• More than 1,000 unmarked graves discovered along EU migration routes

    Bodies also piling up in morgues across continent as countries accused of failing to meet human rights obligations.

    Refugees and migrants are being buried in unmarked graves across the European Union at a scale that is unprecedented outside of war.

    The Guardian can reveal that at least 1,015 men, women and children who died at the borders of Europe in the past decade were buried before they were identified.

    They lie in stark, often blank graves along the borders – rough white stones overgrown with weeds in Sidiro cemetery in Greece; crude wooden crosses on Lampedusa in Italy; in northern France faceless slabs marked simply “Monsieur X”; in Poland and Croatia plaques reading “NN” for name unknown.

    On the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, one grave states: “Migrant boat number 4. 25/09/2022.”

    The European parliament passed a resolution in 2021 that called for people who die on migration routes to be identified and recognised the need for a coordinated database to collect details of the bodies.

    But across European countries the issue remains a legislative void, with no centralised data, nor any uniform process for dealing with the bodies.

    Working with forensic scientists from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other researchers, NGOs and pathologists, the Guardian and a consortium of reporters pieced together for the first time the number of migrants and refugees who died in the past decade along the EU’s borders whose names remain unknown. At least 2,162 bodies have still not been identified.

    Some of these bodies are piling up in morgues, funeral parlours and even shipping containers across the continent. Visiting 24 cemeteries and working with researchers, the team found more than 1,000 nameless graves.

    These, however, are the tip of the iceberg. More than 29,000 people died on European migration routes in this period, the majority of whom remain missing.

    –—

    What is the border graves project?
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    About the investigation

    The Guardian teamed up with Süddeutsche Zeitung and eight reporters from the Border Graves Investigation who received funding from Investigative Journalism for Europe and Journalismfund Europe.

    We worked with researchers at the International Committee of the Red Cross who shared exclusively their most up-to-date findings on migrant and refugee deaths registered in Spain, Malta, Greece and Italy between 2014 and 2021.

    Other partners included Marijana Hameršak of the European Irregularized Migration Regime at the Periphery of the EU (ERIM) project in Croatia, Grupa Granica and Podlaskie Humanitarian Emergency Service (POPH) in Poland and Sienos Grupė in Lithuania. The journalist Maël Galisson provided data for France.

    Reporters and researchers also checked death registers, interviewed prosecutors and spoke to local authorities and morgue directors, as well as visiting two dozen cemeteries to track the number of unidentified migrants and refugees who have died trying to cross into the EU in the past decade and find their graves.

    –—

    The problem is “utterly neglected”, according to Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Dunja Mijatović, who has said EU countries are failing in their obligations under international human rights law.

    “The tools are there. We have the agencies and the forensic experts, but they need to be engaged [by governments],” she said. The rise of the hard right and a lack of political will were likely to further impede the development of a proper system to address “the tragedy of missing migrants”, she added.

    Instead, pockets of work happen at a local level. Pathologists, for example, collect DNA samples and the few personal items found on the bodies. The clues to lives lost are meagre: loose change in foreign currency, prayer beads, a Manchester United souvenir badge.

    The lack of coordination leaves bewildered families struggling to navigate localised, often foreign bureaucracy in the search for lost relatives.

    Supporting them falls to aid organisations such as the ICRC, which has recorded 16,500 requests since 2013 for information to its programme for restoring family links from people looking for relatives who went missing en route to Europe. The largest number of requests have come from Afghans, Iraqis, Somalians, Guineans and people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea and Syria. Only 285 successful matches have been achieved.

    And now even some of this support is about to disappear. As governments cut their aid budgets, the ICRC has been forced to refocus its reduced resources. National Red Cross agencies will continue the family links programme but much of the ICRC’s work training police and local authorities is being cut.
    A race against time

    The mini set of scissors and comb worn on a chain were unique to 24-year-old Oussama Tayeb, a small talisman that reflected his job as a barber. For his cousin Abdallah, they were the hope that he had been found.

    Tayeb set sail last year from the north-west of Algeria just before 8pm on Christmas Day. Onboard with him were 22 neighbours who had clubbed together to pay for the boat they had hoped would take them to Spain.

    His family has been searching for him since. Abdallah, who lives in France, fears it is a race against time.

    Spanish police introduced a database in 2007 in which data and genetic samples from unidentified remains are meant to be logged. In practice, the system breaks down when it comes to families searching for missing relatives, who have no clear information about how to access it.

    The family had provided a DNA sample soon after Tayeb’s disappearance. With no news by February, they travelled to southern Spain for a second time to search for him. At the morgue in Almería, a forensic doctor reacted to Tayeb’s photo, saying he looked familiar. She recalled a necklace, but said the man she was thinking of was believed to have died in a jet ski accident.

    “It was a really intense moment because we knew that Oussama was wearing a jet ski lifejacket,” Abdallah said.

    Even with the knowledge that Tayeb’s body may have been found, his cousin was unable to see the corpse lying in the morgue without a police officer. Abdallah remembered the shocking callousness with which he was greeted at one of the many police stations he tried. “One policeman told us that if ‘they don’t want to disappear, they shouldn’t have taken a boat to Spain’.”

    Looming over Abdallah’s continuing search is a practical pressure mentioned by the Spanish pathologist: bodies in the morgue are usually kept for a year and then buried, whether identified or not. “We only want an answer. If we see the chain, this would be like a death certificate. It’s so heartbreaking. It’s like we’re leaving Oussama in the fridge and we can’t do anything about it,” he said.
    ‘Here lies a brother who lost his life’

    The local authorities that receive the most bodies are often on small islands and are increasingly saying they cannot cope.

    They warn that an already inadequate system is going backwards. Spain’s Canary Islands have reported a record 35,410 men, women and children reaching the archipelago by boat this year. In recent months, most of these vessels have sought to land on the tiny, remote island of El Hierro. In the past six weeks alone, seven unidentified people were buried on the island.

    The burial vaults of 15 unidentified people who were found dead on a rickety wooden vessel in 2020, in the town of Agüimes on Gran Canaria, bear identical plaques that read simply: “Here lies a brother who lost his life trying to reach our shores.”

    In the Muslim section of Lanzarote’s Teguise cemetery, the graves of children are marked with circles of stones. They include the grave of a baby believed to have been stillborn on a deadly crossing from Morocco in 2020. Alhassane Bangoura’s body was separated from his mother during the rescue and was buried in an unmarked grave. His name is only recorded informally, engraved on a bowl by locals moved by his plight.

    It is the same story in the other countries at the edge of the EU; unmarked graves dotted along their frontiers standing testament to the crisis. Along the land borders, in Croatia, Poland, Lithuania, the numbers of unmarked graves are fewer but still they are there, blank stones or sometimes an NN marked on plaques.

    In France, the anonymous inscription “X” stands out in cemeteries in Calais. The numbers seem low compared with those found along the southern coastal borders: 35 out of 242 migrants and refugees who died on the Franco-British border since 2014 remain unidentified. The high proportion of the dead identified reflects the fact that people spend time waiting before attempting the Channel crossing so there are often contacts still in France able to name those who die.
    Fragments of hope

    Leaked footage of Polish border guards laughing at a young man hanging upside down, trapped by his foot, stuck in the razor wire on the top of the 180km (110-mile) steel border fence separating Belarus from Poland caused a brief social media storm.

    But the moment he is caught in the searchlights, his frightened face briefly frozen, has haunted 50-year-old Kafya Rachid for the past year. She is sure the man is her missing child, Mohammed Sabah, who was 22 when she last saw him alive.

    Sabah had flown from his home in Iraqi Kurdistan in the autumn of 2021 to Belarus, for which he had a visa. He was successfully taken across the EU border by smugglers but was detained about 50km (30 miles) into Poland and deported back to Belarus.

    Waiting to cross again, his messages suddenly stopped. The family had been coming to terms with the fact he was probably dead. Then the video surfaced. With little else to go on, fragments such as this give families hope.

    Sabah’s parents, as so often happens, were unable to get visas to travel to the EU. Instead, Rekaut Rachid, an uncle of Sabah who has lived in London since 1999, has made three trips to Poland to try to find him.

    Rachid believes the Polish authorities lied to him when they told him the man in the video was Egyptian, and this keeps him searching. “They are hiding something. Five per cent of me thinks maybe he died. But 95% of me thinks he is in prison somewhere in Poland,” he said, adding: “My sister calls every day to ask if I think he is still alive. I don’t know how to answer.”
    Shipping container morgues

    In a corner of the hospital car park in the Greek city of Alexandroupolis, two battered refrigerated shipping containers stand next to some rubbish bins. Inside are the bodies of 40 people.

    The border from Turkey into Greece over the Evros River nearby is only a 10- to 20-minute crossing, but people cross at night when their small rubber boats can easily hit a tree and capsize. Corpses decompose quickly in the riverbed mud, so that facial characteristics, clothing and any documents that might help identify them are rapidly destroyed.

    Twenty of the corpses in the containers are the charred remains of migrants who died in wildfires that consumed this part of Greece during the summer’s heatwave. Identification has proved exceptionally difficult, with only four of the dead named to date.

    Prof Pavlos Pavlidis, the forensic pathologist for the area, works to determine the cause of death, to collect DNA samples and to catalogue any personal effects that might help relatives identify their loved ones at a later date.

    The temporary container morgues in Alexandroupolis are on loan from the ICRC. The humanitarian agency has loaned another container to the island of Lesbos, another migration hotspot, for the same purpose.

    Lampedusa does not have that luxury. “There are no morgues and no refrigerated units,” said Salvatore Vella, the Sicilian head prosecutor who leads investigations into shipwrecks off its coast. “Once placed in body bags, the bodies of migrants are transferred to Sicily. Burial is managed by individual towns. It has happened that migrants have sometimes been buried in sort of mass graves within cemeteries.”

    The scale of the problem was becoming so acute, said Filippo Furri, an anthropologist and an associate researcher at Mecmi, a group that examines deaths during migration, that “there have been cases of coffins abandoned in cemetery warehouses due to lack of space, or bodies that remain in hospital morgues”.
    ‘It’s not only a technical difficulty but also a political one’

    “If you count the relatives of those who are missing, hundreds of thousands of people are impacted. They don’t know where their loved ones are. Were they well treated, were they respected when they were buried? That’s what preys on families’ minds,” said Laurel Clegg, the ICRC forensic coordinator for migration in Europe. “We have an obligation to provide the dead with a dignified burial; and [to address] the other side, providing answers to families through identification of the dead.”

    She said keeping track of the dead relied on lots of parts working well together: a legal framework that protected the unidentified dead, consistent postmortems, morgues, registries, dignified transport and cemeteries.

    The systems are inadequate, however, despite the EU parliament resolution. There are still no common rules about what information should be collected, nor a centralised place to store this information. The political focus is on catching the smugglers rather than finding out who their victims are.

    A spokesperson for the European Commission said the rights and dignity of refugees and migrants had to be addressed alongside tackling people smuggling. They said each member state was responsible individually for how it dealt with those who died on its borders, but that the commission was working to improve coordination and protocols and “regrets the loss of every human life” .

    In Italy, significant efforts have been made to identify the dead from a couple of well-reported, large-scale disasters. Cristina Cattaneo, the head of the laboratory of forensic anthropology and odontology (Labanof) at the University of Milan, has spent years working to identify the dead from a shipwreck in 2015 in which more than 1,000 people lost their lives.

    Raising the wreck to retrieve the bodies has cost €9.5m (£8.1m) already. Organising the 30,000 mixed bones into identifiable remains of 528 bodies has been a herculean task. Only six victims have so far been issued official death certificates.

    As political positions on irregular migration have hardened, experts are finding official enthusiasm for their complex work has diminished. “It’s not only a technical difficulty but also a political one,” Cattaneo said.

    In Sicily, Vella has been investigating a fishing boat that sank in October 2019. It was carrying 49 people, mostly from Tunisia. Just a few miles off shore, a group onboard filmed themselves celebrating their imminent arrival in Europe before the boat ran out of fuel and capsized. The Italian coastguard rescued 22 people but 27 others lost their lives.

    Coastguard divers, using robots, captured images of bodies floating near the vessel, but were unable to recover all of them. The footage circulated around the world. A group of Tunisian women who had been searching for their sons contacted the Italian authorities and were given permits to travel to meet the prosecutor, who showed them more footage.

    One mother, Zakia Hamidi, recognised her 18-year-old son, Fheker. It was a searing experience for both her and Vella: “At that moment, I realised the difference between a mother, torn apart by grief, but who at least will return home with her child’s body, and those mothers who will not have a body to mourn. It is something heartbreaking.”
    The torture of not knowing

    The grief that people feel when they have no certainty about the fate of their missing relatives has a very particular intensity.

    Dr Pauline Boss, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota in the US, was the first to describe this “ambiguous loss”. “You are stuck, immobilised, you feel guilty if you begin again because that would mean accepting the person is dead. Grieving is frozen, your decision-making is frozen, you can’t work out the facts, can’t answer the questions,” she said.

    Not knowing often has severe practical consequences too. Spouses may not be able to exercise their parental rights, inherit assets or claim welfare support or pensions without a death certificate. Orphans cannot be adopted by extended family without one either.

    Sometimes relatives are left in the dark for years. A decade on from a shipwreck disaster in 2013, bereaved families continue to gather in Lampedusa every year, still searching for answers. Among them this year was a Syrian woman, Sabah al-Joury, whose son Abdulqader was on the boat. She said that not knowing where he ended up was like having “an open wound”.

    Sabah’s family said the torture of not being able to find out what happened to him was “like dying everyday”. Abdallah thinks he must make another trip from Paris to southern Spain before the end of the year. “What is difficult is not to have the body, not to be able to bury him,” he said.

    Rituals around death were indicative of a deep human need, said Boss. “The most important thing is for the name to be marked somewhere, so the family can visit, and the missing can be remembered. A name means you were on this Earth, not forgotten.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2023/dec/08/revealed-more-than-1000-unmarked-graves-discovered-along-eu-migration-r

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #mourir_aux_frontières #tombes #fosses_communes #Europe #morts_aux_frontières #enterrement #cimetières #morgues #chiffres

    • The Border Graves Investigation

      More than 1,000 migrants who died trying to enter Europe lie buried in nameless graves. EU migration policy has failed the dead and the living.

      A cross-border team of eight journalists has confirmed the existence of 1,015 unmarked graves of migrants buried in 65 cemeteries over the past decade across Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Poland, Lithuania, France, and Croatia. The reporters visited more than half of them.

      Unidentified migrants lay to rest in cemeteries in olive groves, on hilltops, in dense forests, and along remote highways. Each unmarked grave represents a person who lost their life en route to Europe, and a fate that will remain forever unknown to their loved ones.

      This months-long investigation underlines that Europe’s migration policies have failed more than a thousand people who have died in transit and the families who survive them.

      In 2021, the European Parliament passed a resolution recognsing the need for a “coordinated European approach” for “prompt and effective identification processes” for bodies found on EU borders. Yet in 2022, the Council of Europe called this area a “legislative void”.

      These failures mean that the responsibility of memorialising unidentified victims often ends up falling to individual municipalities, cemetery keepers and local good Samaritans, with many victims buried without any attempt at identification.

      https://twitter.com/Techjournalisto/status/1733100115781386448

      In the absence of official data from European and national governments, the Border Graves Investigation collaborated with The Guardian and Suddeutsche Zeitung to count 2,162 unidentified deaths of migrants across eight countries in Europe between 2014 and 2023.

      The cross-border team conducted over 60 interviews in six languages. They spoke with families of the missing and deceased, whose loved ones left for Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Algeria and Sri Lanka.

      They revealed the institutional and bureaucratic hurdles of searching for bodies and burying the remains of those that are found. One mother compared her unresolved grief to an “open wound,” and an uncle said it was like “dying every day”.

      To understand the complex legal, medical and political landscape of death in each country, the journalists spoke with coroners, grave keepers, forensic doctors, international and local humanitarian groups, government officials, a European MEP and the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner.

      The in-depth investigation reveals that the European Union is violating migrants’ last rights. The stories below show how.
      The team

      The Border Graves Investigation team consists of Barbara Matejčić, Daphne Tolis, Danai Maragoudaki, Eoghan Gilmartin, Gabriela Ramirez, Gabriele Cruciata, Leah Pattem, and is coordinated by Tina Xu. The project was supported by the IJ4EU fund and JournalismFund Europe.

      Gabriele Cruciata is a Rome-based award-winning journalist specialising in podcasts and investigative and narrative journalism. He also works as a fixer, producer, journalism consultant, and trainer.

      Gabriele Cruciata IG @gab_cruciata

      Leah Pattem is a Spain-based journalist and photographer specialising in politics, migration and community stories. Leah is also the founder and editor of the popular local media platform Madrid No Frills.

      X @leahpattem
      IG @madridnofrills

      Eoghan Gilmartin is a Spain-based freelance journalist specialising in news, politics and migration. His work has appeared in Jacobin Magazine, The Guardian, Tribune and Open Democracy.

      X @EoghanGilmartin
      Muck Rack: Eoghan Gilmartin

      Gabriela Ramirez is an award-winning multimedia journalist specialising in migration, human rights, ocean conservation, and climate issues, always through a gender-focused lens. Currently serving as the Multimedia & Engagement Editor at Unbias The News.

      X @higabyramirez
      Linkedin Gabriela Ramirez
      Instagram @higabyramirez

      Barbara Matejčić is a Croatian award-winning freelance journalist, non-fiction writer and audio producer focused on social affairs and human rights

      Website: http://barbaramatejcic.com
      FB: https://www.facebook.com/barbara.matejcic.1
      Instagram: @barbaramatejcic

      Danai Maragoudaki is a Greek journalist based in Athens. She works for independent media outlet Solomon and is a member of their investigative team. Her reporting focuses on transparency, finance, and digital threats.

      FB: https://www.facebook.com/danai.maragoudaki
      X: @d_maragoudaki
      IG: @danai_maragoudaki

      Daphne Tolis is an award-winning documentary producer/filmmaker and multimedia journalist based in Athens. She has produced and hosted timely documentaries for VICE Greece and has directed TV documentaries for the EBU and documentaries for the MSF and IFRC. Since 2014 she has been working as a freelance producer and journalist in Greece for the BBC, Newsnight, VICE News Tonight, ABC News, PBS Newshour, SRF, NPR, Channel 4, The New York Times Magazine, ARTE, DW, ZDF, SVT, VPRO and others. She has reported live for DW News, BBC News, CBC News, ABC Australia, and has been a guest contributor on various BBC radio programs, Times Radio, Morning Ireland, RTE, NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’, and others.

      X: https://twitter.com/daphnetoli
      Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daphne_tolis/?hl=en
      Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/daphne-tolis

      Tina Xu is a multimedia journalist and filmmaker working at the intersection of migration, mental health, socially engaged arts, and civil society. Her stories often interrogate the three-way street between people, policy, and power. She received the Excellence in Environmental Reporting Award from Society of Publishers in Asia in 2021, was a laureate of the European Press Prize Innovation Award in 2021 and 2022, and shortlisted for the One World Media Refugee Reporting Award in 2022.

      X: @tinayingxu
      IG: @tinayingxu

      https://www.investigativejournalismforeu.net/projects/border-graves

    • 1000 Lives, 0 Names: The Border Graves Investigation. How the EU is failing migrants’ last rights

      What happens to those who die in their attempts to reach the European Union? How are their lives marked, how can their families honor them? How do governments recognize their existence and their basic rights as human beings?

      Our cross-border team confirmed 1,015 unmarked graves of migrants in 65 cemeteries buried over the last 10 years across Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Poland, Lithuania, France, and Croatia. We visited over half of them.

      Each unmarked grave represents a person who lost their life en route to Europe, and a fate that remains painfully unknown to their loved ones.

      In 2021, the European Parliament passed a resolution recognizing the need for a “coordinated European approach” for “prompt and effective identification processes” for bodies found on EU borders. Yet last year, the Council of Europe called this area a “legislative void.”

      In the absence of official data from European and national governments, the Border Graves Investigation counted 2,162 unidentified deaths of migrants across eight countries in Europe from 2014-2023.

      Our cross-border team conducted over 60 interviews in six languages. We spoke with families of the missing and deceased, whose loved ones left for Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Algeria, and Sri Lanka. They spoke about the institutional and bureaucratic hurdles of searching for, and if found, burying a body.

      One mother compared the unresolved grief to an “open wound,” and an uncle said it was like “dying every day.”
      Here is how Europe violates the “last rights” of migrants.

      https://unbiasthenews.org/border-graves-investigation

    • Widowed by Europe’s borders

      “No water, I think I’ll die, I love you.” This is the last text Sanooja received from her husband, who disappeared after a pushback into the dense forest that stretches between Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland. For families searching for missing loved ones, the EU inflicts a second death of identity and acknowledgment.

      Samrin and Sanooja were high school classmates. Both born in 1990, they grew up together in Kalpitiya, a town of 80,000 on the tip of a small peninsula in Sri Lanka. When Samrin first asked Sanooja out in the ninth grade, she said no. But years later, when her roommates snuck through her diary, they asked about the boy in all her stories.

      When they turned 20, Sanooja was studying to be a teacher, while Samrin left town for work. After six years of video calls and heart emoji-laden selfies, Samrin returned home in 2017 and they got married, her in a white headscarf and indigo-sleeved dress, him in a matching indigo suit. Their son Haashim was born a year later. They called each other “thangam,” or gold.

      She hoped the birth of their son meant that Samrin would stay close by from now on. They took their son to the beach, to the zoo. Then the 2019 economic crisis hit, the worst since the country’s independence in 1948. There were daily blackouts, a shortage of fuel, and runaway inflation. In 2022, protests rocked the country, and the government claimed bankruptcy.

      Samrin was a difficult person to fall in love with, says Sanooja, because he was so ambitious. Sanooja smiles bitterly over a video call from her home in Kalpitiya. The sun filters through the mango tree in the yard, where the two often sat together and made plans for their future.

      But part of loving him, she explains, meant supporting him even in his hardest decisions. One of these decisions was to take a plane to Moscow, then to travel to Europe and send money home. “He went to keep us happy, to make us good.”

      Their last day together, Sanooja surprised him with a cake: Sky blue icing, an airplane made of fondant, ascending from an earth made of chocolate sprinkles. In big letters: “Love you and will miss you. Have a safe journey, Thangam.” In their last photos together, Haashim sits laughing on Samrin’s lap as he cuts the cake. That night, Samrin squeezed his son and wept. The next day he put on a pair of blue Converse All-Stars, packed a black backpack, and set out. It was June 26, 2022. He had just turned 32 years old.

      Things did not go according to plan. He boarded a bus from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, but the fake Schengen visa they paid so much for was rejected at the Finnish border. Sanooja told him he could always come home. But in order to finance the journey, they had sold a plot of Samrin’s land and Sanooja’s jewelry, and borrowed money from friends. Samrin decided there was no turning back. He pivoted to plan B: He could go to Belarus, where he didn’t need a visa, and cross the border to Lithuania, in the Schengen zone.

      When Samrin checked into the Old Town Trio Hotel in Vilnius on August 16, 2022, the first thing he did was call home: He had survived the forest. Sanooja was relieved to hear his voice. He told her about the eight days crossing the forest between Belarus and Lithuania, the mud up to his knees. Days without food, drinking dirty water. He told her especially about the pains in his stomach as he walked in the forest, due to his recent surgery to remove kidney stones. Sometimes he would urinate blood.

      But he was in the European Union. He bought a plane ticket for a departure to Paris in four days, the city where he hoped to make his new life. What happened next is unclear. This is what Sanooja knows:

      On the third day, Samrin walked into the hotel lobby, and the manager called security. Plainclothes officers shuttled him into a car and whisked him 50 kilometers back once more to the Belarusian border. In less than 72 hours, Samrin found himself trapped again in the forest he had fought to escape.

      It was already dark when Samrin was left alone in the woods. He had no backpack, sleeping bag, or food. His phone was running out of battery. The next morning, Samrin came online briefly to send Sanooja a final message on WhatsApp: “No water, I think I’ll die. Trangam, I love you.”

      That was the beginning of a deafening silence that stretched four and a half months. When she gets to this part of the story, Sanooja, ever talkative and articulate, apologizes that she simply cannot describe it. Her eyes glaze and flit upward.

      The Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović asserts that families have a “right to truth” surrounding the fates of their loved ones who disappear en route to Europe. In 2021, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for “prompt and effective identification processes” to connect the bodies of those who perished to those searching for them. Two years on, Mijatović tells us not much has been done, and the issue is a “legislative void.”

      As part of the Border Graves Investigation, conducted with a cross-border team of eight freelance journalists across Europe in collaboration with Unbias the News, The Guardian and Sueddeutche Zeitung, we followed the stories of those who have disappeared in the forest that covers the borders in Eastern Europe, between Belarus and the EU (Lithuania, Poland, Latvia).

      We spoke with their families, as well as over a dozen humanitarian workers, lawyers, and policymakers from organizations in Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus, to piece together the question of what happens after something goes fatally wrong on Europe’s eastern border—and who is responsible.
      Who counts the dead?

      The forest along the Belarussian border is a dense landscape of underbrush, moss and swamps, and encompasses one of the largest ancient forest areas left in Europe.

      Spanning hundreds of square kilometers across the borders with Lithuania and Poland, the forest became an unexpected hotspot when Belarus began issuing visas and opening direct flights to Minsk in the summer of 2021. This power play between Belarussian President Lukashenko and his EU neighbors has been called a “political game” in which migrants are the pawns.

      Since 2021, thousands of people, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, have sought to enter the EU from Belarus via its borders in Poland and Lithuania. Hundreds of people have been caught in a one-kilometer no man’s land between Belarusian territory and the EU border fence, chased back and forth by border guards on both sides under threat of violence. Belarusian guards reportedly threatened to release dogs, and photographs emerged of bite wounds.

      Since 2021, Poland and Lithuania have ramped up on “pushbacks,” in which border guards deport people immediately without the opportunity to ask for asylum, a process that is growing in popularity across Europe despite violating international law. Poland reports having conducted 78,010 pushbacks since the start of the crisis, and Lithuania 21,857. Samrin was apparently one of these cases.

      While these two countries publish precise daily statistics for pushbacks, they do not publish data for deaths at the border, nor people reported missing.

      “National states want to do this job secretly,” explains Tomas Tomilinas, a member of the Lithuanian Parliament. “We are on the margins of the law and constitution here, any government pushing people back is trying to avoid publicity on this topic.”

      Official data is an intentional void. Both the Polish and Lithuanian Border Guards declined to share any numbers with us. However, there are organizations striving to keep count: Humanitarian groups in Poland, including Grupa Granica (“Border Group” in Polish) and Podlaskie Humanitarian Emergency Service (POPH), have documented 52 deaths on the Poland-Belarus border since 2021, and are tracking 16 unidentified bodies.

      In Lithuania, the humanitarian group Sienos Grupė (“Border Group” in Lithuanian) has documented 10 deaths, including three minors who died while in detention centers, and three others who died in car accidents when chased by local authorities after crossing the border region. In Belarus, the NGO Human Constanta reports that 33 have died according to government data shared with them, but it was not recorded whether these bodies have been identified, and whether or where they are buried.

      On the borders between Poland, Lithuania and Belarus, humanitarian groups have compiled a list of more than 300 people reported missing. The organizations emphasize that their numbers are incomplete, as they have neither the access nor the capacity to monitor the full extent of the problem.

      Where to turn?

      It was already past midnight in Sri Lanka when Samrin stopped responding to messages. From 8,000 km away, Sanooja tried to call for help. She found his last known coordinates on Find My iPhone, a blue dot in Trokenikskiy, Grodno region, just across the Belarus side of the border, and tried to report him missing.

      The Lithuanian and Belarussian border guards picked up the phone. She begged them to find him, even if it meant arresting or deporting him. They responded that he had to call himself. It was baffling: How can a missing person call to report themselves?

      She called the migrant detention camps, where people are often detained without access to a phone for months. Maybe he was locked up somewhere. As soon as she said “hello,” they responded, “no English,” and hung up. She emailed them instead, no response. She emailed UNHCR and the Red Cross Society. Both institutions said they had no information about the case. She emailed the police, who responded a week later that they had no information.

      Sanooja had run into the rude reality that there is no authority responsible for nor prepared to respond to such inquiries. Even organizations dedicated to working with migrants, such as the migrant detention camp staff, would or could not respond to basic queries in English.

      International humanitarian organizations, too, are almost absent in the region. Compared to the Mediterranean countries of Spain, Italy, and Greece, which have had a decade to organize to respond to mass deaths on their border, the presence of formal aid in Eastern Europe is much smaller.

      Weeks passed, and in the terrible silence, every possibility behind her husband’s disappearance invaded Sanooja’s mind. Four-year-old Haashim began to cry out for his father every night, who used to wake him up with kisses. When they lost contact, Haashim often wet the bed and refused to go to school. “He must have had some intuition about his father,” said Sanooja.

      Then Sanooja began to wonder if he could be in another country in the region: Latvia? Poland? She broadened her search to all four countries. There was no Sri Lankan Embassy in Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, or Latvia, so she emailed the closest one in Sweden. Then, she went on Facebook. That’s how she found the account of Sienos Grupė, and sent them a message.

      Like many local humanitarian groups across the region, Sienos Grupė is a small team of four part-time staff and around 30 volunteers. The group banded together in 2021 to respond to calls for help through WhatsApp and Facebook and drop off vital supplies in the forest, such as food, water, power banks, and dry clothes.
      “There is a body, please go”

      Local volunteer groups were doing their best to aid the living, but it wasn’t long before they were being contacted to find the missing or the dead.

      On the Polish border, everyone has heard of Piotr Czaban. A local journalist and activist, his contact is shared among migrants attempting to cross the border. He is known as the man who can help find the bodies of people left behind in the woods, a reputation he has lived up to many times. The demands of the work have led him to leave his full-time job.

      He sits on the edge of a weathered log in a forest near Sokolka, a city near the Poland-Belarus border region where he lives. Navigating the thick undergrowth with ease in jeans and trekking boots, he recounts the first search he coordinated back in February 2022. He received a message on Facebook from a Syrian man in Belarus: “There is a body in the forest, here is the place, please go.”

      Piotr was taken off guard. He asked his friends in the police what to do, and they told him the best way was to go himself, take photos, and then call the police. However, the border guards had closed the border region to all non-residents, including journalists and humanitarian workers, so he couldn’t pass the police checkpoints for the area where the body lay.

      So Piotr made another call. This time to Rafal Kowalczyk, the 53-year-old director of the Mammal Research Institute, who has worked in the Bialowieza Forest for three decades. (“In my previous TV job, I interviewed him about bison, and thought he was a good man,” said Piotr by way of introduction).

      Rafal was up for the task. As a wildlife expert, he had access to the restricted forest area, and now he ventured into the woods not to track bison, but to follow the clues sent by a despairing Syrian man.

      In the swamp, Rafal found 26-year-old Ahmed Al-Shawafi from Yemen, barefoot and half-submerged in the water, one shoe in the mud nearby.

      It was difficult for Rafal to point his camera at the face of a dead man, but he did, and this image still haunts him. Piotr forwarded the photos Rafal had taken to the police, with a straightforward message: “We know there’s a body there. Now you have to go.”

      But what if Ahmed could have been found earlier, even alive?

      “The police have no competence”

      Until there is a photo of a dead body, police and border guards have often declined to search for missing or dead migrants.

      Ahmed’s traveling companions, including the man who contacted Piotr, had personally begged Polish border guards for emergency medical aid for Ahmed. They had left Ahmed by the river in the throes of hypothermia to ask for help. Instead of calling paramedics, or searching for Ahmed at all, the border guards pushed the group back to Belarus, leaving Ahmed to die alone in the forest.

      In our investigation, we heard of at least three other deaths that are eerily similar to Ahmed’s: Ethiopian woman Mahlet Kassa, 28; Syrian man Mohammed Yasim, 32; and Yemeni man Dr. Ibrahim Jaber Ahmed Dihiya, 33. In all three cases, traveling companions approached Polish officers for emergency medical attention, but instead got pushed back themselves. Help never arrived.

      Each time the activists receive a report of a missing or dead person, they first share this information with the police. Piotr says he has received responses from the police, including, “We’re busy,” or “Not our problem.”

      After police were provided with the photos and exact GPS location of Ahmed’s body, they called back to say they still couldn’t find him. When Rafal turned his car around to personally lead the police to his body, he found out why: The police had ventured into the swamp without waterproof boots or even a GPS to navigate in a forest where there is often no cell connection.

      “The police are unequipped,” said Rafal, full of disbelief. Two years on from the crisis, the police still do not have the proper basic equipment nor training to conduct searches for people missing or dead in the forest. He recounts that in one trip to retrieve a body with police, they could only walk 300 meters in one hour, and one officer had lost the sole of his shoes in the mud.

      The Polish police responded to our email, “The police is not a force with the competence to deal with persons illegally crossing borders.” As a result, eight of 22 bodies found this year on the Polish side of the border were discovered by volunteers like Piotr and Rafal.

      On the Lithuanian side, Sienos Grupė says there are no such searches. “We are afraid there are many bodies in Lithuanian forests and the area between the fence and Belarus, but we are not allowed there,” says Aušrinė, a 23-year-old medicine student and Sienos Grupė volunteer in Lithuania. “Nobody is looking for them.”
      “In two weeks, there is nothing there”

      Rafal sits down in a wooden lodge on the edge of the forest and orders tea for himself while his two young children play on a tablet. It was his turn with the kids, he explains in a deep voice. His wife came home at four in the morning, after spending the whole night volunteering with POPH on a search for a man with diabetes in the forest.

      He feared that time was running out. We met with Rafal on Thursday evening. The man was found on Saturday morning, already dead. He is the 51st death recorded in Poland this year.

      In the forest, each search is a race against both time and wild animals.

      The winter may preserve a body for two months, but in the summer, the time frame is much shorter. A few times, Rafal has come across mere skeletons. He explains, “When there is a smell, the scavengers go immediately. When you’ve got summer and flies, probably in two weeks, it’s done, there’s nothing there.”

      In such advanced stages of decomposition, the body is exponentially more difficult to identify. However, DNA can be collected from bone fragments, in case families come searching. If they’re lucky, there are objects found close by: glasses, clothes, or jewelry. In one case, a family portrait found near the body was the key to identification.

      However, the Suwałki Prosecutor’s Office in Poland explained to us that the Prosecutor’s Offices keep no central register of data on deceased migrants, such as DNA, personal belongings, or photographs.
      “As a wife, I know his eyes”

      Four and a half months after Samrin disappeared, Sanooja’s phone rang. It was January 5, 2023. She will never forget the voice of the man that spoke. He was calling from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka, and informed her that her husband’s DNA had been matched to a body found in the Lithuanian forest. Interpol had drawn Samrin’s biometric data from the UK.

      She considers it fate that the dots came together this way. When they were 20 years old, Samrin’s father passed away, and Samrin left for London on a student visa. Instead of studying, he washed dishes at McDonald’s and KFC, and stocked shelves at Aldi, Lidl, and Iceland. When his visa expired, he lived a clandestine existence, evading the authorities. At age 26, the Home Office arrested him, took his DNA, and deported him. This infraction turned out to be an unexpected lifeline for his identification.

      “Getting the message that my husband was no more, that was nothing compared to those four and a half months,” said Sanooja. She had begun to fear that she would have to live with “lifelong doubt” around Samrin’s fate. Now she knew that four days after Samrin sent his goodbye message, his body was pulled from a river on the Lithuanian side of the border.

      Sanooja has read the police report countless times now: On August 21, 2022, witness Saulius Zakarevičius went for a morning swim in the Neris River. After bathing, he saw something floating. Through binoculars, he was able to decipher human clothes. The river bank is covered with tall grass. At the end of the patch there was a male corpse lying face down. The surface of the skin was swollen, pale, chaotically covered with pink lines, resembling the surface of marble. The skin was peeling from the palms of the corpse…

      She was asked to identify the corpse.

      “As a wife, I know him. I know his eyes. To see them on a dead body, that was terrible.”
      Sanooja

      In photos of his personal items, she instantly recognized Samrin’s shoes: a muddy pair of blue Converse All-Stars, with the laces looped just the way he always did.

      To be able to transport a dead body from Europe to any other part of the world, families must face the financial challenge of costs up to 10,000 euros. But the decision was not only about money for Sanooja. It was about time and dreams.

      For one, she believed that he had suffered enough. “As Muslims, we believe that even dead bodies can feel pain,” she says softly. “I felt broken that he was in the mortuary, feeling the cold for four and a half months.”

      And perhaps most of all, she recites what Samrin had told her before he left: “If I go, this time I’m not coming back.” In the end, Sanooja relied on her husband’s last will. “His dream was to be in Europe. So, at least his body will rest in Europe.”
      “Graves without a plate”

      Samrin’s death was the first border death publicly recognized by the Lithuanian government. Despite being the first, he did not receive any distinctive attention, and his resting place remained an unmarked mound of earth for more than eight months.

      On a hot summer day in July, co-founder of Sienos Grupė, Mantautas Šulskus brings a green watering can and measuring tape to our visit to the Vilnius cemetery where Samrin was buried in February. Green grass is sprouting all over Samrin’s grave. But it is not the only one.

      There are three smaller graves lined in a row. Among them, an eleven-year-old, a five-year-old, and a newborn baby rest side by side, their lives cut short in 2021. “These are three minors who died in detention centers in Lithuania,” Mantautas points out somberly.

      These cases have not been officially acknowledged by Lithuanian authorities, and none of the graves of the minors bear a name, even though their identities were also known to authorities. This lack of recognition paints a haunting picture, suggesting a second, silent death—a death of identity and acknowledgment.

      Bodies are sent to municipal or village governments to bury, and if they do not receive explicit instructions to create a plate, they often opt not to. As a result, the nameless graves of migrants are scattered across cemeteries in the region.

      Yet Mantautas is here in the scorching heat to measure a stone plate nearby in the Muslim corner of the cemetery. Sanooja saw it during a video call with Sienos Grupė volunteers, so that she could pray virtually at her husband’s grave. She asked for a plate with Samrin’s name on it—“just exactly like that one there,” she pointed.

      After some months, Sienos Grupė crowdfunded around 1,500 euros to buy and place stone plates for all four graves. The graves of Samrin and the three children now have names: Yusof Ibrahim Ali, Asma Jawadi, and Fatima Manazarova.

      Resting at the feet of the grave is a plate made of stone bearing the inscription “M.S.M.M. Samrin, 1990-2022, Sri Lanka,” precisely as Sanooja has requested. She explains that, according to Islamic beliefs, this will ensure that her husband will rise when the last days come.

      Hidden graves, unknown bodies

      The chilling thing, Mantautas explains, is nobody knows how many graves of migrants there might be, except for the government, which buries them quietly, often in remote villages.

      Organizations like Sienos Grupė find themselves grasping in the dark for leads. Last month, volunteers came across the grave of Lakshmisundar Sukumaran, an Indian man reported dead in April “quite by accident,” says Mantautas. The revelation came on the Eve of All Saint’s Day, when activists preparing for a control ran into a local returning from a visit to his mother’s grave: “There is a migrant buried in town.”

      Indeed, Sukumaran’s grave stands alone in an isolated corner of a small cemetery in Rameikos, a village of 25 people on the Lithuanian-Belarus border. Set apart from crosses of various sizes, a vertical piece of wood bears the inscription: “Lakshmisundar Sukumaran 1983.06.05 – 2023.04.04.” The border fence is visible from his grave. The earth is decorated by the colorful leaves of Lithuanian autumn.

      Sienos Grupė maintains a list of at least 40 people reported missing on the Lithuania-Belarus border, information the government does not record. When bodies are found, they strive to connect the dots: Location, gender, age, ethnicity, possessions, birthmarks, anything. But if authorities do not report when a body is found, the chances of locating anybody on this list are small.

      Emiljia Śvobaitė, a lawyer and volunteer from Sienos Grupė, explains that the Lithuanian government will only confirm whether something they already know is correct. “It seems like they are hiding these kinds of stories and information unless somebody exposes it. They would only confirm the deaths after activists have said something about it.”
      “No political will”

      The Lithuanian Parliament building, known as the Seimas Palace, is an imposing glass-and-concrete building in downtown Vilnius. It is where the Lithuanians declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. From an office with a view over the square, Member of Parliament Tomas Tomilinas wryly explains that their government has legalized pushbacks essentially because Europe has not established that it’s illegal.

      “I would say Europe has no political will to make pushbacks illegal. If there were a European law, the European Commission would put a ban on it. It would put a fine on Lithuania. But nobody’s doing that.”
      Member of Lithuanian Parliament, Tomas Tomilinas

      The Polish parliament legalized pushbacks in October 2021, and the Lithuanian parliament followed suit by legalizing pushbacks in April this year.

      Emiljia raises concerns about the violence of pushbacks her clients have seen. “The government keeps telling us they do everything really nicely. They give people food, and even wave goodbye to them, in the daytime. But when we look at specific cases, where people end up without their limbs on them, those pushbacks are performed at night.”

      She also raises concerns about legalized pushbacks in Lithuania, and whether border guards should be given the right to assess and deny asylum claims on the spot. “It’s funny because border guards should decide right away on the border whether a person is running from persecution, meaning a border guard should identify the conflict in the country of origin, and do all the work that the migration department is doing.”

      “It’s naive to believe that the system would work.”
      Fighting back in court

      With the help of Sienos Grupė’s support for legal expenses, Sanooja took the case to court. If the Lithuanian officials wouldn’t speak with her, perhaps they would speak to lawyers.

      Yet last month, Sanooja’s case was closed for the final time by the Vilnius Regional Prosecutor’s Office after seven appeals. The case never made it to trial.

      The Vilnius court claims there is no basis for a criminal investigation. Emiljia, who was on the team representing Sanooja in the case, responds that the pre-trial investigation didn’t investigate the cause of death properly, nor how the acts of the border police might have caused or contributed to the death of the applicant’s husband.

      Rytis Satkauskas, law professor, managing partner of ReLex law firm, and the lead attorney on Sanooja’s case, questions whether the Lithuanian courts are trying to hide something greater: he points to a series of inconsistencies in Samrin’s autopsy report.

      Autopsies should be conducted immediately to determine the cause of death. However, Samrin’s autopsy report claims that the cause of death cannot be established because the body was in an advanced state of decomposition of up to five months.

      Five months after Samrin’s death is the same time around which Sanooja got in touch to pursue the truth of the matter. Satkauskas does not think this is a coincidence: “I believe they left the body in the repository, then when they established the identity of the person, they had to do this autopsy.”

      The autopsy report explains the advanced state of decomposition by referencing the marshy area in which it was found, claiming the heat of the marsh had accelerated decomposition by up to five months within a matter of days.

      Satkauskas asks further: If Samrin simply drowned, then why do other measurements not add up? He references a table of measurements in the autopsy report, in which the weight and algae content of the lungs are normal. However, Satkauskas says, in cases of drowning, both weight and algae content should be much higher. “I’m convinced they have invented all those measurements,” Satkauskas puts simply.

      As Sanooja’s case has exhausted all legal avenues in Lithuania, it is now eligible for appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

      Emilija points to a promising parallel: in Alhowais v. Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights ruled this February that a Hungarian border guard’s violent pushback ending in the drowning of a Syrian man violated Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which protects the “right to life” and against “torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

      The decision came in February this year, seven years after the death of the defendant’s brother. Yet for Sanooja and her team, the case provides hope that there is a growing legal precedent for victims of pushbacks.

      A battle in court for Sanooja could be a long and expensive one. The case in Vilnius courts had cost 600 euros for each of the seven appeals, and after Sanooja ran out of funds after the first case, Sienos Grupė stepped in to shoulder the costs of the appeals.

      For the ECHR, it will cost 1500 euros to submit the proposal. Sanooja is exploring the possibility of raising money through NGOs or other means to continue the long quest for truth.

      The window of eligibility to appeal will close in February 2024.
      “Wherever I go, I have memories”

      Day by day, Sanooja’s son grows to look more like Samrin.

      She has tried not to cry in front of him. “It makes him upset. I am the only person now for my son, so I should be strong enough to face these things,” says the 32-year-old widow. “But wherever I go, I have memories. And everything my son does reminds me of him.”

      Before Samrin’s body was found, she told her son “false stories,” but with his body now interred, she has opened up to her son about her father’s death. He understands it the way a child might—he runs around telling neighbors his father is in heaven, and it’s a great place. It will be years before he can point to where Lithuania is on a map.

      Thanks to the cooperation of the Sri Lankan embassy in Sweden, Sanooja is one of the few families who have been able to receive a death certificate. She notes this will be crucial when her son enrolls for school and if they decide to sell or expand their property. However, to correct the misspelling on the document, she needs to travel to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, which takes ten hours and nearly 10,000 rupees.

      Meanwhile, Samrin’s death has ruptured the family into those who can accept the reality of his death, and those who cannot. Sanooja’s mother-in-law has ceased contact with her, unable to wrap her head around the fact that her boy is gone. When Samrin had left, he promised his mother to send money so that she would no longer have to wake up early to make pastries to sell in the morning. On the day of Samrin’s funeral, she told the family, “That is not my son.”

      “What difference does it make, finding the body and burying it?” asks Pauline Boss, the Psychology Professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota who coined the term “ambiguous loss,” which encompasses the unique stress of not knowing whether someone you love is alive or dead.

      Professor Boss states that burying someone is a distinct human need—not just for the dead, but for the living. “In all cases, a human being has to see their loved one transform from breathing to not breathing, and have the power and control to deal with the remains in their particular cultural way. It’s a human need, and it has been for eons.”

      Yet few families are able to attend the funerals of their loved ones in Europe, for the same reason their loved ones tried to travel to Europe on such a dangerous road in the first place: inability to obtain a visa, or lack of funds.

      “I hope one day I will visit, and I will show our son his father’s grave,” Sanooja declares.

      When Samrin was interred into the snow-covered February earth of Liepynės cemetery in Vilnius on Valentine’s Day this year, a volunteer present at the burial offered to video call Sanooja through FaceTime.

      In the grainy constellation of pixels of the phone screen in her palm, from 8,000 kilometers away, she watched her husband disappear forever into the cold European soil.

      https://unbiasthenews.org/widowed-by-europes-borders

      #Lituanie #Biélorussie #forêt #Pologne #Bialowieza

    • Missing data, missing souls in Italy

      How Italy’s failing system makes it almost impossible for families to identify their relatives who passed away while reaching the EU.

      Before the Syrian civil war erupted, Refaat Hazima was a barber in Damascus. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had also been barbers. Thanks to his craftsmanship, flair, and a reputation built over four generations, Refaat was a wealthy man. Together with his wife – a doctor for the national service – he could afford to have his three children study instead of sending them to work at a young age.

      “They were always the top of the class,” he recalls in a nostalgic voice as he sits alone in a seaside restaurant on Lampedusa, a small Sicilian island halfway between Malta and the eastern coast of Tunisia. The rocky shores along which he now slowly enjoys eggplant served with fresh tuna were the scene of the most traumatic episode of his life.

      “President Bashar al-Assad had centralized all power in his hands, and our daily life in Syria had become complicated.” Refaat was also temporarily imprisoned for political reasons. But the point of no return for him and his wife was the outbreak of civil war in 2011. It became clear that not only their children’s educational future was in jeopardy, but even the survival of their entire family.

      So they decided to leave.

      The couple paid smugglers more than fifty thousand dollars to attempt to reach Germany, where their children could continue their education. But amid rejections, hurdles, and hesitations that forced the family into months-long stages in different countries, Refaat and his family had to wait until 2013 to finally set sail to the European shores of Lampedusa.

      Although it was autumn, the sea was calm that night. Initial concerns related to the sea conditions and the wooden boat that was all too heavily laden with humans now dissipated. In the darkness of the night sea, the shorelines and the flickering lights of street lamps and restaurants were in sight. But suddenly the boat in which they were traveling capsized.

      “Everyone was screaming as we ended up in the sea,” Rafaat recalls. “I grabbed one of my children, my wife grabbed another child. But in the commotion and screaming of the nighttime shipwreck, two of my children disappeared.”
      \

      The couple were rescued by Italian authorities and brought to the mainland along with one of their children. The other two, however, disappeared. “One of them told me Dad, give me a kiss on the forehead, and then I never saw him ever again.”

      From 2013 to the present, Refaat has searched everywhere for their children. For 10 years he has been traveling, asking, and searching. He has even appeared on TV hoping one day to be reunited with them. But to this day he still does not know if his children were saved or if they are two of the 268 victims of the October 11, 2013 shipwreck, one of the worst Mediterranean disasters in the last three decades.

      Uncertain and partial numbers

      For more than two decades, Italy has been one of the main gateways for migrants wanting to reach the European Union. Between thirty and forty thousand people have died trying to reach Italy since 2000. But despite this strategic location, authorities have never created a comprehensive register to census the dead returned from the sea, and thus sources are confusing and approximate.

      In any case, the figure of bodies found is only a percentage of the people who lost their lives while attempting to cross over to Europe. In fact, the bodies of those who die at sea are rarely recovered. When this happens, they are even more rarely identified by Italian authorities.

      A study conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross tried to map the anonymous graves of migrants in various European countries and count the number of deaths recovered at sea. According to the report, between 2014 and 2019, 964 bodies of people – presumed migrants – were found in Italy, of which only 27 percent were identified. In most of the cases analyzed, identification occurred through immediate visual recognition by their fellow travelers, while those traveling without friends or relatives almost always remained anonymous.

      Overall, 73 percent of the bodies recovered in Italy between 2014 and 2019 remain unknown.

      A DNA test for everyone

      “The vast majority of bodies end up at the bottom of the sea and are never recovered, becoming fish food,” explains Tareke Bhrane, founder of the October 3 Committee, an NGO established to protect the rights of those who die trying to reach Europe. “The Committee was born in the aftermath of the two disastrous shipwrecks on October 3 and 11, 2013 to make Italy understand that even those who die have dignity and that respecting that dignity is important not only for those who die, but also for those who survive,” Bhrane recounts.

      On October 3, 2023, the Committee organized a large event on the island of Lampedusa to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the shipwreck. Dozens of families of people who died or disappeared gathered on the island, traveling from many European and Middle Eastern countries.

      On the island were also forensic geneticists from Labanof, a leading forensic medicine laboratory at the University of Milan that has been working with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies for decades now to solve cases and identify unnamed bodies. Relatives of missing persons were thus able to undergo a free DNA test to find out more about their loved ones.

      One of the committee’s main activities in recent years has been to lobby Sicilian municipalities for better management of anonymous graves. Thanks in part to the NGO, today almost all Sicilian provinces now house some victims of migration, often anonymous, in their cemeteries.

      “Among the essential points of our mission,” Bhrane explains, “is to create a European DNA database for the recognition of victims, so that anyone who wants to can take a DNA test anywhere in Europe and find out if a loved one has lost their life trying to get here.”
      Resigned and hopeful

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RhbqUACTv8&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Funbiasthenews.org%2

      While Refaat has not yet resigned himself to the idea that his children may have died at sea, other relatives have become more aware and would like to know where Italy buried their loved ones. But this is often impossible because the graves are anonymous and there is a lack of national records that they can consult to find their loved ones.

      This is the case for Asmeret Amanuel and Desbele Asfaha, two Eritrean nationals who are respectively the nephew and brother of one of the people aboard the boat that capsized in 2013.

      “We heard from the radio that the boat he was traveling on had sunk. We never heard from him again,” Asmeret says. The two traveled all the way to Lampedusa to undergo DNA testing, hoping to match their loved one’s name for the first time with one of the many acronyms that have appeared on migrants’ anonymous graves and find out where he rests.

      “I remember as children we used to play together,” says Desbele. “And instead today I don’t even know where to mourn him. Yet it would take so little.”

      An organizational failure

      Many Italian cemeteries hold anonymous graves of people who died while migrating, especially in the South. It is difficult to map them all and provide an exact number, just as it is nearly impossible to quantify the number of anonymous graves. Again, there is no centralized, national database, and even at the municipal level information is scarce and partial.

      But thanks to an international investigation project called the “The Border Graves Investigation” and promoted by IJ4EU and Journalism Fund of which Unbias the News is one of the partners, it is now possible to shed light on what resembles a large European mass grave.

      From the Italian side of the investigation, large gaps emerge on Italy’s part in the construction of a national cemetery archive. According to protocol, data on anonymous graves are supposed to be sent every three months from individual cemeteries and work their way up a long bureaucratic chain until they reach the desk of the government’s Special Commissioner for Missing Persons, an office created by the Italian government in 2007 precisely to create a single national database.

      But sources from the Special Commissioner told the Border Graves Investigation team that unidentified bodies are not within their jurisdiction because in cases where there is an alleged crime (e.g., illegal immigration) the jurisdiction passes to the local magistrate. Thus, the source confirmed that no office systematically collects this data and that figures areeverything is scattered in individual prosecutors’ offices.

