city:brussels

  • Gun Use Surges in Europe, Where Firearms Are Rare. Growing insecurity spurs more people to clear high bars for ownership

    When hundreds of women were sexually assaulted on New Year’s Eve in several German cities three years ago, Carolin Matthie decided it was time to defend herself. The 26-year-old Berlin student quickly applied for a gun permit, fearing many women would have the same idea and flood the application process.

    “If I don’t do it now, I will have to wait maybe another half year,” she recalls thinking.

    Gun ownership is rising across Europe, a continent that until recently faced far less gun crime and violence than much of the globe. Not long ago it was rare to see armed British police.

    The uptick was spurred in part by insecurity arising from terrorist attacks—many with firearms, and reflects government efforts to get illegal guns registered by offering amnesty to owners.

    Europe is still far from facing the gun prevalence and violence in Latin America or the U.S., which lead the world. World-wide civilian ownership of firearms rose 32% in the decade through 2017, to 857.3 million guns, according to the Small Arms Survey, a research project in Geneva. Europe accounts for less than 10% of the total.

    But Europe’s shift has been rapid, and notable in part because of strict national restrictions. In most European countries, gun permits require thorough background checks, monitored shooting practice and tests on regulations. In Belgium, France and Germany, most registered guns may only be used at shooting ranges. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges are extremely difficult to obtain.

    Strict registration requirements don’t account for—and may exacerbate—a surge in illegal weapons across the continent, experts say.

    Europe’s unregistered weapons outnumbered legal ones in 2017, 44.5 million to 34.2 million, according to the Small Arms Survey. Many illegal weapons come from one-time war zones, such as countries of the former Yugoslavia, and others are purchased online, including from vendors in the U.S.

    “Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the U.S.,” concluded a recent Rand Corp. report.

    With more weapons comes more gun-related violence. National police statistics in France, Germany and Belgium show an uptick in gun law violations since 2015. Europe doesn’t have current continentwide statistics.

    Armed robbery and similar crimes often entail illicit guns, while legally registered firearms tend to appear in suicide and domestic-violence statistics, said Nils Duquet of the Flemish Peace Institute, a Belgian research center.

    “It’s clear that illegal guns are used mostly by criminals,” he said.

    In July 2016, an 18-year-old shooter killed nine people in Munich using a gun authorities concluded he bought illegally off the dark web.

    In Germany, the number of legally registered weapons rose roughly 10%, to 6.1 million, in the five years through 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to Germany’s National Weapons Registry. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges more than tripled to 9,285, over the same five years.

    Permits for less lethal air-powered guns that resemble real guns and shoot tear gas or loud blanks to scare away potential attackers roughly doubled in the three years through the end of 2017, to 557,560, according to the registry.

    Ms. Matthie first bought an air gun, which her permit allowed her to carry with her.

    She has since become a sports shooter, using live ammunition at shooting ranges, and is now applying for a firearm permit. She posts a daily video blog where she advocates armed self-defense.

    In Belgium, firearm permits and membership in sport-shooting clubs has risen over the past three years.

    Belgian applications for shooting licenses almost doubled after the terrorist attacks by an Islamic State cell in Paris in Nov. 2015 and four months later in Brussels, offering “a clear indication of why people acquired them,” said Mr. Duquet.

    In Paris, the suicide bombers also used machine guns to mow down restaurant and nightclub patrons—weapons they acquired on the black market and were tracked to a shop in Slovakia.

    Belgium has for years tightened regulations in response to gun violence, such as a 2006 killing spree by an 18-year-old who legally acquired a rifle.

    “Before 2006, you could buy rifles simply by showing your ID,” recalled Sébastien de Thomaz, who owns two shooting ranges in Brussels and previously worked in a gun store.

    “They used to let me shoot with all my stepfather’s guns whenever I joined him at the range,” said Lionel Pennings, a Belgian artist who joins his stepfather at one of Mr. De Thomaz’s shooting ranges on Sundays.

    Mr. Pennings recalled that in the past he could easily fire a few rounds with his stepfather’s gun. “Now it’s much stricter,” he said. “You can only use the guns you have a permit for.”

    A Belgian would-be gun owner must pass almost a year of shooting and theory tests, plus psychological checks, said Mr. De Thomaz.

    The gun-range owner questions the impact of that policy. “With each terror attack, the legislation gets stricter,” he said. “For the black market, everything stays the same.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/gun-use-surges-in-europe-where-firearms-are-rare-11546857000

    #armes #Europe #statistiques #détention_d'armes #chiffres
    ping @albertocampiphoto @reka



  • Fade to Pleasure 15.2
    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/ftp/fade-to-pleasure-15-2-

    Fragments of melody and memory orchestrated into densely layered tapestries; a deeply emotional study on a life characterised by a shifting relationship to electronics. hostex & Mixed by Snooba- From Brussels with Love !

    #mix #detroit #indie #letfield #deep_snooba #mix,detroit,indie,letfield,deep_snooba
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/ftp/fade-to-pleasure-15-2-_05952__1.mp3


  • Overrated or Underreported? – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/27/overrated-or-underreported-news-stories-2018


    A Honduran migrant caravan crowds the Guatemala-Mexico international border bridge in Ciudad Hidalgo, in Chiapas state, Mexico, on Oct. 20.
    (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

    Overrated or Underreported?
    A look at the stories the media hyped—or largely ignored—in 2018.

    The most overrated stories
    • The U.S. economy.
    • The royal wedding
    • The U.S.-Mexican border wall.
    • The Thai cave rescue.


    A burnt car and a gas station remain visible after the Camp Fire tore through the region near Pulga, east of Paradise, California, on Nov. 11.
    Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

    The most underrated stories
    • Climate change.
    • China’s great lurch rightward.
    • Child soldiers and human trafficking.
    • Italy’s rebellion and Macron’s plummet.
    While U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit battle got most of the attention in Europe, the recalcitrance of Italy’s left-right government when it came to orders from Brussels and the cliff dive that French President Emmanuel Macron—once seen as Europe’s young antidote to Trump—took in the polls were probably more dire events this year. But we were so glued to the Brexit drama that few people saw them coming. To be sure, the Brexit fight and Italy’s partial compromise on budgets were signs that it’s not as easy to leave the European Union as some people think. But the right keeps rising, and it’s hard to know which sprouting weed to cover next.


  • Fade to Pleasure 13.2
    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/ftp/fade-to-pleasure-13-2-

    Fragments of melody and memory orchestrated into densely layered tapestries; a deeply emotional study on a life characterised by a shifting relationship to electronics. Oscillating between utopian to euphoric, the evolving synth work, #deep lines atmosphere and traces of clangorous energy of early ambient and organic tell a distinctly Multi kuti Brussels native tale, forged between the streets, park and the autobahn.

    Hugh Augustine Xtras Deena Abdelwahed Ken Skett Aurora Halal Overpass Kemback Moving Through Clouds Masot Quijada I Tried to steal you a kiss but you ran your face A most wanted man Bad Breaks Zaid Dirty thoughts Diskop High Hill Dude Energy Renee Running Diskop High Hill Smith & Mighty #dub song Pugilist Outback Arovane Windy Wish (...)

