country:eritrea

  • Asylum seeker to sue UK for funding Libyan detention centres

    Ethiopian teenager says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour in centres part-funded by UK.

    A teenage asylum seeker from Ethiopia is planning to sue the government for its role in funding detention centres in Libya, where he says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour.

    The teenager, who turned 18 a few weeks ago, cannot be named. He lives in London and is waiting for the Home Office to determine his asylum claim. His legal action against the government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its contribution to funding these overseas centres is thought to be the first of its kind.
    Separated at sea: a Sierra Leonean father’s desperate fear for his boy
    Read more

    The Guardian previously revealed the terrible conditions in a network of 26 detention centres across Libya. The EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa provides some funding for the centres. DfID says that the funding it provides is used to improve conditions in the camps.

    Children have described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards. One said the conditions were like “hell on Earth”.

    The government insists the funding is necessary as part of a humane effort to dissuade people from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing. Arguing that migrant detention centres are the responsibility of the Libyan authorities, it is understood to have raised concerns over the treatment of detainees with the Libyan government.

    A spokeswoman previously told the Guardian: “We continue to help fund the European Union Trust Fund’s work to improve conditions for migrants in detention centres.”

    But critics see the Libyan camps as a way for European countries to prevent asylum seekers and other migrants from reaching Europe, and the UK’s involvement as another plank of the so called “hostile environment” to keep people out.

    Last year the UK government spent £10m in Libya on various initiatives, including the detention centres.

    The teenager who has begun the legal action against the government claims that officials are acting unlawfully in funding the detention centres and should stop doing so. He is also asking for compensation for the suffering he endured there.

    The boy’s legal team is calling on DfID to facilitate the relocation of the detention centres to the UK or other safe countries so that asylum claims can be safely processed. His lawyers have asked DfID to disclose the funding agreements between the UK and Libyan governments and any internal documents concerning the destination of UK funding in Libya as well as any untoward incidents in the centres.
    Inside the chaos and corruption of Tripoli, where militias rule the streets
    Read more

    The teenager fled persecution in Ethiopia because of his father’s political allegiances and finally reached the UK after a dangerous journey through Libya and across the Mediterranean.

    In Libya he suffered both at the hands of traffickers and in the detention centres, some of which are controlled by local militias.

    “The period I was detained and enslaved in Libya was a living hell,” he said. An expert medical report conducted in London identified 31 different lesions, including 10 on his face, which the doctor who examined him found provided “significant corroboration” of his account of repeated ill treatment.

    Many of those in the camps are from Eritrea but there are also asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

    James Elliott of Wilsons Solicitors, who is bringing the legal action on the teenager’s behalf, said: “DfID acknowledges that conditions in the camps are appalling. We are bringing this legal challenge because it is vital that UK taxpayers’ money is not used to allow places where men, women and children are subjected to torture, rape and slavery to continue to exist.”

    DfID has been approached for comment.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/20/asylum-seeker-to-sue-uk-for-funding-libyan-detention-centres
    #Libye #externalisation #UK #Angleterre #justice #centres_de_détention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #poursuite #viol #abus_sexuels #travail_forcé #Trust_fund #Trust_fund_for_Africa



  • Power shift creates new tensions and Tigrayan fears in Ethiopia.

    Disagreements over land and resources between the 80 different ethnic groups in Ethiopia have often led to violence and mass displacement, but a fast and unprecedented shift of power led by reformist Prime Minister #Abiy_Ahmed is causing new strains, experts say.

    “Ethnic tensions are the biggest problem for Ethiopia right now,” Tewodrose Tirfe, chair of the Amhara Association of America, a US-based advocacy group that played a significant role in lobbying the US government to censor the former regime. “You’ve got millions of people displaced – it’s a humanitarian crisis, and it could get out of control.”

    During the first half of 2018, Ethiopia’s rate of 1.4 million new internally displaced people exceeded Syria’s. By the end of last year, the IDP population had mushroomed to nearly 2.4 million.

    Tigrayans comprise just six percent of Ethiopia’s population of 100 million people but are perceived as a powerful minority because of their ethnic affinity with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. The TPLF wielded almost unlimited power for more than two decades until reforms within the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front last year.

    Since coming to power in April 2018, Prime Minister Abiy – from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest – has brought major changes to the politics of the country, including an unprecedented redistribution of power within the EPRDF and away from the TPLF.
    The politics of ethnic tensions

    Despite the conflicting interests and disagreements between ethnic groups, the Ethiopian government has managed to keep the peace on a national scale. But that juggling act has shown signs of strain in recent years.

    https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2019/02/14/Ethiopia-ethnic-displacement-power-shift-raises-tensions
    #Ethiopie #terres #tensions #conflit #violence #IDPs #déplacés_internes #migrations #minorités

    In 2017, an escalation in ethnic clashes in the Oromia and the Somali regions led to a spike in IDPs. This continued into 2018, when clashes between the Oromo and Gedeo ethnic groups displaced approximately 970,000 people in the West Guji and Gedeo zones of neighbouring Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region.

    “The pace and scale of the change happening in Ethiopia is quite unbelievable,” said Ahmed Soliman, a research fellow with the Africa Programme at the London-based think tank Chatham House.

    “The impact of inter-communal tensions and ethnic violence presents a serious challenge for the new leadership – in Tigray and elsewhere. Abiy’s aggressive reform agenda has won praise, but shaking up Ethiopia’s government risks exacerbating several long-simmering ethnic rivalries.”

    Although clashes are sometimes fuelled by other disagreements, such as land or resources, people affected often claim that politicians across the spectrum use ethnic tensions as a means of divide and rule, or to consolidate their position as a perceived bulwark against further trouble.

    “Sadly [around Ethiopia] ethnic bias and violence is affecting many people at the local level,” said a foreign humanitarian worker with an international organisation helping Ethiopian IDPs, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue. This includes fuelling the displacement crisis and worsening the humanitarian situation.

    “The main humanitarian concern is that new displacements are occurring by the day, that due to the wide geographic scope, coordination and response in all locations is practically impossible,” the aid worker said.

    “I would like to see more transparency as to what actions the government is taking to hold regional and zonal governments responsible for addressing conflict, for supporting reconciliation, and supporting humanitarian response.”
    Tigray fears

    Although Tigrayans constitute a relatively small part of overall IDP numbers so far, some Tigrayans fear the power shift in Addis Ababa away from the TPLF leaves them more vulnerable and exposed.

    Already simmering anti-Tigrayan sentiments have led to violence, people told IRIN, from barricading roads and forcibly stopping traffic to looting and attacks on Tigrayan homes and businesses in the Amhara and Oromia regions.

    In the Tigray region’s capital of Mekelle, more than 750 kilometers north of the political changes taking place in Addis Ababa, many Tigrayans feel increasingly isolated from fellow Ethiopians.

    “The rest of the country hates us,” Weyanay Gebremedhn, 25, told IRIN. Despite the reforms, Tigrayans say what hasn’t changed is the narrative that they are responsible by association for the ills of the TPLF.

    Although he now struggles to find work, 35-year-old Huey Berhe, who does mostly odd jobs to pay the bills, said he felt safer living among his own community in Mekelle.

    Huey said he had been a student at Jimma University in western Ethiopia, until growing ethnic tensions sparked fights on campus and led to Tigrayans being targeted. “I left my studies at Jimma after the trouble there,” he said. “It was bad – it’s not something I like to discuss.”
    ‘A better evil’

    “There is a lot of [lies] and propaganda, and the TPLF has been made the scapegoat for all vice,” said Gebre Weleslase, a Tigrayan law professor at Mekelle University. He criticised Abiy for not condemning ethnic attacks, which he said had contributed to tens of thousands of Tigrayans leaving Amhara for Tigray in recent years.

    But Amhara Association of America’s Tewodrose said the feeling of “hate” that Ethiopians have toward the TPLF “doesn’t extend to Tigrayans”.

    “There is resentment toward them when other Ethiopians hear of rallies in Tigray supporting the TPLF, because that seems like they aren’t supporting reform efforts,” he said. “But that doesn’t lead to them being targeted, otherwise there would have been more displacements.”

    Tigrayans, however, aren’t as reassured. Despite the vast majority enduring years of poverty and struggle under the TPLF, which should give them as many reasons as most Ethiopians to feel betrayed, even those Tigrayans who dislike the TPLF now say that turning to its patronage may be their only means of seeking protection.

    “The TPLF political machinery extended everywhere in the country – into the judiciary, the universities… it became like something out of George Orwell’s ‘1984’,” Huey said. “But the fact is now the TPLF may represent a better evil as we are being made to feel so unsafe – they seem our only ally as we are threatened by the rest of the country.”

    Others note that Abiy has a delicate balance to strike, especially for the sake of Tigrayans.

    “The prime minister needs to be careful not to allow his targeting of anti-reform elements within the TPLF, to become an attack on the people of Tigray,” said Soliman.

    “The region has a history of resolute peoples and will have to be included with all other regions, in order for Abiy to accomplish his goals of reconciliation, socio-political integration and regional development, as well as long-term peace with Eritrea.”

    Although the government has a big role to play, some Ethiopians told IRIN it is essential for the general population to also face up to the inherent prejudices and problems that lie at the core of their society.

    “It’s about the people being willing and taking individual responsibility – the government can’t do everything,” Weyanay said. “People need to read more and challenge their assumptions and get new perspectives.”


    https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2019/02/14/Ethiopia-ethnic-displacement-power-shift-raises-tensions

    #Tigréans


  • Eritrea-Ethiopia border closed amid escalating tension

    “Currently, the situation in Eritrea is reminiscent of the pre-1998 border war period when the war of words and public agitation was at its highest. Now, taking advantage of the proliferation of social media, the agitation is being escalated on a daily basis.”

    Ethio-Eritrean Border: Haphazardly Opened Erratically Closed

    A little over three months after it was haphazardly opened, the Ethiopian-Eritrean Border was closed from the Eritrean side which now requires Ethiopians to have entry permits. The decision to close the border was passed to the Eritrean border guards on Christmas Eve.

    The Eritrean side didn’t explain the change of policy and now requires permits issued by the Federal Ethiopian Government. Similarly, Ethiopian authorities stated they have no official information regarding the Eritrean decisión.

    The border remained closed since the two countries went to war between 1998-2000, a gruesome war in which over a hundred thousand people were killed. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from their villages and some of them still live in makeshift camps.

    Until recently, the borders were guarded by soldiers who were on a shoot-to-kill order. Many Eritreans escaping the country to avoid the indefinite military service, poor employment prospects, and severe violations of human rights, were shot and killed while crossing the border.

    However, since September 10, a border crossing checkpoint at Zalambessa-Serha, in the central region, was opened following the agreement between Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and the Ethiopian prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed. People and goods were allowed to move across the border freely with no permits or visas.

    Immediately after the border was opened, thousands of Eritreans rushed to Ethiopia to take advantage of the border opening either to travel further and join family members in foreign lands, or in search of better employment and educational prospects for themselves.

    At the same time, Ethiopians crowded the streets of Eritrean cities as tourists, or to meet long-separated family members, while merchants flooded the markets that suffered from an acute shortage of different merchandise.

    Another border crossing checkpoint that was briefly opened between the Ethiopian town of Humera and the Eritrean town of Um-Hajer over the Tekezze River was closed on the beginning of August 2018.

    Still another crossing point at Bure south of the Eritrean port of Assab is either closed or open depending on unpredictable intermittent decisions by the Eritrean authorities.

    The border also has also faced problems related to Exchange rates between the currencies of the two countries since neither of the two governments had planned for it ahead of time.

    Since the border opened, over 30,000 Eritreans have crossed to Ethiopia on a one-way journey.

    The reason for the two days old decision by Eritrea is believed to have been triggered by the attempt on the life of general Sebhat’s on December 19, 2018. Dozens of colonels and other lower rank officers suspected of being part of a plot to overthrow Isaias Afwki’s government have been arrested. Their fate is still unknown.

    Over the last few days, PFDJ trolls on social media have accused the TPLF of being behind the plot to “disrupt Eritrean security” and of masterminding the attempt on general Sebhat Efrem’s life.

    Currently, the situation in Eritrea is reminiscent of the pre-1998 border war period when the war of words and public agitation was at its highest. Now, taking advantage of the proliferation of social media, the agitation is being escalated on a daily basis.

    Both the Eritrean government and the Ethiopian federal government are waging relentless media wars and exerting political pressure on the TPLF of Tigray region, which occupies most of the area between the two countries.

    https://eritreahub.org/eritrea-ethiopia-border-closed-amid-escalating-tension
    #fermeture_des_frontières #frontières #Erythrée #Ethiopie #conflit

    Re-fermeture de cette frontière, après un petit moment d’espoir, il y a quelques mois :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/721926


  • And Yet We Move - 2018, a Contested Year

    Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 12 November - 23 December 2018

    311 people escaping from Libya rescued through a chain of solidarity +++ About 113,000 sea arrivals and over 2,240 counted fatalities in the Mediterranean this year +++ 666 Alarm Phone distress cases in 2018 +++ Developments in all three Mediterranean regions +++ Summaries of 38 Alarm Phone distress cases

    Introduction

    “There are no words big enough to describe the value of the work you are doing. It is a deeply human act and it will never be forgotten. The whole of your team should know that we wish all of you health and a long life and the best wishes in all the colours of the world.” These are the words that the Alarm Phone received a few days ago from a man who had been on a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea and with whom our shift teams had stayed in touch throughout the night until they were finally rescued to Spain. He was able to support the other travellers by continuously and calmly reassuring them, and thereby averted panic on the boat. His message motivates us to continue also in 2019 to do everything we can to assist people who have taken to the sea because Europe’s border regime has closed safe and legal routes, leaving only the most dangerous paths slightly open. On these paths, over 2,240 people have lost their lives this year.

    While we write this report, 311 people are heading toward Spain on the rescue boat of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms. The travellers called the Alarm Phone when they were on a boat-convoy that had left from Libya. Based on the indications of their location, Al-Khums, the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri launched a search operation in the morning of the 21st of December and was able to spot the convoy of three boats which were then rescued by Proactiva. Italy and Malta closed their harbours to them, prolonging their suffering. Over the Christmas days they headed toward their final destination in Spain. The successful rescue operation of the 313 people (one mother and her infant child were flown out by a helicopter after rescue) highlights the chain of solidarity that activists and NGOs have created in the Central Mediterranean Sea. It is a fragile chain that the EU and its member states seek to criminalise and tear apart wherever they can.

    Throughout the year of 2018, we have witnessed and assisted contested movements across the Mediterranean Sea. Despite violent deterrence policies and practices, about 113,000 people succeeded in subverting maritime borders and have arrived in Europe by boat. We were alerted to 666 distress situations at sea (until December 23rd), and our shift teams have done their best to assist the many thousands of people who saw no other option to realise their hope for a better future than by risking their lives at sea. Many of them lost their lives in the moment of enacting their freedom of movement. Over 2,240 women, men, and children from the Global South – and probably many more who were never counted – are not with us anymore because of the violence inscribed in the Global North’s hegemonic and brutal borders. They were not able to get a visa. They could not board a much cheaper plane, bus, or ferry to reach a place of safety and freedom. Many travelled for months, even years, to get anywhere near the Mediterranean border – and on their journeys they have lived through hardships unimaginable for most of us. But they struggled on and reached the coasts of Northern Africa and Turkey, where they got onto overcrowded boats. That they are no longer with us is a consequence of Europe’s racist system of segregation that illegalises and criminalises migration, a system that also seeks to illegalise and criminalise solidarity. Many of these 2,240 people would be alive if the civil rescuers were not prevented from doing their work. All of them would be alive, if they could travel and cross borders freely.

    In the different regions of the Mediterranean Sea, the situation has further evolved over the course of 2018, and the Alarm Phone witnessed the changing patterns of boat migration first hand. Most of the boats we assisted were somewhere between Morocco and Spain (480), a considerable number between Turkey and Greece (159), but comparatively few between Libya and Italy (27). This, of course, speaks to the changing dynamics of migratory escape and its control in the different regions:

    Morocco-Spain: Thousands of boats made it across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea, or the Atlantic and have turned Spain into the ‘front-runner’ this year with about 56,000 arrivals by sea. In 2017, 22,103 people had landed in Spain, 8,162 in 2016. In the Western Mediterranean, crossings are organised in a rather self-organised way and the number of arrivals speaks to a migratory dynamism not experienced for over a decade in this region. Solidarity structures have multiplied both in Morocco and Spain and they will not be eradicated despite the wave of repression that has followed the peak in crossings over the summer. Several Alarm Phone members experienced the consequences of EU pressure on the Moroccan authorities to repress cross-border movements first hand when they were violently deported to the south of Morocco, as were several thousand others.

    Turkey-Greece: With about 32,000 people reaching the Greek islands by boat, more people have arrived in Greece than in 2017, when 29,718 people did so. After arrival via the sea, many are confined in inhumane conditions on the islands and the EU hotspots have turned into rather permanent prisons. This desperate situation has prompted renewed movements across the Turkish-Greek land border in the north. Overall, the number of illegalised crossings into Greece has risen due to more than 20,000 people crossing the land border. Several cases of people experiencing illegal push-back operations there reached the Alarm Phone over the year.

    Libya-Italy/Malta: Merely about 23,000[1] people have succeeded in fleeing Libya via the sea in 2018. The decrease is dramatic, from 119,369 in 2017, and even 181,436 in 2016. This decrease gives testament to the ruthlessness of EU deterrence policies that have produced the highest death rate in the Central Mediterranean and unspeakable suffering among migrant communities in Libya. Libyan militias are funded, trained, and legitimated by their EU allies to imprison thousands of people in camps and to abduct those who made it onto boats back into these conditions. Due to the criminalisation of civil rescuers, a lethal rescue gap was produced, with no NGO able to carry out their work for many months of the year. Fortunately, three of them have now been able to return to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean.

    These snapshots of the developments in the three Mediterranean regions, elaborated on in greater detail below, give an idea of the struggles ahead of us. They show how the EU and its member states not only created dangerous maritime paths in the first place but then reinforced its migrant deterrence regime at any cost. They show, however, also how thousands could not be deterred from enacting their freedom of movement and how solidarity structures have evolved to assist their precarious movements. We go into 2019 with the promise and call that the United4Med alliance of sea rescuers has outlined: “We will prove how civil society in action is not only willing but also able to bring about a new Europe; saving lives at sea and creating a just reception system on land. Ours is a call to action to European cities, mayors, citizens, societies, movements, organisations and whoever believes in our mission, to join us. Join our civil alliance and let us stand up together, boldly claiming a future of respect and equality. We will stand united for the right to stay and for the right to go.”[2] Also in the new year, the Alarm Phone will directly engage in this struggle and we call on others to join. It can only be a collective fight, as the odds are stacked against us.

    Developments in the Central Mediterranean

    In December 2018, merely a few hundred people were able to escape Libya by boat. It cannot be stressed enough how dramatic the decrease in crossings along this route is – a year before, 2,327 people escaped in December, in 2016 even 8,428. 2018 is the year when Europe’s border regime ‘succeeded’ in largely shutting down the Central Mediterranean route. It required a combination of efforts – the criminalisation of civil search and rescue organisations, the selective presence of EU military assets that were frequently nowhere to be found when boats were in distress, the closure of Italian harbours and the unwillingness of other EU member states to welcome the rescued, and, most importantly, the EU’s sustained support for the so-called Libyan coastguards and other Libyan security forces. Europe has not only paid but also trained, funded and politically legitimised Libyan militias whose only job is to contain outward migratory movements, which means capturing and abducting people seeking to flee to Europe both at sea and on land. Without these brutal allies, it would not have been possible to reduce the numbers of crossings that dramatically.

