country:slovakia

  • The Giant Soviet Pipeline System That’s Full of Tainted Crude - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-26/the-giant-soviet-pipeline-system-that-s-full-of-tainted-crude


    A section of the Druzhba crude oil pipeline near Styri, Ukraine.
    Photographer: John Guillemin/Bloomberg

    Russia’s giant Soviet-era oil pipeline is a vital piece of Europe’s energy infrastructure, carrying crude to refineries across the region. This week it’s been hit by probably the biggest crisis in its 55-year history: both branches of the #Druzhba pipeline have been closed due to the presence of contaminated crude oil that can cause serious damage to refineries.

    What is the Druzhba pipeline?
    The Druzhba, or Friendship, pipeline system is a Soviet-era behemoth, originally designed to carry crude from the USSR to allied countries in eastern Europe. The line starts at Almetyevsk in the Republic of Tatarstan, a town that was founded in 1953 as an oil-processing center for the giant Romashkino oil field, then the mainstay of the Soviet oil industry. It’s now also a major pipeline junction, where conduits from the Volga-Urals region, West Siberia and the Caspian Sea meet.

    The Druzhba pipeline carries oil westwards to Mozyr in Belarus, where it splits into two branches. One continues westwards across Poland and into Germany. It delivers crude to refineries at Plock and Gdansk in Poland and Schwedt and Leuna in Germany. A southern branch crosses Ukraine to Uzhgorod on the border with the Slovak Republic, where it again splits. One leg delivers crude to the Szazhalombatta refinery near Budapest in Hungary. The other supplies refineries in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The total length of the line, including all its branches, is around 5,500 kilometers (3,420 miles).

    Construction of the system began in 1960 and the line was put into operation in October 1964.

    A spur line from Unecha in Russia that crossed Belarus to an export terminal on the Baltic Sea at Ventspils in Latvia was completed in 1968, but was closed in 2002 after Russia halted crude exports through Latvia, following the construction of its own Baltic export terminal at Primorsk. A new spur line from Unecha, bypassing Belarus to a second Russian Baltic export terminal at Ust-Luga, came into operation in March 2012.

    The importance of Druzhba
    Druzhba can carry between 1.2 million and 1.4 million barrels of crude a day, according to the International Association of Oil Transporters, with the possibility of boosting that to around 2 million barrels. It forms a vital source of supply for the refineries along its route in Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

    During 2018, the Druzhba network was used to deliver about 1 million barrels a day of Russian crude to those five countries, with a further 500,000 barrels a day pumped to Ust-Luga for export by sea.

    While most of the refineries along its length can source at least some of their crude requirements via other routes, Druzhba has provided most of their feedstock and most were designed specifically to process the Russian Urals crude delivered through the pipeline.

    The #contamination
    Europe’s oil refineries stopped accepting piped deliveries of Urals crude from Russia this week after flows were found to be contaminated with abnormally high levels of organic chlorides that, when refined, become hydrochloric acid that can damage the plants.

    The issue was first raised by Belarus and has also affected supplies from the Russian port of Ust-Luga, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    There are no signs that shipments from Novorossiysk or Primorsk, two other Russian tanker-loading facilities, have been disrupted.

    Russia’s government has blamed a private storage terminal in the center of the country for the problem. It will now take two weeks to ensure uncontaminated crude is flowing along the entire length of the pipeline.

    The millions of barrels tainted crude will need to blended with larger quantities of unblemished oil to get the impurities down to safe levels, a task that might some weeks or months.

    Organic chlorides are generally not present in crude oils, but are used to dissolve wax and during cleaning operations at production sites, pipelines or tanks.

    #drujba #pipelines #oléoducs

  • Des anges gardiens de l’Est au service d’une Europe vieillissante
    (anges gardiennes, non, plutôt ?)
    https://www.nouvelobs.com/societe/20190421.AFP5077/des-anges-gardiens-de-l-est-au-service-d-une-europe-vieillissante.html
    https://information.tv5monde.com/info/des-anges-gardiens-de-l-est-au-service-d-une-europe-vieillissa (avec des photos)

    Dans les cas les plus graves, le mal-être des auxiliaires de vie peut tourner à la dépression. En Roumanie, le phénomène est connu sous le nom de « syndrome italien ». Le terme désigne les troubles psychiatriques dont souffrent certaines soignantes ayant travaillé des années à l’étranger, souvent en Italie, laissant leur propre famille derrière elles.

    Durant la seule année dernière, plus de 150 femmes souffrant de ce syndrome ont été admises dans une unité spécialisée de l’hôpital psychiatrique de Iasi, dans le nord de la Roumanie.

    Parmi les anciennes patientes de l’unité, une quinquagénaire ayant travaillé en Italie de 2002 à 2014, décrit la montée d’une angoisse « profonde et sombre » au fil des ans : « C’est avantageux d’un point de vue de financier mais après la tête ne fonctionne plus correctement », confie cette mère de deux enfants sous couvert d’anonymat.

    « J’ai travaillé la plupart du temps auprès de malades d’Alzheimer, coincée entre quatre murs (...) Je leur ai sacrifié mes plus belles années ».

    also in english (article plus long, il semble)

    Care workers cross Europe’s east-west divide
    https://news.yahoo.com/care-workers-cross-europes-east-west-divide-024600024.html
    [AFP]
    Julia ZAPPEI with Ionut IORDACHESCU in Bucharest, AFP•April 21, 2019

    Women from Slovakia and Romania form the backbone of Austria’s domestic care sector (AFP Photo/JOE KLAMAR)

    Leoben (Austria) (AFP) - Every two weeks, Alena Konecna packs her bags to leave her own mother and daughter at home in Slovakia and travel some 400 kilometres (250 miles) across the border into Austria to take care of someone else’s mother.

    As citizens across the continent prepare to vote in May’s European Parliament elections, 40-year-old Konecna is an example of those who regularly take advantage of one of the EU’s most important pillars: the free movement of labour.

    She’s one of more than 65,000 people — mostly women from Slovakia and Romania — who form the backbone of Austria’s domestic care sector.

    For two weeks at a time, Konecna stays with the 89-year-old bedridden woman to cook and care for her.

    “Without care workers from abroad, the 24-hour care system would break down... No one (in Austria) wants to do it,” says Klaus Katzianka, who runs the agency that found Konecna her current job and who himself needs round-the-clock care due to a disability.

    But the arrangement may be coming under strain.

    – Demographic time bomb -

    Austria — along with other countries such as Germany, Greece and Italy — looked to poorer neighbouring states after the fall of communism to meet the need for carers generated by an ageing population and changing family structures.

    But it is “problematic to build a system on this,” says Kai Leichsenring, executive director of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research.

    As eastern European nations become richer and their own populations age, workers there may increasingly choose to stay put, he warns.

    Western European nations would then have to look further afield — to Ukraine or China, for example — to meet the ever-growing demand.

    In Konecna’s case, she started to work as a caregiver more than two years ago in the town of Leoben, nestled amid mountains in the Austrian countryside, which reminds her of her home in Banska Bystrica in Slovakia.

    Previously the single mother worked in a factory in the car industry.

    Fed up with the long shifts and inspired by her mother’s erstwhile career as a nurse, in 2015 she took a three-month course in first aid and care skills, including some practical experience in nursing homes.

    She also took a one-month German course, allowing her to watch TV with her employer and read newspapers to her.

    Care workers can earn roughly double as much in Austria than in Slovakia, although Konecna says it’s hard to leave behind her daughter, now 19.

    “My daughter was often sick when I was away. And I have missed things like my daughter’s birthday,” she says, adding she would prefer working in Slovakia if wages were better there.

    – ’Italy syndrome’ -

    Besides being separated from their families, there are other problems in how the sector works across Europe.

    A study by the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz found inadequate training, extreme working hours and salaries below the legal minimum wage.

    Up to 300,000 caregivers are estimated to work in private homes in Germany, mostly illegally. They previously hailed mostly from Poland but now increasingly come from poorer EU states such as Romania and Slovakia.

    Konecna was put off going to Germany by the more gruelling cycle which is common there, with workers staying three months at a time.

    For many of those from poorer EU member states working in the West, workplace conditions can leave lasting effects.

    In Romania, more than 150 women were hospitalised at Socola Psychiatric Hospital in the country’s northeast last year alone, their mental health having suffered after caring for the elderly abroad — what has become known as the “Italy syndrome”.

    “I had the misfortune to work all the time for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer’s so I spent most of my time between four walls, under constant pressure,” says one former hospital patient, a 58-year-old mother of two who worked in Italy from 2002 until 2014.

    “I devoted the most beautiful years of my life to elderly Italians.”

    – ’Big minus’ -

    Added to the stress of such jobs, there are signs that EU migrant workers like Konecna may come under fire from their host governments.

    Last year in Austria for example, the right-wing government decided to cut the amount of child benefit paid to foreigners who work in Austria but whose children live abroad in lower income countries.

    With a monthly salary of about 1,200 euros ($1,400), Konecna says the changes have meant an effective pay cut of 80 euros, a “big minus” for her.

    Katzianka, who fears difficulties to find carers from Slovakia now, has hired a lawyer for Konecna to contest the change.

    Romania has also protested to the European Commission over the change, saying it violates EU principles of equal treatment.

