• New policy brief : Not all returns can result in sustainable reintegration


    https://cris.unu.edu/sites/cris.unu.edu/files/PB20.3%20-%20Jill%20Alpes%20and%20Izabella%20Majcher.pdf

    –—

    Commentaire de Jill Alpes via la mailing-list Migreurop :

    Returns can both exacerbate existing, as well as create new vulnerabilities. #IzabellaMajcher and #Jill_Alpes published a policy brief with UNU-CRIS, entitled “Who can be sustainably reintegrated after return? Using post-return monitoring for rights-based return policies.” (https://cris.unu.edu/sites/cris.unu.edu/files/PB20.3%20-%20Jill%20Alpes%20and%20Izabella%20Majcher.pdf) In the brief, they argue that rights-based return policies need more robust vulnerability assessments and more extensive monitoring of people’s access to rights and well-being after return.

    - For a video presentation of the police brief, please feel free to check out this recorded webinar organised by Statewatch (starting at 54 minutes: https://www.statewatch.org/publications/events/deportation-union-revamped-return-policies-and-reckless-forced-removals).
    – Thanks to a collaboration with PICUM and a series of artists, we also have an illustrated booklet of selected testimonies. “Removed Stories: Stories of hardship and resilience in facing deportation and its aftermath” (https://picum.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Removed-stories.pdf) highlights the impact of EU return policies on people’s lives and dreams.
    - For a short summary in French of some of the key lessons we can learn from post-return interviews for rights-based return policies, please feel free to explore either the Summary of Workshop - “Au dela du retours” (https://www.vluchtelingenwerk.be/system/tdf/fr_au-dela_du_retour.pdf?file=1&type=document) -organized by a collective of Belgian NGOs (p. 29 - 31) - or this intervention (https://vimeo.com/389291559

    ) at an event organized by the Cimade (starting 14 minutes).

    Few selected tweets by the United Nations University - CRIS:
    UNU - CRIS Tweets:

    - “Returns can create new vulnerabilities for certain profiles of migrants in particular. For example, people might not be vulnerable in Europe but will become so upon deportation to their country of nationality if they do not have families or social networks there, have not spent a significant number of years in their country of nationality (and might thus lack the necessary language skills for basic survival), or had been internally displaced beforehand. Deporting countries should take these specific returnee profiles into consideration when both issuing removal orders and deciding whether and how these removal orders are to be implemented.”
    - “The weakness or strength of people’s social networks in countries of nationality should be part of vulnerability assessments prior to return. Deporting countries should also consider not just existing social policies in countries of nationality, but also real impediments to services and entitlements that returnees will likely face upon return. Such barriers are typically stronger for those who are returned after long periods abroad and for those who have other pre-existing vulnerabilities.”
    - “States need to implement rights-based post-return monitoring. People who suffer from exacerbated or new vulnerabilities are less likely to be able to build up new life projects necessary for their “sustainable reintegration” in countries of nationality. Financial investments into reintegration assistance would thus not be able to achieve declared policy objectives.”

    https://cris.unu.edu/sites/cris.unu.edu/files/PB20.3%20-%20Jill%20Alpes%20and%20Izabella%20Majcher.pdf

    #réintégration #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #expulsions #après-expulsion

    ping @_kg_ @rhoumour @karine4

  • La proposition d’#égaliberté", Étienne Balibar

    Cet ouvrage rassemble deux séries d’essais, écrits sur une période de vingt ans (1989-2009) : les uns, philosophiques, portent sur l’énonciation et l’institution des #droits_fondamentaux, au cours d’un processus inséparable des #luttes d’émancipation de la modernité ; les autres sont des interventions dans l’actualité politique française, à propos d’événements qui ont eu un retentissement mondial en raison des problèmes qu’ils révélaient (en particulier l’interdiction des « signes religieux » dans les établissements scolaires et les émeutes des banlieues en 2005).
    Leur point de rencontre est une problématique des antinomies de la citoyenneté, en tant qu’institution du politique que son rapport originaire à la démocratie oblige en permanence à repenser ses conditions de légitimité et de transformation. Leur horizon est un projet collectif de démocratisation de la démocratie, seule alternative au processus de « dé-démocratisation » enclenché par la crise de l’État national social, et accéléré par la mondialisation néo-libérale.
    Le recueil inclut la réédition de l’essai de 1989, « La proposition de l’égaliberté », dont les formulations sont associées au point de vue « post-marxiste » défendu par l’auteur en philosophie politique. Il s’achève par un essai inédit sur la « co-citoyenneté », appliquant à la circulation des migrants les principes d’une démocratie sans exclusion. Entre ces pôles, ont été insérés plusieurs essais critiques (sur Rancière et Esposito, Poulantzas, Arendt, Laclau), esquissant une topique des courants les plus significatifs en philosophie de la démocratie.

    https://www.puf.com/content/La_proposition_de_l%C3%A9galibert%C3%A9
    #égalité #liberté #Balibar #Etienne_Balibar

  • #Frontex categorically denies any involvement of its officers in violations of fundamental rights. We condemn any form of inhumane treatment, unprocessed returns and any other form of violence which are illegal under the European Charter for Fundamental Rights.

    https://twitter.com/Frontex/status/1158393650356920322

    –-> ce tweet date de 2019, mais j’archive au cas où...

    #hypocrisie #frontières #Frontex #asile #migrations #réfugiés #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #traitements_inhumains #traitements_dégradants #tweet

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Open-source #satellite data to investigate #Xinjiang concentration camps

    The second part of this series discusses techniques on how to analyse a dire human rights situation in and around Xinjiang’s re-education and detention facilities.

    A pressing need to investigate characteristics of Xinjiang’s detention camps

    The story has been widely covered. Calls by human rights advocates to define China’s practices as ‘genocide’ grow louder. Hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims detained in internment camps. Many still are.

    “Inmates undergo months or years of indoctrination and interrogation aimed at transforming them into secular and loyal supporters of the party”, the New York Times wrote and published documents that unmistakably prove a dire human rights situation in the west of China.

    First China denied the camps ever existed. Then the Chinese consulate doesn’t bother anymore to play a smoke and mirror game and admits: “Xinjiang has set up vocational education and training centres in order to root out extreme thoughts…”. Their purpose: ‘compulsory programs for terrorist criminals’.

    Now, the language changed again. China’s President said the ‘strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct.’

    Unacceptable (and unwise) of some to deny it. Social media commentators, some who are frequently quoted by large media organisations, keep casting doubt on the tragic story. Margaret_Kimberley tweeted — after an ITV news report emerged — “These are lies. There is no evidence of Uighur concentration camps. More hybrid war against China” (it received 2,000 likes).

    While there is no room left to doubt that these camps do exist, there remains vast uncertainty whether investigative journalists and human rights advocates located all facilities spread out across the province.

    Researchers/journalists who made it their beat to find them, like Nathan Ruser at Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), says “we don’t believe that we have found them all”, after posting 380 facilities online.

    Germany’s chancellor last week said China’s President Xi offered delegates to send envoys to visit Xinjiang province [and camps] to see for themselves. Chances increase to see more of the so-called ‘show camps’ for a short period of time or as long as the visits take (the BBC encountered it when it visited last time). Xi also ensured that there will be an ‘ongoing human-rights dialogue’. But Ursula von der Leyen tweeted “a lot remains to be done .. in other chapters of our relations”.

    Satelite investigations exposing more and more evidence. OSINT journalists rely on them. It’s one reason why some open-source intelligence journalism colleagues keep hearing rumours that some of the camps may have moved underground (e.g. detention in under-surface facilities) to hide from the spying eyes and scrutiny of satellite data analysts (we don’t have proof for this thesis but I encourage you to reach out if you have evidence).
    Mounting number of facilities

    The number of confirmed facilities steadily grew. A 2018 BBC investigation looked at 101 campsites, which got pinpointed via various media reports and academic research, the author says.

