• Bulgaria : Road to Schengen. Part One : the EU’s external border.

    On the 31st of March, Bulgaria - alongside Romania - joined Schengen as a partial member by air & sea. The inclusion of land crossings for full accession of these countries was blocked by an Austrian veto over concerns(1) that it would lead to an increase in people wanting to claim asylum in the EU.

    What is significant about Bulgaria becoming a Schengen member is that, what has been seen in the lead up, and what we will see following accession, is a new precedent of aggressively fortified borders set for the EU’s external Schengen borders. Which in turn may shape EU wide standards for border management.

    The EU’s external border between Bulgaria and Turkey has become infamous for a myriad of human rights violations and violence towards people who are forced to cross this border ‘illegally’. People continually face the violence of these crossings due to the lack of safe and legal routes allowing people to fulfill their right to seek asylum in Europe.

    In 2022 it was along this border that live ammunition(2) was first used against people seeking asylum in the EU. Shot by the Bulgarian authorities. In the same year it was reported(3) that people were illegally detained for up to 3 days in a cage-like structure attached to the police station in the border town of Sredets. It was also known that vehicles belonging to the European border force Frontex - who are responsible for border management and supposedly upholding fundamental rights - were present in the vicinity of the cages holding detained people.

    The EU’s illegal border management strategy of pushbacks are also well documented and commonplace along this border. Testimonies of pushbacks in this region are frequent and often violent. Within the past year Collective Aid has collected numerous testimonies from survivors of these actions of the state who describe(4) being stripped down to their underwear, beaten with batons and the butts of guns, robbed, and set on by dogs. Violence is clearly the systematic deterrence strategy of the EU.

    Similar violence occurs and is documented along Bulgaria’s northern border with Serbia. During an assessment of the camps in Sofia in March, outside of the Voenna Rampa facility, our team spoke to an Afghan man who, 6 months prior, was beaten so badly during a pushback that his leg was broken. Half a year later he was still using a crutch and was supported by his friends. Due to the ordeal, he had decided to try and claim asylum in Bulgaria instead of risking another border crossing.

    Despite the widespread and well documented violations of European and international law by an EU member state, at the beginning of March Bulgaria was rewarded(5) with its share of an 85 million Euro fund within a ‘cooperation framework on border and migration management’. The money within this framework specifically comes under the Border Management and Visa Instrument (BMVI) 2021 – 2027, designed to ‘enhance national capabilities at the EU external borders’. Within the instrument Bulgaria is able to apply for additional funding to extend or upgrade technology along its borders. This includes purchasing, developing, or upgrading equipment such as movement detection and thermo-vision cameras and vehicles with thermo-vision capabilities. It is the use of this border tech which enables and facilitates the illegal and violent practices which are well documented in Bulgaria.

    Close to the town of Dragoman along the northern border with Serbia, we came across an example of the kind of technology which used a controlled mounted camera that tracked the movement of our team. This piece of equipment was also purchased by the EU, and is used to track movement at the internal border.

    The cooperation framework also outlines(6) a roadmap where Frontex will increase its support of policing at Bulgaria’s border with Turkey. In late February, in the run up to Bulgaria becoming a Schengen member, on a visit to the border with Turkey, Hans Leijtens - Frontex’s executive director - announced(7) an additional 500 - 600 additional Frontex personnel would be sent to the border. Tripling the numbers already operational there.

    Meanwhile Frontex - who have been known(8) to conceal evidence of human rights violations - are again under scrutiny(9) for their lack of accountability in regards to the upholding of fundamental rights. Two days prior to the announcement of additional Frontex staff an investigation(10) by BIRN produced a report from a Frontex whistleblower further highlighting the common kinds of violence and rights violations which occur during pushbacks at this border. As well as the fact that Frontex officers were intentionally kept away from ‘hot spots’ where pushbacks are most frequent. The investigation underlines Frontex’s inability to address, or be held accountable for, human rights violations that occur on the EU’s external borders.

    The awarded money is the next step following a ‘successful’ pilot project for fast-track asylum and returns procedures which was started in March of the previous year. The project was implemented in the Pastrogor camp some 13km from the Turkish border which mostly houses people from the Maghreb region of northwest Africa. A 6 month project report(11) boasts a 60% rejection rate from around 2000 applicants. In line with the EU’s new migration pact, the project has a focus on returns whereby an amendment to national legislation has been prepared to allow a return decision to be made and delivered at the same time as an asylum rejection. As well as the launch of a voluntary return programme supported by the 2021-2027 Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Through which cash incentives for voluntary returns will be increased across the board. These cash incentives are essentially an EU funded gaslighting project, questioning the decisions of people to leave their home countries based on their own survival and safety.

    Our team visited the former prison of the Pastrogor camp in March. Which at the time held only 16 people - some 5% of its 320 capacity.

    The implementation of this pilot project and the fortification of the border with Turkey have been deemed a success by the EU commision(12) who have praised both as indicators of Bulgaria’s readiness to join the Schengen area.

    Unsurprisingly, what we learn from Bulgaria’s accession to becoming a Schengen member is that the EU is not only deliberately ignoring Bulgaria’s dire human rights history in migration and border management. But, alongside the political and economic strengthening brought with Schengen accession, they are actively rewarding the results of such rights violations with exceptional funding that can sustain the state’s human rights infringements. All while the presence of Frontex validates the impunity enjoyed by Bulgaria’s violent border forces who show no respect for human rights law. In early April the European Commision gave a positive report(13) on the results from EU funding which support this border rife with fundamental rights abuses. In a hollow statement Bulgaria’s chief of border police stated: “we are showing zero tolerance to the violation of fundamental rights”.

    What the changes in border management strategies at the EU’s external border to Turkey- in light of Bulgaria’s entry to the Schengen - mean in reality is that people who are still forced to make the crossing do so at greater risk to themselves as they are forced deeper into both the hands of smuggling networks and into the dangerous Strandzha national park.

    The Strandzha national park straddles the Bulgarian-Turkish border. It is in this densely forested and mountainous area of land where people are known to often make the border crossing by foot. A treacherous journey often taking many days, and also known to have taken many lives - lighthouse reports identified 82 bodies of people on the move that have passed through three morgues in Bulgaria. Many of whom will have died on the Strandzha crossing.

    It is reported(14) that morgues in the towns of Burgas and Yambol - on the outskirts of the Strandzha national park - are having difficulty finding space due to the amount of deaths occurring in this area. So much so that a public prosecutor from Yambol explained this as the reason why people are being buried without identification in nameless graves, sometimes after only 4 days of storage. It is also reported that families who tried to find and identify the bodies of their deceased loved ones were forced to pay cash bribes to the Burgas morgue in order to do so.

    Through networks with families in home countries, NGOs based nearby make efforts to alert authorities and to respond to distress calls from people in danger within the Strandzha national park. However, the Bulgarian state makes these attempts nearly impossible through heavy militarisation and the associated criminalisation of being active in the area. It is the same militarisation that is supported with money from the EU’s ‘cooperation framework’. Due to these limitations even the bodies that make it to morgues in Bulgaria are likely to be only a percentage of the total death toll that is effectively sponsored by the EU.

    Local NGO Mission Wings stated(15) that in 2022 they received at most 12 distress calls, whereas in 2023 the NGO stopped counting at 70. This gives a clear correlation between increased funding to the fortification of the EU’s external border and the amount of lives put in danger.

    People are also forced to rely more on smuggling networks. Thus making the cost of seeking asylum greater, and the routes more hidden. When routes become more hidden and reliant on smuggling networks, it limits the interaction between people on the move and NGOs. In turn, testimonies of state violence and illegal practices cannot be collected and violations occur unchallenged. Smuggling networks rely on the use of vehicles, often driving packed cars, vans, and lorries at high speed through the country. Injuries and fatalities of people on the move from car crashes and suffocating are not infrequent in Bulgaria. Sadly, tragic incidents(16) like the deaths of 18 innocent people from Afghanistan in the back of an abandoned truck in February last year are likely only to increase.

    #Bulgarie #frontières #Schengen #migrations #frontières_extérieures #asile #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #violence #Turquie #Sredets #encampement #Frontex #droits_humains #Serbie #Sofia #Voenna_Rampa #Border_Management_and_Visa_Instrument (#BMVI) #aide_financière #technologie #Dragoman #Pastrogor #camps_de_réfugiés #renvois #expulsions #retour_volontaire #Asylum_Migration_and_Integration_Fund (#AMIF) #Strandzha #Strandzha_national_park #forêt #montagne #Burgas #Yambol #mourir_aux_frontières #décès #morts_aux_frontières #identification #tombes #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité #morgue


    ajouté à ce fil de discussion :
    Europe’s Nameless Dead

  • The Hellenic Data Protection Authority fines the Ministry of Migration and Asylum for the “Centaurus” and “Hyperion” systems with the largest penalty ever imposed to a Greek public body

    Two years ago, in February 2022, Homo Digitalis had filed (https://homodigitalis.gr/en/posts/10874) a complaint against the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum for the “#Centaurus” and “#Hyperion” systems deployed in the reception and accommodation facilities for asylum seekers, in cooperation with the civil society organizations Hellenic League for Human Rights and HIAS Greece, as well as the academic Niovi Vavoula.

    Today, the Hellenic Data Protection Authority identified significant GDPR violations in this case by the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum and decided to impose a fine of €175.000 euro – the highest ever imposed against a public body in the country.

    The detailed analysis of the GDPR highlights the significant shortcomings that the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum had fallen into in the context of preparing a comprehensive and coherent Data Protection Impact Assessment, and demonstrates the significant violations of the GDPR that have been identified and relate to a large number of subjects who have a real hardship in being able to exercise their rights.

    Despite the fact that the DPA remains understaffed, with a reduced budget, facing even the the risk of eviction from its premises, it manages to fulfil its mission and maintain citizens’ trust in the Independent Authorities. It remains to be seen how long the DPA will last if the state does not stand by its side.

    Of course, nothing ends here. A high fine does not in itself mean anything. The Ministry of Immigration and Asylum must comply within 3 months with its obligations. However, the decision gives us the strength to continue our actions in the field of border protection in order to protect the rights of vulnerable social groups who are targeted by highly intrusive technologies.

    You can read our press release here: https://homodigitalis.gr/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/PressRelease_%CE%97omoDigitalis_Fine-175.000-euro_Hellenic_Data_Protec

    You can read Decision 13/2024 on the Authority’s website here: https://www.dpa.gr/el/enimerwtiko/prakseisArxis/aytepaggelti-ereyna-gia-tin-anaptyxi-kai-egkatastasi-ton-programmaton


    #Grèce #surveillance #migrations #réfugiés #justice #amende #RGDP #données #protection_des_données #camps_de_réfugiés #technologie

    • Griechenland soll Strafe für Überwachung in Grenzcamps zahlen

      Wie weit darf die EU bei der Überwachung von Asylsuchenden an ihren Grenzen gehen? Griechenland testet das in neuen Lagern auf den Ägäischen Inseln. Nun hat die griechische Datenschutzbehörde dafür eine Strafe verhängt. Bürgerrechtler:innen hoffen auf eine Entscheidung mit Signalwirkung.

      Doppelter „Nato-Sicherheitszaun“ mit Stacheldraht. Kameras, die selbst den Basketballplatz und die Gemeinschaftsräume rund um die Uhr im Blick haben. Drohnen sorgen für Überwachung aus der Luft. Das Lager auf Samos, das die griechische Regierung 2021 mit viel Getöse eröffnet hat, gleicht eher einem Gefängnis als einer Erstaufnahme für Asylsuchende, die gerade in Europa gelandet sind.

      Das Überwachungssystem, das in diesem und vier weiteren Lagern auf den griechischen Inseln für „Sicherheit“ sorgen soll, heißt Centaurus. Die Bilder aus den Sicherheitskameras und Drohnen laufen in einem Kontrollzentrum im Ministerium in Athen zusammen. Bei besonderen Situationen sollen auch Polizeibehörden oder die Feuerwehr direkten Zugang zu den Aufnahmen bekommen. Mit dem System Hyperion wird der Zugang zum Lager kontrolliert: biometrischen Eingangstore, die sich nur mit Fingerabdrücken öffnen lassen.

      Für den Einsatz dieser Technologien ohne vorherige Grundrechtsprüfung hat das Ministerium nun eine Strafe kassiert. Die griechische Datenschutzaufsicht sieht einen Verstoß gegen Datenschutzgesetze in der EU (DSGVO). In einem lang erwarteten Beschluss belegte sie vergangene Woche das Ministerium für Migration und Asyl mit einem Bußgeld von 175.000 Euro.
      Erst eingesetzt, dann Folgen abgeschätzt

      Zwei konkrete Punkte führten laut Datenschutzbehörde zu der Entscheidung: Das Ministerium hat es versäumt, rechtzeitig eine Datenschutz-Folgenabschätzung zu erstellen. Gemeint ist damit eine Bewertung, welche Auswirkungen der Einsatz der Überwachung auf die Grundrechte der betroffenen Personen hat. Es geht um die Asylsuchenden, die in den Lagern festgehalten werden, aber auch Angestellte, Mitarbeitende von NGOs oder Gäste, die das Lager betreten.

      Eine solche Abschätzung hätte bereits vor der Anschaffung und dem Einsatz der Technologien vollständig vorliegen müssen, schreibt die Aufsichtsbehörde in ihrer Entscheidung. Stattdessen ist sie bis heute unvollständig: Ein Verstoß gegen die Artikel 25 und 35 der Datenschutzgrundverordnung, für die die Behörde eine Geldbuße in Höhe von 100.000 Euro verhängt.

      Zusätzlich wirft die Behörde dem Ministerium Intransparenz vor. Dokumente hätten beispielsweise verwirrende und widersprüchliche Angaben enthalten. Verträge mit den Unternehmen, die die Überwachungssysteme betreiben, hätte das Ministerium mit Verweis auf Geheimhaltung gar nicht herausgegeben, und damit auch keine Details zu den Bedingungen, zu denen die Daten verarbeitet werden. Wie diese Systeme mit anderen Datenbanken etwa zur Strafverfolgung verknüpft sind, ob also Aufnahmen und biometrische Daten auch bei der Polizei landen könnten, das wollte das Ministerium ebenfalls nicht mitteilen. Dafür verhängte die Aufsichtsbehörde weitere 75.000 Euro Strafe.
      Ministerium: Systeme noch in der Testphase

      Das Ministerium rechtfertigt sich: Centaurus und Hyperion seien noch nicht vollständig in Betrieb, man befinde sich noch in der Testphase. Die Aufsichtsbehörde habe nicht bedacht, dass „die Verarbeitung personenbezogener Daten nicht bewertet werden konnte, bevor die Systeme in Betrieb genommen wurden“. Hinzu kämen Pflichten zur Geheimhaltung, die sich aus den Verträgen mit den Unternehmen hinter den beiden Systemen ergeben.

      Die Behörde hat das nicht durchgehen lassen: Rein rechtlich mache es keinen Unterschied, ob ein System noch getestet wird oder im Regelbetrieb sei, schriebt sie in ihrer Entscheidung. Die Abschätzung hätte weit vorher, nämlich bereits bei Abschluss der Verträge, vorliegen müssen. Noch dazu würden diese Verstöße eine große Zahl an Menschen betreffen, die sich in einer besonders schutzlosen Lage befänden.

      Abschalten muss das Ministerium die Überwachungssysteme allerdings nicht, sie bleiben in Betrieb. Es muss lediglich binnen drei Monaten den Forderungen nachkommen und fehlende Unterlagen liefern. Das Ministerium kündigt an, die Entscheidung rechtlich überprüfen und möglicherweise anfechten zu wollen.
      Geheimhaltungspflicht keine Ausrede

      „Die Entscheidung ist sehr wichtig, weil sie einen sehr hohen Standard dafür setzt, wann und wie eine Datenschutz-Folgenabschätzung erfolgreich durchgeführt werden muss, sogar vor der Auftragsvergabe“, sagt Eleftherios Helioudakis. Er ist Anwalt bei der griechischen Organisation Homo Digitalis und beschäftigt sich mit den Auswirkungen von Technologien auf Menschenrechte. Eine Beschwerde von Homo Digitalis und weiteren Vereinen aus dem Jahr 2022 hatte die Untersuchung angestoßen.

      Helioudakis sagt, die Entscheidung mache deutlich, dass mangelnde Kommunikation mit der Datenschutzbehörde zu hohen Geldstrafen führen kann. Außerdem sei nun klar: Das Ministerium kann Vertragsklauseln zum Datenschutz nicht aus Gründen der Geheimhaltung vor der Datenschutzbehörde verbergen, denn für deren Untersuchungen ist die Geheimhaltungspflicht aufgehoben – wie es die DSGVO vorsieht. Das Urteil der Behörde beziehe sich zudem erst mal nur auf die Mängel bei der Einführung der Systeme, so der Bürgerrechtler. Es könnten also neue Fälle bei der Datenschutzbehörde anhängig gemacht werden.

      Die Sanktionen sind laut der Hilfsorganisation Hias die höchsten, die die Datenschutzbehörde je gegen den griechischen Staat verhängt hat. In der Summe fallen die Strafzahlungen allerdings gering aus. Sind die Datenschutzregeln der EU wirklich das geeignete Instrument, um die Rechte von Asylsuchenden zu schützen? Eleftherios Helioudakis sagt ja. „Die gesetzlichen Bestimmungen der Datenschutz-Grundverordnung sind Instrumente, mit denen wir die Bestimmungen zum Schutz personenbezogener Daten praktisch durchsetzen können.“ Es gebe keine richtigen und falschen Ansätze. „Wir können die uns zur Verfügung stehenden juristischen Instrumente nutzen, um unsere Strategie zu bündeln und uns gegen übergriffige Praktiken zu wehren.“

      Die Lager auf den Ägäischen Inseln werden vollständig von der EU finanziert und gelten als „Modell“. Nach ihrem Vorbild plant die EU in den kommenden Jahren weitere Lager an ihren Außengrenzen zu errichten. Die Entscheidung der griechischen Datenschutzaufsicht wird von der Kommission vermutlich mit Interesse verfolgt. Sie macht deutlich, unter welchen Voraussetzungen Überwachungstechnologien in diesen Camps eingesetzt werden können.


  • Delayed appeal trial of the Moria 4 set for 4 March 2024

    PRESS RELEASE , 6 February 2024, Mytilini, Lesvos

    On Monday 4 March 2024, R.F.M., S.M.H, S.A.M.S. and H.W., four of the six Afghan defendants who were accused and convicted for the fires that destroyed Moria refugee camp in September 2020, will appear before the Mixed-Jury Court of Appeals of the North Aegean in Lesvos, to challenge their conviction, represented in part by lawyers of the Legal Centre Lesvos. This appeal trial was originally scheduled to take place a year ago on 6 March 2023, but was postponed, without the ability to make any significant objection and arguments for their case.

    On 13 June 2021, at the first instance trial the four had been convicted of “arson with danger to human life” by the Mixed Jury Court of Chios in an unfair trial that disregarded the basic procedural and substantive safeguards. Indicatively: 1) Under the pretext of COVID-19 measures, lawyers – trial observers of international organisations, a lawyer-representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), journalists of the domestic and international press, as well as the public were excluded from the courtroom. 2) None of the essential documents of the trial was translated into a language that the defendants could understand, and as a result they could not understand the charges against them. Further, during the trial, the interpretation provided to them by the court was inadequate. 3) Their conviction was based solely on the testimony of a witness who did not appear in court and who could not be cross examined. All four were sentenced to 10 years in prison, with no mitigating circumstances accepted. For three and a half years now, the four young men have been imprisoned in Greece. More details about the first instance trial can be found in an earlier post by the defence lawyers, which was released following the trial.

    As a reminder, the fires that destroyed Moria camp in September 2020 came four and a half years after the EU-Turkey “Deal” turned the Aegean islands into prison islands for those forced to cross the border from Turkey, and Moria camp became the notorious symbol of the EU’s migration policies. Rather than recognising the destruction of Moria camp as an inevitable consequence of the “hotspot approach” and of the clear mismanagement of a camp with a lack of infrastructure that posed deadly dangers to residents, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic; the Greek state arrested six young Afghan teenagers, namely, the “Moria 6”, and presented them as the sole criminally responsible for the fires.

    Following their arrest, the case of the Moria 6 was separated, as two of the accused were registered as minors at the time of their arrest and were tried in a Court for Minors, and the other four were tried as adults. The two who were arrested as minors are also represented by the Legal Centre Lesvos, and saw their conviction confirmed on appeal in June 2022, and in the Supreme Court in October 2023.

    As Legal Centre Lesvos, we hope that, despite the complete disregard to basic principles of justice at the first instance trial, the defendants will finally be able to present again the exculpatory evidence they had presented at their first court after almost three years, and that all four will finally be acquitted and released from prison.

    We welcome your presence at the court on 4 March 2024 to observe and follow the trial and ensure that the four defendants are supported.

    Press Contacts

    Vicky Aggelidou, vicky@legalcentrelesvos.org

    Lorraine Leete, lorraine@legalcentrelesvos.org

    #justice #Moria #Grèce #Lesbos #procès #incendie #feu #réfugiés #migrations


    ajouté au fil de discussion sur cet incendie :

    voir aussi :

    et la métaliste sur les incendies dans des #camps_de_réfugiés :

  • En Serbie, rendre invisibles les exilés

    La Serbie est le dernier pays non-membre de l’Union européenne de la route des Balkans. Traversée depuis des siècles, elle l’est aujourd’hui encore par de nombreux étrangers venus de Syrie, d’Afghanistan, de Turquie, même du Maroc… Car la Serbie reste le dernier rempart de la forteresse Europe. Ce petit pays de presque 7 millions d’habitants, entouré de huit frontières dont quatre avec l’Union européenne, applique une politique migratoire orchestrée par celle-ci.

    En effet, la Serbie demande son adhésion depuis plus de dix ans.

    Depuis le mois de décembre, après un contexte politique tendu, ce pays de transit tente de rendre invisibles les exilés, déjà soumis aux passeurs et aux lois en matière d’asile et d’immigration. En plein cœur de l’hiver, reportage entre Belgrade et la frontière croate de l’Europe.


    #emprisonnement #Serbie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Belgrade #route_des_Balkans #Balkans #squat #opération_policière #peur #sécurité #insécurité #Sid #Šid #frontières #Croatie #transit #invisibilisation #Frontex #passeurs #frontières_extérieures #externalisation #visas #camps #solidarité #camps_de_réfugiés #refoulements #push-backs #migration_circulaire #game #the_game
    #audio #podcast

  • Egypt to create a gated high-security area in the reception of Palestinian refugees from #Gaza

    The Sinai Foundation obtained information through a relevant source that indicates that the construction work currently taking place in eastern Sinai, is intended to create a high-security gated and isolated area near the borders with Gaza strip, in preparation for the reception of Palestinian refugees in the case of the mass exodus of the citizens of Gaza Strip.

