Slovenia is planning to set up mixed patrols along the border with Croatia, where police officers from other EU member states would also patrol the border together with the Slovenian ones.
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Slovenija planira mješovite policijske patrole na granici s Hrvatskom
Još nema službene hrvatske reakcije na slovensku najavu da će zbog pojačanih nelegalnih prijelaza migranata na granicu sa Hrvatskom postaviti mješovite patrole u kojima bi uz slovenske bili i policajci drugih država članica EU.
Kako su naveli u slovenskoj Vladi, Slovenija se opet našla pred migracijskim pritiskom i nezakonitim prijelazima državne granice koji se ne smanjuje unatoč naporima slovenske policije i njenog djelovanja na granici s Hrvatskom, koja je i vanjska granica Schengena, i mješovite policijske patrole odgovor su na to.
Mješovitim patrolama zapovijedali bi slovenski policajci, a ne navodi se koje bi druge države članice Europske unije slale svoje ljude u te patrole.
Iz hrvatskog Ministarstva unutarnjih poslova do objavljivanja ovog teksta nisu odgovorili na upit Radija Slobodna Europa (RSE) o stanju na granici.
U Hrvatskoj tvrde drugačije
Međutim, zapovjednik policijske Antiterorističke jedinice “Lučko”, koja je također raspoređena na granici, Mate Bilobrk kazao je kako nema pojačanog pritiska migranata.
“Mislim da je pritisak puno manji nego prošlih godina”, izjavio je Bilobrk 31. ožujka u razgovoru za Hrvatsku radio-televiziju (HTV).
Nevladine udruge također nemaju informacije o nekom pojačanom pritisku migranata na hrvatsku granicu, ali podsjećaju da se ne mijenjaju uzroci prisilnih migracija, pa se ne može očekivati da se one same od sebe zaustave.
“Jedina je promjena u većem broju obitelji koje su nakon požara pobjegle iz izbjegličkog kampa Moria u Grčkoj, koje se sada nalaze u Bosni i pokušavaju doći do Hrvatske i zatražiti azil, ali posljednjih tjedana nema nekog povećanja ukupnih brojeva”, kaže za RSE Sara Kekuš iz zagrebačke nevladine udruge Centar za mirovne studije (CMS).
“Očito je ova odluka slovenske Vlade smišljena s ciljem da se zaustave migracije prema Sloveniji, tako da ta odluka ne čudi. Međutim, slovenska Vlada mora biti svjesna vlastite odgovornosti u međunarodnom kontekstu i toga da nikome ne može ograničiti pravo na traženje međunarodne zaštite, pa makar to bilo i na samoj granici. A znamo da – dok god ne uspostavimo neke sigurne i legalne putove - da će ljudi i dalje prelaziti granice nezakonitim putevima u potrazi za sigurnošću”, poručuje Sara Kekuš.
Ona je podsjetila da se već godinama svjedoči lančanim protjerivanjima migranata iz Slovenije u Hrvatsku pa onda dalje u BiH, gdje to protjerivanje nužno ne staje.
“Znamo i da su slovenske vlasti dugo vremena koristile readmisijske ugovore kao izgovor za zakonito protjerivanje ljudi u Hrvatsku, iako su im zapravo istovremeno onemogućavali pristup azilu i na taj način kršili njihova prava”, podsjeća Sara Kekuš.
Reagiranje u pandemiji
Sigurnosni analitičar Branimir Vidmarović sa Sveučilišta “Juraj Dobrila” u Puli kaže za RSE kako ovaj slovenski potez valja razumjeti kao legitimnu brigu za vlastitu sigurnost u kontekstu krize uzrokovane pandemijom.
“Ako su slovenski obavještajci u suradnji sa drugim sigurnosnim službama dobili dojavu da se možda očekuje pojačani val migranata ili nova najava, onda je ovakva reakcija prevencijska i sasvim razumljiva, budući da nijedna zemlja sada, u osjetljivoj fazi procedure cijepljenja, ne bi htjela pritok ljudi iz područja za koje se apriori zna da su ranjivija, osjetljiva, u smislu pandemije nezaštićenija i da predstavljaju rizik”, procjenjuje Vidmarović.
U slovenskoj Vladi kažu kako takvu suradnju policija omogućuje zaključak Vijeća EU iz 2008. o produbljivanju prekogranične suradnje, osobito na području borbe protiv terorizma i prekograničnog kriminala.
Prema članku 17. te europske direktive mogu se formirati zajedničke ophodnje i poduzeti druge mjere djelovanja radi očuvanja javnog reda i sigurnosti, te zbog suzbijanja kaznenih djela, pojasnilo je slovensko Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova.
Slovenija i Hrvatska nalaze se na tzv “balkanskoj”migrantskoj ruti od Grčke preko Srbije, Crne Gore i Bosne i Hercegovine do zapadnoeuropskih zemalja, nakon što je Mađarska na svoje granice prema Srbiji i Hrvatskoj postavila visoke žičane ograde.
Nevladine udruge opetovano su upozoravale da slovenska i pogotovo hrvatska policija pribjegavaju ilegalnim “push-backovima” migranata, odnosno njihovom prisilnom vraćanju u državu za koju vjeruju da su iz nje došli – Hrvatsku, odnosno BiH.
Nevladine udruge smještene u izbjegličkim kampovima u sjeverozapadnom dijelu BiH dostavile su medijima u više navrata i video zapise za koje tvrde da prikazuju migrante koje je zaustavila, istukla i vratila u BiH hrvatska policija, nakon što su pokušalno ilegalno ući u Hrvatsku.
Hrvatska policija odbija ove optužbe.
‘They can see us in the dark’: migrants grapple with hi-tech fortress EU
A powerful battery of drones, thermal cameras and heartbeat detectors are being deployed to exclude asylum seekers
Khaled has been playing “the game” for a year now. A former law student, he left Afghanistan in 2018, driven by precarious economic circumstances and fear for his security, as the Taliban were increasingly targeting Kabul.
But when he reached Europe, he realised the chances at winning the game were stacked against him. Getting to Europe’s borders was easy compared with actually crossing into the EU, he says, and there were more than physical obstacles preventing him from getting to Germany, where his uncle and girlfriend live.
On a cold December evening in the Serbian village of Horgoš, near the Hungarian border, where he had spent a month squatting in an abandoned farm building, he and six other Afghan asylum seekers were having dinner together – a raw onion and a loaf of bread they passed around – their faces lit up by the glow of a fire.
The previous night, they had all had another go at “the game” – the name migrants give to crossing attempts. But almost immediately the Hungarian border police stopped them and pushed them back into Serbia. They believe the speed of the response can be explained by the use of thermal cameras and surveillance drones, which they had seen during previous attempts to cross.
“They can see us in the dark – you just walk, and they find you,” said Khaled, adding that drones had been seen flying over their squat. “Sometimes they send them in this area to watch who is here.”
Drones, thermal-vision cameras and devices that can detect a heartbeat are among the new technological tools being increasingly used by European police to stop migrants from crossing borders, or to push them back when they do.
The often violent removal of migrants without giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum is illegal under EU law, which obliges authorities to process asylum requests whether or not migrants possess identification documents or entered the country legally.
“Routes are getting harder and harder to navigate. Corridors [in the Balkans are] really intensively surveyed by these technologies,” says Simon Campbell, field coordinator for the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), a migrant rights group in the region.
The militarisation of Europe’s borders has been increasing steadily since 2015, when the influx of migrants reached its peak. A populist turn in politics and fear whipped up around the issue have fuelled the use of new technologies. The EU has invested in fortifying borders, earmarking €34.9bn (£30bn) in funding for border and migration management for the 2021-27 budget, while sidelining the creation of safe passages and fair asylum processes.
Osman, a Syrian refugee now living in Serbia, crossed several borders in the southern Balkans in 2014. “At the time, I didn’t see any type of technology,” he says, “but now there’s drones, thermal cameras and all sorts of other stuff.”
When the Hungarian police caught him trying to cross the Serbian border before the pandemic hit last year, they boasted about the equipment they used – including what Osman recalls as “a huge drone with a big camera”. He says they told him: “We are watching you everywhere.”
Upgrading of surveillance technology, as witnessed by Khaled and Osman, has coincided with increased funding for Frontex – the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency. Between 2005 and 2016, Frontex’s budget grew from €6.3m to €238.7m, and it now stands at €420.6m. Technology at the EU’s Balkan borders have been largely funded with EU money, with Frontex providing operational support.
Between 2014 and 2017, with EU funding, Croatia bought 13 thermal-imaging devices for €117,338 that can detect people more than a mile away and vehicles from two miles away.
In 2019, the Croatian interior ministry acquired four eRIS-III long-range drones for €2.3m. They identify people up to six miles away in daylight and just under two miles in darkness, they fly at 80mph and climb to an altitude of 3,500 metres (11,400ft), while transmitting real-time data. Croatia has infrared cameras that can detect people at up to six miles away and equipment that picks upheartbeats.
Romania now has heartbeat detection devices, alongside 117 thermo-vision cameras. Last spring, it added 24 vehicles with thermo-vision capabilities to its border security force at a cost of more than €13m.
Hungary’s investment in migration-management technology is shielded from public scrutiny by a 2017 legal amendment but its lack of transparency and practice of pushing migrants back have been criticised by other EU nations and the European court of justice, leading to Frontex suspending operations in Hungary in January.
It means migrants can no longer use the cover of darkness for their crossing attempts. Around the fire in Horgoš, Khaled and his fellow asylum-seekers decide to try crossing instead in the early morning, when they believe thermal cameras are less effective.
A 2021 report by BVMN claims that enhanced border control technologies have led to increased violence as police in the Balkans weaponise new equipment against people on the move. Technology used in pushing back migrants has “contributed to the ease with which racist and repressive procedures are carried out”, the report says.
BVMN highlighted the 2019 case of an 18-year-old Algerian who reported being beaten and strangled with his own shirt by police while attempting a night crossing from Bosnia to Croatia. “You cannot cross the border during the night because when the police catch you in the night, they beat you a lot. They break you,” says the teenager, who reported seeing surveillance drones.
Ali, 19, an Iranian asylum-seeker who lives in a migrant camp in Belgrade, says that the Croatian and Romanian police have been violent and ignored his appeals for asylum during his crossing attempts. “When they catch us, they don’t respect us, they insult us, they beat us,” says Ali. “We said ‘we want asylum’, but they weren’t listening.”
BVMN’s website archives hundreds of reports of violence. In February last year, eight Romanian border officers beat two Iraqi families with batons, administering electric shocks to two men, one of whom was holding his 11-month-old child. They stole their money and destroyed their phones, before taking them back to Serbia, blasting ice-cold air in the police van until they reached their destination.
“There’s been some very, very severe beatings lately,” says Campbell. “Since the spring of 2018, there has been excessive use of firearms, beatings with batons, Tasers and knives.”
Responding to questions via email, Frontex denies any link between its increased funding of new technologies and the violent pushbacks in the Balkans. It attributes the rise in reports to other factors, such as increased illegal migration and the proliferation of mobile phones making it easier to record incidents.
Petra Molnar, associate director of Refugee Law Lab, believes the over-emphasis on technologies can alienate and dehumanise migrants.
“There’s this alluring solution to really complex problems,” she says. “It’s a lot easier to sell a bunch of drones or a lot of automated technology, instead of dealing with the drivers that force people to migrate … or making the process more humane.”
Despite the increasingly sophisticated technologies that have been preventing them from crossing Europe’s borders, Khaled and his friends from the squat managed to cross into Hungary in late December. He is living in a camp in Germany and has begun the process of applying for asylum.
#Balkans #complexe_militaro-industriel #route_des_Balkans #technologie #asile #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #caméras_thermiques #militarisation_des_frontières #drones #détecteurs_de_battements_de_coeur #Horgos #Horgoš #Serbie #the_game #game #surveillance_frontalière #Hongrie #Frontex #Croatie #Roumanie #nuit #violence #refoulements #push-backs #déshumanisation
Frontex y España se enfrentan por las operaciones contra la inmigración irregular
La pugna por el despliegue en África y el creciente poder del cuerpo europeo llevaron a la agencia de control de fronteras a amenazar con su retirada
Las relaciones entre España y la Agencia Europea de la Guardia de Fronteras y Costas (Frontex) son más tensas que nunca. La pugna por el despliegue de medios materiales y el control de los operativos ha llevado a Frontex a amagar con suspender su actividad en el Estrecho y las islas Canarias ―además del dispositivo que se despliega en cada operación #Paso_del_Estrecho― , según tres fuentes conocedoras del episodio. La decisión corrió el pasado miércoles por los despachos, llegó a comunicarse hasta a los agentes de la agencia desplegados en el archipiélago y amenazó con convertirse en una crisis política. El pasado viernes, Frontex salió al paso con un comunicado desde su sede en Varsovia para atajar rumores y anunciar que renovaba su presencia en España un año más.
Las tensiones vienen de lejos y son el reflejo de la disputa entre los cuerpos y fuerzas de seguridad nacionales y una agencia europea de fronteras con un mandato extendido. En los planes operativos para este 2021, que se cierran a principios de año, Frontex reclamaba a España mayor control sobre la inteligencia y el acceso a los datos de carácter personal en las fronteras españolas, competencias en materia de investigaciones transfronterizas (como las mafias de narcotráfico internacional) o el despliegue sobre el terreno del nuevo cuerpo de agentes europeos, un personal armado de cuya profesionalidad recelan las policías españolas. La propuesta no gustó a los negociadores. Un mando de las fuerzas y cuerpos de seguridad del Estado considera que aceptar las propuestas de Varsovia supone una “entrega de soberanía” y cree que el conflicto “estallará cuando haya una desgracia”.
Influencia en África
La negociación de estos puntos ha estado marcada por otra de las principales batallas para España: el papel de la agencia en las islas Canarias, un enclave desde el que Frontex quiere ganar influencia en África. Actualmente, la agencia trabaja con un equipo de 26 agentes, españoles y extranjeros, que apoyan a la Policía Nacional en la identificación y las entrevistas a los migrantes con el objetivo de desbaratar las redes que les facilitan el viaje. Pero este despliegue tiene una cobertura limitada y el espectacular repunte de llegadas al archipiélago, que ha recibido casi 25.000 personas en los últimos 13 meses, impulsó nuevas negociaciones entre Varsovia y Madrid para lanzar una operación conjunta con la Guardia Civil en Senegal.
El objetivo inicial era reformular la operación Hera II, un operativo que Frontex y la Guardia Civil ya habían desplegado de 2006 a 2019 en varios países de origen para cerrar la vía migratoria que se abrió durante la llamada crisis de los cayucos. Pero las diferencias entre unos y otros mantienen la iniciativa bloqueada.
Por un lado, Frontex ―que aprobó un nuevo reglamento en 2019 que le da más autonomía― alega la necesidad de firmar su propio acuerdo bilateral con Dakar para patrullar sus costas, señalan fuentes españolas conocedoras de la negociación. Por otro, la #Guardia_Civil demanda que no haya condiciones para que la agencia colabore con más medios en origen y lo haga siempre bajo su coordinación.
La Guardia Civil, que ya tiene acuerdos y agentes desplegados en Mauritania, Gambia y Senegal hace más de una década, siempre concentró el mando de las operaciones, las investigaciones y las relaciones con las autoridades locales y no tiene intención de renunciar a ello. “Hemos trabajado en todos estos ámbitos independientemente del decreciente apoyo de Frontex a lo largo de los últimos años porque consideraba esta ruta cerrada”, afirma una fuente española. En definitiva, la agencia con más presupuesto de la UE quiere más poder del que los agentes españoles están dispuestos a darle.
España trató de plantarse en la negociación de los planes operativos con Frontex: si no hay ayuda de la agencia europea para un despliegue conjunto en Senegal, no se aceptarían las peticiones de mandato extendido de Frontex en territorio nacional, según otra fuente al tanto de las discusiones. Pero finalmente, tras la presión por una posible cancelación de las operaciones, se han aceptado las exigencias de Varsovia. “Es una lucha entre la realidad del terreno y la de los altos cargos que firman los reglamentos en la oficina”, según esta fuente.
Frontex, que tiene presupuestados 5.600 millones de euros para los próximos siete años ―frente a los 19,2 millones de 2006―, incorporará 10.000 agentes propios para la vigilancia de fronteras y costas. En este contexto de crecimiento, la agencia empieza a demandar más control e influencia sobre las operaciones y no quiere limitarse a ofrecer barcos y aviones. Los agentes españoles, por su parte, quieren el apoyo de la agencia en los países de origen, pero siempre bajo su mando. No quieren ceder espacio ni competencias en un ámbito en el que llevan años invirtiendo recursos propios y experiencia.
Fuentes europeas reconocen que la incorporación de guardias de Frontex a las operaciones en España “ha complicado la negociación del programa de trabajo para el nuevo año”. El programa debía renovarse, como en cada ejercicio, para entrar en vigor el 1 de febrero, pero las fricciones retrasaron la negociación: España, según fuentes conocedoras de la negociación, pidió cambios relevantes en los planes operativos; la agencia hizo una contrapropuesta, y las autoridades españolas no la aceptaron. El acuerdo no llegó hasta 29 de enero, al filo de que el plan de trabajo no se aprobase y los dos operativos de Frontex en España se quedaran sin base legal para su continuidad. En Frontex aseguran que las operaciones nunca estuvieron en peligro y que la voluntad de la agencia siempre ha sido mantener su presencia en España.
En una entrevista con EL PAÍS el pasado 4 de enero el propio vicepresidente de la Comisión Europea, Margaritis Schinas, se refirió a los desencuentros entre Madrid y Varsovia.
–¿Por qué cree que España no ve con buenos ojos la presencia de Frontex?
– Eso me pregunto yo, por qué Frontex no está en Canarias cuando hay un serio problema y sí está masivamente en el Egeo, con cientos de agentes
España apoyó desde el inicio, en 2005, la creación y puesta en marcha de Frontex, pero con el tiempo se ha mostrado reticente a implicar a los agentes de la agencia en sus competencias. “España se caracteriza por ser un Estado miembro que ha invertido considerables recursos públicos en operaciones de rescates en el mar además de en el control de sus fronteras exteriores”, afirma el eurodiputado socialista Juan Fernando López Aguilar. “Eso explica que retenga bastante el protagonismo de su papel en fronteras, a diferencia de otros países que han recurrido más a la agencia, como Croacia, Grecia o incluso Italia”.
La agencia está actualmente bajo una presión sin precedentes, cuando está a punto de convertirse en el primer cuerpo uniformado y armado en la historia de la UE. Las investigaciones cercan a su director, Fabrice Leggeri, sobre el que se han vertido duras críticas por su gestión, la degradación de las relaciones en el seno de la agencia y, sobre todo, por supuesta connivencia con la devolución en caliente de emigrantes en la frontera greco-turca.
La lutte pour le déploiement en Afrique et la puissance croissante de l’organisme européen ont conduit l’agence de contrôle des frontières à menacer son retrait.
Les relations entre l’Espagne et l’Agence européenne de garde-frontières et de garde-côtes (Frontex) sont plus tendues que jamais. La lutte pour le déploiement des moyens matériels et la maîtrise des opérations a conduit Frontex à menacer de suspendre son activité dans le détroit et aux îles Canaries `` en plus du dispositif qui est déployé dans chaque opération au-dessus du détroit du détroit ’’, selon trois sources bien informées de l’épisode. La décision a traversé les bureaux mercredi dernier, elle a même été communiquée aux agents de l’agence déployés dans l’archipel et menaçait de devenir une crise politique. Vendredi dernier, Frontex a publié une déclaration de son siège à Varsovie pour arrêter les rumeurs et annoncer qu’elle renouvelait sa présence en Espagne pour une autre année.
The fortified gates of the Balkans. How non-EU member states are incorporated into fortress Europe.
Marko Gašperlin, a Slovenian police officer, began his first mandate as chair of the Management Board of Frontex in spring 2016. Less than two months earlier, then Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar had gone to North Macedonia to convey the message from the EU that the migration route through the Balkans — the so-called Balkan route — was about to close.
“North Macedonia was the first country ready to cooperate [with Frontex] to stop the stampede we had in 2015 across the Western Balkans,” Gašperlin told K2.0 during an interview conducted at the police headquarters in Ljubljana in September 2020.
“Stampede” refers to over 1 million people who entered the European Union in 2015 and early 2016 in search of asylum, the majority traveling along the Balkan route. Most of them were from Syria, but also some other countries of the global South where human rights are a vague concept.
According to Gašperlin, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s primary interest at the EU’s external borders is controlling the movement of people who he describes as “illegals.”
Given numerous allegations by human rights organizations, Frontex could itself be part of illegal activity as part of the push-back chain removing people from EU territory before they have had the opportunity to assert their right to claim asylum.
