country:greece

  • #Until_when_Europe ?

    CEAR and the Greek Council for Refugees denounce through this video the inaction of European authorities on the situation of thousands of refugees, many of who face a third winter in tents and precarious accommodation in Greece, Until when Europe? This is what the more than 14,000 refugees who continue to be trapped on the islands in inhumane conditions are wondering. “We live in a small tent and the baby is very cold”, “If I was not sick and so tired, I would wait quietly. But I’m sick, very sick, and I can not wait”. These are some of the testimonies of the thousands of refugees who remain trapped in the islands, waiting for a response from Europe.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PG3EfwzRMY


    #vidéo #film #se_questa_è_Europa #hotspots #asile #migrations #campement #camps #réfugiés #Grèce #droits_humains #piège #îles #attente #honte


  • Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry

    This week the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, in conjunction with ECRE and a number of European project partners, launched their report “Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry.” By examining four case studies; Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Italy, this research explores how asylum seekers’ rights to liberty are undermined upon entry, with a specific focus on de facto detention.

    “Crossing a Red Line” explains that while there has been a significant decrease in asylum applications in Bulgaria, Hungary and Italy, the use of detention upon entry has been increasing since 2015 and continues to do so. Practises of de facto detention- which indicates the deprivation of an individual’s liberty without the requirement of a detention order- are widespread and specific to country context. Hot spots, transit zones, pre- removal centres, border zones at which migrants have been ‘pushed- back’ and boats- including search and rescue vessels- have all become spaces in which people can be detained. In other cases “protective detention” results in unaccompanied children having their freedom of movement restricted.

    With no procedural guarantees and no opportunity to seek judicial review, the only possibility for release from de facto detention is to leave to another country.

    The Hungarian Helsinki Committee argue that the increasing trend of using of detention measures for asylum seekers upon entry “is motivated by a range of different practical, political, and legal considerations”. In some cases it has been advocated as a mechanism to deal with unprecedented pressure on processing systems, in others it has become an important means to gain political support for governments that frames migration as a security issue. In the case of Greece and Italy, the increased rate of detention of asylum seekers at the border has also been the product of EU- level policy, namely the need to meet the requirements of the EU-Turkey statement and Dublin system.

    The report further questions these motivations; “Why do Member States prefer to use de facto detention despite the existence of a dedicated legal framework? Is it for the purpose of administrative convenience? In order to avoid procedural safeguards? In order to satisfy public appeal and communication needs?

    The report states that there is no evidence that the use of detention reduces the rate of arrivals to the countries in question, rather it serves as a deterrent only so far as pressure is moved from one entry point to the next. In the example of Hungary, the traumatic experience of being detained in ‘transit zones’ contributes to the fact that beneficiaries of international protection frequently leave the country within a few days of their release, to apply for asylum again in another EU country. The use of de facto detention therefore contributes to secondary movements across Europe and is inevitably is counter- productive to refugee integration.

    As ECRE’s previous policy note, “Taking liberties: detention and asylum law reform” found; “The damage caused by detention adds to an already heavy process of adjustment and takes significant time and effort to remedy” (https://www.ecre.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Policy-Note-14.pdf).

    Le rapport en pdf:
    https://www.helsinki.hu/wp-content/uploads/crossing_a_red_line.pdf

    #frontières_extérieures #UE #EU #asile #migrations #détention #rétention #camps #Bulgarie #Grèce #Italie #Hongrie #Fylakio #Evros #base_de_données #database #statistiques #chiffres


  • Greece - Macedonia

    from Zoe Mavroudi sur FB - Une réflexion intéressante à propos du différend sur le nom « Macédoine »

    If you don’t follow Greek politics you may have come across reports and photos from a protest in Athens on the “Macedonian” issue. The political dispute between Greece and Macedonia (the country) on this issue goes back more than a century, and is too complicated to parse in one post but, in brief, it centers on the right of Greece’s neighbouring State to use the word “Macedonia” in its official name. The Greek State has historically claimed that this right would be an infringement on its history because the Greek region of Macedonia (which covers the largest part of its northern territory) used to be the home of Alexander the Great, the place where his golden hair glowed under the sun and that only Greeks as his true descendants can claim this name and bask in his glory forever etc etc.

    Last week’s protest was held against a new pact scheduled for a vote tomorrow in Greece’s parliament, which will settle the issue once and for all between the two countries, binding Greece to accept the name “North Macedonia” in return for real concessions that Macedonians will never again attempt to steal Alexander’s glory from us...or something. The pact is advantageous for Greece and will be the end of a political hot potato.

    You might have seen pictures from last week’s protest of men wearing ancient garb, armour and helmets, looking like Pride gays with some kind of Greco-Roman fetish.

    Needless to say not everyone who is Greek, including myself, agrees with their bullshit.

    Among the reasons why their bullshit is such pure bullshit should be obvious: their argument imagines that “Greekness” involves racial and linguistic purity and that other ethnicities which lived in the region, a melting pot of different cultures for centuries, are impure and therefore unwelcome. Scratch the surface of Greek patriotic dissent and you get some good-old fascism. Fascist MPs have manipulated popular sentiment around this issue for years and were front line at the protest, where journos were attacked and beaten by fascist groups.

    The nationalism that has been unleashed about all this has existed on both sides of the border of course but ultimately, it is Greece, a member of the EU and NATO that has infringed on the right of its neighbour to self-determination by repeatedly vetoing its attempts to enter international organizations and doing this based on historical inaccuracies and fantasies of a supposedly uninterrupted continuum of its national identity. The Greek argument was also predicated on the erasure of the history of Slavo-Macedonians (I use the term “slavo” for the purposes of explaining the issue but don’t fully accept its accuracy) via systematic exclusion, confiscation of property through racist laws and linguistic oppression.

    As someone born and raised in Greece, I was only vaguely aware of these facts until relatively recently given that it was all omitted from our school manuals and suppressed in public discourse. I have received abuse on twitter for simply expressing support for the pact.

    The dangers of rejecting this new deal for Greece and Macedonia are multi-fold and involve the increased influence in the Balkans of Turkey’s Erdogan and the real danger that the region becomes inflamed by conflict. Though the pact is NATO and EU-approved, NATO being one of the main culprits of the war in Yugoslavia, there is imo no excuse for left-wing opposition against the deal, given the lack of alternatives. This is a case where Greece’s geopolitical interests happen to be aligned with those of NATO-EU and where workers in N. Macedonia, who have been suffering for too long under what is, essentially, an embargo aimed at their society, must have our support. On a personal note, I wouldn’t give one piece of my pure Greek hair for any argument that supports one imperialist influence in the Balkans over another (in this case, Putin-Erdogan over NATO-EU). I stand with citizens of another country, especially one weaker and poorer than mine and support their democratic right to self-determination.

    #grèce #macédoin #noms #terminologie #mots


  • Even as Greeks protest, a pro-Europe deal in the Balkans nears the finish line - The Washington Post

    Décidément les grecs ont du mal avec la Macédoine voisine qui entend garder son nom... et ça fait trente ans que ça dure.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/even-as-greeks-protest-a-pro-europe-deal-in-the-balkans-nears-the-finish-line/2019/01/20/b5011524-1b5a-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html

    For months, a proposed deal to end three decades of rivalry between Greece and Macedonia has teetered on the brink of failure. The leaders spearheading the agreement in both countries have been accused of betrayal. They’ve faced street protests and opposition allegedly fomented by Russia. Days ago, after some defections from the ruling coalition, Greece’s prime minister barely survived a no-confidence vote.

    But the agreement faces only one more hurdle, a vote in Greece’s Parliament that is expected this week. U.S. officials and political analysts are increasingly optimistic that one of Europe’s most enduring political fights is about to officially end, with Macedonia changing its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. Greece, in turn, would drop its long-standing opposition and allow its tiny neighbor to join NATO and the European Union.

    #grèce #macédoine #terrioire #manipulation #propagande #nationalisme #toponymie #nom #sémiologie #histoire


  • Un autre hiver... un de plus...
    Winter conditions add to migrant hardship in northern Greece

    Freezing weather is exacerbating difficult conditions for migrants in overcrowded refugee camps in northern Greece. Last week the cold spell led to a protest by dozens of migrants at a camp near Thessaloniki. Greek officials have blamed the number of people flooding into the camp from the islands and across the Turkish border. But could the situation have been prevented?

    Harsh winter conditions hit northern Greece a few days into the new year, bringing sub-zero temperatures, strong winds, snow and ice. In the Diavata refugee camp near the port city of Thessaloniki, several hundred people are struggling with basic survival. Yet every week, despite the weather conditions, more continue to arrive.

    “They don’t think about this kind of thing, they just want to move on,” said one man at Diavata after another Afghan family arrived in the snow. “They just think that in the next stage from Turkey, when they go to Greece, everything will be fine.”

    Camp protests

    When they reach Diavata, the migrants find the reality is different. The camp is full to capacity, with around 800 registered asylum seekers. On top of these, there are between 500 and 650 people living at the site without having been registered by migration authorities.

    “Most of them have built their own makeshift shelters and tents, which are not providing them with the protection needed,” says Mike Bonke, the Greece country director of the Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB), an NGO providing support services to Diavata. “They have no (safe) heating, washing and sanitation and cooking facilities.”

    Last week, the difficult conditions prompted around 40 migrants to hold a protest outside the camp, burning tires and blockading the road. A truck driver tried to get through the barricade resulting in a fight which left one man in hospital.

    The driver lost his patience and started swearing at the migrants, who threw rocks and broke his windscreen, reports said. The driver and four migrants were charged with causing grievous bodily harm, according to the Greek daily, Katherimini.

    Conditions create health concerns

    Diavata is just one of a number of migrant facilities in northern Greece to have been affected by the cold snap. An NGO contacted by InfoMigrants said that Orestiada, near the Evros river to the east, was covered in snow. Migrants in the critically overcrowded camps on the islands too are contending with snow, frozen water pipes and icy roads.

    According to the ASB, the refugee reception camps lack resources to cope with the current conditions. “Healthcare services at all (refugee reception) sites are not adequate,” Bonke says.