    The foundation interviewed two local contractors who said that local construction companies had been commissioned this construction work by Ibrahim Al-Arjani - A close businessman to the authorities - Abnaa Sinai For Construction & Building, who had been directly assigned the commission through the Egyptian Armed Forces Engineering Authority. The construction work is intended to build a gated area, surrounded by 7-meter-high walls. After the removal of the rubble of the houses of the indigenous people of Rafah, who were displaced forcibly and their houses demolished during the war against terrorism against ISIS.

    The area is expected to be levelled and ready in no more than 10 days. They said this information is being circulated in closed circuits to avoid publication, noting that the work is being done under the supervision of the Egyptian Armed Forces Engineering Authority under heavy security presence.

    Sinai Foundation published a report (https://sinaifhr.org/show/333) two days ago with exclusive images showing the Egyptian authorities starting rapid construction on the border area of eastern Sinai. Additionally, this morning the Institution’s team observed the building of a cement wall of 7 meters in height starting at a point in Qoz Abo Raad village south of Rafah city, directed towards the Mediterranean Sea north, parallel to the border with Gaza Strip.

    In an interview with Mr Mohannad Sabry, a researcher specialising in Sinai and Egyptian security, he said:

    The construction works that started early Monday, February 12 have its eastern borders lying between a point southern of the Rafah border crossing and another southern of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, while its western borders lie between Qoz Abo Raad village and El-Masora village. Military intelligence officers are present as well as the ‘Fursan Al-Haitham’ militia that stems from the Sinai Tribal coalition headed by businessman Ibrahim Al-Arjani, near the Qoz Abo Raad area south of the city of Rafah, along with construction tools, bulldozers and local contractors.


    #Palestine #réfugiés #Egypte #Sinai #Sinaï #réfugiés_palestiniens #Ibrahim_Al-Arjani #Abnaa_Sinai_For_Construction #infrastructure #Egyptian_Armed_Forces_Engineering_Authority #murs #camps_de_réfugiés #camp_fermé #Rafah #Qoz_Abo_Raad #El-Masora #Fursan_Al-Haitham

    voir aussi ce fil de discussion :
    #Israël serait déjà en contact avec plusieurs pays pour y expulser les Gazaouis

    • Egypt building walled enclosure in Sinai for Rafah refugees, photos suggest

      Monitoring group releases evidence of work that appears intended to house Palestinians in event of Israeli assault on city

      Egypt has begun building an enclosed area ringed with high concrete walls along its border with Gaza that appears intended to house Palestinians fleeing a threatened Israeli assault on the southern city of Rafah.

      Photos and videos released by the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights (SFHR), a monitoring group, show workers using heavy machinery erecting concrete barriers and security towers around a strip of land on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing.

      The videos, dated 15 February, gave little indication of authorities installing water or other infrastructure. Satellite imagery released by Planet Labs on the same day shows cleared strips of land adjacent to the Gaza border.

      SFHR said on social media that the videos showed efforts to “establish an isolated area surrounded by walls on the border with the Gaza Strip, with the aim of receiving refugees in the event of a mass exodus”.

      Israel’s bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza since Hamas’s 7 October attacks have displaced an estimated 1.7 million people internally, according to the UN, most of them pushed south in recent weeks, with more than a million in Rafah, vastly swelling its prewar population of 280,000.

      Egyptian officials have repeatedly expressed alarm that Israel’s actions could force millions of Palestinians to attempt to flee across the border and into the Sinai, amid concern that those displaced may never be able to return. Egypt has pushed back against any suggestion, including from Israeli ministers, that Palestinians could flee into northern Sinai. The president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, and the foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, rejected what they called “the forced displacement of Palestinians from their land”.

      In a call late on Thursday, the US president, Joe Biden, again cautioned the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, against moving forward with a military operation in Rafah without a “credible and executable plan” to protect civilians. However, Netanyahu vowed early on Friday to reject “international dictates” on a long-term resolution of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

      Speaking at the Munich security conference, Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, said there were no plans to deport Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, and Israel would coordinate its plans for hundreds of thousands of refugees in the city of Rafah with Egypt.

      When asked where the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the city would go, Katz suggested that once Gaza’s second city, Khan Younis, had been cleared of Hamas fighters, they could return there or to the west of the enclave.

      Katz said: “We will deal [with] Rafah after we speak with Egypt about it. We’ll coordinate it, we have a peace accord with them and we will find a place which will not harm the Egyptians. We will coordinate everything and not harm their interests.”

      Egyptian officials have threatened to withdraw from Egypt’s landmark 1978 peace treaty with Israel in the event of an Israeli ground assault on Rafah. Airstrikes launched on Rafah on Monday in an Israeli operation to free two hostages killed at least 67 Palestinians, health authorities said.

      Egypt has extensively reinforced its border with Gaza using barbed wire and deployed 40 tanks and armoured personnel carriers to northern Sinai.

      Mohannad Sabry, an expert and author on the Sinai peninsula, said: “Egypt wants to portray this construction as a contingency, ready for an influx of Palestinians if that happens, but they have also reinforced the border fence over the past month making it unbreachable unless it is blown up or opened deliberately. If we look at how every refugee or prison camp has been built in the world, it’s exactly like this. If it looks like a prison [or] refugee camp then it probably is.”

      The north Sinai governor, Mohamed Abdel-Fadil Shousha, told the Saudi-owned TV news channel Al Arabiya that the border construction was intended to catalogue homes destroyed as part of the Egyptian military’s fight against jihadist militants and the decade-long operation in northern Sinai.

      He added: “Egypt is prepared for all scenarios in the event that Israel carries out military operations in the Palestinian border governorate.”

      Meanwhile, those with ties to the Egyptian state have profited from Palestinians desperately looking to flee. Palestinians have described paying $10,000 (£7,941) each to a network connected to the Egyptian authorities in order to leave Gaza by the Rafah crossing.

      Elsewhere, a gunman killed two people on Friday at a bus stop in southern Israel, authorities said, prompting Netanyahu to warn that the entire country was a frontline in the war.

      Four others were wounded in the shooting near the southern town of Kiryat Malakhi, Israeli police said.

      “We have raised a national level alert,” Israel’s police chief, Kobi Shabtai, told reporters at the site. He did not provide details on the attacker.

      Netanyahu said in a statement: “The murderers, who come not only from Gaza, want to kill us all. We will continue to fight until total victory, with all our might, on every front, everywhere, until we restore the security and quiet for all citizens of Israel.”


  • L’Égypte prépare une zone à la frontière de Gaza qui pourrait être utilisée pour abriter des Palestiniens - sources - 16/02/2024 | Zonebourse

    L’Égypte prépare une zone à la frontière de Gaza qui pourrait être utilisée pour abriter des Palestiniens

    L’Egypte prépare une zone à la frontière de Gaza qui pourrait accueillir des Palestiniens au cas où une offensive israélienne à Rafah provoquerait un exode à travers la frontière, ont déclaré quatre sources, dans ce qu’elles ont décrit comme une mesure d’urgence de la part du Caire.

    L’Égypte, qui a nié avoir entrepris de tels préparatifs, a maintes fois tiré la sonnette d’alarme quant à la possibilité que l’offensive dévastatrice d’Israël à Gaza déplace des Palestiniens dans le Sinaï - ce qui, selon le Caire, serait totalement inacceptable -, faisant écho aux mises en garde d’États arabes tels que la Jordanie.

    Les États-Unis ont déclaré à plusieurs reprises qu’ils s’opposeraient à tout déplacement de Palestiniens hors de Gaza.

    L’une des sources a déclaré que l’Égypte avait bon espoir que les pourparlers visant à conclure un cessez-le-feu permettraient d’éviter un tel scénario, mais qu’elle établissait la zone à la frontière à titre de mesure temporaire et de précaution.

    Trois sources de sécurité ont déclaré que l’Égypte avait commencé à préparer une zone désertique avec quelques installations de base qui pourraient être utilisées pour abriter les Palestiniens, soulignant qu’il s’agissait d’une mesure d’urgence.

    Les sources avec lesquelles Reuters s’est entretenu pour cet article ont refusé d’être nommées en raison du caractère sensible de la question.

    Israël a déclaré qu’il lancerait une offensive pour s’emparer du « dernier bastion » du Hamas à Rafah, où plus d’un million de Palestiniens ont trouvé refuge après son offensive dévastatrice à Gaza.

    Israël a déclaré que son armée élaborait un plan d’évacuation des civils de Rafah vers d’autres parties de la bande de Gaza.

    Toutefois, Martin Griffiths, responsable de l’aide humanitaire des Nations unies, a déclaré jeudi qu’il était « illusoire » de penser que les habitants de Gaza pourraient être évacués vers un lieu sûr et a mis en garde contre le risque de voir les Palestiniens se répandre en Égypte si Israël lançait une opération militaire à Rafah.

    Il a qualifié ce scénario de « cauchemar égyptien ».

    L’Égypte a présenté son opposition au déplacement des Palestiniens de Gaza comme faisant partie du rejet arabe plus large de toute répétition de la « Nakba », ou « catastrophe », lorsque quelque 700 000 Palestiniens ont fui ou ont été forcés de quitter leurs maisons lors de la guerre qui a entouré la création d’Israël en 1948.

    La première source a déclaré que la construction du camp avait commencé il y a trois ou quatre jours et qu’il offrirait un abri temporaire en cas de passage de la frontière « jusqu’à ce qu’une solution soit trouvée ».

    Interrogé sur les récits des sources, le chef du service d’information de l’État égyptien a déclaré : "Cela n’a aucun fondement dans la vérité : « Cela n’a aucun fondement. Nos frères palestiniens ont dit et l’Égypte a dit qu’il n’y avait pas de préparation à cette éventualité ».

    La Fondation du Sinaï pour les droits de l’homme, une organisation militante, a publié lundi des images montrant des camions de construction et des grues travaillant dans la zone, ainsi que des images de barrières en béton.

    Citant une source non identifiée, la Fondation du Sinaï a déclaré que les travaux de construction étaient destinés à créer une zone sécurisée en cas d’exode massif de Palestiniens.

    Reuters a pu confirmer qu’une partie de la vidéo se trouvait à Rafah grâce à la position des bâtiments, des arbres et des barrières, qui correspond à l’imagerie satellite de la zone.

    Reuters n’a pas été en mesure de confirmer la localisation de l’ensemble de la vidéo ni la date à laquelle elle a été filmée.


    Quelque 1,5 million de Palestiniens se trouvent actuellement à Rafah, soit plus de la moitié de la population de la bande de Gaza, selon l’agence des Nations unies pour les réfugiés palestiniens.

    Israël affirme qu’il doit étendre son assaut à Rafah pour éliminer le Hamas, le groupe à l’origine de l’attaque du 7 octobre qui a fait 1 200 morts en Israël et 250 autres personnes enlevées, selon les décomptes israéliens.

    Avec plus de 28 000 personnes déjà tuées lors de l’offensive israélienne à Gaza, selon les autorités sanitaires de la bande de Gaza dirigée par le Hamas, le sort des personnes réfugiées à Rafah est devenu un sujet de préoccupation internationale, y compris pour les alliés occidentaux d’Israël.

    Le président américain Joe Biden a déclaré au premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu qu’Israël ne devrait pas procéder à une opération à Rafah sans un plan visant à assurer la sécurité des personnes qui y sont réfugiées.

    Un porte-parole du département d’État américain a déclaré : « Le président a clairement indiqué qu’il ne soutenait pas le déplacement forcé des Palestiniens de Gaza. Les États-Unis ne financent pas de camps en Égypte pour les Palestiniens déplacés ».

    Le bureau de M. Netanyahu a ordonné à l’armée d’élaborer un plan d’évacuation de Rafah. Mais aucun plan n’a encore vu le jour.

    Lors d’une interview accordée à ABC News, M. Netanyahu a déclaré que les Palestiniens pourraient se rendre dans les zones situées au nord de Rafah et libérées par l’armée.

    Avi Dichter, ministre israélien de l’agriculture et du développement rural, a déclaré mercredi que l’évacuation était « une question militaire » et que l’armée israélienne savait comment procéder.

    Dans des commentaires à la radio de l’armée israélienne, M. Dichter a déclaré qu’il y avait « suffisamment de terres à l’ouest de Rafah » et a mentionné Al Mawasi, une zone sur le littoral vers laquelle l’armée israélienne a déclaré que les civils devaient fuir au début de l’offensive.

    La guerre de Gaza a mis sous pression les relations entre l’Égypte et Israël, qui ont signé un accord de paix en 1979.

    Le secrétaire général de la Ligue arabe, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, ancien ministre égyptien des affaires étrangères, a déclaré en début de semaine que les actions israéliennes menaçaient la continuité des accords avec l’Égypte et la Jordanie, en référence aux traités de paix conclus avec ces deux États arabes.

    Le ministre égyptien des affaires étrangères, Sameh Shoukry, a déclaré le 12 février que l’Égypte avait maintenu l’accord pendant 40 ans et qu’elle continuerait à le faire tant que les deux parties s’y engageraient.

    • L’Egypte construit une zone de sécurité dans le Sinaï en prévision d’un éventuel afflux de réfugiés depuis Gaza


      Des engins de chantier aménagent un espace dans l’optique d’une offensive israélienne sur Rafah, le dernier sanctuaire de l’enclave palestinienne.

      Par Hélène Sallon (Beyrouth, correspondante)

      Publié hier à 12h59, modifié hier à 15h08

      Dans le Sinaï égyptien, le long de la frontière avec la bande de Gaza, entre les terminaux de Rafah et de Kerem Shalom, des engins de chantier aplanissent le sol d’une étroite bande de terre. Des images satellites, analysées par l’agence Associated Press vendredi 16 février, montrent que des travaux sont en cours dans ce périmètre. Des grues et des camions y sont visibles. Des barrières de béton ont été dressées pour ceinturer cette zone d’environ 20 kilomètres carrés.

      Selon l’ONG Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, qui a révélé l’existence de ce chantier le 12 février, l’endroit est destiné à accueillir des réfugiés palestiniens, dans l’éventualité où l’Egypte devrait faire face à un exode massif depuis Gaza. Des entrepreneurs locaux ont dit à l’ONG avoir été chargés des travaux par l’entreprise Sons of Sinai, propriété de l’homme d’affaires Ibrahim El-Argani, proche de l’armée égyptienne. Il est prévu que des murs de 7 mètres de haut soient construits, sous la supervision du génie militaire, et sous forte présence sécuritaire.

      Des sources égyptiennes ont confirmé, sous couvert de l’anonymat, au Wall Street Journal l’aménagement d’une zone de sécurité, pouvant accueillir jusqu’à 100 000 personnes. Une source égyptienne indique au Monde que la peur de faire face à un afflux de déplacés en cas d’offensive israélienne sur la ville de Rafah explique cette décision. Le chef des services de communication de l’Etat, Diaa Rashwan, a toutefois nié l’existence d’un tel projet. Il a rappelé que l’Egypte s’oppose à tout déplacement forcé de Gazaouis sur son territoire du fait de la guerre entre Israël et le Hamas dans l’enclave palestinienne.

      Le Caire n’a pas beaucoup d’options

      Ce scénario pourrait cependant se matérialiser si le premier ministre israélien, Benyamin Nétanyahou, mettait à exécution sa menace, agitée depuis le 7 février, de lancer une offensive sur Rafah, qui est devenue le dernier refuge de plus d’1,4 million de Gazaouis. « La décision de lancer l’offensive sur Rafah n’a pas été prise. Nétanyahou souhaite en faire un moyen de pression dans les négociations de trêve avec le Hamas. Mais s’il n’y a pas d’accord, il sera difficile pour les Israéliens d’éviter une offensive », estime Laure Foucher, spécialiste du Moyen-Orient à la Fondation de recherche stratégique (FRS).

      Le Caire et Washington exhortent Israël à renoncer à cette opération, invoquant des « conséquences humanitaires dévastatrices ». Ils exigent qu’un plan d’évacuation des déplacés de Rafah vers le nord de l’enclave soit mis sur pied. Vendredi, le ministre de la défense israélien, Yoav Gallant, a assuré qu’« Israël n’a pas l’intention d’évacuer des civils palestiniens vers l’Egypte », ni de mettre en danger l’accord de paix signé en 1978 avec Le Caire. L’armée israélienne n’a toutefois pas dévoilé de plan pour la prise en charge des civils palestiniens dans le nord de l’enclave, qu’elle a réduit à l’état de ruines.

      « Les Egyptiens sont pragmatiques. Si les Gazaouis n’ont pas d’autre choix que de fuir vers l’Egypte, ils les accueilleront pour les protéger mais, derrière de hauts murs, pour ne pas qu’ils s’installent en Egypte », estime Khalil Sayegh, un analyste palestinien. Le Caire n’a pas beaucoup d’options. « Tirer sur les Gazaouis qui tenteraient de fuir vers le Sinaï provoquerait un tollé au sein de l’opinion égyptienne, qui soutient les Palestiniens, et serait une violation du droit international », poursuit M. Sayegh.


      La perspective d’un déplacement des Palestiniens dans le Sinaï suscite des inquiétudes. « En cas d’afflux massif, cette zone pourrait rapidement ressembler à un camp de concentration. Et, il n’y a aucune garantie qu’ils pourront revenir à Gaza », déplore l’expert palestinien. Les Palestiniens craignent qu’Israël ne cherche à provoquer une seconde Nakba (« catastrophe »), le nom donné à l’exode forcé de 700 000 Palestiniens, lors de la création d’Israël en 1948. Des réfugiés qui n’ont jamais pu rentrer sur leurs terres.

      « Une nouvelle crise des réfugiés signerait l’arrêt de mort d’un futur processus de paix », a alerté Filippo Grande, le directeur de l’agence des Nations unies en charge des réfugiés (HCR), dans un entretien à la BBC vendredi. Le chef du HCR a appelé à « éviter à tout prix » un exode des Palestiniens vers l’Egypte, estimant qu’une fois sortis de Gaza, les réfugiés ne pourraient plus y retourner. Le HCR et l’UNRWA, l’agence des Nations unies chargée des déplacés palestiniens, disent ne pas être impliqués dans des préparatifs pour l’accueil de réfugiés palestiniens dans le Sinaï.

      Hélène Sallon(Beyrouth, correspondante)

  • Bosnian refugee camp #Lipa: Dispute over “Austrian Guantanamo”

    20 governments participate in the Vienna #ICMPD and finance or receive its activities. The ÖVP-affiliated organisation handles migration control for the EU.

    Every year, the EU spends hundreds of millions of euros to manage and counter migration in third countries. Every year, the EU spends hundreds of millions of euros to manage and fight migration to third countries. Most of the money comes from three different funds and goes to the countries themselves or to EU members who award contracts to companies or institutes for implementing the measures. The International Organisation for Migration (#IOM) also receives such EU funding for migration control.

    One of the private organisations contracted to deliver EU measures is the #International_Centre_for_Migration_Policy_Development (ICMPD), founded in 1993 and based in Vienna. It is headed by the conservative Austrian ex-vice chancellor and former Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) leader Michael Spindelegger. The 20 members include states such as Turkey, Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina and, since 2020, also Germany. Many of the ICMPD’s measures are funded from Austria, a parliamentary question by the Greens revealed.

    Now the centre is to draft proposals for “EU migration partnerships”, in which third countries receive benefits if they take back deportees from EU states. With a similar aim, the ICMPD is implementing a “regional return mechanism for the Western Balkans”. The states are supported in carrying out deportations themselves. The German government has funded this initiative with €3.2 million in 2020 and calls it “migration management”.

    On behalf of the Ministry of the Interior, the ICMPD is also involved in the construction of a “Temporary Detention Centre” in the newly built Bosnian refugee camp Lipa and received €500,000 from the EU Commission for this purpose. This is documented in an EU document published on Friday by the German organisation Frag den Staat as part of a research on the ICMPD. The camp is run by the IOM, and Germany is supporting its construction through the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) with €1 million for a canteen.

    The purpose of the camp in Lipa had been unequivocally explained by Oliver Várhelyi, the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, who comes from Hungary. “We need to keep our detention facilities in Lipa and the region under control, meaning that the fake asylum-seekers must be detained until they return to their countries of origin. Again, we will replicate this project in other countries of the region”, said the EU Commissioner.

    “A high fence, cameras at every step, windows with prison bars and almost no daylight in the cells,” is how the organisation SOS-Balkanroute, which is active in Austria, described everyday life there and titled it in a press release “This is what the Austrian Guantanamo in Bosnia looks like”.

    The ICMPD feels attacked by this. The organisation was “of course not involved in the construction of detention cells or similar”, a spokesperson initially claimed in response to an enquiry by the APA agency. However, ICMPD head Spindelegger rowed back shortly afterwards and explained in the programme “Zeit im Bild” that his organisation was responsible for the construction of a “secured area for a maximum of twelve persons”. According to Bosnia’s Foreign Minister Elmedin Konakovic, this was a “room for the short-term internment of migrants”.

    Despite its denial, the ICMPD is now taking action against SOS Balkanroute and its founder Petar Rosandić and has filed a lawsuit for “credit damage” at the Vienna Commercial Court because of the designation “Austrian Guantanamo”. “Our only concern is to stop the continued false allegations,” an ICMPD spokesperson explained, including that the organisation was pushing the suffering of people.

    This is an attempt at political intimidation, “the kind of which we are used to seeing in Hungary, Russia or Serbia”, said Rosandić, the NGO’s founder, commenting on the complaint. The Green member of the National Council Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic feels reminded of “conditions under Orban in Hungary” and expects “the necessary consequences” from other ICMPD signatory states. Germany does not want to hear about this. The Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Berlin let a deadline of several days set by “nd” for comment pass without response.


    #OIM #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps #encampement #Bosnie #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Bosnie-Herzégovine #camps_de_réfugiés

  • Quei bambini chiusi in trappola a Gaza. Il racconto di #Ruba_Salih
    (une interview de Ruba Salih, prof à l’Université de Bologne, 5 jours après le #7_octobre_2023)

    «Mai come in queste ore a Gaza il senso di appartenere a una comune “umanita” si sta mostrando più vuoto di senso. La responsabilità di questo è del governo israeliano», dice Ruba Salih antropologa dell’università di Bologna che abbiamo intervistato mentre cresce la preoccupazione per la spirale di violenza che colpisce la popolazione civile palestinese e israeliana.