In March 2016, the EU made a deal with Turkey to stop the flow of people toward Europe, and Frontex became even more active in the Aegean Sea. Only four years later, at the end of 2020, Gašperlin established a Frontex working group to look into allegations of human rights violations by its officers. So far, no misconduct has been acknowledged. The final internal Frontex report is due at the end of February.
After allegations were made public during the summer and fall of 2020, some members of the European Parliament called for Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri to step down, while the European Ombudsman also announced an inquiry into the effectiveness of the Agency’s complaints mechanism as well as its management.
A European Parliament Frontex Scrutiny Working Group was also established to conduct its own inquiry, looking into “compliance and respect for fundamental rights” as well as internal management, and transparency and accountability. It formally began work this week (February 23) with its fact-finding investigation expected to last four months.
2021 started with more allegations and revelations.
In January 2021 the EU anti-fraud office, OLAF, confirmed it is leading an investigation over allegations of harassment and misconduct inside Frontex, and push-backs conducted at the EU’s borders.
Similar accusations of human rights violations related to Frontex have been accumulating for years. In 2011, Human Rights Watch issued a report titled “The EU’s Dirty Hands” that documented the ill-treatment of migrant detainees in Greece.
Various human rights organizations and media have also long reported about Frontex helping the Libyan Coast Guard to locate and pull back people trying to escape toward Europe. After being pulled back, people are held in notorious detention camps, which operate with the support of the EU.
Nonetheless, EU leaders are not giving up on the idea of expanding the Frontex mission, making deals with governments of non-member states in the Balkans to participate in their efforts to stop migration.
Currently, the Frontex plan is to deploy up to 10,000 border guards at the EU external borders by 2027.
Frontex, with its headquarters in Poland, was established in 2004, but it remained relatively low key for the first decade of its existence. This changed in 2015 when, in order to better control Europe’s visa-free Schengen area, the European Commission (EC) extended the Agency’s mandate as it aimed to turn Frontex into a fully-fledged European Border and Coastguard Agency. Officially, they began operating in this role in October 2016, at the Bulgarian border with Turkey.
In recent years, the territory they cover has been expanding, framed as cooperation with neighboring countries, with the main goal “to ensure implementation of the European integrated border management.”
The budget allocated for their work has also grown massively, from about 6 million euros in 2005, to 460 million euros in 2020. According to existing plans, the Agency is set to grow still further and by 2027 up to 5.6 billion euros is expected to have been spent on Frontex.
As one of the main migration routes into Europe the Balkans has become the key region for Frontex. Close cooperation with authorities in the region has been growing since 2016, particularly through the “Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management in the Western Balkans and Turkey” project: ▻https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Partners/Third_countries/IPA_II_Phase_II.pdf.
In order to increase its powers in the field, Frontex has promoted “status agreements” with the countries in the region, while the EC, through its Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) fund, has dedicated 3.4 million euros over the two-year 2019-21 period for strengthening borders.
The first Balkan state to upgrade its cooperation agreement with Frontex to a status agreement was Albania in 2018; joint police operations at its southern border with Greece began in spring 2019. According to the agreement, Frontex is allowed to conduct full border police duties on the non-EU territory.
Frontex’s status agreement with Albania was followed by a similar agreement with Montenegro that has been in force since July 2020.
The signing of a status agreement with North Macedonia was blocked by Bulgaria in October 2020, while the agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina requires further approvals and the one with Serbia is awaiting ratification by the parliament in Belgrade.
“The current legal framework is the consequence of the situation in the years from 2014 to 2016,” Gašperlin said.
He added that he regretted that the possibility to cooperate with non-EU states in returns of “illegals” had subsequently been dropped from the Frontex mandate after an intervention by EU parliamentarians. In 2019, a number of changes were made to how Frontex functions including removing the power to “launch return interventions in third countries” due to the fact that many of these countries have a poor record when it comes to rule of law and respect of human rights.
“This means, if we are concrete, that the illegals who are in BiH — the EU can pay for their accommodation, Frontex can help only a little with the current tools it has, while when it comes to returns, Frontex cannot do anything,” Gašperlin said.
Fortification of the borders
The steady introduction of status agreements is intended to replace and upgrade existing police cooperation deals that are already in place with non-EU states.
Over the years, EU member states have established various bilateral agreements with countries around the world, including some in the Balkan region. Further agreements have been negotiated by the EU itself, with Frontex listing 20 “working arrangements” with different non-member states on its website.
Based on existing Frontex working arrangements, exchange of information and “consultancy” visits by Frontex officials — which also include work at border crossings — are already practiced widely across the Balkan-EU borders.
The new status agreements allow Frontex officers to guard the borders and perform police tasks on the territory of the country with which the agreement is signed, while this country’s national courts do not have jurisdiction over the Frontex personnel.
Comparing bilateral agreements to status agreements, Marko Gašperlin explained that, with Frontex taking over certain duties, individual EU states will be able to avoid the administrative and financial burdens of “bilateral solidarity.”
Radoš Đurović, director of the NGO Asylum Protection Centre (APC) which works with migrants in Serbia, questions whether Frontex’s presence in the region will bring better control over violations and fears that if past acts of alleged violence are used it could make matters worse.
“The EU’s aim is to increase border control and reduce the number of people who legally or illegally cross,” Đurović says in a phone interview for K2.0. “We know that violence does not stop the crossings. It only increases the violence people experience.”
Similarly, Jasmin Redžepi from the Skopje-based NGO Legis, argues that the current EU focus on policing its borders only entraps people in the region.
“This causes more problems, suffering and death,” he says. “People are forced to turn to criminals in search of help. The current police actions are empowering criminals and organized crime.”
Redžepi believes the region is currently acting as some kind of human filter for the EU.
“From the security standpoint this is solidarity with local authorities. But in the field, it prevents greater numbers of refugees from moving toward central Europe,” Redžepi says.
“They get temporarily stuck. The EU calls it regulation but they only postpone their arrival in the EU and increase the violations of human rights, European law and international law. In the end people cross, just more simply die along the way.”
EU accused of externalizing issues
For the EU, it was a shifting pattern of migratory journeys that signified the moment to start increasing its border security around the region by strengthening its cooperation with individual states.
The overland Balkan route toward Western Europe has always been used by people on the move. But it has become even more frequented in recent years as changing approaches to border policing and rescue restrictions in the Central Mediterranean have made crossings by sea even more deadly.
For the regional countries, each at a different stage of a still distant promise of EU membership, partnering with Frontex comes with the obvious incentive of demonstrating their commitment to the bloc.
“When regional authorities work to stop people crossing towards the EU, they hope to get extra benefits elsewhere,” says APC Serbia’s Radoš Đurovic.
There are also other potential perks. Jasmin Redžepi from Legis explains that police from EU states often leave behind equipment for under-equipped local forces.
But there has also been significant criticism of the EU’s approach in both the Balkans and elsewhere, with many accusing it of attempting to externalize its borders and avoid accountability by pushing difficult issues elsewhere.
According to research by Violeta Moreno-Lax and Martin Lemberg-Pedersen, who have analyzed the consequences of the EU’s approach to border management, the bloc’s actions amount to a “dispersion of legal duties” that is not “ethically and legally tenable under international law.”
One of the results, the researchers found, is that “repressive forces” in third countries gain standing as valid interlocutors for cooperation and democratic and human rights credentials become “secondary, if at all relevant.”
APC’s Radoš Đurović agrees, suggesting that we are entering a situation where the power of the law and international norms that prevent illegal use of force are, in effect, limited.
“Europe may not have enough power to influence the situations in places further away that push migration, but it can influence its border regions,” he says. “The changes we see forced onto the states are problematic — from push-backs to violence.”
Playing by whose rules?
One of the particular anomalies seen with the status agreements is that Albanian police are now being accompanied by Frontex forces to better control their southern border at the same time as many of Albania’s own citizens are themselves attempting to reach the EU in irregular ways.
Asked about this apparent paradox, Marko Gašperlin said he did “not remember any Albanians among the illegals.”
However, Frontex’s risk analysis for 2020, puts Albania in the top four countries for whose citizens return orders were issued in the preceding two years and second in terms of returns effectively carried out. Eurostat data for 2018 and 2019 also puts Albania in 11th place among countries from which first time asylum seekers come, before Somalia and Bangladesh and well ahead of Morocco and Algeria.
While many of these Albanian citizens may have entered EU countries via regular means before being subject to return orders for reasons such as breaching visa conditions, people on the move from Albania are often encountered along the Balkan route, according to activists working in the field.
Meanwhile, other migrants have complained of being subjected to illegal push-backs at Albania’s border with Greece, though there is a lack of monitoring in this area and these claims remain unverified.
In Serbia, the KlikAktiv Center for Development of Social Policies has analyzed Belgrade’s pending status agreement for Frontex operations.
It warns that increasing the presence of armed police, from a Frontex force that has allegedly been involved in violence and abuses of power, is a recipe for disaster, especially when they will have immunity from local criminal and civil jurisdiction.
It also flags that changes in legislation will enable the integration of data systems and rapid deportations without proper safeguards in place.
Police activities to secure borders greatly depend on — and supply data to — EU information technology systems. But EU law provides fewer protections for data processing of foreign nationals than for that of EU citizens, effectively creating segregation in terms of data protection.
The EU Fundamental Rights Agency has warned that the establishment of a more invasive system for non-EU nationals could potentially lead to increased discrimination and skew data that could further “fuel existing misperceptions that there is a link between asylum-seekers, migration and crime.”
A question of standards
Frontex emphasizes that there are codified safeguards and existing internal appeal mechanisms.
According to the status agreements, violations of fundamental rights such as data protection rules or the principle of non-refoulement — which prohibits the forcible return of individuals to countries where they face danger through push-backs or other means — are all reasons for either party to suspend or terminate their cooperation.
In January, Frontex itself suspended its mission in Hungary after the EU member state failed to abide by an EU Court of Justice decision. In December 2020, the court found that Hungarian border enforcement was in violation of EU law by restricting access to its asylum system and for carrying out illegal push-backs into Serbia.
Marko Gašperlin claimed that Frontex’s presence improved professional police standards wherever it operated.
However, claims of raising standards have been questioned by human rights researchers and activists.
Jasmin Redžepi recounts that the first complaint against a foreign police officer that his NGO Legis filed with North Macedonian authorities and international organizations was against a Slovenian police officer posted through bilateral agreement; the complaint related to allegations of unprofessional conduct toward migrants.
“Presently, people cross illegally and the police push them back illegally,” Redžepi says. “They should be able to ask for asylum but cannot as police push people across borders.”
Gašperlin told K2.0 that it is natural that there will be a variation of standards between police from different countries.
In its recruitment efforts, Frontex has sought to enlist police officers or people with a customs or army background. According to Gašperlin, recruits have been disproportionately from Romania and Italy, while fewer have been police officers from northern member states “where standards and wages are better.”
“It would be illusory to expect that all of the EU would rise up to the level of respect for human rights and to the high standards of Sweden,” he said. “There also has not been a case of the EU throwing a member out, although there have been examples of human rights violations, of different kinds.”
‘Monitoring from the air’
One of the EU member states whose own police have been accused of serious human rights violations against refugees and migrants, including torture, is Croatia.
Despite the allegations, in January 2020, Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior Police Academy was chosen to lead the first Frontex-financed training session for attendees from police forces across the Balkan route region.
Frontex currently has a presence in Croatia, at the EU border area with Bosnia and Herzegovina, amongst other places.
Asked about the numerous reports from international NGOs and collectives, as well as from the national Ombudsman Lora Vidović and the Council of Europe, of mass human rights violations at the Croatian borders, Gašperlin declined to engage.
“Frontex helps Croatia with monitoring from the air,” he said. “That is all.”
Gašperlin said that the role of his agency is only to notify Croatia when people are detected approaching the border from Bosnia. Asked if Frontex also monitors what happens to people once Croatian police find them, given continuously worsening allegations, he said: “From the air this might be difficult. I do not know if a plane from the air can monitor that.”
Pressed further, he declined to comment.
To claim ignorance is, however, becoming increasingly difficult. A recent statement on the state of the EU’s borders by UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, notes: “The pushbacks [at Europe’s borders] are carried out in a violent and apparently systematic way.”
Radoš Đurović from APC Serbia pointed out that Frontex must know about the alleged violations.
“The question is: Do they want to investigate and prevent them?” he says. “All those present in the field know about the violence and who perpetrates it.”
Warnings that strict and violent EU border policies are increasing the sophistication and brutality of smugglers, while technological “solutions” and militarization come with vested interests and more potential human rights violations, do not seem to worry the head of Frontex’s Management Board.
“If passage from Turkey to Germany is too expensive, people will not decide to go,” said Gašperlin, describing the job done by Frontex:
“We do the work we do. So people cannot simply come here, sit and say — here I am, now take me to Germany, as some might want. Or — here I am, I’m asking for asylum, now take me to Postojna or Ljubljana, where I will get fed, cared for, and then I’ll sit on the bus and ride to Munich where I’ll again ask for asylum. This would be a minimal price.”
Human rights advocates in the region such as Jasmin Redžepi have no illusions that what they face on the ground reflects the needs and aims of the EU.
“We are only a bridge,” Redžepi says. “The least the EU should do is take care that its policies do not turn the region into a cradle for criminals and organized crime. We need legal, regular passages and procedures for people to apply for asylum, not illegal, violent push-backs.
“If we talk about security we cannot talk exclusively about the security of borders. We have to talk about the security of people as well.”
#Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #frontex #Macédoine_du_Nord #contrôles_frontaliers #militarisation_des_frontières #push-backs #refoulements #refoulements_en_chaîne #frontières_extérieures #Regional_Support_to_Protection-Sensitive_Migration_Management_in_the_Western_Balkans_and_Turkey #Instrument_for_Pre-Accession (#IPA) #budget #Albanie #Monténégro #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #accords_bilatéraux
ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
Et plus particulièrement ici :
À la frontière franco-espagnole, la police « #traque » les migrants
Depuis environ un mois, les contrôles à la frontière franco-espagnole se sont intensifiés. Selon les associations, les migrants, « traqués par la police », prennent de plus en plus de #risques pour atteindre la France. Les humanitaires redoutent un drame, d’autant que certains exilés tentent désormais de rejoindre l’Hexagone en traversant la #rivière #Bidassoa à la nage.
« #Refoulements illégaux », « traque », « #chasse_à_l'homme », « violation des droits »... Les mots utilisés par les associations locales pour décrire la situation à la frontière franco-espagnole sont forts. Depuis un mois, les humanitaires observent une présence de plus en plus importante des #forces_de_l'ordre. « Il y a toujours eu des contrôles mais à ce point-là, jamais ! On a même vu des #militaires déambuler dans les villages », raconte Lucie Bortaitu de l’association bayonnaise Diakité.
Début novembre, lors d’une visite dans les Pyrénées, le président Emmanuel Macron avait annoncé le doublement des effectifs aux frontières françaises pour lutter contre la menace terroriste, les trafics et l’immigration illégale.
À cela s’ajoute la fermeture, début janvier, de 15 points de passage sur les 650 kilomètres de frontière qui séparent l’Espagne de la France pour contenir la pandémie de Covid-19. Cette #surveillance renforcée 24h/24 mobilise 230 #policiers et #militaires.
Mais pour les associations, le principal enjeu est de limiter l’arrivée de migrants dans l’Hexagone. « Les autorités françaises utilisent l’excuse de la crise sanitaire mais en fait le but premier est le #contrôle_migratoire », estime Ion Aranguren, de l’association espagnole Irungo Harrera Sarea, active du côté d’Irun. « C’est clairement pour lutter contre l’immigration illégale : seuls les Noirs sont constamment contrôlés par les policiers », renchérit Lucie Bortaitu.
Des refoulements quotidiens
Depuis plusieurs semaines, selon les humanitaires, les migrants sont « traqués » sur la route, dans les trains et dans la rue. À #Hendaye, les #gendarmes sont même entrés dans le jardin d’un particulier pour y extraire un exilé venu se cacher de la police, rapportent les bénévoles. Des migrants ont aussi été arrêtés au-delà des #20_kilomètres de la frontière, un rayon dans lequel les contrôles d’entrée sur le territoire sont autorisés. Plusieurs personnes ont ainsi été interpellées à #Bordeaux à leur descente du train et expulsées en Espagne.
D’autres migrants racontent avoir été interpellés, puis envoyés dans les locaux de police avant d’être expulsés à la frontière au beau milieu de la nuit. « L’autre jour, on a appris que cinq femmes avaient été déposées à #Behobia [ville espagnole frontalière située à quelques kilomètres d’#Irun, ndlr] tard le soir. On les lâche là au milieu de nulle part, loin des associations et alors qu’un couvre-feu est aussi en vigueur en Espagne », souffle Lucie Bortaitu. D’autres encore ont été laissés par la police française à #Ibardin, en plein cœur des Pyrénées, du côté espagnol.
Ce genre de témoignages de refoulement sont recueillis quotidiennement par les associations, françaises et espagnoles. Certains exilés ont déjà tenté six, sept voire huit fois le passage.
Les mineurs non plus n’échappent pas à ces renvois, malgré la possession d’acte de naissance pour certains, synonyme d’une évaluation de leur minorité et d’une prise en charge par le département.
Atteindre la France par la rivière
Ces refoulements, de plus en plus fréquents, inquiètent les humanitaires et les avocats. « Ces #expulsions, qui sont devenues la norme, se font en dehors de tout cadre légal. Ce sont purement et simplement des renvois expéditifs illégaux », signale Me Francisco Sanchez Rodriguez, avocat en droits des étrangers au barreau de Bayonne. Les exilés n’ont en effet pas la possibilité de déposer l’asile, et aucun document de renvoi ne leur est délivré par un juge, comme le prévoit la loi. « On n’avait jamais vu cela à cette frontière », assure l’avocat.
Malgré la pression policière et les violations de leurs droits, les migrants restent déterminés à continuer leur route. Résultat : ils prennent de plus en plus de risques pour échapper aux forces de l’ordre. Quelques-uns ont même tenté d’atteindre la France en traversant la frontière Bidassoa, qui sépare les deux pays. Un itinéraire jusque-là jamais emprunté par les exilés.
Tom Dubois-Robin, un habitant d’Hendaye, voit depuis environ un mois des migrants essayer de « passer en France à la nage », en dépit des dangers. Samedi 13 mars, alors qu’il est assis au bord de l’eau avec des amis, il porte secours à un jeune homme venu de l’autre côté de la rivière. Quelques jours plus tard, Tom Dubois-Robin ramasse une doudoune dans l’eau. Dans les poches, il trouve des effets de la Croix-Rouge, dont le centre à Irun accueille des exilés. « Il a dû tenter la traversée et a jeté sa doudoune car elle était trop lourde », pense l’Hendayais.
Les associations et les citoyens du #Pays_basque redoutent un drame, et se battent pour empêcher que leur rivière ne devienne un cimetière. Tom Dubois-Robin partage ce combat. Cet ancien policier, qui a lâché son uniforme en 2018 en raison justement de ces renvois à répétition, a écrit aux élus de sa région pour « qu’ils tapent du point sur la table et qu’on évite le pire ». Las qu’il est depuis plusieurs années de « ce ping-pong incessant » qui consiste à « renvoyer à la frontière des familles avec enfants ».
#Biden and the Border Security-Industrial Complex
Successive administrations have poured money into the business of militarizing immigration control—and lobbyists have returned the favors. Will this president stop the juggernaut?
There are many ways I wish I’d spent my last days of freedom before the coronavirus’s inexorable and deadly advance through the US began last year, but attending the 2020 Border Security Expo was not one of them. On March 9, 2020, President Trump told us the flu was more deadly than coronavirus and that nothing would be shut down. “Think about that!” he tweeted. On March 13, he declared the pandemic a national emergency. In the days between, I flew to San Antonio, Texas, to attend the Expo in an attempt to better understand the border security industry and its links to government. I soon found myself squeezing through dozens of suited men with buzz cuts clapping each other on the back and scarfing bagels at the catering table, with scant mention of the coming catastrophe.
Instead, the focus was on how best to spend the ever-increasing budgets of the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which had discretionary spending allocations that totaled $27 billion. Together, that was up 20 percent on the previous year’s budgets; and for decades now, under Democrats and Republicans alike, the border security industry has generally received more and more money each year. For the first time in years, the agencies’ latest combined budget records a modest reduction, of $1.5 billion (though the expenditure on ICE continues to grow unchecked).
