EurActiv.com – EU news and policy debates across languages

https://www.euractiv.com

  • EU countries set to drop barriers for Ukraine refugees

    The European Commission has proposed that those fleeing the war in Ukraine should be granted “temporary protection” in the EU, while border checks should be simplified. EU interior ministers will decide on the matter on Thursday.

    The proposal put forth by the Commission on Wednesday (2 March) is meant to “offer quick and effective assistance to people fleeing the war in Ukraine” and would see the 2001 Temporary Protection Directive activated for the first time.

    For as long as the directive remains in force, Ukrainians could stay in the EU without going through a formal asylum application. They would also be given access to education, healthcare, and the labour market.

    “Europe stands by those in need of protection,” European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said about the launch of the proposal. “All those fleeing Putin’s bombs are welcome in Europe”.

    While the proposal first needs to be approved by the member states, the Commission is optimistic that the 27 home affairs ministers will decide in favour during their meeting on Thursday.

    While two or three national delegations had questioned whether the EU-level measure would be necessary on top of national ones, there was widespread support for the proposal among member states, a senior Commission official said.

    However, an EU diplomat stressed that the ministers would only vote in principle during the meeting, while a formal decision on activating temporary protection could only follow after additional technical preparations, expected to take several days.

    Simplified border checks

    Under current rules, Ukrainian citizens can enter the EU visa-free but only stay for 90 days. If activated, the temporary protection status would apply for one year but could be extended to three.However, the directive would not apply to all third-country nationals, most of which would be assisted in repatriation by the EU rather than being given a residence permit.

    According to the Commission, there are currently around 600 refugees arriving in the EU every hour. The new measures would allow member states to temporarily relax border checks for anyone coming from Ukraine, regardless of their nationality, to simplify the entry process.

    “We are working to facilitate efficient crossings at the borders for people and their pets, with the necessary security checks,” Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas said.

    To reduce waiting times at the border, member states would perform border checks after the arriving Ukrainian refugees have been transferred to a safe location.This way, it would be possible to cross the border even without a biometric passport, “or any passport at all,” the Commission official said. “While there would still be a check of, for example, fingerprints against all national and European databases, (…) this does not necessarily take place at the border,” they added.According to the Commission, special rules could also ease restrictions on vulnerable groups, such as children.

    Intra-EU solidarity

    The proposal also includes measures to enhance burden and responsibility sharing between the member-states. The directive provides solidarity measures in the form of relocation and material assistance, which aim at relieving the pressure from member states bordering Ukraine.

    However, the relocation and assistance for host states remain voluntary. Instead of setting out quotas for relocation, the Commission placed its bets on a more “fluid approach,” an EU-Commission official has said.Member states can outline their reception capacities through the so-called Solidarity Platform, and the Commission will then coordinate with other countries to ensure a balance of efforts.

    However, member states aim to relieve Eastern EU countries primarily via material assistance rather than through relocations. “Nobody is talking about relocation at this stage,” an EU diplomat said, as the countries most affected are not seeking relocation thus far. Furthermore, Ukrainians can travel throughout the bloc under the visa-free regime and will likely move to the regions with the most significant Ukrainian diaspora.While the solidarity scheme is voluntary, the Commission is confident that member states are willing to participate in this process.

    Most EU countries – among them Germany and France – have already indicated that they would be willing to admit refugees to assist the EU’s Eastern members if needed.“The spirit of solidarity you see at the moment is a strong one,” a Commission senior official said on Wednesday.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-countries-set-to-drop-barriers-for-ukraine-refugees/?_ga=2.20448056.1826578283.1646299483-1187835147.1646299483
    #protection_temporaire #Ukraine #réfugiés_ukrainiens #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UE #EU #Union_européenne

    • Guerre en Ukraine : accord des Européens pour accorder une « protection temporaire » aux réfugiés

      Les ministres européens de l’Intérieur, réunis jeudi à Bruxelles, se sont mis d’accord pour accorder une « protection temporaire » dans l’UE aux réfugiés « fuyant la guerre » en Ukraine, ont annoncé le ministre français Gérald Darmanin et la commissaire européenne Ylva Johansson.

      « Accord historique à l’occasion de la réunion des ministres de l’intérieur de l’UE : l’Union européenne accordera une protection temporaire à ceux qui fuient la guerre en Ukraine », a tweeté le ministre français Gérald Darmanin, qui présidait cette réunion. La commissaire européenne aux Affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, a elle aussi tweeté en ce sens.

      Plusieurs centaines de milliers de personnes ont fui l’Ukraine ces derniers jours, principalement en direction de la Pologne, mais aussi vers la Slovaquie, la Hongrie et la Roumanie. Les ministres avaient donné dimanche mandat à la Commission européenne pour faire rapidement une proposition d’activer au niveau de l’UE un régime spécial, encore jamais utilisé.

      Il prévoit d’octroyer très rapidement une protection temporaire d’un an, prolongeable, aux personnes fuyant l’Ukraine, avec permis de séjour, accès au marché du travail et à l’éducation, etc.

      Pas de mécanisme de #répartition

      La Commission a dévoilé mercredi les détails de sa proposition. Elle ne comprend pas de mécanisme de répartition en tant que tel, car il est attendu que de nombreux Ukrainiens arrivant dans l’UE se répartissent d’eux-mêmes sur le territoire, en rejoignant par exemple de la famille et des communautés déjà installées.

      Mais la proposition part d’un esprit d’"équilibre des efforts" entre États membres, et prévoit notamment que chaque capitale communique ses capacités estimées d’accueil et le nombre de personnes déjà reçues, et collabore avec la Commission et les autres États via une « plateforme de solidarité » où ces informations et les demandes d’aide s’échangeraient.

      La protection des citoyens qui fuient l’Ukraine doit être automatique et directe. C’est à nous de faire passer ce message clair aux Ukrainiens : on est là, on ne vous lâche pas et on en vous lâchera jamais", a plaidé jeudi le secrétaire d’État belge à l’Asile et la Migration, Sammy Mahdi, à son arrivée à la réunion.

      https://www.rtbf.be/article/guerre-en-ukraine-accord-des-europeens-pour-accorder-une-protection-temporaire-

    • Guerre en Ukraine : l’Union européenne s’accorde pour octroyer une « protection temporaire » aux réfugiés

      C’est la première fois que les Etats membres décident à la majorité qualifiée d’activer la directive de 2001 sur l’accueil des personnes déplacées.

      Gérald Darmanin a aussitôt salué une décision « historique ». Les ministres européens de l’Intérieur, réunis jeudi 3 mars à Bruxelles, se sont mis d’accord pour accorder une « protection temporaire » dans l’Union européenne aux réfugiés « fuyant la guerre » en Ukraine.

      C’est la première fois que les Etats membres décident, à la majorité qualifiée (au moins 15 Etats sur 27 représentant 65% de la population), d’activer la directive de 2001 sur l’accueil des personnes déplacées.

      Elle permet aux réfugiés ukrainiens de séjourner jusqu’à trois ans dans l’UE, d’y travailler, d’accéder au système scolaire et d’y recevoir des soins médicaux. Jusqu’à présent, les détenteurs d’un passeport ukrainien ne pouvaient rester que 90 jours sans visa dans l’Union européenne. A ce stade, aucun plan de répartition formelle des réfugiés entre les pays de l’UE n’est sur la table.
      La question des réfugiés non-ukrainiens ne fait pas consensus

      Les ministres n’ont pas précisé immédiatement si la mesure s’appliquerait également aux réfugiés fuyant l’Ukraine mais n’ayant pas la nationalité ukrainienne. Cette question divise les Etats membres : certains, comme la Pologne et l’Autriche, y sont en effet opposés.

      Le ministre autrichien Gerhard Karner a exprimé jeudi matin ses réticences sur ce sujet. « Outre la Pologne, la Slovaquie et la Hongrie, de nombreux pays s’en inquiètent, dont l’Autriche (...), cela ne sert à rien d’inclure ces ressortissants de pays tiers, c’est un autre système » qui devra s’appliquer à ces personnes, avait-il estimé.

      https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/manifestations-en-ukraine/guerre-en-ukraine-l-union-europeenne-s-accorde-pour-octroyer-une-protec

    • Marie-Christine Vergiat : « Dès lors qu’un gouvernement dit “on accueille”, c’est possible »

      Plus de trois millions de personnes ont quitté l’Ukraine depuis le début de l’invasion russe. Pour répondre à l’urgence, l’Union européenne a activé un mécanisme inédit d’accueil. Précisions avec Marie-Christine Vergiat, ancienne députée européenne.

      Le 4 mars, l’Union européenne (UE) a décidé de mettre en œuvre un dispositif particulier d’accueil pour les personnes fuyant la guerre en Ukraine (voir le communiqué de l’UE). Il s’agit d’un mécanisme d’urgence qui vise à fournir une protection immédiate et collective (sans qu’il soit nécessaire d’examiner chaque demande individuellement) à des personnes déplacées qui ne sont pas en mesure de retourner dans leur pays d’origine.

      Grâce à cette « protection temporaire », les réfugiés de guerre d’Ukraine, qui sont déjà plus de trois millions, peuvent avoir directement droit au séjour dans l’UE, avec le droit de travailler et la possibilité de scolariser leurs enfants. Mais la décision de l’UE fait aussi la différence entre les réfugiés avec passeport ukrainien et les personnes qui résidaient en Ukraine sans en avoir la nationalité, que ce soient des étudiants étrangers, des réfugiés politiques russes, biélorusses ou d’autres régimes autoritaires (voir le détail de la décision). Explications avec Marie-Christine Vergiat, militante associative, vice-présidente de la Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH), qui a été députée européenne pour le Parti de gauche de 2009 à 2019.

      basta ! : Quelle est votre première réaction à l’activation du dispositif de protection temporaire pour les réfugiés d’Ukraine ?

      C’est bien d’avoir déclenché ce mécanisme. Mais il faut accueillir tous les réfugiés, sans aucune discrimination. Toutes les personnes qui se trouvent sur le territoire ukrainien méritent protection et d’être accueillies dans de bonnes conditions sur le territoire européen.

      Depuis quand cette directive européenne sur la protection temporaire des réfugiés existe-t-elle ?

      Elle a été adoptée en 2001 à la suite de la guerre de Bosnie, pendant laquelle il y avait déjà eu un grand nombre de réfugiés, mais sur un espace-temps plus long que la situation actuelle. Aujourd’hui, l’offensive russe a été tellement rapide que les gens ont fui tout de suite. Ce dispositif européen n’avait jamais été activé auparavant. C’est la première fois qu’il est mis en œuvre, alors que le Parlement européen avait demandé son activation notamment en 2015 au moment de la crise de l’accueil des réfugiés qui venaient alors essentiellement de Syrie. On avait alors une majorité au Parlement pour l’activer.

      Pourquoi n’a t-elle pas été activée en 2015 pour l’accueil des Syriens ?

      Parce que le Conseil européen [l’organe de décision de l’Union européenne où siègent les gouvernements des pays membres, ndlr] n’en voulait pas. L’Allemagne avait alors ouvert largement ses portes. Je pense que la position des pays du groupe de Visegrád (Pologne, Hongrie, République tchèque et Slovaquie), qui s’opposaient alors à l’accueil, servait aussi les autres pays pour justifier le refus de l’activation de la directive. En 2015-2016, plusieurs pays de ce groupe avaient bloqué le plan de relocalisation des réfugiés qui étaient arrivés en Grèce principalement. Le plan était pourtant très en-deçà de ce qu’il fallait faire. En 2015 et 2016, 1,5 million de personne sont arrivées en Europe de façon dite irrégulière. Le plan prévoyait de relocaliser environ 10 % de ces personnes. Et même avec cet objectif modeste, les États n’ont pas rempli leurs engagements. Des pays qui à l’époque refusaient l’application de la protection temporaire sont aujourd’hui en première ligne de l’accueil des personnes venues d’Ukraine.

      À qui s’applique cette nouvelle protection temporaire ?

      La décision de mise en œuvre de la directive fait le tri entre différentes catégories de personnes venues d’Ukraine. On voit aussi que c’est un dispositif complètement bordé, au cas où des réfugiés d’autres pays viendraient dans les flux. La décision distingue les Ukrainiens ; les réfugiés et apatrides qui avaient un statut en Ukraine et qui étaient reconnus comme tels avant le 24 février ; les membres de leurs familles, à condition qu’ils aient été eux aussi en situation régulière avant le 24 février ; et les non-Ukrainiens mariés à des Ukrainiens. Après, ça se complique. Il y a les réfugiés et apatrides non reconnus avant le 24 février et ceux qui disposent d’un autre type de séjour, comme les étudiants et résidents avec permis de travail. Pour ceux là, le choix revient aux différents États de l’Union européenne. Soit les États activent la protection temporaire pour ces personnes-là soit ils activent leur droit national. Les gens doivent alors déposer une demande d’asile ou de titre de séjour classique. C’est ce qu’on voit poindre, y compris en France.

      Il y a une dernière catégorie qui visent ceux qui n’ont pas de titre de résidence en Ukraine. Il peut s’agir d’étudiants en court séjour ou encore de travailleurs venus faire une mission et qui se retrouveront en situation irrégulière dès lors qu’ils ne peuvent pas repartir dans leur pays d’origine. Pour eux, c’est le droit national des pays d’accueil qui vaut. Par ailleurs, la décision européenne prévoit que pour toutes les catégories, hormis les Ukrainiens et les réfugiés et apatrides reconnus en Ukraine et leurs familles, les personnes ne pourront déposer une demande que si elles ne peuvent pas retourner dans leur pays d’origine. Elles ne vont pas être systématiquement expulsées, mais pourront l’être. Cela pourra concerner beaucoup d’étudiants, marocains notamment, qui étaient nombreux en Ukraine. Face à ces distinctions, toutes les associations sont unies pour dire qu’il ne faut pas de discriminations entre les différentes catégories de personnes.

      Pour les gens qui entrent dans les « bonnes » cases, en quoi le dispositif de protection temporaire améliore-t-il leur sort ?

      Avec cette directive, la protection se déclenche tout de suite. Les personnes n’ont pas besoin de passer par le parcours habituel pour obtenir un titre de séjour. Elles ont aussi immédiatement le droit de travailler et le droit à l’éducation pour les enfants. En France, la durée de la protection est de six mois, renouvelables.

      En France, les personnes exilées sont maltraitées par les autorités au quotidien, on le voit tous les jours notamment à Calais. Et aujourd’hui, les préfets mettent rapidement un accueil en place pour les réfugiés ukrainiens…

      C’est une vraie politique de deux poids, deux mesures. Cela montre aussi que quand on a la volonté politique, on trouve les moyens. C’est ce qu’a fait l’Allemagne en 2015-2016, en accueillant près d’un million de personnes, avant de bloquer ses frontières faute de solidarité européenne. C’est intéressant de voir que nos politiques nous expliquent, quand on les interroge sur le sujet, qu’il faut fermer les frontières pour contrer la montée de l’extrême droite. Mais cela ne marche pas en France, comme on le voit dans les sondages. Et en Allemagne, l’extrême droite a été contenue et a même plutôt régressé entre 2017 et 2021. Je suis intimement persuadée que la parole politique a du poids. Dès lors qu’un gouvernement dit « on accueille », c’est possible.

      Le fait que l’UE ait activé cette directive pourrait-il devenir un levier pour les associations, pour faire pression pour l’accueil face aux mouvements de migration ?

      On peut espérer que cela soit un point d’appui et que cela serve à d’autres à l’avenir, même si je reste plutôt sceptique.

      Jugez-vous que l’accueil des personnes exilées s’est dégradé en France ces dix dernières années ?

      On n’arrête pas de faire des lois, et à chaque fois, l’accueil régresse. Le résultat, c’est qu’on a de moins en moins de marge de manœuvre. Tous les militants disent que c’est de plus en plus difficile, y compris de faire régulariser les gens. Prenons la circulaire Valls de 2012 sur la régularisation. Au moment où elle a été adoptée, on a tous râlé parce qu’elle n’allait pas assez loin. Mais aujourd’hui, nous n’arrivons quasiment plus à la faire appliquer. Régulariser est de plus en plus difficile. C’est aussi très variable selon les départements, selon qu’ils reçoivent plus ou moins de demandes de titres de séjour. Dans des départements qui en reçoivent moins, ça bloque moins qu’en région parisienne.

      https://basta.media/Alternatives-accueil-des-Refugies-Ukraine-Europe-asile-migrants-marie-chris

  • EU ministers seek solutions as Ukraine humanitarian crisis looms

    EU home affairs ministers have put off a decision on whether to grant temporary protection to Ukrainian refugees amid what threatens to become the “largest humanitarian crisis” in Europe in recent times.

    While a proposal to activate the 2001 #Temporary_Protection_Directive for Ukrainians fleeing the country was “broadly welcomed” by the ministers during their extraordinary meeting on Sunday (27 February), a formal decision will only be made on Thursday, EU Home Affairs and Migration Commissioner Ylva Johansson said after the talks.

    Once activated, the directive would stay in force for one year, unless it is prolonged, and would allow Ukrainians to take immediate, temporary refuge in the EU without going through a standard asylum process.

    The exceptional measure, which has never been activated before, is meant to deal with situations where the standard asylum system risks being overburdened due to a mass influx of refugees.

    Based on recent UN estimates, the EU is currently expecting that more than seven million Ukrainians will be displaced within the country, while 18 million will be affected in humanitarian terms, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said after the meeting.

    Four million, he said, are expected to flee the country as refugees.

    While current rules allow any Ukrainian citizen with a biometric passport to enter the EU visa-free, they can only stay for up to 90 days.

    “We need to be prepared for day 91,” Johansson stressed. “I think it is time to activate temporary protection.”

    During the meeting, however, some countries raised doubts as to whether the time was ripe for activating the directive and instead preferred to wait a little longer, she said, while refusing to name the nay-sayers.

    French minister Gérald Darmanin, who currently chairs the Home Affairs Council, said he would not only put a formal decision on the directive on the agenda when the ministers next meet on Thursday, but would also “pick up the phone” in the meantime to lobby for the consent of so-far hesitant member states.

    Beyond the question of refugees’ entry into EU territory, it also remains unclear how they will be distributed among member states. While the temporary protection directive provides for a voluntary “relocation mechanism” to disburden the first-arrival countries, Johansson said several member states had wanted to go further.

    Humanitarian crisis

    “From my perspective, this could even be a good time to make progress on the Migration and Asylum Pact,” she added. Darmanin previously said that ministers had reached an agreement for “compulsory solidarity” to be enshrined in the pact, which is still being negotiated.

    Even before the current crisis, he had put the question of what this would entail in practice on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting. According to Darmanin, the concept would not necessarily entail a distribution key for migrants, but could also involve financial aid to recipient countries.

    Lenarčič warned that Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, both inside and outside the EU, risked being overburdened with the accommodation of refugees and were in need of support to avoid a humanitarian crisis.

    He singled out Moldova, which he said did not have the capacities to deal with the situation and for which the EU would need to “step up support”.

    “We are witnessing what could become the largest humanitarian crisis on our European continent in many, many years,” he said, saying that needs were growing continuously. “We have to prepare for this kind of emergency, which is of historical proportions.”

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-ministers-seek-solutions-as-ukraine-humanitarian-crisis-looms

    #réfugiés #réfugiés_ukrainiens #EU #UE #Union_européenne #directive_de_protection_temporaire #directive_protection_temporaire #asile #visa #relocalisation

    –—

    Voir aussi ce fil de discussion :
    For Ukraine’s Refugees, Europe Opens Doors That Were Shut to Others
    https://seenthis.net/messages/950929

  • Poland passes law allowing migrants to be pushed back at border

    Poland’s parliament on Thursday (14 October) passed a legal amendment allowing migrants to be pushed back at the border and for asylum claims made by those who entered illegally to be ignored.

    Lawmakers also gave the green light to a government plan to build a wall to prevent migrants from crossing the border from Belarus, a project estimated to cost €353 million.

    Thousands of migrants, most of them from the Middle East, have sought in recent months to cross from Belarus into Poland or fellow EU member states Latvia and Lithuania.

    Under the newly amended law, a foreigner stopped after crossing the Polish border illegally will be obliged to leave Polish territory and will be temporarily banned from entering the country for a period ranging from “six months to three years”.

    The Polish authorities will also have the right “to leave unexamined” an asylum application filed by a foreigner who is stopped immediately after illegally entering, unless they have arrived from a country where their “life and freedom are threatened”.

    Rights groups have already accused Poland of stopping migrants at the border and pushing them back into Belarus.

    Numerous NGOs have criticised Poland for imposing a state of emergency at the border, which prevents humanitarian organisations from helping migrants and prohibits access to all non-residents, including journalists.

    The law change came two days after a landmark ruling from Poland’s Constitutional Court challenged the primacy of European Union law — a key tenet of EU membership — by declaring important articles in the EU treaties “incompatible” with the Polish constitution.

    The ruling on a case brought by Poland’s right-wing populist government could threaten EU funding for Poland and is being seen as a possible first step to Poland leaving the European Union.

    Earlier Thursday Polish police said that another migrant had been found dead on the border with Belarus, bringing the number of people who have died along the European Union’s eastern border in recent months to seven.

    The European Union accuses Belarus of deliberately orchestrating the influx in retaliation against EU sanctions over the Moscow-backed regime’s crackdown on dissent.

    Last month the UN refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration said they were “shocked and dismayed” by the migrant deaths.

    “Groups of people have become stranded for weeks, unable to access any form of assistance, asylum or basic services,” they said in a statement.

    In August Christine Goyer, UNHCR representative in Poland, reminded Warsaw that “according to the 1951 Refugee Convention, to which Poland is signatory, people seeking asylum should never be penalised, even for irregular border crossing”.

    Polish PM berates EU

    In the meantime, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused EU institutions on Thursday of infringing on the rights of member states, as he prepared to present Warsaw’s position in a row over the rule of law next week before the European Parliament.

    “We are at a crucial moment, you could say at a crossroads in the EU’s history,” Morawiecki told the Polish parliament. “Democracy is being tested – how far will European nations retreat before this usurpation by some EU institutions.”

    Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller said Morawiecki would attend the European Parliament session in Strasbourg next Tuesday to present Poland’s position in the rule of law dispute.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/poland-passes-law-allowing-migrants-to-be-pushed-back-at-border

    #Pologne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #refoulement #refoulements #push-backs #loi #amendement #Biélorussie #Mateusz_Morawiecki #Morawiecki

    –-
    voir aussi la métaliste sur la situation à la frontière entre la #Pologne et la #Biélorussie (2021) :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/935860

    • Et il y a eu ce weekend une chasse aux migrants autour de la ville de Guben (Allemagne).
      « La ville de Guben est située dans la région de Basse-Lusace ; elle est traversée par la rivière Neisse et c’est la partie allemande de la ville historique ; l’autre partie est polonaise (Gubin). »

  • Greece says Turkey continues to block returns of illegal migrants

    Greece made on Wednesday a new request to the EU Commission and FRONTEX for the immediate return to Turkey of 1,908 rejected asylum seekers living on the Aegean islands. Athens says Turkey has been blocking the returns of people not eligible for asylum for the past 17 months.

    The 2016 EU-Turkey Statement on migration provides that people who entered Greece from Turkey after 20 March, 2016 and are not entitled to international protection will return to Turkey.

    But according to Greek migration minister Notis Mitarakis, this is not the case.

    “The process of returns has stopped since 15 March, 2020, when Turkey referred to the difficulties caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. For about 17 months, Turkey has insisted on refusing to implement its commitments without any argument,” the minister wrote in a letter to Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and FRONTEX.

    Mitarakis also referred to the Commission’s proposed new migration pact, which has reached a deadlock due to divisions among EU member states over whether the relocation of recognised refugees will be mandatory or not.

    The Greek minister said it was crucial for Europe to establish a common mechanism, as well as the necessary legal arsenal for returns.

    “And to fortify, in this way, the first host countries against uncontrolled migration flows, but also the action of smuggling networks,” he added.

    Greece recently proposed to declare Turkey a safe third state for migrants from countries such as Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Bangladesh. Were the proposal to be adopted, migrants from these countries entering Greece via Turkey would not be able to apply for asylum status.

    Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer has backed the Greek proposal adding that the Danish model to move asylum seekers to third countries as their application is processed would be a viable option.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/greece-says-turkey-continues-to-block-returns-of-illegal-migrants

    #Grèce #Turquie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #accord_UE-Turquie #réadmission #expulsions #requête #Frontex #Mer_Egée

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Authorities in Lithuania are considering building a wall with Belarus

    Authorities in Lithuania are now considering building a wall with Belarus. Ingrida Simonyte, the Lithuanian prime minister, has accused the Belarusian government of orchestrating what her country views as a migrant crisis.

    https://twitter.com/VCapici/status/1409246090768101377

    #Lituanie #murs #frontières #Biélorussie #migrations #réfugiés #asile #barrières #barrières_frontalières

    –—

    voir :
    A la frontière entre la #Lituanie et le #Bélarus, Loukachenko se fait maître passeur
    https://seenthis.net/messages/919781

    • Lithuania Reports 116 More Border Arrests Of Migrants Crossing From Belarus

      Lithuanian authorities reported 116 more arrests of migrants crossing the border from Belarus, a surge in crossings that Lithuania says Minsk is purposely organizing in retaliation for European Union sanctions.

      The Lithuanian State Border Security Service said on July 3 that border guards also fired tear gas and warning shots as one group of migrants were being detained.

      The latest figures bring the number of migrants detained over the past two days to 179, the service said; in all 938 people have been arrested crossing from Belarus this year, 12 times as many in all of last year.

      Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said late on July 2 that the government had declared a state of emergency, and he accused Lukashenka seeking “to weaponize migration to weaken our resolve for sanctions.”

      Vilnius contends that the migrants, most of whom are Iraqi, are moved to the border with Lithuania, where Belarusian border guards turn a blind eye as they cross into the European Union member state.

      Lithuania has been one of the loudest critics of Belarus’s strongman leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka since last August’s dispute presidential election. The 66-year-old Lukashenka claimed victory, setting off months of unprecedented protests.

      The opposition says that election was rigged, and the West has refused to recognize the results of the vote.

      The Baltic state has offered refuge to Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who supporters say was the real winner of the election.

      Vilnius has also become a center for Belarusians in exile, and the two countries have expelled a number of diplomats as ties have worsened in recent weeks.

      The EU’s border guard service, Frontex, has sent teams to Lithuania to help deal with the influx of migrants.

      https://www.rferl.org/a/lithuania-migrants-arrests-belarus/31339043.html

    • La Lituanie se dit débordée face à l’afflux de migrants venus de Biélorussie

      La Lituanie s’est déclarée, vendredi, en #état_d'urgence, face à la hausse des arrivées de migrants depuis la Biélorussie voisine. Plus de 150 personnes ont traversé la frontière ces dernières 24 heures. L’agence de garde-frontières européenne, #Frontex, a dépêché une équipe pour venir en aide au pays balte.

      Une équipe de six gardes-frontières de l’agence européenne Frontex a commencé à travailler vendredi 2 juillet en Lituanie pour aider le pays balte à faire face à l’arrivée de migrants. Depuis plusieurs semaines, des dizaines de personnes en provenance de la Biélorussie voisine, passent la frontière ouest du pays pour entrer en Lituanie.

      Le nombre de gardes-frontières de Frontex devant être déployés à la frontière biélorusse devrait passer à 30 dans le courant du mois.

      Les garde-frontières lituaniens ont indiqué avoir arrêté quelque 150 migrants ces dernières 24 heures - près du double du nombre d’arrestations sur l’ensemble de 2020. Face à cet afflux, le gouvernement a déclaré l’état d’urgence vendredi.

      Cela porte le nombre total de traversées illégales de frontières par des migrants cette année à plus de 800, la plupart venant du Moyen-Orient. Sur l’ensemble de 2020, 81 traversées illégales de la frontière avaient été enregistrées – et 37 en 2019.

      La plupart des migrants sont originaires d’Irak, mais il y en a aussi de plus en plus de Syrie, de Gambie, de Guinée et d’Inde, selon le site EUobserver (https://euobserver.com/world/152305).

      « La situation commence à se détériorer »

      « La situation est tendue et a tendance à se détériorer », a déclaré le ministre lituanien des Affaires étrangères Gabrielius Landsbergis à l’AFP.

      Il y a deux semaines, l’armée lituanienne a mis en place un #camp_d’urgence de plusieurs tentes à #Pabradé, à une quarantaine de kilomètres de la capitale Vilnius, pour pouvoir gérer l’afflux. « Le but du ministère est clair : les migrants économiques qui traversent la frontière de l’UE illégalement doivent être renvoyés à l’endroit d’où ils viennent », a-t-il ajouté.

      « Un tiers sont des hommes, un autre tiers sont des femmes, on accueille aussi des enfants, quelques mineurs non accompagnés et des personnes avec des problèmes de santé. Nous sommes inquiets quant à nos capacités d’accueil pour assurer l’hébergement à ces personnes qui demandent l’asile », a expliqué à RFI Egle Samuchovaite (https://www.rfi.fr/fr/europe/20210618-la-lituanie-accuse-la-bi%C3%A9lorussie-de-laisser-passer-des-migrants-s), directrice des programmes de la Croix-Rouge lituanienne, au mois de juin.

      Le gouvernement lituanien, qui s’oppose au président biélorusse Alexandre Loukachenko, a indiqué qu’il soupçonnait les autorités du pays de laisser les migrants passer la frontière.

      Ces tensions entre Minsk et Vilnius interviennent alors que les relations entre l’Union européenne et la Biélorussie sont elles-mêmes très compliquées. En cause : le détournement au mois de mai d’un vol commercial de Ryanair ordonné par le président Loukachenko pour arrêter un dissident politique.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/33405/la-lituanie-se-dit-debordee-face-a-l-afflux-de-migrants-venus-de-bielo

    • L’agence des frontières de l’UE augmente ” considérablement ” l’aide à la Lituanie

      L’agence des frontières de l’Union européenne s’engage à renforcer “de manière significative” son soutien à la Lituanie dans les prochains jours “en raison de la pression migratoire croissante à la frontière lituanienne avec la Biélorussie” que la nation balte tente de contenir .

      La décision de Frontex, l’agence chargée de coordonner le contrôle des frontières entre les États membres de l’UE et les pays tiers, a été annoncée samedi dernier à la suite d’un appel vidéo entre le directeur exécutif de Frontex Fabrice Leggeri et le président lituanien Gitanas Nauseda.

      “La frontière lituanienne est notre frontière extérieure commune et Frontex est prête à aider si nécessaire”, a déclaré Leggeri dans un communiqué. “Nous sommes prêts à renforcer notre niveau de soutien et à déployer plus d’officiers et d’équipements du corps permanent européen” en Lituanie, membre de l’UE et de l’OTAN de 2,8 millions.

      L’opération de Frontex, qui a commencé au début du mois avec le déploiement d’une douzaine d’officiers et de voitures de patrouille, va doubler la semaine prochaine, a indiqué l’agence.

      Le bureau de Nauseda a déclaré séparément que Frontex avait promis que des renforts devraient arriver en Lituanie avant le 15 juillet et que des patrouilles frontalières armées et d’autres traducteurs sont arrivés au cours du week-end.

      En outre, un hélicoptère de patrouille sera envoyé en Lituanie depuis la Pologne voisine et des discussions sont en cours pour envoyer un autre hélicoptère depuis l’Allemagne, a indiqué le bureau de Nauseda.

      Dans un tweet, Nauseda a remercié Frontex pour son soutien “Gérer les flux de migrants illégaux à travers la frontière orientale” avec la Biélorussie, autre ancienne république soviétique qui ne fait pas partie de l’UE.

      La Lituanie, qui a donné refuge à des membres de l’opposition biélorusse, accuse son voisin d’organiser des passages frontaliers principalement par des personnes originaires d’Irak, du Moyen-Orient et d’Afrique.

      En juin, le nombre de passages illégaux des frontières entre la Biélorussie et la Lituanie a sextuplé, augmentant la pression sur les autorités nationales de contrôle des frontières, a déclaré Frontex. Le phénomène s’est accéléré en juillet et plus de 1 500 personnes sont entrées en Lituanie depuis la Biélorussie au cours des deux derniers mois, 20 fois plus qu’en 2020.

      Plus tôt cette semaine, le président autoritaire biélorusse Alexandre Loukachenko a déclaré que son pays ne fermerait pas ses frontières “et ne deviendrait pas un camp pour les personnes fuyant l’Afghanistan, l’Iran, l’Irak, la Syrie, la Libye et la Tunisie”.

      Les tensions entre l’UE et la Biélorussie se sont encore intensifiées après que la Biélorussie a détourné un avion de ligne le 23 mai pour arrêter un journaliste de l’opposition.

      Loukachenko a déclaré que son pays cesserait de coopérer avec le bloc des 27 pays pour endiguer la migration en représailles aux lourdes sanctions économiques que l’UE a imposées à la Biélorussie pour le détournement d’avions de passagers.

      Vendredi, la Lituanie a commencé à construire une double clôture en fil de fer barbelé à la frontière avec la Biélorussie. Il parcourra 550 kilomètres (342 miles), couvrant la majeure partie de la frontière de près de 680 kilomètres (423 miles) et coûtera 41 millions d’euros (48 millions de dollars), selon les autorités lituaniennes.

      En outre, la Lituanie a mis en place des camps de tentes pour accueillir le nombre croissant de migrants.

      https://www.cablechronicles.com/lagence-des-frontieres-de-lue-augmente-considerablement-laide-a-la-

    • EU deploys border force in Lithuania as Belarus opens pathway for migrants

      Officials cite effort by Minsk to ‘weaponize’ irregular migration flows.

      The EU’s border protection agency on Monday said it was mobilizing a rapid intervention force to Lithuania, where the government has accused neighboring Belarus of allowing hundreds of migrants to cross illegally into the country.

      The allegations that Belarus is “weaponizing” migrants in retaliation for EU sanctions and support for political opponents of the country’s long-time leader, Alexander Lukashenko, were discussed Monday in the European Parliament and in the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

      “It seems like the Belarusian authorities now facilitate irregular migration possibly in retaliation to EU restrictive measures and as a response to the Lithuanian support for the civil society in Belarus,” the EU’s commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson, testified during a joint hearing of the Parliament’s home affairs and foreign affairs committees.

      Johansson said that the method of arrivals was still under investigation, but that it appeared several flights per day were landing in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, carrying migrants from Istanbul and Baghdad. Officials said at least 60 EU border guards were expected to arrive in Lithuania in the coming days.

      While many of the migrants that have crossed into Lithuania seem to be of Iraqi or Syrian origin, there have also been migrants from African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.

      Arriving for Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said his country was struggling to return migrants to their home countries. He added that the Baltic nation is now confronting challenges more commonly seen in frontline EU countries like Greece and Spain that face a constant influx of migrants across the Mediterranean, and have faced similar pressure of arrivals from Turkey and Morocco.

      “The European Union should have a common strategy how to deal with these sort of political or hybrid threats,” Landsbergis said. “We need a strategy of readmission because a country — be it Lithuania, be it Greece or Spain — alone faces a rather challenging path when trying to return the people who illegally entered the country. Secondly, we need to be very strict with the regimes who are using these sorts of weapons.”

      Landsbergis called for additional sanctions against Belarus and said other countries using such tactics should face similar punishment.

      To help manage the crisis, the Lithuanian parliament will convene in a special session on Tuesday to adopt amendments to national asylum laws with an aim of reducing the time needed to evaluate applications for protected status.

      Asked if the situation in Lithuania was adding new urgency to the EU’s years-long struggle to develop a new migration pact, the bloc’s high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, said it was up to the border protection agency, Frontex, to help manage the situation.

      “That’s why we created Frontex, to help member states to face migration crises,” Borrell said at a news conference following the meeting.
      ‘High pressure’ situation

      Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of Frontex, said his agency had anticipated Belarus seeking to use flows of irregular migrants as a political weapon, and has been monitoring the country’s borders since last fall. Testifying in the parliamentary hearing, Leggeri said there had been more than 1,600 irregular border crossings to Lithuania from Belarus since January 1 of this year, but roughly half of those, some 800, occurred in the first week of July.

      “This was clearly the sign that something was happening with more intensity,” Leggeri testified, adding: “We see that there is a high pressure that could even worsen in the next days.”

      Leggeri told Parliament that while the initial arrivals had mostly come from Iraq, Syria and Iran, this month there was a shift toward African nationals, including migrants from Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Senegal. He said Lukashenko’s government was encouraging the influx by inviting citizens to travel to Belarus without visas under the guise of obtaining coronavirus vaccines.

      “Belarus announced that 73 countries are encouraged to enter Belarus without a visa and to stay up to five days to get COVID vaccine shots,” he said.

      Lukashenko has simultaneously denied using migrants for political pressure while also warning that Belarus has no intention of halting the flows. He has effectively mocked the EU, saying last week: “We will not hold anyone back. We are not their final destination after all. They are headed to enlightened, warm, cozy Europe.”

      According to statistics from the Lithuanian Border Guard Service, a total of 1,714 irregular migrants crossed the Lithuanian border in 2021, compared to just 74 in 2020. Of these, 1,676 arrived from Belarus. According to the statistics, roughly 1,000 irregular migrants were detained between July 1 and July 11, including 377 from Iraq; 194 from the Democratic Republic of Congo; 118 from Cameroon; 67 from Guinea; 23 from Afghanistan; 22 from Togo; and 20 from Nigeria.

      The bizarre situation of Middle Eastern and African migrants arriving in the Baltics was part of a busy Foreign Affairs Council meeting that included a discussion over lunch with the new Israeli foreign affairs minister, Yair Lapid.

      Ministers also discussed the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which Borrell conceded was a direct consequence of the withdrawal of Western troops that was ordered by U.S. President Joe Biden. Borrell said a new international task force may be needed to try to stabilize the country and, especially, to protect the rights of women and girls, but he gave no indication of how such a task force would operate without military support.

      Ministers also discussed the continuing risk of famine in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Borrell said the EU was trying to mobilize assistance but that it was impossible for the EU alone to address a shortage of food for an estimated 850,000 people.

      https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-deploys-border-force-in-lithuania-as-belarus-opens-pathway-for-migrants-

    • Lithuania introduces pushbacks against migrants crossing from Belarus

      As Lithuania struggles to stem the flow of migrants trying to enter the country from neighboring Belarus, border guards have said that they have begun to push back migrants trying to enter the country using irregular methods of crossing.

      Rustamas Liubajevas, the head of Lithuania’s border guard service, announced on Tuesday that “anyone who tries to enter Lithuanian territory illegally will be refused entry and directed to the nearest operational international border control point.” He added that some 180 migrants had already been sent back to Belarus on Tuesday.

      “Deterrent actions may be taken against those who do not comply,” Liubajevas said further. He did not to disclose the exact measures taken, but said the guards did not use violence to push back the migrants.

      The Baltic News Agency confirmed the reports.


      https://twitter.com/BNSLithuania/status/1422295961074814980

      Criticism against move

      The decision to introduce push backs has been taken by Lithuanian Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite, effectively allowing authorities to use force to send migrants to official border crossing points or to diplomatic missions, where they can apply for asylum legally.

      Lithuanian NGOs meanwhile have responded to the pushback of migrants, saying that it violates international human rights: “This restricts the fundamental human right to seek asylum in a safe state,” Akvile Krisciunaite, a researcher at the Diversity Development Group, told the AFP news agency.

      “Belarus is not a safe country, and human rights are known to be grossly violated there.”

      So far this year, Lithuanian border officials have detained more than 4,000 migrants — mostly Iraqi nationals. That number compares to 81 intercepted migrants for all of 2020.

      ’Cold War’ between Belarus and Lithuania

      Tensions between the two countries are on an all-time high since much of the Belarusian opposition have sought refuge in Lithuania from violent oppression following the disputed presidential reelection of authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko in August 2020. His main challenger and the likely winner of the vote, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has been living in exile in Lithuania ever since.

      Many Western governments, including Lithuania, have denounced the alleged re-election saying results were rigged. The EU then imposed a series of sanctions. Lithuanian officials now said they suspect that the influx of migrants is being staged by the Belarusian government under Lukashenko’s leadership.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/34091/lithuania-introduces-pushbacks-against-migrants-crossing-from-belarus

    • Lithuanian parliament votes to allow mass detention of asylum seekers

      Lithuania’s parliament on Tuesday (13 July) approved the mass detention of migrants and curbed their right of appeal, a move meant to deter high numbers crossing the border with Belarus but which stirred an outcry among humanitarian groups.

      Eighty-four lawmakers supported the bill, with one objection and 5 abstentions, brushing aside protests from Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations saying it violates Lithuania’s international obligations and migrant rights.

      Lithuanian and EU officials have accused Belarus of using illegal migrants as a political weapon to exert pressure on the European Union because of the bloc’s sanctions on Minsk. More than 1,700 people have entered Lithuania from its non-EU neighbour this year, including 1,100 in July alone.

      Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said the detention policy would prevent migrants from illegally travelling onwards to the more affluent west of the EU – the favoured destination of the vast majority of migrants reaching EU territory in recent years.

      The legislation is intended “to send a message to Iraqis and others that this is not a convenient route, conditions will not be good here”, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite said in introducing the bill.

      She said such migrants are “not real asylum seekers” but rather Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s “tool to use against Lithuania”, after he vowed retaliation for EU sanctions imposed over his violent suppression of street protests.

      The new law bans any release of migrants from detention for six months after their arrival, curbs the right of appeal for rejected asylum-seekers and stipulates that migrants can be deported while their appeals are considered.

      “The law is a potential human rights violation, and it does not correspond to EU directives,” Lithuanian Red Cross programme director Egle Samuchovaite told Reuters.

      “It enshrines the current bad situation in Lithuania’s detention centres in law and leaves vulnerable people in an even more vulnerable situation.”

      Lithuania also began building a 550-km razor wire barrier on its frontier with Belarus on Friday.

      The small Baltic republic of 2.8 million people, on the poorer eastern end of the EU, is used to receiving less than 100 illegal migrants per year and has struggled to cope with the recent influx.

      Fewer rights for migrants

      Several migrants at a temporary detention centre in a disused school in rural Lithuania told Reuters on Monday they had been given no information about their rights or future, nine days after arriving from Belarus.

      They said they had not been given a chance to apply for asylum nor to speak with the help of a translator.

      The new law removes most rights accorded to migrants such as the right to a translator or to obtain information about their status and the asylum process.

      Lithuanian authorities are now obliged only to provide upkeep in detention, medical care and legal aid, but Simonyte said the government will try to do more.

      “The government intends to provide all support that is needed for those people,” she told reporters. “But if there is a very sudden influx in a short time frame, we might be able to ensure only what is absolutely needed. For that we should have a legal framework.”

      Dainius Zalimas, a lawyer who until June was the chairman of Lithuania’s Constitutional Court, said mass detention and restricted appeal process likely violate both Lithuania’s constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights.

      “The proposals, which are unconstitutional, are based on premise that all foreigners who crossed the border are second-class human beings, not entitled to constitutional rights,” he told Reuters before the vote.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/lithuanian-parliament-votes-to-allow-mass-detention-of-asylum-seekers

      #détention #détention_massive

    • EU presses Iraq to halt migrant flights to Belarus

      A number of new flights have been announced between Iraq and Belarus.

      The EU is ramping up pressure on Iraq to stop its airlines from flying to Belarus, which helps Minsk send asylum seekers into the EU in retaliation against sanctions imposed by the bloc.

      On Thursday, there were signs that the pressure was beginning to work. An Iraqi Airways flight from Basra to Minsk was canceled. However, an aircraft belonging to another carrier, Fly Baghdad, did land in the Belarusian capital Thursday, although a flight scheduled for Friday was canceled. Iraqi Airways recently expanded its schedule of flights to Belarus, while Fly Baghdad first started trips to Minsk in May.

