• KACHACH, AU-DESSUS DE #ZAATARI

    Dans le camp de réfugiés de Zaatari, l’exil n’en finit plus de durer. Parmi les réfugiés, une communauté s’est reformée : les #Kachach, les éleveurs d’#oiseaux culturellement méprisés, font revivre une tradition millénaire délaissée , dans ce camp planté au milieu du désert et que nul n’est censé quitter. Et leurs oiseaux ramènent une part de #rêve qui éclaire cette longue #attente.

    https://vimeo.com/297919049


    #film #film_documentaire #camps_de_réfugiés #réfugiés #asile #migrations

  • Lo hadi aingürüa

    Lo hadi, aingürüa,
    amaren altzoan,
    hire herri ejerra botz
    ezpain xokoan.
    Axolbean gütük bena
    ni trixtüra gogoan,
    haro gaitza dük kanpoan,
    ta aita itxasoan!!
    Beha zak, haize beltza mehatxükaz ari,
    zer gaü aldi lüzea, zoinen etsigarri,
    harritürik ikara niz lotü kürütxeari,
    otoitzez jinkoari egin dezan argi!!
    Lo hadi lo, maitea,
    ez egin nigarrik,
    zeren nihaur aski nük haben dolügarri,
    egin zelüko aingürüer herri batez batzarri,
    pentsa dezen aitari, jin dakigün sarri!!

    –—

    Dors ange, dans le giron de maman,
    avec ton beau sourire au coin des lèvres,
    nous sommes à labri du vent
    mais moi je suis triste,
    dehors c´est la tempete
    et papa est en le mer.
    Regarde le vent d´ouest
    qui se fait menaçant,
    quelle longue nuit,
    c´est désesperant.
    Tremblante de peur
    j´ai pris un crucifix
    suppliant Dieu de m´eclairer.
    Dors, chér, dors, ne pleure pas,
    car je me suffis ici pour me lamenter.
    Fais un sourire aux anges du ciel
    qu´ils pensent à papa,
    pour qu´il nous revienne vite !!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueQIAGswHus


    #berceuse #basque #chant_populaire #chanson #musique #musique_populaire #chants_populaires #polyphonie
    #attente #femmes #marins #mer

    ping @simplicissimus

  • La santé mentale est un enjeu crucial des migrations contemporaines

    Si la migration est source d’espoirs liés à la découverte de nouveaux horizons, de nouveaux contextes sociaux et de nouvelles perspectives économiques, elle est également à des degrés divers un moment de rupture sociale et identitaire qui n’est pas sans conséquence sur la santé mentale.

    #Abdelmalek_Sayad, l’un des sociologues des migrations les plus influents de ces dernières décennies, a défini la condition du migrant comme étant suspendu entre deux mondes parallèles. #Sayad nous dit que le migrant est doublement absent, à son lieu d’origine et son lieu d’arrivée.

    Il est, en tant qu’émigrant, projeté dans une condition faite de perspectives et, très souvent, d’illusions qui l’éloignent de son lieu d’origine. Mais le migrant est tout aussi absent dans sa #condition ^_d’immigré, dans les processus d’#adaptation à un contexte nouveau et souvent hostile, source de nombreuses #souffrances.

    Quelles sont les conséquences de cette #double_absence et plus largement de cette transition de vie dans la santé mentale des migrants ?

    Migrer implique une perte de #capital_social

    Migrer, c’est quitter un #univers_social pour un autre. Les #contacts, les #échanges et les #relations_interpersonnelles qui soutiennent chacun de nous sont perturbés, fragmentés ou même rompus durant cette transition.

    Si pour certains la migration implique un renforcement du capital social (ou économique), dans la plupart des cas elle mène à une perte de capital social. Dans un entretien mené en 2015, un demandeur d’asile afghan souligne cette #rupture_sociale et la difficulté de maintenir des liens avec son pays d’origine :

    « C’est très difficile de quitter son pays parce que ce n’est pas seulement ta terre que tu quittes, mais toute ta vie, ta famille. J’ai des contacts avec ma famille de temps en temps, mais c’est difficile parce que les talibans détruisent souvent les lignes de téléphone, et donc, c’est difficile de les joindre. »

    Pour contrer ou éviter cette perte de capital social, de nombreux #réseaux_transnationaux et organisations d’immigrants dans les pays d’accueil sont créés et jouent dans la vie des migrants un rôle primordial.

    À titre d’exemple, la migration italienne d’après-guerre s’est caractérisée par une forte structuration en #communautés. Ils ont créé d’importants organisations et réseaux, notamment des organisations politiques et syndicales, des centres catholiques et culturels, dont certains sont encore actifs dans les pays de la #diaspora italienne.

    L’#environnement_social et la manière dont les sociétés d’arrivée vont accueillir et inclure les migrants, vont être donc des éléments clés dans la #résilience de ces populations face aux défis posés par leur trajectoire de vie et par leur #parcours_migratoire. Les migrants peuvent en effet rencontrer des situations qui mettent en danger leur #santé physique et mentale dans leur lieu d’origine, pendant leur transit et à leur destination finale.

    Cela est particulièrement vrai pour les migrants forcés qui sont souvent confrontés à des expériences de #détention, de #violence et d’#exploitation susceptibles de provoquer des #troubles_post-traumatiques, dépressifs et anxieux. C’est le cas des centaines de milliers de réfugiés qui fuient les #conflits_armés depuis 2015, principalement dans les régions de la Syrie et de l’Afrique subsaharienne.

    Ces migrants subissent des #violences tout au long de leur parcours, y compris la violence des lois de l’asile dans nos sociétés.

    L’environnement social est une des clés de la santé mentale

    Dans son document d’orientation « Mental health promotion and mental health care in refugees and migrants », l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) indique l’#intégration_sociale comme l’un des domaines d’intervention les plus importants pour combattre les problèmes de santé mentale dans les populations migrantes.

    Pour l’OMS, la lutte contre l’#isolement et la promotion de l’#intégration sont des facteurs clés, tout comme les interventions visant à faciliter le relations entre les migrants et les services de soins, et à améliorer les pratiques et les traitements cliniques.

    Cependant, l’appartenance à des réseaux dans un environnement social donné est une condition essentielle pour le bien-être mental de l’individu, mais elle n’est pas suffisante.

    Le philosophe allemand #Axel_Honneth souligne notamment que la #confiance_en_soi, l’#estime_de_soi et la capacité à s’ouvrir à la société trouvent leurs origines dans le concept de #reconnaissance. Chaque individu est mu par le besoin que son environnement social et la société, dans laquelle il ou elle vit, valorisent ses #identités et lui accordent une place comme #sujet_de_droit.

    Les identités des migrants doivent être reconnues par la société

    À cet égard, se construire de nouvelles identités sociales et maintenir une #continuité_identitaire entre l’avant et l’après-migration permet aux migrants de diminuer les risques de #détresse_psychologique.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNC4C4OqomI&feature=emb_logo

    Être discriminé, exclu ou ostracisé du fait de ses appartenances et son identité affecte profondément la santé mentale. En réaction à ce sentiment d’#exclusion ou de #discrimination, maintenir une estime de soi positive et un #équilibre_psychosocial passe souvent parla prise de distance par rapport à la société discriminante et le #repli vers d’autres groupes plus soutenants.

    La #reconnaissance_juridique, un élément central

    Or ce principe de reconnaissance s’articule tant au niveau de la sphère sociale qu’au niveau juridique. Dans les sociétés d’accueil, les migrants doivent être reconnus comme porteurs de droits civils, sociaux et politiques.

    Au-delà des enjeux pragmatiques liés à l’accès à des services, à une protection ou au #marché_de_l’emploi, l’obtention de droits et d’un #statut_juridique permet de retrouver une forme de contrôle sur la poursuite de sa vie.

    Certaines catégories de migrants vivant soit en procédure pour faire reconnaître leurs droits, comme les demandeurs d’asile, soit en situation irrégulière, comme les « #sans-papiers », doivent souvent faire face à des situations psychologiquement compliquées.

    À cet égard, les sans-papiers sont presque totalement exclus, privés de leurs #droits_fondamentaux et criminalisés par la justice. Les demandeurs d’asile sont quant à eux souvent pris dans la #bureaucratie du système d’accueil durant des périodes déraisonnablement longues, vivant dans des conditions psychologiques difficiles et parfois dans un profond #isolement_social. Cela est bien exprimé par un jeune migrant kenyan que nous avions interviewé en 2018 dans une structure d’accueil belge :

    « Je suis arrivé quand ils ont ouvert le [centre d’accueil], et je suis toujours là ! Cela fait presque trois ans maintenant ! Ma première demande a été rejetée et maintenant, si c’est un “non”, je vais devoir quitter le territoire. […] Tous ces jours, les mois d’attente, pour quoi faire ? Pour rien avoir ? Pour devenir un sans-papiers ? Je vais devenir fou, je préfère me tuer. »

    Être dans l’#attente d’une décision sur son statut ou être dénié de droits plonge l’individu dans l’#insécurité et dans une situation où toute #projection est rendue compliquée, voire impossible.

    Nous avons souligné ailleurs que la lourdeur des procédures et le sentiment de #déshumanisation dans l’examen des demandes d’asile causent d’importantes #frustrations chez les migrants, et peuvent avoir un impact sur leur #bien-être et leur santé mentale.

    La migration est un moment de nombreuses #ruptures sociales et identitaires face auxquelles les individus vont (ré)agir et mobiliser les ressources disponibles dans leur environnement. Donner, alimenter et construire ces ressources autour et avec les migrants les plus vulnérables constitue dès lors un enjeu de #santé_publique.

    https://theconversation.com/la-sante-mentale-est-un-enjeu-crucial-des-migrations-contemporaines

    #santé_mentale #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    ping @_kg_ @isskein @karine4

  • EU policy ‘worsening’ mental health for refugees on Greek islands

    New research says more asylum-seekers stranded in EU’s ‘hotspot’ centres experiencing severe mental health symptoms.

    A prominent humanitarian group has warned of a worsening mental health crisis among asylum-seekers trapped at refugee camps on three Greek islands, saying its research reveals severe symptoms among people of all ages and backgrounds, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-harm.

    The International Rescue Committee (IRC), in a new report (https://www.rescue-uk.org/courage-to-continue) on Thursday, said nearly 15,000 people remain stranded at the European-Union funded Reception and Identification Centres, camps known as “hotspots” that were set up on Europe’s borders almost five years ago to swiftly process applications for asylum.

    Citing data collected from 904 asylum-seekers supported by its mental health programmes on the islands of Lesbos, Chios and Samos, the IRC said one in three of its clients reported suicidal thoughts, while one in five reported having made attempts to take their lives.

    “I even tried to hang myself but my son saw me and called my husband,” Fariba, a 32-year-old Afghan woman, was quoted as saying. The mother of two young children lives in the Vathy camp in the island of Samos.

    “I think about death a lot here: that it would be a good thing for the whole family, that if I could add a medicine in our food and we all died it would be a deliverance. But then I look at my daughter and I think it is not her time yet,” she said.

    The hotspot centres were established up in 2015, when the Aegean islands, especially Lesbos, came under enormous pressure, with nearly a million refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe arriving on the Greek islands.

    In January of this year, the five camps together hosted more than 38,600 asylum-seekers – a number six times higher than the hotspots’ capacity. The number had reduced significantly by November, yet, asylum seekers still live under “inhumane” conditions and “in great distress, with limited access to food, water and sanitation,” read the report.
    ‘Alarming spike’

    On Lesbos, thousands of people live in a temporary camp after a fire burned down their overcrowded facility known as the Moria refugee camp. With winter in full swing, many people now live in tents battered by winds and flooding, the report said, adding an even deeper sense of exhaustion and frustration. On Sunday, the camp of Kara Tepe in Lesbos – where more than 7,000 people live – was flooded for the third time after three days of rain amid stormy weather conditions.

    Mohammad, a 23-year-old Syrian asylum seeker who fled the city of Idlib in 2019, told Al Jazeera how he is affected by depression and sleeping disorders.

    “How could my mental health not be affected? When you wake up and find a rat on your chest, when you are constantly waiting [for your legal status to proceed], when rain is pouring into your tent for days, you have no toilet but just garbage around you?” he said, asking his surname to be withheld as his second attempt to gain residency is under way.

    This is the second winter Mohammad has spent in a self-made wooden hut in what is known as “the jungle” in the island of Samos. The 600-people capacity camp, located on a hill, comprises of tents made out of recycled material and houses more than 3,000 people.

    Mohammad said there were high level of distress and constant fear of possible violent escalations among the residents of the camp. “We need some sort of improvement as it is getting difficult to control the anger,” he said.

    The coronavirus pandemic and the strict restrictions on movement has inflicted further blows.

    The IRC reported an “alarming spike” in the number of people disclosing psychotic symptoms following the pandemic, jumping from one in seven to almost one in four. There was also a sharp rise in people reporting self-harm, which jumped by 66 percent, as well as a surge in those reporting symptoms of PTSD, which climbed from close to half of clients beforehand to almost two in three people.

    These severe symptoms of mental health negatively affect people’s ability to cope with the many challenges they face at the hotspot centres, such as standing in line for hours to get food, or successfully navigate the complex asylum process, the report said.
    ‘Trauma of hotspot centres’

    “Such stressful situation triggers a sort of re-traumatisation,” said Essam Daod, a psychiatric and mental health director of Humanity Crew, an NGO providing first response mental health interventions to refugees in Samos.

    “You left home because you felt hopeless, unsafe and with a massive distrust with the system. You reached Europe and you start to stabilise your mood, but then COVID-19 destroyed all of this triggering the same feeling they had when they were fleeing their own country,” he said.

    IRC found that mental health issues can also cause high levels of stigma and discrimination, while increasing vulnerability to exploitation or violence, including sexual violence.

    Children are also bearing the brunt of the the worsening crisis.

    “When parents break down, it has a major impact on children,” said Thanasis Chirvatidis, a psychologist with Doctors Without Borders who has been working in Lesbos since August.

    Children perceive parents who experience psychological collapse as being unable to protect them, said Chirvatidis. The result is an increasing number of children are developing symptoms such as hopeless, insomnia, night terrors and regression symptoms as they go backwards at an earlier mental state where they had better memories and felt safer.

    All of the people in the hotspot centres – adult and children alike – “even those who had a sense of normalcy in their life before, at this point will need support in the future for sorting what they are going through here, which has now become a trauma itself,” said Chirvatidis.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/17/eus-refugee-policy-on-greek-islands-worsening-mental-health

    #Moria #santé_mentale #asile #migrations #réfugiés #îles #Lesbos #Mer_Egée #Grèce #traumatisme #trauma #hotspots #rapport

    ping @_kg_

    • Thousands of refugees in mental health crisis after years on Greek islands

      One in three on Aegean isles have contemplated suicide amid EU containment policies, report reveals
      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/b1b9c9d90a1caa8f531cc8964d98aa5f334fc711/0_212_3500_2100/master/3500.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=cdabee9ba1451c3fdb469b

      Years of entrapment on Aegean islands has resulted in a mental health crisis for thousands of refugees, with one in three contemplating suicide, a report compiled by psychosocial support experts has revealed.

      Containment policies pursued by the EU have also spurred ever more people to attempt to end their lives, according to the report released by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) on Thursday.

      “Research reveals consistent accounts of severe mental health conditions,” says the report, citing data collated over the past two and a half years on Lesbos, Samos and Chios.

      Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and self-harm “among people of all ages and backgrounds” have emerged as byproducts of the hopelessness and despair on Europe’s eastern borderlands, it says.

      “As many as three out of four of the people the IRC has assisted through its mental health programme on the three islands reported experiencing symptoms such as sleeping problems, depression and anxiety,” its authors wrote.

      “One in three reported suicidal thoughts, while one in five reported having made attempts to take their lives.”

      In a year upended by coronavirus and disastrous fires on Lesbos – about 13,000 asylum seekers were temporarily displaced after the destruction of Moria, the island’s infamous holding centre – psychologists concluded that the humanitarian situation on the outposts had worsened considerably.

      The mental health toll had been aggravated by lockdown measures that had kept men, women and children confined to facilities for much of 2020, they said.

      Previously, residents in Moria, Europe’s biggest refugee camp before its destruction, had participated in football games outside the facility and other group activities.

      Noting that the restrictions were stricter for refugees and migrants than those applied elsewhere in Greece, IRC support teams found a marked deterioration in the mental wellbeing of people in the camps since rolling lockdowns were enforced in March.

      “Research demonstrates how the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic further exacerbated the suffering of already vulnerable asylum seekers and exposed the many flaws in Europe’s asylum and reception system,” the report says.

      Over the year there has been a rise in the proportion of people disclosing psychotic symptoms, from one in seven to one in four. Disclosures of self-harm have increased by 66%.

      The IRC, founded by Albert Einstein in 1933 and now led by the former British foreign secretary David Miliband, said the findings offered more evidence of the persistent political and policy failures at Greek and EU level.

      Five years after authorities scrambled to establish reception and identification centres, or hotspots, on the frontline isles at the start of the refugee crisis, about 15,000 men, women and children remain stranded in the installations.

      Describing conditions in the camps as dangerous and inhumane, the IRC said residents were still denied access to sufficient water, sanitation, shelter and vital services such as healthcare, education and legal assistance to process asylum claims.

      On Lesbos, the island most often targeted by traffickers working along the Turkish coast, government figures this week showed an estimated 7,319 men, women and children registered in a temporary camp erected in response to an emergency that has been blamed on arsonists.

      Three months after the fires, more than 5,000 people have been transferred to the mainland, according to Greek authorities.

      Of that number, more than 800 were relocated to the EU, including 523 children who had made the journey to Europe alone and were also held in Moria.

      Many had hoped the new camp would be a vast improvement on Moria, whose appalling conditions and severe overcrowding earned it global notoriety as a humanitarian disaster.

      But the new facility, located on a former firing range within metres of the sea, has drawn condemnation from locals and NGOs.

      “The winds hit it, the rains hit it and there’s no shade, which is why this place is unsuitable for any camp to be,” the island’s mayor, Stratis Kitilis, said.

      “It’s right next door to all the warehouses, transport companies and supermarkets that keep Lesbos going. No one wants it there.”

      This month the EU announced it was working with Athens’ centre-right administration to replace the installation with a modern structure that will open next September. New reception and identification centres will also be built on Samos, Kos and Lesbos. “They say it’ll be nothing like Moria and will be more of a transfer stop, but late next year is a very long time,” said Kitilis.

      Kiki Michailidou, the psychologist in charge of the IRC’s psychosocial support programmes on Lesbos, agreed that the conditions were far from dignified.

      As winter approached, camp residents were resorting to ever more desperate measures to keep warm, she said, while also being forced to stand in long queues for food and communal toilets.

      With camp managers moving families into giant tents, social distancing remains elusive. “A lot of people fear the unknown again,” Michailidou said.

      “Moria was terrible but it was also a familiar place, somewhere they called their home. After the fires they lost their point of reference and that has had a significant impact on their mental health too.”

      The IRC report calls for European policymakers to learn from past failings. While the EU’s new pact on asylum and migration is a step in the right direction, it says, it still falls short of the bloc managing migration in a humane and effective way.

      Echoing that sentiment, Michailidou said: “After the fires we saw what could happen. There were transfers to the mainland and children were relocated to other parts of Europe. That’s proof that where there’s political will and coordinated action, the lives of people in these camps can be transformed.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/dec/17/thousands-refugees-mental-crisis-years-greek-islands

  • UK to deny asylum to refugees passing through ’safe’ third country

    Immigration rule will also prevent migrants from making a claim in UK territorial waters

    Ministers have quietly changed immigration rules to prevent people fleeing war or persecution from claiming asylum in the UK if they have passed through a “safe” third country, prompting accusations of a breach of international law.

    From 1 January, claims of asylum from a person who has travelled through or has a connection to a safe third country, including people coming from EU member states, will be treated as inadmissible.

    The changes will also prevent asylum seekers from being able to make a claim in the territorial waters of the UK.

    The UK government will be able to remove refused asylum seekers not only to the third countries through which they have travelled, but to any safe third country that may agree to receive them, an explanatory memo states.

    A 10-page statement (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/943127/CCS207_CCS1220673408-001_Statement_of_changes_in_Immig) outlining the changes to the rules was published online without a press or public announcement.

    However, the changes highlight a significant hurdle for the UK government: claims will only be treated as inadmissible if the asylum applicant is accepted for readmission by the third country through which they have travelled or another safe state agrees to take them.

    Immigration law experts have said this could render the new policy “pointless” and would most likely delay asylum applications and leave refugees in limbo in the UK.

    Colin Yeo, a leading immigration barrister with expertise in asylum law, wrote on Twitter: “The policy is pointless because the govt has negotiated no such return agreements, so all it does is delay decisions on all claims, which is cruel to genuine refugees, and delay removal of non genuine cases.”


    https://twitter.com/ColinYeo1/status/1337069616078721025

    The Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, said the changes were “yet another breach of international law”.

    He said: “The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need, but now the Conservative government is turning its back on refugees. This latest nasty policy from [the home secretary] Priti Patel goes against our commitments under the refugee convention and against everything the UK stands for. It’s yet another breach of international law by this irresponsible tory government.”

    Beth Gardiner-Smith, the chief executive of Safe Passage International, a charity that help refugees access safe and legal routes to asylum, said: “The government’s changes to the immigration rules are a direct assault on the fundamental human right to asylum. These chilling changes on International Human Rights Day do a disservice to the UK’s proud record of providing safety to those fleeing persecution and violence.”

    The number of small boat arrivals across the Channel has surged to record levels this year, with more than 8,000 migrants and refugees travelling across the Dover Strait, compared with less than 2,000 in 2019. However, total asylum applications are down year on year as the Covid-19 pandemic has cut off other methods of travel and limited migration flows.

    Patel has been accused of responding haphazardly with kneejerk proposals ranging from sending asylum seekers thousands of miles away to islands in the South Atlantic, to using giant water cannons to repel boats. The prime minister has reportedly become frustrated with Patel’s handling of the situation.

    The UK is a party to the UN’s 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and to its 1967 protocol, a piece of international law designed to protect refugees.