President Biden is working to undo some of the most violent anti-immigrant policies of his predecessor, including lifting the travel ban on thirteen nations, almost all in the Middle East or Africa, and working to end the Migrant Protection Protocols, which forced some 25,000 asylum seekers to stay in Mexico as they awaited their day in court. He has also created a task force to reunite families separated at the US–Mexico border and has already sent a comprehensive immigration reform bill to lawmakers. And he has halted construction of Donald Trump’s notorious border wall.
Does this all signify that he is ready to consider taming the vast militarized machine that is the border security industry? Or will he, like Democratic presidents before him, quietly continue to expand it?
#USA #complexe_militaro-industriel #Etats-Unis #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #business #réfugiés #migrations #militarisation_des_frontières #Joe_Biden #Customs_and_Border_Protection_agency (#CBP) #Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement (#ICE)
Biden’s Border. The industry, the Democrats and the 2020 elections
This briefing profiles the leading US border security contractors, their related financial campaign contributions during the 2020 elections, and how they have shaped a bipartisan approach in favor of border militarization for more than three decades. It suggests that a real change in border and immigration policies will require the Democrats to break with the industry that helps finance them.
– Early into his presidency, Joe Biden has already indicated through 10 executive orders that he wants to end the brutality associated with Trump’s border and immigration policies. However undoing all the harmful dimensions of the US border regime will require substantial structural change and an end to the close ties between the Democrats and the border industry.
- The border security and immigration detention industry has boomed in the last decades thanks to constant increases in government spending by both parties—Democrats and Republicans. Between 2008 and 2020, CBP and ICE issued 105,997 contracts worth $55.1 billion to private corporations.The industry is now deeply embedded in US government bodies and decision-making, with close financial ties to strategic politicians.
– 13 companies play a pivotal role in the US border industry: #CoreCivic, #Deloitte, #Elbit_Systems, #GEO_Group, #General_Atomics, #General_Dynamics, #G4S, #IBM, #Leidos, #Lockheed_Martin, #L3Harris, #Northrop_Grumman, and #Palantir. Some of the firms also provide other services and products to the US government, but border and detention contracts have been a consistently growing part of all of their portfolios.
- These top border contractors through individual donations and their #Political_Action_Committees (PACs) gave more than $40 million during the 2020 electoral cycle to the two parties ($40,333,427). Democrats overall received more contributions from the big border contractors than the Republicans (55 percent versus 45 percent). This is a swing back to the Democrats, as over the last 10 years contributions from 11 of the 13 companies have favored Republicans. It suggests an intention by the border industry to hedge their political bets and ensure that border security policies are not rolled back to the detriment of future profits.
– The 13 border security companies’ executives and top employees contributed three times more to Joe Biden ($5,364,994) than to Donald Trump ($1,730,435).
- A few border security companies show preferences towards one political party. Detention-related companies, in particular CoreCivic, G4S and GEO Group, strongly favor Republicans along with military contractors Elbit Systems and General Atomics, while auditing and IT companies Deloitte, IBM and Palantir overwhelmingly favor the Democrats.
– The 13 companies have contributed $10 million ($9,674,911) in the 2020 electoral cycle to members of strategic legislative committees that design and fund border security policies: the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the House Homeland Security Committee. The biggest contributors are Deloitte, General Dynamics, L3Harris, Leidos, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, and nearly all donate substantially to both parties, with a preference for Republican candidates. Democrat Senator Jack Reed ($426,413), Republican Congresswoman Kay Granger ($442,406) and Republican Senator Richard Shelby ($430,150) all received more than $400,000 in 2020.
– Biden is opposed to the wall-building of Trump, but has along with many Democrats voiced public support for a more hidden ‘virtual wall’ and ‘smart borders’, deploying surveillance technologies that will be both more lucrative for the industry and more hidden in terms of the abuses they perpetrate.
- Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas developed and implemented DACA under Obama’s administration, but also as a lawyer with the firm WilmerHale between 2018 and 2020 earned $3.3 million representing companies including border contractors Northrop Grumman and Leidos.
- Over the last 40 years, Biden has a mixed voting record on border policy, showing some support for immigrant rights on several occasions but also approving legislation (the 1996 Illegal Immigration and Immigration Reform Act) that enabled the mass deportations under Obama, and the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which extended the wall long before Trump’s election.
– The Democrat Party as a whole also has a mixed record. Under President Bill Clinton, the Democrats approved the 1994 Prevention through Deterrence national border strategy and implemented the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act that dramatically increased the pace of border militarization as well as deportations. Later Obama became the first president to deport nearly 3 million people during his eight-year term.
– Nearly 8,000 bodies have been recovered in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands between 1998 and 2019 as a result of policies by both parties. The organization No More Deaths has estimated that three to ten times as many people may have died or disappeared since today’s border-enforcement strategy was implemented. The border industrial complex’s profits are based on border and immmigration policies that have deadly consequences.
The big wall
An ActionAid investigation into how Italy tried to stop migration from Africa, using EU funds, and how much money it spent.
There are satellites, drones, ships, cooperation projects, police posts, repatriation flights, training centers. They are the bricks of an invisible but tangible and often violent wall. Erected starting in 2015 onwards, thanks to over one billion euros of public money. With one goal: to eliminate those movements by sea, from North Africa to Italy, which in 2015 caused an outcry over a “refugee crisis”. Here we tell you about the (fragile) foundations and the (dramatic) impacts of this project. Which must be changed, urgently.
Ready, Set, Go
Imagine a board game, Risk style. The board is a huge geographical map, which descends south from Italy, including the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa and almost reaching the equator, in Cameroon, South Sudan, Rwanda. Places we know little about and read rarely about.
Each player distributes activity cards and objects between countries and along borders. In Ethiopia there is a camera crew shooting TV series called ‘Miraj’ [mirage], which recounts the misadventures of naive youth who rely on shady characters to reach Europe. There is military equipment, distributed almost everywhere: off-road vehicles for the Tunisian border police, ambulances and tank trucks for the army in Niger, patrol boats for Libya, surveillance drones taking off from Sicily.
There is technology: satellite systems on ships in the Mediterranean, software for recording fingerprints in Egypt, laptops for the Nigerian police. And still: coming and going of flights between Libya and Nigeria, Guinea, Gambia. Maritime coordination centers, police posts in the middle of the Sahara, job orientation offices in Tunisia or Ethiopia, clinics in Uganda, facilities for minors in Eritrea, and refugee camps in Sudan.
Hold your breath for a moment longer, because we still haven’t mentioned the training courses. And there are many: to produce yogurt in Ivory Coast, open a farm in Senegal or a beauty salon in Nigeria, to learn about the rights of refugees, or how to use a radar station.
Crazed pawns, overlapping cards and unclear rules. Except for one: from these African countries, more than 25 of them, not one person should make it to Italy. There is only one exception allowed: leaving with a visa. Embassy officials, however, have precise instructions: anyone who doesn’t have something to return to should not be accepted. Relationships, family, and friends don’t count, but only incomes, properties, businesses, and titles do.
For a young professional, a worker, a student, an activist, anyone looking for safety, future and adventure beyond the borders of the continent, for people like me writing and perhaps like you reading, the only allies become the facilitators, those who Europe calls traffickers and who, from friends, can turn into worst enemies.
We called it The Big Wall. It could be one of those strategy games that keeps going throughout the night, for fans of geopolitics, conflicts, finance. But this is real life, and it’s the result of years of investments, experiments, documents and meetings. At first disorderly, sporadic, then systematized and increased since 2015, when United Nations agencies, echoed by the international media, sounded an alarm: there is a migrant crisis happening and Europe must intervene. Immediately.
Italy was at the forefront, and all those agreements, projects, and programs from previous years suddenly converged and multiplied, becoming bricks of a wall that, from an increasingly militarized Mediterranean, moved south, to the travelers’ countries of origin.
The basic idea, which bounced around chancelleries and European institutions, was to use multiple tools: development cooperation, support for security forces, on-site protection of refugees, repatriation, information campaigns on the risks of irregular migration. This, in the language of Brussels, was a “comprehensive approach”.
We talked to some of the protagonists of this story — those who built the wall, who tried to jump it, and who would like to demolish it — and we looked through thousands of pages of reports, minutes, resolutions, decrees, calls for tenders, contracts, newspaper articles, research, to understand how much money Italy has spent, where, and what impacts it has had. Months of work to discover not only that this wall has dramatic consequences, but that the European – and Italian – approach to international migration stems from erroneous premises, from an emergency stance that has disastrous results for everyone, including European citizens.
Libya: the tip of the iceberg
It was the start of the 2017/2018 academic year and Omer Shatz, professor of international law, offered his Sciences Po students the opportunity to work alongside him on the preparation of a dossier. For the students of the faculty, this was nothing new. In the classrooms of the austere building on the Rive Gauche of Paris, which European and African heads of state have passed though, not least Emmanuel Macron, it’s normal to work on real life materials: peace agreements in Colombia, trials against dictators and foreign fighters. Those who walk on those marble floors already know that they will be able to speak with confidence in circles that matter, in politics as well as diplomacy.
Shatz, who as a criminal lawyer in Israel is familiar with abuses and rights violations, launched his students a new challenge: to bring Europe to the International Criminal Court for the first time. “Since it was created, the court has only condemned African citizens – dictators, militia leaders – but showing European responsibility was urgent,” he explains.
One year after first proposing the plan, Shatz sent an envelope to the Court’s headquarters, in the Dutch town of The Hague. With his colleague Juan Branco and eight of his students he recounted, in 245 pages, cases of “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population”, linked to “crimes against humanity consciously committed by European actors, in the central Mediterranean and in Libya, in line with Italian and European Union policies”.
The civilian population to which they refer comprises migrants and refugees, swallowed by the waves or intercepted in the central Mediterranean and brought back to shore by Libyan assets, to be placed in a seemingly endless cycle of detention. Among them are the 13.000 dead recorded since 2015, in the stretch of sea between North Africa and Italy, out of 523.000 people who survived the crossing, but also the many African and Asian citizens, who are rarely counted, who were tortured in Libya and died in any of the dozens of detention centers for foreigners, often run by militias.
“At first we thought that the EU and Italy were outsourcing dirty work to Libya to block people, which in jargon is called ‘aiding and abetting’ in the commission of a crime, then we realized that the Europeans were actually the conductors of these operations, while the Libyans performed”, says Shatz, who, at the end of 2020, was preparing a second document for the International Criminal Court to include more names, those of the “anonymous officials of the European and Italian bureaucracy who participated in this criminal enterprise”, which was centered around the “reinvention of the Libyan Coast Guard, conceived by Italian actors”.
Identifying heads of department, office directors, and institution executives in democratic countries as alleged criminals might seem excessive. For Shatz, however, “this is the first time, after the Nuremberg trials, after Eichmann, that Europe has committed crimes of this magnitude, outside of an armed conflict”. The court, which routinely rejects at least 95 percent of the cases presented, did not do so with Shatz and his students’ case. “Encouraging news, but that does not mean that the start of proceedings is around the corner”, explains the lawyer.
At the basis of the alleged crimes, he continues, are “regulations, memoranda of understanding, maritime cooperation, detention centers, patrols and drones” created and financed by the European Union and Italy. Here Shatz is speaking about the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya to “reduce the flow of illegal migrants”, as the text of the document states. An objective to be achieved through training and support for the two maritime patrol forces of the very fragile Libyan national unity government, by “adapting” the existing detention centers, and supporting local development initiatives.
Signed in Rome on February 2, 2017 and in force until 2023, the text is grafted onto the Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation signed by Silvio Berlusconi and Muammar Gaddafi in 2008, but is tied to a specific budget: that of the so-called Africa Fund, established in 2016 as the “Fund for extraordinary interventions to relaunch dialogue and cooperation with African countries of priority importance for migration routes” and extended in 2020 — as the Migration Fund — to non-African countries too.
310 million euros were allocated in total between the end of 2016 and November 2020, and 252 of those were disbursed, according to our reconstruction.
A multiplication of tools and funds that, explains Mario Giro, “was born after the summit between the European Union and African leaders in Malta, in November 2015”. According to the former undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 2013, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs between 2016 and 2018, that summit in Malta “sanctioned the triumph of a European obsession, that of reducing migration from Africa at all costs: in exchange of this containment, there was a willingness to spend, invest”. For Giro, the one in Malta was an “attempt to come together, but not a real partnership”.
Libya, where more than 90 percent of those attempting to cross the central Mediterranean departed from in those years, was the heart of a project in which Italian funds and interests support and integrate with programs by the European Union and other member states. It was an all-European dialogue, from which powerful Africans — political leaders but also policemen, militiamen, and the traffickers themselves — tried to obtain something: legitimacy, funds, equipment.
Fragmented and torn apart by a decade-long conflict, Libya was however not alone. In October 2015, just before the handshakes and the usual photographs at the Malta meeting, the European Commission established an Emergency Trust Fund to “address the root causes of migration in Africa”.
To do so, as Dutch researcher Thomas Spijkerboer will reconstruct years later, the EU executive declared a state of emergency in the 26 African countries that benefit from the Fund, thus justifying the choice to circumvent European competition rules in favor of direct award procedures. However “it’s implausible – Spijkerboeker will go on to argue – that there is a crisis in all 26 African countries where the Trust Fund operates through the duration of the Trust Fund”, now extended until the end of 2021.
However, the imperative, as an advisor to the Budget Commission of the European Parliament explains, was to act immediately: “not within a few weeks, but days, hours“.
Faced with a Libya still ineffective at stopping flows to the north, it was in fact necessary to intervene further south, traveling backwards along the routes that converge from dozens of African countries and go towards Tripolitania. And — like dominoes in reverse — raising borders and convincing, or forcing, potential travelers to stop in their countries of origin or in others along the way, before they arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean.
For the first time since decolonization, human mobility in Africa became the keystone of Italian policies on the continent, so much so that analysts began speaking of migration diplomacy. Factors such as the number of migrants leaving from a given country and the number of border posts or repatriations all became part of the political game, on the same level as profits from oil extraction, promises of investment, arms sales, or trade agreements.
Comprising projects, funds, and programs, this migration diplomacy comes at a cost. For the period between January 2015 and November 2020, we tracked down 317 funding lines managed by Italy with its own funds and partially co-financed by the European Union. A total of 1.337 billion euros, spent over five years and destined to eight different items of expenditure. Here Libya is in first place, but it is not alone.
A long story, in short
For simplicity’s sake, we can say that it all started in the hot summer of 2002, with an almost surrealist lightning war over a barren rock on the edge of the Mediterranean: the Isla de Persejil, the island of parsley. A little island in the Strait of Gibraltar, disputed for decades between Morocco and Spain, which had its ephemeral moment of glory when in July of that year the Moroccan monarchy sent six soldiers, some tents and a flag. Jose-Maria Aznar’s government quickly responded with a reconquista to the sound of fighter-bombers, frigates, and helicopters.
Peace was signed only a few weeks later and the island went back to being a land of shepherds and military patrols. Which from then on, however, were joint ones.
“There was talk of combating drug trafficking and illegal fishing, but the reality was different: these were the first anti-immigration operations co-managed by Spanish and Moroccan soldiers”, explains Sebastian Cobarrubias, professor of geography at the University of Zaragoza. The model, he says, was the one of Franco-Spanish counter-terrorism operations in the Basque Country, exported from the Pyrenees to the sea border.
A process of externalization of Spanish and European migration policy was born following those events in 2002, and culminating years later with the crisis de los cayucos, the pirogue crisis: the arrival of tens of thousands of people – 31,000 in 2006 alone – in the Canary Islands, following extremely dangerous crossings from Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco.
In close dialogue with the European Commission, which saw the Spanish border as the most porous one of the fragile Schengen area, the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero reacted quickly. “Within a few months, cooperation and repatriation agreements were signed with nine African countries,” says Cobarrubias, who fought for years, with little success, to obtain the texts of the agreements.
The events of the late 2000s look terribly similar to what Italy will try to implement a decade later with its Mediterranean neighbors, Libya first of all. So much so that in 2016 it was the Spanish Minister of the Interior himself, Jorge Fernández Díaz, who recalled that “the Spanish one is a European management model, reproducible in other contexts”. A vision confirmed by the European Commission officials with whom we spoke.
At the heart of the Spanish strategy, which over a few short years led to a drastic decrease of arrivals by sea, was the opening of new diplomatic offices in Africa, the launch of local development projects, and above all the support given to the security forces of partner countries.
Cobarrubias recounts at least four characteristic elements of the Madrid approach: the construction of new patrol forces “such as the Mauritanian Coast Guard, which did not exist and was created by Spain thanks to European funds, with the support of the newly created Frontex agency”; direct and indirect support for detention centers, such as the infamous ‘Guantanamito’, or little Guantanamo, denounced by civil society organizations in Mauritania; the real-time collection of border data and information, carried out by the SIVE satellite system, a prototype of Eurosur, an incredibly expensive intelligence center on the EU’s external borders launched in 2013, based on drones, satellites, airplanes, and sensors; and finally, the strategy of working backwards along migration routes, to seal borders, from the sea to the Sahara desert, and investing locally with development and governance programs, which Spain did during the two phases of the so-called Plan Africa, between 2006 and 2012.
Replace “Spain” with “Italy”, and “Mauritania” with “Libya”, and you’ll have an idea of what happened years later, in an attempt to seal another European border.
The main legacy of the Spanish model, according to the Italian sociologist Lorenzo Gabrielli, however, is the negative conditionality, which is the fact of conditioning the disbursement of these loans – for security forces, ministries, trade agreements – at the level of the African partners’ cooperation in the management of migration, constantly threatening to reduce investments if there are not enough repatriations being carried out, or if controls and pushbacks fail. An idea that is reminiscent both of the enlargement process of the European Union, with all the access restrictions placed on candidate countries, and of the Schengen Treaty, the attempt to break down internal European borders, which, as a consequence, created the need to protect a new common border, the external one.
La externalización europea del control migratorio: ¿La acción española como modelo? Read more
At the end of 2015, when almost 150,000 people had reached the Italian coast and over 850,000 had crossed Turkey and the Balkans to enter the European Union, the story of the maritime migration to Spain had almost faded from memory.
But something remained of it: a management model. Based, once again, on an idea of crisis.
“We tried to apply it to post-Gaddafi Libya – explains Stefano Manservisi, who over the past decade has chaired two key departments for migration policies in the EU Commission, Home Affairs and Development Cooperation – but in 2013 we soon realized that things had blown up, that that there was no government to talk to: the whole strategy had to be reformulated”.
Going backwards, through routes and processes
The six-month presidency of the European Council, in 2014, was the perfect opportunity for Italy.
In November of that year, Matteo Renzi’s government hosted a conference in Rome to launch the Khartoum Process, the brand new initiative for the migration route between the EU and the Horn of Africa, modeled on the Rabat Process, born in 2006, at the apex of the crisis de los cayucos, after pressure from Spain. It’s a regional cooperation platform between EU countries and nine African countries, based on the exchange of information and coordination between governments, to manage migration.
Il processo di Khartoum: l’Italia e l’Europa contro le migrazioni Read more
Warning: if you start to find terms such as ‘process’ and ‘coordination platform’ nebulous, don’t worry. The backbone of European policies is made of these structures: meetings, committees, negotiating tables with unattractive names, whose roles elude most of us. It’s a tendency towards the multiplication of dialogue and decision spaces, that the migration policies of recent years have, if possible, accentuated, in the name of flexibility, of being ready for any eventuality. Of continuous crisis.
Let’s go back to that inter-ministerial meeting in Rome that gave life to the Khartoum Process and in which Libya, where the civil war had resumed violently a few months earlier, was not present.
Italy thus began looking beyond Libya, to the so-called countries of origin and transit. Such as Ethiopia, a historic beneficiary of Italian development cooperation, and Sudan. Indeed, both nations host refugees from Eritrea and Somalia, two of the main countries of origin of those who cross the central Mediterranean between 2013 and 2015. Improving their living conditions was urgent, to prevent them from traveling again, from dreaming of Europe. In Niger, on the other hand, which is an access corridor to Libya for those traveling from countries such as Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, and Mali, Italy co-financed a study for a new law against migrant smuggling, then adopted in 2015, which became the cornerstone of a radical attempt to reduce movement across the Sahara desert, which you will read about later.
A year later, with the Malta summit and the birth of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, Italy was therefore ready to act. With a 123 million euro contribution, allocated from 2017 through the Africa Fund and the Migration Fund, Italy became the second donor country, and one of the most active in trying to manage those over 4 billion euros allocated for five years. [If you are curious about the financing mechanisms of the Trust Fund, read here: ▻https://thebigwall.org/en/trust-fund/].
Through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), born in 2014 as an operational branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy immediately made itself available to manage European Fund projects, and one idea seemed to be the driving one: using classic development programs, but implemented in record time, to offer on-site alternatives to young people eager to leave, while improving access to basic services.