    Agis Terzidis, an advisor to the Greek Minister of Health and Vice-President of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which coordinates healthcare provision to migrants and refugees, admits that the cold weather, in addition to the poor conditions and overcrowding in the camps, is exacerbating migrants’ health problems. “We have people living in conditions that are not acceptable for anyone,” he says.

    National health system must step up

    In response to the worsening situation, there are plans to boost EU-funded medical teams operating in camps throughout the country, including the islands, Agis Terzidis says. But he told InfoMigrants that from now on, more pressure would be put on the Greek national health system and local hospitals to tackle the problem, rather than medical staff in the camps themselves.

    Terzidis also insisted that fixing the situation in the camps was “not in the mandate” of the CDC, as it was chiefly a result of greater numbers of people arriving and consequent overcrowding.

    Instead, the CDC’s main priority remains vaccinating migrants to prevent outbreaks of hepatitis, measles and other infectious diseases. It also focuses on treating those suffering from chronic diseases, some of whom will likely succumb to the harsh winter conditions.

    Too many people

    With more bleak weather predicted, a vegetable garden is being planned in the Diavata camp, giving the residents something to look forward to. That will have to be abandoned if more people start to arrive when the weather improves.

    The camps continue to be under pressure from the large and unpredictable numbers of arrivals. Currently there are around 20 arrivals per week at Diavata, but that could quickly escalate to hundreds. So far, Greek authorities do not seem to have taken steps to limit how many end up at the camps seeking protection.

    I think we can all agree that this situation should have been solved by registering these refugees in the Greek Migration system and providing them with dignified and safe shelters.
    _ Mike Bonke, Greece country director, Arbeiter Samariter Bund

    As both government and army staff and their NGO colleagues in the camps remain powerless to solve the problem of overcrowding, their main task will be to protect migrants from harm and exposure as the winter enters its coldest months.

    http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/14401/winter-conditions-add-to-migrant-hardship-in-northern-greece
    #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #neige #froid #Salonique #Softex #Diavata #résistance #protestation


  • Rare Photos: European Refugee Camps in Syria — At The Height of World War II

    The whole world is aware that Europe is buckled under the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, with millions of people fleeing civil war and oppression in the Middle East, North Africa, and Western Asia, and landing on the continent’s shores by land and by sea. The UN estimates that more people have been displaced than at any time since the Second World War — there are close to 60 million war refugees, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

    While there is no denying the fact that the current humanitarian crisis is the worst refugee crisis of our generation; with continuous comparison to World War II, it is imperative that we share a small yet important fact with you: at the height of World War II, the Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration (MERRA) operated camps in Syria, Egypt and Palestine, where tens of thousands of people from across Europe sought refuge.

    Yes, you read it right. Refugees crossed the same passageways [which the Syrians, the Africans, and the Asians are taking to reach Europe TODAY] 70 years ago — BUT they were the Europeans (largely from Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia) trying to find solace in the Middle East.

    How The Refugees Entered The Camps:

    According to the International Social Service records, refugees from Europe had to register at one of several camps in Egypt, Palestine and Syria and obtain camp-issued identification cards, which contained their full name, gender, marital status, passport number, and their educational and work history.

    After registration, they had to undergo a refugee medical examination at makeshift hospital facilities — where they took off their clothes, their shoes and were washed until officials believed they were sufficiently disinfected. When they were declared fit enough to join the refugee camp, they were divided into living quarters for families, unaccompanied children, single men and single women.

    How They Survived:

    Refugees in MERRA camps received a half portion of Army rations each day; sometimes supplemented with foods that reflected refugees’ national customs and religious practices. ‘Rich’ refugees could buy beans, olives, oil, fruit, tea, coffee and other staples from camp canteens. On the rare occasion, during supervised visits to local shops, they could buy soap, razor blades, pencils, paper, stamps and other items. Some camps provided space for refugees to prepare meals; one camp in Aleppo reserved a room for women so they could make macaroni with flour, which they received from camp officials.

    How They Found Work & Developed Skills:

    Some, but not all, camps required refugees to work — though they were not forced to earn to make ends meet. GlobalPost reports:

    In Aleppo, refugees were encouraged, but not required, to work as cooks, cleaners and cobblers. Labor wasn’t mandatory in Nuseirat, either, but camp officials did try to create opportunities for refugees to use their skills in carpentry, painting, shoe making and wool spinning so that they could stay occupied and earn a little income from other refugees who could afford their services. At Moses Wells, all able-bodied, physically fit refugees worked as shopkeepers, cleaners, seamstresses, apprentices, masons, carpenters or plumbers, while “exceptionally qualified persons” served as school masters or labor foremen. Women performed additional domestic work like sewing, laundry, and preparing food on top of any other work they had.

    How They Acquired Knowledge:

    Margaret G. Arnstein, a prominent nurse practitioner notes that students in a few camps at El Shatt and Moses Wells were taught practical nursing, anatomy, physiology, first aid, obstetrics, pediatrics, as well as the military rules and regulations that governed wartime refugee camps.

    How They Entertained Themselves:

    In their free time, the men played handball, football and socialized over cigarettes, beer and wine in camp canteens. In their free time, children played with swings, slides and seesaws.

    How They Prepared For A Brighter Future:

    Education was a crucial part of camp routines. GlobalPost writes:

    Classrooms in Middle Eastern refugee camps had too few teachers and too many students, inadequate supplies and suffered from overcrowding. Yet not all the camps were so hard pressed. In Nuseirat, for example, a refugee who was an artist completed many paintings and posted them all over the walls of a kindergarten inside the camp, making the classrooms “bright and cheerful.” Well-to-do people in the area donated toys, games, and dolls to the kindergarten, causing a camp official to remark that it “compared favorably with many in the United States.”

    https://anonhq.com/rare-photos-european-refugee-camps-syria-height-world-war-ii

    #quand_eux_c'était_nous #réfugiés_européens #histoire #syrie #camps_de_réfugiés #WWII #seconde_guerre_mondiale #photographie #deuxième_guerre_moniale
    ping @albertocampiphoto @philippe_de_jonckheere


  • UK sending Syrians back to countries where they were beaten and abused

    Refugees tell of being held in cages and even tortured in European countries including Hungary and Romania

    Britain is using EU rules to send asylum seekers from Syria and other countries back to eastern European states where they were beaten, incarcerated and abused, the Guardian has learned.

    Migrant rights groups and lawyers say the Home Office is using the rules to send people back to “police brutality, detention and beatings” in several European countries.

    The Guardian has spoken to refugees who were subjected to assaults as they travelled through Europe. The men tell of being held in “cages” in Hungary, waterboarded and handcuffed to beds by detention centre guards in Romania and beaten in Bulgaria.
    Britain is one of worst places in western Europe for asylum seekers
    Read more

    They now face being returned to those countries as, under the so-called Dublin law, asylum seekers are supposed to apply in their first EU country of entry.

    In 2015 more than 80,000 requests were made by EU countries for another government to take back an asylum seeker. The UK made 3,500 of these requests to countries around Europe, including Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Hungary.

    The Home Office claims it should be entitled to assume that any EU country will treat asylum seekers properly.

    The charity Migrant Voice has collected testimony from several refugees who are fighting removal from the UK to other European countries. Nazek Ramadan, the director of the charity, said the men had been left traumatised by their journey and their subsequent treatment in the UK.

    “We know there are hundreds of Syrians in the UK who have fingerprints in other European countries,” said Ramadan. “Many no longer report to the Home Office because they are afraid of being detained and deported away from their family in the UK. Those who have been forcibly removed often end up destitute.

    “These are people who were abused in their home country, sometimes jailed by the regime there. Then they were imprisoned again in Europe. They feel that they are still living in a war zone, moving from one arrest and detention to another.”

    The law firm Duncan Lewis recently won a key case preventing forced removals back to Hungary because of the risk that people might be forced from there back to their country of origin.

    The firm is also challenging removals to Bulgaria because of what the UN refugee agency has described as “substandard” conditions there. A test case on whether Bulgaria is a safe country to send people back to is due to be heard by the court of appeal in November.

    The situation could get even more complex as an EU ban on sending asylum seekers back to Greece is due to be lifted on Wednesday after a six-year moratorium.

    Krisha Prathepan, of Duncan Lewis, said: “We intend to challenge any resumption of returns to Greece, as that country’s asylum system remains dysfunctional and the risk of refugees being returned from Greece to the very countries in which they faced persecution remains as high as ever.”

    The Home Office says it has no immediate plans to send refugees back to Greece, but is following European guidelines.

    “We have no current plans to resume Dublin returns to Greece,” a spokesperson said, citing among other reasons “the reception conditions in the country”.

    She added: “In April 2016, the high court ruled that transfer to Bulgaria under the Dublin regulation would not breach the European Convention on Human Rights. If there is evidence that Bulgaria is responsible for an asylum application, we will seek to transfer the application.”

    Mohammad Nadi Ismail, 32, Syrian

    Mohammad Nadi Ismail, a former Syrian navy captain, entered Europe via Bulgaria and Hungary, hoping to join his uncle and brother in Britain.

    In Bulgaria he was detained, beaten and humiliated. “They stripped us and made us stand in a row all naked. We had to bend over in a long line. Then they hit us on our private parts with truncheons.

    “They would wake us at night after they had been playing cards and drinking. Then they would come and hit us or kick us with their boots or truncheons.”

    One day he was released and took his chance to leave, walking for days to reach Hungary.

    But in Hungary he was locked up again. “They took us to a courtyard of a big building where there were five or six cages, about 8ft [2.4 metres] square. Most of the people were African. Some of them had been in there for four or five days. Luckily we Syrians were allowed out after one night and I headed for the UK.”

    In the UK Ismail met up with the family he hadn’t seen for three years and applied for asylum immediately.

    Then a letter came, saying his fingerprints had been found in Bulgaria and he would be returned. After a month in detention he now reports every two weeks, waiting and hoping that the UK will let him stay.

    “I will not go back to Bulgaria. I still have hope that I can stay here legally and rebuild my life with my family who have always supported me,” he said.

