• Call immigrant detention centers what they really are: concentration camps

    If you were paying close attention last week, you might have spotted a pattern in the news. Peeking out from behind the breathless coverage of the Trump family’s tuxedoed trip to London was a spate of deaths of immigrants in U.S. custody: Johana Medina Léon, a 25-year-old transgender asylum seeker; an unnamed 33-year-old Salvadoran man; and a 40-year-old woman from Honduras.

    Photos from a Border Patrol processing center in El Paso showed people herded so tightly into cells that they had to stand on toilets to breathe. Memos surfaced by journalist Ken Klippenstein revealed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s failure to provide medical care was responsible for suicides and other deaths of detainees. These followed another report that showed that thousands of detainees are being brutally held in isolation cells just for being transgender or mentally ill.

    Also last week, the Trump administration cut funding for classes, recreation and legal aid at detention centers holding minors — which were likened to “summer camps” by a senior ICE official last year. And there was the revelation that months after being torn from their parents’ arms, 37 children were locked in vans for up to 39 hours in the parking lot of a detention center outside Port Isabel, Texas. In the last year, at least seven migrant children have died in federal custody.

    Preventing mass outrage at a system like this takes work. Certainly it helps that the news media covers these horrors intermittently rather than as snowballing proof of a racist, lawless administration. But most of all, authorities prevail when the places where people are being tortured and left to die stay hidden, misleadingly named and far from prying eyes.

    There’s a name for that kind of system. They’re called concentration camps. You might balk at my use of the term. That’s good — it’s something to be balked at.

    The goal of concentration camps has always been to be ignored. The German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, who was imprisoned by the Gestapo and interned in a French camp, wrote a few years afterward about the different levels of concentration camps. Extermination camps were the most extreme; others were just about getting “undesirable elements … out of the way.” All had one thing in common: “The human masses sealed off in them are treated as if they no longer existed, as if what happened to them were no longer of interest to anybody, as if they were already dead.”

    Euphemisms play a big role in that forgetting. The term “concentration camp” is itself a euphemism. It was invented by a Spanish official to paper over his relocation of millions of rural families into squalid garrison towns where they would starve during Cuba’s 1895 independence war. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Japanese Americans into prisons during World War II, he initially called them concentration camps. Americans ended up using more benign names, like “Manzanar Relocation Center.”

    Even the Nazis’ camps started out small, housing criminals, Communists and opponents of the regime. It took five years to begin the mass detention of Jews. It took eight, and the outbreak of a world war, for the first extermination camps to open. Even then, the Nazis had to keep lying to distract attention, claiming Jews were merely being resettled to remote work sites. That’s what the famous signs — Arbeit Macht Frei, or “Work Sets You Free” — were about.

    Subterfuge doesn’t always work. A year ago, Americans accidentally became aware that the Trump administration had adopted (and lied about) a policy of ripping families apart at the border. The flurry of attention was thanks to the viral conflation of two separate but related stories: the family-separation order and bureaucrats’ admission that they’d been unable to locate thousands of migrant children who’d been placed with sponsors after crossing the border alone.

    Trump shoved that easily down the memory hole. He dragged his heels a bit, then agreed to a new policy: throwing whole families into camps together. Political reporters posed irrelevant questions, like whether President Obama had been just as bad, and what it meant for the midterms. Then they moved on.

    It is important to note that Trump’s aides have built this system of racist terror on something that has existed for a long time. Several camps opened under Obama, and as president he deported millions of people.

    But Trump’s game is different. It certainly isn’t about negotiating immigration reform with Congress. Trump has made it clear that he wants to stifle all non-white immigration, period. His mass arrests, iceboxes and dog cages are part of an explicitly nationalist project to put the country under the control of the right kind of white people.

    As a Republican National Committee report noted in 2013: “The nation’s demographic changes add to the urgency of recognizing how precarious our position has become.” The Trump administration’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census was also just revealed to have been a plot to disadvantage political opponents and boost “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” all along.

    That’s why this isn’t just a crisis facing immigrants. When a leader puts people in camps to stay in power, history shows that he doesn’t usually stop with the first group he detains.

    There are now at least 48,000 people detained in ICE facilities, which a former official told BuzzFeed News “could swell indefinitely.” Customs and Border Protection officials apprehended more than 144,000 people on the Southwest border last month. (The New York Times dutifully reported this as evidence of a “dramatic surge in border crossings,” rather than what it was: The administration using its own surge of arrests to justify the rest of its policies.)

    If we call them what they are — a growing system of American concentration camps — we will be more likely to give them the attention they deserve. We need to know their names: Port Isabel, Dilley, Adelanto, Hutto and on and on. With constant, unrelenting attention, it is possible we might alleviate the plight of the people inside, and stop the crisis from getting worse. Maybe people won’t be able to disappear so easily into the iceboxes. Maybe it will be harder for authorities to lie about children’s deaths.

    Maybe Trump’s concentration camps will be the first thing we think of when we see him scowling on TV.

    The only other option is to leave it up to those in power to decide what’s next. That’s a calculated risk. As Andrea Pitzer, author of “One Long Night,” one of the most comprehensive books on the history of concentration camps, recently noted: “Every country has said their camps are humane and will be different. Trump is instinctively an authoritarian. He’ll take them as far as he’s allowed to.”
    #terminologie #vocabulaire #mots #camps #camps_de_concentration #centres_de_détention #détention_administrative #rétention #USA #Etats-Unis

    • ‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System

      On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

      At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations.

      The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States.

      So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity.

      On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections.

      In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

      Conditions for detainees have not been improving. At the end of May, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general found nearly 900 migrants at a Texas shelter built for a capacity of 125 people. On June 11, a university professor spotted at least 100 men behind chain-link fences near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees. Taylor Levy, an El Paso immigration lawyer, described going into one facility and finding “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches… Another young child had to be restrained by his mother because he kept running full-speed into metal lockers. He was covered in bruises.”

      If deciding what to do about the growing numbers of adults and children seeking refuge in the US relies on complex humanitarian policies and international laws, in which most Americans don’t take a deep interest, a simpler question also presents itself: What exactly are these camps that the Trump administration has opened, and where is this program of mass detention headed?

      Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity.

      Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features.

      Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before.

      Under Spanish rule in 1896, the governor-general of Cuba instituted camps in order to clear rebel-held regions during an uprising, despite his predecessor’s written refusal “as the representative of a civilized nation, to be the first to give the example of cruelty and intransigence” that such detention would represent. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress. He spoke against the policy of reconcentración, calling it warfare by uncivilized means. “It was extermination,” McKinley said. “The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” Without full records, the Cuban death toll can only be estimated, but a consensus puts it in the neighborhood of 150,000, more than 10 percent of the island’s prewar population.

      Today, we remember the sinking of the USS Maine as the spark that ignited the Spanish-American War. But war correspondent George Kennan (cousin of the more famous diplomat) believed that “it was the suffering of the reconcentrados, more, perhaps, than any other one thing that brought about the intervention of the United States.” On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war. Two weeks later, US Marines landed at Fisherman’s Point on the windward side of the entrance to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land.

      As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. The world’s newest imperial power also inherited a rebellion. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September 1901, during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Detainees, mostly women and children, were forced into squalid conditions that one American soldier described in a letter to a US senator as “some suburb of hell.” In the space of only four months, more than 11,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in these noxious camps.

