• #Border_Profiteers. Corporations profiting from borders, detentions and deportations - Berlin edition

    This brochure has gathered a list of corporations that profit from deportations, from managing detention centers, from building fences, selling ships, drones or planes patrolling the Mediterranean, subcontracted security guards, providing data collection, border surveillance software, id control mechanisms, racist policy consultation, prison construction and any other form of oppression that limits peoples freedom of movement and right to stay.

    The external borders of Europe are not in Berlin, but the border regime is all around us. This regime consists of more than just the state. In capitalism, many forms of border oppression are subcontracted to corporations. Borders are very profitable. Therefore this market is dominated by huge multinational corporations. And since keywords of the European borders are militarisation and surveillance, the list of corporate border profiteers is full of the usual suspects that also profit from war, prisons and privacy infringement.

    The goal of this booklet is to promote action in Berlin and Brandenburg. Hence the focus is very much on companies that have an office in Berlin or action possibilities based on local struggles.

    List of Border Profiteers

    1. DEPORTATION COLLABORATORS
    #Lufthansa#Eurowings
    #Privilege_Style
    #Corendon_Airlines
    #Turyol / #Jalem_Tur
    #Enter_Air

    2. BORDER MILITARISATION
    #Airbus#Hensholdt
    #Otokar#Koç_Holding
    #Thales

    3. DETENTION INDUSTRY
    #European_Homecare
    #Pulsm#Morten_Group
    #Markgraf
    #Baukontor_Lange

    4. SURVEILLANCE SOFTWARE
    #Sopra_Steria
    #Cevision

    5. PRIVATE GUARDS
    #City_Schutz
    #Securitas
    #L&S_Sicherheit
    #Secura_Protect

    6. BORDER CONSULTANCY
    #McKinsey

    Quelques captures d’écran :

    https://noborderassembly.blackblogs.org/2021/04/14/new-brochure-border-profiteers

    Pour télécharger la brochure :
    https://noborderassembly.blackblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/1214/2021/04/Border-Profiteers-berlin.pdf

    #profit #business #complexe_militaro-industriel #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #Allemagne #compagnies_aériennes #sécurité #détention_administrative #rétention #consultants #militarisation_des_frontières #renvois #expulsions #charter #Frontex

  • La société nord-irlandaise face au #Brexit
    https://laviedesidees.fr/La-societe-nord-irlandaise-face-au-Brexit.html

    Depuis le référendum de 2016, le Brexit domine l’actualité politique en #Irlande du Nord. En relançant le débat sur la réunification de l’Irlande, il a aussi ravivé les tensions communautaires entre Catholiques et Protestants. Quelles sont les sources économiques et sociales de ces conflits, et quels en sont les enjeux pour l’avenir de l’Irlande du Nord ?

    #International #Europe #Books_and_ideas_originals #Irlande_du_Nord #border
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/pdf/20210706_irlandedocx.pdf
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/docx/20210706_irlandedocx.docx

  • The refugees crescent in 2014
    https://visionscarto.net/the-refugees-crescent

    Title: The refugees crescent (2017 revision) Keywords: #War #Conflicts #Borders #Refugees #United_Nations #Human_rights #Asylum #Asylum_seekers #Peace Sources: United Nations High Commissionner for Refugees (UNHCR); United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC); Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC); United States Center for (...) #Map_collection

  • Annual Torture Report 2020

    Torture and pushbacks – an in depth analysis of practices in Greece and Croatia, and states participating in violent chain-pushbacks

    This special report analyses data from 286 first hand testimonies of violent pushbacks carried out by authorities in the Balkans, looking at the way practices of torture have become an established part of contemporary border policing. The report examines six typologies of violence and torture that have been identified during pushbacks from Croatia and Greece, and also during chain-pushbacks initiated by North Macedonia, Slovenia and Italy. Across the report, 30 victim testimonies of torture and inhuman treatment are presented which is further supplemented by a comprehensive legal analysis and overview of the States response to these allegations.

    The violations profiled include:

    - Excessive and disproportionate force
    - Electric discharge weapons
    - Forced undressing
    - Threats or violence with a firearm
    - Inhuman treatment inside a police vehicle
    - Inhuman treatment inside a detention facility

    –-

    Key Findings from Croatia:

    – In 2020, BVMN collected 124 pushback testimonies from Croatia, exposing the treatment of 1827 people
    - 87% of pushbacks carried out by Croatia authorities contained one or more forms of violence and abuse that we assert amounts to torture or inhuman treatment
    - Violent attacks by police officers against people-on-the-move lasting up to six hours
    - Unmuzzled police dogs being encouraged by officers to attack people who have been detained.
    - Food being rubbed into the open wounds of pushback victims
    - Forcing people naked, setting fire to their clothes and then pushing them back across borders in a complete state of undress

    Key Findings from Greece:

    – 89% of pushbacks carried out by Greek authorities contained one or more forms of violence and abuse that we assert amounts to torture or inhuman treatment
    - 52% of pushback groups subjected to torture or inhuman treatment by Greek authorities contained children and minors
    - Groups of up to 80 men, women and children all being forcibly stripped naked and detained within one room
    - People being detained and transported in freezer trucks
    - Brutal attacks by groups of Greek officers including incidents where they pin down and cut open the hands of people on the move or tied them to the bars of their detention cells and beat them.
    - Multiple cases where Greek officers beat and then threw people into the Evros with many incidents leading to people going missing, presumingly having drowned and died.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/annual-torture-report-2020
    #rapport #2020 #Border_Violence_Monitoring-Network #BVMN
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #traitements_inhumains_et_dégradants #détention #centres_de_détention #armes #déshabillage_forcé #armes_à_feu #Croatie #Grèce #Evros #refoulements_en_chaîne #taser

    ping @isskein

  • Αίτημα επιστροφής 1.500 προσφύγων στην Τουρκία κατέθεσε η Ελλάδα στην Ε.Ε.
    –-> La Grèce demande à l’UE le #retour de 1 500 réfugiés en Turquie.

    Αίτημα προς την Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή και τη Frontex για την άμεση επιστροφή 1.450 προσώπων, των οποίων έχουν απορριφθεί τα αιτήματα παροχής ασύλου, κατέθεσε το υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου, επικαλούμενο την Κοινή Δήλωση Ε.Ε.-Τουρκίας. Ωστόσο να σημειωθεί ότι πλέον η έκδοση των αποφάσεων παροχής ασύλου σε πρώτο βαθμό γίνονται με διαδικασίες εξπρές, μη εξασφαλίζοντας επαρκή νομική βοήθεια και κατά συνέπεια δίκαιη απόφαση.

    Στην ανακοίνωση του υπουργείου Μετανάστευσης αναφέρεται ότι η Ελλάδα ζητά να επιστρέψουν στην Τουρκία 955 αλλοδαποί που μπήκαν στη χώρα μας από την Τουρκία και βρίσκονται στη Λέσβο, 180 που βρίσκονται στη Χίο, 128 που βρίσκονται στη Σάμο και 187 στην Κω, επισημαίνοντας ότι τα αιτήματά τους για άσυλο έχουν απορριφθεί τελεσίδικα και ως εκ τούτου είναι επιστρεπτέοι, βάσει της Κοινής Δήλωσης ΕΕ- Τουρκίας.

    Το πρώτο δίμηνο του 2020 καταγράφηκαν συνολικά 139 επιστροφές προς την Τουρκία, με τη διαδικασία να έχει σταματήσει από τις 15 Μαρτίου 2020, καθώς η Τουρκία επικαλέστηκε τις δυσκολίες που επέφερε το ξέσπασμα της πανδημίας του κορονοϊού. Πλέον, το υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης ισχυρίζεται ότι « οι ταχείες διαδικασίες ελέγχων για κορονοϊό στην Ελλάδα και η σημαντική επιτάχυνση της διαδικασίας ασύλου, έχουν δημιουργήσει τις κατάλληλες συνθήκες για την επανέναρξη της διαδικασίας επιστροφών με ασφάλεια όσων αλλοδαπών δεν δικαιούνται διεθνούς προστασίας και εισήλθαν στην Ελλάδα από την Τουρκία ».

    Ο υπουργός Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου, Νότης Μηταράκης, επισημαίνει στη δήλωσή του ότι η Ελλάδα αναμένει από την Τουρκία « να ενισχύσει τις προσπάθειες στα πλαίσια της Κοινής Δήλωσης : πρώτον, στην αποτροπή διέλευσης βαρκών που ξεκινούν από τα παράλιά της με προορισμό τη χώρα μας. Δεύτερον, στην αποδοχή επιστροφών στη βάση της Κοινής Δήλωσης Ε.Ε.-Τουρκίας, αλλά και των διμερών συμφωνιών επανεισδοχής ».

    Και αναφερόμενος στην ευρωπαϊκή πολιτική για το προσφυγικό/μεταναστευτικό, σημειώνει ότι « το ζητούμενο για την Ευρώπη είναι να κατοχυρώσει στο νέο Σύμφωνο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου έναν κοινό μηχανισμό, καθώς και το απαραίτητο νομικό οπλοστάσιο για επιστροφές. Και να οχυρώσει, με αυτόν τον τρόπο, τις χώρες πρώτης υποδοχής απέναντι σε ανεξέλεγκτες μεταναστευτικές ροές, αλλά και τη δράση κυκλωμάτων λαθροδιακινητών ».

    Την ίδια ώρα, με αφορμή το αίτημα του ελληνικού υπουργείου Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου προς την Κομισιόν και τη Frontex, η οργάνωση-ομπρέλα για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα HIAS Greece εξέδωσε ανακοίνωση στην οποία σημειώνει ότι η ταχεία διαδικασία που ακολουθείται για την εξέταση των αιτημάτων ασύλου δεν εξασφαλίζει σωστή και δίκαιη απόφαση.

    Επίσης οι αιτούντες άσυλο δεν έχουν επαρκή νομική βοήθεια και η διαδικασία της προσφυγής σε δεύτερο βαθμό είναι νομικά περίπλοκη, ουσιαστικά αποτρέποντας τους πρόσφυγες από να διεκδικήσουν την παραμονή τους στη χώρα.

    « Καθίσταται σαφές ότι χωρίς νομική συνδρομή είναι αδύνατον οι αιτούντες/ούσες άσυλο να παρουσιάσουν εγγράφως και μάλιστα στην ελληνική γλώσσα, τους νομικούς και πραγματικούς λόγους για τους οποίους προσφεύγουν κατά της απορριπτικής τους απόφασης », σημειώνει μεταξύ άλλων, τονίζοντας επίσης :

    « Η έλλειψη δωρεάν νομικής συνδρομής αποβαίνει εις βάρος του δίκαιου και αποτελεσματικού χαρακτήρα που θα έπρεπε να διακρίνει τη διαδικασία ασύλου στο σύνολό της, ιδίως αν ληφθούν υπόψη οι εξαιρετικά σύντομες προθεσμίες που προβλέπονται για διαδικασία των συνόρων και τα σημαντικά κενά στη πρόσβαση σε νομική συνδρομή ήδη από το πρώτο βαθμό της διαδικασίας ασύλου ».

    https://www.efsyn.gr/node/276785

    –—

    Traduction de Vicky Skoumbi via la mailing-list Migeurop :

    Le ministère de l’Immigration et de l’Asile a soumis une demande à la Commission européenne et à #Frontex pour le #retour_immédiat de 1 450 personnes dont la demande d’asile a été rejetée, citant la déclaration commune UE-Turquie. Cependant, il convient de noter que désormais, les décisions d’asile en première instance sont prises par des procédures expresses, sans que soit assuré une aide juridique suffisante au requérant, ce qui pourrait garantir une décision équitable.

    L’annonce du ministère de l’Immigration indique que la Grèce demande le retour en Turquie de 955 étrangers qui sont entrés dans notre pays depuis la Turquie et se trouvent à #Lesbos, 180 à #Chios, 128 à #Samos et 187 à #Kos, notant que leurs demandes d’asile ont été définitivement rejetés et qu’il est possible de les renvoyer, en vertu de la déclaration commune UE-Turquie. Au cours des deux premiers mois de 2020, un total de 139 #retours_forcés en Turquie ont été enregistrés, un processus qui est au point mort depuis le 15 mars 2020, date à laquelle la Turquie a évoqué les difficultés supplémentaires causées par l’apparition de la #pandémie de #coronavirus.

    Désormais, le ministère de l’Immigration affirme que "les procédures de #dépistage_rapide du coronavirus en Grèce et l’accélération significative du processus d’asile, ont créé les bonnes conditions pour la #reprise en toute sécurité du processus de retour des étrangers qui n’ont pas droit à une protection internationale et sont entrés en Grèce depuis la Turquie. ». Le ministre de l’Immigration et de l’Asile, #Notis_Mitarakis, souligne dans sa déclaration que la Grèce attend de la Turquie "un renforcement des efforts dans le cadre de la Déclaration commune : premièrement, pour empêcher le passage des bateaux partant de ses côtes vers notre pays". Deuxièmement, par l’acceptation des retours sur la base de la déclaration commune UE-Turquie, mais aussi des accords bilatéraux de #réadmission ". Faisant référence à la politique européenne des réfugiés / immigration, il a noté que « l’objectif de l’Europe est d’établir un mécanisme commun dans le nouveau pacte d’immigration et d’asile, ainsi que l’arsenal juridique nécessaire pour les retours. Et de fortifier, de cette manière, les premiers pays d’accueil contre les flux migratoires incontrôlés, mais aussi l’action des réseaux de passeurs ".

    Dans le même temps, à l’occasion de la demande du ministère grec de l’Immigration et de l’asile à la Commission et à Frontex, l’organisation de défense des droits de l’homme HIAS Greece a publié une déclaration dans laquelle elle note que la procédure rapide suivie pour l’examen des demandes d’asile ne garantit pas décision juste et équitable. De plus, les demandeurs d’asile ne bénéficient pas d’une aide juridique suffisante et la procédure de recours en deuxième instance est juridiquement compliquée, ce qui empêche les réfugiés de défendre leur droit de séjour dans le pays. « Il devient clair que sans assistance juridique, il est impossible pour les demandeurs d’asile de présenter par écrit et qui plus est en langue grecque, les raisons juridiques et réelles pour lesquelles ils font appel de la décision de rejet de leur demande », notent-t-ils, entre autres, en soulignant : « L’absence d’assistance juridique gratuite se fait au détriment du caractère équitable et efficace de la #procédure_d'asile dans son ensemble, en particulier compte tenu des délais extrêmement courts prévus de la #procédure_à_la_frontière (#Border_procedure) et des lacunes importantes déjà en matière d’accès à l’#aide_juridique, dès la première instance de la procédure d’asile ".

    #Grèce #Turquie #asile #migrations #renvois #expulsions #réfugiés #accord_UE-Turquie #déboutés

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • « Ναι » στις επιστροφές μεταναστών λέει η Τουρκία

      Πρόκειται για αίτημα που κατέθεσε την περασμένη εβδομάδα στην Ε.Ε. και στον Frontex ο υπουργός Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου Νότης Μηταράκης.

      Θετική ανταπόκριση της Τουρκίας στο ελληνικό αίτημα για επιστροφή 1.450 αλλοδαπών των οποίων τα αιτήματα ασύλου έχουν απορριφθεί τελεσιδίκως προκύπτει από τη χθεσινή συνάντηση του αντιπροέδρου της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής Μαργαρίτη Σχοινά με τον Τούρκο υπουργό Εξωτερικών Μεβλούτ Τσαβούσογλου. Πρόκειται για αίτημα που κατέθεσε την περασμένη εβδομάδα στην Επιτροπή και στον Frontex ο υπουργός Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου Νότης Μηταράκης. Ο κ. Τσαβούσογλου, σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες της εφημερίδας Καθημερινη , είπε ότι το ζήτημα θα επιλυθεί με ορίζοντα τον Μάρτιο.

      Σύμφωνα με τις ίδιες πληροφορίες, η συνάντηση με τον κ. Σχοινά –η πρώτη μεταξύ των δύο ανδρών– διήρκεσε μία ώρα και συζητήθηκαν όλα τα θέματα αρμοδιότητος του αντιπροέδρου : το μεταναστευτικό, η ασφάλεια, ο διαθρησκειακός διάλογος και οι επαφές μεταξύ των λαών. Κοινοτικές πηγές αναφέρουν ότι, ενόψει της Συνόδου Κορυφής του Μαρτίου και της έκθεσης Μπορέλ για τις ευρωτουρκικές σχέσεις, είναι επιτακτική ανάγκη η οικοδόμηση ενός πλαισίου θετικής συνεννόησης και η αποφυγή διχαστικών δηλώσεων που θα οξύνουν εκ νέου τις εντάσεις. Ο κ. Τσαβούσογλου κάλεσε τον κ. Σχοινά να συμμετάσχει ως κεντρικός ομιλητής στο Φόρουμ της Αττάλειας τον προσεχή Ιούνιο.

      Σε θετικό κλίμα εξελίχθηκε και η συνάντηση του Τούρκου υπουργού με την επίτροπο Εσωτερικών Υποθέσεων Ιλβα Γιόχανσον. Τα βασικά θέματα τα οποία συζήτησαν, σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες, ήταν οι δεσμεύσεις των δύο πλευρών όπως απορρέουν από την Κοινή Δήλωση Ε.Ε. – Τουρκίας για τη διαχείριση του μεταναστευτικού και τα προαπαιτούμενα με τα οποία πρέπει να συμμορφωθεί η Αγκυρα για να υπάρξει πρόοδος στο θέμα της απελευθέρωσης των θεωρήσεων. Ο κ. Τσαβούσογλου συναντήθηκε επίσης με τον Ζοζέπ Μπορέλ και τον επίτροπο Διεύρυνσης Ολιβερ Βαρχέλι, ενώ είχε και ένα σύντομο τετ α τετ με την Ούρσουλα φον ντερ Λάιεν. Σε δηλώσεις του πριν από τη δική του συνάντηση με τον κ. Τσαβούσογλου, ο ύπατος εκπρόσωπος της Ε.Ε. για την Εξωτερική Πολιτική χαρακτήρισε το 2020 « περίπλοκο έτος » για τις σχέσεις των δύο πλευρών. « Πρόσφατα όμως », πρόσθεσε ο κ. Μπορέλ, « έχουμε δει βελτίωση της ατμόσφαιρας » και « κάποια σημαντικά βήματα » στην αναζήτηση « κοινών στρατηγικών συμφερόντων ».

      « Ενα θετικό βήμα είναι η ανακοινωθείσα επανέναρξη των διερευνητικών συνομιλιών μεταξύ Ελλάδας και Τουρκίας », είπε ο κ. Μπορέλ, σημειώνοντας : « Πρέπει να υπάρξει επιμονή σε αυτές τις προσπάθειες. Προθέσεις και ανακοινώσεις πρέπει να μεταφραστούν σε πράξεις ». Επανέλαβε δε την « πλήρη δέσμευση » της Ε.Ε. να στηρίξει την « ταχεία επανέναρξη » των διαπραγματεύσεων για το Κυπριακό, υπό την αιγίδα του γ.γ. του ΟΗΕ. « Είναι ισχυρή μας επιθυμία να υπάρξει μια αποκλιμάκωση διαρκείας στην Ανατ. Μεσόγειο και στην ευρύτερη περιοχή και είμαι βέβαιος ότι μπορούμε να έχουμε ένα διάλογο ουσίας για να ενισχύσουμε τις πολιτικές διαδικασίες που συνδέονται με συγκρούσεις στην περιοχή, στη Λιβύη, στη Συρία ή στο Ναγκόρνο-Καραμπάχ », είπε.

      Επιπλέον, « με πλήρη αμοιβαίο σεβασμό, θα μιλήσουμε ειλικρινά και ανοιχτά για την πολιτική κατάσταση στην Τουρκία και τις προοπτικές ένταξης [της χώρας στην Ε.Ε.] », ανέφερε ο κ. Μπορέλ. Μιλώντας νωρίτερα στο Ευρωκοινοβούλιο, ο ύπατος εκπρόσωπος επανέλαβε τις ανησυχίες της Ε.Ε. για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα στην Τουρκία. Εκανε αναφορά στις υποθέσεις Ντεμιρτάς και Καβαλά αλλά και στις « βαθιά ανησυχητικές » διώξεις δημάρχων της αντιπολίτευσης.

      ​​​​​​Από την πλευρά του, ο κ. Τσαβούσογλου χαρακτήρισε κι αυτός το περασμένο έτος « προβληματικό » για τις σχέσεις Ε.Ε. – Τουρκίας. Χαιρέτισε τις αμοιβαίες κινήσεις βελτίωσης της ατμόσφαιρας που έχουν γίνει έκτοτε και είπε ότι μαζί με τον κ. Μπορέλ θα « εργαστούν για να προετοιμάσουν » την επίσκεψη στην Αγκυρα της Ούρσουλα φον ντερ Λάιεν και του προέδρου του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου Σαρλ Μισέλ. Υπενθυμίζεται, πάντως, ότι η επίσκεψη αυτή δεν έχει επιβεβαιωθεί ακόμα από ευρωπαϊκής πλευράς.

      https://www.stonisi.gr/post/14486/nai-stis-epistrofes-metanastwn-leei-h-toyrkia

    • Le Ministre grec de la politique migratoire demande la #révision de l’accord UE-Turquie, afin que les retours puissent être également effectués depuis la #frontière_terrestre

      Traduction du grec reçue via la mailing-list Migreup :

      "Il est clair qu’aucune nouvelle structure ne sera créée en #Thrace", a déclaré M. Mitarakis.

      La nécessité de réviser la déclaration commune UE-Turquie, de manière à inclure les frontières terrestres, mais si et seulement si elle est accompagnée par la levée de restriction géographique pour ceux qui arrivent aux îles, a été mise en avant lors d’une conférence de presse d’Alexandroupolis par le ministre de l’Immigration et de l’Asile Notis Mitarakis.

      Évoquant les points qui doivent être modifiés dans l’accord, M. Mitarakis a déclaré que << le premier est la question de la levée de la restriction géographique imposée par l’accord qui a créé une énorme pression sur les îles de la mer Égée, car elle associait a possibilité d’un renvoi à Turquie de ceux qui n’ont pas droit à une protection internationale à leur confinement géographique aux îles jusqu’à la fin de la procédure d’asile.

      Le ministre a souligné que si la clause de la restriction géographique est levée, nous devrions reconsidérer l’accord européen afin que les retours puissent être effectués depuis les frontières terrestres [et non pas uniquement par voie maritime], "à condition de ne pas rendre obligatoire le séjour des demandeurs d’asile qui arrivent par voie terrestre à la région Evros », dit-il.

      Après les réactions extrêmes de certains habitants d’Orestiada avant-hier, Notis Mitarakis a souligné que "la politique nationale pour Thrace et Evros ne change pas, il est clair qu’aucune nouvelle structure ne sera créée en Thrace, et qu’il n’y aura pas de séjour d’immigrants en Thrace. Le caractère du #hotspot #Fylakio ne change pas non plus, tous les demandeurs vont être transférés après les contrôles nécessaires vers les structures existantes de régions non-frontalières ».

      Enfin, le ministre a essentiellement annoncé la décision prise de déplacer le bureau régional d’asile d’#Alexandroupoli à #Kavala, arguant que la présence d’immigrants à Alexandroupoli pour traiter leurs dossiers est contraire à la politique qui stipule que les migrants ne doivent pas s’installer à la région frontalière d’#Evros.

      source en grec :
      https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/280765_mitarakis-epanexetasi-tis-symfonias-gia-na-mporoyn-na-ginontai-epistrof

      #transferts

  • Is Frontex involved in illegal ’pushbacks’ in the Balkans ?

    Refugees and migrants in Greece trying to reach western Europe have accused EU border protection agency Frontex of taking part in illegal deportations known as “pushbacks.” DW reports.

    Ali al-Ebrahim fled in 2018 from Manbij, a Syrian city that was under Kurdish control, to escape being forced to fight in the conflict.

    Al-Ebrahim, now 22, first tried his luck in Turkey. When he arrived in Antakya, not far from the Syrian border, Turkish authorities took his details and sent him back home without citing any reasons, the young Syrian man says in very good English. He explains that this meant he was banned from legally entering Turkey again for five years.

    Nevertheless, al-Ebrahim decided to try again, this time with the aim of reaching Greece. He managed to make his way to Turkey’s Aegean coastline and eventually reached the Greek island of Leros in a rubber dinghy. When he applied for asylum, however, his application was rejected on the grounds that Turkey was a safe third country.

    But al-Ebrahim was not able to return to Turkey, and certainly not Syria — though this was of no interest to Greek authorities. “The new Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is very strict when it comes to migrants,” he says. “So I decided to go to Albania.”
    Uniforms with the EU flag

    Al-Ebrahim says that in September 2020, he traveled by bus with five others to the northern Greek city of Ioannina, and then walked to the Albanian border without encountering any Greek police.

    But, he says, staff from the EU border protection agency Frontex stopped them in Albania and handed them over to Albanian authorities in the border town of Kakavia. When asked how he knew they were Frontex officials, al-Ebrahim replies, “I could tell from their armbands.”

    Frontex staff wear light-blue armbands with the EU flag on them.
    €5,000 to reach Austria

    Al-Ebrahim says that he and the other migrants asked the Albanian authorities for asylum but were told that the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to file any new asylum applications. They were then just sent back to Greece without the Greek authorities being notified, he says.

    Al-Ebrahim had more luck on the second attempt. He managed to travel to the Albanian capital, Tirana, and then on to Serbia via Kosovo.

    His interview with DW takes place at a refugee camp in the Serbian city of Sombor, near the Hungarian border. Al-Ebrahim says he wants to travel on through Hungary into Austria, but the traffickers charge €5,000 to get as far as the Austrian border.

    Detention instead of asylum

    Hope Barker has heard many similar stories before. She coordinates the project “Wave - Thessaloniki,” which provides migrants traveling the Balkan route with food, medical care and legal advice. Barker tells DW that the northern Greek city was a safe haven until the new conservative government took office in summer 2019.

    In January 2020, a draconian new law came into effect in Greece. According to Barker, it allows authorities to detain asylum seekers for up to 18 months without reviewing their cases — and detention can then be extended for another 18 months.

    “So you can be held in detention for three years without any action on your case if you ask for asylum,” says Baker.

    Pushbacks by Frontex?

    Baker tells DW that the illegal deportation of migrants, known as “pushbacks,” happen both at the borders and further inland. Migrants trying to reach western Europe avoid any contact with Greek authorities.

    Refugee aid organizations say there have been “lots of pushbacks” at the border with North Macedonia and Albania. Baker says that witnesses have reported hearing those involved speaking German, for example, and seeing the EU insignia on their blue armbands.

    Frontex rejects allegations

    Baker says that it is, nonetheless, difficult to prove pushbacks at the Greek border because of the confusing situation, but she adds that they know that Frontex is active in Albania and that there are pushbacks on a daily basis across the River Evros that flows through Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey and forms a large part of the border. “We know that pushbacks are happening daily. So, to think that they don’t know or are not at all involved in those practices seems beyond belief,” says Baker.

    A Frontex spokesman told DW that the agency had investigated some of the allegations and “found no credible evidence to support any of them.”

    Frontex added that its staff was bound by a code of conduct, which explicitly calls for the “prevention of refoulement and the upholding of human rights, all in line with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

    “We are fully committed to protecting fundamental rights,” it added.

    Border protection from beyond the EU

    So why does the European border protection agency protect an external border of the European Union from the Albanian side? “The main aim of the operation is to support border control, help tackle irregular migration, as well as cross-border crime, including migrant smuggling, trafficking in human beings and terrorism, and identify possible risks and threats related to security,” said Frontex to DW.

    Frontex also said that cooperation with countries in the western Balkans was one of its priorities. “The agency supports them in complying with EU standards and best practices in border management and security,” the spokesman said.

    Yet it is worthwhile taking a look at another part of Greece’s border. While military and police officers are omnipresent at the Greek-Turkish border and are supported by Frontex staff, you seldom encounter any uniforms in the mountains between Greece and Albania. As a result, this route is regarded as safe by refugees and migrants who want to travel onward to western Europe via Greece.

    The route west

    Many migrants travel from Thessaloniki to the picturesque town of Kastoria, about 30 kilometers outside Albania. “There, the police pick us up from the bus and take us to the Albanian border,” Zakarias tells DW at the Wave Center in Thessaloniki. He is Moroccan and arrived in Greece via Turkey.

    But at this point, these are just rumors.

    That afternoon the men get on the bus. Another Moroccan man, 46-year-old Saleh Rosa, is among them. He has been in Greece for a year and was homeless for a long time in Thessaloniki. “Greece is a good country, but I cannot live here,” Rosa tells DW. He aims to reach western Europe via Albania, Kosovo, Serbia and then Hungary.

    Ominous police checks

    Police stop the bus shortly before its arrival in Kastoria. There is a parked police car with uniformed officers. Two men in plain clothes board the bus, claiming to be police. Without showing any ID, they target the foreigners, detaining Saleh, Zakarias and their companions.

    At around 11pm that same evening, the migrants send a WhatsApp message and their Google coordinates. They say that the men in plainclothes have taken them to a place some 15 kilometers from the Albanian border, but within Greece. Later in the Albanian capital, Tirana, DW met with Rosa again, who stresses that his papers were not checked in Greece.

    Conflicting accounts

    When asked by DW, Greek police authorities confirmed the existence of the plain-clothed officers and the roadside check. But then their account diverges from that of the two men. Police said they wanted to check if the migrants were legally permitted to be in Greece and they were released once this was confirmed.

    But the migrants say that Saleh Rosa was the only one with the papers to stay in Greece legally and that the other men were unregistered. Moreover, there is a curfew in Greece because of COVID-19. You are only allowed to travel from one district to another in exceptional cases. Even if they had been carrying papers, the men should have been fined.

    The police refused to comment on that.

    https://www.dw.com/en/is-frontex-involved-in-illegal-pushbacks-in-the-balkans/a-56141370

    #Frontex #Balkans #route_des_balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #Albanie #Serbie #Kosovo #Sombor #Hongrie #Macédoine_du_Nord #Evros #Grèce

    –---

    voir aussi les accusations envers Frontex de refoulement en #Mer_Egée :
    Migrations : l’agence européenne #Frontex mise en cause pour des #refoulements en mer
    https://seenthis.net/messages/882952

    • Frontex confronted with allegations of violence in North Macedonia

      Allegations that officials deployed on Frontex operations have participated in or condoned violence against people on the move in North Macedonia must be investigated, says a letter (https://www.statewatch.org/media/2494/letter-to-frontex-sw-and-bvmn.pdf) sent to Frontex today by #Statewatch and #Border_Violence_Monitoring_Network (#BVMN).

