousands of pushback victims, and hard video evidence all highlight the fragility of the Slovenian government’s “fake news” line. While already deeply concerning at a national level, the fact that this administration is also spearheading the EU Presidency shows the extent to which perpetrators of pushbacks have been enabled and empowered at the highest level in Brussels. As a recent webinar event hosted by InfoKolpa and BVMN asked: Can a country responsible for mass violations of Human Rights be an honest broker in the preparations of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum? Until the ruling by the Supreme Court is implemented and people-on-the-move have their mandated right to request asylum in Slovenia, this question will continue to be answered firmly with a “no”.

      Today, our MEPs talked to @aleshojs 🇸🇮 Minister of Home Affairs about the thousands of men, women and children who have been denied over the past years the right to seek asylum in Slovenia, and forcefully handed over to Croatian. @Border_Violence #StopPushbacks pic.twitter.com/XvNLvoCLhY

      — The Left in the European Parliament (@Left_EU) September 2, 2021

      MEP statement

      “I was in Velika Kladusa in Bosnia, I was astonished to meet many migrants and refugees that had been to Slovenia, but they had been told that the right to seek asylum did not exist in you country. One of the persons that I met there was from Cameroon and had escaped political persecution. Once he thought he was in safety in Slovenia he called the police himself to ask to be able to claim asylum. Instead he was as so many others, as thousand of others, handed over to the Croatian police who brutalised him and sent him back to Bosnia.

      This case is a little bit special, compared to the many thousands of others, because on 9th April this year the Slovenian Supreme Court itself ruled that Slovenian police had violated the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsion and denied the him the right to seek international protection.

      You (Minister Hojs) have had meetings with Commissioner Johansson and you have said you will stand up for the right to seek asylum for asylum seekers. Now your own court has found that you fail in this case. So my questions are: Will you stand by your words and provide a humanitarian visa for this person so that he can come back to Slovenia to apply for asylum as he was supposed to have been granted two years ago? And the second is more structural of course, how will you ensure that people have the right to apply for asylum in Slovenia, that they are not brutally pushed back to Croatian police, who are then illegally pushing them back to Bosnia in a kind of chain pushback situation which is a shame, a shame, at European borders?”

      – Malin Björk MEP

      The case referred to is part of strategic litigation efforts led by network member InfoKolpa, which resulted in a landmark judgement issued on 16 July 2020 by the Slovenian Administrative Court. The findings prove that the Slovenian police force in August 2019 carried out an illegal collective expulsion of a member of a persecuted English-speaking minority from Cameroon who wanted to apply for asylum in the country. The verdict was confirmed on 9th April 2021 by the Slovenian Supreme Court, which ruled the following: the Slovenian police violated the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsions and denied the asylum seeker access to the right to international protection. The state was ordered to ensure that the plaintiff is allowed to re-enter the country and ask for international protection, but no effort has been made by the authorities to respect the ruling of the court. The case is thus another confirmation of the Slovenian misconduct that persistently undermines the foundations of the rule of law, specifically international refugee law and international human rights law.

      We fear for Slovenia.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/meps-slam-slovenian-presidency-for-their-role-in-chain-pushbacks

    • Briefly reviewing the topic of pushbacks at European borders, it is important to report on the case of a young refugee from Somalia who was prevented from seeking asylum in Austria and was expulsed, or more precisely, pushed back to Slovenia, contrary to international and European law. His case will soon be reviewed at the Provincial Administrative Court of Styria (https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/migrant-tuzio-austriju-slucaj-bi-mogao-imati-posljedice-i-za-hrvatsku-policiju/2302310.aspx), and if he wins the case, it will be the second verdict that indicates systematic and sometimes chained pushbacks of refugees through Austria, Slovenia, and thus Croatia all the way to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, du 16.09.2021

    • Violenze e respingimenti: la “stretta” della Slovenia sui migranti. Con l’aiuto dell’Italia

