• Expulsion des Tunisien·nes d’#Italie : la #complicité discrète des #compagnies_aériennes

    Toutes les semaines, l’Italie expulse des dizaines de Tunisien·nes de son territoire, en les chargeant dans des #avions #charters, à l’abri des regards. Quelles sont les compagnies aériennes chargées de ces voyages forcées ? Comment sont-elles engagées par l’Etat italien ? À travers l’exemple de la jeune compagnie #Aeroitalia, inkyfada, en collaboration avec le média italien internazionale, révèle les rouages d’un système opaque bien rodé. Enquête.
    Rome, juillet 2023. Parmi les panneaux publicitaires qui jalonnent les rues de la capitale, on trouve ceux d’une compagnie aérienne qui vient de fêter sa première année et qui offre d’excellents tarifs pour la Sicile et la Sardaigne. Aeroitalia, "la nouvelle compagnie aérienne italienne à capitaux entièrement privés", comme l’indique son site Interne , promet de "donner le meilleur service possible, en prenant soin de ses passagers avec de petits gestes, de l’attention et de la chaleur humaine".

    À la même période, l’activiste et chercheur sénégalais Ibrahima Konate reçoit un message de la part d’une connaissance tunisienne : le 20 juillet, le frère de ce dernier a été rapatrié d’Italie. Selon son témoignage, le vol n°XZ7744 a été opéré par la compagnie Aeroitalia. La même opération a été rapportée par le site d’information tunisien Falso et par Majdi Karbai, ancien parlementaire et militant tunisien, dans un post publié sur Facebook le 21 juillet.

    Grâce au numéro de vol, il est possible de vérifier l’information. Comme le confirment plusieurs sites de surveillance du trafic aérien, dont FlightRadar et FlightAware, le matin du 20 juillet, un avion d’Aeroitalia a effectivement décollé de l’aéroport de Rome Fiumicino à destination de la Tunisie. Après une escale à Palerme, il atterrit à Tabarka, située à environ 130 kilomètres à l’ouest de Tunis, presque à la frontière algérienne.

    Mais cette destination ne figure pas parmi celles annoncées sur le site Internet d’Aeroitalia, car les vols opérés sur cette route sont des vols spéciaux, réservés à des passager·es qui ne souhaitent pas partir. Dans cet avion, il n’y a que des Tunisien·nes, escorté·es par les autorités italiennes.

    Le vol du 20 juillet 2023 est lié au marché des rapatriements forcés par charter : des vols programmés par les autorités d’un pays pour expulser, contre leur gré, des groupes de personnes à qui l’on refuse la possibilité de rester sur le territoire national. Dans le cas de l’Italie, il s’agit principalement de ressortissant·es tunisien·nes, comme le confirment les données les plus récentes sur les rapatriements aériens fournies par le ministère de l’intérieur.

    En 2023, sur un total de 106 vols charters de rapatriement, 70 étaient à destination de la Tunisie. 80% des personnes rapatriées sur ces vols - 2 006 sur un total de 2 506 - étaient des ressortissant·es tunisien·nes.

    La Tunisie dans le viseur de l’Italie

    À l’été 2023, Aeroitalia n’est pas la seule à s’intéresser à la Tunisie. Après une première visite officielle le 6 juin, le Premier ministre italien Giorgia Meloni retourne à Tunis le 11 juin en compagnie de la présidente de la Commission européenne, Ursula von der Leyen, et du Premier ministre néerlandais Mark Rutte. L’espoir est d’obtenir du président tunisien Kais Saied un engagement renouvelé à coopérer dans la lutte contre l’immigration dite irrégulière.

    Ce ballet entre l’Europe et la Tunisie intervient dans un contexte de persécution des personnes d’origine subsaharienne en Tunisie, alimenté par la présidence elle-même, et la répression croissante de la société civile. Cela n’a pas empêché l’Union européenne (UE) de signer, le 16 juillet, un protocole d’accord pour renforcer la coopération. Depuis des années, l’Europe tente d’engager des gouvernements étrangers en externalisant ses politiques de fermeture et de refoulement : de l’argent en échange d’une surveillance accrue des frontières et d’une augmentation des réadmissions de citoyen·nes non-européen·nes expulsé·es.

    Les gouvernements européens tentent ainsi, par tous les moyens, d’empêcher les gens de quitter leur pays pour l’Europe. Certains sont plus directs : refus de visa, rejet des bateaux sur lesquels ils voyagent ou absence de sauvetage en mer. D’autres, plus insidieux, se mettent en place dans des États tiers à travers la formation et le financement des garde-côtes ou la promotion de technologies de surveillance de plus en plus sophistiquées.

    Des expulsions peu étudiées

    Mais pour expulser une personne de l’Union européenne, le moyen le plus efficace est généralement de la charger dans un avion. C’est là qu’interviennent des entreprises comme Aeroitalia, protagonistes et bénéficiaires d’un système encore peu étudié. Comme l’observe le chercheur William Walters, "l’aviation civile est le pivot central des déportations de personnes en provenance des pays du Nord, mais ceux qui étudient le sujet des déportations se sont rarement intéressés aux questions de mobilité aérienne".

    Les retours forcés peuvent également avoir lieu sur des vols réguliers, en embarquant la personne avant les autres et en l’isolant à l’arrière du transporteur. Mais il y a toujours le risque que la personne résiste à sa propre expulsion, en essayant d’attirer l’attention des passager·es, et que le capitaine finisse par la débarquer si la situation à bord devient ingérable. Rien de tout cela ne se produit sur les charters.

    "L’avantage des expulsions par charter est qu’elles sont plus faciles à contrôler", résume Yasha Maccanico, chercheur à l’organisation Statewatch.

    L’Italie privilégie ainsi les expulsions par charter et a mis en place un système d’une rare lourdeur pour les gérer. Depuis 2011, année d’un des nombreux accords de "coopération migratoire" entre l’Italie et la Tunisie, les autorités italiennes tentent, sans succès, de maintenir une moyenne de deux vols charters de rapatriement par semaine : chaque vol est prévu pour 20-40 personnes à rapatrier et 60-110 accompagnateur·trices.

    Compte tenu de la fréquence, un contrat à moyen ou long terme pour un service de "transfert de migrants irréguliers", pour reprendre le jargon officiel, serait la solution la plus logique, comme c’est déjà le cas au Royaume-Uni et en Espagne.

    En 2016, un #appel_d'offres est lancé à cet effet par #Consip* pour le compte de la Direction centrale de l’immigration et de la police des frontières et du Département des libertés civiles et de l’immigration. Mais celui-ci n’aboutit pas, par désintérêt de la part des compagnies aériennes, selon les informations obtenues auprès de Consip. C’est ainsi qu’en Italie, contrairement à d’autres pays de l’UE, le système "un appel d’offres par vol" perdure.

    Un système d’appel d’offre opaque

    Jusqu’à la fin de l’année 2023, pour chacun de ces appels d’offres, le Viminale - le ministère de l’Intérieur - a publié sur son site internet deux documents : le texte de l’appel d’offres pour un vol programmé généralement une semaine plus tard, qui invite divers opérateurs à postuler, et le résultat de l’appel d’offres, ou "avis d’adjudication".

    Les vols sont, bien entendu, opérés par des compagnies aériennes, mais leurs noms n’apparaissent presque jamais. En effet, la totalité des appels d’offres sont remportés par deux sociétés intermédiaires (ou courtiers) : l’entreprise allemande Professional Aviation Solutions (PAS) et Air Partner, une société britannique rachetée en 2022 par la société américaine Wheels Up.

    Ces dernières se partagent le marché et prennent une commission de 3 à 5% sur le montant demandé pour opérer le vol. Les compagnies aériennes fournissent les moyens et le personnel sans lesquels les rapatriements ne pourraient avoir lieu, mais ce sont les courtiers, interlocuteurs indispensables des autorités, qui permettent à la machine à rapatrier de tourner à plein régime.

    Outre le nom du courtier, les avis d’attribution de marché indiquent le nombre d’offres reçues par le ministère de l’intérieur pour le vol en question (souvent deux, parfois une seule) et le coût de l’offre retenue.

    Le nom de la compagnie qui opérera le vol, et qui empochera donc l’essentiel de cet argent, n’apparaît pas.

    C’est pourquoi, en réponse à une demande d’accès à l’information présentée dans le cadre de cette enquête, le secrétariat du Département de la sécurité publique a pu répondre qu’il "n’a pas de contact direct" avec Aeroitalia, étant donné que "l’attribution du service au transporteur identifié parmi ceux qui ont fait la meilleure offre se fait par l’intermédiaire d’une société tierce - ‘broker’”. Et en effet, en recherchant sur le site du ministère de l’Intérieur les documents relatifs au vol Rome-Palerme-Tabarka du 20 juillet 2023, on découvre seulement que l’appel d’offres a été remporté par PAS avec une offre de 115 980 euros. Pas de trace d’Aeroitalia*.

    Mais dans le même temps, les avis d’attribution des contrats pour les vols charters de rapatriement opérés jusqu’à la fin de 2023 précisaient que la sous-traitance n’était pas possible. Pourtant, le service de transport aérien a bien été fourni par un tiers (le transporteur), ce qui pourrait s’apparenter à de la sous-traitance.

    Jusqu’à fin 2023 également, la procédure d’appel d’offres n’était pas à jour : les avis d’attribution des marchés contenaient la liste des opérateurs économiques invités à participer à l’appel d’offres, liste dans laquelle figuraient Mistral Air (devenu Poste Air Cargo en 2019), Meridiana (qui a fermé en 2018) et le courtier Astra Associated Services, aujourd’hui en liquidation.

    Un business discret

    Pour les vols opérés à partir de janvier 2024, les documents relatifs aux vols charters de rapatriement publiés par le ministère de l’Intérieur ont changé. Sur le site Internet, les appels d’offres sont toujours disponibles, avec la nouveauté qu’une offre peut concerner deux vols effectués dans la même semaine - le premier au départ de Trieste, le second au départ de Rome - et que la dépense maximale doit être inférieure à 110.000 euros au lieu de 140.000 euros auparavant.

    Par ailleurs, les avis d’attribution des marchés sont désormais indisponibles : il est donc impossible de savoir quels opérateurs ont été invités à proposer leurs services et combien d’offres ont été présentées. La référence à l’interdiction de la sous-traitance a également disparu. Parmi les nouveaux documents disponibles figurent les contrats avec les courtiers attribués, qui ne mentionnent cependant jamais le nom de la compagnie aérienne responsable de l’exploitation du vol, tandis que les offres reçues par le ministère de l’intérieur restent introuvables.

    Cette opacité ne caractérise pas seulement les rapatriements de charters depuis l’Italie. Le chercheur Matthias Monroy* raconte que le ministère allemand de l’Intérieur avait défini comme "confidentielles" les données sur les compagnies de vols charters qui profitent des rapatriements. Répondant à une question parlementaire du parti Die Linke, le ministère affirmait que "ces informations pourraient exposer les compagnies à une ’critique publique’, entravant les opérations de rapatriement".

    Le Viminale a également rejeté la demande d’accès à l’information d’inkyfada, mais en invoquant une autre raison. La publication des offres reçues pour chaque vol de rapatriement, dans lesquelles figure, outre le nom du courtier, celui de la compagnie qui devrait opérer le vol, ne concernerait pas l’intérêt public. Un argument difficilement défendable étant donné que la majeure partie de l’argent public dépensé pour ces vols est empochée par les compagnies et non par les courtiers. Face à cette réponse, inkyfada et internazionale ont déposé une demande de réexamen qui a été rejetée le 8 mai 2024, le ministère de l’Intérieur s’étant contenté de renvoyer encore une fois vers les documents disponibles sur le site.

    Entretemps, un problème informatique - ou, plus probablement, une erreur humaine - a permis de consulter deux de ces documents. Le 13 novembre 2023, le ministère de l’Intérieur a publié les deux offres reçues des courtiers habituels pour le vol du 12 octobre 2023, avec départ de Trieste Ronchi dei Legionari, escale à Palerme et arrivée à Tabarka. De manière surprenante, tant PAS qu’Air Partner avaient proposé pour ce vol un avion appartenant à la société espagnole Albastar, demandant respectivement 71.200 € et 71.880 €.

    En d’autres termes, même si un seul courtier a remporté l’appel d’offres - en l’occurrence PAS, qui proposait l’offre la plus basse -, Albastar se serait de toute façon vu attribuer ce vol : une situation qui confirme le manque de sérieux de ces procédures d’appel d’offres.

    Pour tenter d’identifier ces compagnies, il est donc nécessaire d’utiliser d’autres sources : les témoignages de déporté·es, les sites internet de certains aéroports et les sites de surveillance des vols.

    Les quinze vols d’Aeroitalia

    Aeroitalia n’est pas la seule compagnie à avoir opéré des vols charters de rapatriement forcé vers la Tunisie en 2023. En croisant les données de vol publiées par le ministère de l’Intérieur et celles disponibles sur les sites de surveillance des vols et sur le site de l’aéroport de Palerme, nous avons pu dater les 70 vols charters de rapatriement forcé vers la Tunisie.

    Il a été possible d’identifier les courtiers dans 63 cas - Pas s’est vu attribuer 36 vols, Air Partner 27- et la compagnie aérienne dans 56 cas :

    – 25 vols opérés par #Albastar, travaillant à la fois avec #Pas et #Air_Partner
    – 15 vols opérés par Aeroitalia, uniquement pour le compte de PAS
    – 9 vols opérés par la compagnie roumaine #Carpatair (qui ne semble travailler qu’uniquement avec Air Partner)
    – 4 vols opérés par #Malta_MedAir
    – 2 par la compagnie croate #Trade_Air
    – 1 par la compagnie bulgare #Electra_Airways.

    La recherche est rendue difficile par le fait que les compagnies aériennes peuvent attribuer des numéros de vol différents à une même route.

    Retour à l’été 2023. Derrière sa bannière de “chaleur humaine”, Aeroitalia a réalisé 13 vols de rapatriement forcé vers la Tunisie entre le 20 juillet et le 3 octobre 2023, au départ de Trieste Ronchi dei Legionari ou de Rome. En supposant une commission maximale de 5 % retenue par le courtier PAS, Aeroitalia a perçu pour ces treize vols presque 1.3800.000 : un chiffre remarquable si l’on considère qu’en moyenne, les vols opérés par Aeroitalia étaient beaucoup plus chers que ceux opérés par d’autres compagnies sur les mêmes routes et au cours de la même période (112.000 euros en moyenne contre 82 000 euros).

    Les deux autres vols Aeroitalia en 2023 remontent au 17 et 31 janvier, toujours avec PAS, qui a reçu respectivement 71.490 euros et 69.990 euros. D’après les informations recueillies en ligne, il s’avère également qu’Aeroitalia a commencé à opérer des vols de rapatriement forcé dès 2022 : certainement les 13 et 18 octobre, les 8 et 15 novembre et le 29 décembre (vols relevés par FlightRadar) et, selon un passager d’Aeroitalia, peut-être même en juillet de cette année-là, donc peu de temps après le lancement de la compagnie.

    En mars 2023, un utilisateur du forum italien Aviazionecivile.it a fait le commentaire suivant à propos d’Aeroitalia : “Donc tous ces charters pour Tabarka au départ de Palerme et de Rome qu’ils ont opéré fréquemment au cours des derniers mois étaient des vols de #rapatriement”.
    Ni PAS ni Aeroitalia n’ont répondu aux demandes de commentaires envoyées dans le cadre de cette enquête.

    L’ensemble des vols de rapatriement font une escale à Palerme, où les autorités consulaires tunisiennes doivent confirmer - pro forma - l’identité des personnes ayant fait l’objet d’un décret d’expulsion. Chacun·e rencontre le consul, un·e par un·e. inkyfada a pu échanger avec Louay et Wael, deux ressortissants tunisiens qui ont été expulsés d’Italie respectivement en février 2021 et juillet 2023. Leurs histoires, très similaires, témoignent de ce système bien rôdé. Tous deux ont effectivement rencontré le consul tunisien à cette occasion. L’échange a duré à peine quelques minutes.

    “Une minute grand maximum !”, s’exclame Louay. “Je lui ai dit que j’avais fait une demande d’asile et que je ne voulais pas rentrer en Tunisie… Il a juste dit ‘Ok’”.

    “Il m’a juste demandé d’où je venais, pourquoi j’étais en Italie…”, confirme Wael. “Puis il m’a dit qu’on allait tous être expulsés”.

    Des vols charters pas tous identiques

    Fondée en 2022 par le banquier français #Marc_Bourgade et l’entrepreneur bolivien #Germán_Efromovich, Aeroitalia est dirigée par #Gaetano_Francesco_Intrieri, expert en aviation et ancien conseiller du ministre des transports de l’époque, #Danilo_Toninelli. Si le premier est peu connu du grand public, Efromovich et Intrieri se sont retrouvés par le passé au cœur de plusieurs scandales de corruption et de faillite*.

    Dès sa création, l’objectif d’Aeroitalia était de se concentrer sur le marché des vols charters, explique le dirigeant Intrieri dans une interview en avril 2022. Marc Bourgade, de son côté, a déclaré à l’Air Financial Journal que la nouvelle compagnie prioriserait "d’abord les vols charters parce qu’ils garantissent des revenus dès le jour où nous obtenons le certificat d’opérateur aérien".

    La compagnie s’est notamment occupée du transport de plusieurs équipe sportives*, des partenariats qu’elle vante sur son site internet… contrairement aux vols de rapatriements, impliquant de transporter des groupes de personnes contre leur gré.

    Dans une recherche publiée en 2022, le Centre pour les droits de l’homme de l’Université de Washington a révélé comment, aux États-Unis, de nombreuses équipes sportives et artistes ont voyagé à leur insu sur des avions charters utilisés à d’autres moments pour des opérations de rapatriement souvent violentes. Si les passagers l’ignorent, les opérateurs de ces vols, aux États-Unis comme en Italie et ailleurs, savent certainement dans quel contexte ils offrent leurs services. Les vols de rapatriement forcé ne sont pas des vols comme les autres, mais des opérations de sécurité publique qui s’inscrivent dans un ensemble de pratiques et de politiques discriminatoires.

    La machine à expulsion

    Là encore, l’exemple de la Tunisie est emblématique : les chiffres des rapatriements donnent une idée de la "sérialisation" qui sous-tend ce système, observe l’avocat Maurizio Veglio, membre de l’Association pour les études juridiques sur l’immigration (ASGI). Pour remplir deux vols charters par semaine, il faut pouvoir compter sur un grand nombre de personnes rapatriables. Or, une personne est d’autant plus facilement rapatriée que ses chances d’obtenir une protection, voire de la demander, sont limitées.

    Quand Wael arrive à Pantelleria, en juillet 2023, il est directement amené dans un centre de rétention où on lui donne la possibilité de passer un coup de téléphone d’une minute. L’amie qu’il contacte lui conseille de demander l’asile. En assistant à cet échange, l’homme responsable des communications, tunisien également, lui rétorque “[qu’ils] n’acceptent plus l’asile maintenant”.

    Selon les statistiques disponibles, 76,6% des demandes d’asiles émises par des Tunisien·nes en Italie ont été rejetées en 2022. C’est le troisième plus haut taux de rejet de demande d’asile après l’Egypte (90,3%) et le Bangladesh (76,8%).

    “Après plusieurs semaines dans les centres de rétention, j’ai pu voir les nationalités qui étaient le plus expulsées”, raconte Wael . “Avec les accords, les Tunisiens et les Egyptiens sont toujours expulsés (...). Nous, c’est le mardi et le jeudi, et eux, c’est le mercredi !”.

    En 2019, l’Italie a inclus la Tunisie dans la liste des pays d’origine dits sûrs, un instrument qui, bien que prévu par la directive sur les procédures de 2013, "est ontologiquement en contradiction avec la procédure de protection internationale, c’est-à-dire avec l’évaluation sur le droit de l’individu à être protégé", dénonce l’avocat Maurizio Veglio. Ces listes, également adoptées par d’autres pays, ainsi que par l’UE elle-même, sont "un outil totalement asservi à la volonté des administrations de sérier au maximum les réponses négatives”.

    “Il s’agit d’un énième forcing qui tente de faire de l’évaluation de la demande de protection internationale un simple incident bureaucratique, à accomplir dans les plus brefs délais, afin de classer la procédure et d’entamer le processus de rapatriement".

    En effet, l’inclusion de la Tunisie dans la liste des pays d’origine sûrs “décourage les demandes de protection dont l’issue est en partie compromise par la simple citoyenneté du demandeur”, résume-t-il. “Les personnes de nationalité tunisienne qui ne demandent pas de protection (...), risquent d’être rapatriées dans un délai extrêmement court. Le mécanisme est si rapide qu’il annule la possibilité d’un droit de défense effectif”.

    Sans surprise, la demande d’asile de Wael a été refusée, malgré ses recours. “Au bout d’un mois et demi, tous ceux qui avaient été dans les centres avec moi ont vu leur demande être refusée et ils ont été expulsé s", décrit le jeune homme. Selon lui, l’expulsion est quasiment systématique dans certains centres, notamment ceux de Trapani et Catania. “Là-bas, tu peux être sûr à 90% que tu vas être renvoyé en Tunisie”.
    Résignation et Révolte

    Dans les centres de rétention, l’incertitude et l’attente rythment le quotidien de ces personnes en sursis. “On était six par chambre. Rien n’est clair. Un coup, on nous dit qu’on va nous amener chez le docteur, une autre fois chez le psychologue, et à la fin personne ne vient”, rapporte Wael. “On n’a confiance en personne”.

    Certain·es vivent très mal ces conditions d’isolement. “Un Tunisien avec nous était complètement déprimé”, raconte Louay . “Il n’en pouvait tellement plus qu’il a fait une tentative de suicide en s’immolant. Ils lui ont mis quelques pansements puis l’ont ramené dans sa chambre”.

    À cette période, en 2021, la crise du Covid-19 bat son plein. Pour pouvoir expulser des individus, les autorités italiennes sont obligées de vérifier que personne n’est porteur du virus avant d’embarquer les passager·es vers leur pays d’origine. Louay et d’autres refusent à plusieurs reprises de faire le test.

    “On m’a menacé plusieurs fois de me le faire de force (...). Une fois, j’ai demandé à parler à mon avocat. On m’a dit : ‘Fais ton test et on te laissera l’appeler’”, rapporte Louay. “Pareil pour parler avec ma famille".

    Malgré ses refus, sa tentative de demande d’asile et ses multiples recours, Louay est finalement expulsé, tout comme Wael. Malgré les deux ans qui séparent leur expulsion respective, leur parcours est presque identique. “Un matin tôt, vers 2h du matin, on nous a mis dans un bus pour nous emmener vers une destination inconnue”, continue Louay. “On était 20, et seulement des Tunisiens”.

    A l’aéroport, ils attendent quelques heures. Après un bref échange avec le consul, tous les passagers, escortés chacun par deux policiers, sont placés dans l’avion. Direction l’aéroport d’Enfidha Hammamet pour Louay, Tabarka pour Wael.

    Ces témoignages confirment ce que le Garant national des droits des personnes privées de liberté observe depuis des années en suivant les vols de rapatriement. Selon son ex-président Mauro Palma, " les phases les plus problématiques sont celles qui précèdent l’arrivée à bord" : la phase de transfert du centre à l’aéroport, souvent sans avertissement, après un réveil brutal, au milieu de la nuit ou à l’aube ; l’attente à l’aéroport sans contrôle adéquat de l’état de santé physique et psychique des personnes ; l’utilisation de moyens de contrainte tels que des bandes Velcro appliquées aux poignets.

    Pour citer à nouveau William Walters, qui place le phénomène des déportations aériennes dans le cadre plus large de la "géographie carcérale", les vols charters sont les maillons d’une "chaîne de détention" par laquelle les personnes sont "transférées d’un environnement à l’autre, d’une autorité à l’autre". D’autres chercheurs parlent de "couloirs de déportation" pour évoquer les différentes étapes et dimensions du phénomène.

    Pour les personnes contraintes de quitter l’Italie, la phase de vol, une fois qu’elles sont escortées à bord, est souvent qualifiée de phase de "résignation", notamment parce qu’il n’existe pas de mécanisme de plainte en cas d’abus ou de mauvais traitements. “Dans l’avion, tout le monde était tranquille, que ce soit les hôtesses ou les passagers. On sait qu’il n’y a plus rien à faire et pas de solution”, commente Wael d’un ton désabusé.

    Contrairement aux vols coordonnés par l’agence européenne Frontex, qui a introduit un nouveau mécanisme en 2019 - peu efficace selon de nombreux·ses expert·es -, les vols charters organisés par les autorités italiennes n’offrent pas de réelle "possibilité de plainte", confirme Mauro Palma. Comme dans le cas des centres de détention et de rapatriement, il peut arriver que le garant recueille des plaintes, puis les transmette au ministère de l’Intérieur, mais ce "dialogue" restera interne, sans conséquence pour la personne qui a voulu signaler un abus, et ne permettra pas d’alimenter les statistiques officielles sur ces plaintes. Et sans données, le problème n’existe pas.

    Enfin, il ne faut pas oublier que sur ces vols, le rapport de force - deux ou trois agents d’escorte pour chaque personne rapatriée - est beaucoup plus déséquilibré que dans les centres de rétention et de rapatriement, où les émeutes non seulement éclatent, mais peuvent conduire à la fermeture partielle ou totale du centre de rétention, comme l’a encore montré la récente émeute du CPR de Milo.
    Entreprises complices

    Même lorsqu’ils ne sont pas le théâtre de violences physiques, les rapatriements forcés sont des opérations violentes, des démonstrations de force de la part des États qui "finissent par affecter les segments les plus faibles de la population étrangère", observe l’avocat Veglio. Il s’agit des groupes exclus, par le système discriminatoire des visas, des canaux de mobilité légale et sûre. En d’autres termes, toutes ces personnes qui, aujourd’hui, n’ont pas le droit de prendre un vol pour l’Italie, mais qui seront embarquées de force dans un avion pour en être expulsées.

    En opérant ces vols, les compagnies deviennent complices et bénéficiaires de tout le système : plus les gouvernements accordent d’attention et de fonds aux rapatriements, plus les compagnies qui profitent d’une vision répressive et discriminatoire de l’immigration engrangent des revenus. Comme le rappelle Yasha Maccanico, l’obsession déjà manifeste des gouvernements européens pour les rapatriements risque de s’étendre grâce à la révision de la directive européenne sur le retour de 2008. La procédure, entamée en 2018, est actuellement bloquée au Parlement européen, qui n’est pas encore parvenu à une position commune. Mais selon Maccanico, la tentative est de présenter "tout facteur lié à l’état de santé, à l’âge ou aux droits de l’homme d’une personne comme un obstacle en matière de retour", et de ne plus les considérer comme des éléments "devant primer sur la directive retour".

    Ces dernières années, des campagnes ont été lancées dans plusieurs pays contre les entreprises impliquées dans des opérations de rapatriement forcé par charter. Selon la chercheuse Sophie Lenoir, de l’organisation Corporate Watch, qui consacre un rapport annuel aux rapatriements forcés par charter depuis le Royaume-Uni, ces campagnes ont plus de chances d’aboutir si la compagnie visée "opère également des vols commerciaux, et se soucie donc davantage de son image de marque".

    Sophie Lenoir cite l’exemple de Tui Airways (filiale britannique du groupe allemand Tui) qui, comme Aeroitalia, "propose également des vols commerciaux destinés aux familles qui partent en vacances". Au Royaume-Uni, après une importante campagne de dénonciation, "Tui a cessé de collaborer avec le Home Office dans le cadre d’opérations de rapatriement". Elle ajoute toutefois que cet impact présente des limites et qu’une entreprise n’arrête généralement ce type de vols " que temporairement, en attendant que l’attention du public retombe".

    Un parallèle entre l’Italie et le Royaume-Uni émerge de l’analyse de Lenoir : tout comme en Italie, les personnes de nationalité tunisienne ont été pendant des années la principale cible des discours officiels contre l’immigration irrégulière, au Royaume-Uni, il en va de même pour la population albanaise. "Les Albanais", a dénoncé la philosophe britannico-albanaise Lea Ypi en 2022, "sont les victimes les plus récentes d’un projet idéologique qui, pour masquer ses propres échecs politiques, expose les minorités à des stéréotypes négatifs, à la xénophobie et au racisme".
    Contre la logique des rapatriements

    C’est ce même racisme que dénoncent les militant·es tunisien·nes, mères et sœurs de jeunes disparu·es ou mort·es en tentant de traverser la Méditerranée, dans un communiqué sur la répression du soulèvement du CPR Milo publié par l’association Mem.Med (Mediterranean Memory) : "Une fois de plus, nous constatons l’injustice d’une situation dans laquelle des jeunes sont traités comme des criminels en raison de leur migration”.

    “Il n’y a personne qui va traverser la mer, sachant qu’il risque de mourir, sans bonne raison”, résume Louay.

    Des compagnies aériennes, comme Aeroitalia et d’autres, collaborent ainsi à un système visant à la répression de plus en plus brutale du projet migratoire de milliers de jeunes à la recherche d’une vie meilleure en Italie, qui tenteront de quitter à nouveau la Tunisie à la première occasion. "La ré-émigration des migrants tunisiens donne la mesure de l’échec des accords de rapatriement entre l’Italie et la Tunisie", écrivait le chercheur David Leone Suber en 2019. "La ré-émigration de ceux qui ont été rapatriés doit être interprétée comme un acte conscient et subversif contre la logique des rapatriements et des déportations."

    Wael est d’ailleurs reparti en Italie à peine quelques mois après avoir été expulsé. “De toute façon, je suis habitué aux tentatives ratées”, dit-il avec un sourire. “J’avais déjà tenté de passer par la Serbie en 2016-2017. Mais je me suis toujours dit qu’un jour, ça finirait bien par marcher”.

    Cette fois, son bateau, avec à bord 42 personnes, part de Bizerte jusqu’en Sardaigne. La traversée dure 20h, et les derniers kilomètres sont réalisés avec l’armée italienne. A terre, il est amené vers un centre de rétention avec tous les autres passager·es. “Vers 4h du matin, je suis sorti et je me suis enfui. J’ai marché des kilomètres jusqu’à pouvoir prendre des transports jusqu’à une autre ville…”.

    De fil en aiguille, le jeune homme réussit à rejoindre la France. Depuis trois mois, il est installé à Paris où il travaille au noir comme livreur, en attendant de trouver un moyen de stabiliser sa situation. Face à ces histoires, “difficile de croire aujourd’hui, à une libre circulation des personnes entre l’Italie et la Tunisie, comme c’était le cas dans les années 1990”, rappelle le chercheur David Leone Suber.

    Le 27 mars, comme pour donner une fin ouverte à cette enquête, le ministère de l’Intérieur a publié une autre consultation de marché : sept ans après le résultat décevant de l’appel d’offres Consip, le Viminale recherche des candidats pour un service de transport aérien de migrants irréguliers pour une durée de 36 mois.

    Comme indiqué dans la note technique, les principales destinations seront la Tunisie et l’Égypte. En cas de succès, l’appel d’offres sera remporté par un courtier et le nom de la compagnie aérienne responsable de ces vols “pas comme les autres”, restera méconnu, maintenant l’opacité sur les bénéficiaires de ce système d’expulsion.

    https://inkyfada.com/fr/2024/06/24/expulsions-compagnie-italie-tunisie
    #expulsions #renvois #Tunisie #migrations #réfugiés #sans-papiers #migrants_tunisiens #réfugiés_tunisiens #chiffres #statistiques #business #vols #coût #retours_forcés
    ping @isskein @karine4 @_kg_

    • Come funzionano i voli di rimpatrio forzato dall’Italia alla Tunisia

      Il 31 maggio 2024, dal suo account X (ex Twitter), il ministro dell’interno italiano Matteo Piantedosi annunciava: “Altri 35 migranti sono stati rimpatriati in Tunisia. Proseguono gli sforzi per dare risposte concrete al fenomeno della migrazione irregolare”. La fotografia di un aereo pronto al decollo sotto lo sguardo di un agente di polizia accompagnava il tweet.

      L’immagine è rappresentativa dei rimpatri forzati via charter: voli programmati dalle autorità di un paese per espellere, contro la loro volontà, gruppi di persone alle quali è negata la possibilità di restare sul territorio nazionale. Per svolgere queste operazioni i governi si affidano a compagnie aeree che offrono servizi charter. Un intero aereo è noleggiato per trasportare una o più decine di persone, ognuna delle quali sarà scortata da due o tre agenti di polizia.

      Nel caso dell’Italia, quelle persone sono in gran parte di nazionalità tunisina, come confermano i dati che ci ha fornito il ministero dell’interno. Nel 2023 sono state 2.006 su 2.506. Su 106 voli di rimpatrio via charter, settanta erano diretti in Tunisia. In partenza dall’aeroporto di Trieste o da quello di Roma, questi voli fanno sempre scalo a Palermo, dove le autorità consolari tunisine devono confermare pro forma – sulla base di un accordo bilaterale siglato il 5 aprile 2011 – l’identità delle persone che hanno ricevuto un decreto di espulsione. In alcuni casi il volo parte da Trieste, si ferma a Roma o a Bari per prendere altre persone da rimpatriare e agenti, poi prosegue verso Palermo (o parte da Roma e si ferma a Bari prima di andare a Palermo). All’aeroporto di Palermo è imbarcato anche chi arriva dai centri di permanenza per i rimpatri (cpr) siciliani. ​​A quel punto l’aereo può decollare. Se la rotta seguita da questi voli è nota, i nomi delle compagnie che li operano sono invece tenuti segreti.

      Una destinazione speciale

      Roma, luglio 2023. Tra i cartelloni pubblicitari che svettano lungo le strade della capitale ci sono quelli di una compagnia aerea che ha da poco compiuto un anno e vanta ottimi prezzi per la Sicilia e la Sardegna. Aeroitalia, “la nuova compagnia italiana a capitale interamente privato”, come si legge sul sito, promette di “dare il miglior servizio possibile prendendoci cura dei nostri passeggeri con piccoli gesti, attenzioni e calore umano”.

      Proprio in quei giorni, l’attivista e ricercatore senegalese Ibrahima Konate riceve un messaggio da un conoscente tunisino: il 20 luglio suo fratello è stato rimpatriato dall’Italia su un volo XZ7744 della compagnia Aeroitalia. La stessa operazione è segnalata dal sito d’informazione tunisino Falso e da Majdi Karbai, ex parlamentare e attivista tunisino, in un post pubblicato su Facebook il 21 luglio. Il numero del volo permette di fare una ricerca sui siti di monitoraggio del traffico aereo, tra cui FlightRadar: la mattina del 20 luglio, un velivolo Aeroitalia è effettivamente decollato dall’aeroporto di Fiumicino diretto in Tunisia. Dopo uno scalo a Palermo, è atterrato a Tabarka, 130 chilometri a ovest di Tunisi, quasi alla frontiera con l’Algeria. È l’aeroporto dove atterrano i voli di rimpatrio forzato in provenienza dall’Italia.

      Nell’estate 2023 la Tunisia è al centro dell’attualità italiana ed europea. Dopo una prima visita ufficiale il 6 giugno, la presidente del consiglio italiano Giorgia Meloni torna l’11 giugno a Tunisi in compagnia della presidente della Commissione europea Ursula von der Leyen e del primo ministro olandese Mark Rutte. La speranza è quella di strappare al presidente tunisino Kais Saied un impegno a collaborare nella cosiddetta lotta contro l’immigrazione irregolare.

      Poco importano la persecuzione delle persone di origine subsahariana in Tunisia, alimentata dalle posizioni xenofobe di Saied, e la crescente repressione della società civile. Il 16 luglio dell’anno scorso l’Unione europea firma con il paese nordafricano un memorandum d’intesa che dovrebbe rafforzare il quadro della loro cooperazione. La ricetta è sempre la stessa, quella con cui l’Ue tenta di assoldare i governi stranieri esternalizzando le sue politiche di chiusura e di respingimento: soldi in cambio di maggiore sorveglianza delle frontiere e di più riammissioni di cittadini e cittadine espulsi dal territorio europeo.

      Per impedire alle persone di raggiungere l’Ue, i governi europei hanno diversi mezzi a disposizione. Alcuni sono più diretti: negargli il visto, respingere le imbarcazioni su cui viaggiano o non prestare soccorso in mare. Altri, più indiretti, sono applicati negli stati terzi (addestrare e finanziare chi intercetta le imbarcazioni, incoraggiare l’adozione di leggi che criminalizzano il traffico di migranti o l’emigrazione irregolare, promuovere tecnologie di sorveglianza sempre più sofisticate).

      Per espellere una persona dall’Unione europea, invece, in genere il modo è solo uno: metterla su un aereo. Ed è qui che entrano in gioco le compagnie aeree, protagoniste e beneficiarie di un sistema ancora poco studiato.

      Come osserva il ricercatore William Walters, “l’aviazione civile è il perno centrale delle espulsioni di persone dai paesi del nord, eppure chi fa ricerca sulle espulsioni si è raramente interessato alle questioni legate alla mobilità aerea”. Negli ultimi anni sono usciti i primi studi, tra cui un numero della rivista antiAtlas Journal curato dallo stesso Walters con i colleghi Clara Lecadet e Cédric Parizot. Nell’introduzione, i tre autori sottolineano come l’opacità del settore, in particolare quello delle espulsioni via charter, abbia ostacolato lo sviluppo della ricerca sul tema.

      I rimpatri forzati possono svolgersi anche su voli di linea, imbarcando la persona prima degli altri passeggeri e isolandola nei posti in fondo. Ma c’è sempre il rischio che faccia resistenza, cercando di attirare l’attenzione degli altri passeggeri, e che il comandante finisca per farla sbarcare se la situazione a bordo diventa ingestibile. Tutto questo sui charter non succede. “Il vantaggio dei rimpatri via charter è che sono più facili da tenere sotto controllo”, riassume Yasha Maccanico, ricercatore dell’organizzazione Statewatch, che segue da vicino il tema dei rimpatri a livello europeo.

      L’Italia predilige le espulsioni via charter e, per gestirle, ha adottato un sistema di rara macchinosità. L’accordo di cooperazione con la Tunisia del 2011 prevede la possibilità di rimpatriare – su due voli charter a settimana – un massimo di 80 cittadini tunisini (ogni volo è previsto per 20-40 persone da rimpatriare e 60-110 agenti di scorta).

      Data la frequenza, un contratto a medio o a lungo termine per un servizio di trasporto aereo regolare sembrerebbe la soluzione più logica. E infatti nel 2016, sull’onda della cosiddetta crisi migratoria del 2015, la centrale acquisti della pubblica amministrazione italiana (Consip) ha lanciato una gara d’appalto in questo senso (del valore di 31 milioni e 500mila euro), su incarico della direzione centrale dell’immigrazione e della polizia delle frontiere e del dipartimento per le libertà civili e l’immigrazione. La gara, che riguardava tutti i voli di rimpatrio, non solo quelli per la Tunisia, è andata deserta. In una nota tecnica, che abbiamo ottenuto attraverso richiesta di accesso civico generalizzato, la Consip spiega i motivi di questo disinteresse: per le aziende del settore, le troppe variabili legate al servizio richiesto (in particolare i tempi di programmazione dei voli di rimpatrio e il numero di persone da trasferire) lo renderebbero difficilmente conciliabile con la loro normale attività di trasporto aereo.

      E così l’Italia, a differenza di altri paesi europei (tra cui la Spagna, la Germania e il Regno Unito), ha continuato a indire una gara d’appalto per ogni volo.

      Il sistema degli appalti

      Nei documenti pubblicati dal ministero sui rimpatri via charter verso la Tunisia non compare mai il nome di una compagnia aerea. Le gare d’appalto sono tutte vinte da due società d’intermediazione (o broker), la tedesca Professional aviation solutions (Pas) e la britannica Air partner (acquisita nel 2022 dalla statunitense Wheels up), che si spartiscono il mercato. Le compagnie aeree forniscono i mezzi e il personale senza i quali i rimpatri sarebbero impossibili, ma sono i broker a permettere che la macchina dei rimpatri giri senza sosta.