  • Lebanon looks to hardline eastern Europe approach for Syrian refugees

    Lebanon said on Wednesday it wanted to follow the example of eastern EU states that have largely rejected refugees as a way of resolving its own refugee crisis.
    Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil sympathized with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia’s refusal to accept refugee distribution quotas proposed by the EU after the 2015-16 migrant crisis, when more than a million people streamed into Europe, mostly from Syria.
    Populist eastern EU leaders including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Poland’s powerbroker Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Czech President Milos Zeman, among others, blasted German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “open door” policy on accepting migrants during that period.
    These countries “were acting in their national interest and decided that the redistribution of refugees among European countries is not in their national interest, although they faced EU sanctions for that,” Bassil told reporters in Prague.
    “I would like this attitude to be an inspiration for Lebanon, because every state must make national interests its top priority and at this moment Lebanon’s key national interest is the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland,” he added.
    Lebanon says it is hosting 1.5 million Syrians — around a quarter of its own population. Less than one million of them are registered with UN refugee agency the UNHCR.
    Most of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in insecurity and depend on international aid.
    The International Monetary Fund has said their presence has led to increased unemployment and a rise in poverty due to greater competition for jobs.
    The influx has also put strain on Lebanese water and electrical infrastructure.
    Lebanese government officials and politicians have ramped up calls for Syrians to return home, but the United Nations has consistently warned that conditions in the war-ravaged country are not suitable for such returns.
    “I would like Prague or Beirut to host a meeting, an initiative of countries seeking to plan and ensure the return of Syrian refugees to their country,” said Bassil.
    “This would be immensely useful for both Lebanon and Syria and in general it would be the best solution to the human, humanitarian and political crisis we have right now and which could get worse in the future,” he said.


    http://www.arabnews.com/node/1473496/middle-east
    #Liban #it_has_begun #modèle_hongrois #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_syriens #intérêt_national #populisme #modèle_Visegrad #retour_au_pays

  • Forest disaster in Slovakia

    The forests in Slovakian mountains are considered by many to be the landscape least impacted by humans in Central Europe, in the last two decades. This is not true anymore. This part of Slovakian natural heritage is gone.

    Slovakia is facing the worst ecological disaster in its history. The European Commission has given this country two more months before it steps in. Slovakia has one weeks remaining before this ultimatum. If Slovakia does not stop destroying the last remnants of its natural forests in Europe by March of this year, the European Commission will refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union. There is a threat of extraordinary fines.

    The sad news is that the sanctions from the European Commission will not restore the old-growth forests and natural forests that have been lost from the Slovakian Mountains and protected areas. Ongoing logging, approved or ignored by political leaders, is already threatening not only the disappearing capercaillie, but above all it is threatening the people. For example they lose water-quality, natural biodiversity or the old-growth forests inherited from great-grandparents.


    https://wilderness-society.org/forest-disaster-in-slovakia
    #forêt #déforestation #Slovaquie #forêts

  • Slovakia Immigration Detention

    Since the onset of the “refugee crisis,” Slovakia has pursued restrictive immigration policies and employed anti-migrant rhetoric, despite the fact that the country has not faced the same migratory pressures as its European neighbours. Rarely granting alternatives to detention due to strict eligibility criteria, non-citizens are held in facilities that observers have described as punitive in nature, and where detainees are required to pay for their own detention. Monitoring bodies have also raised concerns that the country’s legislation enshrines a presumption of majority in cases of age disputes, resulting in some unaccompanied children being held alongside unrelated adults as they await the results of bone analyses.

    https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/slovakia
    #rétention #détention_administrative #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Slovaquie

    • Gilets Jaunes strike on 5th February – solidarity action in Bratislava

      5/2/2019

      Several sections of the International Workers‘ Association responded to the call for solidarity from French CNT-AIT. So far we have heard about ZSP in Poland, KRAS in Russia, SolFed in UK and NSF in Norway. In Slovakia, Priama akcia organized a visit to the French embassy in Bratislava.

      We visited the embassy in the morning. Chief of security opened the door and informed us that we cannot meet the ambassador because he was not there. We told him why we had come to protest and delivered a letter for the ambassador (see text below). He promised to translate the letter to French and give it to the ambassador.

      In solidarity with our comrades in France!

      Text of the letter to the ambassador:

      Dear ambassador Christophe Léonzi,

      Hereby we react to the international call of the Confédération Nationale du Travail (CNT-AIT, the French section of the International Workers’ Association) and our expression of solidarity with the movement of so-called Yellow Vests in France.

      We express our support to the strike that has been called by yellow vests and is taking place in France today. We demand that the police violence against the participants at assemblies and demonstrations is stopped, and those who have been imprisoned so far are released immediately.

      We trust that you will inform relevant authorities in France about our protest. We will closely observe the movement of yellow vests and inform about it in Slovakia.

      Workers’ solidarity union PRIAMA AKCIA

      Slovak section of the International Workers’ Association

      In Bratislava, 5th February 2019

      https://www.priamaakcia.sk/Gilets-Jaunes-strike-on-5th-February-solidarity-action-in-Bratislava.htm

  • Gun Use Surges in Europe, Where Firearms Are Rare. Growing insecurity spurs more people to clear high bars for ownership

    When hundreds of women were sexually assaulted on New Year’s Eve in several German cities three years ago, Carolin Matthie decided it was time to defend herself. The 26-year-old Berlin student quickly applied for a gun permit, fearing many women would have the same idea and flood the application process.

    “If I don’t do it now, I will have to wait maybe another half year,” she recalls thinking.

    Gun ownership is rising across Europe, a continent that until recently faced far less gun crime and violence than much of the globe. Not long ago it was rare to see armed British police.

    The uptick was spurred in part by insecurity arising from terrorist attacks—many with firearms, and reflects government efforts to get illegal guns registered by offering amnesty to owners.

    Europe is still far from facing the gun prevalence and violence in Latin America or the U.S., which lead the world. World-wide civilian ownership of firearms rose 32% in the decade through 2017, to 857.3 million guns, according to the Small Arms Survey, a research project in Geneva. Europe accounts for less than 10% of the total.

    But Europe’s shift has been rapid, and notable in part because of strict national restrictions. In most European countries, gun permits require thorough background checks, monitored shooting practice and tests on regulations. In Belgium, France and Germany, most registered guns may only be used at shooting ranges. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges are extremely difficult to obtain.

    Strict registration requirements don’t account for—and may exacerbate—a surge in illegal weapons across the continent, experts say.

    Europe’s unregistered weapons outnumbered legal ones in 2017, 44.5 million to 34.2 million, according to the Small Arms Survey. Many illegal weapons come from one-time war zones, such as countries of the former Yugoslavia, and others are purchased online, including from vendors in the U.S.

    “Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the U.S.,” concluded a recent Rand Corp. report.

    With more weapons comes more gun-related violence. National police statistics in France, Germany and Belgium show an uptick in gun law violations since 2015. Europe doesn’t have current continentwide statistics.

    Armed robbery and similar crimes often entail illicit guns, while legally registered firearms tend to appear in suicide and domestic-violence statistics, said Nils Duquet of the Flemish Peace Institute, a Belgian research center.

    “It’s clear that illegal guns are used mostly by criminals,” he said.

    In July 2016, an 18-year-old shooter killed nine people in Munich using a gun authorities concluded he bought illegally off the dark web.

    In Germany, the number of legally registered weapons rose roughly 10%, to 6.1 million, in the five years through 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to Germany’s National Weapons Registry. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges more than tripled to 9,285, over the same five years.

    Permits for less lethal air-powered guns that resemble real guns and shoot tear gas or loud blanks to scare away potential attackers roughly doubled in the three years through the end of 2017, to 557,560, according to the registry.

    Ms. Matthie first bought an air gun, which her permit allowed her to carry with her.

    She has since become a sports shooter, using live ammunition at shooting ranges, and is now applying for a firearm permit. She posts a daily video blog where she advocates armed self-defense.

    In Belgium, firearm permits and membership in sport-shooting clubs has risen over the past three years.

    Belgian applications for shooting licenses almost doubled after the terrorist attacks by an Islamic State cell in Paris in Nov. 2015 and four months later in Brussels, offering “a clear indication of why people acquired them,” said Mr. Duquet.

    In Paris, the suicide bombers also used machine guns to mow down restaurant and nightclub patrons—weapons they acquired on the black market and were tracked to a shop in Slovakia.

    Belgium has for years tightened regulations in response to gun violence, such as a 2006 killing spree by an 18-year-old who legally acquired a rifle.

    “Before 2006, you could buy rifles simply by showing your ID,” recalled Sébastien de Thomaz, who owns two shooting ranges in Brussels and previously worked in a gun store.

    “They used to let me shoot with all my stepfather’s guns whenever I joined him at the range,” said Lionel Pennings, a Belgian artist who joins his stepfather at one of Mr. De Thomaz’s shooting ranges on Sundays.

    Mr. Pennings recalled that in the past he could easily fire a few rounds with his stepfather’s gun. “Now it’s much stricter,” he said. “You can only use the guns you have a permit for.”

    A Belgian would-be gun owner must pass almost a year of shooting and theory tests, plus psychological checks, said Mr. De Thomaz.

    The gun-range owner questions the impact of that policy. “With each terror attack, the legislation gets stricter,” he said. “For the black market, everything stays the same.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/gun-use-surges-in-europe-where-firearms-are-rare-11546857000

    #armes #Europe #statistiques #détention_d'armes #chiffres
    ping @albertocampiphoto @reka

  • Operation Sophia : new training module in Italy

    A Training “Package 2” module in favour of Libyan Coastguard and Navy started in #La_Maddalena (Italy) on October the 8.

