• Greece is planning a €40m automated surveillance system at borders with North Macedonia and Albania

    The European Commission wants Greece to build an automated wall to prevent some people from leaving the country. Locals are not enthusiastic, but their opinion counts for little.
    Many people holding Syrian, Afghan, Somalian, Bangladeshi or Pakistani passports seeking asylum in the European Union move out of Greece when they have the feeling that their administrative situation will not improve there. The route to other EU countries through the Balkans starts in northern Greece, onward to either North Macedonia or Albania. Greek police, it is said, are quite relaxed about people leaving the country.

    “We have many people who pass our area who want to go to Europe,” says Konstantinos Sionidis, the mayor of Paionia, a working-class municipality of 30,000 at Greece’s northern border. “It’s not a pleasant situation for us,” he adds.

    But leaving via Paionia is getting more difficult. In May 2023, Frontex guards started patrolling at North Macedonia’s border. Near the highway, one young woman from Sierra Leone said she and her friend tried to leave four times in the past month. Once, they got as far as the Serbian border. The other times, they were arrested immediately in North Macedonia at night, coming out of the forest, by Frontex officers asking “Do you want to go to Germany?” (No.) “They don’t want us here [in Greece],” she says. “Let us go!”

    However, the European Commission has plans to make it harder for people to travel through North Macedonia (and other parts of the Western Balkan route). According to a national programming document for the 2021 - 2027 EU “border management” funding for Greek authorities, €47m are budgeted to build an “automated border surveillance system” at Greece’s borders with North Macedonia and Albania. The new system shall explicitly be modeled on the one already deployed at the land border with Türkiye, along the Evros river.
    The virtual border wall

    Evros is described as a surveillance “testing ground.” (https://www.dw.com/en/is-greece-failing-to-deploy-eu-funded-surveillance-system-at-turkish-border-as-intended/a-63055306) In the early 2000s, police used thermal cameras and binoculars to spot people attempting to cross the border. As Greece and other Member-States increased their efforts to keep people out of the EU, more funding came in for drones, heartbeat detectors, more border guards – and for an “automated border surveillance system.”

    In 2021, the Greek government unveiled dozens of surveillance towers, equipped with cameras, radars and heat sensors. Officials claimed these would be able to alert regional police stations when detecting people approaching the border. At the time, media outlets raved about this 24-hour “electronic shield” (https://www.kathimerini.gr/society/561551092/ilektroniki-aspida-ston-evro-se-leitoyrgia-kameres-kai-rantar) that would “seal” (https://www.staratalogia.gr/2021/10/blog-post_79.html#google_vignette) Evros with cameras that can see “up to 15 km” into Türkiye (https://meaculpa.gr/stithikan-oi-pylones-ston-evro-oi-kamer).

    Greece is not the first country to buy into the vision of automated, omnipotent border surveillance. The German Democratic Republic installed automated rifles near the border with West-Germany, for instance. But the origin of the current trend towards automated borders lies in the United States. In the 1970s, sensors originally built for deployment in Vietnam were installed at the Mexican border. Since then, “the relationship between surveillance and law enforcement has been one between salespeople and officers who are not experts,” says Dave Maas, an investigator at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Somebody buys surveillance towers, leaves office and three administrations later, people are like: ‘Hey, this did not deliver as promised’, and then the new person is like: ‘Well I wasn’t the one who paid for it, so here is my next idea’.”

    At the US-Mexico border, the towers are “like a scarecrow,” says Geoff Boyce, who used to direct the Earlham College Border Studies Program in Arizona. His research showed that, in cases where migrants could see the towers, they took longer, more dangerous routes to avoid detection. “People are dying outside the visual range of the towers.”

    No data is available that would hint that the Greek system is different. While the Greek government shares little information about the system in Evros, former minister for citizen protection Takis Theodorikakos mentioned it earlier this year in a parliamentary session. He claimed that the border surveillance system in Evros had been used to produce the official statistics for people deterred at the Evros border in 2022 (https://www.astynomia.gr/2023/01/03/03-01-2022-koino-deltio-typou-ypourgeiou-prostasias-tou-politi-kai-ellinik). But thermal cameras, for example, cannot show an exact number of people, or even differentiate people from animals.

    In Evros, the automated border surveillance system was also intended to be used for search-and-rescue missions. Last year, a group of asylum-seekers were stranded on an islet on the Evros river for nearly a month. Deutsche Welle reported that a nearby pylon with heat sensors and cameras should have been able to immediately locate the group. Since then, authorities have continued to be accused of delaying rescue missions.

    “At the border, it is sometimes possible to see people stranded with your own eyes,” says Lena Karamanidou, who has been researching border violence in Evros for decades. “And [they] are saying the cameras that can see up to 15 kilometers into Türkiye can’t see them.”
    Keeping people in

    In contrast to the system in Evros, the aim of the newly planned automated border surveillance systems appears to be to stop people from leaving Greece. Current policing practices there are very different from those at Evros.

    At Greece’s border with North Macedonia, “we’ve heard reports that the police were actively encouraging people to leave the country,” says Manon Louis of the watchdog organization Border Violence Monitoring Network. “In testimonies collected by BVMN, people have reported that the Greek police dropped them off at the Macedonian border.”

    “It’s an open secret,” says Alexander Gkatsis from Open Cultural Center, a nonprofit in the center of Paionia, “everybody in this area knows.”

    Thirty years ago, lots of people came from Albania to Paionia, when there were more jobs in clothing factories and agriculture, many of which are now done by machines. These days, the region is struggling with unemployment and low wages. In 2015, it drew international media attention for hosting the infamous Idomeni camp. Sionidis, the Paionia mayor, says he didn’t know anything about plans for an automated border system until we asked him.

    “The migration policy is decided by the minister of migration in Athens,” says Sionidis. He was also not consulted on Frontex coming to Paionia a few years ago. But he readily admits that his municipality is but one small pawn in a Europe-wide negotiation. “[Brussels and Athens] have to make one decision for the whole European border,” says Sionidis, “If we don’t have the electronic wall here, then we won’t have it at Evros.”


    #Albanie #Macédoine_du_Nord #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #barrières #fermeture_des_frontières #Grèce #frontières_terrestres #surveillance #contrôles_frontaliers #technologie #complexe_militaro-industriel #Paionia #militarisation_des_frontières #Frontex #border_management #automated_border_surveillance_system #Evros #efficacité #inefficacité #caméra_thermiques

  • EU’s AI Act Falls Short on Protecting Rights at Borders

    Despite years of tireless advocacy by a coalition of civil society and academics (including the author), the European Union’s new law regulating artificial intelligence falls short on protecting the most vulnerable. Late in the night on Friday, Dec. 8, the European Parliament reached a landmark deal on its long-awaited Act to Govern Artificial Intelligence (AI Act). After years of meetings, lobbying, and hearings, the EU member states, Commission, and the Parliament agreed on the provisions of the act, awaiting technical meetings and formal approval before the final text of the legislation is released to the public. A so-called “global first” and racing ahead of the United States, the EU’s bill is the first ever regional attempt to create an omnibus AI legislation. Unfortunately, this bill once again does not sufficiently recognize the vast human rights risks of border technologies and should go much further protecting the rights of people on the move.

    From surveillance drones patrolling the Mediterranean to vast databases collecting sensitive biometric information to experimental projects like robo-dogs and AI lie detectors, every step of a person’s migration journey is now impacted by risky and unregulated border technology projects. These technologies are fraught with privacy infringements, discriminatory decision-making, and even impact the life, liberty, and security of person seeking asylum. They also impact procedural rights, muddying responsibility over opaque and discretionary decisions and lacking clarity in mechanisms of redress when something goes wrong.

    The EU’s AI Act could have been a landmark global standard for the protection of the rights of the most vulnerable. But once again, it does not provide the necessary safeguards around border technologies. For example, while recognizing that some border technologies could fall under the high-risk category, it is not yet clear what, if any, border tech projects will be included in the final high-risk category of projects that are subject to transparency obligations, human rights impact assessments, and greater scrutiny. The Act also has various carveouts and exemptions in place, for example for matters of national security, which can encapsulate technologies used in migration and border enforcement. And crucial discussions around bans on high-risk technologies in migration never even made it into the Parliament’s final deal terms at all. Even the bans which have been announced, for example around emotion recognition, are only in place in the workplace and education, not at the border. Moreover, what exactly is banned remains to be seen, and outstanding questions to be answered in the final text include the parameters around predictive policing as well as the exceptions to the ban on real-time biometric surveillance, still allowed in instances of a “threat of terrorism,” targeted search for victims, or the prosecution of serious crimes. It is also particularly troubling that the AI Act explicitly leaves room for technologies which are of particular appetite for Frontex, the EU’s border force. Frontex released its AI strategy on Nov. 9, signaling an appetite for predictive tools and situational analysis technology. These tools, which when used without safeguards, can facilitate illegal border interdiction operations, including “pushbacks,” in which the agency has been investigated. The Protect Not Surveil Coalition has been trying to influence European policy makers to ban predictive analytics used for the purposes of border enforcement. Unfortunately, no migration tech bans at all seem to be in the final Act.

    The lack of bans and red lines under the high-risk uses of border technologies in the EU’s position is in opposition to years of academic research as well as international guidance, such as by then-U.N. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, E. Tendayi Achiume. For example, a recently released report by the University of Essex and the UN’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (OHCHR), which I co-authored with Professor Lorna McGregor, argues for a human rights based approach to digital border technologies, including a moratorium on the most high risk border technologies such as border surveillance, which pushes people on the move into dangerous terrain and can even assist with illegal border enforcement operations such as forced interdictions, or “pushbacks.” The EU did not take even a fraction of this position on border technologies.

    While it is promising to see strict regulation of high-risk AI systems such as self-driving cars or medical equipment, why are the risks of unregulated AI technologies at the border allowed to continue unabated? My work over the last six years spans borders from the U.S.-Mexico corridor to the fringes of Europe to East Africa and beyond, and I have witnessed time and again how technological border violence operates in an ecosystem replete with the criminalization of migration, anti-migrant sentiments, overreliance on the private sector in an increasingly lucrative border industrial complex, and deadly practices of border enforcement, leading to thousands of deaths at borders. From vast biometric data collected without consent in refugee camps, to algorithms replacing visa officers and making discriminatory decisions, to AI lie detectors used at borders to discern apparent liars, the roll out of unregulated technologies is ever-growing. The opaque and discretionary world of border enforcement and immigration decision-making is built on societal structures which are underpinned by intersecting systemic racism and historical discrimination against people migrating, allowing for high-risk technological experimentation to thrive at the border.

    The EU’s weak governance on border technologies will allow for more and more experimental projects to proliferate, setting a global standard on how governments will approach migration technologies. The United States is no exception, and in an upcoming election year where migration will once again be in the spotlight, there does not seem to be much incentive to regulate technologies at the border. The Biden administration’s recently released Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence does not offer a regulatory framework for these high-risk technologies, nor does it discuss the impacts of border technologies on people migrating, including taking a human rights based approach to the vast impacts of these projects on people migrating. Unfortunately, the EU often sets a precedent for how other countries govern technology. With the weak protections offered by the EU AI act on border technologies, it is no surprise that the U.S. government is emboldened to do as little as possible to protect people on the move from harmful technologies.

    But real people already are at the centre of border technologies. People like Mr. Alvarado, a young husband and father from Latin America in his early 30s who perished mere kilometers away from a major highway in Arizona, in search of a better life. I visited his memorial site after hours of trekking through the beautiful yet deadly Sonora desert with a search-and-rescue group. For my upcoming book, The Walls have Eyes: Surviving Migration in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, I was documenting the growing surveillance dragnet of the so-called smart border that pushes people to take increasingly dangerous routes, leading to increasing loss of life at the U.S.-Mexico border. Border technologies as a deterrent simply do not work. People desperate for safety – and exercising their internationally protected right to asylum – will not stop coming. They will instead more circuitous routes, and scholars like Geoffrey Boyce and Samuel Chambers have already documented a threefold increase in deaths at the U.S.-Mexico frontier as the so-called smart border expands. In the not so distant future, will people like Mr. Alvarado be pursued by the Department of Homeland Security’s recently announced robo-dogs, a military grade technology that is sometimes armed?

    It is no accident that more robust governance around migration technologies is not forthcoming. Border spaces increasingly serve as testing grounds for new technologies, places where regulation is deliberately limited and where an “anything goes” frontier attitude informs the development and deployment of surveillance at the expense of people’s lives. There is also big money to be made in developing and selling high risk technologies. Why does the private sector get to time and again determine what we innovate on and why, in often problematic public-private partnerships which states are increasingly keen to make in today’s global AI arms race? For example, whose priorities really matter when we choose to create violent sound cannons or AI-powered lie detectors at the border instead of using AI to identify racist border guards? Technology replicates power structures in society. Unfortunately, the viewpoints of those most affected are routinely excluded from the discussion, particularly around areas of no-go-zones or ethically fraught usages of technology.

    Seventy-seven border walls and counting are now cutting across the landscape of the world. They are both physical and digital, justifying broader surveillance under the guise of detecting illegal migrants and catching terrorists, creating suitable enemies we can all rally around. The use of military, or quasi-military, autonomous technology bolsters the connection between immigration and national security. None of these technologies, projects, and sets of decisions are neutral. All technological choices – choices about what to count, who counts, and why – have an inherently political dimension and replicate biases that render certain communities at risk of being harmed, communities that are already under-resourced, discriminated against, and vulnerable to the sharpening of borders all around the world.

    As is once again clear with the EU’s AI Act and the direction of U.S. policy on AI so far, the impacts on real people seems to have been forgotten. Kowtowing to industry and making concessions for the private sector not to stifle innovation does not protect people, especially those most marginalized. Human rights standards and norms are the bare minimum in the growing panopticon of border technologies. More robust and enforceable governance mechanisms are needed to regulate the high-risk experiments at borders and migration management, including a moratorium on violent technologies and red lines under military-grade technologies, polygraph machines, and predictive analytics used for border interdictions, at the very least. These laws and governance mechanisms must also include efforts at local, regional, and international levels, as well as global co-operation and commitment to a human-rights based approach to the development and deployment of border technologies. However, in order for more robust policy making on border technologies to actually affect change, people with lived experiences of migration must also be in the driver’s seat when interrogating both the negative impacts of technology as well as the creative solutions that innovation can bring to the complex stories of human movement.


    #droits #frontières #AI #IA #intelligence_artificielle #Artificial_Intelligence_Act #AI_act #UE #EU #drones #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée #droits_humains #technologie #risques #surveillance #discrimination #transparence #contrôles_migratoires #Frontex #push-backs #refoulements #privatisation #business #complexe_militaro-industriel #morts_aux_frontières #biométrie #données #racisme #racisme_systémique #expérimentation #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes #pouvoir #murs #barrières_frontalières #terrorisme

    • The Walls Have Eyes. Surviving Migration in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

      A chilling exposé of the inhumane and lucrative sharpening of borders around the globe through experimental surveillance technology

      “Racism, technology, and borders create a cruel intersection . . . more and more people are getting caught in the crosshairs of an unregulated and harmful set of technologies touted to control borders and ‘manage migration,’ bolstering a multibillion-dollar industry.” —from the introduction

      In 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it was training “robot dogs” to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border against migrants. Four-legged machines equipped with cameras and sensors would join a network of drones and automated surveillance towers—nicknamed the “smart wall.” This is part of a worldwide trend: as more people are displaced by war, economic instability, and a warming planet, more countries are turning to A.I.-driven technology to “manage” the influx.

      Based on years of researching borderlands across the world, lawyer and anthropologist Petra Molnar’s The Walls Have Eyes is a truly global story—a dystopian vision turned reality, where your body is your passport and matters of life and death are determined by algorithm. Examining how technology is being deployed by governments on the world’s most vulnerable with little regulation, Molnar also shows us how borders are now big business, with defense contractors and tech start-ups alike scrambling to capture this highly profitable market.

      With a foreword by former U.N. Special Rapporteur E. Tendayi Achiume, The Walls Have Eyes reveals the profound human stakes, foregrounding the stories of people on the move and the daring forms of resistance that have emerged against the hubris and cruelty of those seeking to use technology to turn human beings into problems to be solved.

      #livre #Petra_Molnar

  • Finland: Concern over right to seek asylum and need for human rights safeguards after full closure of Eastern land border

    In a letter addressed to the Minister of Interior of Finland, #Mari_Rantanen, published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, raises concerns about the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants following the temporary closure of Finland’s Eastern land border.

    While acknowledging concerns about the potential instrumentalisation by the Russian Federation of the movement of asylum seekers and migrants, “it is crucial that Council of Europe member states, even when dealing with challenging situations at their borders, react in a manner that fully aligns with their human rights obligations”, writes the Commissioner.

    The Commissioner expresses her concern that decisions to restrict and subsequently close access to the border may impact notably on the right to seek asylum, as well as the principle of non-refoulement and prohibition of collective expulsion. She asks for several clarifications on safeguards implemented and measures taken to ensure human rights protection, and to prevent a humanitarian crisis from unfolding in the context of worsening weather conditions at the border.

    The letter follows up on previous dialogue regarding legislative amendments allowing the Finnish government to restrict access to the border and concentrate applications for international protection at one or more crossing points.

    Read the Commissioner’s letter addressed to the Minister of Interior of Finland: https://rm.coe.int/letter-to-the-minister-of-interior-of-finland-concerning-the-human-rig/1680adab75


    #Finlande #frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #fermeture_des_frontières #lettre #Russie

    • Il confine tra Russia e Finlandia è «un inferno fatto di ghiaccio».

      Il governo finlandese chiude i valichi di frontiera fino al 14 gennaio.

      Il 14 dicembre 2023, in una sessione straordinaria, il governo finlandese ha deciso la chiusura dell’intero confine orientale della Finlandia con la Russia. I valichi di frontiera di #Imatra, #Kuusamo, #Niirala, #Nuijamaa, #Raja-Jooseppi, #Salla, #Vaalimaa e #Vartius sono stati chiusi e lo saranno fino al 14 gennaio 2024. «Di conseguenza, le domande di protezione internazionale alle frontiere esterne della Finlandia saranno ricevute solo dai valichi di frontiera degli aeroporti e dei porti marittimi» ha comunicato il governo guidato da Petteri Orpo, entrato in carica il 20 giugno scorso.

      La decisione, motivata dalla difesa della sicurezza nazionale e l’ordine pubblico in Finlandia, è avvenuta nello stesso giorno in cui si erano riaperti due valichi di frontiera, dopo una prima chiusura di tutto il confine iniziata il 18 novembre 2023.

      Il governo di Helsinki accusa il governo russo di aver orchestrato l’arrivo dei richiedenti asilo ai valichi di frontiera come ritorsione per l’adesione del Paese nordico all’alleanza militare della NATO, formalizzata il 4 aprile scorso.

      «Questo è un segno che le autorità russe stanno continuando la loro operazione ibrida contro la Finlandia. È una cosa che non tollereremo», ha dichiarato la ministra dell’Interno Mari Rantanen.

      Intanto anche la Lettonia e la Lituania 2 stanno prendendo in considerazione l’idea di chiudere le loro frontiere.

      Per far fronte alla situazione sul confine orientale la guardia di frontiera ha chiesto supporto a Frontex (Agenzia europea della guardia di frontiera e costiera), che aveva già inviato personale alla fine di novembre in Carelia settentrionale (una regione storica, la parte più orientale della Finlandia).

      Oltre alla sorveglianza del territorio, l’adesione della Finlandia alla Nato porterà alla costruzione di una recinzione sul confine con la Russia che è lungo 1.340 chilometri. L’opera richiede circa 380 milioni di euro e dai tre ai quattro anni di tempo per essere completata. Rappresenterà la struttura fisica di “protezione” più lunga tra il blocco dell’alleanza atlantica e la Federazione russa.

      I lavori di costruzione della barriera, che sarà situata sul confine sud-orientale per una lunghezza complessiva di circa 200 km, sono partiti con una prima recinzione pilota di circa 3 chilometri che è stata costruita a Pelkola.


      Ora è iniziata l’implementazione della fase successiva, che prevede la costruzione di circa 70 chilometri di barriera ai valichi di frontiera e nell’area circostante nel periodo 2024-2025. La barriera, secondo quanto riporta la guardia di frontiera, è una combinazione di una recinzione, una strada adiacente, un’apertura libera da alberi e un sistema di sorveglianza tecnica. Quest’ultimo è definito come uno strumento importante per il controllo delle frontiere.

      In occasione della prima chiusura dei valichi di frontiera, avvenuta nel mese di novembre, diverse istituzioni e ONG hanno criticato questa scelta che compromette il diritto a chiedere asilo. Da Amnesty international all’UNHCR fino al Commissario per l’uguaglianza finlandese.

      Fra le prese di posizione anche quella della Commissaria per i diritti umani del Consiglio d’Europa, Dunja Mijatović, che in una lettera alla Ministra degli Interni finlandese, Mari Rantanen, ha ricordato che «è fondamentale che gli Stati membri del Consiglio d’Europa, anche in situazioni difficili alle loro frontiere, reagiscono in modo pienamente conforme ai loro obblighi in materia di diritti umani». Ha, inoltre, chiesto chiarimenti sulle salvaguardie attuate e sulle misure adottate per garantire la tutela dei diritti umani e per evitare che si verifichi una crisi umanitaria a causa del peggioramento delle condizioni meteorologiche.

      In un comunicato del mese di dicembre, Amnesty International 3 ha affermato che «chiedere asilo è un diritto umano. Il Ministro degli Interni Rantanen sta ignorando i richiedenti asilo e la loro situazione in modo disumano. Nel mondo ci sono più persone che sono state costrette a lasciare le loro case che mai, e limitare il diritto di chiedere asilo non è la risposta».

      L’organizzazione per i diritti umani ha sottolineato che dalle loro precedenti ricerche si è dimostrato che la chiusura delle frontiere ha aumentato la violenza e spinto le persone in cerca di asilo su rotte ancora più pericolose.

      «Nel profondo sono davvero disperato e spero solo che arrivino giorni migliori, il prima possibile. Mi sento come se vivessi in un inferno fatto di ghiaccio, dove la mia vita è arrivata a un punto in cui non c’è via d’uscita, la fine del mio lungo cammino da quando ho lasciato il mio Paese, la Siria». E’ la testimonianza di Nasser, siriano di 43 anni, raccolta da InfoMigrants 4.

      Secondo le informazioni diffuse dal governo finlandese la chiusura dei valichi di frontiera è prevista fino al 14 gennaio. Sarà da capire se questa decisione verrà prorogata e cosa ne è del diritto di asilo in Finlandia.

      1. Studentessa di lettere moderne a Padova. Proseguirò i miei studi con una magistrale in relazioni internazionali in quanto sono molto interessata alla politica, internazionale e al sociale
      2. Border Closure Raises Fears Among Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Ecre (15 dicembre 2023)
      3. Il comunicato stampa (finlandese)
      4. Stuck at the Russian-Finnish border: ‘I feel that I will die here, in the cold’, Michaël Da Costa – InfoMigrants (4 dicembre 2023)


      #sécurité_nationale #ordre_public #Frontex #murs #barrières_frontalières #Pelkola #technologie #asile #droit_d'asile

    • Entre 2 000 et 3 000 migrants massés à la frontière russo-finlandaise, toujours fermée

      Entre 2 000 et 3 000 exilés sont actuellement bloqués à la frontière russo-finlandaise, fermée totalement depuis décembre 2023 et jusqu’en février prochain. Helsinki accuse Moscou d’avoir orchestré cet afflux de migrants pour déstabiliser la Finlande, après son adhésion à l’OTAN en avril dernier. Les relations diplomatiques entre les deux pays n’ont cessé de se dégrader depuis l’offensive russe en Ukraine en 2022.

      La pression migratoire s’accroît à la frontière russo-finlandaise. Entre 2 000 et 3 000 migrants sont actuellement bloqués dans la zone frontalière, depuis la fermeture totale de la frontière finlandaise orientale en décembre 2023.

      Le pays scandinave reproche à la Russie de laisser passer délibérément un flux de migrants sur le sol finlandais, à des fins politiques, pour ébranler l’Union européenne (UE). De son côté, le Kremlin nie et rejette ces accusations.

      Selon Le Monde, la plupart des migrants sont entrés légalement en Russie avant de bénéficier de la complicité d’agents de police russes pour les déposer à la frontière finlandaise qu’ils franchissent en vélo, le franchissement à pied étant interdit.

      D’après Euronews, les exilés payent jusqu’à 6 000 euros les passeurs pour atteindre la frontière finlandaise. Dans un témoignage aux Observateurs de France 24, un passeur a également expliqué soudoyer des garde-frontières finlandais pour laisser passer les migrants : « On donne 500 dollars [457 euros, ndlr] aux garde-frontières par migrant ». Depuis la fermeture de la frontière, les passages réussis sont cependant plus rares - voire impossibles. La semaine dernière, quatre migrants ont été interpellés par les garde-frontières finlandais à Parikkala, en Carélie du Sud, alors qu’ils tentaient de franchir la frontière.
      Volume inhabituel de demandeurs d’asile

      Depuis début août 2023, les autorités finlandaises assure que près de 1 000 demandeurs d’asile sans-papiers, originaires de Somalie, du Yémen ou encore d’Irak, se sont présentés aux postes-frontières séparant les deux pays, pour entrer en Finlande. Un volume inhabituel pour le petit pays nordique de 5,5 millions d’habitants, qui comptabilise d’ordinaire plutôt une dizaine de demandeurs d’asile chaque mois à cette frontière.

      En réponse à ces mouvements de population, la Finlande a renforcé ses patrouilles le long de sa frontière. Elle a fait état sur X (ex-Twitter) de « plus de patrouilles que d’habitude, un contrôle technique plus étendu et un équipement plus polyvalent que d’habitude pour les patrouilles ». L’agence des garde-côtes européenne Frontex a également déployé 55 agents à la frontière finlandaise début décembre.


      La Finlande a, par ailleurs, entamé en février 2023 la construction d’une clôture de trois mètres de hauteur sur 200 km à sa frontière avec la Russie, longue de 1 340 km, pour anticiper les futurs mouvements de populations.
      Détérioration des relations entre la Finlande et la Russie

      Helsinki accuse aussi le Kremlin de lui faire payer le prix de sa coopération militaire avec les États-Unis. Le 18 décembre dernier, Washington a signé un accord lui permettant d’accéder à 15 bases militaires en Finlande, et d’y prépositionner du matériel.

      Pendant des années, la Finlande a refusé de rejoindre l’Organisation du traité de l’Atlantique nord (OTAN) pour éviter de contrarier son voisin russe. Mais les relations entre les deux pays se sont progressivement dégradées depuis l’invasion russe en l’Ukraine, en février 2022. En avril 2023, la Finlande a finalement rejoint l’OTAN, craignant que l’offensive russe ne s’étende à d’autres pays limitrophes. De son côté, Vladimir Poutine a accusé les Occidentaux d’avoir « entraîné la Finlande dans l’Otan » et affirmé que cette adhésion allait créer des « problèmes » là où il n’y « en avait pas ».


    • Finland extended the closure of crossing points at the border with Russia until at least mid-April yesterday.

      This also means that no asylum applications can be submitted there.

      🇫🇮 first started closing the border in November, after the arrival of hundreds of asylum seekers.


  • "Wie ein zweiter Tod"

    Am griechisch-türkischen Grenzfluss Evros enden Versuche, in die EU zu gelangen, immer wieder mit dem Tod. Die Verstorbenen werden oft spät gefunden und bleiben namenlos - ein Trauma für die Angehörigen.

    Am 17. Oktober 2022 überquert die 22-jährige Suhur den Evros, den Grenzfluss zwischen der Türkei und Griechenland. Ein Schlepper verspricht der Frau aus Somalia, sie bis nach Thessaloniki zu bringen. Auf der griechischen Seite angekommen, geht es schnell weiter durch einen Wald.

    Doch Suhur hat starke Bauchschmerzen, nach einigen Kilometern kann sie nicht mehr weiterlaufen. Die anderen aus der Gruppe lassen sie alleine zurück, ihre Freundin verspricht Hilfe zu suchen. Doch dazu dazu kommt es nicht. Tage später findet die Polizei ihre Leiche.

    Es ist Suhurs Onkel Fahti, der ihre Geschichte erzählt, nachdem er ihre Leiche im Universitätskrankenhaus in Alexandroupoli identifiziert hat.
    Engmaschige Kontrollen entlang des Ufers

    Suhur ist eine von vielen Menschen, die versuchen, über den Evros zu gelangen, um Europa zu erreichen. Der Fluss markiert eine Außengrenze der Europäischen Union. Entlang der griechischen Uferseite allerdings wird engmaschig kontrolliert, regelmäßig sind unterschiedliche Polizeieinheiten in der Gegend unterwegs.

    In der Grenzzone selbst ist der Zutritt streng verboten, nur mit Sondererlaubnis darf man in die Nähe des Flusses gehen. Seit 2020 wird ein Grenzzaun errichtet, 38 Kilometer ist er bereits lang, er soll Migranten von einem illegalen Übertritt abhalten.

    Weiterhin traurige Rekorde

    Doch offenbar verfehlen die Maßnahmen ihre erwünschte Wirkung. So erreichten allein im Jahr 2022 laut UNHCR 6022 Flüchtlinge über den Landweg Griechenland, das sind ähnlich hohe Zahlen wie vor der Verschärfung der Kontrollen.