    Quali sono state le sue prime reazioni, sentimenti, pensieri di fronte all’attacco di Hamas e poi all’annuncio dell’assedio di Gaza messo in atto dal governo israeliano?

    Il 7 ottobre la prima reazione è stata di incredulità alla vista della recinzione metallica di Gaza sfondata, e alla vista dei palestinesi che volavano con i parapendii presagendo una sorta di fine dell’assedio. Ho avuto la sensazione di assistere a qualcosa che non aveva precedenti nella storia recente. Come era possibile che l’esercito più potente del mondo potesse essere sfidato e colto così alla sprovvista? In seguito, ho cominciato a chiamare amici e parenti, in Cisgiordania, Gaza, Stati Uniti, Giordania. Fino ad allora si aveva solo la notizia della cattura di un numero imprecisato di soldati israeliani. Ho pensato che fosse una tattica per fare uno scambio di prigionieri. Ci sono più di 5000 prigionieri palestinesi nelle carceri israeliane e 1200 in detenzione amministrativa, senza processo o accusa. Poi sono cominciate da domenica ad arrivare le notizie di uccisioni e morti di civili israeliani, a cui è seguito l’annuncio di ‘guerra totale’ del governo di Netanyahu. Da allora il sentimento è cambiato. Ora grande tristezza per la quantità di vittime, dell’una e dell’altra parte, e preoccupazione e angoscia senza precedenti per le sorti della popolazione civile di Gaza, che in queste ore sta vivendo le ore piu’ drammatiche che si possano ricordare.

    E quando ha visto quello che succedeva, con tantissime vittime israeliane, violenze terribili, immagini di distruzione, minacce di radere al suolo Gaza?

    Colleghi e amici israeliani hanno cominciato a postare immagini di amici e amiche uccisi – anche attivisti contro l’occupazione- e ho cominciato dolorosamente a mandare condoglianze. Contemporaneamente giungevano terribili parole del ministro della Difesa israeliano Gallant che definiva i palestinesi “animali umani”, dichiarando di voler annientare la striscia di Gaza e ridurla a “deserto”. Ho cominciato a chiamare amici di Gaza per sapere delle loro famiglie nella speranza che fossero ancora tutti vivi. Piano piano ho cominciato a cercare di mettere insieme i pezzi e dare una cornice di senso a quello che stava succedendo.

    Cosa può dirci di Gaza che già prima dell’attacco di Hamas era una prigione a cielo aperto?

    Si, Gaza è una prigione. A Gaza la maggior parte della popolazione è molto giovane, e in pochi hanno visto il mondo oltre il muro di recinzione. Due terzi della popolazione è composto da famiglie di rifugiati del 1948. Il loro vissuto è per lo più quello di una lunga storia di violenza coloniale e di un durissimo assedio negli ultimi 15 anni. Possiamo cercare di immaginare cosa significa vivere questo trauma che si protrae da generazioni. Gli abitanti di Gaza nati prima del 1948 vivevano in 247 villaggi nel sud della Palestina, il 50% del paese. Sono stati costretti a riparare in campi profughi a seguito della distruzione o occupazione dei loro villaggi. Ora vivono in un’area che rappresenta l’1.3% della Palestina storica con una densità di 7000 persone per chilometro quadrato e le loro terre originarie si trovano a pochi metri di là dal muro di assedio, abitate da israeliani.

    E oggi?

    Chi vive a Gaza si descrive come in una morte lenta, in una privazione del presente e della capacità di immaginare il futuro. Il 90% dell’acqua non è potabile, il 60% della popolazione è senza lavoro, l’80% riceve aiuti umanitari per sopravvivere e il 40% vive al di sotto della soglia di povertà: tutto questo a causa dell’ occupazione e dell’assedio degli ultimi 15 anni. Non c’è quasi famiglia che non abbia avuto vittime, i bombardamenti hanno raso al suolo interi quartieri della striscia almeno quattro volte nel giro di una decina di anni. Non credo ci sia una situazione analoga in nessun altro posto del mondo. Una situazione che sarebbe risolta se Israele rispettasse il diritto internazionale, né più né meno.

    Prima di questa escalation di violenza c’era voglia di reagire, di vivere, di creare, di fare musica...

    Certo, anche in condizioni di privazione della liberta’ c’e’ una straordinaria capacità di sopravvivenza, creatività, amore per la propria gente. Tra l’altro ricordo di avere letto nei diari di Marek Edelman sul Ghetto di Varsavia che durante l’assedio del Ghetto ci si innamorava intensamente come antidoto alla disperazione. A questo proposito, consilgio a tutti di leggere The Ghetto Fights di Edelman. Aiuta molto a capire cosa è Gaza in questo momento, senza trascurare gli ovvi distinguo storici.

    Puoi spiegarci meglio?

    Come sapete il ghetto era chiuso al mondo esterno, il cibo entrava in quantità ridottissime e la morte per fame era la fine di molti. Oggi lo scenario di Gaza, mentre parliamo, è che non c’è elettricità, il cibo sta per finire, centinaia di malati e neonati attaccati alle macchine mediche hanno forse qualche ora di sopravvivenza. Il governo israeliano sta bombardando interi palazzi, le vittime sono per più della metà bambini. In queste ultime ore la popolazione si trova a dovere decidere se morire sotto le bombe in casa o sotto le bombe in strada, dato che il governo israeliano ha intimato a un milione e centomila abitanti di andarsene. Andare dove? E come nel ghetto la popolazione di Gaza è definita criminale e terrorista.

    Anche Franz Fanon, lei suggerisce, aiuta a capire cosa è Gaza.

    Certamente, come ho scritto recentemente, Fanon ci viene in aiuto con la forza della sua analisi della ferita della violenza coloniale come menomazione psichica oltre che fisica, e come privazione della dimensione di interezza del soggetto umano libero, che si manifesta come un trauma, anche intergenerazionale. La violenza prolungata penetra nelle menti e nei corpi, crea una sospensione delle cornici di senso e delle sensibilità che sono prerogativa di chi vive in contesti di pace e benessere. Immaginiamoci ora un luogo, come Gaza, dove come un rapporto di Save the Children ha riportato, come conseguenza di 15 anni di assedio e blocco, 4 bambini su 5 riportano un vissuto di depressione, paura e lutto. Il rapporto ci dice che vi è stato un aumento vertiginoso di bambini che pensano al suicidio (il 50%) o che praticano forme di autolesionismo. Tuttavia, tutto questo e’ ieri. Domani non so come ci sveglieremo, noi che abbiamo il privilegio di poterci risvegliare, da questo incubo. Cosa resterà della popolazione civile di Gaza, donne, uomini bambini.

    Come legge il sostegno incondizionato al governo israeliano di cui sono pieni i giornali occidentali e dell’invio di armi ( in primis dagli Usa), in un’ottica di vittoria sconfitta che abbiamo già visto all’opera per la guerra Russia-Ucraina?

    A Gaza si sta consumando un crimine contro l’umanità di dimensioni e proporzioni enormi mentre i media continuano a gettare benzina sul fuoco pubblicando notizie in prima pagina di decapitazioni e stupri, peraltro non confermate neanche dallo stesso esercito israeliano. Tuttavia, non utilizzerei definizioni statiche e omogeneizzanti come quelle di ‘Occidente’ che in realtà appiattiscono i movimenti e le società civili sulle politiche dei governi, che in questo periodo sono per lo più a destra, nazionalisti xenofobi e populisti. Non è sempre stato così.

    Va distinto il livello istituzionale, dei governi e dei partiti o dei media mainstream, da quello delle società civili e dei movimenti sociali?

    Ci sono una miriade di manifestazioni di solidarietà ovunque nel mondo, che a fianco del lutto per le vittime civili sia israeliane che palestinesi, non smettono di invocare la fine della occupazione, come unica via per ristabilire qualcosa che si possa chiamare diritto (e diritti umani) in Palestina e Israele. Gli stessi media mainstream sono in diversi contesti molto più indipendenti che non in Italia. Per esempio, Bcc non ha accettato di piegarsi alle pressioni del governo rivendicando la sua indipendenza rifiutandosi di usare la parola ‘terrorismo’, considerata di parte, preferendo riferirsi a quei palestinesi che hanno sferrato gli attacchi come ‘combattenti’. Se sono stati commessi crimini contro l’umanità parti lo stabiliranno poi le inchieste dei tribunali penali internazionali. In Italia, la complicità dei media è invece particolarmente grave e allarmante. Alcune delle (rare) voci critiche verso la politica del governo israeliano che per esempio esistono perfino sulla stampa liberal israeliana, come Haaretz, sarebbero in Italia accusate di anti-semitismo o incitamento al terrorismo! Ci tengo a sottolineare tuttavia che il fatto che ci sia un certo grado di libertà di pensiero e di stampa in Israele non significa che Israele sia una ‘democrazia’ o perlomeno non lo è certo nei confronti della popolazione palestinese. Che Israele pratichi un regime di apartheid nei confronti dei palestinesi è ormai riconosciuto da organizzazioni come Amnesty International e Human Rights Watch, nonché sottolineato a più riprese dalla Relatrice speciale delle Nazioni Unite sui territori palestinesi occupati, Francesca Albanese.

    Dunque non è una novità degli ultimi giorni che venga interamente sposata la retorica israeliana?

    Ma non è una novità degli ultimi giorni che venga interamente sposata la narrativa israeliana. Sono anni che i palestinesi sono disumanizzati, resi invisibili e travisati. Il paradosso è che mentre Israele sta violando il diritto e le convenzioni internazionali e agisce in totale impunità da decenni, tutte le forme di resistenza: non violente, civili, dimostrative, simboliche, legali dei palestinesi fino a questo momento sono state inascoltate, anzi la situazione sul terreno è sempre più invivibile. Persino organizzazioni che mappano la violazione dei diritti umani sono demonizzate e catalogate come ‘terroristiche’. Anche le indagini e le commissioni per valutare le violazioni delle regole di ingaggio dell’esercito sono condotte internamente col risultato che divengono solo esercizi procedurali vuoti di sostanza (come per l’assassinio della reporter Shereen AbuHakleh, rimasto impunito come quello degli altri 55 giornalisti uccisi dall’esercito israeliano). Ci dobbiamo seriamente domandare: che cosa rimane del senso vero delle parole e del diritto internazionale?

    Il discorso pubblico è intriso di militarismo, di richiami alla guerra, all’arruolamento…

    Personalmente non metterei sullo stesso piano la resistenza di un popolo colonizzato con il militarismo come progetto nazionalistico di espansione e profitto. Possiamo avere diversi orientamenti e non condividere le stesse strategie o tattiche ma la lotta anticoloniale non è la stessa cosa del militarismo legato a fini di affermazione di supremazia e dominio di altri popoli. Quella dei palestinesi è una lotta che si inscrive nella scia delle lotte di liberazione coloniali, non di espansione militare. La lotta palestinese si collega oggi alle lotte di giustizia razziale e di riconoscimento dei nativi americani e degli afro-americani contro società che oggi si definiscono liberali ma che sono nate da genocidi, schiavitù e oppressione razziale. Le faccio un esempio significativo: la prima bambina Lakota nata a Standing Rock durante le lunghe proteste contro la costruzione degli olelodotti in North Dakota, che stanno espropriando e distruggendo i terre dei nativi e inquinando le acque del Missouri, era avvolta nella Kuffyah palestinese. Peraltro, il nazionalismo non è più il solo quadro di riferimento. In Palestina si lotta per la propria casa, per la propria terra, per la liberazione dalla sopraffazione dell’occupazione, dalla prigionia, per l’autodeterminazione che per molti è immaginata o orientata verso la forma di uno stato laico binazionale, almeno fino agli eventi recenti. Domani non so come emergeremo da tutto questo.

    Emerge di nuovo questa cultura patriarcale della guerra, a cui come femministe ci siamo sempre opposte…

    Con i distinguo che ho appena fatto e che ribadisco – ossia che non si può mettere sullo stesso piano occupanti e occupati, colonialismo e anticolonialismo -mi sento comunque di dire che una mobilitazione trasversale che aneli alla fine della occupazione deve essere possibile. Nel passato, il movimento femminista internazionalista tentava di costruire ponti tra donne palestinesi e israeliane mobilitando il lutto di madri, sorelle e figlie delle vittime della violenza. Si pensava che questo fosse un legame primario che univa nella sofferenza, attraversando le differenze. Ci si appellava alla capacità delle donne di politicizzare la vulnerabilità, convinte che nella morte e nel lutto si fosse tutte uguali. La realtà è che la disumanizzazione dei palestinesi, rafforzata dalla continua e sempre più violenta repressione israeliana, rende impossibile il superamento delle divisioni in nome di una comune umanità. Mentre i morti israeliani vengono pubblicamente compianti e sono degni di lutto per il mondo intero, i palestinesi – definiti ‘terroristi’ (anche quando hanno praticato forme non-violente di resistenza), scudi-umani, animali (e non da oggi), sono già morti -privati della qualità di umani- prima ancora di morire, e inscritti in una diversa classe di vulnerabilità, di non essenza, di disumanità.

    Antropologa dell’università di Bologna Ruba Salih si interessa di antropologia politica con particolare attenzione a migrazioni e diaspore postcoloniali, rifugiati, violenza e trauma coloniale, genere corpo e memoria. Più recentemente si è occupata di decolonizzazione del sapere e Antropocene e di politiche di intersezionalità nei movimenti di protesta anti e de-coloniali. Ha ricoperto vari ruoli istituzionali tra cui membro eletto del Board of Trustees del Arab Council for the Social Sciences, dal 2015 al 2019. È stata visiting professor presso varie istituzioni tra cui Brown University, University of Cambridge e Università di Venezia, Ca’ Foscari.


    #Gaza #Israël #Hamas #violence #prison #Palestine #violence_coloniale #siège #trauma #traumatisme #camps_de_réfugiés #réfugiés #réfugiés_palestiniens #pauvreté #bombardements #violence #dépression #peur #santé_mentale #suicide #crime_contre_l'humanité #apartheid #déshumanisation #résistance #droit_international #lutte #nationalisme #féminisme #à_lire #7_octobre_2023

    • Gaza between colonial trauma and genocide

      In the hours following the attack of Palestinian fighters in the south of Israel Western observers, bewildered, speculated about why Hamas and the young Palestinians of Gaza, born and bred under siege and bombs, have launched an attack of this magnitude, and right now. Others expressed their surprise at the surprise.

      The Israeli government responded by declaring “total war”, promising the pulverization of Gaza and demanding the inhabitants to leave the strip, knowing that there is no escape. Mobilising even the Holocaust and comparing the fighters to the Nazis, the Israeli government engaged in an operation that they claim is aimed at the destruction of Hamas.

      In fact, as I am writing, Gaza is being razed to the ground with an unbearable number of Palestinian deaths which gets larger by the hour, with people fleeing under Israeli bombs, water, electricity and fuel being cut, hospitals – receiving one patient a minute – on the brink of catastrophe, and humanitarian convoys prevented from entering the strip.

      An ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza is taking place with many legal observers claiming this level of violence amounts to a genocide.

      But what has happened – shocking and terrible in terms of the number of victims – including children and the elderly – creates not only a new political scenario, but above all it also imposes a new frame of meaning.

      Especially since the Oslo accords onwards, the emotional and interpretative filter applying to the “conflict” has been the asymmetrical valuing of one life over the other which in turn rested on an expectation of acquiescence and acceptance of the Palestinians’ subalternity as a colonised people. This framing has been shattered.

      The day of the attack, millions of Palestinians inside and outside the occupied territories found themselves in a trance-like state – with an undeniable initial euphoria from seeing the prison wall of Gaza being dismantled for the first time. They were wondering whether what they had before their eyes was delirium or reality. How was it possible that the Palestinians from Gaza, confined in a few suffocating square kilometres, repeatedly reduced to rubble, managed to evade the most powerful and technologically sophisticated army in the world, using only rudimentary equipment – bicycles with wings and hang-gliders? They could scarcely believe they were witnessing a reversal of the experience of violence, accustomed as they are to Palestinian casualties piling up relentlessly under Israeli bombardments, machine gun fire and control apparatus.

      Indeed, that Israel “declared war” after the attack illustrates this: to declare war assumes that before there was “peace”. To be sure, the inhabitants of Sderot and southern Israel would like to continue to live in peace. For the inhabitants of Gaza, on the other hand, peace is an abstract concept, something they have never experienced. For the inhabitants of the strip, as well as under international law, Gaza is an occupied territory whose population – two million and three hundred thousand people, of which two thirds are refugees from 1948 – lives (or to use their own words: “die slowly”) inside a prison. Control over the entry and exit of people, food, medicine, materials, electricity and telecommunications, sea, land and air borders, is in Israeli hands. International law, correctly invoked to defend the Ukrainian people and to sanction the Russian occupier, is a wastepaper for Israel, which enjoys an impunity granted to no other state that operates in such violation of UN resolutions, even disregarding agreements they themselves signed, never mind international norms and conventions.

      This scaffolding has crucially rested on the certainty that Palestinians cannot and should not react to their condition, not only and not so much because of their obvious military inferiority, but in the warped belief that Palestinian subjectivity must and can accept remaining colonised and occupied, to all intents and purposes, indefinitely. The asymmetry of strength on the ground led to an unspoken – but devastatingly consequential – presumption that Palestinians would accept to be confined to a space of inferiority in the hierarchy of human life.

      In this sense, what is happening these days cannot be understood and analysed with the tools of those who live in “peace”, but must be understood (insofar as this is even possible for those who do not live in Gaza or the occupied Palestinian territories) from a space defined by the effects of colonial violence and trauma. It is to Franz Fanon that we owe much of what we know about colonial violence – especially that it acts as both a physical and psychic injury. A psychiatrist from Martinique who joined the liberation struggle for independence in Algeria under French colonial rule, he wrote at length about how the immensity and duration of the destruction inflicted upon colonised subjects results in a wide and deep process of de-humanisation which, at such a profound level, also compromises the ability of the colonised to feel whole and to fully be themselves, humans among humans. In this state of physical and psychic injury, resistance is the colonised subject’s only possibility of repair. This has been the case historically in all contexts of liberation from colonial rule, a lineage to which the Palestinian struggle belongs.

      It is in this light that the long-lasting Palestinian resistance of the last 75 years should be seen, and this is also the key to understanding the unprecedented events of the last few days. These are the result, as many observers – including Israeli ones – have noted, of the failure of the many forms of peaceful resistance that the Palestinians have managed to pursue, despite the occupation, and which they continue to put into play: the hunger strikes of prisoners under “administrative detention”; the civil resistance of villagers such as Bil’in or Sheikh Jarrah who are squeezed between the separation wall, the expropriation of land and homes, and suffocated by the increasingly aggressive and unstoppable expansion of settlements; the efforts to protect the natural environment and indigenous Palestinian culture, including the centuries-old olive trees so often burnt and vandalised by settlers; the Palestinian civil society organisations that map and report human rights violations – which make them, for Israel, terrorist organisations; the struggle for cultural and political memory; the endurance of refugees in refugee camps awaiting implementation of their human rights supported by UN resolutions, as well as reparation and recognition of their long term suffering; and, further back in time, the stones hurled in resistance during the first Intifada, when young people with slingshots threw those same stones with which Israeli soldiers broke their bones and lives, back to them.

      Recall that, in Gaza, those who are not yet twenty years old, who make up about half the population, have already survived at least four bombing campaigns, in 2008-9, in 2012, in 2014, and again in 2022. These alone caused more than 4000 deaths.

      And it is again in Gaza that the Israeli tactic has been perfected of firing on protesters during peaceful protests, such as those in 2018, to maim the bodies – a cynical necropolitical calculation of random distribution between maimed and dead. It is not surprising, then, that in post-colonial literature – from Kateb Yacine to Yamina Mechakra, just to give two examples – the traumas of colonial violence are narrated as presence and absence, in protagonists’ dreams and nightmares, of amputated bodies. This is a metaphor for a simultaneously psychic and physical maiming of the colonised identity, that continues over time, from generation to generation.

      Despite their predicament as colonised for decades and their protracted collective trauma, Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine have however shown an incredible capacity for love, grief and solidarity over time and space, of which we have infinite examples in day-to-day practices of care and connectedness, in the literature, in the arts and culture, and through their international presence in other oppressed peoples’ struggles, such as Black Lives Matter and Native American Dakota protestors camps, or again in places such as the Moria camp in Greece.

      The brutality of a 16 years long siege in Gaza, and the decades of occupation, imprisonment, humiliation, everyday violence, death, grief – which as we write happen at an unprecedented genocidal intensity, but are in no way a new occurrence – have not however robbed people of Gaza, as individuals, of their ability to share in the grief and fear of others.

      “Striving to stay human” is what Palestinians have been doing and continue to do even as they are forced to make inhumane choices such as deciding who to rescue from under the rubbles based on who has more possibility to survive, as recounted by journalist Ahmed Dremly from Gaza during his brief and precious dispatches from the strip under the heavy shelling. This colonial violence will continue to produce traumatic effects in the generations of survivors. Yet, it has to be made clear that as the occupied people, Palestinians cannot be expected to bear the pain of the occupier. Equal standing and rights in life are the necessary preconditions for collective shared grief of death.

      Mahmoud Darwish wrote, in one of his essays on the “madness” of being Palestinian, written after the massacre of Sabra and Shatila in 1982, that the Palestinian “…is encumbered by the relentless march of death and is busy defending what remains of his flesh and his dream…his back is against the wall, but his eyes remain fixed on his country. He can no longer scream. He can no longer understand the reason behind Arab silence and Western apathy. He can do only one thing, to become even more Palestinian… because he has no other choice”.

      The only antidote to the spiral of violence is an end to the occupation and siege, and for Israel to fully comply with international law and to the UN resolutions, as a first and non-negotiable step. From there we can begin to imagine a future of peace and humanity for both Palestinians and Israelis.

      #colonialisme #traumatisme_colonial #génocide

    • Can the Palestinian speak ?

      It is sadly nothing new to argue that oppressed and colonised people have been and are subject to epistemic violence – othering, silencing, and selective visibility – in which they are muted or made to appear or speak only within certain perceptual views or registers – terrorists, protestors, murderers, humanitarian subjects – but absented from their most human qualities. Fabricated disappearance and dehumanisation of Palestinians have supported and continue to sustain their physical elimination and their erasure as a people.