    ‘Dawoud’, 34, Iranian

    Dawoud (not his real name) was 28 when he fled Iran after his political activities had made him an enemy of the government. His brother and parents made it to the UK and were given refugee status.

    When he was told by border guards that he was in Romania he had no idea what that meant. “I had never even heard of this country,” he said. He was put in a camp where “water dripped through the electrics – we were electrocuted often. Children and families screamed. We lived in fear of the wild dogs who circled the camp, attacking and biting us. We were given no food; we had to go through bins in the town nearby for scraps.”

    He escaped once, to the Netherlands, but was sent back.

    “I experienced several beatings, on all parts of the body. There were people covered in blood and they were refused medical help. They even waterboarded me. I thought I would die.”

    Finally he managed to reach his mother, father and brother in the UK. For two years he has lived in hiding, too scared to apply for asylum for fear of being sent back to Romania. But a few months ago he finally reported to the Home Office. A letter informed him that a request had been made to Romania to take him back.

    Dawoud shakes as he talks about his fear of removal, saying: “When I hear people speak Romanian in the street it brings back my trauma. I once fell to the ground shaking just hearing someone speak. I will kill myself rather than go back.”

    Wael al-Awadi, 36, Syrian

    Wael travelled by sea to Italy and was detained on arrival in Sicily. “They hit us with their fists and sticks in order to make us give our fingerprints. Then they let us go. They gave us nothing, no accommodation, just told us: ‘Go where you like.’ So many Syrians were sleeping in the streets.”

    When he reached the UK he was detained for two months before friends helped him get bail. A year and a half later, when reporting at the Home Office, he was detained again and booked on to a plane to Italy.

    He refused to go and a solicitor got him out on bail. His appeal is due to be heard later this year. “I left Syria to avoid jail and detention and here I have been locked up twice,” he said. “I can’t understand it. Why can’t they look at me with some humanity? I am mentally so tired. My children call me from Syria but I can’t speak to them any more. It is too painful.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/12/the-refugees-uk-wants-to-send-back-to-countries-where-they-were-abused?
    #réfugiés_syriens #UK #Angleterre #Dublin #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Bulgarie #Roumanie #Hongrie #Italie #renvois #expulsions #renvois_Dublin


  • #Gazochori : The History of a Neighbourhood (1857–1980)

    The Athens gasworks was established in 1857 by royal decree of King Otto, which granted French businessman François Théophile Feraldi the right to establish and operate the gasworks.

    It was the first gasworks in the city of Athens and all of Greece and it quickly became an integral part of life in the capital, as it made street illumination possible and transformed everyday life in the city; the new gas streetlights gave those who were out in the city at night an improved sense of security. However, the biggest change anticipated with the coming of gas lighting was European splendour, which appears to have been coveted by part of the population of Athens from the mid-19th century onwards (Newspaper Skrip/ Σκριπ 25 December 1895).

    Following the construction of the gasworks, which began in 1857 and continued for almost a century with the gradual addition of various annexes, unlicensed buildings began to spring up around it, forming the neighbourhood of Gazochori (Στογιαννίδης & Χατζηγώγας 2013: 53). As evidenced by its name—from the Greek gazi for gas and chorio for village—the settlement was formed after the gasworks began operations. In 19th and early 20th century sources, the neighbourhood is referred to sometimes as Gazochori and sometimes as the #Aeriofotos neighbourhood or simply #Fotaerio [1].


    https://www.athenssocialatlas.gr/en/article/gazochori
    #Athènes #cartographie #histoire #visualisation #quartier #femmes #évolution #Grèce


  • Channel migrants: Home secretary declares major incident

    The rising number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel in small boats has been declared a “major incident” by the UK home secretary.


    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-46705128

    #vocabulaire #terminologie #UK #Angleterre #migrations #réfugiés #invasion #mythe #préjugés #afflux #mots


  • 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


  • What is Salesforce? Four days, 170,000 people, and one Metallica concert later, I figured out what Salesforce is — Quartz
    https://qz.com/1500717/what-is-salesforce-four-days-170000-people-and-one-metallica-concert-later-i-fig

    I had not registered for this session, and had to convince the conference bouncers that my press pass allowed me entry. They allowed me to attend on the condition that I wouldn’t take up a precious chair.

    What dawned on me over the course of this discussion was the sheer ubiquity of software.
    I agreed and sat in a chair at the far end of the room. Slowly, several people, all of them white, nearly all of them women, joined our table. One worked for a community bank in Wisconsin. Another for Freddie Mac. Two of the women, it turned out, worked for the company my brother co-founded, which often helps financial firms with Salesforce.

    This was the closest I had come to understanding what Salesforce is actually good for, beyond throwing swanky parties. Everyone at the table had used Salesforce to solve problems at their companies. It had worked well. They had many more problems, and wanted to figure out the best way to use the platform to solve those, too. As they discussed how best to “leverage Financial Services Cloud,” their heads nodded.

    What dawned on me over the course of this discussion was the sheer ubiquity of software. Yes, it is several years now since Marc Andreessen wrote that “software is eating the world.” But it’s not just the smartphones and websites that we have come to be familiar with as “software.” It’s literally everything. Do anything in a modern city and it will trigger a long string of computational processes. Test-drive a car, express interest in an insurance plan, apply for a loan, contribute to a nonprofit, use a credit card, call airline customer service, change a t-shirt order from “large” to “medium,” and you will be entered into a database, added to annual reports, sent automated emails, plugged into “people who buy X also buy Y” algorithms. This is obviously true for hip startups like AirBnb. It is also true for boring, ancient, bailed-out behemoths like Freddie Mac.

    Usually, the software that runs in the dark server rooms of non-tech companies either comes with hefty license fees or is barely functional, hacked together over years by in-house coders who have come and gone. Information relevant to the company may be spread across hundreds of spreadsheets and thousands of emails, accessible only from certain computers or networks. One of the chief complaints of the woman from Freddie Mac was that the company has “a lot of legacy systems” that need to be modernized.

    “Enterprise software”—specifically “customer relationship management” software—aims to solve, or at least alleviate, such problems. Benioff’s insight was to do so using the “cloud.” Instead of charging people for a license to use your software, a la Windows XP, have them pay for a subscription to use your service, which can be accessed anywhere. It’s like Gmail, but for all of the mind-numbing tasks of the modern salesperson, customer service representative, or middle manager, like inputting what happened on a call with a customer or generating inventory reports. No more understaffed IT departments, no more inaccessible spreadsheets, no more massive upfront costs.

    These days, most people use several cloud-based services, like Spotify or Dropbox. It’s why the Google Chromebook can be a thing, and why Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, can get by without ever using a computer. It’s why Salesforce can count among its several mascots SaaSy, named after “Software as a Service,” a dancing white circle with arms and legs, but no face, that displays the word “software” in a red circle with a red line crossing it out. Nothing to install, just the cloud. That is sassy.

    But Benioff was onto the idea early. Less than 20 years have passed since he staged a sassy fake protest at the annual conference of the incumbent CRM giant, Siebel Systems, with protesters chanting, “The internet is really neat, software is obsolete!” Now 89 of the companies on the Fortune 100 use Salesforce. For the past three years, Salesforce has grown over 20% year-over-year every single quarter.

    What is Salesforce? Four days, 170,000 people, and one Metallica concert later, I figured out what Salesforce is — Quartz
    https://qz.com/1500717/what-is-salesforce-four-days-170000-people-and-one-metallica-concert-later-i-fig

    Giving more people access to high-paying tech jobs. Looks great.

    Soon after that, though, a darker, less altruistic interpretation of “inclusive capitalism” began to emerge. One that sees it not primarily as a way to bring in the excluded, but to boost the Salesforce brand, to fortify the cult, to attract talent and investors. To establish a place in history.

    After the PepUp Tech video, another told the story of billionaire Italian fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli, who uses Salesforce at his company. Cucinelli was himself in attendance. After the video finished, he took the microphone and spoke directly to Benioff in rapid-fire Italian, through an interpreter, as if he were the effusive prognosticator of an ancient king.

    “For your birthday,” Cucinelli pronounced, “I have a special request to submit to you.” This was how I learned that the keynote speech was happening on the day of Benioff’s 54th birthday.

    If “inclusive capitalism” has any chance of succeeding, one could hope for no better agent than Benioff.
    “I would like you, in this special world, which is the cradle of genius, you should envision something that lasts for the next 2,000 years,” Cucinelli continued. “In ancient Greece, Pericles 2,500 years ago stated, ‘as long as our Parthenon is standing, our Athens will be standing, too.’ In ancient Rome, Hadrian stated, ‘I feel responsible for the beauty in the world,’ and he states, ‘my Rome will be there forever.’ In my Florence, during the Renaissance, there is Lorenzo the Magnificent, another genius, who basically sits around the same table, Michelangelo, Leonardo, all together, and they design and plan for eternity…I think you, Marc, you could be the new Lorenzo the Magnificent of this side of the world.”

    Benioff was certainly positive about the first video, but this speech appeared to affect him in a deeper way. Salesforce Tower is now the tallest building in San Francisco. There is a children’s hospital in the city with his name on it. Maybe not quite 2,000 years, but those will last. And with Time under his belt, Benioff is in a position to become known as the guy who figured out how to improve the world while making loads of cash. He has deflected suggestions that he intends to run for political office by saying he can do even more good as a CEO.

    If “inclusive capitalism” has any chance of succeeding, one could hope for no better agent than Benioff. He’s a large, imposing, wealthy white man with ties to cultural icons and A-level politicians, but also to community leaders and local activists. Instead of making grand, world-changing gestures to “cure all diseases,” his focus is local, on things he has a personal stake in and can observe, like the well-being of the Bay Area. He has a chief philanthropy officer. Salesforce develops tools that make charitable giving easier for companies and organizations. His intentions appear to be good.

    But it’s also true that Benioff probably couldn’t have bought Time magazine, or built such a tall tower, if not for the exclusive capitalism that he hopes to rid the world of. This is the hard thing about being a billionaire who wants to do good: they only feel responsible for the beauty in the world so long as they still get to have lots and lots and lots of money. Benioff can donate tens of millions of dollars, marginally expanding the set of people who benefit from the status quo, without really losing any of his own wealth. And if anything, it raises his status even further.