    The Home Office provided a statement through the immigration compliance minister, Chris Philp. He said: “We are determined to fix the broken asylum system to make it firm on those who come here through illegally facilitated routes and fair on those who play by the rules. There is no reason to leave a safe country like France to make a dangerous crossing. These measures send a clear message and are just one of the steps th​e government is taking to tackle the unacceptable rise in small boat crossings.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/dec/10/uk-to-deny-asylum-to-refugees-passing-through-safe-third-country

    #UK #Angleterre #asile #migrations #réfugiés #droit_d'asile #Manche #eaux_territoriales #pays_sûr #transit #pays_tiers_sûr #brexit #EU #Europe #UE #renvois #expulsions #01_janvier_2020 #inadmissibilité #attente #limbe #accords #droit_international #Priti_Patel

    ping @isskein

  • The Frontier Within: The European Border Regime in the Balkans

    In the summer of 2015, the migratory route across the Balkans »entered into the European spotlight, and indeed onto the screen of the global public« (Kasparek 2016: 2), triggering different interpretations and responses. Contrary to the widespread framing of the mass movement of people seeking refuge in Europe as ›crisis‹ and ›emergency‹ of unseen proportions, we opt for the perspective of »the long Summer of Migration« (Kasparek/Speer 2015) and an interpretation that regards it as »a historic and monumental year of migration for Europe precisely because disobedient mass mobilities have disrupted the European regime of border control« (Stierl/Heller/de Genova 2016: 23). In reaction to the disobedient mass mobilities of people, a state-tolerated and even state-organized transit of people, a »formalized corridor« (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016), was gradually established. To avoid the concentration of unwanted migrants on their territory, countries along the route—sometimes in consultation with their neighboring countries and EU member states, sometimes simply by creating facts—strived to regain control over the movements by channeling and isolating them by means of the corridor (see e.g. Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Speer 2017; Tošić 2017). »Migrants didn’t travel the route any more: they were hurriedly channeled along, no longer having the power to either determine their own movement or their own speed« (Kasparek 2016). The corridor, at the same time, facilitated and tamed the movement of people. In comparison to the situation in Serbia, where migrants were loosely directed to follow the path of the corridor (see e.g. Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Greenberg/Spasić 2017; Kasparek 2016: 6), migrants in other states like North Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia were literally in the corridor’s power, i.e. forced to follow the corridor (see Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Chudoska Blazhevska/Flores Juberías 2016: 231–232; Kogovšek Šalamon 2016: 44–47; Petrović 2018). The corridor was operative in different and constantly changing modalities until March 2016. Since then, migration through the Balkan region still takes place, with migrants struggling on a daily basis with the diverse means of tightened border controls that all states along the Balkan route have been practicing since.

    This movements issue wants to look back on these events in an attempt to analytically make sense of them and to reflect on the historical rupture of the months of 2015 and 2016. At the same time, it tries to analyze the ongoing developments of bordering policies and the struggles of migration. It assembles a broad range of articles reaching from analytical or research based papers shedding light on various regional settings and topics, such as the massive involvement of humanitarian actors or the role of camp infrastructures, to more activist-led articles reflecting on the different phases and settings of pro-migrant struggles and transnational solidarity practices. In an attempt to better understand the post-2015 border regime, the issue furthermore presents analyses of varying political technologies of bordering that evolved along the route in response to the mass mobilities of 2015/2016. It especially focuses on the excessive use of different dimensions of violence that seem to characterize the new modalities of the border regime, such as the omnipresent practice of push-backs. Moreover, the articles shed light on the ongoing struggles of transit mobility and (transnational) solidarity that are specifically shaped by the more than eventful history of the region molded both by centuries of violent interventions and a history of connectivity.

    Our transnational editorial group came together in the course of a summer school on the border regime in the Balkans held in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2018. It was organized by the Network for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies (kritnet), University of Göttingen, Department of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology (Germany), the Research Centre of the Academy of Sciences and Arts (Slovenia), the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (Croatia), and the Institute of Ethnography SASA (Serbia). The summer school assembled engaged academics from all over the region that were involved, in one form or another, in migration struggles along the route in recent years.1 The few days of exchange proved to be an exciting and fruitful gathering of critical migration and border regime scholars and activists from different regional and disciplinary backgrounds of the wider Balkans. Therefore, we decided to produce this movements issue by inviting scholars and activists from the region or with a deep knowledge on, and experience with, regional histories and politics in order to share their analyses of the Balkan route, the formalized corridor, and the developments thereafter. These developments have left a deep imprint on the societies and regional politics of migration, but they are very rarely taken into consideration and studied in the West as the centuries long entanglements that connect the Balkan with the rest of Europe.

    In this editorial, we will outline the transnational mobility practices in the Balkans in a historical perspective that includes the framework of EU-Balkan relations. With this exercise we try to historize the events of 2015 which are portrayed in many academic as well as public accounts as ›unexpected‹ and ›new‹. We also intend to write against the emergency and escalation narrative underlying most public discourses on the Balkans and migration routes today, which is often embedded in old cultural stereotypes about the region. We, furthermore, write against the emergency narrative because it erodes the agency of migration that has not only connected the region with the rest of the globe but is also constantly reinventing new paths for reaching better lives. Not only the history of mobilities, migrations, and flight connecting the region with the rest of Europe and the Middle East can be traced back into the past, but also the history of political interventions and attempts to control these migrations and mobilities by western European states. Especially the EU accession processes produce contexts that made it possible to gradually integrate the (Western) Balkan states into the rationale of EU migration management, thus, setting the ground for today’s border and migration regime. However, as we will show in the following sections, we also argue against simplified understandings of the EU border regime that regard its externalization policy as an imperial top-down act. Rather, with a postcolonial perspective that calls for decentering western knowledge, we will also shed light on the agency of the national governments of the region and their own national(ist) agendas.
    The Formalized Corridor

    As outlined above, the formalized corridor of 2015 reached from Greece to Northern and Central Europe, leading across the states established in the 1990s during the violent breakdown of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and, today, are additionally stratified vis-à-vis the EU. Slovenia and Croatia are EU member states, while the others are still in the accession process. The candidate states Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro have opened the negotiation process. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo—still not recognized as a sovereign state by Serbia and some EU member states—have the status of potential candidates. However, in 2015 and 2016, the states along the corridor efficiently collaborated for months on a daily basis, while, at the same time, fostering separate, sometimes conflicting, migration politics. Slovenia, for example, raised a razor-wire fence along the border to Croatia, while Croatia externalized its border to Serbia with a bilateral agreement (Protokol) in 2015 which stated that the »Croatian Party« may send a »train composition with its crew to the railway station in Šid [in Serbia], with a sufficient number of police officers of the Republic of Croatia as escort« (Article 3 Paragraph 2).

    Despite ruptures and disputes, states nevertheless organized transit in the form of corridor consisting of trains, buses, and masses of walking people that were guarded and directed by the police who forced people on the move to follow the corridor’s direction and speed. The way the movements were speedily channeled in some countries came at the cost of depriving people of their liberty and freedom of movement, which calls for an understanding of the corridor as a specific form of detention: a mobile detention, ineligible to national or EU legislation (see Hameršak/Pleše 2018; Kogovšek Šalamon 2016: 44–47). In the context of the corridor, camps became convergence points for the heterogeneous pathways of movements. Nevertheless, having in mind both the proclaimed humanitarian purpose of the corridor, and the monumental numbers of people to whom the corridor enabled and facilitated movement, the corridor can be designated as an unprecedented formation in recent EU history. In other words: »The corridor – with all its restrictions – remains a historical event initiated by the movement of people, which enabled thousands to reach central Europe in a relatively quick and safe manner. […] But at the same time it remained inscribed within a violent migration management system« (Santer/Wriedt 2017: 148).

    For some time, a broad consensus can be observed within migration and border studies and among policy makers that understands migration control as much more than simply protecting a concrete borderline. Instead, concepts such as migration management (Oelgemoller 2017; Geiger/Pécoud 2010) and border externalization (as specifically spelled out in the EU document Global Approach to Migration of 2005) have become increasingly important. In a spatial sense, what many of them have in common is, first, that they assume an involvement of neighboring states to govern migration in line with EU migration policies. Second, it is often stated that this leads to the creation of different zones encircling the European Union (Andreas/Snyder 2000). Maribel Casas-Cortes and Sebastian Cobarrubias, for instance, speak of four such zones: the first zone is »formed by EU member states, capable of fulfilling Schengen standards«, the second zone »consists of transit countries« (Casas-Cortes/Cobarrubias 2019), the third zone is characterized by countries such as Turkey, which are depicted by emigration as well as transit, and the fourth zone are countries of origin. While Casas-Cortes and Cobarrubias rightly criticize the static and eurocentric perspective of such conceptualizations, they nevertheless point to the unique nature of the formalized corridor because it crisscrossed the above mentioned zones of mobility control in an unprecedented way.

    Furthermore, the corridor through the Balkans can be conceived as a special type of transnational, internalized border. The internalized European borders manifest themselves to a great extent in a punctiform (see Rahola 2011: 96–97). They are not only activated in formal settings of border-crossings, police stations, or detention centers both at state borders and deep within state territories, but also in informal settings of hospitals, hostels, in the streets, or when someone’s legal status is taken as a basis for denying access to rights and services (i.e. to obtain medical aid, accommodation, ride) (Guild 2001; Stojić Mitrović/Meh 2015). With the Balkan corridor, this punctiform of movement control was, for a short period, fused into a linear one (Hameršak/Pleše 2018).

    The rules of the corridor and its pathways were established by formal and informal agreements between the police and other state authorities, and the corridor itself was facilitated by governmental, humanitarian, and other institutions and agencies. Cooperation between the countries along the route was fostered by representatives of EU institutions and EU member states. It would be too simple, though, to describe their involvement of the countries along the route as merely reactive, as an almost mechanical response to EU and broader global policies. Some countries, in particular Serbia, regarded the increasing numbers of migrants entering their territory during the year 2015 as a window of opportunity for showing their ›good face‹ to the European Union by adopting ›European values‹ and, by doing so, for enhancing their accession process to the European Union (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016; Greenberg/Spasić 2017). As Tošić points out, »this image was very convenient for Serbian politicians in framing their country as ›truly European‹, since it was keeping its borders open unlike some EU states (such as Hungary)« (2017: 160). Other states along the corridor also played by their own rules from time to time: Croatia, for example, contrary to the Eurodac Regulation (Regulation EU No 603/2013), avoided sharing registration data on people in transit and, thus, hampered the Dublin system that is dependent on Eurodac registration. Irregular bureaucracies and nonrecording, as Katerina Rozakou (2017) calls such practices in her analysis of bordering practices in the Greek context, became a place of dispute, negotiations, and frustrations, but also a clear sign of the complex relationships and different responses to migration within the European Union migration management politics itself.

    Within EU-member states, however, the longer the corridor lasted, and the more people passed through it, the stronger the ›Hungarian position‹ became. Finally, Austria became the driving force behind a process of gradually closing the corridor, which began in November 2015 and was fully implemented in March 2016. In parallel, Angela Merkel and the European Commission preferred another strategy that cut access to the formalized corridor and that was achieved by adopting a treaty with Turkey known as the »EU-Turkey deal« signed on 18 March 2016 (see Speer 2017: 49–68; Weber 2017: 30–40).

    The humanitarian aspect for the people on the move who were supposed to reach a safe place through the corridor was the guiding principle of public discourses in most of the countries along the corridor. In Serbia, »Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić officially welcomed refugees, spoke of tolerance, and compared the experience of refugees fleeing war-torn countries to those of refugees during the wars of Yugoslav Succession« (Greenberg/Spasić 2017: 315). Similar narratives could also be observed in other countries along the corridor, at least for some period of time (see, for Slovenia, Sardelić 2017: 11; for Croatia, Jakešević 2017: 184; Bužinkić 2018: 153–154). Of course, critical readings could easily detect the discriminatory, dehumanizing, securitarizing, and criminalizing acts, practices, tropes, and aspects in many of these superficially caring narratives. The profiling or selection of people, ad hoc detentions, and militarization—which were integral parts of the corridor—were, at the time, only denounced by a few NGOs and independent activists. They were mostly ignored, or only temporarily acknowledged, by the media and, consequently, by the general public.

    Before May 2015, ›irregular‹ migration was not framed by a discourse of ›crisis‹ in the countries along the route, rather, the discourse was led by a focus on ›separate incidents‹ or ›situations‹. The discursive framing of ›crisis‹ and ›emergency‹, accompanied by reports of UN agencies about ›unprecedented refugee flows in history‹, has been globally adopted both by policy makers and the wider public. »In the wake of the Summer of Migration, all involved states along the Balkan route were quick to stage the events as an ›emergency‹ (Calhoun 2004) and, in best humanitarian fashion, as a major humanitarian ›crisis‹, thus legitimizing a ›politics of exception‹« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66). Following the logic that extraordinary situations call for, and justify, the use of extraordinary measures, the emergency framework, through the construction of existential threats, resulted, on the one hand, in a loosely controlled allocation of resources, and, on the other hand, in silencing many critical interpretations, thus allowing various ›risk management activities‹ to happen on the edge of the law (Campesi 2014). For the states along the route, the crisis label especially meant a rapid infusion of money and other resources for establishing infrastructures for the urgent reception of people on the move, mainly deriving from EU funds. Politically and practically, these humanitarian-control activities also fastened the operational inclusion of non-EU countries into the European border regime.

    As Sabine Hess and Bernd Kasparek have pointed out, the politics of proclaiming a ›crisis‹ is at the heart of re-stabilizing the European border regime, »making it possible to systematically undermine and lever the standards of international and European law without serious challenges to date« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66). The authors:

    »have observed carefully designed policy elements, which can be labelled as anti-litigation devices. The design of the Hungarian transit zones is a striking case in point. They are an elementary part of the border fence towards Serbia and allow for the fiction that the border has not been closed for those seeking international protection, but rather that their admission numbers are merely limited due to administrative reasons: each of the two transit zones allows for 14 asylum seekers to enter Hungary every day« (Hess/Kasparek 2017: 66; on the administrative rationale in Slovenia see e.g. Gombač 2016: 79–81).

    The establishment of transit zones was accompanied by a series of legislative tightenings, passed under a proclaimed ›crisis situation caused by mass immigration‹, which, from a legal point of view, lasts until today. Two aspects are worth mentioning in particular: First, the mandatory deportation of all unwanted migrants that were detected on Hungarian territory to the other side of the fence, without any possibility to claim for asylum or even to lodge any appeal against the return. Second, the automatic rejection of all asylum applications as inadmissible, even of those who managed to enter the transit zones, because Serbia had been declared a safe third country (Nagy/Pál 2018). This led to a completely securitized border regime in Hungary, which might become a ›role model‹, not only for the countries in the region but also for the European border regime as a whole (ECtHR – Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary Application No. 47287/15).
    The Long Genealogy of the Balkan Route and its Governance

    The history of the Balkan region is a multiply layered history of transborder mobilities, migration, and flight reaching back as far as the times of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires connecting the region with the East and Western Europe in many ways. Central transportation and communication infrastructures partially also used by today’s migratory projects had already been established at the heydays of Western imperialism, as the Orient Express, the luxury train service connecting Paris with Istanbul (1883), or the Berlin-Baghdad railway (built between 1903 and 1940) indicate. During World War II, a different and reversed refugee route existed, which brought European refugees not just to Turkey but even further to refugee camps in Syria, Egypt, and Palestine and was operated by the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration (MERRA).

    The Yugoslav highway, the Highway of Brotherhood and Unity (Autoput bratstva i jedinstva) often simply referred to as the ›autoput‹ and built in phases after the 1950s, came to stretch over more than 1,000 km from the Austrian to the Greek borders and was one of the central infrastructures enabling transnational mobilities, life projects, and exile. In the 1960s, direct trains departing from Istanbul and Athens carried thousands of prospective labor migrants to foreign places in Germany and Austria in the context of the fordist labor migration regime of the two countries. At the end of that decade, Germany signed a labor recruitment agreement with Yugoslavia, fostering and formalizing decades long labor migrations from Croatia, Serbia, and other countries to Germany (Gatrell 2019, see e.g. Lukić Krstanović 2019: 54–55).

    The wars in the 1990s that accompanied the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the consequent establishment of several new nation states, created the first large refugee movement after the Second World War within Europe and was followed by increasing numbers of people fleeing Albania after the fall of its self-isolationist regime and the (civil) wars in the Middle East, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan since the mid-1990s. As the migratory route did not go north through the Balkan Peninsula, but mainly proceeded to Italy at the time, the label Balkan route was mostly used as a name for a drugs and arms smuggling route well known in the West. Although there was migration within and to Europe, the Balkan migratory route, with the exception of refugee movements from ex-Yugoslavia, was yet predominantly invisible to the broader European public.

    Sparse ethnographic insights from the beginning of the 2000s point this out. Academic papers on migrant crossings from Turkey to the island of Lesbos mention as follows: »When the transport service began in the late 1980s it was very small and personal; then, in the middle of the 1990s, the Kurds began to show up – and now people arrive from just about everywhere« (Tsianos/Hess/Karakayali 2009: 3; see Tsianos/Karakayali 2010: 379). A document of the Council of the European Union from 1997 formulates this as following:

    »This migration appears to be routed essentially either through Turkey, and hence through Greece and Italy, or via the ›Balkans route‹, with the final countries of destination being in particular Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Several suggestions were put forward for dealing with this worrying problem, including the strengthening of checks at external borders, the stepping up of the campaign against illegal immigration networks, and pre-frontier assistance and training assignments in airports and ports in certain transit third countries, in full cooperation with the authorities in those countries« (ibid. quoted in Hess/Kasparek 2020).

    During this time, the EU migration management policies defined two main objectives: to prevent similar arrivals in the future, and to initiate a system of control over migration movements toward the EU that would be established outside the territories of the EU member states. This would later be formalized, first in the 2002 EU Action Plan on Illegal Immigration (see Hayes/Vermeulen 2012: 13–14) and later re-confirmed in the Global Approach to Migration (2005) framework concerning the cooperation of the EU with third states (Hess/Kasparek 2020). In this process, the so-called migratory routes-approach and accompanying strategies of controlling, containing, and taming the movement »through epistemology of the route« (Hess/Kasparek 2020) became a main rationale of the European border control regime. Thus, one can resume that the route was not only produced by movements of people but also by the logic, legislation, investment etc. of EU migration governance. Consequently, the clandestine pathways across the Balkans to Central and Western Europe were frequently addressed by security bodies and services of the EU (see e.g. Frontex 2011; Frontex 2014), resulting in the conceptual and practical production of the Balkan as an external border zone of the EU.

    Parallel to the creation of ›Schengenland‹, the birth of the ›Area of Freedom, Security and Justice‹ inter alia as an inner-EU-free-mobility-zone and EU-based European border and migration regime in the late 1990s, the EU created the Western Balkans as an imaginary political entity, an object of its neighborhood and enlargement policy, which lies just outside the EU with a potential ›European future‹. For the purpose of the Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) initiated in 1999, the term Western Balkan was launched in the EU political context in order to include, at that moment, ›ex-Yugoslav states minus Slovenia plus Albania‹ and to presumably avoid potential politically sensitive notions. The Western Balkans as a concept represents a combination of a political compromise and colonial imagery (see Petrović 2012: 21–36). Its aim was to stabilize the region through a radical redefinition that would restrain from ethno-national toponyms and to establish a free-trade area and growing partnership with the EU. The SAP set out common political and economic goals for the Western Balkan as a region and conducted political and economic progress evaluations ›on a countries’ own merits‹. The Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 strengthened the main objectives of the SAP and formally took over elements of the accession process—institutional domains and regulations that were to be harmonized with those existing in the EU. Harmonization is a wide concept, and it basically means adopting institutional measures following specific demands of the EU. It is a highly hierarchized process in which states asked to ›harmonize‹ do not have a say in things but have to conform to the measures set forth by the EU. As such, the adoption of the EU migration and border regime became a central part of the ongoing EU-accession process that emerged as the main platform and governmental technology of the early externalization and integration of transit and source countries into the EU border regime. This was the context of early bilateral and multilateral cooperation on this topic (concerning involved states, see Lipovec Čebron 2003; Stojić Mitrović 2014; Župarić-Iljić 2013; Bojadžijev 2007).

    The decisive inclusion of the Western Balkan states in the EU design of border control happened at the Thessaloniki European Summit in 2003, where concrete provisions concerning border management, security, and combating illegal migration were set according to European standards. These provisions have not been directly displayed, but were concealed as part of the package of institutional transformations that respective states had to conduct. The states were promised to become members of the EU if the conditions were met. In order to fulfill this goal, prospective EU member states had to maintain good mutual relations, build statehoods based on ›the rule of law‹, and, after a positive evaluation by the EU, begin with the implementation of concrete legislative and institutional changes on their territories (Stojić Mitrović/Vilenica 2019). The control of unwanted movements toward the EU was a priority of the EU accession process of the Western Balkan states from the very beginning (Kacarska 2012). It started with controlling the movement of their own nationals (to allow the states to be removed from the so-called Black Schengen list) during the visa facilitation process. If they managed to control the movement of their own nationals, especially those who applied for asylum in the EU via biometric passports and readmission obligations (asylum seekers from these states comprise a large portion of asylum seekers in the EU even today), they were promised easier access to the EU as an economic area. Gradually, the focus of movement control shifted to third-country nationals. In effect, the Western Balkan states introduced migration-related legislative and institutional transformations corresponding to the ones already existing in the EU, yet persistent ›non-doing‹ (especially regarding enabling access to rights and services for migrants) remained a main practice of deterrence (Valenta/Zuparic-Iljic/Vidovic 2015; Stojić Mitrović 2019).

    From the very beginning, becoming an active part of the European border regime and implementing EU-centric migration policies, or, to put it simply, conducting control policies over the movements of people, has not been the goal of the states along the Balkan route per se but a means to obtain political and economic benefits from the EU. They are included into the EU border regime as operational partners without formal power to influence migration policies. These states do have a voice, though, not only by creating the image of being able to manage the ›European problem‹, and accordingly receive further access to EU funds, but also by influencing EU migration policy through disobedience and actively avoiding conformity to ›prescribed‹ measures. A striking example of creative state disobedience are the so-called 72-hour-papers, which are legal provisions set by the Serbian 2007 Law on Asylum, later also introduced as law in North Macedonia in June 2015: Their initial function was to give asylum seekers who declared their ›intention to seek asylum‹ to the police the possibility to legally proceed to one of the asylum reception centers located within Serbia, where, in a second step, their asylum requests were to be examined in line with the idea of implementing a functioning asylum system according to EU standards. However, in practice, these papers were used as short-term visas for transiting through North Macedonia and Serbia that were handed out to hundreds of thousands of migrants (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016: 17–19, 36).