      Solo a settembre oltre 100 persone in transito sono state respinte a catena in Bosnia ed Erzegovina. Molte di loro sono state fermate a pochi chilometri dal confine italiano. I pattugliamenti misti della polizia italiana e slovena potrebbero spiegare l’aumento delle persone rintracciate. La denuncia del Border violence monitoring network

      Otto casi di respingimenti a catena dalla Slovenia alla Bosnia ed Erzegovina nel mese di settembre 2021. Più di cento persone coinvolte, in prevalenza cittadini afghani e pakistani, che denunciano violenze da parte della polizia slovena. Molte di loro (almeno 34) sono state fermate a “un passo” dal confine italiano: la “stretta” del governo di Lubiana sul controllo del territorio, in collaborazione con la polizia italiana, sembra dare i primi risultati.

      La denuncia arriva dalla rete Border violence monitoring network (Bvmn) che monitora il rispetto dei diritti delle persone in transito nei Paesi balcanici: “Non si hanno testimonianze dirette di poliziotti italiani coinvolti ma si presume che l’aumento nella sorveglianza del territorio e l’alto numero di persone arrestate nel nord della Slovenia sia una conseguenza dell’accordo tra Roma e Lubiana” spiega Simon Campbell, coordinatore delle attività della rete. Il ruolo dell’Italia resta così di primo piano nonostante le riammissioni al confine siano formalmente interrotte dal gennaio 2021.

      Nel report di Bvmn di settembre 2021 vengono ricostruite dettagliatamente numerose operazioni di respingimento che “partono” dal territorio sloveno. Intorno alle sette e trenta di sera del 7 settembre 2021 un gruppo di quattro cittadini afghani, tra cui un minore, viene fermato vicino alla città di Rodik, nel Nord-Ovest della Slovenia a circa cinque chilometri dal confine con l’Italia. Il gruppo di persone in transito viene bloccato da due agenti della polizia di frontiera slovena e trasferito in un centro per richiedenti asilo. Ma è solo un’illusione. Quarantotto ore dopo, il 9 settembre verso le 17, i quattro si ritroveranno a Gradina, nel Nord della Bosnia ed Erzegovina: nonostante abbiano espresso più volte la volontà di richiedere asilo le forze di polizia slovena le hanno consegnate a quelle croate che hanno provveduto a portarle nuovamente al di fuori dell’Ue. Una decina di giorni dopo, il 19 settembre, un gruppo di otto persone, di età compresa tra i 16 e i 21 anni, riesce a raggiungere la zona confinaria tra Slovenia e Italia ma durante l’attraversamento dell’autostrada A1, all’uscita di una zona boscosa, interviene la polizia. All’appello “mancano” due persone che camminavano più avanti e sono riuscite a raggiungere Trieste: le guardie di frontiera lo sanno. L’intervistato, un cittadino afghano di 21 anni, sospetta che “una sorta di videocamera con sensori li aveva ha individuati mentre camminavano nella foresta”. O forse uno dei 55 droni acquistati dal ministro dell’Interno sloveno per controllare il territorio di confine. A quel punto le forze speciali slovene chiedono rinforzi per rintracciare i “fuggitivi” e nel frattempo sequestrano scarpe, telefoni cellulari, power bank e soldi ai membri del gruppo identificati che dopo circa mezz’ora sono costretti a entrare nel retro di un furgone. “Non c’era ossigeno perché era sovraffollato e la polizia ha acceso l’aria condizionata a temperature elevate. Due persone sono svenute durante il viaggio” spiega il 21enne. Verso le 12 la polizia croata prende il controllo del furgone: il gruppo resta prigioniero nel veicolo, con le porte chiuse e senza cibo e acqua, per il resto della giornata. Alle due del mattino verranno rilasciati vicino a Bihać, nel cantone bosniaco di Una Sana.