    #panik #dubstep #snooba #idm #grenouille #panik,dubstep,dub,snooba,idm,deep,grenouille
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/ftp/fade-to-pleasure-13-2-_05872__1.mp3


  • ’Cyprus is saturated’ - burgeoning migrant crisis grips island

    Smugglers increasingly take advantage of island’s partition and proximity to Middle East.

    When Rubar and Bestoon Abass embarked on their journey to Europe they had no idea that Cyprus was the continent’s easternmost state. Like most Iraqi Kurds heading west, their destination was Germany, not an EU nation barely 100 miles from war-torn Syria.

    “I had never heard of Cyprus,” said Rubar, reaching for his pregnant wife’s hand as they sat gloomily in a migrant centre run by the Catholic charity Caritas in the heart of Nicosia. “The smugglers told us it was much cheaper to get to and was still in Europe. We paid $2,000 [£1,590] for the four of us to come.”

    Cyprus is in the midst of a burgeoning migrant crisis as smuggler networks take advantage of the Mediterranean island’s partition and proximity to the Middle East. As in Greece, when Europe’s refugee crisis erupted with Syria’s descent into civil war, support groups have rushed to deal with the social ailments that have arisen with the influx.

    “Cyprus is saturated,” its interior minister, Constantinos Petrides, said in an interview with the Guardian. “It’s no longer easy to absorb such flows, or handle the situation, no matter how much money we get.”

    The island has exceeded every other EU member state in asylum claims in 2018, recording the highest number per capita with almost 6,000 applications for a population of about 1 million.

    By August requests were 55% higher than for the same eight-month period in 2017, a figure itself 56% higher than that for 2016, according to the interior ministry. With the country’s asylum and reception systems vastly overstretched, alarmed officials have appealed to Brussels for help.

    “This is a European problem,” said Petrides, adding that closed borders elsewhere in the bloc were placing a disproportionate burden on small frontline states such as Cyprus. “It’s absolutely necessary to find a holistic solution … which means distributing asylum seekers through an automatic relocation mechanism to countries throughout the EU.”

    Rubar and Bestoon arrived with their two children in August. Like the ever-growing number of Syrians also heading here from overcrowded camps in Turkey and Lebanon, the couple landed in Northern Cyprus, the self-styled state acknowledged only by Ankara in the 44 years since Turkish troops invaded and seized over a third of the island’s territory.

    They then took the increasingly well-trodden route of sneaking across the dividing buffer zone into the internationally recognised Greek-controlled south. Stretching 112 miles across Cyprus, the UN-patrolled ceasefire line offers innumerable blind spots for those determined to evade detection.

    Geography’s stark reality hit, Rubar admits, when he was shown Cyprus on the world map adorning the migrant centre’s airy reception room. “If I had known I’d never have come,” said the farmer. “After all, being here we’re much nearer Baghdad than we are Berlin.”

    Elizabeth Kassinis, Caritas’ executive manager, said the Abbasses’ experience is not uncommon. “Many are surprised to find out where they actually are. When we tell them, they are shocked, stunned, completely speechless. Nearly all arrive expecting they’ll be within walking distance of a job in Germany.”

    Illicit crossings from the north have made Cyprus’ woes much worse. Reports have increased in recent months of irregular migrants flying into Ercan airport in the Turkish-controlled breakaway state.

    Hamstrung by politics, not least Turkey’s refusal to recognise the government in the southern part of Cyprus since its 1974 invasion of the island, authorities are unable to send them back.

    “Because of the illegal occupation in the north we’ve seen phenomena that wouldn’t happen in conditions of legality,” said Petrides. “It’s an open wound, not just for Cyprus but the entire EU.”

    With international agencies focusing almost entirely on sea arrivals, the real number of migrants on the island has been hugely underestimated, charities say. “We are a humanitarian organisation that addresses poverty, hunger and homelessness and we are seeing across-the-board increases in them all,” Kassinis said.

    A backlog of 8,000 asylum claims has amassed as authorities struggle to cope with the flows, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. “We’re talking about a process that can take up to five years and an extremely high number of people waiting for final decisions to their claims,” said Katja Saha, the agency’s representative in Nicosia.

    “It’s highly likely that the vast majority are not refugees and should not be in the asylum processing system but, that said, the lack of infrastructure and social services makes it very difficult to identify those who are vulnerable, particularly victims of trafficking and torture.”

    As numbers grow, pressure on the island’s two state-run camps has become immense and asylum seekers are expected to find private accommodation after 72 hours. For most that is nearly impossible when rent allowances are little more than €100 (£90) per person a month and employment is limited to manual work such as car washing and farm labour, Saha said.

    In Nicosia, which houses one of the camps, asylum seekers have resorted to sleeping in parks and buses and the vestibules of buildings. “For the last month I’ve been in a tent in the park with my wife and four children,” said Basin Hussain, who also fled Iraq. “The first three days were spent in the reception centre but then we were told to leave.”

    There are fears the drama being played out in the eastern Mediterranean will get a lot worse if the situation in Syria deteriorates further and war extends to Idlib, the country’s last rebel stronghold. A Turkish-Russian ceasefire deal is currently sustaining a fragile peace in the province.

    Cyprus had been spared the refugee crisis until this year as most Europe-bound asylum seekers headed for Greece and Italy instead.

    “It’s surprising, given its geographic location, that Cyprus has not been more impacted by the seven-year conflict,” said Saha. “Since the spring we’ve seen this increase in Syrians because word has spread that Lebanon and Turkey, as first asylum countries, are saturated.”

    As elsewhere in Europe the island is not immune to hostility toward the new arrivals. Far-right groups coalescing around the ultranationalist ELAM party have gained increasing popularity as the issue provides fodder for their approval ratings ahead of European parliamentary elections next year.

    “What we don’t want to do is open more and more reception centres,” said Petrides, emphasising that solidarity was now needed on Europe’s eastern edge. “It’s not the solution, either for the country or asylum seekers.”


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/11/cyprus-the-new-entry-point-to-europe-for-refugees-and-migrants?CMP=shar
    #parcours_migratoires #routes_migratoires #Chypre #asile #migrations #réfugiés
    ping @isskein


  • “We want to make traveling a more seamless, cultural experience using an extensive database of local knowledge.”

    But Explorest is just an app-shaped version of something tourists already do: flit from attraction to attraction to take the same photos they’ve already seen of Buckingham Palace, the Golden Gate Bridge or even Brussels’ Peeing Boy. That script, staged again and again by countless visitors, reflects how photography has always shaped the travel experience—for good or bad.

    https://www.wired.com/story/why-all-travel-photos-are-the-same

    #travel #social_media #modernity


  • Nouvelles de Git : 2.20.0, Git Merge, etc
    https://linuxfr.org/news/nouvelles-de-git-2-20-0-git-merge-etc

    La version 2.20.0 de Git, logiciel de gestion de versions décentralisé, vient tout juste d’être taguée par Junio Hamano, le mainteneur. Elle contient comme toujours un nombre important d’améliorations, même si elles ne sont pas forcément visibles par la plupart des utilisateurs (certaines nouveautés sont détaillées en seconde partie de la dépêche).