      However, the documentary traces of migrants’ anonymous graves are often already lost in the records of the cemeteries themselves or municipal records, that is, at the first step in the chain. For example, in Agrigento, it is possible to visit the graves of men and women who died at sea marked by numbers, but in the paper registers consulted by our team of journalists there is no trace of them.

      Yet the records are deposited a few meters from the graves themselves.

      In Sciacca, Agrigento province, the municipal administration moved some anonymous graves of migrants inside a mass grave to make room for new burials. However, it did not follow the prescribed regulations and did not notify the relatives of the few victims who had been identified and whose names were listed on the grave. The matter was discovered at the time when a woman went to the cemetery to pray at her sister’s grave and did not find her in her usual place.

      In other cases, anonymous graves have been moved from one cemetery to another due to the need for space, but without alerting the population.
      The bureaucratic snag

      Finding out the fate of a loved one is so complicated for several reasons. First, the identification of the body, which the Italian authorities do not generally consider a priority. Then there is the difficulty of recognition itself, especially when relatives are abroad or have difficulty contacting Italian authorities.

      In addition, there is the problem of traceability of the bodies, which often remain on the seabed and, in the few cases where they are found, enter a bureaucratic machine in which it is arduous to recover their traces. Researcher and anthropologist Giorgia Mirto explained this to our investigative team: “The corpses should be registered in the registrar’s office where the body is found. But then the body is often moved within the same cemetery, from one cemetery to another or from one municipality to another, and so there is documentation that travels along with the body. Moves that are difficult to track.”

      “Moreover,” Mirto adds, “adding to the difficulty is the absence of unified procedures. “With the Human Cost of Border Control project, we have seen that the only way to count these people and their graves is to do a blanket search of all the municipalities, all the cemetery offices, all the registrars’ offices and all the cemeteries, possibly adding the funeral homes as well.”

      Thus, there is a problem with centralization and transparency of data that is often also linked to the huge austerity cuts that have forced municipalities to work understaffed. Emblematic is the Commissioner’s Office for Missing Persons, which would be responsible for compiling a list of unidentified bodies found on Italian soil, but has been left without a portfolio.

      “As anthropologist Didier Fassin says,” the researcher concludes, “missing data is not the result of carelessness but is an administrative and political choice. It should be understood how much this choice is conscious and how much is the result of disinterest in the good work of municipal archives (an essential resource for historical memory and for the peace of victims’ families) or in understanding the cost of borders in terms of human lives.”

      EU responsibilities

      Forensic scientist Cristina Cattaneo – a professor at the University of Milan and director of the Labanof forensic laboratory – explained to our team that from a forensic point of view, the most important procedure for identifying a body is to collect both post-mortem (from tattoos to DNA, through cadaveric inspections and autopsies) and antemortem medical forensic information, that is, that which comes from family members regarding the missing person.

      However, in many countries, including Italy, no law makes this procedure mandatory. In the case of people who die while migrating, this is done only in egregious cases, such as large shipwrecks that become news. “These cases have shown that a broad and widespread effort to identify the bodies of those who die at sea is possible,” says Cattaneo. “However, most people lose their lives in very small shipwrecks that don’t make too much news. And because there is no protocol to make data collection systematic, many family members are left in doubt as to whether their loved ones are alive or dead.”

      All this happens despite the great efforts made over the years by the government’s Extraordinary Commissioner for Missing Persons, which, despite being the only national institution of its kind at the European level, has to manage a huge amount of data from all Italian municipalities. Data that are often disorganized, reported late, and collected without adhering to common and strict procedures.

      This is why Cattaneo is among the signatories of an appeal calling for the enactment of a European law that would once and for all oblige member states to identify the bodies of migrants.

      “Yet a European solution would exist and from a technical point of view it is already feasible,” Cattaneo adds. It involves data exchange systems such as Interpol, which at the European level already collects, organizes, and can share information and organically to member countries.

      “It would be enough to expand the analysis to include missing migrants and thus make it possible to search and identify them on a European scale. But this is not being done because of a lack of political will on the part of Brussels,” Cattaneo concludes.
      “The art of patience”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlDtBRg02aU&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Funbiasthenews.org%2

      Identifying the bodies of people who lose their lives coming to Europe is an important issue on several levels.

      First and foremost, international humanitarian law protects the right to identity for both those who are alive and those who have died. But identifying is also an essential issue for those who remain alive. Indeed, without a death certificate, it is almost impossible for a spouse to marry again or to access survivor’s pensions, just as it is impossible for a minor relative to leave their country with an adult without running into a blockade by the authorities, who cannot rule out the possibility of child abduction.

      Then there is the issue of suspended grief, namely the condition of those who do not know whether to search for a loved one or mourn his or her death.

      This is the case for Asmeret and Desbele, but also for many relatives interviewed by our team.

      Sabah and Ahmed, for example, are a Syrian couple. One of their sons disappeared in 2013 after a shipwreck in Italian waters. For 10 years, Ahmed retraced the same land and sea route followed by his son, hoping to find his body or at least get more information. But the efforts were in vain and to this day the family still does not know what happened to him.

      “His children are still with us and often ask, ‘where is Dad? Where is Dad?’ but without a grave and a body, we still don’t know what to answer.”

      Both Sabah and Ahmed are very religious and today rely on Allah to give them the comfort they have not found in the work of institutions. “The greatest gift from Allah,” they recount, “was the patience with which to be able to move forward in the face of such unnatural grief for a parent.”

      A similar lesson was learned by Refaat, who like Ahmed and Sabah has been living in ignorance for ten years. Today he has opened a barber store in Hamburg and realized his dream of having his surviving son study in Germany.

      “I have been searching for my children for ten years, and Allah knows I will search for them until the end of my days, should I find their dead bodies, or should I find them alive who knows where in the world. But I want to die knowing that I did everything I could to find them.”
      Refaat Hazima

      Sometimes his voice trembles. “I often talk to them in my sleep, I feel that they are still alive. But even if I were to find out they are dead, in all these years I would still have learned how to deal with frustration and pain, how to live with emptiness. And most importantly,” he concludes, “I would have learned the art of patience.”


      https://unbiasthenews.org/missing-data-missing-souls

      #Italie #Tareke_Brhane #comitato_3_ottobre #3_octobre_2013 #Lampedusa

    • Unmarked monuments of EU’s shame in Croatia and Bosnia

      Amid pushbacks and torture, many of the victims of the treacherous Balkan route are laid to an anonymous final resting place in Croatian and Bosnian cemetaries.

      In the village of Siče in eastern Croatia, there are more inhabitants in the cemetery than among the living. The village has 230 living residents, and 250 dead. To be more precise, the cemetery is home to 247 locals and three unknown persons. There would be more people six feet under if Siče hadn’t gotten its own cemetery only in the 1970s. There would also be even more of the living if they hadn’t, like many from that region, gone to bigger cities in search of a better life. Abroad as well, mainly to Germany.

      The graves of Siče’s inhabitants briefly tell the visitor who these people were, where they belong, and whether their loved ones care for them. That’s the thing with graves, they summarise the basic information of our life.

      If the grave bears only the inscription “NN”, that summarises a tragedy.

      Who are these three people whose names are unknown? How come their last resting place is a plain grave in Siče?

      Even if you didn’t know, it’s clear that those three people don’t belong there.

      They have been buried completely separated from the rest of the cemetery. Three wooden crosses with NN inscriptions, stuck in the ground at the edge of the cemetery. NN, an abbreviation of the Latin nomen nescio, literally means, “I do not know the name.” The official explanation from the public burial ground operator is that space has been left for more possible burials of those whose names are not known. However, the explanation that springs to mind when you get there is that they were buried separately so they wouldn’t mix with the locals. Or as the mayor of another town, where NN migrants have also been buried at the edge of the cemetery, let slip in a telephone conversation, “So that they’re not in the way.”

      At the cemetery in Siče, these are the only three graves that no one takes care of. In about five years, all trace of them could disappear. The public burial ground operator is obliged to bury unidentified bodies, but not to maintain graves unless the grave belongs to a person of “special historical and social significance.”

      NN1, NN2 and NN3 are of special significance only to their loved ones, who probably don’t even know where they are. Maybe they are waiting to finally hear from them from Western Europe. Maybe they’re looking for them. Maybe they mourn them.

      Identities known but buried as unknown

      If you do dig a little deeper, you will learn a thing or two about those who rest here nameless.

      In the early, cold morning of December 23, 2022, the police found two bodies on the banks of the Sava, the river that separates Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina. It separates the European Union from the rest of Europe. According to the police report, they also found a group of twenty foreign citizens who illegally entered Croatia via the river. The group was missing one more person. After an extensive search, a third body was found in the afternoon. The pathologist of the General Hospital in the town of Nova Gradiška established the time of death for all three people as 2:45 A.M. Two died of hypothermia, one drowned.

      Identity cards from a refugee camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina were found on them. We learned that, according to their IDs, all three were from Afghanistan: Ahmedi Abozari was 17 years old, Basir Naseri was 21 years old and Shakir Atoin was 25 years old. NN1, NN2 and NN3.

      Other migrants from the group also confirmed the identity of two of them, as the Brodsko-Posavska County police administration told us. Then why were they buried as NN? If it was known that they were from Afghanistan, why were they buried under crosses? If families are looking for them, how will they find them?

      The cemetery management was kind and said that they perform burials according to what is written in the burial permit signed by the pathologist – and it said NN.

      The pathologist said that he enters the data based on the information he receives from the police.

      The competent police department told us that the person is buried according to the rules of the local municipality.

      Siče cemetery belongs to the municipality of Nova Kapela, whose mayor, Ivan Šmit, discontentedly listed all the costs that his municipality incurred for those burials and said that whoever is willing to pay for it can change the NN inscription into names.

      We came across a series of similar administrative ambiguities while investigating how authorities deal with the deceased people they recover at EU borders as a part of the Border Graves Investigation carried out by a team of eight freelancers from across Europe together with Unbias the News, The Guardian and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

      There is no centralised European database on the number of migrants’ graves in Europe.

      But the team managed to confirm the existence of at least 1,931 migrants’ graves in Greece, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Malta, Poland and France, dating from 2014 to 2023. Of these, 1,015 were unidentified. More than half of the unidentified graves are in Greece, 551, in Italy 248, and in Spain 109. The data were obtained based on the databases of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, scientists, local authorities and cemeteries, and field visits.

      The team visited 24 cemeteries in Greece, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Poland and Lithuania, where there are a total of 555 graves of unidentified migrants in the last decade, from 2014 to 2023.

      These are only those whose bodies have been found. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that more than 93% of those who go missing on Europe’s borders are never found.
      Families lost in bureaucracy

      December 2022, when the three young Afghans died, was rainier than usual and the Sava River swelled. It is big and fast to begin with.

      In that area, just three days earlier, five Turkish citizens went missing after their boat overturned on the Sava. Among them were a two-year-old girl, a twelve-year-old boy and their parents. The brother of the missing father came from Germany to Croatia to find out what happened to the family. From the documentation, which we have in our possession, it is evident that with the help of translator Nina Rajković, he tried to get information about his missing relatives from several police stations. Even months later, he hasn’t received any updates.

      The two had wanted to file a missing person’s report, but the police told them that there was no point in doing so if the person had not previously been registered in the territory of Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      We encountered a number of similar examples. A young man had come to Croatia and reported to the police in both Croatia and Slovenia that his brother had drowned in the Kupa River that separates the two countries. However, his brother’s disappearance was not recorded in the Croatian national database of missing persons, which is publicly available. The police did not contact him after several unidentified bodies were found in the Kupa in the following days.

      In another example, an Afghan man waited six months for the body of his brother, who drowned when they tried to cross the Sava together, also in December 2022, to be transferred from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina so that he could bury him. Although he had confirmed that it was his brother, the identification process was lengthy and complicated.

      There are numerous families who tried from afar to track down their loved ones who had disappeared in the territory of Croatia, only to finally give up in discouragement.

      There are many questions and few clear answers when it comes to the issue of missing and dead migrants on the so-called Balkan Route, of which Croatia is a part. There are no clear protocols and procedures defining to whom and how to report a missing person. It is not known whether missing migrants are actively searched for, as tourists are when they disappear in the summer. It is not clear how much and which information is needed for identification.

      “The circulation of information between institutions and individual departments seems almost non-existent to me."

      “In one case, it took me more than two months and dozens of phone calls and emails to different addresses, police stations, police departments, hospitals, and the state attorney’s office, just to prompt the initiation of identification, which to this day, more than a year later, has not been completed,” says Marijana Hameršak, activist and head of the project “European Regime of Irregular Migration on the Periphery of the EU” of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in Zagreb, which collects knowledge and data on missing and dead migrants.

      Searches for missing migrants and attempts to identify the dead in Croatia, as well as in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, most often rely on the efforts of volunteers and activists, who, like Marijana, untiringly search for information in the chaotic administration because families who do not know the language find this task practically insurmountable.
      “Die or make your dream come true”

      The Facebook group “Dead and Missing in the Balkans” became the central place to exchange photos and information about the missing and the dead between families and activists.

      The competent Ministry of the Interior does not have a website in English with an address where one can write from Afghanistan or Syria and inquire about the fate of loved ones, leave information about them, and report them missing. There is also no regional database on missing and dead migrants on which the police administrations would cooperate, not even the ones from the countries where the most crossings are recorded – from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia.

      In an interview with our team, Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasised that the creation of a centralised European database of missing and dead migrants is extremely important. If such a database combined ante-mortem and post-mortem data on the deceased, the chances of identification would greatly increase.

      “Families have a right to know the truth about the fate of their loved ones.”
      Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

      Yet, police cooperation in keeping the EU’s external border impervious is effective.

      Previously, people attempting to migrate did not try to cross the Sava so often. They knew it was too dangerous. They share information with each other and do not venture across such a river in children’s inflatable boats or inner tubes. Unless they are utterly desperate. With pushbacks and the use of force, which many organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been warning about for years, the Croatian police made it difficult to cross at other, less dangerous points along the Croatian border, which is the longest external land border in the European Union. As a young Moroccan in Bosnia and Herzegovina who tried to cross the border to Croatia 11 times but was pushed back by the Croatian police each time told us, “You have two choices: die or make your dream come true.”

      It is difficult to determine how many died on the Balkan Route in an attempt to fulfil their dream. The most comprehensive data for ex-Yugoslav countries is collected by the researchers of the “European Regime of Irregular Migration on the Periphery of the EU (ERIM)” project. It records 346 victims from 2014 to 2023 in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, North Macedonia and Kosovo. Each entry in ERIM’s database is individual and contains as much data as the researchers managed to collect, and they use all available sources – media reports, witnesses, official statistics, activist channels. But the figure is certainly significantly higher. Some who went missing were never even registered anywhere.

      Many bodies were never found. For example, another common border crossing, the Stara Planina mountain range between Bulgaria and Serbia, is a rough and inaccessible terrain. Only those who have been driven to this route by the same fate will come across the bodies, and they will not risk encountering authorities to report it.

      If people die in the minefields remaining from the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, there will not be much left of their bodies. Most bodies were found drowned in rivers, but there is no estimate of how many who drowned were never reported missing, or were never found.

      The Croatian Ministry of the Interior provided us with data on migrants who have died in Croatia since 2015, when records began to be kept, until the end of November 2023: according to the data, a total of 87 migrants died on the territory of the Republic of Croatia. To put it more precisely: that’s how many bodies were found in Croatia. Not a single official body in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia keeps records of migrants buried in that territory.

      However, we managed to obtain data for Croatia, thanks to inquiries sent to over 500 addresses of cities, municipalities and municipal companies that manage cemeteries. According to the data obtained, there are 59 graves of migrants in 32 cemeteries in Croatia who were buried in the last decade, namely from 2014 until September 2023. Of these, 45 have not been identified. The Ministry of the Interior says that since 2001, DNA samples have been taken from all unidentified bodies. We asked the Ministry to allow us to talk with experts who work on the identification of migrants, but we were not approved.

      Some of the buried were exhumed and returned to their families in their country of origin, although this is a demanding and extremely expensive process for the families.
      The burden of not knowing

      Among the NN graves is a stillborn baby from Syria buried in 2015 in the town of Slavonski Brod. A five-year-old girl who drowned in the Danube was buried in Dalje in 2021. Last summer, a young man died of exhaustion in the highlands in the Dubrovnik area. Some were hit by a train. Many died of hypothermia. Some die because they were not provided medical help early enough. Some don’t believe anything can help them, so they committed suicide.

      According to the law, they are buried closest to the place of death, which are mostly small cemeteries, such as the one in Siče. Often, just like in that village, their graves are separated from the rest of the cemetery. In some places, like in Otok, one of the tender-hearted local women has given herself the task of taking care of the NN grave. In others, like the cemetery in Prilišće, the NN wooden cross from 2019 has already rotted.

      Each of these NN graves leaves behind loved ones who bear the burden of not knowing what happened. In psychology, this is called ambiguous loss, which means that as long as relatives do not have confirmation that their loved ones are dead, and as long as they do not know where their bodies are, they cannot mourn them.

      If they go on with their lives, they feel guilty. And so they remain frozen in a state between despair and hope. American psychologist Dr. Pauline Boss is the author of the concept and theory of “ambiguous loss.”

      “A grave is so important because it helps to say goodbye,“ she said in an interview for our investigation.

      There are also practical consequences of this frozen state: succession rights cannot be carried out, bank accounts cannot be accessed, family pensions cannot be obtained, the partner cannot remarry, and custody of children is complicated.

      Many families in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina know ambiguous loss very well. Both countries went through war in the 1990s that left thousands of people missing.

      Both countries have special laws on the missing in those wars and well-developed mechanisms of search, identification, data storage and mutual cooperation. But this does not apply to migrants who vanish and die among the thousands who are on the move along the Balkan Route.
      Croatia responsible for death of a child

      Croatia became an important point of entry into the European Union after Hungary closed its borders in September 2015. From then until March 2016, it is estimated that around 660,000 refugees passed through the Croatian section of the Balkan corridor – the interstate, organised route. This corridor allowed them to get from Greece to Western Europe in two or three days. Most importantly, their journey was safe.

      Of these hundreds of thousands of people on the move, the Croatian Ministry of the Interior did not record a single death in 2015 and 2016.

      The corridor was established to prevent casualties after a large number of refugees died on the railway in Macedonia in the spring of 2015. However, with the conclusion of the EU-Turkey refugee agreement in March 2016, the corridor closed. The EU committed to generously funding Turkey to keep refugees on its territory, so that they do not come to the European Union. And so the perilous, informal Balkan Route remained the only option. Many take it. In the first ten months of 2023 alone, the Croatian police recorded 62,452 actions related to illegal border crossings.

      Both the Croatian Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter and Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović warn of the same thing: border and migration policies have a clear impact on the risk of migrants going missing or die. It is necessary to establish legal and safe migration routes in the EU.

      However, the EU expects Croatia to protect its external border, and Croatia is doing so wholeheartedly. Croatian Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović calls such practices “techniques of discouragement” and says they are fully in line with the EU Schengen Border Code.

      The result of such practices is, for example, the death of Madina Hussiny. The six-year-old girl from Afghanistan was struck by a train and killed after Croatian police “discouraged” her and her family away from the Croatian border and told them to follow train tracks back to Serbia in the middle of the night in 2017. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in November 2021 that Croatia was responsible for Madina’s death.

      In a typical “discouragement,” Croatian police transport people to points along the border and order them to cross. In the testimonies we heard, as well as in many reports of non-governmental organisations, people described having to wade or swim across rivers, climb over rocks or make their way through dense forest. They often cross at night, sometimes stripped naked, and without knowing the way because the police usually take away their mobile phones.

      Up to 80% of all pushbacks by Croatian police may be impacted by one or more forms of torture, indicates data collected by Border Violence Monitoring Network in 2019. That means that thousands were victims of border torture.

      According to data collected by the Danish Refugee Council, in the two-year period from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2022, at least 30,000 people were pushed back to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
      “While trying to reach Europe”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=112&v=SFLYVVtsjGc&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fu

      Among them is Arat Semiullah from Afghanistan. In November 2022, he intended to cross the Sava River and enter Croatia from Bosnia. He was 20 years old. He drowned and was buried at the Orthodox cemetery in Banja Luka. His family in Afghanistan did not know what happened to him. He had sent his mom a selfie with a fresh haircut for entering the European Union and then he stopped answering.

      The mother begged her nephew Payman Sediqi, who lives in Germany, to try to find him. Payman got in touch with the activist Nihad Suljić, who voluntarily helps families find out what happened to their loved ones in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They spent weeks trying to get information. Payman travelled to Bosnia and managed to find his relative thanks to the helpfulness of a policewoman who showed him forensic photographs. Arat’s mom confirmed by phone that it was her son.

      Arat’s obituary published in Bosnia and Herzegovina said that “Croatian police sank the boat using firearms, and he tragically drowned.” With the help of the Muslim community, and at the request of the family, his body was transferred to the Muslim cemetery in the village of Kamičani. The family wanted to bury him in Afghanistan, but it was too expensive and bureaucratically complicated.

      In September 2023, we met with Nihad and Payman when a large tombstone was erected for Arat. It says, “Drowned in the Sava River while trying to reach Europe.” Payman told us that Arat was crossing the Sava with a group of others trying to enter Europe. Some of them managed to cross over to the Croatian side, but then the Croatian police shot at the rubber boat Arat was in. The boat sank and Arat drowned. That’s what a survivor who crossed over to the Croatian bank of the Sava told Payman. Payman says that Arat’s family is in great pain, but at least they know where their son is and that he was buried according to their religious customs. It is important to Payman that his relative’s grave says he died as a migrant.

      “People die every day in Europe, fleeing countries where there is no life for them. Their dreams are buried in Europe. No one cares about them, not even when European policemen shoot at them,” Payman says.

      Payman knows what kind of dreams he’s talking about. He himself came to Germany illegally at the age of 16. He says he was lucky.

      Nihad advocates that other graves of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina also be permanently marked as such. He takes us to the cemetery in the town of Zvornik, where 17 NN migrants are buried. Nihad says he was informed that some of them had their passport on them when they were found. From the cemetery, you can see the river Drina, which separates Serbia from Bosnia and where many lives have been lost during crossing attempts. About 30 bodies were found in the Drina this year alone. Nihad says that they are lucky if they wash up on the Bosnian riverbanks, because in Serbia the authorities often do not perform autopsies nor take DNA samples. This was confirmed to us by activists from Serbia. In those cases, they are forever and completely lost to their families.

      The earthen NN graves in Zvornik are overgrown and not demarcated, so you wouldn’t know if you are stepping on them. Nihad managed to convince the Town of Zvornik to replace the wooden signs with black stone. It is important to him that they are buried with dignity, but he also finds it important that they stand there as a memorial.

      “My wish is that even 100 years from now these graves stand as monuments of the EU’s shame. Because it was not the river that killed these people, but the EU border regime,” Nihad says.

      https://unbiasthenews.org/unmarked-monuments-of-eus-shame-croatia-bosnia

      #Bosnie #Croatie #Zvornik #Madina_Hussiny

    • Counting the invisible victims of Spain’s EU borders

      Investigation finds hundreds of victims of migration to the EU lie in unmarked graves along Spain’s borders, with government taking no coordinated action to guarantee “last rights.”

      In January 2020, Alhassane Bangoura was buried in an unmarked grave in the Muslim area of Teguise municipal cemetery in Lanzarote as city officials and members of the local Muslim community watched on. He had been born only a couple of weeks earlier onboard a cramped patera migrant boat on which his mother, who is from Guinea, and 42 others were trying to reach the Spanish Canary Islands. Their boat was adrift on the Atlantic ocean after its motor had failed two days earlier, and Alhassane’s mother had gone into labour at sea. Her child only lived for a few hours before dying just off the coast of Lanzarote.

      Alhassane’s case shocked the island and made national news. Yet as mourners paid their respects, his mother was 200 kilometres away in a migrant reception centre on the neighbouring island of Gran Canaria, having been unable to get permission from authorities to remain on Lanzarote for the funeral.

      “She’d been allowed to see the body of her son one more time before being transferred, and I accompanied her to the funeral home,” says Mamadou Sy, a representative of the local Muslim community. “It was very emotional as she was leaving. All we could do was promise her that her son would not be alone; that like any Muslim, he’d be brought to the Mosque where his body would be washed by other mothers; that we would pray for him and that afterwards we’d send her a video of the burial.”

      Nearly four years later, Alhassane’s final resting place remains without a formal headstone. It lies next to more than three dozen graves of unidentified migrants – whose names are completely unknown but who, like Alhassane, are also victims of Europe’s brutal border regime.

      Border Graves

      Such a scene is no anomaly along Spain’s vast coastline. Border graves like these can be found in cemeteries stretching from Alicante on the country’s eastern Mediterranean coast to Cádiz on the Atlantic seaboard and south to the Canaries. Some have names but, more often than not, the inscription reads some variation of “unidentified migrant,” “unknown Moroccan,” or “victim of the Strait [of Gibraltar],” or there is simply a hand-painted cross.

      In Barbate cemetery in Cádiz, where the deceased are sealed into niches in traditional brick-walled stacks around two metres in height, groundskeeper Germán points out over 30 different migrant graves, the earliest of which date from 2002 and the most recent are from a shipwreck in 2019.

      "No one ever comes to visit, but on days when there are funerals here and flowers are about to be thrown out, I place them on the tombs containing the unknown migrants,” he explains. “In some of the older graves, you have the remains of up to five or six migrants together, each placed in separate sacks within the same niche to save space.”

      Along the coast, in Tarifa, Spain’s earliest mass grave of unidentified migrants, containing 11 victims from a 1988 shipwreck, overlooks the northern reaches of the African continent, which can be seen on a clear day. Meanwhile, around 400 kilometres west of the African coast, on the remote Canarian island of El Hierro, seven unidentified migrants have been buried in the last two months, along with the remains of 30-year old Mamadou Marea. “Locals joined us to accompany the remains of each of these people to their last resting place,” explains Amado Carballo, a councillor on El Hierro. “What upset all of us was not being able to put a name on the tombstone and simply having to leave the person identified by a police code.”

      Such concern was less evident in Arrecife, Lanzarote where two unidentified graves from February this year have been left sealed with a covering that still bears a corporate logo.

      There is no comprehensive data on how many identified and unidentified migrant graves exist in Spain, and the country’s Interior Ministry has never released figures for the total number of bodies recovered across the various maritime migration routes. But in exclusive data from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Unbias The News can reveal that the bodies of an estimated 530 people who died at Spain’s borders were recovered between 2014 and 2021 – of which 292 remain unidentified.

      In the six month Europe-wide Border Graves Investigation, undertaken in conjunction with Unbias the News, The Guardian and Süddeutsche Zeitung, 109 unidentified migrant graves from 2014-21 were confirmed in Spain across 18 locations. According to a study by the University of Amsterdam, a further 434 unidentified graves stem from 2000-2013 in at least 65 cemeteries.

      These graves are symbols of a much wider humanitarian tragedy. The ICRC estimates that just 6.89% of those who go missing on Europe’s borders are found, while the Spanish NGO Walking Borders gives an even lower figure for the West African Atlantic route to the Canaries, estimating that only 4.2 percent of the bodies of those who die are ever recovered.

      Guaranteeing “last rights”

      The unvisited and anonymous graves are also a reflection of the fact that the rights to both identification and a dignified burial for those who have died on migration routes have been consistently neglected by national authorities in Spain. As in other European countries, successive Spanish governments have failed to develop legal mechanisms and state protocols to guarantee these “last rights” of victims, as well as their families’ corresponding “right to know” and to mourn their loved ones.

      The problem is “utterly neglected,” says Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, who insists that EU countries are failing in their obligations under international human rights law to secure families’ “right to truth”. In 2021, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for “prompt and effective identification processes” to inform families about the fate of their loved ones. Yet last year, the Council of Europe called the area a “legislative void.”

      “People are always calling the office and asking us how to search for a family member, but you have to be honest and say there’s no clear official channel they can turn to,” explains Juan Carlos Lorenzo, director of the Spanish Refugee Council (CEAR) on the Canary Islands. “You can put them in touch with the Red Cross, but there’s no government-led programme of identification. Nor is there the type of dedicated office needed to coordinate with families and centralise information and data on missing migrants.”

      This year alone we are working with over 600 families whose loved ones have disappeared. These families, who are from Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Guinea and as far afield as Sri Lanka are very much alone and are poorly protected by public administrations. In turn, this means that there are criminal networks and fraudsters seeking to extract money from them.”
      Helena Maleno, director of Walking Borders

      Even in the case of a victim’s identification, a recent report from the Human Rights Association of Andalucia lays out the legal and financial barriers families face in terms of repatriating their loved ones. In 2020/21, ICRC figures show that 284 bodies were recovered but that, of the 116 identified, only 53 were repatriated. The Andalusian Association for Human Rights (APDHA) report also notes, with respect to border graves, that “many people end up buried in a manner contrary to their beliefs.” Just half of Spain’s 50 provinces have Muslim cemeteries, not all of which are on the Spanish coast.

      For Maleno, these state failures are no accident: “Spain and other European states have a policy of making the victims, as well as the border itself, invisible. You have policies of denying the number of dead and of concealing data, but for the families this means obstacles in terms of accessing information and burial rights, as well as endless bureaucratic hurdles.”
      “I dream of Oussama”

      Abdallah Tayeb has gained first-hand experience of the dysfunctionality of the Spanish system in his attempts to confirm whether a body recovered almost a year ago is that of his cousin Oussama, a young barber from Algeria who dreamed of joining Tayeb in France.

      The unnamed corpse, which Tayeb strongly believes is his cousin, is currently in a morgue in Almería and looks set to be buried in an unmarked grave in the new year – unless he can achieve a last minute breakthrough.

      “The feeling is one of powerlessness,” he admits. “Nothing is transparent.”

      Abdallah Tayeb was born in Paris to Algerian parents but spends every summer in Algeria with his family. “As Oussama and I were pretty much the same age, we were really close. He was obsessed with the idea of coming to Europe, as two of his brothers were already living in France. But I didn’t know he had actually arranged to leave on a patera last December.”

      Oussama was among 23 people (including seven children) who vanished after setting out from Mostaganem, Algeria, on a motor boat on Christmas Day 2022. Soon after the patera went missing, his brother Sofiane travelled from France to Cartagena in southern Spain – the destination the vessel had hoped to reach. With the help of the Red Cross, Sofiane was able to file a missing persons report with the Spanish authorities and submit a DNA sample, which he hopes will result in a match with a body held in a morgue. However, so far, he has been unable to piece together any concrete information regarding his brother’s fate.

      A second trip to Spain in February did lead to a breakthrough, however. After driving down the Mediterranean coast together, Tayeb and his cousin Sofiane managed to speak to a forensic pathologist working in the Almería morgue, who seemed to recognise a photo of Oussama. “She kept saying ‘This face looks familiar’ and also mentioned a necklace – something he’d been wearing when he left.” According to the pathologist, there was a potential match with an unidentified body recovered by the coastguard on 27 December 2022.

      Feeling that they were finally close to getting some answers, they were informed at the police headquarters in Almería that, in order to view the body for a visual identification, they would need permission from the police station where the corpse had initially been registered. “This was when the real nightmare began,” Tayeb remembers. Handed a list of five police stations from across the wider region where the corpse could have been registered, they spent the next two days driving from station to station along the Murcian coast.

      “The first police station we visited wouldn’t even let us in the door when we told them we were asking about a missing migrant, and after that it was always the same script: this is not the right place; we don’t have a body; you have to go there instead.” When the pair returned to the first station in Huércal de Almeria after being repeatedly told it was the right place to ask, impatient officers refused to engage, citing privacy laws, and even told them to warn other families searching for missing migrants not to keep coming to inquire.

      “In the end,” Tayeb explains, “we came to the reality that they will never let us have any information. It was very heartbreaking, especially going back to France. It felt like we were leaving him [there] in the fridge.”

      As the subsequent months passed, the frustration and anxiety built for the family. “In May we were told that the DNA sample we gave five months earlier had only just arrived in Madrid and had still not been processed and sent to the database.” No further information has been forthcoming, and Spanish authorities have a policy of only getting in touch with families when there is a positive match and not if the test comes back negative.

      Tayeb is contemplating one final visit to Spain to try and retrieve his cousin Oussama, partly to be certain for his own sake that he’s done everything in his power to find him, but he’s worried that the journey could reopen his trauma of ambiguous loss. “The effort of going is not painful, but what is painful is coming back with nothing,” he says. “This lack of information is the worst thing.”

      “All the people on board were from the same neighbourhood in Mostaganem. I have had a chance to talk to many of their families, and they are destroyed. There is such grief but also no answers. There are only rumours, and some of the mothers believe their sons are in prisons in Morocco and Spain. We all have dreams [about the missing]. In the end, you trust what you will see in your dreams, like cosmic reality telling you he is coming. I dream of Oussama.”

      Dr Pauline Boss, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota, USA, explains the concept of ambiguous loss: “It looks like complicated grief, intrusive thoughts,” she says. “There’s nothing else on your mind but the fact that your loved one is missing. You can’t grieve because that would mean the person is dead, and you don’t know for sure.”
      A defective system

      Of all the families of those who went missing on Oussama’s patera, only Tayeb and four other families have been able to file a missing persons report with the Spanish authorities, and only two have been able to give a DNA sample. According to a 2021 study from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), one of the major complications families face in their searches is that in order to register someone as a missing person in Spain, you have to file a report with police in the country itself, which for many families is “a virtually impossible feat” as there are no visas to travel for this purpose.

      The IOM report also notes that, while many families file missing person reports in their home countries, they are “aware of the almost symbolic nature of their efforts” and that “it will never result in any kind of investigation being launched in Spain.”

      Along with the IOM, there have been efforts by domestic NGOs, including APDHA and more than a hundred grassroots organisations, to call out Spain’s failure to adapt existing missing person procedures to the transnational challenges of cases of people who disappeared while migrating. These organisations have repeatedly argued that the country’s legal framework regarding missing persons must be adapted to ensure families can file missing person cases from abroad.

      They have also pushed for the development of specific protocols for police handling cases of disappeared migrants, as well as the creation of a missing-migrant database so as to centralise information and allow it to be exchanged with authorities in other countries. The latter would include a full range of both post-mortem data (from tattoos to DNA, through cadaveric inspections and autopsies) and antemortem medical forensic information, that is, that which comes from family members regarding the missing person.

      “The reality is that the situation across Europe is consistently poor,” explains Julia Black, an analyst with IOM’s Missing Migrant Project. “Despite our research showing these pressing needs of families, neither Spain nor any other European country has significantly changed policy or practice to help this neglected group [in recent years]. Support for families is available only on a very ad hoc basis, mostly in response to mass casualty events that are in the public eye, which leaves many thousands of people without meaningful support.”

      Non-state actors such as the Red Cross and Walking Borders, as well as a network of independent activists, try to fill this void. “It’s a terrible job that we shouldn’t be doing, because states should be responding to families and guaranteeing the rights of victims across borders,” Maleno explains. In the case of the Mostaganem patera, Walking Borders is now planning to visit Algeria next year to take DNA samples from family members and bring them back to Spain. But Maleno also acknowledges that her NGO often has to then “apply a lot of pressure” to get authorities to accept these samples.

      This is something left-wing MP Jon Iñarritu from the Basque EH Bildu party also confirms: “As I sit on the Spanish parliament’s Interior Committee, I’ve had to intervene on a number of occasions to help families seeking to register DNA samples, talking with the foreign ministry or the interior ministry to get them to accept the samples. But it shouldn’t require action from an MP to get this to happen. The whole process needs to be standardised with clear and automatic protocols [for submission]. Right now, there’s no one clear way to do it.”

      Even when IOM recommendations have become the subject of parliamentary debate in Spain, they have tended not to translate into government action. In 2021, for example, a resolution was passed by the Spanish Congress calling on the government to establish a dedicated state office for the families of disappeared migrants. “It’s clear we need to ease the administrative and bureaucratic ordeal for families by offering them a single point of contact [with state authorities],” explains Iñarritu, who sponsored the motion.

      Yet while even government parties voted in favour of the resolution, the countries’ current centre-left administration has failed to act on it in the 18 months since. “From my point of view, the government has no intention of implementing the proposal,” Iñarritu argues. “They were only offering symbolic support.”

      When the above points were put to Spain’s Interior ministry, the reply was that: “The treatment of unidentified corpses arriving on the Spanish coast is identical to that of any other corpse. In Spain, for the identification of corpses, the law enforcement agencies apply the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification Guide. Although this guide is especially indicated for events with multiple victims, it is also used as a reference for the identification of an isolated corpse.”

      NGOs and campaigners insist, however, that the application of the INTERPOL guide is no substitute for a specific protocol tailored to the demands of missing migrant cases or for the creation of particular mechanisms to allow for the exchange of information with families and authorities in other jurisdictions.

      Close connections with the people they have helped compensate for strained social interactions and online hate. “They call me brother, sister, and even father,” Rybak shares.
      Burial rights

      APDHA migration director Carlos Arce argues that, within a European framework that views irregular migration predominantly “through the prism of serious crime and border security, […] not even death or disappearance puts an end to the repeated assault on the dignity of migrant people.” Iñarritu also points to the EU’s wider border regime: “Many issues that don’t fit into this dominant policy framework, such as the right to identification, are simply left unmanaged on a day-to-day basis. They are simply not a priority.”

      This is also clear with respect to the Spanish government’s inaction on guaranteeing a dignified burial to those whose bodies are recovered. As noted by a 2023 report from APDHA, “while repatriation is the most desired option for families […,] the cost is very high (thousands of euros) and very few of their [home countries’] embassies help [to cover it].” The NGO recommends that Spain establish repatriation agreements with the countries where migrants come from so as to create “mortuary safe passages” guaranteeing their return at a reduced cost.

      Furthermore, Spain’s central government has also failed to put in place mechanisms to ensure the right of unidentified migrants to a dignified burial within the country, instead maintaining that local councils are responsible for all charitable burials. This has meant that very specific municipalities where coastguard rescue boats are stationed are left legally responsible for the bulk of the interments – and most of these municipalities lack local cemeteries able to cater for traditional Muslim burials.

      The potential for this issue to become a flashpoint for anti-immigration sentiment was made clear this September when the mayor of Mogán in Gran Canaria, Onalia Bueno, insisted that her municipality would no longer pay for such burials, as she did not want to “detract the costs from the taxes of my neighbours.”

      CEAR’s Juan Carlos Lorenzo condemns such “divisive language, which frames the issue in terms of wasting my ‘neighbours’ money’ on someone who is not a neighbour,” and points instead to the actions of municipalities in El Hierro as a positive counterexample.

      Carballo notes that “over 10,000 people have arrived in El Hierro since September, the same as the island’s population. These are quite long trips, between six and nine days at sea, and right now people are arriving in a terrible state of health. With those who have died in recent months, we’ve tried to offer them a dignified burial within the means at our disposal. We’ve had an imam present, with Islamic prayers said before the remains were laid to rest.”

      Currently, the responsibility of memorialising unidentified victims comes down to individual municipalities and even cemetery keepers. Like Gérman at the cemetery in Barbate, who tries to dignify the unmarked tombs by placing flowers on top of them, the cemetery of Motril has adorned tombs with poems. In Teguise, the council has an initiative encouraging locals to leave flowers on the migrant graves when they come to visit the remains of their own families.

      In another memorial, a collection of around 50 discarded fishing boats has become a distinctive feature of Barbate port. These small wooden boats with Arabic script on their hulls were used by migrants attempting to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. Instead of the boats’ being scrapped, APDHA was able to convert the scrapyard into a memorial site and to place plaques on boats stating how many migrants were travelling on them and where and when they were found.

      In the case of little Alhassane Bangoura, residents routinely come to leave fresh flowers and tokens of affection, among which is a small granite bowl with his first name inscribed on it. But many victims are buried without any attempt at identification – and as countless NGOs, politicians and activists demand, it should not be simply left to good-willed residents, grave keepers or local councillors to ensure the last rights of the victims of Fortress Europe.

      https://unbiasthenews.org/counting-the-invisible-victims-of-spains-eu-borders

      #Espagne #Lanzarote #îles_Canaries #route_Atlantique #Teguise #Barbate #Cádiz #Tarifa #Arrecife

    • The unidentified: Unmarked refugee graves on the Greek borders

      Graves marked only with a stick, graves covered with weeds: a cross-border investigation documents official indifference surrounding the dignified burial of refugees who lose their lives at the Greek border.

      The phone rang on a morning in October 2022 at work, in Finland, where 35-year-old Mohamed Samim has been living for the last ten years or so.

      His nephew did not have good news: his brother Samim, Tarin Mohamad, along with his son and two daughters, was on a boat that sank near a Greek island, having sailed from the Turkish coast to Italy.

      When Samim arrived in Kythera the next day, he learned that – although weak after not eating for three days – his brother had managed to save his family before a wave took him away. He immediately went to the site of the wreck. In the water he saw bodies floating – he couldn’t see his brother’s face, but he recognized his back.

      The Coast Guard said that the bad weather had to pass before they could pull the dead from the sea. The first day passed, the second day passed, until on the third day it was finally possible. The coastguard confirmed that 8 Beaufort winds and the morphology of the area made it impossible to retrieve the bodies. Samim will never forget the sight of his brother at sea.

      In Kalamata, it took four days of shifting responsibility between the hospital and the Coast Guard, and the help of a local lawyer who “came and yelled at them” to allow him to follow the identification process of his brother.

      He was warned that it would be a soul-crushing procedure, and that he would have to wear a triple mask because of the smell. Samim says that due to a lack of space in the morgue’s refrigerators, some of the wreck victims were kept in the chamber outside the refrigerator.

      “The stress and the smell. Our knees were shaking”, recalls Samim when we meet him in Kythera a year later.

      They started showing him decomposing bodies. First the ones outside the refrigerator. He didn’t recognize him among them. They went out and changed the masks they wore, returned, opened the refrigerators in turn, reaching the last one.

      “He was lying there, calm. The man you love. We were kind of happy that, after days, we could see him,” Samim said.

      Unclaimed dead

      The number of people dying at Europe’s borders is growing. In addition to the difficulty of recording the deaths, there is also the challenge of identifying the bodies, a traumatic process for the relatives. In some cases, however, there are bodies that remain unidentified, hundreds of men, women and children buried in unidentified graves.

      In July 2023, the European Parliament adopted a resolution recognising the right to identification of people who lose their lives trying to reach Europe, but to date there is no centralised registration system at a pan-European level. Nor is there a single procedure for the handling of bodies that end up in mortuaries, funeral homes – even refrigerated containers.

      The problem is “utterly neglected”, European Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic told Solomon, and added that EU countries are failing in their obligations under international human rights law”. The tragedy of the missing migrants has reached horrifying proportions. The issue requires immediate action,” she added.

      The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants platform, which acknowledges that its data is not a comprehensive record, reports more than 1,090 missing refugees and migrants in Europe since 2014.

      As part of the Border Graves investigation, eight European journalists, together with Unbias the News, the Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Solomon, have spent seven months investigating what happens to the thousands of unidentified bodies of those who die at European borders, and for the first time they have recorded almost double that number: according to the data collected, more than 2,162 people died between 2014 and 2023.

      We studied documents and interviewed state coroners, prosecutors and funeral home workers; residents and relatives of the deceased and missing; and gained exclusive access to unpublished data from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

      In 65 cemeteries along the European border - Greece, Spain, Italy, Malta, Poland, Lithuania, France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Lithuania, France and Croatia - we have recorded more than 1,000 unidentified graves from the last decade.

      The investigation documents how state indifference to the dignified burial of people who die at the border is pervasive in European countries.

      In Greece, we recorded more than 540 unidentified refugee graves, 54% of the total recorded by the European survey. We travelled to the Aegean islands and Evros, and found graves in fields sometimes covered by weeds, and marble slabs with dates of death erased, while in other cases a piece of wood with a number is the only marking.

      The data from our survey, combined with the data from the International Committee of the Red Cross, is not an exhaustive account of the issue. However, they do capture for the first time the gaps and difficulties of a system that leads to thousands of families not knowing where their relatives are buried.

      Lesvos: 167 unidentified refugee graves

      A long dirt road surrounded by olive trees leads to the gate of the cemetery of Kato Tritos, which is usually locked with a padlock.

      The “graveyard of refugees,” as they call it on the island, is located about 15 kilometers west of Mytilene. It is the only burial site exclusively for refugees and migrants in Greece.

      During one of our visits, the funeral of four children was taking place. They lost their lives on August 28, 2023, when the boat they were on with 18 other people sank southeast of Lesvos.

      The grieving mother and several women, including family members, sat under a tree, while the men prayed near the shed used for the burial process, according to Islamic tradition.

      In Kato Tritos and Agios Panteleimonas, the cemetery on Mytilene where people who died while migrating had been buried until then, we counted a total of 167 unidentified graves from between 2014-2023.

      Local journalist and former member of the North Aegean Regional Council Nikos Manavis explains that the cemetery was created in 2015 in an olive grove belonging to the municipality of Mytilene due to an emergency: a deadly shipwreck in the north of the island on October 28 of that year resulted in at least 60 dead, for whom the island’s cemeteries were not sufficient.

      Many shipwreck victims remain buried in unidentified graves. Gravestones are marked with the estimated age of the deceased and the date of burial, sometimes only a number. Other times, a piece of wood and surrounding stones mark the grave.

      “What we see is a field, not a graveyard. It shows no respect for the people who were buried here.”
      Nikos Manavis

      This lack of respect for the Lower Third Cemetery mobilized the Earth Medicine organization. As Dimitris Patounis, a member of the NGO, explains, in January 2022 they made a proposal to the municipality of Mytilene for the restoration of the cemetery. Their plan is to create a place of rest with respect and dignity, where refugees and asylum seekers can satisfy the most sacred human need, mourning for their loved ones.

      Although the city council approved the proposal in the spring of 2023, the October municipal elections delayed the project. Patounis says he is positive that the graves will soon be inventoried and the area fenced.

      Christos Mavrachilis, an undertaker at the Agios Panteleimon cemetery, recalls that in 2015 Muslim refugees were buried in a specific area of the cemetery.

      “If someone was unidentified, I would write ‘Unknown’ on their grave,” he says. If there were no relatives who could cover the cost, Mavrachilis would cut a marble himself and write as much information as he could on the death certificate. “They were people too,” he says, “I did what I could.”

      For his part, Thomas Vanavakis, a former owner of a funeral parlour that offered services in Lesvos until 2020, also says that they often had to cover burials without receiving payment. “Do you know how many times we went into the sea and paid workers out of our own pockets to pull out the bodies and didn’t get a penny?” he says.

      Efi Latsoudi, who lives in Lesvos and works for Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), says that in 2015 there were burials that the municipality of Mytilene could not cover, and sometimes “the people who participated in the ceremony paid for them. We were trying to give a dignity to the process. But it was not enough,” she says.

      Latsoudi recalls something a refugee had mentioned to her in 2015: ’The worst thing that can happen to us is to die somewhere far away and have no one at our funeral’.

      The municipality of Mytilene did not answer our questions regarding the dignified burial of refugees in the cemeteries under its responsibility.

      Chios and Samos: graves covered by weeds

      According to Greek legislation, the local government (and in case of its inability, the region) covers the cost of the burial of both unidentified people who die at the border and those who are in financial difficulty.

      For its part, the Municipal Authority of Chios stated that funding is provided for the relevant costs, and that “within the framework of its responsibilities for the cemeteries, it maintains and cares for all the sites, without discrimination and with the required respect for all the dead.”

      But during our visit in August to the cemetery in Mersinidi, a few kilometers north of Chios town, where refugees are buried next to the graves of the locals, it was not difficult to spot the separation: the five unidentified graves of refugees were marked simply by a marble, usually covered by vegetation.

      Natasha Strachini, an RSA lawyer living in Chios, has taken part in several funerals of refugees both in Chios and Lesvos. For her, the importance of the local community and presence at such a difficult human moment is very important.

      Regarding burials, he explains that “only a good registration system could help relatives to locate the grave of a person they have lost, as usually in cemeteries after three to five years exhumations take place.” He says that sometimes a grave remains unidentified even though the body has been identified, either because the identification process was delayed or because the relatives could not afford to change the grave.

      In Heraion of Samos, next to the municipal cemetery, on a plot of land owned by the Metropolis and used as a burial site for refugees, we recorded dozens of graves dating between 2014-2023. The plaques – some broken – placed on the ground, hidden by branches, pine needles and pine cones, simply inscribe a number and the date of burial.

      Lawyer Dimitris Choulis, who lives in Samos and handles cases related to the refugee issue, commented: ‘It is a shameful image to see such graves. It is unjustifiable for a modern society like Greece.”
      Searching for data

      The International Committee of the Red Cross is one of the few international organisations working to identify the dead refugees. Among other things, they have conducted several training sessions in Greece for members of the Coast Guard and the Greek Police.

      “We have an obligation to provide the dead with a dignified burial; and the other side, providing answers to families through identification of the dead. If you count the relatives of those who are missing, hundreds of thousands of people are impacted. They don’t know where their loved ones are. Were they well treated, were they respected when they were buried? That’s what preys on families’ minds,” says Laurel Clegg, ICRC forensic Coordinator for Migration to Europe.

      She explains that keeping track of the dead “consists of lots of parts working well together – a legal framework that protects the unidentified dead, consistent post-mortems, morgues, registries, dignified transport, cemeteries”

      However, countries’ “medical and legal systems are proving inadequate to deal with the scale of the problem,” she says.

      Since 2013, as part of its programme to restore family links, the Red Cross has registered 16,500 requests in Europe from people looking for their missing relatives. According to the international organisation, only 285 successful matches (1.7%) have been made.

      These matches are made by the local forensic experts.

      “We always collect DNA samples from unidentified bodies. It is standard practice and may be the only feasible means of identification,” says Panagiotis Kotretsos, a forensic pathologist in Rhodes. The samples are sent to the DNA laboratory of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Greek Police, according to an INTERPOL protocol.

      According to the Red Cross, difficulties usually arise when families are outside the EU, and are due to a number of factors, such as differences in the legal framework or medical systems of the countries. For example, some EU countries cannot ‘open’ a case and take DNA samples from families without a mandate from the authorities of the country where the body of the relative being sought has been recovered.

      The most difficult part of the DNA identification process is that there needs to be a second sample to be compared with the one collected by the forensic experts, which has to be sent by the families of the missing persons. “For a refugee who started his journey from a country in central Africa, travelled for months, and died in Greece, there will be genetic material in the morgue. But it will remain unmatched until a first-degree relative sends a DNA sample,” says Kotretsos.

      He explains that this is not always possible. “We have received calls from relatives who were in Syria, looking for missing family members, and could not send samples precisely because they were in Syria.”

      Outside the university hospital of Alexandroupolis, two refrigerated containers provided by the Red Cross as temporary mortuaries house the bodies of 40 refugees.

      Pavlos Pavlidis, Professor of Forensic Medicine at the Democritus University of Thrace, has since 2000 performed autopsies on at least 800 bodies of people on the move, with the main causes of death being drowning in the waters of Evros and hypothermia.

      The forensic scientist goes beyond the necessary DNA collection: he or she records data such as birthmarks or tattoos and objects (like wallets, rings, glasses), which could be the missing link for a relative looking for a loved one.

      He says a total of 313 bodies found in Evros since 2014 remain unidentified. Those that cannot be identified are buried in a special cemetery in Sidiro, which is managed by the municipality of Soufli, while 15-20 unidentified bodies were buried in Orestiada while the Sidiro cemetery was being expanded.

      The bodies of Muslim refugees who are identified are buried in the Muslim cemetery in Messouni Komotini or repatriated when relatives can cover the cost of repatriation.

      “This is not decent”

      In response to questions, the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum said that the issue of identification and burial procedures for refugees does not fall within its competence. A Commission spokesman said that no funds were foreseen for Greece, but that such expenditure “could be supported under the National Programme of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund”, which is managed by the Migration Ministry.

      Theodoros Nousias is the chief forensic pathologist of the North Aegean Forensic Service, responsible for the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Lemnos. According to the coroner, the DNA identification procedure has improved a lot compared to a few years ago.

      Nusias says he was always available when asked to identify someone. “You have to serve people, that’s why you’re there. To serve people so they can find their family,” he adds.

      The coroner lives in Lesvos, but says he has never been to the cemetery in Kato Tritos. “I don’t want to go. It will be difficult for me because most of these people have passed through my hands.”

      In October 2022, 32-year-old Suja Ahmadi and his sister Marina also travelled to Kythera and then to Kalamata to identify the body of their father, Abdul Ghasi.

      The 65-year-old had started the journey to Italy with his wife Hatige – she survived. The two brothers visited the hospital, where they were shown all eight bodies, male and female, although they had explained from the start that the man they were looking for was a man.

      Their father’s body was among those outside the freezer.