    But if “inclusive” and “capitalism” turn out to be incompatible, would he be willing to give it all up for the greater good?

    #USA #capitalisme #action_charitable #affaires


  • Greece seizes big drugs haul from Syrian freighter sailing for Libya | Reuters
    https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN1OD1RK


    Cargo ship “Noka” is seen moored following an operation of the Hellenic Coast Guard, in which cannabis and super-strength amphetamine pills worth more than 100 million euros were confiscated, at the port of Ierapetra on the island of Crete, Greece. December 5, 2018. Hellenic Coast Guard /Handout via REUTERS

    Greece has seized drugs worth more than 100 million euros ($113 million) after intercepting a Syrian ship sailing for Libya, the coast guard said on Friday.

    Officials found about six tonnes of processed cannabis and 3 million super-strength “Captagon” amphetamine pills hidden aboard the Syrian-flagged “Noka”, it said in a statement.

    The freighter, with a crew of 11, was en route from the Syrian port of Latakia to Benghazi when it was intercepted by Greek authorities off the southeastern coast of Crete on Dec. 5.

    The Noka was escorted to Heraklion port on the Greek island on Dec. 8, where the authorities unloaded its entire cargo.


  • Ukraine-Russia tensions reach Greece’s holy Mount Athos | World news | The Guardian

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/14/ukraine-russia-tensions-reach-greeces-holy-mount-athos

    Orthodox church’s decision to make Ukrainian branch independent of Russia causes schism and predictions of violence

    by Shaun Walker in Athos

    Fri 14 Dec 2018 06.00 GMT

    In the chilly pre-dawn gloom one recent morning, Father Makarios hurried to his chapel, one of dozens of churches and cathedrals across Mount Athos, to perform morning liturgy. A two-hour marathon of biblical recitations and sonorous chanting, it would be just one of many services that day.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


  • Tale of Swiss-based Syrian torture survivor highlights Dublin flaws

    Jalal last saw his youngest son was when the boy was a baby. Now Hamude is almost five. The asylum seeker from Syria is caught up in a complicated international case based on the Dublin accord, a regulation that Switzerland applies more strictly than any other country in Europe, according to critics.

    Jalal has been living in limbo, unable to plan more than a few months in advance, since 2014.

    “I spent five years in a Syrian prison and now I have spent [almost] another five years in an open prison,” Jalal told swissinfo.ch in November.

    The father leads an isolated life in a tiny studio on the outskirts of Lucerne in central Switzerland.

    Hamude, along with his mother and two siblings, live equally isolated in a rundown caravan camp a couple thousand kilometres away in Greece. Their relationship unfolds largely over Whatsapp. Living with no sense of when or where they will all see each other again has both parents on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

    Despite the efforts of lawyers in both countries, the family has been unable to reunite, victims of a Dublin accord that member states including Switzerland prefer to invoke to expel people rather than evaluate their cases. Under the regulation, Switzerland can automatically deport individuals to the first country of arrival in the Schengen area. As a Kurd, who says he suffered torture and prolonged detention in Syria as well as a dangerous war wound, Jalal’s asylum claim warrants evaluation.

    But Jalal faced a classic problem — one confronting asylum-seekers in Switzerland and across Europe. The only aspect of his journey the Swiss authorities cared about at the time of his arrival was through which country he entered Europe’s open borders Schengen area, not why he was seeking asylum. On that basis, the decision to expel him to Italy was made in early 2015.

    “Switzerland has never lived through a war, so the Swiss are not able to empathize with people who are fleeing a war,” concluded Jalal in a moment of deep uncertainty about his future. “If they had any sense of what we have been through they would not deal with us like this.”

    Switzerland prides itself on its strong humanitarian tradition but policies relating to asylum and migration have hardened in recent years as elsewhere in Europe. The Swiss Secretariat for Migration (SEM) declined to comment, saying it does not provide details on individual cases for “data protection” reasons.

    A Syrian nightmare

    Back in Syria, in 2004, Jalal says he found himself on the wanted list of the Syrian regime for participating in a protest demanding greater rights for the Kurdish minority population. He and his father were targeted in a knife attack by pro-regime thugs three years later, in 2007. Jalal incurred 12 cuts while his father was killed on the spot.

    According to his story, Kurdish rights activism landed him behind bars. He was held in a prison in the northern city of Aleppo where one of the many grisly tasks assigned to him was cleaning the basement room used for executions — punishment for dodging military service. He was still behind bars as a popular revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave way to large scale massacres and war.

    He says he eventually managed to escape during a rebel attack on the prison, seized the opportunity to flee to Turkey and had to return to Syria to borrow money to pay smugglers to get his family to Europe. On that journey, he sustained a grenade injury. Neither surgeons at the field clinic that treated him that day nor those later in Switzerland were able to extract all of the fragments.
    Getting to Europe

    Badly wounded, he boarded a naval ship from the Turkish coastal town of Mersin and travelled with hundreds of others to Italy. Time in Italy was brief but long enough for the authorities to take his fingerprints — an act that would underpin the Swiss decision to send him back.

    “The Italian authorities put us on buses and took us straight to the train station in Milan, so we could continue to Europe,” says Jalal, who picked Switzerland over Germany because his two brothers were already living in the Alpine nation. “A return to Italy would mean starting from scratch and god knows how many years until I see my wife and children.”

    In Switzerland, he now gets by on emergency aid and found accommodation — a spartan but clean studio — through the Caritas charity. Every two weeks he must report to the local migration authorities. The one thing he is deeply grateful for is the medical and psychological treatment he has received here.
    Navigating Swiss and international laws

    Gabriella Tau and Boris Wijkström are his lawyers at the Centre suisse pour la défense des droits de migrants (CSDM), an organisation focused on defending the rights of migrants. CSDM took up his case and brought it to the attention the Committee Against Torture (CAT) at the United Nations, which suspended his expulsion pending a ruling on the merits of the case.

    During an October interview in his small office in Geneva, where dozens wait in the stairway in the hope of getting legal assistance, Wijkström said they are “very careful” of which cases they defend. The lawyers only take up a few per year, selecting the ones where they feel there has been a real miscarriage of justice.

    “They are very sensitive to any possible limitations imposed on Dublin expulsions to Italy,” he said about the Swiss position on asylum cases that have reached CAT.

    Switzerland has a reputation for being a highly efficient user of the Dublin system, a “blindly” mechanical efficiency that human rights groups including Amnesty Internationalexternal link say ride roughshod over the most vulnerable of individuals. The Swiss Refugee Councilexternal link wants Switzerland to stop sending vulnerable asylum seekers back to Italy because “adequate reception is not guaranteed there”.

    In 2017, Switzerland made 2,297 transfers invoking The Dublin III Regulation to neighbouring Italy, Germany and France and received 885 transfers from those countries, accordingexternal link to the Council.

    “Switzerland stands out as one of the biggest users of the Dublin system, even though volumes are, for instance, much smaller than those of Germany,” notes Francesco Maiani, an expert on European asylum policy and law. “Switzerland is one of the countries that consistently had more transfers to other countries than transfers from other countries.”

    However, two clauses with the Dublin Regulation III actively encourage a softer approach. One is the sovereignty clause. The other is the humanitarian clause.

    The SEM told swissinfo.ch it applies the “sovereignty clause” when a transfer “would contravene mandatory provisions of international law or in the presence of humanitarian grounds indicating that a transfer is a particularly rigorous measure.”

    It also rejected the notion that it applies the Dublin Regulation “blindly.”

    “The whole ethos of the Dublin system is quite problematic,” said Maiani, a member of the faculty of law at Lausanne University in a phone interview. “It tends to underscore that if you send asylum applicants away you win the game. If you admit them, you lose the game. And this of course introduces a lot of distortions in the process.”

    In an October letter to UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, CSDM outlined its concerns over “the systematic expulsion of torture victims and other vulnerable asylum seekers under the Dublin Regulation from Switzerland to European Union countries where dysfunctional asylum systems that expose them to a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment”.

    A SEM spokesperson explained that Switzerland wants to see the Dublin III regulation reformed so that procedures are “faster and more efficient”, secondary migration prevented and responsibility between countries distributed more fairly. “Switzerland regularly takes this position at the European level and in bilateral talks with government representatives of EU member states and EU institutions,” the spokesperson said.
    Not one, but two Dublin proceedings

    For now, Jalal’s best shot at family reunification would be a Swiss decision to grant him asylum. But that risks being a lengthy process. The family got tangled in two Dublin proceedings — one to expel Jalal from Switzerland to Italy, the other a bid by Greece to see the family reunited in Switzerland.

    “Sometimes a Dublin reunification can take up to two or three years although on paper things should move more quickly,” notes Michael Kientzle, who works with the refugee aid group in Greeceexternal link that filed a request for Switzerland to take charge of Jalal’s family. The request was rejected and is now being appealed.

    The rest in limbo just like Jalal.

    When asked about the case, SEM said it takes into account the arguments put forward in decisions made by CAT [which recently ruled in favour of an Eritrean asylum-seeker and torture survivor presenting similar circumstances.] “[If SEM] concludes that a transfer to a Dublin state would endanger a person, it will conduct the asylum procedure in Switzerland,” it said.

    Shortly after being contacted by swissinfo.ch, SEM finally decided to examine his asylum claim. “The facts of his case have not changed,” noted Wijkström. “It’s great news for him but it underscores the arbitrariness of the whole system.”

    Adding to the absurdity of it all, he added, the Lucerne prosecutor has kept open a case against Jalal over illegal entry and illegal stay.

    Arbitrary or not — the decision by authorities to hear him out has filled Jalal with a new sense of purpose and hope for a fresh start in Switzerland.

    On the chilly morning of December 12, he met with a Caritas lawyer who will join him during his asylum hearing. He came prepared with all his documents, including X-rays and family identification booklet.