    Pour être tenu au courant de l’actualité Git, il y a Git Rev News, une lettre d’actus mensuelle qui contient pas mal d’infos en tout genre liées à Git. (Git Rev News est éditée depuis presque 4 ans par un petit groupe de développeurs et de fans dont je fais partie.)

    Il y a aussi prochainement la conférence Git Merge à Bruxelles le 1er février prochain, juste avant le FOSDEM (2 et 3 février). Oui, c’est au même endroit, appelé The EGG Brussels, que la Git Merge (...)


  • Gros salaires, privilèges et gaspillages : enquête sur les milliards de l’Europe (France 3)
    https://www.crashdebug.fr/dossiers/15309-gros-salaires-privileges-et-gaspillages-enquete-sur-les-milliards-d

    Source : Youtube.com

    Informations complémentaires :

    Crashdebug.fr : European Round Table - Brussels Business [Film complet] : Qui dirige vraiment l’Union Européenne ?

    Crashdebug.fr : « Les Millions perdus de l’Europe » (docu. Arte, 2010)

    Crashdebug.fr : Docu : Bruxelles le vrai pouvoir…

    Crashdebug.fr : Moment détente (?) : BUZZ « Scandale au Parlement européen » (Yves : Gloria.tv)

    Crashdebug.fr : Bien plus grave que les femmes de ministres, gros plan sur les multiples conflits d’intérêts cachés qui naissent de la consanguinité des élites françaises

    Crashdebug.fr : Scandale au Parlement européen : Argent facile, champagne à gogo et autres privilèges... Crashdebug.fr : Hauts fonctionnaires européens à 19.380 €uros par mois !

    Crashdebug.fr : « Les Millions perdus de l’Europe » (docu. (...)


  • The Administrative Arrangement between Greece and Germany

    The Administrative Arrangement between Ministry of migration Policy of the Hellenic Republic and the Federal Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Germany has been implemented already to four known cases. It has been the product of bilateral negotiations that occurred after German Chancellor Merkel faced another political crisis at home regarding the handling of the refugee issue.

    The document which has been the product of undisclosed negotiations and has not been made public upon its conclusion is a brief description of the cooperation of Greek and German authorities in cases of refusal of entry to persons seeking protection in the context of temporary checks at the internal German-Austrian border, as defined in its title. It essentially is a fast track implementation of return procedures in cases for which Dublin Regulation already lays down specific rules and procedures. The procedures provided in the ‘Arrangement’ skip all legal safeguards and guarantees of European Legislation.

    RSA and PRO ASYL have decided to publicize the document of the Arrangement for the purpose of serving public interest and transparency. The considerable secrecy that the two member states kept on a document of such importance is a scandal itself. There are two first underlying observations which incur/ result from studying the document. First, the Arrangement has the same institutional (or by institutional) features with the EU-Turkey deal, it is the product of negotiations which intend to regulate EU policy procedures without having been the product of an EU level institutional procedure. It circumvents European law (the Dublin regulation) in order to serve the interests of a group of particular member states. As a result its status within the legal apparatus of the EU and international law is obscure.

    Secondly, the ‘Arrangement’ introduces a grey zone (intentionally if not geographically) where a bilateral deal between two countries gains supremacy over European (Dublin regulation) and international legislation (Geneva convention). It is therefore an important document that should be critically and at length studied by all scholars and experts active in the field of refugee protection as it deprives asylum seekers of their rights and is a clear violation of EU law.

    Last but not least as Article 15-ii of the ‘Arrangement’ notes “This Administrative Arrangement will also discontinue upon entry into force of the revised Common European Asylum System”. Still as everyone in Brussels already admits the CEAS reform has been declared dead. So if nothing occurs to reconstitute the defunct CEAS policy and the arrangement remains as the only channel/form of cooperation between Greece and Germany in order to establish responsibility for asylum seekers arriving in Germany after coming through Greece, then could Greece and Germany, in their irregular bilateral efforts to circumvent the European process, have actually produced one of the first post EU legal arrangements?

    https://rsaegean.org/en/the-administrative-arrangement-between-greece-and-germany

    #accord #Allemagne #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Dublin #Règlement_Dublin #renvois #expulsions #accord_bilatéral #regroupement_familial #liaison_officers #officiers_de_liaison #Eurodac #refus_d'entrée #renvois #expulsions #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Autriche #réadmission #avion #vol

    ping @isskein


  • Davy
    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/mix-delivery/davy--2

    Davy made a name for himself as DJ and founder of Down Under at Fuse in Brussels, the first underground party of its kind in one of Europe’s best-loved clubs. Today he continues to lead the way with his Futurepast project

    #indie #future #ambient #sub #deep #Idm #indie,future,ambient,sub,deep,Idm
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/mix-delivery/davy--2_05743__1.mp3


  • Europe Should Let Italy Win – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/14/europe-should-let-italy-win


    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini attends a press conference at the Italian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, on Oct. 23.
    Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

    #barbichette

    The current standoff between the Italian government and the European Commission in Brussels—in which Italy is pushing for greater spending resulting in a larger deficit, which the commission claims violates its rules—seems at first glance like a replay of the game of chicken that drove the Greek debt crisis in 2015. Then, like now, debt and politics were intimately intertwined, with an indebted nation trying by any means necessary to gain leverage on the eurozone institutions that have a say over its economy. On the one hand, Italy has been emphasizing its geopolitical importance, arguing that it has a critical role to play in maintaining Libya’s stability. On the other, it is sending a subtle message that, if placed under pressure, it has the power to blow up the eurozone.

    Who will flinch first? The answer will likely turn on two differences that distinguish the current case from that of Greece. […]
    […]
    It is not difficult to see how a compromise might be found in which Italy and Europe could agree on infrastructure investment financed through deficit spending, but the escalation of the political conflict means that as time passes any productive outcome becomes less and less likely. The European Union must find a solution before the politics become completely poisonous.

    On the face of it, the budget dispute, which turns on Italy’s proposal for a 2.4 percent deficit, looks puzzling. Isn’t 2.4 percent less than 3 percent, the (admittedly overly simple) deficit to GDP ratio rule stipulated in the EU’s Maastricht Treaty and its Stability and Growth Pact? In truth, the dispute is fundamentally about the link between fiscal positions and growth.
    […]
    The problem is that everyone knows that Italy’s bootstraps narrative doesn’t fully describe its motives. The importance of the budget for the Italian government goes far beyond its numbers: Its basic purpose is political. The fiscal package represents not only an overall stimulus for the Italian economy but also an attempt to tie together the two quite disparate parties in the government coalition. […]
    There is also a very obvious national, not to say nationalist, element. This is a budget designed to defy Europe and to make the point that in a democracy people should, in voting for their government, have a say over their tax rates and their fiscal regime. The budget also includes some savings, in part from reduced spending on the housing and management of migrants.