      “My sister was crying and screaming at them to get our father out of the refrigerator container because he smelled,” Suja recalls. “It was not a decent place for a man.”

      https://unbiasthenews.org/the-unidentified-unmarked-refugee-graves-in-the-greek-borders

      #Grèce #Chios #Evros #Samos #Alexandroupolis #Lesbos #Kato_Tritos #Sidiro #Mersinidi #Mersinidi #Pavlos_Pavlidis

    • Enterrar a más de mil personas sin nombre: las trabas de la UE y España para identificar los cuerpos de migrantes

      Cientos de personas fallecidas en la última década yacen en tumbas sin nombre en España, sin que el Gobierno tome medidas coordinadas para garantizar su identificación

      En enero de 2020, Alhassane Bangoura fue enterrado en una tumba sin nombre en la zona musulmana del cementerio municipal de Teguise, en Lanzarote, ante la presencia de funcionarios municipales y miembros de la comunidad musulmana local. El pequeño había nacido apenas un par de semanas antes a bordo de una patera abarrotada en la que su madre, originaria de Guinea, y otras 42 personas intentaban llegar a las Islas Canarias. La embarcación llevaba dos días a la deriva en el océano Atlántico, tras averiarse el motor, y la madre de Alhassane se puso de parto en el mar. Su hijo sólo alcanzó a vivir unas pocas horas antes de morir frente a la costa de Lanzarote.

      El caso de Alhassane conmocionó a la isla y saltó a las noticias de todo el país. Sin embargo, mientras los asistentes al entierro ofrecían sus condolencias, la madre del bebé fallecido se encontraba a 200 kilómetros de distancia, en un centro de acogida de migrantes de la vecina isla de Gran Canaria, al no haber podido obtener permiso de las autoridades para permanecer en Lanzarote durante el funeral.

      “Le habían permitido ver el cuerpo de su hijo una vez más antes de ser trasladada, y yo la acompañé a la funeraria”, cuenta Mamadou Sy, representante de la comunidad musulmana local. “Fue muy emotivo cuando se tuvo que marchar. Lo único que pudimos hacer fue prometerle que su hijo no estaría solo; que, como cualquier musulmán, sería llevado a la mezquita, donde su cuerpo sería lavado por otras madres; que rezaríamos por él y que después le enviaríamos un vídeo del entierro”.

      Casi cuatro años después, el lugar donde reposan los restos de Alhassane sigue sin tener una lápida formal. La tumba se encuentra junto a los restos de más de tres docenas de personas migrantes no identificadas, cuyos nombres se desconocen por completo pero que, como Alhassane, también son víctimas del brutal régimen fronterizo de Europa.
      Las tumbas de la frontera

      A lo largo de las fronteras de la Unión Europea, miles de personas están siendo enterradas de forma precipitada en tumbas sin nombre. El equipo de investigación de Border Graves (Las Tumbas de la Frontera) ha contabilizado que, en los últimos 10 años, al menos 2.162 cadáveres de migrantes han sido encontrados en las fronteras europeas sin identificar.

      El equipo de investigación también ha confirmado la existencia de 1.015 tumbas de inmigrantes sin identificar entre 2014 y 2021 en 103 cementerios, todas ellas pertenecientes a personas que intentaban emigrar a Europa.

      El problema está “absolutamente abandonado”, afirma Dunja Mijatović, Comisaria de Derechos Humanos del Consejo de Europa, que insiste en que los países de la UE incumplen sus obligaciones en virtud de la legislación internacional sobre derechos humanos. “La tragedia de los migrantes desaparecidos ha alcanzado una magnitud espantosa. El asunto exige una actuación inmediata”.

      Las condiciones de sepultura de estos migrantes varían en todo el continente. En la última década, en la isla griega de Lesbos, un olivar se ha convertido en un cementerio informal para refugiados. Al menos 147 tumbas sin identificar se pueden encontrar en el pequeño pueblo de Kato Tritos, que según explica el periodista Nikos Manavis brotaron tras la gran oleada de refugiados de 2015. “Los otros cementerios de la isla eran inapropiados y no podían cubrir el número de muertos que había que enterrar en Lesbos”, afirma. “Pero no es un cementerio. Es sólo un campo. No se muestra ningún respeto por la gente enterrada aquí”.

      En Siče, una población al este de Croacia, se hallan las tumbas de tres refugiados afganos al borde del cementerio del pueblo, separadas de las de los residentes locales. Los tres hombres no identificados, que se ahogaron intentando cruzar el río Sava desde Bosnia a Croacia, están enterrados bajo sencillas cruces de madera en las que se lee “NN” (desconocido).

      En la frontera entre Lituania y Bielorrusia, un pequeño cementerio de la tranquila localidad de Rameikos alberga la tumba de un emigrante indio. El lugar está marcado por un trozo de madera vertical, a pocos metros de la valla fronteriza. En el cementerio de Piano Gatta, en Agrigento (Sicilia), están enterrados decenas de cadáveres sin identificar del naufragio de Lampedusa en 2013, en el que perdieron la vida 368 personas de Eritrea y Somalia al hundirse el pesquero en el que viajaban.

      En cuanto a la extensa costa española, pueden encontrarse tumbas de inmigrantes desde Alicante hasta Cádiz, y hacia el sur hasta las Canarias. Algunas tienen nombre, pero lo más frecuente es que las inscripciones sean del estilo de “inmigrante no identificado”, “marroquí desconocido” o “víctima del Estrecho [de Gibraltar]”. O, simplemente, una cruz pintada a mano.

      En el cementerio de Barbate, en Cádiz, donde los difuntos están sepultados en nichos, el jardinero Germán señala más de 30 tumbas de inmigrantes: las más antiguas datan de 2002 y las más recientes son de un naufragio de 2019. “Nunca viene nadie a visitarlos, pero los días que hay funerales aquí y se van a tirar las flores antiguas, las coloco en las tumbas de los migrantes desconocidos”, explica. “En algunas de las más antiguas hay restos de hasta cinco o seis emigrantes juntos, cada uno colocado en bolsas separadas dentro del mismo nicho para ahorrar espacio”.

      Tal preocupación era menos evidente en Arrecife, Lanzarote, donde dos tumbas no identificadas de febrero de este año se han dejado selladas con una cubierta que aún lleva el logotipo de una empresa.

      No existen datos exhaustivos sobre cuántas fosas de inmigrantes identificadas y no identificadas existen en España, y el Ministerio del Interior nunca ha dado a conocer cifras sobre el número total de cadáveres recuperados en las distintas rutas migratorias marítimas. Pero los datos del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR) revelan que entre 2014 y 2021 se recuperaron los cuerpos de alrededor de 530 personas fallecidas en las fronteras españolas, de las cuales 292 permanecen sin identificar.

      En los diez meses que ha durado la investigación europea Border Graves, llevada a cabo de manera conjunta entre un grupo de periodistas independientes y los medios Unbias the News, The Guardian y Süddeutsche Zeitung y publicada en exclusiva en España por elDiario.es, se ha confirmado la existencia de 109 tumbas de migrantes no identificados entre 2014 y 2021 en 18 lugares de España. Según un estudio de la Universidad de Ámsterdam, otras 434 tumbas sin identificar se remontan al periodo 2000-2013 en al menos 65 cementerios del territorio nacional.

      Estas tumbas son símbolos de una tragedia humanitaria mucho mayor. El CICR calcula que sólo el 6,89% de los restos mortales de las personas que desaparecen a lo largo de las fronteras europeas son recuperados, mientras que la ONG española Caminando Fronteras da una cifra aún más baja para la ruta atlántica de África Occidental a Canarias, estimando que sólo se recupera el 4,2% de los cuerpos de los fallecidos.
      Garantizar los “últimos derechos”

      Las tumbas anónimas y sin visitar reflejan también el hecho de que el derecho a la identificación y a un entierro digno de los fallecidos en las rutas migratorias ha sido sistemáticamente desatendido por las autoridades nacionales españolas. En 2021, el Parlamento Europeo aprobó una resolución que reconoce el derecho a la identificación de los fallecidos en las rutas migratorias, y la necesidad de una base de datos coordinada que recoja los datos de la frontera. Pero, al igual que en otros países europeos, los sucesivos gobiernos han sido incapaces de desarrollar mecanismos legales y protocolos estatales para garantizar estos “últimos derechos” de las víctimas, así como el “derecho a saber” y a llorar a sus seres queridos que corresponde a las familias.

      “La gente siempre llama a la oficina y nos pregunta cómo buscar a un familiar, pero hay que ser sincero y decir que no hay un canal oficial claro al que puedan dirigirse”, explica Juan Carlos Lorenzo, coordinador del Consejo Español para los Refugiados (CEAR) en Canarias. “Se les puede poner en contacto con la Cruz Roja, pero no hay un programa de identificación liderado por el Gobierno. Tampoco existe el tipo de recurso especializado necesario para coordinarse con las familias y centralizar la información y los datos sobre los migrantes desaparecidos”.

      Helena Maleno, directora de Caminando Fronteras, afirma: “Sólo este año estamos trabajando con más de 600 familias cuyos seres queridos han desaparecido. Estas familias, procedentes de Marruecos, Argelia, Senegal, Guinea y países tan lejanos como Sri Lanka, están muy solas y poco protegidas por las administraciones públicas. A su vez, esto significa que hay redes criminales y estafadores que buscan sacarles dinero”.

      Incluso en el caso de la identificación de una víctima, un reciente informe de la Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (APDHA) expone las barreras legales y financieras a las que se enfrentan las familias para repatriar a sus seres queridos. En 2020/21, las cifras del CICR muestran que se recuperaron 284 cuerpos pero que, de los 116 identificados, sólo 53 fueron repatriados. El informe de la APDHA también señala, respecto a las tumbas fronterizas, que “muchas personas acaban enterradas de manera contraria a sus creencias”. Apenas la mitad de las 50 provincias españolas cuentan con cementerios musulmanes, y no todos están en la costa española.

      Para Maleno, estos fallos del Estado no son casualidad: “España y otros Estados europeos mantienen una política de invisibilización de las víctimas y de la propia frontera. Tienen políticas de negación del número de muertos y de ocultación de datos, pero para las familias esto significa obstáculos en cuanto al acceso a la información y a los derechos de sepultura, así como interminables trabas burocráticas”.
      “Sueño con Oussama”

      Abdallah Tayeb ha sufrido en primera persona las deficiencias del sistema español en sus intentos por confirmar si un cadáver recuperado en diciembre de 2022 es el de su primo Oussama, un joven barbero argelino que soñaba con reunirse con Tayeb en Francia.

      Tayeb está convencido de que el cuerpo sin identificar, que se cree que está en un depósito de cadáveres de Almería, es el de su primo. Está previsto que los restos sean enterrados a comienzos del próximo año en una tumba sin nombre, a menos que se consiga algún avance de última hora. “La sensación es de impotencia”, admite. “No hay nada de transparencia”.

      Tayeb nació en París, de padres argelinos, pero pasa todos los veranos en Argelia con su familia. “Como Oussama y yo teníamos más o menos la misma edad, estábamos muy unidos. Le obsesionaba la idea de venir a Europa, pues dos de sus hermanos ya vivían en Francia. Pero yo no sabía que en realidad ya había organizado su viaje en una patera a finales del año pasado”.

      Oussama formaba parte de un grupo de 23 personas (entre ellas siete niños) que desaparecieron tras zarpar de Mostaganem, Argelia, en una lancha motora el día de Navidad de 2022. Poco después de la desaparición de la patera, su hermano Sofiane viajó de Francia a Cartagena, el destino al que esperaba llegar la embarcación. Con la ayuda de la Cruz Roja, Sofiane pudo presentar una denuncia por desaparición y dar una muestra de ADN, pero no pudo reunir ninguna información concreta sobre la suerte de su hermano.

      Sin embargo, un segundo viaje a España en febrero condujo a un gran avance. Tras recorrer juntos la costa mediterránea, Tayeb y su primo Sofiane consiguieron hablar con una patóloga forense que trabaja en la morgue de Almería, quien pareció reconocer una foto de Oussama. “No paraba de decir ’esta cara me suena’ y también mencionó un collar, algo que llevaba cuando se fue”. Según la forense, había una posible coincidencia con un cuerpo sin identificar recuperado por los guardacostas el 27 de diciembre de 2022.
      El laberinto burocrático

      Con la sensación de que por fin estaban cerca de obtener alguna respuesta, en la comisaría de Almería les informaron de que, para poder ver el cadáver –o incluso las pertenencias– y proceder a su identificación visual, necesitarían el permiso de la comisaría donde se había registrado inicialmente el cadáver. “Fue entonces cuando empezó la verdadera pesadilla”, recuerda Tayeb. Les entregaron una lista de cinco comisarías de toda la región en las que se podría haber registrado el cadáver, y se pasaron los dos días siguientes conduciendo de comisaría en comisaría a lo largo de la costa murciana.

      “En la primera comisaría que visitamos ni siquiera nos dejaron entrar cuando les dijimos que estábamos buscando a un inmigrante desaparecido, y después siempre fue la misma consigna: éste no es el lugar adecuado; no tenemos ningún cadáver; tenéis que ir a este otro lugar…”, continúa. Cuando ambos regresaron a la primera comisaría de Huércal de Almería, después de que les dijeran repetidamente que era el lugar adecuado para preguntar, los agentes, impacientes, se negaron a atenderlos, alegando leyes de protección de la intimidad, e incluso les dijeron que advirtieran a otras familias que buscaban a migrantes desaparecidos que no siguieran viniendo a preguntar.

      “Al final”, explica Tayeb, “nos dimos cuenta de que nunca nos darían ninguna información. Fue muy desgarrador, sobre todo volver a Francia. Fue como si le dejáramos [allí] en la nevera”.
      Incertidumbre

      A medida que pasaban los meses, la frustración y la ansiedad aumentaban para la familia. “En mayo nos dijeron que la muestra de ADN que habíamos dado cinco meses antes acababa de llegar a Madrid y aún no había sido procesada ni enviada a la base de datos”. No se les ha facilitado más información, y las autoridades españolas tienen la política de ponerse en contacto con las familias sólo cuando hay una coincidencia positiva, pero no si la prueba da negativo.

      Tayeb se plantea una última visita a España para intentar recuperar a su primo Oussama, en parte para estar seguro de que ha hecho todo lo posible por encontrarlo, pero le preocupa que el viaje pueda reabrir su trauma de “pérdida ambigua”. “El esfuerzo de ir no es doloroso, lo doloroso es volver sin nada”, dice. “Esta falta de información es lo peor”.

      La Dra. Pauline Boss, catedrática emérita de Psicología de la Universidad de Minnesota (EE.UU.), explica el concepto de pérdida ambigua: “Se parece a un duelo complejo, con pensamientos intrusivos”, dice. “No tienes otra cosa en la cabeza más que el hecho de que tu ser querido ha desaparecido. No puedes afrontar el duelo, porque eso significaría que la persona está muerta, y no lo sabes con certeza”.

      Tayeb lo explica con sus propias palabras: “Todas las personas que iban a bordo eran del mismo barrio de Mostaganem. He podido hablar con muchas de sus familias y están destrozadas. Hay mucho dolor, pero tampoco hay respuestas. Sólo hay rumores, y algunas de las madres creen que sus hijos están en cárceles de Marruecos y España. Todos tenemos sueños [sobre los desaparecidos]. Al final, confías en lo que ves en tus sueños, como si la realidad cósmica te dijera que va a venir. Sueño con Oussama”.
      Un sistema defectuoso

      De todas las familias de los desaparecidos en la patera de Oussama, sólo Tayeb y otras tres familias han podido presentar denuncias de desaparición ante las autoridades españolas, y únicamente en dos casos se han podido entregar muestras de ADN. Según un informe de 2021 de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM), una de las mayores complicaciones a las que se enfrentan las familias en sus búsquedas es que, para registrar a alguien como desaparecido en España, hay que presentar una denuncia ante la policía del propio país, lo que para muchas familias es “una hazaña prácticamente imposible”, ya que no existen visados para viajar con este fin.

      El informe de la OIM también señala que, aunque muchas familias presentan denuncias de personas desaparecidas en sus países de origen, son “conscientes del carácter casi simbólico de sus esfuerzos” y de que “nunca darán lugar a que se inicie ningún tipo de investigación en España.”

      Junto con la OIM, algunas ONG nacionales, como la APDHA y más de un centenar de organizaciones comunitarias, han denunciado la incapacidad de España para adaptar los procedimientos vigentes en materia de personas desaparecidas a los retos transnacionales que plantean los casos de migrantes desaparecidos. Estas organizaciones han defendido en repetidas ocasiones que el marco jurídico del país en materia de personas desaparecidas debe adaptarse para garantizar que las familias puedan presentar denuncias desde el extranjero por casos de personas desaparecidas.

      También han presionado para que se elaboren protocolos específicos para la policía al tratar casos de migrantes desaparecidos, así como para que se cree una base de datos de migrantes desaparecidos que permita centralizar la información y haga posible el intercambio con autoridades de otros países. Esta incluiría todos los datos disponibles post mortem (desde tatuajes hasta ADN, pasando por inspecciones de cadáveres y autopsias) como de información médica forense ante mortem, es decir, la que procede de los familiares en relación con la persona desaparecida.

      “La realidad es que la situación en toda Europa es sistemáticamente deficiente”, explica Julia Black, analista del Proyecto Migrantes Desaparecidos de la OIM. “A pesar de que nuestras investigaciones muestran estas necesidades acuciantes de las familias, ni España ni ningún otro país europeo ha cambiado [en los últimos años] de forma significativa sus políticas, ni tampoco han mejorado las prácticas para ayudar a este grupo desatendido. El apoyo a las familias sólo está disponible de forma muy puntual, sobre todo en respuesta a sucesos con víctimas masivas que están en el punto de mira de la opinión pública, lo que deja a muchos miles de personas sin un apoyo adecuado”.

      Actores no estatales como la Cruz Roja y Caminando Fronteras, así como una red de activistas independientes, intentan llenar este vacío. “Es un trabajo terrible que no deberíamos estar haciendo, porque los Estados deberían responder a las familias y garantizar los derechos de las víctimas más allá de las fronteras”, explica Maleno. En el caso de la patera de Mostaganem, Caminando Fronteras tiene previsto viajar a Argelia el año que viene para tomar muestras de ADN de los familiares y traerlas a España. Pero Maleno también reconoce que su ONG a menudo tiene que “ejercer mucha presión” para que las autoridades acepten estas muestras.

      Es algo que también confirma Jon Iñarritu, diputado de EH Bildu: “Como miembro de la Comisión de Interior del Congreso de los Diputados, he tenido que intervenir en varias ocasiones para ayudar a las familias que querían registrar muestras de ADN, hablando con el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores o con el Ministerio del Interior para que aceptaran las muestras. Pero no debería ser necesaria la intervención de un diputado para conseguirlo. Es necesario normalizar todo el proceso con protocolos claros y automáticos [para la presentación de las muestras]. Ahora mismo, no hay una forma clara de hacerlo”.

      Incluso cuando las recomendaciones de la OIM han sido objeto de debate parlamentario en España, no han tendido a traducirse en medidas gubernamentales. En 2021, por ejemplo, el Congreso de los Diputados aprobó una Proposición no de Ley en la que se instaba al Gobierno a crear una oficina estatal específica para las familias de migrantes desaparecidos. “Está claro que necesitamos aliviar el calvario administrativo y burocrático para las familias ofreciéndoles un único punto de contacto [con las autoridades estatales]”, explica Iñárritu, impulsor de la moción.

      Sin embargo, aunque los partidos en el gobierno votaron a favor de la resolución, no se ha tomado ninguna medida al respecto en los 18 meses transcurridos desde la aprobación de la resolución. “Desde mi punto de vista, el Gobierno no tiene ninguna intención de aplicar la propuesta”, argumenta Iñárritu. “Sólo ofrecían un apoyo simbólico”.

      Cuando se expusieron las cuestiones anteriores al Ministerio del Interior, la respuesta fue la siguiente: “El tratamiento de los cadáveres sin identificar que llegan a las costas de España es idéntico al hallazgo de cualquier otro cadáver. En España, para la identificación de cadáveres, las Fuerzas y Cuerpos de Seguridad del Estado aplican la Guía de INTERPOL para la Identificación de Víctimas de Catástrofes. Esta Guía, aunque está especialmente indicada para los sucesos con víctimas múltiples, también es aplicada como referencia para la identificación de un cadáver aislado”.
      Derechos de sepultura

      El director de migraciones de APDHA, Carlos Arce, escribe que, en un marco europeo que contempla la migración irregular predominantemente a través del prisma de la criminalidad grave y la seguridad fronteriza, “ni siquiera la muerte o desaparición de las personas migrantes pone freno a la concatenación de ataques a su dignidad”. Por su parte, Iñárritu también apunta al régimen fronterizo más amplio de la UE: “Muchas cuestiones que no encajan en este marco político dominante, como el derecho de identificación, simplemente se dejan sin gestionar en el día a día. Sencillamente, no son una prioridad”.

      Esto también queda claro en lo que respecta a la inacción del gobierno español a la hora de garantizar un entierro digno a las personas cuyos cuerpos son recuperados. Como señala un informe de 2023 de APDHA, “aunque la repatriación es la opción más deseada por las familias [...] el coste es muy elevado (miles de euros) y muy pocas de sus embajadas ayudan [a sufragarlo]”. La ONG recomienda a España que establezca acuerdos de repatriación con los países de procedencia de los inmigrantes para crear “salvoconductos mortuorios” que garanticen su retorno a un coste reducido.

      A esto se suma que el gobierno central tampoco ha establecido mecanismos para garantizar el derecho de los inmigrantes no identificados a un entierro digno dentro del territorio español, sino que sostiene que los ayuntamientos son responsables de todos los entierros de carácter benéfico. Esto ha supuesto que municipios muy concretos, en los que están estacionadas las embarcaciones de salvamento marítimo, sean legalmente responsables de la mayor parte de los entierros, y la mayoría de estos municipios carecen de cementerios locales capaces de acoger entierros musulmanes tradicionales.

      La posibilidad de que este asunto se convierta en un caldo de cultivo para el rechazo a la inmigración quedó patente el pasado mes de septiembre, cuando la alcaldesa de Mogán (Gran Canaria), Onalia Bueno, insistió en que su municipio dejaría de sufragar estos entierros, ya que no quería “detraer los costes de los impuestos de mis vecinos”. Juan Carlos Lorenzo, de CEAR, condena ese “lenguaje divisivo, que enmarca la cuestión en términos de malgastar el dinero de mis ’vecinos’ en alguien que no es un vecino”, y señala en cambio la actuación de los municipios de El Hierro como contraejemplo positivo.

      En esta isla poco poblada, en los últimos dos meses han sido enterrados siete inmigrantes no identificados, junto con los restos de Mamadou Marea, de 30 años. “Los habitantes de la isla se unieron a nosotros para acompañar los restos de cada una de estas personas hasta su lugar de descanso”, explica Amado Carballo, concejal de El Hierro. “Lo que nos entristeció a todos fue no poder poner un nombre en la lápida y simplemente tener que dejar a las personas identificadas con un código policial”.

      Carballo señala que “más de 10.000 personas han llegado a El Hierro desde septiembre, lo mismo que la población de la isla. Son viajes muy largos, de entre seis y nueve días en el mar, y ahora mismo la gente llega en un pésimo estado de salud. A los que han muerto en los últimos meses hemos intentado ofrecerles un entierro digno dentro de los medios de que disponemos. Hemos contado con la presencia de un imán, que ha rezado oraciones del Islam antes de depositar los restos”.

      En la actualidad, la responsabilidad de conmemorar a las víctimas no identificadas recae en los municipios e incluso en los responsables de los cementerios. Al igual que Germán en el cementerio de Barbate, que intenta dignificar las tumbas sin nombre colocando flores sobre ellas, el cementerio de Motril ha adornado las tumbas con poemas. En Teguise, el Ayuntamiento ha puesto en marcha una iniciativa que anima a los vecinos a dejar flores en las tumbas de los inmigrantes cuando vienen a visitar los restos de sus familiares.

      En otro gesto conmemorativo, una colección de unas 50 barcas de pesca desechadas se ha convertido en un rasgo distintivo del puerto de Barbate. Estas pequeñas embarcaciones de madera con escritura árabe en el casco eran utilizadas por los emigrantes que intentaban cruzar el Estrecho de Gibraltar. En lugar de ser desguazadas, APDHA pudo convertir el astillero en un lugar conmemorativo y colocar placas en las embarcaciones en las que se indicaba cuántas personas viajaban en ellas y dónde y cuándo fueron encontradas.

      En el caso del pequeño Alhassane Bangoura, los vecinos acuden habitualmente a dejar flores frescas y otras muestras de afecto, entre ellas un pequeño cuenco de granito con su nombre de pila inscrito. Pero muchas víctimas son enterradas sin ningún intento de identificación y, tal y como exigen innumerables ONG, políticos y activistas, no debería dejarse en manos de la buena voluntad de residentes, trabajadores de cementerios o concejales el garantizar los últimos derechos de las víctimas de la Fortaleza Europa.

      https://www.eldiario.es/desalambre/enterrar-mil-personas-nombre-trabas-ue-espana-identificar-cuerpos-migrantes

    • « Αγνώστων στοιχείων » : Πάνω από 1.000 αταυτοποίητοι τάφοι στα ευρωπαϊκά σύνορα

      Τάφοι με μόνη σήμανση ένα ξύλο, μνήματα που καλύπτονται από αγριόχορτα : μια διασυνοριακή έρευνα οκτώ δημοσιογράφων σε συνεργασία με Solomon, Guardian και Süddeutsche Zeitung καταγράφει την αδιαφορία γύρω από την αξιοπρεπή ταφή των προσφύγων που χάνουν τη ζωή τους στα ευρωπαϊκά σύνορα.

      Το τηλέφωνο χτύπησε ένα πρωινό του Οκτωβρίου 2022 στη δουλειά, στη Φινλανδία όπου ο 35χρονος Μοχάμεντ Σαμίμ ζει τα τελευταία δέκα περίπου χρόνια.

      Ο ανιψιός του δεν είχε καλά νέα : ο αδερφός του Σαμίμ, Ταρίν Μοχαμάντ, μαζί με τον γιο και τις δύο κόρες του, βρισκόταν σε ένα σκάφος που βυθίστηκε κοντά σε ένα ελληνικό νησί, έχοντας αποπλεύσει από τα τουρκικά παράλια για την Ιταλία.

      Όταν ο Σαμίμ έφτασε την επομένη στα Κύθηρα, έμαθε πως —παρότι αδύναμος αφού δεν είχε φάει επί τρεις μέρες— ο αδερφός του είχε καταφέρει να σώσει την οικογένειά του πριν ένα κύμα τον πάρει μακριά. Πήγε αμέσως στο σημείο του ναυαγίου. Μέσα στο νερό είδε σώματα να επιπλέουν — δεν μπορούσε να δει το πρόσωπο του αδερφού του, αλλά αναγνώρισε την πλάτη του.

      Το Λιμενικό είπε πως έπρεπε να περάσει η κακοκαιρία για να μπορέσουν να βγάλουν τους νεκρούς από τη θάλασσα. Πέρασε η πρώτη μέρα, πέρασε και δεύτερη, ώσπου την τρίτη ημέρα κατέστη τελικά δυνατό. Το Λιμενικό επιβεβαίωσε στο Solomon πως άνεμοι έντασης 8 μποφόρ και η μορφολογία της περιοχής καθιστούσαν την ανάσυρση των σορών αδύνατη. Ο Σαμίμ δεν θα ξεχάσει ποτέ την εικόνα του αδερφού του στη θάλασσα.

      Στην Καλαμάτα, χρειάστηκε να περάσουν τέσσερις ημέρες μετακύλισης της ευθύνης μεταξύ νοσοκομείου και Λιμενικού, και η βοήθεια μιας ντόπιας δικηγόρου που « ήρθε και τους έβαλε τις φωνές », προκειμένου να του επιτραπεί να ακολουθήσει τη διαδικασία ταυτοποίησης του αδερφού του.

      Τον προειδοποίησαν πως θα ήταν μια ψυχοφθόρα διαδικασία, και πως θα έπρεπε να φορέσει τριπλή μάσκα λόγω της μυρωδιάς. Ο Σαμίμ λέει πως, λόγω έλλειψης χώρου στα ψυγεία του νεκροτομείου, ορισμένα από τα θύματα του ναυαγίου βρίσκονταν στον θάλαμο εκτός ψυγείου.

      « Το άγχος και η μυρωδιά. Τα γόνατά μας έτρεμαν », θυμάται ο Σαμίμ όταν τον συναντάμε στα Κύθηρα ένα χρόνο μετά.

      Ξεκίνησαν να του δείχνουν σώματα σε αποσύνθεση. Πρώτα αυτά εκτός ψυγείου. Δεν τον αναγνώρισε ανάμεσά τους. Βγήκαν έξω και άλλαξαν τις μάσκες που φορούσαν, επέστρεψαν, άνοιξαν με τη σειρά τα ψυγεία φτάνοντας στο τελευταίο.

      « Βρισκόταν εκεί, ήρεμος. Ο άνθρωπος που αγαπάς. Ήμασταν κάπως χαρούμενοι που, μετά από μέρες, μπορούσαμε να τον δούμε », είπε ο Σαμίμ.
      Νεκροί πρόσφυγες στα αζήτητα

      Ο αριθμός των προσφύγων που πεθαίνουν στα σύνορα της Ευρώπης ολοένα και μεγαλώνει. Πέρα από τη δυσκολία καταγραφής των θανάτων, υπάρχει και η πρόκληση της ταυτοποίησης των σορών, μια διαδικασία ψυχοφθόρα για τους συγγενείς. Σε κάποιες περιπτώσεις, ωστόσο, υπάρχουν σοροί που μένουν αταυτοποίητες, εκατοντάδες άνδρες, γυναίκες και παιδιά που θάβονται σε τάφους αγνώστων στοιχείων.

      Τον Ιούλιο του 2023, το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο υιοθέτησε ψήφισμα που αναγνωρίζει το δικαίωμα στην ταυτοποίηση των ανθρώπων που χάνουν τη ζωή τους στην προσπάθεια να φτάσουν στην Ευρώπη, έως σήμερα ωστόσο δεν υπάρχει κεντρικό σύστημα καταγραφής σε πανευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο. Ούτε ενιαία διαδικασία για τη διαχείριση των σορών που καταλήγουν σε νεκροτομεία, γραφεία κηδειών — ακόμη και κοντέινερ ψύξης.

      Το πρόβλημα είναι « εντελώς παραμελημένο », είπε στο Solomon η Ευρωπαία Επίτροπος Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων, Dunja Mijatović, η οποία αναφέρει ότι οι χώρες της ΕΕ δεν εκπληρώνουν τις υποχρεώσεις τους βάσει του διεθνούς δικαίου των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων. « Η τραγωδία των αγνοούμενων μεταναστών έχει λάβει τρομακτικές διαστάσεις. Το ζήτημα απαιτεί άμεση δράση », πρόσθεσε.

      Η πλατφόρμα Missing Migrants του Διεθνούς Οργανισμού Μετανάστευσης (ΔΟΜ), που αναγνωρίζει πως τα στοιχεία της δεν αποτελούν ολοκληρωμένη καταγραφή, κάνει λόγο για πάνω από 1.090 αγνοούμενους πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες στην Ευρώπη από το 2014.

      Στο πλαίσιο της έρευνας Border Graves, οκτώ Ευρωπαίοι δημοσιογράφοι, από κοινού με την βρετανική εφημερίδα Guardian, την γερμανική εφημερίδα Süddeutsche Zeitung, και το Solomon για την Ελλάδα, ερεύνησαν επί επτά μήνες τι συμβαίνει με τις χιλιάδες αταυτοποίητες σορούς όσων χάνουν τη ζωή τους στα ευρωπαϊκά σύνορα, και καταγράφουν για πρώτη φορά έναν σχεδόν διπλάσιο αριθμό : σύμφωνα με τα στοιχεία που συγκεντρώθηκαν, περισσότεροι από 2.162 άνθρωποι πέθαναν την περίοδο 2014-2023.

      Μελετήσαμε έγγραφα και πήραμε συνεντεύξεις από κρατικούς ιατροδικαστές, εισαγγελείς και εργαζομένους σε γραφεία τελετών· από κατοίκους και συγγενείς θανόντων και αγνοουμένων· και αποκτήσαμε αποκλειστική πρόσβαση σε αδημοσίευτα στοιχεία της Διεθνούς Επιτροπής του Ερυθρού Σταυρού.

      Σε 65 νεκροταφεία κατά μήκος των ευρωπαϊκών συνόρων –Ελλάδα, Ισπανία, Ιταλία, Μάλτα, Πολωνία, Λιθουανία, Γαλλία και Κροατία– καταγράψαμε περισσότερους από 1.000 τάφους αγνώστων στοιχείων κατά την τελευταία δεκαετία.

      Η έρευνα καταγράφει τον τρόπο με τον οποίο η κρατική αδιαφορία γύρω από την αξιοπρεπή ταφή των ανθρώπων που χάνουν τη ζωή τους στα σύνορα διαπερνά τις ευρωπαϊκές χώρες. Στην Ιταλία, συναντήσαμε ξύλινους σταυρούς. Στην Κροατία και τη Βοσνία, συναντήσαμε δεκάδες τάφους με την ένδειξη « ΝΝ » (αγνώστων στοιχείων), στη Γαλλία απλώς με ένα « Χ ».

      Στα ισπανικά Γκραν Κανάρια, εντοπίσαμε πλάκες που δεν αναφέρουν την ταυτότητα των θανόντων, αλλά σε ποιο ναυάγιο πέθαναν : « Βάρκα μεταναστών νούμερο 4. 25/09/2022 ».

      Στην Ελλάδα, καταγράψαμε περισσότερους από 540 αταυτοποίητους τάφους προσφύγων, το 54% όσων συνολικά κατέγραψε η ευρωπαϊκή έρευνα. Ταξιδέψαμε στα νησιά του Αιγαίου και τον Έβρο, και εντοπίσαμε τάφους σε χωράφια που ενίοτε καλύπτονται από αγριόχορτα, και μαρμάρινες πλάκες με ημερομηνίες θανάτου που έχουν σβηστεί, ενώ σε άλλες περιπτώσεις ένα κομμάτι ξύλο μαζί με έναν αριθμό αποτελεί τη μόνη σήμανσή τους.

      Τα στοιχεία της έρευνάς μας, σε συνδυασμό με τα στοιχεία της Διεθνούς Επιτροπής του Ερυθρού Σταυρού, δεν αποτελούν εξαντλητική καταγραφή του ζητήματος. Ωστόσο, αποτυπώνουν για πρώτη φορά τα κενά και τις δυσκολίες ενός συστήματος, που οδηγεί χιλιάδες οικογένειες να μην γνωρίζουν πού είναι θαμμένοι οι συγγενείς τους.

      Λέσβος : 167 αταυτοποίητοι τάφοι προσφύγων

      Ένας μακρύς χωματόδρομος, που τριγυρίζεται από ελαιόδεντρα, οδηγεί στην πύλη του νεκροταφείου του Κάτω Τρίτου, που συνήθως παραμένει κλειδωμένη με λουκέτο.

      Το « νεκροταφείο των προσφύγων », όπως το αποκαλούν στο νησί, βρίσκεται περίπου 15χλμ δυτικά της Μυτιλήνης. Αποτελεί τον μοναδικό χώρο ταφής αποκλειστικά για πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες στην Ελλάδα.

      Κατά τη διάρκεια μίας από τις επισκέψεις μας, λάμβανε χώρα η κηδεία τεσσάρων παιδιών. Έχασαν τη ζωή τους στις 28 Αυγούστου 2023, όταν η βάρκα στην οποία επέβαιναν μαζί με 18 ακόμη ανθρώπους βυθίστηκε νοτιοανατολικά της Λέσβου.

      Η πενθούσα μητέρα και αρκετές γυναίκες, μεταξύ των οποίων μέλη της οικογένειας, κάθονταν κάτω από ένα δέντρο, ενώ οι άνδρες προσεύχονταν κοντά στο υπόστεγο που χρησιμοποιείται για τη διαδικασία της ταφής σύμφωνα με την ισλαμική παράδοση.

      Στον Κάτω Τρίτο και τον Άγιο Παντελεήμονα, το νεκροταφείο της Μυτιλήνης όπου θάβονταν οι πρόσφυγες έως τότε, μετρήσαμε συνολικά 167 τάφους αγνώστων στοιχείων μεταξύ 2014-2023.

      Ο τοπικός δημοσιογράφος, και πρώην μέλος του Περιφερειακού Συμβουλίου Βορείου Αιγαίου Νίκος Μανάβης, εξηγεί πως το νεκροταφείο δημιουργήθηκε το 2015 σε έναν ελαιώνα που ανήκει στο δήμο Μυτιλήνης λόγω ανάγκης : ένα πολύνεκρο ναυάγιο στα βόρεια του νησιού, στις 28 Οκτωβρίου του έτους, είχε ως αποτέλεσμα τουλάχιστον 60 νεκρούς, για τους οποίους τα νεκροταφεία του νησιού δεν επαρκούσαν.

      Πολλά θύματα ναυαγίων παραμένουν θαμμένα σε τάφους αγνώστων στοιχείων. Στις ταφόπλακες αναγράφεται η εκτιμώμενη ηλικία των θανόντων και η ημερομηνία ταφής, ενίοτε μόνο ένας αριθμός. Άλλες φορές, ένα κομμάτι ξύλο και περιμετρικά τοποθετημένες πέτρες σηματοδοτούν τον τάφο.

      « Αυτό που βλέπουμε είναι ένα χωράφι, όχι ένα νεκροταφείο. Δεν δείχνει σεβασμό στους ανθρώπους που τάφηκαν εδώ », λέει ο Μανάβης.

      Αυτή η έλλειψη σεβασμού στο νεκροταφείο του Κάτω Τρίτου κινητοποίησε την οργάνωση Earth Medicine. Όπως εξηγεί ο Δημήτρης Πατούνης, μέλος της ΜΚΟ, τον Ιανουάριο του 2022 έκαναν πρόταση στο δήμο Μυτιλήνης για την αποκατάσταση του νεκροταφείου. Το σχέδιό τους είναι να δημιουργήσουν ένα χώρο ανάπαυσης με σεβασμό και αξιοπρέπεια, όπου οι πρόσφυγες και οι αιτούντες άσυλο θα μπορούν να ικανοποιήσουν την πιο ιερή ανθρώπινη ανάγκη, το πένθος για τους αγαπημένους τους.

      Παρόλο που το δημοτικό συμβούλιο ενέκρινε την πρόταση την άνοιξη του 2023, οι δημοτικές εκλογές του Οκτωβρίου καθυστέρησαν το έργο. Ο Πατούνης δηλώνει θετικός ότι σύντομα θα γίνει καταγραφή των τάφων και περίφραξη της περιοχής.

      Ο Χρήστος Μαυραχείλης, νεκροθάφτης στο νεκροταφείο του Αγίου Παντελεήμονα, θυμάται ότι το 2015 οι μουσουλμάνοι πρόσφυγες θάβονταν σε συγκεκριμένη περιοχή του νεκροταφείου.

      « Αν κάποιος ήταν αγνώστου ταυτότητας έγραφα στον τάφο του “Άγνωστος” », λέει. Εάν δεν υπήρχαν συγγενείς, που θα μπορούσαν να καλύψουν το κόστος, ο Μαυραχείλης έκοβε ο ίδιος ένα μάρμαρο και έγραφε όσα στοιχεία μπορούσε από το πιστοποιητικό θανάτου. « Άνθρωποι ήταν κι αυτοί », λέει, « έκανα ό,τι μπορούσα ».

      Από την πλευρά του, ο Θωμάς Βαναβάκης, πρώην ιδιοκτήτης γραφείου τελετών που πρόσφερε υπηρεσίες στη Λέσβο έως το 2020, λέει επίσης πως συχνά χρειάστηκε να καλύψουν ταφές δίχως να λάβουν αμοιβή. « Ξέρετε πόσες φορές μπήκαμε στη θάλασσα και πληρώσαμε εργάτες από την τσέπη μας για να τραβήξουμε τα πτώματα και δεν παίρναμε φράγκο ; », λέει.

      « Το να βλέπεις τόσα μωρά, να τα μαζεύεις και να τα πετάς σε ένα κουτί… Πώς μπορείς να πας σπίτι και να κοιμηθείς μετά από αυτό ; », λέει ο Βαναβάκης.

      Η Έφη Λατσούδη, που ζει στη Λέσβο και εργάζεται στην οργάνωση Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), λέει πως το 2015 υπήρχαν ταφές που δεν μπορούσε να καλύψει ο δήμος Μυτιλήνης, και ορισμένες φορές τις « πληρώναν οι άνθρωποι που συμμετείχαν στην τελετή. Προσπαθούσαμε να δώσουμε μια αξιοπρέπεια στη διαδικασία. Αλλά δεν ήταν αρκετό », λέει.

      Η Λατσούδη θυμάται κάτι που της είχε αναφέρει μια προσφύγισσα το 2015 : « Το χειρότερο που μπορεί να μας συμβεί είναι να πεθάνουμε κάπου μακριά και να μην είναι κανείς στην κηδεία μας ».

      Ο δήμος Μυτιλήνης δεν απάντησε στα ερωτήματά μας σχετικά με την αξιοπρεπή ταφή των προσφύγων στα νεκροταφεία ευθύνης του.
      Χίος και Σάμος : τάφοι καλύπτονται από αγριόχορτα

      Σύμφωνα με την ελληνική νομοθεσία, η τοπική αυτοδιοίκηση (και σε περίπτωση αδυναμίας της η περιφέρεια) καλύπτει το κόστος για την ταφή τόσο των αταυτοποίητων προσφύγων που πεθαίνουν στα σύνορα, όσο και εκείνων που βρίσκονται σε οικονομική αδυναμία.

      Από πλευράς της, η δημοτική Αρχή Χίου δήλωσε πως προβλέπεται χρηματοδότηση για τις σχετικές δαπάνες, καθώς και ότι « στο πλαίσιο των αρμοδιοτήτων της για τα νεκροταφεία, συντηρεί και φροντίζει όλους τους χώρους, χωρίς διακρίσεις και με τον απαιτούμενο σεβασμό, για όλους τους νεκρούς ».

      Αλλά κατά την επίσκεψή μας τον Αύγουστο στο νεκροταφείο του Μερσινιδίου, λίγα χιλιόμετρα βόρεια της πόλης της Χίου, όπου πρόσφυγες βρίσκονται θαμμένοι πλάι στα μνήματα των ντόπιων, δεν ήταν δύσκολο να εντοπίσει κανείς τον διαχωρισμό : οι πέντε τάφοι αταυτοποίητων προσφύγων σηματοδοτούνταν απλώς από ένα μάρμαρο, το οποίο έτεινε να υπερκαλύψει η βλάστηση.

      Η Νατάσα Στραχίνη, δικηγόρος του RSA που ζει στη Χίο, έχει λάβει μέρος σε αρκετές κηδείες προσφύγων τόσο στη Χίο όσο και στη Λέσβο. Για εκείνη, είναι πολύ μεγάλη η σημασία της τοπικής κοινότητας και η παρουσία σε μια τόσο δύσκολη ανθρώπινη στιγμή.

      Σχετικά με τις ταφές, εξηγεί πως « μόνο ένα καλό σύστημα καταγραφής θα μπορούσε να βοηθήσει τους συγγενείς να εντοπίσουν τον τάφο ενός ανθρώπου που έχασαν, καθώς συνήθως στα νεκροταφεία μετά από 3-5 χρόνια γίνονται εκταφές ». Αναφέρει πως ενίοτε ένας τάφος παραμένει αγνώστων στοιχείων παρότι η σορός έχει ταυτοποιηθεί, είτε γιατί καθυστέρησε η διαδικασία ταυτοποίησης, είτε γιατί οι συγγενείς δεν είχαν την οικονομική δυνατότητα να αλλάξουν το μνήμα.

      Στο Ηραίο Σάμου, δίπλα στο δημοτικό νεκροταφείο, σε ένα οικόπεδο που ανήκει στη Μητρόπολη και χρησιμοποιείται ως χώρος ταφής προσφύγων, καταγράψαμε δεκάδες μνήματα που χρονολογούνται μεταξύ 2014-2023. Οι πλάκες –ορισμένες σπασμένες– που έχουν τοποθετηθεί στο έδαφος, « κρυμμένες » από κλαδιά, πευκοβελόνες και κουκουνάρια, αναγράφουν απλώς έναν αριθμό και τη χρονολογία της ταφής.

      Ο δικηγόρος Δημήτρης Χούλης, που ζει στη Σάμο και χειρίζεται υποθέσεις γύρω από το προσφυγικό, σχολίασε σχετικά : « Είναι ντροπιαστική εικόνα να βλέπεις τέτοιους τάφους. Είναι αδικαιολόγητο για μια σύγχρονη κοινωνία όπως η Ελλάδα ».

      Αναζητώντας στοιχεία

      Η Διεθνής Επιτροπή του Ερυθρού Σταυρού είναι από τις λίγες διεθνείς οργανώσεις που εργάζονται για την ταυτοποίηση των νεκρών πρσοφύγων. Μεταξύ άλλων, και στην Ελλάδα έχουν πραγματοποιήσει αρκετές σχετικές εκπαιδεύσεις σε στελέχη του Λιμενικού και της Ελληνικής Αστυνομίας.

      « Είναι υποχρέωσή μας να παρέχουμε στους νεκρούς μια αξιοπρεπή ταφή. Παράλληλα, οφείλουμε να δίνουμε απαντήσεις στις οικογένειες μέσω της ταυτοποίησης των νεκρών. Αν υπολογίσουμε τους συγγενείς των αγνοουμένων, αυτή η διαδικασία επηρεάζει εκατοντάδες χιλιάδες ανθρώπους. Δεν γνωρίζουν πού βρίσκονται οι αγαπημένοι τους. Τους φέρθηκαν καλά ; Τους σεβάστηκαν όταν τους έθαψαν ; », αναφέρει η Laurel Clegg, συντονίστρια ιατροδικαστής για τη μετανάστευση στην Ευρώπη.

      Εξηγεί πως η καταγραφή των νεκρών αποτελεί διαδικασία που « απαιτεί την καλή συνεργασία μεταξύ πολλών μερών : ένα νομικό πλαίσιο που να προστατεύει τους αταυτοποίητους νεκρούς, συστηματικές νεκροψίες (consistent post-mortems), νεκροτομεία, ληξιαρχεία, αξιοπρεπή μεταφορά, νεκροταφεία ».

      Ωστόσο, τα ιατρικά και νομικά συστήματα των χωρών αποδεικνύονται ανεπαρκή για να αντιμετωπίσουν τη διάσταση του προβλήματος, προσθέτει.

      Από το 2013, στο πλαίσιο του προγράμματος για την αποκατάσταση οικογενειακών δεσμών, ο Ερυθρός Σταυρός έχει καταγράψει στην Ευρώπη 16.500 αιτήματα από ανθρώπους που αναζητούν αγνοούμενους συγγενείς τους. Σύμφωνα με τον διεθνή οργανισμό έχουν επιτευχθεί μόλις 285 επιτυχείς αντιστοιχίσεις (1,7%).

      Τις αντιστοιχίσεις αυτές αναλαμβάνουν οι κατά τόπους ιατροδικαστές.

      « Συλλέγουμε πάντα δείγματα DNA από τις σορούς αγνώστων στοιχείων. Είναι συνήθης πρακτική και μπορεί να είναι το μόνο εφικτό μέσο ταυτοποίησης », αναφέρει ο Παναγιώτης Κοτρέτσος, ιατροδικαστής στη Ρόδο. Τα δείγματα αποστέλλονται στο εργαστήριο DNA της Διεύθυνσης Εγκληματολογικών Ερευνών της Ελληνικής Αστυνομίας, σύμφωνα με πρωτόκολλο της INTERPOL.

      Σύμφωνα με τον Ερυθρό Σταυρό, οι δυσκολίες συνήθως προκύπτουν όταν οι οικογένειες βρίσκονται εκτός ΕΕ, και οφείλονται σε διάφορους παράγοντες, όπως τυχόν διαφορές στο νομικό πλαίσιο ή στα ιατρικά συστήματα των χωρών. Για παράδειγμα, ορισμένες χώρες της ΕΕ δεν μπορούν να « ανοίξουν » υπόθεση και να πάρουν δείγματα DNA από οικογένειες, χωρίς εντολή από τις Aρχές της χώρας στην οποία έχει ανασυρθεί η σορός του συγγενή που αναζητάται.

      Το πιο δύσκολο μέρος στη διαδικασία ταυτοποίησης μέσω DNA είναι ότι χρειάζεται να υπάρχει κι ένα δεύτερο δείγμα που θα συγκριθεί με εκείνο που συνέλεξαν οι ιατροδικαστές, το οποίο πρέπει να σταλεί από τις οικογένειες των αγνοουμένων. « Για έναν πρόσφυγα που ξεκίνησε το ταξίδι του από μια χώρα της κεντρικής Αφρικής, ταξίδεψε για μήνες, και πέθανε στην Ελλάδα, θα υπάρχει το γενετικό υλικό στο νεκροτομείο. Αλλά θα παραμείνει αταίριαστο μέχρι κάποιος συγγενής πρώτου βαθμού να στείλει δείγμα DNA », λέει ο Κοτρέτσος.

      Εξηγεί πως αυτό δεν είναι πάντα εφικτό. « Έχουμε δεχτεί τηλεφωνήματα από συγγενείς που βρίσκονταν στη στη Συρία, και αναζητούσαν αγνοούμενα μέλη της οικογένειάς τους, και δεν μπορούσαν να στείλουν δείγματα ακριβώς επειδή βρίσκονταν στη Συρία ».

      Έξω από το πανεπιστημιακό νοσοκομείο της Αλεξανδρούπολης, δύο κοντέινερ ψυγεία που έχουν παραχωρηθεί από τον Ερυθρό Σταυρό ως προσωρινοί νεκροθάλαμοι φιλοξενούν τα σώματα 40 προσφύγων.

      Ο καθηγητής Ιατροδικαστικής στο Δημοκρίτειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θράκης, Παύλος Παυλίδης, έχει από το 2000 πραγματοποιήσει αυτοψίες σε τουλάχιστον 800 σώματα ανθρώπων σε κίνηση, με βασικές αιτίες θανάτου τον πνιγμό στα νερά του Έβρου και την υποθερμία.

      Ο ιατροδικαστής δεν αρκείται στην απαραίτητη συλλογή DNA : καταγράφει δεδομένα όπως σημάδια γέννησης ή τατουάζ και αντικείμενα (π.χ. πορτοφόλια, δαχτυλίδια, γυαλιά), τα οποία θα μπορούσαν να αποτελέσουν τον συνδετικό κρίκο για έναν συγγενή που αναζητά το αγαπημένο του πρόσωπο.

      Λέει πως συνολικά 313 σοροί που βρέθηκαν στον Έβρο από το 2014 παραμένουν αγνώστων στοιχείων. Όσες δεν μπορούν να ταυτοποιηθούν θάβονται σε ειδικό νεκροταφείο στο Σιδηρώ, το οποίο διαχειρίζεται ο δήμος Σουφλίου, ενώ 15-20 αταυτοποίητες σοροί τάφηκαν στην Ορεστιάδα όσο γινόταν η επέκταση του νεκροταφείου Σιδηρού.

      Οι σοροί των μουσουλμάνων προσφύγων που ταυτοποιούνται ενταφιάζονται στο μουσουλμανικό νεκροταφείο στη Μεσσούνη Κομοτηνής ή επαναπατρίζονται, όταν οι συγγενείς μπορούν να καλύψουν το κόστος επαναπατρισμού.

      « Αυτό δεν είναι αξιοπρεπές »

      Απαντώντας σε σχετικά ερωτήματα, το υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου είπε πως το ζήτημα των διαδικασιών ταυτοποίησης και ταφής προσφύγων δεν εμπίπτει στις αρμοδιότητές του. Εκπρόσωπος της Κομισιόν δήλωσε πως σχετικά κονδύλια προς την Ελλάδα δεν προβλέπονται, ωστόσο εν λόγω δαπάνες « θα μπορούσαν να υποστηριχθούν στο πλαίσιο του Εθνικού Προγράμματος του Ταμείου Ασύλου, Μετανάστευσης και Ένταξης », το οποίο διαχειρίζεται το υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης.

      Ο Θεόδωρος Νούσιας είναι επικεφαλής ιατροδικαστής της Ιατροδικαστικής Υπηρεσίας Βορείου Αιγαίου, δηλαδή υπεύθυνος για τα νησιά Λέσβο, Σάμο, Χίο, και Λήμνο. Σύμφωνα με τον ιατροδικαστή, η διαδικασία ταυτοποίησης μέσω DNA έχει βελτιωθεί πολύ σε σχέση με πριν από μερικά χρόνια.