      Allegations that officials deployed on Frontex operations have participated in or condoned violence against people on the move in North Macedonia must be investigated, says a letter sent to Frontex today by Statewatch and Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN).

      Since September 2019, volunteers for BVMN have gathered five separate testimonies from people pushed back from North Macedonia to Greece alleging the presence of Frontex officers on North Macedonian territory, where the agency has no legal authority to act. The reports involve a total of 130 people.

      The testimonies include allegations that officers deployed by Frontex engaged in or condoned brutal violence – including the use of tasers and electroshock batons, throwing people into rivers, and tying people up and beating them.

      Frontex says it has no records of any such incidents. The agency’s press office said to Statewatch last month that “Frontex does not have any operational activities at the land border from the North Macedonian side,” and “is only present on the Greek side of the border.”

      The letter, addressed to Frontex’s executive director, the new Fundamental Rights Officer, and the agency’s Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights, calls for a thorough investigation into the allegations to clarify the facts and ensure appropriate action against any individuals found to have engaged in, condoned or consented to violence and/or to have acted on North Macedonian territory.

      The violence allegedly meted out or condoned by Frontex officials is part of a broader wave of violence against people on the move through North Macedonia. Since February 2019, BVMN volunteers have gathered 37 reports of pushbacks from North Macedonia to Greece, which are likely only a fraction of the total number of pushback cases.

      The five reports alleging the presence of Frontex officials are a subset of 15 testimonies that cite the involvement of foreign officials working alongside North Macedonian officers.

      An analysis published today by Statewatch (https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2021/foreign-agents-and-violence-against-migrants-at-the-greek-macedonian-bor) looks at the deployment of foreign border guards to North Macedonia, which since 2015 has played a key role in the EU’s efforts to prevent migrants and refugees departing from Greece to reach ‘core’ EU territory further north.

      A number of states (members of the EU and other states in the region) have signed bilateral deals with the North Macedonian government that allow the deployment of border guards in the country.

      Frontex, meanwhile, is not yet legally able to operate there. An agreement between the EU and North Macedonia is in the works, but is being held up in a dispute over language (https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2021/briefing-external-action-frontex-operations-outside-the-eu).

      The agency must provide answers and an investigation into the numerous allegations of its officials being involved in abuse.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/june/frontex-confronted-with-allegations-of-violence-in-north-macedonia
      #Macédoine_du_Nord

    • Briefing: External action: Frontex operations outside the EU

      The EU has negotiated five agreements with states in the Balkans that allow Frontex operations on their territories, and most of the agreements have now been approved by both sides. This briefing looks at the main provisions of those agreements, highlights key differences and similarities, and argues that they will likely serve as a template for future deals with states that do not border the EU, as made possible by the 2019 Regulation governing Frontex.

      For an overview of the key points of the agreements, see the table at the end of this article, or here as a PDF (https://www.statewatch.org/media/2011/eu-frontex-external-action-briefing-table.pdf).

      Frontex launched its first official joint operation on non-EU territory at Albania’s border with Greece in May 2019. Still ongoing today, this was the first operation resulting from a series of Status Agreements between the EU and a number of Western Balkan states – Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and North Macedonia.

      These agreements make it possible for Frontex to undertake operations on those other states’ territories. Signed in accordance with the agency’s 2016 Regulation, all five agreements allow the agency to carry out joint operations and rapid border interventions on the states’ borders, where those borders are coterminous with those of an EU member state or states. Frontex can also assist those states with deportation operations from EU member states to those countries. Since the entry into force of Frontex’s 2019 mandate, the EU can now also make such agreements with states that do not border EU territory.

      The contents of the status agreements, all based on a template document produced by the Commission, are very similar, with small but important differences emerging from the negotiation procedures with each state, explored below.

      The first agreements in context

      The five Balkan states targeted for the first agreements make up what is seen by officials as a “buffer zone” between Greece and other Schengen states, and they have long been embroiled in the bloc’s border policies. Through long negotiations over accession to the Union (https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/albania-dealing-with-a-new-migration-framework-on-the-edge-of-the-empire), Western Balkan states are at various stages of approximating domestic law with the EU’s legal ‘acquis’, involving substantial amendments to migration and asylum systems.

      In theory, these systems must match up to EU legal and fundamental rights standards in order to allow accession, though violence against migrants is well documented on both sides of these “coterminous borders”. The so-called Balkan Route is the site of well-documented abuses (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/january/eu-the-black-book-of-pushbacks-testimonies-of-pushbacks-affecting-over-1) suffered by people on the move, recently compiled and published in a ‘Black Book of pushbacks’ which detail violence perpetrated by border agents, member state police and soldiers. Pushbacks from Croatia (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/november/european-commission-plans-to-visit-croatia-in-light-of-human-rights-viol) and Hungary are particularly notorious, with Frontex finally withdrawing its support for operations in Hungary (https://www.statewatch.org/statewatch-database/frontex-suspends-operations-in-hungary) in January this year due to the state’s violation of a European Court of Justice ruling against pushbacks into Serbia.

      The agency had long-insisted that its presence discouraged fundamental rights violations (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/february/frontex-management-board-pushes-back-against-secrecy-proposals-in-prelim) - a far less credible claim in the wake of allegations (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2021/february/frontex-management-board-pushes-back-against-secrecy-proposals-in-prelim) of Frontex complicity in serious incidents in the Aegean, including possible pushbacks.

      Frontex expands external operations while future agreements remain on hold

      Following deployment of officers to Montenegro’s border with Croatia in July, Frontex launched a second operation in Montenegro in October. The third executive operation outside the EU (and the second in Montenegro), the aim of this activity is “to tackle cross-border crime at the country’s sea borders, including the smuggling of drugs and weapons, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in human beings and terrorism”.

      The agency says it will provide aerial surveillance, deploy officers from EU member states, and provide technical and operational assistance with coast guard functions in international waters, “including search and rescue support, fisheries control and environmental protection”.

      The agreement with Serbia was approved by the European Parliament in February this year, along with the agreement with Montenegro. Three presidential entities need to sign the agreement in order for it to be ratified by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s government; the Serb entity has so far refused to do so.

      Meanwhile, the agreement with North Macedonia was due to be tabled in the European Parliament this autumn, but negotiations have been held up, in part by Bulgaria’s objection to the language in which it is written. According to the site European Western Balkans, “Bulgaria does not recognise the language of North Macedonia as ‘Macedonian’”, but “as a dialect of Bulgarian”. It will apparently take “a change in terminology regarding Macedonian language in order to allow progress in drafting a final negotiating framework”. While negotiations are stalled, the agreement cannot be considered by the European Parliament.

      Once the status agreements are in force, Frontex operations are launched in accordance with an operational plan agreed with each state. These plans include the circumstances under which Frontex staff can use executive powers and other details of the operations not available elsewhere. These plans are not systematically made public and although it is possible for the public to request their release, Frontex can refuse access to them. These non-public documents contain important provisions on fundamental rights and data protection, as well as details on the aims and objectives of the agency’s operations.

      Fundamental rights

      Under article 8 of the agreements with Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina (article 9 of the other agreements) all parties are obliged to:

      “[H]ave a complaint mechanism to deal with allegations of a breach of fundamental rights committed by its staff in the exercise of their official functions in the course of a joint operation, rapid border intervention or return operation performed under this agreement”.

      Both Frontex and the host state must operate such a complaints mechanism, to handle allegations against their own team members. Frontex’s complaint mechanism is currently the subject of an Ombudsman inquiry, following years of research showing it up as inaccessible and ineffective. Details of updates bringing the mechanism into line with Frontex’s 2019 Regulation have not yet been made public, although the rules set out in that Regulation have problems of their own. It is noteworthy that the agreements do not explicitly require an independent complaints mechanism.

      On the question of parallel complaints mechanisms for Frontex officers and host country officers, a Frontex spokesperson explained:

      “The complaints team within Frontex Fundamental Rights Office has been working since 2019 on the concept of how to deal with complaints concerning Frontex activities in [Albania]. For that purpose, the FRO team met with competent national authorities in Albania in October 2019. Both parties agreed on the draft of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the purpose of which is a coordination between both complaints mechanisms. The MoU draft proposal was shared with Albanian authorities for their consideration on September 2020 and finalization of the modalities.

      The draft of this MoU will serve as basis for other third countries arrangements on the coexistence of complaints mechanisms, such as the case for Montenegro.”

      An extra article 3

      The agreements with Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia contain an article not included in the agreements with Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. From article 3, on launching an action:

      “The Agency may propose launching an action to the competent authorities of [the host state].

      The competent authorities of [the host state] may also request the Agency to consider launching an action.”

      The launching of any action requires the consent of competent authorities of the host-state and of Frontex (Article 3(2) of the status agreements), while any disputes over the content of the status agreements shall be resolved between the non-EU state in question and the European Commission (Article 11).

      Privileges and immunities of the members of the team

      Members of teams deployed in each of the host states shall enjoy immunity from the criminal, civil and administrative jurisdiction of the host state, for all acts carried out in the exercise of official functions, where these are committed in the course of actions contained in the operational plan (articles 6 or 7). It is at the discretion of the executive director of Frontex (currently Fabrice Leggeri) to determine whether acts were committed in the course of actions following the operational plan. This immunity may be waived by the team members’ home state – that is to say, the state of nationality of a Frontex team member, such as Spain or Germany.

      While the agreements with Albania, Montenegro, and North Macedonia include the provision that the executive director’s decision will be binding upon the authorities of the host state, no such article is found in the agreements with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

      A further difficulty with this article was highlighted earlier this year in an internal Frontex report: Protocol No 7 annexed to the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) and to the TFEU, under which the privileges and immunities Agency and its statutory staff are covered, is not applicable outside of the EU. The Commission has not yet responded to a request for comment on an investigation said to be underway into this issue.

      Acting on behalf of the host non-EU state

      Across the status agreements, members of the teams are limited to performing tasks and exercising powers in the host territory in the presence and under instructions of the host state’s border guards or other relevant authorities. The host state may authorise members of teams to act on its behalf, taking into consideration the views of the agency via its coordinating officer. The agreement with Serbia contains extra emphasis (article 5):

      “the competent authority of the Republic of Serbia may authorise members of the teams to act on its behalf as long as the overall responsibility and command and control functions remain with the border guards or other police officers of the Republic of Serbia present at all times.”

      This agreement also emphasises that “the members of the team referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3 to 6 do not include agency staff”.

      Members of teams shall be authorised to use force, including service weapons as permitted by the host state, home state, and Frontex. Each host state may authorise members of the team to use force in the absence of border guards or other relevant staff under article 4 (6) – Albania and Bosnia and Herzegoviina – or 5 (6) – Montenegro,

      Access to databases

      The agreements with Albania and Montenegro allow the host state to authorise members of the team to consult national databases if necessary for the operational aims or for return operations. Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s status agreements are more cautious, allowing certain data from national databases to be shared at the request of a member of the team, provided it is needed to fulfil operational aims as outlined in the operational plan. The agreement with Serbia contains, once more, additional provisions: “members of the team may be communicated only information concerning relevant facts which is necessary for performing their tasks and exercising their powers”, though it also includes in the subsequent paragraph:

      “For the purposes of fulfilling operational aims specified in the operation plan and the implementing actions, the competent authority of the Republic of Serbia and members of the team may exchange other information and findings”.

      Language on discrimination

      The agreement with Serbia once again follows slightly different wording to the others in terms of the prohibition of discrimination. The agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia recite:

      “While performing their tasks and exercising their powers, they shall not arbitrarily discriminate against persons on any grounds including sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

      However, the agreement with Serbia does not include (https://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/july/eu-frontex-in-the-balkans-serbian-government-rejects-eu-s-criminal-immun) any reference to gender identity.

      Obligation to give evidence as witnesses in criminal proceedings

      Under each of the agreements with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia, members of the team shall not be obliged to give evidence as witnesses. Not only does the agreement with Montenegro omit this provision, it also outlines:

      “Members of the team who are witnesses may be obliged by the competent authorities of Montenegro, while respecting paragraphs 3 and 4, to provide evidence through a statement and in accordance with the procedural law of Montenegro.”

      Frontex and home state obligation not to jeopardise criminal proceedings

      The agreement with Serbia is the only agreement not to include an obligation on the agency and home state of a team member to “refrain from taking any measure likely to jeopardise possible subsequent criminal prosecution of the member of the team by the competent authorities” of the host non-EU state.

      Lingering uncertainty

      On top of uncertainty over when the agreements with North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina might be completed, questions remain regarding the accessibility of complaints mechanisms and the application of rules governing privileges and immunity of team members, even in Albania and Montenegro, where operations have been launched already.

      Additionally, since the entry into force of its new regulation in 2019 and the removal of provisions limiting Frontex’s extra-EU operations only to neighbouring states, the EU can now conclude status agreements with countries not bordering the EU. The implementation of these agreements, as well as their contents, will likely set a precedent for negotiations and operations further afield.

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2021/briefing-external-action-frontex-operations-outside-the-eu
      #Albanie #Monténégro #Serbie #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #buffer-zone #zone-tampon

    • Albania: dealing with a new migration framework on the edge of the empire

      In 2014, Albania was formally accepted as a candidate for membership to the EU. The country is aiming to approximate its domestic law with the EU legal ’acquis’ within the next two years, prompting big changes in the country’s immigration and asylum system - at least on paper. Currently, those systems cannot be said to meet fundamental rights or EU legal standards, but given conditions within the EU itself - notably in Greece - it remains to be seen whether this will be a barrier to Albania joining the bloc.

      Background

      In the 1990s Albania, a small country in the middle of the Balkans, was just emerging from a harsh communist dictatorship. In 1991, a new era in Europe began for the country, as it opened diplomatic relationships with the then-European Community. But it was not until 2014 that Albania was formally accepted as a candidate for membership of the EU, following the endorsement of the European Council.[1]

      In that time, the European Community had evolved into the fortress of the European Union, its borders and expansion reminiscent of the spread of the Roman Empire. Speaking of the EU’s borders, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has even commented, “big empires go down if the external borders are not well-protected”.[2] Since 2014, Albania has been racing to fulfil all the requirements needed to be accepted among the fabulous 27, making major changes in the five main areas identified by the EU: public administration, rule of law, tackling corruption, organised crime and fundamental rights.

      In February 2018, the European Commission declared that further enlargement to encompass the states of the ‘Western Balkans’ (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo) would be “an investment in the EU’s security, economic growth and influence and in its ability to protect its citizens”.[3] In short, the EU was presenting a so-called win-win agreement, where all sides stand to gain.

      In March 2020 – following a limping reform of the justice system, some destabilizing stop-and-go of talks between the EU and Albania, a gloomy summer election crisis in 2019, German concerns, a temporary French veto and a devastating earthquake in November 2019 – the EU finally said ‘I do’ and committed to opening accession negotiations with Albania, in a statement that underscored the need to ‘keep an eye’ on the country:

      “The Council further invites the Commission to continue to monitor the progress and compliance in all areas related to the opening of negotiations and to carry out and complete the process of analytical examination of the EU acquis with the country, starting with the fundamentals’ cluster”.[4]

      Aligning Albania with the EU’s “area of freedom, security and justice”

      The current ‘Project Plan for European integration 2020-2022’[5] lists all the legislative reforms and changes required to align Albanian and EU law. The full approximation of Albanian law with that of the European Union, and its full and effective implementation, is one of the criteria for membership. Indeed, the process of membership negotiations is in itself that process of approximation.

      The process involves the following steps: analysis of EU legislation; identification of deficiencies or contradictory acts of Albanian law; drafting or reviewing of the approximated Albanian acts; and monitoring the implementation of approximated legislation. The 24th chapter of the plan, on “justice, freedom and security”, focuses on: border control; visas; external migration; asylum; police cooperation; the fight against organised crime and terrorism; cooperation on drugs issues; customs; and judicial cooperation in criminal and civil matters.

      Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the area of Freedom, Security and Justice is regulated in Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, running from Article 67 to Article 89.[6] This covers secondary legislation on: border checks, asylum and immigration; police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters; judicial cooperation in civil matters; and police cooperation. Primary and secondary legislation is complemented by a large body of jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the EU, whose primacy is a cornerstone principle of EU law. The acquis inherited by Albania for this specific chapter consists of a volume of 392 acts, divided into a “hard acquis” (which derives from binding acts such as treaties, directives, regulations, etc.) and a “soft acquis” (which derives from standards, principles and recommendations of EU or other relevant international organizations).

      Updating the laws on immigration and borders

      The government affirms to have completed and adopted a comprehensive national cross-sectoral migration strategy, included a new strategy on the diaspora for the period 2018-2024.[7] The government also says it has updated a contingency plan for a possible massive influx of migrants and asylum seekers, expected to be approved soon. But the other side of the coin is that Albania, as the project plan admits, is largely unprepared to host and protect migrants on its territory. Albania currently has one reception centre for irregular migrants in Karreç, with a capacity of only 150 beds. The centre was visited in September 2019 by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which found it to be inadequate in many respects.[8] Even more concerning is the lack of facilities for unaccompanied minors.

      According to a footnote in a 2016 law,[9] Albania’s border control legislation has been aligned with the Schengen Borders Code.[10] However, it appears that the wider legal framework for managing Albania’s external borders is not yet fully in line with EU standards. The government reports that the implementation of the integrated border management strategy and action plan is proceeding: the reconstruction of the two border crossing points Hani i Hotit and Morina has been completed; the country has signed a protocol with Montenegro on the establishment of joint checkpoints; the trilateral centre in Plav (in Northern Macedonia) has become operational; an agreement with Kosovo on the joint border crossing point in Morina has been concluded; anti-corruption preventive measures have been implemented at border crossing points through the installation of cameras; and cooperation between agencies and neighbouring countries has improved.

      Frontex: already on the scene

      The section of the government’s report on regular and irregular immigration states that the agreement with the EU permitting the deployment of Frontex officials on Albanian territory was finalised in February 2019.[11] The deployment began on 22 May 2019, for an indefinite period.[12]

      The joint operation – Frontex’s first outside the EU – deploys 50 EU officers in Albania to “help Albanian authorities with border surveillance and border checks… They will also assist their Albanian counterparts in screening of migrants”.[13] This is not the first time that an EU presence has been active on Albanian territory – an Italian operation in 1997 sought to prevent migration, and there have also been monitoring missions. However, the Frontex presence is an executive mission, marking a more active departure from the monitoring exercises of the past.[14]

      The Albanian Minister of Internal Affairs, Sander Lleshaj, has described the operation as “really effective, very collaborative… crucial in the way to EU integration”.[15] The Prime Minister, Edi Rama, has said the operation makes Albania a contributor to the EU in countering illegal migration and organised crime.[16] The Albanian press has so far expressed an uncritical view of the Frontex mission. In a state where many are supportive of EU accession, appetite for critical investigation is possibly low.

      And asylum?

      Albania reports that its Asylum Law is partially in line with the EU acquis. The country has the necessary institutions and procedures to handle asylum applications. Complaints can be filed with the National Commission for Refugees and Asylum, which was established in 2017 and reopened in 2019. All relevant national legislation should be publicly available on the government website,[17] but the information available does not clarify if complaints related to the application process are admissible, or if the word “complaints” refers to appeals related to unsuccessful applications. Regarding the asylum procedure, applications are registered by the Border and Migration Police by filling out the pre-screening forms, then reported to the Directorate of Asylum and Citizenship to proceed with the status determination procedures.

      Although the number of asylum seekers increased significantly in 2018, with 5,730 arrivals, the authorities say they have responded to the large number of asylum applications. According to UNHCR asylum applications that year increased to 4,378, a 14-fold increase compared to 2017.[18] Albania’s official Gazette outlined in March 2020 that the number of people applying for asylum was at its highest in 2018, and 40 times higher than it had been in 2015.[19] According to the Project Plan for European integration, an asylum database has been functioning since April 2019; it serves as an integral data centre between the Directorate of Asylum and Citizenship, the Directorate of Border and Migration and the National Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, exchanging information in real time between these institutions and enabling the completion of procedures as well as the issuance of statistics.

      The government also says it tripled its reception capacity for asylum seekers in October 2017. Total reception capacity, including the national reception centre in Tirana and the temporary accommodation centres in Gjirokastra and Korça, reaches almost 380 places. In October 2019, a new centre with a reception capacity of 60 beds was inaugurated to cope with the expected increase of people needing temporary housing in Kapshticë/Korça,[20] which has the same parameters as the transit centre in Gërhot of Gjirokastra.

      Summary

      Both Albania and the EU have undergone a transformative thirty years, with talks of accession beginning six years ago. The EU sees Albania’s incorporation into the bloc as a way of contributing to the economic growth and strengthened security; a different understanding of “expanding the fortress”. Accession negotiations were reinvigorated in March 2020, and the current goal is for Albania to approximate its law to the EU acquis, and implement those measures, within two years. This includes legislation on immigration and borders, which have been updated on paper. Though conditions for asylum seekers and migrants in Albania are not in line with fundamental rights law or the EU acquis, nor are those in EU member states – most notably the Greek island hotspots. The deployment of the EU’s border agency in Albania, unlikely to be criticised locally, represents further step in the EU’s mission to control migration across a wider terrain.

      Sara Ianovitz, Ph.D. in International Law

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/albania-dealing-with-a-new-migration-framework-on-the-edge-of-the-empire

      #Albanie

    • Foreign agents and violence against migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border

      An increasing number of reports of violent pushbacks at the Greek-Macedonian border have been collected by volunteers in recent years. Some reports allege the presence of Frontex, but bilateral policing deals in place may also explain the presence of foreign officers in Macedonia. The violence underpins a long-standing plan to close the ‘Balkan Route’ and keep people out of ‘core’ EU territory. Whoever is behind the violence, there is no shortage of border guards to mete it out – but justice is in short supply.

      Midnight in Macedonia

      Around midnight on 14 August last year, a group of some 20 people were intercepted by border police just north of the Greek-Macedonian border, near the small town of Gevgelija. What happened next, according to the testimony of one member of the group, makes for grim reading.

      “[T]he police officers approached the group and became physically violent. The officers struck various group-members with their batons. Others were pepper-sprayed, including the women and children. After this, the officers loaded the group into a van and left them there without any air conditioning, jammed, soaking in sweat for around two hours, while going about to catch more transit groups. In the end, they squashed around 40 people in a van for fit for ten persons.”[1]

      Macedonian officials were not the only ones involved in the operation. The testimony also recounts “foreign officers wearing uniforms with the European Union flags on their shoulders,” the distinctive mark of EU border agency Frontex.

      Foreign agents

      The testimony is one of five reports gathered by Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), altogether involving some 130 people, that describe violence being meted out in the presence of, or even by, border guards allegedly deployed by Frontex on North Macedonian territory. A further 10 reports gathered by the network, encompassing some 123 people, recount the use of violence by foreign border guards and police officers operating in North Macedonia, but do not mention uniforms bearing the EU flag.[2]

      Statewatch and Border Violence Monitoring Network have written to Frontex to demand an investigation into the allegations recounted in this article. Read more here.

      The violence recounted in those testimonies is shocking. According to the report on the 14 August incident, after cramming people into the van, the police drove them to the banks of the Vardar river. There, they threw peoples’ possessions into the water, took their phones and money, and “the group was beaten brutally with metal electroshock batons and some people were thrown into the river by the police. One person was thrown in despite crying and begging not to be thrown in.” They were subsequently taken back to the border and pushed through a gate leading to the Greek side, while police beat them with electroshock batons.

      In that incident, the witness said that officials with uniforms bearing EU flags were present, but did not directly participate in the violence. But a report from the same area, concerning an incident less than a week later, refers to officials in uniforms bearing Croatian, Slovenian, Czech and EU flags, who bound a group of four men with zip ties and beat three of them with batons (one of the group, who was a minor, was spared the beating).[3] Reports of other incidents allege the presence of Italian, German and Austrian officials.

      No reports at Frontex

      While BVMN volunteers have gathered multiple testimonies that allege Frontex’s presence or involvement in violence in North Macedonia, the agency itself says it has received no reports of any such incidents. The agency also denies any presence in the country – in May, a press officer told Statewatch that “Frontex does not have any operational activities at the land border from the North Macedonian side,” and “is only present on the Greek side of the border.”

      In December 2020, Frontex responded to an access to documents request filed by Statewatch some months earlier. The request sought copies of all serious incident reports (SIRs) concerning the agency’s activities at the Greek-Macedonian land border from 1 January 2020 onwards. SIRs are supposed to be filed by officials deployed on Frontex operations for a variety of reasons, including in case of “suspected violations of fundamental rights or international protection obligations.”[4]

      In its response, the agency said that it did not hold any SIRs concerning the geographic area and time period covered by the request. This does not mean, however, that the incidents recorded by BVMN did not take place – it may simply be that nobody is reporting them.

      A working group set up by Frontex’s own Management Board, in response to allegations of involvement in pushbacks in Greece, found numerous problems with the agency’s reporting system. It noted that there was no way of monitoring the quality of reports submitted, and there were no confidential avenues for team members to report rights violations by their colleagues.

      The report also called for “a newly introduced culture,” suggesting that the existing ambience at the agency is not one in which the rights of migrants and refugees are at the forefront of officials’ minds. The working group said that the agency needed “awareness of and sensitiveness towards possible misconduct,”[5] a call it repeated in its final report.[6]

      Not even numbers

      Serious incident reports may not exist, but the request from Statewatch to Frontex also sought to establish the scale of the agency’s activities at the Greek-Macedonian border through another means – by requesting data on the number of migrants and migrant smugglers apprehended at the Greek-Macedonian border over the same period (1 January 2020 onwards).

      This data, argued Frontex, could not be released – doing so “would jeopardize the work of law enforcement officials and pose a hazard to the course of ongoing and future operations aimed at curtailing the activities of such networks,” despite the request seeking nothing more than figures that Frontex itself has published in previous reports.

      A public evaluation of the tongue-twistingly titled ‘Joint Operation Flexible Operational Activities 2018 Land on Border Surveillance’ (JO FOA Land) says that in 2018, 16,337 migrants and 313 smugglers were apprehended in the area covered by the operation – “the ‘green borders’ of Greece with Turkey, the North Macedonia [sic] and Albania, Bulgaria with Turkey, North Macedonia and Serbia.”[7] Yet for reasons known only to Frontex, providing a breakdown of these figures for the Greek-Macedonian border would apparently undermine public security.

      A significant presence

      According to Frontex’s evaluation report, 25 member states took part in operations at land borders in south-eastern Europe in 2018, along with 47 officers acting as observers from six different “third countries”, namely Georgia, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine. Over 1,800 officials were deployed by Frontex over the course of the year. The operations recorded 2,011 “incidents”.

      A substantial Frontex presence at the border between Greece and North Macedonia has been in place since then. In a response to a parliamentary question from German MEP Özlem Demirel, the European Commission said last June that at Greece’s land borders with Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Turkey, 71 officials, 24 patrols and three “thermo-vision vans” were deployed as part of the 2020 edition of JO FOA Land. Thirteen different member states were providing contributions to the operation: Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.[8]

      While Frontex denies any physical presence on North Macedonia territory, the testimonies gathered by BVMN that allege the presence or participation of Frontex officials in violent acts raise serious questions for the agency. All the testimonies concern incidents that took place in North Macedonia, where the agency has no legal basis to operate. An agreement between the EU and North Macedonia that would permit Frontex deployments, similar to those currently in place with Montenegro and Albania, is facing hold-ups due to objections from the Bulgarian authorities.[9]

      Bilateral agreements

      Frontex operations are not the only deployments of foreign officials in North Macedonia. As noted above, nine of the 15 reports gathered by BVMN describing the involvement of non-Macedonian officers in pushbacks to Greece make no mention of Frontex at all. There are, however, multiple references to violence being meted out by officials in uniforms bearing the flags of Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany and Serbia.

      The presence of some of these officials in the country is made possible by bilateral border control agreements. North Macedonia has cooperation agreements with eight other states in the region (Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Serbia), who provide the Macedonian authorities “with assistance from foreign police officers in patrolling the south border with Greece and in performing their daily duties.”[10] The agreement with Austria, Hungary and Serbia has come in for particular criticism, as it is a memorandum of understanding rather than a formal agreement, and therefore has faced no parliamentary scrutiny in Macedonia.[11] Germany, meanwhile, does not appear to have such a formal agreement with North Macedonia at the federal level – which makes the allegations of the presence of German officers puzzling – but the EU’s largest state has provided a ready supply of equipment, including vehicles, mobile thermal imaging cameras, boots and torches.[12]

      The Croatian and Czech governments have made extensive deployments under these agreements. Between December 2015 (when Croatia and North Macedonia signed a police cooperation deal) and February 2019 “over 560 Croatian police… intercepted almost 6,000 illegal migrants in North Macedonia.”[13] The Czech deployments have been even larger – by December 2019, “1,147 police officers [had] been sent to North Macedonia” to police the border with Greece, according to the Czech government.[14]

      High-level police coordination preceded the signing of many of these agreements. In July 2016, the police chiefs of 12 states said that “the deployment of foreign police officers along borders which are strongly affected by irregular migration conveys a strong message that the countries concerned are resolute in jointly coping with the migration crisis.”[15] Under the agreements with Macedonia, foreign officials can “use technical equipment and vehicles with symbols, wear uniforms, carry weapons and other means of coercion”.[16] In some instances, it seems coercion tips over into outright violence.