      Fino alla fine del 2023, per ogni volo charter di rimpatrio il ministero pubblicava il testo della gara d’appalto (“determina”) per un volo programmato in genere una settimana dopo, e il risultato della gara (“avviso di appalto aggiudicato”). Oltre al nome del broker selezionato, gli avvisi di appalto aggiudicato indicavano il numero di offerte ricevute dal ministero dell’interno per il volo in questione (spesso due, a volte una) e il costo dell’offerta selezionata. Il nome della compagnia che avrebbe operato il volo, e intascato quindi il grosso di quella cifra, non era precisato.

      Alle nostre domande la segreteria del dipartimento della pubblica sicurezza ha risposto di “non avere contatti diretti” con Aeroitalia, dato che “l’affidamento del servizio al vettore individuato tra quelli con l’offerta migliore avviene attraverso una società terza – ‘broker’”. E infatti, cercando sul sito del ministero dell’interno i documenti relativi al volo Roma-Palermo-Tabarka del 20 luglio 2023, scopriamo solo che l’appalto è stato vinto dalla Pas con un’offerta di 115.980 euro.

      Inoltre, fino alla fine del 2023 gli avvisi di appalto aggiudicato precisavano che il subappalto non era possibile. Eppure il servizio di trasporto aereo era eseguito da un terzo (il vettore) rispetto all’aggiudicatario, ovvero il broker. Sempre fino alla fine del 2023, la procedura di appalto non era aggiornata: gli avvisi di appalto aggiudicato contenevano la lista degli operatori economici invitati a partecipare alla gara, lista che includeva Mistral air (diventata Poste air cargo nel 2019), Meridiana (che ha chiuso nel 2018) e il broker Astra associated services (che risulta in liquidazione).

      Per i voli operati dall’inizio del 2024 il ministero dell’interno ha modificato i documenti disponibili sul sito. Sono sempre presenti i bandi delle gare d’appalto (con la novità che una gara può riguardare due voli operati la stessa settimana – il primo da Trieste, il secondo da Roma – e che la spesa massima dev’essere inferiore a 110mila euro invece dei precedenti 140mila euro), mentre sono spariti gli avvisi di appalto aggiudicato. Impossibile quindi sapere chi è stato invitato a partecipare alla gara e quante offerte sono state presentate. Sparito anche il riferimento al divieto di subappalto. Tra i nuovi documenti disponibili ci sono i contratti con i broker aggiudicatari, ma neanche qui c’è il nome della compagnia aerea incaricata di operare il volo.

      Questa opacità non caratterizza solo i rimpatri charter dall’Italia. Come riferisce il ricercatore Matthias Monroy, nell’agosto 2023 il ministero dell’interno tedesco, rispondendo a un’interrogazione parlamentare del partito Die Linke, ha definito “confidenziali” i dati sulle compagnie di voli charter che guadagnano con i rimpatri, perché “queste informazioni potrebbero esporre le compagnie a ‘critiche da parte dell’opinione pubblica’, ostacolando le operazioni di rimpatrio”.

      Anche il ministero dell’interno italiano ha respinto la nostra richiesta di conoscere i nomi di queste compagnie, ma dando un’altra spiegazione. La pubblicazione delle offerte ricevute per ogni volo di rimpatrio, in cui oltre al nome del broker compare il nome della compagnia che opererebbe il volo, non sarebbe di interesse pubblico. Abbiamo presentato un’istanza di riesame, e nella sua risposta dell’8 maggio il ministero dell’interno si è limitato a rinviare ai documenti disponibili sul sito.

      Nel frattempo, un intoppo informatico (o, più probabilmente, un errore umano) ha reso possibile la consultazione di due di queste offerte. Il 13 novembre 2023 sono state pubblicate le offerte ricevute dai soliti broker per il volo del 12 ottobre 2023, con partenza da Trieste, scalo a Palermo e arrivo a Tabarka. Fatto sorprendente, sia la Pas sia la Air partner avevano proposto per quel volo un aereo della compagnia spagnola Albastar, chiedendo rispettivamente 71.200 euro e 71.880 euro. Ha vinto la Pas, con l’offerta più bassa, ma Albastar si sarebbe in ogni caso aggiudicata quel volo.

      Tredici voli

      Torniamo ad Aeroitalia. Cercando il volo XZ7744 su FlightRadar, vengono fuori tredici voli operati su Tabarka tra il 20 luglio e il 3 ottobre, nelle stesse date e lungo le stesse tratte indicate nei documenti pubblicati dal ministero dell’interno. Dagli avvisi di appalto aggiudicato, sappiamo che i bandi per quei voli sono stati vinti dalla Pas, e conosciamo la cifra richiesta, come per esempio nel caso del volo del 20 luglio.

      La commissione trattenuta dai broker, secondo un esperto del settore che desidera restare anonimo, è compresa tra il 3 e il 5 per cento. Se ipotizziamo una commissione massima del 5 per cento trattenuta dalla Pas, per quei tredici voli Aeroitalia potrebbe aver incassato quasi 1.380.000 euro. Gli altri due voli Aeroitalia nel 2023 risalgono al 17 gennaio e al 31 gennaio (rintracciati su FlightRadar con il numero XZ8846), sempre per conto della Pas, che ha incassato rispettivamente 71.490 euro e 69.990 euro.

      Da ulteriori ricerche su FlightRadar emerge che Aeroitalia avrebbe cominciato a operare voli di rimpatrio già nel 2022. Ne abbiamo rintracciati il 13 e 18 ottobre, l’8 e il 15 novembre e il 29 dicembre, con i numeri di volo XZ8452, XZ8535 e XZ8846. Nel luglio 2022, quindi poco dopo il lancio della compagnia, l’allora primo velivolo Aeroitalia, il Boeing 737-85f 9h-cri, è stato noleggiato per portare Zubin Mehta e l’orchestra e il coro del Maggio musicale fiorentino a Malaga in occasione di un concerto. Il volo di ritorno ha avuto un ritardo di diciassette ore. In quel lasso di tempo, secondo i dati disponibili su FlightRadar, l’aereo ha effettuato vari spostamenti, tra cui un volo Roma-Bari-Palermo-Tabarka (numero ​AEZ4410).

      Né la Pas né Aeroitalia hanno risposto alle nostre richieste di commento.

      Un’azienda che fa parlare di sé

      Fondata nell’aprile 2022 dal banchiere francese Marc Bourgade e dall’imprenditore boliviano Germán Efromovich, Aeroitalia è guidata da Gaetano Francesco Intrieri, esperto di trasporto aereo e, per un breve periodo nel 2018, consulente dell’allora ministro dei trasporti Danilo Toninelli. Bourgade è una figura poco nota al grande pubblico, mentre in passato sia Efromovich sia Intrieri sono finiti al centro di alcuni processi per reati di corruzione e bancarotta. Efromovich è stato assolto, Intrieri condannato ma la sentenza a due anni e quattro mesi è stata poi cancellata nel 2006 dall’indulto. Dal novembre 2023 Aeroitalia può contare anche sui servizi di Massimo D’Alema, assunto come consulente.

      Dal 2004 al 2019 Efromovich è stato l’amministratore delegato della holding aeronautica latinoamericana Avianca holdings (oggi Avianca group). Determinato a entrare nel mercato italiano, avrebbe voluto acquisire Alitalia, ma ha finito per lanciare Aeroitalia. L’azienda si è fatta rapidamente notare per la disinvoltura con cui chiudeva rotte appena aperte, scatenando le ire di diversi aeroporti, tanto da spingere l’Enac a intervenire con una diffida il 31 ottobre 2023.

      Intervistato dal Corriere della Sera nell’aprile 2022, al momento del lancio della compagnia, Intrieri spiegava che Aeroitalia si sarebbe concentrata da subito sul mercato charter “perché in Italia è semi-morto, ma pure le compagnie aeree charter qui sono semi-morte”. Nello stesso periodo, Marc Bourgade dichiarava all’Air Financial Journal che la nuova compagnia si sarebbe concentrata “prima sui voli charter perché garantiscono ricavi dal giorno in cui otteniamo il certificato di operatore aereo”. E infatti il primo volo operato da Aeroitalia, il 3 maggio 2022, è stato un charter Bologna-Valencia che trasportava la squadra di pallacanestro Virtus Segafredo Bologna.

      Da allora, tra le collaborazioni strette con altre squadre sportive, Aeroitalia è diventata partner ufficiale dell’Atalanta (ottobre 2022), della Lazio (agosto 2023) e della squadra di pallavolo femminile Roma volley club (dicembre 2023).

      Non tutti i voli charter sono uguali

      Ma trasportare squadre di sportivi, o comitive di turisti, è un conto. Un altro è trasportare contro la loro volontà persone verso la Tunisia, paese che secondo esperti e tribunali non può essere considerato sicuro.

      In una ricerca pubblicata nel 2022, il Center for human rights dell’università di Washington ha rivelato come negli Stati Uniti molte squadre sportive e molti artisti viaggiassero a loro insaputa su aerei charter usati in altri momenti per operazioni di rimpatrio spesso violente.

      L’esempio della Tunisia è emblematico: i numeri relativi ai rimpatri danno un’idea della “serializzazione” alla base di questo sistema, osserva l’avvocato Maurizio Veglio dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi). Per sperare di riempire due voli charter a settimana bisogna poter contare su un ampio bacino di persone rimpatriabili. E una persona è tanto più facilmente rimpatriabile quanto limitate sono le sue possibilità non solo di ottenere una qualche forma di protezione, ma perfino di chiederla.

      Rispetto ai cittadini tunisini l’Italia ha agito su entrambi i fronti. Nel 2019 ha inserito la Tunisia nella lista dei cosiddetti paesi di origine sicuri, uno strumento che, pur essendo previsto dal diritto dell’Unione europea (la direttiva procedure del 2013), “è ontologicamente contrastante con la procedura di protezione internazionale, cioè con la valutazione sul diritto del singolo di essere protetto”, denuncia Veglio. Queste liste, adottate anche da altri paesi, oltre che dalla stessa Ue, sono “uno strumento al servizio delle autorità per rendere praticamente automatiche le risposte negative. Si tratta dell’ennesima forzatura che cerca di rendere la valutazione della domanda di protezione internazionale un mero incidente burocratico, da assolvere nel minor tempo possibile, per poter archiviare la procedura e avviare il processo di rimpatrio”.

      Secondo Veglio, l’inserimento della Tunisia nella lista di paesi di origine sicuri “disincentiva le domande di protezione, il cui esito è in parte pregiudicato dalla semplice cittadinanza del richiedente. D’altra parte le persone di nazionalità tunisina che non richiedono la protezione, una volta sbarcate in Italia, ricevono un decreto di respingimento, possono essere trattenute e, in un lasso temporale estremamente ridotto, rischiano il rimpatrio. Il meccanismo è così rapido da vanificare la possibilità di un diritto di difesa effettivo”.

      Wael ne sa qualcosa: arrivato a Pantelleria il 1 giugno 2023, dopo una settimana è trasferito nel cpr di Milo, a Trapani. Gli è concesso di fare una telefonata di un minuto. L’amica che chiama gli consiglia di presentare una domanda di protezione. Ma un altro tunisino detenuto nel centro lo avverte: “Qui non danno più l’asilo”. Nel 2022 il 76,6 per cento delle richieste di protezione presentate da persone di nazionalità tunisina è stato respinto, il tasso di rifiuto più alto dopo quello dell’Egitto (90,3 per cento) e del Bangladesh (76,8 per cento).

      In seguito due agenti di polizia si presentano accompagnati da una traduttrice marocchina, che invita Wael a firmare un foglio: “Mi sono rifiutato, e lei mi ha detto che tanto lo avrebbero firmato al mio posto. Allora ho ceduto. Dopo varie settimane trascorse nel centro, ho visto quali erano le nazionalità più espulse. Grazie agli accordi, tunisini ed egiziani sono sempre espulsi: noi il martedì e il giovedì, loro il mercoledì”. Prevedibilmente, la sua domanda di protezione è respinta.

      Attesa e incertezza

      Nei cpr, i giorni scorrono nell’attesa e nell’incertezza. “Eravamo sei in una stanza”, ricorda Wael. “Nessuno ti spiegava nulla. Magari venivano e ti dicevano che sarebbero tornati per portarti dal dottore, oppure dallo psicologo, per verificare se eri davvero minorenne, ma poi non tornavano. Non potevi fidarti di nessuno”. C’è chi non sopporta l’isolamento. “Un tunisino detenuto con noi era talmente depresso che ha provato a darsi fuoco”, racconta Wael. “Gli hanno messo qualche benda e l’hanno rispedito in stanza”.

      Louay (nome di fantasia) ha vissuto un’esperienza simile, due anni prima. Nel 2021, al momento del suo arrivo in Italia e della sua immediata detenzione, la pandemia era ancora in corso. Prima di procedere a un rimpatrio, le autorità dovevano fare un tampone per il covid. Louay e altri si sono rifiutati. “Mi hanno minacciato più volte di farmelo con la forza. Quando ho chiesto di poter parlare con il mio avvocato, mi hanno risposto: ‘Fai il test e poi potrai chiamarlo’. Stessa cosa se volevo parlare con la mia famiglia”. Anche Louay, come Wael, è stato espulso, in circostanze simili. “Una notte, verso le due, ci hanno fatto salire su un autobus senza dirci dove fosse diretto”, ricorda. “Eravamo in venti, tutti tunisini”.

      All’aeroporto di Palermo hanno aspettato varie ore prima di essere imbarcati. L’incontro con il console tunisino è durato pochissimo. “Un minuto al massimo!”, dice Louay. “Gli ho detto che avevo chiesto l’asilo e che non volevo tornare in Tunisia. Ha risposto solo ‘Ok’”.

      “A me ha chiesto da dove venissi in Tunisia e perché fossi venuto in Italia”, dice Wael. “Poi ha aggiunto che saremmo stati tutti espulsi”. Ammanettati, scortati da due agenti di polizia, Wael e Louay hanno affrontato l’ultima tappa: il volo charter.

      Rassegnazione e rivolta

      Le loro testimonianze confermano quanto osservato dal garante nazionale dei diritti delle persone private della libertà personale in anni di monitoraggio di voli di rimpatrio. Secondo l’ex presidente Mauro Palma, “le fasi più problematiche sono quelle che precedono l’arrivo a bordo”: il trasferimento dal centro in aeroporto, spesso senza preavviso, dopo un risveglio brusco, in piena notte o all’alba; l’attesa in aeroporto senza che siano fatte le adeguate verifiche sullo stato di salute fisica e mentale delle persone; l’uso di mezzi contenitivi come le fascette di velcro applicate ai polsi.

      Per citare di nuovo William Walters, che inserisce il fenomeno dei rimpatri aerei nel quadro più ampio della “geografia carceraria”, i voli charter sono anelli di una custodial chain (“catena di custodia”) attraverso la quale le persone sono “trasferite da un ambiente all’altro, da un’autorità alla seguente”. Altri ricercatori parlano di deportation corridor, corridoi della deportazione, per evocare le diverse tappe e dimensioni del fenomeno.

      Una volta scortate a bordo, per le persone costrette a lasciare l’Italia quella del volo è spesso definita la fase della “rassegnazione”, anche perché non esiste un meccanismo di reclamo in caso di abusi o maltrattamenti. A differenza dei voli di rimpatrio coordinati dall’agenzia europea Frontex, che ha introdotto un simile meccanismo nel 2019 (poco efficace, secondo vari esperti), i voli charter organizzati dalle autorità italiane non offrono una reale “possibilità di reclamo”, conferma Mauro Palma.

      Come nel caso dei centri per il rimpatrio, può succedere che il garante raccolga dei reclami, per poi trasmetterli al ministero dell’interno, ma è uno scambio informale, privo di conseguenze per la persona che ha voluto denunciare un abuso, e non permetterà di alimentare statistiche ufficiali su queste denunce. E senza dati, il problema non esiste.

      Infine, non bisogna dimenticare che su quei voli il rapporto di forza – due o tre agenti di scorta per ogni persona rimpatriata – è molto più squilibrato rispetto a quanto accade nei cpr, dove le rivolte non solo scoppiano, ma possono portare alla chiusura parziale o totale della struttura detentiva, come ha dimostrato ancora una volta la rivolta nel cpr di Milo-Trapani a febbraio 2024 (ricostruita da diverse associazioni in un comunicato pubblicato sul sito di Melting Pot Europa).

      Campagne di denuncia

      Anche quando non sono teatro di violenze fisiche, i rimpatri forzati sono operazioni violente che “finiscono per colpire la fasce più deboli della popolazione straniera”, osserva Veglio. Quelle fasce escluse, attraverso il sistema discriminatorio dei visti, dai canali della mobilità legale e sicura.

      Come ricorda Yasha Maccanico, l’ossessione dei governi europei per i rimpatri rischia di dilagare grazie alla revisione della direttiva europea sui rimpatri del 2008. Avviata nel 2018, la procedura di revisione è al momento bloccata al parlamento europeo, che non ha ancora raggiunto una posizione comune. Ma secondo Maccanico, il tentativo è quello di presentare “ogni fattore legato allo stato di salute, all’età o ai diritti umani di una persona come un ostacolo rispetto al rimpatrio”, invece di considerarli elementi “che dovrebbero prevalere sulla direttiva rimpatri”.

      Negli ultimi anni in diversi paesi sono state lanciate campagne di denuncia contro le compagnie che partecipano alle operazioni di rimpatrio forzato via charter. Secondo la ricercatrice Sophie Lenoir, dell’organizzazione Corporate watch (che ogni anno dedica un rapporto ai rimpatri forzati via charter dal Regno Unito), queste campagne hanno più probabilità di successo se la compagnia presa di mira “opera anche voli commerciali, e tiene quindi di più alla propria immagine pubblica”.

      Lenoir fa l’esempio di Tui airways (sussidiaria britannica del gruppo tedesco Tui group) che, come Aeroitalia, “propone anche voli commerciali puntando sulle famiglie che partono in vacanza”. Nel Regno Unito, dopo una grossa campagna di denuncia, nel 2022 “Tui ha smesso di collaborare con il ministero dell’interno nel quadro delle operazioni di rimpatrio”, spiega Lenoir, aggiungendo però che una compagnia può interrompere questo tipo di voli “solo temporaneamente, nell’attesa che cali l’attenzione dell’opinione pubblica”.

      Dall’analisi di Lenoir emerge un parallelo tra Italia e Regno Unito: proprio come in Italia le persone di nazionalità tunisina sono da anni tra i principali bersagli dei discorsi ufficiali contro l’immigrazione irregolare, nel Regno Unito lo stesso sta succedendo con la popolazione albanese. “Gli albanesi”, denunciava nel 2022 la filosofa britannico-albanese Lea Ypi, “sono le vittime più recenti di un progetto ideologico che, per mascherare i propri fallimenti politici, espone le minoranze alla stereotipizzazione negativa, alla xenofobia e al razzismo”.

      Quello stesso razzismo denunciato dalle attiviste tunisine, madri e sorelle dei giovani scomparsi o deceduti nel tentativo di attraversare il Mediterraneo, dopo la repressione della rivolta al cpr di Milo: “Ancora una volta, constatiamo l’ingiustizia di una situazione in cui dei giovani sono trattati come criminali per colpa della loro migrazione”, si legge nel loro comunicato, diffuso dall’associazione Mem.Med (Memoria Mediterranea).

      “Nessuno attraversa il mare, sapendo che rischia di morire, senza una buona ragione”, dice Wael, che ha ripreso la via del mare pochi mesi dopo la sua espulsione. “Tanto ero abituato ai tentativi falliti”, commenta con un sorriso. “Avevo già provato a raggiungere l’Europa passando per la Serbia nel 2016-2017. Mi sono sempre detto che prima o poi ce l’avrei fatta. Con quello che guadagnavo in Tunisia è impossibile vivere”.

      “L’emigrazione di migranti tunisini già rimpatriati dà una misura del fallimento degli accordi sui rimpatri tra Italia e Tunisia”, scrive il ricercatore David Leone Suber. “I loro tentativi devono essere interpretati come atti coscienti e sovversivi nei confronti della logica dei rimpatri”.

      La terza volta, a fine dicembre del 2023, Wael è partito dalla città tunisina di Biserta: “Eravamo in 84, ci hanno divisi su due gommoni, diretti in Sardegna. Ci sono volute venti ore. È stato un viaggio lungo e stancante. Per l’ultimo tratto siamo stati scortati dall’esercito italiano”. A terra, Wael è stato trasferito in un centro. “Verso le quattro del mattino sono scappato. Ho camminato per alcuni chilometri fino a un’altra città…”. Dopo varie tappe, è riuscito ad arrivare in Francia. Ora vive a Parigi, dove lavora in nero come corriere per Deliveroo, nell’attesa di riuscire a regolarizzare la sua situazione.

      Sentendo queste storie, è difficile credere che fino agli anni novanta, ovvero fino ai “primi decreti sull’introduzione di visti e restrizioni per i cittadini di paesi terzi”, esisteva “il libero movimento di persone tra Italia e Tunisia”, come ricorda Suber. Ora quel periodo sembra lontano anni luce (come lontanissima sembra l’epoca tra le due guerre mondiali, evocata in un recente articolo dalla politologa Speranta Dumitru, in cui gli europei odiavano una recente invenzione chiamata passaporto).

      Il 27 marzo 2024 il ministero dell’interno italiano ha pubblicato una consultazione di mercato diversa: sette anni dopo l’esito deludente della gara Consip, il Viminale cerca candidati per un servizio di “trasporto aereo di migranti irregolari” della durata di 36 mesi. Le “manifestazioni di interesse” andavano mandate entro il 17 aprile. Come si legge nella nota tecnica, le destinazioni principali saranno la Tunisia e l’Egitto. Se andrà in porto, la gara d’appalto sarà vinta da un broker, e si porrà di nuovo il problema della mancata trasparenza sui nomi delle compagnie aeree coinvolte.

      https://www.internazionale.it/reportage/haifa-mzalouat/2024/06/24/voli-rimpatrio-italia-tunisia

  • Le #train deux fois plus cher que l’#avion en Europe !

    À l’occasion des départs en vacances estivaux pour de nombreux Français et Françaises, le prix des billets de train reste malheureusement très supérieur à celui des billets d’avion, à trajet égal.

    C’est ce que dénonce un nouveau rapport [1] de Greenpeace Europe centrale et de l’Est qui analyse, dans le détail, le fossé entre les prix des billets d’avion, mode de transport extrêmement polluant, et ceux des billets de train, dont l’impact sur le climat est pourtant jusqu’à 100 fois moins important.

    Lire le résumé du rapport en français : https://cdn.greenpeace.fr/site/uploads/2023/07/Analyse-comparative-du-prix-des-billets-davion-vs-train-en-Europe_Res

    Une fiscalité inéquitable au profit des compagnies aériennes et à contre-courant de la lutte contre la crise climatique

    En Europe, les billets de train sont en moyenne deux fois plus chers que ceux d’avion pour un même trajet, un trajet entre Barcelone et Londres coûtant même jusqu’à 30 fois plus cher !

    Cette différence abyssale entre les #tarifs de ces deux modes de transport va à l’encontre de l’urgence climatique et de la nécessité de diminuer le trafic aérien et de développer le #réseau_ferroviaire. Greenpeace appelle pour cela les institutions européennes et les gouvernements nationaux à rendre les trains plus abordables que les vols.

    Selon Alexis Chailloux, chargé de campagne voyage durable chez Greenpeace France :

    “Ce rapport démontre, chiffres à l’appui, ce que toutes les personnes qui voyagent en Europe ont déjà expérimenté : une différence de prix délirante entre les prix des billets d’avion et ceux de train pour un même trajet. Pour inverser la tendance, il est urgent de mettre fin aux #exemptions_fiscales anachroniques dont jouit le secteur aérien. Cela permettra d’investir massivement dans le réseau ferroviaire, et de rendre le train plus accessible”.

    La France dans le TOP 3 des pires élèves en Europe

    La situation est encore plus prononcée en #France, où les billets de train sont en moyenne 2,6 fois plus chers que les billets d’avion. La France se place ainsi en troisième position – à égalité avec la Belgique et derrière le Royaume-Uni et l’Espagne – des pays européens les plus inconséquents en termes de tarification, allant ainsi à contre-courant de l’urgence climatique et de la nécessité de réduire les émissions.

    Sur le trajet Paris – Valence (Espagne), par exemple, les billets de train sont en moyenne 8 fois plus chers que l’avion. Comment, avec de telles différences, demander sérieusement à la population de privilégier le train ?

    Nécessité d’adopter des mesures politiques impactantes et pérennes

    Forte de cette étude inédite Greenpeace demande au gouvernement français de mettre en place des mesures efficaces :

    – La fin des #avantages_fiscaux dont bénéficie le secteur aérien, et l’augmentation de la #taxe_de ^:solidarité sur les billets afin de financer les alternatives bas-carbone. Le manque à gagner lié aux avantages fiscaux du secteur aérien en France est estimé à 5 milliards d’euros par an par l’association Transport & Environnement.

    – L’accessibilité du train pour tout le monde, via la mise en place d’un “#ticket_climat” – un #forfait qui permet d’utiliser le train (hors TGV) de manière illimitée et à un prix abordable -, la relance du #train_de_nuit et le renfort de #tarifs_réduits sur les trains longue distance pour les personnes à faibles revenus.

    La deuxième version de notre Baromètre des pratiques de voyage des jeunes [2] montre justement que la jeunesse française est largement favorable à un rééquilibrage des tarifs entre les billets d’avion et de train (84%) et à la fin des exemptions fiscales pour le secteur aérien (68%).

    Notes aux rédactions :

    [1] La recherche porte sur 112 trajets de moins de 1500 km dans 27 pays européens (EU27 plus la Suisse, la Norvège et le Royaume-Uni, moins les îles de Malte, Chypre et l’Irlande. Pour chaque trajet, nous avons comparé le prix d’un aller simple en train et en avion sur 9 dates : 3 à très court terme (à +2, +4 et +7 jours après la date de recherche), 3 à moyen terme (un mois pile après la date de recherche, et à plus et moins 2 jours), et 3 à long terme (4 mois pile après la date de recherche, et à plus et moins 2 jours).

    Lire l’intégralité du rapport Analyse comparative du prix des billets d’avion et de train en Europe – comment une fiscalité inéquitable incite à voyager en avion au détriment du climat :
    https://greenpeace.at/uploads/2023/07/report-ticket-prices-of-planes-vs-trains-in-europe.pdf

    [2] L’enquête a été réalisée en ligne auprès d’un échantillon de 1200 personnes représentatif de la population de France métropolitaine âgée de 18 à 34 ans. Cette tranche d’âge a été ciblée prioritairement car elle est encline à un usage plus régulier de l’avion.

    https://www.greenpeace.fr/espace-presse/nouveau-rapport-le-train-deux-fois-plus-cher-que-lavion-en-europe
    #rapport #Greenpeace #fiscalité #compagnies_aériennes #transport #transport_public #transport_ferroviaire

    –—

    voir aussi :
    In Europa viaggiare in treno costa il doppio che viaggiare in aereo
    https://seenthis.net/messages/1015811

  • Le patron de Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, entarté à son arrivée à Bruxelles RTBF - Arnaud Montero

    Accueil tendu pour le patron de la compagnie aérienne Ryanair. Michael O’Leary a été entarté juste avant de donner une conférence de presse à Bruxelles. « Welcome in Belgium » ont crié les deux activistes, avant de rajouter « arrêtez la pollution avec vos pu**** d’avions » (sic.). Bon joueur, le patron de Ryanair a commenté : « well done » (bien joué).

    De leur côté, les pilotes de Ryanair basés en Belgique, à l’aéroport de Charleroi, se croiseront à nouveau les bras les jeudi 14 et vendredi 15 septembre, annoncent jeudi la CNE et l’ACV Puls. Ce sera leur 4e grève en deux mois, puisque la première remonte à la mi-juillet.
    Plus d’informations à suivre.

    #artivisme #gloupgloup #MDR #ryanair #low_cost #conditions_de_travail #compagnies_aériennes #pollution #exploitation

    => Vidéo  : https://www.msn.com/fr-be/video/actualite/michael-o%E2%80%99leary-le-patron-de-ryanair-victime-d%E2%80%99un-entartage-%C3%A0-bruxelles/vi-AA1gmLmJ?t=28

    Source : https://www.rtbf.be/article/le-patron-de-ryanair-michael-oleary-entarte-a-son-arrivee-a-bruxelles-11252077

  • In Europa viaggiare in treno costa il doppio che viaggiare in aereo
    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/aree/Europa/In-Europa-viaggiare-in-treno-costa-il-doppio-che-viaggiare-in-aereo-

    Un recente studio di Greenpeace conferma che viaggiare in aereo è spesso molto più economico che viaggiare in treno. La colpa ricade principalmente sulle compagnie aeree low cost (e sui governi che ne agevolano l’azione), che con pratiche scorrette scaricano costi ambientali, economici e sociali su lavoratori e cittadini

  • Privilegi fiscali delle compagnie aeree europee, un biglietto da 34,2 miliardi di euro

    I colossi dell’aviazione civile del continente, che hanno già beneficato di sussidi pubblici durante la pandemia, sfruttano generose esenzioni sul cherosene, sulle emissioni e sui prezzi dei biglietti. Evitando ogni anno di pagare tasse che potrebbero essere investite dagli Stati in modalità di trasporto più sostenibili. Il report di T&E

    Nel 2022 i Paesi europei hanno perso 34,2 miliardi di euro a causa delle tasse non pagate dalle compagnie aeree, pari a circa quattro milioni di euro all’ora. Quanto si sarebbe speso per installare oltre 1.400 chilometri di rete ferroviaria ad alta velocità.

    Lo evidenzia lo studio pubblicato a luglio della Federazione europea per il trasporto e l’ambiente (Transport&Environment, T&E) che analizza e stima i danni causati dai privilegi fiscali di cui godono le compagnie aree sui voli passeggeri (la componente cargo non è stata considerata).

    “Questa differenza è dovuta a tre componenti: zero tasse sull’acquisto del cherosene (il carburante utilizzato per i voli aerei, ndr), Iva assente o molto ridotta sul costo dei biglietti e infine la tassazione delle emissioni secondo il mercato europeo (Emission trading scheme, Ets) solo sui voli tra scali europei”, si legge nella relazione.

    Dei 34,2 miliardi di euro non pagati la maggior parte (20,5 miliardi) sarebbero dovuti alle mancate imposte su carburante ed emissioni. Se non verranno presi provvedimenti, con la ripresa e la crescita del settore, questa quota è destinata ad aumentare, superando i 47 miliardi di euro nel 2025, quando il numero di voli sarà tornato ai livelli pre pandemia da Covid-19.

    Il settore dell’aviazione è tra i più emissivi, ed è infatti responsabile del 2,5% delle emissioni di CO2 a livello globale, un valore in forte crescita. Se nel 2013 l’impronta di carbonio era di 706 milioni di tonnellate di CO2 (MtCO2) nel 2019 questo valore era salito a 920. Nonostante il forte calo dei voli durante la pandemia da Covid-19, è previsto che il numero di partenze e arrivi dai Paesi dell’Unione europea aumenti del 62% al 2050 (rispetto ai livelli pre pandemici). Uno dei motivi di questa crescita, secondo T&E, è dovuto proprio agli ampi vantaggi fiscali del settore che non solo favoriscono le aziende ma non le incentivano a ridurre le proprie emissioni, ad esempio tramite l’utilizzo di carburanti alternativi o a emissioni nette nulle.

    Applicare una tassazione equa permetterebbe di ottenere numerosi vantaggi ambientali ed economici. A iniziare dall’incentivare la transizione ecologica del settore rendendo i combustibili fossili mono convenienti, oltre a diminuire la forbice tra voli e trasporto ferroviario favorendo mezzi di trasporto più ecologici (come indica anche Greenpeace). Inoltre, con le tasse pagate dalle aziende si potrebbero finanziare investimenti in tecnologie sostenibili non solamente nel settore dei trasporti. Il tutto secondo il principio per il quale dovrebbero essere le aziende più inquinanti a dover pagare per le proprie emissioni.

    Eppure dall’analisi di T&E emerge come siano proprio le compagnie aeree con le emissioni più alte ad aver beneficiato di uno sconto maggiore. Poco più della metà (il 56%) del tax gap è dovuto infatti alle 15 compagnie aeree più inquinanti d’Europa. A guidare questa classifica sono Air France e Lufthansa che sono le due maggiori responsabili del tax gap in Europa, a causa delle dimensioni della loro attività. L’Europa ha perso rispettivamente 2,4 e 2,3 miliardi di euro di entrate derivanti dalle attività di queste compagnie aeree.

    Come è possibile? Torniamo alle tre “cause”, partendo dal carburante. In Europa solo Norvegia e Svizzera impongono una tassa sul cherosene ma questa è limitata ai voli domestici. La Norvegia impone una tassa pari a 17 centesimi di euro per litro e nel 2022 ha portato a entrate per “soli” 68 milioni di euro. Mentre in Svizzera si pagano 45 centesimi per ogni litro consumato, ma la componente di voli domestici nel Paese è così bassa da rendere le sue entrate trascurabili.

    La seconda è la tassazione sui biglietti. Tutti i Paesi europei applicano un’aliquota Iva nulla al trasporto aereo internazionale e cinque (Cipro, Danimarca, Irlanda, Malta e Regno Unito) la impongono anche per le tratte domestiche. Gli altri Stati applicano un’aliquota ridotta (ad esempio Francia, Svezia) o l’aliquota Iva generale (ad esempio Grecia, Ungheria). T&E stima che l’Iva imposta ai viaggi aerei sia stata pari a 1,1 miliardi di euro nel 2022, con Italia (221 milioni) e Spagna (182 milioni) che hanno ottenuto il maggior gettito.

    La terza componente è dovuta all’esclusione dei voli extra-europei dal mercato del carbonio (Ets), il che comporta che la compagnia non debba compensare affatto le emissioni su questi voli. L’esclusione di queste tratte, che nonostante rappresentino solo il 6% dei voli sono responsabili del 51% delle emissioni del settore, non è solo problematica dal punto di vista ambientale ma favorisce compagnie di grandi dimensioni (come Air France, appunto) rispetto alle low cost, in quanto queste ultime, a causa della maggior quota di tratte europee, pagano un’imposta media maggiore sulle emissioni. Per queste ragioni nel febbraio 2022 quattro compagnie low cost (easyJet, Ryanair, Jet2 e Wizz Air), con il supporto di T&E, hanno scritto una lettera alla Commissione europea per chiedere di mettere fine a questo privilegio.

    Non solo i governi europei mantengono una fiscalità agevolata verso le compagnie aeree ma, in particolare durante la pandemia, hanno anche elargito loro finanziamenti pubblici. “La crisi da Covid-19 ha evidenziato la posizione favorevole delle compagnie aeree nell’accesso ai fondi statali. Ciò sottolinea che i governi tengono artificialmente a galla un settore ad alta intensità di carbonio con sussidi considerevoli. Durante la pandemia, il governo britannico ha fornito sostegno finanziario a British Airways, easyJet, Wizz air e Ryanair, per un ammontare di due miliardi di euro. La Svizzera ha destinato 1,8 miliardi di euro al settore dell’aviazione, di cui 1,2 miliardi a Swiss e 568 milioni di euro a Swissport, Gategroup e Sr technics. La Norvegia ha salvato le sue compagnie aeree con 559 milioni di euro -denuncia ancora T&E-. Questi sussidi non rientrano nella nostra analisi, ma sono importanti da menzionare quando si parla dell’accesso privilegiato dell’aviazione ai fondi pubblici”.

    Secondo la Federazione è necessario perciò che i Paesi europei pongano fine alle esenzioni fiscali ingiustificate sul carburante per aerei, garantendo che i mercati del carbonio coprano le emissioni di tutte le compagnie aeree (anche e soprattutto per i voli a lungo raggio) e applicando un’Iva del 20% su tutti i biglietti aerei. “Nel breve termine, i governi nazionali dovrebbero applicare le proprie tasse sui biglietti al livello necessario per colmare questo divario fiscale, in assenza di questi cambiamenti. In media, queste tasse vanno dai 23 euro per un viaggio nazionale, ai 51 euro per un viaggio intra-europeo e ai 259 euro per i viaggi extra-europei -suggerisce T&E-. Oltre a garantire che parte delle entrate raccolte sia reinvestita in tecnologie pulite come le energie rinnovabili e la produzione di carburanti sintetici (i cosiddetti e-fuel, combustibili a emissioni neutre necessari per la decarbonizzazione dei trasporti aerei e navali a lungo raggio) o nella promozione di modalità di trasporto alternative più pulite come la ferrovia”.

    Ciò potrebbe comportare una diminuzione della domanda e un risparmio di emissioni di CO2. Lo studio rileva che porre fine alle esenzioni nel 2022 avrebbe consentito di evitare la produzione di 35 milioni di tonnellate di CO2.

    “La tassazione non dovrebbe essere percepita come una punizione ma come un modo di far pagare in modo equo a coloro che beneficiano maggiormente della sotto regolamentazione dell’aviazione. Le persone più agiate della società hanno pagato troppo poco per le loro abitudini di volo -spiega Jo Dardenne, responsabile per l’aviazione presso T&E-. Un aumento delle imposte non ridurrà l’innovazione ma, al contrario, porterà benefici ai cittadini e al settore nel lungo periodo, poiché i governi interverranno per finanziare la transizione verso l’energia pulita, anche per i trasporti aerei”.

    https://altreconomia.it/privilegi-fiscali-delle-compagnie-aeree-europee-un-biglietto-da-342-mil
    #transport_aérien #compagnies_aériennes #subventions #fisc #exonération_fiscale #privilèges_fiscaux #avions #contradiction #absurdistan #absurdité #changement_climatique #fiscalité

    #OnEstPasAUneContradictionPrès

  • Podcast : Deportation profiteers

    Corporate Watch was recently interviewed by the #Civil_Fleet podcast to discuss the airlines, brokers, security firms and facilities management companies that make the UK border regime (https://corporatewatch.org/product/the-uk-border-regime) possible, as well as exploring how we can work together to resist them.

    The Civil Fleet is a UK-based blog and podcast that focuses on activist-led refugee rescue and support missions in the Mediterranean and across Fortress Europe. For show notes and more Civil Fleet podcasts see here (https://civilfleet.libsyn.com/episode-40-profiting-from-europes-deportation-regime). The blog can be found here (https://civilfleet.libsyn.com).

    https://corporatewatch.org/podcast-deportation-profiteers
    #renvois #expulsions #complexe_miliaro-industriel #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #asile #compagnies_aériennes #UK #Angleterre
    #podcast #audio

    ping @_kg_

  • #Vidéo sur l’#externalisation des #politiques_migratoires européennes

    Migreurop documente depuis sa création l’externalisation des politiques migratoires européennes. Ces politiques d’externalisation ont pour objectif de tenir les exilé·e·s au plus loin de l’espace européen en sous-traitant la gestion des mouvements migratoires aux pays dits « tiers » (d’origine ou de transit), quelles qu’en soient les conséquences sur les droits des personnes migrantes. Par le biais d’un #marchandage, l’UE et ses États membres se déchargent ainsi sur des pays non-membres des obligations qui leur incombent en vertu des conventions internationales qu’ils ont ratifiées.

    L’externalisation fonctionne selon quatre principes :

    - #Délocalisation : Les pays européens délocalisent le #contrôle_frontalier et exportent leurs politiques migratoires répressives dans des États dits « tiers » qui ne sont pas soumis aux mêmes lois et obligations en matière de respect des droits des personnes. Ils déplacent ainsi de fait les frontières européennes au-delà du territoire européen.

    - #Sous-traitance : L’UE délègue le contrôle migratoire à des États non-membres, transformés en garde-frontières d’une Union européenne qu’ils aspirent à rejoindre (comme les pays des Balkans) ou dont ils sont en partie dépendants (comme le Maroc, le Niger ou la Turquie).