      Ο Νούσιας λέει ότι πάντα ήταν διαθέσιμος, όταν του ζητήθηκε να αναγνωρίσει κάποιον. « Πρέπει να εξυπηρετείς τους ανθρώπους, γι’ αυτό βρίσκεσαι εκεί. Να εξυπηρετείς τους ανθρώπους για να μπορούν να βρουν την οικογένειά τους », προσθέτει.

      Ο ιατροδικαστής ζει στη Λέσβο, αλλά λέει πως δεν έχει πάει ποτέ στο νεκροταφείο στον Κάτω Τρίτο. « Δεν θέλω να πάω. Θα είναι δύσκολο για μένα γιατί οι περισσότεροι από αυτούς τους ανθρώπους έχουν περάσει από τα χέρια μου ».

      Τον Οκτώβριο του 2022, ο 32χρονος Σουτζά Αχμαντί και η αδελφή του Μαρίνα ταξίδεψαν επίσης στα Κύθηρα και, στη συνέχεια, στην Καλαμάτα προκειμένου να αναγνωρίσουν τη σορό του πατέρα τους, Αμπντούλ Γασί.

      Ο 65χρονος είχε ξεκινήσει το ταξίδι για την Ιταλία μαζί με τη γυναίκα του Χατίτζε — εκείνη επέζησε. Τα δύο αδέλφια επισκέφθηκαν το νοσοκομείο, όπου τους έδειξαν και τα οκτώ πτώματα, άνδρες και γυναίκες, παρότι είχαν εξαρχής εξηγήσει πως ο άνθρωπος που αναζητούσαν ήταν άνδρας.

      Το σώμα του πατέρα τους ήταν μεταξύ εκείνων που βρίσκονταν εκτός ψυγείου.

      « Η αδελφή μου έκλαιγε και τους φώναζε να πάρουν τον πατέρα μας από το κοντέινερ ψυγείο γιατί μύριζε », θυμάται ο Σουτζά. « Δεν ήταν αξιοπρεπές μέρος για έναν άνθρωπο ».

      Για την έρευνα συνεργάστηκαν οι : Gabriele Cruciata, Eoghan Gilmartin, Danai Maragoudaki, Barbara Matejčić, Leah Pattem, Gabriela Ramírez, Daphne Tolis and Tina Xu (συντονίστρια).

      Η έρευνα υποστηρίχθηκε από το Investigative Journalism for Europe (IJ4EU) και Journalismfund Europe.

      https://wearesolomon.com/el/mag/format-el/erevnes/agnoston-stoixeion-pano-apo-1000-ataftopoihtoi-tafoi-sta-evropaika-syn

    • U Hrvatskoj pronađeno 45 neimenovanih grobova migranata, među njima je bila i 5-godišnja curica: ‘Policija ih često tjera u rijeku’

      Telegram ekskluzivno donosi veliku priču Barbare Matejčić koja je, kao jedina novinarka iz Hrvatske, sudjelovala u međunarodnoj novinarskoj istrazi s kolegama iz uglednih medija poput britanskog Guardiana i njemačkog Süddeutsche Zeitunga. Otkrili su kako završavaju tijela onih koji su stradali pokušavajući ući u Europsku uniju

      U selu Siče u istočnoj Hrvatskoj više je Sičana na groblju nego među živima: živih je 230, a umrlih 250. Točnije, na groblju je 247 Sičana i tri nepoznate osobe. Bilo bi ih još više pod zemljom da Siče svoje groblje nema tek od 1970-ih. Bilo bi još više i živih da nisu, kao mnogi iz tog kraja, odlazili u veće gradove ili u inozemstvo u potrazi za boljim životom. Grobovi Sičana, ukratko, posjetitelju kažu tko su ti ljudi bili, gdje pripadaju i posjećuju li ih bližnji. Tako to biva s grobovima, sažimaju osnovne informacije naših života. Ako na grobu stoji samo NN, to sažima tragediju.

      Tko su te tri osobe kojima se ne zna ime? Kako im je posljednja adresa skromni humak u Siču? Migranti, utopili su se u obližnjoj rijeci, reći će vam mještani. Malo je mjesto, malo je groblje, sve se zna. I da ne znate ništa, jasno vam je da te tri osobe tu ne pripadaju. Ukopani su sasvim izdvojeno od ostatka groblja. Tri drvena križa s NN natpisima, zabodena u zemlju na rubu groblja. NN, kao skraćenica od latinskog nomen nescio, doslovno znači: ne znam ime.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQAGqiWBB78&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegram.hr%2F&

      Službeno objašnjenje komunalnog poduzeća koje upravlja grobljem je da je ostavljeno mjesta za još mogućih ukopa onih kojima se ne zna ime. A objašnjenje na koje pomislite kad tamo dođete jest da su ukopani izdvojeno kako se ne bi miješali s mještanima. Ili, kako nam se u telefonskom razgovoru izlanuo načelnik jednog drugog mjesta gdje su također na margini groblja NN migrantski grobovi: “Da nam ne smetaju.”

      Afganistanci pod križem

      Na groblju u Sičama to su jedina tri groba o kojima nitko ne vodi računa. Za nekih pet godina mogao bi im nestati svaki trag. Komunalna poduzeća su dužna ukopati neidentificirana tijela, ali ne i održavati grobove osim ako grob nije od “osobe od posebnog povijesnog i društvenog značaja”, kako zakon nalaže. NN1, NN2 i NN3 su od posebnog značaja samo svojim bližnjima, koji vjerojatno ni ne znaju gdje su. Možda čekaju da im se konačno jave iz zapadne Europe. Možda ih traže. Možda ih oplakuju. No, ako zakopate malo dublje, saznat ćete ponešto o onima koji tu počivaju bez imena.

      U rano i hladno jutro 23. prosinca 2022. policija je pronašla dva tijela na obali Save, koja je u tom području odvaja Hrvatsku od Bosne i Hercegovine. Odvaja Europsku uniju od ostatka Europe. Prema policijskom izvještaju, pronašli su i skupinu od dvadeset stranih državljana koji su tim putem nezakonito ušli u Hrvatsku. Skupini je nedostajala još jedna osoba. Nakon opsežne potrage u popodnevnim satima je pronađeno i treće tijelo. Patolog Opće bolnice u Novoj Gradiški ustanovio je da je smrt za sve troje nastupila u 2.45 u noći. Dvojica su umrla od pothlađenosti, jedan se utopio.

      Kod njih su pronađene iskaznice iz izbjegličkog kampa u Bosni i Hercegovini. Saznali smo da su, prema iskaznicama, sva trojica bila iz Afganistana: Ahmedi Abozari imao je 17 godina, Basir Naseri imao je 21 godinu i Shakir Atoin je imao 25 godina. NN1, NN2 i NN3. Za dvojicu od njih su i drugi iz skupine migranata potvrdili identitet, rekli su nam iz Policijske uprave brodsko-posavske. Zašto su onda pokopani kao NN? Ako se znalo da su iz Afganistana, zašto su pokopani pod križem? Ako ih traže obitelji, kako će ih naći?
      ‘Neka plate za ime na grobu’

      U upravi groblja su bili ljubazni i rekli da pokapaju prema tome kako stoji u dozvoli za ukop koju potpisuje patolog. A stajalo je NN. Patolog je rekao da podatke ispisuje na temelju informacija dobivenih od policije i mrtvozornika. Iz nadležne policije su nam rekli da se osoba sahranjuje po pravilima lokalne uprave. Groblje Siče pripada Općini Nova Kapela, čiji nam je načelnik Ivan Šmit nezadovoljno nabrojao sve troškove koje je njegova općina snosila za te ukope i poručio da ako će netko za to platiti, onda može promijeniti oznaku NN u imena.

      Na niz smo takvih administrativnih nejasnoća naišli istražujući kako nadležna tijela postupaju s tijelima onih koji su stradali pokušavajući ući u Europsku uniju, kao dio Border Graves Investigation koje je proveo tim od osam slobodnih novinara u zemljama na migrantskim rutama, zajedno s britanskim Guardianom i njemačkim Süddeutsche Zeitungom.

      Nema jedinstvene europske baze podataka o broju migranata koji su pokopani u Europi. No tim je uspio potvrditi najmanje 1.931 takav grob u Grčkoj, Italiji, Španjolskoj, Hrvatskoj, Malti, Poljskoj i Francuskoj u zadnjem desetljeću, dakle od 2014. do 2023. Od toga je 1.015 NN grobova. Više od polovice neidentificiranih grobova je, očekivano, u Grčkoj – 551, u Italiji 248 i u Španjolskoj 109. U Hrvatskoj smo utvrdili 59 grobova migranata koji su ukopani posljednjeg desetljeća, od čega ih 45 nije identificirano. Podaci su temeljeni na različitim bazama podataka koje u pojedinačnim zemljama prikupljaju međunarodne organizacije, nevladine udruge, znanstvenici i istraživači, kao i od lokalnih vlasti te terenskim radom.

      Tim novinara je posjetio 24 groblja u Grčkoj, Italiji, Španjolskoj, Hrvatskoj, Poljskoj i Litvi, gdje je ukupno 555 grobova neidentificiranih migranata od 2014. do 2023. To su oni čija su tijela pronađena i pokopana. Međunarodni odbor Crvenog križa procjenjuje da se 87 posto onih koji nestanu na europskim južnim granicama nikad ne pronađe. Za kopnene migrantske rute nema procjena.
      Traže li migrante kao što traže turiste?

      Prosinac 2022. kad su umrla trojica mladih Afganistanaca je bio kišniji nego inače i Sava je nabujala. No ionako je velika i brza. Na tom je području samo tri dana ranije nestalo petero turskih državljana nakon što im se na Savi prevrnuo čamac. Među njima su bili dvogodišnja curica, dvanaestogodišnji dečko i njihovi roditelji. Brat nestalog oca je došao iz Njemačke u Hrvatsku kako bi saznao što se dogodilo s obitelji. Iz dokumentacije koju posjedujemo, vidljivo je da je uz pomoć turkologinje Nine Rajković pokušavao od više policijskih postaja doći do informacija u vezi nestalih. Nije ih dobio ni mjesecima kasnije. Htjeli su prijaviti nestanak, no u policiji im je rečeno da prijavu nema smisla pisati ako osobe nisu prethodno registrirane na području Hrvatske ili Bosne i Hercegovine.

      Na niz smo sličnih primjera naišli baveći se ovom temom. Mladić je došao u Hrvatsku i prijavio policiji i u Hrvatskoj i u Sloveniji da mu se brat utopio u Kupi. No njegov nestanak nije evidentiran u hrvatskoj nacionalnoj bazi nestalih osoba koja je javno dostupna. Policija brata nije kontaktirala nakon što je u narednim danima u Kupi nađeno više neidentificiranih tijela. Afganistanac je šest mjeseci čekao da se tijelo njegova brata, koji se utopio kad su zajedno pokušali prijeći Savu također u prosincu 2022., prebaci iz Hrvatske u Bosnu i Hercegovinu da ga može pokopati. Iako je potvrdio da je riječ o njegovu bratu, proces identifikacije je bio spor i kompliciran.

      Naišli smo i na primjere obitelji koje nemaju nekoga u Europi tko može doputovati i uporno tragati za informacijama, već izdaleka pokušavaju ući u trag bližnjima koji se gube na području Hrvatske i na kraju su obeshrabreno odustali. Puno je pitanja i malo jasnih odgovora na temu nestalih i umrlih migranata na tzv. Balkanskoj ruti, čiji je Hrvatska dio. Ne postoje jasni protokoli i procedure oko toga kome i kako se prijavljuje nestanak. Ne zna se traži li se nestale migrante aktivno, kao što se ljeti traži nestale turiste. Nije jasno koliko je informacija, i kojih, potrebno za identifikaciju.
      Obitelji se nemaju kome javiti

      “Kruženje informacije između institucija i pojedinih odjela mi se čini gotovo nepostojeća. U jednom slučaju mi je trebalo više od dva mjeseca i deseci telefonskih poziva i mailova upućenih na različite adrese, policijske postaje, policijske uprave, bolnice, državno odvjetništvo, samo da potaknem pokretanje identifikacije koja do danas, više od godinu dana kasnije, još nije završena”, kaže Marijana Hameršak s Instituta za etnologiju i folkloristiku u Zagrebu. Ona vodi znanstveni projekt “Europski režim iregulariziranih migracija na periferiji EU” u kojem se prikuplja znanje i podaci o nestalim i umrlim migrantima. Na kraju sve ovisi o susretljivim i posvećenim pojedincima u institucijama, kaže Hamrešak, no oni ne mogu nositi cijeli teret disfunkcionalnog sustava.

      Potrage za nestalim i pokušaji identifikacije umrlih migranata u Hrvatskoj, kao i susjednoj Bosni i Hercegovini, najčešće počivaju na trudu volontera i aktivista, koji poput Marijane tragaju za informacijama u kaotičnoj administraciji jer je obiteljima koje ne poznaju jezik taj zadatak praktički nesavladiv. Tako je Facebook grupa Dead and Missing in the Balkans postala glavno mjesto razmjene fotografija i podataka o nestalima i umrlima između obitelji i aktivista. Ne postoj internetska stranica na engleskom nadležnog Ministarstva unutarnjih poslova na koju se mogu javiti iz Afganistana ili Sirije i raspitati se za sudbinu svojih bližnjih, ostaviti podatke o njima i prijaviti nestanak.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PldA9Pa3LJc&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegram.hr%2F&

      Nema ni regionalne baze podataka o nestalim i umrlim migrantima na kojoj bi surađivale policije makar iz zemalja među kojima se bilježi najviše prelazaka – iz Bosne i Hercegovine u Hrvatsku. Povjerenica Vijeća Europe za ljudska prava Dunja Mijatović je u razgovoru s našim timom naglasila da je iznimno važno uspostaviti centraliziranu europsku bazu podataka o nestalim i umrlim migrantima. Kad bi takva baza podataka objedinjavala ante-mortem (podaci o osobi koji se prikupljaju od rodbine i poznanika, poput fizičkih karakteristika i opisa odjeće koju je nosila posljednji put, koje je predmete imala uz sebe itd.) i post-mortem (kao DNK uzorak i fotografije) podatke o umrlima, uvelike bi se povećale šanse za identifikaciju.
      Poginuti ili ostvariti san

      “Obitelji imaju pravo znati istinu o tome što se dogodilo njihovim najbližima”, kaže Mijatović. No suradnja policija susjednih zemalja u održavanju vanjske granice EU nepropusnom je učinkovita. Ranije migranti nisu tako često pokušavali prijeći Savu. Znali su da je previše opasna. Dijele informacije jedni s drugima i ne upuštaju se u prelazak takve rijeke u dječjim čamcima na napuhavanje ili u zračnicama kotača. Ako nisu sasvim očajni.

      Hrvatska policija je push-backovima i upotrebom sile – na što već godinama upozoravaju Amnesty International i Human Rights Watch – otežala prelazak drugim, manje opasnim prijelazima duž zelene granice s Bosnom i Hercegovinom. Kako nam je rekao mladi Marokanac u Bosni i Hercegovini, koji je 11 puta pokušao preći u Hrvatsku ali ga je hrvatska policija svaki put vratila: “Imaš dva izbora: poginuti ili ostvariti san.” Koliko ih je poginulo na Balkanskoj ruti u pokušaju ostvarenja sna, teško je utvrditi. Najsveobuhvatniji podaci za zemlje bivše Jugoslavije su oni koje prikupljaju istraživači projekta “Europski režim iregulariziranih migracija na periferiji EU”, i broje 346 stradalih od 2014. do 2023. u Hrvatskoj, Bosni i Hercegovini, Srbiji, Sloveniji, Sjevernoj Makedoniji i na Kosovu.

      ERIM-ova baza pojedinačno navodi svakog stradalog i sadrži onoliko podataka koliko su istraživači mogli prikupiti iz raznih izvora – medija, svjedoka stradanja, od institucija, iz aktivističkih kanala. No brojka je zasigurno bitno veća. Nestanak nekih nije ni evidentiran. Tijela mnogih nikad nisu pronađena. Stara planina između Bugarske i Srbije težak je i nedostupan teren. Tu će na preminule naići samo oni koji su istom sudbinom nagnani na taj put i neće riskirati prijavu. Ako stradaju u minskim poljima zaostalim iza ratova u Hrvatskoj i Bosni i Hercegovini, od tijela im neće ostati mnogo. Najviše je pronađeno tijela utopljenih u rijekama, no nema procjena koliko utopljenih nije nikad pronađeno.
      U Hrvatskoj 45 neidentificiranih

      Hrvatsko Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova nam je dostavilo podatke o stradalim migrantima od 2015., otkad vode evidenciju, do kraja studenog 2023.: ukupno 87 stradalih migranata na području Republike Hrvatske. Ni jedno službeno tijelo u Hrvatskoj, Bosni i Hercegovini i Srbiji ne vodi evidenciju o pokopanim migrantima na tom teritoriju. No za Hrvatsku smo uspjeli doći do podataka, zahvaljujući upitima poslanima na preko 500 adresa gradova, općina i komunalnih poduzeća koja upravljaju grobljima. Prema dobivenim podacima, u Hrvatskoj se na 32 groblja nalazi 59 grobova migranata, koji su ukopani posljednjeg desetljeća, dakle od 2014. do danas. Od toga ih 45 nije identificirano.

      Neki pokopani migranti su ekshumirani i vraćeni obiteljima u zemlju porijekla, premda je to za obitelji zahtjevan i iznimno skup proces. U MUP-u navode da se od 2001. DNK uzorci uzimaju od svih neidentificiranih tijela, a obradu provodi Centar za forenzična ispitivanja, istraživanja i vještačenja Ivan Vučetić. Tražili smo od MUP-a razgovor sa stručnjacima koji rade na identifikaciji migranata, ali nam nije udovoljeno.

      Među NN grobovima u Hrvatskoj je mrtvorođena beba iz Sirije pokopana 2015. u Slavonskom Brodu. Petogodišnja djevojčica koja se utopila u Dunavu i pokopana je 2021. u Dalju. Prošlo ljeto je mladić u brdovitom predjelu na dubrovačkom području umro od iscrpljenosti. Neke je udario vlak. Mnogi su umrli od pothlađenosti. Neki umru jer im nije na vrijeme pružena pomoć. Neki ne vjeruju da im išta više može pomoći pa se ubiju.
      Nerazriješeni gubitak

      Prema zakonu, sahranjuju se najbliže mjestu stradavanja tako da su uglavnom na malim grobljima poput onog u Sičama. Često su, baš kao tamo, njihovi grobovi izdvojeni od ostatka groblja. Ponegdje je, kao u Otoku, netko od mještanki mekog srca dao sebi u zadatak da brine o NN grobu. Negdje je, kao na groblju u Prilišću, NN drveni križ iz 2019. već istrunuo.

      Iza svakog tog NN groba ostaju bližnji koji se nose s teretom neznanja što se dogodilo. Psiholozi to zovu nerazriješenim gubitkom, jer toliko dugo koliko bližnji nemaju potvrdu da su njihovi voljeni mrtvi i ne znaju gdje su im tijela, ne mogu žalovati za njima. Ako nastave sa životom, osjećaju krivnju. I tako su zamrznuti u stanju između očaja i nade. Američka psihologinja dr. Pauline Boss autorica je termina i teorije o nerazriješenom gubitku. “Znati gdje je grob bližnje osobe je jako važno jer pomaže da se oprostite”, rekla je dr. Boss u razgovoru za naš tim.

      Postoji i praktična strana te zamrznutosti: ako osoba nije proglašena mrtvom, ne može se provesti nasljeđivanje, ne može se pristupiti bankovnom računu, ne može se dobiti obiteljska mirovina, partner ili partnerica se ne mogu ponovno vjenčati, komplicira se skrbništvo nad djecom. Mnoge obitelj i u Hrvatskoj i u Bosni i Hercegovini dobro poznaju nerazriješeni gubitak; ratovi u devedesetima ostavili su tisuće nestalih. Obje zemlje imaju posebne zakone o nestalima u tim ratovima i dobro razrađene mehanizme potrage, identifikacije, pohranjivanja podataka i međusobne suradnje. No to se ne primjenjuje na migrante koji se gube i pogibaju među tisućama koji se kreću Balkanskom rutom.
      Uređeni koridor – nula mrtvih

      Hrvatska je postala važna točka ulaska u Europsku uniju nakon što je Mađarska zatvorila granice u rujnu 2015. Od tada pa do ožujka 2016. preko hrvatske dionice Balkanskog koridora – dakle, međudržavnog, organiziranog puta – prema procjenama, prošlo je oko 660.000 izbjeglica. Taj koridor im je omogućio da od Grčke pa do zapadne Europe dođu u dva ili tri dana. I dolazili su sigurno. Od tih stotina tisuća ljudi u pokretu, hrvatski MUP ne bilježi niti jednu smrt 2015. i 2016. Koridor je i uspostavljen da bi se spriječila stradavanja nakon što je veći broj izbjeglica u proljeće 2015. poginuo na željezničkoj pruzi u Makedoniji.

      No sa sklapanjem europsko-turskog sporazuma o izbjeglicama u ožujku 2016. godine, koridor je zatvoren. EU se obavezala izdašno financirati Tursku da izbjeglice drži na svom teritoriju kako ne bi dolazili u Europsku uniju. I tako je migrantima ostala pogibeljna Balkanska ruta. Mnogi njom idu. Samo u deset mjeseci 2023. hrvatska je policija evidentirala 62.452 postupanja vezano za nezakonite prelaske granice.

      I Ured pučke pravobraniteljice u Hrvatskoj i povjerenica Vijeća Europe za ljudska prava upozoravaju na isto: granične i migracijske politike utječu na povećanje rizika od nestajanja migranata. I da je potrebno da se u EU uspostave legalni i sigurni putevi migracija. No, EU očekuje od Hrvatske da štiti zajedničku vanjsku granicu. I Hrvatska to zdušno radi. Takvu praksu ministar Davor Božinović naziva “obeshrabrivanjem” migranata da uđu u Hrvatsku.
      ‘Obeshrabreni’ pod vlak

      Rezultat takve prakse je, primjerice, smrt Madine Hussiny. Šestogodišnju afganistansku djevojčicu je ubio vlak nakon što je njenu obitelj hrvatska policija “obeshrabrila” i usred noći 2017. potjerala nazad u Srbiju uz uputu da prate tračnice. Europski sud za ljudska prava u studenom 2021. je presudio da je Hrvatska odgovorna za Madininu smrt. U svjedočanstvima koja smo čuli, kao i u mnogim izvještajima nevladinih organizacija, migranti opisuju da im je hrvatska policija na granici naredila da pregaze ili preplivaju rijeku kako bi se vratili u Bosnu ili Srbiju, da se penju preko stijena, idu kroz šumu, nekad i svučeni dogola i ne znajući put jer im policija u pravilu oduzme mobitele.

      Prema podacima koje prikuplja Dansko vijeće za izbjeglice, od početka 2020. do kraja 2022. najmanje je 30.000 ljudi prisilno vraćeno iz Hrvatske u Bosnu i Hercegovinu. Među njima je bio i Afganistanac Arat Semiullah. U studenom 2022. je namjeravao prijeći Savu i ući iz Bosne u Hrvatsku. Utopio se. Imao je 20 godina. Pokopan je na pravoslavnom groblju u Banja Luci. Njegova obitelj u Afganistanu nije znala što mu se dogodilo. Dan ranije je poslao mami fotografiju na kojoj je svježe ošišan za ulazak u Europsku uniju. I onda se prestao javljati.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2nVP5AL1x0&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegram.hr%2F&

      Majka je molila nećaka Paymana Sediqija, koji živi u Njemačkoj, da ga pokuša pronaći. Payman je stupio u kontakt s aktivistom Nihadom Suljićem, koji u Bosni i Hercegovini samostalno pomaže obiteljima da doznaju što je s njihovim bližnjima. Tjednima su pokušavali doći do informacija. Payman je otputovao u Bosnu i uspio pronaći tijelo rođaka zahvaljujući susretljivosti policajke koja mu je pokazala forenzičke fotografije. Aratova mama je telefonski potvrdila da je to njezin sin.
      U Europi sahranili snove

      Na Aratovoj osmrtnici objavljenoj u Bosni i Hercegovini piše da je “hrvatska policija vatrenim oružjem potopila čamac te se on tragično utopio”. Uz pomoć muslimanske zajednice, a na želju obitelji, uspjeli su tijelo prebaciti iz Banja Luke na muslimansko groblje u Kamičanima. Htjeli su ga pokopati u Afganistanu, ali im je bilo previše skupo i birokratski komplicirano. U rujnu 2023. susreli smo se s Nihadom i Paymanom kad je Aratu postavljen velik kameni nadgrobni spomenik. Na njemu piše: “U pokušaju dolaska do Europe utopio se u rijeci Savi.”

      Payman nam je ispričao da je Arat prelazio Savu u skupini migranata. Dio njih je uspio doći do hrvatske obale, no onda je hrvatska policija pucala u gumeni čamac u kojem je bio Arat. Čamac se potopio i Arat se utopio. Tako je Paymanu ispričao preživjeli koji je prešao na hrvatsku obalu Save. Payman kaže da je Aratova obitelj u velikoj boli, ali da makar znaju gdje im je sin i da je pokopan po religijskim običajima. Paymanu je važno da na grobu piše da je Arat stradao kao migrant.

      “Svakodnevno u Europi umiru ljudi koji bježe iz zemalja u kojima im nema života. U Europi se sahranjuju njihovi snovi. Nikoga nije briga za njih, čak ni kad europski policajci pucaju na njih”, kaže Payman. Zna o kakvim snovima govori; i sam je ilegalno došao u Njemačku sa 16 godina. Kaže da je imao sreće. Nihad se zalaže da se i drugi grobovi migranata u Bosni i Hercegovini trajno obilježe. Vodi nas na groblje u Zvorniku gdje je pokopano 17 NN migranata. Kaže kako za neke od njih ima informaciju da su imali pasoš sa sobom kad su pronađeni.
      ‘Ove ljude nije ubila rijeka’

      S groblja se vidi Drina, koja dijeli Srbiju od Bosne i u kojoj mnogi izgube život pokušavajući je preći. Samo je ove godine u Drini pronađeno tridesetak tijela. Nihad kaže da imaju sreće ako ih rijeka izbaci na bosansku stranu jer se u Srbiji često ne radi ni obdukcija niti uzimaju DNK uzorci. To su nam potvrdili i aktivisti iz Srbije. U tom slučaju su i u smrti sasvim izgubljeni za svoje obitelji. Zemljani NN grobovi u Zvorniku su zarasli i nisu omeđeni, tako da ne znate gazite li po njima.

      Nihad je uspio uvjeriti Grad Zvornik da drvena obilježja zamijene crnim kamenom. Važno mu je da su pokopani dostojanstveno, ali mu je još važnije da ostanu svjedočiti. “Želja mi je da i za sto godina ovi grobovi budu spomenici srama EU. Jer, nije ove ljude ubila rijeka, nego granični režim EU”, kaže Nihad.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJkS3qHfA54&embeds_referring_euri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegram.hr%2F&

      https://www.telegram.hr/preview/1905158

    • An obscure island grave: fate of deadly EU migration route’s youngest victim

      Case of #Alhassane_Bangoura in #Lanzarote highlights Europe-wide failure as authorities struggle to cope with scale of deaths

      Stretching less than a metre in length and covered in the ochre-coloured soil that dots the Canary island of Lanzarote, large stones encircle the tiny mound. There is no tombstone or plaque; nothing official to signal that this is the final resting site of the infant believed to be the youngest victim of one of the world’s deadliest migration routes.

      Instead, two bouquets of plastic daisies adorn the grave, along with a granite bowl engraved with his name, Alhassane Bangoura, hinting at the impact his story had on many across the island.

      His mother, originally from Guinea, was among three pregnant women who joined 40 others in an inflatable raft that left Morocco in early January 2020. After running out of fuel, the flimsy raft was left to the mercy of Atlantic currents for three days.

      “They were driven by desperation,” said Mamadou Sy, a municipal councillor for the Socialist party in Lanzarote. “Nobody would get into one of these vessels if they had even a little bit of hope in their own country. Nobody would do it.”

      So far this year, a record 35,410 migrants and refugees have arrived on the shores of the Canary Islands – a 135% increase over last year. More than 11,000 of them landed at the tiny island of El Hierro, home to just 9,000 people.

      The surge in those risking the perilous route has transformed the archipelago into a microcosm of the wider strain playing out across the EU as authorities struggle to deal with the bodies of those that die on their way. A Guardian investigation in collaboration with a consortium of reporters has found that refugees and migrants are being buried in unmarked graves across the EU at a scale that is unprecedented outside of war.

      In September, the mayor of Mogán, a municipality on the island of Gran Canaria, gave voice to the tensions that have at times surfaced as officials across the EU confront this issue, announcing she would no longer use her budget to cover the cost of burying refugees and migrants who are found along the shores that buttress the municipality.

      “When they die on the high seas, it is the responsibility of the state,” Onalia Bueno told reporters, in rejection of a Spanish law that requires municipalities to foot the bills for people who die within their jurisdiction and who are either unidentified or whose families cannot cover the costs.

      At the Teguise municipal cemetery on the island of Lanzarote, more than 25 unmarked graves sit among a plot containing about 60 graves in total. It was here that baby Alhassane was buried. His mother had delivered him as the rickety vessel pitched against the fierce Atlantic swells; those onboard later told media they never heard the baby cry.

      His body was cold when the vessel was rescued, an emergency services spokesperson said. He was taken to the nearest hospital but was declared dead on arrival. His body was taken to judicial authorities as is the standard practice in Spain for migrants and refugees who perish at sea or on arrival.

      Alhassane’s mother, who was unconscious when she was rescued, was later sent to Gran Canaria, about 200km (125 miles) away, where an NGO had agreed to take her into its care. But the Spanish judicial system had yet to release her son’s body – a process that can take up to eight months in Lanzarote.

      The funeral took place on 25 January. “She wasn’t able to attend the funeral,” said Laetitia Marthe, who was among those who unsuccessfully battled for Alhassane’s mother to be allowed to attend. “Basically they’re treated like numbers.”

      Instead, Marthe was among the handful of people who attended the funeral in her name.

      Judicial officials had liaised with the mother to check the baby’s name, said Eugenio Robayna Díaz, the municipal councillor responsible for cemeteries in the city of Teguise. But he did not know why the name had not made it on to the grave.

      Julie Campagne, an anthropologist based in Lanzarote, called for the baby’s grave to be marked with a plaque. “We’re witnessing the process of forgetting in real time. And this loss of memory comes with a shirking of our responsibility for what is happening.”

      Generally speaking, all over the world, there is always a small fraction of people who die and are never identified, she added. “But that is not what is happening here. This is happening for specific reasons. This is happening because of the policy decisions of our governments.”

      While Alhassane’s mother was not able to attend the funeral, what did eventually make it to his gravesite was a smooth stone, painted by her in yellow and red and brought there by those travelling from Gran Canaria shortly after the burial. Written on the stone was a message for her son.

      More than three years of rain has washed away much of what was there but Marthe copied down the message, hoping to one day add it to a formal marker of the site. “I will miss you a lot my baby,” it reads. “I love you.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/08/an-obscure-island-grave-fate-of-deadly-eu-migration-routes-youngest-vic

      #Teguise

    • Dead refugees in the Balkans: bribes to find missing relatives

      In comparison to 2015, today more asylum seekers are dying on the Balkan route. While relatives are forced to overcome state indifference to identify their loved ones, they are also forced to bribe authorities, even border guards, in the hope of finding them.

      He had hoped to find his son in a refugee camp. And after spending three weeks looking for him, he had prepared himself for the possibility of finding him in a hospital.

      But he didn’t expect to find him in the graveyard.

      When the policeman with Bulgarian insignia on his uniform showed him the picture of his son lying lifeless in the grass, he lost the ground under his feet. “I wish I could at least have been able to see Majd one last time. My mind still can’t believe that the person in this grave is my son,” says Husam Adin Bibars.

      The 56-year-old Syrian refugee, a father of four other children, had spent 22 days searching for his son from afar when he decided to spend his meager savings to travel from Denmark to Bulgaria to look for him – but it was too late.

      In Bulgaria, he learned that 27-year-old Majd’s body had been buried within just four days of its discovery. Majd had been buried as an unidentified person; there was nothing to indicate that the person buried under that pile of dirt, which Bibars later visited, was his son.

      “We hear that Europe is the land of freedom, democracy, and human rights,” says Bibars soberly. “Where are human rights if I am not able to see my son before his burial?”

      Dead without identification

      Majd had crossed from Turkey to Bulgaria with a group of about 20 other people, hoping to reunite with his parents and siblings in Europe. Once he arrived, his pregnant wife and their daughter, Hannah, would follow.

      Toward the end of September, he stopped returning calls and texts. The smuggler told Bibars that Majd had fallen ill and they needed to leave him behind. Authorities told Bibars his son died of thirst, exhaustion, and exposure.

      In recent years, with the support of EU funds and the increased involvement of the European border agency Frontex, Balkan countries have stepped up border controls, constructing fences, deploying drones and surveillance mechanisms. But this doesn’t deter asylum seekers – it causes them to take longer and more dangerous routes to avoid authorities.

      An investigation by Solomon in collaboration with investigative newsroom Lighthouse Reports, the German magazine Der Spiegel and German public television ARD, the British newspaper i, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, found that the hostility people face at the borders of Europe in life continues even in death.

      We found that since the start of 2022, the lifeless bodies of 155 people presumed to be migrants have ended up in morgues close to borders along a route that includes Serbia, Bulgaria, and Bosnia.

      According to the data, for 2023 there is already a 46% increase in deaths compared to the whole of 2022.

      In the Balkans, people making the journey have to cope with harsh weather conditions, but also with pushbacks, increased brutality by border guards and smugglers, theft by border forces – even detention in secret prisons.

      For their part, the families of those who go missing or die in the region have to search for their loved ones in morgues, hospitals, and special Facebook and WhatsApp groups, and to cope with an equally arduous effort facing the indifference of the authorities.

      In Bulgaria, this investigation reveals, they often also need to pay bribes in the hope of learning more about their missing loved ones.
      The 10 key findings of the investigation:

      - In 2022, the number of people travelling irregularly through the Balkans to Western Europe reached its highest point since 2015, with Frontex recording 144,118 irregular border crossings.

      – The corresponding figure for 2023 is lower (79,609 by September), but remains a multiple of 2019 (15,127) and 2018 (5,844).

      – The Balkan route is more dangerous than ever: in the absence of a centralised relevant registration system, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants platform suggests that more people died or went missing in 2022 than in 2015.

      - According to data gathered for this investigation, at least 155 unidentified bodies ended up in six selected morgues along a section of the Balkan route that includes Bulgaria, Serbia, and Bosnia. The majority of the bodies (92) were found this year.

      - For 2023, the number is already showing a 46% increase compared to 2022, and is exploding in some morgues.

      – Some morgues in Bulgaria (Burgas, Yambol) are having difficulty finding space for the bodies of refugees. Others in Serbia (Loznina) have no space at all.

      - This contributes to unidentified bodies being buried within days, in ‘No Name’ graves. This means that families are left without the opportunity to search for their loved ones.

      - In Bulgaria, families told us that they had to bribe staff at hospitals and morgues, but border guards too, when searching for their loved ones. Sources in the field confirm the practice, which is also recorded in an audio file in our possession.

      – In Bosnia, at least 28 people presumed to be asylum seekers have already died in the Drina River this year, compared to just five in 2022 and three in 2021.

      - Bureaucracy and lack of state interest are recorded as hampering efforts to identify dead asylum seekers.

      Dead but cause of death unknown

      What do you do when your little brother is missing, and because of your status in the country you live in, you can’t travel to look for him?

      Asmatullah Sediqi, a 29-year-old asylum seeker, was in his asylum accommodation in Warrington, UK, when his brother’s travel companions informed him that 22-year-old Rahmatullah was likely dead.

      Due to his status as an asylum seeker, the UK Home Office did not allow Asmatullah to return to Bulgaria, which he had also crossed on his journey, to look for his brother.

      When a friend was able to go on his behalf, the Bulgarian police refused to give any information. And the morgue staff asked for 300 euros to let him see some bodies, Sediqi said in this investigation.

      “In such a situation, a person should help a person,” he added. “They only know money. They are not interested in human life.”

      He managed to borrow the amount they asked for. In July 2022, 55 days after his brother’s disappearance, the Burgas hospital confirmed that one of the bodies in the morgue belonged to Rahmatullah. With another 3,000 euros borrowed, a company repatriated the remains to their parents in Afghanistan.

      But to this day, Sediqi is consumed by one thought: he doesn’t know how, he hasn’t been told why, his brother died.

      The Bulgarian authorities have not given him the results of the autopsy “because I don’t have a visa to travel there,” he says. “I’m sure that when the police found him in the forest, they must have taken some photos. It’s very painful not knowing what happened to my brother. It’s devastating.”
      “Not a single complaint”

      As part of this investigation by Solomon, Lighthouse Reports, RFE/RL, inews, ARD και Der Spiegel, several relatives told us they had also been forced to bribe workers at the Burgas hospital’s morgue to find out if their family members were among the dead.

      When we asked the hospital administration whether they were aware of such practices, Galina Mileva, head of the forensic medicine department at Burgas hospital, said that they had not received “a single report or complaint about such a case. The identification of the bodies is done only in the presence of a police officer conducting the investigation and a forensic expert.”

      The administration also replied that there is no legal provision under which employees could claim money from relatives for this procedure.

      “We appeal to these complaints to be addressed through official channels to us and to the investigating authorities. If such practices are found to exist, the workers will be held accountable,” they added.
      “Money is requested at every step of the process”

      Another relative, whose family also travelled to Bulgaria in late 2022 to search for a family member, told us that after they paid staff at the morgue 300 euros to be allowed to look at the dead bodies, they also had to pay border guards.

      It was the only way they could be taken seriously, the relative explained.

      When they asked the border guards to show them photos of people who had been found dead, the border guards said they didn’t have time, but when the family agreed to pay 20 euros for each photo shown to them, time was found.

      Georgi Voynov, a lawyer for the Bulgarian Committee Helsinki Refugee and Migrant Programme, confirmed that families of deceased persons have approached the Committee about cases in which hospitals asked for large sums of money to confirm that the bodies of their loved ones were there.

      “They complain that they are being asked for money at every step of the process,” he said.

      International organisations, including the Bulgarian Red Cross, confirmed that they had such experiences from persons they had supported, who said they had been forced to pay money to hospitals and morgues.

      A Bulgarian Red Cross official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, commented:

      “We understand that these people are very overwhelmed and have to be paid extra for all the extra work they do. But this should be done in a legal way.”

      https://wearesolomon.com/mag/focus-area/migration/dead-refugees-in-the-balkans

      #Bulgarie #Drina #Galina_Mileva

  • #Lampedusa : ’Operational emergency,’ not ’migration crisis’

    Thousands of migrants have arrived on Lampedusa from Africa this week, with the EU at odds over what to do with them. DW reports from the Italian island, where locals are showing compassion as conditions worsen.

    Long lines of migrants and refugees, wearing caps and towels to protect themselves from the blistering September sun, sit flanked on either side of a narrow, rocky lane leading to Contrada Imbriacola, the main migrant reception center on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

    Among them are 16-year-old Abubakar Sheriff and his 10-year old brother, Farde, who fled their home in Sierra Leone and reached Lampedusa by boat from Tunisia.

    “We’ve been on this island for four days, have been sleeping outside and not consumed much food or water. We’ve been living on a couple of biscuits,” Abubakar told DW. “There were 48 people on the boat we arrived in from Tunisia on September 13. It was a scary journey and I saw some other boats capsizing. But we got lucky.”

    Together with thousands of other migrants outside the reception center, they’re waiting to be put into police vans headed to the Italian island’s port. They will then be transferred to Sicily and other parts of Italy for their asylum claims to be processed, as authorities in Lampedusa say they have reached “a tipping point” in migration management.
    Not a ’migration crisis for Italy,’ but an ’operational emergency’

    More than 7,000 migrants arrived in Lampedusa on flimsy boats from Tunisia earlier this week, leading the island’s mayor, Filippo Mannino, to declare a state of emergency and tell local media that while migrants have always been welcomed, this time Lampedusa “is in crisis.”

    In a statement released on Friday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said her government intends to take “immediate extraordinary measures” to deal with the landings. She said this could include a European mission to stop arrivals, “a naval mission if necessary.” But Lampedusa, with a population of just 6,000 and a reception center that has a capacity for only 400 migrants, has more immediate problems.

    Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesperson for the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), told DW that while the new arrivals have been overwhelming for the island, this is not a “migration crisis for Italy.”

    “This is mainly an operational emergency for Lampedusa, because in 2015-2016, at the height of Europe’s migration crisis, only 8% of migrants arrived in Lampedusa. The others were rescued at sea and transported to Sicily to many ports there,” he said. “This year, over 70% of arrivals have been in Lampedusa, with people departing from Tunisia, which is very close to the island.”

    Di Giacomo said the Italian government had failed to prepare Lampedusa over the past few years. “The Italian government had time to increase the reception center’s capacity after it was set up in 2008,” he said. “Migration is nothing new for the country.”
    Why the sudden increase?

    One of Italy’s Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean, Lampedusa has been the first point of entry to Europe for people fleeing conflict, poverty and war in North Africa and the Middle East for years, due to its geographical proximity to those regions. But the past week’s mass arrival of migrants caught local authorities off guard.

    “We have never seen anything like what we saw on Wednesday,” said a local police officer near the asylum reception center.

    Showing a cellphone video of several small boats crammed with people arriving at the Lampedusa port, he added, “2011 was the last time Lampedusa saw something like this.” When the civil war in Libya broke out in 2011, many people fled to Europe through Italy. At the time, Rome declared a “North Africa emergency.”

    Roberto Forin, regional coordinator for Europe at the Mixed Migration Centre, a research center, said the recent spike in arrivals likely had one main driving factor. “According to our research with refugees and migrants in Tunisia, the interceptions by Tunisian coast guards of boats leaving toward Italy seems to have decreased since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in mid-July between the European Union and Tunisia,” he said. “But the commission has not yet disbursed the €100 million ($106.6 million) included in the deal.”

    The EU-Tunisia deal is meant to prevent irregular migration from North Africa and has been welcomed by EU politicians, including Meloni. But rights groups have questioned whether it will protect migrants. Responding to reporters about the delayed disbursement of funds, the European Commission said on Friday that the disbursement was still a “work in progress.”

    IOM’s Giacomo said deals between the EU and North African countries aren’t the answer. “It is a humanitarian emergency right now because migrants are leaving from Tunisia, because many are victims of racial discrimination, assault, and in Libya as well, their rights are being abused,” he said. "Some coming from Tunisia are also saying they are coming to Italy to get medical care because of the economic crisis there.

    “The solution should be to organize more search-and-rescue at sea, to save people and bring them to safety,” he added. “The focus should be on helping Lampedusa save the migrants.”

    A group of young migrants from Mali who were sitting near the migrant reception center, with pink tags on their hands indicating the date of their arrival, had a similar view.

    “We didn’t feel safe in Tunisia,” they told DW. “So we paid around €750 to a smuggler in Sfax, Tunisia, who then gave us a dinghy and told us to control it and cross the sea toward Europe. We got to Italy but we don’t want to stay here. We want to go to France and play football for that country.”
    Are other EU nations helping?

    At a press briefing in Brussels on Wednesday, the European Commission said that 450 staff from Europol, Frontex and the European Union Agency for Asylum have been deployed to the island to assist Italian authorities, and €40 million ($42.6 million) has been provided for transport and other infrastructure needed for to handle the increase in migrant arrivals.

    But Italian authorities have said they’re alone in dealing with the migrants, with Germany restricting Italy from transferring migrants and France tightening its borders with the country.

    Lampedusa Deputy Mayor Attilio Lucia was uncompromising: “The message that has to get through is that Europe has to wake up because the European Union has been absent for 20 years. Today we give this signal: Lampedusa says ’Enough’, the Lampedusians have been suffering for 20 years and we are psychologically destroyed,” he told DW.

    “I understand that this was done mostly for internal politics, whereby governments in France and Germany are afraid of being attacked by far-right parties and therefore preemptively take restrictive measures,” said Forin. “On the other hand, it is a measure of the failure of the EU to mediate a permanent and sustainable mechanism. When solidarity is left to voluntary mechanisms between states there is always a risk that, when the stakes are high, solidarity vanishes.”

    Local help

    As politicians and rights groups argue over the right response, Lampedusa locals like Antonello di Malta and his mother feel helping people should be the heart of any deal.

    On the night more than 7,000 people arrived on the island, di Malta said his mother called him saying some migrants had come to their house begging for food. “I had to go out but I didn’t feel comfortable hearing about them from my mother. So I came home and we started cooking spaghetti for them. There were 10 of them,” he told DW, adding that he was disappointed with how the government was handling the situation.

    “When I saw them I thought about how I would have felt if they were my sons crying and asking for food,” said Antonello’s mother. “So I started cooking for them. We Italians were migrants too. We used to also travel from north to south. So we can’t get scared of people and we need to help.”

    Mohammad still has faith in the Italian locals helping people like him. “I left horrible conditions in Gambia. It is my first time in Europe and local people here have been nice to me, giving me a cracker or sometimes even spaghetti. I don’t know where I will be taken next, but I have not lost hope,” he told DW.

    “I stay strong thinking that one day I will play football for Italy and eventually, my home country Gambia,” he said. “That sport gives me joy through all this hardship.”

    https://www.dw.com/en/lampedusa-operational-emergency-not-migration-crisis/a-66830589

    #débarquements #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Italie #crise #compassion #transferts #urgence_opérationnelle #crise_migratoire #Europol #Frontex #Agence_de_l'Union_européenne_pour_l'asile (#EUEA #EUAA) #solidarité

    ping @isskein @karine4 @_kg_

    • The dance that give life’
      Upon Lampedusa’s rocky shore they came,
      From Sub-Saharan lands, hearts aflame,
      Chasing dreams, fleeing despair,
      In search of a life that’s fair.

      Hunger gnawed, thirst clawed, bodies beat,
      Brutality’s rhythm, a policeman’s merciless feat,
      Yet within their spirits, a melody stirred,
      A refuge in humour where hope’s not deferred.

      Their laughter echoed ’cross the tiny island,
      In music and dance, they made a home,
      In the face of adversity, they sang their songs,
      In unity and rhythm, they proved their wrongs.

      A flood of souls, on Lampedusa’s strand,
      Ignited debates across the land,
      Politicians’ tongues twisted in spite,
      Racist rhetoric veiled as right.

      Yet, the common people, with curious gaze,
      Snared in the web of fear’s daze,
      Chose not to see the human plight,
      But the brainwash of bigotry’s might.

      Yet still, the survivor’s spirit shines bright,
      In the face of inhumanity, they recite,
      Their music, their dance, their undying humour,
      A testament to resilience, amid the rumour and hate.

      For they are not just numbers on a page,
      But humans, life stories, not a stage,
      Their journey not over, their tale still unspun,
      On the horizon, a new day begun.

      Written by @Yambiodavid

      https://twitter.com/RefugeesinLibya/status/1702595772603138331
      #danse #fête

    • L’imbroglio del governo oltre la propaganda

      Le politiche europee e italiane di esternalizzazione dei controlli di frontiera con il coinvolgimento di paesi terzi, ritenuti a torto “sicuri”, sono definitivamente fallite.

      La tragedia umanitaria in corso a Lampedusa, l’ennesima dalle “primavere arabe” del 2011 ad oggi, dimostra che dopo gli accordi di esternalizzazione, con la cessione di motovedette e con il supporto alle attività di intercettazione in mare, in collaborazione con Frontex, come si è fatto con la Tunisia e con la Libia (o con quello che ne rimane come governo di Tripoli), le partenze non diminuiscono affatto, ed anzi, fino a quando il meteo lo permette, sono in continuo aumento.

      Si sono bloccate con i fermi amministrativi le navi umanitarie più grandi, ma questo ha comportato un aumento degli “arrivi autonomi” e l’impossibilità di assegnare porti di sbarco distribuiti nelle città più grandi della Sicilia e della Calabria, come avveniva fino al 2017, prima del Codice di condotta Minniti e dell’attacco politico-giudiziario contro il soccorso civile.

      La caccia “su scala globale” a trafficanti e scafisti si è rivelata l’ennesimo annuncio propagandistico, anche se si dà molta enfasi alla intensificazione dei controlli di polizia e agli arresti di presunti trafficanti ad opera delle autorità di polizia e di guardia costiera degli Stati con i quali l’Italia ha stipulato accordi bilaterali finalizzati al contrasto dell’immigrazione “clandestina”. Se Salvini ha le prove di una guerra contro l’Italia, deve esibirle, altrimenti pensi al processo di Palermo sul caso Open Arms, per difendersi sui fatti contestati, senza sfruttare il momento per ulteriori sparate propagandistiche.

      Mentre si riaccende lo scontro nella maggioranza, è inutile incolpare l’Unione europea, dopo che la Meloni e Piantedosi hanno vantato di avere imposto un “cambio di passo” nelle politiche migratorie dell’Unione, mente invece hanno solo rafforzato accordi bilaterali già esistenti.

      Le politiche europee e italiane di esternalizzazione dei controlli di frontiera con il coinvolgimento di paesi terzi, ritenuti a torto “sicuri”, sono definitivamente fallite, gli arrivi delle persone che fuggono da aree geografiche sempre più instabili, per non parlare delle devastazioni ambientali, non sono diminuiti per effetto degli accordi bilaterali o multilaterali con i quali si è cercato di offrire aiuti economici in cambio di una maggiore collaborazione sulle attività di polizia per la sorveglianza delle frontiere. Dove peraltro la corruzione, i controlli mortali, se non gli abusi sulle persone migranti, si sono diffusi in maniera esponenziale, senza che alcuna autorità statale si dimostrasse in grado di fare rispettare i diritti fondamentali e le garanzie che dovrebbe assicurare a qualsiasi persona uno Stato democratico quando negozia con un paese terzo. Ed è per questa ragione che gli aiuti previsti dal Memorandum Tunisia-Ue non sono ancora arrivati e il Piano Mattei per l’Africa, sul quale Meloni e Piantedosi hanno investito tutte le loro energie, appare già fallito.

      Di fronte al fallimento sul piano internazionale è prevedibile una ulteriore stretta repressiva. Si attende un nuovo pacchetto sicurezza, contro i richiedenti asilo provenienti da paesi terzi “sicuri” per i quali, al termine di un sommario esame delle domande di protezione durante le “procedure accelerate in frontiera”, dovrebbero essere previsti “rimpatri veloci”. Come se non fossero certi i dati sul fallimento delle operazioni di espulsione e di rimpatrio di massa.

      Se si vogliono aiutare i paesi colpiti da terremoti e alluvioni, ma anche quelli dilaniati da guerre civili alimentate dalla caccia alle risorse naturali di cui è ricca l’Africa, occorrono visti umanitari, evacuazione dei richiedenti asilo presenti in Libia e Tunisia, ma anche in Niger, e sospensione immediata di tutti gli accordi stipulati per bloccare i migranti in paesi dove non si garantisce il rispetto dei diritti umani. Occorre una politica estera capace di mediare i conflitti e non di aggravarne gli esiti. Vanno aperti canali legali di ingresso senza delegare a paesi terzi improbabili blocchi navali. Per salvare vite, basta con la propaganda elettorale.

      https://ilmanifesto.it/limbroglio-del-governo-oltre-la-propaganda/r/2aUycOowSerL2VxgLCD9N

    • The fall of the Lampedusa Hotspot, people’s freedom and locals’ solidarity

      https://2196af27df.clvaw-cdnwnd.com/1b76f9dfff36cde79df962be70636288/200000912-464e9464ec/DSC09012.webp?ph=2196af27df

      A few weeks ago, the owner of one of the bars in the old port, was talking about human trafficking and money laundering between institutions and NGOs in relation to what had happened during that day. It was the evening of Thursday 24 August and Lampedusa had been touched by yet another ’exceptional’ event: 64 arrivals in one day. Tonight, in that same bar in the old port, a young Tunisian boy was sitting at a table and together with that same owner, albeit in different languages, exchanging life stories.

      What had been shaken in Lampedusa, in addition to the collapse of the Hotspot , is the collapse of the years long segregation system, which had undermined anypotential encounter with newly arrived people. A segregation that also provided fertile ground for conspiracy theories about migration, reducing people on the move to either victims or perpetrators of an alleged ’migration crisis’.

      Over the past two days, however, without police teams in manhunt mode, Lampedusa streets, public spaces, benches and bars, have been filled with encounters, conversations, pizzas and coffees offered by local inhabitants. Without hotspots and segregation mechanisms, Lampedusa becomes a space for enriching encounters and spontaneus acts of solidarity between locals and newly arrived people. Trays of fish ravioli, arancini, pasta, rice and couscous enter the small room next to the church, where volunteers try to guarantee as many meals as possible to people who, taken to the hotspot after disembarkation, had been unable to access food and water for three days. These scenes were unthinkable only a few days before. Since the beginning of the pandemic, which led to the end of the era of the ’hotspot with a hole’, newly-arrived people could not leave the detention centre, and it became almost impossible to imagine an open hotspot, with people walking freely through the city. Last night, 14 September, on Via Roma, groups of people who would never have met last week danced together with joy and complicity.