    Einen traurigen Rekord stellt die Zahl der Toten auf, die gefunden werden. Mindestens 63 Menschen sind nach offiziellen Angaben auf der Flucht gestorben, die tatsächlichen Zahlen dürften noch deutlich höher liegen.


    Ein Rechtsmediziner zählt die Toten

    In Alexandroupoli, auf griechischer Seite, arbeitet Pavlos Pavlidis als Rechtsmediziner der Region. Jeder am Evros gefundene tote Flüchtling wird von ihm obduziert.

    Pavlidis führt Protokoll über die Anzahl der Toten am Evros. Auch der tote Körper der Somalierin Suhur wurde ihm aus einem Waldstück nahe des Flusses gebracht.

    Aus London angereist, um die Nichte zu identifizieren

    Nun sitzt ihr Onkel Fahti auf einem Sofa in seinem Büro. Sie sei eine wunderschöne Frau gewesen, sagt er. Fathi ist aus London angereist, um seine Nichte zu identifizieren.

    Die Freundin von Suhur, so erzählt es Fathi, habe sich der griechischen Polizei gestellt, um sie zu der schwer erkrankten Suhur zu führen. Doch die Polizei habe nicht nach ihr gesucht, und die Freundin sofort zurück in die Türkei abgeschoben.

    Verifizieren lässt sich diese Version der Geschehnisse nicht mehr. Die „Push-Back“-Praxis, das Abschieben von Migranten ohne Verfahren, wurde offiziell nie von der griechischen Regierung bestätigt.Trotzdem gibt es viele ähnliche Berichte von Betroffenen.

    Rechtsmediziner Pavlidis hat Suhurs toten Körper obduziert und kommt zu dem Ergebnis: Die junge Frau habe auf der Flucht einen Magendurchbruch erlitten, voraussichtlich hervorgerufen durch großen Stress. Am Ende sei sie an einer Sepsis gestorben. Durch Erschöpfung hervorgerufene Krankheiten seien eine häufige Todesursache am Evros, die häufigste aber Ertrinken im Fluss.

    Viel Flüchtlinge können kaum schwimmen

    Pavlidis sagt, die Verantwortung für die vielen Toten trügen zunächst die Schlepper, die die Schlauchboote völlig überladen, so, dass sie schnell kenterten. Viele Flüchtlinge könnten kaum schwimmen, so werde der Fluss zur Gefahr für ihr Leben.

    Die Flüchtlinge selbst unterschätzen offenbar die Gefährlichkeit der Überfahrt. Aber auch die strenge Abschirmung der Grenze bedeutet für sie eine Gefahr. Um den Grenzschützern auszuweichen, schlagen sie immer gefährlichere Routen ein.

    Wer aufgegriffen wird, muss Angst haben, abgeschoben zu werden. Verletzt sich einer aus der Gruppe, muss dieser damit rechnen, alleine zurückgelassen zu werden. Denn Hilfe zu holen, würde für alle bedeuten, dass ihre teuer bezahlte Flucht erst einmal gestoppt ist.

    Aktuell 52 ungeklärte Todesfälle

    Immer wieder findet die Polizei Tote also auch in den bewaldeten Bergen entlang des Flusses. Die Leichen sind schon nach wenigen Tagen kaum noch zu identifizieren. Pavlidis versucht es trotzdem, sucht nach Todesursache und Todeszeitpunkt und nach Antworten auf die Frage, wer ist dieser Mensch war.

    Aktuell erzählt Pavlidis von 52 ungeklärten Fällen. Hinter jedem einzelnen stünden Angehörige, die diese Menschen vermissten. Die Identität zu verlieren, sei wie ein zweiter Tod, sagt der Rechtsmediziner.

    Etwa 200 Grabsteine erinnern an die namenlosen Toten

    Um den namenlosen Toten eine letzte Ruhestätte zu geben, entstand in dem in den Bergen, nahe der Gemeinde Sidiro, ein Friedhof, der ihnen gewidmet ist. Etwa 200 Grabsteine stehen hier auf einer leichten Anhöhe. Auf den Platten stehen Nummern. Pavlidis führt eine Liste mit den entsprechenden Nummern in seinem Büro.

    Falls doch irgendwann ein Angehöriger zu ihm käme und mit Hilfe einer DNA-Probe einen Toten identifiziere, könne der auf dem Friedhof der Namenlosen ausgegraben und umgebettet werden.

    Im Fall der Somalierin Suhur ist Pavlidis eine Identifizierung gelungen. Ihr Onkel Fathi lebte wochenlang mit der Ungewissheit, was seiner Nichte geschehen sein könnte.

    Nachdem er bei der griechischen Polizei eine Suchanzeige abgegeben hat, lebt er nun mit der brutalen Gewissheit, dass Suhur gestorben ist. Wenigstens habe er nun Klarheit, sagt er, so dass seine Familie und er nun von Suhur Abschied nehmen könnten.


    #frontières #mourir_aux_frontières #morts_aux_frontières #Evros #fleuve #Turquie #Grèce #Pavlos_Pavlidis #cimetière #migrations #asile #réfugiés #identification #murs #barrières_frontalières

  • Le #village_sous_la_forêt, de #Heidi_GRUNEBAUM et #Mark_KAPLAN

    En #1948, #Lubya a été violemment détruit et vidé de ses habitants par les forces militaires israéliennes. 343 villages palestiniens ont subi le même sort. Aujourd’hui, de #Lubya, il ne reste plus que des vestiges, à peine visibles, recouverts d’une #forêt majestueuse nommée « Afrique du Sud ». Les vestiges ne restent pas silencieux pour autant.

    La chercheuse juive sud-africaine, #Heidi_Grunebaum se souvient qu’étant enfant elle versait de l’argent destiné officiellement à planter des arbres pour « reverdir le désert ».

    Elle interroge les acteurs et les victimes de cette tragédie, et révèle une politique d’effacement délibérée du #Fonds_national_Juif.

    « Le Fonds National Juif a planté 86 parcs et forêts de pins par-dessus les décombres des villages détruits. Beaucoup de ces forêts portent le nom des pays, ou des personnalités célèbres qui les ont financés. Ainsi il y a par exemple la Forêt Suisse, le Parc Canada, le Parc britannique, la Forêt d’Afrique du Sud et la Forêt Correta King ».


    Trailer :


    #israel #palestine #carte #Israël #afrique_du_sud #forêt #documentaire

    #film #documentaire #film_documentaire

    (copier-coller de ce post de 2014 : https://seenthis.net/messages/317236)

    • Documentary Space, Place, and Landscape

      In documentaries of the occupied West Bank, erasure is imaged in the wall that sunders families and communities, in the spaces filled with blackened tree stumps of former olive groves, now missing to ensure “security,” and in the cactus that still grows, demarcating cultivated land whose owners have been expelled.

      This materiality of the landscape becomes figural, such that Shehadeh writes, “[w]hen you are exiled from your land … you begin, like a pornographer, to think about it in symbols. You articulate your love for your land in its absence, and in the process transform it into something else.’’[x] The symbolization reifies and, in this process, something is lost, namely, a potential for thinking differently. But in these Palestinian films we encounter a documenting of the now of everyday living that unfixes such reification. This is a storytelling of vignettes, moments, digressions, stories within stories, and postponed endings. These are stories of interaction, of something happening, in a documenting of a being and doing now, while awaiting a future yet to be known, and at the same time asserting a past history to be remembered through these images and sounds. Through this there arises the accenting of these films, to draw on Hamid Naficy’s term, namely a specific tone of a past—the Nakba or catastrophe—as a continuing present, insofar as the conflict does not allow Palestinians to imagine themselves in a determinate future of place and landscape they can call their own, namely a state.[xi]

      In Hanna Musleh’s I’m a Little Angel (2000), we follow the children of families, both Muslim and Christian, in the area of Bethlehem affected by the 2000 Israeli armed forces attacks and occupation.[xii] One small boy, Nicola, suffered the loss of an arm when he was hit by a shell when walking to church with his mother. His kite, seen flying high in the sky, brings delighted shrieks from Nicola as he plays on the family terrace from which the town and its surrounding hills are visible in the distance. But the contrast between the freedom of the kite in this unlimited vista and his reduced capacity is palpable as he struggles to control it with his remaining hand. The containment of both Nicola and his community is figured in opposition to a possible freedom. What is also required of us is to think not of freedom from the constraints of disability, but of freedom with disability, in a future to be made after. The constraints introduced upon the landscape by the occupation, however, make the future of such living indeterminate and uncertain. Here is the “cinema of the lived,”[xiii] of multiple times of past and present, of possible and imagined future time, and the actualized present, each of which is encountered in the movement in a singular space of Nicola and his kite.

      #cactus #paysage

    • Memory of the Cactus

      A 42 minute documentary film that combines the cactus and the memories it stands for. The film addresses the story of the destruction of the Palestinian villages of Latroun in the Occupied West Bank and the forcible transfer of their civilian population in 1967. Over 40 years later, the Israeli occupation continues, and villagers remain displaced. The film follows two separate but parallel journeys. Aisha Um Najeh takes us down the painful road that Palestinians have been forcefully pushed down, separating them in time and place from the land they nurtured; while Israelis walk freely through that land, enjoying its fruits. The stems of the cactus, however, take a few of them to discover the reality of the crime committed.


    • Aujourd’hui, j’ai re-regardé le film « Le village sous la forêt », car je vais le projeter à mes étudiant·es dans le cadre du cours de #géographie_culturelle la semaine prochaine.

      Voici donc quelques citations tirées du film :

      Sur une des boîtes de récolte d’argent pour planter des arbres en Palestine, c’est noté « make wilderness bloom » :

      Voici les panneaux de quelques parcs et forêts créés grâce aux fonds de la #diaspora_juive :

      Projet : « We will make it green, like a modern European country » (ce qui est en étroit lien avec un certaine idée de #développement, liée au #progrès).

      Témoignage d’une femme palestinienne :

      « Ils ont planté des arbres partout qui cachaient tout »

      Ilan Pappé, historien israëlien, Université d’Exter :

      « ça leur a pris entre 6 et 9 mois poru s’emparer de 80% de la Palestine, expulser la plupart des personnes qui y vivaient et reconstruire sur les villes et villages de ces personnes un nouvel Etat, une nouvelle #identité »


      Témoignage d’un palestinien qui continue à retourner régulièrement à Lubya :

      « Si je n’aimais pas cet endroit, est-ce que je continuerais à revenir ici tout le temps sur mon tracteur ? Ils l’ont transformé en forêt afin d’affirmer qu’il n’y a pas eu de village ici. Mais on peut voir les #cactus qui prouvent que des arabes vivaient ici »

      Ilan Pappé :

      « Ces villages éaient arabes, tout comme le paysage alentour. C’était un message qui ne passait pas auprès du mouvement sioniste. Des personnes du mouvement ont écrit à ce propos, ils ont dit qu’ils n’aimaient vraiment pas, comme Ben Gurion l’a dit, que le pays ait toujours l’air arabe. (...) Même si les Arabes n’y vivent plus, ça a toujours l’air arabe. En ce qui concerne les zones rurales, il a été clair : les villages devaient être dévastés pour qu’il n’y ait pas de #souvenirs possibles. Ils ont commencé à les dévaster dès le mois d’août 1948. Ils ont rasé les maisons, la terre. Plus rien ne restait. Il y avait deux moyens pour eux d’en nier l’existence : le premier était de planter des forêts de pins européens sur les villages. Dans la plupart des cas, lorsque les villages étaient étendus et les terres assez vastes, on voit que les deux stratégies ont été mises en oeuvre : il y a un nouveau quartier juif et, juste à côté, une forêt. En effet, la deuxième méthode était de créer un quartier juif qui possédait presque le même nom que l’ancien village arabe, mais dans sa version en hébreu. L’objectif était double : il s’agissait d’abord de montrer que le lieu était originellement juif et revenait ainsi à son propriétaire. Ensuite, l’idée était de faire passer un message sinistre aux Palestiniens sur ce qui avait eu lieu ici. Le principal acteur de cette politique a été le FNJ. »


      Heidi Grunebaum, la réalisatrice :

      « J’ai grandi au moment où le FNJ cultivait l’idée de créer une patrie juive grâce à la plantation d’arbres. Dans les 100 dernières années, 260 millions d’arbres ont été plantés. Je me rends compte à présent que la petite carte du grand Israël sur les boîtes bleues n’était pas juste un symbole. Etait ainsi affirmé que toutes ces terres étaient juives. Les #cartes ont été redessinées. Les noms arabes des lieux ont sombré dans l’oubli à cause du #Comité_de_Dénomination créé par le FNJ. 86 forêts du FNJ ont détruit des villages. Des villages comme Lubya ont cessé d’exister. Lubya est devenu Lavie. Une nouvelle histoire a été écrite, celle que j’ai apprise. »

      Le #Canada_park :

      Canada Park (Hebrew: פארק קנדה‎, Arabic: كندا حديقة‎, also Ayalon Park,) is an Israeli national park stretching over 7,000 dunams (700 hectares), and extending from No man’s land into the West Bank.
      The park is North of Highway 1 (Tel Aviv-Jerusalem), between the Latrun Interchange and Sha’ar HaGai, and contains a Hasmonean fort, Crusader fort, other archaeological remains and the ruins of 3 Palestinian villages razed by Israel in 1967 after their inhabitants were expelled. In addition it has picnic areas, springs and panoramic hilltop views, and is a popular Israeli tourist destination, drawing some 300,000 visitors annually.


      Heidi Grunebaum :

      « Chaque pièce de monnaie est devenue un arbre dans une forêt, chaque arbre, dont les racines étaient plantées dans la terre était pour nous, la diaspora. Les pièces changées en arbres devenaient des faits ancrés dans le sol. Le nouveau paysage arrangé par le FNJ à travers la plantation de forêts et les accords politiques est celui des #parcs_de_loisirs, des routes, des barrages et des infrastructures »

      Témoignage d’un Palestinien :

      « Celui qui ne possède de #pays_natal ne possède rien »

      Heidi Grunebaum :

      « Si personne ne demeure, la mémoire est oblitérée. Cependant, de génération en génération, le souvenir qu’ont les Palestiniens d’un endroit qui un jour fut le leur, persiste. »

      Témoignage d’un Palestinien :

      "Dès qu’on mange quelque chose chez nous, on dit qu’on mangeait ce plat à Lubya. Quelles que soient nos activités, on dit que nous avions les mêmes à Lubya. Lubya est constamment mentionnées, et avec un peu d’amertume.

      Témoignage d’un Palestinien :

      Lubya est ma fille précieuse que j’abriterai toujours dans les profondeurs de mon âme. Par les histoires racontées par mon père, mon grand-père, mes oncles et ma grande-mère, j’ai le sentiment de connaître très bien Lubya.

      Avi Shlaim, Université de Oxford :

      « Le mur dans la partie Ouest ne relève pas d’une mesure de sécurité, comme il a été dit. C’est un outil de #ségrégation des deux communautés et un moyen de s’approprier de larges portions de terres palestiniennes. C’est un moyen de poursuivre la politique d’#expansion_territoriale et d’avoir le plus grand Etat juif possible avec le moins de population d’arabes à l’intérieur. »


      Heidi Grunebaum :

      « Les petites pièces de la diaspora n’ont pas seulement planté des arbres juifs et déraciné des arbres palestiniens, elles ont aussi créé une forêt d’un autre type. Une vaste forêt bureaucratique où la force de la loi est une arme. La règlementation règne, les procédures, permis, actions commandées par les lois, tout régulé le moindre espace de la vie quotidienne des Palestiniens qui sont petit à petit étouffés, repoussés aux marges de leurs terres. Entassés dans des ghettos, sans autorisation de construire, les Palestiniens n’ont plus qu’à regarder leurs maisons démolies »

      #Lubya #paysage #ruines #architecture_forensique #Afrique_du_Sud #profanation #cactus #South_african_forest #Galilée #Jewish_national_fund (#fonds_national_juif) #arbres #Palestine #Organisation_des_femmes_sionistes #Keren_Kayemeth #apartheid #résistance #occupation #Armée_de_libération_arabe #Hagana #nakba #exil #réfugiés_palestiniens #expulsion #identité #present_absentees #IDPs #déplacés_internes #Caesarea #oubli #déni #historicisation #diaspora #murs #barrières_frontalières #dépossession #privatisation_des_terres #terres #mémoire #commémoration #poésie #Canada_park

    • The Carmel wildfire is burning all illusions in Israel

      “When I look out my window today and see a tree standing there, that tree gives me a greater sense of beauty and personal delight than all the vast forests I have seen in Switzerland or Scandinavia. Because every tree here was planted by us.”

      – David Ben Gurion, Memoirs

      “Why are there so many Arabs here? Why didn’t you chase them away?”

      – David Ben Gurion during a visit to Nazareth, July 1948


      signalé par @sinehebdo que je remercie

    • Vu dans ce rapport, signalé par @palestine___________ , que je remercie (https://seenthis.net/messages/723321) :

      A method of enforcing the eradication of unrecognized Palestinian villages is to ensure their misrepresentation on maps. As part of this policy, these villages do not appear at all on Israeli maps, with the exception of army and hiking maps. Likewise, they do not appear on first sight on Google Maps or at all on Israeli maps, with the exception of army and hiking maps. They are labelled on NGO maps designed to increase their visibility. On Google Maps, the Bedouin villages are marked – in contrast to cities and other villages – under their Bedouin tribe and clan names (Bimkom) rather than with their village names and are only visible when zooming in very closely, but otherwise appear to be non-existent. This means that when looking at Google Maps, these villages appear to be not there, only when zooming on to a very high degree, do they appear with their tribe or clan names. At first (and second and third) sight, therefore, these villages are simply not there. Despite their small size, Israeli villages are displayed even when zoomed-out, while unrecognized Palestinian Bedouin villages, regardless of their size are only visible when zooming in very closely.

      Pour télécharger le rapport :

    • signalé par @kassem :

      Israel lifted its military rule over the state’s Arab community in 1966 only after ascertaining that its members could not return to the villages they had fled or been expelled from, according to newly declassified archival documents.

      The documents both reveal the considerations behind the creation of the military government 18 years earlier, and the reasons for dismantling it and revoking the severe restrictions it imposed on Arab citizens in the north, the Negev and the so-called Triangle of Locales in central Israel.

      These records were made public as a result of a campaign launched against the state archives by the Akevot Institute, which researches the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      After the War of Independence in 1948, the state imposed military rule over Arabs living around the country, which applied to an estimated 85 percent of that community at the time, say researchers at the NGO. The Arabs in question were subject to the authority of a military commander who could limit their freedom of movement, declare areas to be closed zones, or demand that the inhabitants leave and enter certain locales only with his written permission.

      The newly revealed documents describe the ways Israel prevented Arabs from returning to villages they had left in 1948, even after the restrictions on them had been lifted. The main method: dense planting of trees within and surrounding these towns.

      At a meeting held in November 1965 at the office of Shmuel Toledano, the prime minister’s adviser on Arab affairs, there was a discussion about villages that had been left behind and that Israel did not want to be repopulated, according to one document. To ensure that, the state had the Jewish National Fund plant trees around and in them.

      Among other things, the document states that “the lands belonging to the above-mentioned villages were given to the custodian for absentee properties” and that “most were leased for work (cultivation of field crops and olive groves) by Jewish households.” Some of the properties, it adds, were subleased.

      In the meeting in Toledano’s office, it was explained that these lands had been declared closed military zones, and that once the structures on them had been razed, and the land had been parceled out, forested and subject to proper supervision – their definition as closed military zones could be lifted.

      On April 3, 1966, another discussion was held on the same subject, this time at the office of the defense minister, Levi Eshkol, who was also the serving prime minister; the minutes of this meeting were classified as top secret. Its participants included: Toledano; Isser Harel, in his capacity as special adviser to the prime minister; the military advocate general – Meir Shamgar, who would later become president of the Supreme Court; and representatives of the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police.

      The newly publicized record of that meeting shows that the Shin Bet was already prepared at that point to lift the military rule over the Arabs and that the police and army could do so within a short time.

      Regarding northern Israel, it was agreed that “all the areas declared at the time to be closed [military] zones... other than Sha’ab [east of Acre] would be opened after the usual conditions were fulfilled – razing of the buildings in the abandoned villages, forestation, establishment of nature reserves, fencing and guarding.” The dates of the reopening these areas would be determined by Israel Defense Forces Maj. Gen. Shamir, the minutes said. Regarding Sha’ab, Harel and Toledano were to discuss that subject with Shamir.

      However, as to Arab locales in central Israel and the Negev, it was agreed that the closed military zones would remain in effect for the time being, with a few exceptions.

      Even after military rule was lifted, some top IDF officers, including Chief of Staff Tzvi Tzur and Shamgar, opposed the move. In March 1963, Shamgar, then military advocate general, wrote a pamphlet about the legal basis of the military administration; only 30 copies were printed. (He signed it using his previous, un-Hebraized name, Sternberg.) Its purpose was to explain why Israel was imposing its military might over hundreds of thousands of citizens.

      Among other things, Shamgar wrote in the pamphlet that Regulation 125, allowing certain areas to be closed off, is intended “to prevent the entry and settlement of minorities in border areas,” and that “border areas populated by minorities serve as a natural, convenient point of departure for hostile elements beyond the border.” The fact that citizens must have permits in order to travel about helps to thwart infiltration into the rest of Israel, he wrote.

      Regulation 124, he noted, states that “it is essential to enable nighttime ambushes in populated areas when necessary, against infiltrators.” Blockage of roads to traffic is explained as being crucial for the purposes of “training, tests or maneuvers.” Moreover, censorship is a “crucial means for counter-intelligence.”

      Despite Shamgar’s opinion, later that year, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol canceled the requirement for personal travel permits as a general obligation. Two weeks after that decision, in November 1963, Chief of Staff Tzur wrote a top-secret letter about implementation of the new policy to the officers heading the various IDF commands and other top brass, including the head of Military Intelligence. Tzur ordered them to carry it out in nearly all Arab villages, with a few exceptions – among them Barta’a and Muqeible, in northern Israel.

      In December 1965, Haim Israeli, an adviser to Defense Minister Eshkol, reported to Eshkol’s other aides, Isser Harel and Aviad Yaffeh, and to the head of the Shin Bet, that then-Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin opposed legislation that would cancel military rule over the Arab villages. Rabin explained his position in a discussion with Eshkol, at which an effort to “soften” the bill was discussed. Rabin was advised that Harel would be making his own recommendations on this matter.

      At a meeting held on February 27, 1966, Harel issued orders to the IDF, the Shin Bet and the police concerning the prime minister’s decision to cancel military rule. The minutes of the discussion were top secret, and began with: “The mechanism of the military regime will be canceled. The IDF will ensure the necessary conditions for establishment of military rule during times of national emergency and war.” However, it was decided that the regulations governing Israel’s defense in general would remain in force, and at the behest of the prime minister and with his input, the justice minister would look into amending the relevant statutes in Israeli law, or replacing them.

      The historical documents cited here have only made public after a two-year campaign by the Akevot institute against the national archives, which preferred that they remain confidential, Akevot director Lior Yavne told Haaretz. The documents contain no information of a sensitive nature vis-a-vis Israel’s security, Yavne added, and even though they are now in the public domain, the archives has yet to upload them to its website to enable widespread access.

      “Hundreds of thousands of files which are crucial to understanding the recent history of the state and society in Israel remain closed in the government archive,” he said. “Akevot continues to fight to expand public access to archival documents – documents that are property of the public.”

    • Israel is turning an ancient Palestinian village into a national park for settlers

      The unbelievable story of a village outside Jerusalem: from its destruction in 1948 to the ticket issued last week by a parks ranger to a descendent of its refugees, who had the gall to harvest the fruits of his labor on his own land.

      Thus read the ticket issued last Wednesday, during the Sukkot holiday, by ranger Dayan Somekh of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority – Investigations Division, 3 Am Ve’olamo Street, Jerusalem, to farmer Nidal Abed Rabo, a resident of the Jerusalem-area village of Walaja, who had gone to harvest olives on his private land: “In accordance with Section 228 of the criminal code, to: Nidal Abed Rabo. Description of the facts constituting the offense: ‘picking, chopping and destroying an olive tree.’ Suspect’s response: ‘I just came to pick olives. I pick them and put them in a bucket.’ Fine prescribed by law: 730 shekels [$207].” And an accompanying document that reads: “I hereby confirm that I apprehended from Nidal Abed Rabo the following things: 1. A black bucket; 2. A burlap sack. Name of the apprehending officer: Dayan Somekh.”

      Ostensibly, an amusing parody about the occupation. An inspector fines a person for harvesting the fruits of his own labor on his own private land and then fills out a report about confiscating a bucket, because order must be preserved, after all. But no one actually found this report amusing – not the inspector who apparently wrote it in utter seriousness, nor the farmer who must now pay the fine.

      Indeed, the story of Walaja, where this absurdity took place, contains everything – except humor: the flight from and evacuation of the village in 1948; refugee-hood and the establishment of a new village adjacent to the original one; the bisection of the village between annexed Jerusalem and the occupied territories in 1967; the authorities’ refusal to issue blue Israeli IDs to residents, even though their homes are in Jerusalem; the demolition of many structures built without a permit in a locale that has no master construction plan; the appropriation of much of its land to build the Gilo neighborhood and the Har Gilo settlement; the construction of the separation barrier that turned the village into an enclave enclosed on all sides; the decision to turn villagers’ remaining lands into a national park for the benefit of Gilo’s residents and others in the area; and all the way to the ridiculous fine issued by Inspector Somekh.

      This week, a number of villagers again snuck onto their lands to try to pick their olives, in what looks like it could be their final harvest. As it was a holiday, they hoped the Border Police and the parks authority inspectors would leave them alone. By next year, they probably won’t be able to reach their groves at all, as the checkpoint will have been moved even closer to their property.

      Then there was also this incident, on Monday, the Jewish holiday of Simhat Torah. Three adults, a teenager and a horse arrived at the neglected groves on the mountainside below their village of Walaja. They had to take a long and circuitous route; they say the horse walked 25 kilometers to reach the olive trees that are right under their noses, beneath their homes. A dense barbed-wire fence and the separation barrier stand between these people and their lands. When the national park is built here and the checkpoint is moved further south – so that only Jews will be able to dip undisturbed in Ein Hanya, as Nir Hasson reported (“Jerusalem reopens natural spring, but not to Palestinians,” Oct. 15) – it will mean the end of Walaja’s olive orchards, which are planted on terraced land.

      The remaining 1,200 dunams (300 acres) belonging to the village, after most of its property was lost over the years, will also be disconnected from their owners, who probably won’t be able to access them again. An ancient Palestinian village, which numbered 100 registered households in 1596, in a spectacular part of the country, will continue its slow death, until it finally expires for good.

      Steep slopes and a deep green valley lie between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, filled with oak and pine trees, along with largely abandoned olive groves. “New” Walaja overlooks this expanse from the south, the Gilo neighborhood from the northeast, and the Cremisan Monastery from the east. To the west is where the original village was situated, between the moshavim of Aminadav and Ora, both constructed after the villagers fled – frightened off by the massacre in nearby Deir Yassin and in fear of bombardment.

      Aviv Tatarsky, a longtime political activist on behalf of Walaja and a researcher for the Ir Amim nonprofit organization, says the designated national park is supposed to ensure territorial contiguity between the Etzion Bloc and Jerusalem. “Since we are in the territory of Jerusalem, and building another settler neighborhood could cause a stir, they are building a national park, which will serve the same purpose,” he says. “The national park will Judaize the area once and for all. Gilo is five minutes away. If you live there, you will have a park right next door and feel like it’s yours.”

      As Tatarsky describes the blows suffered by the village over the years, brothers Walid and Mohammed al-‘Araj stand on a ladder below in the valley, in the shade of the olive trees, engrossed in the harvest.

      Walid, 52, and Mohammed, 58, both live in Walaja. Walid may be there legally, but his brother is there illegally, on land bequeathed to them by their uncle – thanks to yet another absurdity courtesy of the occupation. In 1995, Walid married a woman from Shoafat in East Jerusalem, and thus was able to obtain a blue Israeli ID card, so perhaps he is entitled to be on his land. His brother, who lives next door, however, is an illegal resident on his land: He has an orange ID, as a resident of the territories.

      A sewage line that comes out of Beit Jala and is under the responsibility of Jerusalem’s Gihon water company overflows every winter and floods the men’s olive grove with industrial waste that has seriously damaged their crop. And that’s in addition, of course, to the fact that most of the family is unable to go work the land. The whole area looks quite derelict, overgrown with weeds and brambles that could easily catch fire. In previous years, the farmers would receive an entry permit allowing them to harvest the olives for a period of just a few days; this year, even that permit has not yet been forthcoming.

      The olives are black and small; it’s been a bad year for them and for their owners.

      “We come here like thieves to our own land,” says Mohammed, the older brother, explaining that three days beforehand, a Border Police jeep had showed up and chased them away. “I told him: It’s my land. They said okay and left. Then a few minutes later, another Border Police jeep came and the officer said: Today there’s a general closure because of the holiday. I told him: Okay, just let me take my equipment. I’m on my land. He said: Don’t take anything. I left. And today I came back.”