    #Privatisation : Les États délèguent également de nombreuses prérogatives à des acteurs privés, comme les #compagnies_aériennes qui deviennent elles aussi garde-frontières, tandis que les demandes de #visas sont gérées par des sociétés privées, tout comme la #sécurité dans les camps d’exilés.

    - #Déresponsabilisation : En externalisant leurs politiques migratoires dans des pays non-signataires des principaux textes internationaux de protection des personnes migrant·e·s et réfugié·e·s, l’UE et les États européens contournent le droit. Ils cherchent à invisibiliser les violations des droits des personnes migrantes et fuient leurs #responsabilités.

    L’externalisation bafoue en toute impunité les droits des personnes exilées et met leurs vies en péril. Elle n’empêche pas les migrations, mais les rend plus dangereuses. Stop à l’externalisation et à l’#impunité des États !

    https://vimeo.com/838312263

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #externalisation_des_frontières #droits_humains #refoulements #principe_de_non-refoulement #marchandage #droits_fondamentaux #responsabilité #ressources_pédagogiques

  • Ces méthodes secrètes d’expulsion

    Renvoyer par tous les moyens et à n’importe quel coût. Voici à quoi font penser les méthodes du Secrétariat d’Etat aux migrations (#SEM). Peu importe si les pratiques utilisées contournent les règles établies par d’autres Etats. Entre 2012 et 2014 au moins, la Suisse a recouru aux services d’une petite compagnie française pour renvoyer à bord de jets des personnes migrantes vers l’Italie.

    Tout laisse à penser qu’il s’agissait de #vols_spéciaux camouflés. Ils étaient enregistrés comme des #vols_de_ligne, mais seules les personnes à renvoyer et du personnel de sécurité et d’encadrement étaient à bord. Il s’agissait d’un moyen de procéder à des renvois difficiles, en contournant les directives italiennes qui refusaient les vols spéciaux. Cette méthode permettait également de ne pas attirer l’attention de la Commission nationale de prévention de la torture (CNPT) qui accompagne tous les vols spéciaux mais pas l’entier des autres renvois par les airs.

    Entre 2014 et 2016, la Confédération avait tout fait pour garder secrètes ces méthodes et ne pas dévoiler les contrats qu’elle avait conclus avec des compagnies aériennes dans le cadre de ces expulsions. Elle craignait de voir les relations entre la Suisse et l’#Italie se détériorer et ces expulsions compromises si le public l’apprenait. Le Tribunal administratif fédéral a finalement contraint Berne à divulguer certains contrats que Le Courrier a obtenus.

    Une enquête du média alémanique Republik révèle que cette pratique n’est pas enterrée. Deux Algériens ont été renvoyés par ce type d’avion en mai dernier. Interrogé, le SEM use de la langue de bois. Il dit ne pas avoir de statistiques sur la taille des avions utilisés. Les contrats transmis sont caviardés. Nous ne savons pas combien d’argent l’Etat engage pour refouler les requérant·es d’asile débouté·es. Ni comment se déroulent ces renvois potentiellement susceptibles de violer des #droits_humains puisqu’aucun civil ne se trouve à bord. On peut sérieusement se questionner sur le coût financier et environnemental du recours à ce type de #refoulement aux frais du contribuable.

    Dans un contexte où les renvois vers la Croatie sont de plus en plus contestés et que l’Italie a suspendu temporairement l’application des accords de Dublin, on peut craindre que de nouvelles méthodes discutables soient mises en place. Le Secrétariat d’Etat aux migrations doit faire preuve de davantage de transparence sur l’exécution des renvois afin de prouver que ceux-ci respectent les droits humains. Il s’agit d’un sujet d’intérêt public majeur, celui du respect élémentaire de la dignité humaine !

    https://lecourrier.ch/2023/04/20/ces-methodes-secretes-dexpulsion

    #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Suisse #renvois #jets_privés #compagnies_aériennes #déboutés #refoulements

    • Expulsés par jet

      Des personnes migrantes ont été renvoyées à bord de jets, enregistrés par la Suisse comme des vols de ligne. Une pratique controversée que les autorités veulent garder secrète.

      Ligotés et escortés par douze policiers à bord d’un avion de 19 places. Voici comment deux Algériens affirment avoir été expulsés par la Suisse vers Lyon, puis Alger l’an dernier, dans une enquête du média alémanique Republik, publiée en début d’année. La Suisse a recouru par le passé à de petits avions pour refouler de force des personnes migrantes vers des Etats européens. Ces liaisons étaient enregistrées comme des vols de ligne réguliers. Pourtant, seules les personnes à expulser et du personnel de sécurité ou d’encadrement se trouvaient à bord.

      Une pratique qui soulève de nombreuses questions. Ce moyen permettrait à la Suisse de dissimuler aux pays de destination qu’il s’agit de retours sous la contrainte. Il permettrait également de passer, au moins en partie, entre les filets de la Commission nationale de prévention de la torture (CNPT). En effet, celle-ci n’accompagne que rarement les expulsions par vols de ligne, alors qu’elle le fait pour tous les vols spéciaux, bien plus sensibles au risque de violations des droits humains. Le Courrier a voulu savoir dans quelles conditions ces moyens étaient utilisés et s’ils étaient encore d’actualité, mais le Secrétariat d’Etat aux migrations (SEM) semble vouloir garder ces pratiques secrètes.

      D’après Republik, deux Algériens ont été renvoyés depuis Zurich vers Lyon le 31 mai 2022 dans un petit bimoteur à hélices de 19 places, de la compagnie aérienne française #Twin_Jet. Ils auraient ensuite été transférés dans un avion de la compagnie #ASL_Airlines qui les a expulsés vers Alger, avec l’aide de la police française. A cette époque, l’Algérie n’acceptait pas les retours sous contraintes de ses ressortissant·es.

      Vol spécial camouflé ?

      Selon le témoignage de l’un des deux hommes, recueilli par le média alémanique, l’un d’entre eux aurait été attaché à un fauteuil roulant afin d’être entièrement immobilisé. Ils étaient escortés par douze policiers au total, six par personne. Le Courrier a contacté Tana Ibarra, conseillère juridique bénévole de l’association Asylex chargée de représenter l’une de ces deux personnes. « C’est la première fois que j’observe un renvoi effectué de cette façon. Pour moi, il s’apparente clairement à un vol spécial de degré 4 (lire ci-dessous). Ce n’est que dans des cas extrêmes que la Suisse réserve un avion pour renvoyer uniquement deux personnes, car c’est extrêmement cher. »

      L’avocate, qui vient en aide aux personnes migrantes détenues, explique que son client était sous le coup d’une ordonnance pénale et d’une interdiction à vie d’entrée sur le territoire suisse. Elle ne connaît pas la nature du délit commis. « Il vivait en Suisse depuis plusieurs années et était bien intégré. Les autorités avaient déjà tenté de le renvoyer à plusieurs reprises. »

      Ce n’est pas la première fois que #swissREPAT, la section du SEM responsable des voyages de retour, a recours à des jets pour expulser des personnes déboutées. Entre octobre 2012 et 2014 au moins, Twin Jet lui réservait sa liaison Genève-Milan/ Malpensa à une fréquence hebdomadaire ou bimensuelle. Le Courrier a obtenu quatre contrats (lire ci-dessous) qui le confirment. La compagnie française basée à Aix-en-Provence garantissait à SwissREPAT 19 places. Les montants des contrats en jeu sont en revanche caviardés. Impossible de connaître la facture de ces renvois. En 2017, le média français Buzzfeed.News révélait des accords similaires entre Twin Jet et la France. Trente-quatre millions d’euros auraient été dépensés entre 2006 et 2017 par l’Etat français.

      Billets impossibles à obtenir

      En Suisse, le SEM affirme que ce sont des vols de ligne réguliers. Pourtant, lorsqu’un journaliste de l’hebdomadaire die Wochenzeitung (WOZ) avait tenté en 2014 d’y réserver un siège, Twin Jet lui avait répondu qu’il s’agissait de vols privés. Aujourd’hui, aucune liaison Zurich- Lyon n’apparaît sur le site internet de la compagnie. Tout laisse à penser que ces avions étaient affrétés par SwissREPAT dans le but unique d’expulser des requérant·es d’asile.

      Cette pratique questionne également d’un point de vue du respect des droits humains. En 2010, le décès d’un ressortissant nigérian peu avant d’embarquer à bord d’un vol spécial avait eu l’effet d’un électrochoc et poussé le SEM à accepter la présence d’observateurs et observatrices indépendant·es à bord à la suite des critiques de l’ONU. Depuis 2012, la CNPT accompagne toutes les expulsions par vols spéciaux. Chaque année, son rapport dénonce de manière récurrente des pratiques policières inappropriées et un recours excessif aux entraves préventives.

      « Nous sommes notifiés de tous les renvois par les airs. Nous recevons le nom des compagnies par lesquelles sont effectuées les expulsions, nous partons donc du principe qu’il s’agit de vols de ligne et de renvois de niveau 2 et 3 », explique Livia Hadorn, cheffe du secrétariat de la CNPT. « Nos capacités sont limitées, nous ne pouvons pas assister à tous ces types de rapatriements qui sont beaucoup plus nombreux que les vols spéciaux. »

      Le renvoi des deux Algériens de Zurich vers Lyon en 2022 montre que cette méthode a à nouveau été utilisée en 2022. « Nous n’avons reçu les détails du renvoi que longtemps après qu’il a été opéré et à la suite de nombreuses demandes », relate Tana Ibarra, qui représente juridiquement l’un d’entre eux. « Il est très choquant de constater que la Suisse a explicitement demandé l’assistance de la France pour renvoyer ces personnes via son territoire. Elle contourne ainsi la décision de l’Algérie et ne veut pas que le public l’apprenne. »

      Aucun témoin

      Si la cheffe du secrétariat de la CNPT ne se prononce pas au sujet de ce cas précis, elle juge toutefois la pratique ambiguë : « Effectivement, si le vol est présenté comme un vol de ligne mais qu’il n’y a aucun autre passager à même d’observer et de dénoncer d’éventuelles violations des droits humains, cela rend l’opération plus sensible que les autres renvois de niveau 2 et 3. »

      Depuis l’enquête de Republik, la commission se dit plus attentive à ce type de renvois. « Nous dialoguons régulièrement avec le SEM et avons abordé la question de ces vols particuliers. Nos conclusions figureront dans le rapport que nous publierons en juin », poursuit Livia Hadorn. Elle n’a pas souhaité nous dire si ces pratiques étaient encore d’actualité.

      Interrogé sur les conditions dans lesquelles de petits avions sont utilisés lors d’expulsions, le SEM botte en touche. « Nous utilisons toutes les liaisons disponibles pour effectuer des rapatriements. La taille des avions n’a aucune importance et nous n’avons aucune influence sur le type d’avions proposés par les compagnies aériennes », avance son porte-parole, Lukas Rieder. Lorsqu’on le questionne sur le nombre de renvois effectués par ce biais, il affirme ne pas disposer de statistiques sur la taille des engins utilisés.

      En épluchant les rapports de la CNPT, on apprend qu’au moins 50 vols « T7 » ont eu lieu en 2013 et 2014. Les rapports concernant les années suivantes ne font plus état de renvois de ce type. Il est mentionné que dès 2015, un autre type d’avion a été choisi. Le porte-parole du SEM indique que la ligne Genève-Milan/Malpensa a été supprimée en 2017

      En mai dernier, d’après Republik, la CNPT a bien été notifiée d’un renvoi forcé par les airs entre Zurich et Lyon. Le vol n’a pourtant pas été annoncé comme un vol T7, comme par le passé, ni comme un vol spécial. Si ça avait été le cas, un membre de la commission aurait été présent pour documenter le renvoi.

      LUTTE POUR LA TRANSPARENCE

      En 2014, en marge d’une enquête dévoilant le recours aux vols « T7 », l’hebdomadaire alémanique Wochenzeitung (WOZ), invoquant la loi sur la transparence, demandait l’accès aux contrats liant la Confédération à différentes compagnies aériennes dans le cadre des renvois. Le SEM, de concert avec le Département fédéral des affaires étrangères, refusait. Les autorités sont allées jusqu’au Tribunal administratif fédéral (TAF) afin de garder ces accords secrets. En 2016, le TAF a donné partiellement gain de cause à la WOZ. Le SEM a ainsi été obligé de divulguer certains contrats, que Le Courrier a pu ensuite obtenir.

      L’arrêt stipule que les autorités refusaient de rendre public les contrats pour « garder secrète et protéger une pratique de rapatriement qui contourne les directives relatives au rapatriement de requérants d’asile vers l’Italie par voie aérienne ». Dans sa défense, la Confédération invoquait une potentielle détérioration des relations entre les deux pays, si les documents étaient rendus publics. Le TAF n’a pas jugé ces arguments convaincants et a même qualifié la pratique du SEM de « discutable d’un point de vue de l’Etat de droit ». Il affirme que l’intérêt public à connaître cette pratique et pouvoir la critiquer prime.

      https://lecourrier.ch/2023/04/20/expulses-par-jet

  • Livraison du dernier 747 — le 1574 ème et dernier exemplaire du #Jumbo_Jet, lancé à la fin des années 1960 par Boeing.

    Une page de l’histoire moderne américaine se tourne. Depuis son usine d’Everett, près de Seattle (Etat de Washington), #Boeing livrait mardi le dernier exemplaire de son 747, après près de 55 années de production pour plus d’une centaine de clients.

    […]

    Le #Boeing_747 est le premier avion à mettre deux couloirs dans sa carlingue, capable d’emmener 440 passagers dans un rayon d’action de plus de 10.000 kilomètres. Des déclinaisons porteront même son autonomie à plus de 14.000 kilomètres avec le 747-400ER.

    Le point faible de l’avion, qui signera sa fin de carrière, est sa consommation effrénée de carburant et ses coûts élevés de maintenance. L’avènement des #compagnies_aériennes « #low_cost » participe aussi au #déclin, avec une préférence pour des avions de plus petite capacité, destinés à des vols plus courts. Au fil des années, la plupart des grandes compagnies aériennes - d’#Air_France à #British_Airways en passant par #Lufthansa ou #Qantas -, ont ainsi revendu leur #flotte de 747 ou les ont envoyés à la casse, négociant la carlingue au prix du métal.

    (Les Échos)

    #aviation #long_courrier #avion

  • #Air_Partner: the Home Office’s little-known deportation fixer

    International travel megacorp #Carlson_Wagonlit_Travel (#CWT) holds a £5.7 million, seven-year contract with the Home Office for the “provision of travel services for immigration purposes”, as it has done for nearly two decades. However, a key part of its work – the chartering of aircraft and crew to carry out the deportations – has been subcontracted to a little-known aviation charter outfit called Air Partner.

    Summary

    Digging deeper into Air Partner, we found a company which has been quietly organising mass deportations for the Home Office for years. We also learnt that:

    It likely arranged for the airline #Privilege_Style to carry out the aborted flight to #Rwanda, and will seek another airline if the Rwanda scheme goes ahead.
    It has organised deportation logistics for the US and several European governments.
    It is currently one of four beneficiaries of a €15 million framework contract to arrange charter deportations for the European Coast Guard and Border Agency, #Frontex.
    The company grew off the back of military contracts, with profits soaring during the ‘War on Terror’, the Arab Spring, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
    Its regular clients include politicians, celebrities and sports teams, and it recently flew teams and fans to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
    Air Partner was bought in spring 2022 by American charter airline, Wheels Up, but that company is in troubled financial waters.

    Air Partner: Home Office deportation broker

    In Carlson Wagonlit’s current contract award notice, published on the EU website Tenders Electronic Daily, the “management and provision of aircraft(s) charter services” is subcontracted to Air Partner – a detail which is redacted in documents on the UK government’s procurement site. In other words, when the Home Office wants to carry out a mass deportation flight, the task of finding the airline is delegated to Air Partner.

    The contract stipulates that for each charter flight, Air Partner must solicit bids from at least three potential airlines. Selection is on the basis of value for money. However, the contract also states that “the maximum possible flexibility “ is expected from the carrier in terms of dates and destinations. The winning bidder must also be morally comfortable with the work, although it is not clear at what point in the process a first-time deportation airline is fully informed of the nature of the task.

    The contract suggests that airlines like #Privilege_Style, #Titan_Airways, #Hi_Fly and #TUI, therefore, owe their entry into the UK deportation business to Air Partner, which effectively acts as gatekeeper to the sector. Meanwhile, #Carlson_Wagonlit books the tickets, oversees the overall operation, arranges deportations on scheduled flights, and liaises with the guards who physically enforce the expulsion (currently supplied by the company that runs Manston camp, Mitie, in a Home Office escorting contract that runs until 2028).

    The latest deal between the Home Office and Carlson Wagonlit was awarded in 2017 and runs until 31st October 2024. It is likely that Air Partner makes money through a commission on each deportation flight.

    Flying for Frontex

    Yet Air Partner isn’t just the UK government’s deportation dealer. Its Austrian branch is currently one of four companies which organise mass expulsions for the European Coast Guard and Border Agency, Frontex, in a €15 million framework contract that was renewed in August 2022. A framework contract is essentially a deal in which a few companies are chosen to form a pool of select suppliers of particular goods or services, and are then called upon when needed. The work was awarded without advertising, which Frontex can do when the tender is virtually identical as in the previous contract.

    Frontex organises deportation charter flights – either for multiple EU states at a time (where the plane stops to pick up deportees from several countries) – or for a single state. The Agency also arranges for individuals to be deported on regular commercial flights.

    Air Partner’s work for Frontex is very similar to its work for the Home Office. It sources willing aircraft and crew, obtains flight and landing permits, and organises hotels – presumably for personnel – “in case of delays”. The other beneficiaries of the framework contract are #Air_Charter_Service, #Professional_Aviation_Solutions, and #AS_Aircontact.

    Air Charter Service is a German company, sister of a Surrey-based business of the same name, and is owned by Knightsbridge private equity firm, #Alcuin_Capital_Partners. Professional Aviation Solutions is another German charter company, owned by #Skylink_Holding. Finally, Norwegian broker AS Aircontact is a subsidiary of travel firm #Aircontact_Group, ultimately owned by chairman #Johan_Stenersen. AS Aircontact has benefited from the Frontex deal for many years.

    The award was given to the four companies on the basis of lowest price, with each bidder having to state the price it was able to obtain for a range of specified flights. The companies then bid for specific deportations, with the winner being the one offering best value for money. Air Partner’s cut from the deal in 2021 was €2.7 million.

    The contract stipulates the need for total secrecy:

    [The contractor] Must apply the maximum discretion and confidentiality in relation to the activity… must not document or share information on the activity by any means such as photo, video, commenting or sharing in social media, or equivalent.

    The Frontex award effectively means that Air Partner and the other three firms can carry out work on behalf of all EU states. But the company’s involvement with deportations doesn’t stop there: Air Partner has also profited for years from similar contracts with a number of individual European governments.

    The company has done considerable work in Ireland, having been appointed as one of its official deportation brokers back in 2005. Ten years later, the Irish Department of Justice was recorded as having paid Air Partner to carry out a vaguely-described “air charter” job (on a web page that is no longer available), while in 2016 the same department paid Air Partner €240,000 for “returns air charter” – government-speak for deportation flights.

    Between August 2021 and February 2022, the Austrian government awarded the company six Frontex-funded deportation contracts, worth an estimated average of €33,796.

    The company also enjoys a deportation contract with the German government, in a deal reviewed annually. The current contract runs until February 2023.

    Finally, Air Partner has held deportation contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has been involved in deporting Mexican migrants to the US as far back as the early 2000s.1
    Relationship with the airlines

    In the first half of 2021, 22 of the EU’s 27 member states participated in Frontex flights, with Germany making far greater use of the ‘service’ than any other country. The geographic scale of Air Partner’s work gives an indication of the privileged access it has as gatekeeper to Europe’s lucrative ‘deportation market’, and ultimately, the golden land of government contracts more generally.

    For example, British carrier Titan Airways – which has long carried out deportations for the Home Office – only appears to have broken into this market in Germany and Austria in 2018 and 2019, respectively. As Corporate Watch has documented, other airlines such as Privilege Style, #AirTanker, #Wamos and #Iberojet (formerly, #Evelop) regularly run deportation flights for a number of governments, including the UK. We can assume that Air Partner’s relationships with the firms are key to these companies’ ability to secure such deals in new markets.

    Some of these relationships are clearly personal: #Alastair_Wilson, managing director of Titan Airways, worked as trading manager for Air Partner for seven years until he left that firm for Titan in 2014. By 2017, Titan was playing a major role in forcible expulsions from the UK.

    The business: from military money to deportation dealer

    Air Partner’s origins are in military work. Founded in 1961, the company started its life as a training centre which helped military pilots switch to the commercial sector. Known for much of its history as Air London, it has enjoyed extensive Ministry of Defence deals for troop rotations and the supply of military equipment. Up until 2010, military contracts represented over 60% of pre-tax profits. However, in recent years it has managed to wean itself off the MOD and develop a more diverse clientele; by 2018, the value of military contracts had dropped to less than 3% of profits.

    The company’s main business is in brokering aircraft for charter flights, and sourcing planes from its pool of partner airlines at the request of customers who want to hire them. It owns no aircraft itself. Besides governments and wealthy individuals, its current client base includes “corporates, sports and entertainment teams, industrial and manufacturing customers, and tour operators.”

    Its other source of cash is in training and consultancy to government, military and commercial customers through three subsidiaries: its risk management service Baines Simmons, the Redline Security project, and its disaster management sideline, Kenyon Emergency Services. Conveniently, while the group’s main business pumps out fossil fuels on needless private flights, Kenyon’s disaster management work involves among other things, preparing customers for climate change-induced natural disasters.

    Despite these other projects, charter work represents the company’s largest income stream by far, at 87% of the group’s profits. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of this is from leasing large jets to customers such as governments, sports teams and tour operators. Its second most lucrative source of cash is leasing private jets to the rich, including celebrities. Finally, its freight shipments tend to be the least profitable division of its charter work.

    The company’s charter division continues to be “predominantly driven by government work”.2 It has been hired by dozens of governments and royal families worldwide, and almost half the profits from its charter work now derive from the US, although France has long been an important market too.

    Ferrying the mega-rich

    Meanwhile, Air Partner’s work shuttling politicians and other VIPs no doubt enables the company to build up its bank of useful contacts which help it secure such lucrative government deals. Truly this is a company of the mega-rich: a “last-minute, half-term holiday” with the family to Madeira costs a mere £36,500 just for the experience of a private jet. It was the first aircraft charter company to have held a Royal Warrant, and boasts of having flown US election candidates and supplying George W Bush’s press plane.3

    The “group charter” business works with bands and sports teams. The latter includes the Wales football team, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid, while the Grand Prix is “always a firm fixture in the charter calendar”.4 It also flew teams and fans to the controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.5

    Crisis profiteer: the War on Terror, the Arab Spring & Covid-19

    Air Partner has cashed in on one crisis after the next. Not only that, it even contributes to one, and in so doing multiplies its financial opportunities. As military contractor to belligerent Western forces in the Middle East, the company is complicit in the creation of refugees – large numbers of whom Air Partner would later deport back to those war zones. It feeds war with invading armies, then feasts on its casualties.

    The company reportedly carried at least 4,000t of military supplies during the first Gulf War. The chairman at the time, Tony Mack, said:

    The Gulf War was a windfall for us. We’d hate to say ‘yippee, we’re going to war’, but I guess the net effect would be positive.6

    And in its financial records over the past twenty years, three events really stand out: 9/11 and the ‘War on Terror’, the Arab Spring, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

    9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror was a game changer for the company, marking a departure from reliance on corporate customers and a shift to more secure government work. First – as with the pandemic – there was a boom in private jet hire due to “the number of rich clients who are reluctant to travel on scheduled services”.7

    But more significant were the military contracts it was to obtain during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. During the occupation of Afghanistan, it “did a lot of freighting for the military”,8 while later benefiting from emergency evacuation work when coalition foreign policy came to its inevitably grim conclusion in 2021.

    It enjoyed major military assignments with coalition forces in Iraq,9 with the UK’s eventual withdrawal resulting in a 19% drop in freight sales for the company. At one point, Air Partner lamented that its dip in profits was in part due to the temporary “cessation of official hostilities” and the non-renewal of its 2003 “Gulf contracts”.

    9/11 and the aggression that followed was a boon for Air Partner’s finances. From 2001-02, pre-tax profits increased to then record levels, jumping 85% from £2.2 million to £4 million. And it cemented the company’s fortunes longer-term; a 2006 company report gives insight into the scale of the government work that went Air Partner’s way:

    … over the last decade alone, many thousands of contracts worth over $500m have been successfully completed for the governments of a dozen Western Powers including six of the current G8 member states.

    Two years on, Air Partner’s then-CEO, #David_Savile, was more explicit about the impact of the War on Terror:

    Whereas a decade ago the team was largely servicing the Corporate sector, today it majors on global Government sector clients. Given the growing agenda of leading powers to pursue active foreign policies, work levels are high and in today’s climate such consistent business is an important source of income.

    Profits soared again in 2007, coinciding with the bloodiest year of the Iraq war – and one which saw the largest US troop deployment. Its chairman at the time said:

    The events of 9/11 were a watershed for the aviation industry…since then our sales have tripled and our profitability has quadrupled. We now expect a period of consolidation… which we believe will present longer term opportunities to develop new business and new markets.

    It seems likely that those “new markets” may have included deportation work, given that the first UK charter deportations were introduced by the New Labour government in 2001, the same year as the invasion of Afghanistan.

    Another financial highlight for the company was the 2011 Arab Spring, which contributed to a 93% increase in pre-tax profits. Air Partner had earlier won a four-year contract with the Department for International Development (DfID) to become its “sole provider of passenger and freight air charter services”, and had been hired to be a charter broker to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Crisis Centre.

    As people in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia took to the streets against their dictators, the company carried out emergency evacuations, including for “some of the largest oil companies”. A year later, it described a “new revenue stream from the oil & gas industry”, perhaps a bonus product of the evacuation work.

    Finally, its largest jump in profits was seen in 2021, as it reaped the benefits of converging crises: the pandemic, the evacuation of Afghanistan, and the supply chain crisis caused by Brexit and the severe congestion of global sea-shipping routes. The company was tasked with repatriation flights, PPE shipments, and “flying agricultural workers into the UK from elsewhere in Europe”, as well as responding to increased demand for “corporate shuttles” in the UK and US.10 Pre-tax profits soared 833% to £8.4 million. It made a gross profit of approximately £45 million in both 2021 and 2022. The company fared so well in fact from the pandemic that one paper summed it up with an article entitled “Air Partner takes off after virus grounds big airlines”.

    While there is scant reporting on the company’s involvement in deportations, The Times recently mentioned that Air Partner “helps in the deporting of individuals to Africa and the Caribbean, a business that hasn’t slowed down during the pandemic”. In a rare direct reference to deportation work, CEO Mark Briffa responded that it:

    …gives Wheels Up [Air Partner’s parent company] a great opportunity to expand beyond private jets…It was always going to be a challenge for a company our size to scale up and motor on beyond where we are.

    Yet Briffa’s justification based on the apparent need to diversify beyond VIP flights looks particularly hollow against the evidence of decades of lucrative government work his company has enjoyed.

    When asked for comment, a spokesperson from the company’s PR firm TB Cardew said:

    As a policy, we do not comment on who we fly or where we fly them. Customer privacy, safety and security are paramount for Air Partner in all of our operations. We do not confirm, deny or comment on any potential customer, destination or itinerary.

    The parent company: Wheels Up

    Air Partner was bought in spring 2022 for $108.2 million by Wheels Up Experience Inc, a US charter airline which was recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company calls itself one of the world’s largest private aviation companies, with over 180 owned or long-term leased aircraft, 150 managed fleet (a sort of sharing arrangement with owners), and 1,200 aircraft which it can hire for customers when needed.

    In contrast to Air Partner, its new owner is in deep trouble. While Wheels Up’s revenues have increased considerably over the past few years (from $384 million in 2019 to $1.2 billion in 2022), these were far outweighed by its costs. It made a net loss in 2021 of $190 million, more than double that of the previous year. The company attributes this to the ongoing impact of Covid-19, with reduced crew availability and customer cancellations. And the situation shows no sign of abating, with a loss of $276.5 million in the first nine months of this year alone. Wheels Up is responding with “aggressive cost-cutting”, including some redundancies.

    #Wheels_Up is, in turn, 20% owned by #Delta_Airlines, one of the world’s oldest and largest airlines. Mammoth asset manager Fidelity holds an 8% share, while Wheels Up’s CEO #Kenneth_Dichter owns 5%. Meanwhile, the so-called ‘Big Three’ asset managers, BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street each hold smaller shareholdings.

    Among its clients, Wheels Up counts various celebrities – some of whom have entered into arrangements to promote the company as ‘brand ambassadors’. These apparently include Jennifer Lopez, American football players Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt, Joey Logano, and Serena Williams.

    Given Wheel’s Up’s current financial situation, it can be safely assumed that government contracts will not be easily abandoned, particularly in a time of instability in the industry as a whole. At the same time, given the importance of Wheels Up as a brand and its VIP clientele, anything that poses a risk to its reputation would need to be handled delicately by the company.

    It also remains to be seen whether Wheels Up will use its own fleet to fulfil Air Partner’s contracting work, and potentially become a supplier of deportation planes in its own right.
    Top people

    Air Partner has been managed by CEO #Mark_Briffa since 2010. A former milkman and son of Maltese migrants, Briffa grew up in an East Sussex council house and left school with no O or A levels. He soon became a baggage handler at Gatwick airport, eventually making his way into sales and up the ladder to management roles. Briffa is also president of the parent company, Wheels Up.

    #Ed_Warner OBE is the company’s chair, which means he leads on its strategy and manages the board of directors. An Oxbridge-educated banker and former chair of UK Athletics, Warner no doubt helps Air Partner maintain its connections in the world of sport. He sits on the board of private equity fund manager HarbourVest, and has previously been chairman of BlackRock Energy and Resources Income Trust, which invests in mining and energy.

    #Kenny_Dichter is founder and CEO of Air Partner’s US parent company, Wheels Up. Dichter is an entrepreneur who has founded or provided early investment to a list of somewhat random companies, from a chain of ‘wellness’ stores, to a brand of Tequila.

    #Tony_Mack was chairman of the business founded by his parents for 23 years and a major shareholder, before retiring from Air Partner in 2014. Nowadays he prefers to spend his time on the water, where he indulges in yacht racing.

    Some of Air Partner’s previous directors are particularly well-connected. #Richard_Everitt, CBE held the company chairmanship from 2012 until 2017. A solicitor by training, prior to joining Air Partner Everitt was a director of the British Aviation Authority (BAA) and chief executive of National Air Traffic Services (Nats), and then CEO of the Port of London Authority (PLA). Since leaving the PLA, he has continued his career on the board of major transport authorities, having twice been appointed by the Department of Transport as chair of Dover Harbour Board, a two-day per week job with an annual salary of £79,500. He also served as a commissioner of Belfast Harbour.

    One figure with friends in high places was the Hon. #Rowland_John_Fromanteel_Cobbold, who was an Air Partner director from 1996 to 2004. Cobbold was the son of 1st Baron Cobbold, former Governor of the Bank of England and former Lord Chamberlain, an important officer of the royal household. He was also grandson of Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lytton and governor of Bengal, and younger brother of 2nd Baron Cobbold, who was a crossbench peer.

    #Lib_Dem peer #Lord_Lee of Trafford held significant shares in Air Partner from at least 2007 until the company was bought by Wheels Up in 2022. Lord Lee served as parliamentary undersecretary for MOD Procurement under Margaret Thatcher, as well as Minister for Tourism. In 2015 the value of his 113,500 shares totalled £446,000. His shares in the company were despite having been Lib Dem party spokesman on defence at the time. Seemingly, having large stakes in a business which benefits from major MOD contracts, whilst simultaneously advocating on defence policy was not deemed a serious conflict of interest. The former stockbroker is now a regular columnist for the Financial Times. Calling himself the “first ISA millionaire”, Lee published a book called “How to Make a Million – Slowly: Guiding Principles From a Lifetime Investing”.

    The company’s recent profits have been healthy enough to ensure that those at the top are thoroughly buffered from the current cost of living crisis, as all executive and non-executive directors received a hefty pay rise. Its 2022 Annual Report reveals that CEO Mark Briffa’s pay package totalled £808,000 (£164,000 more than he received in 2021) and outgoing Chief Financial Officer Joanne Estell received £438,000 (compared with £369,000 in 2021), not to mention that Briffa and Estell were awarded a package in spring 2021 of 100% and 75% of their salary in shares. Given the surge in Air Partner’s share price just before the buyout, it’s likely that the net worth of its directors – and investors like Lord Lee – has significantly increased too.

    Conclusion

    What really is the difference between the people smugglers vilified daily by right-wing rags, and deportation merchants like Air Partner? True, Air Partner helps cast humans away in the opposite direction, often to places of danger rather than potential safety. And true, smugglers’ journeys are generally more consensual, with migrants themselves often hiring their fixers. But for a huge fee, people smugglers and deportation profiteers alike ignore the risks and indignities involved, as human cargo is shunted around in the perverse market of immigration controls.

    In October 2022, deportation airline Privilege Style announced it would pull out of the Rwanda deal following strategic campaigning by groups including Freedom from Torture and SOAS Detainee Support. This is an important development and we can learn lessons from the direct action tactics used. Yet campaigns against airlines are continuously being undermined by Air Partner – who, as the Home Office’s deportation fixer, will simply seek others to step in.

    And under the flashing blue lights of a police state, news that an airline will merely be deporting refugees to their countries of origin – however dangerous – rather than to a distant African processing base, might be seen as wonderful news. It isn’t. Instead of becoming accustomed to a dystopian reality, let’s be spurred on by the campaign’s success to put an end to this cruel industry in its entirety.
    Appendix: Air Partner Offices

    Air Partner’s addresses, according to its most recent annual report, are as follows:

    - UK: 2 City Place, Beehive Ring Road, Gatwick, West Sussex RH6 0PA.
    - France: 89/91 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris & 27 Boulevard Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris.
    - Germany: Im Mediapark 5b, 50670 Köln.
    - Italy: Via Valtellina 67, 20159 Milano.
    - Turkey: Halil Rıfatpaşa Mh Yüzer Havuz Sk No.1 Perpa Ticaret Merkezi ABlok Kat.12 No.1773, Istanbul.

    Footnotes

    1 Aldrick, Philip. “Worth teaming up with Air Partner”. The Daily Telegraph, October 07, 2004.

    2 “Air Partner makes progress in the face of some strong headwinds”. Proactive Investors UK, August 27, 2021.

    3 Aldrick, Philip. “Worth teaming up with Air Partner”. The Daily Telegraph, October 07, 2004.

    4 Lea, Robert. “Mark Briffa has a new partner in aircraft chartering and isn’t about to fly away”. The Times, April 29, 2022

    5 Ibid.

    6 “AirPartner predicts rise in demand if Gulf war begins”. Flight International, January 14 2003.

    7 “Celebrity status boosts Air Partner”. Yorkshire Post, October 10, 2002.

    8 Baker, Martin. “The coy royal pilot”. The Sunday Telegraph, April 11, 2004.

    9 Hancock, Ciaran. “Air Partner”. Sunday Times, April 10, 2005.

    10 Saker-Clark, Henry. “Repatriation and PPE flights boost Air Partner”. The Herald, May 6, 2020.

    https://corporatewatch.org/air-partner-the-home-offices-deportation-fixer
    #avions #compagnies_aériennes #Home_Office #UK #Angleterre #renvois #expulsions #business #complexe_militaro-industriel

    via @isskein

  • La compagnie Lufthansa devra effectuer 18 000 vols presque à vide pour conserver ses créneaux
    https://www.ouest-france.fr/economie/entreprises/lufthansa/la-compagnie-lufthansa-devra-effectuer-18-000-vols-presque-a-vide-pour-
    https://img-s-msn-com.akamaized.net/tenant/amp/entityid/AAShnnt.img?h=315&w=600&m=6&q=60&o=t&l=f&f=jpg

    La compagnie Lufthansa a annoncé qu’elle va être contrainte de faire voler 18 000 avions presque à vide. Le géant allemand du secteur aérien a déjà annulé 33 000 vols qui devaient circuler cet hiver. En raison de règles européennes, il pourrait perdre encore plus gros s’il n’effectue pas ces vols à vide.

  • La compagnie Lufthansa devra effectuer 18 000 vols presque à vide pour conserver ses créneaux 30/12/2021
    https://www.ouest-france.fr/economie/entreprises/lufthansa/la-compagnie-lufthansa-devra-effectuer-18-000-vols-presque-a-vide-pour-

    La compagnie Lufthansa a annoncé qu’elle va être contrainte de faire voler 18 000 avions presque à vide. Le géant allemand du secteur aérien a déjà annulé 33 000 vols qui devaient circuler cet hiver. En raison de règles européennes, il pourrait perdre encore plus gros s’il n’effectue pas ces vols à vide.

    La compagnie allemande a annoncé avoir annulé 33 000 vols qui devaient circuler dans la période hivernale. Cela représente 10 % de son programme. Sur la liste des suppressions figuraient 18 000 vols supplémentaires. Ces avions décolleront coûte que coûte, même vides, sans quoi des règles européennes pourraient faire perdre ses créneaux aéroportuaires à Lufthansa. « Malheureusement, nous devons effectuer ces 18 000 vols inutiles », déclarait un porte-parole de Lufthansa au média allemand hr-fernsehen.

    Coup dur pour le climat
    L’UE exige en effet que les compagnies aériennes fonctionnent sur 80 % de leurs slots - les créneaux qui leur sont réservés pour décoller et atterrir. Les entreprises qui ne le feraient pas pourraient perdre ces fameux droits au décollage et à l’atterrissage. En raison du coût environnemental de ces vols à vide, ces règles avaient été suspendues en mars 2020 par l’UE. Elles sont à nouveau rentrées en vigueur au printemps dernier.

    Le patron de Lufthansa Carsten Spohr, a demandé à l’Europe une « dérogation respectueuse du climat en période de pandémie », dans une interview au Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Selon lui, « cela nuit au climat et c’est exactement le contraire de ce que la Commission européenne veut atteindre avec son programme ’Fit for 55’ », qui prévoit de réduire ses émissions de CO2 de 55 % d’ici à 2030.

    #union_européenne #compagnies_aériennes #aviation #lufthansa #économie #mondialisation #pollution #climat #cop27

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

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

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

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

    List of Border Profiteers

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

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

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

    4. SURVEILLANCE SOFTWARE
    #Sopra_Steria
    #Cevision

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

    6. BORDER CONSULTANCY
    #McKinsey

    Quelques captures d’écran :

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

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

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

    #no_border_assembly #rapport

  • A la frontière entre la #Lituanie et le #Bélarus, Loukachenko se fait maître passeur

    Pour se venger de Vilnius, qui accueille l’opposition en exil, l’autocrate semble avoir organisé une filière d’immigration clandestine, qui mène des candidats au départ de Bagdad à la frontière de l’Etat balte.

    Depuis la fin du mois de mai, les gardes-frontières bélarusses postés aux lisières de la Lituanie sont au repos. Ils ferment les yeux sur les silhouettes qui traversent les bois dans l’obscurité, sur les traces de pas laissées dans le sable du no man’s land qui sépare les deux pays. Dans leur dos, passent chaque jour plusieurs dizaines de personnes. Des migrants, Irakiens pour la plupart. Depuis le début de l’année, les #gardes-frontières lituaniens ont rattrapé 387 personnes qui venaient d’entrer dans leur pays – et au passage dans l’espace Schengen. Le rythme s’est largement accéléré en juin, avec plus de 200 entrées en quinze jours. Soit plus en deux semaines qu’au cours des deux années précédentes réunies : 81 migrants avaient été arrêtés en 2020 et 46 en 2019.