    The ‘Nivin case’ of November 7th exemplifies this European-Libyan alliance. On that day, a group of 95 travellers reached out to the Alarm Phone from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya. Among them were people from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Eritrea. Italy refused to conduct a rescue operation and eventually they were rescued by the cargo vessel Nivin. Despite telling the rescued that they would be brought to a European harbour, the crew of the Nivin returned them to Libya on November 10th. At the harbour of Misrata, most of the rescued refused to disembark, stating that they would not want to be returned into conditions of confinement and torture. The people, accused by some to be ‘pirates’, fought bravely against forced disembarkation for ten days but on the 20th of November they could resist no longer when Libyan security forces stormed the boat and violently removed them, using tear gas and rubber bullets in the process. Several of the protestors were injured and needed treatment in hospital while others were returned into inhumane detention camps.[3]

    Also over the past 6 weeks, the period covered in this report, the criminalisation of civil rescue organisations continued. The day that the protestors on the Nivin were violently removed, Italy ordered the seizure of the Aquarius, the large rescue asset operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières that had already been at the docs in France for some time, uncertain about its future mission. According to the Italian authorities, the crew had falsely labelled the clothes rescued migrants had left on the Aquarius as ‘special’ rather than ‘toxic’ waste.[4] The absurdity of the accusation highlights the fact that Italy’s authorities seek out any means to prevent rescues from taking place, a “disproportionate and unfounded measure, purely aimed at further criminalising lifesaving medical-humanitarian action at sea”, as MSF noted.[5] Unfortunately, these sustained attacks showed effect. On the 6th of December, SOS Med and MSF announced the termination of its mission: “European policies and obstruction tactics have forced [us] to terminate the lifesaving operations carried out by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius.” As the MSF general director said: “This is a dark day. Not only has Europe failed to provide search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives. The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed.”[6]

    And yet, despite this ongoing sabotage of civil rescue from the EU and its member states, three vessels of the Spanish, German, and Italian organisations Open Arms, Sea-Watch and Mediterranea returned to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean in late November.[7] This return is also significance for Alarm Phone work in the Central Mediterranean: once again we have non-governmental allies at sea who will not only document what is going on along the deadliest border of the world but actively intervene to counter Europe’s border ‘protection’ measures. Shortly after returning, one of the NGOs was called to assist. Fishermen had rescued a group of travellers off the coast of Libya onto their fishing vessel, after they had been abandoned in the water by a Libyan patrol boat, as the fishermen claimed. Rather than ordering their rapid transfer to a European harbour, Italy, Malta and Spain sought out ways to return the 12 people to Libya. The fishing boat, the Nuestra Madre de Loreto, was ill-equipped to care for the people who were weak and needed medical attention. However, they were assisted only by Proactiva Open Arms, and for over a week, the people had to stay on the fishing boat. One of them developed a medical emergency and was eventually brought away in a helicopter. Finally, in early December, they were brought to Malta.[8]

    Around the same time, something rare and remarkable happened. A boat with over 200 people on board reached the Italian harbour of Pozzallo independently, on the 24th of November. Even when they were at the harbour, the authorities refused to allow them to quickly disembark – a irresponsible decision given that the boat was at risk of capsizing. After several hours, all of the people were finally allowed to get off the boat. Italy’s minister of the interior Salvini accused the Maltese authorities of allowing migrant boats to move toward Italian territory.[9] Despite their hardship, the people on the Nuestra Madre de Loreto and the 200 people from this boat, survived. Also the 33 people rescued by the NGO Sea-Watch on the 22nd of December survived. Others, however, did not. In mid-November, a boat left from Algeria with 13 young people on board, intending to reach Sardinia. On the 16th of November, the first body was found, the second a day later. Three survived and stated later that the 10 others had tried to swim to what they believed to be the shore when they saw a light in the distance.[10] In early December, a boat with 25 people on board left from Sabratha/Libya, and 15 of them did not survive. As a survivor reported, they had been at sea for 12 days without food and water.[11]

    Despite the overall decrease in crossings, what has been remarkable in this region is that the people escaping have more frequently informed the Alarm Phone directly than before. The case mentioned earlier, from the 20th of December, when people from a convoy of 3 boats carrying 313 people in total reached out to us, exemplifies this. Detected by the Colibri reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Proactiva, this case demonstrates powerfully what international solidarity can achieve, despite all attempts by EU member states and institutions to create a zone of death in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
    Developments in the Western Mediterranean Sea

    Over the past six weeks covered by this report, the Alarm Phone witnessed several times what happens when Spanish and Moroccan authorities shift responsibilities and fail to respond quickly to boats in distress situations. Repeatedly we had to pressurise the Spanish authorities publicly before they launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation. And still, many lives were lost at sea. On Moroccan land, the repression campaign against Sub-Saharan travellers and residents continues. On the 30th of November, an Alarm Phone member was, yet again, arrested and deported towards the South of Morocco, to Tiznit, along with many other people. (h https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/04/alarm-phone-member-arrested-and-deported-in-morocco/?post_type_release_type=post). Other friends in Morocco have informed us about the deportation of large groups from Nador to Tiznit. Around the 16th of December, 400 people were forcibly removed, and on the 17th of December, another 300 people were deported to Morocco’s south. This repression against black residents and travellers in Morocco is one of the reasons for many to decide to leave via the sea. This has meant that also during the winter, cross-Mediterranean movements remain high. On just one weekend, the 8th-9th of December, 535 people reached Andalusia/Spain.[12]

    Whilst people are constantly resisting the border regime by acts of disobedience when they cross the borders clandestinely, acts of resistance take place also on the ground in Morocco, where associations and individuals are continuously struggling for the freedom of movement for all. In early December, an Alarm Phone delegation participated at an international conference in Rabat/Morocco, in order to discuss with members of other associations and collectives from Africa and Europe about the effects of the outsourcing and militarisation of European borders in the desire to further criminalise and prevent migration movements. We were among 400 people and were impressed by the many contributions from people who live and struggle in very precarious situations, by the uplifting atmosphere, and by the many accounts and expressions of solidarity. Days later, during the international meeting in Marrakesh on the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’, the Alarm Phone was part of a counter-summit, protesting the international pact on migration which is not meant to reduce borders between states, but to curtail the freedom of movement of the many in the name of ‘legal’ and ‘regulated’ migration. The Alarm Phone delegation was composed of 20 activists from the cities of Tangier, Oujda, Berkane, Nador and Fes. One of our colleagues sums up the event: “We have expressed our ideas and commitments as Alarm Phone, solemnly and strongly in front of the other organisations represented. We have espoused the vision of freedom of movement, a vision without precedent. A vision which claims symbolically all human rights and which has the power to help migrants on all continents to feel protected.” In light of the Marrakesh pact, several African organisations joined together and published a statement rejecting “…the wish to confine Africans within their countries by strengthening border controls, in the deserts, at sea and in airports.”[13]

    Shortly after the international meeting in Marrakesh, the EU pledged €148 million to support Morocco’s policy of migrant containment, thus taking steps towards making it even more difficult, and therefore more dangerous for many people on the African continent to exercise their right to move freely, under the pretext of “combating smuggling”. Making the journeys across the Mediterranean more difficult does not have the desired effect of ending illegalised migration. As the routes to Spain from the north of Morocco have become more militarised following a summer of many successful crossings, more southern routes have come into use again. These routes, leading to the Spanish Canary Islands, force travellers to overcome much longer distances in the Atlantic Ocean, a space without phone coverage and with a heightened risk to lose one’s orientation. On the 18th of November, 22 people lost their lives at sea, on their way from Tiznit to the Canary Islands.[14] Following a Spanish-Frontex collaboration launched in 2006, this route to the Canary Islands has not been used very frequently, but numbers have increased this year, with Moroccan nationals being the largest group of arrivals.[15]
    Developments in the Aegean Sea

    Over the final weeks of 2018, between the 12th of November and the 23rd of December, 78 boats arrived on the Greek islands while 116 boats were stopped by the Turkish coastguards and returned to Turkey. This means that there were nearly 200 attempts to cross into Europe by boat over five weeks, and about 40 percent of them were successful.[16] Over the past six weeks, the Alarm Phone was involved in a total of 19 cases in this region. 6 of the boats arrived in Samos, 3 of them in Chios, and one each on Lesvos, Agathonisi, Farmkonisi, and Symi. 4 boats were returned to Turkey (3 of them rescued, 1 intercepted by the Turkish coastguards). In one distress situation, a man lost his life and another man had to be brought to the hospital due to hypothermia. Moreover, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 2 cases along the Turkish-Greek land border. While in one case their fate remains uncertain, the other group of people were forcibly pushed-back to Turkey.

    Thousands of people still suffering in inhuman conditions in hotspots: When we assist boats crossing the Aegean Sea, the people are usually relieved and happy when arriving on the islands, at least they have survived. However, this moment of happiness often turns into a state of shock when they enter the so-called ‘hotspots’. Over 12,500 people remain incarcerated there, often living in tents and containers unsuitable for winter in the five EU-sponsored camps on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros. In addition to serious overcrowding, asylum seekers continue to face unsanitary and unhygienic conditions and physical violence, including gender-based violence. Doctors without Borders has reported on a measles outbreak in Greek camps and conducted a vaccination campaign.[17] Amnesty International and 20 other organizations have published a collective call: “As winter approaches all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands must be transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries. […] The EU-Turkey deal containment policy imposes unjustified and unnecessary suffering on asylum seekers, while unduly limiting their rights.”

    The ‘humanitarian’ crisis in the hotspots is the result of Greece’s EU-backed policy of containing asylum seekers on the Aegean islands until their asylum claims are adjudicated or until it is determined that they fall into one of the ‘vulnerable’ categories listed under Greek law. But as of late November, an estimated 2,200 people identified as eligible for transfer are still waiting as accommodation facilities on the mainland are also severely overcrowded. Those who are actually transferred from the hotspot on Lesvos to the Greek mainland are brought to far away camps or empty holiday resorts without infrastructure and without a sufficient number of aid workers.

    Criminalisation along Europe’s Eastern Sea Border: A lot has been written about the many attempts to criminalise NGOs and activists carrying out Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Much less publicly acknowledged are the many cases in which migrant travellers themselves become criminalised for their activist involvement, often for protesting against the inhuman living conditions and the long waiting times for the asylum-interviews. The case of the ‘Moria 35’ on Lesvos was a case in point, highlighting how a few individual protesters were randomly selected by authorities to scare others into silence and obedience. The Legal Centre Lesvos followed this case closely until the last person of the 35 was released and they shared their enquiries with “a 15-month timeline of injustice and impunity” on their website: “On Thursday 18th October, the last of the Moria 35 were released from detention. Their release comes one year and three months – to the day – after the 35 men were arbitrarily arrested and subject to brutal police violence in a raid of Moria camp following peaceful protests, on July 18th 2017.” While the Legal Centre Lesbos welcomes the fact that all 35 men were finally released, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. They will not get back the 10 to 15 months they spent in prison. Moreover, even after release, most of the 35 men remain in a legally precarious situation. While 6 were granted asylum in Greece, the majority struggles against rejected asylum claims. Three were already deported. One individual was illegally deported without having exhausted his legal remedies in Greece while another individual, having spent 9 months in pre-trial detention, signed up for so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation.[18] In the meantime, others remain in prison to await their trials that will take place with hardly any attention of the media.

    Humanitarian activists involved in spotting and rescue released after 3 months: The four activists, Sarah Mardini, Nassos Karakitsos, Panos Moraitis and Sean Binder, were released on the 6th of December 2018 after having been imprisoned for three months. They had been held in prolonged pre-trial detention for their work with the non-profit organization Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), founded by Moraitis. The charges misrepresented the group as a smuggling crime ring, and its legitimate fundraising activities as money laundering. The arrests forced the group to cease its operations, including maritime search and rescue, the provision of medical care, and non-formal education to asylum seekers. They are free without geographical restrictions but the case is not yet over. Mardini and Binder still face criminal charges possibly leading to decades in prison.[19] Until 15 February the group ‘Solidarity now!’ is collecting as many signatures as possible to ensure that the Greek authorities drop the case.[20]

    Violent Pushbacks at the Land Border: During the last six weeks, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups at the land border separating Turkey and Greece. In both situations, the travellers had already reached Greek soil, but ended up on Turkish territory. Human Right Watch (HRW) published another report on the 18th of December about violent push-backs in the Evros region: “Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants […]. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.”[21] Regularly, migrants were stripped off their phones, money and clothes. According to HRW, most of these incidents happened between April and November 2018.[22] The UNHCR and the Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture have published similar reports about violent push backs along the Evros borders.[23]
    CASE REPORTS

    Over the past 6 weeks, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 38 distress cases, of which 15 took place in the Western Mediterranean, 19 in the Aegean Sea, and 4 in the Central Mediterranean. You can find short summaries and links to the individual reports below.
    Western Mediterranean

    On Tuesday the 13th of November at 6.17pm, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a group of travellers who had left two days earlier from around Orán heading towards Murcia. They were around nine people, including women and children, and the relative had lost contact to the boat. We were also never able to reach the travellers. At 6.46pm we alerted the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM) to the distress of the travellers. For several days we tried to reach the travellers and were in contact with SM about the ongoing rescue operation. We were never able to reach the travellers or get any news from the relative. Thus, we are still unsure if the group managed to reach land somewhere on their own, or if they will add to the devastating number of people having lost their lives at sea (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1085).

    On Thursday the 22nd of November, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone received news about a boat of 11 people that had left Nador 8 hours prior. The shift team was unable to immediately enter into contact with the boat, but called Salvamento Maritimo to convey all available information. At 11.48am the following day, the shift team received word from a traveler on the boat that they were safe (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1088).

    At 7.25am CET on November 24, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 70 people (including 8 women and 1 child) that had departed from Nador 3 days prior. The shift team was able to reach the boat at 7.50am and learned that their motor had stopped working. The shift team called Salvamento Maritimo, who had handed the case over to the Moroccan authorities. The shift team contacted the MRCC, who said they knew about the boat but could not find them, so the shift team mobilized their contacts to find the latest position and sent it to the coast guard at 8.55am. Rescue operations stalled for several hours. At around 2pm, the shift team received news that rescue operations were underway by the Marine Royale. The shift team remained in contact with several people and coast guards until the next day, when it was confirmed that the boat had finally been rescued and that there were at least 15 fatalities (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1087).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, we were alerted to two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. One boat was brought to Algeria, the second boat rescued by Moroccan fishermen and returned to Morocco (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1098).

    On Saturday, the 8th of December 2018, we were informed by a contact person at 3.25pm CET to a boat in distress that had left from Nador/Morocco during the night, at about 1am. There were 57 people on the boat, including 8 women and a child. We tried to establish contact to the boat but were unable to reach them. At 4.50pm, the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) informed us that they were already searching for this boat. At 8.34pm, SM stated that this boat had been rescued. Some time later, also our contact person confirmed that the boat had been found and rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1099).

    On Monday the 10th of December, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to three boats in the Western Med. Two had left from around Nador, and one from Algeria. One boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo, one group of travellers returned back to Nador on their own, and the boat from Algeria returned to Algeria (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1101).

    On Wednesday the 12th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted two boats in the Western Med, one carrying seven people, the other carrying 12 people. The first boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM), whilst the second boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco, where we were informed that the travellers were held imprisoned (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1102).

    On December 21st, 2018, we were informed of two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The first had left from Algeria and was probably rescued to Spain. The other one had departed from Tangier and was rescued by the Marine Royale and brought back to Morocco (for full report, see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1110).

    On the 22nd of December, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 81 people (including 7 women) that had left the previous day from Nador. The motor was not working properly. They informed that they were in touch with Salvamiento Maritimo but as they were still in Moroccan waters, Salvamiento Maritimo said they were unable to perform rescue operations. The shift team had difficulty maintaining contact with the boat over the course of the next few hours. The shift team also contacted Salvamiento Maritimo who confirmed that they knew about the case. At 7.50pm, Salvamiento Maritimo informed the shift team that they would perform the rescue operations and confirmed the operation at 8.15pm. We later got the confirmation by a contact person that the people were rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1111).

    On the 23rd of December 2018, at 1.14am CET, the Alarm Phone received an alert of a boat with 11 men and 1 woman who left from Cap Spartel at Saturday the 22nd of December. The Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to this rubber boat in the early hours of Sunday the 23rd of December. The shift team informed the Spanish Search and Rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) at 4:50am CET about the situation and provided them with GPS coordinates of the boat. SM, however, rejected responsibility and shifted it to the Moroccan authorities but also the Moroccan Navy did not rescue the people. Several days later, the boat remains missing (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1112).
    Aegean Sea

    On Saturday the 17th of November the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. The first boat returned back to Turkey, whilst the second boat reached Samos on their own (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1086).

    On the 19th of November at 8.40pm CET the shift team was alerted to a boat of 11 travelers in distress near the Turkish coast on its way to Kos. The shift team called the Turkish Coastguard to inform them of the situation. At 9.00pm, the Coastguard called back to confirm they found the boat and would rescue the people. The shift team lost contact with the travelers. At 9.35pm, the Turkish coast guard informed the shift team that the boat was sunk, one man died and one person had hypothermia and would be brought to the hospital. The other 9 people were safe and brought back to Turkey (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1090).

    On the 20th of November at 4.07am CET, the shift team was alerted to a boat with about 50 travelers heading to Samos. The shift team contacted the travelers but the contact was broken for both language and technological reasons. The Alarm Phone contacted the Greek Coastguard about rescue operations. At 7.02am, the shift team was told that a boat of 50 people had been rescued, and the news was confirmed later on, although the shift team could not obtain direct confirmation from the travelers themselves (see:http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1089).

    On the 23rd of November at 7.45pm CET, the Alarm Phone was contacted regarding a group of 19 people, (including 2 women, 1 of whom was pregnant, and a child) who had crossed the river Evros/ Meric and the Turkish-Greek landborder 3 days prior. The shift team first contacted numerous rescue and protection agencies, including UNHCR and the Greek Police, noting that the people were already in Greece and wished to apply for asylum. Until today we remained unable to find out what happened to the people (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1091).

    On the 26th of November at 6:54am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 30 people (among them 7 children and a pregnant woman) who were stranded on the shore in southern Turkey, close to Kas. They wanted us to call the Turkish coastguard so at 7:35am we provided the coastguard with the information we had. At 8:41am we received a photograph from our contact person showing rescue by the Turkish coastguard (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1092).

    On the 29th of November at 4am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 44 people (among them 19 children and some pregnant women) heading towards the Greek island of Samos. Shortly afterwards the travellers landed on Samos and because of their difficulties orienting themselves we alerted the local authorities. At 9:53am the port police told us that they had rescued 44 people. They were taken to the refugee camp (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1093).

    On Monday, the 3rd of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 5.30am CET to a boat in distress south of Chios, with 43 people on board, among them 14 children. We were able to reach the boat at 5.35am. When we received their position, we informed the Greek coastguards at 7.30am and forwarded an updated GPS position to them ten minutes later. At 8.52am, the coastguards confirmed the rescue of the boat. The people were brought to Chios Island. On the next day, the people themselves confirmed that they had all safely reached Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1095).

    On Tuesday the 4th of December 2018, at 6.20am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress near Agathonisi Island. There were about 40 people on board. We established contact to the boat at 6.38am. At 6.45am, we alerted the Greek coastguards. The situation was dangerous as the people on board reported of high waves. At 9.02am, the Greek coastguards confirmed that they had just rescued the boat. The people were brought to Agathonisi (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1096).

    On Wednesday the 5th of December 2018, at 00:08am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a contact person to a boat in distress near Chios Island, carrying about 50 people. We received their GPS position at 00.17am and informed the Greek coastguards to the case at 00.30am. At 00.46am, we learned from the contact person that a boat had just been rescued. The Greek authorities confirmed this when we called them at 00.49am. At around 1pm, the people from the boat confirmed that they had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1097).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was contacted at 5.53am CET by a contact person and informed about a group of 19 people who had crossed the Evros river to Greece and needed assistance. We assisted them for days, but at some point contact was lost. We know that they were returned to Turkey and thus suspect an illegal push-back operation (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1109).