    “Maybe things finally work out and I get to see my family,” he tells swissinfo.chexternal link, consumed by nerves both about the outcome of his interview and the conditions of his mother and brother struggling to get on in a war-torn pocket of Syria.” All I can do is retell my story. They already have all the evidence.”

    https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/international-law_tale-of-swiss-based-syrian-torture-survivor-highlights-dublin-flaws/44615866
    #torture #Suisse #Dublin #renvois_Dublin #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_syriens #Italie #expulsions #renvois

    ping @isskein


  • Encore une compilation de musique politiquement engagée, un coffret de 4 CDs même, prévu pour février 2019, produit par le Smithonian Institute:

    The Social Power of Music
    https://folkways.si.edu/the-social-power-of-music

    From parties to protests to prayer, music is a powerful catalyst for celebration, for change, and for a sense of community. Through making music together, we become bigger than ourselves. Whether singing with our families and friends or with thousands of strangers in an arena, music transforms lives, engages individuals, and connects local and global communities. The Social Power of Music chronicles the vivid, impassioned, and myriad ways in which music binds, incites, memorializes, and moves groups of people. This richly illustrated 124-page book, with 80+ tracks on 4 CDs, invites listeners into musical practices, episodes, and movements throughout the U.S. and beyond. These songs of struggle, devotion, celebration, and migration remind us that music has the potential to change our world.

    Countries: Algeria; Angola; Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Congo-Brazzaville; Denmark; Dominican Republic; France; Greece; Indonesia; Italy; Korea, South; Lebanon; Mexico; Nicaragua; Poland; Puerto Rico; Republic of Kosovo; Scotland; South Africa; Thailand; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States; Vietnam

    101 We Shall Overcome The Freedom Singers 2:09
    102 This Land is Your Land Woody Guthrie 2:48
    103 De colores ([Made] of Colors) Baldemar Velásquez, Aguila Negra 3:02
    104 Union Maid Bobbie McGee 2:13
    105 If I Had a Hammer Pete Seeger 1:54
    106 Reclaim the Night Peggy Seeger 4:33
    107 Estoy aquí (I Am Here) Quetzal 5:21
    108 Deportees (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) Sammy Walker 4:57
    109 We Are the Children Chris Kando Iijima, Joanne Nobuko Miyamoto, Charlie Chin 2:55
    110 I Woke Up This Morning Fannie Lou Hamer 2:36
    111 I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Country Joe McDonald 2:59
    112 El pobre sigue sufriendo (The Poor Keep On Suffering) Andrés Jiménez 3:26
    113 Ballad of the ERA Kristin Lems 4:11
    114 Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Pete Seeger 2:06
    115 Blowing in the Wind The New World Singers 2:32
    116 Quihubo raza (What’s Happening, People) Agustín Lira and Alma 3:50
    117 Solidarity Forever Jim Jackson 2:30
    118 Joe Hill Paul Robeson 3:00
    119 Joaquin Murrieta Rumel Fuentes 3:35
    120 Which Side Are You On? The Almanac Singers 2:10
    121 Legal/Illegal Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger 4:12
    122 It Isn’t Nice Barbara Dane, The Chambers Brothers 4:05

    201 Amazing Grace The Old Regular Baptists 2:44
    202 Come By Here Barbara Dane, The Chambers Brothers 5:33
    203 Will the Circle Be Unbroken The Strange Creek Singers 3:38
    204 Peace in the Valley The Paramount Singers 3:50
    205 Many Eagle Set Sun Dance Song The Pembina Chippewa Singers 2:11
    206 Zuni Rain Dance Members of Zuni Pueblo 4:41
    207 Calvary Shape-note singers at Stewart’s Chapel 1:27
    208 Northfield The Old Harp Singers of Eastern Tennessee 1:58
    209 The Call to Prayer / Adhān Ahmad Al Alawi 2:10
    210 Zikr (excerpt) Sheikh Xhemail Shehu, members of the Prizren Rifa’i tekke 2:45
    Audio Player
    211 Buddhist Chants and Prayers Tu Huyen, Hai Phat, Tam Thu, Hai Dat 4:34
    212 Kol Nidre Cantor Abraham Brun 5:05
    213 Dayeinu Raasche, Alan Mills 1:47
    214 Night Chant Sandoval Begay 2:12
    215 Hark, Hark Carolers from the Black Bull, Ecclesfield, UK 3:11
    216 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot The Princely Players 2:47
    217 The Old Rugged Cross The Paschall Brothers 5:17
    218 Madre de Dolores (Mother of Sorrows) Hermanos de la Morada de Nuestra Señora de Dolores del Alto 2:56
    219 San Miguel (Saint Michael) Francia Reyes 4:11
    220 I’ll Fly Away Rose Maddox 2:32

    301 Party Down at the Blue Angel Club Clifton Chenier and His Red Hot Louisiana Band 4:51
    302 San Antonio Rose Los Reyes de Albuquerque 2:38
    303 Jolie blonde (Pretty Blonde) Austin Pitre 2:47
    304 Shake Your Moneymaker John Littlejohn 4:19
    305 Beer-Drinking Polka Flaco Jiménez, Max Baca 2:25
    306 In Heaven There Is No Beer The Goose Island Ramblers 2:32
    307 SAM (Get Down) Sam Brothers Five 4:10
    308 Golden Slippers / The Butterfly Whirl Lester Bradley and Friends 4:31
    309 Sligo Indians / Paddy Clancy’s / Larry Redican’s / The Rambling Pitchfork Tony DeMarco 4:21
    310 La entrega de los novios (The Delivery of the Newlyweds) Lorenzo Martínez 3:46
    311 Rock Dance Song (Cree/Metis) The Pembina Chippewa Singers 2:20
    312 Pow Wow Song Chippewa Nation 2:52
    313 Mary Mack Lilly’s Chapel School, Alabama 1:58
    314 Johnny Cuckoo Janie Hunter and children at home 1:15
    315 Rooster Call John Henry Mealing and group 4:00
    316 Joy to the World Elizabeth Mitchell 3:06
    317 Oylupnuv Obrutch (The Broken Hoop Song) The Golden Gate Gypsy Orchestra 2:01
    318 Liberty Funeral March The Liberty Brass Band 4:51
    319 Junkanoos #1 Key West Junkanoo Band 3:07
    320 The Star Spangled Banner Unknown orchestra 1:16
    321 Mardi Gras Medley (excerpt) ReBirth Jazz Band 4:33

    401 Viva la Quince Brigada (Long Live the 15th Brigade) Pete Seeger 3:04
    402 Bella ciao (Goodbye Beautiful) Singers of the “Bella Ciao” production of Spoleto 1:35
    403 A desalambrar (Tear Down the Fences) Expresión Joven 5:07
    404 Muato mua N’Gola (Women of Angola) Lilly Tchiumba 2:34
    405 Un gigante que despierta (An Awakening Giant) Luis Godoy, Grupo Mancotal 4:03
    406 Hasret (Longing) Melike Demirag 3:10
    407 Prisioneros somos (We Are All Prisoners) Suni Paz 2:19
    408 Funeral do lavrador (Funeral of a Worker) Zelia Barbosa 1:59
    409 Izakunyatheli Afrika Verwoerd (Africa is Going to Trample on You, Verwoerd) South African refugees in Tanganyika 1:52
    410 The Boy with the Sunlit Smile Mikis Theodorakis 2:48
    411 Hidup di Bui (Life in Jail) Gambang Kromong Slendang Betawi, Kwi Ap 5:34
    412 Man and Buffalo (Kon Gap Kwai) Caravan 3:40
    413 Why Need We Cry? Cantor Abraham Brun 2:32
    414 El palomo (The Dove) Grupo Raíz 4:06
    415 Hvem sidder dér bag skærmen (The Roadmaker) Inger Nielsen 3:08
    416 Mon’ etu ua Kassule Musician supporters of the MPLA 5:35
    417 Le temps des cerises (Cherry Blossom Time) Yves Montand 4:37
    418 Chongsun Arirang Singer from Central Korea 4:03
    419 The Passport Marcel Khalifé 9:23
    420 Inno della Resistenza (Hymn of the Resistance) Choir of FLN fighters 1:28

    #Musique #Musique_et_politique


  • Generation Hate: French far right’s violence and racism exposed

    Al Jazeera investigation reveals Generation Identity members carrying out racist attacks, making Nazi salutes in Lille.

    It was the first weekend of 2018 and Remi Falize was hungry for a fight.

    The 30-year-old far-right activist, who previously said his dying wish was to kill Muslims in the northern city of Lille, took out a pair of black plastic-reinforced leather gloves.

    “Here, my punching gloves, just in case,” he told his friends in a secretly filmed conversation. “We are not here to get f**ked about. We are in France, for f**k’s sake.”

    Falize found his fight towards the end of the night.

    Around 1am, outside the O’Corner Pub in Lille’s main nightlife strip, a group of teenagers approached Falize and his friends. One asked for a cigarette. Suddenly, Falize’s friend pushed him and the doorman at the bar was pepper-spraying the teenagers.

    “I swear to Mecca, don’t hit me,” one girl in the group pleaded.

    Falize was incensed. “What to Mecca? I f**k Mecca!”

    The burly man went after her even as she turned to leave and punched her in the head several times.

    “Girl, or no girl, I couldn’t give a f**k. They’re just Arabs,” he said. Then, taking a drag on his cigarette, he shook his wrist and said: “She really must have felt it because I’m hurting.”

    Falize and his friends are part of Generation Identity (GI), one of Europe’s fastest growing and most prominent far-right movements. The organisation was set up in France six years ago, and now has branches in several countries, including Italy, Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom.

    The pan-European group, estimated to have thousands of members and an online following of tens of thousands, advocates the defence of what it sees as the identity and culture of white Europeans from what it calls the “great replacement” by immigration and “Islamisation”.

    It presents itself as a patriotic movement and claims to be non-violent and non-racist.

    But when an Al Jazeera undercover reporter infiltrated GI’s branch in Lille, he found the opposite.
    ’Defend Europe’

    Footage our reporter filmed secretly over a period of six months, beginning in September 2017, shows GI members carrying out racist attacks and admitting to a series of other assaults on Muslims.

    The group’s activists were frequently seen making Nazi salutes and shouting “Heil Hitler”. Its leaders meanwhile explained how they’ve infiltrated the National Front (now the National Rally), a far-right French party led by Marine Le Pen, who lost a 2017 presidential election runoff to Emmanuel Macron.