      Sono solo due esempi delle numerose testimonianze raccolte dal Border violence. I numeri dei respingimenti a catena sono in forte aumento: da gennaio a agosto 2021 in totale erano state 143 le persone coinvolte, solo nel mese di settembre 104. Un dato importante che coinvolge anche l’Italia. Le operazioni di riammissione dall’Italia alla Slovenia sono formalmente interrotte -anche se la rete segnala due casi, uno a marzo e uno a maggio, di persone che nonostante avessero già raggiunto il territorio italiano sono state respinte a catena fino in Bosnia- ma il governo italiano fornisce supporto tecnico e operativo al governo sloveno per il controllo del territorio grazie a un’intesa di polizia tra Roma e Lubiana di cui non si conoscono i contenuti.

      Sono ripresi infatti nel mese di luglio 2021 i pattugliamenti misti al confine nelle zone di Gorizia e Trieste. “Al momento dobbiamo approfondire l’effettivo funzionamento dell’accordo: non abbiamo testimonianze dirette di poliziotti italiani coinvolti -continua Campbell-. Presumiamo però che l’alto livello di sorveglianza del territorio e il numero di persone che vengono catturate in quella zona dimostra che l’intesa sui pattugliamenti assume un ruolo importante nei respingimenti a catena verso la Bosnia”. Paese in cui la “malagestione” del fenomeno migratorio da parte del governo di Sarajevo si traduce in una sistematica violazione dei diritti delle persone in transito e in cui le forze di polizia sotto accusa del Consiglio d’Europa per i metodi violenti che utilizza. Elementi che il Viminale non può considerare solo come “collaterali” delle politiche con cui tenta di esternalizzare i confini.

      La particolarità dei respingimenti da parte delle autorità slovene è che sono realizzati alla luce del sole. “La caratteristica di queste operazioni consiste nel fatto che i migranti vengono consegnati ‘ufficialmente’ alle autorità croate dagli ufficiali sloveni ai valichi di frontiera sia stradali che ferroviari -spiegano gli attivisti-. Prendendo come esempio la Croazia la maggior parte dei gruppi vengono allontanati da agenti che eseguono le operazioni con maschere, in zone di confine remote”. In Slovenia, invece, spesso vengono rilasciate tracce di documenti firmati per giustificare l’attività di riammissione. “Nonostante questa procedura sia la Corte amministrativa che la Corte suprema slovena hanno ritenuto che queste pratiche violano la legge sull’asilo perché espongono le persone al rischio di tortura in Croazia”.

      Una violenza denunciata, a inizio ottobre 2021, da un’importate inchiesta giornalistica di cui abbiamo parlato anche su Altreconomia. I pushaback sloveni, a differenza di quelli “diretti” che si verificano in Croazia e in Bosnia ed Erzegovina, sono più elaborati perché “richiedono più passaggi e quindi possono durare più giorni”. “Siamo rimasti tre giorni in prigione. Non abbiamo potuto contattare nessun avvocato, non ci hanno fornito un traduttore. Ci hanno dato solo una bottiglia di acqua al giorno e del pane” racconta uno dei cittadini afghani intervistati. Oltre al cattivo trattamento in detenzione, diverse testimonianze parlano di “violenze e maltrattamenti anche all’interno delle stazioni di polizia slovene” e anche al di fuori, con perquisizioni violente: in una testimonianza raccolta dalla Ong No name kitchen, un cittadino afghano ha denunciato una “perquisizione intensiva dei genitali”. I maggiori controlli sul territorio sloveno, possibili anche grazie alla polizia italiana, rischiano così di far ricadere le persone in transito in una spirale di violenza e negazione dei diritti fondamentali.

      https://altreconomia.it/violenze-e-respingimenti-la-stretta-della-slovenia-sui-migranti-con-lai

    • “They were told by the officers that they would be taken to Serbia.... at 12am they were dropped at the Bosnia-Croatia border, near the town of Velika Kladuša”

      Date and time: September 24, 2021 00:00
      Location: Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina
      Coordinates: 45.1778695699, 16.025619131638
      Pushback from: Croatia, Slovenia
      Pushback to: Bosnia, Croatia
      Demographics: 11 person(s), age: 17-22 , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan
      Minors involved? No
      Violence used: kicking, insulting, theft of personal belongings
      Police involved: 2 Slovenian officers wearing blue uniforms, 2 Croatian officers wearing light blue uniforms, 2 police vans
      Taken to a police station?: yes
      Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of food/water, forced to pay fee
      Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
      Reported by: No Name Kitchen