      Meanwhile, in southern Africa in 1900, the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps. Future Prime Minister David Lloyd George took offense at that name, noting in Parliament: “There is no greater delusion in the mind of any man than to apply the term ‘refugee’ to these camps. They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration.” Contemporary observers compared them to the Cuban camps, and criticized their deliberate cruelty. The Bishop of Hereford wrote to The Times of London in 1901, asking: “Are we reduced to such a depth of impotence that our Government can do nothing to stop such a holocaust of child-life?”

      Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27,000 detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14,000 detainees died—the real number is probably much higher. Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost.

      These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.”

      Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. The Daily Mail denounced aliens left at liberty once they had registered with their local police department, demanding, “Does signing his name take the malice out of a man?” The Scottish Field was more direct, asking, “Do Germans have souls?” That these civilian detainees were no threat to Britain did not keep them from being demonized, shouted at, and spat upon as they were paraded past hostile crowds in cities like London.

      Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention. Even after the war, new camps sprang up from Spain to Hungary and Cuba, providing an improvised “solution” for everything from vagrancy to anxieties over the presence of Jewish foreigners.

      Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations.

      In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat.

      However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory.

      It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001.

      In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell.

      This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways.

      I visited Guantánamo twice in 2015, sitting in the courtroom for pretrial hearings and touring the medical facility, the library, and all the old abandoned detention sites, as well as newly built ones, open to the media—from the kennel-style cages of Camp X-Ray rotting to ruin in the damp heat to the modern jailhouse facilities of Camp 6. Seeing all this in person made clear to me how vast the architecture of detention had become, how entrenched it was, and how hard it would be to close.

      Without a significant government effort to reverse direction, conditions in every camp system tend to deteriorate over time. Governments rarely make that kind of effort on behalf of people they are willing to lock up without trial in the first place. And history shows that legislatures do not close camps against the will of an executive.

      Just a few years ago there might have been more potential for change spurred by the judicial branch of our democracy, but this Supreme Court is inclined toward deference to executive power, even, it appears, if that power is abused. It seems unlikely this Court will intervene to end the new border camp system; indeed, the justices are far more likely to institutionalize it by half-measures, as happened with Guantánamo. The Korematsu case, in which the Supreme Court upheld Japanese-American internment (a ruling only rescinded last year), relied on the suppression of evidence by the solicitor general. Americans today can have little confidence that this administration would behave any more scrupulously when defending its detention policy.

      What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

      Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades.

      When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away.

      The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently.

      President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical.

      The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.

      Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse.

      The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?

    • #Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez engage le bras de fer avec la politique migratoire de Donald Trump

      L’élue de New York a qualifié les camps de rétention pour migrants érigés à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis de « camps de concentration ».

  • L’Australie exporte ses réfugiés

    Au nom de la lutte contre les passeurs, Canberra sous-traite une partie de sa gestion des demandeurs d’asile à des pays tiers. Cette politique d’externalisation inspire les gouvernements européens et indigne les défenseurs des droits humains, tant les réfugiés s’y réduisent à une monnaie d’échange.

    C’est un petit restaurant dans une ruelle du sud de Phnom Penh, un comptoir, quelques tables et une odeur de falafels. Mideast Feast propose des spécialités syriennes et libanaises. Une rareté dans une capitale certes cosmopolite mais où les ressortissants du Proche-Orient ne sont pas légion. Du Cambodge M. Abdullah Zalghanah, le propriétaire, ne connaissait rien, jusqu’à ce qu’il y soit parachuté.

    M. Zalghanah est syrien. Il y a huit ans, il était encore boulanger et restaurateur à Deraa, où il vivait avec son épouse et leurs quatre enfants. Puis, comme tant d’autres, il a fui sa ville, devenue un champ de bataille, jusqu’au Liban. Il y a laissé sa famille pour se mettre en quête d’un pays d’accueil. « Je ne voyais pas d’avenir pour mes enfants au Liban, avec les milices de Bachar Al-Assad traquant les réfugiés, la situation économique et les conséquences de la guerre », raconte-t-il. En 2012 débute un long périple qui le mènera de l’autre côté du monde, porté par l’espoir de rejoindre l’Australie, un pays « paisible » où, lui a-t-on dit, « on peut se reconstruire une vie en six mois ». « Dans la communauté syrienne, il se disait que l’Australie était une meilleure option que l’Europe. Et j’avais un frère là-bas, qui y était parti avant la guerre », explique-t-il. On le met en contact avec des passeurs, qui l’expédient en Indonésie. Là, il doit prendre un bateau avec soixante et onze autres personnes. Une simple barque à moteur, pour une traversée de plus de quatre cents kilomètres jusqu’à l’île Christmas, territoire australien perdu au milieu de l’océan Indien. « Le voyage a été terrible. Au bout d’une journée, l’un des deux moteurs a cessé de fonctionner. Plus d’une fois, j’ai cru que nous allions mourir. » Quatre jours et une nuit d’angoisse, jusqu’à ce que les passeurs indonésiens les abandonnent sur une plage. Là, ils sont cueillis par des gardes australiens et menés dans un centre de rétention. En cet été 2013, plus de deux mille personnes s’y entassent : des demandeurs d’asile, en attente de transfert dans l’un des camps de détention sur l’île-État de Nauru ou en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. Aucun ne pourra jamais rejoindre l’Australie. Car, quelques mois plus tôt, Canberra a réactivé et durci sa politique radicale de refoulement des boat people — ce qu’on appelle la « solution du Pacifique ».

    Lancée au début des années 2000, cette politique repose sur des accords passés avec ses deux voisins pauvres. En échange d’une compensation financière, ces États acceptent de recevoir les demandeurs d’asile arrivés clandestinement. Le temps que leur dossier soit examiné, ils sont détenus dans des camps extraterritoriaux construits aux frais de Canberra et gérés par des sociétés privées sous contrat avec le gouvernement. Officiellement, il s’agit de lutter contre les réseaux de passeurs en décourageant toute tentative de rejoindre les côtes par bateau.

    Selon les organisations de défense des droits humains, l’Australie s’arrange avec le droit international, notamment avec le principe de non-refoulement figurant dans la convention de Genève sur les réfugiés, dont elle est signataire (1). Et sa méthode a fait école au sein de l’Union européenne, qui a mis au point des politiques d’« externalisation des frontières », tel l’accord avec la Turquie.

    En Australie, les conservateurs qui ont conçu cette stratégie de sous-traitance notent une nette diminution des arrivées clandestines : moins de 150 par an entre 2002 et 2008, contre 3 000 à 5 500 par an entre 1999 et 2001 (2). Toutefois, en 2007, un rapport d’Oxfam estime son coût total — des interceptions de bateaux aux frais de gestion des camps — à plus de 1 milliard de dollars australiens (625 millions d’euros) en six ans (3), pour la prise en charge de moins de 1 700 personnes. Sous le feu des critiques, la « solution du Pacifique » a été suspendue en 2008 par le gouvernement travailliste qui arrivait au pouvoir. Les camps de Nauru et de l’île de Manus (Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée) ont été vidés… pour être rouverts quatre ans plus tard.