      But the weeks after October 7th have set a new bar in terms of the inverted and perverse ways that Palestinians and Israel can be represented, discussed, and interpreted. I am referring here to a new epistemology of time that is tight to a moral standpoint that the world is asked to uphold. In that, the acts of contextualising and providing historical depth are framed as morally reprehensible or straight out antisemitic. The idea that the 7th of October marks the beginning of unprecedented violence universalises the experience of one side, the Israeli, while obliterating the past decades of Palestinians’ predicament. More than ever, Palestinians are visible, legible, and audible only through the frames of Israeli subjectivity and sensibility. They exist either to protect Israel or to destroy Israel. Outside these two assigned agencies, they are not, and cannot speak. They are an excess of agency like Spivak’s subaltern,[1] or a ‘superfluous’ people as Mahmoud Darwish[2] put it in the aftermath of the Sabra and Chatila massacre. What is more is the persistent denying by Israel and its Western allies, despite the abundant historical evidence, that Palestinian indigenous presence in Palestine has always been at best absented from their gaze – ‘a problem’ to manage and contain – at worse the object of systemic and persistent ethnic cleansing and erasure aiming at fulfilling the narcissistic image of “a land without a people for a people without a land.” Yet, the erasure of Palestinians, also today in Gaza, is effected and claimed while simultaneously being denied.

      A quick check of the word “Palestine” on google scholar returns one million and three hundred thousand studies, nearly half of them written from the mid 1990s onwards. Even granting that much of this scholarship would be situated in and reproducing orientalist and colonial knowledges, one can hardly claim scarcity of scholarly production on the dynamics of subalternity and oppression in Palestine. Anthropology, literary theory, and history have detected and detailed the epistemological and ontological facets of colonial and post-colonial erasure. One might thus ask: how does the persistent denial of erasure in the case of Palestinians work? We might resort to psychoanalysis or to a particular form of narcissistic behaviour known as DAVRO – Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender[3] – to understand the current pervading and cunning epistemic violence that Israel and its allies enact. Denying the radical obstructing and effacing of Palestinian life (while effecting it through settler-colonialism, settler and state violence, siege, apartheid, and genocidal violence in Gaza) is the first stage in Israel’s and western allies’ discursive manipulation. Attacking historicisation and contextualisation as invalid, antisemitic, propaganda, hate speech, immoral, outrageous, and even contrary to liberal values is the second stage. Lastly is the Reversing Victim and Offender by presenting the war on Gaza as one where Israel is a historical victim reacting to the offender, in response to demands that Israel, as the colonial and occupying power, takes responsibility for the current cycle of violence.

      This partly explains why the violent attack that Hamas conducted in the south of Israel last October, in which 1200 people were killed, is consistently presented as the start date of an ‘unprecedented’ violence, with more than 5000 Palestinians killed in carpet bombings of Gaza until 2022 doubly erased, physically and epistemically. With this, October 7th becomes the departure point of an Israeli epistemology of time assumed as universal, but it also marks an escalation in efforts to criminalise contextualisation and banish historicisation.

      Since October 7th, a plurality of voices – ranging from Israeli political figures and intellectuals, to mainstream and left-leaning journalists – has condemned efforts to inscribe Gaza into a long term history of colonialism as scurrilous justification for the killing of Israeli civilians. Attempts to analyse or understand facts through a historical and political frame, by most notably drawing attention to Gazans’ lived experience over the past 16 years (as a consequence of its long term siege and occupation) or merely to argue that there is a context in which events are taking place, such as General UN director Guterres did when he stated that October 7th “did not happen in a vacuum,” are represented as inciting terrorism or morally repugnant hate speech. In the few media reports accounting for the dire and deprived conditions of Palestinians’ existence in Gaza, the reasons causing the former are hardly mentioned. For instance, we hear in reports that Palestinians in Gaza are mostly refugees, that they are unemployed, and that 80% of them are relying on aid, with trucks of humanitarian aid deemed insufficient in the last few weeks in comparison to the numbers let in before the 7th of October. Astoundingly, the 56 years old Israeli occupation and 17 years old siege of Gaza, as root causes of the destruction of the economy, unemployment, and reliance on aid are not mentioned so that the public is left to imagine that these calamities are the result of Palestinians’ own doing.

      In other domains, we see a similar endeavour in preventing Palestine from being inscribed in its colonial context. Take for instance the many critical theorists who have tried to foreclose Franz Fanon’s analysis of colonial violence to Palestinians. Naming the context of colonial violence and Palestinians’ intergenerational and ongoing traumas is interpreted as morally corrupt, tantamount to not caring for Israeli trauma and a justification for the loss of Israeli lives. The variation of the argument that does refer to historical context either pushes Fanon’s arguments to the margins or argues that the existence of a Palestinian authority invalidates Fanon’s applicability to Palestine, denying therefore the effects of the violence that Palestinians as colonised subjects have endured and continue to endure because of Israeli occupation, apartheid, and siege.

      But perhaps one of the most disconcerting forms of gaslighting is the demand that Palestinians should – and could – suspend their condition of subordination, their psychic and physical injury, to centre the perpetrators’ feelings and grief as their own. In fact, the issue of grief has come to global attention almost exclusively as an ethical and moral question in reaction to the loss of Israeli lives. Palestinians who accept to go on TV are constantly asked whether they condemn the October 7th attack, before they can even dare talk about their own long history of loss and dispossession, and literally while their families are being annihilated by devastating shelling and bombing and still lying under the rubbles. One such case is that of PLO ambassador to the UK Hussam Zomlot, who lost members of his own family in the current attack, but was asked by Kirsty Wark to “condemn Hamas” on screen. To put it another way: would it even be conceivable to imagine a journalist asking Israeli hostages in captivity if they condemn the Israeli bombardments and the war on Gaza as a precondition to speak and be heard?

      “Condemning” becomes the condition of Palestinian intelligibility and audibility as humans, a proof that they share the universal idea that all human life is sacred, at the very moment when the sacrality of human life is violently precluded to them and when they are experiencing with brutal clarity that their existence as a people matters to no one who has the power to stop the carnage. This imperative mistakes in bad faith the principle that lives should have equal worth with a reality that for Palestinians is plainly experienced as the opposite of this postulate. Israel, on the other hand, is given “the extenuating circumstances” for looking after Israelis’ own trauma by conducting one of the most indiscriminate and ferocious attacks on civilians in decades, superior in its intensity and death rate to the devastation we saw in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, according to the New York Times. Nearly 20.000 killed – mostly children, women, and elderly – razed, shelled, bulldozed while in their homes or shelters, in an onslaught that does not spare doctors, patients, journalists, academics, and even Israeli hostages, and that aims at making Gaza an unlivable habitat for the survivors.

      Let us go back to the frequently invoked question of “morality.” In commentaries and op-eds over the last few weeks we are told that any mention of context for the attacks of October 7th is imperiling the very ability to be compassionate or be moral. Ranging from the Israeli government that argues that a killing machine in Gaza is justified on moral grounds – and that contextualisation and historicisation are a distraction or deviation from this moral imperative – to those who suggest Israel should moderate its violence against Palestinians – such as New York times columnist Nicholas Kristof who wrote that “Hamas dehumanized Israelis, and we must not dehumanize innocent people in Gaza” – all assign a pre-political or a-political higher moral ground to Israel. Moreover, October 7th is said to – and is felt as – having awakened the long historical suffering of the Jews and the trauma of the Holocaust. But what is the invocation of the Holocaust – and the historical experience of European antisemitism – if not a clear effort at historical and moral contextualisation? In fact, the only history and context deemed evocable and valid is the Israeli one, against the history and context of Palestinians’ lives. In this operation, Israeli subjectivity and sensibility is located above history and is assigned a monopoly of morality with October 7th becoming an a-historical and a meta-historical fact at one and the same time. In this canvas Palestinians are afforded permission to exist subject to inhabiting one of the two agencies assigned to them: guardian of Israeli life or colonised subject. This is what Israeli president Herzog means when he declares that there are no innocents in Gaza: “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. This rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved, it’s absolutely not true. They could’ve risen up, they could have fought against that evil regime”. The nearly twenty thousand Palestinian deaths are thus not Israel’s responsibility. Palestinians are liable for their own disappearance for not “fighting Hamas” to protect Israelis. The Israeli victims, including hundreds of soldiers, are, on the other hand, all inherently civilians, and afforded innocent qualities. This is the context in which Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu, of Itamar Ben Gvir’s far-right party in power, can suggest nuking Gaza or wiping out all residents: “They can go to Ireland or deserts, the monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves”. Let us not here be mistaken by conceding this might just be a fantasy, a desire of elimination: the Guardian and the +972/Local call magazines have provided chilling evidence that Palestinian civilians in Gaza are not “collateral” damage but what is at work is a mass assassination factory, thanks to a sophisticated AI system generating hundreds of unverified targets aiming at eliminating as many civilians as possible.

      Whether Palestinians are worthy of merely living or dying depends thus on their active acceptance or refusal to remain colonised. Any attempts to exit this predicament – whether through violent attacks like on October 7th or by staging peaceful civil tactics such as disobedience, boycott and divesting from Israel, recurrence to international law, peaceful marches, hunger strikes, popular or cultural resistance – are all the same, and in a gaslighting mode disallowed as evidence of Palestinians’ inherent violent nature which proves they need taming or elimination.

      One might be compelled to believe that dehumanisation and the logic of elimination of Palestinians are a reaction to the pain, sorrow, and shock generated by the traumatic and emotional aftermath of October 7th. But history does not agree with this, as the assigning of Palestinians to a non-human or even non-life sphere is deeply rooted in Israeli public discourse. The standpoint of a people seeking freedom from occupation and siege has consistently been reversed and catalogued as one of “terror and threat” to Israeli state and society when it is a threat to their colonial expansive or confinement plans, whether the latter are conceived as divinely mandated or backed by a secular settler-colonial imaginary. In so far as “terrorists” are birthed by snakes and wild beasts as Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaker states, they must be exterminated. Her words bear citation as they anticipate Gaza’s current devastation with lucid clarity: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads”. Urging the killing of all Palestinians women, men, and children and the destruction of their homes, she continued: “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there. They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists.” This is not an isolated voice. Back in 2016 Prime Minister Netanyahu argued that fences and walls should be built all around Israel to defend it from “wild beasts” and against this background retired Israeli general and former head of Intelligence Giora Eiland, in an opinion article in Yedioth Aharonoth on November 19, argues that all Palestinians in Gaza die of fast spreading disease and all infrastructure be destroyed, while still positing Israel’s higher moral ground: “We say that Sinwar (Hamas leader in Gaza, ndr) is so evil that he does not care if all the residents of Gaza die. Such a presentation is not accurate, since who are the “poor” women of Gaza? They are all the mothers, sisters, or wives of Hamas murderers,” adding, “And no, this is not about cruelty for cruelty’s sake, since we don’t support the suffering of the other side as an end but as a means.”

      But let us not be mistaken, such ascription of Palestinians to a place outside of history, and of humanity, goes way back and has been intrinsic to the establishment of Israel. From the outset of the settler colonial project in 1948, Palestinians as the indigenous people of the land have been dehumanised to enable the project of erasing them, in a manner akin to other settler colonial projects which aimed at turning the settlers into the new indigenous. The elimination of Palestinians has rested on more than just physical displacement, destruction, and a deep and wide ecological alteration of the landscape of Palestine to suit the newly fashioned Israeli identity. Key Israeli figures drew a direct equivalence between Palestinian life on the one hand and non-life on the other. For instance, Joseph Weitz, a Polish Jew who settled in Palestine in 1908 and sat in the first and second Transfer Committees (1937–1948) which were created to deal with “the Arab problem” (as the indigenous Palestinians were defined) speaks in his diaries of Palestinians as a primitive unity of human and non-human life.[4] Palestinians and their habitat were, in his words, “bustling with man and beast,” until their destruction and razing to the ground in 1948 made them “fossilized life,” to use Weitz’ own words. Once fossilised, the landscape could thus be visualised as an empty and barren landscape (the infamous desert), enlivened and redeemed by the arrival of the Jewish settlers.

      Locating events within the context and long durée of the incommensurable injustices inflicted upon the Palestinians since 1948 – which have acquired a new unimaginable magnitude with the current war on Gaza – is not just ethically imperative but also politically pressing. The tricks of DARVO (Denying Attacking and Reversing Victim and Offender) have been unveiled. We are now desperately in need of re-orienting the world’s moral compass by exposing the intertwined processes of humanisation and dehumanisation of Jewish Israelis and Palestinians. There is no other way to begin exiting not only the very conditions that usher violence, mass killings, and genocide, but also towards effecting the as yet entirely fictional principle that human lives have equal value.

      [1] Spivak, G. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988). In Lawrence Grossberg and Cary Nelson, eds., Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, pp. 271–313. Urbana: University of Illinois Press; Basingstoke: Macmillan.

      [2] Mahmoud Darwish, “The Madness of Being a Palestinian,” Journal Of Palestine Studies 15, no. 1 (1985): 138–41.

      [3] Heartfelt thanks to Professor Rema Hamami for alerting me to the notion of DAVRO and for her extended and invaluable comments on this essay.

      [4] Cited in Benvenisti M (2000) Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land since 1948. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp.155-156.

      #violence_épistémique #élimination #in/visilité #nettoyage_ethnique #oppression #DAVRO

  • Il campo di #Nea_Kavala nel nord della Grecia

    Dove «le persone non hanno spazio per esistere»

    Il Nord della Grecia è spesso dimenticato ma, non meno delle isole, è un luogo in cui si consuma l’ipocrisia europea dei campi come strumento di gestione del fenomeno migratorio. Un esempio è ciò che accade nel campo di Nea Kavala, vicino a Polykastro, a nord di Salonicco, nonostante la situazione sia critica ovunque.

    Durante l’estate 2023, come in altri stati europei, gli arrivi di persone in movimento si sono moltiplicati. Ad ora, secondo l’UNHCR 2, la popolazione migrante ufficialmente in ingresso in Grecia è stata di 42.343 persone, quando l’anno scorso gli arrivi ufficiali registrati sono stati di poco meno di 20.000 in tutto l’anno. Inoltre la Grecia, sotto pressione per le alluvioni avvenute a inizio Settembre, ha dovuto svuotare campi inizialmente pensati per richiedenti asilo per poter far stare la popolazione greca senza più un’abitazione, come ad esempio è avvenuto nel campo di Klidi Sintiki.

    Di conseguenza, da inizio Luglio 2023 la popolazione del campo di Nea Kavala 3 è aumenta drasticamente, raggiungendo quasi la massima capacità di più di 1.500 persone distribuite in 280 container. Nonostante il governo greco stia affrontando il fenomeno migratorio da diversi anni, viene sempre considerato come un’emergenza e le soluzioni governative adottate sono precarie e non rispettose dei diritti umani. Non solo vengono messi fino a otto persone, incuranti delle nazionalità, negli stessi container di 24 mq pensati per massimo 6 persone, ma vengono anche mischiate persone sane con malate, famiglie con uomini singoli… ovviamente alimentando tensioni che si potrebbero evitare.

    Vivere in un campo in Grecia non è una questione temporanea di qualche giorno, ma possono volerci mesi e anni in base a quante decisioni negative si ricevono, e in base alla propria nazionalità e un po’ a fortuna, dato che la modalità di esaminare le richieste di asilo in Grecia presenta molte carenze e incongruenze. Le persone vedono la Grecia come passaggio, il loro obiettivo finale non è quello di rimanere, ma di ottenere i documenti di viaggio per poter chiedere asilo in un altro paese europeo, evitando così di percorrere la rotta balcanica. Nonostante gli accordi di Dublino, le persone spesso riescono a essere poi accolte in altri paesi europei in quanto riescono a dimostrare che le condizioni di vita nei campi greci sono inumane e degradanti.

    Per descrivere com’è il campo di Nea Kavala mi risuonano le parole di Shahram Khosravi in Io sono confine:

    «E’ il campo stesso a produrre il profugo, o la sua condizione (…) Nessuna delle mie esperienze passate- la fustigazione, il carcere, un anno di vagabondaggi illegali- era riuscita a privarmi della mia dignità. E’ stato il campo a togliermela. Fino ad allora avevo perso uno stato di riferimento con i suoi diritti di cittadinanza, ma non avevo perso la voglia di vivere, la forza di volontà e il coraggio. ll campo mi ha tolto tutto questo».

    Tra i vari effetti collaterali del sovraffollamento c’è stato anche il mancato inizio della scuola. Mentre a Settembre i bambini greci hanno iniziato a frequentarla, per chi vive nel campo di Nea Kavala si è dovuto aspettare fino a fine Ottobre. Oltre ad essere una discriminazione, i bambini nel campo non fanno nulla. Le ONG presenti sul territorio cercano di offrire lezioni e spazi gioco, ma non è abbastanza per coprire il bisogno e per poter garantire continuità educativa.

    Il campo è comunque pensato per non essere visto dalla popolazione, per essere lontano. 6 km lo separano dal centro di Polykastro in cui si trovano tutti i servizi (guardia medica, supermercato, fermata del bus, scuole…) e non c’è un servizio di trasporto pubblico disponibile. L’unica possibilità è utilizzare un taxi o una bicicletta, ma nel primo caso è costoso, nel secondo, la domanda è così alta che non ce ne sono abbastanza per tutti, nonostante l’ONG Open Cultural Center offra un servizio di noleggio 4.

    Il campo è circondato da un muro di cemento alto 3 metri (intervallato da porte di metallo), telecamere e sicurezza che controlla in entrata e in uscita e sembra più simile ad una prigione che ad un rifugio. Ma il problema non è solo questo, è la stessa esistenza e la funzione dei campi.

    Da Settembre il governo greco ha iniziato a impedire l’entrata al campo a chi avesse ottenuto i documenti o a chi, dopo 3 decisioni negative, avrebbe dovuto lasciare la Grecia. In Grecia, quando la richiesta di asilo viene accolta in modo positivo, si ottengono documenti che permettono di viaggiare in Europa e si finisce di ricevere alcuni benefici riservati ai richiedenti asilo, come ad esempio il pocket money o il cibo.

    I programmi che aiutano l’inclusione sono pochi o inesistenti, quindi le persone si ritrovano spaesate e senza sapere cosa fare. Fino a prima di Settembre, alle persone veniva almeno lasciata la possibilità di rimanere nel campo per qualche settimana in più, in modo da potersi organizzare per muoversi in un altro paese o per cercare un’ altra soluzione abitativa in Grecia.

    Attualmente invece, non solo si nega la possibilità di restare nel campo per qualche tempo, ma l’impossibilità di rientrare nel campo è comunicata senza preavviso, e senza dare l’opportunità di entrare per prendere i propri beni personali. Sono appena tornata da qualche mese lì, e nonostante diverse volte ho assistito a scene di totale disrispetto dei diritti umani fuori dal campo, ne ho una stampata in testa. Perché si tratta di persone.

    Quel pomeriggio avevamo organizzato una caccia al tesoro con i bambini che vengono al centro dell’ONG, era stato molto bello e divertente per tutti. Come ogni giorno, a fine giornata, i bambini risalgono sul pullman che Open Cultural Center mette loro a disposizione per tornare al campo di Nea Kavala. Appena arrivati tutti scendono di corsa, i più grandi si mettono in autonomia in fila per i controlli mentre i più piccoli corrono in braccio ai genitori che li aspettano e si preparano a rientrare insieme. Mi fermo a scambiare due chiacchiere con Said, perchè è il primo giorno che la piccola Nura è venuta al centro, e discutiamo di come sia andata. Lo saluto, lui si gira, fa per rientrare e la security controlla il documento ma dice no, non siete più nella lista, non potete entrare. Ma come, ci deve essere un errore, sono uscito 10 minuti fa per prendere la bambina. No, avete ottenuto i documenti e non avete più diritto a star qui.

    In realtà Said e Sana, sua moglie, hanno i documenti, ma non hanno ancora lasciato la Grecia perchè la piccola Roya, appena nata, non li ha. E’ quindi impossibile per loro andarsene. Said cerca di spiegarlo alla security ma niente da fare. Gli viene anche detto che potrebbero lasciarlo entrare, ma ci sono telecamere e se qualcuno dovesse vedere poi l’operatore della security perderebbe il posto di lavoro.

    Nel frattempo Nura intuisce qualcosa e inizia a piangere, perché la mamma e la sorella son dentro, ma niente da fare li han lasciati fuori dal campo. Fra l’altro Said è in infradito e maniche corte, nonostante faccia freddo, perchè pensava di essere uscito per soli 5 minuti, non per sempre. In tutto ciò io guardo la scena, cerco di supportare Said ma sono abbastanza scioccata, non ci credo che quello che vedo sta succedendo davvero.

    Alla fine Said, impotente, decide di passare la notte in un Hotel a Polykastro, nonostante sia costoso, perchè fa già tanto freddo per dormire all’aperto nei prati vicino al campo, soprattutto con una bambina di 4 anni. Prima di salutarci, lui che per tutto il tempo era stato fermo e deciso e sorridente per non far preoccupare la piccola, inizia a piangere e mi dice, ma lo sai che in Afghanistan facevo il traduttore per l’esercito greco? È per questo che me ne sono dovuto andare quando sono arrivati i Talebani.

    Lascio Said, Sana e Nura quando ormai si è fatto buio. Io, con il mio carico di privilegio bianco ed europeo e il passaporto in tasca, torno a casa, sono disgustata.

    Mi chiedo per quanto ancora le politiche EU e i governi continueranno a violare sistematicamente i diritti e la dignità delle persone in movimento. Mi chiedo fino a che punto sapranno spingersi, fino a quando sarà così buio.


    #Grèce #camps_de_réfugiés #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Polykastro #containers

  • #Pakistan: detenzioni e deportazioni contro i rifugiati afghani

    In corso un’altra catastrofe umanitaria, molte persone a rischio di persecuzione in Afghanistan

    Dal 1° ottobre quasi 400mila persone afgane, di cui circa 220.000 in queste settimane di novembre, hanno abbandonato il Pakistan, in quella che appare sempre più come una pulizia etnica operata contro una minoranza. I numeri sono quelli forniti da UNHCR 1, dopo che il 17 settembre, il governo pakistano ha annunciato che tutte le persone “irregolari” avrebbero dovuto lasciare volontariamente il Paese entro il 1° novembre, pena la deportazione.
    La maggior parte delle persone rientrate e in Afghanistan sono donne e bambini: 1 bambino su quattro è sotto i cinque anni e oltre il 60% dei minori ha meno di 17 anni 2.

    E’ emerso, ultimamente, che le persone afghane senza documenti che lasciano il Pakistan per andare in altri paesi devono pagare una tassa di 830 dollari (760 euro).

    Amnesty International ha denunciato detenzioni di massa in centri di espulsione e che le persone prive di documenti sono state avviate alla deportazione senza che ai loro familiari fosse fornita alcuna informazione sul luogo in cui sono state portate e sulla data della deportazione. L’Ong ha dichiarato che il governo del Pakistan deve interrompere immediatamente le detenzioni, le deportazioni e le vessazioni diffuse nei confronti delle persone afghane.