    Furthermore, the introduction of migration control practices is often a means for achieving other political and economic goals. In the accessing states, migration management is seen as services they provide for the EU. In addition, demands created by migration management goals open new possibilities for employment, which are essential to societies with high unemployment rates.

    Besides direct economic benefits, migration has been confirmed to be a politically potent instrument. States and their institutions were more firmly integrated into existing EU structures, especially those related to the prevention of unwanted migration, such as increased police cooperation and Frontex agreements. On a local level, political leaders have increasingly been using migration-related narratives in everyday political life in order to confront the state or other political competitors, often through the use of Ethno-nationalist and related discourses. In recent times, as citizens of the states along the Balkan route themselves migrate in search for jobs and less precarious lives, migration from third states has been discursively linked to the fear of foreigners permanently settling in places at the expense of natives.
    Contemporary Context

    According to a growing body of literature (e.g. Hess/Kasparek 2020; Lunaček Brumen/Meh 2016; Speer 2017), the Balkan route of the year 2015 and the first months of 2016 can be conceptualized in phases, beginning with a clandestine phase, evolving to an open route and formalized corridor and back to an invisible route again. It is necessary to point to the fact that these different phases were not merely the result of state or EU-led top-down approaches, but the consequence of a »dynamic process which resulted from the interplay of state practices, practices of mobility, activities of activists, volunteers, and NGOs, media coverage, etc. The same applies for its closure« (Beznec/Speer/Stojić Mitrović 2016: 6).

    The closure of the corridor and stricter border controls resulted in a large transformation of the Balkan route and mobility practices in the recent years, when push-backs from deep within the EU-territory to neighboring non-EU states, erratic movements across borders and territories of the (Western) Balkan states, or desperate journeys back to Greece and then back to the north became everyday realities. In the same period, the route proliferated into more branches, especially a new one via Bosnia and Herzegovina. This proliferation lead to a heightened circulation of practices, people, and knowledge along these paths: a mushrooming of so-called ›jungle camps‹ in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an escalation of border violence in Croatia, chain push-backs from Slovenia, significant EU financial investments into border control in Croatia and camp infrastructures in neighboring countries, the deployment of Frontex in Albania, etc. As the actual itineraries of people on the move multiplied, people started to reach previously indiscernible spots, resulting in blurring of the differences between entering and exiting borders. Circular transit with many loops, involving moving forward and backwards, became the dominant form of migration movements in the region. It transformed the Balkan route into a »Balkan Circuit« (Stojić Mitrović/Vilenica 2019: 540; see also Stojić Mitrović/Ahmetašević/Beznec/Kurnik 2020). The topography changed from a unidirectional line to a network of hubs, accommodation, and socializing spots. In this landscape, some movements still remain invisible—undetected by actors aiming to support, contain, and even prevent migration. »We have no information about persons who have money to pay for the whole package, transfer, accommodation, food, medical assistance when needed, we have no idea how many of them just went further«, a former MSF employee stressed, »we only see those who reach for aid, who are poor or injured and therefore cannot immediately continue their journey.« Some movements are intentionally invisibilized by support groups in order to avoid unwanted attention, and, consequently, repressive measures have also become a common development in border areas where people on the move are waiting for their chance to cross. However, it seems that circular transnational migration of human beings, resulting directly from the securitarian practices of the European border regime, have also become a usual form of mobility in the region.

    The Balkan route as a whole has been increasingly made invisible to spectators from the EU in the last years. There were no mass media coverage, except for reports on deplorable conditions in certain hubs, such as Belgrade barracks (Serbia), Vučjak camp (Bosnia and Herzegovina), or violent push-backs from Croatia that received global and EU-wide attention. However, this spectacularization was rarely directly attributed to the externalization of border control but rather more readily linked to an presumed inability of the Balkan states to manage migration, or to manage it without the blatant use of violence.

    As Marta Stojić Mitrović and Ana Vilenica (2019) point out, practices, discourses, knowledge, concepts, technologies, even particular narratives, organizations, and individual professionals are following the changed topography. This is evident both in the securitarian and in the humanitarian sector: Frontex is signing or initiating cooperation agreements with non-EU member Balkan states, border guards learn from each other how to prevent movements or how to use new equipment, obscure Orbanist legislative changes and institutionalized practices are becoming mainstream, regional coordinators of humanitarian organizations transplant the same ›best practices‹ how to work with migrants, how to organize their accommodation, what aid to bring and when, and how to ›deal‹ with the local communities in different nation-states, while the emergency framework travels from one space to another. Solidarity groups are networking, exchanging knowledge and practices but simultaneously face an increased criminalization of their activities. The public opinion in different nation states is shaped by the same dominant discourses on migration, far-right groups are building international cooperations and exploit the same narratives that frame migrants and migration as dangerous.
    About the Issue

    This issue of movements highlights the current situation of migration struggles along this fragmented, circular, and precarious route and examines the diverse attempts by the EU, transnational institutions, countries in the region, local and interregional structures, and multiple humanitarian actors to regain control over the movements of migration after the official closure of the humanitarian-securitarian corridor in 2016. It reflects on the highly dynamic and conflicting developments since 2015 and their historical entanglements, the ambiguities of humanitarian interventions and strategies of containment, migratory tactics of survival, local struggles, artistic interventions, regional and transnational activism, and recent initiatives to curb the extensive practices of border violence and push-backs. In doing so, the issue brings back the region on the European agenda and sheds light on the multiple historical disruptions, bordering practices, and connectivities that have been forming its presence.

    EU migration policy is reaffirming old and producing new material borders: from border fences to document checks—conducted both by state authorities and increasingly the general population, like taxi drivers or hostel owners—free movement is put in question for all, and unwanted movements of migrants are openly violently prevented. Violence and repression toward migrants are not only normalized but also further legalized through transformations of national legislation, while migrant solidarity initiatives and even unintentional facilitations of movement or stay (performed by carriers, accommodation providers, and ordinary citizens) are increasingly at risk of being criminalized.

    In line with this present state, only briefly tackled here, a number of contributions gathered in this issue challenge normative perceptions of the restrictive European border regime and engage in the critical analysis of its key mechanisms, symbolic pillars, and infrastructures by framing them as complex and depending on context. Furthermore, some of them strive to find creative ways to circumvent the dominance of linear or even verbal explication and indulge in narrative fragments, interviews, maps, and graphs. All contributions are focused and space- or even person-specific. They are based on extensive research, activist, volunteer or other involvement, and they are reflexive and critical towards predominant perspectives and views.

    Artist and activist Selma Banich, in her contribution entitled »Shining«, named after one of her artistic intervention performed in a Zagreb neighborhood, assembles notes and reflections on her ongoing series of site-specific interventions in Zagreb made of heat sheet (hallmarks of migrants’ rescue boats and the shores of Europe) and her personal notes in which she engages with her encounters with three persons on the move or, rather, on the run from the European border control regime. Her contribution, formulated as a series of fragments of two parallel lines, which on the surface seem loosely, but in fact deeply, connected, speaks of the power of ambivalence and of the complexities of struggles that take place everyday on the fringes of the EU. Andrea Contenta visualizes and analyzes camps that have been mushrooming in Serbia in the recent years with a series of maps and graphs. The author’s detailed analysis—based on a critical use of available, often conflicting, data—shows how Serbia has kept thousands of people outside of the western EU territory following a European strategy of containment. Contenta concludes his contribution with a clear call, stating: »It is not only a theoretical issue anymore; containment camps are all around us, and we cannot just continue to write about it.« Serbia, and Belgrade in particular, is of central importance for transmigration through the Balkans. On a micro-level, the maps of Paul Knopf, Miriam Neßler and Cosima Zita Seichter visualize the so-called Refugee District in Belgrade and shed light on the transformation of urban space by transit migration. On a macro-level, their contribution illustrates the importance of Serbia as a central hub for migrant mobility in the Balkans as well as for the externalization of the European border regime in the region. The collective efforts to support the struggle of the people on the move—by witnessing, documenting, and denouncing push-backs—are presented by the Push-Back Map Collective’s self-reflection. In their contribution to this issue, the Push-Back Map Collective ask themselves questions or start a dialogue among themselves in order to reflect and evaluate the Push-Back map (www.pushbackmap.org) they launched and maintain. They also investigate the potentials of political organizing that is based on making an invisible structure visible. The activist collective Info Kolpa from Ljubljana gives an account of push-backs conducted by the Slovenian police and describes initiatives to oppose what they deem as systemic violence of police against people on the move and violent attempts to close the borders. The text contributes to understanding the role of extralegal police practices in restoring the European border regime and highlights the ingenuity of collectives that oppose it. Patricia Artimova’s contribution entitled »A Volunteer’s Diary« could be described as a collage of diverse personal notes of the author and others in order to present the complexity of the Serbian and Bosnian context. The genre of diary notes allows the author to demonstrate the diachronic line presented in the volunteers’ personal engagements and in the gradual developments occurring in different sites and states along the route within a four-year period. She also traces the effects of her support for people on the move on her social relations at home. Emina Bužinkić focuses on the arrest, detention, and deportation of a non-EU national done by Croatia to show the implications of current securitization practices on the everyday lives and life projects of migrants and refugees. Based on different sources (oral histories, official documentation, personal history, etc.), her intervention calls for direct political action and affirms a new genre one could provisionally call ›a biography of a deportation‹. In her »Notes from the Field« Azra Hromadžić focuses on multiple encounters between the locals of Bihać, a city located in the northwestern corner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and people on the move who stop there while trying to cross into Croatia and the EU. Some of the sections and vignettes of her field notes are written as entries describing a particular day, while others are more anthropological and analytical reflections. Her focus lies on the local people’s perspectives, the dynamics of their daily encounters with migrants and alleged contradictions, philigram distinctions, as well as experiences of refugeeness that create unique relationships between people and histories in Bihać. Karolína Augustová and Jack Sapoch, activists of the grassroots organization No Name Kitchen and members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network, offer a systematized account of violence towards people on the move with their research report. The condensed analysis of violent practices, places, victims, and perpetrators of the increasingly securitized EU border apparatus is based on interviews conducted with people on the move in border areas with Croatia, Šid (Serbia) and Velika Kladuša (BiH). They identify a whole range of violence that people on the move are facing, which often remains ignored or underestimated, and thus condoned, in local national settings as well as on the EU and global level. They conclude that border violence against people on the move cannot be interpreted as mere aggression emanating from individuals or groups of the police but is embedded in the states’ structures.

    We also gathered scientific papers discussing and analyzing different aspects of the corridor and the years thereafter. In their article, Andrej Kurnik and Barbara Beznec focus on assemblages of mobility, which are composed of practices of migrants and local agencies that strive to escape what the authors call ›the sovereign imperative‹. In their analysis of different events and practices since 2015, they demonstrate how migratory movements reveal the hidden subalternized local forms of escape and invigorate the dormant critique of coloniality in the geopolitical locations along the Balkan route. In their concluding remarks, the authors ask to confront the decades-long investments into repressive and exclusionary EU migration policies and point to the political potential of migration as an agent of decolonization. The authors stress that post-Yugoslav European borderland that has been a laboratory of Europeanization for the last thirty years, a site of a ›civilizing‹ mission that systematically diminishes forms of being in common based on diversity and alterity is placed under scrutiny again. Romana Pozniak explores the ethnography of aid work, giving special attention to dynamics between emotional and rational dimensions. Based primarily on interviews conducted with humanitarians employed during the mass refugee transit through the Balkan corridor, she analyzes, historizes, and contextualizes their experiences in terms of affective labor. The author defines affective labor as efforts invested in reflecting on morally, emotionally, and mentally unsettling affects. She deals with local employment measures and how they had an impact on employed workers. Pozniak discusses the figure of the compassionate aid professional by it in a specific historical context of the Balkan corridor and by including personal narrations about it. The article of Robert Rydzewski focuses on the situation in Serbia after the final closure of the formalized corridor in March 2016. Rydzewski argues that extensive and multidirectional migrant movements on the doorstep of the EU are an expression of hope to bring a ›stuckedness‹ to an end. In his analysis, he juxtaposes the representations of migrant movements as linear with migrant narratives and their persistent unilinear movement despite militarized external European Union borders, push-backs, and violence of border guards. Rydzewsky approaches the structural and institutional imposition of waiting with the following questions: What does interstate movement mean for migrants? Why do migrants reject state protection offered by government facilities in favor of traveling around the country? In her article, Céline Cantat focuses on the Serbian capital Belgrade and how ›solidarities in transit‹ or the heterogeneous community of actors supporting people on the move emerged and dissolved in the country in 2015/2016. She analyzes the gradual marginalization of migrant presence and migration solidarity in Belgrade as an outcome of imposing of an institutionalized, official, camp-based, and heavily regulated refugee aid field. This field regulates the access not only to camps per se, but also to fundings for activities by independent groups or civil sector organizations. Teodora Jovanović, by using something she calls ›autoethnography of participation‹, offers a meticulous case study of Miksalište, a distribution hub in Belgrade established in 2015, which she joined as a volunteer in 2016. The transformation of this single institution is examined by elaborating on the transformation within the political and social contexts in Serbia and its capital, Belgrade, regarding migration policies and humanitarian assistance. She identifies three, at times intertwined, modes of response to migration that have shaped the development of the Miksalište center in corresponding stages: voluntarism, professionalization, and re-statization. She connects the beginning and end of each stage of organizing work in Miksalište by investigating the actors, roles, activities, and manners in which these activities are conducted in relation to broader changes within migration management and funding.

    Finishing this editorial in the aftermath of brutal clashes at the borders of Turkey and Greece and in the wake of the global pandemic of COVID-19—isolated in our homes, some of us even under curfew—we experience an escalation and normalization of restrictions, not only of movement but also of almost every aspect of social and political life. We perceive a militarization, which pervades public spaces and discourses, the introduction of new and the reinforcement of old borders, in particular along the line of EU external borders, a heightened immobilization of people on the move, their intentional neglect in squats and ›jungles‹ or their forceful encampment in deplorable, often unsanitary, conditions, where they are faced with food reductions, violence of every kind, and harrowing isolation. At the same time, we witness an increase of anti-migrant narratives not only spreading across obscure social networks but also among high ranked officials. Nonetheless, we get glimpses of resistance and struggles happening every day inside and outside the camps. Videos of protests and photos of violence that manage to reach us from the strictly closed camps, together with testimonies and outcries, are fragments of migrant agency that exist despite overwhelming repression.

    https://movements-journal.org/issues/08.balkanroute
    #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #revue #humanitarisme #espoir #attente #mobilité #Belgrade #Serbie #solidarité #Miksaliste #Bihac #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #encampement #corridor #cartographie #visualisation

  • Up and Then Down | The New Yorker
    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/04/21/up-and-then-down

    Two things make tall buildings possible: the steel frame and the safety elevator. The elevator, underrated and overlooked, is to the city what paper is to reading and gunpowder is to war. Without the elevator, there would be no verticality, no density, and, without these, none of the urban advantages of energy efficiency, economic productivity, and cultural ferment. The population of the earth would ooze out over its surface, like an oil slick, and we would spend even more time stuck in traffic or on trains, traversing a vast carapace of concrete. And the elevator is energy-efficient—the counterweight does a great deal of the work, and the new systems these days regenerate electricity. The elevator is a hybrid, by design.

    While anthems have been written to jet travel, locomotives, and the lure of the open road, the poetry of vertical transportation is scant. What is there to say, besides that it goes up and down? In “The Intuitionist,” Colson Whitehead’s novel about elevator inspectors, the conveyance itself is more conceit than thing; the plot concerns, among other things, the quest for a “black box,” a perfect elevator, but the nature of its perfection remains mysterious. Onscreen, there has been “The Shaft” (“Your next stop . . . is hell”), a movie about a deadly malfunctioning elevator system in a Manhattan tower, which had the misfortune of coming out the Friday before September 11th, and a scattering of inaccurate set pieces in action movies, such as “Speed.” (There are no ladders or lights in most shafts.) Movies and television programs, such as “Boston Legal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” often rely on the elevator to bring characters together, as a kind of artificial enforcement of proximity and conversation. The brevity of the ride suits the need for a stretch of witty or portentous dialogue, for stolen kisses and furtive arguments. For some people, the elevator ride is a social life.

    #ascenseur #verticalité #densité #urban_matters #ville

    • Plus sûrs que des escalateurs (?).

      Statistics are elusive (“Nobody collects them,” Edward Donoghue, the managing director of the trade organization National Elevator Industry, said), but the claim, routinely advanced by elevator professionals, that elevators are ten times as safe as escalators seems to arise from fifteen-year-old numbers showing that, while there are roughly twenty times as many elevators as escalators, there are only a third more elevator accidents. An average of twenty-six people die in (or on) elevators in the United States every year, but most of these are people being paid to work on them. That may still seem like a lot, until you consider that that many die in automobiles every five hours. In New York City, home to fifty-eight thousand elevators, there are eleven billion elevator trips a year—thirty million every day—and yet hardly more than two dozen passengers get banged up enough to seek medical attention. The Otis Elevator Company, the world’s oldest and biggest elevator manufacturer, claims that its products carry the equivalent of the world’s population every five days.

    • There are two basic elevatoring metrics. One is handling capacity: your aim is to carry a certain percentage of the building’s population in five minutes. Thirteen per cent is a good target. The other is the interval, or frequency of service: the average round-trip time of one elevator, divided by the number of elevators. In an American office building, you want the interval to be below thirty seconds, and the average waiting time to be about sixty per cent of that. Any longer, and people get upset. In a residential building or a hotel, the tolerance goes up, but only by ten or twenty seconds. In the nineteen-sixties, many builders cheated a little—accepting, say, a thirty-four-second interval, and 11.5 per cent handling capacity—and came to regret it. Generally, England is over-elevatored; India is under-elevatored.

      #attente

  • A #Chypre, des centaines de migrants entassés dans un camp, dans l’attente de leur sort

    Vivre dans un camp fermé et surpeuplé ou rentrer au pays ? A Chypre, plusieurs centaines de demandeurs d’asile ont été instantanément placés devant ce choix quasi impossible, en pleine pandémie de Covid-19. Et ils restent, à ce jour, dans l’attente d’un sort meilleur.

    « Soit tu montes dans un bus (pour le camp) soit tu signes un papier disant que tu veux retourner dans ton pays », explique Ighodalo à l’AFP. Ce migrant nigérian, qui témoigne sous pseudonyme, fait partie des dizaines de demandeurs d’asile auparavant logés dans des hôtels-appartements à Aya Napa (sud-est) et transférés brusquement dans un camp de l’île par les autorités.

    « Nous n’avons même pas eu le temps de lire le papier », poursuit-il.

    Contacté par téléphone, Ighodalo est désormais bloqué dans le camp de #Pournara, à #Kokkinotrimithia, près de la capitale Nicosie. Constitué de #préfabriqués et de #tentes des #Nations_unies, entourés de barbelés, ce camp construit pour 200 personnes abrite actuellement environ 800 migrants.

    Pour justifier ce déplacement impromptu, Chypre explique ne plus être en mesure de payer les 19 millions d’euros par an de logements pour les migrants.

    Pour une population de moins d’un million d’habitants, « nous avons un nombre considérable de migrants, et 75 % ne sont pas des réfugiés », explique à l’AFP le ministre de l’Intérieur, Nikos Nouris, rencontré dans ses bureaux de Nicosie.

    Pour s’attaquer au plus haut taux de demandes d’asile par habitant d’Europe, M. Nouris dit vouloir à la fois accélérer les procédures d’admission et les rapatriements volontaires.

    – Gale -

    Séparée de la Turquie par un bras de mer de moins de 100 km de large, l’île méditerranéenne est entrée divisée dans l’UE en 2004. Seule reconnue par la communauté internationale, la République de Chypre contrôle les deux tiers sud. Au nord se trouve une autoproclamée République turque (RTCN), uniquement reconnue par Ankara.

    Ce territoire septentrional est une porte d’entrée pour les migrants, qui arrivent par bateaux puis entrent dans le sud via la « ligne verte », surveillée par l’#ONU et qui serpente l’île sur quelque 180 km.

    Cette zone tampon, qui compte une dizaine de points de passage, a vu le nombre de migrants augmenter régulièrement ces dernières années. Des Syriens - le pays en guerre est tout proche - mais aussi des Camerounais, Nigérians, Indiens, Pakistanais ou Bangladais.

    Les demandes d’asile sont ainsi passées de 2 253 en 2015 à 13 648 en 2019, indique le ministre chypriote."Nous voulons accueillir des réfugiés", enchaîne Nikos Nouris. « Mais nous ne pouvons plus accueillir, dans un tel nombre, tous les migrants économiques. »

    A ce jour, Ighodalo ne peut sortir du camp de Pournara. Car si Chypre lève progressivement les mesures de confinement liées à la lutte contre le coronavirus, les portes du centre restent fermées en raison d’apparition de cas de gale, selon le ministère chypriote de la Santé.

    – « Endroit horrible » -

    Pour Doros Polycarpou, du groupe de défense des droits des migrants Kisa, la décision de les détenir sans recours dans ce camp a constitué « une violation sérieuse » de la loi. Et, selon lui, Nicosie entendait faire passer un message : « Ne venez plus à Chypre ».

    En ce début d’été, une campagne multilingue d’envoi de SMS vient d’ailleurs d’être lancée par les autorités pour informer les migrants que Chypre, situé hors de l’espace Schengen, n’était pas un billet d’entrée pour le Vieux continent.

    Dépité, un autre demandeur d’asile nigérian, qui souhaite également conserver l’anonymat, dit lui avoir choisi l’option du rapatriement, en renonçant à sa demande d’asile.

    « On m’a mis dans le camp (de Pournara) quand je suis arrivé à Chypre », raconte-t-il. "Je ne veux pas y retourner. Jamais. C’est un endroit horrible.

    "Une autre ONG, Cyprus Refugee Council, dénonce aussi les « conditions très difficiles » dans le camp, « fermé, surpeuplé et sans information claire sur quand (les migrants) seront autorisés à partir ».Les autorités assurent travailler à l’installation de meilleurs équipements. Et, une fois l’épidémie de gale jugulée, Pournara pourra rouvrir, tout comme Kofinou, autre camp de migrants, avance M. Nouris.

    En attendant, le ministre souligne qu’aucun cas de Covid-19 n’a été enregistré parmi les migrants.