    In the wide framework of Libyan Coastguard and Navy training carried out by SOPHIA operation, a new module, composed by “#Deck_Officer_Course” and “#Maintainer_Course” and in favour of 69 trainees, was launched in the Italian Navy Training Centre in LA MADDALENA (Italy) last 8th of October.

    The end of the course is scheduled for next 30th of November 2018.

    The course, hosted by the Italian Navy, will last 8 weeks, and it will provide knowledge and training in relation to the general activity on board an off shore patrol vessel and lessons focused on Human Rights, Basic First Aid, Gender Policy and Basic English language.

    Additionally, with the positive conclusion of these two courses, the threshold of 305 Libyan Coastguard and Navy personnel trained by EUNAVFOR Med will be reached.

    Moreover, further training modules are planned in Croatia and other EU member states in favour of a huge number of trainees.

    From October 2016, SOPHIA is fully involved in the training of the Libyan Coastguard and Navy; the aim of the training is to improve security of the Libyan territorial waters and the Libyan Coastguard and Navy ability to perform the duties in their territorial waters, with a strong focus on respect of human rights, including minors and women’s rights, and the correct handling of migrants in occasion of search and rescue activities to save lives at sea.


    https://www.operationsophia.eu/operation-sophia-new-training-module-in-italy
    #Opération_sophia #Italie #Libye #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #cours #formation

    • EU rift widens on migrants, Sophia Op extended for 3 months

      The EU’s Political and Security Committee has approved a three-month extension for Operation Sophia, the bloc’s mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea whose mandate was set to expire on December 31. But there are still many issues regarding border protection and migration that the 28 EU countries disagree on.

      The decision to extend Operation Sophia came on the second day of the EU summit held in Brussels on December 13 and 14. Though migration was not even the central topic of the summit (Brexit was), it ended up being the cause of friction once again with many losing their patience altogether.

      At the end of the summit, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker criticized what he viewed as the hypocrisy of those calling for more secure borders but who are blocking Frontex reform at the same time.

      He also accused some European leaders of spreading false news, such as Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.

      Divisions in the EU

      Even Belgium, which on the Global Compact issue has lost part of the government, called for those blocking the reform of the Dublin Rules on asylum to be removed from the Schengen zone. It also asked Brussels for an investigation into misinformation spread on social media on the UN agreement.

      Despite six months of negotiations, the 28-member bloc is still divided on Operation Sophia. The EU mission in the Mediterranean was due to expire at the end of this month, but has received a three-month extension in a last-minute attempt to achieve an agreement at the beginning of the year to review the rules of engagement and the distribution of migrants taken to Italian ports.

      Faced with EU conclusions that are even vaguer than usual, in which there are no expiration dates for the Dublin reform nor for the Frontex one, Juncker said that he was losing his patience.

      He said that though ’’everyone says they want better protection of external borders’’, a proposal on the table for a 10,000-strong EU border guard agency had been refused by those claiming to be the most interested in border control - among them are Hungary and Italy, who oppose the measure for reasons of national sovereignty.
      Juncker rails against governments supporting fake news

      Some heads of state and governments were also spreading fake news on issues ranging from migrants to Brexit, Juncker said, such as ’’when Orban says I am responsible’’ for Brexit or that migrants were.

      The countdown for Visegrad countries - meaning the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - who do not want to accept migrants could come soon, said Belgian prime minister Charles Michel. There is ’’ever more agreement’’ among EU states to remove those blocking Dublin reform from the Schengen zone, he said. Michel asked the European Commission to open an investigation into ’’manipulated information’’ on the Global Compact circulated online with a deliberate desire to destabilize EU democracies.

      http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/13971/eu-rift-widens-on-migrants-sophia-op-extended-for-3-months?ref=tw

    • La fin de la plongée croate pour les #garde-côtes_libyens

      Pour trois gardes-côtes libyens et trois autres marins libyens, ce 29 mars sonne comme la fin des cours de #plongée.

      Durant cinq semaines, ils ont suivi un module de formation au Centre de formation de la marine croate à Split (Croatie), géré par l’opération Sophia d’EUNAVFOR MED. La cérémonie de clôture a eu lieu au centre d’instruction de la marine croate à Split, en présence de son chef, le commandant adjoint de l’opération Sophia EUNAVFOR MED et de son chef du secteur de l’instruction de l’OHQ, ainsi que d’une délégation libyenne d’officiers supérieurs.

      Le cours, organisé par la marine croate, portait sur les procédures et techniques de plongée afin de pouvoir effectuer des opérations de maintenance sous-marine des navires. Le cours comprenait également quelques leçons sur les droits de l’homme, les premiers soins et la politique en matière d’égalité des sexes (un rituel côté européen).

      Avec ce cours, l’opération Sophia indique avoir atteint un niveau de 355 membres du personnel des garde-côtes et de la marine libyens formés.

      http://www.bruxelles2.eu/2019/03/29/la-fin-de-la-plongee-croate

      #Croatie

  • UN Human Rights Council passes a resolution adopting the peasant rights declaration in Geneva - Via Campesina
    https://viacampesina.org/en/un-human-rights-council-passes-a-resolution-adopting-the-peasant-right

    Seventeen years of long and arduous negotiations later, peasants and other people working in rural areas are only a step away from having a UN Declaration that could defend and protect their rights to land, seeds, biodiversity, local markets and a lot more.

    On Friday, 28 September, in a commendable show of solidarity and political will, member nations of United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution concluding the UN Declaration for the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. The resolution was passed with 33 votes in favour, 11 abstentions and 3 against. [1]

    Contre : Australie, Hongrie et Royaume-Uni

    In favour: Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Chile, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela

    Abstention: Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain

    https://viacampesina.org/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2011/03/Declaration-of-rights-of-peasants-2009.pdf

    #droit_des_paysan·nes

  • Russian Intelligence Is Co-opting Angry Young Men - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/russia-is-co-opting-angry-young-men/568741

    Deep in the forests of Slovakia, former Russian Spetsnaz commandos trained young men from a right-wing paramilitary group called the Slovak Conscripts. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, some of these freshly-minted paramilitaries went to fight with Russian forces in eastern Ukraine while others stayed at home to agitate against NATO as a “terrorist organization.”

    On the streets of the French city Marseille, Russian soccer hooligans sporting tattoos with the initials of Russia’s military intelligence service, GRU, brutally attacked English soccer fans in June 2016, sending dozens of bloodied fans to the hospital. Alexander Shprygin, an ultranationalist agitator and the head of the All-Russian Union of Supporters (a soccer fan club that he claims was established at the behest of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB), was arrested during the melee and deported from France.

    #europe #néonazis #extrême-droite #populisme #russie #slovaquie #hooligans

  • Slavoj Žižek · The Non-Existence of Norway · LRB 9 September 2015

    https://www.lrb.co.uk/2015/09/09/slavoj-zizek/the-non-existence-of-norway

    The Non-Existence of Norway

    Slavoj Žižek on the refugee crisis

    The flow of refugees from Africa and the Middle East into Western Europe has provoked a set of reactions strikingly similar to those we display on learning we have a terminal illness, according to the schema described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her classic study On Death and Dying. First there is denial: ‘It’s not so serious, let’s just ignore it’ (we don’t hear much of this any longer). Then there is anger – how can this happen to me? – which explodes when denial is no longer plausible: ‘Refugees are a threat to our way of life; Muslim fundamentalists are hiding among them; they have to be stopped!’ There is bargaining: ‘OK, let’s decide on quotas; let them have refugee camps in their own countries.’ There is depression: ‘We are lost, Europe is turning into Europastan!’ What we haven’t yet seen is Kübler-Ross’s fifth stage, acceptance, which in this case would involve the drawing up of an all-European plan to deal with the refugees.

    What should be done? Public opinion is sharply divided. Left liberals express their outrage that Europe is allowing thousands to drown in the Mediterranean: Europe, they say, should show solidarity and throw open its doors. Anti-immigrant populists say we need to protect our way of life: foreigners should solve their own problems. Both solutions sound bad, but which is worse? To paraphrase Stalin, they are both worse. The greatest hypocrites are those who call for open borders. They know very well this will never happen: it would instantly trigger a populist revolt in Europe. They play the beautiful soul, superior to the corrupted world while continuing to get along in it. The anti-immigrant populist also knows very well that, left to themselves, people in Africa and the Middle East will not succeed in solving their own problems and changing their societies. Why not? Because we in Western Europe are preventing them from doing so. It was Western intervention in Libya that threw the country into chaos. It was the US attack on Iraq that created the conditions for the rise of Islamic State. The ongoing civil war in the Central African Republic between the Christian south and the Muslim north is not just an explosion of ethnic hatred, it was triggered by the discovery of oil in the north: France and China are fighting for the control of resources through their proxies. It was a global hunger for minerals, including coltan, cobalt, diamonds and copper, that abetted the ‘warlordism’ in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    If we really want to stem the flow of refugees, then, it is crucial to recognise that most of them come from ‘failed states’, where public authority is more or less inoperative: Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, DRC and so on. This disintegration of state power is not a local phenomenon but a result of international politics and the global economic system, in some cases – like Libya and Iraq – a direct outcome of Western intervention. (One should also note that the ‘failed states’ of the Middle East were condemned to failure by the boundaries drawn up during the First World War by Britain and France.)