      “We welcome the reports on the decision about the cancellation of these flights,” a European Commission spokesperson said Thursday, although they did not confirm reports that Iraqi Airways will cancel flights until August 15.

      The EU has accused Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko of trying to “weaponize” the Iraqi migrants who arrive in Minsk. They are taken to the border with Lithuania and then cross into the EU; so far, 4,000 asylum seekers have entered, almost 2,800 of them from Iraq. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis estimates that up to 10,000 migrants could come into his country by the end of the summer. Last year, Lithuania received only about 80 migrants.

      This migration crisis is very different from previous ones where people crossed into the EU by sea. The main access to Belarus is by air, and despite EU efforts to throttle traffic, Minsk is working hard to expand the number of flights reaching the country.

      The immediate pressure is on Iraq, but there is also an increase in flights to Minsk from Turkey, also reportedly carrying asylum seekers.

      The EU is ramping up pressure on Iraq to fall into line.

      Charles Michel, president of the European Council, got involved, speaking to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi, while EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.

      Talks with the Iraqis are “done in a very constructive spirit [with] the Iraqi side conveying the willingness to cooperate and jointly address the situation," said the Commission spokesperson.

      Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and others joined Lithuania in putting pressure on Baghdad, diplomats said. An Iraqi delegation was in Lithuania last week and visited the camps where Iraqis are staying.

      Some EU diplomats say that the diplomatic effort is hampered by a lack of strong leverage over Baghdad. The Iraqis “are well aware that we cannot abandon them, we need them for our security and we cannot risk having another Afghanistan next door,” said an EU diplomat.

      The bloc did threaten last month to restrict visas for Iraqis to improve cooperation in taking back people rejected for asylum. The Commission said that “Iraqi authorities cooperate only on voluntary returns and in very exceptional cases (Iraqi nationals convicted for a criminal offence) on forced returns” and that “Iraq’s cooperation with the EU on readmission matters is not sufficient and that action is needed.”
      More flights

      While flights from Iraq are the most pressing issue, there is also worry about the increase in routes from Turkey.

      In recent weeks, Belavia — which is currently banned from European airspace after Minsk illegally diverted a Ryanair plane in May to kidnap an opposition blogger — has beefed up its schedule from Turkey. Two routes between Minsk and Istanbul that had been serviced three times a week are now flying daily. Regular flights from Izmir have been reinstated, as have several regular flights from Antalya — although those are also popular holiday destinations for Belarusians.

      There is also an effort to crack down on EU-based leasing companies supplying aircraft to Belavia.

      Brussels “must make sure that no European company can provide assets that facilitate the trafficking route,” Landsbergis told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook on Wednesday.

      According to an EU official, several of the jets operated by Belavia come from Ireland. A company based in Denmark, Nordic Aviation Capital, has also provided aircraft to Belavia in the past. A spokesperson for the firm said it would not comment, but the company announced last September that it had delivered the last plane of a five-jet agreement to the carrier.

      Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told POLITICO his government does not yet “have sufficient information to verify such claims” but said the case is being reviewed by Danish authorities.

      “But let me be clear: If Danish companies are involved in Lukashenko’s deliberate, malicious and cynical efforts to use migrants as a political weapon to try and put pressure on Lithuania and the EU, then that would of course be totally unacceptable and should be stopped immediately,” he said. “If European companies aid and abet the Lukashenko regime in this way, then I firmly believe we need to revisit our current sanctions in the EU.”

      SMBC Aviation Capital, a Dublin-based company that has previously leased aircraft to Belavia, said in an email on Wednesday that it had not been contacted by Irish or European authorities. The Irish government did not respond to a request for comment.

      https://www.politico.eu/article/belarus-migrant-flights-eu-sanctions-iraq-turkey

      #Irak #vol #vols

    • La Lituanie commence la construction d’une clôture à la frontière avec le Bélarus

      La Lituanie a entrepris la construction d’une clôture le long de sa frontière avec le Bélarus, accusé par Vilnius et Varsovie d’acheminer des migrants vers l’UE.

      C’est un mur de plus qui va être érigé en Europe, de plusieurs centaines de kilomètres de long.

      Tetas, une entreprise de construction qui fait partie du groupe énergétique public lituanien Epso-G a commencé à acheminer le matériel nécessaire à la construction d’une clôture de 111 kilomètres de long, a rapporté le radiodiffuseur public LRT.

      L’entreprise a aussi marqué les sections des points de contrôle frontaliers de Druskininkai, Barauskas et Adutiskis dans le sud-est de la Lituanie.

      Dans l’urgence, des barbelés accordéon vont être posés dans les sections clés ce mois d’octobre, puis la pose d’une clôture de 4 mètres de hauteur sera effectuée à partir de novembre/décembre, avec pour objectif de l’achever d’ici le mois d’avril 2022.
      500 km au total

      Mais ce tronçon de 111 kilomètres ne représente qu’une première étape. L’entreprise Epso-G prévoit de lancer un second appel d’offres dès cette semaine, pour la construction d’une section de 400 kilomètres qui doit être terminée d’ici septembre 2022.

      Le gouvernement lituanien, qui accuse Alexandre Loukachenko de mener une « guerre hybride » contre la Lituanie, a alloué 152 millions d’euros pour la construction d’une barrière de 508 kilomètres.

      La Lituanie a accueilli sur son sol des opposants au régime de Loukachenko et son parlement a reconnu Svetlana Tsikhanovskaïa comme la présidente légitime du Bélarus.

      A Varsovie aussi on s’inquiète des mouvements du voisin de l’est. La Biélorussie augmente la pression de l’émigration illégale vers les frontières de l’UE en acheminant « des dizaines de milliers d’immigrants dans son pays afin de les livrer à la frontière avec la Pologne », a assuré le premier ministre Mateusz Morawiecki.

      Tout le monde en Lituanie ne voit pas ce nouveau mur d’un bon œil.

      Dans une interview au « Courrier d’Europe centrale », l’eurodéputé et ancien ministre de la Défense lituanien Juozas Olekas estime que « Loukachenko est un leader illégitime qui […] utilise les migrants comme un mécanisme de pression sur l’Union européenne ».

      Pour autant, Juozas Olekas déclare : « Je ne suis pas favorable à l’érection de murs sur l’ensemble de la frontière et je pense qu’un travail diplomatique intensif, y compris avec les pays d’origine des migrants, ou de meilleures patrouilles, qui fonctionnent déjà, seraient des mesures plus efficaces. Je pense qu’il est inutile de paniquer, car ça ne sert jamais à rien, et que nous devrions nous concentrer sur des solutions à long terme ».

      https://courrierdeuropecentrale.fr/la-lituanie-commence-la-construction-dune-cloture-a-la-front

  • Syrian refugees complain about Gabčíkovo camp

    SYRIAN asylum seekers who have arrived from Austria and are temporarily placed in the refugee camp in Gabčíkovo (Trnava Region) are complaining about alleged bullying and insufficient care of children.

    They have already signed a petition and have tried to meet with the the management of the facility. The management, however, rejects any meetings. Moreover, they say it is only play-acting when talking to media, the Aktuality.sk website reported.

    “They promised us the same conditions as in Austria but the differences here are huge,” a 20-year-old man from Aleppo told Aktuality.sk.

    There are currently more than 400 Syrians accommodated in Gabčíkovo, including 120 children. All of them are seeking asylum in Austria but have been placed in Slovakia based upon the memorandum on cooperation which was signed between Slovakia and Austria earlier this year.

    The refugees mostly complain about bad conditions for children, most of whom have already reached school age. Nobody has yet secured any courses or lessons for them. As it is possible that they may spend up to six months in the camp, it is likely that they will miss a whole year at school, according to Aktuality.sk.

    The only activity for children in the camp is kindergarten, which is only open between 14:00 and 15:00, where every child younger than 18 can go. They mostly have art lessons there. The activity is led by Thawra, one of the facility’s inhabitants, the website wrote.

    The Syrians also complain about problematic medical care. While in Austria there are doctors who come to the refugee camps daily at certain hours, in Slovakia they have to ask for them. According to official information, the paediatrician visits the facility twice a week between 14:00 and 18:00, but the refugees complain that this is not always true, Aktuality.sk wrote.

    According to the memorandum, the medical care should be secured by Austria. The Syrians say that the problem is with ORS Slovakia company which manages the facility and which is also the official contract partner of the Austrian government.

    Additionally, the refugees say they are not happy about the food they receive. They also say that the kitchens are locked at night and they cannot warm food for their babies.

    “These people have escaped from war, I think it is important that they do not sleep on floor and that they have hot meal every day,” Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said, as quoted by Aktuality.sk, adding that the Gabčíkovo facility is not a hotel.

    #ORS #Slovakia #Gabčíkovo

    https://spectator.sme.sk/c/20063030/syrian-refugees-complain-about-gabcikovo-camp.html

    • Slovakia promotes Gabcikovo camp as answer to refugee problem

      Slovakia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, has showcased the Gabčíkovo camp near Bratislava as an example that intergovernmental solutions can work better than the Commission’s relocation system based on mandatory quotas.

      On Saturday (2 July) the Slovak presidency took a group of 58 Brussels journalists to Gabčíkovo, in the Trnava Region, on the border with Hungary, some 50 kilometres from Bratislava, to showcase a refugee camp run in cooperation with Austria.

      The previous day, the Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, and other officials had stated that Gabčíkovo was a proof that the country was unfairly criticised for not doing enough to share the burden of the refugee crisis the EU is faced with.

      The camp is a former technical university, which was converted in 2015 into a refugee camp for a period of two years, under a bilateral deal with Austria. So far a total of 1,200 Syrian refugees, mostly families, have been settled in the camp. Before coming to Gabčíkovo, all of them applied for asylum in Austria, and agreed to await the decision on their application in Slovakia.

      Slovakia is providing accommodation and food, while Austria has dispatched 22 social workers, who among other things, teach the refugees German.

      Karl-Heinz Grundböck, spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior of Austria, expressed thanks to the Slovak government for the assistance, which has been particularly helpful when the Austrian asylum system collapsed last summer, with no accommodation available and asylum seekers sleeping on the grass in the Traiskirchen refugee camp near Vienna.

      At present, only 14 refugees are living in the Gabčíkovo camp, but Austria would like the project to be maintained, because as Grundböck explained, the future remained uncertain.

      The total capacity of the camp, of 500 refugees, was reached during the past winter. All asylum seekers accommodated so far have ultimately received asylum and none has fled.

      Bernard Priecel, director of the migration office of the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia, explained that the refugees don’t want to remain in Slovakia, and if they are forcibly relocated there, would disappear “the next day”. He argued that instead of applying the relocation scheme, as decided upon by the Commission, other types of bilateral projects, such as Gabčíkovo, could be replicated across the EU.

      Slovakia takes EU to court over migrant quotas

      Slovakia will launch legal action by next month against an EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc, a justice ministry spokeswoman told AFP today (24 November).

      Asked if the Gabčíkovo camp has ever been visited by the Commission, Priecel said no. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the facility in October 2015.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/slovakia-showcases-gabcikovo-camp-as-answer-to-refugee-problem

    • Following Syrian Refugees Into an Unwelcoming Slovakia

      Late last week, after a long journey, a group of 24 young men arrived by bus in a tiny town about an hour outside of Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city.

      Most of the men had traveled for at least a month from their homes in war-torn Syria, following a path that took them first to Turkey, then across the Aegean Sea and through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary, then into Austria.

      “We lost everything in our country,” says Mahmood Alokla, 24, who came from outside Damascus. “We lost our sisters and our brothers. We paid all our money—and for this. We don’t want it.”

      Alokla and the other refugees who were sent to a camp in Gabčíkovo (pronounced gab-chee-kovo) say they want to stay in Austria. They proudly display their Austrian ID cards. A few have family in the country. But as the result of a deal between Austrian and Slovak leaders, the refugees were put on a bus and moved. Some of them were separated from family members they had traveled with from Syria.

      Years of conflict in Syria, splintered warring factions, and the rise of ISIS have all driven hundreds of thousands of people to seek safer lives elsewhere. The influx of these asylum-seekers—in addition to thousands more fleeing danger zones around the Middle East and North Africa—has lead to concerns and confusion about where they can, and will, end up.

      “I want to be in Vienna,” says Abdelkarim Alorfi, 26, sitting on the crumbling steps of the main building of the refugee’s housing camp. Alorfi was separated from his brother’s family when he left Austria. “I don’t want to be here. The police are watching.”
      Pictures of Syrain refugees in Slovakia

      View Images

      Refugees collect their luggage at the camp in Gabčíkovo, Slovakia.
      Photograph by Igor Svítok, Demotix, Corbis

      The camp, made up of a series of run-down buildings belonging to the Slovak University of Technology, has been used to accommodate refugees in the past, but it’s been empty for the last six years. A police car sits in a parking lot, and others drive through on surveillance runs.

      It’s no secret that the Slovak government has been loath to accept asylum seekers from the Middle East as the number reaching Western Europe has grown to what many are calling crisis levels in recent weeks.

      In late July, Slovakia agreed to temporarily house 500 refugees from Austria in the Gabčíkovo camp. In early August, the townspeople staged a referendum that garnered a nearly 97 percent vote against allowing refugees to stay at the camp.

      Reports in mid-August indicated the Slovak government would agree to relocate up to 200 Syrians, and initially suggested that these refugees had to be Christian (the BBC reports that about ten percent of Syrians were Christian before the conflict started).

      Marches against the “Islamisation” of Slovakia and Europe have drawn crowds in Bratislava. The most recent saw an estimated 1,000 protesters just a day before the refugees arrived in Gabčíkovo. Plans for a protest against the acceptance of migrants—initiated by the far-right People’s Party and set to take place in Gabčíkovo, whose residents are mostly ethnic Hungarian—were thwarted by police earlier in September.

      On Tuesday, the EU pushed through a measure that would disperse 120,000 refugees across Europe—with Slovakia taking on fewer than 1,000 initially. Slovakia was one of four countries to vote against the proposal. Following the decision, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico continued to hold strong against quotas.

      Alorfi says he thinks he will be in Slovakia for 60 days. Others say five days. One man, speaking on his cell phone a few feet away, shouts over to the rest of the group in Arabic, “Where are we?” A few respond, “Slovakia!”

      The men say they are confused as to why they are in Slovakia. They say they were never told they would be moved out of Austria.

      “We are like animals,” says Dewan Mohammad, 33. “We are here today. We don’t know tomorrow. This is how it is for us Syrians.”
      Picture of Syrian refugees in Slovakia

      View Images

      A group of refugees that traveled from Syria to Austria were, to their surprise, moved to Slovakia, where residents have protested their arrival. Tarek Abood (left) and Abdelkarim Alorfi are among many awaiting a decision on their applications for asylum in Austria.
      Photograph by Meghan Sullivan

      The day before the refugees arrived, Slovakia’s health minister Viliam Čislák was out talking with the media about the need to be sure all the migrants were in good health and had been vaccinated. The same day, Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak told reporters that Slovakia, in conjunction with the Czech Republic, was open to creating a corridor through Slovakia to allow safe passage of refugees into Germany, if Germany supported the idea.

      The concern among many Slovaks is that their nation of 5.4 million cannot accommodate a large influx of immigrants, socially or economically. Prime Minister Fico has said that the current system doesn’t control for potential terrorists slipping in under the radar. And Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak told NPR on Friday that it doesn’t make sense to give asylum to refugees who, effectively, want to establish themselves elsewhere.

      “Sometimes you feel like no one respects you,” Alokla says. “It’s hard in Austria, but we have friends and family. We come here only because of war. “I hope to just be near my sister. It’s peace for me. As you have family, we have. As you have feelings, we have. After some time, if you see the people, you would respect us.”

      As the refugees head into the cafeteria for a lunch provided by the Slovak government, a local woman pushes her young grandson by in a stroller. When asked what she thinks of the situation, she just shrugs her shoulders.

      She and her neighbors could be seeing more migrants temporarily, or permanently, join their community soon.

      https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/09/150923-syrian-refugees-arrive-slovakia-protest

    • Slovakian village doesn’t want Austria’s migrants

      Residents of the Slovakian village of Gabcikovo voted in a referendum on Sunday to reject the establishment of a temporary asylum camp to house 500 migrants bound for Austria under an agreement between Bratislava and Vienna.

      About 97 percent of voters said yes to the question “Are you against the establishment of a temporary migrant camp in the building of the Slovak Technical University?”

      According to Teodor Bodo, the head of the referendum’s electoral commission, 2,600 of Gabcikovo’s 4,300 adult residents participated in the vote, with only 102 in favour of hosting migrants.

      Local authorities organised the consultation following a petition signed by 3,150 residents of Gabcikovo. The interior ministry warned however that the outcome of the consultation was not binding.

      “The local referendum is binding on the municipality, but the interior ministry, as an organ of the state is not obliged to act according to its results,” said ministry spokeswoman Michaela Paulenova.

      Slovakia has agreed to house 500 migrants who have applied for asylum in Austria, at the end of a bilateral agreement concluded on July 21st in Vienna and designed to reduce pressure on the neighbouring country’s capabilities for receiving migrants.

      Under this agreement, hailed as “a great sign of solidarity on the part of Slovakia” by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Slovakia will pay the cost of accommodation and food for migrants while Austria will assume the personnel costs.

      Mikl-Leitner’s Slovak counterpart Robert Kalinak justified Bratislava’s gesture as a desire to “pay (its) debts” to Austria, which hosted refugees during the time of the Iron Curtain and supported Slovakia’s accession to the EU and the Schengen area.

      “Everything is ready now for Gabcikovo to accommodate migrants from Austria”, Paulenova said. The date of their arrival is however not yet known, she added.

      https://www.thelocal.at/20150803/slovakian-village-opposes-hosting-austrias-migrants

    • Asyl : Ein Schauspiel namens Gabčíkovo

      Ein kleiner Ort in der Westslowakei sollte das Lager in Traiskirchen entlasten. Doch bisher lief nichts nach Plan.

      Wien. „Die Lage hier ist nicht gut. Das Camp ist überfüllt und sie haben uns mit 14 anderen Familien in einen 200 Quadratmeter großen Raum gesteckt“, schreibt ein zweifacher irakischer Familienvater und Arzt der „Presse“ aus dem Flüchtlingslager Traiskirchen. Die Situation sei weiter angespannt, Entlastung geboten, meint auch das Innenministerium. Einen Plan dafür gibt es. Seit Juli. 500 Asylwerber aus Traiskirchen sollen vorübergehend, bis zum Bescheid, in der Technischen Universität im westslowakischen 5000-Einwohner-Ort Gabčíkovo untergebracht werden. Die ersten wurden im Juli, dann im August, später Anfang September erwartet. Es kam immer anders.

      Das Innenministerium in Bratislava ist entnervt: „Zweimal wurden Termine abgesagt, bei denen bereits das Essen für die Flüchtlinge in Gabčíkovo vorbereitet war“, sagt Sprecher Ivan Netík Donnerstagvormittag zur „Presse“. Das sei „nicht sehr nett“ von Österreichs Behörden. „Uns ist es auch egal, aus welchen Lagern die Flüchtlinge kommen“, ergänzt er, während es in Österreich die nächste Meldung über einen abgesagten Transport gibt. 42 Syrer aus dem Zeltlager in Krumpendorf sollten nach Gabčíkovo gebracht werden, denn „wir brauchen die Ressourcen dort wegen der Neuankünfte“, sagt Karl-Heinz Grundböck, Sprecher des Innenministeriums. Der Flüchtlingsstrom mündet nun ja in Österreichs Süden. Die Flüchtlinge wollten nicht. Also stellten NGOs Ersatzquartiere auf. Wieder nichts mit Gabčíkovo.

      Die am 21. Juli vereinbarte Asylkoordination mit der Slowakei stand von Anfang an unter keinem guten Stern. 97 Prozent der Bewohner Gabčíkovos lehnten die Pläne ab. Premier Robert Fico setzte sich (nach Zögern) über die Befragung hinweg. Die Bürger sollen nun aber mit einem besseren Kamerasystem im Ort beruhigt werden. Dann das nächste Problem: Die Gründung eines slowakischen Ablegers der österreichischen Flüchtlingsorganisation ORS zog sich in die Länge (ORS ist vor Ort für Sicherheit und Betreuung zuständig). Bratislava erklärte, es warte auf Dokumente aus Österreich, wo erwidert wurde, man warte auf die slowakische Genehmigung. Am 8. September wurde sie erteilt. Schon davor dürfte man im Innenressort aber erkannt haben, dass der größte Fallstrick anderswo lauert: Asylwerber haben genauso wenig Interesse an Mittelosteuropa wie die Staaten dort an deren Aufnahme. Zwingen kann man niemanden.
      Freiwillige gesucht

      Die Asylwerber sollen nun in Informationsgesprächen für Gabčíkovo erwärmt werden. Was für den Ort spreche? „Eine adäquate Unterkunft“, sagt Grundböck. In Traiskirchen gebe es ja teils Zelte. Mitgrund für das geringe Interesse seien die Bilder aus Ungarn und dass der Eindruck entstanden sei, Deutschland nehme alle auf, sagt Grundböck. Wobei im Smartphone-Zeitalter den Asylwerbern auch die Haltung der Slowakei nicht entgangen sein dürfte, die in der Aussage gipfelte, man akzeptiere nur Christen.

      Gestern trafen dann doch erste Asylwerber in Gabčikovo ein. 18 Syrer wurden aus Salzburgs Schwarzenbergkaserne in den Ort gefahren. Den ersten Transport aus Traiskirchen sollte es erst geben, wenn sich 50 Asylwerber gefunden haben. Auch dieser Plan wurde noch am selben Tag verworfen, als die Ersten aus Traiskirchen nach Gabčíkovo gebracht wurden: Es waren sechs Asylwerber an der Zahl.

      ("Die Presse", Print-Ausgabe, 18.09.2015)

      https://www.diepresse.com/4823691/asyl-ein-schauspiel-namens-gabcikovo

  • ‘Five Eyes’ alliance demands ways to access encrypted apps
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/cybersecurity/news/five-eyes-alliance-demands-ways-to-access-encrypted-apps

    The “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance demanded Sunday (11 October) that tech companies insert “backdoors” in encrypted apps to allow law enforcement agencies the access they say they need to police online criminality. The top justice officials of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand said in a statement that the growth of end-to-end encrypted apps that make official oversight impossible – like Signal, Telegram, FaceBook Messenger and WhatsApp – “pose significant (...)

    #Facebook #Messenger #Signal #Telegram #WhatsApp #algorithme #backdoor #smartphone #écoutes #surveillance #FiveEyes (...)

    ##cryptage

  • Migrants: le règlement de Dublin va être supprimé

    La Commission européenne doit présenter le 23 septembre sa proposition de réforme de sa politique migratoire, très attendue et plusieurs fois repoussée.

    Cinq ans après le début de la crise migratoire, l’Union européenne veut changer de stratégie. La Commission européenne veut “abolir” le règlement de Dublin qui fracture les Etats-membres et qui confie la responsabilité du traitement des demandes d’asile au pays de première entrée des migrants dans l’UE, a annoncé ce mercredi 16 septembre la cheffe de l’exécutif européen Ursula von der Leyen dans son discours sur l’Etat de l’Union.

    La Commission doit présenter le 23 septembre sa proposition de réforme de la politique migratoire européenne, très attendue et plusieurs fois repoussée, alors que le débat sur le manque de solidarité entre pays Européens a été relancé par l’incendie du camp de Moria sur lîle grecque de Lesbos.

    “Au coeur (de la réforme) il y a un engagement pour un système plus européen”, a déclaré Ursula von der Leyen devant le Parlement européen. “Je peux annoncer que nous allons abolir le règlement de Dublin et le remplacer par un nouveau système européen de gouvernance de la migration”, a-t-elle poursuivi.
    Nouveau mécanisme de solidarité

    “Il y aura des structures communes pour l’asile et le retour. Et il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité”, a-t-elle dit, alors que les pays qui sont en première ligne d’arrivée des migrants (Grèce, Malte, Italie notamment) se plaignent de devoir faire face à une charge disproportionnée.

    La proposition de réforme de la Commission devra encore être acceptée par les Etats. Ce qui n’est pas gagné d’avance. Cinq ans après la crise migratoire de 2015, la question de l’accueil des migrants est un sujet qui reste source de profondes divisions en Europe, certains pays de l’Est refusant d’accueillir des demandeurs d’asile.

    Sous la pression, le système d’asile européen organisé par le règlement de Dublin a explosé après avoir pesé lourdement sur la Grèce ou l’Italie.

    Le nouveau plan pourrait notamment prévoir davantage de sélection des demandeurs d’asile aux frontières extérieures et un retour des déboutés dans leur pays assuré par Frontex. Egalement à l’étude pour les Etats volontaires : un mécanisme de relocalisation des migrants sauvés en Méditerranée, parfois contraints d’errer en mer pendant des semaines en attente d’un pays d’accueil.

    Ce plan ne résoudrait toutefois pas toutes les failles. Pour le patron de l’Office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration, Didier Leschi, “il ne peut pas y avoir de politique européenne commune sans critères communs pour accepter les demandes d’asile.”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/migrants-le-reglement-de-dublin-tres-controverse-va-etre-supprime_fr_

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Dublin #règlement_dublin #fin #fin_de_Dublin #suppression #pacte #Pacte_européen_sur_la_migration #new_pact #nouveau_pacte #pacte_sur_la_migration_et_l'asile

    –---

    Documents officiels en lien avec le pacte:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/879881

    ping @reka @karine4 @_kg_ @isskein

    • Immigration : le règlement de Dublin, l’impossible #réforme ?

      En voulant abroger le règlement de Dublin, qui impose la responsabilité des demandeurs d’asile au premier pays d’entrée dans l’Union européenne, Bruxelles reconnaît des dysfonctionnements dans l’accueil des migrants. Mais les Vingt-Sept, plus que jamais divisés sur cette question, sont-ils prêts à une refonte du texte ? Éléments de réponses.

      Ursula Von der Leyen en a fait une des priorités de son mandat : réformer le règlement de Dublin, qui impose au premier pays de l’UE dans lequel le migrant est arrivé de traiter sa demande d’asile. « Je peux annoncer que nous allons [l’]abolir et le remplacer par un nouveau système européen de gouvernance de la migration », a déclaré la présidente de la Commission européenne mercredi 16 septembre, devant le Parlement.

      Les États dotés de frontières extérieures comme la Grèce, l’Italie ou Malte se sont réjouis de cette annonce. Ils s’estiment lésés par ce règlement en raison de leur situation géographique qui les place en première ligne.

      La présidente de la Commission européenne doit présenter, le 23 septembre, une nouvelle version de la politique migratoire, jusqu’ici maintes fois repoussée. « Il y aura des structures communes pour l’asile et le retour. Et il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité », a-t-elle poursuivi. Un terme fort à l’heure où l’incendie du camp de Moria sur l’île grecque de Lesbos, plus de 8 000 adultes et 4 000 enfants à la rue, a révélé le manque d’entraide entre pays européens.

      Pour mieux comprendre l’enjeu de cette nouvelle réforme européenne de la politique migratoire, France 24 décrypte le règlement de Dublin qui divise tant les Vingt-Sept, en particulier depuis la crise migratoire de 2015.

      Pourquoi le règlement de Dublin dysfonctionne ?

      Les failles ont toujours existé mais ont été révélées par la crise migratoire de 2015, estiment les experts de politique migratoire. Ce texte signé en 2013 et qu’on appelle « Dublin III » repose sur un accord entre les membres de l’Union européenne ainsi que la Suisse, l’Islande, la Norvège et le Liechtenstein. Il prévoit que l’examen de la demande d’asile d’un exilé incombe au premier pays d’entrée en Europe. Si un migrant passé par l’Italie arrive par exemple en France, les autorités françaises ne sont, en théorie, pas tenu d’enregistrer la demande du Dubliné.
      © Union européenne | Les pays signataires du règlement de Dublin.

      Face à l’afflux de réfugiés ces dernières années, les pays dotés de frontières extérieures, comme la Grèce et l’Italie, se sont estimés abandonnés par le reste de l’Europe. « La charge est trop importante pour ce bloc méditerranéen », estime Matthieu Tardis, chercheur au Centre migrations et citoyennetés de l’Ifri (Institut français des relations internationales). Le texte est pensé « comme un mécanisme de responsabilité des États et non de solidarité », estime-t-il.

      Sa mise en application est aussi difficile à mettre en place. La France et l’Allemagne, qui concentrent la majorité des demandes d’asile depuis le début des années 2000, peinent à renvoyer les Dublinés. Dans l’Hexagone, seulement 11,5 % ont été transférés dans le pays d’entrée. Outre-Rhin, le taux ne dépasse pas les 15 %. Conséquence : nombre d’entre eux restent « bloqués » dans les camps de migrants à Calais ou dans le nord de Paris.

      Le délai d’attente pour les demandeurs d’asile est aussi jugé trop long. Un réfugié passé par l’Italie, qui vient déposer une demande d’asile en France, peut attendre jusqu’à 18 mois avant d’avoir un retour. « Durant cette période, il se retrouve dans une situation d’incertitude très dommageable pour lui mais aussi pour l’Union européenne. C’est un système perdant-perdant », commente Matthieu Tardis.

      Ce règlement n’est pas adapté aux demandeurs d’asile, surenchérit-on à la Cimade (Comité inter-mouvements auprès des évacués). Dans un rapport, l’organisation qualifie ce système de « machine infernale de l’asile européen ». « Il ne tient pas compte des liens familiaux ni des langues parlées par les réfugiés », précise le responsable asile de l’association, Gérard Sadik.

      Sept ans après avoir vu le jour, le règlement s’est vu porter le coup de grâce par le confinement lié aux conditions sanitaires pour lutter contre le Covid-19. « Durant cette période, aucun transfert n’a eu lieu », assure-t-on à la Cimade.

      Le mécanisme de solidarité peut-il le remplacer ?

      « Il y aura un nouveau mécanisme fort de solidarité », a promis Ursula von der Leyen, sans donné plus de précision. Sur ce point, on sait déjà que les positions divergent, voire s’opposent, entre les Vingt-Sept.

      Le bloc du nord-ouest (Allemagne, France, Autriche, Benelux) reste ancré sur le principe actuel de responsabilité, mais accepte de l’accompagner d’un mécanisme de solidarité. Sur quels critères se base la répartition du nombre de demandeurs d’asile ? Comment les sélectionner ? Aucune décision n’est encore actée. « Ils sont prêts à des compromis car ils veulent montrer que l’Union européenne peut avancer et agir sur la question migratoire », assure Matthieu Tardis.

      En revanche, le groupe dit de Visegrad (Hongrie, Pologne, République tchèque, Slovaquie), peu enclin à l’accueil, rejette catégoriquement tout principe de solidarité. « Ils se disent prêts à envoyer des moyens financiers, du personnel pour le contrôle aux frontières mais refusent de recevoir les demandeurs d’asile », détaille le chercheur de l’Ifri.

      Quant au bloc Méditerranée (Grèce, Italie, Malte , Chypre, Espagne), des questions subsistent sur la proposition du bloc nord-ouest : le mécanisme de solidarité sera-t-il activé de façon permanente ou exceptionnelle ? Quelles populations sont éligibles au droit d’asile ? Et qui est responsable du retour ? « Depuis le retrait de la Ligue du Nord de la coalition dans le gouvernement italien, le dialogue est à nouveau possible », avance Matthieu Tardis.

      Un accord semble toutefois indispensable pour montrer que l’Union européenne n’est pas totalement en faillite sur ce dossier. « Mais le bloc de Visegrad n’a pas forcément en tête cet enjeu », nuance-t-il. Seule la situation sanitaire liée au Covid-19, qui place les pays de l’Est dans une situation économique fragile, pourrait faire évoluer leur position, note le chercheur.

      Et le mécanisme par répartition ?

      Le mécanisme par répartition, dans les tuyaux depuis 2016, revient régulièrement sur la table des négociations. Son principe : la capacité d’accueil du pays dépend de ses poids démographique et économique. Elle serait de 30 % pour l’Allemagne, contre un tiers des demandes aujourd’hui, et 20 % pour la France, qui en recense 18 %. « Ce serait une option gagnante pour ces deux pays, mais pas pour le bloc du Visegrad qui s’y oppose », décrypte Gérard Sadik, le responsable asile de la Cimade.

      Cette doctrine reposerait sur un système informatisé, qui recenserait dans une seule base toutes les données des demandeurs d’asile. Mais l’usage de l’intelligence artificielle au profit de la procédure administrative ne présente pas que des avantages, aux yeux de la Cimade : « L’algorithme ne sera pas en mesure de tenir compte des liens familiaux des demandeurs d’asile », juge Gérard Sadik.

      Quelles chances pour une refonte ?

      L’Union européenne a déjà tenté plusieurs fois de réformer ce serpent de mer. Un texte dit « Dublin IV » était déjà dans les tuyaux depuis 2016, en proposant par exemple que la responsabilité du premier État d’accueil soit définitive, mais il a été enterré face aux dissensions internes.

      Reste à savoir quel est le contenu exact de la nouvelle version qui sera présentée le 23 septembre par Ursula Van der Leyen. À la Cimade, on craint un durcissement de la politique migratoire, et notamment un renforcement du contrôle aux frontières.

      Quoi qu’il en soit, les négociations s’annoncent « compliquées et difficiles » car « les intérêts des pays membres ne sont pas les mêmes », a rappelé le ministre grec adjoint des Migrations, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, jeudi 17 septembre. Et surtout, la nouvelle mouture devra obtenir l’accord du Parlement, mais aussi celui des États. La refonte est encore loin.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/27376/immigration-le-reglement-de-dublin-l-impossible-reforme

      #gouvernance #Ursula_Von_der_Leyen #mécanisme_de_solidarité #responsabilité #groupe_de_Visegrad #solidarité #répartition #mécanisme_par_répartition #capacité_d'accueil #intelligence_artificielle #algorithme #Dublin_IV

    • Germany’s #Seehofer cautiously optimistic on EU asylum reform

      For the first time during the German Presidency, EU interior ministers exchanged views on reforms of the EU asylum system. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) expressed “justified confidence” that a deal can be found. EURACTIV Germany reports.

      The focus of Tuesday’s (7 July) informal video conference of interior ministers was on the expansion of police cooperation and sea rescue, which, according to Seehofer, is one of the “Big Four” topics of the German Council Presidency, integrated into a reform of the #Common_European_Asylum_System (#CEAS).

      Following the meeting, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, spoke of an “excellent start to the Presidency,” and Seehofer also praised the “constructive discussions.” In the field of asylum policy, she said that it had become clear that all member states were “highly interested in positive solutions.”

      The interior ministers were unanimous in their desire to further strengthen police cooperation and expand both the mandates and the financial resources of Europol and Frontex.

      Regarding the question of the distribution of refugees, Seehofer said that he had “heard statements that [he] had not heard in years prior.” He said that almost all member states were “prepared to show solidarity in different ways.”

      While about a dozen member states would like to participate in the distribution of those rescued from distress at the EU’s external borders in the event of a “disproportionate burden” on the states, other states signalled that they wanted to make control vessels, financial means or personnel available to prevent smuggling activities and stem migration across the Mediterranean.

      Seehofer’s final act

      It will probably be Seehofer’s last attempt to initiate CEAS reform. He announced in May that he would withdraw completely from politics after the end of the legislative period in autumn 2021.

      Now it seems that he considers CEAS reform as his last great mission, Seehofer said that he intends to address the migration issue from late summer onwards “with all I have at my disposal.” adding that Tuesday’s (7 July) talks had “once again kindled a real fire” in him. To this end, he plans to leave the official business of the Interior Ministry “in day-to-day matters” largely to the State Secretaries.

      Seehofer’s shift of priorities to the European stage comes at a time when he is being sharply criticised in Germany.

      While his initial handling of a controversial newspaper column about the police published in Berlin’s tageszeitung prompted criticism, Seehofer now faces accusations of concealing structural racism in the police. Seehofer had announced over the weekend that, contrary to the recommendation of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), he would not commission a study on racial profiling in the police force after all.

      Seehofer: “One step is not enough”

      In recent months, Seehofer has made several attempts to set up a distribution mechanism for rescued persons in distress. On several occasions he accused the Commission of letting member states down by not solving the asylum question.

      “I have the ambition to make a great leap. One step would be too little in our presidency,” said Seehofer during Tuesday’s press conference. However, much depends on when the Commission will present its long-awaited migration pact, as its proposals are intended to serve as a basis for negotiations on CEAS reform.

      As Johansson said on Tuesday, this is planned for September. Seehofer thus only has just under four months to get the first Council conclusions through. “There will not be enough time for legislation,” he said.

      Until a permanent solution is found, ad hoc solutions will continue. A “sustainable solution” should include better cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, as the member states agreed on Tuesday.

      To this end, “agreements on the repatriation of refugees” are now to be reached with North African countries. A first step towards this will be taken next Monday (13 July), at a joint conference with North African leaders.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/germany-eyes-breakthrough-in-eu-migration-dispute-this-year

      #Europol #Frontex

    • Relocation, solidarity mandatory for EU migration policy: #Johansson

      In an interview with ANSA and other European media outlets, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs #Ylva_Johansson explained the new migration and asylum pact due to be unveiled on September 23, stressing that nobody will find ideal solutions but rather a well-balanced compromise that will ’’improve the situation’’.

      European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has explained in an interview with a group of European journalists, including ANSA, a new pact on asylum and migration to be presented on September 23. She touched on rules for countries of first entry, a new mechanism of mandatory solidarity, fast repatriations and refugee relocation.

      The Swedish commissioner said that no one will find ideal solutions in the European Commission’s new asylum and migration proposal but rather a good compromise that “will improve the situation”.

      She said the debate to change the asylum regulation known as Dublin needs to be played down in order to find an agreement. Johansson said an earlier 2016 reform plan would be withdrawn as it ’’caused the majority’’ of conflicts among countries.

      A new proposal that will replace the current one and amend the existing Dublin regulation will be presented, she explained.

      The current regulation will not be completely abolished but rules regarding frontline countries will change. Under the new proposal, migrants can still be sent back to the country responsible for their asylum request, explained the commissioner, adding that amendments will be made but the country of first entry will ’’remain important’’.

      ’’Voluntary solidarity is not enough," there has to be a “mandatory solidarity mechanism,” Johansson noted.

      Countries will need to help according to their size and possibilities. A member state needs to show solidarity ’’in accordance with the capacity and size’’ of its economy. There will be no easy way out with the possibility of ’’just sending some blankets’’ - efforts must be proportional to the size and capabilities of member states, she said.
      Relocations are a divisive theme

      Relocations will be made in a way that ’’can be possible to accept for all member states’’, the commissioner explained. The issue of mandatory quotas is extremely divisive, she went on to say. ’’The sentence of the European Court of Justice has established that they can be made’’.

      However, the theme is extremely divisive. Many of those who arrive in Europe are not eligible for international protection and must be repatriated, she said, wondering if it is a good idea to relocate those who need to be repatriated.

      “We are looking for a way to bring the necessary aid to countries under pressure.”

      “Relocation is an important part, but also” it must be done “in a way that can be possible to accept for all member states,” she noted.

      Moreover, Johansson said the system will not be too rigid as the union should prepare for different scenarios.
      Faster repatriations

      Repatriations will be a key part of the plan, with faster bureaucratic procedures, she said. The 2016 reform proposal was made following the 2015 migration crisis, when two million people, 90% of whom were refugees, reached the EU irregularly. For this reason, the plan focused on relocations, she explained.

      Now the situation is completely different: last year 2.4 million stay permits were issued, the majority for reasons connected to family, work or education. Just 140,000 people migrated irregularly and only one-third were refugees while two-thirds will need to be repatriated.

      For this reason, stressed the commissioner, the new plan will focus on repatriation. Faster procedures are necessary, she noted. When people stay in a country for years it is very hard to organize repatriations, especially voluntary ones. So the objective is for a negative asylum decision “to come together with a return decision.”

      Also, the permanence in hosting centers should be of short duration. Speaking about a fire at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos where more than 12,000 asylum seekers have been stranded for years, the commissioner said the situation was the ’’result of lack of European policy on asylum and migration."

      “We shall have no more Morias’’, she noted, calling for well-managed hosting centers along with limits to permanence.

      A win-win collaboration will instead be planned with third countries, she said. ’’The external aspect is very important. We have to work on good partnerships with third countries, supporting them and finding win-win solutions for readmissions and for the fight against traffickers. We have to develop legal pathways to come to the EU, in particular with resettlements, a policy that needs to be strengthened.”

      The commissioner then rejected the idea of opening hosting centers in third countries, an idea for example proposed by Denmark.

      “It is not the direction I intend to take. We will not export the right to asylum.”

      The commissioner said she was very concerned by reports of refoulements. Her objective, she concluded, is to “include in the pact a monitoring mechanism. The right to asylum must be defended.”

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/27447/relocation-solidarity-mandatory-for-eu-migration-policy-johansson

      #relocalisation #solidarité_obligatoire #solidarité_volontaire #pays_de_première_entrée #renvois #expulsions #réinstallations #voies_légales

    • Droit d’asile : Bruxelles rate son « #pacte »

      La Commission européenne, assurant vouloir « abolir » le règlement de Dublin et son principe du premier pays d’entrée, doit présenter ce mercredi un « pacte sur l’immigration et l’asile ». Qui ne bouleverserait rien.

      C’est une belle victoire pour Viktor Orbán, le Premier ministre hongrois, et ses partenaires d’Europe centrale et orientale aussi peu enclins que lui à accueillir des étrangers sur leur sol. La Commission européenne renonce définitivement à leur imposer d’accueillir des demandeurs d’asile en cas d’afflux dans un pays de la « ligne de front » (Grèce, Italie, Malte, Espagne). Certes, le volumineux paquet de textes qu’elle propose ce mercredi (10 projets de règlements et trois recommandations, soit plusieurs centaines de pages), pompeusement baptisé « pacte sur l’immigration et l’asile », prévoit qu’ils devront, par « solidarité », assurer les refoulements vers les pays d’origine des déboutés du droit d’asile, mais cela ne devrait pas les gêner outre mesure. Car, sur le fond, la Commission prend acte de la volonté des Vingt-Sept de transformer l’Europe en forteresse.
      Sale boulot

      La crise de 2015 les a durablement traumatisés. A l’époque, la Turquie, par lassitude d’accueillir sur son sol plusieurs millions de réfugiés syriens et des centaines de milliers de migrants économiques dans l’indifférence de la communauté internationale, ouvre ses frontières. La Grèce est vite submergée et plusieurs centaines de milliers de personnes traversent les Balkans afin de trouver refuge, notamment en Allemagne et en Suède, parmi les pays les plus généreux en matière d’asile.

      Passé les premiers moments de panique, les Européens réagissent de plusieurs manières. La Hongrie fait le sale boulot en fermant brutalement sa frontière. L’Allemagne, elle, accepte d’accueillir un million de demandeurs d’asile, mais négocie avec Ankara un accord pour qu’il referme ses frontières, accord ensuite endossé par l’UE qui lui verse en échange 6 milliards d’euros destinés aux camps de réfugiés. Enfin, l’Union adopte un règlement destiné à relocaliser sur une base obligatoire une partie des migrants dans les autres pays européens afin qu’ils instruisent les demandes d’asile, dans le but de soulager la Grèce et l’Italie, pays de premier accueil. Ce dernier volet est un échec, les pays d’Europe de l’Est, qui ont voté contre, refusent d’accueillir le moindre migrant, et leurs partenaires de l’Ouest ne font guère mieux : sur 160 000 personnes qui auraient dû être relocalisées, un objectif rapidement revu à 98 000, moins de 35 000 l’ont été à la fin 2017, date de la fin de ce dispositif.