      Original Report

      On 20th September 2021, 6 Afghan males between the ages of 17 and 22 attempted to cross the border from Slovenia into Italy near the city of Trieste. They had been traveling for 3 days from Serbia before reaching this point. They walked for 4 hours to the border with another group, but the weather was cold and raining so they decided to try taking a taxi instead. As they were hidden in the taxi they did not have enough space for their bags, and so during this ride they had no water or food.

      The two groups set off in two different taxis. The first made it across the border, but as the second one was approaching it after a 40-minute journey, a police car began chasing them. The driver of the taxi stopped on a small bridge and escaped on foot, but the men in the car were arrested by two Slovenian police officers. The officers have been described as one young man and one old man, both wearing blue short-sleeved tops. The men were then taken to a police station near the Italian border. Here they spent 1 night. The respondents remarked that they were treated well, that the police cooperated and did not try to scare them, and that they were given food, water, and blankets. However, it was cold, and a few of the group became ill. The police tried to interview them about their attempt across the border, but after receiving no response told them to rest and take their food.

      On the morning of 21 September, the group was all given a COVID test and taken to a quarantine facility. Here they spent 3 nights. Again, the respondent stated that they were treated well. They were allowed to use their mobile phones for 2 hours per day and were given good quality food and medical care from a nurse/doctor. The group stated that they intended to claim asylum except for one that was going to Germany because he had a brother there. They also filled out a form stating that they faced threat in Afghanistan. Communication was initially made in English, but a Pashtu-speaking interpreter from Pakistan was provided for the interview. One of the group, the 6th member, was allowed to stay in Slovenia as he was 17.

      On the morning of 24 September the group of 5, all Afghan males between the age of 18 and 22, were given all of their belongings and driven to a small checkpoint on the Croatian border. The checkpoint was described as a two-sided road with a container on each side. Here they were handed over to two Croatian officers, which the Slovenian officers spoke with. The Croatian officers have been described as one woman around 40-45 years old and one man around 50, with both wearing light blue short-sleeved shirts consistent with the uniform of the Croatian Granicna Policija (border police), and one wearing a jacket. Here the respondents remarked that the good treatment ended and that the Croatian officers began acting “insane”. They were driven to a police station near the Croatia-Slovenia border. Here their sim cards were all taken, meaning the group could not access their phones or location services anymore. In the station, there was also a group of 7 Pakistani men. Initially, the two groups were held in separate rooms, but when another detainee arrived at the station all 11 men were put in the same room. The respondents described the room as 2x2m, designed for 1 person, and smelling very bad.

      The two groups were kept in these conditions from 10 am-7 pm, with no food or water. They asked for these repeatedly and were eventually given something to eat after paying with their own money. One of the group of 5 was kicked twice for no apparent reason. The group stated their intention to claim asylum, and again filled out a form stating that they faced threat in Afghanistan. In response, the woman officer asked: “why did you leave Afghanistan? If there was war you should fight not leave”. The group remarked that they refused to engage, stating that “she doesn’t know politics, doesn’t know when someone should stay or leave, there is different reasons”.

      At around 8 pm all 11 men were given their belongings back, minus their sim cards. As the belongings were jumbled and all given at once, some things were lost or potentially stolen. They were then ordered to get in a van which was driven by the same two officers. The group of 5 asked to be returned to Serbia as they had contacts there and had spent time there. They also had Serbian refugee camp ID cards. They were told by the officers that they would be taken to Serbia. The officers then began driving slowly, stopping often and parking to pass the time. The groups asked for something to drink and gave money in return for cola and water. At 12am they were dropped at the Bosnia-Croatia border, near the town of Velika Kladuša.