    Et si les rapatriements vers 17 pays considérés comme « sûrs » ont débuté, Nikos Nouris réitère son engagement d’une accélération de l’étude des demandes d’asile, à la faveur de personnels supplémentaires et d’une nouvelle loi.

    Mais « si une autre vague de migrants arrive », et « si la Turquie (...) continue d’envoyer des gens dans les zones occupées de Chypre » (le nord de l’île, ndlr), alors « nous allons connaitre un moment difficile », prévient le ministre, qui en appelle à une plus grande solidarité de l’UE.

    https://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/chypre-des-centaines-de-migrants-entasses-dans-un-camp-dans-l
    #attente #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Struggles of women on the move*

    –------

    Introduction

    When the crowd gathered for the Women’s Day demonstration on March 8, 2020 at 10am in front of Cinema Riff at Grand Socco in Tangier, Moroccan feminists, Sub-Saharan women for freedom of movement, single mothers, and a few Europeans came together. The women of our local Alarm Phone team, all from Sub-Saharan Africa, would sit together afterwards with some of their friends from Europe and start to write down their experiences for this report.


    At the same time, on the Greek island of Lesvos women from Alarm Phone teams interviewed women in and around the hot-spot of Moria, who spoke out about the suffering they had gone through on the most Eastern flight route towards Europe. They reported how on 30 January a crowd started moving from the overcrowded hot-spot Moria towards the city of Mytilene, which is still on Lesvos. „All women against Moria“, „Women in solidarity“, „Moria is a women’s hell“ and „Stop all violence against women“ was written on some of the many signs while the crowd chanted „Azadi“ (farsi: freedom) with raised fists.

    Shortly afterwards an Alarm Phone activist met with a young woman from Somalia, who had made the crossing from Libya to Italy last September and who wants to encourage the rescue groups to continue their amazing work.

    Another woman sat down and wrote a beautiful solidarity letter to one of the women active in Search and Rescue: “When I hear her voice on the phone, saying ‘my boat will head to the target with full speed,’ I picture her behind the wheel of this massive boat carrying 400 people, flying above the sea as if it was weightless.”

    There are some who write in a brave way about the suffering women had to go through: The pain they feel and the suffering that the simple fact of having to pee means for women in Moria. Or the struggles with the Boumla (Wolof for police) deporting them within Morocco towards the deserts, exposing them to greater dangers. Or the death of a young Moroccon student.

    There are others who decided not to remember the suffering in detail, but to point out their strategies, their struggles and the thankfulness about the solidarity created among us.

    In this report we tried to write about the manifold experiences of women and LGBTQII+, who cross the sea to reach a place of safety or who are stuck in transit, and about the experiences of women active in Search and Rescue who are trying to support these struggles. Women are on the move for their own freedom of movement in all three regions of the sea: in the East between Turkey and Greece in the Aegean, in the Central Mediterranean from Libya and Tunisia towards Italy and Malta, and in the West from Morocco towards Spain. Everywhere we meet more women in the frontlines of these struggles than we used to in the past. In the East, the percentage of adult men among those arriving even fell below 50 percent after 2015, which creates a completely different situation. While all of them face intersecting forms of visible and invisible violence making border crossing even more dangerous and lethal for women, we know that women on the move are more than what they are reduced to, and that they bear a power and a strength that no border is able to defeat.

    Also, more and more women are active in the Search and Rescue initiatives as well as in our Alarm Phone team. In the Alarm Phone we are even a majority. We decided to write in a very subjective way and what we ended up with is a patch-work of different stories in various styles and tones. We hope that this report empowers others to raise their voices as well and to become more visible with all their great expertise.

    We dedicate this report to all women and LGBTQI+ who are struggling for their survival in the refugee camps all around the world in times of the Coronavirus under life-threatening conditions. The only option to end this suffering is freedom of movement as a basic global right for all. We will continue this struggle.

    In March 2018, the Alarm Phone published the last report that was dedicated to the specific situation of women at sea.

    From now on, we will try to publish a report every year about the special situation of women and LGBTQI+ on the move.
    Daily struggles of women on the move in the Western Mediterranean. Alarm Phone activists report
    March 8, 2020 in Tangier

    The Women’s Day demonstration gather on March 8, 2020 at 10am in front of Cinema Riff at Grand Socco in Tangier. Moroccan feminists, Sub-Saharan women for freedom of movement, single mothers, and a few Europeans come together. A Samba group is drumming, there is a lively exchange between the different groups, purple-coloured cloths – the symbolic colour of March 8 – are handed out, banners are rolled out, contacts are exchanged – the atmosphere is great. About 800 women come together. This makes an impression in the northern Moroccan metropolis, because the voices are loud and determined with slogans like ‘Solidarité avec les femmes du monde entier!’ ‘Raise your voice, seize your rights’ in Arabic and French starts the demonstration and runs along the big boulevard to the Place de Nación. Passers-by and journalists follow with interest. One thing is already clear at this early hour: the march is empowering, and this in a place that has been marked by the worst police repression for several months.

    Julia and Pauline* participated during this march with the women’s group of Alarm Phone.

    Julia: “Sub-Saharan women are too tired, we suffer all kinds of violence, violence through the Moroccan security, through the Moroccan compatriot. Even Moroccan women have their difficulties. In their households, in their homes, in their surroundings. There are too many cases and there is evidence too. Women do not have a loud voice towards the men in uniform. They don’t open the doors and they don’t listen to us, we’re always there in moments of distress. That’s why we raised our angry shouts. I hope that our message is sent to the Moroccan authorities. We want peace and we have the right to live.”

    Pauline: “We women are brutalised in the house and we have no right to express ourselves. But we as women have to express ourselves, also in the media, so that the people through us understand what is really going on in the field. This is violence in everyday life. But we women want equality.
    March 8 was an opportunity to express ourselves. Because as we walked, there were many people who followed us. We fought, we sent messages. We gave ourselves the right to speak out and we said no to violence against women. We demanded our right to free expression and free movement!”

    Here Pauline’s speech, which unfortunately could not be presented on Women’s Day:

    Me, I am Pauline.

    I am an activist who is concerned about the rights of migrants in Morocco, especially in Tangier, but this struggle is not easy with the new policy of the Moroccan authorities, because we suffer repression by the police and deportation to southern cities and sometimes to the Algerian border. So, we as activists, we are calling for our rights and the rights of migrants.

    As Morocco has signed international conventions on the right of asylum and freedom of movement, the Moroccan authorities are asked to respect international law and not to be the gendarmes of the European Union. It is a bad policy to block migrants in Morocco, neither work nor residence permit, and to prevent migrants from their liberty in order to avoid illegal immigration. But Morocco must try to review its state policies and open the borders so that people can move freely. So that Sub-Saharan migrants can also go to earn a living in Europe as the Europeans can come here and earn their living in Africa. So we simply ask for freedom of movement for everyone and their well-being.

    Thank you very much.

    Stories of Struggles with the Boumla

    After the demonstration, we are together, the friends of the Alarm Phone: Pauline, Carla, Fatou, Co and Julia in Tangier. We tell and listen to each other’s stories about the Boumla (Wolof: police). As Alarm Phone has often reported, persecution, racism, violence and deportations are part of the daily life of black communities in Morocco, especially in the Tangier region. The women describe how they face discrimination on a daily basis and what strategies they have developed against repression.

    Fatou: We stopped the deportation in Rabat

    “Me and Pauline were with friends. We saw the police and we knew they’d take us even though we had papers.

    I said: ‘No, I’m not leaving, I have my passport and I have my residence permit.’ They slapped me and took me to the police station. They told us they’d take us to Tiznit. When we got to Rabat, we told ourselves we had to do something. If not, we’ll end up in Tiznit and it’s far from Tangier. So we revolted together to annoy them. We started to shout, shout with force. The Moroccans, they started to get irritated. And we shouted shouted shouted shouted… and they said “safi, safi safi safi safi” (Arabic: enough). We stopped and we got out in Rabat.”

    Pauline: I didn’t accept it

    “I wanted to talk about the violence I suffered as a woman in Morocco. The police came many times to catch me and take me south. I didn’t accept it, because I don’t know anyone there. At that time, I had my own restaurant in the Medina (Arabic: city). The police sent me to the police station. When I left there, I saw a lot of people and I told myself that if I didn’t do something, they would send me south, to Tiznit. I told the officer that I was sick. He said, ‘No, you’re not sick, you’re going to go out to the bus with the others.’ The bus was already there in front of the door. I was afraid of being deported to Tiznit, because I couldn’t afford to go back to Tangier.

    So, I went to the toilet. I had the second day of my period, so I took off the cotton. I threw it away and went out. There was a lot of blood coming out, it got on my pants, everything was spoiled. I said to the Chief of Police, ‘Look, I’m sick.’ But he said, ‘No, you’re not, get in line…’ That was when I opened my legs. He was surprised and said: ‘Okay, okay, okay.’ He gave me a ride home. So, I went back to work.”

    Julia: The hospital instead of the deportation to Tiznit

    “The last attempt to deport me was in 2019. The Moroccan police came to our house very early in the morning. They wore Kagouls outfits as if we were criminals in our own house. I had lost my residence permit, because I couldn’t renew it. They took us to Tiznit. We couldn’t resist. We were on the road from 8 in the morning until 11 in the evening, without food, water or anything. 2km before reaching to Marrakech I told myself that I had to find a possibility to go down there, because at least it was a city I knew. Just before I got there, I made a lot of noises and had a crisis, they got scared and called an ambulance to pick me up. I really wasn’t sick, I had nothing, it was just a trick so they could release me. So I made gestures, I stopped breathing. In the ambulance they gave me an oxygen mask. When I got to the hospital, they put me on a bench with a mask, by the time they went to find a doctor I took off everything and I ran away…”
    Aurore Boréale, based in Rabat: Only by fighting together can we can have real progress

    Since the dawn of time, human beings have been on the move, looking for green pastures, a milder sky, a better elsewhere or simply out of curiosity. That leads us to the conclusion, that the desire to see what’s on the other side has always been there, and, which leads us to conclude that migration is a phenomenon inherent to living beings. I would even say vital.

    The most shocking thing today is to see how migration has become demonised and criminalised everywhere. Leaving has become anathema, to the point where barriers are being erected everywhere. Means that are being used to hinder freedom of movement, are becoming more and more dramatic every day are being used to hinder freedom of movement, to sort out who is eligible or not. Let us take the case of Morocco: on the one hand, due to its geographical location it is considered the gateway to the Eldorado by many Africans, and also Syrians, Bangladeshis and Filipinos rush to Morocco hoping to live a better life on the other side of the Mediterranean, or perhaps simply to settle there.

    On the other hand, however, while non-dark-skinned migrant communities may enjoy more tranquillity and are not often subject to the most blatant forms of discrimination, the same does not hold true for the black African migrant community in Morocco. The case that interests our report is that of women.

    If yesterday it was rare to see women taking to the migration routes, today that is no longer the case and women migrate as much as men. Today, more women take the routes, swallowing the fear that arises, facing cold, hunger, danger, and closing their ears to not hear about all kinds of violence.

    Today the women are leaving too. But what about the daily life of these women once they have settled in Morocco? A country which, despite progress and openness in terms of women’s rights, remains a country where women do not enjoy practically any of the rights granted to them by law or the constitution. A country where women still remain the inferiors, the subordinates, or simply things belonging to men, to satisfy their impulses or their egos. Basically, I would say, a country where women are not truly free to be who they want to be.

    Migrant women in Morocco have to deal with all this, and additionally with the fact that they are black women. Thus, they are perceived in the collective consciousness of Moroccans as women of little value, of light morals, prostitutes, or beggars: The black woman at the bottom of the ladder that people with an atrophied mentality have decided to create. For some of the migrant brothers or for some chairman’s prey single migrant women’s bodies are there to be exploited when promising them the journey to the Eldorado.

    And they are left to their fate as soon as these men have found more attractive prey. Thus, many women find themselves single mothers, with children whose fathers don’t give a damn, or don’t even want to know. Because of the hard reality, some women find themselves in a relationship and move in with the first one who could offer her a roof over her head, food on her plate, in order to reach the basic comforts. Sometimes it turns out well, sometimes it turns out very problematic. Migrant women who work in private homes are also subject to exploitation, even physical abuse, non-payment of wages that are insignificant compared to the work they do. We can also talk about the difficulty to be respected in public health centres, complications, late care or lack of care on discriminatory and racist grounds. They remain on the margins.

    What I find most appalling is that even in some militant associations, where women are under-represented, they are given less responsibility and no real decision-making power. They are infantilised, or just given a place to serve as a showcase to obtain grants from organisations that take the status of women seriously. Once the grant is awarded, these women are side-lined, without any decision-making power, bullied and subjected to everything that men have decided without them having a say.

    There are organisations, such as UNHCR., Caritas, and CEI (Comité d’Entraide Internationale), which provide assistance to migrant women. But here again, there is the eternal question of eligibility, the unhealthy hierarchy of suffering, the categorisation of migrants. They are classified according to their suffering, according to how they arrived in Morocco, and the migrant who arrives by plane is often not entitled to this little help: “You can’t help everyone”, unless you have a story that holds up, a lie that is worth telling, or if you pretend to be someone you are not.

    I have seen people who really needed help but were not given it, because they did not meet the criteria for it. I know people who died as a result. And even when help is given to these women, it is not free. In one way or another, they remain like prisoners of the organisations, spied upon even on their most intimate affairs. That is the price that has to be paid.

    There are a few women’s associations such as La voix des femmes de Hélène Yalta, the Collective of Migrant Women in Morocco (COFMIMA) and ARCOM, which try as best they can to fight for the status of migrant women in Morocco. But a real struggle for the rights of migrant women, for women’s empowerment, is almost non-existent. The urgency, the need, the survival cries out too loud… It is in dispersed groups, individually that the great majority of women fight. Can we hope for real progress or evolution by fighting in dispersed groups? No, not at all.

    With your courage you can do this work
    Interview with Leonie

    Although the situation in Tangier is becoming more and more difficult for Sub-Saharan travellers, a group of women has been formed, who are active with the Alarm Phone there. We spoke with Leonie, who is new to the group. She has been living in Morocco for 5 years.

    Leonie, why do you take part in the Alarm Phone?

    L: It was a good brother who introduced me to the group. He told me that there is a network of activists, and he said: “I see that you with your courage, you can do this work.”

    Have you already worked here in Morocco in solidarity activities?

    L: I am in almost all the associations in Tangier that bring together migrants. When there is a meeting or a small activity, they invite me. I am almost always present.

    Alarm Phone is a network of activists who help migrants who are already on the water, so that they don’t lose their lives in the water. In case of distress we guide them.

    Can you explain the situation of migrants here in Morocco?

    L: In Morocco it is not easy for migrants. Whether you are regularised or not. It’s very tense. Life is no sugar for us. I myself have suffered the consequences. They’ re breaking your door down. At two o’clock in the morning the soldiers are here, they don’t warn you, they don’t ask if you have papers or not. To your surprise you jump out of your sleep and they break your door down.

    They come home like thieves. They don’t even try to find out if you have papers. You are supposed to say, ‘But sir, I have papers’.

    Once they arrived at my house, I was washing myself around 3am, last summer, so in 2019. The man opened the bathroom and I said, ‘But sir, I’m showering.’ He said: ‘That’s not my problem.’ I said: ‘When you came in, did you ask me if I’m legal or not? You come in my house, but I have my house contract, I have my papers. You want to come in the shower? If you put your head in the bathroom again, I’ll throw the water on you!’ And that’s how he left the toilet.

    It hurts, it’s frustrating. Every year like this, they treat us like animals as if we’re not human. Really, it’s disgusting.

    And as women you don’t have the right to speak up, especially in front of the authorities, they don’t consider you. It hurts you, it stays in your heart. And morally, you don’t have the right to express yourself! That’s the suffering of women here. We’re trying to talk to human rights and women’s rights associations.

    In the work of Alarm Phone – What are the demands?

    L: Alarm Phone demands that borders are open. If someone wants to go out of a country that the person passes freely without being caught and without being violated. This is the demand of Alarm Phone: Freedom of movement!
    Hayat, killed at the border by the Moroccan Navy in September 2017

    In order to prevent the young people from setting out at all, armed force is used in Morocco: On September 25th 2017, the Navy shot and

    killed 19-year-old student Hayat Belkacem from Tétouan. Three men were injured, some of them seriously.

    The four of them, along with 21 other young Moroccans*, had set off from Martil Beach in a “Go-Fast” (speedboat) in the direction of Spain. The Navy wanted to stop the travellers; when the boat started, they opened fire. The hashtag 126102877 #Quiadonnélordre: Who gave the order? went viral afterwards and contradicted the version of the Navy, which allegedly only fired warning shots.

    For days, before Hayat’s death, hundreds of young people had been flocking to the beaches in the north after Spanish videos of successful arrivals in Spain were posted on the Internet. Moroccan security forces had blocked the young Moroccans* from accessing the beaches of northern Morocco. In response, hundreds of young Moroccans* demonstrated in Martil and demanded ‘l’harga fabor’ – their right to free passage: https://youtu.be/ICahwzMzbdM

    After the death of Hayat, people in many cities, including many Ultras, took their anger to the streets. In Tétouan, the people chanted ‘We will avenge you, Hayat!’ as well as ‘We will renounce the Moroccan passport!’ and ‘Viva España’: https://youtu.be/EyXfV-fMoBg

    A student was subsequently sentenced to two years in prison, claiming that his call for protest via Facebook had allegedly insulted the nation of Morocco and called for an uprising. Other young people have also been accused, many of whom are still minors.
    Central Mediterranean: Women on the move
    The invisible struggles

    It is difficult to write about women who cross the Central Mediterranean. It is difficult because, in first place, we don’t want to write ‘about’ women on the move. We would love to write ‘with’ them about their experiences, to use this platform to make their voices heard. However, their stories are often kept invisible, as is the violence they experience on a daily basis. Too often, women crossing the Central Mediterranean route just appear to us as a number communicated by the person who speaks on the phone. A number that we try to clarify several times, to then quickly report it into an email to the authorities or into a tweet: “We were called by a boat in distress, on board there are 60 people fleeing from Libya including 3 children and 8 women, two of them are pregnant”. We rarely hear their voices. Communication with people in distress in the Central Mediterranean is brief and fragmented: it starts with a distress call through a satellite phone, it ends with a satellite phone being thrown into the water. And then silence. A silence that can mean many things, but that too often does not carry good news. This communication through an unstable connection does not allow us to get in touch again, to ask for details, to ask for their names and testimonies once they make it to Europe or when they are returned to violence and war in Libya. And this is how, painfully, the powerful voices of women on the move get lost, and their presence remains fixed in a dry and uncertain number.

    Of course, we often know what is beneath those numbers, and here we could write stories of violence, slavery and torture in Libya. We also know that many women are fleeing not only war or poverty, but also gendered-based violence, forced marriages, harassment due to their sexuality. We could write about their pregnancies, and about the rapes behind them. We could write about what it means to be a mother and to embark on a precarious rubber dinghy holding your child’s hand in the hope that the sea will be less violent than the Libyan camp or the homes they left behind.

    The borders of Europe amplify the violence women flee from, but security measures, surveillance and criminalisation of people’s movement are often legitimised under the flag of combatting human trafficking. With one hand Europe pretends to give protection: it portrays border controls as humanitarian acts to protect ‘vulnerable women’ from ‘bloodthirsty’ traffickers. With the other hand Europe pours money and resources into creating stronger borders, organises trainings and signs deals and agreements to limit freedom of movement, thus fuelling border violence.

    Depicted as vulnerable victims in need of protection, discourses of women’s protection and vulnerability are often used by European member states to put a humanitarian face to the violence they inflict through their border policies.

    While all these intersecting forms of visible and invisible violence make border crossing even more dangerous and lethal for women, we know that women on the move are more than what they are reduced to, and that they bear a power and a strength that no border is able to defeat. This is what we would love to write about, and this is what we learn from the testimonies and experiences collected here.
    Women on the phone

    In a few situations, we talked to women in distress who called the Alarm Phone, and since then, when the communication is difficult, we ask the people on the phone to let us talk to a woman on board.

    As Alarm Phone, we talk to people during their journey. For us they are voices in distress that we try to comfort, with difficulty. We ask for their GPS coordinates and they try to read us numbers. It’s hard to be on the phone with people who could drown any moment and to ask them to read numbers. They just want to tell you that the sea is too big and the boat is too small. They want to tell you that they don’t want to go back to Libya, that they’d rather die at sea. They ask us to help. They tell us that they’re sick, that they won’t make it, that there’s water in the boat, lots of water, too much water. They ask why we haven’t arrived yet, and why we keep asking for numbers. And how do you explain that you’re not at sea, but in England, or France, or Germany? How to explain that you called for help but that European authorities aren’t answering your requests, and are letting them die at sea? How do you explain that the only thing we can do is to write down these numbers, and that because of these numbers their lives might be rescued?

    More than once, a chaotic situation where communication seemed impossible and where we feel that we will never be able to clarify the GPS coordinates of the boat, was solved by simply talking to a woman, as it was reported by a shift team: “they passed the phone to a woman, she speaks clearly, she is calm. She listens carefully and she understands how to find the GPS coordinates on the phone. She spells out the numbers: ‘North, 34 degrees, 22 minutes…’ She is confident and she explains the situation. She said that there are sick people on the boat and that there is little fuel left. We keep regular contact, she knows what she has to do and how to continue.”

    It is in these volatile moments, in these few exchanges and in the courage that we hear in their voices, that the invisible struggles of women on the move in the Central Mediterranean become visible. Their voices become weapons against the brutal border regimes, a weapon, on which the lives of 100 fellow travellers depend. We wish we could hear more of these voices, and that we could talk to them and hear their voices beyond distress situations, as we did with Daniella and Abeni, who are still in Tunisia, or as we did with Kobra, who managed to reach Germany.

    Trapped by the UNHCR
    Speaking to Daniella, Tunisia

    Daniella comes from the English-speaking part of Cameroon. The war has been escalating since 2016. Her husband has been murdered and she also lost her mother in that war. She belongs to a politically marked family as part of the opposition. She left the country in October 2017. Since she left, she didn’t hear from the rest of her family.

    She crossed Nigeria, Niger, Algeria and Libya before crossing the border to Tunisia. She was arrested at Ben Guerdane, where her fingerprints were collected. She was in facilities of the Red Crescent and the UNHCR in Medenine, and then taken to the Ibn Khaldun centre in August 2018. She was registered with UNHCR and underwent 4 interviews, in which she was asked the same questions, trying to ‘trap her’ on dates. Her request was denied. She was told she could very well go back to the English-speaking part of Cameroon: “But if you go to this area as a francophone, you are in danger because people will think you’re a spy.”