    It has not escaped notice that the wealthiest countries in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates, Qatar) have been much less open to refugees than the not so rich (Turkey, Egypt, Iran etc). Saudi Arabia has even returned ‘Muslim’ refugees to Somalia. Is this because Saudi Arabia is a fundamentalist theocracy which cannot tolerate foreign intruders? Yes, but Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil revenues makes it a fully integrated economic partner of the West. There should be serious international pressure on Saudi Arabia (and Kuwait and Qatar and the Emirates) to accept a large contingent of the refugees, especially since, by supporting the anti-Assad rebels, the Saudis bear a measure of responsibility for the current situation in Syria.

    New forms of slavery are the hallmark of these wealthy countries: millions of immigrant workers on the Arabian peninsula are deprived of elementary civil rights and freedoms; in Asia, millions of workers live in sweatshops organised like concentration camps. But there are examples closer to home. On 1 December 2013 a Chinese-owned clothing factory in Prato, near Florence, burned down, killing seven workers trapped in an improvised cardboard dormitory. ‘No one can say they are surprised at this,’ Roberto Pistonina, a local trade unionist, remarked, ‘because everyone has known for years that, in the area between Florence and Prato, hundreds if not thousands of people are living and working in conditions of near slavery.’ There are more than four thousand Chinese-owned businesses in Prato, and thousands of Chinese immigrants are believed to be living in the city illegally, working as many as 16 hours a day for a network of workshops and wholesalers.

    The new slavery is not confined to the suburbs of Shanghai, or Dubai, or Qatar. It is in our midst; we just don’t see it, or pretend not to see it. Sweated labour is a structural necessity of today’s global capitalism. Many of the refugees entering Europe will become part of its growing precarious workforce, in many cases at the expense of local workers, who react to the threat by joining the latest wave of anti-immigrant populism.

    In escaping their war-torn homelands, the refugees are possessed by a dream. Refugees arriving in southern Italy do not want to stay there: many of them are trying to get to Scandinavia. The thousands of migrants in Calais are not satisfied with France: they are ready to risk their lives to enter the UK. Tens of thousands of refugees in Balkan countries are desperate to get to Germany. They assert their dreams as their unconditional right, and demand from the European authorities not only proper food and medical care but also transportation to the destination of their choice. There is something enigmatically utopian in this demand: as if it were the duty of Europe to realise their dreams – dreams which, incidentally, are out of reach of most Europeans (surely a good number of Southern and Eastern Europeans would prefer to live in Norway too?). It is precisely when people find themselves in poverty, distress and danger – when we’d expect them to settle for a minimum of safety and wellbeing – that their utopianism becomes most intransigent. But the hard truth to be faced by the refugees is that ‘there is no Norway,’ even in Norway.

    We must abandon the notion that it is inherently racist or proto-fascist for host populations to talk of protecting their ‘way of life’. If we don’t, the way will be clear for the forward march of anti-immigration sentiment in Europe whose latest manifestation is in Sweden, where according to the latest polling the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats have overtaken the Social Democrats as the country’s most popular party. The standard left-liberal line on this is an arrogant moralism: the moment we give any credence to the idea of ‘protecting our way of life’, we compromise our position, since we’re merely proposing a more modest version of what anti-immigrant populists openly advocate. And this is indeed the cautious approach that centrist parties have adopted in recent years. They reject the open racism of anti-immigrant populists, but at the same time profess that they ‘understand the concerns’ of ordinary people, and so enact a more ‘rational’ anti-immigration policy.

    We should nevertheless reject the left-liberal attitude. The complaints that moralise the situation – ‘Europe is indifferent to the suffering of others’ etc – are merely the obverse of anti-immigrant brutality. They share the presupposition, which is in no way self-evident, that the defence of one’s own way of life is incompatible with ethical universalism. We should avoid getting trapped in the liberal self-interrogation, ‘How much tolerance can we afford?’ Should we tolerate migrants who prevent their children going to state schools; who force their women to dress and behave in a certain way; who arrange their children’s marriages; who discriminate against homosexuals? We can never be tolerant enough, or we are always already too tolerant. The only way to break this deadlock is to move beyond mere tolerance: we should offer others not just our respect, but the prospect of joining them in a common struggle, since our problems today are problems we share.

    Refugees are the price we pay for a globalised economy in which commodities – but not people – are permitted to circulate freely. The idea of porous borders, of being inundated by foreigners, is immanent to global capitalism. The migrations in Europe are not unique. In South Africa, more than a million refugees from neighbouring states came under attack in April from the local poor for stealing their jobs. There will be more of these stories, caused not only by armed conflict but also by economic crises, natural disasters, climate change and so on. There was a moment, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, when the Japanese authorities were preparing to evacuate the entire Tokyo area – more than twenty million people. If that had happened, where would they have gone? Should they have been given a piece of land to develop in Japan, or been dispersed around the world? What if climate change makes northern Siberia more habitable and appropriate for agriculture, while large parts of sub-Saharan Africa become too dry to support a large population? How will the redistribution of people be organised? When events of this kind happened in the past, the social transformations were wild and spontaneous, accompanied by violence and destruction.

    Humankind should get ready to live in a more ‘plastic’ and nomadic way. One thing is clear: national sovereignty will have to be radically redefined and new methods of global co-operation and decision-making devised. First, in the present moment, Europe must reassert its commitment to provide for the dignified treatment of the refugees. There should be no compromise here: large migrations are our future, and the only alternative to such a commitment is renewed barbarism (what some call a ‘clash of civilisations’).

    Second, as a necessary consequence of this commitment, Europe should impose clear rules and regulations. Control of the stream of refugees should be enforced through an administrative network encompassing all of the members of the European Union (to prevent local barbarisms like those of the authorities in Hungary or Slovakia). Refugees should be assured of their safety, but it should also be made clear to them that they must accept the destination allocated to them by European authorities, and that they will have to respect the laws and social norms of European states: no tolerance of religious, sexist or ethnic violence; no right to impose on others one’s own religion or way of life; respect for every individual’s freedom to abandon his or her communal customs, etc. If a woman chooses to cover her face, her choice must be respected; if she chooses not to cover her face, her freedom not to do so must be guaranteed. Such rules privilege the Western European way of life, but that is the price to be paid for European hospitality. These rules should be clearly stated and enforced, by repressive measures – against foreign fundamentalists as well as against our own racists – where necessary.

    Third, a new kind of international military and economic intervention will have to be invented – a kind of intervention that avoids the neocolonial traps of the recent past. The cases of Iraq, Syria and Libya demonstrate how the wrong sort of intervention (in Iraq and Libya) as well as non-intervention (in Syria, where, beneath the appearance of non-intervention, external powers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia are deeply involved) end up in the same deadlock.

    Fourth, most important and most difficult of all, there is a need for radical economic change which would abolish the conditions that create refugees. Without a transformation in the workings of global capitalism, non-European refugees will soon be joined by migrants from Greece and other countries within the Union. When I was young, such an organised attempt at regulation was called communism. Maybe we should reinvent it. Maybe this is, in the long term, the only solution.

    #norvège #réfugiés #asile

  • “Ukrtransgaz”: Gas blast in Austria resulted in cut of Russian gas transit — Economics, Russia — EADaily
    https://eadaily.com/en/news/2017/12/12/ukrtransgaz-gas-blast-in-austria-resulted-in-cut-of-russian-gas-transit

    Ukrtransgaz, the Ukrainian gas transporting system operator, has announced that the Russian gas transit via Ukraine towards Slovakia was cut as a result of an explosion at a gas hub in Austria.
    Due to the accident in the European Union, volumes of gas transit via Ukraine to the Slovak route will be cut,” the press office of Ukrtransgaz informs.

    Earlier on Dec 12, a blast occurred at an OMV gas hub in Austria. One individual was killed in the explosion, 21 people injured. The gas hub is no longer in operation. E-Control, Austria’s gas regulator, said the gas transit to Italy, Slovenia and Hungary was stopped. Besides, gas supply from Slovakia to Austria was ceased.

    Central European Gas Hub in Baumgartem located at the border with Slovakia is an international gas-trading site, is in the top three largest gas-distributing centers in Europe. About one third of total gas supply from Russia to Western Europe is coming through the gas hub in Baumgarten.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumgarten_an_der_March

  • Sixty thousand fascists march in Warsaw - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/14/pola-n14.html

    Sixty thousand fascists march in Warsaw
    By Clara Weiss
    14 November 2017

    On Saturday, November 11, at least 60,000 fascist demonstrators from Poland, Hungary and Slovakia gathered in Warsaw, the Polish capital, on Poland’s “Independence Day” to stage what has been described as the biggest far-right demonstration since the fall of Nazism. Some estimates suggested as many as 100,000 participants.

    #pologne #extrême-droite

  • Who’s Afraid of George Soros? – Foreign Policy (10/10/2017) http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/10/whos-afraid-of-george-soros

    BUCHAREST, Romania — Last winter, in the middle of anti-corruption demonstrations, a television broadcaster accused George Soros — the Hungarian-born, Jewish-American billionaire philanthropist — of paying dogs to protest.

    The protests in Bucharest, sparked by dead-of-night legislation aimed at decriminalizing corruption, were the largest the country had seen since the fall of communism in 1989. Romania TV — a channel associated with, if not officially owned by, the government — alleged the protesters were paid.

    “Adults were paid 100 lei [$24], children earned 50 lei [$12.30], and dogs were paid 30 lei [$7.20],” one broadcaster said. 

    Some protesters responded by fitting their dogs with placards; others tucked money into their pets’ coats. One dog stood next to a sign reading, “Can anyone change 30 lei into euro?” Another dog wore one that read: “#George_Soros paid me to be here.”