Local development, therefore, became the intervention to address the so-called root causes of migration. For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the newborn AICS, it seemed a winning approach. Unsurprisingly, the first project approved through the Trust Fund for Africa was managed by the Italian agency in Ethiopia.
“Stemming irregular migration in Northern and Central Ethiopia” received 19.8 million euros in funding, a rare sum for local development interventions. The goal was to create job opportunities and open career guidance centers for young people in four Ethiopian regions. Or at least that’s how it seemed. In the first place, among the objectives listed in the project sheet, there is in fact another one: to reduce irregular migration.
In the logical matrix of the project, which insiders know is the presentation – through data, indicators and figures – of the expected results, there is no indicator that appears next to the “reduction of irregular migration” objective. There is no way, it’s implicitly admitted, to verify that that goal has been achieved. That the young person trained to start a micro-enterprise in the Wollo area, for example, is one less migrant.
Bizarre, not to mention wrong. But indicative of the problems of an approach of which, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains to us, “Italy had made itself the spokesperson in Europe”.
“The mantra was that more development would stop migration, and at a certain point that worked for everyone: for AICS, which justified its funds in the face of political landscape that was scared by the issue of landings, and for many NGOs, which immediately understood that migrations were the parsley to be sprinkled on the funding requests that were presented”, explains the official, who, like so many in this story, prefers to remain anonymous.
This idea of the root causes was reproduced, as in an echo chamber, “without programmatic documents, without guidelines, but on the wave of a vague idea of political consensus around the goal of containing migration”, he adds. This makes it almost impossible to talk about, so much so that a proposal for new guidelines on immigration and development, drawn up during 2020 by AICS, was set aside for months.
Indeed, if someone were to say, as evidenced by scholars such as Michael Clemens, that development can also increase migration, and that migration itself is a source of development, the whole ‘root causes’ idea would collapse and the already tight cooperation budgets would risk being cut, in the name of the same absolute imperative as always: reducing arrivals to Italy and Europe.
Maintaining a vague, costly and unverifiable approach is equally damaging.
Bram Frouws, director of the Mixed Migration Center, a think-tank that studies international mobility, points out, for example, how the ‘root cause’ approach arises from a vision of migration as a problem to be eradicated rather than managed, and that paradoxically, the definition of these deep causes always remains superficial. In fact, there is never talk of how international fishing agreements damage local communities, nor of land grabbing by speculators, major construction work, or corruption and arms sales. There is only talk of generic economic vulnerability, of a country’s lack of stability. An almost abstract phenomenon, in which European actors are exempt from any responsibility.
There is another problem: in the name of the fight against irregular migration, interventions have shifted from poorer and truly vulnerable countries and populations to regions with ‘high migratory rates’, a term repeated in dozens of project descriptions funded over the past few years, distorting one of the cardinal principles of development aid, codified in regulations and agreements: that of responding to the most urgent needs of a given population, and of not imposing external priorities, even more so if it is countries considered richer are the ones doing it.
The Nigerien experiment
While Ethiopia and Sudan absorb the most substantial share of funds destined to tackle the root causes of migration — respectively 47 and 32 million euros out of a total expenditure of 195 million euros — Niger, which for years has been contending for the podium of least developed country on the planet with Central African Republic according to the United Nations Human Development Index — benefits from just over 10 million euros.
Here in fact it’s more urgent, for Italy and the EU, to intervene on border control rather than root causes, to stop the flow of people that cross the country until they arrive in Agadez, to then disappear in the Sahara and emerge, days later — if all goes well — in southern Libya. In 2016, the International Organization for Migration counted nearly 300,000 people passing through a single checkpoint along the road to Libya. The figure bounced between the offices of the European Commission, and from there to the Farnesina, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: faced with an uncontrollable Libya, intervening in Niger became a priority.
Italy did it in great style, even before opening an embassy in the country, in February 2017: with a contribution to the state budget of Niger of 50 million euros, part of the Africa Fund, included as part of a maxi-program managed by the EU in the country and paid out in several installments.
While the project documents list a number of conditions for the continuation of the funding, including increased monitoring along the routes to Libya and the adoption of regulations and strategies for border control, some local and European officials with whom we have spoken think that the assessments were made with one eye closed: the important thing was in fact to provide those funds to be spent in a country that for Italy, until then, had been synonymous only with tourism in the Sahara dunes and development in rural areas.
Having become a priority in the New Partnership Framework on Migration, yet another EU operational program, launched in 2016, Niger seemed thus exempt from controls on the management of funds to which beneficiaries of European funds are normally subject to.
“Our control mechanisms, the Court of Auditors, the Parliament and the anti-corruption Authority, do not work, and yet the European partners have injected millions of euros into state coffers, without imposing transparency mechanisms”, reports then Ali Idrissa Nani , president of the Réseau des Organizations pour la Transparence et l’Analyse du Budget (ROTAB), a network of associations that seeks to monitor state spending in Niger.
“It leaves me embittered, but for some years we we’ve had the impression that civil liberties, human rights, and participation are no longer a European priority“, continues Nani, who —- at the end of 2020 — has just filed a complaint with the Court of Niamey, to ask the Prosecutor to open an investigation into the possible disappearance of at least 120 million euros in funds from the Ministry of Defense, a Pandora’s box uncovered by local and international journalists.
For Nani, who like other Nigerien activists spent most of 2018 in prison for encouraging demonstrations against high living costs, this explosion of European and Italian cooperation didn’t do the country any good, and in fact favoured authoritarian tendencies, and limited even more the independence of the judiciary.
For their part, the Nigerien rulers have more than others seized the opportunity offered by European donors to obtain legitimacy and support. Right after the Valletta summit, they were the first to present an action plan to reduce migration to Libya, which they abruptly implemented in mid-2016, applying the anti-trafficking law whose preliminary study was financed by Italy, with the aim of emptying the city of #Agadez of migrants from other countries.
The transport of people to the Libyan border, an activity that until that point happened in the light of day and was sanctioned at least informally by the local authorities, thus became illegal from one day to the next. Hundreds of drivers, intermediaries, and facilitators were arrested, and an entire economy crashed
But did the movement of people really decrease? Almost impossible to tell. The only data available are those of the International Organization for Migration, which continues to record the number of transits at certain police posts. But drivers and foreign travelers no longer pass through them, fearing they will be arrested or stopped. Routes and journeys, as always happens, are remodeled, only to reappear elsewhere. Over the border with Chad, or in Algeria, or in a risky zigzagging of small tracks, to avoid patrols.
For Hamidou Manou Nabara, a Nigerien sociologist and researcher, the problems with this type of cooperation are manifold.
On the one hand, it restricted the free movement guaranteed within the Economic Community of West African States, a sort of ‘Schengen area’ between 15 countries in the region, making half of Niger, from Agadez to the north, a no-go areas for foreign citizens, even though they still had the right to move throughout the national territory.
Finally, those traveling north were made even more vulnerable. “The control of borders and migratory movements was justified on humanitarian grounds, to contrast human trafficking, but in reality very few victims of trafficking were ever identified: the center of this cooperation is repression”, explains Nabara.
Increasing controls, through military and police operations, actually exposes travelers to greater violations of human rights, both by state agents and passeurs, making the Sahara crossings longer and riskier.
The fight against human trafficking, a slogan repeated by European and African leaders and a central expenditure item of the Italian intervention between Africa and the Mediterranean — 142 million euros in five years —- actually risks having the opposite effect. Because a trafiicker’s bread and butter, in addition to people’s desire to travel, is closed borders and denied visas.
A reinvented frontier
Galvanized by the activism of the European Commission after the launch of the Trust Fund but under pressure internally, faced with a discourse on migration that seemed to invade every public space — from the front pages of newspapers to television talk-shows — and unable to agree on how to manage migration within the Schengen area, European rulers thus found an agreement outside the continent: to add more bricks to that wall that must reduce movements through the Mediterranean.
Between 2015 and 2016, Italian, Dutch, German, French and European Union ministers, presidents and senior officials travel relentlessly between countries considered priorities for migration, and increasingly for security, and invite their colleagues to the European capitals. A coming and going of flights to Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, Senegal, Chad, Guinea, to make agreements, negotiate.
“Niamey had become a crossroads for European diplomats”, remembers Ali Idrissa Nani, “but few understood the reasons”.
However, unlike the border with Turkey, where the agreement signed with the EU at the beginning of 2016 in no time reduced the arrival of Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi citizens in Greece, the continent’s other ‘hot’ border, promises of speed and effectiveness by the Trust Fund for Africa did not seem to materialize. Departures from Libya, in particular, remained constant. And in the meantime, in the upcoming election in a divided Italy, the issue of migration seemed to be tipping the balance, capable of shifting votes and alliances.
It is at that point that the Italian Ministry of the Interior, newly led by Marco Minniti, put its foot on the accelerator. The Viminale, the Italian Ministry of the Interior, became the orchestrator of a new intervention plan, refined between Rome and Brussels, with German support, which went back to focusing everything on Libya and on that stretch of sea that separates it from Italy.
“In those months the phones were hot, everyone was looking for Marco“, says an official of the Interior Ministry, who admits that “the Ministry of the Interior had snatched the Libyan dossier from Foreign Affairs, but only because up until then the Foreign Ministry hadn’t obtained anything” .
Minniti’s first move was the signing of the new Memorandum with Libya, which gave way to a tripartite plan.
At the top of the agenda was the creation of a maritime interception device for boats departing from the Libyan coast, through the reconstruction of the Coast Guard and the General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS), the two patrol forces belonging to the Ministry of Defense and that of the Interior, and the establishment of a rescue coordination center, prerequisites for Libya to declare to the International Maritime Organization that it had a Search and Rescue Area, so that the Italian Coast Guard could ask Libyan colleagues to intervene if there were boats in trouble.
Accompanying this work in Libya is a jungle of Italian and EU missions, surveillance systems and military operations — from the European Frontex, Eunavfor Med and Eubam Libya, to the Italian military mission “Safe Waters” — equipped with drones, planes, patrol boats, whose task is to monitor the Libyan Sea, which is increasingly emptied by the European humanitarian ships that started operating in 2014 (whose maneuvering spaces are in the meantime reduced to the bone due to various strategies) to support Libyan interception operations.
The second point of the ‘Minniti agenda’ was to progressively empty Libya of migrants and refugees, so that an escape by sea would become increasingly difficult. Between 2017 and 2020, the Libyan assets, which are in large part composed of patrol boats donated by Italy, intercepted and returned to shore about 56,000 people according to data released by UN agencies. The Italian-European plan envisages two solutions: for economic migrants, the return to the country of origin; for refugees, the possibility of obtaining protection.
There is one part of this plan that worked better, at least in terms of European wishes: repatriation, presented as ‘assisted voluntary return’. This vision was propelled by images, released in October 2017 by CNN as part of a report on the abuse of foreigners in Libya, of what appears to be a slave auction. The images reopened the unhealed wounds of the slave trade through Atlantic and Sahara, and helped the creation of a Joint Initiative between the International Organization for Migration, the European Union, and the African Union, aimed at returning and reintegrating people in the countries of origin.
Part of the Italian funding for IOM was injected into this complex system of repatriation by air, from Tripoli to more than 20 countries, which has contributed to the repatriation of 87,000 people over three years. 33,000 from Libya, and 37,000 from Niger.
A similar program for refugees, which envisages transit through other African countries (Niger and Rwanda gave their availability) and from there resettlement to Europe or North America, recorded much lower numbers: 3,300 evacuations between the end of 2017 and the end of 2020. For the 47,000 people registered as refugees in Libya, leaving the country without returning to their home country, to the starting point, is almost impossible.
Finally, there is a third, lesser-known point of the Italian plan: even in Libya, Italy wants to intervene on the root causes of migration, or rather on the economies linked to the transit and smuggling of migrants. The scheme is simple: support basic services and local authorities in migrant transit areas, in exchange for this transit being controlled and reduced. The transit of people brings with it the circulation of currency, a more valuable asset than usual in a country at war, and this above all in the south of Libya, in the immense Saharan region of Fezzan, the gateway to the country, bordering Algeria, Niger, and Chad and almost inaccessible to international humanitarian agencies.
A game in which intelligence plays central role (as also revealed by the journalist Lorenzo D’Agostino on Foreign Policy), as indeed it did in another negotiation and exchange of money: those 5 million euros destined — according to various journalistic reconstructions — to a Sabratha militia, the Anas Al-Dabbashi Brigade, to stop departures from the coastal city.
A year later, its leader, Ahmed Al-Dabbashi, will be sanctioned by the UN Security Council, as leader for criminal activities related to human trafficking.
The one built in record time by the ministry led by Marco Minniti is therefore a complicated and expensive puzzle. To finance it, there are above all the Trust Fund for Africa of the EU, and the Italian Africa Fund, initially headed only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and unpacked among several ministries for the occasion, but also the Internal Security Fund of the EU, which funds military equipment for all Italian security forces, as well as funds and activities from the Ministry of Defense.
A significant part of those 666 million euros dedicated to border control, but also of funds to support governance and fight traffickers, converges and enters this plan: a machine that was built too quickly, among whose wheels human rights and Libya’s peace process are sacrificed.
“We were looking for an immediate result and we lost sight of the big picture, sacrificing peace on the altar of the fight against migration, when Libya was in pieces, in the hands of militias who were holding us hostage”. This is how former Deputy Minister Mario Giro describes the troubled handling of the Libyan dossier.
For Marwa Mohamed, a Libyan activist, all these funds and interventions were “provided without any real clause of respect for human rights, and have fragmented the country even more, because they were intercepted by the militias, which are the same ones that manage both the smuggling of migrants that detention centers, such as that of Abd el-Rahman al-Milad, known as ‘al-Bija’ ”.
Projects aimed at Libyan municipalities, included in the interventions on the root causes of migration — such as the whole detention system, invigorated by the introduction of people intercepted at sea (and ‘improved’ through millions of euros of Italian funds) — offer legitimacy, when they do not finance it directly, to the ramified and violent system of local powers that the German political scientist Wolfram Lacher defines as the ‘Tripoli militia cartel‘. [for more details on the many Italian funds in Libya, read here].
Fondi italiani in Libia Read more
“Bringing migrants back to shore, perpetuating a detention system, does not only mean subjecting people to new abuses, but also enriching the militias, fueling the conflict”, continues Mohamed, who is now based in London, where she is a spokesman of the Libyan Lawyers for Justice organization.
The last few years of Italian cooperation, she argues, have been “a sequence of lost opportunities”. And to those who tell you — Italian and European officials especially — that reforming justice, putting an end to that absolute impunity that strengthens the militias, is too difficult, Mohamed replies without hesitation: “to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, the authorities contacted the militias close to the Tripoli government one by one and in the meantime built a non-existent structure from scratch, the Libyan Coast Guard: and you’re telling me that you can’t put the judicial system back on its feet and protect refugees? ”
The only thing that mattered, however, in that summer of 2017, were the numbers. Which, for the first time since 2013, were falling again, and quickly. In the month of August there were 80 percent fewer landings than the year before. And so it would be for the following months and years.
“Since then, we have continued to allocate, renewing programs and projects, without asking for any guarantee in exchange for the treatment of migrants”, explains Matteo De Bellis, researcher at Amnesty International, remembering that the Italian promise to modify the Memorandum of Understanding, introducing clauses of protection, has been on stop since the controversial renewal of the document, in February 2020.
Repatriations, evacuations, promises
We are 1500 kilometers of road, and sand, south of Tripoli. Here Salah* spends his days escaping a merciless sun. The last three years of the life of the thirty-year-old Sudanese have not offered much else and now, like many fellow sufferers, he does not hide his fatigue.
We are in a camp 15 kilometers from Agadez, in Niger, in the middle of the Sahara desert, where Salah lives with a thousand people, mostly Sudanese from the Darfur region, the epicenter of one of the most dramatic and lethal conflicts of recent decades.
Like almost all the inhabitants of this temporary Saharan settlement, managed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and — at the end of 2020 — undergoing rehabilitation also thanks to Italian funds, he passed through Libya and since 2017, after three years of interceptions at sea and detention, he’s been desperately searching for a way out, for a future.
Salah fled Darfur in 2016, after receiving threats from pro-government armed militias, and reached Tripoli after a series of vicissitudes and violence. In late spring 2017, he sailed from nearby Zawiya with 115 other people. They were intercepted, brought back to shore and imprisoned in a detention center, formally headed by the government but in fact controlled by the Al-Nasr militia, linked to the trafficker Al-Bija.
“They beat us everywhere, for days, raped some women in front of us, and asked everyone to call families to get money sent,” Salah recalls. Months later, after paying some money and escaping, he crossed the Sahara again, up to Agadez. UNHCR had just opened a facility and from there, as rumour had it, you could ask to be resettled to Europe.
Faced with sealed maritime borders, and after experiencing torture and abuse, that faint hope set in motion almost two thousand people, who, hoping to reach Italy, found themselves on the edges of the Sahara, along what many, by virtue of investments and negotiations, had started to call the ‘new European frontier’.
Three years later, a little over a thousand people remain of that initial group. Only a few dozen of them had access to resettlement, while many returned to Libya, and to all of its abuses.
Something similar is also happening in Tunisia, where since 2017, the number of migrants and refugees entering the country has increased. They are fleeing by land and sometimes by sea from Libya, going to crowd UN structures. Then, faced with a lack of real prospects, they return to Libya.
For Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesman for the Tunisian Federation for Economic and Social Rights, “in Tunisia European partners have financed a non-reception: overcrowded centers in unworthy conditions, which have become recruitment areas for traffickers, because in fact there are two options offered there: go home or try to get back to the sea “.
In short, even the interventions for the protection of migrants and refugees must be read in a broader context, of a contraction of mobility and human rights. “The refugee management itself has submitted to the goal of containment, which is the true original sin of the Italian and European strategy,” admits a UNHCR official.
This dogma of containment, at any cost, affects everyone — people who travel, humanitarian actors, civil society, local governments — by distorting priorities, diverting funds, and undermining future relationships and prospects. The same ones that European officials call partnerships and which in the case of Africa, as reiterated in 2020 by President Ursula Von Der Leyen, should be “between equals”.
Let’s take another example: the Egypt of President Abdel Fetah Al-Sisi. Since 2016, it has been increasingly isolated on the international level, also due to violent internal repression, which Italy knows something about. Among the thousands of people who have been disappeared or killed in recent years, is researcher Giulio Regeni, whose body was thrown on the side of a road north of Cairo in February 2016.
Around the time of the murder, in which the complicity and cover-ups by the Egyptian security forces were immediately evident, the Italian Ministry of the Interior restarted its dialogue with the country. “It’s absurd, but Italy started to support Egypt in negotiations with the European Union,” explains lawyer Muhammed Al-Kashef, a member of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Right and now a refugee in Germany.
By inserting itself on an already existing cooperation project that saw italy, for example, finance the use of fingerprint-recording software used by the Egyptian police, the Italian Ministry of the Interior was able to create a police academy in Cairo, inaugurated in 2018 with European funds, to train the border guards of over 20 African countries. Italy also backed Egyptian requests within the Khartoum Process and, on a different front, sells weapons and conducts joint naval exercises.
“Rome could have played a role in Egypt, supporting the democratic process after the 2011 revolution, but it preferred to fall into the migration trap, fearing a wave of migration that would never happen,” says Al-Kashef.
With one result: “they have helped transform Egypt into a country that kills dreams, and often dreamers too, and from which all young people today want to escape”. Much more so than in 2015 or that hopeful 2011.
Cracks in the wall, and how to widen them
If you have read this far, following personal stories and routes of people and funds, you will have understood one thing, above all: that the beating heart of this strategy, set up by Italy with the participation of the European Union and vice versa, is the reduction of migrations across the Mediterranean. The wall, in fact.
Now try to add other European countries to this picture. Since 2015 many have fully adopted — or returned to — this process of ‘externalization’ of migration policies. Spain, where the Canary Islands route reopened in 2019, demonstrating the fragility of the model you read about above; France, with its strategic network in the former colonies, the so-called Françafrique. And then Germany, Belgium, Holland, United Kingdom, Austria.
Complicated, isn’t it? This great wall’s bricks and builders keep multiplying. Even more strategies, meetings, committees, funds and documents. And often, the same lack of transparency, which makes reconstructing these loans – understanding which cement, sand, and lime mixture was used, i.e. who really benefited from the expense, what equipment was provided, how the results were monitored – a long process, when it’s not impossible.
The Pact on Migration and Asylum of the European Union, presented in September 2020, seems to confirm this: cooperation with third countries and relaunching repatriations are at its core.
Even the European Union budget for the seven-year period 2021-2027, approved in December 2020, continues to focus on this expenditure, for example by earmarking for migration projects 10 percent of the new Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, equipped with 70 billion euros, but also diverting a large part of the Immigration and Asylum Fund (8.7 billion) towards support for repatriation, and foreseeing 12.1 billion euros for border control.