    Dall’inizio di ottobre, inoltre, Amnesty ha raccolto informazioni relative agli sgomberi: diversi katchi abadis (insediamenti informali) che ospitano rifugiati afghani sono stati demoliti dalla Capital Development Authority (CDA) di Islamabad, le baracche sono state distrutte con i beni ancora al loro interno.

    In tutto il Pakistan, ha illustrato il governo, sono stati istituiti 49 centri di detenzione (chiamati anche centri di “detenzione” o di “transito”). «Questi centri di deportazione – ha affermato Amnesty – non sono stati costruiti in base a una legge specifica e funzionano parallelamente al sistema legale». L’associazione ha verificato che in almeno 7 centri di detenzione non viene esteso alcun diritto legale ai detenuti, come il diritto a un avvocato o alla comunicazione con i familiari. Sono centri che violano il diritto alla libertà e a un giusto processo. Inoltre, nessuna informazione viene resa pubblica, rendendo difficile per le famiglie rintracciare i propri cari. Amnesty ha confermato il livello di segretezza a tal punto che nessun giornalista ha avuto accesso a questi centri.

    Secondo quanto riporta Save the Children, molte famiglie deportate in Afghanistan non hanno un posto dove vivere, né soldi per il cibo, e sono ospitate in rifugi di fortuna, in una situazione disperata e in continuo peggioramento. Molte persone accusano gravi infezioni respiratorie, probabilmente dovute alla prolungata esposizione alle tempeste di polvere, ai centri chiusi e fumosi, al contagio dovuto alla vicinanza di altre persone malate e al freddo estremo, dato che molte famiglie hanno viaggiato verso l’Afghanistan in camion aperti e sovraffollati. Sono, inoltre, ad altissimo rischio di contrarre gravi malattie, che si stanno diffondendo rapidamente, tra cui la dissenteria acuta, altamente contagiosa e pericolosa.

    Una catastrofe umanitaria

    «Migliaia di rifugiati afghani vengono usati come pedine politiche per essere rispediti nell’Afghanistan controllato dai talebani, dove la loro vita e la loro integrità fisica potrebbero essere a rischio, nel contesto di una intensificata repressione dei diritti umani e di una catastrofe umanitaria in corso. Nessuno dovrebbe essere sottoposto a deportazioni forzate di massa e il Pakistan farebbe bene a ricordare i suoi obblighi legali internazionali, compreso il principio di non respingimento», ha dichiarato Livia Saccardi, vice direttrice regionale di Amnesty International per l’Asia meridionale.

    Il valico di frontiera di Torkham con l’Afghanistan è diventato un grande campo profughi a cielo aperto e le condizioni sono drammatiche. Le organizzazioni umanitarie presenti in loco per fornire assistenza hanno raccolto diverse testimonianze. «La folla a Torkham è opprimente, non è un luogo per bambini e donne. Di notte fa freddo e i bambini non hanno vestiti caldi. Ci sono anche pochi servizi igienici e l’acqua potabile è scarsa. Abbiamo bisogno di almeno un rifugio adeguato», ha raccontato una ragazza di 20 anni.

    «Le condizioni di salute dei bambini non sono buone, la maggior parte ha dolori allo stomaco. A causa della mancanza di acqua pulita e di strutture igieniche adeguate, non possono lavarsi le mani in modo corretto. Non ci sono servizi igienici puliti e questi bambini non ricevono pasti regolari e adeguati» ha dichiarato una dottoressa di Save the Children. «Se rimarranno qui per un periodo più lungo o se la situazione persisterà e il clima diventerà più freddo, ci saranno molti rischi per la salute dei bambini. Di notte la temperatura scende parecchio ed è difficile garantire il benessere dei più piccoli all’interno delle tende. Questo può influire negativamente sulla salute del bambino e della madre. È urgente distribuire vestiti caldi ai bambini e beni necessari, come assorbenti e biancheria intima per le giovani donne e altri articoli essenziali per ridurre i rischi per la salute di donne e bambini».

    «Il Pakistan deve adempiere agli obblighi previsti dalla legge internazionale sui diritti umani per garantire la sicurezza e il benessere dei rifugiati afghani all’interno dei suoi confini e fermare immediatamente le deportazioni per evitare un’ulteriore escalation di questa crisi. Il governo, insieme all’UNHCR, deve accelerare la registrazione dei richiedenti che cercano rifugio in Pakistan, in particolare le donne e le ragazze, i giornalisti e coloro che appartengono a comunità etniche e minoritarie, poiché corrono rischi maggiori. Se il governo pakistano non interrompe immediatamente le deportazioni, negherà a migliaia di afghani a rischio, soprattutto donne e ragazze, l’accesso alla sicurezza, all’istruzione e ai mezzi di sussistenza», ha affermato Livia Saccardi.

    Come si vive nell’Afghanistan con i talebani al potere lo denuncia CISDA, il Coordinamento Italiano di Sostegno alle Donne Afghane, che ha pubblicato un dossier “I diritti negati delle donne afghane” che racconta la vita quotidiana delle donne afghane e ripercorre la storia del Paese fino ai giorni nostri.

    «L’Afghanistan è un Paese allo stremo, stretto nella morsa dei talebani e alla mercé degli interessi geopolitici ed economici di diversi paesi. Se per tutta la popolazione afghana vivere è una sfida quotidiana, per le donne è un’impresa impervia», ha scritto CISDA che con questa pubblicazione ha voluto ripercorre le tappe principali della storia afghana, cercando di capire chi sono i talebani di oggi e realizzando approfondimenti tematici per comprendere qual è la situazione attuale del paese. E soprattutto ha voluto dar voce alle donne afghane raccogliendo le loro storie.

    #réfugiés_afghans #déportations #renvois #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Torkham #camps_de_réfugiés #centres_d'expulsion #détention_de_masse #rétention #détention #katchi_abadis #Capital_Development_Authority (#CDA)

    • Le Pakistan déclenche une vague d’abus contre les Afghans

      Les nouveaux efforts déployés par les autorités pakistanaises pour « convaincre » les Afghans de retourner en Afghanistan peuvent se résumer en un mot : abus.

      La police et d’autres fonctionnaires ont procédé à des #détentions_massives, à des #raids nocturnes et à des #passages_à_tabac contre des Afghans. Ils ont #saisi_des_biens et du bétail et détruit des maisons au bulldozer. Ils ont également exigé des #pots-de-vin, confisqué des bijoux et détruit des documents d’identité. La #police pakistanaise a parfois harcelé sexuellement des femmes et des filles afghanes et les a menacées d’#agression_sexuelle.

      Cette vague de #violence vise à pousser les réfugiés et les demandeurs d’asile afghans à quitter le Pakistan. Les #déportations que nous avons précédemment évoquées ici sont maintenant plus nombreuses – quelque 20 000 personnes ont été déportées depuis la mi-septembre. Les menaces et les abus en ont chassé bien plus : environ 355 000.

      Tout cela est en totale contradiction avec les obligations internationales du Pakistan de ne pas renvoyer de force des personnes vers des pays où elles risquent clairement d’être torturées ou persécutées.

      Parmi les personnes expulsées ou contraintes de partir figurent des personnes qui risqueraient d’être persécutées en Afghanistan, notamment des femmes et des filles, des défenseurs des droits humains, des journalistes et d’anciens fonctionnaires qui ont fui l’Afghanistan après la prise de pouvoir par les talibans en août 2021.

      Certaines des personnes menacées s’étaient vu promettre une réinstallation aux États-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Allemagne et au Canada, mais les procédures de #réinstallation n’avancent pas assez vite. Ces gouvernements doivent agir.

      L’arrivée de centaines de milliers de personnes en Afghanistan « ne pouvait pas arriver à un pire moment », comme l’a déclaré le Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés. Le pays est confronté à une crise économique durable qui a laissé les deux tiers de la population dans le besoin d’une assistance humanitaire. Et maintenant, l’hiver s’installe.

      Les nouveaux arrivants n’ont presque rien, car les autorités pakistanaises ont interdit aux Afghans de retirer plus de 50 000 roupies pakistanaises (175 dollars) chacun. Les agences humanitaires ont fait état de pénuries de tentes et d’autres services de base pour les nouveaux arrivants.

      Forcer des personnes à vivre dans des conditions qui mettent leur vie en danger en Afghanistan est inadmissible. Les autorités pakistanaises ont déclenché une vague d’#abus et mis en danger des centaines de milliers de personnes. Elles doivent faire marche arrière. Rapidement.

      #destruction #harcèlement

  • Escalation in North-West Syria: Civilian Areas Hit in Renewed Attacks

    With all eyes turned towards events in Israel and Gaza over the past two months, a significant escalation in the long running conflict in Syria has failed to gain front-page attention.

    More than 15 cities, towns and villages across North-West Syria — including in Idlib province, known as the last rebel stronghold — have been targeted with shelling.

    Bellingcat analysed footage and images of recent shelling and identified the use of incendiary weapons, cluster munitions and Grad rockets in close proximity or directly impacting civilian infrastructure including mosques, schools and camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

    Since the initial four day period, further shelling has been carried out across the country by different groups, leading UN official Paulo Pinheiro to describe it as: “the largest escalation of hostilities in Syria in four years.”

    What Happened?

    The initial shelling was reportedly carried out in response to a drone strike on a Syrian government military academy in Homs on October 5 that killed at least 80 people.

    On October 5 at around noon local time, a drone attack struck a graduation ceremony at the Homs Military Academy, here: 34.752382, 36.687726.

    No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Syria’s Defence Minister reportedly attended the graduation but left minutes before the attack.

    Syria’s defence ministry stated that it would respond “with full force” to the attack. Later the same day the government forces carried out heavy bombing of opposition-held areas in North-West Syria.

    The shelling of Idlib province and the countryside of Aleppo continued for several consecutive days.

    Despite media reports that shelling in North-West Syria was a response to the attack on the military academy, we couldn’t independently verify who was responsible for the shelling outlined below.
    Use of Incendiary Weapons in Darat Izza

    Between October 6 and October 7, videos emerged on social media showing incendiary weapons and other artillery alongside claims it was being dropped on Darat Izza, a town located about 25km west of Aleppo.

    Bellingcat’s preliminary analysis suggests that 122mm 9M22S Grad Rockets were used to shell the town of Darat Izza in early October.

    The earliest footage we found was posted on X (formerly Twitter) at 9:10 pm local time on October 6, alongside the claim that artillery strikes were taking place in Darat Izza, Termanin and Towama.

    While earlier posts mentioned artillery fire, later posts showed explosions near the ground accompanied by a rain of flares, likely activated after the impact of rockets, as seen in the gif below.

    The series of videos from October 6 were filmed at night. With no further information on the location, we looked at the urban landscape features revealed by the explosions’ flashes and cross referenced them with other open source information to match it to Darat Izza.

    Based on the approximate location of explosions and flares seen in the videos, we determined that the respective cameras were pointing towards southwest Darat Izza and that the explosions likely took place in a valley located in a sector in proximity to an IDP camp, here: 36.280114, 36.861183 (we’ll return to this location later). By October 8, rocket remnants and damage to civilian infrastructure was also reported in that area by The White Helmets — a volunteer civil defence and humanitarian organisation operating in Syria.

    The White Helmets said that 9M22S Grad rockets were used in Darat Izza during the early October attack and claimed the rockets were packed with ML-5 submunitions filled with thermite mixture – a flammable material designed to cause fires. We analysed footage captured by The White Helmets after the early October shelling, showing remnants of a possible 9M22S Grad Rocket here, 36.274441, 36.855304.
    The Unusual Features of the Incendiary Weapon

    Human Rights Watch describes incendiary weapons as weapons that contain flammable substances that ignite, they can be dropped from the air or fired from the ground in rockets or artillery shells. Incendiary weapons often start fires and can inflict severe injuries.

    The use of incendiary weapons in Syria has been well documented. Typically, an incendiary weapon explodes in the air and then thermite submunitions are dispersed downwards, falling like rain over a particular area. You can see an example of this here:


    However, in the early October attack on Darat Izza not all the explosions seem to occur in the air. Additionally, the incendiary elements seem to be projected upwards.

    Here’s a reminder of how it looked:

    We spoke to Petro Pyatakov, a retired colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and former Deputy Head of the Faculty of Missile Forces and Artillery of the Academy of Ground Forces who told us: explosions, followed by a hail of flares – as seen in the footage from Darat Izza – is consistent with incendiary weapons. He added that the explosions observed on October 6 could be caused by the explosion of a 122mm 9M22S Grad rocket either in the air or upon impacting the surface — depending on how the rocket was set to detonate before it was launched.

    There seems to be limited footage or other examples from Syria showing weapons projecting incendiary elements upwards after the point of explosion. Further analysis is needed to identify the exact type of weapon and incendiary elements used in Darat Izza on October 6.
    Additional Evidence from Darat Izza

    North-West Syria is already home to more than two million IDPs and at least 120,000 more were displaced in the October shelling according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    On October 7 – the day after footage of incendiary weapons was posted online and we geolocated it near an IDP camp in Darat Izza- Abdulkafi Alhamdo, a teacher, activist and reporter, posted a video on Facebook reporting a “burning and cluster bomb” attack had taken place near an IDP camp in Darat Izza. We located the impacted IDP camp where Alhamdo was filming to the same place we had geolocated the night before, at these coordinates: 36.280114, 36.861183. According to Alhamdo, although the attack did not cause damage to the camp, it did force the IDPs to leave the camp in fear.

    Separately, CCTV footage posted by The White Helmets allegedly filmed the night of October 7, showed what appear to be incendiary flares scattered on the roofs of houses. We geolocated these houses to a sector in the south of Darat Izza at coordinates: 36.274918, 36.851466.

    This humanitarian organisation also posted a drone video on October 8 showing damage to buildings and vehicles in Darat Izza. The video also features at least two munition remnants encrusted in the road, here: 36.274441, 36.855304 and here: 36.274934, 36.852089. At least one ordinance appears to be consistent with a 9М22S Grad rocket, mentioned above but further analysis is required to confirm this.

    For comparison, here is another example of a 9M22S Grad rocket, from Ukraine.


    We located residential areas including a mosque, a school and the IDP camp within a 1,000 metre radius to the rocket remnant.
    Use of Cluster Munitions in Termanin

    Based on Bellingcat’s analysis it appears that several different kinds of weapons, including at least two cluster munitions, hit the small town of Termanin – located 30km due west of Aleppo- over a period of a few days in early October.

    We geolocated an image of a 9M27K cluster munition cargo section posted on X next to a school in the town of Termanin at coordinates 36.226206, 36.818707. In addition to the cluster munition cargo section, we also identified and geolocated an 9N235 submunition within a 100 metre radius of the same school at 36.226054, 36.818162.

    The image of the 9N235 submunition seen in the White Helmets’ video appears to be consistent with the reference tool provided by Mark Hiznay, Associate Arms Director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) and corresponds to 9N235 submunition which can be delivered by Uragan or Smerch cluster rockets.

    In addition, we also identified another 9M27K cluster munition cargo section in a video posted on X on October 7. However, given that the video provides very limited view of the surroundings, it was not possible to geolocate this munition remnant based on this information alone.

    Comparing the cargo section from the video posted on X with imagery provided by The White Helmets, we geolocated the additional cluster munition cargo section to 36.231684, 36.813705, close to a post office according to information on Google Maps.

    According to a report from The White Helmets, one more cluster munition remnant landed at coordinates 36.232028, 36.818756. However, there are no images or videos available to confirm this.

    Both of the geolocated cluster munition cargo sections seem to be consistent with the cargo section of the 9M27K cluster munition, as outlined below — using a reference tool shared by Mark Hiznay. The 9M27K rocket has a range of between 10km and 35km.

    In addition to identifying the use of cluster munitions and incendiary weapons, we were also able to identify additional incidents of the shelling of civilian infrastructure other towns and cities.

    This included the shelling of an IDP camp in Idlib and a residential area and mosque in Ariha.
    IDP Camp Hit in Idlib

    Footage posted on X on October 8 showed large clouds of white smoke rising above the camp in broad daylight as residents can be seen running and grabbing their belongings.

    Bellingcat verified that at least two of these videos were filmed on the northern outskirts of Idlib, a sector with residential buildings, university facilities, schools as well as an IDP camp with people living in tents scattered over an area of approximately 1.5 square kilometres. We also found images of a shell remnant inside the camp.

    We examined a series of videos. In video 1 explosions are heard and smoke is seen rising from behind buildings and near a mosque, in video 2 people run and clouds of dust move across the camp. In video 3, posted by The White Helmets, the alleged aftermath of the attack is shown. Several dead animals can be seen near what appears to be a Grad rocket remnant.

    Comparing the three videos, we verified they were all filmed in a sector occupied by the IDP camp at coordinates 35.942382, 36.630046.

    This is not the first time IDP camps in Idlib and the surrounding areas have been shelled. In November last year, the UN noted that shelling had killed civilians and damaged tents.
    School Damaged in Al-Bara

    The town of Al-Bara — located less than 30km south of Idlib — was also allegedly shelled on October 5 damaging a school.

    Bellingcat geolocated imagery from social media showing damage to the school, here 35.683940, 36.540628. There was no recent Google Earth imagery available of the area, so we were not able to identify the damage in the satellite imagery but we were able to use it to help geolocate the site.

    Residential Areas Hit in Ariha

    The October 5 bombardment of Ariha — a town located about 15km south of the city of Idlib — was filmed from a number of angles. Footage and images of the shelling and its aftermath circulated on social media in the days after the attack.

    Bellingcat geolocated five videos from that day, showing the shelling of Ariha from different angles. With this footage we were able to establish residential areas of Ariha were shelled.

    We geolocated one of the damaged buildings to 35.811865, 36.604708, which matched the area that was shelled the day before. In a photo of the damaged building we can see a washing line on a balcony with clothes hanging from it. Available open source visual evidence indicates this was a residential building.

    Further shelling was reported on October 7, two days after the initial attack. We identified additional damage to residential buildings, including a mosque, located here: 35.812983, 36.613567.

    We were able to geolocate damaged buildings by matching features in footage posted on social media by The White Helmets with Google Earth satellite imagery. The most recent Google Earth imagery of the area was from October last year, so we were not able to identify the damage in the imagery but we were able to use it to help geolocate the site.

    Despite ample evidence of shelling in North-West Syria and the damage it caused, it has received little media coverage.

    In fact, a recent investigation by Bellingcat on misinformation circulating about Israel and Gaza found that footage of previous strikes on Ariha had been misrepresented as depicting strikes on Gaza.

    The death toll from the early October shelling varies, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that more than 70 people have been killed in North-West Syria since the escalation on October 5, more than a third of them children.

    At least 349 people have been injured and more than 120,000 people have been newly displaced.

    Since the shelling of early October, the situation in Syria has continued to deteriorate with further shelling, by a variety of groups across the country. Meanwhile, humanitarian groups have warned about the increasing hardships facing more than two million internally displaced people in North-West Syria this winter.

    #Syrie #guerre #conflits #Idlib #IDPs #déplacés_internes #camps_de_réfugiés #villes #architecture_forensique #Darat_Izza #Termanin

  • Greek data watchdog to rule on AI systems in refugee camps

    A forthcoming decision on the compliance of surveillance and security systems in Greek refugee camps could set a precedent for how AI and biometric systems are deployed for ‘migration management’ in Europe

    Greece’s data protection watchdog is set to issue a long-awaited decision on the legality of controversial high-tech surveillance and security systems deployed in the country’s refugee camps.

    The Greek Data Protection Authority’s (DPA) decision, expected by the end of the year, concerns in part a new multimillion-euro Artificial Intelligence Behavioural Analytics security system, which has been installed at several recently constructed refugee camps on the Aegean islands.

    The system – dubbed #Centaur and funded through the European Union (EU) – relies on algorithms and surveillance equipment – including cameras, drones, sensors and other hardware installed inside refugee camps – to automatically detect purported threats, alert authorities and keep a log of incidents. Hyperion, another system that relies on biometric fingerprint data to facilitate entry and exit from the refugee camps, is also being examined in the probe.

    Centaur and #Hyperion came under investigation in March 2022, after several Greek civil society organisations and a researcher filed a complaint to the Greek DPA questioning the legality of the programs under Greek and European laws. The Greek DPA’s decision could determine how artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric systems are used within the migration management context in Greece and beyond.

    Although the data watchdog’s decision remains to be seen, a review of dozens of documents obtained through public access to documents requests, on-the-ground reporting from the islands where the systems have been deployed, as well as interviews with Greek officials, camp staff and asylum seekers, suggest the Greek authorities likely sidestepped or botched crucial procedural requirements under the European Union’s (EU) privacy and human rights law during a mad rush to procure and deploy the systems.

    “It is difficult to see how the DPA will not find a breach,” said Niovi Vavoula, a lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, who petitioned the Greek DPA alongside Greek civil society organisations Homo Digitalis, The Hellenic League for Human Rights, and HIAS Greece.

    She said “major shortcomings” identified include the lack of appointment of a data protection officer at the Greek Migration Ministry prior to the launch of its programs.

    Security systems a hallmark of new EU camps

    Centaur and Hyperion are hallmarks of Greece’s newest migrant facilities, also known as Closed Controlled Access Centres (CCACs), which began opening in the eastern Aegean in 2021 with funding and supervision from the European Commission (EC). Greek authorities have lauded the surveillance apparatus at the revamped facilities as a silver-bullet solution to the problems that plagued previous makeshift migrant camps in Greece.

    The Centaur system allows authorities to monitor virtually every inch of the camps’ outdoor areas – and even some indoor spaces – from local command and control centres on the islands, and from a centralised control room in Athens, which Greece’s former migration minister Notis Mitarachi unveiled with much fanfare in September 2021.

    “We’re not monitoring people. We’re trying to prevent something bad from happening,” Anastasios Salis, the migration ministry’s director general of ICT and one of the self-described architects of the Centaur system, told me when I visited the ministry’s centralised control room in Athens in December 2021. “It’s not a prison, okay? It’s something different.”

    Critics have described the new camps as “prison-like” and a “dystopian nightmare”.

    Behind closed doors, the systems have also come under scrutiny by some EU authorities, including its Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), which expressed concerns following a visit to one of the camps on Samos Island in May 2022.

    In subsequent informal input on Greece’s refugee camp security measures, the FRA said it was “concerned about the necessity and proportionality of some of the measures and their possible impact on fundamental rights of residents” and recommended “less intrusive measures”.

    Asked during the control room tour in 2021 what is being done to ensure the operation of the Centaur system respects privacy laws and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Salis responded: “GDPR? I don’t see any personal data recorded.”