    “The pro-government television, they lie all the time. In three sentences, they have five lies,” investigative journalist Andrei Astefanesei told Foreign Policy outside a gyro shop in Bucharest. “I told you about that lie, that Soros paid for dogs. ‘If you bring more dogs in the street, you get more money.’” He laughed.

    Romania TV was fined for its false claims about Soros. But the idea — that roughly half a million Romanians, and their dogs, came to the streets because Soros made them do it — struck a responsive chord. It’s similar to the idea that Soros is personally responsible for teaching students about LGBTQ rights in Romanian high schools; that Soros manipulated the teenagers who led this year’s anti-corruption protests in Slovakia; and that civil organizations and what’s left of the independent media in Hungary wouldn’t exist without Soros and his Open Society Foundations.

    The idea that the 87-year-old Soros is single-handedly stirring up discontent isn’t confined to the European side of the Atlantic; Soros conspiracies are a global phenomenon. In March, six U.S. senators signed a letter asking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s staff to look into U.S. government funding going to Soros-backed organizations.

    “Our skepticism about Soros-funded groups undermining American priorities goes far beyond Eastern Europe,” said a spokesperson for Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who led the initiative, when asked if there was some specific piece of evidence of Soros-funded activity in Eastern Europe that prompted the letter or if concerns were more general.

    Soros has even been linked to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality. “Congrats to Colin Kaepernick for popularizing the hatred of America. Good work, bro,” Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator, tweeted during the controversy. “Your buddy George Soros is so proud. #istand.”

    On Twitter, Soros has also been held responsible for the recent Catalan independence referendum and the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

    But one of the places in which suspicion of Soros is most obvious is Central and Eastern Europe. There, Soros is not unlike the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter, except that while the fictional mirror shows what the viewer most desires, Soros reflects back onto a country what it most hates.

    In Romania, where the head of the ruling party said Soros wants to do evil, the billionaire is not to be trusted because he’s Hungarian. In Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has reportedly declared that Soros will be a main campaign theme in next year’s general election, he’s a traitor. And everywhere, he is Jewish, his very name a nod to the anti-Semitism that runs deep throughout the region.

    Now, Soros’s effectiveness as a bogeyman for conservative governments will be put to the test, literally. This week, Hungary is holding a “national consultation,” essentially a referendum designed to condemn Soros and his views on immigration. The government-funded questionnaire will be open to the country’s adult citizens and is meant to solicit their views on the Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor.

    “George Soros has bought people and organizations, and Brussels is under his influence,” Orban said in a radio interview Friday in the run-up to the consultation. “They want to demolish the fence, allow millions of immigrants into Europe, then distribute them using a mandatory mechanism — and they want to punish those who do not comply.”

    Soros declined an interview for this article, but a spokesperson for the Open Society Foundations, the main conduit for Soros’s philanthropic efforts, chalked up the backlash to his outspokenness. “He’s a man who stands up for his beliefs,” Laura Silber, a spokeswoman for the foundation, told FP. “That’s threatening when you’re speaking out against autocrats and corruption.”

    Blame and hatred of Soros are, to borrow from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, a specter haunting Central and Eastern Europe. But how did an 87-year-old billionaire thousands of miles away become the region’s most famous ghost?

    #conspirationnisme

    • George Soros lègue 18 milliards de dollars à sa fondation
      http://www.latribune.fr/economie/international/george-soros-legue-18-milliards-de-dollars-a-sa-fondation-754607.html

      Open Society Foundations (OSF) a reçu 18 milliards de dollars (15,2 milliards d’euros) de ce grand donateur du parti démocrate américain, a indiqué à l’AFP une porte-parole. « Cette somme reflète un processus en cours de transfert des actifs » de M. Soros, « qui prévoit de laisser la vaste majorité de sa fortune à Open Society Foundations », a-t-elle souligné.

      Cette donation fait d’Open Society Foundations la deuxième plus riche ONG aux Etats-Unis après la Fondation Bill et Melinda Gates, qui dispose de 40 milliards de dollars pour promouvoir les problématiques de santé publique et de développement à travers le monde, d’après la National Philanthropic Trust.

      L’OSF est un réseau de 39 entités aux opérations interconnectées à travers le globe et fait la promotion de ses valeurs dans plus de 120 pays. La première a ouvert ses portes en 1984 en Hongrie, pays d’origine de M. Soros. La dernière a vu le jour en 2016 en Birmanie. George Soros en est le président et ses fils Alexander et Jonathan sont membres du conseil d’administration. D’autres de ses enfants sont également impliqués.

      Le milliardaire américain d’origine hongroise, connu pour ses paris financiers risqués, avait donné jusqu’à ce jour 12 milliards de dollars (10,2 milliards d’euros) de sa fortune à des oeuvres caritatives. Depuis des décennies, il donne environ entre 800 et 900 millions de dollars à des associations chaque année d’après des chiffres mentionnés par le New-York Times. C’est en 1979 que le financier avait fait son premier don en attribuant des bourses d’études à des élèves noirs sud-africains en plein Apartheid, rappelle OSF sur son site internet. Selon le président de la Ford Foundation, Darren Walker interrogé par le quotidien américain :

      "il n’y a aucune organisation caritative dans le monde, y compris la Ford Foundation, qui a plus d’impact que l’Open Society Foundations durant ces deux dernières décennies. [...] Parce qu’il n’y a aucun endroit dans le monde où ils ne sont pas présents. Leur empreinte est plus importante et plus conséquente que n’importe qu’elle organisation de justice sociale dans le monde".

      v/ @hadji

    • Soros turns antisocial: Billionaire says Facebook & Google manipulate users like gambling companies
      https://www.rt.com/news/417065-soros-social-media-blame

      Soros, whose investment fund owned over 300,000 shares in #Facebook until last November, said social media platforms are deliberately engineering “addiction to the services they provide.” Facebook and Google deceive their users by “manipulating their #attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes,” he said.

      In this respect, online platforms have become similar to gambling companies, Soros asserted. “#Casinos have developed techniques to hook gamblers to the point where they gamble away all their money, even money they don’t have.

      “Something very harmful and maybe irreversible is happening to human attention in our digital age,” he said. Social media companies “are inducing people to give up their autonomy,” while the power to shape the public’s attention “is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies.”

      The billionaire financier, whom the Hungarian government has labeled a “political puppet master,” then struck an even gloomier tone by offering a full-on dystopian conspiracy theory.

      In future, there could be “an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies,” in which tech giants’ corporate surveillance would merge with “an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance,” he said.

      That “may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined,” he said, referring to the British authors of two famous dystopian novels.

      Last year, some tech corporations fell out of favor with Soros when his investment fund sold 367,262 shares in Facebook, although he chose to keep 109,451 of the network’s shares. Soros’ fund also offloaded 1,700 shares in Apple and 1.55 million in the owners of Snapchat. It also reduced its stake in Twitter by 5,700 shares, while still holding 18,400 shares in the social media service.

      Soros was not the only Davos speaker to launch a verbal attack on Big Tech. American entrepreneur and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said on Tuesday that Facebook should be regulated just like a tobacco company.

      “I think you’d do it exactly the same way you regulate the cigarette industry. Here’s a product, cigarettes, they are addictive, they are not good for you,” Benioff said. “Maybe there is all kinds of different forces trying to get you to do certain things. There are a lot of parallels.”

  • Top EU court adviser deals blow to easterners’ refugee battle
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-slovakia-hungary-idUSKBN1AB0YA

    The top European Union court’s adviser on Wednesday dismissed a challenge brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the obligatory relocation of refugees across the bloc, dealing a blow to the easterners’ migration battles that upset their EU peers.

    The two states - backed by their neighbor Poland - wanted the court to annul a 2015 EU scheme to have each member state host a number of refugees to help ease pressure on Greece and Italy, struggling with mass arrivals across the Mediterranean.

    But the court’s Advocate General Yves Bot rejected the procedural arguments presented by Bratislava and Budapest that obligatory quotas were unlawful.

    Note : il y a ceux, les méchants, qui contestent juridiquement

    The nationalist-minded, euroskeptic governments in Warsaw and Budapest have refused to take in a single asylum-seeker under the plan. Slovakia and the Czech Republic have also stalled, citing security concerns after a raft of Islamist attacks in the EU in recent years.

    et tous les autres, les gentils, qui se contentent de traîner les pieds…

    The European Commission said on Wednesday that some 24,700 people had been moved from Greece and Italy under the plan that had been due to cover 160,000.

  • Netanyahu attack on EU policy towards Israel caught on microphone | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/19/eu-will-wither-and-die-if-it-does-not-change-policy-on-israel-netanyahu

    The bombastic remarks, which bizarrely predicated Europe’s future on its attitude towards #Israel – not one of the most burning issues on an EU agenda confronting the challenges of immigration, Brexit and economic growth – were made in a meeting with the leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland, whom Netanyahu urged to close their doors to refugees from Africa and the Middle East.

    “I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he said. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth – both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy toward Israel.”

    #ue

  • Hungarian premier praises Hitler ally, Israel accepts clarification to avoid marring Netanyahu visit

    Viktor Orban’s remarks placed Israel in an embarrassing position in light of Netanyahu’s slated visit. After protesting remarks, Israel decided to consider matter resolved even though Hungary didn’t apologize

    Barak Ravid and Amir Tibon Jul 02, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.798853

    Two weeks before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to join a diplomatic summit in Budapest, tension erupted between Israel and Hungary over a speech by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in which he praised the leader of Hungary during the Holocaust, Miklos Horthy, who collaborated with the Nazis. Israel protested the remarks, but according to a senior Israeli official, Jerusalem agreed to accept a weak clarification by the Hungarian foreign minister in order to avoid damaging the upcoming summit.