    Made up of white nationalists, the group first came to prominence in 2012 when dozens of its activists occupied a mosque in Poitiers, western France, for more than six hours before police ejected them. Days later, GI issued a “declaration of war” on multiculturalism and called for a national referendum on Muslim immigration.

    Robin D’Angelo, a French political analyst, said the group considers France their “main battleground” in Europe, as it’s the country with the largest Muslim community on the continent. Muslims make up nearly 10 percent of France’s 67 million population. A second and more significant factor, D’Angelo said, was a rise in deadly attacks by Muslim assailants in the country in recent years.

    They include a 2015 gun attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the French capital, which left a dozen people dead, as well as a series of coordinated assaults later that year in Paris, including at the Bataclan theatre, in which more than 130 people were killed. The next year, assailants drove a 19-tonne cargo truck into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day in the Mediterranean city of Nice, killing 86 people.

    GI, however, differs from traditional far-right groups, D’Angelo said, in its public attempts to distance itself from violence and overt racism. “What they understood was that marginalisation would never bring their ideas to power, would never make their ideas spread, so they try to be as clean as possible,” D’Angelo said.

    The group’s strategy to influence public debate includes staging spectacular publicity stunts to attract media attention and gain a huge social media following, he said.

    Such moves include a 2017 boat mission called “Defend Europe” which sought to disrupt refugee rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea. GI raised more than 50,000 euros ($57,000) in less than three weeks for the mission, which ultimately failed when the group’s boat was blocked from refuelling in Greece and Tunisia.

    In April, more than 100 GI activists tried to shut off a snowy mountain pass on the French-Italian border used by migrants. After erecting a makeshift barrier there, they unfurled a banner which read: “You will not make Europe your home. No way. Back to your homeland.”
    ’We want power’

    Aurelien Verhassel was one of the GI leaders who took part in the group’s Alpine mission. He is also the head of the group’s Flanders branch. In a backstreet in Lille’s city centre, the 34-year-old runs a members-only bar called the Citadelle.

    “It’s not just a bar,” he told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter. “It’s a community with all the activities that go with it; a boxing club, a library, a cinema club.”

    Membership in GI Flanders had almost tripled, he said, from 300 to 800 in just a year.

    At the Citadelle, Verhassel, a man with an angular face and slicked-back hair, hosted lengthy discussions on politics, entertaining GI members from other parts of France and sometimes journalists, too. One Friday in December last year, Verhassel asked members to be present for a TV interview with journalists from Quebec, Canada.

    In his television appearance, Verhassel, who has a string of criminal convictions for violence, including a five-month prison sentence for an attack on two North African teenagers that he is appealing, presented the image of a committed but professional politician.

    “Europe has been invaded,” he told the Canadian journalists. And the aim of GI, “a serious political movement that trains young leaders”, was to tackle mass Muslim immigration, he said.

    GI’s main solution, he added, was a concept called “remigration” - a programme to send non-European families to their ancestral homelands. “For us, the non-Europeans, the Islamists, can go home by any means,” he said. “By boat, by plane or by spaceship. They can go home however they want.”

    The “remigration concept” is at the core of GI’s vision for France’s future, and was detailed in a policy document the group released during the 2017 election campaign. Jean-David Cattin, a GI leader who was in charge of the group’s communications when its activists targeted refugee rescue missions in the Mediterranean, told Citadelle members in October last year that France could force former colonies to take back migrants by making development aid conditional on the return of non-European residents and migrants.

    “We are France, we have nuclear weapons. We give them hundreds of millions in development aid,” he told a sceptical activist. “We’d say: ’Listen, we’d love to help you out financially, but you’ve got to take back your guys.’”

    Mathias Destal, a journalist who has been investigating France’s far right for years, called the “remigration” concept “delirious” and likened it to ethnic cleansing.

    “It would mean deporting thousands and thousands of people to countries which are supposedly their countries of origin because their ancestors might have lived there or because the colour of their skin or their culture refers to countries which are not France … so, in fact, it would nearly be ethnic cleansing.”

    Verhassel believed that the strategy to take the concept mainstream was to protect the group’s media image.

    GI Lille has refused entry to “skinheads and all those anti-social types”, he told our undercover reporter, and expelled others who might damage GI’s reputation. The image he wanted to cultivate, Verhassel said, was “it’s cool to be a fascist”.
    Verhassel was particularly worried about people who might post photos online of themselves doing Nazi salutes at the Citadelle. “We’d be shut down. We’d be done for,” he said.

    Over a beer at the Citadelle, Verhassel explained: “They want to make gestures. We want power … They just want romanticism. It’s beautiful, it’s sweet, but it doesn’t do much to advance the cause. The goal is to win.”
    Racist attacks and Nazi salutes

    Despite the public disavowal of violence and racism, Verhassel himself was secretly filmed encouraging activists to carry out assaults. “Someone needs a smack. But yeah, the advantage is that we’re in a violent environment and everyone accepts that,” he said.

    Footage from the Citadelle and other parts of Lille also show activists frequently boasting about carrying out violent attacks and making Nazi salutes.

    On the night of the attack on the teenagers, a far-right activist associated with GI, known as Le Roux, greeted Falize and his friends at a bar in central Lille that same night, saying: “Sieg Heil! Come on Generation Identity! F**king hell! Sieg Heil!”

    Charles Tessier, another associate of Falize, described an attack on three Arab men in which Falize broke his opponent’s nose.

    “It started pissing blood,” he said.

    “Then we fight, three on three, and they ran off. We chase them shouting ’Dirty Arab! Sieg Heil!”

    “We were Sieg-Heiling on the street.”

    Such racist attacks, another activist called Will Ter Yssel said, brought GI activists together.

    Falize, meanwhile, was caught on camera confessing that if he was diagnosed with a terminal illness, his wish would be to “sow carnage” against Muslims, perhaps by going on a shooting spree at a mosque in Lille, or even a car-ramming at the city’s Wazemmes market, which is popular with Arabs and Muslims.

    “If you take your car there on a Sunday, it’ll be chaos,” he said, laughing.

    “As long as I don’t die during the carnage, I’ll do it again.”

    Responding to Al Jazeera’s findings, a lawyer for Verhassel said the Citadelle welcomed people of “diverse persuasions” and does not represent GI.

    The Citadelle “condemned in the strongest terms” the comments from its members if such statements were attributable to them, the lawyer added.

    Sylvie Guillaume, vice president of the European Parliament, called the footage of the attacks and admissions of violence “disturbing”.

    Calling for legal action, she added: “They intend to get into fights, they say it, they’re preparing themselves, they have gloves for hitting, they target their victims. These are people who make direct references to Hitler, who speak with phrases the Nazis used.”

    Guillaume continued: “That is punishable by law.”


    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/generation-hate-french-violence-racism-exposed-181208155503837.html
    #génération_identitaire #identitaires #extrême_droite #France #racisme #xénophobie #Aurelien_Verhassel #Lille #defend_Europe


  • Democracy not for sale
    The struggle for food sovereignty in the age of austerity in Greece

    19 November 2018
    Report
    Austerity measures led to increased rural poverty and food insecurity in Greece and violated her people’s human right to food. How did this happen and who is responsible?

    This Report examines the impacts of austerity in Greece on the right to food. It concludes that the Greek State and the Eurozone Member States violated the Greek people’s right to food as a result of the austerity measures required by three Memorandums of Understanding (2010, 2012 and 2015). In other words, the austerity packages imposed on Greece contravened international human rights law.

    The share of households with children unable to afford a protein-based meal on a daily basis doubled from 4.7% in 2009 to 8.9% in 2014. EU statistics estimate that 40.5% of children in 2016 faced material and social deprivation.

    Taxes as a proportion of agricultural net value added soared from 4% between 1993 and 2010 to 15.4% in 2016.

    Troika members claim that the sole responsibility for the impacts of the MoUs lies with the Greek State. This argument is false because they, with Greece, were joint signatures of the three MoUs. Therefore, the responsibility for violations of the right to food is a shared one too. Indeed it can be argued that the responsibility of the Eurozone Member States is much bigger, given the evidence of direct interference or even coercion by the Member States of the Troika on Greece to sign the MoUs.

    Eurozone Member States – as States Parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and other international human rights instruments – have therefore breached their extraterritorial obligations to respect the human right to food in Greece.

    https://www.tni.org/en/democracy-not-for-sale

    #grèce #austérité #nourriture #UE #EU #souveraineté_alimentaire


  • The Administrative Arrangement between Greece and Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @isskein

    • Germany – Magdeburg Court suspends return of beneficiary of international protection to Greece

      On 13 November 2018, the Administrative Court of Magdeburg granted an interim measure ordering the suspensive effect of the appeal against a deportation order of an international protection beneficiary to Greece.

      The case concerned a Syrian national who applied for international protection in Germany. The Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF) rejected the application based on the fact that the applicant had already been granted international protection in Greece and ordered his deportation there.

      The Administrative Court held that there were serious doubts regarding the conformity of the BAMF’s conclusion that there were no obstacles to the deportation of the applicant to Greece with national law, which provides that a foreign national cannot be deported if such deportation would be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Court found that there are substantial grounds to believe that the applicant would face a real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3 ECHR if returned to Greece.

      The Court based this conclusion, inter alia, on the recent reports highlighting that international protection beneficiaries in Greece had no practical access to accommodation, food distribution and sanitary facilities for extended periods of time after arrival. The Court further observed that access of international protection beneficiaries to education, health care, employment, accommodation and social benefits under the same conditions as Greek nationals is provided in domestic law but is not enforced. Consequently, the ensuing living conditions could not be considered adequate for the purposes of Article 3 ECHR.