    Most recently, Buzzfeed investigated 268 compounds, many from previous lists I worked on too. In February, the list of ‘confirmed re-education camps’, so lower-security sites, mainly for indoctrination purposes, was limited to mere 50 facilities. ‘Confirmed’ in this context means they have been validated by eye-witness reports. Back then, there were another 170 that had yet to be confirmed.

    It is of vital importance to keep this investigation rolling. This means to forensically document the changes in these camps and to spend more time on characterizing each detail. ASPI just dropped a new list and we are going to work with that one instead of the original 50 we received (the list can be downloaded here and geodata that can be simply dragged and dropped into QGIS and Google Earth Pro, it is available here).

    Finally, news broke via Reuters (and research by Adrian Zenz) that evidence of forced labour is mounting also in Tibet (we will look into this later, too).
    List of ‘expanded camps’ extended

    Earlier in the year US-based Uighure group ETNAM shared a list with around 50 confirmed sites. We and others scrutinised this list on increased activity on the ground via aggregated satellite remote sensing data (link). The list was shared as klm. file. It helped enormously with going through them one by one. All the coordinates as well as the Chinese names of the places are accessible via Google Earth Pro. Now that ASPI dropped a new list with coordinates and updated 2020 records, some of the work we have started can be extended and match.

    Because we are most interested in the camps that got expanded (so buildings or features were added), we will concentrate on the list of facilities that were developed. It includes a list of 61 sites.

    Why is the onus on expanded camps? In addition to the characteristics ASPI added as classifiers, the extended camps might tell us where the local administration invests and where forced labour in the firm of Uighur prisoners went. We added a few more details for each facility that we thought was worth looking at (see sheet above).
    We will go through various ways to characterise/investigate facilities and their surroundings

    First significant markers includes the size of the camps. That includes quantitative details such as the number of buildings on the premise and adjacent to it. We will go through how to compare them. There are the walls of camps that are usually quite straight-lined. Their height, which we will define and validate, and the walls’ thickness may tell us something about recent developments (e.g. how secure the sites are, or were meant to be).

    Guard towners are also a quantifiable element. ASPI and others counted them. Because they can be seen from outside they may act as a signal to local residents. That is also likely the reason why those facilities that have some or all of their towers removed recently tend to locate closer to residential buildings (see my stats below).

    These changes are further revealing as they may tell us something about how the local government in various parts of the region varied in their response to international pressure (or not, by keeping them in place). ‘A lot [camps] had their security features removed in the second half of 2019’, Zenz explained. Some remained in place (important to add here, it remains doubtful that conditions improved inside of the camps, even if towers or security features were removed).

    Zenz has an explanation for some of the changes: “On the same time they invited all these delegations and visitors, they released a lot of people. If you release a lot of people, you can afford to run with fewer security features. That can still be run like an internment camp, I’m sure”. We will look closer at what has changed ourselves.

    Including those features above, there are a number of other aspects to take into account. We put them into the list below — each will be discussed separately:

    What blue factory buildings in and around camps can tell us
    What typical ‘prison features’ tell us
    What cars in parking lots tell us about personnel working at the facilities during Covid-19
    What walls can tell us
    What guard towers can tell us
    What sports facilities can tell us
    What the shapes/types of buildings and location can tell us
    What agricultural space (e.g. fields) around the camps can tell us
    What potential crematory sites reveal
    What Xinjiang’s export tell us
    What population/urbanisation numbers tell us about internment and surveillance
    What Baidu maps can tell us

    Blue-roofed factory buildings

    In satellite images, they are very pronounced with their blue coating. They may also heat up in the summer.

    Most of them are factory buildings, has been reported. You can see them added in and around camp facilities, whether they are low or high security premises.

    We can quantify them by counting them or via quantifying the space they take up. ASPIT decided to count them, though some buildings are smaller and other are massive. Google Earth has a polygon area measuring tool. A third option is to write a statistical model to calculate square meters factory floor space. If you are lazy you can consult a service that helps you with that via a visual detection algorithm — it calculates the area and records the number of blue roof buildings for a given satellite image.

    One of the camps that expanded in the past two years is the tier 1 low-security re-education facility in Bugur in Bayingolu (41.808855284.3005783). It has a dense network of factory buildings nearby (around 23) and within its own walls there are eight. We used ASPI’s data to confirm this that noted: ‘considerable room for expansion’.

    Let’s run the classification system over it and classify how much blue-roofed buildings that scatter around the camp can we count (importantly not all are factory spaces but many will be).

    On the AI model: I downloaded the images with their highest resolution from Google Earth. To make the image a bit clearer for the model, I adjusted the brightness, upped the contrast and tinkered with the exposure. We can see the blue buildings, roughly in a radius of 1.5 to 2 miles (see image), account for about 1,464.9 m² (0.15ha). The number of little blue buildings expanded considerably since 2014 where they accounted for 1,022m2 (0.10 ha) — sadly we only have an image for 2014 and one for 2019.

    Short intersection on the availability of images available in Google Earth:

    Some of the important images to document the progression of these camps are missing. Some camps have a mere handful of publically available images (as in the case above). This is appalling and private satellite image companies need to be nudged to make more images public. Especially for the latest developments, this is urgently needed. Researchers noted down the latest dates for which images are available at the time of writing. Below we see them grouped by months, and then by facility category (tier 1 to 4).

    What about bias to provide fewer updates on higher-security facilities? We don’t have much to go in here (there is no direct evidence that western satellite companies are being pressured into not publishing their images for camps on Google). Despite only a few camps that didn’t get updated at all over the past two years, we can see at the time of writing that Google and others hold more images for lower tier facilities (1 and 2) than for higher-security facilities (tier 3 and 4):

    Continuing on the factories, another example is the facility in Maralbeshi County (39°49’7.84"N, 78°31’4.37"E). It was erected around 2017/2018. In Google Earth, you can see how the blue-roofed buildings surround the internment complex. Note, how the larger blue factory complexes to the left and right were there before the camp was erected.

    In other words, the camp was planned and embedded into existing factory operation. It further corroborates a thesis that factory work by prisoners (in the form of forced labour), was part of a grander plan all along (though, to be certain, looking at satellite images alone does not suffice).

    Adrain Zenz thinks blue roof factories is something that warrants looking into in more detail. A bunch of these blue roof factory building were erected in 2018, especially in the second half. Zenz explains it’s important timing because the policy documents on forced labour, as explained in his post from last December, shows that a lot of this kind of policy was released in the first half or mid of 2018.

    A recent Buzzfeed investigation did mention blue roofs but surprisingly didn’t pay more attention to the matter. The factories grow in importance as the forced labour of imprisoned groups is being increasingly ‘commercialised’.

    ASPI’s data recorded the distance (measured in km I assume) between the 380 facilitates and the local/nearest industrial parks — where some of the forced labour could have moved to put to work. The data categorizes facilities in four areas of security (ranging from Tier 1= re-education camp to Tier 4= prison facility). Tear two and tier three camps tend to be located more closely to the industrial centre of the towns, the data suggests (see chart below):

    Zenz adds: “what’s significant is the sudden increase of blue roof, single story, flat type factory buildings. It’s consistent with policy, and also release, the Karakax list also talks about people being released into forced labour. A lot of that took place in 2019.”

    The blue metal barracks found in Dabancheng shining light yellow in the sentinel IR images as they are being reflected. Low res Sentinel 2 data also suggests that these metal-like structures in the south of the Payzawat camp (Payzawat County, 39.538372, 76.713606) may also heat up in the summer. SWIR (short-wave infrared imagery) and NIR can be used for heat monitoring.

    Prisons features: camps that imprisoned people become more ‘secure’ not less:

    Among the around 60 camps that have expanded recently, half of it are tier 3 or tier 4 facilities —detention centers and prisons with high security features.

    While it is true that some camps removed some of the towers and other security features (labelled ‘desecuritisation’ by ASPI’s records), others increased theirs. Those happened to be facilities that are detention centres and prison. In the context that Chinese authorities moved prisoners to these more secure facilities with less transparency and harsher treatments, this is cause for concern.