    The affair began on June 21, when at a political rally of Fidesz, the party Orban heads, the prime minister said of Horthy, who was regent of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1920 to 1944: “The fact that history did not bury us after World War I was thanks to a number of extraordinary statesmen like the regent, Miklos Horthy. This fact cannot be contradicted by mentioning the unfortunate role of Hungary during World War II.”

    According to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Horthy led anti-Semitic policies, passed laws against the Jews over the years, was an ally of Adolf Hitler and collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. From 1942 to 1943, Horthy resisted German pressure to place the Jews in ghettos and deport them to extermination camps. But after Germany conquered Hungary in 1944, Horthy appointed a puppet government obedient to the Nazis and gave it full authority to act against the Jews. As a result, half a million Hungarian Jews were sent to extermination camps; most were murdered in Auschwitz.

    Orban’s remarks were made as part of an extremist nationalist and racist campaign he is conducting ahead of elections in 2018 and to prevent his party’s voters from leaving it for the extreme right-wing party Jobbik. One of Orban’s close advisers is the American political consultant Arthur Finkelstein. The latter served as campaign director for Benjamin Netanyahu’s and Likud’s campaigns in 1996 and 1999, and for Yisrael Beiteinu and its chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, in 2006. He was also deeply involved in the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu’s joint campaign in 2013.

    Orban’s statements drew criticism from the Hungarian Jewish community and the World Jewish Congress. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., the leading institution in Holocaust research in the United States, released an unusually harsh statement in response to Orban’s remarks: “The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum condemns any attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of Hungary’s wartime leader, Miklos Horthy, who was a vocal anti-Semite and complicit in the murder of the country’s Jewish population during the Holocaust.”

    The U.S. museum also wrote that Orban’s praise for Horthy as a statesman was “a gross distortion of historical fact and is the latest in a long series of propagandistic attempts of the Fidesz political party and the Hungarian government that Mr. Orban leads to rewrite Hungarian history.”
    Orban’s remarks placed Israel in an embarrassing position considering that Netanyahu is to meet his Hungarian counterpart at a summit in Budapest on July 18, and the next day he and Orban are to meet with the leaders of Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. This is Netanyahu’s first visit to Hungary since he returned to the prime minister’s office in 2009.
    Still, Orban’s remarks required a response by the government in Jerusalem and four days after the speech, Israel’s ambassador in Budapest, Yossi Amrani, issued a statement noting that Orban’s words were very disturbing and the collaboration of the Horthy regime with the Nazis must not be forgotten, as well as the race laws enacted during his time and the destruction of Hungary’s Jewish community. “Whatever the reason and national goal might be, there is no justification for such statements,” Amrani said in a public statement.
    A senior Israeli official said that Amrani also communicated through quiet channels with senior officials in the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry in Budapest, demanding clarifications and saying Israel hoped Orban’s statements would not cast a pall over the upcoming summit. A few days later, when the Hungarian government had still not issued a clarification, Amrani gave an interview on a major Hungarian television station and reiterated Israel’s demand for clarification and a warning that the tension could hurt the summit.
    Quiet diplomatic contacts had been underway since Wednesday in an attempt to resolve the crisis, and on Saturday Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto spoke by phone to Amrani to put an end to the affair. In a statement to the press released after the phone call, Szijjarto said he had made clear to the Israeli ambassador that the Hungarian government had zero tolerance for any kind of anti-Semitism.
    Szijjarto also said that he told Amrani that “the regime of Miklos Horthy had its positive times but also very negative times and we must respect the historical facts that clearly indicate this.” The foreign minister added that the positive part of Horthy’s legacy was his work to stabilize Hungary after World War I, but the very negative part was “his historical sin,” when contrary to his promises he did not protect the Jewish community, passed laws against it and that hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust. “All of these are historical sins whose seriousness cannot be diminished,” Szijjarto said.
    Although Szijjarto did not clarify Orban’s remarks, apologize or express regret for them, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, with an eye on the upcoming summit, decided to act with restraint and end the affair. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in response: “Israel believes that the statements by the Hungarian foreign minister to the Israeli ambassador in Budapest constitute an important clarification with regard to recognition of Horthy’s crime against the Jews of Hungary. We will always remember the 564,500 of our brothers and sisters of the Jewish community of Hungary who were murdered in the Holocaust.”
    Zionist Union Ksenia Svetlova turned to Netanyahu on the issue. “As you dared to cancel your meeting with the German foreign minister after he met with Breaking the Silence, I demand that you cancel your visit to Hungary and your meeting with Viktor Orban, who has expressed sympathy for his country’s dark past from the time of the Holocaust, and not for the first time.”
    "I expect the person who turned the ’whole world is against us’ [mantra] into a career to have the same standards against people from the extreme right in the world," she added.
    “These says I am working on an amendment to the proposed entry into Israeli law so that it prohibits the entry into Israel of declared anti-Semites, people who oddly enough have become his party’s partners, and are even invited by them to visits to Israel,” Svetlova said.

    #Israel #genocide #Hungary #Hongrie

  • Foot Soldiers in a Shadowy Battle Between Russia and the West

    MELNIK, Czech Republic — Working at his computer, as he does most weekends, on an anti-Western diatribe for a Czech website, Ladislav Kasuka was not sure what to make of the messages that began popping up on his Facebook page, offering him money to organize street protests.


    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/28/world/europe/slovakia-czech-republic-hungary-poland-russia-agitation.html
    –-> How Russia is funding & supporting extremists in Czechia, Hungary, Poland & Slovakia.
    #Russie #République_Tchèque #Hongrie #Pologne #Slovaquie #extrême_droite
    cc @albertocampiphoto @marty

    • The EU has built #1000_km of border walls since fall of Berlin Wall

      European Union states have built over 1,000km of border walls since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a new study into Fortress Europe has found.

      Migration researchers have quantified the continent’s anti-immigrant infrastructure and found that the EU has gone from just two walls in the 1990s to 15 by 2017.

      Ten out of 28 member states stretching from Spain to Latvia have now built such border walls, with a sharp increase during the 2015 migration panic, when seven new barriers were erected.

      Despite celebrations this year that the Berlin Wall had now been down for longer than it was ever up, Europe has now completed the equivalent length of six Berlin walls during the same period. The barriers are mostly focused on keeping out undocumented migrants and would-be refugees.

      The erection of the barriers has also coincided with the rise of xenophobic parties across the continent, with 10 out of 28 seeing such parties win more than half a million votes in elections since 2010.

      “Europe’s own history shows that building walls to resolve political or social issues comes at an unacceptable cost for liberty and human rights,” Nick Buxton, researcher at the Transnational Institute and editor of the report said.

      “Ultimately it will also harm those who build them as it creates a fortress that no one wants to live in. Rather than building walls, Europe should be investing in stopping the wars and poverty that fuels migration.”

      Tens of thousands of people have died trying to migrate into Europe, with one estimate from June this year putting the figure at over 34,000 since the EU’s foundation in 1993. A total of 3,915 fatalities were recorded in 2017.

      The report also looked at eight EU maritime rescue operations launched by the bloc, seven of which were carried out specifically by the EU’s border agency Frontex.

      The researchers found that none of the operations, all conducted in the Mediterranean, had the rescue of people as their principal goal – with all of them focused on “eliminating criminality in border areas and slowing down the arrival of displaced peoples”.

      Just one, Operation Mare Nostrum, which was carried out by the Italian government, included humanitarian organisations in its fleets. It has since been scrapped and replaced by Frontex’s Operation Triton, which has a smaller budget.

      “These measures lead to refugees and displaced peoples being treated like criminals,” Ainhoa Ruiz Benedicto, researcher for Delàs Center and co-author of the report said.

      At the June European Council, EU leaders were accused by NGOs of “deliberately condemning vulnerable people to be trapped in Libya, or die at sea”, after they backed the stance of Italy’s populist government and condemned rescue boats operating in the sea.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eu-border-wall-berlin-migration-human-rights-immigration-borders-a862

    • Building walls. Fear and securitization in the European Union

      This report reveals that member states of the European Union and Schengen Area have constructed almost 1000 km of walls, the equivalent of more than six times the total length of the Berlin Walls, since the nineties to prevent displaced people migrating into Europe. These physical walls are accompanied by even longer ‘maritime walls’, naval operations patrolling the Mediterranean, as well as ‘virtual walls’, border control systems that seek to stop people entering or even traveling within Europe, and control movement of population.
      Authors
      Ainhoa Ruiz Benedicto, Pere Brunet
      In collaboration with
      Stop Wapenhandel, Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau
      Programmes
      War & Pacification

      On November 9th 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, marking what many hoped would be a new era of cooperation and openness across borders. German President Horst Koehler celebrating its demise some years later spoke of an ‘edifice of fear’ replaced by a ‘place of joy’, opening up the possibility of a ‘cooperative global governance which benefits everyone’. 30 years later, the opposite seems to have happened. Edifices of fear, both real and imaginary, are being constructed everywhere fuelling a rise in xenophobia and creating a far more dangerous walled world for refugees fleeing for safety.

      This report reveals that member states of the European Union and Schengen Area have constructed almost 1000 km of walls, the equivalent of more than six times the total length of the Berlin Walls, since the nineties to prevent displaced people migrating into Europe. These physical walls are accompanied by even longer ‘maritime walls’, naval operations patrolling the Mediterranean, as well as ‘virtual walls’, border control systems that seek to stop people entering or even traveling within Europe, and control movement of population. Europe has turned itself in the process into a fortress excluding those outside– and in the process also increased its use of surveillance and militarised technologies that has implications for its citizens within the walls.