    « Tout cela découle de raisons géopolitiques. D’après ce que nous voyons, les officiers bélarusses coopèrent et sont potentiellement impliqués dans le transport illégal de migrants », a affirmé la ministre lituanienne de l’Intérieur, Agne Bilotaite. « Les gardes-frontières bélarusses ont stoppé toute coopération avec leurs homologues lituaniens », confirme le porte-parole du service lituanien de protection des frontières, Giedrius Misutis.

    #Chantage migratoire

    Le mois dernier, après l’atterrissage forcé à Minsk d’un vol Athènes-Vilnius, l’arrestation de l’opposant #Raman_Protassevitch et l’opprobre international qui avait suivi, Alexandre #Loukachenko avait prévenu : « Nous arrêtions les migrants et les drogues. Attrapez-les vous-même désormais. » La menace lancée par l’autocrate bélarusse à ses voisins paraissait alors assez creuse. Son pays est loin des principales voies d’entrée en Europe empruntées par les migrants ce qui ne lui permet pas d’avoir recours au type de #chantage_migratoire utilisé l’an dernier par la Turquie ou plus récemment par le Maroc pour solder leurs différends avec Bruxelles.

    Alors, pour augmenter sa capacité de nuisance, il semble que le régime bélarusse se soit lancé dans l’organisation de sa propre filière d’immigration illégale. Pour cela, il a trouvé un nouvel usage à #Tsentrkurort, l’agence de voyages d’Etat, qui travaille avec Bagdad depuis 2017. Entre le mois d’avril et la mi-juin, le nombre de liaisons aériennes opérées par #Iraqi_Airways entre Minsk et Bagdad est passé d’une à trois par semaine. Pendant la deuxième quinzaine de mai, les habituels Boeing 737 ont aussi été remplacés par des 777, à la capacité plus importante.

    « A l’aéroport de Minsk, personne ne vérifie les documents des Irakiens qui ont réservé avec Tsentrkurort. Ils obtiennent automatiquement des #visas », indique le rédacteur en chef de la chaîne Telegram Nexta, Tadeusz Giczan. La compagnie aérienne #Fly_Baghdad, qui dessert presque uniquement des villes du Moyen-Orient, a également ouvert en mai une liaison directe entre les capitales irakienne et bélarusse, qui effectue deux rotations par semaine.

    Agitation à la frontière

    Les autorités lituaniennes ont fait les mêmes constats. « Il y a des #vols Bagdad-Minsk et Istanbul-Minsk deux fois par semaine. En tout, quatre vols qui correspondent aux vagues de migrations [hebdomadaires] », a expliqué le président du comité parlementaire lituanien consacré à la sécurité nationale, Laurynas Kasciunas. La ministre de l’Intérieur estime, elle aussi, que les migrants arrivent par avion de Bagdad et d’Istanbul, avant d’être conduits à la frontière lituanienne, pour des tarifs allant de 1 500 euros par personne à 3 500 pour une famille.

    Ces flux migratoires soigneusement orchestrés semblent dirigés uniquement vers la Lituanie. Le pays est le plus fidèle allié de l’opposition bélarusse, dont la cheffe de file est exilée à Vilnius. C’est aussi un petit Etat, d’à peine 2,8 millions d’habitants, peu habitué à gérer une pression migratoire. Le centre d’accueil des étrangers installé à la frontière du Bélarus arrive déjà à saturation et des grandes tentes viennent d’être installées à sa lisière pour héberger 350 personnes supplémentaires. Lundi, la ministre de l’Intérieur a repoussé l’instauration de l’état d’urgence, estimant que « l’aide internationale prévue » suffirait pour tenir le choc.

    Jamais cette frontière de 500 kilomètres de long n’avait connu autant d’agitation. La nuit, les migrants récemment débarqués au Bélarus tentent le passage, suivis ou précédés par des opposants à Loukachenko qui prennent le chemin de l’exil dans la clandestinité. Le jour, ce sont les Bélarusses déjà réfugiés en Lituanie qui s’y rassemblent, avec drapeaux et pancartes. Ils réclament l’imposition de nouvelles sanctions contre le régime et l’ouverture des frontières pour leurs compatriotes. Car dans le Bélarus de Loukachenko, les migrants sont encouragés à franchir les frontières, mais les citoyens sont assignés à résidence, interdits de quitter le pays, sauf s’ils sont en possession d’un permis de résidence permanent à l’étranger.

    https://www.liberation.fr/international/europe/a-la-frontiere-entre-la-lituanie-et-le-belarus-loukachenko-se-fait-maitre

    #frontières #réfugiés #réfugiés_irakiens #migrations #asile #Protassevitch #compagnies_aériennes #Irak #Biélorussie

    ping @reka

  • #Evelop / #Barceló_Group : deportation planes from Spain

    The Barceló Group is a leading Spanish travel and hotel company whose airline Evelop is an eager deportation profiteer. Evelop is currently the Spanish government’s main charter deportation partner, running all the country’s mass expulsion flights through a two-year contract, while carrying out deportations from several other European countries as well.

    This profile has been written in response to requests from anti-deportation campaigners. We look at how:

    - The Barceló Group’s airline Evelop has a €9.9m, 18-month deportation contract with the Spanish government. The contract is up for renewal and Barceló is bidding again.
    - Primary beneficiaries of the contract alternate every few years between Evelop and Globalia’s Air Europa.
    – Evelop also carried out deportations from the UK last year to Jamaica, Ghana and Nigeria.
    – The Barceló Group is run and owned by the Barceló family. It is currently co-chaired by the Barceló cousins, Simón Barceló Tous and Simón Pedro Barceló Vadell. Former senator Simón Pedro Barceló Vadell, of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) party, takes the more public-facing role.
    – The company is Spain’s second biggest hotel company, although the coronavirus pandemic appears to have significantly impacted this aspect of its work.

    What’s the business?

    The Barceló Group (‘#Barceló_Corporación_Empresarial, S.A.’) is made up of the #Barceló_Hotel_Group, Spain’s second largest hotel company, and a travel agency and tour operator division known as #Ávoris. Ávoris runs two airlines: the Portuguese brand #Orbest, which anti-deportation campaigners report have also carried out charter deportations, and the Spanish company, #Evelop, founded in 2013.

    The Barceló Group is based in Palma, #Mallorca. It was founded by the Mallorca-based Barceló family in 1931 as #Autocares_Barceló, which specialised in the transportation of people and goods, and has been managed by the family for three generations. The Barceló Group has a stock of over 250 hotels in 22 countries and claims to employ over 33,000 people globally, though we don’t know if this figure has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused massive job losses in the tourism industry.

    The Hotel division has four brands: #Royal_Hideaway_Luxury_Hotels & Resorts; #Barceló_Hotels & Resorts; #Occidental_Hotels & Resorts; and #Allegro_Hotels. The company owns, manages and rents hotels worldwide, mostly in Spain, Mexico and the US. It works in the United States through its subsidiary, Crestline Hotels & Resorts, which manages third-party hotels, including for big brands like Marriott and Hilton.

    Ávoris, the travel division, runs twelve tour brands, all platforms promoting package holidays.

    Their airlines are small, primarily focused on taking people to sun and sand-filled holidays. In total the Barceló Group airlines have a fleet of just nine aircraft, with one on order, according to the Planespotters website. However, three of these have been acquired in the past two years and a fourth is due to be delivered. Half are leased from Irish airplane lessor Avolon. Evelop serves only a few routes, mainly between the Caribbean and the Iberian peninsula, as well as the UK.

    Major changes are afoot as Ávoris is due to merge with #Halcón_Viajes_and_Travelplan, both subsidiaries of fellow Mallorcan travel giant #Globalia. The combined entity will become the largest group of travel agencies in Spain, employing around 6,000 people. The Barceló Group is due to have the majority stake in the new business.

    Barceló has also recently announced the merger of Evelop with its other airline Orbest, leading to a new airline called Iberojet (the name of a travel agency already operated by Ávoris).

    The new airline is starting to sell scheduled flights in addition to charter operations. Evelop had already announced a reduction in its charter service, at a time when its scheduled airline competitors, such as #Air_Europa, have had to be bailed out to avoid pandemic-induced bankruptcy. Its first scheduled flights will be mainly to destinations in Central and South America, notably Cuba and the Domican Republic, though they are also offering flights to Tunisia, the Maldives and Mauritius.

    Deportation dealers

    Evelop currently holds the contract to carry out the Spanish government’s mass deportation flights, through an agreement made with the Spanish Interior Ministry in December 2019. Another company, Air Nostrum, which operates the Iberia Regional franchise, transports detainees within Spain, notably to Madrid, from where they are deported by Evelop. The total value of the contract for the two airlines is €9.9m, and lasts 18 months.

    This is the latest in a long series of such contracts. Over the years, the beneficiaries have alternated between the Evelop- #Air_Nostrum partnership, and another partnership comprising Globalia’s #Air_Europa, and #Swiftair (with the former taking the equivalent role to that of Evelop). So far, the Evelop partnership has been awarded the job twice, while its Air Europa rival has won the bidding three times.

    However, the current deal will end in spring 2021, and a new tender for a contract of the same value has been launched. The two bidders are: Evelop-Air Nostrum; and Air Europa in partnership with #Aeronova, another Globalia subsidiary. A third operator, #Canary_Fly, has been excluded from the bidding for failing to produce all the required documentation. So yet again, the contract will be awarded to companies either owned by the Barceló Group or Globalia.

    On 10 November 2020, Evelop carried out the first charter deportations from Spain since the restrictions on travel brought about by the cCOVID-19 pandemic. On board were 22 migrants, mostly Senegalese, who had travelled by boat to the Canary Islands. Evelop and the Spanish government dumped them in Mauritania, under an agreement with the country to accept any migrants arriving on the shores of the Islands. According to El País newspaper, the number of actual Mauritanians deported to that country is a significant minority of all deportees. Anti-deportation campaigners state that since the easing up of travel restrictions, Evelop has also deported people to Georgia, Albania, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

    Evelop is not only eager to cash in on deportations in Spain. Here in the UK, Evelop carried out at least two charter deportations last year: one to Ghana and Nigeria from Stansted on 30 January 2020; and one to Jamaica from Doncaster airport on 11 February in the same year. These deportations took place during a period of mobile network outages across Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres, which interfered with detainees’ ability to access legal advice to challenge their expulsion, or speak to loved ones.

    According to campaigners, the company reportedly operates most of Austria and Germany’s deportations to Nigeria and Ghana, including a recent joint flight on 19 January. It also has operated deportations from Germany to Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    Evelop is not the only company profiting from Spain’s deportation machine. The Spanish government also regularly deports people on commercial flights operated by airlines such as Air Maroc, Air Senegal, and Iberia, as well as mass deportations by ferry to Morocco and Algeria through the companies #Transmediterránea, #Baleària and #Algérie_Ferries. #Ferry deportations are currently on hold due to the pandemic, but Air Maroc reportedly still carry out regular deportations on commercial flights to Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

    Where’s the money?

    The financial outlook for the Barceló Group as a whole at the end of 2019 seemed strong, having made a net profit of €135 million.

    Before the pandemic, the company president said that he had planned to prioritise its hotels division over its tour operator segment, which includes its airlines. Fast forward a couple of years and its hotels are struggling to attract custom, while one of its airlines has secured a multimillion-euro deportation contract.

    Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the Barceló Group’s operations. The company had to close nearly all of its hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa during the first wave of the pandemic, with revenue down 99%. In the Caribbean, the hotel group saw a 95% drop in revenue in May, April and June. They fared slightly better in the US, which saw far fewer COVID-19 restrictions, yet revenue there still declined 89%. By early October, between 20-60% of their hotels in Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean had reopened across the regions, but with occupancy at only 20-60%.

    The company has been negotiating payments with hotels and aircraft lessors in light of reduced demand. It claims that it has not however had to cut jobs, since the Spanish government’s COVID-19 temporary redundancy plans enable some workers to be furloughed and prevent employers from firing them in that time.

    Despite these difficulties, the company may be saved, like other tourism multinationals, by a big bailout from the state. Barceló’s Ávoris division is set to share a €320 million bailout from the Spanish government as part of the merger with Globalia’s subsidiaries. Is not known if the Barceló Group’s hotel lines will benefit from state funds.

    Key people

    The eight members of the executive board are unsurprisingly, male, pale and frail; as are all ten members of the Ávoris management team.

    The company is co-chaired by cousins with confusingly similar names: #Simón_Barceló_Tous and #Simón_Pedro_Barceló_Vadell. We’ll call them #Barceló_Tous and #Pedro_Barceló from here. The family are from Felanitx, Mallorca.

    Barceló Tous is the much more low-key of the two, and there is little public information about him. Largely based in the Dominican Republic, he takes care of the Central & Latin American segment of the business.

    His cousin, Pedro Barceló, runs the European and North American division. Son of Group co-founder #Gabriel_Barceló_Oliver, Pedro Barceló is a law graduate who has been described as ‘reserved’ and ‘elusive’. He is the company’s executive president. Yet despite his apparent shyness, he was once the youngest senator in Spanish history, entering the upper house at age 23 as a representative for the conservative party with links to the Francoist past, #Partido_Popular. For a period he was also a member of the board of directors of Globalia, Aena and #First_Choice_Holidays.

    The CEO of Evelop is #Antonio_Mota_Sandoval, formerly the company’s technical and maintenance director. He’s very found of #drones and is CEO and founder of a company called #Aerosolutions. The latter describes itself as ‘Engineering, Consulting and Training Services for conventional and unmanned aviation.’ Mota appears to live in Alcalá de Henares, a town just outside Madrid. He is on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Barceló Foundation

    As is so often the case with large businesses engaging in unethical practises, the family set up a charitable arm, the #Barceló_Foundation. It manages a pot of €32 million, of which it spent €2m in 2019 on a broad range of charitable activities in Africa, South America and Mallorca. Headed by Antonio Monjo Tomás, it’s run from a prestigious building in Palma known as #Casa_del_Marqués_de_Reguer-Rullán, owned by the Barceló family. The foundation also runs the #Felanitx_Art & Culture Center, reportedly based at the Barceló’s family home. The foundation partners with many Catholic missions and sponsors the #Capella_Mallorquina, a local choir. The foundation is on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Barceló Group’s vulnerabilities

    Like other tourism businesses, the group is struggling with the industry-wide downturn due to COVID-19 travel measures. In this context, government contracts provide a rare reliable source of steady income — and the Barcelós will be loathe to give up deportation work. In Spain, perhaps even more than elsewhere, the tourism industry and its leading dynasties has very close ties with government and politicians. Airlines are getting heavy bailouts from the Spanish state, and their bosses will want to keep up good relations.

    But the deportation business could become less attractive for the group if campaigners keep up the pressure — particularly outside Spain, where reputational damage may outweigh the profits from occasional flights. Having carried out a charter deportation to Jamaica from the UK earlier in the year, the company became a target of a social media campaign in December 2020 ahead of the Jamaica 50 flight, after which they reportedly said that they were not involved. A lesser-known Spanish airline, Privilege Style, did the job instead.

    https://corporatewatch.org/evelop-barcelo-group-deportation-planes-from-spain
    #Espagne #business #compagnies_aériennes #complexe_militaro-industriel #renvois #expulsions #migrations #réfugiés #asile #tourisme #charter #Maurtianie #îles_Canaries #Canaries #Géorgie #Albanie #Colombie #République_dominicaine #Ghana #Nigeria #Allemagne #Standsted #UK #Angleterre #Pakistan #Bangladesh #Air_Maroc #Air_Senegal #Iberia #Maroc #Algérie #ferrys #Sahara_occidental #covid-19 #pandémie #coronavirus #hôtels #fondation #philanthrocapitalisme

    ping @isskein @karine4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “that night, eight people cut themselves”

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

    Testimony of a deported person.

    The context: boats and deals

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

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

    Further stoked by Brexit, recent measures have included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In the UK: Yarl’s Wood repurposed

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

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

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

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

    The same source adds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Brook House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Who was deported?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Timeline of the flight on 26 August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Dumped on arrival: Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Legal Framework: Dublin III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Conclusion: rushed – and illegal?

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

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

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

    Here we recap a few particular issues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @isskein

    • Traduction française :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Témoignage d’une personne déportée.

      Le contexte : les bateaux et les accords

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Au Royaume-Uni : Yarl’s Wood réaffecté

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

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

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

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

      La même source ajoute :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Brook House

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

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

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

      Préparation des vols

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Qui a été expulsé ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Chronologie du vol du 26 août

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Larguées à destination : l’Allemagne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Le cade légal : Dublin III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Ici, nous résumerons quelques enjeux spécifiques.

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

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

  • Analyse comparative de la localisation géographique des hubs de Paris et Dubaï à travers les flux aériens internationaux
    http://journals.openedition.org/mappemonde/4006

    Les émirats de Dubaï, d’Abu Dhabi et du Qatar mènent des stratégies ambitieuses en matière de transport aérien. Cela s’est traduit par la création de compagnies aériennes majeures — à l’image d’Emirates Airline (1985), de Qatar Airways (1994), ou encore d’Etihad Airways (2003) — qui concurrencent nettement des transporteurs établis dans d’autres régions, à commencer par l’Europe et l’Asie orientale. Pour autant, les hubs du Golfe bénéficient-ils vraiment d’un avantage concernant leur localisation géographique, ce qui expliquerait le succès des compagnies qui y sont basées ?

    #transport #transport_aérien #circulation

  • UK Deportations 2020: how BA, #Easyjet and other airlines collaborate with the border regime

    The Home Office’s deportation machine has slowed during the corona crisis, with hundreds of people released from detention. But a recent charter flight to Poland shows the motor is still ticking over. Will things just go “back to normal” as the lockdown lifts, or can anti-deportation campaigners push for a more radical shift? This report gives an updated overview of the UK deportation system and focuses in on the role of scheduled flights run by major airlines including: #BA, Easyjet, #Kenya_Airways, #Qatar_Airways, #Turkish_Airlines, #Ethiopian_Airlines, #Air_France, #Royal_Jordanian, and #Virgin.

    On 30 April, with UK airports largely deserted during the Covid-19 lockdown, a Titan Airways charter plane took off from Stansted airport deporting 35 people to Poland. This was just a few days after reports of charter flights in the other direction, as UK farmers hired planes to bring in Eastern European fruit-pickers.

    The Home Office’s deportation machine has slowed during the corona crisis. Hundreds of people have been released from detention centres, with detainee numbers dropping by 900 over the first four months of 2020. But the Poland flight signals that the Home Office motor is still ticking over. As in other areas, perhaps the big question now is whether things will simply go “back to normal” as the lockdown lifts. Or can anti-deportation campaigners use this window to push for a more radical shift?
    An overview of the UK’s deportation machine

    Last year, the UK Home Office deported over seven thousand people. While the numbers of people “removed” have been falling for several years, deportation remains at the heart of the government’s strategy (if that is the term) for “tackling illegal immigration”. It is the ultimate threat behind workplace and dawn raids, rough-sleeper round-ups, “right to rent” checks, reporting centre queues, and other repressive architecture of the UK Border Regime.

    This report gives an overview of the current state of UK deportations, focusing on scheduled flights run by major airlines. Our previous reports on UK deportations have mainly looked at charter flights: where the Home Office aims to fill up chartered planes to particular destinations, under heavy guard and typically at night from undisclosed locations. These have been a key focus for anti-deportation campaigners for a number of reasons including their obvious brutality, and their use as a weapon to stifle legal and direct resistance. However, the majority of deportations are on scheduled flights. Deportees are sitting – at the back handcuffed to private security “escorts” – amongst business or holiday travellers.

    These deportations cannot take place without extensive collaboration from businesses. The security guards are provided by outsourcing company Mitie. The tickets are booked by business travel multinational Carlson Wagonlit. The airlines themselves are household names, from British Airways to Easyjet. This report explains how the Home Office and its private sector collaborators work together as a “deportation machine” held together by a range of contractual relationships.

    Some acknowledgements

    Many individuals and campaign groups helped with information used in this report. In particular, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants shared their valuable research and legal advice, discussed below.

    We have produced this report in collaboration with the Air Deportation Project led by William Walters at the University of Carleton in Canada, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Corporate Watch received funding from this project as a contribution for our work on this report.

    Names, numbers

    First a quick snapshot of deportation numbers, types and destinations. We also need to clear up some terminology.

    We will use the term “deportations” to refer to all cases where the Home Office moves someone out of the country under direct force (for scheduled flights, this usually means handcuffed to a security “escort”). In the Home Office’s own jargon, these are called “enforced returns”, and the word “deportation” is reserved for people ejected on “public policy” rather than “immigration” grounds – mostly Foreign National Offenders who have been convicted by criminal courts. The Home Office refers to deportations carried out under immigration law euphemistically, calling them “removals” or “returns”.i

    As well as “enforced returns”, there are also so-called “voluntary returns”. This means that there is no direct use of force – no guard, no leg or arm restraints. But the term “voluntary” is stretched. Many of these take place under threat of force: e.g., people are pressured to sign “voluntary return” agreements to avoid being forcibly deported, or as the only chance of being released from detention. In other cases, people may agree to “voluntary return” as the only escape route from a limbo of reporting controls, lack of rights to work or rent legally, or destitution threatened by “no recourse to public funds”.

    In 2019, the Home Office reported a total of 18,782 returns: 7,361 “enforced” and 11,421 “voluntary”.ii
    These figures include 5,110 “Foreign National Offenders” (27%). (The Home Office says the majority of these were enforced returns, although no precise figure is provided.)
    There is a notable trend of declining removals, both enforced and “voluntary”. For example, in 2015 there were 41,789 returns altogether, 13,690 enforced and 28,189 “voluntary”. Both enforced and voluntary figures have decreased every year since then.
    Another notable trend concerns the nationalities of deportees. Europeans make up an increasing proportion of enforced deportations. 3,498, or 48%, of all enforced returns in 2019 were EU citizens – and this does not include other heavily targeted non-EU European nationalities such as Albanians. In 2015, there were 3,848 EU enforced returns – a higher absolute figure, but only 28% of a much higher overall total. In contrast, EU nationals still make up a very small percentage of “voluntary” returns – there were only 107 EU “voluntary returns” in 2019.
    The top nationalities for enforced returns in 2019 were: Romania (18%), Albania (12%), Poland (9%), Brazil (8%) and Lithuania (6%). For voluntary returns they were: India (16%), China (9%), Pakistan (9%).

    We won’t present any analysis of these figures and trends here. The latest figures show continuing evidence of patterns we looked at in our book The UK Border Regime.iii One key point we made there was that, as the resources and physical force of the detention and deportation system are further diminished, the Border Regime is more than ever just a “spectacle” of immigration enforcement – a pose for media and key voter audiences, rather than a realistic attempt to control migration flows. We also looked at how the scapegoat groups targeted by this spectacle have shifted over recent decades – including, most recently, a new focus on European migration accompanying, or in fact anticipating, the Brexit debate.

    Deportation destinations

    Home Office Immigration Statistics also provide more detailed dataiv on the destinations people are “returned” to, which will be important when we come to look at routes and airline involvement. Note that, while there is a big overlap between destinations and nationalities, they are of course not the same thing. For example, many of those deported to France and other western European countries are “third country” removals of refugees under the Dublin agreement – in which governments can deport an asylum seeker where they have already been identified in another EU country.

    Here are the top 20 destinations for deportations in 2019 – by which, to repeat, we mean all enforced returns:

    It is worth comparing these figures with a similar table of top 20 deportation destinations in the last 10 years – between 2010 and 2019. This comparison shows very strongly the recent shift to targeting Europeans.

    The Home Office: who is targeted and how

    As we will see, the actual physical business of deporting people is outsourced to private companies. The state’s role remains giving the orders about who is targeted for arrest and detention, who is then released, and who is forced onto a plane. Here we’ll just take a very quick look at the decision-making structures at work on the government side. This is based on the much more detailed account in The UK Border Regime.

    The main state body responsible for immigration control in the UK is the Home Office, the equivalent of other countries’ Interior Ministries. In its current set-up, the Home Office has three divisions: Homeland Security, which runs security and intelligence services; Public Safety, which oversees the police and some other institutions; and Borders, Immigration and Citizenship. The last of these is further divided into three “directorates”: UK Visas and Immigration, which determines visa and asylum applications; Border Force, responsible for control at the frontiers; Immigration Enforcement, responsible for control within the national territory – including detention and deportations. Immigration Enforcement itself has an array of further departments and units. Regular restructuring and reshuffling of all these structures is known to bewilder immigration officers themselves, contributing to the Home Office’s notoriously low morale.v

    At the top of the tree is the Home Secretary (interior minister), supported by a more junior Immigration Minister. Along with the most senior civil servants and advisors, these ministers will be directly involved in setting top-level policies on deportations.

    For example, an enquiry led by then prisons and probation ombudsman Stephen Shaw into the Yarl’s Wood detention centre revolt in 2002 has given us some valuable insight into the development of modern Home Office deportation policy under the last Labour government. Then Home Secretary Jack Straw, working with civil servants including the Home Office permanent secretary Sir David Omand, introduced the first deportation targets we are aware of, in 2000. They agreed a plan to deport 12,000 people in 2000-1, rising to 30,000 people the next year, and eventually reaching 57,000 in 2003-4.vi

    Nearly two decades later, Home Secretary Amber Rudd was pushed to resign after a leak confirmed that the Home Office continued to operate a deportation targets policy, something of which she had denied knowledge.vii The 2017-18 target, revealed in a leaked letter to Rudd from Immigration Enforcement’s director general Hugh Ind, was for 12,800 enforced returns.viii

    As the figures discussed above show, recent austerity era Conservative governments are more modest than the last Labour government in their overall deportation targets, and have moved to target different groups. Jack Straw’s deportation programme was almost entirely focused on asylum seekers whose claims had been refused. This policy derived from what the Blair government saw as an urgent need to respond to media campaigns demonising asylum seekers. Twenty years on, asylum seekers now make up a minority of deportees, and have been overtaken by new media bogeymen including European migrants.

    In addition, recent Home Office policy has put more effort into promoting “voluntary” returns – largely for cost reasons, as security guards and detention are expensive. This was the official rationale behind Theresa May’s infamous “racist van” initiative, where advertising vans drove round migrant neighbourhoods parading “Go Home” slogans and a voluntary return hotline number.

    How do Home Office political targets translate into operations on the ground? We don’t know all the links, but can trace some main mechanisms. Enforced returns begin with arrests. One of the easiest ways to find potential deportees is to grab people as they walk in to sign at an Immigration Reporting Centre. 80,000 migrants in the UK are “subject to reporting requirements”, and all Reporting Centres include short-term holding cells.ix Other deportees are picked up during immigration raids – such as daytime and evening raids on workplaces, or dawn raids to catch “immigration offenders” in their beds.x

    Both reporting centre caseworkers and Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) raid squads are issued with targets and incentives to gather deportees. An Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) report from 2017 explains how reporting centre staff work specifically to deportation targets. The inspector also tells us how:

    Staff at the London Reporting Centres worked on the basis that to meet their removal targets they needed to detain twice the number of individuals, as around half of those detained would later raise a barrier to removal and be released from detention.

    ICE raid teams are set monthly priorities by national and regional commanders, which may include targeting specific nationalities for deportation. For example, the Home Office has repeatedly denied that it sets nationality targets in order to fill up charter flights to particular destinations – but this practice was explicitly confirmed by an internal document from 2014 (an audit report from the director of Harmondsworth detention centre) obtained by Corporate Watch following a Freedom of Information legal battle.xi

    Day-to-day deportation and detention decisions are overseen by a central unit called the National Removals Command (NRC). For example, after ICE raid officers make arrests they must call NRC to authorise individuals’ detention. This decision is made on the basis of any specific current targets, and otherwise on general “removability”.

    “Removability” means the chance of successfully getting their “subject” onto a plane without being blocked by lack of travel documents, legal challenges and appeals, or other obstacles. For example, nationals of countries with whom the UK has a formal deportation agreement are, all other things being equal, highly removable. This includes the countries with which the UK has set up regular charter flight routes – including Albania, Pakistan, Nigeria and Ghana, and more recently Jamaica and a number of EU countries. On the other extreme, some nationalities such as Iranians present a problem as their governments refuse to accept deportees.

    The Home Office: “arranging removal” procedure

    A Home Office document called “Arranging Removal” sets out the steps Immigration Enforcement caseworkers need to take to steer their “subject” from arrest to flight.xii

    On the one hand, they are under pressure from penny-pinching bosses keen to get the job done as quick and cheap as possible. On the other, they have to be careful not to make any mistakes deportees’ lawyers could use to get flights cancelled. Immigration Officers have the legal power to order deportations without the need for any court decision – however, many deportations are blocked on appeal to courts.

    Here are some of the main steps involved:

    Removability assessment. The caseworker needs to assess that: there are no “casework barriers” – e.g., an ongoing asylum claim or appeal that would lead to the deportation being stopped by a court; the detainee is medically “fit to fly”; any family separation is authorised correctly; the detainee has a valid travel document.
    Travel Document. If there is no valid travel document, the caseworker can try to obtain an “emergency travel document” through various routes.
    Executive approval. If all these criteria are met, the caseworker gets authorisation from a senior office to issue Removal Directions (RD) paperwork.
    Risk Assessment. Once the deportation is agreed, the caseworker needs to assess risks that might present themselves on the day of the flight – such as medical conditions, the likelihood of detainee resistance and of public protest. At this point escorts and/or medics are requested. A version of this risk assessment is sent to the airline – but without case details or medical history.xiii
    Flight booking. The caseworker must first contact the Airline Ticketing Team who grant access to an online portal called the Electronic Removal Form (ERF). This portal is run by the Home Office’s flight booking contractor Carlson Wagonlit (see below). Tickets are booked for escorts and any medics as well as the deportee. There are different options including “lowest cost” non-refundable fares, or “fully refundable” – the caseworker here should assess how likely the deportation is to be cancelled. One of the options allows the caseworker to choose a specific airline.
    Notice of removal. Finally, the deportee must be served with a Removal Directions (RD) document that includes notification of the deportation destination and date. This usually also includes the flight number. The deportee must be given sufficient notice: for people already in detention this is standardly 72 hours, including two working days, although longer periods apply in some situations.

    In 2015 the Home Office brought in a new policy of issuing only “removal window” notification in many cases – this didn’t specify the date but only a wide timeframe. The window policy was successfully challenged in the courts in March 2019 and is currently suspended.

    #Carlson_Wagonlit

    The electronic booking system is run by a private company, #Carlson_Wagonlit_Travel (#CWT). CWT is also in charge of contracting charter flights.

    Carlson Wagonlit has been the Home Office’s deportation travel agent since 2004, with the contract renewed twice since then. Its current seven year contract, worth £5.7 million, began in November 2017 and will last until October 2024 (assuming the two year extension period is taken up after an initial five years). The Home Office estimated in the contract announcement that it will spend £200 million on deportation tickets and charters over that seven year period.xiv

    Carlson is a global #business travel services company, i.e., a large scale travel agent and booker for companies and government agencies. Its official head office is in France, but it is 100% owned by US conglomerate #Carlson_Companies Inc. It claims to be active in more than 150 countries.

    A report on “outsourced contracts” by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration gives us some information on CWT’s previous (2010-17) contract.xv This is unlikely to be substantially changed in the new version, although deportation numbers have reduced since then. The contract involved:

    management of charter flights and ticketing provision for scheduled flights for migrants subject to enforced removal and escorts, where required, and the management of relationships with carriers to maintain and expand available routes. […] Annually, CWT processed approximately 21,000 booking requests from Home Office caseworkers for tickets for enforced removals. Some booking requests were for multiple travellers and/or more than one flight and might involve several transactions. CWT also managed flight rescheduling, cancellations and refunds. The volume of transactions processed varied from 5,000 to 8,000 per month.

    The inspection report notes the value of CWT’s service to the Home Office through using its worldwide contacts to facilitate deportations:

    Both Home Office and CWT managers noted that CWT’s position as a major travel operator had enabled it to negotiate favourable deals with airlines and, over the life of the contract to increase the range of routes available for enforced removals. (Para 5.10).

    The airlines: regular deportation collaborators

    We saw above that Home Office caseworkers book flight tickets through an online portal set up and managed by Carlson Wagonlit Travel. We also saw how CWT is praised by Home Office managers for its strong relationships with airlines, and ability to negotiate favourable deals.

    For charter flight deportations, we know that CWT has developed a particular relationship with one charter company called Titan Airways. We have looked at Titan in our previous reports on charter flight deportations.

    Does the Home Office also have specific preferred airline partners for scheduled flights? Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy question to answer. Under government procurement rules, the Home Office is required to provide information on contracts it signs – thus, for example, we have at least a redacted version of the contract with CWT. But as all its airline bookings go through the intermediary of CWT, there are no such contracts available. Claiming “commercial confidentiality”, the Home Office has repeatedly information requests on its airline deals. (We will look in a bit more depth at this issue in the annex.)

    As a result, we have no centrally-gathered aggregate data on airline involvement. Our information comes from individual witnesses: deportees themselves; their lawyers and supporters; fellow passengers, and plane crew. Lawyers and support groups involved in deportation casework are a particularly helpful reference, as they may know about multiple deportation cases.

    For this report, we spoke to more than a dozen immigration lawyers and caseworkers to ask which airlines their clients had been booked on. We also spoke to anti-deportation campaign groups including Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, who have run recent campaigns calling on airlines to refuse to fly deportees; and to the trade union Unite, who represent flight crew workers. We also looked at media reports of deportation flights that identify airlines.

    These sources name a large number of airlines, and some names come up repeatedly. British Airways is top of the list. We list a few more prominent collaborators below: Easyjet, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Royal Jordanian. Virgin Airlines is the only company to have publicly announced it has stopped carrying deportees from the UK – although there have been some questions over whether it is keeping this promise.

    However, the information we have does not allow us to determine the exact nature of the relationship with these airlines. How many airlines appear in the CWT booking system – what determines which ones are included? Does CWT have a preferential arrangement with BA or other frequent deportation airlines? Does the Home Office itself have any direct interaction with these airlines’ management? How many airlines are not included in the CWT booking system because they have refused to carry deportees?

    For now, we have to leave these as open questions.

    British Airways

    We have numerous reports of British Airways flying deportees to destinations worldwide – including African and Caribbean destinations, amongst others. Cabin crew representatives in Unite the Union identify British Airways as the main airline they say is involved in deportation flights.

    The airline has long been a key Home Office collaborator. Back in 2003, at the height of the Labour government’s push to escalate deportations, the “escort” security contractor was a company called Loss Prevention International. In evidence to a report by the House of Commons home affairs committee, its chief executive Tom Davies complained that many airlines at this point were refusing to fly deportees. But he singled out BA as the notable exception, saying: “if it were not for […] the support we get from British Airways, the number of scheduled flight removals that we would achieve out of this country would be virtually nil”.xvi

    In 2010, British Airways’ role was highlighted when Jimmy Mubenga was killed by G4S “escorts” on BA flight 77 from Heathrow to Angola.

    Since 2018, there has been an active calling on BA to stop its collaboration. The profile of this issue was raised after BA sponsored Brighton Pride in May 2018 – whilst being involved in deportations of lesbian and gay migrants to African countries where their lives were in danger. After winning a promise from Virgin Airways to cease involvement in deportations (see below), the group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) have made BA the main target for their anti-deportation campaigning.

    The campaign has also now been supported by BA cabin crew organised in the union Unite. In December 2019 Unite cabin crew branches passed a motion against airline scheduled flight deportations.xvii

    Kenya Airways

    We have numerous reports from caseworkers and campaigners of Kenya Airways flying deportees to destinations in Africa.

    The typical route is a flight from Heathrow to Nairobi, followed by a second onward flight. People deported using this route have included refugees from Sudan and Somalia.

    Easyjet

    We have numerous reports of Easyjet flying deportees to European destinations. Easyjet appears to be a favoured airline for deportations to Eastern European countries, and also for “third country” returns to countries including Italy and Germany. While most UK scheduled deportations are carried out from Heathrow and Gatwick, we have also seen accounts of Easyjet deportations from Luton.

    Qatar Airways

    We have numerous reports of Qatar Airways carrying deportees to destinations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Qatar Airways has carried deportees to Iraq, according to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), and also to Sudan. (In March 2019 the airline suspended its Sudan route, but this appears to have been restarted – the company website currently advertises flights to Khartoum in April 2020.xviii) Other destinations include Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, the Philippines, and Uganda. The typical route is from Heathrow via Doha.

    Turkish Airlines

    We have numerous reports of Turkish Airlines carrying deportees. The typical route is Heathrow or Gatwick to Istanbul, then an onward flight to further destinations including Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), Turkish Airlines has been one of the main companies involved in deportations to Iraq. A media report from June 2019 also mentions Turkish Airlines carrying someone being deported to Somalia via Istanbul.xix In August 2017, a Turkish Airlines pilot notably refused to fly an Afghani refugee from Heathrow to Istanbul, en route to Kabul, after being approached by campaigners – but this does not reflect general company policy.xx

    Ethiopian Airlines

    We have reports of this airline deporting people to Ethiopia and other African countries, including Sudan. Flights are from Heathrow to Addis Ababa. In April 2018, high-profile Yarl’s Wood hunger striker Opelo Kgari was booked on an Ethiopian flight to Addis Ababa en route to Botswana.

    Air France

    Air France are well-known for carrying deportees from France, and have been a major target for campaigning by anti-deportation activists there. We also have several reports of them carrying deportees from the UK, on flights from Heathrow via Paris.

    Royal Jordanian

    According to IFIR, Royal Jordanian has been involved in deportations to Iraq.

    Virgin Airlines

    In June 2018, Virgin announced that it had ceased taking bookings for deportation flights. Virgin had previously been a regular carrier for deportations to Jamaica and to Nigeria. (NB: Nigeria is often used as a deportation transit hub from where people are subsequently removed to other African countries.) The announcement came after the Windrush scandal led to the Home Office apparently suspending deportations to the Caribbean, and following campaigning by Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) – although Virgin claimed it had made the decision before being contacted by the campaign. A Virgin statement said:

    we made the decision to end all involuntary deportations on our network, and have already informed the Home Office. We believe this decision is in the best interest of our customers and people, and is in keeping with our values as a company.xxi

    But there are doubts over just how much Virgin’s promise is worth. According to a report by The Independent:

    The airline had agreed to deport a man to Nigeria […] a day after announcing the decision. The only reason he wasn’t removed was because the Home Office agreed to consider new representations following legal intervention.xxii

    Do airlines have a choice?

    In response to its critics, British Airways has consistently given the same reply: it has no choice but to cooperate with the Home Office. According to an August 2018 article in The Guardian, BA says that it has “a legal duty under the Immigration Act 1971 to remove individuals when asked to do so by the Home Office.” A company spokesperson is quoted saying:

    Not fulfilling this obligation amounts to breaking the law. We are not given any personal information about the individual being deported, including their sexuality or why they are being deported. The process we follow is a full risk assessment with the Home Office, which considers the safety of the individual, our customers and crew on the flight.xxiii

    The last parts of this answer fit the process we looked at above. When booking the flight, the Home Office caseworker sends the airline a form called an Airline Risk Report (ARA) which alerts it to risk issues, and specifies why escorts or medics are needed – including an assessment of the likelihood of resistance. But no information should be shared on the deportee’s medical issues or immigration case and reasons for deportation.

    But is it true that an airline would be breaking the law if it refused a booking? Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants have shared with us a legal opinion they received from law firm Duncan Lewis on this issue. We summarise the main points here.

    The law in question is the Immigration Act 1971, Section 27(1)(b)(iii). This states that, when issued the correct legal order by the Home Office, the “owner or agent of a ship or aircraft” must “make arrangements for or in connection with the removal of a person from the United Kingdom when required to do so [by appropriate Removal Directions]”. It is an offence to fail to do so “without reasonable excuse”.

    The offence is punishable by a fine, and potentially a prison sentence of up to six months. As a minor “summary only” offence, any case would be heard by a magistrates’ court rather than a jury.

    In fact many airline captains have refused to carry deportees – as we will see in the next section. But there are no recorded cases of anyone ever being prosecuted for refusing. As with many areas of UK immigration law, there is simply no “case law” on this question.