While now, with the new US presidency, some have called into question the future of the wall on the border with Mexico, perhaps the most famous of the anti-migrant barriers in the world, the wall built in the Mediterranean and further south, up to the equator, has seemingly never been so strong.
But economists, sociologists, human rights defenders, analysts and travelers all demonstrate the problems with this model. “It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it,” says David Kipp, a researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs, a government-funded think-tank.
For Kipp, however, we must begin to deflate this migration bubble, and go back to addressing migration as a human phenomenon, to be understood and managed. “I dream of the moment when this issue will be normalized, and will become something boring,” he admits timidly.
To do this, cracks must be opened in the wall and in a model that seems solid but really isn’t, that has undesirable effects, violates human rights, and isolates Europe and Italy.
Anna Knoll, researcher at the European Center for Development Policy Management, explains for example that European policies have tried to limit movements even within Africa, while the future of the continent is the freedom of movement of goods and people, and “for Europe, it is an excellent time to support this, also given the pressure from other international players, China first of all”.
For Sabelo Mbokazi, who heads the Labor and Migration department of the Social Affairs Commission of the African Union (AU), there is one issue on which the two continental blocs have divergent positions: legal entry channels. “For the EU, they are something residual, we have a much broader vision,” he explains. And this will be one of the themes of the next EU-AU summit, which was postponed several times in 2020.
It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it
David Kipp - researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs
Indeed, the issue of legal access channels to the Italian and European territory is one of the most important, and so far almost imperceptible, cracks in this Big Wall. In the last five years, Italy has spent just 15 million euros on it, 1.1 percent of the total expenditure dedicated to external dimensions of migration.
The European Union hasn’t done any better. “Legal migration, which was one of the pillars of the strategy born in Valletta in 2015, has remained a dead letter, but if we limit ourselves to closing the borders, we will not go far”, says Stefano Manservisi, who as a senior official of the EU Commission worked on all the migration dossiers during those years.
Yet we all know that a trafficker’s worst enemy are passport stamps, visas, and airline tickets.
Helen Dempster, who’s an economist at the Center for Global Development, spends her days studying how to do this: how to open legal channels of entry, and how to get states to think about it. And there is an effective example: we must not end up like Japan.
“For decades, Japan has had very restrictive migration policies, it hasn’t allowed anyone in”, explains Dempster, “but in recent years it has realized that, with its aging population, it soon won’t have enough people to do basic jobs, pay taxes, and finance pensions”. And so, in April 2019, the Asian country began accepting work visa applications, hoping to attract 500,000 foreign workers.
In Europe, however, “the hysteria surrounding migration in 2015 and 2016 stopped all debate“. Slowly, things are starting to move again. On the other hand, several European states, Italy and Germany especially, have one thing in common with Japan: an increasingly aging population.
“All European labor ministries know that they must act quickly, but there are two preconceptions: that it is difficult to develop adequate projects, and that public opinion is against it.” For Dempster, who helped design an access program to the Belgian IT sector for Moroccan workers, these are false problems. “If we want to look at it from the point of view of the security of the receiving countries, bringing a person with a passport allows us to have a lot more information about who they are, which we do not have if we force them to arrive by sea”, she explains.
Let’s look at some figures to make it easier: in 2007, Italy made 340,000 entry visas available, half of them seasonal, for non-EU workers, as part of the Flows Decree, Italy’s main legal entry channel adopted annually by the government. Few people cried “invasion” back then. Ten years later, in 2017, those 119,000 people who reached Italy through the Mediterranean seemed a disproportionate number. In the same year, the quotas of the Flow decree were just 30,000.
Perhaps these numbers aren’t comparable, and building legal entry programs is certainly long, expensive, and apparently impractical, if we think of the economic and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic in which we are immersed. For Dempster, however, “it is important to be ready, to launch pilot programs, to create infrastructures and relationships”. So that we don’t end up like Japan, “which has urgently launched an access program for workers, without really knowing how to manage them”.
The Spanish case, as already mentioned, shows how a model born twenty years ago, and then adopted along all the borders between Europe and Africa, does not really work.
As international mobility declined, aided by the pandemic, at least 41,000 people landed in Spain in 2020, almost all of them in the Canary Islands. Numbers that take us back to 2006 and remind us how, after all, this ‘outsourcing’ offers costly and ineffective solutions.
It’s reminiscent of so-called planned obsolescence, the production model for which a technological object isn’t built to last, inducing the consumer to replace it after a few years. But continually renewing and re-financing these walls can be convenient for multinational security companies, shipyards, political speculators, authoritarian regimes, and international traffickers. Certainly not for citizens, who — from the Italian and European institutions — would expect better products. May they think of what the world will be like in 10, 30, 50 years, and avoid trampling human rights and canceling democratic processes in the name of a goal that — history seems to teach — is short-lived. The ideas are not lacking. [At this link you’ll find the recommendations developed by ActionAid: ▻https://thebigwall.org/en/recommendations/].
#Italie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #migrations #frontières #business #Afrique #budget #Afrique_du_Nord #Libye #chiffres #Niger #Soudan #Ethiopie #Sénégal #root_causes #causes_profondes #contrôles_frontaliers #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #propagande #campagne #dissuasion
Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation :
Et plus précisément :
2) Chissà a che punto è quel progetto per il controllo delle frontiere libiche il cui valore è passato da 300 a 900 milioni. Era il 2017...
Pour rappel, c’est Minniti qui avait déclaré que « la frontière Sud de la Libye est la frontière sud de l’Europe » :
Il ministro dell’interno italiano, Minniti, dichiara al Corriere che:
«Il confine sud della Libia è il confine sud dell’Europa»
voir aussi ce long fil de discussion (2017) à partir de cet article :
Migranti, vertice al Viminale dei ministri dell’Interno di Italia, Ciad, Libia e Niger
A Mayotte, la France recrute des navires privés pour stopper les migrants
Mediapart révèle que la préfecture [de Mayotte] s’est lancée, au prétexte de la pandémie, dans une collaboration avec des sociétés nautiques privées pour surveiller les frontières maritimes de l’île. Du jamais vu. Du « temporaire », promet la sous-préfète.
De l’approche des dauphins à la protection des frontières : c’est à une réunion de réorientation professionnelle inédite que les entreprises du monde nautique ont été conviées par la préfecture de Mayotte, mercredi 20 janvier. Par SMS et par mail, tous les clubs de plongée, tour-opérateurs ou croisiéristes de ce département d’outre-mer ont reçu, de la part de « Madame Gimonet, Sous-Préfète en charge de la Lutte contre l’Immigration Clandestine », une invitation pour « une réunion d’information sur la protection des frontières ». Au menu : un appel à volontaires pour surveiller les eaux françaises face aux embarcations de migrants venus des îles voisines des Comores (surnommées « kwassas-kwassas »).
#Mayotte #privatisation #contrôles_frontaliers #France #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #sociétés_nautiques #industrie_nautique #complexe_militaro-industriel #business #Gimonet #protection_des_frontières #surveillance #Comores #kwassas-kwassas #Nathalie_Gimonet #délation #volontaires
Denying aid on the basis of EU migration objectives is wrong
–-> extrait du communiqué de presse de CONCORD:
The Development Committee of the European Parliament has been working on the report “Improving development effectiveness and efficiency of aid” since January 2020. However, shortly before the plenary vote on Wednesday, #Tomas_Tobé of the EPP group, suddenly added an amendment to allow the EU to refuse to give aid to partner countries that don’t comply with EU migration requirements.
Le rapport du Parlement européen (novembre 2020):
REPORT on improving development effectiveness and the efficiency of aid (2019/2184(INI))
E. whereas aid effectiveness depends on the way the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is implemented; whereas more efforts are still needed to comply with PCD principles, especially in the field of EU migration, trade, climate and agriculture policies;
3. Stresses that the EU should take the lead in using the principles of aid effectiveness and aid efficiency, in order to secure real impact and the achievement of the SDGs, while leaving no-one behind, in its partner countries; stresses, in this regard, the impact that EU use of development aid and FDI could have on tackling the root causes of migration and forced displacement;
7. Calls on the EU to engage directly with and to build inclusive sustainable partnerships with countries of origin and transit of migration, based on the specific needs of each country and the individual circumstances of migrants;
62. Notes with grave concern that the EU and Member States are currently attaching conditions to aid related to cooperation by developing countries on migration and border control efforts, which is clearly a donor concern in contradiction with key internationally agreed development effectiveness principles; recalls that aid must keep its purposes of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, respecting and supporting human rights and meeting humanitarian needs, and must never be conditional on migration control;
63. Reiterates that making aid allocation conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration or security issues is not compatible with agreed development effectiveness principles;
As agreed in the #European_Consensus_on_Development, the #EU is committed to support the implementation of the #Sustainable_Development_Goals in our development partner countries by 2030. With this report, your rapporteur would like to stress the urgency that all EU development actors strategically use the existing tools on aid effectiveness and efficiency.
Business is not as usual. The world is becoming more complex. Geopolitical rivalry for influence and resources as well as internal conflicts are escalating. The impact of climate change affects the most vulnerable. The world’s population is growing faster than gross national income, which increases the number of people living in poverty and unemployment. As of 2030, 30 million young Africans are expected to enter the job market per year. These challenges point at the urgency for development cooperation to have a real impact and contribute to peaceful sustainable development with livelihood security and opportunities.
Despite good intentions, EU institutions and Member States are still mainly guided by their institutional or national goals and interests. By coordinating our efforts in a comprehensive manner and by using the aid effectiveness and efficiency tools we have at our disposal our financial commitment can have a strong impact and enable our partner countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.
The EU, as the world’s biggest donor, as well as the strongest international actor promoting democracy and human rights, should take the lead. We need to implement the policy objectives in the EU Consensus on Development in a more strategic and targeted manner in each partner country, reinforcing and complementing the EU foreign policy goals and values. The commitments and principles on aid effectiveness and efficiency as well as international commitments towards financing needs are in place. The Union has a powerful toolbox of instruments and aid modalities.
There are plenty of opportunities for the EU to move forward in a more comprehensive and coordinated manner:
First, by using the ongoing programming exercise linked to NDICI as an opportunity to reinforce coordination. Joint programming needs to go hand in hand with joint implementation: the EU should collectively set strategic priorities and identify investment needs/gaps in the pre-programming phase and subsequently look at ways to optimise the range of modalities in the EU institutions’ toolbox, including grants, budget support and EIB loans, as well as financing from EU Member States.
Second, continue to support sectors where projects have been successful and there is a high potential for future sustainability. Use a catalyst approach: choose sectors where a partner country has incentives to continue a project in the absence of funding.
Third, using lessons learned from a common EU knowledge base in a strategic and results-oriented manner when defining prioritised sectors in a country.
Fourth, review assessments of successful and failed projects where the possibilities for sustainability are high. For example, choose sectors that to date have been received budget support and where investment needs can be addressed through a combination of EIB loans/Member State financial institutions and expertise.
Fifth, using EU and Member State headquarters/delegations’ extensive knowledge of successful and unsuccessful aid modalities in certain sectors on the ground. Continue to tailor EU aid modalities to the local context reflecting the needs and capacity in the country.
Sixth, use the aid effectiveness and efficiency tools with the aim of improving transparency with our partner countries.
We do not need to reinvent the wheel. Given the magnitude of the funding gap and limited progress towards achieving the SDGs, it is time to be strategic and take full advantage of the combined financial weight and knowledge of all EU institutions and EU Member States - and to use the unique aid effectiveness and efficiency tools at our disposal - to achieve real impact and progress.
L’#amendement de Tomas Tobé (modification de l’article 25.):
25.Reiterates that in order for the EU’s development aid to contribute to long-term sustainable development and becompatible with agreed development effectiveness principles, aid allocation should be based on and promote the EU’s core values of the rule of law, human rights and democracy, and be aligned with its policy objectives, especially in relation to climate, trade, security and migration issues;
Article dans le rapport:
25.Reiterates that making aid allocation conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration issues is notcompatible with agreed development effectiveness principles;
–-> Texte adopté le 25.11.2020 par le parlement européen avec 331 votes pour 294 contre et 72 abstentions.
La chronologie de ce texte:
On 29 October, the Committee on Development adopted an own-initiative report on “improving development effectiveness and efficiency of aid” presented by the Committee Chair, Tomas Tobé (EPP, Sweden). The vote was 23 in favour, 1 against and 0 abstentions: ►https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0323_EN.html.
According to the report, improving effectiveness and efficiency in development cooperation is vital to help partner countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and to realise the UN 2030 Agenda. Facing enormous development setbacks, limited resources and increasing needs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the report by the Development Committee calls for a new impetus to scale-up the effectiveness of European development assistance through better alignment and coordination with EU Member States, with other agencies, donors and with the priorities of aid recipient countries.
On 25 November, the report was adopted by the plenary (331 in favour, 294 against, 72 abstentions): ►https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20201120IPR92142/parliament-calls-for-better-use-of-the-eu-development-aid
#SDGs #développement #pauvreté #chômage #coopération_au_développement #aide_au_développement #UE #Union_européenne #NDICI #Rapport_Tobé #conditionnalité_de_l'aide_au_développement #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #root_causes #causes_profondes
Ajouté dans la métaliste autour du lien développement et migrations:
Le #Parlement_européen vote pour conditionner son aide au développement au contrôle des migrations
Le Parlement européen a adopté hier un rapport sur “l’#amélioration de l’#efficacité et de l’#efficience de l’aide au développement”, qui soutient la conditionnalité de l’aide au développement au contrôle des migrations.
Cette position était soutenue par le gouvernement français dans une note adressée aux eurodéputés français.
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, directrice France de ONE, réagit : « Le Parlement européen a décidé de modifier soudainement son approche et de se mettre de surcroit en porte-à-faux du #traité_européen qui définit l’objectif et les valeurs de l’aide au développement européenne. Cela pourrait encore retarder les négociations autour de ce budget, et donc repousser sa mise en œuvre, en pleine urgence sanitaire et économique. »
« Les études montrent justement que lier l’aide au développement aux #retours et #réadmissions des ressortissants étrangers dans leurs pays d’origine ne fonctionne pas, et peut même avoir des effets contre-productifs. L’UE doit tirer les leçons de ses erreurs passées en alignant sa politique migratoire sur les besoins de ses partenaires, pas sur des priorités politiques à court terme. »
« On prévoit que 100 millions de personnes supplémentaires tomberont dans l’extrême pauvreté à cause de la pandémie, et que fait le Parlement européen ? Il tourne le dos aux populations les plus fragiles, qui souffriraient directement de cette décision. L’aide au développement doit, sans concessions, se concentrer sur des solutions pour lutter contre l’extrême #pauvreté, renforcer les systèmes de santé et créer des emplois décents. »
ITALY : UPTICK IN CHAIN-REMOVALS
While the exact number of persons arriving via the Slovenian-Italian border is unknown, there has been a sharp rise since April (►http://www.regioni.it/dalleregioni/2020/11/09/friuli-venezia-giulia-immigrazione-fedriga-ripensare-politiche-di-controllo-) of people entering Italy from the Balkan route. Not only in Trieste, but also around the province of #Udine, arrivals have increased compared to last year. In Udine, around 100 people (►https://www.ansa.it/friuliveneziagiulia/notizie/2020/11/30/migranti-oltre-cento-persone-rintracciate-nelludinese_9fdae48d-8174-4ea1-b221-8) were identified in one day. This has been met with a huge rise in chain pushbacks, initiated by Italian authorities via readmissions to Slovenia. From January to October 2020, 1321 people (►https://www.rainews.it/tgr/fvg/articoli/2020/11/fvg-massimiliano-fedriga-migranti-arrivi-emergenza-98da1880-455e-4c59-9dc9-6) have been returned via the informal readmissions agreement, representing a fivefold increase when compared with the statistics from 2019.
In this context, civil society groups highlight that “the returns are being carried out so quickly there is no way Italian authorities are implementing a full legal process at the border to determine if someone is in need of international protection.” The pushbacks to Slovenia appear to be indiscriminate. According to Gianfranco Schiavone (►https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/11/17/europe-italy-bosnia-slovenia-migration-pushbacks-expulsion), from ASGI (Associazione per gli studi giuridici sullʼim-migrazione), “[they] have involved everybody, regardless of nationality,” he said. “They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.” As stated by Anna Brambilla, lawyer at ASGI, the Italian Ministry of the Interior (▻https://altreconomia.it/richiedenti-asilo-respinti-al-confine-tra-italia-e-slovenia-la-storia-d):
“confirmed that people who have expressed a desire to apply for international protection are readmitted to Slovenia and that readmissions are carried out without delivering any provision relating to the readmission itself.”
Crucially, the well publicised nature of chain removals from Slovenia, and onwards through Croatia, mean the authorities are aware of the violent sequence they are enter-ing people into, and thus complicit within this #violence.
But instead of dealing with this deficit in adherence to international asylum law, in recent months Italian authorities have only sought to adapt border controls to apprehend more people. Border checks are now focusing on trucks, cars and smaller border crossings (), rather than focusing solely on the military patrols of the forested area. This fits into a strategy of heightened control, pioneered by the Governor of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region Massimiliano Fedriga who hopes to deploy more detection equipment at the border. The aim is to choke off any onward transit beyond the first 10km of Italian territory, and therefore apply the fast tracked process of readmission to the maximum number of new arrivals.
Schiavone: «#Lamorgese ammetta che l’Italia sta facendo respingimenti illegali»
«Le riammissioni informali dei richiedenti asilo non hanno alcuna base giuridica», spiega Gianfranco Schiavone, del direttivo dell’Asgi, Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’immigrazione. Nel 2020 sono state riammesse in Slovenia 1301 persone. «Sostenere, come ha fatto la ministra dell’interno Lamorgese durante l’interrogazione del deputato di Leu, Erasmo Palazzotto, che la Slovenia e soprattutto la Croazia siano “Paesi sicuri” nonostante le prove schiaccianti della violenza esercitata dalla polizia croata sulle persone in transito, ha dell’incredibile, un’affermazione indecorosa»
Quelle che il governo italiano chiama “riammissioni” in realtà altro non sono che respingimenti illegali dei profughi che arrivano dalla Rotta Balcanica a Trieste e Gorizia. Pakistani, iracheni, afghani, e talvolta anche siriani che avrebbero diritto di chiedere asilo nel nostro Paese ma neanche mettono piede sul suolo italiano che già sono in marcia per fare forzatamente la Rotta Balcanica al contrario: all’Italia alla Slovenia, dalla Slovenia alla Croazia, dalla Croazia alla Bosnia.
Lo scorso 13 gennaio il deputato di Leu, Erasmo Palazzotto durante la sua interrogazione ha ricordato alla ministra dell’Interno Lamorgese quanto sia disumano quello che sta succedendo in Bosnia, alle porte dell’Europa e di come testimoni il fallimento dell’Unione nella gestione dei flussi migratori sottolinenando che "Il nostro Paese deve sospendere le riammissioni informali verso la Slovenia e porre la questione in sede di Consiglio Europeo per gestire in maniera umana questo fenomeno. Va messa la parola fine a questa barbarie”. Ma Lamorgese sembra ancora continuare a non curarsi di quello che avviene dentro i nostri confini. Nel 2020 sono state respinte illegalmente in Slovenia 1301 persone.
«Quello che succede al confine italiano sono veri e propri respingimenti illegali», spiega Gianfranco Schiavone, del direttivo di Asgi, Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione. «Anche nel 2018 si erano registrati casi di respingimenti illegittimi ma in numero contenuto. Allora la risposta fu principalmente quella di negare i fatti. In ogni caso, oggi, il fenomeno dei respingimenti illegali è aumentato enormemente in termini di quantità ma soprattutto nella loro rivendicazione ideologica. Mentre in passato la giustificazione poggiava sulla tesi che non si trattasse di richiedenti asilo oggi si tende a giustificare (pur usando volutamente un linguaggio ambiguo) che si possono respingere anche i richiedenti perchè la domanda di asilo si può fare in Slovenia».
Stando a quanto ha affermato la ministra le riammissioni sono possibili in virtù dell’accordo bilaterale firmato dai due Paesi, Italia e Slovenia, nel 1996. Si tratta di “riammissioni” effettuate non in ragione del ripristino dei controlli alle frontiere interne, mai formalmente avvenuto, ma in applicazione dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica di Slovenia sulla riammissione delle persone alla frontiera, firmato a Roma il 3 settembre 1996, che contiene previsioni finalizzate a favorire la riammissione sul territorio dei due Stati sia di cittadini di uno dei due Stati contraenti sia cittadini di Stati terzi.