    En réponse à un nouveau pic d’arrivées clandestines et de naufrages meurtriers (4), le gouvernement réactive les accords de coopération avec les deux États et durcit sa politique. Si l’Australie continue d’accueillir plusieurs milliers de demandeurs d’asile arrivés légalement sur son sol (5), elle affiche désormais une tolérance zéro vis-à-vis des clandestins. « Nul demandeur d’asile arrivé en Australie par bateau ne sera jamais autorisé à s’installer sur le territoire en tant que réfugié », assène le premier ministre Kevin Rudd (British Broadcasting Corporation, 19 juillet 2013). Peu importe la légitimité de sa demande de protection et les difficultés rencontrées pour la formuler. Un Syrien qui dépose une demande d’asile pour l’Europe ou l’Australie à partir d’un pays voisin où il a pu fuir, comme la Turquie ou le Liban, s’expose à un refus sous prétexte que la requête est émise d’un pays « sûr ». Obtenir un visa temporaire n’est pas moins ardu. Quant aux clandestins pris dans les filets de cette politique, ils auront le choix entre un vol retour vers leur pays d’origine et un transfert dans les camps extraterritoriaux — pour une durée indéterminée.
    Improbable accord avec le Cambodge

    Si l’accord passé avec la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée prévoit, en théorie, une installation permanente des réfugiés sur le territoire, dans les faits « les autorités ne leur octroient pas de statut légal », dénonce un rapport d’Amnesty International (6). Celles de Nauru refusent officiellement toute installation permanente. Les réfugiés reçoivent au mieux un visa de cinq ans, puis de dix ans, payé par les autorités australiennes. « Les camps extraterritoriaux, qui étaient à l’origine des lieux de transfert, sont ainsi devenus des centres de détention permanente, sans autre issue que le retour au pays », nous explique M. Ian Rintoul, porte-parole de la Refugee Action Coalition, une organisation non gouvernementale (ONG) australienne.

    Quand M. Zalghanah est transféré à Nauru, en avril 2014, environ 1 200 personnes y vivent. « Nous dormions à quarante dans de grandes tentes sales, sans aucune intimité. Il n’y avait que dix toilettes et dix douches sans porte. Nous n’étions pas des criminels, mais ce camp, c’était une prison. » Au-delà de ces conditions de vie insupportables, c’est sa situation, floue et sans issue, qui le détruit. « Nous étions tous sous antidépresseurs et sous somnifères pour pouvoir dormir. L’atmosphère n’a cessé de se dégrader, avec des rixes qui éclataient, mais surtout des suicides. Je me souviens d’un homme qui a avalé une boîte de pilules, d’un autre qui s’est immolé par le feu… » M. Zalghanah perd le compte, mais les disparus peuplent toujours ses cauchemars. En dépit des restrictions d’accès imposées par les autorités, plusieurs enquêtes successives dénoncent les conditions de vie des détenus. Le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR), dont une délégation s’est rendue à Nauru fin 2013, évoque une « détention systématique et arbitraire » contraire au droit international, et critique l’absence de solution à long terme pour des personnes maintenues dans l’incertitude (7).

    À partir de 2013, la campagne « Frontières souveraines », opération militaire de refoulement des navires clandestins vers leur point de départ, limite les arrivées. Mais il devient urgent de trouver une solution pour les quelque trois mille réfugiés entassés à Manus et Nauru. La Nouvelle-Zélande a bien proposé d’en accueillir cent cinquante chaque année, mais l’Australie a décliné l’offre, estimant qu’une telle perspective, trop alléchante, ne ferait que soutenir le commerce des passeurs. Canberra pense trouver son salut dans l’externalisation.

    Le 26 septembre 2014, M. Scott Morrison, alors ministre de l’immigration, annonce la signature d’un accord inédit avec le Cambodge. Négocié en secret, il prévoit l’installation sur le territoire cambodgien d’une partie des réfugiés parqués à Nauru, Phnom Penh recevant en échange 40 millions de dollars australiens (25 millions d’euros) sous forme d’aide au développement. Le voyage, l’accueil et l’installation des réfugiés sont également à la charge de l’Australie, laquelle prévoit d’y consacrer un budget global de 15 millions de dollars (9,4 millions d’euros), sans plus de précision.

    « L’un des pays les plus riches du monde a convaincu l’un des plus pauvres d’accueillir les réfugiés dont il ne veut pas », résume le magazine américain Foreign Policy (8), tandis que M. António Guterres, l’actuel secrétaire général de l’Organisation des Nations unies, alors haut-commissaire des Nations unies pour les réfugiés, critique une « inquiétante dérogation aux normes internationales (9) ». S’il ne viole pas explicitement le droit international, l’accord n’en constitue pas moins « un dangereux précédent qui porte atteinte à l’intégrité du système de partage des responsabilités à l’égard des réfugiés », analyse Madeline Gleeson, avocate et chercheuse à l’université de Nouvelle-Galles du Sud (10).

    « Avec cet accord, l’Australie espère avoir enfin trouvé la pièce manquante de sa politique d’asile extraterritorial : une solution de long terme », souligne la chercheuse. L’entente est au moins claire sur un point : les réfugiés doivent se porter volontaires. Or les prisonniers de Nauru n’accueillent pas la nouvelle avec enthousiasme. Alors que les ministres de l’intérieur australien et cambodgien sablent le champagne, une nouvelle vague de protestations agite les camps entre fin septembre et début octobre 2014. Quand les premières délégations cambodgiennes s’y rendent, début 2015, aucun volontaire ne se présente. « Dans les mois qui ont suivi, on nous a rapporté des pressions exercées sur les réfugiés, du chantage, de fausses promesses », dit M. Rintoul. En vain : seuls sept d’entre eux acceptent d’être envoyés au Cambodge.

    M. Zalghanah est du nombre. En 2016, il consent à sa relocalisation à Phnom Penh, à condition que l’Australie y rapatrie également sa famille restée au Liban. « Au début, ils disaient que le rapprochement familial était impossible. Mais, après un an, ils ont fini par me dire que ma famille me rejoindrait au bout de trois ou quatre mois », raconte-t-il. Débarquant dans la capitale cambodgienne en novembre 2016, il est pris en charge par l’antenne locale de l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations. Celle-ci le guide et l’héberge pendant trois mois, à l’issue desquels il lance un projet de restaurant grâce à une allocation de l’Australie. Mais, plus d’un an après son arrivée, le rapprochement familial est au point mort. M. Zalghanah craint d’être oublié, évacué dans les vieux papiers d’un accord raté. Car l’entente entre le Cambodge et l’Australie prenait officiellement fin à l’automne 2018. Son échec est si cuisant qu’elle ne sera pas reconduite. Sur les sept réfugiés transférés, quatre ont déjà quitté le pays.

    « Depuis le début, cet accord n’était qu’une vaste blague, dénonce M. Rintoul. Le gouvernement désespérait de trouver une issue à sa politique d’asile extraterritorial. En définitive, il a payé plus de 40 millions de dollars pour délocaliser sept personnes. On atteint des sommets d’absurdité. » Des tentatives de négociations similaires avec d’autres pays, dont le Kirghizstan, n’ont jamais abouti.

