• Enthüllungen eines Insiders - Scharpings Propaganda im Kosovo-Krieg - NDR
    https://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/archiv/2000/Enthuellungen-eines-Insiders-Scharpings-Propaganda-im-Kosovo-Krieg,erst

    Le mensonge qui a justifié le déclenchement de la guerre du Kosovo : Le ministre de la défense allemand, le social-démocrate Rudolf Scharping, présente le plan de nettoyage éthnique serbe « fer de cheval » qui est en réalite une fabrication de son ministère. Le ministre des affaires étrangéres au sein de ce gouvernement fédéral, le vert Joseph Fischer s’en servait comme lui afin de justifier le soutien de fait des fascistes croates.

    Ce mensonge complète la liste des prétextes de guerre fallacieux comme l’incident de Gleiwitz, les incidents du golfe du Tonkin et les « weapons of mass destruction » de Saddam Hussein.

    Il s’agit d’une émanation du phantôme génocidaire serbe évoqué à maintes reprises par les amis de l’OTAN tel que l’ancien journal de gauche L’Ibération.

    Je constate qu’en 2000 les journalistes des radios et télévisions publiques allemandes pouvaient encore critiquer la politique officielle alors que vingt ans plus tard il ne publient que des commentaires à propos des échecs militaires afin de justifier les dépenses militaires en constante hausse

    Das Erste | Panorama | 18.05.2000 | 21:00 Uhr, Bericht von Mathis Feldhoff und Volker Steinhoff

    Anmoderation

    PATRICIA SCHLESINGER:

    Wer eine Wahl gewinnen will, muss Stärke beweisen. Ein amerikanischer Präsident erfindet einen Krieg, einen Angriff auf ein kleines Balkanland. Medienwirksam und rührend emotional wird die fingierte Attacke von seinen Soldaten niedergeschlagen. Dafür rennt in einem Filmstudio eine Schauspielerin als Flüchtling verkleidet durch die Kulisse eines zerstörten Dorfes. Das ist Hollywood, Szenen aus einem Kinofilm, „Wag the Dog“ heißt er. In der Realität, erst recht bei uns, ist das natürlich undenkbar. Wenn sich Deutschland an einem Krieg beteiligt, muss das moralisch gerechtfertigt, die Notwendigkeit politisch begründet werden. Dass der Verteidigungsminister bei der Legitimation für den Kosovo-Krieg übertrieben hat, dass moralischer Eifer und erhöhter Legitimationsdruck der rot-grünen Regierung dabei eine Rolle spielten, das haben wir alle gewusst. Aber nun redet erstmals ein General vor der Kamera und spricht von einer größeren Manipulationskampagne. Demnach hat Rudolf Scharping Fakten bewusst falsch wiedergegeben und Drohkulissen entworfen, die nicht der realen Gefahr entsprachen, nur um die mediale Heimatfront ruhigzustellen. Bis vor kurzem hätte ich das auch noch für Hollywood-Klamauk gehalten.

    Mathis Feldhoff und Volker Steinhoff über den ganz bewussten Umgang mit der Wahrheit.

    KOMMENTAR:

    Früher galt er als langweilig. Im Kosovo-Krieg bewies er Statur: Verteidigungsminister Rudolf Scharping. Sein immer wieder beschworenes Kriegsargument für die pazifistische Basis: die Abwendung einer humanitären Katastrophe.

    Inzwischen hat Scharping sein Tagebuch aus den Kriegstagen veröffentlicht.

    Originaltext Rudolf Scharping:

    „7. April. Es ist abscheulich. Diese Lumpen und Verbrecher bringen wahllos Menschen um, rauben ihre Opfer aus, vertreiben sie oder vergewaltigen die Frauen. Umso unverantwortlicher, dass einige öffentlich immer wieder einen Stopp oder eine Pause der Luftangriffe fordern.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Für Scharping ist von Anfang an alles klar: im Kosovo droht die humanitäre Katastrophe. Und Scharping hat dafür Beweise, angeblich jedenfalls.

    Seine Behauptung vor Kriegsbeginn: Das „Massaker“ von Rugovo.

    Ende Januar 1999, knapp zwei Monate vor Kriegsbeginn, gehen diese Leichenbilder um die Welt. Allgemeines Entsetzen. 23 Tote Albaner, nebeneinander. Für Scharping ist damit klar: ein Massaker der Serben. Im Tagebuch notiert er:

    Originaltext Rudolf Scharping:

    „Auf dem Flug zum NATO-Gipfel in Washington hatten mir Mitarbeiter die Bilder von getöteten Kosovo-Albanern gezeigt. Beim Anschauen der Fotos Übelkeit. Ist Entsetzen steigerbar? Später bitte ich meine Mitarbeiter, die Bilder für eine der Pressekonferenzen vorzubereiten.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Dort präsentiert der Minister dann seine Beweise. Und tatsächlich: Viele Leichen nebeneinander, wie nach einem Massaker. Scharping ist sich anhand seiner Bilder ganz sicher, was am 29. Januar in dem kleinen Örtchen Rugovo passiert ist.

    0-Ton

    RUDOLF SCHARPING:

    (Verteidigungsminister)

    „Wir haben sehr gut recherchiert und uns Bildmaterial besorgt, das OSZE-Mitarbeiter am Morgen gemacht haben zwischen sieben und acht Uhr.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Fernsehbilder von genau diesem Morgen. Tatsächlich: ein OSZE-Mann, mit grüner Jacke, Henning Hensch, ein deutscher Polizeibeamter, erster internationaler Ermittler vor Ort.

    0-Ton

    HENNING HENSCH:

    (OSZE-Ermittler)

    „Es war nicht so. Die Leichen haben da zwar gelegen, aber sie sind dort hingebracht worden von den serbischen Sicherheitsbehörden, nachdem die eigentliche Tatortaufnahme - und das hängt wieder zusammen mit diesem Ermittlungsrichter - abgeschlossen war, nachdem beschlossen war: wir bringen die Leichen jetzt weg.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Der Beweis durch Fernsehbilder: Zuerst liegen die Leichen verteilt im Ort, wie nach einem Gefecht. Keine Zivilisten, sondern UCK-Kämpfer.

    Nach diesen Aufnahmen dann werden die Leichen zusammengetragen und fotografiert. Und genau diese Fotos hält Minister Scharping für Beweise eines Massakers. Tatsachen, die dem Experten für Sicherheitspolitik, Professor Lutz, genau bekannt sind. Und er kennt die Bedeutung der Massaker für die damalige Diskussion.

    0-Ton

    PROF. DIETER LUTZ:

    (Inst. F. Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik)

    „Die Massaker waren, wenn Sie so wollen, der berühmte Tropfen, die Wende zum Krieg, der berühmte Tropfen, der das Fass zum Überlaufen gebracht hat. In der damals moralisierenden Argumentation sehr verständlich. In der Folgezeit sind dann auch nicht zufälligerweise die Massaker immer gleichgesetzt worden mit Auschwitz.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Die Behauptung zum Kriegsbeginn: Die humanitäre Katastrophe.

    Am 24. März beginnt die NATO DEN Krieg gegen die Serben. Scharping liefert die Begründung.

    0-Ton

    RUDOLF SCHARPING:

    (25.3.1999)

    „Meine Damen und Herren, ich will zunächst einmal zwei Punkte unterstreichen: 1. Die militärischen Aktivitäten der NATO dienen einem politischen Ziel, nämlich die Abwendung einer humanitären Katastrophe bzw. die Verhinderung ihres weiteren Anwachsens.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Eine humanitäre Katastrophe? Jetzt kommt heraus, wie die Lage wirklich war kurz vor Kriegsbeginn.

    0-Ton

    PROF. DIETER LUTZ:

    „Also es gibt insbesondere zwei Lageanalysen, die in diesem Zusammenhang erwähnt werden müssen. Das eine ist der Lagebericht des Auswärtigen Amtes vom 19. März, also fünf Tage vor Kriegsbeginn. Und das Zweite ist die Lageanalyse des Bundesverteidigungsministeriums vom 23. März, also unmittelbar ein Tag vor Kriegsbeginn. Und beide Lageanalysen gehen davon aus, dass keine humanitäre Katastrophe unmittelbar bevorsteht.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    PANORAMA liegen diese Dokumente vor. In dem Lagebericht des Verteidigungsministeriums heißt es am Tag vor dem Kriegsbeginn: Die Serben seien zwar in einer großangelegten Operation noch gar nicht fähig. Bisher gebe es nur örtlich und zeitlich begrenzte Operationen gegen die UCK. Und nach dem internen Bericht des Auswärtigen Amtes hätten die Serben die Zivilbevölkerung vor ihren Angriffen gewarnt. Nach Abzug der serbischen Sicherheitskräfte kehre die Bevölkerung dann meist in die Ortschaften zurück. Es gebe keine Massenflucht in die Wälder, auch keine Vorsorgungskatastrophe.

    0-Ton

    PROF. DIETER LUTZ:

    „Äußerst bestürzt ist man sogar, wenn man liest, dass einzelne UCK-Kommandeure sogar die eigene Bevölkerung am Verlassen der Dörfer hindert, damit es Opfer gibt, damit die NATO mit Luftschlägen eingreift. Dieses alles finden Sie in den Lageanalysen.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Die „humanitäre Katastrophe“, der Grund für die deutsche Beteiligung am Krieg, findet sich also in den internen Berichten der deutschen Regierung nicht wieder. Dennoch: das Bombardement beginnt.

    Nach Kriegsbeginn: Der Hufeisenplan als Rechtfertigung.

    Kurz nach Kriegsbeginn ist sie dann wirklich da, die Katastrophe: Riesige Flüchtlingsströme, Folter und Mord. Und zu allem Überfluss: Milosevic gibt nicht auf. Langsam wächst die öffentliche Kritik: Wären Verhandlungen nicht doch besser als Krieg?

    Scharping steht politisch mit dem Rücken an der Wand. Da scheint die Rettung zu kommen:

    Originaltext Rudolf Scharping:

    „31. März. Mich elektrisiert ein Hinweis, dass offenbar Beweise dafür vorliegen, dass das jugoslawische Vorgehen einem seit langem feststehenden Operationsplan folgt.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Ein Hinweis, wenn auch aus dubiosen Quellen. Keine zwei Wochen später präsentiert Scharping stolz einen kompletten Plan: den Hufeisenplan. Milosevic wollte demnach die Albaner von Anfang an vertreiben. Das offene Ende des Hufeisens ist links unten, nach Albanien gerichtet: einziger Fluchtweg für die Bevölkerung. Für Scharping der Beweis: Die Serben planten schon immer die ethnische Säuberung, die deutsche Kriegsbeteiligung also gerechtfertigt. Stolz notiert er in seinem Tagebuch:

    Originaltext Rudolf Scharping:

    „7. April. Die Auswertung des Operationsplanes ‚Hufeisen‘ liegt vor. Endlich haben wir den Beweis dafür, dass schon im Dezember 1998 eine systematische Säuberung des Kosovo und die Vertreibung der Kosovo-Albaner geplant worden war, mit allen Einzelheiten und unter Nennung aller dafür einzusetzenden jugoslawischen Einheiten.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Gab es diesen Hufeisenplan tatsächlich?

    Wien, Sitz der OSZE. Von hier wurde die Beobachtung des Kosovo geleitet. Zuständig für die militärische Beratung damals: General a.D. Heinz Loquai aus Deutschland. Heute sein erstes Fernsehinterview:

    0-Ton

    HEINZ LOQUAI:

    (General a.D.)

    „Man hat mir im Verteidigungsministerium bei einem ausführlichen Gespräch über den Hufeisenplan gesagt, es lag kein Plan vor, sondern was vorlag, war eine Beschreibung der Operationen der serbischen Polizei und des serbischen Militärs in einem Bürgerkrieg.“

    INTERVIEWER:

    „Wo ist diese Grafik entstanden?“

    HEINZ LOQUAI:

    „Diese Grafiken sind entstanden im deutschen Verteidigungsministerium, das hat man mir jedenfalls gesagt.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Der schlimme Verdacht: Der Hufeisenplan wurde gar nicht in Belgrad, sondern in Bonn geschrieben. Und für diesen Verdacht spricht ein weiteres Dokument, das PANORAMA vorliegt. Es stammt aus dem Verteidigungsministerium: das Ausgangspapier des angeblich genau bekannten Hufeisenplans. Doch dort heißt es ausdrücklich, der Plan sei „in seinen Details nicht bekannt“. Das Fazit des Generals ist vernichtend.

    0-Ton

    HEINZ LOQUAI:

    „Ich kann nur sagen, dass der Verteidigungsminister bei dem, was er über den Hufeisenplan sagt, nicht die Wahrheit sagt.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Doch Scharping bleibt dabei, behauptet immer wieder, dass es diesen Hufeisenplan tatsächlich gebe.

    0-Ton

    RUDOLF SCHARPING:

    (5.4.2000)

    „Ich habe gesagt, es gibt diesen Plan, und es gibt eine Fülle von Kenntnissen darüber, dass dieser Plan existiert. Und diese Kenntnisse sind alle durch die Realität bewiesen.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Aber vorlegen kann er ihn bis heute nicht. Dennoch: die Kritiker seien „böswillig und ahnungslos“.

    0-Ton

    HEINZ LOQUAI:

    „Ahnungslos war ich nicht. Ich habe sehr viele Berichte des Verteidigungsministeriums eingesehen. Ich habe alle OSZE-Berichte gehabt, und ich habe dieses sehr, sehr ausführliche und offene Gespräch im Verteidigungsministerium über den Hufeisenplan gehabt. Also ahnungslos war ich nicht.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Der General hat inzwischen eine Studie verfasst. Gern hätte er aus all diesen internen Berichten zitiert, etwa denen der deutschen Botschaft in Belgrad.

    0-Ton

    HEINZ LOQUAI:

    „Ich hatte gebeten, für meine Studie die Berichte der Botschaft in Belgrad verwenden zu können, sie zitieren zu dürfen. Dieser Bitte wurde nicht entsprochen, weil, wie man sagte, diese Berichte politisch zur Zeit zu sensitiv sind. Wenn man die Berichte der Experten zum Beispiel dem Bundestag präsentiert hätte, hätte der Bundestag ein anderes Bild gehabt, als er es tatsächlich hatte zur Zeit des Kriegsbeginns. Und ich weiß nicht, ob dann die Abstimmungen so eindeutig verlaufen wären.“

    KOMMENTAR:

    Trotz allem: sicher ist eines: Die Serben haben zahllose Verbrechen im Kosovo begangen. Umso drängender die Frage: Warum reichten Scharping die Fakten nicht aus? Die Antwort nicht nur auf diese Frage wollte er PANORAMA nicht geben.

    0-Ton

    PROF. DIETER LUTZ:

    (Inst. f. Friedensforschung und Sicherheitspolitik)

    „Sieht man das Geschehen und auch die Aussagen von Scharping in der Gesamtschau, so muss man festhalten, dass er immer übertrieben hat, immer auch am Rande dessen war, was die Wahrheit ist, bis hin zu Falschaussagen, wenn wir den Hufeisenplan nehmen. Und ich glaube, es lässt sich damit erklären, dass er versucht hat, durch diese Übertreibungen und Überhöhungen sich selber unantastbar zu machen.“

    Abmoderation

    PATRICIA SCHLESINGER:

    Die Pressestelle des Verteidigungsministers war heute schwer beschäftigt. Mit einem Pauschal-Dementi versuchte sie , die Vorwürfe, die in unserem Film erhoben werden, zu entkräften. Sie seien schlichtweg falsch und widersprächen den Tatsachen, hieß es in einer Presseerklärung. Wer so tönt, muss sich die Frage gefallen lassen: Warum wollten Sie unsere Fragen nicht vor der Kamera beantworten, Herr Scharping?

    Hufeisenplan
    https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hufeisenplan

    Hufeisenplan, Operationsplan Hufeisen (im angeblichen Original: Potkova-Plan) war die Bezeichnung eines angeblichen militärstrategischen Plans zur systematischen Vertreibung der Kosovo-Albaner aus dem Kosovo, der der jugoslawischen Regierung zugeschrieben wurde. Er diente als zusätzliche nachträgliche Begründung der Militärintervention im Kosovo-Konflikt. Seine tatsächliche Existenz konnte bislang nicht bewiesen werden.

    #histoire #médias #télévision #Allemagne #impérialisme #Serbie #Croatie #Oustachis #guerre

  • Borderline | The Wire

    Harsh living conditions have always brought people together in the Kupa-region on the Croatian-Slovenian border, but today the stream of life is cut in two by a razor wire to keep refugees from entering Slovenia.

    https://player.vimeo.com/video/532174343

    http://www.offworld.be/index.php/film-borderline-wire

    #film #film_documentaire #documentaire #Tiha_Gudac
    #frontières #barbelé #Croatie #Slovénie #Kupa #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #migrations #asile #réfugiés #rivière #clôture #fermeture_des_frontières #frontière_sud-alpine

    ping @isskein

    • Slovenia, Croazia : filo spinato

      «Mi chiedono ’sei pro o contro l’immigrazione?’, ma la domanda non ha senso, non c’è da essere pro o contro, l’immigrazione esiste. Piuttosto, bisogna scegliere come gestirla». Un’intervista a Tiha K. Gudac, regista del documentario Žica, filo spinato

      «Žica », letteralmente “filo spinato”, è il secondo documentario della regista croata Tiha K. Gudac (classe 1982). Dopo aver esordito nel 2014 con «Goli», che ripercorre la storia del nonno internato a Goli Otok, Gudac si occupa questa volte del filo spinato che il governo sloveno ha posizionato sul confine tra Croazia e Slovenia e sull’impatto che questo nuovo muro ha sulle comunità locali. Il film è parte del progetto «Borderline» prodotto da Off World e dedicato a diversi confini europei, raccontati attraverso sei documentari. Žica, uscito nel 2021, ha vinto il premio “Menzione speciale” al RAFF – Rab Film Festival.

      Com’è nata l’idea di un film sul filo spinato tra Slovenia e Croazia?

      Tutto è iniziato nel 2016, quando si è sviluppato il progetto «Borderline», con l’obiettivo di realizzare una serie di documentari sulle frontiere dell’Unione europea. Io ho proposto il confine croato-sloveno e realizzato un primo trailer. Allora c’era qualcosa di davvero macabro nel paesaggio: le autorità slovene avevano posto a terra dei rotoli di «nastro spinato» (razor wire), che è molto più tagliente del normale filo spinato e può incidere la carne fino all’osso. Per questo, si trovavano molti animali morti lungo il confine. La mia idea è stata selezionata e le riprese sono iniziate nel 2019.

      Qual è la situazione al confine croato-sloveno oggi?

      I rotoli di nastro spinato sono stati sostituiti con una recinzione sulla quale è stato collocato il filo spinato. La barriera è più lunga e più resistente, ma perlomeno meno pericolosa per chi ci cammina vicino.

      Nel tuo documentario ti concentri sulle conseguenze che il filo spinato ha nella vita quotidiana di chi ci vive vicino. Da dove sei partita?

      Mi sono concentrata sull’area attorno al fiume Kupa (Kolpa, in sloveno) che divide i due paesi, in particolare, la zona di Petrina (Slovenia) e Brod na Kupi (Croazia). Si tratta di una regione che in Croazia è nota con il nome di Gorski Kotar e dove si registrano gli inverni più rigidi, secondi solo a quelli del monte Velebit. Date queste difficili condizioni di vita, la popolazione locale si è unita, da un lato all’altro del confine, e oggi rappresenta un’unica comunità in cui si parla sia sloveno che croato, e anche una terza lingua dialettale, che è un miscuglio delle prime due.

      L’impressione che si ha, guardando il tuo film, è che l’armonia locale sia stata distrutta da un’agente esterno...

      È così, non si tratta di un’esagerazione. Penso alla storia di Zlatko, uno dei protagonisti del documentario. Lui vive sul lato croato del fiume, ma siccome in quel punto non c’è una strada, lui attraversa la Kupa con una piccola barca per fare la spesa o cercare ciò che gli serve dal lato sloveno del fiume. Tanti altri, invece, hanno la casa da un lato e i campi dall’altro e quindi utilizzano i piccoli ponti per andare dall’altra parte. Ecco, con l’arrivo del filo spinato sono stati chiusi tutti i valichi minori e ora le persone devono fare a volte un giro di 40 km per arrivare dall’altra parte.

      C’è una bella scena nel film, in cui si vede la polizia locale mentre cerca di convincere gli abitanti della necessità del filo spinato...

      Tutti i protagonisti del film si trovano in una situazione in cui non vorrebbero essere. I poliziotti sono persone del luogo che hanno trovato un lavoro sicuro e stabile in un’area in cui non ci sono fabbriche o grandi imprese. Ora si ritrovano a dover posizionare filo spinato e fare respingimenti illegali. La popolazione locale, naturalmente, non ne vuole sapere del filo spinato, perché separa le comunità, impedisce agli animali di raggiungere il fiume ecc. I migranti, infine, arrivano dall’altro capo del mondo e cercano di sopravvivere e di attraversare il confine.

      Il film segue anche le vicende di Omar e Mohammed, due migranti che dalla Bosnia Erzegovina cercano di raggiungere l’Italia. La loro testimonianza dei respingimenti è molto forte...

      Mi ricordo un giorno, durante le riprese, quando ci siamo messi a chiacchierare a Velika Kladuša (Bosnia Erzegovina), facendo finta di avere una conversazione normale. Uno di loro mi ha chiesto quali fossero i miei hobby e quand’è venuto il suo turno ha detto: “Io cammino per la Croazia finché non mi riportano di qua”. Hanno provato ad arrivare in Slovenia 10–15 volte e ogni volta sono stati picchiati e respinti. Il comportamento violento della polizia croata non è solo inaccettabile perché viola i diritti umani di queste persone ma, se vogliamo, è anche irresponsabile nei confronti dei cittadini europei, perché traumatizza delle persone che poi arriveranno in Europa, cariche di paura e di rabbia.

      Che idea ti sei fatta del modo in cui i governi europei stanno rispondendo alla questione migratoria?

      Ho l’impressione che non si voglia vedere la realtà. Si parla di “crisi”, quando in verità le migrazioni non sono un fenomeno passeggero, ma che anzi durerà e, temo, peggiorerà nei prossimi anni. Il focus del mio film era il filo spinato ma inevitabilmente si è allargato all’immigrazione e mi sono resa conto che sul tema la gente ha una visione in bianco e nero. Mi chiedono “sei pro o contro l’immigrazione?”, ma la domanda non ha senso, non c’è da essere pro o contro, l’immigrazione esiste. Piuttosto, bisogna scegliere come gestirla. E siccome si tratta di un fenomeno complicato, serve una risposta articolata e non semplice come un muro o una barriera di filo spinato, che in ultima istanza non serve a nulla.

      Il tuo film è già stato presentato in diversi festival in Germania e nei Balcani. Quali sono state le reazioni finora?