    During her stay at the centre, Daniella often organised sports activities such as football games, which did not please the UNHCR. She was also very active, taking part in the various demonstrations organised by the refugees and asylum seekers of the centre to protest against their living conditions and to denounce the practices of the UNHCR.

    Since UNHCR rejected her asylum application, she no longer receives food coupons. She decided to leave the centre after being pressured by UNHCR to make room for others. “It’s their strategy, they embarrass you to make you go away”. Today she lives in a small apartment with two other people. She says she doesn’t have the courage to appeal UNHCR’s decision. It has been 11 months since she left the centre.

    The crossing from Tunisia costs about 1000 Euros. She intends to attempt the crossing. Their group of 14 people is ready. The smuggler asked them to wait until the weather improves, saying it’s only a matter of a couple of days. It’s already been two weeks that they’re waiting for the weather to get better to cross the border. A month ago, migrants have been intercepted. They are not imprisoned unless they are found to be smugglers.

    She also crossed the ditch; it is about three metres deep. There was no water at the bottom, but there was mud. To climb, some men helped her, braiding clothes to hoist her up. The desert is full of aggressive dogs. She had to walk for a long time with her baby and a friend from the Ivory Coast before she came across the military. The military knew their number, they had to identify their group well in advance (they asked where the men were, looking for a group of 18 people). The soldiers were equipped with huge searchlights sweeping across the desert. After you cross the ditch, there’s a barbed-wire fence three meters high. Crossing this border costs about 300 Euros.
    Intercepted to Tunisia
    Interview with Abeni, Tunsia

    Abeni left Nigeria in 2017. She lived in a southern province. Her husband’s father was killed and her husband was threatened, so the family had to flee the country.

    She arrived in Tunisia in May 2017 while she was 6 months pregnant with her first child. Her boat ran out of petrol and was rescued by the Tunisian authorities and handed over to IOM. They were taken to Medenine by bus to an IOM shelter that shut down in March 2019. She remained in this centre for one year and asked to see UNHCR, but for one year she was only offered the voluntary return. It wasn’t until a year later that she was able to go to a UNHCR centre.

    She went to Zarzis with her husband for the UNHCR interview. Her husband, who only speaks Ikâ, was given a translation by phone. A few months later they received a negative response from UNHCR, telling them that the events that they had raised could not be verified on the net, and that it was a family problem.

    She says that few Nigeriens are accepted, with the exception of single women with children (one of whom has been relocated). They appealed against this decision by filling out a form, without an interview, but were again given a rejection. The UNHCR gave them three days to leave the centre, along with her two daughters, aged two years and six months. This happened one year ago. They refused, were able to stay but they no longer have food coupons and no more help from the UNHCR.

    When she talks to the staff, they pretend to ignore her. UNHCR has not renewed their cards. They have stopped paying for medical expenses, while the baby has to go to hospital regularly. The Doctor said it was because he was suffering from the cold. Her husband tries to work but there are no opportunities in Medenine. He went to Sfax but he got himself arrested and imprisoned for two days for not having papers. Without documents, they have no freedom of movement. The second baby wasn’t registered in Tunisia. UNHCR refused to accompany them.

    Her husband wants to go back to Libya to attempt the crossing, but she doesn’t want to and stayed in Tunisia. The UNHCR still wants to kick the family out of the shelter but can’t do it due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
    We felt welcome
    Kobra’s testimony, rescued by the Ocean Viking in September 2019

    My name is Kobra. I am 18 years old and I come from Somalia. I want to tell you the story of my rescue in the Mediterranean Sea on September 2019. I don’t know how to find the words to describe the suffering I went through, and I don’t want to remember what happened before I left Libya. I also never want to forget the moment, after nearly two days at sea, when we finally saw a small sailing-boat on the horizon that ended our suffering.

    We were full of fear, because finally our phone, our only connection to the world, had stopped functioning and water was rapidly entering the boat. It was a miracle when we finally found this sail-boat. We were about 45-50 people in a blue rubber boat, and seven of us onboard were coming from Somalia. One pregnant woman was traveling with her 1-year-old child and her husband. She is now doing well because she was transferred to Germany after the rescue.

    I never learned how to swim, so the idea of the boat flooding was a possible death sentence to me.

    I have a video a friend took on the boat and you can see the expressions of relief and happiness in everyone’s faces when we spotted the sailboat. There are no words to describe how you feel when you realize that your journey across the sea is over. It was a German sailboat, which was too small to take us on board. They came to us and asked us, if we could speak English. They then told us that they would call for the OCEAN VIKING a big rescue ship to come and take us on board. They gave us jackets and life-vests, because the weather was getting rougher and colder.

    Later, when it was dark, it started raining and the waves got bigger. The small German boat took us to OCEAN VIKING which took us aboard. There were already other people with them who had been rescued earlier that day. Even the rescuers seemed so happy that we were all safe. They had doctors on board and they gave us medical treatment, since my pregnant friend and I had had vomited a lot. I had a heavy allergic reaction on my skin as well because the sea irritated my skin condition after being exposed to the salt for so long.

    On the OCEAN VIKING we found another pregnant woman, whom I think was from Nigeria. She was brought by a helicopter to Malta because she was very close to delivering her baby. The crew later made an announcement to tell us when the baby was born in Malta.

    We were on the OCEAN VIKING for one week because no country wanted to take us in. This time was difficult, but it was much better than what we experienced before. The crew was always with us and they tried to support us however they could. We had enough food. We had a doctor whenever we felt sick. They even gave us clothing. We felt welcome.

    Finally, Lampedusa decided to take us in. When we finally left the boat after such a long time at sea it was not as warm of a welcome. We received food only after being forced to give our fingerprints and we were brought to a dirty place with barbed wire. I could not stay in Italy; the conditions were so poor. Today I struggle to live in Germany with the fear of my fingerprints on record and that I will be deported back to Italy.

    I will never forget the good people on these ships, who welcomed me before I arrived in Europe. They will stay in my memory. Maybe, one day I will meet them again. Until then I want to encourage them to continue what they are doing and I send them all my greetings.

    SAR Solidarity
    Letter from an Alarm Phone activist to an amazing woman of the SAR world in January 2020

    The past 5 days were crazy, my dear friend. We never met, but I have read the stories that you wrote on board of the rescue ship. Nine boats in distress fleeing from Libya called the Alarm Phone, and for the first time in a long time, all the boats that called Alarm Phone from the Central Mediterranean where rescued to Europe, more than 650 people in 5 days. This was not just about luck. It was about the incredible efforts of the people out there doing everything they could to rescue these boats, despite European authorities’ efforts to let them sink without trace. These were efforts mostly by women. Wonderful, fierce, kind, fearless women like you. In the past, I have mostly have dealt with men at sea and it was difficult. These 5 days were joyful instead.

    L., she crossed the Mediterranean up and down 3 times in 72 hours without ever sleeping, just following the GPS coordinates that we had received from the people in distress, which we also forwarded to the authorities and to the rescue ships. After sending an email, I would call the bridge. Again and again, for 72 hours. I would call the bridge telling her, “L.! There is a boat in distress again you need to be quick”. I never heard moment of discomfort in her voice. Even under that pressure, she was trying to create little cracks of softness, of love, of solidarity, of laughter. When I hear her voice on the phone, saying “my boat will head to the target with full speed”, I picture her behind the wheel of this massive boat carrying 400 people, flying above the sea as if it was weightless. I cannot find the words to describe the love and respect I feel towards her when I read her emails to the authorities, defying their orders, placing herself and ‘her boat’ against the orders given by some Colonel of the Armed Forced of Malta, or of some Commander of the Libyan Navy. I think there are no words in this world to express the magnitude of certain actions.

    On the phone, we tell the people in distress that they have to stay strong and keep calm, that they have to trust us, that they cannot give up. We tell them “rescue is coming for you my friend, don’t worry”. When you’re out at sea, lost in the darkness.

    Then Luisa and ‘her boat’ arrive, to the rescue, after hours of darkness and uncertainty. After hours when they thought they had been abandoned by everyone, and that they had been forgotten in a sea that is too big, on a boat that is too small. After so many hours of exhaustion, there is certain magic in the moment when we can tell them “make light, with a telephone, don’t use flames – make yourself visible.” There is magic in the few words spoken by voices broken by panic and excitement “we see a boat, it’s red”, and in an email of few words from the rescue ship we read “we see an intermittent light coming from the sea, we believe it is the rubber boat”. I imagine this little light shining above a sea that is a cold, dark, liquid cemetery. A sign of life, of resistance, of struggle. Not just of despair.

    Then silence. One second you are head and body in the Mediterranean, the next you are in silence and you realise that hours have passed. From this side of the phone we do not know what happens in this silence. It’s a feeling that makes you feel completely detached from reality.

    Waking up reading the stories you write about these rescues, my dear friend, I always cry. Reading your descriptions of the rescue, reading the stories of the people who were on board, it makes it all real, it fills the void of these silences.

    Reading your stories makes me think of all the witches of the sea like you, like L., like the women of Alarm Phone and the women crossing the Mediterranean, who relentlessly struggle together in this hostile sea. The Morganas of the sea, the few little lights in this darkness, sparks that are reflected by the waves, as magic as fairies and as fierce as witches.

    I cannot stop being inspired by all these women, who cannot be stopped, contained, tamed. So yes, it is hard work also for all of us, and many people think we are crazy for doing this work, but we know that we are not the crazy ones, and that we are part of a brigade of amazing witches who believe that the real craziness is looking away. Thank you.
    From the crossing of the Aegean Sea to the struggle for women rights. Women on Lesvos
    All women against Moria

    Most women have already endured hardship even before they get into a boat to cross the Mediterranean Sea. But the journey is far from being over once they reach the shore. Many of them find themselves in overcrowded refugee camps, such as Moria on the Greek island of Lesvos, where the authorities are overwhelmed with numbers and unable or unwilling to provide the most basic needs such as clean water, electricity, shelter, medical care and security. It is a harsh environment where the strongest rules and violence is part of everyday life which leads to an existence dictated by constant fear. In this rough environment, solidarity is a vital tool for survival, especially among women.

    On January 30th 2020, approximately 450 women and children gathered in Mytilene, the capital of Lesvos, to protest the horrific living conditions in the camp and the dramatic increase of violence– including several fatal stabbings that had taken place within the previous weeks. The protest was organized by a group of about 15 Afghan women, and their goal was to draw attention to the dire situation. It was both a cry of despair as well as a powerful and loud manifestation of female solidarity when women of all ages and different nationalities took to the streets and blocked the traffic for several hours.

    “All women against Moria“, “Women in solidarity“, “Moria is a women’s hell“ and “Stop all violence against women“ was written on some of the many signs. The crowd chanted “Assadi“ (farsi: freedom) with raised fists. Several women said that it was the first time they had participated in a demonstration, but they showed great confidence during negotiations with the police or when giving media interviews. An elderly Afghan woman explained that she had focussed on caring for her family all her life but the hellish situation in Moria had given her no choice but to join the demonstration.

    Many women kept their faces hidden behind hijabs, voluminous scarves, and surgical face masks to conceal their identity. In the past, well placed rumours had been circulating that political involvement and contact with the press would lead to immediate deportation and repression by the Greek authorities. Taking this into account, 450 protesters is an astonishing number. Even more so considering the difficulties a trip from Moria to the islands capital, Mytilene, includes. For example, people have to cue for several hours to be able to get into one of the few busses. It has been reported that bus drivers had to push people away with sticks to be able to close the door. If you did make it onto the bus, you would miss your meals for that day as you weren’t able to stand in the food line. We also heard reports that a larger number of women were prevented from leaving the camp to join the demonstration by the authorities and police forces.

    No flyers, no Facebook group, no official announcement. News of the women-only-protest was spread by word of mouth. The success of the demonstration was a surprise to many, especially the police, who initially showed up with only 10 riot-cops. After the protest, 9 female volunteers were taken to the police station, where their identity cards were checked. Their sneaking suspicion is that they were the ones organising the women’s protest. The officials seemed to be unable to grasp the idea that women from Moria could organise efficiently. The women’s role in the camps traditionally has been to calm the male-dominated unrests rather than taking part in them or even initiating them. But times are desperate and increasingly women are discovering their political voice. They are finding strength in female cooperation. There had been an all-women sit-in last October after the tragic death of a woman in a gas explosion in the camp. Assemblies, empowerment workshops, networking and practical support are less visible and yet essential aspects of the politicisation of women.

    Experiences of crossings and life in Moria

    Again this year, with the increase in the number of people arriving on the island and the non-reaction of the Greek and European authorities, the conditions in Moria have only gotten worse and worse. When you talk with the women living there, their daily life comprises of fear, no rest, long lines, attacks, power cuts… but also solidarity amongst each other, survival strategies and the struggle to be able to decide about their own lives. There are the stories of three women, F, N, and J.

    F left Iran: “Unfortunately, in Iran members of my family did not have identity cards. We couldn’t go to school. We just had to work. My older sister and I worked as tailors in a basement. I started working when I was 12 years old. I have a passion for education. Finally, this year my sister and I decided on leaving in search of something better. Finally, my parents accepted. So, we started our travels. During our journey we tolerated several difficulties. Upon arrival to Lesvos, we slept two nights on the streets because we had to wait until Monday for when the offices of Moria opened. Finally, we could get a tent.”

    N and J arrived on the island of Lesvos by boat last December crossing over from Turkey. Both are living in Moria today. For J “each person has their own way to experience and to bear the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea”. She had to pay 450 USD to the person who organised the crossing and was told: ‘In 4 days we will come to pick you up at 23 o’clock at the hostel.’

    She tells us her story: “…they put us in a covered pick-up truck, we were a lot and really squeezed together. Four hours later we arrived in a very dark place. They put us in an abandoned house without any water or food all day long until 7 pm. Then we walked 5 hours up and down in the Turkish hills. Finally, we arrived on the shoreline. They inflated the dinghy in front of us. We left close to midnight. 1.5 hours later the Turkish coastguards stopped us on the sea and they brought us back to Turkey. We were 29 people on board. When they released us we went back to Izmir. I didn’t have any strength anymore. The smugglers told me ‘you have to leave.’ Two days later we tried again. Same group, same way. Five hours of walking again. And again, we couldn’t reach Greece. The big boats came close to our rubber boat to make big waves and they were yelling at us to leave and go back to Turkey. This time we spent one week in the police station. The third time, we arrived in Greek waters and called the Greek Coastguard, that came to pick us up. But we had to throw away our personal belongings because the boat was filling up with water. There was complete disorder on board, no organisation. After we had called them for the first time, we still waited three hours until they came to pick us up.”

    N spoke about how “the fear comes when you’re at sea. You didn’t know who your neighbour was, but you held their hand. We started to pray. On the open sea the water was coming inside the boat. Each one was calling for God in his own way. I didn’t want to go on the boat, but they pushed me. The kids were in the middle. Me as well. I closed my eyes. We landed without any police, only fishermen. It was raining. I was wet and we had to wait 15 minutes more for the bus. What gave us our hope back, was this woman, who gave us chips and sent her kids to say hello to us. They let us on the bus and we sat there until the morning without giving us anything”

    J described her situation after being registered in Moria: “I didn’t have any tent in which to sleep. I slept from tent to tent. They kick you out of the tent when you cough too much. The few that we had, they would steal it. I was scared to be stabbed, mainly during the night and someone would do it just to take your phone. The worst is that the authorities don’t let us leave the island.”

    https://alarmphone.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2020/04/aegean2-1-768x1024.jpeg

    Your whole life is waiting in line

    For the refugees, lines are running a big part of their daily and social lives. As N and I were talking over some tea, N had to leave us to go stand in line for food. Very often they have to miss a workshop, a class, a commitment, or a friends-gathering to go stand in line for a basic necessity. Sometimes it gets so late that people have to return to their tents in Moria, even if they did not receive what they had been standing in line for all day. And the day is done. J told us that: “In the morning, when you wake up, the first thing that you have to do is line-up. We line-up for every basic need. We pee in buckets since the toilets are too far away and we have to wait in line to use them. It’s infernal to wait and the belly burns. During the night especially, the toilets are too far to reach. And the toilets are dirty, so you easily get itchy. The Moria medical tent usually gives paracetamol to calm the itchiness down… To take a shower is the same. You wait in the cold, and sometimes when you arrive the shower is clogged”. N added: “You have to stand in line, but you know that someone can come and stab you for your phone while you wait. It has happened a few times since I have been here, and people have died just waiting. I am scared when I have to go stand in line. One time, they didn’t clean the floor and we had to line up standing on the blood of a guy who was stabbed. I was so scared, it was horrible.”

    F also described the situation in a letter: “When you get up you must stand in a line for breakfast, lunch, diner, toilet, shower: for everything! You wait about 2.5 hours in each line. Your whole life is waiting in a line. We have only two places for doctor’s visits, which is not enough for thousands of people. Again, you have to wait in a line. Only the people that go at 4 o’clock in the morning have the opportunity to be checked. If you have a cold, standing in a line outside is bad for your health. You will get worse. If you have a headache, cold, flu or pain in your back or leg… it doesn’t matter. Doctors just give you painkillers and tell you to drink water.”

    Z, is an underaged Afghan girl, who lives in the jungle of Moria with her family. She wrote the following in a letter: “There is a toilet but at night it’s so hard to go to the toilet because we have to cross a small bridge and we can’t’ see anything because there is no light. I am under 18 and they don’t give me food because my mother is not here and when my father got sick, I was given the task to wait in line for food for the family but they didn’t give it to me because I am a minor. Life here is so hard: washing clothes, caring for my little sister, my brother and father. It’s so hard for me. I miss my mum.”

    Living in Moria is like living in jail. You are constantly living in fear. “Inactivity makes people go crazy. You will pass 6 months here without realising it”. You have nothing to do, nothing that you can do to be a part of civil society. The lines are dehumanising. People become a ticket, a plate, a bottle of milk, a croissant or a bag of clothes,” J explained.
    Self-organisation and a daily life strategy

    For N solidarity is important: “We also have to accept each other and the situation. I cannot eat too late, but when the electricity comes back at 2 am, I cannot prevent the others to talk, to eat and to cook. So, I put my earphones on and cover my eyes. In any case, I don’t sleep well. I refuse to take the medication that they give me to sleep, because we know that boys spend the nights in the alleys. With the canvas walls of the tents, you can feel the people passing by close to you and your head, and I want to be awake in case something happens. To eat warm and cooked food, we have to prepare the food before the electricity comes on. The last time, my tent’s mates put the potatoes in the pan and everything was ready, but they had only 10 minutes of electricity. So they had to wait, but when the power came back the food was not good anymore. As they were hungry, they added some milk. I don’t know how they ate it.”

    N continues: “In my tent we are 7 people plus a little girl. We sleep on the floor and each one puts their stuff around their sleeping place. We keep the middle of the tent open to cook and sit, and eat together. It is important to show solidarity, so I said to the women that we have to protect each other and when one of us has to go stand in line early in the morning, some of us go with her until daylight comes. Also, the women in my tent dance and sing, do braids, and find time to do what they want, and that’s strengthening for me.”

    J talked about solidarity concerning food: “The food in Moria is disgusting and gives you diarrhoea, meaning you then have to go stand in line for the toilets. Can you imagine! We collect money, around one euro per person, and we give it to the person, who cooks for the day. Every day it is a new person.”

    When women cross the sea, and even before then along the journey, they often have different experiences than men and are exposed to greater danger. Being on the move is a difficult situation, but being on the move and being a woman puts you in an even more vulnerable position. Specific issues related to gender discrimination and racism are being reported by the women on Lesbos that we were talking to:

    The women that we talked to speak about racism against black people within the hotspot, but also in the city. For example, a woman told us that in one supermarket, whenever a black person enters, a guard will follow that person around. She also told us that black women are often offered money in the street for sexual services. Prostitution is undoubtedly happening a lot, there lacks public information or data about this invisible side of this kind of unbearable situation on the island. It is clear, however, that human traffickers take advantage of the overcrowded and unsafe situation in Moria and that people are doing business with women and kids. And since the administration is overwhelmed, people can wait up to three months to be registered and to be able to benefit from the “cash programme for refugees”. Three months without any money.

    As we are writing this report, and just a few weeks before the international women’s day, there are five women locked-up in different police stations on Lesbos. They were arrested after trying to leave the island without proper papers. They have been arrested as part of a pilot project to see if this idea for a new law can be implemented: The new law indicates that a person who has been arrested must stay detained until the end of the asylum application. This would mean that all asylum seekers, who can be arrested for any illegitimate reason, would have to wait in detention.

    Having daily contact with women living in Moria, you can see how solidarity starts with their everyday basic needs and continues with the provision of psychosocial human support in an effort to protect each other’s security, rights, and sanity in the face of the dire situations they face every day.
    LGBTQI+ people on the move

    We don’t want to overlook women’s experiences of discrimination and the needs of different vulnerable groups, but considering this report is about gender-based discrimination and violence, the situation of LGBTQI+ people on the move has to also be mentioned.

    This report uses the acronym LGBTQI +: it is used to refer to people who identify as lesbian (L), gay (G), bisexual (B), trans (T), intersex (I), queer (Q) and + for all the different expressions and intimate relation with (no)gender identity and sexual definition: non-binary, asexual, aromantic, etc.

    Those who are LGBTQI+ face an even more difficult reality because they cannot always count on the national solidarity networks. And even when these resources are mobilized, it is often at the cost of important precautions so as not to be identified as LGBTQI+. Housing in camps and collectives of LGBTQI + people with other non-LGBTQI+ in asylum accommodations can cause anxieties regarding being mis-identified or ‘outed’ unwillingly (for their sexual orientation or gender identities). This is especially the case for trans people in accommodation facilities who find themselves living in single-sex housing that does not correspond to their gender identity. Because most of the time the authorities mis-gender trans persons, using the sex that is written on their official papers. Later on, when it comes to the asylum request, LGBTQI+ people fear that information about their sexual orientation or gender identity might start to circulate within the communities. This produces a lot of hesitations concerning what to say in front of the court, causing sorrow and fear because a large part of the LGBTQI+ people particularly pay attention not to reveal the reasons for their presence in Europe.