    If a case ever does come to court, it might turn on that clause about a “reasonable excuse”. The legal opinion explains that the airline might argue they refused to carry a deportee because doing so would present a risk to the aircraft or passengers, for example if there is resistance or protest. A court might well conclude this was “reasonable”.

    On the other hand, the “reasonable excuse” defence could be harder to apply for an airline that took a principled stand to refuse all deportations as a general rule, whether or not there is disruption.

    Again, though, all this is hypothetical as the Home Office has never actually prosecuted anyone. Virgin Airlines, the first company to have publicly stated that it will not fly deportees from the UK, so far has not faced any legal comeback. As reported in the press, a Virgin spokesperson explained the company’s position like this:

    We’ve made the decision to end all involuntary deportations on our network, and have informed the Home Office. We always comply with the law and would continue to comply with legislation; however, we have ended our contractual agreement to carry involuntary deportees.xxiv

    Due to our lack of information on Home Office agreements with airlines, it’s hard to assess exactly what this means. Possibly, Virgin previously had an outstanding deal with the Home Office and Carlson Wagonlit where their tickets came up on the CWT booking portal and were available for caseworkers, and this has now ended. If the Home Office insisted on contacting them and booking a ticket regardless, they might then be pushed to “comply with the law”.

    Above we saw that, according to evidence referred to in a report of the House of Commons home affairs select committee, in 2003 the majority of airlines actually refused to carry deportees, leaving the Home Office to depend almost exclusively on British Airways. Even in this context there were no prosecutions of airlines.

    This is not an uncommon situation across UK immigration law: much of it has never come to court. For example, as we have discussed in reports on immigration raids, there have been no legal cases testing many of the powers of ICE raid squads. To give another example, on numerous occasions campaigners have obstructed buses taking detainees to charter flights without any prosecution – the Stansted 15 trial of protestors blocking a plane inside the airport was the first high-profile legal case following an anti-deportation action.

    Even if the government has a legal case for prosecuting airlines, this could be a highly controversial move politically. The Home Office generally prefers not to expose the violence of its immigration enforcement activities to the challenge of a public legal hearing.

    Resistance

    We want to conclude this report on an upbeat note. Deportations, and scheduled airline flights in particular, are a major site of struggle. Resistance is not just possible but widespread and often victorious. Thousands of people have managed to successfully stop their “removals” through various means, including the following:

    Legal challenges: a large number of flights are stopped because of court appeals and injunctions.
    Public campaigning: there is a strong tradition of anti-deportation campaigning in the UK, usually supporting individuals with media-focused and political activity. Common tactics include: media articles highlighting the individual’s case; enlisting MPs and appealing to ministers; petitions, letters of support; mass phone calls, emails, etc., to airlines; demos or leafletting at the airport targeting air crew and passengers.
    Solidarity action by passengers: in some high-profile cases, passengers have refused to take their seats until deportees are removed. This creates a safety situation for the airline which may often lead to the pilot ordering escorts to remove their prisoner.
    Direct action by detainees: many detainees have been able to get off flights by putting up a struggle. This may involve, for example: physically resisting escorts; taking off clothes; shouting and appealing to passengers and air crew for help. Unless the deportee is extremely strong physically, the balance of force is with the escorts – and sometimes this can be lethal, as in the case of Jimmy Mubenga. However, pilots may often order deportees off their plane in the case of disruption.

    There are many reports of successful resistance using one or more of these tactics. And we can also get some glimpses of their overall power from a few pieces of aggregate information.

    In a 2016 report, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration revealed one telling figure. Looking at the figures for six months over 2014-15, he found that “on average 2.5 tickets were issued for each individual successfully removed.”xxv Some of this can be put down to the notorious inefficiency of Home Office systems: the Inspection report looks at several kinds of coordination failures between Home Office caseworkers, the escort contractor (at that point a subsidiary of Capita), and Carlson Wagonlit.

    But this is not the biggest factor. In fact, the same report breaks down the reasons for cancellation for a sample of 136 tickets. 51% of the sampled cancellations were the result of legal challenges. 18% were because of “disruptive or non-compliant behaviour”. 2% (i.e., three cases) were ascribed to “airline refusal to carry”.

    Where there is resistance, there is also reaction. As we have discussed in previous reports, one of the main reasons prompting the development of charter flights was to counter resistance by isolating deportees from passengers and supporters. This was very clearly put in 2009 by David Wood, then strategic director of the UK Border Agency (Home Office), who explained that the charter flight programme is:

    “a response to the fact that some of those being deported realised that if they made a big enough fuss at the airport – if they took off their clothes, for instance, or started biting and spitting – they could delay the process. We found that pilots would then refuse to take the person on the grounds that other passengers would object.”xxvi

    For both deportees and supporters, charter flights are much harder to resist. But they are also very expensive; require specific diplomatic agreements with destination countries; and in some cases (Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka) have been blocked by legal and political means.xxvii The Home Office cannot avoid the use of scheduled flights for the majority of deportations, and it will continue to face resistance.

    –—
    Annex: issues with accessing airline information

    We will expand a bit here on the issues around obtaining information on the Home Office’s relationships with airlines.

    Under UK and EU public sector procurement rules, central government departments are obliged to publish announcements of all contracts valued over £10,000, including on the contractsfinder website. However, there is no publicly available information on any contracts between the Home Office and specific airlines. This is legally justifiable if the Home Office has no direct contractual agreements with airlines. It has a signed contract with Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), which is published in a redacted form; and CWT then makes arrangements with airlines on a per-ticket basis.

    The Home Office certainly has knowledge of all the tickets booked on its behalf by CWT – indeed, they are booked by its own employees through the CWT maintained portal. And so it certainly knows all the airlines working for it. But it has refused all requests for this information, using the excuse of “commercial confidentiality”.

    There have been numerous attempts to request information on deportation airlines using the Freedom of Information Act.xxviii All have been refused on similar grounds. To give one standard example, in December 2018 A. Liberadzki requested statistics for numbers of removals carried out by British Airways and other scheduled airlines. The response confirmed “that the Home Office holds the information that you have requested.” However, it argued that:

    “we have decided that the information is exempt from disclosure under sections 31(1)e and 43(2) of the FOIA. These provide that information can be withheld if its disclosure would have a detrimental effect on the Home Office and its ability to operate effective immigration controls by carrying out removals or would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any persons (including the public authority holding it).”

    In April 2019 Kate Osamor MP put similar questions to the Home Secretary in parliament.xxix She received the same reply to all her questions:

    “The Home Office does not disclose the details or values of its commercial contracts. Doing so could discourage companies from dealing with the Home Office.”

    Of course this answer is blatantly false – as we just saw, the Home Office is legally obliged to disclose values of commercial contracts over £10,000.

    https://corporatewatch.org/uk-deportations-2020-how-ba-easyjet-and-other-airlines-collaborate-w

    #rapport #corporate_watch #compagnies_aériennes #British_Airways #avions #renvois #expulsions #asile #migrations #déboutés #sans-papiers #UK #Home_Office #résistance #Jimmy_Mubenga

    ping @isskein @karine4 @reka

  • Covid-19, la #frontiérisation aboutie du #monde

    Alors que le virus nous a rappelé la condition de commune humanité, les frontières interdisent plus que jamais de penser les conditions du cosmopolitisme, d’une société comme un long tissu vivant sans couture à même de faire face aux aléas, aux menaces à même d’hypothéquer le futur. La réponse frontalière n’a ouvert aucun horizon nouveau, sinon celui du repli. Par Adrien Delmas, historien et David Goeury, géographe.

    La #chronologie ci-dessus représente cartographiquement la fermeture des frontières nationales entre le 20 janvier et le 30 avril 2020 consécutive de la pandémie de Covid-19, phénomène inédit dans sa célérité et son ampleur. Les données ont été extraites des déclarations gouvernementales concernant les restrictions aux voyages, les fermetures des frontières terrestres, maritimes et aériennes et des informations diffusées par les ambassades à travers le monde. En plus d’omissions ou d’imprécisions, certains biais peuvent apparaitre notamment le décalage entre les mesures de restriction et leur application.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=64&v=mv-OFB4WfBg&feature=emb_logo

    En quelques semaines, le nouveau coronavirus dont l’humanité est devenue le principal hôte, s’est propagé aux quatre coins de la planète à une vitesse sans précédent, attestant de la densité des relations et des circulations humaines. Rapidement deux stratégies politiques se sont imposées : fermer les frontières nationales et confiner les populations.

    Par un processus de #mimétisme_politique global, les gouvernements ont basculé en quelques jours d’une position minimisant le risque à des politiques publiques de plus en plus drastiques de contrôle puis de suspension des mobilités. Le recours systématique à la fermeture d’une limite administrative interroge : n’y a-t-il pas, comme répété dans un premier temps, un décalage entre la nature même de l’#épidémie et des frontières qui sont des productions politiques ? Le suivi de la diffusion virale ne nécessite-t-il un emboîtement d’échelles (famille, proches, réseaux de sociabilité et professionnels…) en deçà du cadre national ?

    Nous nous proposons ici de revenir sur le phénomène sans précédent d’activation et de généralisation de l’appareil frontalier mondial, en commençant par retrouver la chronologie précise des fermetures successives. Bien que resserrée sur quelques jours, des phases se dessinent, pour aboutir à la situation présente de fermeture complète.

    Il serait vain de vouloir donner une lecture uniforme de ce phénomène soudain mais nous partirons du constat que le phénomène de « frontiérisation du monde », pour parler comme Achille Mbembe, était déjà à l’œuvre au moment de l’irruption épidémique, avant de nous interroger sur son accélération, son aboutissement et sa réversibilité.

    L’argument sanitaire

    Alors que la présence du virus était attestée, à partir de février 2020, dans les différentes parties du monde, la fermeture des frontières nationales s’est imposée selon un principe de cohérence sanitaire, le risque d’importation du virus par des voyageurs était avéré. Le transport aérien a permis au virus de faire des sauts territoriaux révélant un premier archipel économique liant le Hubei au reste du monde avant de se diffuser au gré de mobilités multiples.

    Pour autant, les réponses des premiers pays touchés, en l’occurrence la Chine et la Corée du Sud, se sont organisées autour de l’élévation de barrières non-nationales : personnes infectées mises en quarantaine, foyers, ilots, ville, province etc. L’articulation raisonnée de multiples échelles, l’identification et le ciblage des clusters, ont permis de contrôler la propagation du virus et d’en réduire fortement la létalité. A toutes ces échelles d’intervention s’ajoute l’échelle mondiale où s‘est organisée la réponse médicale par la recherche collective des traitements et des vaccins.

    Face à la multiplication des foyers de contamination, la plupart des gouvernements ont fait le choix d’un repli national. La fermeture des frontières est apparue comme une modalité de reprise de contrôle politique et le retour aux sources de l’État souverain. Bien que nul dirigeant ne peut nier avoir agi « en retard », puisque aucun pays n’est exempt de cas de Covid-19, beaucoup d’États se réjouissent d’avoir fermé « à temps », avant que la vague n’engendre une catastrophe.

    L’orchestration d’une réponse commune concertée notamment dans le cadre de l’OMS est abandonnée au profit d’initiatives unilatérales. La fermeture des frontières a transformé la pandémie en autant d’épidémies nationales, devenant par là un exemple paradigmatique du nationalisme méthodologique, pour reprendre les termes d’analyse d’Ulrich Beck.

    S’impose alors la logique résidentielle : les citoyens présents sur un territoire deviennent comptables de la diffusion de l’épidémie et du maintien des capacités de prise en charge par le système médical. La dialectique entre gouvernants et gouvernés s’articule alors autour des décomptes quotidiens, de chiffres immédiatement comparés, bien que pas toujours commensurables, à ceux des pays voisins.

    La frontiérisation du monde consécutive de la pandémie de coronavirus ne peut se résumer à la seule somme des fermetures particulières, pays par pays. Bien au contraire, des logiques collectives se laissent entrevoir. A défaut de concertation, les gouvernants ont fait l’expérience du dilemme du prisonnier.

    Face à une opinion publique inquiète, un chef de gouvernement prenait le risque d’être considéré comme laxiste ou irresponsable en maintenant ses frontières ouvertes alors que les autres fermaient les leurs. Ces phénomènes mimétiques entre États se sont démultipliés en quelques jours face à la pandémie : les États ont redécouvert leur maîtrise biopolitique via les mesures barrières, ils ont défendu leur rationalité en suivant les avis de conseils scientifiques et en discréditant les approches émotionnelles ou religieuses ; ils ont privilégié la suspension des droits à grand renfort de mesures d’exception. Le risque global a alors légitimé la réaffirmation d’une autorité nationale dans un unanimisme relatif.

    Chronologie de la soudaineté

    La séquence vécue depuis la fin du mois janvier de l’année 2020 s’est traduite par une série d’accélérations venant renforcer les principes de fermeture des frontières. Le développement de l’épidémie en Chine alarme assez rapidement la communauté internationale et tout particulièrement les pays limitrophes.

    La Corée du Nord prend les devants dès le 21 janvier en fermant sa frontière avec la Chine et interdit tout voyage touristique sur son sol. Alors que la Chine développe une stratégie de confinement ciblé dès le 23 janvier, les autres pays frontaliers ferment leurs frontières terrestres ou n’ouvrent pas leurs frontières saisonnières d’altitude comme le Pakistan.

    Parallèlement, les pays non frontaliers entament une politique de fermeture des routes aériennes qui constituent autant de points potentiels d’entrée du virus. Cette procédure prend des formes différentes qui relèvent d’un gradient de diplomatie. Certains se contentent de demander aux compagnies aériennes nationales de suspendre leurs vols, fermant leur frontière de facto (Algérie, Égypte, Maroc, Rwanda, France, Canada, entre autres), d’autres privilégient l’approche plus frontale comme les États-Unis qui, le 2 février, interdisent leur territoire au voyageurs ayant séjournés en Chine.

    La propagation très rapide de l’épidémie en Iran amène à une deuxième tentative de mise en quarantaine d’un pays dès le 20 février. Le rôle de l’Iran dans les circulations terrestres de l’Afghanistan à la Turquie pousse les gouvernements frontaliers à fermer les points de passage. De même, le gouvernement irakien étroitement lié à Téhéran finit par fermer la frontière le 20 février. Puis les voyageurs ayant séjourné en Iran sont à leur tour progressivement considérés comme indésirables. Les gouvernements décident alors de politiques d’interdiction de séjour ciblées ou de mises en quarantaine forcées par la création de listes de territoires à risques.

    Le développement de l’épidémie en Italie amène à un changement de paradigme dans la gestion de la crise sanitaire. L’épidémie est dès lors considérée comme effectivement mondiale mais surtout elle est désormais perçue comme incontrôlable tant les foyers de contamination potentiels sont nombreux.

    La densité des relations intra-européennes et l’intensité des mobilités extra-européennes génèrent un sentiment d’anxiété face au risque de la submersion, le concept de « vague » est constamment mobilisé. Certains y ont lu une inversion de l’ordre migratoire planétaire. Les pays aux revenus faibles ou limités décident de fermer leurs frontières aux individus issus des pays aux plus hauts revenus.

    Les derniers jours du mois de février voient des gouvernements comme le Liban créer des listes de nationalités indésirables, tandis que d’autres comme Fiji décident d’un seuil de cas identifiés de Covid-19. Les interdictions progressent avec le Qatar et l’Arabie Saoudite qui ferment leur territoire aux Européens dès le 9 mars avant de connaître une accélération le 10 mars.

    Les frontières sont alors emportées dans le tourbillon des fermetures.

    La Slovénie débute la suspension de la libre circulation au sein de l’espace Schengen en fermant sa frontière avec l’Italie. Elle est suivie par les pays d’Europe centrale (Tchéquie, Slovaquie). En Afrique et en Amérique, les relations avec l’Union européenne sont suspendues unilatéralement. Le Maroc ferme ses frontières avec l’Espagne dès le 12 mars. Ce même jour, les États-Unis annonce la restriction de l’accès à son territoire aux voyageurs issu de l’Union européenne. La décision américaine est rapidement élargie au monde entier, faisant apparaitre l’Union européenne au cœur des mobilités planétaires.

    En quelques jours, la majorité des frontières nationales se ferment à l’ensemble du monde. Les liaisons aériennes sont suspendues, les frontières terrestres sont closes pour éviter les stratégies de contournements.

    Les pays qui échappent à cette logique apparaissent comme très minoritaires à l’image du Mexique, du Nicaragua, du Laos, du Cambodge ou de la Corée du Sud. Parmi eux, certains sont finalement totalement dépendants de leurs voisins comme le Laos et le Cambodge prisonniers des politiques restrictives du Vietnam et de la Thaïlande.

    Au-delà de ces gouvernements qui résistent à la pression, des réalités localisées renseignent sur l’impossible fermeture des frontières aux mobilités quotidiennes. Ainsi, malgré des discours de fermeté, exception faite de la Malaisie, des États ont maintenus la circulation des travailleurs transfrontaliers.

    Au sein de l’espace Schengen, la Slovénie maintient ses relations avec l’Autriche, malgré sa fermeté vis-à-vis de l’Italie. Le 16 mars, la Suisse garantit l’accès à son territoire aux salariés du Nord de l’Italie et du Grand Est de la France, pourtant les plus régions touchées par la pandémie en Europe. Allemagne, Belgique, Norvège, Finlande, Espagne font de même.

    De l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, malgré la multiplication des discours autoritaires, un accord est trouvé le 18 mars avec le Canada et surtout le 20 mars avec le Mexique pour maintenir la circulation des travailleurs. Des déclarations conjointes sont publiées le 21 mars. Partout, la question transfrontalière oblige au bilatéralisme. Uruguay et Brésil renoncent finalement à fermer leur frontière commune tant les habitants ont développé un « mode de vie binational » pour reprendre les termes de deux gouvernements. La décision unilatérale du 18 mars prise par la Malaisie d’interdire à partir du 20 mars tout franchissement de sa frontière prend Singapour de court qui doit organiser des modalités d’hébergement pour plusieurs dizaines de milliers de travailleurs considérés comme indispensables.

    Ces fermetures font apparaitre au grand jour la qualité des coopérations bilatérales.

    Certains États ferment d’autant plus facilement leur frontière avec un pays lorsque préexistent d’importantes rivalités à l’image de la Papouasie Nouvelle Guinée qui ferme immédiatement sa frontière avec l’Indonésie pourtant très faiblement touchée par la pandémie. D’autres en revanche, comme la Tanzanie refusent de fermer leurs frontières terrestres pour maintenir aux États voisins un accès direct à la mer.

    Certains observateurs se sont plu à imaginer des basculements dans les rapports de pouvoirs entre l’Afrique et l’Europe notamment. Après ces fermetures soudaines, le bal mondial des rapatriements a commencé, non sans de nombreuses fausses notes.

    L’accélération de la frontiérisation du monde

    La fermeture extrêmement rapide des frontières mondiales nous rappelle ensuite combien les dispositifs nationaux étaient prêts pour la suspension complète des circulations. Comme dans bien des domaines, la pandémie s’est présentée comme un révélateur puissant, grossissant les traits d’un monde qu’il est plus aisé de diagnostiquer, à présent qu’il est suspendu.

    Ces dernières années, l’augmentation des mobilités internationales par le trafic aérien s’est accompagnée de dispositifs de filtrage de plus en plus drastiques notamment dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme. Les multiples étapes de contrôle articulant dispositifs administratifs dématérialisés pour les visas et dispositifs de plus en plus intrusifs de contrôle physique ont doté les frontières aéroportuaires d’une épaisseur croissante, partageant l’humanité en deux catégories : les mobiles et les astreints à résidence.

    En parallèle, les routes terrestres et maritimes internationales sont restées actives et se sont même réinventées dans le cadre des mobilités dites illégales. Or là encore, l’obsession du contrôle a favorisé un étalement de la frontière par la création de multiples marches frontalières faisant de pays entiers des lieux de surveillance et d’assignation à résidence avec un investissement continu dans les dispositifs sécuritaires.

    L’épaisseur des frontières se mesure désormais par la hauteur des murs mais aussi par l’exploitation des obstacles géophysiques : les fleuves, les cols, les déserts et les mers, où circulent armées et agences frontalières. À cela s’est ajouté le pistage et la surveillance digitale doublés d’un appareil administratif aux démarches labyrinthiques faites pour ne jamais aboutir.

    Pour décrire ce phénomène, Achille Mbembe parlait de « frontiérisation du monde » et de la mise en place d’un « nouveau régime sécuritaire mondial où le droit des ressortissants étrangers de franchir les frontières d’un autre pays et d’entrer sur son territoire devient de plus en plus procédural et peut être suspendu ou révoqué à tout instant et sous n’importe quel prétexte. »

    La passion contemporaine pour les murs relève de l’iconographie territoriale qui permet d’appuyer les représentations sociales d’un contrôle parfait des circulations humaines, et ce alors que les frontières n’ont jamais été aussi polymorphes.

    Suite à la pandémie, la plupart des gouvernements ont pu mobiliser sans difficulté l’ingénierie et l’imaginaire frontaliers, en s’appuyant d’abord sur les compagnies aériennes pour fermer leur pays et suspendre les voyages, puis en fermant les aéroports avant de bloquer les frontières terrestres.

    Les réalités frontalières sont rendues visibles : la Norvège fait appel aux réservistes et retraités pour assurer une présence à sa frontière avec la Suède et la Finlande. Seuls les pays effondrés, en guerre, ne ferment pas leurs frontières comme au sud de la Libye où circulent armes et combattants.

    Beaucoup entretiennent des fictions géographiques décrétant des frontières fermées sans avoir les moyens de les surveiller comme la France en Guyane ou à Mayotte. Plus que jamais, les frontières sont devenues un rapport de pouvoir réel venant attester des dépendances économiques, notamment à travers la question migratoire, mais aussi symboliques, dans le principe de la souveraineté et son autre, à travers la figure de l’étranger. Classe politique et opinion publique adhèrent largement à une vision segmentée du monde.

    Le piège de l’assignation à résidence

    Aujourd’hui, cet appareil frontalier mondial activé localement, à qui l’on a demandé de jouer une nouvelle partition sanitaire, semble pris à son propre piège. Sa vocation même qui consistait à décider qui peut se déplacer, où et dans quelles conditions, semble égarée tant les restrictions sont devenues, en quelques jours, absolues.

    Le régime universel d’assignation à résidence dans lequel le monde est plongé n’est pas tant le résultat d’une décision d’ordre sanitaire face à une maladie inconnue, que la simple activation des dispositifs multiples qui préexistaient à cette maladie. En l’absence d’autres réponses disponibles, ces fermetures se sont imposées. L’humanité a fait ce qu’elle savait faire de mieux en ce début du XXIe siècle, sinon la seule chose qu’elle savait faire collectivement sans concertation préalable, fermer le monde.

    L’activation de la frontière a abouti à sa consécration. Les dispositifs n’ont pas seulement été activés, ils ont été renforcés et généralisés. Le constat d’une entrave des mobilités est désormais valable pour tous, et la circulation est devenue impossible, de fait, comme de droit. Pauvres et riches, touristes et hommes d’affaires, sportifs ou diplomates, tout le monde, sans exception aucune, fait l’expérience de la fermeture et de cette condition dans laquelle le monde est plongé.

    Seuls les rapatriés, nouveau statut des mobilités en temps de pandémie, sont encore autorisés à rentrer chez eux, dans les limites des moyens financiers des États qu’ils souhaitent rejoindre. Cette entrave à la circulation est d’ailleurs valable pour ceux qui la décident. Elle est aussi pour ceux qui l’analysent : le témoin de ce phénomène n’existe pas ou plus, lui-même pris, complice ou victime, de cet emballement de la frontiérisation.

    C’est bien là une caractéristique centrale du processus en cours, il n’y a plus de point de vue en surplomb, il n’y a plus d’extérieur, plus d’étranger, plus de pensée du dehors. La pensée est elle-même confinée. Face à la mobilisation et l’emballement d’une gouvernementalité de la mobilité fondée sur l’entrave, l’abolition pure et simple du droit de circuler, du droit d’être étranger, du droit de franchir les frontières d’un autre pays et d’entrer sur son territoire n’est plus une simple fiction.

    Les dispositifs de veille de ces droits, bien que mis à nus, ne semblent plus contrôlables et c’est en ce sens que l’on peut douter de la réversibilité de ces processus de fermeture.

    Réversibilité

    C’est à l’aune de ce constat selon lequel le processus de frontiérisation du monde était à déjà l’œuvre au moment de l’irruption épidémique que l’on peut interroger le caractère provisoire de la fermeture des frontières opérée au cours du mois de mars 2020.

    Pourquoi un processus déjà enclenché ferait machine arrière au moment même où il accélère ? Comme si l’accélération était une condition du renversement. Tout se passe plutôt comme si le processus de frontiérisation s’était cristallisé.

    La circulation internationale des marchandises, maintenue au pic même de la crise sanitaire, n’a pas seulement permis l’approvisionnement des populations, elle a également rappelé que, contrairement à ce que défendent les théories libérales, le modèle économique mondial fonctionne sur l’axiome suivant : les biens circulent de plus en plus indépendamment des individus.

    Nous venons bien de faire l’épreuve du caractère superflu de la circulation des hommes et des femmes, aussi longtemps que les marchandises, elles, circulent. Combien de personnes bloquées de l’autre côté d’une frontière, dans l’impossibilité de la traverser, quand le moindre colis ou autre produit traverse ?

    Le réseau numérique mondial a lui aussi démontré qu’il était largement à même de pallier à une immobilité généralisée. Pas de pannes de l’Internet à l’horizon, à l’heure où tout le monde est venu y puiser son travail, ses informations, ses loisirs et ses sentiments.

    De là à penser que les flux de data peuvent remplacer les flux migratoires, il n’y qu’un pas que certains ont déjà franchi. La pandémie a vite fait de devenir l’alliée des adeptes de l’inimitié entre les nations, des partisans de destins et de développement séparés, des projets d’autarcie et de démobilité.

    Alors que le virus nous a rappelé la condition de commune humanité, les frontières interdisent plus que jamais de penser les conditions du cosmopolitisme, d’une société comme un long tissu vivant sans couture à même de faire face aux aléas, aux zoonoses émergentes, au réchauffement climatique, aux menaces à même d’hypothéquer le futur.

    La réponse frontalière n’a ouvert aucun horizon nouveau, sinon celui du repli sur des communautés locales, plus petites encore, formant autant de petites hétérotopies localisées. Si les étrangers que nous sommes ou que nous connaissons se sont inquiétés ces dernières semaines de la possibilité d’un retour au pays, le drame qui se jouait aussi, et qui continue de se jouer, c’est bien l’impossibilité d’un aller.

    https://blogs.mediapart.fr/adrien-delmas/blog/280520/covid-19-la-frontierisation-aboutie-du-monde
    #frontières #fermeture_des_frontières #migrations #covid-19 #coronavirus #immobilité #mobilité #confinement #cartographie #vidéo #animation #visualisation #nationalisme_méthodologique #ressources_pédagogiques #appareil_frontalier_mondial #cohérence_sanitaire #crise_sanitaire #transport_aérien #Hubei #clusters #échelle #repli_national #contrôle_politique #Etat-nation #unilatéralisme #multilatéralisme #dilemme_du_prisonnier #mesures_barrière #rationalité #exceptionnalité #exceptionnalisme #autorité_nationale #soudaineté #routes_aériennes #Iran #Italie #Chine #vague #nationalités_indésirables #travailleurs_étrangers #frontaliers #filtrage #contrôles_frontaliers #contrôle #surveillance #marches_frontalières #assignation_à_résidence #pistage #surveillance_digitale #circulations #imaginaire_frontalier #ingénierie_frontalière #compagnies_aériennes #frontières_terrestres #aéroports #fictions_géographiques #géographie_politique #souveraineté #partition_sanitaire #rapatriés #gouvernementalité #droit_de_circuler #liberté_de_circulation #liberté_de_mouvement #réversibilité #irréversibilité #provisoire #définitif #cristallisation #biens #marchandises #immobilité_généralisée #cosmopolitisme #réponse_frontalière

    ping @mobileborders @karine4 @isskein @thomas_lacroix @reka

    • Épisode 1 : Liberté de circulation : le retour des frontières

      Premier temps d’une semaine consacrée aux #restrictions de libertés pendant la pandémie de coronavirus. Arrêtons-nous aujourd’hui sur une liberté entravée que nous avons tous largement expérimentée au cours des deux derniers mois : celle de circuler, incarnée par le retour des frontières.

      https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/cultures-monde/droits-et-libertes-au-temps-du-corona-14-liberte-de-circulation-le-ret

    • #Anne-Laure_Amilhat-Szary (@mobileborders) : « Nous avons eu l’impression que nous pouvions effectivement fermer les frontières »

      En Europe, les frontières rouvrent en ordre dispersé, avec souvent le 15 juin pour date butoir. Alors que la Covid-19 a atteint plus de 150 pays, la géographe Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary analyse les nouveaux enjeux autour de ces séparations, nationales mais aussi continentales ou sanitaires.

      https://www.franceculture.fr/geopolitique/anne-laure-amilhat-szary-nous-avons-eu-limpression-que-nous-pouvions-e

    • « Nous sommes très loin d’aller vers un #repli à l’intérieur de #frontières_nationales »
      Interview avec Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary (@mobileborders)

      Face à la pandémie de Covid-19, un grand nombre de pays ont fait le choix de fermer leurs frontières. Alors que certains célèbrent leurs vertus prophylactiques et protectrices, et appellent à leur renforcement dans une perspective de démondialisation, nous avons interrogé la géographe Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, auteure notamment du livre Qu’est-ce qu’une frontière aujourd’hui ? (PUF, 2015), sur cette notion loin d’être univoque.

      Usbek & Rica : Avec la crise sanitaire en cours, le monde s’est soudainement refermé. Chaque pays s’est retranché derrière ses frontières. Cette situation est-elle inédite ? À quel précédent historique peut-elle nous faire penser ?

      Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary : On peut, semble-t-il, trouver trace d’un dernier grand épisode de confinement en 1972 en Yougoslavie, pendant une épidémie de variole ramenée par des pèlerins de La Mecque. 10 millions de personnes avaient alors été confinées, mais au sein des frontières nationales… On pense forcément aux grands confinements historiques contre la peste ou le choléra (dont l’efficacité est vraiment questionnée). Mais ces derniers eurent lieu avant que l’État n’ait la puissance régulatrice qu’on lui connaît aujourd’hui. Ce qui change profondément désormais, c’est que, même confinés, nous restons connectés. Que signifie une frontière fermée si l’information et la richesse continuent de circuler ? Cela pointe du doigt des frontières aux effets très différenciés selon le statut des personnes, un monde de « frontiérités » multiples plutôt que de frontières établissant les fondements d’un régime universel du droit international.

      Les conséquences juridiques de la fermeture des frontières sont inédites : en supprimant la possibilité de les traverser officiellement, on nie l’urgence pour certains de les traverser au péril de leur vie. Le moment actuel consacre en effet la suspension du droit d’asile mis en place par la convention de Genève de 1951. La situation de l’autre côté de nos frontières, en Méditerranée par exemple, s’est détériorée de manière aiguë depuis début mars.

      Certes, les populistes de tous bords se servent de la menace que représenteraient des frontières ouvertes comme d’un ressort politique, et ça marche bien… jusqu’à ce que ces mêmes personnes prennent un vol low-cost pour leurs vacances dans le pays voisin et pestent tant et plus sur la durée des files d’attentes à l’aéroport. Il y a d’une part une peur des migrants, qui pourraient « profiter » de Schengen, et d’autre part, une volonté pratique de déplacements facilités, à la fois professionnels et de loisirs, de courte durée. Il faut absolument rappeler que si le coronavirus est chez nous, comme sur le reste de la planète, c’est que les frontières n’ont pas pu l’arrêter ! Pas plus qu’elles n’avaient pu quelque chose contre le nuage de Tchernobyl. L’utilité de fermer les frontières aujourd’hui repose sur le fait de pouvoir soumettre, en même temps, les populations de différents pays à un confinement parallèle.

      Ne se leurre-t-on pas en croyant assister, à la faveur de la crise sanitaire, à un « retour des frontières » ? N’est-il pas déjà à l’œuvre depuis de nombreuses années ?

      Cela, je l’ai dit et écrit de nombreuses fois : les frontières n’ont jamais disparu, on a juste voulu croire à « la fin de la géographie », à l’espace plat et lisse de la mondialisation, en même temps qu’à la fin de l’histoire, qui n’était que celle de la Guerre Froide.

      Deux choses nouvelles illustrent toutefois la matérialité inédite des frontières dans un monde qui se prétend de plus en plus « dématérialisé » : 1) la possibilité, grâce aux GPS, de positionner la ligne précisément sur le terrain, de borner et démarquer, même en terrain difficile, ce qui était impossible jusqu’ici. De ce fait, on a pu régler des différends frontaliers anciens, mais on peut aussi démarquer des espaces inaccessibles de manière régulière, notamment maritimes. 2) Le retour des murs et barrières, spectacle de la sécurité et nouvel avatar de la frontière. Mais attention, toute frontière n’est pas un mur, faire cette assimilation c’est tomber dans le panneau idéologique qui nous est tendu par le cadre dominant de la pensée contemporaine.

      La frontière n’est pas une notion univoque. Elle peut, comme vous le dites, se transformer en mur, en clôture et empêcher le passage. Elle peut être ouverte ou entrouverte. Elle peut aussi faire office de filtre et avoir une fonction prophylactique, ou bien encore poser des limites, à une mondialisation débridée par exemple. De votre point de vue, de quel type de frontières avons-nous besoin ?

      Nous avons besoin de frontières filtres, non fermées, mais qui soient véritablement symétriques. Le problème des murs, c’est qu’ils sont le symptôme d’un fonctionnement dévoyé du principe de droit international d’égalité des États. À l’origine des relations internationales, la définition d’une frontière est celle d’un lieu d’interface entre deux souverainetés également indépendantes vis-à-vis du reste du monde.

      Les frontières sont nécessaires pour ne pas soumettre le monde à un seul pouvoir totalisant. Il se trouve que depuis l’époque moderne, ce sont les États qui sont les principaux détenteurs du pouvoir de les fixer. Ils ont réussi à imposer un principe d’allégeance hiérarchique qui pose la dimension nationale comme supérieure et exclusive des autres pans constitutifs de nos identités.

      Mais les frontières étatiques sont bien moins stables qu’on ne l’imagine, et il faut aujourd’hui ouvrir un véritable débat sur les formes de frontières souhaitables pour organiser les collectifs humains dans l’avenir. Des frontières qui se défassent enfin du récit sédentaire du monde, pour prendre véritablement en compte la possibilité pour les hommes et les femmes d’avoir accès à des droits là où ils vivent.

      Rejoignez-vous ceux qui, comme le philosophe Régis Debray ou l’ancien ministre socialiste Arnaud Montebourg, font l’éloge des frontières et appellent à leur réaffirmation ? Régis Débray écrit notamment : « L’indécence de l’époque ne provient pas d’un excès mais d’un déficit de frontières »…

      Nous avons toujours eu des frontières, et nous avons toujours été mondialisés, cette mondialisation se réalisant à l’échelle de nos mondes, selon les époques : Mer de Chine et Océan Indien pour certains, Méditerranée pour d’autres. À partir des XII-XIIIe siècle, le lien entre Europe et Asie, abandonné depuis Alexandre le Grand, se développe à nouveau. À partir du XV-XVIe siècle, c’est l’âge des traversées transatlantiques et le bouclage du monde par un retour via le Pacifique…

      Je ne suis pas de ces nostalgiques à tendance nationaliste que sont devenus, pour des raisons différentes et dans des trajectoires propres tout à fait distinctes, Régis Debray ou Arnaud Montebourg. Nous avons toujours eu des frontières, elles sont anthropologiquement nécessaires à notre constitution psychologique et sociale. Il y en a même de plus en plus dans nos vies, au fur et à mesure que les critères d’identification se multiplient : frontières de race, de classe, de genre, de religion, etc.

      Nos existences sont striées de frontières visibles et invisibles. Pensons par exemple à celles que les digicodes fabriquent au pied des immeubles ou à l’entrée des communautés fermées, aux systèmes de surveillance qui régulent l’entrée aux bureaux ou des écoles. Mais pensons aussi aux frontières sociales, celles d’un patronyme étranger et racialisé, qui handicape durablement un CV entre les mains d’un.e recruteur.e, celles des différences salariales entre femmes et hommes, dont le fameux « plafond de verre » qui bloque l’accès aux femmes aux fonctions directoriales. Mais n’oublions pas les frontières communautaires de tous types sont complexes car mêlant à la fois la marginalité choisie, revendiquée, brandie comme dans les « marches des fiertés » et la marginalité subie du rejet des minorités, dont témoigne par exemple la persistance de l’antisémitisme.

      La seule chose qui se transforme en profondeur depuis trente ans et la chute du mur de Berlin, c’est la frontière étatique, car les États ont renoncé à certaines des prérogatives qu’ils exerçaient aux frontières, au profit d’institutions supranationales ou d’acteurs privés. D’un côté l’Union Européenne et les formes de subsidiarité qu’elle permet, de l’autre côté les GAFAM et autres géants du web, qui échappent à la fiscalité, l’une des raisons d’être des frontières. Ce qui apparaît aussi de manière plus évidente, c’est que les États puissants exercent leur souveraineté bien au-delà de leurs frontières, à travers un « droit d’ingérence » politique et militaire, mais aussi à travers des prérogatives commerciales, comme quand l’Arabie Saoudite négocie avec l’Éthiopie pour s’accaparer ses terres en toute légalité, dans le cadre du land grabbing.

      Peut-on croire à l’hypothèse d’une démondialisation ? La frontière peut-elle être précisément un instrument pour protéger les plus humbles, ceux que l’on qualifie de « perdants de la mondialisation » ? Comment faire en sorte qu’elle soit justement un instrument de protection, de défense de certaines valeurs (sociales notamment) et non synonyme de repli et de rejet de l’autre ?

      Il faut replacer la compréhension de la frontière dans une approche intersectionnelle : comprendre toutes les limites qui strient nos existences et font des frontières de véritables révélateurs de nos inégalités. Conçues comme des instruments de protection des individus vivant en leur sein, dans des périmètres où l’Etat détenteur du monopole exclusif de la violence est censé garantir des conditions de vie équitables, les frontières sont désormais des lieux qui propulsent au contraire les personnes au contact direct de la violence de la mondialisation.

      S’il s’agit de la fin d’une phase de la mondialisation, celle de la mondialisation financière échevelée, qui se traduit par une mise à profit maximalisée des différenciations locales dans une mise en concurrence généralisée des territoires et des personnes, je suis pour ! Mais au vu de nos technologies de communication et de transports, nous sommes très loin d’aller vers un repli à l’intérieur de frontières nationales. Regardez ce que, en période de confinement, tous ceux qui sont reliés consomment comme contenus globalisés (travail, culture, achats, sport) à travers leur bande passante… Regardez qui consomme les produits mondialisés, du jean à quelques euros à la farine ou la viande produite à l’autre bout du monde arrivant dans nos assiettes moins chères que celle qui aurait été produite par des paysans proches de nous… Posons-nous la question des conditions dans lesquelles ces consommateurs pourraient renoncer à ce que la mondialisation leur offre !

      Il faut une approche plus fine des effets de la mondialisation, notamment concernant la façon dont de nombreux phénomènes, notamment climatiques, sont désormais établis comme étant partagés - et ce, sans retour possible en arrière. Nous avons ainsi besoin de propositions politiques supranationales pour gérer ces crises sanitaires et environnementales (ce qui a manqué singulièrement pour la crise du Cocid-19, notamment l’absence de coordination européenne).