      You’re not afraid? “No, I’m not afraid. I’m on my land. It’s registered in my name. I can’t be afraid on my land.”

      Walid says that a month ago the Border Police arrived and told him he wasn’t allowed to drive on the road that leads to the grove, because it’s a “security road.” He was forced to turn around and go home, despite the fact that he has a blue ID and it is not a security road. Right next to it, there is a residential building where a Palestinian family still lives.

      Some of Walaja’s residents gave up on their olive orchards long ago and no longer attempt to reach their lands. When the checkpoint is moved southward, in order to block access by Palestinians to the Ein Hanya spring, the situation will be even worse: The checkpoint will be closer to the orchards, meaning that the Palestinians won’t be permitted to visit them.

      “This place will be a park for people to visit,” says Walid, up on his ladder. “That’s it; that will be the end of our land. But we won’t give up our land, no matter what.” Earlier this month, one local farmer was detained for several hours and 10 olive trees were uprooted, on the grounds that he was prohibited from being here.

      Meanwhile, Walid and Mohammed are collecting their meager crop in a plastic bucket printed with a Hebrew ad for a paint company. The olives from this area, near Beit Jala, are highly prized; during a good year the oil made from them can fetch a price of 100 shekels per liter.

      A few hundred meters to the east are a father, a son and a horse. Khaled al-‘Araj, 51, and his son, Abed, 19, a business student. They too are taking advantage of the Jewish holiday to sneak onto their land. They have another horse, an original Arabian named Fatma, but this horse is nameless. It stands in the shade of the olive tree, resting from the long trek here. If a Border Police force shows up, it could confiscate the horse, as has happened to them before.

      Father and son are both Walaja residents, but do not have blue IDs. The father works in Jerusalem with a permit, but it does not allow him to access his land.

      “On Sunday,” says Khaled, “I picked olives here with my son. A Border Police officer arrived and asked: What are you doing here? He took pictures of our IDs. He asked: Whose land is this? I said: Mine. Where are the papers? At home. I have papers from my grandfather’s time; everything is in order. But he said: No, go to DCO [the Israeli District Coordination Office] and get a permit. At first I didn’t know what he meant. I have a son and a horse and they’ll make problems for me. So I left.”

      He continues: “We used to plow the land. Now look at the state it’s in. We have apricot and almond trees here, too. But I’m an illegal person on my own land. That is our situation. Today is the last day of your holiday, that’s why I came here. Maybe there won’t be any Border Police.”

      “Kumi Ori, ki ba orekh,” says a makeshift monument in memory of Ori Ansbacher, a young woman murdered here in February by a man from Hebron. Qasem Abed Rabo, a brother of Nidal, who received the fine from the park ranger for harvesting his olives, asks activist Tatarsky if he can find out whether the house he owns is considered to be located in Jerusalem or in the territories. He still doesn’t know.

      “Welcome to Nahal Refaim National Park,” says a sign next to the current Walaja checkpoint. Its successor is already being built but work on it was stopped for unknown reasons. If and when it is completed, Ein Hanya will become a spring for Jews only and the groves on the mountainside below the village of Walaja will be cut off from their owners for good. Making this year’s harvest Walaja’s last.


    • Sans mémoire des lieux ni lieux de mémoire. La Palestine invisible sous les forêts israéliennes

      Depuis la création de l’État d’Israël en 1948, près de 240 millions d’arbres ont été plantés sur l’ensemble du territoire israélien. Dans l’objectif de « faire fleurir le désert », les acteurs de l’afforestation en Israël se situent au cœur de nombreux enjeux du territoire, non seulement environnementaux mais également identitaires et culturels. La forêt en Israël représente en effet un espace de concurrence mémorielle, incarnant à la fois l’enracinement de l’identité israélienne mais également le rappel de l’exil et de l’impossible retour du peuple palestinien. Tandis que 86 villages palestiniens détruits en 1948 sont aujourd’hui recouverts par une forêt, les circuits touristiques et historiques officiels proposés dans les forêts israéliennes ne font jamais mention de cette présence palestinienne passée. Comment l’afforestation en Israël a-t-elle contribué à l’effacement du paysage et de la mémoire palestiniens ? Quelles initiatives existent en Israël et en Palestine pour lutter contre cet effacement spatial et mémoriel ?


    • Septembre 2021, un feu de forêt ravage Jérusalem et dévoile les terrassements agricoles que les Palestinien·nes avaient construit...
      Voici une image :

      « La nature a parlé » : un feu de forêt attise les rêves de retour des Palestiniens

      Un gigantesque incendie près de Jérusalem a détruit les #pins_européens plantés par les sionistes, exposant ainsi les anciennes terrasses palestiniennes qu’ils avaient tenté de dissimuler.

      Au cours de la deuxième semaine d’août, quelque 20 000 dounams (m²) de terre ont été engloutis par les flammes dans les #montagnes de Jérusalem.

      C’est une véritable catastrophe naturelle. Cependant, personne n’aurait pu s’attendre à la vision qui est apparue après l’extinction de ces incendies. Ou plutôt, personne n’avait imaginé que les incendies dévoileraient ce qui allait suivre.

      Une fois les flammes éteintes, le #paysage était terrible pour l’œil humain en général, et pour l’œil palestinien en particulier. Car les incendies ont révélé les #vestiges d’anciens villages et terrasses agricoles palestiniens ; des terrasses construites par leurs ancêtres, décédés il y a longtemps, pour cultiver la terre et planter des oliviers et des vignes sur les #pentes des montagnes.

      À travers ces montagnes, qui constituent l’environnement naturel à l’ouest de Jérusalem, passait la route Jaffa-Jérusalem, qui reliait le port historique à la ville sainte. Cette route ondulant à travers les montagnes était utilisée par les pèlerins d’Europe et d’Afrique du Nord pour visiter les lieux saints chrétiens. Ils n’avaient d’autre choix que d’emprunter la route Jaffa-Jérusalem, à travers les vallées et les ravins, jusqu’au sommet des montagnes. Au fil des siècles, elle sera foulée par des centaines de milliers de pèlerins, de soldats, d’envahisseurs et de touristes.

      Les terrasses agricoles – ou #plates-formes – que les agriculteurs palestiniens ont construites ont un avantage : leur durabilité. Selon les estimations des archéologues, elles auraient jusqu’à 600 ans. Je crois pour ma part qu’elles sont encore plus vieilles que cela.

      Travailler en harmonie avec la nature

      Le travail acharné du fermier palestinien est clairement visible à la surface de la terre. De nombreuses études ont prouvé que les agriculteurs palestiniens avaient toujours investi dans la terre quelle que soit sa forme ; y compris les terres montagneuses, très difficiles à cultiver.

      Des photographies prises avant la Nakba (« catastrophe ») de 1948, lorsque les Palestiniens ont été expulsés par les milices juives, et même pendant la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle montrent que les oliviers et les vignes étaient les deux types de plantation les plus courants dans ces régions.

      Ces végétaux maintiennent l’humidité du sol et assurent la subsistance des populations locales. Les #oliviers, en particulier, aident à prévenir l’érosion des sols. Les oliviers et les #vignes peuvent également créer une barrière naturelle contre le feu car ils constituent une végétation feuillue qui retient l’humidité et est peu gourmande en eau. Dans le sud de la France, certaines routes forestières sont bordées de vignes pour faire office de #coupe-feu.

      Les agriculteurs palestiniens qui les ont plantés savaient travailler en harmonie avec la nature, la traiter avec sensibilité et respect. Cette relation s’était formée au cours des siècles.

      Or qu’a fait l’occupation sioniste ? Après la Nakba et l’expulsion forcée d’une grande partie de la population – notamment le nettoyage ethnique de chaque village et ville se trouvant sur l’itinéraire de la route Jaffa-Jérusalem –, les sionistes ont commencé à planter des #pins_européens particulièrement inflammables sur de vastes portions de ces montagnes pour couvrir et effacer ce que les mains des agriculteurs palestiniens avaient créé.

      Dans la région montagneuse de Jérusalem, en particulier, tout ce qui est palestinien – riche de 10 000 ans d’histoire – a été effacé au profit de tout ce qui évoque le #sionisme et la #judéité du lieu. Conformément à la mentalité coloniale européenne, le « milieu » européen a été transféré en Palestine, afin que les colons puissent se souvenir de ce qu’ils avaient laissé derrière eux.

      Le processus de dissimulation visait à nier l’existence des villages palestiniens. Et le processus d’effacement de leurs particularités visait à éliminer leur existence de l’histoire.

      Il convient de noter que les habitants des villages qui ont façonné la vie humaine dans les montagnes de Jérusalem, et qui ont été expulsés par l’armée israélienne, vivent désormais dans des camps et communautés proches de Jérusalem, comme les camps de réfugiés de Qalandiya et Shuafat.

      On trouve de telles forêts de pins ailleurs encore, dissimulant des villages et fermes palestiniens détruits par Israël en 1948. Des institutions internationales israéliennes et sionistes ont également planté des pins européens sur les terres des villages de #Maaloul, près de Nazareth, #Sohmata, près de la frontière palestino-libanaise, #Faridiya, #Kafr_Anan et #al-Samoui sur la route Akka-Safad, entre autres. Ils sont maintenant cachés et ne peuvent être vus à l’œil nu.

      Une importance considérable

      Même les #noms des villages n’ont pas été épargnés. Par exemple, le village de Suba est devenu « #Tsuba », tandis que #Beit_Mahsir est devenu « #Beit_Meir », #Kasla est devenu « #Ksalon », #Saris est devenu « #Shoresh », etc.

      Si les Palestiniens n’ont pas encore pu résoudre leur conflit avec l’occupant, la nature, elle, s’est désormais exprimée de la manière qu’elle jugeait opportune. Les incendies ont révélé un aspect flagrant des composantes bien planifiées et exécutées du projet sioniste.

      Pour les Palestiniens, la découverte de ces terrasses confirme leur version des faits : il y avait de la vie sur cette terre, le Palestinien était le plus actif dans cette vie, et l’Israélien l’a expulsé pour prendre sa place.

      Ne serait-ce que pour cette raison, ces terrasses revêtent une importance considérable. Elles affirment que la cause palestinienne n’est pas morte, que la terre attend le retour de ses enfants ; des personnes qui sauront la traiter correctement.



      An Israeli Forest to Erase the Ruins of Palestinian Agricultural Terraces

      “Our forest is growing over, well, over a ruined village,” A.B. Yehoshua wrote in his novella “Facing the Forests.” The massive wildfire in the Jerusalem Hills last week exposed the underpinning of the view through the trees. The agricultural terraces were revealed in their full glory, and also revealed a historic record that Israel has always sought to obscure and erase – traces of Palestinian life on this land.

      On my trips to the West Bank and the occupied territories, when I passed by the expansive areas of Palestinian farmland, I was always awed by the sight of the long chain of terraces, mustabat or mudrajat in Arabic. I thrilled at their grandeur and the precision of the work that attests to the connection between the Palestinian fellah and his land. I would wonder – Why doesn’t the same “phenomenon” exist in the hills of the Galilee?

      When I grew up, I learned a little in school about Israeli history. I didn’t learn that Israel erased Palestinian agriculture in the Galilee and that the Jewish National Fund buried it once and for all, but I did learn that “The Jews brought trees with them” and planted them in the Land of Israel. How sterile and green. Greta Thunberg would be proud of you.

      The Zionist movement knew that in the war for this land it was not enough to conquer the land and expel its inhabitants, you also had to build up a story and an ethos and a narrative, something that will fit with the myth of “a people without a land for a land without a people.” Therefore, after the conquest of the land and the expulsion, all trace of the people who once lived here had to be destroyed. This included trees that grew without human intervention and those that were planted by fellahin, who know this land as they do their children and as they do the terraces they built in the hills.

      This is how white foreigners who never in their lives were fellahin or worked the land for a living came up with the national forestation project on the ruins of Arab villages, which David Ben-Gurion decided to flatten, such as Ma’alul and Suhmata. The forestation project including the importation of cypress and pine trees that were alien to this land and belong to colder climes, so that the new inhabitants would feel more at home and less as if they were in somebody else’s home.

      The planting of combustible cypresses and pines, which are not suited to the weather in this land, is not just an act of national erasure of the Palestinian natives, but also an act of arrogance and patronage, characteristics typical of colonialist movements throughout the world. All because they did not understand the nature, in both senses of the word, of the countries they conquered.

      Forgive me, but a biblical-historical connection is not sufficient. Throughout the history of colonialism, the new settlers – whether they ultimately left or stayed – were unable to impose their imported identity on the new place and to completely erase the place’s native identity. It’s a little like the forests surrounding Jerusalem: When the fire comes and burns them, one small truth is revealed, after so much effort went into concealing it.


      et ici :

    • Planter un arbre en Israël : une forêt rédemptrice et mémorielle

      Tout au long du projet sioniste, le végétal a joué un rôle de médiateur entre la terre rêvée et la terre foulée, entre le texte biblique et la réalité. Le réinvestissement national s’est opéré à travers des plantes connues depuis la diaspora, réorganisées en scènes signifiantes pour la mémoire et l’histoire juive. Ce lien de filiation entre texte sacré et paysage débouche sur une pratique de plantation considérée comme un acte mystique de régénération du monde.


  • Point de vue : La montagne pour tou·te·s ? Je n’y crois pas un instant

    L’accès à la montagne et aux sports de montagne est souvent injuste, exclusif, ségrégatif et discriminatoire. #Henriette_Adolf, directrice adjointe de CIPRA Allemagne, plaide pour une participation équitable aux sports de montagne.

    « La montagne, c’est la liberté ». Nos montagnes, les Alpes, l’immense bien commun avec le droit d’accès gratuit pour toutes et tous. Ici, en plein air, nous sommes tou·te·s égaux·ales.

    Nombreux·se·s sont ceux·et celles qui approuveraient cette affirmation. Songez un instant à votre dernière randonnée en montagne ou à votre dernière nuit dans un refuge. Combien de personnes étaient blanches ? Combien d’entre elles étaient valides de corps et d’esprit ? Combien avaient suivi un parcours universitaire ? Combien étaient équipées ou habillés avec des marques courantes de vêtements de plein air ? Et combien ne l’étaient pas ? Ce qui semble être une expérience sans limites de la nature, de l’équité et de l’égalité, est souvent plus qu’insuffisant dans la réalité. L’accès à la montagne et aux sports de montagne est souvent injuste, exclusif, ségrégatif et discriminatoire.

    En effet, les #sports_de_montagne sont chers : une randonnée de deux jours dans les #Alpes bavaroises coûte entre 100 et 200 euros, et même une excursion d’une journée sans halte peut être facturée entre 25 et 100 euros.i Les sports nécessitant un #équipement important, comme l’escalade ou le ski, ne sont pas pris en compte. Des prix plus avantageux pour les couches sociales défavorisées ? Il n’y en a pas. Les sports de montagne sont pratiqués par des personnes qui peuvent se le permettre financièrement - et selon les statistiques, il s’agit principalement de personnes non issues de l’immigration.ii Il existe certes des offres inclusives et intégratives pour les sports de montagneiii - mais elles sont souvent limitées dans le temps ou ne sont disponibles que dans les centres urbains, car elles dépendent de subventions ou d’infrastructures telles que des salles d’escalade. La plupart du temps, l’offre dépend de l’engagement de chacun. Les sports de montagne sont pratiqués par des personnes sans handicap physique ou psychique. Le #milieu_familial est également un facteur important pour la participation au sport : la transmission des connaissances et la motivation pour les sports de montagne et la protection de la nature se font avant tout au sein de la famille. Statistiquement, c’est surtout dans les familles socialement défavorisées que le lien avec les activités de montagne fait défaut. Les sports de montagne sont pratiqués par des personnes issues d’un milieu social privilégié.iv

    La « liberté de la montagne » est entourée de #barrières financières, sociales, liées à l’offre et à la formation. Ainsi, la participation aux sports de montagne reste souvent exclusive et discriminatoire, en particulier pour les groupes socialement défavorisés. Pour une participation vraiment égalitaire aux sports de montagne, il faut davantage de programmes inclusifs, des facilités financières, une éducation familiale et la création de possibilités d’accès dès l’enfance. Ce n’est qu’alors que nos rencontres en montagne seront aussi colorées que dans la vallée.

    i Voyage : en Bavière, entre 12 et 26€ pour un billet de train d’une journée (coût doublé si les jours d’arrivée et de départ sont différents) et jusqu’à 30€ pour le ticket de parking pour la nuit.

    Équipement : chaussures de randonnée, d’occasion à partir de 50€, une veste de pluie à au moins 30€, sac de couchage de refuge à 24€.

    Hébergement, repas compris : 64€ (dortoir avec demi-pension, non membre de l’association, Knorrhütte : www.alpenverein-muenchen-oberland.de/huetten/alpenvereinshuetten/knorrhuette (de)

    ii www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Bevoelkerung/Migration-Integration/Tabellen/migrationshintergrund-nettoeinkommen.html (de)

    Ekamba, Raphael (2022) : « Wenn du ein Schwarzer bist, bleibst du schwarz » Rassismus und Integration auf dem Arbeitsmarkt. Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität (« Quand on est noir, on reste noir » Racisme et intégration sur le marché du travail. Bamberg : Université Otto-Friedrich). Disponible en ligne sous https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/54202

    iii www.alpenlebenmenschen.de/ (de)
    www.alpenverein.de/verband/bergsport/sportentwicklung/inklusion-integration/angebote-fuer-menschen-mit-behinderung-im-dav (de)

    iv Schmiade, N. & Mutz, M. (2012). Sportliche Eltern, sportliche Kinder – Die Sportbeteiligung von Vorschulkindern im Kontext sozialer Ungleichheit. Sportwissenschaft (Parents sportifs, enfants sportifs - La participation sportive des enfants d’âge préscolaire dans le contexte de l’inégalité sociale. Science du sport), 42, 115- 125. DOI : 10.1007/s12662-012-0239-7. Disponible en ligne sur https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12662-012-0239-7 (de)


    #accès_à_la_montagne #discriminations #ségrégation #sport #montagne #Alpes #injustice #prix #coût

  • Poland’s border wall will cut Europe’s oldest forest in half
    (sorti en 2021)

    Poland is planning to build a wall along its border with Belarus, primarily to block migrants fleeing the Middle East and Asia. But the wall would also divide the vast and ancient #Białowieża Forest, a #UNESCO World Heritage site which harbours more than 12,000 animal species and includes the largest remnants of primeval forest that once covered most of lowland Europe.

    Frontiers like this are of conservation priority because they often host unique biodiversity and ecosystems but are increasingly threatened by border fortification. We are experts in forest ecosystems and two of us combined have more than three decades of experience working in Białowieża, at the intersections of forest, plant and bird ecology. In the journal Science, we recently described how the border wall planned by Poland would jeopardise this trans-boundary forest.

    The core of Białowieża is characterised by old-growth forest rich in dead and decaying wood on which mosses, lichens, fungi, insects and also many vertebrates depend. Big animals such as the European bison, boar, lynx and wolf inhabit the forest on both sides of the border.

    A wall would block the movement of these animals, for instance preventing brown bears from recolonising the Polish side of the forest where they were recently observed after a long absence. The wall would also risk plant invasions, and would mean noise and light pollution that will displace wildlife. The influx of people and vehicles, and already accumulated garbage (mainly plastics) also pose risks, including disease – we already know that humans can transmit COVID to wild species, like deer.

    Poland’s wall will be 5.5 metres high, solid, with barbed wire at the top, and will replace a 130 km provisional 2.5m high razor-wire fence built during summer to autumn 2021. This wall will be high enough to affect low-flying birds, such as grouse.
    Impeding wildlife more than people

    Poland’s proposed wall resembles the barrier built along parts of the US-Mexico border. Research there based on camera-traps shows that such walls deter people less than they impede wildlife. Animals affected by the US-Mexico barrier include jaguars, pygmy owls, and a bison herd whose food and water were split by the border.

    The fences across Europe are highly varied, and no mitigation standards exist. A razor-wire fence, constructed in 2015 by Slovenia along its border with Croatia, killed deer and herons with a mortality rate of 0.12 ungulates (hoofed mammals) per kilometre of fence. Along the Hungary-Croatia border, mortality in the first 28 months following construction of a fence was higher, at 0.47 ungulates per kilometre. Large congregations of red deer were also observed at the fence-line which could spread disease and upset the predator-prey dynamic by making them easier for wolves to catch.

    People can and will use ramps, tunnels, and alternative routes by air and sea, whereas wildlife often cannot. Walls have a big human cost too. They may redirect people, and to a lesser extent wildlife, to more dangerous routes, for example, river crossings or deserts, which may intersect with areas of high natural or cultural value.

    Physical barriers such as fences and walls now line 32,000 kilometres of borders worldwide with significant increases over the past few decades. According to one recent study, nearly 700 mammal species could now find it difficult to cross into different countries, thwarting their adaptation to climate change. The fragmentation of populations and habitats means reduced gene flow within species and less resilient ecosystems.
    Border security over climate action

    According to the Transnational Institute, wealthy nations are prioritising border security over climate action, which contravenes pledges made at COP26 such as protecting the world’s forests. Some of the 257 World Heritage forests are now releasing more carbon than they absorb, but Białowieża Forest is still a healthy, well-connected landscape. Poland’s border wall would put this at risk.

    The construction of such walls also tends to bypass or be at odds with environmental laws. They devalue conservation investment and hamper cross-boundary cooperation. It was already hard for us to collaborate with fellow scientists from Belarus – the new wall will make cross-border scientific work even harder.

    It is possible to mitigate the effects of certain border barriers. But that requires, at the very least, identifying at-risk species and habitats, designing fences to minimise ecological harm and targeting mitigation at known wildlife crossing points. It may also mean assisted migration across a barrier for certain species. To our best knowledge no formal assessment of either social or environmental costs has yet been carried out in the case of Poland’s planned wall.

    It’s time conservation biologists made themselves heard, particularly when it comes to the issue of border barriers. As climate change threatens to disrupt borders and migratory patterns of people and of wildlife, we will need to reform, not only policies and frameworks, but also how we perceive borders.

    This is already happening without us as “natural borders flood, drift, crumble, or dry up”. Walls – like reactive travel bans – are out of sync with the global solidarity and coordinated actions we urgently need to safeguard life on earth.

    #forêt #nature #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #flore #faune #Pologne #Biélorussie #migrations #asile #réfugiés

    v. aussi la métaliste sur la situation à la #frontière entre la #Pologne et la #Biélorussie :

  • La fonte des barrières de #glace de l’#Antarctique occidental est désormais inévitable et irréversible

    La fonte qui glace. Ce processus ne peut pas être inversé et contribuera à la hausse du niveau de l’océan, même en limitant le réchauffement climatique, alerte une nouvelle étude.

    Les plateformes (ou barrières) de glace jouent un rôle stabilisateur essentiel et ralentissent la #fonte_des_glaciers dans l’#océan. Leur fonte dans l’#Antarctique_occidental va se poursuivre de manière inévitable, et ce dans tous les #scénarios de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre. Autrement dit, limiter le réchauffement à +1,5°C à la fin du siècle par rapport à l’ère préindustrielle, comme le prévoit l’#Accord_de_Paris, ne suffira pas à inverser la tendance. C’est à cette glaçante conclusion que sont parvenu·es les chercheur·ses du British antarctic survey (l’opérateur britannique de recherche en Antarctique) dans cette étude parue dans Nature climate change ce lundi : https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-023-01818-x.

    « Nous constatons qu’un réchauffement rapide des #océans, environ trois fois plus rapide que le taux historique, est susceptible de se produire au cours du XXIème siècle », écrivent les scientifiques, qui ont modélisé la #mer_d’Amundsen, à l’ouest de l’Antarctique, pour mener l’analyse la plus complète du réchauffement dans la région à ce jour.

    La poursuite de la fonte des #barrières_de_glace dans l’Antarctique ouest pourrait entraîner la débâcle irréversible des #glaciers, de quoi élever le niveau de l’océan de cinq mètres, un processus aux conséquences potentiellement désastreuses pour la planète. « Notre étude n’est pas une bonne nouvelle : nous avons peut-être perdu le contrôle de la fonte de la #plateforme_glaciaire de l’Antarctique occidental au cours du XXIe siècle », a déclaré au Guardian Kaitlin Naughten, qui a dirigé les travaux.

    « Il s’agit d’un des effets du changement climatique auquel nous devrons probablement nous adapter, ce qui signifie très probablement que certaines communautés côtières devront soit construire [des défenses], soit être abandonnées », poursuit la chercheuse du British antarctic survey.

    Aujourd’hui, environ deux tiers de la population mondiale vit à moins de cent kilomètres d’une côte. De nombreuses mégalopoles mondiales, comme New York, Shanghai, Tokyo ou Bombay, sont situées sur le littoral et particulièrement vulnérables à la montée du niveau de la mer.

    #irréversibilité #inévitabilité #climat #changement_climatique

    • Unavoidable future increase in West Antarctic ice-shelf melting over the twenty-first century

      Ocean-driven melting of floating ice-shelves in the Amundsen Sea is currently the main process controlling Antarctica’s contribution to sea-level rise. Using a regional ocean model, we present a comprehensive suite of future projections of ice-shelf melting in the Amundsen Sea. We find that rapid ocean warming, at approximately triple the historical rate, is likely committed over the twenty-first century, with widespread increases in ice-shelf melting, including in regions crucial for ice-sheet stability. When internal climate variability is considered, there is no significant difference between mid-range emissions scenarios and the most ambitious targets of the Paris Agreement. These results suggest that mitigation of greenhouse gases now has limited power to prevent ocean warming that could lead to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.


  • Bulgaria : lottare per vivere, lottare per morire

    Di morti insepolti, notti insonni e domande che non avranno risposta

    “ГРАНИЦИТЕ УБИВАТ”, ovvero “I confini uccidono”. Questa scritta campeggia su delle vecchie cisterne arrugginite lungo la statale 79, la strada che collega Elhovo a Burgas, seguendo il confine bulgaro-turco fino al Mar Nero. L’abbiamo fatta noi del Collettivo Rotte Balcaniche (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100078755275162), rossa come il sangue che abbiamo visto scorrere in queste colline. Volevamo imprimere nello spazio fisico un ricordo di chi proprio tra questi boschi ha vissuto i suoi ultimi istanti, lasciare un segno perché la memoria avesse una dimensione materiale. Dall’altra parte, volevamo lanciare un monito, per parlare a chi continua a transitare su questa strada ignorandone la puzza di morte e a chi ne è direttamente responsabile, per dire “noi sappiamo e non dimenticheremo”. Ne è uscita una semplice scritta che forse in pochi noteranno. Racchiude le lacrime che accompagnano i ricordi e un urlo che monta dentro, l’amore e la rabbia.

    Dall’anno passato il confine bulgaro-turco è tornato ad essere la prima porta terrestre d’Europa. I dati diffusi dalla Polizia di frontiera bulgara contano infatti oltre 158 mila tentativi di ingresso illegale nel territorio impediti nei primi nove mesi del 2023, a fronte dei 115 mila nel corrispondente periodo del 2022, anno in cui le medesime statistiche erano già più che triplicate 1. Il movimento delle persone cambia a seconda delle politiche di confine, come un flusso d’acqua alla ricerca di un varco, così la totale militarizzazione del confine di terra greco-turco, che si snoda lungo il fiume Evros, ha spostato le rotte migratorie verso la più porosa frontiera bulgara. Dall’altro lato, la sempre più aggressiva politica di deportazioni di Erdogan – che ha già ricollocato con la forza 600 mila rifugiatə sirianə nel nord-ovest del paese, sotto il controllo turco, e promette di raggiungere presto la soglia del milione – costringe gli oltre tre milioni di sirianə che vivono in Turchia a muoversi verso luoghi più sicuri.

    Abbiamo iniziato a conoscere la violenza della polizia bulgara più di un anno fa, non nelle inchieste giornalistiche ma nei racconti delle persone migranti che incontravamo in Serbia, mentre ci occupavamo di distribuire cibo e docce calde a chi veniva picchiatə e respintə dalle guardie di frontiera ungheresi. Siamo un gruppo di persone solidali che dal 2018 ha cominciato a viaggiare lungo le rotte balcaniche per supportare attivamente lə migrantə in cammino, e da allora non ci siamo più fermatə. Anche se nel tempo siamo cresciutə, rimaniamo un collettivo autorganizzato senza nessun riconoscimento formale. Proprio per questo, abbiamo deciso di muoverci verso i contesti caratterizzati da maggior repressione, laddove i soggetti più istituzionali faticano a trovare agibilità e le pratiche di solidarietà assumono un valore conflittuale e politico. Uno dei nostri obiettivi è quello di essere l’anti-confine, costruendo vie sicure attraverso le frontiere, ferrovie sotterranee. Tuttavia, non avremmo mai pensato di diventare un “rescue team”, un equipaggio di terra, ovvero di occuparci di ricerca e soccorso delle persone disperse – vive e morte – nelle foreste della Bulgaria.