      Finally, the Court found that the risk of destitution after return could be excluded in cases where individual assurances are given by the receiving authorities, clarifying, however, that any such guarantees should be specific to the individual concerned. In this respect, guarantees given by the Greek authorities that generally refer to the transposition of the Qualification Directive into Greek law, as a proof that recognised refugees enjoy the respective rights, could not be considered sufficient.

      https://mailchi.mp/ecre/elena-weekly-legal-update-08-february-2019#8


  • Icon: The Embodiment Of Democracy And The Free Market
    https://hackernoon.com/icon-the-embodiment-of-democracy-and-the-free-market-55d01e15c6f5?source

    Icon: The Democracy Of CryptocurrencyDemocracy: A Short AnalysisThe conception of democracy began millennia ago, with its origins in Ancient Greece and Ancient India, particularly, Athens. Citizens voted directly on legislation and executive bills, however, the democracy of Athens was far more primitive than our contemporary paradigm of global democracy. Within Athens, approximately 30% of the population could vote, siphoning equality and equity from the political paradigm of democracy as we know and understand it today. Women could not vote, foreigners could not vote, nor could slaves vote; you had to be a male citizen within Athens to obtain the unique privilege to vote on legislation. Democracy existed within the Kingdom of Ganarajya, where king’s were elected by the people and for (...)

    #ethereum #bitcoin #cryptocurrency #blockchain #south-korea


  • #Fridtjof_Nansen, WWI, and the Beginning of the Modern Refugee Regime

    This week–on November 11–marked the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. In terms of refugee law, the Great War is usually eclipsed by WWII, which gave rise to the Refugee Convention (in 1951). The Convention forms the basis for our international and domestic humanitarian law up until today.

    But the First World War was also foundational to our current refugee regime, and so it’s too bad that WWI developments in refugee law get short shrift. Upwards of 10 million people were displaced by the War and the subsequent rise of the Soviet Union. Many would never return home and would permanently resettle in other countries. This mass movement of civilians led to political, cultural, and social changes, and predictably, to a backlash against refugees (as a security, economic, and health threat) that sounds all-too familiar today.

    Probably the most prominent figure in post-WWI refugee resettlement was a Norwegian wunderkind named Fridtjof Nansen. Mr. Nansen was born in 1861. He was a record-breaking skater and skier. He studied zoology in university, and went on to become a world famous artic explorer. In 1888, he led the first expedition to cross Greenland, and in 1895, he came within 4 degrees of the North Pole, the furthest north anyone had traveled to date. After his career in the Artic, he turned to science, where he made important contributions to the fields of neurology and oceanography. Mr. Nansen served as a diplomat and advocated for separation of Norway and Sweden (which had been united since 1814). Norway became independent in 1905.

    Norway was neutral during the First World War, and during those years, Mr. Nansen was involved in organizing his nation’s defense. In 1917, he was dispatched to Washington, where he negotiated a deal to help alleviate a severe food shortage in his country.

    After World War I, Mr. Nansen successfully helped advocate for Norway’s involvement in the League of Nations, and he served as a delegate to that body. He became involved in the repatriation of prisoners of war, and between 1920 and 1922, led the effort to resettle over 400,000 POWs in 30 different countries. In 1921, Mr. Nansen became the League’s High Commissioner for Refugees and helped resettle two million Russians displaced by the revolution. At the same time, he was working to relieve a massive famine in Russia, but had trouble securing international aid (due largely to suspicion of the new Marxist government). He also assisted Armenian refugees after the genocide there, and devised a controversial population exchange between Turkey and Greece, which resolved a Greek refugee crisis, but also resulted in the expulsion (with compensation) of Turks from Greece.

    Mr. Nansen created the “Nansen” passports in 1922, a document that allowed stateless people to travel legally across borders. By WWII, 52 nations recognized the passport as a legal travel document. Nansen passports were originally created to help refugees from the Russian civil war, but over 20 years, they were used by more than 450,000 individuals from various countries (including a number of well-known figures, such as Marc Chagall, Aristotle Onassis, G.I. Gurdjiieff, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, and Igor Stravinsky). The passports served as a foundation for a clearly-defined legal status for refugees, and some scholars consider the creation of the Nansen passports as the beginning of international refugee law.

    In 1922, Mr. Nansen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee cited “his work for the repatriation of the prisoners of war, his work for the Russian refugees, his work to bring succour to the millions of Russians afflicted by famine, and finally his present work for the refugees in Asia Minor and Thrace.”

    Mr. Nansen continued his involvement in the League of Nations through the 1920s, and he flirted with Norwegian politics, though he seems to have no major ambitions in that direction. In 1926, Mr. Nansen came up with a legal definition for refugees from Russia and Armenia, and his definition was adopted by several dozen nations. This marked the first time that the term “refugee” was defined in international law, and it helped set the stage for later legal developments in the area of refugee protection.

    Fridtjof Nansen died on May 3, 1930. After his death, a fellow delegate from the League of Nations eulogized, “Every good cause had his support. He was a fearless peacemaker, a friend of justice, an advocate always for the weak and suffering.”

    Even after his death, Mr. Nansen’s work continued. The League of Nations established the Nansen International Office for Refugees, which helped resettle tens of thousands of refugees during the inter-War years. The Nansen Office was also instrumental in establishing the Refugee Convention of 1933 (now, largely forgotten), the first international, multilateral treaty offering legal protection to refugees and granting them certain civic and economic rights. The 1933 Convention also established the principle of “non-refoulement,” the idea that nations cannot return individuals to countries where they face persecution. To this day, non-refoulement is a key concept of international (and U.S.) refugee law. For all this work, the Nansen Office was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938.

    Fridtjof Nansen’s legacy lives on in many ways. There are geographic features named after him in the Artic, Antarctic, and various places around the globe. In space, there is a crater on the moon named in his honor, as well as an asteroid. The oldest ski club in the United States is named for Mr. Nansen, and there is a species of fish that bears his name (Nansenia). A museum in Armenia documents his scientific and humanitarian achievements. And each year, the United Nations bestows the Nansen Refugee Award on an individual or organization that has assisted refugees, displaced or stateless people. For me, though, Mr. Nansen’s most enduring achievement is his pioneering work to help establish international refugee law, a legal regime which protects us all.


    http://www.asylumist.com/2018/11/13/fridtjof-nansen-wwi-and-the-beginning-of-the-modern-refugee-regime
    #Nansen #asile #réfugiés #histoire


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


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

    #barbichette

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By WIRED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Croatia, criminalisation of solidarity

    With 700 cases of reports of violence and theft against migrants at the border, Croatia holds the negative record among the countries of the area. Meanwhile, intimidation against solidarity increases and the first convictions pour down.

    “At the end of August 2015, when the first wave of refugees came to our territory, with a group of friends we went every day to help in Bapska, in Tovarnik, later in Opatovac. It was solidarity that moved me. Here in Croatia many were refugees not so long ago and still remembered what it means to be driven out of your home. At that time, the borders were open and refugees were still seen as human beings. We worked together, volunteers from all over the world, the police, the locals who collected food and basic necessities. It was nice to see how people managed to organise, and very quickly”, recalls Dragan Umičević.

    Dragan, a retired veteran from Osijek, has continued to volunteer for refugees both in Croatia and in Serbia and Greece. When the Balkan route was already closed, in collaboration with the NGO Are you syrious? (AYS), he assisted some refugees by going personally to the border with Serbia, to be sure they were allowed to apply for asylum in Croatia. In fact, for some time now, many NGO testimonies on the field agree that the Croatian police carries out illegal rejections of refugees, accompanied by violence, denying them the right to asylum.
    “Unwitting negligence”

    On the night of March 21st, 2018, being the closest volunteer, Dragan went to Strošinci on the recommendation of AYS, that was in contact with a group of refugees who had just entered Croatian territory. Among them were the family members of Madina Hussiny, the little Afghan girl who was hit by a train after her group, in a previous attempt to cross the border, had been illegally returned to Serbia by the Croatian police.

    “In a group of 14 people there were 11 minors, including some very young children. There was a storm, they were frozen, wet, worn out. At the border I contacted the police, explaining the situation, and acted in cooperation with them. It would not have been possible to do otherwise”, continues Umičević, who then indicated the way to the refugees by flashing the headlights of his car. “When the refugees arrived, the police told me I could go home, but I preferred to take them to the police station to make sure that their asylum application was presented. After an informal interview, during which no accusation against me was advanced, I left”.

    Two weeks later, however, Umičević learned that he had earned the ungrateful role of the first activist targeted by a judicial proceeding for a crime of solidarity in Croatia. Charges questioned both the fact that the police had authorised him to flash to the group of refugees and his awareness, at the time, of the exact position of the refugees in relation to the Croatian border.

    In first instance, he was found guilty of “unwitting negligence” – as, despite being notified of the geolocation of the group of refugees, already in Croatia, he acted without being able to verify it – and sentenced to pay a fine of 60,000 kunas (over 8,000 Euros). The prosecution, however, had requested a fine of 320,000 kunas, two months in prison for the volunteer, and the ban on the activity of AYS.

    “The purpose of the sentence is to discourage volunteers, who will think twice before engaging, especially if the sentence is confirmed, and then the police will have their hands free. This can be transferred to other segments of everyday life”, concludes Umičević, who is now awaiting the appeal. In the meantime, he has received the solidarity of the people around him, civil society, and some media. “That I know of, no politician has expressed solidarity. They have nothing to gain from that”. Indeed, the Croatian political scene has been silent not only in front of his case, but in the face of the systematic violations of refugee rights in general.
    Violations of human rights

    On October 23rd, Platforma 112 , which brings together many Croatian human rights organisations, once again invited Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Interior Minister Davor Božinović to suspend attacks on associations supporting refugees, demanding independent investigations and punishment not of those who defend human rights, but those who violate them.

    This was only the last of the appeals, which followed the letter from Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović to Prime Minister Plenković, in which the Croatian government was asked to stop police violence on refugees trying to enter the country.

    The reticence of the Croatian police in providing access to information was also highlighted in the 2017 report by ombuswoman Lora Vidović, whose office, as reported on the official site itself , receives daily inquiries by foreign and local media on cases of violence and violation of rights – impossibility of applying for asylum in the country – to the detriment of refugees.

    The appeal by Platforma 112 has fallen on deaf ears, with no reaction from either Croatian politics or European governments. For a European Union that seeks to outsource the management of refugee flows as much as possible and no matter what, violence on its doorsteps is not news. According to UNHCR report Desperate Journeys , with 700 reported cases of violence and theft at the border, Croatia holds the negative record among the countries of the area, compared to 150 and 140 cases, respectively, in Hungary and Romania.