      The group walked into Velika Kladuša. They spent all night outside with no blankets, sleeping bags, or comfortable places to sleep. The weather was freezing. They tried to enter a restaurant at 7am but were not allowed in. After 2 nights in the cold weather, the group of 5 decided to return to Serbia. The return cost between €500-600. They crossed the border into Serbia at a bridge, where the group remarked that there was no police in sight.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/september-24-2021-0000-velika-kladusa-bosnia-and-herzegovina

    • Voir aussi le "report of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture on the situation in Croatia"

      The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its ad hoc visit to Croatia from 10 to 14 August 2020. The report is made public pursuant to Rule 39 §3 (1) of the Rules of Procedure (2) of the CPT following written statements made by a senior Croatian official pertaining to the content of the report which were placed into the public domain. The Committee deemed such statements as a misrepresentation of the contents of the report, the professional integrity and modus operandi of the members of the CPT’s delegation. Consequently, the Committee decided to publish the report of the visit in full.

      In a report on Croatia published today, the CPT urges the Croatian authorities to take determined action to stop migrants being ill-treated by police officers and to ensure that cases of alleged ill-treatment are investigated effectively.

      The Committee carried out a rapid reaction visit to Croatia from 10 to 14 August 2020, and in particular along the border area to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), to examine the treatment and safeguards afforded to migrants deprived of their liberty by the Croatian police. The CPT’s delegation also looked into the procedures applied to migrants in the context of their removal from Croatia as well as the effectiveness of oversight and accountability mechanisms in cases of alleged police misconduct during such operations. A visit to the Ježevo Reception Centre for Foreigners was also carried out.

      The report highlights that, for the first time since the CPT started visiting Croatia in 1998, there were manifest difficulties of cooperation. The CPT’s delegation was provided with incomplete information about places where migrants may be deprived of their liberty and it was obstructed by police officers in accessing documentation necessary for the delegation to carry out the Committee’s mandate.

      In addition to visiting police stations in Croatia, the CPT’s delegation also carried out many interviews across the Croatian border in the Una-Sana Canton of BiH, where it received numerous credible and concordant allegations of physical ill-treatment of migrants by Croatian police officers (notably members of the intervention police). The alleged ill-treatment consisted of slaps, kicks, blows with truncheons and other hard objects (e.g. butts/barrels of firearms, wooden sticks or tree branches) to various parts of the body. The alleged ill-treatment had been purportedly inflicted either at the time of the migrants’ “interception” and de facto deprivation of liberty inside Croatian territory (ranging from several to fifty kilometres or more from the border) and/or at the moment of their push-back across the border with BiH.

      In a significant number of cases, the persons interviewed displayed recent injuries on their bodies which were assessed by the delegation’s forensic medical doctors as being compatible with their allegations of having been ill-treated by Croatian police officers (by way of example, reference is made to the characteristic “tram-line” haematomas to the back of the body, highly consistent with infliction of blows from a truncheon or stick).

      The report also documents several accounts of migrants being subjected to other forms of severe ill-treatment by Croatian police officers such as migrants being forced to march through the forest to the border barefoot and being thrown into the Korana river which separates Croatia from BiH with their hands still zip-locked. Some migrants also alleged being pushed back into BiH wearing only their underwear and, in some cases, even naked. A number of persons also stated that when they had been apprehended and were lying face down on the ground certain Croatian police officers had discharged their weapons into the ground close to them.

      In acknowledging the significant challenges faced by the Croatian authorities in dealing with the large numbers of migrants entering the country, the CPT stresses the need for a concerted European approach. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, Croatia must meet its human rights obligations and treat migrants who enter the country through the border in a humane and dignified manner.

      The findings of the CPT’s delegation also show clearly that there are no effective accountability mechanisms in place to identify the perpetrators of alleged acts of ill-treatment. There is an absence of specific guidelines from the Croatian Police Directorate on documenting diversion operations and no independent police complaints body to undertake effective investigations into such alleged acts.

      As regards the establishment of an “independent border monitoring mechanism” by the Croatian authorities, the CPT sets out its minimum criteria for such mechanism to be effective and independent.