    On Thursday the 13th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean sea. In both cases we were not able to reach the travellers, but we were in contact with both the Turkish and Greek coast guard and were in the end able to confirm that one boat had arrived to Lesvos on their own, whilst the others had been rescued by Turkish fishermen (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1100).

    On the 17th of December, 2018, at 6.39am, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 60 travellers. Water was entering the boat, and so the travelers were in distress. Though the shift team had a difficult time remaining in contact with the boat, they contacted the Greek Coastguard to inform them of the situation and the position of the boat. Although the team was not able to remain in contact with the travelers, they received confirmation at 8.18am that the boat had been brought to Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1103).

    On the 18th of December at 2.11am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats. The first, of 29 travellers, had landed on the island of Symi and needed help to exit the place of landing. The second was a boat of 54 travellers (including 16 children, and 15 women) that was rescued by the Greek Coastguard later (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1104).

    On the 21st of December, our shift teams were alerted to 2 boats on the Aegean. The first boat was directed to Chios Island and was likely rescued by the Greek Coastguard. The second boat was in immediate distress and after the shift team contacted the Greek Coastguard they rescued the boat (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1105).

    On the 23rd of December 2018 at 6am CET, the Alarm Phone received information about a boat in distress heading to Samos with around 60 travellers (including 30 children and 8 women, 4 pregnant). The shift team made contact with the boat and was informed that one of the women was close to giving birth and so the situation was very urgent. The shift team then called the Greek Coast Guard. At 8.07am, the shift team received confirmation that the boat had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1106).
    Central Mediterranean

    On Monday the 12th of November at 6.57pm, the Alarm Phone was called by a relative, asking for help to find out what had happened to his son, who had been on a boat from Algeria towards Sardinia, with around 11 travellers on the 8t of November. Following this, the Alarm Phone was contacted by several relatives informing us about missing people from this boat. Our shift teams tried to gain an understanding of the situation, and for days we stayed in contact with the relatives and tried to support them, but it was not possible to obtain information about what had happened to the travellers (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1094).

    On November 23rd at 1.24pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was called by a boat of 120 travelers that was in distress and had left the Libyan coast the night before. The shift team remained in touch with the boat for several hours, and helped recharge their phone credit when it expired. As the boat was in distress, and there were no available NGO operations near the boat, the shift team had no choice but to contact the Italian Coast Guard, but they refused to engage in Search and Rescue (SAR) activities, and instead told the Libyan Coastguard. The boat was intercepted and returned to Libya (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1107).

    On December 20th, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two cases in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The first was a boat of 20 people that was intercepted and brought back to Libya. The second concerned 3 boats with 300 people in total, that were rescued by Open Arms and brought to Spain (for full report see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1108).

    https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/27/and-yet-we-move-2018-a-contested-year/?post_type_release_type=post


  • Asylum seeker to sue UK for funding Libyan detention centres

    Ethiopian teenager says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour in centres part-funded by UK.

    A teenage asylum seeker from Ethiopia is planning to sue the government for its role in funding detention centres in Libya, where he says he experienced physical abuse, extortion and forced labour.

    The teenager, who turned 18 a few weeks ago, cannot be named. He lives in London and is waiting for the Home Office to determine his asylum claim. His legal action against the government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its contribution to funding these overseas centres is thought to be the first of its kind.

    The Guardian previously revealed the terrible conditions in a network of 26 detention centres across Libya. The EU’s Emergency Trust Fund for Africa provides some funding for the centres. DfID says that the funding it provides is used to improve conditions in the camps.

    Children have described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards. One said the conditions were like “hell on Earth”.

    The government insists the funding is necessary as part of a humane effort to dissuade people from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing. Arguing that migrant detention centres are the responsibility of the Libyan authorities, it is understood to have raised concerns over the treatment of detainees with the Libyan government.

    A spokeswoman previously told the Guardian: “We continue to help fund the European Union Trust Fund’s work to improve conditions for migrants in detention centres.”

    But critics see the Libyan camps as a way for European countries to prevent asylum seekers and other migrants from reaching Europe, and the UK’s involvement as another plank of the so called “hostile environment” to keep people out.

    Last year the UK government spent £10m in Libya on various initiatives, including the detention centres.

    The teenager who has begun the legal action against the government claims that officials are acting unlawfully in funding the detention centres and should stop doing so. He is also asking for compensation for the suffering he endured there.

    The boy’s legal team is calling on DfID to facilitate the relocation of the detention centres to the UK or other safe countries so that asylum claims can be safely processed. His lawyers have asked DfID to disclose the funding agreements between the UK and Libyan governments and any internal documents concerning the destination of UK funding in Libya as well as any untoward incidents in the centres.

    The teenager fled persecution in Ethiopia because of his father’s political allegiances and finally reached the UK after a dangerous journey through Libya and across the Mediterranean.

    In Libya he suffered both at the hands of traffickers and in the detention centres, some of which are controlled by local militias.

    “The period I was detained and enslaved in Libya was a living hell,” he said. An expert medical report conducted in London identified 31 different lesions, including 10 on his face, which the doctor who examined him found provided “significant corroboration” of his account of repeated ill treatment.

    Many of those in the camps are from Eritrea but there are also asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

    James Elliott of Wilsons Solicitors, who is bringing the legal action on the teenager’s behalf, said: “DfID acknowledges that conditions in the camps are appalling. We are bringing this legal challenge because it is vital that UK taxpayers’ money is not used to allow places where men, women and children are subjected to torture, rape and slavery to continue to exist.”

    DfID has been approached for comment.

    https://amp.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/20/asylum-seeker-to-sue-uk-for-funding-libyan-detention-centres?CMP=Sh
    #Libye #justice #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #poursuites_judiciaires #violence #abus #UK #Angleterre



    • First Light – Migration in the Swiss alps

      “Escape from hardship, because it is the only hope.” is what the father of the little Iranian boy explained to me as to why his son is named Vihan. (In Persian, the name Vihan can be translated as “First light” or hope)

      From August to October 2016 I had the opportunity to work as ‘artist in residence’, on a project for SMART (Sustainable Mountain Art programme) in Switzerland, creating pictures to raise awareness on the challenges facing mountain regions. I chose the theme of migration that has interested me for some time already.

      Since the middle ages, demographic pressure, armed conflict and oppression, natural disasters and overpopulation have driven the cause for Migration in the Swiss mountain regions. The largest mass emigration being of the Walser people from Lötschental, who over the course of 2 centuries established themselves over the Valais region and even as far as Austria.

      The foreigner’s lot was that of having very limited rights and labeled with the status of ‘inhabitant’, often not welcomed and even restricted by opposition to marriage to locals.

      I stayed in the historical village of #Medergen in the Graubünden, established by the #Walser people as early as 1300 with houses dating back to the 1700s, high in the alps at 2000m above sea level. A special, tiny village almost frozen in time, as people live a very modest life with no running water inside the house, which also means no flushing toilets or showers. Wooden stoves are used for cooking and heating water for washing, as there is no electricity either, except for the recent additions of solar panels. People use buckets to fetch water from the fresh water fountains, just like Heidi! :)

      In Litzirüti the closest village to Medergen, there is an old ski-hotel, that has been transformed into a temporary home for about 100 asylum seekers from various war torn and heavily oppressed countries such as Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Siria, Gambia, Tibet, awaiting the decision of the Swiss government to announce their fate, if they will be rejected or if they will be given permission to stay in Switzerland.

      During the time I worked on the project, I hiked four hours up and down the mountain every second or third day, spending time and getting to know some of the people who reside here. If you ask anyone they will say that they are very thankful to be here in this peaceful village of Litzirüti and to be so well looked after in this beautiful place. And thankful to be in a country where there is peace and modern prosperity.

      However, thankful for escaping the unimaginable oppression and life threatening situations in their home countries, it is clear that they now have to deal with new challenges and difficulty in their lives. The youth in particular find it challenging to be in such a tiny village where there isn’t a single shop or anything to stimulate their growing minds. Furthermore, most of the people have been in Switzerland for a year or more, still waiting to have an interview to have their reasons for needing asylum assessed and their fate and extent of freedom, decided accordingly.

      What I’ve learnt from my research and looking at both the history of migration and what is happening today, is that the same challenges that existed centuries ago still exist today, namely that whenever there are newcomers, inevitably there is at least a degree of resistance to their acceptance that they are met with and state control that is the decider of their fate, prolonging the process of integration, usually in order to protect the fears of the established.

      “Cultural diversity is as essential to humanity as biodiversity is to nature. It makes the world a richer and more varied place and enlarges the range of choices available. It is the breeding ground that allows different cultures to continue and develop and enrich themselves through contact with each other, without drifting towards rigid identities. It is one of the sources of development, which must be perceived not merely in terms of economic growth , but also as a means of attaining to a satisfying intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence.”

      (Quote from the SDC – Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation on the importance of culture for development).

      By depicting the contrast between the history of migration in the Swiss alps and the rich traditions that has become established in time, with the current asylum seeker and refugee situation mostly being a state of limbo, I aim to raise awareness of the current day migrants (asylum seekers) and remind people that sooner or later in life we all were or will be migrants again.

      I believe that through time, if cultures can embrace their differences, be it language, colour, traditions or spirituality, they will see that on the other side is another human being with the same hopes and desires as themselves and that we can all benefit and be so much richer for getting to know each other and giving each other the freedom to live out our own identity that makes us complete and wholesome human beings.


      http://lavonne.co.za/lavonnebosmanphotographicart/portfolio/first-light-migration-swissalps
      #Suisse #Alpes #Grisons

    • The Italian Ski Resort

      From Libya via Lampedusa. In the dark, the hotel that loomed after the last hairpin bend looked rather like Overlook in Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining. But that’s where the resemblance ends. Montecampione, altitude 1,800 meters, is a ski resort at the end of the road winding up the Camonica Valley in Lombardy. The most striking thing on arrival here is being greeted with the faces and voices from another continent. Since June 2011, more than 100 Africans who fled the war inhave been settled in this hotel by the Brescia police authority, in line with the Italian government’s policy of spreading thearound the country. In most places the local authorities have been required to house them, but here private enterprise has also been asked to contribute. The hotel in Montecampione houses and feeds the migrants for 40 euros a head per day. The nearest village in the valley is more than 20km away, so the migrants are cut off from the outside world while they await a decision on their fates.
      “We live in a strange situation here,” admitted a lively young Ghanaian called Michael. “We’ve got absolutely nothing to do, but we’re all impatient to find work and start our lives again.” The last five migrants to arrive in Montecampione are equally bewildered. They reached Lampedusa early in August, and were taken across Italy. They have got plenty of time to find out about where they have ended up.

      http://www.bclaudia.com/libya-refugees/eleanor-rigby
      #Italy #stations_de_ski

    • Des photos, mais aussi un #film...

      Ilmurrán

      Nell’estate 2014, una giovane ragazza Maasai ha raggiunto una “pastora” piemontese sui pascoli delle Alpi Marittime. Due donne lontanissime tra loro, diverse per colore di pelle, generazione e lingua hanno vissuto una stagione d’alpeggio insieme, condividendo il lavoro, raccontandosi la loro storia, riconoscendosi più vicine.

      Le loro voci arrivano da lontano. Silvia si muove tra elementi primordiali, produce il formaggio con gli strumenti dei suoi antenati, ha tramandato la passione a suo figlio come in un rituale. Leah ha impressi a fuoco sulla pelle i simboli di un popolo pastore che ancora sopravvive sugli altipiani del Kenya. L’una e l’altra incarnano culture che oggi si trovano di fronte a scelte decisive, necessarie per la loro sopravvivenza. Ilmurrán significa “guerrieri”, perché la loro è una storia di resistenza.

      L’incontro è nato come un’esperienza antropologica a tutti gli effetti, realizzata in regime di completa autoproduzione dall’Associazione Culturale Geronimo Carbonò.


      http://www.ilmurran.it
      #Italie #Maasaï #pastoralisme #Alpes_maritimes #femmes


  • The Crisis Below the Headlines: Conflict Displacement in Ethiopia

    Since April 2018, the ascension of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister of Ethiopia has ushered in a wave of national optimism. The new prime minister has moved quickly to open political space, promote human rights, and negotiate peace with neighboring Eritrea. However, behind the positive headlines—and indeed positive measures that merit international support—a major humanitarian crisis has unfolded in the south of the country. Over the past year, intercommunal violence has displaced hundreds of thousands Ethiopians. At the outset of the crisis, Prime Minister Abiy’s administration took laudable action in collaborating openly with United Nations agencies and other humanitarian organizations to mobilize and coordinate a response to the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Unfortunately, however, it has more recently taken steps that have compounded IDPs’ suffering by pressing for their return home before conditions were suitable.

    As political ground shifted at the federal level, long-standing grievances between ethnic groups over land, borders, and rights re-emerged in an explosion of violence in southern Ethiopia. Significant displacement occurred between April and June along the internal border of Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR).
    In September, a team from Refugees International (RI) traveled to southern Oromia and SNNPR to assess the situation of the displaced and the response. The team found that while the government made a proactive effort to partner with international humanitarian organizations early on, this positive trend was soon upended. In late August, the government began to restrict the delivery of assistance, telling IDPs that they would only receive help if they returned home. However, because many return areas were destroyed in the violence and remained insecure, a number of IDPs who tried to return home now find themselves living in secondary displacement sites.
    Read the Full Report
    The government must take four key steps to address the crisis. First, it must refrain from carrying out additional premature, non-voluntary returns and allow aid organizations to provide assistance in both areas of displacement and areas of return. Second, it must establish a clear and transparent plan for voluntary and sustainable returns. Third, the government should implement this return plan in close coordination with relief organizations. And fourth, it must inform IDPs who have already been returned that they can live where they feel safest and that aid provision will be need-based. Donors and humanitarians must advocate for these changes while working with the government to support an overall improvement in its response to conflict IDPs.
    Resolving ethnic disputes will be a long-term endeavor for the new government. Displacement due to intercommunal violence is therefore likely to remain a challenge for the foreseeable future. Indeed, over the last few months, tensions on the outskirts of Addis Ababa caused thousands to flee while another 70,000 people were forced from their homes in the western state of Benishangul-Gumuz. The government’s push for premature returns in the south should not become the precedent for responding to ongoing and future displacement crises.


    https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2018/11/14/the-crisis-below-the-headlines-conflict-displacement-in-ethio
    #IDPs #déplacés_internes #Ethiopie #asile #migrations #rapport


  • Somali returned to Libya under Italian policy sets himself on fire

    A Somali man set himself on fire in a Libyan detention centre on Wednesday, according to fellow detainees and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

    The man, who is in his late 20s, reportedly doused himself in petrol from a generator in the centre and lit it, after telling friends he had lost hope of being relocated to a safe country.

    Sources told The Irish Times the man carried out the action after being told he had little chance of evacuation by visiting officials from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UNHCR said it was trying to verify this.

    IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the detainee had set himself on fire as an “act of protest”.

    “He was admitted into the hospital yesterday in Tripoli in the burn centre for intensive medical care. Our medical team visited him and informed the management that they are willing to support if it is needed,” he said.

    However, a fellow detainee said he believed the Somali man had died. “All refugees have [a] very bad feeling. Today [we’re] not eating at all because so many people have died.” This would be the eighth death in Triq al Sikka centre this year, according to the detainee.

    Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have been returned to Libya since February 2017, when the country’s UN-backed government entered into a deal with Italy to prevent migration to Europe. Italian politicians have called the deal a success, because it has reduced the number of people arriving on their shores.
    Rife with abuse

    However, for the men, women and children returned to Libya, the situation is bleak. More than a dozen detainees across Tripoli contacted by phone have described detention centres rife with abuse, where they’re fed once a day at most, forced to work, and sometimes beaten or raped. Overcrowding has led to the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

    A Somali man set himself on fire in a Libyan detention centre on Wednesday, according to fellow detainees and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

    The man, who is in his late 20s, reportedly doused himself in petrol from a generator in the centre and lit it, after telling friends he had lost hope of being relocated to a safe country.

    Sources told The Irish Times the man carried out the action after being told he had little chance of evacuation by visiting officials from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UNHCR said it was trying to verify this.

    IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the detainee had set himself on fire as an “act of protest”.

    “He was admitted into the hospital yesterday in Tripoli in the burn centre for intensive medical care. Our medical team visited him and informed the management that they are willing to support if it is needed,” he said.

    However, a fellow detainee said he believed the Somali man had died. “All refugees have [a] very bad feeling. Today [we’re] not eating at all because so many people have died.” This would be the eighth death in #Triq_al-Sikka centre this year, according to the detainee.

    Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have been returned to Libya since February 2017, when the country’s UN-backed government entered into a deal with Italy to prevent migration to Europe. Italian politicians have called the deal a success, because it has reduced the number of people arriving on their shores.

    Rife with abuse

    However, for the men, women and children returned to Libya, the situation is bleak. More than a dozen detainees across Tripoli contacted by phone have described detention centres rife with abuse, where they’re fed once a day at most, forced to work, and sometimes beaten or raped. Overcrowding has led to the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

    Those detained include pregnant women and children of all ages.

    Sources in #Zintan, a detention centre 180km southwest of Tripoli, said that four detainees have died there within the past month. They say the poor conditions, including a lack of sanitation, have caused or contributed to the deaths.

    In Tripoli, detainees in two centres said their families at home are being forced to send money for them to buy food because managers in the Libyan department for combating illegal immigration (DCIM)-run centres say there is no other way for them to eat.
    Cross the Mediterranean

    Many detainees’ families have already paid ransoms of more than $2,000 to smugglers who held them prisoner, regularly torturing them, before allowing them to attempt to cross the Mediterranean.

    One man said the manager in his centre withholds food depending on his mood and whims. “If the leader of the detention centre gets happy by something in his own personal situation he tries to serve us food, if [he] not get happy he tries to stop it.”

    In September, the UNHCR updated its policy to say Libya is no longer a safe country to return people to. The organisation is currently registering detainees from countries including Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, who cannot return home or are unwilling to because of conflict or fear of persecution. Many are hoping for evacuation from Libya, but the number of resettlement places currently offered by other countries is very limited.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/somali-returned-to-libya-under-italian-policy-sets-himself-on-fire-1.367
    #décès #mort #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_somaliens #Italie #expulsions #renvois Libye #détention #centre_de_détention #suicide


  • El fiscal de Sevilla compara los centros de menores andaluces con “almacenes de niños” | España | EL PAÍS
    https://elpais.com/politica/2018/09/11/actualidad/1536685778_925522.html

    En Andalousie (aussi), il est de plus en plus difficile de trouver une solution à la situation des migrants mineurs non accompagnés (4650 selon l’article, depuis le début de l’année).

    ❝Desde la Junta se insiste en que están trabajando con las entidades que atienden a los menores con la premisa de que solo esta comunidad es la que está lidiando sola con los 4.650 menores que han llegado a sus costas desde enero. El Gobierno andaluz está esperando a que se materialicen las medidas extraordinarias que se adoptaron la semana pasada y que incluyen una distribución solidaria y voluntaria de los menores no acompañados entre el resto de comunidades autónomas y una dotación de 40 millones de euros para compensar a las regiones por la acogida de estos jóvenes solos.

    El fiscal Valpuesta ha calificado estos fondos extraordinarios como “parche” e hizo hincapié en que, en su lugar, había que potenciar fórmulas para disuadir a los menores de que lleguen a España. Sí se manifestó a favor de otra de las propuestas de la Junta para tratar de dar solución a la crisis de los jóvenes migrantes solos: impulsar un acuerdo con Marruecos para agilizar la devolución de los menores a sus lugares de origen y con sus familias. “El objetivo del sistema de protección de menores es la reagrupación. Es más fácil lograr ese objetivo con Marruecos que con menores cuyos países tienen mayores dificultades económicas, como Eritrea, Sudán o Somalia”, aseguró.