    Let’s look at an example. From the list of expanded camps, there is the camps Yarkant Facility in the Kashgar prefecture (38.351531177.3055467). Since 2018, we saw a nearly 10,000 m2 large factory compound built (compare images from 5/8/2018 with 1/21/2018). Then, a year later, watch downers got added. There are now 8 towners. For such a small facility that’s quite conspicuous. The reason it’s a high-security prison facility.

    Newly built detention/prison facilities created between 2018 and 2020 are of special interest. Camps like the tier 3 (detention) camp of Sanji Facility (#3, 44.102764,86.9960751), a with several watchtowers and an external wall is important as we can follow the progression of each step of the building process with high-resolution images.

    The location was probably chosen because of a lower-security area nearby, north of the facility (3/7/2018). Building must have started in the summer. A couple of months after the last shot (8/11/2018) the blue-roofed factory gets built-in the north-west of the camp (a reason to assume a direct relationship there) and within two weeks in August the main building takes shape. At the same time, the walls get erected and we can make out the layout of the facility with its heavy concrete structures.

    We can see, those are fundamentally different from building built in other lower-security camps. Then two months later it’s almost completed.

    The speed of building is noteworthy (better trackable if we had access to a more continuous stream of images). From the few images we have above and those from Sentinel 2, below, we can assume that it took the developers between three to four months in pure building time to pull it up — an astonishing pace. China is renowned for its fast building pace. For many other areas, such as coal plants and artificial island-building its cookie-cutter approach — where blueprints are being re-used over and over again - it permits building more quickly.

    Other who looked at the situation in Xinjiang reported that many Uighurs held in lower-tier facilities could have been moved/transferred to higher-tier prisons. In other words, despite some re-education camps have experienced ‘de-securitisation’, half of the camps that expanded are higher security facilities, so tier 3 (detention) or tier 4 (prison) camp facilities.

    What parking lots tell us about the camps during Covid-19

    I believe this topic has largely remained unexplored. Busy parking lots are one way to tell how many staff members are on site. Especially interesting it this for the recent month that were affected by coronavirus. We dont know much about the conditions inside of the facilities.

    But with fewer staff members around (and fewer visitors allowed — previous reporting has revealed that detention centres have ‘small visitor centres’), the lives of inmates may have worsened. There was some reporting that Covid-19 cases spiralled in the province of Xinjiang and some expressed concern that cases could spread within camps. It’s possible, no doubt. With only a few cases in the whole region, though, the risk is lower.

    Pandemic related fears may have affected the material and food supply. Sick imprisoned detainees may go without healthcare treatment for weeks or months. All these are assumptions for which we have little evidence. But the possibility alone raises concerns. If it is true that prisoners remained in the facilities during Covid, they could have suffered from the absence of staff and proper care.

    From satellite images, it is hard to know — though there is some evidence from an eyewitness account shared by a historian, a Georgetown professor on his Medium page.

    We might be able to tell how many temporary people were on sites (those that use their car to leave for the night). Counting vehicles at nearby car parks is one way.

    At some facilities, we can clearly see the parking lot. An example is Ghulja City (43°58’37.52"N, 81° 8’18.98"E). It’s a fairly large car park. We can use Picterra system (there is a 10 day free trial version) to check the satellite images for May 23 — thought there isn’t much to count, the car park is empty.

    Seven months earlier, on October 24th of 2019, we count around 120 cars (with some false positives, but that’s good enough for us). The algo gives you a count so you don’t have to count the red boxes one by one. Once trained, we can run it on subsequent images.

    Let’s walk you through how to train and count the cars. I simplify here (a more complete tutorial can be found here and in their platform). First, we use one of the images to train the algorithm on the cars in the car park. Then we run it on the other pictures. It’s neat and simple (and quick if you don’t have time to run your own statistical model in python).

    The number of vehicles dropped during the heights of Covid-19.

    We could do this for other confirmed location such as the facility in Chochek City (Tǎchéng Shì, 46°43’3.79"N, 82°57’15.23"E) where car numbers dropped in April. We see this in many other facilities (for those that expanded).

    Hotan City Facility #1 (37.1117019, 79.9711546) with 81 cars in the parking lot at the end of 2019 dropped to 10 during the height of the pandemic. Similar developments have been perceived at Hotan County Facility 1 (37.2420734 79.8595074), Ghulja Facility 1 (43.9756437 81.5009539) and a number of others.
    Calculating rooms and capacity

    How many people fit in a facility. If we take the example of the re-education camp in Chochek City ( 46°43’3.79"N, 82°57’15.23"E), we have high res Google images for the end of March and end of April of 2020. We can see the thin middle part is three stories high and in earlier images (Jul 18, 19) we can see the southern part is four stories high. In 2018, we got an image of the foundation when it was built. This provides enough detail to calculate that the facility has around 367 rooms — for the total t-shaped building with the arms.

    –—

    –—

    In the example above, we shouldn’t be too sure that alls detainees were kept in the facility during Covid. Some reports claim that some of the other lower security re-education centres kept people ‘only during the day for indoctrination classes’ (it’s certainly different for the high-security prison facility that is also on the premise of the Payzawat facility, see in the south, with their towers).

    Comparing camp sizes

    The total size of the camps matters, especially when they get extended. Most of the camps have clear wall frames build around them. It’s one of the most important and simple characteristics. The wall frames makes it relatively easy to draw shapes in your geolocation system of choice (the sheer size of the walls, might be less ideal to gauge the number of prisoners).

    Some have vast empty space in between might suggest that other faculty sections or factory buildings are due to be added. Some are cramped with building.

    Tracing and calculating the area of wall frames in Google Earth for some of the largest camps, we get what we already knew:

    To emulate the work ASPI’s data was posted here. A number of track and trace tutorials for Google Earth (one here on measuring property space) are available on YouTube.
    Staking out camp size:

    The Qariqash County/قاراقاش ناھىيىسى‎ /墨玉县(Mòyù Xiàn, 37° 6’44.88"N, 79°38’32.71"E) sits in the South of the large stretch of desert.

    We use the polygon tool in Google Earth to stake out the clearly marked walls. You usually end up with a rectangle. Under measurements (right-click on the item) you can see the perimeter is around 1.65 km and the area is roughly 16.7 hectares (0.17 square km).

    Now we can compare it with another one on the list, the camp in Aqsu City (41°11’27.12"N, 80°16’25.08"E). It’s markedly smaller, with a perimeter of 1.1km and only an area of 5.65 hectares. There are other ways to do this in QGIS, a geoinformation system more efficiently.
    What can walls and towers tell us?

    How tall are walls at some of the camps? The answer varies across the vast variety of facilities. Height may tell us something about who built the camp and the level of security. It’s unsurprising to find different heights at different camps built by different planners.

    Where we don’t have shades available, we can check the two images above and reference them with the people in the image and define the height this way. Another standard way to calculate height is using the shades by the walls and towers and calculate the height via Google Earth and SunCalc.

    The shade of the southern wall in the satellite image from 03/19/2020 for the Dabancheng camp is around 7.62 meters long. The towers on the southern wall for those dates result in a height of around ~8meters.

    But the images in the Reuters shots look different. That’s why they were taken a year or two earlier. Satellite images from 4/22/2018 show clearly the octagonal shapes of the tower shades. If we calculate again, the shade of the tower is around 9 meters long, translating into around 14 meters in height.

    We do this for the wall as well. What we find is that, although the towers disappeared (though, some are still there, just not protruding so visibly), the only thing that really changed is the height of the walls — now around 13.5m tall, compared with 9.5m in 2018. The same towners, removed from one Dabancheng camp, then re-emerged half a kilometre south-east at the other newly built one (2019).

    Why are we even bothering measuring height? On one hand we want to answer how security changed across the camps. Are walls getting higher? Do they change in their layout. It helps to classify the type of camps. The higher the walls, the more secure they probably were meant to be. Higher wall might mean higher chance that prisoners are held at facilities over night. It also may help to disprove claims by XJ denialists.