    ‘Spectacular #experimentation’

    While other EU countries have experimented with myriad migration management and surveillance systems, Greece’s refugee camp deployments are unique.

    “What we see in Greece is spectacular experimentation of a variety of systems that we might not find in this condensed way in other national contexts,” said Caterina Rodelli, a policy analyst at the digital rights non-profit Access Now.

    She added: “Whereas in other European countries you might find surveillance of migrant people, asylum seekers … Greece has paved the way for having more dense testing environments” within refugee camps – particularly since the creation of its EU-funded and tech-riddled refugee camps.

    The #Samos facility, arguably the EU’s flagship camp, has been advertised as a model and visited by officials from the UK, the US and Morocco. Technology deployments at Greece’s borders have already been replicated in other European countries.

    When compared with other Mediterranean states, Greece has also received disproportionate funding from the EU for its border reinforcement projects.

    In a report published in July, the research outfit Statewatch compared commission funds to Greece between 2014 and 2020 and those projected to be paid between 2021 and 2027, finding that “the funding directed specifically towards borders has skyrocketed from almost €303m to more than €1bn – an increase of 248%”.

    Greece’s Centre for Security Studies, a research and consulting institution overseen by the Greek minister of citizen protection, for example, received €12.8m in EU funds to develop border technologies – the most of any organisation analysed in the report during an eight-year period that ended in 2022.

    Surveillance and security systems at Greek refugee camps are funded through the EU’s Covid recovery fund, known formally as the European Commission’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, as well as the Internal Security Fund.
    Early warnings

    At the heart of the Greek DPA probe are questions about whether Greece has a legal basis for the type of data processing understood to be required in the programs, and whether it followed procedures required under GDPR.

    This includes the need to conduct data protection impact assessments (DPIAs), which demonstrate compliance with the regulation as well as help identify and mitigate various risks associated with personal data processing – a procedure the GDPR stipulates must be carried out far in advance of certain systems being deployed.

    The need to conduct these assessments before technology deployments take place was underscored by the Greek DPA in a letter sent to the Greek migration ministry in March 2022 at the launch of its probe, in which it wrote that “in the case of procurement of surveillance and control systems” impact studies “should be carried out not only before their operation, but also before their procurement”.

    Official warnings for Greece to tread carefully with the use of surveillance in its camps came as early as June 2021 – months before the opening of the first EU-funded camp on Samos Island – when the FRA provided input on the use of surveillance equipment in Greek refugee camps, and the Centaur project specifically.

    In a document reviewed by Computer Weekly, the FRA wrote that the system would need to undergo “a thorough impact assessment” to check its compatibility with fundamental rights, including data protection and privacy safeguards. It also wrote that “the Greek authorities need to provide details on the equipment they are planning to use, its intended purpose and the legal basis for the automated processing of personal data, which to our understanding include sensitive biometric data”.
    A botched process?

    However, according to documents obtained through public record requests, the impact assessments related to the programs were only carried out months after the systems were deployed and operational, while the first assessments were not shared with the commission until late January 2022.

    Subsequent communications between EU and Greek authorities reveal, for the first time, glaring procedural omissions and clumsy efforts by Greek authorities to backpedal into compliance.

    For example, Greece’s initial assessments of the Centaur system covered the use of the CCTV cameras, but not the potentially more sensitive aspects of the project such as the use of motion analysis algorithms and drones, a commission representative wrote to Greek authorities in May 2022. The representative further underscored the importance of assessing “the impact of the whole project on data protection principles and fundamental rights”.

    The commission also informed the Greek authorities that some areas where cameras were understood to have been placed, such as common areas inside accommodation corridors, could be deemed as “sensitive”, and that Greece would need to assess if these deployments would interfere with data protection, privacy and other rights such as non-discrimination or child rights.

    It also requested more details on the personal data categories being processed – suggesting that relevant information on the categories and modalities of processing – such as whether the categories would be inferred by a human or an algorithm-based technology – had been excluded. At the time, Greek officials had reported that only “physical characteristics” would be collected but did not expand further.

    “No explanation is provided on why less intrusive measures cannot be implemented to prevent and detect criminal activities,” the commission wrote, reminding Greece that “all asylum seekers are considered vulnerable data subjects”, according to guidelines endorsed by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB).

    The FRA, in informal input provided after its visit to the Samos camp in May 2022, recommended basic safeguards Greece could take to ensure camp surveillance systems are in full compliance with GDPR. This included placing visible signs to inform camp residents and staff “about the operation of CCTV cameras before entering a monitored area”.

    No such signs were visible in the camp’s entry when Computer Weekly visited the Samos camp in early October this year, despite the presence of several cameras at the camp’s entry.

    Computer Weekly understands that, as of early October, procedural requirements such as impact assessments had not yet been finalised, and that the migration ministry would remain in consultation with the DPA until all the programs were fully GDPR-compliant.

    Responding to Computer Weekly’s questions about the findings of this story, a Greek migration ministry spokesperson said: “[The ministry] is already in open consultation with the Greek DPA for the ‘Centaur’ and ‘Hyperion’ programs since March 2022. The consultation has not yet been completed. Both of these programs have not been fully implemented as several secondary functions are still in the implementation phase while the primary functions (video surveillance through closed circuit television and drone, entry – exit through security turnstiles) of the programs are subject to continuous parameterisation and are in pilot application.

    “The ministry has justified to the Greek DPA as to the necessity of implementing the measure of installing and operating video surveillance systems in the hospitality structures citing the damage that the structures constantly suffer due to vandalism, resulting in substantial damage to state assets … and risking the health of vulnerable groups such as children and their companions.”

    The commission wrote to Computer Weekly that it “do[es] not comment on ongoing investigations carried out by independent data protection authorities” and did not respond to questions on the deployment of the systems.

    Previous reporting by the Greek investigative outlet Solomon has similarly identified potential violations, including that the camp programs were implemented without the Greek ministry of migration and asylum hiring a data protection officer as required under the GDPR.
    Lack of accountability and transparency?

    The commission has said it applies all relevant checks and controls but that it is ultimately up to Greece to ensure refugee camps and their systems are in line with European standards.

    Vavoula, the researcher who was involved in the Greek DPA complaint, said the EU has been “funding … these initiatives without proper oversight”.

    Saskia Bricmont, a Belgian politician and a Member of the European Parliament with the Greens/European Free Alliance, described unsuccessful efforts to obtain more information on the systems deployed at Greece’s camps and borders: “Neither the commission nor the Greek authorities are willing to share information and to be transparent about it. Why? Why do they hide things – or at least give the impression they do?”

    The European Ombudsman recently conducted a probe into how the commission ensures fundamental rights are being respected at Greece’s EU-funded camps. It also asked the commission to weigh in on the surveillance systems and whether it had conducted or reviewed the data protection and fundamental rights impact assessments.

    The commission initially reported that Greece had “completed” assessments “before the full deployment of the surveillance systems”. In a later submission in August, however, the commission changed its wording – writing instead that the Greek authorities have “drawn up” the assessments “before the full deployment” of the tools.

    The commission did not directly respond to Computer Weekly’s query asking it to clarify whether the Greek authorities have “completed” or merely “drawn up” DPIAs, and whether the commission’s understanding of the status of the DPIAs changed between the initial and final submissions to the European ombudsman.

    Eleftherios Chelioudakis, co-founder of the Greek digital rights organisation Homo Digitalis, rejected the suggestion that there are different benchmarks on deployment. “There is no legal distinction between full deployment of a system or partial deployment of a system,” he said. “In both cases, there are personal data processing operations taking place.”

    Chelioudakis added that the Greek DPA holds that even the mere transmission of footage (even if no data is recorded/stored) constitutes personal data processing, and that GDPR rules apply.
    Check… check… is this camera on?

    Greek officials, initially eager to show off the camps’ surveillance apparatus, have grown increasingly tight-lipped on the precise status of the systems.

    When visiting the ministry’s centralised control room at the end of 2021, Computer Weekly’s reporter was told by officials that three camps – on Samos, Kos and Leros islands – were already fully connected to the systems and that the ministry was working “on a very tight timeframe” to connect the more than 30 remaining refugee camps in Greece. During a rare press conference in September 2022, Greece’s then-migration minister, Notis Mitarachi, said Centaur was in use at the three refugee camps on Samos, Kos and Leros.

    In October 2022, Computer Weekly’s reporter was also granted access to the local control room on Samos Island, and confirmed that monitoring systems were set up and operational but not yet in use. A drone has since been deployed and is being used in the Samos camp, according to several eyewitnesses.

    Officials appear to have exercised more caution with Hyperion, the fingerprint entry-exit system. Computer Weekly understands the system is fully set up and functioning at several of the camps – officials proudly demonstrated its functions during the inauguration of the Kos camp – but has not been in use.

    While it’s not yet clear if the more advanced and controversial features of Centaur are in use – or if they ever will be – what is certain is that footage from the cameras installed on several islands is being fed to a centralised control room in Athens.

    In early October, Computer Weekly’s reporter tried to speak with asylum seekers outside the Samos camp, after officials abruptly announced the temporary suspension of journalist access to this and other EU-funded camps. Guards behind the barbed wire fence at the camp’s gate asked the reporter to move out of the sight of cameras – installed at the gate and the camp’s periphery – afraid they would receive a scolding call from the migration ministry in Athens.

    “If they see you in the cameras they will call and ask, ‘Why is there a journalist there?’ And we will have a problem,” one of the guards said. Lawyers and others who work with asylum seekers in the camp say they’ve had similar experiences.

    On several occasions, Computer Weekly’s reporter has asked the Greek authorities to provide proof or early indications that the systems are improving safety for camp residents, staff and local communities. All requests have been denied or ignored.

    Lawyers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have also documented dozens of incidents that undermine Greek officials’ claims of increased safety in the tech-riddled camps.
    Unmet promises of increased security

    In September 2022, a peaceful protest by some 40 Samos camp residents who had received negative decisions on their asylum claims escalated into a riot. Staff evacuated the camp and police were called in and arrested several people.

    Lawyers representing those accused of instigating the brawl and throwing rocks at intervening police officers said they were struck by the absence of photographic or video evidence in the case, despite their clients’ request to use the footage to prove their innocence.

    “Even with all these systems, with all the surveillance, with all the cameras … there were no photographs or video, something to show that those arrested were guilty,” said Dimitris Choulis, a lawyer with the Human Rights Legal Project on Samos.

    Asked about the incident, the Samos camp director at the time explained that the system has blind spots and that the cameras do not cover all areas of the camp, a claim contrary to other official statements.

    Choulis’s organisation and the legal NGO I Have Rights have also collected testimonies from roughly a dozen individuals who claim they were victims of police brutality in the Samos CCAC beginning in July 2022.

    According to Nikos Phokas, a resident of Leros Island, which houses one of the EU-funded facilities, while the surveillance system has proven incapable of preventing harm on several occasions, the ability it gives officials in Athens to peer into the camps at any moment has shifted dynamics for camp residents, staff and the surrounding communities. “This is the worst thing about this camp – the terror the surveillance creates for people. Everyone watches their backs because of it.”

    He added the surveillance apparatus and the closed nature of the new camp on Leros has forced some camp employees to operate “under the radar” out of fear of being accused of engaging in any behaviour that may be deemed out-of-line by officials in Athens.

    For example, when clothes were needed following an influx of arrivals last summer, camp employees coordinated privately and drove their personal vehicles to retrieve items from local volunteers.

    “In the past, it was more flexible. But now there’s so much surveillance – Athens is looking directly at what’s happening here,” said Catharina Kahane, who headed the NGO ECHO100PLUS on Leros, but was forced to cut down on services because the closed nature of the camp, along with stricter regulations by the Greek migration ministry, made it nearly impossible for her NGO to provide services to asylum seekers.

    Camp staff in one of the island facilities organised a protest to denounce being subjected to the same monitoring and security checks as asylum seekers.

    Residents of the camps have mixed views on the surveillance. Heba*, a Syrian mother of three who lodged an asylum claim in Samos and was waiting out her application, in early October said the cameras and other security measures provided a sense of safety in the camp.

    “What we need more is water and food,” said Mohammed*, a Palestinian asylum seeker who got to Samos in the midst of a recent surge in arrivals that brought the camp’s population to nearly 200% capacity and has led to “inhumane and degrading conditions” for residents, according to NGOs. He was perplexed by the presence of high-tech equipment in a refugee camp that has nearly daily water cuts.

    #camps_de_réfugiés #surveillance #AI #IA #intelligence_artificielle #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #biométrie #algorithmes

    • il dit lui même « synthèse » et « truc que je ne connais pas », et il le prouve, par exemple en laissant entendre que le sionisme est un mouvement fondamentaliste religieux, alors que c’était en bonne partie un mouvement de juifs sécularisés et laïcs, qui a émergé non seulement en raison des persécutions en Europe mais danse le cadre du développement des nationalismes européens du XIXeme, repris ensuite encore ailleurs et par d’autres.
      idem, si on n’évoque pas la spécificité de l’antisémitisme (il n’y qu’aux juifs que sont attribué des pouvoirs occultes, ce qui permet le « socialisme des imbéciles » et le complotisme antisémite) ou celles du racisme anti-arabe (à la fois « judéo- chrétien », depuis les monothéisme antérieurs à l’islam, et colonial, effectivement). si on veut faire des machins à l’oral plutôt que de tabler sur la lecture d’ouvrages approfondis et contradictoires, ça me semble plus intéressant de livrer des témoignages, des récits, ou des confrontations entre énonciateurs qui travaillent pour de bon sur ces questions que de prétendre tout embrasser sous l’angle d’une grille de lecture préétablie (décoloniale or whatever).

    • oui, @rastapopoulos, il tâche d’être précautionneux sur l’antisémitisme et il dit vrai dans le passage que tu cites (guerre de religion). mais il loupe ce point historiquement décisif de la (re)confessionalisation progressive des deux mouvements nationalistes, sioniste et palestinien. des deux cotés, la religion n’était en rien essentiele, bien que de part et d’autre cela ai aussi joué initialement un rôle, minoritaire (cf. l’histoire du sionisme et celle de l’OLP). voilà qui est altéré par ce qu’il dit du sionisme originel (où il se plante), dont les coordonnées se définissaient dans un espace résolument mécréant, dans un rapport conflictuel avec le Bund, avec le socialisme révolutionnaire européen.
      pour ce que je comprends d’Israël, on peut dire grossièrement que le religieux se divise en deux, un fondamentalisme messianique et guerrier qui caractérise nombre de colons (dans l’acception israélienne du terme) et l’État israélien, et de l’autre une religiosité qui refuse la sécularisation dans l’État guerrier (exemptions du service militaire pour des orthodoxes d’une part, qui fait scandale, dissidence pacifiste au nom de la Thora d’autre part).

      j’avais vu ce bobino avant qu’il soit cité par Mona et repris par toi et ne l’avait pas aimé. la vulgarisation historique est un exercice à haut risque (simplifications impossibles, déperditions, erreurs), le gars d’Histoires crépues en est d’ailleurs conscient.
      un récit au présent qui sait tirer des fils historiques et politiques nécessaires à ce qu’il énonce (comme l’a si bien réussi Mona avec son dernier papier) ne se donne pas pour objectif une synthèse historique. celle-ci émerge par surcroit depuis le présent (une critique, une représentation du présent).

      edit @sandburg, les persécutions des juifs et l’éclosion des nationalismes en Europe sont déterminantes dans cette « histoire du XXeme ». le sionisme nait, lui aussi, au XIXeme...

      #histoire #politique #présent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


    sur le film, voir aussi:

  • Why the international community is failing urban refugees: four myths about protracted displacement

    This paper challenges decision makers’ and humanitarian practitioners’ reliance on stereotypes about protracted displacement. It questions received ideas about camps and about displaced people’s experiences in towns and cities.

    It is structured around four such ‘myths’, examining each in turn, before discussing the lived realities refugees face, especially when seeking informal work in urban areas. These four myths maintain the status quo in funding and programming priorities that privilege camps, and that prevent hundreds of thousands of displaced people from finding more dignified, productive and meaningful lives in urban areas. It is time to switch to in situ support within urban areas, and to improve conditions for both interally displaced people/refugees and local populations working in the informal sector.

    #mythes #urban_refugees #réfugiés_urbains #camps_de_réfugiés #réfugiés

  • Ceux qui sont restés là-bas

    « Il aurait fallu rester jusqu’à la fin. Il aurait fallu mourir. Avoir quitté les lieux avant les autres, c’est être coupé de l’Histoire. Je suis entré dans le noir qu’on appelle la survie. Je n’ai pas vu de mes yeux jusqu’au bout, je n’ai pas payé de ma vie comme les autres. Cependant, si l’enfance détermine tout, alors je suis un enfant des camps. »
    1978. Narang a six ans. Il fuit le Cambodge avec sa mère. Comme une foule d’autres rescapés, tous deux tentent de rejoindre la Thaïlande. Épuisés par des jours de marche, harassés par la faim et la soif, ils sont parqués dans un camp à leur arrivée. Cela aurait pu être la fin de leur tragédie. Mais ça ne sera que le début d’une autre. Fulgurante, celle-ci.
    Jeanne Truong restitue avec force et pudeur l’horreur du cauchemar cambodgien. Elle revient sur un épisode méconnu de cette période sanglante. Le récit de Narang, habité par les obsessions qui hantent les survivants, est saisissant de vérité et d’humanité.


    #Cambodge #génocide #livre #camps_de_réfugiés #massacre #Jeanne_Truong

  • Ongoing violent attacks on LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees at #Kakuma refugee camp

    #queersOfKakuma is a group of LGBTI+ activists living in Kakuma refugee camp. Together with members of migration-control.info, we wrote the following report about ongoing violent attacks on LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees, focusing on the general situation at Kakuma refugee camp and specifically on challenges of the LGBTI+ community and the international resettlement and externalization politics.

    Content note: sexual and gendered violence, illness, precarity, death

    Kakuma is a refugee camp established in 1992 and located in the north of Kenya near the border with Uganda and South Sudan as shows the map below. The camp is managed both by the Kenyan government (Department of Refugees Services - DRS) and UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees). According to UNHCR statistics, Kenya hosted in July 2023 636.034 refugees and asylum seekers, 269.545 (42,4%) in Dadaab, 270.273 (42,2%) in Kakuma and 96,206 (15,1%) in urban areas. A deadline to close Kenyas camps was already set by the Kenyan and Somalian governments, in a trilateral agreement with UNHCR, for 2016. Since then, the deadline was postponed on several occasions and the number of asylum seekers and refugees is growing as a result of violence in the region. When in 2016 war broke out in South Sudan thousands of South Sudanese women, especially, escaped across the border to Kakuma. Today, Kakuma has almost as many inhabitants as Dadaab and is the second-largest camp in the country.

    Asylum seekers and refugees in Kenya face many challenges and living conditions are described as unbearable. The underfunding of the Kenyan branch of UNHCR (there has notably been a funding gap of 49% by the United Nations as of October 2022 according to UNHCR) directly affects the living conditions of asylum seekers and refugees at the Kakuma camp. For instance, “UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) declared that they had ’never had such a terrible funding situation for refugees’ in East Africa, WFP having reduced food rations for 417,000 camp-based refugees by 40% for lack of funding” (Amnesty International and NGLHRC report, p14). According to queersOfKakuma one adult person currently receives per month: 1 kg rice, 500g peas, 500g Sorghum and a little portion of cooking oil. Underfunding by UN also serves as an argument for the Kenyan government to threaten to close the refugee camps. Indeed, the lack of funding also results in less workers at the camp, which further delays asylum-seeking procedures.

    LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees confronted to discrimination and violent attacks which stay unpunished

    Kenya is the only country in the East and Horn of Africa to offer asylum to people who seek protection because of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expressions of sex gender identity. But in April 2023, Kenyan MP Peter Kaluma has been promoting the Family Protection Bill, which criminalizes sexual relations between two people of the same sex-gender. The Kenya 2021 Refugees Act mentions in Section 19(2): “a refugee or an asylum seeker engaging in a conduct that is in breach or is likely to result in a breach of public order or contrary to public morality under the law irrespective of whether the conduct is linked to his claim for asylum or not, may be expelled from Kenya by an order of the Cabinet Secretary.” Associated to the Family Protection Bill, it would give the possibility to the Kenyan government to expel asylum seekers and refugees on grounds that they violate Kenyan “public order” and “morality”.

    The Kenyan Family Bill is similar to the situation in Uganda: in December 2013, the Ugandan parliament, with the support of President Yoweri Museveni, voted on an anti-homosexuality bill which also criminalizes sexual relations between adults of same sex-gender. This bill represents the explicit institutionalization of discrimination based on sex-gender orientation and expression which was already generally established in the Ugandan society, notably through the exclusion of LGBTI+ people from education and job such as described in Gitta Zomorodi’s article. Since then, LGBTI+ Ugandans’ life standards are threatened, like in other countries of the region, and perhaps soon by the Kenyan state, considering the Family Protection Bill. A member of queersOfKakuma states: “I don’t have anywhere to go.”

    According to a UNHCR statement, Kakuma hosts about 300 refugees and asylum-seekers with an LGBTI+ profile. In addition to the challenges faced by all asylum seekers and refugees in Kenya, asylum seekers and refugees who are LGBTI+ encounter additional challenges linked to their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression and sex characteristics. An activist of queersOfKakuma explains the pain of being in the camp: “I’m living in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. I’m here to speak on behalf of my fellow Queers in Kakuma refugee camp. We were persecuted in our home country because of our sexuality. We managed to flee and seek for protection and safety but unfortunately, it’s like we jumped from a frying pan to a fire. The situation here is very terrible. We are facing discrimination, segregation. The place is very homophobic and when it comes to the trans, it’s worse.” Another activist describes the concrete living conditions: “We are dying from hunger. We don’t have medication, we don’t have anything and more people should care. We are just living today and we don’t know if we can live tomorrow [...] We are sleeping outside, we don’t have mattresses, we don’t have blankets, we don’t have even covers.” With Kenya’s 2009 Refugee Regulation, LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees could benefit from fast-tracked procedures because they were considered as being “at risk”. However, since 2018, they have had to wait longer, to the point where it has been observed by Amnesty International and NGLHRC that procedures have specifically been delayed for LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees, which is, yet, another discrimination.