    La prima operazione di salvataggio in cui ci siamo imbattutə risale alle notte tra il 19 e il 20 luglio. Stavo per andare a dormire, verso l’una, quando sento insistentemente suonare il telefono del Collettivo – telefono attraverso cui gestiamo le richieste di aiuto delle persone che vivono nei campi rifugiati della regione meridionale della Bulgaria 2. Era M., un signore siriano residente nel campo di Harmanli, che avevo conosciuto pochi giorni prima. «C’è una donna incinta sulla strada 79, serve un’ambulanza». Con lei, le sue due bambine di tre e sei anni. Chiamiamo il 112, numero unico per le emergenze, dopo averla messa al corrente che probabilmente prima dell’ambulanza sarebbe arrivata la polizia, e non potevamo sapere cosa sarebbe successo. Dopo aver capito che il centralino ci stava mentendo, insinuando che le squadre di soccorso erano uscite senza aver trovato nessuno alle coordinate che avevamo segnalato, decidiamo di muoverci in prima persona. Da allora, si sono alternate settimane più e meno intense di uscite e ricerche. Abbiamo un database che raccoglie la quarantina di casi di cui ci siamo in diversi modi occupatə da fine luglio e metà ottobre: nomi, storie e foto che nessunə vorrebbe vedere. In questi mesi tre mesi si è sviluppata anche una rete di associazioni con cui collaboriamo nella gestione delle emergenze, che comprende in particolare #CRG (#Consolidated_Rescue_Group: https://www.facebook.com/C.R.G.2022), gruppo di volontariə sirianə che fa un incredibile lavoro di raccolta di segnalazioni di “distress” e “missing people” ai confini d’Europa, nonché di relazione con lə familiari.

    Ricostruire questo tipo di situazioni è sempre complicato: le informazioni sono frammentate, la cronologia degli eventi incerta, l’intervento delle autorità poco prevedibile. Spesso ci troviamo ad unire tessere di un puzzle che non combacia. Sono le persone migranti stesse a lanciare l’SOS, oppure, se non hanno un telefono o è scarico, le “guide” 3 che le accompagnano nel viaggio. Le richieste riportano i dati anagrafici, le coordinate, lo stato di salute della persona. Le famiglie contattano poi organizzazioni solidali come CRG, che tra lə migrantə sirianə è un riferimento fidato. L’unica cosa che noi possiamo fare – ma che nessun altro fa – è “metterci il corpo”, frapporci tra la polizia e le persone migranti. Il fatto che ci siano delle persone bianche ed europee nel luogo dell’emergenza obbliga i soccorsi ad arrivare, e scoraggia la polizia dal respingere e torturare. Infatti, è la gerarchia dei corpi che determina quanto una persona è “salvabile”, e le vite migranti valgono meno di zero. Nella notte del 5 agosto, mentre andavamo a recuperare il cadavere di H., siamo fermatə da un furgone scuro, senza insegne della polizia. È una pattuglia del corpo speciale dell’esercito che si occupa di cattura e respingimento. Gli diciamo la verità: stiamo andando a cercare un ragazzo morto nel bosco, abbiamo già avvisato il 112. Uno dei soldati vuole delle prove, gli mostriamo allora la foto scattata dai compagni di viaggio. Vedendo il cadavere, si mette a ridere, “it’s funny”, dice.

    Ogni strada è un vicolo cieco che conduce alla border police, che non ha nessun interesse a salvare le vite ma solo ad incriminare chi le salva. Dobbiamo chiamare subito il 112, accettando il rischio che la polizia possa arrivare prima di noi e respingere le persone in Turchia, lasciandole nude e ferite nel bosco di frontiera, per poi essere costrette a riprovare quel viaggio mortale o imprigionate e deportate in Siria? Oppure non chiamare il 112, perdendo così quel briciolo di possibilità che veramente un’ambulanza possa, prima o poi, arrivare e potenzialmente salvare una vita? Il momento dell’intervento mette ogni volta di fronte a domande impossibili, che rivelano l’asimmetria di potere tra noi e le autorità, di cui non riusciamo a prevedere le mosse. Alcuni cambiamenti, però, li abbiamo osservati con continuità anche nel comportamento della polizia. Se inizialmente le nostre azioni sono riuscite più volte ad evitare l’omissione di soccorso, salvando persone che altrimenti sarebbero state semplicemente lasciate morire, nell’ultimo mese le nostre ricerche sono andate quasi sempre a vuoto. Questo perché la polizia arriva alle coordinate prima di noi, anche quando non avvisiamo, o ci intercetta lungo la strada impedendoci di continuare. Probabilmente non sono fatalità ma stanno controllando i nostri movimenti, per provare a toglierci questo spazio di azione che ci illudevamo di aver conquistato.

    Tuttavia, sappiamo che i casi che abbiamo intercettato sono solo una parte del totale. Le segnalazioni che arrivano attraverso CRG riguardano quasi esclusivamente persone di origini siriane, mentre raramente abbiamo ricevuto richieste di altre nazionalità, che sappiamo però essere presenti. Inoltre, la dottoressa Mileva, capo di dipartimento dell’obitorio di Burgas, racconta che quasi ogni giorno arriva un cadavere, “la maggior parte sono pieni di vermi, alcuni sono stati mangiati da animali selvatici”. Non sanno più dove metterli, le celle frigorifere sono piene di corpi non identificati ma le famiglie non hanno la possibilità di venire in Bulgaria per avviare le pratiche di riconoscimento, rimpatrio e sepoltura. Infatti, è impossibile ottenere un visto per venire in Europa, nemmeno per riconoscere un figlio – e non ci si può muovere nemmeno da altri paesi europei se si è richiedenti asilo. In alternativa, servono i soldi per la delega ad unə avvocatə e per effettuare il test del DNA attraverso l’ambasciata. Le procedure burocratiche non conoscono pietà. Le politiche di confine agiscono tanto sul corpo vivo quanto su quello morto, quindi sulla possibilità di vivere il lutto, di avere semplicemente la certezza di aver perso una sorella, una madre, un fratello. Solo per sapere se piangere. Anche la morte è una conquista sociale.

    «Sono una sorella inquieta da 11 mesi. Non dormo più la notte e passo delle giornate tranquille solo grazie ai sedativi e alle pillole per la depressione. Ovunque abbia chiesto aiuto, sono rimasta senza risposte. Vi chiedo, se è possibile, di prendermi per mano, se c’è bisogno di denaro, sono pronta a indebitarmi per trovare mio fratello e salvare la mia vecchia madre da questa lenta morte». Così ci scrive S., dalla Svezia. Suo fratello aveva 30 anni, era scappato dall’Afghanistan dopo il ritorno dei Talebani, perché lavorava per l’esercito americano. Aveva lasciato la Turchia per dirigersi verso la Bulgaria il 21 settembre 2022, ma il 25 non era più stato in grado di continuare il cammino a causa dei dolori alle gambe. In un video, gli smuggler che guidavano il viaggio spiegano che lo avrebbero lasciato in un determinato punto, nei pressi della strada 79, e che dopo aver riposato si sarebbe dovuto consegnare alla polizia. Da allora di lui si sono perse le tracce. Non è stato ritrovato nella foresta, né nei campi rifugiati, né tra i corpi dell’obitorio. È come se fosse stato inghiottito dalla frontiera. S. ci invia i nomi, le foto e le date di scomparsa di altre 14 persone, quasi tutte afghane, scomparse l’anno scorso. Lei è in contatto con tutte le famiglie. Neanche noi abbiamo risposte: più la segnalazione è datata più è difficile poter fare qualcosa. Sappiamo che la cosa più probabile è che i corpi siano marciti nel sottobosco, ma cosa dire allə familiari che ancora conservano un’irrazionale speranza? Ormai si cammina sulle ossa di chi era venuto prima, e lì era rimasto.


    1. РЕЗУЛТАТИ ОТ ДЕЙНОСТТА НА МВР ПРЕЗ 2022 г., Противодействие на миграционния натиск и граничен контрол (Risultati delle attività del Ministero dell’Interno nel 2022, Contrasto alla pressione migratoria e controllo delle frontiere), p. 14.
    2. Per quanto riguarda lə richiedenti asilo, il sistema di “accoglienza” bulgaro è gestito dall’agenzia governativa SAR, e si articola nei campi ROC (Registration and reception center) di Voenna Rampa (Sofia), Ovcha Kupel (Sofia), Vrajdebna (Sofia), Banya (Nova Zagora) e Harmanli, oltre al transit centre di Pastrogor (situato nel comune di Svilengrad), dove si effettuano proceduredi asilo accelerate. […] I centri di detenzione sono due: Busmantsi e Lyubimets. Per approfondire, è disponibile il report scritto dal Collettivo.
    3. Anche così sono chiamati gli smuggler che conducono le persone nel viaggio a piedi.


    #Bulgarie #Turquie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #décès #mourir_aux_frontières #street-art #art_de_rue #route_des_Balkans #Balkans #mémoire #morts_aux_frontières #murs #barrières_frontalières #Elhovo #Burgas #Evros #Grèce #routes_migratoires #militarisation_des_frontières #violence #violences_policières #solidarité #anti-frontières #voies_sures #route_79 #collettivo_rotte_balcaniche #hiréarchie_des_corps #racisme #Mileva_Galya #Galya_Mileva

    • Bulgaria, lasciar morire è uccidere

      Collettivo Rotte Balcaniche Alto Vicentino: la cronaca di un’omissione di soccorso sulla frontiera bulgaro-turca

      I fatti si riferiscono alla notte tra il 19 e il 20 luglio 2023. Per tutelare le persone coinvolte, diffondiamo questo report dopo alcune settimane. Dopo questo primo intervento, come Collettivo Rotte Balcaniche continuiamo ad affrontare emergenze simili, agendo in prima persona nella ricerca e soccorso delle persone bloccate nei boschi lungo la frontiera bulgaro-turca.

      01.00 di notte, suona il telefono del Collettivo. “We got a pregnant woman on Route 79“, a contattarci è un residente nel campo di Harmanli, amico del marito della donna e da noi conosciuto qualche settimana prima. E’ assistito da un’interprete, anch’esso residente nel campo. Teme di essere accusato di smuggling, chiede se possiamo essere noi a chiamare un’ambulanza. La route 79 è una delle strade più pattugliate dalla border police, in quanto passaggio quasi obbligato per chi ha attraversato il confine turco e si muove verso Sofia. Con l’aiuto dell’interprete chiamiamo la donna: è all’ottavo mese di gravidanza e, con le due figlie piccole, sono sole nella jungle. Stremate, sono state lasciate vicino alla strada dal gruppo con cui stavano camminando, in attesa di soccorsi. Ci dà la sua localizzazione: Le spieghiamo che il numero dell’ambulanza è lo stesso della polizia: c’è il rischio che venga respinta illegalmente in Turchia. Lei lo sa e ci chiede di farlo ugualmente.

      Ore 02.00, prima chiamata al 112. La registriamo, come tutte le successive. Non ci viene posta nessuna domanda sulle condizioni della donna o delle bambine, ma siamo tenuti 11 minuti al telefono per spiegare come siamo venuti in contatto con la donna, come ha attraversato il confine e da dove viene, chi siamo, cosa facciamo in Bulgaria. Sospettano un caso di trafficking e dobbiamo comunicare loro il numero dell’”intermediario” tra noi e lei. Ci sentiamo sotto interrogatorio. “In a couple of minutes our units are gonna be there to search the woman“, sono le 02.06. Ci rendiamo conto di non aver parlato con dei soccorritori, ma con dei poliziotti.

      Ore 03.21, è passata un’ora e tutto tace: richiamiamo il 112. Chiediamo se hanno chiamato la donna, ci rispondono: “we tried contacting but we can’t reach the phone number“. La donna ci dice che in realtà non l’hanno mai chiamata. Comunichiamo di nuovo la sua localizzazione: Aggiungiamo che è molto vicino alla strada, ci rispondono: “not exactly, it’s more like inside of the woods“, “it’s exactly like near the border, and it’s inside of a wood region, it’s a forest, not a street“. Per fugare ogni dubbio, chiediamo: “do you confirm that the coordinates are near to route 79?“. Ci tengono in attesa, rispondono: “they are near a main road. Can’t exactly specify if it’s 79“. Diciamo che la donna è svenuta. “Can she dial us? Can she call so we can get a bit more information?“. Non capiamo di che ulteriori informazioni abbiano bisogno, siamo increduli: “She’s not conscious so I don’t think she’ll be able to make the call“. Suggeriscono allora che l’interprete si metta in contatto diretto con loro. Sospettiamo che vogliano tagliarci fuori. Sono passati 18 minuti, la chiamata è stata una farsa. Se prima temevamo le conseguenze dell’arrivo della polizia, ora abbiamo paura che non arrivi nessuno. Decidiamo di metterci in strada, ci aspetta 1h e 40 di viaggio.

      Ore 04.42, terza chiamata. Ci chiedono di nuovo tutte le informazioni, ancora una volta comunichiamo le coordinate gps. Diciamo che stiamo andando in loco ed incalziamo: “Are there any news on the research?“. “I can’t tell this“. Attraverso l’interprete rimaniamo in costante contatto con la donna. Conferma che non è arrivata alcuna searching unit. La farsa sta diventando una tragedia.

      Ore 06.18, quarta chiamata. Siamo sul posto e la strada è deserta. Vogliamo essere irreprensibili ed informarli che siamo arrivati. Ripetiamo per l’ennesima volta che chiamiamo per una donna incinta in gravi condizioni. Il dialogo è allucinante, ricominciano con le domande: “which month?“, “which baby is this? First? Second?“, “how old does she look like?“, “how do you know she’s there? she called you or what?“. Gli comunichiamo che stiamo per iniziare a cercarla, ci rispondono: “we are looking for her also“. Interveniamo: “Well, where are you because there is no one here, we are on the spot and there is no one“. Si giustificano: “you have new information because obviously she is not at the one coordinates you gave“, “the police went three times to the coordinates and they didn’t find the woman, the coordinates are wrong“. Ancora una volta, capiamo che stanno mentendo.

      Faremo una quinta chiamata alle 06.43, quando l’avremo già trovata. Ci richiederanno le coordinate e ci diranno di aspettarli lungo la strada.

      La nostra ricerca dura pochi minuti. La donna ci invia di nuovo la posizione: Risulta essere a 500 metri dalle coordinate precedenti, ma ancor più vicina alla strada. Gridiamo “hello” e ci facciamo guidare dalle voci: la troviamo letteralmente a due metri dalla strada, su un leggero pendio, accasciata sotto un albero e le bambine al suo fianco. Vengono dalla Siria, le bambine hanno 4 e 7 anni. Lei è troppo debole per alzarsi. Abbiamo per loro sono dell’acqua e del pane. C’è lì anche un ragazzo, probabilmente minorenne, che le ha trovate ed è rimasto ad aiutarle. Lo avvertiamo che arriverà la polizia. Non vuole essere respinto in Turchia, riparte solo e senza zaino. Noi ci guardiamo attorno: la “foresta” si rivela essere una piccola striscia alberata di qualche metro, che separa la strada dai campi agricoli.

      Dopo poco passa una ronda della border police, si fermano e ci avvicinano con la mano sulla pistola. Non erano stati avvertiti: ci aggrediscono con mille domande senza interessarsi alla donna ed alle bambine. Ci prendono i telefoni, ci cancellano le foto fatte all’arrivo delle volanti. Decidiamo di chiamare un’avvocata locale nostra conoscente: lei ci risponde che nei boschi è normale che i soccorsi tardino e ci suggerisce di andarcene per lasciar lavorare la polizia. Nel frattempo arrivano anche la gendarmerie e la local police.

      Manca solo l’unica cosa necessaria e richiesta: l’ambulanza, che non arriverà mai.

      Ore 07.45, la polizia ci scorta nel paese più vicino – Sredets – dove ci ha assicurato esserci un ospedale. Cercano di dividere la donna e le bambine in auto diverse. Chiediamo di portarle noi tutte assieme in macchina. A Sredets, tuttavia, siamo condotti nella centrale della border police. Troviamo decine di guardie di frontiera vestite mimetiche, armate di mitraglie, che escono a turno su mezzi militari, due agenti olandesi di Frontex, un poliziotto bulgaro con la maglia del fascio littorio dei raduni di Predappio. Siamo relegati nel fondo di un corridoio, in piedi, circondati da cinque poliziotti. Il più giovane urla e ci dice che saremo trattenuti “perché stai facendo passare migranti clandestini“. Chiediamo acqua ed un bagno per la donna e le bambine, inizialmente ce li negano. Rimaniamo in attesa, ora ci dicono che non possono andare in ospedale in quanto senza documenti, sono in stato di arresto.

      Ore 09.00, arriva finalmente un medico: parla solamente in bulgaro, visita la donna in corridoio senza alcuna privacy, chiedendole di scoprire la pancia davanti ai 5 poliziotti. Chiamiamo ancora una volta l’avvocata, vogliamo chiedere che la donna sia portata in un ambulatorio e che abbia un interprete. Rimaniamo inascoltati. Dopo a malapena 5 minuti il medico conclude la sua visita, consigliando solamente di bere molta acqua.

      Ore 09.35, ci riportano i nostri documenti e ci invitano ad andarcene. E’ l’ultima volta che vediamo la donna e le bambine. Il telefono le viene sequestrato. Non viene loro permesso di fare la richiesta di asilo e vengono portate nel pre-removal detention centre di Lyubimets. Prima di condurci all’uscita, si presenta un tale ispettore Palov che ci chiede di firmare tre carte. Avrebbero giustificato le ore passate in centrale come conversazione avuta con l’ispettore, previa convocazione ufficiale. Rifiutiamo.

      Sulla via del ritorno ripercorriamo la Route 79, è estremamente pattugliata dalla polizia. Pensiamo alle tante persone che ogni notte muoiono senza nemmeno poter chiedere aiuto, oltre alle poche che lo chiedono invano. Lungo le frontiere di terra come di mare, l’omissione di soccorso è una precisa strategia delle autorità.

      L’indomani incontriamo l’amico del marito della donna. Sa che non potrà più fare qualcosa di simile: sarebbe accusato di smuggling e perderebbe ogni possibilità di ricostruirsi una vita in Europa. Invece noi, attivisti indipendenti, possiamo e dobbiamo continuare: abbiamo molto meno da perdere. Ci è chiara l’urgenza di agire in prima persona e disobbedire a chi uccide lasciando morire.

      Dopo 20 giorni dall’accaduto riusciamo ad incontrare la donna con le bambine, che sono state finalmente trasferite al campo aperto di Harmanli. Sono state trattenute quindi nel centro di detenzione di Lyubimets per ben 19 giorni. La donna ci riferisce che, durante la loro permanenza, non è mai stata portata in ospedale per eseguire accertamenti, necessari soprattutto per quanto riguarda la gravidanza; è stata solamente visitata dal medico del centro, una visita molto superficiale e frettolosa, molto simile a quella ricevuta alla stazione di polizia di Sredets. Ci dà inoltre il suo consenso alla pubblicazione di questo report.



    • Bulgaria, per tutti i morti di frontiera

      Collettivo Rotte Balcaniche Alto Vicentino: un racconto di come i confini d’Europa uccidono nel silenzio e nell’indifferenza

      Da fine giugno il Collettivo Rotte Balcaniche Alto Vicentino è ripartito per un nuovo progetto di solidarietà attiva e monitoraggio verso la frontiera più esterna dell’Unione Europea, al confine tra Bulgaria e Turchia.
      Pubblichiamo il secondo report delle “operazioni di ricerca e soccorso” che il Collettivo sta portando avanti, in cui si racconta del ritrovamento del corpo senza vita di H., un uomo siriano che aveva deciso di sfidare la fortezza Europa. Come lui moltə altrə tentano il viaggio ogni giorno, e muoiono nelle foreste senza che nessuno lo sappia. Al Collettivo è sembrato importante diffondere questa storia perchè parla anche di tutte le altre storie che non potranno essere raccontate, affinché non rimangano seppellite nel silenzio dei confini.

      Ore 12, circa, al numero del collettivo viene segnalata la presenza del corpo di un ragazzo siriano di trent’anni, H., morto durante un tentativo di game in prossimità della route 79. Abbiamo il contatto di un fratello, che comunica con noi attraverso un cugino che fa da interprete. Chiedono aiuto nel gestire il recupero, il riconoscimento e il rimpatrio del corpo; ci mandano le coordinate e capiamo che il corpo si trova in mezzo ad un bosco ma vicino ad un sentiero: probabilmente i suoi compagni di viaggio lo hanno lasciato lì così che fosse facilmente raggiungibile. Nelle ore successive capiamo insieme come muoverci.

      Ore 15, un’associazione del territorio con cui collaboriamo chiama una prima volta il 112, il numero unico per le emergenze. Ci dice che il caso è stato preso in carico e che le autorità hanno iniziato le ricerche. Alla luce di altri episodi simili, decidiamo di non fidarci e iniziamo a pensare che potrebbe essere necessario metterci in viaggio.

      Ore 16.46, chiamiamo anche noi il 112, per mettere pressione ed assicurarci che effettivamente ci sia una squadra di ricerca in loco: decidiamo di dire all’operatore che c’è una persona in condizioni critiche persa nei boschi e diamo le coordinate precise. Come risposta ci chiede il nome e, prima ancora di informazioni sul suo stato di salute, la sua nazionalità. E’ zona di frontiera: probabilmente, la risposta a questa domanda è fondamentale per capire che priorità dare alla chiamata e chi allertare. Quando diciamo che è siriano, arriva in automatico la domanda: “How did he cross the border? Legally or illegally?“. Diciamo che non lo sappiamo, ribadiamo che H. ha bisogno di soccorso immediato, potrebbe essere morto. L’operatore accetta la nostra segnalazione e ci dice che polizia e assistenza medica sono state allertate. Chiediamo di poter avere aggiornamenti, ma non possono richiamarci. Richiameremo noi.

      Ore 17.54, richiamiamo. L’operatrice ci chiede se il gruppo di emergenza è arrivato in loco, probabilmente pensando che noi siamo insieme ad H. La informiamo che in realtà siamo a un’ora e mezzo di distanza, ma che ci possiamo muovere se necessario. Ci dice che la border police “was there” e che “everything will be okay if you called us“, ma non ha informazioni sulle sorti di H. Le chiediamo, sempre memori delle false informazioni degli altri casi, come può essere sicura che una pattuglia si sia recata in loco; solo a questo punto chiama la border police. “It was my mistake“, ci dice riprendendo la chiamata: gli agenti non lo hanno trovato, “but they are looking for him“. Alle nostre orecchie suona come una conferma del fatto che nessuna pattuglia sia uscita a cercarlo. L’operatrice chiude la chiamata con un: “If you can, go to this place, [to] this GPS coordinates, because they couldn’t find this person yet. If you have any information call us again“. Forti di questo via libera e incazzatə di dover supplire alle mancanze della polizia ci mettiamo in viaggio.

      Ore 18.30, partiamo, chiamando il 112 a intervalli regolari lungo la strada: emerge grande indifferenza, che diventa a tratti strafottenza rispetto alla nostra insistenza: “So what do you want now? We don’t give information, we have the signal, police is informed“. Diciamo che siamo per strada: “Okay“.

      Ore 20.24, parcheggiamo la macchina lungo una strada sterrata in mezzo al bosco. Iniziamo a camminare verso le coordinate mentre il sole dietro di noi inizia a tramontare. Richiamiamo il 112, informando del fatto che non vediamo pattuglie della polizia in giro, nonostante tutte le fantomatiche ricerche già partite. Ci viene risposto che la polizia è stata alle coordinate che noi abbiamo dato e non ha trovato nessuno; gli avvenimenti delle ore successive dimostreranno che questa informazione è falsa.

      “I talked with Border Police, today they have been in this place searching for this guy, they haven’t find anybody, so“

      “So? […] What are they going to do?“

      “What do you want from us [seccato]? They haven’t found anyone […]“

      “They can keep searching.”

      “[aggressivo] They haven’t found anybody on this place. What do you want from us? […] On this location there is no one. […] You give the location and there is no one on this location“.

      Ore 21.30, arriviamo alle coordinate attraverso un bosco segnato da zaini e bottiglie vuote che suggeriscono il passaggio di persone in game. Il corpo di H. è lì, non un metro più avanti, non uno più indietro. I suoi compagni di viaggio, nonostante la situazione di bisogno che la rotta impone, hanno avuto l’accortezza di lasciargli a fianco il suo zaino, il suo telefono e qualche farmaco. E’ evidente come nessuna pattuglia della polizia sia stata sul posto, probabilmente nessuna è neanche mai uscita dalla centrale. Ci siamo mosse insieme a una catena di bugie. Richiamiamo il 112 e l’operatrice allerta la border police. Questa volta, visto il tempo in cui rimaniamo in chiamata in attesa, parrebbe veramente.

      Ore 21.52, nessuno in vista. Richiamiamo insistendo per sapere dove sia l’unità di emergenza, dato che temiamo ancora una volta l’assoluto disinteresse di chi di dovere. Ci viene risposto: “Police crew is on another case, when they finish the case they will come to you. […] There is too many case for police, they have only few car“. Vista la quantità di posti di blocco e di automobili della polizia che abbiamo incrociato lungo la route 79 e i racconti dei suoi interventi continui, capillari e violenti in “protezione” dei confini orientali dell’UE, non ci pare proprio che la polizia non possegga mezzi. Evidentemente, di nuovo, è una questione di priorità dei casi e dei fini di questi: ci si muove per controllare e respingere, non per soccorrere. Insistiamo, ci chiedono informazioni su di noi e sulla macchina:

      “How many people are you?“

      “Three people“

      “Only women?”


      “Have patience and stay there, they will come“.

      Abbiamo la forte percezione che il fatto di essere solo ragazze velocizzerà l’intervento e che di certo nessuno si muoverà per H.: il pull factor per l’intervento della polizia siamo diventate noi, le fanciulle italiane in mezzo al bosco da salvare. Esplicitiamo tra di noi la necessità di mettere in chiaro, all’eventuale arrivo della polizia, che la priorità per noi è il recupero del corpo di H. Sentiamo anche lə compagnə che sono rimastə a casa: davanti all’ennesimo aggiornamento di stallo, in tre decidono di partire da Harmanli e di raggiungerci alle coordinate; per loro si prospetta un’ora e mezzo in furgone: lungo la strada, verranno fermati tre volte a posti di blocco, essendo i furgoni uno dei mezzi preferiti dagli smuggler per muovere le persone migranti verso Sofia.

      Ore 22, continuiamo con le chiamate di pressione al 112. E’ una donna a rispondere: la sua voce suona a tratti preoccupata. Anche nella violenza della situazione, registriamo come la socializzazione di genere sia determinante rispetto alla postura di cura. Si connette con la border police: “Police is coming to you in 5…2 minutes“, ci dice in un tentativo di rassicurarci. Purtroppo, sappiamo bene che le pratiche della polizia sono lontane da quelle di cura e non ci illudiamo: l’attesa continuerà. Come previsto, un’ora dopo non è ancora arrivato nessuno. All’ennesima chiamata, il centralinista ci chiede informazioni sulla morfologia del territorio intorno a noi. Questa richiesta conferma quello che ormai già sapevamo: la polizia, lì, non è mai arrivata.

      Ore 23.45, delle luci illuminano il campo in cui siamo sedute ormai da ore vicine al corpo di H. E’ una macchina della polizia di frontiera, con sopra una pattuglia mista di normal police e border police. Nessuna traccia di ambulanza, personale medico o polizia scientifica. Ci chiedono di mostrargli il corpo. Lo illuminano distrattamente, fanno qualche chiamata alla centrale e tornano a noi: ci chiedono come siamo venute a sapere del caso e perchè siamo lì. Gli ribadiamo che è stata un’operatrice del 112 a suggerici ciò: la cosa ci permette di giustificare la nostra presenza in zona di confine, a fianco ad un corpo senza vita ed evitare le accuse di smuggling.

      Ore 23.57, ci propongono di riaccompagnarci alla nostra macchina, neanche 10 minuti dopo essere arrivati. Noi chiediamo cosa ne sarà del corpo di H. e un agente ci risponde che arriverà un’unità di emergenza apposita. Esplicitiamo la nostra volontà di aspettarne l’arrivo, vogliamo tentare di ottenere il maggior numero di informazioni da comunicare alla famiglia e siamo preoccupate che, se noi lasciamo il campo, anche la pattuglia abbandonerà il corpo. Straniti, e forse impreparati alla nostra presenza e insistenza, provano a convincerci ad andare, illustrando una serie farsesca di pericoli che vanno dal fatto che sia zona di frontiera interdetta alla presenza di pericolosi migranti e calabroni giganti. Di base, recepiamo che non hanno una motivazioni valida per impedirci di rimanere.

      Quando il gruppo di Harmanli arriva vicino a noi, la polizia li sente arrivare prima di vederli e pensa che siano un gruppo di migranti; a questo stimolo, risponde con la prontezza che non ha mai dimostrato rispetto alle nostre sollecitazioni. Scatta verso di loro con la mano a pistola e manganello e le torce puntate verso il bosco. Li trova, ma il loro colore della pelle è nello spettro della legittimità. Va tutto bene, possono arrivare da noi. Della pattuglia di sei poliziotti, tre vanno via in macchina, tre si fermano effettivamente per la notte; ci chiediamo se sarebbe andata allo stesso modo se noi con i nostri occhi bianchi ed europei non fossimo stati presenti. Lo stallo continua, sostanzialmente, fino a mattina: la situazione è surreale, con noi sdraiati a pochi metri dalla polizia e dal corpo di H. L’immagine che ne esce parla di negligenza delle istituzioni, della gerarchia di vite che il confine crea e dell’abbandono sistematico dei corpi che vi si muovono intorno, se non per un loro possibile respingimento.