      Depuis, l’Union a considérablement durci les contrôles, notamment en créant un corps de 10 000 gardes-frontières européens et en renforçant les moyens de Frontex, l’agence chargée de gérer ses frontières extérieures. En février-mars, la tentative d’Ankara de faire pression sur les Européens dans le conflit syrien en rouvrant partiellement ses frontières a fait long feu : la Grèce a employé les grands moyens, y compris violents, pour stopper ce flux sous les applaudissements de ses partenaires… Autant dire que l’ambiance n’est pas à l’ouverture des frontières et à l’accueil des persécutés.
      « Usine à gaz »

      Mais la crise migratoire de 2015 a laissé des « divisions nombreuses et profondes entre les Etats membres - certaines des cicatrices qu’elle a laissées sont toujours visibles aujourd’hui », comme l’a reconnu Ursula von der Leyen, la présidente de la Commission, dans son discours sur l’état de l’Union du 16 septembre. Afin de tourner la page, la Commission propose donc de laisser tomber la réforme de 2016 (dite de Dublin IV) prévoyant de pérenniser la relocalisation autoritaire des migrants, désormais jugée par une haute fonctionnaire de l’exécutif « totalement irréaliste ».

      Mais la réforme qu’elle propose, une véritable « usine à gaz », n’est qu’un « rapiéçage » de l’existant, comme l’explique Yves Pascouau, spécialiste de l’immigration et responsable des programmes européens de l’association Res Publica. Ainsi, alors que Von der Leyen a annoncé sa volonté « d’abolir » le règlement de Dublin III, il n’en est rien : le pays responsable du traitement d’une demande d’asile reste, par principe, comme c’est le cas depuis 1990, le pays de première entrée.

      S’il y a une crise, la Commission pourra déclencher un « mécanisme de solidarité » afin de soulager un pays de la ligne de front : dans ce cas, les Vingt-Sept devront accueillir un certain nombre de migrants (en fonction de leur richesse et de leur population), sauf s’ils préfèrent « parrainer un retour ». En clair, prendre en charge le refoulement des déboutés de l’asile (avec l’aide financière et logistique de l’Union) en sachant que ces personnes resteront à leur charge jusqu’à ce qu’ils y parviennent. Ça, c’est pour faire simple, car il y a plusieurs niveaux de crise, des exceptions, des sanctions, des délais et l’on en passe…

      Autre nouveauté : les demandes d’asile devront être traitées par principe à la frontière, dans des camps de rétention, pour les nationalités dont le taux de reconnaissance du statut de réfugié est inférieur à 20% dans l’Union, et ce, en moins de trois mois, avec refoulement à la clé en cas de refus. « Cette réforme pose un principe clair, explique un eurocrate. Personne ne sera obligé d’accueillir un étranger dont il ne veut pas. »

      Dans cet ensemble très sévère, une bonne nouvelle : les sauvetages en mer ne devraient plus être criminalisés. On peut craindre qu’une fois passés à la moulinette des Etats, qui doivent adopter ce paquet à la majorité qualifiée (55% des Etats représentant 65% de la population), il ne reste que les aspects les plus répressifs. On ne se refait pas.


      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/09/22/droit-d-asile-bruxelles-rate-son-pacte_1800264

      –—

      Graphique ajouté au fil de discussion sur les statistiques de la #relocalisation :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/605713

    • Le pacte européen sur l’asile et les migrations ne tire aucune leçon de la « crise migratoire »

      Ce 23 septembre 2020, la nouvelle Commission européenne a présenté les grandes lignes d’orientation de sa politique migratoire à venir. Alors que cinq ans plutôt, en 2015, se déroulait la mal nommée « crise migratoire » aux frontières européennes, le nouveau Pacte Asile et Migration de l’UE ne tire aucune leçon du passé. Le nouveau pacte de l’Union Européenne nous propose inlassablement les mêmes recettes alors que les preuves de leur inefficacité, leur coût et des violences qu’elles procurent sont nombreuses et irréfutables. Le CNCD-11.11.11, son homologue néerlandophone et les membres du groupe de travail pour la justice migratoire appellent le parlement européen et le gouvernement belge à un changement de cap.

      Le nouveau Pacte repose sur des propositions législatives et des recommandations non contraignantes. Ses priorités sont claires mais pas neuves. Freiner les arrivées, limiter l’accueil par le « tri » des personnes et augmenter les retours. Cette stratégie pourtant maintes fois décriée par les ONG et le milieu académique a certes réussi à diminuer les arrivées en Europe, mais n’a offert aucune solution durable pour les personnes migrantes. Depuis les années 2000, l’externalisation de la gestion des questions migratoires a montré son inefficacité (situation humanitaires dans les hotspots, plus de 20.000 décès en Méditerranée depuis 2014 et processus d’encampement aux frontières de l’UE) et son coût exponentiel (coût élevé du contrôle, de la détention-expulsion et de l’aide au développement détournée). Elle a augmenté le taux de violences sur les routes de l’exil et a enfreint le droit international en toute impunité (non accès au droit d’asile notamment via les refoulements).

      "ll est important que tous les États membres développent des systèmes d’accueil de qualité et que l’UE s’oriente vers une protection plus unifiée"

      La proposition de mettre en place un mécanisme solidaire européen contraignant est à saluer, mais celui-ci doit être au service de l’accueil et non couplé au retour. La possibilité pour les États européens de choisir à la carte soit la relocalisation, le « parrainage » du retour des déboutés ou autre contribution financière n’est pas équitable. La répartition solidaire de l’accueil doit être permanente et ne pas être actionnée uniquement en cas « d’afflux massif » aux frontières d’un État membre comme le recommande la Commission. Il est important que tous les États membres développent des systèmes d’accueil de qualité et que l’UE s’oriente vers une protection plus unifiée. Le changement annoncé du Règlement de Dublin l’est juste de nom, car les premiers pays d’entrée resteront responsables des nouveaux arrivés.

      Le focus doit être mis sur les alternatives à la détention et non sur l’usage systématique de l’enfermement aux frontières, comme le veut la Commission. Le droit de demander l’asile et d’avoir accès à une procédure de qualité doit être accessible à tous et toutes et rester un droit individuel. Or, la proposition de la Commission de détenir (12 semaines maximum) en vue de screener (5 jours de tests divers et de recoupement de données via EURODAC) puis trier les personnes migrantes à la frontière en fonction du taux de reconnaissance de protection accordé en moyenne à leur pays d’origine (en dessous de 20%) ou de leur niveau de vulnérabilité est contraire à la Convention de Genève.

      "La priorité pour les personnes migrantes en situation irrégulière doit être la recherche de solutions durables (comme l’est la régularisation) plutôt que le retour forcé, à tous prix."

      La priorité pour les personnes migrantes en situation irrégulière doit être la recherche de solutions durables (comme l’est la régularisation) plutôt que le retour forcé, à tous prix, comme le préconise la Commission.

      La meilleure façon de lutter contre les violences sur les routes de l’exil reste la mise en place de plus de voies légales et sûres de migration (réinstallation, visas de travail, d’études, le regroupement familial…). Les ONG regrettent que la Commission reporte à 2021 les propositions sur la migration légale. Le pacte s’intéresse à juste titre à la criminalisation des ONG de sauvetage et des citoyens qui fournissent une aide humanitaire aux migrants. Toutefois, les propositions visant à y mettre fin sont insuffisantes. Les ONG se réjouissent de l’annonce par la Commission d’un mécanisme de surveillance des droits humains aux frontières extérieures. Au cours de l’année écoulée, on a signalé de plus en plus souvent des retours violents par la Croatie, la Grèce, Malte et Chypre. Toutefois, il n’est pas encore suffisamment clair si les propositions de la Commission peuvent effectivement traiter et sanctionner les refoulements.

      Au lendemain de l’incendie du hotspot à Moria, symbole par excellence de l’échec des politiques migratoires européennes, l’UE s’enfonce dans un déni total, meurtrier, en vue de concilier les divergences entre ses États membres. Les futures discussions autour du Pacte au sein du parlement UE et du Conseil UE seront cruciales. Les ONG membres du groupe de travail pour la justice migratoire appellent le Parlement européen et le gouvernement belge à promouvoir des ajustements fermes allant vers plus de justice migratoire.

      https://www.cncd.be/Le-pacte-europeen-sur-l-asile-et

    • The New Pact on Migration and Asylum. A Critical ‘First Look’ Analysis

      Where does it come from?

      The New Migration Pact was built on the ashes of the mandatory relocation scheme that the Commission tried to push in 2016. And the least that one can say, is that it shows! The whole migration plan has been decisively shaped by this initial failure. Though the Pact has some merits, the very fact that it takes as its starting point the radical demands made by the most nationalist governments in Europe leads to sacrificing migrants’ rights on the altar of a cohesive and integrated European migration policy.

      Back in 2016, the vigorous manoeuvring of the Commission to find a way out of the European asylum dead-end resulted in a bittersweet victory for the European institution. Though the Commission was able to find a qualified majority of member states willing to support a fair distribution of the asylum seekers among member states through a relocation scheme, this new regulation remained dead letter. Several eastern European states flatly refused to implement the plan, other member states seized this opportunity to defect on their obligations and the whole migration policy quickly unravelled. Since then, Europe is left with a dysfunctional Dublin agreement exacerbating the tensions between member states and 27 loosely connected national asylum regimes. On the latter point, at least, there is a consensus. Everyone agrees that the EU’s migration regime is broken and urgently needs to be fixed.

      Obviously, the Commission was not keen to go through a new round of political humiliation. Having been accused of “bureaucratic hubris” the first time around, the commissioners Schinas and Johansson decided not to repeat the same mistake. They toured the European capitals and listened to every side of the entrenched migration debate before drafting their Migration Pact. The intention is in the right place and it reflects the complexity of having to accommodate 27 distinct democratic debates in one single political space. Nevertheless, if one peers a bit more extensively through the content of the New Plan, it is complicated not to get the feelings that the Visegrad countries are currently the key players shaping the European migration and asylum policies. After all, their staunch opposition to a collective reception scheme sparked the political process and provided the starting point to the general discussion. As a result, it is no surprise that the New Pact tilts firmly towards an ever more restrictive approach to migration, beefs up the coercive powers of both member states and European agencies and raises many concerns with regards to the respect of the migrants’ fundamental rights.
      What is in this New Pact on Migration and Asylum?

      Does the Pact concede too much ground to the demands of the most xenophobic European governments? To answer that question, let us go back to the bizarre metaphor used by the commissioner Schinas. During his press conference, he insisted on comparing the New Pact on Migration and Asylum to a house built on solid foundations (i.e. the lengthy and inclusive consultation process) and made of 3 floors: first, some renewed partnerships with the sending and transit states, second, some more effective border procedures, and third, a revamped mandatory – but flexible ! – solidarity scheme. It is tempting to carry on with the metaphor and to say that this house may appear comfortable from the inside but that it remains tightly shut to anyone knocking on its door from the outside. For, a careful examination reveals that each of the three “floors” (policy packages, actually) lays the emphasis on a repressive approach to migration aimed at deterring would-be asylum seekers from attempting to reach the European shores.
      The “new partnerships” with sending and transit countries, a “change in paradigm”?

      Let us add that there is little that is actually “new” in this New Migration Pact. For instance, the first policy package, that is, the suggestion that the EU should renew its partnerships with sending and transit countries is, as a matter of fact, an old tune in the Brussels bubble. The Commission may boast that it marks a “change of paradigm”, one fails to see how this would be any different from the previous European diplomatic efforts. Since migration and asylum are increasingly considered as toxic topics (for, they would be the main factors behind the rise of nationalism and its corollary, Euroscepticism), the European Union is willing to externalize this issue, seemingly at all costs. The results, however, have been mixed in the past. To the Commission’s own admission, only a third of the migrants whose asylum claims have been rejected are effectively returned. Besides the facts that returns are costly, extremely coercive, and administratively complicated to organize, the main reason for this low rate of successful returns is that sending countries refuse to cooperate in the readmission procedures. Neighbouring countries have excellent reasons not to respond positively to the Union’s demands. For some, remittances sent by their diaspora are an economic lifeline. Others just do not want to appear complicit of repressive European practices on their domestic political scene. Furthermore, many African countries are growing discontent with the forceful way the European Union uses its asymmetrical relation of power in bilateral negotiations to dictate to those sovereign states the migration policies they should adopt, making for instance its development aid conditional on the implementation of stricter border controls. The Commission may rhetorically claim to foster “mutually beneficial” international relation with its neighbouring countries, the emphasis on the externalization of migration control in the EU’s diplomatic agenda nevertheless bears some of the hallmarks of neo-colonialism. As such, it is a source of deep resentment in sending and transit states. It would therefore be a grave mistake for the EU to overlook the fact that some short-term gains in terms of migration management may result in long-term losses with regards to Europe’s image across the world.

      Furthermore, considering the current political situation, one should not primarily be worried about the failed partnerships with neighbouring countries, it is rather the successful ones that ought to give us pause and raise concerns. For, based on the existing evidence, the EU will sign a deal with any state as long as it effectively restrains and contains migration flows towards the European shores. Being an authoritarian state with a documented history of human right violations (Turkey) or an embattled government fighting a civil war (Lybia) does not disqualify you as a partner of the European Union in its effort to manage migration flows. It is not only morally debatable for the EU to delegate its asylum responsibilities to unreliable third countries, it is also doubtful that an increase in diplomatic pressure on neighbouring countries will bring major political results. It will further damage the perception of the EU in neighbouring countries without bringing significant restriction to migration flows.
      Streamlining border procedures? Or eroding migrants’ rights?

      The second policy package is no more inviting. It tackles the issue of the migrants who, in spite of those partnerships and the hurdles thrown their way by sending and transit countries, would nevertheless reach Europe irregularly. On this issue, the Commission faced the daunting task of having to square a political circle, since it had to find some common ground in a debate bitterly divided between conflicting worldviews (roughly, between liberal and nationalist perspectives on the individual freedom of movement) and competing interests (between overburdened Mediterranean member states and Eastern member states adamant that asylum seekers would endanger their national cohesion). The Commission thus looked for the lowest common denominator in terms of migration management preferences amongst the distinct member states. The result is a two-tier border procedure aiming to fast-track and streamline the processing of asylum claims, allowing for more expeditious returns of irregular migrants. The goal is to prevent any bottleneck in the processing of the claims and to avoid the (currently near constant) overcrowding of reception facilities in the frontline states. Once again, there is little that is actually new in this proposal. It amounts to a generalization of the process currently in place in the infamous hotspots scattered on the Greek isles. According to the Pact, screening procedures would be carried out in reception centres created across Europe. A far cry from the slogan “no more Moria” since one may legitimately suspect that those reception centres will, at the first hiccup in the procedure, turn into tomorrow’s asylum camps.

      According to this procedure, newly arrived migrants would be submitted within 5 days to a pre-screening procedure and subsequently triaged into two categories. Migrants with a low chance of seeing their asylum claim recognized (because they would come from a country with a low recognition rate or a country belonging to the list of the safe third countries, for instance) would be redirected towards an accelerated procedure. The end goal would be to return them, if applicable, within twelve weeks. The other migrants would be subjected to the standard assessment of their asylum claim. It goes without saying that this proposal has been swiftly and unanimously condemned by all human rights organizations. It does not take a specialized lawyer to see that this two-tiered procedure could have devastating consequences for the “fast-tracked” asylum seekers left with no legal recourse against the initial decision to submit them to this sped up procedure (rather than the standard one) as well as reduced opportunities to defend their asylum claim or, if need be, to contest their return. No matter how often the Commission repeats that it will preserve all the legal safeguards required to protect migrants’ rights, it remains wildly unconvincing. Furthermore, the Pact may confuse speed and haste. The schedule is tight on paper (five days for the pre-screening, twelve weeks for the assessment of the asylum claim), it may well prove unrealistic to meet those deadlines in real-life conditions. The Commission also overlooks the fact that accelerated procedures tend to be sloppy, thus leading to juridical appeals and further legal wrangling and eventually amounting to processes far longer than expected.
      Integrating the returns, not the reception

      The Commission talked up the new Pact as being “balanced” and “humane”. Since the two first policy packages focus, first, on preventing would-be migrants from leaving their countries and, second, on facilitating and accelerating their returns, one would expect the third policy package to move away from the restriction of movement and to complement those measures with a reception plan tailored to the needs of refugees. And here comes the major disappointment with the New Pact and, perhaps, the clearest indication that the Pact is first and foremost designed to please the migration hardliners. It does include a solidarity scheme meant to alleviate the burden of frontline countries, to distribute more fairly the responsibilities amongst member states and to ensure that refugees are properly hosted. But this solidarity scheme is far from being robust enough to deliver on those promises. Let us unpack it briefly to understand why it is likely to fail. The solidarity scheme is mandatory. All member states will be under the obligation to take part. But there is a catch! Member states’ contribution to this collective effort can take many shapes and forms and it will be up to the member states to decide how they want to participate. They get to choose whether they want to relocate some refugees on their national soil, to provide some financial and/or logistical assistance, or to “sponsor” (it is the actual term used by the Commission) some returns.

      No one expected the Commission to reintroduce a compulsory relocation scheme in its Pact. Eastern European countries had drawn an obvious red line and it would have been either naïve or foolish to taunt them with that kind of policy proposal. But this so-called “flexible mandatory solidarity” relies on such a watered-down understanding of the solidarity principle that it results in a weak and misguided political instrument unsuited to solve the problem at hand. First, the flexible solidarity mechanism is too indeterminate to prove efficient. According to the current proposal, member states would have to shoulder a fair share of the reception burden (calculated on their respective population and GDP) but would be left to decide for themselves which form this contribution would take. The obvious flaw with the policy proposal is that, if all member states decline to relocate some refugees (which is a plausible scenario), Mediterranean states would still be left alone when it comes to dealing with the most immediate consequences of migration flows. They would receive much more financial, operational, and logistical support than it currently is the case – but they would be managing on their own the overcrowded reception centres. The Commission suggests that it would oversee the national pledges in terms of relocation and that it would impose some corrections if the collective pledges fall short of a predefined target. But it remains to be seen whether the Commission will have the political clout to impose some relocations to member states refusing them. One could not be blamed for being highly sceptical.

      Second, it is noteworthy that the Commission fails to integrate the reception of refugees since member states are de facto granted an opt-out on hosting refugees. What is integrated is rather the return policy, once more a repressive instrument. And it is the member states with the worst record in terms of migrants’ rights violations that are the most likely to be tasked with the delicate mission of returning them home. As a commentator was quipping on Twitter, it would be like asking a bully to walk his victim home (what could possibly go wrong?). The attempt to build an intra-European consensus is obviously pursued at the expense of the refugees. The incentive structure built into the flexible solidarity scheme offers an excellent illustration of this. If a member state declines to relocate any refugee and offers instead to ‘sponsor’ some returns, it has to honour that pledge within a limited period of time (the Pact suggests a six month timeframe). If it fails to do so, it becomes responsible for the relocation and the return of those migrants, leading to a situation in which some migrants may end up in a country where they do not want to be and that does not want them to be there. Hardly an optimal outcome…
      Conclusion

      The Pact represents a genuine attempt to design a multi-faceted and comprehensive migration policy, covering most aspects of a complex issue. The dysfunctions of the Schengen area and the question of the legal pathways to Europe have been relegated to a later discussion and one may wonder whether they should not have been included in the Pact to balance out its restrictive inclination. And, in all fairness, the Pact does throw a few bones to the more cosmopolitan-minded European citizens. For instance, it reminds the member states that maritime search and rescue operations are legal and should not be impeded, or it shortens (from five to three years) the waiting period for refugees to benefit from the freedom of movement. But those few welcome additions are vastly outweighed by the fact that migration hardliners dominated the agenda-setting in the early stage of the policy-making exercise and have thus been able to frame decisively the political discussion. The end result is a policy package leaning heavily towards some repressive instruments and particularly careless when it comes to safeguarding migrants’ rights.

      The New Pact was first drafted on the ashes of the mandatory relocation scheme. Back then, the Commission publicly made amends and revised its approach to the issue. Sadly, the New Pact was presented to the European public when the ashes of the Moria camp were still lukewarm. One can only hope that the member states will learn from that mistake too.

      https://blog.novamigra.eu/2020/09/24/the-new-pact-on-migration-and-asylum-a-critical-first-look-analysis

    • #Pacte_européen_sur_la_migration : un “nouveau départ” pour violer les droits humains

      La Commission européenne a publié aujourd’hui son « Nouveau Pacte sur l’Asile et la Migration » qui propose un nouveau cadre règlementaire et législatif. Avec ce plan, l’UE devient de facto un « leader du voyage retour » pour les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s en Méditerranée. EuroMed Droits craint que ce pacte ne détériore encore davantage la situation actuelle pour au moins trois raisons.

      Le pacte se concentre de manière obsessionnelle sur la politique de retours à travers un système de « sponsoring » : des pays européens tels que l’Autriche, la Pologne, la Hongrie ou la République tchèque – qui refusent d’accueillir des réfugié.e.s – pourront « sponsoriser » et organiser la déportation vers les pays de départ de ces réfugié.e.s. Au lieu de favoriser l’intégration, le pacte adopte une politique de retour à tout prix, même lorsque les demandeurs.ses d’asile peuvent être victimes de discrimination, persécution ou torture dans leur pays de retour. A ce jour, il n’existe aucun mécanisme permettant de surveiller ce qui arrive aux migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s une fois déporté.e.s.

      Le pacte proposé renforce la sous-traitance de la gestion des frontières. En termes concrets, l’UE renforce la coopération avec les pays non-européens afin qu’ils ferment leurs frontières et empêchent les personnes de partir. Cette coopération est sujette à l’imposition de conditions par l’UE. Une telle décision européenne se traduit par une hausse du nombre de refoulements dans la région méditerranéenne et une coopération renforcée avec des pays qui ont un piètre bilan en matière de droits humains et qui ne possèdent pas de cadre efficace pour la protection des droits des personnes migrantes et réfugiées.

      Le pacte vise enfin à étendre les mécanismes de tri des demandeurs.ses d’asile et des migrant.e.s dans les pays d’arrivée. Ce modèle de tri – similaire à celui utilisé dans les zones de transit aéroportuaires – accentue les difficultés de pays tels que l’Espagne, l’Italie, Malte, la Grèce ou Chypre qui accueillent déjà la majorité des migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s. Placer ces personnes dans des camps revient à mettre en place un système illégal d’incarcération automatique dès l’arrivée. Cela accroîtra la violence psychologique à laquelle les migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s sont déjà soumis. Selon ce nouveau système, ces personnes seront identifié.e.s sous cinq jours et toute demande d’asile devra être traitée en douze semaines. Cette accélération de la procédure risque d’intensifier la détention et de diviser les arrivant.e.s entre demandeurs.ses d’asile et migrant.e.s économiques. Cela s’effectuerait de manière discriminatoire, sans analyse détaillée de chaque demande d’asile ni possibilité réelle de faire appel. Celles et ceux qui seront éligibles à la protection internationale seront relocalisé.e.s au sein des États membres qui acceptent de les recevoir. Les autres risqueront d’être déportés immédiatement.

      « En choisissant de sous-traiter davantage encore la gestion des frontières et d’accentuer la politique de retours, ce nouveau pacte conclut la transformation de la politique européenne en une approche pleinement sécuritaire. Pire encore, le pacte assimile la politique de “retour sponsorisé” à une forme de solidarité. Au-delà des déclarations officielles, cela démontre la volonté de l’Union européenne de criminaliser et de déshumaniser les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s », a déclaré Wadih Al-Asmar, Président d’EuroMed Droits.

      https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/pacte-europeen-sur-la-migration-nouveau-depart-pour-violer-les-droits

    • Whose Pact? The Cognitive Dimensions of the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum

      This Policy Insight examines the new Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the principles and commitments enshrined in the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees (UN GCR) and the EU Treaties. It finds that from a legal viewpoint the ‘Pact’ is not really a Pact at all, if understood as an agreement concluded between relevant EU institutional parties. Rather, it is the European Commission’s policy guide for the duration of the current 9th legislature.

      The analysis shows that the Pact has intergovernmental aspects, in both name and fundamentals. It does not pursue a genuine Migration and Asylum Union. The Pact encourages an artificial need for consensus building or de facto unanimity among all EU member states’ governments in fields where the EU Treaties call for qualified majority voting (QMV) with the European Parliament as co-legislator. The Pact does not abolish the first irregular entry rule characterising the EU Dublin Regulation. It adopts a notion of interstate solidarity that leads to asymmetric responsibilities, where member states are given the flexibility to evade participating in the relocation of asylum seekers. The Pact also runs the risk of catapulting some contested member states practices’ and priorities about localisation, speed and de-territorialisation into EU policy.

      This Policy Insight argues that the Pact’s priority of setting up an independent monitoring mechanism of border procedures’ compliance with fundamental rights is a welcome step towards the better safeguarding of the rule of law. The EU inter-institutional negotiations on the Pact’s initiatives should be timely and robust in enforcing member states’ obligations under the current EU legal standards relating to asylum and borders, namely the prevention of detention and expedited expulsions, and the effective access by all individuals to dignified treatment and effective remedies. Trust and legitimacy of EU asylum and migration policy can only follow if international (human rights and refugee protection) commitments and EU Treaty principles are put first.

      https://www.ceps.eu/ceps-publications/whose-pact

    • First analysis of the EU’s new asylum proposals

      This week the EU Commission published its new package of proposals on asylum and (non-EU) migration – consisting of proposals for legislation, some ‘soft law’, attempts to relaunch talks on stalled proposals and plans for future measures. The following is an explanation of the new proposals (not attempting to cover every detail) with some first thoughts. Overall, while it is possible that the new package will lead to agreement on revised asylum laws, this will come at the cost of risking reduced human rights standards.

      Background

      Since 1999, the EU has aimed to create a ‘Common European Asylum System’. A first phase of legislation was passed between 2003 and 2005, followed by a second phase between 2010 and 2013. Currently the legislation consists of: a) the Qualification Directive, which defines when people are entitled to refugee status (based on the UN Refugee Convention) or subsidiary protection status, and what rights they have; b) the Dublin III Regulation, which allocates responsibility for an asylum seeker between Member States; c) the Eurodac Regulation, which facilitates the Dublin system by setting up a database of fingerprints of asylum seekers and people who cross the external border without authorisation; d) the Asylum Procedures Directive, which sets out the procedural rules governing asylum applications, such as personal interviews and appeals; e) the Reception Conditions Directive, which sets out standards on the living conditions of asylum-seekers, such as rules on housing and welfare; and f) the Asylum Agency Regulation, which set up an EU agency (EASO) to support Member States’ processing of asylum applications.

      The EU also has legislation on other aspects of migration: (short-term) visas, border controls, irregular migration, and legal migration – much of which has connections with the asylum legislation, and all of which is covered by this week’s package. For visas, the main legislation is the visa list Regulation (setting out which non-EU countries’ citizens are subject to a short-term visa requirement, or exempt from it) and the visa code (defining the criteria to obtain a short-term Schengen visa, allowing travel between all Schengen states). The visa code was amended last year, as discussed here.

      For border controls, the main legislation is the Schengen Borders Code, setting out the rules on crossing external borders and the circumstances in which Schengen states can reinstate controls on internal borders, along with the Frontex Regulation, setting up an EU border agency to assist Member States. On the most recent version of the Frontex Regulation, see discussion here and here.

      For irregular migration, the main legislation is the Return Directive. The Commission proposed to amend it in 2018 – on which, see analysis here and here.

      For legal migration, the main legislation on admission of non-EU workers is the single permit Directive (setting out a common process and rights for workers, but not regulating admission); the Blue Card Directive (on highly paid migrants, discussed here); the seasonal workers’ Directive (discussed here); and the Directive on intra-corporate transferees (discussed here). The EU also has legislation on: non-EU students, researchers and trainees (overview here); non-EU family reunion (see summary of the legislation and case law here) and on long-term resident non-EU citizens (overview – in the context of UK citizens after Brexit – here). In 2016, the Commission proposed to revise the Blue Card Directive (see discussion here).

      The UK, Ireland and Denmark have opted out of most of these laws, except some asylum law applies to the UK and Ireland, and Denmark is covered by the Schengen and Dublin rules. So are the non-EU countries associated with Schengen and Dublin (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). There are also a number of further databases of non-EU citizens as well as Eurodac: the EU has never met a non-EU migrant who personal data it didn’t want to store and process.

      The Refugee ‘Crisis’

      The EU’s response to the perceived refugee ‘crisis’ was both short-term and long-term. In the short term, in 2015 the EU adopted temporary laws (discussed here) relocating some asylum seekers in principle from Italy and Greece to other Member States. A legal challenge to one of these laws failed (as discussed here), but in practice Member States accepted few relocations anyway. Earlier this year, the CJEU ruled that several Member States had breached their obligations under the laws (discussed here), but by then it was a moot point.

      Longer term, the Commission proposed overhauls of the law in 2016: a) a Qualification Regulation further harmonising the law on refugee and subsidiary protection status; b) a revised Dublin Regulation, which would have set up a system of relocation of asylum seekers for future crises; c) a revised Eurodac Regulation, to take much more data from asylum seekers and other migrants; d) an Asylum Procedures Regulation, further harmonising the procedural law on asylum applications; e) a revised Reception Conditions Directive; f) a revised Asylum Agency Regulation, giving the agency more powers; and g) a new Resettlement Regulation, setting out a framework of admitting refugees directly from non-EU countries. (See my comments on some of these proposals, from back in 2016)

      However, these proposals proved unsuccessful – which is the main reason for this week’s attempt to relaunch the process. In particular, an EU Council note from February 2019 summarises the diverse problems that befell each proposal. While the EU Council Presidency and the European Parliament reached agreement on the proposals on qualification, reception conditions and resettlement in June 2018, Member States refused to support the Presidency’s deal and the European Parliament refused to renegotiate (see, for instance, the Council documents on the proposals on qualification and resettlement; see also my comments on an earlier stage of the talks, when the Council had agreed its negotiation position on the qualification regulation).

      On the asylum agency, the EP and Council agreed on the revised law in 2017, but the Commission proposed an amendment in 2018 to give the agency more powers; the Council could not agree on this. On Eurodac, the EP and Council only partly agreed on a text. On the procedures Regulation, the Council largely agreed its position, except on border procedures; on Dublin there was never much prospect of agreement because of the controversy over relocating asylum seekers. (For either proposal, a difficult negotiation with the European Parliament lay ahead).

      In other areas too, the legislative process was difficult: the Council and EP gave up negotiating amendments to the Blue Card Directive (see the last attempt at a compromise here, and the Council negotiation mandate here), and the EP has not yet agreed a position on the Returns Directive (the Council has a negotiating position, but again it leaves out the difficult issue of border procedures; there is a draft EP position from February). Having said that, the EU has been able to agree legislation giving more powers to Frontex, as well as new laws on EU migration databases, in the last few years.

      The attempted relaunch

      The Commission’s new Pact on asylum and immigration (see also the roadmap on its implementation, the Q and As, and the staff working paper) does not restart the whole process from scratch. On qualification, reception conditions, resettlement, the asylum agency, the returns Directive and the Blue Card Directive, it invites the Council and Parliament to resume negotiations. But it tries to unblock the talks as a whole by tabling two amended legislative proposals and three new legislative proposals, focussing on the issues of border procedures and relocation of asylum seekers.

      Screening at the border

      This revised proposals start with a new proposal for screening asylum seekers at the border, which would apply to all non-EU citizens who cross an external border without authorisation, who apply for asylum while being checked at the border (without meeting the conditions for legal entry), or who are disembarked after a search and rescue operation. During the screening, these non-EU citizens are not allowed to enter the territory of a Member State, unless it becomes clear that they meet the criteria for entry. The screening at the border should take no longer than 5 days, with an extra 5 days in the event of a huge influx. (It would also be possible to apply the proposed law to those on the territory who evaded border checks; for them the deadline to complete the screening is 3 days).

      Screening has six elements, as further detailed in the proposal: a health check, an identity check, registration in a database, a security check, filling out a debriefing form, and deciding on what happens next. At the end of the screening, the migrant is channelled either into the expulsion process (if no asylum claim has been made, and if the migrant does not meet the conditions for entry) or, if an asylum claim is made, into the asylum process – with an indication of whether the claim should be fast-tracked or not. It’s also possible that an asylum seeker would be relocated to another Member State. The screening is carried out by national officials, possibly with support from EU agencies.

      To ensure human rights protection, there must be independent monitoring to address allegations of non-compliance with human rights. These allegations might concern breaches of EU or international law, national law on detention, access to the asylum procedure, or non-refoulement (the ban on sending people to an unsafe country). Migrants must be informed about the process and relevant EU immigration and data protection law. There is no provision for judicial review of the outcome of the screening process, although there would be review as part of the next step (asylum or return).

      Asylum procedures

      The revised proposal for an asylum procedures Regulation would leave in place most of the Commission’s 2016 proposal to amend the law, adding some specific further proposed amendments, which either link back to the screening proposal or aim to fast-track decisions and expulsions more generally.

      On the first point, the usual rules on informing asylum applicants and registering their application would not apply until after the end of the screening. A border procedure may apply following the screening process, but Member States must apply the border procedure in cases where an asylum seeker used false documents, is a perceived national security threat, or falls within the new ground for fast-tracking cases (on which, see below). The latter obligation is subject to exceptions where a Member State has reported that a non-EU country is not cooperating on readmission; the process for dealing with that issue set out under the 2019 amendments to the visa code will then apply. Also, the border process cannot apply to unaccompanied minors or children under 12, unless they are a supposed national security risk. Further exceptions apply where the asylum seeker is vulnerable or has medical needs, the application is not inadmissible or cannot be fast-tracked, or detention conditions cannot be guaranteed. A Member State might apply the Dublin process to determine which Member State is responsible for the asylum claim during the border process. The whole border process (including any appeal) must last no more than 12 weeks, and can only be used to declare applications inadmissible or apply the new ground for fast-tracking them.

      There would also be a new border expulsion procedure, where an asylum application covered by the border procedure was rejected. This is subject to its own 12-week deadline, starting from the point when the migrant is no longer allowed to remain. Much of the Return Directive would apply – but not the provisions on the time period for voluntary departure, remedies and the grounds for detention. Instead, the border expulsion procedure would have its own stricter rules on these issues.

      As regards general fast-tracking, in order to speed up the expulsion process for unsuccessful applications, a rejection of an asylum application would have to either incorporate an expulsion decision or entail a simultaneous separate expulsion decision. Appeals against expulsion decisions would then be subject to the same rules as appeals against asylum decisions. If the asylum seeker comes from a country with a refugee recognition rate below 20%, his or her application must be fast-tracked (this would even apply to unaccompanied minors) – unless circumstances in that country have changed, or the asylum seeker comes from a group for whom the low recognition rate is not representative (for instance, the recognition rate might be higher for LGBT asylum-seekers from that country). Many more appeals would be subject to a one-week time limit for the rejected asylum seeker to appeal, and there could be only one level of appeal against decisions taken within a border procedure.

      Eurodac

      The revised proposal for Eurodac would build upon the 2016 proposal, which was already far-reaching: extending Eurodac to include not only fingerprints, but also photos and other personal data; reducing the age of those covered by Eurodac from 14 to 6; removing the time limits and the limits on use of the fingerprints taken from persons who had crossed the border irregularly; and creating a new obligation to collect data of all irregular migrants over age 6 (currently fingerprint data for this group cannot be stored, but can simply be checked, as an option, against the data on asylum seekers and irregular border crossers). The 2020 proposal additionally provides for interoperability with other EU migration databases, taking of personal data during the screening process, including more data on the migration status of each person, and expressly applying the law to those disembarked after a search and rescue operation.

      Dublin rules on asylum responsibility

      A new proposal for asylum management would replace the Dublin regulation (meaning that the Commission has withdrawn its 2016 proposal to replace that Regulation). The 2016 proposal would have created a ‘bottleneck’ in the Member State of entry, requiring that State to examine first whether many of the grounds for removing an asylum-seeker to a non-EU country apply before considering whether another Member State might be responsible for the application (because the asylum seeker’s family live there, for instance). It would also have imposed obligations directly on asylum-seekers to cooperate with the process, rather than only regulate relations between Member States. These obligations would have been enforced by punishing asylum seekers who disobeyed: removing their reception conditions (apart from emergency health care); fast-tracking their substantive asylum applications; refusing to consider new evidence from them; and continuing the asylum application process in their absence.

      It would no longer be possible for asylum seekers to provide additional evidence of family links, with a view to being in the same country as a family member. Overturning a CJEU judgment (see further discussion here), unaccompanied minors would no longer have been able to make applications in multiple Member States (in the absence of a family member in any of them). However, the definition of family members would have been widened, to include siblings and families formed in a transit country. Responsibility for an asylum seeker based on the first Member State of irregular entry (a commonly applied criterion) would have applied indefinitely, rather than expire one year after entry as it does under the current rules. The ‘Sangatte clause’ (responsibility after five months of living in a second Member State, if the ‘irregular entry’ criterion no longer applies) would be dropped. The ‘sovereignty clause’, which played a key part in the 2015-16 refugee ‘crisis’ (it lets a Member State take responsibility for any application even if the Dublin rules do not require it, cf Germany accepting responsibility for Syrian asylum seekers) would have been sharply curtailed. Time limits for detention during the transfer process would be reduced. Remedies for asylum seekers would have been curtailed: they would only have seven days to appeal against a transfer; courts would have fifteen days to decide (although they could have stayed on the territory throughout); and the grounds of review would have been curtailed.

      Finally, the 2016 proposal would have tackled the vexed issue of disproportionate allocation of responsibility for asylum seekers by setting up an automated system determining how many asylum seekers each Member State ‘should’ have based on their size and GDP. If a Member State were responsible for excessive numbers of applicants, Member States which were receiving fewer numbers would have to take more to help out. If they refused, they would have to pay €250,000 per applicant.

      The 2020 proposal drops some of the controversial proposals from 2016, including the ‘bottleneck’ in the Member State of entry (the current rule, giving Member States an option to decide if a non-EU country is responsible for the application on narrower grounds than in the 2016 proposal, would still apply). Also, the sovereignty clause would now remain unchanged.

      However, the 2020 proposal also retains parts of the 2016 proposal: the redefinition of ‘family member’ (which could be more significant now that the bottleneck is removed, unless Member States choose to apply the relevant rules on non-EU countries’ responsibility during the border procedure already); obligations for asylum seekers (redrafted slightly); some of the punishments for non-compliant asylum-seekers (the cut-off for considering evidence would stay, as would the loss of benefits except for those necessary to ensure a basic standard of living: see the CJEU case law in CIMADE and Haqbin); dropping the provision on evidence of family links; changing the rules on responsibility for unaccompanied minors; retaining part of the changes to the irregular entry criterion (it would now cease to apply after three years; the Sangatte clause would still be dropped; it would apply after search and rescue but not apply in the event of relocation); curtailing judicial review (the grounds would still be limited; the time limit to appeal would be 14 days; courts would not have a strict deadline to decide; suspensive effect would not apply in all cases); and the reduced time limits for detention.

      The wholly new features of the 2020 proposal are: some vague provisions about crisis management; responsibility for an asylum application for the Member State which issued a visa or residence document which expired in the last three years (the current rule is responsibility if the visa expired less than six months ago, and the residence permit expired less than a year ago); responsibility for an asylum application for a Member State in which a non-EU citizen obtained a diploma; and the possibility for refugees or persons with subsidiary protection status to obtain EU long-term resident status after three years, rather than five.

      However, the most significant feature of the new proposal is likely to be its attempt to solve the underlying issue of disproportionate allocation of asylum seekers. Rather than a mechanical approach to reallocating responsibility, the 2020 proposal now provides for a menu of ‘solidarity contributions’: relocation of asylum seekers; relocation of refugees; ‘return sponsorship’; or support for ‘capacity building’ in the Member State (or a non-EU country) facing migratory pressure. There are separate rules for search and rescue disembarkations, on the one hand, and more general migratory pressures on the other. Once the Commission determines that the latter situation exists, other Member States have to choose from the menu to offer some assistance. Ultimately the Commission will adopt a decision deciding what the contributions will be. Note that ‘return sponsorship’ comes with a ticking clock: if the persons concerned are not expelled within eight months, the sponsoring Member State must accept them on its territory.

      Crisis management

      The issue of managing asylum issues in a crisis has been carved out of the Dublin proposal into a separate proposal, which would repeal an EU law from 2001 that set up a framework for offering ‘temporary protection’ in a crisis. Note that Member States have never used the 2001 law in practice.

      Compared to the 2001 law, the new proposal is integrated into the EU asylum legislation that has been adopted or proposed in the meantime. It similarly applies in the event of a ‘mass influx’ that prevents the effective functioning of the asylum system. It would apply the ‘solidarity’ process set out in the proposal to replace the Dublin rules (ie relocation of asylum seekers and other measures), with certain exceptions and shorter time limits to apply that process.

      The proposal focusses on providing for possible exceptions to the usual asylum rules. In particular, during a crisis, the Commission could authorise a Member State to apply temporary derogations from the rules on border asylum procedures (extending the time limit, using the procedure to fast-track more cases), border return procedures (again extending the time limit, more easily justifying detention), or the time limit to register asylum applicants. Member States could also determine that due to force majeure, it was not possible to observe the normal time limits for registering asylum applications, applying the Dublin process for responsibility for asylum applications, or offering ‘solidarity’ to other Member States.

      Finally, the new proposal, like the 2001 law, would create a potential for a form of separate ‘temporary protection’ status for the persons concerned. A Member State could suspend the consideration of asylum applications from people coming from the country facing a crisis for up to a year, in the meantime giving them status equivalent to ‘subsidiary protection’ status in the EU qualification law. After that point it would have to resume consideration of the applications. It would need the Commission’s approval, whereas the 2001 law left it to the Council to determine a situation of ‘mass influx’ and provided for the possible extension of the special rules for up to three years.

      Other measures

      The Commission has also adopted four soft law measures. These comprise: a Recommendation on asylum crisis management; a Recommendation on resettlement and humanitarian admission; a Recommendation on cooperation between Member States on private search and rescue operations; and guidance on the applicability of EU law on smuggling of migrants – notably concluding that it cannot apply where (as in the case of law of the sea) there is an obligation to rescue.

      On other issues, the Commission plan is to use current legislation – in particular the recent amendment to the visa code, which provides for sticks to make visas more difficult to get for citizens of countries which don’t cooperate on readmission of people, and carrots to make visas easier to get for citizens of countries which do cooperate on readmission. In some areas, such as the Schengen system, there will be further strategies and plans in the near future; it is not clear if this will lead to more proposed legislation.

      However, on legal migration, the plan is to go further than relaunching the amendment of the Blue Card Directive, as the Commission is also planning to propose amendments to the single permit and long-term residence laws referred to above – leading respectively to more harmonisation of the law on admission of non-EU workers and enhanced possibilities for long-term resident non-EU citizens to move between Member States (nb the latter plan is separate from this week’s proposal to amend this law as regards refugees and people with subsidiary protection already). Both these plans are relevant to British citizens moving to the EU after the post-Brexit transition period – and the latter is also relevant to British citizens covered by the withdrawal agreement.

      Comments

      This week’s plan is less a complete restart of EU law in this area than an attempt to relaunch discussions on a blocked set of amendments to that law, which moreover focusses on a limited set of issues. Will it ‘work’? There are two different ways to answer that question.