    From the perspective of Alarm Phone, writing about LGBTQI+ people on the move during the situations they encounter while the crossing on sea is difficult, because of course people also try and hide their identity in situations of close confinement, because it is a risk of discrimination and violence is very high. We can hardly provide a general analysis about people on the move because there is only partial knowledge available. Statistics are often binary and queer people are not mentioned.
    Lesvos LGBTQI+ refugee solidarity

    This is taken from a text that was published by members of the group in 2019

    As another deadly winter sets in, Moria prison camp on Lesvos is over its capacity by the thousands and growing fuller every day. In these conditions, LGBTQI+ refugees are particularly at risk of exposure, violence, and death.

    With homosexuality still illegal in 72 countries, it is obvious why many LGBTQI+ people became refugees. Many of us fled from home because we had to hide our gender identities. When we arrive on Lesvos, expecting safety, we are shocked to find the same issues continue for us here. Homophobic harassment and violent attacks are frequent and severe: by fellow residents as well as by the police and camp guards.

    We know some LGBTQI+ people that have been beaten and even hospitalised from homophobic and transphobic attacks. All have had to repress their identity, living cheek by jowl among communities which replicate the persecution they fled in the first place.

    “When I was in the boat, a beautiful cry came. We’re starting a new life. We were just throwing all our troubles into the sea. I wasn’t scared. I just read the Qur‘an and cried. I sat in the boat, my hand was in the sea along the way.”

    “I left Morocco because for 30 years I was insulted, persecuted and beaten by the community, the police and my family, but on Lesvos I found the same thing.”

    “In the early days in Moria, I was systematically raped. I‘ve seen the most difficult conditions, but I‘ve never seen such a horrible place.”

    “These people are looking at you like you’re rubbish. Like you smell. On the street, on the bus. I don’t know how to explain this. Even when you are on the street, you feel ashamed, like there is shit on you.”

    “If we can’t dress up the way we want, if we can’t do our make-up, why come to Europe?“

    “And together we will change the world, so that people will never have to come out again!”

    We did not flee our homes only to continue to hide and live in fear. We won’t be silenced. We won’t be ignored. We will shout it from the rooftops: we are gay, we are lesbian, we are women, we are men. We are here. We are all migrants. We want our freedom we won’t wait ‘till it‘s given to us. We ask those that hear us to fight alongside us, wherever you are.

    Queer solidarity smashes borders!

    https://alarmphone.org/en/2020/04/08/struggles-of-women-on-the-move
    #femmes #résistance #migrations #réfugiés #asile #lutte #luttes #femmes_migrantes #Tanger #Maroc #solidarité #Rabat #invisibilité #Tunisie #Méditerranée_centrale #Ocean_Viking #Mer_Egée #Moria #Lesbos #Grèce #attente #LGBT #genre

    ping @karine4 @isskein @_kg_

  • Nouvelle forme de #confinement aux portes de l’Union européenne. Actes de la conférence de Madrid (2019)

    Depuis la mise en place de « l’#approche_hotspot », en 2015, par l’Union européenne (UE), Migreurop décrypte ses conséquences et dérives dans ses publications et à l’occasion de diverses rencontres internationales (Calais 2015, Rabat 2016). Le but de ce dispositif, qui n’a rien de nouveau, est en d’empêcher les arrivées et de criminaliser la migration, ce qui s’accompagne d’une montée de la #violence et d’atteintes aux droits des migrant·e·s dans le cadre d’une politique du tout sécuritaire. Cinq ans après, qu’en est-il en Europe et au-delà ?

    Pour faire le point, Migreurop a organisé le 8 juin 2019 à Madrid une #conférence sur les nouvelles formes de confinement aux portes de l’UE, qui a permis de mettre à jour les connaissances sur les situations de #détention dans divers pays de la zone géographique couverte par le réseau.

    Grâce à nos membres et invité.e.s, ont ainsi été abordées la situation dans les hotspots grecs et italiens – véritables « #oubliettes_modernes » et indignes –, ainsi que dans les « centres de séjour temporaires pour immigrés » (#CETI) dans les enclaves de #Ceuta et #Melilla, véritables lieux de #tri et d’#attente à l’entrée de l’Europe ; les pratiques de #non-accueil à #Malte et en #Espagne et également les politiques d’#externalisation, intrinsèquement liées à « l’approche hotspot », avec les cas marocain, égyptien et libyen. Finalement, dans les hotspots, ou lieux affiliés, les exilé.e.s sont cantonné.e.s dans des espaces qui ne sont pas destinés à accueillir, mais en réalité au service de la gestion des frontières fermées.

    http://www.migreurop.org/article2976.html

    –—

    En anglais : http://www.migreurop.org/article2977.html

    #hotspot #hotspots #Europe #EU #UE #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #frontières_extérieures #Maroc #Italie #Grèce #Egypte #Libye #contrôles_frontaliers #fermeture_des_frontières

    ping @karine4 @_kg_

  • Dublin | Et leur demande a finalement été examinée et ils se sont vus accorder l’asile…
    https://asile.ch/2020/03/23/dublin-et-leur-demande-a-finalement-ete-examinee-et-ils-se-sont-vus-accorder-l

    https://asile.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Capture-d’ecran-2020-03-23-à-14.06.03-1.png

    Il aura fallu 7 ans à ce ressortissant éthiopien pour que la Suisse daigne l’entendre sur ses allégations de persécution. Et un petit mois pour reconnaître que celles-ci étaient fondées et lui accorder le statut de réfugié. Ci-dessous, deux illustrations de l’absurdité des procédures de « non-entrée en matière » motivées par le principe de l’État tiers […]

  • En #Libye, les oubliés

    #Michaël_Neuman a passé une dizaine de jours en Libye, auprès des équipes de Médecins Sans Frontières qui travaillent notamment dans des #centres_de_détention pour migrants. De son séjour, il ramène les impressions suivantes qui illustrent le caractère lugubre de la situation des personnes qui y sont retenues, pour des mois, des années, et celle plus difficile encore de toutes celles sujets aux #enlèvements et aux #tortures.

    La saison est aux départs. Les embarcations de fortune prennent la mer à un rythme soutenu transportant à leur bord hommes, femmes et enfants. Depuis le début de l’année, 2300 personnes sont parvenues en Europe, plus de 2000 ont été interceptées et ramenées en Libye, par les garde-côtes, formés et financés par les Européens. Les uns avaient dès leur départ le projet de rejoindre l’Europe, les autres ont fait ce choix après avoir échoué dans les réseaux de trafic d’êtres humains, soumis aux tortures et privations. Les trajectoires se mêlent, les raisons des départs des pays d’origine ne sont souvent pas univoques. En ce mois de février 2020, ils sont nombreux à tenter leur chance. Ils partent de Tripoli, de Khoms, de Sabrata… villes où se mêlent conflits, intérêts d’affaires, tribaux, semblants d’Etat faisant mine de fonctionner, corruption. Les Libyens ne sont pas épargnés par le désordre ou les épisodes de guerre. Pourtant, ce sont les apparences de vie normale qui frappent le visiteur. Les marchés de fruits et légumes, comme les bouchons qui encombrent les rues de Tripoli en témoignent  : la ville a gonflé au rythme des arrivées de déplacés originaires des quartiers touchés par la guerre d’attrition dont le pays est le théâtre entre le gouvernement intérimaire libyen qui règne encore sur Tripoli et une partie du littoral ouest et le LNA, du Maréchal Haftar, qui contrôle une grande partie du pays. Puissances internationales – Italie, France, Russie, Turquie, Emirats Arabes Unis – sont rentrées progressivement dans le jeu, transformant la Libye en poudrière dont chaque coup de semonce de l’un des belligérants semble annoncer une prochaine déflagration d’ampleur. Erdogan et Poutine se faisant face, le pouls du conflit se prend aujourd’hui autant à Idlib en Syrie qu’à Tripoli.

    C’est dans ce pays en guerre que l’Union européenne déploie sa politique de soutien aux interceptions et aux retours des ‘migrants’. Tout y passe  : financement et formation des gardes côtes-libyens, délégation du sauvetage aux navires commerciaux, intimidation des bateaux de sauvetage des ONG, suspension de l’Opération Sophia. Mais rien n’y fait  : ni les bombardements sur le port et l’aéroport de Tripoli, ni les tirs de roquettes sur des centres de détention situés à proximité d’installation militaire, pas davantage que les témoignages produits sur les exécrables conditions de vie qui prévalent dans les centres de détention, les détournements de financements internationaux, ou sur la précarité extrême des migrants résidant en ville n’ébranlent les certitudes européennes. L’hypocrisie règne  : l’Union européenne affirme être contre la détention tout en la nourrissant par l’entretien du dispositif libyen d’interception  ; le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les Réfugiés condamne les interceptions sans jamais évoquer la responsabilité des Européens.

    Onze centres de détention sont placés sous la responsabilité de la Direction chargée de l’immigration irrégulière libyenne (la DCIM). La liste évolue régulièrement sans que l’on sache toujours pourquoi, ni si la disparition d’un centre signifie véritablement qu’il a été vidé de ses détenus, ou qu’ils y résident encore sous un régime informel et sans doute plus violent encore. Une fois dans ces centres, les détenus ne savent jamais quand ils pourront en sortir  : certains s’en échappent, d’autres parviennent à acheter leur sortie, beaucoup y pourrissent des mois voire des années. L’attente y est physiquement et psychologiquement dévastatrice. C’est ainsi le lot des détenus de Dar El Jebel, près de Zintan, au cœur des montagnes Nafusa, loin et oubliés de tous : la plupart, des Erythréens, y sont depuis deux ans, parfois plus.

    La nourriture est insuffisante, les cellules, d’où les migrants ne sortent parfois que très peu, sont sombres et très froides ou très chaudes. Les journées sont parfois rythmées par les cliquetis des serrures et des barreaux. Dans la nuit du samedi 29 février au dimanche 1er mars 2020, une dizaine de jours après mon retour, un incendie sans doute accidentel à l’intérieur du centre de détention de Dar El Jebel a coûté la vie à un jeune homme érythréen.

    Nous pouvons certes témoigner que le travail entamé dans ces centres, l’attention portée à l’amélioration des conditions de vie, les consultations médicales, l’apport de compléments alimentaires, mais aussi et peut-être surtout la présence physique, visible, régulière ont contribué à les humaniser, voire à y limiter la violence qui s’y déploie. Pour autant, nous savons que tout gain est précaire, susceptible d’être mis à mal par un changement d’équilibre local, la rotation des gardes, la confiance qui se gagne et se perd, les services que nous rendons. Il n’est pas rare que les directeurs de centre expliquent que femmes et enfants n’ont rien à faire dans ces endroits, pas rare non plus qu’ils infligent des punitions sévères à ceux qui auraient tenté de s’échapper  ; certains affament leurs détenus, d’autres les libèrent lorsque la compagnie chargée de fournir les repas interrompt ses services faute de voir ses factures réglées. Il est probable que si les portes de certains centres de détention venaient à s’ouvrir, nombreux sont des détenus qui décideraient d’y rester, préférant à l’incertitude de l’extérieur leur précarité connue. Cela, beaucoup le disent à nos équipes. Dans ce pays fragmenté, les dynamiques et enjeux politiques locaux l’emportent. Ce qu’on apprend vite, en Libye, c’est l’impossibilité de généraliser les situations.

    Nous savons aussi que nous n’avons aucune vocation à devenir le service de santé d’un système de détention arbitraire  : il faut que ces gens sortent. Des hommes le plus souvent, mais aussi des femmes et des enfants, parfois tout petits, parfois nés en détention, parfois nés de viols. L’exposition à la violence, la perméabilité aux milices, aux trafiquants, la possibilité pour les détenus de travailler et de gagner un peu d’argent varient considérablement d’un centre à l’autre. Il en est aussi de leur accès pour les organisations humanitaires.

    Mais nous savons surtout que les centres de détention officiels n’abritent que 2000, 3000 des migrants en danger présents en Libye. Et les autres alors  ? Beaucoup travaillent, et assument une précarité qui est le lot, bien sûr à des degrés divers, de nombreux immigrés dans le monde, de Dubaï à Paris, de Khartoum à Bogota. Mais quelques dizaines de milliers d’autres, soit par malchance, soit parce qu’ils n’ont aucun projet de vie en Libye et recourent massivement aux services peu fiables de trafiquants risquent gros  : les enlèvements bien sûr, kidnappings contre rançons qui s’accompagnent de tortures et de sévices. Certains de ces «  migrants  », entre 45 000 et 50 000, sont reconnus «  réfugiés ou des demandeurs d’asiles  » par le Haut-Commissariat pour les réfugiés : ils sont Erythréens, Soudanais, Somaliens pour la plupart. De très nombreux autres, migrants économiques dit-on, sont Nigérians, Maliens, Marocains, Guinéens, Bangladeshis, etc. Ils sont plus seuls encore.

    Pour les premiers, un maigre espoir de relocalisation subsiste  : l’année dernière, le HCR fut en mesure d’organiser le départ de 2400 personnes vers le Niger et le Rwanda, où elles ont été placées encore quelques mois en situation d’attente avant qu’un pays, le plus souvent européen, les accepte. A ce rythme donc, il faudrait 20 ans pour les évacuer en totalité – et c’est sans compter les arrivées nouvelles. D’autant plus que le programme de ‘réinstallation’ cible en priorité les personnes identifiées comme vulnérables, à savoir femmes, enfants, malades. Les hommes adultes, seuls – la grande majorité des Erythréens par exemple – ont peu de chance de faire partie des rares personnes sélectionnées. Or très lourdement endettés et craignant légitimement pour leur sécurité dans leur pays d’origine, ils ne rentreront en aucun cas ; ayant perdu l’espoir que le Haut-Commissariat pour les réfugiés les fassent sortir de là, leur seule perspective réside dans une dangereuse et improbable traversée de la Méditerranée.

    Faute de lieux protégés, lorsqu’ils sont extraits des centres de détention par le HCR, ils sont envoyés en ville, à Tripoli surtout, devenant des ‘réfugiés urbains’ bénéficiant d’un paquet d’aide minimal, délivré en une fois et dont on peine à voir la protection qu’il garantit à qui que ce soit. Dans ces lieux, les migrants restent à la merci des trafiquants et des violences, comme ce fut le cas pour deux Erythréens en janvier dernier. Ceux-là avaient pourtant et pour un temps, été placés sous la protection du HCR au sein du Gathering and Departure Facility. Fin 2018, le HCR avait obtenu l’ouverture à Tripoli de ce centre cogéré avec les autorités libyennes et initialement destiné à faciliter l’évacuation des demandeurs d’asiles vers des pays tiers. Prévu à l’origine pour accueillir 1000 personnes, il n’aura pas résisté plus d’un an au conflit qui a embrasé la capitale en avril 2019 et à la proximité de milices combattantes.

    D’ailleurs, certains d’entre eux préfèrent la certitude de la précarité des centres de détention à l’incertitude plus inquiétante encore de la résidence en milieu ouvert  : c’est ainsi qu’à intervalles réguliers, nous sommes témoins de ces retours. En janvier, quatre femmes somalies, sommées de libérer le GDF en janvier, ont fait le choix de rejoindre en taxi leurs maris détenus à Dar El Jebel, dont elles avaient été séparées par le HCR qui ne reconnaissaient pas la légalité des couples. Les promesses d’évacuation étant virtuelles, elles sont en plus confrontées à une absurdité supplémentaire  : une personne enregistrée par le HCR ne pourra bénéficier du système de rapatriement volontaire de l’Organisation Internationale des Migrations quand bien même elle le souhaiterait.

    Pour les seconds, non protégés par le HCR, l’horizon n’est pas plus lumineux : d’accès à l’Europe, il ne peut en être question qu’au prix, là encore, d’une dangereuse traversée. L’alternative est le retour au pays, promue et organisée par l’Organisation internationale des Migrations et vécue comme une défaite souvent indépassable. De tels retours, l’OIM en a organisé plus de 40 000 depuis 2016. En 2020, ils seront probablement environ 10 000 à saisir l’occasion d’un «  départ volontaire  », dont on mesure à chaque instant l’absurdité de la qualification. Au moins, ceux-là auront-ils mis leur expérience libyenne derrière eux.

    La situation des migrants en Libye est à la fois banale et exceptionnelle. Exceptionnelle en raison de l’intense violence à laquelle ils sont souvent confrontés, du moins pour un grand nombre d’entre eux - la violence des trafiquants et des ravisseurs, la violence du risque de mourir en mer, la violence de la guerre. Mais elle est aussi banale, de manière terrifiante : la différence entre un Érythréen vivant parmi des rats sous le périphérique parisien ou dans un centre de détention à Khoms n’est pas si grande. Leur expérience de la migration est incroyablement violente, leur situation précaire et dangereuse. La situation du Darfouri à Agadez n’est pas bien meilleure, ni celle d’un Afghan de Samos, en Grèce. Il est difficile de ne pas voir cette population, incapable de bouger dans le monde de la mobilité, comme la plus indésirable parmi les indésirables. Ce sont les oubliés.

    https://www.msf-crash.org/index.php/fr/blog/camps-refugies-deplaces/en-libye-les-oublies
    #rapport_d'observation #torture #détention #gardes-côtes_libyens #hypocrisie #UE #EU #Union_européenne #responsabilité #Direction_chargée_de_l’immigration_irrégulière_libyenne (#DCIM) #Dar_El_Jebel #Zintan #montagne #Nafusa (#montagnes_Nafusa) #attente #violence #relocalisation #Niger #Rwanda #réinstallation #vulnérabilité #urban_refugees #Tripoli #réfugiés_urbains #HCR #GDF #OIM #IOM #rapatriement_volontaire #retour_au_pays #retour_volontaire

    ping @_kg_

  • Émilie a fait de la garde à vue

    #Emilie_Rolquin est étudiante en école d’animation. Le 8 décembre 2018, elle fait partie des 974 personnes placées en garde à vue à Paris à l’occasion de l’acte 4 des Gilets jaunes. Ces 24 heures de privation de liberté, les cellules sales, sa rencontre avec la police, c’est tout cela qu’elle raconte admirablement dans ce petit film d’animation.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=82&v=n4fnRmLzH8E&feature=emb_logo

    #film_d'animation #lumière #odeurs #témoignage #fouille #bruit #attente #dignité #haine #police #audition #droits #droits_humains #épreuve_mentale

  • En attendant les papiers

    Migrer, ce n’est pas seulement partir, puis arriver. Entre ces deux bornes de l’itinéraire migratoire se jouent souvent des milliers de kilomètres, des traversées de mers, de frontières et surtout des années d’attente, de précarité et d’incertitude. C’est à cet intervalle, à cet entre-deux, que s’intéresse ce nouveau numéro de De Facto.

    Frédérique Fogel aborde la question sous l’angle de la vie familiale en situation d’attente de régularisation, à partir d’une étude ethnographique sur les populations sans papier en région parisienne. En vidéo, le juriste Hiroshi Motomura montre les spécificités du cas américain où les changements de profil des arrivants et les évolutions de la politique migratoire ont conduit à cesser de les considérer comme des citoyens en devenir et à les figer dans un statut d’éternels migrants. Claire Rodier poursuit cette exploration hors de l’hexagone en partant des films de Fernand Melgar pour montrer une autre facette de l’attente, celle des centres de détention suisses, ces « sas aseptisés » où les migrants attendent leur expulsion. Anne Gosselin illustre « en chiffres » le prolongement du temps d’attente avant d’obtenir un titre de séjour en France. Enfin, l’historienne de l’Antiquité Claudia Moatti prend de la hauteur en proposant une réflexion sur ce que la notion d’entre-deux apporte à la compréhension des phénomènes migratoires.

    Sommaire

    Faire famille sans papiers
    Frédérique Fogel, anthropologue

    Quand et pourquoi l’immigrant a-t-il cessé d’être un #citoyen_en_devenir ?
    Hiroshi Motomura, juriste

    Des situations de l’entre-deux ou comment saisir le mouvement ?
    Claudia Moatti, historienne

    Les délais pour obtenir un #titre_de_séjour s’allongent
    Anne Gosselin, chercheure en santé publique

    « Faire au mieux ». Le traitement des demandeurs d’asile et des expulsables en Suisse filmé par Fernand Melgar
    Claire Rodier, juriste

    http://icmigrations.fr/defacto/defacto-014
    #migrations #sans-papiers #attente #régularisation #France

  • Watching the clothes dry: How life in Greece’s refugee camps is changing family roles and expectations

    On the Greek Islands where refugees face long waiting times and a lack of adequate facilities, women are being pushed to the margins of camp society as children are deprived of education and safe places to play. While governments and the EU fail to provide satisfactory support, and NGOs fight to fill the gaps, how can we stop a generation of women and girls with high hopes of independence and careers from being forced back into domestic roles?

    “The days here are as long as a year.

    “In the camp I have to wash my clothes and dishes with cold water in the cold winter, and I have to watch my clothes dry because I lost almost all of my dresses and clothes after hanging them up.

    “As a woman I have to do these jobs – I mean because I am supposed to do them.”

    The boredom and hopelessness that Mariam* describes are, by now, common threads running through the messy, tragic tapestry of stories from the so called “migrant crisis” in Greece.

    Mariam is from Afghanistan, and had been studying business at university in Kabul, before increasing violence and threats from the Taliban meant that she was forced to flee the country with her husband. Soon after I met her, I began to notice that life in camp was throwing two distinct concepts of herself into conflict: one, as a young woman, ambitious to study and start a career, and the other, as a female asylum seeker in a camp with appallingly few facilities, and little freedom.

    While Mariam felt driven to continue her studies and love of reading, she could not escape the daily domestic chores in camp, a burden placed particularly on her because of her gender. I was familiar with Mariam the student: while managing the Alpha Centre, an activity centre run by Samos Volunteers, I would often come across Mariam sitting in a quiet spot, her head bent over a book for hours, or sitting diligently in language classes.

    The other side of her was one I rarely saw, but it was a life which dominated Mariam’s camp existence: hours and hours of her days spent cooking, cleaning, mending clothes, queuing for food, washing dishes, washing clothes, watching them dry.
    Women as caregivers

    Mariam’s experience of boredom and hardship in the camp on Samos is, unfortunately, not uncommon for any person living in the overcrowded and squalid facilities on the Greek islands.

    Many, many reports have been made, by newspapers, by Human Rights organisations such as Amnesty International, and NGOs such as Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF). All of them speak, to varying degrees, of the crushing boredom and despair faced by asylum-seekers in Greece, the dreadful conditions and lack of resources, and the mental health implications of living in such a situation. MSF describes the suffering on the Aegean islands as being on an “overwhelming scale.”