      Ore 8 di mattina, l’indifferenza continua anche quando arriva la scientifica, che si muove sbrigativa e sommaria intorno al corpo di H., vestendo jeans e scattando qualche fotografia simbolica. Il tutto non dura più di 30 minuti, alla fine dei quali il corpo parte nella macchina della border police, senza comunicazione alcuna sulla sua direzione e sulle sue sorti. Dopo la solita strategia di insistenza, riusciamo ad apprendere che verrà portato all’obitorio di Burgas, ma non hanno nulla da dirci su quello che avverrà dopo: l’ipotesi di un rimpatrio della salma o di un possibile funerale pare non sfiorare nemmeno i loro pensieri. Scopriremo solo in seguito, durante una c​hiamata con la famiglia, che H., nella migliore delle ipotesi, verrà seppellito in Bulgaria, solo grazie alla presenza sul territorio bulgaro di un parente di sangue, da poco deportato dalla Germania secondo le direttive di Dublino, che ha potuto riconoscere ufficialmente il corpo. Si rende palese, ancora una volta, l’indifferenza delle autorità nei confronti di H., un corpo ritenuto illegittimo che non merita nemmeno una sepoltura. La morte è normalizzata in questi spazi di confine e l’indifferenza sistemica diventa un’arma, al pari della violenza sui corpi e dei respingimenti, per definire chi ha diritto a una vita degna, o semplicemente a una vita.


  • L’administration #Biden annonce discrètement qu’elle va financer une section du mur à la frontière avec le #Mexique

    « Construire un mur massif sur toute la frontière sud n’est pas une solution politique sérieuse », avait proclamé Joe Biden lors de son accession à la présidence des Etats-Unis. Son administration a pourtant discrètement annoncé jeudi 5 octobre qu’elle comptait ajouter une nouvelle section au mur frontalier avec le Mexique pour tenter de limiter les arrivées de migrants, reprenant à son compte une mesure phare et controversée de l’ancien président Donald Trump.

    Cette décision a valu à Joe Biden d’être accusé de #volte-face, lui qui avait promis le jour de son entrée en fonction, en janvier 2021, que le contribuable ne payerait plus pour la construction d’un mur. Le démocrate de 80 ans, candidat à sa réélection, a assuré qu’il ne « pouvait pas interrompre » le #financement engagé par son prédécesseur, faute d’avoir pu convaincre le Congrès d’employer ces fonds pour d’autres mesures. Le même jour, la Maison Blanche a fait part de la reprise de vols directs d’expulsion vers le Venezuela pour les immigrés en situation irrégulière, interrompus depuis des années.

    Le ministre de la sécurité intérieure, Alejandro Mayorkas, a expliqué qu’une nouvelle portion de mur serait érigée dans la vallée du #Rio_Grande, à la frontière avec le Mexique. « Il existe actuellement un besoin aigu et immédiat de construire des barrières physiques et des routes à proximité de la frontière des Etats-Unis afin d’empêcher les entrées illégales », a-t-il déclaré dans un avis officiel publié par le registre fédéral des Etats-Unis. Plus de 245 000 tentatives d’entrées illégales ont été enregistrées sur une dizaine de mois jusqu’au début d’août, selon l’administration.

    Le ministre a ensuite assuré sur le réseau social X (ex-Twitter) que des passages de l’avis officiel avaient été « sortis de leur contexte » et a affirmé : « Il n’y a pas de nouvelle politique concernant le mur à la frontière. Nous avons toujours dit clairement qu’un mur n’était pas une solution. »

    Au Mexique, le président Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, qui rencontre jeudi le chef de la diplomatie américaine, Antony Blinken, a jugé qu’il s’agissait d’un « pas en arrière ». « Cette autorisation pour la construction du mur est un pas en arrière parce qu’elle ne résout pas le problème, nous devons nous attaquer aux causes » de l’immigration illégale, a réagi le président mexicain.

    Des fonds approuvés sous la présidence de Donald Trump

    « L’argent était prévu pour le mur frontalier. J’ai essayé de convaincre [les républicains au Congrès] d’allouer les fonds à autre chose, de les rediriger. Ils n’ont pas voulu », s’est défendu Joe Biden. « En attendant, il n’est pas possible légalement d’utiliser cet argent pour autre chose que ce pour quoi il a été prévu », a poursuivi le démocrate pour justifier une décision vivement critiquée par certains élus de son parti, en particulier dans l’aile gauche.

    M. Mayorkas a expliqué de son côté que les fonds pour « les barrières physiques supplémentaires » viendraient d’une dotation approuvée par le Congrès dans ce but précis en 2019, quand M. Trump était au pouvoir. L’immigration illégale est un problème politique croissant pour M. Biden, que les républicains accusent de laxisme.

    Donald Trump, son rival et favori de la droite pour la prochaine élection présidentielle, n’a pas manqué de réagir. L’annonce de l’administration Biden montre que « j’avais raison quand j’ai construit 900 km (…) d’un mur frontalier tout beau, tout neuf », a-t-il écrit sur sa plate-forme Truth Social. « Joe Biden s’excusera-t-il auprès de moi et de l’Amérique pour avoir mis si longtemps à bouger et avoir permis que notre pays soit inondé de 15 millions d’immigrants illégaux, venant de lieux inconnus ? », a-t-il ajouté.

    Les républicains ont fait de l’immigration l’un de leurs angles d’attaque favoris contre la Maison Blanche. L’aile droite du parti s’oppose par exemple au déblocage de fonds supplémentaires pour l’Ukraine, estimant que cet argent devrait plutôt servir à lutter contre la crise migratoire.

    Le sénateur conservateur Lindsey Graham a demandé de lier les deux sujets, alors que le Congrès américain doit voter sur un nouveau budget, et donc sur une éventuelle rallonge pour l’Ukraine, avant le 17 novembre, sous peine de paralysie de l’Etat fédéral.

    Reprise des expulsions vers le Venezuela

    La Maison Blanche s’est défendue d’utiliser la construction du mur pour marchander le soutien des parlementaires républicains à un nouvel effort financier en faveur des Ukrainiens : « Je ne ferais pas le lien entre les deux », a assuré Karine Jean-Pierre.

    Concernant le Venezuela, l’administration Biden va reprendre dans les prochains jours les expulsions directes par avion, suspendues depuis des années en raison de la situation sécuritaire très dégradée dans ce pays.

    Le département d’Etat a précisé que les autorités de Caracas avaient accepté de recevoir leurs ressortissants ainsi renvoyés. Le gouvernement vénézuélien a confirmé, dans un communiqué, que les deux pays avaient « conclu un accord permettant de rapatrier de manière organisée, sûre et légale des citoyens vénézuéliens depuis les Etats-Unis ».

    Les Vénézuéliens sont l’une des nationalités les plus représentées parmi les migrants qui arrivent régulièrement à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis. Cette reprise des expulsions directes vise des personnes entrées sur le territoire américain après le 31 juillet 2023. Pour ceux qui se trouvaient sur le sol américain avant cette date, Washington avait récemment annoncé l’octroi de 500 000 permis temporaires de séjour.

    Selon l’ONU, plus de sept millions de personnes ont fui le Venezuela depuis l’effondrement de son économie. Le régime du président Nicolas Maduro est visé par des sanctions de Washington, qui n’a pas reconnu sa réélection en 2018.

    #Joe_Biden #frontières #USA #Etats-Unis #murs #barrières_frontalières #renvois #expulsions #Venezuela

    • ‘Stabbed in the back’ : Biden’s border wall U-turn leaves Indigenous and climate groups reeling

      Rio Grande communities feel like the ‘sacrificial lamb’ in a political war as climate activists and environmentalists call foul

      The Biden administration’s decision to waive environmental, public health and cultural protections to speed new border wall construction has enraged environmentalists, Indigenous leaders and community groups in the Rio Grande valley.

      “It was disheartening and unexpected,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), amid concerns of the impact on essential corridors for wild cats and endangered plants in the area. “This is a new low, a horrific step backwards for the borderlands.”

      This is the first time a Democratic administration has issued such waivers for border wall construction, and for Joe Biden, it’s a marked departure from campaign promises and his efforts to be seen as a climate champion.

      “I see the Biden administration playing a strategic game for elections,” said Michelle Serrano, co-director of Voces Unidas RGV, an immigrants rights and community advocacy group based in the Rio Grande valley. The many rural, immigrant and Indigenous communities that live in the region have become “the sacrificial lamb” for politicians looking to score points, she added.

      As the climate crisis fuels ecological decline, extreme weather and mass migration, the administration’s move is especially upsetting, she added. “Building a border wall is counterproductive,” she said.

      “This is an inhumane response to immigration,” said Michele Weindling, the electoral director of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate justice group. “The right thing to do would be to treat immigrants with compassion and address the root cause of what is forcing people to have to leave their countries, which is the climate crisis.”

      Following the administration’s decision to approve the Willow drilling project in Alaska and renege on a promise to end new drilling, the border wall construction will likely further alienate young voters, she said: “Biden has already caused distrust among young voters. This is another and horrendous reversal of promises he made on the campaign trail, which is a dangerous move to make ahead of 2024.”

      Among the 26 environmental and cultural protections the administration is waiving are the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

      The administration’s proposed 20 new miles of a “border barrier system” in Starr county, Texas, cuts near the lower Rio Grande Valley national wildlife refuge. Construction would bisect fields where the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe and other tribes source peyote for sacramental use. It would also cut through or near old village sites and trails.

      “By developing this, they are furthering a genocide,” said Juan Mancias, the chair of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe, who has been battling border wall construction though tribal cultural sites and graveyards through multiple US administrations. Colonizers “killed our people in the first place, and we had to bury – then you dig them up to build. It’s ongoing genocide”, he said.

      The new sections of border wall would cut through “some of the most rural, peaceful sections of the Rio Grande”, said Jordahl, who recently canoed down the stretch of river where the administration plans its construction. “It was one of the most serene experiences I have ever had on the border. There were orioles flapping their wings in the sky, kingfishers, great blue herons.”

      CBD believes the construction will set back the recovery of endangered ocelots, and cut off wildlife corridors essential to the spotted wildcats’ long-term survival. Two endangered plants, the Zapata bladderpod and prostrate milkweed, would also be threatened by wall construction, according to the CBD.

      The waivers were announced just a month after the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan watchdog agency, released a dire report finding that border wall construction during the Trump administration had destroyed towering saguaro cactuses in Arizona, threatened ocelots in Texas and dynamited Indigenous cultural sites and burial grounds. The report urged US Customs and Border Protection and the interior department to develop a plan to ease the damage.

      In fueling Donald Trump’s zeal to build a “big, beautiful wall” at the US-Mexico border, his administration issued waivers that suspended 84 federal laws including protections pertaining to clean air and water, endangered species, public lands and the rights of Native Americans. The Biden administration rescinded one of the prior administration’s waivers in June.

      In July, the federal government agreed in a settlement to pay $1.2bn to repair environmental damages and protect wildlife affected by sections of border wall construction. Several states as well as the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition had challenged Trump’s use of military construction and of treasury department forfeiture funds to build parts of the wall.

      Now, the president who once vowed that “not another foot of wall would be constructed” under his watch has had his administration issue further waivers to speed wall construction. He has argued that his administration is compelled to construct border barriers, because money to fund its construction was already allocated by Congress. “I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn’t,” Biden told reporters. Asked if he thought the border wall worked, he responded, “No.”

      Environmental advocates have disputed the president’s claim that there was no choice but to move ahead with border wall construction. The administration was not obligated to waive environmental and public health protections to speed the work, they argue.

      “It’s absolutely mystifying as to why they thought it was a good idea to issue these waivers,” Jordhal said. “They could have moved forward with the Endangered Species Act still intact, so endangered wildlife and these areas would have had protections.” Keeping environmental, health and cultural protections in place would also have allowed local communities to provide input on the proposed construction and its impact, he added.

      “I’m angry,” said Nayda Alvarez, who spent years fighting the Trump administration’s efforts to seize land that her family has held for at least five generations to build the border wall. “Biden didn’t keep his promises – what happened to his word?”

      Even after the lawsuit to take her property along the Rio Grande was dropped, Alvarez said, she remained uncertain and uneasy – and continued to voice her concerns about the ecological damage caused by border barriers. “We thought maybe we’d be OK with a Democrat as president, and now Biden did this. We’re being stabbed in the back.”

      #peuples_autochtones #nature


      A mettre en lien aussi avec les conséquences sur la #faune et la #nature de la construction de #barrières_frontalières :

  • Walls and fences at EU borders

    The number of border walls and fences worldwide has increased dramatically in recent decades. This also holds for the EU/Schengen area, which is currently surrounded or criss-crossed by 19 border or separation fences stretching for more than 2 000 kilometres (km). Between 2014 and 2022, the aggregate length of border fences at the EU’s external borders and within the EU/Schengen area grew from 315 km to 2 048 km. Two main official reasons are put forward for building border fences: to prevent irregular migration and combat terrorism. The construction of fences at EU borders raises important questions as to their compatibility with EU law, in particular the Schengen Borders Code, fundamental rights obligations, and EU funding rules on borders and migration. While border fences are not explicitly forbidden under EU law, their construction and use must be in accordance with fundamental rights (such as the right to seek international protection) and the rights and procedural safeguards provided by EU migration law. Amid renewed pressure and tensions at the EU’s external borders, in 2021, several Member States asked the European Commission to allow them the use of EU funds to construct border fences, which they regarded as an effective border protection measure against irregular migration. According to Regulation (EU) 2021/1148, EU funding can support ’infrastructure, buildings, systems, and services’ required to implement border checks and border surveillance. The Commission has so far resisted demands to interpret this provision as allowing for the construction or maintenance of border fences. The European Parliament has condemned the practice of ’pushbacks’ at the EU borders consistently, expressing deep concern ’about reports of severe human rights violations and deplorable detention conditions in transit zones or detention centres in border areas’. Moreover, Parliament stressed that the protection of EU external borders must be carried out in compliance with relevant international and EU law, including the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

    #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #EU #UE #Union_européenne #migrations #asile #réfugiés #chiffres #statistiques #rapport #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #contrôles_frontaliers

  • THE WIRE | a film by Tiha K. Gudac

    By constructing an iron fence, right through the beautiful KUPA-region, Slovenia has made Croatia somewhat an unwilling buffer for the influx of the refugees coming from Bosnia, trying to reach Europe.

    Of cause of the fence, the usual way of life has collapsed and a new dynamic was generated. The region has become an arena of different faces of human nature brought forward by a time of crisis, in which local population needs to find a way to deal with this new situation in order to survive.


    #film #film_documentaire #documentaire #rivière #Kolpa #Kupa #barrières_frontalières #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #frontière_sud-alpine #Croatie #Slovénie #militarisation_des_frontières

  • La Polonia che imprigiona i migranti nei campi, ostaggio dei “geni della manipolazione”

    Il 15 ottobre, con le elezioni generali, i cittadini polacchi saranno chiamati a esprimersi su un referendum xenofobo indetto dal partito di estrema destra al potere. Rut Kurkiewicz, co-autrice del documentario “We are prisoners of the Polish State” e tra le poche voci indipendenti del Paese, racconta la situazione dei transitanti e rifugiati

    “Sei d’accordo con l’ammissione di migliaia di immigrati illegali dal Medio Oriente e dall’Africa, a seguito del meccanismo di ricollocamento forzato imposto dalla burocrazia europea?”. “Sei d’accordo con la rimozione delle barriere al confine tra Polonia e Bielorussia?”. Sono due dei quattro quesiti che figurano nel referendum indetto dal partito polacco di estrema destra Diritto e Giustizia (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, Pis), attualmente al potere. Si vota il 15 ottobre, stesso giorno delle elezioni governative.

    Rut Kurkiewicz, una delle poche voci indipendenti nel panorama dell’informazione polacca sulla situazione delle persone rifugiate e transitanti, chiama “geni della manipolazione” gli artefici di quelle domande, che trovano la loro ratio nello spostare l’attenzione su un nemico esterno piuttosto che sui temi che davvero dovrebbero trovare posto in una campagna elettorale.

    Dall’inizio della cosiddetta crisi dei rifugiati al confine tra Polonia e Bielorussia nell’estate del 2021, Kurkiewicz, con il suo lavoro giornalistico, racconta che cosa accade alle persone in movimento una volta entrate nel Paese. Nel 2022, insieme a Wojciech Szumowski, ha pubblicato “We are prisoners of the Polish State”, documentario riguardante la situazione dei centri di detenzione in Polonia. È stato trasmesso sulla prima televisione nazionale, raggiungendo almeno mezzo milione di persone.

    Kurkiewicz, quale è la situazione attuale delle persone in movimento tra Bielorussia e Polonia, a due anni dalla cosiddetta crisi del confine?
    RK Non è cambiato nulla. Ogni anno decine di migliaia di persone tentano di attraversare questo confine, in particolare nella stagione estiva. Non si sa quante riescano effettivamente a passare e quante siano respinte; la polizia di frontiera ogni giorno pubblica sui propri canali social il numero di persone intercettate, ma non si sa quanto questi dati siano affidabili. La cosa di cui siamo certi è che dal 2021 sono 50 le salme ritrovate al confine. Sono decine anche gli scomparsi. I gruppi di attivisti che operano su questo confine vengono contattati tutti i giorni dai familiari di persone di cui non si hanno più tracce. L’argomento sembra dimenticato, sia in Polonia sia fuori: ci sono tre gruppi di attivisti che intervengono come possono in forma volontaria ma nessuna grande organizzazione, nessun organismo europeo o internazionale.

    Che ruolo gioca la polizia di frontiera in tutto questo?
    RK Ogni giorno opera respingimenti, indipendentemente da chi si trova di fronte. Di recente gli attivisti hanno trovato un ragazzo somalo in condizioni critiche, respirava con difficoltà, sembrava essere disidratato. I volontari hanno chiamato l’ambulanza. Al suo posto è arrivata la polizia di frontiera, hanno messo il ragazzo su un autocarro militare, gli hanno detto di sorridere e nel frattempo lo hanno ripreso: il video è sui social della polizia di frontiera, si vede evidentemente che il ragazzo sta male. Probabilmente poi è stato respinto, perché non si trova nei registri dei centri di detenzione. La famiglia ha perso i contatti con lui.

    Dal febbraio 2022 milioni di ucraini in fuga dalla guerra hanno attraversato il vicino confine tra Ucraina e Polonia. In questo caso la grande maggioranza è stata accolta, non riscontrando alcun ostacolo alla frontiera. Come mai questa differenza?
    RK Su entrambi i confini ci sono persone che scappano da guerre. Su uno, iracheni, afghani, siriani, sull’altro, ucraini. Ma gli standard sono stati opposti: da una parte respingimenti e violenze, dall’altra apertura e accoglienza. Esiste un razzismo istituzionalizzato alle frontiere e in questo caso è stato lampante. Chi era nero, anche sul confine ucraino-polacco, veniva fermato, i bianchi no. Questa differenza si è vista anche nella reazione dei cittadini polacchi: c’è stata un’enorme mobilitazione per ospitare le persone ucraine, tantissima gente comune ha aperto le porte di casa, è stato bello. Allo stesso tempo per le persone non ucraine nulla di questo. Nel mio giro di amici alcuni hanno ospitato persone ucraine per settimane. Una volta ho provato a chiedere loro di ospitare una persona irachena per due notti: non ho trovato nessuno. C’è paura, un razzismo profondo nelle nostre menti. Gli Stati Uniti hanno fatto un grande lavoro dopo l’11 settembre: hanno vinto, adesso tutta l’Europa è razzista.

    Nel tuo ultimo documentario “We are prisoners of the Polish State” racconti della situazione carceraria a cui vengono costrette le persone una volta in Polonia. Quale è la situazione attuale?
    RK Adesso sono cinque i campi di detenzione in Polonia, all’interno dei quali si trovano circa 500 persone, a fine 2021 ce n’erano molte di più. Dopo i report di alcuni giornali e associazioni il campo più grande a Wędrzyn ha chiuso i battenti, era come l’inferno.

    Come mai le persone che vogliono fare domanda di asilo, una volta in Polonia, vengono rinchiuse nei centri detentivi?
    RK Quando le persone in movimento sorpassano “illegalmente” il confine, se vengono intercettate dalla polizia di frontiera polacca e non vengono respinte in Bielorussia, con buona probabilità vengono portate in un centro di detenzione. È paradossale: da una parte la Polonia non vuole persone migranti, dall’altra una volta che entrano non vuole che queste lascino il Paese, rinchiudendole in un centro. La situazione legale è poco chiara: alcune persone rimangono lì due anni, altre tre mesi, anche se provengono dallo stesso Paese, anche se hanno una storia simile. Non si capisce quale sia la logica.

    Il 5 settembre, nel campo di detenzione di Prezmy, le persone detenute hanno cominciato uno sciopero della fame per protestare contro le condizioni di prigionia. Pensi che questo cambierà qualcosa?
    RK Speriamo. È un evento unico, ci sono stati altri scioperi della fame, ma questa è la prima volta che quasi tutte le persone all’interno del campo partecipano. Sono 100 detenuti in sciopero della fame. Protestano contro il trattamento disumano delle guardie del centro. Queste utilizzano taser per far rispettare l’ordine, identificano i detenuti con dei numeri e non con nomi e cognomi. Nel campo non si possono utilizzare social network, impedendo così ai detenuti di avere contatti con famiglie e amici. Il cibo e gli oggetti per l’igiene sono centellinati. Qualche settimana fa nel centro è morto un ragazzo siriano di 27 anni. La polizia ha inizialmente nascosto quanto accaduto, ma adesso il caso è già in corte. Era ammalato, ha più volte chiesto l’intervento di un dottore. Lo hanno picchiato per porre fine alle sue richieste. Alla fine, è morto nel campo di detenzione, senza l’intervento di nessuno. La polizia nei campi si sente al di sopra delle leggi nazionali e internazionali. A Prezmy stanno protestando per tutto questo.

    Il tuo documentario sui centri di detenzione è stato trasmesso in prima serata sulla prima televisione polacca. Sono state organizzate proiezioni in altri Paesi dell’Unione europea, quale è l’impatto che questo tuo importante lavoro sta avendo sull’opinione pubblica?
    RK Difficile da dire. Il vantaggio di un documentario che va in televisione, rispetto agli articoli o ai report sui giornali, è che raggiunge un pubblico più vasto: l’hanno visto in 500mila. Capitava che alcune persone mi fermavano per le strade, nei negozi, dicendomi: “Non sapevamo che stesse accadendo questo, è terribile”. Concretamente però non è cambiato nulla, le guardie di polizia dei centri detentivi continuano ad agire nello stesso modo. Voglio però credere che il nostro lavoro abbia cambiato le menti di qualcuno. I polacchi non potranno dire: “Non lo sapevamo”. Adesso sanno dell’esistenza di questa enorme oppressione.


    #militarisation_des_frontières #frontières
    #Pologne #référendum #xénophobie #racisme #migrations #barrières_frontalières #murs #mourir_aux_frontières #morts_aux_frontières #décès #réfugiés_ukrainiens #catégorisation #tri #Prezmy #détention_administrative #rétention #emprisonnement #camps_de_réfugiés


    sur le film, voir aussi:

  • Bulgaria migrant pushbacks: What’s behind the rise in violence at the Bulgarian-Turkish border? (1/4)

    The Bulgarian-Turkish border is seeing an upsurge in pushbacks and violence against migrants. InfoMigrants uncovers the reasons why and who are the most at risk.

    This article is the first in a four-part series. All research and interviews were conducted between June and August 2023, with field reporting in Bulgaria carried out between June 18 and 24, 2023.

    Pushbacks are “a very serious problem” in Bulgaria, Krassimir Kanev, chair of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, a non-profit dedicated to protecting human rights, told InfoMigrants.

    “We even had people who were killed, who were seriously injured, who were pushed back and they died in the snow in Turkey…There have been many such cases, cases of physical ill treatment, sometimes resulting in death…use of firearms sometimes resulting in death…” he said.

    Last year alone, an estimated 5,200 migrants were subject to pushbacks at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, according to the Committee.

    Similarly, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles recorded 5,268 alleged pushbacks in Bulgaria in 2022 affecting 87,647 persons – but the actual figure is believed to be much higher.

    Pushbacks are prohibited under European Union (EU) and international law. They violate the 1951 Refugee Convention principle of non-refoulement, which provides that refugees should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.

    In interviews carried out between June and August 2023, migrants, humanitarian workers, human rights experts and lawyers told InfoMigrants violence against migrants and pushbacks at the Bulgarian-Turkish border have increased in the last two years.

    The Bulgarian government, however, has maintained that “Checks have been carried out of formal pushback signals made by foreigners who tried to illegally cross the state border of Bulgaria. The checks ended with the finding that there was no evidence of physical violence.”

    A spokesperson from the ministry told InfoMigrants, “It should be noted that many of the claims of ’pushbacks’ are unfounded.”

    Greek migrant repression marks turning point in Bulgaria

    Hamid Khoshseiar, a translator and coordinator at the Mission Wings Foundation in Harmanli near to the Bulgarian-Turkish border, works with migrants from the town’s refugee reception center. He said more migrants started trying to enter the EU via the Bulgarian-Turkish border after the Greek government’s swing to the right in 2019. Those numbers have climbed even higher in the last year.

    “Around a year ago, we started to see a new practice. People were coming in our office to be registered…because of the increase of the number of pushbacks at the border…” Khoshseiar told InfoMigrants.

    In August 2022, a bus carrying at least 47 migrants collided with a police car in Bulgaria, leaving two officers dead.

    “After that, the border escalated and became very intensive,” with “more forces,” Khoshseiar explained. “Even the army started to help border police and the gendarmerie [military police]. And also the number of pushbacks and violence increased a lot… people give themselves the right to interpret the law,” he added.

    Bulgarian authorities have been stripping migrants at the border before “pushing them back (into Turkey) without any clothes,” Khoshseiar said.

    “We also heard a lot about beatings on the border. Some of them (migrants) were sharing that when they (Bulgarian authorities) caught a group, there were six, seven officers opening one small door in the border. And like a tunnel they were hitting everyone who was crossing.”

    Khoshseiar added that many migrants told him it was their fifth or sixth time attempting to enter Bulgarian territory.

    In order to find out which forces are involved in pushbacks, Khoshseiar also asks his clients about the color of their clothing.

    “[The] forces ... involved [are] technically all of them. Border police with green, gendarmerie with dark blue, and police with blue – it’s not specifically one,” he said.

    Khoshseiar is also concerned about chain pushbacks, a practice often initiated by European countries where people are pushed back through multiple consecutive countries.

    “We heard from people… ’Bulgarian police arrested us, they started beating us. They sent us back to Greece. After that, the Greece police started beating us and send us back to Turkey,’ – chain pushbacks.”

    Bulgarian-Turkish border sees jump in migrant arrivals

    Boris Cheshirkov, an external relations officer at the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Sofia, told InfoMigrants that Bulgaria received some 20,000 asylum applications last year – “the highest number in a single year over 30 years of recorded statistics.”

    He said the main countries of origin were Syria, Afghanistan and Morocco, adding that this trend has largely continued in 2023. The number of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons at the end of 2022 was almost double than that of the year before.

    The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 and ongoing conflict in Syria are pushing citizens to journey to Bulgaria, while continued economic and political instability in neighboring Turkey – as well as the devastating aftermath of the February earthquake – are driving Syrians previously living in Turkey to cross the border into Bulgaria.

    Migration activities have also resumed following the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, slow and inefficient application processes across the EU have prompted many more to search for unofficial ways to enter the bloc, usually through the use of people smugglers.

    The trilateral Bulgaria-Greece-Turkey contact center at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint confirmed that the Bulgarian-Turkish border has seen another strong wave of irregular migration in the past year, and is making prevention their top priority.

    “The first and biggest issue is cross-border crime related to illegal migration – foremost in terms of volume,” a Bulgarian border police spokesperson at the trilateral center told InfoMigrants. The center was established in 2016 soon after refugee arrivals in Europe peaked in 2015.

    Higher migrant numbers arguably increase the probability of pushbacks. Migrants are also increasingly aiming for the Bulgarian-Turkish border as other European countries beef up security.

    “In the past, much more migration has been through Greece than through Bulgaria,” Kanev from the Helsinki Committee said. “But the Greek government introduced some measures of patrolling the sea. Their border is very well protected. Their land border with Turkey is shorter. Also, the Bulgarian border is very difficult to protect because it goes through a mountain. And it’s quite big and therefore it is very hard to install appropriate technology and supervision throughout this border,” he explained.

    Migrants are also increasingly opting for the Bulgarian-Turkish border after hearing stories about violent pushbacks and aggressive behavior from Greek authorities at the Greek-Turkish border or experiencing violence firsthand in a previous failed crossing at the Greek border.

    Authorities beat, stripped, robbed and shot at migrants

    Diana Dimova, head of the Bulgarian human rights organization Mission Wings, said nearly 700 migrants who crossed the Bulgarian-Turkish border have passed through her consultation center in Stara Zagora city in the last year.

    “The practices they (migrants) share are: being stripped, robbing of personal belongings, phones and money, beatings with police batons, harassment with police dogs, and illegal detention for 24-72 hours in unregulated premises,” Dimova told InfoMigrants.