      First, will it unlock the institutional blockage? Here it should be kept in mind that the European Parliament and the Council had largely agreed on several of the 2016 proposals already; they would have been adopted in 2018 already had not the Council treated all the proposals as a package, and not gone back on agreements which the Council Presidency reached with the European Parliament. It is always open to the Council to get at least some of these proposals adopted quickly by reversing these approaches.

      On the blocked proposals, the Commission has targeted the key issues of border procedures and allocation of asylum-seekers. If the former leads to more quick removals of unsuccessful applicants, the latter issue is no longer so pressing. But it is not clear if the Member States will agree to anything on border procedures, or whether such an agreement will result in more expulsions anyway – because the latter depends on the willingness of non-EU countries, which the EU cannot legislate for (and does not even address in this most recent package). And because it is uncertain whether they will result in more expulsions, Member States will be wary of agreeing to anything which either results in more obligations to accept asylum-seekers on their territory, or leaves them with the same number as before.

      The idea of ‘return sponsorship’ – which reads like a grotesque parody of individuals sponsoring children in developing countries via charities – may not be appealing except to those countries like France, which have the capacity to twist arms in developing countries to accept returns. Member States might be able to agree on a replacement for the temporary protection Directive on the basis that they will never use that replacement either. And Commission threats to use infringement proceedings to enforce the law might not worry Member States who recall that the CJEU ruled on their failure to relocate asylum-seekers after the relocation law had already expired, and that the Court will soon rule on Hungary’s expulsion of the Central European University after it has already left.

      As to whether the proposals will ‘work’ in terms of managing asylum flows fairly and compatibly with human rights, it is striking how much they depend upon curtailing appeal rights, even though appeals are often successful. The proposed limitation of appeal rights will also be maintained in the Dublin system; and while the proposed ‘bottleneck’ of deciding on removals to non-EU countries before applying the Dublin system has been removed, a variation on this process may well apply in the border procedures process instead. There is no new review of the assessment of the safety of non-EU countries – which is questionable in light of the many reports of abuse in Libya. While the EU is not proposing, as the wildest headbangers would want, to turn people back or refuse applications without consideration, the question is whether the fast-track consideration of applications and then appeals will constitute merely a Potemkin village of procedural rights that mean nothing in practice.

      Increased detention is already a feature of the amendments proposed earlier: the reception conditions proposal would add a new ground for detention; the return Directive proposal would inevitably increase detention due to curtailing voluntary departure (as discussed here). Unfortunately the Commission’s claim in its new communication that its 2018 proposal is ‘promoting’ voluntary return is therefore simply false. Trump-style falsehoods have no place in the discussion of EU immigration or asylum law.

      The latest Eurodac proposal would not do much compared to the 2016 proposal – but then, the 2016 proposal would already constitute an enormous increase in the amount of data collected and shared by that system.

      Some elements of the package are more positive. The possibility for refugees and people with subsidiary protection to get EU long-term residence status earlier would be an important step toward making asylum ‘valid throughout the Union’, as referred to in the Treaties. The wider definition of family members, and the retention of the full sovereignty clause, may lead to some fairer results under the Dublin system. Future plans to improve the long-term residents’ Directive are long overdue. The Commission’s sound legal assessment that no one should be prosecuted for acting on their obligations to rescue people in distress at sea is welcome. The quasi-agreed text of the reception conditions Directive explicitly rules out Trump-style separate detention of children.

      No proposals from the EU can solve the underlying political issue: a chunk of public opinion is hostile to more migration, whether in frontline Member States, other Member States, or transit countries outside the EU. The politics is bound to affect what Member States and non-EU countries alike are willing to agree to. And for the same reason, even if a set of amendments to the system is ultimately agreed, there will likely be continuing issues of implementation, especially illegal pushbacks and refusals to accept relocation.

      https://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2020/09/first-analysis-of-eus-new-asylum.html?spref=fb

    • Pacte européen sur les migrations et l’asile : Le rendez-vous manqué de l’UE

      Le nouveau pacte européen migrations et asile présenté par la Commission ce 23 septembre, loin de tirer les leçons de l’échec et du coût humain intolérable des politiques menées depuis 30 ans, s’inscrit dans la continuité des logiques déjà largement éprouvées, fondées sur une approche répressive et sécuritaire au service de l’endiguement et des expulsions et au détriment d’une politique d’accueil qui s’attache à garantir et à protéger la dignité et les droits fondamentaux.

      Des « nouveaux » camps européens aux frontières pour filtrer les personnes arrivées sur le territoire européen et expulser le plus grand nombre

      En réaction au drame des incendies qui ont ravagé le camp de Moria sur l’île grecque de Lesbos, la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, affirmait le 17 septembre devant les députés européens qu’« il n’y aurait pas d’autres Moria » mais de « véritables centres d’accueil » aux frontières européennes.

      Si le nouveau pacte prévoie effectivement la création de « nouveaux » camps conjuguée à une « nouvelle » procédure accélérée aux frontières, ces derniers s’apparentent largement à l’approche hotspot mise en œuvre par l’Union européenne (UE) depuis 2015 afin d’organiser la sélection des personnes qu’elle souhaite accueillir et l’expulsion, depuis la frontière, de tous celles qu’elle considère « indésirables ».

      Le pacte prévoie ainsi la mise en place « d’un contrôle préalable à l’entrée sur le territoire pour toutes les personnes qui se présentent aux frontières extérieures ou après un débarquement, à la suite d’une opération de recherche et de sauvetage ». Il s’agira, pour les pays situés à la frontière extérieure de l’UE, de procéder – dans un délai de 5 jours et avec l’appui des agences européennes (l’agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes – Frontex et le Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile – EASO) – à des contrôles d’identité (prise d’empreintes et enregistrement dans les bases de données européennes) doublés de contrôles sécuritaires et sanitaires afin de procéder à un tri préalable à l’entrée sur le territoire, permettant d’orienter ensuite les personne vers :

      Une procédure d’asile accélérée à la frontière pour celles possédant une nationalité pour laquelle le taux de reconnaissance d’une protection internationale, à l’échelle de l’UE, est inférieure à 20%
      Une procédure d’asile normale pour celles considérées comme éligibles à une protection.
      Une procédure d’expulsion immédiate, depuis la frontière, pour toute celles qui auront été rejetées par ce dispositif de tri, dans un délai de 12 semaines.

      Pendant cette procédure de filtrage à la frontière, les personnes seraient considérées comme n’étant pas encore entrées sur le territoire européen ce qui permettrait aux Etats de déroger aux conventions de droit international qui s’y appliquent.

      Un premier projet pilote est notamment prévu à Lesbos, conjointement avec les autorités grecques, pour installer un nouveau camp sur l’île avec l’appui d’une Task Force européenne, directement placée sous le contrôle de la direction générale des affaires intérieure de la Commission européenne (DG HOME).

      Difficile de voir où se trouve l’innovation dans la proposition présentée par la Commission. Si ce n’est que les États européens souhaitent pousser encore plus loin à la fois la logique de filtrage à ces frontières ainsi que la sous-traitance de leur contrôle. Depuis l’été 2018, l’Union européenne défend la création de « centres contrôlés au sein de l’UE » d’une part et de « plateformes de débarquement dans les pays tiers » d’autre part. L’UE, à travers ce nouveau mécanisme, vise à organiser l’expulsion rapide des migrants qui sont parvenus, souvent au péril de leur vie, à pénétrer sur son territoire. Pour ce faire, la coopération accrue avec les gardes-frontières des États non européens et l’appui opérationnel de l’agence Frontex sont encore et toujours privilégiés.
      Un « nouvel écosystème en matière de retour »

      L’obsession européenne pour l’amélioration du « taux de retour » se retrouve au cœur de ce nouveau pacte, en repoussant toujours plus les limites en matière de coopération extérieure et d’enfermement des personnes étrangères jugées indésirables et en augmentant de façon inédite ses moyens opérationnels.

      Selon l’expression de Margaritis Schinas, commissaire grec en charge de la « promotion du mode de vie européen », la nouvelle procédure accélérée aux frontières s’accompagnera d’« un nouvel écosystème européen en matière de retour ». Il sera piloté par un « nouveau coordinateur de l’UE chargé des retours » ainsi qu’un « réseau de haut niveau coordonnant les actions nationales » avec le soutien de l’agence Frontex, qui devrait devenir « le bras opérationnel de la politique de retour européenne ».

      Rappelons que Frontex a vu ses moyens décuplés ces dernières années, notamment en vue d’expulser plus de personnes migrantes. Celle-ci a encore vu ses moyens renforcés depuis l’entrée en vigueur de son nouveau règlement le 4 décembre 2019 dont la Commission souhaite accélérer la mise en œuvre effective. Au-delà d’une augmentation de ses effectifs et de la possibilité d’acquérir son propre matériel, l’agence bénéficie désormais de pouvoirs étendus pour identifier les personnes « expulsables » du territoire européen, obtenir les documents de voyage nécessaires à la mise en œuvre de leurs expulsions ainsi que pour coordonner des opérations d’expulsion au service des Etats membres.

      La Commission souhaite également faire aboutir, d’ici le second trimestre 2021, le projet de révision de la directive européenne « Retour », qui constitue un recul sans précédent du cadre de protection des droits fondamentaux des personnes migrantes. Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : L’expulsion au cœur des politiques migratoires européennes, 22 mai 2019
      Des « partenariats sur-mesure » avec les pays d’origine et de transit

      La Commission étend encore redoubler d’efforts afin d’inciter les Etats non européens à participer activement à empêcher les départs vers l’Europe ainsi qu’à collaborer davantage en matière de retour et de réadmission en utilisant l’ensemble des instruments politiques à sa disposition. Ces dernières années ont vu se multiplier les instruments européens de coopération formelle (à travers la signature, entre autres, d’accords de réadmission bilatéraux ou multilatéraux) et informelle (à l’instar de la tristement célèbre déclaration entre l’UE et la Turquie de mars 2016) à tel point qu’il est devenu impossible, pour les États ciblés, de coopérer avec l’UE dans un domaine spécifique sans que les objectifs européens en matière migratoire ne soient aussi imposés.

      L’exécutif européen a enfin souligné sa volonté de d’exploiter les possibilités offertes par le nouveau règlement sur les visas Schengen, entré en vigueur en février 2020. Celui-ci prévoie d’évaluer, chaque année, le degré de coopération des Etats non européens en matière de réadmission. Le résultat de cette évaluation permettra d’adopter une décision de facilitation de visa pour les « bon élèves » ou à l’inverse, d’imposer des mesures de restrictions de visas aux « mauvais élèves ». Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : Expulsions contre visas : le droit à la mobilité marchandé, 2 février 2020.

      Conduite au seul prisme des intérêts européens, cette politique renforce le caractère historiquement déséquilibré des relations de « coopération » et entraîne en outre des conséquences désastreuses sur les droits des personnes migrantes, notamment celui de quitter tout pays, y compris le leur. Sous couvert d’aider ces pays à « se développer », les mesures « incitatives » européennes ne restent qu’un moyen de poursuivre ses objectifs et d’imposer sa vision des migrations. En coopérant davantage avec les pays d’origine et de transit, parmi lesquelles des dictatures et autres régimes autoritaires, l’UE renforce l’externalisation de ses politiques migratoires, sous-traitant la gestion des exilées aux Etats extérieurs à l’UE, tout en se déresponsabilisant des violations des droits perpétrées hors de ses frontières.
      Solidarité à la carte, entre relocalisation et expulsion

      Le constat d’échec du système Dublin – machine infernale de l’asile européen – conjugué à la volonté de parvenir à trouver un consensus suite aux profonds désaccords qui avaient mené les négociations sur Dublin IV dans l’impasse, la Commission souhaite remplacer l’actuel règlement de Dublin par un nouveau règlement sur la gestion de l’asile et de l’immigration, liant étroitement les procédures d’asile aux procédures d’expulsion.

      Les quotas de relocalisation contraignants utilisés par le passé, à l’instar du mécanisme de relocalisation mis en place entre 2015 et 2017 qui fut un échec tant du point de vue du nombre de relocalisations (seulement 25 000 relocalisations sur les 160 000 prévues) que du refus de plusieurs Etats d’y participer, semblent être abandonnés.

      Le nouveau pacte propose donc un nouveau mécanisme de solidarité, certes obligatoire mais flexible dans ses modalités. Ainsi les Etats membres devront choisir, selon une clé de répartition définie :

      Soit de participer à l’effort de relocalisation des personnes identifiées comme éligibles à la protection internationale depuis les frontières extérieures pour prendre en charge l’examen de leur demande d’asile.
      Soit de participer au nouveau concept de « parrainage des retours » inventé par la Commission européenne. Concrètement, il s’agit d’être « solidaire autrement », en s’engageant activement dans la politique de retour européenne par la mise en œuvre des expulsions des personnes que l’UE et ses Etats membres souhaitent éloigner du territoire, avec la possibilité de concentrer leurs efforts sur les nationalités pour lesquelles leurs perspectives de faire aboutir l’expulsion est la plus élevée.

      De nouvelles règles pour les « situations de crise et de force majeure »

      Le pacte prévoie d’abroger la directive européenne relative à des normes minimales pour l’octroi d’une protection temporaire en cas d’afflux massif de personnes déplacées, au profit d’un nouveau règlement européen relatif aux « situations de crise et de force majeure ». L’UE et ses Etats membres ont régulièrement essuyé les critiques des acteurs de la société civile pour n’avoir jamais activé la procédure prévue par la directive de 2001, notamment dans le cadre de situation exceptionnelle telle que la crise de l’accueil des personnes arrivées aux frontières sud de l’UE en 2015.

      Le nouveau règlement prévoie notamment qu’en cas de « situation de crise ou de force majeure » les Etats membres pourraient déroger aux règles qui s’appliquent en matière d’asile, en suspendant notamment l’enregistrement des demandes d’asile pendant un durée d’un mois maximum. Cette mesure entérine des pratiques contraires au droit international et européen, à l’instar de ce qu’a fait la Grèce début mars 2020 afin de refouler toutes les personnes qui tenteraient de pénétrer le territoire européen depuis la Turquie voisine. Voir notre précédente actualité sur le sujet : Frontière Grèce-Turquie : de l’approche hotspot au scandale de la guerre aux migrant·e ·s, 3 mars 2020

      Cette proposition représente un recul sans précédent du droit d’asile aux frontières et fait craindre de multiples violations du principe de non refoulement consacré par la Convention de Genève.

      Bien loin d’engager un changement de cap des politiques migratoires européennes, le nouveau pacte européen migrations et asile ne semble n’être qu’un nouveau cadre de plus pour poursuivre une approche des mouvements migratoires qui, de longue date, s’est construite autour de la volonté d’empêcher les arrivées aux frontières et d’organiser un tri parmi les personnes qui auraient réussi à braver les obstacles pour atteindre le territoire européen, entre celles considérées éligibles à la demande d’asile et toutes les autres qui devraient être expulsées.

      De notre point de vue, cela signifie surtout que des milliers de personnes continueront à être privées de liberté et à subir les dispositifs répressifs des Etats membres de l’Union européenne. Les conséquences néfastes sur la dignité humaine et les droits fondamentaux de cette approche sont flagrantes, les personnes exilées et leurs soutiens y sont confrontées tous les jours.

      Encore une fois, des moyens très importants sont consacrés à financer l’érection de barrières physiques, juridiques et technologiques ainsi que la construction de camps sur les routes migratoires tandis qu’ils pourraient utilement être redéployés pour accueillir dignement et permettre un accès inconditionnel au territoire européen pour les personnes bloquées à ses frontières extérieures afin d’examiner avec attention et impartialité leurs situations et assurer le respect effectif des droits de tou∙te∙s.

      Nous appelons à un changement radical des politiques migratoires, pour une Europe qui encourage les solidarités, fondée sur la protection des droits humains et la dignité humaine afin d’assurer la protection des personnes et non pas leur exclusion.

      https://www.lacimade.org/pacte-europeen-sur-les-migrations-et-lasile-le-rendez-vous-manque-de-lue

    • EU’s new migrant ‘pact’ is as squalid as its refugee camps

      Governments need to share responsibility for asylum seekers, beyond merely ejecting the unwanted

      One month after fires swept through Europe’s largest, most squalid refugee camp, the EU’s migration policies present a picture as desolate as the blackened ruins of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos. The latest effort at overhauling these policies is a European Commission “pact on asylum and migration”, which is not a pact at all. Its proposals sharply divide the EU’s 27 governments.

      In an attempt to appease central and eastern European countries hostile to admitting asylum-seekers, the commission suggests, in an Orwellian turn of phrase, that they should operate “relocation and return sponsorships”, dispatching people refused entry to their places of origin. This sort of task is normally reserved for nightclub bouncers.

      The grim irony is that Hungary and Poland, two countries that would presumably be asked to take charge of such expulsions, are the subject of EU disciplinary proceedings due to alleged violations of the rule of law. It remains a mystery how, if the commission proposal moves forward, the EU will succeed in binding Hungary and Poland into a common asylum policy and bend them into accepting EU definitions of the rule of law.

      Perhaps the best thing to be said of the commission’s plan is that, unlike the UK government, EU policymakers are not toying with hare-brained schemes of sending asylum-seekers to Ascension Island in the south Atlantic. Such options are the imagined privilege of a former imperial power not divested of all its far-flung possessions.

      Yet the commission’s initiative still reeks of wishful thinking. It foresees a process in which authorities swiftly check the identities, security status and health of irregular migrants, before returning them home, placing them in the asylum system or putting them in temporary facilities. This will supposedly decongest EU border zones, as governments will agree how to relocate new arrivals. But it is precisely the lack of such agreement since 2015 that led to Moria’s disgraceful conditions.

      The commission should not be held responsible for governments failing to shoulder their responsibilities. It is also justified in emphasising the need for a strong EU frontier. This is a precondition for free movement inside the bloc, vital for a flourishing single market.

      True, the Schengen system of border-free internal travel is curtailed at present because of the pandemic, not to mention restrictions introduced in some countries after the 2015 refugee and migrant crisis. But no government wants to abandon Schengen. Where they fall out with each other is over the housing of refugees and migrants.

      Europe’s overcrowded, unhygienic refugee camps, and the paralysis that grips EU policies, are all the more shameful in that governments no longer face a border emergency. Some 60,800 irregular migrants crossed into the EU between January and August, 14 per cent less than the same period in 2019, according to the EU border agency.

      By contrast, there were 1.8m illegal border crossings in 2015, a different order of magnitude. Refugees from conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria made desperate voyages across the Mediterranean, with thousands drowning in ramshackle boats. Some countries, led by Germany and Sweden, were extremely generous in opening their doors to refugees. Others were not.

      The roots of today’s problems lie in the measures devised to address that crisis, above all a 2016 accord with Turkey. Irregular migrants were kept on Moria and other Greek islands, designated “hotspots”, in the expectation that failed asylum applicants would be smoothly returned to Turkey, its coffers replenished by billions of euros in EU assistance. In practice, few went back to Turkey and the understaffed, underfunded “hotspots” became places of tension between refugees and locals.

      Unable to agree on a relocation scheme among themselves, EU governments lapsed into a de facto policy of deterrence of irregular migrants. The pandemic provided an excuse for Italy and Malta to close their ports to people rescued at sea. Visiting the Greek-Turkish border in March, Ursula von der Leyen, the commission president, declared: “I thank Greece for being our European aspida [shield].”

      The legitimacy of EU refugee policies depends on adherence to international law, as well the bloc’s own rules. Its practical success requires all governments to share a responsibility for asylum-seekers that goes beyond ejecting unwanted individuals. Otherwise the EU will fall into the familiar trap of cobbling together unsatisfactory half-measures that guarantee more trouble in the future.

      https://www.ft.com/content/c50c6b9c-75a8-40b1-900d-a228faa382dc?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754

    • The EU’s pact against migration, Part One

      The EU Commission’s proposal for a ‘New Pact for Migration and Asylum’ offers no prospect of ending the enduring mobility conflict, opposing the movements of illegalised migrants to the EU’s restrictive migration policies.

      The ’New Pact for Migration and Asylum’, announced by the European Commission in July 2019, was finally presented on September 23, 2020. The Pact was eagerly anticipated as it was described as a “fresh start on migration in Europe”, acknowledging not only that Dublin had failed, but also that the negotiations between European member states as to what system might replace it had reached a standstill.

      The fire in Moria that left more than 13.000 people stranded in the streets of Lesvos island offered a glaring symbol of the failure of the current EU policy. The public outcry it caused and expressions of solidarity it crystallised across Europe pressured the Commission to respond through the publication of its Pact.

      Considering the trajectory of EU migration policies over the last decades, the particular position of the Commission within the European power structure and the current political conjuncture of strong anti-migration positions in Europe, we did not expect the Commission’s proposal to address the mobility conflict underlying its migration policy crisis in a constructive way. And indeed, the Pact’s main promise is to manage the diverging positions of member states through a new mechanism of “flexible solidarity” between member states in sharing the “burden” of migrants who have arrived on European territory. Perpetuating the trajectory of the last decades, it however remains premised on keeping most migrants from the global South out at all cost. The “New Pact” then is effectively a pact between European states against migrants. The Pact, which will be examined and possibly adopted by the European Parliament and Council in the coming months, confirms the impasse to which three decades of European migration and asylum policy have led, and an absence of any political imagination worthy of the name.
      The EU’s migration regime’s failed architecture

      The current architecture of the European border regime is based on two main and intertwined pillars: the Schengen Implementing Convention (SIC, or Schengen II) and the Dublin Convention, both signed in 1990, and gradually enforced in the following years.[1]

      Created outside the EC/EU context, they became the central rationalities of the emerging European border and migration regime after their incorporation into EU law through the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997/99). Schengen instituted the EU’s territory as an area of free movement for its citizens and, as a direct consequence, reinforced the exclusion of citizens of the global South and pushed control towards its external borders.

      However this profound transformation of European borders left unchanged the unbalanced systemic relations between Europe and the Global South, within which migrants’ movements are embedded. As a result, this policy shift did not stop migrants from reaching the EU but rather illegalised their mobility, forcing them to resort to precarious migration strategies and generating an easily exploitable labour force that has become a large-scale and permanent feature of EU economies.

      The more than 40,000 migrant deaths recorded at the EU’s borders by NGOs since the end of the 1980s are the lethal outcomes of this enduring mobility conflict opposing the movements of illegalised migrants to the EU’s restrictive migration policies.

      The second pillar of the EU’s migration architecture, the Dublin Convention, addressed asylum seekers and their allocation between member-states. To prevent them from filing applications in several EU countries – derogatively referred to as “asylum shopping” – the 2003 Dublin regulation states that the asylum seekers’ first country of entry into the EU is responsible for processing their claims. Dublin thus created an uneven European geography of (ir)responsibility that allowed the member states not directly situated at the intersection of European borders and routes of migration to abnegate their responsibility to provide shelter and protection, and placed a heavier “burden” on the shoulders of states located at the EU’s external borders.

      This unbalanced architecture, around which the entire Common European Asylum System (CEAS) was constructed, would begin to wobble as soon as the number of people arriving on the EU’s shores rose, leading to crisis-driven policy responses to prevent the migration regime from collapsing under the pressure of migrants’ refusal to be assigned to a country that was not of their choosing, and conflicts between member states.

      As a result, the development of a European border, migration and asylum policy has been driven by crisis and is inherently reactive. This pattern particularly holds for the last decade, when the large-scale movements of migrants to Europe in the wake of the Arab Uprisings in 2011 put the EU migration regime into permanent crisis mode and prompted hasty reforms. As of 2011, Italy allowed Tunisians to move on, leading to the re-introduction of border controls by states such as France, while the same year the 2011 European Court of Human Rights’ judgement brought Dublin deportations to Greece to a halt because of the appalling reception and living conditions there. The increasing refusal by asylum seekers to surrender their fingerprints – the core means of implementing Dublin – as of 2013 further destabilized the migration regime.

      The instability only grew when in April 2015, more then 1,200 people died in two consecutive shipwrecks, forcing the Commission to publish its ‘European Agenda for Migration’ in May 2015. The 2015 agenda announced the creation of the hotspot system in the hope of re-stabilising the European migration regime through a targeted intervention of European agencies at Europe’s borders. Essentially, the hotspot approach offered a deal to EU member states: comprehensive registration in Europeanised structures (the hotspots) by so-called “front-line states” – thus re-imposing Dublin – in exchange for relocation of part of the registered migrants to other EU countries – thereby alleviating front-line states of part of their “burden”.

      This plan however collapsed before it could ever work, as it was immediately followed by the large-scale summer arrivals of 2015 as migrants trekked across Europe’s borders. It was simultaneously boycotted by several member states who refused relocations and continue to lead the charge in fomenting an explicit anti-migration agenda in the EU. While border controls were soon reintroduced, relocations never materialised in a meaningful manner in the years that followed.

      With the Dublin regime effectively paralysed and the EU unable to agree on a new mechanism for the distribution of asylum seekers within Europe, the EU resorted to the decades-old policies that had shaped the European border and migration regime since its inception: keeping migrants out at all cost through border control implemented by member states, European agencies or outsourced to third countries.

      Considering the profound crisis the turbulent movements of migrants had plunged the EU into in the summer of 2015, no measure was deemed excessive in achieving this exclusionary end: neither the tacit acceptance of violent expulsions and push-backs by Spain and Greece, nor the outsourcing of border control to Libyan torturers, nor the shameless collaboration with dictatorial regimes such as Turkey.

      Under the guise of “tackling the root causes of migration”, development aid was diverted and used to impose border externalisation and deportation agreements. But the external dimension of the EU’s migration regime has proven just as unstable as its internal one – as the re-opening of borders by Turkey in March 2020 demonstrates. The movements of illegalised migrants towards the EU could never be entirely contained and those who reached the shores of Europe were increasingly relegated to infrastructures of detention. Even if keeping thousands of migrants stranded in the hell of Moria may not have been part of the initial hotspot plan, it certainly has been the outcome of the EU’s internal blockages and ultimately effective in shoring up the EU’s strategy of deterrence.

      The “New Pact” perpetuating the EU’s failed policy of closure

      Today the “New Pact”, promised for Spring 2020 and apparently forgotten at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been revived in a hurry to address the destruction of Moria hotspot. While detailed analysis of the regulations that it proposes are beyond the scope of this article,[2] the broad intentions of the Pact’s rationale are clear.

      Despite all its humane and humanitarian rhetoric and some language critically addressing the manifest absence of the rule of law at the border of Europe, the Commission’s pact is a pact against migration. Taking stock of the continued impasse in terms of internal distribution of migrants, it re-affirms the EU’s central objective of reducing, massively the number of asylum seekers to be admitted to Europe. It promises to do so by continuing to erect chains of externalised border control along migrants’ entire trajectories (what it refers to as the “whole-of-route approach”).

      Those who do arrive should be swiftly screened and sorted in an infrastructure of detention along the borders of Europe. The lucky few who will succeed in fitting their lives into the shrinking boxes of asylum law are to be relocated to other EU countries in function of a mechanism of distribution based on population size and wealth of member states.

      Whether this will indeed undo the imbalances of the Dublin regime remains an open question[3], nevertheless, this relocation key is one of the few positive steps offered by the Pact since it comes closer to migrants’ own “relocation key” but still falls short of granting asylum seekers the freedom to choose their country of protection and residence.[4] The majority of rejected asylum seekers – which may be determined on the basis of an extended understanding of the “safe third country” notion – is to be funnelled towards deportations operated by the EU states refusing relocation. The Commission hopes deportations will be made smoother after a newly appointed “EU Return Coordinator” will have bullied countries of origin into accepting their nationals using the carrot of development aid and the stick of visa sanctions. The Commission seems to believe that with fewer expected arrivals and fewer migrants ending up staying in Europe, and with its mechanism of “flexible solidarity” allowing for a selective participation in relocations or returns depending on the taste of its member states, it can both bridge the gap between member states’ interests and push for a deeper Europeanisation of the policy field in which its own role will become more central.

      Thus, the EU Commission’s attempt to square the circle of member states’ conflicting interests has resulted in a European pact against migration, which perpetuates the promises of the EU’s (anti-)migration policy over the last three decades: externalisation, enhanced borders, accelerated asylum procedures, detention and deportations to prevent and deter migrants from the global South. It seeks to strike yet another deal between European member states, without consulting – and at the expense of – migrants themselves. Because most of the policy means contained in the pact are not new, and have always failed to durably end illegalised migration – instead they have created a large precaritised population at the heart of Europe – we do not see how they would work today. Migrants will continue to arrive, and many will remain stranded in front-line states or other EU states as they await deportation. As such, the outcome of the pact (if it is agreed upon) is likely a perpetuation and generalisation of the hotspot system, the very system whose untenability – glaringly demonstrated by Moria’s fire – prompted the presentation of the New Pact in the first place. Even if the Commission’s “no more Morias” rhetoric would like to persuade us of the opposite,[5] the ruins of Moria point to the past as well as the potential future of the CEAS if the Commission has its way.

      We are dismayed at the loss of yet another opportunity for Europe to fundamentally re-orient its policy of closure, one which is profoundly at odds with the reality of large-scale displacement in an unequal and interconnected world. We are dismayed at the prospect of more suffering and more political crises that can only be the outcome of this continued policy failure. Clearly, an entirely different approach to how Europe engages with the movements of migration is called for. One which actually aims to de-escalate and transform the enduring mobility conflict. One which starts from the reality of the movements of migrants and offers a frame for it to unfold rather than seeks to suppress and deny it.

      Notes and references

      [1] We have offered an extensive analysis of the following argument in previous articles. See in particular : Bernd Kasparek. 2016. “Complementing Schengen: The Dublin System and the European Border and Migration Regime”. In Migration Policy and Practice, edited by Harald Bauder and Christian Matheis, 59–78. Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship. Houndmills & New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani. 2016. “Ebbing and Flowing: The EU’s Shifting Practices of (Non-)Assistance and Bordering in a Time of Crisis”. Near Futures Online. No 1. Available here.

      [2] For first analyses see Steve Peers. 2020. “First analysis of the EU’s new asylum proposals”, EU Law Analysis, 25 September 2020; Sergio Carrera. 2020. “Whose Pact? The Cognitive Dimensions of the New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum”, CEPS, September 2020.

      [3] Carrera, ibid.

      [4] For a discussion of migration of migrants’ own relocation key, see Philipp Lutz, David Kaufmann and Anna Stütz. 2020. “Humanitarian Protection as a European Public Good: The Strategic Role of States and Refugees”, Journal of Common Market Studies 2020 Volume 58. Number 3. pp. 757–775. To compare the actual asylum applications across Europe over the last years with different relocations keys, see the tool developed by Etienne Piguet.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/the-eus-pact-against-migration-part-one

      #whole-of-route_approach #relocalisation #clé_de_relocalisation #relocation_key #pays-tiers_sûrs #EU_Return_Coordinator #solidarité_flexible #externalisation #new_pact

    • Towards a European pact with migrants, Part Two

      We call for a new Pact that addresses the reality of migrants’ movements, the systemic conditions leading people to flee their homes as well as the root causes of Europe’s racism.

      In Part One, we analysed the EU’s new Pact against migration. Here, we call for an entirely different approach to how Europe engages with migration, one which offers a legal frame for migration to unfold, and addresses the systemic conditions leading people to flee their homes as well as the root causes of Europe’s racism.Let us imagine for a moment that the EU Commission truly wanted, and was in a position, to reorient the EU’s migration policy in a direction that might actually de-escalate and transform the enduring mobility conflict: what might its pact with migrants look like?

      The EU’s pact with migrants might start from three fundamental premises. First, it would recognize that any policy that is entirely at odds with social practices is bound to generate conflict, and ultimately fail. A migration policy must start from the social reality of migration and provide a frame for it to unfold. Second, the pact would acknowledge that no conflict can be brought to an end unilaterally. Any process of conflict transformation must bring together the conflicting parties, and seek to address their needs, interests and values so that they no longer clash with each other. In particular, migrants from the global South must be included in the definition of the policies that concern them. Third, it would recognise, as Tendayi Achiume has put it, that migrants from the global South are no strangers to Europe.[1] They have long been included in the expansive webs of empire. Migration and borders are embedded in these unequal relations, and no end to the mobility conflict can be achieved without fundamentally transforming them. Based on these premises, the EU’s pact with migrants might contain the following four core measures:
      Global justice and conflict prevention

      Instead of claiming to tackle the “root causes” of migration by diverting and instrumentalising development aid towards border control, the EU’s pact with migrants would end all European political and economic relations that contribute to the crises leading to mass displacement. The EU would end all support to dictatorial regimes, would ban all weapon exports, terminate all destabilising military interventions. It would cancel unfair trade agreements and the debts of countries of the global South. It would end its massive carbon emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. Through these means, the EU would not claim to end migration perceived as a “problem” for Europe, but it would contribute to allowing more people to live a dignified life wherever they are and decrease forced migration, which certainly is a problem for migrants. A true commitment to global justice and conflict prevention and resolution is necessary if Europe wishes to limit the factors that lead too many people onto the harsh paths of exile in their countries and regions, a small proportion of whom reach European shores.
      Tackling the “root causes” of European racism

      While the EU’s so-called “global approach” to migration has in fact been one-sided, focused exclusively on migration as “the problem” rather then the processes that drive the EU’s policies of exclusion, the EU’s pact with migrants would boldly tackle the “root causes” of racism and xenophobia in Europe. Bold policies designed to address the EU’s colonial past and present and the racial imaginaries it has unleashed would be proposed, a positive vision for living in common in diverse societies affirmed, and a more inclusive and fair economic system would be established in Europe to decrease the resentment of European populations which has been skilfully channelled against migrants and racialised people.
      Universal freedom of movement

      By tackling the causes of large-scale displacement and of exclusionary migration policies, the EU would be able to de-escalate the mobility conflict, and could thus propose a policy granting all migrants legal pathways to access and stay in Europe. As an immediate outcome of the institution of right to international mobility, migrants would no longer resort to smugglers and risk their lives crossing the sea – and thus no longer be in need of being rescued. Using safe and legal means of travel would also, in the time of Covid-19 pandemic, allow migrants to adopt all sanitary measures that are necessary to protect migrants and those they encounter. No longer policed through military means, migration could appear as a normal process that does not generate fear. Frontex, the European border agency, would be defunded, and concentrate its limited activities on detecting actual threats to the EU rather then constructing vulnerable populations as “risks”. In a world that would be less unequal and in which people would have the possibly to lead a dignified life wherever they are, universal freedom of movement would not lead to an “invasion” of Europe. Circulatory movement rather then permanent settlement would be frequent. Migrants’ legal status would no longer allow employers to push working conditions down. A European asylum system would continue to exist, to grant protection and support to those in need. The vestiges of the EU’s hotspots and detention centres might be turned into ministries of welcome, which would register and redirect people to the place of their choice. Registration would thus be a mere certification of having taken the first step towards European citizenship, transforming the latter into a truly post-national institution, a far horizon which current EU treaties only hint at.
      Democratizing borders

      Considering that all European migration policies to date have been fundamentally undemocratic – in that they were imposed on a group of people – migrants – who had no say in the legislative and political process defining the laws that govern their movement – the pact would instead be the outcome of considerable consultative process with migrants and the organisations that support them, as well the states of the global South. The pact, following from Étienne Balibar’s suggestion, would in turn propose to permanently democratise borders by instituting “a multilateral, negotiated control of their working by the populations themselves (including, of course, migrant populations),” within “new representative institutions” that “are not merely ‘territorial’ and certainly not purely national.”[2] In such a pact, the original promise of Europe as a post-national project would finally be revived.

      Such a policy orientation may of course appear as nothing more then a fantasy. And yet it appears evident to us that the direction we suggest is the only realistic one. European citizens and policy makers alike must realise that the question is not whether migrants will exercise their freedom to cross borders, but at what human and political cost. As a result, it is far more realistic to address the processes within which the mobility conflict is embedded, than seeking to ban human mobility. As the Black Lives Matter’s slogan “No justice no peace!” resonating in the streets of the world over recent months reminds us, without mobility justice, [3] their can be no end to mobility conflict.
      The challenges ahead for migrant solidarity movements

      Our policy proposals are perfectly realistic in relation to migrants’ movements and the processes shaping them, yet we are well aware that they are not on the agenda of neoliberal and nationalist Europe. If the EU Commission has squandered yet another opportunity to reorient the EU’s migration policy, it is simply that this Europe, governed by these member states and politicians, has lost the capacity to offer bold visions of democracy, freedom and justice for itself and the world. As such, we have little hope for a fundamental reorientation of the EU’s policies. The bleak prospect is of the perpetuation of the mobility conflict, and the human suffering and political crises it generates.

      What are those who seek to support migrants to do in this context?

      We must start by a sobering note addressed to the movement we are part of: the fire of Moria is not only a symptom and symbol of the failures of the EU’s migration policies and member states, but also of our own strategies. After all, since the hotspots were proposed in 2015 we have tirelessly denounced them, and documented the horrendous living conditions they have created. NGOs have litigated against them, but efforts have been turned down by a European Court of Human Rights that appears increasingly reluctant to position itself on migration-related issues and is thereby contributing to the perpetuation of grave violations by states.

      And despite the extraordinary mobilisation of civil society in alliance with municipalities across Europe who have declared themselves ready to welcome migrants, relocations never materialised on any significant scale. After five years of tireless mobilization, the hotspots still stand, with thousands of asylum seekers trapped in them.

      While the conditions leading to the fire are still being clarified, it appears that the migrants held hostage in Moria took it into their own hands to try to get rid of the camp through the desperate act of burning it to the ground. As such, while we denounce the EU’s policies, our movements are urgently in need of re-evaluating their own modes of action, and re-imagining them more effectively.

      We have no lessons to give, as we share these shortcomings. But we believe that some of the directions we have suggested in our utopian Pact with migrants can guide migrant solidarity movements as well , as they may be implemented from the bottom-up in the present and help reopen our political imagination.

      The freedom to move is not, or not only, a distant utopia, that may be instituted by states in some distant future. It can also be seen as a right and freedom that illegalised migrants seize on a day-to-day basis as they cross borders without authorisation, and persist in living where they choose.

      Freedom of movement can serve as a useful compass to direct and evaluate our practices of contestation and support. Litigation remains an important tool to counter the multiple forms of violence and violations that migrants face along their trajectories, even as we acknowledge that national and international courts are far from immune to the anti-migrant atmosphere within states. Forging infrastructures of support for migrants in the course of their mobility (such as the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone and the civilian rescue fleet) – and their stay (such as the many citizen platforms for housing )– is and will continue to be essential.

      While states seek to implement what they call an “integrated border management” that seeks to manage migrants’ unruly mobilities before, at, and after borders, we can think of our own networks as forming a fragmented yet interconnected “integrated border solidarity” along the migrants’ entire trajectory. The criminalisation of our acts of solidarity by states is proof that we are effective in disrupting the violence of borders.

      Solidarity cities have formed important nodes in these chains, as municipalities do have the capacity to enable migrants to live in dignity in urban spaces, and limit the reach of their security forces for example. Their dissonant voices of welcome have been important in demonstrating that segments of the European population, which are far from negligible, refuse to be complicit with the EU’s policies of closure and are ready to embody an open relation of solidarity with migrants and beyond. However we must also acknowledge that the prerogative of granting access to European states remains in the hands of central administrations, not in those of municipalities, and thus the readiness to welcome migrants has not allowed the latter to actually seek sanctuary.

      While humanitarian and humanist calls for welcome are important, we too need to locate migration and borders in a broader political and economic context – that of the past and present of empire – so that they can be understood as questions of (in)justice. Echoing the words of the late Edouard Glissant, as activists focusing on illegalised migration we should never forget that “to have to force one’s way across borders as a result of one’s misery is as scandalous as what founds that misery”.[4] As a result of this framing, many more alliances can be forged today between migrant solidarity movements and the global justice and climate justice movements, as well as anti-racist, anti-fascist, feminist and decolonial movements. Through such alliances, we may be better equipped to support migrants throughout their entire trajectories, and transform the conditions that constrain them today.

      Ultimately, to navigate its way out of its own impasses, it seems to us that migrant solidarity movements must address four major questions.

      First, what migration policy do we want? The predictable limits of the EU’s pact against migration may be an opportunity to forge our own alternative agenda.

      Second, how can we not only oppose the implementation of restrictive policies but shape the policy process itself so as to transform the field on which we struggle? Opposing the EU’s anti-migrant pact over the coming months may allow us to conduct new experiments.

      Third, as long as policies that deny basic principles of equality, freedom, justice, and our very common humanity, are still in place, how can we lead actions that disrupt them effectively? For example, what are the forms of nongovernmental evacuations that might support migrants in accessing Europe, and moving across its internal borders?

      Fourth, how can struggles around migration and borders be part of the forging of a more equal, free, just and sustainable world for all?

      The next months during which the EU’s Pact against migration will be discussed in front of the European Parliament and Council will see an uphill battle for all those who still believe in the possibility of a Europe of openness and solidarity. While we have no illusions as to the policy outcome, this is an opportunity we must seize, not only to claim that another Europe and another world is possible, but to start building them from below.

      Notes and references

      [1] Tendayi Achiume. 2019, “The Postcolonial Case for Rethinking Borders.” Dissent 66.3: pp.27-32.

      [2] Etienne Balibar. 2004. We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship. Princeton: University Press, p. 108 and 117.

      [3] Mimi Sheller. 2018. Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes. London: Verso.

      [4] Edouard Glissant. 2006. “Il n’est frontière qu’on n’outrepasse”. Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/towards-pact-migrants-part-two

    • Pacte européen sur la migration et l’asile : Afin de garantir un nouveau départ et d’éviter de reproduire les erreurs passées, certains éléments à risque doivent être reconsidérés et les aspects positifs étendus.

      L’engagement en faveur d’une approche plus humaine de la protection et l’accent mis sur les aspects positifs et bénéfiques de la migration avec lesquels la Commission européenne a lancé le Pacte sur la migration et l’asile sont les bienvenus. Cependant, les propositions formulées reflètent très peu cette rhétorique et ces ambitions. Au lieu de rompre avec les erreurs de la précédente approche de l’Union européenne (UE) et d’offrir un nouveau départ, le Pacte continue de se focaliser sur l’externalisation, la dissuasion, la rétention et le retour.

      Cette première analyse des propositions, réalisée par la société civile, a été guidée par les questions suivantes :

      Les propositions formulées sont-elles en mesure de garantir, en droit et en pratique, le respect des normes internationales et européennes ?
      Participeront-elles à un partage plus juste des responsabilités en matière d’asile au niveau de l’UE et de l’international ?
      Seront-elles susceptibles de fonctionner en pratique ?

      Au lieu d’un partage automatique des responsabilités, le Pacte introduit un système de Dublin, qui n’en porte pas le nom, plus complexe et un mécanisme de « parrainage au retour »

      Le Pacte sur la migration et l’asile a manqué l’occasion de réformer en profondeur le système de Dublin : le principe de responsabilité du premier pays d’arrivée pour examiner les demandes d’asile est, en pratique, maintenu. De plus, le Pacte propose un système complexe introduisant diverses formes de solidarité.

      Certains ajouts positifs dans les critères de détermination de l’Etat membre responsable de la demande d’asile sont à relever, par exemple, l’élargissement de la définition des membres de famille afin d’inclure les frères et sœurs, ainsi qu’un large éventail de membres de famille dans le cas des mineurs non accompagnés et la délivrance d’un diplôme ou d’une autre qualification par un Etat membre. Cependant, au regard de la pratique actuelle des Etats membres, il sera difficile de s’éloigner du principe du premier pays d’entrée comme l’option de départ en faveur des nouvelles considérations prioritaires, notamment le regroupement familial.