      Les frontières sont des inventions humaines, depuis toujours. Nous avons besoin de frontières comme repères dans notre rapport au monde, mais de frontières synapses, qui font lien en même temps qu’elles nous distinguent. De plus en plus de personnes refusent l’assignation à une identité nationale qui l’emporterait sur tous les autres pans de leur identité : il faut donc remettre les frontières à leur place, celle d’un élément de gouvernementalité parmi d’autres, au service des gouvernants, mais aussi des gouvernés. Ne pas oublier que les frontières devraient être d’abord et avant tout des périmètres de redevabilité. Des espaces à l’intérieur desquels on a des droits et des devoirs que l’on peut faire valoir à travers des mécanismes de justice ouverts.

      https://usbeketrica.com/article/on-ne-va-pas-vers-repli-a-interieur-frontieres-nationales

  • The business of building walls

    Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe is once again known for its border walls. This time Europe is divided not so much by ideology as by perceived fear of refugees and migrants, some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

    Who killed the dream of a more open Europe? What gave rise to this new era of walls? There are clearly many reasons – the increasing displacement of people by conflict, repression and impoverishment, the rise of security politics in the wake of 9/11, the economic and social insecurity felt across Europe after the 2008 financial crisis – to name a few. But one group has by far the most to gain from the rise of new walls – the businesses that build them. Their influence in shaping a world of walls needs much deeper examination.

    This report explores the business of building walls, which has both fuelled and benefited from a massive expansion of public spending on border security by the European Union (EU) and its member states. Some of the corporate beneficiaries are also global players, tapping into a global market for border security estimated to be worth approximately €17.5 billion in 2018, with annual growth of at least 8% expected in coming years.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAuv1QyP8l0&feature=emb_logo

    It is important to look both beyond and behind Europe’s walls and fencing, because the real barriers to contemporary migration are not so much the fencing, but the vast array of technology that underpins it, from the radar systems to the drones to the surveillance cameras to the biometric fingerprinting systems. Similarly, some of Europe’s most dangerous walls are not even physical or on land. The ships, aircrafts and drones used to patrol the Mediterranean have created a maritime wall and a graveyard for the thousands of migrants and refugees who have no legal passage to safety or to exercise their right to seek asylum.

    This renders meaningless the European Commission’s publicized statements that it does not fund walls and fences. Commission spokesperson Alexander Winterstein, for example, rejecting Hungary’s request to reimburse half the costs of the fences built on its borders with Croatia and Serbia, said: ‘We do support border management measures at external borders. These can be surveillance measures. They can be border control equipment...But fences, we do not finance’. In other words, the Commission is willing to pay for anything that fortifies a border as long as it is not seen to be building the walls themselves.

    This report is a sequel to Building Walls – Fear and securitization in the European Union, co-published in 2018 with Centre Delàs and Stop Wapenhandel, which first measured and identified the walls that criss-cross Europe. This new report focuses on the businesses that have profited from three different kinds of wall in Europe:

    The construction companies contracted to build the land walls built by EU member states and the Schengen Area together with the security and technology companies that provide the necessary accompanying technology, equipment and services;

    The shipping and arms companies that provide the ships, aircraft, helicopters, drones that underpin Europe’s maritime walls seeking to control migratory flows in the Mediterranean, including Frontex operations, Operation Sophia and Italian operation Mare Nostrum;
    And the IT and security companies contracted to develop, run, expand and maintain EU’s systems that monitor the movement of people – such as SIS II (Schengen Information System) and EES (Entry/Exit Scheme) – which underpin Europe’s virtual walls.

    Booming budgets

    The flow of money from taxpayers to wall-builders has been highly lucrative and constantly growing. The report finds that companies have reaped the profits from at least €900 million spent by EU countries on land walls and fences since the end of the Cold War. The partial data (in scope and years) means actual costs will be at least €1 billion. In addition, companies that provide technology and services that accompany walls have also benefited from some of the steady stream of funding from the EU – in particular the External Borders Fund (€1.7 billion, 2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders Fund (€2.76 billion, 2014-2020).

    EU spending on maritime walls has totalled at least €676.4 million between 2006 to 2017 (including €534 million spent by Frontex, €28.4 million spent by the EU on Operation Sophia and €114 million spent by Italy on Operation Mare Nostrum) and would be much more if you include all the operations by Mediterranean country coastguards. Total spending on Europe’s virtual wall equalled at least €999.4m between 2000 and 2019. (All these estimates are partial ones because walls are funded by many different funding mechanisms and due to lack of data transparency).

    This boom in border budgets is set to grow. Under its budget for the next EU budget cycle (2021–2027) the European Commission has earmarked €8.02 billion to its Integrated Border Management Fund (2021-2027), €11.27bn to Frontex (of which €2.2 billion will be used for acquiring, maintaining and operating air, sea and land assets) and at least €1.9 billion total spending (2000-2027) on its identity databases and Eurosur (the European Border Surveillance System).
    The big arm industry players

    Three giant European military and security companies in particular play a critical role in Europe’s many types of borders. These are Thales, Leonardo and Airbus.

    Thales is a French arms and security company, with a significant presence in the Netherlands, that produces radar and sensor systems, used by many ships in border security. Thales systems, were used, for example, by Dutch and Portuguese ships deployed in Frontex operations. Thales also produces maritime surveillance systems for drones and is working on developing border surveillance infrastructure for Eurosur, researching how to track and control refugees before they reach Europe by using smartphone apps, as well as exploring the use of High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) for border security, for the European Space Agency and Frontex. Thales currently provides the security system for the highly militarised port in Calais. Its acquisition in 2019 of Gemalto, a large (biometric) identity security company, makes it a significant player in the development and maintenance of EU’s virtual walls. It has participated in 27 EU research projects on border security.
    Italian arms company Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica or Leonardo-Finmeccanica) is a leading supplier of helicopters for border security, used by Italy in the Mare Nostrum, Hera and Sophia operations. It has also been one of the main providers of UAVs (or drones) for Europe’s borders, awarded a €67.1 million contract in 2017 by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to supply them for EU coast-guard agencies. Leonardo was also a member of a consortium, awarded €142.1 million in 2019 to implement and maintain EU’s virtual walls, namely its EES. It jointly owns Telespazio with Thales, involved in EU satellite observation projects (REACT and Copernicus) used for border surveillance. Leonardo has participated in 24 EU research projects on border security and control, including the development of Eurosur.
    Pan-European arms giant Airbus is a key supplier of helicopters used in patrolling maritime and some land borders, deployed by Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Spain, including in maritime Operations Sophia, Poseidon and Triton. Airbus and its subsidiaries have participated in at least 13 EU-funded border security research projects including OCEAN2020, PERSEUS and LOBOS.
    The significant role of these arms companies is not surprising. As Border Wars (2016), showed these companies through their membership of the lobby groups – European Organisation for Security (EOS) and the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) – have played a significant role in influencing the direction of EU border policy. Perversely, these firms are also among the top four biggest European arms dealers to the Middle East and North Africa, thus contributing to the conflicts that cause forced migration.

    Indra has been another significant corporate player in border control in Spain and the Mediterranean. It won a series of contracts to fortify Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco). Indra also developed the SIVE border control system (with radar, sensors and vision systems), which is in place on most of Spain’s borders, as well as in Portugal and Romania. In July 2018 it won a €10 million contract to manage SIVE at several locations for two years. Indra is very active in lobbying the EU and is a major beneficiary of EU research funding, coordinating the PERSEUS project to further develop Eurosur and the Seahorse Network, a network between police forces in Mediterranean countries (both in Europe and Africa) to stop migration.

    Israeli arms firms are also notable winners of EU border contracts. In 2018, Frontex selected the Heron drone from Israel Aerospace Industries for pilot-testing surveillance flights in the Mediterranean. In 2015, Israeli firm Elbit sold six of its Hermes UAVs to the Switzerland’s Border Guard, in a controversial €230 million deal. It has since signed a UAV contract with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), as a subcontractor for the Portuguese company CEIIA (2018), as well as contracts to supply technology for three patrol vessels for the Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
    Land wall contractors

    Most of the walls and fences that have been rapidly erected across Europe have been built by national construction companies, but one European company has dominated the field: European Security Fencing, a Spanish producer of razor wire, in particular a coiled wire known as concertinas. It is most known for the razor wire on the fences around Ceuta and Melilla. It also delivered the razor wire for the fence on the border between Hungary and Serbia, and its concertinas were installed on the borders between Bulgaria and Turkey and Austria and Slovenia, as well as at Calais, and for a few days on the border between Hungary and Slovenia before being removed. Given its long-term market monopoly, its concertinas are very likely used at other borders in Europe.

    Other contractors providing both walls and associated technology include DAT-CON (Croatia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Moldova, Slovenia and Ukraine), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén and Eulen (Spain/Morocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov and Indra (Bulgaria/Turkey), Nordecon and Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft and SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Latvia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lithuania/Russia), Minis and Legi-SGS(Slovenia/Croatia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia and Zaun Ltd (France/UK).

    In many cases, the actual costs of the walls and associated technologies exceed original estimates. There have also been many allegations and legal charges of corruption, in some cases because projects were given to corporate friends of government officials. In Slovenia, for example, accusations of corruption concerning the border wall contract have led to a continuing three-year legal battle for access to documents that has reached the Supreme Court. Despite this, the EU’s External Borders Fund has been a critical financial supporter of technological infrastructure and services in many of the member states’ border operations. In Macedonia, for example, the EU has provided €9 million for patrol vehicles, night-vision cameras, heartbeat detectors and technical support for border guards to help it manage its southern border.
    Maritime wall profiteers

    The data about which ships, helicopters and aircraft are used in Europe’s maritime operations is not transparent and therefore it is difficult to get a full picture. Our research shows, however, that the key corporations involved include the European arms giants Airbus and Leonardo, as well as large shipbuilding companies including Dutch Damen and Italian Fincantieri.

    Damen’s patrol vessels have been used for border operations by Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the UK as well as in key Frontex operations (Poseidon, Triton and Themis), Operation Sophia and in supporting NATO’s role in Operation Poseidon. Outside Europe, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey use Damen vessels for border security, often in cooperation with the EU or its member states. Turkey’s €20 million purchase of six Damen vessels for its coast guard in 2006, for example, was financed through the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), intended for peace-building and conflict prevention.

    The sale of Damen vessels to Libya unveils the potential troubling human costs of this corporate trade. In 2012, Damen supplied four patrol vessels to the Libyan Coast Guard, sold as civil equipment in order to avoid a Dutch arms export license. Researchers have since found out, however, that the ships were not only sold with mounting points for weapons, but were then armed and used to stop refugee boats. Several incidents involving these ships have been reported, including one where some 20 or 30 refugees drowned. Damen has refused to comment, saying it had agreed with the Libyan government not to disclose information about the ships.

    In addition to Damen, many national shipbuilders play a significant role in maritime operations as they were invariably prioritised by the countries contributing to each Frontex or other Mediterranean operation. Hence, all the ships Italy contributed to Operation Sophia were built by Fincantieri, while all Spanish ships come from Navantia and its predecessors. Similarly, France purchases from DCN/DCNS, now Naval Group, and all German ships were built by several German shipyards (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Other companies in Frontex operations have included Greek company, Motomarine Shipyards, which produced the Panther 57 Fast Patrol Boats used by the Hellenic Coast Guard, Hellenic Shipyards and Israel Shipyards.

    Austrian company Schiebel is a significant player in maritime aerial surveillance through its supply of S-100 drones. In November 2018, EMSA selected the company for a €24 million maritime surveillance contract for a range of operations including border security. Since 2017, Schiebel has also won contracts from Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The company has a controversial record, with its drones sold to a number of countries experiencing armed conflict or governed by repressive regimes such as Libya, Myanmar, the UAE and Yemen.

    Finland and the Netherlands deployed Dornier aircraft to Operation Hermes and Operation Poseidon respectively, and to Operation Triton. Dornier is now part of the US subsidiary of the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. CAE Aviation (Luxembourg), DEA Aviation (UK) and EASP Air (Netherlands) have all received contracts for aircraft surveillance work for Frontex. Airbus, French Dassault Aviation, Leonardo and US Lockheed Martin were the most important suppliers of aircraft used in Operation Sophia.

    The EU and its member states defend their maritime operations by publicising their role in rescuing refugees at sea, but this is not their primary goal, as Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri made clear in April 2015, saying that Frontex has no mandate for ‘proactive search-and-rescue action[s]’ and that saving lives should not be a priority. The thwarting and criminalisation of NGO rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the frequent reports of violence and illegal refoulement of refugees, also demonstrates why these maritime operations should be considered more like walls than humanitarian missions.
    Virtual walls

    The major EU contracts for the virtual walls have largely gone to two companies, sometimes as leaders of a consortium. Sopra Steria is the main contractor for the development and maintenance of the Visa Information System (VIS), Schengen Information System (SIS II) and European Dactyloscopy (Eurodac), while GMV has secured a string of contracts for Eurosur. The systems they build help control, monitor and surveil people’s movements across Europe and increasingly beyond.

    Sopra Steria is a French technology consultancy firm that has to date won EU contracts worth a total value of over €150 million. For some of these large contracts Sopra Steria joined consortiums with HP Belgium, Bull and 3M Belgium. Despite considerable business, Sopra Steria has faced considerable criticism for its poor record on delivering projects on time and on budget. Its launch of SIS II was constantly delayed, forcing the Commission to extend contracts and increase budgets. Similarly, Sopra Steria was involved in another consortium, the Trusted Borders consortium, contracted to deliver the UK e-Borders programme, which was eventually terminated in 2010 after constant delays and failure to deliver. Yet it continues to win contracts, in part because it has secured a near-monopoly of knowledge and access to EU officials. The central role that Sopra Steria plays in developing these EU biometric systems has also had a spin-off effect in securing other national contracts, including with Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Romania and Slovenia GMV, a Spanish technology company, has received a succession of large contracts for Eurosur, ever since its testing phase in 2010, worth at least €25 million. It also provides technology to the Spanish Guardia Civil, such as control centres for its Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE) border security system as well as software development services to Frontex. It has participated in at least ten EU-funded research projects on border security.

    Most of the large contracts for the virtual walls that did not go to consortia including Sopra Steria were awarded by eu-LISA (European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice) to consortia comprising computer and technology companies including Accenture, Atos Belgium and Morpho (later renamed Idema).
    Lobbying

    As research in our Border Wars series has consistently shown, through effective lobbying, the military and security industry has been very influential in shaping the discourse of EU security and military policies. The industry has succeeded in positioning itself as the experts on border security, pushing the underlying narrative that migration is first and foremost a security threat, to be combatted by security and military means. With this premise, it creates a continuous demand for the ever-expanding catalogue of equipment and services the industry supplies for border security and control.

    Many of the companies listed here, particularly the large arms companies, are involved in the European Organisation for Security (EOS), the most important lobby group on border security. Many of the IT security firms that build EU’s virtual walls are members of the European Biometrics Association (EAB). EOS has an ‘Integrated Border Security Working Group’ to ‘facilitate the development and uptake of better technology solutions for border security both at border checkpoints, and along maritime and land borders’. The working group is chaired by Giorgio Gulienetti of the Italian arms company Leonardo, with Isto Mattila (Laurea University of Applied Science) and Peter Smallridge of Gemalto, a digital security company recently acquired by Thales.

    Company lobbyists and representatives of these lobby organisations regularly meet with EU institutions, including the European Commission, are part of official advisory committees, publish influential proposals, organise meetings between industry, policy-makers and executives and also meet at the plethora of military and security fairs, conferences and seminars. Airbus, Leonardo and Thales together with EOS held 226 registered lobbying meetings with the European Commission between 2014 and 2019. In these meetings representatives of the industry position themselves as the experts on border security, presenting their goods and services as the solution for ‘security threats’ caused by immigration. In 2017, the same group of companies and EOS spent up to €2.65 million on lobbying.

    A similar close relationship can be seen on virtual walls, with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission arguing openly for public policy to foster the ‘emergence of a vibrant European biometrics industry’.
    A deadly trade and a choice

    The conclusion of this survey of the business of building walls is clear. A Europe full of walls has proved to be very good for the bottom line of a wide range of corporations including arms, security, IT, shipping and construction companies. The EU’s planned budgets for border security for the next decade show it is also a business that will continue to boom.

    This is also a deadly business. The heavy militarisation of Europe’s borders on land and at sea has led refugees and migrants to follow far more hazardous routes and has trapped others in desperate conditions in neighbouring countries like Libya. Many deaths are not recorded, but those that are tracked in the Mediterranean show that the proportion of those who drown trying to reach Europe continues to increase each year.

    This is not an inevitable state of affairs. It is both the result of policy decisions made by the EU and its member states, and corporate decisions to profit from these policies. In a rare principled stand, German razor wire manufacturer Mutanox in 2015 stated it would not sell its product to the Hungarian government arguing: ‘Razor wire is designed to prevent criminal acts, like a burglary. Fleeing children and adults are not criminals’. It is time for other European politicians and business leaders to recognise the same truth: that building walls against the world’s most vulnerable people violates human rights and is an immoral act that history will judge harshly. Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is time for Europe to bring down its new walls.

    https://www.tni.org/en/businessbuildingwalls

    #business #murs #barrières_frontalières #militarisation_des_frontières #visualisation #Europe #UE #EU #complexe_militaro-industriel #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #Indra #Israel_Aerospace_Industries #Elbit #European_Security_Fencing #DAT-CON #Geo_Alpinbau #Dragados #Ferrovial, #Proyectos_Y_Tecnología_Sallén #Eulen #Patstroy_Bourgas #Infra_Expert #Patengineeringstroy #Geostroy_Engineering #Metallic-Ivan_Mihaylov #Nordecon #Defendec #DAK_Acélszerkezeti_Kft #SIA_Ceļu_būvniecības_sabiedrība_IGATE #Gintrėja #Minis #Legi-SGS #Groupe_CW #Jackson’s_Fencing #Sorhea #Vinci #Eurovia #Zaun_Ltd #Damen #Fincantieri #Frontex #Damen #Turquie #Instrument_contributing_to_Stability_and_Peace (#IcSP) #Libye #exernalisation #Operation_Sophia #Navantia #Naval_Group #Flensburger_Schiffbau-Gesellschaft #HDW #Lürssen_Gruppe #Motomarine_Shipyards #Panther_57 #Hellenic_Shipyards #Israel_Shipyards #Schiebel #Dornier #Operation_Hermes #CAE_Aviation #DEA_Aviation #EASP_Air #French_Dassault_Aviation #US_Lockheed_Martin #murs_virtuels #Sopra_Steria #Visa_Information_System (#VIS) #données #Schengen_Information_System (#SIS_II) #European_Dactyloscopy (#Eurodac) #GMV #Eurosur #HP_Belgium #Bull #3M_Belgium #Trusted_Borders_consortium #économie #biométrie #Integrated_System_of_External_Vigilance (#SIVE) #eu-LISA #Accenture #Atos_Belgium #Morpho #Idema #lobby #European_Organisation_for_Security (#EOS) #European_Biometrics_Association (#EAB) #Integrated_Border_Security_Working_Group #Giorgio_Gulienetti #Isto_Mattila #Peter_Smallridge #Gemalto #murs_terrestres #murs_maritimes #coût #chiffres #statistiques #Joint_Research_Centre_of_the_European_Commission #Mutanox #High-Altitude_Pseudo-Satellites (#HAPS)

    Pour télécharger le #rapport :


    https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

    déjà signalé par @odilon ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/809783
    Je le remets ici avec des mots clé de plus

    ping @daphne @marty @isskein @karine4

    • La costruzione di muri: un business

      Trent’anni dopo la caduta del Muro di Berlino, l’Europa fa parlare di sé ancora una volta per i suoi muri di frontiera. Questa volta non è tanto l’ideologia che la divide, quanto la paura di rifugiati e migranti, alcune tra le persone più vulnerabili al mondo.

      Riassunto del rapporto «The Business of Building Walls» [1]:

      Chi ha ucciso il sogno di un’Europa più aperta? Cosa ha dato inizio a questa nuova era dei muri?
      Ci sono evidentemente molte ragioni: il crescente spostamento di persone a causa di conflitti, repressione e impoverimento, l’ascesa di politiche securitarie sulla scia dell’11 settembre, l’insicurezza economica e sociale percepita in Europa dopo la crisi finanziaria del 2008, solo per nominarne alcune. Tuttavia, c’è un gruppo che ha di gran lunga da guadagnare da questo innalzamento di nuovi muri: le imprese che li costruiscono. La loro influenza nel dare forma ad un mondo di muri necessita di un esame più profondo.

      Questo rapporto esplora il business della costruzione di muri, che è stato alimentato e ha beneficiato di un aumento considerevole della spesa pubblica dedicata alla sicurezza delle frontiere dall’Unione Europea (EU) e dai suoi Stati membri. Alcune imprese beneficiarie sono delle multinazionali che approfittano di un mercato globale per la sicurezza delle frontiere che si stima valere approssimativamente 17,5 miliardi di euro nel 2018, con una crescita annuale prevista almeno dell’8% nei prossimi anni.

      È importante guardare sia oltre che dietro i muri e le barriere d’Europa, perché i reali ostacoli alla migrazione contemporanea non sono tanto le recinzioni, quanto la vasta gamma di tecnologie che vi è alla base, dai sistemi radar ai droni, dalle telecamere di sorveglianza ai sistemi biometrici di rilevamento delle impronte digitali. Allo stesso modo, alcuni tra i più pericolosi muri d’Europa non sono nemmeno fisici o sulla terraferma. Le navi, gli aerei e i droni usati per pattugliare il Mediterraneo hanno creato un muro marittimo e un cimitero per i migliaia di migranti e di rifugiati che non hanno un passaggio legale verso la salvezza o per esercitare il loro diritto di asilo.

      Tutto ciò rende insignificanti le dichiarazioni della Commissione Europea secondo le quali essa non finanzierebbe i muri e le recinzioni. Il portavoce della Commissione, Alexander Winterstein, per esempio, nel rifiutare la richiesta dell’Ungheria di rimborsare la metà dei costi delle recinzioni costruite sul suo confine con la Croazia e la Serbia, ha affermato: “Noi sosteniamo le misure di gestione delle frontiere presso i confini esterni. Queste possono consistere in misure di sorveglianza o in equipaggiamento di controllo delle frontiere... . Ma le recinzioni, quelle non le finanziamo”. In altre parole, la Commissione è disposta a pagare per qualunque cosa che fortifichi un confine fintanto che ciò non sia visto come propriamente costruire dei muri.

      Questo rapporto è il seguito di “Building Walls - Fear and securitizazion in the Euopean Union”, co-pubblicato nel 2018 con Centre Delàs e Stop Wapenhandel, che per primi hanno misurato e identificato i muri che attraversano l’Europa.

      Questo nuovo rapporto si focalizza sulle imprese che hanno tratto profitto dai tre differenti tipi di muro in Europa:
      – Le imprese di costruzione ingaggiate per costruire i muri fisici costruiti dagli Stati membri UE e dall’Area Schengen in collaborazione con le imprese esperte in sicurezza e tecnologia che provvedono le tecnologie, l’equipaggiamento e i servizi associati;
      – le imprese di trasporto marittimo e di armamenti che forniscono le navi, gli aerei, gli elicotteri e i droni che costituiscono i muri marittimi dell’Europa per tentare di controllare i flussi migratori nel Mediterraneo, in particolare le operazioni di Frontex, l’operazione Sophia e l’operazione italiana Mare Nostrum;
      – e le imprese specializzate in informatica e in sicurezza incaricate di sviluppare, eseguire, estendere e mantenere i sistemi dell’UE che controllano i movimento delle persone, quali SIS II (Schengen Information System) e EES (Entry/Exii Scheme), che costituiscono i muri virtuali dell’Europa.
      Dei budget fiorenti

      Il flusso di denaro dai contribuenti ai costruttori di muri è stato estremamente lucrativo e non cessa di aumentare. Il report rivela che dalla fine della guerra fredda, le imprese hanno raccolto i profitti di almeno 900 milioni di euro di spese dei paesi dell’UE per i muri fisici e per le recinzioni. Con i dati parziali (sia nella portata e che negli anni), i costi reali raggiungerebbero almeno 1 miliardo di euro. Inoltre, le imprese che forniscono la tecnologia e i servizi che accompagnano i muri hanno ugualmente beneficiato di un flusso costante di finanziamenti da parte dell’UE, in particolare i Fondi per le frontiere esterne (1,7 miliardi di euro, 2007-2013) e i Fondi per la sicurezza interna - Fondi per le Frontiere (2,76 miliardi di euro, 2014-2020).

      Le spese dell’UE per i muri marittimi hanno raggiunto almeno 676,4 milioni di euro tra il 2006 e il 2017 (di cui 534 milioni sono stati spesi da Frontex, 28 milioni dall’UE nell’operazione Sophia e 114 milioni dall’Italia nell’operazione Mare Nostrum) e sarebbero molto superiori se si includessero tutte le operazioni delle guardie costiera nazionali nel Mediterraneo.

      Questa esplosione dei budget per le frontiere ha le condizioni per proseguire. Nel quadro del suo budget per il prossimo ciclo di bilancio dell’Unione Europea (2021-2027), la Commissione europea ha attribuito 8,02 miliardi di euro al suo fondo di gestione integrata delle frontiere (2021-2027), 11,27 miliardi a Frontex (dei quali 2,2 miliardi saranno utilizzati per l’acquisizione, il mantenimento e l’utilizzo di mezzi aerei, marittimi e terrestri) e almeno 1,9 miliardi di euro di spese totali (2000-2027) alle sue banche dati di identificazione e a Eurosur (il sistemo europeo di sorveglianza delle frontiere).
      I principali attori del settore degli armamenti

      Tre giganti europei del settore della difesa e della sicurezza giocano un ruolo cruciale nei differenti tipi di frontiere d’Europa: Thales, Leonardo e Airbus.

      – Thales è un’impresa francese specializzata negli armamenti e nella sicurezza, con una presenza significativa nei Paesi Bassi, che produce sistemi radar e sensori utilizzati da numerose navi della sicurezza frontaliera. I sistemi Thales, per esempio, sono stati utilizzati dalle navi olandesi e portoghesi impiegate nelle operazioni di Frontex.
      Thales produce ugualmente sistemi di sorveglianza marittima per droni e lavora attualmente per sviluppare una infrastruttura di sorveglianza delle frontiere per Eurosus, che permetta di seguire e controllare i rifugiati prima che raggiungano l’Europa con l’aiuto di applicazioni per Smartphone, e studia ugualmente l’utilizzo di “High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites - HAPS” per la sicurezza delle frontiere, per l’Agenzia spaziale europea e Frontex. Thales fornisce attualmente il sistema di sicurezza del porto altamente militarizzato di Calais.
      Con l’acquisto nel 2019 di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza e identità (biometrica), Thales diventa un attore importante nello sviluppo e nel mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE. L’impresa ha partecipato a 27 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      – La società di armamenti italiana Leonardo (originariamente Finmeccanica o Leonardo-Finmeccanica) è uno dei principali fornitori di elicotteri per la sicurezza delle frontiere, utilizzati dalle operazioni Mare Nostrum, Hera e Sophia in Italia. Ha ugualmente fatto parte dei principali fornitori di UAV (o droni), ottenendo un contratto di 67,1 milioni di euro nel 2017 con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima) per fornire le agenzie di guardia costiera dell’UE.
      Leonardo faceva ugualmente parte di un consorzio che si è visto attribuire un contratto di 142,1 milioni di euro nel 2019 per attuare e assicurare il mantenimento dei muri virtuali dell’UE, ossia il Sistema di entrata/uscita (EES). La società detiene, con Thales, Telespazio, che partecipa ai progetti di osservazione dai satelliti dell’UE (React e Copernicus) utilizzati per controllare le frontiere. Leonardo ha partecipato a 24 progetti di ricerca dell’UE sulla sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere, tra cui lo sviluppo di Eurosur.

      – Il gigante degli armamenti pan-europei Airbus è un importante fornitore di elicotteri utilizzati nella sorveglianza delle frontiere marittime e di alcune frontiere terrestri, impiegati da Belgio, Francia, Germania, Grecia, Italia, Lituania e Spagna, in particolare nelle operazioni marittime Sophia, Poseidon e Triton. Airbus e le sue filiali hanno partecipato almeno a 13 progetti di ricerca sulla sicurezza delle frontiere finanziati dall’UE, tra cui OCEAN2020, PERSEUS e LOBOS.

      Il ruolo chiave di queste società di armamenti in realtà non è sorprendente. Come è stato dimostrato da “Border Wars” (2016), queste imprese, in quanto appartenenti a lobby come EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza) e ASD (Associazione delle industrie aerospaziali e della difesa in Europa), hanno ampiamente contribuito a influenzare l’orientamento della politica delle frontiere dell’UE. Paradossalmente, questi stessi marchi fanno ugualmente parte dei quattro più grandi venditori europei di armi al Medio Oriente e all’Africa del Nord, contribuendo così ad alimentare i conflitti all’origine di queste migrazioni forzate.

      Allo stesso modo Indra gioca un ruolo non indifferente nel controllo delle frontiere in Spagna e nel Mediterraneo. L’impresa ha ottenuto una serie di contratti per fortificare Ceuta e Melilla (enclavi spagnole nel Nord del Marocco). Indra ha ugualmente sviluppato il sistema di controllo delle frontiere SIVE (con sistemi radar, di sensori e visivi) che è installato nella maggior parte delle frontiere della Spagna, così come in Portogallo e in Romania. Nel luglio 2018, Indra ha ottenuto un contratto di 10 milioni di euro per assicurare la gestione di SIVE su più siti per due anni. L’impresa è molto attiva nel fare lobby presso l’UE. È ugualmente una dei grandi beneficiari dei finanziamenti per la ricerca dell’UE, che assicurano il coordinamento del progetto PERSEUS per lo sviluppo di Eurosur e il Seahorse Network, la rete di scambio di informazioni tra le forze di polizia dei paesi mediterranei (in Europa e in Africa) per fermare le migrazioni.

      Le società di armamenti israeliane hanno anch’esse ottenuto numerosi contratti nel quadro della sicurezza delle frontiere in UE. Nel 2018, Frontex ha selezionato il drone Heron delle Israel Aerospace Industries per i voli di sorveglianza degli esperimenti pilota nel Mediterraneo. Nel 2015, la società israeliana Elbit Systems ha venduto sei dei suoi droni Hermes al Corpo di guardie di frontiera svizzero, nel quadro di un contratto controverso di 230 milioni di euro. Ha anche firmato in seguito un contratto per droni con l’EMSA (Agenzia europea per la sicurezza marittima), in quanto subappaltatore della società portoghese CEIIA (2018), così come dei contratti per equipaggiare tre navi di pattugliamento per la Hellenic Coast Guard (2019).
      Gli appaltatori dei muri fisici

      La maggioranza di muri e recinzioni che sono stati rapidamente eretti attraverso l’Europa, sono stati costruiti da società di BTP nazionali/società nazionali di costruzioni, ma un’impresa europea ha dominato nel mercato: la European Security Fencing, un produttore spagnolo di filo spinato, in particolare di un filo a spirale chiamato “concertina”. È famosa per aver fornito i fili spinati delle recinzioni che circondano Ceuta e Melilla. L’impresa ha ugualmente dotato di fili spinati le frontiere tra l’Ungheria e la Serbia, e i suoi fili spinati “concertina” sono stati installati alle frontiere tra Bulgaria e Turchia e tra l’Austria e la Slovenia, così come a Calais e, per qualche giorno, alla frontiera tra Ungheria e Slovenia, prima di essere ritirati. Dato che essi detengono il monopolio sul mercato da un po’ di tempo a questa parte, è probabile che i fili spinati “concertina” siano stati utilizzati presso altre frontiere in Europa.

      Tra le altre imprese che hanno fornito i muri e le tecnologie ad essi associate, si trova DAT-CON (Croazia, Cipro, Macedonia, Moldavia, Slovenia e Ucraina), Geo Alpinbau (Austria/Slovenia), Indra, Dragados, Ferrovial, Proyectos Y Tecnología Sallén e Eulen (Spagna/Marocco), Patstroy Bourgas, Infra Expert, Patengineeringstroy, Geostroy Engineering, Metallic-Ivan Mihaylov et Indra (Bulgaria/Turchia), Nordecon e Defendec (Estonia/Russia), DAK Acélszerkezeti Kft e SIA Ceļu būvniecības sabiedrība IGATE (Lettonia/Russia), Gintrėja (Lituania/Russi), Minis e Legi-SGS (Slovenia/Croazia), Groupe CW, Jackson’s Fencing, Sorhea, Vinci/Eurovia e Zaun Ltd (Francia/Regno Unito).

      I costi reali dei muri e delle tecnologie associate superano spesso le stime originali. Numerose accuse e denunce per corruzione sono state allo stesso modo formulate, in certi casi perché i progetti erano stati attribuiti a delle imprese che appartenevano ad amici di alti funzionari. In Slovenia, per esempio, accuse di corruzione riguardanti un contratto per la costruzione di muri alle frontiere hanno portato a tre anni di battaglie legali per avere accesso ai documenti; la questione è passata poi alla Corte suprema.

      Malgrado tutto ciò, il Fondo europeo per le frontiere esterne ha sostenuto finanziariamente le infrastrutture e i servizi tecnologici di numerose operazioni alle frontiere degli Stati membri. In Macedonia, per esempio, l’UE ha versato 9 milioni di euro per finanziare dei veicoli di pattugliamento, delle telecamere a visione notturna, dei rivelatori di battito cardiaco e sostegno tecnico alle guardie di frontiera nell’aiuto della gestione della sua frontiera meridionale.
      Gli speculatori dei muri marittimi

      I dati che permettono di determinare quali imbarcazioni, elicotteri e aerei sono utilizzati nelle operazioni marittime in Europa mancano di trasparenza. È dunque difficile recuperare tutte le informazioni. Le nostre ricerche mostrano comunque che tra le principali società implicate figurano i giganti europei degli armamenti Airbus e Leonardo, così come grandi imprese di costruzione navale come l’olandese Damen e l’italiana Fincantieri.

      Le imbarcazioni di pattugliamento di Damen sono servite per delle operazioni frontaliere portate avanti da Albania, Belgio, Bulgaria, Portogallo, Paesi Bassi, Romania, Svezia e Regno Unito, così come per le vaste operazioni di Frontex (Poseidon, Triton e Themis), per l’operazione Sophia e hanno ugualmente sostento la NATO nell’operazione Poseidon.

      Al di fuori dell’Europa, la Libia, il Marocco, la Tunisia e la Turchia utilizzano delle imbarcazioni Damen per la sicurezza delle frontiere, spesso in collaborazione con l’UE o i suoi Stati membri. Per esempio, le sei navi Damen che la Turchia ha comprato per la sua guardia costiera nel 2006, per un totale di 20 milioni di euro, sono state finanziate attraverso lo strumento europeo che contribuirebbe alla stabilità e alla pace (IcSP), destinato a mantenere la pace e a prevenire i conflitti.

      La vendita di imbarcazioni Damen alla Libia mette in evidenza l’inquietante costo umano di questo commercio. Nel 2012, Damen ha fornito quattro imbarcazioni di pattugliamento alla guardia costiera libica, che sono state vendute come equipaggiamento civile col fine di evitare la licenza di esportazione di armi nei Paesi Bassi. I ricercatori hanno poi scoperto che non solo le imbarcazioni erano state vendute con dei punti di fissaggio per le armi, ma che erano state in seguito armate ed utilizzate per fermare le imbarcazioni di rifugiati. Numerosi incidenti che hanno implicato queste imbarcazioni sono stati segnalati, tra i quali l’annegamento di 20 o 30 rifugiati. Damen si è rifiutata di commentare, dichiarando di aver convenuto col governo libico di non divulgare alcuna informazione riguardante le imbarcazioni.

      Numerosi costruttori navali nazionali, oltre a Damen, giocano un ruolo determinante nelle operizioni marittime poiché sono sistematicamente scelti con priorità dai paesi partecipanti a ogni operazione di Frontex o ad altre operazioni nel Mediterraneo. Tutte le imbarcazioni fornite dall’Italia all’operazione Sophia sono state costruite da Fincantieri e tutte quelle spagnole sono fornite da Navantia e dai suoi predecessori. Allo stesso modo, la Francia si rifornisce da DCN/DCNS, ormai Naval Group, e tutte le imbarcazioni tedesche sono state costruite da diversi cantieri navali tedeschi (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, HDW, Lürssen Gruppe). Altre imprese hanno partecipato alle operazioni di Frontex, tra cui la società greca Motomarine Shipyards, che ha prodotto i pattugliatori rapidi Panther 57 utilizzati dalla guardia costiera greca, così come la Hellenic Shipyards e la Israel Shipyards.

      La società austriaca Schiebel, che fornisce i droni S-100, gioca un ruolo importante nella sorveglianza aerea delle attività marittime. Nel novembre 2018, è stata selezionata dall’EMSA per un contratto di sorveglianza marittima di 24 milioni di euro riguardante differenti operazioni che includevano la sicurezza delle frontiere. Dal 2017, Schiebel ha ugualmente ottenuto dei contratti con la Croazia, la Danimarca, l’Islanda, l’Italia, il Portogallo e la Spagna. L’impresa ha un passato controverso: ha venduto dei droni a numerosi paesi in conflitto armato o governati da regimi repressivi come la Libia, il Myanmar, gli Emirati Arabi Uniti e lo Yemen.

      La Finlandia e i Paesi Bassi hanno impiegato degli aerei Dornier rispettivamente nel quadro delle operazioni Hermès, Poseidon e Triton. Dornier appartiene ormai alla filiale americana della società di armamenti israeliana Elbit Systems.
      CAE Aviation (Lussemburgo), DEA Aviation (Regno Unito) e EASP Air (Paesi Bassi) hanno tutte ottenuto dei contratti di sorveglianza aerea per Frontex.
      Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Leonardo e l’americana Lockheed Martin hanno fornito il più grande numero di aerei utilizzati per l’operazione Sophia.

      L’UE e i suoi Stati membri difendono le loro operazioni marittime pubblicizzando il loro ruolo nel salvataggio dei rifugiati in mare. Ma non è questo il loro obiettivo principale, come sottolinea il direttore di Frontex Fabrice Leggeri nell’aprile 2015, dichiarando che “le azioni volontarie di ricerca e salvataggio” non fanno parte del mandato affidato a Frontex, e che salvare delle vite non dovrebbe essere una priorità. La criminalizzazione delle operazioni di salvataggio da parte delle ONG, gli ostacoli che esse incontrano, così come la violenza e i respingimenti illegali dei rifugiati, spesso denunciati, illustrano bene il fatto che queste operazioni marittime sono volte soprattutto a costituire muri piuttosto che missioni umanitarie.
      I muri virtuali

      I principali contratti dell’UE legati ai muri virtuali sono stati affidati a due imprese, a volte in quanto leader di un consorzio.
      Sopra Steria è il partner principale per lo sviluppo e il mantenimento del Sistema d’informazione dei visti (SIV), del Sistema di informazione Schengen (SIS II) e di Eurodac (European Dactyloscopy) e GMV ha firmato una serie di contratti per Eurosur. I sistemi che essi concepiscono permettono di controllare e di sorvegliare i movimenti delle persone attraverso l’Europa e, sempre più spesso, al di là delle sue frontiere.

      Sopra Steria è un’impresa francese di servizi per consultazioni in tecnologia che ha, ad oggi, ottenuto dei contratti con l’UE per un valore totale di più di 150 milioni di euro. Nel quadro di alcuni di questi grossi contratti, Sopra Steria ha formato dei consorzi con HP Belgio, Bull e 3M Belgio.

      Malgrado l’ampiezza di questi mercati, Sopra Steria ha ricevuto importanti critiche per la sua mancanza di rigore nel rispetto delle tempistiche e dei budget. Il lancio di SIS II è stato costantemente ritardato, costringendo la Commissione a prolungare i contratti e ad aumentare i budget. Sopra Steria aveva ugualmente fatto parte di un altro consorzio, Trusted Borders, impegnato nello sviluppo del programma e-Borders nel Regno Unito. Quest’ultimo è terminato nel 2010 dopo un accumulo di ritardi e di mancate consegne. Tuttavia, la società ha continuato a ottenere contratti, a causa del suo quasi monopolio di conoscenze e di relazioni con i rappresentanti dell’UE. Il ruolo centrale di Sopra Steria nello sviluppo dei sistemi biometrici dell’UE ha ugualmente portato alla firma di altri contratti nazionali con, tra gli altri, il Belgio, la Bulgaria, la Repubblica ceca, la Finlandia, la Francia, la Germania, la Romania e la Slovenia.