    She and her colleagues have also traveled to Turkey to film the testimonies of scores of refugees who recount being abused and pushed back.

    “The resistance from the authorities to cover up these crimes is great,” she said.

    Many migrants walk through dense forested areas, crossing the Strandja Nature Park at the border with Turkey. They typically walk four to eight days without food or water, and smugglers “give them pills to endure the journey,” Dimova said. “Many are dehydrated and exhausted to the limit. Huge numbers of people are dying in the forests, mostly in the area of Sredets municipality.”

    GPS coordinates given by migrants in distress to hotlines in Europe “are rarely responded to by border police,” she said.

    “Usually we call 112 who forward the signal to the border police. We have found that in many cases the border police do not look for them at all or leave them to their fate. In most cases, when 112 is called insistently and help is sought, they arrive at the scene of the tragedy, load those who have survived and send them back onto Turkish territory,” Dimova told InfoMigrants.

    “Bulgaria does not have a working system for rescuing refugees in distress – many of these people are left to perish in the forests,” she said.

    Her foundation is funded by various foreign organizations as the Bulgarian government does not provide them with financial support.

    “There are very few organizations in Bulgaria helping refugees. Most do not want to engage in this topic because of negative public opinion” and are pressured by various institutions to stop their activities, Dimova explained. A number of organizations focusing on refugees in Bulgaria are under investigation – including Mission Wings.

    “For more than 10 months, we have been under investigation for suspicions expressed by the State Agency for Refugees that we are involved in the trafficking and smuggling of unaccompanied refugee children. The national security services pressured and harassed us for nearly a year, trying to stop us from helping those arriving from the Bulgarian-Turkish border,” she told InfoMigrants.

    Journalists expose migrant shooting

    Sofia Bahudela, an Arabic language worker at Caritas Bulgaria, said the charity is very familiar with migrants who are “extremely traumatized when entering the country.”

    “Everything is very dependent on the people serving as border guards,” she told InfoMigrants.

    Recounting the story of Ali Husseini, a young man who had been granted protection status in Bulgaria, Bahudela explains how when he traveled to the border to find his brother in 2022, he was stripped, beaten, robbed and then pushed into Turkey. After a week of talks with a lawyer and a trip to Istanbul, he was able to return to Bulgaria, but had to wait a further five months to have his ID reissued. His brother, meanwhile, was deported from Turkey to Afghanistan.

    In another case, the Bulgarian government repeatedly rejected accusations that its border guards shot a Syrian refugee in October 2022 after a video released two months after the incident showed a man being fired at on the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

    The video was part of a joint investigation by several European media outlets led by the Netherlands-based Lighthouse Reports. In a separate video captured days later, the man identified himself as 19-year-old Abdullah El Rustum of Syria. He said he was shot by Bulgarian border officers after his group was caught trying to enter Bulgaria irregularly. The Lighthouse investigation found that unarmed refugees were fired at from the same position on the Bulgarian side, where the border police were seen to be located.

    Maria Cheresheva, a Bulgarian journalist based in the capital Sofia, participated in the Lighthouse probe. She has since been denied access to the Bulgarian-Turkish border on numerous occasions, and said she rarely receives comments from the government on her work.

    “There has been no information or progress on this investigation,” Cheresheva told InfoMigrants. The border is a “heavily monitored area. So we are curious why after the rejection of the authorities of both countries (Turkey and Bulgaria), no progress has been done in terms of this report, which was broadly broadcasted around big European media.”

    Testimonies of migrants who were pushed back and suffered violence at the border “are rarely taken into account” Cheresheva explained, adding that she has dealt with a number of similar cases, but noted it’s “extremely difficult to prove who caused the violence and how did those people end up in such a situation.”

    The stressful and violent situations of pushbacks also make it difficult for migrants to identify the people responsible for the illegal acts: Are they Bulgarian border police, gendarmerie, European Border and Coast Guard Agency (#Frontex) officers, or vigilantes.

    Women and children face increased risks at border crossing

    Women who attempt to enter Europe via the Bulgarian-Turkish border face heightened risks of sexual violence.

    “We have cases of women who say they have experienced violence, including sexual violence, on the way to Bulgaria at the hands of traffickers or police officers in Turkey. Some women have had to pay for their journey to Europe with sex due to lack of financial means,” said Dimova of Mission Wings.

    Cases of rape and abuse are difficult to record because “many of the women do not recognize the violence that has been perpetrated against them as a problem or are ashamed to share,” she told InfoMigrants.

    The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee also confirmed it received reports of sexual harassment and rape from migrants. Chairman Kanev cited a female migrant who informed the Committee that she was stripped naked and subjected to sexual harassment by Bulgarian authorities.

    “I suspect that she was also raped, maybe, but she didn’t say that. And then from third parties, you also hear cases of women who were raped,” Kanev said.

    Unaccompanied minors also face greater risks at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, journalist Cheresheva said, because there is “nobody to protect them on the way.” Many problems can arise because the “mistreatment and violence happens outside of the system.”

    Cheresheva said she has interviewed many migrants who experienced violence at the border as minors. One boy she interviewed was kept in a detention center in Bulgaria and was expecting his asylum procedure to start, but instead he was sent back to Turkey where he was kidnapped. The last Cheresheva heard about the child was that he had been rescued by other refugees living in Turkey.

    “With all this violence happening along the borders, not only by authorities but through all kinds of criminal groups, I’m very concerned about the fate of these kids,” Cheresheva said.

    Khoshseiar from Mission Wings said he had come across two unaccompanied migrant children in Harmanli, a brother and sister aged 12 and 14.

    “I just showed them the way how to get to the reception center, because the reception center should register them. After that we understood that they put them into the car and pushed them back into Turkey,” he said.

    Bulgaria is a ’peaceful country,’ says Syrian barber

    Several migrants InfoMigrants spoke to recounted positive stories of how Bulgaria had welcomed them, and said they had not experienced violence on Bulgarian territory.

    Ahmed is a Syrian barber in Sofia. He journeyed to Bulgaria with a group of friends in 2015, when their country was being torn apart by war and conflict.

    “I came through the mountains for three days on the border between Turkey and Bulgaria – the situation was very difficult, very difficult indeed,” he told InfoMigrants from his barbershop in the bustling center of the Bulgarian capital.

    “For me personally, there were no issues with the (asylum) documents,” he said.

    When asked if he had any issues with border police during the journey, he responded: “No, very good people, really. I swear. I lived in Turkey for nine months. The police there were bad people. In Turkey, not here. I came to Bulgaria because of the police in Turkey, very bad people.”

    All of Ahmed’s friends continued on to Germany, except for him.

    “I love Bulgaria…I like it, good, peaceful country…” he beamed.

    *Name changed


    #Bulgarie #Turquie #push-backs #refoulements #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #montagne #violence #violence_sexuelle #murs #barrières_frontalières

    • Tra le persone respinte e lasciate senza soccorsi in Bulgaria, frontiera d’Europa

      Al confine tra Turchia e Bulgaria le persone in movimento sono sottoposte a continue violazioni dei loro diritti, dall’omissione di soccorso ai respingimenti illegali. A denunciare dal campo queste violenze, che ancora una volta evidenziano un ruolo problematico dell’Agenzia Frontex, c’è il Collettivo rotte balcaniche Alto vicentino

      Di quanto accade alla frontiera tra Turchia e Bulgaria si sa poco. Eppure si tratta di una delle porte dell’Unione europea sulla quale le persone in movimento sono sottoposte a continue violenze. Secondo i dati diffusi dalla stessa polizia di frontiera bulgara -una polizia a tutti gli effetti europea, avendo Sofia aderito all’Ue nel 2007- sarebbero stati 46.940 i tentativi di attraversamento cosiddetto “illegale” del confine solo nei mesi di giugno e luglio di quest’anno. Tantissime delle persone intercettate dalle autorità, dopo essere state catturate, vengono respinte in Turchia attraverso pratiche totalmente illegittime.

      Chi svolge un prezioso lavoro di documentazione e testimonianza di quanto succede in questi luoghi è il Collettivo rotte balcaniche Alto vicentino, impegnato nel Sud della Bulgaria, nella città di Harmanli, dove si trova il più grande campo del Paese, e Svilengrad, nelle vicinanze del campo di Pastrogor. Da metà luglio gli attivisti hanno cominciato a rispondere a chiamate di aiuto da parte di migranti in difficoltà, che hanno poi raggiunto nei punti in cui si erano fermati. Questo gli ha permesso di essere testimoni delle omissioni di soccorso e delle violenze da parte delle autorità bulgare, che spesso non avviano nemmeno le ricerche di chi si trova in situazione di urgenza.

      “Pensiamo alle tante persone che ogni notte muoiono senza nemmeno poter chiedere aiuto, oltre alle poche che lo chiedono invano. Lungo le frontiere di terra come di mare, l’omissione di soccorso è una precisa strategia delle autorità -ha scritto il collettivo in un report su quanto avvenuto nel caso del salvataggio di una donna incinta e delle sue due bambine-. […] Ci è chiara l’urgenza di agire in prima persona e disobbedire a chi uccide lasciando morire”. Tra gli attivisti del collettivo che si spendono quotidianamente per portare aiuto a chi si trova in difficoltà ci sono anche Giuseppe Pederzolli e Giovanni Marenda.

      Che cosa sta succedendo in Bulgaria oggi?
      GM Il confine con la Turchia ultimamente è diventato un buco nero dal punto di vista informativo. Da poco abbiamo cominciato a occuparci di casi di emergenza, che ormai sono quasi quotidiani. Abbiamo un numero di telefono e un network con altre organizzazioni europee. Ci arrivano segnalazioni di persone in stato di urgenza o di stress durante il viaggio dalla Turchia. Fin dalle prime volte siamo andati di persona, oltre a dare segnalazione ufficiale al 112, perché ci siamo accorti che spesso le autorità omettono il soccorso. Mentono rispetto a quello che fanno: sostengono di stare conducendo una ricerca anche se non è vero. In alcuni casi, quando hanno capito che noi ci stavamo recando sul posto, hanno iniziato a uscire per arrivare prima di noi per sfruttare l’occasione per respingere illegalmente le persone. In sostanza, quindi, cerchiamo di arrivare sul luogo per “metterci in mezzo”, costringendo la polizia, per esempio, a far venire anche l’ambulanza o a far fare richiesta di asilo. Le autorità non possono respingere davanti ai nostri occhi.

      Ci sono segnalazioni che ritenete particolarmente emblematiche rispetto a quanto accade sul confine turco-bulgaro?
      GP Una questione importante con la quale ci stiamo misurando anche dal punto di vista emotivo è quella delle persone morte lungo i confini; anche a noi che siamo una piccola realtà arrivano segnalazioni di familiari da mezza Europa che dicono di non avere più notizie di un loro caro. Qui, al confine con la Turchia, è un problema molto rilevante. Decine di persone muoiono nella foresta. Oltre al ritrovamento c’è anche la questione della restituzione del corpo alla famiglia, che spesso non avviene. In un caso, quello di H., un migrante siriano di trent’anni, la morte ci è stata segnalata dai compagni di viaggio, che in tempi rapidi l’hanno detto anche alla famiglia. Tre attiviste sono partite verso la posizione che ci era stata mandata -e che abbiamo trasmesso più volte anche al 112-, una zona a due ore di distanza da noi. Il luogo era abbastanza difficile da raggiungere, una quarantina di minuti a piedi dalla strada principale. La polizia è arrivata circa 12 ore dopo; noi siamo rimasti lì, perché volevamo essere sicuri che la salma sarebbe stata raccolta e anche capire dove sarebbe stata portata, per darne notizia alla famiglia. Abbiamo poi coinvolto anche un’avvocata per fare da tramite ai parenti per la questione del funerale.

      Tra le testimonianze che avete fornito, anche la storia di una donna incinta, soccorsa con le sue due bambine.
      GM Si è trattato del nostro primo soccorso. Appena è arrivata la segnalazione abbiamo chiamato il 112; poi abbiamo capito che le autorità ci stavano mentendo: ci dicevano che c’era un’unità di ricerca sul posto, che c’era anche un’ambulanza, ma noi eravamo in contatto diretto con la donna, che per fortuna aveva con sé il telefono carico, e sapevamo che non c’era nessuno che la stava cercando, perché lei si trovava a pochi metri dalla strada. A un certo punto abbiamo deciso di andare noi, rendendo sempre noti al 112 i nostri movimenti. L’abbiamo trovata, quando siamo arrivati sul posto, semplicemente urlando per far sentire la nostra voce. Al mattino è arrivata la prima pattuglia della polizia di frontiera, che si è fermata perché ci ha visti lungo una strada molto delicata, in cui ci sono molti passaggi. Hanno iniziato a importunarci, a minacciarci. Non sapevano assolutamente nulla delle segnalazioni che avevamo fatto. Abbiamo chiesto un’ambulanza, che non è mai arrivata. Successivamente siamo stati portati alla stazione di polizia, dove è venuto un dottore, che ha fatto una visita sommaria di cinque minuti, al termine della quale ha consigliato alla donna di bere molta acqua. Poi ci hanno allontanati: per 20 giorni non abbiamo saputo più nulla della persona che abbiamo soccorso, anche se quotidianamente abbiamo cercato di rintracciarla. Alla fine avevamo quasi paura, ci eravamo convinti l’avessero respinta in Turchia. Poi abbiamo saputo, per fortuna, che era stata trasferita al campo aperto di Harmanli e che aveva potuto fare domanda d’asilo.

      Avete avuto ripercussioni legali per la vostra attività?
      GM Per ora non siamo mai stati denunciati o accusati di nulla, perché ci siamo sempre coperti attraverso le segnalazioni al 112. Ci sono state minacce in diverse occasioni, ci hanno detto “Vi arresteremo la prossima volta che fate cose del genere”, ma alla fine non hanno potuto farci nulla. Di certo, tuttavia, non siamo noi ad avere il coltello dalla parte del manico, è anche un discorso politico, rispetto a quanto spazio riesci a guadagnarti. La polizia di frontiera qui fa quello che vuole; abbiamo visto poliziotti con la maglietta del fascio littorio, insieme ad agenti di Frontex. L’Agenzia e l’Unione europea nei documenti ufficiali continuano a negare di essere coinvolte e sostengono di non sapere nulla di quanto succede. Nella stazione di Sredets -paese vicino al luogo di ritrovamento della donna incinta-, però, tra gli armadietti ce ne sono due riservati proprio a Frontex.

      Il collettivo non si occupa solo del soccorso e della documentazione delle violenze. Qual è la vostra storia?
      GP Il collettivo è nato tra il 2018 e il 2019, dall’esigenza di stare in alcuni luoghi sui confini, innanzitutto per una questione di cura delle persone in movimento. Poi abbiamo iniziato a collaborare con diverse realtà internazionali, per esempio in Serbia, in Bosnia ed Erzegovina, in Grecia e a Trieste. Negli anni le nostre attività sono state diverse. Abbiamo iniziato, soprattutto in Bosnia, sistemando gli squat dove stavano le persone, costruendo stufe, aiutando in maniera molto pratica. Poi nel tempo ci siamo interessati alla questione igienica, quindi abbiamo costruito e diffuso ai vari gruppi internazionali dei kit doccia portatili.


  • Nord de la France : le barrage flottant, nouveau dispositif pour freiner les traversées de la Manche

    Pour faire face au phénomène des "taxi-boats" de migrants, les autorités du #Pas-de-Calais ont décidé d’installer un barrage flottant en travers de la #Canche, un #fleuve qui se jette dans la Manche tout près du #Touquet et d’où les exilés prennent souvent la mer.

    Quelques kilomètres avant de se jeter dans la Manche, le fleuve la Canche est maintenant coupé en deux par un barrage de bouées flottantes jaunes. À quelques mètres du pont rose de la ville d’Étaples, à une soixantaine de kilomètres au sud de Calais, la navigation est désormais interdite. Ce nouveau #dispositif, mis en place par la préfecture du département, vient s’ajouter à celui déjà existant pour lutter contre l’immigration illégale et les traversées de la Manche.

    Avec cette ligne de bouées qui traversent le fleuve de part en part, fixées à deux piliers en béton, c’est plus particulièrement aux "taxi-boats" que les autorités veulent s’attaquer. Un phénomène de plus en plus utilisé par les passeurs du littoral français pour rejoindre le Royaume-Uni. Comment cela fonctionne ? "Le bateau est gonflé et mis à l’eau sur des cours d’eau qui rejoignent la mer. Les passeurs remontent ensuite la côte et chargent les passagers à un endroit bien précis, ce qui permet d’éviter l’interception sur la plage", expliquait à Infomigrants Xavier Delrieu, chef de l’Office de lutte contre le trafic illicite de migrants (OLTIM), qui traque les filières d’immigration clandestine dans toute la France.

    Une technique qui peut mettre en difficulté les autorités françaises car "à partir du moment où les migrants sont dans l’eau, ce n’est plus une opération de police mais de sauvetage en mer", ajoute-t-il. Et qui peut mettre en danger les exilés, qui attendent les embarcations dans l’eau, parfois jusqu’au torse, et risquent ainsi "la noyade, l’hypothermie ou l’enlisement dans les vasières", selon la préfecture.

    Et pour justifier ce nouveau dispositif, la préfecture explique que le phénomène des "taxi-boats", "est monté en puissance depuis quelques mois". "Depuis le début de l’année 2023, 22 évènements ont été recensés sur le fleuve de la Canche, avec une moyenne de 46 migrants sur chaque embarcation". Ainsi, avec ce barrage flottant, la préfecture espère "empêcher les ’taxi-boats’ d’atteindre le rivage et interpeller les passeurs".

    "Doubler le temps de traversée et les risques qui vont avec"

    Pour les associations sur place, le discours est le même qu’à chaque annonce d’un nouveau dispositif sécuritaire dans la région : "Cela ne résoudra rien", glissent-elles à Infomigrants.

    "Là, déjà, les gens partent de la Canche pour fuir le dispositif en place sur les côtes. Tous ces nouveaux dispositifs, ça les pousse uniquement à aller encore plus loin. Ça ne fait que doubler le temps de traversée et les risques qui vont avec", tance Pierre Roques, délégué général de l’Auberge des migrants. Et d’ajouter : "Les réseaux de passeurs vont juste se réadapter et vont devenir encore plus indispensables".

    Et les chiffres montrent que malgré l’augmentation des effectifs et des moyens de surveillance de la frontière, les traversées augmentent. “Il y a toujours autant de personnes qui passent quelles que soient les dispositions”, résume Pierre Roques qui réitère la demande tenue par les associations depuis des mois : “Un accueil digne et une voie sûre entre les deux pays”.

    Contactée par Infomigrants, une source policière confiait même récemment que "plus il y a d’effectifs, plus ça part". "Ce n’est pas parce que nous sommes là qu’ils arrêtent de partir", témoignait cette même source, partageant aussi le changement de stratégie des passeurs. Selon un rapport publié par l’association Utopia 56 le mois dernier, les tentatives de traversées dans la Manche ont augmenté de 22 % en juin malgré le renforcement des effectifs de police et grâce à une météo clémente.
    "Il y a clairement une hausse des arrivées"

    Et ces derniers mois, les traversées de la Manche se sont multipliées. Près de 8 150 migrants répartis dans 180 embarcations ont tenté de traverser le détroit entre début juin et fin juillet, contre environ 7 700 sur la même période en 2022, selon les chiffres de la préfecture. En 2022, année record, 45 000 personnes ont réussi la traversée et, depuis 2018, ce sont plus de 100 000 migrants qui sont arrivés au Royaume-Uni après avoir traversé la Manche.

    Rien que pour la journée du samedi 12 août , 509 personnes ont réussi à atteindre les côtes anglaises à bord de 10 embarcations, selon le ministère de l’Intérieur britannique. Le lendemain, 759 exilés ont traversé la Manche, un record journalier depuis le début de l’année.

    "En ce moment, la situation est très tendue dans la région", confie Francesca Morassut, coordinatrice d’Utopia 56 à Calais. "Ces derniers mois, il y a clairement une hausse des arrivées [dans la région]. Toutes les associations sont vraiment hyper sollicitées. Il y a un manque d’eau et de solution d’hébergement", explique-t-elle. Selon la responsable associative, environ 1 200 personnes, "dont beaucoup de familles", vivent dans les campements informels à Calais et 800 à Grande-Synthe. "Une situation comme on n’avait pas vu depuis des mois."


    #barrières #barrières_frontalières #murs_flottants #barrières_flottantes #Manche #Angleterre #GB #France #Calais #frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières


    Peu après l’installation de #grillages à #Vintimille :
    Ventimiglia, recinzioni sulle sponde del Roya per impedirne l’accesso ai migranti

  • Un mur flottant équipé de « scies circulaires » à la frontière américano-mexicaine

    Finalement, on n’a plus besoin des nazis comme figure universelle de la #dégueulasserie #barbare humaine ordinaire.

    Des vidéos diffusées sur les réseaux sociaux le 8 août 2023 permettent d’observer de plus près la barrière frontalière flottante installée par le gouverneur du Texas, Greg Abbott, et destinée à empêcher les migrants clandestins d’entrer aux États-Unis. Ces installations controversées, près desquelles un corps a récemment été retrouvé, sont équipées de disques métalliques pointus fabriqués par Cochrane Global.

  • Fences and cemetery guards to stop migrants in Ventimiglia

    The Italian border city of Ventimiglia has stepped up measures to stem the flow of migrants by erecting fences along the banks of the Roya river. A private security group also stands guard over a cemetery.

    The Italian city of Ventimiglia, in Liguria, on the border with France, has stepped up measures to curb the flow of migrants by erecting heavy metal fences along the banks of the Roya river and through private security personnel standing guard over a cemetery.

    “The decision to close access is to prevent more bivouacking as well as for security reasons,” said Flavio Di Muro, mayor of the city and a member of the anti-migrant League party.

    “In the case of rain, there is the risk of a sudden rise in the river level, while in days of little rain like these there have been fires,” he added.
    Measures to stop creation of new tent cities

    The decision to use security guards at the Roverino cemetery was made after residents reported the presence of migrants camped out in the area and making use of bathrooms and fountains nearby.

    These gatherings of migrants had, according to the town council, led to “problems within the cemetery and a perception of danger for visitors.”

    “This is a sacred place, intended for prayer and the remembrance of the deceased,” said Di Muro when the security service was launched at the end of July. “(It is) not a place to camp out, urinate, move or destroy municipal property. We must restore dignity to our city, starting from places like this.”

    The guards patrol the cemetery every day from 9 am to 12 and then from 3 pm to 6 pm.

    The fence along the Roya river is intended to prevent access to the river in front of homes where residents have repeatedly reported seeing migrants moving through.

    “We want to prevent the creation of situations of widespread illegality and of new tent cities,” Di Muro said.

    City park also gets volunteer anti-migrant guards

    A similar situation was seen in the city park where, the mayor said, “we want to invest in the creation of minigolf facilities and work on the pond but where there is the need for internal guards.”

    On August 2, about 30 foreign nationals were stopped and identified within the Ventimiglia train station during checks: five were ordered to register at the police station, two were taken to the Turin repatriation center, and 20 were ordered to leave Italy.

    Three minors from Afghanistan were also tracked down by the security forces and entrusted to a special reception center.

    #Ventimille #frontière_sud-alpine #migrations #militarisation_des_frontières #asile #réfugiés #frontières #barrières_frontalières #Italie #France #fleuve_Roya #Roya #personnel_de_sécurité #sécurité #Roverino #cimetière #barrières_frontalières #murs

  • #Texas prepares to deploy #Rio_Grande buoys in governor’s latest effort to curb border crossings

    Texas began rolling out what is set to become a new floating barrier on the Rio Grande on Friday in the latest escalation of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s multibillion-dollar effort to secure the U.S. border with Mexico, which already has included bussing migrants to liberal states and authorizing the National Guard to make arrests.

    But even before the huge, orange buoys were unloaded from the trailers that hauled them to the border city of Eagle Pass, there were concerns over this part of Abbott’s unprecedented challenge to the federal government’s authority over immigration enforcement. Migrant advocates voiced concerns about drowning risks and environmentalists questioned the impact on the river.

    Dozens of the large spherical buoys were stacked on the beds of four tractor trailers in a grassy city park near the river on Friday morning.

    Setting up the barriers could take up to two weeks, according to Lt. Chris Olivarez, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is overseeing the project.

    Once installed, the above-river parts of the system and the webbing they’re connected with will cover 1,000 feet (305 meter) of the middle of the Rio Grande, with anchors in the riverbed.

    Eagle Pass is part of a Border Patrol sector that has seen the second highest number of migrant crossings this fiscal year with about 270,000 encounters — though that is lower than it was at this time last year.

    The crossing dynamics shifted in May after the Biden administration stopped implementing Title 42, a pandemic era public health policy that turned many asylum seekers back to Mexico. New rules allowed people to seek asylum through a government application and set up appointments at the ports of entry, though the maximum allowed in per day is set at 1,450. The Texas governor’s policies target the many who are frustrated with the cap and cross illegally through the river.

    Earlier iterations of Abbott’s border mission have included installing miles of razor wire at popular crossing points on the river and creating state checkpoints beyond federal stops to inspect incoming commercial traffic.

    “We always look to employ whatever strategies will be effective in securing the border,” Abbott said in a June 8 press conference to introduce the buoy strategy.

    But the state hasn’t said what tests or studies have been done to determine risks posed to people who try to get around the barrier or environmental impacts.

    Immigrant advocates, including Sister Isabel Turcios, a nun who oversees a migrant shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, which sits just across the river from Eagle Pass, have remained vigilant about the effects of the new barrier on migration. Turcios said she met with the Texas Department of Public Safety in the days leading up to the arrival of the buoys and was told the floating barrier would be placed in deep waters to function as a warning to migrants to avoid the area.

    Turcios said she is aware that many of the nearly 200 migrants staying in her shelter on any given day are not deterred from crossing illegally despite sharp concertina wire. But that wire causes more danger because it forces migrants to spend additional time in the river.

    “That’s more and more dangerous each time ... because it has perches, it has whirlpools and because of the organized crime,” Turcios said.

    Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw addressed the danger that migrants may face when the buoys are deployed during the June press conference when Abbott spoke: “Anytime they get in that water, it’s a risk to the migrants. This is the deterrent from even coming in the water.”

    Less than a week ago — around the Fourth of July holiday — four people, including an infant, drowned near Eagle Pass as they attempted to cross the river.

    The federal International Boundary and Water Commission, whose jurisdiction includes boundary demarcation and overseeing U.S.-Mexico treaties, said it didn’t get a heads up from Texas about the proposed floating barrier.

    “We are studying what Texas is publicly proposing to determine whether and how this impacts our mission to carry out treaties between the US and Mexico regarding border delineation, flood control, and water distribution, which includes the Rio Grande,” Frank Fisher, a spokesperson for the commission, said in a statement.

    On Friday morning, environmental advocates from Eagle Pass and Laredo, another Texas border city about 115 miles (185 kilometers) downriver, held a demonstration by the border that included a prayer for the river ahead of the barrier deployment.

    Jessie Fuentes, who owns a canoe and kayaking business that takes paddlers onto the Rio Grande, said he’s worried about unforeseen consequences. On Friday, he filed a lawsuit to stop Texas from using the buoys. He’s seeking a permanent injunction, saying his paddling business is impacted by limited access to the river.

    “I know it’s a detriment to the river flow, to the ecology of the river, to the fauna and flora. Every aspect of nature is being affected when you put something that doesn’t belong in the river,” Fuentes said.

    Adriana Martinez, a professor at Southern Illinois University who grew up in Eagle Pass, studies the shapes of rivers and how they move sediment and create landforms. She said she’s worried about what the webbing might do.

    “A lot of things float down the river, even when it’s not flooding; things that you can’t see like large branches, large rocks,” Martinez said. “And so anything like that could get caught up in these buoys and change the way that water is flowing around them.”



    #mur_flottant #frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #USA #Etats-Unis #barrières_frontalières #barrière_flottante

    En #Grèce...
    Grèce. Le « #mur_flottant » visant à arrêter les personnes réfugiées mettra des vies en danger

    • Gov. Abbott is destroying the Rio Grande for a fearmongering photo-op.

      Miles of deadly razor-wire have been deployed to ensnare & impale border crossers. Bobcats, bear, mule deer & other wildlife will also be cut off from their main source of water.


      #fil_barbelé #barbelé

    • Un mur flottant équipé de « scies circulaires » à la frontière américano-mexicaine

      Des vidéos diffusées sur les réseaux sociaux le 8 août 2023 permettent d’observer de plus près la barrière frontalière flottante installée par le gouverneur du Texas, Greg Abbott, et destinée à empêcher les migrants clandestins d’entrer aux États-Unis. Ces installations controversées, près desquelles un corps a récemment été retrouvé, sont équipées de disques métalliques pointus fabriqués par Cochrane Global.

      Quand le gouverneur du Texas, Greg Abbott, a annoncé le 6 juin 2023 l’installation d’une « barrière marine flottante » pour dissuader les migrants de franchir illégalement la frontière sud des États-Unis, un détail important a été omis : entre les bouées orange qui composent l’ouvrage se trouvent des lames de scie circulaire aiguisées, qui rendent le franchissement presque impossible sans risque de se blesser.