    Intimidations against solidarity in Croatia have intensified since Madina’s family entered the country. The family was detained in the Tovarnik closed camp for over two months after applying for asylum in Croatia, and transferred to an open structure only after repeated interventions by the European Court of Human Rights. The NGOs (AYS and Center for Peace Studies) and lawyers (Ivo Jelavić and Sanja Bezbradica) who supported the family in their search for the truth received pressures. Umičević’s conviction is part of this framework.
    The media debate

    The Croatian events cannot be separated from the European context of criminalisation of solidarity, with a series of judicial proceedings in Italy, France, Hungary, and elsewhere. Moreover, the collaboration of border police in implementing chain rejections from Italy to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina was exposed by a recent report by La Stampa .

    However, what currently stands out in Croatia is the aggressive media campaign against refugees, also stimulated in recent weeks by the news from Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where thousands of individuals are pressing at the borders of the European Union.

    In particular, a piece by a well-known right-wing opinionist can be seen as a sort of manifesto of the new right wing – sovereignist, anti-migrant, and contrary to secularisation.

    On Večernji List, Nino Raspudić compared those who selflessly help refugees to the bizarre case of a Dutch tourist hospitalised for the bite of a viper she had tried to pet. Both cases would show a deformed view of reality typical of Western civilisation, unable to recognise true evil and danger, but “happy to kill unborn children and send parents to euthanasia”. The article continues by attacking NGOs, defined as “traffickers”, “criminals, mobsters, mercenaries”, attached “to Soros’ breast”. These are the same accusations periodically circulated by obscure media and Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Hungarian, and now also Italian politicians, conflating otherwise conflicting extreme right discourses in the hate speech against refugees.

    In the column Reakcija, also hosted by Večernji List, opinionist Mate Miljić stated that the European Union is to blame for the pressure of migrants at Croatian borders because, “in its will to create a multicultural melting pot, it has allowed mass illegal immigration”. Moreover, in his opinion, the left would be ready to cut pensions for war veterans to “give them to illegal migrants”.

    Trvtko Barun, director of Jesuit Refugee Service, replied to Raspudić on the same newspaper. Pointing to the dangers of calling to hatred and using distorted images, Barun cited Pope Bergoglio’s positions on refugees, that struggle to be received in the Croatian Catholic Church.
    Narratives of fear

    In addition to direct crusades, however, the Croatian press is spreading narratives that stimulate the construction of barriers, fuelling suspicion, fear, and lack of empathy toward refugees.

    In the days of pressure on the borders of Velika Kladuša, following a declaration by a local police inspector, the news circulated for days that a migrant suspected of murdering five people in Macedonia had been arrested, even after this was categorically denied by the sources of the Macedonian Interior Ministry.

    The very hierarchy of the news shows the construction – intentional or not – of a narrative of suspicion and fear, with refugees (now called “illegal migrants”) without faces, names, and stories, seen exclusively as a threat to public order.

    The story of some refugees who, in days of bad weather, allegedly entered some vacant holiday homes in the mountain region of Gorski Kotar, to seek shelter and dry clothes, received great attention nationally, although the damage amounted to a few hundred Euros.

    As elsewhere in Europe, also in Croatia the many fake news and the prejudices circulating on the web – both on registered outlets and on social networks – find in the fear of the other fertile ground to build easy consensus and grab clicks. In a piece on Novi List, however, Ladislav Tomičić recalled that the habit of resorting to lying will leave a mark in society, which will pay the price also when the wave of refugees is exhausted.

    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Croatia/Croatia-criminalisation-of-solidarity-190998
    #Croatie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité

    • La Croatie criminalise la solidarité

      6 novembre — 14h15 : Le 23 octobre, la plate-forme 112, qui réunit de nombreuses associations d’aide aux réfugiés, a appelé le Premier ministre Andrej Plenković et le ministre de l’Intérieur Davor Božinović à suspendre les attaques judiciaires en cours contre les associations de solidarité, qui se sont multipliées ces derniers mois. Dans le même temps, la majorité des médias croates, notamment le quotidien Večernji List multiplient les articles et les éditoriaux très hostiles aux réfugiés, réclamant parfois la création d’un mur sur la frontière avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      via Courrier des Balkans : https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-police-renforts-frontieres

    • Croatie : sale temps pour les ONG d’aide aux réfugiés

      Les bénévoles et employés d’ONG d’aide aux réfugiés en Croatie sont confrontés quasiment tous les jours à des intimidations, dénonce le réseau de médias européens Euractiv. Des menaces anonymes et actes de vandalisme qui font suite aux tentatives du ministère de l’Intérieur de criminaliser les activités de ces organisations humanitaires.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur a récemment refusé de prolonger son accord de coopération avec le Centre pour les études de la paix (CMS), une organisation qui s’occupe des réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile depuis quinze ans. Suite à cette décision, le CMS est désormais interdit de se rendre dans les centres d’accueil, tandis que ses bénévoles ne peuvent plus enseigner le croate ni fournir une aide juridique aux réfugiés qui suivent un parcours d’intégration.

      L’ONG Are You Syrious (AYS), qui travaille avec les réfugiés depuis 2015, a quant à elle vu ses bureaux vandalisés à plusieurs reprises au cours des dernières semaines. Les murs et un véhicule de l’organisation ont été tagués. Lors d’attaques précédentes, des briques avaient été jetés sur les fenêtres et les véhicules de l’organisation.

      Des attaques qui se produisent alors que les discours de haine à l’encontre des réfugiés se généralisent en Croatie et dans le reste de l’Europe. Pour Sara Kekuš (CMS), citée par Euractiv, c’est résultat de « la politique européenne actuelle envers les réfugiés [...] que la droite extrême qualifie fréquemment de migrants illégaux et présente comme une menace pour toute l’Europe », déclare-t-elle.

      AYS est également l’objet d’intimidations sur les réseaux sociaux avec des messages les accusant d’être « à la solde de Soros pour islamiser l’Europe », d’aider « les terroristes et les violeurs », et les menaçant de « punitions conséquentes ». Mi-novembre, le Centre pour l’intégration, qui dépend d’AYS, et son entrepôt à Novi Zagreb ont été vandalisés avec un graffiti « Les immigrants ne sont pas les bienvenus » inscrit sur un mur et « Fuck Isis » tagué sur leur véhicule. « Tout cela a lieu, alors que le ministre de l’Intérieur Davor Božinović a déclaré au Parlement que notre organisation était impliquée dans d’obscures activités de trafic », rappelle Asja Korbar d’AYS.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur a exercé des pressions sur le CMS et AYS après que ces deux ONG ont publié des témoignages de récurrentes violences policières à l’encontre des réfugiés. La situation s’est détériorée après la mort de Madini Husini, une fillette qui a perdu la vie le 21 novembre 2017 le long de la voie ferrée Tovarnik-Šid, près de la frontière serbe. « Quand on s’est saisi de l’affaire, le ministère de l’Intérieur a commencé à nous criminaliser », explique Sara Kekuš. « Il s’est mis à associer notre organisation à des trafiquants et à criminaliser notre travail plutôt que d’enquêter sur cette mort et de résoudre l’affaire. »

      Les déclarations du ministère de l’Intérieur ont été fermement condamnées par la médiatrice de la Réublique, Lora Vidović. « Les trafiquants sont les ennemis des droits humains et constituent une menace pour les migrants, ils ne doivent donc pas être associés aux ONG qui agissent conformément aux lois croates », a-t-elle affirmé, avant de conclure : « Je suis sûre qu’il ne s’agit que d’une poignée d’individus et que la majorité des citoyens condamne ces violences, mais il est très important que les institutions fassent passer le même message et poursuivent les responsables ».

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Croatie-ONG-refugies


  • How Migrant Movements Radically Transform Borders

    Humans — as long as we have walked, we have moved and explored. We spread to cover the whole world, and then mixed among each other. We continue to do that. Our movement expresses so many elements of our being: our curiosity, our vulnerability, our arrogance. We have generally been the main limit to our own movements in all that time. As humans, we have mobility in common. It is a core part of who we are. And yet it is perhaps precisely that mobility that has often made us afraid of others and controlling over them.


    https://truthout.org/articles/how-migrant-movements-radically-transform-borders

    Un très bon texte sur #migrations et #frontières...

    ping @reka @_kg_
    –-> je vous conseille de le lire...

    • Un très bon texte, #merci @cdb_77

      What this means is that there is an additional challenge for — and an additional border within — the social movement for free mobility. It is the way we perceive what is political and important about this struggle. These everyday acts of escape are often less valued than the more expressly “political” parts of this movement. They often go unrecognized as resistance by the movement itself, and by those who view and comment on it. This weakens the movement.

      Behind all the headline-grabbing actions are all those numerous micro-resistances and everyday, even mundane, subversions. We need to better recognize that struggles for the freedom of movement take place at the everyday level of life-making, as well as in the “big-P” political actions of demonstrations and press statements.

    • A mettre en lien avec cet autre article, scientifique cette fois-ci, d’une jeune chercheuse que j’aime beaucoup :

      Containment through mobility : migrants’ spatial disobediences and the reshaping of control through the hotspot system

      This article deals with the modes of (contested) control that are at play at the Mediterranean frontier for containing, dividing and discipling unruly mobility. Building on ethnographic research conducted on the island of Lesvos and of Lampedusa, it focuses on the implementation and the functioning of the Hotspot System in Greece and in Italy, analysing beyond the fences of detention centres and by looking at the broader logistics of channels, infrastructures and governmental measures deployed for regaining control over migration movements. The article argues that more than control in terms of surveillance and tracking, the Hotspot System contributes to enforce forms of containment through mobility that consists in controlling migration by obstructing, decelerating and troubling migrants’ geographies – more than in fully blocking them. The article takes into account migrants’ refusals of being fingerprinted, showing how migrants radically unsettle the association between seeking refuge and lack of choice, enacting their right to choose where to go and claim asylum.

      https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1401514