      An incident dating from 16 August 2020, recorded by BVMN volunteers, refers to officers “with black ski masks over their faces” and “Croatian and Czech flags emblazoned on their uniforms.” The interviewees said that “these officers were violent with them – kicking the group, destroying their mobile phones, taking their money, insulting them, pushing their faces on the ground with tied hands behind the back. One of the respondents was also attacked by a dog, while the officers [were] laughing at him.”[17] As far back as March 2016, an activist supporting refugees at the increasingly well-guarded Greek-Macedonian border told the newspaper Lidovky that, in Macedonia, “the Czech police are known for violence and unprofessionalism.”[18]

      Buffer states in the Balkans

      Bilateral cooperation between EU states and North Macedonia extends far beyond these police cooperation agreements. In September 2020, the German Presidency of the Council of the EU described the region stretching from Turkey to Hungary (known in official jargon as the “Eastern Mediterranean/Western Balkans”) as being “of great strategic importance for the EU in terms of migration management.”[19] Significant attention is therefore being given to reinforcing the ability of states in the region to control peoples’ movements (an issue highlighted in another recent Statewatch report).

      As of May 2020, 15 EU member states were providing bilateral “support” on migration issues to states in the Western Balkans through a total of 228 activities, according to a survey carried out by the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The majority of that support was focused on control measures, “namely border management and combating the smuggling of migrants (over 50% of all MS activities),” said a summary produced by the Presidency. More than 50% of the 228 activities were taking place in Serbia and North Macedonia, both of which border EU territory.[20]

      The Croatian Presidency highlighted the “geopolitical importance” of those two countries, given that “Member States’ focus is on the prevention of irregular migratory movements to the EU.” This was “both expected and understandable, but may contribute to strengthening the Western Balkan partners’ self-perception as a transit region, which poses a challenge for the further improvement of all aspects of their migration capacities.” Rather than a transit region, the plan is to provide ‘capacity-building’ and technical assistance to develop buffer states that can keep people out of the ‘core’ of the EU after they depart from Greece.

      This is, of course, not a new plan. In February and March 2016, as the EU-Turkey deal was heading for agreement and in the wake of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people travelling by foot, road and rail to the ‘core’ of the EU, the ‘Balkan Route’ was declared closed by EU leaders. Initially done on the crude, discriminatory basis of nationality,[21] exclusion measures were extended to apply to all those crossing borders in the region. That process of closure continues today, and violence is a longstanding component of the strategy.[22] Indeed, it is a prerequisite for it to work effectively, and has been denounced repeatedly over the years by NGOs and international organisations. In March 2016, the Macedonian authorities sought supplies of pepper spray, tasers, rubber bullets, “special bomb (shock, with rubber balls)” and “acoustic device to break the mob.”[23] The concern now may be with smaller groups of people attempting to pass through the country, rather than with “the mob”, but the violence is no less brutal.

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2021/foreign-agents-and-violence-against-migrants-at-the-greek-macedonian-bor

  • Les « #instant_cities » – Villes réimaginées sans histoire, sans avenir

    Le thème des « instant cities », ces villes bâties du jour au lendemain, revient dans les débats des urbanistes et architectes, inspirés par l’expérience des campements et autres zones à défendre (ZAD). L’anthropologue #Michel_Agier nous entretient du sujet dans un texte publié sur le site AOC : https://aoc.media/opinion/2020/09/28/utopie-dystopie-non-fiction-faire-ville-faire-communaute-3-3

    #Utopie, #dystopie, #non-fiction#Faire_ville, faire communauté

    Le thème des « instant cities », ces villes bâties du jour au lendemain, revient dans les débats des urbanistes et architectes d’aujourd’hui, inspirés par l’expérience des #campements et autres #ZAD. La ville est ré-imaginée sans histoire et sans avenir, comme marquée d’abord par l’#immédiateté, l’#instantanéité et la #précarité. Des réflexions qui rejoignent celles de l’ethnologue qui se demande ce que « faire ville » veut dire, elles permettent de penser la ville en se libérant de la contrainte du réel et du présent, comme le font le plus librement les fictions post-catastrophe.

    Avec la montée des #incertitudes et des formes de vie précaires dans toutes les régions du monde et plus particulièrement dans les contextes migratoires, le thème des instant cities (villes « instantanées », bâties « du jour au lendemain ») revient dans les débats des urbanistes et architectes d’aujourd’hui, et peuvent aider à penser la ville de demain en général. Le thème est ancien, apparu dans les années 1960 et 1970, d’abord avec l’histoire des villes du #far_west américain, nées « en un jour » et très vite grandies et développées comme le racontent les récits de #San_Francisco ou #Denver dans lesquels des migrants arrivaient et traçaient leurs nouvelles vies conquises sur des espaces nus.

    À la même époque, des architectes anglais (Peter Cook et le groupe #Archigram) s’inspiraient des lieux de #rassemblements et de #festivals_précaires comme #Woodstock pour imaginer des villes elles-mêmes mobiles – une utopie de ville faite plutôt d’objets, d’images et de sons transposables que de formes matérielles fixes. Troisième forme desdites instant cities, bien différente en apparence, celle qui est allée des villes de l’instant aux « #villes_fantômes », à l’instar des utopies graphiques des #villes_hors-sol construites en Asie, dans le Golfe persique et au Moyen-Orient principalement, sur le modèle de #Dubaï.

    Nous sommes aujourd’hui dans une autre mise en œuvre de ce modèle. En 2015, la Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine montrait l’exposition « Habiter le campement » qui réincarnait très concrètement le concept à travers les rassemblements festivaliers (la « ville » de trois jours du festival #Burning_Man aux États-Unis), mais aussi les campements de #yourtes pour les #travailleurs_migrants, les #campings et #mobile_homes pour touristes et travellers, ou les #camps-villes pour réfugiés. Allant plus loin dans la même démarche, le groupe #Actes_et_Cité publie en 2018 l’ouvrage La ville accueillante où, inspirées de l’expérience du « #camp_humanitaire » de la ville de #Grande-Synthe, différentes solutions d’espaces d’#accueil sont étudiées (quartiers d’accueil, squats, campements aménagés, réseau de maisons de migrants, etc.), leur rapidité de mise en œuvre (quelques semaines) et leur coût réduit étant des critères aussi importants que leur potentiel d’intégration et d’acceptation par la population établie.

    On pourrait encore ajouter, pour compléter ce bref tour d’horizon, le géant suédois du meuble #Ikea qui, après une tentative d’implantation dans le marché des abris pour camps de réfugiés en association avec le HCR dans les années 2010-2015, a lancé en 2019 « #Solarville », un projet de #Smartcity fondé sur l’architecture en bois et l’énergie solaire.

    L’idée de la #table_rase permet de penser la ville en se libérant de la contrainte du réel et du présent, comme le font le plus librement les fictions post-catastrophes.

    Le point commun de toutes ces expériences d’instant cities est leur ambition de réduire, voire de supprimer l’écart entre le #temps et l’#espace. Immédiateté, instantanéité et #précarité de la ville, celle-ci est ré-imaginée sans histoire et sans avenir. Sans empreinte indélébile, la ville se pose sur le sol et ne s’ancre pas, elle est associée à la précarité, voire elle-même déplaçable. Ce seraient des villes de l’instant, des #villes_présentistes en quelque sorte. Dans tous les cas, l’idée de la table rase, image du rêve extrême de l’architecte et de l’urbaniste, permet de penser la ville en se libérant de la contrainte du réel et du présent, comme le font le plus librement les #fictions_post-catastrophes. Dans leur excentricité même, ces images et fictions dessinent un horizon de villes possibles.

    C’est cette ville à venir que j’aimerais contribuer à dessiner, non pas pourtant à partir de la table rase de l’architecte, mais à partir de l’ethnographie d’une part au moins du présent. Un présent peut-être encore marginal et minoritaire, et donc hors des sentiers battus, quelque chose d’expérimental pour reprendre le mot très pragmatique de Richard Sennett, peu visible encore, mais qui a toutes les chances de s’étendre tant il sait répondre à des besoins croissants, dans cet avenir qui nous inquiète.

    C’est dans un « #présent_futuriste » que j’ai trouvé quelques éléments de réponse, un futur déjà là, quelque peu anachronique donc, mais aussi inédit, tout à fait décentré de la ville historique, notamment européenne, à laquelle nous nous référons encore trop souvent pour penser l’universalité des villes. Je me suis familiarisé avec la vie quotidienne des zones de #marges ou frontières, de #borderlands, et avec celles et ceux qui les habitent ou y passent. Rien d’exotique dans cela, rien d’impossible non plus, ce sont des lieux quelconques réinvestis, détournés, occupés pour un temps plus ou moins long, des déplacements et des attachements plus ou moins profonds aux lieux de résidence, de passage ou de refuge, et ce sont des événements – politiques, catastrophiques ou artistiques, prévus ou fortuits – créateurs d’échanges, éphémères ou non, et nous faisant occuper et donner un sens à des lieux parfois inconnus. Ces formes sociales, ces moments partagés, toutes ces situations rendent les espaces fréquentés plus familiers, partagés et communs, même sans en connaître le devenir.

    Loin d’être exceptionnelle, cette expérience de recherche m’a semblé expérimentale et exemplaire d’un certain futur urbain. Cela résonne avec les propos des urbanistes rebelles qui pensent comme #Jane_Jacob ou #Richard_Sennett un urbanisme pratique – ou « pragmatique », dit lui-même Sennett, qui ancre depuis longtemps sa réflexion dans l’#homo_faber, dans le faire de l’humain. Il faut, écrit-il, « placer l’homo faber au centre de la ville ». C’est ce que je ferai ici, en poursuivant cette interrogation sur le faire-ville dans sa double dimension, qui est de faire communauté, créer ou recréer du commun, et de faire la ville, c’est-à-dire l’inventer et la fabriquer.

    Une écologie et une anthropologie urbaines sont tout à inventer pour le monde à venir.

    C’est un présent futuriste fait d’étranges établissements humains : des armatures flexibles, modelables à volonté, des murs transparents, des cubes réversibles ou transposables. Curieusement, ces lieux font d’emblée penser à une ville mais précaire et #démontable, ce sont des #agglomérations_temporaires dont la matière est faite de murs en toile plastifiée, de charpentes en planches, en tubes métalliques ou en branchages, de citernes d’eau en caoutchouc, de canalisations et latrines en prêt-à-monter, prêt-à-défaire, prêt-à-transporter.

    Les lumières de la ville sont intermittentes et blafardes, fournies par des moteurs électrogènes mis en route à chaque nouvelle arrivée (fruit d’un désordre ou d’une catastrophe), devenue elle-même prévisible tout comme ses conséquences techniques – ruptures dans les flux et les stocks d’énergie, de nourriture ou de services. Les va-et-vient incessants de camions blancs bâchés emmènent des grandes quantités de riz, de boulgour et de personnes déplacées. Parfois, sur quelques terrains vagues, d’autres enfants jouent au football, ou bien des adultes inventent un terrain de cricket.

    À partir de la matière première disponible dans la nature (terre, eau, bois de forêt) ou de la matière résiduelle de produits manufacturés disponible (planches, palettes, bâches plastifiées, toiles de sac, feuilles métalliques d’emballage, plaques de polystyrène), des habitants bricolent et pratiquent une #architecture_adaptative, réactive, avec les moyens du bord, comme ailleurs ou autrefois une architecture des #favelas ou des #bidonvilles. Des maisons en pisé côtoient d’autres constructions en tissus, carton et tôle. Cette matérialité est en constante transformation.

    Malgré la surprise ou la perplexité qu’on peut ressentir à l’énumération de ces étranges logistiques urbaines, ce n’est pas de la fiction. Ce sont mes terrains d’#ethnographie_urbaine. On y verra sans doute une #dystopie, un mélange cacophonique de prêt-à-monter, de #récupérations et de #bricolages, j’y vois juste l’avenir déjà là, au moins sur les bords, dans un monde certes minoritaire (en Europe au moins), frontalier, à la fois mobile et précaire, mais terriblement efficace et qui a toutes les chances de s’étendre. #Ville_en_kit serait le nom de ce modèle qui viendrait après celui de la ville historique et rejoindrait, « par le bas », celui de la ville générique, dont il serait l’envers moins visible.

    Une écologie et une anthropologie urbaines sont tout à inventer pour le monde à venir, nous n’en connaissons encore presque rien si ce n’est qu’elles seront marquées par une culture de l’#urgence, du présent et de l’#incertitude, organisant et meublant des espaces nus ou rasés ou abandonnés, pour des durées inconnues. Ce qui est marquant est la répétition du #vide qui prévaut au premier jour de ces fragiles agglomérations, mais aussi la résurgence rapide de la #vie_sociale, de la #débrouille_technique, d’une #organisation_politique, et de la quête de sens. Cette ville en kit semble plus périssable, mais plus adaptable et « résiliente » aussi que la ville historique, qu’il nous faut donc oublier. Celle-ci était délimitée dans des enceintes visibles, elle était en dur, elle se développait de plus en plus à la verticale, avec ses voies goudronnées vite saturées de véhicules et de bruits. Cette ville historique maintenant implose, pollue et expulse les malchanceux au-delà de ses limites, mais elle continue de fournir le modèle de « la ville » dans le monde. Pourtant, le modèle s’écarte des réalités.

    On peut s’interroger sur le caractère utopique ou dystopique des #imaginaires_urbains qui naissent de l’observation des contextes dits « marginaux » et de leur permanence malgré leurs destructions répétées partout. Faut-il opposer ou rapprocher une occupation de « ZAD », une invasion de bidonvilles et une installation de migrants sans abri devenue « #jungle », selon le pourquoi de leur existence, toujours spécifique, ou selon le comment de leur processus, toujours entre résistance et adaptation, et les possibles qu’ils ont ouverts ? Si ces établissements humains peuvent être considérés, comme je le défends ici, comme les tout premiers gestes d’un processus urbain, du faire-ville dans son universalité, alors il convient de s’interroger sur ce qu’ils ouvrent, les décrire en risquant des scénarios.

    Ce partage d’expériences suppose une prise de conscience de l’égalité théorique de toutes les formes urbaines.

    Comment passe-t-on de cette #marginalité qui fait #désordre à de la ville ? Une pensée concrète, une #architecture_an-esthétique, un #habitat_minimal, évolutif, peuvent rendre #justice à ces situations et leur donner une chance d’inspirer d’autres expériences et d’autres manières de faire ville. Je reprends là en partie quelques-uns des termes de l’architecte grec et français #Georges_Candilis (1913-1995), pour qui l’observation directe, au Pérou, dans la périphérie de Lima, au début des années 70, d’un processus d’installation et construction d’une « #invasión » fut un choc. Dans la nuit, « des milliers de personnes » avaient envahi un terrain vague « pour construire une nouvelle ville », l’alerta son collègue péruvien.

    C’est moins l’invasion elle-même que la réaction de l’architecte européen qui m’intéresse ici. Longtemps collaborateur de Le Corbusier, Candilis a ensuite passé des années à concevoir, en Europe essentiellement, des très grands ensembles à bas prix, pour « les plus démunis ». Il voit dans le mouvement d’invasion urbaine à Lima un « raz de marée populaire », devant lequel les autorités cèdent et qui va « construire une maison, une ville, sans matériaux ni architectes, avec la seule force du Plus Grand Nombre et le seul espoir de survivre ». Le deuxième jour de l’invasion, sous les yeux de l’architecte devenu simple témoin, les maisons commencent à s’édifier avec des matériaux de récupération, des quartiers se forment et les habitants (« y compris les enfants ») votent pour désigner leurs responsables. « J’assistais émerveillé, écrit Candilis quelques années plus tard, à la naissance d’une véritable “communauté urbaine” », et il évoque, enthousiaste, « l’esprit même de la ville ».

    Je ne pense pas qu’il ait voulu dupliquer en France ce qu’il avait vu à Lima, mais certainement s’inspirer de ses principes. Il exprimait l’intense découverte que cet événement avait représentée pour lui, et surtout le fait que le faire-ville passe par un événement, qui est l’irruption d’un sujet citadin, porteur de l’esprit de la ville et faiseur de communauté urbaine. C’est ce sujet citadin et cette communauté urbaine qui font la ville et qui permettent de penser à nouveaux frais le modèle des instant cities, en le renversant sur lui-même en quelque sorte, contre l’idée qu’il puisse naître hors-sol et qu’il puisse produire des villes fantômes qui attendront leur peuplement.

    Ce partage d’expériences, pour devenir systématique et efficace sans être du mimétisme ni du collage formel, suppose une prise de conscience de l’égalité théorique de toutes les formes urbaines, que j’ai rappelée au tout début de cette réflexion. C’est une démarche qui ne demande ni exotisme ni populisme, mais une attention à ce qu’il y a de plus universel dans le #faire-ville, qui est une énergie de #rassemblement et de #mise_en_commun, dont la disparition, à l’inverse, engendre les étalements diffus et les ghettos qu’on connaît aussi aujourd’hui.

    https://formes.ca/territoire/articles/les-instant-cities-villes-reimaginees-sans-histoire-sans-avenir
    #villes_instantanées #urban_matter #urbanisme #présent #passé #futur

  • Monthly Report BVMN August 2020

    The #Border_Violence_Monitoring_Network (#BVMN) published 34 cases of illegal pushbacks during August, documenting the experience of 692 people whose rights were violated at the European Union’s external border. Volunteers in the field recorded a variety of cruel and abusive acts by officers, representing at least ten different national authorities. This report summarises the data and narrative testimony shared by people-on-the-move, highlighting the depth of violence being carried out in the service of European borders.

    As a network comprised of grassroots organisations active in Greece and the Western Balkans, this report was produced via a joint-effort between Are You Syrious, Mobile Info Team, No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, Josoor, InfoKolpa, Escuela con Alma, Centre for Peace Studies, Mare Liberum, Collective Aid and Fresh Response

    The report analyses among other things:

    - Czech presence in North Macedonian pushbacks
    - Unrest in the #Una-Sana Canton of Bosnia-Herzegovina
    - Continued Greek Maritime Pushbacks
    - Analyzing a summer of Italian pushbacks

    Special focus is given to the Greek context where in the Evros region, field partners collected several testimonies in August which referenced third-country-nationals facilitating pushbacks across the Evros/Meric River on behalf of Greek authorities. Three reports conducted by members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network allude to this practice and anecdotal evidence from the field reinforces these accounts.

    –-

    The Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) published 34 cases of illegal pushbacks during August, documenting the experience of 692 people whose rights were violated at the European Union’s external border. Volunteers in the field recorded a variety of cruel and abusive acts by officers, representing at least ten different national authorities. This report summarises the data and narrative testimonies shared by peo-ple-on-the-move, highlighting the depth of violence being carried out in the service of European borders.Special focus is given to the Greek context where testimonies in the Evros allude to the trend of Greek au-thorities using third country nationals to facilitate pushbacks across the Evros/Meric River in the last two months. Reports collected by members of the Border Violence Monitoring Network allude to this practice and anecdotal evidence from the field reinforces these accounts. Further analysis covers the way in which Czech forces have been referenced in testimonies collected from push-backs from North Macedonia to Greece in the last month. Returns from Italy to Bosnia also continue to be legitimized by the Italian state and an analysis of recent reports from these returns is included, as well as an update written by volunteers on the ground in Trieste.In this report, BVMN also discusses several cases of pushbacks across the Aegean sea where the Greek au-thorities continue to use worrying methods to force transit ships back into Turkish waters via life raphs. New developments in both Bosnia’s Una-Sana Canton and Serbia’s #Vojvodina region are also noted, showing the situation on the ground and in the legal realm respectively, as it relates to pushbacks.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/balkan-region-report-august-2020

    #rapport #push-backs #refoulements #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Italie #Grèce #Mer_Egée #Una #Sana #Bosnie #Bosnie_Herzégovine #Macédoine_du_Nord #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Serbie

    ping @karine4 @isskein

    • Policajci iz Virovitice prijavljuju šefa: ‘Ilegalno tjera migrante, tuče se pijan, zataškava obiteljsko nasilje’

      ‘Da bi dobili veću plaću, njegovi miljenici tjeraju migrante iz BiH u Hrvatsku, kako bi ih zatim mogli deportirati’, tvrde naši sugovornici...

      Ovo je naš zapovjednik Andrej Hegediš, kaže jedan od četvorice pripadnika Interventne policije u Policijskoj upravi virovitičko-podravskoj, pokazujući na video-snimku Border Violence Monitoringa, nevladine organizacije koja se zalaže za zaštitu prava migranata. Na tajno snimljenom videu, vide se pripadnici hrvatske policije kako, prema tvrdnjama Border Violence Monitoringa, u šumi kraj Lohova, unutar teritorije Bosne i Hercegove, protjeruju skupinu migranata prema Bihaću.

      Ta snimka prikazana je na više televizija kao jedan od dokaza nehumanog postupanja hrvatske policije prema migrantima, zbog čega su na račun Zagreba stigla i ozbiljna upozorenje iz Bruxellesa. Hrvatski MUP odbacio je takve tvrdnje kao neutemeljene.
      Tvrdnje koje zvuče upravo nevjerojatno

      No, ono što su, vezano uz migrante, Telegramu ispričali pripadnici virovitičke Interventne policije koji su sudjelovali na osiguranju državne granice, zvuči upravo nevjerojatno: “Hrvatska je policija, tvrde naši sugovornici, u nekoliko navrata ulazila na teritorij susjedne BiH da bi odatle potjerala migrante u Hrvatsku, a onda ih deportirala!”

      Zašto bi to radili? Razlog je, kažu virovitički interventni policajci, više nego prozaičan: “boravak na terenu financijski je unosan. Na taj način mjesečno mogu zaraditi nekoliko tisuća kuna više, pa treba dokazati da se na granici nešto radi”, tvrde naši sugovornici. “Tako se migrante prvo iz BiH potjera u Hrvatsku, a zatim natrag. Deportiranje se, naravno, dokumentira video snimkama, kako bi se dokazala nužnost pojačanih policijskih ophodnju iz granicu”, dodaju.
      Iz MUP-a su potvrdili anonimnu predstavku

      Četvorica pripadnika interventne policije s kojima je Telegram razgovarao ovih dana, stoje iza predstavke upućene MUP-u u kojoj iznose brojne optužbe na račun Andreja Hegediša, zapovjednika virovitičke Interventne policije. Iz MUP-a su 3. rujna Telegramu potvrdili da su primili anonimnu predstavku.

      ”Potvrđujemo zaprimanje anonimnih podnesaka te Služba za unutarnju kontrolu u suradnji s policijskim službenicima Ravnateljstva policije i Policijske uprave, sukladno Zakonu o policiji i Pravilniku o načinu rada i postupanja po pritužbama te radu Povjerenstava za rad po pritužbama, provjerava njihovu utemeljenost”, stoji u odgovoru Telegramu.
      Šef policije se napio pa nasrnuo na kolegu

      ”Također vas obavještavamo kako je, nakon provjere navoda iz ranijeg podneska, načelnik Policijske uprave virovitičko-podravske pokrenuo disciplinski postupak pred Odjelom prvostupanjskog disciplinskog sudovanja Službe disciplinskog sudovanja u Osijeku zbog sumnje u počinjene teže povrede službene dužnosti iz čl. 96. stavak 1. točke 7. Zakona o policiji. Navedeni postupak je u tijeku”, napisali su iz MUP-a.

      Kad je riječ o potonjem, radi se o slučaju o kojem je prvi pisao Telegram i koji je do tada javnosti bio nepoznat. Naime, 20. prosinca prošle godine, na božićnom domjenku za čelne ljude Policijske uprave virovitičko-podravske, zapovjednik Interventne jedinice policije, Andrej Hegediš, fizički je nasrnuo na svog kolegu, načelnika Policijske postaje Pitomača, Renata Greguraša. Ali, načelnik virovitičke Policijske uprave, Siniša Knežević, koji je sve to vidio, disciplinski je postupak protiv Hegediša pokrenuo tek tri mjeseca nakon događaja.
      Odlasci u McDonald’s i zubaru u Zagreb

      Dvojica od četvorice Telegramovih sugovornika, bivših i aktivnih pripadnika Interventne policije, kažu da su također bili žrtve Hegediševih nasrtaja i pokušaja fizičkog napada. Neki od njih zbog toga su tražili premještaj. U predstavci koju je Telegram imao prilike vidjeti, navode se i druge pritužbe na njegov rad, a zbog čega je unutarnja kontrola MUP-a prošloga tjedna dva dana provela u Virovitici. No, kako neslužbeno doznajemo, njihov izvještaj ne bi trebao zabrinuti Hegediša. Štoviše, kaže jedan od naših izvora, sada se pokušava istražiti tko su autori anonimne predstavke.

      Jedna od optužbi na koju su se interventni policajci žalili odnosi se, kako tvrde, na zapovjednikovo korištenje službenog automobila u posve privatne svrhe, kao što je odlazak zubaru u Zagreb ili u restoran McDonald’s u Sisak. ”Ako postoji volja, lako je istražiti kako si je zapovjednik Interventne obračunavao prekovremeni rad i u vrijeme kada je već četiri sata bio u Mađarskoj, na privatnom putu prema zračnoj luci u Budimpešti. Treba samo pročešljati popis prekovremenih sati i usporediti to s vremenom kada je napustio granični prijelaz, pa će sve biti jasno. No, bojimo se da u policiji, zbog politike ‘ne talasaj’, za to nitko nema volje”, kažu sugovornici Telegrama iz interventne policije u Virovitici.

      ‘Natjerao me da ostavim ministra i vozim njega’

      Upravo je nevjerojatan podatak kojeg su nam iznijeli, kada je kažu, jedan njihov kolega, morao napustiti osiguranje štićene osobe i uputiti se u Slatinu, gdje zapovjednik Hegediš živi, da bi ga prevezao u bazu, u Viroviticu. Radilo se o osiguranju i obilasku kuće tadašnjeg potpredsjednika Vlade i ministra poljoprivrede, Tomislava Tolušića, kao i nekoliko zgrada u kojima bi znao odsjedati kada dolazi u Viroviticu. Hegediš se na to nije osvrtao, kažu Telegramovi sugovornici, već je policajcu naredio da prekine posao na osiguranju štićene osobe i preveze ga u Viroviticu.

      Detaljno su opisali i navodno samovolju svog zapovjednika Hegediša, zbog čega je nekoliko policajaca zatražilo premještaj. Nabrajaju imena svojih kolega koji su zbog mobinga napustili Interventnu policiju. ”Dok se njegovim poslušnicima i miljenicima sve tolerira, drugima se traži dlaka u jajetu i protiv njih se, i zbog najmanje sitnice, pokreću stegovni postupci”, kažu.
      ‘Miljenici mu pomagali u selidbi, usred radnog vremena’

      Opisuju slučaj, u kojem je nekoliko interventnih policajaca, u radnom vremenu, svom zapovjedniku pomagalo kada je iz jedne kuće selio u drugu. Akciju preseljenja, kažu, vodio je J. J.. No, naročito su ogorčeni na svog kolegu D. S., kojem je Hegediš, kažu, pomogao u zataškavanju obiteljskog nasilja i nedoličnog ponašanja, kada se na području između Kutjeva i Orahovice, u alkoholiziranom stanju, nasilnički ponašao prema supruzi, zaustavio automobil u šumi, ostavio je i otišao.

      Njegova supruga tada je, tvrde, zvala Operativno komunikacijski centar (OKC) u virovitičkoj Policijskoj upravi, prijavila slučaj obiteljskog nasilja, a postupak su proveli policajci iz Orahovice. No, slučaj je zataškan, tvrde sugovornici Telegrama, tako što je Hegediš zatražio da se u tom slučaju ne postupa. Sve, kažu, mogu potvrditi tada dežurni u OKC D. Č. i dežurni u jedinici u Virovitici M. V.. Imena svih osoba čije inicijale navodimo poznata su redakciji.

      ”Našem zapovjedniku unatoč svemu ništa se ne događa i bojimo se da ni dolazak unutarnje kontrole MUP-a neće ništa promijeniti”, kažu sugovornici Telegrama. Zatražili smo i komentar zapovjednika Hegediša, ali nije odgovorio na našu poruku. Kada je Telegram pisao o njegovu fizičkom nasrtaju na načelnika Policijske postaje u Pitomači, također ništa nije htio komentirati. Samo je rekao da kao policijski službenik ne smije javno istupati.

      https://www.telegram.hr/politika-kriminal/policajci-iz-virovitice-prijavljuju-sefa-ilegalno-tjera-migrante-tuce-se-pi

      #Andrej_Hegedis

      –—

      Commentaire reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 29.09.2020

      Telegram, on the other hand, published the testimony of intervention police officers in Virovitica, who identified their chief #Andrej_Hegediš as one of the police officers on a BVMN video about an illegal expulsion published in December 2018. They also claimed that refugees and other migrants were expelled from BiH to Croatia and back. The Ministry of the Interior confirmed to Telegram that it had received an anonymous complaint, and Virovitica police officers accused Hegediš of other violations of police powers, including violence against police officers.

    • Bosnie-Herzégovine : les migrants pris en #otages du mille-feuille institutionnel

      La complexité du système institutionnel bosnien ne joue pas en faveur des réfugiés. Le 30 septembre dernier, les autorités du canton d’#Una-Sava et celles de la municipalité de #Bihać ont pris la décision unilatérale d’évacuer le #camp de #Bira, à la grande surprise du ministère de la Sécurité intérieure. Depuis, tout le monde se refile la patate chaude : que faire de ces centaines de personnes qui dorment tous les soirs dans les rues ?
      Le ton monte entre les représentants du canton d’Una-Sava et ceux de l’État central de Bosnie-Herzégovine. « Ils vont devoir utiliser les infrastructures qui sont à leur disposition, dans leur intérêt et dans celui des habitants du canton d’Una-Sana », a sèchement expliqué Selmo Cikotić, le ministre de la Sécurité intérieur, qui réagissait aux propos de Mustafa Ružnić, le président du canton d’Una-Sana, et à ceux du maire de Bihać, Šuhret Fazlić. Ces derniers avaient déclaré qu’ils ne permettraient pas le retour des migrants à Bira, le centre d’hébergement de Bihać vidé par les autorités cantonales le 30 septembre dernier. Suite à l’intervention de la police, certains exilés avaient été laissés libres de se diriger vers la frontière croate, d’autres avaient été conduits dans le camp de #Lipa, situé à une trentaine de kilomètres de Bihać, et ceux qui voulaient revenir vers Sarajevo avaient été autorisés à acheter des tickets de bus pour la capitale. Le camp de Lipa étant déjà plein, les migrants avaient ensuite été laissés dans les rues, sans aucun abris.