    Reste une issue possible : l’entente conclue avec les États-Unis lors des derniers mois de la présidence de M. Barack Obama selon laquelle Washington prendrait en charge jusqu’à 1 200 réfugiés des camps extraterritoriaux. Les clauses de l’accord de septembre 2016 n’ont pas été rendues publiques. Mais, le même mois, Canberra annonçait son intention d’accueillir un nombre non défini de demandeurs d’asile sud-américains actuellement dans des camps gérés par les États-Unis. De quoi alimenter les rumeurs d’« échange de réfugiés », malgré les dénégations du gouvernement australien (11). Contre toute attente, M. Donald Trump n’a pas mis un terme à l’arrangement. Si le président américain a jugé l’accord « stupide », il s’est engagé à l’honorer. Depuis l’automne 2016, 445 réfugiés relégués à Nauru et Manus ont obtenu l’asile aux États-Unis. Washington aurait refusé près de 200 autres personnes, parmi lesquelles de nombreux Iraniens. Et aucune nouvelle procédure de transfert n’a été annoncée.
    « Une population au-delà du désespoir »

    Selon un rapport du Parlement d’Australie, entre 2012 et 2017, la politique de détention extraterritoriale des demandeurs d’asile aurait coûté près de 5 milliards de dollars (plus de 3 milliards d’euros) à l’État, sans compter le budget de l’« aide au développement » prévue dans les accords régionaux. Une somme coquette pour la détention de 3 127 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile, au total, depuis 2012. Mille quatre cents d’entre eux seraient toujours bloqués à Manus et Nauru. Si les camps sont désormais ouverts, les îles n’en restent pas moins des prisons pour ces hommes, femmes et enfants qui disposent dans les faits d’une liberté de circulation relative. Expulsée en octobre dernier par les autorités nauruanes après avoir passé onze mois auprès des réfugiés, l’ONG Médecins sans frontières décrit une population « au-delà du désespoir » et recense « un nombre alarmant de tentatives de suicide et de cas d’automutilation » (12). En décembre 2018, 1 200 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile, soutenus par l’association National Justice Project, ont lancé une procédure judiciaire à l’encontre de l’État australien, accusé devant la Haute Cour d’emprisonnement arbitraire, de persécution, de torture et de crimes contre l’humanité.

    M. Zalghanah, lui, se considère comme un rescapé. En janvier dernier, après deux ans d’attente, sa famille est enfin arrivée au Cambodge.
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Cambodge #Australie #externalisation #réfugiés_syriens

    ping @albertocampiphoto

    v. aussi cette compilation qui parle du deal entre l’Australie et le Cambodge :

  • U.S. alone in its opposition to parts of a U.N. draft resolution addressing violence against girls - The Washington Post

    In the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, the United States found itself once again isolated on the world stage on two matters that are essential to women’s rights. It was the only country that opposed nonbinding language in a draft resolution designed to tackle violence against girls and women, as well as sexual harassment. It was also almost alone in its opposition to language used in another draft resolution against early and forced marriage — only the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru felt comfortable with being on Washington’s side this time. (Nauru is most commonly associated with an Australian offshore migrant camp, where children and other refugees are being held under inhumane conditions, according to rights groups.)

    In both cases, the United States’ opposition on Monday was triggered by references to “sexual and reproductive health,” which the U.S. delegation implied could “suggest the promotion of abortion or a right to abortion that are unacceptable to our administration,” according to Reuters. U.S. statements also indicated that there were concerns about the resolution conflating “physical violence against women with sexual harassment.”

    #violence #filles #femmes #etats-unis

  • La vie de désespoir des réfugiés relégués par l’Australie sur une île du Pacifique

    La femme du Somalien Khadar Hrisi a tenté plusieurs fois de se suicider. R, une Iranienne de 12 ans, a voulu s’immoler par le feu : à Nauru, minuscule caillou du Pacifique, des réfugiés relégués par l’Australie racontent à l’AFP une vie sans perspective, sans soins et sans espoir.

    Nauru, le plus petit pays insulaire du monde, vient d’accueillir le Forum des îles du Pacifique (Fip) mais a interdit aux journalistes l’accès aux camps de rétention où Canberra refoule les clandestins qui tentent de gagner l’Australie par la mer.

    L’AFP a toutefois réussi à y pénétrer et à rencontrer des réfugiés dont la quasi totalité ont souhaité l’anonymat pour des raisons de sécurité.

    A Nauru, près d’un millier de migrants dont une centaine d’enfants, sur 11.000 habitants, vivent dans huit camps financés par Canberra, certains depuis cinq ans, selon leurs récits.

    Dans le camp numéro 5, que l’on atteint au détour d’un chemin sous une chaleur écrasante, dans un paysage hérissé de pitons rocheux, le Somalien Hrisi veut témoigner à visage découvert.

    Il n’a plus peur, il n’a plus rien. Sa femme ne parle pas, son visage est inexpressif.

    M. Hrisi la laisse seule le moins possible, à cause de sa dépression. Elle a tenté plusieurs fois de se suicider ces derniers jours, raconte-t-il.

    « Quand je me suis réveillé, elle était en train de casser ça », dit-il en montrant des lames de rasoir jetables. « Elle allait les avaler avec de l’eau ».

    – Problèmes psychologiques -

    M. Hrisi affirme qu’ils sont allés plusieurs fois à l’hôpital de Nauru financé par l’Australie mais que celui-ci refuse de les prendre en charge. L’autre nuit, « ils ont appelé la police et nous ont mis dehors ».

    Le camp numéro 1 traite les malades, expliquent les réfugiés. Mais il n’accueille qu’une cinquantaine de personnes car l’endroit croule sous les demandes. Or beaucoup de migrants vont mal et souffrent de problèmes psychologiques liés à leur isolement sur l’île.

    Les évacuations sanitaires vers l’Australie sont rares selon eux.

    Les ONG ne cessent de dénoncer la politique d’immigration draconienne de l’Australie.

    Depuis 2013, Canberra, qui dément tout mauvais traitement, refoule systématiquement en mer tous les bateaux de clandestins, originaires pour beaucoup d’Afghanistan, du Sri Lanka et du Moyen-Orient.

    Ceux qui parviennent à passer par les mailles du filet sont envoyés dans des îles reculées du Pacifique. Même si leur demande d’asile est jugée légitime, ils ne seront jamais accueillis sur le sol australien.

    Canberra argue qu’il sauve ainsi des vies en dissuadant les migrants d’entreprendre un périlleux voyage. Les arrivées de bateaux, qui étaient quasiment quotidiennes, sont aujourd’hui rarissimes.

    Le Refugee Council of Australia et l’Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ont dénoncé récemment les ravages psychologiques de la détention indéfinie, en particulier chez les enfants.

    « Ceux qui ont vu ces souffrances disent que c’est pire que tout ce qu’ils ont vu, même dans les zones de guerre. Des enfants de sept et douze ans ont fait l’expérience de tentatives répétées de suicide, certains s’arrosent d’essence et deviennent catatoniques », écrivaient-ils.

    R, une Iranienne de 12 ans rencontrée par l’AFP, a tenté de s’immoler. Elle vit à Nauru depuis cinq ans avec ses deux parents de 42 ans et son frère de 13 ans.

    Les enfants passent leurs journées prostrés au lit. La mère a la peau couverte de plaques, elle dit souffrir et ne recevoir aucun traitement.

    – Essence et briquet -

    Le père a récemment surpris sa fille en train de s’asperger d’essence. « Elle a pris un briquet et elle a crié +Laisse-moi seule ! Laisse-moi seule ! Je veux me suicider ! Je veux mourir !+ ».

    Son fils sort lentement de son lit et confie d’une voix monocorde : « Je n’ai pas d’école, je n’ai pas de futur, je n’ai pas de vie ».

    Non loin de là, entre deux préfabriqués, une cuve est taguée du sigle « ABF » et d’une croix gammée. L’Australian Border Force est le service australien de contrôle des frontières, honni par les réfugiés.

    Ces derniers se déplacent librement sur l’île car la prison, ce sont ses 21 kilomètres carrés.