      In conclusion, nonetheless the CPT wishes to pursue a constructive dialogue and meaningful cooperation with the Croatian authorities, grounded on a mature acknowledgment, including at the highest political levels, of the gravity of the practice of ill-treatment of migrants by Croatian police officers and a commitment for such ill-treatment to cease.

      https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/council-of-europe-anti-torture-committee-publishes-report-on-its-2020-ad-hoc-vi

      Pour télécharger le rapport :
      https://rm.coe.int/1680a4c199

      #CPT #rapport

      –-

      Commentaire de Inicijativa Dobrodosli (mailing-list du 08.12.2021) :

      Jerko Bakotin writes for Novosti (https://www.portalnovosti.com/odbor-vijeca-europe-hrvatska-policija-sustavno-zlostavlja-migrante-i-) that this report is “perhaps the strongest evidence publicly available so far in support of previously hard-to-dispute facts. First, that Croatian police massively and illegally denies refugees and migrants the right to asylum and expels them from the depths of the territory, that is, conducts pushbacks. Second, that these pushbacks are not officially registered. Third, the pushbacks are done with knowledge, and certainly on the orders of superiors.” Civil society organizations point out (https://hr.n1info.com/vijesti/rh-sustavno-krsi-prava-izbjeglica-koristeci-metode-mucenja-a-zrtve-su-i-d) that the Croatian government is systematically working to cover up these practices, and there will be no change until all those who are responsible are removed and responsibility is taken. Unfortunately, it is likely that the Croatian political leadership will instead decide to shift the blame to refugees and declare international conspiracies against Croatia (https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/jednostavno-pitanje-za-bozinovica-i-milanovica-sudjeluje-li-i-vijece-europe). As a reaction to the published report, Amnesty International points out (https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/12/human-rights-body-has-condemned-croatian-authorities-for-border-violence) that due to the European Commission’s continued disregard for Croatia’s disrespect for European law, and their continued support in resources, it is really important to ask how much the Commission is complicit in human rights violations at the borders.

    • Another important report (https://welcome.cms.hr/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Polugodisnje-izvjesce-nezavisnog-mehanizma-nadzora-postupanja-policijski) came out on Friday - in a working version that was later withdrawn from a slightly surprising address where it was published - on the website of the Croatian Institute of Public Health. It is the report of the Croatian "independent mechanism for monitoring the conduct of police officers of the Ministry of the Interior in the field of illegal migration and international protection”. Despite the tepid analysis of police treatment - which can be understood given the connection of members of the mechanism with the governing structures, as well as a very problematic proposal for further racial profiling and biometric monitoring of refugees using digital technologies, the report confirmed the existence of pushbacks in Croatia: “through surveillance, the mechanism found that the police carried out illegal pushbacks and did not record returns allowed under Article 13 of the Schengen Borders Code.” We look forward to the publication of the final version of the report.

      –-> via Inicijativa Dobrodosli (mailing-list du 08.12.2021)

  • Sexual violence used as weapon of war in Ethiopia’s Tigray, Amnesty finds

    Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have raped hundreds of women and girls during the Tigray war, subjecting some to sexual slavery and mutilation, Amnesty International said in a report Wednesday.

    Drawing from interviews with 63 survivors, the report sheds new light on a scourge already being investigated by Ethiopian law enforcement officials, with at least three soldiers convicted and 25 others charged.

    Some survivors said they had been gang-raped while held captive for weeks on end. Others described being raped in front of their family members.

    And some reported having objects including nails and gravel inserted into their vaginas, “causing lasting and possibly irreparable damage”, Amnesty said.

    “It’s clear that rape and sexual violence have been used as a weapon of war to inflict lasting physical and psychological damage on women and girls in Tigray,” said Amnesty’s secretary general Agnes Callamard.

    “Hundreds have been subjected to brutal treatment aimed at degrading and dehumanizing them.

    “The severity and scale of the sexual crimes committed are particularly shocking, amounting to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”

    ‘All of us were raped’

    Northern Ethiopia has been wracked by violence since November after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, sent troops into Tigray to topple its regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

    He said the move came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.