      Selon Selmo Cikotić, différentes mesures ont été prises pour fermer définitivement les camps de Bira à Bihać et de #Miral à #Velika_Kladuša. Le ministre peine donc à comprendre le refus des élus locaux de ne pas autoriser le retour temporaire des migrants. « Le plan du ministère de la Sécurité intérieure était en accord avec les institutions internationales et les différentes structures bosniennes », assure-t-il. « Nous avions tout organisé en accord avec la présidence, avec les instances internationales, les lois bosniennes, le conseil municipal de Velika Kladuša, les autorités cantonales et les représentants de l’Union européenne (UE). Le volte-face des autorités cantonales est donc pour moi très surprenant. Le camp de Bira devait de toute façon être fermé d’ici trois à quatre semaines, sans porter préjudice aux migrants ni aux habitants du canton. Je ne comprends pas pourquoi le Premier ministre du canton et le maire de Bihać ont précipité les choses. »

      « Cela fait trois ans que la municipalité est abandonnée à son sort », s’emporte Šuhret Fazlić. « C’est terminé, aucun migrant ne reviendra à Bira et nous appliquerons cette décision par tous les moyens à notre disposition. Je ne fais pas comme s’il n’y avait pas de migrants dans notre région, je dis juste qu’il n’y en aura plus à Bira. Nous avons assuré à ces gens un toit dans le camp de Lipa ». Selon le maire de Bihać, ce centre n’est pas encore plein, mais « la crise de l’accueil des migrants a mis à jour absolument tout ce qui ne fonctionne pas au sein de l’État bosnien ».L’évacuation du camp de Bira a en tout cas provoqué de nombreuses réactions. L’ambassade des États-Unis en Bosnie-Herzégovine, l’Organisation Internationale des Migrations (OIM), les Nations-Unies et Amnesty International sont unanimes : le camp de Bira ne peut être laissé vide, tant que des migrants dorment dans les rues. Dans un communiqué daté du 1er octobre, l’UE a jugé « inacceptable » la décision du canton et de la mairie de Bihać de transférer par la force les migrants vers le camp de Lipa. « L’UE a sans cesse répété que Lipa ne pouvait être qu’une solution temporaire, pendant la pandémie de coronavirus, et que ce centre ne remplissait pas les conditions nécessaires à l’accueil de réfugiés et de migrants, en particulier avec l’arrivée de l’hiver. Jamais Lipa n’a été agréé comme un centre d’accueil », précise le communiqué. Selon Šuhret Fazlić, l’UE menace de sanctions pénales la mairie de Bihać et les autorités du canton d’#Una-Sava.

      Un problème financier ?

      Reste que les désaccords persistent entre les autorités locales et le ministère de la Sécurité intérieure, alors que tous sont sous pression pour trouver rapidement une solution. « Il faut aménager le camp de Lipa », souhaite Šuhret Fazlić. « L’électricité vient d’un groupe électrogène, il faudrait 200 000 euros pour que le camp soit raccordé au réseau. L’eau est puisée dans une source, et provient en partie de notre réseau. Il faudrait 140 000 euros pour avoir assez d’eau, les canalisations existent déjà. Avec un peu moins de 350 000, on pourrait donc assurer les approvisionnements en eau et en électricité. Je ne vois pas pourquoi cela ne serait pas faisable. »

      La municipalité a donné cinq hectares de terre pour construire le camp et a pris en charge, avec l’aide du canton, une partie des frais de fonctionnement, ce que l’UE avait demandé. L’argent de l’État bosnien se fait en revanche attendre, car le Conseil des ministres n’a toujours pris aucune décision en ce qui concerne la fermeture du camp de Bira et l’ouverture de celui de Lipa. Deux millions et demi d’euros prévus pour l’accueil des migrants n’ont donc pas pu être débloqués. Selmo Cikotić estime ainsi que le problème n’est pas financier mais politique.

      Reste que pour l’instant, pas un euro n’a été débloqué pour le financement du camp de Lipa. « La présidence avait décidé de verser 2,5 millions d’euros, mais le Conseil des ministres n’a toujours pas pris la décision d’agréer Lipa comme un centre d’accueil, ni celle de fermer Bira. Je ne sais même pas s’il existe un consensus sur ces questions », s’agace le maire de Bihać.

      La société privée Bira, propriétaire du hangar où ont séjourné les migrants, n’a pas répondu aux questions de Radio Slobodna Evropa sur leur éventuel retour. « Nous ne sommes pas en capacité de vous répondre car le président du conseil d’administration n’est actuellement pas en état d’assurer ses obligations professionnelles. Pour toute précision, adressez-vous à l’OIM », a-t-elle répondu. Le principal actionnaire de Bira a également refusé de fournir des précisions sur la durée du contrat de location du hangar.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-Herzegovine-migrants-otages-mille-feuille-institutionnel-b

      #Bihac #Velika_Kladusa

    • Croatian police accused of ’sickening’ assaults on migrants on Balkans trail

      Testimony from asylum seekers alleging brutal border pushbacks, including sexual abuse, adds to calls for EU to investigate

      People on the Balkans migrant trail have allegedly been whipped, robbed and, in one case, sexually abused by members of the Croatian police.

      The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has documented a series of brutal pushbacks on the Bosnia-Croatian border involving dozens of asylum seekers between 12 and 16 October.

      The Guardian has obtained photographs and medical reports that support the accounts, described by aid workers as “sickening” and “shocking”.

      “The testimonies collected from victims of pushbacks are horrifying,’’ said Charlotte Slente, DRC secretary general. “More than 75 persons in one week have all independently reported inhumane treatment, savage beatings and even sexual abuse.’’

      According to migrants’ accounts, the pushbacks occurred in Croatian territory over the border from Velika Kladuša in Bosnia, close to Šiljkovača – a tented forest settlement of around 700 refugees and migrants.

      “All of the persons interviewed by DRC bore visible injuries from beatings (bruises and cuts), as a result of alleged Croatian police violence,” reads the DRC report. “According to the statements provided by interviewed victims (with visible evidence of their injuries), pushbacks included brutal and extremely violent behaviour, degrading treatment, and theft and destruction of personal belongings.” One of the testimonies includes a report of serious sexual abuse.

      On 12 October, five Afghans, including two minors, crossed the Croatian border near the #Šturlić settlement. On the same day, near Novo Selo, an uniformed police officer stopped them and then called two more officers. One of the migrants ran, and the other four were detained at a police station. Two days later they were taken to court, where they say they were to “appear as witnesses in the case launched against the fifth member of the group – the one who escaped”, who had been accused of violent behaviour towards police.

      The asylum seekers told the DRC that the original officers then took them “to some unknown location, where they were put in a van in the charge of 10 armed people, dressed in black and with full face balaclavas, army boots and with flashlights on their foreheads”. Their money was taken, their belongings torched and they were ordered to strip to their underwear. The migrants allege that they were forced to lie face down on the ground.

      “One man in black was standing on the victim’s hands, preventing any movements,” reads the report. “Legs were also restrained. Once the person was hampered, the beating started. They were punched, kicked, whipped and beaten.” Medical reports confirm that migrants’ injuries are consistent with the use of a whip.

      One migrant, MK, says at this point he was sexually assaulted by a man using a branch.

      Mustafa Hodžić, a doctor in Velika Kladuša, examined the man. “The patient had wounds all over the back of his body, on his back and legs. I can confirm the signs of clear sexual violence … I have never seen anything like it. Even if it isn’t the first time as a doctor [that] I have seen signs of sexual violence on migrants, which, according the asylum seekers’ accounts, were perpetrated on Croatian territory by Croatian officials dressed in black uniforms.”

      One Pakistani migrant told of being intercepted with two others near Croatia’s Blata railway station. The police allegedly ordered them to strip naked before loading them into a van and taking them to a sort of garage, where five other migrants were waiting to be sent back to Bosnia. Awaiting their arrival were men dressed in black.

      “They started to beat us with batons, and the third one took his mobile phone and took a selfie with us without clothes,” the Pakistani man said. “The first four of us were on the ground, and we lay next to each other, naked and beaten, and the other four were ordered to lie on us, like when trees are stacked, so we lay motionless for 20 minutes. The last one was a minor. He was from the other group; I saw when the police officer ask him where he was from. He tried to say that he is a minor. He was beaten a lot, and when it was his turn to take off his clothes, he was beaten even more.”

      One man added: “A minor from the second group fainted after many blows. His friends took him in their arms, and one of the police officers ordered them to lay him down on the ground. Then they started hitting them with batons. Before the deportation, police told us: ‘We don’t care where you are from or if you will return to Bosnia or to your country, but you will not go to Croatia. Now you have all your arms and legs because we were careful how we hit you. Next time it will be worse’.’’

      Small groups of asylum seekers attempt to cross from Bosnia into Croatia nightly on the migrant trail into western Europe. The EU’s longest internal border, it is patrolled by police armed with truncheons, pistols and night vision goggles. Aid workers, doctors, border guards and UN officials have documented systematic abuse and violence perpetrated along the border stretch for several years.

      Last May, the Guardian documented a case of more than 30 migrants who were allegedly robbed and had their heads spray painted with red crosses by Croatian officers.

      The UNHCR has asked the Croatian government to set up an independent assessment of the border situation.

      The details of the latest pushback are in a report that the DRC has shared with the European commission, which has yet to investigate.

      ‘’The Croatian government and the European commission must act to put a stop to the systematic use of violence,” said Slente. ‘’Treating human beings like this, inflicting severe pain and causing unnecessary suffering, irrespective of their migratory status, cannot and should not be accepted by any European country, or by any EU institution. There is an urgent need to ensure that independent border monitoring mechanisms are in place to prevent these abuses.”

      Croatian police and the ministry of the interior have not responded to requests for comment.

      In June, the Guardian revealed EU officials were accused of an “outrageous cover-up” for withholding evidence of the Croatian government’s failure to supervise border forces. Internal emails showed Brussels officials were fearful of full disclosure of Croatia’s lack of commitment to a monitoring mechanism that EU ministers had agreed to fund.

      In January, a commission official warned a colleague that Croatia’s failure to use money earmarked two years ago for border police “will for sure be seen as a scandal”.

      The recent accusations come as the commission presented its final report on the grant, in which Croatia asserted that the co-financing project had “helped make the implementation of activities of border surveillance more conscientious and of higher quality, with emphasis on the respect of migrants’ rights guaranteed under international, European and national legislation”.

      Regarding allegations of abuse, Croatian authorities stated: “Every single [piece of] information and every single complaint was inspected in the process called internal control. We did not establish that the police officers committed any criminal or disciplinary offence in any of the cases.”

      Clare Daly, an Irish MEP, is among those who have raised concerns in Brussels. “The blood of these people, so horrifically mistreated on the Croatian border, is on the hands of the European commission. They have enabled this violation of fundamental rights by ignoring the facts presented to them by NGOs and MEPs that all was not well. They turned a blind eye time and again, and now these horrible events have occurred again, even worse than before.”

      She added: “The last time such behaviour occurred, the commission rewarded Croatia with an extra grant even bigger than the first one, and said they were happy with how the funds had been spent … when is someone going to be held accountable for these crimes against humanity?”

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/21/croatian-police-accused-of-sickening-assaults-on-migrants-on-balkans-tr

      –----

      See the report of Border Violence Monitoring Network (October 21) with photos and videos:
      Croatian authorities leading choreographed violence near #Cetingrad

      In the last fourteen days, BVMN-member No Name Kitchen have collected testimonies alluding to a spike in pushback violence in the Cetingrad area of the Croatian border with Bosnia-Herzegovina. The veracity of these testimonies is further supplemented with reports from local people and media outlets. The characteristics of this trend in violence have been complex and coordinated assaults by Croatian police, consisting of repetitive baton strikes, lashing and kicking. These tactics leave an indelible mark on returned transit groups, visible in the extensive bruising and lacerations across the legs, torso and upper body of people subject to such violence. First hand testimony of recent pushbacks are examined here, alongside pictures and videos from the HR/BiH border which reveal the deterioration in border violence seen in the last fortnight.


      https://www.borderviolence.eu/15983-2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6JnnUfpulA&feature=emb_logo

      #Novo_Selo #Sturlic

  • Cast away : the UK’s rushed charter flights to deport Channel crossers

    Warning: this document contains accounts of violence, attempted suicides and self harm.

    The British government has vowed to clamp down on migrants crossing the Channel in small boats, responding as ever to a tabloid media panic. One part of its strategy is a new wave of mass deportations: charter flights, specifically targeting channel-crossers, to France, Germany and Spain.

    There have been two flights so far, on the 12 and 26 August. The next one is planned for 3 September. The two recent flights stopped in both Germany (Duesseldorf) and France (Toulouse on the 12, Clermont-Ferrand on the 26). Another flight was planned to Spain on 27 August – but this was cancelled after lawyers managed to get everyone off the flight.

    Carried out in a rush by a panicked Home Office, these mass deportations have been particularly brutal, and may have involved serious legal irregularities. This report summarises what we know so far after talking to a number of the people deported and from other sources. It covers:

    The context: Calais boat crossings and the UK-France deal to stop them.

    In the UK: Yarl’s Wood repurposed as Channel-crosser processing centre; Britannia Hotels; Brook House detention centre as brutal as ever.

    The flights: detailed timeline of the 26 August charter to Dusseldorf and Clermont-Ferrand.

    Who’s on the flight: refugees including underage minors and torture survivors.

    Dumped on arrival: people arriving in Germany and France given no opportunity to claim asylum, served with immediate expulsion papers.

    The legalities: use of the Dublin III regulation to evade responsibility for refugees.

    Is it illegal?: rushed process leads to numerous irregularities.

    “that night, eight people cut themselves”

    “That night before the flight (25 August), when we were locked in our rooms and I heard that I had lost my appeal, I was desperate. I started to cut myself. I wasn’t the only one. Eight people self-harmed or tried to kill themselves rather than be taken on that plane. One guy threw a kettle of boiling water on himself. One man tried to hang himself with the cable of the TV in his room. Three of us were taken to hospital, but sent back to the detention centre after a few hours. The other five they just took to healthcare [the clinic in Brook House] and bandaged up. About 5 in the morning they came to my room, guards with riot shields. On the way to the van, they led me through a kind of corridor which was full of people – guards, managers, officials from the Home Office. They all watched while a doctor examined me, then the doctor said – ‘yes, he’s fit to fly’. On the plane later I saw one guy hurt really badly, fresh blood on his head and on his clothes. He hadn’t just tried to stop the ticket, he really wanted to kill himself. He was taken to Germany.”

    Testimony of a deported person.

    The context: boats and deals

    Since the 1990s, tens of thousands of people fleeing war, repression and poverty have crossed the “short straits” between Calais and Dover. Until 2018, people without papers attempting to cross the Channel did so mainly by getting into lorries or on trains through the Channel Tunnel. Security systems around the lorry parks, tunnel and highway were escalated massively following the eviction of the big Jungle in 2016. This forced people into seeking other, ever more dangerous, routes – including crossing one of the world’s busiest waterways in small boats. Around 300 people took this route in 2018, a further 2000 in 2019 – and reportedly more than 5,000 people already by August 2020.

    These crossings have been seized on by the UK media in their latest fit of xenophobic scaremongering. The pattern is all too familiar since the Sangatte camp of 1999: right-wing media outlets (most infamously the Daily Mail, but also others) push-out stories about dangerous “illegals” swarming across the Channel; the British government responds with clampdown promises.

    Further stoked by Brexit, recent measures have included:

    Home Secretary Priti Patel announcing a new “Fairer Borders” asylum and immigration law that she promises will “send the left into meltdown”.

    A formal request from the Home Office to the Royal Navy to assist in turning back migrants crossing by boat (although this would be illegal).

    Negotiations with the French government, leading to the announcement on 13 August of a “joint operational plan” aimed at “completely cutting this route.”

    The appointment of a “Clandestine Channel Threat Commander” to oversee operations on both sides of the Channel.

    The concrete measures are still emerging, but notable developments so far include:

    Further UK payments to France to increase security – reportedly France demanded £30 million.

    French warships from the Naval base at Cherbourg patrolling off the coast of Calais and Dunkirk.

    UK Border Force Cutters and Coastal Patrol Vessels patrolling the British side, supported by flights from Royal Air Force surveillance planes.

    The new charter flight deportation programme — reportedly named “Operation Sillath” by the Home Office.

    For the moment, at least, the governments are respecting their minimal legal obligations to protect life at sea. And there has not been evidence of illegal “push backs” or “pull backs”: where the British “push” or the French “pull” boats back across the border line by force. When these boats are intercepted in French waters the travellers are taken back to France. If they make it into UK waters, Border Force pick them up and disembark them at Dover. They are then able to claim asylum in the UK.

    There is no legal difference in claiming asylum after arriving by boat, on a plane, or any other way. However, these small boat crossers have been singled out by the government to be processed in a special way seemingly designed to deny them the right to asylum in the UK.

    Once people are safely on shore the second part of Priti Patel’s strategy to make this route unviable kicks in: systematically obstruct their asylum claims and, where possible, deport them to France or other European countries. In practice, there is no way the Home Office can deport everyone who makes it across. Rather, as with the vast majority of immigration policy, the aim is to display toughness with a spectacle of enforcement – not only in an attempt to deter other arrivals, but perhaps, above all else, to play to key media audiences.

    This is where the new wave of charter flights come in. Deportations require cooperation from the destination country, and the first flight took place on 12 August in the midst of the Franco-British negotiations. Most recently, the flights have fed a new media spectacle in the UK: the Home Office attacking “activist lawyers” for doing their job and challenging major legal flaws in these rushed removals.

    The Home Office has tried to present these deportation flights as a strong immediate response to the Channel crossings. The message is: if you make it across, you’ll be back again within days. Again, this is more spectacle than reality. All the people we know of on the flights were in the UK for several months before being deported.

    In the UK: Yarl’s Wood repurposed

    Once on shore people are taken to one of two places: either the Kent Intake Unit, which is a Home Office holding facility (i.e., a small prefab cell complex) in the Eastern Docks of Dover Port; or the Dover police station. This police stations seems increasingly to be the main location, as the small “intake unit” is often at capacity. There used to be a detention centre in Dover where new arrivals were held, notorious for its run-down state, but this was closed in October 2015.

    People are typically held in the police station for no more than a day. The next destination is usually Yarl’s Wood, the Bedfordshire detention centre run by Serco. This was, until recently, a longer term detention centre holding mainly women. However, on 18 August the Home Office announced Yarl’s Wood been repurposed as a “Short Term Holding Facility” (SHTF) specifically to process people who have crossed the Channel. People stay usually just a few days – the legal maximum stay for a “short term” facility is seven days.

    Yarl’s Wood has a normal capacity of 410 prisoners. According to sources at Yarl’s Wood:

    “last week it was almost full with over 350 people detained. A few days later this number
    had fallen to 150, showing how quickly people are moving through the centre. As of Tuesday 25th of August there was no one in the centre at all! It seems likely that numbers will fluctuate in line with Channel crossings.”

    The same source adds:

    “There is a concern about access to legal aid in Yarl’s Wood. Short Term Holding Facility regulations do not require legal advice to be available on site (in Manchester, for example, there are no duty lawyers). Apparently the rota for duty lawyers is continuing at Yarl’s Wood for the time being. But the speed with which people are being processed now means that it is practically impossible to sign up and get a meeting with the duty solicitor before being moved out.”

    The Home Office conducts people’s initial asylum screening interviews whilst they are at Yarl’s Wood. Sometimes these are done in person, or sometimes by phone.

    This is a crucial point, as this first interview decides many people’s chance of claiming asylum in the UK. The Home Office uses information from this interview to deport the Channel crossers to France and Germany under the Dublin III regulation. This is EU legislation which allows governments to pass on responsibility for assessing someone’s asylum claim to another state. That is: the UK doesn’t even begin to look at people’s asylum cases.

    From what we have seen, many of these Dublin III assessments were made in a rushed and irregular way. They often used only weak circumstantial evidence. Few people had any chance to access legal advice, or even interpreters to explain the process.

    We discuss Dublin III and these issues below in the Legal Framework section.
    In the UK: Britain’s worst hotels

    From Yarl’s Wood, people we spoke to were given immigration bail and sent to asylum accommodation. In the first instance this currently means a cheap hotel. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Home Office ordered its asylum contractors (Mears, Serco) to shut their usual initial asylum accommodation and move people into hotels. It is not clear why this decision was made, as numerous accounts suggest the hotels are much worse as possible COVID incubators. The results of this policy have already proved fatal – we refer to the death of Adnan Olbeh in a Glasgow hotel in April.

    Perhaps the government is trying to prop up chains such as Britannia Hotels, judged for seven years running “Britain’s worst hotel chain” by consumer magazine Which?. Several people on the flights were kept in Britannia hotels. The company’s main owner, multi-millionaire Alex Langsam, was dubbed the “asylum king” by British media after winning previous asylum contracts with his slum housing sideline.

    Some of the deportees we spoke to stayed in hotel accommodation for several weeks before being moved into normal “asylum dispersal” accommodation – shared houses in the cheapest parts of cities far from London. Others were picked up for deportation directly from the hotels.

    In both cases, the usual procedure is a morning raid: Immigration Enforcement squads grab people from their beds around dawn. As people are in collaborating hotels or assigned houses, they are easy to find and arrest when next on the list for deportation.

    After arrest, people were taken to the main detention centres near Heathrow (Colnbrook and Harmondsworth) or Gatwick (particularly Brook House). Some stopped first at a police station or Short Term Holding Facility for some hours or days.

    All the people we spoke to eventually ended up in Brook House, one of the two Gatwick centres.
    “they came with the shields”

    “One night in Brook House, after someone cut himself, they locked everyone in. One man panicked and started shouting asking the guards please open the door. But he didn’t speak much English, he was shouting in Arabic. He said – ‘if you don’t open the door I will boil water in my kettle and throw it on my face.’ But they didn’t understand him, they thought he was threatening them, saying he would throw it at them. So they came with the shields, took him out of his room and put him into a solitary cell. When they put him in there they kicked him and beat him, they said ‘don’t threaten us again’.” Testimony of a deported person.

    Brook House

    Brook House remains notorious, after exposure by a whistleblower of routine brutality and humiliation by guards then working for G4S. The contract has since been taken over by Mitie’s prison division – branded as “Care and Custody, a Mitie company”. Presumably, many of the same guards simply transferred over.

    In any case, according to what we heard from the deported people, nothing much has changed in Brook House – viciousness and violence from guards remains the norm. The stories included here give just a few examples. See recent detainee testimonies on the Detained Voices blog for much more.
    “they only care that you don’t die in front of them”

    “I was in my room in Brook House on my own for 12 days, I couldn’t eat or drink, just kept thinking, thinking about my situation. I called for the doctors maybe ten times. They did come a couple of times, they took my blood, but they didn’t do anything else. They don’t care about your health or your mental health. They are just scared you will die there. They don’t care what happens to you just so long as you don’t die in front of their eyes. It doesn’t matter if you die somewhere else.” Testimony of a deported person.
    Preparing the flights

    The Home Office issues papers called “Removal Directions” (RDs) to those they intend to deport. These specify the destination and day of the flight. People already in detention should be given at least 72 hours notice, including two working days, which allows them to make final appeals.

    See the Right to Remain toolkit for detailed information on notice periods and appeal procedures.

    All UK deportation flights, both tickets on normal scheduled flights and chartered planes, are booked by a private contractor called Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT). The main airline used by the Home Office for charter flights is a charter company called Titan Airways.

    See this 2018 Corporate Watch report for detailed information on charter flight procedures and the companies involved. And this 2020 update on deportations overall.

    On the 12 August flight, legal challenges managed to get 19 people with Removal Directions off the plane. However, the Home Office then substituted 14 different people who were on a “reserve list”. Lawyers suspect that these 14 people did not have sufficient access to legal representation before their flight which is why they were able to be removed.

    Of the 19 people whose lawyers successfully challenged their attempted deportation, 12 would be deported on the next charter flight on 26 August. 6 were flown to Dusseldorf in Germany, and 6 to Clermont-Ferrand in France.

    Another flight was scheduled for the 27 August to Spain. However, lawyers managed to get everyone taken off, and the Home Office cancelled the flight. A Whitehall source was quoted as saying “there was 100% legal attrition rate on the flight due to unprecedented and organised casework barriers sprung on the government by three law firms.” It is suspected that the Home Office will continue their efforts to deport these people on future charter flights.

    Who was deported?

    All the people on the flights were refugees who had claimed asylum in the UK immediately on arrival at Dover. While the tabloids paint deportation flights as carrying “dangerous criminals”, none of these people had any criminal charges.

    They come from countries including Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan and Kuwait. (Ten further Yemenis were due to be on the failed flight to Spain. In June, the UK government said it will resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia to use in the bombardment of the country that has cost tens of thousands of lives).

    All have well-founded fears of persecution in their countries of origin, where there have been extensive and well-documented human rights abuses. At least some of the deportees are survivors of torture – and have been documented as such in the Home Office’s own assessments.

    One was a minor under 18 who was age assessed by the Home Office as 25 – despite them being in possession of his passport proving his real age. Unaccompanied minors should not legally be processed under the Dublin III regulation, let alone held in detention and deported.

    Many, if not all, have friends and families in the UK.

    No one had their asylum case assessed – all were removed under the Dublin III procedure (see Legal Framework section below).

    Timeline of the flight on 26 August

    Night of 25 August: Eight people due to be on the flight self-harm or attempt suicide. Others have been on hunger strike for more than a week already. Three are taken to hospital where they are hastily treated before being discharged so they can still be placed on the flight. Another five are simply bandaged up in Brook House’s healthcare facility. (See testimony above.)

    26 August, 4am onwards: Guards come to take deportees from their rooms in Brook House. There are numerous testimonies of violence: three or four guards enter rooms with shields, helmets, and riot gear and beat up prisoners if they show any resistance.

    4am onwards: The injured prisoners are taken by guards to be inspected by a doctor, in a corridor in front of officials, and are certified as “fit to fly”.

    5am onwards: Prisoners are taken one by one to waiting vans. Each is placed in a separate van with four guards. Vans are labelled with the Mitie “Care and Custody” logo. Prisoners are then kept sitting in the vans until everyone is loaded, which takes one to two hours.

    6am onwards: Vans drive from Brook House (near Gatwick Airport) to Stansted Airport. They enter straight into the airport charter flight area. Deportees are taken one by one from the vans and onto Titan’s waiting plane. It is an anonymous looking white Airbus A321-211 without the company’s livery, with the registration G-POWU. They are escorted up the steps with a guard on each side.

    On the plane there are four guards to each person: one seated on each side, one in the seat in front and one behind. Deportees are secured with restraint belts around their waists, so that their arms are handcuffed to the belts on each side. Besides the 12 deportees and 48 guards there are Home Office officials, Mitie managers, and two paramedics on the plane.

    7.48AM (BST): The Titan Airways plane (using flight number ZT311) departs Stansted airport.

    9.44AM (CEST): The flight lands in Dusseldorf. Six people are taken off the plane and are handed over to the German authorities.

    10.46AM (CEST): Titan’s Airbus takes off from Dusseldorf bound for Clermont-Ferrand, France with the remaining deportees.

    11.59AM (CEST): The Titan Airways plane (now with flight number ZT312) touches down at Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport and the remaining six deportees are disembarked from the plane and taken into the custody of the Police Aux Frontières (PAF, French border police).

    12:46PM (CEST): The plane leaves Clermont-Ferrand to return to the UK. It first lands in Gatwick, probably so the escorts and other officials get off, before continuing on to Stansted where the pilots finish their day.

    Dumped on arrival: Germany

    What happened to most of the deportees in Germany is not known, although it appears there was no comprehensive intake procedure by the German police. One deportee told us German police on arrival in Dusseldorf gave him a train ticket and told him to go to the asylum office in Berlin. When he arrived there, he was told to go back to his country. He told them he could not and that he had no money to stay in Berlin or travel to another country. The asylum office told him he could sleep on the streets of Berlin.

    Only one man appears to have been arrested on arrival. This was the person who had attempted suicide the night before, cutting his head and neck with razors, and had been bleeding throughout the flight.
    Dumped on arrival: France

    The deportees were taken to Clermont-Ferrand, a city in the middle of France, hundreds of kilometres away from metropolitan centres. Upon arrival they were subjected to a COVID nose swab test and then held by the PAF while French authorities decided their fate.

    Two were released around an hour and a half later with appointments to claim asylum in around one week’s time – in regional Prefectures far from Clermont-Ferrand. They were not offered any accommodation, further legal information, or means to travel to their appointments.

    The next person was released about another hour and a half after them. He was not given an appointment to claim asylum, but just provided with a hotel room for four nights.

    Throughout the rest of the day the three other detainees were taken from the airport to the police station to be fingerprinted. Beginning at 6PM these three began to be freed. The last one was released seven hours after the deportation flight landed. The police had been waiting for the Prefecture to decide whether or not to transfer them to the detention centre (Centre de Rétention Administrative – CRA). We don’t know if a factor in this was that the nearest detention centre, at Lyon, was full up.

    However, these people were not simply set free. They were given expulsion papers ordering them to leave France (OQTF: Obligation de quitter le territoire français), and banning them from returning (IRTF: Interdiction de retour sur le territoire français). These papers allowed them only 48 hours to appeal. The British government has said that people deported on flights to France have the opportunity to claim asylum in France. This is clearly not true.

    In a further bureaucratic contradiction, alongside expulsion papers people were also given orders that they must report to the Clermont-Ferrand police station every day at 10:00AM for the next 45 days (potentially to be arrested and detained at any point). They were told that if they failed to report, the police would consider them on the run.

    The Prefecture also reserved a place in a hotel many kilometres away from the airport for them for four nights, but not any further information or ways to receive food. They were also not provided any way to get to this hotel, and the police would not help them – stating that their duty finished once they gave the deportees their papers.