    While these issues apply indiscriminately to anyone enduring life in the island camps – and this undoubtedly includes men – there have been reports highlighting the particular hardships that women such as Mariam have to face while seeking asylum in Greece. In a 2018 report, “Uprooted women in Greece speak out,” Amnesty International comments on the additional pressures many women face in camp:

    The lack of facilities and the poor conditions in camps place a particularly heavy burden on women who often shoulder the majority of care responsibilities for children and other relatives. The psychological impact of prolonged stays in camps is profound. Women spoke of their anxiety, nightmares, lack of sleep and depression.

    The article recognises how much more likely women are than men to take on a caregiving role, an issue that is not unique to asylum-seeking populations. According to a report titled ‘Women’s Work’ released in 2016 by the Overseas Development Institute, women globally do on average over three times more unpaid work than men – work including childcare and domestic chores. This is across both ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries, and demonstrates inequality on a scale far beyond refugee and migrant populations.

    However, as Amnesty points out, it is not the perceived roles themselves which are the issue, but rather the glaring lack of facilities in camps – such as lack of food, ‘horrific’ sanitary conditions, and poor or non-existent washing facilities, as well as significant lack of access to education for children, and waiting times of up to two years. All of these factors exacerbate the gender divides which may or may not have been prevalent in the first place.

    The expectation for women to be primary caregivers was something I particularly noticed when running women’s activities on Samos. There was a stark difference between the daily classes – which would fill up with men attending alone, as agents distinct from their families in camp – and the women-only sessions, where accompanying children were almost always expected, and had to be considered in every session plan.

    The particular burden that I noticed so starkly in Mariam and many other women, was a constant battle to not be pushed to the margins of a society, which she desperately wanted to participate in, but had no opportunity to do so.

    Beyond lack of opportunities, many women speak of their great fear for themselves and their children in camp. Not only does a lack of facilities make life harder for people on the move, it also makes it incredibly dangerous in many ways, putting the most vulnerable at a severe disadvantage. This issue is particularly grave on Samos, where the camp only has one official doctor, one toilet per 70 people, and a gross lack of women-only bathrooms. This, alongside a volatile and violent environment – which is particularly dangerous at night – culminates in a widespread, and well-founded fear of violence.

    In an interview with Humans of Samos, Sawsan, a young woman from Syria, tells of the agonising kidney stones she experienced but was unable to treat, for fear of going to the toilet at night. “The doctor told me you need to drink a lot of water, but I can’t drink a lot of water, I am afraid to go outside in the night, is very dangerous,” she explained to my colleague.

    As Amnesty International reported last year, “women’s rights are being violated on a daily basis” in the Greek island hotspots. Their report features a list of ten demands from refugee women in Greece, including “full access to services,” “safe female only spaces,” and “livelihood opportunities.” All of these demands not only demonstrate a clear lack of such services currently, but also a real need and desire for the means to change their lives, as expressed by the women themselves.

    I remember the effect of this environment on Mariam, and the intense frustration she expressed at being forced to live an existence that she had not chosen. I have a vivid memory of sitting with her on a quiet afternoon in the centre: she was showing me photos on her phone of her and her friends at university in in Kabul. The photos were relatively recent but seemed another world away. I remember her looking up from the phone and telling me wearily, “life is so unexpected.”

    I remember her showing me the calluses on her hands, earned by washing her and her husband’s clothes in cold water; her gesturing in exasperation towards the camp beyond the walls of the centre. She never thought she’d be in this position, she told me, performing never ending domestic chores, while waiting out her days for an unknown life.

    Stolen childhoods

    Beyond speaking of their own difficulties, many people I approached told me of their intense concern for the children living in camps across Greece. As Mariam put it, “this situation snatches their childhoods by taking away their actual right to be children” – in many inhumane and degrading ways. And, as highlighted above, when children are affected, women are then far more likely to be impacted as a result, creating a calamitous domino effect among the most vulnerable.

    I also spoke to Abdul* from Iraq who said:

    The camp is a terrible place for children because they are used to going out playing, visiting their friends and relatives in the neighbourhood, and going to school but in the camp there is nothing. They can’t even play, and the environment is horrible.”

    Many asylum-seeking children do not have access to education in Greece. This is despite the government recognising the right of all children to access education, regardless of their status in a country, and even if they lack paperwork.

    UNHCR recently described educational opportunities for the 3,050 5-17 year olds living on Greece’s islands, as “slim.” They estimate that “most have missed between one and four years of school as a result of war and forced displacement” – and they continue to miss out as a result of life on the islands.

    There are several reasons why so many children are out of school, but Greek and EU policies are largely to blame. Based mistakenly on the grounds that people will only reside on the islands for brief periods before either being returned to Turkey or transferred to the mainland, the policies do not prioritise education. The reality of the situation is that many children end up waiting for months in the island camps before being moved, and during this time, have no access to formal education, subsequently losing their rights to play, learn, develop and integrate in a new society.

    In place of formal schooling, many children in camps rely on informal education and psychosocial activities provided by NGOs and grassroots organisations. While generally doing a commendable job in filling the numerous gaps, these provisions can sometimes be sporadic, and can depend on funding as well as groups being given access to camps and shelters.

    And while small organisations try their best to plug gaps in a faulty system, there will always, unfortunately, be children left behind. The ultimate result of Greek and EU policy is that the majority of children are spending months in limbo without education, waiting out their days in an unsafe and unstable environment.

    This not only deprives children of formative months, and sometimes years, of education and development, it can also put them at risk of exploitation and abuse. Reports by the RSA and Save the Children state that refugee children are at much higher risk of exploitation when they are out of school. Save the Children highlight that, particularly for Syrian refugee girls, “a lack of access to education is contributing to sexual exploitation, harassment, domestic violence and a significant rise in forced marriages”.

    There have also been numerous cases of children – often unaccompanied teenage boys – being forced into “survival sex,” selling sex to older, predatory men, for as little as €15 or even less, just in order to get by. The issue has been particularly prevalent in Greece’s major cities, Athens and Thessaloniki.

    While all children suffer in this situation, unaccompanied minors are especially at risk. The state has particular responsibilities to provide for unaccompanied and separated children under international guidelines, yet children in Greece, especially on Samos, are being failed. The failings are across the board, through lack of education, lack of psychological support, lack of appropriate guardians, and lack of adequate housing – many children are often placed in camps rather than in external shelters.

    This is a particular issue on Samos, as the designated area for unaccompanied minors in the reception centre, was not guarded at all until recently, and is regularly subject to chaos and violence from other camp residents, visitors or even police.

    Many refugee children in Greece are also at risk of violence not only as a result of state inactions, but at the hands of the state itself. Children are often subject to violent – and illegal – pushbacks at Greece’s border with Turkey.

    There have been multiple accounts of police beating migrants and confiscating belongings at the Evros river border, with one woman reporting that Greek authorities “took away her two young children’s shoes” in order to deter them from continuing their journey.

    The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) spoke out earlier this year, criticising treatment in Greek camps and detention facilities, stating that conditions were “inhuman and degrading.” They have called for an end to the detention of children with adults in police facilities, as well as the housing of unaccompanied minors in reception and identification centres, such as the hotspot on Samos.

    Smaller organisations are also making their voices heard: Still I Rise, a young NGO on Samos providing education for refugee children, has just filed a lawsuit against the camp management at the refugee hotspot, for their ill treatment of unaccompanied minors. The organisation states:

    We are in a unique position to witness the inhumane living conditions and experiences of our students in the refugee hotspot. With the support of Help Refugees, we gathered evidence, wrote affidavits, and build a class action on behalf of all the unaccompanied minors past and present who suffered abuse in the camp.

    After witnessing the many failings of the camp management to protect the unaccompanied minors, the NGO decided to take matters into their own hands, raising up the voices of their students, students whose childhoods have been stolen from them as they flee war and persecution.
    “Without love I would give up”

    Every day on Samos, I worked with people who were battling the ever-consuming crush of hardship and boredom. People came to the activity centre to overcome it, through learning languages, reading, socialising, exercising, teaching and volunteering. They demonstrated amazing commitment and perseverance, and this should not be forgotten in the face of everything discussed so far.

    Nadine*, a young woman from Cameroon whose help at the centre became invaluable, told me that she ‘always’ feels bored, and that “the worst is a closed camp,” but that she has managed to survive by teaching:

    I teach the alphabet and sounds, letters for them to be able to read. I teach adult beginners, it’s not easy because some of them didn’t go to school and they are not able to write in their own language. So it’s hard work, patience and love because without love I would give up.”

    The perseverance demonstrated by Nadine, Mariam, and other women like them, is extraordinary. This is not only considering the challenges they had to confront before even reaching Greece, but in the face of such adversity once reaching the EU.

    Those refugees who are most vulnerable – particularly women and children, but also the silent voices of this article, those who are disabled, LGBTQ+ or otherwise a minority – are being pushed to the margins of society by the despicable policies and practices being inflicted on migrants in Greece. Refugees and migrants are being forced to endure immense suffering simply for asking for a place of safety.

    Yet despite everything, even those at the most disadvantage are continuing to fight for their right to a future. And while I know that, especially in this climate, we need more than love alone, I hang onto Nadine’s words all the same: “without love I would give up.”

    https://lacuna.org.uk/migration/watching-the-clothes-dry-how-life-in-greeces-refugee-camps-is-changing-fa
    #femmes #asile #migrations #réfugiés #rôles #Samos #Grèce #attente #tâches_domestique #lessive #marges #marginalisation #ennui #désespoir #détressse #déqualification #camps #camps_de_réfugiés #liberté #genre #cuisine #soins #caregiver #santé_mentale #fardeau

    #cpa_camps

  • Living in the shadows: Asylum seekers wait years for protection claims

    More than 7500 asylum seekers who have been in Australia for more than five years are yet to have their refugee claims assessed, with the Australian Human Rights Commission warning it has “serious concerns” about the impact of the prolonged delays on their mental health.

    The Commission has published the first comprehensive report on the human rights of the so-called “legacy caseload” - 30,000 refugees and asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat before January 1, 2014.

    The report, Lives on Hold, finds this group has been “living in the shadows” in the Australian community and there has been little public attention about the human rights issues they face.

    “These people face prolonged delays in assessing their refugee claims, with limited government support to meet their health and other needs,” said Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow.

    He said even if found to be refugees, they are not eligible for permanent residency in Australia. “They risk severe deterioration in their living conditions and mental health, with many at higher risk of suicide.”

    The report says that since the beginning of 2014, at least nine people in the legacy caseload had taken their own lives, with researchers describing the phenomenon as “lethal hopelessness”.

    These included Mohammad Hadi, a Hazari asylum seeker, who died by suicide in western Sydney in 2016, after being released less than three years earlier on a bridging visa, with no work or study rights.

    Asylum Seekers Centre CEO Frances Rush said the centre had seen about 14 single men from Iran and Sri Lanka - who were part of the the legacy caseload - attempt suicide.

    “Increasingly people are presenting with ongoing psychological distress directly linked to the prolonged period of waiting for the outcome of their claim for protection,” Ms Rush said.

    The Department of Home Affairs said assessing the legacy caseload was complex, particularly as many people had arrived without documents.

    “In some cases, the circumstances in home countries have changed substantially since arrival and we have an obligation to consider this carefully on a case-by-case basis,” a spokeswoman said. “Despite these complexities, 74 per cent of the caseload has been resolved.”

    The Australian Human Rights Commission report notes some positive developments for the legacy caseload, including the release of most asylum seekers from detention and allowing those on bridging visas to work.

    However, when the government granted work rights to asylum seekers on most bridging visas last year, it said they would no longer be eligible to receive a living allowance of $247 a week, which was 89 per cent of Newstart.

    The Commission says while it welcomes the reinstatement of work rights, asylum seekers could struggle to find jobs due to language barriers and lack of Australian work experience.

    Employers were also often reluctant to hire people on short-term visas.

    Ms Rush said the Asylum Seekers Centre supported a number of people who had lost their living allowance. “With absolutely no income, many people, including children, face immediate destitution and poverty.”

    The Department of Home Affairs spokeswoman said individuals with specific barriers to employment or resolving their immigration status may be supported through the Status Resolution Support Services program, which offered housing, counselling, health services and income support.

    She said this was not a welfare program but provided a short-term, tailored approach, particularly for those unable to support themselves.

    She said bridging visa holders generally had access to Medicare and mental health services through the public health system.

    The asylum seekers in the legacy caseload arrived in Australia during the Labor years before the rules were changed to prohibit any asylum seeker who arrived by boat ever resettling in Australia.

    They had their claims for refugee status frozen for years, creating a backlog of claims.

    According to the Department of Home Affairs, 22,280 people in the legacy caseload have had their applications for protection either granted or refused as of May this year. (By far the majority of these - 15,553 - have been granted temporary protection.)

    However 7526 are still waiting for their protection visa applications to be assessed and a further 1209 are waiting for the outcome of a review.

    In 2016 the United Nation refugee agency’s most senior protection official, Volker Turk, warned Australia faced a “social time bomb” over the failure to process and integrate the legacy caseload. “It is something that is utterly preventable,” he said at the time.

    https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/living-in-the-shadows-asylum-seekers-wait-years-for-protection-cla
    #Australie #attente #procédure_d'asile #asile #migrations #réfugiés #limbe
    via @isskein

  • Tout comprendre sur #Parcoursup

    Pour comprendre la nature de “Parcoursup”, il faut partir de l’expérience directe, sans tenter d’y plaquer des interprétations hatives ou idéologiques. Pour la plupart des lycéens — ceux que les communicants qui encombrent désormais l’appareil d’Etat appellent “nos jeunes” — le processus d’affectation dans l’#enseignement_supérieur se présente comme une boîte noire nimbée de brouillard, comme une obscure Machine.

    Son #opacité ne tient pas tant à l’interface numérique par laquelle se font les connexions que dans l’impression diffuse de ne pas connaître les règles d’un “jeu” qui s’apprête à déterminer la place sociale qui sera assignée à chaque “candidat” pour le reste de son existence.

    Les familles qui entendent faire de leurs rejetons des “premiers de cordée” ne découvrent pas la #guerre_scolaire à cette occasion : elles s’y livrent depuis la maternelle, renforçant la #ségrégation_sociale par mille artifices de contournement, de choix d’options “astucieuses” et de falsification d’adresse. Parcoursup officialise l’idée que les formations universitaires — y compris celles aussi standardisées que des licences d’une même discipline — ne se valent pas. Dès lors, ce qui fut une orientation devient recherche active des filières les plus valorisables, c’est-à-dire celles qui, en l’absence de mécanismes de brassage social, permettront d’obtenir les meilleures places dans la hiérarchie socio-économique. C’est du moins ce dont les concepteurs souhaitent convaincre les classes moyennes. Mais comment savoir quels sont les “parcours” qui permettront d’accroître son “portefeuille de compétences” de sorte à en obtenir les “dividendes” matériels et symboliques les plus généreux ? En effet, hormis les Grandes Écoles, qui assurent la formation des cadres, les formations sont essentiellement les mêmes partout. D’où l’effet de brouillard.

    Les “premiers de cordée” se reconnaissent en ceci qu’ils “ont du réseau” leur permettant d’obtenir informations précieuses et passe-droits. L’#opacité du système est en partie délibérée comme en témoigne le démantèlement des services d’orientation nationaux (#ONISEP et #CIO). Cependant, participent à l’#angoisse générée par la Machine toutes sortes de #dysfonctionnements, d’accrocs, d’#erreurs de débutant, qui admettent une explication simple et donc probablement juste : derrière la prétention de la #Start-Up_Nation à transformer les services de l’Etat en plateformes numériques automatisées se cache un amateurisme sans bornes. Ainsi, l’équipe technique incompétente recrutée par le ministère en charge de l’enseignement supérieur s’est montrée incapable d’écrire un logiciel sans bug, malgré la simplicité algorithmique : appeler les “candidats” dans l’ordre dans lequel les formations les ont classés, au fil des désistements. Du reste, il n’est qu’à voir le visage de Mme Vidal rongé par les anxiolytiques, lorsqu’elle débite d’une voix pâteuse les éléments de langage préparés par les communicants de son cabinet, avec des chiffres arrangés quand ils ne sont pas tout simplement faux, pour comprendre que l’angoisse générée par Parcoursup s’étend à tous ceux qui ont été mis au service de la Machine : les bacheliers, bien sûr, mais aussi les responsables des formations qui produisent les classement des “candidats” et l’ensemble de la #bureaucratie ministérielle occupée à calfeutrer les voies d’eau qui se multiplient quotidiennement. Que le ministère en charge de l’enseignement supérieur soit entièrement tourné désormais vers le micro-management le plus insignifiant, n’est pas le moindre des paradoxes du dispositif. Au final, le mantra répété jusqu’à la nausée par la ministre, “Remettre de l’Humain dans la Machine”, n’est pas si faux que cela, qui évoque métaphoriquement ces usines de nuggets à destination de la restauration rapide, qui broient ce qui reste des poulets une fois amputés de leurs filets et de leurs cuisses.

    La boule au ventre qui étreint les lycéens au moment de choisir la discipline à laquelle ils entendent se former, comme moyen particulier d’aller vers une autonomie de pensée, ne s’arrête pas le jour où tombent, comme un couperet, les affectations. Les “premiers de cordée”, un sur cinq environ, obtiennent ce qu’ils souhaitent dès le premier jour et c’est l’objet même de la Machine que ce soit le cas. Le système d’affectation précédent, qui n’était certes pas la panacée mais ne reposait pas sur un classement des “candidats”, parvenait à attribuer son premier vœu à un bachelier sur deux. Avec Parcoursup, plus de la moitié des “candidats” sont “mis en attente” pour l’intégralité des formations demandées, y compris celles, au fond non souhaitées, qui constituaient des choix stratégiques de repli. Et ce purgatoire a été conçu pour durer très longtemps. N’importe quel informaticien pouvait prédire que la suppression des vœux hiérarchisés engendrerait des “deadlocks” algorithmiques, ralentissements induits lorsque des processus concurrents s’attendent mutuellement, ne laissant d’alternative à l’interprétation qu’entre le cynisme et l’incompétence totale. Ainsi, il restait plus de 47000 candidats sur le carreau à la rentrée 2018, principalement des lycéens ayant obtenu un bac “pro”. Les éléments de langage produits par le ministère et repris sans vérification par la presse quotidienne transformèrent ce fait tiré des statistiques du ministère lui-même en : “moins de 2500 candidats encore en attente”. Au final, l’angoisse générée par la “mise en attente” a une fonction importante : faire accepter avec soulagement une formation pour laquelle le “candidat” n’a ni affinité ni appétence.

    Faire patienter, c’est dominer

    En résumé, Parcoursup est une machine à dévorer du temps pour permettre à une minorité de choisir librement leur formation et pour le plus grand nombre, d’être répartis au cours d’une grande loterie anxiogène.

    Bien qu’il soit important de rendre compte des effets concrets que Parcoursup produit, il ne faut pas le réduire à un dispositif technique mais en analyser les motivations.

    Parcoursup a d’abord une dimension gestionnaire et répond à un problème précis : comment ne pas investir dans l’#Université_publique, alors même que la population étudiante est supposée s’accroître de 30% entre 2010 et 2025. Cela représente quelques 400 000 étudiants en plus, soit une vingtaine d’universités à construire. La réponse est simple : décourager les inscriptions par tous les moyens y compris par l’augmentation des #frais_d’inscription pour les étrangers, “caser tout le monde” en bourrant les formations désertées de “sans fac”, et augmenter à moyens constants les capacités d’accueil des formations (de 10% en 2018). Si cela ne suffit pas, Parcoursup permet techniquement de recourir à la sélection stricte.

    Deuxième dimension du dispositif, Parcoursup en finit avec un système qui permettait à tout bachelier de faire les études universitaires de son choix. Le dispositif reprend le contenu de la #loi_Devaquet là où l’assassinat de Malik Oussekine par les voltigeurs motocyclistes l’avait interrompu en 1986. Parcoursup signe ainsi la mise à mort du #baccalauréat, remplacé à l’entrée de l’Université par de la mise en #concurrence : chaque formation produit, à partir des notes de contrôle continu, des options choisies dans le secondaire et de données sur l’origine sociale (CV, lettres de motivation, etc.) un #classement des “candidats”. L’#examen_terminal est remplacé par une évaluation des “#portefeuilles_de_compétences” directement inspirée des pratiques managériales. On trouve là un premier fondement idéologique de Parcoursup, qui rompt avec les idées promues par la Révolution Française, assignant à l’enseignement une fonction émancipatrice : développer, à des fins de citoyenneté, l’usage critique de la raison individuelle. Parcoursup participe de la tentative d’amener tout le monde à se penser et à se comporter en entrepreneurs d’eux-mêmes, individuellement responsables de leur destin.

    Simultanément, le baccalauréat ayant été, pendant plus d’un demi-siècle, l’épreuve initiatique de passage à l’âge adulte pour la classe moyenne, sa disparition vise aussi à infantiliser les jeunes adultes. Le retour du service national, affublant “nos jeunes” d’un uniforme hybride entre le vigile de supermarché, le gardien de prison et le policier, confirme cette volonté d’humiliation et de torture douce. Tout concourt à repousser l’âge de l’autonomie financière et intellectuelle en transformant progressivement la licence en “lycée du 21e siècle”, terme qui tint lieu un temps de résumé programmatique à la candidature de Macron à la présidentielle, d’après les Macronleaks.

    Ces deux facettes de Parcoursup — déposséder les jeunes adultes de leur autonomie et simultanément les rendre responsables de leur position sociale — ne sont antagonistes qu’en apparence. Elles contribuent toutes deux à la fiction méritocratique, ce supplément d’âme dont “on” a doté la reproduction sociale. Plus précisément, Parcoursup (tout comme la loi Blanquer) s’inspire d’une supercherie : la théorie du capital humain. Cette “théorie” vise à naturaliser les inégalités économiques, en produisant un argumentaire à destination des classes moyennes faisant porter la responsabilité des hiérarchies sociales aux individus, et non à l’organisation de la société. Pour empêcher de penser l’héritage, d’une part, et la reproduction du capital, d’autre part, comme étant les mécanismes primordiaux de production des inégalités, il s’agit de postuler que les revenus des individus proviennent de la fructification de leur “capital de compétences”. L’important n’est pas que ces “compétences” existent, qu’on puisse les mesurer, c’est de créer les conditions sous lesquelles les individus soient amenés à se vivre eux-même comme portefeuilles de compétences en quête de valorisation, acceptant de facto leur position dans la hiérarchie sociale sans se révolter. Telle est la fonction anesthésiante de la nimbe d’angoisse et de pression autour de Parcoursup. Mais ce n’est pas tout. Si suivre une formation universitaire permet d’accroître ses revenus futurs, alors l’entrepreneur de lui-même se doit d’investir dans son portefeuille de compétences et donc de payer l’Université, en empruntant si besoin.
    Faire patienter, c’est occuper. Et l’occupation, c’est le début de la colonisation culturelle.