      Il pubblico ne è stupito, perché si parla di luoghi familiari, molto vicini. In Slovenia, tuttavia, il film non è ancora stato proiettato, lo sarà a breve al festival del cinema di Portorose. Ma per quanto riguarda i respingimenti o la violenza sui migranti in generale, non mi sembra che ci sia un vero dibattito pubblico. Ci sono tante inchieste, pubblicazioni, ma quando si guarda alle dichiarazioni dei responsabili politici, c’è solo negazione. E mi dispiace, vorrei che la società reagisse di più, perché altrimenti finisce che ci si abitua pian piano a tutto, come al filo spinato davanti alla propria casa. E se guardiamo agli ultimi dieci anni in Europa, con la scusa del male minore o del male necessario, ci siamo in realtà abituati all’avanzata del fascismo.

      https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/aree/Croazia/Slovenia-Croazia-filo-spinato-212734

  • En septembre 2021... la #barrière_frontalière entre la #Slovénie et la #Croatie s’allonge...


    The news coming from Slovenia confirms that the EU member states will indeed start with additional securitization of their borders in order to prevent access to refugees from Afghanistan. Namely, the Slovenian Minister of the Interior announced the additional installation of barbed wire on the border with Croatia.

    Slovenija produžuje bodljikavu žicu na granici s Hrvatskom

    SLOVENIJA će produžiti ogradu na granici s Hrvatskom namijenjenu onemogućavanju ilegalnih migracija, najavio je ministar unutarnjih poslova Aleš Hojs.

    Prilikom posjeta Savinjskoj regiji (centar Celje), koja se proteže od hrvatske do austrijske granice, Hojs je pogledao stanje na granici s Hrvatskom i kako se ona kontrolira te najavio postavljanje još nekoliko desetaka kilometara protumigrantske ograde. Ona se od velike migracijske krize 2015.-2016., kad je Slovenija počela postavljati bodljikavu žicu, do sada već protegnula na više od polovice dužine međusobne granice dviju država.
    Ministar: Europa će pomagati samo onima koji doista trebaju pomoć

    Vlada je u zaključnoj fazi potpisivanja ugovora o postavljanju više desetaka kilometara nove granične zapreke na južnoj granici, kazao je tom prilikom novinarima Hojs dodavši da bi radovi mogli započeti za dva do tri tjedna. Prema riječima Hojsa, člana stranke premijera Janeza Janše, trenutno obavještajni podaci ne govore o mogućem većem migrantskom valu iz Afganistana nakon što su tu zemlju preuzeli talibani. Kako je dodao, to je zasluga i činjenice što europski ministri unutarnjih poslova nedavno nisu dopustili da se nakon pada Afganistana u ruke talibana za moguće izbjeglice i migrante širom otvore vrata Europske unije, kao što je to bilo u krizi 2015./2016.

    “To znači da će Europa pomagati samo onima kojima je pomoć doista potrebna, a to su ranjive skupine, žene i djeca”, kazao je Hojs.

    Slovenija se nalazi na takozvanoj balkanskoj izbjegličkoj ruti prema zapadnoj i središnjoj Europi, no za razliku od prije nekoliko godina, njena policija bilježi sve manje pokušaja ilegalnog ulaska izbjeglica i migranata. Prema službenim podacima, u prvih sedam mjeseci ove godine bilo je 4495 nezakonitih ulazaka, što je za preko 70 posto manje nego u istom razdoblju lani, kad ih je zabilježeno 7577. Među zatečenim ilegalnim migrantima najviše je onih iz Afganistana, Pakistana i Bangladeša, koji čine polovicu svih ilegalnih ulazaka, a jako je smanjen broj Pakistanaca, Marokanaca i Alžiraca.

    Vlada Janeza Janše zaoštrila je ove godine propise koji omogućuju dobivanje azila, a Slovenija se kao predsjedateljica Vijeća Europske unije u ovom semestru usprotivila uspostavljanju tzv. humanitarnih koridora za moguće izbjeglice iz Afganistana. Žičanu ogradu na granici s Hrvatskom, na početku velikog migrantskog vala iz Sirije 2015.-2016., počela je postavljati nekadašnja vlada Mire Cerara, a do sada se žica nalazi na više od 200 kilometara njene dužine.

    https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/slovenija-produzuje-bodljikavu-zicu-na-granici-s-hrvatskom/2304076.aspx

    #murs #frontières #migrations #réfugiés #asile #route_des_balkans #frontière_sud-alpine #barbelés #clôture

    –—

    En 2020:
    La #Slovénie érige de nouvelles barrières à sa frontière avec la #Croatie
    https://seenthis.net/messages/843468

  • #Refoulements_en_chaîne depuis l’#Autriche (2021)

    In a recent finding, the Styria Regional Administrative Court in Graz ruled that pushbacks are “partially methodically applied” in Austria, and that in the process, the 21-year-old complainant was subject to degrading treatment, violating his human dignity. The ruling further shed light on the practices of chain pushbacks happening from Italy and Austria, through Slovenia and Croatia, to BiH. The last chain pushback from Austria all the way to BiH was recorded by PRAB partners in early April 2021, while in 2020, 20 persons reported experiencing chain pushbacks from Austria and an additional 76 from Italy.

    Source: rapport “#Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route” (juin 2021)

    #push-backs #refoulements #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #Slovénie #Croatie #frontière_sud-alpine #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Alpes

    • MEPs slam Slovenian Presidency for their role in chain-pushbacks

      In the first week of September (2. 8. 2021), MEPs in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs confronted Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs as he presented the priorities for Slovenian presidency of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. With evidence provided by BVMN and network members InfoKolpa and Are You Syrious, representatives of The Left in the European Parliament took the Presidency to task for its systemic policy of chain-pushbacks and flagrant abuse of the rule of law. Members also shamed the Slovenian Ministry of Interior for continuing to ignore a Supreme Court ruling which established Slovenia had violated the rights of a Cameroonian plaintiff and are obligated to allow him access to the Slovenian asylum system and to stop returning people to Croatia as there is overwhelming evidence of chain-refoulement and degrading treatment often amounting to tortute.

      Presenting the evidence

      Malin Björk, whose fact-finding trip to Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia was facilitated by Are You Syrious and Infokolpa, then handed over the Black Book of Pushbacks to Minister Hojs, a dossier of cases recorded by the Border Violence Monitoring Network which collates pushback violations from across the Balkans since 2017. The book has a concerningly large section on Slovenian chain pushbacks, sharing the voices of 1266 people documented by BVMN who had either been chain pushed back (via Croatia) to Bosnia-Herzegovina or Serbia. The cases speak of systemic gatekeeping of asylum, misuse of translation, the registering of minors as adults, and fast-tracked returns to Croatian police who would then carry out brutal pushbacks. All point to a high level of complicity by the Slovenian authorities in the brutalisation of people-on-the-move, a fact reinforced by the April ruling of the Slovenian Supreme Court.

      Yet this first hand evidence is in reality just the tip of the iceberg, and a recent open letter on the matter revealed how according to officially available data, over 27,000 returns of potential asylum seekers were carried out by Slovenian authorities in the recent years, resulting in chain refoulement via Croatia to non-EU countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina.

      “I expect you as a responsible Minister, not only for your country, but for the EU Presidency to take part of this document and tell us what you will do to stop the illegality, impunity and the brutality.”

      More weak denials

      Interior Minister Hojs doubled down on his stance that Slovenia was managing its borders according to the Rule of Law, even despite his own national court ruling the complete opposite. In an unsurprising move, reminiscent of many Interior Ministers across the EU, Hojs levied accusations of fake news and dismissed the Black Book set before him as a fabrication. Referring to his short attempt to actually look at the evidence presented in the book Hojs stated: “How many lies can be concentrated on one half page, I immediately closed the book and did not touch it again”. With the Minister unwilling to leaf through the 244 pages dedicated to crimes carried out by Slovenia, the network welcome him to view the visual reconstruction of a pushback published last year which vividly captured the experience of those denied asylum access in Slovenia and then brutalised while being collectively expelled from Croatia.

      “I have read the Black Book already in parliament and have seen what they write about me and the Slovenian police. All lies.”

      – Minister Hojs Speaking to Slovenian TV

      The fact is that Minister Hojs is personally not mentioned in the Black Book, though his actions are documented on countless pages, implies that someone is indeed lying. Court judgements, the testimony of thousands of pushback victims, and hard video evidence all highlight the fragility of the Slovenian government’s “fake news” line. While already deeply concerning at a national level, the fact that this administration is also spearheading the EU Presidency shows the extent to which perpetrators of pushbacks have been enabled and empowered at the highest level in Brussels. As a recent webinar event hosted by InfoKolpa and BVMN asked: Can a country responsible for mass violations of Human Rights be an honest broker in the preparations of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum? Until the ruling by the Supreme Court is implemented and people-on-the-move have their mandated right to request asylum in Slovenia, this question will continue to be answered firmly with a “no”.

      Today, our MEPs talked to @aleshojs 🇸🇮 Minister of Home Affairs about the thousands of men, women and children who have been denied over the past years the right to seek asylum in Slovenia, and forcefully handed over to Croatian. @Border_Violence #StopPushbacks pic.twitter.com/XvNLvoCLhY

      — The Left in the European Parliament (@Left_EU) September 2, 2021

      MEP statement

      “I was in Velika Kladusa in Bosnia, I was astonished to meet many migrants and refugees that had been to Slovenia, but they had been told that the right to seek asylum did not exist in you country. One of the persons that I met there was from Cameroon and had escaped political persecution. Once he thought he was in safety in Slovenia he called the police himself to ask to be able to claim asylum. Instead he was as so many others, as thousand of others, handed over to the Croatian police who brutalised him and sent him back to Bosnia.

      This case is a little bit special, compared to the many thousands of others, because on 9th April this year the Slovenian Supreme Court itself ruled that Slovenian police had violated the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsion and denied the him the right to seek international protection.

      You (Minister Hojs) have had meetings with Commissioner Johansson and you have said you will stand up for the right to seek asylum for asylum seekers. Now your own court has found that you fail in this case. So my questions are: Will you stand by your words and provide a humanitarian visa for this person so that he can come back to Slovenia to apply for asylum as he was supposed to have been granted two years ago? And the second is more structural of course, how will you ensure that people have the right to apply for asylum in Slovenia, that they are not brutally pushed back to Croatian police, who are then illegally pushing them back to Bosnia in a kind of chain pushback situation which is a shame, a shame, at European borders?”

      – Malin Björk MEP

      The case referred to is part of strategic litigation efforts led by network member InfoKolpa, which resulted in a landmark judgement issued on 16 July 2020 by the Slovenian Administrative Court. The findings prove that the Slovenian police force in August 2019 carried out an illegal collective expulsion of a member of a persecuted English-speaking minority from Cameroon who wanted to apply for asylum in the country. The verdict was confirmed on 9th April 2021 by the Slovenian Supreme Court, which ruled the following: the Slovenian police violated the principle of non-refoulement, the prohibition of collective expulsions and denied the asylum seeker access to the right to international protection. The state was ordered to ensure that the plaintiff is allowed to re-enter the country and ask for international protection, but no effort has been made by the authorities to respect the ruling of the court. The case is thus another confirmation of the Slovenian misconduct that persistently undermines the foundations of the rule of law, specifically international refugee law and international human rights law.

      We fear for Slovenia.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/meps-slam-slovenian-presidency-for-their-role-in-chain-pushbacks

    • Briefly reviewing the topic of pushbacks at European borders, it is important to report on the case of a young refugee from Somalia who was prevented from seeking asylum in Austria and was expulsed, or more precisely, pushed back to Slovenia, contrary to international and European law. His case will soon be reviewed at the Provincial Administrative Court of Styria (https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/migrant-tuzio-austriju-slucaj-bi-mogao-imati-posljedice-i-za-hrvatsku-policiju/2302310.aspx), and if he wins the case, it will be the second verdict that indicates systematic and sometimes chained pushbacks of refugees through Austria, Slovenia, and thus Croatia all the way to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

      Reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, du 16.09.2021

    • Violenze e respingimenti: la “stretta” della Slovenia sui migranti. Con l’aiuto dell’Italia

      Solo a settembre oltre 100 persone in transito sono state respinte a catena in Bosnia ed Erzegovina. Molte di loro sono state fermate a pochi chilometri dal confine italiano. I pattugliamenti misti della polizia italiana e slovena potrebbero spiegare l’aumento delle persone rintracciate. La denuncia del Border violence monitoring network

      Otto casi di respingimenti a catena dalla Slovenia alla Bosnia ed Erzegovina nel mese di settembre 2021. Più di cento persone coinvolte, in prevalenza cittadini afghani e pakistani, che denunciano violenze da parte della polizia slovena. Molte di loro (almeno 34) sono state fermate a “un passo” dal confine italiano: la “stretta” del governo di Lubiana sul controllo del territorio, in collaborazione con la polizia italiana, sembra dare i primi risultati.

      La denuncia arriva dalla rete Border violence monitoring network (Bvmn) che monitora il rispetto dei diritti delle persone in transito nei Paesi balcanici: “Non si hanno testimonianze dirette di poliziotti italiani coinvolti ma si presume che l’aumento nella sorveglianza del territorio e l’alto numero di persone arrestate nel nord della Slovenia sia una conseguenza dell’accordo tra Roma e Lubiana” spiega Simon Campbell, coordinatore delle attività della rete. Il ruolo dell’Italia resta così di primo piano nonostante le riammissioni al confine siano formalmente interrotte dal gennaio 2021.

      Nel report di Bvmn di settembre 2021 vengono ricostruite dettagliatamente numerose operazioni di respingimento che “partono” dal territorio sloveno. Intorno alle sette e trenta di sera del 7 settembre 2021 un gruppo di quattro cittadini afghani, tra cui un minore, viene fermato vicino alla città di Rodik, nel Nord-Ovest della Slovenia a circa cinque chilometri dal confine con l’Italia. Il gruppo di persone in transito viene bloccato da due agenti della polizia di frontiera slovena e trasferito in un centro per richiedenti asilo. Ma è solo un’illusione. Quarantotto ore dopo, il 9 settembre verso le 17, i quattro si ritroveranno a Gradina, nel Nord della Bosnia ed Erzegovina: nonostante abbiano espresso più volte la volontà di richiedere asilo le forze di polizia slovena le hanno consegnate a quelle croate che hanno provveduto a portarle nuovamente al di fuori dell’Ue. Una decina di giorni dopo, il 19 settembre, un gruppo di otto persone, di età compresa tra i 16 e i 21 anni, riesce a raggiungere la zona confinaria tra Slovenia e Italia ma durante l’attraversamento dell’autostrada A1, all’uscita di una zona boscosa, interviene la polizia. All’appello “mancano” due persone che camminavano più avanti e sono riuscite a raggiungere Trieste: le guardie di frontiera lo sanno. L’intervistato, un cittadino afghano di 21 anni, sospetta che “una sorta di videocamera con sensori li aveva ha individuati mentre camminavano nella foresta”. O forse uno dei 55 droni acquistati dal ministro dell’Interno sloveno per controllare il territorio di confine. A quel punto le forze speciali slovene chiedono rinforzi per rintracciare i “fuggitivi” e nel frattempo sequestrano scarpe, telefoni cellulari, power bank e soldi ai membri del gruppo identificati che dopo circa mezz’ora sono costretti a entrare nel retro di un furgone. “Non c’era ossigeno perché era sovraffollato e la polizia ha acceso l’aria condizionata a temperature elevate. Due persone sono svenute durante il viaggio” spiega il 21enne. Verso le 12 la polizia croata prende il controllo del furgone: il gruppo resta prigioniero nel veicolo, con le porte chiuse e senza cibo e acqua, per il resto della giornata. Alle due del mattino verranno rilasciati vicino a Bihać, nel cantone bosniaco di Una Sana.

      Sono solo due esempi delle numerose testimonianze raccolte dal Border violence. I numeri dei respingimenti a catena sono in forte aumento: da gennaio a agosto 2021 in totale erano state 143 le persone coinvolte, solo nel mese di settembre 104. Un dato importante che coinvolge anche l’Italia. Le operazioni di riammissione dall’Italia alla Slovenia sono formalmente interrotte -anche se la rete segnala due casi, uno a marzo e uno a maggio, di persone che nonostante avessero già raggiunto il territorio italiano sono state respinte a catena fino in Bosnia- ma il governo italiano fornisce supporto tecnico e operativo al governo sloveno per il controllo del territorio grazie a un’intesa di polizia tra Roma e Lubiana di cui non si conoscono i contenuti.

      Sono ripresi infatti nel mese di luglio 2021 i pattugliamenti misti al confine nelle zone di Gorizia e Trieste. “Al momento dobbiamo approfondire l’effettivo funzionamento dell’accordo: non abbiamo testimonianze dirette di poliziotti italiani coinvolti -continua Campbell-. Presumiamo però che l’alto livello di sorveglianza del territorio e il numero di persone che vengono catturate in quella zona dimostra che l’intesa sui pattugliamenti assume un ruolo importante nei respingimenti a catena verso la Bosnia”. Paese in cui la “malagestione” del fenomeno migratorio da parte del governo di Sarajevo si traduce in una sistematica violazione dei diritti delle persone in transito e in cui le forze di polizia sotto accusa del Consiglio d’Europa per i metodi violenti che utilizza. Elementi che il Viminale non può considerare solo come “collaterali” delle politiche con cui tenta di esternalizzare i confini.

      La particolarità dei respingimenti da parte delle autorità slovene è che sono realizzati alla luce del sole. “La caratteristica di queste operazioni consiste nel fatto che i migranti vengono consegnati ‘ufficialmente’ alle autorità croate dagli ufficiali sloveni ai valichi di frontiera sia stradali che ferroviari -spiegano gli attivisti-. Prendendo come esempio la Croazia la maggior parte dei gruppi vengono allontanati da agenti che eseguono le operazioni con maschere, in zone di confine remote”. In Slovenia, invece, spesso vengono rilasciate tracce di documenti firmati per giustificare l’attività di riammissione. “Nonostante questa procedura sia la Corte amministrativa che la Corte suprema slovena hanno ritenuto che queste pratiche violano la legge sull’asilo perché espongono le persone al rischio di tortura in Croazia”.

      Una violenza denunciata, a inizio ottobre 2021, da un’importate inchiesta giornalistica di cui abbiamo parlato anche su Altreconomia. I pushaback sloveni, a differenza di quelli “diretti” che si verificano in Croazia e in Bosnia ed Erzegovina, sono più elaborati perché “richiedono più passaggi e quindi possono durare più giorni”. “Siamo rimasti tre giorni in prigione. Non abbiamo potuto contattare nessun avvocato, non ci hanno fornito un traduttore. Ci hanno dato solo una bottiglia di acqua al giorno e del pane” racconta uno dei cittadini afghani intervistati. Oltre al cattivo trattamento in detenzione, diverse testimonianze parlano di “violenze e maltrattamenti anche all’interno delle stazioni di polizia slovene” e anche al di fuori, con perquisizioni violente: in una testimonianza raccolta dalla Ong No name kitchen, un cittadino afghano ha denunciato una “perquisizione intensiva dei genitali”. I maggiori controlli sul territorio sloveno, possibili anche grazie alla polizia italiana, rischiano così di far ricadere le persone in transito in una spirale di violenza e negazione dei diritti fondamentali.

      https://altreconomia.it/violenze-e-respingimenti-la-stretta-della-slovenia-sui-migranti-con-lai

    • “They were told by the officers that they would be taken to Serbia.... at 12am they were dropped at the Bosnia-Croatia border, near the town of Velika Kladuša”

      Date and time: September 24, 2021 00:00
      Location: Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina
      Coordinates: 45.1778695699, 16.025619131638
      Pushback from: Croatia, Slovenia
      Pushback to: Bosnia, Croatia
      Demographics: 11 person(s), age: 17-22 , from: Afghanistan, Pakistan
      Minors involved? No
      Violence used: kicking, insulting, theft of personal belongings
      Police involved: 2 Slovenian officers wearing blue uniforms, 2 Croatian officers wearing light blue uniforms, 2 police vans
      Taken to a police station?: yes
      Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of food/water, forced to pay fee
      Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
      Reported by: No Name Kitchen

      Original Report

      On 20th September 2021, 6 Afghan males between the ages of 17 and 22 attempted to cross the border from Slovenia into Italy near the city of Trieste. They had been traveling for 3 days from Serbia before reaching this point. They walked for 4 hours to the border with another group, but the weather was cold and raining so they decided to try taking a taxi instead. As they were hidden in the taxi they did not have enough space for their bags, and so during this ride they had no water or food.

      The two groups set off in two different taxis. The first made it across the border, but as the second one was approaching it after a 40-minute journey, a police car began chasing them. The driver of the taxi stopped on a small bridge and escaped on foot, but the men in the car were arrested by two Slovenian police officers. The officers have been described as one young man and one old man, both wearing blue short-sleeved tops. The men were then taken to a police station near the Italian border. Here they spent 1 night. The respondents remarked that they were treated well, that the police cooperated and did not try to scare them, and that they were given food, water, and blankets. However, it was cold, and a few of the group became ill. The police tried to interview them about their attempt across the border, but after receiving no response told them to rest and take their food.

      On the morning of 21 September, the group was all given a COVID test and taken to a quarantine facility. Here they spent 3 nights. Again, the respondent stated that they were treated well. They were allowed to use their mobile phones for 2 hours per day and were given good quality food and medical care from a nurse/doctor. The group stated that they intended to claim asylum except for one that was going to Germany because he had a brother there. They also filled out a form stating that they faced threat in Afghanistan. Communication was initially made in English, but a Pashtu-speaking interpreter from Pakistan was provided for the interview. One of the group, the 6th member, was allowed to stay in Slovenia as he was 17.

      On the morning of 24 September the group of 5, all Afghan males between the age of 18 and 22, were given all of their belongings and driven to a small checkpoint on the Croatian border. The checkpoint was described as a two-sided road with a container on each side. Here they were handed over to two Croatian officers, which the Slovenian officers spoke with. The Croatian officers have been described as one woman around 40-45 years old and one man around 50, with both wearing light blue short-sleeved shirts consistent with the uniform of the Croatian Granicna Policija (border police), and one wearing a jacket. Here the respondents remarked that the good treatment ended and that the Croatian officers began acting “insane”. They were driven to a police station near the Croatia-Slovenia border. Here their sim cards were all taken, meaning the group could not access their phones or location services anymore. In the station, there was also a group of 7 Pakistani men. Initially, the two groups were held in separate rooms, but when another detainee arrived at the station all 11 men were put in the same room. The respondents described the room as 2x2m, designed for 1 person, and smelling very bad.

      The two groups were kept in these conditions from 10 am-7 pm, with no food or water. They asked for these repeatedly and were eventually given something to eat after paying with their own money. One of the group of 5 was kicked twice for no apparent reason. The group stated their intention to claim asylum, and again filled out a form stating that they faced threat in Afghanistan. In response, the woman officer asked: “why did you leave Afghanistan? If there was war you should fight not leave”. The group remarked that they refused to engage, stating that “she doesn’t know politics, doesn’t know when someone should stay or leave, there is different reasons”.