    “After giving me the expulsion papers the French policeman said ‘Now you can go to England.’” (Testimony of deported person)

    The PAF showed a general disregard for the health and well-being of the deportees who were in the custody throughout the day. One of the deportees had been in a wheel-chair throughout the day and was unable to walk due to the deep lacerations on his feet from self-harming. He was never taken to the hospital, despite the doctor’s recommendation, neither during the custody period nor after his release. In fact, the only reason for the doctor’s visit in the first place was to assess whether he was fit to be detained should the Prefecture decide that. The police kept him in his bloody clothes all day, and when they released him he did not have shoes and could barely walk. No crutches were given, nor did the police offer to help him get to the hotel. He was put out on the street having to carry all of his possessions in a Home Office issue plastic bag.
    “the hardest night of my life”

    “It was the hardest night of my life. My heart break was so great that I seriously thought of suicide. I put the razor in my mouth to swallow it; I saw my whole life pass quickly until the first hours of dawn. The treatment in detention was very bad, humiliating and degrading. I despised myself and felt that my life was destroyed, but it was too precious to lose it easily. I took the razor out from my mouth before I was taken out of the room, where four large-bodied people, wearing armour similar to riot police and carrying protective shields, violently took me to the large hall at the ground floor of the detention centre. I was exhausted, as I had been on hunger strike for several days. In a room next to me, one of the deportees tried to resist and was beaten so severely that blood dripping from his nose. In the big hall, they searched me carefully and took me to a car like a dangerous criminal, two people on my right and left, they drove for about two hours to the airport, there was a big passenger plane on the runway. […] That moment, I saw my dreams, my hopes, shattered in front of me when I entered the plane.”

    Testimony of deported person (from Detained Voices: https://detainedvoices.com/2020/08/27/brook-house-protestor-on-his-deportation-it-was-the-hardest-night-of).

    The Legal Framework: Dublin III

    These deportations are taking place under the Dublin III regulation. This is EU law that determines which European country is responsible for assessing a refugee’s asylum claim. The decision involves a number of criteria, the primary ones being ‘family unity’ and the best interests of children. Another criterion, in the case of people crossing borders without papers, is which country they first entered ‘irregularly’. In the law, this is supposed to be less important than family ties – but it is the most commonly used ground by governments seeking to pass on asylum applicants to other states. All the people we know of on these flights were “Dublined” because the UK claimed they had previously been in France, Germany or Spain.

    (See: House of Commons intro briefing; Right to Remain toolkit section:
    https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/what-is-the-dublin-iii-regulation-will-it-be-affected-by-b
    https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/dublin)

    By invoking the Dublin regulation, the UK evades actually assessing people’s asylum cases. These people were not deported because their asylum claims failed – their cases were simply never considered. The decision to apply Dublin III is made after the initial screening interview (now taking place in Yarl’s Wood). As we saw above, very few people are able to access any legal advice before these interviews are conducted and sometimes they are carried out by telephone or without adequate translation.

    Under Dublin III the UK must make a formal request to the other government it believes is responsible for considering the asylum claim to take the person back, and present evidence as to why that government should accept responsibility. Typically, the evidence provided is the record of the person’s fingerprints registered by another country on the Europe-wide EURODAC database.

    However, in the recent deportation cases the Home Office has not always provided fingerprints but instead relied on weak circumstantial evidence. Some countries have refused this evidence, but others have accepted – notably France.

    There seems to be a pattern in the cases so far where France is accepting Dublin III returns even when other countries have refused. The suspicion is that the French government may have been incentivised to accept ‘take-back’ requests based on very flimsy evidence as part of the recent Franco-British Channel crossing negotiations (France reportedly requested £30m to help Britain make the route ‘unviable’).

    In theory, accepting a Dublin III request means that France (or another country) has taken responsibility to process someone’s asylum claim. In practice, most of the people who arrived at Clermont-Ferrand on 26 August were not given any opportunity to claim asylum – instead they were issued with expulsion papers ordering them to leave France and Europe. They were also only given 48 hours to appeal these expulsions orders without any further legal information; a near impossibility for someone who has just endured a forceful expulsion and may require urgent medical treatment.

    Due to Brexit, the United Kingdom will no longer participate in Dublin III from 31 December 2020. While there are non-EU signatories to the agreement like Switzerland and Norway, it is unclear what arrangements the UK will have after that (as with basically everything else about Brexit). If there is no overall deal, the UK will have to negotiate numerous bilateral agreements with European countries. This pattern of expedited expulsion without a proper screening process established with France could be a taste of things to come.

    Conclusion: rushed – and illegal?

    Charter flight deportations are one of the most obviously brutal tools used by the UK Border Regime. They involve the use of soul-crushing violence by the Home Office and its contractors (Mitie, Titan Airways, Britannia Hotels, and all) against people who have already lived through histories of trauma.

    For these recent deportations of Channel crossers the process seems particularly rushed. People who have risked their lives in the Channel are scooped into a machine designed to deny their asylum rights and expel them ASAP – for the sake of a quick reaction to the latest media panic. New procedures appear to have been introduced off the cuff by Home Office officials and in under-the-table deals with French counterparts.

    As a result of this rush-job, there seem to be numerous irregularities in the process. Some have been already flagged up in the successful legal challenges to the Spanish flight on 27 August. The detention and deportation of boat-crossers may well be largely illegal, and is open to being challenged further on both sides of the Channel.

    Here we recap a few particular issues:

    The highly politicised nature of the expulsion process for small boat crossers means they are being denied access to a fair asylum procedure by the Home Office.

    The deportees include people who are victims of torture and of trafficking, as well as under-aged minors.

    People are being detained, rushed through screening interviews, and “Dublined” without access to legal advice and necessary information.

    In order to avoid considering asylum requests, Britain is applying Dublin III often just using flimsy circumstantial evidence – and France is accepting these requests, perhaps as a result of recent negotiations and financial arrangements.

    Many deportees have family ties in the UK – but the primary Dublin III criterion of ‘family unity’ is ignored.

    In accepting Dublin III requests France is taking legal responsibility for people’s asylum claims. But in fact it has denied people the chance to claim asylum, instead immediately issuing expulsion papers.

    These expulsion papers (‘Order to quit France’ and ‘Ban from returning to France’ or ‘OQTF’ and ‘IRTF’) are issued with only 48 hour appeal windows. This is completely inadequate to ensure a fair procedure – even more so for traumatised people who have just endured detention and deportation, then been dumped in the middle of nowhere in a country where they have no contacts and do not speak the language.

    This completely invalidates the Home Office’s argument that the people it deports will be able to access a fair asylum procedure in France.

    https://corporatewatch.org/cast-away-the-uks-rushed-charter-flights-to-deport-channel-crossers

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UK #Angleterre #Dublin #expulsions #renvois #Royaume_Uni #vols #charter #France #Allemagne #Espagne #Home_Office #accord #témoignage #violence #Brexit #Priti_Patel #Royal_Navy #plan_opérationnel_conjoint #Manche #Commandant_de_la_menace_clandestine_dans_la_Manche #Cherbourg #militarisation_des_frontières #frontières #Calais #Dunkerque #navires #Border_Force_Cutters #avions_de_surveillance #Royal_Air_Force #Opération_Sillath #refoulements #push-backs #Douvres #Kent_Intake_Unit #Yarl’s_Wood #Bedfordshire #Serco #Short_Term_Holding_Facility (#SHTF) #hôtel #Mears #hôtels_Britannia #Alex_Langsam #Immigration_Enforcement_squads #Heathrow #Colnbrook #Harmondsworth #Gatwick #aéroport #Brook_Hous #G4S #Removal_Directions #Carlson_Wagonlit_Travel (#CWT) #privatisation #compagnies_aériennes #Titan_Airways #Clermont-Ferrand #Düsseldorf

    @karine4 —> il y a une section dédiée à l’arrivée des vols charter en France (à Clermont-Ferrand plus précisément) :
    Larguées à destination : la France

    ping @isskein

    • Traduction française :

      S’en débarrasser : le Royaume Uni se précipite pour expulser par vols charters les personnes qui traversent la Manche

      Attention : ce document contient des récits de violence, tentatives de suicide et automutilation.

      Le Royaume Uni s’attache à particulièrement réprimer les migrants traversant la Manche dans de petites embarcations, répondant comme toujours à la panique propagée par les tabloïds britanniques. Une partie de sa stratégie consiste en une nouvelle vague d’expulsions massives : des vols charters, ciblant spécifiquement les personnes traversant la Manche, vers la France, l’Allemagne et l’Espagne.

      Deux vols ont eu lieu jusqu’à présent, les 12 et 26 août. Le prochain est prévu pour le 3 septembre. Les deux vols récents ont fait escale à la fois en Allemagne (Düsseldorf) et en France (Toulouse le 12, Clermont-Ferrand le 26). Un autre vol était prévu pour l’Espagne le 27 août – mais il a été annulé après que les avocat-es aient réussi à faire descendre tout le monde de l’avion.

      Menées à la hâte par un Home Office en panique, ces déportations massives ont été particulièrement brutales, et ont pu impliquer de graves irrégularités juridiques. Ce rapport résume ce que nous savons jusqu’à présent après avoir parlé à un certain nombre de personnes expulsées et à d’autres sources. Il couvre :

      Le contexte : Les traversées en bateau de Calais et l’accord entre le Royaume-Uni et la France pour les faire cesser.
      Au Royaume-Uni : Yarl’s Wood reconverti en centre de traitement de personnes traversant la Manche ; Britannia Hotels ; le centre de détention de Brook House, toujours aussi brutal.
      Les vols : Calendrier détaillé du charter du 26 août vers Düsseldorf et Clermont-Ferrand.
      Qui est à bord du vol : Les personnes réfugiées, y compris des mineurs et des personnes torturées.
      Délaissé à l’arrivée : Les personnes arrivant en Allemagne et en France qui n’ont pas la possibilité de demander l’asile se voient délivrer immédiatement des documents d’expulsion.
      Les questions juridiques : Utilisation du règlement Dublin III pour se soustraire de la responsabilité à l’égard des réfugiés.
      Est-ce illégal ? : la précipitation du processus entraîne de nombreuses irrégularités.

      “cette nuit-là, huit personnes se sont automutilées”

      Cette nuit-là avant le vol (25 août), lorsque nous étions enfermés dans nos chambres et que j’ai appris que j’avais perdu en appel, j’étais désespéré. J’ai commencé à me mutiler. Je n’étais pas le seule. Huit personnes se sont automutilées ou ont tenté de se suicider plutôt que d’être emmenées dans cet avion. Un homme s’est jeté une bouilloire d’eau bouillante sur lui-même. Un homme a essayé de se pendre avec le câble de télé dans sa chambre. Trois d’entre nous ont été emmenés à l’hôpital, mais renvoyés au centre de détention après quelques heures. Les cinq autres ont été emmenés à l’infirmerie de Brook House où on leur a mis des pansements. Vers 5 heures du matin, ils sont venus dans ma chambre, des gardes avec des boucliers anti-émeutes. Sur le chemin pour aller au van, ils m’ont fait traverser une sorte de couloir rempli de gens – gardes, directeurs, fonctionnaires du Home Office. Ils ont tous regardé pendant qu’un médecin m’examinait, puis le médecin a dit : “oui, il est apte à voler”. Dans l’avion, plus tard, j’ai vu un homme très gravement blessé, du sang dégoulinant de sa tête et sur ses vêtements. Il n’avait pas seulement essayé d’arrêter le vol, il voulait vraiment se tuer. Il a été emmené en Allemagne.

      Témoignage d’une personne déportée.

      Le contexte : les bateaux et les accords

      Depuis les années 1990, des dizaines de milliers de personnes fuyant la guerre, la répression et la pauvreté ont franchi le “court détroit” entre Calais et Dover. Jusqu’en 2018, les personnes sans papiers qui tentaient de traverser la Manche le faisaient principalement en montant dans des camions ou des trains passant par le tunnel sous la Manche. Les systèmes de sécurité autour des parkings de camions, du tunnel et de l’autoroute ont été massivement renforcés après l’expulsion de la grande jungle en 2016. Cela a obligé les gens à chercher d’autres itinéraires, toujours plus dangereux, y compris en traversant l’une des voies navigables les plus fréquentées du monde à bord de petits bateaux. Environ 300 personnes ont emprunté cet itinéraire en 2018, 2000 autres en 2019 – et, selon les rapports, plus de 5000 personnes entre janvier et août 2020.

      Ces passages ont été relayés par les médias britanniques lors de leur dernière vague de publications xénophobiques et alarmistes. Le schéma n’est que trop familier depuis le camp Sangatte en 1999 : les médias de droite (le plus célèbre étant le Daily Mail, mais aussi d’autres) diffusent des articles abusifs sur les dangereux “illégaux” qui déferleraient à travers la Manche ; et le gouvernement britannique répond par des promesses de répression.

      Renforcé par le Brexit, les mesures et annonces récentes comprennent :

      Le ministre de l’intérieur, Priti Patel, annonce une nouvelle loi sur l’asile et l’immigration “plus juste” qui, promet-elle, “fera s’effondrer la gauche”.
      Une demande officielle du Home Office à la Royal Navy pour aider à refouler les migrants qui traversent par bateau (bien que cela soit illégal).
      Négociations avec le gouvernement français, qui ont abouti à l’annonce le 13 août d’un “plan opérationnel conjoint” visant “ à couper complètement cette route”.
      La nomination d’un “Commandant de la menace clandestine dans la Manche” pour superviser les opérations des deux côtés de la Manche.

      Les mesures concrètes se font encore attendre, mais les évolutions notables jusqu’à présent sont les suivantes :

      D’autres paiements du Royaume-Uni à la France pour accroître la sécurité – la France aurait demandé 30 millions de livres sterling.
      Des navires de guerre français de la base navale de Cherbourg patrouillant au large des côtes de Calais et de Dunkerque.
      Des Border Force Cutters (navires) et les patrouilleurs côtiers britanniques patrouillant du côté anglais soutenus par des avions de surveillance de la Royal Air Force.
      Le nouveau programme d’expulsion par vol charter – qui aurait été baptisé “Opération Sillath” par le ministère de l’intérieur.

      Pour l’instant, du moins, les gouvernements respectent leurs obligations légales minimales en matière de protection de la vie en mer. Et il n’y a pas eu de preuves de “push backs” (refoulement) ou de “pull backs” illégaux : où, de force, soit des bateaux britanniques “poussent”, soit des bateaux français “tirent” des bateaux vers l’un ou l’autre côté de la frontière. Lorsque ces bateaux sont interceptés dans les eaux françaises, les voyageurs sont ramenés en France. S’ils parviennent à entrer dans les eaux britanniques, la police aux frontières britannique les récupère et les débarque à Douvres. Ils peuvent alors demander l’asile au Royaume-Uni.

      Il n’y a pas de différence juridique entre demander l’asile après être arrivé par bateau, par avion ou de toute autre manière. Cependant, ces personnes traversant par petits bateaux ont été ciblées par le gouvernement pour être traitées d’une manière spéciale, semble-t-il conçue pour leur refuser le droit d’asile au Royaume-Uni.

      Une fois que les personnes sont à terre et en sécurité, le deuxième volet de la stratégie de Priti Patel visant à rendre cette voie non viable entre en jeu : systématiquement faire obstacle à leur demande d’asile et, si possible, les expulser vers la France ou d’autres pays européens. En pratique, il est impossible pour le Home Office d’expulser toutes les personnes qui réussissent à traverser. Il s’agit plutôt, comme dans la grande majorité des politiques d’immigration, de faire preuve de fermeté avec un spectacle de mise en vigueur – non seulement pour tenter de dissuader d’autres arrivant-es, mais peut-être surtout pour se mettre en scène devant les principaux médias.

      C’est là qu’intervient la nouvelle vague de vols charter. Les expulsions nécessitent la coopération du pays de destination, et le premier vol a eu lieu le 12 août en plein milieu des négociations franco-britanniques. Plus récemment, ces vols ont alimenté un nouveau spectacle médiatique au Royaume-Uni : le Home Office s’en prend aux “avocats militants” qui font leur travail en contestant les principales failles juridiques de ces renvois précipités.

      Le Home Office a tenté de présenter ces vols d’expulsion comme une réponse immédiate et forte aux traversées de la Manche. Le message est le suivant : si vous traversez la Manche, vous serez de retour dans les jours qui suivent. Là encore, il s’agit plus de spectacle que de réalité. Toutes les personnes que nous connaissons sur ces vols étaient au Royaume-Uni plusieurs mois avant d’être expulsées.

      Au Royaume-Uni : Yarl’s Wood réaffecté

      Une fois à terre en Angleterre, les personnes sont emmenées à l’un des deux endroits suivants : soit la Kent Intake Unit (Unité d’admission du Kent), qui est un centre de détention du ministère de l’intérieur (c’est-à-dire un petit complexe de cellules préfabriquées) dans les docks à l’est du port de Douvres ; soit le poste de police de Douvres. Ce poste de police semble être de plus en plus l’endroit principal, car la petite “unité d’admission” est souvent pleine. Il y avait autrefois un centre de détention à Douvres où étaient détenus les nouveaux arrivants, qui était connu pour son état de délabrement, mais a été fermé en octobre 2015.

      Les personnes sont généralement détenues au poste de police pendant une journée maximum. La destination suivante est généralement Yarl’s Wood, le centre de détention du Bedfordshire géré par Serco. Il s’agissait, jusqu’à récemment, d’un centre de détention à long terme qui accueillait principalement des femmes. Cependant, le 18 août, le ministère de l’intérieur a annoncé que Yarl’s Wood avait été réaménagé en “centre de détention de courte durée” (Short Term Holding Facility – SHTF) pour traiter spécifiquement les personnes qui ont traversé la Manche. Les personnes ne restent généralement que quelques jours – le séjour maximum légal pour un centre de “courte durée” est de sept jours.

      Yarl’s Wood a une capacité normale de 410 prisonniers. Selon des sources à Yarl’s Wood :

      “La semaine dernière, c’était presque plein avec plus de 350 personnes détenues. Quelques jours plus tard, ce nombre était tombé à 150, ce qui montre la rapidité avec laquelle les gens passent par le centre. Mardi 25 août, il n’y avait plus personne dans le centre ! Il semble probable que les chiffres fluctueront en fonction des traversées de la Manche.”

      La même source ajoute :

      “Il y a des inquiétudes concernant l’accès à l’aide juridique à Yarl’s Wood. La réglementation relative aux centres de détention provisoire n’exige pas que des conseils juridiques soient disponibles sur place (à Manchester, par exemple, il n’y a pas d’avocats de garde). Apparemment, le roulement des avocats de garde se poursuit à Yarl’s Wood pour l’instant. Mais la rapidité avec laquelle les personnes sont traitées maintenant signifie qu’il est pratiquement impossible de s’inscrire et d’obtenir un rendez-vous avec l’avocat de garde avant d’être transféré”.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur mène les premiers entretiens d’évaluation des demandeurs d’asile pendant qu’ils sont à Yarl’s Wood. Ces entretiens se font parfois en personne, ou parfois par téléphone.

      C’est un moment crucial, car ce premier entretien détermine les chances de nombreuses personnes de demander l’asile au Royaume-Uni. Le ministère de l’intérieur utilise les informations issues de cet entretien pour expulser les personnes qui traversent la Manche vers la France et l’Allemagne en vertu du règlement Dublin III. Il s’agit d’une législation de l’Union Européenne (UE) qui permet aux gouvernements de transférer la responsabilité de l’évaluation de la demande d’asile d’une personne vers un autre État. Autrement dit, le Royaume-Uni ne commence même pas à examiner les demandes d’asile des personnes.

      D’après ce que nous avons vu, beaucoup de ces évaluations de Dublin III ont été faites de manière précipitée et irrégulière. Elles se sont souvent appuyées sur de faibles preuves circonstancielles. Peu de personnes ont eu la possibilité d’obtenir des conseils juridiques, ou même des interprètes pour expliquer le processus.

      Nous abordons Dublin III et les questions soulevées ci-dessous dans la section “Cadre juridique”.
      Au Royaume-Uni : les pires hôtels britanniques

      De Yarl’s Wood, les personnes à qui nous avons parlé ont été libérées sous caution (elles devaient respecter des conditions spécifiques aux personnes immigrées) dans des hébergement pour demandeurs d’asile. Dans un premier temps, cet hébergement signifie un hôtel à bas prix. En raison de l’épidémie du COVID-19, le Home Office a ordonné aux entreprises sous-traitantes (Mears, Serco) qui administrent habituellement les centres d’accueil pour demandeurs d’asile de fermer leurs places d’hébergement et d’envoyer les personnes à l’hôtel. Cette décision est loin d’être claire, du fait que de nombreux indicateurs suggèrent que les hôtels sont bien pires en ce qui concerne la propagation du COVID. Le résultat de cette politique s’est déjà avéré fatal – voir la mort d’Adnan Olbeh à l’hôtel Glasgow en avril.

      Peut-être le gouvernement essaie de soutenir des chaînes telles que Britannia Hotels, classée depuis sept ans à la suite comme la “pire chaîne d’hôtel britannique” par le magazine des consommateurs Which ?. Plusieurs personnes envoyées par charter avaient été placées dans des hôtels Britannia. Le principal propriétaire de cette chaîne, le multi-millionnaire Alex Langsam, a été surnommé « le roi de l’asile » par les médias britanniques après avoir remporté précédemment à l’aide de ses taudis d’autres contrats pour l’hébergement des demandeurs d’asile.

      Certaines des personnes déportées à qui nous avons parlé sont restées dans ce genre d’hôtels plusieurs semaines avant d’être envoyées dans des lieux de “dispersion des demandeurs d’asile” – des logements partagés situés dans les quartiers les plus pauvres de villes très éloignées de Londres. D’autres ont été mises dans l’avion directement depuis les hôtels.

      Dans les deux cas, la procédure habituelle est le raid matinal : Des équipes de mise-en-œuvre de l’immigration (Immigration Enforcement squads) arrachent les gens de leur lit à l’aube. Comme les personnes sont dans des hôtels qui collaborent ou assignées à des maisons, il est facile de les trouver et de les arrêter quand elles sont les prochains sur la liste des déportations.

      Après l’arrestation, les personnes ont été amenées aux principaux centres de détention près de Heathrow (Colnbrook et Harmondsworth) ou Gatwick (particulièrement Brook House). Quelques-unes ont d’abord été gardées au commissariat ou en détention pour des séjours de court terme pendant quelques heures ou quelques jours.

      Tous ceux à qui nous avons parlé ont finalement terminé à Brook House, un des deux centres de détention de Gatwick.
      « ils sont venus avec les boucliers »

      Une nuit, à Brook House, après que quelqu’un se soit mutilé, ils ont enfermé tout le monde. Un homme a paniqué et a commencé à crier en demandant aux gardes « S’il vous plaît, ouvrez la porte ». Mais il ne parlait pas bien anglais et criait en arabe. Il a dit : « Si vous n’ouvrez pas la porte je vais faire bouillir de l’eau dans ma bouilloire et me la verser sur le visage ». Mais ils ne l’ont pas compris, ils pensaient qu’il était en train de les menacer et qu’il était en train de dire qu’il allait jeter l’eau bouillante sur eux. Alors ils sont arrivés avec leurs boucliers, ils l’ont jeté hors de sa cellule et ils l’ont mis en isolement. Quand ils l’ont mis là-bas, ils lui ont donné des coups et ils l’ont battu, ils ont dit : « Ne nous menace plus jamais ». (Témoignage d’une personne déportée)

      Brook House

      Brook House reste tristement célèbre après les révélations d’un lanceur d’alerte sur les brutalités quotidiennes et les humiliations commises par les gardes qui travaillent pour G4S. Leur contrat a depuis été repris par la branche emprisonnement de Mitie – dont la devise est « Care and Custody, a Mitie company » (traduction : « Soins et détention, une entreprise Mitie »). Probablement que beaucoup des mêmes gardes sont simplement passés d’une entreprise à l’autre.

      Dans tous les cas, d’après ce que les personnes déportées nous ont dit, pas grand chose n’a changé à Brook House – le vice et la violence des gardes restent la norme. Les histoires rapportées ici en donnent juste quelques exemples. Vous pouvez lire davantage dans les récents témoignages de personnes détenues sur le blog Detained Voices.
      « ils s’assurent juste que tu ne meures pas devant eux »

      J’étais dans ma cellule à Brook House seul depuis 12 jours, je ne pouvais ni manger ni boire, juste penser, penser à ma situation. J’ai demandé un docteur peut-être dix fois. Ils sont venus plusieurs fois, ils ont pris mon sang, mais ils n’ont rien fait d’autre. Ils s’en foutent de ta santé ou de ta santé mentale. Ils ont juste peur que tu meures là. Ils s’en foutent de ce qui t’arrive du moment que tu ne meures pas devant leurs yeux. Et ça n’a pas d’importance pour eux si tu meurs ailleurs.
      Témoignage d’une personne déportée.

      Préparation des vols

      Le Home Office délivre des papiers appelés « Instructions d’expulsion » (« Removal Directions » – Rds) aux personnes qu’ils ont l’intention de déporter. Y sont stipulés la destination et le jour du vol. Les personnes qui sont déjà en détention doivent recevoir ce papier au moins 72 heures à l’avance, incluant deux jours ouvrés, afin de leur permettre de faire un ultime appel de la décision.

      Voir Right to Remain toolkit pour des informations détaillés sur les délais légaux et sur les procédures d’appel.

      Tous les vols de déportation du Royaume Uni, les tickets qu’ils soient pour un avion de ligne régulier ou un vol charter sont réservés via une agence de voyage privée appelée Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT). La principale compagnie aérienne utilisée par le Home Office pour les vols charter est la compagnie de charter qui s’appelle Titan Airways.

      Voir 2018 Corporate Watch report pour les informations détaillées sur les procédures de vols charter et les compagnies impliquées. Et la mise-à-jour de 2020 sur les déportations en général.

      Concernant le vol du 12 août, des recours légaux ont réussi à faire sortir 19 personnes de l’avion qui avaient des Instructions d’expulsion ( Rds ). Cependant, le Home Office les a remplacées par 14 autres personnes qui étaient sur la « liste d’attente ». Les avocats suspectent que ces 14 personnes n’ont pas eu suffisamment accès à leur droit à être représentés par un-e avocat-e avant le vol, ce qui a permis qu’elles soient expulsés.

      Parmi les 19 personnes dont les avocat.es ont réussi à empêcher l’expulsion prévue, 12 ont finalement été déportées par le vol charter du 26 août : 6 personnes envoyées à Dusseldorf en Allemagne et 6 autres à Clermont-Ferrand en France.

      Un autre vol a été programmé le 27 août pour l’Espagne. Cependant les avocat-es ont réussi à faire retirer tout le monde, et le Home Office a annulé le vol. L’administration anglaise (Whitehall) a dit dans les médias : “le taux d’attrition juridique a été de 100 % pour ce vol en raison des obstacles sans précédent et organisés que trois cabinets d’avocats ont imposés au gouvernement.” Il y a donc de fortes chances que Home Office mettra tous ses moyens à disposition pour continuer à expulser ces personnes lors de prochains vols charters.

      Qui a été expulsé ?

      L’ensemble des personnes expulsées par avion sont des personnes réfugiées qui ont déposé leur demande d’asile au Royaume-Uni immédiatement après leur arrivée à Dover. La une des médias expose les personnes expulsées comme « de dangereux criminels », mais aucune d’entre elles n’a fait l’objet de poursuites.

      Ils viennent de différents pays dont l’Irak, le Yemen, le Soudan, la Syrie, l’Afghanistan et le Koweit. (Dix autres Yéménis devaient être expulsés par le vol annulé pour l’Espagne. Au mois de juin, le gouvernement du Royaume-Uni a annoncé la reprise des accords commerciaux de vente d’armes avec l’Arabie Saoudite qui les utilise dans des bombardements au Yemen qui ont déjà coûté la vie à des dizaines de milliers de personnes).

      Toutes ces personnes craignent à raison des persécution dans leurs pays d’origine – où les abus des Droits de l’Homme sont nombreux et ont été largement documentés. Au moins plusieurs des personnes expulsées ont survécu à la torture, ce qui a été documenté par le Home Office lui-même lors d’entretiens.

      Parmi eux, un mineur âgé de moins de 18 ans a été enregistré par le Home Office comme ayant 25 ans – alors même qu’ils étaient en possession de son passeport prouvant son âge réel. Les mineurs isolés ne devraient légalement pas être traités avec la procédure Dublin III, et encore moins être placés en détention et être expulsés.

      Beaucoup de ces personnes, si ce ne sont toutes, ont des ami-es et de la famille au Royaume-Uni.

      Aucune de leurs demandes d’asile n’a été évaluée – toutes ont été refusées dans le cadre de la procédure Dublin III (cf. Cadre Légal plus bas).

      Chronologie du vol du 26 août

      Nuit du 25 août : Huit des personnes en attente de leur expulsion se mutilent ou tentent de se suicider. D’autres personnes font une grève de la faim depuis plus d’une semaine. Trois d’entre elles sont amenées à l’hôpital, hâtivement prises en charge pour qu’elles puissent être placées dans l’avion. Cinq autres se sont simplement vus délivrer quelques compresses au service des soins du centre de détention de Brook House. (cf. le témoignage ci-dessus)

      26 août, vers 4 heure du matin : Les gardiens récupèrent les personnes expulsables dans leurs cellules. Il y a de nombreux témoignages de violence : trois ou quatre gardiens en tenue anti-émeute avec casques et boucliers s’introduisent dans les cellules et tabassent les détenus à la moindre résistance.

      vers 4 heure du matin : Les détenus blessés sont amenés par les gardiens pour être examinés par un médecin dans un couloir, face aux fonctionnaires, et sont jugés « apte à prendre l’avion ».

      vers 5 heure du matin : Les détenus sont amenés un par un dans les fourgons. Chacun est placé dans un fourgon séparé, entouré de quatre gardiens. Les fourgons portent le logo de l’entreprise Mitie « Care and Custody ». Les détenus sont gardés dans les fourgons le temps de faire monter tout le monde, ce qui prend une à deux heures.

      vers 6 heure du matin : Les fourgons vont du centre de détention de Brook House (près de l’Aéroport Gatwick) à l’Aéroport Stansted et entrent directement dans la zone réservée aux vols charters. Les détenus sont sortis un par un des fourgons vers l’avion de la compagnie aérienne Titan. Il s’agit d’un avion Airbus A321-211, avec le numéro d’enregistrement G-POWU, au caractère anonyme, qui ne porte aucun signe distinctif de la compagnie aérienne. Les détenus sont escortés en haut des escaliers avec un gardien de chaque côté.