«In primis», spiega Schiavone, «occorre rilevare come tale accordo risulti illegittimo per contrarietà al sistema costituzionale interno italiano e per violazione di normative interne. È infatti dubbia la legittimità nell’ordinamento italiano dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica di Slovenia e di ogni altro analogo tipo di accordi intergovernativi per due ordini di ragioni: nonostante abbiano infatti una chiara natura politica, essi non sono stati ratificati con legge di autorizzazione alla ratifica ai sensi dell’art. 80 Cost.;in quanto accordi intergovernativi stipulati in forma semplificata, in ogni caso essi non possono prevedere modifiche alle leggi vigenti in Italia (altro caso in cui l’art. 80 Cost. prevede la preventiva legge di autorizzazione alla ratifica) e dunque essi neppure possono derogare alle norme di fonte primaria dell’ordinamento giuridico italiano. In ogni caso, anche volendo prescindere da ogni ulteriore valutazione sui profili di illegittimità dell’Accordo di riammissione è pacifico che ne è esclusa appunto l’applicazione ai rifugiati riconosciuti ai sensi della Convenzione di Ginevra (all’epoca la nozione di protezione sussidiaria ancora non esisteva) come chiaramente enunciato all’articolo 2 del medesimo Accordo. Del tutto priva di pregio sotto il profilo dell’analisi giuridica sarebbe l’obiezione in base alla quale l’accordo fa riferimento ai rifugiati e non ai richiedenti asilo giacché come è noto, il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato (e di protezione sussidiaria) è un procedimento di riconoscimento di un diritto soggettivo perfetto i cui presupposti che lo straniero chiede appunto di accertare. Non v’è pertanto alcuna possibilità di distinguere in modo arbitrario tra richiedenti protezione e rifugiati riconosciuti dovendosi comunque garantire in ogni caso l’accesso alla procedura di asilo allo straniero che appunto chiede il riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato. A chiudere del tutto l’argomento sotto il profilo giuridico, è il noto Regolamento Dublino III che prevede che ogni domanda di asilo sia registrata alla frontiera o all’interno dello Stato nel quale il migrante si trova. Una successiva complessa procedura stabilita se il Paese competente ad esaminare la domanda è eventualmente diverso da quello nel quale il migrante ha chiesto asilo e in ogni caso il Regolamento esclude tassativamente che si possano effettuare riammissioni o respingimenti di alcun genere nel paese UE confinante solo perchè il richiedente proviene da lì. Anzi, il Regolamento è nato in primo luogo per evitare rimpalli di frontiera tra uno stato e l’altro. Violare, come sta avvenendo, questa fondamentale procedura, significa scardinare il Regolamento e in ultima analisi, il sistema europeo di asilo. È come se fossimo tornati indietro di trent’anni, a prima del 1990».
Inoltre secondo la ministra "la Slovenia aderisce alla Convenzione di Ginevra e che la stessa Slovenia, come la Croazia sono considerati Paesi sicuri sul piano del rispetto dei diritti umani e delle convenzioni internazionali. Pertanto le riammissioni avvengono verso uno stato europeo, la Slovenia, dove vigono normative internazionali analoghe a quelle del nostro paese”.
«Lamorgese», continua Schiavone, «ha fatto una figura veramente imbarazzante che ricade sul nostro Paese. Bisogna avere il coraggio di ammettere che abbiamo fatto una cosa illegale riammettendo i richiedenti asilo in Slovenia e da là, attraverso una collaudata catena, in Crozia e infine in Bosnia. E anche se nell’audizione dice tre parole, solo un piccolo inciso, sul fatto che non possono essere riamessi i migranti che hanno fatto richiesta d’asilo, nei fatti la sostanza non cambia. Infine sostenere che la Slovenia e soprattutto la Croazia siano “Paesi sicuri” nonostante le prove schiaccianti della violenza esercitata dalla polizia croata sulle persone in transito ha dell’incredibile. Un ministro non può permettersi di dire che quelli sono Paesi sicuri, perchè per i migranti della Rotta Balcanica non lo sono. E alla domanda “come finirà la questione?” La ministra non è stata in grado di formulare nessuna risposta chiara sul fatto che verrà posta fine alla pratica delle riammissioni dei richiedenti. Ed è forse questa la cosa più grave».
Rapporti di monitoraggio
Sin dal 2016 il progetto ha pubblicato report di approfondimento giuridico sulle situazioni di violazione riscontrate presso le diverse frontiere oggetto delle attività di monitoraggio. Ciascun report affronta questioni ed aspetti contingenti e particolarmente interessanti al fine di sviluppare azioni di contenzioso strategico.
Elenco dei rapporti pubblicati in ordine cronologico:
“Le riammissioni di cittadini stranieri a Ventimiglia (giugno 2015): profili di illegittimità“
Il report è stato redatto nel giugno del 2015 è costituisce una prima analisi delle principali criticità riscontrabili alla frontiera italo-francese verosimilmente sulla base dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica francese sulla cooperazione transfrontaliera in materia di polizia e dogana (Accordo di Chambery)
#Vintimille #Ventimiglia #frontière_sud-alpine #Alpes #Menton #accord_bilatéral #Accord_de_Chambéry #réadmissions
Ajouté à la #métaliste de liens autour d’#accords_de_réadmission entre pays européens...
Et plus précisément ici:
“Le riammissioni di cittadini stranieri alla frontiera di Chiasso: profili di illegittimità”
Il report è stato redatto nell’estate del 2016 per evidenziare la situazione critica che si era venuta a creare in seguito al massiccio afflusso di cittadini stranieri in Italia attraverso la rotta balcanica scatenata dalla crisi siriana. La frontiera italo-svizzera è stata particolarmente interessata da numerosi tentativi di attraversamento del confine nei pressi di Como e il presente documento fornisce una analisi giuridica delle criticità riscontrate.
Ajouté à la #métaliste de liens autour d’#accords_de_réadmission entre pays européens...
Et plus précisément ici:
“Lungo la rotta del Brennero”
Il report, redatto con la collaborazione della associazione Antenne Migranti e il contributo della fondazione Alex Langer nel 2017, analizza le dinamiche della frontiera altoatesina e sviluppa una parte di approfondimento sulle violazioni relative al diritto all’accoglienza per richiedenti asilo e minori, alle violazioni all’accesso alla procedura di asilo e ad una analisi delle modalità di attuazione delle riammissioni alla frontiera.
“Attività di monitoraggio ai confini interni italiani – Periodo giugno 2018 – giugno 2019”
Report analitico che riporta i dati raccolti e le prassi di interesse alle frontiere italo-francesi, italo-svizzere, italo-austriache e italo slovene. Contiene inoltre un approfondimento sui trasferimenti di cittadini di paesi terzi dalle zone di frontiera indicate all’#hotspot di #Taranto e centri di accoglienza del sud Italia.
“Report interno sopralluogo Bosnia 27-31 ottobre 2019”
Report descrittivo a seguito del sopralluogo effettuato da soci coinvolti nel progetto Medea dal 27 al 31 ottobre sulla condizione delle persone in transito in Bosnia. Il rapporto si concentra sulla descrizione delle strutture di accoglienza presenti nel paese, sull’accesso alla procedura di protezione internazionale e sulle strategie di intervento future.
“Report attività frontiere interne terrestri, porti adriatici e Bosnia”
Rapporto di analisi dettagliata sulle progettualità sviluppate nel corso del periodo luglio 2019 – luglio 2020 sulle diverse frontiere coinvolte (in particolare la frontiera italo-francese, italo-slovena, la frontiera adriatica e le frontiere coinvolte nella rotta balcanica). Le novità progettuali più interessanti riguardano proprio l’espansione delle progettualità rivolte ai paesi della rotta balcanica e alla Grecia coinvolta nelle riammissioni dall’Italia. Nel periodo ad oggetto del rapporto il lavoro ha avuto un focus principale legato ad iniziative di monitoraggio, costituzione della rete ed azioni di advocacy.
MIGRATION:FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS ISSUES AT LAND BORDERS
Morts aux #frontières_terrestres EU :
The state of play of Schengen governance An assessment of the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism in its first multiannual programme
This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, assesses the operation and impact of the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism in its first multiannual programme (2014-19), with the aim of identifying what has worked well and developing recommendations to strengthen it. The past decade has presented multiple controversies involving the governments of Schengen states as well as EU institutions, leading to a persistent state of apparent crisis. The ongoing “Schengen crisis” is rooted in political changes and in structural shortcomings of the Schengen regime. Despite these obstacles, the resilience of the Schengen system should not be underestimated.
#Black_Book of Pushbacks
vol 1 :
Balkan Region Report – November 2020
The Border Violence Monitoring Network published 29 testimonies of violent pushbacks in November, involving severe levels of physical, psychological and structural abuse. The testimonies collected last month voice the experience of 951 people-on-the-move. This report offers analysis of the trends observed in each of these accounts, showing how law enforcement carry out these violent collective expulsions at EU borders.
As a network comprised of grassroots organisations active in Greece and the Western Balkans, this report was produced via a joint-effort between Are You Syrious, Mobile Info Team, No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, Josoor, Disinfaux Collective, InfoKolpa, Centre for Peace Studies, Re:ports Sarajevo, Mare Liberum, Collective Aid and Fresh Response.
This report analyses among other things:
- The stranding of transit groups on the #Evros/Meriç River and Aegean Sea
– A groundbreaking video analysis of a Croatian pushback
– Violent sea and land removals from Italy
- Denial of asylum access for people from LGBTQ+ community
– Detention in Bulgaria and chain pushbacks to Turkey
The report also looks at the transit situation in Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, as well as reviewing the arrival conditions for people in North East Italy. The onset of winter has come with a spike in squat evictions, and uncertainty about the present accomodation provision across these countries. With police pressure on transit communities and the solidarity groups supporting them, the close of 2020 is being marked with a further erosion of rights in the region.
Pour télécharger le rapport en pdf :
Europas Schande auf 1.500 Seiten
Das „Schwarzbuch“ sammelt Fälle illegaler Rückweisungen an den Außengrenzen der EU. Viele Geflüchtete berichten darin von exzessiver Gewalt.
Mehrmals hätten ihn die Polizisten mit dem Gesicht auf den Boden gedrückt. Einer habe ihn mit einem Stock geschlagen, der andere Stromstöße mit einem Taser verabreicht. Wenig später hätten ihn drohend bellende Polizeihunde umringt. Auf der Wache habe man ihm wiederholt verweigert, die Toilette zu benutzen. Schließlich hätten ihn die Polizisten mit der Fähre zurück in die griechische Hafenstadt Patras geschickt.
Dieser Bericht stammt von einem 28-jährigen Afghanen, der Ende Februar auf einem Lkw versteckt auf die Fähre nach Venedig gelangte und dort nach der Ankunft entdeckt worden war. Dokumentiert hat sein Schicksal die NGO No Name Kitchen, die entlang europäischer Migrationsrouten aktiv ist. Es ist eine von 892 Aussagen, die in einem „Black Book of Push Backs“ betitelten Dokument enthalten sind, das am heutigen Internationalen Tag der Migranten veröffentlicht wird.
Zusammengestellt hat das „Schwarzbuch“ das Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), ein Zusammenschluss von Menschenrechtsinitiativen, der seit Jahren die zunehmende Zahl von Pushbacks, also Rückschiebungen und Abweisungen von Migranten an europäischen Grenzen, sowie die fehlenden staatlichen Kontroll- und Sanktionsmechanismen kritisiert. In Auftrag gegeben und finanziert hat es die Fraktion der Linken (GUE/NGL) im Europaparlament, wo es diesen Freitag auch präsentiert werden soll.
Pushbacks, betont das 1.500 Seiten fassende Dokument, verstoßen gegen das in der universellen Erklärung der Menschenrechte enthaltene Recht auf Asyl, die Grundrechtecharta der EU sowie das in der Genfer Flüchtlingskonvention festgelegte Prinzip der Nichtzurückweisung.
Gewalt von Grenzbeamten bei Pushbacks
Nichtsdestotrotz hätten sie sich vor allem seit Schließung der sogenannten Balkanroute 2016 zunehmend zu einer „gut koordinierten, systematischen Praxis“ entwickelt, die im Grenzregime der EU zunehmend verbreitet sei, aber nicht offiziell eingestanden werde.
Die aufgelisteten Fälle, die 12.654 zurückgeschobene Personen betreffen, sind dabei nur ein Bruchteil des tatsächlichen Umfangs dieser Praxis. Das Schwarzbuch widmet sich in seiner detaillierten Dokumentation auch Kettenrückschiebungen, die etwa von Italien oder Österreich über Slowenien und Kroatien verlaufen – ein gesetzwidriger Transport, rückwärts entlang der stillgelegten Balkanroute bis jenseits der europäischen Außengrenzen.
Besonders im Blick steht dabei das Vorgehen der Grenzbeamten. Das BVMN spricht von „endlosen Berichten gnadenloser, sadistischer und erniedrigender Gewalt, die an brutale Diktaturen erinnern“. Zudem habe sich die Situation 2020 noch verschlimmert: „Es ist selten, nicht eine oder mehrere Formen von Missbrauch bei einem Pushback zu erleben. In Kroatien und Griechenland betrifft dies beinahe 90 Prozent der dokumentierten Fälle.“
Konkret genannt werden unter anderem exzessive und unangebrachte Gewalt, der Einsatz elektrischer Waffen, erzwungenes Entkleiden, Drohen mit Feuerwaffen, Haft ohne die grundlegendsten Standards. Die Zerstörung oder Konfiszierung persönlichen Besitzes wie Telefone ist gängige Praxis. Das Buch zeigt auch Fotos von Platzwunden am Kopf oder Rücken mit Striemen und Blutergüssen.
Cornelia Ernst, Europaabgeordnete der Linken, zeigt sich angesichts dieser Dokumentation „fassungslos“. Die Recherche des Netzwerks belege endlich, dass die Gewalt an den EU-Außengrenzen staatlich organisiert und strukturell sei. „Täglich wird an den EU-Außengrenzen gegen EU-Prinzipien und Menschenrechte verstoßen. Hundert- bis tausendfach in den letzten Jahren. Das ist eine Schande.“
AIBD - Indignation de passagers sénégalais après des contrôles à l’embarquement faits par des policiers français et espagnols : la #souveraineté sénégalaise à rude épreuve !
Des témoignages de passagers qui ont transité cette semaine par l’Aéroport Blaise Diagne de #Diass font état d’une situation inédite au niveau du contrôle préalable à l’embarquement. Pour la plupart en route pour des pays européens, ils ont remarqué selon certains qui ont bien voulu témoigner à Dakaractu, un contrôle a posteriori effectué par des éléments qui semblaient appartenir à des polices étrangères. En effet, après le contrôle des sociétés habituelles et connues à l’#AIBD, des policiers étrangers et principalement français et espagnols se chargeaient en dernier lieu, de vérifier la paperasse des passagers.
Dakaractu qui a cherché à en savoir plus, a câblé quelques hauts gradés de la sécurité intérieure du pays. Selon un responsable c’est deux coopérants espagnols qui étaient à l’AIBD. Il a ainsi écarté toute présence de policiers français sur le périmètre du contrôle aéroportuaire. Un fait infirmé par les témoignages des passagers qui confirment bien l’enseigne de la #police française sur les tenues des agents avec le drapeau tricolore à l’appui.
Une situation inédite qui a révulsé plus d’un passager qui ne se sont pas privés de commenter « cette bizarrerie ». D’autant plus que personne n’imagine voir un jour des policiers sénégalais préposés au contrôle dans un aéroport Européen, quel que puisse être le pays.
Mais du côté de notre interlocuteur au niveau de la sécurité intérieure toujours, on se défend en indiquant que « ces deux agents étaient dans ce que l’on appelle dans le jargon de la sécurité publique, des « #mentors ». Leur présence entre dans le cadre d’un #accord nommé #programme_opérationnel_conjoint entre l’État et l’Union européenne, a-t-il renseigné en outre. Ils devraient selon lui, former de jeunes policiers sénégalais à certaines méthodes de #dissimulation. Sauf que selon nos sources de l’aéroport du côté des passagers, il n’y avait nulle part trace de policiers sénégalais près des « fameux mentors » en mission de #formation. Quoi de plus logique ?
Du côté des passagers qui ont câblé Dakaractu on pense vraiment qu’un aéroport mais aussi le port restent des symboles de la #souveraineté_nationale d’un pays. De petites choses que l’État sénégalais « minimise », se plaignent nos interlocuteurs, mais qui donnent encore raison aux activistes qui pensent que le « Sénégal est toujours sous le joug de l’impérialisme français ».
#aéroport #asile #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #externalisation #Sénégal #contrôles_d'identité #police #France #Espagne #officiers_de_liaison_immigration (#OLI)
Frontex, Civil Society Organsations, and Human Rights at EU Borders: A Complex Relationship
On March 26th 2020, the EU celebrated the 25th anniversary of the abolition of border checks among the first seven European Member States that implemented the Schengen Agreement. Needless to say, celebrations this year did not seem particularly relevant, nor particularly fitting the climate of uncertainty and fear looming over Europe. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed the closure of EU internal and external borders in an effort to stop the spreading of the virus from one country to the other. However, the closure of EU borders, while halting regular crossings, deterred only briefly irregular crossings towards the EU, exacerbated the unsafe, unhealthy and too often inhumane conditions of people waiting at the doors of the EU to flee from poverty, climate change and persecution, among others (e.g., on the Balkan route and in Libya).
Ensuring the protection and promotion of human rights of people trying to cross the EU borders has been at the core of the advocacy activity of many civil society organisations (CSOs), including NGOs, especially since the last decade. In the last decade, indeed, the arrival of migrants and refugees on EU shores (i.e., in 2011 and 2015) that became known as “migration and refugee crisis” was perceived as an “invasion” (de Haas, 2008) and thus triggered the creation of virtual and real fences. These EU fences have had one major outcome identified by CSOs and scholars: deaths and inhuman treatment of people attempting to cross the European borders. In order to increase the effectiveness of their advocacy activity, some of these CSOs have expanded their presence and advocacy efforts at the EU level, while many other CSOs continue to remain outside EU headquarters and to advocate for human and migrants’ rights from below. Both categories, however, have been facing harsh criticism and even criminalisation for their activities — for example, search and rescue at sea and at land borders — at national and local levels, something that has been widely addressed by the authors of Border Criminologies blog (see here: ►https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/04/pushing-migrants, here: ▻https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2018/04/pushing-0 and here: ▻https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/centre-criminology/centreborder-criminologies/blog/2019/04/humanitarian).
Against this background, there is one peculiar experience of cooperation between the European Border and Coast Guard agency (EBCG) – most commonly known as Frontex – and CSOs concerned for the protection and promotion of human rights at the EU borders: the #Frontex_Consultative_Forum_on_fundamental_rights (CF). Frontex is the most controversial EU actor in the field of border control and migration management: since its inception in 2004, Frontex has been not only strongly blamed by migrant rights’ advocates and human rights’ activists, but it has also been repeatedly questioned by members of the European Parliament and by the European Ombudsman regarding the respect of fundamental rights at the external borders of the EU, all the while growing exponentially in terms of funds, competences and human resources. For these reasons, in 2011 Frontex had to establish a Consultative Forum on fundamental rights, whose role is to assist the EU agency with independent advice on fundamental rights issues. The CF became operational in 2012 with nine CSO members together with four international organizations (i.e., UNHCR, OSCE/ODIHR, Council of Europe, and IOM) and two other EU agencies, namely European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). In January 2020, the composition of the CF was reduced to fourteen members, with CSOs that currently count six members: Amnesty International EIO, Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, International Commission of Jurists, Jesuit Refugee Service Europe, Red Cross EU Office, and Save the Children. In this last composition of the CF several relevant organisations have disappeared, such as the AIRE centre, Caritas Europa, ECRE and PICUM. The mixed nature and the small composition of this CF is peculiar to Frontex, as other EU agencies’ consultative fora (i.e., EASO Consultative forum) are significantly more numerous and include mainly CSOs.
The opportunity for CSOs to lobby Frontex from within the CF is unique for several reasons. First, the ability of CF members to request information from Frontex on fundamental rights related issues and to visit and observe Frontex operations first hand. Indeed, since 2014, CF members have started to travel to the borders of the EU and to observe Frontex operations first visiting air borders operations (i.e., airports), then also land and sea borders and the highly contested return operations. However, the CF has repeatedly lamented issues with access to information, which should be effective as per art. 108 of the EBCG regulation (2019/1896); in the CF annual report of 2017 this is clearly stated: “the Forum continues to face serious and further limitations particularly in relation to relevant operational reference and guiding documents”. Second, the close relationship between CF members and Frontex officers, Heads of Unit and even Management Board members, which is developed also through the organisation not only of formal meetings and exchanges between the CF and Frontex staff, but also focus groups on specific issues, such as the discussion on the observation of return operations. Finally, the CF as a whole has to publish a publicly available annual report on its activities and observations on Frontex activity, which is usually detailed and highly informative, and the two CF chairs can present the work and findings of the Forum to the European Parliament (i.e., to the LIBE committee).