      Des représentants de l’association Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) se sont rendus le 8 août 2023 à Eagle Pass, au Texas, et ont partagé de nombreuses vidéos sur leur compte X (anciennement Twitter).

      Les vidéos montrent de plus près les installations et ces disques métalliques tranchants entre les #bouées_flottantes.

      La petite ville d’#Eagle_Pass est devenue l’un des points de passage les plus dangereux de la frontière américano-mexicaine, marquée à cet endroit par le fleuve Rio Grande : les noyades de migrants y sont devenues monnaie courante.

      Le CHC a déclaré que ses membres étaient venus au Texas pour « tirer la sonnette d’alarme sur ces tactiques inhumaines mises en place par le gouverneur Abbott ».

      Une vidéo de 12 secondes, partagée par l’élue à la Chambre des représentants Sylvia Garcia, a été visionnée plus de 25 millions de fois.

      Appalled by the ongoing cruel and inhumane tactics employed by @GovAbbott at the Texas border. The situation’s reality is unsettling as these buoys’ true danger and brutality come to light. We must stop this NOW ! pic.twitter.com/XPc4C8Tnl0
      — Rep. Sylvia Garcia (@RepSylviaGarcia) August 8, 2023

      Le 21 juillet 2023, le ministère américain de la Justice a déposé une plainte contre le gouverneur Greg Abbott au sujet de la barrière frontalière flottante. L’action en justice qualifie d’"illégale" la mise en place d’une telle barrière et vise à forcer le Texas à l’enlever pour des raisons humanitaires et environnementales.

      « Ils traitent les êtres humains comme des animaux »

      La militarisation de la frontière sud des États-Unis avec le Mexique fait partie de l’#investissement de plusieurs milliards de dollars déployé par le gouverneur du Texas Greg Abbott pour stopper « de manière proactive » les arrivées de migrants par cette zone frontalière.

      La clôture flottante n’est qu’un seul des six projets de loi crédités en tout de 5,1 milliards de dollars de dotation et qui ont été annoncés le 6 juin 2023.

      La politique migratoire stricte du Texas, qui consiste notamment à transporter des personnes par car vers les États démocrates du Nord et à autoriser la Garde nationale à procéder à des arrestations, a incité d’autres États républicains à prendre des mesures similaires pour freiner l’immigration illégale.

      Contacté à plusieurs reprises par la rédaction des Observateurs, le bureau du gouverneur Abbott ne nous a pas répondu.

      Everyone needs to see what I saw in Eagle Pass today.

      Clothing stuck on razor wire where families got trapped. Chainsaw devices in the middle of buoys. Land seized from US citizens.

      Operation Lone Star is barbaric — and @GovAbbott is making border communities collateral damage. pic.twitter.com/PzKyZGWfds
      — Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) August 8, 2023

      « Je veux que vous regardiez ici le dispositif de type tronçonneuse qu’ils ont caché au milieu de ces bouées. Et quand vous venez ici, vous pouvez voir au loin tous ces fils de fer barbelés près du fleuve », a commenté le membre du Congrès américain Joaquin Castro, qui a également participé à la visite du CHC au Texas.

      « Le gouvernement de l’État [du Texas, NDLR] et Greg Abbott traitent les êtres humains comme des animaux », a-t-il ajouté dans une vidéo publiée le 8 août 2023 sur son compte X.

      Une frontière flottante fabriquée par Cochrane Global

      Texas began installation of its marine barrier near Eagle Pass. One pro-illegal immigration activist I met taking video elsewhere was outraged, saying it’ll never work. But… if she believes that, why get so verklempt ?Just shrug, smirk and go away. But they must think it’ll work ! pic.twitter.com/4fzdHdNJw8
      — Todd Bensman (@BensmanTodd) July 11, 2023

      Dans la vidéo de 12 secondes de Sylvia Garcia, on entend une personne dire : « Quelqu’un a fait beaucoup d’efforts ridicules pour concevoir ces installations. »

      Sur les bouées, on peut lire le mot « #Cochrane ». #Cochrane_Global est une multinationale spécialisée dans les « barrières [...] de haute sécurité » destinées à l’usage de gouvernements, d’entreprises ou de particuliers.

      Sur son site web, Cochrane Global indique que « la barrière flottante brevetée est composée de plusieurs bouées interconnectées qui peuvent être étendues à n’importe quelle longueur et personnalisées en fonction de l’objectif ».

      Le 4 août 2023, un corps a été retrouvé près du mur flottant installé sur le fleuve, en face d’Eagle Pass, au Texas.

      Il n’est pas clair à ce stade si l’ajout de lames de scie circulaire aux bouées orange a été pensé et fabriqué par Cochrane Global ou s’il a été fait à la demande des autorités de l’État.

      La rédaction des Observateurs a contacté Cochrane Global pour obtenir un commentaire, sans succès. Nous publierons sa réponse dès que nous l’aurons reçue.



    • The Floating Barrier and the Border Industrial Complex

      The Texas water wall gives a glimpse into rapidly proliferating border enforcement worldwide and the significant profit to be made from it.

      When I first came across Cochrane International, the company that built the floating barrier deployed in Eagle Pass, Texas, I watched a demonstration the company gave with detached bemusement. I was at a gun range just outside San Antonio. It was 2017, three months after Donald Trump had been sworn in and the last day of that year’s Border Security Expo, the annual gathering of Department of Homeland Security’s top brass and hundreds of companies from the border industry. Among industry insiders, the optimism was high. With Trump’s wall rhetoric at a fever pitch, the money was in the bank.

      All around me, all morning, Border Patrol agents were blasting away body-shaped cutouts in a gun competition. My ears were ringing, thanks in part to the concussion grenade I had launched—under the direction of an agent, but with great ineptitude—into an empty field as part of another hands-on demonstration. The first two days of the expo had been in the much-posher San Antonio convention center, where companies displayed their sophisticated camera systems, biometrics, and drones in a large exhibition hall. But here on the gun range we seemed to be on its raw edge.

      So when a red truck with a camo-painted trailer showed up and announced its demonstration, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. The blasting bullets still echoed all around as if they would never cease. Two men jumped out of the truck wearing red shirts and khaki pants. They frantically ran around the camo trailer, like mice scurrying around a piece of cheese trying to figure out the proper angle of attack. Then the demo began. One of the men got back in the truck, and as it lurched forward, coiling razor wire began to spill out of its rear end as if it were having a bowel movement. As the truck moved forward, more and more of Cochrane’s Rapid Deployment Barrier spilled out until it extended the length of a football field or more. It was like a microwavable insta-wall, fast-food border enforcement.

      Little did I know that six years later, this same company, Cochrane, would give us the floating barrier, with its wrecking ball–sized buoys connected side by side with circular saws. The floating barrier, as the Texas Standard put it, is the “centerpiece of #Operation_Lone_Star,” Texas governor Greg Abbott’s $4.5 billion border enforcement plan. For this barrier, which has now been linked to the deaths of at least two people, the Texas Department of Public Safety awarded Cochrane an $850,000 contract.

      While the floating wall is part of Abbott’s right-wing fear-fueled border operations, it is also a product of the broader border buildup in the United States. It embodies the deterrence strategy that has driven the buildup—via exponentially increasing budgets—for three decades, through multiple federal administrations from both sides of the aisle. In this sense, Cochrane is one of hundreds upon hundreds of companies that have received contracts, and made revenue, from border enforcement. Today, the Biden administration is giving out border and immigration enforcement contracts at a clip of 27 contracts a day, a pace that will top that of all other presidents. (Before Biden, the average was 16 contracts a day.)

      And there is no sign that this will abate anytime soon. Take the ongoing Homeland Security appropriations debate for fiscal year 2024: a detail in a statement put out by House Appropriations chair Kay Granger caught my eye: $2.1 billion will be allocated for the construction of a “physical wall along the southern border.” (This is something readers should keep a keen eye on! Cochrane certainly is.) At stake is the 2024 presidential request for CBP and ICE, at $28.2 billion. While that number is much higher than any of the Trump administration’s annual border enforcement budgets, it is less than the 2023 budget of $29.8 billion, the highest ever for border and immigration enforcement.

      But the $1.6 billion difference between 2023 and 2024 might soon disappear, thanks to supplemental funding requested by the White House, funding that would include nearly $1 billion in unrestricted funds for CBP and ICE enforcement, detention, and surveillance, and more funds for “community-based residential facilities,” among other things. While these “residential facilities” might sound nice, the National Immigrant Justice Center says they will “essentially reinstate family detention.” In other words, the White House aims to build more prisons for migrants, probably also run by private companies. The prison initiative has the support of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has indicated that it will craft a bill that ensures the supplemental funding’s enactment.

      The tributaries of money into the broader border industrial complex are many, and all indications are that Operation Lone Star, which is drawing money from all kinds of different departments in the Texas state government, will continue as long as Abbott remains at the helm. Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security supplies local and state governments with border enforcement funding via a program called Operation Stonegarden. Under this program, Texas received $39 million in 2022, the equivalent of 47 floating barriers. Or more ambitiously the potential $2.1 billion mentioned above by Granger would amount to 2,470 of Cochrane’s water walls.

      As Cochrane project manager #Loren_Flossman testified (the Department of Justice is suing the state of Texas for building the floating barrier), the water barrier was first contracted by CBP in 2020 but shut down when Biden took office. At the time, the new president said that the administration would not build any more wall (although it has and is). Flossman would know, because he himself came to Cochrane after 17 years working in acquisitions at CBP, as he stated in his testimony. There is a trend in which CBP high brass cruise through the proverbial public-private revolving door, and Flossman is the newest well-connected former government employee peddling barriers across the globe in a world where there is a “rapid proliferation of border walls,” and there exists a border security market projected to nearly double in a decade.

      Cochrane has certainly jumped into this with full force. Besides the floating barrier, its products include an invisible wall known as ClearVu, the “finest fence you’ve never seen.” The same brochure shows this “invisible” wall around a Porsche dealership, an American Airlines building, and the Egyptian pyramids, and it says that the company’s walls can be found “across six continents” and “100 countries.” And that’s not all; such walls can be enhanced with accessories like the Cochrane Smart Coil, Electric Smart Coil, and Spike Toppings. The Smart Coil’s description reads like a menu at a fine-dining restaurant: composed of “a 730mm high Ripper Blade smart Concertina Coil, produced from the finest galvanized steel available on the market.” The “smart” part is that it will provide an “intrusion alert,” and the electric part means a potentially deadly electric current of 7,000 volts. From this menu, CBP has one contract with Cochrane from 2020 for “coil units,” but the contract doesn’t specify if it is “smart,” “electric,” or both.

      When I first saw Cochrane back in 2017 among the ear-ringing gunfire on the last day of the Border Security Expo, I had a feeling I might see them again. No matter how ludicrous the rapid barrier deployment camo truck seemed to me then, there was, indeed, plenty of money to be made.


  • Migrations : l’Union européenne, droit dans le mur

    La Commission européenne affirme que l’UE ne finance pas de « murs » anti-migrants à ses #frontières_extérieures, malgré les demandes insistantes d’États de l’est de l’Europe. En réalité, cette « ligne rouge » de l’exécutif, qui a toujours été floue, s’efface de plus en plus.

    Le 14 juin dernier, le naufrage d’un bateau entraînait la noyade de centaines de personnes exilées. Quelques jours auparavant, le 8 juin, les États membres de l’Union européenne s’enorgueillissaient d’avoir trouvé un accord sur deux règlements essentiels du « Pacte européen pour l’asile et la migration », qui multipliera les procédures d’asile express dans des centres de détention aux frontières de l’Europe, faisant craindre aux ONG une nouvelle érosion du droit d’asile.

    Dans ce contexte délétère, un groupe d’une douzaine d’États membres, surtout d’Europe de l’Est, réclame que l’Union européenne reconnaisse leur rôle de « protecteurs » des frontières de l’Union en autorisant le financement européen de murs, #clôtures et #barbelés pour contenir le « flux migratoire ». Le premier ministre grec, Kyriákos Mitsotákis, avait même estimé que son pays était en première ligne face à « l’invasion de migrants ».

    Officiellement, la Commission européenne se refuse toujours à financer les multiples projets de clôtures anti-migrants qui s’érigent le long des frontières extérieures de l’UE. « Nous avons un principe bien établi : nous ne finançons pas de murs ni de barbelés. Et je pense que cela ne devrait pas changer », avait encore déclaré Ylva Johansson, la commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures, le 31 janvier. Pourtant, la ligne rouge semble inexorablement s’effacer.

    Le 7 octobre 2021, les ministres de douze États, dont la #Grèce, la #Pologne, la #Hongrie, la #Bulgarie ou les #Pays_baltes, demandaient par écrit à la Commission que le financement de « #barrières_physiques » aux frontières de l’UE soit une « priorité », car cette « mesure de protection » serait un outil « efficace et légitime » dans l’intérêt de toute l’Union. Une demande qu’ils réitèrent depuis à toute occasion.

    Les États membres n’ont pas attendu un quelconque « feu vert » de la Commission pour ériger des clôtures. Les premières ont été construites par l’Espagne dans les années 1990, dans les enclaves de Ceuta et Melilla. Mais c’est en 2015, après l’exil de centaines de milliers de Syrien·nes fuyant la guerre civile, que les barrières se sont multipliées. Alors que l’Union européenne comptait 315 kilomètres de fil de fer et barbelés à ses frontières en 2014, elle en totalisait 2 048 l’an passé.

    Depuis 2021, ce groupe d’États revient sans cesse à la charge. Lors de son arrivée au sommet des dirigeants européens, le 9 février dernier, Victor Orbán (Hongrie) annonçait la couleur : « Les barrières protègent l’Europe. » Les conclusions de ce sommet, ambiguës, semblaient ouvrir une brèche dans la politique européenne de financement du contrôle aux frontières. Les États demandaient « à la Commission de mobiliser immédiatement des fonds pour aider les États membres à renforcer […] les infrastructures de protection des frontières ».

    Dans ses réponses écrites aux questions de Mediapart, la Commission ne mentionne plus aucune ligne rouge : « Les États membres ont une obligation de protéger les frontières extérieures. Ils sont les mieux placés pour définir comment le faire en pratique d’une manière qui […] respecte les droits fondamentaux. »

    Si l’on en croit le ministre de l’intérieur grec, Panagiótis Mitarákis, les dernières résistances de la Commission seraient en train de tomber. Le 24 février, il affirmait, au sujet du projet grec d’#extension et de renforcement de sa clôture avec la Turquie, le long de la rivière #Evros, que la Commission avait « accepté que certaines dépenses pour la construction de la barrière soient financées par l’Union européenne ».

    Pour Catherine Woollard, de l’ONG Ecre (Conseil européen pour les réfugiés et exilés), « c’est important que la Commission résiste à ces appels de financement des murs et clôtures, car il faut respecter le droit de demander l’asile qui implique un accès au territoire. Mais cette position risque de devenir symbolique si les barrières sont tout de même construites et qu’en plus se développent des barrières d’autres types, numériques et technologiques, surtout dans des États qui utilisent la force et des mesures illégales pour refouler les demandeurs d’asile ».

    D’une ligne rouge à une ligne floue

    Au sein de l’ONG Statewatch, Chris Jones estime que « cette “ligne rouge” de la Commission européenne, c’est du grand n’importe quoi ! Cela fait des années que l’Union européenne finance des dispositifs autour ou sur ces clôtures, des #drones, des #caméras, des #véhicules, des #officiers. Dire que l’UE ne finance pas de clôtures, c’est uniquement sémantique, quand des milliards d’euros sont dépensés pour fortifier les frontières ». Même diagnostic chez Mark Akkerman, chercheur néerlandais au Transnational Institute, pour qui la « #ligne_rouge de la Commission est plutôt une ligne floue ». Dans ses travaux, il avait déjà démontré qu’en 2010, l’UE avait financé l’achat de #caméras_de_vidéosurveillance à #Ceuta et la construction d’un #mirador à #Melilla.

    Lorsqu’il est disponible, le détail des dépenses relatives au contrôle des frontières montre que la politique de non-financement des « murs » est une ligne de crête, car si la Commission ne finance pas le béton ni les barbelés, elle finance bien des #dispositifs qui les accompagnent.

    En 2021, par exemple, la #Lituanie a reçu 14,9 millions d’euros de fonds d’aide d’urgence pour « renforcer » sa frontière extérieure avec la Biélorussie, peut-on lire dans un rapport de la Commission. Une frontière qui, selon le ministère de l’intérieur lituanien, contacté par Mediapart, est « désormais longée d’une clôture de 530 km et d’une barrière surmontée de fils barbelés sur 360 kilomètres ». Si la barrière a pesé 148 millions d’euros sur le #budget de l’État, le ministère de l’intérieur affirme que la rénovation de la route qui la longe et permet aux gardes-frontières de patrouiller a été financée à hauteur de « 10 millions d’euros par des fonds européens ».

    En Grèce, le détail des dépenses du gouvernement, dans le cadre du fonds européen de sécurité intérieur, de 2014 à 2020, est éclairant. Toujours le long de la rivière Evros, là où est érigée la barrière physique, la police grecque a pu bénéficier en 2016 d’un apport de 15 millions d’euros, dont 11,2 millions financés par le fonds européen pour la sécurité intérieure, afin de construire 10 #pylônes et d’y intégrer des #caméras_thermiques, des caméras de surveillance, des #radars et autres systèmes de communication.

    Cet apport financier fut complété la même année par 1,5 million d’euros pour l’achat d’#équipements permettant de détecter les battements de cœur dans les véhicules, coffres ou conteneurs.

    Mais l’enjeu, en Grèce, c’est avant tout la mer, là où des bateaux des gardes-côtes sont impliqués dans des cas de refoulements documentés. Dans son programme d’action national du fonds européen relatif à la gestion des frontières et des visas, écrit en 2021, le gouvernement grec envisage le renouvellement de sa flotte, dont une dizaine de bateaux de #patrouille côtière, équipés de #technologies de #surveillance dernier cri, pour environ 60 millions d’euros. Et malgré les refoulements, la Commission européenne octroie les fonds.

    Technologies et barrières font bon ménage

    Les États membres de l’UE qui font partie de l’espace Schengen ont pour mission de « protéger les frontières extérieures ». Le droit européen leur impose aussi de respecter le droit d’asile. « Les exigences du code Schengen contredisent bien souvent l’acquis européen en matière d’asile. Lorsqu’un grand nombre de personnes arrivent aux frontières de l’Union européenne et qu’il existe des pressions pour faire baisser ce nombre, il est presque impossible de le faire sans violer certaines règles relatives au droit d’asile », reconnaît Atanas Rusev, directeur du programme « sécurité » du Centre pour l’étude de la démocratie, basé en Bulgarie.

    La Bulgarie est au cœur de ces tiraillements européens. En 2022, la police a comptabilisé 164 000 passages dits « irréguliers » de sa frontière, contre 55 000 l’année précédente. Des demandeurs d’asile qui, pour la plupart, souhaitent se rendre dans d’autres pays européens.

    Les Pays-Bas ou l’Autriche ont fait pression pour que la #Bulgarie réduise ce nombre, agitant la menace d’un report de son intégration à l’espace Schengen. Dans le même temps, des ONG locales, comme le Helsinki Committee Center ou le Refugee Help Group, dénoncent la brutalité qui s’exerce sur les exilé·es et les refoulements massifs dont ils sont victimes. Le pays a construit une clôture de 234 kilomètres le long de sa frontière avec la Turquie.

    Dans son plan d’action, le gouvernement bulgare détaille son intention de dépenser l’argent européen du fonds relatif à la gestion des frontières, sur la période 2021-2027, pour renforcer son « système de surveillance intégré » ; une collecte de données en temps réel par des caméras thermiques, des #capteurs_de_mouvements, des systèmes de surveillance mobiles, des #hélicoptères.

    Philip Gounev est consultant dans le domaine de la gestion des frontières. Il fut surtout ministre adjoint des affaires intérieures en Bulgarie, chargé des fonds européens, mais aussi de l’érection de la barrière à la frontière turque. Il explique très clairement la complémentarité, à ses yeux, des différents dispositifs : « Notre barrière ne fait que ralentir les migrants de cinq minutes. Mais ces cinq minutes sont importantes. Grâce aux caméras et capteurs qui détectent des mouvements ou une brèche dans la barrière, l’intervention des gardes-frontières est rapide. »

    L’appétit pour les technologies et le numérique ne fait que croître, au point que des ONG, comme l’EDRi (European Digital Rights) dénoncent la construction par l’UE d’un « #mur_numérique ». Dans ce domaine, le programme de recherche européen #Horizon_Europe et, avant lui, #Horizon_2020, tracent les contours du futur numérisé des contrôles, par le financement de projets portés par l’industrie et des centres de #recherche, au caractère parfois dystopique.

    De 2017 à 2021, « #Roborder » a reçu une aide publique de 8 millions d’euros. L’idée est de déployer une armada de véhicules sans pilotes, sur la mer ou sur terre, ainsi que différents drones, tous munis de caméras et capteurs, et dont les informations seraient croisées et analysées pour donner une image précise des mouvements humains aux abords des frontières. Dans son programme d’action national d’utilisation du fonds européen pour la gestion des frontières, la Hongrie manifeste un intérêt appuyé pour « l’adaptation partielle des résultats » de Roborder via une série de projets pilotes à ses frontières.

    Les #projets_de_recherche dans le domaine des frontières sont nombreux. Citons « #Foldout », dont les 8 millions d’euros servent à développer des technologies de #détection de personnes, à travers des #feuillages épais « dans les zones les plus reculées de l’Union européenne ». « Le développement de technologies et de l’#intelligence_artificielle aux frontières de l’Europe est potentiellement plus puissant que des murs, décrypte Sarah Chandler, de l’EDRi. Notre inquiétude, c’est que ces technologies soient utilisées pour des #refoulements aux frontières. »

    D’autres projets, développés sous l’impulsion de #Frontex, utilisent les croisements de #données et l’intelligence artificielle pour analyser, voire prédire, les mouvements migratoires. « Le déploiement de nouvelles technologies de surveillance, avec la construction de barrières pour bloquer les routes migratoires, est intimement lié à des dangers accrus et provoque davantage de morts des personnes en mouvement », peut-on lire dans un rapport de Statewatch. Dans un contexte de droitisation de nombreux États membres de l’Union européenne, Philip Gounev pense de son côté que « le financement de barrières physiques par l’UE deviendra inévitable ».

    #murs #barrières_frontalières #migrations #financement #UE #EU #Union_européenne #technologie #complexe_militaro-industriel

  • #Texas has installed the first 1000 feet of its absurd “#floating_wall.”

    This looks easy to scale at such low water levels. But it’s underwater netting will ensnare fish, turtles & aquatic birds & intends to trap and drown migrants as a deadly “deterrent.”


    #murs #barrières_frontalières #murs_flottants #migrations #asile #réfugiés #USA #Etats-Unis #dissuasion

  • Verloren in Europas letztem Urwald : Fotos von der polnisch-belarussischen Grenze

    „Der Weg übers Mittelmeer ist gefährlich. Doch die Leute haben gar keine Vorstellung davon, wie gefährlich der Urwald sein kann.“

    An der Grenze zwischen Polen und Belarus liegt der Belowescher Wald, einer der letzten Urwälder Europas. Seit einigen Jahren verstecken sich Flüchtende in diesem Wald vor der Grenzpolizei. Auf dem Weg in die EU durchqueren sie Sümpfe und Flüsse. Sie verirren sich und harren mitunter tagelang im Wald aus. Humanitäre Hilfe hat die polnische Regierung verboten. Trotzdem helfen Freiwillige den Flüchtenden. Die Fotojournalistin Hanna Jarzabek hat sie monatelang begleitet.

    VICE: An der polnischen Grenze zur Ukraine gibt es viel Hilfe für Flüchtende. Menschen aus Deutschland brachten Wasser, Kleidung, Essen und fuhren mit Ukrainerinnen und Ukrainern nach Deutschland. Du hast an einer anderen Grenze Polens recherchiert: die zu Belarus. Warum?
    Hanna Jarzabek: Ich wurde in Polen geboren. Von Anfang an fiel mir auf, wie unterschiedlich die Regierung mit den Flüchtenden aus der Ukraine umgeht und jenen, die Belarus durchqueren. Während es an der ukrainischen Grenze humanitäre Hilfe gibt, müssen Hilfsorganisationen an der belarussischen Grenze ihr Tun geheim halten. Polen wendet dort eine scharfe Einwanderungspolitik an.

    Was bedeutet „scharfe Einwanderungspolitik“?
    Man muss sich klar machen: Aus der Ukraine kamen 1,5 Millionen Menschen nach Polen. Ich finde es großartig, dass sie Hilfe bekommen. Von Belarus kamen etwa 40.000 Menschen. Sie werden auf die belarussische Seite zurückgetrieben und ihre Handys werden zertrümmert. Die polnische Regierung hat dort eine Mauer gebaut.

    Warum wird den einen geholfen und den anderen nicht?
    Ich denke, das hat etwas mit Ethnien, Kultur und religiösem Hintergrund zu tun. Über die belarussische Grenze fliehen Menschen aus afrikanischen Ländern und dem Mittleren Osten.

    Heißt das: Die polnische Regierung handelt rassistisch?
    Ja, das würde ich schon sagen.

    An der Grenze liegt einer der letzten Urwälder Europas: der Belowesche Wald. Du hast viele Monate dort mit Menschen gesprochen und Fotos gemacht. Wem bist du begegnet?
    Ich erinnere mich an eine Frau aus dem Iran. Sie hat an den Demonstrationen für Frauenrechte teilgenommen. Daraufhin hat die iranische Regierung sie auf eine schwarze Liste gesetzt und sie musste fliehen. Eigentlich stünde ihr politisches Asyl zu.

    Das hat sie nicht bekommen?
    Sie wurde von polnischen Grenzbeamten zurück auf die belarussische Seite getrieben. Sie war mit einer Freundin und ihrem Mann unterwegs. Beim zweiten Versuch, nach Polen zu gelangen, schlugen die Beamten die drei Flüchtenden und sprühten mit Tränengas. Die Frau wachte in einem polnischen Krankenhaus auf, aber ihr Mann und ihre Freundin waren weg.

    Wo waren sie?
    Wieder in Belarus. Es dauerte Monate, bis die Frau eine Botschaft an ihren Mann senden konnte und erfuhr, dass er noch lebt.

    Ist sie dann auch zurück nach Belarus gegangen?
    Nein. Als ich mit ihr sprach, hatte jemand sie in Polen bei sich zu Hause aufgenommen. Das ist verboten. Einige machen es trotzdem. Wir haben den Google Übersetzer genutzt, um einander zu verstehen. Ihre Erzählungen waren schlimm. Doch ich erinnere mich vor allem an ihre Augen: Die waren voller Angst.

    Politische Verfolgung ist ein valider Fluchtgrund. Aber wahrscheinlich nicht der einzige, oder?
    Viele fliehen auch vor Krieg oder Armut. Auch das sind meiner Meinung nach sehr nachvollziehbare Gründe. Der Weg übers Mittelmeer ist gefährlich. Doch ich glaube, die Leute haben gar keine Vorstellung davon, wie gefährlich der Urwald sein kann.

    Wie gelangen Menschen vom afrikanischen Kontinent eigentlich nach Belarus?
    Sie fliegen erst nach Russland und dann weiter nach Belarus. Belarus vergibt Visa. Für die Flüchtenden sind diese Visa einfach zu bekommen – und die belarussische Regierung verdient Geld damit. Dann fahren sie von Minsk zur belarussisch-polnischen Grenze und es heißt: Von hier müsst ihr noch zehn Kilometer durch den Wald laufen. Ihr Ziel ist oft gar nicht Polen, sondern Deutschland. Es geht darum, in die Europäische Union zu gelangen und dort einen Asylantrag zu stellen. Doch die polnischen Grenzbeamte halten sie davon ab.

    Die Grenzbeamten fragen gar nicht, ob jemand Asyl beantragen will. Wenn es jemand von sich aus anspricht, ignorieren sie es. Es gibt weder Zeugen, noch Übersetzer. Die Flüchtenden bekommen nie die Chance, einen Antrag zu stellen.

    Sie werden zurück nach Belarus gedrängt. Die Grenzbeamten trampeln ihre Telefone kaputt. Dann treiben die Beamten die Flüchtenden zurück in den Wald. Ohne GPS ist man dort verloren. Man könnte sagen: Die Grenzpolizei schickt Leute in den Tod.

    Diese Push Backs kennt man vor allem aus dem Mittelmeer.
    An der europäischen Landgrenze passieren sie genauso: Polen schickt Flüchtende nach Belarus und Belarus schickt sie nach Polen. Viele haben mir erzählt, dass sie mehrfach hin und zurück geschickt wurden. Eine Person sagte, sie habe schon 17 Mal die Grenze überqueren müssen. Das verstößt gegen internationales Recht.

    Du sagtest schon, dass Helferinnen und Helfer sich im Geheimen organisieren müssen. Wie machen sie das?
    Ich kann keine Details verraten. Das würde die Helfenden in Gefahr bringen. Nur so viel: Das Rote Kreuz oder andere Organisationen gibt es nicht. Wenn man einen Krankenwagen ruft, kommt auch die Grenzpolizei. Darum gibt es eine Notrufnummer, mit der die Flüchtenden die freiwilligen Helfer erreichen.