      Dans l’avion quatre gardiens sont assignés à chaque personne : deux de part et d’autre sur les sièges mitoyens, un sur le siège devant et un sur le siège derrière. Les détenus sont maintenus avec une ceinture de restriction au niveau de leur taille à laquelle sont également attachées leurs mains par des menottes. En plus des 12 détenus et 48 gardiens, il y a des fonctionnaires du Home Office, des managers de Mitie, et deux personnels paramédicaux dans l’avion.

      7h58 (BST) : L’avion de la compagnie Titan (dont le numéro de vol est ZT311) décolle de l’Aéroport Stansted.

      9h44 (CEST) : Le vol atterrit à Dusseldorf. Six personnes sont sorties de l’avion, laissées aux mains des autorités allemandes.

      10h46 (CEST) : L’avion Titan décolle de Dusseldorf pour rejoindre Clermont-Ferrand avec le reste des détenus.

      11h59 (CEST) : L’avion (dont le numéro de vol est maintenant ZT312) atterrit à l’Aéroport de Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne et les six autres détenus sont débarqués et amenés aux douanes de la Police Aux Frontières (PAF).

      12h46 (CEST) : L’avion quitte Clermont-Ferrand pour retourner au Royaume-Uni. Il atterrit d’abord à l’Aéroport Gatwick, probablement pour déposer les gardiens et les fonctionnaires, avant de finir sa route à l’Aéroport Stansted où les pilotes achèvent leur journée.

      Larguées à destination : l’Allemagne

      Ce qu’il est arrivé aux personnes expulsées en Allemagne n’est pas connu, même s’il semblerait qu’il n’y ait pas eu de procédure claire engagée par la police allemande. Un des expulsés nous a rapporté qu’à son arrivée à Dusseldorf, la police allemande lui a donné un billet de train en lui disant de se rendre au bureau de la demande d’asile à Berlin. Une fois là-bas, on lui a dit de retourner dans son pays. Ce à quoi il a répondu qu’il ne pouvait pas y retourner et qu’il n’avait pas non plus d’argent pour rester à Berlin ou voyager dans un autre pays. Le bureau de la demande d’asile a répondu qu’il pouvait dormir dans les rues de Berlin.

      Un seul homme a été arrêté à son arrivée. Il s’agit d’une personne qui avait tenté de se suicider la veille en se mutilant à la tête et au coup au rasoir, et qui avait saigné tout au long du vol.
      Larguées à destination : la France

      Les expulsés ont été transportés à Clermont-Ferrand, une ville située au milieu de la France, à des centaines de kilomètres des centres métropolitains. Dès leur arrivée ils ont été testés pour le COVID par voie nasale et retenus par la PAF pendant que les autorités françaises décidaient de leur sort.

      Deux d’entre eux ont été libérés à peu près une heure et demi après, une fois donnés des rendez-vous au cours de la semaine suivante pour faire des demandes d’asile dans des Préfectures de région eloignées de Clermont-Ferrand. Il ne leur a été proposé aucun logement, ni information légale, ni moyen pour se déplacer jusqu’à leurs rendez-vous.

      La personne suivante a été libérée environ une heure et demi après eux. Il ne lui a pas été donné de rendez-vous pour demander l’asile, mais il lui a juste été proposé une chambre d’hotel pour quatre nuits.

      Pendant le reste de la journée, les trois autres détenus ont été emmenés de l’aéroport au commisariat pour prendre leurs empreintes. On a commencé à les libérer à partir de 18h. Le dernier a été libéré sept heures après que le vol de déportation soit arrivé. La police a attendu que la Préfecture décide de les transférer ou non au Centre de Rétention Administrative (CRA). On ne sait pas si la raison à cela était que le centre le plus proche, à Lyon, était plein.

      Cependant, ces personnes n’ont pas été simplement laissées libres. Il leur a été donné des ordres d’expulsion (OQTF : Obligation de quitter le territoire francais) et des interdictions de retour sur le territoire francais (IRTF). Ces document ne leur donnent que48h pour faire appel. Le gouverment britannique a dit que les personnes déportées par avion en France avaient la possibilité de demander l’asile en France. C’est clairement faux.

      Pour aller plus loin dans les contradictions bureaucratique, avec les ordres d’expulsion leurs ont été donnés l’ordre de devoir se présenter à la station de police de Clermont-Ferrand tous les jours à dix heures du matin dans les 45 prochains jours (pour potentiellement y être arrêtés et detenus à ces occasions). Ils leur a été dit que si ils ne s’y présentaient pas la police
      les considèrerait comme en fuite.

      La police a aussi réservé une place dans un hotel à plusieurs kilomètre de l’aéroport pour quatres nuits, mais sans aucune autre information ni aide pour se procurer de quoi s’alimenter. Il ne leur a été fourni aucun moyen de se rendre à cet hôtel et la police a refusé de les aider – disant que leur mission s’arretait à la délivrance de leurs documents d’expulsion.

      Après m’avoir donné les papiers d’expulsion, le policier francais a dit
      ‘Maintenant tu peux aller en Angleterre’.
      Temoignage de la personne expulsée

      La police aux frontières (PAF) a ignoré la question de la santé et du
      bien-être des personnes expulsées qui étaient gardées toute la journée.
      Une des personnes était en chaise roulante toute la journée et était
      incapable de marcher du fait des blessures profondes à son pied, qu’il
      s’était lui même infligées. Il n’a jamais été emmené à l’hôpital malgré les
      recommendations du médecin, ni durant la période de détention, ni après
      sa libération. En fait, la seule raison à la visite du médecin était initialement d’évaluer s’il était en mesure d’être detenu au cas où la Préfecture le déciderait. La police l’a laissé dans ses vêtements souillés de sang toute la journée et quand ils l’ont libéré il n’avait pas eu de chaussures et pouvait à peine marcher. Ni béquilles, ni aide pour rejoindre l’hotel ne lui ont été donnés par la police. Il a été laissé dans la rue, devant porter toutes ses
      affaires dans un sac en plastique du Home Office.
      “La nuit la plus dure de ma vie”

      Ce fut la nuit la plus dure de ma vie. Mon coeur était brisé si fort que j’ai sérieusement pensé au suicide. J’ai mis le rasoir dans ma bouche pour l’avaler ; j’ai vu ma vie entière passer rapidement jusqu’aux premières heures du jour. Le traitement en détention était très mauvais, humiliant et dégradant. Je me suis haï et je sentais que ma vie était détruite mais au même temps elle était trop précieuse pour la perdre si facilement. J’ai recraché le razoir de ma bouche avant d’être sorti de la chambre où quatre personnes à l’allure impossante, portant la même tenue de CRS et des boucliers de protéction, m’ont violemment emmené dans le grand hall au rez-de-chaussée du centre de détention. J’étais épuisé puisque j’avais fait une grève de la faim depuis plusieurs jours. Dans la chambre à côte de moi un des déportés a essayé de resister et a été battu si sévèrement que du sang a coulé de son nez. Dans le grand hall ils m’ont fouillé avec soin et m’ont escorté jusqu’à la voiture comme un dangerux criminel, deux personnes à ma gauche et à ma droite. Ils ont conduit environ deux heures jusqu’à l’aéroport, il y avait un grand avion sur la piste de décollage. […] A ce moment, j’ai vu mes rêves, mes espoirs, brisés devant moi en entrant dans l’avion.
      Temoignage d’une personne déportée (de Detained Voices)

      Le cade légal : Dublin III

      Ces expulsions se déroulent dans le cadre du règlement Dublin III. Il s’agit de la législation déterminant quel pays européen doit évaluer la demande d’asile d’une personne réfugiée. Cette décision implique un certain nombre de critères, l’un des principaux étant le regroupement familial et l’intérêt supérieur de l’enfant. Un autre critère, dans le cas des personnes franchissant la frontières sans papiers, est le premier pays dans lequel ils entrent « irrégulièrement ». Dans cette loi, ce critère est supposé être moins important que les attaches familiales. Mais il est communément employé par les gouvernements cherchant à rediriger les demandes d’asile à d’autres Etats. Toutes les personnes que nous connaissions sur ces vols étaient « dublinés » car le Royaume-Uni prétendait qu’ils avaient été en France, en Allemagne ou en Espagne.

      (Voir : briefing à l’introduction du House of Commons ; Home Office staff handbook (manuel du personnel du ministère de l’intérieur ; section Dublin Right to remain .)

      En se référant au règlement Dublin, le Royaume-Uni évite d’examiner les cas de demande d’asile. Ces personnes ne sont pas expulsées parce que leur demande d’asile a été refusée. Leurs demandes ne sont simplement jamais examinées. La décision d’appliquer le règlement Dublin est prise après la premier entretien filmé ( à ce jour, au centre de détention de Yarl’s Wood). Comme nous l’avons vu plus haut, peu de personnes sont dans la capacité d’avoir accès à une assistance juridique avant ces entretiens, quelquefois menés par téléphone et sans traduction adéquate.

      Avec le Dublin III, le Royaume-Uni doit faire la demande formelle au gouvernement qu’il croit responsable d’examiner la demande d’asile, de reprendre le demandeur et de lui présenter la preuve à savoir pourquoi ce gouvernement devrait en accepter la responsabilité. Généralement, la preuve produite est le fichier des empreintes enregistrées par un autre pays sur la base de données EURODAC, à travers toute l’Europe.

      Cependant, lors des récents cas d’expulsion, le Home Office n’a pas toujours produit les empreintes, mais a choisi de se reposer sur de fragiles preuves circonstantielles. Certains pays ont refusé ce type de preuve, d’autres en revanche l’ont accepté, notamment la France.

      Il semble y avoir un mode de fonctionnement récurrent dans ces affaires où la France accepte les retours de Dublin III, quand bien même d’autres pays l’ont refusé. Le gouvernement français pourrait avoir été encouragé à accepter les « reprises/retours » fondés sur des preuves fragiles, dans le cadre des récentes négociations américano-britanniques sur la traversée de la Manche (La France aurait apparemment demandé 30 millions de livres pour aider la Grande-Bretagne à rendre la route non viable.)

      En théorie, accepter une demande Dublin III signifie que la France (ou tout autre pays) a pris la responsabilité de prendre en charge la demande d’asile d’un individu. Dans la pratique, la plupart des individus arrivés à Clermont-Ferrand le 26 août n’ont pas eu l’opportunité de demander l’asile. A la place, des arrêtés d’expulsion leur ont été adressés, leur ordonnant de quitter la France et l’Europe. On ne leur donne que 48h pour faire appel de l’ordre d’expulsion, sans plus d’information sur le dispositif légal. Ce qui apparaît souvent comme quasi impossible pour une personne venant d’endurer une expulsion forcée et qui pourrait nécessiter des soins médicaux urgents.

      Suite au Brexit, le Royaume-Uni ne participera pas plus au Dublin III à partir du 31 décembre 2020. Puisqu’il y a des signataires de cet accord hors Union-Européenne, comme la Suisse et la Norvège, le devenir de ces arrangements est encore flou (comme tout ce qui concerne le Brexit). S’il n’y a d’accord global, le Royaume-Uni devra négocier plusieurs accords bilatéraux avec les pays européens. Le schéma d’expulsion accéléré établi par la France sans processus d’évaluation adéquat de la demande d’asile pourrait être un avant-goût des choses à venir.
      Conclusion : expéditif – et illégal ?

      Évidemment, les expulsions par charter sont l’un des outils les plus manifestement brutaux employés par le régime frontalier du Royaume Uni. Elles impliquent l’emploi d’une violence moralement dévastatrice par le Home Office et ses entrepreneurs ((Mitie, Titan Airways, Britannia Hotels, et les autres) contre des personnes ayant déjà traversé des histoires traumatiques.

      Car les récentes expulsions de ceux qui ont traversé la Manche semblent particulièrement expéditives. Des personnes qui ont risqué le vie dans la Manche sont récupérées par une machine destinée à nier leur droit d’asile et à les expulser aussi vite que possible, pour satisfaire le besoin d’une réaction rapide à la dernière panique médiatique. De nouvelles procédures semblent avoir mises en place spontanément par des officiels du Ministère de l’Intérieur ainsi que des accords officieux avec leurs homologues français.

      En résultat de ce travail bâclé, il semble y avoir un certain nombre d’irrégularités dans la procédure. Certaines ont déjà été signalées dans des recours juridiques efficaces contre le vol vers l’Espagne du 27 août. La détention et l’expulsion des personnes qui ont traversé la Manche en bateau peut avoir été largement illégale et est susceptible d’être remise en cause plus profondément des deux côtés de la Manche.

      Ici, nous résumerons quelques enjeux spécifiques.

      La nature profondément politique du processus d’expulsion pour ces personnes qui ont fait la traversée sur de petits bateaux, ce qui signifie qu’on leur refuse l’accès à une procédure de demande d’asile évaluée par le Home Office.
      Les personnes réfugiées incluent des personnes victimes de torture, de trafic humain, aussi bien que des mineurs.
      Des individus sont détenus, précipités d’entretiens en entretiens, et « dublinés » sans la possibilité d’avoir accès à une assistance juridique et aux informations nécessaires.
      Afin d’éviter d’avoir à considérer des demandes d’asile, la Grande-Bretagne applique le règlement Dublin III, souvent en employant de faibles preuves circonstancielles – et la France accepte ces demandes, peut-être en conséquence des récentes négociations et arrangements financiers.
      De nombreuses personnes expulsées ont des attaches familiales au Royaume-Uni, mais le critère primordial du rapprochement familial du rêglement Dublin III est ignoré
      En acceptant les demandes Dublin, la France prend la responsabilité légale des demandes d’asile. Mais en réalité, elle prive ces personnes de la possibilité de demander l’asile, en leur assignant des papiers d’expulsion.
      Ces papiers d’expulsions (« Obligation de quitter le territoire français » and « Interdiction de retour sur le territoire français » ou OQTF et IRTF) sont assignées et il n’est possible de faire appel que dans les 48 heures qui suivent. C’est inadéquat pour assurer une procédure correcte, à plus forte raison pour des personnes traumatisées, passées par la détention, l’expulsion, larguées au milieu de nulle part, dans un pays où elles n’ont aucun contact et dont elles ne parlent pas la langue.
      Tout cela invalide complètement les arguments du Home Office qui soutient que les personnes qu’il expulse peuvent avoir accès à une procédure de demande d’asile équitable en France.

      https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2020/08/31/sen-debarrasser-le-royaume-uni-se-precipite-pour-

  • Giorgos Tsiakalos: “In Europe, a racist policy is being implemented”

    EU policy can rightly be called “Black lives don’t matter in the Mediterranean”

    In June 2020, recognized refugee families, most of which had just arrived in Athens from the Moria camp on the island of Lesvos, were unable to find housing and remained homeless for days, sleeping in Athens’ Victoria Square. June 1, 2020, marked the implementation of the Greek law which terminates the provision of shelter for 11,237 refugees and beneficiaries via the ESTIA housing program.

    “They arrived at Victoria Square, as others had come before them about five years ago. Back then we had said we were caught off guard. Now what do we say? I was there today”, wrote George Tsiakalos, Professor of Pedagogy at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in a Facebook post dated June 14.

    George Tsiakalos, along with his wife, Sigrid Maria Muschik, have been providing support to these families not only in recent months, but continuously − since the early days of what became known as the “refugee crisis”.

    https://wearesolomon.com/mag/q-and-a/giorgos-tsiakalos-in-europe-a-racist-policy-is-being-implemented/?mc_cid=a5016dd865&mc_eid=3444239cea

    #greece #refugees #migrants #Moria #camps #Europe #Migration #borders #housing

  • #CoronaCapitalism and the European #Border_Regime

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect people’s lives all over the world, the violence against migrants and refugees has intensified. This article explores #CoronaCapitalism and the Border Regime in a European context. Corporate Watch uses the term “border regime” as a shorthand to mean all of the many different institutions, people, systems and processes involved in trying to control migrants.

    This article only shares the tip-of-the-iceberg of migrant experiences during the coronavirus pandemic and we know there are many other untold stories. If you would like to share your news or experiences, please contact us.

    Mass Containment Camps

    As the world descended into lockdowns in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus, tens of thousands of people have been confined in camps in the Western Balkans and Greece, as well as smaller accommodation centres across Europe. New and existing camps were also essentially locked down and the movement of people in and out of camps began to be heavily controlled by police and/or the military.

    The Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) has been trying to track what is happening across the Balkans. They write that in Bosnia-Herzegovina, “more than 5,000 people were detained in existing temporary refugee reception centres. They include about 500 unaccompanied minors and several hundred children with families. Persons in need of special care, patients, victims of torture, members of the LGBTQ population, persons diagnosed with mental disorders, and victims of domestic violence have also been locked down into ‘EU-funded’ camps.” Police officers guard the centres and emergency legislation enables them the right to ‘physically force persons trying to leave the centres to return.’

    120,000 people are locked down in containment camps across Greece and the Greek Islands. Disturbing accounts of refugee camps are ever-present but the pandemic has worsened already unbearable conditions. 17,000 refugees live at Moira Refugee Camp where there are 210 people per toilet and 630 people per shower. Coronavirus, uncertainty over suspended asylum applications and the terrible living conditions are all contributing to escalating violence.

    In detention centres in Drama and Athens in Greece, the BVMN report that, “Respondents describe a lack of basic amenities such as running water, showers, or soap. Cramped and overcrowded conditions, with up to 13 inmates housed in one caravan with one, usually non-functioning, toilet. Requests for better services are met with violence at the hands of officers and riot police. On top of this, there have been complaints that no special precautions for COVID-19 are being taken, residents inside told BVMN reporters that sick individuals are not isolated, and are dismissed as having ‘the flu’.”

    While movement restrictions were lifted for Greek residents on 4th May, lockdown is still extended for all camps and centres across Greece and the Islands. This decision triggered thousands of people to protest in Athens. Emergency legislation adopted at the start of March in Greece effectively suspended the registration of asylum applications and implied immediate deportation for those entering the Greek territory, without registration, to their countries of origin or to Turkey.

    Detention and the deportation regime

    While major country-wide lockdowns are an unusual form of restriction of movement, for decades European states have been locking people seeking safety in detention centres. Immigration Removal Centres are essentially prisons for migrants in which people are locked up without trial or time-limit. In the UK the detention system is mostly run for profit by private companies, as detailed in our UK Border Regime book.

    Despite preparing for a pandemic scenario in January 2020, it took public pressure and legal action before the British government released nearly 1000 people from detention centres. As of the end of May, 368 people were still locked up in the profit-making detention centres and many more are living in ‘accommodation centres’ where they have been unable to access coronavirus testing.

    During the pandemic, people have been revolting in several detention centres across France and Belgium. Residents at a refugee centre in Saxony-Anhalt in Germany went on a hunger strike in April to protest against a lack of disinfectant. Hunger strikes have also taken place at detention centres in Tunisia, Cyprus and France.

    Women in a police holding centre for migrants in Greece went on hunger strike in June. In a statement, they wrote: “We will continue the hunger strike until we are free from this captivity. They will either set us free or we shall die”.

    People staged a rooftop protest at a detention centre in Madrid at the start of the outbreak. This was before all the detention centres in Spain were, for the first time in their history, completely emptied. To put this into context, Spain had 6,473 detainees in 2019. Legal challenges have been leveraging the EU Returns Directive which allows detention pending deportation for up to 18 months, but stipulates that if “a reasonable prospect of removal no longer exists…detention ceases to be justified and the person concerned shall be released immediately”.

    With a worldwide reduction in flights, deportations became unfeasible, however, many are afraid that the deportation machine will restart as things “return to normal”.

    Worsening life in the ‘jungle’

    People living in squats and other improvised accommodation have also faced sweeping operations, with people being rounded up and taken to containment camps.

    For those that remained on the street, pandemic restrictions took their toll. In Greece, movement amidst the pandemic was permitted via letters and text messages. For people who did not have the right paperwork, they were fined 150 euros, sometimes multiple times.

    Similarly, in the French city of Calais, people who did not have the right paperwork were commonly denied access to shops and supermarkets, where they may have previously used the bathrooms or bought food to cook. With many volunteer groups unable to operate due to movement restrictions, the availability of food dramatically reduced overnight. Access to services such as showers, phone charging and healthcare also rapidly reduced.

    People in Calais also faced a rise in evictions: 45 evictions were recorded in the first two weeks of lockdown. These expulsions have continued throughout the pandemic. On Friday 10th July 2020, a major police raid in Calais forced more than 500 people onto buses to be taken to ‘reception centres’ across the region.

    In Amsterdam in the Netherlands, some migrants were forced to live in night shelters and made to leave during the daytime – facing constant risks of contracting COVID-19 and police harassment in the city. They protested “I would stay at home if I had one”.

    Many migrant solidarity groups working on the ground lost huge numbers of volunteers due to travel restrictions and health concerns. Access to material donations such as tents, which are commonly collected at the end of festivals, also reduced. A constant supply of these resources is needed because the police routinely take the migrants’ tents away.

    Militarisation of borders

    The pandemic has seen an increase in military forces at borders and camps, persistent police violence and the suspension of ‘rights’ or legal processes. Using ‘State of Emergency’ legislation, the health crisis has been effectively weaponised.

    In March at the beginning of the pandemic in Europe, FRONTEX, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency deployed an additional 100 guards at the Greek Land Border. This is in addition to the agency’s core of 10,000 officers working around Europe.

    In their 2020 Risk Analysis Report, FRONTEX wrote that “the closing of internal borders is binding border guard personnel, which some border authorities have long stopped planning for”. This illuminates a key complexity in border control. For years, Europe has shifted to policing the wider borders of the Schengen Area. As the virus spread between countries within that area, however, states have tried to shut down their own borders.

    Police forces and militaries have become increasingly mobilised to “protect these national borders”. In Slovenia, this meant the military was granted authority to ‘process civilians’ at the border through the government’s activation of Article 37a of the Defence Act. While in Serbia, the army was deployed around border camps to ensure mass containment. 400 new border guards were also dispatched to the Evros land border between Greece and Turkey in addition to an increase in fencing and surveillance technologies.

    Escalating Police Violence

    Although migrants are no strangers to police brutality, national states of emergency have enabled an escalation in police violence. In mid-April an open letter was published by the Eritrean community of the Calais jungle reporting escalating police brutality. It describes the actions of the CRS police (Compagnies républicaines de sécurité); the general guard of the French police, infamous for riot control and repression:

    “They don’t see us as human beings. They insult us with names such as monkey, bitch etc. And for the past few weeks, they have started to threaten our lives by beating us as soon as the opportunity arises. When for example they found a group of two or three people walking towards the food distribution, or in our tents, when we were sleeping. They accelerate in their vehicles while driving in our direction, as if they wanted to crush us. They also took people with them to places far from Calais, and beat them until they lost consciousness.”

    The statement continues with a chronological list of events whereby people were beaten up, hit, gassed, had their arms broken, and were struck on the head so hard they lost consciousness and were taken to hospital by ambulance.

    With fewer people on the streets during the pandemic, police evictions that were not previously possible due to street-level resistance became successful. This was evidenced in the eviction of the Gini occupation at the Polytechnic University in Exarchia, Greece, a location that the police have not dared enter for decades. Dozens of migrant families were rounded up and taken to a detention centre.

    Violent pushbacks across borders

    There has also been an increase in illegal and violent pushbacks. Pushbacks are the informal expulsion (without due process) of individuals or groups to another country. This commonly involves the violent removal of people across a border.

    For example, on April 22nd in North Macedonia, a group of people from Palestine, Morocco and Egypt were pushed back into Greece. Two men were approached by officers in army uniforms and forced onto a bus where officers began to beat them with batons and guns. So much force was used that one man’s arm was fractured. The other members of the small group were later found and abruptly woken by officers. One man was stamped on and kicked across his body and head. Their shoes were removed and they were told to walk the 2km back to the border where they were met with the other group that had been taken there.

    A group of 16 people in Serbia (including one minor) were told they were being taken to a new camp for COVID prevention. They were then forced into a van and driven for nine hours with no stops, toilet or water. They were released at a remote area of hills and told to leave and cross the border to North Macedonia by the officers with guns. When found attempting to cross again days later they were told by police officers, “Don’t come again, we will kill you”.

    In Croatia, police have also started tagging people that they have pushed back with orange spray paint.

    There are also reports that Greek authorities are pushing people back to Turkey. According to the Border Violence Monitoring Network, many people shared experiences of being beaten, robbed and detained before being driven to the border area where military personnel used boats to return them to Turkey across the Evros river. In mid April in Greece, approximately 50 people were taken from Diavata camp in the morning and removed to a nearby police station where they were ordered to lie on the ground – “Sleep here, don’t move”. They were then beaten with batons. Some were also attacked with electric tasers. They were held overnight in a detention space near the border, and beaten further by Greek military officers. The next day they were boated across the river to Turkey by authorities with military uniforms. Another group were taken to the river in the dark and ordered to strip to their underwear.

    As pushbacks continue, people are forced to take even more dangerous routes. In Romania in mid-April, a group were found drowning in the Danube River after their boat capsized. One person was found dead and eight are still missing, while the survivors suffered from hypothermia.

    Danger at Sea

    During the pandemic, increasing numbers of disturbing accounts have been shared by migrants experiencing violence at sea. Between mid March and mid May, Alarm Phone (a hotline for boat people in distress) received 28 emergency calls from the Aegean Sea.

    On the 29th April, a boat carrying 48 refugees from Afghanistan, Congo and Iran, including 18 children, tried to reach Lesvos Island in the early hours of the day. They were pushed back to Turkish waters:

    “We were very scared. We tried to continue towards Lesvos Island. It was only 20 minutes more driving to reach the Greek coast. The big boat let a highspeed boat down, which hunted us down. There were six masked men in black clothes. They stopped us and made many waves. With a long stick they took away our petrol and they broke our engine. They had guns and knives. Then they threw a rope to us and ordered us to fix it on our boat. Then they started pulling us back towards Turkey. After a while they stopped and cut the rope. They returned to the big boat and took distance from us. It was around 6am.

    Then two other boats of the Greek coastguard arrived which were white and grey and drove very fast towards us, starting to make circles around our boat. They created big waves which were pushing us in the direction of Turkish waters. Our boat was taking in water and the kids were screaming. Our boat started breaking from the bottom. We were taking out the water with our boots. We threw all our belongings in the sea to make our boat lighter. Many of us had no life vests. A pregnant lady fainted. The Greeks continued making waves for a long period. A Turkish coastguard boat arrived and stood aside watching and taking photos and videos for more than six hours. Only after 13:30 o’clock the Turkish coastguard boat finally saved us. We were brought to Çanakalle police station and detained for five days.”

    During two months of lockdown, civil monitoring ships (volunteers who monitor the Aegean sea for migrants arriving via boat) were not permitted. In Italy, ports were closed to rescue ships, with many feared lost at sea as a result. Allegations have also emerged that Greece has been using inflatable rafts to deport asylum seekers. These are rafts without motors or propellers that cannot be steered.

    The Maltese Army also hit the headlines after turning away a boat of migrants by gunpoint and giving them the GPS coordinates for Italy. This is after recent reports of sabotaging migrant vessels, and pushing back migrant boats to Libya resulting in 12 people dying. The Maltese government recently signed a deal with the Libyan government to “to coordinate operations against illegal migration”. This includes training the Libyan coastguards and funding for “reception camps”.

    The threat of the virus and worsening conditions have also contributed to a record number of attempts to cross the Channel. The courage and commitment to overcome borders is inspiring, and more successful crossings have taken place during the pandemic. Between March 23rd (when the UK coronavirus lockdown began) and May 11th at least 853 migrants managed to cross the Channel in dinghies and small boats.

    State Scapegoating and the empowerment of the far right

    Far-right politicians and fascist activists have used the pandemic as an opportunity to push for closed borders.

    The election of a new Far Right government in Slovenia in March brought with it the scapegoating of refugees as coronavirus vectors. News conglomerate, NOVA24, heavily publicised a fake news story that the first COVID-19 patient in Italy was a Pakistani person who came via the Balkan route.

    Meanwhile, Hungary’s Government led by Vicktor Orbán moved to deport resident Iranians after claiming they were responsible for the country’s first coronavirus outbreak.

    In Italy, Matteo Salvini, the populist leader of the opposition Lega party tried to blame the movement of migrants from Africa across the Mediterranean as a “major infection threat” shortly before the country was overwhelmed with the pandemic and its rising death toll.

    The racist scapegoating ignores data that proves that initially the virus was transmited predominatnly by tourists’ and business people’s globe-trotting in the service of global capitalism and the fact that those whose movement is restricted, controlled and perilous, who do not have the power and wealth, are the most likely to suffer from the worst effects of both the virus itself and the shut downs.

    The Aftermath of Asylum suspension

    Access to asylum has drastically shifted across Europe with the suspension of many face-to-face application processing centres and appeal hearings. This ‘legal limbo’ is having a severe impact on people’s lives.

    Many people remain housed in temporary accommodation like hotels while they wait for their claim to be processed. This accommodation is often overcrowded and social-distancing guidelines are impossible to follow there. One asylum seeker in South London even shared to The Guardian how two strangers were made to share his double bed for a week in one room. One of the people was later taken to hospital with coronavirus.

    Closed-conditions at Skellig Accomodation Centre, a former hotel in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, Ireland enabled the rapid spread of the virus between the 100 people living there. Misha, an asylum seeker confined there, said she watched in horror as people started falling sick around her.

    “We were sharing bedrooms with strangers. We were sharing the dining room. We were sharing the salt shakers. We were sharing the lobby. We were sharing everything. And if you looked at the whole situation, you cannot really say that it was fit for purpose.”

    People were ordered to stay inside, and meanwhile coronavirus testing was delayed. Protests took place inside and locals demonstrated in solidarity outside.

    Asylum seekers in Glasgow have been protesting their accommodation conditions provided by the Mears Group, who Corporate Watch profiled in 2019. Mears Group won a £1.15 billion contract to run the refugee accommodation system in Scotland, Northern Ireland and much of the north of England. Their profiteering, slum landlord conditions and involvement in mass evictions have been met with anger and resistance. The pandemic has only worsened the experiences of people forced to live in Mears’ accommodation through terrible sanitation and medical neglect. Read our 2020 update on the Mears Group here.

    In the UK, the Home Office put a hold on evictions of asylum seekers during lockdown. The Red Cross stated this spared 50,000 people from the threat of losing their accommodation. Campaigners and tenants fear what will happen post-corona and how many people will face destitution when the ban on evictions lifts this August.