      GMV, un’impresa tecnologica spagnola, ha concluso una serie di grossi contratti per Eurosur, dopo la sua fase sperimentale nel 2010, per almeno 25 milioni di euro. Essa rifornisce ugualmente di tecnologie la Guardia Civil spagnola, tecnologie quali, ad esempio, i centri di controllo del suo Sistema integrato di sorveglianza esterna (SIVE), sistema di sicurezza delle frontiere, così come rifornisce di servizi di sviluppo logistico Frontex. L’impresa ha partecipato ad almeno dieci progetti di ricerca finanziati dall’UE sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      La maggior parte dei grossi contratti riguardanti i muri virtuali che non sono stati conclusi con consorzi di cui facesse parte Sopra Steria, sono stati attribuiti da eu-LISA (l’Agenzia europea per la gestione operazionale dei sistemi di informazione su vasta scale in seno allo spazio di libertà, di sicurezza e di giustizia) a dei consorzi di imprese specializzate nell’informazione e nelle nuove tecnologie, tra questi: Accenture, Atos Belgium e Morpho (rinominato Idemia).
      Lobby

      Come testimonia il nostro report “Border Wars”, il settore della difesa e della sicurezza, grazie ad una lobbying efficace, ha un’influenza considerabile nell’elaborazione delle politiche di difesa e di sicurezza dell’UE. Le imprese di questo settore industriale sono riuscite a posizionarsi come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, portando avanti il loro discorso secondo il quale la migrazione è prima di tutto una minaccia per la sicurezza che deve essere combattuta tramite mezzi militari e securitari. Questo crea così una domanda continua del catalogo sempre più fornito di equipaggiamenti e servizi che esse forniscono per la sicurezza e il controllo delle frontiere.

      Un numero alto di imprese che abbiamo nominato, in particolare le grandi società di armamenti, fanno parte dell’EOS (Organizzazione europea per la sicurezza), il più importante gruppo di pressione sulla sicurezza delle frontiere.

      Molte imprese informatiche che hanno concepito i muri virtuali dell’UE sono membri dell’EAB (Associazione Europea per la Biometria). L’EOS ha un “Gruppo di lavoro sulla sicurezza integrata delle frontiere” per “permettere lo sviluppo e l’adozione delle migliori soluzioni tecnologiche per la sicurezza delle frontiere sia ai checkpoint che lungo le frontiere marittime e terrestri”.
      Il gruppo di lavoro è presieduto da Giorgio Gulienetti, della società di armi italiana Leonardo, Isto Mattila (diplomato all’università di scienze applicate) e Peter Smallridge di Gemalto, multinazionale specializzata nella sicurezza numerica, recentemente acquisita da Thales.

      I lobbisti di imprese e i rappresentanti di questi gruppi di pressione incontrano regolarmente le istituzioni dell’UE, tra cui la Commissione europea, nel quadro di comitati di consiglio ufficiali, pubblicano proposte influenti, organizzano incontri tra il settore industriale, i policy-makers e i dirigenti e si ritrovano allo stesso modo in tutti i saloni, le conferenze e i seminari sulla difesa e la sicurezza.

      Airbus, Leonardo e Thales e l’EOS hanno anche assistito a 226 riunioni ufficiali di lobby con la Commissione europea tra il 2014 e il 2019. In queste riunioni, i rappresentanti del settore si presentano come esperti della sicurezza delle frontiere, e propongono i loro prodotti e servizi come soluzione alle “minacce alla sicurezza” costituite dall’immigrazione. Nel 2017, queste stesse imprese e l’EOS hanno speso fino a 2,56 milioni di euro in lobbying.

      Si constata una relazione simile per quanto riguarda i muri virtuali: il Centro comune della ricerca della Commissione europea domanda apertamente che le politiche pubbliche favoriscano “l’emergenza di una industria biometrica europea dinamica”.
      Un business mortale, una scelta

      La conclusione di questa inchiesta sul business dell’innalzamento di muri è chiara: la presenza di un’Europa piena di muri si rivela molto fruttuosa per una larga fetta di imprese del settore degli armamenti, della difesa, dell’informatica, del trasporto marittimo e delle imprese di costruzioni. I budget che l’UE ha pianificato per la sicurezza delle frontiere nei prossimi dieci anni mostrano che si tratta di un commercio che continua a prosperare.

      Si tratta altresì di un commercio mortale. A causa della vasta militarizzazione delle frontiere dell’Europa sulla terraferma e in mare, i rifugiati e i migranti intraprendono dei percorsi molto più pericolosi e alcuni si trovano anche intrappolati in terribili condizioni in paesi limitrofi come la Libia. Non vengono registrate tutte le morti, ma quelle che sono registrate nel Mediterraneo mostrano che il numero di migranti che annegano provando a raggiungere l’Europa continua ad aumentare ogni anno.

      Questo stato di cose non è inevitabile. È il risultato sia di decisioni politiche prese dall’UE e dai suoi Stati membri, sia dalle decisioni delle imprese di trarre profitto da queste politiche. Sono rare le imprese che prendono posizione, come il produttore tedesco di filo spinato Mutinox che ha dichiarato nel 2015 che non avrebbe venduto i suoi prodotti al governo ungherese per il seguente motivo: “I fili spinati sono concepiti per impedire atti criminali, come il furto. Dei rifugiati, bambini e adulti, non sono dei criminali”.

      È tempo che altri politici e capi d’impresa riconoscano questa stessa verità: erigere muri contro le popolazioni più vulnerabili viola i diritti umani e costituisce un atto immorale che sarà evidentemente condannato dalla storia.

      Trent’anni dopo la caduta del muro di Berlino, è tempo che l’Europa abbatta i suoi nuovi muri.

      https://www.meltingpot.org/La-costruzione-di-muri-un-business.html

    • How the arms industry drives Fortress Europe’s expansion

      In recent years, rising calls for deterrence have intensified the physical violence migrants face at the EU border. The externalization of the border through deals with sending and transit countries signals the expansion of this securitization process. Financial gains by international arms firms in this militarization trend form an obstacle for policy change.

      In March, April, and May of this year, multiple European countries deployed military forces to their national borders. This was done to assist with controls and patrols in the wake of border closures and other movement restrictions due to the Covid-19 crisis. Poland deployed 1,460 soldiers to the border to support the Border Guard and police as part of a larger military operation in reaction to Covid-19. And the Portuguese police used military drones as a complement to their land border checks. According to overviews from NATO, the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands (military police), Slovakia, and Slovenia all stationed armed forces at their national borders.

      While some of these deployments have been or will be rolled back as the Corona crisis dies down, they are not exceptional developments. Rather, using armed forces for border security and control has been a common occurrence at EU external borders since the so-called refugee crisis of 2015. They are part of the continuing militarisation of European border and migration policies, which is known to put refugees at risk but is increasingly being expanded to third party countries. Successful lobbying from the military and security industry has been an important driver for these policies, from which large European arms companies have benefited.

      The militarization of borders happens when EU member states send armies to border regions, as they did in Operation Sophia off the Libyan coast. This was the first outright EU military mission to stop migration. But border militarization also includes the use of military equipment for migration control, such as helicopters and patrol vessels, as well as the the EU-wide surveillance system Eurosur, which connects surveillance data from all individual member states. Furthermore, EU countries now have over 1,000 kilometers of walls and fences on their borders. These are rigged with surveillance, monitoring, and detection technologies, and accompanied by an increasing use of drones and other autonomous systems. The EU also funds a constant stream of Research & Technology (R&T) projects to develop new technologies and services to monitor and manage migration.

      This process has been going on for decades. The Schengen Agreement of 1985, and the subsequent creation of the Schengen Area, which coupled the opening of the internal EU borders with robust control at the external borders, can be seen as a starting point for these developments. After 2011, when the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ led to fears of mass migration to Europe, and especially since the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the EU accelerated the boosting and militarising of border security, enormously. Since then, stopping migration has been at the top of the EU agenda.

      An increasingly important part of the process of border militarization isn’t happening at the European borders, but far beyond them. The EU and its member states are incentivizing third party countries to help stop migrants long before they reach Europe. This externalising of borders has taken many forms, from expanding the goals of EUCAP missions in Mali and Niger to include the prevention of irregular migration, to funding and training the Libyan Coast Guard to return refugees back to torture and starvation in the infamous detention centers in Libya. It also includes the donation of border security equipment, for example from Germany to Tunisia, and funding for purchases, such as Turkey’s acquisition of coast guard vessels to strengthen its operational capacities.

      Next to the direct consequences of European border externalisation efforts, these policies cause and worsen problems in the third party countries concerned: diverting development funds and priorities, ruining migration-based economies, and strengthening authoritarian regimes such as those in Chad, Belarus, Eritrea, and Sudan by providing funding, training and equipment to their military and security forces. Precisely these state organs are most responsible for repression and abuses of human rights. All this feeds drivers of migration, including violence, repression, and unemployment. As such, it is almost a guarantee for more refugees in the future.

      EU border security agency Frontex has also extended its operations into non-EU-countries. Ongoing negotiations and conclusions of agreements with Balkan countries resulted in the first operation in Albania having started in May 2019. And this is only a small part of Frontex’ expanding role in recent years. In response to the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the European Commission launched a series of proposals that saw large increases in the powers of the agency, including giving member states binding advice to boost their border security, and giving Frontex the right to intervene in member states’ affairs (even without their consent) by decision of the Commission or Council.

      These proposals also included the creation of a 10,000 person strong standing corps of border guards and a budget to buy or lease its own equipment. Concretely, Frontex started with a budget of €6 million in 2005, which grew to €143 million in 2015. This was then quickly increased again from €239 million in 2016 to €460 million in 2020. The enormous expansion of EU border security and control has been accompanied by rapidly increasing budgets in general. In recent years, billions of euros have been spent on fortifying borders, setting up biometric databases, increasing surveillance capacities, and paying non-EU-countries to play their parts in this expansion process.

      Negotiations about the next seven-year-budget for the EU, the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, are still ongoing. In the European Commission’s latest proposal, which is clearly positioned as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund for strengthening member states’ border security, the Integrated Border Management Fund, has been allotted €12.5 billion. Its predecessors, the External Borders Fund (2007-2013) and the Internal Security Fund – Borders (2014-2020), had much smaller budgets: €1.76 billion and €2.70 billion, respectively. For Frontex, €7.5 billion is reserved, with €2.2 billion earmarked for purchasing or leasing equipment such as helicopters, drones, and patrol vessels. These huge budget increases are exemplary of the priority the EU attaches to stopping migration.

      The narrative underlying these policies and budget growths is the perception of migration as a threat; a security problem. As researcher, Ainhoa Ruiz (Centre Delàs) writes, “the securitisation process also includes militarisation,” because “the prevailing paradigm for providing security is based on military principles: the use of force and coercion, more weapons equating to more security, and the achievement of security by eliminating threats.”

      This narrative hasn’t come out of the blue. It is pushed by right wing politicians and often followed by centrist and leftist parties afraid of losing voters. Importantly, it is also promoted by an extensive and successful industrial lobby. According to Martin Lemberg-Pedersen (Assistant Professor in Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University), arms companies “establish themselves as experts on border security, and use this position to frame immigration to Europe as leading to evermore security threats in need of evermore advanced [security] products.” The narrative of migration as a security problem thus sets the stage for militaries, and the security companies behind the commercial arms lobby, to offer their goods and services as the solution. The range of militarization policies mentioned so far reflects the broad adoption of this narrative.

      The lobby organizations of large European military and security companies regularly interact with the European Commission and EU border agencies. They have meetings, organise roundtables, and see each other at military and security fairs and conferences. Industry representatives also take part in official advisory groups, are invited to present new arms and technologies, and write policy proposals. These proposals can sometimes be so influential that they are adopted as policy, almost unamended.

      This happened, for instance, when the the Commission decided to open up the Instrument contributing to Security and Peace, a fund meant for peace-building and conflict prevention. The fund’s terms were expanded to cover provision of third party countries with non-lethal security equipment, for example, for border security purposes. The new policy document for this turned out to be a step-by-step reproduction of an earlier proposal from lobby organisation, Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD). Yet, perhaps the most far-reaching success of this kind is the expansion of Frontex, itself, into a European Border Guard. Years before it actually happened, the industry had already been pushing for this outcome.

      The same companies that are at the forefront of the border security and control lobby are, not surprisingly, also the big winners of EU and member states’ contracts in these areas. These include three of the largest European (and global) arms companies, namely, Airbus (Paneuropean), Leonardo (Italy) and Thales (France). These companies are active in many aspects of the border security and control market. Airbus’ and Leonardo’s main product in this field are helicopters, with EU funds paying for many purchases by EU and third countries. Thales provides radar, for example, for border patrol vessels, and is heavily involved in biometric and digital identification, especially after having acquired market leader, Gemalto, last year.

      These three companies are the main beneficiaries of the European anti-migration obsession. At the same time, these very three companies also contribute to new migration streams to Europe’s shores through their trade in arms. They are responsible for significant parts of Europe’s arms exports to countries at war, and they provide the arms used by parties in internal armed conflicts, by human rights violators, and by repressive regimes. These are the forces fueling the reasons for which people are forced to flee in the first place.

      Many other military and security companies also earn up to hundreds of millions of euros from large border security and control projects oriented around logistics and transport. Dutch shipbuilder Damen provided not only many southern European countries with border patrol vessels, but also controversially sold those to Libya and Turkey, among others. Its ships have also been used in Frontex operations, in Operation Sophia, and on the Channel between Calais and Dover.

      The Spanish company, European Security Fencing, provided razor wire for the fences around the Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in Morocco, as well as the fence at Calais and the fences on the borders of Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and Greece leased border surveillance drones from Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These are Israeli military companies that routinely promote their products as ‘combat-proven’ or ‘battlefield tested’ against Palestinians.

      Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe. These are just a few examples of the companies that benefit from the billions of euros that the EU and its member states spend on a broad range of purchases and projects in their bid to stop migration.

      The numbers of forcibly displaced people in the world grew to a staggering 79.5 million by the end of last year. Instead of helping to eliminate the root causes of migration, EU border and migration policies, as well as its arms exports to the rest of the world, are bound to lead to more refugees in the future. The consequences of these policies have already been devastating. As experts in the field of migration have repeatedly warned, the militarisation of borders primarily pushes migrants to take alternative migration routes that are often more dangerous and involve the risks of relying on criminal smuggling networks. The Mediterranean Sea has become a sad witness of this, turning into a graveyard for a growing percentage of refugees trying to cross it.

      The EU approach to border security doesn’t stand on its own. Many other countries, in particular Western ones and those with authoritarian leaders, follow the same narrative and policies. Governments all over the world, but particularly those in the US, Australia, and Europe, continue to spend billions of euros on border security and control equipment and services. And they plan to increase budgets even more in the coming years. For military and security companies, this is good news; the global border security market is expected to grow by over 7% annually for the next five years to a total of $65 billion in 2025. It looks like they will belong to the very few winners of increasingly restrictive policies targeting vulnerable people on the run.

      https://crisismag.net/2020/06/27/how-the-arms-industry-drives-fortress-europes-expansion
      #industrie_militaire #covid-19 #coronavirus #frontières_extérieures #Operation_Sophia #Eurosur #surveillance #drones #technologie #EUCAP #externalisation #Albanie #budget #Integrated_Border_Management_Fund #menace #lobby_industriel #Instrument_contributing_to_Security_and_Peace #conflits #paix #prévention_de_conflits #Aerospace_and_Defence_Industries_Association_of_Europe (#ASD) #Airbus #Leonardo #Thales #hélicoptères #radar #biométrie #identification_digitale #Gemalto #commerce_d'armes #armement #Damen #European_Security_Fencing #barbelé #European_Maritime_Safety_Agency (#EMSA) #Elbit #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI) #Civipol #Safran #base_de_données

      –—

      Pour @etraces :

      Civipol, a French public-private company owned by the state, and several large arms producers (including Thales, Airbus, and Safran), run a string of EU-/member state-funded border security projects in third party countries. This includes setting up fingerprint databases of the whole populations of Mali and Senegal, which facilitates identification and deportation of their nationals from Europe

    • GUARDING THE FORTRESS. The role of Frontex in the militarisation and securitisation of migration flows in the European Union

      The report focuses on 19 Frontex operations run by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex) to explore how the agency is militarising borders and criminalising migrants, undermining fundamental rights to freedom of movement and the right to asylum.

      This report is set in a wider context in which more than 70.8 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced, according to the 2018 figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (UNHCR, 2019). Some of these have reached the borders of the European Union (EU), seeking protection and asylum, but instead have encountered policy responses that mostly aim to halt and intercept migration flows, against the background of securitisation policies in which the governments of EU Member States see migration as a threat. One of the responses to address migration flows is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (hereafter Frontex), established in 2004 as the EU body in charge of guarding what many have called ‘Fortress Europe’, and whose practices have helped to consolidate the criminalisation of migrants and the securitisation of their movements.

      The report focuses on analysing the tools deployed by Fortress Europe, in this case through Frontex, to prevent the freedom of movement and the right to asylum, from its creation in 2004 to the present day.

      The sources used to write this report were from the EU and Frontex, based on its budgets and annual reports. The analysis focused on the Frontex regulations, the language used and its meaning, as well as the budgetary trends, identifying the most significant items – namely, the joint operations and migrant-return operations.

      A table was compiled of all the joint operations mentioned in the annual reports since the Agency was established in 2005 up to 2018 (see annexes). The joint operations were found on government websites but were not mentioned in the Frontex annual reports. Of these operations, we analysed those of the longest duration, or that have showed recent signs of becoming long-term operations. The joint operations are analysed in terms of their objectives, area of action, the mandates of the personnel deployed, and their most noteworthy characteristics.

      Basically, the research sought to answer the following questions: What policies are being implemented in border areas and in what context? How does Frontex act in response to migration movements? A second objective was to analyse how Frontex securitises the movement of refugees and other migrants, with the aim of contributing to the analysis of the process of border militarisation and the security policies applied to non-EU migrants by the EU and its Member States.

      https://www.tni.org/en/guarding-the-fortress

      Pour télécharger le rapport_
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/informe40_eng_ok.pdf

      #rapport #TNI #Transnational_institute

    • #Frontex aircraft : Below the radar against international law

      For three years, Frontex has been chartering small aircraft for the surveillance of the EU’s external borders. First Italy was thus supported, then Croatia followed. Frontex keeps the planes details secret, and the companies also switch off the transponders for position display during operations.

      The European Commission does not want to make public which private surveillance planes Frontex uses in the Mediterranean. In the non-public answer to a parliamentary question, the EU border agency writes that the information on the aircraft is „commercially confidential“ as it contains „personal data and sensitive operational information“.

      Frontex offers EU member states the option of monitoring their external borders using aircraft. For this „Frontex Aerial Surveillance Service“ (FASS), Frontex charters twin-engined airplanes from European companies. Italy first made use of the service in 2017, followed a year later by Croatia. In 2018, Frontex carried out at least 1,800 flight hours under the FASS, no figures are yet available for 2019.

      Air service to be supplemented with #drones

      The FASS flights are carried out under the umbrella of „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, which includes satellite surveillance as well as drones. Before the end of this year, the border agency plans to station large drones in the Mediterranean for up to four years. The situation pictures of the European Union’s „pre-frontier area“ are fed into the surveillance system EUROSUR, whose headquarter is located at Frontex in Warsaw. The national EUROSUR contact points, for example in Spain, Portugal and Italy, also receive this information.

      In addition to private charter planes, Frontex also uses aircraft and helicopters provided by EU Member States, in the central Mediterranean via the „Themis“ mission. The EU Commission also keeps the call signs of the state aircraft operating there secret. They would be considered „sensitive operational information“ and could not be disclosed to MEPs.

      Previously, the FOIA platform „Frag den Staat“ („Ask the State“) had also tried to find out details about the sea and air capacities of the member states in „Themis“. Frontex refused to provide any information on this matter. „Frag den Staat“ lost a case against Frontex before the European Court of Justice and is now to pay 23,700 Euros to the agency for legal fees.

      Real-time tracking with FlightAware

      The confidentiality of Frontex comes as a surprise, because companies that monitor the Mediterranean for the agency are known through a tender. Frontex has signed framework contracts with the Spanish arms group Indra as well as the charter companies CAE Aviation (Canada), Diamond-Executive Aviation (Great Britain) and EASP Air (Netherlands). Frontex is spending up to 14.5 million euros each on the contracts.

      Finally, online service providers such as FlightAware can also be used to draw conclusions about which private and state airplanes are flying for Frontex in the Mediterranean. For real-time positioning, the providers use data from ADS-B transponders, which all larger aircraft must have installed. A worldwide community of non-commercial trackers receives this geodata and feeds it into the Internet. In this way, for example, Italian journalist Sergio Scandura documents practically all movements of Frontex aerial assets in the central Mediterranean.

      Among the aircraft tracked this way are the twin-engined „DA-42“, „DA-62“ and „Beech 350“ of Diamond-Executive Aviation, which patrol the Mediterranean Sea on behalf of Frontex as „Osprey1“, „Osprey3“ and „Tasty“, in former times also „Osprey2“ and „Eagle1“. They are all operated by Diamond-Executive Aviation and take off and land at airports in Malta and Sicily.

      „Push-backs“ become „pull-backs“

      In accordance with the Geneva Convention on Refugees, the EU Border Agency may not return people to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Libya is not a safe haven; this assessment has been reiterated on several occasions by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, among others.

      Because these „push-backs“ are prohibited, Frontex has since 2017 been helping with so-called „pull-backs“ by bringing refugees back to Libya by the Libyan coast guard rather than by EU units. With the „Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance“, Frontex is de facto conducting air reconnaissance for Libya. By November 2019, the EU border agency had notified Libyan authorities about refugee boats on the high seas in at least 42 cases.

      Many international law experts consider this practice illegal. Since Libya would not be able to track down the refugees without the help of Frontex, the agency must take responsibility for the refoulements. The lawyers Omer Shatz and Juan Branco therefore want to sue responsibles of the European Union before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

      Frontex watches refugees drown

      This is probably the reason why Frontex disguises the exact location of its air surveillance. Private maritime rescue organisations have repeatedly pointed out that Frontex aircrafts occasionally switch off their transponders so that they cannot be tracked via ADS-B. In the answer now available, this is confirmed by the EU Commission. According to this, the visibility of the aircraft would disclose „sensitive operational information“ and, in combination with other kinds of information, „undermine“ the operational objectives.

      The German Ministry of the Interior had already made similar comments on the Federal Police’s assets in Frontex missions, according to which „general tracking“ of their routes in real time would „endanger the success of the mission“.

      However, Frontex claims it did not issue instructions to online service providers to block the real-time position display of its planes, as journalist Scandura described. Nonetheless, the existing concealment of the operations only allows the conclusion that Frontex does not want to be controlled when the deployed aircraft watch refugees drown and Italy and Malta, as neighbouring EU member states, do not provide any assistance.

      https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/11/frontex-aircraft-blind-flight-against-international-law
      #avions #Italie #Croatie #confidentialité #transparence #Frontex_Aerial_Surveillance_Service (#FASS) #Multipurpose_Aerial_Surveillance #satellites #Méditerranée #Thermis #information_sensible #Indra #CAE_Aviation #Diamond-Executive_Aviation #EASP_Air #FlightAware #ADS-B #DA-42 #DA-62 #Beech_350 #Osprey1 #Osprey3 #Tasty #Osprey2 #Eagle1 #Malte #Sicile #pull-back #push-back #refoulement #Sergio_Scandura

    • Walls Must Fall: Ending the deadly politics of border militarisation - webinar recording
      This webinar explored the trajectory and globalization of border militarization and anti-migrant racism across the world, the history, ideologies and actors that have shaped it, the pillars and policies that underpin the border industrial complex, the resistance of migrants, refugees and activists, and the shifting dynamics within this pandemic.

      - #Harsha_Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism (2013)
      - #Jille_Belisario, Transnational Migrant Platform-Europe (TMP-E)
      - #Todd_Miller, author of Empire of Borders (2020), Storming the Wall (2019) and TNI’s report More than A Wall (2019)
      - #Kavita_Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).
      https://www.tni.org/en/article/walls-must-fall
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8B-cJ2bTi8&feature=emb_logo

      #conférence #webinar

    • Le business meurtrier des frontières

      Le 21ème siècle sera-t-il celui des barrières ? Probable, au rythme où les frontières nationales se renforcent. Dans un livre riche et documenté, publié aux éditions Syllepse, le géographe Stéphane Rosière dresse un indispensable état des lieux.

      Une nuit du mois de juin, dans un centre de rétention de l’île de Rhodes, la police grecque vient chercher une vingtaine de migrant·e·s, dont deux bébés. Après un trajet en bus, elle abandonne le groupe dans un canot de sauvetage sans moteur, au milieu des eaux territoriales turques. En août, le New York Times publie une enquête révélant que cette pratique, avec la combinaison de l’arrivée aux affaires du premier ministre conservateur Kyriakos Mitsotakis et de la diffusion de la pandémie de Covid-19, est devenue courante depuis mars.

      Illégales au regard du droit international, ces expulsions illustrent surtout le durcissement constant de la politique migratoire de l’Europe depuis 20 ans. Elles témoignent aussi d’un processus mondial de « pixellisation » des frontières : celles-ci ne se réduisent pas à des lignes mais à un ensemble de points plus ou moins en amont ou en aval (ports, aéroports, eaux territoriales…), où opèrent les polices frontalières.
      La fin de la fin des frontières

      Plus largement, le récent ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière, Frontières de fer, le cloisonnement du monde, permet de prendre la mesure d’un processus en cours de « rebordering » à travers le monde. À la fois synthèse des recherches récentes sur les frontières et résultats des travaux de l’auteur sur la résurgence de barrières frontalières, le livre est une lecture incontournable sur l’évolution contemporaine des frontières nationales.

      D’autant qu’il n’y a pas si longtemps, la mondialisation semblait promettre l’affaissement des frontières, dans la foulée de la disparition de l’Union soviétique et, corollairement, de la généralisation de l’économie de marché. La Guerre froide terminée annonçait la « fin de l’histoire » et, avec elle, la disparition des limites territoriales héritées de l’époque moderne. Au point de ringardiser, rappelle Stéphane Rosière, les études sur les frontières au sein de la géographie des années 1990, parallèlement au succès d’une valorisation tous azimuts de la mobilité dans le discours politique dominant comme dans les sciences sociales.

      Trente ans après, le monde se réveille avec 25 000 kilomètres de barrières frontalières – record pour l’Inde, avec plus de 3 000 kilomètres de clôtures pour prévenir l’immigration depuis le Bangladesh. Barbelés, murs de briques, caméras, détecteurs de mouvements, grilles électrifiées, les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier fleurissent en continu sur les cinq continents.
      L’âge des « murs anti-pauvres »

      La contradiction n’est qu’apparente. Les barrières du 21e siècle ne ferment pas les frontières mais les cloisonnent – d’où le titre du livre. C’est-à-dire que l’objectif n’est pas de supprimer les flux mondialisés – de personnes et encore moins de marchandises ni de capitaux – mais de les contrôler. Les « teichopolitiques », terme qui recouvre, pour Stéphane Rosière, les politiques de cloisonnement de l’espace, matérialisent un « ordre mondial asymétrique et coercitif », dans lequel on valorise la mobilité des plus riches tout en assignant les populations pauvres à résidence.

      De fait, on observe que les barrières frontalières redoublent des discontinuités économiques majeures. Derrière l’argument de la sécurité, elles visent à contenir les mouvements migratoires des régions les plus pauvres vers des pays mieux lotis économiquement : du Mexique vers les États-Unis, bien sûr, ou de l’Afrique vers l’Europe, mais aussi de l’Irak vers l’Arabie Saoudite ou du Pakistan vers l’Iran.

      Les dispositifs de contrôle frontalier sont des outils parmi d’autres d’une « implacable hiérarchisation » des individus en fonction de leur nationalité. Comme l’a montré le géographe Matthew Sparke à propos de la politique migratoire nord-américaine, la population mondiale se trouve divisée entre une classe hypermobile de citoyen·ne·s « business-class » et une masse entravée de citoyen·ne·s « low-cost ». C’est le sens du « passport index » publié chaque année par le cabinet Henley : alors qu’un passeport japonais ou allemand donne accès à plus de 150 pays, ce chiffre descend en-dessous de 30 avec un passeport afghan ou syrien.
      Le business des barrières

      Si les frontières revêtent une dimension économique, c’est aussi parce qu’elles sont un marché juteux. À l’heure où les pays européens ferment des lits d’hôpital faute de moyens, on retiendra ce chiffre ahurissant : entre 2005 et 2016, le budget de Frontex, l’agence en charge du contrôle des frontières de l’Union européenne, est passé de 6,3 à 238,7 millions d’euros. À quoi s’ajoutent les budgets colossaux débloqués pour construire et entretenir les barrières – budgets entourés d’opacité et sur lesquels, témoigne l’auteur, il est particulièrement difficile d’enquêter, faute d’obtenir… des fonds publics.

      L’argent public alimente ainsi une « teichoéconomie » dont les principaux bénéficiaires sont des entreprises du BTP et de la sécurité européennes, nord-américaines, israéliennes et, de plus en plus, indiennes ou saoudiennes. Ce complexe sécuritaro-industriel, identifié par Julien Saada, commercialise des dispositifs de surveillance toujours plus sophistiqués et prospère au rythme de l’inflation de barrières entre pays, mais aussi entre quartiers urbains.

      Un business d’autant plus florissant qu’il s’auto-entretient, dès lors que les mêmes entreprises vendent des armes. On sait que les ventes d’armes, alimentant les guerres, stimulent les migrations : un « cercle vertueux » s’enclenche pour les entreprises du secteur, appelées à la rescousse pour contenir des mouvements de population qu’elles participent à encourager.
      « Mourir aux frontières »

      Bénéfices juteux, profits politiques, les barrières font des heureux. Elles tuent aussi et l’ouvrage de Stéphane Rosière se termine sur un décompte macabre. C’est, dit-il, une « guerre migratoire » qui est en cours. Guerre asymétrique, elle oppose la police armée des puissances économiques à des groupes le plus souvent désarmés, venant de périphéries dominées économiquement et dont on entend contrôler la mobilité. Au nom de la souveraineté des États, cette guerre fait plusieurs milliers de victimes par an et la moindre des choses est de « prendre la pleine mesure de la létalité contemporaine aux frontières ».

      Sur le blog :

      – Une synthèse sur les murs frontaliers : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/01/28/lamour-des-murs

      – Le compte rendu d’un autre livre incontournable sur les frontières : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2019/08/03/frontieres-en-mouvement

      – Une synthèse sur les barricades à l’échelle intraurbaine : http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/10/21/gated-communities-le-paradis-entre-quatre-murs

      http://geographiesenmouvement.blogs.liberation.fr/2020/11/05/le-business-meurtrier-des-frontieres

    • How Private Security Firms Profit Off the Refugee Crisis

      The UK has pumped money to corporations turning #Calais into a bleak fortress.

      Tall white fences lined with barbed wire – welcome to Calais. The city in northern France is an obligatory stop for anyone trying to reach the UK across the channel. But some travellers are more welcome than others, and in recent decades, a slew of private security companies have profited millions of pounds off a very expensive – an unattractive – operation to keep migrants from crossing.

      Every year, thousands of passengers and lorries take the ferry at the Port of Calais-Fréthun, a trading route heavily relied upon by the UK for imports. But the entrance to the port looks more like a maximum-security prison than your typical EU border. Even before Brexit, the UK was never part of the Schengen area, which allows EU residents to move freely across 26 countries. For decades, Britain has strictly controlled its southern border in an attempt to stop migrants and asylum seekers from entering.

      As early as 2000, the Port of Calais was surrounded by a 2.8 metre-high fence to prevent people from jumping into lorries waiting at the ferry departure point. In 1999, the Red Cross set up a refugee camp in the nearby town of Sangatte which quickly became overcrowded. The UK pushed for it to be closed in 2002 and then negotiated a treaty with France to regulate migration between the two countries.

      The 2003 Le Toquet Treaty allowed the UK to check travellers on French soil before their arrival, and France to do the same on UK soil. Although the deal looks fair on paper, in practice it unduly burdens French authorities, as there are more unauthorised migrants trying to reach the UK from France than vice versa.

      The treaty effectively moved the UK border onto French territory, but people still need to cross the channel to request asylum. That’s why thousands of refugees from conflict zones like Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia have found themselves stranded in Calais, waiting for a chance to cross illegally – often in search of family members who’ve already made it to the UK. Many end up paying people smugglers to hide them in lorries or help them cross by boat.

      These underlying issues came to a head during the Syrian crisis, when refugees began camping out near Calais in 2014. The so-called Calais Jungle became infamous for its squalid conditions, and at its peak, hosted more than 7,000 people. They were all relocated to other centres in France before the camp was bulldozed in 2016. That same year, the UK also decided to build a €2.7 million border wall in Calais to block access to the port from the camp, but the project wasn’t completed until after the camp was cleared, attracting a fair deal of criticism. Between 2015 and 2018, the UK spent over €110 million on border security in France, only to top it up with over €56 million more in 2018.

      But much of this public money actually flows into the accounts of private corporations, hired to build and maintain the high-tech fences and conduct security checks. According to a 2020 report by the NGO Care4Calais, there are more than 40 private security companies working in the city. One of the biggest, Eamus Cork Solutions (ECS), was founded by a former Calais police officer in 2004 and is reported to have benefited at least €30 million from various contracts as of 2016.

      Stéphane Rosière, a geography professor at the University of Reims, wrote his book Iron Borders (only available in French) about the many border walls erected around the world. Rosière calls this the “security-industrial” complex – private firms that have largely replaced the traditional military-industrial sector in Europe since WW2.

      “These companies are getting rich by making security systems adaptable to all types of customers – individuals, companies or states,” he said. According to Rosière, three-quarters of the world’s border security barriers were built in the 21st century.

      Brigitte, a pensioner living close to the former site of the Calais Jungle, has seen her town change drastically over the past two decades. “Everything is cordoned off with wire mesh," she said. "I have the before and after photos, and it’s not a pretty sight. It’s just wire, wire, wire.” For the past 15 years, Brigitte has been opening her garage door for asylum seekers to stop by for a cup of tea and charge their phones and laptops, earning her the nickname "Mama Charge”.

      “For a while, the purpose of these fences and barriers was to stop people from crossing,” said François Guennoc, president of L’Auberge des Migrants, an NGO helping displaced migrants in Calais.

      Migrants have still been desperate enough to try their luck. “They risked a lot to get into the port area, and many of them came back bruised and battered,” Guennoc said. Today, walls and fences are mainly being built to deter people from settling in new camps near Calais after being evicted.

      In the city centre, all public squares have been fenced off. The city’s bridges have been fitted with blue lights and even with randomly-placed bike racks, so people won’t sleep under them.

      “They’ve also been cutting down trees for some time now,” said Brigitte, pointing to a patch near her home that was once woods. Guennoc said the authorities are now placing large rocks in areas where NGOs distribute meals and warm clothes, to prevent displaced people from receiving the donations. “The objective of the measures now is also to make the NGOs’ work more difficult,” he said.

      According to the NGO Refugee Rights Europe, about 1,500 men, women and minors were living in makeshift camps in and around Calais as of April 2020. In July 2020, French police raided a camp of over 500 people, destroying residents’ tents and belongings, in the largest operation since the Calais Jungle was cleared. An investigation by Slate found that smaller camps are cleared almost every day by the French police, even in the middle of winter. NGOs keep providing new tents and basic necessities to displaced residents, but they are frustrated by the waste of resources. The organisations are also concerned about COVID-19 outbreaks in the camps.

      As VICE World News has previously reported, the crackdown is only pushing people to take more desperate measures to get into the UK. Boat crossings reached record-highs in 2020, and four people have died since August 2020 while trying to cross, by land and sea. “When you create an obstacle, people find a way to get around it,” Guennoc said. “If they build a wall all the way along the coast to prevent boat departures, people will go to Normandy – and that has already started.” Crossing the open sea puts migrants at even greater risk.

      Rosière agrees security measures are only further endangering migrants.“All locks eventually open, no matter how complex they may be. It’s just a matter of time.”

      He believes the only parties who stand to profit from the status quo are criminal organisations and private security firms: “At the end of the day, this a messed-up use of public money.”

      https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx8yax/how-private-security-firms-profit-off-the-refugee-crisis

      En français:
      À Calais, la ville s’emmure
      https://www.vice.com/fr/article/wx8yax/a-calais-la-ville-semmure

    • Financing Border Wars. The border industry, its financiers and human rights

      This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.

      Executive summary

      Migration will be one of the defining human rights issues of the 21st century. The growing pressures to migrate combined with the increasingly militarised state security response will only exacerbate an already desperate situation for refugees and migrants. Refugees already live in a world where human rights are systematically denied. So as the climate crisis deepens and intersects with other economic and political crises, forcing more people from their homes, and as states retreat to ever more authoritarian security-based responses, the situation for upholding and supporting migrants’ rights looks ever bleaker.

      States, most of all those in the richest countries, bear the ultimate responsibility to uphold the human rights of refugees and migrants recognised under International Human Rights Law. Yet corporations are also deeply implicated. It is their finance, their products, their services, their infrastructure that underpins the structures of state migration and border control. In some cases, they are directly involved in human rights violations themselves; in other cases they are indirectly involved as they facilitate the system that systematically denies refugees and migrants their rights. Most of all, through their lobbying, involvement in government ‘expert’ groups, revolving doors with state agencies, it becomes clear that corporations are not just accidental beneficiaries of the militarisation of borders. Rather they actively shape the policies from which they profit and therefore share responsibility for the human rights violations that result.

      This state-corporate fusion is best described as a Border Industrial Complex, drawing on former US President Eisenhower’s warning of the dangers of a Military-Industrial Complex. Indeed it is noticeable that many of the leading border industries today are also military companies, seeking to diversify their security products to a rapidly expanding new market.

      This report seeks to explore and highlight the extent of today’s global border security industry, by focusing on the most important geographical markets—Australia, Europe, USA—listing the human rights violations and risks involved in each sector of the industry, profiling important corporate players and putting a spotlight on the key investors in each company.
      A booming industry

      The border industry is experiencing spectacular growth, seemingly immune to austerity or economic downturns. Market research agencies predict annual growth of the border security market of between 7.2% and 8.6%, reaching a total of $65–68 billion by 2025. The largest expansion is in the global Biometrics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) markets. Markets and Markets forecasts the biometric systems market to double from $33 billion in 2019 to $65.3 billion by 2024—of which biometrics for migration purposes will be a significant sector. It says that the AI market will equal US$190.61 billion by 2025.

      The report investigates five key sectors of the expanding industry: border security (including monitoring, surveillance, walls and fences), biometrics and smart borders, migrant detention, deportation, and audit and consultancy services. From these sectors, it profiles 23 corporations as significant actors: Accenture, Airbus, Booz Allen Hamilton, Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Deloitte, Elbit, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, IBM, IDEMIA, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Mitie, Palantir, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Serco, Sopra Steria, Thales, Thomson Reuters, Unisys.

      – The border security and control field, the technological infrastructure of security and surveillance at the border, is led by US, Australian, European and Israeli firms including Airbus, Elbit, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Leonardo and Thales— all of which are among the world’s major arms sellers. They benefit not only from border contracts within the EU, US, and Australia but also increasingly from border externalisation programmes funded by these same countries. Jean Pierre Talamoni, head of sales and marketing at Airbus Defence and Space (ADS), said in 2016 that he estimates that two thirds of new military market opportunities over the next 10 years will be in Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Companies are also trying to muscle in on providing the personnel to staff these walls, including border guards.