  • #fade #to #pleasure Vol 8.2
    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/ftp/fade-to-pleasure-vol-8-2

    Mr. Statik Rusalka feat. Nastya Mr. Statik Rogue Cherub feat. Dave Aju Insect O. Pan de Azúcar Insect O. Ghosts In Space Berllioz Piège Colm K Seeing BreachTurtle Dance Breach S.O.S.T Catz ’n Dogz Don’t (Roman Flügel Remix) Third Attempt Control Third Attempt Serve Chilled Sonny Plastic Worlds Len Leise Leaving Llucmajor Felbm Tandem

    Broadcasted on Panik (Brussels-Be) Grenouille (Marseille) Canal B (Rennes-Fr) C’rock (Vienne-Fr) Diversité FM (Dijon-Fr) You FM (Mons-Be) Woot (Marseille) Campus FM (Toulouse-FR)

    Put together carefully own selections are listing emotional depth balances between retro and modern, sub and universal, warm and cold, Ice and spice… make the listening experience an infectious, surprising night & day. So you’re seriously up for dancing, (...)

    #snooba #pleasure,snooba,fade,to
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/ftp/fade-to-pleasure-vol-8-2_05668__1.mp3


  • Emission spéciale International Anthem
    Sur Radio Panik 105.4 FM une émission spéciale International Anthem (Makaya McCraven, Irreversible Entanglements, Ben Lamar Gay and more) avec une interview de Scott Mc Niece le fondateur du label by myself aka Dj Brut Brute. Dans cette collaboration Chadek’s deck/la 5eme semaine on parlera aussi de WHPK 88.5 FM et de Lumpen Radio. Stay tuned !

    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/la-5e-semaine/speciale-international-anthem

    Et lien pour télécharger l’émission
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/la-5e-semaine/speciale-international-anthem_05617__1.ogg

    #chicago #shameless_autopromo #jazz #benlamargay #makayamccraven


  • Europe is using smartphone data as a weapon to deport refugees

    European leaders need to bring immigration numbers down, and #metadata on smartphones could be just what they need to start sending migrants back.

    Smartphones have helped tens of thousands of migrants travel to Europe. A phone means you can stay in touch with your family – or with people smugglers. On the road, you can check Facebook groups that warn of border closures, policy changes or scams to watch out for. Advice on how to avoid border police spreads via WhatsApp.

    Now, governments are using migrants’ smartphones to deport them.

    Across the continent, migrants are being confronted by a booming mobile forensics industry that specialises in extracting a smartphone’s messages, location history, and even #WhatsApp data. That information can potentially be turned against the phone owners themselves.

    In 2017 both Germany and Denmark expanded laws that enabled immigration officials to extract data from asylum seekers’ phones. Similar legislation has been proposed in Belgium and Austria, while the UK and Norway have been searching asylum seekers’ devices for years.

    Following right-wing gains across the EU, beleaguered governments are scrambling to bring immigration numbers down. Tackling fraudulent asylum applications seems like an easy way to do that. As European leaders met in Brussels last week to thrash out a new, tougher framework to manage migration —which nevertheless seems insufficient to placate Angela Merkel’s critics in Germany— immigration agencies across Europe are showing new enthusiasm for laws and software that enable phone data to be used in deportation cases.

    Admittedly, some refugees do lie on their asylum applications. Omar – not his real name – certainly did. He travelled to Germany via Greece. Even for Syrians like him there were few legal alternatives into the EU. But his route meant he could face deportation under the EU’s Dublin regulation, which dictates that asylum seekers must claim refugee status in the first EU country they arrive in. For Omar, that would mean settling in Greece – hardly an attractive destination considering its high unemployment and stretched social services.

    Last year, more than 7,000 people were deported from Germany according to the Dublin regulation. If Omar’s phone were searched, he could have become one of them, as his location history would have revealed his route through Europe, including his arrival in Greece.

    But before his asylum interview, he met Lena – also not her real name. A refugee advocate and businesswoman, Lena had read about Germany’s new surveillance laws. She encouraged Omar to throw his phone away and tell immigration officials it had been stolen in the refugee camp where he was staying. “This camp was well-known for crime,” says Lena, “so the story seemed believable.” His application is still pending.

    Omar is not the only asylum seeker to hide phone data from state officials. When sociology professor Marie Gillespie researched phone use among migrants travelling to Europe in 2016, she encountered widespread fear of mobile phone surveillance. “Mobile phones were facilitators and enablers of their journeys, but they also posed a threat,” she says. In response, she saw migrants who kept up to 13 different #SIM cards, hiding them in different parts of their bodies as they travelled.

    This could become a problem for immigration officials, who are increasingly using mobile phones to verify migrants’ identities, and ascertain whether they qualify for asylum. (That is: whether they are fleeing countries where they risk facing violence or persecution.) In Germany, only 40 per cent of asylum applicants in 2016 could provide official identification documents. In their absence, the nationalities of the other 60 per cent were verified through a mixture of language analysis — using human translators and computers to confirm whether their accent is authentic — and mobile phone data.

    Over the six months after Germany’s phone search law came into force, immigration officials searched 8,000 phones. If they doubted an asylum seeker’s story, they would extract their phone’s metadata – digital information that can reveal the user’s language settings and the locations where they made calls or took pictures.

    To do this, German authorities are using a computer programme, called Atos, that combines technology made by two mobile forensic companies – T3K and MSAB. It takes just a few minutes to download metadata. “The analysis of mobile phone data is never the sole basis on which a decision about the application for asylum is made,” says a spokesperson for BAMF, Germany’s immigration agency. But they do use the data to look for inconsistencies in an applicant’s story. If a person says they were in Turkey in September, for example, but phone data shows they were actually in Syria, they can see more investigation is needed.

    Denmark is taking this a step further, by asking migrants for their Facebook passwords. Refugee groups note how the platform is being used more and more to verify an asylum seeker’s identity.

    It recently happened to Assem, a 36-year-old refugee from Syria. Five minutes on his public Facebook profile will tell you two things about him: first, he supports a revolution against Syria’s Assad regime and, second, he is a devoted fan of Barcelona football club. When Danish immigration officials asked him for his password, he gave it to them willingly. “At that time, I didn’t care what they were doing. I just wanted to leave the asylum center,” he says. While Assem was not happy about the request, he now has refugee status.

    The Danish immigration agency confirmed they do ask asylum applicants to see their Facebook profiles. While it is not standard procedure, it can be used if a caseworker feels they need more information. If the applicant refused their consent, they would tell them they are obliged under Danish law. Right now, they only use Facebook – not Instagram or other social platforms.

    Across the EU, rights groups and opposition parties have questioned whether these searches are constitutional, raising concerns over their infringement of privacy and the effect of searching migrants like criminals.

    “In my view, it’s a violation of ethics on privacy to ask for a password to Facebook or open somebody’s mobile phone,” says Michala Clante Bendixen of Denmark’s Refugees Welcome movement. “For an asylum seeker, this is often the only piece of personal and private space he or she has left.”

    Information sourced from phones and social media offers an alternative reality that can compete with an asylum seeker’s own testimony. “They’re holding the phone to be a stronger testament to their history than what the person is ready to disclose,” says Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International. “That’s unprecedented.”
    Read next

    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn
    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn

    By WIRED

    Privacy campaigners note how digital information might not reflect a person’s character accurately. “Because there is so much data on a person’s phone, you can make quite sweeping judgements that might not necessarily be true,” says Christopher Weatherhead, technologist at Privacy International.