      This report seeks to study and analyse the scope of the fortification of Europe as well as the ideas and narratives upon which it is built. This report examines the walls of fear stoked by xenophobic parties that have grown in popularity and exercise an undue influence on European policy. It also examines how the European response has been shaped in the context of post-9/11 by an expanded security paradigm, based on the securitization of social issues. This has transformed Europe’s policies from a more social agenda to one centred on security, in which migrations and the movements of people are considered as threats to state security. As a consequence, they are approached with the traditional security tools: militarism, control, and surveillance.

      Europe’s response is unfortunately not an isolated one. States around the world are answering the biggest global security problems through walls, militarisation, and isolation from other states and the rest of the world. This has created an increasingly hostile world for people fleeing from war and political prosecution.

      The foundations of “Fortress Europe” go back to the Schengen Agreement in 1985, that while establishing freedom of movement within EU borders, demanded more control of its external borders. This model established the idea of a safe interior and an unsafe exterior.

      Successive European security strategies after 2003, based on America’s “Homeland Security” model, turned the border into an element that connects local and global security. As a result, the European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) became increasingly militarised, and migration was increasingly viewed as a threat.

      Fortress Europe was further expanded with policy of externalization of the border management to third countries in which agreements have been signed with neighbouring countries to boost border control and accept deported migrants. The border has thus been transformed into a bigger and wider geographical concept.
      The walls and barriers to movement

      The investigation estimates that the member states of the European Union and the Schengen area have constructed almost 1000 km of walls on their borders since nineties, to prevent the entrance of displaced people and migration into their territory.


      The practice of building walls has grown immensely, from 2 walls in the decade of the 1990s to 15 in 2017. 2015 saw the largest increase, the number of walls grew from 5 to 12.

      Ten out of 28 member states (Spain, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) have built walls on their borders to prevent immigration, all of them belonging to the Schengen area except for Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

      One country that is not a member of the European Union but belongs to the Schengen area has built a wall to prevent migration (Norway). Another (Slovakia) has built internal walls for racial segregation. A total of 13 walls have been built on EU borders or inside the Schengen area.

      Two countries, both members of the European Union and the Schengen area, (Spain and Hungary) have built two walls on their borders for controlling migration. Another two (Austria and the United Kingdom) have built walls on their shared borders with Schengen countries (Slovenia and France respectively). A country outside of the European Union, but part of of the so-called Balkan route (Macedonia), has built a wall to prevent migration.


      Internal controls of the Schengen area, regulated and normalized by the Schengen Borders Code of 2006, have been gone from being an exception to be the political norm, justified on the grounds of migration control and political events (such as political summit, large demonstrations or high profile visitors to a country). From only 3 internal controls in 2006, there were 20 in 2017, which indicates the expansion in restrictions and monitoring of peoples’ movements.


      The maritime environment, particularly the Mediterranean, provides more barriers. The analysis shows that of the 8 main EU maritime operations (Mare Nostrum, Poseidon, Hera, Andale, Minerva, Hermes, Triton and Sophia) none have an exclusive mandate of rescuing people. All of them have had, or have, the general objective of fighting crime in border areas. Only one of them (Mare Nostrum) included humanitarian organisations in its fleet, but was replaced by Frontex’s “Triton” Operation (2013-2015) which had an increased focus on prosecuting border-related crimes. Another operation (Sophia) included direct collaboration with a military organisation (NATO) with a mandate focused on the persecution of persons that transport people on migratory routes. Analysis of these operations show that their treatment of crimes is sometimes similar to their treatment of refugees, framed as issues of security and treating refugees as threats.

      There are also growing numbers of ‘virtual walls’ which seek to control, monitor and surveil people’s movements. This has resulted in the expansion, especially since 2013, of various programs to restrict people’s movement (VIS, SIS II, RTP, ETIAS, SLTD and I-Checkit) and collect biometric data. The collected data of these systems are stored in the EURODAC database, which allows analysis to establish guidelines and patterns on our movements. EUROSUR is deployed as the surveillance system for border areas.

      Frontex: the walls’ borderguards

      The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) plays an important role in this whole process of fortress expansion and also acts and establishes coordination with third countries by its joint operation Coordination Points. Its budgets have soared in this period, growing from 6.2 million in 2005 to 302 million in 2017.


      An analysis of Frontex budget data shows a growing involvement in deportation operations, whose budgets have grown from 80,000 euros in 2005 to 53 million euros in 2017.

      The European Agency for the Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) deportations often violate the rights of asylum-seeking persons. Through Frontex’s agreements with third countries, asylum-seekers end up in states that violate human rights, have weak democracies, or score badly in terms of human development (HDI).


      Walls of fear and the influence of the far-right

      The far-right have manipulated public opinion to create irrational fears of refugees. This xenophobia sets up mental walls in people, who then demand physical walls. The analysed data shows a worrying rise in racist opinions in recent years, which has increased the percentage of votes to European parties with a xenophobic ideology, and facilitated their growing political influence.

      In 28 EU member states, there are 39 political parties classified as extreme right populists that at some point of their history have had at least one parliamentary seat (in the national Parliament or in the European Parliament). At the completion of this report (July 2018), 10 member states (Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Sweden) have xenophobic parties with a strong presence, which have obtained more than half a million votes in elections since 2010. With the exception of Finland, these parties have increased their representation. In some cases, like those in Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden, there has been an alarming increase, such as Alternative for Germany (AfD) winning 94 seats in the 2017 elections (a party that did not have parliamentary representation in the 2013 elections), the Law and Justice party (PiS) in Poland winning 235 seats after the 2015 elections (an increase of 49%), and Lega Nord’s (LN) strong growth in Italy, which went from 18 seats in 2013 to 124 seats in 2018.

      Our study concludes that, in 9 of these 10 states, extreme right-wing parties have a high degree of influence on the government’s migration policies, even when they are a minority party. In 4 of them (Austria, Finland, Italy and Poland) these parties have ministers in the government. In 5 of the remaining 6 countries (Germany, Denmark, Holland, Hungary, and Sweden), there has been an increase of xenophobic discourse and influence. Even centrist parties seem happy to deploy the discourse of xenophobic parties to capture a sector of their voters rather than confront their ideology and advance an alternative discourse based on people’s rights. In this way, the positions of the most radical and racist parties are amplified with hardly any effort. In short, our study confirms the rise and influence of the extreme-right in European migration policy which has resulted in the securitization and criminalization of migration and the movements of people.

      The mental walls of fear are inextricably connected to the physical walls. Racism and xenophobia legitimise violence in the border area Europe. These ideas reinforce the collective imagination of a safe “interior” and an insecure “outside”, going back to the medieval concept of the fortress. They also strengthen territorial power dynamics, where the origin of a person, among other factors, determines her freedom of movement.

      In this way, in Europe, structures and discourses of violence have been built up, diverting us from policies that defend human rights, coexistence and equality, or more equal relationships between territories.

      https://www.tni.org/en/publication/building-walls
      #rapport

      Pour télécharger le rapport:
      https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/building_walls_-_full_report_-_english.pdf

      #murs_virtuelles #surveillance #murs_maritimes #murs_terrestres #EUROSUR #militarisation_des_frontières #frontières #racisme #xénophobie #VIS #SIS #ETIAS #SLTD

  • New index of economic marginalisation helps explain Trump, Brexit and alt.right
    Andrew Cumbers
    Professor of Regional Political Economy, University of Glasgow
    https://theconversation.com/new-index-of-economic-marginalisation-helps-explain-trump-brexit-an

    Our economic democracy index looked at 32 countries in the OECD (omitting Turkey and Mexico, which had too much missing data). While economic democracy tends to focus on levels of trade union influence and the extent of cooperative ownership in a country, we wanted to take in other relevant factors.

    We added three additional indicators: “workplace and employment rights”; “distribution of economic decision-making powers”, including everything from the strength of the financial sector to the extent to which tax powers are centralised; and “transparency and democratic engagement in macroeconomic decision-making”, which takes in corruption, accountability, central bank transparency and different social partners’ involvement in shaping policy.

    What is striking is the basic difference between a more “social” model of northern European capitalism and the more market-driven Anglo-American model. Hence the Scandinavian countries score among the best, with their higher levels of social protection, employment rights and democratic participation in economic decision-making. The reverse is true of the more deregulated, concentrated and less democratic economies of the English-speaking world. The US ranks particularly low, with only Slovakia below it. The UK too is only 25th out of 32.

  • The no-shows at Arafat’s funeral - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    All those who don’t understand why it was so difficult for the Palestinian-Israelis’ political representatives to show their final respects to Shimon Peres, should recall Arafat’s funeral and the ’respect’ shown him by the Israelis.