    We can verify the Suncalc analysis with images. Cherchen County, for which we reviewed images for 12/14/19 shows roughly the same height. Explainer how to measure the height of an object from satellite image available here and here.

    The number of press images of the camps is limited. Most are by Reuters or AFP/Badung Police. It is this one here (37°14’29.78"N, 79°51’35.00"E). More local street footage, though not of camps, might be obtainable via Mapillary.

    Buildings shapes/outlines and location of camps

    Let’s start with the location of the facilities first. ASPI recorded the type of security for its 380 odd facilities, and for many the distance to populated areas such as residential buildings. When local administration planned on where to place the facilities they might have taken into account how the neighbouring public should (or shouldn’t) perceived them. More secluded camps are more hidden from public scrutiny. Those near people’s homes or schools may be placed there to have the opposite effect.

    What’s immediately apparent when running a few inferential statistics on the records is that the more secure detention centres tend to be kept further away from buzzing residential areas — meaning, further away than for instance Tier 1 re-education camps, which are often nestled between residential parts of cities, or occupying old schools.

    Agriculture/fields around the camps — investigating forced labour by detainees

    Identifying agricultural fields near or around facilities may reveal some potential aspects of how forced labour in the camps were used in close vicinity.

    Especially for secluded faculties, with not much else urban life going on (so reducing the possibility that other local farmers were involved in working the them), the chance increases that Uighurs detained were used.

    One example is the facility near Yingye’ercun, in Gulja, with a 0.16km2 large campground (43°58’37.52"N, 81° 8’18.98"E). The farming area that was developed since 2018 (shortly after the multistorey buildings was built in the core of the facility) spans 1.7km2 and is clearly marked (which includes the facility itself, see in red below).

    In other words, once the camp was built the fields surrounding it got worked and developed— unlikely to be only a convenient coincident. The nearby factory complex was also extended.

    Often it warrant also checking with Sentinel 2 images on EO browser. In this case, it’s useful because it allows us to visualise agricultural development via its invisible light remote sensing capabilities. Additional bands (which Google images lack) give access to the invisible spectrum and shows the agricultural expansion (here shown in red via the false colour composite, commonly used to assess plant density and health, “since plants reflect near-infrared and green light, while they absorb red”. Exposed ground are grey or tan, vegetation is red).
    Image for post

    Another camp in this regard is the Maralbeshi Facility (#6) in Kashgar (39.7406222 78.0115086) with lots of fields surrounding it.

    Why is the forced labour aspect in Xinjiang’s agriculture so important in this debate? For one, it’s part of the human rights abuse that more and more governments and industry leaders recognise (such as Swedish company H&M, who profited from cotton supplies and other kinds within their supply chain). Some decided to cut ties with suppliers in the region. It may the answer for the short term. In the long run, western businesses much apply pressure to get suppliers on their own to dissuade local forced labour practices (see example on ads that emerged to sell Uighur forced labour online).

    According to the ILO Forced Labour Convention from 1930, forced or compulsory labour is defined as ‘all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily’.
    Sports grounds: (basketball and other sports courts)

    Some found value in observing their development. BBC’s John Sudworth found that just before a press tour organised for his press teams two years ago the appearance of recreational areas altered. In some of the places they were taken to, satellite images and the internal security fencing — and what looked like watchtowers- where taken down shortly before the tours for journalists began. Specifically on sports grounds, they noticed that empty exercise yards have been transformed into sports facilities.

    The reporters asked: if the journalists have been presented with mere ‘show camps’, what may this say about the places they were not taken to. Sport facilities are quite easy to spot from satellite. The BBC travelled to Kaxgar in the very east of the region, about 100km south of Kazakhstan’s border. Their footages shows how the camp put up courts shortly before the press trip. But they didn’t last long. We found evidence that these very courts disappeared again in early 2020 (see below).

    In one of the camps in Qariqash (37°15’32.54"N, 79°44’52.08"E) the sports facilities were made unavailable as recently as July. Now big brown sheets, what looks like blankets with knobs on them, cover them. Those have never appeared on satellite images before and extend to the soccer field in the north and the big parking lot next to the sports courts.

    I have mixed feelings about recreational activities. We must strongly doubt that they benefit people held for indoctrination. So are they only a smoke and mirror game to show the friendliness of re-educational camps? Or are they actually benefiting the imprisoned? It is hard to say. In recent time, they are more likely to be added than removed. In around 37 facilities on the ASPI list basketball courts, running tracks or other sports fields were noted to have been added or extended.

    When we compare the average distance of residential building for these places (1.2km) with the average distance of all the places where we have a record on the distance to buildings (1.8km), we find the recreational activities might be used as an element to signal the locals that the facilities have those recreational features.

    Dabancheng has one court in the western block and a number of other ones in the centre part. In the eastern wing, there is nothing. We haven’t got any further high res satellite images on Dabancheng (other than those until March 2020, that leaves only checking Sentinel 2 images or commercial images).

    I am going to stop here. The analysis of recreational areas yielded rather little, for me and the folks at ASPI. “I don’t think the sports grounds mean much in the detention regime”, Nathan Ruser says. If you have more info do reach out or leave a comment.
    Crematories

    The New York Times followed the lead of findings (that emerged last year, also mentioned in the state.gov report) and check the extent of description of religious sites and burial grounds. In September, the team reported that ‘thousands of religious sites’, such as mosques, shrines and other sites were bulldozed or replaced.

    As many burial grounds disappeared and people within camps families have never heard from again, the question of how Uighurs’ life proceeded became more pressing. Crematories may be one aspect. Some anecdotal evidence by a source spoke of a nascent growth of crematory sites in the areas near camps. This appears important in the context of how prisoners are treated in facilities and what happens if they die and at what rates.

    High prevalence of tuberculosis in facilities worries insiders. TB is spread via droplets through the air by someone who is infected. It’s especially deadly when the immune system of those who caught it, can’t cope with it. With the conditions reported by some of the eyewitnesses, it is feasible that the hard conditions prisoners are being subjected to, could enhance the deadliness of TB.

    The think tank which produced a previous list of facilities searched and found a handful of crematories (I don’t think they concluded the research and it continues, perhaps with your help of OSINT research).

    The reason why crematories are of interest is that Uighur are Muslim, Muslims don’t burn the bodies of their dead. They bury them (creation is strictly forbidden). Seeing more crematories pop up might be a first clue on whether dead bodies from detention facilities are being burned. We have to stress here, we have to be extremely careful with drawing quick conclusions, the base of evidence is thin. One would need to check local statistics and cross-examine them with other data source.

    We will concentrate only on the sites itself. The ‘unconfirmed sample of crematory’ consists of ten sites. These are listed below. Just a word of warning. Feel free to investigate them further — either via additional satellite footage or on-site visits. Nonetheless, these get us started. The first three are confirmed by eyewitness accounts or local records (as far as I was told, this is sadly only secondary research).

    Cr_Gholja_01 (Existed, 44° 0’17.86"N, 81°13’40.43"E); Cr_Artush_01(Existed, 39°44’35.47"N, 76°12’7.49"E); Urumchi 2 Funeral Parlor (Existed, 43°54’55.20"N; 87°36’9.01"E)

    Cri_Hotan01_(Suspected)
    Cr_Artush_02 (Suspected)
    Cr_Hotan_02(Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_02 (Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_01 (Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_01(Suspected)
    CrArtush_02 (Suspected)

    Now let’s take a look at the characteristics of the confirmed crematories. They have some distinctive shapes, including a rectangular architecture, walls or a treeline that fence the premises (framed in black). Where marked ‘burial grounds’, I was unable to confirm this but checked with a few other sites mentioned in the coverage that was exposed in 2019 and it looked similar (in short, more time needs to be spent on this).

    What helped the researchers identify the confirmed ones? According to the source, the Chinese called them ‘burial management facilities’. It’s apparently a euphuism for ‘crematories’. The Chinese government bulldozed some burial grounds with the justification that they would take up too much space which was covered in the 2019 reporting.