      Dans le cas d’un nombre élevé de personnes arrivées sur le territoire (« pression migratoire ») ou débarquées suite à des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage, la solidarité entre Etats membres est requise. Les processus qui en découlent comprennent une série d’évaluations, d’engagements et de rapports devant être rédigés par les États membres. Si la réponse collective est insuffisante, la Commission européenne peut prendre des mesures correctives. Au lieu de promouvoir un mécanisme de soutien pour un partage prévisible des responsabilités, ces dispositions tendent plutôt à créer des formes de négociations entre États membres qui nous sont toutes devenues trop familières. La complexité des propositions soulève des doutes quant à leur application réelle en pratique.

      Les États membres sont autorisés à choisir le « parrainage de retour » à la place de la relocalisation de personnes sur leur territoire, ce qui indique une attention égale portée au retour et à la protection. Au lieu d’apporter un soutien aux Etats membres en charge d’un plus grand nombre de demandes de protection, cette proposition soulève de nombreuses préoccupations juridiques et relatives au respect des droits de l’homme, en particulier si le transfert vers l’Etat dit « parrain » se fait après l’expiration du délai de 8 mois. Qui sera en charge de veiller au traitement des demandeurs d’asile déboutés à leur arrivée dans des Etats qui n’acceptent pas la relocalisation ?

      Le Pacte propose d’étendre l’utilisation de la procédure à la frontière, y compris un recours accru à la rétention

      A défaut de rééquilibrer la responsabilité entre les États membres de l’UE, la proposition de règlement sur les procédures communes exacerbe la pression sur les États situés aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et sur les pays des Balkans occidentaux. La Commission propose de rendre, dans certains cas, les procédures d’asile et de retour à la frontière obligatoires. Cela s’appliquerait notamment aux ressortissants de pays dont le taux moyen de protection de l’UE est inférieur à 20%. Ces procédures seraient facultatives lorsque les Etats membres appliquent les concepts de pays tiers sûr ou pays d’origine sûr. Toutefois, la Commission a précédemment proposé que ceux-ci deviennent obligatoires pour l’ensemble des Etats membres. Les associations réitèrent leurs inquiétudes quant à l’utilisation de ces deux concepts qui ont été largement débattus entre 2016 et 2019. Leur application obligatoire ne doit plus être proposée.

      La proposition de procédure à la frontière repose sur deux hypothèses erronées – notamment sur le fait que la majorité des personnes arrivant en Europe n’est pas éligible à un statut de protection et que l’examen des demandes de protection peut être effectué facilement et rapidement. Ni l’une ni l’autre ne sont correctes. En effet, en prenant en considération à la fois les décisions de première et de seconde instance dans toute l’UE il apparaît que la plupart des demandeurs d’asile dans l’UE au cours des trois dernières années ont obtenu un statut de protection. En outre, le Pacte ne doit pas persévérer dans cette approche erronée selon laquelle les procédures d’asile peuvent être conduites rapidement à travers la réduction de garanties et l’introduction d’un système de tri. La durée moyenne de la procédure d’asile aux Pays-Bas, souvent qualifiée d’ « élève modèle » pour cette pratique, dépasse un an et peut atteindre deux années jusqu’à ce qu’une décision soit prise.

      La proposition engendrerait deux niveaux de standards dans les procédures d’asile, largement déterminés par le pays d’origine de la personne concernée. Cela porte atteinte au droit individuel à l’asile et signifierait qu’un nombre accru de personnes seront soumises à une procédure de deuxième catégorie. Proposer aux Etats membres d’émettre une décision d’asile et d’éloignement de manière simultanée, sans introduire de garanties visant à ce que les principes de non-refoulement, d’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant, et de protection de la vie privée et familiale ne soient examinés, porte atteinte aux obligations qui découlent du droit international. La proposition formulée par la Commission supprime également l’effet suspensif automatique du recours, c’est-à-dire le droit de rester sur le territoire dans l’attente d’une décision finale rendue dans le cadre d’une procédure à la frontière.

      L’idée selon laquelle les personnes soumises à des procédures à la frontière sont considérées comme n’étant pas formellement entrées sur le territoire de l’État membre est trompeuse et contredit la récente jurisprudence de l’UE, sans pour autant modifier les droits de l’individu en vertu du droit européen et international.

      La proposition prive également les personnes de la possibilité d’accéder à des permis de séjour pour des motifs autres que l’asile et impliquera très probablement une privation de liberté pouvant atteindre jusqu’à 6 mois aux frontières de l’UE, c’est-à-dire un maximum de douze semaines dans le cadre de la procédure d’asile à la frontière et douze semaines supplémentaires en cas de procédure de retour à la frontière. En outre, les réformes suppriment le principe selon lequel la rétention ne doit être appliquée qu’en dernier recours dans le cadre des procédures aux frontières. En s’appuyant sur des restrictions plus systématiques des mouvements dans le cadre des procédures à la frontière, la proposition restreindra l’accès de l’individu aux services de base fournis par des acteurs qui ne pourront peut-être pas opérer à la frontière, y compris pour l’assistance et la représentation juridiques. Avec cette approche, on peut s’attendre aux mêmes échecs rencontrés dans la mise en œuvre des « hotspot » sur les îles grecques.

      La reconnaissance de l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant comme élément primordial dans toutes les procédures pour les États membres est positive. Cependant, la Commission diminue les garanties de protection des enfants en n’exemptant que les mineurs non accompagnés ou âgés de moins de douze ans des procédures aux frontières. Ceci est en contradiction avec la définition internationale de l’enfant qui concerne toutes les personnes jusqu’à l’âge de dix-huit ans, telle qu’inscrite dans la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant ratifiée par tous les États membres de l’UE.

      Dans les situations de crise, les États membres sont autorisés à déroger à d’importantes garanties qui soumettront davantage de personnes à des procédures d’asile de qualité inférieure

      La crainte d’iniquité procédurale est d’autant plus visible dans les situations où un État membre peut prétendre être confronté à une « situation exceptionnelle d’afflux massif » ou au risque d’une telle situation.

      Dans ces cas, le champ d’application de la procédure obligatoire aux frontières est considérablement étendu à toutes les personnes en provenance de pays dont le taux moyen de protection de l’UE est inférieur à 75%. La procédure d’asile à la frontière et la procédure de retour à la frontière peuvent être prolongées de huit semaines supplémentaires, soit cinq mois chacune, ce qui porte à dix mois la durée maximale de privation de liberté. En outre, les États membres peuvent suspendre l’enregistrement des demandes d’asile pendant quatre semaines et jusqu’à un maximum de trois mois. Par conséquent, si aucune demande n’est enregistrée pendant plusieurs semaines, les personnes sont susceptibles d’être exposées à un risque accru de rétention et de refoulement, et leurs droits relatifs à un accueil digne et à des services de base peuvent être gravement affectés.

      Cette mesure permet aux États membres de déroger à leur responsabilité de garantir un accès à l’asile et un examen efficace et équitable de l’ensemble des demandes d’asile, ce qui augmente ainsi le risque de refoulement. Dans certains cas extrêmes, notamment lorsque les États membres agissent en violation flagrante et persistante des obligations du droit de l’UE, le processus de demande d’autorisation à la Commission européenne pourrait être considéré comme une amélioration, étant donné qu’actuellement la loi est ignorée, sans consultation et ce malgré les critiques de la Commission européenne. Toutefois, cela ne peut être le point de départ de l’évaluation de cette proposition de la législation européenne. L’impact à grande échelle de cette dérogation offre la possibilité à ce qu’une grande majorité des personnes arrivant dans l’UE soient soumises à une procédure de second ordre.

      Pré-filtrage à la frontière : risques et opportunités

      La Commission propose un processus de « pré-filtrage à l’entrée » pour toutes les personnes qui arrivent de manière irrégulière aux frontières de l’UE, y compris à la suite d’un débarquement dans le cadre des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage. Le processus de pré-filtrage comprend des contrôles de sécurité, de santé et de vulnérabilité, ainsi que l’enregistrement des empreintes digitales, mais il conduit également à des décisions impactant l’accès à l’asile, notamment en déterminant si une personne doit être sujette à une procédure d’asile accélérée à la frontière, de relocalisation ou de retour. Ce processus peut durer jusqu’à 10 jours et doit être effectué au plus près possible de la frontière. Le lieu où les personnes seront placées et l’accès aux conditions matérielles d’accueil demeurent flous. Le filtrage peut également être appliqué aux personnes se trouvant sur le territoire d’un État membre, ce qui pourrait conduire à une augmentation de pratiques discriminatoires. Des questions se posent également concernant les droits des personnes soumises au filtrage, tels que l’accès à l’information, , l’accès à un avocat et au droit de contester la décision prise dans ce contexte ; les motifs de refus d’entrée ; la confidentialité et la protection des données collectées. Etant donné que les États membres peuvent facilement se décharger de leurs responsabilités en matière de dépistage médical et de vulnérabilité, il n’est pas certain que certains besoins seront effectivement détectés et pris en considération.

      Une initiative à saluer est la proposition d’instaurer un mécanisme indépendant des droits fondamentaux à la frontière. Afin qu’il garantisse une véritable responsabilité face aux violations des droits à la frontière, y compris contre les éloignements et les refoulements récurrents dans un grand nombre d’États membres, ce mécanisme doit être étendu au-delà de la procédure de pré-filtrage, être indépendant des autorités nationales et impliquer des organisations telles que les associations non gouvernementales.

      La proposition fait de la question du retour et de l’expulsion une priorité

      L’objectif principal du Pacte est clair : augmenter de façon significative le nombre de personnes renvoyées ou expulsées de l’UE. La création du poste de Coordinateur en charge des retours au sein de la Commission européenne et d’un directeur exécutif adjoint aux retours au sein de Frontex en sont la preuve, tandis qu’aucune nomination n’est prévue au sujet de la protection de garanties ou de la relocalisation. Le retour est considéré comme un élément admis dans la politique migratoire et le soutien pour des retours dignes, en privilégiant les retours volontaires, l’accès à une assistance au retour et l’aide à la réintégration, sont essentiels. Cependant, l’investissement dans le retour n’est pas une réponse adaptée au non-respect systématique des normes d’asile dans les États membres de l’UE.

      Rien de nouveau sur l’action extérieure : des propositions irréalistes qui risquent de continuer d’affaiblir les droits de l’homme

      La tension entre l’engagement rhétorique pour des partenariats mutuellement bénéfiques et la focalisation visant à placer la migration au cœur des relations entre l’UE et les pays tiers se poursuit. Les tentatives d’externaliser la responsabilité de l’asile et de détourner l’aide au développement, les mécanismes de visa et d’autres outils pour inciter les pays tiers à coopérer sur la gestion migratoire et les accords de réadmission sont maintenues. Cela ne représente pas seulement un risque allant à l’encontre de l’engagement de l’UE pour ses principes de développement, mais cela affaiblit également sa posture internationale en générant de la méfiance et de l’hostilité depuis et à l’encontre des pays tiers. De plus, l’usage d’accords informels et la coopération sécuritaire sur la gestion migratoire avec des pays tels que la Libye ou la Turquie risquent de favoriser les violations des droits de l’homme, d’encourager les gouvernements répressifs et de créer une plus grande instabilité.

      Un manque d’ambition pour des voies légales et sûres vers l’Europe

      L’opportunité pour l’UE d’indiquer qu’elle est prête à contribuer au partage des responsabilités pour la protection au niveau international dans un esprit de partenariat avec les pays qui accueillent la plus grande majorité des réfugiés est manquée. Au lieu de proposer un objectif ambitieux de réinstallation de réfugiés, la Commission européenne a seulement invité les Etats membres à faire plus et a converti les engagements de 2020 en un mécanisme biennal, ce qui résulte en la perte d’une année de réinstallation européenne.

      La reconnaissance du besoin de faciliter la migration de main-d’œuvre à travers différents niveaux de compétences est à saluer, mais l’importance de cette migration dans les économies et les sociétés européennes ne se reflète pas dans les ressources, les propositions et les actions allouées.

      Le soutien aux activités de recherche et de sauvetage et aux actions de solidarité doit être renforcé

      La tragédie humanitaire dans la mer Méditerranée nécessite encore une réponse y compris à travers un soutien financier et des capacités de recherches et de sauvetage. Cet enjeu ainsi que celui du débarquement sont pris en compte dans toutes les propositions, reconnaissant ainsi la crise humanitaire actuelle. Cependant, au lieu de répondre aux comportements et aux dispositions règlementaires des gouvernements qui obstruent les activités de secours et le travail des défendeurs des droits, la Commission européenne suggère que les standards de sécurité sur les navires et les niveaux de communication avec les acteurs privés doivent être surveillés. Les acteurs privés sont également requis d’adhérer non seulement aux régimes légaux, mais aussi aux politiques et pratiques relatives à « la gestion migratoire » qui peuvent potentiellement interférer avec les obligations de recherches et de sauvetage.

      Bien que la publication de lignes directrices pour prévenir la criminalisation de l’action humanitaire soit la bienvenue, celles-ci se limitent aux actes mandatés par la loi avec une attention spécifique aux opérations de sauvetage et de secours. Cette approche risque d’omettre les activités humanitaires telles que la distribution de nourriture, d’abris, ou d’information sur le territoire ou assurés par des organisations non mandatées par le cadre légal qui sont également sujettes à ladite criminalisation et à des restrictions.

      Des signes encourageants pour l’inclusion

      Les changements proposés pour permettre aux réfugiés d’accéder à une résidence de long-terme après trois ans et le renforcement du droit de se déplacer et de travailler dans d’autres Etats membres sont positifs. De plus, la révision du Plan d’action pour l’inclusion et l’intégration et la mise en place d’un groupe d’experts pour collecter l’avis des migrants afin de façonner la politique européenne sont les bienvenues.

      La voie à suivre

      La présentation des propositions de la Commission est le commencement de ce qui promet d’être une autre longue période conflictuelle de négociations sur les politiques européennes d’asile et de migration. Alors que ces négociations sont en cours, il est important de rappeler qu’il existe déjà un régime d’asile européen et que les Etats membres ont des obligations dans le cadre du droit européen et international.

      Cela requiert une action immédiate de la part des décideurs politiques européens, y compris de la part des Etats membres, de :

      Mettre en œuvre les standards existants en lien avec les conditions matérielles d’accueil et les procédures d’asile, d’enquêter sur leur non-respect et de prendre les mesures disciplinaires nécessaires ;
      Sauver des vies en mer, et de garantir des capacités de sauvetage et de secours, permettant un débarquement et une relocalisation rapide ;
      Continuer de s’accorder sur des arrangements ad-hoc de solidarité pour alléger la pression sur les Etats membres aux frontières extérieures de l’UE et encourager les Etats membres à avoir recours à la relocalisation.

      Concernant les prochaines négociations sur le Pacte, nous recommandons aux co-législateurs de :

      Rejeter l’application obligatoire de la procédure d’asile ou de retour à la frontière : ces procédures aux standards abaissés réduisent les garanties des demandeurs d’asile et augmentent le recours à la rétention. Elles exacerbent le manque de solidarité actuel sur l’asile dans l’UE en plaçant plus de responsabilité sur les Etats membres aux frontières extérieures. L’expérience des hotspots et d’autres initiatives similaires démontrent que l’ajout de procédures ou d’étapes dans l’asile peut créer des charges administratives et des coûts significatifs, et entraîner une plus grande inefficacité ;
      Se diriger vers la fin de la privation de liberté de migrants, et interdire la rétention de mineurs conformément à la Convention internationale des droits de l’enfant, et de dédier suffisamment de ressources pour des solutions non privatives de libertés appropriées pour les mineurs et leurs familles ;
      Réajuster les propositions de réforme afin de se concentrer sur le maintien et l’amélioration des standards des droits de l’homme et de l’asile en Europe, plutôt que sur le retour ;
      Œuvrer à ce que les propositions réforment fondamentalement la façon dont la responsabilité des demandeurs d’asile en UE est organisée, en adressant les problèmes liés au principe de pays de première entrée, afin de créer un véritable mécanisme de solidarité ;
      Limiter les possibilités pour les Etats membres de déroger à leurs responsabilités d’enregistrer les demandes d’asile ou d’examiner les demandes, afin d’éviter de créer des incitations à opérer en mode gestion de crise et à diminuer les standards de l’asile ;
      Augmenter les garanties pendant la procédure de pré-filtrage pour assurer le droit à l’information, l’accès à une aide et une représentation juridique, la détection et la prise en charge des vulnérabilités et des besoins de santé, et une réponse aux préoccupations liées à l’enregistrement et à la protection des données ;
      Garantir que le mécanisme de suivi des droits fondamentaux aux frontières dispose d’une portée large afin de couvrir toutes les violations des droits fondamentaux à la frontière, qu’il soit véritablement indépendant des autorités nationales et dispose de ressources adéquates et qu’il contribue à la responsabilisation ;
      S’opposer aux tentatives d’utiliser l’aide au développement, au commerce, aux investissements, aux mécanismes de visas, à la coopération sécuritaire et autres politiques et financements pour faire pression sur les pays tiers dans leur coopération étroitement définie par des objectifs européens de contrôle migratoire ;
      Evaluer l’impact à long-terme des politiques migratoires d’externalisation sur la paix, le respect des droits et le développement durable et garantir que la politique extérieure migratoire ne contribue pas à la violation de droits de l’homme et prenne en compte les enjeux de conflits ;
      Développer significativement les voies légales et sûres vers l’UE en mettant en œuvre rapidement les engagements actuels de réinstallation, en proposant de nouveaux objectifs ambitieux et en augmentant les opportunités de voies d’accès à la protection ainsi qu’à la migration de main-d’œuvre et universitaire en UE ;
      Renforcer les exceptions à la criminalisation lorsqu’il s’agit d’actions humanitaires et autres activités indépendantes de la société civile et enlever les obstacles auxquels font face les acteurs de la société civile fournissant une assistance vitale et humanitaire sur terre et en mer ;
      Mettre en place une opération de recherche et de sauvetage en mer Méditerranée financée et coordonnée par l’UE ;
      S’appuyer sur les propositions prometteuses pour soutenir l’inclusion à travers l’accès à la résidence à long-terme et les droits associés et la mise en œuvre du Plan d’action sur l’intégration et l’inclusion au niveau européen, national et local.

      https://www.forumrefugies.org/s-informer/positions/europe/774-pacte-europeen-sur-la-migration-et-l-asile-afin-de-garantir-un-no

    • Nouveau Pacte européen  : les migrant.e.s et réfugié.e.s traité.e.s comme des « # colis à trier  »

      Le jour même de la Conférence des Ministres européens de l’Intérieur, EuroMed Droits présente son analyse détaillée du nouveau Pacte européen sur l’asile et la migration, publié le 23 septembre dernier (https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Analysis-of-Asylum-and-Migration-Pact_Final_Clickable.pdf).

      On peut résumer les plus de 500 pages de documents comme suit  : le nouveau Pacte européen sur l’asile et la migration déshumanise les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s, les traitant comme des «  #colis à trier  » et les empêchant de se déplacer en Europe. Ce Pacte soulève de nombreuses questions en matière de respect des droits humains, dont certaines sont à souligner en particulier  :

      L’UE détourne le concept de solidarité. Le Pacte vise clairement à «  rétablir la confiance mutuelle entre les États membres  », donnant ainsi la priorité à la #cohésion:interne de l’UE au détriment des droits des migrant.e.s et des réfugié.e.s. La proposition laisse le choix aux États membres de contribuer – en les mettant sur un pied d’égalité – à la #réinstallation, au #rapatriement, au soutien à l’accueil ou à l’#externalisation des frontières. La #solidarité envers les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s et leurs droits fondamentaux sont totalement ignorés.

      Le pacte promeut une gestion «  sécuritaire  » de la migration. Selon la nouvelle proposition, les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s seront placé.e.s en #détention et privé.e.s de liberté à leur arrivée. La procédure envisagée pour accélérer la procédure de demande d’asile ne pourra se faire qu’au détriment des lois sur l’asile et des droits des demandeur.se.s. Il est fort probable que la #procédure se déroulera de manière arbitraire et discriminatoire, en fonction de la nationalité du/de la demandeur.se, de son taux de reconnaissance et du fait que le pays dont il/elle provient est «  sûr  », ce qui est un concept douteux.

      L’idée clé qui sous-tend cette vision est simple  : externaliser autant que possible la gestion des frontières en coopérant avec des pays tiers. L’objectif est de faciliter le retour et la réadmission des migrant.e.s dans le pays d’où ils/elles sont parti.es. Pour ce faire, l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes (Frontex) verrait ses pouvoirs renforcés et un poste de coordinateur.trice européen.ne pour les retours serait créé. Le pacte risque de facto de fournir un cadre juridique aux pratiques illégales telles que les refoulements, les détentions arbitraires et les mesures visant à réduire davantage la capacité en matière d’asile. Des pratiques déjà en place dans certains États membres.

      Le Pacte présente quelques aspects «  positifs  », par exemple en matière de protection des enfants ou de regroupement familial, qui serait facilité. Mais ces bonnes intentions, qui doivent être mises en pratique, sont noyées dans un océan de mesures répressives et sécuritaires.

      EuroMed Droits appelle les Etats membres de l’UE à réfléchir en termes de mise en œuvre pratique (ou non) de ces mesures. Non seulement elles violent les droits humains, mais elles sont impraticables sur le terrain  : la responsabilité de l’évaluation des demandes d’asile reste au premier pays d’arrivée, sans vraiment remettre en cause le Règlement de Dublin. Cela signifie que des pays comme l’Italie, Malte, l’Espagne, la Grèce et Chypre continueront à subir une «  pression  » excessive, ce qui les encouragera à poursuivre leurs politiques de refoulement et d’expulsion. Enfin, le Pacte ne répond pas à la problématique urgente des «  hotspots  » et des camps de réfugié.e.s comme en Italie ou en Grèce et dans les zones de transit à l’instar de la Hongrie. Au contraire, cela renforce ce modèle dangereux en le présentant comme un exemple à exporter dans toute l’Europe, alors que des exemples récents ont démontré l’impossibilité de gérer ces camps de manière humaine.

      https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/nouveau-pacte-europeen%e2%80%af-les-migrant-e-s-et-refugie-e-s-traite

      #paquets_de_la_poste #paquets #poste #tri #pays_sûrs

    • A “Fresh Start” or One More Clunker? Dublin and Solidarity in the New Pact

      In ongoing discussions on the reform of the CEAS, solidarity is a key theme. It stands front and center in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum: after reassuring us of the “human and humane approach” taken, the opening quote stresses that Member States must be able to “rely on the solidarity of our whole European Union”.

      In describing the need for reform, the Commission does not mince its words: “[t]here is currently no effective solidarity mechanism in place, and no efficient rule on responsibility”. It’s a remarkable statement: barely one year ago, the Commission maintained that “[t]he EU [had] shown tangible and rapid support to Member States under most pressure” throughout the crisis. Be that as it may, we are promised a “fresh start”. Thus, President Von der Leyen has announced on the occasion of the 2020 State of the Union Address that “we will abolish the Dublin Regulation”, the 2016 Dublin IV Proposal (examined here) has been withdrawn, and the Pact proposes a “new solidarity mechanism” connected to “robust and fair management of the external borders” and capped by a new “governance framework”.

      Before you buy the shiny new package, you are advised to consult the fine print however. Yes, the Commission proposes to abolish the Dublin III Regulation and withdraws the Dublin IV Proposal. But the Proposal for an Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (hereafter “the Migration Management Proposal”) reproduces word-for-word the Dublin III Regulation, subject to amendments drawn … from the Dublin IV Proposal! As for the “governance framework” outlined in Articles 3-7 of the Migration Management Proposal, it’s a hodgepodge of purely declamatory provisions (e.g. Art. 3-4), of restatements of pre-existing obligations (Art. 5), of legal bases authorizing procedures that require none (Art. 7). The one new item is a yearly monitoring exercise centered on an “European Asylum and Migration Management Strategy” (Art. 6), which seems as likely to make a difference as the “Mechanism for Early Warning, Preparedness and Crisis Management”, introduced with much fanfare with the Dublin III Regulation and then left in the drawer before, during and after the 2015/16 crisis.

      Leaving the provisions just mentioned for future commentaries – fearless interpreters might still find legal substance in there – this contribution focuses on four points: the proposed amendments to Dublin, the interface between Dublin and procedures at the border, the new solidarity mechanism, and proposals concerning force majeure. Caveat emptor! It is a jungle of extremely detailed and sometimes obscure provisions. While this post is longer than usual – warm thanks to the lenient editors! – do not expect an exhaustive summary, nor firm conclusions on every point.
      Dublin, the Undying

      To borrow from Mark Twain, reports of the death of the Dublin system have been once more greatly exaggerated. As noted, Part III of the Migration Management Proposal (Articles 8-44) is for all intents and purposes an amended version of the Dublin III Regulation, and most of the amendments are lifted from the 2016 Dublin IV Proposal.

      A first group of amendments concerns the responsibility criteria. Some expand the possibilities to allocate applicants based on their “meaningful links” with Member States: Article 2(g) expands the family definition to include siblings, opening new possibilities for reunification; Article 19(4) enlarges the criterion based on previous legal abode (i.e. expired residence documents); in a tip of the hat to the Wikstroem Report, commented here, Article 20 introduces a new criterion based on prior education in a Member State.

      These are welcome changes, but all that glitters is not gold. The Commission advertises “streamlined” evidentiary requirements to facilitate family reunification. These would be necessary indeed: evidentiary issues have long undermined the application of the family criteria. Unfortunately, the Commission is not proposing anything new: Article 30(6) of the Migration Management Proposal corresponds in essence to Article 22(5) of the Dublin III Regulation.

      Besides, while the Commission proposes to expand the general definition of family, the opposite is true of the specific definition of family applicable to “dependent persons”. Under Article 16 of the Dublin III Regulation, applicants who e.g. suffer from severe disabilities are to be kept or brought together with a care-giving parent, child or sibling residing in a Member State. Due to fears of sham marriages, spouses have been excluded and this is legally untenable and inhumane, but instead of tackling the problem the Commission proposes in Article 24 to worsen it by excluding siblings. The end result is paradoxical: persons needing family support the most will be deprived – for no apparent reason other than imaginary fears of “abuses” – of the benefits of enlarged reunification possibilities. “[H]uman and humane”, indeed.

      The fight against secondary movements inspires most of the other amendments to the criteria. In particular, Article 21 of the Proposal maintains and extends the much-contested criterion of irregular entry while clarifying that it applies also to persons disembarked after a search and rescue (SAR) operation. The Commission also proposes that unaccompanied children be transferred to the first Member State where they applied if no family criterion is applicable (Article 15(5)). This would overturn the MA judgment of the ECJ whereby in such cases the asylum claim must be examined in the State where the child last applied and is present. It’s not a technical fine point: while the case-law of the ECJ is calculated to spare children the trauma of a transfer, the proposed amendment would subject them again to the rigours of Dublin.

      Again to discourage secondary movements, the Commission proposes – as in 2016 – a second group of amendments: new obligations for the applicants (Articles 9-10). Applicants must in principle apply in the Member State of first entry, remain in that State for the duration of the Dublin procedure and, post-transfer, remain in the State responsible. Moving to the “wrong” State entails losing the benefits of the Reception Conditions Directive, subject to “the need to ensure a standard of living in accordance with” the Charter. It is debatable whether this is a much lesser standard of reception. More importantly: as reception conditions in line with the Directive are seldom guaranteed in several frontline Member States, the prospect of being treated “in accordance with the Charter” elsewhere will hardly dissuade applicants from moving on.

      The 2016 Proposal foresaw, as further punishment, the mandatory application of accelerated procedures to “secondary movers”. This rule disappears from the Migration Management Proposal, but as Daniel Thym points out in his forthcoming contribution on secondary movements, it remains in Article 40(1)(g) of the 2016 Proposal for an Asylum Procedures Regulation. Furthermore, the Commission proposes deleting Article 18(2) of the Dublin III Regulation, i.e. the guarantee that persons transferred back to a State that has meanwhile discontinued or rejected their application will have their case reopened, or a remedy available. This is a dangerous invitation to Member States to reintroduce “discontinuation” practices that the Commission itself once condemned as incompatible with effective access to status determination.

      To facilitate responsibility-determination, the Proposal further obliges applicants to submit relevant information before or at the Dublin interview. Late submissions are not to be considered. Fairness would demand that justified delays be excused. Besides, it is also proposed to repeal Article 7(3) of the Dublin III Regulation, whereby authorities must take into account evidence of family ties even if produced late in the process. All in all, then, the Proposal would make proof of family ties harder, not easier as the Commission claims.

      A final group of amendments concern the details of the Dublin procedure, and might prove the most important in practice.

      Some “streamline” the process, e.g. with shorter deadlines (e.g. Article 29(1)) and a simplified take back procedure (Article 31). Controversially, the Commission proposes again to reduce the scope of appeals against transfers to issues of ill-treatment and misapplication of the family criteria (Article 33). This may perhaps prove acceptable to the ECJ in light of its old Abdullahi case-law. However, it contravenes Article 13 ECHR, which demands an effective remedy for the violation of any Convention right.
      Other procedural amendments aim to make it harder for applicants to evade transfers. At present, if a transferee absconds for 18 months, the transfer is cancelled and the transferring State becomes responsible. Article 35(2) of the Proposal allows the transferring State to “stop the clock” if the applicant absconds, and to resume the transfer as soon as he reappears.
      A number of amendments make responsibility more “stable” once assigned, although not as “permanent” as the 2016 Proposal would have made it. Under Article 27 of the Proposal, the responsibility of a State will only cease if the applicant has left the Dublin area in compliance with a return decision. More importantly, under Article 26 the responsible State will have to take back even persons to whom it has granted protection. This would be a significant extension of the scope of the Dublin system, and would “lock” applicants in the responsible State even more firmly and more durably. Perhaps by way of compensation, the Commission proposes that beneficiaries of international protection obtain “long-term status” – and thus mobility rights – after three years of residence instead of five. However, given that it is “very difficult in practice” to exercise such rights, the compensation seems more theoretical than effective and a far cry from a system of free movement capable of offsetting the rigidities of Dublin.

      These are, in short, the key amendments foreseen. While it’s easy enough to comment on each individually, it is more difficult to forecast their aggregate impact. Will they – to paraphrase the Commission – “improv[e] the chances of integration” and reduce “unauthorised movements” (recital 13), and help closing “the existing implementation gap”? Probably not, as none of them is a game-changer.

      Taken together, however, they might well aggravate current distributive imbalances. Dublin “locks in” the responsibilities of the States that receive most applications – traditional destinations such as Germany or border States such as Italy – leaving the other Member States undisturbed. Apart from possible distributive impacts of the revised criteria and of the now obligations imposed on applicants, first application States will certainly be disadvantaged combination by shortened deadlines, security screenings (see below), streamlined take backs, and “stable” responsibility extending to beneficiaries of protection. Under the “new Dublin rules” – sorry for the oxymoron! – effective solidarity will become more necessary than ever.
      Border procedures and Dublin

      Building on the current hotspot approach, the Proposals for a Screening Regulation and for an Asylum Procedures Regulation outline a new(ish) “pre-entry” phase. This will be examined in a forthcoming post by Lyra Jakuleviciene, but the interface with infra-EU allocation deserves mention here.

      In a nutshell, persons irregularly crossing the border will be screened for the purpose of identification, health and security checks, and registration in Eurodac. Protection applicants may then be channelled to “border procedures” in a broad range of situations. This will be mandatory if the applicant: (a) attempts to mislead the authorities; (b) can be considered, based on “serious reasons”, “a danger to the national security or public order of the Member States”; (c) comes from a State whose nationals have a low Union-wide recognition rate (Article 41(3) of the Asylum Procedure Proposal).

      The purpose of the border procedure is to assess applications “without authorising the applicant’s entry into the Member State’s territory” (here, p.4). Therefore, it might have seemed logical that applicants subjected to it be excluded from the Dublin system – as is the case, ordinarily, for relocations (see below). Not so: under Article 41(7) of the Proposal, Member States may apply Dublin in the context of border procedures. This weakens the idea of “seamless procedures at the border” somewhat but – from the standpoint of both applicants and border States – it is better than a watertight exclusion: applicants may still benefit from “meaningful link” criteria, and border States are not “stuck with the caseload”. I would normally have qualms about giving Member States discretion in choosing whether Dublin rules apply. But as it happens, Member States who receive an asylum application already enjoy that discretion under the so-called “sovereignty clause”. Nota bene: in exercising that discretion, Member States apply EU Law and must observe the Charter, and the same principle must certainly apply under the proposed Article 41(7).

      The only true exclusion from the Dublin system is set out in Article 8(4) of the Migration Management Proposal. Under this provision, Member States must carry out a security check of all applicants as part of the pre-entry screening and/or after the application is filed. If “there are reasonable grounds to consider the applicant a danger to national security or public order” of the determining State, the other criteria are bypassed and that State becomes responsible. Attentive readers will note that the wording of Article 8(4) differs from that of Article 41(3) of the Asylum Procedure Proposal (e.g. “serious grounds” vs “reasonable grounds”). It is therefore unclear whether the security grounds to “screen out” an applicant from Dublin are coextensive with the security grounds making a border procedure mandatory. Be that as it may, a broad application of Article 8(4) would be undesirable, as it would entail a large-scale exclusion from the guarantees that applicants derive from the Dublin system. The risk is moderate however: by applying Article 8(4) widely, Member States would be increasing their own share of responsibilities under the system. As twenty-five years of Dublin practice indicate, this is unlikely to happen.
      “Mandatory” and “flexible” solidarity under the new mechanism

      So far, the Migration Management Proposal does not look significantly different from the 2016 Dublin IV Proposal, which did not itself fundamentally alter existing rules, and which went down in flames in inter- and intra-institutional negotiations. Any hopes of a “fresh start”, then, are left for the new solidarity mechanism.

      Unfortunately, solidarity is a difficult subject for the EU: financial support has hitherto been a mere fraction of Member State expenditure in the field; operational cooperation has proved useful but cannot tackle all the relevant aspects of the unequal distribution of responsibilities among Member States; relocations have proved extremely beneficial for thousands of applicants, but are intrinsically complex operations and have also proven politically divisive – an aspect which has severely undermined their application and further condemned them to be small scale affairs relative to the needs on the ground. The same goes a fortiori for ad hoc initiatives – such as those that followed SAR operations over the last two years– which furthermore lack the predictability that is necessary for sharing responsibilities effectively. To reiterate what the Commission stated, there is currently “no effective solidarity mechanism in place”.

      Perhaps most importantly, the EU has hitherto been incapable of accurately gauging the distributive asymmetries on the ground, to articulate a clear doctrine guiding the key determinations of “how much solidarity” and “what kind(s) of solidarity”, and to define commensurate redistributive targets on this basis (see here, p.34 and 116).

      Alas, the opportunity to elaborate a solidarity doctrine for the EU has been completely missed. Conceptually, the New Pact does not go much farther than platitudes such as “[s]olidarity implies that all Member States should contribute”. As Daniel Thym aptly observed, “pragmatism” is the driving force behind the Proposal: the Commission starts from a familiar basis – relocations – and tweaks it in ways designed to convince stakeholders that solidarity becomes both “compulsory” and “flexible”. It’s a complicated arrangement and I will only describe it in broad strokes, leaving the crucial dimensions of financial solidarity and operational cooperation to forthcoming posts by Iris Goldner Lang and Lilian Tsourdi.

      The mechanism operates according to three “modes”. In its basic mode, it is to replace ad hoc solidarity initiatives following SAR disembarkations (Articles 47-49 of the Migration Management Proposal):

      The Commission determines, in its yearly Migration Management Report, whether a State is faced with “recurring arrivals” following SAR operations and determines the needs in terms of relocations and other contributions (capacity building, operational support proper, cooperation with third States).
      The Member States are “invited” to notify the “contributions they intend to make”. If offers are sufficient, the Commission combines them and formally adopts a “solidarity pool”. If not, it adopts an implementing act summarizing relocation targets for each Member State and other contributions as offered by them. Member States may react by offering other contributions instead of relocations, provided that this is “proportional” – one wonders how the Commission will tally e.g. training programs for Libyan coastguards with relocation places.
      If the relocations offered fall 30% short of the target indicated by the Commission, a “critical mass correction mechanism” will apply: each Member States will be obliged to meet at least 50% of the quota of relocations indicated by the Commission. However, and this is the new idea offered by the Commission to bring relocation-skeptics onboard, Member States may discharge their duties by offering “return sponsorships” instead of relocations: the “sponsor” Member State commits to support the benefitting Member State to return a person and, if the return is not carried out within eight months, to accept her on its territory.

      If I understand correctly the fuzzy provision I have just summarized – Article 48(2) – it all boils down to “half-compulsory” solidarity: Member States are obliged to cover at least 50% of the relocation needs set by the Commission through relocations or sponsorships, and the rest with other contributions.

      After the “solidarity pool” is established and the benefitting Member State requests its activation, relocations can start:

      The eligible persons are those who applied for protection in the benefitting State, with the exclusion of those that are subject to border procedures (Article 45(1)(a)).Also excluded are those whom Dublin criteria based on “meaningful links” – family, abode, diplomas – assign to the benefitting State (Article 57(3)). These rules suggest that the benefitting State must carry out identification, screening for border procedures and a first (reduced?) Dublin procedure before it can declare an applicant eligible for relocation.
      Persons eligible for return sponsorship are “illegally staying third-country nationals” (Article 45(1)(b)).
      The eligible persons are identified, placed on a list, and matched to Member States based on “meaningful links”. The transfer can only be refused by the State of relocation on security grounds (Article 57(2)(6) and (7)), and otherwise follows the modalities of Dublin transfers in almost all respects (e.g. deadlines, notification, appeals). However, contrary to what happens under Dublin, missing the deadline for transfer does not entail that the relocation is cancelled it (see Article 57(10)).
      After the transfer, applicants will be directly admitted to the asylum procedure in the State of relocation only if it has been previously established that the benefitting State would have been responsible under criteria other than those based on “meaningful links” (Article 58(3)). In all the other cases, the State of relocation will run a Dublin procedure and, if necessary, transfer again the applicant to the State responsible (see Article 58(2)). As for persons subjected to return sponsorship, the State of relocation will pick up the application of the Return Directive where the benefitting State left off (or so I read Article 58(5)!).

      If the Commission concludes that a Member State is under “migratory pressure”, at the request of the concerned State or of its own motion (Article 50), the mechanism operates as described above except for one main point: beneficiaries of protection also become eligible for relocation (Article 51(3)). Thankfully, they must consent thereto and are automatically granted the same status in the relocation State (see Articles 57(3) and 58(4)).

      If the Commission concludes that a Member State is confronted to a “crisis”, rules change further (see Article 2 of the Proposal for a Migration and Asylum Crisis Regulation):

      Applicants subject to the border procedure and persons “having entered irregularly” also become eligible for relocation. These persons may then undergo a border procedure post-relocation (see Article 41(1) and (8) of the Proposal for an Asylum Procedures Regulation).
      Persons subject to return sponsorship are transferred to the sponsor State if their removal does not occur within four – instead of eight – months.
      Other contributions are excluded from the palette of contributions available to the other Member States (Article 2(1)): it has to be relocation or return sponsorship.
      The procedure is faster, with shorter deadlines.

      It is an understatement to say that the mechanism is complex, and your faithful scribe still has much to digest. For the time being, I would make four general comments.

      First, it is not self-evident that this is a good “insurance scheme” for its intended beneficiaries. As noted, the system only guarantees that 50% of the relocation needs of a State will be met. Furthermore, there are hidden costs: in “SAR” and “pressure” modes, the benefitting State has to screen the applicant, register the application, and assess whether border procedures or (some) Dublin criteria apply before it can channel the applicant to relocation. It is unclear whether a 500 lump sum is enough to offset the costs (see Article 79 of the Migration Management Proposal). Besides, in a crisis situation, these preliminary steps might make relocation impractical – think of the Greek registration backlog in 2015/6. Perhaps, extending relocation to persons “having entered irregularly” when the mechanism is in “crisis mode” is meant precisely to take care of this. Similar observations apply to return sponsorship. Under Article 55(4) of the Migration Management Proposal, the support offered by the sponsor to the benefitting State can be rather low key (e.g. “counselling”) and there seems to be no guarantee that the benefitting State will be effectively relieved of the political, administrative and financial costs associated to return. Moving from costs to risks, it is clear that the benefitting State bears all the risks of non implementation – in other words, if the system grinds to a halt or breaks down, it will be Moria all over again. In light of past experience, one can only agree with Thomas Gammelthoft-Hansen that it’s a “big gamble”. Other aspects examined below – the vast margins of discretion left to the Commission, and the easy backdoor opened by the force majeure provisions – do not help either to create predictability.
      Second, as just noted the mechanism gives the Commission practically unlimited discretion at all critical junctures. The Commission will determine whether a Member States is confronted to “recurring arrivals”, “pressure” or a “crisis”. It will do so under definitions so open-textured, and criteria so numerous, that it will be basically the master of its determinations (Article 50 of the Migration Management Proposal). The Commission will determine unilaterally relocation and operational solidarity needs. Finally, the Commission will determine – we do not know how – if “other contributions” are proportional to relocation needs. Other than in the most clear-cut situations, there is no way that anyone can predict how the system will be applied.
      Third: the mechanism reflects a powerful fixation with and unshakable faith in heavy bureaucracy. Protection applicants may undergo up to three “responsibility determination” procedures and two transfers before finally landing in an asylum procedure: Dublin “screening” in the first State, matching, relocation, full Dublin procedure in the relocation State, then transfer. And this is a system that should not “compromise the objective of the rapid processing of applications”(recital 34)! Decidedly, the idea that in order to improve the CEAS it is above all necessary to suppress unnecessary delays and coercion (see here, p.9) has not made a strong impression on the minds of the drafters. The same remark applies mutatis mutandis to return sponsorships: whatever the benefits in terms of solidarity, one wonders if it is very cost-effective or humane to drag a person from State to State so that they can each try their hand at expelling her.
      Lastly and relatedly, applicants and other persons otherwise concerned by the relocation system are given no voice. They can be “matched”, transferred, re-transferred, but subject to few exceptions their aspirations and intentions remain legally irrelevant. In this regard, the “New Pact” is as old school as it gets: it sticks strictly to the “no choice” taboo on which Dublin is built. What little recognition of applicants’ actorness had been made in the Wikstroem Report is gone. Objectifying migrants is not only incompatible with the claim that the approach taken is “human and humane”. It might prove fatal to the administrative efficiency so cherished by the Commission. Indeed, failure to engage applicants is arguably the key factor in the dismal performance of the Dublin system (here, p.112). Why should it be any different under this solidarity mechanism?

      Framing Force Majeure (or inviting defection?)

      In addition to addressing “crisis” situations, the Proposal for a Migration and Asylum Crisis Regulation includes separate provisions on force majeure.

      Thereunder, any Member State may unilaterally declare that it is faced with a situation making it “impossible” to comply with selected CEAS rules, and thus obtain the right – subject to a mere notification – to derogate from them. Member States may obtain in this way longer Dublin deadlines, or even be exempted from the obligation to accept transfers and be liberated from responsibilities if the suspension goes on more than a year (Article 8). Furthermore, States may obtain a six-months suspension of their duties under the solidarity mechanism (Article 9).