      At around 8 pm all 11 men were given their belongings back, minus their sim cards. As the belongings were jumbled and all given at once, some things were lost or potentially stolen. They were then ordered to get in a van which was driven by the same two officers. The group of 5 asked to be returned to Serbia as they had contacts there and had spent time there. They also had Serbian refugee camp ID cards. They were told by the officers that they would be taken to Serbia. The officers then began driving slowly, stopping often and parking to pass the time. The groups asked for something to drink and gave money in return for cola and water. At 12am they were dropped at the Bosnia-Croatia border, near the town of Velika Kladuša.

      The group walked into Velika Kladuša. They spent all night outside with no blankets, sleeping bags, or comfortable places to sleep. The weather was freezing. They tried to enter a restaurant at 7am but were not allowed in. After 2 nights in the cold weather, the group of 5 decided to return to Serbia. The return cost between €500-600. They crossed the border into Serbia at a bridge, where the group remarked that there was no police in sight.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/september-24-2021-0000-velika-kladusa-bosnia-and-herzegovina

  • Smoking guns. How European arms exports are forcing millions from their homes

    The #nexus between the arms trade and forced displacement is rarely explored and the role of European arms trade policies that facilitate gross human rights violations in third countries is often absent from displacement and migration studies. This report joins the dots between Europe’s arms trade and forced displacement and migration.

    Key findings

    - Arms and military equipment manufactured and licensed in Europe and sold to third countries provokes forced displacement and migration. This arms trade is motivated by how highly lucrative the industry is and current control and monitoring mechanisms facilitate rather than curtail problematic licensing and exportation.

    – The arms trade is political and is driven by profit but is under-regulated. Although other sectors, such as food and agriculture, do not undermine the fundamental right to life and other human rights in the same way that the arms trade does, they are far more stringently regulated.

    - It is possible to methodically trace arms, military equipment and technology, from the point of origin and export to where these were eventually used, and document their devastating impact on the local population. The report confirms beyond any reasonable doubt that European arms are directly used not to defend populations or to enhance local or regional security as is often claimed, but to destabilise entire countries and regions.

    - The arms industry is involved in clear violations of non-transfer clauses and end user agreements (EUAs) despite a supposedly robust system of controls. The evidence shows that once arms are traded, and although they may be traced, it is virtually impossible to control how they may eventually be used. Furthermore, although importing countries were known to have breached EUAs, EU member states continued to sell them arms and military equipment.

    - Regardless of whether arms were exported to official state security forces or were eventually used by non-state armed actors, or whether EUAs and other control mechanisms were respected, the result was the same – European arms were used in military operations that led to destabilisation and resulting forced displacement and migration. The destabilisation, facilitated by arms supplied by Europe, then contributed to Europe hugely expanding its border security apparatus to respond to the apparent threat posed by refugees attempting to arrive and seek asylum.

    - European countries are among the top exporters of lethal arms equipment worldwide, comprising approximately 26% of global arms exports since 2015. The top five European arms exporters are France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – together accounting for 22% of global arms exports in the 2016–2020 period.

    - Arms exports from Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania have soared in recent years, a large proportion of which is exported to West Asian countries. For example, before 2012, Croatia exported ammunition worth less than €1 million a year, but with the start of the Syrian war this surged every year to reach €82 million in 2016. The European Parliament called on Bulgaria and Romania to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the US (if there was a risk that these arms may be diverted), so far to no avail.

    – In Syria an estimated 13 million people need humanitarian assistance and more than half of the population remains displaced from their homes – including 6.6 million refugees living in neighbouring countries, such as Jordan and Lebanon, who subsequently attempt to flee to Europe in a reverse movement to the arms that displaced them. Another 6.7 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs) inside Syria.

    –-

    Five case studies document that:

    Italian T-129 ATAK helicopter components were exported to Turkey and used in 2018 and 2019 in two attacks in the district of Afrin in Northern Syria as part of Operation Olive Branch and in Operation Peace Spring on the Turkish–Syrian border. According to UN figures, 98,000 people were displaced during the Afrin offensive between January and March 2018, while 180,000, of whom 80,000 were children, were displaced, in October 2019 as a result of Operation Peace Spring.

    Bulgaria exported missile tubes and rockets to Saudi Arabia and the US, which eventually ended up in the hands of IS fighters in Iraq. The equipment was diverted and used in Ramadi and the surrounding region, where the International Organisation for Migration reported that from April 2015, following the outbreak of the Ramadi crisis, over half a million people were displaced from Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital city, while 85,470 were displaced specifically from Ramadi City between November 2015 and February 2016. Around 80% of all housing in Ramadi was severely damaged after the offensive. In 2017 another missile tube originating in Bulgaria was found to have been used by IS forces in the town of Bartella, located to the east of Mosul. At least 200,000 people from minority groups were displaced from the greater Mosul area between 2014 and January 2017. By July 2019, over two years after military operations had ended in Mosul, there were still over 300,000 people displaced from the city.

    British, French, and German components and production capacity, including missiles, missile batteries, and a bomb rack, were exported to Turkey, where they were mounted on Turkish-made drones and exported to Azerbaijan. These same drones, loaded with European-manufactured arms components, were used in the 44-day conflict in Naghorno- Karabakh, which provoked the forced displacement of half of the region’s Armenian population – approximately 90,000 people.

    Between 2012 and 2015 Bulgaria exported assault rifles, large-calibre artillery systems, light machine guns, hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) national police and military. The conflict in DRC is one of the world’s longest, yet Europe continues to supply arms that are used to perpetrate gross human rights violations. In 2017, Serbia exported 920 assault rifles and 114 light machine guns that were originally manufactured in Bulgaria. That same year, 2,166,000 people were forcibly displaced, making it one of the worst since the conflict began. Specifically, Bulgarian weapons were in use in North Kivu in 2017 coinciding with the forced displacement of 523,000 people.

    At least four Italian Bigliani-class patrol boats were donated to Libya and used by its coastguard to forcibly pull back and detain migrants who were fleeing its shores. In 2019, the Libyan coastguard mounted a machine gun on at least one of these boats and used it in the internal conflict against the Libyan National Army. Many of those fleeing Libya had most likely already fled other conflicts in other African and West Asian countries that may have purchased or were in receipt of European arms, so that at each step along their journey from displacement to migration, the European arms trade is making massive profits by firstly displacing them, and then later deterring and pushing them back.

    The arms companies we identified in these case studies include: Airbus (Franco-German), ARSENAL (Bulgaria), BAE Systems (UK), Baykar Makina (Turkey), EDO MBM (UK), Intermarine (Italy), Kintex (Bulgaria), Leonardo (Italy), Roketsan (Turkey), SB Aerospatiale (France), TDW (Germany), Turkish Aerospace Industry (Turkey), and Vazovski Mashinostroitelni Zavodi ЕAD (Bulgaria).

    https://www.tni.org/en/publication/smoking-guns
    #rapport #tni
    #armes #commerce_d'armes #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Europe #armée #militaire #industrie_de_l'armement #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #France #Allemagne #Italie #UK #Angleterre #Espagne #Bulgarie #Croatie #Roumanie #Arabie_Saoudite #Syrie #T-129_ATAK #Turquie #Operation_Olive_Branch #Operation_Peace_Spring #Irak #Ramadi #Bartella #Azerbaïjan #arméniens #Congo #RDC #République_démocratique_du_Congo #Serbie #Kivu #Nord_Kivu #Bigliani #Libye #gardes-côtes_libyiens #complexe_militaro-industriel
    #Airbus #ARSENAL #BAE_Systems #Baykar_Makina #EDO_MBM #Intermarine #Kintex #Leonardo #Roketsan #SB_Aerospatiale #TDW #Turkish_Aerospace_Industry #Vazovski_Mashinostroitelni_Zavodi_ЕAD

  • #Croatie : une saison touristique sans assez de travailleurs saisonniers

    Barmen, cuisiniers, serveurs : tous les postes sont à pourvoir et certains #hôtels pourraient bien rester fermés faute de #personnel. Ni les Croates ni les saisonniers des pays voisins ne veulent plus travailler pour des #salaires de misère, et l’importation de #main-d’oeuvre en provenance du Népal, de Thaïlande ou du Bengladesh ne suffit pas.

    « Je donne mille kunas à celui qui me trouvera un serveur ! » Voici le cri de désespoir d’un restaurateur de Pula qui cherche encore à embaucher, alors que la saison a commencé et que les touristes se pressent en Istrie. Un matin, après une nuit orageuse, plusieurs de ses employés ne sont tout simplement jamais revenus. Depuis, le restaurateur a le plus grand mal à leur trouver des remplaçants. Il attend des travailleurs de Serbie, qui seraient toujours en train de régler des « problèmes de papiers ».

    En Croatie, beaucoup pensaient pourtant que les patrons n’auraient pas de mal cette année à trouver des employés, avec le retour de beaucoup de Croates de la diaspora durant la pandémie. Certains pensaient même que les salaires pourraient baisser en raison de cette abondance de main d’oeuvre. Mais c’est tout le contraire qui se produit : comme en 2019, la Croatie manque de bras.

    Entre le 1er janvier et le 16 juin 2021, le ministère de l’Intérieur a ainsi délivré 31 157 permis de séjour et de travail à des ressortissants de pays tiers, soit 13% de plus qu’à la même période l’année dernière et un cinquième de moins qu’en 2019. Dans le secteur du tourisme et de la restauration, le ministère a délivré 4191 permis.

    La Croatie a perdu 10% de sa population

    Krešimir Sever, président des Syndicats indépendants croates, note que la Croatie, comme d’autres États en transition, a bâti sa compétitivité en recourant à des employés privés de droits et sous-rémunérés. « Cette politique a mené à une émigration considérable, surtout depuis l’adhésion de la Croatie à l’Union européenne, et elle concerne principalement des citoyens jeunes, hautement éduqués et spécialisés. D’après certaines études, 10% de la population aurait déjà quitté la Croatie », explique Krešimir Sever, précisant que le pourcentage réel pourrait être encore plus élevé.

    Ce déficit est compensé par l’importation d’ouvriers étrangers, ajoute-t-il, ce qui d’année en année contribue à faire encore plus baisser le prix du travail et à multiplier les contrats précaires. Cette dangereuse combinaison fait que l’émigration se poursuit toujours plus, affirme-t-il. « Malgré le retour d’une partie des travailleurs croates en raison de la pandémie, la pénurie de main d’œuvre se fait toujours sentir dans certains secteurs, comme le tourisme, la restauration, le bâtiment. On manque aussi d’artisans comme des électriciens et des serruriers », continue le syndicaliste.

    « Entre mars 2020 et mai 2021, les autorités ont versé 1,4 milliard d’euros à plus de 680 000 travailleurs, dans le cadre de mesures de soutien, notamment à 120 000 artisans et employeurs », explique-t-il, en soulignant que les fraudes ont été très nombreuses durant cette période : congés annuels forcés, travail de personnes officiellement en congé, non-paiement de la différence entre le salaire convenu et l’aide d’Etat, baisses de salaire sans accord de l’employé, télétravail sans annexe au contrat de travail, non-respect des horaires de travail, non-paiement d’heures supplémentaires en télétravail, etc.

    “De plus en plus de travailleurs viennent du Népal, des Philippines, du Bangladesh, de Chine, d’Inde, de Russie, de Corée, voire de Thaïlande ou du Mexique.”

    Krešimir Sever explique que les autorités avaient préparé l’adoption d’une loi spéciale pour mettre en suspens, pour la durée de la crise, certaines clauses de la Loi du travail et certaines conventions collectives en vigueur. Mais elles ont dû renoncer à ces mesures en raison de la forte pression des syndicats croates, soutenus par des organisations syndicales européennes et internationales, et grâce à des protestions directement adressées à la Commission européenne. « Les employeurs demandent davantage de flexibilité et les syndicats une meilleure protection. De fait, le droit du travail est l’une des principales causes de la situation qui prévaut aujourd’hui en Croatie, il doit être modifié. Les négociations pour une refonte de la Loi sur la travail ont commencé le 23 juin, mais elles ne seront ni faciles, ni rapides. Les autorités prévoient que la nouvelle loi puisse entrer en vigueur au milieu de l’année 2022 », précise-t-il.

    En attendant, la Croatie continue d’accueillir des travailleurs de Serbie, de Bosnie-Herzégovine, de Macédoine du Nord et du Kosovo, mais eux aussi sont de moins en moins nombreux et ils préfèrent aller travailler en Europe de l’Ouest. « De plus en plus de travailleurs viennent du Népal, des Philippines, du Bangladesh, de Chine, d’Inde, de Russie, de Corée, voire de Thaïlande ou du Mexique, par le biais d’agences de recrutement. La majorité de ces gens se font embaucher dans le secteur de la construction, dans le tourisme et la restauration. On leur propose les mêmes salaires qu’aux locaux pour les mêmes emplois. Mais le problème est que les Croates ne peuvent pas vivre avec ces salaires, alors que les étrangers réussissent tout de même à en envoyer une partie de ces sommes à leurs familles », explique Sever.

    Des hôtels resteront fermés

    Marina Cvitić, présidente des Syndicats d’Istrie, du Kvarner et de Dalmatie (SIKD) signale que, faute de personnel, de nombreux hôtels sur l’Adriatique risquent de rester fermés cette saison. « Les travailleurs sont dans l’incertitude depuis plus d’un an, et rares sont ceux dans le secteur touristique qui ont touché plus de six salaires pleins. Rares sont les saisonniers qui ont eu l’opportunité de travailler pendant plus de trois ou quatre mois. Mais quand les échéances des crédits arrivent, il faut (sur

    )vivre. Les salariés touchaient 60% de leur salaire durant la pandémie, mais il était illusoire de penser que les saisonniers allaient attendre que les agences les recontactent. Ils ont cherché un emploi dans d’autres secteurs », souligne-t-elle.

    Pour trouver des volontaires, certaines entreprises, poursuit-elle, ont commencé à distribuer des primes non imposables d’au moins 130 euros et les syndicats ont négocié avec certaines le versement durant la saison d’un montant non imposable maximal de 5000 kunas (670 euros). Malgré ces initiatives, les travailleurs manquent toujours, poursuit Marina Cvitić. Pour elle, cette pénurie est à imputer aux employeurs et au gouvernement croate. Les Syndicats d’Istrie, du Kvarner et de Dalmatie demandent une réunion d’urgence des syndicats, des employeurs et des ministères du Tourisme et de l’Emploi pour envisager des mesures concrètes à même de résoudre le problème du manque de main-d’œuvre.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Croatie-meme-la-hausse-des-salaires-ne-retient-pas-les-travailleu

    #tourisme #saisonniers #travailleurs_saisonniers #migrations #travail

  • Mystery plans to redraw Balkan borders alarm leaders

    “Changing borders would mean opening Pandora’s box,” says Valentin Inzko.

    As international High Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina his job is to keep the peace, which has endured since the Dayton Peace Agreement brought conflict to an end in 1995, after almost four years of fighting that cost around 100,000 lives.

    The cause of his consternation was a pair of unofficial documents suggesting some of the borders in the Balkans should be redrawn. The so-called #non-papers made the rounds in diplomatic circles, before being picked up by media in the Western Balkans.

    As far as Bosnia is concerned, its high representative is not about to entertain suggestions that the answer to its ongoing dysfunctionality would be to redraw its national boundaries.

    “If somebody likes to think about changing borders, he should first visit all military graves from France to Stalingrad,” he warns.

    The documents did not carry an author’s name. That’s in keeping with the unofficial nature of a non-paper, but the contents caused outrage across the region.

    Among their suggestions were:

    - A “peaceful dissolution” of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with Serbia and Croatia annexing much of its territory
    - Unification of Kosovo and Albania
    - The creation of an autonomous, majority ethnic-Serb region in northern Kosovo.

    It reads very much like an ethno-nationalist wish-list from the 1990s. And everyone remembers how that unfolded at the time.

    “People are worried. One of my employees was crying, she was really worried about these maps”
    Valentin Inzko, High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    “We are making a mistake if we think that frozen conflicts remain frozen forever,” says Mr Inzko. “You have seen in Nagorno-Karabakh and Palestine - frozen conflicts can break out at any time. This could also be the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

    The non-papers affair has turned into a diplomatic whodunnit.

    Few people have had anything to say in support of the ideas they contain - except Bosnia’s senior ethnic-Serb politician, Milorad Dodik, who never misses a chance to push the idea of secession for the country’s majority ethnic-Serb region. Under the Dayton accords, the country was divided into a Bosniak-Croat Federation and Bosnian Serb Republic (Republika Srpska).

    - The town where neighbours won’t share a coffee
    - Land swap could bridge divide for Serbia and Kosovo
    - Capturing the Balkans 25 years after peace deal
    - Bosnia-Herzegovina: Country profile

    But the non-papers may not be the work of self-serving ultranationalists. Slovenia had to fight off suggestions that it was circulating the first document. And media in Kosovo described the second non-paper as a “Franco-German” proposal.

    James Ker-Lindsay, a Balkans expert at the London School of Economics, says “blue-sky thinking” is one way for European leaders to tackle the region’s seemingly intractable issues.

    “We can’t deny there are problems in the Western Balkans. There are two significant issues which have got to be resolved: the dispute between Serbia and Kosovo over Kosovo’s independence - and the deep-seated political dysfunctionality that exists in Bosnia.”

    “This has vexed policymakers for the last 15 years in both cases. So the idea that we would be looking at trying to come up with new approaches to this isn’t particularly unusual”
    James Ker-Lindsay, Balkans expert, LSE

    Nonetheless, Slovenia attempted to consign the non-papers to the waste bin at a meeting of regional leaders it hosted earlier this month. It proposed a declaration affirming the inviolability of current borders.

    But Serbia refused. President Aleksandar Vucic said his country recognised “the borders determined by the UN charter”. In other words, he was not about to sign a document that could be construed as recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

    After meeting Mr Vucic in Slovenia, Kosovo’s president, Vjosa Osmani, told the BBC that she was convinced Belgrade was behind the non-papers.

    “I had no doubts from the very beginning - it’s enough to just read the contents and to see what these non-papers try to push forward. The idea of border redrawing as something that could achieve peace in the region, when in fact it’s the opposite.”

    “If there is one thing the entire political spectrum in #Kosovo agrees on, it’s that border redrawing is completely unacceptable”
    Vjosa Osmani, Kosovo president

    Naturally, Serbia denies all knowledge and James Ker-Lindsay notes that there are “all sorts of confusion and conspiracy theories kicking in”.

    But with the end of his 12-year stint as high representative approaching, Valentin Inzko simply wants everyone to accept the borders as they are and focus on eventually coming together in the European Union.

    “The better idea would be to follow the example of Tyrol - one part is in Italy, another in Austria. But it is one region, with four freedoms and one currency.”

    But EU membership for Western Balkans countries will remain out of reach for years. And that means many more non-papers, whether mischievous or constructive, are bound to be written.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-57251677
    #projet #frontières #Balkans #cartes #différents_frontaliers #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Croatie #Serbie #Albanie #conflits #Milorad_Dodik #Republika_Srpska #République_serbe_de_Bosnie #nationalisme #paix

    ping @reka

  • Modra rijeka

    Modra rijeka, Črnomelj, Slovenija, 25.3.2021

    https://vimeo.com/547961150


    Un #poème de #Mak_Dizdar :

    Where it is none knows
    We know little but it’s known

    Beyond forest beyond valley
    Beyond seven beyond eight

    Still worse still crazier
    Over weary over bitter

    Over blackthorn over bramble
    Over heat over strictness

    Over foreboding over doubts
    Beyond nine beyond ten

    Still deeper still stronger
    Beyond quiet beyond dark

    Where no cock crows
    Where no horn’s voice is heard

    Still worse still crazier
    Beyond mind beyond god

    There is a blue river
    It is wide it is deep

    A hundred years wide
    A thousand summers deep

    Don’t even dream of its length
    Insurmountable dark and murk

    There is a blue river

    There is a blue river—
    We must cross the river

    http://www.spiritofbosnia.org/volume-1-no-4-2006-october/blue-river

    #rivière_Kolpa #Kupa #frontière_sud-alpine #montagne #mourir_aux_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #décès #morts #frontières #frontières
    #art #art_et_politique #poésie #vidéo

    –-

    ajouté au fil de discussion sur les migrants morts dans la rivière Kolpa (Kupa) à la frontière entre la #Croatie et la #Slovénie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/811660

    Lui-même ajouté à la métaliste sur les morts à la frontière sud-alpine :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/758646

  • Exhibition “#Prijelaz” (“The Passage”) at Živi Atelje in Zagreb (Croaia)


    https://www.facebook.com/ziviateljedk

    –-> commemorating the people on the move who lost their lives on Croatian borders

    Uskoro u Živi Atelje DK pogledajte izložbu “Prijelaz” koja progovara o smrtima ljudi u pokretu na hrvatskim granicama, koje čuvaju Tvrđavu Europu.
    Izgubljen život je bol i patnja za obitelj i prijatelje, ali i za nas kao članove društva u kojima su ti životi odneseni. Smrt na hrvatskim granicama odnijela je živote i lica ljudi i upravo o tim licima je posvećena izložba “Prijelaz”. Izložba progovara o svijesti hrvatskog društva koje uslijed procesa pristupanja Schengenskoj zoni i europskoj eliti krši ljudska prava i zatvara oči pred smrtima.
    Ove prakse događaju se u našoj neposrednoj blizini i važno je da im se suprotstavimo.

    –—

    Traduction automatique:

    Bientôt, dans le Living Atelje DK, jetez un œil à l’exposition "Crossing", qui parle de la mort de personnes en déplacement aux frontières croates, qui gardent la forteresse Europe.
    Une vie perdue est une douleur et une souffrance pour la famille et les amis, mais aussi pour nous en tant que membres de la société dans laquelle ces vies ont été enlevées. La mort aux frontières croates a emporté la vie et le visage de personnes, et l’exposition « Traverser » est dédiée à ces personnes. L’exposition parle de la conscience de la société croate qui, en raison du processus d’adhésion à l’espace Schengen et à l’élite européenne, viole les droits de l’homme et ferme les yeux sur la mort.
    Ces pratiques se produisent dans notre voisinage immédiat et il est important que nous nous y opposions.

    https://www.facebook.com/CentarzaMirovneStudije/posts/3955498717878068

    #exposition #art_et_politique #Croatie #mourir_aux_frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #frontières #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #The_Passage #commémoration

  • Revealed: 2,000 refugee deaths linked to illegal EU pushbacks

    A Guardian analysis finds EU countries used brutal tactics to stop nearly 40,000 asylum seekers crossing borders

    EU member states have used illegal operations to push back at least 40,000 asylum seekers from Europe’s borders during the pandemic, methods being linked to the death of more than 2,000 people, the Guardian can reveal.

    In one of the biggest mass expulsions in decades, European countries, supported by EU’s border agency #Frontex, has systematically pushed back refugees, including children fleeing from wars, in their thousands, using illegal tactics ranging from assault to brutality during detention or transportation.