    The other aspect is whether relatives receive the body of loved ones that die in the camps. Salih Hudayar (now Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile) says he had a relative who died in a facility (he don’t know whether in the camps or the prison) and his family was not able to have his body returned. He thinks that many other Uighurs have not had the body of a deceased family members returned to them. He assumes they are being cremated as no record exists of a burial site.

    More crematories are only possible if you have employees who staff and run them. The Chinese government tried to find those employees online. “We assume they are being cremated because the government ran job ads and offering high salaries to work on these [crematory] sites”, he added.

    The suspected crematory facilities were then modelled upon the layout of the existing/confirmed ones — e.g. compared with buildings in and around the area. “We found a couple, but we are not 100% sure”, the source admits. Here OSINT journalists could become useful (let me know if you have intel on this matter to follow up with).

    On the description in 2019: evidence surfaced that 45 Uighur cemeteries have been destroyed since 2014, including 30 in just the past two years (research was carried out by AFP and satellite imagery by Earthrise Alliance, here reported by the SCMP).
    What population/urbanisation numbers tell us about internment

    Salih Hudayar explained that what worries him is that population statistics don’t square. An often-cited figure of 7 million Uighurs in the province is much lower than the official estimates of the Uighur people.

    The number often used is 12 million Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs. The number could be higher. Especially in the villages — Uighurs are allowed to have only three kids — some families have more than that and don’t register their offspring, as a result, many kids lack birth certificates. Other figures on the number of Uighur population is much taller (larger than twice of the 12 million figure, but remains hard to confirm that. The closes figure the Chinese government will have internally after the government’s extensive and invasive security and surveillance campaigns, in part to gain information regarding individuals’ religious adherence and practices).

    The rising number of orphanages and kindergartens is also of interest. A satellite and local administrative data analysis should track them. The premise here: the more aggressive the detention of families are in XJ (moving Uighurs from low to higher security facilities), demand for places that house children increases. More orphanages and child-caring facilities could be revealed.
    What can exports tell us about forced labour?

    The type of exports of a region can help to figures out what to look for when it comes to forced labour. Increasingly, the international textile and fashion industry wakes up to reputational damage if supply chains incorporate Xinjiang forced labour. EU leaders held a meeting with China’s president Xi last week where Xi ‘rejected’ foreign [political] meddling in his nation’s affairs. But businesses have more leverage. Xinjiang is busy trading with foreign powers. The Chinese province accounted for a large part of the world’s supply in cotton. Exports amounted to $19.3bn according to export documents (export data for the west of China can be found in China’s official data stats, Stats.gov.cn, customs.gov.cn, or mofcom — this might be useful. Comparing what the government reports and what’s happening on the ground might reveal discrepancies, as it did before).

    Exports (to Europe, across the silk road to the west) is directly connected at A busy train station connecting to the neighbouring country of Kazakstan in the northeast (the export route is called Ala Pass. A short promotional video here). Given the rebound of the Chinese economy, the shipments/trainloads must have increased in May after the effects of the pandemic subsided. What’s unclear is to what extent and whether that matches what the government said.

    Satellite images might reveal discrepancies when train containers at the Dzungarian Gate (the Dzungarian Alatau mountain range along the border between Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) are analysed. It’s the main connection between China and the west.

    The main railway station in Xinjiang for the Alataw pass is the Alashankou railway station (situated here: 45°10′13″N 82°34′13″E). It’s the last resort for export containers before entering Kazakhstan.

    OSINT journalists may be able to gauge Xinjiang export traffic by counting the number of containers on rail tracks. It might be laborious effort, not sure if it yields anything.

    More useful would it be to monitor the use of agriculture and factories in the nearby vicinity of camps, as shown before. Or perhaps they can be linked up.
    Baidu maps: Checking what the Chinese tech companies are ‘hiding’:

    The Chinese government may have little interest to showcase their human-rights violations which they deem as justified (Xi’s statement). Satellite images on Baidu Maps show maps that hide most of the facility. What to make of it? Google Earth lets you upload so-called ‘overlays’. If you stretch them to the right size you can compare the uploaded screenshot (we took from Baidu) with those present in Google Earth. For Tumshuq City/تۇمشۇق شەھىرى/图木舒克市(Túmùshūkè Shì) (39°54’40.02"N, 79° 1’26.09"E), see below.

    Why is Baidu’s involvement increasing relevant? On one hand, it is important to see the connection between private sector companies and the government. Chinese satellites are able to update and provide high-resolution images to the maps on Baidu. But they don’t. We had a similar debate on Twitter, that some government used to press companies to blur our images. But because images are available on other platforms ‘unblurred’, the practice was largely discontinued (there are still examples but they are getting fewer). One reason is that if a blurred area appears, it signals others to be extra vigilant and look out for other images. Instead, what increasing happens is that companies with private satellite are ordered not to release them (read more about the debate here).

    Baidu map’s decision to not show images on certain facilities have backfired. It can be reverse-engineered. Areas where images are unavailable became extra interesting. In this way Buzzfeed used Baidu Maps to their advantage. They located/confirmed some of the camps because of it. This way, they turned shortcoming into an opportunity. You may want to be quick in replicating this principle for other parts of the country where forced labour/detention camps are expected (e.g. Tibet). Such loopholes will usually be fixed swiftly.

    Bit more on the tech. According to a 2019 report by Human Rights Watch, Baidu’s map function used in the IJOP app, a controversial system used by the police and the state that generates “a massive dataset of personal information, and of police behaviour and movements in Xinjiang (it is not known how the authorities plan to use such data): The IJOP app logs the police officer’s GPS locations and other identifying information when they submit information to the IJOP app. The IJOP app uses a map functionality by Baidu, a major Chinese technology company, for purposes including planning the shortest route for police vehicle and officers on foot, according to the app’s source code.
    https://miro.medium.com/max/653/1*umOMbKghZDqPPiy0TpGZ7w.png

    What can the camps in Tibet tell us about the camps in Xinjiang?

    Reuters reported just last week that forced labour expanded to Tibet (south of XJ). Reuter’s own reporting corroborated the findings obtained by Adrian Zenz. It would take another post to go into how to investigate the state of transferred Tibetan labourers. The quick and dirty check on the situation shows the merit of using satellite images to investigate grows as foreign journalists are being barred from areas, such as entering the Tibet region (foreign citizens are only permitted on government-approved tours). OSINT lessons from investigating XJ should be applied to Tibet too.

    How does Xinjiang link to Tibet? The former Tibet Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo was chosen for the same job in Xinjiang in 2016 and headed the development of Xinjiang’s camp system, Reuters reported.

    Mass incarceration started before Quanguo came onto the scene: A fanghuiju work team was dispatched to a village in Guma wherein 38 individuals were allegedly detained in a government campaign, in early 2016 — it’s true however that Party Secretary Quanguo, appointed in August 2016, who waged a ‘Strike Hard Campaign’ against violent activities and terrorism increased repression.

    In an article last year, The Print used satellite images to prove that at least three Tibetan “re-education camps” are currently under construction. The author of the survey was Vinayak Bha, an ex-colonel retired from the Indian military intelligence unit.

    Col Vinayak Bhat (@rajfortyseven on Twitter) found three camps in 2018/2019 and share them. One of them is the one in Botuocun (see below). Bha writes about Chinese military deployment dynamics. The temple of Tibetan Buddhism is a ‘concentration camp’ that is surrounded by high walls and guard towers and has the same structural design as a prison. It is feasible that China’s mass detention to spread to Tibetans. Methods will likely base on the model executed in XJ.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*ln7TsCnetV75EKNcv4LBJg.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*DtJKKnYJUH1K7p1_Pyyicw.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*4dU7K9DK9agNbitNmLBT4g.png

    The reports of the three camps emerged in 2019. “Small-scale versions of similar military-style training initiatives have existed in the region for over a decade, but construction of new facilities increased sharply in 2016, and recent policy documents call for more investment in such sites”, one report stated. Looking at the three sites, some of them are quite old but the one below is less than three years old.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*xFr73HSkbxVqDGNgicuVCQ.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*Ylxp6Hk1Nj8AAkvvxXI21Q.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/278/1*a4UgMAeLCBp9LvRfOuf6Tw.png
    The allegation is that these facilities are now be used as detention centres for political indoctrination. “The detainees are allegedly used as forced labour in government factories and projects during the day time or as per shift timings”. It is something that rings true under the light of camps in Xinjiang but we lack evidence from the satellite images.