    Dans quel projet global de société, la vision de l’Université portée par Parcoursup s’inscrit-elle ? L’Université moderne est née en France avec la IIIe République, la dissolution des institutions médiévales à la Révolution ayant conduit à liquider toute autonomie du système facultaire et à créer des écoles professionnelles sous contrôle de l’État. Elle conserve aujourd’hui une triple anomalie en héritage du 19e siècle : le système des grandes écoles, la centralisation parisienne et l’absence d’autonomie du corps professoral vis-à-vis des pouvoirs dont il dépend. Elle a eu de ce fait une incapacité chronique à s’adapter aux mutations socio-économiques de son temps. Au 19e siècle, et jusqu’à la seconde guerre mondiale, la demande vis-à-vis de l’Université a été le développement de la recherche pour appuyer la révolution industrielle et former les nouvelles classes moyennes, témoignant d’une supériorité du modèle humboldtien de liberté d’enseigner, de rechercher et d’apprendre sur le modèle napoléonien. Après guerre, la demande des classes dirigeantes a changé de nature, tirée par le compromis fordiste, le plein emploi et la concurrence du bloc marxiste-léniniste : il s’est agi de combler le déficit de main d’œuvre qualifiée par la constitution d’une première Université de masse développant une formation à et par la recherche. Après 68, et tout au long des années 1970, une nouvelle demande a émergé, venant des étudiants eux-même et des milieux militants portant une exigence d’émancipation, de critique sociale et d’autonomie intellectuelle, produisant enfin de réelles universités au tournant du 21e siècle, malgré l’héritage douloureux de grandes écoles inaptes à la recherche. Depuis deux décennies maintenant, l’émergence d’un libéralisme autoritaire a conduit à une reprise en main, sur fond de désindustrialisation, de chômage de masse et de crise systémique. Les classes dirigeantes se moquent, pour l’essentiel, de l’Université où elles n’envoient pas leurs enfants se former — les business schools ont “bâti autour d’eux un mur d’ignorance et d’erreur". Aussi ont-elles bondi sur la première pensée indigente émise par un économiste d’Harvard : ne conserver que dix universités (au sens humboldtien), pour assurer l’activité de recherche nécessaire à l’innovation technique.

    Quelle ambition, dès lors, pour l’écrasante majorité des bacheliers issus des classes moyennes, et pour les classes populaires ? Aucune. Nada. Un vide de pensée politique. Dans la mesure où, d’une part, la production marchande peut être assurée par 10% de la population, l’Asie tenant lieu d’usine mondiale et où, d’autre part, les 10% de classes moyennes supérieures sont formées dans les grandes écoles, les 80% de classes moyennes inutiles à l’ordre économique dominant ne servent à rien. Leur formation intellectuelle et pratique est une non-question. Les universitaires ne sont rien d’autre qu’un poids mort pour les finances publiques. Même s’ils sont pour la plupart frappés de stupéfaction ou occupés à des activités courtisanes, ils disposent encore de trop de temps non-contraint pour ne pas représenter un danger. Dès lors, en l’absence d’idée, tout est mis en œuvre pour créer un marché de l’enseignement supérieur, ce qui suppose de différencier les parcours et les établissements, et de les mettre en concurrence. C’est très exactement ce à quoi contribue Parcoursup, comme brique dans une construction au long cours. La suite est connue dans les grandes lignes : créer les conditions pour accroître la part du privé dans le marché nouvellement constitué ; paupériser les établissements de proximité et y avoir recours massivement au travail précaire ; déréguler les statuts des universitaires pour abaisser les coûts salariaux ; accroître la “double hétéronomie autoritaire de l’université, envers l’encadrement administratif et envers la commande des marchés”.

    L’heure n’est plus à la défense conservatrice d’une Université qui n’existe de facto plus — si tant est qu’elle ait jamais existé — mais à la reformulation d’un projet de transformation radicale de la société qui inclue l’ensemble du système éducatif. Il devient non seulement nécessaire mais urgent de retrouver le contrôle de nos existences, de nous donner du temps pour penser et de faire de nos vies des terrains d’expériences.

    https://lundi.am/Tout-comprendre-sur-Parcoursup
    #parcours_sup #sélection #éducation_supérieure #université #attente #patience

  • Child refugees in limbo for 16 months waiting to reunite with family members

    A new report by the child refugee charity Safe Passage and Greek NGO PRAKSIS has identified serious problems with the family reunification procedure for unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors arriving in Europe, exposing children to significant physical and mental harm as a result of lengthy separation from loved ones.

    The EU Dublin III Regulation sets out the family reunification rules by which asylum seekers arriving in the EU can apply to be transferred to another member state where they have family. 17,199 unaccompanied minors were recorded as having arrived in Greece between January 2016 and November 2018 and made up 37% of all arrivals in the first quarter of 2018. The report’s findings indicate that unaccompanied children arriving in Greece and applying for family reunion are waiting an average of 16 months from arrival until transfer, far exceeding the maximum of 11 months provided for in the Dublin Regulation. In some cases, children have been made to wait for over a year and a half.

    The report, based on extensive analysis of the experiences of 80 children who arrived in Greece and applied to reunite with family between December 2015 and November 2017, identified significant challenges impeding the process, among which the most striking is a lack of cooperation and information sharing between national authorities handling the children’s cases. Though the best interests of the child were prioritised in some instances, researchers found that many cases involved lengthy setbacks, unnecessary administrative hurdles and demands for proof of a family link far exceeding that required under EU law. The majority of cases first rejected on the grounds of lack of evidence were ultimately accepted, causing unnecessary and traumatic delays in children being reunited with their loved ones.

    The report concludes that delays, unjustified evidentiary requirements and a consistent failure to prioritise the best interests of the child have resulted in severe harm to many of the children’s physical and mental health. It highlights in particular the ten percent of cases where children lose faith in the process and abscond, often following a rejection despite submitting substantial and sufficient evidence.

    Speaking on the European release of the report, Safe Passage’s CEO Eleanor Harrison OBE said:

    “The Dublin III Regulation makes clear that the best interests of the child must be prioritised throughout any family reunification application. Children need to be treated as children first and then as asylum seekers. Yet in too many cases, children’s own stories are doubted and their relationship with loved ones are disbelieved. Many are subjected to invasive medical exams, questioned over the truth of their statements and some are forced to undergo DNA tests that may not actually be necessary.

    “Placing these unreasonable requirements on vulnerable, often traumatised children, only serves to further compound their distress. Whilst some instances of good practice were observed, the reality is that the system let most of these children down.”

    The report includes key recommendations for improving family reunification for children at EU and national level. These include a more creative and efficient approach to cooperation between EU Member States, which would allow more children to be reunited smoothly with their families. The report recommends a EU-wide review of guidance on establishing the proof of family connection, as well as a standardised approach for collecting and evaluating evidence.

    The report also suggests the establishment of an independent body to monitor and improve cooperation and information sharing between Member States handling family reunification applications and calls on all Member States to fully preserve and implement safeguarding principles within the Dublin III Regulation. Further recommendations include a refocus of policy-making, placing the rights of children at the heart of any future legislative reform of asylum legislation at EU and national levels.

    Speaking about his own experiences of waiting over one year for family reunification in Greece, an unaccompanied minor now reunited with his brother in the UK said:

    “I loved the weather in Greece, but it was one of the most difficult memories as I was homeless. Than safe passage found me a shelter. The waiting was unbearable, as I didn’t have any family in Greece.

    My brother and others kept telling me that they are working hard on my transfer case, but each day felt like forever. I am so glad I am here now and I love going to college. I am getting top grades in my speaking and written tests every week, but I still have to get used to this weather.”

    http://safepassage.org.uk/press_posts/child-refugees-in-limbo-for-16-months-waiting-to-reunite-with-family
    #Grèce #enfants #mineurs #regroupement_familial #attente #limbe #asile #migrations #réfugiés #rapport

  • Driven to suicide in Tunisia’s UNHCR refugee shelter

    Lack of adequate care and #frustration over absence of resettlement plans prompt attempted suicides, refugees say.

    Last Monday night, 16-year-old Nato* slit his wrists and was rushed to the local hospital in Medenine.

    He had decided to end his life in a refugee facility run by the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, in Medenine. After running for two years, escaping Eritrea and near-certain conscription into the country’s army, making it through Sudan, Egypt and Libya, he had reached Tunisia and despair.

    A few days later, Nato was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in #Sfax, 210km north of Medenine, where he was kept on lockdown and was frustrated that he was not able to communicate with anyone in the facility.

    Nato’s isn’t the only story of despair among refugees in Tunisia. A female refugee was taken to hospital after drinking bleach, while a 16-year-old unaccompanied young girl tried to escape over the borders to Libya, but was stopped at Ben Gardane.

    “I’m not surprised by what has happened to Nato,” a 16-year-old at the UNHCR facility told Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity.

    “They just keep us here without providing any support and after we ... witnessed killings of our friends. We feel completely abandoned. We don’t feel secure and protected,” he said.

    The 30 to 35 unaccompanied minors living in UNHCR’s reception facility in Medenine share a room, spending their days remembering past images of violence and abuse.

    “I cannot get out of my mind the picture of my friend dying after they pointed a gun at his temple. He was sitting next to me. Sometimes at night, I cannot sleep,” the 16-year-old said.
    ’They’re trying to hide us here’

    The UNHCR facility in Medenine struggles to offer essential services to a growing number of arrivals.

    According to the information given to Al Jazeera, the asylum seekers and refugees have not received medical screenings or access to psychosocial support, nor were they informed clearly of their rights in Tunisia.

    “We feel they are trying to hide us here,” said Amin*. “How can we say we are safe if UNHCR is not protecting our basic rights? If we are here left without options, we will try to cross the sea.”

    Amin, 19, has no vision of what his life will be. He would like to continue his education or learn a new language but, since his arrival, he has only promises and hopes, no plans.

    The young people here find themselves having to take care of themselves and navigate the questions of what their future will be like, at times without even being able to reach out to their families back home for comfort.

    “My parents are in Eritrea and since more than a year, I was able to speak with them only for three minutes,” said Senait*, a 15-year-old boy from Eritrea.

    Aaron*, a 16-year-old boy who has been on the road for three years and three months, has not been able to call his relatives at all since his arrival in Tunisia.

    “Last time I have contacted them was in 2016 while I was in Sudan. I miss them so much,” he said.

    Last week, many of them participated in a peaceful demonstration, demanding medical care, support from the UNHCR and resettlement to third countries.

    Refugee lives in suspension

    Nato, as well as a number of refugee minors Al Jazeera spoke to, arrived in Tunisia over the Libyan border with the help of smugglers. The same is true for hundreds of refugees escaping Libya.

    Tunisia registered more than 1,000 refugees and 350 asylum seekers, mainly from Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia.

    But the country has neither the capacity nor the means to host refugees, and because it doesn’t have a coherent asylum system, the refugees find themselves living a largely suspended life.

    Officially, refugees are not allowed to work and, therefore, there is no formal system of protection for those that do work.

    Awate*, a 24-year-old man from Eritrea, had been working for nine days in a hotel in the seaside city of Zarzis when he was arrested and brought to a police station where he was interrogated for 30 minutes.

    “They told me ’why are you going to work without passport?’,” he said, adding that he has not worked since.

    The UNHCR in Tunisia is pushing alternatives, which include enhancing refugees’ self-reliance and livelihood opportunities.

    A month ago, a group of 32 people moved out of the reception centre with an offer of a monthly payment of 350 Tunisian dinars ($116) and help to find private accommodation. Among them, nine decided to go to the capital, Tunis. The plan is confirmed for three months, with no clarity on what happens next.

    Aklilu*, a 36-year-old former child soldier from Eritrea who took up the offer, is now renting a small apartment on the main road to Djerba for 250 Tunisian dinars ($83).

    “Why should I be forced to settle in a country that’s not ready to host refugees?” he said. “They are thinking of Tunisia as the final destination but there are no conditions for it. The UNHCR is not making any effort to integrate us. We don’t get any language courses or technical training.”


    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/driven-suicide-tunisia-unhcr-refugee-shelter-190319052430125.html
    #Tunisie #HCR #UNHCR #camps_de_réfugiés #suicide #réinstallation #limbe #attente #transit #trauma #traumatisme #santé_mentale #MNA #mineurs_non_accompagnés #migrations #asile #réfugiés
    ping @_kg_

  • Bloqués en Suisse

    Des milliers de requérants d’asile #déboutés ne peuvent ni être renvoyés, ni rentrer chez eux. Beaucoup continuent de vivre en Suisse avec l’#aide_d’urgence, sans aucune perspective d’avenir. De jeunes Érythréens se confient.

    Mewael* vit à Genève avec 10 francs par jour. Il n’a pas le droit de suivre une formation ou de travailler. Pour occuper ses journées, il joue au football, réalise de petits travaux dans son centre d’accueil ou cuisine à la maison de quartier. Il fait partie de ces milliers de personnes qui n’ont pas obtenu l’asile, mais qui ne peuvent pas rentrer chez elles et se retrouvent coincées en Suisse. En 2017, elles étaient plus de 8000Lien externe à recevoir l’aide d’urgenceLien externe, la plupart du temps sous forme d’hébergement ou de nourriture.

    Mewael a une vingtaine d’années. Il a fui l’Érythrée et est arrivé en Suisse il y a bientôt trois ans. Il a déposé sa demande d’asile et a appris le français en attendant la décision qui est tombée deux ans plus tard : la requête est rejetée, Mewael doit quitter le territoire. Il a fait recours et s’accroche à ce mince espoir. Le jeune homme aurait voulu faire un apprentissage d’électricien ou de mécanicien, mais aujourd’hui, il n’y croit plus. « La vie est compliquée en Suisse », soupire son ami Samson. « C’est pas compliqué, c’est mort », répond Mewael, les larmes aux yeux.
    Renvoi prononcé, mais pas exécuté

    Les Érythréens sont particulièrement nombreux à se retrouver dans cette situation, car le gouvernement suisse n’a pas signé d’accord de réadmission avec l’Érythrée. Il ne peut donc pas expulser de force les requérants déboutés. « Sur le plan international, la Suisse se démarque en rendant des décisions de renvoi : aucun État européen n’exécute de renvoi vers l’Érythrée », précise un rapport très détaillé de l’Observatoire romand du droit d’asile et des étrangers sur les pressions subies par la communauté érythréenne.

    Samson est en Suisse depuis déjà 4 ans et souffre de ne pas pouvoir travailler : « Je suis bloqué, je ne sais pas quoi faire. C’est très stressant ». Pour sortir de cette situation, certains ont tenté de déposer une demande d’asile dans un autre pays. Yonas est allé jusqu’en Allemagne, mais il a été renvoyé en Suisse en raison des accords de DublinLien externe. Il est aussi là depuis 4 ans et rêve de devenir mécanicien, jardinier ou même avocat. « Quand je suis parti de chez moi, j’ai cru que mes problèmes étaient terminés, mais en fait ils m’ont accompagné jusqu’ici », se désole Yonas.

    Tous ces jeunes Érythréens parlent bien français, mais ils ont la gorge serrée et ne trouvent plus les mots quand ils évoquent leur vie en Suisse et leurs perspectives d’avenir. « Je me sens mal, j’ai des problèmes de sommeil et de concentration, confie Robel, depuis 2 ans à Genève. Ici je pensais trouver le bonheur, la liberté, et je n’ai rien trouvé. »

    Impossible de rentrer

    Lorsqu’elles annoncent aux requérants déboutés leur obligation de quitter la Suisse, les autorités leur proposent une aide au retour, mais aucun d’entre eux n’envisage de rentrer. L’Érythrée est gouvernée par un dictateur qui asservit son peuple et commet de multiples crimes contre l’humanité, comme l’a rapporté l’Organisation des Nations Unies : « Les responsables érythréens s’en prennent aux civils de façon persistante, généralisée et systématique depuis 1991. Ils n’ont cessé depuis lors de commettre des crimes d’esclavage, d’emprisonnement, de disparition forcée et de torture, ainsi que d’autres actes inhumains, des actes de persécution, des viols et des assassinats. »

    Hayat a envie de raconter ce qui lui est arrivé, pour que nous puissions mieux comprendre la situation des réfugiés érythréens. Il explique que chez lui, tout le monde doit faire l’armée pour une durée indéterminée. La population n’est pas libre de se former ou de travailler comme elle le souhaite. Et de nombreuses personnes s’évanouissent dans la nature, sans que les familles ne soient jamais informées de leur emprisonnement ou de leur décès.

    Le père de Hayat a ainsi disparu, et lui-même s’est retrouvé en prison alors qu’il avait seulement 16 ans. Il a été frappé, attaché et enfermé dans une cage. Durant un transfert, le jeune homme a réussi à s’enfuir et à traverser le Soudan, la Libye puis la Méditerranée. Au départ, ils étaient un groupe de 25 personnes. Seules 3 d’entre elles sont arrivées en Italie.

    « On ne vient pas ici pour l’argent, on cherche juste la liberté », déclare Hayat qui vient de recevoir une bonne nouvelle : son recours a abouti, il a obtenu une admission provisoire. Le jeune homme va pouvoir poursuivre sa formation chez un électricien, qu’il aurait due interrompre du jour au lendemain s’il avait été débouté. Mais cette victoire est pour lui bien amère, car tous ses amis attendent encore une décision de justice ou sont définitivement déboutés.

    Un système « kafkaïen »

    « C’est compliqué pour eux, car dans un premier temps ils trouvent un havre de paix et ensuite, on leur dit qu’ils doivent partir », indique une bénévole qui tente d’aider ces jeunes au maximum, mais qui éprouve un grand sentiment d’impuissance. « Il n’y a pas de vision globale de la personne, tout est toujours découpé : il y a un responsable pour les soins, un autre pour le logement, etc. La responsabilité est toujours rejetée sur un autre service et cela devient kafkaïen. »

    Une admission provisoire permettrait au moins aux requérants frappés d’une décision d’asile négative de suivre une formation et de travailler. Mais elle ne peut être délivrée que si le renvoi est contraire aux engagements de la Suisse dans le domaine du droit international, s’il met concrètement l’individu en danger ou s’il est matériellement non réalisable. « Les demandeurs d’asile érythréens déboutés qui font l’objet d’une décision de renvoi sont légalement obligés de quitter la Suisse, explique le Secrétariat d’État aux migrations (SEM). Actuellement les renvois forcés ne sont en effet pas possibles, mais les retours sur une base volontaire le sont. »

    Le SEM estime donc qu’il serait faux de donner une admission provisoire aux individus qui refusent de quitter le pays, simplement parce que la Suisse ne peut pas effectuer de renvoi forcé. « Cela récompenserait les personnes qui, dès le départ, font clairement savoir qu’elles ne respecteront pas leur obligation de quitter le pays, bien qu’elles n’aient pas besoin d’une protection suisse et qu’elles seraient contraintes de partir. »
    Aide limitée

    Le SEM rappelle que l’individu qui décide de rester malgré tout n’a plus droit à l’aide sociale, mais uniquement à l’aide d’urgence. L’objectif étant « de faire en sorte que les personnes concernées s’acquittent volontairement de leur obligation de quitter la Suisse en ne prévoyant plus d’incitations matérielles pour rester. »

    La remise de l’aide d’urgence et la gestion de ces requérants déboutés revient aux cantons, souvent désemparés face à cette population qui ne peut ni travailler, ni se former. « C’est compliqué de rester positif et de garder ces jeunes motivés », confie une éducatrice sociale qui travaille avec eux à Genève.

    Des Assises romandesLien externe sur la question des requérants déboutés privés de formation s’est tenue début février à Lausanne. Des apprentis, des patrons, des professionnels de l’asile et des enseignants ont lancé un appelLien externe pour exiger des autorités cantonales et fédérales de permettre aux jeunes de terminer leur formation, même en cas de décision d’asile négative.

    Des signatures sont aussi récoltées à Genève pour une pétition en ligne qui demande au canton de ne pas exclure les requérants d’asile érythréens de l’aide sociale et de leur permettre de se former et de travailler.

    Politique d’asile plus restrictive

    Toutefois, le mouvement de durcissement de la politique d’asile qui s’est opéré ces dernières années au niveau fédéral ne semble pas prêt de s’arrêter. Le SEM a publié en 2016 un nouveau rapportLien externe sur la situation en Érythrée et a effectué un tour de vis, confirmé par de récentes décisionsLien externe du Tribunal administratif fédéral. Les juges considèrent désormais que les demandeurs d’asile érythréens peuvent être renvoyés dans leur pays, même s’ils risquent d’être enrôlés dans l’armée à leur retour. Le SEM a entrepris le réexamen de plus de 3000 dossiers de requérants érythréens titulaires d’une admission provisoire, afin d’évaluer si un renvoi est exigible.

    Les associations de défense des migrants et la communauté érythréenne se mobilisent contre ces durcissements. Une manifestation réunissant 1500 personnes a eu lieu en mai dernier devant le Palais fédéral à Berne et une pétition munie de plus de 12’000 signatures a été déposée pour que l’asile soit accordé avec effet immédiat à toute personne menacée de mauvais traitements. Mais la Chambre haute du Parlement a refusé de donner suite à cette pétition, car elle soutient en grande majorité le durcissement opéré par le SEM.

    https://www.swissinfo.ch/fre/asile_bloqu%C3%A9s-en-suisse/44772002
    #limbe #attente #stranded_migrants #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Suisse #réfugiés_érythréens #Erythrée #statistiques #chiffres

  • On S’est Planté...

    Sincèrement, on s’est planté. L’inconfort précède le changement, et cette discussion que j’ai eue avec Félicien (Biais Vert) est fortement inconfortable et absolument NÉCESSAIRE.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvdckQKKz_Q&feature=youtu.be


    #marches_pour_le_climat #climat #résistance #marche_pour_le_climat #écologie #alarmisme #radicalité #continuité #urgence_climatique #attente #vidéo #stratégie #stratégies_de_lutte