      - The Smart Borders sector encompasses the use of a broad range of (newer) technologies, including biometrics (such as fingerprints and iris-scans), AI and phone and social media tracking. The goal is to speed up processes for national citizens and other acceptable travellers and stop or deport unwanted migrants through the use of more sophisticated IT and biometric systems. Key corporations include large IT companies, such as IBM and Unisys, and multinational services company Accenture for whom migration is part of their extensive portfolio, as well as small firms, such as IDEMIA and Palantir Technologies, for whom migration-related work is central. The French public–private company Civipol, co-owned by the state and several large French arms companies, is another key player, selected to set up fingerprint databases of the whole population of Mali and Senegal.

      – Deportation. With the exception of the UK and the US, it is uncommon to privatise deportation. The UK has hired British company Mitie for its whole deportation process, while Classic Air Charter dominates in the US. Almost all major commercial airlines, however, are also involved in deportations. Newsweek reported, for example, that in the US, 93% of the 1,386 ICE deportation flights to Latin American countries on commercial airlines in 2019 were facilitated by United Airlines (677), American Airlines (345) and Delta Airlines (266).

      - Detention. The Global Detention Project lists over 1,350 migrant detention centres worldwide, of which over 400 are located in Europe, almost 200 in the US and nine in Australia. In many EU countries, the state manages detention centres, while in other countries (e.g. Australia, UK, USA) there are completely privatised prisons. Many other countries have a mix of public and private involvement, such as state facilities with private guards. Australia outsourced refugee detention to camps outside its territories. Australian service companies Broadspectrum and Canstruct International managed the detention centres, while the private security companies G4S, Paladin Solutions and Wilson Security were contracted for security services, including providing guards. Migrant detention in third countries is also an increasingly important part of EU migration policy, with the EU funding construction of migrant detention centres in ten non-EU countries.

      - Advisory and audit services are a more hidden part of public policies and practices, but can be influential in shaping new policies. A striking example is Civipol, which in 2003 wrote a study on maritime borders for the European Commission, which adopted its key policy recommendations in October 2003 and in later policy documents despite its derogatory language against refugees. Civipol’s study also laid foundations for later measures on border externalisation, including elements of the migration deal with Turkey and the EU’s Operation Sophia. Since 2003 Civipol has received funding for a large number of migration-related projects, especially in African countries. Between 2015 and 2017, it was the fourth most-funded organisation under the EU Trust Fund. Other prominent corporations in this sector include Eurasylum, as well as major international consultancy firms, particularly Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, for which migration-related work is part of their expansive portfolio.

      Financing the industry

      The markets for military and border control procurement are characterized by massively capital intensive investments and contracts, which would not be possible without the involvement of financial actors. Using data from marketscreener.com, the report shows that the world’s largest investment companies are also among the major shareholders in the border industry.

      – The Vanguard Group owns shares in 15 of the 17 companies, including over 15% of the shares of CoreCivic and GEO Group that manage private prisons and detention facilities.

      - Other important investors are Blackrock, which is a major shareholder in 11 companies, Capital Research and Management (part of the Capital Group), with shares in arms giants Airbus and Lockheed Martin, and State Street Global Advisors (SsgA), which owns over 15% of Lockheed Martin shares and is also a major shareholder in six other companies.

      - Although these giant asset management firms dominate, two of the profiled companies, Cobham and IDEMIA, are currently owned by the private equity firm Advent International. Advent specialises in buyouts and restructuring, and it seems likely that it will attempt to split up Cobham in the hope of making a profit by selling on the component companies to other owners.

      - In addition, three large European arms companies, Airbus, Thales and Leonardo, active in the border security market, are partly owned by the governments of the countries where they are headquartered.

      In all cases, therefore, the financing depends on our money. In the case of state ownership, through our taxes, and in terms of asset management funds, through the way individual savings, pension funds, insurance companies and university endowments are directly invested in these companies via the giant Asset Management Funds. This financing means that the border industry survives on at least the tacit approved use of the public’s funds which makes it vulnerable to social pressure as the human rights costs of the industry become ever more clear.
      Human rights and the border industry

      Universal human rights apply to every single human being, including refugees and migrants. While the International Bill of Human Rights provides the foundation, including defining universal rights that are important in the context of migration, such as the right to life, liberty and security of person, the right to freedom from torture or cruel or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and freedom from discrimination, there are other instruments such as the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention or Geneva Convention) of 1951 that are also relevant. There are also regional agreements, including the Organisation of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that play a role relevant to the countries that have ratified them.

      Yet despite these important and legally binding human rights agreements, the human rights situation for refugees and migrants has become ever more desperate. States frequently deny their rights under international law, such as the right to seek asylum or non-refoulement principles, or more general rights such as the freedom from torture, cruel or inhumane treatment. There is a gap with regard to effective legal means or grievance mechanisms to counter this or to legally enforce or hold to account states that fail to implement instruments such as the UDHR and the Refugee Convention of 1951. A Permanent Peoples Tribunal in 2019 even concluded that ‘taken together, the immigration and asylum policies and practices of the EU and its Member States constitute a total denial of the fundamental rights of people and migrants, and are veritable crimes against humanity’. A similar conclusion can be made of the US and Australian border and immigration regime.

      The increased militarisation of border security worldwide and state-sanctioned hostility toward migrants has had a deeply detrimental impact on the human rights of refugees and migrants.

      – Increased border security has led to direct violence against refugees, pushbacks with the risk of returning people to unsafe countries and inhumane circumstances (contravening the principle of non-refoulement), and a disturbing rise in avoidable deaths, as countries close off certain migration routes, forcing migrants to look for other, often more dangerous, alternatives and pushing them into the arms of criminal smuggling networks.

      – The increased use of autonomous systems of border security such as drones threaten new dangers related to human rights. There is already evidence that they push migrants to take more dangerous routes, but there is also concern that there is a gradual trend towards weaponized systems that will further threaten migrants’ lives.

      – The rise in deportations has threatened fundamental human rights including the right to family unity, the right to seek asylum, the right to humane treatment in detention, the right to due process, and the rights of children’. There have been many instances of violence in the course of deportations, sometimes resulting in death or permanent harm, against desperate people who try to do everything to prevent being deported. Moreover, deportations often return refugees to unsafe countries, where they face violence, persecution, discrimination and poverty.

      - The widespread detention of migrants also fundamentally undermines their human rights . There have been many reports of violence and neglect by guards and prison authorities, limited access to adequate legal and medical support, a lack of decent food, overcrowding and poor and unhealthy conditions. Privatisation of detention exacerbates these problems, because companies benefit from locking up a growing number of migrants and minimising costs.

      – The building of major migration databases such as EU’s Eurodac and SIS II, VIS gives rise to a range of human rights concerns, including issues of privacy, civil liberties, bias leading to discrimination—worsened by AI processes -, and misuse of collected information. Migrants are already subject to unprecedented levels of surveillance, and are often now treated as guinea pigs where even more intrusive technologies such as facial recognition and social media tracking are tried out without migrants consent.

      The trend towards externalisation of migration policies raises new concerns as it seeks to put the human costs of border militarisation beyond the border and out of public sight. This has led to the EU, US and Australia all cooperating with authoritarian regimes to try and prevent migrants from even getting close to their borders. Moreover as countries donate money, equipment or training to security forces in authoritarian regimes, they end up expanding and strengthening their capacities which leads to a rise in human rights violations more broadly. Nowhere are the human rights consequences of border externalisation policies clearer than in the case of Libya, where the EU and individual member states (in particular Italy and Malta) funding, training and cooperation with security forces and militias have led to violence at the borders, murder, disappearances, rape, enslavement and abuse of migrants in the country and torture in detention centres.

      The 23 corporations profiled in this report have all been involved in or connected to policies and practices that have come under fire because of violations of the human rights of refugees and migrants. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the companies are directly responsible for human rights violations or concerns. In other cases, they are indirectly responsible through their contribution to a border infrastructure that denies human rights and through lobbying to influence policy-making to prioritize militarized responses to migration. 11 of the companies profiled publicly proclaim their commitment to human rights as signatories to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), but as these are weak voluntary codes this has not led to noticeable changes in their business operations related to migration.

      The most prominent examples of direct human rights abuses come from the corporations involved in detention and deportation. Classic Air Charter, Cobham, CoreCivic, Eurasylum, G4S, GEO Group, Mitie and Serco all have faced allegations of violence and abuse by their staff towards migrants. G4S has been one of the companies most often in the spotlight. In 2017, not only were assaults by its staff on migrants at the Brook House immigration removal centre in the UK broadcast by the BBC, but it was also hit with a class suit in Australia by almost 2,000 people who are or were detained at the externalised detention centre on Manus Island, because of physical and psychological injuries as a result of harsh treatment and dangerous conditions. The company eventually settled the case for A$70 million (about $53 million) in the largest-ever human rights class-action settlement. G4S has also faced allegations related to its involvement in deportations.

      The other companies listed all play a pivotal role in the border infrastructure that denies refugees’ human rights. Airbus P-3 Orion surveillance planes of the Australian Air Force, for example, play a part in the highly controversial maritime wall that prevents migrants arriving by boat and leads to their detention in terrible conditions offshore. Lockheed Martin is a leading supplier of border security on the US-Mexico border. Leonardo is one of the main suppliers of drones for Europe’s borders. Thales produces the radar and sensor systems, critical to patrolling the Mediterrean. Elbit Systems provides surveillance technologies to both the EU and US, marketed on their success as technologies used in the separation wall in the Palestinian occupied territories. Accenture, IDEMIA and Sopra Steria manage many border biometric projects. Deloitte has been one of the key consulting companies to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency since 2003, while PriceWaterhouseCoopers provides similar consultancy services to Frontex and the Australian border forces. IBM, Palantir and UNISYS provide the IT infrastructure that underpins the border and immigration apparatus.
      Time to divest

      The report concludes by calling for campaigns to divest from the border industry. There is a long history of campaigns and movements that call for divestment from industries that support human rights violations—from the campaigns to divest from Apartheid South Africa to more recent campaigns to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The border industry has become an equally morally toxic asset for any financial institution, given the litany of human rights abuses tied to it and the likelihood they will intensify in years to come.

      There are already examples of existing campaigns targeting particular border industries that have borne fruit. A spotlight on US migrant detention, as part of former President Trump’s anti- immigration policies, contributed to six large US banks (Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Fifth Third Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo) publicly announcing that they would not provide new financing to the private prison industry. The two largest public US pension funds, CalSTRS and CalPERS, also decided to divest from the same two companies. Geo Group acknowledged that these acts of ‘public resistance’ hit the company financially, criticising the banks as ‘clearly bow[ing] down to a small group of activists protesting and conducting targeted social media campaigns’.

      Every company involved or accused of human rights violations either denies them or says that they are atypical exceptions to corporate behavior. This report shows however that a militarised border regime built on exclusion will always be a violent apparatus that perpetuates human rights violations. It is a regime that every day locks up refugees in intolerable conditions, separates families causing untold trauma and heartbreak, and causes a devastating death toll as refugees are forced to take unimaginable dangerous journeys because the alternatives are worse. However well-intentioned, any industry that provides services and products for this border regime will bear responsibility for its human consequences and its human rights violations, and over time will suffer their own serious reputational costs for their involvement in this immoral industry. On the other hand, a widespread exodus of the leading corporations on which the border regime depends could force states to change course, and to embrace a politics that protects and upholds the rights of refugees and migrants. Worldwide, social movements and the public are starting to wake up to the human costs of border militarisation and demanding a fundamental change. It is time now for the border industry and their financiers to make a choice.

      https://www.tni.org/en/financingborderwars

      #TNI #rapport
      #industrie_frontalière #militarisation_des_frontières #biométrie #Intelligence_artificielle #AI #IA

      #Accenture #Airbus #Booz_Allen_Hamilton #Classic_Air_Charter #Cobham #CoreCivic #Deloitte #Elbit #Eurasylum #G4S #GEO_Group #IBM #IDEMIA #Leonardo #Lockheed_Martin #Mitie #Palantir #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Serco #Sopra_Steria #Thales #Thomson_Reuters #Unisys
      #contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance #technologie #Jean-Pierre_Talamoni #Airbus_Defence_and_Space (#ADS) #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes #iris #empreintes_digitales #réseaux_sociaux #IT #Civipol #Mali #Sénégal #renvois #expulsions #déportations #Mitie #Classic_Air_Charter #compagnies_aériennes #United_Airlines #ICE #American_Airlines #Delta_Airlines #rétention #détention_administrative #privatisation #Broadspectrum #Canstruct_International #Paladin_Solutions #Wilson_Security #Operation_Sophia #EU_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #externalisation #Eurasylum #Deloitte #PricewaterhouseCoopers #Vanguard_Group #CoreCivic #Blackrock #investisseurs #investissement #Capital_Research_and_Management #Capital_Group #Lockheed_Martin #State_Street_Global_Advisors (#SsgA) #Cobham #IDEMIA #Advent_International #droits_humains #VIS #SIS_II #P-3_Orion #Accenture #Sopra_Steria #Frontex #Australie

    • Outsourcing oppression. How Europe externalises migrant detention beyond its shores

      This report seeks to address the gap and join the dots between Europe’s outsourcing of migrant detention to third countries and the notorious conditions within the migrant detention centres. In a nutshell, Europe calls the shots on migrant detention beyond its shores but is rarely held to account for the deeply oppressive consequences, including arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearance, violence, sexual violence, and death.

      Key findings

      – The European Union (EU), and its member states, externalise detention to third countries as part of a strategy to keep migrants out at all costs. This leads to migrants being detained and subjected to gross human rights violations in transit countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, West Asia and Africa.

      – Candidate countries wishing to join the EU are obligated to detain migrants and stop them from crossing into the EU as a prerequisite for accession to the Union. Funding is made available through pre-accession agreements specifically for the purpose of detaining migrants.

      – Beyond EU candidate countries, this report identifies 22 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and West Asia where the EU and its member states fund the construction of detention centres, detention related activities such as trainings, or advocate for detention in other ways such as through aggressively pushing for detention legislation or agreeing to relax visa requirements for nationals of these countries in exchange for increased migrant detention.

      - The main goal of detention externalisation is to pre-empt migrants from reaching the external borders of the EU by turning third countries into border outposts. In many cases this involves the EU and its member states propping up and maintaining authoritarian regimes.

      – Europe is in effect following the ‘Australian model’ that has been highly criticised by UN experts and human rights organisations for the torturous conditions inside detention centres. Nevertheless, Europe continues to advance a system that mirrors Australia’s outsourced model, focusing not on guaranteeing the rights of migrants, but instead on deterring and pushing back would-be asylum seekers at all costs.

      - Human rights are systematically violated in detention centres directly and indirectly funded by the EU and its member states, including cases of torture, arbitrary and prolonged detention, sexual violence, no access to legal recourse, humanitarian assistance, or asylum procedures, the detention of victims of trafficking, and many other serious violations in which Europe is implicated.

      - Particularly horrendous is the case of Libya, which continues to receive financial and political support from Europe despite mounting evidence of brutality, enslavement, torture, forced disappearance and death. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), implement EU policies in Libya and, according to aid officials, actively whitewash the consequences of European policies to safeguard substantial EU funding.

      - Not only does the EU deport and push back migrants to unsafe third countries, it actively finances and coercively pushes for their detention in these countries. Often they have no choice but to sign ‘voluntary’ agreements to be returned to their countries of origin as the only means of getting out of torturous detention facilities.

      - The EU implements a carrot and stick approach, in particular in its dealings with Africa, prolonging colonialist dynamics and uneven power structures – in Niger, for example, the EU pushed for legislation on detention, in exchange for development aid funding.

      – The EU envisages a greater role for migrant detention in third countries going forward, as was evidenced in the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

      - The EU acts on the premise of containment and deterrence, namely, that if migrants seeking to reach Europe are intercepted and detained along that journey, they will be deterred from making the journey in the first place. This approach completely misses the point that people migrate to survive, often fleeing war and other forms of violence. The EU continues to overlook the structural reasons behind why people flee and the EU’s own role in provoking such migration.

      – The border industrial complex profits from the increased securitisation of borders. Far from being passive spectators, the military and security industry is actively involved in shaping EU border policies by positioning themselves as experts on the issue. We can already see a trend of privatising migrant detention, paralleling what is happening in prison systems worldwide.

      https://www.tni.org/en/outsourcingoppression

      pour télécharger le rapport :
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/outsourcingoppression-report-tni.pdf

      #externalisation #rétention #détention #détention_arbitraire #violence #disparitions #disparitions_forcées #violence #violence_sexuelle #morts #mort #décès #Afrique #Europe_de_l'Est #Balkans #Asie #modèle_australien #EU #UE #Union_européenne #torture #Libye #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #HCR #UNHCR #OIM #IOM #dissuasion #privatisation

    • Fortress Europe: the millions spent on military-grade tech to deter refugees

      We map out the rising number of #high-tech surveillance and deterrent systems facing asylum seekers along EU borders.

      From military-grade drones to sensor systems and experimental technology, the EU and its members have spent hundreds of millions of euros over the past decade on technologies to track down and keep at bay the refugees on its borders.

      Poland’s border with Belarus is becoming the latest frontline for this technology, with the country approving last month a €350m (£300m) wall with advanced cameras and motion sensors.

      The Guardian has mapped out the result of the EU’s investment: a digital wall on the harsh sea, forest and mountain frontiers, and a technological playground for military and tech companies repurposing products for new markets.

      The EU is central to the push towards using technology on its borders, whether it has been bought by the EU’s border force, Frontex, or financed for member states through EU sources, such as its internal security fund or Horizon 2020, a project to drive innovation.

      In 2018, the EU predicted that the European security market would grow to €128bn (£108bn) by 2020. Beneficiaries are arms and tech companies who heavily courted the EU, raising the concerns of campaigners and MEPs.

      “In effect, none of this stops people from crossing; having drones or helicopters doesn’t stop people from crossing, you just see people taking more risky ways,” says Jack Sapoch, formerly with Border Violence Monitoring Network. “This is a history that’s so long, as security increases on one section of the border, movement continues in another section.”

      Petra Molnar, who runs the migration and technology monitor at Refugee Law Lab, says the EU’s reliance on these companies to develop “hare-brained ideas” into tech for use on its borders is inappropriate.

      “They rely on the private sector to create these toys for them. But there’s very little regulation,” she says. “Some sort of tech bro is having a field day with this.”

      “For me, what’s really sad is that it’s almost a done deal that all this money is being spent on camps, enclosures, surveillance, drones.”

      Air Surveillance

      Refugees and migrants trying to enter the EU by land or sea are watched from the air. Border officers use drones and helicopters in the Balkans, while Greece has airships on its border with Turkey. The most expensive tool is the long-endurance Heron drone operating over the Mediterranean.

      Frontex awarded a €100m (£91m) contract last year for the Heron and Hermes drones made by two Israeli arms companies, both of which had been used by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip. Capable of flying for more than 30 hours and at heights of 10,000 metres (30,000 feet), the drones beam almost real-time feeds back to Frontex’s HQ in Warsaw.

      Missions mostly start from Malta, focusing on the Libyan search and rescue zone – where the Libyan coastguard will perform “pull backs” when informed by EU forces of boats trying to cross the Mediterranean.

      German MEP Özlem Demirel is campaigning against the EU’s use of drones and links to arms companies, which she says has turned migration into a security issue.

      “The arms industries are saying: ‘This is a security problem, so buy my weapons, buy my drones, buy my surveillance system,’” says Demirel.

      “The EU is always talking about values like human rights, [speaking out] against violations but … week-by-week we see more people dying and we have to question if the EU is breaking its values,” she says.

      Sensors and cameras

      EU air assets are accompanied on the ground by sensors and specialised cameras that border authorities throughout Europe use to spot movement and find people in hiding. They include mobile radars and thermal cameras mounted on vehicles, as well as heartbeat detectors and CO2 monitors used to detect signs of people concealed inside vehicles.

      Greece deploys thermal cameras and sensors along its land border with Turkey, monitoring the feeds from operations centres, such as in Nea Vyssa, near the meeting of the Greek, Turkish and Bulgarian borders. Along the same stretch, in June, Greece deployed a vehicle-mounted sound cannon that blasts “deafening” bursts of up to 162 decibels to force people to turn back.

      Poland is hoping to emulate Greece in response to the crisis on its border with Belarus. In October, its parliament approved a €350m wall that will stretch along half the border and reach up to 5.5 metres (18 feet), equipped with motion detectors and thermal cameras.

      Surveillance centres

      In September, Greece opened a refugee camp on the island of Samos that has been described as prison-like. The €38m (£32m) facility for 3,000 asylum seekers has military-grade fencing and #CCTV to track people’s movements. Access is controlled by fingerprint, turnstiles and X-rays. A private security company and 50 uniformed officers monitor the camp. It is the first of five that Greece has planned; two more opened in November.

      https://twitter.com/_PMolnar/status/1465224733771939841

      At the same time, Greece opened a new surveillance centre on Samos, capable of viewing video feeds from the country’s 35 refugee camps from a wall of monitors. Greece says the “smart” software helps to alert camps of emergencies.

      Artificial intelligence

      The EU spent €4.5m (£3.8m) on a three-year trial of artificial intelligence-powered lie detectors in Greece, Hungary and Latvia. A machine scans refugees and migrants’ facial expressions as they answer questions it poses, deciding whether they have lied and passing the information on to a border officer.

      The last trial finished in late 2019 and was hailed as a success by the EU but academics have called it pseudoscience, arguing that the “micro-expressions” the software analyses cannot be reliably used to judge whether someone is lying. The software is the subject of a court case taken by MEP Patrick Breyer to the European court of justice in Luxembourg, arguing that there should be more public scrutiny of such technology. A decision is expected on 15 December.

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/dec/06/fortress-europe-the-millions-spent-on-military-grade-tech-to-deter-refu

  • Les Pays-Bas prêts à taxer les voyages aériens La Rédaction - 17 Mai 2019 - Enviro2b
    https://www.enviro2b.com/2019/05/17/les-pays-bas-prets-a-taxer-les-voyages-aeriens

    Les Pays-Bas imposeront une taxe de 7 € par passager si l’UE ne propose pas elle-même une solution au problème du transport aérien.

    Le gouvernement néerlandais envisage d’introduire une taxe de 7 € par passager aérien en 2021 si l’UE ne parvient pas à mettre en place une taxe paneuropéenne, faisant ainsi suite à la pression environnementale qui pèse sur le secteur de l’aviation.

    Les Pays-Bas ont annoncé le mardi 14 mai que leur projet de loi sur « la taxe de vol » pourrait rapporter 200 millions d’euros et « contribuer à réduire l’écart de prix entre les billets d’avion et, par exemple, les billets de train », a déclaré le secrétaire d’Etat aux Finances, Menno Snel.

    Selon le projet de loi, qui doit encore être débattu par les politiciens, les passagers en partance du sol néerlandais seront facturés au maximum 7,50 €. Les avions cargo seront également facturés à 1,92 € pour les avions silencieux et à 3,85 € pour les avions bruyants.

    Un communiqué du ministère des Finances a déclaré qu’ « il comprend des mesures visant à prévenir un impact négatif potentiel sur le rôle de l’aéroport Schiphol de l’aéroport d’Amsterdam et sur son réseau international de connexions ».

    « Contrairement aux voyages en voiture, en bus ou en train, les vols internationaux au départ des Pays-Bas ne sont en aucun cas taxés par le gouvernement néerlandais. C’est une des principales raisons d’instaurer une taxe de vol », a déclaré Menno Snel dans un communiqué.

    Une seule taxe pour l’Union Européenne
    « Beaucoup de nos voisins ont déjà une taxe de vol et c’est pourquoi notre priorité est de rechercher une coopération au niveau européen », a ajouté le secrétaire d’État, faisant allusion à une proposition faite par les Pays-Bas et la Belgique au début de cette année d’imposer des taxes sur l’aviation via des accords bilatéraux.

    L’annonce est claire : si une taxe au niveau européen est probable en 2019 ou 2020, la législation nationale sera retirée. Le gouvernement néerlandais organise une conférence en juin pour déterminer s’il existe un intérêt pour plus d’action à ce sujet au-delà de la Belgique et de la France.

    Lundi 13 mai, un rapport de l’UE qui a été divulgué a révélé que la Commission européenne avait conclu qu’une taxe sur le carburéacteur, actuellement exempte de taxes en vertu d’un accord international, réduirait les émissions de carbone et aurait un impact limité sur l’emploi.

    Le gouvernement néerlandais a déclaré qu’il examinait également la faisabilité d’une taxe sur le kérosène.

    #Société #Ecologie #Transports #taxes #aéroports #transport_aérien #compagnies_aériennes #kérosène #ue #union_européenne

  • La #Suisse renvoie à nouveau des réfugiés vers des #zones_de_guerre

    La Suisse a repris en mars dernier les renvois de réfugiés politiques vers des zones de guerre, indique dimanche le SonntagsBlick. Le journal se réfère à un document interne du Secrétariat d’Etat aux migrations.

    « Après une suspension de presque deux ans, le premier #rapatriement sous #escorte_policière a eu lieu en mars 2019 », est-il écrit dans le document publié par l’hebdomadaire alémanique.

    En novembre dernier, le Secrétariat d’Etat aux migrations (#SEM) a également expulsé un demandeur d’asile en #Somalie - une première depuis des années. Le SEM indique dans le même document que la Suisse figure parmi les pays européens les plus efficaces en matière d’exécution des expulsions : elle atteint une moyenne de 56% des requérants d’asile déboutés renvoyés dans leur pays d’origine, alors que ce taux est de 36% au sein de l’Union européenne.
    Retour des Erythréens encore « inacceptable »

    L’opération de contrôle des Erythréens admis provisoirement - lancée par la conseillère fédérale Simonetta Sommaruga lorsqu’elle était encore en charge de la Justice - n’a pratiquement rien changé à leur situation, écrit par ailleurs la SonntagsZeitung : sur les 2400 dossiers examinés par le SEM, seuls quatorze ont abouti à un retrait du droit de rester. « Il y a plusieurs facteurs qui rendent un ordre de retour inacceptable », déclare un porte-parole du SEM dans le journal. Parmi eux, l’#intégration avancée des réfugiés en Suisse garantit le droit de rester, explique-t-il.

    Réfugiés « voyageurs » renvoyés

    La NZZ am Sonntag relate pour sa part que le SEM a retiré l’asile politique l’année dernière à 40 réfugiés reconnus, parce qu’ils avaient voyagé dans leur pays d’origine. La plupart d’entre eux venaient du #Vietnam. Il y a également eu quelques cas avec l’Erythrée et l’Irak. Les autorités suisses avaient été mises au courant de ces voyages par les #compagnies_aériennes, qui ont l’obligation de fournir des données sur leurs passagers.

    https://www.rts.ch/info/suisse/10381705-la-suisse-renvoie-a-nouveau-des-refugies-vers-des-zones-de-guerre.html
    #efficacité #renvois #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #guerres #machine_à_expulsions #statistiques #chiffres #UE #EU #Europe #Erythrée #réfugiés_érythréens #voyage_au_pays #machine_à_expulser

    • La Suisse bat des #records en matière de renvois

      La Suisse transfère nettement plus de personnes vers d’autres Etats-Dublin que ce qu’elle n’en reçoit. Parfois aussi vers des Etats dont la situation de sécurité est précaire, comme l’#Afghanistan et la #Somalie.

      La Suisse a renvoyé près de 57% des demandeurs d’asile. Dans l’Union européenne, cette valeur s’élève à 37%. Aucun autre pays n’a signé autant d’accord de réadmission que la Suisse, soit 66, a rappelé à Keystone-ATS Daniel Bach, porte-parole du SEM, revenant sur une information du SonntagsBlick. De plus, elle met en oeuvre de manière conséquente l’accord de Dublin, comme le montre un document de l’office, daté du 11 avril.

      Cet accord fonctionne très bien pour la Suisse, peut-on y lire. Elle transfère sensiblement plus de personnes vers d’autres Etats-Dublin que ce qu’elle n’en reçoit. Les renvois vers des Etats dont la situation de sécurité est précaire, comme l’Afghanistan et la Somalie, sont rares, précise le document. L’hebdomadaire alémanique en conclut que la Suisse renvoie « à nouveau vers des régions de guerre ». Ce que contredit le SEM.

      La Suisse s’efforce d’exécuter, individuellement, des renvois légaux vers ces pays, précise le document du SEM. Et de lister un vol extraordinaire vers l’Irak en 2017, un renvoi sous escorte policière vers la Somalie en 2018 et vers l’Afghanistan en mars 2019.

      L’Afghanistan n’est pas considéré entièrement comme zone de guerre. Certaines régions, comme la capitale Kaboul, sont considérées comme raisonnables pour un renvoi, d’autres non. Cette évaluation n’a pas changé, selon le porte-parole. La même chose vaut pour la Somalie. Le SEM enquête sur les dangers de persécution au cas par cas.

      La Suisse suit une double stratégie en matière de renvoi. Elle participe à la politique européenne et aux mesures et instruments communs d’une part. D’autre part, elle mise sur la collaboration bilatérale avec les différents pays de provenance, par exemple en concluant des accords de migration.

      https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/suisse-bat-records-matiere-renvois
      #renvois_Dublin #Dublin #accords_de_réadmission

    • Schweiz schafft wieder in Kriegsgebiete aus

      Reisen nach Somalia und Afghanistan sind lebensgefährlich. Doch die Schweiz schafft in diese Länder aus. Sie ist darin Europameister.

      Der Trip nach Afghanistan war ein totaler Flop. Die ­Behörden am Hauptstadt-Flughafen von Kabul hatten sich quergestellt und die Schweizer Polizisten gezwungen, den Asylbewerber, den die Ordnungshüter eigentlich in seine Heimat zurückschaffen wollten, wieder mitzunehmen. Nach dieser gescheiterten Ausschaffung im September 2017 versuchte die Schweiz nie wieder, einen abgewiesenen Asylbewerber gegen seinen Willen nach Afghanistan abzuschieben.

      Erst vor wenigen Wochen änderte sich das: «Nach fast zweijähriger Blockade konnte im März 2019 erstmals wieder eine polizeilich begleitete Rückführung durchgeführt werden», so das Staatssekretariat für Migration (SEM) in einem internen Papier, das SonntagsBlick vorliegt.

      Ausschaffungen sind lebensgefährlich

      Die Entwicklung war ganz nach dem Geschmack der neuen Chefin: «Dank intensiver Verhandlungen» sei die «zwangsweise Rückkehr nach Afghanistan» wieder möglich, lobte Karin Keller-Sutter jüngst bei einer Rede anlässlich ihrer ersten 
100 Tage als Bundesrätin.

      Afghanistan, das sich im Krieg mit Taliban und Islamischem Staat (IS) befindet, gilt als Herkunftsland mit prekärster Sicherheitslage. Ausschaffungen dorthin sind höchst umstritten – anders gesagt: lebensgefährlich.

      Auch der Hinweis des Aussendepartements lässt keinen Zweifel: «Von Reisen nach Afghanistan und von Aufenthalten jeder Art wird abgeraten.» Diese Woche entschied der Basler Grosse Rat aus humanitären Gründen, dass ein junger Afghane nicht nach Österreich abgeschoben werden darf – weil er von dort in seine umkämpfte Heimat weitergereicht worden wäre.
      Erste Rückführung nach Somalia

      Noch einen Erfolg vermeldet das SEM: Auch nach Somalia war im November wieder die polizeiliche Rückführung eines Asylbewerbers gelungen – zum ersten Mal seit Jahren.

      Somalia fällt in die gleiche Kategorie wie Afghanistan, in die Kategorie Lebensgefahr. «Solange sich die Lage vor Ort nicht nachhaltig verbessert, sollte die Schweiz vollständig auf Rückführungen nach Afghanistan und Somalia verzichten», warnt Peter Meier von der Schweizerischen Flüchtlingshilfe.

      Das SEM hält dagegen: Wer rückgeführt werde, sei weder persönlich verfolgt, noch bestünden völkerrechtliche, humanitäre oder technische Hindernisse. Ob es sich bei den Abgeschobenen um sogenannte Gefährder handelt – also um potenzielle Terroristen und ­Intensivstraftäter – oder lediglich um harmlose Flüchtlinge, lässt das SEM offen.
      56 Prozent werden zurückgeschafft

      Was die beiden Einzelfälle andeuten, gilt gemäss aktuellster Asylstatistiken generell: Wir sind Abschiebe-Europameister! «Die Schweiz zählt auf europäischer Ebene zu den effizientesten Ländern beim Wegweisungsvollzug», rühmt sich das SEM im besagten internen Papier. In Zahlen: 56 Prozent der abgewiesenen Asylbewerber werden in ihr Herkunftsland zurückgeschafft. Der EU-Durchschnitt liegt bei 36 Prozent.

      Die Schweiz beteiligt sich nämlich nicht nur an der europäischen Rückkehrpolitik, sondern hat auch direkte Abkommen mit 64 Staaten getroffen; dieses Jahr kamen Äthiopien und Bangladesch hinzu: «Dem SEM ist kein Staat bekannt, der mehr Abkommen abgeschlossen hätte.»

      Zwar ist die Schweiz stolz auf ihre humanitäre Tradition, aber nicht minder stolz, wenn sie in Sachen Ausschaffung kreative Lösungen findet. Zum Beispiel: Weil Marokko keine Sonderflüge mit gefesselten Landsleuten akzeptiert, verfrachtet die Schweiz abgewiesene Marokkaner aufs Schiff – «als fast einziger Staat Europas», wie das SEM betont. Oder diese Lösung: Während die grosse EU mit Nigeria seit Jahren erfolglos an einem Abkommen herumdoktert, hat die kleine Schweiz seit 2011 ihre Schäfchen im Trockenen. Das SEM nennt seinen Deal mit Nigeria «ein Musterbeispiel» für die nationale Migrationspolitik.
      Weniger als 4000 Ausreisepflichtige

      Entsprechend gering sind die Pendenzen im Vollzug. Zwar führen ­Algerien, Äthiopien und Eritrea die Liste der Staaten an, bei denen Abschiebungen weiterhin auf Blockaden stossen. Aber weniger als 4000 Personen fielen Ende 2018 in die Kategorie abgewiesener Asylbewerber, die sich weigern auszureisen oder deren Heimatland sich bei Ausschaffungen querstellt. 2012 waren es beinahe doppelt so viele. Nun sind es so wenige wie seit zehn Jahren nicht mehr.

      Zum Vergleich: Deutschland meldete im gleichen Zeitraum mehr als 200’000 ausreisepflichtige Personen. Diese Woche beschloss die Bundesregierung weitere Gesetze für eine schnellere Abschiebung.

      Hinter dem Bild einer effizienten Schweizer Abschiebungsmaschinerie verbirgt sich ein unmenschliches Geschäft: Es geht um zerstörte Leben, verlorene Hoffnung, um Ängste, Verzweiflung und Not. Rückführungen sind keine Flugreisen, sondern eine schmutzige Angelegenheit – Spucke, Blut und Tränen inklusive. Bei Sonderflügen wird unter Anwendung von Gewalt gefesselt, es kommt zu Verletzungen bei Asylbewerbern wie Polizisten. Selten hört man davon.
      Gezielte Abschreckung

      Die Schweiz verfolge eine Vollzugspraxis, die auf Abschreckung ziele und nicht vor Zwangsausschaffungen in Länder mit prekärer Sicherheits- und Menschenrechtslage haltmache, kritisiert Peter Meier von der Flüchtlingshilfe: «Das Justizdepartement gibt dabei dem ­innenpolitischen Druck nach.»

      Gemeint ist die SVP, die seit Jahren vom Asylchaos spricht. Das Dublin-System, das regeln soll, welcher Staat für die Prüfung eines Asylgesuchs zuständig ist, funktioniere nicht, so einer der Vorwürfe. «Selbst jene, die bereits in einem anderen Land registriert wurden, können oft nicht zurückgeschickt werden», heisst es im Positionspapier der SVP zur Asylpolitik.

      Das SEM sieht auch das anders: «Für kaum ein europäisches Land funktioniert Dublin so gut wie für die Schweiz», heisst es in dem internen Papier. Man überstelle deutlich mehr Personen an Dublin-Staaten, als man selbst von dort aufnehme. Die neusten Zahlen bestätigen das: 1760 Asylbewerber wurden im letzten Jahr in andere Dublin-Staaten überstellt. Nur 885 Menschen nahm die Schweiz von ihnen auf.

      «Ausnahmen gibt es selbst bei 
besonders verletzlichen Personen kaum», kritisiert die Flüchtlings­hilfe; die Dublin-Praxis sei äusserst restriktiv.

      Das Schweizer Abschiebewesen hat offenbar viele Seiten, vor allem aber ist es gnadenlos effizient.

      https://www.blick.ch/news/politik/erste-abschiebungen-seit-jahren-nach-afghanistan-und-somalia-schweiz-schafft-w

  • Indignés par les conditions d’expulsion de sans-papiers, des passagers d’Air France devant la justice - Bondy Blog
    https://www.bondyblog.fr/reportages/bobigny-des-passagers-juges-pour-avoir-proteste-contre-lexpulsion-de-sans-

    Les procès s’enchaînent. Celui de Caroline est directement suivi par le procès de Jean-Luc* et Armand* qui s’avancent à leur tour à la barre. Ils ne se connaissaient pas avant d’embarquer dans le même avion Air France à destination de Dakar, le 31 décembre 2017. Pour leur avocat, Maître Teffo, ces affaires sont liées, il décrit un « mécanisme » : « La personne reconduite à la frontière apparaît, un tissu dans la bouche, un casque sur la tête, les pieds et mains liés, elle est bâillonnée, hurle et se débat, les gens vont réagir et l’administration va choisir des personnes au hasard dans le but de frapper les esprits, et de leur dire : vous ne pouvez plus vous indigner dans ce pays. ».

    Les similitudes entre les deux affaires sont effectivement déroutantes. Tous les trois ont été expulsés de leur vol à cause de leurs protestations. A bord du Paris-Erevan, Caroline interroge les policiers sur l’homme, bâillonné et casqué, qui se débat dans l’avion, un policier affirme qu’il a violé une mineure. Cette affirmation sera par la suite contredite par le dossier de l’homme en question, auquel Me Marcus a eu accès. Comme Caroline l’imaginait dès lors, il est reconduit en Arménie pour sa « situation irrégulière » mais n’a jamais été condamné.

    De la même façon, dans le vol Paris-Dakar, l’homme, maintenu de force sur son siège, est présenté comme « un dangereux criminel » aux passagers, qui ont pour consigne de rester silencieux. La consigne n’a visiblement pas été respectée. Un témoin, qui s’avère être la compagne de Jean-Luc, est appelée à la barre : « Les gens n’ont pas trouvé ça normal, tous les passagers de la cabine se sont levés. » Jean-Luc s’indigne, la tension monte. Sa compagne affirme avoir ensuite été violemment giflée par une policière. Elle perd connaissance et ne peut pas assister à la suite de la scène.

    Ému, Armand se lance face à la juge dans un récit poignant : « Il y avait un homme derrière moi, en chemise molletonnée à carreaux avec un casque, il se débattait, il criait et quand, parfois, il ne faisait plus aucun bruit, il fallait deux neurones pour comprendre qu’il était en train d’être étouffé ! ». En colère, il s’indigne contre un « traitement inhumain », se plaint d’Air France et refuse de prendre cet avion. La même policière de l’escorte lui rétorque : « Eh bien pourquoi vous n’avez pas pris la compagnie de votre pays ? ». C’est la voix chargée d’émotions qu’Armand reprend son récit. « Ça fait mal, affirme-t-il. Est-ce qu’elle savait ce qu’était mon pays ? » Me Teffo, son avocat, souligne devant le tribunal que le dossier comporte également un rapport d’Air France dans lequel une cheffe de cabine dit avoir l’habitude de ce type de vols et conseille aux hôtesses de « ne pas se laisser impressionner par des Sénégalais qui ont la manie de parler fort. »