    The Guardian’s analysis is based on reports released by UN agencies, combined with a database of incidents collected by non-governmental organisations. According to charities, with the onset of Covid-19, the regularity and brutality of pushback practices has grown.

    “Recent reports suggest an increase of deaths of migrants attempting to reach Europe and, at the same time, an increase of the collaboration between EU countries with non-EU countries such as Libya, which has led to the failure of several rescue operations,’’ said one of Italy’s leading human rights and immigration experts, Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo, professor of asylum law at the University of Palermo. ‘’In this context, deaths at sea since the beginning of the pandemic are directly or indirectly linked to the EU approach aimed at closing all doors to Europe and the increasing externalisation of migration control to countries such as Libya.’’

    The findings come as the EU’s anti-fraud watchdog, Olaf, has launched an investigation into Frontex (https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/20/eu-migration-chief-urges-frontex-to-clarify-pushback-allegations) over allegations of harassment, misconduct and unlawful operations aimed at stopping asylum seekers from reaching EU shores.

    According to the International Organization for Migration (https://migration.iom.int/europe?type=arrivals), in 2020 almost 100,000 immigrants arrived in Europe by sea and by land compared with nearly 130,000 in 2019 and 190,000 in 2017.

    Since January 2020, despite the drop in numbers, Italy, Malta, Greece, Croatia and Spain have accelerated their hardline migration agenda. Since the introduction of partial or complete border closures to halt the outbreak of coronavirus, these countries have paid non-EU states and enlisted private vessels to intercept boats in distress at sea and push back passengers into detention centres. There have been repeated reports of people being beaten, robbed, stripped naked at frontiers or left at sea.

    In 2020 Croatia, whose police patrol the EU’s longest external border, have intensified systemic violence and pushbacks of migrants to Bosnia. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) recorded nearly 18,000 migrants pushed back by Croatia since the start of the pandemic. Over the last year and a half, the Guardian has collected testimonies of migrants who have allegedly been whipped, robbed, sexually abused and stripped naked (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/21/croatian-police-accused-of-sickening-assaults-on-migrants-on-balkans-tr) by members of the Croatian police. Some migrants said they were spray-painted with red crosses on their heads by officers who said the treatment was the “cure against coronavirus” (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/28/they-made-crosses-on-our-heads-refugees-report-abuse-by-croatian-police).

    According to an annual report released on Tuesday by the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) (https://www.borderviolence.eu/annual-torture-report-2020), a coalition of 13 NGOs documenting illegal pushbacks in the western Balkans, abuse and disproportionate force was present in nearly 90% of testimonies in 2020 collected from Croatia, a 10% increase on 2019.

    In April, the Guardian revealed how a woman from Afghanistan was allegedly sexually abused (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/07/croatian-border-police-accused-of-sexually-assaulting-afghan-migrant) and held at knifepoint by a Croatian border police officer during a search of migrants on the border with Bosnia.

    “Despite the European Commission’s engagement with Croatian authorities in recent months, we have seen virtually no progress, neither on investigations of the actual reports, nor on the development of independent border monitoring mechanisms,” said Nicola Bay, DRC country director for Bosnia. “Every single pushback represents a violation of international and EU law – whether it involves violence or not.”

    Since January 2020, Greece has pushed back about 6,230 asylum seekers from its shores, according to data from BVMN. The report stated that in 89% of the pushbacks, “BVMN has observed the disproportionate and excessive use of force. This alarming number shows that the use of force in an abusive, and therefore illicit, way has become a normality […]

    “Extremely cruel examples of police violence documented in 2020 included prolonged excessive beatings (often on naked bodies), water immersion, the physical abuse of women and children, the use of metal rods to inflict injury.”

    In testimonies, people described how their hands were tied to the bars of cells and helmets put on their heads before beatings to avoid visible bruising.

    A lawsuit filed against the Greek state in April at the European court of human rights (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/26/greece-accused-of-shocking-pushback-against-refugees-at-sea) accused Athens of abandoning dozens of migrants in life rafts at sea, after some had been beaten. The case claims that Greek patrol boats towed migrants back to Turkish waters and abandoned them at sea without food, water, lifejackets or any means to call for help.

    BVMN said: “Whether it be using the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown to serve as a cover for pushbacks, fashioning open-air prisons, or preventing boats from entering Greek waters by firing warning shots toward boats, the evidence indicates the persistent refusal to uphold democratic values, human rights and international and European law.”

    According to UNHCR data, since the start of the pandemic, Libyan authorities – with Italian support since 2017, when Rome ceded responsibility (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/23/mother-and-child-drown-after-being-abandoned-off-libya-says-ngo) for overseeing Mediterranean rescue operations to Libya – intercepted and pushed back to Tripoli about 15,500 asylum seekers. The controversial strategy has caused the forced return of thousands to Libyan detention centres where, according to first hand reports, they face torture. Hundreds have drowned when neither Libya nor Italy intervened.

    “In 2020 this practice continued, with an increasingly important role being played by Frontex planes, sighting boats at sea and communicating their position to the Libyan coastguard,” said Matteo de Bellis, migration researcher at Amnesty International. “So, while Italy at some point even used the pandemic as an excuse to declare that its ports were not safe for the disembarkation of people rescued at sea, it had no problem with the Libyan coastguard returning people to Tripoli. Even when this was under shelling or when hundreds were forcibly disappeared immediately after disembarkation.”

    In April, Italy and Libya were accused of deliberately ignoring a mayday call (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/25/a-mayday-call-a-dash-across-the-ocean-and-130-souls-lost-at-sea) from a migrant boat in distress in Libyan waters, as waves reached six metres. A few hours later, an NGO rescue boat discovered dozens of bodies (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/25/a-mayday-call-a-dash-across-the-ocean-and-130-souls-lost-at-sea) floating in the waves. That day 130 migrants were lost at sea.

    In April, in a joint investigation with the Italian Rai News and the newspaper Domani, the Guardian saw documents from Italian prosecutors detailing conversations between two commanders of the Libyan coastguard and an Italian coastguard officer in Rome. The transcripts appeared to expose the non-responsive behaviour (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/16/wiretaps-migrant-boats-italy-libya-coastguard-mediterranean) of the Libyan officers and their struggling to answer the distress calls which resulted in hundreds of deaths. At least five NGO boats remain blocked in Italian ports as authorities claim administrative reasons for holding them.

    “Push- and pull-back operations have become routine, as have forms of maritime abandonment where hundreds were left to drown,’’ said a spokesperson at Alarm Phone, a hotline service for migrants in distress at sea. ‘’We have documented so many shipwrecks that were never officially accounted for, and so we know that the real death toll is much higher. In many of the cases, European coastguards have refused to respond – they rather chose to let people drown or to intercept them back to the place they had risked their lives to escape from. Even if all European authorities try to reject responsibility, we know that the mass dying is a direct result of both their actions and inactions. These deaths are on Europe.’’

    Malta, which declared its ports closed early last year, citing the pandemic, has continued to push back hundreds of migrants using two strategies: enlisting private vessels to intercept asylum seekers and force them back to Libya or turning them away with directions to Italy (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/20/we-give-you-30-minutes-malta-turns-migrant-boat-away-with-directions-to).

    “Between 2014 and 2017, Malta was able to count on Italy to take responsibility for coordinating rescues and allowing disembarkations,” said De Bellis. “But when Italy and the EU withdrew their ships from the central Mediterranean, to leave it in Libya’s hands, they left Malta more exposed. In response, from early 2020 the Maltese government used tactics to avoid assisting refugees and migrants in danger at sea, including arranging unlawful pushbacks to Libya by private fishing boats, diverting boats rather than rescuing them, illegally detaining hundreds of people on ill-equipped ferries off Malta’s waters, and signing a new agreement with Libya to prevent people from reaching Malta.”

    Last May, a series of voice messages obtained by the Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/19/exclusive-12-die-as-malta-uses-private-ships-to-push-migrants-back-to-l) confirmed the Maltese government’s strategy to use private vessels, acting at the behest of its armed forces, to intercept crossings and return refugees to Libyan detention centres.

    In February 2020, the European court of human rights was accused of “completely ignoring the reality” after it ruled Spain did not violate the prohibition of collective expulsion (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/13/european-court-under-fire-backing-spain-express-deportations), as asylum applications could be made at the official border crossing point. Relying on this judgment, Spain’s constitutional court upheld “border rejections” provided certain safeguards apply.

    Last week, the bodies of 24 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa were found by Spain’s maritime rescue (https://apnews.com/article/atlantic-ocean-canary-islands-coronavirus-pandemic-africa-migration-5ab68371. They are believed to have died of dehydration while attempting to reach the Canary Islands. In 2020, according to the UNHCR, 788 migrants died trying to reach Spain (https://data2.unhcr.org/en/country/esp).

    Frontex said they couldn’t comment on the total figures without knowing the details of each case, but said various authorities took action to respond to the dinghy that sunk off the coast of Libya (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/25/a-mayday-call-a-dash-across-the-ocean-and-130-souls-lost-at-sea) in April, resulting in the deaths of 130 people.

    “The Italian rescue centre asked Frontex to fly over the area. It’s easy to forget, but the central Mediterranean is massive and it’s not easy or fast to get from one place to another, especially in poor weather. After reaching the area where the boat was suspected to be, they located it after some time and alerted all of the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centres (MRCCs) in the area. They also issued a mayday call to all boats in the area (Ocean Viking was too far away to receive it).”

    He said the Italian MRCC, asked by the Libyan MRCC, dispatched three merchant vessels in the area to assist. Poor weather made this difficult. “In the meantime, the Frontex plane was running out of fuel and had to return to base. Another plane took off the next morning when the weather allowed, again with the same worries about the safety of the crew.

    “All authorities, certainly Frontex, did all that was humanly possible under the circumstances.”

    He added that, according to media reports, there was a Libyan coast guard vessel in the area, but it was engaged in another rescue operation.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/may/05/revealed-2000-refugee-deaths-linked-to-eu-pushbacks

    #push-backs #refoulements #push-back #mourir_aux_frontières #morts_aux_frontières #décès #morts #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #responsabilité #Croatie #viols #Grèce #Italie #Libye

    ping @isskein

  • Annual Torture Report 2020

    Torture and pushbacks – an in depth analysis of practices in Greece and Croatia, and states participating in violent chain-pushbacks

    This special report analyses data from 286 first hand testimonies of violent pushbacks carried out by authorities in the Balkans, looking at the way practices of torture have become an established part of contemporary border policing. The report examines six typologies of violence and torture that have been identified during pushbacks from Croatia and Greece, and also during chain-pushbacks initiated by North Macedonia, Slovenia and Italy. Across the report, 30 victim testimonies of torture and inhuman treatment are presented which is further supplemented by a comprehensive legal analysis and overview of the States response to these allegations.

    The violations profiled include:

    - Excessive and disproportionate force
    - Electric discharge weapons
    - Forced undressing
    - Threats or violence with a firearm
    - Inhuman treatment inside a police vehicle
    - Inhuman treatment inside a detention facility

    –-

    Key Findings from Croatia:

    – In 2020, BVMN collected 124 pushback testimonies from Croatia, exposing the treatment of 1827 people
    - 87% of pushbacks carried out by Croatia authorities contained one or more forms of violence and abuse that we assert amounts to torture or inhuman treatment
    - Violent attacks by police officers against people-on-the-move lasting up to six hours
    - Unmuzzled police dogs being encouraged by officers to attack people who have been detained.
    - Food being rubbed into the open wounds of pushback victims
    - Forcing people naked, setting fire to their clothes and then pushing them back across borders in a complete state of undress

    Key Findings from Greece:

    – 89% of pushbacks carried out by Greek authorities contained one or more forms of violence and abuse that we assert amounts to torture or inhuman treatment
    - 52% of pushback groups subjected to torture or inhuman treatment by Greek authorities contained children and minors
    - Groups of up to 80 men, women and children all being forcibly stripped naked and detained within one room
    - People being detained and transported in freezer trucks
    - Brutal attacks by groups of Greek officers including incidents where they pin down and cut open the hands of people on the move or tied them to the bars of their detention cells and beat them.
    - Multiple cases where Greek officers beat and then threw people into the Evros with many incidents leading to people going missing, presumingly having drowned and died.

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/annual-torture-report-2020
    #rapport #2020 #Border_Violence_Monitoring-Network #BVMN
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #push-backs #refoulements #traitements_inhumains_et_dégradants #détention #centres_de_détention #armes #déshabillage_forcé #armes_à_feu #Croatie #Grèce #Evros #refoulements_en_chaîne #taser

    ping @isskein

  • Torture, Covid-19 and border pushbacks: Stories of migration to Europe at the time of Covid-19

    The lived experience of people navigating the EU external border during the Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharper focus the way border violence has become embedded within the landscape of migration. Here BVMN are sharing a feature article and comic strip from artistic journalist collective Brush&Bow which relays the human stories behind pushbacks, and the protracted violence which has come to characterise journeys along the Balkan Route. The researchers and artists spent time with transit communities along the Western Balkan Route, as well as speaking to network members Centre for Peace Studies, No Name Kitchen & Info Kolpa about their work. Combined with the indepth article (linked below) the comic strip brings to life much of the oral testimonies collected in the BVMN shared database, visualising movement and aspiration – as well as the counterforce of border violence.

    Authors: Roshan De Stone and David Leone Suber
    Illustrations and multimedia: Hannah Kirmes Daly
    (Brush&Bow C.I.C)
    Funded by: The Journalism Fund

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/torture-covid-19-and-border-pushbacks

    #push-back #refoulements_en_chaîne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Croatie #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #dessin #BD #bande_dessinée #Slovénie #Italie #frontière_sud-alpine #Bosnie #Trieste #migrerrance #Trieste #violence

    • #Torture and pushbacks: Stories of migration to Europe during Covid-19

      Violent and often sadistic pushbacks from Italy, Slovenia and Croatia are a damning indictment of Europe’s broken migrant policy.

      Anatomy of a pushback: from Italy to Bosnia

      Trieste, Zagreb – On April 13 last year, Italy’s Coronavirus death-toll surpassed 20,000, making headlines worldwide. In the afternoon on that same day, Saeed carefully packed a bag. In it, a phone, three power banks, cigarettes, a sleeping bag and a photograph of his two children back in Pakistan.

      During the March lockdown, Saeed was forcibly held in Lipa camp for migrants and asylum seekers, in the Bosnian canton of Una Sana, right next to the Croatian border. Having travelled this far, he was ready for the final leg of his journey to Europe.

      That night, Saeed left the camp. On the way to the Croatian border, he was joined by nine other men.
      People on the move use GPS tracking systems to cross land borders far away from main roads and inhabited locations. (Hannah Kirmes Daly, Brush&Bow C.I.C)

      For 21 days, the group walked through the forests and mountains in Croatia, Slovenia and into Italy, avoiding roads and towns, always careful not to be seen. Never taking their shoes off, not even to sleep, ready to run at a moment’s notice if the police spotted them.

      When Covid-19’s first wave was at its peak in the spring of 2020, EU member states increased border security by sending the army to patrol borders and suspended freedom of movement as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus.

      This greatly affected migration, giving migrants and asylum seekers yet another reason to go into hiding. Saeed and his companions knew this well. But as they finally crossed the final border into Italy, they assumed the worst was over.

      Winding their way down the mountains, the group stopped at the border town of Bagnoli to order a dark, sweet, coffee - a small reward. Across the street, a woman looked out of her window and reached for the phone. Minutes later, police were on the scene.

      As the police later confirmed, it is thanks to calls from local inhabitants living in border areas that most migrants are intercepted by authorities.

      Bundled into an Italian police van, Saeed and his acquaintances were handed over to Slovenian officials, and driven back to the Croatia-Bosnia border in less than 24 hours. No anti-Covid precautions were taken, and requests for asylum were ignored.

      When the van finally stopped, they were released into an open field by a river bank. Plain-clothes officers speaking Croatian ordered them to undress.

      Blisters ripped open as Saeed’s skin tore off as he pried off his shoes. Two of the men were beaten with telescopic batons. Another was whipped with a piece of rope tied to a branch. “Go back to Bosnia” was the last thing they heard the Croatian officers shout as they climbed back up the Bosnian bank of the river.

      On the morning of May 7, Saeed walked barefoot to the same Bosnian camp he had left three weeks before. This was his first ’pushback’.

      #The_Game'
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnU-xWNfG8M&feature=emb_logo

      Trieste’s Piazza Liberta, in front of the main train station, above, is the final destination for many people on the move arriving from Bosnia.

      Since the start of the pandemic, the EU border agency Frontex reported a decrease in the overall number of irregular border crossings into Europe. This has been the case on all main routes to Europe aside from one: the Balkan route, a route migrants and asylum seekers take by foot to cross from Turkey into central Europe.

      On July 10, two months after that first pushback from Italy, Saeed sits in Piazza Liberta, the main square in front of Trieste’s train station.

      Young men from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Iraq and Syria sit with him on the square’s benches, forming small groups in the setting sun. For nearly two years now, this square has been the meeting point for ’people on the move’ – migrants and asylum seekers escaping war, famine and poverty in their countries, arriving by foot from Turkey and through the Balkans.

      They sit in Piazza Liberta waiting for the arrival of a group of volunteers, who hand out food, medication and attend to the blisters and welts many have on their feet as a result from the long weeks of restless walking.

      Saeed is in his thirties, clean shaven and sporting ’distressed’ jeans with impeccably white trainers. He would look like any other tourist if it wasn’t for the scars across his arms.

      “There are two borders that are particularly difficult to cross to reach Europe,” he explains.

      The first is at the Evros river, separating Greece and Turkey. This is the only alternative to anyone who wants to avoid the risk of crossing by boat to the Greek islands, where recent reports of pushbacks by the Greek police back to Turkey are rife.

      “The second border is the one between Bosnia and Croatia,” he pauses. “The road between these two borders and all the way to Italy or Austria is what we call ’The Game’.” "It is by doing The Game that I got these," he says pointing to his scars.

      The Game is one of the only alternatives to reach Europe without having to cross the Mediterranean Sea. But crossing the Balkans is a similarly dangerous journey, like a ’game’, played against the police forces of the countries on the route, so as to not get caught and arrested.

      With the outbreak of the pandemic, The Game has become more difficult and dangerous. Many have reported cases of sexual and violent abuse from the police.

      In Croatia, police officers forced people to lie on top of one another naked as they were beaten and crosses were spray-painted on their heads. To add insult to injury, all their possessions were stolen, and their phones would be smashed or thrown in the water by authorities.

      The last of thirteen siblings, Saeed wants to reach a cousin in Marseille; an opportunity to escape unemployment and the grinding poverty of his life back in Pakistan.

      From the outskirts of Karachi, Saeed lived with his two children, wife and seven relatives in two rooms. “I would go out every morning looking for work, but there is nothing. My daughter is sick. I left because I wanted to be able to provide for my family.”

      Despite his desire to end up in France, Saeed was forced to apply for asylum in Italy to buy himself time and avoid being arrested and sent back to Bosnia.

      Under current regulations governing refugee law, Saeed’s asylum application in Italy is unlikely to be accepted. Poverty and a dream for a better future are not recognised as valid reasons to be granted status in Europe. Instead, in order to keep those like Saeed out, in 2018, the European Commission proposed to almost triple funding for border enforcement between 2021 and 2027, for an overall investment of $38.4 billion.

      Despite being a skilled electrician looking for work, Saeed’s asylum application makes it impossible for him to legally work in Italy. To survive, he started working as a guide for other migrants, a low-level smuggler making the most of what he learned during The Game.

      He pulls a second phone out of his pocket and takes a call. “There are 70 men crossing the mountains from Slovenia who will be here by 4 am tomorrow,” he says. The large group will be split into smaller groups once they arrive at the Italian border, Saeed explains, so as to not be too noticeable.

      The mountain paths around Trieste are full of signs of life; sleeping bags, shoes and clothes scattered where groups decided to stop and camp the night before doing the final stretch to Trieste’s train station.

      “When they arrive, I’ll be their point of contact. I’ll show them where to access aid, how to get an Italian sim card and give them money that their families have sent to me via Western Union.” He pauses, “I know some of them because we were in the same camps in Bosnia. I try to help them as I know what it is like, and in return they pay me a small fee.” The amount he receives varies between 5 and 20 euro ($5.8 - $23.55) per person.

      All along the route there are those like Saeed, who manage to make a small living from the irregular migration route. However, it isn’t easy to recognise a smuggler’s good intentions, and not every smuggler is like Saeed. “There are also smugglers who make a big business by stealing money or taking advantage of less experienced people,” he says.

      Pointing to two young Afghan boys, Saeed shrugs, “They asked me where they could go to prostitute themselves to pay for the next part of the journey. There are many people ready to make money out of our misery.”

      Border violence and the fear of contagion

      Since the start of pandemic, The Game has become even more high stakes. For migrants and asylum seekers on the Balkan route, it has meant adding the risk of infection to a long list of potential perils.

      “If the police are looking for you, it’s hard to worry about getting sick with the virus. The most important thing is not to get arrested and sent back,” said Saeed.

      Covid-19 rules on migration have had the effect of further marginalising migrants and asylum seekers, excluding them from free testing facilities, their right to healthcare largely suspended and ignored by national Covid-19 prevention measures.

      This is confirmed by Lorenzo Tamaro, representative of Trieste’s Autonomous Police Syndicate (SAP). Standing under one of Trieste’s sweeping arches he begins, “The pandemic has made it more dangerous for them [migrants and asylum seekers], as it is for us [the police]."

      For all of 2020, Italian police have had to deal with the difficult task of stopping irregular entries while also performing extraordinary duties during two months of a strictly enforced lockdown.

      “The pandemic has revealed a systemic crisis in policing immigration in Europe, one we have been denouncing for years,” Tamaro says. He refers to how Italian police are both under-staffed and under-resourced when facing irregular migration, more so during lockdowns.

      Broad shouldered, his voice carries the confidence of someone who is no stranger to interviews. “Foreigners entering our territory with no authorisation are in breach of the law, even more so under national lockdown. It’s not us [the police] who make the law, but it is our job to make sure it is respected.”

      Born in Trieste himself, Tamaro and his colleagues have been dealing with immigration from the Balkans for years. The emergency brought on by increased arrivals during Italy’s tight lockdown period pushed the Ministry of Interior to request the deployment of a 100-strong Italian army contingent to the border with Slovenia, to assist in the detection and arrest of people on the move and their transfer to quarantine camps on the outskirts of the city.

      “We have been left to deal with both an immigration and public health emergency without any real support,” Tamaro says. “The army is of help in stopping irregular migrants, but it’s then us [the police] who have to carry out medical screenings without proper protective equipment. This is something the Ministry should have specialised doctors and medics do, not the police.”

      To deal with the increase in arrivals from the Balkan route, Italy revived a 1996 bilateral agreement with Slovenia, which dictates that any undocumented person found within 10 kilometres of the Slovenian border within the first 24 hours of arrival, can be informally readmitted to Slovenia.