      The inclusion of this proposal in the Pact – possibly an attempt to further placate Member States averse to European solidarity? – beggars belief. Legally speaking, the whole idea is redundant: under the case-law of the ECJ, Member States may derogate from any rule of EU Law if confronted to force majeure. However, putting this black on white amounts to inviting (and legalizing) defection. The only conceivable object of rules of this kind would have been to subject force majeure derogations to prior authorization by the Commission – but there is nothing of the kind in the Proposal. The end result is paradoxical: while Member States are (in theory!) subject to Commission supervision when they conclude arrangements facilitating the implementation of Dublin rules, a mere notification will be enough to authorize them to unilaterally tear a hole in the fabric of “solidarity” and “responsibility” so painstakingly – if not felicitously – woven in the Pact.
      Concluding comments

      We should have taken Commissioner Ylva Johansson at her word when she said that there would be no “Hoorays” for the new proposals. Past the avalanche of adjectives, promises and fancy administrative monikers hurled at the reader – “faster, seamless migration processes”; “prevent the recurrence of events such as those seen in Moria”; “critical mass correction mechanism” – one cannot fail to see that the “fresh start” is essentially an exercise in repackaging.

      On responsibility-allocation and solidarity, the basic idea is one that the Commission incessantly returns to since 2007 (here, p. 10): keep Dublin and “correct” it through solidarity schemes. I do sympathize to an extent: realizing a fair balance of responsibilities by “sharing people” has always seemed to me impracticable and undesirable. Still, one would have expected that the abject failure of the Dublin system, the collapse of mutual trust in the CEAS, the meagre results obtained in the field of solidarity – per the Commission’s own appraisal – would have pushed it to bring something new to the table.

      Instead, what we have is a slightly milder version of the Dublin IV Proposal – the ultimate “clunker” in the history of Commission proposals – and an ultra-bureaucratic mechanism for relocation, with the dubious addition of return sponsorships and force majeure provisions. The basic tenets of infra-EU allocation remain the same – “no choice”, first entry – and none of the structural flaws that doomed current schemes to failure is fundamentally tackled (here, p.107): solidarity is beefed-up but appears too unreliable and fuzzy to generate trust; there are interesting steps on “genuine links”, but otherwise no sustained attempt to positively engage applicants; administrative complexity and coercive transfers reign on.

      Pragmatism, to quote again Daniel Thym’s excellent introductory post, is no sin. It is even expected of the Commission. This, however, is a study in path-dependency. By defending the status quo, wrapping it in shiny new paper, and making limited concessions to key policy actors, the Commission may perhaps carry its proposals through. However, without substantial corrections, the “new” Pact is unlikely to save the CEAS or even to prevent new Morias.

      http://eumigrationlawblog.eu/a-fresh-start-or-one-more-clunker-dublin-and-solidarity-in-the-ne

      #Francesco_Maiani

      #force_majeure

    • European Refugee Policy: What’s Gone Wrong and How to Make It Better

      In 2015 and 2016, more than 1 million refugees made their way to the European Union, the largest number of them originating from Syria. Since that time, refugee arrivals have continued, although at a much slower pace and involving people from a wider range of countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

      The EU’s response to these developments has had five main characteristics.

      First, a serious lack of preparedness and long-term planning. Despite the massive material and intelligence resources at its disposal, the EU was caught completely unaware by the mass influx of refugees five years ago and has been playing catch-up ever since. While the emergency is now well and truly over, EU member states continue to talk as if still in the grip of an unmanageable “refugee crisis.”

      Second, the EU’s refugee policy has become progressively based on a strategy known as “externalization,” whereby responsibility for migration control is shifted to unstable states outside Europe. This has been epitomized by the deals that the EU has done with countries such as Libya, Niger, Sudan, and Turkey, all of which have agreed to halt the onward movement of refugees in exchange for aid and other rewards, including support to the security services.

      Third, asylum has become increasingly criminalized, as demonstrated by the growing number of EU citizens and civil society groups that have been prosecuted for their roles in aiding refugees. At the same time, some frontline member states have engaged in a systematic attempt to delegitimize the NGO search-and-rescue organizations operating in the Mediterranean and to obstruct their life-saving activities.

      The fourth characteristic of EU countries’ recent policies has been a readiness to inflict or be complicit in a range of abuses that challenge the principles of both human rights and international refugee law. This can be seen in the violence perpetrated against asylum seekers by the military and militia groups in Croatia and Hungary, the terrible conditions found in Greek refugee camps such as Moria on the island of Lesvos, and, most egregiously of all, EU support to the Libyan Coastguard that enables it to intercept refugees at sea and to return them to abusive detention centers on land.

      Fifth and finally, the past five years have witnessed a serious absence of solidarity within the EU. Frontline states such as Greece and Italy have been left to bear a disproportionate share of the responsibility for new refugee arrivals. Efforts to relocate asylum seekers and resettle refugees throughout the EU have had disappointing results. And countries in the eastern part of the EU have consistently fought against the European Commission in its efforts to forge a more cooperative and coordinated approach to the refugee issue.

      The most recent attempt to formulate such an approach is to be found in the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, which the Commission proposed in September 2020.

      It would be wrong to entirely dismiss the Pact, as it contains some positive elements. These include, for example, a commitment to establish legal pathways to asylum in Europe for people who are in need of protection, and EU support for member states that wish to establish community-sponsored refugee resettlement programs.

      In other respects, however, the Pact has a number of important, serious flaws. It has already been questioned by those countries that are least willing to admit refugees and continue to resist the role of Brussels in this policy domain. The Pact also makes hardly any reference to the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration—a strange omission given the enormous amount of time and effort that the UN has devoted to those initiatives, both of which were triggered by the European emergency of 2015-16.

      At an operational level, the Pact endorses and reinforces the EU’s externalization agenda and envisages a much more aggressive role for Frontex, the EU’s border control agency. At the same time, it empowers member states to refuse entry to asylum seekers on the basis of very vague criteria. As a result, individuals may be more vulnerable to human smugglers and traffickers. There is also a strong likelihood that new refugee camps will spring up on the fringes of Europe, with their residents living in substandard conditions.

      Finally, the Pact places enormous emphasis on the involuntary return of asylum seekers to their countries of origin. It even envisages that a hardline state such as Hungary could contribute to the implementation of the Pact by organizing and funding such deportations. This constitutes an extremely dangerous new twist on the notions of solidarity and responsibility sharing, which form the basis of the international refugee regime.

      If the proposed Pact is not fit for purpose, then what might a more constructive EU refugee policy look like?

      It would in the first instance focus on the restoration of both EU and NGO search-and-rescue efforts in the Mediterranean and establish more predictable disembarkation and refugee distribution mechanisms. It would also mean the withdrawal of EU support for the Libyan Coastguard, the closure of that country’s detention centers, and a substantial improvement of the living conditions experienced by refugees in Europe’s frontline states—changes that should take place with or without a Pact.

      Indeed, the EU should redeploy the massive amount of resources that it currently devotes to the externalization process, so as to strengthen the protection capacity of asylum and transit countries on the periphery of Europe. A progressive approach on the part of the EU would involve the establishment of not only faster but also fair asylum procedures, with appropriate long-term solutions being found for new arrivals, whether or not they qualify for refugee status.

      These changes would help to ensure that those searching for safety have timely and adequate opportunities to access their most basic rights.

      https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2020/11/5/european-refugee-policy-whats-gone-wrong-and-how-to-make-it-b

    • The New Pact on Migration and Asylum: Turning European Union Territory into a non-Territory

      Externalization policies in 2020: where is the European Union territory?

      In spite of the Commission’s rhetoric stressing the novel elements of the Pact on Migration and Asylum (hereinafter: the Pact – summarized and discussed in general here), there are good reasons to argue that the Pact develops and consolidates, among others, the existing trends on externalization policies of migration control (see Guild et al). Furthermore, it tries to create new avenues for a ‘smarter’ system of management of immigration, by additionally controlling access to the European Union territory for third country nationals (TCNs), and by creating different categories of migrants, which are then subject to different legal regimes which find application in the European Union territory.

      The consolidation of existing trends concerns the externalization of migration management practices, resort to technologies in developing migration control systems (further development of Eurodac, completion of the path toward full interoperability between IT systems), and also the strengthening of the role of the European Union executive level, via increased joint management involving European Union agencies: these are all policies that find in the Pact’s consolidation.

      This brief will focus on externalization (practices), a concept which is finding a new declination in the Pact: indeed, the Pact and several of the measures proposed, read together, are aiming at ‘disentangling’ the territory of the EU, from a set of rights which are related with the presence of the migrant or of the asylum seeker on the territory of a Member State of the EU, and from the relation between territory and access to a jurisdiction, which is necessary to enforce rights which otherwise remain on paper.

      Interestingly, this process of separation, of splitting between territory-law/rights-jurisdiction takes place not outside, but within the EU, and this is the new declination of externalization which one can find in the measures proposed in the Pact, namely with the proposal for a Screening Regulation and the amended proposal for a Procedure Regulation. It is no accident that other commentators have interpreted it as a consolidation of ‘fortress Europe’. In other words, this externalization process takes place within the EU and aims at making the external borders more effective also for the TCNs who are already in the territory of the EU.

      The proposal for a pre-entry screening regulation

      A first instrument which has a pivotal role in the consolidation of the externalization trend is the proposed Regulation for a screening of third country nationals (hereinafter: Proposal Screening Regulation), which will be applicable to migrants crossing the external borders without authorization. The aim of the screening, according to the Commission, is to ‘accelerate the process of determining the status of a person and what type of procedure should apply’. More precisely, the screening ‘should help ensure that the third country nationals concerned are referred to the appropriate procedures at the earliest stage possible’ and also to avoid absconding after entrance in the territory in order to reach a different state than the one of arrival (recital 8, preamble of proposal). The screening should contribute as well to curb secondary movements, which is a policy target highly relevant for many northern and central European Union states.

      In the new design, the screening procedure becomes the ‘standard’ for all TCNs who crossed the border in irregular manner, and also for persons who are disembarked following a search and rescue (SAR) operation, and for those who apply for international protection at the external border crossing points or in transit zones. With the screening Regulation, all these categories of persons shall not be allowed to enter the territory of the State during the screening (Arts 3 and 4 of the proposal).

      Consequently, different categories of migrants, including asylum seekers which are by definition vulnerable persons, are to be kept in locations situated at or in proximity to the external borders, for a time (up to 5 days, which can become 10 at maximum), defined in the Regulation, but which must be respected by national administrations. There is here an implicit equation between all these categories, and the common denominator of this operation is that all these persons have crossed the border in an unauthorized manner.

      It is yet unclear how the situation of migrants during the screening is to be organized in practical terms, transit zones, hotspot or others, and if this can qualify as detention, in legal terms. The Court of Justice has ruled recently on Hungarian transit zones (see analysis by Luisa Marin), by deciding that Röszke transit zone qualified as ‘detention’, and it can be argued that the parameters clarified in that decision could find application also to the case of migrants during the screening phase. If the situation of TCNs during the screening can be considered detention, which is then the legal basis? The Reception Conditions Directive or the Return Directive? If the national administrations struggle to meet the tight deadlines provided for the screening system, these questions will become more urgent, next to the very practical issue of the actual accommodation for this procedure, which in general does not allow for access to the territory.

      On the one side, Article 14(7) of the proposal provides a guarantee, indicating that the screening should end also if the checks are not completed within the deadlines; on the other side, the remaining question is: to which procedure is the applicant sent and how is the next phase then determined? The relevant procedure following the screening here seems to be determined in a very approximate way, and this begs the question on the extent to which rights can be protected in this context. Furthermore, the right to have access to a lawyer is not provided for in the screening phase. Given the relevance of this screening phase, also fundamental rights should be monitored, and the mechanism put in place at Article 7, leaves much to the discretion of the Member States, and the involvement of the Fundamental Rights Agency, with guidance and support upon request of the MS can be too little to ensure fundamental rights are not jeopardized by national administrations.

      This screening phase, which has the purpose to make sure, among other things, that states ‘do their job’ as to collecting information and consequently feeding the EU information systems, might therefore have important effects on the merits of the individual case, since border procedures are to be seen as fast-track, time is limited and procedural guarantees are also sacrificed in this context. In the case the screening ends with a refusal of entry, there is a substantive effect of the screening, which is conducted without legal assistance and without access to a legal remedy. And if this is not a decision in itself, but it ends up in a de-briefing form, this form might give substance to the next stage of the procedure, which, in the case of asylum, should be an individualized and accurate assessment of one’s individual circumstances.

      Overall, it should be stressed that the screening itself does not end up in a formal decision, it nevertheless represents an important phase since it defines what comes after, i.e., the type of procedure following the screening. It must be observed therefore, that the respect of some procedural rights is of paramount importance. At the same time, it is important that communication in a language TCNs can understand is effective, since the screening might end in a de-briefing form, where one or more nationalities are indicated. Considering that one of the options is the refusal of entry (Art. 14(1) screening proposal; confirmed by the recital 40 of the Proposal Procedure Regulation, as amended in 2020), and the others are either access to asylum or expulsion, one should require that the screening provides for procedural guarantees.

      Furthermore, the screening should point to any element which might be relevant to refer the TCNs into the accelerated examination procedure or the border procedure. In other words, the screening must indicate in the de-briefing form the options that protect asylum applicants less than others (Article 14(3) of the proposal). It does not operate in the other way: a TCN who has applied for asylum and comes from a country with a high recognition rate is not excluded from the screening (see blog post by Jakuleviciene).

      The legislation creates therefore avenues for disentangling, splitting the relation between physical presence of an asylum applicant on a territory and the set of laws and fundamental rights associated to it, namely a protective legal order, access to rights and to a jurisdiction enforcing those rights. It creates a sort of ‘lighter’ legal order, a lower density system, which facilitates the exit of the applicant from the territory of the EU, creating a sort of shift from a Europe of rights to the Europe of borders, confinement and expulsions.

      The proposal for new border procedures: an attempt to create a lower density territory?

      Another crucial piece in this process of establishing a stronger border fence and streamline procedures at the border, creating a ‘seamless link between asylum and return’, in the words of the Commission, is constituted by the reform of the border procedures, with an amendment of the 2016 proposal for the Regulation procedure (hereinafter: Amended Proposal Procedure Regulation).

      Though border procedures are already present in the current Regulation of 2013, they are now developed into a “border procedure for asylum and return”, and a more developed accelerated procedure, which, next to the normal asylum procedure, comes after the screening phase.

      The new border procedure becomes obligatory (according to Art. 41(3) of the Amended Proposal Procedure Regulation) for applicants who arrive irregularly at the external border or after disembarkation and another of these grounds apply:

      – they represent a risk to national security or public order;

      – the applicant has provided false information or documents or by withholding relevant information or document;

      – the applicant comes from a non-EU country for which the share of positive decisions in the total number of asylum decisions is below 20 percent.

      This last criterion is especially problematic, since it transcends the criterion of the safe third country and it undermines the principle that every asylum application requires a complex and individualized assessment of the particular personal circumstances of the applicant, by introducing presumptive elements in a procedure which gives fewer guarantees.

      During the border procedure, the TCN is not granted access to the EU. The expansion of the new border procedures poses also the problem of the organization of the facilities necessary for the new procedures, which must be a location at or close to the external borders, in other words, where migrants are apprehended or disembarked.

      Tellingly enough, the Commission’s explanatory memorandum describes as guarantees in the asylum border procedure all the situations in which the border procedure shall not be applied, for example, because the necessary support cannot be provided or for medical reasons, or where the ‘conditions for detention (…) cannot be met and the border procedure cannot be applied without detention’.

      Also here the question remains on how to qualify their stay during the procedure, because the Commission aims at limiting resort to detention. The situation could be considered de facto a detention, and its compatibility with the criteria laid down by the Court of Justice in the Hungarian transit zones case is questionable.

      Another aspect which must be analyzed is the system of guarantees after the decision in a border procedure. If an application is rejected in an asylum border procedure, the “return procedure” applies immediately. Member States must limit to one instance the right to effective remedy against the decision, as posited in Article 53(9). The right to an effective remedy is therefore limited, according to Art. 53 of the Proposed Regulation, and the right to remain, a ‘light’ right to remain one could say, is also narrowly constructed, in the case of border procedures, to the first remedy against the negative decision (Art. 54(3) read together with Art. 54(4) and 54(5)). Furthermore, EU law allows Member States to limit the right to remain in case of subsequent applications and provides that there is no right to remain in the case of subsequent appeals (Art. 54(6) and (7)). More in general, this proposal extends the circumstances where the applicant does not have an automatic right to remain and this represents an aspect which affects significantly and in a factual manner the capacity to challenge a negative decision in a border procedure.

      Overall, it can be argued that the asylum border procedure is a procedure where guarantees are limited, because the access to the jurisdiction is taking place in fast-track procedures, access to legal remedies is also reduced to the very minimum. Access to the territory of the Member State is therefore deprived of its typical meaning, in the sense that it does not imply access to a system which is protecting rights with procedures which offer guarantees and are therefore also time-consuming. Here, efficiency should govern a process where the access to a jurisdiction is lighter, is ‘less dense’ than otherwise. To conclude, this externalization of migration control policies takes place ‘inside’ the European Union territory, and it aims at prolonging the effects of containment policies because they make access to the EU territory less meaningful, in legal terms: the presence of the person in the territory of the EU does not entail full access to the rights related to the presence on the territory.

      Solidarity in cooperating with third countries? The “return sponsorship” and its territorial puzzle

      Chapter 6 of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum proposes, among other things, to create a conditionality between cooperation on readmission with third countries and the issuance of visas to their nationals. This conditionality was legally established in the 2019 revision of the Visa Code Regulation. The revision (discussed here) states that, given their “politically sensitive nature and their horizontal implications for the Member States and the Union”, such provisions will be triggered once implementing powers are conferred to the Council (following a proposal from the Commission).

      What do these measures entail? We know that they can be applied in bulk or separately. Firstly, EU consulates in third countries will not have the usual leeway to waive some documents required to apply for visas (Art. 14(6), visa code). Secondly, visa applicants from uncooperative third countries will pay higher visa fees (Art. 16(1) visa code). Thirdly, visa fees to diplomatic and service passports will not be waived (Art. 16(5)b visa code). Fourthly, time to take a decision on the visa application will be longer than 15 days (Art. 23(1) visa code). Fifthly, the issuance of multi-entry visas (MEVs) from 6 months to 5 years is suspended (Art. 24(2) visa code). In other words, these coercive measures are not aimed at suspending visas. They are designed to make the procedure for obtaining a visa more lengthy, more costly, and limited in terms of access to MEVs.

      Moreover, it is important to stress that the revision of the Visa Code Regulation mentions that the Union will strike a balance between “migration and security concerns, economic considerations and general external relations”. Consequently, measures (be they restrictive or not) will result from an assessment that goes well beyond migration management issues. The assessment will not be based exclusively on the so-called “return rate” that has been presented as a compass used to reward or blame third countries’ cooperation on readmission. Other indicators or criteria, based on data provided by the Member States, will be equally examined by the Commission. These other indicators pertain to “the overall relations” between the Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and a given third country, on the other. This broad category is not defined in the 2019 revision of the Visa Code, nor do we know what it precisely refers to.

      What do we know about this linkage? The idea of linking cooperation on readmission with visa policy is not new. It was first introduced at a bilateral level by some member states. For example, fifteen years ago, cooperation on redocumentation, including the swift delivery of laissez-passers by the consular authorities of countries of origin, was at the centre of bilateral talks between France and North African countries. In September 2005, the French Ministry of the Interior proposed to “sanction uncooperative countries [especially Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria] by limiting the number of short-term visas that France delivers to their nationals.” Sanctions turned out to be unsuccessful not only because of the diplomatic tensions they generated – they were met with strong criticisms and reaction on the part of North African countries – but also because the ratio between the number of laissez-passers requested by the French authorities and the number of laissez-passers delivered by North African countries’ authorities remained unchanged.

      At the EU level, the idea to link readmission with visa policy has been in the pipeline for many years. Let’s remember that, in October 2002, in its Community Return Policy, the European Commission reflected on the positive incentives that could be used in order to ensure third countries’ constant cooperation on readmission. The Commission observed in its communication that, actually, “there is little that can be offered in return. In particular visa concessions or the lifting of visa requirements can be a realistic option in exceptional cases only; in most cases it is not.” Therefore, the Commission set out to propose additional incentives (e.g. trade expansion, technical/financial assistance, additional development aid).

      In a similar vein, in September 2015, after years of negotiations and failed attempt to cooperate on readmission with Southern countries, the Commission remarked that the possibility to use Visa Facilitation Agreements as an incentive to cooperate on readmission is limited in the South “as the EU is unlikely to offer visa facilitation to certain third countries which generate many irregular migrants and thus pose a migratory risk. And even when the EU does offer the parallel negotiation of a visa facilitation agreement, this may not be sufficient if the facilitations offered are not sufficiently attractive.”

      More recently, in March 2018, in its Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for an amendment of the Common Visa Code, the Commission itself recognised that “better cooperation on readmission with reluctant third countries cannot be obtained through visa policy measures alone.” It also added that “there is no hard evidence on how visa leverage can translate into better cooperation of third countries on readmission.”

      Against this backdrop, why has so much emphasis been put on the link between cooperation on readmission and visa policy in the revised Visa Code Regulation and later in the New Pact? The Commission itself recognised that this conditionality might not constitute a sufficient incentive to ensure the cooperation on readmission.

      To reply to this question, we need first to question the oft-cited reference to third countries’ “reluctance”[n1] to cooperate on readmission in order to understand that, cooperation on readmission is inextricably based on unbalanced reciprocities. Moreover, migration, be it regular or irregular, continues to be viewed as a safety valve to relieve pressure on unemployment and poverty in countries of origin. Readmission has asymmetric costs and benefits having economic social and political implications for countries of origin. Apart from being unpopular in Southern countries, readmission is humiliating, stigmatizing, violent and traumatic for migrants,[n2] making their process of reintegration extremely difficult, if not impossible, especially when countries of origin have often no interest in promoting reintegration programmes addressed to their nationals expelled from Europe.

      Importantly, the conclusion of a bilateral agreement does not automatically lead to its full implementation in the field of readmission, for the latter is contingent on an array of factors that codify the bilateral interactions between two contracting parties. Today, more than 320 bilateral agreements linked to readmission have been concluded between the 27 EU Member States and third countries at a global level. Using an oxymoron, it is possible to argue that, over the past decades, various EU member states have learned that, if bilateral cooperation on readmission constitutes a central priority in their external relations (this is the official rhetoric), readmission remains peripheral to other strategic issue-areas which are detailed below. Finally, unlike some third countries in the Balkans or Eastern Europe, Southern third countries have no prospect of acceding to the EU bloc, let alone having a visa-free regime, at least in the foreseeable future. This basic difference makes any attempt to compare the responsiveness of the Balkan countries to cooperation on readmission with Southern non-EU countries’ impossible, if not spurious.

      Today, patterns of interdependence between the North and the South of the Mediterranean are very much consolidated. Over the last decades, Member States, especially Spain, France, Italy and Greece, have learned that bringing pressure to bear on uncooperative third countries needs to be evaluated cautiously lest other issues of high politics be jeopardized. Readmission cannot be isolated from a broader framework of interactions including other strategic, if not more crucial, issue-areas, such as police cooperation on the fight against international terrorism, border control, energy security and other diplomatic and geopolitical concerns. Nor can bilateral cooperation on readmission be viewed as an end in itself, for it has often been grafted onto a broader framework of interactions.

      This point leads to a final remark regarding “return sponsorship” which is detailed in Art. 55 of the proposal for a regulation on asylum and migration management. In a nutshell, the idea of the European Commission consists in a commitment from a “sponsoring Member State” to assist another Member State (the benefitting Member State) in the readmission of a third-country national. This mechanism foresees that each Member State is expected to indicate the nationalities for which they are willing to provide support in the field of readmission. The sponsoring Member State offers an assistance by mobilizing its network of bilateral cooperation on readmission, or by opening a dialogue with the authorities of a given third country where the third-country national will be deported. If, after eight months, attempts are unsuccessful, the third-country national is transferred to the sponsoring Member State. Note that, in application of Council Directive 2001/40 on mutual recognition of expulsion decisions, the sponsoring Member State may or may not recognize the expulsion decision of the benefitting Member State, just because Member States continue to interpret the Geneva Convention in different ways and also because they have different grounds for subsidiary protection.

      Viewed from a non-EU perspective, namely from the point of view of third countries, this mechanism might raise some questions of competence and relevance. Which consular authorities will undertake the identification process of the third country national with a view to eventually delivering a travel document? Are we talking about the third country’s consular authorities located in the territory of the benefitting Member State or in the sponsoring Member State’s? In a similar vein, why would a bilateral agreement linked to readmission – concluded with a given ‘sponsoring’ Member State – be applicable to a ‘benefitting’ Member State (with which no bilateral agreement or arrangement has been signed)? Such territorially bounded contingencies will invariably be problematic, at a certain stage, from the viewpoint of third countries. Additionally, in acting as a sponsoring Member State, one is entitled to wonder why an EU Member State might decide to expose itself to increased tensions with a given third country while putting at risk a broader framework of interactions.

      As the graph shows, not all the EU Member States are equally engaged in bilateral cooperation on readmission with third countries. Moreover, a geographical distribution of available data demonstrates that more than 70 per cent of the total number of bilateral agreements linked to readmission (be they formal or informal[n3]) concluded with African countries are covered by France, Italy and Spain. Over the last decades, these three Member States have developed their respective networks of cooperation on readmission with a number of countries in Africa and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

      Given the existence of these consolidated networks, the extent to which the “return sponsorship” proposed in the Pact will add value to their current undertakings is objectively questionable. Rather, if the “return sponsorship” mechanism is adopted, these three Member States might be deemed to act as sponsoring Member States when it comes to the expulsion of irregular migrants (located in other EU Member States) to Africa and the MENA region. More concretely, the propensity of, for example, Austria to sponsor Italy in expelling from Italy a foreign national coming from the MENA region or from Africa is predictably low. Austria’s current networks of cooperation on readmission with MENA and African countries would never add value to Italy’s consolidated networks of cooperation on readmission with these third countries. Moreover, it is unlikely that Italy will be proactively “sponsoring” other Member States’ expulsion decisions, without jeopardising its bilateral relations with other strategic third countries located in the MENA region or in Africa, to use the same example. These considerations concretely demonstrate that the European Commission’s call for “solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility”, on which its “return sponsorship” mechanism is premised, is contingent on the existence of a federative Union able to act as a unitary supranational body in domestic and foreign affairs. This federation does not exist in political terms.

      Beyond these practical aspects, it is important to realise that the cobweb of bilateral agreements linked to readmission has expanded as a result of tremendously complex bilateral dynamics that go well beyond the mere management of international migration. These remarks are crucial to understanding that we need to reflect properly on the conditionality pattern that has driven the external action of the EU, especially in a regional context where patterns of interdependence among state actors have gained so much relevance over the last two decades. Moreover, given the clear consensus on the weak correlation between cooperation on readmission and visa policy (the European Commission being no exception to this consensus), linking the two might not be the adequate response to ensure third countries’ cooperation on readmission, especially when the latter are in position to capitalize on their strategic position with regard to some EU Member States.

      Conclusions

      This brief reflection has highlighted a trend which is taking shape in the Pact and in some of the measures proposed by the Commission in its 2020 package of reforms. It has been shown that the proposals for a pre-entry screening and the 2020 amended proposal for enhanced border procedures are creating something we could label as a ‘lower density’ European Union territory, because the new procedures and arrangements have the purpose of restricting and limiting access to rights and to jurisdiction. This would happen on the territory of a Member State, but in a place at or close to the external borders, with a view to confining migration and third country nationals to an area where the territory of a state, and therefore, the European territory, is less … ‘territorial’ than it should be: legally speaking, it is a ‘lower density’ territory.

      The “seamless link between asylum and return” the Commission aims to create with the new border procedures can be described as sliding doors through which the third country national can enter or leave immediately, depending on how the established fast-track system qualifies her situation.

      However, the paradox highlighted with the “return sponsorship” mechanism shows that readmission agreements or arrangements are no panacea, for the vested interests of third countries must also be taken into consideration when it comes to cooperation on readmission. In this respect, it is telling that the Commission never consulted third states on the new return sponsorship mechanism, as if their territories were not concerned by this mechanism, which is far from being the case. For this reason, it is legitimate to imagine that the main rationale for the return sponsorship mechanism may be another one, and it may be merely domestic. In other words, the return sponsorship, which transforms itself into a form of relocation after eight months if the third country national is not expelled from the EU territory, subtly takes non-frontline European Union states out of their comfort-zone and engage them in cooperating on expulsions. If they fail to do so, namely if the third-country national is not expelled after eight months, non-frontline European Union states are as it were ‘forcibly’ engaged in a ‘solidarity practice’ that is conducive to relocation.

      Given the disappointing past experience of the 2015 relocations, it is impossible to predict whether this mechanism will work or not. However, once one enters sliding doors, the danger is to remain stuck in uncertainty, in a European Union ‘no man’s land’ which is nothing but another by-product of the fortress Europe machinery.

      http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2020/11/the-new-pact-on-migration-and-asylum.html

    • Le nouveau Pacte européen sur la migration et l’asile

      Ce 23 septembre 2020, la Commission européenne a présenté son très attendu nouveau Pacte sur la migration et l’asile.

      Alors que l’Union européenne (UE) traverse une crise politique majeure depuis 2015 et que les solutions apportées ont démontré leur insuffisance en matière de solidarité entre États membres, leur violence à l’égard des exilés et leur coût exorbitant, la Commission européenne ne semble pas tirer les leçons du passé.

      Au menu du Pacte : un renforcement toujours accru des contrôles aux frontières, des procédures expéditives aux frontières de l’UE avec, à la clé, la détention généralisée pour les nouveaux arrivants, la poursuite de l’externalisation et un focus sur les expulsions. Il n’y a donc pas de changement de stratégie.

      Le Règlement Dublin, injuste et inefficace, est loin d’être aboli. Le nouveau système mis en place changera certes de nom, mais reprendra le critère tant décrié du “premier pays d’entrée” dans l’UE pour déterminer le pays responsable du traitement de la demande d’asile. Quant à un mécanisme permanent de solidarité pour les États davantage confrontés à l’arrivée des exilés, à l’instar des quotas de relocalisations de 2015-2017 – relocalisations qui furent un échec complet -, la Commission propose une solidarité permanente et obligatoire mais… à la carte, où les États qui ne veulent pas accueillir de migrants peuvent choisir à la place de “parrainer” leur retour, ou de fournir un soutien opérationnel aux États en difficulté. La solidarité n’est donc cyniquement pas envisagée pour l’accueil, mais bien pour le renvoi des migrants.

      Pourtant, l’UE fait face à beaucoup moins d’arrivées de migrants sur son territoire qu’en 2015 (1,5 million d’arrivées en 2015, 140.00 en 2019)

      Fin 2019, l’UE accueillait 2,6 millions de réfugiés, soit l’équivalent de 0,6% de sa population. À défaut de voies légales et sûres, les personnes exilées continuent de fuir la guerre, la violence, ou de rechercher une vie meilleure et doivent emprunter des routes périlleuses pour rejoindre le territoire de l’UE : on dénombre plus de 20.000 décès depuis 2014. Une fois arrivées ici, elles peuvent encore être détenues et subir des mauvais traitements, comme c’était le cas dans le camp qui a brûlé à Moria. Lorsqu’elles poursuivent leur route migratoire au sein de l’UE, elles ne peuvent choisir le pays où elles demanderont l’asile et elles font face à la loterie de l’asile…

      Loin d’un “nouveau départ” avec ce nouveau Pacte, la Commission propose les mêmes recettes et rate une opportunité de mettre en œuvre une tout autre politique, qui soit réellement solidaire, équitable pour les États membres et respectueuse des droits fondamentaux des personnes migrantes, avec l’établissement de voies légales et sûres, des procédures d’asile harmonisées et un accueil de qualité, ou encore la recherche de solutions durables pour les personnes en situation irrégulière.

      Dans cette brève analyse, nous revenons sur certaines des mesures phares telles qu’elles ont été présentées par la Commission européenne et qui feront l’objet de discussions dans les prochains mois avec le Parlement européen et le Conseil européen. Nous expliquerons également en quoi ces mesures n’ont rien d’innovant, sont un échec de la politique migratoire européenne, et pourquoi elles sont dangereuses pour les personnes migrantes.

      https://www.cire.be/publication/le-nouveau-pacte-europeen-sur-la-migration-et-lasile

      Pour télécharger l’analyse :
      https://www.cire.be/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php?juwpfisadmin=false&action=wpfd&task=file.download&wpfd_category_

    • New pact on migration and asylum. Perspective on the ’other side’ of the EU border

      At the end of September 2020, and after camp Moria on Lesvos burned down leaving over 13,000 people in an even more precarious situation than they were before, the European Commission (EC) introduced a proposal for the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. So far, the proposal has not been met with enthusiasm by neither member states or human rights organisations.

      Based on first-hand field research interviews with civil society and other experts in the Balkan region, this report provides a unique perspective of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum from ‘the other side’ of the EU’s borders.

      #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #rapport #Refugee_rights #militarisation

    • Impakter | Un « nouveau » pacte sur l’asile et les migrations ?

      Le média en ligne Impakter propose un article d’analyse du Pacte sur l’asile et les migrations de l’Union européenne. Publié le 23 septembre 2020, le pacte a été annoncé comme un “nouveau départ”. En réalité, le pacte n’est pas du tout un nouveau départ, mais la même politique avec un ensemble de nouvelles propositions. L’article pointe l’aspect critique du projet, et notamment des concepts clés tels que : « processus de pré-selection », « le processus accélérée » et le « pacte de retour ». L’article donne la parole à plusieurs expertises et offre ainsi une meilleure compréhension de ce que concrètement ce pacte implique pour les personnes migrantes.

      L’article de #Charlie_Westbrook “A “New” Pact on Migration and Asylum ?” a été publié le 11 février dans le magazine en ligne Impakter (sous licence Creative Commons). Nous vous en proposons un court résumé traduisant les lignes directrices de l’argumentaire, en français ci-dessous. Pour lire l’intégralité du texte en anglais, vous pouvez vous rendre sur le site de Impakter.

      –---

      Le “Nouveau pacte sur la migration et l’asile”, a été publié le 23 septembre, faisant suite à l’incendie du camp surpeuplé de Moria. Le pacte a été annoncé comme un “nouveau départ”. En réalité, le pacte n’est pas du tout un nouveau départ, mais la même politique avec un ensemble de nouvelles propositions sur lesquelles les États membres de l’UE devront maintenant se mettre d’accord – une entreprise qui a déjà connu des difficultés.

      Les universitaires, les militants et les organisations de défense des droits de l’homme de l’UE soulignent les préoccupations éthiques et pratiques que suscitent nombre des propositions suggérées par la Commission, ainsi que la rhétorique axée sur le retour qui les anime. Charlie Westbrook la journaliste, a contacté Kirsty Evans, coordinatrice de terrain et des campagnes pour Europe Must Act, qui m’a fait part de ses réactions au nouveau Pacte.

      Cet essai vise à présenter le plus clairement possible les problèmes liés à ce nouveau pacte, en mettant en évidence les principales préoccupations des experts et des ONG. Ces préoccupations concernent les problèmes potentiels liés au processus de présélection, au processus accéléré (ou “fast-track”) et au mécanisme de parrainage des retours.

      Le processus de présélection

      La nouvelle proposition est d’instaurer une procédure de contrôle préalable à l’entrée sur le territoire européen. L’ONG Human Rights Watch, dénonce la suggestion trompeuse du pacte selon laquelle les personnes soumises à la procédure frontalière ne sont pas considérées comme ayant formellement pénétré sur le territoire. Ce processus concerne toute personne extra-européenne qui franchirait la frontière de manière irrégulière. Ce manque de différenciation du type de besoin inquiète l’affirme l’avocate et professeur Lyra Jakulevičienė, car cela signifie que la politique d’externalisation sera plus forte que jamais. Ce nouveau règlement brouille la distinction entre les personnes demandant une protection internationale et les autres migrants “en plaçant les deux groupes de personnes sous le même régime juridique au lieu de les différencier clairement, car leurs chances de rester dans l’UE sont très différentes”. Ce processus d’externalisation, cependant, “se déroule “à l’intérieur” du territoire de l’Union européenne, et vise à prolonger les effets des politiques d’endiguement parce qu’elles rendent l’accès au territoire de l’UE moins significatif”, comme l’expliquent Jean-Pierre Cassarino, chercheur principal à la chaire de la politique européenne de voisinage du Collège d’Europe, et Luisa Marin, professeur adjoint de droit européen. En d’autres termes, les personnes en quête de protection n’auront pas pleinement accès aux droits européens en arrivant sur le territoire de l’UE. Il faudra d’abord déterminer ce qu’elles “sont”. En outre, les recherches universitaires montrent que les processus d’externalisation “entraînent le contournement des normes fondamentales, vont à l’encontre de la bonne gouvernance, créent l’immobilité et contribuent à la crise du régime mondial des réfugiés, qui ne parvient pas à assurer la protection”. Les principales inquiétudes de ces deux expert·es sont les suivantes : la rapidité de prise de décision (pas plus de 5 jours), l’absence d’assistance juridique, Etat membre est le seul garant du respect des droits fondamentaux et si cette période de pré-sélection sera mise en œuvre comme une détention.

      Selon Jakulevičienė, la proposition apporte “un grand potentiel” pour créer davantage de camps de style “Moria”. Il est difficile de voir en quoi cela profiterait à qui que ce soit.

      Procédure accélérée

      Si un demandeur est orienté vers le système accéléré, une décision sera prise dans un délai de 12 semaines – une durée qui fait craindre que le système accéléré n’aboutisse à un retour injuste des demandeurs. En 2010, Human Rights Watch a publié un rapport de fond détaillant comment les procédures d’asile accélérées étaient inadaptées aux demandes complexes et comment elles affectaient négativement les femmes demandeurs d’asile en particulier.
      Les personnes seront dirigées vers la procédure accélérée si : l’identité a été cachée ou que de faux documents ont été utilisés, si elle représente un danger pour la sécurité nationale, ou si elle est ressortissante d’un pays pour lesquels moins de 20% des demandes ont abouti à l’octroi d’une protection internationale.

      Comme l’exprime le rapport de Human Rights Watch (HRW), “la procédure à la frontière proposée repose sur deux hypothèses erronées – que la majorité des personnes arrivant en Europe n’ont pas besoin de protection et que l’évaluation des demandes d’asile peut être faite facilement et rapidement”.

      Essentiellement, comme l’écrivent Cassarino et Marin, “elle porte atteinte au principe selon lequel toute demande d’asile nécessite une évaluation complexe et individualisée de la situation personnelle particulière du demandeur”.

      Tout comme Jakulevičienė, Kirsty Evans s’inquiète de la manière dont le pacte va alimenter une rhétorique préjudiciable, en faisant valoir que “le langage de l’accélération fait appel à la “protection” de la rhétorique nationale évidente dans la politique et les médias en se concentrant sur le retour des personnes sur leur propre territoire”.

      Un pacte pour le retour

      Désormais, lorsqu’une demande d’asile est rejetée, la décision de retour sera rendue en même temps.

      Le raisonnement présenté par la Commission pour proposer des procédures plus rapides et plus intégrées est que des procédures inefficaces causent des difficultés excessives – y compris pour ceux qui ont obtenu le droit de rester.

      Les procédures restructurées peuvent en effet profiter à certains. Cependant, il existe un risque sérieux qu’elles aient un impact négatif sur le droit d’asile des personnes soumises à la procédure accélérée – sachant qu’en cas de rejet, il n’existe qu’un seul droit de recours.

      La proposition selon laquelle l’UE traitera désormais les retours dans leur ensemble, et non plus seulement dans un seul État membre, illustre bien l’importance que l’UE accorde aux retours. À cette fin, l’UE propose la création d’un nouveau poste de coordinateur européen des retours qui s’occupera des retours et des réadmissions.

      Décrite comme “la plus sinistre des nouvelles propositions”, et assimilée à “une grotesque parodie de personnes parrainant des enfants dans les pays en développement par l’intermédiaire d’organisations caritatives”, l’option du parrainage de retour est également un signe fort de l’approche par concession de la Commission.

      Pour M. Evans, le fait d’autoriser les pays à opter pour le “retour” comme moyen de “gérer la migration” semble être une validation du comportement illégal des États membres, comme les récentes expulsions massives en Grèce. Alors, qu’est-ce que le parrainage de retour ? Eh bien, selon les termes de l’UE, le parrainage du retour est une option de solidarité dans laquelle l’État membre “s’engage à renvoyer les migrants en situation irrégulière sans droit de séjour au nom d’un autre État membre, en le faisant directement à partir du territoire de l’État membre bénéficiaire”.

      Les États membres préciseront les nationalités qu’ils “parraineront” en fonction, vraisemblablement, des relations préexistantes de l’État membre de l’UE avec un État non membre de l’UE. Lorsque la demande d’un individu est rejetée, l’État membre qui en est responsable s’appuiera sur ses relations avec le pays tiers pour négocier le retour du demandeur.

      En outre, en supposant que les réadmissions soient réussies, le parrainage des retours fonctionne sur la base de l’hypothèse qu’il existe un pays tiers sûr. C’est sur cette base que les demandes sont rejetées. La manière dont cela affectera le principe de non-refoulement est la principale préoccupation des organisations des droits de l’homme et des experts politiques, et c’est une préoccupation qui découle d’expériences antérieures. Après tout, la coopération avec des pays tiers jusqu’à présent – à savoir l’accord Turquie-UE et l’accord Espagne-Maroc – a suscité de nombreuses critiques sur le coût des droits de l’homme.

      Mais en plus des préoccupations relatives aux droits de l’homme, des questions sont soulevées sur les implications ou même les aspects pratiques de l’”incitation” des pays tiers à se conformer, l’image de l’UE en tant que champion des droits de l’homme étant déjà corrodée aux yeux de la communauté internationale.

      Il s’agira notamment d’utiliser la délivrance du code des visas comme méthode d’incitation. Pour les pays qui ne coopèrent pas à la réadmission, les visas seront plus difficiles à obtenir. La proposition visant à pénaliser les pays qui appliquent des restrictions en matière de visas n’est pas nouvelle et n’a pas conduit à une amélioration des relations diplomatiques. Guild fait valoir que cette approche est injuste pour les demandeurs de visa des pays “non coopérants” et qu’elle risque également de susciter des sentiments d’injustice chez les voisins du pays tiers.

      L’analyse de Guild est que le nouveau pacte est diplomatiquement faible. Au-delà du financement, il offre “peu d’attention aux intérêts des pays tiers”. Il faut reconnaître, après tout, que la réadmission a des coûts et des avantages asymétriques pour les pays qui les acceptent, surtout si l’on considère que la migration, comme le soulignent Cassarino et Marin, “continue d’être considérée comme une soupape de sécurité pour soulager la pression sur le chômage et la pauvreté dans les pays d’origine”.

      https://asile.ch/2021/03/02/impakter-un-nouveau-pacte-sur-lasile-et-les-migrations

      L’article original :
      A “New” Pact on Migration and Asylum ?
      https://impakter.com/a-new-pact-on-migration-and-asylum

    • The EU Pact on Migration and Asylum in light of the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees. International Experiences on Containment and Mobility and their Impacts on Trust and Rights

      In September 2020, the European Commission published what it described as a New Pact on Migration and Asylum (emphasis added) that lays down a multi-annual policy agenda on issues that have been central to debate about the future of European integration. This book critically examines the new Pact as part of a Forum organized by the Horizon 2020 project ASILE – Global Asylum Governance and the EU’s Role.