    Besides, LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees often face verbal and physical violence and humiliation during procedures of registration. They explain that they have endured homophobic and sexist insults during their procedure. Hence, multiple LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees have purposefully decided not to disclose their LGBTI+ identity to state officers. This particularly excluded them from the fast-track procedure dedicated to populations “at risk” when it was possible. It also shows the strong distrust of state officers which has grown among the LGBTI+ community. This distrust is similarly caused by bad treatment from the police. The Kenyan police effectively rarely investigates discriminatory violence against LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees, who are regularly assaulted, beaten, raped. queersOfKakuma explain: “Here we live in open spaces which makes it easy for homophobic people to come and attack us and it has happened so many times. We lost lives of our colleagues and no reaction has been taken by the police and the UNHCR. So you see it’s really unfair. We are unsafe.”

    Moreover, police officers can, themselves, be violent towards LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees. They intimidated activists who organised the pride march inside Kakuma notably by arresting them and exposing them to rape and sexual violence from other detainees, as discovered during Amnesty International and NGLHRC’s investigation. QueersOfKakuma have also spoken of unfair arrestations: “Before we were sixty but four of us are in prison. They were imprisoned for nothing. They are in prison, we failed to collect money to get them out. Now it’s two months. We don’t have money, it’s two thousand dollars for the people in prison.”

    In addition to this institutionalised violence, LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees have difficulties accessing health care because of important stigma from carers. It is, thus, often hard for them to access necessary medical treatments and care which are vital, especially after violent attacks and for those of them who are HIV-positive, as explained by queersOfKakuma: “When we go to hospitals [...] the hospitals tell us that we are not normal, we are devils.”; “Some of us, two hundred and seven, they are positive, they have HIV. [...] they can’t even afford to get access to vitamins, the ingredients which can support someone who is suffering, who is traumatized with HIV. Even getting the medication sometimes is very hard.”

    Also, children of LGBTI+ parents and children who identify themselves as LGBTI+ face violence in Kakuma refugee camp. The discrimination they experience in school stops them from attending. QueersOfKakuma explain: “We can’t take our children to go to school in the camp. They will be discriminated against. They do miserable things to those kids but they are really innocent. They did not do anything. And if we can get an organization to support those kids to go to school and to get an uniform, bags and school fees, this would be very very wonderful.”

    As a protection measure, UNHCR and DRS have relocated some LGBTI+ refugees from Kakuma refugee camp, mostly to Nairobi and its environs. But the relocation to Nairobi is only allowed in exceptional cases and follows an opaque selection process, as the Kenyan government implements an encampment policy which restricts the freedom of movement (asylum seekers and refugees must seek permission to move from designated refugee areas to other locations in Kenya). Those who benefited from relocation also suffer from difficulties to access services and renewing their documents. Thus, internal relocation is not considered a solution. QueersOfKakuma report about the death of LGBTI+ relocated to Nairobi: “We lost our fellow queer. He was staying in Nairobi. He jumped from a flat. He lost hope, he lost everything and he was tired of his life because of homophobia. He requested justice, he was requesting support, he was begging support. He had nothing to eat. No one was caring for him, no one was there.”

    To recap, repatriation is very dangerous for LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees of the Kakuma camp, as they come from countries like Uganda which criminalizes and stigmatizes homosexual relationships; the “integration” of asylum seekers and refugees of the Kakuma camp in Kenya is unwanted by the Kenyan government and increasingly dangerous; and the needs of resettlement in other camps are greater than the space currently offered. The absence of dedicated help and institutional funding puts LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees in an extremely urgent situation.

    Kenya’s refugee camps in an international context

    As mentioned, Kenya is the only country in the East and Horn of Africa to offer asylum to people who seek protection because of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expressions of sex gender identity. This is questionable as Kenya is considered a safe country of origin – except LGBTI+ persons who are, according to a 2013 ruling of the European Court of Justice, entitled to asylum in the EU. Amnesty International and NGLHRC recommend third countries to increase opportunities for resettlement and complementary pathways for LGBTI+ asylum seekers and refugees in Kenya who need safety. In general, resettlement submissions always extend resettlement departures. According to UNHCR, by July 2023, out of 2,757 resettlement submissions, only 821 refugees were relocated.

    Besides lacking opportunities for refugees to leave the camps for a safer third country, international support for asylum seekers and refugees remaining in Kenya is missing too. In October 2022 a funding gap of 49% was reported by UNHCR. Also, at the 2015 EU-Africa Migration Summit, Kenya was promised very little money from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: the EU has invested 28 million euros in agricultural projects and food security and 12 million euros in improving economic opportunities for young people in structurally weak areas. Also, the 6 million euros budget of the European Commissions Action Plan for mixed-migration flows and the 45 million euros spent in the context of the Khartoum process only marginally concern Kenya.

    This is because, in terms of migration, Kenya remains uninteresting for the EU as it’s far away from Europe. As mentioned in the Kenya Wiki, the Refugee Spokesperson for Dadaab states that many young men’s interest in migrating is affected by a lack of money as they would need more than 10,000 dollars to be able to reach the EU. It seems that the EU does not worry a lot about people from Kenya migrating to Europe and thus the country is not a focus for externalization policy. But there remains a call to the EU to support all vulnerable refugees in general, and so also to support LGBTI+ persons in Kenya. Just a few hundred relocations are not enough - especially for those who are left behind. And, as mentioned by Amnesty International and NGLHRC, all third countries are asked to increase pledges for ressettlement and complementary pathways as well as financial, material and technical support.

    QueersOfKakuma and migration-control.info wrote this article to provide information. Besides, queersOfKakuma also urgently need food, medical treatments and shelters, which your donations can help them access: https://www.gofundme.com/f/lgbtiq-crisis-in-kakuma-refugee-camp. You can find more information on queersOfKakuma’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/QueersOfKakuma.


    #homophobie #réfugiés #LGBT #réfugiés_LGBT #asile #migrations #Kenya #camps_de_réfugiés

    via @_kg_

  • #Cartographie. #Al-Zaatari, le #camp_de_réfugiés devenu la douzième ville de #Jordanie

    Il y a onze ans, près de la frontière syrienne, ce camp commençait à accueillir des réfugiés syriens. Aujourd’hui, il compte toujours plus de 80 000 habitants, dont près de 60 % ont moins de 18 ans. Voici le #plan de cette véritable ville, avec ses écoles et ses marchés. Un plan à retrouver dans notre hors-série “L’Atlas des migrations”, en vente chez votre marchand de journaux.


    #réfugiés #migrations #asile #villes #urban_refugees #camps_de_réfugiés #visualisation

  • Le « closed controlled access center » à Kos, le centre construit après l’incendie au centre de Moria (https://seenthis.net/messages/993810)

    Retour de la visite sur place de #Clara_Anne_Bünger, parlemantaire allemande (Die Linke) :

    Um die menschenverachtenden Grenzverfahren durchzuführen braucht man an den EU-Außengrenzen Haftlager mit 30.000 de facto Haftplätzen, die in der #EU vorgehalten werden müssen für bis zu 120.000 schutzsuchende Menschen im Jahr! Eines dieser Haftlager hab ich auf Kos angeschaut.


    #Grèce #no_more_Morias #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #camps #encampement #camps_de_réfugiés #closed_controlled_access_center #centre_fermé #aéroport

  • Kenya: #Dadaab e #Kakuma, da campi di rifugiati a centri urbani

    I rifugiati potranno ottenere documenti d’identità e avviare attività produttive

    Il Kenya è in Africa il quinto più grande paese che ospita rifugiati, e il 13° a livello mondiale. Sono infatti oltre 700mila le persone che vi hanno trovato asilo fuggendo da persecuzioni, violenza o siccità. La maggioranza risiede negli smisurati campi profughi di Dadaab e Kakuma, mentre la capitale Nairobi ne ospita 91mila.

    Ora il governo, per promuovere maggiore sicurezza e continuare a coprire gli obblighi umanitari verso i rifugiati, intende concedere loro, in un piano quinquennale, documenti legali d’identità con cui potranno validamente condurre attività per generare reddito.

    In tal modo i campi potrebbero così trasformarsi in centri urbani permanenti, piuttosto che in agglomerati di tendopoli e abitazioni precarie e insalubri.

    Le controversie sorte negli ultimi anni riguardo ai campi profughi hanno portato il governo a discutere più volte della loro chiusura, temendo che i campi sovraffollati siano luoghi privilegiati in cui reclutare giovani, pianificare e porre in atto attentati terroristici da parte di elementi jihadisti e criminali presenti in essi.

    In effetti, a un certo punto, nel 2015, dopo l’attacco del gruppo terroristico al-Shabaab all’università di Garissa in cui furono trucidati almeno 148 studenti, il Kenya aveva firmato un accordo tripartito con la Somalia e l’Agenzia delle Nazioni Unite per i rifugiati (Unhcr) per il ritorno volontario dei rifugiati.

    Il Kenya, infatti, aveva sostenuto che le aree di confine dove sono situati i campi erano diventati percorsi per l’introduzione di armi e il contrabbando dalla Somalia, e i campi erano terreno fertile per attacchi terroristici.

    Tuttavia, la mancanza di un ambiente favorevole in Somalia e il fatto che i rifugiati non potevano essere forzati a tornare a casa, ha avuto come risultato che solo 80mila dei 400mila rifugiati stimati in quel tempo rientrarono nel loro paese.

    Ora pertanto, il Kenya afferma che è bene che a Dadaab e Kakuma si apra la strada alla libertà di avviare iniziative private di produzione e commercio, investendo soldi e chiedendo a donatori disponibili di aiutare a erigere servizi sociali che faciliteranno la protezione e la sicurezza sociale dei campi.

    Scopo ultimo del piano, soprannominato Nashiriki (swahili per “io voglio cooperare”) è di garantire che i rifugiati e i richiedenti asilo siano sostenuti a passare dalla dipendenza dall’aiuto umanitario all’autosufficienza.

    «Lo sviluppo in tal senso – ha dichiarato il commissario kenyano per gli affari dei rifugiati John Burugu – andrà a beneficio di tutte le parti coinvolte. Le agenzie di aiuto dovranno apportare i necessari accorgimenti nel pianificare l’assistenza, adattandosi al nuovo modello di insediamento».

    «Queste agenzie – ha concluso Burugu – svolgeranno un importante ruolo di monitoraggio, benché sempre sotto la guida del governo per insediamenti progressivi e sostenibili».

    Primo passo nell’attuazione del piano è stato il riconoscimento di Kakuma come comune della contea Turkana. Altrettanto ha dichiarato che farà per Dadaab Nathif Jama Adam, governatore di Garissa.

    Dal canto loro, agenzie delle Nazioni Unite, partner donatori, istituti finanziari internazionali e ong che lavorano nei due campi hanno già promesso sostegno al piano.

    La scorsa settimana, il governo ha creato un Comitato direttivo intergovernativo per allineare il piano di transizione dei rifugiati con le priorità di sicurezza nazionale, in base alla legge che delinea privilegi e opportunità per rifugiati e richiedenti asilo, e le modalità per accedere all’acquisizione dei documenti d’identità.


    #Kenya #camps_de_réfugiés #villes #documents_d'identité #travail

  • #Incendie du #camp de #Moria en Grèce : la fabrique des coupables idéals

    Le #procès en appel des quatre Afghans condamnés en 2021 à dix ans de prison pour l’incendie en 2020 du camp de migrants de #Lesbos se tient le 6 mars. Une contre-enquête vidéo met en lumière les « preuves faibles et contradictoires » qui ont conduit au verdict de première instance, et pointe la responsabilité des autorités grecques et européennes dans la tragédie.

    LeLe drame avait eu lieu la nuit du 8 au 9 septembre 2020 sur l’île grecque de Lesbos. Plusieurs incendies consécutifs, propagés par des vents forts, avaient détruit le camp de migrants de Moria, le plus grand d’Europe, réputé pour ses conditions de vie extrêmement précaires.

    Aucune victime n’était à déplorer, mais les 13 000 migrants de ce camp situé à quelques kilomètres de la Turquie s’étaient retrouvés sans abri, en pleine pandémie de Covid-19.

    En juin 2021, quatre jeunes Afghans ont été condamnés à dix ans de prison ferme pour incendie criminel. Ils ont fait appel de la décision. Leur audience se tient le lundi 6 mars 2023 à Lesbos.

    « Les accusés avaient été condamnés sur la seule base du témoignage douteux d’un Afghan, qui n’a pas comparu à l’audience », précise Natasha Dailiani, l’une des avocates des quatre condamnés. Ces derniers sont issus de la minorité religieuse chiite des Hazaras, souvent persécutée en Afghanistan.

    Ils assurent de leur côté que ce témoin, un Afghan de l’ethnie majoritaire sunnite des Pachtouns, les a désignés comme les incendiaires en raison de leur appartenance religieuse. « Les quinze autres témoins à charge présents à l’audience de juin 2021 n’ont pas identifié les quatre accusés », ajoute Me Dailiani.

    Missionnées par la défense des mis en cause, Forensic Architecture et Forensis, deux organisations spécialisées dans les contre-enquêtes sur les crimes et mensonges d’État, ont retracé les événements de cette nuit du 8 septembre 2020 en s’appuyant sur des centaines de vidéos prises par les réfugiés et autres acteurs présents sur place, des témoignages ainsi que des rapports officiels.

    Leur enquête vidéo révèle entre autres que « les jeunes demandeurs d’asile accusés d’avoir mis le feu ont été arrêtés sommairement sur la base de preuves faibles et contradictoires », rapporte Dimitra Andritsou, coordinatrice de recherche à Forensis.

    Le vaste camp de Moria comportait douze zones (voir la carte ci-dessous). Le premier incendie se déclare le 8 septembre, au plus tard à 23 h 36, à proximité de la zone 6 (dans l’est du camp), avant de se propager dans le reste du camp, selon les deux collectifs d’enquête.

    Un deuxième incendie se déclare ensuite au centre du camp. À 1 h 43, le 9 septembre, il se répand dans la zone 12 (dans le sud du camp). Le principal témoin affirme que les quatre Afghans auraient eux-mêmes mis le feu à cette zone 12, comme le rappellent Forensic Architecture et Forensis.

    Celles-ci reconstituent également la progression de l’incendie dans la zone 12, cartographiant ainsi le schéma de propagation du feu, qui correspond à la direction du vent. La majorité du camp de Moria était en outre composée d’abris de fortune faits de plastique, de polystyrène, de bois ou de bâches, soit des matières hautement inflammables, comme l’illustrent les vidéos spectaculaires récoltées par Forensic Architecture et Forensis.

    « Il fallait trouver un responsable »

    Les quatre Afghans jugés coupables avaient rapidement été arrêtés, quelques jours après l’incendie de Moria. Deux autres mineurs afghans avaient par ailleurs été interpellés et condamnés à cinq ans de prison ferme lors d’un procès distinct en mars 2021.

    « Il fallait trouver un responsable. Ce procès, particulier, ne remplissait pas les conditions qui garantissent un procès équitable, c’était en ce sens une parodie de justice, dénonce l’avocate Natasha Dailiani. Nos clients, dans l’attente de leur appel, sont évidemment inquiets. Dévastés après le verdict du premier procès, ils ne peuvent accepter cette décision et clameront à nouveau leur innocence. »

    « Notre enquête suggère que face à la gestion inhumaine du camp par l’Union européenne et le gouvernement grec, il fallait un bouc émissaire », estime de son côté Dimitra Andritsou.

    Surpeuplé, le camp de Moria, dit hotspot (centre de premier accueil), d’une capacité de quelque 3 000 places, abritait le jour de l’incendie de 2020 environ 13 000 migrants, majoritairement originaires d’Afrique ou du Proche-Orient. Nombre d’associations et de politiques avaient précédemment alerté sur un drame qui semblait inévitable tant le camp était insalubre.

    L’incendie du 8 septembre 2020 au camp de Moria était le dernier d’une longue série. Au moins 247 départs de feu s’étaient déclarés à l’intérieur et aux alentours de cette structure depuis sa création en 2013, ainsi que le relèvent Forensic Architecture et Forensis.


    #camps_de_réfugiés #Grèce #réfugiés #asile #migrations #architecture_forensique #justice #contre-enquête #responsabilité #reconstruction #feu #hotspot


    Fil de discussion sur cet incendie :

    • Fire in Moria Refugee Camp

      In the late hours of 8 September 2020, large fires broke out at the migrant camp of Moria, located on the frontier island of Lesvos, Greece. The fires smouldered over several days, displacing thousands of people and reducing the epicentre of the EU’s carceral archipelago to ashes. The overcrowded camp, first established in 2013, was host to more than 13,000 people at the time, and was notorious for its precarious and unsafe living conditions—conditions manufactured and maintained for years by Greek and EU policies.


    • Grecia, incendi e responsabilità

      Il controverso processo per il disastroso incendio che ha distrutto il campo profughi di Moria, sull’isola di Lesbo, terminato con una condanna, ha visto la difesa utilizzare nuovi dati scientifici sulla fragilità degli ecosistemi alla minaccia del fuoco

      “Il crimine non è l’incendio, il crimine è Moria”, recitava lo striscione esposto davanti alla corte d’appello dell’isola di Lesbo il 6 marzo 2024, mentre quattro richiedenti asilo afgani aspettavano una decisione sul loro caso.

      Poche ore dopo, tre di loro sono stati rilasciati sulla parola e rinviati a nuovo processo, in quanto minorenni al momento degli incidenti. Il processo contro l’altro imputato è continuato fino all’8 marzo 2024, quando è stato dichiarato colpevole e condannato a otto anni di carcere. Il caso ha sollevato preoccupazioni sui diritti umani, sullo stato di diritto e sulla sicurezza nel contesto migratorio.

      Cronaca di una tragedia annunciata

      I quattro imputati facevano originariamente parte dei cosiddetti “Sei di Moria”, un gruppo di sei giovani richiedenti asilo (cinque minorenni e un adulto) arrestati dalla polizia locale pochi giorni dopo lo scoppio del tragico incendio nel campo profughi di Moria di settembre 2020, che ha lasciato 13mila persone senza riparo.

      Al momento degli arresti, i vigili del fuoco stavano ancora indagando. Nonostante la mancanza di prove, le immagini dei “piromani” in manette hanno fatto subito il giro dei media.

      Nel frattempo sono venute alla luce le scandalose condizioni di vita nel campo. Notis Mitarachi, l’allora ministro greco della Migrazione, ha cercato di placare l’opinione pubblica con dichiarazioni pompose: rivolgendosi ai membri del Comitato permanente per la pubblica amministrazione, l’ordine pubblico e la giustizia, ha affermato che le infrastrutture a Moria erano già state notevolmente migliorate e che i responsabili dell’incendio “sarebbero stati puniti e deportati”.

      A giugno 2021, il tribunale con giuria mista di Chios ha dichiarato i quattro imputati colpevoli di “incendio doloso con pericolo per la vita umana” e li ha condannati a dieci anni di reclusione, basandosi sulla testimonianza scritta di un unico testimone.

      Sebbene nessuno potesse dire esattamente come tutto fosse iniziato, diversi testimoni hanno collegato la tragedia ad una serie di incidenti violenti avvenuti tra i residenti del campo nelle tarde ore dell’8 settembre 2020, e in particolare, a forti disaccordi sulle misure di isolamento legate al coronavirus presto trasformatisi in una lotta interetnica, poi sfuggita di mano.

      Mitarachi ha dichiarato che «gli incidenti a Moria sono iniziati tra i richiedenti asilo a causa della quarantena». Pochi mesi dopo, intervistato da un media greco, ha dichiarato che il progetto del governo di creare un campo profughi più sicuro con condizioni umane dignitose nella regione aveva incontrato resistenza da parte delle autorità locali, con esiti disastrosi.

      Mitarachi ha poi accusato Kostas Moutzouris, governatore regionale del Nord Egeo, che a sua volta lo ha citato in giudizio nell’aprile 2021.

      Il famigerato campo profughi è stato definito da reporter internazionali e operatori umanitari come “l’inferno in terra”, “una bomba a orologeria” e “un disastro in attesa di accadere”, dove le persone venivano tenute per anni in condizioni disumane.

      Al suo apice, il campo ospitava oltre 14mila persone in uno spazio originariamente progettato per 2.150, e sono state registrate morti a causa delle terribili condizioni di vita, della scarsa igiene e delle scarse scorte di cibo.
      Una prospettiva diversa

      Il processo contro i quattro afghani del 2021 è stato controverso fin dall’inizio. Poiché l’unico testimone non è comparso in tribunale e quindi non è stato interrogato, la difesa ha sottolineato «interpretazioni errate o incomplete» delle intenzioni dei loro clienti e degli eventi della notte dell’incendio.

      Nel 2023 sono venute alla luce nuove prove: gli avvocati della difesa hanno tentato di ricostruire i fatti con l’aiuto delle ricerche condotte da Forensic Architecture/Forensis su loro commissione.

      I rilievi di FA/Forensis, sulla base di testimonianze e resoconti ufficiali scritti, nonché dell’esame di materiale audiovisivo, hanno attribuito l’incendio a condizioni geografiche, morfologiche e meteorologiche che rendono questa regione mediterranea più esposta agli incendi, soprattutto a settembre, quando “il terreno è più secco”.

      In una conferenza stampa tenutasi a marzo 2023, gli esperti Dimitra Andritsou e Stefanos Levidis hanno spiegato che “le condizioni di siccità, combinate con la precarietà e la densità derivanti dalle politiche imposte dalle autorità greche e dell’UE, hanno portato ad un forte aumento dei grandi incendi ogni anno in questo periodo”.

      La nostra analisi”, ha concluso Andritsou, “rivela significative incongruenze nella testimonianza del testimone chiave e getta ulteriori dubbi sulle prove in base alle quali sono stati accusati i giovani richiedenti asilo”.

      Il parere degli esperti si è basato in modo significativo sui filmati girati dagli stessi giovani migranti nel quadro di un corso di formazione sulla realizzazione di film e reportage offerto da un’organizzazione che lavora con i rifugiati a Lesbo.
      La prevenzione incendi: una questione di cultura e di valori

      In una prospettiva più ampia, ciò apre una nuova discussione sul tema della prevenzione e gestione degli incendi, soprattutto nelle regioni ad alto rischio come Lesbo.

      Indipendentemente dall’esito finale, il fatto che nella sperimentazione sia stata utilizzata un’ipotesi legata al clima/morfologia evidenzia la rilevanza di progetti che affrontano i fenomeni estremi che colpiscono la Grecia.

      OBCT ha intervistato il professor Kostas Kalabokidis, responsabile del Greek Living Lab (LL) nell’iniziativa FIRE-RES, un progetto che fornisce soluzioni innovative per territori resilienti al fuoco in Europa, tra cui Lesbo.

      “Gli ecosistemi forestali della regione mediterranea sono costantemente minacciati da incendi estremi, che hanno un impatto significativo sui servizi eco-sistemici essenziali”, afferma Kalabokidis. “I nostri studi mirano a esaminare le intricate relazioni tra le strategie di soppressione e gestione degli incendi e i diversi servizi eco-sistemici colpiti dagli incendi, con l’obiettivo di sviluppare un quadro completo e su misura per paesaggi resilienti agli incendi”.