      “In my opinion readmissions work,” Tamaro says. “Smugglers have started taking migrants to Udine and Gorizia, which are outside of the 10 km zone of informal readmissions, because they know that if stopped in Trieste, they risk being taken back to Slovenia.”

      On September 6, the Italian Interior Minister herself acknowledged 3,059 people have been returned to Slovenia from Trieste in 2020 alone, 1,000 more than the same period in 2019.

      Human rights observers have criticised this agreement for actively denying people on the move to request asylum and thus going against European law. “We know Italy is sending people back to Slovenia saying they can apply for asylum there. But the pushback does not end there,” says Miha, a member of the Slovenian solidarity initiative Info Kolpa.

      From his airy apartment overlooking Ljubljana, Miha explains how Slovenia resurfaced a readmission agreement with Croatia in June 2018 that has allowed an increase in pushbacks from Slovenia to Croatia.

      “Italy sends people to Slovenia and Slovenia to Croatia,” Miha says, “and from Croatia, they get pushed back further to Bosnia.”

      “What Europe is ignoring is that this is a system of coordinated chain-pushbacks, designed to send people back from Europe to Bosnia, a non-European Union country. And adding to the breach of human rights, no one is worrying about the high risk of contagion,” Miha concludes.

      Torture at Europe’s doorstep

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t36isJ1QHA4&feature=emb_logo

      A section of the border between Croatia and Slovenia runs along the Kulpa river, as shown in the video above. People on the move try to cross this river in places where there is no fence, and some drowned trying to cross it in 2018 and 2019.

      As pushbacks become more normalised, so has the violence used to implement them. Because the Croatian-Bosnian border is an external EU-border, Croatia and Bosnia do not have readmission agreements similar to those between Italy and Slovenia.

      As such, pushbacks cannot simply happen through police cooperation — they happen informally — and it is here that the greatest violence takes place.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8T9AFOJT2A&feature=emb_logo

      People on the move have been posting evidence of the violence they are subjected to across the Balkan route. The video above was posted on TikTok in the summer of 2020, showing the beatings suffered by many of those who try and cross from Bosnia to Croatia and are pushed back by Croatian police.

      Despite the Bosnian-Croatian border running for more than 900 km, most of the border crossing happens in a specific location, in the Una Sana canton, the top eastern tip of Bosnia.

      The border here is a far cry from the tall barbed wire fences one might expect. The scenery cuts across a beautiful landscape of forestry and mountain streams, with winding countryside roads gently curving around family-run farms and small towns.

      “I’ve seen it all,” Stepjan says, looking out from his small whitewashed home, perched less than 100 meters from the actual Bosnian-Croatian border. A 45-year old man born and raised in this town, he adds, “People have been using this route for years to try and cross into Europe. Sometimes I give them [people on the move] water or food when they pass.”

      Many of the locals living on either side of the border speak German. They themselves have been migrants to Germany in the 90s, when this used to be a war zone. Asked about the allegations of physical abuse inflicted upon migrants, Stepjan shrugged, replying, “It’s not for me to tell the police how to do their job.”

      “By law, once a person arrives on Croatian territory they have the right to seek asylum,” says Nikol, a Croatian activist working with the organisation No Name Kitchen on this stretch of the border. “But this right is denied by Croatian police who force people to return to Bosnia.”

      Sitting in a smoky cafe in Zagreb, Nikol (a psuedonym) says she wishes to remain anonymous due to intimidation received at the hands of Croatian and Bosnian authorities punishing people providing aid to people on the move. She is planning her return to Bihac as soon as Covid regulations will allow her to move. Bihac is the key town of the Una Sana canton, the hotspot where most of the people on the move are waiting to cross into Croatia.

      She knows all about the violence perpetrated here against migrants and asylum seekers trying to enter Europe. “The Croatian police hands people over to men in plain uniform and balaclavas, who torture migrants before forcing them to walk back across the border to Bosnia.”

      Many migrants and asylum seekers that have managed to cross Croatia have reported stories of men dressed in black uniforms and wearing balaclavas, some sort of special unit with a mandate to beat and torture migrants before sending them back to Bosnia.

      Nikol has a gallery of pictures depicting the aftermath of the violence. “There is so much evidence of torture in Croatia that I am surprised there are still journalists looking to verify it,” she says as she flicks through pictures of beatings on her phone.

      Scrolling through, she brings up picture after picture of open wounds and arms, backs and bodies marked with signs of repeated beatings, burns and cuts.

      She goes through a series of pictures of young men with swollen bloody faces, and explains: “These men were made to lie on the ground facing down, and then stamped on their heads to break their noses one after the other.”
      Activists and volunteers receive pictures from people on the move about the beatings and torture endured while undergoing pushbacks. (Hannah Kirmes Daly, Brush&Bow C.I.C)

      “These are the same techniques that the Croatian police used to terrorise Serbian minorities in Croatia after the war,” she adds.

      Finding Croats like Nikol willing to help people on the move is not easy. Stepjan says he is not amongst those who call the police when he sees people attempting to cross, but a policeman from the border police station in Cabar openly disclosed that “it is thanks to the tip offs we get from local citizens that we know how and when to intervene and arrest migrants.”

      As confirmed by Nikol, the level of public anger and fear against people on the move has grown during the pandemic, fueled by anti-immigrant rhetoric linked with fake and unverified news accusing foreigners of bringing Covid-19 with them.

      Much of this discourse takes place on social media. Far-right hate groups have been praising violence against migrants and asylum seekers through posts like the ones reported below, which despite being signalled for their violent content, have not yet been removed by Facebook.
      Hate speech and violent threats against people on the move and organisations supporting them are posted on Facebook and other social media on a daily basis. Despite being reported, most of them are not taken down. (Hannah Kirmes Daly, Brush&Bow C.I.C)

      Nikol’s accounts are corroborated by Antonia, a caseworker at the Center for Peace Studies in Zagreb, who is working closely on legal challenges made against Croatian police.

      “We continue to receive testimonies of people being tied to trees, terrorised by the shooting of weapons close to their faces, having stinging liquids rubbed into open wounds, being spray-painted upon, sexually abused and beaten with bats and rubber tubes on the head, arms and legs.”

      In July this summer, an anonymous complaint by a group of Croatian police officers was made public by the Croatian ombudswoman. In the letter, officers denounced some of their superiors of being violent toward people on the move, suggesting that such violence is systematic.

      This was also the opinion of doctors in Trieste, volunteering to treat people’s wounds once they arrive in Italy after having crossed Croatia and Slovenia. Their accounts confirm that the violence they often see marked on bodies is not just the consequence of police deterrence, but is aimed at causing long-term injuries that might make a further journey impossible.

      Neither the Croatian nor the Slovenian national police have responded to these allegations through their press offices. The EU Home Affairs spokesperson office instead did reply, reporting that “Croatian authorities have committed to investigate reports of mistreatment at their external borders, monitor this situation closely and keep the Commission informed on progress made.”

      And while the EU has sent a monitoring team to meet the Croatian Interior Minister, it nevertheless continues to add to Croatia’s internal security fund, sending over €100 million ($120 million) since 2015 to manage migration through visa systems, policing and border security.

      Back to square one…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc0Um3gEbzE&feature=emb_logo

      Pushbacks from Italy, Slovenia and Croatia all the way back to Bosnia end with people on the move returning to overcrowded reception facilities, unsanitary camps, squats or tents, in inhumane conditions, often without running water or electricity. People in the video above were queuing at a food distribution site outside one of the IOM camps on the Bosnian-Croatian border in winter 2020.

      “These people have travelled thousands of kilometres, for months, and are now at the door of the European Union. They don’t want to return home,” Slobodan Ujic, Director of Bosnia’s Service for Foreigners’ Affairs, admitted in an interview to Balkan Insight earlier this year.

      “We are not inhumane, but we now have 30,000, 40,000 or 50,000 unemployed, while keeping 10,000 illegal migrants in full force…we have become a parking lot for migrants for Europe,” Ujic added.

      Public opinion in Bosnia reflects Ujic’s words. With a third of Bosnians unemployed and many youth leaving to Europe in search of better opportunities, there is a rising frustration from Bosnian authorities accusing the EU of having left the country to deal with the migration crisis alone.

      During the summer of 2020, tensions flared between Bosnian residents and arriving migrants to the point where buses were being stopped by locals to check if migrants were travelling on them.

      Today, thousands of people in Bosnia are currently facing a harsh snowy winter with no suitable facilities for refuge. Since the start of January the bad weather means increased rains and snowfall, making living in tents and abandoned buildings with no heating a new cause for humanitarian concern.

      In Bosnia around 7,500 people on the move are registered in eight camps run by the UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM). The estimated number of migrants and asylum seekers in the country however, tops 30,000. The EU recently sent €3.5 million ($4.1 million) to manage the humanitarian crisis, adding to the over €40 million ($47 million) donated to Bosnia since 2015 to build and manage temporary camps.

      With the start of the pandemic, these reception centres became more like outdoor detention centres as Bosnian authorities forcefully transferred and confined people on the move to these facilities despite overcrowding and inhumane conditions.

      “I was taken from the squat I was in by Bosnian police and confined in a camp of Lipa, a few kilometers south of Bihac, for over a month,” Saeed says. “We had one toilet between 10 of us, no electricity and only one meal a day.”

      On December 23, 2020, Lipa camp, home to 1,300 people, was shut down as NGOs refused to run the camp due to the inhumane conditions and lack of running water and electricity. This came at a time where the closure of the camp had also been advocated by Bosnian local authorities of the Una Sana canton, pressured in local elections to close the facility.

      As people evacuated however, four residents, allegedly frustrated with the fact that they were being evicted with nowhere to go, set the camp on fire.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK6mqaheA3c&feature=emb_logo

      The trauma of living through forced lockdown in those conditions will have a lasting effect on those who have lived it. “I still have nightmares about that place and the journey,” Saeed says, avoiding eye contact.

      “Most nights I hear the sound of dogs barking and I remember the running. But in my dreams, I am paralysed to the ground and I cannot move.”

      When Saeed managed to escape Lipa camp in June 2020, it took him three weeks to walk back to Trieste. “Now I spend my days here,” he gestures across, pointing his open palms at Piazza Liberta.

      As he speaks, Saeed is joined by two friends. A long scar twists a line of shiny nobbled skin across the scalp of one of them: a souvenir from the baton of a Croatian police officer. The other has burnt the tips of his fingers to avoid being fingerprinted and sent back to Greece.

      The absurdity of Europe’s migration policy is marked on their bodies. The trauma imprinted in their minds.

      “I dream of being able to drive a car to France, like any normal person, on a road with only green traffic lights ahead, no barriers to stop me.”

      https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/torture-and-pushbacks-stories-of-migration-to-europe-during-covid-19-45421
      #game #Katinovac

  • Réfugiés : contourner la #Croatie par le « #triangle » #Serbie - #Roumanie - #Hongrie

    Une nouvelle route migratoire s’est ouverte dans les Balkans : en Serbie, de plus en plus d’exilés tentent de contourner les barbelés barrant la #Hongrie en faisant un crochet par la Roumanie, avant d’espérer rejoindre les pays riches de l’Union européenne. Un chemin plus long et pas moins risqué, conséquence des politiques sécuritaires imposées par les 27.

    Il est 18h30, le jour commence à baisser sur la plaine de #Voïvodine. Un groupe d’une cinquantaine de jeunes hommes, sacs sur le dos et duvets en bandoulière, marche d’un pas décidé le long de la petite route de campagne qui relie les villages serbes de #Majdan et de #Rabe. Deux frontières de l’Union européenne (UE) se trouvent à quelques kilomètres de là : celle de la Hongrie, barrée depuis la fin 2015 d’une immense clôture barbelée, et celle de la Roumanie, moins surveillée pour le moment.

    Tous s’apprêtent à tenter le « #game », ce « jeu » qui consiste à échapper à la police et à pénétrer dans l’UE, en passant par « le triangle ». Le triangle, c’est cette nouvelle route migratoire à trois côtés qui permet de rejoindre la Hongrie, l’entrée de l’espace Schengen, depuis la Serbie, en faisant un crochet par la Roumanie. « Nous avons été contraints de prendre de nouvelles dispositions devant les signes clairs de l’augmentation du nombre de personnes traversant illégalement depuis la Serbie », explique #Frontex, l’Agence européenne de protection des frontières. Aujourd’hui, 87 de ses fonctionnaires patrouillent au côté de la police roumaine.

    Depuis l’automne 2020, le nombre de passages par cet itinéraire, plus long, est en effet en forte hausse. Les #statistiques des passages illégaux étant impossibles à tenir, l’indicateur le plus parlant reste l’analyse des demandes d’asiles, qui ont explosé en Roumanie l’année dernière, passant de 2626 à 6156, soit une hausse de 137%, avec un pic brutal à partir du mois d’octobre. Selon les chiffres de l’Inspectoratul General pentru Imigrări, les services d’immigrations roumains, 92% de ces demandeurs d’asile étaient entrés depuis la Serbie.

    “La Roumanie et la Hongrie, c’est mieux que la Croatie.”

    Beaucoup de ceux qui espèrent passer par le « triangle » ont d’abord tenté leur chance via la Bosnie-Herzégovine et la Croatie avant de rebrousser chemin. « C’est difficile là-bas », raconte Ahmed, un Algérien d’une trentaine d’années, qui squatte une maison abandonnée de Majdan avec cinq de ses compatriotes. « Il y a des policiers qui patrouillent cagoulés. Ils te frappent et te prennent tout : ton argent, ton téléphone et tes vêtements. Je connais des gens qui ont dû être emmenés à l’hôpital. » Pour lui, pas de doutes, « la Roumanie et la Hongrie, c’est mieux ».

    La route du « triangle » a commencé à devenir plus fréquentée dès la fin de l’été 2020, au moment où la situation virait au chaos dans le canton bosnien d’#Una_Sana et que les violences de la police croate s’exacerbaient encore un peu plus. Quelques semaines plus tard, les multiples alertes des organisations humanitaires ont fini par faire réagir la Commission européenne. Ylva Johansson, la Commissaire suédoise en charge des affaires intérieures a même dénoncé des « traitements inhumains et dégradants » commis contre les exilés à la frontière croato-bosnienne, promettant une « discussion approfondie » avec les autorités de Zagreb. De son côté, le Conseil de l’Europe appelait les autorités croates à mettre fin aux actes de tortures contre les migrants et à punir les policiers responsables. Depuis, sur le terrain, rien n’a changé.

    Pire, l’incendie du camp de #Lipa, près de #Bihać, fin décembre, a encore aggravé la crise. Pendant que les autorités bosniennes se renvoyaient la balle et que des centaines de personnes grelottaient sans toit sous la neige, les arrivées se sont multipliées dans le Nord de la Serbie. « Rien que dans les villages de Majdan et Rabe, il y avait en permanence plus de 300 personnes cet hiver », estime Jeremy Ristord, le coordinateur de Médecins sans frontières (MSF) en Serbie. La plupart squattent les nombreuses maisons abandonnées. Dans cette zone frontalière, beaucoup d’habitants appartiennent aux minorités hongroise et roumaine, et Budapest comme Bucarest leur ont généreusement délivré des passeports après leur intégration dans l’UE. Munis de ces précieux sésames européens, les plus jeunes sont massivement partis chercher fortune ailleurs dès la fin des années 2000.

    Siri, un Palestinien dont la famille était réfugiée dans un camp de Syrie depuis les années 1960, squatte une masure défoncée à l’entrée de Rabe. En tout, ils sont neuf, dont trois filles. Cela fait de longs mois que le jeune homme de 27 ans est coincé en Serbie. Keffieh sur la tête, il tente de garder le sourire en racontant son interminable odyssée entamée voilà bientôt dix ans. Dès les premiers combats en 2011, il a fui avec sa famille vers la Jordanie, puis le Liban avant de se retrouver en Turquie. Finalement, il a pris la route des Balkans l’an dernier, avec l’espoir de rejoindre une partie des siens, installés en Allemagne, près de Stuttgart.

    “La police m’a arrêté, tabassé et on m’a renvoyé ici. Sans rien.”

    Il y a quelques jours, Siri à réussi à arriver jusqu’à #Szeged, dans le sud de la Hongrie, via la Roumanie. « La #police m’a arrêté, tabassé et on m’a renvoyé ici. Sans rien », souffle-t-il. À côté de lui, un téléphone crachote la mélodie de Get up, Stand up, l’hymne reggae de Bob Marley appelant les opprimés à se battre pour leurs droits. « On a de quoi s’acheter un peu de vivres et des cigarettes. On remplit des bidons d’eau pour nous laver dans ce qui reste de la salle de bains », raconte une des filles, assise sur un des matelas qui recouvrent le sol de la seule petite pièce habitable, chauffée par un poêle à bois décati.

    De rares organisations humanitaires viennent en aide à ces exilés massés aux portes de l’Union européennes. Basé à Belgrade, le petit collectif #Klikaktiv y passe chaque semaine, pour de l’assistance juridique et du soutien psychosocial. « Ils préfèrent être ici, tout près de la #frontière, plutôt que de rester dans les camps officiels du gouvernement serbe », explique Milica Švabić, la juriste de l’organisation. Malgré la précarité et l’#hostilité grandissante des populations locales. « Le discours a changé ces dernières années en Serbie. On ne parle plus de ’réfugiés’, mais de ’migrants’ venus islamiser la Serbie et l’Europe », regrette son collègue Vuk Vučković. Des #milices d’extrême-droite patrouillent même depuis un an pour « nettoyer » le pays de ces « détritus ».

    « La centaine d’habitants qui restent dans les villages de Rabe et de Majdan sont méfiants et plutôt rudes avec les réfugiés », confirme Abraham Rudolf. Ce sexagénaire à la retraite habite une modeste bâtisse à l’entrée de Majdan, adossée à une ruine squattée par des candidats à l’exil. « C’est vrai qu’ils ont fait beaucoup de #dégâts et qu’il n’y a personne pour dédommager. Ils brûlent les charpentes des toits pour se chauffer. Leurs conditions d’hygiène sont terribles. » Tant pis si de temps en temps, ils lui volent quelques légumes dans son potager. « Je me mets à leur place, il fait froid et ils ont faim. Au vrai, ils ne font de mal à personne et ils font même vivre l’épicerie du village. »

    Si le « triangle » reste a priori moins dangereux que l’itinéraire via la Croatie, les #violences_policières contre les sans papiers y sont pourtant monnaie courante. « Plus de 13 000 témoignages de #refoulements irréguliers depuis la Roumanie ont été recueillis durant l’année 2020 », avance l’ONG Save the Children.

    “C’est dur, mais on n’a pas le choix. Mon mari a déserté l’armée de Bachar. S’il rentre, il sera condamné à mort.”

    Ces violences répétées ont d’ailleurs conduit MSF à réévaluer sa mission en Serbie et à la concentrer sur une assistance à ces victimes. « Plus de 30% de nos consultations concernent des #traumatismes physiques », précise Jérémy Ristor. « Une moitié sont liés à des violences intentionnelles, dont l’immense majorité sont perpétrées lors des #push-backs. L’autre moitié sont liés à des #accidents : fractures, entorses ou plaies ouvertes. Ce sont les conséquences directes de la sécurisation des frontières de l’UE. »

    Hanan est tombée sur le dos en sautant de la clôture hongroise et n’a jamais été soignée. Depuis, cette Syrienne de 33 ans souffre dès qu’elle marche. Mais pas question pour elle de renoncer à son objectif : gagner l’Allemagne, avec son mari et leur neveu, dont les parents ont été tués dans les combats à Alep. « On a essayé toutes les routes », raconte l’ancienne étudiante en littérature anglaise, dans un français impeccable. « On a traversé deux fois le Danube vers la Roumanie. Ici, par le triangle, on a tenté douze fois et par les frontières de la Croatie et de la Hongrie, sept fois. » Cette fois encore, la police roumaine les a expulsés vers le poste-frontière de Rabe, officiellement fermé à cause du coronavirus. « C’est dur, mais on n’a pas le choix. Mon mari a déserté l’armée de Bachar avec son arme. S’il rentre, il sera condamné à mort. »

    Qu’importe la hauteur des murs placés sur leur route et la terrible #répression_policière, les exilés du nord de la Serbie finiront tôt ou tard par passer. Comme le déplore les humanitaires, la politique ultra-sécuritaire de l’UE ne fait qu’exacerber leur #vulnérabilité face aux trafiquants et leur précarité, tant pécuniaire que sanitaire. La seule question est celle du prix qu’ils auront à paieront pour réussir le « game ». Ces derniers mois, les prix se sont remis à flamber : entrer dans l’Union européenne via la Serbie se monnaierait jusqu’à 2000 euros.

    https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Refugies-contourner-la-Croatie-par-le-triangle-Serbie-Roumanie-Ho
    #routes_migratoires #migrations #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #contournement #Bihac #frontières #the_game

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Slovenia is planning to set up mixed patrols along the border with Croatia, where police officers from other EU member states would also patrol the border together with the Slovenian ones.

    –-> info reçue (avec lien ci-dessous) via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 07.04.2021

    Slovenija planira mješovite policijske patrole na granici s Hrvatskom

    Još nema službene hrvatske reakcije na slovensku najavu da će zbog pojačanih nelegalnih prijelaza migranata na granicu sa Hrvatskom postaviti mješovite patrole u kojima bi uz slovenske bili i policajci drugih država članica EU.

    Kako su naveli u slovenskoj Vladi, Slovenija se opet našla pred migracijskim pritiskom i nezakonitim prijelazima državne granice koji se ne smanjuje unatoč naporima slovenske policije i njenog djelovanja na granici s Hrvatskom, koja je i vanjska granica Schengena, i mješovite policijske patrole odgovor su na to.

    Mješovitim patrolama zapovijedali bi slovenski policajci, a ne navodi se koje bi druge države članice Europske unije slale svoje ljude u te patrole.

    Iz hrvatskog Ministarstva unutarnjih poslova do objavljivanja ovog teksta nisu odgovorili na upit Radija Slobodna Europa (RSE) o stanju na granici.
    U Hrvatskoj tvrde drugačije

    Međutim, zapovjednik policijske Antiterorističke jedinice “Lučko”, koja je također raspoređena na granici, Mate Bilobrk kazao je kako nema pojačanog pritiska migranata.

    “Mislim da je pritisak puno manji nego prošlih godina”, izjavio je Bilobrk 31. ožujka u razgovoru za Hrvatsku radio-televiziju (HTV).

    Nevladine udruge također nemaju informacije o nekom pojačanom pritisku migranata na hrvatsku granicu, ali podsjećaju da se ne mijenjaju uzroci prisilnih migracija, pa se ne može očekivati da se one same od sebe zaustave.

    “Jedina je promjena u većem broju obitelji koje su nakon požara pobjegle iz izbjegličkog kampa Moria u Grčkoj, koje se sada nalaze u Bosni i pokušavaju doći do Hrvatske i zatražiti azil, ali posljednjih tjedana nema nekog povećanja ukupnih brojeva”, kaže za RSE Sara Kekuš iz zagrebačke nevladine udruge Centar za mirovne studije (CMS).