    Bendixen cites the case of one man whose asylum application was rejected after Danish authorities examined his phone and saw his Facebook account had left comments during a time he said he was in prison. He explained that his brother also had access to his account, but the authorities did not believe him; he is currently waiting for appeal.

    A spokesperson for the UK’s Home Office told me they don’t check the social media of asylum seekers unless they are suspected of a crime. Nonetheless, British lawyers and social workers have reported that social media searches do take place, although it is unclear whether they reflect official policy. The Home Office did not respond to requests for clarification on that matter.

    Privacy International has investigated the UK police’s ability to search phones, indicating that immigration officials could possess similar powers. “What surprised us was the level of detail of these phone searches. Police could access information even you don’t have access to, such as deleted messages,” Weatherhead says.

    His team found that British police are aided by Israeli mobile forensic company Cellebrite. Using their software, officials can access search history, including deleted browsing history. It can also extract WhatsApp messages from some Android phones.

    There is a crippling irony that the smartphone, for so long a tool of liberation, has become a digital Judas. If you had stood in Athens’ Victoria Square in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, you would have noticed the “smartphone stoop”: hundreds of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans standing or sitting about this sun-baked patch of grass and concrete, were bending their heads, looking into their phones.

    The smartphone has become the essential accessory for modern migration. Travelling to Europe as an asylum seeker is expensive. People who can’t afford phones typically can’t afford the journey either. Phones became a constant feature along the route to Northern Europe: young men would line the pavements outside reception centres in Berlin, hunched over their screens. In Calais, groups would crowd around charging points. In 2016, the UN refugee agency reported that phones were so important to migrants moving across Europe, that they were spending up to one third of their income on phone credit.

    Now, migrants are being forced to confront a more dangerous reality, as governments worldwide expand their abilities to search asylum seekers’ phones. While European countries were relaxing their laws on metadata search, last year US immigration spent $2.2 million on phone hacking software. But asylum seekers too are changing their behaviour as they become more aware that the smartphone, the very device that has bought them so much freedom, could be the very thing used to unravel their hope of a new life.

    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/europe-immigration-refugees-smartphone-metadata-deportations
    #smartphone #smartphones #données #big_data #expulsions #Allemagne #Danemark #renvois #carte_SIM #Belgique #Autriche


  • 530 vols annulés à Brussels Airport depuis jeudi : l’incertitude demeure quant à la durée de la grève Belga - 28 Octobre 2018 - RTBF
    https://www.rtbf.be/info/economie/detail_greve-spontanee-chez-aviapartner-plus-d-un-vol-sur-cinq-a-nouveau-annule

    Plus d’un vol sur quatre a été annulé dimanche à Brussels Airport en raison de la grève du personnel de la société d’assistance aéroportuaire Aviapartner, qui dure maintenant depuis jeudi après-midi, a-t-on appris auprès de l’aéroport bruxellois. En tout, 530 vols ont été annulés depuis jeudi. Contrairement à ces derniers jours, aucun passager n’a dû y passer la nuit.

    Au total, ce sont 150 vols sur 550 qui ont été annulés dimanche à Brussels Airport, alors que l’aéroport était censé accueillir un total de 74.000 passagers au départ et à l’arrivée en ce deuxième jour du premier week-end des vacances de la Toussaint.


    La grève du personnel d’Aviapartner (bagagistes et assistants aéroportuaires) a commencé jeudi après-midi et, malgré plusieurs réunions de négociations, aucune solution satisfaisante n’a encore pu être dégagée. La direction a dès lors appelé à une conciliation vu l’urgence de la situation. Les discussions doivent ainsi reprendre ce dimanche dans les locaux du SPF Emploi, Travail et Concertation sociale, à Bruxelles, et non pas à l’aéroport de Zaventem comme cela a été le cas samedi. Il ne semble toutefois plus certain que la réunion débute à 10h00 comme prévu initialement.

    Quelles sont les demandes ? 
    Lors des négociations, les trois syndicats (CSC Transcom, FGTB-UBT et CGSLB) ont davantage concrétisé leurs exigences. Mais lorsqu’ont été abordées les compensations financières et indemnités, le fossé s’est creusé entre les deux parties. Les syndicats ont notamment demandé que les intérimaires reçoivent un contrat à durée indéterminée.

    Aviapartner a proposé l’engagement de 78 intérimaires, le paiement d’une prime de 250 euros par personnes « dans le contexte d’une sortie de grève immédiate », et le renforcement du middle management, notamment, a fait savoir l’entreprise dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche. Elle a ajouté regretter que les syndicats aient refusé ces offres.

    Les discussions portent aussi sur le matériel et les vêtements de travail. Les pauses déjeuner sont également un point important pour les syndicats. Les travailleurs d’Aviapartner se plaignent en effet de ne pas savoir en début de service quand ils pourront profiter d’un temps de repos durant leur journée de travail.

    A en croire Sandra Langenus, de l’UBT-FGTB, les syndicats ont jusqu’à présent obtenu une réponse satisfaisante à « quelques petits points mais pas les principaux ».

    Brussels Airport, de son côté, recommande de consulter la liste des compagnies touchées par la grève sur son site internet avant de se rendre à l’aéroport et de contacter celles-ci le cas échéant.

    Les bagages des vols annulés ne sont eux pas encore disponibles. « Ceux-ci seront envoyés vers leur destination », précise Brussels Airport. « Nous conseillons dès lors d’introduire une demande de récupération de bagage à destination auprès du service Lost & Found local de la compagnie aérienne. Si vous décidez de ne pas partir, vous pouvez vous adresser au service Lost and Found ’Welcome services’ à Brussels Airport. »

    Les bagages des passagers à l’arrivée ne sont pas non plus disponibles. Les voyageurs recevront un code qu’ils peuvent utiliser pour introduire une demande de récupération de bagage.

     #grève #travail #luttes_sociales #lutte #low_cost #transport-aérien #avion #transports #aéroports #conditions_de_travail #Bruxelles #Belgique


  • Operation Sophia: new training module in Italy

    A Training “Package 2” module in favour of Libyan Coastguard and Navy started in #La_Maddalena (Italy) on October the 8.

    In the wide framework of Libyan Coastguard and Navy training carried out by SOPHIA operation, a new module, composed by “#Deck_Officer_Course” and “#Maintainer_Course” and in favour of 69 trainees, was launched in the Italian Navy Training Centre in LA MADDALENA (Italy) last 8th of October.

    The end of the course is scheduled for next 30th of November 2018.

    The course, hosted by the Italian Navy, will last 8 weeks, and it will provide knowledge and training in relation to the general activity on board an off shore patrol vessel and lessons focused on Human Rights, Basic First Aid, Gender Policy and Basic English language.

    Additionally, with the positive conclusion of these two courses, the threshold of 305 Libyan Coastguard and Navy personnel trained by EUNAVFOR Med will be reached.

    Moreover, further training modules are planned in Croatia and other EU member states in favour of a huge number of trainees.