      These days, practice precedes all rhetoric, and what is happening shows that Lampedusa can be a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea rather than a border, that its streets can be a place of welcoming and encounter without a closed centre that stifles any space for self-managed solidarity.

      The problem is not migration but the mechanism used to manage it.

      The situation for the thousands of people who have arrived in recent days remains worrying and precarious. In Contrada Imbriacola, even tonight, people are sleeping on the ground or on cots next to the buses that will take them to the ships for transfers in the morning. Among the people, besides confusion and misinformation, there is a lot of tiredness and fatigue. There are many teenagers and adolescents and many children and pregnant women. There are no showers or sanitary facilities, and people still complain about the inaccessibility of food and water; the competitiveness during food distributions disheartens many because of the tension involved in queuing. The fights that broke out two days ago are an example of this, and since that event most of the workers of all the associations present in the centre have been prevented from entering for reasons of security and guaranteeing their safety.

      If the Red Cross and the Prefecture do not want to admit their responsibilities, these are blatant before our eyes and it is not only the images of 7000 people that prove this, but the way situations are handled due to an absolute lack of personnel and, above all, confusion at organisational moments.

      https://2196af27df.clvaw-cdnwnd.com/1b76f9dfff36cde79df962be70636288/200000932-250b0250b2/DSC08952-8.webp?ph=2196af27df

      A police commissioner tried unsuccessfully to get only a few people into the bus. The number and determination to leave of the newly arrived people is reformulating the very functioning of the transfers.

      A police commissioner tried unsuccessfully to get only a few people into the bus. The number and determination to leave of the newly arrived people is reformulating the very functioning of the transfers.

      During transfers yesterday morning, the carabinieri charged to move people crowded around a departing bus. The latter, at the cost of moving, performed a manoeuvre that squeezed the crowd against a low wall, creating an extremely dangerous situation ( video). All the people who had been standing in line for hours had to move chaotically, creating a commotion from which a brawl began in which at least one person split his eyebrow. Shortly before, one of the police commissioners had tried something different by creating a human caterpillar - people standing in line with their hands on their shoulders - in order to lead them into a bus, but once the doors were opened, other people pounced into it literally jamming it (photo). In other words, people are trudging along at the cost of others’ psycho-physical health.

      In yesterday evening’s transfer on 14 September (photo series with explanation), 300 people remained at the commercial dock from the morning to enter the Galaxy ship at nine o’clock in the evening. Against these 300 people, just as many arrived from the hotspot to board the ship or at least to try to do so.

      The tension, especially among those in control, was palpable; the marshals who remained on the island - the four patrols of the police force were all engaged for the day’s transfers - ’lined up’ between one group and another with the aim of avoiding any attempt to jump on the ship. In reality, people, including teenagers and families with children, hoped until the end to board the ship. No one told them otherwise until all 300 people passed through the only door left open to access the commercial pier. These people were promised that they would leave the next day. Meanwhile, other people from the hotspot have moved to the commercial pier and are spending the night there.

      People are demanding to leave and move freely. Obstructing rather than supporting this freedom of movement will lead people and territories back to the same impasses they have regularly experienced in recent years. The hotspot has collapsed, but other forms of borders remain that obstruct something as simple as personal self-determination. Forcing is the source of all problems, not freedom.

      Against all forms of borders, for freedom of movement for all.

      https://www.maldusa.org/l/the-fall-of-the-lampedusa-hotspot-people-s-freedom-and-locals-solidarity

      –-
      #Video: Lampedusa on the 14th September

      –-> https://vimeo.com/864806349

      –-

      #Lampedusa #hotspot #soilidarity #Maldusa

    • Lampedusa’s Hotspot System: From Failure to Nonexistence

      After a few days of bad weather, with the return of calm seas, people on the move again started to leave and cross the Mediterranean from Tunisia and Libya.

      During the day of 12 September alone, 110 iron, wooden and rubber boats arrived. 110 small boats, for about 5000 people in twenty-four hours. Well over the ’record’ of 60 that had astonished many a few weeks ago. Numbers not seen for years, and which add up to the approximately 120,000 people who have reached Italy since January 2023 alone: already 15,000 more than the entire year 2022.

      It has been a tense few days at the Favaloro pier, where people have been crowded for dozens of hours under the scorching sun.

      Some, having passed the gates and some rocks, jumped into the water in an attempt to find some coolness, reaching some boats at anchor and asking for water to drink.

      It pains and angers us that the police in riot gear are the only real response that seems to have been given.

      On the other hand, hundreds of people, who have arrived in the last two days on the Lampedusa coast, are walking through the streets of the town, crossing and finally reclaiming public space. The hotspot, which could accommodate 389, in front of 7000 people, has simply blown up. That is, it has opened.

      The square in front of the church was transformed, as it was years ago, into a meeting place where locals organised the distribution of food they had prepared, thanks also to the solidarity of bakers and restaurateurs who provided what they could.

      A strong and fast wave of solidarity: it seems incredible to see people on the move again, sharing space, moments and words with Lampedusians, activists from various organisations and tourists. Of course, there is also no shortage of sad and embarrassing situations, in which some tourists - perhaps secretly eager to meet ’the illegal immigrants’ - took pictures of themselves capturing these normally invisible and segregated chimeras.

      In fact, all these people would normally never meet, kept separate and segregated by the hotspot system.

      But these days a hotspot system seems to no longer exist, or to have completely broken down, in Lampedusa. It has literally been occupied by people on the move, sleeping inside and outside the centre, on the road leading from the entrance gate to the large car park, and in the abandoned huts around, and in every nook and cranny.

      Basic goods, such as water and food, are not enough. Due to the high number of people, there is a structural lack of distribution even of the goods that are present, and tensions seem to mount slowly but steadily.

      The Red Cross and workers from other organisations have been prevented from entering the hotspot centre for ’security reasons’ since yesterday morning. This seems an overwhelming situation for everyone. The pre-identification procedures, of course, are completely blown.

      Breaking out of this stalemate it’s very complex due to the continuous flow of arrivals : for today, as many as 2000 people are expected to be transferred between regular ships and military assets. For tomorrow another 2300 or so. Of course, it remains unpredictable how many people will continue to reach the island at the same time.

      In reaction to all this, we are not surprised, but again disappointed, that the city council is declaring a state of emergency still based on the rhetoric of ’invasion’.

      A day of city mourning has also been declared for the death of a 5-month-old baby, who did not survive the crossing and was found two days ago during a rescue.

      We are comforted, however, that a torchlight procession has been called by Lampedusians for tonight at 8pm. Banners read: ’STOP DEAD AT SEA’, ’LEGAL ENTRANCE CHANNELS NOW’.

      The Red Cross, Questura and Prefecture, on the other hand, oscillate between denying the problem - ’we are handling everything pretty well’ - to shouting at the invasion.

      It is not surprising either, but remains a disgrace, that the French government responds by announcing tighter border controls and that the German government announces in these very days - even though the decision stems from agreements already discussed in August regarding the Dublin Convention - that it will suspend the taking in of any refugee who falls under the so-called ’European solidarity mechanism’.

      We are facing a new level of breaking down the European borders and border regime by people on the move in the central Mediterranean area.

      We stand in full solidarity with them and wish them safe arrival in their destination cities.

      But let us remember: every day they continue to die at sea, which proves to be the deadliest border in the world. And this stems from a political choice, which remains intolerable and unacceptable.

      Freedom of movement must be a right for all!

      https://www.maldusa.org/l/lampedusas-hotspot-system-from-failure-to-nonexistence

    • « L’effet Lampedusa », ou comment se fabriquent des politiques migratoires répressives

      En concentrant les migrants dans des hotspots souvent situés sur de petites îles, les Etats européens installent une gestion inhumaine et inefficace des migrations, contradictoire avec certains de leurs objectifs, soulignent les chercheuses #Marie_Bassi et #Camille_Schmoll.

      Depuis quelques jours, la petite île de Lampedusa en Sicile a vu débarquer sur son territoire plus de migrants que son nombre d’habitants. Et comme à chacun de ces épisodes d’urgence migratoire en Europe, des représentants politiques partent en #croisade : pour accroître leur capital électoral, ils utilisent une #rhétorique_guerrière tandis que les annonces de #fermeture_des_frontières se succèdent. Les #élections_européennes approchent, c’est pour eux l’occasion de doubler par la droite de potentiels concurrents.

      Au-delà du cynisme des #opportunismes_politiques, que nous dit l’épisode Lampedusa ? Une fois de plus, que les #politiques_migratoires mises en place par les Etats européens depuis une trentaine d’années, et de manière accélérée depuis 2015, ont contribué à créer les conditions d’une #tragédie_humanitaire. Nous avons fermé les #voies_légales d’accès au territoire européen, contraignant des millions d’exilés à emprunter la périlleuse route maritime. Nous avons laissé les divers gouvernements italiens criminaliser les ONG qui portent secours aux bateaux en détresse, augmentant le degré de létalité de la traversée maritime. Nous avons collaboré avec des gouvernements irrespectueux des droits des migrants : en premier lieu la Libye, que nous avons armée et financée pour enfermer et violenter les populations migrantes afin de les empêcher de rejoindre l’Europe.

      L’épisode Lampedusa n’est donc pas simplement un drame humain : c’est aussi le symptôme d’une politique migratoire de courte vue, qui ne comprend pas qu’elle contribue à créer les conditions de ce qu’elle souhaite éviter, en renforçant l’instabilité et la violence dans les régions de départ ou de transit, et en enrichissant les réseaux criminels de trafic d’êtres humains qu’elle prétend combattre.

      Crise de l’accueil, et non crise migratoire

      Revenons d’abord sur ce que l’on peut appeler l’effet hotspot. On a assisté ces derniers mois à une augmentation importante des traversées de la Méditerranée centrale vers l’Italie, si bien que l’année 2023 pourrait, si la tendance se confirme, se hisser au niveau des années 2016 et 2017 qui avaient battu des records en termes de traversées dans cette zone. C’est bien entendu cette augmentation des départs qui a provoqué la surcharge actuelle de Lampedusa, et la situation de crise que l’on observe.

      Mais en réalité, les épisodes d’urgence se succèdent à Lampedusa depuis que l’île est devenue, au début des années 2000, le principal lieu de débarquement des migrants dans le canal de Sicile. Leur interception et leur confinement dans le hotspot de cette île exiguë de 20 km² renforce la #visibilité du phénomène, et crée un #effet_d’urgence et d’#invasion qui justifie une gestion inhumaine des arrivées. Ce fut déjà le cas en 2011 au moment des printemps arabes, lorsque plus de 60 000 personnes y avaient débarqué en quelques mois. Le gouvernement italien avait stoppé les transferts vers la Sicile, créant volontairement une situation d’#engorgement et de #crise_humanitaire. Les images du centre surpeuplé, de migrants harassés dormant dans la rue et protestant contre cet accueil indigne avaient largement été diffusées par les médias. Elles avaient permis au gouvernement italien d’instaurer un énième #état_d’urgence et de légitimer de nouvelles #politiques_répressives.

      Si l’on fait le tour des hotspots européens, force est de constater la répétition de ces situations, et donc l’échec de la #concentration dans quelques points stratégiques, le plus souvent des #îles du sud de l’Europe. L’#effet_Lampedusa est le même que l’effet #Chios ou l’effet #Moria#Lesbos) : ces #îles-frontières concentrent à elles seules, parce qu’elles sont exiguës, toutes les caractéristiques d’une gestion inhumaine et inefficace des migrations. Pensée en 2015 au niveau communautaire mais appliquée depuis longtemps dans certains pays, cette politique n’est pas parvenue à une gestion plus rationnelle des flux d’arrivées. Elle a en revanche fait peser sur des espaces périphériques et minuscules une énorme responsabilité humaine et une lourde charge financière. Des personnes traumatisées, des survivants, des enfants de plus en plus jeunes, sont accueillis dans des conditions indignes. Crise de l’accueil et non crise migratoire comme l’ont déjà montré de nombreuses personnes.

      Changer de paradigme

      Autre #myopie européenne : considérer qu’on peut, en collaborant avec les Etats de transit et de départ, endiguer les flux. Cette politique, au-delà de la vulnérabilité qu’elle crée vis-à-vis d’Etats qui peuvent user du chantage migratoire à tout moment – ce dont Kadhafi et Erdogan ne s’étaient pas privés – génère les conditions mêmes du départ des personnes en question. Car l’#externalisation dégrade la situation des migrants dans ces pays, y compris ceux qui voudraient y rester. En renforçant la criminalisation de la migration, l’externalisation renforce leur #désir_de_fuite. Depuis de nombreuses années, migrantes et migrants fuient les prisons et la torture libyennes ; ou depuis quelques mois, la violence d’un pouvoir tunisien en plein tournant autoritaire qui les érige en boucs émissaires. L’accord entre l’UE et la Tunisie, un énième du genre qui conditionne l’aide financière à la lutte contre l’immigration, renforce cette dynamique, avec les épisodes tragiques de cet été, à la frontière tuniso-libyenne.

      Lampedusa nous apprend qu’il est nécessaire de changer de #paradigme, tant les solutions proposées par les Etats européens (externalisation, #dissuasion, #criminalisation_des_migrations et de leurs soutiens) ont révélé au mieux leur #inefficacité, au pire leur caractère létal. Ils contribuent notamment à asseoir des régimes autoritaires et des pratiques violentes vis-à-vis des migrants. Et à transformer des êtres humains en sujets humanitaires.

      https://www.liberation.fr/idees-et-debats/tribunes/leffet-lampedusa-ou-comment-se-fabriquent-des-politiques-migratoires-repr

    • Pour remettre les pendules à l’heure :

      Saluti dal Paese del “fenomeno palesemente fuori controllo”.


      https://twitter.com/emmevilla/status/1703458756728610987

      Et aussi :

      « Les interceptions des migrants aux frontières représentent 1 à 3% des personnes autorisées à entrer avec un visa dans l’espace Schengen »

      Source : Babels, « Méditerranée – Des frontières à la dérive », https://www.lepassagerclandestin.fr/catalogue/bibliotheque-des-frontieres/mediterraneedes-frontieres-a-la-derive

      #statistiques #chiffres #étrangers #Italie

    • Arrivées à Lampedusa - #Solidarité et #résistance face à la crise de l’accueil en Europe.

      Suite à l’arrivée d’un nombre record de personnes migrantes à Lampedusa, la société civile exprime sa profonde inquiétude face à la réponse sécuritaire des Etats européens, la crise de l’accueil et réaffirme sa solidarité avec les personnes qui arrivent en Europe.

      Plus de 5 000 personnes et 112 bateaux : c’est le nombre d’arrivées enregistrées sur l’île italienne de Lampedusa le mardi 12 septembre. Les embarcations, dont la plupart sont arrivées de manière autonome, sont parties de Tunisie ou de Libye. Au total, plus de 118 500 personnes ont atteint les côtes italiennes depuis le début de l’année, soit près du double des 64 529 enregistrées à la même période en 2022 [1]. L’accumulation des chiffres ne nous fait pas oublier que, derrière chaque numéro, il y a un être humain, une histoire individuelle et que des personnes perdent encore la vie en essayant de rejoindre l’Europe.

      Si Lampedusa est depuis longtemps une destination pour les bateaux de centaines de personnes cherchant refuge en Europe, les infrastructures d’accueil de l’île font défaut. Mardi, le sauvetage chaotique d’un bateau a causé la mort d’un bébé de 5 mois. Celui-ci est tombé à l’eau et s’est immédiatement noyé, alors que des dizaines de bateaux continuaient d’accoster dans le port commercial. Pendant plusieurs heures, des centaines de personnes sont restées bloquées sur la jetée, sans eau ni nourriture, avant d’être transférées vers le hotspot de Lampedusa.

      Le hotspot, centre de triage où les personnes nouvellement arrivées sont tenues à l’écart de la population locale et pré-identifiées avant d’être transférées sur le continent, avec ses 389 places, n’a absolument pas la capacité d’accueillir dignement les personnes qui arrivent quotidiennement sur l’île. Depuis mardi, le personnel du centre est complètement débordé par la présence de 6 000 personnes. La Croix-Rouge et le personnel d’autres organisations ont été empêchés d’entrer dans le centre pour des « raisons de sécurité ».

      Jeudi matin, de nombreuses personnes ont commencé à s’échapper du hotspot en sautant les clôtures en raison des conditions inhumaines dans lesquelles elles y étaient détenues. Face à l’incapacité des autorités italiennes à offrir un accueil digne, la solidarité locale a pris le relais. De nombreux habitants et habitantes se sont mobilisés pour organiser des distributions de nourriture aux personnes réfugiées dans la ville [2].

      Différentes organisations dénoncent également la crise politique qui sévit en Tunisie et l’urgence humanitaire dans la ville de Sfax, d’où partent la plupart des bateaux pour l’Italie. Actuellement, environ 500 personnes dorment sur la place Beb Jebli et n’ont pratiquement aucun accès à la nourriture ou à une assistance médicale [3]. La plupart d’entre elles ont été contraintes de fuir le Soudan, l’Éthiopie, la Somalie, le Tchad, l’Érythrée ou le Niger. Depuis les déclarations racistes du président tunisien, Kais Saied, de nombreuses personnes migrantes ont été expulsées de leur domicile et ont perdu leur travail [4]. D’autres ont été déportées dans le désert où certaines sont mortes de soif.

      Alors que ces déportations massives se poursuivent et que la situation à Sfax continue de se détériorer, l’UE a conclu un nouvel accord avec le gouvernement tunisien il y a trois mois afin de coopérer « plus efficacement en matière de migration », de gestion des frontières et de « lutte contre la contrebande », au moyen d’une enveloppe de plus de 100 millions d’euros. L’UE a accepté ce nouvel accord en pleine connaissance des atrocités commises par le gouvernement tunisien ainsi que les attaques perpétrées par les garde-côtes tunisiens sur les bateaux de migrants [5].

      Pendant ce temps, nous observons avec inquiétude comment les différents gouvernements européens ferment leurs frontières et continuent de violer le droit d’asile et les droits humains les plus fondamentaux. Alors que le ministre français de l’Intérieur a annoncé son intention de renforcer les contrôles à la frontière italienne, plusieurs autres États membres de l’UE ont également déclaré qu’ils fermeraient leurs portes. En août, les autorités allemandes ont décidé d’arrêter les processus de relocalisation des demandeurs et demandeuses d’asile arrivant en Allemagne depuis l’Italie dans le cadre du « mécanisme de solidarité volontaire » [6].

      Invitée à Lampedusa dimanche par la première ministre Meloni, la Présidente de la Commission européenne Von der Leyen a annoncé la mise en place d’un plan d’action en 10 points qui vient confirmer cette réponse ultra-sécuritaire [7]. Renforcer les contrôles en mer au détriment de l’obligation de sauvetage, augmenter la cadence des expulsions et accroître le processus d’externalisation des frontières… autant de vieilles recettes que l’Union européenne met en place depuis des dizaines années et qui ont prouvé leur échec, ne faisant qu’aggraver la crise de la solidarité et la situation des personnes migrantes.

      Les organisations soussignées appellent à une Europe ouverte et accueillante et exhortent les États membres de l’UE à fournir des voies d’accès sûres et légales ainsi que des conditions d’accueil dignes. Nous demandons que des mesures urgentes soient prises à Lampedusa et que les lois internationales qui protègent le droit d’asile soient respectées. Nous sommes dévastés par les décès continus en mer causés par les politiques frontalières de l’UE et réaffirmons notre solidarité avec les personnes en mouvement.

      https://migreurop.org/article3203.html?lang_article=fr

    • Che cos’è una crisi migratoria?

      Continuare a considerare il fenomeno migratorio come crisi ci allontana sempre più dalla sua comprensione, mantenendoci ancorati a soluzioni emergenziali che non possono che risultare strumentali e pericolose
      Le immagini della fila di piccole imbarcazioni in attesa di fare ingresso nel porto di Lampedusa resteranno impresse nella nostra memoria collettiva. Oltre cinquemila persone in sole ventiquattrore, che si aggiungono alle oltre centomila giunte in Italia nei mesi precedenti (114.256 al 31 agosto 2023). Nel solo mese di agosto sono sbarcate in Italia più di venticinquemila persone, che si aggiungono alle oltre ventitremila di luglio. Era del resto in previsione di una lunga estate di sbarchi che il Governo aveva in aprile dichiarato lo stato di emergenza, in un momento in cui, secondo i dati forniti dal ministro Piantedosi, nella sola Lampedusa erano concentrate più di tremila persone. Stando alle dichiarazioni ufficiali, l’esigenza era quella di dotarsi degli strumenti tecnici per distribuire più efficacemente chi era in arrivo sul territorio italiano, in strutture gestite dalla Protezione civile, aggirando le ordinarie procedure d’appalto per l’apertura di nuove strutture di accoglienza.

      Tra il 2017 e il 2022, in parallelo con la riduzione del numero di sbarchi, il sistema d’accoglienza per richiedenti protezione internazionale era stato progressivamente contratto, perdendo circa il 240% della sua capacità ricettiva. Gli interventi dei primi mesi del 2023 sembravano tuttavia volerne rivoluzionare la fisionomia. Il cosiddetto “Decreto Cutro” escludeva i richiedenti asilo dalla possibilità di accedere alle strutture di accoglienza che fanno capo alla rete Sai (Sistema accoglienza migrazione), che a fine 2022 vantava una capacità di quasi venticinquemila posti, per riservare loro strutture come i grandi Centri di prima accoglienza o di accoglienza straordinaria, in cui sempre meno servizi alla persona sarebbero stati offerti. Per i richiedenti provenienti dai Paesi considerati “sicuri”, invece, la prospettiva era quella del confinamento in strutture situate nei pressi delle zone di frontiera in attesa dell’esito della procedura d’asilo accelerata e, eventualmente, del rimpatrio immediato.

      L’impennata nel numero di arrivi registrata negli ultimi giorni ha infine indotto il presidente del Consiglio ad annunciare con un videomessaggio trasmesso all’ora di cena nuove misure eccezionali. In particolare, sarà affidato all’Esercito il compito di creare e gestire nuove strutture detentive in cui trattenere “chiunque entri illegalmente in Italia per tutto il tempo necessario alla definizione della sue eventuale richiesta d’asilo e per la sua effettiva espulsione nel caso in cui sia irregolare”, da collocarsi “in località a bassissima densità abitativa e facilmente perimetrabili e sorvegliabili”. Parallelamente, anche i termini massimi di detenzione saranno innalzati fino a diciotto mesi.

      Ciò di cui nessuno sembra dubitare è che l’Italia si trovi a fronteggiare l’ennesima crisi migratoria. Ma esattamente, di cosa si parla quando si usa la parola “crisi” in relazione ai fenomeni migratori?

      Certo c’è la realtà empirica dei movimenti attraverso le frontiere. Oltre centomila arrivi in otto mesi giustificano forse il riferimento al concetto di crisi, ma a ben vedere non sono i numeri il fattore determinante. Alcune situazioni sono state definite come critiche anche in presenza di numeri tutto sommato limitati, per ragioni essenzialmente politico-diplomatiche. Si pensi alla crisi al confine greco-turco nel 2020, o ancora alla crisi ai confini di Polonia e Lituania con la Bielorussia nel 2021. In altri casi il movimento delle persone attraverso i confini non è stato tematizzato come una crisi anche a fronte di numeri molto elevati, si pensi all’accoglienza riservata ai profughi ucraini. Sebbene siano stati attivati strumenti di risposta eccezionali, il loro orientamento è stato prevalentemente umanitario e volto all’accoglienza. L’Italia, ad esempio, ha sì decretato uno stato d’emergenza per implementare un piano di accoglienza straordinaria dei profughi provenienti dall’Ucraina, ma ha offerto accoglienza agli oltre centosettantamila ucraini presenti sul nostro territorio senza pretendere di confinarli in centri chiusi, concedendo inoltre loro un sussidio in denaro.

      Ciò che conta è la rappresentazione del fenomeno migratorio e la risposta politica che di conseguenza segue. Le rappresentazioni e le politiche si alimentano reciprocamente. In breve, non tutti i fenomeni migratori sono interpretati come una crisi, né, quando lo sono, determinano la medesima risposta emergenziale. Ad esempio, all’indomani della tragedia di Lampedusa del 2013 prevalse un paradigma interpretativo chiaramente umanitario, che portò all’intensificazione delle operazioni di ricerca e soccorso nel Mediterraneo. Nel 2014 sbarcarono in Italia oltre centosettantamila migranti, centocinquantamila nel 2015 e ben centottantamila nel 2016. Questo tipo di approccio è stato in seguito definito come un pericoloso fattore di attrazione per le migrazioni non autorizzate e l’area operativa delle missioni di sorveglianza dei confini marittimi progressivamente arretrata, creando quel vuoto nelle attività di ricerca e soccorso che le navi delle Ong hanno cercato negli ultimi anni di colmare.

      Gli arrivi a Lampedusa degli ultimi giorni sono in gran parte l’effetto della riduzione dell’attività di sorveglianza oltre le acque territoriali. Intercettare i migranti in acque internazionali implica l’assunzione di obblighi e ricerca e soccorso che l’attuale governo accetta con una certa riluttanza, ma consente anche di far sbarcare i migranti soccorsi in mare anche in altri porti, evitando eccessive concentrazioni in un unico punto di sbarco.

      I migranti che raggiungono le nostre coste sono rappresentati come invasori, che violando i nostri confini minacciano la nostra integrità territoriale. L’appello insistito all’intervento delle forze armate che abbiamo ascoltato negli ultimi giorni si giustifica proprio attraverso il riferimento alla necessità di proteggere i confini e, in ultima analisi, l’integrità territoriale dell’Italia. Per quanto le immagini di migliaia di persone che sbarcano sulle coste italiane possano impressionare l’opinione pubblica, il riferimento alla necessità di proteggere l’integrità territoriale è frutto di un grave equivoco. Il principio di integrità territoriale è infatti codificato nel diritto internazionale come un corollario del divieto di uso della forza. Da ciò discende che l’integrità territoriale di uno Stato può essere minacciata solo da un’azione militare ostile condotta da forze regolari o irregolari. È dubbio che le migrazioni possano essere considerate una minaccia tale da giustificare, ad esempio, un blocco navale.

      Se i migranti non possono di per sé essere considerati come una minaccia alla integrità territoriale dello Stato, potrebbero però essere utilizzati come strumento da parte di attori politici intenzionati a destabilizzare politicamente i Paesi di destinazione. Non è mancato negli ultimi tempi chi ha occasionalmente evocato l’idea della strumentalizzazione delle migrazioni, fino alla recente, plateale dichiarazione del ministro Salvini. D’altra parte, questo è un tema caro ai Paesi dell’Est Europa, che hanno spinto affinché molte delle misure eccezionali adottate da loro in occasione della crisi del 2021 fossero infine incorporate nel diritto della Ue. Una parte del governo italiano sembra tuttavia più cauta, anche perché si continua a vedere nella collaborazione con i Paesi terzi la chiave di volta per la gestione del fenomeno. Accusare esplicitamente la Tunisia di strumentalizzare le migrazioni avrebbe costi politico-diplomatici troppo elevati.

      Cionondimeno, insistendo sull’elemento del rischio di destabilizzazione interna, plasticamente rappresentato dalle immagini delle migliaia di persone ammassate sul molo o nell’hotspot di Lampedusa, il governo propone una risposta politica molto simile all’approccio utilizzato da Polonia e Lituania nel 2021, centrato su respingimenti di massa e detenzione nelle zone di frontiera. L’obiettivo è quello di disincentivare i potenziali futuri migranti, paventando loro lunghi periodi di detenzione e il ritorno nella loro patria di origine.

      Gran parte di questa strategia dipende dalla collaborazione dei Paesi terzi e dalla loro disponibilità a bloccare le partenze prima che i migranti siano intercettati da autorità Italiane, facendo di conseguenza scattare gli obblighi internazionali di ricerca e soccorso o di asilo. Una strategia simile, definita come del controllo senza contatto, è stata seguita a lungo nella cooperazione con la Guardia costiera libica. Tuttavia, è proprio il tentativo di esternalizzare i controlli migratori a rendere i Paesi della Ue sempre più vulnerabili alla spregiudicata diplomazia delle migrazioni dei Paesi terzi. In definitiva, sono i Paesi europei che offrono loro la possibilità di strumentalizzare le migrazioni a scopi politici.

      Sul piano interno, il successo di una simile strategia dipende dalla capacità di rimpatriare rapidamente i migranti giunti sul territorio italiano. Alla fine del 2021 la percentuale di rimpatri che l’Italia riusciva ad eseguire era del 15% dei provvedimenti di allontanamento adottati. Gran parte delle persone rimpatriate sono tuttavia cittadini tunisini, anche perché in assenza di collaborazione con il Paese d’origine è impossibile rimpatriare. I tunisini rappresentano solo l’8% delle persone sbarcate nel 2023, che vengono in prevalenza da Guinea, Costa d’Avorio, Egitto, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso. L’allungamento dei tempi di detenzione non avrà dunque nessuna incidenza sulla efficacia delle politiche di rimpatrio.

      Uno degli argomenti utilizzati per giustificare l’intervento dell’Esercito è quello della necessità di accrescere la capacità del sistema detentivo, giudicata dal Governo non adeguata a gestire l’attuale crisi migratoria. Stando ai dati inclusi nella relazione sul sistema di accoglienza, alla fine del 2021 il sistema contava 744 posti, a fronte di una capacità ufficiale di 1.395. Come suggerisce la medesima relazione, il sistema funziona da sempre a capacità ridotta, anche perché le strutture sono soggette a ripetuti interventi di manutenzione straordinaria a causa delle devastazioni che seguono alle continue rivolte. Si tratta di strutture ai limiti dell’ingestibilità, che possono essere governate solo esercitando una forma sistemica di violenza istituzionale.

      Il sistema detentivo per stranieri sta tuttavia cambiando pelle progressivamente, ibridandosi con il sistema di accoglienza per richiedenti asilo al fine di contenere i migranti appena giunti via mare in attesa del loro più o meno rapido respingimento. Fino ad oggi, tuttavia, la detenzione ha continuato ad essere utilizzata in maniera più o meno selettiva, riservandola a coloro con ragionevoli prospettive di essere rimpatriati in tempi rapidi. Gli altri sono stati instradati verso il sistema di accoglienza, qualora avessero presentato una domanda d’asilo, o abbandonai al loro destino con in mano un ordine di lasciare l’Italia entro sette giorni.

      Le conseguenze di una politica basata sulla detenzione sistematica e a lungo termine di tutti coloro che giungono alla frontiera sono facili da immaginare. Se l’Italia si limitasse a trattenere per una media di sei mesi (si ricordi che l’intenzione espressa in questi giorni dal Governo italiano è di portare a diciotto mesi i termini massimi di detenzione) anche solo il 50% delle persone che sbarcano, significherebbe approntare un sistema detentivo con una capacità di trentottomila posti. Certo, questo calcolo si basa sulla media mensile degli arrivi registrati nel 2023, un anno di “crisi” appunto. Ma anche tenendo conto della media mensile degli arrivi dei due anni precedenti la prospettiva non sarebbe confortante. Il nostro Paese dovrebbe infatti essere in grado di mantenere una infrastruttura detentiva da ventimila posti. Una simile infrastruttura, dato l’andamento oscillatorio degli arrivi via mare, dovrebbe essere poi potenziata al bisogno per far fronte alle necessità delle fasi in cui il numero di sbarchi cresce.

      Lascio al lettore trarre le conseguenze circa l’impatto materiale e umano che una simile approccio alla gestione degli arrivi avrebbe. Mi limito qui solo ad alcune considerazioni finali sulla maniera in cui sono tematizzate le cosiddette crisi migratorie. Tali crisi continuano ad essere viste come il frutto della carenza di controlli e della incapacità dello Stato di esercitare il suo diritto sovrano di controllare le frontiere. La risposta alle crisi migratorie è dunque sempre identica a sé stessa, alla ricerca di una impossibile chiusura dei confini che riproduce sempre nuove crisi, nuovi morti in mare, nuova violenza di Stato lungo le frontiere fortificate o nelle zone di contenimento militarizzate. Guardare alle migrazioni attraverso la lente del concetto di “crisi” induce tuttavia a pensare le migrazioni come a qualcosa di eccezionale, come a un’anomalia causata da instabilità e catastrofi che si verificano in un altrove geografico e politico. Le migrazioni sono così destoricizzate e decontestualizzate dalle loro cause strutturali e i Paesi di destinazione condannati a replicare politiche destinate a fallire poiché appunto promettono risultati irraggiungibili. Più che insistere ossessivamente sulla rappresentazione delle migrazioni come crisi, si dovrebbe dunque forse cominciare a tematizzare la crisi delle politiche migratorie. Una crisi più profonda e strutturale che non può essere ridotta alle polemiche scatenate dai periodici aumenti nel numero di sbarchi.

      https://www.rivistailmulino.it/a/che-cos-una-crisi-migratoria

    • Spiegazione semplice del perché #Lampedusa va in emergenza.

      2015-2017: 150.000 sbarchi l’anno, di cui 14.000 a Lampedusa (9%).

      Ultimi 12 mesi: 157.000 sbarchi, di cui 104.000 a Lampedusa (66%).

      Soluzione: aumentare soccorsi a #migranti, velocizzare i trasferimenti.
      Fine.

      https://twitter.com/emmevilla/status/1704751278184685635

    • Interview de M. #Gérald_Darmanin, ministre de l’intérieur et des outre-mer, à Europe 1/CNews le 18 septembre 2023, sur la question migratoire et le travail des forces de l’ordre.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Bonjour à vous Gérald DARMANIN.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Bonjour.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Merci de nous accorder cet entretien, avant votre déplacement cet après-midi à Rome. Lampedusa, Monsieur le Ministre, débordé par l’afflux de milliers de migrants. La présidente de la Commission européenne, Ursula VON DER LEYEN, en visite sur place, a appelé les pays européens à accueillir une partie de ces migrants arrivés en Italie. Est-ce que la France s’apprête à le faire, et si oui, pour combien de migrants ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Alors, non, la France ne s’apprête pas à le faire, la France, comme l’a dit le président de la République la Première ministre italienne, va aider l’Italie à tenir sa frontière, pour empêcher les gens d’arriver, et pour ceux qui sont arrivés en Italie, à Lampedusa et dans le reste de l’Italie, nous devons appliquer les règles européennes, que nous avons adoptées voilà quelques mois, qui consistent à faire les demandes d’asile à la frontière. Et donc une fois que l’on fait les demandes d’asile à la frontière, on constate qu’une grande partie de ces demandeurs d’asile ne sont pas éligibles à l’asile et doivent repartir immédiatement dans les pays d’origine. S’il y a des demandeurs d’asile, qui sont éligibles à l’asile, qui sont persécutés pour des raisons évidemment politiques, bien sûr, ce sont des réfugiés, et dans ces cas-là, la France comme d’autres pays, comme elle l’a toujours fait, peut accueillir des personnes. Mais ce serait une erreur d’appréciation que de considérer que les migrants parce qu’ils arrivent en Europe, doivent tout de suite être répartis dans tous les pays d’Europe et dont la France, qui prend déjà largement sa part, et donc ce que nous voulons dire à nos amis italiens, qui je crois sont parfaitement d’accord avec nous, nous devons protéger les frontières extérieures de l’Union européenne, les aider à cela, et surtout tout de suite regarder les demandes d’asile, et quand les gens ne sont pas éligibles à l’asile, tout de suite les renvoyer dans leur pays.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Donc, pour être clair ce matin Gérald DARMANIN, vous dites que la politique de relocalisation immédiate, non la France n’en prendra pas sa part.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      S’il s’agit de personnes qui doivent déposer une demande d’asile parce qu’ils sont persécutés dans leur pays, alors ce sont des réfugiés politiques, oui nous avons toujours relocalisé, on a toujours mis dans nos pays si j’ose dire une partie du fardeau qu’avaient les Italiens ou les Grecs. S’il s’agit de prendre les migrants tels qu’ils sont, 60 % d’entre eux viennent de pays comme la Côte d’Ivoire, comme la Guinée, comme la Gambie, il n’y a aucune raison qu’ils viennent…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Ça a été le cas lors de l’Ocean Viking.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Il n’y a aucune raison. Pour d’autres raisons, c’est des raisons humanitaires, là il n’y a pas de question humanitaire, sauf qu’à Lampedusa les choses deviennent très difficiles, c’est pour ça qu’il faut que nous aidions nos amis italiens, mais il ne peut pas y avoir comme message donné aux personnes qui viennent sur notre sol, qu’ils sont quoiqu’il arrive dans nos pays accueillis. Ils ne sont accueillis que s’ils respectent les règles de l’asile, s’ils sont persécutés. Mais si c’est une immigration qui est juste irrégulière, non, la France ne peut pas les accueillir, comme d’autres pays. La France est très ferme, vous savez, j’entends souvent que c’est le pays où il y a le plus de demandeurs d’asile, c’est tout à fait faux, nous sommes le 4e pays, derrière l’Allemagne, derrière l’Espagne, derrière l’Autriche, et notre volonté c’est d’accueillir bien sûr ceux qui doivent l’être, les persécutés politiques, mais nous devons absolument renvoyer chez eux, ceux qui n’ont rien à faire en Europe.

      SONIA MABROUK
      On entend ce message ce matin, qui est un peu différent de celui de la ministre des Affaires étrangères, qui semblait parler d’un accueil inconditionnel. Le président de la République a parlé d’un devoir de solidarité. Vous, vous dites : oui, devoir de solidarité, mais nous n’allons pas avoir une politique de répartition des migrants, ce n’est pas le rôle de la France.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Le rôle de la France, d’abord aider l’Italie.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Comment, concrètement ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Eh bien d’abord, nous devons continuer à protéger nos frontières, et ça c’est à l’Europe de le faire.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Ça c’est l’enjeu majeur, les frontières extérieures.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Exactement. Nous devons déployer davantage Frontex en Méditerranée…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Avec une efficacité, Monsieur le Ministre, très discutable.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Avec des messages qu’on doit passer à Frontex effectivement, de meilleures actions, pour empêcher les personnes de traverser pour aller à Lampedusa. Il y a eu à Lampedusa, vous l’avez dit, des milliers de personnes, 5000 même en une seule journée, m’a dit le ministre italien, le 12 septembre. Donc il y a manifestement 300, 400 arrivées de bateaux possibles. Nous devons aussi travailler avec la Tunisie, avec peut-être beaucoup plus encore d’actions que nous faisons jusqu’à présent. La Commission européenne vient de négocier un plan, eh bien il faut le mettre en place désormais, il faut arrêter d’en parler, il faut le faire. Vous savez, les bateaux qui sont produits à Sfax pour venir à Lampedusa, ils sont produits en Tunisie. Donc il faut absolument que nous cassons cet écosystème des passeurs, des trafiquants, parce qu’on ne peut pas continuer comme ça.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Quand vous dites « nous », c’est-à-dire en partenariat avec la Tunisie ? Comment vous expliquez Monsieur le Ministre qu’il y a eu un afflux aussi soudain ? Est-ce que la Tunisie n’a pas pu ou n’a pas voulu contenir ces arrivées ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Je ne sais pas. J’imagine que le gouvernement tunisien a fait le maximum…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Vous devez avoir une idée.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      On sait qu’on que tous ces gens sont partis de Sfax, donc d’un endroit extrêmement précis où il y a beaucoup de migrants notamment Africains, Subsahariens qui y sont, donc la Tunisie connaît elle-même une difficulté migratoire très forte. On doit manifestement l’aider, mais on doit aussi très bien coopérer avec elle, je crois que c’est ce que fait en ce moment le gouvernement italien, qui rappelle un certain nombre de choses aux Tunisiens, quoi leur rappelle aussi leurs difficultés. Donc, ce qui est sûr c’est que nous avons désormais beaucoup de plans, on a beaucoup de moyens, on a fait beaucoup de déplacements, maintenant il faut appliquer cela. Vous savez, la France, à la demande du président de la République, c’était d’ailleurs à Tourcoing, a proposé un pacte migratoire, qui consistait très simplement à ce que les demandes d’asile ne se fassent plus dans nos pays, mais à la frontière. Tout le monde l’a adopté, y compris le gouvernement de madame MELONI. C’est extrêmement efficace puisque l’idée c’est qu’on dise que les gens, quand ils rentrent sur le territoire européen, ne sont pas juridiquement sur le territoire européen, que nous regardions leur asile en quelques jours, et nous les renvoyons. Il faut que l’Italie…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Ça c’est le principe.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Il faut que l’Italie anticipe, anticipe la mise en place de ce dispositif. Et pourquoi il n’a pas encore été mis en place ? Parce que des députés européens, ceux du Rassemblement national, ont voté contre. C’est-à-dire que l’on est dans une situation politique un peu étonnante, où la France trouve une solution, la demande d’asile aux frontières, beaucoup plus efficace. Le gouvernement de madame MELONI, dans lequel participe monsieur SALVINI, est d’accord avec cette proposition, simplement ceux qui bloquent ça au Parlement européen, c’est le Rassemblement national, qui après va en Italie pour dire que l’Europe ne fait rien.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Sauf que, Monsieur le Ministre…

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Donc on voit bien qu’il y a du tourisme électoral de la part de madame LE PEN…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Vous le dénoncez.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Il faut désormais être ferme, ce que je vous dis, nous n’accueillerons pas les migrants sur le territoire européen…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Mais un migrant, sur le sol européen aujourd’hui, sait qu’il va y rester. La vocation est d’y rester.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Non, c’est tout à fait faux, nous faisons des retours. Nous avons par exemple dans les demandes d’asile, prévu des Ivoiriens. Bon. Nous avons des personnes qui viennent du Cameroun, nous avons des personnes qui viennent de Gambie. Avec ces pays nous avons d’excellentes relations politiques internationales, et nous renvoyons tous les jours dans ces pays des personnes qui n’ont rien à faire pour demander l’asile en France ou en Europe. Donc c’est tout à fait faux, avec certains pays nous avons plus de difficultés, bien sûr, parce qu’ils sont en guerre, comme la Syrie, comme l’Afghanistan bien sûr, mais avec beaucoup de pays, la Tunisie, la Gambie, la Côte d’Ivoire, le Sénégal, le Cameroun, nous sommes capables d’envoyer très rapidement ces personnes chez elles.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Lorsque le patron du Rassemblement national Jordan BARDELLA, ou encore Eric ZEMMOUR, ou encore Marion MARECHAL sur place, dit : aucun migrant de Lampedusa ne doit arriver en France. Est-ce que vous êtes capable de tenir, si je puis dire cette déclaration ? Vous dites : c’est totalement illusoire.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Non mais monsieur BARDELLA il fait de la politique politicienne, et malheureusement sur le dos de ses amis italiens, sur le dos de femmes et d’hommes, puisqu’il ne faut jamais oublier que ces personnes évidemment connaissent des difficultés extrêmement fortes. Il y a un bébé qui est mort à Lampedusa voilà quelques heures, et évidemment sur le dos de l’intelligence politique que les Français ont. Le Front national vote systématiquement contre toutes les mesures que nous proposons au niveau européen, chacun voit que c’est un sujet européen, c’est pour ça d’ailleurs qu’il se déplace, j’imagine, en Italie…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Ils ne sont pas d’accord avec votre politique, Monsieur le Ministre, ça ne surprend personne.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Non mais monsieur SALVINI madame MELONI, avec le gouvernement français, ont adopté un texte commun qui prévoit une révolution : la demande d’asile aux frontières. Monsieur BARDELLA, lui il parle beaucoup, mais au Parlement européen il vote contre. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’il vit des problèmes. La vérité c’est que monsieur BARDELLA, comme madame Marion MARECHAL LE PEN, on a compris qu’il y a une sorte de concurrence dans la démagogie à l’extrême droite, eux, ce qu’ils veulent c’est vivre des problèmes. Quand on leur propose de résoudre les problèmes, l’Europe avec le président de la République a essayé de leur proposer de les résoudre. Nous avons un accord avec madame MELONI, nous faisons la demande d’asile aux frontières, nous considérons qu’il n’y a plus d’asile en Europe, tant qu’on n’a pas étudié aux frontières cet asile. Quand le Rassemblement national vote contre, qu’est-ce qui se passe ? Eh bien ils ne veulent pas résoudre les problèmes, ils veulent pouvoir avoir une sorte de carburant électoral, pour pouvoir dire n’importe quoi, comme ils l’ont fait ce week-end encore.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Ce matin, sur les 5 000, 6 000 qui sont arrivés à Lampedusa, combien seront raccompagnés, combien n’ont pas vocation et ne resteront pas sur le sol européen ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Alors, c’est difficile. C’est difficile à savoir, parce que moi je ne suis pas les autorités italiennes, c’est pour ça que à la demande, du président je vais à Rome cet après-midi, mais de notre point de vue, de ce que nous en savons des autorités italiennes, beaucoup doivent être accompagnés, puisqu’encore une fois je comprends que sur à peu près 8 000 ou 9 000 personnes qui sont arrivées, il y a beaucoup de gens qui viennent de pays qui ne connaissent pas de persécution politique, ni au Cameroun, ni en Côte d’Ivoire, ni bien sûr en Gambie, ni en Tunisie, et donc ces personnes, bien sûr, doivent repartir dans leur pays et la France doit les aider à repartir.

      SONIA MABROUK
      On note Gérald DARMANIN que vous avez un discours, en tout cas une tonalité très différente à l’égard de madame MELONI, on se souvient tous qu’il y a eu quasiment une crise diplomatique il y a quelques temps, lorsque vous avez dit qu’elle n’était pas capable de gérer ces questions migratoires sur lesquelles elle a été… elle est arrivée au pouvoir avec un discours très ferme, aujourd’hui vous dites « non, je la soutiens madame MELONI », c’est derrière nous toutes ces déclarations, que vous avez tenues ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Je ne suis pas là pour soutenir madame MELONI, non, je dis simplement que lorsqu’on vote pour des gouvernements qui vous promettent tout, c’est le cas aussi de ce qui s’est passé avec le Brexit en Grande-Bretagne, les Français doivent comprendre ça. Lorsqu’on vous dit " pas un migrant ne viendra, on fera un blocus naval, vous allez voir avec nous on rase gratis ", on voit bien que la réalité dépasse largement ces engagements.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Elle a réitéré le blocus naval !

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Le fait est qu’aujourd’hui nous devons gérer une situation où l’Italie est en grande difficulté, et on doit aider l’Italie, parce qu’aider l’Italie, d’abord c’est nos frères et nos soeurs les Italiens, mais en plus c’est la continuité, évidemment, de ce qui va se passer en France, donc moi je suis là pour protéger les Français, je suis là pour protéger les Français parce que le président de la République souhaite que nous le faisions dans un cadre européen, et c’est la seule solution qui vaille, parce que l’Europe doit parler d’une seule voix…

      SONIA MABROUK
      C’est la seule solution qui vaille ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Oui, c’est la seule solution qui vaille…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Vous savez que l’Allemagne a changé, enfin elle n’en voulait pas, finalement là, sur les migrants, elle change d’avis, la Hongrie, la Pologne, je n’en parle même pas, la situation devient quand même intenable.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      La France a un rôle moteur dans cette situation de ce week-end, vous avez vu les contacts diplomatiques que nous avons eus, on est heureux d’avoir réussi à faire bouger nos amis Allemands sur cette situation. Les Allemands connaissent aussi une difficulté forte, ils ont 1 million de personnes réfugiées ukrainiens, ils ont une situation compliquée par rapport à la nôtre aussi, mais je constate que l’Allemagne et la France parlent une nouvelle fois d’une seule voix.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Mais l’Europe est en ordre dispersé, ça on peut le dire, c’est un constat lucide.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      L’Europe est dispersée parce que l’Europe, malheureusement, a des intérêts divergents, mais l’Europe a réussi à se mettre d’accord sur la proposition française, encore une fois, une révolution migratoire qui consiste à faire des demandes d’asile à la frontière. Nous nous sommes mis d’accord entre tous les pays européens, y compris madame MELONI, ceux qui bloquent c’est le Rassemblement national, et leurs amis, au Parlement européen, donc plutôt que de faire du tourisme migratoire à Lampedusa comme madame Marion MARECHAL LE PEN, ou raconter n’importe quoi comme monsieur BARDELLA, ils feraient mieux de faire leur travail de députés européens, de soutenir la France, d’être un peu patriotes pour une fois, de ne pas faire la politique du pire…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Vous leur reprochez un défaut de patriotisme à ce sujet-là ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Quand on ne soutient pas la politique de son gouvernement, lorsque l’on fait l’inverser…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Ça s’appelle être dans l’opposition parfois Monsieur le Ministre.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Oui, mais on ne peut pas le faire sur le dos de femmes et d’hommes qui meurent, et moi je vais vous dire, le Rassemblement national aujourd’hui n’est pas dans la responsabilité politique. Qu’il vote ce pacte migratoire très vite, que nous puissions enfin, concrètement, aider nos amis Italiens, c’est sûr qu’il y aura moins d’images dramatiques, du coup il y aura moins de carburant pour le Rassemblement national, mais ils auront fait quelque chose pour leur pays.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Vous les accusez, je vais employer ce mot puisque la ministre Agnès PANNIER-RUNACHER l’a employé elle-même, de « charognards » là, puisque nous parlons de femmes et d’hommes, de difficultés aussi, c’est ce que vous êtes en train de dire ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Moi je ne comprends pas pourquoi on passe son temps à faire des conférences de presse en Italie, à Lampedusa, en direct sur les plateaux de télévision, lorsqu’on n’est pas capable, en tant que parlementaires européens, de voter un texte qui permet concrètement de lutter contre les difficultés migratoires. Encore une fois, la révolution que la France a proposée, et qui a été adoptée, avec le soutien des Italiens, c’est ça qui est paradoxal dans cette situation, peut être résolue si nous mettons en place…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Résolue…

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Bien sûr ; si nous mettons en place les demandes d’asile aux frontières, on n’empêchera jamais les gens de traverser la Méditerranée, par contre on peut très rapidement leur dire qu’ils ne peuvent pas rester sur notre sol, qu’ils ne sont pas des persécutés…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Comment vous appelez ce qui s’est passé, Monsieur le Ministre, est-ce que vous dites c’est un afflux soudain et massif, ou est-ce que vous dites que c’est une submersion migratoire, le diagnostic participe quand même de la résolution des défis et des problèmes ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Non, mais sur Lampedusa, qui est une île évidemment tout au sud de la Méditerranée, qui est même au sud de Malte, il y a 6000 habitants, lorsqu’il y a entre 6 et 8 000 personnes qui viennent en quelques jours évidemment c’est une difficulté immense, et chacun le comprend, pour les habitants de Lampedusa.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Comment vous qualifiez cela ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Mais là manifestement il y a à Sfax une difficulté extrêmement forte, où on a laissé passer des centaines de bateaux, fabriqués d’ailleurs, malheureusement….