    There is some evidence that additional factory buildings were added. For the facility above, buildings in the upper east wing, with red roofing was added recently. Their layout reminds us of the blue-roofed buildings in and scattered around Xinjiang facilities, which we also have present: “This architecture is bang on a XJ prison, [though] with a different style roof”, Ruser said.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/512/1*GL1DwZmaqVdgUtaWsZHWdA.png

    https://miro.medium.com/max/303/1*Jr03h6ADK4_iNNfYP5YLkA.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/328/1*RyzDtEa9SjE0WsBSwUaMfA.png

    The prison layout from the older prison facility above — with its long and vertically arranged wings and the rippled features — is similar to prisons seen in Xinjian, such as the two portrayed below (one at Qariqash County at 37° 6’44.88"N, 79°38’32.71"E and the other facility in 39°25’54.60”N, 76° 3’20.59"E).
    https://miro.medium.com/max/389/1*w01GGfJZZlcNCWm5MR4csQ.png

    Closing remarks:

    There is a mountain of stuff not included here. This is a training post and not an investigation with full-rested conclusion. This post should encourage other open-source investigative journalists to look into the facilities, follow their own reporting and help monitor developments/details that others may have missed.

    At present there are only a handful of OSINT journalists looking into it. Even fewer have the time to continuously keep this rolling, e.g. analysing the camps as other stories press them to move on.

    We need more eyes on this. The alleged human right abuse must receive all the international scrutiny it can get. People like Shawn Zhang and others with Nathan Ruser and APSI) started the journey. Other journalists must continue and expand on it.

    Also, the more open we are about sources and the analysis (hopefully) the fewer people might try to cast doubt on the existence of the camps (good thread here)

    OSINT techniques used must master the skill to help others to replicate the findings, step by step. That’s the reason this post resulted more in a hands-on tutorial than an explanatory post. I encourage anyone to start looking into the human rights abuse (though, I must stress, be careful to draw quick conclusions. Instead, share what you see on satellite images with the community of serious journalists and OSINT investigators).

    One last thought on commercial satellite imagery companies. It is crucial to get their support on this. For more than 100 camps mentioned in the latest update of the ASPI list (nearly 80 of them high-security detention facilities — classified as tier 3 or 4), we have no updated record of satellite images. This leaves researchers and journalists only to low-resolution devices, by Sentinel 2 images, or beg for images from Maxar or Planet Labs. That’s not good enough. Transparency requires companies inc to make those high-resolution images available, to anyone. Intelligence services should also consider making their high-resolution images available to the public for scrutiny, though, that unlikely to happen.

    https://medium.com/@techjournalism/open-source-satellite-data-to-investigate-xinjiang-concentration-camps-2713c
    #camps_de_concentration #architecture_forensique #images_satellitaires #rééducation #ré-éducation #camps_de_rééducation #Chine #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #Tibet

    ping @reka @isskein @visionscarto

  • The Morals of the Market. Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism

    IN THE MID-1980s, Rony Brauman, who, at the time, was the president of the leading humanitarian organization Médecins sans Frontières, established a new human rights group called Liberté sans Frontières. For the inaugural colloquium, Brauman invited a number of speakers, among them Peter Bauer, a recently retired professor from the London School of Economics. Bauer was an odd choice given that he was a staunch defender of European colonialism; he had once responded to a student pamphlet that accused the British of taking “the rubber from Malaya, the tea from India, [and] raw materials from all over the world,” by arguing that actually “the British took the rubber to Malaya and the tea to India.” Far from the West causing Third World poverty, Bauer maintained that “contacts with the West” had been the primary agents of the colonies’ material progress.

    Bauer hammered on this point at the colloquium, claiming that indigenous Amazonians were among the poorest people in the world precisely because they enjoyed the fewest “external contacts.” Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore, he continued, showed proof of the economic benefits such contacts brought. “Whatever one thinks of colonialism it can’t be held responsible for Third World poverty,” he argued.

    In her illuminating new book, The Morals of the Market: Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism, Jessica Whyte recounts this story only to ask why Brauman, a leading humanitarian activist, invited Bauer — whom the Economist had described as being as hostile to foreign aid as Friedrich Hayek had been to socialism — to deliver a talk during the opening event for a new human rights organization. Her response is multifaceted, but, as she traces the parallel histories of neoliberalism and human rights, it becomes clear that the two projects are not necessarily antithetical, and actually have more in common than one might think.

    Indeed, Liberté sans Frontières went on to play a central role in delegitimizing Third World accounts of economic exploitation. The organization incessantly challenged the accusations that Europe’s opulence was based on colonial plunder and that the world economic system made the rich richer and the poor poorer. And while it may have been more outspoken in its critique of Third Worldism than more prominent rights groups, it was in no way an outlier. Whyte reveals that in the eyes of organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, for instance, the major culprit for the woes of postcolonial states was neither Europe nor the international economic order but rather corrupt and ruthless Third World dictators who violated the rights of their populations as they undermined the development of a free economy. This approach coincides neatly with neoliberal thought.

    Whyte contends that we cannot understand why human rights and neoliberalism flourished together if we view neoliberalism as an exclusively economic doctrine that favors privatization, deregulation, and unfettered free markets over public institutions and government. Although she strives to distinguish herself from thinkers like Wendy Brown and Michel Foucault, she ends up following their footsteps by emphasizing the moral dimension of neoliberal thought: the idea that a competitive market was not “simply a more efficient means of distributing resources; it was the basic institution of a moral and ‘civilised’ society, and a necessary support for individual rights.”

    She exposes how neoliberal ideas informed the intense struggle over the meaning of “human rights,” and chronicles how Western rights groups and neoliberals ultimately adopted a similar interpretation, one that emphasizes individual freedoms at the expense of collective and economic rights. This interpretation was, moreover, in direct opposition to many newly independent postcolonial leaders.

    Whyte describes, for instance, how just prior to the adoption of the two 1966 human rights covenants — the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights — Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of independent Ghana, coined the term “neo-colonialism” to refer to a series of mechanisms that perpetuate colonial patterns of exploitation in the wake of formal independence. Nkrumah “argued that the achievement of formal sovereignty had neither freed former colonies from the unequal economic relations of the colonial period nor given them political control over their own territories,” thus preventing these states from securing the basic rights of their inhabitants. A “state in the grip of neo-colonialism,” he wrote, “is not master of its own destiny.”

    Nkrumah thought that only when postcolonial states fully controlled their natural resources would they be able to invest in the population’s well-being. In the meantime, neo-colonial economic arrangements were denying African states the ability to provide adequate education and health care as well as other economic and social rights to their populations, thus revealing how these economic arrangements were welded in a Gordian knot with international politics. Any attempt to understand one without the other provided a distorted picture of reality.

    Such combining of the economy with the political, however, was anathema to neoliberal thought. In 1927, exactly three decades before Ghana’s new leader led his country to independence, Hayek’s mentor, economist Ludwig von Mises, had already argued that colonialism took advantage of the superior weaponry of the “white race” to subjugate, rob, and enslave weaker peoples. But Mises was careful to distinguish colonial oppression from the economic goals of a competitive market, noting that Britain was different since its form of colonialism pursued “grand commercial objectives.” Similarly, the British economist Lionel Robbins separated the benign economic sphere from the merciless political one, writing in the 1930s that “[n]ot capitalism, but the anarchic political organization of the world is the root disease of our civilization.”