    Esta iniciativa, sin embargo, es rechazada por las ONG. Desde la APDHA, Rafel Lara, cuestiona que “Marruecos vaya a comprometerse con la entrega de los menores a sus familiares”. Por el contrario, respecto del reparto de estos jóvenes sí valoran “que haya corresponsabilidad del conjunto de las Comunidades Autónomas”.
    La Fiscalía pide que se revise el sistema legal de determinación de la edad

    “Aquí tenemos niños de entre tres y 18 años, más los que realmente tienen 20, porque no se han sometido al sistema de determinación de la edad o han sabido sortearlo”. Toñi Jiménez, presidenta del comité de empresa del centro de menores Hogar San Juan de Ávila, en Carmona (Sevilla), describe con estas palabras una realidad que ha provocado las críticas del Comité de los Derechos del Niño de Naciones Unidas: la imprecisión de las pruebas que se hacen en España para detectar la edad de los migrantes.

    En su Memoria General, la Fiscalía, responsable de ordenar este tipo de exámenes si hay dudas, concluye que “el sistema legal de determinación de la edad vigente debe ser objeto de profunda revisión para adecuarlo a una realidad inmigratoria que, como ha quedado reseñado, ha desbordado todas las previsiones”. Desde el Ministerio Público se propone que el sistema actual, “fundado en la atribución del Fiscal, en la mayoría de las ocasiones en servicio de guardia, de la responsabilidad de la adopción de una medida cautelar de carácter provisionalísima, sea sustituido “por un procedimiento específico de carácter administrativo sometido a recurso judicial directo”. Con este cambio, la Fiscalía considera que se eliminarían buena parte de las incertidumbres de los afectados y se “limitaría los casos de mayores de edad declarados menores de edad que alteran la normal convivencia en los centros”.

    #espagne #migrants


  • By Stifling Migration, Sudan’s Feared Secret Police Aid Europe

    At Sudan’s eastern border, Lt. Samih Omar led two patrol cars slowly over the rutted desert, past a cow’s carcass, before halting on the unmarked 2,000-mile route that thousands of East Africans follow each year in trying to reach the Mediterranean, and then onward to Europe.

    His patrols along this border with Eritrea are helping Sudan crack down on one of the busiest passages on the European migration trail. Yet Lieutenant Omar is no simple border agent. He works for Sudan’s feared secret police, whose leaders are accused of war crimes — and, more recently, whose officers have been accused of torturing migrants.

    Indirectly, he is also working for the interests of the European Union.

    “Sometimes,” Lieutenant Omar said, “I feel this is Europe’s southern border.”

    Three years ago, when a historic tide of migrants poured into Europe, many leaders there reacted with open arms and high-minded idealism. But with the migration crisis having fueled angry populism and political upheaval across the Continent, the European Union is quietly getting its hands dirty, stanching the human flow, in part, by outsourcing border management to countries with dubious human rights records.

    In practical terms, the approach is working: The number of migrants arriving in Europe has more than halved since 2016. But many migration advocates say the moral cost is high.

    To shut off the sea route to Greece, the European Union is paying billions of euros to a Turkish government that is dismantling its democracy. In Libya, Italy is accused of bribing some of the same militiamen who have long profited from the European smuggling trade — many of whom are also accused of war crimes.

    In Sudan, crossed by migrants trying to reach Libya, the relationship is more opaque but rooted in mutual need: The Europeans want closed borders and the Sudanese want to end years of isolation from the West. Europe continues to enforce an arms embargo against Sudan, and many Sudanese leaders are international pariahs, accused of committing war crimes during a civil war in Darfur, a region in western Sudan.

    But the relationship is unmistakably deepening. A recent dialogue, named the Khartoum Process (in honor of Sudan’s capital) has become a platform for at least 20 international migration conferences between European Union officials and their counterparts from several African countries, including Sudan. The European Union has also agreed that Khartoum will act as a nerve center for countersmuggling collaboration.

    While no European money has been given directly to any Sudanese government body, the bloc has funneled 106 million euros — or about $131 million — into the country through independent charities and aid agencies, mainly for food, health and sanitation programs for migrants, and for training programs for local officials.

    “While we engage on some areas for the sake of the Sudanese people, we still have a sanction regime in place,” said Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for the European Union, referring to an embargo on arms and related material.

    “We are not encouraging Sudan to curb migration, but to manage migration in a safe and dignified way,” Ms. Ray added.

    Ahmed Salim, the director of one of the nongovernmental groups that receives European funding, said the bloc was motivated by both self-interest and a desire to improve the situation in Sudan.

    “They don’t want migrants to cross the Mediterranean to Europe,” said Mr. Salim, who heads the European and African Center for Research, Training and Development.

    But, he said, the money his organization receives means better services for asylum seekers in Sudan. “You have to admit that the European countries want to do something to protect migrants here,” he said.

    Critics argue the evolving relationship means that European leaders are implicitly reliant on — and complicit in the reputational rehabilitation of — a Sudanese security apparatus whose leaders have been accused by the United Nations of committing war crimes in Darfur.

    “There is no direct money exchanging hands,” said Suliman Baldo, the author of a research paper about Europe’s migration partnership with Sudan. “But the E.U. basically legitimizes an abusive force.”

    On the border near Abu Jamal, Lieutenant Omar and several members of his patrol are from the wing of the Sudanese security forces headed by Salah Abdallah Gosh, one of several Sudanese officials accused of orchestrating attacks on civilians in Darfur.

    Elsewhere, the border is protected by the Rapid Support Forces, a division of the Sudanese military that was formed from the janjaweed militias who led attacks on civilians in the Darfur conflict. The focus of the group, known as R.S.F., is not counter-smuggling — but roughly a quarter of the people-smugglers caught in January and February this year on the Eritrean border were apprehended by the R.S.F., Lieutenant Omar said.

    European officials have direct contact only with the Sudanese immigration police, and not with the R.S.F., or the security forces that Lieutenant Omar works for, known as N.I.S.S. But their operations are not that far removed.

    The planned countertrafficking coordination center in Khartoum — staffed jointly by police officers from Sudan and several European countries, including Britain, France and Italy — will partly rely on information sourced by N.I.S.S., according to the head of the immigration police department, Gen. Awad Elneil Dhia. The regular police also get occasional support from the R.S.F. on countertrafficking operations in border areas, General Dhia said.

    “They have their presence there and they can help,” General Dhia said. “The police is not everywhere, and we cannot cover everywhere.”

    Yet the Sudanese police are operating in one unexpected place: Europe.

    In a bid to deter future migrants, at least three European countries — Belgium, France and Italy — have allowed in Sudanese police officers to hasten the deportation of Sudanese asylum seekers, General Dhia said.

    Nominally, their official role is simply to identify their citizens. But the officers have been allowed to interrogate some deportation candidates without being monitored by European officials with the language skills to understand what was being said.

    More than 50 Sudanese seeking asylum in Europe have been deported in the past 18 months from Belgium, France and Italy; The New York Times interviewed seven of them on a recent visit to Sudan.

    Four said they had been tortured on their return to Sudan — allegations denied by General Dhia. One man was a Darfuri political dissident deported in late 2017 from France to Khartoum, where he said he was detained on arrival by N.I.S.S. agents.

    Over the next 10 days, he said he was given electric shocks, punched and beaten with metal pipes. At one point the dissident, who asked that his name be withheld for his safety, lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital. He was later released on a form of parole.

    The dissident said that, before his deportation from France, Sudanese police officers had threatened him as French officers stood nearby. “I said to the French police: ‘They are going to kill us,’” he said. “But they didn’t understand.”

    European officials argue that establishing Khartoum as a base for collaboration on fighting human smuggling can only improve the Sudanese security forces. The Regional Operational Center in Khartoum, set to open this year, will enable delegates from several European and African countries to share intelligence and coordinate operations against smugglers across North Africa.

    But potential pitfalls are evident from past collaborations. In 2016, the British and Italian police, crediting a joint operation with their Sudanese counterparts, announced the arrest of “one of the world’s most wanted people smugglers.” They said he was an Eritrean called Medhanie Yehdego Mered, who had been captured in Sudan and extradited to Italy.

    The case is now privately acknowledged by Western diplomats to have been one of mistaken identity. The prisoner turned out to be Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe, an Eritrean refugee with the same first name as the actual smuggler. Mr. Mered remains at large.

    Even General Dhia now admits that Sudan extradited the wrong man — albeit one who, he says, admitted while in Sudanese custody to involvement in smuggling.

    “There were two people, actually — two people with the same name,” General Dhia said.

    Mr. Berhe nevertheless remains on trial in Italy, accused of being Mr. Mered — and of being a smuggler.

    Beyond that, the Sudanese security services have long been accused of profiting from the smuggling trade. Following European pressure, the Sudanese Parliament adopted a raft of anti-smuggling legislation in 2014, and the rules have since led to the prosecution of some officials over alleged involvement in the smuggling business.

    But according to four smugglers whom I interviewed clandestinely during my trip to Sudan, the security services remain closely involved in the trade, with both N.I.S.S and R.S.F. officials receiving part of the smuggling profits on most trips to southern Libya.

    The head of the R.S.F., Brig. Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, has claimed in the past that his forces play a major role in impeding the route to Libya. But each smuggler — interviewed separately — said that the R.S.F. was often the main organizer of the trips, often supplying camouflaged vehicles to ferry migrants through the desert.

    After being handed over to Libyan militias in Kufra and Sabha, in southern Libya, many migrants are then systematically tortured and held for ransom — money that is later shared with the R.S.F., each smuggler said.

    Rights activists have previously accused Sudanese officials of complicity in trafficking. In a 2014 report, Human Rights Watch said that senior Sudanese police officials had colluded in the smuggling of Eritreans.

    A British journalist captured by the R.S.F. in Darfur in 2016 said that he had been told by his captors that they were involved in smuggling people to Libya. “I asked specifically about how it works,” said the journalist, Phil Cox, a freelance filmmaker for Channel 4. “And they said we make sure the routes are open, and we talk with whoever’s commanding the next area.”

    General Dhia said that the problem did not extend beyond a few bad apples. Sudan, he said, remains an effective partner for Europe in the battle against irregular migration.

    “We are not,” he said, “very far from your standards.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/22/world/africa/migration-european-union-sudan.html
    #Soudan #externalisation #asile #migrations #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #réfugiés #police_secrète #Europe #UE #EU #processus_de_Khartoum
    signalé par @isskein

    • Sudan : The E.U.’s Partner in Migration Crime

      The first part of our new investigation finds key individuals in the Khartoum regime complicit in #smuggling and trafficking. Reporting from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and the Netherlands reveals security services involved in a trade they are meant to police.


      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2018/01/19/sudan-the-e-u-s-partner-in-migration-crime
      #soudan #migrations #réfugiés #asile #EU #Europe #complicité #UE #trafic_d'êtres_humains #traite #processus_de_khartoum #Shagarab #Omdurman #Rapid_Support_Forces #RSF #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Free_Lions

    • Inside the EU’s deeply flawed $200 million migration deal with Sudan

      The EU has allocated over $200 million to help Sudan stem migration since 2015
      Asylum seekers allege Sudanese officials are complicit in abuse, extortion
      Traffickers said to hold people for weeks, beat and torture them for money
      Arrivals in Italy from Horn of Africa fell to a fraction in 2017, but new routes are opening up
      Crackdown has seen asylum seekers rountinely rounded up, taken to Khartoum to pay fines or be deported
      The EU insists strict conditions govern the use of its money and it is monitoring for abuses

      https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/01/30/inside-eu-s-deeply-flawed-200-million-migration-deal-sudan-0

    • Enquête sur les dérives de l’aide européenne au Soudan

      En l’absence d’une prise en compte des causes profondes des migrations, seuls les officiels corrompus et les trafiquants tirent bénéfice de la criminalisation des migrants. Alors que des millions de dollars de fonds de l’Union européenne affluent au Soudan pour endiguer la migration africaine, les demandeurs d’asile témoignent : ils sont pris au piège, et vivent dans un état perpétuel de peur et d’exploitation dans ce pays de transit.

      https://orientxxi.info/magazine/enquete-sur-les-derives-de-l-aide-europeenne-au-soudan,2298

      Traduction française de cet article :
      https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/01/30/inside-eu-s-flawed-200-million-migration-deal-sudan

    • L’Europe collabore avec un dictateur pour mieux expulser vers le Soudan

      Migreurop demande l’arrêt immédiat de toutes les collaborations initiées par l’Union européenne et ses Etats membres avec la dictature d’Omar El-Béchir et avec tout Etat qui bafoue les droits fondamentaux.

      Lorsqu’il s’agit d’expulser des étrangers jugés indésirables, rien ne semble devoir arrêter l’Union européenne (UE) et ses États membres qui n’hésitent pas à se compromettre avec Omar el-Béchir, le chef d’État du Soudan qui fait l’objet de deux mandats d’arrêt internationaux pour génocide, crimes contre l’Humanité et crimes de guerre.

      Il y a longtemps que l’UE a fait le choix de sous-traiter à des pays tiers, sous couvert d’un partenariat inéquitable et avec des fonds issus du développement, la lutte contre l’immigration irrégulière et même la gestion de la demande d’asile. Ce processus d’externalisation, qui s’accompagne de la délocalisation de la surveillance des frontières européennes très en amont de leur matérialisation physique, a été encore renforcé à la suite de la si mal nommée « crise des réfugiés » [1].

      Ainsi, dans le cadre du Processus de Khartoum, initié par l’UE en 2014 et consolidé suite au Sommet de La Valette de fin 2015, les régimes les plus répressifs, tels que le Soudan et l’Erythrée – que des dizaines de milliers de demandeurs d’asile cherchent à fuir – bénéficient de subsides pour retenir leur population et « sécuriser » leurs frontières… sans que l’UE ne se préoccupe des atteintes dramatiques portées aux droits humains dans ces pays.

      Dans ce domaine, l’UE et les États membres agissent de concert. Ainsi, de nombreux pays européens n’hésitent pas à renvoyer vers Khartoum des ressortissants soudanais - peu importe qu’il puisse s’agir de demandeurs d’asile - et à collaborer avec les autorités locales pour faciliter ces expulsions.

      Dernièrement, c’est dans un parc bruxellois que des émissaires soudanais procédaient à l’identification de leurs nationaux en vue de leur retour forcé, semant la terreur parmi les personnes exilées qui y campaient [2].

      Si l’affaire a suscité de vives réactions, le gouvernement belge s’est retranché, pour se justifier, derrière l’exemple donné par ses voisins et continue de programmer des expulsions de ressortissants soudanais [3].
      En France, une coopération similaire existe ainsi depuis 2014 : des représentants de Khartoum auraient visité plusieurs centres de rétention pour identifier des ressortissants soudanais et faciliter leur renvoi [4]. Selon les chiffres dont disposent les associations qui interviennent dans les CRA français, 9 personnes auraient été renvoyées vers le Soudan depuis 2015 et environ 150 remises à l’Italie et exposées au risque d’un renvoi vers Khartoum depuis le territoire italien.

      Par ailleurs, des retours forcés vers le Soudan ont eu lieu depuis l’Allemagne, l’Italie et la Suède, grâce notamment à des accords de police bilatéraux, souvent publiés uniquement à la suite des pressions exercées par la société civile [5] . L’Italie, à l’avant-garde de la vision sécuritaire en matière de collaboration dans le domaine des migrations, a ainsi conclu en août 2016 un accord de coopération policière avec le Soudan, dans le cadre duquel 48 personnes, originaires du Darfour, ont été refoulées à Khartoum. Celles qui ont pu résister à leur renvoi depuis l’Italie ont demandé et obtenu une protection, tandis que cinq des personnes refoulées ont porté plainte auprès de la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme [6].

      Ces accords et pratiques bafouent en effet toutes les obligations des pays européens en matière de respect des droits humains (droit d’asile, principe de non-refoulement, interdiction des expulsions collectives et des traitements inhumains et dégradants, droit à la vie, etc…) et révèlent le cynisme qui anime l’Union et les États-membres, prêts à tout pour refuser aux exilés l’accès au territoire européen.

      Il faut le dire et le répéter : toute forme de coopération avec les autorités soudanaises bafoue les obligations résultant du droit international et met en danger les personnes livrées par les autorités européennes au dictateur Omar el-Béchir.

      Le réseau Migreurop et ses membres demandent en conséquence l’arrêt immédiat des expulsions vers le Soudan et de toute démarche de coopération avec ce pays.

      http://www.migreurop.org/article2837.html



    • Migranti:da inizio anno sbarcati 16.566,-79% rispetto a 2017

      Dall’inizio dell’anno ad oggi sono sbarcati in Italia 16.566 migranti, il 79,07% in meno rispetto allo stesso periodo dell’anno scorso, quando ne arrivarono 79.154. Dai dati del Viminale, aggiornati al 28 giugno, emerge dunque che per il dodicesimo mese consecutivo gli sbarchi nel nostro paese sono in calo: l’ultimo picco fu registrato proprio a giugno dell’anno scorso, quando sbarcarono 23.526 migranti (nel 2016 ne arrivarono 22.339 mentre quest’anno il numero è fermo a 3.136). Dal mese di luglio 2017, che ha coinciso con gli accordi siglati con la Libia dall’ex ministro dell’Interno Marco Minniti, si è sempre registrata una diminuzione. Dei 16.566 arrivati nei primi sei mesi del 2018 (la quasi totalità, 15.741, nei porti siciliani), 11.401 sono partiti dalla Libia: un calo nelle partenze dell’84,94% rispetto al 2017 e dell’83,18% rispetto al 2016. Quanto alle nazionalità di quelli che sono arrivati, la prima è la Tunisia, con 3.002 migranti, seguita da Eritrea (2.555), Sudan (1.488) e Nigeria (1.229).

      http://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/cronaca/2018/06/30/migrantida-inizio-anno-sbarcati-16.566-79-rispetto-a-2017-_30327137-364e-44bf-8

    • En Méditerranée, les flux de migrants s’estompent et s’orientent vers l’ouest

      Pour la première fois depuis le début de la crise migratoire en 2014, l’Espagne est, avant l’Italie et la Grèce, le pays européen qui enregistre le plus d’arrivées de migrants par la mer et le plus de naufrages meurtriers au large de ses côtes.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/280618/en-mediterranee-les-flux-de-migrants-s-estompent-et-s-orientent-vers-l-oue
      #routes_migratoires

    • Migratory flows in April: Overall drop, but more detections in Greece and Spain

      Central Mediterranean
      The number of migrants arriving in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route in April fell to about 2 800, down 78% from April 2017. The total number of migrants detected on this route in the first four months of 2018 fell to roughly 9 400, down three-quarters from a year ago.
      So far this year, Tunisians and Eritreans were the two most represented nationalities on this route, together accounting for almost 40% of all the detected migrants.

      Eastern Mediterranean
      In April, the number of irregular migrants taking the Eastern Mediterranean route stood at some 6 700, two-thirds more than in the previous month. In the first four months of this year, more than 14 900 migrants entered the EU through the Eastern Mediterranean route, 92% more than in the same period of last year. The increase was mainly caused by the rise of irregular crossings on the land borders with Turkey. In April the number of migrants detected at the land borders on this route has exceeded the detections on the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.
      The largest number of migrants on this route in the first four months of the year were nationals of Syria and Iraq.

      Western Mediterranean
      Last month, the number of irregular migrants reaching Spain stood at nearly 1100, a quarter more than in April 2017. In the first four months of 2018, there were some 4600 irregular border crossings on the Western Mediterranean route, 95 more than a year ago.
      Nationals of Morocco accounted for the highest number of arrivals in Spain this year, followed by those from Guinea and Mali.

      https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/migratory-flows-in-april-overall-drop-but-more-detections-in-greece-a
      #2018 #Espagne #Grèce

    • EU’s Frontex warns of new migrant route to Spain

      Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri has warned that Spain could see a significant increase in migrant arrivals. The news comes ahead of the European Commission’s new proposal to strengthen EU external borders with more guards.

      Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said Friday that some 6,000 migrants had entered the European Union in June by crossing into Spain from Morocco, the so-called western Mediterranean route.

      https://m.dw.com/en/eus-frontex-warns-of-new-migrant-route-to-spain/a-44563058?xtref=http%253A%252F%252Fm.facebook.com

    • L’Espagne devient la principale voie d’accès des migrants à l’Europe

      La Commission a annoncé trois millions d’euros d’aide d’urgence pour les garde-frontières espagnols, confrontés à un triplement des arrivées de migrants, suite au verrouillage de la route italienne.

      –-> v. ici :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/683358

      L’aide supplémentaire que l’exécutif a décidé d’allouer à l’Espagne après l’augmentation des arrivées sur les côtes provient du Fonds pour la sécurité intérieure et a pour but de financer le déploiement de personnel supplémentaire le long des frontières méridionales espagnoles.

      Le mois dernier, la Commission a déjà attribué 24,8 millions d’euros au ministère de l’Emploi et de la Sécurité sociale et à la Croix-Rouge espagnole, afin de renforcer les capacités d’accueil, de prise en charge sanitaire, de nourriture et de logement des migrants arrivants par la route de l’ouest méditerranéen.

      Une enveloppe supplémentaire de 720 000 euros a été allouée à l’organisation des rapatriements et des transferts depuis l’enclave de Ceuta et Melilla.

      Cette aide financière s’ajoute aux 691,7 millions que reçoit Madrid dans le cadre du Fonds pour l’asile, l’immigration et l’intégration et du fonds pour la sécurité intérieure pour la période budgétaire 2014-2020.

      https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/avramopoulos-in-spain-to-announce-further-eu-support-to-tackle-migration

    • En #Méditerranée, les flux de migrants s’orientent vers l’ouest

      Entre janvier et juillet, 62 177 migrants ont rejoint l’Europe par la Méditerranée, selon les données de l’Agence des Nations unies pour les réfugiés. Un chiffre en baisse par rapport à 2017 (172 301 sur l’ensemble des douze mois) et sans commune mesure avec le « pic » de 2015, où 1 015 078 arrivées avaient été enregistrées.

      Les flux déclinent et se déplacent géographiquement : entre 2014 et 2017, près de 98 % des migrants étaient entrés via la Grèce et l’Italie, empruntant les voies dites « orientales » et « centrales » de la Méditerranée ; en 2018, c’est pour l’instant l’Espagne qui enregistre le plus d’arrivées (23 785), devant l’Italie (18 348), la Grèce (16 142) et, de manière anecdotique, Chypre (73).


      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/030818/en-mediterranee-les-flux-de-migrants-s-orientent-vers-l-ouest
      #statistiques #chiffres #Méditerranée_centrale #itinéraires_migratoires #parcours_migratoires #routes_migratoires #asile #migrations #réfugiés #2018 #Espagne #Italie #Grèce #2017 #2016 #2015 #2014 #arrivées

      Et des statistiques sur les #morts et #disparus :


      #mourir_en_mer #décès #naufrages

    • The most common Mediterranean migration paths into Europe have changed since 2009

      Until 2018, the Morocco-to-Spain route – also known as the western route – had been the least-traveled Mediterranean migration path, with a total of 89,000 migrants arriving along Spain’s coastline since 2009. But between January and August 2018, this route has seen over 28,000 arrivals, more than the central Africa-to-Italy central route (20,000 arrivals) and the Turkey-to-Greece eastern route (20,000 arrivals). One reason for this is that Spain recently allowed rescue ships carrying migrants to dock after other European Union countries had denied them entry.

      Toute la Méditerranée:

      #Méditerranée_occidentale:

      #Méditerranée_centrale:

      #Méditerranée_orientale:

      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/18/the-most-common-mediterranean-migration-paths-into-europe-have-changed-

    • The “Shift” to the Western Mediterranean Migration Route: Myth or Reality?

      How Spain Became the Top Arrival Country of Irregular Migration to the EU

      This article looks at the increase in arrivals[1] of refugees and migrants in Spain, analysing the nationalities of those arriving to better understand whether there has been a shift from the Central Mediterranean migration route (Italy) towards the Western Mediterranean route (Spain). The article explores how the political dynamics between North African countries and the European Union (EU) have impacted the number of arrivals in Spain.

      The Western Mediterranean route has recently become the most active route of irregular migration to Europe. As of mid-August 2018, a total of 26,350 refugees and migrants arrived in Spain by sea, three times the number of arrivals in the first seven months of 2017. In July alone 8,800 refugees and migrants reached Spain, four times the number of arrivals in July of last year.

      But this migration trend did not begin this year. The number of refugees and migrants arriving by sea in Spain grew by 55 per cent between 2015 and 2016, and by 172 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

      At the same time, there has been a decrease in the number of refugees and migrants entering the EU via the Central Mediterranean route. Between January and July 2018, a total of 18,510 persons arrived in Italy by sea compared to 95,213 arrivals in the same period in 2017, an 81 per cent decrease.

      This decrease is a result of new measures to restrict irregular migration adopted by EU Member States, including increased cooperation with Libya, which has been the main embarkation country for the Central Mediterranean migration route. So far this year, the Libyan Coast Guards have intercepted 12,152 refugees and migrants who were on smuggling boats (more than double the total number of interceptions in 2017). In the last two weeks of July, 99.5 per cent of the refugees and migrants who departed on smuggling boats were caught and returned to Libya, according to a data analysis conducted at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI). The number of people being detained by the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) has continued growing (from 5,000 to 9,300 between May and July 2018), with thousands more held in unofficial detention facilities.

      So, was there a shift from the Central to the Western Mediterranean Migration route? In other words, has the decline of arrivals in Italy led to the increase of arrivals in Spain?

      First of all, while this article only analyses the changes in the use of these two sea routes and among those trying to go to Europe, for most West Africans, the intended destination is actually North Africa, including Libya and Algeria, where they hope to find jobs. A minority intends to move onwards to Europe and this is confirmed by MMC’s 4Mi data referred to below.

      The answer to the question on whether or not there has been a shift between the two routes can be found in the analysis of the origin countries of the refugees and migrants that were most commonly using the Central Mediterranean route before it became increasingly difficult to reach Europe. Only if a decrease of the main nationalities using the Central Mediterranean Route corresponds to an increase of the same group along the Western Mediterranean route we can speak of “a shift”.

      The two nationalities who were – by far – the most common origin countries of refugees and migrants arriving in Italy in 2015 and in 2016 were Nigeria and Eritrea. The total number of Nigerians and Eritreans arriving in Italy in 2015 was 50,018 and slightly lower (47,096) in the following year. Then, between 2016 and last year, the total number of Nigerian and Eritrean arrivals in Italy decreased by 66 per cent. The decrease has been even more significant in 2018; in the first half of this year only 2,812 Nigerians and Eritreans arrived in Italy.

      However, there has not been an increase in Nigerians and Eritreans arriving in Spain. Looking at the data, it is clear that refugees and migrants originating in these two countries have not shifted from the Central Mediterranean route to the Western route.

      The same is true for refugees and migrants from Bangladesh, Sudan and Somalia – who were also on the list of most common countries of origin amongst arrivals in Italy during 2015 and 2016. While the numbers of Bangladeshis, Sudanese and Somalis arriving in Italy have been declining since 2017, there has not been an increase in arrivals of these nationals in Spain. Amongst refugees and migrants from these three countries, as with Nigerians and Eritreans, there has clearly not been a shift to the Western route. In fact, data shows that zero refugees and migrants from Eritrea, Bangladesh and Somalia arrived in Spain by sea since 2013.

      However, the data tells a different story when it comes to West African refugees and migrants. Between 2015 and 2017, the West African countries of Guinea, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia and Senegal were also on the list of most common origin countries amongst arrivals in Italy. During those years, about 91 per cent of all arrivals in the EU from these five countries used the Central Mediterranean route to Italy, while 9 per cent used the Western Mediterranean route to Spain.

      But in 2018 the data flipped: only 23 per cent of EU arrivals from these five West African countries used the Central Mediterranean route, while 76 per cent entered used the Western route. It appears that as the Central Mediterranean route is being restricted, a growing number of refugees and migrants from these countries are trying to reach the EU on the Western Mediterranean route.

      These finding are reinforced by 3,224 interviews conducted in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso between July 2017 and June 2018 by the Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism initiative (4Mi), which found a rise in the share of West African refugees and migrants stating their final destination is Spain and a fall in the share of West African refugees and migrants who say they are heading to Italy.[2]

      A second group who according to the data shifted from the Central Mediterranean route to the Western route are the Moroccans. Between 2015 and 2017, at least 4,000 Moroccans per year entered the EU on the Central Mediterranean route. Then, in the first half of this year, only 319 Moroccan refugees and migrants arrived by sea to Italy. Meanwhile, an opposite process has happened in Spain, where the number of Moroccans arriving by sea spiked, increasing by 346 per cent between 2016 and last year. This increase has continued in the first six months of this year, in which 2,600 Moroccans reached Spain through the Western Mediterranean route.

      On-going Political Bargaining

      The fact that so many Moroccans are amongst the arrivals in Spain could be an indication that Morocco, the embarkation country for the Western Mediterranean route, has perhaps been relaxing its control on migration outflows, as recently suggested by several media outlets. A Euronews article questioned whether the Moroccan government is allowing refugees and migrants to make the dangerous sea journey towards Spain as part of its negotiations with the EU on the size of the support it will receive. Der Spiegel reported that Morocco is “trying to extort concessions from the EU by placing Spain under pressure” of increased migration.

      The dynamic in which a neighbouring country uses the threat of increased migration as a political bargaining tool is one the EU is quite familiar with, following its 2016 deal with Turkey and 2017 deal with Libya. In both occasions, whilst on a different scale, the response of the EU has been fundamentally the same: to offer its southern neighbours support and financial incentives to control migration.

      The EU had a similar response this time. On August 3, the European Commission committed 55 million euro for Morocco and Tunisia to help them improve their border management. Ten days later, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights reported that Moroccan authorities started removing would-be migrants away from departure points to Europe.

      Aside from Morocco and Libya, there is another North African country whose policies may be contributing to the increase of arrivals in Spain. Algeria, which has been a destination country for many African migrants during the past decade (and still is according to 4Mi interviews), is in the midst of a nationwide campaign to detain and deport migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

      The Associated Press reported “Algeria’s mass expulsions have picked up since October 2017, as the European Union renewed pressure on North African countries to discourage migrants going north to Europe…” More than 28,000 Africans have been expelled since the campaign started in August of last year, according to News Deeply. While Algeria prides itself on not taking EU money – “We are handling the situation with our own means,” an Algerian interior ministry official told Reuters – its current crackdown appears to be yet another element of the EU’s wider approach to migration in the region.
      Bargaining Games

      This article has demonstrated that – contrary to popular reporting – there is no blanket shift from the Central Mediterranean route to the Western Mediterranean route. A detailed analysis on the nationalities of arrivals in Italy and Spain and changes over time, shows that only for certain nationalities from West Africa a shift may be happening, while for other nationalities there is no correlation between the decrease of arrivals in Italy and the increase of arrivals in Spain. The article has also shown that the recent policies implemented by North African governments – from Libya to Morocco to Algeria – can only be understood in the context of these countries’ dialogue with the EU on irregular migration.

      So, while the idea of a shift from the Central Mediterranean route to the Western route up until now is more myth than reality, it is clear that the changes of activity levels on these migration routes are both rooted in the same source: the on-going political bargaining on migration between the EU and North African governments. And these bargaining games are likely to continue as the EU intensifies its efforts to prevent refugees and migrants from arriving at its shores.

      http://www.mixedmigration.org/articles/shift-to-the-western-mediterranean-migration-route
      #Méditerranée_centrale #Méditerranée_occidentale

    • IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 80,602 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 23 September, with 35,653 to Spain, the leading destination this year. In fact, with this week’s arrivals Spain in 2018 has now received via the Mediterranean more irregular migrants than it did throughout all the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined.

      The region’s total arrivals through the recent weekend compare with 133,465 arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 302,175 at this point in 2016.

      Spain, with 44 per cent of all arrivals through the year, continues to receive seaborne migrants in September at a volume nearly twice that of Greece and more than six times that of Italy. Italy’s arrivals through late September are the lowest recorded at this point – the end of a normally busy summer sailing season – in almost five years. IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Monday reported that Italy’s 21,024 arrivals of irregular migrants by sea this year represent a decline of nearly 80 per cent from last year’s totals at this time. (see chart below).

      IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 1,730 people on the Mediterranean in 2018. Most recently, a woman drowned off the coast of Bodrum, Turkey on Sunday while attempting to reach Kos, Greece via the Eastern Mediterranean route. The Turkish Coast Guard reports that 16 migrants were rescued from this incident. On Saturday, a 5-year-old Syrian boy drowned off the coast of Lebanon’s Akkar province after a boat carrying 39 migrants to attempt to reach Cyprus capsized.

      IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 35,594 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 23 September (see chart below).

      IOM notes that over this year’s first five months, a total of 8,150 men, women and children were rescued in Spanish waters after leaving Africa – an average of 54 per day. In the 115 days since May 31, a total of 27,444 have arrived – or just under 240 migrants per day. The months of May-September this year have seen a total of 30,967 irregular migrants arriving by sea, the busiest four-month period for Spain since IOM began tallying arrival statistics, with just over one week left in September.

      With this week’s arrivals Spain in 2018 has now received via the Mediterranean more irregular migrants than it did throughout all the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined (see charts below).

      On Monday, IOM Athens’ Christine Nikolaidou reported that over four days (20-23 September) this week the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) units managed at least nine incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Farmakonisi.

      The HCG rescued a total 312 migrants and transferred them to the respective islands. Additional arrivals of some 248 individuals to Kos and some of the aforementioned islands over these past four days brings to 22,821 the total number of arrivals by sea to Greece through 23 September (see chart below).

      Sea arrivals to Greece this year by irregular migrants appeared to have peaked in daily volume in April, when they averaged at around 100 per day. That volume dipped through the following three months then picked up again in August and again in September, already this year’s busiest month – 3,536 through 23 days, over 150 per day – with about a quarter of the month remaining. Land border crossing also surged in April (to nearly 4,000 arrivals) but have since fallen back, with fewer than 2,000 crossings in each of the past four months (see charts below).

      IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 2,735 deaths and disappearances during migration so far in 2018 (see chart below).

      In the Americas, several migrant deaths were recorded since last week’s update. In Mexico, a 30-year-old Salvadoran man was killed in a hit-and-run on a highway in Tapachula, Mexico on Friday. Another death on Mexico’s freight rail network (nicknamed “La Bestia”) was added after reports of an unidentified man found dead on tracks near San Francisco Ixhuatan on 15 September.

      In the United States, on 16 September, an unidentified person drowned in the All-American Canal east of Calexico, California – the 55th drowning recorded on the US-Mexico border this year. A few days later a car crash south of Florence, Arizona resulted in the deaths of eight people, including four Guatemalan migrants, on Wednesday. Two others killed included one of the vehicles’ driver and his partner, who authorities say had been involved with migrant smuggling in the past.

      https://reliefweb.int/report/spain/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-80602-2018-deaths-reach-1730

    • Analyse de Matteo Villa sur twitter :

      Irregular sea arrivals to Italy have not been this low since 2012. But how do the two “deterrence policies” (#Minniti's and #Salvini's) compare over time?


      Why start from July 15th each year? That’s when the drop in sea arrivals in 2017 kicked in, and this allows us to do away with the need to control for seasonality. Findings do not change much if we started on July 1st this year.
      Zooming in, in relative terms the drop in sea arrivals during Salvini’s term is almost as stark as last year’s drop.

      In the period 15 July - 8 October:

      Drop during #Salvini: -73%.
      Drop during #Minniti: -79%.

      But looking at actual numbers, the difference is clear. In less than 3 months’ time, the drop in #migrants and #refugees disembarking in #Italy under #Minniti had already reached 51,000. Under #Salvini in 2018, the further drop is less than 10,000.


      To put it another way: deterrence policies under #Salvini can at best aim for a drop of about 42,000 irregular arrivals in 12 months. Most likely, the drop will amount to about 30.000. Under #Minniti, sea arrivals the drop amounted to 150.000. Five times larger.

      BOTTOM LINE: the opportunity-cost of deterrence policies is shrinking fast. Meanwhile, the number of dead and missing along the Central Mediterranean route has not declined in tandem (in fact, in June-September it shot up). Is more deterrence worth it?

      https://twitter.com/emmevilla/status/1049978070734659584

      Le papier qui explique tout cela :
      Sea Arrivals to Italy : The Cost of Deterrence Policies


      https://www.ispionline.it/en/publication/sea-arrivals-italy-cost-deterrence-policies-21367

    • Méditerranée : forte baisse des traversées en 2018 et l’#Espagne en tête des arrivées (HCR)

      Pas moins de 113.482 personnes ont traversé la #Méditerranée en 2018 pour rejoindre l’Europe, une baisse par rapport aux 172.301 qui sont arrivés en 2017, selon les derniers chiffres publiés par le Haut-Commissariat de l’ONU pour les réfugiés (HCR).
      L’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés rappelle d’ailleurs que le niveau des arrivées a également chuté par rapport au pic de 1,015 million enregistré en 2015 et à un moindre degré des 362.753 arrivées répertoriées en 2016.

      Toutefois pour l’année 2018, si l’on ajoute près de 7.000 migrants enregistrés dans les enclaves espagnoles de #Ceuta et #Melilla (arrivées par voie terrestre), on obtient un total de 120.205 arrivées en Europe.

      L’an dernier l’Espagne est redevenue la première porte d’entrée en Europe, avec 62.479 arrivées (dont 55.756 par la mer soit deux fois plus qu’en 2017, avec 22.103 arrivées).

      La péninsule ibérique est suivie par la #Grèce (32.497), l’Italie (23.371), #Malte (1.182) et #Chypre (676).

      https://news.un.org/fr/story/2019/01/1032962


  • Eritrea-Etiopia – Si tratta la pace ad Addis Abeba

    Una delegazione eritrea di alto livello è arrivata in Etiopia per il primo round di negoziati di pace in vent’anni. Il ministro degli Esteri eritreo Osman Sale è stato accolto in aeroporto dal neo premier etiopico Abiy Ahmed che, ai primi di giugno, ha sorpreso il Paese dichiarando di accettare l’Accordo di pace del 2000 che poneva fine alla guerra con l’Eritrea.

    L’Accordo, nonostante la fine dei combattimenti nel 2000, non è mai stato applicato e i rapporti tra i due Paesi sono rimasti tesi. Etiopia ed Eritrea non hanno relazioni diplomatiche e negli ultimi anni ci sono stati ripetute schermaglie militari al confine.


    https://www.africarivista.it/eritrea-etiopia-si-tratta-la-pace-ad-addis-abeba/125465
    #paix #Ethiopie #Erythrée #processus_de_paix

    • Peace Deal Alone Will Not Stem Flow of Eritrean Refugees

      The detente with Ethiopia has seen Eritrea slash indefinite military conscription. Researcher Cristiano D’Orsi argues that without a breakthrough on human rights, Eritreans will still flee.

      Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a historic agreement to end the 20-year conflict between the two countries. The breakthrough has been widely welcomed given the devastating effects the conflict has had on both countries as well as the region.

      The tension between the two countries led to Eritrea taking steps that were to have a ripple effect across the region – and the world. One in particular, the conscription of young men, has had a particularly wide impact.