    In addition, a face-to-face screening interview is still needed for new asylum claims. This creates an awful choice for asylum seekers between shielding from the virus (and facing destitution) or going to the interviews in order to access emergency asylum support and begin the formal process. While meagre, the £37.75 per week is essential for survival. One of the reasons the Home Office make face-to-face applications compulsory is because of biometric data harvesting e.g. taking fingerprints of asylum seekers. One asylum seeker with serious health problems has had to make three journeys from Glasgow to Liverpool in the midst of the pandemic to submit paperwork.

    Access to food and other support is also very difficult as many centres and support services are closed.

    Barriers to Healthcare

    It is widely recognised that systemic racism has led to the disproportionate deaths of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people throughout the pandemic. Research has shown Black people are four times more likely to die than white people, and Bangladeshi or Pakistani groups are three times more likely. Many people from these communities are migrants, and many work in the National Health Service and social care sector.

    Research by Patients not Passports, Medact, Migrants Organise and the New Economics Foundation has shown that many migrants are avoiding seeking healthcare. 57% of respondents in their research report that they have avoided seeking healthcare because of fears of being charged for NHS care, data sharing and other migration enforcement concerns. Most people are unaware that treatment for coronavirus is exempt from charging. They also often experience additional barriers including the absence of translation and interpretation services, digital exclusions, housing and long distances from care services.

    Undocumented migrants are incredibly precarious. A project worker interviewed for the Patients not Passports Report shared that:

    “One client lived in a care home where she does live-in care and she has been exposed to Corona but has stated that she will not seek treatment and would rather die there than be detained.”

    Elvis, an undocumented migrant from the Philippines, died at home with suspected coronavirus because he was so scared by the hostility of Government policies that he did not seek any help from the NHS.

    For those that do try to access healthcare, issues such as not having enough phone credit or mobile data, not having wifi or laptops for video appointments, and simply not being able to navigate automated telephone and online systems because of language barriers and non-existent or poor translation, are having a very real impact on people’s ability to receive support. Fears of poor treatment because of people’s past experiences of discrimination and racism even if they access the services is another barrier.

    Exploiting Migrant Labour

    The exploitation of migrant labour has always been essential to sustaining capitalist economies. The pandemic generated contradictory responses from politicians and capitalists alike. Germany’s agricultural sector lobbied hard for opening the border after they were closed, leading the country to lift its ban and let in over 80,000 seasonal workers from Eastern Europe. Yet dilapidated living conditions and overcrowding are sparking new COVID-19 outbreaks, such as the 200 workers that contracted the virus at a slaughterhouse in western Germany.

    In mid May, the Italian government passed a law regularising undocumented migrants, whereby undocumented workers have been encouraged to apply for six-month legal residency permits. There are believed to be about 600,000 undocumented workers in Italy but only people doing ‘essential’ work during the pandemic can apply, mostly in the agricultural sector. Thousands of people live in makeshift encampments near fruit and vegetable farms with no access to running water or electricity.

    Working conditions carry risks of violence. On 18 May, five days after Italy’s regularisation law passed, a 33-year old Indian migrant working in a field outside of Rome was fired after asking his employer for a face mask for protection while at work. When the worker requested his daily wage, he was beaten up and thrown in a nearby canal.

    Conclusion

    The coronavirus crisis has exposed and intensified the brutality required to sustain capitalism – from systemic racism, to violent border controls, to slave labour for industrial agriculture, the list goes on. Despite extremely difficult conditions, undocumented migrants have formed strong movements of solidarity and collective struggle in many European countries. From revolts in detention centres to legal actions to empty them, people are continually resisting the border regime. As people reject a ‘return to normal’ post pandemic, the fall of the border regime must be part of a vision for freedom and liberation in a world beyond capitalism.

    https://corporatewatch.org/coronaborderregime
    #capitalisme #covid-19 #coronavirus #frontières #Europe #migrations #violence #asile #réfugiés #camps #camps_de_réfugiés #containment #rétention #campements #technologie #militarisation_des_frontières #Grèce #Turquie #violences_policières #police #refoulements #push-backs #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #santé #accès_aux_soins #travail #exploitation #pandémie #Frontex #confinement #grève_de_la_faim #fermeture_des_frontières

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_ @thomas_lacroix

  • *La Marine teste l’utilisation de NETS pour piéger les migrants dans la Manche alors que des nombres record traversent illégalement*

    - Des navires militaires ont travaillé avec la UK Border Force pour essayer des tactiques en mai et juin
    - Priti Patel a révélé le stratagème en accusant Paris de la crise actuelle
    – Plus de 2 750 personnes auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni outre-Manche cette année

    La #Royal_Navy a testé l’utilisation de filets pour arrêter les migrants dans la Manche, a révélé hier #Priti_Patel.

    Des navires militaires ont travaillé avec la #UK_Border_Force en mai et juin, essayant des #tactiques pour se déployer contre de petits bateaux traversant la France.

    La ministre de l’Intérieur a fait la divulgation alors qu’elle reprochait à Paris de ne pas avoir maîtrisé la crise des migrants.

    Plus de 2 750 clandestins auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni de l’autre côté de la Manche cette année, dont 90 non encore confirmés qui ont atterri à Douvres hier.

    Ce chiffre se compare à seulement 1 850 au cours de l’année dernière. Dimanche, il y a eu un record de 180, entassés à bord de 15 dériveurs.

    Plus de 2 750 clandestins auraient atteint le Royaume-Uni de l’autre côté de la Manche cette année, dont 90 non encore confirmés qui ont atterri à #Douvres hier

    Les #chiffres montent en flèche malgré la promesse de Miss Patel, faite en octobre, qu’elle aurait pratiquement éliminé les passages de la Manche maintenant.

    Hier, elle a déclaré qu’elle s’efforçait de persuader les Français de « montrer leur volonté » et de permettre le retour des arrivées.

    Mlle Patel a affirmé que les #lois_maritimes_internationales autorisaient le Royaume-Uni à empêcher les bateaux de migrants d’atteindre le sol britannique, mais que Paris interprétait les règles différemment.

    « Je pense qu’il pourrait y avoir des mesures d’application plus strictes du côté français », a déclaré hier Mme Patel aux députés.

    « Je cherche à apporter des changements. Nous avons un problème majeur, majeur avec ces petits bateaux. Nous cherchons fondamentalement à changer les modes de travail en France.

    « J’ai eu des discussions très, très – je pense qu’il est juste de dire – difficiles avec mon homologue français, même en ce qui concerne les #interceptions en mer, car actuellement les autorités françaises n’interceptent pas les bateaux.

    « Et j’entends par là même des bateaux qui ne sont qu’à 250 mètres environ des côtes françaises.

    « Une grande partie de cela est régie par le #droit_maritime et les interprétations des autorités françaises de ce qu’elles peuvent et ne peuvent pas faire. »

    Elle a confirmé que les #navires_de_patrouille français n’interviendront pour arrêter les bateaux de migrants que s’ils sont en train de couler – et non pour empêcher les traversées illégales.

    Au sujet de la participation de la Marine, Mlle Patel a déclaré à la commission des affaires intérieures de la Chambre des communes : « Nous avons mené une série d’#exercices_dans_l’eau en mer impliquant une gamme d’#actifs_maritimes, y compris militaires.

    La ministre de l’Intérieur, photographiée hier, a fait la divulgation alors qu’elle reprochait à Paris de ne pas avoir maîtrisé la crise des migrants

    « Nous pouvons renforcer #Border_Force et montrer comment nous pouvons prendre des bateaux en toute sécurité et les renvoyer en France.

    « C’est effectivement le dialogue que nous entamons actuellement avec les Français pour savoir comment ils peuvent travailler avec nous et montrer leur volonté. Parce que cela ne sert à rien de leur pays.

    Tim Loughton, un député conservateur du comité, a demandé au ministre de l’Intérieur : « Pouvez-vous confirmer que vous pensez que les Français ont le pouvoir – qu’ils prétendent ne pas avoir – d’intercepter des bateaux en mer ? »

    Elle a répondu : ‘Absolument raison. Et c’est ce que nous nous efforçons de réaliser jusqu’au partage des #conseils_juridiques en matière de droit maritime. À travers la pandémie où le temps a été favorable, nous avons vu une augmentation des chiffres et nous devons mettre un terme à cette route.

    « Nous voulons rompre cette route, nous voulons rendre cela #non_viable. La seule façon d’y parvenir est d’intercepter et de renvoyer les bateaux en France. »

    Le ministre français de l’Intérieur, Gerald Darmanin, qui a été nommé il y a seulement dix jours, se rendra à Douvres le mois prochain pour voir l’impact des bateaux de migrants sur la communauté locale.

    « Le ministre de l’Intérieur est de plus en plus frustré par la partie française, mais nous avons de nouveaux espoirs que le nouveau ministre de l’Intérieur voudra régler ce problème », a déclaré une source de Whitehall.

    Hier, neuf passagers clandestins érythréens ont été découverts à l’arrière d’un camion lors d’un service Welcome Break sur la M40. La police a été appelée après que des témoins ont vu des mouvements à l’arrière du camion stationné dans l’Oxfordshire.

    https://www.fr24news.com/fr/a/2020/07/la-marine-teste-lutilisation-de-nets-pour-pieger-les-migrants-dans-la-manc
    #frontières #militarisation_des_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #armée #NETS #Manche #La_Manche #France #UK #Angleterre #pull-back #pull-backs

    #via @FilippoFurri

  • THE DARK SIDE OF EUROPEANISATION. Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Border Regime

    While the external borders of the European Union have remained largely closed for people on the move since 2016, the two neighbouring states, Serbia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina, have become the main transit countries in Southeast Europe, with migrations taking place in a clandestine manner, often back and forth and exposed to brutal border pushbacks. Examining migration movements, policies, public discourses and struggles in the Balkans between the summer of migration in 2015 and the pandemic crisis in 2020, this study provides an analysis of the impact of the EUropean border and migration regime in the region, which has become a #buffer_zone for people on the move. Tracing the complex interplay of EU, state and local institutions, it offers insight into how policies of the securitisation and militarisation of the EU’s external borders are intertwined with the region’s EU accession process.

    https://www.rosalux.rs/en/dark-side-europeanisation
    #rapport #border_regime #Bosnie #Balkans #Serbie #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #frontières_extérieures #transit #Europe #EU #UE #militarisation #sécurisation #militarisation_des_frontières

    ping @luciebacon @isskein

  • Borders in Times of Pandemic

    A pandemic is never just a pandemic. Over the past few weeks, it has become evident how the spread and impact of the novel Coronavirus is profoundly shaped by social and political practices – such as tourism and travel – institutions – such as governments and their advisors – and structures – such as inequalities along the lines of class, race and gender. All of these are part of systems that are historically variable and subject to human agency. The international border regime is one such system. While it is an obvious truth that the virus’s spread does not respect any borders, governments across the world have resorted to closing their borders, more or less explicitly likening the threat of the virus to the “threat” of “uncontrolled” migration.

    This kind of disaster nationalism – the nationalist impulse to circle the wagons in the face of a transnational challenge – could be countered by insisting that we are witnessing a pandemic in the literal sense, i.e., a health crisis that affects not just a part of the population, but all (pan) people (demos), thus highlighting the inefficiency of the border regime. But this insistence that humanity itself is the subject of the pandemic only tells half the truth as the precarity and vulnerability the pandemic imposes on people is distributed in a radically unequal fashion. The virus hits workers in underpaid jobs, in supermarkets, hospitals, delivery services, and informal care, as well as the homeless and the imprisoned in an intensified form. This is even more true for refugees and irregularized migrants. The catastrophic effects of the pandemic are thus especially harsh at the border, in a form that is intensified by the border.

    Refugee camps – hosting millions of Palestinians, Sudanese, Rohingya, Syrians, and many more in a camp archipelago that barely touches Europe and North America – are the crucible of this crisis just as much as they condense the structural violence of the border regime more generally. Take the camps at the borders of the European Union in Greece, where over 40,000 people – mostly from Syria and Afghanistan – are confined under unimaginable hygienic conditions, without the ability to wash their hands, let alone practice social distancing or access any reliable medical help. This is neither a natural condition nor an accidental byproduct of an otherwise well-functioning border regime. It is the direct effect of political decisions taken by the EU and its member states (and in a similar way, the EU, together with the US, has played a crucial role in producing the conditions that these refugees are seeking to flee).

    Instead of evacuating the camps in which the first Covid-19 cases were reported, the Greek government – deserted by its fellow EU member states – has now placed them under lockdown. Germany, the largest and richest EU member, has made it clear that it will take in no more than 400 children, but even that will only happen once others do their “fair share” – a “fair share” that stands in a grotesque relation to the number of refugees currently hosted in countries such as Turkey (3.7m) and Pakistan (1.4m). Unfortunately, this declaration of complete moral bankruptcy does not come as a surprise, but continues an EU record that has been especially dismal since the “summer of migration” in 2015, when the mass political agency of refugees – and especially their march from the Budapest train station to the Austrian and then on to the German border – forced politicians to open the borders. This opening lasted only very briefly, and the subsequent strategy of closure has been aimed at preventing a renewed opening at all costs, thus paving the way for the current resurgence of disaster nationalism. (It is precisely for this reason that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has referred to Greece as the “shield” of Europe – suggesting the urgent need to repel an imminent threat.)

    The indifference toward the suffering of refugees at the EU’s borders, or rather the EU’s exercise of its “power to make live and let die,” fits well with the logic of disaster nationalism that the hollow rhetoric of solidarity barely manages to disguise: every state is on its own, the virus is “othered” as a foreign threat or “invasion,” and the closing of borders intensifies the “border spectacle” that is supposed to assure citizens that their government has everything under control.

    Of course, the illegitimacy of the border regime, especially in its catastrophic effects on refugees in camps in Greece and elsewhere, needs to be publicly exposed. Indeed, this illegitimacy is overdetermined and goes beyond the incontrovertible fact that in its current form it violates international law and creates a permanent humanitarian catastrophe. From a normative perspective, the injustice-generating and injustice-preserving, freedom-restricting, and undemocratic character of the existing border regime has also been rigorously demonstrated – both in philosophical argument and in daily political contestations by refugee and migrant movements themselves.

    Nevertheless, insisting on this illegitimacy is insufficient as it underestimates the complexity of the border as a social institution, as well as the powerful forces of naturalization that make borders seem like part of the natural make-up of our world, especially for those who are exempt from borders’ daily terror. The normative case against borders, at least in the form in which they currently exist, thus needs to be supplanted by a critical theory of the border. Because critical theory, still grappling with its legacy of methodological nationalism, at least in the Frankfurt School tradition, has had little to say on these issues in the past, we need to turn to critical migration studies, which build on the knowledge generated in practices of migration themselves. Three lessons in particular (distilled from the work of Etienne Balibar, Sandro Mezzadra, Nicholas de Genova and others) stand out:

    1) Borders do not simply have a derived or secondary status – as if they were just drawing the line between preexisting entities and categories of people – but are essentially productive, generative, and constitutive, e.g., of the differences between citizens and migrants, and between different categories of migrants (refugees, economic migrants, expats, etc.) and their corresponding forms of mobility and immobility.

    2) Borders are no longer exclusively or primarily “at the border,” at the “limits” of the state’s territory, but have proliferated in the interior as well as the exterior of the political community and been diffused into “borderscapes” in which particular categories of people, such as irregularized migrants, never really cross the border or manage to leave it behind.

    3) Borders do not simply enable the exclusion of non-citizens and migrants and the inclusion of citizens and guests. Instead their porosity and imperfection is part of their functionality and design, enabling a form of differential inclusion and selection that does not just block irregular migration but filters it, including in ways that are in keeping with the demands of contemporary labor markets (especially in areas deemed essential in times of crisis such as care and agriculture).

    One implication of these lessons is that a border is never just a border – a gate to be opened or closed at will, although such gates do of course exist and can remain closed with fatal consequences. This becomes especially apparent in times of a pandemic in which governments race to close their borders as if this would stop a virus that has already exposed this way of thinking about borders as naïve and fetishistic. The reality of the border regime, and the way in which it contributes to making the pandemic into a catastrophe for the most vulnerable on our planet, confront us with what in the end amounts to a simple choice: we can either affirm this regime and continue to naturalize it, thus sliding down the slippery slope toward a struggle of all against all, or we can contribute to the manifold struggles by refugees and migrants alike to denaturalize and politicize the border regime, to expose its violence, and to make it less catastrophic.

    https://ctjournal.org/2020/04/09/borders-in-times-of-pandemic-2

    #frontières #pandémie #coronavirus #covid-19 #nationalisme #disaster_nationalism #crise_sanitaire #border_regime #régime_frontalier #camps_de_réfugiés #fermeture_des_frontières #invasion #border_spectacle #spectacle_frontalier #justice #nationalisme_méthodologique

    ping @isskein @karine4 @mobileborders @rhoumour @_kg_

    ping @mobileborders

  • Special Report: #COVID-19 and Border Violence along the Balkan Route

    The #Border_Violence_Monitoring_Network are publishing a feature report on the intersection of the current health crisis and border management. This new report shares first hand testimony of people-on-the-move who are experiencing the COVID-19 lockdown in transit. Its scope looks at the way restrictive measures disproportionately affect vulnerable persons in camps and at borders. Further, analysis of various countries from the region shows how COVID-19 measures have also been utilised to shape and erode the fundamental rights of these communities. Approaching the topic of COVID-19 as a period used to stage rights suspensions, some of the developments explored in this report include:

    –The deployment of military forces at borders and camps is a core feature of the securitised response to COVID-19. This was seen with proposals made by the Slovenian government to increase the army’s remit in the border area and the garrisoning of camps in Serbia.

    –The development of pushback practice in countries such as Croatia has shown a disturbing turn. Augmentation of border violence as a result of the pandemic appeared with the crude paint tagging of transit groups near Velika Kladusa. Meanwhile two officers actively involved in pushbacks in the Topusko area were tested positive for COVID-19, putting people-on-the-move at direct risk of contracting the virus at the hand of perpetrating officers..

    –Collective expulsions from camps has rapidly become a new concern for people in centres in Greece and Serbia. The lockdown measures were used on multiple occasions as an excuse to perform large scale pushbacks from inner city camps and centres hosting asylum seekers.

    –Inadequate accommodation facilities are an ongoing concern for transit groups denied the basic means to exercise relevant health protocols. Across the Balkan Route and Greece, the sealing of centres marked disproportionate deprivations of liberty and wilful neglect of hygienic standards by states and the European Union.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/special-report-covid-19-and-border-violence-along-the-balkan-route
    #violence #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #migrations #asile #réfugiés #violent_borders #violence_aux_frontières #rapport #armée #militarisation_des_frontières #Serbie #Slovénie #push-back #push-backs #refoulement #refoulements #Velika_Kladusa #Topusko #Grèce #confinement #camps_de_réfugiés #hébergement

    ping @luciebacon

  • Migrants au pays d’Orbán : ces « prisons maternelles » remplies d’enfants - Dans les « zones de transit » hongroises où sont enfermés les demandeurs d’asile, les enfants sont majoritaires. Avant 2017, les autorités pouvaient les garder un mois, elles n’ont plus de limites aujourd’hui. Troisième volet de notre série sur les mineurs étrangers aux portes de l’UE.
    #migration, #enfermement, #unaccompaniedminors, #borders
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/110520/migrants-au-pays-d-orban-ces-prisons-maternelles-remplies-d-enfants

  • Bordering under the corona virus pandemic

    In our recent book Bordering (Yuval-Davis, Wemyss & Cassidy, 2019), we discuss the paradoxical phenomenon that, under neoliberal globalisation, borders did not disappear but rather proliferated off-and in-shore, from consulates across the globe to everyday spaces like railways and places of work. We described the functioning of bordering as processes rather than static boundary lines that, like computer firewalls, are invisible to some, impermeable to many others. We showed the ways these have crucially contributed to multi-scalar – from the global to the local – inequalities and precarities, forcing more and more people to be precariously stuck in limbo grey borderzones with no possibility of building regular lives with civil, political and social rights.

    It is important to examine the ways the pandemic has affected these processes of everyday bordering, both locally and globally. Of course, it is far too early to know, or even predict, the longer-term transformations in bordering that the pandemic will bring. However, it is safe to say that, as after earlier major crises, such as 9/11 and the AIDS crises – to mention just two major transformatory crises in recent decades – the ‘new normal’ is not going to go back to how things were, in several major ways. Everyday bordering, from the lockdown of individuals in their homes to the lockdown of regional and national borders, is at the heart of the technologies of control used to try to contain the pandemic and it is thus hard to believe that free movement would be restored any time soon.

    Except that, as we’ve shown in our book, free movement has never been free for most people. Border controls have been operating like computers’ firewalls, invisible to some, blocking many others, with money and required skills for the neoliberal economy being the main facilitators. We can see these firewalls continuing to operate today as well – at different ends of the scale, the super-rich flying in private jets able to travel without being subject to the usual restrictions and seasonal workers from Eastern Europe being flown into the UK by the farming industry to ensure that fruit is being picked. Two weeks into the lockdown, the Home Office published its guidance for post-Brexit immigration rules aimed at preventing low paid workers – the key workers on which healthcare services are depending – from working in the UK.

    These are just some of the paradoxes of ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ policies. On the one hand, a neo-liberal governmentality that puts the onus of responsibility on the individuals, where people are required to isolate themselves at home and keep away from others, while others are forced to carry on working – not only because they fulfil essential medical, social and economic roles, but also because many of them would not get any money to live on if they stop working.

    This is just one of the intersectional growing inequalities impacts of everyday bordering. Given their disproportionate presence in frontline health and public services, the percentage of BAME people who have died under the pandemic is still unknown but feared to be to very high. Of course, this is not just due to the kind of jobs they do, but also their poor and crowded living conditions, as well as a distrust of governmental and scientific authorities which have not helped them in the past.

    In addition to unequal class and racialised effects, the lockdown bordering has also had a major gendered effect, such as a sharp rise in domestic violence, as can be expected when nuclear family members are locked down together.

    In our book we discussed the ways everyday bordering as a top down technology of control has been reinforced by and reinforces the growth of bottom up nativist extreme right movements, which have brought to power authoritarian rulers in many countries in the globe and arguably Brexit in the UK. Blaming and scapegoating the ‘Others’ have been a major multi-scalar reaction to the pandemic, from Trump calling the corona virus ‘the Chinese virus’, to social media blaming George Soros in the traditional antisemitic blood conspiracy theories, to street hate crimes, including health workers reporting abuse from strangers for leaving their homes.

    One of the positive ‘side effects’ of the lockdown has been the development and reinforcement of mutual aid groups in local communities. Neighbours have got to know each other, help elderly and vulnerable people with their shopping etc. However, the other side of the strengthening of local bonds has been the rejection of ‘others’. Local media report people crossing county borders’ violating lockdowns – Kent Online reported ‘Lockdown louts from London have been fined after once again invading the county’ and being found by ‘enforcement officers from the council who were patrolling the area’. This is aided by regional bordering policies, which in some countries, such as Italy, has meant the official closure of regional borders for non-essential traffic, while in the UK, Sussex police, for example, praised ‘the amazing community spirit across Sussex’, whilst noting that ‘Unfortunately, a small number of people from outside of the county deemed it appropriate to visit the area’.

    The aim of this blog post is not to oppose bordering policies in the age of the pandemic, but rather to argue that using it as almost the only counter-pandemic measure is dangerous, both at present and for the future.

    At present, we have seen that when voluntary lockdown policies are used, without mass testing and sufficient protective equipment for those who are not in isolation, they cost many lives as well as create psychological, social and economic hardships. In comparison, other states, including Germany and South Korea, have used mass testing and contact tracing to slow down the rate of infection.

    Moreover, these borderings, like the borderings we described in our book, are an intersection of political projects of governance and of belonging. Very few states, including Ireland and Portugal, have recognised all migrants to be full entitled members of society during the pandemic; only a few states have recognized the right of all members of societies for minimum income during the pandemic, and policies aimed at exclusion and deprivation of all those in national and global grey limbo zones endanger the lives of millions across the globe.

    Everyday bordering policies are evolving in which the surveillance of people is reaching sci-fi dimensions. Similar COVID-19 related technologies are being developed globally by authoritarian and liberal governments. While Israel has authorised counter-terrorism surveillance to track corona virus patients, compulsory colour-coded health apps determine whether individuals can travel in China, while Russia uses face recognition technologies to enforce self-isolation. In Hong Kong and Singapore, COVID 19 apps identify locations and contacts of individuals. European governments are copying these apps whilst also collecting telecom data and using drones to spot transgressors.

    Such developments combine with rumours and debates about national and global digital monitoring of vaccinations, adding force to Yuval Noah Harari’s speculations that the epidemic may normalise biometric surveillance with authorities becoming able to detect people’s emotions as well as their lifestyles and whereabouts. This would be the utmost paradox: a borderless world with the most tightly operated everyday bordering technology.


    https://acssmigration.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/bordering-under-the-corona-virus-pandemic-georgie-wemyss-and-nira-yuval-davis/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    #frontières #coronavirus #covid-19 #bordering #frontiérisation #surveillance #frontières_mobiles #riches #pauvres #immobilité #hyper-mobilité #travailleurs_étrangers #confinement #responsabilité_individuelle #travail #inégalités #everyday_bordering #classes_sociales #inégalités_raciales #violence_domestique #altérité #solidarité #racisme #xénophobie #surveillance_biométrique #drones

    La conclusion autour d’un #paradoxe :

    This would be the utmost paradox: a borderless world with the most tightly operated everyday bordering technology.

    Pour @etraces :

    Everyday bordering policies are evolving in which the surveillance of people is reaching sci-fi dimensions. Similar COVID-19 related technologies are being developed globally by authoritarian and liberal governments. While Israel has authorised counter-terrorism surveillance to track corona virus patients, compulsory colour-coded health apps determine whether individuals can travel in China, while Russia uses face recognition technologies to enforce self-isolation. In Hong Kong and Singapore, COVID 19 apps identify locations and contacts of individuals. European governments are copying these apps whilst also collecting telecom data and using drones to spot transgressors.

    Pour @karine4 :

    Moreover, these borderings, like the borderings we described in our book, are an intersection of political projects of governance and of belonging. Very few states, including Ireland and Portugal, have recognised all migrants to be full entitled members of society during the pandemic; only a few states have recognized the right of all members of societies for minimum income during the pandemic, and policies aimed at exclusion and deprivation of all those in national and global grey limbo zones endanger the lives of millions across the globe.

    ping @isskein @mobileborders

  • La politique des putes

    Océan réalise, avec « La #Politique_des_putes », une enquête en immersion dans laquelle il tend le micro à des travailleuses·rs du sexe. Elles disent le stigmate, la marginalisation, la précarité, les violences systémiques mais aussi les ressources et l’empowerment. Pour elles, l’intime est résistance. Dix épisodes de 30 mn pour briser les préjugés.



    La Politique des putes (1/10) - Travailler
    La Politique des putes (2/10) - Stigmatiser
    La Politique des putes (3/10) - Militer
    La Politique des putes (4/10) - Choisir
    La Politique des putes (5/10) - Désirer
    La Politique des putes (6/10) - Migrer
    La Politique des putes (7/10) - Soigner
    La Politique des putes (8/10) - S’échapper
    La Politique des putes (9/10) - Agir
    La Politique des putes (10/10) - Construire

    http://www.nouvellesecoutes.fr/podcasts/intime-politique

    #sex_work #prostitution #patriarchy #capitalism #feminism #wage_labor #whorephobe #whorephobia #pimping #stigma #bias #prejudice #stigmatization #discrimination #systemic_violence #instiutional_violence #heterosexual_concept #sexual_education #normalisation #abolotionism #black_and_white #subventions #decriminalisation #penalty #laws #rights #transphobia #domination #marginalisation #vulnerability #invisbility #undocumented #isolation #fear #police_harassment #physical_violence #rape #precarity #affirmation #empowerment #dignity #trust #solidarity #network #community #choice #perception #society #associations #seropositive #access_to_healthcare #suicidal_thought #debt #menace #voodoo #exploitation #trafficking #migration #borders #family_pressure #clients_image #mudered #testimony #interview #podcast #audio #France #Paris

    “sex work is not dirty - dirty are all the representations about sex work” (La politique des putes 7/10, min 7).

  • Greece to extend border fence over migration surge

    Greece will extend its fence on the border with Turkey, a government source said Sunday (8 March), amid continuing efforts by migrants to break through in a surge enabled by Ankara.

    “We have decided to immediately extend the fence in three different areas,” the government source told AFP, adding that the new sections, to the south of the area now under pressure, would cover around 36 kilometres (22 miles).

    The current stretch of fence will also be upgraded, the official added.

    Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers have been trying to break through the land border from Turkey for a week after Ankara announced it would no longer prevent people from trying to cross into the European Union.

    A police source Sunday told AFP that riot police reinforcements from around the country had been sent to the border in recent days, in addition to drones and police dogs.

    There have been numerous exchanges of tear gas and stones between Greek riot police and migrants.

    Turkey has also bombarded Greek forces with tear gas at regular intervals, and Athens has accused Turkish police of handing out wire cutters to migrants to help them break through the border fence.

    The Greek government over the weekend also released footage which it said showed a Turkish armoured vehicle assisting efforts to bring down the fence.

    “Parts of the fence have been removed, both by the (Turkish) vehicle and with wire cutters, but they are constantly being repaired,” local police unionist Elias Akidis told Skai TV.

    Turkey has accused Greek border guards of using undue force against the migrants, injuring many and killing at least five.

    The government in Athens has consistently dismissed the claim as lies.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/greece-to-extend-border-fence-over-migration-surge
    #murs #Evros #barrières_frontalières #Grèce #Turquie #frontières #extension
    ping @fil @reka @albertocampiphoto

    • je suis tombé sur une vidéo YT d’un compte néo-nazi montrant une attaque du mur de l’Evros par des migrants. L’attaque y est présentée comme soutenue par la police turque, ce qui est vraiment beaucoup solliciter les images… les migrants sont noyés sous les lacrymos.

    • Evros: Greece to extend the fence on the borders with Turkey to 40km

      Greece will extend the fence to its Evros borders with Turkey to 40 km, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Friday morning. The additional fence will be installed in “sensitive” areas preferred for illegal entries by migrants and refugees.

      The fence currently covers 12.5 km.