      SONIA MABROUK
      Donc vous avez un gros problème avec les pays du Maghreb, en l’occurrence la Tunisie ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Je pense qu’il y a un énorme problème migratoire interne à l’Afrique, encore une fois la Tunisie, parfois même l’Algérie, parfois le Maroc, parfois la Libye, ils subissent eux-mêmes une pression migratoire d’Afrique, on voit bien que la plupart du temps ce sont des nationalités du sud du Sahel, donc les difficultés géopolitiques que nous connaissons ne sont pas pour rien dans cette situation, et nous devons absolument aider l’Afrique à absolument aider les Etats du Maghreb. On peut à la fois les aider, et en même temps être très ferme, on peut à la fois aider ces Etats à lutter contre l’immigration interne à l’Afrique, et en même temps expliquer…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Ça n’empêche pas la fermeté.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Que toute personne qui vient en Europe ne sera pas accueillie chez nous.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Encore une question sur ce sujet. Dans les différents reportages effectués à Lampedusa on a entendu certains migrants mettre en avant le système social français, les aides possibles, est-ce que la France, Gérald DARMANIN, est trop attractive, est-ce que notre modèle social est trop généreux et c’est pour cela qu’il y a ces arrivées aussi ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Alors, je ne suis pas sûr qu’on traverse le monde en se disant « chouette, il y a ici une aide sociale particulièrement aidante », mais il se peut…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Mais quand on doit choisir entre différents pays ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Mais il se peut qu’une fois arrivées en Europe, effectivement, un certain nombre de personnes, aidées par des passeurs, aidées parfois par des gens qui ont de bonnes intentions, des associations, se disent « allez dans ce pays-là parce qu’il y a plus de chances de », c’est ce pourquoi nous luttons. Quand je suis arrivé au ministère de l’Intérieur nous étions le deuxième pays d’Europe qui accueille le plus de demandeurs d’asile, aujourd’hui on est le quatrième, on doit pouvoir continuer à faire ce travail, nous faisons l’inverse de certains pays autour de nous, par exemple l’Allemagne qui ouvre plutôt plus de critères, nous on a tendance à les réduire, et le président de la République, dans la loi immigration, a proposé beaucoup de discussions pour fermer un certain nombre d’actions d’accueil. Vous avez la droite, LR, qui propose la transformation de l’AME en Aide Médicale d’Urgence, nous sommes favorables à étudier cette proposition des LR, j’ai moi-même proposé un certain nombre de dispositions extrêmement concrètes pour limiter effectivement ce que nous avons en France et qui parfois est différent des pays qui nous entourent et qui peuvent conduire à cela. Et puis enfin je terminerai par dire, c’est très important, il faut lutter contre les passeurs, la loi immigration que je propose passe de délit a crime, avec le garde des Sceaux on a proposé qu’on passe de quelques années de prison à 20 ans de prison pour ceux qui trafiquent des êtres humains, aujourd’hui quand on arrête des passeurs, on en arrête tous les jours grâce à la police française, ils ne sont condamnés qu’à quelques mois de prison, alors que demain, nous l’espérons, ils seront condamnés bien plus.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Bien. Gérald DARMANIN, sur CNews et Europe 1 notre « Grande interview » s’intéresse aussi à un nouveau refus d’obtempérer qui a dégénéré à Stains, je vais raconter en quelques mots ce qui s’est passé pour nos auditeurs et téléspectateurs, des policiers ont pris en chasse un deux-roues, rapidement un véhicule s’est interposé pour venir en aide aux fuyards, un policier a été violemment pris à partie, c’est son collègue qui est venu pour l’aider, qui a dû tirer en l’air pour stopper une scène de grande violence vis-à-vis de ce policier, comment vous réagissez par rapport à cela ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      D’abord trois choses. Les policiers font leur travail, et partout sur le territoire national, il n’y a pas de territoires perdus de la République, il y a des territoires plus difficiles, mais Stains on sait tous que c’est une ville à la fois populaire et difficile pour la police nationale. La police le samedi soir fait des contrôles, lorsqu’il y a des refus d’obtempérer, je constate que les policiers sont courageux, et effectivement ils ont été violentés, son collègue a été très courageux de venir le secourir, et puis troisièmement force est restée à la loi, il y a eu cinq interpellations, ils sont présentés aujourd’hui…

      SONIA MABROUK
      A quel prix.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Oui, mais c’est le travail…

      SONIA MABROUK
      A quel prix pour le policier.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Malheureusement c’est le travail, dans une société très violente…

      SONIA MABROUK
      D’être tabassé ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Dans une société très violente les policiers, les gendarmes, savent la mission qu’ils ont, qui est une mission extrêmement difficile, je suis le premier à les défendre partout sur les plateaux de télévision, je veux dire qu’ils ont réussi, à la fin, à faire entendre raison à la loi, les Français doivent savoir ce matin que cinq personnes ont été interpellées, présentées devant le juge.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Pour quel résultat, Monsieur le Ministre ?

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Eh bien moi je fais confiance en la justice.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Parfois on va les trouver à l’extérieur.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Non non, je fais confiance en la justice, quand on…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Ça c’est le principe. On fait tous, on aimerait tous faire confiance à la justice.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Non, mais quand on moleste un policier, j’espère que les peines seront les plus dures possible.

      SONIA MABROUK
      On va terminer avec une semaine intense et à risques qui s’annonce, la suite de la Coupe du monde de rugby, la visite du roi Charles III, le pape à Marseille. Vous avez appelé les préfets à une très haute vigilance. C’est un dispositif exceptionnel pour relever ces défis, qui sera mis en oeuvre.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Oui, donc cette semaine la France est au coeur du monde par ces événements, la Coupe du monde de rugby qui continue, et qui se passe bien. Vous savez, parfois ça nous fait sourire. La sécurité ne fait pas de bruit, l’insécurité en fait, mais depuis le début de cette Coupe du monde, les policiers, des gendarmes, les pompiers réussissent à accueillir le monde en de très très bonnes conditions, tant mieux, il faut que ça continue bien sûr. Le pape qui vient deux jours à Marseille, comme vous l’avez dit, et le roi Charles pendant trois jours. Il y aura jusqu’à 30 000 policiers samedi, et puis après il y a quelques événements comme PSG - OM dimanche prochain, c’est une semaine…

      SONIA MABROUK
      Important aussi.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      C’est une semaine horribilis pour le ministre de l’Intérieur et pour les policiers et les gendarmes, et nous le travaillons avec beaucoup de concentration, le RAID, le GIGN est tout à fait aujourd’hui prévu pour tous ces événements, et nous sommes capables d’accueillir ces grands événements mondiaux en une semaine, c’est l’honneur de la police nationale et de la gendarmerie nationale.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Merci Gérald DARMANIN.

      GÉRALD DARMANIN
      Merci à vous.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Vous serez donc cet après-midi…

      GÉRALD DARMANIN
      A Rome.

      SONIA MABROUK
      …à Rome avec votre homologue évidemment de l’Intérieur. Merci encore de nous avoir accordé cet entretien.

      GERALD DARMANIN
      Merci à vous.

      SONIA MABROUK
      Et bonne journée sur Cnews et Europe 1

      https://www.vie-publique.fr/discours/291092-gerald-darmanin-18092023-immigration

      #Darmanin #demandes_d'asile_à_la_frontière

    • Darmanin: ’La Francia non accoglierà migranti da Lampedusa’

      Ma con Berlino apre alla missione navale. Il ministro dell’Interno francese a Roma. Tajani: ’Fa fede quello che dice Macron’. Marine Le Pen: ’Dobbianmo riprendere il controllo delle nostre frontiere’

      «La Francia non prenderà nessun migrante da Lampedusa». All’indomani della visita di Ursula von der Leyen e Giorgia Meloni sull’isola a largo della Sicilia, il governo transalpino torna ad alzare la voce sul fronte della solidarietà e lo fa, ancora una volta, con il suo ministro dell’Interno Gerald Darmanin.

      La sortita di Parigi giunge proprio mentre, da Berlino, arriva l’apertura alla richiesta italiana di una missione navale comune per aumentare i controlli nel Mediterraneo, idea sulla quale anche la Francia si dice pronta a collaborare.

      Sullo stesso tenore anche le dichiarazioni Marine Le Pen. «Nessun migrante da Lampedusa deve mettere piede in Francia. Serve assolutamente una moratoria totale sull’immigrazione e dobbiamo riprendere il controllo delle nostre frontiere. Spetta a noi nazioni decidere chi entra e chi resta sul nostro territorio». Lo ha detto questa sera Marine Le Pen, leader dell’estrema destra francese del Rassemblement National, «Quelli che fanno appello all’Unione europea si sbagliano - ha continuato Le Pen - perché è vano e pericoloso. Vano perché l’Unione europea vuole l’immigrazione, pericoloso perché lascia pensare che deleghiamo all’Unione europea la decisione sulla politica di immigrazione che dobbiamo condurre. Spetta al popolo francese decidere e bisogna rispettare la sua decisione».

      La strada per la messa a punto di un’azione Ue, tuttavia, resta tremendamente in salita anche perché è segnata da uno scontro interno alle istituzioni comunitarie sull’intesa con Tunisi: da un lato il Consiglio Ue, per nulla soddisfatto del modus operandi della Commissione, e dall’altro l’esecutivo europeo, che non ha alcuna intenzione di abbandonare la strada tracciata dal Memorandum siglato con Kais Saied. «Sarebbe un errore di giudizio considerare che i migranti, siccome arrivano in Europa, devono essere subito ripartiti in tutta Europa e in Francia, che fa ampiamente la sua parte», sono state le parole con cui Darmamin ha motiva il suo no all’accoglienza. Il ministro lo ha spiegato prima di recarsi a Roma, su richiesta del presidente Emmanuel Macron, per un confronto con il titolare del Viminale Matteo Piantedosi. Ed è proprio a Macron che l’Italia sembra guardare, legando le frasi di Darmanin soprattutto alle vicende politiche interne d’Oltralpe. «Fa fede quello che dice Macron e quello che dice il ministro degli Esteri, mi pare che ci sia voglia di collaborare», ha sottolineato da New York il titolare della Farnesina Antonio Tajani invitando tutti, in Italia e in Ue, a non affrontare il dossier con «slogan da campagna elettorale».

      Eppure la sortita di Darmanin ha innescato l’immediata reazione della maggioranza, soprattutto dalle parti di Matteo Salvini. «Gli italiani si meritano fatti concreti dalla Francia e dall’Europa», ha tuonato la Lega. Nel piano Ue su Lampedusa il punto dell’accoglienza è contenuto nel primo dei dieci punti messi neri su bianco. Ma resta un concetto legato alla volontarietà. Che al di là della Francia, per ora trova anche il no dell’Austria. Il nodo è sempre lo stesso: i Paesi del Nord accusano Roma di non rispettare le regole sui movimenti secondari, mentre l’Italia pretende di non essere l’unico approdo per i migranti in arrivo. Il blocco delle partenze, in questo senso, si presenta come l’unica mediazione politicamente percorribile. Berlino e Parigi si dicono pronte a collaborare su un maggiore controllo aereo e navale delle frontiere esterne. L’Ue sottolinea di essere «disponibile a esplorare l’ipotesi», anche se la «decisione spetta agli Stati».

      Il raggio d’azione di von der Leyen, da qui alle prossime settimane, potrebbe tuttavia restringersi: sull’intesa con Tunisi l’Alto Rappresentante Ue per la Politica Estera Josep Borrell, il servizio giuridico del Consiglio Ue e alcuni Paesi membri - Germania e Lussemburgo in primis - hanno mosso riserve di metodo e di merito. L’accusa è duplice: il Memorandum con Saied non solo non garantisce il rispetto dei diritti dei migranti ma è stato firmato dal cosiddetto ’team Europe’ (von der Leyen, Mark Rutte e Meloni) senza l’adeguata partecipazione del Consiglio. Borrell lo ha messo nero su bianco in una missiva indirizzata al commissario Oliver Varhelyi e a von der Leyen. «Gli Stati membri sono stati informati e c’è stato ampio sostegno», è stata la difesa della Commissione. Invero, al Consiglio europeo di giugno l’intesa incassò l’endorsement dei 27 ma il testo non era stato ancora ultimato. E non è arrivato al tavolo dei rappresentanti permanenti se non dopo essere stato firmato a Cartagine. Ma, spiegano a Palazzo Berlaymont, l’urgenza non permetteva rallentamenti. I fondi per Tunisi, tuttavia, attendono ancora di essere esborsati. La questione - assieme a quella del Patto sulla migrazione e al Piano Lampedusa - è destinata a dominare le prossime riunioni europee: quella dei ministri dell’Interno del 28 settembre e, soprattutto, il vertice informale dei leader previsto a Granada a inizio ottobre.

      https://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/mondo/2023/09/18/darmanin-la-francia-non-accogliera-migranti-da-lampedusa_2f53eae6-e8f7-4b82-9d7

    • Lampedusa : les contrevérités de Gérald Darmanin sur le profil des migrants et leur droit à l’asile

      Le ministre de l’Intérieur persiste à dire, contre la réalité du droit et des chiffres, que la majorité des migrants arrivés en Italie la semaine dernière ne peuvent prétendre à l’asile.

      A en croire Gérald Darmanin, presque aucune des milliers de personnes débarquées sur les rives de l’île italienne de Lampedusa depuis plus d’une semaine ne mériterait d’être accueillie par la France. La raison ? D’un côté, affirme le ministre de l’Intérieur, il y aurait les « réfugiés » fuyant des persécutions politiques ou religieuses, et que la France se ferait un honneur d’accueillir. « Et puis, il y a les migrants », « des personnes irrégulières » qui devraient être renvoyées dans leur pays d’origine le plus rapidement possible, a-t-il distingué, jeudi 22 septembre sur BFMTV.

      « S’il s’agit de prendre les migrants tels qu’ils sont : 60 % d’entre eux viennent de pays tels que la Côte d’Ivoire, comme la Guinée, comme la Gambie, il n’y a aucune raison [qu’ils viennent] », a-t-il en sus tonné sur CNews, lundi 18 septembre. Une affirmation serinée mardi sur TF1 dans des termes semblables : « 60 % des personnes arrivées à Lampedusa sont francophones. Il y a des Ivoiriens et des Sénégalais, qui n’ont pas à demander l’asile en Europe. »
      Contredit par les données statistiques italiennes

      D’après le ministre – qui a expliqué par la suite tenir ses informations de son homologue italien – « l’essentiel » des migrants de Lampedusa sont originaires du Cameroun, du Sénégal, de Côte-d’Ivoire, de Gambie ou de Tunisie. Selon le ministre, leur nationalité les priverait du droit de demander l’asile. « Il n’y aura pas de répartition de manière générale puisque ce ne sont pas des réfugiés », a-t-il prétendu, en confondant par la même occasion les demandeurs d’asiles et les réfugiés, soit les personnes dont la demande d’asile a été acceptée.

      https://twitter.com/BFMTV/status/1704749840133923089

      Interrogé sur le profil des migrants arrivés à Lampedusa, le ministère de l’Intérieur italien renvoie aux statistiques de l’administration du pays. A rebours des propos définitifs de Gérald Darmanin sur la nationalité des personnes débarquées sur les rives italiennes depuis la semaine dernière, on constate, à l’appui de ces données, qu’une grande majorité des migrants n’a pas encore fait l’objet d’une procédure d’identification. Sur les 16 911 personnes arrivées entre le 11 et le 20 septembre, la nationalité n’est précisée que pour 30 % d’entre elles.

      En tout, 12 223 personnes, soit 72 % des personnes arrivées à Lampedusa, apparaissent dans la catégorie « autres » nationalités, qui mélange des ressortissants de pays peu représentés et des migrants dont l’identification est en cours. A titre de comparaison, au 11 septembre, seulement 30 % des personnes étaient classées dans cette catégorie. Même si la part exacte de migrants non identifiés n’est pas précisée, cette catégorie apparaît être un bon indicateur de l’avancée du travail des autorités italiennes.

      Parmi les nationalités relevées entre le 11 et 20 septembre, le ministère de l’Intérieur italien compte effectivement une grande partie de personnes qui pourraient être francophones : 1 600 Tunisiens, 858 Guinéens, 618 Ivoiriens, 372 Burkinabés, presque autant de Maliens, 253 Camerounais, mais aussi des ressortissants moins susceptibles de connaître la langue (222 Syriens, environ 200 Egyptiens, 128 Bangladais et 74 Pakistanais).

      A noter que selon ces statistiques italiennes partielles, il n’est pas fait état de ressortissants sénégalais et gambiens évoqués par Gérald Darmanin. Les données ne disent rien, par ailleurs, du genre ou de l’âge de ces arrivants. « La plupart sont des hommes mais aussi on a aussi vu arriver des familles, des mères seules ou des pères seuls avec des enfants et beaucoup de mineurs non accompagnés, des adolescents de 16 ou 17 ans », décrivait à CheckNews la responsable des migrations de la Croix-Rouge italienne, Francesca Basile, la semaine dernière.

      Légalement, toutes les personnes arrivées à Lampedusa peuvent déposer une demande d’asile, s’ils courent un danger dans leur pays d’origine. « Il ne s’agit pas seulement d’un principe théorique. En vertu du droit communautaire et international, toute personne – quelle que soit sa nationalité – peut demander une protection internationale, et les États membres de l’UE ont l’obligation de procéder à une évaluation individuelle de chaque demande », a ainsi rappelé à CheckNews l’agence de l’union européenne pour l’asile. L’affirmation de Gérald Darmanin selon laquelle des migrants ne seraient pas éligibles à l’asile en raison de leur nationalité est donc fausse.

      Par ailleurs, selon le règlement de Dublin III, la demande d’asile doit être instruite dans le premier pays où la personne est arrivée au sein de l’Union européenne (à l’exception du Danemark), de la Suisse, de la Norvège, de l’Islande et du Liechtenstein. Ce sont donc aux autorités italiennes d’enregistrer et de traiter les demandes des personnes arrivées à Lampedusa. Dans certains cas, des transferts peuvent être opérés vers un pays signataires de l’accord de Dublin III, ainsi du rapprochement familial. Si les demandes d’asile vont être instruites en Italie, les chiffes de l’asile en France montrent tout de même que des ressortissants des pays cités par Gérald Darmanin obtiennent chaque année une protection dans l’Hexagone.

      Pour rappel, il existe deux formes de protections : le statut de réfugié et la protection subsidiaire. Cette dernière peut être accordée à un demandeur qui, aux yeux de l’administration, ne remplit pas les conditions pour être considéré comme un réfugié, mais qui s’expose à des risques grave dans son pays, tels que la torture, des traitements inhumains ou dégradants, ainsi que des « menaces grave et individuelle contre sa vie ou sa personne en raison d’une violence qui peut s’étendre à des personnes sans considération de leur situation personnelle et résultant d’une situation de conflit armé interne ou international », liste sur son site internet la Cour nationale du droit d’asile (CNDA), qui statue en appel sur les demandes de protection.
      Contredit aussi par la réalité des chiffres en France

      Gérald Darmanin cite à plusieurs reprises le cas des migrants originaires de Côte-d’Ivoire comme exemple de personnes n’ayant selon lui « rien à faire » en France. La jurisprudence de la CNDA montre pourtant des ressortissants ivoiriens dont la demande de protection a été acceptée. En 2021, la Cour a ainsi accordé une protection subsidiaire à une femme qui fuyait un mariage forcé décidé par son oncle, qui l’exploitait depuis des années. La Cour avait estimé que les autorités ivoiriennes étaient défaillantes en ce qui concerne la protection des victimes de mariages forcés, malgré de récentes évolutions législatives plus répressives.

      D’après l’Office de protection des réfugiés et apatrides (Ofrpa), qui rend des décisions en première instance, les demandes d’asile de ressortissants ivoiriens (environ 6 000 en 2022) s’appuient très souvent sur des « problématiques d’ordre sociétal […], en particulier les craintes liées à un risque de mariage forcé ou encore l’exposition des jeunes filles à des mutilations sexuelles ». En 2022, le taux de demandes d’Ivoiriens acceptées par l’Ofrpa (avant recours éventuel devant la CNCDA) était de 27,3 % sur 6 727 décisions contre un taux moyen d’admission de 26,4 % pour le continent africain et de 29,2 % tous pays confondus. Les femmes représentaient la majorité des protections accordées aux ressortissants de Côte-d’Ivoire.

      Pour les personnes originaires de Guinée, citées plusieurs fois par Gérald Darmanin, les demandes sont variées. Certaines sont déposées par des militants politiques. « Les demandeurs se réfèrent à leur parcours personnel et à leur participation à des manifestations contre le pouvoir, qu’il s’agisse du gouvernement d’Alpha Condé ou de la junte militaire », décrit l’Ofpra. D’autre part des femmes qui fuient l’excision et le mariage forcé. En 2022, le taux d’admission par l’Ofpra était de 33,4 % pour 5 554 décisions.
      Jurisprudence abondante

      S’il est vrai que ces nationalités (Guinée et Côte-d’Ivoire) ne figurent pas parmi les taux de protections les plus élevées, elles figurent « parmi les principales nationalités des bénéficiaires de la protection internationale » en 2022, aux côtés des personnes venues d’Afghanistan ou de Syrie, selon l’Ofpra. Les ressortissants tunisiens, qui déposent peu de demandes (439 en 2022), présentent un taux d’admission de seulement 10 %.

      La jurisprudence abondante produite par la CNDA montre que, dans certains cas, le demandeur peut obtenir une protection sur la base de son origine géographique, jugée dangereuse pour sa sécurité voire sa vie. C’est le cas notamment du Mali. En février 2023, la Cour avait ainsi accordé la protection subsidiaire à un Malien originaire de Gao, dans le nord du pays. La Cour avait estimé qu’il s’exposait, « en cas de retour dans sa région d’origine du seul fait de sa présence en tant que civil, [à] un risque réel de subir une menace grave contre sa vie ou sa personne sans être en mesure d’obtenir la protection effective des autorités de son pays ».

      « Cette menace est la conséquence d’une situation de violence, résultant d’un conflit armé interne, susceptible de s’étendre indistinctement aux civils », avait-elle expliqué dans un communiqué. Au mois de juin, à la suite des déclarations d’un demandeur possédant la double nationalité malienne et nigérienne, la Cour avait jugé que les régions de Ménaka au Mali et de Tillaberi au Niger étaient en situation de violence aveugle et d’intensité exceptionnelle, « justifiant l’octroi de la protection subsidiaire prévue par le droit européen ».

      D’après le rapport 2023 de l’agence de l’Union européenne pour l’asile, le taux de reconnaissance en première instance pour les demandeurs guinéens avoisinait les 30 %, et un peu plus de 20 % pour ressortissants ivoiriens à l’échelle de l’UE, avec un octroi en majorité, pour les personnes protégées, du statut de réfugié. Concernant le Mali, le taux de reconnaissance dépassait les 60 %, principalement pour de la protection subsidiaire. Ces données européennes qui confirment qu’il est infondé d’affirmer, comme le suggère le ministre de l’Intérieur, que les nationalités qu’il cite ne sont pas éligibles à l’asile.

      En revanche, dans le cadre du mécanisme « de solidarité », qui prévoit que les pays européens prennent en charge une partie des demandeurs, les Etats « restent souverains dans le choix du nombre et de la nationalité des demandeurs accueillis ». « Comme il s’agit d’un mécanisme volontaire, le choix des personnes à transférer est laissé à l’entière discrétion de l’État membre qui effectue le transfert », explique l’agence de l’union européenne pour l’asile, qui précise que les Etats « tendent souvent à donner la priorité aux nationalités qui ont le plus de chances de bénéficier d’un statut de protection », sans plus de précisions sur l’avancée des négociations en cours.

      https://www.liberation.fr/checknews/lampedusa-les-contreverites-de-gerald-darmanin-sur-le-profil-des-migrants

      #fact-checking

    • #Fanélie_Carrey-Conte sur X :

      Comme une tragédie grecque, l’impression de connaître à l’avance la conclusion d’une histoire qui finit mal.
      A chaque fois que l’actualité remet en lumière les drames migratoires, la même mécanique se met en place. D’abord on parle d’"#appel_d'air", de « #submersion », au mépris de la réalité des chiffres, et du fait que derrière les statistiques, il y a des vies, des personnes.
      Puis l’#extrême_droite monte au créneau, de nombreux responsables politiques lui emboîtent le pas. Alors les institutions européennes mettent en scène des « #plans_d'urgence, » des pactes, censés être « solidaires mais fermes », toujours basés en réalité sur la même logique:chercher au maximum à empêcher en Europe les migrations des « indésirables », augmenter la #sécurisation_des_frontières, prétendre que la focalisation sur les #passeurs se fait dans l’intérêt des personnes migrantes, externaliser de plus en plus les politiques migratoires en faisant fi des droits humains.
      Résultat : les migrations, dont on ne cherche d’ailleurs même plus à comprendre les raisons ni les mécanismes qui les sous-tendent, ne diminuent évidemment pas, au contraire ; les drames et les morts augmentent ; l’extrême -droite a toujours autant de leviers pour déployer ses idées nauséabondes et ses récupérations politiques abjectes.
      Et la spirale mortifère continue ... Ce n’est pas juste absurde, c’est avant tout terriblement dramatique. Pourtant ce n’est pas une fatalité : des politiques migratoires réellement fondées sur l’#accueil et l’#hospitalité, le respect des droits et de la #dignité de tout.e.s, cela peut exister, si tant est que l’on en ait la #volonté_politique, que l’on porte cette orientation dans le débat public national et européen, que l’on se mobilise pour faire advenir cet autre possible. A rebours malheureusement de la voie choisie aujourd’hui par l’Europe comme par la France à travers les pactes et projets de loi immigration en cours...

      https://twitter.com/FCarreyConte/status/1703650891268596111

    • Migranti, Oim: “Soluzione non è chiudere le frontiere”

      Il portavoce per l’Italia, Flavio di Giacomo, a LaPresse: «Organizzare diversamente salvataggi per aiutare Lampedusa»

      Per risolvere l’emergenza migranti, secondo l’Oim (Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni), la soluzione non è chiudere le frontiere. Lo ha dichiarato a LaPresse il portavoce per l’Italia dell’organizzazione, Flavio di Giacomo. La visita della presidente della Commissione europea Ursula Von der Leyen a Lampedusa insieme alla premier Giorgia Meloni, ha detto, “è un segnale importante, ma non bisogna scambiare un’emergenza di tipo operativo con ‘bisogna chiudere’, perché non c’è nessuna invasione e la soluzione non è quella di creare deterrenti come trattenere i migranti per 18 mesi. In passato non ha ottenuto nessun effetto pratico e comporta tante spese allo Stato”. Von der Leyen ha proposto un piano d’azione in 10 punti che prevede tra le altre cose di intensificare la cooperazione con l’Unhcr e l’Oim per i rimpatri volontari. “È una cosa che in realtà già facciamo ed è importante che venga implementata ulteriormente“, ha sottolineato Di Giacomo.
      “Organizzare diversamente salvataggi per aiutare Lampedusa”

      “Quest’anno i migranti arrivati in Italia sono circa 127mila rispetto ai 115mila dello stesso periodo del 2015-2016, ma niente di paragonabile agli oltre 850mila giunti in Grecia nel 2015. La differenza rispetto ad allora, quando gli arrivi a Lampedusa erano l’8% mentre quest’anno sono oltre il 70%, è che in questo momento i salvataggi ci sono ma sono fatti con piccole motovedette della Guardia costiera che portano i migranti a Lampedusa, mentre servirebbe un tipo diverso di azione con navi più grandi che vengano distribuite negli altri porti. Per questo l’isola è in difficoltà”, spiega Di Giacomo. “Inoltre, con le partenze in prevalenza dalla Tunisia piuttosto che dalla Libia, i barchini puntano tutti direttamente su Lampedusa”.
      “Priorità stabilizzare situazione in Maghreb”

      Per risolvere la questione, ha aggiunto Di Giacomo, “occorre lavorare per la stabilizzazione e il miglioramento delle condizioni nell’area del Maghreb“. E ha precisato: “La stragrande maggioranza dei flussi migratori africani è interno, ovvero dalla zona sub-sahariana a quella del Maghreb, persone che andavano a vivere in Tunisia e che ora decidono di lasciare il Paese perché vittima di furti, vessazioni e discriminazioni razziali. Questo le porta a imbarcarsi a Sfax con qualsiasi mezzo di fortuna per fare rotta verso Lampedusa”.

      https://www.lapresse.it/cronaca/2023/09/18/migranti-oim-soluzione-non-e-chiudere-le-frontiere

    • Da inizio 2023 in Italia sono sbarcati 133.170 migranti.

      La Ong Humanity1, finanziata anche dal Governo tedesco, ne ha sbarcati 753 (lo 0,6% del totale).
      In totale, Ong battenti bandiera tedesca ne hanno sbarcati 2.720 (il 2% del totale).

      Ma di cosa stiamo parlando?

      https://twitter.com/emmevilla/status/1708121850847309960
      #débarquement #arrivées #ONG #sauvetage

  • Chios : Residents prevented the disembarkation of machinery for the refugee structure

    Local authorities and citizens, gathered today at dawn in the port of #Mesta, did not allow the unloading of machinery of the contractor company of its project of a new Closed Controlled Structure for foreigners, in Chios.

    After negotiations, the cargo ship disembarked trucks with vulnerable products, but not the machinery, which re-entered the ship. It should be noted that the ship continued its course to the port of the city of Chios where the gathered people moved to intervene there in case of attempt to disembark the equipment.

    According to local media in the port of Mesta, there was a small force with officials of the Chios Police Department as well as the officials of the local Port Station.

    https://www.athina984.gr/en/2022/01/06/chios-katoikoi-empodisan-tin-apovivasi-michanimaton-gia-ti-domi-prosfygon

    #Chios #résistance #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés

    –—
    sur ces nouveaux camps de réfugiés fermés dans les #îles grecques notamment :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/917173

    • The residents of Chios react with a block to the construction of a new refugee structure

      The reaction of the inhabitants of the neighboring villages, who disagree with the creation of a Closed Structure of refugees-immigrants in the area of ​​Tholos in Chios, was provoked by the information that the construction works of the structure will begin. The residents have set up a blockade and are carrying out guard shifts, so that any machinery of the company does not pass.

      The municipal authority had proposed another point for the creation of the Structure, which is planned by the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, however the municipal council decided not to build the structure in any part of the island. At the same time he had suggested the operation of only a Reception and Identification Center for refugees and immigrants, with a capacity of up to 500 people while the structure planned by the ministry is capacity 1230 people. Also, with a decision of the Economic Committee, precautionary measures of the prefecture and a temporary order have been submitted to prevent the creation of the structure in the area of ​​Tholos.

      According to his information Athens 9.84 The residents of the neighboring villages are determined to prevent the construction work because they have suffered facing the burden of the refugee-immigration problem and do not want to live again in 2015 but also because they are motivated by extreme elements.

      https://www.athina984.gr/en/2022/01/05/me-mploka-antidroyn-oi-katoikoi-tis-chioy-stin-anegersi-neas-domis-prosfyg

  • « Cette vaccination était attendue depuis longtemps » : dans les îles grecques, les premiers migrants reçoivent le vaccin anti-Covid - InfoMigrants
    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/32694/cette-vaccination-etait-attendue-depuis-longtemps-dans-les-iles-grecqu

    « Cette vaccination était attendue depuis longtemps » : dans les îles grecques, les premiers migrants reçoivent le vaccin anti-Covid
    Par Charlotte Boitiaux Publié le : 03/06/2021
    La campagne de vaccination contre le coronavirus débute ce jeudi dans les îles grecques de Samos, Lesbos et Chios. Les migrants pourront bénéficier d’une seule injection grâce au vaccin Johnson & Johnson. Seuls 15 % de la population migrante souhaitent, pour l’heure se faire vacciner. La faute à un manque de communication de la part des autorités grecques, déplore MSF.
    La campagne de vaccination contre le Covid-19 a commencé jeudi 3 juin dans les camps de migrants des îles grecques de Lesbos, Samos et Chios, en face de la Turquie, a annoncé mercredi 2 juin le responsable du ministère des Migrations, Manos Logothetis.Les premières vaccinations se feront dans le camp de Mavrovouni, aussi appelé Moria 2.0, sur l’île de Lesbos, dans le camp de Vial, à Chios, et dans le camp de Vathy, à Samos. C’est Eody, la structure grecque de santé publique (dépendante du ministère de la Santé) qui sera en charge de la campagne. « Il devrait y avoir 50 vaccinations par jour, chaque jeudi et vendredi », détaille Dora Vangi, chargée de communication pour Médecins sans frontières (MSF) en Grèce. « La vaccination s’étalera sur plusieurs semaines jusqu’à ce que tout le monde soit vacciné. »"La vaccination se réalisera avec le sérum de Johnson & Johnson avec un personnel spécialement envoyé d’Athènes", a également précisé Manos Logothetis dans une interview accordée à l’agence de presse grecque ANA."Le choix de Johnson & Johnson est judicieux. C’est un vaccin qui ne nécessite qu’une seule dose, c’est un bon choix pour une population qui est souvent sur la route, qui se déplace beaucoup", a ajouté Dora Vangi de MSF.Selon Manos Logothetis, seuls 15 % des demandeurs d’asile se sont portés volontaires pour se faire vacciner. « Si on estime que 30 % des migrants ont moins de 18 ans et que 30 % encore a déjà été malade, la route vers l’immunité des demandeurs d’asile en vaccinant tous ceux qui ont besoin de se faire vacciner sera courte et nous réussirons », a cependant tenu à rassurer Manos Logothetis.Selon Stephan Oberreit, chef de mission pour MSF actuellement à Lesbos, la réticence de la population réfugiée à se faire vacciner s’explique par un manque de communication en amont. « Cette vaccination était attendue depuis longtemps [...] Mais le gouvernement n’a pas suffisamment informé sur les enjeux et sur l’importance du vaccin. Que ce soit pour le Covid ou la rougeole, il faut, dans toute campagne de vaccination, faire un travail de promotion de santé. Et ce travail là n’a pas été suffisamment fait. Ce qui pourrait expliqué qu’il y ait si peu de volontaires », dit-il à InfoMigrants.
    Les conditions de vie et le manque d’hygiène dans les structures où les exilés doivent séjourner le temps que leur demande d’asile soit étudiée continuent d’être régulièrement décriés par les défenseurs des droits humains.Au mois de mai, des migrants avaient refusé de se faire vacciner pour protester contre leurs conditions de vie alors qu’une trentaine de personnes avaient été testées positives au Covid dans le camp de Mavrovouni, à Lesbos.Mais tout au long de la pandémie causée par le coronavirus, ce sont surtout les restrictions dans les déplacements et l’enfermement des demandeurs d’asile qui ont été dénoncés par les ONG.
    Alors que la population grecque a été déconfinée à plusieurs reprises depuis mars 2019, les migrants ne l’ont jamais été vraiment. Ils ne sont autorisés qu’à sortir au compte-gouttes, quelques heures par semaine et après avoir obtenu le feu vert de la direction du camp.L’accès aux humanitaires dans les camps et la scolarisation des enfants réfugiés ont aussi été rendus difficiles dans ce contexte.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#camp#vaccination#inclusion#enfermement#restrictionsanitaire#MSF#demandeurdasile#sante#samos#lesbos#chios

  • Greece, ABR: The Greek government are building walls around the five mainland refugee camps

    The Greek government are building walls around the five mainland refugee camps, #Ritsona, #Polykastro, #Diavata, #Makakasa and #Nea_Kavala. Why this is necessary, and for what purpose, when the camps already are fenced in with barbed wire fences, is difficult to understand.
    “Closed controlled camps" ensuring that asylum seekers are cut off from the outside communities and services. A very dark period in Greece and in EU refugee Policy.
    Three meter high concrete walls, outside the already existing barbed wire fences, would makes this no different than a prison. Who are they claiming to protect with these extreme measures, refugees living inside from Greek right wing extremists, or people living outside from these “dangerous” men, women and children? We must remember that this is supposed to be a refugee camps, not high security prisons.
    EU agreed on financing these camps, on the condition that they should be open facilities, same goes for the new camps that are being constructed on the island. In reality people will be locked up in these prisons most of the day, only allowed to go out on specific times, under strict control, between 07.00-19.00. Remember that we are talking about families with children, and not criminals, so why are they being treated as such?
    While Greece are opening up, welcoming tourists from all over the world, they are locking up men, women and children seeking safety in Europe, in prisons behind barbed wire fences and concrete walls, out of sight, out of mind. When these new camps on the islands, financed by Europe are finished, they will also be fenced in by high concrete walls. Mark my words: nothing good will come of this!
    “From Malakasa, Nea Kavala, Polycastro and Diavata camps to the world!!
    “if you have find us silent against the walls,it doesn’t mean that we agree to live like prisoners,but in fact we are all afraid to be threaten,if we speak out and raise our voices!!”

    (https://twitter.com/parwana_amiri/status/1395593312460025858)

    https://www.facebook.com/AegeanBoatReport/posts/1088971624959274

    #murs #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #Grèce #camps_fermés #barbelés

    • "Ø double military-grade walls
      Ø restricted entrance and exit times (8am-8pm: itself a questionable suggestion: why should people be banned from going outside at any time of day or night? Under what possible justification?)
      Ø a CCTV system and video monitors
      Ø drone flights over the ‘camps’
      Ø camera-monitored perimeter alarms
      Ø control gates with metal detectors and x-ray devices
      Ø a system to broadcast announcements from loudspeakers
      Ø a control centre for the camps at the ministry’s HQ
      And this will be paid for – a total bill of €33m – by the EU.
      As this cash is on top of the €250m the EU has already promised to build these camps – described, we must stress, as ‘closed’ repeatedly in the Greek governments’ ‘deliverability document’ even though the EU, and specifically its Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson who confirmed the €250m payment on her visit to the Aegean islands in March this year, promised the EU would not fund closed camps - it is absolutely vital that the Union is not misled into handing over millions of Euros for a programme designed to break international law and strip men, women and children of their fundamental human rights and protections.
      We must stress: these men, women and children have committed no crime. Even if they were suspected of having done so, they would be entitled to a trial before a jury before having their freedom taken away from them for – based on the current advised waiting period for asylum cases to be processed in Greece – up to five years.»

      ( text by Koraki : https://www.facebook.com/koraki.org)
      source : https://www.facebook.com/yorgos.konstantinou/posts/10223644448395917


      source : https://www.facebook.com/yorgos.konstantinou/posts/10223644448395917

      –—


      source : https://www.facebook.com/yorgos.konstantinou/posts/10223657767448885

      #caricature #dessin_de_presse by #Yorgos_Konstantinou

    • Pétition:

      EU: Build Schools, Not Walls

      We strongly stand against allocating European funds to build walls around Greek refugee camps.

      The ongoing fencing work at the Ritsona, Polykastro, Diavata, Malakasa and Nea Kavala camps must stop immediately.

      Greece, with the full support of the European Union, is turning refugee camps into de-facto prisons.

      Millions of euros allocated for building walls should be spent on education, psychological support and the improvement of hygienic conditions in the refugee camps.

      What happened?

      In January and February 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) published two invitations to bid for the construction of fences in refugee camps in mainland Greece.

      However, the fences became concrete walls. In March the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum commissioned to build NATO type fences and introduce additional security measures.

      Nobody - including camp residents - was informed about it.

      The walls are a jeopardy for integration, safety and mental health

      Residents of refugee camps fled their country in search for safety. In Europe their (mental) health is worsening because of the horrific conditions in the camps.

      Building the walls after a year of strict lockdown will lead to a further deterioration in their mental state.

      Moreover, it will:
      – deepen divisions between people: it will make the interaction between refugees and the local community even more difficult, if not impossible.
      – make it even harder for journalists and NGO’s to monitor the situation in the camp
      – put the residents of the camps in danger in case of fire.

      As EU citizens we cannot allow that innocent people are being locked behind the walls, in the middle of nowhere. Being a refugee is not a crime.

      Seeking asylum is a human right.

      Democracy and freedom cannot be built with concrete walls.

      Building walls was always the beginning of dark periods in history.

      Crushing walls - is the source of hope, reconciliation and (what is a foundation of European idea) solidarity.

      No more walls in the EU!

      https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/en/notis_mitarachi_the_minister_of_migration_of_greec_eu_build_schools_no

    • La Grèce construit des camps barricadés pour isoler les réfugiés

      L’Union européenne a investi cette année 276 millions d’euros pour la construction de camps de réfugiés sur cinq îles grecques. À #Leros, où un camp de 1 800 places ouvrira bientôt, habitants et ONG s’indignent contre cet édifice barricadé. Le gouvernement assume.

      L’Union européenne a investi cette année 276 millions d’euros pour la construction de camps de réfugiés sur cinq îles grecques. À Leros, où un camp de 1 800 places ouvrira bientôt, habitants et ONG s’indignent contre cet édifice barricadé. Le gouvernement assume.

      Le champ de #conteneurs blancs s’étale sur 63 000 mètres carrés sur une colline inhabitée. Depuis les bateaux de plaisance qui pénètrent dans la baie de Lakki, dans le sud de Leros, on ne voit qu’eux. Ils forment le tout nouveau camp de réfugiés de 1 860 places, interdit d’accès au public, qui doit ouvrir ses portes d’ici à la rentrée sur cette île grecque de 8 000 habitants, qui compte aujourd’hui 75 demandeurs d’asile.

      « Il sera doté de mini-supermarchés, restaurants, laveries, écoles, distributeurs d’argent, terrains de basket », détaille #Filio_Kyprizoglou, sa future directrice. Soit un « village, avec tous les services compris pour les demandeurs d’asile ! », s’emballe-t-elle.

      Mais le « village » sera cerné de hauts murs, puis d’une route périphérique destinée aux patrouilles de police, elle aussi entourée d’un mur surplombé de #barbelés. Depuis sa taverne sur le port de Lakki, Theodoros Kosmopoulou observe avec amertume cette « #nouvelle_prison », dont la construction a démarré en février, sur des terres appartenant à l’État grec.

      Ce nouveau centre barricadé est l’un des cinq camps de réfugiés grecs en construction sur les îles à proximité de la Turquie et ayant connu des arrivées ces dernières années. Ces structures sont financées à hauteur de 276 millions d’euros par l’Union européenne (UE). Si celui de Leros est bien visible dans la baie de Lakki, les centres qui s’élèveront à #Kos, #Samos, #Chios et #Lesbos seront, eux, souvent isolés des villes.

      Ces camps dits éphémères pourront héberger au total 15 000 demandeurs d’asile ou des personnes déboutées. Ils seront tous opérationnels à la fin de l’année, espère la Commission européenne. Celui de Samos, 3 600 places, sera ouvert cet été, suivi de Kos, 2 000 places, et Leros. L’appel d’offres pour la construction des camps de Chios (de 1 800 à 3 000 places) et Lesbos (5 000 places) a été publié en mai.

      Si l’Europe les qualifie de « #centres_de_premier_accueil_multifonctionnels », le ministère grec de l’immigration parle, lui, de « #structures_contrôlées_fermées ». Elles doivent remplacer les anciens camps dits « #hotspots », déjà présents sur ces îles, qui abritent maintenant 9 000 migrants. Souvent surpeuplés depuis leur création en 2016, ils sont décriés pour leurs conditions de vie indignes. Le traitement des demandes d’asile peut y prendre des mois.

      Des compagnies privées pour gérer les camps ?

      Dans ces nouveaux camps, les réfugiés auront une réponse à leur demande dans les cinq jours, assure le ministère grec de l’immigration. Les personnes déboutées seront détenues dans des parties fermées – seulement les hommes seuls - dans l’attente de leur renvoi.

      Un membre d’une organisation d’aide internationale, qui s’exprime anonymement, craint que les procédures de demande d’asile ne soient « expédiées plus rapidement et qu’il y ait plus de rejets ». « Le gouvernement de droite est de plus en plus dur avec les réfugiés », estime-t-il. Athènes, qui compte aujourd’hui quelque 100 000 demandeurs d’asile (chiffre de mai 2021 donné par l’UNHCR), a en effet durci sa politique migratoire durant la pandémie.

      La Grèce vient aussi d’élargir la liste des nationalités pouvant être renvoyées vers le pays voisin. La Turquie est désormais considérée comme un « pays sûr » pour les Syriens, Bangladais, Afghans, Somaliens et Pakistanais.

      (—> voir https://seenthis.net/messages/919682)

      Pour la mise en œuvre de cette #procédure_d’asile, le gouvernement compte sur l’organisation et surtout la #surveillance de ces camps, au regard des plans détaillés que Manos Logothetis, secrétaire général du ministère de l’immigration, déplie fièrement dans son bureau d’Athènes. Chaque centre, cerné de murs, sera divisé en #zones compartimentées pour les mineurs non accompagnés, les familles, etc. Les demandeurs d’asile ne pourront circuler entre ces #espaces_séparés qu’avec une #carte_magnétique « d’identité ».

      "Je doute qu’une organisation de défense des droits humains ou de la société civile soit autorisée à témoigner de ce qui se passe dans ce nouveau camp." (Catharina Kahane, cofondatrice de l’ONG autrichienne Echo100Plus)

      Celle-ci leur permettra également de sortir du camp, en journée uniquement, avertit Manos Logothetis : « S’ils reviennent après la tombée de la #nuit, les réfugiés resteront à l’extérieur jusqu’au lendemain, dans un lieu prévu à cet effet. Ils devront justifier leur retard auprès des autorités du centre. » Les « autorités » présentes à l’ouverture seront l’#UNHCR, les services de santé et de l’asile grec, #Europol, l’#OIM, #Frontex et quelques ONG « bienvenues », affirme le secrétaire général - ce que réfutent les ONG, visiblement sous pression.

      Le gouvernement souhaite néanmoins un changement dans la gestion des camps. « Dans d’autres États, cette fonction est à la charge de compagnies privées […]. Nous y songeons aussi. Dans certains camps grecs, tout a été sous le contrôle de l’OIM et de l’UNHCR […], critique Manos Logothetis. Nous pensons qu’il est temps qu’elles fassent un pas en arrière. Nous devrions diriger ces camps via une compagnie privée, sous l’égide du gouvernement. »

      « Qui va venir dans ces centres ? »

      À Leros, à des centaines de kilomètres au nord-ouest d’Athènes, ces propos inquiètent. « Je doute qu’une organisation de défense des droits humains ou de la société civile soit autorisée à témoigner de ce qui se passe dans ce nouveau camp, dit Catharina Kahane, cofondatrice de l’ONG autrichienne Echo100Plus. Nous n’avons jamais été invités à le visiter. Toutes les ONG enregistrées auprès du gouvernement précédent [de la gauche Syriza jusqu’en 2019 – ndlr] ont dû s’inscrire à nouveau auprès de la nouvelle administration [il y a deux ans - ndlr]. Très peu d’organisations ont réussi, beaucoup ont été rejetées. »

      La municipalité de Leros s’interroge, pour sa part, sur la finalité de ce camp. #Michael_Kolias, maire sans étiquette de l’île, ne croit pas à son caractère « éphémère » vendu aux insulaires. « Les autorités détruisent la nature pour le construire ! », argumente celui-ci. La municipalité a déposé un recours auprès du Conseil d’État pour empêcher son ouverture.

      Ce camp aux allures de centre de détention ravive également de douloureux souvenirs pour les riverains. Leros porte, en effet, le surnom de l’île des damnés. La profonde baie de Lakki a longtemps caché ceux que la Grèce ne voulait pas voir. Sous la junte (1967-1974), ses bâtiments d’architecture italienne sont devenus des prisons pour des milliers de communistes. D’autres édifices néoclassiques ont également été transformés en hôpital psychiatrique, critiqué pour ses mauvais traitements jusque dans les années 1980.

      C’est d’ailleurs dans l’enceinte même de l’hôpital psychiatrique, qui compte toujours quelques patients, qu’a été construit un premier « hotspot » de réfugiés de 860 places, en 2016. Aujourd’hui, 75 demandeurs d’asile syriens et irakiens y sont parqués. Ils s’expriment peu, sous la surveillance permanente des policiers.

      Il n’y a presque plus d’arrivées de migrants de la Turquie depuis deux ans. « Mais qui va donc venir occuper les 1 800 places du nouveau camp ?, interpelle le maire de Leros. Est-ce que les personnes dublinées rejetées d’autres pays de l’UE vont être placées ici ? » Le ministère de l’immigration assure que le nouveau camp n’abritera que les primo-arrivants des côtes turques. Il n’y aura aucun transfert d’une autre région ou pays dans ces centres des îles, dit-il.

      La Turquie, voisin « ennemi »

      Le gouvernement maintient que la capacité importante de ces nouveaux camps se justifie par la « #menace_permanente » d’arrivées massives de migrants de la #Turquie, voisin « ennemi », comme le souligne le secrétaire général Manos Logothetis. « En Grèce, nous avons souffert, elle nous a attaqués en mars 2020 ! », lâche le responsable, en référence à l’annonce de l’ouverture de la frontière gréco-turque par le président turc Erdogan, qui avait alors entraîné l’arrivée de milliers de demandeurs d’asile aux portes de la Grèce.

      Selon l’accord controversé UE-Turquie de 2016, Ankara doit, en échange de 6 milliards d’euros, réintégrer les déboutés de l’asile - pour lesquels la Turquie est jugée « pays sûr »- et empêcher les départs de migrants de ses côtes. « Elle ne collabore pas […]. Il faut utiliser tous les moyens possibles et légaux pour protéger le territoire national ! »,avance Manos Logothetis.

      Pour le gouvernement, cela passe apparemment par la #fortification de sa frontière en vue de dissuader la venue de migrants, notamment dans le nord-est du pays. Deux canons sonores viennent d’être installés sur un nouveau mur en acier, le long de cette lisière terrestre gréco-turque.

      De l’autre côté de cette barrière, la Turquie, qui compte près de quatre millions de réfugiés, n’accepte plus de retours de migrants de Grèce depuis le début de la pandémie. Elle aura « l’obligation de les reprendre », répète fermement Manos Logothetis. Auquel cas de nombreux réfugiés déboutés pourraient rester longtemps prisonniers des nouveaux « villages » de l’UE.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/240621/la-grece-construit-des-camps-barricades-pour-isoler-les-refugies
      #business #HCR #privatisation

    • Grèce : sur l’île de Samos, les migrants découvrent leur nouveau centre aux allures de « prison »

      Sur l’île grecque de Samos, proche de la Turquie, un nouveau camp de réfugiés dit « fermé », isolé et doté d’une structure ultra-sécuritaire vient d’entrer en service. Les quelque 500 demandeurs d’asile qui se trouvaient encore dans l’ancien camp de Vathy ont commencé à y être transférés. Reportage.

      « Camp fermé ? On ne sait pas ce que c’est un camp fermé. C’est une prison ou bien c’est pour les immigrés ? Parce qu’on m’a dit que c’était conçu comme une prison. » Comme ce jeune Malien, assis à côté de ses sacs, les demandeurs d’asile s’interrogent et s’inquiètent, eux qui s’apprêtent à quitter le camp de Vathy et ses airs de bidonville pour le nouveau camp de l’île de Samos et sa réputation de prison.

      Au Cameroun, Paulette tenait un commerce de pièces détachées qui l’amenait à voyager à Dubaï voire en Chine. Ce nouveau camp, elle s’y résigne à contrecœur. « Ça me fend le cœur, dit-elle. Moi je n’ai pas le choix. Si j’avais le choix, je ne pourrais pas accepter d’aller là-bas. C’est parce que je n’ai pas le choix, je suis obligée de partir. »

      Comme elle s’est sentie obligée aussi de quitter le Cameroun. « À Buea, il y a la guerre, la guerre politique, on tue les gens, on kidnappe les gens. Moi, j’ai perdu ma mère, j’ai perdu mon père, j’ai perdu mon enfant, j’ai perdu ma petite sœur, mon grand frère… Donc je me suis retrouvée seule. Et moi je ne savais pas. S’il fallait le refaire, moi je préfèrerais mourir dans mon pays que de venir ici. Oui. Parce que ces gens-ci, ils n’ont pas de cœur. »

      Alors que les transferts entre les deux camps démarrent tout juste, la pelleteuse est déjà prête. La destruction de l’ancien camp de Vathy est prévue pour la fin de semaine.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/35176/grece--sur-lile-de-samos-les-migrants-decouvrent-leur-nouveau-centre-a

    • Grèce : ouverture de deux nouveaux camps fermés pour migrants

      La Grèce a ouvert samedi deux nouveaux camps fermés pour demandeurs d’asile dans les îles de #Leros et de #Kos, un modèle critiqué par des défenseurs des droits humains pour les contrôle stricts qui y sont imposés.

      La Grèce a ouvert samedi deux nouveaux camps fermés pour demandeurs d’asile dans les îles de Leros et de Kos, un modèle critiqué par des défenseurs des droits humains pour les contrôle stricts qui y sont imposés.

      « Une nouvelle ère commence », a déclaré le ministre des Migrations Notis Mitarachi en annonçant l’ouverture de ces deux nouveaux camps.

      Les nouveaux camps sécurisés, entourés de barbelés, pourvus de caméras de surveillance et de portails magnétiques où les demandeurs d’asile doivent présenter des badges électroniques et leurs empreintes digitales pour pouvoir entrer, sont fermés la nuit.

      Les demandeurs d’asile peuvent sortir dans la journée mais doivent impérativement rentrer le soir.

      Ces nouvelles installations que la Grèce s’est engagée à mettre en place grâce des fonds de l’Union européennes, sont appelées à remplacer les anciens camps sordides où s’entassaient des milliers de migrants dans des conditions insalubres.

      « Nous libérons nos îles du problème des migrants et de ses conséquences », a ajouté le ministre. « Les images des années 2015-2019 appartiennent désormais au passé ».

      Le premier camp sécurisé de ce type a été ouvert en septembre sur l’île de Samos, après le démantèlement du vieux camp, véritable bidonville, qui avait abrité près de 7.000 demandeurs d’asile au plus fort de la crise migratoire entre 2015 et 1016.

      La Grèce avait été la principale porte d’entrée par laquelle plus d’un million de demandeurs d’asile, principalement des Syriens, des Irakiens et des Afghans, étaient arrivés en Europe en 2015.

      Le situation en Afghanistan a fait redouter l’arrivée d’une nouvelle vague de migrants.

      Les nouveaux camps à accès contrôlé sont dotés de commodités comme l’eau courante, les toilettes et de meilleures conditions de sécurité qui étaient absentes dans les anciens camps.

      La Grèce a prévu d’ouvrir deux autres nouveaux camps sécurisés sur les îles de Lesbos et de Chios.

      La contribution de l’UE pour la mise en place de ces nouvelles installations s’élève à 276 millions d’euros (326 millions de dollars).