      Il professor Kalabokidis ha sottolineato come l’uso di approcci metodologici avanzati, come l’analisi dei compromessi, la pianificazione degli scenari o le simulazioni stocastiche, possa contribuire a ridurre i pericoli e i rischi di incendi boschivi.

      FIRE-RES studia non solo i fattori ambientali, ma anche le condizioni socio-economiche che possono rendere una regione più esposta agli incendi e ad altri disastri. Nel caso del campo sovrappopolato di Moria, le dimensioni e la densità della popolazione hanno agito da catalizzatori, combinate con l’uso di materiali economici e infiammabili.

      Altri fattori comprendono la mancanza di un’adeguata formazione tra residenti e operatori su come prevenire e gestire un’emergenza legata agli incendi e una consapevolezza limitata (soprattutto tra i giovani residenti, come evidenziato dagli atti del processo) delle conseguenze di un comportamento irresponsabile che potrebbe portare ad un disastro e un crimine grave.

      FIRE-RES sottolinea l’importanza di educare le popolazioni che vivono in regioni resistenti al fuoco; ciò potrebbe tradursi in un insieme di atteggiamenti, competenze e pratiche tra i civili provenienti da diverse sfere della società, che consentirebbe loro di avere una migliore comprensione dei pericoli imminenti, ma anche delle soluzioni praticabili.


  • #Podcast et reportage photo : les camps d’#enfermement des #îles grecques de #Kos et #Leros

    Les conséquences de « l’#approche_hotspot » sur les droits fondamentaux des exilé∙e∙s

    La mise en place de « l’approche #hotspot » par l‘Union européenne (UE) en 2015, et la signature de l’accord migratoire UE-Turquie en 2016 ont bloqué jusqu’à 40 000 personnes en 2020 aux portes de l’Europe, sur les îles grecques de la mer Égée, dans des camps insalubres aux conditions de vie extrêmement difficiles.

    Le Gisti a organisé une première mission d’observation en 2016 sur les îles de Lesbos et Chios pour constater que l’approche hotspot engendrait un système déshumanisant où la violation des droits fondamentaux, à commencer par celui d’accéder à une demande de protection internationale, est la règle.

    Trois ans plus tard, une seconde mission du Gisti et de Migreurop, conduite dans l’île de Samos au mois d’octobre 2019, confirmait que les hotspots, loin d’être des « centres d’accueil et de prise en charge des personnes en fonction de leurs besoins », étaient en réalité des camps de détention et de tri, parfois à ciel ouvert, installés par l’Union européenne à ses frontières maritimes orientales pour interdire aux exilé.es l’accès au continent.

    Une troisième mission, organisée par ces deux associations en octobre 2021, cette fois dans les îles de Kos et Leros, peu médiatisées, a permis de compléter ce sombre tableau, alors que de nouveaux camps d’enfermement high-tech, financés par l’Union européenne, voyaient le jour sur ces 5 îles grecques.

    Ces îles et le système de confinement mis en place contribuent à la stratégie d’invisibilisation et de maltraitance des exilé∙e∙s qui arrivent aux portes de l’UE.

    Au moment de la mission, peu de personnes exilées se trouvaient sur les îles de Kos et Leros. Cette faible présence est la conséquence de la pandémie de Covid-19, ayant rendu la circulation encore plus difficile, mais aussi de la pratique illégale des pushbacks consistant à refouler les personnes vers la Turquie, sans enregistrer leur demande d’asile, et enfin des transferts des personnes les plus vulnérables vers le continent. Quant aux personnes qui auraient réussi à traverser la mer, ils et elles ont quasiment tou⋅te⋅s été immédiatement placé⋅es en détention, et leur demande d’asile la plupart du temps rejetée.

    Ce podcast en 7 épisodes, réalisé avec le "studio son" de la Parole errante demain dans les îles grecques de Kos et Leros, donne la parole aux exilé∙e⋅s bloqué∙e⋅s sur ces îles, ainsi qu’aux personnes qui travaillent ou militent à leurs côtés, afin de mettre en lumière et dénoncer l’approche hotspot dont le principal objectif est de trier, enfermer et expulser les exilé∙e⋅s.

    #encampement #camps #camps_de_réfugiés #Grèce #hotspots #migrations #asile #réfugiés

  • Prédire les flux migratoires grâce à l’intelligence artificielle, le pari risqué de l’Union européenne

    Depuis plusieurs mois, l’Union européenne développe une intelligence artificielle censée prédire les flux migratoires afin d’améliorer l’accueil des migrants sur son sol. Or, selon plusieurs documents obtenus par Disclose, l’outil baptisé Itflows pourrait vite se transformer en une arme redoutable pour contrôler, discriminer et harceler les personnes cherchant refuge en Europe. Lire l’article

    • C’est un logiciel qui pourrait sa place dans une dystopie. Une intelligence artificielle capable de compiler des milliers de données afin de prédire des flux migratoires et identifier les risques de tensions liées à l’arrivée de réfugiés aux frontières de l’Europe. Son nom : Itflows, pour « outils et méthodes informatiques de gestion des flux migratoires ». Financé à hauteur de 5 millions d’euros par l’Union européenne et développé par un consortium composé d’instituts de recherche, d’une société privée (Terracom) et d’organisations caritatives, Itflows qui est en phase de test devrait rentrer en service à partir d’août 2023. Et ce, malgré des alertes répétées quant aux risques de détournement de ses capacités prédictives à des fins de contrôle et de restrictions des droits des réfugiés sur le sol européen.

      Encore méconnu, ce programme doit venir compléter un dispositif technologique destiné à la surveillance des frontières, notamment espagnoles, italiennes et grecques. Financé sur le budget d’« Horizon 2020 », le programme de recherche et d’innovation de l’Union européenne, Itflows s’ajoutera alors aux drones de surveillance autonome, aux détecteurs de mensonges dans les zones de passages ou à l’utilisation de logiciels d’extraction de données cellulaires.

      D’après notre enquête, les deux ONG contribuent à nourrir l’intelligence artificielle de Itflows en lui fournissant des informations précieuses. Des données directement issues d’entretiens réalisés dans des camps de réfugiés, auprès de Nigérians, de Maliens, d’Érythréens ou encore de Soudanais. Il pourra s’agir d’éléments liés à l’origine ethnique, l’orientation sexuelle ou encore la religion des personnes interrogées. Pour leur contribution, les branches italiennes de la Croix-Rouge et d’Oxfam ont respectivement reçu 167 000 euros et 116 000 euros de fonds publics européens.

      « Nous avons contribué à réaliser trente entretiens de migrants arrivés en Italie au cours des six dernières années », confirme la Croix rouge Italie, sollicitée par Disclose. Une fois analysées, puis rendues accessibles via une application baptisée EUMigraTool, ces informations serviront aux autorités italiennes dans leur analyse « des routes migratoires et des raisons qui poussent les gens à faire le voyage », ajoute l’association. Même son de cloche du côté de Oxfam Italie, qui salue l’intérêt pour « les responsables politiques des pays les plus exposés aux flux migratoires. » Les dirigeants pourront également s’appuyer sur l’analyse des risques politiques liés à l’arrivée de migrants sur leur sol. Le projet inclut en effet la possibilité d’étudier l’opinion publique dans certains pays européens vis-à-vis des migrants à travers une veille sur le réseau social Twitter.
      Des rapports internes alarmants

      En réalité, les risques de détournement du programme existent bel et bien. C’est ce que révèlent des rapports internes (https://www.documentcloud.org/projects/logiciel-itflows-208987) au consortium que Disclose a obtenu à la suite d’une demande d’accès à des documents administratifs. Lesdits rapports, datés de janvier et juin 2021, ont été rédigés par les membres du comité éthique du projet Itflows. Leurs conclusions sont alarmantes. Le premier document, une somme de 225 pages, révèle que « le consortium Itflows est pleinement conscient des risques et des impacts potentiels en matière de droits de l’homme, que les activités de recherche empirique sur les migrations (…) et les développements technologiques prévus dans le projet peuvent poser ». Plus loin, les auteurs enfoncent le clou. Selon eux, les informations fournies par l’algorithme pourraient servir, si elles devaient être utilisées « à mauvais escient », à « stigmatiser, discriminer, harceler ou intimider des personnes, en particulier celles qui sont vulnérables comme les migrants, les réfugiés et les demandeurs d’asile ».

      Cinq mois plus tard, le comité éthique rend un second rapport. Il détaille un peu plus le danger : « Les États membres pourraient utiliser les données fournies pour créer des ghettos de migrants » ; « risque d’identification physique des migrants » ; « discrimination sur la base de la race, du genre, de la religion, de l’orientation sexuelle, d’un handicap ou de l’âge » ; « risque que les migrants puissent être identifiés et sanctionnés pour irrégularités ». Et le régulateur d’alerter sur un autre péril : la poussée des « discours de haine » que pourrait induire une éventuelle diffusion des prédictions du logiciel dans « les zones où les habitants sont informés de déplacements » de populations.
      L’Europe fait la sourde oreille

      Des alertes qui ne semblent pas avoir été entendues. Comme en atteste un bilan dressé lors d’une réunion (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/22120596-emt-symposium-agenda-16-sep-2021?responsive=1&title=1) en ligne le 16 septembre 2021 par la coordinatrice du comité éthique de Itflows, #Alexandra_Xanthaki, devant des responsables européens, dont #Zsuzsanna_Felkai_Janssen, rattachée à la direction générale des affaires intérieures de la Commission. « Nous avons passé six mois à travailler jour et nuit pour rédiger un rapport instaurant un cadre qui intègre les droits de l’homme », débute la responsable du comité éthique, selon un enregistrement que Disclose s’est procuré. Elle poursuit : « Il me semble pourtant que ce que disent les techniciens de l’équipe aujourd’hui c’est : nous n’en tenons pas compte ». Un manque de précaution qui inquiète jusqu’au sein du conseil d’administration d’Itflows. Joint par Disclose, Alexander Kjærum, analyste pour le conseil danois pour les réfugiés et membre du conseil de surveillance estime en effet qu’il existe « un risque important que des informations se retrouvent entre les mains d’États ou de gouvernements qui les utiliseront pour implanter davantage de barbelés le long des frontières. »

      Sollicitée, la coordinatrice du programme, #Cristina_Blasi_Casagran, assure que le logiciel « ne sera pas utilisé à mauvais escient ». Selon elle, Itflows « devrait même faciliter l’entrée des migrants [dans l’Union européenne] en permettant une meilleure affectation des ressources engagées dans l’#accueil ».

      #Frontex inquiète

      Un dernier point vient renforcer le risque d’un détournement du logiciel : l’intérêt de Frontex pour Iflows. D’après des documents internes, l’agence en charge de la surveillance des frontières de l’UE suit étroitement les avancées du programme. Jusqu’à y contribuer activement via la fourniture de données récoltées dans le cadre de ses missions. Or, depuis plusieurs années, l’agence européenne est régulièrement accusée d’expulsions illégales et de violations des droits de l’homme. Interrogée sur ce point, l’ONG Oxfam considère qu’il n’y a pas de risque de détournement du logiciel au profit de l’agence. La branche italienne de la Croix rouge déclare quant à elle que « la convention de subvention régissant la mise en œuvre du projet Itflows ne désigne pas Frontex comme utilisateur de l’outil, mais simplement comme source de données ouvertes ». En 2021, Frontex a élu l’interface Itflows parmi les projets d’Horizon 2020 au « potentiel opérationnel et innovant » le plus élevé.

      #AI #IA #intelligence_artificielle #complexe_militaro-industriel #asile #migrations #frontières #EU #UE #Union_européenne #prédiction #Itflows #contrôle #logiciel #risques #Terracom #surveillance #Espagne #Italie #Grèce #horizon_2020 #camps_de_réfugiés #Croix-Rouge #Oxfam #religion #origine_ethnique #ethnie #orientation_sexuelle #données #EUMigraTool #risques #risques_politiques #twitter #réseaux_sociaux #opinion_publique #technologie #algorithme #discrimination #identification #Croix_Rouge

      ping @reka @isskein @karine4 @_kg_

  • With drones and thermal cameras, Greek officials monitor refugees

    Athens says a new surveillance system will boost security, but critics raise alarm over its implications for privacy.

    “Let’s go see something that looks really nice,” says Anastasios Salis, head of information and communications technology at the Greek Migration and Asylum Ministry in Athens, before entering an airtight room sealed behind two interlocking doors, accessible only with an ID card and fingerprint scan.

    Beyond these doors is the ministry’s newly-installed centralised surveillance room.

    The front wall is covered by a vast screen. More than a dozen rectangles and squares display footage from three refugee camps already connected to the system.

    Some show a basketball court in a refugee camp on the island of Samos. Another screen shows the playground and another the inside of one of the containers where people socialise.

    Overhead, lights suddenly flash red. A potential threat has been detected in one of the camps. This “threat” has been flagged by Centaur, a high-tech security system the Greek Migration Ministry is piloting and rolling out at all of the nearly 40 refugee camps in the country.

    Centaur includes cameras and motion sensors. It uses algorithms to automatically predict and flag threats such as the presence of guns, unauthorised vehicles, or unusual visits into restricted areas.

    The system subsequently alerts the appropriate authorities, such as the police, fire brigade, and private security working in the camps.

    From the control room, operators deploy camera-equipped drones and instruct officers stationed at the camp to rush to the location of the reported threat.

    Officers carry smartphones loaded with software that allows them to communicate with the control centre.

    Once they determine the nature and severity of the threat, the control room guides them on the ground to resolve the incident.

    Video footage and other data collected as part of the operation can then be stored under an “incident card” in the system.

    This particular incident is merely a simulation, presented to Al Jazeera during an exclusive tour and preview of the Centaur system.

    The aim of the programme, according to Greek officials, is to ensure the safety of those who live inside the camps and in surrounding communities.

    “We use technology to prevent violence, to prevent events like we had in Moria – the arson of the camp. Because safety is critical for everyone,” Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi told Al Jazeera at the November inauguration of a new, EU-funded “closed-controlled” refugee camp on Kos island, one of the first facilities to be connected to the Centaur system.

    ‘Dystopian’ surveillance project

    Nearly 40 cameras are being installed in each camp, which can be operated from the control room.

    There will also be thermal cameras, drones, and other technology – including augmented reality glasses, which will be distributed to police and private security personnel.

    “This was not to monitor and invade the privacy of the people [in the camps],” said Salis, one of the architects of Centaur. “You’re not monitoring them. You’re trying to prevent bad things from happening.”

    Greek authorities headline this new surveillance as a form of security but civil society groups and European lawmakers have criticised the move.

    “This fits a broader trend of the EU pouring public money into dystopian and experimental surveillance projects, which treat human beings as lab rats,” Ella Jakubowska, policy and campaigns officer at European Digital Rights (EDRi), told Al Jazeera. “Money which could be used to help people is instead used to punish them, all while the surveillance industry makes vast profits selling false promises of magical technology that claims to fix complex structural issues.”

    Recent reporting, which revealed Centaur will be partly financed by the EU COVID Recovery fund, has led a group of European lawmakers to write to the European Commission with their concerns about its implementation.

    Homo Digitalis, a Greek digital rights advocacy group, and EDRi said they made several requests for information on what data protection assessments were carried out before the development and deployment of Centaur.

    Such analysis is required under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They have also asked what data will be collected and how long it will be held by authorities. Those requests, they said, have gone unanswered.

    The Greek Migration Ministry did not respond to Al Jazeera’s query on whether an impact assessment was completed, and on policies regarding data retention and the processing of data related to children.

    In Samos, mixed feelings

    Advocates in Samos told Al Jazeera they raised concerns about camp residents being adequately notified about the presence of these technologies.

    But Salis, at the control centre, said this has been achieved through “signs – a lot of signs”, in the camps.

    The system does not currently incorporate facial recognition technology, at least “not yet”, according to Leonidas Petavrakis, a digital software specialist with ESA Security Solutions S.A., one of the companies contracted for the Centaur project.

    The potential use of facial recognition in this context is “a big concern”, said Konstantinos Kakavoulis of Homo Digitalis.

    Facial recognition systems often misidentify people of colour and can lead to wrongful arrests and convictions, according to studies. Human rights organisations globally have called for their use to be limited or banned.

    An EU proposal on regulating artificial intelligence, unveiled by the European Commission in April, does not go far enough to prevent the misuse of AI systems, critics claim.

    For some of those living under the glare of this EU-funded surveillance system, the feeling is mixed.

    Mohammed, a 25-year-old refugee from Palestine living in the new Samos camp, said that he did not always mind the cameras as he thought they might prevent fights, which broke out frequently at the former Samos camp.

    “Sometimes it’s [a] good feeling because it makes you feel safe, sometimes not,” he said but added that the sense of security came at a price.

    “There’s not a lot of difference between this camp and a prison.”

    #Grèce #réfugiés #asile #migrations #surveillance #complexe_militaro-industriel #drones #caméras_thérmiques #Samos #îles #camps_de_réfugiés #Centaur #algorythme #salle_de_contrôle #menace #technologie #EU_COVID_Recovery_fund #reconnaissance_faciale #intelligence_artificielle #AI #IA


    sur ces nouveaux camps de réfugiés fermés (et surveillés) dans les #îles grecques notamment :

    ping @etraces

    • Greece plans automated drones to spot people crossing border

      The Greek Migration Ministry announced it would use EU-funded drones with “Artificial Intelligence” to track people seeking refuge at the border. Promises that they will also improve search and rescue operations ring hollow.

      At the opening of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair this September, Greek migration minister Notis Mitarakis – otherwise known for dismissing the ongoing evidence of Greek border guards’ brutal and illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers as “fake news” – made national headlines when he introduced his ministry’s latest project: €3.7m funding for drones with “innovative algorithms” that can “automatically identify defined targets of interest” at the Greek border.

      What did he mean? In a demo video, two men – one in sunglasses and a red shirt, another blurred – walk next to a line drawn through a field, with boxes marking them as “person”. As the guy in sunglasses walks closer towards the line, he gets labeled as “person of interest”. He starts running, jumps over the line, runs, lies down on a bench, disappearing from view. When he gets up, the box keeps tracking him.

      EU funding for Greek security projects

      “I actually recognize people from my department in this video”, one IT researcher told us, chuckling, at the Greek Ministry for Migration’s stall at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair on 13 September.

      His department – the Information Technologies Institute at the Center for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) – is in a quiet building in the outskirts of Thessaloniki. Here, researchers work on 27 different projects, mostly funded by the European Commission.

      The first time CERTH got funding for a security project was in 2017, when the European Union’s research and innovation program Horizon 2020 paid them to coordinate “ROBORDER”, an €8m project which aimed to develop and pilot “a fully autonomous border surveillance system” where, researchers said, robots will be able to identify humans and independently decide if they represent a threat. These days, the CERTH researcher says, there is a lot of interest from European institutions for funding “security projects”.


      Now, REACTION, or “Real-Time Artificial Intelligence for Border Surveillance” will also be CERTH-coordinated and funded by the European Commission’s Migration and Home Affairs Fund. It is set to start in November 2022, and run for 36 months.

      Computer scientist Stathes Hadjiefthymiades, who is part of the REACTION team, said they want to combine the research from ROBORDER and “AIDERS” – another EU-funded project aimed at processing data from drones, sensors and cameras to “improve emergency responses” in case of a fire, flood or shipwreck. The aim, he says, is to bring the technologies – “or goodies”, as he calls them – into the hands of the police, who want drones (as well as thermal sensors, motion detectors and cameras already installed at the Greek border) to alert them of border crossings.

      Once alerted, law enforcement will “not necessarily” stop people from crossing into Greece, Mr Hadjiefthymiades said. They could also be arrested or brought to camps and be instructed on how to apply for asylum. He added that pushbacks, which Amnesty International describes as “Greece’s de facto border policy”, are “in the news” but he does not believe that Greek border guards are pushing boats of asylum seekers back to Turkey.

      “Innovative algorithms”

      In his speech at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair, migration minister Mr Mitarakis said REACTION’s “use of artificial intelligence” will allow drones to identify and monitor “targets of interest”. However, one young man from the research consortium told us that “[the Migration Ministry] do not really know anything about what we are doing”, because they are “in a different field” and are “end users”.

      At the Thessaloniki Trade Fair, three drones were on display at the Greek Migration Ministry’s stall. Two were from the Chinese commercial drone maker DJI. The third was wrapped in wires and was, a presenter explained, trained to do what Mr Mitarakis said: scan an area, and, if it spots something “more interesting”, like a person crossing a border, independently change its course to track this person. However, the presenter told us, it is the only drone they have that can do this, because “on-board processing” is very expensive and requires a lot of energy.

      Mr Hadjiefthymiades confirmed that they were “dealing with reduced-size drones with limited on-board power. We are struggling to do on-board intelligence with off-the-shelf drones.”

      In the brochure for REACTION, the Greek migration ministry says that one of the project’s aims is “to use the funding to buy equipment needed for the border project.”

      Search and Rescue

      After police are alerted about a person or vehicle crossing the Greek border, “they will go see what is happening”, the young man from the research consortium told us. A woman, overhearing this, said angrily, “I will tell you what they do, they will either come with guns to shoot, or they will beat them”. Later, the young man admitted, “For me, the one thing is, I don’t know exactly what the police will do to the migrants after we alert them.” He grimaced. “But what can I do,” he said.

      When asked about REACTION’s claim that it will be used for “search and rescue”, the young man said he believed that people at the “Multimedia Knowledge Lab” at CERTH are training an algorithm to spot if someone is injured at the border. But Yiannis Kompatsiaris, a senior researcher there, told us that his lab is not currently training such an algorithm.

      In recent years, the Greek Coast Guard, like other European authorities, was repeatedly accused of delaying rescue operations. Earlier this month, Deutsche Welle published a report which showed that Greek authorities left a group of 38 asylum-seekers stranded on an islet on the Evros river, which marks most of the border between Greece and Turkey, despite a nearby pylon with heat sensors and cameras, which should have been able to immediately locate the group.

      Since 2017, open-source researcher Phevos Simeonidis tracks local and EU-funded border surveillance projects in Greece. So far, he says, “this ever-increasing apparatus always seems to fall short of assisting search and rescue, and also evidently turns a blind eye when footage or data could help individuals substantiate claims that they have been victims of human rights violations.”


      #AI #IA #intelligence_artificielle #Real-Time_Artificial_Intelligence_for_Border_Surveillance #REACTION #ROBORDER #AIDERS #CERTH