    Shlomo Sand Oct 14, 2016
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.747364

    On November 11, 2004, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat died under mysterious circumstances. The next day his body was brought to Cairo, where a official state funeral was held. Representatives of 50 countries participated in the event, both admirers and rivals.
    Behind his coffin marched Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Syrian President Bashar Assad, King Abdullah of Jordan, King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the presidents of Tunisia and Sudan, the leaders of Sweden, Brazil, Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan, the deputy prime minister of China, the vice presidents of Austria, Bulgaria, Tanzania, Iraq and Afghanistan, the foreign ministers of Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Greece, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Canada, Indian and Slovenia, the parliamentary leaders of Italy, Russia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. It was an official farewell that was less impressive that Shimon Peres’ funeral, but still quite respectable for a president without a country.
    The United States, the well known neutral intermediary between Israel and Palestine, sent a low-ranking representative: William Burns, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Israel, on the other hand, gave it the finger.
    No Israeli representative, either high- or low-ranking, or even very low-ranking, attended. None of the leaders of the opposition dreamed of showing his final respects to the leader of the Palestinian people, the first who recognized the State of Israel, and signed the Oslo Accords. Not Shimon Peres, not Ehud Barak, not Shlomo Ben-Ami and not even Uzi Baram bothered to participate in the Palestinians’ mourning.
    Some of them had courageously shaken his hand in the past, other had embraced him enthusiastically several years earlier. But with the outbreak of the second intifada he was once again categorized as a satanic terrorist. The pundits of the sane, moderate left repeatedly claimed in innumerable learned articles that he was not a partner and there was nobody to talk to. When the body of the rais was transferred to Ramallah, the funeral was attended by several “extremist,” marginal Israelis, the likes of Uri Avnery and Mohammed Barakeh.
    All the other peaceniks had to wait for the screening of the film “The Gatekeepers” in 2012; in other words, for the videos of all the chiefs of the Shin Bet security services, who declared that in real time they knew that Arafat did not encourage, organize or initiate the mass uprising in the second intifada, nor the acts of terror that accompanied it. For lack of choice the leader was forced to join the wave, otherwise he would have lost his prestige and his status. The disappointment at Barak’s unprepared and totally bizarre diplomatic step, and Ariel Sharon’s ascent to the Temple Mount, were among the main reasons for the eruption of the Palestinians’ unbridled opposition.

  • Making a Killing: The 1.2 Billion Euro Arms Pipeline to Middle East
    http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/making-a-killing-the-1-2-billion-euros-arms-pipeline-to-middle-east-0

    .... while Balkan and European countries have shut down the refugee route, the billion-euro pipeline sending arms by plane and ship to the Middle East remains open – and very lucrative.

    It is a trade that is almost certainly illegal, according to arms and human rights experts.

    “The evidence points towards systematic diversion of weapons to armed groups accused of committing serious human rights violations. If this is the case, the transfers are illegal under the ATT (United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty) and other international law and should cease immediately,” said Patrick Wilcken, an arms-control researcher at Amnesty International who reviewed the evidence collected by reporters.

    But with hundreds of millions of euros at stake and weapons factories working overtime, countries have a strong incentive to let the business flourish. Arms export licences, which are supposed to guarantee the final destination of the goods, have been granted despite ample evidence that weapons are being diverted to Syrian and other armed groups accused of widespread human rights abuses and atrocities.

    Robert Stephen Ford, US ambassador to Syria between 2011 and 2014, told BIRN [Balkan Investigative Reporting Network] and the OCCRP [Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project] that the trade is coordinated by the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Turkey and Gulf states through centres in Jordan and Turkey, although in practice weapon supplies often bypass this process.

    BIRN and the OCCRP examined arms export data, UN reports, flight records, and weapons contracts during a year-long investigation that reveals how thousands of assault rifles, mortar shells, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons, and heavy machine guns are pouring into the troubled region, originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

    Since the escalation of the Syrian conflict in 2012, these eight countries have approved the shipment of weapons and ammunition worth at least 1.2 billion euros to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey.

    #armes #Syrie #crimes

    Via Nour Samaha

  • Vigilantes Patrol Parts of Europe Where Few Migrants Set Foot

    BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — The People’s Party-Our Slovakia, after months of stirring up fears about foreigners and Muslim migrants, decided to take action: This spring, the group’s leader proudly stood in front of the main railway station in #Zvolen, Slovakia, and announced that a new group of volunteers would begin patrolling passenger trains to keep the “decent citizens” of Slovakia safe from criminals and minorities.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/11/world/europe/vigilante-patrols-in-parts-of-europe-where-few-migrants-set-foot.html?ref=w
    #Slovaquie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #xénophobie #racisme #islamophobie #patrouilles #chasse_aux_migrants #anti-réfugiés #milices

    • Anti-migrant militias spring up in central Europe

      Czech and Slovenian authorities have voiced alarm over the emergence of armed anti-migrant militias in the two central European countries.

      The concerns come after revelations of a paramilitary base, with tanks and armoured personnel carriers, used by a biker gang with Kremlin ties in Slovakia.

      The Czech intelligence service, the BIS, voiced its worries about a group that calls itself the National Home Guard in a classified report seen by Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes.

      “Parts of this group have begun to adopt the concept of armed groups. Due to the fact that some of the members are strongly xenophobic, racist, and completely reject the orientations of Czech internal and foreign policy, they could pose a significant [security] risk,” the BIS report said.

      The home guard groups, which have up to 2,500 members in 90 national branches, patrol the streets of some small Czech towns, such as Nymburk, 50km west of Prague, looking for irregular migrants.

      They appear to have links with local police and have political support from National Democracy, a fringe far-right party.

      They also have ideological leaders, such as David Buchtel, a Czech academic and National Democracy member, who publishes leaflets saying that Nato plans to “occupy” the Czech Republic and force it to take in migrants.

      The Czech foreign ministry has said the groups pose a risk of violent protests, such as the recent anti-migrant riots in the town of Chemnitz, Germany.
      PRESENTED BY CECE

      Andor Sandor, the former chief of Czech military intelligence, the VZ, told Radio Prague, that even if it does not come to that, their day-to-day activities pose a threat to the Czech political landscape.

      “This could stem from the view, that the European Union is not able to manage the migration crisis. People who believe that neither the state nor Europe can manage this [crisis], will take matters into their own hands to protect their families and their property,” he said.

      The Czech worries surfaced a few days after a social media stunt by Andrej Sisko, a far-right politician, which caused alarm in Slovenia.

      Sisko posted a Facebook video of himself with a group of some 70 masked men armed with machine guns in the Slovenian countryside.

      The group, called the Stajerska Guard, was filmed taking an oath to secure public order in the country. It numbers several hundred people in total, the Reuters news agency said.

      “We are doing nothing wrong and we would be even interested in co-operating with the police,” Sisko said, in an echo of the Czech home guard’s modus operandi.

      His political party, the anti-migrant United Slovenia Movement, has also vowed to protect the county’s ethnic identity.

      Borut Pahor, the Slovenian president, said: “Slovenia is a safe country in which no unauthorised person needs or is allowed to ... illegally care for the security of the country and its borders”.

      The creation of the Stajerska Guard was “absolutely unacceptable” and it “needlessly stirs up fear and spreads hatred”, outgoing Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar said.

      Earlier in July, Slovakia was also put an alert when journalists filmed a paramilitary compound in Dolna Krupa, a town some 50km north of Bratislava.

      The base, a former pig farm, is used by the Night Wolves, a biker gang and by two far-right militias called the Slovak Levies and NV Europa, the BBC reported at the time.

      It contained a shooting range and tanks and armoured personnel carriers that had been supplied by a military vehicle museum.

      The revelations were “disturbing” and the groups’ influence was “harmful, especially in spreading their opinions that strive to rewrite history”, a Slovak foreign ministry spokesman said.

      The Night Wolves gang has well known links to the Kremlin.

      The other paramilitary groups and their political supporters also repeat Russian propaganda lines on migrants and EU failures, but neither the Czech or Slovene authorities spoke of Russian involvement in their activities.

      The notion of a ’migrant invasion’ in central Europe is not borne out by facts.

      The Czech Republic took in 12 migrants from Greece and Italy under an EU scheme and granted asylum to just 145 people last year.

      Slovenia granted asylum to 152 people last year.

      Slovakia has boycotted the EU scheme, along with Hungary and Poland, and had juts 56 applications for asylum as of June this year.

      But the Czech intelligence assessment that the home guard group “completely [rejected] the orientations of Czech internal and foreign policy,” was also open to question.

      Czech prime minister Andrej Babis has vowed to join an anti-migrant political axis in Europe alongside Hungary and Italy’s far-right leaders.

      Meanwhile, anti-migrant rhetoric by leading politicians has become a mainstay in Slovakia and Slovenia, where the far-right Slovenian Democratic Party became the biggest one in June elections, but failed to find coalition partners to form a government.

      https://euobserver.com/justice/142739

      #Europe_centrale

  • After us, the desert and the deluge
    by Michal Kravcik

    Abstract:
    In a short period of 18 months the villages and towns involved in the Programme carried out about 80 thausand different water retention elments in degraded landscape.
    Case study(ies):
    Landscape revitalisation program in Slovakia
    Source type:
    Book

    http://nwrm.eu/source/after-us-desert-and-deluge

    #livre #eau #paysage #Slovaquie #Michal_Kravcik #gestion_des_eaux

  • Closure of Balkan refugee route deepens rifts in the EU - World Socialist Web Site

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/16/refu-f16.html

    Closure of Balkan refugee route deepens rifts in the EU
    By Martin Kreickenbaum
    16 February 2016

    Diplomatic tensions between the EU member states are intensifying in the run-up to the meeting of heads of state and governments this week. The issue of what measures can better seal off Europe against refugees is further inflaming these conflicts.

    While the countries of the “Visegrad Group,” consisting of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, together with Austria, are insisting on the complete closure and militarization of the Macedonian-Greek border in order to strand refugees in Greece. Germany, France and Italy, above all, reject such a step, which would mean the de facto exclusion of Greece from the Schengen Area.

    #réfugiés #migrations #asile #balkans