      Speaking to ANT1 TV, Petsas noted that at the moment the most vulnerable border point is in the south.

      The current 12.5 km fence of land access points is installed north and south of Kastanies customs office, where thousands of migrants and refugees have amassed.

      According to the daily Kathimerini, the 40 kilometers new fence is planned to be partially installed either in areas where the Evros waters are low or in areas where the landscape favors illegla paasage.

      Sections such as Ormenio, Gardens, Feres, Tychero, Soufli, Dikaia, Dilofo, Marassia, Nea Vyssa and elsewhere have been designated as the areas where the new fence will installed by the Greek Army and support by the police.

      According to a report by daily Elftheros Typos, Greece’s Plan B aside from the fence extension is the presence of about 4,000 police officers and soldiers in parallel patrols, helicopters, unmanned aircraft, message broadcasting, cameras for audio-video.

      A Greek Army – Greek Police “joint operations center” is to be established in Nea Vryssa.

      According to the daily more than 1,000 soldiers, two commandos squads, 1,500 police and national guards are currently operating in the Evros area.

      Petsas underlined that the Greek government has changed its policy because there is a national security issue at the moment.

      He reiterated the new policy saying that “no one will cross the border.”

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/03/06/evros-greece-fence-borders-turkey-extension

    • Video 2 - Violences contre les exilé·es à la frontière gréco-turque

      Depuis le début du mois de mars 2020, des milliers d’exilé·es, incité·es voire poussé·es par les autorités turques, se sont précipité·es aux frontières terrestres et maritimes entre la Turquie et la Grèce. Ils et elles se sont heurté·es à la violence de la police et de l’armée grecque, ainsi que de groupe fascistes, mobilisés pour leur en interdire le franchissement, la suite : www.gisti.org/spip.php ?article6368

      https://indymotion.fr/videos/watch/e8938a1c-5456-46e8-a0cb-be0806c96051?start=1s

    • Greece shields Evros border with blades wire, 400 new border guards

      Greece is strengthening ifs defense and is preparing for a possible new wave of migrants at its Evros border. A fence of sharp blades wire (concertina wire) and 400 additional border guards are to shield the country for the case Turkey will open its borders again so that migrants can cross into Europe.

      According to daily ethnos (https://www.ethnos.gr/ellada/105936_ohyronetai-o-ebros-frahtis-me-lepidoforo-syrmatoplegma-kai-400-neoi-sy), Ankara has already been holding groups of migrants in warehouses near the border, while the Greek side is methodically being prepared for the possibility of a new attempt for waves of migrants to try to cross again the border.

      “At the bridgeheads of Peplos and Fera, at the land borders after the riverbed is aligned, and in other vulnerable areas along the border, kilometer-long of metal fence with sharp blades wire are being installed, the soil is being cleaned from wild vegetation and clearing of marsh lands.

      The fence in the northern part is being strengthened and expanded, and 11 additional border pylons, each one 50 meters high, will be installed along the river in the near future. Each pylon will be equipped with cameras and modern day and night surveillance systems, with a range of several kilometers and multiple telecommunications capabilities, the daily notes.

      Within the next few months, 400 newly recruited border guards will be on duty and will almost double the deterrent force and enhance the joint patrols of the Army and Police, ethnos adds.

      Big armored military vehicles destined for Libya and confiscated five years ago south of Crete have been made available to the Army in the area, the daily notes.

      One and a half month after the end of the “war without arms” at the Evros border from end of February till the end of March, sporadic movement on the Turkish side of the border has been observed.

      At least four shooting incidents have been reported in the past two weeks, with Turkish jandarmerie to have fired at Greek border guards and members of the Frontex.

      Greece’s security forces are on high alert.

      Just a few days ago, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Ankara’s policy of “open borders” will continue for anyone wishing to cross into Europe.

      Speaking to nationalist Akit TV on Wednesday, Cavusoglu claimed that Greece used “inhumane” behavior towards the migrants who want to cross into the country.

      Also Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had threatened that the migrants will be allowed to leave Turkey again once the pandemic was over.

      PS It could be a very hot summer, should Turkey attempt to send migrants to Europe by land through Evros and by sea with boats to the Aegean islands and at the same time, deploys a drilling ship off Crete in July, as it claimed a few days ago.

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2020/05/17/greece-shields-evros-border-blades-wire-400-border-guards

      #militarisation_des_frontières

    • Pour la bagatelle de 63 millions d’euro...

      Greece to extend fence on land border with Turkey to deter migrants

      Greece will proceed with plans to extend a cement and barbed-wire fence that it set up in 2012 along its northern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from entering the country, the government said on Monday.

      The conservative government made the decision this year, spokesman Stelios Petsas said, after tens of thousands of asylum seekers tried to enter EU member Greece in late February when Ankara said it would no longer prevent them from doing so.

      Greece, which is at odds with neighbouring Turkey over a range of issues, has been a gateway to Europe for people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, with more than a million passing through the country in 2015-2016.

      The project led by four Greek construction companies will be completed within eight months at an estimated cost of 63 million euros, Petsas told a news briefing.

      The 12.5-kilometre fence was built eight years ago to stop migrants from crossing into Greece. It will be extended in areas indicated by Greek police and the army, Petsas said without elaborating. In March, he said it would be extended to 40 kilometres.

      Tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, who disagree over where their continental shelves begin and end, have recently escalated further over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean region.

      https://kdal610.com/2020/08/24/greece-to-extend-fence-on-land-border-with-turkey-to-deter-migrants

    • Greece to extend fence on land border with Turkey to deter migrants

      Greece will proceed with plans to extend a cement and barbed-wire fence that it set up in 2012 along its northern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from entering the country, the government said on Monday.

      The conservative government made the decision this year, spokesman Stelios Petsas said, after tens of thousands of asylum seekers tried to enter EU member Greece in late February when Ankara said it would no longer prevent them from doing so.

      Greece, which is at odds with neighbouring Turkey over a range of issues, has been a gateway to Europe for people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, with more than a million passing through the country in 2015-2016.

      The project led by four Greek construction companies will be completed within eight months at an estimated cost of 63 million euros, Petsas told a news briefing.

      The 12.5-kilometre fence was built eight years ago to stop migrants from crossing into Greece. It will be extended in areas indicated by Greek police and the army, Petsas said without elaborating. In March, he said it would be extended to 40 kilometres.

      Tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, who disagree over where their continental shelves begin and end, have recently escalated further over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean region.

      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-greece-turkey-fence/greece-to-extend-fence-on-land-border-with-turkey-to-deter-migrants-idUK

    • Evros land border fence to be ready in eight months

      The construction of a new fence on northeastern Greece’s Evros land border with Turkey will be completed in eight months, according to Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, speaking in Parliament on Monday.

      The border fence project has a total budget of 62.9 million euros and has been undertaken by a consortium put together by four construction companies.

      It will have a total length of 27 kilometers and eight elevated observatories will be constructed to be used by the Hellenic Army.

      Moreover, the existing fence will be reinforced with a steel railing measuring 4.3 meters in height, instead of the current 3.5 meters.

      Damage to the existing fence during attempts by thousands of migrants to cross into Greece territory from Turkey, as well as bad weather, will be repaired – including a 400-meter stretch that collapsed as a result of flooding.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/256184/article/ekathimerini/news/evros-land-border-fence-to-be-ready-in-eight-months

    • New Evros fence to be completed by April next year, PM says during on-site inspection

      Construction of a new fence designed to stop undocumented migrants from slipping into Greece along its northeastern border with Turkey, demarcated by the Evros River, is expected to be completed by April next year, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a visit at the area of Ferres on Saturday.

      “Building the Evros fence was the least we could do to secure the border and make the people of Evros feel more safe,” Mitsotakis said.

      The 62.9-million-euro steel fence with barbed wire will be five meters high and have a total length of 27 kilometers. Eight elevated observatories will be constructed to be used by the Hellenic Army. The project, which is designed to also serve as anti-flood protection, has been undertaken by a consortium put together by four construction companies.

      During a meeting with local officials, Mitsotakis also confirmed the hiring of 400 guards to patrol the border.

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/258187/article/ekathimerini/news/new-evros-fence-to-be-completed-by-april-next-year-pm-says-during-on-s

    • To Vima: Evros wall will be ready in April, the Min. of Public
      Order said that ’labourers worked in the snow to finish the fence’.
      It also claims drones fly daily over the border - can anyone confirm? Only found older news saying they were to be deployed.

      https://twitter.com/lk2015r/status/1363625427307278340

      –—

      Εβρος : Ο φράκτης, τα drones και ο χιονιάς

      O καινούργιος φράκτης στα σύνορα με μήκος 27 χιλιόμετρα και με 13 χιλιόμετρα ο παλαιός, θα είναι απόλυτα έτοιμος τον Απρίλιο.

      Ούτε το χιόνι, ούτε οι λευκές νύχτες του Φεβρουαρίου, ούτε οι θερμοκρασίες κάτω από το μηδέν εμπόδισαν τα συνεργεία στις εργασίες τους για την κατασκευή του φράκτη στον Έβρο. Όπως μου είπε ο Μιχάλης Χρυσοχοΐδης « μηχανήματα και εργάτες δούλεψαν μέσα στα χιόνια για να ολοκληρώσουν τον φράκτη ». Μου αποκάλυψε μάλιστα ότι ο καινούργιος φράκτης στα σύνορα με μήκος 27 χιλιόμετρα και με 13 χιλιόμετρα ο παλαιός, θα είναι απόλυτα έτοιμος τον Απρίλιο. Και τούτο παρά το γεγονός ότι αυτές τις ημέρες το μόνον που δυσκολεύει τις εργασίες είναι τα πολλά νερά του ποταμού ο οποίος έχει υπερχειλίσει. Ωστόσο τα drones πετούν καθημερινά και συλλέγουν πληροφορίες, οι περιπολίες είναι συνεχείς και τα ηχοβολιστικά μηχανήματα έτοιμα, εάν χρειαστεί να δράσουν.

      https://www.tovima.gr/2021/02/19/opinions/evros-o-fraktis-ta-drones-kai-o-xionias

    • In post-pandemic Europe, migrants will face digital fortress

      As the world begins to travel again, Europe is sending migrants a loud message: Stay away!

      Greek border police are firing bursts of deafening noise from an armored truck over the frontier into Turkey. Mounted on the vehicle, the long-range acoustic device, or “sound cannon,” is the size of a small TV set but can match the volume of a jet engine.

      It’s part of a vast array of physical and experimental new digital barriers being installed and tested during the quiet months of the coronavirus pandemic at the 200-kilometer (125-mile) Greek border with Turkey to stop people entering the European Union illegally.

      A new steel wall, similar to recent construction on the US-Mexico border, blocks commonly-used crossing points along the Evros River that separates the two countries.

      Nearby observation towers are being fitted with long-range cameras, night vision, and multiple sensors. The data will be sent to control centers to flag suspicious movement using artificial intelligence analysis.

      “We will have a clear ‘pre-border’ picture of what’s happening,” Police Maj. Dimonsthenis Kamargios, head of the region’s border guard authority, told the Associated Press.

      The EU has poured 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) into security tech research following the refugee crisis in 2015-16, when more than 1 million people – many escaping wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – fled to Greece and on to other EU countries.

      The automated surveillance network being built on the Greek-Turkish border is aimed at detecting migrants early and deterring them from crossing, with river and land patrols using searchlights and long-range acoustic devices.

      Key elements of the network will be launched by the end of the year, Kamargios said. “Our task is to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally. We need modern equipment and tools to do that.”

      Researchers at universities around Europe, working with private firms, have developed futuristic surveillance and verification technology, and tested more than a dozen projects at Greek borders.

      AI-powered lie detectors and virtual border-guard interview bots have been piloted, as well as efforts to integrate satellite data with footage from drones on land, air, sea and underwater. Palm scanners record the unique vein pattern in a person’s hand to use as a biometric identifier, and the makers of live camera reconstruction technology promise to erase foliage virtually, exposing people hiding near border areas.

      Testing has also been conducted in Hungary, Latvia and elsewhere along the eastern EU perimeter.

      The more aggressive migration strategy has been advanced by European policymakers over the past five years, funding deals with Mediterranean countries outside the bloc to hold migrants back and transforming the EU border protection agency, Frontex, from a coordination mechanism to a full-fledged multinational security force.

      But regional migration deals have left the EU exposed to political pressure from neighbors.

      Earlier this month, several thousand migrants crossed from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in a single day, prompting Spain to deploy the army. A similar crisis unfolded on the Greek-Turkish border and lasted three weeks last year.

      Greece is pressing the EU to let Frontex patrol outside its territorial waters to stop migrants reaching Lesbos and other Greek islands, the most common route in Europe for illegal crossing in recent years.

      Armed with new tech tools, European law enforcement authorities are leaning further outside borders.

      Not all the surveillance programs being tested will be included in the new detection system, but human rights groups say the emerging technology will make it even harder for refugees fleeing wars and extreme hardship to find safety.

      Patrick Breyer, a European lawmaker from Germany, has taken an EU research authority to court, demanding that details of the AI-powered lie detection program be made public.

      “What we are seeing at the borders, and in treating foreign nationals generally, is that it’s often a testing field for technologies that are later used on Europeans as well. And that’s why everybody should care, in their own self-interest,” Breyer of the German Pirates Party told the AP.

      He urged authorities to allow broad oversight of border surveillance methods to review ethical concerns and prevent the sale of the technology through private partners to authoritarian regimes outside the EU.

      Ella Jakubowska, of the digital rights group EDRi, argued that EU officials were adopting “techno-solutionism” to sideline moral considerations in dealing with the complex issue of migration.

      “It is deeply troubling that, time and again, EU funds are poured into expensive technologies which are used in ways that criminalize, experiment with and dehumanize people on the move,” she said.

      Migration flows have slowed in many parts of Europe during the pandemic, interrupting an increase recorded over years. In Greece, for example, the number of arrivals dropped from nearly 75,000 in 2019 to 15,700 in 2020, a 78% decrease.

      But the pressure is sure to return. Between 2000 and 2020, the world’s migrant population rose by more than 80% to reach 272 million, according to United Nations data, fast outpacing international population growth.

      At the Greek border village of Poros, the breakfast discussion at a cafe was about the recent crisis on the Spanish-Moroccan border.

      Many of the houses in the area are abandoned and in a gradual state of collapse, and life is adjusting to that reality.

      Cows use the steel wall as a barrier for the wind and rest nearby.

      Panagiotis Kyrgiannis, a Poros resident, says the wall and other preventive measures have brought migrant crossings to a dead stop.

      “We are used to seeing them cross over and come through the village in groups of 80 or a 100,” he said. “We were not afraid. … They don’t want to settle here. All of this that’s happening around us is not about us.”

      https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1162084/in-post-pandemic-europe-migrants-will-face-digital-fortress

      #pandémie #covid-19 #coronavirus #barrière_digitale #mur_digital #pré-mur #technologie #complexe_militaro-industriel #AI #IA #intelligence_artificielle #détecteurs_de_mensonge #satellite #biométrie #Hongrie #Lettonie #Frontex #surveillance #privatisation #techno-solutionism #déshumanisation

    • Greece: EU Commission upgrades border surveillance – and criticises it at the same time

      The Greek border police are using a sound cannon and drones on a new border fence, and the EU Commission expresses its „concern“ about this. However, it is itself funding several similar research projects, including a semi-autonomous drone with stealth features for „effective surveillance of borders and migration flows“

      On Monday, the Associated Press (AP) news agency had reported (https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-europe-migration-technology-health-c23251bec65ba45205a0851fab07e) that police in Greece plan to deploy a long-range sound cannon at the external border with Turkey in the future. The device, mounted on a police tank, makes a deafening noise with the volume of a jet engine. It is part of a system of steel walls that is being installed and tested along with drones on the 200-kilometre border with Turkey for migration defence. The vehicle, made by the Canadian manufacturer #Streit, comes from a series of seized „#Typhoons“ (https://defencereview.gr/mrap-vehicles-hellenic-police) that were to be illegally exported to Libya via Dubai (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/streit-libya-un-1.3711776).

      After the AP report about the sound cannons went viral, Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz had clarified that it was not an EU project (https://twitter.com/Ad4EU/status/1400010786064437248).

      Yesterday, AP reported again on this (https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-europe-migration-government-and-politics-2cec83ae0d8544a719a885a). According to Jahnz, the Commission has „noted with concern“ the installation of the technology and is requesting information on its use. Methods used in EU member states would have to comply with European fundamental rights, including the „right to dignity“. The right to asylum and the principle of non-refoulement in states where refugees face persecution must also be respected.

      The Commission’s outrage is anything but credible. After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used refugees to storm the Turkish-Greek border in March 2020, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen travelled to the border river Evros before the start of a Frontex mission and declared her solidarity there. Literally, the former German Defence Minister said (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/statement_20_380): „I thank Greece for being our European shield“.

      Commission funds research on border surveillance

      Also yesterday, the Commission-funded #ROBORDER project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/740593/de) said in a statement (https://roborder.eu/2021/06/03/new-collaboration-with-borderuas-project) that it is now cooperating with the #BorderUAS project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/883272/de). Both are about the use of drones. The police in Greece are involved and the applications are to be tested there.

      The acronym ROBORDER stands for „#Autonomous_Swarm_of_Heterogeneous_Robots_for_Border_Surveillance“. It works with drones on water, on land and in the air. In Greece, for example, a drone is to be used to detect „unauthorised sea border crossing“ (https://roborder.eu/the-project/demonstrators), as well as an aircraft from the #Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with a surveillance test platform, #radar systems and thermal imaging cameras.

      All drones in ROBORDER are supposed to be able to operate in swarms. They are controlled via a mobile control centre from the German company #Elettronica. This „#Multipurpose_Mission_Support_Vehicle“ (#MUROS) is used to collect all recorded data (https://www.elettronica.de/de/produkte/oeffentliche-sicherheit-integration). The project, which will soon come to an end, will cost around nine million euros, of which the EU Commission will pay the largest share.

      High-resolution cameras on lighter-than-air drones

      The acronym BorderUAS means „#Semi-Autonomous_Border_Surveillance_Platform_with_a_High-Resolution_Multi-Sensor_Surveillance_Payload“. Border authorities, police forces as well as companies and institutes mainly from Eastern Europe and Greece want to use it to investigate so-called lighter-than-air drones.

      These can be small zeppelins or balloons that are propelled by alternative propulsion systems and have a multitude of sensors and cameras. The participating company #HiperSfera (https://hipersfera.hr) from Croatia markets such systems for border surveillance, for example.

      The project aims to prevent migration on the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route, the Western Balkan route and across the EU’s eastern external land border. According to the project description, these account for 58 percent of all detected irregular border crossings. BorderUAS ends in 2023, and the technology will be tested by police forces in Greece, Ukraine and Belarus until then. The Commission is funding the entire budget with around seven million euros.

      Civilian and military drone research

      For border surveillance, the EU Defence Agency and the Commission are funding numerous civilian and military drone projects in Greece. These include the €35 million #OCEAN2020 project (https://ocean2020.eu), which conducts research on the integration of drones and unmanned submarines into fleet formations. #ARESIBO, which costs around seven million euros (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/833805/de) and on which the Greek, Portuguese and Romanian Ministries of Defence and the #NATO Research Centre are working on drone technology, will end in 2022. With another five million euros, the Commission is supporting an „#Information_Exchange_for_Command_Control_and_Coordination_Systems_at_the_Borders“ (#ANDROMEDA) (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/833881/de). This also involves drones used by navies, coast guards and the police forces of the member states.

      In #CAMELOT (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/740736/de) are flying various drones from Israel and Portugal, and as in ROBORDER, a single ground station is to be used for this purpose. A scenario „illegal activity, illegal immigration persons“ is being tested with various surveillance equipment at the Evros river. The Commission is contributing eight million euros of the total sum. This year, results from #FOLDOUT (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/214861/factsheet/de) will also be tried out on the Greek-Turkish border river Evros, involving satellites, high-flying platforms and drones with technology for „through-foliage detection“ (https://foldout.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Flyer_v1_Foldout_EN_v2_Print.pdf) in the „outermost regions of the EU„. The Commission is allocating eight million euros for this as well.

      Also with EU funding, predominantly Greek partners, including drone manufacturers #ALTUS and #Intracom_Defense, as well as the Air Force, are developing a drone under the acronym LOTUS with „autonomy functions“ and stealth features for surveillance. The project manager promotes the system as suitable for „effective surveillance of borders and migration flows“ (https://www.intracomdefense.com/ide-leader-in-european-defense-programs).

      https://digit.site36.net/2021/06/04/greece-eu-commission-upgrades-border-surveillance-and-criticises-it-at

      #drones #Canada #complexe_militaro-industriel

  • « Quand on est borderline, on détruit notre entourage sans s’en rendre compte »
    https://www.nouvelobs.com/rue89/20200112.OBS23352/quand-on-est-borderline-on-detruit-notre-entourage-sans-s-en-rendre-compt

    « Je m’appelle Elodie, j’ai 20 ans, je vis en Suisse, et je suis atteinte du trouble de la personnalité borderline. J’ai fait ma première dépression à l’âge de 10 ans, le diagnostic n’a été posé que sept ans plus tard, j’avais déjà fait une tentative de suicide. Longtemps, les psychiatres et les psychologues, qui disaient que j’étais « une adolescente excessivement sur la défensive », pensaient que j’étais bipolaire [autrefois appelée maniaco-dépression, la bipolarité est une maladie qui provoque des dérèglements de l’humeur, NDLR]. La plupart des gens confondent d’ailleurs souvent les deux troubles.

    #santé_mentale #psychiatrie #borderline #bipolaire #dépression
    derrière #paywall

  • The Climate-Migration-Industrial Complex - Public Seminar
    https://publicseminar.org/2020/01/the-climate-migration-industrial-complex

    Thirty years ago there were fifteen border walls around the world. Now there are seventy walls and over one billion national and international migrants. International migrants alone may even double in the next forty years due to global warming. It is not surprising that over the past two decades, we have also seen the rise of an increasingly powerful global climate-security market designed to profit from (and help sustain) these crises. The construction of walls and fences to block rising sea levels and incoming people has become one of the world’s fastest growing industries, alongside the detention and deportation of migrants, and is projected to reach $742 billion by 2023. I believe we are witnessing the emergence of what we might call a “climate-migration-industrial complex.”

    #migration #climat #complexe_industriel #borders #frontières #réfugiés

  • Cauchemar américain

    Le jour commence à tomber sur l’Arizona. Gabriel, 22 ans, soutient Marinela, sa tante âgée d’une quarantaine d’années. Elle s’est effondrée, à bout de forces, sur le sol aride du désert de Sonora, un des points de passage des migrants du Mexique vers les États-Unis. « À cet endroit, il y a un mur assez facile à sauter, puis environ 50 kilomètres de désert à traverser en groupe, accompagné d’un “coyote”, un passeur mexicain. Si un clandestin ne peut plus marcher, il est abandonné à son sort… qui est souvent la mort », relate Francesco Anselmi.

    Depuis trois ans, le photographe italien parcourt les 3 200 kilomètres de cette frontière. Il en a tiré la série photographique Borderlands. « Dans le désert de Sonora, raconte-t-il, les journées sont brûlantes mais la nuit, les températures chutent en dessous de zéro. » Marinela et Gabriel ont marché huit heures sous un soleil de plomb. Quand la Mexicaine a flanché, le groupe a continué. Son neveu a choisi de ne pas la laisser seule.

    Pour éviter d’être repérés depuis les airs, les deux clandestins portent des treillis camouflage ; pour ne pas laisser de traces sur le sol, ils ont attaché des peaux de bêtes sur leurs chaussures. « Ils n’avaient plus d’eau et Marinela, déshydratée, délirait. Entre deux gémissements, elle parlait du diable. »

    L’ONG américaine No More Death estime qu’environ 8000 personnes sont mortes depuis 1990 dans le désert de Sonora en tentant d’atteindre leur rêve américain. Aux États-Unis, aider les migrants est un crime fédéral puni par huit années d’emprisonnement.

    http://www.6mois.fr/Cauchemar-americain
    #USA #Etats-Unis #Mexique #migrations #asile #réfugiés #photographie #frontières #murs #surveillance #drones #désert #Sonora #désert_de_Sonora #barrières_frontalières #Sonoran_desert

    Série #Borderlands de #Francesco_Anselmi

    http://www.francescoanselmi.com/en/stories/stories.asp?idcont=159

    signalé par @karine4

    ping @albertocampiphoto @philippe_de_jonckheere @mobileborders

  • #OSCE Secretariat and #Frontex strengthen co-operation to combat cross-border crime

    The OSCE Secretariat and Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, agreed to strengthen their co-operation in combating cross-border crime, trafficking in human beings and addressing migratory challenges in a Working Arrangement document last week.
    The document, signed by OSCE Secretary General #Thomas_Greminger and Frontex Executive Director #Fabrice_Leggeri, covers different areas of mutual interest, including promoting and enhancing #good_practices in #border_management, ensuring fundamental rights protection of people at the borders, and continuing to develop capacities to address emerging forms of cross-border crime.

    https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/osce-secretariat-and-frontex-strengthen-co-operation-to-combat-cross-
    #coopération #migrations #frontières #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux

    –-----------

    Pour rappel... la page « migrations » de l’OCSE...

    Migrations

    Les grands flux migratoires, s’ils ne sont pas gérés de manière globale et coordonnée et dans le respect des droits de l’homme, sont susceptibles de constituer une menace pour la coopération, la stabilité et la sécurité. Comme le montrent les crises de réfugiés, les personnes en déplacement sont les premières et le plus directement touchées.

    L’OSCE est déterminée à aborder le phénomène migratoire dans toutes ses dimensions en capitalisant sur la valeur ajoutée qu’elle peut apporter aux solutions régionales et mondiales. Parmi les principaux atouts de l’Organisation figurent sa vaste couverture géographique, l’étendue et la diversité de sa composition, sa fonction normative et son engagement transdimensionnel, ses relations avec les partenaires méditerranéens et asiatiques pour la coopération, ainsi que sa présence étendue sur le terrain.

    L’OSCE fournit un appui au renforcement des capacités, donne des avis en matière de politique, sensibilise, mobilise et contribue au dialogue. Les principaux domaines d’action en matière de migrations sont les suivants :

    Régulation desmigrations : gestion des frontières, sécurité des documents de voyage et lutte contre les menaces transnationales, y compris la traite des êtres humains le long des itinéraires de migration ;
    Facilitation de la migration légale : gouvernance et recherche, collecte de données et harmonisation en matière de migration de main-d’œuvre ; et
    Octroi d’un soutien aux individus et aux communautés : liberté de circulation, tolérance et non-discrimination, intégration et orientation des réfugiés.

    L’OSCE est par ailleurs en mesure de soutenir les efforts internationaux relatifs aux questions de migration grâce à sa longue expérience dans le domaine de la dimension humaine et à son rôle reconnu en ce qui concerne le suivi des droits de l’homme. En outre, elle joue un rôle important dans la promotion de l’intégration, de la tolérance et de la non-discrimination ainsi que de l’éducation. Les activités menées dans ces domaines par les institutions de l’OSCE peuvent également s’appliquer aux problèmes de migration. Afin d’éviter les duplications et de renforcer les synergies sur les questions de migration, l’OSCE collabore avec d’autres organisations régionales et internationales au travers d’un dialogue et d’une coopération de haut niveau.

    https://www.osce.org/fr/migration

    Et aussi le passage sur les #contrôles_frontaliers dans le #manuel de l’OCSE : « Manuel pour l’établissement de politiques de migration de main-d’œuvre efficaces »

    VIII.4.2 Contrôles aux frontières et politique de #visas

    Lors de l’examen des mesures extérieures à prendre pour prévenir ou réduire la migration irrégulière, les dispositions les plus courantes mentionnées sont celles qui consistent à prévenir l’entrée des migrants irréguliers. Les contrôles aux frontières doivent être efficaces et justes, car la propension à tenter des méthodes irrégulières tend à augmenter parce que les migrants ne sont pas sûrs si ungarde-frontière corrompu demandera de verser un pot-de-vin ou leur rendra la vie difficile. L’efficacité aux frontières ne s’améliore que si la confiance repose sur la coopération entre les agents de la police des frontières de tous les pays concernés par le processus de migration, et en particulier entre pays voisins. Malheureusement, dans certaines régions, il n’est pas rare que les garde-frontières tentent de faire porter la responsabilité pour les travailleurs migrants irréguliers (en particulier ceux qui transitent par leur pays) aux agents de l’autre pays, plutôt que de coopérer pour trouver une solution au problème. L’UE a adopté des mesures globales pour s’assurer que desrègles communes sont appliquées aux frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne, qui ont fait l’objet d’une refonte dans un Règlement établissant un code communautaire relatif au régime de franchissement des frontières par les personnes (code frontières Schengen) (UE, 2006b). Elle a également mis en place une agence européenne (FRONTEX) pour renforcer la coopération entre les États membres de l’UE à ses frontières (UE, 2004e), qui a récemment coordonné un certain nombre d’activités communes en vue de lutter contre la migration clandestine dans la Méditerranée et l’Atlantique Est (EUobserver.com 2007).Une politique de visas viable et équitablement appliquée qui permette au migrant d’entrer dans le pays pour y prendre un emploi, avec un minimum d’obstacles bureaucratiques, est également essentielle pour s’assurer que moins de migrants entrent dans le pays sans autorisation. Malheureusement, les visas délivrés pour l’admission dans un pays pour d’autres motifs (tourisme ou études) sont mis à profit dans de nombreux pays ainsi que dans les États membres de l’UE appliquant le visa UE/Schengen pour de courtes visites (séjour de maximum trois mois), même si cet abus est souvent exacerbé par l’absence de possibilités juridiques suffisantes pour prendre un emploi.

    (p.187)

    https://www.osce.org/fr/secretariat/29632?download=true
    #politique_migratoire

    ping @isskein @reka

  • The Trump administration is sucking up tens of millions of gallons of precious desert groundwater to build the #BorderWall.

    Even after our children tear down this absurd barrier, it could take the ancient aquifers at #Organ_Pipe generations to recover.

    https://twitter.com/LaikenJordahl/status/1182038921145831424
    #eau #murs #barrières_frontalières #USA #Etats-Unis #nappe_phréatique #désert #frontières

    ping @mobileborders