    From October 2016, SOPHIA is fully involved in the training of the Libyan Coastguard and Navy; the aim of the training is to improve security of the Libyan territorial waters and the Libyan Coastguard and Navy ability to perform the duties in their territorial waters, with a strong focus on respect of human rights, including minors and women’s rights, and the correct handling of migrants in occasion of search and rescue activities to save lives at sea.


    https://www.operationsophia.eu/operation-sophia-new-training-module-in-italy
    #Opération_sophia #Italie #Libye #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #cours #formation

    • EU rift widens on migrants, Sophia Op extended for 3 months

      The EU’s Political and Security Committee has approved a three-month extension for Operation Sophia, the bloc’s mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea whose mandate was set to expire on December 31. But there are still many issues regarding border protection and migration that the 28 EU countries disagree on.

      The decision to extend Operation Sophia came on the second day of the EU summit held in Brussels on December 13 and 14. Though migration was not even the central topic of the summit (Brexit was), it ended up being the cause of friction once again with many losing their patience altogether.

      At the end of the summit, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker criticized what he viewed as the hypocrisy of those calling for more secure borders but who are blocking Frontex reform at the same time.

      He also accused some European leaders of spreading false news, such as Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.

      Divisions in the EU

      Even Belgium, which on the Global Compact issue has lost part of the government, called for those blocking the reform of the Dublin Rules on asylum to be removed from the Schengen zone. It also asked Brussels for an investigation into misinformation spread on social media on the UN agreement.

      Despite six months of negotiations, the 28-member bloc is still divided on Operation Sophia. The EU mission in the Mediterranean was due to expire at the end of this month, but has received a three-month extension in a last-minute attempt to achieve an agreement at the beginning of the year to review the rules of engagement and the distribution of migrants taken to Italian ports.

      Faced with EU conclusions that are even vaguer than usual, in which there are no expiration dates for the Dublin reform nor for the Frontex one, Juncker said that he was losing his patience.

      He said that though ’’everyone says they want better protection of external borders’’, a proposal on the table for a 10,000-strong EU border guard agency had been refused by those claiming to be the most interested in border control - among them are Hungary and Italy, who oppose the measure for reasons of national sovereignty.
      Juncker rails against governments supporting fake news

      Some heads of state and governments were also spreading fake news on issues ranging from migrants to Brexit, Juncker said, such as ’’when Orban says I am responsible’’ for Brexit or that migrants were.

      The countdown for Visegrad countries - meaning the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - who do not want to accept migrants could come soon, said Belgian prime minister Charles Michel. There is ’’ever more agreement’’ among EU states to remove those blocking Dublin reform from the Schengen zone, he said. Michel asked the European Commission to open an investigation into ’’manipulated information’’ on the Global Compact circulated online with a deliberate desire to destabilize EU democracies.

      http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/13971/eu-rift-widens-on-migrants-sophia-op-extended-for-3-months?ref=tw


  • MEP: Reality of my three days in occupied Western Sahara

    In December 2016, the European Court of Justice reaffirmed that Morocco had no sovereignty over Western Sahara.

    Therefore, the EU-Morocco trade agreement had been illegally applied to that territory.

    This ruling, a mere statement of fact, brought the frozen conflict of Western Sahara to the forefront of the EU agenda, after more than four decades of European passivity or even discreet complicity with the illegal occupying force in Africa’s last colony.

    Rather than complying with the ruling and negotiating a separate agreement with the UN-recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara, the Polisario Front, the Commission chose to prioritise at all costs the preservation of its relationship with its partner in Rabat.

    In a diplomatic whirlwind, the commission and Morocco negotiated a solution that would allow Western Sahara to continue to be part of any successor agreement and it is now holding its breath while the European Parliament assesses this proposal.

    Rather than securing the ECJ-required “consent of the people of Western Sahara”, the commission travelled to Rabat in order to “consult” representatives of “the people concerned by the agreement” and to evaluate the potential benefits for “the local population”.
    Demographic engineering?

    The latter objective de facto gives credit to an illegal and massive process of demographic engineering by Morocco, resulting in the indigenous Saharawi population to become a minority in its own territory.

    The overwhelming share of the “consulted” stakeholders was composed of Moroccans or local representatives with a direct interest in preserving the status quo ante.

    It was estimated that out of the 112 stakeholders that the commission claims to have consulted, 94 of them rejected taking part in the consultation or were never even invited to such talks.

    Following repeated prodding from the Greens/EFA parliamentarians, the commission has had to concede that it does not dispose of any data whatsoever on the existing trade with and from Western Sahara.

    A delegation from the committee on international trade (INTA), including myself, visited the cities of Dakhla and Laayoune in September.

    The programme of the visit had been fully agreed with the Moroccan authorities, who accompanied us alongside a fleet of “official journalists” to every single meeting.

    Moreover, the INTA delegation did not travel outside the part occupied by Morocco.

    We did however learn that the Moroccan authorities are adamant about their intention to continue labelling products from Western Sahara as Moroccan, even though the ECJ ruling clearly states that Western Sahara and Morocco are “two separate and distinct territories”.

    The reality check came when I decided to have an additional meeting with some Saharawi activists.
    Strange incident

    The Moroccan authorities used a textbook method of harassing the human rights defenders: the activists were arrested for reportedly not wearing their seat belt.

    After hours of discussions with an inordinate number of plainclothes police officers, definitely more than needed for a minor traffic infringement, and after being told in quite an aggressive way that I should not have meetings outside of the mission, we managed to leave and hold the meeting in the early hours of the morning.

    I wonder how traffic police had so much information.

    The Sahrawis we met explained that their daily lives are full of such episodes. They showed us several videos of a demonstration that took place on that same day.

    Some of the activists ended up in the hospital after suffering from police brutality. All this happened while the parliamentary delegation was enjoying lavish food from the Moroccan-installed local authorities presenting the extraordinary development prospects of a new agreement negotiated with a benevolent Moroccan administration.

    Some in the parliament claim that “we should not oppose development” in Western Sahara and that opposing the proposed agreement would be to the detriment of the population bringing trade, jobs and income.

    This statement ignores the very fundamental fact: this agreement would consolidate the illegal annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco and run directly against the UN-led peace efforts, by dividing the territory of Western Sahara in two and strengthening one of the parties of the conflict.

    What is the incentive for Rabat to engage genuinely in the UN peace talks foreseen in early December, when it has the EU’s blessing to continue to disregard international law and when it stands to gain from further benefits from a new trade agreement with Brussels?

    If the European parliament gives its consent to this agreement, the ECJ will most likely strike it down.

    We need to stand by the principles of international law instead of signing agreements that clearly violate the rule of law and the right of Sahrawi people to reunite and enjoy their right to self-determination. Our reputation and the fate of a people is at stake.


    https://euobserver.com/opinion/143054
    #Sahara_occidental #occupation #Maroc



  • Migration: the riddle of Europe’s shadow population
    Lennys — not her real name — is part of a shadow population living in Europe that predates the arrival of several million people on the continent in the past few years, amid war and chaos in regions of the Middle East and Africa. That influx, which has fuelled Eurosceptic nativism, has if anything complicated the fate of Lennys and other irregular migrants.

    Now she is using a service set up by the Barcelona local administration to help naturalise irregular migrants and bring them in from the margins of society. She is baffled by the anti-immigrant rhetoric of politicians who suggest people like her prefer living in the legal twilight, without access to many services — or official protection.❞

    The fate of Lennys and other irregulars is likely to take an ever more central role in Europe’s deepening disputes on migration. They are a diverse group: many arrived legally, as Lennys did, on holiday, work or family visas that have since expired or become invalid because of changes in personal circumstances. Others came clandestinely and have never had any legal right to stay.