    “Očito je ova odluka slovenske Vlade smišljena s ciljem da se zaustave migracije prema Sloveniji, tako da ta odluka ne čudi. Međutim, slovenska Vlada mora biti svjesna vlastite odgovornosti u međunarodnom kontekstu i toga da nikome ne može ograničiti pravo na traženje međunarodne zaštite, pa makar to bilo i na samoj granici. A znamo da – dok god ne uspostavimo neke sigurne i legalne putove - da će ljudi i dalje prelaziti granice nezakonitim putevima u potrazi za sigurnošću”, poručuje Sara Kekuš.

    Ona je podsjetila da se već godinama svjedoči lančanim protjerivanjima migranata iz Slovenije u Hrvatsku pa onda dalje u BiH, gdje to protjerivanje nužno ne staje.

    “Znamo i da su slovenske vlasti dugo vremena koristile readmisijske ugovore kao izgovor za zakonito protjerivanje ljudi u Hrvatsku, iako su im zapravo istovremeno onemogućavali pristup azilu i na taj način kršili njihova prava”, podsjeća Sara Kekuš.
    Reagiranje u pandemiji

    Sigurnosni analitičar Branimir Vidmarović sa Sveučilišta “Juraj Dobrila” u Puli kaže za RSE kako ovaj slovenski potez valja razumjeti kao legitimnu brigu za vlastitu sigurnost u kontekstu krize uzrokovane pandemijom.

    “Ako su slovenski obavještajci u suradnji sa drugim sigurnosnim službama dobili dojavu da se možda očekuje pojačani val migranata ili nova najava, onda je ovakva reakcija prevencijska i sasvim razumljiva, budući da nijedna zemlja sada, u osjetljivoj fazi procedure cijepljenja, ne bi htjela pritok ljudi iz područja za koje se apriori zna da su ranjivija, osjetljiva, u smislu pandemije nezaštićenija i da predstavljaju rizik”, procjenjuje Vidmarović.

    U slovenskoj Vladi kažu kako takvu suradnju policija omogućuje zaključak Vijeća EU iz 2008. o produbljivanju prekogranične suradnje, osobito na području borbe protiv terorizma i prekograničnog kriminala.

    Prema članku 17. te europske direktive mogu se formirati zajedničke ophodnje i poduzeti druge mjere djelovanja radi očuvanja javnog reda i sigurnosti, te zbog suzbijanja kaznenih djela, pojasnilo je slovensko Ministarstvo unutarnjih poslova.

    Slovenija i Hrvatska nalaze se na tzv “balkanskoj”migrantskoj ruti od Grčke preko Srbije, Crne Gore i Bosne i Hercegovine do zapadnoeuropskih zemalja, nakon što je Mađarska na svoje granice prema Srbiji i Hrvatskoj postavila visoke žičane ograde.

    Nevladine udruge opetovano su upozoravale da slovenska i pogotovo hrvatska policija pribjegavaju ilegalnim “push-backovima” migranata, odnosno njihovom prisilnom vraćanju u državu za koju vjeruju da su iz nje došli – Hrvatsku, odnosno BiH.

    Nevladine udruge smještene u izbjegličkim kampovima u sjeverozapadnom dijelu BiH dostavile su medijima u više navrata i video zapise za koje tvrde da prikazuju migrante koje je zaustavila, istukla i vratila u BiH hrvatska policija, nakon što su pokušalno ilegalno ući u Hrvatsku.

    Hrvatska policija odbija ove optužbe.

    https://www.slobodnaevropa.org/a/slovenija-planira-mje%C5%A1ovite-policijske-patrole-na-granici-s-hrvatskom/31182152.html

    #patrouilles_mixtes #Slovénie #Croatie #frontière_sud-alpine #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers

  • ‘They can see us in the dark’: migrants grapple with hi-tech fortress EU

    A powerful battery of drones, thermal cameras and heartbeat detectors are being deployed to exclude asylum seekers

    Khaled has been playing “the game” for a year now. A former law student, he left Afghanistan in 2018, driven by precarious economic circumstances and fear for his security, as the Taliban were increasingly targeting Kabul.

    But when he reached Europe, he realised the chances at winning the game were stacked against him. Getting to Europe’s borders was easy compared with actually crossing into the EU, he says, and there were more than physical obstacles preventing him from getting to Germany, where his uncle and girlfriend live.

    On a cold December evening in the Serbian village of Horgoš, near the Hungarian border, where he had spent a month squatting in an abandoned farm building, he and six other Afghan asylum seekers were having dinner together – a raw onion and a loaf of bread they passed around – their faces lit up by the glow of a fire.

    The previous night, they had all had another go at “the game” – the name migrants give to crossing attempts. But almost immediately the Hungarian border police stopped them and pushed them back into Serbia. They believe the speed of the response can be explained by the use of thermal cameras and surveillance drones, which they had seen during previous attempts to cross.

    “They can see us in the dark – you just walk, and they find you,” said Khaled, adding that drones had been seen flying over their squat. “Sometimes they send them in this area to watch who is here.”

    Drones, thermal-vision cameras and devices that can detect a heartbeat are among the new technological tools being increasingly used by European police to stop migrants from crossing borders, or to push them back when they do.

    The often violent removal of migrants without giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum is illegal under EU law, which obliges authorities to process asylum requests whether or not migrants possess identification documents or entered the country legally.

    “Routes are getting harder and harder to navigate. Corridors [in the Balkans are] really intensively surveyed by these technologies,” says Simon Campbell, field coordinator for the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), a migrant rights group in the region.

    The militarisation of Europe’s borders has been increasing steadily since 2015, when the influx of migrants reached its peak. A populist turn in politics and fear whipped up around the issue have fuelled the use of new technologies. The EU has invested in fortifying borders, earmarking €34.9bn (£30bn) in funding for border and migration management for the 2021-27 budget, while sidelining the creation of safe passages and fair asylum processes.

    Osman, a Syrian refugee now living in Serbia, crossed several borders in the southern Balkans in 2014. “At the time, I didn’t see any type of technology,” he says, “but now there’s drones, thermal cameras and all sorts of other stuff.”

    When the Hungarian police caught him trying to cross the Serbian border before the pandemic hit last year, they boasted about the equipment they used – including what Osman recalls as “a huge drone with a big camera”. He says they told him: “We are watching you everywhere.”

    Upgrading of surveillance technology, as witnessed by Khaled and Osman, has coincided with increased funding for Frontex – the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency. Between 2005 and 2016, Frontex’s budget grew from €6.3m to €238.7m, and it now stands at €420.6m. Technology at the EU’s Balkan borders have been largely funded with EU money, with Frontex providing operational support.

    Between 2014 and 2017, with EU funding, Croatia bought 13 thermal-imaging devices for €117,338 that can detect people more than a mile away and vehicles from two miles away.

    In 2019, the Croatian interior ministry acquired four eRIS-III long-range drones for €2.3m. They identify people up to six miles away in daylight and just under two miles in darkness, they fly at 80mph and climb to an altitude of 3,500 metres (11,400ft), while transmitting real-time data. Croatia has infrared cameras that can detect people at up to six miles away and equipment that picks upheartbeats.

    Romania now has heartbeat detection devices, alongside 117 thermo-vision cameras. Last spring, it added 24 vehicles with thermo-vision capabilities to its border security force at a cost of more than €13m.

    Hungary’s investment in migration-management technology is shielded from public scrutiny by a 2017 legal amendment but its lack of transparency and practice of pushing migrants back have been criticised by other EU nations and the European court of justice, leading to Frontex suspending operations in Hungary in January.

    It means migrants can no longer use the cover of darkness for their crossing attempts. Around the fire in Horgoš, Khaled and his fellow asylum-seekers decide to try crossing instead in the early morning, when they believe thermal cameras are less effective.

    A 2021 report by BVMN claims that enhanced border control technologies have led to increased violence as police in the Balkans weaponise new equipment against people on the move. Technology used in pushing back migrants has “contributed to the ease with which racist and repressive procedures are carried out”, the report says.

    BVMN highlighted the 2019 case of an 18-year-old Algerian who reported being beaten and strangled with his own shirt by police while attempting a night crossing from Bosnia to Croatia. “You cannot cross the border during the night because when the police catch you in the night, they beat you a lot. They break you,” says the teenager, who reported seeing surveillance drones.

    Ali, 19, an Iranian asylum-seeker who lives in a migrant camp in Belgrade, says that the Croatian and Romanian police have been violent and ignored his appeals for asylum during his crossing attempts. “When they catch us, they don’t respect us, they insult us, they beat us,” says Ali. “We said ‘we want asylum’, but they weren’t listening.”

    BVMN’s website archives hundreds of reports of violence. In February last year, eight Romanian border officers beat two Iraqi families with batons, administering electric shocks to two men, one of whom was holding his 11-month-old child. They stole their money and destroyed their phones, before taking them back to Serbia, blasting ice-cold air in the police van until they reached their destination.

    “There’s been some very, very severe beatings lately,” says Campbell. “Since the spring of 2018, there has been excessive use of firearms, beatings with batons, Tasers and knives.”

    Responding to questions via email, Frontex denies any link between its increased funding of new technologies and the violent pushbacks in the Balkans. It attributes the rise in reports to other factors, such as increased illegal migration and the proliferation of mobile phones making it easier to record incidents.

    Petra Molnar, associate director of Refugee Law Lab, believes the over-emphasis on technologies can alienate and dehumanise migrants.

    “There’s this alluring solution to really complex problems,” she says. “It’s a lot easier to sell a bunch of drones or a lot of automated technology, instead of dealing with the drivers that force people to migrate … or making the process more humane.”

    Despite the increasingly sophisticated technologies that have been preventing them from crossing Europe’s borders, Khaled and his friends from the squat managed to cross into Hungary in late December. He is living in a camp in Germany and has begun the process of applying for asylum.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/mar/26/eu-borders-migrants-hitech-surveillance-asylum-seekers

    #Balkans #complexe_militaro-industriel #route_des_Balkans #technologie #asile #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #caméras_thermiques #militarisation_des_frontières #drones #détecteurs_de_battements_de_coeur #Horgos #Horgoš #Serbie #the_game #game #surveillance_frontalière #Hongrie #Frontex #Croatie #Roumanie #nuit #violence #refoulements #push-backs #déshumanisation

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Migranti u šumi kod Saborskog stradali su od mine

    MIGRANTI koji su jučer stradali na šumskom predjelu općine Saborsko naišli su na mine postavljene u Domovinskom ratu na negdašnjoj crti razgraničenja, potvrdio je načelnik Saborskog Marko Bičanić. Policija je potvrdila da je jedan mrtav, a u bolnici u Ogulinu doznaje se da se u njoj liječe još dvojica ranjenih.

    Policijska uprava karlovačka potvrdila je jučer i danas ponovila da je jedan muškarac mrtav, ne i koliko je ranjenih. Glasnogovornica karlovačke Policijske uprave Andreja Lenard rekla je da će o ostalim okolnostima jučerašnjeg stradavanja izvijestiti javnost kada prikupe sve informacije.

    Ravnatelj ogulinske bolnice Davor Vukelja rekao je za Hinu da se kod njih liječe dvojica ranjenih Pakistanaca. Jedan je teže ranjen u trbuh, operiran je i odstranjeno mu je strano tijelo. Još je na odjelu intenzivnog liječenja, ali je stabilno. Drugi je ranjen u koljeno, operiran je i dobro se oporavlja.

    Načelnik Marko Bičanić rekao je za Hinu da policija danas iz zraka pretražuje šire područje Saborskog, tzv. migrantsku rutu. Dodao je da je područje općine razminirano svuda gdje se znalo da ima mina, ali sa šumama je mnogo teže jer se uglavnom radi o minski sumnjivom području.

    Ploče s oznakama mina postavljene su uz putove, a budući da ih migranti izbjegavaju kako ih se ne bi primijetilo, moguće je da oznake nisu ni vidjeli.

    “Žao mi je tih ljudi, nadam se da će se migrantski problemi uskoro riješiti jer, koliko god se mi žalili da nam nije lako s migrantima, njima je puno teže”, rekao je Bičanić.

    https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/migranti-u-sumi-kod-saborskog-stradali-su-od-mine/2258991.aspx

    #mines_anti-personnel #mort #décès #Balkans #Croatie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #route_des_Balkans #morts #mines #forêt #Saborsko

    Localisation:

  • Rapporti di monitoraggio

    Sin dal 2016 il progetto ha pubblicato report di approfondimento giuridico sulle situazioni di violazione riscontrate presso le diverse frontiere oggetto delle attività di monitoraggio. Ciascun report affronta questioni ed aspetti contingenti e particolarmente interessanti al fine di sviluppare azioni di contenzioso strategico.

    Elenco dei rapporti pubblicati in ordine cronologico:

    “Le riammissioni di cittadini stranieri a Ventimiglia (giugno 2015): profili di illegittimità“

    Il report è stato redatto nel giugno del 2015 è costituisce una prima analisi delle principali criticità riscontrabili alla frontiera italo-francese verosimilmente sulla base dell’Accordo bilaterale fra il Governo della Repubblica italiana e il Governo della Repubblica francese sulla cooperazione transfrontaliera in materia di polizia e dogana (Accordo di Chambery)
    #Vintimille #Ventimiglia #frontière_sud-alpine #Alpes #Menton #accord_bilatéral #Accord_de_Chambéry #réadmissions

    Ajouté à la #métaliste de liens autour d’#accords_de_réadmission entre pays européens...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091
    Et plus précisément ici:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091#message887941

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    “Le riammissioni di cittadini stranieri alla frontiera di Chiasso: profili di illegittimità”

    Il report è stato redatto nell’estate del 2016 per evidenziare la situazione critica che si era venuta a creare in seguito al massiccio afflusso di cittadini stranieri in Italia attraverso la rotta balcanica scatenata dalla crisi siriana. La frontiera italo-svizzera è stata particolarmente interessata da numerosi tentativi di attraversamento del confine nei pressi di Como e il presente documento fornisce una analisi giuridica delle criticità riscontrate.

    Ajouté à la #métaliste de liens autour d’#accords_de_réadmission entre pays européens...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091
    Et plus précisément ici:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/736091#message887940

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    “Lungo la rotta del Brennero”

    Il report, redatto con la collaborazione della associazione Antenne Migranti e il contributo della fondazione Alex Langer nel 2017, analizza le dinamiche della frontiera altoatesina e sviluppa una parte di approfondimento sulle violazioni relative al diritto all’accoglienza per richiedenti asilo e minori, alle violazioni all’accesso alla procedura di asilo e ad una analisi delle modalità di attuazione delle riammissioni alla frontiera.

    #Brenner #Autriche

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    “Attività di monitoraggio ai confini interni italiani – Periodo giugno 2018 – giugno 2019”

    Report analitico che riporta i dati raccolti e le prassi di interesse alle frontiere italo-francesi, italo-svizzere, italo-austriache e italo slovene. Contiene inoltre un approfondimento sui trasferimenti di cittadini di paesi terzi dalle zone di frontiera indicate all’#hotspot di #Taranto e centri di accoglienza del sud Italia.

    #Italie_du_Sud

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    “Report interno sopralluogo Bosnia 27-31 ottobre 2019”

    Report descrittivo a seguito del sopralluogo effettuato da soci coinvolti nel progetto Medea dal 27 al 31 ottobre sulla condizione delle persone in transito in Bosnia. Il rapporto si concentra sulla descrizione delle strutture di accoglienza presenti nel paese, sull’accesso alla procedura di protezione internazionale e sulle strategie di intervento future.

    #Bosnie #Bosnie-Herzégovine

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    “Report attività frontiere interne terrestri, porti adriatici e Bosnia”

    Rapporto di analisi dettagliata sulle progettualità sviluppate nel corso del periodo luglio 2019 – luglio 2020 sulle diverse frontiere coinvolte (in particolare la frontiera italo-francese, italo-slovena, la frontiera adriatica e le frontiere coinvolte nella rotta balcanica). Le novità progettuali più interessanti riguardano proprio l’espansione delle progettualità rivolte ai paesi della rotta balcanica e alla Grecia coinvolta nelle riammissioni dall’Italia. Nel periodo ad oggetto del rapporto il lavoro ha avuto un focus principale legato ad iniziative di monitoraggio, costituzione della rete ed azioni di advocacy.

    #Slovénie #mer_Adriatique #Adriatique

    https://medea.asgi.it/rapporti

    #rapport #monitoring #medea #ASGI
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières
    #frontières_internes #frontières_intérieures #Balkans #route_des_balkans

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • La via della vergogna Sulla rotta balcanica delle migrazioni

    Il viaggio disperato lungo la rotta dei Balcani, tra violenze e torture inaudite da parte della polizia Centinaia di profughi con diritto alla protezione respinti dall’Italia

    È la schiena curva e livida dei respinti a dire le sprangate. Sono le gambe sanguinanti a raccontare la disperata corsa giù dal valico. A piedi nudi, con le caviglie spezzate dalle bastonate e i cani dell’esercito croato che azzannano gli ultimi della fila. È l’umiliato silenzio di alcuni ragazzi visitati dai medici volontari nel campo bosniaco di #Bihac per le cure e il referto: stuprati e seviziati dalla polizia con dei rami raccolti nella boscaglia. I meno sfortunati se la sono cavata con il marchio di una spranga incandescente, a perenne memoria dell’ingresso indesiderato nell’Unione Europea.

    Gli orrori avvengono alla luce del sole. Affinché gli altri, i recidivi degli attraversamenti e quelli che dalle retrovie attendono notizie, battano in ritirata. Velika Kladuša e il valico della paura. Di qua è Croazia, Europa. Di la è Bosnia, fuori dalla cortina Ue. Di qua si proclamano i diritti, ma si usa il bastone. Oramai tra i profughi della rotta balcanica lo sanno tutti che con gli agenti sloveni e gli sbirri croati non si scherza.

    «Siamo stati consegnati dalla polizia slovena alla polizia croata. Siamo stati picchiati, bastonati, ci hanno tolto le scarpe, preso i soldi e i telefoni. Poi ci hanno spinto fino al confine con la Bosnia, a piedi scalzi. Tanti piangevano per il dolore e per essere stati respinti». Sono le parole di chi aveva finalmente visto i cartelli stradali in italiano, ma è stato rimandato indietro, lungo una filiera del respingimento come non se ne vedeva dalla guerra nella ex Jugoslavia. Certi metodi non sembrano poi cambiati di molto.

    Tre Paesi e tre trattamenti. I militari italiani non alzano le mani, ma sono al corrente di cosa accadrà una volta rimandati indietro i migranti intercettati a Trieste come a Gorizia. Più si torna al punto di partenza, e peggio andranno le cose. Le testimonianze consegnate ad Avvenire dai profughi, dalle organizzazioni umanitarie, dai gruppi di avvocati lungo tutta la rotta balcanica, sembrano arrivare da un’altra epoca.

    Le foto non mentono. Un uomo si è visto quasi strappare il tendine del ginocchio destro da uno dei mastini delle guardie di confine croate. Quasi tutti hanno il torso attraversato da ematomi, cicatrici, escoriazioni. C’è chi adesso è immobile nella tendopoli di Bihac con la gamba ingessata, chi con il volto completamente bendato, ragazzini con le braccia bloccate dai tutori in attesa che le ossa tornino al loro posto. I segni degli scarponi schiacciati contro la faccia, le costole incrinate, i calci sui genitali. Un ragazzo pachistano mostra una profonda e larga ferita sul naso, il cuoio capelluto malridotto, mentre un infermiere volontario gli pratica le quotidiane medicazioni. Un afghano appena maggiorenne ha l’orecchio destro interamente ricucito con i punti a zigzag. Centinaia raccontano di essere stati allontanati dal suolo italiano.

    Una pratica, quella dei respingimenti a ritroso dal confine triestino fino agli accampamenti nel fango della Bosnia, non più episodica. «Solo nei primi otto mesi del 2020 sono state riammesse alla frontiera italo-slovena oltre 900 persone, con una eccezionale impennata nel trimestre estivo, periodo nel quale il fenomeno era già noto al mondo politico che è però rimasto del tutto inerte », lamenta Gianfranco Schiavone, triestino e vicepresidente di Asgi, l’associazione di giuristi specializzati nei diritti umani. «Tra le cittadinanze degli stranieri riammessi in Slovenia il primo posto va agli afghani (811 persone), seguiti da pachistani, iracheni, iraniani, siriani e altre nazionalità, la maggior parte delle quali – precisa Schiavone – relative a Paesi da cui provengono persone con diritto alla protezione ». A ridosso del territorio italiano arriva in realtà solo chi riesce a sfuggire alla caccia all’uomo fino ai tornanti che precedono la prima bandiera tricolore. Per lasciarsi alle spalle quei trecento chilometri da Bihac a Trieste possono volerci due settimane.

    Secondo il Danish Refugee Council, che nei Paesi coinvolti ha inviato numerosi osservatori incaricati di raccogliere testimonianze dirette, nel 2019 sono tornate nel solo campo di bosniaco di Bihac 14.444 persone, 1.646 solo nel giugno di quest’anno.

    I dati a uso interno del Viminale e visionati da Avvenire confermano l’incremento delle “restituzioni” direttamente alla polizia slovena. Nel secondo semestre del 2019 le riammissioni attive verso Zagabria sono state 107: 39 da Gorizia e 78 da Trieste. Il resto, circa 800 casi, si concentra tutto nel 2020. Il “Border violence monitoring”, una rete che riunisce lungo tutta la dorsale balcanica una dozzina di organizzazioni, tra cui medici legali e avvocati, ha documentato con criteri legali (testimonianze, foto, referti medici) 904 casi di violazione dei diritti umani. Lungo i sentieri sul Carso, tra i cespugli nei fitti boschi in cima ai dirupi, si trovano i tesserini identificativi rilasciati con i timbri dell’Alto commissariato Onu per i rifugiati o dall’Agenzia Onu per le migrazioni. I migranti li abbandonano lì. Testimoniano di come a decine avessero ottenuto la registrazione nei campi allestiti a ridosso del confine balcanico dell’Unione Europea.

    Quel documento, che un tempo sarebbe stato considerato un prezioso salvacondotto per invocare poi la protezione internazionale, oggi può essere una condanna. Perché averlo addosso conferma di provenire dalla Bosnia e dunque facilita la “riconsegna” alla polizia slovena. Anche per questo lo chiamano “game”.