      Two years before formal cross-border conflict broke out in 1998, the Eritrean government took steps to maintain a large standing army to push back against Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territories. Initially, troops were supposed to assemble and train for a period of 18 months as part of their national service. But, with the breakout of war, the service, which included both military personnel and civilians, was extended. All Eritrean men between the ages of 18–50 have to serve in the army for more than 20 years.

      This policy has been given as the reason for large numbers of Eritreans fleeing the country. The impact of the policy on individuals, and families, has been severe. For example, there have been cases of multiple family members being conscripted at the same time. This denied them the right to enjoy a stable family life. Children were the most heavily affected.

      It’s virtually impossible for Eritreans to return once they have left as refugees because the Eritrean government doesn’t look kindly on repatriated returnees. Those who are forced to return to the country face persecution and human rights abuses.

      In 2017, Eritreans represented the ninth-largest refugee population in the world with 486,200 people forcibly displaced. By May 2018, Eritreans represented 5 percent of the migrants who disembarked on the northern shores of the Mediterranean.

      Things look set to change, however. The latest batch of national service recruits have been told their enlistment will last no longer than 18 months. The announcement came in the midst of the dramatic thawing of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has raised hopes that the service could be terminated altogether.

      With that said, it remains to be seen whether the end of hostilities between the two countries will ultimately stem the flow of Eritrean refugees.

      It’s virtually impossible for Eritreans to return once they have left as refugees because the Eritrean government doesn’t look kindly on repatriated returnees. Those who are forced to return to the country face persecution and human rights abuses.

      The Eritrean government’s hardline position has led to changes in refugee policies in countries like the UK. For example, in October 2016, a U.K. appellate tribunal held that Eritreans of draft age who left the country illegally would face the risk of persecution and abuse if they were involuntarily returned to Eritrea.

      This, the tribunal said, was in direct violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, the U.K.’s Home Office amended its immigration policy to conform to the tribunal’s ruling.

      Eritrean asylum seekers haven’t been welcome everywhere. For a long time they were persona non grata in Israel on the grounds that absconding national service duty was not justification for asylum. But in September 2016, an Israeli appeals court held that Eritreans must be given the chance to explain their reasons for fleeing at individual hearings, overruling an interior ministry policy that denied asylum to deserters.

      The situation is particularly tense for Eritreans in Israel because they represent the majority of African asylum seekers in the country. In fact, in May 2018, Israel and the United Nations refugee agency began negotiating a deal to repatriate African asylum seekers in western countries, with Canada as a primary destination.

      An earlier deal had fallen through after public pressure reportedly caused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to back out of it.

      Eritreans living as refugees in Ethiopia have been welcomed in Australia where they are one among eight nationalities that have access to a resettlement scheme known as the community support program. This empowers Australian individuals, community organizations and businesses to offer Eritrean refugees jobs if they have the skills, allowing them to settle permanently in the country.

      The government has always denied that conscription has anything to do with Eritreans fleeing the country. Two years ago it made it clear that it would not shorten the length of the mandatory national service.

      At the time officials said Eritreans were leaving the country because they were being enticed by certain “pull factors.” They argued, for example, that the need for low cost manpower in the West could easily be met by giving asylum to Eritreans who needed just to complain about the National Service to obtain asylum.

      But change is on the cards. After signing the peace deal with Ethiopia, Eritrea has promised to end the current conscription regime and announcing that national service duty will last no more than 18 months.

      Even so, the national service is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future to fulfil other parts of its mandate which are reconstructing the country, strengthening the economy, and developing a joint Eritrean identity across ethnic and religious lines.

      Eritrea is still a country facing enormous human rights violations. According to the last Freedom House report, the Eritrean government has made no recent effort to address these. The report accuses the regime of continuing to perpetrate crimes against humanity.

      If Eritrea pays more attention to upholding human rights, fewer nationals will feel the need to flee. And if change comes within Eritrean borders as fast as it did with Ethiopia, a radical shift in human rights policy could be in the works.

      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2018/08/09/peace-deal-alone-will-not-stem-flow-of-eritrean-refugees

      #asile #réfugiés

    • Eritrea has slashed conscription. Will it stem the flow of refugees?

      Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed an historic agreement to end the 20-year conflict between the two countries. The breakthrough has been widely welcomed given the devastating effects the conflict has had on both countries as well as the region.

      The tension between the two countries led to Eritrea taking steps that were to have a ripple effect across the region – and the world. One in particular, the conscription of young men, has had a particularly wide impact.

      Two years before formal cross border conflict broke out in 1998, the Eritrean government took steps to maintain a large standing army to push back against Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territories. Initially, troops were supposed to assemble and train for a period of 18 months as part of their national service. But, with the breakout of war, the service, which included both military personnel and civilians, was extended. All Eritrean men between the ages of 18 – 50 have to serve in the army for more than 20 years.

      This policy has been given as the reason for large numbers of Eritreans fleeing the country. The impact of the policy on individuals, and families, has been severe. For example, there have been cases of multiple family members being conscripted at the same time. This denied them the right to enjoy a stable family life. Children were the most heavily affected.

      In 2017, Eritreans represented the ninth-largest refugee population in the world with 486,200 people forcibly displaced. By May 2018 Eritreans represented 5% of the migrants who disembarked on the northern shores of the Mediterranean.

      Things look set to change, however. The latest batch of national service recruits have been told their enlistment will last no longer than 18 months. The announcement came in the midst of the dramatic thawing of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has raised hopes that the service could be terminated altogether.

      With that said, it remains to be seen whether the end of hostilities between the two countries will ultimately stem the flow of Eritrean refugees.
      The plight of Eritrean refugees

      It’s virtually impossible for Eritreans to return once they have left as refugees because the Eritrean government doesn’t look kindly on repatriated returnees. Those who are forced to return to the country face persecution and human rights abuses.

      The Eritrean government’s hard line position has led to changes in refugee policies in countries like the UK. For example, in October 2016 a UK appellate tribunal held that Eritreans of draft age who left the country illegally would face the risk of persecution and abuse if they were involuntarily returned to Eritrea.

      This, the tribunal said, was in direct violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, the UK’s Home Office amended its immigration policy to conform to the tribunal’s ruling.

      Eritrean asylum seekers haven’t been welcome everywhere. For a long time they were persona non grata in Israel on the grounds that absconding national service duty was not justification for asylum. But in September 2016 an Israeli appeals court held that Eritreans must be given the chance to explain their reasons for fleeing at individual hearings, overruling an interior ministry policy that denied asylum to deserters.

      The situation is particularly tense for Eritreans in Israel because they represent the majority of African asylum-seekers in the country. In fact, in May 2018, Israel and the United Nations refugee agency began negotiating a deal to repatriate African asylum-seekers in western countries, with Canada as a primary destination.

      An earlier deal had fallen through after public pressure reportedly caused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to back out of it.

      Eritreans living as refugees in Ethiopia have been welcomed in Australia where they are one among eight nationalities that have access to a resettlement scheme known as the community support programme. This empowers Australian individuals, community organisations and businesses to offer Eritrean refugees jobs if they have the skills, allowing them to settle permanently in the country.
      The future

      The government has always denied that conscription has anything to do with Eritreans fleeing the country. Two years ago it made it clear that it would not shorten the length of the mandatory national service.

      At the time officials said Eritreans were leaving the country because they were being enticed by certain “pull factors”. They argued, for example, that the need for low cost manpower in the West could easily be met by giving asylum to Eritreans who needed just to complain about the National Service to obtain asylum.

      But change is on the cards. After signing the peace deal with Ethiopia, Eritrea has promised to end the current conscription regime and announcing that national service duty will last no more than 18 months.

      Even so, the national service is likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future to fulfil other parts of its mandate which are reconstructing the country, strengthening he economy, and developing a joint Eritrean identity across ethnic and religious lines.

      Eritrea is still a country facing enormous human rights violations. According to the last Freedom House report, the Eritrean government has made no recent effort to address these. The report accuses the regime of continuing to perpetrate crimes against humanity.

      If Eritrea pays more attention to upholding human rights, fewer nationals will feel the need to flee. And if change comes within Eritrean borders as fast as it did with Ethiopia, a radical shift in human rights policy could be in the works.

      https://theconversation.com/eritrea-has-slashed-conscription-will-it-stem-the-flow-of-refugees-

      #conscription #service_militaire #armée

    • Out of Eritrea: What happens after #Badme?

      On 6 June 2018, the government of Ethiopia announced that it would abide by the Algiers Agreement and 2002 Eritrea-Ethiopian Boundary Commission decision that defined the disputed border and granted the border town of Badme to Eritrea. Over the last 20 years, Badme has been central to the dispute between the two countries, following Ethiopia’s rejection of the ruling and continued occupation of the area. Ethiopia’s recently appointed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed acknowledged that the dispute over Badme had resulted in 20 years of tension between the two countries. To defend the border areas with Ethiopia, in 1994 the Eritrean government introduced mandatory military service for all adults over 18. Eritrean migrants and asylum seekers often give their reason for flight as the need to escape this mandatory national service.

      Since 2015, Eritreans have been the third largest group of people entering Europe through the Mediterranean, and have the second highestnumber of arrivals through the Central Mediterranean route to Italy. According to UNHCR, by the end of 2016, 459,390 Eritreans were registered refugees in various countries worldwide. Various sources estimate Eritrea’s population at 5 million people, meaning that approximately 10% of Eritrea’s population has sought refuge abroad by 2016.
      Mandatory military service – a driver of migration and displacement

      As data collection from the Mixed Migration Centre’s Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi) shows, 95% of Eritrean refugees and migrants surveyed gave fear of conscription into national service as their main reason for flight out of Eritrea. Men and women from 18 to 40 years old are required by law to undertake national service for 18 months — including six months of military training followed by 12 months’ deployment either in military service or in other government entities including farms, construction sites, mines and ministries.
      In reality, national service for most conscripts extends beyond the 18 months and often indefinite. There are also reported cases of children under 18 years old being forcefully recruited. Even upon completion of national service, Eritreans under the age of 50 years may been enrolled in the Reserve Army with the duty to provide reserve military service and defend the country from external attacks or invasions.

      According to Human Rights Watch, conscripts are subject to military discipline and are harshly treated and earn a salary that often ranges between USD 43 – 48 per month. The length of service is unpredictable, the type of abuse inflicted on conscripts is at the whim of military commanders and the UN Commission of inquiry on human rights in Eritrea reported on the frequent sexual abuse of female conscripts. Eritrea has no provision for conscientious objection to national service and draft evaders and deserters if arrested are subjected to heavy punishment according to Amnesty International, including lengthy periods of detention, torture and other forms of inhuman treatment including rape for women. For those who escape, relatives are forced to pay fines of 50,000 Nakfa (USD 3,350) for each family member. Failure to pay the fine may result in the arrest and detention of a family member until the money is paid which further fuels flight from Eritrea for families who are unable to pay the fine.

      The government of Eritrea asserts that compulsory and indefinite national service is necessitated by continued occupation of its sovereign territories citing Ethiopia as the main threat. In its response to the UN Human Rights Council Report that criticised Eritrea for human rights violations including indefinite conscription, Eritrea stated that one of its main constraints to the fulfilment of its international and national obligations in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is the continued occupation of its territory by Ethiopia.

      In 2016, Eritrea’s minister for Information confirmed that indefinite national service would remain without fundamental changes even in the wake of increased flight from the country by citizens unwilling to undertake the service. The Minister went on to state that Eritrea would contemplate demobilization upon the removal of the ‘main threat’, in this case Eritrea’s hostile relationship with Ethiopia. Eritrea and Ethiopia have both traded accusations of supporting opposition/militia groups to undermine each other both locally and abroad. If the relations between the countries turn peaceful, this could potentially have an impact on Eritrean migration, out of the country and out of the region.

      In the absence of hostilities and perceived security threats from its neighbour, it is possible that Eritrea will amend – or at least be open to start a dialogue about amending – its national service (and military) policies from the current mandatory and indefinite status, which has been one of the major root causes of the movement of Eritreans out of their country and onwards towards Europe. Related questions are whether an improvement in the relations with Ethiopia could also bring an immediate or longer term improvement in the socio-economic problems that Eritrea faces, for example through expanded trade relations between the two countries? Will this change usher in an era of political stability and an easing of military burdens on the Eritrean population?
      A possible game changer?

      The border deal, if it materialises, could at some time also have serious implications for Eritrean asylum seekers in Europe. Eritreans applying for asylum have relatively high approval rates. The high recognition rate for Eritrean asylum seekers is based on the widely accepted presumptionthat Eritreans who evade or avoid national service are at risk of persecution. In 2016 for example, 93% of Eritreans who sought asylum in EU countries received a positive decision. This recognition rate was second to Syrians and ahead of Iraqis and Somalis; all countries that are in active conflict unlike Eritrea. If the government of Eritrea enacts positive policy changes regarding conscription, the likely effect could be a much lower recognition rate for Eritrean asylum seekers. It is unclear how this would affect those asylum seekers already in the system.

      While Eritreans on the route to Europe and in particular those arriving in Italy, remain highly visible and receive most attention, many Eritreans who leave the country end up in refugee camps or Eritrean enclaves in neighbouring countries like Sudan and Ethiopia or further away in Egypt. After they flee, most Eritreans initially apply for refugee status in Ethiopia’s and Sudan’s refugee camps. As Human Rights Watch noted in 2016, the Eritrean camp population generally remains more or less stable. While many seek onward movements out of the camps, many refugees remain in the region. With these potentially new developments in Eritrea, will the Eritreans in Sudan, Ethiopia and other neighbouring countries feel encouraged or compelled to return at some, or will they perhaps be forced to return to Eritrea?
      What’s next?

      Conservative estimates in 2001 put the cost of the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia at USD 2.9 billion in just the first three years. This has had an adverse effect on the economies of the two countries as well as human rights conditions. In 2013, Eritrea expressed its willingness to engage in dialogue with Ethiopia should it withdraw its army from the disputed territory which it further noted is occupied by 300,000 soldiers from both countries. Ethiopia has previously stated its willingness to surrender Badme, without in the end acting upon this promise. Should this latest promise be implemented and ties between two countries normalized, this might herald positive developments for both the economy and the human rights situation in both countries, with a potential significant impact on one of the major drivers of movement out of Eritrea.

      However, with the news that Ethiopia would move to define its borders in accordance with international arbitration, the possibilities for political stability and economic growth in Eritrea remain uncertain. On 21 June 2018, the President of Eritrea Isaias Aferwerki issued a statement saying that Eritrea would send a delegation to Addis Ababa to ‘gauge current developments… chart out a plan for continuous future action’. The possibility of resulting peace and economic partnership between the two countries could, although a long-term process, also result in economic growth on both sides of the border and increased livelihood opportunities for their citizens who routinely engage in unsafe and irregular migration for political, humanitarian and economic reasons.

      http://www.mixedmigration.org/articles/out-of-eritrea

    • Despite the peace deal with Ethiopia, Eritrean refugees are still afraid to return home

      When Samuel Berhe thinks of Eritrea, he sees the sand-colored buildings and turquoise water of Asmara’s shoreline. He sees his sister’s bar under the family home in the capital’s center that sells sweet toast and beer. He sees his father who, at 80 years old, is losing his eyesight but is still a force to be reckoned with. He thinks of his home, a place that he cannot reach.

      Berhe, like many other Eritreans, fled the country some years ago to escape mandatory national service, which the government made indefinite following the 1998-2000 border war with Ethiopia. The war cost the countries an estimated 100,000 lives, while conscription created a generation of Eritrean refugees. The UNHCR said that in 2016 there were 459,000 Eritrean exiles out of an estimated population of 5.3 million.

      So, when the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a sudden peace deal in July 2018, citizens of the Horn of Africa nations rejoiced. Many took to the streets bearing the two flags. Others chose social media to express their happiness, and some even dialed up strangers, as phone lines between the nations were once again reinstated. It felt like a new era of harmony and prosperity had begun.

      But for Berhe, the moment was bittersweet.

      “I was happy because it is good for our people but I was also sad, because it doesn’t make any change for me,” he said from his home in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “I will stay as a refugee.”

      Like many other Eritrean emigrants, Berhe fled the country illegally to escape national service. He fears that if he returns, he will wind up in jail, or worse. He does not have a passport and has not left Ethiopia since he arrived on the back of a cargo truck 13 years ago. His two daughters, Sarah, 9, and Ella, 11, for whom he is an only parent, have never seen their grandparents or their father’s homeland.

      Now that there is a direct flight, Berhe is planning on sending the girls to see their relatives. But before he considers returning, he will need some sort of guarantee from Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, who leads the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, that he will pardon those who left.

      “The people that illegally escaped, the government thinks that we are traitors,” he said. “There are many, many like me, all over the world, too afraid to go back.”

      Still, hundreds fought to board the first flights between the two capitals throughout July and August. Asmara’s and Addis Ababa’s airports became symbols of the reunification as hordes of people awaited their relatives with bouquets daily, some whom they hadn’t seen for more than two decades.

      “When I see the people at the airport, smiling, laughing, reuniting with their family, I wish to be like them. To be free. They are lucky,” Berhe said.

      Related: Chronic insomnia plagues young migrants long after they reach their destination

      Zala Mekonnen, 38, an Eritrean Canadian, who was one of the many waiting at arrivals in Addis Ababa, said she had completely given up on the idea that the two nations — formerly one country — would ever rekindle relations.

      Mekonnen, who is half Ethiopian, found the 20-year feud especially difficult as her family was separated in half. In July, her mother saw her uncle for the first time in 25 years.

      “We’re happy but hopefully he’s [Afwerki] going to let those young kids free [from conscription],” she said. “I’m hoping God will hear, because so many of them died while trying to escape. One full generation lost.”

      Related: A life of statelessness derailed this Eritrean runner’s hopes to compete in the Olympics

      Mekonnen called the peace deal with Ethiopia a crucial step towards Eritrean democracy. But Afwerki, the 72-year-old ex-rebel leader, will also have to allow multiple political parties to exist, along with freedom of religion, freedom of speech and reopening Asmara’s public university while also giving young people opportunities outside of national service.

      “The greeting that Afwerki received here in Ethiopia [following the agreement to restore relations], he didn’t deserve it,” said Mekonnen. “He should have been hung.”

      Since the rapprochement, Ethiopia’s leader, Abiy Ahmed, has reached out to exiled opposition groups, including those in Eritrea, to open up a political dialogue. The Eritrean president has not made similar efforts. But in August, his office announced that he would visit Ethiopia for a second time to discuss the issue of rebels.

      Laura Hammond, a professor of developmental studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said that it is likely Afwerki will push for Ethiopia to send Eritrean refugees seeking asylum back to Eritrea.

      “The difficulty is that, while the two countries are normalizing relations, the political situation inside Eritrea is not changing as rapidly,” Hammond said. “There are significant fears about what will happen to those who have left the country illegally, including in some cases escaping from prison or from their national service bases. They will need to be offered amnesty if they are to feel confident about returning.”

      To voice their frustrations, thousands of exiled Eritreans gathered in protest outside the UN headquarters in Geneva on Aug. 31. Amid chants of “enough is enough” and “down, down Isaias,” attendees held up placards calling for peace and democracy. The opposition website, Harnnet, wrote that while the rapprochement with Ethiopia was welcomed, regional and global politicians were showing “undeserved sympathy” to a power that continued to violate human rights.

      Sitting in front of the TV, Berhe’s two daughters sip black tea and watch a religious parade broadcast on Eritrea’s national channel. Berhe, who has temporary refugee status in Ethiopia, admits that one thing that the peace deal has changed is that the state’s broadcaster no longer airs perpetual scenes of war. For now, he is safe in Addis Ababa with his daughters, but he is eager to obtain a sponsor in the US, Europe or Australia, so that he can resettle and provide them with a secure future. He is afraid that landlocked Ethiopia might cave to pressures from the Eritrean government to return its refugees in exchange for access to the Red Sea port.