    The most scrutinised, and frequently demonised, cohort consists of asylum seekers whose claims have failed. Their numbers are growing as the cases from the surge in migrant arrivals in the EU in 2015 and 2016 — when more than 2.5m people applied for asylum in the bloc — work their way through the process of decisions and appeals. Almost half of first instance claims failed between 2015 and 2017, but many of those who are rejected cannot be returned to their home countries easily — or even at all.

    The question of what to do about rejected asylum applicants and the rest of Europe’s shadow population is one that many governments avoid. Bouts of hostile rhetoric and unrealistic targets — such as the Italian government’s pledge this year to expel half a million irregular migrants — mask a structural failure to deal with the practicalities.

    Many governments have sought to deny irregular migrants services and expel them — policies that can create their own steep human costs. But authorities in a growing number of cities from Barcelona to Brussels have concluded that the combination of hostile attitudes and bureaucratic neglect is destructive.

    These cities are at the frontline of dealing with irregular status residents from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. Local authorities have, to varying degrees, brought these populations into the system by offering them services such as healthcare, language courses and even legal help.

    The argument is part humanitarian but also pragmatic. It could help prevent public health threats, crime, exploitative employment practices — and the kind of ghettoisation that can tear communities apart.

    “If we provide ways for people to find their path in our city . . . afterwards probably they will get regularisation and will get their papers correct,” says Ramon Sanahuja, director of immigration at the city council in Barcelona. “It’s better for everybody.”

    The size of Europe’s shadow population is unknown — but generally reckoned by experts to be significant and growing. The most comprehensive effort to measure it was through an EU funded project called Clandestino, which estimated the number of irregular migrants at between 1.9m and 3.8m in 2008 — a figure notable for both its wide margin of error and the lack of updates to it since, despite the influx after 2015.

    A more contemporaneous, though also imprecise, metric comes from comparing the numbers of people ordered to leave the EU each year with the numbers who actually went. Between 2008 and 2017, more than 5m non-EU citizens were instructed to leave the bloc. About 2m returned to countries outside it, according to official data.

    While the two sets of numbers do not map exactly — people don’t necessarily leave in the same year they are ordered to do so — the figures do suggest several million people may have joined Europe’s shadow population in the past decade or so. The cohort is likely to swell further as a glut of final appeals from asylum cases lodged since 2015 comes through.

    “The volume of people who are in limbo in the EU will only grow, so it’s really problematic,” says Hanne Beirens, associate director at Migration Policy Institute Europe, a think-tank. “While the rhetoric at a national level will be ‘These people cannot stay’, at a local community level these people need to survive.”

    Barcelona: cities seek practical solutions to ease migrant lives

    Barcelona’s pragmatic approach to irregular migration echoes its history as a hub for trade and movement of people across the Mediterranean Sea.

    It is one of 11 cities from 10 European countries involved in a two-year project on the best ways to provide services to irregular status migrants. Other participants in the initiative — set up last year by Oxford university’s Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society — include Athens, Frankfurt, Ghent, Gothenburg, Lisbon, Oslo, Stockholm and Utrecht.

    A report for the group, published last year, highlights the restrictions faced by undocumented migrants in accessing services across the EU. They were able to receive only emergency healthcare in six countries, while in a further 12 they were generally excluded from primary and secondary care services.

    Some cities have made special efforts to offer help in ways that they argue also benefit the community, the report said. Rotterdam asked midwives, doctors, and schools to refer children for vaccinations, in case their parents were afraid to reveal their immigration status.

    The impact of some of these policies has still to be demonstrated. Ramon Sanahuja, director of immigration at the city council in Barcelona, says authorities there had an “intuition” their approach brought benefits, but he admits they need to do a cost-benefit analysis. As to the potential for the scheme to be exploited by anti-immigrant groups, he says Europe needs “brave politicians who explain how the world works and that the system is complicated”.

    “A lot of people in Barcelona are part of the system — they have [for example] a cleaning lady from Honduras who they pay €10 per hour under the counter,” he says. “Someone has to explain this, that everything is related.” Michael Peel

    https://www.ft.com/content/58f2f7f8-c7c1-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754
    #naturalisation #villes-refuge #ville-refuge #citoyenneté #sans-papiers #migrerrance #régularisation #statistiques #chiffres #Europe #Etat-nation #limbe #pragmatisme #Barcelone

    cc @isskein

    –----

    Au niveau de la #terminologie (#mots, #vocabulaire), pour @sinehebdo:

    Belgian policy towards irregular migrants and undocumented workers has stiffened under the current government, which includes the hardline Flemish nationalist NVA party. It has prioritised the expulsion of “transmigrants”— the term used for people that have travelled to Europe, often via north Africa and the Mediterranean and that are seeking to move on from Belgium to other countries, notably the UK. Several hundred live rough in and around Brussels’ Gare du Nord.

    –-> #transmigrants


  • In residence: Mia Melvær
    http://constantvzw.org/site/In-residence-Mia-Melvaer.html

    From October until the end of 2018, Constant will share its studio on the 25th floor of the WTC building with Mia Melvær. Mia is a Norwegian visual artist working with the intersection of sculpture, technology and ways of archiving. Often in collaboration with the Brussels-based collective Just for the Record, investigating how gender is represented in the way history gets written, recorded, archived, sung and (...)

    And more...

    #And_more...


  • As the World Abandons Refugees, UNHCR’s Constraints Are Exposed

    The U.N. refugee agency lacks the funding, political clout and independence to protect refugees in the way that it is supposed to, says former UNHCR official and refugee policy expert #Jeff_Crisp.

    Over the past three years, the world has been confronted with a number of major new refugee emergencies – in Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Venezuela, as well as the Central American region. In addition, existing crises in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Syria have gone unresolved, making it impossible for large exiled populations to return to their own country. As a result, the global refugee population has soared to more than 25 million, the highest figure ever recorded.

    This means that the role of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, which is supposed to protect and find solutions for this growing population, is more important than ever. But is it up to the task? The proliferating crises have stretched it to the limit. Funding, most of which comes from a dozen key donor states, has not kept up with the rising numbers the agency is expected to support. In April, UNHCR said it had received just $2.3 billion of the $8.2 billion it needed for its annual program.

    Things look unlikely to improve. UNHCR is losing the support of the United States, traditionally the organization’s most important government partner, whether under Republican or Democrat administrations. Since Donald Trump’s election, the country has slashed the number of refugees it admits through its resettlement program. In his final years in office, Barack Obama had raised the annual quota to 110,000 refugees. That is now down to 45,000 and may yet be reduced to 25,000.

    There is also the prospect that the Trump administration will demonstrate its disdain for the U.N. and limited interest in the refugee issue by reducing its funding to the agency, as it has already done with UNRWA, a separate agency that supports Palestinian refugees. Given that the U.S. currently contributes almost 40 percent of the UNHCR budget, even a modest reduction in its support will mean serious cuts in expenditure.