    Un “gioco” puoi vincere una domanda d’asilo in Italia o in un’altro Paese dell’Ue, o un’altra tornata nell’inferno dei respingimenti. «Quando eravamo nascosti in mezzo ai boschi, la polizia slovena – racconta un altro dei respinti – era anche accompagnata dai cani. Qualcuno si era accucciato nel bosco e non era stato inizialmente visto, ma quattro o cinque cani li hanno scovati e quando hanno provato a scappare sono stati rincorsi dai cani e catturati».

    https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/lorrore-alle-porte-delleuropa

    #photographie #témoignage #images #violence #violences #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #torture #Croatie #game #the_game #viols #Velika_Kladuša #Velika_Kladusa #Bosnie #Slovénie #refoulements_en_chaîne #push-backs #refoulements #réadmission #chiens

    • Violenza sui migranti, in un video le prove dalla Croazia

      Impugnano una spranga da cui pende una corda. Stanno per spaccare ginocchia, frustare sulla schiena, lanciare sassi mirando alla testa dei profughi. Sono soldati croati...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tacXXCD8UL8&feature=emb_logo

      Non è per il freddo delle gelate balcaniche che gli uomini appostati nella radura indossano un passamontagna. Il branco è lì per un’imboscata. Impugnano una spranga da cui pende una corda. Stanno per spaccare ginocchia, frustare sulla schiena, lanciare sassi mirando alla testa dei profughi. Sono soldati croati. E stavolta Zagabria non potrà più dire che non ci sono prove.

      Ora c’è un video che conferma le accuse di questi anni. Nei giorni scorsi, dopo la ricostruzione di Avvenire e la pubblicazione di immagini e testimonianze di alcune tra le migliaia di persone seviziate dai gendarmi, era intervenuta la commissaria agli Affari Interni dell’Ue, Ylva Johansson. «Abbiamo sentito di respingimenti dagli Stati membri e non è accettabile». Nessun accenno, però, alla violenza. Il governo di Zagabria, infatti, ha sempre respinto le accuse dei profughi respinti a catena da Italia, Slovenia e Croazia. «Nonostante i report lo Stato croato ha negato, mettendo in dubbio la credibilità dei migranti, degli attivisti e dei giornalisti – ricordano i legali del “Border violence monitoring” – citando la mancanza di prove fotografiche». Ora quelle prove ci sono.

      I fotogrammi e i video raccolti sul campo non lasciano spazio a dubbi. La frusta schiocca i primi colpi. Un uomo viene atterrato dopo che l’aggressore lo ha quasi azzoppato. Neanche il tempo di stramazzare tra i rovi che viene centrato in pieno volto. Poco distante, in un fossato che segna il confine con la Bosnia Erzegovina, altri due uomini a volto coperto, entrambi con divise blu scure, afferrano dei grossi sassi e li scagliano contro alcuni ragazzi che corrono per riguadagnare il confine bosniaco, a meno di 30 metri, dove gli aggressori croati sanno di non potere addentrarsi.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtEDbuDbqzU&feature=youtu.be

      Le sequenze sono raccapriccianti. Le urla spezzano il fiato. I militari infieriscono ripetutamente su persone inermi. A tutti sono state tolte le scarpe, i telefoni, il denaro, gli zainetti con gli unici ricordi delle propRie origini. Un uomo piange. Il volto gonfio, una gamba dolorante, alcune ferite alla testa, il labbro superiore sanguinante. Nella sua lingua biascica la più universale delle invocazioni: «Mamma mia».

      Le immagini,che risalgono alla fine di marzo, sono state analizzate per mesi da legali e periti di vari Paesi per conto del “Border violence monitoring”, il network di organizzazioni di volontariato attivo in tutti i Balcani. Nel video integrale (sintetizzato da Avvenire in una versione di 4 minuti in questo articolo) si possono vedere i filmati con le ricostruzioni forensi. Oltre alle identità dei feriti è stato possibile riconoscere anche i corpi di appartenenza dei picchiatori: guardie di confine, nuclei speciali della polizia e militari dell’esercito.

      Le forze di sicurezza, come sempre, avevano pensato a impedire che le testimonianze potessero trovare riscontri fotografici. Questa volta, però, un ragazzo afghano è riuscito a beffarli. Poco prima del respingimento altri agenti in un posto di polizia avevano rubato denaro, telefoni ed effetti personali. Con le scarpe e i vestiti avevano fatto un falò. Nella concitazione, da uno degli zainetti è scivolato un telefono. Il ragazzo ha fatto in tempo a nasconderlo nelle mutande. Per consegnarci le immagini della vergogna all’interno dell’Unone europea.

      Dopo una corsa disperata, inseguito dalle sprangate e dalle scudisciate, una volta superato il fossato ha riacceso il cellulare danneggiato durante l’aggressione. C’era ancora abbastanza batteria. Si sente anche la sua voce mentre non riesce a tener ferme le mani: «Mi fa male una gamba, ho troppo dolore». Un altro accanto a lui comprende l’importanza di quegli istanti: «Ti tengo io, devi continuare a riprendere».

      Pochi giorni prima The Guardian aveva pubblicato un inchiesta di Lorenzo Tondo: la polizia croata veniva accusata di segnare i migranti islamici con una croce sulla testa, ma ancora una volta Zagabria aveva negato.

      Le riammissioni a catena, con cui dal confine italo–sloveno «si deportano illegalmente i rifugiati fino in Bosnia, hanno l’effetto di esporre le persone a condizioni inumane e a un rischio di morte: vanno pertanto immediatamente fermate», chiede il Consorzio italiano di solidarietà (Ics). Anche in Bosnia vengono denunciati episodi di violenza ed uso eccessivo della forza da parte della polizia.

      L’11 dicembre, sei giorni dopo la pubblicazione della prima puntata dell’inchiesta di Avvenire (LEGGI QUI), è intervenuta la Commissaria ai diritti umani del Consiglio d’Europa, il consesso che ha dato vita alla Corte europea dei diritti dell’Uomo. In una lettera la bosniaca Dunja Mijatovic parla delle «segnalazioni di gruppi di vigilantes locali che attaccano i migranti e distruggono i loro beni personali», esprimendo preoccupazione «per le segnalazioni di attacchi e minacce contro i difensori dei diritti umani che aiutano i migranti, tra cui una campagna diffamatoria e minacce di morte».

      E non sarà certo la prima neve a fermare le traversate.

      Ieri la polizia serba ha bloccato 300 persone in due distinte operazioni: 170 sono stati trovati nella zona di Kikinda, lungo un sentiero sul confine con la Romania; altri 140 sono stati vicino al valico di Horgos, alla frontiera con l’Ungheria. Sperano così di aggirare la sbirraglia.

      Nicola Bay, direttore in Bosnia del “Danish refugee council” spiega di avere identificato con la sua organizzazione «14.500 casi di respingimenti dalla Croazia alla Bosnia dall’inizio del 2020. Nel solo mese di ottobre, i casi sono stati 1.934, tra cui 189 episodi in cui migranti sono stati soggetti a brutale violenza, e in due episodi anche violenza sessuale, da parte di uomini in uniformi nere, con i volti mascherati». Perciò «non è accettabile che i respingimenti violenti siano utilizzati, di fatto, come strumento per il controllo dei confini dagli stati europei. È giunto il momento di esigere, da parte della Commissione Europea e degli stati membri della Ue, inclusa l’Italia, il pieno rispetto delle più basilari norme del diritto comunitario e internazionale».

      E non è escluso che grazie a queste immagini si apra finalmente una inchiesta giudiziaria per individuare i responsabili, i loro superiori e fermare i crimini contro gli esseri umani commessi nell’Unione Europea.

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/torture-su-migranti-al-confine-tra-croazia-e-bosnia-vide-scavo

    • L’inchiesta. Abusi sui migranti della rotta balcanica, scende in campo l’Ue

      Dopo le denunce su violenze e respingimenti, l’Agenzia Ue per i diritti umani: monitorare i comportamenti della polizia. Zagabria: violenze presunte. A Trieste con i volontari che curano le ferite

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBfEBYHMXXE&feature=emb_logo

      La lavanda dei piedi comincia all’ora del vespro. È il quotidiano rito dei volontari che ogni sera, nel piccolo parco tra la stazione e il vecchio porto, dai loro zaini da studente estraggono garze, cerotti, unguenti. Passano da lì gli impavidi del game, i superstiti della roulette russa dei respingimenti a catena, e a bastonate, verso la Bosnia. Cacciati fuori dai confini Ue.

      Dopo le nuove denunce di queste settimane, qualcosa tra Bruxelles e Zagabria si muove. L’agenzia Ue per i diritti fondamentali è pronta a monitorare i comportamenti delle polizie lungo i confini. Ma manca una data per l’avvio del piano di prevenzione degli abusi.

      Pochi giorni fa a Bruxelles hanno chiuso un rapporto che racconta di vicende sfuggite alle principali cronache internazionali. Sono ancora in corso le indagini per episodi ch si ripetono da anni senza che mai si arrivi a individuare delle responsabilità. Nel novembre 2017 «una bambina afghana di sei anni, Madina Hosseini, è stata uccisa da un treno in transito al confine tra Croazia e Serbia» si legge nel dossier, che precisa: «Secondo il rapporto del difensore civico croato, Madina e la sua famiglia erano arrivate in Croazia e avevano chiesto asilo, quando è stato detto loro di tornare in Serbia». Una violazione delle norme sul diritto d’asilo finita in dramma. La famiglia è stata trasferita «in un veicolo della polizia vicino alla ferrovia e istruita a seguire i binari fino alla Serbia. Poco dopo, la bambina di sei anni è stata uccisa da un treno». D allora non molto è cambiato in meglio.

      Da Kabul a Trieste sono 4mila chilometri. Da qui il villaggio di casa è lontano, la guerra anche. C’è chi l’ultimo tratto lo ha percorso cinque volte. Perché acciuffato dagli agenti sloveni, infine riportato in Bosnia dopo una lezione della polizia croata. E c’è chi a Trieste invece c’era quasi arrivato, ma è stato colto dalla polizia italiana sulla fascia di confine, e poco dopo «riammesso» in Slovenia, come prevede un vecchio accordo tra Roma e Lubiana siglato quando implodeva la ex Jugoslavia.

      Scarpe sfondate, vestiti rotti, le caviglie gonfie e gli occhi troppo stanchi di chi l’ultima volta che s’è accucciato su un materasso era in un qualche posto di polizia. Per Gianfranco Schiavone, vicepresidente dell’Associazione per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione (Asgi), è più che «anomalo che la riammissione possa avvenire senza l’emanazione di un provvedimento amministrativo». Anche perché «è indiscutibile che l’azione posta in essere dalla pubblica sicurezza attraverso l’accompagnamento forzato in Slovenia produce effetti rilevantissimi – aggiunge – sulla situazione giuridica dei soggetti interessati».

      Ricacciati indietro senza neanche poter presentare la domanda di protezione, molti passano per le mani delle guardie croate. Anche qui, però, il compatto muro di omertà tra uomini in divisa comincia a incrinarsi. La diffusione di immagini e filmati che documentano la presenza di gendarmi tra i picchiatori di migranti sta convincendo diversi agenti a denunciare anche i loro superiori. Gli ordini, infatti, arrivano dall’alto. Il merito è dell’Ufficio per la protezione dei diritti umani di Zagabria, dotato di poteri investigativi che stanno aprendo la strada a indagini della magistratura, garantendo l’anonimato ai poliziotti che collaborano con le indagini. Il ministero dell’Interno di Zagabria respinge le accuse arrivate nelle ultime settimane da testate come Der Spiegel, The Guardian e Avvenire, riguardo le violenze commesse dalle autorità lungo i confini. Foto e filmati mostrano uomini in divisa armati di spranghe e fruste. «Non si può confermare con certezza che siano membri regolari della polizia croata», si legge in una nota. «La polizia croata protegge il confine dalla migrazione illegale, lo protegge dalle azioni illegali e dai pericoli – aggiunge – che possono portare con sé persone senza documenti e senza identità, e lo fa per fornire pace e sicurezza al popolo croato». Tuttavia «non tolleriamo alcuna violenza nella protezione delle frontiere né (la violenza) è parte integrante delle nostre azioni». Riguardo al filmato e alla ricostruzione di Border Violence Monitoring «concludiamo che non abbiamo registrato azioni in base alla data e al luogo dichiarati nell’annuncio». Quali indagini siano state condotte non è però dato saperlo. «Controlleremo accuratamente i presunti eventi».

      Mentre dal Carso i primi refoli della sera si scontrano con quelli che soffiano dal mare, i volontari appostati nei dintorni della statua della principessa Sissi si preparano a un’altra serata con dolori da alleviare e lamenti da ascoltare. Lorena Fornasier, 67 anni, psicoterapeuta, e suo marito Gian Andrea Franchi, 83 anni, professore di filosofia in pensione, passano spesso di qua. Raccolgono quelli messi peggio. Lo fanno da anni, senza clamore, e si devono a loro le prime denunce sui maltrattamenti subiti dove finiscono i Balcani e comincia la Mitteleuropa.

      «Bisogna portare in tribunale dei casi individuali con l’intento di definire un precedente che sia valido per tutti, per attivare dei cambiamenti normativi che permettano un maggiore rispetto dei diritti fondamentali», osserva Giulia Spagna, direttrice per l’Italia del Danish refugee council, le cui squadre continuano a raccogliere prove di abusi lungo tutta la dorsale balcanica. «Da una parte – aggiunge – si devono offrire soluzioni concrete alle persone che hanno subito soprusi, attraverso supporto legale, oltre che medico e psicologico. Dall’altra usare questi episodi per influenzare le politiche europee e nazionali».

      https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/a-trieste-tra-chi-cura-le-ferite-reportage-migranti

  • Exhausted Syrian Migrant Dies in Slovenia (novembre 2019)

    Police in Slovenia reported that a 20-year-old refugee from Syria has died after family members rescued him from a forest in the south of the country.

    Police said Friday that the man died Thursday in the southern town of #Ilirska_Bistrica from hypothermia and exhaustion despite being given medical assistance.

    They said the man called cousins who live as refugees in Germany to come find him in the forest, gave the coordinates of his position and said he was unable to continue.

    After finding him, the cousins took the man to a nearby police station but doctors couldn’t help him, the STA news agency reported.

    The incident illustrates the dangers migrants face while trying to reach wealthy nations of the European Union.

    Meanwhile, Bosnian police also said on Friday they have stopped a van carrying 17 migrants and captured two suspected people smugglers near the border with Croatia.

    The migrants told the officers they were from Iraq and Syria and had no documents, according to police, the Associated Press reported.

    They were stopped Thursday near the southwestern town of Ljubuski.

    The van driver and another man, who was in a separate car, are now facing charges of people smuggling.

    Both men are Bosnian citizens and one also holds Croatian citizenship.

    https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/1982316/exhausted-syrian-migrant-dies-slovenia

    #frontière_sud-alpine #montagne #mourir_aux_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #décès #morts #frontières #frontières

    Ajouté au fil de discussion sur les morts à la frontière #Slovénie-#Croatie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/811660

    Note : Pas de passage de la frontière, il vivait dans les bois depuis [plusieurs semaines/ 5 jours] pour se cacher de la police en attendant que son frère vienne le chercher en voiture depuis l’Allemagne

  • Two Migrants Drown in River Kolpa (avril 2018)

    Migrants are crossing the river where there is no fence, using boats stolen in Croatia or trying to swim or walk across the river.

    STA, 10 April 2018 - Local police have found bodies of two men believed to have tried to enter Slovenia from Croatia by swimming the Kolpa river.

    The Črnomelj police found one body on Monday afternoon near the village of #Vukovci in the southern region of Bela Krajina with the help of scuba divers.

    A few hours earlier, the police apprehended a 19-year-old Moroccan after he swam the Kolpa entering Slovenia illegally, Novo Mesto police said on Tuesday.

    The person told the police he had tried to cross the river with a friend, who however did not make it.

    An investigation is ongoing to establish the circumstances of the death.

    According to the police, another citizen of Morocco and two citizens of Algeria were apprehended in the area on the same day.

    This morning, three Algerian citizens were apprehended by the police. Due to suspicion that they travelled with one other person, the police inspected the Kolpa river and found the body of another man near the village of Žuniči. No signs of violence were found on the body.

    In February, Novo Mesto police said the number of migrants trying to enter Slovenia by crossing the Kolpa, which is secured with 89 kilometres of fence, had been rising over the past six months.

    While police recorded 46 such cases in the the first eight months of 2017, the figure for the period from September to February rose to 196.

    Migrants are crossing the river where there is no fence, using boats stolen in Croatia or trying to swim or walk across the river.

    The migrants largely come on foot from Velika Kladuša, the town in Bosnia closest to Slovenia, navigating the unknown terrain with their mobile phones.

    The majority ask for international protection.

    https://www.total-slovenia-news.com/news/1021-two-migrants-drown-in-river-kolpa

    #frontière_sud-alpine #montagne #mourir_aux_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #décès #morts #frontières #frontières

    Ajouté au fil de discussion sur les morts à la frontière #Slovénie-#Croatie :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/811660

  • Migrant dies after van plunges into river in Croatia 25.08.2019

    A migrant died in Croatia after a van carrying 12 of them plunged into a river and police in North Macedonia discovered 30 migrants in an abandoned truck, developments that come as the Balkans refugee route that peaked a few years ago again sees an increased number of illegal border crossings.

    The van crash happened near the Croatian border with Slovenia after the driver refused to stop at a checkpoint and was chased by a patrol. The driver, presumably a migrant smuggler, managed to get out of the sinking vehicle, fleeing into a nearby minefield. A search for him was ongoing, Croatian police said.

    Police pulled the migrants from the sinking van in the Kupa River by breaking its windows, but a woman later died at a hospital.

    Last week, Slovenia started erecting 40 kilometers (25 miles) of additional fences on its southern border with Croatia after a considerable increase in the number of migrants trying to illegally cross between the two European Union-member states.

    Slovenian police said in July a total of 1,740 migrant crossings were detected, while 7,415 were recorded in the first seven months of this year— about a 50 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

    Slovenia has already constructed about 180 kilometers (120 miles) of mostly barbed-wire fence with Croatia since 2015 when the Balkans route saw migrants fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, crossing the borders in the thousands a day.

    Police in North Macedonia said they spotted an abandoned truck Saturday afternoon near the town of Strumica, which borders with Greece, and discovered 30 migrants — 24 Pakistanis, three Iraqis, two Syrians and one Sudan national.

    The migrants are believed to have entered illegally from Greece and to have paid smugglers to take them north through Serbia toward Europe’s prosperous heartland. Police said they were taken to a camp near the southern town of Gevgelija pending deportation to Greece.

    Police said they detained a total of 10,017 migrants who entered the country illegally in the first half of the year.

    https://apnews.com/article/0ba8baa546914d2f83fce120820a63dc

    –-> Nouvelle datant de août 2019, que je mets ici pour archivage.
    Dans la légende la photo on parle du village de #Preloka, mais pas sûr que ça soit le lieu de décès de la dame.
    Mais selon les recherches de Sarah B : #Slatina_Pokupska

    #frontière_sud-alpine #montagne #mourir_aux_frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #décès #morts #frontières #frontières

    Ajouté au fil de discussion :
    Morts à la frontière #Croatie-#Slovénie
    https://seenthis.net/messages/811660

  • Video Documents Illegal Refugee Pushbacks in Croatia

    For years, asylum-seekers have been claiming abuse at the hands of Croatian border police, with some reporting beatings, electric shocks and even having their toenails torn out. For the first time, videos in combination with reporting by DER SPIEGEL have confirmed some of these reports.

    Ibrahim had a hunch he knew what was coming when the Croatian police car stopped. The young Pakistani had set off from Kashmir two years earlier to reach Europe. But now, on a cold day at the end of March, the Croatian police dragged him and the other refugees out of the vehicle, Ibrahim recalls. More security forces were waiting outside. They wore black balaclavas to hide their faces.

    The men forced the refugees to take off their jackets, shoes and pants, and one by one, the hooded men lined up. One of the men in masks grabbed Ibrahim by the neck and dragged him toward the river, according to his recollection. The others beat him, aiming at Ibrahim’s back, arms and legs. "They were beating me like crazy,” he says. Out of fear, he asked that he not be identified by his last name in this article.

    Ibrahim recalls a long, thick branch that hurt especially bad when he was hit with it. Three other refugees say they were beaten with a metal rod and with a sling that had a heavy object attached to the end of it.

    The beatings lasted only a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity to Ibrahim. The hooded men pushed him down to the Glina River, the natural border between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the village of Poljana. The river is only a few meters wide there. "Fast, jump,” one of the masked men shouted in English, says Ibrahim. “Go back Bosnia!”

    The European Union closed the Balkan route to migrants in 2016, after it had already been used in previous months by hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and other countries as they made their way to Western Europe. Thousands of refugees have been camping in the forest and in old war ruins in northwest Bosnia-Herzegovina ever since. On the other side of the border, Croatian officials with night-vision goggles and firearms patrol the border. But that doesn’t stop the refugees from setting off each night. They have a name for their dangerous attempt to get past the border guards: "The Game.”

    Asylum seekers have been reporting for years of abuse at the hands of Croatian police and of being forced back to Bosnia. Photos from aid organizations show refugees with bleeding lacerations, broken arms, knocked-out teeth and dark red marks on their backs. Asylum-seekers speak of torture with stun guns, sexual abuse and even torn-out toenails. The focus of their reports is always the same: Masked police officers.
    Beatings Instead of Hearings

    NGOs, doctors and even the United Nations Refugee Agency have collected thousands of such testimonies. Sometimes, skin color alone is enough to become a target of the security forces. In winter 2019, Croatian border guards illegally deported two Nigerian table-tennis players who were only trying to take part in a university championship.

    Pushbacks, as they are called, violate not only Croatian asylum law but also European law and the Geneva Convention on Refugees. They make a mockery of the right to apply for asylum. Instead of being given a hearing, asylum-seekers are beaten.

    The Croatian authorities deny that officers use force at the border or that they illegally drag asylum seekers back across the border. The government has simply ignored video clips showing security forces leading asylum-seekers to the border. Government officials also claim that refugees have simply invented claims of violence. Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman recently said that his country denies "all accusations of incorrect behavior at the border.”

    But Ibrahim’s case makes Croatia’s claims of innocence all the more difficult to uphold.

    DER SPIEGEL spent months investigating his case together with the media organization Lighthouse Reports. The reporters spoke with three refugees who were traveling with Ibrahim. To the extent possible, they reconstructed the route they took. The refugees’ reports can only be partly independently verified, but their geodata does corroborate their statements. There is also a video that the NGO No Name Kitchen obtained when interviewing the refugees. DER SPIEGEL and Lighthouse Reports were able to verify its authenticity.

    The reporting clearly shows that it is not only in Greece that refugees are being pushed back forcibly. On the Bosnian-Croatian border, masked men are beating up refugees. The images reveal a disturbing level of violence that is increasingly becoming the norm at the EU’s external borders.

    Ibrahim, for his part, had already failed to get past the Croatian security forces dozens of times, but in March things went better than usual. He and three other migrants described to DER SPIEGEL how they, together with around 50 other refugees, some of them underage, set off that day for the EU. The men crossed the border near Šturlić, a village in Bosnia, before walking through the wilderness of the Croatian forests. It was cold, and at night they slept in cheap sleeping bags.

    After around seven days, the group reached the Kulpa River, which borders Slovenia, and the migrants spent the night there. They ate the last of their supplies, they recall, and finally waded through the river on their way to Western Europe. The group stopped in a patch of forest above the Slovenian village Kočevje. Smugglers were supposed to meet them there to take the men to Italy, but nobody showed up. "We held out for three or four days without food or anything to drink,” says Ibrahim. But then they finally gave up.