    Du bist von August 2022 bis März 2023 mehrmals dorthin gereist. Wie hat sich die Lage verändert?
    Der Winter war schlimm. Einmal bin ich mit zwei Freiwilligen drei Stunden lang durch den Urwald gelaufen. Wir kamen schließlich bei einem syrischen Flüchtenden an, der stark unterkühlt war. Eine Freiwillige war Ärztin. Wir wechselten seine nassen Sachen. Aber es ging ihm immer schlechter. Nach zwei Stunden entschied die Ärztin, einen Krankenwagen zu rufen.

    Obwohl ihr wusstet, dass die Grenzbeamten dann kommen?
    Wir waren nicht sicher, ob er die Nacht überleben würde.

    Und dann?
    Dann warteten wir vier Stunden lang. Es waren minus elf Grad Celsius. Die Rettungsstelle hatte unsere Koordinaten. Als sie endlich ankamen, war kein medizinisches Personal dabei: nur Grenzbeamten und Feuerwehr.

    Kam der Flüchtende trotzdem ins Krankenhaus?
    Sie haben ihn ins Auto gebracht, aber sind nie in ein Krankenhaus gefahren.

    Woher weißt du das?
    Ich war wirklich besorgt und habe ich mich an das Parlament gewandt, um herauszufinden, wo er ist. So ist meine Identität als Fotojournalistin aufgeflogen. Aber ich hatte keine andere Möglichkeit. Immer wenn ich bei der Grenzpolizei anrief, hieß es: Man könne mir nichts sagen – wegen des Datenschutzes.

    Hat er überlebt?
    Ja, die Beamten haben ihn in eine Ausländerunterkunft gebracht.

    Haben dich die Grenzbeamten auch mal aufgegriffen?
    Ja, als ich die Mauer fotografiert habe. Sie steht seit Sommer vergangenen Jahres: 186 Kilometer Stahl und Stacheldraht. Ich kann es gar nicht fassen, dass sich etwa 30 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall wieder eine Mauer durch Europa zieht.

    Hält die Mauer eigentlich Flüchtende auf?
    Nun, sie ist fünfeinhalb Meter hoch und hat eine Krone aus Stacheldraht. Aber die Leute klettern trotzdem drüber. Auf der polnischen Seite fallen sie runter, brechen sich Beine und Füße. Polen hat sich damit mehr Kosten geschaffen. Denn die Menschen müssen ins Krankenhaus.

    Hast du auch Geschichten mit gutem Ende erlebt?
    Ich habe von Menschen gehört, die an sicheren Orten sind. Von Menschen, die es nach Deutschland geschafft haben. Von Menschen, die ihre Verwandten in der EU wiedergefunden haben.

    #forêt #Pologne #Biélorussie #migrations #réfugiés #asile #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #mourir_aux_frontières #morts_aux_frontières #photographie #murs #barrières_frontalières #GPS #téléphones_portables #smartphone #Bohoniki #cimetière

    voir aussi ce fil de discussion :

  • Europe’s new wall: Finland is building a 124-mile-long border fence to protect itself from Russia

    The barrier, which will cover 15% of the border between the two countries, symbolizes the distrust NATO’s most recent member state feels towards Moscow

    A 30-mile-long stretch along a remote road in northeastern Finland reflects — almost like no other symbol — the deterioration of relations between Russia and the Nordic country. It also vividly illustrates the transformation of the European security framework over the past year, which was shaken following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    The track that leads through the infinite forest to the Raja-Jooseppi border crossing is covered in snow. In light of the tension with Moscow, nearly all the vehicles that circulate in this area belong to the security forces. The road has been abandoned by the snowplows, while the border facilities — which once received several million euros in subsidies to favor transit with Russia — only receive about 10 people each day.

    The cranes will return soon, but this time they won’t be erecting buildings. Instead, they will be building a security fence along what constitutes a new border between NATO and Russia, after Finland joined the Atlantic Alliance last week.

    The Raja-Jooseppi border crossing is located in the least populated area — and one of the coldest — in the entire European Union. Located in the heart of a national park, immense pine and fir forests stretch out around it. Thousands of square miles in which no one resides, where bears and wolves roam freely and snow lasts from October to May.

    Opened in 1967, its annual records reflect constant increase in traffic until 2014, when Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. Traffic decreased even further during the pandemic, before finally hitting an all-time low when Ukraine was invaded in February 2022.

    The absence of vehicles and the accumulated snow give the brand new border facilities a feeling of semi-abandonment. Three months before the invasion of Ukraine, the four lanes with covered roofs were inaugurated, with the intention of making inspections faster and more comfortable in temperatures that can plummet to 50ºF below zero. Yet, more than a year later, they have never been used simultaneously. There aren’t even enough staff to examine more than one vehicle at a time.

    Mikael and Tapio — two young border guards who prefer not to disclose their last names — wait in the booth for the clock to strike 3:00 p.m. It has been a “very quiet” day and it does not seem likely that anyone will show up in the 35 minutes remaining before the border post closes up until 9 a.m. the following day.

    “It’s more comfortable here than out there in the cold,” says Mikael, who provokes a shy laugh from his partner, a few years his junior.

    The 60 members of the border guard team stationed in Raja-Jooseppi — whose base is about four miles from Russian territory — patrol the entire area closest to the border with snowmobiles. The strip of land is off-limits to the public, unless one requests a special permit.

    In 2013, some 400 people crossed this post daily. Today, the average doesn’t even reach 10. On some days, no one passes through at all.

    “Some are Russian, on the way out… and Finns, on the way back,” Mikael grunts, referring to citizens with dual nationality, which has been allowed since 2003. There are about 30,000 dual citizens in Finland, who can still travel from one country to the other with hardly any restrictions.

    With the consensus of all the parliamentary groups — and at the proposal of the Finnish Border Guard — the construction of the fence on the eastern border was approved last October. Sanna Marin, the prime minister, who just resigned after losing the 2023 elections, argued that it was necessary in view of “the new security situation” generated by the war in Ukraine.

    The Social Democrat stressed that the main purpose of the wall would be prevention against “hybrid threats” from Russia, especially “the exploitation of mass migration.” A few months ago, Finland made a historic turn by abandoning its neutrality and beginning the process of joining the Atlantic Alliance — a process that ended successfully a week ago.

    In February, the construction of two miles of fence began in the south, near the city of Imatra. The pilot project is scheduled to end in June, but the final work — which will cover 15% of the 832 mile-long border between Finland and its gigantic neighbor — will not be completed until 2026.

    Most of the obstacles will be erected in the southernmost strip, but fences will be built around the eight border posts (the length between each section is confidential information), including those at Salla and Raja-Jooseppi, north of the Arctic Circle.

    “[In 2015 and 2016], Russia used migrants as a weapon in that area of Lapland,” says Pekka Virkki, an analyst with the military magazine Suomen Sotilas, who spoke to EL PAÍS by phone. “The risk that Moscow will resort to mass migration again has always been latent,” the expert adds. He considers the fence to be “a symbol” of the new relationship with the Eurasian country.

    At the end of 2015, when hundreds of thousands of migrants crowded the southwestern borders of the E.U., a few hundred sought refuge at the Storskog border post — the only one between Russia and Norway — inaugurating the so-called Arctic route.

    Eventually, Oslo modified legislation to make access to asylum in the north of the country more difficult but only after accumulating 5,600 applications. The images of exhausted migrants, riding cheap bikes on snowy roads (Russia prohibits crossings on foot) began to be seen in Salla and Raja-Jooseppi. More than 1,600 refugees entered Finland that winter through the two northernmost crossings.

    The arrival of Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis in Finnish Lapland was cut short in March of 2016, after an agreement was signed in Moscow between Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Vladimir Putin, whereby the Raja-Jooseppi and Salla crossings could only be used for the following six months by Russian and Finnish citizens.

    Niinistö was in office for a decade. He was one of the European leaders who had warm relations with the Russian president. But shortly after his visit, Putin declared that, when he looked at the border, he saw “Finns” on the other side… but that if Finland ever entered NATO, he would see “enemies.”

    The future wall — which will add up to a total of 124 miles — will cost approximately $400 million. It will be a robust 10-foot-high fence, topped with barbed wire and equipped with night vision cameras, loudspeakers, spotlights and a parallel road. The work is in line with the walls that Poland and the Baltic countries have built (or are currently building) on their borders with Russia and Belarus. Since 2020, the Belarusian regime has encouraged and facilitated the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants at the E.U.’s external borders, in response to various sanctions imposed by Brussels.

    The Finnish border authorities maintain that the wall is “necessary” to prevent “the instrumentalization of massive arrivals” and that no alternative is “more economical or more effective.” In July, reforms to the Border Guard Law were approved, which allow the government — in a crisis situation — to centralize the reception of asylum applications at a single border post. Official documents mention that the wall will reinforce “regional security and prevent possible territorial annexations.” However, Virkki and other analysts consulted consider that its usefulness at the military level will be “practically nil.”

    Finland took longer than Poland and the Baltic countries to approve the construction of its border fence. It will take almost four years of work to limit the impact of the infrastructure project on water channels and animal crossings. Meanwhile, the instability of the terrain and the harsh, dark and long Finnish winters — in addition to the compulsory purchase procedures and the open competition for the awarding of the building contracts — will also delay its construction.

    The wall will reflect the definitive cooling of ties that have been fostered and strengthened since the mid-1990s. “Relationships are frozen, but luckily, they aren’t dead; we can still maintain personal contact with our relatives, colleagues and friends in Russia,” says Olga Davydova-Minguet, a professor at the University of Eastern Finland.

    The researcher — who has dedicated more than 20 years to studying the cross-border relationship between the two countries — notes that the consequences of the restrictions derived from the war have affected many different economic sectors, as well as the academic field and the personal ties between tens of thousands of citizens.

    Davydova-Minguet — who emigrated to Finland in 1991 from the Russian city of Petrozavodsk, about 120 miles from the border — highlights the impact that restrictions on cross-border crossings have had on the almost 90,000 Russophones residing in Finland, most of them with relatives in Russia. The changes are more evident in the south, in cities such as Lappeenranta or Joensuu, where a significant portion of the population speaks Russian as their mother tongue, or in small towns very close to the border, where most businesses have shuttered due to the absence of tourists.

    Jussi P. Laine, a professor of Human Geography and Davydova’s colleague at the University of Eastern Finland, flatly rejects the construction of the border fence. “Multiple studies show that the costs of building walls are greater than their benefits,” says the researcher, who specializes in mobility and cross-border security.

    “The fence creates a false sense of security, distracting people from the real reasons for insecurity,” Laine points out, adding that, should Finland face episodes of mass migration, the obstacles will only cause migrants to reorganize into smaller groups that are less visible and more difficult to monitor.

    “In most cases, the walls haven’t reduced the number of irregular crossings, they have only made them more dangerous and lethal,” he adds.

    With Finland’s entry into NATO, the Alliance has incorporated a country with the greatest military capability of all new members over the last two decades and has more than doubled its border with Russia. A dividing line that stretches from the Arctic to Kaliningrad — the ends of which are very close to the Russian bases of the Northern Fleet and the Baltic Fleet. More than 1,200 miles of border, in which walls — reminiscent of the Iron Curtain — proliferate, indicating that there is little hope of normalizing relations with Russia in the short or medium-term. It is a border that has been transformed in recent decades and that is closed to Russian tourists, except through the Storskog border crossing, the only one that, since 1949, has separated NATO from its main reason for existing.


    #Finlande #murs #barrières_frontalières #Russie #frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés

    voir aussi ce fil de discussion, commencé en octobre 2022:
    Finland PM : Wide Political Support for Russia Border Fence

  • Il muro della Bulgaria. Un altro ostacolo europeo ai diritti dei migranti

    La Commissione europea ha messo a disposizione 600 milioni di euro per sostenere gli Stati membri nelle attività di contrasto ai flussi delle persone. Sofia, tra i primi destinatari dei finanziamenti, punta a rafforzare la barriera di 130 chilometri con la Turchia. Mentre Ong e volontari internazionali denunciano gravi violazioni e abusi

    Il 3 aprile di quest’anno i cittadini bulgari sono stati chiamati alle urne. Ad avere la maggioranza (risicata) è stato il partito Gerb guidato da Bojko Borisov. Il gruppo conservatore non ha stravinto e si preannuncia dunque un difficile periodo di transizione alla ricerca di alleanze per poter formare un nuovo governo. Borisov è già stato per tre volte a capo dell’esecutivo e durante i suoi mandati si è distinto per una linea molto dura in tema di immigrazione.

    Una linea mantenuta anche dall’attuale presidente, Rumen Radev, eletto per la prima volta nel 2017 grazie al sostegno del Partito socialista. A febbraio di quest’anno Radev ha chiesto all’Unione europea fondi per finanziare il rafforzamento della barriera lunga 130 chilometri che divide il Paese dalla Turchia. La richiesta per il “muro” è pervenuta nonostante la presidente della Commissione europea, Ursula von der Leyen, già a ottobre avesse affermato, non senza ipocrisie, che l’Ue non avrebbe mai finanziato la costruzione di muri e di filo spinato per impedire l’attraversamento dei migranti.

    Pochi mesi dopo però, in apertura dell’ultimo Consiglio europeo, è stata diramata una lettera (diffusa da Statewatch: https://www.statewatch.org/news/2023/march/von-der-leyen-letter-key-border-between-bulgaria-and-turkiye-is-first-ta) nella quale è stato annunciato lo stanziamento di 600 milioni di euro per supportare “in modo sostanziale gli Stati membri nel controllo delle frontiere”, con particolare riferimento a quelle “esterne” della Turchia e quelle “interne” della Bulgaria, che riceveranno per prime tali fondi. Il budget sarà speso per finanziare sistemi di sorveglianza quali telecamere termiche, droni e radar grazie ai quali la polizia di frontiera potrà sorvegliare ogni movimento sospetto ai confini.

    Questa decisione, presa per rafforzare il controllo delle frontiere, interviene nonostante le criticità espresse da Ong e operatori locali nei confronti della gestione dell’immigrazione da parte delle autorità bulgare. A ottobre dello scorso anno un ragazzo siriano è stato raggiunto da colpi di arma da fuoco sparati dalla polizia di frontiera bulgara mentre tentava di attraversare il confine dalla Turchia. L’uomo è sopravvissuto nonostante i proiettili lo abbiano raggiunto al petto e alla mano, lasciandogli quest’ultima semi-paralizzata. E non era la prima volta che accadeva: sulla stessa frontiera nel 2015 un cittadino afghano è morto dopo gli spari esplosi da una guardia bulgara.

    Episodi del genere vengono confermati ripetutamente dalle testimonianze che i migranti rilasciano alle organizzazioni internazionali come Medici senza frontiere che in suo recente report ha raccolto le voci di chi è transitato in Bulgaria. C’è chi è stato picchiato ripetutamente con tubi di gomma da parte delle autorità, donne che hanno subito dalle stesse violenze sessuali, persone private di ogni bene e costrette a tornare in Turchia senza vestiti, sulla neve. Un uso della violenza spropositato, in barba a qualsiasi norma sui diritti umani, che viene denunciato anche da No name kitchen (Nnk), Ong spagnola e internazionale che opera sulle rotte balcaniche.

    Una delle testimonianze raccolte da Nnk recita: “La polizia bulgara ci ha attaccati con un cane che ha morso un mio amico alle gambe, alle mani e alla testa. Dopo ci hanno tolto tutti i vestiti, anche alle donne che erano con noi, e ci hanno spediti indietro in Turchia. I colpi che ci hanno inferto hanno rotto gambe e braccia ad alcune persone che poi non sono riuscite a proseguire il cammino per mesi e mesi”.

    Barbara Bécares, responsabile stampa della stessa Ong, spiega come tra 2018 e 2019 moltissimi migranti abbiano preferito passare per la Grecia a causa della nota violenza e dei trattamenti disumani perpetrati dalla polizia bulgara. Una polizia europea. Ma questa rotta è tornata in auge proprio dal 2020, quando anche in Grecia le autorità si sono macchiate di simili comportamenti rendendo il passaggio per il Paese altrettanto difficile e pericoloso. Le testimonianze che giungono sono da considerarsi come una piccola parte rispetto al totale di coloro che subiscono gli stessi trattamenti e che magari preferiscono non parlare per paura di ritorsioni. In Bulgaria la criminalizzazione delle organizzazioni non governative impedisce ai migranti di poter chiedere aiuto e denunciare gli abusi che subiscono. Chi riesce a varcare il confine dalla Turchia senza essere stanato, tenta di mantenere un profilo basso in attesa di oltrepassare la frontiera per la Serbia. Molti sanno che se vengono intercettati dalle autorità rischiano di essere respinti in Turchia o di finire all’interno di campi di detenzione. Un’inchiesta realizzata dal collettivo Lighthouse Reports denuncia l’esistenza di centri di detenzione illegali: vere e proprie gabbie nei pressi della stazione di polizia di Sredets (città a 40 chilometri dal confine turco) dove i migranti vengono rinchiusi anche per giorni. “La struttura assomiglia a una cuccia per cani in disuso, con sbarre su un lato -si legge nell’inchiesta-. I richiedenti asilo l’hanno descritta come una ‘gabbia’”.

    Gli abusi che vengono perpetrati quotidianamente a richiedenti asilo e migranti nel Paese sono ormai più che noti. A ciò si somma una sistematica negligenza nell’esame delle richieste d’asilo: molti richiedenti hanno denunciato di attendere una risposta alla propria domanda da anni.

    Tra questi c’è anche Khalid, un uomo eritreo che raggiunto telefonicamente ci ha raccontato la sua storia. È scappato dall’Eritrea nel lontano 2012. Arrivato in Turchia ha tentato di raggiungere la Grecia attraversando il confine dal fiume Evros ma per tre volte è stato respinto dalla polizia ellenica. Ha deciso dunque di cambiare frontiera e a marzo 2013 è riuscito ad arrivare in Bulgaria e da qui è cominciato quello che lui stesso definisce “un incubo”, non ancora finito. Dapprima è stato rinchiuso per tre mesi in un centro di detenzione a Lyubimets, una piccola cittadina non lontana dal confine turco. Le condizioni all’interno del centro sono descritte come degradanti: “Era un edificio di tre piani nelle quali venivano stipate migliaia di persone. Al piano inferiore c’erano le donne e le famiglie con bambini e a quello superiori gli uomini. Era sovraffollato e non veniva rispettata nessuna regola da parte delle autorità”.

    Poi è stato trasferito in un campo profughi vicino la capitale bulgara dove gli sono state prese le impronte digitali e dove ha richiesto la protezione internazionale. Non avendo ricevuto alcuna risposta, dopo sette mesi ha dunque deciso di scappare e di andare in Grecia, dove è stato rinchiuso all’interno di un altro centro. Qui ha trascorso altri sette mesi e dopo il suo rilascio ha iniziato un lungo viaggio che lo avrebbe poi portato fino in Svezia. Siamo nel 2016. Nel Paese scandinavo ha tentato di chiedere nuovamente asilo ma la sua domanda è stata respinta in base al Regolamento di Dublino ed è stato quindi trasferito in maniera coatta proprio in Bulgaria, dove è rimasto per altri tre anni. Dopo un anno e mezzo gli è stata notificata la prima risposta alla richiesta d’asilo: negativa. Ad aprile 2018 Khalid ha fatto appello alla Corte suprema bulgara. Ma tutto si è rivelato un buco nell’acqua. Senza alcun riscontro ed esasperato per l’attesa, ha deciso di ripercorrere l’intera rotta balcanica fino alla Slovenia, dove è giunto nel 2019 e dove ha ripresentato la domanda d’asilo. Dopo un anno gli è stato notificato l’ennesimo esito negativo e a quel punto, pur di non essere deportato nuovamente, ha deciso di andare in Francia, passando per l’Italia.

    Ed è proprio da un centro per richiedenti asilo di Parigi che ora racconta la sua storia. A metà aprile avrà il suo primo colloquio negli uffici per l’immigrazione ma è già stato avvisato che, tra le opzioni possibili, c’è anche quella di essere riportato in Slovenia e da lì in Bulgaria. Quando gli si chiede che cosa pensa di fare, dice che probabilmente non andrà all’appuntamento. “Preferisco rimettermi in viaggio per il Belgio o tenterò di attraversare il canale della Manica per raggiungere l’Inghilterra”. Nel 2012, quando fuggì dalla sua Asmara, aveva 33 anni.

    #murs #barrières_frontalières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Bulgarie #Turquie #drones #radar #caméras_thermiques #budget #complexe_militaro-industriel #militarisation_des_frontières #violence #route_des_Balkans #Lyubimets

  • Al Brennero profilazione razziale e respingimenti, mentre l’Austria ripropone la costruzione di una barriera

    Il passo del Brennero, 1372 metri sul livello del mare, è una delle località più fredde del territorio altoatesino, ma già da settimane è quasi sgombro di neve, segnale inequivocabile del repentino cambiamento climatico in atto.

    La zona di confine, sebbene possa sembrare una frontiera come tante in Europa, non lo è. Da ormai diversi anni, il passaggio di persone è altamente monitorato. Ogni treno che transita per il confine viene fermato per almeno 20 minuti e ispezionato da cima a fondo da forze di polizia in uniforme, in borghese e da militari, sia austriache e sia italiane a seconda della provenienza del treno, in cerca degli “irregolari”. Diverse testimonianze confermano che anche altri mezzi pubblici, come gli autobus delle compagnie private tipo Flixbus, vengono controllati regolarmente. Una vera e propria caccia all’essere umano svolta con un solo criterio: la profilazione razziale.

    Questo modus operandi vietato dalle convenzioni internazionali, ma ben radicato nelle prassi quotidiane di controllo dei confini, costringe le persone a scegliere percorsi sempre più impervi per riuscire a oltrepassarlo: ricordiamo quanto accaduto il 18 dicembre del 2021 a Mohamed Basser e Mostapha Zahrakame, morti travolti lungi i binari del treno mentre cercavano di evitare a piedi questo imponente dispiegamento di forze. Nel 2022 sono state fermate 949 persone migranti in posizione irregolare tra il valico del Tarvisio e del Brennero. Il numero delle persone controllate, secondo i dati della polizia ferroviaria, è di 4.474.

    Difficile avere i numeri di quanti sono stati complessivamente i respingimenti nell’uno e nell’altro verso perché è ormai appurato che la buona parte di questi avvengono senza il rilascio di un provvedimento scritto, in modo del tutto illegittimo. Dopo un’istanza di accesso civico di Altreconomia 1, il ministero dell’Interno ha comunicato alla rivista le cifre riguardanti il periodo gennaio-metà novembre 2022. “In questo lasso di tempo – secondo i parziali dati ottenuti, privi di qualsiasi dettaglio rispetto allo specifico punto di frontiera – l’Italia avrebbe “riammesso” attivamente 2.418 persone: 1.080 verso la Francia, 883 in Austria, 410 in Svizzera e 45 in Slovenia. I dieci Paesi di provenienza più rappresentativi (che sommati superano il 50% dei casi a fronte di 77 nazionalità registrate) sono Pakistan, Marocco, Tunisia, Egitto, Nigeria, Algeria, Afghanistan, India e Bangladesh”.

    Il giornalista Duccio Facchini spiega poi che è stato negato l’accesso agli accordi di riammissione “per via del possibile “pregiudizio” alla “integrità dei rapporti internazionali del nostro Paese con la Slovenia e con l’Austria. La cortina fumogena fa parte della strategia”. Sulle “riammissioni passive”, l’Austria ha riammesso solo 497 persone, con “dati talmente bassi – sottolinea Facchini – da farli apparire quasi delle comparse inerti. In realtà anche questi numeri, come quelli delle riammissioni attive, vanno letti con estrema attenzione”.

    Al Brennero, oltre alle forze di polizia, è ancora presente un presidio permanente di Volontarius, una organizzazione di volontariato finanziata dalla Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano. Gli operatori e i mediatori offrono informazioni basilari e, quando necessario, indirizzano le persone respinte verso l’Italia alle strutture di accoglienza a Bolzano. L’organizzazione gestisce una struttura al confine relativamente grande, che è dedicata all’accoglienza di famiglie e minori. Il personale cerca di assicurarsi che nessuno dorma fuori la notte, anche se la struttura viene chiusa alle ore 23 e durante le ore notturne non ci sono possibilità di venire accolti. Assente qualsiasi attività di consulenza legale e di prevenzione di prassi illegittime.

    In questi mesi abbiamo notato come la celerità delle forze di Polizia nella localizzazione di persone sul treno sia aumentata. La cosa è talmente evidente che presumiamo una possibile collaborazione del personale ferroviario nell’identificazione degli “irregolari”. Un altro elemento di novità, che però nel biennio 2016-2017 era considerato una normalità, è la presenza di forze di polizia austriache in Italia. Sembra che in quest’ultimo periodo sia ricominciata una “collaborazione” tra le due forze di polizie, ma potrebbe essere che quella austriaca controlli l’operato di quella italiana, un po’ come successo anni addietro 2. Una situazione alquanto paradossale considerata la retorica sovranista di chi siede al governo a Roma. Non sembra invece esserci una presenza rilevata, almeno nelle nostre azioni di monitoraggio, di polizia Italiana nel primo tratto di confine austriaco o alla stazione di Gries am Brenner.

    Del resto il dibattito in Austria sta assumendo toni nuovamente allarmistici: “Abbiamo bisogno di barriere efficaci che devono essere molto alte, andare in profondità nel terreno ed essere costantemente monitorate, tecnicamente e personalmente. Solo così si può contenere l’immigrazione clandestina“. Sono infatti queste le frasi ad effetto del cancelliere austriaco Karl Nehammer in un’intervista al quotidiano tedesco ‘Bild’ del 18 marzo.

    Nehammer ha detto che vuole una recinzione simile a quella tra Stati Uniti e Messico aggiungendo che il capo della polizia federale si è recato su quel confine per “vedere quali misure stanno funzionando. Il nostro obiettivo è condividere questa conoscenza con altri Paesi dell’Ue come la Bulgaria al fine di migliorare la nostra protezione delle frontiere dell’Ue“. Chissà se il capo della polizia austriaca avrà anche chiesto come funzionano i centri detentivi negli Stati messicani a ridosso del confine?

    Ha poi sostenuto che lo sviluppo dell’immigrazione è “decisamente drammatico, solo in Iran ci sono tre milioni di afgani che vogliono andare in Europa e a questo si aggiunge la situazione nell’area terremotata in Turchia e nel nord della Siria, dove vivono più di un milione di profughi siriani che ora hanno perso di nuovo tutto“. Infine, parlando delle procedure di asilo, ha detto che “l’Ue è sinonimo di rispetto dei diritti umani ma bisogna evitare che si attraversino più Paesi sicuri per poi chiedere asilo nei Paesi con i migliori sistemi sociali“.

    Seppur contenuto, quello del Brennero è un transito costante, inesorabile, che viene percorso nei due sensi da diverse tipologie di persone. Dall’Italia all’Austria, abbiamo conosciuto persone provenienti dalla Rotta balcanica, che vogliono proseguire il loro viaggio verso i Paesi nord europei; persone registrate al primo ingresso in Italia, ma che vorrebbero raggiungere amici, parenti o semplicemente vivere in altri paesi nordeuropei, i cosiddetti “dublinati”.

    Ci sono persone che hanno una vita stabile soprattutto in Paesi scandinavi e che cercano di tornare in Italia solo per rinnovare i documenti, ma che spesso si ritrovano bloccati nell’impossibilità di fare rientro in Italia, oppure nel viaggio di ritorno, a causa di un respingimento.

    Ci sono persone che dall’Austria o dalla Germania vengono in Italia a causa di richieste d’asilo negate. Molti afgani o iraniani raccontano questa storia, per esempio. Ci dicono che nemmeno con l’arrivo dei talebani i due Paesi hanno cambiato la loro politica in materia di asilo e che non sempre rinnovano la protezione. Dopo una permanenza più o meno lunga, sono costretti ad andarsene e una volta arrivati in Italia si stabiliscono in Alto Adige sapendo già il tedesco.

    Persone che vengono continuamente criminalizzate dalle politiche europee, i cui basilari diritti e l’accesso a una vita dignitosa vengono costantemente calpestati e negati. Non è sufficiente che a Vienna, Berlino o Bruxelles si indignino di fronte ai regimi autoritari e alle condizioni di repressione e assenza dei diritti umani, se poi non viene data protezione e libertà di muoversi a chi scappa da quei paesi. Dobbiamo prendere atto che questa indignazione e questo sgomento serve solo a dare una parvenza di umanità e democrazia alla comunità Europea e ai paesi che ne fanno parte, che sempre meno si traduce in fatti.

    Persone che versano in condizioni di estrema repressione, spesso private di diritti umani nei loro paesi di origine, arrivano in una Unione europea che invece di conferire loro dignità, le criminalizza e le priva dei diritti fondamentali attuando percorsi burocratici impossibili e regole ingiuste.

    Le parole del cancelliere austriaco sono di fatto quello che pensano gli altri leader europei: siamo solidali purché poi non veniate qua, e se proprio non siete affogati o respinti dalle polizie che lautamente finanziamo nei paesi extra Ue, potete rimanere purché stiate nel paese limitrofo al mio!

    1. Dati riportati nel numero di febbraio 2023 di Altreconomia.
    2. https://www.aduc.it/articolo/scorta+trilaterale+poliziotti+al+brennero_24356.php


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