    Khadar reçoit un ami, un ancien gardien de buts professionnel camerounais qui raconte avoir secouru un voisin en train de se pendre. Son meilleur ami a été retrouvé mort, le nez et les yeux pleins de sang, sans qu’il sache la cause du décès.

    Pas de perspectives, et pas de soins. Au grand désespoir d’Ahmd Anmesharif, un Birman dont les yeux coulent en permanence. Il explique souffrir aussi du cœur et passe ses journées sur un fauteuil en mousse moisie, à regarder la route.

    Les défenseurs des droits dénoncent des conditions effroyables et font état d’accusations d’agressions sexuelles et d’abus physiques.

    Les autorités de l’île démentent. Les réfugiés « mènent leur vie normalement, comme les autres Nauruans (...) on est très heureux de vivre ensemble », assurait ainsi lors du Fip le président de Nauru, Baron Waqa.

    Mais les réfugiés soutiennent que leurs relations avec les Nauruans se détériorent.

    « Ils nous frappent toujours, ils nous lancent toujours des pierres », accuse l’adolescent iranien.

    – Economie sous perfusion -

    Un autre Iranien, un mécanicien qui a réussi à monter un petit commerce, crie sa colère. Il vient de se faire voler « la caisse, les motos, les outils ». « La police ne retrouve jamais rien quand ce sont les Nauruans qui volent les réfugiés », assène-t-il.

    Si les conditions sont vétustes dans les camps, où la plupart des logements sont des préfabriqués, beaucoup d’habitants de Nauru semblent vivre dans des conditions plus précaires encore.

    Bon nombre habitent des cabanes de tôle, les plages sont jonchées de détritus. Ils disent ne pas comprendre de quoi se plaignent les migrants.

    En attendant, les camps sont cruciaux pour l’économie de l’île, exsangue depuis l’épuisement des réserves de phosphate qui avait contribué à l’opulence du siècle dernier.

    Selon les chiffres australiens, les recettes publiques sont passées de 20 à 115 millions de dollars australiens (12 à 72 millions d’euros) entre 2010-2011 et 2015-2016, essentiellement grâce aux subventions australiennes liées aux camps.

    « Si on enlève les réfugiés, Nauru est morte : c’est pour ça que le président tient à ce que nous restions », juge le Camerounais.

    Mais tous les réfugiés rencontrés souhaitent partir, n’importe où pour certains.

    « Au XXIe siècle, les gens pensent en secondes, en instants. Le gouvernement australien a volé cinq ans de notre vie... qui s’en soucie ? », regrette le père de la petite Iranienne.
    #Nauru #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Australie #photographie
    via @marty
    cc @reka

    • The #Nauru Experience: Zero-Tolerance Immigration and #Suicidal_Children

      A recent visit to Nauru revealed the effects of Australia’s offshore #detention_policy and its impact on #mental_health.

      The Krishnalingam family on the roof of an abandoned mansion in Ronave, Nauru. The family applied for resettlement in the #United_States after fleeing Sri Lanka and being certified as #refugees.

      CreditCreditMridula Amin

      TOPSIDE, Nauru — She was 3 years old when she arrived on Nauru, a child fleeing war in #Sri_Lanka. Now, Sajeenthana is 8.

      Her gaze is vacant. Sometimes she punches adults. And she talks about dying with ease.

      “Yesterday I cut my hand,” she said in an interview here on the remote Pacific island where she was sent by the Australian government after being caught at sea. She pointed to a scar on her arm.

      “One day I will kill myself,” she said. “Wait and see, when I find the knife. I don’t care about my body. ”

      Her father tried to calm her, but she twisted away. “It is the same as if I was in war, or here,” he said.

      Sajeenthana is one of more than 3,000 refugees and asylum seekers who have been sent to Australia’s offshore #detention_centers since 2013. No other Australian policy has been so widely condemned by the world’s human rights activists nor so strongly defended by the country’s leaders, who have long argued it saves lives by deterring smugglers and migrants.

      Now, though, the desperation has reached a new level — in part because of the United States.

      Sajeenthana and her father are among the dozens of refugees on Nauru who had been expecting to be moved as part of an Obama-era deal that President #Trump reluctantly agreed to honor, allowing resettlement for up to 1,250 refugees from Australia’s offshore camps.

      So far, according to American officials, about 430 refugees from the camps have been resettled in the United States — but at least 70 people were rejected over the past few months.

      That includes Sajeenthana and her father, Tamil refugees who fled violence at home after the Sri Lankan government crushed a Tamil insurgency.

      Sajeenthana, 8, with her father after describing her suicidal thoughts and attempts at self-harm in September.CreditMridula Amin and Lachie Hinton

      A State Department spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the #rejections, arguing the Nauru refugees are subject to the same vetting procedures as other refugees worldwide.

      Australia’s Department of Home Affairs said in a statement that Nauru has “appropriate mental health assessment and treatment in place.”

      But what’s clear, according to doctors and asylum seekers, is that the situation has been deteriorating for months. On Nauru, signs of suicidal children have been emerging since August. Dozens of organizations, including #Doctors_Without_Borders (which was ejected from Nauru on Oct. 5) have been sounding the alarm. And with the hope of American resettlement diminishing, the Australian government has been forced to relent: Last week officials said they would work toward moving all children off Nauru for treatment by Christmas.

      At least 92 children have been moved since August — Sajeenthana was evacuated soon after our interview — but as of Tuesday there were still 27 children on Nauru, hundreds of adults, and no long-term solution.

      The families sent to Australia for care are waiting to hear if they will be sent back to Nauru. Some parents, left behind as their children are being treated, fear they will never see each other again if they apply for American resettlement, while asylum seekers from countries banned by the United States — like Iran, Syria and Somalia — lack even that possibility.

      For all the asylum seekers who have called Nauru home, the psychological effects linger.
      ‘I Saw the Blood — It Was Everywhere’

      Nauru is a small island nation of about 11,000 people that takes 30 minutes by car to loop. A line of dilapidated mansions along the coast signal the island’s wealthy past; in the 1970s, it was a phosphate-rich nation with per capita income second only to Saudi Arabia.

      Now, those phosphate reserves are virtually exhausted, and the country relies heavily on Australian aid. It accounted for 25 percent of Nauru’s gross domestic product last year alone.

      Mathew Batsiua, a former Nauruan lawmaker who helped orchestrate the offshore arrangement, said it was meant to be a short-term deal. But the habit has been hard to break.

      “Our mainstay income is purely controlled by the foreign policy of another country,” he said.

      In Topside, an area of old cars and dusty brush, sits one of the two processing centers that house about 160 detainees. Hundreds of others live in community camps of modular housing. They were moved from shared tents in August, ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental meeting that Nauru hosted this year.

      Sukirtha Krishnalingam, 15, said the days are a boring loop as she and her family of five — certified refugees from Sri Lanka — wait to hear if the United States will accept them. She worries about her heart condition. And she has nightmares.

      “At night, she screams,” said her brother Mahinthan, 14.

      In the past year, talk of suicide on the island has become more common. Young men like Abdullah Khoder, a 24-year-old Lebanese refugee, says exhaustion and hopelessness have taken a toll. “I cut my hands with razors because I am tired,” he said.

      Even more alarming: Children now allude to suicide as if it were just another thunderstorm. Since 2014, 12 people have died after being detained in Australia’s offshore detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island, part of Papua New Guinea.

      Christina Sivalingam, a 10-year-old Tamil girl on Nauru spoke matter-of-factly in an interview about seeing the aftermath of one death — that of an Iranian man, Fariborz Karami, who killed himself in June.