      ASILE studies interactions between emerging international protection systems and the United Nations Global Compact for Refugees (UN GCR), with particular focus on the European Union’s role and the UN GCR’s implementation dynamics. It brings together a new international network of scholars from 13 institutions examining the characteristics of international and country specific asylum governance instruments and arrangements applicable to people seeking international protection. It studies the compatibility of these governance instruments’ with international protection and human rights, and the UN GCR’s call for global solidarity and responsibility sharing.

      https://www.asileproject.eu/the-eu-pact-on-migration-and-asylum-in-light-of-the-united-nations-glob

  • Technology has codified structural racism – will the EU tackle racist tech ?
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/opinion/technology-has-codified-structural-racism-will-the-eu-tackle-racist-tech

    The EU is preparing its ‘Action Plan’ to address structural racism in Europe. With digital high on the EU’s legislative agenda, it’s time we tackle racism perpetuated by technology, writes Sarah Chander. Sarah Chander is a senior policy adviser at European Digital Rights (EDRi), a network of 44 digital rights organisations in Europe. 2020 is the year the EU ‘woke up’ to structural racism. The murder of George Floyd on the 25th May spurred global uprisings, penetrating even the EU’s political (...)

    #Microsoft #IBM #algorithme #biométrie #criminalité #migration #police #racisme #technologisme #prédiction #sexisme #BigData #LGBT #discrimination #profiling (...)

    ##criminalité ##surveillance

  • Crowd monitoring facial recognition tech awarded Commission seal of excellence
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/crowd-monitoring-facial-recognition-tech-awarded-commission-seal-of-excell

    The European Commission has given its ‘seal of excellence’ to a technology that provides ‘advanced video analytics, including real-time face recognition and crowd behaviour analysis,’ to be used in the bloc’s fight against another potential outbreak of the coronavirus. The AWARE technology, developed by Spanish-based Herta Security, allows authorities to “identify people even when wearing masks and monitor crowd density,” the company stated. “The automatic control of social distancing and the (...)

    #facial #reconnaissance #[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données_(RGPD)[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR)[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR) #COVID-19 #masque (...)

    ##[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données__RGPD_[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_ ##santé

  • EU data watchdog to ‘convince’ Commission to ban automated recognition tech
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/eu-data-watchdog-argues-for-moratorium-on-recognition-technology

    Automated recognition technologies in public spaces should be temporarily banned, the EU’s institutional data protection watchdog has said, arguing in favour of a moratorium. Applications that should be outlawed for a limited period of time not only include facial recognition technologies but also software that captures “gait, fingerprints, DNA, voice, keystrokes and other biometric or behavioral signals,” the European Data Protection Supervisor said on Tuesday (30 June). EDPS head Wojciech (...)

    #algorithme #CCTV #[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données_(RGPD)[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR)[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR) #biométrie #génétique #données #facial #reconnaissance #vidéo-surveillance #clavier #comportement #empreintes (...)

    ##[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données__RGPD_[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_ ##marche ##surveillance ##voix

  • New camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    In Bosnia, local authorities in the northwest Una-Sana canton ordered the mandatory relocation of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers sleeping outdoors into a temporary camp currently under construction near the village of Lipa, some 25 kilometers from the Croatian border.

    Authorities have since agreed to have the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Danish Refugee Council manage the new camp on behalf of the government.

    An estimated 3,000 of those who are trying to make their way into the EU through Croatia are squatting in abandoned buildings or sleeping outdoors in the region, while another 4,100 are accommodated in facilities managed by IOM.

    “IOM is trying their best to create dignified conditions and ensure adequate access to health and other support services. However, the camps remain overcrowded and unfit for prolonged stay,” said Jelena Sesar, a researcher at Amnesty International.

    People who did not enter the official camps during the winter months cannot effectively self-isolate and are often barred from health institutions available to ordinary citizens.

    “The [Bosnian] state authorities for the past two years have done next to nothing to deal with the migrant crisis in the country and have practically left the Una-Sana canton to deal on its own with the flow of refugees,” Sesar told EURACTIV.

    Bosnian authorities have previously come under heavy criticism by civil rights groups for the Vucjak camp, built on a former landfill near the Croatian border in an area with landmines from the 1990s war, where migrants lived without heating, running water or toilets.

    Last December, authorities dismantled the Vucjak camp and transferred hundreds of people who were living at the site to a new camp near Sarajevo.

    Bosnia closes ’jungle’ migrant camp
    Bosnia on Wednesday (11 December) dismantled tents at the makeshift migrant camp known as the “jungle” for its harsh conditions, after transferring hundreds of people who were living at the site to Sarajevo.

    However, human rights organisations remain concerned about the capacity of Bosnian authorities to support the increasing number of refugees and migrants arriving into the country.

    “It’s simply difficult to see how now, in the crisis conditions, the local government is going to get organised so quickly and in a week do something that they have not been able to do over the past two years,” said Sesar.

    Authorities are procuring 40 tents which are each able to accommodate up to 50 people.

    “Such tents are already used in other camps. They don’t offer much privacy and there’s certainly no place for self-isolation or social distancing, the measures that are necessary to reduce the spread of the virus,” Sesar warned.

    Another issue is the safe transport of thousands of refugees to the new site while keeping distancing measures to prevent new infections.

    “At a time when governments across Europe have started thinking about releasing people from migration detention in order to decongest these areas where people are confined together and therefore at greater risk, Bosnia is doing the opposite,” said Sesar.

    “While finding adequate housing for refugees and migrants sleeping outdoors is certainly welcome and necessary, Bosnian authorities must ensure that this new camp gives maximum protection by providing access to clean water, sanitation and essential healthcare, as well as resources to ensure necessary physical distancing.”

    The EU on Wednesday (8 April) announced a €15.6 billion support package for foreign countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with €2.8 billion earmarked for research, health and water systems, which includes supporting equal access to health systems for migrants, refugees and host communities.

    However, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell confirmed that “there is no fresh money,” and that funding will come from reallocation of existing funds and programmes.

    EU unveils €15bn COVID rescue plan, but includes no new money
    The EU unveiled on Wednesday (8 April) a support package worth €15.6 billion for African and other partner countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but conceded that it includes no new money.

    Inside the bloc, the EU has been pushing to relocate vulnerable migrants to hotels and accommodation that are currently left empty during the pandemic.

    “What we should do now is to immediately evacuate the most vulnerable individuals out of these camps so that they can be secured in hotel rooms or apartments and not be affected if the virus breaks out in these camps,” home affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told Deutsche Welle.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/refugees-left-behind-in-coronavirus-crisis-aid-groups-warn

    #Covid-19 #Migrants #Migrations #Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Lipa #camp #Unasanacanton #Fédérationcroatomusulmane

  • Misguided ‘solution’ to terrorist content will have bad consequences for our rights – EURACTIV.com
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/opinion/misguided-solution-to-terrorist-content-will-have-bad-consequences-for-our

    One year ago, on 15 March 2019, a terrorist entered a Christchurch mosque, murdering more than fifty people. Beyond the atrocity of such a hate crime, it hit the whole world for two reasons. First, it happened in New Zealand, which had been considered a peaceful corner of the world. Second, the massacre was broadcast by the terrorist through Facebook live. Eliška Pírková is a Europe policy analyst at Access Now. Eva Simon is an advocacy officer for the Civil Liberties Union for Europe (...)

    #Microsoft #Amazon #DropBox #Facebook #LinkedIn #Twitter #WhatsApp #YouTube #algorithme #anti-terrorisme #modération #censure #SocialNetwork #surveillance (...)

    ##Liberties

    • COVID-19 isolation could create ‘fertile ground for domestic violence’

      On the day that France’s President Emmanuel Macron announced sweeping plans to go into a 15-day period of enforced lockdown from Tuesday, concerns also arose as to the potential increase in cases of gender-based domestic violence, following a previous surge in China under similar conditions.

      “The crisis that we are going through and the quarantine could unfortunately create a fertile ground of domestic violence,” read a statement from France’s Secretary of State in charge of Gender Equality, Marlène Schiappa, adding that with the new quarantine measures in France, “the situation of emergency shelters for female victims of domestic violence is a major concern.”

      The statement also recognised that although courts in France are on lockdown, domestic violence cases are still open and being dealt with, and that the government website, Arretons Les Violences is still online, but that the ‘3919’ emergency hotline service for domestic violence victims will be operating under a reduced service.

      It is understood the state department will hold talks with the Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of keeping the line open.

      The French Feminist collective NousToutes also recently highlighted the potential risk of domestic violence cases rising as a result of enforced isolation and called upon victims to make use of the 3919 emergency hotline.

      “Being confined at home with a violent man is dangerous. It is not recommended to go out. It is not forbidden to flee. Need help? Call 3919,” a statement from the group on Twitter read.

      Not forgetting the victims

      Due to the potential stress on public services as part of France’s ongoing battle against the coronavirus outbreak, some in Europe have been calling for the authorities to make sure that the authorities do not lose sight of the work they do in tackling domestic violence.

      Amandine Clavaud, policy adviser on Europe and gender equality at the Fondation Jean-Jaurès in Paris told EURACTIV that there is a need for an increase in vigilance on behalf of public bodies, with regards to these types of issues.

      “We have to be very attentive to the risks towards women and children amid this crisis, because the work of associations will possibly slow down with the quarantine,” she said.

      “In the case where public services reach saturation point, the treatments of domestic violence cases should definitely not be left-behind, but fully part of the whole strategy in dealing with the crisis.”

      Crisis abuse cases

      Concerns have arisen both in the United States and China with regards to the increase in domestic violence cases that could occur as a result of people in abusive relationships being forced to isolate together, and rights groups in Europe have now started to sound the horn over potential blindspots in this area.

      “In times of crisis and natural disasters, there is a documented rise in domestic abuse. As normal life shuts down, victims – who are usually women – can be exposed to abusers for long periods of time and cut off from social and institutional support,” the European Institute for Gender Equality’s Jurgita Pečiūrienė told EURACTIV.

      “The financial insecurity that often prohibits domestic violence victims from leaving abusers can also worsen in the aftermath of a crisis,” Pečiūrienė, who specialises in gender-based research, said.

      She added that there is a worrying deficit of data in the EU with regards to information sharing in the context of home-based violence amid national crises.

      “A lack of data in Europe prevents countries from learning from each other to ensure police and other support services can adapt to changing patterns of domestic violence in times of crisis,” she said.

      China & the US

      The measures imposed by the Chinese government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak for citizens to self-isolate for 14 days led to a surge in the recorded instances of domestic violence, according to reports from activists working in the country, as well as employees as women’s shelters.

      Meanwhile stateside, a statement released by the US National Domestic Abuse Hotline over the weekend noted that domestic violence abusers may seek to capitalise on the forced measures for domestic violence sufferers to isolate themselves.

      “Abuse is about power and control. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a national health concern such as COVID-19,” the statement read.

      “In a time where companies may be encouraging that their employees work remotely, and the CDC is encouraging “social distancing,” an abuser may take advantage of an already stressful situation to gain more control.”

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/coronavirus/news/covid-19-isolation-could-create-fertile-ground-for-domestic-violence

      signalé par @isskein

    • Je partage ici les pensées d’une amie. Je ne sais pas si elle veut que son nom soit dévoilé, je laisse donc son témoignage (que j’ai reçu par email, le 18.03.2020) de manière anonyme, car elle pose des pensées qui sont très importantes à mes yeux et que ça vaut la peine qu’elles soient partagées...

      Voici son message :

      J’avais aussi dans ma liste « conséquences dramatiques du confinement » : la hausse des IVG, IST, dépressions, pétages de plombs des plus isolé.es, des santés mentales fragiles, etc... mouarf.

      En fait, en gros, pour moi, la question principale est : si on pense que le confinement est la seule manière de combattre la pandémie, alors il faut le faire de façon responsable, c’est à dire en mettant en place des mesures CONCRETES pour éviter la création de conséquences graves en parallèle... parce que sinon, pour moi ça donne une situation paradoxale : on sauve effectivement des vies d’un côté, et d’un autre, on envoie d’autres à des situations de souffrance extrêmes et aussi à la mort... comment on tient les comptes alors ? Combien seront « sauvé.es », pendant que d’autres mourront d’autre chose que du coronavirus ?

      Annoncer un confinement :
      – sans garantir de revenu minimum pour un tas de professions / gens (notamment les gens comme moi qui ne sont pas salarié.e mais intermittent.es du spectacle, ou artisans, etc...)
      – sans garantir une protection des personnes (enfants y compris !) victimes de violences
      – sans garantir une prévention / un suivi des réductions des risques...
      – sans regarder en face qu’on va « sauver » des milliers de vies d’un côté oui, mais envoyer des milliers de gens vers des souffrances extrêmes , à aussi à la mort d’un autre côté ...

      ça me semble étrange et irresponsable.

      J’en parle très peu autour de moi, parce que c’est un sujet brûlant, je sens qu’il y a comme une sorte de consensus hyper général (comme après les attentats de Charlie)... et ça semble difficile d’émettre une opinion un peu critique...

      En vrai, j’applique les « gestes barrières » et les consignes de sécurité, parce que je suis pas débile, XXX et moi on fait au mieux pour nous et pour les autres, et on a je crois un sens aïgue de la solidarité...

      et c’est justement parce que je me sens solidaire que j’ai aussi conscience que c’est pas une bonne idée pour des tonnes de gens, pour une tonne de situations sociales, ce confinement.
      Donc, prenons en compte tous les aspects de cette situation de pandémie : les données sanitaires ne sont pas les seules à prendre en compte il me semble. Il faut les croiser avec les données sociologiques, sociales, psychologiques. Nan ?

      Et puis, aussi, je trouve ça un peu « gros » quand Macron, dans son allocution guerrière d’hier soir, culpabilise les « inconscient.es » qui se baladent dans les parcs un dimanche après-midi dans un contexte de pandémie, alors qu’ils maintiennent les élections municipales, ou que bon nombre d’entreprises/banques/institutions ne sont pas obligées de fermer. Pourquoi ma voisine continue à aller bosser dans son usine de production d’objets inutiles, voir nuisibles à la planète et à la société alors que je ne peux pas aller faire courir mes gosses dans le parc en bas de chez moi ???
      Il faudrait peut être tenir une ligne claire et cohérente non ?

    • For some people, social distancing means being trapped indoors with an abuser

      As more cities go under lockdown, activists are worried that attempts to curb coronavirus will inadvertently lead to an increase in domestic violence.

      Coronavirus is fuelling domestic violence

      Home is supposed to be the safest place any of us could be right now. However, for people experiencing domestic violence, social distancing means being trapped inside with an abuser. As more cities go under lockdown, activists are worried that attempts to curb the coronavirus will inadvertently lead to an increase in domestic violence.

      Domestic violence is already a deadly epidemic. One in three women around the world experience physical or sexual violence, mostly from an intimate partner, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As the WHO notes: “This makes it the most widespread, but among the least reported human rights abuses.” Gender-based violence tends to increase during humanitarian emergencies and conflicts; “women’s bodies too often become battlefields”.
      Coronavirus: the week explained - sign up for our email newsletter
      Read more

      Reports from China suggest the coronavirus has already caused a significant spike in domestic violence. Local police stations saw a threefold increase in cases reported in February compared with the previous year, according to Wan Fei, the founder of an anti-domestic violence not-forprofit. “According to our statistics, 90% of the causes of violence are related to the Covid-19 epidemic,” Wan told Sixth Tone, an English-language magazine based in China.

      A similar story is playing out in America. A domestic violence hotline in Portland, Oregon, says calls doubled last week. And the national domestic violence hotline is hearing from a growing number of callers whose abusers are using Covid-19 to further control and isolate them. “Perpetrators are threatening to throw their victims out on the street so they get sick,” the hotline’s CEO told Time. “We’ve heard of some withholding financial resources or medical assistance.”

      With all attention focused on curbing a public health crisis, the problem of private violence risks being overlooked or deprioritized by authorities. In the UK, for example, schools are now closed to everyone except for the children of key workers performing essential services. Domestic violence professionals have been left off this list; apparently preventing abuse at home isn’t an essential service. Dawn Butler, Labour’s women and equalities spokeswoman, has asked the prime minister to “urgently reconsider” this classification and consider implementing emergency funding to help people in danger escape domestic abuse during the crisis. “[T]wo women are killed every week by a partner or former partner,” Butler tweeted. “If the Govt fails to prepare and plan more people will die.”

      Now more than ever we need to look out for the most vulnerable in our society; activists are calling on neighbors to be extra aware and vigilant of possible cases of domestic violence. Retreating into our homes doesn’t mean cutting ourselves off from our communities. We’re all in this together.
      Harvey Weinstein begins his 23-year sentence

      The convicted rapist was transferred to a maximum-security prison in New York on Wednesday. New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, recently announced that New York will produce its own hand sanitizer, manufactured by prison inmates making as little as $0.16 an hour – so it’s possible that Weinstein might end up making state sanitizer.
      Remembering the Latina who invented hand sanitizer

      Did you know hand sanitizer was invented by a woman? In 1966 a student nurse named Lupe Hernandez realized that alcohol in gel form could be used to wash hands when there was no access to soap and water. Hernandez, who was based in California, quickly called an inventions hotline to patent the idea.
      Four men executed over Delhi rape and murder

      In 2012 a 23-year-old medical student was brutally gang-raped and murdered in a Delhi bus; a crime which shook the world and sparked unprecedented protests in India. On Friday four of the men convicted of the crime were hanged, the first time in five years capital punishment has been used in the country. One family may have got closure but the situation for Indian women remains bleak. “[I]n India, where a rape of a woman is reported every 16 minutes, this is no time for celebration,” argues a CNN op-ed. Since the attack India has introduced tougher sexual assault laws but rapes have continued to go up; in 2018, the last year for which there are statistics, they were significantly higher than in 2012.
      New Zealand passes law to decriminalize abortion

      “For over 40 years, abortion has been the only medical procedure considered a crime in New Zealand,” the country’s justice minister said in a statement. “But from now abortions will be rightly treated as a health issue.”
      Catherine Hamlin, trailblazing doctor, dies at 96

      The Australian gynecologist devoted much of her life to treating Ethiopian women with obstetric fistula – an injury sustained in childbirth that leaves women incontinent and often ostracized by their community.
      Marvel unveils its first black non-binary superhero: Snowflake

      Snowflake has a twin brother called Safespace. The reaction to these names has been less that ecstatic.
      The average woman gets mansplained to 312 times a year

      That’s according to a study of 2,000 employed women commissioned by a financial app called Self. I’m sure a helpful man somewhere will be happy to tell you exactly what is wrong with this study.
      The week in penguinarchy

      The best thing by far on the internet this week was a video of a penguin called Wellington marching around Chicago’s deserted aquarium and marveling at the fish. Coronavirus has caused most of us to go under lockdown, but at least Wellington got a nice day out.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/21/coronavirus-domestic-violence-week-in-patriarchy?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

    • Le confinement cause une hausse des violences familiales, déplore la FCPE

      Marlène Schiappa avait alerté sur ce risque en période de confinement lié au coronavirus. La FCPE confirme ses craintes.

      C’était une des conséquences malheureusement prévues par le gouvernement en temps de confinement face au coronavirus. Le secrétaire d’État à l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes Marlène Schiappa avait alerté dès le 16 mars et l’instauration de ces mesures exceptionnelles sur le fait qu’elles pouvaient “hélas générer un terreau propice aux violences conjugales”.

      La FCPE confirme ses craintes, ce dimanche 22 mars. Invité d’Europe1, Rodrigo Arenas, co-président de la principale fédération de parents d’élèves, a expliqué avoir une recrudescence d’appels liés à des situations de “violences familiales.”

      “Il y a deux choses qui rendent dingues les gens : la chaleur et la promiscuité. On n’a pas la chaleur, mais on a la promiscuité. On a énormément de remontées de violences conjugales et les enfants qui sont au bout de la chaîne s’en prennent plein la figure”, a-t-il indiqué à la radio comme vous pouvez l’entendre ci-dessous.

      Problème supplémentaire, contrairement à ce que promettait Marlène Schiappa au début du confinement, le numéro d’information dédié aux violences conjugales 3919 ne répond plus. Ou du moins plus beaucoup.

      Comme L’Obs, ou BFMTV vendredi, Le HuffPost a tenté de contacter le service ce samedi 22 mars sans succès. Un message pré-enregistré nous invite à renouveler notre appel plus tard.

      Joint par RTL samedi, le cabinet de Marlène Schiappa précise que le numéro “fonctionne toujours” mais que la migration -provoquée par le télétravail- de la plateforme prend du temps et entraîne des bugs. “Au plus tard lundi tout sera fonctionnel”, promet l’entourage de la ministre.

      https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/confinement-la-fcpe-deplore-une-hausse-des-violences-familiales_fr_5e

    • Coronavirus Covid-19 : violences conjugales et femmes en danger, comment les aider en période de confinement ?

      Marlène Schiappa et son homologue italienne Elena Bonetti ont annoncé « agir ensemble » pour protéger les femmes contre les violences sexistes et sexuelles en cette période de confinement. Mais en application, comment ça se passe ?

      https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/bourgogne-franche-comte/cote-d-or/dijon/coronavirus-covid-19-violences-conjugales-femmes-danger

    • Le confinement va augmenter les #violences_intra-familiales et en particulier les #violences_conjugales, c’est déjà ce qu’a révélé l’expérience du #Wuhan (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51705199). Là encore, ces violences seront encore moins prises en charge qu’avant puisque le 3919 ne fonctionne plus pendant cette crise contrairement à ce qu’avait annoncé Marlène Schiappa (https://www.nouvelobs.com/droits-des-femmes/20200319.OBS26314/le-39-19-ne-repond-plus.html). Au sixième jour du confinement, cette tendance est d’ailleurs aussi relatée par la FCPE ce dimanche (https://www.europe1.fr/societe/face-au-confinement-on-a-enormement-de-remontees-de-violences-conjugales-rap).

      https://npa2009.org/idees/societe/le-confinement-la-destruction-du-lien-social-et-ses-consequences

    • Concernant les violences conjugales et familiales, les procès en cours d’assises, que ce soient viols ou « féminicides », sont reportés. Ce qui constitue une non-réponse à la situation de fait. Mais certains tribunaux maintiennent des permanences au civil où des Juges aux Affaires familiales (JAF) peuvent décider d’éloigner par exemple un mari violent. Il appartient aux magistrats d’apprécier l’urgence des situations.

      https://www.franceculture.fr/droit-justice/denis-salas-la-justice-se-trouve-confrontee-a-un-phenomene-totalement-

    • For Abused Women, a Pandemic Lockdown Holds Dangers of Its Own

      As millions across the U.S. stay home to help flatten the curve, domestic violence organizations and support systems are scrambling to adapt to the rapidly shifting landscape.

      Early last week, as the novel coronavirus exploded from state to state, a woman called the National Domestic Violence Hotline in a crisis: Her partner had tried to strangle her and she needed medical help, but feared going to the hospital because of the virus.

      Another woman was being forced to choose between work and home. “He threatened to throw me out if I didn’t work from home,” she said. “He said if I started coughing, he was throwing me out in the street and that I could die alone in a hospital room.”

      In another call, a girl — aged between 13 and 15 (specific identifiers have been removed to protect the callers) — said that her mother’s partner had just abused her mother, then gone on to abuse the girl herself. But with schools shut, turning to a teacher or a counselor for help was not an option.

      These instances, gleaned from the hotline’s first responders, highlight two important facets of things to come during the coronavirus crisis. First, as lawmakers across the country order lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus, the lives of people stuck in physically or emotionally abusive relationships have — and will — become harder, which has already been seen in the pandemic hotspots of China and Italy.

      Second, the virus raises the stakes for domestic violence services across the country as they scramble to adapt to a patchwork of new government policies and restrictions that shift day by day and vary from state to state.

      “We know that any time an abusive partner may be feeling a loss of power and control — and everybody’s feeling a loss of power and control right now — it could greatly impact how victims and survivors are being treated in their homes,” said Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive of the hotline.

      She expects to see the intensity and frequency of abuse escalate, even if the number of individual cases doesn’t — a pattern that experts witnessed during the economic downturn of 2008 and immediately after 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina.

      In the U.S., more than one in three women has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner (defined as current or former spouses or partners) in their lifetime, according to a 2010 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in recent years, the number of domestic violence cases (which includes assault by intimate partners and family members) has spiked, making up more than half of all violent crimes in the U.S. in 2018, according to the Justice Bureau.

      Spending days, weeks or even months in the presence of an abusive partner takes an immense emotional toll too, said Teresa Burns, who manages the Casa de Esperanza shelter in St. Paul, Minn. And that’s exactly the conditions that the coronavirus lockdown has set up.

      Many of Burns’s clients are undocumented individuals whose immigration status can become a means of control by abusive partners. It’s not uncommon for abusers to claim that survivors will be deported if they seek help.

      She fears these types of threats will escalate during the coronavirus crisis, and with information about the government’s response changing nearly by the hour, survivors may not know who or what to believe.

      Those who may have felt safe once their partner left for work or their children were at school now live without any window of relief as businesses and schools shutter. “When the mind is constantly in fight, flight, freeze [mode] because of perpetual fear, that can have a lasting impact on a person’s mental health,” Burns said.

      Shelters across the country are adapting as best they can while trying to keep pace with constantly changing virus regulations, including implementing social distancing practices on site, taking temperatures of newcomers and regularly cleaning and disinfecting common spaces.

      In New York, now considered the epicenter of the virus in the U.S., shelters are categorized as essential services and are encouraged to keep functioning as normally as possible, even though many are at or almost at capacity, said Kelli Owens, executive director of the state’s Prevention of Domestic Violence office.

      But several organizations have started to cut back on certain services and may have to turn away newcomers soon to avoid overcrowding at shelters. Drop-in counseling centers are shut down and in-person support groups are suspended.

      One survivor, Maggie, 25, who spoke to The Times via Twitter, and is working to heal from an abusive relationship she left five years ago, said that in recent weeks, her weekly therapy appointment moved online and her support group was canceled altogether, which has made it even more difficult for her to cope with her increased isolation. As a result, she’s fallen back into unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drinking and smoking, she said.

      “I imagine many survivors, even if they are safe in their home, are experiencing long hours of sitting alone with traumatic thoughts and nightmares due to increased anxiety,” Maggie said.

      Advocates, who are often the first responders in cases of domestic violence, are fielding questions remotely, preparing those who can’t flee for worst case situations, known as safety planning.

      “We’re having really difficult conversations, running through horrific scenarios,” Ray-Jones said.

      “What that could mean is, OK, if an argument breaks out, where is the safest place in your house? Keep arguments out of the kitchen, out of the bathroom, which can be really dangerous spaces. If you need to go sleep in your car, is that a possibility?”

      Organizations most often take these kinds of questions over the phone, but being in such proximity with an abuser can turn the simple act of a phone call into such a dangerous gamble that many are preparing for fewer calls on their hotline and more questions via their text and online chat services that are available around the clock.

      Meanwhile, with courts closing across the country and advocates, who would typically help survivors navigate the judicial system, working remotely, yet another avenue of support for people experiencing abuse is further complicated, said Susan Pearlstein, the co-supervisor of the Family Law Unit of Philadelphia Legal Assistance.

      Still, the public should know that obtaining a legal protection order is considered an essential service by most jurisdictions and “many courts are trying to have access open for domestic violence survivors and to allow order petitions of abuse or restraining orders to be filed,” either over the phone or electronically, Pearlstein said.

      “This is a really heartbreaking time,” said Ray-Jones, speaking to the overall heightened anxiety during this uncertain period.

      Resources for victims and survivors:

      Anti-Violence Project offers a 24-hour English/Spanish hotline for L.G.B.T.Q.+ experiencing abuse or hate-based violence: call 212-714-1141

      The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available around the clock and in more than 200 languages: call 1-800-799-SAFE or chat with their advocates here or text LOVEIS to 22522.

      New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline is available in multiple languages: call 1-800-942-6906 for English. For deaf or hard of hearing: 711

      For immediate dangers, call 911.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/us/coronavirus-lockdown-domestic-violence.html

    • Warning over rise in UK domestic abuse cases linked to coronavirus

      Manchester deputy mayor says police beginning to classify incidents connected to virus.

      There has been a rise in domestic abuse incidents directly related to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a police leader.

      Beverley Hughes, Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, said there had been reports of abuse linked to the lockdown, and said authorities were preparing for serious incidents.

      After a meeting of the region’s Covid-19 emergency committee, Lady Hughes said: “I think we are beginning to see a rise in domestic abuse incidents. We anticipated this might happen in the very stressful circumstances for many families.”
      Coronavirus: the week explained - sign up for our email newsletter
      Read more

      Charities and police forces across the country have been warning of a potential rise in cases of domestic violence. In China there was a threefold increase in cases reported to police stations in February compared with the previous year.

      The justice secretary, Robert Buckland, told the Commons justice committee this week that there may be more cases of domestic abuse, online crime and fraud during the lockdown.

      Hughes later said the overall level of domestic abuse cases was as expected, but officers had begun to classify incidents believed to have a connection to the virus.

      She said families were being asked to stay at home and many had significantly less money as a result of the restrictions.

      Hughes said: “The potential for tension to arise in the home as a result of what we are asking people to cope with, in order to suppress the virus, is going to increase and therefore we would be right to think this might display itself in an increase in the number of domestic incidents we are called to.

      “We are preparing for that. Some of those most serious incidents will be challenging to deal with, particularly if the victim needs to be moved to a refuge, but the police specialise in these kind of cases and the local partners, local authorities, they’re working together really closely to prepare for that.”

      Avon and Somerset police reported a 20.9% increase in domestic abuse incidents in the last two weeks, from 718 to 868. Police in Cumbria have asked postal workers and delivery drivers to look out for signs of abuse.

      DCI Dan St Quintin, of Cumbria police, said: “In the coming weeks and months we ask for everyone to look out for each other as much as possible. We would also like to extend this plea to those such as postal workers, delivery drivers, food delivery companies and carers who will still be visiting houses, to keep an eye out for any signs of abuse and to report any concerns to us.”

      Quintin said the Bright Sky app, which can be disguised for people worried about partners checking their phones, provided support and information for victims.

      The National Centre for Domestic Violence said it fully supported the plea and warned of “huge dangers lurking for victims”..

      Its chief executive, Mark Groves, said: “While the whole country grapples with the consequences of Covid-19, there are huge dangers lurking for victims of domestic abuse and violence. We fully support Cumbria police’s plea to key workers to help the police investigate suspicions or concerns surrounding victims or perpetrators.”

      The Thames Valley chief constable, John Campbell, said his force expected to see a rise in the number of domestic abuse calls He said domestic violence and fraud would become a priority for his force as “criminals decide to change their behaviours’ to take advantage of coronavirus”.

      “We are seeing and monitoring very closely the issues around domestic abuse, we anticipate that it might increase and we will deal with that robustly in a way that you would expect us to,” Campbell said.

      Shanika Varga, a solicitor at Stowe Family Law, who specialises in domestic abuse cases, said: “Being stuck in a house together for two weeks or longer means the risk of a situation becoming violent is much higher. Lots of people – whether they realise it or not – are in abusive relationships, and abusers will typically manipulate any situation to take advantage of their perceived position of power.”

      Varga urged victims to start thinking of a contingency plan for escaping their abusers. “Knowing your options and making sure people are informed and fully prepared to take action if need be is vital. Don’t forget that help is out there,” she said.

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/26/warning-over-rise-in-uk-domestic-abuse-cases-linked-to-coronavirus?CMP=

    • Coronavirus en #Nouvelle-Aquitaine : Les violences intrafamiliales en forte hausse avec le confinement

      Si la délinquance est en baisse, dans la région, les forces de l’ordre multiplient les interventions dans les foyers depuis une semaine.

      Avec le confinement, les violences intrafamiliales explosent selon les policiers et gendarmes en Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Le phénomène est national.
      Les disputes sur fond d’alcool se multiplient alors que les victimes se retrouvent prises au piège dans les foyers.
      L’Etat maintient ses services face à cette recrudescence. Les forces de l’ordre elles n’hésitent pas à reprendre contact avec les victimes après leurs interventions.

      C’était un scénario prévisible et malheureusement, il se vérifie un peu plus chaque jour. Les violences conjugales et intrafamiliales augmentent voire explosent depuis le début du confinement en France. Les policiers et gendarmes de la Gironde sont à l’unisson sur le sujet : « Si la délinquance (vol, cambriolage, trafic…) est en forte baisse, expliquent leurs responsables départementaux, les interventions pour des violences familiales se multiplient même si elles ne déclenchent pas forcément à chaque fois des procédures. » Ce mercredi soir, leurs collègues du Périgord ont par exemple interpellé un trentenaire qui menaçait sa famille avec un fusil et tentait de mettre le feu à la maison.

      Dès le 18 mars, les recours à police secours dans le département étaient déjà en forte hausse avec 1.200 appels ce jour-là contre 600 habituellement. Une semaine plus tard, le nombre de demandes sur la plateforme arretonslesviolences.gouv.fr aurait augmenté de 40 % selon les policiers girondins. En effet comme le soulignait le gouvernement en début de semaine, « le contexte particulier du confinement constitue malheureusement un terreau favorable aux violences » en raison de « la promiscuité, des tensions et de l’anxiété » qu’il entraîne.

      Encore plus difficile de se signaler pour les victimes

      Les gendarmes soulignent des interventions toujours plus nombreuses pour « des disputes familiales sur fond d’alcool et souvent la nuit. » A ce sujet, la réponse de Fabienne Buccio, la préfète de Gironde et de Nouvelle-Aquitaine, est claire : il n’y aura pas d’interdiction de ventes d’alcool « à ce stade » comme a pu tenter de le faire son homologue dans l’Aisne. La représentante de l’Etat préfère soulever un problème beaucoup plus important :

      « Je ne veux pas stigmatiser qui que ce soit mais en ce moment les hommes sont bien plus présents au domicile familial que d’habitude avec le confinement et c’est donc encore plus difficile pour les victimes de se signaler auprès des autorités. »

      Une situation face à laquelle, la plupart des associations se disent « désemparées » à l’image de l’Union nationale des familles de féminicides. « Être confiné, c’est déjà compliqué pour des gens qui s’entendent bien. Alors, pour les victimes de violences conjugales, elles vont vivre un véritable calvaire », rappelait il y a quelques jours sa présidente Sandrine Bouchait. Sans oublier, les enfants, eux aussi en première ligne face à la violence.

      Les forces de l’ordre n’hésitent pas à rappeler après leurs interventions

      Alors comment faire pour limiter au maximum les violences intrafamiliales ? Il y a les moyens connus avec les services de police ou de gendarmerie (17 ou 112), les pompiers (18 ou 112) ou le Samu (15) qui restent mobilisés pour les situations d’urgence. Marlène Schiappa, secrétaire d’État chargée de l’Égalité entre les femmes et les hommes et de la lutte contre les discriminations, a annoncé que les numéros d’écoute, les plateformes gouvernementales, l’accompagnement dans des hébergements d’urgence et les procès au pénal contre les agresseurs seraient maintenus. Le 3919 est notamment de nouveau opérationnel depuis lundi.

      Les forces de l’ordre sont également mobilisées sur le terrain : « Après certaines interventions, nous n’hésitons pas à rappeler les personnes et à reprendre contact avec elles. Nous sommes vraiment très attentifs à ce phénomène », explique la gendarmerie de la Gironde.

      De son côté, le secrétaire d’Etat auprès du ministre des Solidarités et de la santé en charge de l’enfance Adrien Taquet « appelle à nouveau chacun à redoubler de vigilance pendant cette période, et à composer le 119 si l’on est témoin, même auditif, même dans le doute, de violence commise sur un enfant, quelle que soit sa nature. » Le gouvernement va également réactiver une campagne de sensibilisation à la question des violences faites aux enfants cette semaine.

      https://www.20minutes.fr/societe/2748663-20200326-video-coronavirus-nouvelle-aquitaine-violences-intrafamil

    • Coronavirus et confinement : femmes et #enfants en danger

      Plus d’une centaine de sénatrices et de sénateurs demande au gouvernement de protéger les familles victimes de violence que le confinement expose à des dangers encore plus graves.

      Sans nier la gravité de la crise sanitaire et la nécessité absolue du confinement, nous ne devons pas occulter les risques auxquels sont exposés les femmes et les enfants dans les foyers violents. Le confinement peut être un piège terrible quand il enferme une famille dans la terreur permanente des insultes, des cris et des coups. En cette période où nous déployons une immense énergie pour essayer de dominer nos frustrations et notre angoisse, il faut imaginer ce que peut être le quotidien des victimes de violences, a fortiori quand le drame se joue dans un logement exigu : l’#enfer.

      En annonçant la mise en place d’un plan de continuité pour protéger les victimes de violences conjugales, la secrétaire d’Etat chargée de l’Egalité entre les femmes et les hommes et de la lutte contre la discrimination Marlène Schiappa a anticipé ce danger. Le maintien du numéro d’appel 3919 est une excellente initiative et il faut remercier les écoutants qui continuent d’exercer cette mission dans des conditions beaucoup plus complexes.

      Face à l’isolement de la victime

      De nombreuses questions persistent cependant : comment fuir un conjoint violent – surtout avec des enfants – quand les parents et amis susceptibles d’offrir un refuge sont loin, quand les transports sont aléatoires et quand les hébergements d’urgence, structurellement débordés, peuvent difficilement garantir des conditions de sécurité correctes face au virus ? Quelles mesures prendre pour protéger les victimes établies habituellement hors de France ? Comment les victimes confinées chez elles peuvent-elles joindre le 3919 ou la plateforme en ligne dédiée aux victimes de violences, alors que l’on sait que le premier signe de violences conjugales est l’isolement de la victime, privée de tout moyen de communication autonome par son compagnon violent qui lui a souvent confisqué son téléphone et s’acharne à traquer ses mails ?
      Si l’accompagnement des victimes peut toujours être assuré par les services de police et si le dépôt de plainte demeure possible, comment envisager qu’une victime puisse, sans courir un danger accru, porter plainte contre un conjoint violent avec lequel elle est condamnée à cohabiter à cause du confinement ? Est-il encore possible, compte tenu de l’état de nos hôpitaux, d’y faire établir des constats médicaux de coups et violences sexuelles ?

      Enfin, ne peut-on craindre que, malgré le renforcement récent, dans le sillage du Grenelle de lutte contre les violences conjugales, des efforts de formation et de sensibilisation des personnels de police et de gendarmerie, ceux-ci aient le réflexe de minimiser ces violences et de les considérer comme un effet compréhensible, voire excusable, du stress lié au confinement ? Chaque jour, le décompte glaçant des victimes du coronavirus a remplacé celui des féminicides qui avait marqué l’année 2019. L’épidémie a fait disparaître les violences conjugales et intrafamiliales de l’actualité mais pas de la réalité.
      Tous concernés

      Nous, sénatrices et sénateurs, demandons solennellement au gouvernement de continuer à assurer la protection, en cette période de crise sanitaire majeure, des femmes et des enfants victimes de violences, que l’exigence de confinement expose à des dangers encore plus graves. Malgré l’épreuve exceptionnelle que traverse notre pays, les femmes et les enfants qui subissent des violences ne doivent en aucun cas être sacrifiés.

      Le gouvernement peut compter sur les collectivités territoriales – les départements comme les communes – déjà très impliquées en temps normal dans les missions d’aide aux personnes vulnérables, de protection de l’enfance et de lutte contre les violences, pour apporter les solutions adaptées à chaque territoire pendant cette période exceptionnelle. La question des moyens alloués à ces missions et à leurs acteurs reste d’actualité.

      Engageons-nous, ensemble, pour que le nombre de ces victimes n’alourdisse pas le bilan, d’ores et déjà effroyable, de la crise sanitaire. Violences intrafamiliales : citoyens, voisins, amis, parents, collègues, tous concernés, tous acteurs, tous mobilisés, tous vigilants. C’est notre responsabilité collective.

      https://www.liberation.fr/debats/2020/03/28/coronavirus-et-confinement-femmes-et-enfants-en-danger_1783279

    • Violences conjugales : Schiappa annonce des « points contacts éphémères » dans les centres commerciaux

      https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/violences-conjugales-schiappa-annonce-des-points-contacts-ephemeres-dans-le

      La secrétaire d’État à l’Égalité femmes-hommes, Marlène Schiappa, a annoncé samedi l’installation de « points d’accompagnement éphémères » dans des centres commerciaux pour accueillir des femmes victimes de violences en temps de confinement où les déplacements sont limités. « Comme il est plus difficile de se déplacer, nous faisons en sorte que les dispositifs d’accompagnement aillent aux femmes », explique Mme Schiappa dans un entretien au Parisien.

      Créés « en partenariat avec des associations locales, les services de l’État et Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, gestionnaire de centres commerciaux », ces « points d’accompagnement éphémères » seront installés dans des locaux « permettant la confidentialité mais assez vastes pour accueillir les femmes en respectant les mesures barrières », détaille-t-elle.

      La secrétaire d’État cite « dans un premier temps » pour la région parisienne So Ouest à Levallois-Perret, les 4 Temps à la Défense, Carré Sénart à Lieusaint, le Forum des Halles à Paris, ou les Ulis, et, dans le Nord, V2 à Valenciennes. « Dans un deuxième temps, Dijon, Rennes, Lyon... là où il y a un hypermarché ouvert », ajoute-t-elle, affirmant viser « une vingtaine de points dans les prochaines semaines ». « En allant faire les courses, ces femmes trouveront une oreille attentive et un accès à leurs droits d’une manière innovante et efficace », estime-t-elle.
      Fonds spécial et dépôt de plainte

      Parallèlement, Mme Schiappa annonce un « fonds spécial financé par l’État d’un million d’euros pour aider les associations de terrain à s’adapter à la période ». Elle promet également de financer « jusqu’à 20.000 nuitées d’hôtel pour que les femmes puissent fuir l’homme violent ».

      Interrogée sur l’absence de « motif ’’dépôt de plainte’’ », dans l’attestation de sortie obligatoire en période de confinement, la secrétaire d’État a répondu que « les juridictions pour les violences conjugales » avaient été laissées ouvertes.
      À lire aussi : "Une petite augmentation mais rien de significatif" : les violences conjugales à l’heure du confinement

      Elle a avancé le chiffre de « deux » meurtres de femmes par leur conjoint ou ex-conjoint depuis le début du confinement, le 17 mars. « Le confinement est une épreuve collective qui vient percuter l’histoire familiale et personnelle de chaque personne, la situation peut dégénérer à tout moment quand on vit avec une personne violente », rappelle-t-elle, inquiète que « les femmes se disent qu’elles doivent subir pendant le confinement ». « Non ! Les dispositifs de l’Etat ne sont pas mis sur pause, ils sont même renforcés », assure-t-elle.

      À VOIR AUSSI - Violences conjugales et confinement : un dispositif d’alerte mis en place dans les pharmacies

      Espérons que les flics n’en profite pas pour verbaliser les femmes dans ces point éphémères.

    • Coronavirus. Les associations craignent une augmentation des violences conjugales
      À Nantes, avec les mesures de confinement, l’association Solidarités Femmes double ses écoutantes au téléphone. Elle craint une augmentation des violences conjugales.
      Depuis mardi 18 mars, l’association Solidarité Femmes a renforcé sa ligne d’écoute téléphonique, destinée aux femmes victimes de violences conjugales. La ligne est ouverte du lundi au vendredi, de 10 h à 17 h, au 02 40 12 12 40.

      https://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/loire-atlantique/coronavirus-les-associations-craignent-une-augmentation-des-violences-c

    • « En Belgique, plusieurs associations féministes ont également lancé un message d’alerte à ce sujet, comme l’association Femmes de Droit. L’asbl Vie Féminine a adapté ses activités : elle a renforcé ses permanences juridiques et sociales et a reçu l’autorisation de la Région Wallonne de les effectuer par téléphone, ce qui n’est pas le cas en temps normal où il leur est demandé de les organiser physiquement. »
      https://www.rtbf.be/info/dossier/les-grenades/detail_coronavirus-le-risque-de-violences-conjugales-augmente-a-cause-du-confin

    • Les violences conjugales à l’épreuve du confinement

      Depuis le début de la période de confinement, les collectifs féministes alertent sur les risques d’augmentation des violences conjugales. Les pouvoirs publics doivent prendre au sérieux une situation compliquée, comme celle où l’on se retrouve enfermée pour plusieurs semaines avec un conjoint violent.