      Des ONG se sont toutefois inquiétées de l’isolement des personnes qui y sont hebergées, estimant que leur liberté de mouvement ne devrait pas être soumise à des restrictions aussi sévères.

      Selon des estimations de l’ONU, quelque 96.000 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile se trouvent sur le territoire grec.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/271121/grece-ouverture-de-deux-nouveaux-camps-fermes-pour-migrants

  • Greece, #Chios island : Fire destroys 15 tents in the #RIC of #VIAL

    Today, April 5 2021, 15 tents were completely destroyed after a fire broke out in the Reception and Identification Centre of Vial, on the Greek Island of Chios. The fire caused serious damage to 4 others.
    The fire service of Chios, which intervened to extinguish the fire is investigating the causes of the fire. Fortunately, there were no injuries to either refugees or firefighters.
    Such incidents are all too common and destroy scarce possessions, threaten lives and re-traumatize vulnerable populations. The frequent outbreak of fires is undeniably a consequence of a border policy which traps people in such inhumane, overcrowded living conditions.
    The new camps under construction are the not the ’answer’ and will not ensure safe and dignified living conditions where people can flourish and thrive.

    https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=746121826047999

    –—

    Κάηκαν ολοσχερώς 15 σκηνές στην ΒΙΑΛ, ζημιές σε άλλες τέσσερις

    ΕΝΗΜΕΡΩΣΗ 13:23 Δεκαπέντε σκηνές ολοσχερώς κατεστραμμένες είναι ο τελικός απολογισμός της πυρκαγιάς που ξέσπασε στο κέντρο υποδοχής και ταυτοποίησης της ΒΙΑΛ, την Δευτέρα 5 Απριλίου 2021. Από την φωτιά προκλήθηκαν σοβαρές ζημιές σε άλλες τέσσερις σκηνές.

    Από τη πυροσβεστική υπηρεσία Χίου, που επενέβη για την κατάσβεση της φωτιάς με 15 άνδρες και πέντε οχήματα, διερευνώνται τα αίτια της φωτιάς, ενώ επισημαίνεται ότι εκείνη την ώρα επικρατούσε ηρεμία στον χώρο του ΚΥΤ.

    Από την πυρκαγιά δεν υπήρξαν τραυματισμοί μεταξύ προσφύγων και μεταναστών ή των πυροσβεστών.

    ΕΝΗΜΕΡΩΣΗ 12:53

    Φωτιά ξέσπασε μετά τις 12 το μεσημέρι της Δευτέρας, 5 Απριλίου 2021, σε σκηνές στο κέντρο υποδοχής και ταυτοποίησης της ΒΙΑΛ, χωρίς να έχει γίνει μέχρι στιγμής η αιτία από την οποία ξεκίνησε η φωτιά.

    Για την κατάσβεση της φωτιάς επενέβησαν ισχυρές δυνάμεις της πυροσβεστικής υπηρεσίας Χίου.

    Σύμφωνα με τα πρώτα στοιχεία κάηκαν έξι σκηνές, ενώ έγινε γνωστό ότι στο ΚΥΤ επικρατούσε ηρεμία εκείνη την ώρα μεταξύ των προσφύγων και μεταναστών που διαμένουν στο ΚΥΤ.

    https://astraparis.gr/kaikan-apo-fotia-exi-skines-stin-vial

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #feu #incendie #vidéo

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste des incendies dans les camps de réfugiés, notamment en Grèce :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/851143

  • L’UE alloue 276 millions d’euros à la Grèce et appelle la Turquie à reprendre les migrants déboutés

    La commissaire européenne Ylva Johansson a appelé lundi, de l’île grecque de #Lesbos, la « Turquie à réadmettre d’urgence les migrants » renvoyés de Grèce, assurant par ailleurs que l’Union européenne allait allouer 276 millions d’euros à la construction de nouveaux camps d’accueil en #mer_Egée.

    La commissaire européenne aux Affaires intérieures chargée des migrations s’est rendue sur place pour pousser le gouvernement grec à agir plus rapidement en vue de l’ouverture avant l’hiver prochain de tels camps sur cette île, ainsi que sur celles de #Samos, #Chios, #Leros et #Kos, et à améliorer les #conditions_d'hébergement des quelque 14.000 demandeurs d’asile qui s’y trouvent.

    Ylva Johansson a par ailleurs exhorté la Turquie « à réadmettre d’urgence les migrants » renvoyés de Grèce, tandis que les présidents de la Commission européenne, Ursula von der Leyen, et du Conseil européen Charles Michel se rendront à Ankara le 6 avril pour rencontrer le président Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Le ministre grec des Migrations Notis Mitarachi a rappelé lundi que la Grèce avait demandé à la Turquie de reprendre sur son territoire 1.450 personnes qui avaient été déboutées du droit d’asile sur les #îles grecques.

    La commissaire européenne a en outre souligné que « la question migratoire devait être européanisée » et qu’il ne fallait pas laisser les Etats membres aux #frontières_extérieures de l’UE seuls face à la gestion de cette crise. Elle a jugé « impératif » de trouver « de nouvelles #solutions_politiques » pour partager le #fardeau entre les pays européens, estimant que « depuis trois ans, il n’y a pas eu de progrès » en ce sens. Elle a dit « comprendre » que « la patience a ses limites » et qu’à Lesbos, notamment, "la limite était « proche ».

    Illustration de la #colère des insulaires, Ylva Johansson a été confrontée à la fronde de 300 habitants de Lesbos qui ont manifesté devant le bâtiment où se déroulait sa conférence de presse pour s’opposer à la mise en place d’un nouveau camp.

    « Non aux structures sur l’île », pouvait-on lire sur une banderole déployée avant l’arrivée de la commissaire européenne et du ministre grec des Migrations. Lors de la même conférence de presse, Notis Mitarachi a annoncé que les camps de Samos, Kos et Leros ouvriraient d’ici trois mois. Les autres avant décembre 2021, a-t-il dit à l’AFP.

    Le gouvernement avait promis il y a longtemps un nouveau camp pour remplacer celui de #Moria, détruit en septembre dans un incendie, mais sa construction s’était heurtée à l’opposition de la population et des autorités locales, lassées par la présence des demandeurs d’asile sur leur île depuis la crise migratoire de 2015. Le nouveau camp de Lesbos doit voir le jour dans la localité de #Pali, à une demi-heure de route de la capitale de cette île, Mytilène. Depuis l’incendie de Moria, quelque 8.000 migrants sont toujours regroupés dans des installations provisoires où leurs #conditions_de_vie ont été extrêmement difficiles cet hiver.

    La Grèce doit enquêter

    Interrogée sur les accusations de refoulements de migrants par les garde-côtes grecs en mer Egée, Ylva Johansson a estimé que « la Grèce peut faire plus en matière d’investigations ».

    « Il y a des cas particuliers qui, je le pense vraiment, doivent être examinés de près », a-t-elle exhorté, se disant « très préoccupée » par les rapports établis par le Haut-Commissariat aux Réfugiés de l’ONU.
    « Nous devons protéger nos frontières extérieures et nous devons protéger les droits fondamentaux, cela va de pair, ce n’est pas une contradiction », a-t-elle poursuivi.

    Les autorités grecques ont été accusées ces derniers mois par des ONG et dans des enquêtes parues dans de nombreux médias d’avoir forcé des migrants présents en mer Egée à retourner dans les eaux territoriales turques sans déposer de demandes d’asile en Grèce, en violation du droit international. « Nous n’avons pas renvoyé de bateaux. Nous avons empêché des bateaux d’entrer sur le territoire grec et européen, ce qui est permis », avait récemment assuré dans un entretien avec l’AFP Notis Mitarachi.

    Lundi, il a de nouveau apporté un démenti à ce sujet, insistant sur le fait que des enquêtes menées par l’Union européenne et l’agence Frontex n’avaient conclu à « aucune infraction à des droits fondamentaux dans les cas qui ont été examinés ».

    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1256960/lue-va-allouer-276-millions-deuros-pour-la-construction-de-camps-de-m

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Grèce #UE #EU #aide_financière #déboutés #Turquie #réadmission #camps_de_réfugiés #nouveaux_camps #encampement #européanisation

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Ανθρωποι και ποντίκια στη ΒΙΑΛ

    Το στρατόπεδο συγκέντρωσης της ΒΙΑΛ στη Χίο αποτελεί ντροπή όχι μόνο για την Ευρώπη, αλλά για την ίδια την ανθρωπότητα ● 1.800 πρόσφυγες, από μωρά μέχρι ηλικιωμένους ανθρώπους, ζουν σε διαλυμένες σκηνές ανάμεσα σε ποτάμια από ακαθαρσίες, βουνά από σκουπίδια, ποντίκια και κουφάρια ζώων ● Το « σταδιακό κλείσιμο » της δομής που είχε υποσχεθεί η κυβέρνηση έχει ξεχαστεί και οι άνθρωποι έχουν καταδικαστεί στην εξαθλίωση και στον εξευτελισμό.

    Ο προσφυγικός καταυλισμός ή αλλιώς το Κέντρο Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης, όπως κατ’ ευφημισμόν έχει ονομαστεί, είναι ουσιαστικά ένας βούρκος. Ενας βούρκος όπου, λόγω και των σκληρών καιρικών συνθηκών, μεθοδικά η κυβέρνηση μετατρέπει σε αντικείμενα τους πρόσφυγες στερώντας τους κάθε έννοια αξιοπρέπειας και ανθρώπινης υπόστασης.

    Εχοντας εξασφαλίσει την πλήρη ανοχή -αν όχι και συνενοχή- της Ευρωπαϊκής Ενωσης και των δύο μεγάλων διεθνών οργανισμών, της Υπατης Αρμοστείας του ΟΗΕ (UNHCR) και του Διεθνούς Οργανισμού Μετανάστευσης (ΔΟΜ), με συνοπτικές διαδικασίες τούς καταδίκασε να ζουν σε συνθήκες αβίωτες ακόμα και για τα κατοικίδιά μας. Εκατοντάδες πρόσφυγες αυτή τη στιγμή στη ΒΙΑΛ προσπαθούν να επιβιώσουν σε αυτοσχέδιες σκηνές, φτιαγμένες με ό,τι διαθέσιμο υλικό βρεθεί πρόχειρο.

    Κατεστραμμένες σκηνές της Υπατης Αρμοστείας, χοντρό πλαστικό από συσκευασίες υλικών, σακούλες σκουπιδιών, απορρίμματα οικοδομών έχουν δεθεί και καρφωθεί πρόχειρα πάνω σε κλαδιά δέντρων ή ξύλα πολυκαιρισμένα και στεγάζουν την πλειονότητα των 1.800 ανθρώπων που ζουν εδώ και μήνες εγκλωβισμένοι στη ΒΙΑΛ και συγκεκριμένα στα χωράφια γύρω από το κεντρικό κτίριο.

    Ελάχιστοι είναι αυτοί που ζουν σε κοντέινερ, τα οποία πλέον στεγάζουν κυρίως υπηρεσίες και τις ελάχιστες ΜΚΟ που συνεχίζουν να δίνουν το « παρών » στην κόλαση της ΒΙΑΛ. Πού και πού μέσα στη ζούγκλα από αυτοσχέδιες σκηνές μπορεί να δεις κάποιο κοντέινερ μέσα στο οποίο συνήθως στοιβάζονται παραπάνω από δύο οικογένειες. Πρόκειται για τους τυχερούς/ές του στρατοπέδου.

    Η κυβέρνηση, θέλοντας να κατευνάσει τους κατοίκους του γειτονικού χωριού Χαλκειούς, ξήλωσε πάρα πολλά κοντέινερ υποσχόμενη το « σταδιακό κλείσιμο της ΒΙΑΛ » και τα μοίρασε δεξιά και αριστερά. Δύο από αυτά κατέληξαν στο Νοσοκομείο Χίου προκειμένου να μετατραπούν σε θαλάμους ασθενών Covid και τοποθετήθηκαν στο προαύλιο του ιδρύματος.

    Οι ελάχιστες χημικές τουαλέτες βρίσκονται στα όρια του καμπ σε ένα ανηφορικό σημείο. Πολύ συχνά υπερχειλίζουν καθώς είναι αδύνατον να εξυπηρετήσουν αυτόν τον πληθυσμό. Η πλαγιά κάτω από τις τουαλέτες είναι γεμάτη σκηνές, μέσα στις οποίες καταλήγουν τα κόπρανα και τα ούρα. Μερικές από τις τουαλέτες στερούνται πόρτας. Η μία πόρτα ξηλώθηκε και μετατράπηκε σε δομικό στοιχείο μιας καλύβας, ενώ άλλη μία χημική τουαλέτα « ιδιωτικοποιήθηκε » αφού, με τον νόμο της ζούγκλας να κυριαρχεί, μεταφέρθηκε στον αύλειο χώρο μιας σκηνής και πλέον εξυπηρετεί τις ανάγκες των ενοίκων της συγκεκριμένης φαμίλιας.

    Πρόσφατα, μέλη του Δικτύου Αλληλεγγύης Κοινωνικών Ιατρείων επισκέφτηκαν τον καταυλισμό, καταφέρνοντας να ξεπεράσουν τις αυστηρές εντολές απομόνωσης οι οποίες εκδόθηκαν δήθεν για προστασία από την εξάπλωση του κορονοϊού, αλλά με αντικειμενικό στόχο να κρατήσουν μακριά τις ανεπιθύμητες παρουσίες και κυρίως τον φωτογραφικό φακό.

    « Προχωρώντας μέσα στη ζούγκλα παρατηρούμε μπουκάλια νερού τα οποία μέσα έχουν ένα κίτρινο υγρό. Το κίτρινο αυτό υγρό είναι ούρα. Οι άνθρωποι αποφεύγουν να επισκεφτούν τις τουαλέτες και επιλέγουν να ουρούν μέσα σε μπουκάλια, τα οποία τοποθετούν έξω από τις άθλιες σκηνές τους προκειμένου να τα πετάξουν την επόμενη μέρα. Συνεχίζουμε τη δυστοπική μας περιήγηση, αλλά το βάδισμα γίνεται όλο και πιο δύσκολο. Η βροχή έχει επιδεινώσει την κατάσταση. Ισορροπούμε με δυσκολία επάνω σε σπασμένες παλέτες και οι διάδρομοι ανάμεσα στις σκηνές είναι στενοί, ίσα που χωρούν τα σώματά μας. Κάτω από τις μισοβυθισμένες στη λάσπη παλέτες περνούν ποντίκια.

    Κάποια στιγμή βγαίνουμε σε ένα σημείο πιο ανοιχτό. Εκεί ένας πρόσφυγας σκυμμένος στο χώμα προσπαθεί να καθαρίσει τα παπούτσια του από τις λάσπες, ενώ δίπλα του συνεχίζουν να περνούν ποντίκια. Ανθρωποι και ποντίκια συνυπάρχουν αρμονικά. Κανείς πια δεν διαμαρτύρεται. Οι άνθρωποι έπαψαν να τα σιχαίνονται και τα ποντίκια έπαψαν να τους φοβούνται. Παιδιά ξεπροβάλλουν μέσα από τις σκηνές σκυθρωπά. Είναι η μόνη φορά που βλέπουμε παιδιά να μην παίζουν. Τα παιδιά συνήθως παντού και πάντα, ακόμα και κάτω από τις πλέον άθλιες συνθήκες, βρίσκουν τρόπους να επιβιώνουν. Είναι ευρηματικά, μπορούν να παίζουν ώρες ολόκληρες με ένα κουτάκι από αναψυκτικό » αναφέρουν.

    Η απελπισία όμως στη ΒΙΑΛ έχει όνομα. Και πρόσωπο. Είναι του εφτάχρονου παιδιού το οποίο το μεσημέρι στις 11/2 ανέβηκε στην ταράτσα του κεντρικού κτιρίου της ΒΙΑΛ και απειλούσε να αυτοκτονήσει πέφτοντας από έξι-εφτά μέτρα ύψος. Ενα μέτρο για κάθε χρόνο ζωής που μετράει. Με την παρέμβαση κοινωνικών λειτουργών, ψυχολόγων και αστυνομικών πείστηκε να κατέβει.

    « Οι εικόνες φρίκης διαδέχονται η μία την άλλη » σημειώνουν τα μέλη του Δικτύου Κοινωνικών Ιατρείων, που κατάφεραν να βγάλουν μερικές φωτογραφίες στα κλεφτά. « Σωροί σκουπιδιών, κόπρανα, ούρα, ψόφια ζώα και παρ’ όλο που φοράμε μάσκες η δυσοσμία τις διαπερνά. “Βλέπεις τις γάτες ;” ψελλίζει ένας πρόσφυγας. “Είναι χορτάτες από τα σκουπίδια, γι’ αυτό και δεν κυνηγούν τα ποντίκια”. Στα χωράφια που βρίσκονται έξω από το κτίριο του ΚΥΤ μέσα στις λάσπες βρίσκονται κάποιες σκηνές. Από εκεί ξεπροβάλλει ένα κοριτσάκι, αναμαλλιασμένο και βρόμικο. Φοράει ένα ζευγάρι αντρικές σαγιονάρες, μεγαλύτερες από το μπόι του. Ψαχνόμαστε να του δώσουμε κάτι, αν και το ίδιο δεν μας ζητά τίποτα, απλώς μας κοιτάζει. Προσφέρουμε κάτι, περισσότερο από αμηχανία, εκείνο δεν μιλά και απομακρύνεται, μπαίνει σε μια σκηνή. Ο πατέρας κλείνει την πόρτα πίσω και αυτή είναι η μοναδική φωτογραφία πρόσφυγα που καταφέρνουμε να κλέψουμε, την πλάτη αυτού του πατέρα. Σε μια στιγμή που εκείνος δεν μας κοιτά. Τα υπόλοιπα τα ξέρουμε, δεν χρειάζονται, είναι περιττά. Οτιδήποτε επιπλέον θα ήταν φλυαρία, πλεονασμός και κίνδυνος για αυτούς τους ανθρώπους να χάσουν την αξιοπρέπειά τους. Αν ψάξετε φωτογραφία του μικρού κοριτσιού, δεν θα βρείτε. Η εξαθλίωση δεν μπορεί απλά και μόνο να απαθανατίζεται, οι άνθρωποι δεν είναι θέαμα ».
    Δεν διεκδικούν πια

    Και συνεχίζουν την περιγραφή της φρίκης : « Ολα αυτά είναι η “κανονικότητα” των στρατοπέδων συγκέντρωσης. Οι άνθρωποι που έχουν καταδικαστεί να διαμένουν σε αυτά φαίνεται πως έχουν πάψει να διεκδικούν και υπομένουν καρτερικά το τέλος. Είτε αυτό είναι η έγκριση του ασύλου, είτε η απέλασή τους, είτε ο ίδιος ο θάνατος. Οτιδήποτε από αυτά τα τρία φαντάζει καλύτερο από αυτό που βιώνουν τώρα. Και τίποτα από τα τρία δεν είναι σε θέση να το διεκδικήσουν. Εξαρτάται από τη βούληση και το “έλεος” των θυτών. Οι θύτες αστυνομικοί και εκπρόσωποι των πολυεθνικών οργανισμών και του υπουργείου, που διοικούν την κόλαση αυτή, είναι εξίσου απαθείς, μηχανικοί στις κινήσεις τους. Αυτό που κυριαρχεί ως γενική αίσθηση είναι ότι έχει δολοφονηθεί το ανθρώπινο στοιχείο και έχει απανθρωποποιηθεί η κοινωνική σύμβαση μεταξύ θυτών και θυμάτων ».
    Ο πληθυσμός

    Αυτή τη στιγμή ο πληθυσμός που στοιβάζεται στο ΚΥΤ ανέρχεται στους 1.800. Μόλις πριν από λίγες ημέρες ξεπερνούσε τις 3.000. Μέσα σε σύντομο χρονικό διάστημα δόθηκε το πράσινο φως από τον υπουργό Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου να μετακινηθεί ένα σημαντικό μέρος προς την ηπειρωτική Ελλάδα.

    « Οι άνθρωποι αυτοί κρατούνταν εντελώς εκδικητικά στο νησί, αν και είχαν περάσει από τη διαδικασία της συνέντευξης και είχαν επίσημα αποκτήσει προσφυγικό στάτους. Ανθρωποι εγκλωβισμένοι από τις αρχές τους 2019 εντελώς αναίτια. Η εντολή αυτή της fast track μετακίνησης δεν δόθηκε επειδή ξαφνικά ο Νότης Μηταράκης απέκτησε ευαισθησίες » υποστηρίζουν τα μέλη του Δικτύου και εξηγούν :

    « Το τελευταίο διάστημα τόσο στη Χίο όσο και στα υπόλοιπα νησιά γίνεται μια προσπάθεια να πειστούν οι κάτοικοι των νησιών για την αναγκαιότητα δημιουργίας κλειστών στρατοπέδων. Κάθε φορά υποδεικνύεται και ένα διαφορετικό μέρος από τους τοπικούς άρχοντες, σε συνεννόηση με τον υπουργό, αλλά κάθε φορά οι κάτοικοι αντιδρούν. Οι αντιδράσεις αυτές προέρχονται από ανθρώπους με διαφορετικές πολιτικές και ιδεολογικές αφετηρίες. Ολες και όλοι θυμόμαστε τη μετάβαση των ΜΑΤ του Χρυσοχοΐδη πριν από περίπου έναν χρόνο και τις σκηνές πρωτόγνωρου τραμπουκισμού που έζησαν οι κάτοικοι των νησιών. Είδαμε τους άντρες των ΜΑΤ μέχρι και την τελευταία στιγμή, λίγο πριν αποβιβαστούν στο καράβι της επιστροφής, να σπάνε και να καταστρέφουν αυτοκίνητα κατοίκων του νησιού ».

    Οπως λένε οι αυτόπτες μάρτυρες, οι φωνές για κατειλημμένα χωράφια είναι προσχηματικές. Στόχο έχουν να αποπροσανατολίσουν τη συζήτηση, βάζοντας στην εξίσωση και το κόστος που πληρώνει η τοπική κοινωνία. « Αλλά κάτι τέτοιο δεν ισχύει. Οι ιδιοκτήτες αποζημιώνονται, ενώ δημιουργήθηκαν και 500 θέσεις εργασίας για ντόπιους » υποστηρίζουν. « Σε μια εποχή κατά την οποία προσπαθούν να αναθεωρήσουν την ιστορία των ναζιστικών εγκλημάτων, επιχειρούν παράλληλα να αποσιωπήσουν το αίσχος των σύγχρονων εγκλημάτων των στρατοπέδων που λειτουργούν υπό την αιγίδα της Ε.Ε. και της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης. Στο πλαίσιο αυτής της πολιτικής επιχειρούν να φιμώσουν εκείνους/ες που καταγγέλλουν, να ποινικοποιήσουν τη δημοσιοποίηση πληροφοριών και φωτογραφιών » καταλήγουν.

    Αλλωστε πρόσφατες και σε εξέλιξη είναι και οι απόπειρες ποινικοποίησης της αλληλεγγύης στη Μυτιλήνη με τη δικογραφία της αστυνομίας εναντίον 35 μελών ΜΚΟ, που ακόμα εκκρεμεί στα εισαγγελικά γραφεία ελλείψει προφανώς ισχυρών ενδείξεων που θα οδηγούσαν σε απαγγελίες κατηγοριών από τις δικαστικές αρχές.

    https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/286381_anthropoi-kai-pontikia-sti-bial

    –------

    Note de Vicky Skoumbi, qui a envoyé ce message via la mailing-list Migreurop :

    J’ai essayé tant bien que mal de rectifier et de compléter la traduction automatique de ce témoignage terrifiant du centre de réception et d’identification de Chios, un camp mérite pleinement sa qualification de ’#camp_de_concentration'. Où on apprend que les résidents du camp n’attendant plus rien que le pire ont renoncé à toute réclamation et revendication, tandis qu’un petit garçon de sept ans finit par tenter de se suicider pour retrouver quelque chose de la valeur et de la dignité de la vie. La #déshumanisation systématique de réfugiés aurait même atteint même ceux qui gèrent le camp qui se comportent comme des automates. Ce témoignage est unique, car toute entrée dans le camp est interdite, et à plus forte raison toute prise de photo. Je vous prie donc de le diffuser le plus largement possible

    –—

    The VIAL (RIC of Chios) concentration camp in Chios is a disgrace not only to Europe but to humanity itself ● 1,800 refugees, from babies to the elderly, live in dilapidated tents between rivers of dirt, mountains of rubbish, mice and animal carcasses ● The “gradual closure” of the structure promised by the government has been forgotten and people have been doomed to misery and humiliation.

    The refugee camp, or Reception and Identification Center, as it is aptly named, is essentially a swampland full of mud. A swamp where, due to the harsh weather conditions, the government methodically turns the refugees into objects, depriving them of any notion of dignity and human condition.

    Having secured the full tolerance - if not complicity - of the European Union and the two major international organizations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), by summary proceedings sentenced them to live in conditions that would be still lifeless for our pets. Hundreds of refugees at the moment in VIAL are trying to survive in makeshift tents, made with whatever available material is found.

    Damaged UNHCR tents, thick plastic from packaging materials, rubbish bags, construction waste have been tied up and nailed to old tree branches or wood and house the majority of the 1,800 people who have been living in the north for months and trapped in the north. the main building.

    Few are those who live in containers, which now house mainly services and the few NGOs that continue to operate in the hell of the VIAL RIC. Every now and then in the jungle of makeshift tents you can see a container in which more than two families are usually stacked. These are the lucky ones of the camp.

    The government, wanting to appease the residents of the neighboring village of Chalkios, took away many containers promising the “gradual closure of VIAL” and distributed them here and there. Two of the containers ended up in Chios Hospital in order to be transformed into Covid patient’s wards and placed in the courtyard of the institution.

    The less than few chemical toilets are located on the edge of the camp on an uphill point. They often overflow as it is impossible for such a few number of toilets to serve this population. The slope below the toilets is full of tents, in which feces and urine end up. Some of the toilets do not have a door. One door was demolished and turned into a building block of a hut, while another chemical toilet was “privatized” after, with the law of the jungle prevailing, it was moved to the courtyard of a tent and now serves the needs of the occupants of this tent.

    Recently, members of the Solidarity Network of Social Clinics visited the camp, overcoming the strict isolation orders issued ostensibly to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, but whose the real objective is to keep away the unwanted presence and especially the unwanted faces [ all those who could testify and denounce publicly this horrible situation].

    "Going into the Jungle [the makeshift part of the camp] we notice bottles of water which have a yellow liquid inside. This yellow liquid is urine. People avoid going to the toilets and choose to urinate in bottles, which they place outside their miserable tents in order to throw them away the next day. We continue our dystopian tour, but walking becomes more and more difficult. The rain has worsened the situation. We have difficulty balancing on broken pallets and the corridors between the tents are narrow, just enough to fit our bodies. Mice pass under the half-submerged pallets.

    At some point we go to a more open point. There, a refugee crouching on the ground tries to clean his shoes from the mud, while mice continue to pass by. Humans and mice coexist harmoniously. No one is complaining anymore. People stopped hating them and mice stopped being afraid of them. Children emerge through the scenes sullenly. It is the only time we see children not playing. Children usually everywhere and anytime, even under the most miserable conditions, find ways to survive. They are ingenious, they can play for hours with a can of soft drink "they say.

    But despair in VIAL has a name. And a face. It belongs to a seven-year-old boy who at noon on 11/2 climbed on the roof of the main building of VIAL and threatened to commit suicide by falling from a height of six to seven meters. A meter high for every year of his life. With the intervention of social workers, psychologists and police officers, the child was persuaded to come down.

    “The images of horror follow one another,” note the members of the Network of Social Clinics, who managed to take some photos without being seen. "Piles of rubbish, feces, urine, dead animals and even though we wear masks, the stench pervades them. “Do you see cats?” cries a refugee. “They are full of garbage, that’s why they do not hunt mice.” In the fields outside the RIC building there are some tents in the mud. From there emerges a little girl, disheveled and dirty. She is wearing a pair of men’s flip flops, bigger than herself. We are looking for something to give her, even though she does not ask us for anything, she just looks at us. We offer something, more out of embarrassment, she does not speak and leaves, enters a scene. The father closes the back door and this is the only refugee photo we manage to steal, this father’s back. At a time when he is not looking at us. We know the rest, they are not needed, they are unnecessary. Anything more would be gossip, redundancy and risk for these people to lose their dignity. If you search for a photo of the little girl, you will not find it. “Poverty cannot simply be immortalized, people are not a spectacle.”

    They do not claim anymore

    And they continue to describe the horror: "All this is the ’normality’ of the concentration camps. The people who have been condemned to live in them seem to have stopped claiming and are patiently enduring the end. This could be either the approval of the asylum demand, or their deportation, or even death itself. Any of these three possibilities seems better than what they are experiencing now. And the people that are trapped at the Vial camp are not able to claim any of the three already mentioned. Their future depends on the will and the “mercy” of the perpetrators. The perpetrators, the police and the representatives of the multinational organizations and the ministry, who are responsible for the administration of this hell, are equally apathetic, moving around like automates. “What prevails as a general feeling is that the human element has been assassinated here: the social contract between perpetrators and victims has been completely dehumanized.”

    The population

    Currently the population stacked in the RIC amounts to 1,800. Just a few days ago it exceeded 3,000. A short time before, the Minister of Immigration and Asylum gave the green light to move an important part to mainland Greece.

    “These people were kept completely revengeful on the island, even though they had gone through the interview process and had officially acquired refugee status. People trapped since the beginning of 2019 completely unnecessarily. The recent order of fast track movement was not given because Notis Mitarakis suddenly became sensitive”, the members of the Network support and explain:

    “Recently, both in Chios and on the other islands, an attempt is being made to convince the inhabitants of the islands of the necessity of creating closed camps. Each time a different place is indicated by the local authorities, in consultation with the minister, but each time the residents react. These reactions come from people with different political and ideological backgrounds. We all remember the transition of Chrysochoidis [ The minister of the Police]’ riot police about a year ago and the scenes of unprecedented bullying experienced by the inhabitants of the islands. We saw the special unit’s men until the last moment, just before they disembarked on the return ship, to break and destroy cars of the island’s inhabitants”.

    According to eyewitnesses, the rumors about occupied fields are pretentious. They aim to disorient the discussion, putting in balance also the cost paid by the local community. “It is simply not true. The owners are being compensated, while 500 jobs have been created for locals”, they claim. "At a time when attempts are made to review the history of Nazi crimes, the authorities are also trying to silence the disgrace of the modern crimes of the EU-sponsored camps and the Greek government. “As part of this policy, they are trying to silence those who denounce, they try to criminalize the publication of information and photos,” they conclude.

    Attempts to criminalize solidarity in Mytilene are recent and ongoing with the brief filed by the police against 35 NGO members, which is still pending in the prosecutor’s office, apparently in the absence of strong evidence that would lead to indictments by the judicial authorities.

    #Vial #Chios #grèce #réfugiés #asile #migrations #îles #camps_de_réfugiés

    ping @isskein @karine4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    –—

    Traduction de Vicky Skoumbi via la mailing-list Migeurop :

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • « Ναι » στις επιστροφές μεταναστών λέει η Τουρκία

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Traduction du grec reçue via la mailing-list Migreup :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #transferts

  • Automutilations, idées suicidaires… Sur les îles grecques, une dégradation inquiétante de la santé mentale des migrants - InfoMigrants
    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/29311/automutilations-idees-suicidaires-sur-les-iles-grecques-une-degradatio

    Confinement : Pour l’IRC, si le système même d’enfermement des demandeurs d’asile dans des hotspots a constitué un terrain favorable à des souffrances psychologiques, ce sont les longs mois de confinement imposés aux résidents qui ont radicalement aggravé la situation. L’isolement prolongé des camps jusqu’à la fin de l’été, alors que la population grecque a été déconfinée le 4 mai, a créé un fort sentiment d’injustice chez les personnes migrantes.Durant l’été, une vingtaine d’associations, dont Amnesty International, avaient dénoncé une politique « inefficace » et « discriminatoire » envers les exilés."La crainte réelle d’être contaminés a provoqué chez les habitants des centres d’identification et d’enregistrement une détresse considérable. En conséquence, les tensions ont commencé à s’intensifier avec des incendies et des protestations qui éclatent chez les réfugiés des camps de Lesbos, Chios et Samos en avril 2020", détaille également l’IRC dans son rapport.
    Pour mettre fin à cette situation intenable, l’IRC appelle l’Union européenne (UE) à plus de solidarité afin que les demandeurs d’asile des îles grecques soient plus rapidement répartis entre les pays de l’UE.Seuls quelques milliers de réfugiés - dont 1 300 mineurs malades ou non-accompagnés - ont été autorisés à se réinstaller dans d’autres États de l’UE cette année, malgré les demandes répétées d’Athènes et de la Commission européenne d’intensifier les transferts

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#ue#sante#santementale#refugie#confinement#demandeurdasile#mineur#mna#lesbos#chios#samos

  • Grèce : quarantaine prolongée dans le camp de migrants de Vial, à Chios - InfoMigrants
    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/28104/grece-quarantaine-prolongee-dans-le-camp-de-migrants-de-vial-a-chios

    La quarantaine a été prolongée dans le camp de migrants de Vial, sur l’île grecque de Chios, a annoncé jeudi le ministre grec des Migrations. Instaurée depuis le 14 octobre, elle durera au moins jusqu’au 4 novembre.
    Le camp de migrants de Vial, sur l’île grecque de Chios, va rester en quarantaine au moins jusqu’au 4 novembre, a annoncé jeudi 23 octobre le ministre grec des Migrations, Notis Mitarachis.
    Le camp de Vial avait été placé en quarantaine le 14 octobre après que « plusieurs » cas de coronavirus ont été détectés par les autorités de santé. Notis Mitarachis n’a pas précisé combien de personnes étaient infectées dans le camp à ce jour. Comme les autres pays européens, la Grèce a du mal à stabiliser l’épidémie de coronavirus. Les camps de migrants surpeuplés inquiètent particulièrement les autorités sanitaires car la distanciation sociale y est presque impossible à respecter.
    A Lesbos, plus de 240 cas de coronavirus ont été détectés dans le nouveau camp provisoire construit après les incendies de Moria. Les personnes infectées ont été placées à l’isolement. Fin septembre, les autorités grecques avaient annoncé la mort d’une première personne migrante du coronavirus. Il s’agit d’un homme de 61 ans d’origine afghane qui vivait avec sa famille dans le camp de Malakasa, près d’Athènes. Il a avait été hospitalisé et est mort à l’hôpital.
    Alors que la population grecque est sortie de son confinement depuis le 4 mai, les centres d’accueil et camps de migrants du pays ont dû rester à l’isolement bien plus longtemps. Durant l’été, une vingtaine d’associations, dont Amnesty International, avaient dénoncé une politique « inefficace » et « discriminatoire » envers des dizaines de milliers d’exilés agglutinés dans des camps insalubres. Début septembre, les camps de Malakassa et de Schisto (dans le nord et l’ouest d’Athènes respectivement) et d’Eleonas ont été placés en « confinement sanitaire total ».

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#camp#vial#chios#eleonas#malakassa#schisto#confinement#quarantaine#mortalite#refugie#discrimination

    • Στήνει « Γκουαντάναμο » παντού με αφορμή τον κορονοϊό

      Η είδηση της διάγνωσης Σομαλού πρόσφυγα στη Μόρια με Covid-19 έδωσε την ευκαιρία στον Νότη Μηταράκη να επαναφέρει την πρόταση για μετατροπή όλων των ΚΥΤ σε κλειστές φυλακές με 24ωρη παρακολούθηση, διπλή περίφραξη και έλεγχο αποσκευών στα πρότυπα των αεροδρομίων ● Χωρίς γιατρούς παραμένουν οι προσφυγικές δομές Λέσβου και Χίου.

      Ετοιμος να εκμεταλλευτεί πολιτικά την ύπαρξη ακόμη και ενός θετικού δείγματος κορονοϊού σε πρόσφυγα που διαμένει στη δομή της Μόριας, προκειμένου να προωθήσει τα σχέδια μετατροπής των ΚΥΤ σε φυλακές, αποδείχθηκε ο υπουργός Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου.

      Θετικός βρέθηκε άνδρας από τη Σομαλία στο Κέντρο Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης της Μόριας και τέθηκε σε καραντίνα ολόκληρο το ΚΥΤ των 13.000 ανθρώπων. Ο Σομαλός είχε λάβει άσυλο στις 17 Ιουλίου, οπότε και αναχώρησε για την Αθήνα. Ομως, χωρίς καμία μέριμνα ή υποστήριξη για τη στέγασή του σε ασφαλή χώρο, επέλεξε να επιστρέψει στη « ζούγκλα » της Μόριας στις 27 Αυγούστου, μεταφέροντας πλέον την πανδημία εντός του καταυλισμού και κάνοντας τον εφιάλτη πραγματικότητα.

      Ευνοημένος από τη συγκυρία, ο υπουργός Νότης Μηταράκης θεώρησε ευκαιρία το γεγονός για να επαναφέρει την πρόταση μετατροπής των ΚΥΤ σε κλειστές δομές-φυλακές, παρουσιάζοντας ως πρότυπο τα σχέδια για την ανέγερση της δομής της Σάμου που εισάγει αλλά και επισημοποιεί την οργουελιανή εκδοχή στη μεταναστευτική πολιτική της Ελλάδας.

      Τα ΚΥΤ, σύμφωνα με όσα παρουσίασε ο υπουργός σε σύσκεψη με τους επικεφαλής των δημοτικών παρατάξεων στη Χίο με θέμα το μέλλον της ΒΙΑΛ, αποκτούν διπλή περίφραξη με νεκρή ζώνη πλάτους έξι μέτρων, ελεγχόμενη είσοδο-έξοδο με κάρτα και δακτυλικά αποτυπώματα, πανοπτικό σύστημα παρακολούθησης με κάμερες όλο το 24ωρο, σύστημα ελέγχου αποσκευών όπως στα αεροδρόμια και φυσικά μια « μαύρη τρύπα » δικαιωμάτων που ονομάζεται ΠΡΟΚΕΚΑ και μέσα του θα χάνονται όσοι/ες κριθούν ότι δεν τηρούν τα κριτήρια παροχής ασύλου, με αόριστο τον χρόνο κράτησης. Γενικότερα, θα έλεγε κανείς ότι οι αιτούντες άσυλο σε αυτά τα κέντρα-φυλακές αντιμετωπίζονται προκαταβολικά ως ύποπτοι τέλεσης σοβαρών αδικημάτων και ως κρατούμενοι που στερούνται τα βασικά τους δικαιώματα.
      Το κρούσμα στη Μόρια

      Ο 40χρονος πρόσφυγας βρέθηκε θετικός έπειτα από τεστ στο Νοσοκομείο Μυτιλήνης, όπου οδηγήθηκε με συμπτώματα και παραμένει νοσηλευόμενος, την ώρα που στον ΕΟΔΥ έχει χτυπήσει « κόκκινος » συναγερμός, έχοντας ως μοναδικό όπλο άμυνας τα αυστηρά μέτρα περιορισμού της κυκλοφορίας, αλλά ουσιαστικό αντίπαλο την αδυναμία εφαρμογής των υγειονομικών κανόνων λόγω των άθλιων συνθηκών διαβίωσης, αλλά και την ανυπαρξία γιατρών και νοσηλευτικού προσωπικού τόσο στη Μόρια όσο και στη ΒΙΑΛ της Χίου, που επίσης έχει τεθεί εδώ και εβδομάδες σε αυστηρή καραντίνα.

      Χαρακτηριστικό είναι ότι τόσο η δομή υγείας -δωρεά της ολλανδικής κυβέρνησης, που εγκαινιάστηκε πρόσφατα με τη παρουσία της ΠτΔ κ. Αικατερίνης Σακελλαροπούλου- όσο και τα ιατρεία της Περιφέρειας στα ΚΥΤ των δύο νησιών παραμένουν χωρίς γιατρούς. Η νέα δομή ακόμη δεν έχει λειτουργήσει καθόλου, ενώ οι συμβάσεις των υπηρετούντων ιατρών με την Περιφέρεια Βορείου Αιγαίου έληξαν και η σχετική προκήρυξη, που έληξε προ ολίγων ημερών, απέβη άγονη. Το ίδιο αναμένεται και γι’ αυτήν που λήγει αύριο, παρά τις αυξημένες αποδοχές που προβλέπει για το επιστημονικό προσωπικό οι οποίες φτάνουν τις 2.500 ευρώ μηνιαίως.

      Από το υπουργείο Μετανάστευσης και Ασύλου, ωστόσο, εκφράζουν την αισιοδοξία τους ότι σύντομα η δομή της ολλανδικής κυβέρνησης στη Μόρια θα είναι σε θέση να λειτουργήσει. Σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες, πρόθεση του υπουργείου είναι να θέσει τη δομή σε λειτουργία σε συνεργασία με κάποιες ΜΚΟ υγειονομικού χαρακτήρα που ήδη λειτουργούν εντός του ΚΥΤ. Ομως το πρόβλημα των άθλιων συνθηκών διαβίωσης, της ανυπαρξίας χώρων υγιεινής, της υπερσυγκέντρωσης ανθρώπων σε ουρές και όλα αυτά που δημιουργεί το πλήθος των 13.000 ανθρώπων σε χώρους με προδιαγραφές για 3.100 παραμένει και εκεί ουσιαστική απάντηση δεν υπάρχει.

      Η μόνη απάντηση που δίνει το υπουργείο είναι για ακόμη μία φορά η προσπάθεια εκμετάλλευσης των συνθηκών ώστε να προωθήσει τα σχέδια για μετατροπή των δομών της ΒΙΑΛ και της Μόριας σε « κλειστές ». « Το ΚΥΤ Μόριας παραμένει ανοιχτή δομή και το περιστατικό αυτό ενισχύει την ανάγκη να υλοποιηθούν οι εργασίες δημιουργίας κλειστής ελεγχόμενης δομής. Για το χρονικό διάστημα έως και τις 15/09/2020 θα απαγορεύεται ρητά η είσοδος και η έξοδος από τη δομή φιλοξενίας, ενώ η ΕΛ.ΑΣ. θα έχει ενισχυμένη παρουσία στον χώρο γύρω από τη δομή, για την τήρηση της απαγόρευσης της κυκλοφορίας καθ’ όλο το 24ωρο », αναφέρει χαρακτηριστικά σε δελτίο Τύπου, περιγράφοντας τις προθέσεις του.
      Σε εφαρμογή το σχέδιο Μηταράκη

      Το σχέδιο αυτό, που περιλαμβάνει και τη ΒΙΑΛ, ουσιαστικά έχει τεθεί σε εφαρμογή εδώ και μήνες, αλλά τις τελευταίες ημέρες μπήκε σε μια νέα φάση. Το προανήγγειλε ο κ. Μηταράκης πριν από δύο μέρες με αναρτήσεις του στον προσωπικό του λογαριασμό σε γνωστό μέσο κοινωνικής δικτύωσης, όπου σημείωνε τα εξής : « Ζητούμενο η ασφάλεια των δομών φιλοξενίας αιτούντων άσυλο. Ξεκινάμε τη μετατροπή των δομών σε κλειστών/ελεγχόμενων προς όφελος και των διαμενόντων και των τοπικών κοινωνιών ».

      Πρόθυμους συμμάχους σ’ αυτό το σχέδιο όσον αφορά τη Χίο, που μαζί με τη Λέσβο παραμένουν το αγκάθι στον σχεδιασμό (ενώ οι νέες δομές σε Λέρο, Κω και Σάμο προχωρούν κανονικά), βρήκε στην τοπική κοινότητα Χαλκειούς που υπό το βάρος της γειτονίας με την υπερπλήρη ΒΙΑΛ ασφυκτιά ψάχνοντας απεγνωσμένα για λύτρωση. Ετσι, με αίτηση προς το δημοτικό συμβούλιο Χίου, ο άλλος πρόθυμος σύμμαχος Μηταράκη, η δημοτική αρχή Κάρμαντζη, άδραξε την ευκαιρία και την έκανε αποδεκτή, απευθύνοντας τη σχετική πρόσκληση και στον υπουργό, που επίσης τη δέχτηκε άμεσα.

      Στόχος, να θέσει και πάλι το εκβιαστικό δίλημμα « ή νέος χώρος ή ΒΙΑΛ » ώστε να εισπράξει την άρνηση των επικεφαλής των παρατάξεων και να προχωρήσει το σχέδιο μετατροπής του ΚΥΤ σε ημίκλειστη φυλακή αλλά και ταυτόχρονα μονιμοποιώντας την, παρουσιάζοντας το αποτέλεσμα ως επιλογή του Δ.Σ. Χίου και ειδικά της μειοψηφίας. Τακτική που έχει δοκιμαστεί και στη Λέσβο για τη Μόρια, με τα πρώτα αποτελέσματα να είναι ήδη ορατά, αφού πρόσφατα εξασφαλίστηκαν επιπλέον 40 στρέμματα για την επέκτασή της.

      Αξίζει να σημειωθεί ότι από τις επτά παρατάξεις στο Δ.Σ. Χίου, το « παρών » έδωσαν οι πέντε, με τον Μάρκο Σκούφαλο από τη Λαϊκή Συσπείρωση και τον Μανόλη Στάθη από τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ να αρνούνται την παρουσία τους καταγγέλλοντας τα σχέδια Μηταράκη. Οι υπόλοιποι (Κ. Τριαντάφυλλος, Μαν. Βουρνούς, Γ. Καραβασίλης και Δ. Αντώνογλου) επέμεναν στην εφαρμογή των ομόφωνων αποφάσεων του Δ.Σ. περί αποσυμφόρησης και κλεισίματος της ΒΙΑΛ και δημιουργίας δομής Καταγραφής και Ταυτοποίησης έως 500 ατόμων.

      Αντίθετα, ανοιχτός στην επανεξέταση του θέματος εμφανίστηκε ο δήμαρχος Στ. Κάρμαντζης που σημειωτέον δεν έθιξε καθόλου το θέμα της ακραίας βίας που άσκησαν στη Χίο τα ΜΑΤ κατά την επεισοδιακή τους παρουσία τον περασμένο Φεβρουάριο. Ζήτημα που έθεσαν κατά κόρον οι υπόλοιποι στη σύσκεψη καθώς και πολλά ακόμη θέματα, όπως η κατάρρευση της κοινής δήλωσης Ε.Ε. - Τουρκίας, το ζήτημα της 18μηνης εκκρεμοδικίας της αγωγής του Δήμου Χίου για την έξωση του υπουργείου από τη ΒΙΑΛ, ενώ ο Δ. Αντώνογλου εκ μέρους της Χιακής Συμπολιτείας έθεσε και το θέμα των παράνομων επαναπροωθήσεων προσφύγων.

      Τέλος, να σημειωθεί και η αποχώρηση του κ. Τριαντάφυλλου και του κ. Καραβασίλη σε κλίμα έντασης με τον κ. Μηταράκη.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/politiki/258178_stinei-gkoyantanamo-pantoy-me-aformi-ton-koronoio

      –—

      Traduction de Vicky Skoumbi via la mailing-list Migreurop :

      Le gouvernement grec a l’intention de ‘profiter’ de l’effet médiatique du premier patient de Covid au camp de #Moria pour transformer le #RIC de Moria à une sorte de Guantanamo, écrit le quotidien grec Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn :

      « Le Ministre de l’Immigration Notis Mitarakis y voit une opportunité de promouvoir la transformation de Centres de réception et Identification en structures pénitentiaires fermées, en imposant comme modèle les plans de la structure de Samos en cours de construction. Si on se fie aux déclarations du ministre lors de sa rencontre avec les chefs des factions municipales de Chios sur l’avenir de hot-spot de VIAL, les hot-spots auront une double clôture avec une zone morte de six mètres de large, toute entrée et sortie seront contrôlées avec carte et empreintes digitales, l’ensemble du camp sera sous surveillance par une système panoramique de caméras 24h / 24, il y aura même un système de contrôle des bagages équivalent à celui des aéroports et, bien sûr le « trou noir de droits » appelé PROKEKA [les centres de détention fermés avant renvoi] où seront détenus pour un laps de temps indéterminé ceux qui ne remplissent pas les conditions d’obtention d’asile. Plus généralement on pourrait dire que les demandeurs d’asile dans ces centres pénitentiaires seront traités à l’avance comme des suspects de crimes graves et comme des détenus privés de leurs droits fondamentaux. »

      Le comble de l’affaire dans cette opération d’instrumentalisation d’un cas de Covid à l’Oliveraie de Moria est le fait que le patient est un réfugiés reconnu comme tel qui avait été obligé de retourner d’Athènes où il arrivait pas à vivre faute de moyens de subsistance et de logement à l’Oliveraie. Bref il n’était qu’une énième victime de la politique gouvernementale qui prive les réfugiés de tout moyen de subsistance juste un mois après l’obtention de l’asile (Voir aussi l’article de Libération )

      En effet les déclarations du Ministre de l’Immigration Mytarakis font d’autant plus froid dans le dos que 800.000 euros seront destinés à l’installation de clôtures tandis que le seul dispensaire du camp habilité à traiter de cas Covid reste fermé faute de personnel (voir EfSyn en grec). Qui plus est il y a déjà en cours un appel d’offre pour la location pour cinq ans de champs qui entourent le camp de Moria pour l’extension de celui-ci, même au-delà du camp informel de l’Oliveraie (voir stonisi.gr ).

      L’instrumentalisation de la peur que suscite la propagation du virus – avec 111 cas dans la population locale et cinq morts depuis le 12 août à Lesbos- va de pair avec l’annonce quasi-explicite de refoulements illégaux par des membres du gouvernement. Le 2 septembre, lors d’une conférence de presse, Mr Plakiotakis, ministre de la Marine avait présenté comme un exploit le fait que les gardes côtes grecques ont dissuadé-empêché 3000 personnes d’atteindre les côtes grecques pendant le seul mois d’août. Aux questions insistantes de journalistes qui voudraient savoir par quels moyens ont eu lieu ces opérations de dissuasion, le ministre a répondu par de faux-fuyants : « « Nos officiers opèrent toujours sur la base de la légalité, ils défendent les frontières maritimes de notre patrie, mais en respectant la vie humaine en mer. Il y a une réticence de la part de la Turquie à coopérer, elle ne respecte pas les termes fondamentaux de l’accord avec l’UE » avait-il dit. pour l’immigration " ( voir EfSyn en grec). Bref le gouvernement grec en est arrivé au point de se vanter –ne serait-ce qu’à mi- mots, de refoulements illégaux.

      #Lesbos

    • Refugee Covid case sparks ’closed camps’ fears on Lesbos

      Greek government suggests need for ‘closed and controlled’ structures but NGOs fear virus is pretext for increased restrictions.

      The first recorded coronavirus case in Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, where just under 13,000 people are living in a space designed for 3,000, has led to fears that the government will use the pandemic as a pretext to create closed camps.

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/sep/04/refugee-covid-case-sparks-closed-camps-fears-on-lesbos

      #paywall

    • Les travaux de transformation de #hotspots en #centres_de_détention_fermés et contrôlés avancent à grand pas à #Lesbos et à #Chios. Le ministre Mitarakis a déjà signé à cette fin de contrats avec deux entreprises de construction qui se chargent d’y installer une double #clôture et de portiques de sécurité aux deux camps.

      (commentaire de Vicky Skoumbi via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 06.09.2020)

      Ci-dessous des extraits d’un article publié le 4 septembre au quotidien grec Efimérida tôn Syntaktôn (https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/258311_prota-synapse-symbaseis-kai-meta-ekane-dialogo) :

      Πρώτα σύναψε συμβάσεις και μετά έκανε « διάλογο »

      Le ministre de l’Immigration et de l’Asile Notis Mitarakis a déjà signé un accord avec les entreprises de construction TERNA et AKTOR pour les projets de conversion de hot-spots à Chios et à Lesbos en prisons pour réfugiés.

      Mettant en œuvre les décisions antérieures du gouvernement M. Mitarakis immédiatement après la réunion à la mairie de Chios a signé les contrats avec « TERNA » et « AKTOR », pour les travaux d’installation d’une double clôture autour du came VIAL et de celui de Moria, respectivement, qui transforment les RIC en prisons pour les demandeurs d’asile avec entrée et sortie contrôlées.

      Suivant la méthode d’affectation directe sans appel d’offre préalable, le ministère, pour le montant de 1 031 398 euros et avec un horizon temporel de deux mois, invite "TERNA Construction SA". à entreprendre le projet « Travaux préparatoires à la clôture et au nettoyage d’un stade sur l’île de Chios ».

      Publiée sur le site diavgeia.gov (Transparence), la lettre de garantie déposée par "TERNA d’un montant de 41 600 euros, a été émise depuis le 26/8, ce qui montre que tout a été décidé d’avance et le dialogue après-coup avec la société locale n’a été qu’une manœuvre de communication.