    As the conflict has deepened, the humanitarian toll has spiked, with aid workers struggling to reach cut-off populations and 400,000 people facing famine-like conditions in Tigray, according to the UN.

    Alleged perpetrators of rape include government soldiers, troops from neighbouring Eritrea – which has backed up Abiy – as well as security forces and militia fighters from Ethiopia’s Amhara region, Amnesty said.

    More than two dozen survivors told Amnesty they were raped by Eritreans alone, while others said Eritreans and Ethiopians had worked together.

    “They raped us and starved us. There were too many who raped us in rounds,” said one 21-year-old survivor who reported being held for 40 days.

    “We were around 30 women they took.... All of us were raped.”

    Investigations ongoing

    AFP has previously interviewed multiple survivors of gang rape perpetrated by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers.

    Amnesty said Wednesday that health facilities in Tigray had “registered 1,288 cases of gender-based violence from February to April 2021”, though doctors note that many survivors do not come forward.

    In February Ethiopia’s women’s minister Filsan Abdullahi Ahmed said rape had “without a doubt” taken place in Tigray. A task force she established has since sent a report to the attorney general’s office.

    On Tuesday, Filsan told AFP it was up to law enforcement officials to determine the scale of the problem and who was responsible.

    “I think they are doing their best... They have to go and really study thoroughly before they identify who committed the crimes.”

    But she added: “I would prefer them moving at a faster pace so I can say justice has been served, and I hope we will see justice being served.”

    In May, the attorney general’s office said three soldiers had been convicted and sentenced for rape and that an additional 25 had been charged with “committing acts of sexual violence and rape”.

    Investigations were continuing, it said.

    https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20210811-sexual-violence-used-as-weapon-of-war-in-ethiopia-s-tigray-amnest
    #Tigré #Ethiopie #guerre #viols #viol_comme_arme_de_guerre #abus_sexuels #violences_sexuelles

    • Ethiopia: Troops and militia rape, abduct women and girls in Tigray conflict – new report

      - Forces aligned to the Ethiopian government subjected hundreds of women and girls to sexual violence
      - Rape and sexual slavery constitute war crimes, and may amount to crimes against humanity

      Women and girls in Tigray were targeted for rape and other sexual violence by fighting forces aligned to the Ethiopian government, Amnesty International said today in a new report into the ongoing Tigray conflict.

      The report, ‘I Don’t Know If They Realized I Was A Person’: Rape and Other Sexual Violence in the Conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, reveals how women and girls were subjected to sexual violence by members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), the Eritrean Defense Force (EDF), the Amhara Regional Police Special Force (ASF), and Fano, an Amhara militia group.

      Soldiers and militias subjected Tigrayan women and girls to rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, sexual mutilation and other forms of torture, often using ethnic slurs and death threats.

      “It’s clear that rape and sexual violence have been used as a weapon of war to inflict lasting physical and psychological damage on women and girls in Tigray. Hundreds have been subjected to brutal treatment aimed at degrading and dehumanizing them,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

      “The severity and scale of the sexual crimes committed are particularly shocking, amounting to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. It makes a mockery of the central tenets of humanity. It must stop.

      “The Ethiopian government must take immediate action to stop members of the security forces and allied militia from committing sexual violence, and the African Union should spare no effort to ensure the conflict is tabled at the AU Peace and Security Council.”

      The Ethiopian authorities should also grant access to the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights Commission of Inquiry, and the UN Secretary General should urgently send his Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict to Tigray.

      Amnesty International interviewed 63 survivors of sexual violence, as well as medical professionals. Twenty-eight survivors identified Eritrean forces as the sole perpetrators of rape.
      Widespread sexual violence

      The pattern of acts of sexual violence, with many survivors also witnessing rape of other women, indicates that sexual violence was widespread and intended to terrorize and humiliate the victims and their ethnic group.

      Twelve survivors said soldiers and militia raped them in front of family members, including children. Five were pregnant at the time.