      “Meanwhile my girls say to me, ’Why don’t we go for summer holiday in Asmara?’” he laughs. “They don’t understand my problem.”


      https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-09-13/despite-peace-deal-ethiopia-eritrean-refugees-are-still-afraid-return-home

    • Etiopia: firmato ad Asmara accordo di pace fra governo e Fronte nazionale di liberazione dell’#Ogaden

      Asmara, 22 ott 09:51 - (Agenzia Nova) - Il governo dell’Etiopia e i ribelli del Fronte nazionale di liberazione dell’Ogaden (#Onlf) hanno firmato un accordo di pace nella capitale eritrea Asmara per porre fine ad una delle più antiche lotte armate in Etiopia. L’accordo, si legge in una nota del ministero degli Esteri di Addis Abeba ripresa dall’emittente “Fana”, è stato firmato da una delegazione del governo etiope guidata dal ministro degli Esteri Workneh Gebeyehu e dal presidente dell’Onlf, Mohamed Umer Usman, i quali hanno tenuto un colloquio definito “costruttivo” e hanno raggiunto un “accordo storico” che sancisce “l’inizio di un nuovo capitolo di pace e stabilità in Etiopia”. L’Onlf, gruppo separatista fondato nel 1984, è stato etichettato come organizzazione terrorista dal governo etiope fino al luglio scorso, quando il parlamento di Addis Abeba ha ratificato la decisione del governo di rimuovere i partiti in esilio – tra cui appunto l’Onlf – dalla lista delle organizzazioni terroristiche. La decisione rientra nella serie di provvedimenti annunciati dal premier Abiy Ahmed per avviare il percorso di riforme nel paese, iniziato con il rilascio di migliaia di prigionieri politici, la distensione delle relazioni con l’Eritrea e la parziale liberalizzazione dell’economia etiope.

      https://www.agenzianova.com/a/5bcd9c24083997.87051681/2142476/2018-10-22/etiopia-firmato-ad-asmara-accordo-di-pace-fra-governo-e-fronte-nazional


  • It’s 34,361 and rising: how the List tallies Europe’s migrant bodycount.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/20/the-list-europe-migrant-bodycount

    30/04/18 2 N.N. (2 men) unknown bodies recovered in Gasr Garabulli (aka Castelverde) (LY) IOM Libya
    30/04/18 1 N.N. (woman) unknown body recovered on Tajoura beach (LY) IOM Libya
    30/04/18 6 N.N. (1 baby; 5 men) unknown bodies recovered in Zuwara (LY) IOM Libya
    30/04/18 1 N.N. (man) Algeria drowned trying to swim across the Kolpa River on Croatian-Slovenian border; 7 intercepted by police IOM Slovenia/TotSloveniaNews
    29/04/18 19 N.N. (1 man) Africa 16 drowned in shipwreck off Cap Falcon, Oran (DZ) on way to Spain; 3 missing, 19 rescued ObsAlgerie/Caminando/EFE/Réf/QUOTI/IOM
    25/04/18 17 N.N. Sub-Saharan Africa 5 drowned afer boat sank between Morocco and Spain near Alboran Island; 12 missing, 17 rescued ElDiario/Caminando/SalvaM/EuroPress
    22/04/18 11 N.N. (1 boy; 10 men) unknown drowned when rubber dinghy overturned in the Mediterranean Sea near Sabratha (LY); 83 rescued MEE/Reu./IOM Libya/JapanTimes
    20/04/18 1 N.N. (boy, 6 months) Eritrea strangled by desperate mother who hanged herself afterwards in Eckolstädt asylum centre (DE) Berliner Ztg/FR-th/OTZ
    20/04/18 1 Snaid Tadese (woman, 19) Eritrea suicide, strangled her baby and hanged herself out of despair in Eckolstädt asylum centre (DE) Berliner Ztg/FR-th/OTZ
    20/04/18 1 N.N. (man, 30) unknown electrocuted when he climbed on roof of freight train in depot outside Thessaloniki (GR) AP/NYTimes/MailOnline
    19/04/18 2 N.N. unknown died in accident in Horasan (TR) when smuggler driving their truck saw control point and panicked HurriyetDN/PrensaLat
    14/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown died of cardiac arrest, body found near border fence in Anyera in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (ES) FaroCeuta/APDHA/CeutaTV/IOM
    13/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown died of cardiac arrest, body found near border fence in Anyera in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (ES) FaroCeuta/APDHA/IOM/CeutaTV
    10/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned in the Kolpa River near Črnomelj (SI) on border with Croatia IOM Slovenia/AFP
    09/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned in the Kolpa River near Črnomelj (SI) on border with Croatia DELO/IOM Slovenia
    09/04/18 36 N.N. unknown 6 presumed drowned off coast of Houara 20 km south of Tangiers (MA); 30 missing, 10 survived EFE/Caminando/El Diario/IOM
    06/04/18 1 Omar “Susi” (boy, 16) Maghreb deliberately crushed by truck near Port of Ceuta (ES) after driver chased after refugees El Faro de Ceuta/Ceuta Actualidad/IOM
    06/04/18 1 N.N. (woman) unknown drowned, found on Jabonera beach in Tarifa, Cádiz (ES) Diario de Cádiz/IOM/EPress/EFE
    02/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found 6 nautical miles northwest of Port of Bouzedjar in Ain Témouchent (DZ) Liberté/Ouest Tribune/IOM
    01/04/18 11 N.N. (1 man) unknown 4 drowned after boat capsized between Tangier (MA) and Tarifa (ES); 7 missing, 1 rescued Watch TheMed/IOM Spain/SalvaM/HinduTimes
    01/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found near Habibas Islands off coast of Ain Témouchent (DZ) Réf/DK/OuestT/IOM
    01/04/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found off coast of Al Hoceima (MA) EFE/IOM/YABI
    31/03/18 1 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, body found west of Sbiaat beach in Ain Témouchent (DZ) Réf/DK/OuestT/IOM
    30/03/18 17 N.N. unknown died in vehicle accident in province of Igdir province (TR) near border with Armenia; 33 survivors Reu./LV/IOM
    29/03/18 7 N.N. (7 men) unknown presumed drowned, unspecified location in the Strait of Gibraltar between Morocco and Spain Caminando/IOM
    28/03/18 1 N.N. (boy, 16) Eritrea died in hospital in Lille after jumping from truck on motorway near Port of Calais (FR) CMS/Parisien/VoixDuNord/IOM
    24/03/18 1 N.N. (woman) unknown died of lack of access to medicines in hospital in Turin (IT) after being turned away on Italian-French border CDS/FrSoir/IOM
    22/03/18 1 N.N. (man, 22) Algeria stowaway, got stuck between 2 vehicles at Zeebrugge port (BE) while trying to get to Great Britain CMS
    20/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on shore of Tripoli (LY) IOM Libya
    18/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body recovered on beach in Rota, Cádiz (ES) GuardiaCivil/EPress/IOM
    17/03/18 2 N.N. unknown died in vehicle acccident on highway near Xanthi (GR) near Bulgarian border; 7 survivors Reu./AP/IOM/ChNewsAsia
    17/03/18 19 N.N. (9 children) Afghanistan, Iraq 16 drowned after migrant boat capsized off coast of Agathonisi (GR); 3 missing, 3 rescued HellCoastG/IOM Greece/Reu./AP/ChNewsAsia
    16/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on beach in Tinajo, Lanzarote, Canary Islands (ES) EFE/La Provincia/IOM/VozDeL
    15/03/18 1 Mame Mbaye Ndiaye (man, 35) Senegal died of heart attack after police chased street vendor through Madrid (ES) until he collapsed LocalES/AfricaNews/TeleSur
    14/03/18 1 N.N. unknown went missing during rescue operation in the sea near Tangiers (MA); 9 rescued Watch TheMed
    13/03/18 1 Tesfalidet “Segen” Tesfon (man, 22) Eritrea died of tuberculosis and malnutrition after being rescued from boat; had been trapped in Libya for 18 months Proactiva/IOM/ANSA/Reu./LocalIT/HRW
    12/03/18 1 N.N. (man, ±30) unknown found dead in delta of the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border AP/MENAFN/IOM
    12/03/18 12 N.N. unknown found dead on sinking boat in the Alboran Sea between Morocco and Spain; 22 rescued Caminando Fronteras/IOM
    08/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body recovered on beach in Rota, Cádiz, (ES) Guardia Civil/EPress/IOM
    06/03/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned in the Evros River near Edirne (TR) near Greek border IOM Turkey/HurriyetDN
    03/03/18 23 N.N. (2 babies; 4 women; 17 men) Sub-Saharan Africa 2 found dead on boat, presumed drowned off coast of Libya; 21 missing, 30 survivors SOSMed/IOM/Reu.
    03/03/18 3 N.N. (2 women; 1 man) unknown drowned, bodies found off coast of Benzú in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta (ES); 2 survivors UNHCR/Caminando Fronteras/IOM/El Periódico
    01/03/18 1 Lamin (man, 20) Sierra Leone died due to lack of medical care in Passau (DE), had previously been deported to Italy despite severe illness Matteo
    28/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown found dead by coast guard near Bouzedjar beach in Ain Témouchent (DZ) RadioAlg/IOM
    27/02/18 6 N.N. (4 children; 1 woman; 1 man) unknown died of hypothermia near the Mergasur River (IQ) close to Turkish border; 4 survivors Kurdistan24/DailySabah/IOM/Rudaw
    26/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown died of cardiac arrest, body found in Tarifa, Cádiz (ES) EPress/IOM/JuntaAndalucía
    25/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found at Levante beach in Cádiz (ES) EPress/AndalucíaInfo/IOM/CostaCádiz
    21/02/18 2 N.N. (1 woman; 1 man) unknown presumed drowned, bodies found 25 nautical miles north of Béni-Saf in Ain Témouchent (DZ) SoirAlgerie/Algérie360/IOM/Réf
    18/02/18 2 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, bodies found 8 nautical miles north of Bouzedjar beach in Ain Témouchent DZ) Réflexion/IOM Algeria
    17/02/18 1 N.N. unknown drowned, body found 10 km off coast of Benabdelmalek Ramdane in Mostaganem (DZ) IOM Algeria/TheHuff
    16/02/18 1 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, body retrieved in Zawiyah (LY) IOM Libya
    16/02/18 1 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, body retrieved in Tripoli (LY) IOM Libya
    16/02/18 1 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, body found on Madagh beach, Aïn El Kerma, west of Oran (DZ) ElW/Réf/IOM
    15/02/18 11 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, bodies retrieved in Zuwara (LY) IOM Libya
    15/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on Bouzedjar beach in Ain Témouchent (DZ) AlgériePresse/QUOTI/Réf/IOM
    15/02/18 2 N.N. (2 men) unknown presumed drowned, bodies found on Andalouses beach, Bousfer, west of Oran (DZ) ElW/Réf/IOM
    14/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on Sbiaat beach in El Messaid, Ain Témouchent (DZ) RadioAlg/QUOTI/Réf/IOM
    14/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown presumed drowned, body found on Sassel beach near Ouled Boudjemaa, Ain Témouchent (DZ) RadioAlg/QUOTI/Réf/IOM
    14/02/18 19 N.N. (4 children; 1 woman; 14 men) Somalia, Eritrea died in vehicle accident 60 km southeast of Bani Walid (LY); 159 survivors DTM/NationalAE/Reu./MENAFN/IOM Libya
    13/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body found at Sidi Mejdoub beach, west of Mostaganem (DZ) Alg24/IOM Algeria
    13/02/18 1 Ayse Abdulrezzak (woman, 37) Turkey drowned when boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; teacher fleeing crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOMTurkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Ibrahim Selim (boy, 3) Turkey missing after boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; was fleeing post-coup crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Aslı Doğan (woman, 27) Turkey missing after boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; was fleeing post-coup crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Fahrettin Dogan (man, 29) Turkey missing after boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; was fleeing post-coup crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Ugur Abdulrezzak (man, 39) Turkey missing after boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; was fleeing post-coup crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Halil Munir Abdulrezzak (boy, 3) Turkey drowned when boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; son of teacher fleeing crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    13/02/18 1 Enes Abdulrezzak (boy, 11) Turkey drowned when boat sunk in the Evros River on Turkish-Greek border; son of teacher fleeing crackdown in Turkey Reu./TDEMD/IOM Turkey/TurkeyPurge/TRMinute
    12/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body found near Port of Cabopino in Málaga (ES) Hoy/LV/Onda/IOM
    12/02/18 1 N.N. (girl) unknown presumed drowned, unspecified location in the Strait of Gibraltar between Morocco and Spain Caminando/IOM
    11/02/18 5 N.N. unknown drowned, bodies found 22 miles off Cape of Three Forks in Nador (MA); 29 survivors Caminando/EPress/IOM
    11/02/18 1 N.N. unknown drowned, body found off Bahara beach, Ouled Boughalem, 90 km east of Mostaganem (DZ) ElW/AlgériePresse/IOM
    10/02/18 1 N.N. (man) unknown drowned, body found at Zeralda beach, near Algiers (DZ) Alg24/IOMAlgeria
    09/02/18 3 N.N. (3 men) unknown died of hypothermia, 27 miles off Alboran Island in Alboran Sea between Morocco and Spain; 32 survivors SalvaM/Caminando/IOM
    09/02/18 7 N.N. unknown presumed drowned, bodies retrieved in Zuwara (LY) IOM Libya
    08/02/18 1 N.N. unknown drowned, body found off Kaf Lasfer beach, between Sidi Lakhdar and Hadjadj, 36 km east of Mostaganem (DZ) ElW/Réf/IOM



  • The far-right nationalist movement roiling Eritreans in Israel

    The far-right Agazian movement seeks to establish a Tigrinyan Orthodox-Christian state in what is now Eritrea and part of Ethiopia. Its anti-Muslim, militant politics are deepening the divisions within the already fractious Eritrean opposition.


    https://972mag.com/the-far-right-nationalist-movement-roiling-eritreans-in-israel/135179
    #Israfrique #Israël #réfugiés_érythréens #Erythrée #extrême_droite #nationalisme
    cc @sinehebdo


  • Des demandeurs d’asile soudanais torturés dans leur pays après avoir été expulsés par la #France

    Une enquête du New York Times a révélé dimanche soir que plusieurs demandeurs d’asile soudanais renvoyés par la France, l’#Italie et la #Belgique, avaient été torturés à leur retour dans leur pays d’origine.

    https://www.lejdd.fr/international/des-demandeurs-dasile-soudanais-tortures-dans-leur-pays-apres-avoir-ete-expuls
    #torture #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #expulsions #réfugiés_soudanais #Soudan

    via @isskein sur FB

    • Et ici l’article du New York Times, repris par Lejdd :

      By Stifling Migration, Sudan’s Feared Secret Police Aid Europe

      At Sudan’s eastern border, Lt. Samih Omar led two patrol cars slowly over the rutted desert, past a cow’s carcass, before halting on the unmarked 2,000-mile route that thousands of East Africans follow each year in trying to reach the Mediterranean, and then onward to Europe.

      His patrols along this border with Eritrea are helping Sudan crack down on one of the busiest passages on the European migration trail. Yet Lieutenant Omar is no simple border agent. He works for Sudan’s feared secret police, whose leaders are accused of war crimes — and, more recently, whose officers have been accused of torturing migrants.

      Indirectly, he is also working for the interests of the European Union.

      “Sometimes,” Lieutenant Omar said, “I feel this is Europe’s southern border.”

      Three years ago, when a historic tide of migrants poured into Europe, many leaders there reacted with open arms and high-minded idealism. But with the migration crisis having fueled angry populism and political upheaval across the Continent, the European Union is quietly getting its hands dirty, stanching the human flow, in part, by outsourcing border management to countries with dubious human rights records.

      In practical terms, the approach is working: The number of migrants arriving in Europe has more than halved since 2016. But many migration advocates say the moral cost is high.
      To shut off the sea route to Greece, the European Union is paying billions of euros to a Turkish government that is dismantling its democracy. In Libya, Italy is accused of bribing some of the same militiamen who have long profited from the European smuggling trade — many of whom are also accused of war crimes.

      In Sudan, crossed by migrants trying to reach Libya, the relationship is more opaque but rooted in mutual need: The Europeans want closed borders and the Sudanese want to end years of isolation from the West. Europe continues to enforce an arms embargo against Sudan, and many Sudanese leaders are international pariahs, accused of committing war crimes during a civil war in Darfur, a region in western Sudan

      But the relationship is unmistakably deepening. A recent dialogue, named the Khartoum Process (in honor of Sudan’s capital) has become a platform for at least 20 international migration conferences between European Union officials and their counterparts from several African countries, including Sudan. The European Union has also agreed that Khartoum will act as a nerve center for countersmuggling collaboration.

      While no European money has been given directly to any Sudanese government body, the bloc has funneled 106 million euros — or about $131 million — into the country through independent charities and aid agencies, mainly for food, health and sanitation programs for migrants, and for training programs for local officials.

      “While we engage on some areas for the sake of the Sudanese people, we still have a sanction regime in place,” said Catherine Ray, a spokeswoman for the European Union, referring to an embargo on arms and related material.

      “We are not encouraging Sudan to curb migration, but to manage migration in a safe and dignified way,” Ms. Ray added.

      Ahmed Salim, the director of one of the nongovernmental groups that receives European funding, said the bloc was motivated by both self-interest and a desire to improve the situation in Sudan.

      “They don’t want migrants to cross the Mediterranean to Europe,” said Mr. Salim, who heads the European and African Center for Research, Training and Development.

      But, he said, the money his organization receives means better services for asylum seekers in Sudan. “You have to admit that the European countries want to do something to protect migrants here,” he said.

      Critics argue the evolving relationship means that European leaders are implicitly reliant on — and complicit in the reputational rehabilitation of — a Sudanese security apparatus whose leaders have been accused by the United Nations of committing war crimes in Darfur.

      “There is no direct money exchanging hands,” said Suliman Baldo, the author of a research paper about Europe’s migration partnership with Sudan. “But the E.U. basically legitimizes an abusive force.”

      On the border near Abu Jamal, Lieutenant Omar and several members of his patrol are from the wing of the Sudanese security forces headed by Salah Abdallah Gosh, one of several Sudanese officials accused of orchestrating attacks on civilians in Darfur.

      Elsewhere, the border is protected by the Rapid Support Forces, a division of the Sudanese military that was formed from the janjaweed militias who led attacks on civilians in the Darfur conflict. The focus of the group, known as R.S.F., is not counter-smuggling — but roughly a quarter of the people-smugglers caught in January and February this year on the Eritrean border were apprehended by the R.S.F., Lieutenant Omar said.

      European officials have direct contact only with the Sudanese immigration police, and not with the R.S.F., or the security forces that Lieutenant Omar works for, known as N.I.S.S. But their operations are not that far removed.

      The planned countertrafficking coordination center in Khartoum — staffed jointly by police officers from Sudan and several European countries, including Britain, France and Italy — will partly rely on information sourced by N.I.S.S., according to the head of the immigration police department, Gen. Awad Elneil Dhia. The regular police also get occasional support from the R.S.F. on countertrafficking operations in border areas, General Dhia said.

      “They have their presence there and they can help,” General Dhia said. “The police is not everywhere, and we cannot cover everywhere.”

      Yet the Sudanese police are operating in one unexpected place: Europe.

      In a bid to deter future migrants, at least three European countries — Belgium, France and Italy — have allowed in Sudanese police officers to hasten the deportation of Sudanese asylum seekers, General Dhia said.

      Nominally, their official role is simply to identify their citizens. But the officers have been allowed to interrogate some deportation candidates without being monitored by European officials with the language skills to understand what was being said.

      More than 50 Sudanese seeking asylum in Europe have been deported in the past 18 months from Belgium, France and Italy; The New York Times interviewed seven of them on a recent visit to Sudan.