      Le foyer, dans lequel il s’agit de se réfugier pour se protéger de la pandémie, n’est pas synonyme de réconfort et de sécurité pour de nombreuses femmes en France. La violence conjugale, souvent physique, mais également verbale, émotionnelle ou économique, pourrait se manifester plus fortement pendant la période de confinement. En Chine, les violences physiques au sein des couples ont augmenté pendant l’épidémie du coronavirus. La France n’est pas à l’abri de voir ses statistiques s’élever.
      Des femmes abandonnées

      Alors que le système d’aide aux victimes de violences conjugales ne fonctionne pas toujours correctement en période normale, le confinement et les bouleversements qui l’accompagnent n’arrangent pas les choses. Le numéro d’écoute national 3919 destiné aux femmes victimes de violences et à leur entourage ne fonctionne plus depuis l’annonce du confinement. Il rouvre avec des horaires réduits à partir de ce lundi 23 mars 2020. Pour Léonor Guénoun, du collectif féministe Nous toutes : « C’est très grave, et c’est vraiment un comble que ce numéro soit réduit, surtout en période de confinement, alors qu’il devrait être ouvert 24 heures sur 24. »

      Les centres d’hébergement ont du mal à accueillir de nouvelles personnes. Nous Toutes « demande des places dans des hôtels qui sont fermés ou peu occupés comme en Espagne » pour pallier ces foyers surchargés. L’absence de moyens spécifiques alloués empêche la prise en charge rapide et efficace des femmes victimes de violences conjugales. Pour Mohamed Jemal, président de l’association Un Toît pour elles, une association qui aide les femmes en grande précarité à se trouver un logement, « des promesses faites par le gouvernement n’ont pas été tenues pour la mise à disposition de chambres d’hôtel et la mise à l’abri des SDF ».

      Il regrette également qu’il n’y ait pas eu de « consignes claires pour mettre à l’abri des femmes en danger ». De plus, l’hébergement solidaire chez des particuliers ne fonctionne plus en raison du confinement. Les centres sociaux font face à des problèmes sanitaires supplémentaires à celui de l’épidémie. Les masques, les gants et le gel hydroalcoolique qui doivent parvenir aux associations sont répartis selon des schémas complexes, peu accessibles à des petites structures, comme celle gérée par Mohamed Jemal.
      Un climat propice à la violence

      Selon Léonor Guénoun, « trois risques principaux d’augmentation des violences » existent : dans des couples sans violence où un conjoint commence à être violent, dans un passage à un cran supérieur -de la violence verbale à la violence physique par exemple- et enfin « la tragédie d’un féminicide ».

      L’avocate Isabelle Steyer, référence dans la défense des victimes de violences conjugales, explique que le climat de surveillance constante se renforce étant donné que l’on peut vérifier les appels, les sorties, les occupations de chacun·e. Le confinement, selon elle, se vit comme une situation particulière car « on a jamais eu l’habitude de vivre tout le temps ensemble ». Être constamment ensemble peut déclencher des actes insoupçonnés parce que « la violence arrive à un moment où on ne s’y attend pas ».

      D’après l’avocate, le risque de ne plus avoir de vie intime et de tout partager pour la femme est de ne plus pouvoir « appeler qui l’on veut et penser à élaborer le départ ». Léonor Guénoun explique que la « fuite du domicile » doit pouvoir rester une option possible pour les femmes victimes.
      Des actions rapides et de l’aide collective

      Pour remédier à cette situation et prévenir tout acte violent, Nous toutes met en place des campagnes de sensibilisation et diffuse des visuels « pour que les femmes sachent qu’elles peuvent fuir et être aidées« . Le collectif féministe rappelle aussi les numéros à contacter, en cas d’urgence la police par le 17 ou le 114 pour les SMS, ou le 08.00.05.95.95. qui peut aider les femmes victimes. L’avocate Isabelle Steyer encourage également les femmes à prévenir et à « utiliser des espaces que l’on avait pas l’habitude d’utiliser pour téléphoner ».

      Pour les personnes qui ne seraient pas confrontées à de la violence conjugale, il faut rappeler à son entourage que le confinement n’autorise pas à être violent. Il convient également prendre régulièrement des nouvelles des personnes pouvant subir des situations violentes. Enfin, selon l’avocate, « le côte très positif est que tout les voisins sont là », ce qui facilite l’appel au secours et la demande d’aide rapide car « les relations sont beaucoup plus proches avec ce confinement ».

      https://radioparleur.net/2020/03/24/violences-conjugales-epreuve-du-confinement

    • Sur la mesure donnant la possibilité de signaler des violences en pharmacie, j’ai eu une discussion avec une personne (une femme, je crois) qui trouvait la mesure cheap et ridicule mais les pharmacies ne sont pas que des commerces, ce sont aussi des lieux de soin, plus accessibles et qui offrent un meilleur accueil que les poulaillers, et l’Espagne fait ça depuis vingt ans avec un certain succès.

    • Domestic abuse cases soar as lockdown takes its toll

      Some charities can no longer ‘effectively support’ women because of lockdown and staff sickness.

      More than 25 organisations helping domestic violence victims have reported an increase in their caseload since the start of the UK’s coronavirus epidemic.

      One group, Chayn, said that analysis of online traffic showed that visitors to its website had more than trebled last month compared with the same period last year. An audit of 119 organisations by the domestic abuse charity SafeLives found, however, that even as pressure on frontline services increased, most were being forced to reduce vital services.

      The groups were surveyed during the last week of March, with 26 of them able to confirm increased caseloads owing to Covid-19. Three-quarters said they had had to reduce service delivery to victims.

      Most domestic abuse organisations provide face-to-face or phone support, but a quarter say they can not “effectively support” adult abuse victims owing to technical issues, inability to meet victims, and staff sickness.

      A separate study highlights the plight of domestic-violence survivors. SafeLives interviewed 66 survivors, and the women were asked to score themselves from zero to 10, with 10 denoting “safe”. More than half offered a score of five or less, with three saying they felt “not safe at all”.

      One said: “I’m in a controlling, emotionally abusive relationship and fear it could escalate due to heightened stress surrounding the current virus situation.” Another added that she was having to sit in her car to get away from the perpetrator.

      There is growing pressure on the government to announce emergency funding to help victims. Suzanne Jacob, chief executive of SafeLives, said: “We know the government is thinking about what extra support might be needed for victims and their families during this difficult time, and this research shows that helping services to stay afloat and carry on doing their vital lifesaving work will be key.”

      Hera Hussain, founder of Chayn, said: “Survivors of domestic abuse are walking on eggshells, scared of having no support if tensions escalate.”

      Evidence suggests that domestic abuse is likely to increase as a result of the pandemic. In China’s Hubei province, where the virus was first detected, domestic violence reports to police more than tripled during the lockdown in February.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/04/domestic-abuse-cases-soar-as-lockdown-takes-its-toll?CMP=Share_iOSApp_O

    • In Italy, support groups fear lockdown is silencing domestic abuse victims

      MILAN: Italy has seen a sharp fall in official reports of domestic violence as it approaches a month under coronavirus lockdown, raising concern among some support groups that forced confinement is leaving victims struggling to seek help.

      Citing official data, a parliamentary committee into violence against women said last week that reports to police of domestic abuse dropped to 652 in the first 22 days of March, when Italy went into lockdown, from 1,157 in the same period of 2019.

      Telefono Rosa, Italy’s largest domestic violence helpline, said calls fell 55per cent to 496 in the first two weeks of March from 1,104 in the same period last year. Other help groups said they had seen similar declines.

      The parliamentary committee’s report said the trend did not mean a decline in violence against women but was rather a signal that “victims of violence risk being even more exposed to control and aggression by a partner who mistreats them.”

      “There are a lot of problems in this situation, maybe not the least of them is the difficulty of asking for help when everyone is obliged to stay at home,” said Alessandra Simone, director of the police criminal division in Milan.

      Successive Italian governments have passed reforms aimed at improving protections, but 13.6per cent of women have suffered violence from a partner or ex-partner, according to national statistics bureau Istat.

      The country has seen more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 and accounts for almost a third of worldwide deaths. It was the first European nation to go into lockdown.

      “We’re seeing a drastic fall in calls by women because they have less freedom in this situation of forced confinement,” said Chiara Sainaghi, who manages five anti-violence centres in and around Milan for the Fondazione Somaschi, a social assistance foundation. She said calls to her group had fallen by as much as 70per cent.

      Some help groups and the authorities say they have tried to launch other forms of contact, including messaging services like WhatsApp, whose use has surged during lockdowns in many countries. Users in Italy are placing 20per cent more calls and sending 20per cent more messages on WhatsApp compared to a year ago, the company said in mid-March.

      Italian police have in recent days adapted an app originally designed to allow young people to report bullying and drug dealing near their schools to report domestic violence by sending messages or pictures without alerting their partner.

      In Spain, where police said they had also seen a fall in calls for help, authorities launched a WhatsApp service for women trapped at home which the Equality Ministry said had seen a 270per cent increase in consultations since the lockdown began.

      Valeria Valente, the senator who chairs the Italian parliamentary committee, said cultural and social factors in Italy already made it hard for many to report domestic violence.

      But she said the shutdown appeared to be leading some women who might otherwise try to leave their partners to stick it out.

      “How is a woman who wants to report violence supposed to move? With the lockdown (she) can only contact the anti-violence centres when she goes to the pharmacy or buys food,” Valente said.

      https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/in-italy--support-groups-fear-lockdown-is-silencing-domestic-abuse-

    • Domestic abuse killings ’more than double’ amid Covid-19 lockdown

      Pioneering project identifies at least 16 suspected incidences in UK over three-week period

      At least 16 suspected domestic abuse killings in the UK have been identified by campaigners since the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were imposed, far higher than the average rate for the time of year, it has emerged.

      Karen Ingala Smith, the founder of Counting Dead Women, a pioneering project that records the killing of women by men in the UK, has identified at least 16 killings between 23 March and 12 April, including those of children.

      Looking at the same period over the last 10 years, Smith’s data records an average of five deaths.

      Her findings for 2020, which are collated from internet searches and people contacting over social media, were raised during evidence to the home affairs select ommittee on Wednesday.

      Dame Vera Baird QC, the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, told MPs at the remote session: “Counting Dead Women has got to a total of 16 domestic abuse killings in the last three weeks. We usually say there are two a week, that looks to me like five a week, that’s the size of this crisis.”

      A number of domestic abuse charities and campaigners have reported a surge in calls to helplines and online services since the lockdown conditions were imposed, reflecting experiences in other countries.

      Smith, who is also chief executive of a domestic abuse charity, said: “I don’t believe coronavirus creates violent men. What we’re seeing is a window into the levels of abuse that women live with all the time. Coronavirus may exacerbate triggers, though I might prefer to call them excuses. Lockdown may restrict some women’s access to support or escape and it may even curtail measures some men take to keep their own violence under control.

      “We have to be cautious about how we talk about increases in men killing women. Over the last 10 years, in the UK, a woman has been killed by a man every three days, by a partner or ex-partner, every four days. So if this was averaged out, we might expect to see seven women killed in 21 days. In reality, there are always times when the numbers are higher or lower.

      “But we can say that the number of women killed by men over the first three weeks since lockdown is the highest it’s been for at least 11 years and is double that of an average 21 days over the last 10 years.”

      Smith’s research shows at least seven people have been allegedly killed by partners or former partners during the period, while three people have been allegedly killed by their father.

      The committee also heard evidence from Nicole Jacobs, the domestic abuse commissioner for England and Wales. She said time limits on investigating crimes would need to be relaxed to allow survivors of violence in the home to report perpetrators once the coronavirus restrictions were eased.

      “I have heard from police about the need to extend the time by which people can report crimes. There are people who are experiencing abuse right now who aren’t able to call the police because it wouldn’t be safe for them,” said Jacobs.

      “But they may well want to report a crime later so we need to allow for some extension to what the normal timescales would be for that kind of thing.”

      Crimes that are “summary only”, which means that they can only be tried at a magistrates court, including common assault and harassment, must be prosecuted within six months.

      Jacobs said services must prepare for the “inevitable surge” of domestic abuse victims seeking support when the lockdown lifts.

      She said there were concerns that some of the millions of pounds of government funding announced for the charity sector may struggle to reach small local charities that supported specific groups.

      “We need to allow those charities to quickly and very simply bid in and get the funds they need to sustain what they are doing, but also plan for the inevitable surge that we will have.“There will be people that are waiting and trying to survive every day and then will access support as quickly as they can when some of the lockdown is lifted,” she told MPs.

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/15/domestic-abuse-killings-more-than-double-amid-covid-19-lockdown?CMP=Sha

      –-----

      Sur Counting Dead Women:
      https://seenthis.net/messages/843847

    • Les violences conjugales et la crise du Covid-19

      Les politiques publiques menées en réponse à la crise sanitaire ont eu des conséquences lourdes sur les victimes de violences conjugales, en particulier en termes spatiaux puisque le confinement est venu renforcer le contrôle spatial exercé par les hommes violents. La recherche présentée dans ce blog scientifique vise à interroger la dimension spatiale des politiques publiques menées pendant la crise et leurs effets sur les pratiques spatiales des victimes de violences et de surveillance conjugale, en vue d’accompagner l’élaboration de politiques publiques à venir, d’éviter qu’une réponse à une crise sanitaire se traduise par une mise en danger des personnes les plus vulnérables.

      Le projet fait l’objet d’un financement ANR / Fondation de France. Il se déroulera pendant une période d’un an à compter de septembre 2020. Il a été lancé par une équipe de quatre membres : #Marion_Tillous (coordinatrice scientifique), Eva San Martin Zapatero, Julie Bulteau et Pauline Delage. Pour en savoir plus sur l’équipe, voir la page « A propos ».

      https://anrcovico.hypotheses.org/1

    • Violences conjugales, un « confinement sans fin »

      La période d’assignation à domicile au printemps a provoqué une hausse importante du nombre de signalements. Augmentation liée à une aggravation des faits de violence mais aussi à une plus grande mobilisation des proches, et en particulier du voisinage.

      Si l’on comprend les violences faites aux femmes comme une « guerre de basse intensité » (Falquet, 1997), alors le confinement instauré au printemps en réponse à l’épidémie de Covid-19 a marqué une nouvelle bataille, sur un terrain bien particulier. L’assignation à résidence et les restrictions de déplacement ont renforcé l’auteur de violences conjugales dans ses exigences de contrôle. En retour, le fait pour la femme victime de ne pas pouvoir sortir n’a pas seulement restreint la possibilité pour elle de trouver des relais et des témoins aux violences qui lui étaient faites, elle a aussi réduit les interactions dans lesquelles elle était considérée comme une personne à part entière. Le fait que les écoles et la plupart des services publics soient restés fermés après la fin du confinement a prolongé cette situation.

      La violence conjugale exercée par les hommes n’est pas soudaine ou ponctuelle. Elle s’inscrit dans une stratégie d’emprise : non seulement la victime est surveillée en permanence, mais également progressivement coupée des liens avec ses proches, et placée dans une dépendance matérielle et affective vis-à-vis de son agresseur. La question spatiale est cruciale dans ce processus de contrôle et d’isolement, ce que la chercheuse Evangelina San Martin Zapatero a mis en évidence à travers le terme de « déprise spatiale » (2019). S’inspirant du concept développé en sociologie du vieillissement, elle montre que les violences conjugales ont notamment pour conséquence une forte restriction des déplacements, une perte de compétence spatiale et une dépendance au conjoint pour la réalisation des déplacements.

      L’instauration du confinement en réponse à l’épidémie de Covid-19 a inévitablement été un atout pour les agresseurs dans leur stratégie d’emprise. C’est ce que montre l’augmentation considérable du nombre de signalements de faits de violence intraconjugaux pendant la période, que ce soit en France ou dans les autres pays concernés par des mesures de confinement. Dès le 5 avril, le secrétaire général de l’ONU, António Guterres, a appelé à un cessez-le-feu dans les violences faites aux femmes. L’organisation a estimé à la fin du mois d’avril que chaque nouveau trimestre de confinement se traduirait par 15 millions de cas supplémentaires de violence basée sur le genre (projections de l’Unfpra). Le rapport de la mission interministérielle pour la protection des femmes contre les violences et pour la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains paru au cours de l’été fait état également d’une forte hausse des signalements de violences sur les plateformes d’écoute des victimes, en particulier via les modes de communications « silencieux ». Ainsi, « les tchats de la plateforme de signalement des violences sexistes et sexuelles "Arrêtons les violences" ont été multipliés par 4,4 par rapport à 2019 pour tous les faits de violences et par 17 pour les faits de violences intrafamiliales ».

      Comme l’indique le rapport, cette hausse des signalements est liée à une aggravation des faits de violence plutôt qu’à un déclenchement de nouvelles violences dans des couples non concernés avant le confinement. Elle est aussi imputable à une plus grande mobilisation des proches, et en particulier du voisinage. Car si le confinement assigne à résidence les victimes et leurs agresseurs, il transforme aussi les voisin·e·s en témoins à temps complet. Et grâce au colossal travail de sensibilisation des organisations de lutte contre les violences conjugales et au mouvement #MeToo, ces témoins ne se contentent plus de vous glisser entre deux paliers que les murs sont fins comme du papier à cigarettes, mais assument de plus en plus la responsabilité d’alerter les associations ou les forces de l’ordre.

      Si le confinement a donné des oreilles aux murs, il a aussi ôté des yeux aux institutions et aux professionnels de la protection, comme le souligne Edouard Durand, juge des enfants au TGI de Bobigny, dans son audition par la délégation aux droits des femmes et à l’égalité des chances entre les hommes et les femmes du Sénat. Il a également considérablement compliqué le travail des associations qui accompagnent les femmes victimes de violence et assurent leur hébergement d’urgence (Delage, 2020). Et révélé à quel point les moyens manquent pour offrir des solutions concrètes : favoriser le recueil des témoignages tourne court si les écoutant·e·s ne peuvent pas diriger les victimes vers des lieux d’accueil d’urgence. Les 2 millions d’euros gouvernementaux issus du Grenelle contre les violences conjugales et du redéploiement des crédits du secrétariat d’Etat à l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes pendant le confinement sont bien maigres pour imaginer des solutions de logement à la hauteur des besoins. Et le financement de nuitées d’hôtel destinées à l’éloignement des hommes agresseurs sur cette enveloppe et non sur celle de la justice grève encore le budget.

      Les politiques publiques menées (ou non menées) pendant la crise du Covid-19 au printemps 2020, en premier lieu le confinement, ont révélé l’ampleur des violences conjugales et la dimension proprement géographique de l’emprise des hommes violents. Elles ont montré que les violences conjugales ne sont pas autre chose, pour reprendre les termes d’Annick Billon (présidente de la délégation sénatoriale évoquée plus haut), qu’« un confinement sans fin ». En 2000, la philosophe Marilyn Frye définissait déjà l’oppression comme un ensemble de forces et de barrières qui produisent des « vies confinées et contraintes ». C’est ce qui rend si impérative une loi-cadre qui réponde de manière coordonnée aux différentes dimensions de l’oppression patriarcale.

      https://www.liberation.fr/debats/2020/10/01/violences-conjugales-un-confinement-sans-fin_1801102

  • Greece to extend border fence over migration surge

    Greece will extend its fence on the border with Turkey, a government source said Sunday (8 March), amid continuing efforts by migrants to break through in a surge enabled by Ankara.

    “We have decided to immediately extend the fence in three different areas,” the government source told AFP, adding that the new sections, to the south of the area now under pressure, would cover around 36 kilometres (22 miles).

    The current stretch of fence will also be upgraded, the official added.

    Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers have been trying to break through the land border from Turkey for a week after Ankara announced it would no longer prevent people from trying to cross into the European Union.

    A police source Sunday told AFP that riot police reinforcements from around the country had been sent to the border in recent days, in addition to drones and police dogs.

    There have been numerous exchanges of tear gas and stones between Greek riot police and migrants.

    Turkey has also bombarded Greek forces with tear gas at regular intervals, and Athens has accused Turkish police of handing out wire cutters to migrants to help them break through the border fence.

    The Greek government over the weekend also released footage which it said showed a Turkish armoured vehicle assisting efforts to bring down the fence.

    “Parts of the fence have been removed, both by the (Turkish) vehicle and with wire cutters, but they are constantly being repaired,” local police unionist Elias Akidis told Skai TV.

    Turkey has accused Greek border guards of using undue force against the migrants, injuring many and killing at least five.

    The government in Athens has consistently dismissed the claim as lies.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/greece-to-extend-border-fence-over-migration-surge
    #murs #Evros #barrières_frontalières #Grèce #Turquie #frontières #extension
    ping @fil @reka @albertocampiphoto

    • je suis tombé sur une vidéo YT d’un compte néo-nazi montrant une attaque du mur de l’Evros par des migrants. L’attaque y est présentée comme soutenue par la police turque, ce qui est vraiment beaucoup solliciter les images… les migrants sont noyés sous les lacrymos.

    • Evros: Greece to extend the fence on the borders with Turkey to 40km

      Greece will extend the fence to its Evros borders with Turkey to 40 km, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Friday morning. The additional fence will be installed in “sensitive” areas preferred for illegal entries by migrants and refugees.

      The fence currently covers 12.5 km.

      Speaking to ANT1 TV, Petsas noted that at the moment the most vulnerable border point is in the south.

      The current 12.5 km fence of land access points is installed north and south of Kastanies customs office, where thousands of migrants and refugees have amassed.

      According to the daily Kathimerini, the 40 kilometers new fence is planned to be partially installed either in areas where the Evros waters are low or in areas where the landscape favors illegla paasage.

      Sections such as Ormenio, Gardens, Feres, Tychero, Soufli, Dikaia, Dilofo, Marassia, Nea Vyssa and elsewhere have been designated as the areas where the new fence will installed by the Greek Army and support by the police.

      According to a report by daily Elftheros Typos, Greece’s Plan B aside from the fence extension is the presence of about 4,000 police officers and soldiers in parallel patrols, helicopters, unmanned aircraft, message broadcasting, cameras for audio-video.

      A Greek Army – Greek Police “joint operations center” is to be established in Nea Vryssa.

      According to the daily more than 1,000 soldiers, two commandos squads, 1,500 police and national guards are currently operating in the Evros area.

      Petsas underlined that the Greek government has changed its policy because there is a national security issue at the moment.

      He reiterated the new policy saying that “no one will cross the border.”

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/03/06/evros-greece-fence-borders-turkey-extension

    • Video 2 - Violences contre les exilé·es à la frontière gréco-turque

      Depuis le début du mois de mars 2020, des milliers d’exilé·es, incité·es voire poussé·es par les autorités turques, se sont précipité·es aux frontières terrestres et maritimes entre la Turquie et la Grèce. Ils et elles se sont heurté·es à la violence de la police et de l’armée grecque, ainsi que de groupe fascistes, mobilisés pour leur en interdire le franchissement, la suite : www.gisti.org/spip.php ?article6368

      https://indymotion.fr/videos/watch/e8938a1c-5456-46e8-a0cb-be0806c96051?start=1s

    • Greece shields Evros border with blades wire, 400 new border guards

      Greece is strengthening ifs defense and is preparing for a possible new wave of migrants at its Evros border. A fence of sharp blades wire (concertina wire) and 400 additional border guards are to shield the country for the case Turkey will open its borders again so that migrants can cross into Europe.

      According to daily ethnos (https://www.ethnos.gr/ellada/105936_ohyronetai-o-ebros-frahtis-me-lepidoforo-syrmatoplegma-kai-400-neoi-sy), Ankara has already been holding groups of migrants in warehouses near the border, while the Greek side is methodically being prepared for the possibility of a new attempt for waves of migrants to try to cross again the border.

      “At the bridgeheads of Peplos and Fera, at the land borders after the riverbed is aligned, and in other vulnerable areas along the border, kilometer-long of metal fence with sharp blades wire are being installed, the soil is being cleaned from wild vegetation and clearing of marsh lands.

      The fence in the northern part is being strengthened and expanded, and 11 additional border pylons, each one 50 meters high, will be installed along the river in the near future. Each pylon will be equipped with cameras and modern day and night surveillance systems, with a range of several kilometers and multiple telecommunications capabilities, the daily notes.

      Within the next few months, 400 newly recruited border guards will be on duty and will almost double the deterrent force and enhance the joint patrols of the Army and Police, ethnos adds.

      Big armored military vehicles destined for Libya and confiscated five years ago south of Crete have been made available to the Army in the area, the daily notes.

      One and a half month after the end of the “war without arms” at the Evros border from end of February till the end of March, sporadic movement on the Turkish side of the border has been observed.

      At least four shooting incidents have been reported in the past two weeks, with Turkish jandarmerie to have fired at Greek border guards and members of the Frontex.

      Greece’s security forces are on high alert.

      Just a few days ago, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Ankara’s policy of “open borders” will continue for anyone wishing to cross into Europe.

      Speaking to nationalist Akit TV on Wednesday, Cavusoglu claimed that Greece used “inhumane” behavior towards the migrants who want to cross into the country.

      Also Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had threatened that the migrants will be allowed to leave Turkey again once the pandemic was over.

      PS It could be a very hot summer, should Turkey attempt to send migrants to Europe by land through Evros and by sea with boats to the Aegean islands and at the same time, deploys a drilling ship off Crete in July, as it claimed a few days ago.

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/05/17/greece-shields-evros-border-blades-wire-400-border-guards

      #militarisation_des_frontières

    • Pour la bagatelle de 63 millions d’euro...

      Greece to extend fence on land border with Turkey to deter migrants

      Greece will proceed with plans to extend a cement and barbed-wire fence that it set up in 2012 along its northern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from entering the country, the government said on Monday.

      The conservative government made the decision this year, spokesman Stelios Petsas said, after tens of thousands of asylum seekers tried to enter EU member Greece in late February when Ankara said it would no longer prevent them from doing so.

      Greece, which is at odds with neighbouring Turkey over a range of issues, has been a gateway to Europe for people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, with more than a million passing through the country in 2015-2016.

      The project led by four Greek construction companies will be completed within eight months at an estimated cost of 63 million euros, Petsas told a news briefing.

      The 12.5-kilometre fence was built eight years ago to stop migrants from crossing into Greece. It will be extended in areas indicated by Greek police and the army, Petsas said without elaborating. In March, he said it would be extended to 40 kilometres.

      Tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, who disagree over where their continental shelves begin and end, have recently escalated further over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean region.

      https://kdal610.com/2020/08/24/greece-to-extend-fence-on-land-border-with-turkey-to-deter-migrants

    • Greece to extend fence on land border with Turkey to deter migrants

      Greece will proceed with plans to extend a cement and barbed-wire fence that it set up in 2012 along its northern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from entering the country, the government said on Monday.

      The conservative government made the decision this year, spokesman Stelios Petsas said, after tens of thousands of asylum seekers tried to enter EU member Greece in late February when Ankara said it would no longer prevent them from doing so.

      Greece, which is at odds with neighbouring Turkey over a range of issues, has been a gateway to Europe for people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, with more than a million passing through the country in 2015-2016.

      The project led by four Greek construction companies will be completed within eight months at an estimated cost of 63 million euros, Petsas told a news briefing.

      The 12.5-kilometre fence was built eight years ago to stop migrants from crossing into Greece. It will be extended in areas indicated by Greek police and the army, Petsas said without elaborating. In March, he said it would be extended to 40 kilometres.

      Tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, who disagree over where their continental shelves begin and end, have recently escalated further over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean region.

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-greece-turkey-fence/greece-to-extend-fence-on-land-border-with-turkey-to-deter-migrants-idUK

    • Evros land border fence to be ready in eight months

      The construction of a new fence on northeastern Greece’s Evros land border with Turkey will be completed in eight months, according to Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, speaking in Parliament on Monday.

      The border fence project has a total budget of 62.9 million euros and has been undertaken by a consortium put together by four construction companies.

      It will have a total length of 27 kilometers and eight elevated observatories will be constructed to be used by the Hellenic Army.

      Moreover, the existing fence will be reinforced with a steel railing measuring 4.3 meters in height, instead of the current 3.5 meters.

      Damage to the existing fence during attempts by thousands of migrants to cross into Greece territory from Turkey, as well as bad weather, will be repaired – including a 400-meter stretch that collapsed as a result of flooding.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/256184/article/ekathimerini/news/evros-land-border-fence-to-be-ready-in-eight-months

    • New Evros fence to be completed by April next year, PM says during on-site inspection

      Construction of a new fence designed to stop undocumented migrants from slipping into Greece along its northeastern border with Turkey, demarcated by the Evros River, is expected to be completed by April next year, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a visit at the area of Ferres on Saturday.

      “Building the Evros fence was the least we could do to secure the border and make the people of Evros feel more safe,” Mitsotakis said.

      The 62.9-million-euro steel fence with barbed wire will be five meters high and have a total length of 27 kilometers. Eight elevated observatories will be constructed to be used by the Hellenic Army. The project, which is designed to also serve as anti-flood protection, has been undertaken by a consortium put together by four construction companies.

      During a meeting with local officials, Mitsotakis also confirmed the hiring of 400 guards to patrol the border.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/258187/article/ekathimerini/news/new-evros-fence-to-be-completed-by-april-next-year-pm-says-during-on-s

    • To Vima: Evros wall will be ready in April, the Min. of Public
      Order said that ’labourers worked in the snow to finish the fence’.
      It also claims drones fly daily over the border - can anyone confirm? Only found older news saying they were to be deployed.

      https://twitter.com/lk2015r/status/1363625427307278340

      –—

      Εβρος : Ο φράκτης, τα drones και ο χιονιάς

      O καινούργιος φράκτης στα σύνορα με μήκος 27 χιλιόμετρα και με 13 χιλιόμετρα ο παλαιός, θα είναι απόλυτα έτοιμος τον Απρίλιο.

      Ούτε το χιόνι, ούτε οι λευκές νύχτες του Φεβρουαρίου, ούτε οι θερμοκρασίες κάτω από το μηδέν εμπόδισαν τα συνεργεία στις εργασίες τους για την κατασκευή του φράκτη στον Έβρο. Όπως μου είπε ο Μιχάλης Χρυσοχοΐδης « μηχανήματα και εργάτες δούλεψαν μέσα στα χιόνια για να ολοκληρώσουν τον φράκτη ». Μου αποκάλυψε μάλιστα ότι ο καινούργιος φράκτης στα σύνορα με μήκος 27 χιλιόμετρα και με 13 χιλιόμετρα ο παλαιός, θα είναι απόλυτα έτοιμος τον Απρίλιο. Και τούτο παρά το γεγονός ότι αυτές τις ημέρες το μόνον που δυσκολεύει τις εργασίες είναι τα πολλά νερά του ποταμού ο οποίος έχει υπερχειλίσει. Ωστόσο τα drones πετούν καθημερινά και συλλέγουν πληροφορίες, οι περιπολίες είναι συνεχείς και τα ηχοβολιστικά μηχανήματα έτοιμα, εάν χρειαστεί να δράσουν.

      https://www.tovima.gr/2021/02/19/opinions/evros-o-fraktis-ta-drones-kai-o-xionias

    • In post-pandemic Europe, migrants will face digital fortress

      As the world begins to travel again, Europe is sending migrants a loud message: Stay away!

      Greek border police are firing bursts of deafening noise from an armored truck over the frontier into Turkey. Mounted on the vehicle, the long-range acoustic device, or “sound cannon,” is the size of a small TV set but can match the volume of a jet engine.

      It’s part of a vast array of physical and experimental new digital barriers being installed and tested during the quiet months of the coronavirus pandemic at the 200-kilometer (125-mile) Greek border with Turkey to stop people entering the European Union illegally.

      A new steel wall, similar to recent construction on the US-Mexico border, blocks commonly-used crossing points along the Evros River that separates the two countries.

      Nearby observation towers are being fitted with long-range cameras, night vision, and multiple sensors. The data will be sent to control centers to flag suspicious movement using artificial intelligence analysis.

      “We will have a clear ‘pre-border’ picture of what’s happening,” Police Maj. Dimonsthenis Kamargios, head of the region’s border guard authority, told the Associated Press.

      The EU has poured 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) into security tech research following the refugee crisis in 2015-16, when more than 1 million people – many escaping wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – fled to Greece and on to other EU countries.

      The automated surveillance network being built on the Greek-Turkish border is aimed at detecting migrants early and deterring them from crossing, with river and land patrols using searchlights and long-range acoustic devices.

      Key elements of the network will be launched by the end of the year, Kamargios said. “Our task is to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally. We need modern equipment and tools to do that.”

      Researchers at universities around Europe, working with private firms, have developed futuristic surveillance and verification technology, and tested more than a dozen projects at Greek borders.

      AI-powered lie detectors and virtual border-guard interview bots have been piloted, as well as efforts to integrate satellite data with footage from drones on land, air, sea and underwater. Palm scanners record the unique vein pattern in a person’s hand to use as a biometric identifier, and the makers of live camera reconstruction technology promise to erase foliage virtually, exposing people hiding near border areas.

      Testing has also been conducted in Hungary, Latvia and elsewhere along the eastern EU perimeter.

      The more aggressive migration strategy has been advanced by European policymakers over the past five years, funding deals with Mediterranean countries outside the bloc to hold migrants back and transforming the EU border protection agency, Frontex, from a coordination mechanism to a full-fledged multinational security force.

      But regional migration deals have left the EU exposed to political pressure from neighbors.

      Earlier this month, several thousand migrants crossed from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in a single day, prompting Spain to deploy the army. A similar crisis unfolded on the Greek-Turkish border and lasted three weeks last year.

      Greece is pressing the EU to let Frontex patrol outside its territorial waters to stop migrants reaching Lesbos and other Greek islands, the most common route in Europe for illegal crossing in recent years.

      Armed with new tech tools, European law enforcement authorities are leaning further outside borders.

      Not all the surveillance programs being tested will be included in the new detection system, but human rights groups say the emerging technology will make it even harder for refugees fleeing wars and extreme hardship to find safety.

      Patrick Breyer, a European lawmaker from Germany, has taken an EU research authority to court, demanding that details of the AI-powered lie detection program be made public.

      “What we are seeing at the borders, and in treating foreign nationals generally, is that it’s often a testing field for technologies that are later used on Europeans as well. And that’s why everybody should care, in their own self-interest,” Breyer of the German Pirates Party told the AP.

      He urged authorities to allow broad oversight of border surveillance methods to review ethical concerns and prevent the sale of the technology through private partners to authoritarian regimes outside the EU.

      Ella Jakubowska, of the digital rights group EDRi, argued that EU officials were adopting “techno-solutionism” to sideline moral considerations in dealing with the complex issue of migration.

      “It is deeply troubling that, time and again, EU funds are poured into expensive technologies which are used in ways that criminalize, experiment with and dehumanize people on the move,” she said.

      Migration flows have slowed in many parts of Europe during the pandemic, interrupting an increase recorded over years. In Greece, for example, the number of arrivals dropped from nearly 75,000 in 2019 to 15,700 in 2020, a 78% decrease.

      But the pressure is sure to return. Between 2000 and 2020, the world’s migrant population rose by more than 80% to reach 272 million, according to United Nations data, fast outpacing international population growth.

      At the Greek border village of Poros, the breakfast discussion at a cafe was about the recent crisis on the Spanish-Moroccan border.

      Many of the houses in the area are abandoned and in a gradual state of collapse, and life is adjusting to that reality.

      Cows use the steel wall as a barrier for the wind and rest nearby.

      Panagiotis Kyrgiannis, a Poros resident, says the wall and other preventive measures have brought migrant crossings to a dead stop.

      “We are used to seeing them cross over and come through the village in groups of 80 or a 100,” he said. “We were not afraid. … They don’t want to settle here. All of this that’s happening around us is not about us.”

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1162084/in-post-pandemic-europe-migrants-will-face-digital-fortress

      #pandémie #covid-19 #coronavirus #barrière_digitale #mur_digital #pré-mur #technologie #complexe_militaro-industriel #AI #IA #intelligence_artificielle #détecteurs_de_mensonge #satellite #biométrie #Hongrie #Lettonie #Frontex #surveillance #privatisation #techno-solutionism #déshumanisation

    • Greece: EU Commission upgrades border surveillance – and criticises it at the same time

      The Greek border police are using a sound cannon and drones on a new border fence, and the EU Commission expresses its „concern“ about this. However, it is itself funding several similar research projects, including a semi-autonomous drone with stealth features for „effective surveillance of borders and migration flows“

      On Monday, the Associated Press (AP) news agency had reported (https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-europe-migration-technology-health-c23251bec65ba45205a0851fab07e) that police in Greece plan to deploy a long-range sound cannon at the external border with Turkey in the future. The device, mounted on a police tank, makes a deafening noise with the volume of a jet engine. It is part of a system of steel walls that is being installed and tested along with drones on the 200-kilometre border with Turkey for migration defence. The vehicle, made by the Canadian manufacturer #Streit, comes from a series of seized „#Typhoons“ (https://defencereview.gr/mrap-vehicles-hellenic-police) that were to be illegally exported to Libya via Dubai (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/streit-libya-un-1.3711776).

      After the AP report about the sound cannons went viral, Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz had clarified that it was not an EU project (https://twitter.com/Ad4EU/status/1400010786064437248).

      Yesterday, AP reported again on this (https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-europe-migration-government-and-politics-2cec83ae0d8544a719a885a). According to Jahnz, the Commission has „noted with concern“ the installation of the technology and is requesting information on its use. Methods used in EU member states would have to comply with European fundamental rights, including the „right to dignity“. The right to asylum and the principle of non-refoulement in states where refugees face persecution must also be respected.

      The Commission’s outrage is anything but credible. After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used refugees to storm the Turkish-Greek border in March 2020, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled to the border river Evros before the start of a Frontex mission and declared her solidarity there. Literally, the former German Defence Minister said (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_380): „I thank Greece for being our European shield“.

      Commission funds research on border surveillance

      Also yesterday, the Commission-funded #ROBORDER project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/740593/de) said in a statement (https://roborder.eu/2021/06/03/new-collaboration-with-borderuas-project) that it is now cooperating with the #BorderUAS project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/883272/de). Both are about the use of drones. The police in Greece are involved and the applications are to be tested there.

      The acronym ROBORDER stands for „#Autonomous_Swarm_of_Heterogeneous_Robots_for_Border_Surveillance“. It works with drones on water, on land and in the air. In Greece, for example, a drone is to be used to detect „unauthorised sea border crossing“ (https://roborder.eu/the-project/demonstrators), as well as an aircraft from the #Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with a surveillance test platform, #radar systems and thermal imaging cameras.

      All drones in ROBORDER are supposed to be able to operate in swarms. They are controlled via a mobile control centre from the German company #Elettronica. This „#Multipurpose_Mission_Support_Vehicle“ (#MUROS) is used to collect all recorded data (https://www.elettronica.de/de/produkte/oeffentliche-sicherheit-integration). The project, which will soon come to an end, will cost around nine million euros, of which the EU Commission will pay the largest share.

      High-resolution cameras on lighter-than-air drones

      The acronym BorderUAS means „#Semi-Autonomous_Border_Surveillance_Platform_with_a_High-Resolution_Multi-Sensor_Surveillance_Payload“. Border authorities, police forces as well as companies and institutes mainly from Eastern Europe and Greece want to use it to investigate so-called lighter-than-air drones.

      These can be small zeppelins or balloons that are propelled by alternative propulsion systems and have a multitude of sensors and cameras. The participating company #HiperSfera (https://hipersfera.hr) from Croatia markets such systems for border surveillance, for example.

      The project aims to prevent migration on the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route, the Western Balkan route and across the EU’s eastern external land border. According to the project description, these account for 58 percent of all detected irregular border crossings. BorderUAS ends in 2023, and the technology will be tested by police forces in Greece, Ukraine and Belarus until then. The Commission is funding the entire budget with around seven million euros.

      Civilian and military drone research

      For border surveillance, the EU Defence Agency and the Commission are funding numerous civilian and military drone projects in Greece. These include the €35 million #OCEAN2020 project (https://ocean2020.eu), which conducts research on the integration of drones and unmanned submarines into fleet formations. #ARESIBO, which costs around seven million euros (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/833805/de) and on which the Greek, Portuguese and Romanian Ministries of Defence and the #NATO Research Centre are working on drone technology, will end in 2022. With another five million euros, the Commission is supporting an „#Information_Exchange_for_Command_Control_and_Coordination_Systems_at_the_Borders“ (#ANDROMEDA) (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/833881/de). This also involves drones used by navies, coast guards and the police forces of the member states.

      In #CAMELOT (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/740736/de) are flying various drones from Israel and Portugal, and as in ROBORDER, a single ground station is to be used for this purpose. A scenario „illegal activity, illegal immigration persons“ is being tested with various surveillance equipment at the Evros river. The Commission is contributing eight million euros of the total sum. This year, results from #FOLDOUT (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/214861/factsheet/de) will also be tried out on the Greek-Turkish border river Evros, involving satellites, high-flying platforms and drones with technology for „through-foliage detection“ (https://foldout.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Flyer_v1_Foldout_EN_v2_Print.pdf) in the „outermost regions of the EU„. The Commission is allocating eight million euros for this as well.

      Also with EU funding, predominantly Greek partners, including drone manufacturers #ALTUS and #Intracom_Defense, as well as the Air Force, are developing a drone under the acronym LOTUS with „autonomy functions“ and stealth features for surveillance. The project manager promotes the system as suitable for „effective surveillance of borders and migration flows“ (https://www.intracomdefense.com/ide-leader-in-european-defense-programs).

      https://digit.site36.net/2021/06/04/greece-eu-commission-upgrades-border-surveillance-and-criticises-it-at

      #drones #Canada #complexe_militaro-industriel

    • La Grèce construit un mur sur sa frontière avec la Turquie

      22 août - 13h : La Grèce a annoncé vendredi avoir achevé une clôture de 40 km à sa frontière avec la Turquie et mis en place un nouveau système de #surveillance pour empêcher d’éventuels demandeurs d’asile d’essayer d’atteindre l’Europe après la prise de contrôle de l’Afghanistan par les talibans.

      La crise afghane a créé « des possibilités de flux de migrants », a déclaré le ministre de la Protection des citoyens Michalis Chrysochoidis après s’être rendu vendredi dans la région d’Evros avec le ministre de la Défense et le chef des forces armées. « Nous ne pouvons pas attendre passivement l’impact possible », a-t-il affirmé. « Nos frontières resteront sûres et inviolables. »

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/refugies-balkans-les-dernieres-infos

  • UK to diverge from EU data protection rules, Johnson confirms – EURACTIV.com
    https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/uk-to-diverge-from-eu-data-protection-rules-johnson-confirms

    The United Kingdom will seek to diverge from EU data protection rules and establish their own ‘sovereign’ controls in the field, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (3 February). His comments came despite the EU affirming that the UK should “fully respect EU data protection rules.” In a written statement to the House of Commons published yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the United Kingdom will “develop separate and independent policies” in a range of fields, including data (...)

    #[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données_(RGPD)[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR)[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation_(GDPR) #législation (...)

    ##[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données__RGPD_[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_ ##data