    These thinkers set the tone for many neoliberal economists who have since defined colonial imperialism as a phenomenon of politics, not capitalism, while casting the market as a realm of mutually beneficial, free, peaceful exchange. In this view, it is the political realm that engenders violence and coercion, not the economic sphere. Yet, during the period of decolonization neoliberals also understood that they needed to introduce moral justifications for the ongoing economic exploitation of former colonies. Realizing that human rights were rapidly becoming the new lingua franca of global moral speak, Whyte suggests that they, like Nkrumah, began mobilizing rights talk — except that neoliberals deployed it as a weapon against states who tried to gain control over their country’s natural resources as well as a shield from any kind of criticism directed toward their vision of a capitalist market.

    Their relation to the state was complicated, but was not really different from the one espoused by their liberal predecessors. Neoliberal thinkers understood that states are necessary to enforce labor discipline and to protect corporate interests, embracing states that served as handmaidens to competitive markets. If, however, a state undermined the separation of political sovereignty from economic ownership or became attuned to the demands of its people to nationalize resources, that state would inevitably be perceived as a foe. The solution was to set limits on the state’s exercise of sovereignty. As Friedrich Hayek, the author of The Road to Serfdom, put it, the “taming of the savage” must be followed by the “taming of the state.”

    Shaping the state so that it advances a neoliberal economic model can, however, be a brutal undertaking, and the consequences are likely to generate considerable suffering for large segments of the population. Freed from any commitment to popular sovereignty and economic self-determination, the language of liberal human rights offered neoliberals a means to legitimize transformative interventions that would subject states to the dictates of international markets. This is why a conception of human rights, one very different from the notion of rights advanced by Nkrumah, was needed.

    In Whyte’s historical analysis the free-market ideologues accordingly adopted a lexicon of rights that buttressed the neoliberal state, while simultaneously pathologizing mass politics as a threat to individual freedoms. In a nutshell, neoliberal economists realized that human rights could play a vital role in the dissemination of their ideology, providing, in Whyte’s words, “competitive markets with a moral and legal foundation.”

    At about the same time that neoliberalism became hegemonic, human rights organizations began sprouting in the international arena. By the early 1970s, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists were already active in numerous countries around the globe, and Americas Watch (a precursor to Human Rights Watch) had just been established. According to Samuel Moyn, a professor of history at Yale and author of the best seller The Last Utopia, it was precisely during this period that human rights first achieved global prominence. That Western human rights organizations gained influence during the period of neoliberal entrenchment is, Whyte argues, not coincidental.

    Although Whyte emphasizes the writings of leading neoliberal thinkers, a slightly more nuanced approach would have framed these developments as the reflection of a conjunctural moment, whereby the rise of neoliberalism and of human rights NGOs was itself part of numerous economic, social, and cultural shifts. Chile serves as a good example of this conjuncture, revealing how a combination of historical circumstances led neoliberal economics and a certain conception of human rights to merge.

    Notwithstanding the bloody takeover, the extrajudicial executions, the disappearances and wholesale torture of thousands of dissidents, Hayek’s response to Pinochet’s 1973 coup was that “the world shall come to regard the recovery of Chile as one of the great economic miracles of our time.” Milton Friedman, a key figure in the Chicago School, later echoed this assessment, describing Chile as an economic and political “miracle.” The two Nobel Prize winners were not detached observers, having provided advice to Pinochet on how to privatize state services such as education, health care, and social security, and it was Friedman’s former students, the “Chicago Boys,” who occupied central positions within the authoritarian regime, ensuring that these ideas became policy.

    What is arguably even more surprising is the reaction of human rights organizations to the bloody coup in Chile. Whyte acknowledges that Naomi Klein covered much of this ground in The Shock Doctrine, where she details how Amnesty International obscured the relationship between neoliberal “shock therapy” and political violence. Characterizing the Southern Cone as a “laboratory” for both neoliberalism and grassroots human rights activism, Klein argued that, in its commitment to impartiality, Amnesty occluded the reasons for the torture and killing, and thereby “helped the Chicago School ideology to escape from its first bloody laboratory virtually unscathed.” While Whyte concurs with Klein’s assessment, she has a slightly different point to make.

    To do so, she shows how Samuel Moyn contested Klein’s claim that the human rights movement was complicit in the rise of neoliberalism; he argued that the “chronological coincidence of human rights and neoliberalism” is “unsubstantiated” and that the so-called “Chilean miracle” is just as much due to the country’s “left’s own failures.” Moyn’s comment, Whyte cogently observes, “raises the question of why, in the period of neoliberal ascendancy, international human rights organisations flourished, largely escaping the repression that was pursued so furiously against leftists, trade unionists, rural organizers and indigenous people in countries such as Chile.”

    She points out that the CIA-trained National Intelligence Directorate had instructions to carry out the “total extermination of Marxism,” but in an effort to present Chile as a modern civilized nation, the junta did not disavow the language of human rights, and at the height of the repression allowed overseas human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists to enter the country, giving them extensive freedom of movement.

    Whyte explains that in focusing their attention on state violence while upholding the market as a realm of freedom and voluntary cooperation, human rights NGOs strengthened the great neoliberal dichotomy between coercive politics and free and peaceful markets. Allende’s government had challenged the myth of the market as a realm of voluntary, non-coercive, and mutually beneficial relations, and the Chilean leader paid for it with his life. By contrast, the junta with the Chicago Boys’ aid sought to uphold this myth, while using the state both to enhance a neoliberal economic order and to decimate collective political resistance. Whyte acknowledges that in challenging the junta’s torturous means, human rights NGOs arguably helped restrain the worst of its violence, but they did so at the cost of abandoning the economy as a site of political contestation.

    Whyte’s claim is not simply that the human rights NGOs dealt with political violence in isolation from the country’s economic transformations, as Klein had argued. Rather, she shows that the gap between Amnesty’s version of human rights and the version espoused by postcolonial leaders, like Nkrumah, was wide. Indeed, Amnesty International invoked human rights in a way that had little in common with Nkrumah’s program of economic self-determination, and the organization was even hostile to the violent anti-colonial struggles promoted by UN diplomats from postcolonial societies during the same period. The story of human rights and neoliberalism in Chile is not, as Whyte convincingly shows, simply a story of the massive human rights violations carried out in order to allow for market reforms, or of the new human rights NGOs that contested the junta’s violence. It is also the story of the institutionalization of a conservative and market-driven vision of neoliberal human rights, one that highlights individual rights while preserving the inequalities of capitalism by protecting the market from the intrusions of “the masses.”

    Expanding Whyte’s analysis to the present moment (the book focuses on the years between 1947 and 1987) while thinking of the relation between neoliberalism and human rights as part of a historical conjuncture, it becomes manifest that many if not most human rights NGOs operating today have been shaped by this legacy. One of its expressions is that rights groups rarely represent “the masses” in any formal or informal capacity. Consider Human Rights Watch, whose longstanding executive director Kenneth Roth oversees an annual budget of over $75 million and a staff of roughly 400 people. In four years’ time, Roth will outstrip Robert Mugabe’s 30-year tenure in office; while Roth has dedicated most of his adult life struggling against social wrongs, he has never had to compete in elections to secure his post. Indeed, due to the corporate structure of his organization the only constituency to which he is accountable are Human Rights Watch’s board members and donors — those who benefit from neoliberal economic arrangements — rather than the people whose rights the NGO defends or, needless to say, the “masses.” Moreover, Human Rights Watch is not exceptional within the rights-world, and even though rights organizations across the globe say they are interested in what the “people want,” sovereignty of the people in any meaningful sense, wherein the people can control the decisions that affect their lives most, is not really on the agenda.

    Undoubtedly, Human Rights Watch has shed light on some of the most horrendous state crimes carried out across the globe over the past several decades. Exposing egregious violations is not an easy task and is a particularly important endeavor in our post-truth era. However, truth-telling, in and of itself, is not a political strategy. Even if exposing violations is conceived of as a component of a broader political mobilization, the truths that NGOs like Human Rights Watch have been revealing are blinkered. Given that they interpret human rights in an extremely narrow way, one that aligns quite neatly with neoliberal thought, their strategy therefore fails to provide tools for those invested in introducing profound and truly transformative social change.