      “We came off the school bus and I saw the blood — it was everywhere,” she said calmly. It took two days to clean up. She said her father also attempted suicide after treatment for his thyroid condition was delayed.

      Seeing some of her friends being settled in the United States while she waits on her third appeal for asylum has only made her lonelier. She said she doesn’t feel like eating anymore.

      “Why am I the only one here?” she said. “I want to go somewhere else and be happy.”

      Some observers, even on Nauru, wonder if the children are refusing to eat in a bid to leave. But medical professionals who have worked on the island said the rejections by the Americans have contributed to a rapid deterioration of people’s mental states.

      Dr. Beth O’Connor, a psychiatrist working with Doctors Without Borders, said that when she arrived last year, people clung to the hope of resettlement in the United States. In May, a batch of rejections plunged the camp into despair.

      Mr. Karami’s death further sapped morale.

      “People that just had a bit of spark in their eye still just went dull,” Dr. O’Connor said. “They felt more abandoned and left behind.”

      Many of the detainees no longer hope to settle in Australia. #New_Zealand has offered to take in 150 refugees annually from Nauru but Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, has said that he will only consider the proposal if a bill is passed banning those on Nauru from ever entering Australia. Opposition lawmakers say they are open to discussion.

      In the meantime, Nauru continues to draw scrutiny.
      ‘I’m Not Going Back to Nauru’

      For months, doctors say, many children on Nauru have been exhibiting symptoms of #resignation_syndrome — a mental condition in response to #trauma that involves extreme withdrawal from reality. They stopped eating, drinking and talking.

      “They’d look right through you when you tried to talk to them,” Dr. O’Connor said. “We watched their weights decline and we worried that one of them would die before they got out.”

      Lawyers with the National Justice Project, a nonprofit legal service, have been mobilizing. They have successfully argued for the #medical_evacuation of around 127 people from Nauru this year, including 44 children.

      In a quarter of the cases, the government has resisted these demands in court, said George Newhouse, the group’s principal lawyer.

      “We’ve never lost,” he said. “It is gut-wrenching to see children’s lives destroyed for political gain.”

      A broad coalition that includes doctors, clergy, lawyers and nonprofit organizations, working under the banner #kidsoffnauru, is now calling for all asylum seekers to be evacuated.

      Public opinion in Australia is turning: In one recent poll, about 80 percent of respondents supported the removal of families and children from Nauru.

      Australia’s conservative government, with an election looming, is starting to shift.

      “We’ve been going about this quietly,” Mr. Morrison said last week. “We haven’t been showboating.”

      But there are still questions about what happens next.

      Last month, Sajeenthana stopped eating. After she had spent 10 days on a saline drip in a Nauruan hospital, her father was told he had two hours to pack for Australia.

      Speaking by video from Brisbane last week (we are not using her full name because of her age and the severity of her condition), Sajeenthana beamed.

      “I feel better now that I am in Australia,” she said. “I’m not going back to Nauru.”

      But her father is less certain. The United States rejected his application for resettlement in September. There are security guards posted outside their Brisbane hotel room, he said, and though food arrives daily, they are not allowed to leave. He wonders if they have swapped one kind of limbo for another, or if they will be forced back to Nauru.

      Australia’s Home Affairs minister has said the Nauru children will not be allowed to stay.

      “Anyone who is brought here is still classified as a transitory person,” said Jana Favero, director of advocacy and campaigns at the Asylum Seeker Resource Center. “Life certainly isn’t completely rosy and cheery once they arrive in Australia.”

      On Monday, 25 more people, including eight children, left the island in six family units, she said.

      Those left behind on Nauru pass the days, worrying and waiting.

      Christina often dreams of what life would be like somewhere else, where being 10 does not mean being trapped.

      A single Iranian woman who asked not to be identified because she feared for her safety said that short of attempting suicide or changing nationality, there was no way off Nauru.

      She has been waiting two years for an answer to her application for resettlement in the United States — one that now seems hopeless given the Trump administration’s policies.

      Each night, often after the power goes out on Nauru, she and her sister talk about life and death, and whether to harm themselves to seek freedom.

  • US Condemns Syria’s Decision to Recognize 2 Breakaway #Georgia Regions | Asharq AL-awsat

    The United States condemned on Wednesday the Syrian regime for recognizing two breakaway regions in Georgia and establishing diplomatic ties with them.

    “The United States strongly condemns the Syrian regime’s intention to establish diplomatic relations with the Russian-occupied Georgian regions of #Abkhazia and #South_Ossetia,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

    It added that it fully backed Georgia’s independence and reiterating its call for Russia to withdraw from the area.

    “_These regions are part of Georgia. The United States’ position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia is unwavering,” the statement said.

    On Tuesday [29/05/18], Georgia said it would sever diplomatic relations with Syria after Damascus moved to recognize the two regions as independent states.

    With this act the Assad regime declared its support for Russia’s military aggression against Georgia, the illegal occupation of Abkhazia and (South Ossetia) regions and the ethnic cleansing that has been taking place for years,” Georgia said.

    Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru previously recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which broke away from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  • Apparemment, les États-Unis ont également réduit leur budget cocktail à l’ONU :

    On Wednesday, the United States Mission to the United Nations held a cocktail reception for the nine countries that voted against the resolution in the General Assembly, which, aside from Israel, were Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

    In a video message played at the reception, Mr. Trump thanked the attendees for “standing with the United States.”

    Je me demande : ils font ça dans une petite salle, au risque que leurs hôtes se sentent insultés, ou dans la grande salle habituelle, au risque qu’on se rende compte qu’il y a pas grand monde ?

  • L’Assemblée générale de l’ONU rejette la position américaine sur Jérusalem
    MEE et agences | 21 décembre 2017

    Nikki Haley, ambassadrice des États-Unis auprès des Nations unies (AFP)

    Les États membres de l’ONU ont voté ce jeudi en faveur d’une motion rejetant la reconnaissance américaine de Jérusalem comme capitale d’Israël.

    Sur les 193 pays membres de l’ONU, 128 ont voté pour la résolution, 35 se sont abstenus et 9 (Guatemala, Honduras, Israël, Palaos, Îles Marshall, Micronésie, Nauru, Togo, États-Unis) ont voté contre.


    "Nous nous souviendrons de ce vote" avait conclu Nikki Haley à la tribune de l’ONU.


    Gilles Paris
    ‏il y a 4 heures

    Stabilité sur la Palestine si on se réfère au vote de l’AG de novembre 2012 (statut de la Palestine comme observateur non membre) : 138 pour, 9 contre, 41 abstentions. Sans menaces américaines. L’axe est-européen était déjà en place.

    • Armed by Israel, Honduras’s illegitimate regime returns the favor at the U.N.
      Middle East James North on December 21, 2017

      Once again, Israel is supporting a repressive regime in the Global South, this time in the poor Central American nation of Honduras — and Israeli activists are protesting vigorously.

      Just after the November 26 election in Honduras, the results started to show a commanding margin for the pro-democracy opposition — until the vote-tabulating computers mysteriously went down. Many days later, the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, had miraculously gained the lead, and Hondurans poured into the streets in nationwide peaceful demonstrations against the obvious theft.

      The military and police have already killed 22 protesters, but the street demonstrations show no signs of stopping. The United States dishonestly endorsed the rigged results, even though observers from the Organization of American States had found so many irregularities that they recommended new elections.