However, the choice of CSOs to cooperate with Frontex is constrained by a number of internal and external factors. CSOs that gained access to Frontex CF share a high level of professionalization and expertise, they also generally have an established network at the EU level, both with other CSOs and with institutional actors, and considerable financial and human resources; in addition, the majority of these organizations have an EU office with its own staff (usually small) based in Brussels. These CSOs have also the possibility to contest Frontex and to monitor its operations from outside, often being where Frontex operations and activities take place. However, while the general criteria for the selection of CSOs for the CF is public, the actual selection made by Frontex is not transparent in terms of which organisations are left out and why. Moreover, there is a clear pattern of keeping in the same members from the very beginning – five out of six members have been CF members for more than one mandate.
In conclusion, questions regarding Frontex human rights’ accountability have not subsided and the attention of CSOs and other interested parties is still high. In a webinar organised during the pandemic (April 21st, 2020) by the The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament titled “Under Surveillance: Monitoring at the border”, both panels questioned the accountability and transparency of the EU agency and stressed the need for a stronger monitoring system to be enforced. A recent development in this sense is the establishment, in cooperation with FRA, of fundamental rights monitors whose task will be to monitor Frontex operations at EU borders. Notwithstanding the need for a more defined judicial accountability of Frontex and a more effective monitoring and complaints mechanism, CSOs’ advocacy and monitoring activity remains crucial to ensure that both European citizens and EU institutions are alerted and aware on how the first fully European border and coast guard force enforces its duty to protect and promote fundamental rights during its operations.
6 out of 10 people worldwide live in a country that has built border walls
Days after the drawn-out U.S. elections, a new report reveals that the wall sold by Trump as a supposed achievement of his administration is just one of more than 63 new border walls built along borders or in occupied territories worldwide.
Today, 31 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we find ourselves in a world with more walls than ever. 4.679 billion people in the world (60.98%) live in a country that has built one of these walls on its borders, concludes the report “Walled world: towards Global Apartheid” co published by the Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau, Transnational Institute, Stop Wapenhandel and Stop the Wal Campaign.
Beyond the surge in physical walls, many more countries have militarized their frontiers through the deployment of troops, ships, aircraft, drones, and digital surveillance, patrolling land, sea and air. If we counted these ‘walls’, they would number hundreds. As a result, it is now more dangerous and deadly than ever to cross borders for people fleeing poverty and violence.
In addition, the research highlights that, as in the United States, immigration and terrorism are the main reasons given by states for the construction of walls, both justifications together represent 50%, half of the world’s walls.
Israel tops the list of countries that have built the most walls, with a total of 6. It is followed by Morocco, Iran and India with 3 walls each. Countries with 2 border walls are South Africa, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Hungary and Lithuania.
“The global trend in border management policies is to build a world in which segregation and inequality are reinforced. In this walled world, commerce and capital are not restricted, yet it increasingly excludes people based on their class and origin”, states Ainhoa Ruiz Benedicto, co-author of the report and researcher at the Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau.
The report focuses on a few specific walls in different regions, highlighting the following:
Four of the five countries bordering Syria have built walls: Israel, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.
India has built 6,540 km of barriers against its neighboring countries, covering 43% of its borders.
Morocco built an occupation wall with Western Sahara considered “the greatest functional military barrier in the world”, 2,720 km long.
In addition to physical walls, the militarization of border areas continues to increase, in which walls are just one means of stopping people crossing territories.. The report highlights two cases:
Mexico has notably militarized its border with Guatemala with equipment and financing through the US funded Frontera Sur program.
Australia has turned the sea into a barrier with the deployment of its armed forces and the Maritime Border Command of the Australian Border Force, in addition to an offshore detention system that violates human rights.
The business of building walls
Finally, the report analyzes the industry that profits from this surge in wall-building and the criminalization of people fleeing poverty and violence. The report concludes that the border security industry is diverse, as shown by the number of companies involved in the construction of Israel’s walls, with more than 30 companies from the military, security, technology and construction sectors.
“Many walls and fences are built by local construction companies or by state entities, such as the military. However, the walls are invariably accompanied by a range of technological systems, such as monitoring, detection and identification equipment, vehicles, aircraft and arms, which military and security firms provide”, explains Mark Akkerman, co-author of the report and researcher at Stop Wapenhandel. Companies such as Airbus, Thales, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and L3 Technologies are the main beneficiaries of border contracts - in particular providing the technology that accompanies the walls in both the US and in EU member states. In the specific cases studied in the report, companies such as Elbit, Indra, Dat-Con, CSRA, Leidos and Raytheon also stand out as key contractors.
“Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is extremely sad that the wall has become the symbol of our time. Not only is it a betrayal of people’s hopes in 1989, but it also locks us into a fortress with no way out in which we lose our very humanity. All the research tells us that we can expect more migration in the coming decades. Therefore, it is of profound importance to seek other dignified and humane ways to respond to the needs of people who are forced to flee their homes for reasons of poverty, violence and climate change”, warns Nick Buxton, co-editor of the report and researcher at TNI.
#murs #barrières_frontalières #cartographie #visualisation #frontières #business #complexe_militaro-industriel #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Airbus #Thales #Leonardo #Lockheed_Martin #General_Dynamics #Northrop_Grumman #L3_Technologies #Elbit #Indra #Dat-Con #CSRA #Leidos #Raytheon #chiffres #statistiques #militarisation_des_frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #terrorisme #anti-terrorisme #Israël #Maroc #Inde #Iran #ségrégation #monde_ségrégué #monde_muré #technologie
With @ItalyMFA support; IOM has built a new police border post at the Assamaka border, equipped with the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS). This project aims to reinforce the operational capacities of the Government of Niger on border management.
#IOM #Niger #contrôles_frontaliers #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #OIM #Assamaka #MIDAS #Migration_Information_and_Data_Analysis_System #poste-frontière
Localisation de Assamaka :
via @rhoumour (twitter)
New Police Post at Niger’s Border with Algeria
IOM has built and fully equipped a new police border post in Assamaka, under a border management project funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. On October 14, the first fixed border police post in Assamaka was inaugurated together with the authorities and relevant stakeholders in Niger.
IOM Supports Safe Migration with New Police Post at Niger’s Border with Algeria
Situated in the heart of the Sahara at only 15 km from Niger’s border with Algeria, the town of Assamaka is a major migratory hub, as the main point of entry for migrants returning from Algeria, and the last place of transit for migrants coming from Niger on their way to Algeria.
Since late 2017, over 30,000 migrants have arrived in Assamaka from Algeria, mostly from West African countries of origins.
On Wednesday (14/10), the Government of Niger and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) inaugurated the first fixed border police post in Assamaka, built and equipped with funding from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
This extensive, impoverished and sparsely populated area has long been exploited by criminal and smuggling networks. Nowadays, these ancestral trade and migration routes between Niger and Algeria are often used for smuggling illicit goods and migrants.
In recent years, border management and border security have become top priorities for the Sahel and for Niger in particular. The Government of Niger strives to reduce illicit cross-border activities, including human smuggling and trafficking, and to prevent the entry of members of violent extremism organizations through the country’s borders.
In addition to a sharp rise in crime in the border town, Assamaka also faces increasingly high migration flows, due to its position on the trans-Saharan migration route. These are proving difficult to manage to the detriment of the town’s 1,000 or so permanent inhabitants.
Watch video: New Police Border Post in Assamaka
Up to now, migrant registration had always been done manually or through IOM’s Mobile Border Post, temporarily deployed by the Government of Niger to the Agadez region. This truck-borne mobile police post was adapted specifically for meeting the challenges in remote desert locations. But it cannot replace a fixed police station.
The newly constructed border post and its facilities will allow the police to be compliant with national and international norms and fulfill the required security and safety standards.
The border post is part of a larger project whose objective is to strengthen the capacities of Niger’s immigration service – the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DST). The project also aims to reinforce the cooperation between Nigerien and Algerian law enforcement agencies, as well as the coordination between Nigerien security forces, local authorities and relevant technical services, such as the Regional Directorate of Public Health in the Agadez region.
Through this new border post, eight workstations are equipped with the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), developed by IOM. These will allow authorities to digitally register people transiting the border. The data collected can be transmitted in real time to a central server, allowing authorities to better track and manage migration flows in and out of Niger.
“We hope that this new infrastructure will alleviate some of the current challenges faced by local authorities and will improve cross-border cooperation,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “Ultimately, this border post aims to contribute to the improvement of the security and stability in Assamaka and its surroundings.”
Autres photos sur twitter:
Pourquoi les migrants iraniens transitent par les Alpes
De plus en plus d’Iraniens franchissent de nuit la frontière franco-italienne. La plupart tentent ensuite de rejoindre le Royaume-Uni ou l’Allemagne.
Il est 21 heures à Montgenèvre en cette mi-octobre, et la station de ski des Hautes-Alpes est plongée dans l’obscurité. C’est ici, à 1 800 mètres d’altitude, que les migrants traversent la frontière franco-italienne. Il faut environ huit heures de marche pour rallier Briançon (Hautes-Alpes) depuis #Clavière, le dernier village côté italien. Entre les deux, le col de Montgenèvre, l’obscurité et la police aux frontières (PAF) qui patrouille. Ces dernières années, plusieurs migrants sont morts de froid en tentant le passage. À l’approche de l’hiver, plusieurs militants et bénévoles de l’ONG Médecins du Monde ont donc repris les maraudes. Leur objectif : récupérer les migrants après la frontière et les ramener au Refuge solidaire de Briançon, une quinzaine de kilomètres plus bas, avant de se faire attraper par la police.
François*, 32 ans, est moniteur de ski saisonnier et bénévole au refuge. Caché derrière des arbres, il guette la pénombre à la recherche d’un signe de vie quand deux silhouettes apparaissent derrière un buisson. Ils s’appellent Azad* et Hedi et sont iraniens. « How much ? » nous questionnent-ils avant de comprendre que François n’est pas passeur mais bénévole. Ils finissent par le suivre. Arman a 28 ans, a étudié le génie civil en Iran puis travaillé dans une pharmacie. Mais son père est opposant politique au régime : « Il a insisté pour que je quitte le pays », raconte-t-il. « Il a donné 18 000 euros à un réseau de passeurs pour me faire arriver en Angleterre. » Cette nuit, Azad et Hedi dormiront au chaud et en sécurité au refuge solidaire. Demain, ils repartiront en train en direction de Dunkerque, pour tenter de passer au Royaume-Uni.
Une jeunesse sans débouchés
Ces derniers mois, les bénévoles du Refuge solidaire ont noté un changement de population. Les Guinéens, Ivoiriens et Maliens qui étaient majoritaires en 2017 ont laissé leur place aux Afghans et Iraniens. En 2017, ils n’étaient que 3, en 2018, ils étaient 55, et depuis début 2020, 357 Iraniens sont passés par le refuge, soit 23 % des arrivées, selon les statistiques transmises par le Refuge solidaire. L’Ofpra enregistre la même évolution concernant les nouvelles demandes d’asile iraniennes : 349 en 2017, 510 en 2018 et 443 en 2019. La plupart des nouveaux venus sont diplômés, comme Peshro, 26 ans, diplômé d’une licence en économie, et Peshawa, 29 ans, rencontrés au Refuge solidaire. Les deux frères viennent de la province kurde au nord-ouest de l’Iran : « On n’avait pas de travail, pas d’argent », explique Peshro.
Depuis que les États-Unis ont rétabli les sanctions économiques contre l’Iran en 2018, la situation est devenue très dure pour la population. En juin 2020, le rial, la monnaie locale, avait perdu la moitié de sa valeur par rapport à mai 2018. Au-delà des difficultés économiques, les émeutes sanglantes survenues entre 2017 et 2019 pour protester contre la corruption du régime, et la répression qui s’abat sur les minorités ethniques (kurdes, arabes) et religieuses (derviche, bahaï) expliquent cette hausse des départs. Environ 200 000 Iraniens quitteraient chaque année le pays, selon Nader Vahabi, principalement pour la Turquie qui ne requiert pas de visa.
Une fois en Turquie, ils traversent l’Europe, en passant par la Grèce et les Balkans ou directement en bateau jusqu’en Italie. Comme beaucoup, Azad rêve d’Angleterre, perçue comme la terre promise pour les immigrés. Là-bas, ils retrouvent leur seconde langue, les contrôles d’identité n’existent pas et le marché du travail est plus flexible qu’ailleurs. D’après l’Observatoire des migrations de l’université d’Oxford, en 2019, le Royaume-Uni a enregistré environ 45 000 premières demandes d’asiles, un record, avec une majorité d’Iraniens, Irakiens et Pakistanais. Mais la traversée de la Manche est toujours aussi périlleuse. Le 27 octobre, toute une famille iranienne a trouvé la mort au large de Dunkerque, lorsque l’embarcation sur laquelle elle se trouvait a chaviré. Il s’agit du pire drame migratoire survenu dans l’histoire de La Manche.
Ajouté à la métaliste sur les Hautes-Alpes :
Des renforts pour le département des #Hautes-Alpes :
#militarisation_des_frontières #mission_sentinelle #terrorisme #menace_terroriste #Vigipirate #plan_vigipirate #urgence_attentat #armée #PAF #contoles_aux_frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #risque_attentat #passeurs #Montgenèvre #gendarmerie_mobile #radicalisation #amalgame #fichés_S
Medios aéreos y marítimos como plan de choque del Gobierno de España para «bloquear la salida de cayucos y pateras» hacia Canarias
La ministra de Política Territorial anuncia que el Estado contará con dos buques oceánicos, una patrullera de altura, un avión, un helicóptero y una embarcación sumergida en la ruta atlántica.
La ministra de Política Territorial del Gobierno de España, Carolina Darias, ha anunciado este viernes en su visita a Tenerife las medidas extraordinarias adoptadas desde el Ejecutivo nacional en un plan de choque para acabar con la crisis migratoria que atraviesa Canarias. Las llegadas en pateras y cayucos a Europa por Canarias suponen el 57% del total de llegadas al continente. Por ello, el Ministerio del Interior, de Exteriores, de Migraciones y de Política Territorial, en coordinación con la Vicepresidencia segunda del Gobierno estatal, han elaborado un decálogo de medidas para gestionar la situación migratoria en las Islas. Según la ministra, se trata de un «refuerzo» a las medidas ya existentes que intentan dar respuesta al fenómeno migratorio. Un fenómeno que tiene naturaleza «estructural» y que la pandemia ha complicado aún más. «La ruta atlántica ha vuelto a coger muchísima fuerza», subraya Darias, que fue subdelegada del Gobierno en el Archipiélago en 2006, durante la conocida como crisis de los cayucos.
El Gobierno de España ha decidido apostar por reforzar a las fuerzas y cuerpos de seguridad del Estado y la vía diplomática con los países de origen para evitar que los migrantes salgan en patera o cayuco del continente africano hacia Europa. El Ejecutivo pretende reforzar la política de cooperación para mejorar las condiciones de vida de las personas en sus países de origen a través de una «respuesta conjunta y coordinada con la Unión Europea». «Tenemos que ser altamente sensibles y hacer políticas responsables porque estamos hablando de seres humanos. Debemos hacer pedagogía y rechazar cualquier manifestación xenófoba, porque Canarias nunca ha sido racista y no lo puede ser», apuntó.
Ministerio del Interior
Las medidas implantadas por el Ministerio del Interior, dirigido por Fernando Grande-Marlaska, pretenden «acabar con la inmigración irregular». La línea principal de actuación pasa por el refuerzo de la cooperación efectiva con los países emisores. «Vamos a contar con dos buques oceánicos, una patrullera de altura, un avión, un helicóptero y una embarcación sumergida», anuncia Darias.
La agencia Frontex permanecerá hasta el 21 de enero de 2021 va a colaborar con el despliegue de equipos en Gran Canaria para reforzar las labores de la Policía: «Es nuestro objetivo combatir a las redes que trafican con personas». Además, el Gobierno de España está negociando con Senegal y con Frontex desplegar medios aéreos en la ruta atlántica.
Interior va a instalar un Centro de Atención Temporal de Migrantes (CATE) en Barranco Seco que permita a la Policía Nacional contar con un espacio adecuado para realizar la reseña policial de los migrantes. Hasta el momento, el Ejército de Tierra ha instalado 23 tiendas de campaña para albergar a unas 800 personas.
Darias ha anunciado que el ministro del Interior realizará una visita el próximo 20 de noviembre a Marruecos. Este será el séptimo viaje al país que haga Grande-Marlaska.
Asimismo, Darias ha celebrado que se retomen las conexiones con Mauritania que permitan deportar migrantes. El pasado martes tuvo lugar el primer vuelo de deportación tras la pandemia, en el que 22 personas fueron expulsadas de Gran Canaria. De ellas, solo una era nacional mauritana. Esa misma noche, las autoridades de Mauritania confirmaron que expulsarían también de Nouakchot a las personas llegadas desde Canarias. «El Gobierno pondrá énfasis en la deportación de las personas que no estén en situación de vulnerabilidad. Las que sí lo están han sido derivadas poco a poco a la Península», asegura. Sin embargo, afirmó que no contaba con datos sobre el número de traslados al territorio peninsular desde las Islas que se han dado este año.
Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores
El Gobierno de España incrementará en 500 millones de euros el presupuesto destinado a la cooperación, contando con una partida de 3.100.000 euros. Además, la ministra Arancha González visitará Senegal antes de que acabe el año.
Ministerio de Migraciones
El Ministerio de Defensa ha cedido el espacio de El Matorral, en Fuerteventura, al Ministerio de Migraciones y a Interior. En Tenerife, el Ejército de Tierra instala ya un nuevo espacio cedido por Defensa en Las Raíces, que se suma al acuartelamiento de Las Canteras. Es una capacidad alojativa «amplia», ha dicho Darias.
En Gran Canaria, además del CATE del antiguo polvorín de Barranco Seco, el Colegio León de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria se abrirá como espacio de acogida «en cuestión de días». «El objetivo es que la imagen de Arguineguín no se vuelva a repetir», ha aseverado la ministra. Carolina Darias ha querido agradecer a las corporaciones locales su predisposición a colaborar con el Estado en la gestión de la acogida. Sin embargo, la ministra no ha dado una fecha concreta para el desmantelamiento del muelle. «Cuanto antes», ha respondido. «Ya han visto lo rápido que hemos instalado el CATE de Barranco Seco», defendió. Así, preguntada por los medios sobre la lentitud del Ministerio de Defensa para habilitar nuevos espacios, Darias ha defendido que «las personas que están en el muelle no son las mismas que hace unos meses». «Se ha intentado desalojar, pero las llegadas han sido frecuentes», justifica.
Respecto a las carencias en la asistencia letrada de las personas que han llegado a las Islas en los últimos meses, la ministra ha asegurado que el Gobierno de España cumple con esta obligación. Pero ha justificado que «la intensa llegada» de migrantes ha provocado «algunas dificultades».
El presidente del Gobierno de Canarias, Ángel Víctor Torres, ha recordado en su intervención a las personas que han muerto intentando llegar al Archipiélago. Este viernes, Senegal ha convocado una jornada de duelo a iniciativa de la población en memoria de las 480 personas que han fallecido o desaparecido rumbo a Europa.
Torres incidió en la necesidad de cumplir con los derechos de asilo de la población migrante. «La gente que llega a Canarias en cayucos y pateras llega a Europa», reivindicó el presidente canario, apelando a la necesidad de crear corredores humanitarios con el continente. Una práctica a la que ya se comprometió la comisaria europea Ylva Johansson durante su visita al Archipiélago.
«La llegada de inmigrantes ha sido utilizada por algunos partidos políticos para promover una fobia hacia los extranjeros», ha leído Torres, compartiendo la carta publicada por los obispos de Canarias este jueves para combatir la xenofobia y el racismo. «Es verdad que la inmigración es un fenómeno complejo, pero forma parte de nuestra historia», concluyó el presidente.
Résumé de Raphaëla Laspalmas via la mailing-list Migreurop (14.11.2020):
Le gouvernement espagnol va munir les Canaries de nouveaux moyens : 2 navires, un bateau de patrouille « en haute altitude » (pas sûre de la traduction), un avion, un hélicoptère et un sous-marin.