      Cependant, la question de la légalité des travaux demeure entière, puisque, comme on le sait, le camp de VIAL est sur un site qu’est la propriété de la municipalité de Chios, qui a fait appel auprès des tribunaux en déposant une action en évacuation contre le ministère et en demandant la restitution de l’espace, le contrat de concession correspondant ayant expiré depuis 20 mois. L’affaire est en attente de jugement depuis 18 mois maintenant et personne n’est en mesure de dire quand la procédure relative sera fixée.

      Il est à noter également que le contrat de concession entre la Commune de Chios et VIAL a été signé en 2015 sous la pression d’une situation urgente, mais, cinq ans plus tard personne ne peut prétendre que le besoin d’un site pour le RIC relève toujours d’une urgence et ne pouvait pas être prévu d’avance.

      Une décision similaire a été signée par le ministre de l’Immigration et de l’Asile, avec l’entreprise de construction "AKTOR", pour que celle-ci installe une double clôture autour du hot-spot de Moria Là, le coût a été fixé à 854 390,86 euros TTC et le contrat a été signé le mercredi 2 septembre. Respectivement, là aussi, la lettre de garantie bancaire d’un montant de 34 600 euros a été émise le 7 juillet, soit il y a presque deux mois !

      Reste à voir les réactions des communautés locales et en particulier de la commune de Chalkeia à Chios et de celle de Moria à Lesbos, qui depuis cinq ans ne cessent de manifester leur opposition à l’installation de RIC à la proximité de leur village.

      https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/koinonia/258311_prota-synapse-symbaseis-kai-meta-ekane-dialogo

    • 2000 personnes qui auraient être en contact avec le réfugié somalien porteur du virus à l’ Oliveraie de Moria ;
      A ce jour nous avons le résultat de 1.600 tests de dépistage et pour 17 personnes les résultats ont été positifs
      voir en grec https://www.stonisi.gr/post/11213/17-kroysmata-koronoioy-sth-moria-realtime
      17 cas cela ne serait pas dramatique dans des conditions normales, mais avec le surpeuplement, la quasi-inexistence d’infrastructures sanitaires surtout à la partie informel du camp, l’Oliveraie, c’est extrêmement inquiétant, d’autant plus que rien n’est prévu pour l’instant pour la mise en quarantaine de porteur et la prise en charge de malades, d’autant plus que l’hôpital de Mytilène est déjà débordé par la recrudescence de cas dans la population locale, suite aux cérémonies religieuses du 15 août
      Et l’unité de soins Covid de Moria inaugurée en grande pompe par la Présidente de la République il y a une dizaine de jours n’est toujours pas fonctionnelle.

      Message de Vicky Skoumbi via la mailing-list Migreurop, le 07.09.2020

  • Refugee Covid case sparks ’closed camps’ fears on Lesbos | Global development | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/sep/04/refugee-covid-case-sparks-closed-camps-fears-on-lesbos
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a4af1d2e29d3cff56c0e21ba732d14a02e851855/282_744_5467_3280/master/5467.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    The first recorded coronavirus case in Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, where just under 13,000 people are living in a space designed for 3,000, has led to fears that the government will use the pandemic as a pretext to create closed camps. Notis Mitarachi, the minister for migration, told local news that the coronavirus situation demonstrated the need for “closed and controlled” structures. The migration ministry also released a statement on Thursday, which said that plans to create closed structures on the islands of Lesbos and Chios were progressing. On Wednesday, a 40-year-old man, a recognised refugee from Somalia, tested positive for Covid-19. The camp is now under a strict two-week quarantine and police monitor entrances and exits. Since the outbreak of the pandemic there have been calls by NGOs for the evacuation of overcrowded Aegean island camps where social distancing is impossible. In Moria, most people live in cramped conditions outside the official perimeters of the camp often in thin tents or makeshift huts.
    Greece, which had success in flattening the curve at the outbreak of the pandemic, has experienced a rise in cases since the country opened up to tourism in July. Rights groups have drawn distinctions between the differing attitudes shown towards tourist and refugees: as holidaymakers have taken to the country’s beaches, refugees have remained locked down since 23 March. Caroline Willemen, the MSF project coordinator for Covid-19 on Lesbos, said she was concerned not only about the impact of the virus but also the plans for closed centres. “There have been statements that if only Moria was a closed structure, this would never have happened, which is extremely questionable,” she said. “The person who was found to be positive reportedly came back from Athens, but that’s only one of many ways in which sooner or later Covid would have reached Moria. It’s a very cynical approach and it’s really using the pandemic as an excuse to supplement further restrictions that are not justified from a public health point of view.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#grece#camp#hotspot#confinement#moria#chios#lesbos#sante#politiquemigratoire#UE#MSF

  • Lene Marie Fossen
    https://www.lenemariefossen.com

    About Lene Marie Fossen (18.08.1986 - 22.10.2019)

    Lene Marie Fossen sadly passed away on October 22nd 2019.
    Lene Marie Fossen wanted to stop time 23 years ago. She was only 10 years old when she decided to stop eating and struggled with anorexia the rest of her life. She chose to be open about her disease and is best known for her beautiful and revealing self-portraits. Her soulful portraits of victims of the refugee crisis on the island of Chios in Greece also bear witness of a unique photographer and artist.

    #LeneMaries last wish was that her work should be shared with as many people as possible.
    My photographs are not about #Anorexia she said.
    They are about human suffering.

    le film : Lene Marie ou le vrai visage de l’anorexie
    https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/092174-000-A/lene-marie-ou-le-vrai-visage-de-l-anorexie

    Le portrait de #LeneMarieFossen, jeune #photographe norvégienne qui a souffert d’#anorexie pendant plus de vingt ans, décédée en 2019. Ce #documentaire dénué de voyeurisme a su capter son face-à-face tragique avec la maladie.

    « C’est comme si j’avais un régime nazi à l’intérieur de mon propre corps. » Anorexique depuis l’âge de 10 ans, Lene Marie Fossen en a 28 au moment où commence ce film. Cette jeune Norvégienne vit alors toujours dans la ferme de son enfance, entre deux parents aimants et impuissants, dans la campagne non loin de Lillehammer. Un jour, la petite fille dévorée d’angoisse et de douleur, qui n’a jamais voulu grandir, découvre lors d’une thérapie que la photographie est un moyen « d’arrêter le temps », et y trouve un chemin vers elle-même autant que vers les autres. Au fil d’autoportraits méticuleusement composés, comme autant d’images de la souffrance, elle met en scène son corps squelettique, affrontant la terreur pour y puiser de la beauté. Peu à peu, avec autant de ténacité que de délicatesse, elle tourne aussi son objectif vers des visages inconnus : ceux des habitants de l’île de Chios, en 2014, comme ceux des réfugiés syriens échoués sur le rivage de Lesbos, en 2015. Deux ans plus tard, un confrère célèbre en Norvège, Morten Krogvold, lui ouvre les portes du Festival Nordic Lights, où ses bouleversants autoportraits sont chaleureusement accueillis. Mais malgré cette reconnaissance presque immédiate, Lene Marie reste prisonnière de son combat épuisant entre la vie et la mort, et rend peu à peu les armes. Elle décède d’une crise cardiaque à l’automne 2019.

    Au plus près
    Les réalisatrices ont suivi Lene Marie plusieurs années durant, au plus près de son être ravagé par une maladie psychique dont, pas plus que la jeune femme, elles ne prétendent expliquer le mystère. Attentif à la beauté du cadre comme son modèle, dénué de voyeurisme comme ses photographies, dont il semble un prolongement, leur film ne laisse pas indemne. Mais de même que Lene Marie lutte pour n’être pas réduite à son anorexie, ce face-à-face avec une souffrance sans remède mêle si intimement le courage et la défaite, le désespoir et le bonheur, qu’il semble par moments capter l’essence même de la vie.

  • Greece reports first coronavirus case in island migrant camp

    The overcrowded camp on the Greek island of Chios houses thousands of asylum seekers. The coronavirus outbreak has spread into migrant camps on the mainland, but had yet to surface in island camps.

    An asylum seeker in one of Greece’s overcrowded island migrant camps has tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

    The case involves a 35-year-old man from Yemen living at the #Vial migrant camp in Chios, according to multiple reports. A migrant official told the French news agency AFP that the man has been quarantined at a hospital and that 30 people are being tested for the virus.

    The man represents the first case in one of Greece’s several overcrowded island migrant camps. The case was one of the 262 new cases the country reported on Thursday, the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.

    Several non-fatal cases have been reported on the mainland, including 150 infections at a migrant hotel in Peloponnese in April. But this is the first case to surface in one of the island camps, where overcrowding is the worst.

    There are over 3,800 asylum seekers living at the Vial camp, over three times the facility’s capacity. There are over 25,000 people in island camps that are built to hold only 6,100.

    Camps on Greek islands are nominally under lockdown until the end of August, with access severely restricted. However, Greece’s migration ministry has brought hundreds of asylum seekers from island camps to the mainland, while others have been granted refugee status and allowed to leave the islands.

    More than 6,000 people in Greece have contracted the new coronavirus, and the country has reported more than 200 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.

    https://www.dw.com/en/greece-reports-first-coronavirus-case-in-island-migrant-camp/a-54553502
    #coronavirus #camps_de_réfugiés #Chios #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Grèce #îles #covid-19

    ping @thomas_lacroix

    • Coronavirus. Un premier cas positif dans un camp de migrants sur une île grecque

      La Grèce a annoncé jeudi 13 août, le premier cas de coronavirus dans un camp de migrants sur une île de la mer Egée, a-t-on appris auprès du ministère des Migrations.

      Un Yéménite âgé de 35 ans vivant dans le camp de Vial sur l’île de Chios, qui abrite plus de 3 800 personnes, a été testé positif mercredi soir, a indiqué un responsable au ministère qui a souhaité conserver l’anonymat.

      « L’homme a été placé en quarantaine dans un hôpital local. Trente autres personnes subissent des tests », a-t-il ajouté. Des cas ont déjà été enregistrés dans des camps de migrants dans la partie continentale de la Grèce mais il s’agit du premier cas sur les cinq camps surpeuplés, situés sur cinq îles grecques de l’Est de la mer Egée.

      Presque 3 800 personnes vivent dans le camp de Vial, trois fois plus que sa capacité.

      Les camps, toujours confinés en Grèce

      En Grèce continentale, des cas asymptomatiques ont déjà été détectés dans des camps de migrants. En avril, 150 personnes avaient été testées positifs dans un hôtel migrant en Péloponnèse (sud).

      Alors que le confinement pour cause du coronavirus avait pris fin en Grèce début mai, les camps des migrants restent toujours confinés depuis mars.

      Malgré une hausse récente du nombre de cas de coronavirus en Grèce après l’ouverture des frontières à la mi-juin, le pays n’a enregistré jusqu’ici que 6 177 cas tandis que le nombre de décès s’élève à 216 personnes.

      Mercredi les autorités sanitaires ont annoncé 262 cas dans une seule journée, soit le nombre le plus élevé depuis l’apparition du Covid-19 dans le pays en fin février.

      https://www.ouest-france.fr/sante/virus/coronavirus/coronavirus-un-premier-cas-positif-dans-un-camp-de-migrants-sur-une-ile

    • Grèce : trois nouvelles personnes testées positives au Covid-19 dans le camp de #Vial, sur l’île de Chios

      Selon un site d’information grec, trois personnes supplémentaires ont été testées positives au Covid-19 dans le camp de Vial sur l’île de Chios. Le camp, qui accueille environ 3 000 personnes, compterait donc désormais cinq personnes infectées.

      Le camp de migrants ce Vial sur l’île grecque de Chios compte désormais cinq personnes infectées par le coronavirus. Selon le site d’information grec ekathimerini.com, version anglophone du quotidien local Kathimerini, trois nouvelles personnes ont été testées positives et placées en quarantaine.

      Elles avaient été en contact avec le Yéménite de 35 ans testé positif la semaine dernière. Une employée du centre a également été testée positive.

      Le camp de Vial, qui accueille environ 3 000 personnes, a été placé en quarantaine. Il est interdit d’en sortir et seule une poignée de personnes sont autorisées à y pénétrer.

      Des contrôles sanitaires approfondis doivent être effectués. Les résidents du camp reçoivent des livraisons de nourriture et d’eau de la part des autorités, a déclaré le ministère grec de la Santé.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/26700/grece-trois-nouvelles-personnes-testees-positives-au-covid-19-dans-le-

  • Asylum Outsourced : McKinsey’s Secret Role in Europe’s Refugee Crisis

    In 2016 and 2017, US management consultancy giant #McKinsey was at the heart of efforts in Europe to accelerate the processing of asylum applications on over-crowded Greek islands and salvage a controversial deal with Turkey, raising concerns over the outsourcing of public policy on refugees.

    The language was more corporate boardroom than humanitarian crisis – promises of ‘targeted strategies’, ‘maximising productivity’ and a ‘streamlined end-to-end asylum process.’

    But in 2016 this was precisely what the men and women of McKinsey&Company, the elite US management consultancy, were offering the European Union bureaucrats struggling to set in motion a pact with Turkey to stem the flow of asylum seekers to the continent’s shores.

    In March of that year, the EU had agreed to pay Turkey six billion euros if it would take back asylum seekers who had reached Greece – many of them fleeing fighting in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – and prevent others from trying to cross its borders.

    The pact – which human rights groups said put at risk the very right to seek refuge – was deeply controversial, but so too is the previously unknown extent of McKinsey’s influence over its implementation, and the lengths some EU bodies went to conceal that role.

    According to the findings of this investigation, months of ‘pro bono’ fieldwork by McKinsey fed, sometimes verbatim, into the highest levels of EU policy-making regarding how to make the pact work on the ground, and earned the consultancy a contract – awarded directly, without competition – worth almost one million euros to help enact that very same policy.

    The bloc’s own internal procurement watchdog later deemed the contract “irregular”.

    Questions have already been asked about McKinsey’s input in 2015 into German efforts to speed up its own turnover of asylum applications, with concerns expressed about rights being denied to those applying.

    This investigation, based on documents sought since November 2017, sheds new light on the extent to which private management consultants shaped Europe’s handling of the crisis on the ground, and how bureaucrats tried to keep that role under wraps.

    “If some companies develop programs which then turn into political decisions, this is a political issue of concern that should be examined carefully,” said German MEP Daniel Freund, a member of the European Parliament’s budget committee and a former Head of Advocacy for EU Integrity at Transparency International.

    “Especially if the same companies have afterwards been awarded with follow-up contracts not following due procedures.”

    Deal too important to fail

    The March 2016 deal was the culmination of an epic geopolitical thriller played out in Brussels, Ankara and a host of European capitals after more than 850,000 people – mainly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans – took to the Aegean by boat and dinghy from Turkey to Greece the previous year.

    Turkey, which hosts some 3.5 million refugees from the nine-year-old war in neighbouring Syria, committed to take back all irregular asylum seekers who travelled across its territory in return for billions of euros in aid, EU visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens and revived negotiations on Turkish accession to the bloc. It also provided for the resettlement in Europe of one Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian returned to Turkey from Greece.

    The EU hailed it as a blueprint, but rights groups said it set a dangerous precedent, resting on the premise that Turkey is a ‘safe third country’ to which asylum seekers can be returned, despite a host of rights that it denies foreigners seeking protection.

    The deal helped cut crossings over the Aegean, but it soon became clear that other parts were not delivering; the centrepiece was an accelerated border procedure for handling asylum applications within 15 days, including appeal. This wasn’t working, while new movement restrictions meant asylum seekers were stuck on Greek islands.

    But for the EU, the deal was too important to be derailed.

    “The directions from the European Commission, and those behind it, was that Greece had to implement the EU-Turkey deal full-stop, no matter the legal arguments or procedural issue you might raise,” said Marianna Tzeferakou, a lawyer who was part of a legal challenge to the notion that Turkey is a safe place to seek refuge.

    “Someone gave an order that this deal will start being implemented. Ambiguity and regulatory arbitrage led to a collapse of procedural guarantees. It was a political decision and could not be allowed to fail.”

    Enter McKinsey.

    Action plans emerge simultaneously

    Fresh from advising Germany on how to speed up the processing of asylum applications, the firm’s consultants were already on the ground doing research in Greece in the summer of 2016, according to two sources working with the Greek asylum service, GAS, at the time but who did not wish to be named.

    Documents seen by BIRN show that the consultancy was already in “initial discussions” with an EU body called the ‘Structural Reform Support Service’, SRSS, which aids member states in designing and implementing structural reforms and was at the time headed by Dutchman Maarten Verwey. Verwey was simultaneously EU coordinator for the EU-Turkey deal and is now the EU’s director general of economic and financial affairs, though he also remains acting head of SRSS.

    Asked for details of these ‘discussions’, Verwey responded that the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – “does not hold any other documents” concerning the matter.

    Nevertheless, by September 2016, McKinsey had a pro bono proposal on the table for how it could help out, entitled ‘Supporting the European Commission through integrated refugee management.’ Verwey signed off on it in October.

    Minutes of management board meetings of the European Asylum Support Office, EASO – the EU’s asylum agency – show McKinsey was tasked by the Commission to “analyse the situation on the Greek islands and come up with an action plan that would result in an elimination of the backlog” of asylum cases by April 2017.

    A spokesperson for the Commission told BIRN: “McKinsey volunteered to work free of charge to improve the functioning of the Greek asylum and reception system.”

    Over the next 12 weeks, according to other redacted documents, McKinsey worked with all the major actors involved – the SRSS, EASO, the EU border agency Frontex as well as Greek authorities.

    At bi-weekly stakeholder meetings, McKinsey identified “bottlenecks” in the asylum process and began to outline a series of measures to reduce the backlog, some of which were already being tested in a “mini-pilot” on the Greek island of Chios.

    At a first meeting in mid-October, McKinsey consultants told those present that “processing rates” of asylum cases by the EASO and the Greek asylum service, as well as appeals bodies, would need to significantly increase.

    By December, McKinsey’s “action plan” was ready, involving “targeted strategies and recommendations” for each actor involved.

    The same month, on December 8, Verwey released the EU’s own Joint Action Plan for implementing the EU-Turkey deal, which was endorsed by the EU’s heads of government on December 15.

    There was no mention of any McKinsey involvement and when asked about the company’s role the Commission told BIRN the plan was “a document elaborated together between the Commission and the Greek authorities.”

    However, buried in the EASO’s 2017 Annual Report is a reference to European Council endorsement of “the consultancy action plan” to clear the asylum backlog.

    Indeed, the similarities between McKinsey’s plan and the EU’s Joint Action Plan are uncanny, particularly in terms of increasing detention capacity on the islands, “segmentation” of cases, ramping up numbers of EASO and GAS caseworkers and interpreters and Frontex escort officers, limiting the number of appeal steps in the asylum process and changing the way appeals are processed and opinions drafted.

    In several instances, they are almost identical: where McKinsey recommends introducing “overarching segmentation by case types to increase speed and quality”, for example, the EU’s Joint Action Plan calls for “segmentation by case categories to increase speed and quality”.

    Much of what McKinsey did for the SRSS remains redacted.

    In June 2019, the Commission justified the non-disclosure on the basis that the information would pose a “risk” to “public security” as it could allegedly “be exploited by third parties (for example smuggling networks)”.

    Full disclosure, it argued, would risk “seriously undermining the commercial interests” of McKinsey.

    “While I understand that there could indeed be a private and public interest in the subject matter covered by the documents requested, I consider that such a public interest in transparency would not, in this case, outweigh the need to protect the commercial interests of the company concerned,” Martin Selmayr, then secretary-general of the European Commission, wrote.

    SRSS rejected the suggestion that the fact that Verwey refused to fully disclose the McKinsey proposal he had signed off on in October 2016 represented a possible conflict of interest, according to internal documents obtained during this investigation.

    Once Europe’s leaders had endorsed the Joint Action Plan, EASO was asked to “conclude a direct contract with McKinsey” to assist in its implementation, according to EASO management board minutes.

    ‘Political pressure’

    The contract, worth 992,000 euros, came with an attached ‘exception note’ signed on January 20, 2017, by EASO’s Executive Director at the time, Jose Carreira, and Joanna Darmanin, the agency’s then head of operations. The note stated that “due to the time constraints and the political pressure it was deemed necessary to proceed with the contract to be signed without following the necessary procurement procedure”.

    The following year, an audit of EASO yearly accounts by the European Court of Auditors, ECA, which audits EU finances, found that “a single pre-selected economic operator” had been awarded work without the application of “any of the procurement procedures” laid down under EU regulations, designed to encourage transparency and competition.

    “Therefore, the public procurement procedure and all related payments (992,000 euros) were irregular,” it said.

    The auditor’s report does not name McKinsey. But it does specify that the “irregular” contract concerned the EASO’s hiring of a consultancy for implementation of the action plan in Greece; the amount cited by the auditor exactly matches the one in the McKinsey contract, while a spokesman for the EASO indirectly confirmed the contracts concerned were one and the same.

    When asked about the McKinsey contract, the spokesman, Anis Cassar, said: “EASO does not comment on specifics relating to individual contracts, particularly where the ECA is concerned. However, as you note, ECA found that the particular procurement procedure was irregular (not illegal).”

    “The procurement was carried under [sic] exceptional procurement rules in the context of the pressing requests by the relevant EU Institutions and Member States,” said EASO spokesman Anis Cassar.

    McKinsey’s deputy head of Global Media Relations, Graham Ackerman, said the company was unable to provide any further details.

    “In line with our firm’s values and confidentiality policy, we do not publicly discuss our clients or details of our client service,” Ackerman told BIRN.

    ‘Evaluation, feedback, goal-setting’

    It was not the first time questions had been asked of the EASO’s procurement record.

    In October 2017, the EU’s fraud watchdog, OLAF, launched a probe into the agency (https://www.politico.eu/article/jose-carreira-olaf-anti-fraud-office-investigates-eu-asylum-agency-director), chiefly concerning irregularities identified in 2016. It contributed to the resignation in June 2018 of Carreira (https://www.politico.eu/article/jose-carreira-easo-under-investigation-director-of-eu-asylum-agency-steps-d), who co-signed the ‘exception note’ on the McKinsey contract. The investigation eventually uncovered wrongdoings ranging from breaches of procurement rules to staff harassment (https://www.politico.eu/article/watchdog-finds-misconduct-at-european-asylum-support-office-harassment), Politico reported in November 2018.

    According to the EASO, the McKinsey contract was not part of OLAF’s investigation. OLAF said it could not comment.

    McKinsey’s work went ahead, running from January until April 2017, the point by which the EU wanted the backlog of asylum cases “eliminated” and the burden on overcrowded Greek islands lifted.

    Overseeing the project was a steering committee comprised of Verwey, Carreira, McKinsey staff and senior Greek and European Commission officials.

    The details of McKinsey’s operation are contained in a report it submitted in May 2017.

    The EASO initially refused to release the report, citing its “sensitive and restrictive nature”. Its disclosure, the agency said, would “undermine the protection of public security and international relations, as well as the commercial interests and intellectual property of McKinsey & Company.”

    The response was signed by Carreira.

    Only after a reporter on this story complained to the EU Ombudsman, did the EASO agree to disclose several sections of the report.

    Running to over 1,500 pages, the disclosed material provides a unique insight into the role of a major private consultancy in what has traditionally been the realm of public policy – the right to asylum.

    In the jargon of management consultancy, the driving logic of McKinsey’s intervention was “maximising productivity” – getting as many asylum cases processed as quickly as possible, whether they result in transfers to the Greek mainland, in the case of approved applications, or the deportation of “returnable migrants” to Turkey.

    “Performance management systems” were introduced to encourage speed, while mechanisms were created to “monitor” the weekly “output” of committees hearing the appeals of rejected asylum seekers.

    Time spent training caseworkers and interviewers before they were deployed was to be reduced, IT support for the Greek bureaucracy was stepped up and police were instructed to “detain migrants immediately after they are notified of returnable status,” i.e. as soon as their asylum applications were rejected.

    Four employees of the Greek asylum agency at the time told BIRN that McKinsey had access to agency staff, but said the consultancy’s approach jarred with the reality of the situation on the ground.

    Taking part in a “leadership training” course held by McKinsey, one former employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told BIRN: “It felt so incompatible with the mentality of a public service operating in a camp for asylum seekers.”

    The official said much of what McKinsey was proposing had already been considered and either implemented or rejected by GAS.

    “The main ideas of how to organise our work had already been initiated by the HQ of GAS,” the official said. “The only thing McKinsey added were corporate methods of evaluation, feedback, setting goals, and initiatives that didn’t add anything meaningful.”

    Indeed, the backlog was proving hard to budge.

    Throughout successive “progress updates”, McKinsey repeatedly warned the steering committee that productivity “levels are insufficient to reach target”. By its own admission, deportations never surpassed 50 a week during the period of its contract. The target was 340.

    In its final May 2017 report, McKinsey touted its success in “reducing total process duration” of the asylum procedure to a mere 11 days, down from an average of 170 days in February 2017.

    Yet thousands of asylum seekers remained trapped in overcrowded island camps for months on end.

    While McKinsey claimed that the population of asylum seekers on the island was cut to 6,000 by April 2017, pending “data verification” by Greek authorities, Greek government figures put the number at 12,822, just around 1,500 fewer than in January when McKinsey got its contract.

    The winter was harsh; organisations working with asylum seekers documented a series of accidents in which a number of people were harmed or killed, with insufficient or no investigation undertaken by Greek authorities (https://www.proasyl.de/en/news/greek-hotspots-deaths-not-to-be-forgotten).

    McKinsey’s final report tallied 40 field visits and more than 200 meetings and workshops on the islands. It also, interestingly, counted 21 weekly steering committee meetings “since October 2016” – connecting McKinsey’s 2016 pro bono work and the 2017 period it worked under contract with the EASO. Indeed, in its “project summary”, McKinsey states it was “invited” to work on both the “development” and “implementation” of the action plan in Greece.

    The Commission, however, in its response to this investigation, insisted it did not “pre-select” McKinsey for the 2017 work or ask EASO to sign a contract with the firm.

    Smarting from military losses in Syria and political setbacks at home, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tore up the deal with the EU in late February this year, accusing Brussels of failing to fulfil its side of the bargain. But even before the deal’s collapse, 7,000 refugees and migrants reached Greek shores in the first two months of 2020, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

    German link

    This was not the first time that the famed consultancy firm had left its mark on Europe’s handling of the crisis.

    In what became a political scandal (https://www.focus.de/politik/deutschland/bamf-skandal-im-news-ticker-jetzt-muessen-sich-seehofer-und-cordt-den-fragen-d), the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, according to reports, paid McKinsey more than €45 million (https://www.augsburger-allgemeine.de/politik/Millionenzahlungen-Was-hat-McKinsey-beim-Bamf-gemacht-id512950) to help clear a backlog of more than 270,000 asylum applications and to shorten the asylum process.

    German media reports said the sum included 3.9 million euros for “Integrated Refugee Management”, the same phrase McKinsey pitched to the EU in September 2016.

    The parallels don’t end there.

    Much like the contract McKinsey clinched with the EASO in January 2017, German media reports have revealed that more than half of the sum paid to the consultancy for its work in Germany was awarded outside of normal public procurement procedures on the grounds of “urgency”. Der Spiegel (https://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/unternehmen/fluechtlinge-in-deutschland-mckinsey-erhielt-mehr-als-20-millionen-euro-a-11) reported that the firm also did hundreds of hours of pro bono work prior to clinching the contract. McKinsey denied that it worked for free in order to win future federal contracts.

    Again, the details were classified as confidential.

    Arne Semsrott, director of the German transparency NGO FragdenStaat, which investigated McKinsey’s work in Germany, said the lack of transparency in such cases was costing European taxpayers money and control.

    Asked about German and EU efforts to keep the details of such outsourcing secret, Semsrott told BIRN: “The lack of transparency means the public spending more money on McKinsey and other consulting firms. And this lack of transparency also means that we have a lack of public control over what is actually happening.”

    Sources familiar with the decision-making in Athens identified Solveigh Hieronimus, a McKinsey partner based in Munich, as the coordinator of the company’s team on the EASO contract in Greece. Hieronimus was central in pitching the company’s services to the German government, according to German media reports (https://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-147594782.html).

    Hieronimus did not respond to BIRN questions submitted by email.

    Freund, the German MEP formerly of Transparency International, said McKinsey’s role in Greece was a cause for concern.

    “It is not ideal if positions adopted by the [European] Council are in any way affected by outside businesses,” he told BIRN. “These decisions should be made by politicians based on legal analysis and competent independent advice.”

    A reporter on this story again complained to the EU Ombudsman in July 2019 regarding the Commission’s refusal to disclose further details of its dealings with McKinsey.

    In November, the Ombudsman told the Commission that “the substance of the funded project, especially the work packages and deliverable of the project[…] should be fully disclosed”, citing the principle that “the public has a right to be informed about the content of projects that are financed by public money.” The Ombudsman rejected the Commission’s argument that partial disclosure would undermine the commercial interests of McKinsey.

    Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen responded that the Commission “respectfully disagrees” with the Ombudsman. The material concerned, she wrote, “contains sensitive information on the business strategies and the commercial relations of the company concerned.”

    The president of the Commission has had dealings with McKinsey before; in February, von der Leyen testified before a special Bundestag committee concerning contracts worth tens of millions of euros that were awarded to external consultants, including McKinsey, during her time as German defence minister in 2013-2019.

    In 2018, Germany’s Federal Audit Office said procedures for the award of some contracts had not been strictly lawful or cost-effective. Von der Leyen acknowledged irregularities had occurred but said that much had been done to fix the shortcomings (https://www.ft.com/content/4634a3ea-4e71-11ea-95a0-43d18ec715f5).

    She was also questioned about her 2014 appointment of Katrin Suder, a McKinsey executive, as state secretary tasked with reforming the Bundeswehr’s system of procurement. Asked if Suder, who left the ministry in 2018, had influenced the process of awarding contracts, von der Leyen said she assumed not. Decisions like that were taken “way below my pay level,” she said.

    In its report, Germany’s governing parties absolved von der Leyen of blame, Politico reported on June 9 (https://www.politico.eu/article/ursula-von-der-leyen-german-governing-parties-contracting-scandal).

    The EU Ombudsman is yet to respond to the Commission’s refusal to grant further access to the McKinsey documents.

    https://balkaninsight.com/2020/06/22/asylum-outsourced-mckinseys-secret-role-in-europes-refugee-crisis
    #accord_UE-Turquie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #privatisation #sous-traitance #Turquie #EU #UE #Union_européenne #Grèce #frontières #Allemagne #EASO #Structural_Reform_Support_Service (#SRSS) #Maarten_Verwey #Frontex #Chios #consultancy #Joint_Action_Plan #Martin_Selmayr #chronologie #Jose_Carreira #Joanna_Darmanin #privatisation #management #productivité #leadership_training #îles #Mer_Egée #Integrated_Refugee_Management #pro_bono #transparence #Solveigh_Hieronimus #Katrin_Suder

    ping @_kg_ @karine4 @isskein @rhoumour @reka

  • AYS Weekend Digest 2–3/5/2020

    392 people on their way from Moria to the mainland
    On Sunday, while migration and asylum minister Mitarakis visited Moria camp on the island of Lesvos, 392 people were bussed from Moria to the port of Mytilini.

    As confirmed by several sources, they had all a ticket to Athens but it is still not clear where they will be taken on the mainland. They reached Pireaus port in Attica, on two different ferries this morning.

    While the evacuation of the Greek eastern islands has to carry on, transfers to mainland camps are not the solution, especially if these are closed structures, where ‘residents’ find themselves even more cut off from the rest of society.

    *

    Tension rises again on Lesvos due to minister Mitarakis visit
    Refocus Media Lab reports of new moments of tension and violence against NGO workers on Sunday. Locals protested and held road blocks against the visit of minister Mitarakis in Moria.

    *

    Lockdown is lifted, but not for all
    From today, Monday 4th of May, lockdown measures are gradually lifted throughout Greece. This means that as of today, it is not necessary to text or write a note to go outside.
    This measure is applied to everyone in Greece, refugees and citizens, with the exception of the residents of the RICs on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos and the structures under lockdown on the mainland due to outbreaks of coronavirus (Ritsona camp, Malakasa camp, Kranidi accommodation).
    Still, some measures are in place for the next weeks. Mobile Info Team has published an overview about the lifting of the measures and what will reopen when: https://www.mobileinfoteam.org/lifting-restriction
    Also, from today, masks are compulsory in public indoor spaces, read more in English and French below, or follow the links for Arabic, Farsi and Urdu versions.

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-weekend-digest-2-3-5-2020-392-people-evacuated-from-moria-but-where-to-a
    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Camp #Lesbos #Moria #Transfert #Athènes #Tension #Déconfinement #Chios #Samos #Leros #Kos #Ritsona #Malakasa #Kranidi

  • #Incendies dans les #camps_de_réfugiés (ou autres lieux d’hébergement de demandeurs d’asile et réfugiés) en #Grèce. Tentative de #métaliste, non exhaustive...

    Les incendies sont rassemblés ici en ordre chronologique, mais attention à faire la distinction entre ceux qui ont lieu :
    – par accident
    – comme geste de #protestation de la part des réfugiés entassés dans ces camps surpeuplés et insalubres
    – par main de l’#extrême_droite

    #réfugiés #asile #migrations #feu #incendie #anti-réfugiés #racisme #xénophobie #révolte #résistance

    –-> + un incendie qui a eu lieu en décembre 2020 en #Bosnie (#route_des_Balkans / #Balkans)

    ping @isskein

  • GCR and Oxfam bulletin on Lesvos-2
    The Greek Council for Refugees and Oxfam publish their second news bulletin regarding the situation in Lesvos, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, in the framework of a joint program.

    On this note, GCR recalls its long-standing positions that Greece needs to:

    – Respect the principle of non-refoulement

    – Urgently transfer asylum seekers from the islands to suitable accommodation on the mainland

    – Refrain from further undermining the safeguards of the asylum procedure and the right to effective remedies.

    You can find the bulletin attached in English and Greek herewith.

    Download attachments: Lesbos_COVID19_210420-GR.pdf Lesbos_COVID19_update_210420-EN.pdf

    https://www.gcr.gr/en/news/press-releases-announcements/item/1431-gcr-and-oxfam-bulletin-on-lesvos-2

    #Covid-19 #Migrants #Migrations #camp #Grèce #ilesgrecques #Samos #chios #refoulement #relocalisation #enfants #mineurs #asile #violence

  • AYS Daily Digest 21/04/20

    GREECE
    ECtHR requests that Greece provide appropriate accommodation and medical treatment to refugees contained in Lesvos hotspot

    The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic highlights yet again the extreme risks facing refugees contained under squalid conditions on the Eastern Aegean islands. The Reception and Identification Centres (RIC) on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos host over 35,000 persons, more than five times above their reception capacity. Severe overcrowding under abhorrent living conditions in the RIC is a persisting reality, in sharp contrast to social distancing measures enforced throughout Greece and to recent European Commission guidance to transfer asylum seekers to facilities with lower occupancy.
    This backdrop renders evacuation out of Moria and other sites a public health imperative to prevent loss of life. Beyond unaccompanied children, whose plight has led to welcome relocation initiatives to other EU countries, many more people face acute health risks, not least due to particular circumstances including age, medical conditions and trauma.

    150people tested positive for the coronavirus at a quarantined seaside hotel housing 470 people, including many children, but none of those infected displayed symptoms of COVID-19, media report.
    Located 170 kilometres southwest of Athens, this hotel has been quarantined since April 16 after an employee tested positive.

    BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
    L’ ALTRA VOCE published a letter co-signed by 70 people staying at one of the official camps in Una Sana canton, run by IOM. From the Miral camp in Velika Kladuša, they wrote that there is not a sufficient amount of food for everyone, and people are not allowed to buy and bring inside their own food to eat at their chosing, thus selectively applying their own standards.

    According to the people whose photos and statements made it to the Letter, there is always someone going to sleep hungry. Also, there are frequent references to violent measures and unprofessionally harsh treatment by the outsourced security companies working in camps. Among others, the letter states:
    “If we ask for the market they always say IOM will open market for you inside the camp and provide you a western union inside the camp but until this opportunity, you cannot buy anything from the market.
    We are all worried because very soon our Ramzan month is coming how we will survive during the Ramzan because they don’t have any good management or their staff is also acting like racist people we are afraid might be they will also beat us in future.”

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Lesvos #Chios #Samos #Leros #Kos #Hotspot #Athènes #Hotel #Quarantaine #Bosnie-Herzégovine

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-21-04-20-transparency-ignored-when-it-serves-ulterior-motiv

  • AYS Weekend Digest 18–19/4/20

    FEATURED
    During this weekend a tragic incident happened at the Vial camp on Chios.
    Please, read about it in our latest AYS Special, based on the statements and accounts by people on the ground at the time and residents of the camp.
    AYS Special from Chios: Fire swallows up makeshift homes of thousands
    The results of last night’s huge fires and damages in Vial camp are laid bare this morning. The protests happened after…
    medium.com
    There were big fires in a number of different areas. One was near the front of the camp where the shop, the police kiosk and at least two police cars were burned down. In the middle of the official camp the information & food distribution point were set ablaze, as well as the food stores. At the back of the camp, perhaps the most devastating fire occurred. At least three of the larger ‘Rubb Hall’ enclosures, which can accommodate well over 40 people, were burned down. People’s homes have been completely destroyed, almost all of their personal belongings aside from what they could salvage are gone.
    Three asylum seekers were arrested under a suspicion they are responsible for the violent incidents that broke out on Saturday following the start of the fire. Reportedly, the police said that a large number of people are detained.

    BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
    There are many people still scattered across the country’s towns and villages, without a proper reception facility, those who are outside the system due to the system’s capacities find their own way of going through every day. They sleep in abandoned houses, outside in the open, in train wagons, whatever is at hand in these difficult days when everyone sees another person as a possible life threat. The current situation in many places still seeks a proper, humane and realistic (in terms of capacities and conditions) coordinated approach in order to be sure it is assessed and approached in the best way. It is not about the international standards, at this point, it is still about people needing food, and their basic rights met and their dignity respected.
    The first people were planned to be taken to the provisional tent settlement near Bihać, Lipa, built with the support and management of the international organisations, a project we wrote previously about and we will report about the plan being put into practice.
    Although many see it as a step forward, we like to always remind that “international standards” stand for a MINIMUM level of standards when it comes to international aid and protection and it should serve as a warning of a line never to be reached, or even crossed, and not as a goal, as it seems to be interpreted more and more by those deciding and putting things into place.

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-weekend-digest-18-19-4-20-vial-fire-latest-in-line-to-confirm-that-evacu

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Chios #Vial #Incendie #Révolte #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Squat #Lipa #Bihac

  • AYS Special from Chios: Fire swallows up makeshift homes of hundreds

    The results of last night’s huge fires and damages in Vial camp are laid bare this morning. The protests happened after the tragic death of a 47 year-old who was locked up in a container. What has happened last night is the physical manifestation of the huge number of injustices conducted against the people living there.

    Trash, burnt down tents and despair: aftermath of last night’s riots. Photo: camp resident
    The results of last night’s fire in Vial camp, Chios, are laid bare this morning. It appears that there were big fires in a number of different areas.
    One was near the front of the camp where the shop, the police kiosk and at least two police cars were burned down. In the middle of the official camp the information & food distribution point were set ablaze, as well as the food stores. At the back of the camp, perhaps the most devastating fire occurred. At least three of the larger ‘Rubb Hall’ enclosures, which can accommodate well over 40 people, were burned down. People’s homes have been completely destroyed, almost all of their personal belongings aside from what they could salvage are gone.
    Protests began after a 47 year-old woman from Iraq died, reportedly from either a heart attack or an obstruction. She had been to hospital two days previous with bradycardia and arrhythmias. They tested her for COVID-19 and gave her medication. Once she returned to Vial, she was locked in one of the new containers outside the camp, as an isolation precaution, and had a panic attack. She was helped by the medical NGO, who calmed her down. Yesterday morning at 10 am a doctor checked on her. At 12 o’clock when her husband came to see her, he found her dead.
    There are rumours spreading through the camp that this death was a result of neglect. While nothing can be confirmed until the autopsy is completed on Tuesday, the conditions and the lack of adequate medical support in the camp may very well have been a large contributing factor in the loss of her life.

    There are several reports that as the police arrived, they began using tear gas to break up the protests that were ongoing. At this point some of the camp residents retaliated by throwing stones in the direction of the riot police.
    Many people, reportedly in their hundreds, fled from their tents to nearby fields as the fires were ongoing. Many others will have taken refuge in the unaffected tents and containers of their friends and family. Amidst the chaos, people were afraid to go too far from Vial, for fear of €150 fines and arrest.
    It is still unconfirmed, but there are reports of at least one person being taken to hospital with head injuries.
    According to local media, police officers have arrested three people who they believe are responsible for the incidents last night.
    Today, one account claims that the staff who provide the food have arrived, but no food is being distributed as of yet. People fear that there will be no food from the camp today, after the food stores were damaged and decimated by the fire.

    The pictures tell a thousand words.
    Why did this happen? In short, this level of violence is waged against the over 6000 people, who are resident in the camp, every single day. It is not always as visible or as visceral as the events of last night, but it is ever present. What has happened is the physical manifestation of the huge number of injustices conducted against the people living there.
    The camp has an official capacity of 1014 people. Even when the camp was at this level, resources were stretched. It is now over six times that. There is not enough medical support, with the authorities relying heavily on a small NGO. There is intermittent running water, in the last weeks people in the jungle have dug wells, in a desperate search for running water.
    There are reports that sometimes there is not the legal minimum (1.5 Litres per person per day) of drinking water provided to families in the camp. There is no basic waste management, particularly of the so-called ‘jungle’, the overspill of the official camp resident to approximately 4000 people.

    The cash card payments have been delayed this month, and it is unclear when they will restart.
    People are afraid to leave the camp, as they fear facing fines from the police if they go to the city to withdraw money from ATMs, which were supposed to be installed beside the camp, but as of yet have not been.
    There are snakes and scorpions in the fields and in the camp, one 9 month-old baby was bitten a few days ago and rushed to hospital. There is no information of what steps the authorities have taken to combat this issue.
    Only official camp actors have been able to work inside the camp, since the implementation of the COVID-19 restrictions. This means that all of the smaller NGOs have not been able to provide the important supports and gap filling services for many weeks. This is in spite of the offers and willingness of these NGOs to compromise and support the authorities with supplies and volunteers.

    At present, NGOs and volunteers are attempting to provide support, but due to the nature of the situation and the even stricter COVID-19 rules for the Easter celebrations (which occur this week in Greece), the authorities have been unwilling to accept their support and will not allow anyone to pass the police check points to the camp.
    All of these pressures, one by one, day by day, with everything else make the camps the most cruel and harsh of environments. The people continue to suffer, and our thoughts and our solidarity is with them today as it is every day.
    The solidarity crisis encompasses not only the people on the move, but also the people of the Greek islands, who have been completely shut out by successive European governments, as well as their own. For many locals on the Aegean islands the plan to build both very large and very permanent detention centres was one step too far.

    People from Chalkios, the village of about 300 people beside Vial camp, have organised a road block since Sunday the 1st of March, primarily in place in order to prevent the newest arrivals from being transferred to the camp, where they would normally have been registered after they arrive.
    A small group of people on the island have taken this action many steps too far when they burned down the Chios People’s warehouse (CPW) in the early hours of 3rd of March. The warehouse had been used by many groups and individuals, local and international, to store NFIs for those in need, that is asylum seekers and various local communities.
    The overwhelming majority of the Chios community has utterly condemned this senseless act. A protest organised by locals in solidarity with CPW was held on the main Street of Chios town on 4th of March.
    The road block from the locals lasted until late last month, although now it’s the police blocking due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    Local people on the island are not the issue. Many of them have rescued people from the sea themselves and have helped people on the move here over the years. They have also protected them against the small anti-refugee groups. The issue is the total lack of care and painful indifference consistently demonstrated by Greece’s European ‘partners’, day after day. All of the islands have been in crisis for 5 years. Over 42 000 people are stuck on the islands. It is a humanitarian disaster and the only reason that any European authorities come to the table is to discuss how to prevent any further migration into Europe. No one is listening to any of the people on the Aegean islands.
    This is an entirely artificial and man-made catastrophe. These are the pictures of today and of the every day suffering at the hands of abstract EU policies, which are far removed from the human reality witnessed in overcrowded refugee camps throughout the Aegean islands and the mainland of Greece.

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-special-from-chios-fire-swallows-up-makeshift-homes-of-thousands-2cf8808

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Chios #Vial #Incendie #Révolte

  • AYS Daily Digest 15/04/20

    GREECE

    Luxembourg welcomed 12 children from Greece camps on Wednesday.
    Nine of the children were from Lesvos, two from Chios, and one from Samos who was transferred to the Grand Duchy. Fifty other children are expected to fly from Athens to Germany on Saturday the 18th, in an effort to move the 1,600 people EU countries have promised to relocate from Greece’s camps. France, Portugal, Finland, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland have also said that they will participate.

    As Sea-Watch reminds us, the number of children who have been evacuated so far still only represents about 0.1% of the people trapped on the Greek islands.

    Almost 1000 vulnerable people will be transferred to hotels in Greece.
    This is in an effort to ease the camps, Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs, announced on Tuesday. AYS will continue to follow closely.

    Authorities in Greece are very worried that potentially 2,000 people are entering coastal Turkish towns and are going to try and cross over to the islands. During the quarantine, the Turkish government closed the camps along the northern Greek border and transferred a lot of people to coastal cities like Izmir. Many were transferred beyond their control. L

    Katie Emm provides a comprehensive Lesvos update:
    “GOOD NEWS!
    1) People are generally respecting the movement restrictions…and some transfers have been made.
    2) According to data released yesterday, there have been no new confirmed cases for two weeks on Lesvos. This is a major milestone, as it suggests that there are no new infections here and Lesvos has contained COVID-19. Of course, there are still possibilities of infection emerging, and we still have to remain vigilant, but it sure feels nice to have hit this point. According to public data, there have been eight cases, and one death. In Greece overall, there are approximately 100 deaths, and about 2200 cases (as of today). There have been no confirmed cases in Moria, Kara Tepe, or Pikpa.
    3) No new fascist attacks — there have so far been no recent reports of attacks on NGO workers or refugees or locals.

    HARD NEWS!
    1) There are reports of Turkey planning to send refugees en masse to the Aegean Islands. This falls somewhere on the spectrum between propaganda and something legitimate. There’s no way to know what will happen, but it does raise some major questions, notably: Where will people go if they reach the shores, especially with a mandatory 14-day quarantine? Will there be a repeat of what happened the last time Turkey sent people en masse? Will rights be respected? Will lives be put in (further) danger?
    2) Greece voted to extend the lock down. While originally things were going to open back up on 6 April (maybe), the government extended the restriction of movement until at least 27 April. (Perspective: that is less than two weeks away, and we’ve already successfully navigated this for three weeks).
    3) Most NGOs remain working with a bare-bones team, as they are unable to get new volunteers to the island. (This is also likely a major reason why Lesvos has been able to keep numbers of infections down though, so while difficult, there is definitely an upside to this!)”

    BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

    In an update from No Name Kitchen on their current food services in Velika Kladuša:
    “No Name Kitchen continues to be present daily in Velika Kladuša. Our main objectives are to give people food and clean clothes….In order to meet the needs of many people with the few available hands, we have been working on a new plan that is already paying off.
    We started last week, associating NNK to a bakery. Money is given to this bakery and people who live in the abandoned houses are given vouchers. Each of these squats has a representative and is also connected, thanks to social networks, to an international volunteer who has previously been in Velika Kladuša. Twelve volunteers are currently involved in this task, being the ones who send the vouchers to the squats. On those vouchers, there is a code that is also registered at the bakery so that the workers know how many breads and bureks they have to give. This also allows us to have a better view of the situation and the needs to be covered.
    One day a week, the representative of each squat must go to the bakery to collect food for everyone. This project covers, from Monday to Saturday, 70 people with a large piece of bread and a burek (typical Bosnian food with meat or cheese). This project is more expensive than what we did before when we used to only give food for people to cook (something that also continues), but evaluating the options with the local volunteers, we found that this solution is the most convenient. We are working on getting more financial support so that each person can receive this meal twice a week.”

    BALKANS
    Transbalkan Solidarity Group provide this update on the Balkan route and need for solidarity:
    “Tens of thousands of refugees and other migrants in the Balkans are only partially accommodated in official collective centers, while a large number of people fall outside the system, surviving through the help of the local population. With the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the already difficult situation is becoming detrimental and demands urgent action of local and international actors — and solidarity from all of us.
    The state of emergency now in force in many countries of the region reinforces social inequalities…
    We, therefore, call for an end to all official and unofficial discriminatory and dehumanizing practices, for the legalization of everyone’s existence, for the closure of all forms of detention and collective centers that restrict freedom of movement and fail to secure humane and hygienic conditions…
    More, we demand of the member governments of the European Union, the states of the region, and all relevant institutions and international organizations…that all people be equally afforded critical information on pandemic and unrestricted access to the health care system, that refugees and migrants are treated without discrimination, and that concrete measures for their protection are made part of all measures for the protection of the population as a whole.”

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-15-04-20-controversy-when-italy-orders-people-rescued-at-se

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Camp #Velikakladusa #Chios #Samos #Lesbos #Transfert #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfant #Luxembourg #Hôtel

  • AYS Daily Digest 14/04/20

    GREECE
    #Kos
    Two days ago, people finally received their cash card top up. Normally, they receive financial assistance at the beginning of the month, as do most people in Greece, but due to the Corona restrictions, it was late this month. A lot of people needed to go shopping as they were running out of food, but only 65 people are currently allowed to go out at one time. There are currently over a thousand people in the camp, which has become more crowded since they moved the people camping outside to within the walls of the hotspot. As a result the situation escalated and the police beat both the women and the men to separate the groups.

    #Ritsona
    With 14 more days of quarantine, the people in Ritsona have no way to protect themselves. Seven out of ninety have already tested positive in the community.

    #Thessaloniki
    Mobile Info Team has recorded information from 30 homeless people on the move in Thessaloniki who were fined by the police under the “movement restrictions.” One person has been fined as often as 5 times, another two people, 4 times each. These people have nowhere to live, nowhere to go and the government who refuses to assist them sends its law enforcement officers to fine them?

    #Lesbos
    Fascist violence has been escalating over the past few weeks and on April 8th they burned down the home of refugees living outside Moria. Mare Liberum spoke with two of the men who were living there.
    The latest fire in #Moria caused a lot of devastating destruction.
    Luckily, the White Helmets have begun cleaning up the area, trying to make conditions better and cleaner for residents.
    Seawatch is working to send 1000 masks to Lesvos to try to curb the outbreak.
    #Incendie #Xenophobie

    #Chios
    The Ministry of Immigration and Asylum signed a contract today to lease a property in the ALITHEIA complex, in #Lefkonia-Kontari area of ​​Chios, for the creation of a space for the stay of the newcomers.
    The rent for a period of seven months amounts to 46,200 EURO, with the possibility of extending the lease, and the property will operate as a place of residence for newly arrived immigrants. This is supposedly all done in an effort to disperse the impact of the Corona pandemic. The impetus for the decision was stated as:
    “For reasons of urgency and unpredictability that are not the fault of the Greek State, as well as for reasons of security, public order and public interest, with attention to the need to take the necessary measures to protect public health and society as a whole.”

    #Samos
    Some good news out of Samos today. A young Syrian boy’s family reunification case was accepted! Hassan* will be able to join his older brother in the UK. The pictures below were taken by Hassan himself and demonstrate the dire conditions in the camps.

    #Transfert #Mineurs #Enfants
    This afternoon 20 minors were taken from Moria Camp to the harbor of Piraeus (Athens). They should reach Germany by the 18th.

    Human Rights Watch is calling for hundreds of migrant children who are in Greece without parents or relatives and in immigration detention to be moved to child friendly housing. HRW say they are currently at a heightened risk for contracting COVID-19.

    Human rights violations including illegal pushbacks continue occurring at the Greece-Turkey border. Read MIT’s report co-authored with No Name Kitchen and Border Violence Monitoring Network for more information on the update situation.

    BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

    The changing weather has just added to the number of difficulties people on the move face while stuck in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As there is no public transport at their disposal and no freedom of movement for them, getting from one place to another is extremely difficult. Most of the people are left out on their own (if they are not forced into provisional campsite like #Lipa near #Bihac), only some have managed to stay in private accommodation under different conditions and circumstances, while many are stuck in different hardships of the official camps run by international organisations, and German Civil Protection (Technisches Hilfswerk) in the case of recently infamous #Blazuj camp. Those who bother to go the extra step and show humane treatment to these people in transit through Bosnia and Herzegovina more than often see images of despair among these people who now also often carry the stigma of potential health risk in the context of coronavirus, although no infected people have been reported among all those people throughout the country.

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-14-04-2020-left-to-fend-for-themselves-europes-unspoken-migration-policy

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Camp