      Israel hides its arms exports. But last year, the Honduras regime revealed that it had bought $209 million worth of weapons from Israel, including surveillance drones for the army.

      A representative of the Israeli activists, a courageous lawyer named Eitay Mack, sent a letter to the Israeli Defense Ministry asking it to freeze or cancel the arms sales. (Eitay Mack, who pushes for public scrutiny of Israeli security exports, has written for this site.)

      Honduras just repaid Tel Aviv for the weapons sale — by casting one of the only 9 votes against the United Nations resolution condemning the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Here, in addition to the U.S. and Israel, is the rest of the list: Guatemala, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Togo.)

  • Le chef du HCR Filippo Grandi appelle l’Australie à mettre fin au modèle offshore de traitement et de placement

    La politique australienne sur le traitement et le placement offshore en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée et à Nauru, qui interdit l’accès aux procédures de demande d’asile en Australie pour les réfugiés arrivant par la mer sans un visa valide, cause depuis trop longtemps des souffrances extrêmes et évitables.

  • Cost for Australia’s offshore immigration detention near $5 billion

    Ahead of Wednesday’s four-year anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s move to reinstate hardline rules to send any asylum seeker arriving in Australia by boat to offshore detention, Senate committee figures show the total operational and infrastructure costs for Australia’s detention facilities on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island has reached $4.89 billion.
    #coût #business #Australie #externalisation #détention_administrative rétention #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Manus_island #Nauru

    via @forumasile

  • ’The system here is broken’: Secret recording reveals failures of offshore detention regime

    Two refugees under Australia’s care in Nauru are desperately seeking medical evacuations to Australia to escape a health regime that a government-contracted doctor on the island has admitted is “broken”.
    #santé #Nauru #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Australie #externalisation

  • Amnesty | Une entreprise espagnole complice des mauvais traitements infligés aux réfugiés sur l’île de Nauru

    La multinationale responsable de la gestion du centre de « traitement » des réfugiés établi par le gouvernement australien sur l’île de Nauru empoche des millions de dollars en tirant profit d’un système où le traitement des réfugiés et des demandeurs d’asile s’apparente à de la torture.

  • They Cannot Take the Sky. Stories from detention

    For more than two decades, Australia has locked up people who arrive here fleeing persecution - sometimes briefly, sometimes for years. In They Cannot Take the Sky those people tell their stories, in their own words. Speaking from inside immigration detention on #Manus_Island and #Nauru, or from within the Australian community after their release, the narrators reveal not only their extraordinary journeys and their daily struggles but also their meditations on love, death, hope and injustice. Their candid testimonies are at times shocking and hilarious, surprising and devastating. They are witnesses from the edge of human experience.

    The first-person narratives in They Cannot Take the Sky range from epic life stories to heartbreaking vignettes. The narrators who have shared their stories have done so despite the culture of silence surrounding immigration detention, and the real risks faced by those who speak out. Once you have heard their voices, you will never forget them.
    #livre #Australie #détention_administrative #rétention #témoignages

  • Un vote massif pour le droit du peuple Palestinien à l’auto-détermination
    Ma’an News, mercredi 23 novembre 2016

    New York - Ma’an - Un vote a eu lieu lundi 21 novembre, à la Commission des questions sociales, humanitaires et culturelles de l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies (la Troisième Commission) sur une résolution approuvant le droit du peuple palestinien à l’autodétermination, la résolution a été adoptée par 170 pays contre 7 qui se sont opposés, (Canada, Israël, Îles Marshall, Micronésie, Nauru, Palaos, États-Unis) et cinq pays se sont abstenus de voter (Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, le Royaume de Tonga et Anwato).

    La résolution réaffirme le droit du peuple palestinien à l’auto-détermination, y compris le droit à un état palestinien indépendant, et prie instamment tous les États, les organismes et les organisations des Nations Unies de continuer à soutenir le peuple palestinien et les aider à réaliser leur droit. La résolution souligne également la nécessité urgente de mettre, sans délai, fin à l’occupation israélienne qui a commencé en 1967, et de parvenir à un règlement pacifique juste, durable et global entre les parties palestinienne et israélienne, sur la base des décisions des Nations Unies, les termes de référence de Madrid, l’Initiative de paix arabe et la feuille de route, pour trouver une solution durable au conflit israélo-palestinien sur la base de l’existence de deux États.

    Traduit pour l’AFPS par Moncef Chahed

  • Australian government unveils brutal refugee deal with the US - World Socialist Web Site

    Australian government unveils brutal refugee deal with the US
    By Max Newman
    14 November 2016

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday announced a one-off “resettlement” deal with the United States that will forcibly remove to the US some of the 2,200 refugees who have rotted since 2013 in Australia’s prison camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

    At a media conference in the government’s Maritime Border Command headquarters, Turnbull declared that Australia’s naval “Operation Sovereign Borders,” which organises the interception and turn back of refugee boats, would be boosted to its highest-ever level.

    #australie #états-unis #réfugiés #asile #migrations

  • Asylum seekers face lifetime ban from entering Australia if they arrive by boat | Australia news | The Guardian

    The Turnbull government plans to introduce legislation to ban asylum seekers who arrive by boat from ever being allowed into Australia.

    The ban will apply to any adult who has been sent to detention centres on #Nauru or #Manus_Island since 19 July 2013.

    It means adults who have previously tried to enter Australia by boat since July 2013, but who have chosen to return home, will never be allowed to get a visa to Australia – even as a tourist, or a spouse.

    The government plans to backdate its ban to 19 July 2013, because that is when the former prime minister Kevin Rudd said: “As of today, asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.

    The ban will not apply to children.

  • Australia: Island of Despair: Australia’s “processing” of refugees on Nauru

    The current policy of the Australian Government is that no person who arrives in the country by boat seeking asylum can ever settle in Australia. Instead, anyone who arrives by boat is forcibly taken to offshore “Refugee Processing Centres”, one of which is on the remote Pacific island of Nauru. The government claims that the policy protects people who might otherwise undertake the hazardous boat crossing to Australia. However, since its inception, offshore processing has been designed to be punitive and has been widely promoted by a succession of Australian governments as a deterrent and as a demonstration of Australia securing its borders.
    #Nauru #torture #asile #suicide #réfugiés #Australie #externalisation

  • UN committee condemns Australia’s Nauru refugee camp - World Socialist Web Site

    UN committee condemns Australia’s Nauru refugee camp
    By Max Newman
    19 October 2016

    A United Nations organisation this month expressed “grave concern” about the living conditions inside the Australian detention centre in the small Pacific island state of Nauru.

    The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) conducted a review of the treatment of refugee children in Nauru, focusing on the Australian-controlled Regional Processing Centre (RPC), a prison indefinitely housing 306 men, 55 women and 49 children who sought to reach Australia by boat to seek asylum.

    In a 17-page report, the committee said the conditions in the RPC, combined with the uncertainty of indefinite detention is “generating and exacerbating mental health issues, leading to feelings of hopelessness and often suicidal ideation.”