Selon l’article, les arrivées en bateaux de fortune vers l’Europe par les Canaries supposent 57% du total des arrivées sur le continent ( à vérifier)
Le gouvernement espagnol négocie avec le #Sénégal et #Frontex de nouveaux #moyens_aériens sur la #route_atlantique.
Les autorités mauritaniennes ont annoncé qu’elles expulseraient à leur tour les migrants d’autres nationalités déportés sur son sol.
500 millions d’euros du gouvernement espagnol pour la coopération (la nature de ladite coopération n’est pas précisée...).
Les autorités reconnaissent des failles dans l’assistance juridique et s’en défausse sur le nombre d’arrivées.
UN warns of impact of smart borders on refugees: ‘Data collection isn’t apolitical’
Special rapporteur on racism and xenophobia believes there is a misconception that biosurveillance technology is without bias
Robotic lie detector tests at European airports, eye scans for refugees and voice-imprinting software for use in asylum applications are among new technologies flagged as “troubling” in a UN report.
The UN’s special rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Prof Tendayi Achiume, said digital technologies can be unfair and regularly breach human rights. In her new report, she has called for a moratorium on the use of certain surveillance technologies.
Achiume, who is from Zambia, told the Guardian she was concerned about the rights of displaced people being compromised. She said there was a misconception that such technologies, often considered “a humane” option in border enforcement, are without bias.
“One of the key messages of the report is that we have to be paying very close attention to the disparate impact of this technology and not just assuming that because it’s technology, it’s going to be fair or be neutral or objective in some way.”
She cited the example of pushback against Donald Trump’s effort to build a wall between the US and Mexico. “You see that there isn’t a similar sense of outrage when digital technologies are deployed to serve the same function … if you actually look at some of the statistics, and if you look at some of the research, which I cite in my report, it turns out that border deaths have increased in places where smart borders have been implemented.”
She also raised concerns about the ways in which humanitarian agencies are engaging with surveillance. The report notes that in Afghanistan, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) requires returning refugees to undergo iris registration as a prerequisite for receiving assistance.
While the UNHCR has justified the use of this technology as a way to prevent fraud, “the impact of processing such sensitive data can be grave when systems are flawed or abused”, the report said.
Last year the UN’s World Food Programme partnered with Palantir Technologies, a data mining company, on a $45m (£34m) contract, sharing the data of 92 million aid recipients.
“Data collection is not an apolitical exercise,” notes Achiume’s report, “especially when powerful global north actors collect information on vulnerable populations with no regulated methods of oversights and accountability.”
Covid-19 has also accelerated “biosurveillance” – focused on tracking people’s movements and health. Biosurveillance has everyday uses, such as the “track and trace” app in the UK, but there are concerns about the regulation of large-scale data harvested from populations.
One example is the “Covi-Pass”, a health passport developed by Mastercard and Gavi, a private-public health alliance, that is reportedly due to be rolled out across west Africa. The UN report highlighted the implications of such passports for freedom of movement, “especially for refugees”.
Petra Molnar from the Refugee Law Lab in Toronto said it was clear that the pandemic was increasing digital rights violations. “State responses to the pandemic are exacerbating the turn towards biosurveillance, with refugees and people on the move acting as communities on which to test various interventions and fast-track tech development,” she said.
Molnar, who contributed to the UN rapporteur’s report, has noted the dehumanising impact of some technologies on displaced people in her own research. One asylum seeker she spoke to in Belgium said the amount of personal data he’d given up made him feel, “like a piece of meat without a life, just fingerprints and eye scans”.
“Our conversations with refugees and people crossing borders show how little attention is being paid to the lived experiences of people who are at the sharp edges of these high-risk technological experiments,” said Molnar.
The intersection of technology and human rights violations were highlighted in a recent investigation into the European border agency Frontex, which allegedly witnessed pushbacks of migrants in the Aegean Sea via some of its assets, including drones.
Konstantinos Kakavoulis from Homo Digitalis, a Greek organisation focused on digital rights, said technologies often outpaced the legal framework.
“There is no clear regulation for the use of drones or body-worn cameras by the Greek police,” he said. “The police have signed a contract for the provision of a facial recognition software with Intracom Telecom, a Greek company, without receiving the opinion of the Greek data protection authority.”
He added: “Apart from the insufficiency of legal safeguards, we also lack transparency; and this is not only remarkable, but highly problematic.”
Achiume said that until the impact of surveillance technologies on human rights could be understood, use of such technologies should be halted. “Until we can understand and mitigate those harms, there should just be a moratorium on them.”
#frontières #smart_borders #frontières_intelligentes #réfugiés #asile #migrations #technologie #politique #biopolitique #technologies_digitales #droits_fondamentau #droits_humains #surveillance #contrôles_frontaliers #neutralité #Palantir_Technologies #données #biosurveillance #Covi-Pass #Mastercard #Gavi #complexe_militaro-industriel #covid-19 #coronavirus #reconnaissance_faciale #Intracom_Telecom
Racial and xenophobic discrimination, emerging digital technologies in border and immigration enforcement
This report to the 75th session of the General Assembly focuses on border and immigration enforcement. It addresses the discriminatory impact of emerging digital technologies on migrants, stateless persons, refugees and other non-citizens. View report A/75/590: ▻https://www.ohchr.org/EN/newyork/Documents/A-75-590-AUV.docx
L’UE achète des drones à #Airbus pour repérer les bateaux transportant des migrants
Airbus et deux sociétés d’armement israéliennes ont reçu 100 millions d’euros pour faire voler des drones au-dessus de la #Méditerranée. Le but : identifier les bateaux chargés de migrants qui tentent d’atteindre l’#Europe, selon le Guardian. Un article d’Euractiv Italie.
Dans le cadre des « services de #surveillance_aérienne_maritime » qu’elle assure, l’#UE a décidé de recourir à des #appareils_téléguidés volant à moyenne altitude à longue endurance, connus du grand public sous le nom de drones. C’est Airbus qui a été mandaté par Bruxelles pour fournir les engins. Le conglomérat européen spécialisé dans l’aéronautique et la défense travaillera avec la société publique #Israel_Aerospace_Industries (#IAI). Un deuxième contrat a été signé avec #Elbit_Systems, une société d’#armement israélienne privée. Les deux contrats s’élèvent à 50 millions d’euros chacun, selon une information du journal britannique The Guardian.
Les opérations seront menées en #Grèce et/ou en #Italie et/ou à #Malte selon le contrat-cadre signé entre #Frontex et les fournisseurs, dans le cadre des mesures de contrôle des frontières du sud de l’Europe.
Le #budget de l’agence européenne de garde-frontières et de gardes-côtes (Frontex), est passé de 6 millions d’euros en 2005 à 460 millions d’euros cette année, ce qui reflète l’importance croissante donnée au contrôle des frontières extérieures en raison de l’immigration. Le service de surveillance aérienne comprendra la mise à disposition d’un flux de #données fiable en temps réel et la capacité de partager ces données en temps réel.
L’IAI affirme que son drone #Heron, employé couramment par les forces armées israéliennes et allemandes, est en mesure de voler pendant plus de 24 heures et peut parcourir jusqu’à 1 000 miles à partir de sa base à des altitudes supérieures à 35 000 pieds.
Elbit Systems soutient pour sa part que ses drones #Hermes peuvent voler jusqu’à 36 heures à 30 000 pieds. Le mois dernier, Elbit a annoncé que des drones Hermes avaient été testés avec l’Agence maritime et des garde-côtes britannique au large de la côte ouest du Pays de Galles pour des opérations de recherche et de sauvetage.
Les drones israéliens sont le résultat d’une technologie de surveillance qu’Israël a développée et testée lors d’une série d’attaques sur Gaza, comme le détaille un rapport de Human Rights Watch. Airbus a fait savoir que son modèle n’était pas en mesure de transporter des armes, et qu’il serait peint en blanc avec le label « Frontex ». Les premiers tests seront effectués en Grèce sur l’île de #Crète.
Dans le cadre du programme Frontex, le drone italien #Falco_Evo de l’entreprise #Leonardo avait déjà été testé pour des activités de surveillance maritime aérienne dans l’espace aérien civil italien et maltais.
En juin 2919, le drone avait permis de mettre au jour une pratique fréquemment utilisée par les passeurs : le transbordement de dizaines de personnes d’un « vaisseau -mère » vers une embarcation qui est ensuite laissée à la dérive. La Guardia di Finanza, la police dounière italienne, alertée par les images du drone, avait alors intercepté et saisi un bateau de pêche.
Reste que l’utilisation de ce type de technologie suscite de nombreuses craintes. Les détracteurs les plus acharnés de la surveillance aérienne par des drones affirment que l’obligation légale d’aider un navire en danger et de sauver des naufragés ne s’applique pas à un engin aérien sans pilote, quel qu’il soit.
#complexe_militaro-industriel #business #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #drones #contrôles_frontaliers #surveillance_des_frontières #Israël #EU #Union_européenne #UE
Hassan (not his real name; other details have also been changed) paused mid-story to take out his wallet and show me his ID card. Its edges were frayed. The grainy, black-and-white photo was of a gawky teenager. He ran his thumb over the words at the top: ‘Jamhuri ya Kenya/Republic of Kenya’. ‘Somehow,’ he said, ‘no one has found out that I am registered as a Kenyan.’
He was born in the Kenyan town of Mandera, on the country’s borders with Somalia and Ethiopia, and grew up with relatives who had escaped the Somali civil war in the early 1990s. When his aunt, who fled Mogadishu, applied for refugee resettlement through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she listed Hassan as one of her sons – a description which, if understood outside the confines of biological kinship, accurately reflected their relationship.
They were among the lucky few to pass through the competitive and labyrinthine resettlement process for Somalis and, in 2005, Hassan – by then a young adult – was relocated to Minnesota. It would be several years before US Citizenship and Immigration Services introduced DNA tests to assess the veracity of East African refugee petitions. The adoption of genetic testing by Denmark, France and the US, among others, has narrowed the ways in which family relationships can be defined, while giving the resettlement process the air of an impartial audit culture.
In recent years, biometrics (the application of statistical methods to biological data, such as fingerprints or DNA) have been hailed as a solution to the elusive problem of identity fraud. Many governments and international agencies, including the UNHCR, see biometric identifiers and centralised databases as ways to determine the authenticity of people’s claims to refugee and citizenship status, to ensure that no one is passing as someone or something they’re not. But biometrics can be a blunt instrument, while the term ‘fraud’ is too absolute to describe a situation like Hassan’s.
Biometrics infiltrated the humanitarian sector after 9/11. The US and EU were already building centralised fingerprint registries for the purposes of border control. But with the start of the War on Terror, biometric fever peaked, most evidently at the borders between nations, where the images of the terrorist and the migrant were blurred. A few weeks after the attacks, the UNHCR was advocating the collection and sharing of biometric data from refugees and asylum seekers. A year later, it was experimenting with iris scans along the Afghanistan/Pakistan frontier. On the insistence of the US, its top donor, the agency developed a standardised biometric enrolment system, now in use in more than fifty countries worldwide. By 2006, UNHCR agents were taking fingerprints in Kenya’s refugee camps, beginning with both index fingers and later expanding to all ten digits and both eyes.
Reeling from 9/11, the US and its allies saw biometrics as a way to root out the new faceless enemy. At the same time, for humanitarian workers on the ground, it was an apparently simple answer to an intractable problem: how to identify a ‘genuine’ refugee. Those claiming refugee status could be crossed-checked against a host country’s citizenship records. Officials could detect refugees who tried to register under more than one name in order to get additional aid. Biometric technologies were laden with promises: improved accountability, increased efficiency, greater objectivity, an end to the heavy-handed tactics of herding people around and keeping them under surveillance.
When refugees relinquish their fingerprints in return for aid, they don’t know how traces of themselves can travel through an invisible digital architecture. A centralised biometric infrastructure enables opaque, automated data-sharing with third parties. Human rights advocates worry about sensitive identifying information falling into thehands of governments or security agencies. According to a recent privacy-impact report, the UNHCR shares biometric data with the Department of Homeland Security when referring refugees for resettlement in the US. ‘The very nature of digitalised refugee data,’ as the political scientist Katja Jacobsen says, ‘means that it might also become accessible to other actors beyond the UNHCR’s own biometric identity management system.’
Navigating a complex landscape of interstate sovereignty, caught between host and donor countries, refugee aid organisations often hold contradictory, inconsistent views on data protection. UNHCR officials have long been hesitant about sharing information with the Kenyan state, for instance. Their reservations are grounded in concerns that ‘confidential asylum-seeker data could be used for non-protection-related purposes’. Kenya has a poor record of refugee protection. Its security forces have a history of harassing Somalis, whether refugees or Kenyan citizens, who are widely mistrusted as ‘foreigners’.
Such well-founded concerns did not deter the UNHCR from sharing data with, funding and training Kenya’s Department of Refugee Affairs (now the Refugee Affairs Secretariat), which since 2011 has slowly and unevenly taken over refugee registration in the country. The UNHCR hasconducted joint verification exercises with the Kenyan government to weed out cases of double registration. According to the anthropologist Claire Walkey, these efforts were ‘part of the externalisation of European asylum policy ... and general burden shifting to the Global South’, where more than 80 per cent of the world’s refugees live. Biometrics collected for protection purposes have been used by the Kenyan government to keep people out. Tens of thousands of ethnic Somali Kenyan citizens who have tried to get a Kenyan national ID have been turned away in recent years because their fingerprints are in the state’s refugee database.
Over the last decade, biometrics have become part of the global development agenda, allegedly a panacea for a range of problems. One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to provide everyone with a legal identity by 2030. Governments, multinational tech companies and international bodies from the World Bank to the World Food Programme have been promoting the use of digital identity systems. Across the Global South, biometric identifiers are increasingly linked to voting, aid distribution, refugee management and financial services. Countries with some of the least robust privacy laws and most vulnerable populations are now laboratories for experimental tech.
Biometric identifiers promise to tie legal status directly to the body. They offer seductively easy solutions to the problems of administering large populations. But it is worth asking what (and who) gets lost when countries and international bodies turn to data-driven, automated solutions. Administrative failures, data gaps and clunky analogue systems had posed huge challenges for people at the mercy of dispassionate bureaucracies, but also provided others with room for manoeuvre.
Biometrics may close the gap between an ID and its holder, but it opens a gulf between streamlined bureaucracies and people’s messy lives, their constrained choices, their survival strategies, their hopes for a better future, none of which can be captured on a digital scanner or encoded into a database.
#biométrie #identité #réfugiés #citoyenneté #asile #migrations #ADN #tests_ADN #tests_génétiques #génétique #nationalité #famille #base_de_donnée #database #HCR #UNHCR #fraude #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #iris #technologie #contrôle #réinstallation #protection_des_données #empreintes_digitales #identité_digitale
Impact of the use of private military and security services in immigration and border management on the protection of the rights of all migrants
The present report covers the activities of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination since its previous report to the Council (A/HRC/42/42). It also highlights the impact on the protection of the human rights of all migrants of the increased use of private military and security services in immigration and border management.
In the report, the Working Group outlines the overall context in which these services are provided and the relevant normative framework. It examines four main categories of services: provision of research and technical expertise; border security technologies and monitoring services; immigration detention, returns and removals; and the implementation of “externalization” policies. It shines a light on the impact of these services on the human rights of all migrants. It then looks at the lack of transparency, oversight and accountability of companies operating in this sector, and the impact on effective remedies for victims of violations and abuses by these companies.
It concludes that, at times, companies are directly responsible for human rights abuses of migrants, notably in situations of deprivation of liberty; while in other instances, they are complicit in widespread human rights violations and abuse caused by other actors, such as immigration and border authorities.
The Working Group ends its report with recommendations addressed primarily to States and private military and security companies, aimed at triggering a fundamental evaluation of the role that companies play in reinforcing security over humanitarian approaches to immigration and border management, as well as the specific security services they provide in this sector.
#rapport #frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #contrôles_frontaliers #mercenaires #militarisation_des_frontières #droits_humains #armée #armée_privée #privatisation #technologie #rétention #détention #renvois #expulsions
Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact
The European Commission’s long-awaited and long-delayed pact on migration will include new asylum centres along the outer rim of the European Union, EUobserver has been told.
The idea is part of a German proposal, floated last year, that seeks to rapidly pre-screen asylum seekers before they enter European Union territory.
Michael Spindelegger, director-general of the Vienna-based International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) told EUobserver on Thursday (9 July) that the European Commission had in fact decided to include it into their upcoming migration pact.
“I got some information that this will be part of these proposals from the European Commission. So this is what I can tell you. I think this really is something that could bring some movement in the whole debate,” he said.
Spindelegger was Austria’s minister of foreign affairs and finance minister before taking over the ICMPD in 2016, where he has been outspoken in favour of such centres as a means to unblock disagreements among member states on the overhaul of the future EU-wide asylum system.
The German non-paper published in November 2019 proposed a mandatory initial assessment of asylum applications at the external border.
The idea is to prevent irregular and economic migrants from adding to the administrative bottlenecks of bona-fide asylum seekers and refugees.
“Manifestly unfounded or inadmissible applications shall be denied immediately at the external border, and the applicant must not be allowed to enter the EU,” stated the paper.
EUobserver understands the new pact may also include a three-tiered approach.
Abusive claims would be immediately dismissed and returned, those clearly in the need for protection would be relocated to an EU state, while the remainder would end up in some sort of facility.
Spindelegger concedes the idea has its detractors - noting it will be also be tricky to find the legal framework to support it.
“To give people, within some days, the right expectation is a good thing - so this is more or less a surprise that the European Commission took this initiative, because there are also some people who are totally against this,” he said.
EU ’hotspots’ in Greece
Among those is Oxfam International, an NGO that says people may end up in similar circumstances currently found in the so-called hotspots on the Greek islands.
“We are very concerned that the Greek law and the hotspots on the islands are going to be the blueprint for the new asylum and migration pact and we have seen them failed in every criteria,” said Oxfam International’s Raphael Shilhav, an expert on migration.
The hotspots were initially touted as a solution by the European Commission to facilitate and expedite asylum claims of people seeking international protection, who had disembarked from Turkey to the Greek islands.
The zones on the islands quickly turned into overcrowded camps where people, including women and children, are forced to live amid filth and violence.
Shilvav said some people at the hotspots who deserved asylum ended up falling through the cracks, noting new Greek laws effectively bar many people who do not have legal support from appealing an asylum rejection.
EUobserver has previously spoken to one asylum seeker from the Congo who had spent almost three years living in a tent with others at the hotspot in Moria on Lesbos island.
The new pact is a cornerstone policy of the Von der Leyen Commission and follows years of bickering among member states who failed to agree on a previous proposal to overhaul the existing EU-wide asylum rules.
“Over the past few years, many member states simply refused to find a solution,” Germany’s interior minister Horst Seehofer said ahead of the current German EU presidency’s first debate on home affairs issues.
The commission has so far refused to release any specific details of the plan - which has been delayed until September, following the eruption of the pandemic and on-going debates over the EU’s next long-term budget.
“This proposal will be there to protect and defend the right to asylum and that includes the possibility to apply for asylum, that is a right for everybody to do so,” EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson told MEPs earlier this week.
For its part, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the new pact needs to be common and workable.
“This means establishing fair and fast asylum procedures to quickly determine who needs international protection and who does not,” a UNHCR spokeswoman said, in an emailed statement.
She also noted that some 85 percent of the world’s refugees are currently hosted in neighbouring and developing countries and that more funds are needed for humanitarian and development support.
#migration_pact #pacte_migratoire #Europe #identification #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #pré-identification #centres_d'identification #hotspots #Grèce #contrôles_migratoires #contrôles_frontaliers #externalisation #EU #UE #frontières_extérieures #relocalisation #renvois #expulsions
War & Pacification
TNI’s War & Pacification work concerns the nexus between militarisation, security and globalisation. It confronts the structures and interests that underpin a new era of permanent war, makes visible the technologies of control and repression, highlights the impacts on people considered threatening or worthless by the powerful, and advocates alternatives based on peacebuilding, conflict transformation and respect for fundamental human rights.
TNI uses the term ‘pacification’ to describe what is frequently presented as ‘security’. Our research has long shown that the effect of many policies adopted in the name of security is increased social control, allowing the maintenance of social orders that are deeply unequal and unjust. Pacification thus encompasses elite attempts to police the contours of globalisation’s discontents – the unworthy and expendable, the restive and resistant – and close down the progressive spaces occupied by civil society.
–-> avec une série d’articles et analyses sur le sujet à trouver sur le site web du TNI :
#militarisation #globalisation #répression #contrôle #technologie #guerre #exclusion #dépossession #coercition #conflits #peace-building #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #militarisation_des_frontières #privatisation #violence #mouvements_sociaux
TNI uses the term ‘pacification’ to describe what is frequently presented as ‘security’.