    Slovenian police intercepted the refugees as they left their hiding place. The refugees say the officers took them to a police station, questioned each individually and took photos and fingerprints. The migrants claim that each of them asked to be allowed to file an asylum application. But the answer they received, they say, was clear: “No asylum. You’re going back to Bosnia.”
    "I Have Never Been So Scared in My Life"

    When contacted by DER SPIEGEL, the Slovenian police confirmed that they had apprehended the refugees. They deny, however, that Ibrahim asked to apply for asylum, so they handed the men over to the Croatian authorities as part of a return agreement. Both the Croatian and the Slovenian officials certified the handover with their signatures.

    Things moved quickly once the they were in the hands of the Croatian police. The men say the officers drove the group to the border river, where the men wearing the balaclavas were already waiting for them. "I have never been so scared in my life,” says Ibrahim.

    The refugees’ geodata, stored in a Google Maps account, supports their statements. It includes data geolocating the group in Croatia and Slovenia. Shaky mobile phone images provide even more evidence. One of the refugees says that the images only exist because he was able to hide his mobile phone in his underwear.

    DER SPIEGEL

    The images show Ibrahim standing on the Bosnian side of the river, in wet pants and no shoes. The young Pakistani can be see crying, his face twisted in agony. "I have such pain in my leg!” he whimpers. Another refugee whose clothes are wet and also doesn’t have any shoes, can be seen supporting him.

    Four men can be seen in the background on Croatian soil with blue and olive-green clothing reminiscent of uniforms. Three are seen putting on black masks. The men carry a long pole with them, as well as a stick with rope that has a heavy object attached to it. One of the men can be seen wielding the homemade weapon.

    The hooded men lead another group of people to the border river. They beat one of the migrants with a stick or a pole. They then chase another a few seconds later, running toward the border. "Fuck your mother” rings out across the river.

    The metadata show that the video was taken on the afternoon of March 23. The buildings in the background prove that the events unfolded near Poljana on the Bosnian-Croatian border. The masked men can’t be clearly identified in the images. However, their presence at the closely guarded border suggests that the men are part of the Croatian security forces. It’s unlikely that masked men could operate in broad daylight without the knowledge of the authorities.

    "Some of the uniforms visible in the video seem to be all mixed up,” says Ranko Ostojić, a politician with the center-left social democrats in Croatia. He says he suspects the men in question are retired police officers who are now part of the reserves. "They used to be allowed to keep their uniforms, and now they are apparently carrying out pushbacks.”

    Ostojić was once Croatia’s director of police and interior minister. He spent years chairing the Domestic Affairs Committee in the Croatian national parliament. "The pushbacks are systematic,” he says. "Based on my experience, I am convinced that they are at least tolerated by the government.”

    When contacted by DER SPIEGEL, officials at the Croatian Interior Ministry said in a statement that they have no records of any operations on the date and location in question. They said they could not comment on the events described without further details. Croatia offers asylum seekers the opportunity to apply for asylum, the statement says, and goes on to claim that NGO reports on injured migrants almost completely ignore the conflicts between migrants in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The ministry claims that the migrants are injured in accidents or that they inflict injuries on each other and then blame Croatian border police.

    When Bosnian Milo Gujić hears shots or screams from the woods below his barn, he knows they are coming again. A short time later, bleeding, crying and half-naked men show up in his yard. Sometimes, he says, it happens daily.
    Fear of Retaliation

    Gujić and his wife have been experiencing the brutality of the Croatian border police up close for years now. Their property is located only a few hundred meters away from the EU’s external border. Gujić, who has a wiry build, has asked that we not use his real name for this story. He is afraid that Croatian security forces might retaliate against him.

    In March, Gujić opened up his home to Ibrahim and his companions. Gujic says he found the men standing at his door trembling and sobbing. When shown the video, he immediately recognizes them. He built a fire for them and brought dry clothes and food. "When I took the clothes off one of them, I saw his back. It looked like someone had stuck an iron bar into a fire and then hit him with it. That’s how deep red the marks from the blows were.”

    The Glina River along the border is a popular place for pushbacks. It is easily accessible from the Croatian side and only sparsely populated on the Bosnian side. Gujić says the Croatians recently paved the gravel road leading to the border, an omen, he believes, that the half-naked, injured men will keep coming. Gujić can’t understand the violence: “You don’t even hurt animals like that.”

    The EU pays Croatia millions of euros to secure the border. Croatia is also slated to join the Schengen Area soon, meaning its borders with other members of the area will no longer by controlled. Once that happens, the Croatian border with Bosnia-Herzegovina will become one of those places where decisions are made on how many asylum-seekers are actually allowed to reach Western Europe.

    In October 2019, the European Commission gave Croatia a positive evaluation in its progress toward accession into the Schengen Area, but said it would have to continue its work on "management of the external borders.” All Schengen member states must approve any country’s accession. But already, the Croatian government is effectively acting as one of Europe’s gatekeepers.

    So far, the EU has largely ignored these obvious violations of human rights. In Germany, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Chancellor Angela Merkel have openly praised the work of the Croatian border police. EU border management agency Frontex, which monitors the border from the air, has reported hundreds of illegal border crossings, but no human rights violations.

    "The EU is turning a blind eye to pushbacks,” says former Croatian Interior Minister Ostojić. He says it appears EU officials don’t seem to care whether the border police act in accordance with international law. And their silence merely encourages the Croatian government.

    "The images are the clearest evidence yet that Croatia engages in violent pushbacks,” says Hanaa Hakiki, a lawyer with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a Berlin-based human rights organization that provides support to refugees facing court proceedings. She notes that the deportations did not take place at official border crossings and that some of the weapons used by the masked men were homemade. "In light of these terrible images, the EU should take immediate action,” she says.
    Schengen As a Means of Pressure?

    Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs responsible for EU borders, sent a letter to the Croatian Ministry of the Interior at the end of October and urged that the reports be investigated. “If proven true, what is shown there is of course unacceptable,” she now says after viewing the images. “People cannot be beaten up at the border. There must be consequences.”

    Meanwhile, the EU’s ombudswoman has also opened a probe. But real pressure on Croatia would probably only arise if the pushbacks were to put Croatia’s Schengen accession into question. “Violence at the border cannot continue,” Johansson says. “This will not help Croatia in its efforts to join the Schengen Area.”

    In the end, Ibrahim finally managed to win the "Game.” After another attempt, he managed to make it to Italy. He is currently living in a housing project in the north of the country and he was able to apply for asylum.

    But the months spent on the Croatian border took a massive toll on him. When he looks at the videos of himself on the Croatian border today, he bursts out in tears. He says he still suffers from headaches and the pain in his knee is also getting worse, especially now that the weather is getting colder. At night, he says, he sometimes has nightmares about the beatings by the Croatian policemen. One time, his roommates told him the next morning that he had been calling out for help. Again.

    https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/croatia-video-documents-illegal-refugee-pushbacks-a-294b128d-4840-4d6b-9e96-

    #Croatie #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #violence #asile #migrations #réfugiés #push-backs #refoulements #frontières #Bosnie #Glina_river #Kulpa #Kulpa_river #Slovénie #Kolpa_river #frontière_sud-alpine #Kupa_river #rivière #Kočevje #Kocevje #Poljana #témoignage

  • Europe’s chain of migrant expulsion, from Italy to Bosnia

    ‘They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.’

    Italian authorities are drawing criticism from legal advocacy groups for returning asylum seekers and migrants across Italy’s northeastern land border to Slovenia, triggering a series of often violent pushbacks through the Balkans and out of the European Union.

    Several asylum seekers told The New Humanitarian that after being returned to Slovenia they were pushed back to Croatia, another EU member state. In turn, the Croatian authorities – accused of using systematic violence and abuse against migrants – expelled them to Bosnia, which is outside the EU.

    “Generally, in two days, the person disappears from Italy and appears again in Bosnia,” Gianfranco Schiavone, a legal expert at the Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration, or ASGI, an Italian NGO that provides legal aid to migrants and asylum seekers, told TNH.

    Advocacy groups say the returns are illegal because they block people from requesting asylum in Italy, and ultimately end with them being expelled from the EU without due process.

    The Balkans serve as a key part of the migration route from Turkey and Greece to Western and Northern Europe, and the UN’s migration agency, IOM, estimates that nearly 22,000* asylum seekers and migrants are currently stranded in the region.

    The allegations of illegal returns from Italy come amidst increased scrutiny by watchdog groups, and growing concern on the part of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, over reports of widespread and frequently violent pushbacks at EU borders, especially in Greece and Croatia.

    Pushbacks violate EU law and are prohibited by the European Convention on Human Rights.

    In July, Italy’s Interior Ministry told the Italian Parliament in a letter that the returns are taking place under a longstanding agreement between Italy and Slovenia and are within the bounds of the law because Slovenia is also an EU member state. Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese later backtracked on the position, saying that only irregular migrants were being returned – not asylum seekers.

    At the end of October, the governor of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, the Italian region bordering Slovenia, said 1,321 people had been returned to Slovenia this year. Last year, just 250 people were returned between January and September, according to the interior ministry.

    Civil society groups say the returns are being carried out so quickly there is no way Italian authorities are implementing a full legal process at the border to determine if someone is in need of international protection.

    “Under European law, [police are required to accept] asylum applications made on the border,” Schiavone said.

    Such returns are not new, but began to take place in larger numbers following an uptick in arrivals in Friuli Venezia-Giulia from Slovenia as the first round of coronavirus lockdowns ended in the spring.

    These arrivals fed into a charged political environment in Italy over migration during the pandemic and led Italy to increase its military presence along the Slovenian border to help “fight illegal migration”.

    In the first 10 months of 2020, local authorities in Friuli Venezia-Giulia counted 4,500 arrivals. By comparison, nearly 28,000 asylum seekers and migrants have arrived In Italy by sea so far this year.

    But it is difficult to know exactly how many people enter from Slovenia because local officials and international organisations do not regularly publish comprehensive data on land arrivals to Italy, and those crossing the border often try to steer clear of authorities to avoid being pushed back or having their fingerprints taken, which would subject them to the Dublin Protocol, requiring them to apply for asylum in the first EU country they entered.

    Much of the migration activity since May has been taking place in the city of Trieste – just four kilometres from the Slovenian border – and in the surrounding countryside.

    Trieste is a key transit point, and a destination that many migrants and asylum seekers see as offering some respite after the long and often dangerous trek through the mountainous Balkans.

    Those who reach Trieste without being returned are often in poor physical condition and find little official support.

    “Both the services and the response provided to people who arrive is not the most adequate. More should be done,” Chiara Cardoletti, the UN refugee agency’s representative in Italy, said following a visit to Trieste in October, adding: “Coronavirus is complicating the situation."
    The pushback chain

    Asylum seekers and migrants have nicknamed the journey across the Balkans “the game”, because to reach Italy they have to try over and over again, facing pushbacks and violence at each border along the way.

    For many, “the game” – if they are successful – sees them end up under the arches of an old, abandoned building close to Trieste’s train station.

    When TNH visited in October, voices echoed inside. Around 30 people – all recently arrived from Slovenia – were taking shelter on a rainy morning surrounded by worn out children’s shoes, piles of discarded clothes, rotting foam mattresses, and torn backpacks.

    Most were young men in their teens and early twenties from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Like others before them, they were resting for a couple of days before continuing on – they hoped – to Milan, France, or elsewhere in Europe.

    After crossing from Turkey to Greece, they had all reached a bottleneck in Bihać, a town in Bosnia close to the Croatian border where people often become stuck as they try repeatedly to enter the EU. Once they cross the border, it takes up to 20 days through the mountains of Croatia and Slovenia to reach Italy. Many paid thousands of dollars to smugglers to assist them along the way, but ended up with no food for days and only rainwater to drink. Most could barely walk on their battered feet.

    Umar, a 20-year-old from Pakistan who preferred not to use his real name, said he had tried to cross the Balkans nine times before landing up in Trieste. He said he had made it to Italy once before, in May.

    “[The] police caught us and put us somewhere in a [camouflage] tent with many people,” Umar said. “They took our fingerprints. I told the police we are staying here in Italy. We showed our foot injuries, but they said, ‘There is no camp. Go back’.”

    Umar said the Italian authorities handed him over the next morning to the Slovenian police, who passed the group he was with on to the Croatian police, who then put them in a small van and deposited them near the border with Bosnia. “There was no air inside,” he recalled. “The weather was hot.”

    Now back in Italy, Umar planned to travel further inland to the city of Udine, about 65 kilometres from Trieste, to apply for asylum. He was afraid to present himself to authorities in Trieste, believing it was too close to the border and that he might be pushed back again.

    Others in Trieste shared similar stories of reaching Italy on previous attempts only to end up back in Bosnia after being pushed back from one country to the next.

    Muhammed, a 21-year-old also from Pakistan, said he reached Italy on his third attempt crossing the Balkans, and he was taken to the same tent. “There was a translator, who told us, ‘you guys will be staying here in Italy’,” Muhammed said. “Despite that, we were pushed back.”

    Muhammed then described how the Slovenian authorities pushed his group back to Croatia. “The police in Croatia kicked us, punched us,” he recalled. “They… took our money and left us on the Bosnia border.”

    After making it back to Italy again on his fourth attempt, Muhammed said he had now managed to apply for asylum in Trieste.
    ‘It had become systematic’

    The pushbacks from Italy to Slovenia appear to be indiscriminate, according to Schiavone, from ASGI. “[They] have involved everybody, regardless of nationality,” he said. “They pushed back Afghans, Syrians, people from Iraq, people in clear need of protection.”

    Schiavone said the removal procedures appeared to be informal and people are not given the chance to apply for asylum before being returned to Slovenia.

    A spokesperson for the border police in Gorizia, an Italian border town in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, told TNH in a statement that the department was operating in accordance with Ministry of Interior directives, and that people belonging to “‘protected categories’ such as unaccompanied children and pregnant women or, in general, anyone in need of medical assistance”, were excluded from returns. “To safeguard each migrant’s individual circumstances, interviews take place with an interpreter… and multilingual information brochures are handed out,” the spokesperson added.

    The asylum seekers in Trieste told TNH that authorities took their fingerprints and gave them a slip of paper before sending them back to Slovenia.

    “It had become systematic,” Marco Albanese, the supervisor of a migration reception centre in Italy close to the Slovenian border, told TNH. “They were pushing back people who were unable to walk.”

    Those who are intercepted but not pushed back spend a quarantine period at a camp in the countryside before being transferred to a reception centre. Others manage to evade the authorities altogether.

    The job of providing basic services to asylum seekers and migrants not in the official system largely falls to volunteer groups.

    The square outside Trieste’s train station begins to fill with asylum seekers and migrants around 6 in the evening. The night TNH visited, around 30 to 40 people came in small groups, milled around, and sat on benches. Many had no shoes and their badly swollen feet were covered with blisters and cuts.

    Volunteers served hot meals and handed out warm clothes, and young doctors and nurses from an organisation called Strada Si.Cura – a play on the Italian words for safe streets and healing – checked people’s temperatures, performed basic medical screenings, and attended to injuries.

    Sharif, a 16-year-old Afghan whose name has been changed to protect his identity – waited in line to show an infected blister on his foot to one of the medical volunteers. He spent two years in Bosnia and said he was pushed back 15 or 16 times before finally reaching Trieste. Like nearly everyone, he had a story about Croatian police violence, recalling how he was stripped naked, beaten with a stick, and abandoned near the border with Bosnia.

    The thoughts of some in the square turned to people they had met along the way who hadn’t made it to Italy and now face harsh winters somewhere in the Balkans.

    “In our group, there were 80 people,” said Sami, a 23-year-old from Pakistan. “Other people [had] a lot of injuries, a lot of problems… So they stay in the forests in Croatia, in Slovenia, near Bosnia because the way is so hard.”

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/11/17/europe-italy-bosnia-slovenia-migration-pushbacks-expulsion

    #expulsions #refoulements #refoulements_en_chaîne #route_des_Balkans #Italie #Bosnie #Slovénie #Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #push-backs #frontière_sud-alpine #Croatie #Game #The_Game

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • “They punched me because I asked to stop the hot air - pushback from Trieste to Bihac”

      Date and time: September 16, 2020 01:00
      Location: San Dorligo della Valle, TS, Italy
      Coordinates: 45.607175981734, 13.85383960105
      Push-back from: Croatia, Italy, Slovenia
      Push-back to: Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia
      Demographics: 6 person(s), age: 25-35 , from: Bangladesh, Algeria
      Minors involved? No
      Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride, dog attacks, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, theft of personal belongings
      Police involved: Italian Army officers, one army van and one army car; several Italian police officers, one police van; several Slovenian police officers, one police van and several Croatian police officers (masked), one german shepard,, one police van.
      Taken to a police station?: yes
      Treatment at police station or other place of detention: detention, fingerprints taken, photos taken, personal information taken, papers signed, denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
      Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
      Reported by: Anonymous Partner

      Original Report

      The respondent, an Algerian man, left the city of Bihac (BiH) on 2nd September, 2020 in a group with five other Algerians, aged between 22 and 30 years old. After 12 days of travel they arrived in Trieste (ITA). They entered into Italy near the municipality of San Dorligo della Valle (45.607871, 13.857776), in the early morning on the 14th September. While the group was walking along a the SP12B road, they were tracked down by a military convoy, composed of a car and a van. The three military officers onboard stopped them at the side of the road and called the Italian police, who arrived shortly after with a van.

      The captured group were then transferred with the van to a police station in Fernetti [exact location], a site with a military tent erected for identification procedures of people on the move and asylum seekers. The respondent claims that he found himself together with many around 60 other people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, in addition to a person from Morocco. Many of the people held at the site, according to him, were minors or had been fingerprinted previously in Greece.

      The people detained in the tent were seperated by nationality. Each person of the transit group was questioned and processed individually in a separate, smaller tent, described as a small silo, the others had to wait in a small room which he describes as a “prison-room”. Personal data was gathered, fingerprints were recorded and photos of their faces were taken. The respondent clearly expressed the will to seek asylum in Italy.

      The assigned translator for the respondent and his group, of Moroccan origin, was already attending to one person from Morocco who was present when they arrived. The respondent overheard the translator suggesting to this person that he should declare himself as a minor. The police officers also searched him and confiscated his phone, a power bank and a watch, which were put inside a plastic bag. After that, the respondent had to sign 3 different documents, one of them – an identification and domicile paper – hidden and preserved by the respondent.

      When they deport you, they make you sign this paper so that they can say you accept it. And of course, you sign it. who care about you? They just say: ‘sign’ and you sign, because you don’t have power and there is no one listening to you.”

      The captured transit group remained in the police station from 08:00 until 17:00. The food was distributed collectively and due to a massive amount of people, some were left without. At some point the respondent requested to go to the
      toilet and he was taken outside, which allowed him to understand the area where he was. The respondent saw a reception center in front of him.

      At the end of the identification procedure, the police took five of the Algerians from the transit group. The sixth person was taken away however, the respondent stating this was because he had been fingerprinted in Greece. Some other Moroccans who were present in the tent were also kept there, which the respondent suggests was due to help from the translator in assisting their access to asylum.

      “Translator plays a big role. Maybe 80%”

      The remaining five people from Algeria were put inside a van. The respondent claims that he clearly saw the officers carrying the bag with his personal items, which he thought they would return to him once left at the next destination. The vehicle did not have either windows or light and the respondent described experiencing difficulties to breath during the ride. At this point the people-on-the-move received a small bottle of water and a small cracker for the first time since the apprehension.

      “They play with you. You just think just when is it finish.”

      Once they were sitting inside the van, the group realized that they were about to be deported to Slovenia and they asked what was going on. The police officers reassured them that they would stay in Trieste. The van then moved on: inside it was very hot and from the ventilation came out hot air. The respondent knocked on a window to attract the attention of the agents, who stopped the van, got out of the vehicle and opened the hatch to ask for explanations of why they were knocking on the window.

      There was a squabble, and one of the two officers punched the respondent, but was immediately stopped by his colleague who invited him to calm down. After the incident, they continued to drive and they arrived in an area, which was described as a road border crossing (likely Pesek-Kozina) between Italy and Slovenia. There, the group found a Slovenian police van with police officers waiting for them. They were transferred very quickly from the Italian police van to the Slovenian van: according to the respondent, officers were looking around with circumspection, as if they were worried about being noticed during the operation ongoing.

      Once the captured transit group were transferred to the Slovenian police van, they were taken in a police station, in Kozina, Slovenia. Here the respondent asked for his personal belongings, but the Slovenian police replied that the Italian police had not given them anything. The respondent doesn’t know if his belongings were kept by the Italian police officers or if the Slovenian police officers lied to him, keeping his belongings.

      In the station in Kozina, the officers took the prints of their thumbs of both hands, and realized that the respondent was already registered in the police database, due to previous entrance he had made into Slovenia (on this occasion he had also signed some documents). Later on, the group was transferred from Kozina to Ljubljana for a Covid-19 screening. After that, they returned to Kozina, where
      they spent the night detained. They stayed in this this location for what the respondent estimated to be a whole night. During this detention the group members could use the toilet and were handed another small bottle of water but were not provided with any food.

      The next morning (15th September) the group were transferred to Croatia, through the Socerga/Pozane border crossing. Here the Slovenian police photographed the documents that they had signed and threw them away in the garbage, before giving the group over to the regular Croatian police. The respondent, also in this occasion, managed to hide one Italian document, putting it inside his underwear (see previous photograph).

      The respondent identified the van that they were put in afterwards to be a Croatian police vehicle. Concerning the ride to Croatia he described that the driver was driving very bumpy, braking very sharply at any given moment.

      “you know, they really try to make you hate yourself. For what you have done and so you never try again to cross border to Croatia.”

      “If they deport you in the day you stay in the police car all day till it gets night. If they deport you in the night, they let you go directly.”

      In Croatia they had to wait for 15 hours, from 10:00 to 01:00 the next day (16th September) in the van. During this time they were not provided with any food or water and just left alone in the car. While they were waiting several other people-on-the-move were brought into the van by Croatian police officers, including a Bangladeshi man. Finally, at around 01:00 two Croatian police officers drove the van to the border of Bosnian territory, about 10 kilometers out of Bihac.

      When they arrived to this location, the respondent described that a Croatian officer wearing a dark uniform and a black ski-mask with a big German Shepherd told them to leave the van and line up in a file. The group-members were then told to get undressed to their boxers and a T-shirt. The officer took all of the clothes in a bin bag and set them on fire. Another officer was waiting behind the wheel of the vehicle during the procedure. The men then had to line up in a row, crowded closely together. The policeman yelled: “haide, go,go,go,go” and let the dog off the leash, which immediately snapped at the arm of the man in the last position in the row. The other men were able to run away in this way, but the last one apparently received a severe wound in his arm. The respondent then walked another 24 hours back to Velika Kladusa, where he started his journey.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/violence-reports/deport-from-trieste