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #australie #nauru

  • A Lesbo i profughi sono prigionieri di un accordo ingiusto

    A fine aprile, 3.500 persone sono rinchiuse nel campo da quasi un mese, come José. “È strano stare in carcere senza aver commesso un reato”, mi dice mentre parliamo. È sera e il profumo della liquirizia misto a quello del timo si alza dai campi e addolcisce l’aria. José è dietro le sbarre e io, come tanti, sono venuta a trovare i reclusi. C’è una strada che sale sulla collina tra gli ulivi e costeggia la recinzione fino alle spalle della prigione, lì si piazzano i camion degli ambulanti che vendono panini, sigarette e sim per i cellulari. Generatori accesi quasi ventiquattr’ore su ventiquattro, puzza di gasolio e patatine fritte come alle sagre di paese.
    #Lesbos #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Grèce #rétention #détention_administrative #antichambre #attente

  • The extraordinary cost of keeping asylum seekers in detention: over $500,000 each

    What if our government really wanted to save money? As well as going after $6.7 billion in its omnibus savings bill, it could go after the billions more it costs to run our immigration detention centres: $9.2 billion in the past three years, $3.9 billion to $5.5 billion in the next four, according to the most complete accounting yet of the costs normally hidden in inaccessible parts of the the budget.
    #détention_administrative #rétention #coût #économie #Australie #externalisation #Manus_island #Nauru

    #Rapport de Save the children & Unicef:

    • Et pas mal d’argent aussi pour des #NGO :
      #Save_The_Children not saving anyone

      Like many NGOS before it, Save The Children is the latest case study of an NGO contracted into the supply chain with good intentions, but set to leave the detention sector under a cloud of controversy. Having tendered and won the $36 million contract in 2013, Save The Children began education, recreation and child protection services at Manus Island and Nauru.

    • Nauru refugees: Australia pays $35.3 million per year for ‘island of despair’

      But what goes on here is far from idyllic, and the government of Nauru is cashing in on it, earning a staggering $35.3 million a year just for hosting Australia’s immigration problem.

    • Nauru detention centre operator makes $101m profit – at least $500,000 for each detainee

      #Canstruct_International’s holding company has more than $340m in cash and investments, according to accounts filed with regulator

      The company behind Australia’s offshore processing regime on Nauru made a $101m profit last financial year – more than $500,000 for each of the fewer than 200 people held on the island.

      Rard No 3, the holding company for Canstruct International, which has the government contract to run the Nauru offshore processing centre, has more than $340m in cash and investments, according to its most recent accounts filed with the corporate regulator.

      When Canstruct International was initially awarded the Nauru contract in 2017 the company had $8 in assets.

      Its only significant contract is with the federal government to provide “garrison and welfare services” for refugees and asylum seekers held by Australia on the Pacific island.

      The construction revenue Rard No 3 earned in 2020-21 – $333m – was commensurate with Canstruct International’s Nauru contracts for the period. The company signed two contract extensions worth $303m during the financial year, with other extensions worth hundreds of millions in preceding and future years.

      Rard No 3 now holds $236m in financial investments and owns three investment properties worth more than $14m. The company also reaped $6m in interest and dividends from its investment portfolio. It made an after-tax profit of $69.5m in 2018-19 and $101m in 2019-20 and again in 2020-21.

      The number of refugees and asylum seekers held by Australia on Nauru diminished steadily over the course of 2020-21, from 185 to 108 by the end of the financial year.

      There are currently 115 people held by Australia on the island, with the transfer of people from the offshore regime on PNG to Nauru, and the departure of some refugees for America.

      It currently costs the Australian taxpayer more than $4m each year to hold a single refugee or asylum seeker on Nauru, or nearly $12,000 a day, according to government figures.

      In its latest report, filed late to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the company did not comment on its future on Nauru. The Australian government has committed to an “enduring” offshore processing regime on the island but intends to hand control of the centre over to the Nauru government at some point. Canstruct International’s most recent extension was to the end of June this year.

      “Likely developments in the operation of the group and the expected results of those operations in future financial years have not been included in this report as the inclusion of such information is likely to result in unreasonable prejudice to the group,” the company stated.

      “Although it is expected that there will be changes to the company’s activities in the near future, it is still unclear as to the extent of the changes predicted.”

      The directors of Rard No 3 are four members of the Murphy family – the founding director of the Canstruct group of companies, Robin Murphy, and his three sons, Adrian, Rory and Daniel.

      The Canstruct group, or entities associated with it, have made 11 donations to the Liberal National party in Queensland. The company has previously strenuously denied any link between political donations and the awarding of any contracts.

      Canstruct International’s Nauru contract has attracted significant parliamentary interest and repeated questioning in the Senate.

      The October 2017 “letter of intent” awarded to Canstruct International was worth $8m. But a government-ordered financial strength test, conducted by KPMG, to test the company’s fitness for the contract, was erroneously conducted on a different company.

      KPMG reported its pre-contract financial strength assessment was conducted on Canstruct International Pty Ltd – but the government, after twice having to correct its evidence to the Senate, has since confirmed the assessment was actually undertaken on Canstruct Pty Ltd, a company also controlled by the Murphy family, but with which it had no financial relationship.

      Less than a month after the letter of intent was signed, the company won a $385m contract awarded by limited tender.

      Since then, government figures show eight further non-competitive amendments to the contract, raising the total cost to $1.82bn.

      The most recent contract extension was in January, to 22 June, for $218.5m. There is an option to extend for six months beyond.

    • Nauru contract standoff causes chaos and confusion as refugee services left in limbo

      A refusal by Nauru to agree to a contract extension until the 11th hour has caused chaos and confusion on the island, after refugees and asylum seekers were told to clear out of the processing centre and warned healthcare may stop.

      Australia and Nauru have been working towards Nauru taking over contracts to provide welfare and garrison service to the 400 or so asylum seekers and refugees on the island, but Nauru has struggled to be ready.

      As a result Australia has repeatedly extended its $432m contract with #Canstruct, which contracts #Wilson to provide security, with the most recent six-month extension due to expire at midnight on Tuesday.

      However as late as Tuesday afternoon there was no decision made on either extending with Canstruct or Nauru signing a new contract, which resulted in fear and confusion among the refugee and asylum seeker group.

      The standoff, which saw Canstruct and Wilson inform other stakeholders they were “demobilising” only ended late on Tuesday afternoon when Nauru agreed to a three-month extension.

      Island’s government extends Canstruct’s contract at 11th hour but not before asylum seekers were told to clear out

  • Jig is up on our outsourced refugee hells in #Nauru, #Manus_Island

    Nauru and Manus Island have served the Coalition well, right up to the election, but there are ominous signs that the music may stop leaving us without a seat. The Australian government may need a new policy. It’s not a matter entirely within its control.
    #Australie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #politique_migratoire

  • Voices from Manus: ’I don’t want to go to Australia ... after what they did’

    But when he was transferred to Australia’s remote detention center on Manus Island in 2013, he realized his trauma had only just begun.
    “They just want us to die. For the last three years we were under heavy, systematic torture (which) aim to force us to go back ... Hundreds of us lost their minds completely,” he said.
    #Australie #asile #migrations #chiffres #statistiques #Manus_island #Nauru #externalisation

  • Disconnected and desperate: How Australia keeps refugees in tech limbo

    Officially known as “illegal maritime arrivals,” these refugees sought asylum in Australia but instead have been detained for years, thousands of miles offshore. Technology could be their lifeline, but they live in radio silence.
    #isolement #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Australie #île #externalisation #limbe #coupure #liens (manque de -) #Nauru #Manus_island #réseaux_sociaux

  • What next for #Manus_Island asylum seekers?

    Australia has agreed to close a detention centre on a Pacific island that is used to house asylum seekers.

    Manus Island is part of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Its Supreme Court ruled in April that holding people in such a camp was unconstitutional.

    So, what could happen next to about 850 men currently being held on the Pacific island?
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Australie #externalisation