      Letay*, a 20-year-old woman from Baaker, told Amnesty International she was attacked in her home in November 2020 by armed men who spoke Amharic and wore a mixture of military uniforms and civilian clothing.

      She said: “Three men came into the room where I was. It was evening and already dark… I did not scream; they gestured to me not to make any noise or they would kill me. They raped me one after the other… I was four months pregnant; I don’t know if they realized I was pregnant. I don’t know if they realized I was a person.”

      Nigist*, a 35-year-old mother-of-two from Humera said she and four other women were raped by Eritrean soldiers in Sheraro on 21 November 2020.

      She said: “Three of them raped me in front of my child. There was an eight-months pregnant lady with us, they raped her too… They gathered like a hyena that saw something to eat… They raped the women and slaughtered the men.”

      Health facilities in Tigray registered 1,288 cases of gender-based violence from February to April 2021. Adigrat Hospital recorded 376 cases of rape from the beginning of the conflict to 9 June 2021. However, many survivors told Amnesty International they had not visited health facilities, suggesting these figures represent only a small fraction of rapes in the context of the conflict.

      Survivors still suffer significant physical and mental health complications. Many complained of physical trauma such as continued bleeding, back pain, immobility and fistula. Some tested positive for HIV after being raped. Sleep deprivation, anxiety and emotional distress are common among survivors and family members who witnessed the violence.
      Sexual slavery and intention to humiliate

      Twelve survivors said they were held captive for days and often weeks, and repeatedly raped, in most cases by several men. Some were held in military camps, others in houses or grounds in rural areas.

      Tseday*, 17, told Amnesty International that she was abducted by eight Eritrean soldiers in Zebangedena and held captive for two weeks. She said: “They took me to a rural area, in a field. There were many soldiers; I was raped by eight of them… Usually, they went out to guard the area in two shifts. When four of them went out, the rest stayed and raped me.”

      Blen*, a 21-year-old from Bademe, said she was abducted by Eritrean and Ethiopian soldiers on 5 November 2020, and held for 40 days alongside an estimated 30 other women. She said: “They raped us and starved us. They were too many who raped us in rounds. We were around 30 women they took... All of us were raped.”

      Eight women also told how they had been raped by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers and associated militia near the border with Sudan, as they sought shelter.

      Two survivors had large nails, gravel, and other types of metal and plastic shrapnel inserted into their vaginas, causing lasting and possibly irreparable damage.

      Soldiers and militia repeatedly sought to humiliate their victims, frequently using ethnic slurs, insults, threats, and degrading comments. Several survivors interviewed by Amnesty International said that the rapists had told them, “This is what you deserve” and “You are disgusting”.
      Lack of support for survivors

      Survivors and witnesses told Amnesty International that they received limited or no psychosocial and medical support since they arrived in the internally displaced persons camps in the town of Shire in Ethiopia, or in refugee camps in Sudan.

      Survivors also suffered because medical facilities were destroyed and restrictions imposed on the movement of people and goods, which hindered access to medical care. Victims and their families said they are short of food, shelter and clothes due to the limited humanitarian aid.

      Reports of sexual violence were mostly hidden from the outside world during the first two months of the conflict that began in November 2020, largely because of access restrictions imposed by the Ethiopian government and the communications blackout.

      “On top of their suffering and trauma, survivors have been left without adequate support. They must be able to access the services they need and are entitled to – including medical treatment, livelihood assistance, mental healthcare and psychosocial support – which are essential aspects of a survivor-centred response,” said Agnès Callamard.

      “We must see all allegations of sexual violence effectively, independently and impartially investigated to ensure survivors receive justice, and an effective reparation program must be established. All parties to the conflict should also ensure unfettered humanitarian access.”

      https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/08/ethiopia-troops-and-militia-rape-abduct-women-and-girls-in-tigray-conflict-

      Pour télécharger le rapport:
      https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AFR2545692021ENGLISH.PDF

      #rapport #Amnesty #Amnesty_International #femmes #filles #esclavage_sexuel #milices #armées #soldats #crimes_de_guerre #crimes_contre_l'humanité