    The agency therefore has little choice but to look for alternative sources of funding and diplomatic support, especially from the European Union and its member states. But that may come at a price. One of the E.U.’s top priorities is to halt the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers who have transited through nearby countries such as Libya, Morocco and Turkey. Populist political parties throughout much of the E.U. are reaping the electoral benefits of taking a hard line on the issue of refugees and migration. Several European governments have shown little hesitation in violating the international refugee laws they have signed in their desperation to seal Europe’s borders.

    The E.U. thus looks to UNHCR for two things: first, the expertise and operational capacity of an organization that has years of experience in responding to mass movements of people; and second, the legitimacy that E.U. policies can acquire by means of close association with an agency deemed by its founding statute to be “entirely non-political and humanitarian.” In this context, it should come as no surprise that E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has been at pains to point out that the E.U. and UNHCR “work together” and have a “close partnership” – and that the E.U. remains “the strongest supporter of UNHCR.”

    But this partnership (which involved $436 million in funding from Brussels alone in 2017) also involves an important element of compromise on the part of UNHCR. In the Mediterranean, for example, the E.U. is funding the Libyan coast guard to intercept and return any refugees who try to leave the country by boat. Those people are subsequently confined to detention centers where, according to Amnesty International, they are at risk of torture, forced labor, extortion and murder at the hand of smugglers, bandits or the Libyan authorities.

    The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has publicly chastised the E.U. for its failure to improve the situation of migrants in Libya. By contrast, UNHCR has kept very quiet about the E.U.’s role in the process of interception, return and detention, despite the fact that these actions violate a fundamental principle of refugee protection: that no one should be returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened.

    This reveals a fundamental tension in the organization’s character. Ostensibly, UNHCR enjoys a high degree of independence and moral authority. As part of the U.N. system, it is treated with more respect by states and other actors than NGOs doing similar work. It has regular access to heads of state, government leaders, regional organizations, the U.N. security council and the secretary-general himself (who was previously UNHCR chief).

    But in practice, the autonomy enjoyed by UNHCR is at best a relative one. Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The organization can operate in a country only if it has the agreement of the government, which also has the ability to shape the scope of UNHCR’s operational activities, as well as the partners it works with. In countries such as Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria, for example, the organization is obliged to work with government departments whose priorities may well be different from those of UNHCR.

    Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The tensions at the heart of UNHCR seem unlikely to diminish. Throughout the world, governments are closing their borders to refugees and depriving them of basic rights. Exiled populations are being induced to repatriate against their will and to countries that are not safe. As epitomized by the E.U.’s deal with Turkey, asylum seekers have become bargaining chips in interstate relations, used by political leaders to extract financial, political and even military concessions from each other.

    Given the constitutional constraints imposed on the organization, UNHCR’s options are now limited. It can try (as it has done for many years) to diversify its funding base. It could assume a more assertive stance with states that violate refugee protection principles – and in doing so risk the loss of its already diminished degree of diplomatic support. And it can hope that the recently completed Global Compact on Refugees, a nonbinding declaration of principles that most U.N. member states are expected to sign, will have some effect on the way that governments actually treat refugees.

    A final option available to UNHCR is to be more transparent about its limitations, to moderate the relentless self-promotion of its branding and marketing campaign and give greater recognition to the efforts that refugees are making to improve their own lives. In that respect, UNHCR’s favourite hashtag, “We Stand #WithRefugees,” could usefully be changed to “Refugees Are #StandingUpForThemselves.”

    #UN #ONU #HCR #UNHCR #crise #indépendance #fonds #financement #it_has_begun


  • From Split Sheets to the Streets
    http://constantvzw.org/site/From-Split-Sheets-to-the-Streets.html

    Contribution to symposium organised by Q-02, Brussels. With: Christian von Borries, Prodromos Tsiavos, Femke Snelting, Melissa E. Logan, ooooo, Yoni Van Den Eede The one-day symposium and reflection day From Split Sheets to the Streets: how we credit, share and collect for intellectual property today and tomorrow will examine the worlds of intellectual property and ownership of music – beginning from the present and extending into models for the future. It aims at dissecting and (...)

    And more...

    #And_more...


  • #Books_with_an_Attitude @ FLAT
    http://constantvzw.org/site/Books-with-an-attitude-FLAT,3044.html

    At the FLAT Art Book Fair of Torino, Femke will present Books With an Attitude. Books deserve their hallmark “with an Attitude” when they are made with Free, Libre and Open Source Software and published under an open content license by Constant. This Brussels’ based association for art and media, collaborated with different designers to experiment the interrelation between tools, design and content. After almost ten years, the catalog now includes e-books, manuals, software-releases, (...)

    Books with an Attitude


  • Hôtel Wolfers : Henry van de Velde’s frozen ruin | Buildings | Architectural Review

    https://www.architectural-review.com/buildings/htel-wolfers-henry-van-de-veldes-frozen-ruin/10035389.article

    A wolf in sheep’s clothing: designed by Henry van de Velde, Hôtel Wolfers is frozen in a state of ruin, an artwork in its own right

    Conspicuous in a genteel southern suburb of mild-mannered 19th-century townhouses in Brussels, the round-cornered, Roman-bricked Hôtel Wolfers was designed in 1929 by Henry van de Velde. A staunch Modernist and director of the Bauhaus’s predecessor – the Grand Ducal School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar – he must have flinched at the neighbourhood’s chocolate-box trinketism.

    #architecture #Henry_van_de_Velde

    • Mais aussi :
      Quel avenir pour la façade de l’hôtel Aubecq, oeuvre majeure de Victor Horta ?
      https://www.rtbf.be/info/regions/detail_quel-avenir-pour-la-facade-de-l-hotel-aubecq-oeuvre-majeure-de-victor-ho

      Avec quatre œuvres inscrites au patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco, le Belge Victor Horta (1861 -1947) est aujourd’hui considéré comme un architecte de génie. Ce que l’on sait moins, c’est que nombre de ses réalisations ont été détruites ou abîmées, car considérées comme démodées après la seconde guerre mondiale.

      Parmi les oeuvres détruites, on compte l’hôtel Aubecq, l’une de ses trois plus célèbres réalisations. En 1950, une de ses façades a survécu à la démolition. Depuis lors, l’avenir de ces quelque 650 pierres taillées dans les moindres détails n’a cessé d’être questionné.

      Aujourd’hui, la Région bruxelloise a finalement décidé d’en faire quelque chose. Stockées pendant des années dans un hangar à Schaerbeek, les pierres vont être placées dans un nouveau lieu : le musée Kanal.

      Seize pierres emblématiques ont déjà été placées. Et d’ici le mois de juin, architectes, archéologues et urbanistes décideront si la façade entière restera au musée en pièces détachées ou sera reconstruite.
      C’était quoi, l’hôtel Aubecq ? (avant-après)

      L’hôtel Aubecq porte le nom d’un riche industriel pour lequel il a été construit au 520, avenue Louise. Il s’agissait d’une maison privée construite de pierres taillées dans les moindres détails et de puits de lumières. En 1950, Horta le moderne ne plaisait plus et le fils d’Octave Aubecq a pris la décision de démolir la maison construite sur mesure pour son père.