      Four said they had been tortured on their return to Sudan — allegations denied by General Dhia. One man was a Darfuri political dissident deported in late 2017 from France to Khartoum, where he said he was detained on arrival by N.I.S.S. agents.

      Over the next 10 days, he said he was given electric shocks, punched and beaten with metal pipes. At one point the dissident, who asked that his name be withheld for his safety, lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital. He was later released on a form of parole.
      The dissident said that, before his deportation from France, Sudanese police officers had threatened him as French officers stood nearby. “I said to the French police: ‘They are going to kill us,’” he said. “But they didn’t understand.”

      European officials argue that establishing Khartoum as a base for collaboration on fighting human smuggling can only improve the Sudanese security forces. The Regional Operational Center in Khartoum, set to open this year, will enable delegates from several European and African countries to share intelligence and coordinate operations against smugglers across North Africa.

      But potential pitfalls are evident from past collaborations. In 2016, the British and Italian police, crediting a joint operation with their Sudanese counterparts, announced the arrest of “one of the world’s most wanted people smugglers.” They said he was an Eritrean called Medhanie Yehdego Mered, who had been captured in Sudan and extradited to Italy.

      The case is now privately acknowledged by Western diplomats to have been one of mistaken identity. The prisoner turned out to be Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe, an Eritrean refugee with the same first name as the actual smuggler. Mr. Mered remains at large.

      Even General Dhia now admits that Sudan extradited the wrong man — albeit one who, he says, admitted while in Sudanese custody to involvement in smuggling.

      “There were two people, actually — two people with the same name,” General Dhia said.

      Mr. Berhe nevertheless remains on trial in Italy, accused of being Mr. Mered — and of being a smuggler.

      Beyond that, the Sudanese security services have long been accused of profiting from the smuggling trade. Following European pressure, the Sudanese Parliament adopted a raft of anti-smuggling legislation in 2014, and the rules have since led to the prosecution of some officials over alleged involvement in the smuggling business.

      But according to four smugglers whom I interviewed clandestinely during my trip to Sudan, the security services remain closely involved in the trade, with both N.I.S.S and R.S.F. officials receiving part of the smuggling profits on most trips to southern Libya.

      The head of the R.S.F., Brig. Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, has claimed in the past that his forces play a major role in impeding the route to Libya. But each smuggler — interviewed separately — said that the R.S.F. was often the main organizer of the trips, often supplying camouflaged vehicles to ferry migrants through the desert.

      After being handed over to Libyan militias in Kufra and Sabha, in southern Libya, many migrants are then systematically tortured and held for ransom — money that is later shared with the R.S.F., each smuggler said.

      Rights activists have previously accused Sudanese officials of complicity in trafficking. In a 2014 report, Human Rights Watch said that senior Sudanese police officials had colluded in the smuggling of Eritreans.

      A British journalist captured by the R.S.F. in Darfur in 2016 said that he had been told by his captors that they were involved in smuggling people to Libya. “I asked specifically about how it works,” said the journalist, Phil Cox, a freelance filmmaker for Channel 4. “And they said we make sure the routes are open, and we talk with whoever’s commanding the next area.”

      General Dhia said that the problem did not extend beyond a few bad apples. Sudan, he said, remains an effective partner for Europe in the battle against irregular migration.

      “We are not,” he said, “very far from your standards.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/22/world/africa/migration-european-union-sudan.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSo
      #externalisation

    • Soudan : des demandeurs d’asile torturés après avoir été expulsés par la France

      Un dissident politique du #Darfour, expulsé par la France fin 2017, affirme notamment avoir été électrocuté, battu et frappé avec des tuyaux en métal pendant dix jours.
      En Belgique, c’est un scandale. En France, le silence est... assourdissant. Dans une grande enquête, publiée dimanche 22 avril, le « New York Times » révèle que des demandeurs d’asile soudanais renvoyés par la France, l’Italie et la Belgique, ont été torturés à leur retour dans leur pays.

      Une enquête de Streetpress, publiée en octobre dernier, révélait déjà que la police française collaborait étroitement, et depuis 2014, avec la dictature soudanaise, et favorisait « le renvoi à Khartoum d’opposants politiques réfugiés en France ». Le titre de Streetpress parlait de lui-même : « Comment la France a livré des opposants politiques à la dictature soudanaise ».
      Le quotidien américain a de son côté retrouvé des demandeurs d’asile et a publié les témoignages de quatre d’entre eux. Ils ont été arrêtés dès leur retour puis torturés par le régime soudanais. Un dissident politique du Darfour expulsé par la France fin 2017, affirme ainsi avoir été électrocuté, battu et frappé avec des tuyaux en métal pendant dix jours. Il affirme qu’avant son expulsion, des officiers de police soudanais l’ont menacé en présence d’officiers français :
      ""Je leur ai dit : ’Ils vont nous tuer’, mais ils n’ont pas compris.""
      Des policiers soudanais dans des centres de rétention

      Interrogé par le « New York Times », le régime du général Omar el-Béchir dément. Le dictateur, qui dirige depuis 28 ans le Soudan, est visé par un mandat d’arrêt en 2008 de la Cour pénale internationale pour génocide, crimes contre l’humanité et crimes de guerre, comme le rappelle « le Journal du dimanche ».

      Comme l’écrit le quotidien américain, la Belgique, la France et l’Italie ont autorisé des « officiels soudanais » à pénétrer dans leurs centres de rétention et à interroger des demandeurs d’asile soudanais. Ces « officiels » étaient en réalité des policiers soudanais. Selon le « New York Times », les entretiens dans les centres de rétention entre les « officiels » soudanais et les demandeurs d’asile se seraient faits « en l’absence de fonctionnaire capable de traduire les propos échangés ».

      En Belgique, les révélations sur les expulsions de demandeurs d’asile soudanais ont provoqué de vives tensions. En septembre dernier, le Premier ministre belge Charles Michel a reconnu devant une commission d’enquête de son Parlement que les polices de plusieurs pays européens collaboraient étroitement avec la dictature soudanaise d’Omar el-Béchir.

      https://www.nouvelobs.com/monde/20180424.OBS5650/soudan-des-demandeurs-d-asile-tortures-apres-avoir-ete-expulses-par-la-fr

    • Et, signalé par @isskein sur FB, un communiqué de Migreurop qui date d’il y a une année. Rappel :

      L’Europe collabore avec un dictateur pour mieux expulser vers le Soudan

      Migreurop demande l’arrêt immédiat de toutes les collaborations initiées par l’Union européenne et ses Etats membres avec la dictature d’Omar El-Béchir et avec tout Etat qui bafoue les droits fondamentaux.

      http://www.migreurop.org/article2837.html


  • Ethiopia reaffirms open-door refugee policy amid continuing refugee influx

    Ethiopia has reaffirmed its open-door policy for refugees that are flocking into the East African country mainly from its unsettled neighboring countries.

    The Ethiopian refugee agency (ARRA) said Monday that even though the country presently shelters more than 900,000 refugees, it will maintain its open door policy towards refugees and “continue to receive new arrivals from several of its neighbors, notably from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Yemen.”

    Ethiopia, which is home to the second largest refugee population in Africa next to Uganda, further affirmed its commitment to improving refugee lives through the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the Nine Significant Pledges it has made in September 2016.

    “As a country proud for its long-standing history of hosting refugees and home to the second largest refugee population in Africa, our commitment to improving refugee lives will continue unabated in light of the CRRF and the Nine Significant Pledges we made in September 2016,” Zeynu Jemal, Deputy Director of Ethiopian Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), told journalists on Monday.

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-02/27/c_137003872.htm
    #ouverture_Des_Frontières #frontières_ouvertes #Ethiopie #asile #migrations #réfugiés


  • #Follow_the_money : What are the EU’s migration policy priorities ?

    Take a closer look at the data, however, and it becomes clear how the EU prioritizes among its many goals. By following the money from the EU we can see which areas the union puts the most emphasis on when it comes to migration policy. The numbers show that stopping migrants along the way is at least equally important as changing the underlying causes of migration.

    For a start, the largest amount of the #Trust_Fund money does not got to where the majority African migrants are coming from. By a large margin, Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia are the three countries most African asylum seekers came from between 2012 and 2016.

    The greatest amount of money from the EU Emergency Trust Fund, however, goes elsewhere.The biggest single recipients are Niger, Mali, Senegal, Libya, and Ethiopia. Contrast that with Somalia, which ranks 9, Nigeria 10 and Eritrea - the country with the most African asylum applicants to the EU – is 20th out of 26 EUTF recipient countries. In other words, the country most in need of EU funds to fight the root causes of migration is far down on the list of countries actually receiving those funds.

    #Niger #Sénégal #Libye #Ethiopie :


    –-> donc pas les pays d’origine !

    Despite these long-term benefits, humanitarian groups, experts and local media criticized the Trust Fund for focusing too much on tightening border controls and preventing migration instead of addressing the root causes of flight in the countries of origin.

    For a better understanding of what the EU means by “improving migration management” it’s helpful to look at the projects it funds. Libya, for example, is home to the project with the single largest EUTF budget of 90 million euros aimed at “managing mixed migration flows.” The average project for migration management receives 14 million.

    #Libye

    Untangling mixed migration flows is EU jargon for distinguishing between streams of refugees (people each EU country is obliged to protect under the Geneva Convention) and other migrants (which each EU country is free to accept or reject). The easiest way to do so would be to set up registration centers outside the EU to determine eligibility for asylum before migrants set foot in the EU. This idea has been brought up in the past by EU-leaders like the French President Emmanuel Macron.

    #catégorisation #tri #hotspots #Macron

    When we follow the EU money trail, we see that the budget of the European Border and Coast Guard authority #Frontex skyrocketed over the last years. The budget position “Joint Operations” is the largest item on the expenditure list - and quadrupled since 2012 (from 32 million euros to 129 million euros). Since 2016, the budget also included a position on “#Return_Support”. It had a budget of 39 million in 2016 and was increased to 53 million in 2017 (an increase of 30 percent), making it the second biggest position on Frontex’ budget.

    #renvois #expulsions

    http://m.dw.com/en/follow-the-money-what-are-the-eus-migration-policy-priorities/a-42588136?maca=en-Twitter-sharing&xtref=https%253A%252F%252Ft.co%252FKPKKngT4
    #migrations #développement #asile #migrations #réfugiés #UE #EU #Europe #push-factors #facteurs_push #Emergency_Trust_Fund
    cc @isskein

    • Diverting EU aid to stop migrants

      Ahead of Europe’s development ministers meeting in Estonia on 11 September, Global Health Advocates research in Senegal and Niger shows that EU development aid is misused and diverted through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

      Development aid is meant to fund long-term programmes aimed at the eradication of poverty in line with partner countries’ own development priorities. However, the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa – a rather new instrument launched hastily by the EU and backed with close to €3 billion in development funds – does exactly the opposite: it prioritises quick fixes driven by Europe’s short-term domestic priorities, with little involvement of local governments let alone civil society actors.

      Findings from the report published today reveal untransparent processes in-country, bypassing most good governance principles. No public calls for proposals, no consultation of local actors, no eligibility guidelines, prioritisation of short term projects and the development of retroactive strategies once most funds are disbursed.

      Fanny Voitzwinkler, Head of the EU Office of Global Health Advocates, says: “Everyone we met in Niamey and Dakar agreed: the EU Trust Fund is first-and-foremost a political communication tool to show citizens the EU is responding fast to the so-called ‘migration crisis‘. Using development aid money as a bargaining chip to leverage African countries’ cooperation on migration tarnishes the image of the EU as a global development actor.”

      Beyond the questionable use of development funds to address what is considered a political emergency in Europe, the EU is literally outsourcing the control of migration to countries such as Libya and Niger, to ensure migrants are no longer able to leave the northern shores of the African continent. Most concerning is that some countries have de facto boosted their domestic security spending over basic social services like health and education.

      The NGO also warns against possible spill over-effects of the EU-driven effort to reduce migratory pressure to Europe. Repressive measures to curb migration are depriving communities of economic opportunities in the Agadez region of Niger without providing viable alternatives in already unstable environments. The EU’s eagerness to rapidly stem migration flows has taken precedence over seeking sustainable solutions for the local population.

      Global Health Advocates is urging the EU to delink its political dialogue on migration from its development agenda, acknowledging that migration is a positive driver of development. In the spirit of European’s core founding values of tolerance, solidarity and respect for human dignity, the EU should actively support and promote a more nuanced narrative on migration and mobility, anchored in facts and reality.

      Ms. Voitzwinkler concludes: “If the EU Trust Fund is not realigned to reflect a genuine partnership between the EU and African countries, promoting policies that can foster a positive development impact of mobility, the EU should stop replenishing the Fund.”


      http://www.ghadvocates.eu/en/diverting-eu-aid-to-stop-migrants

      Pour télécharger le #rapport:

      http://www.ghadvocates.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Misplaced-Trust_FINAL-VERSION.pdf


  • Asylum statistics 2017: Shifting patterns, persisting disparities*

    Despite reports of asylum applications “dropping off drastically” in the European Union throughout 2017, statistics published by national authorities seem to reveal a more complex picture across the continent.

    Germany witnessed a dramatic decrease in applications registered last year (222,683) compared to the year before (745,545). It should be recalled that the majority of people lodging applications in 2016 had in fact arrived in 2015. Nevertheless, Germany still spearheads Europe’s reception of people seeking protection, far ahead of countries such as Italy and France.

    Significant reduction has been witnessed in 2017 compared to 2016 in Hungary (29,423 to 3,397) and Bulgaria (19,418 to 3,700). On the other hand, more claims were received in Italy (123.482 to 130,180), France (85,244 to 100,412), Belgium (18,710 to 19,688), Norway (3,460 to 3,546) and Slovenia (1,308 to 1,476).

    Substantial drops in overall recognition rates were marked in Germany (71.4 to 53%) and Sweden (77.4% to 46.9%) in the course of 2017, even though the main nationalities of persons seeking asylum in those countries have remained the same. Conversely, countries including Belgium (59.5 to 64.6%), Italy (39.4 to 40%), Hungary (8.5 to 29.7%) and Poland (16.6 to 19.5%) had higher recognition rates in 2017 compared to 2016.

    Asylum seekers from Afghanistan continue to face an ‘asylum lottery’ as their chances of obtaining a form of protection (Recognition Rates) ranged from 83.1% in France to 58% in Belgium, 47% in Germany and 30% in Hungary. Decision-making in countries such as Bulgaria, where Afghan claims are treated as “manifestly unfounded” and face “strikingly low” recognition rates, has attracted concern from the European Commission, as per a letter to the Bulgarian authorities.

    https://www.ecre.org/asylum-statistics-2017-shifting-patterns-persisting-disparities
    #2017 #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Europe #statistiques #chiffres

    • Press Release: EASO releases overview of 2017 EU+ asylum trends

      In 2017, EU+ countries recorded 706,913 asylum applications [I]. This is a decrease of 43% compared to 2016, and the second consecutive year with fewer applications after the unprecedented influx in 2015 and 2016. Despite this decrease, the 2017 total remained at a slightly higher level than the number of applications lodged in 2014, indicating that the asylum-related inflow in the EU+ remained considerable.

      In the EU+ as a whole, monthly applications remained stable throughout the year.The monthly number of applications varied from 49,042 in December to 66,443 in March. A seasonal trend, with higher numbers of applications over the summer, was less visible than in the previous three years. The stable trend at EU+ level, however, conceals stark variations at a country level.

      About 55,000 applications, or 8% of the total, were repeated applications by persons who had already lodged an application previously in the same EU+ country. At least 3.5 % of all applications concerned claimed unaccompanied minors (UAM)[II].

      Syria was the most common country of origin of applicants for the fifth consecutive year, with more than 98,000 applications. Despite a considerable decrease compared to 2016, twice as many Syrians lodged an application for international protection in the EU+ as any other citizenship. Iraqi, Afghan and Nigerian nationals each lodged more than 40,000 applications in 2017. These four main countries of origin together constituted one in three applications throughout the EU+ in 2017. The top ten countries of origin also included Pakistan, Eritrea, Albania, Bangladesh, Guinea and Iran. Of these ten citizenships, only Bangladeshi and Guinean citizens lodged more applications in the EU+ in 2017 than in 2016.

      https://www.easo.europa.eu/news-events/press-release-easo-releases-overview-2017-eu-asylum-trends

    • Richiedenti asilo nell’UE 2017: continuano ad arrivare dai Paesi con i peggiori “indici di pace”, ma per loro è crollo degli esiti positivi

      I nuovi dati EASO su richiedenti asilo ed esiti in tutto il 2017 nel territorio dell’”UE+” a confronto con gli indicatori del Global Peace Index. Nell’anno gli esiti positivi in prima istanza sono crollati al 40% di tutte le domande esaminate, perdendo 17 punti percentuali rispetto al 2016. Ma intanto i richiedenti protezione continuano ad arrivare dai Paesi con gli indici di pace militare e sociale più bassi al mondo.


      http://viedifuga.org/richiedenti-asilo-nellue-2017-continuano-ad-arrivare-dai-paesi-con-i-pegg
      #taux_de_reconnaissance


  • UNHCR - Global report: 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises of 2017

    http://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2018/1/5a659f6ca/global-report-10-under-reported-humanitarian-crises-2017.html

    a new report highlighting 2017’s ten most under-reported humanitarian crises. The report “Suffering in Silence” found that the humanitarian situation in North Korea received the least media attention globally. While much media focus has been on nuclear brinkmanship, the humanitarian situation has been overlooked. Other crises that rarely made the headlines were:

    Eritrea
    Burundi
    Sudan
    Central African Republic
    DRC
    Mali
    Lake Chad Basin (Niger, Cameroon, Chad)
    Vietnam
    Peru.

    Fichier pdf ici : https://www.dropbox.com/s/8k5q24cqtnpl71l/Suffering_In_Silence_WEB.pdf?dl=0

    “We all know that a single photo can make the world turn its attention to an issue. But the people in the countries featured in CARE’s report are far away from the cameras and microphones of this world”, says Laurie Lee, CARE International’s Interim Secretary General. “These crises might not make the media headlines, but that does not mean we can forget about them.”

    #crise_humanitaire #guerre #conflits #pauvreté


  • Doctors, pilots and rabbis: Opposition grows to Israel’s plan to deport refugees - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/opposition-grows-to-israel-s-plan-to-deport-african-refugees-1.5763832

    Psychologists have joined the growing ranks of professionals, academics and religious figures urging the Israeli government to nix a plan to expel tens of thousands of asylum seekers or announcing they would actively work to foil forced deportations.

    Over the last week, demonstrations have been staged and protests have mounted after reports emerged that the government was planning to begin deporting refugees in the next weeks, having signed agreements with Rwanda and Uganda to take in some 35,000 refugees who have reached Israel over the last few years, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan.

    In their letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 530 psychologists wrote that the plan “will add the State of Israel to the cycle of harm done to the refugees,” the Israeli news site Walla reported on Wednesday. “A large proportion of asylum seekers have already gone through difficult experiences, including persecution in their countries of origin under repressive and authoritarian regimes.”

    #Israël #expulsion #déportation #exilés #résistance #manifestation


  • Sudanese armed forces ready to ‘repel any threat’ from Eritrea border

    Deputy Chairman of the Security and Defence Committee in the Sudanese Parliament, Brigadier Ibrahim Hamad Ali Al-Toum, said that it has detected military activity in Eritrea near Sudan’s eastern border.

    General Al-Toum said Sudanese armed forces are ready to monitor and repel any threat there, adding that the border area is guarded and secured.

    The Sudanese President Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud said earlier that the government has decided to close border crossings with Eritrea over “potential threats” by Egypt and Eritrea.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180117-sudanese-armed-forces-ready-to-repel-any-threat-from-eri

    #frontières #conflits #Soudan #Erythrée

    Et sur la #fermeture_des_frontières entre Erythrée et Soudan, v. ici :
    http://seen.li/akm7