    From the get-go, most Western human rights NGOs had been attuned to Cold War politics and refrained from advocating for economic and social rights for decades, inventing numerous reasons to justify this stance: from the claim that the right to education and health care were not basic human rights like freedom of speech and freedom from torture, to the assertion that economic and social rights lacked a precise definition, thus rendering them difficult to campaign for. It took close to a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ongoing campaigning of Third World activists for the leading human rights organizations to acknowledge that economic and social rights, such as the right to health care, education, and social security, were indeed human rights, rights that they should dedicate at least some of its resources to fight for. But even today, almost 20 years after their integration within Human Rights Watch’s agenda, the resources allocated to the protection of these rights is relatively small, and the way that the organization strives to secure them is deeply skewed by the neoliberal view that politics and markets are separate realms and that human rights work should avoid interference with the capitalist structure of competitive markets. Wittingly or not, organizations like Human Rights Watch have not only bolstered the neoliberal imagination, but have produced a specific arsenal of human rights that shapes social struggles in a way that weakens those who aim to advance a more egalitarian political horizon.

    Several years ago, Roth tried to justify Human Rights Watch’s approach, claiming that the issues it deals with are determined by its “methodology,” and that the “essence of that methodology […] is not the ability to mobilize people in the streets, to engage in litigation, to press for broad national plans, or to provide technical assistance. Rather, the core of our methodology is our ability to investigate, expose, and shame.” The hallmark of human rights work, in his view, is uncovering discrimination, while the unequal arrangement of the local and international economy leading to discrimination are beyond the organization’s purview. Not unlike the neoliberal thinkers discussed in Whyte’s book, Human Rights Watch limits its activism to formal equality, adopting a form of inquiry that ignores and ultimately disavows the structural context, which effectively undercuts forms of collective struggle.

    Returning to Rony Brauman and the creation of Liberté sans Frontières, toward the end of the book Whyte recounts how in a 2015 interview he understood things differently than he had in the mid-1980s. “I see myself and the small group that I brought together as a kind of symptom of the rise of neoliberalism […] We had the conviction that we were a kind of intellectual vanguard, but no,” he laughed, “we were just following the rising tendency.”

    Whyte suggests that this assessment is, if anything, too modest: rather than being a symptom, the humanitarians who founded Liberté sans Frontières explicitly mobilized the language of human rights in order to contest the vision of substantive equality that defined the Third Worldist project. Brauman and his organization benefited from the neo-colonial economic arrangements and, she notes,

    were not powerless companions of the rising neoliberals, but active, enthusiastic and influential fellow travellers. Their distinctive contribution was to pioneer a distinctly neoliberal human rights discourse, for which a competitive market order accompanied by a liberal institutional structure was truly the last utopia.

    The destructive legacy that Whyte so eloquently describes suggests that the convergence between neoliberals and rights practitioners has defanged human rights from any truly emancipatory potential. Formal rights without the redistribution of wealth and the democratization of economic power, as we have learned not only from the ongoing struggles of postcolonial states but also from the growing inequality in the Global North, simply do not lead to justice. So if the objectives of a utopian imagination include equitable distribution of resources and actual sovereignty of the people, we urgently need a new vocabulary of resistance and novel methods of struggle.

    https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/how-human-rights-were-defanged-from-any-truly-emancipatory-potentia
    #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #néolibéralisme #néo-libéralisme

  • #Libye : « Entre la vie et la mort ». Les personnes refugiées et migrantes prises dans la tourmente des #violences en Libye

    En Libye, les personnes réfugiées et migrantes sont piégées dans un cycle de violences caractérisé par de graves atteintes aux #droits_humains, telles que la #détention_arbitraire pendant de longues périodes et d’autres formes de privation illégale de liberté, la #torture et d’autres #mauvais_traitements, les #homicides illégaux, le #viol et d’autres formes de #violences_sexuelles, le #travail_forcé et l’#exploitation aux mains d’agents gouvernementaux et non gouvernementaux, dans un climat d’#impunité quasi totale.

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde19/3084/2020/fr
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #violence #rapport #Amnesty_international #privation_de_liberté #droits_fondamentaux

    ping @karine4 @isskein

  • Deportation Union: Rights, accountability and the EU’s push to increase forced removals

    Deportation Union provides a critical examination of recently-introduced and forthcoming EU measures designed to increase the number of deportations carried out by national authorities and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex. It focuses on three key areas: attempts to reduce or eliminate rights and protections in the law governing deportations; the expansion and interconnection of EU databases and information systems; and the increased budget, powers and personnel awarded to Frontex.

    There has long-been coordinated policy, legal and operational action on migration at EU level, and efforts to increase deportations have always been a part of this. However, since the ‘migration crisis’ of 2015 there has been a rapid increase in new initiatives, the overall aim of which is to limit legal protections afforded to ‘deportable’ individuals at the same time as expanding the ability of national and EU authorities to track, detain and remove people with increasing efficiency.

    The measures and initiatives being introduced by the EU to scale up deportations will require massive public expenditure on technology, infrastructure and personnel; the strengthening and expansion of state and supranational agencies already-lacking in transparency and democratic accountability; and are likely to further undermine claims that the EU occupies the moral high ground in its treatment of migrants. Anyone wishing to question and challenge these developments will first need to understand them. This report attempts to go some way towards assisting with that task.


    https://www.statewatch.org/deportation-union-rights-accountability-and-the-eu-s-push-to-increase-fo
    #machine_à_expulser #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #renvois #UE #EU #rapport #union_européenne #renvois_forcés #rapport #Statewatch #Frontex #database #base_de_données #données_biométriques #Directive_Retour #return-opticon #Joint_return_operations (#JROs) #Collecting_return_operations #National_return_operations #Afghanistan #réfugiés_afghans #European_Centre_for_Returns #statistiques #chiffres #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_ @etraces

    • EU: Frontex splashes out: millions of euros for new technology and equipment (19.06.2020)

      The approval of the new #Frontex_Regulation in November 2019 implied an increase of competences, budget and capabilities for the EU’s border agency, which is now equipping itself with increased means to monitor events and developments at the borders and beyond, as well as renewing its IT systems to improve the management of the reams of data to which it will have access.

      In 2020 Frontex’s #budget grew to €420.6 million, an increase of over 34% compared to 2019. The European Commission has proposed that in the next EU budget (formally known as the Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF, covering 2021-27) €11 billion will be made available to the agency, although legal negotiations are ongoing and have hit significant stumbling blocks due to Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and political disagreements.

      Nevertheless, the increase for this year has clearly provided a number of opportunities for Frontex. For instance, it has already agreed contracts worth €28 million for the acquisition of dozens of vehicles equipped with thermal and day cameras, surveillance radar and sensors.

      According to the contract for the provision of Mobile Surveillance Systems, these new tools will be used “for detection, identification and recognising of objects of interest e.g. human beings and/or groups of people, vehicles moving across the border (land and sea), as well as vessels sailing within the coastal areas, and other objects identified as objects of interest”. [1]

      Frontex has also published a call for tenders for Maritime Analysis Tools, worth a total of up to €2.6 million. With this, Frontex seeks to improve access to “big data” for maritime analysis. [2] The objective of deploying these tools is to enhance Frontex’s operational support to EU border, coast guard and law enforcement authorities in “suppressing and preventing, among others, illegal migration and cross-border crime in the maritime domain”.

      Moreover, the system should be capable of delivering analysis and identification of high-risk threats following the collection and storage of “big data”. It is not clear how much human input and monitoring there will be of the identification of risks. The call for tenders says the winning bidder should have been announced in May, but there is no public information on the chosen company so far.

      As part of a 12-month pilot project to examine how maritime analysis tools could “support multipurpose operational response,” Frontex previously engaged the services of the Tel Aviv-based company Windward Ltd, which claims to fuse “maritime data and artificial intelligence… to provide the right insights, with the right context, at the right time.” [3] Windward, whose current chairman is John Browne, the former CEO of the multinational oil company BP, received €783,000 for its work. [4]

      As the agency’s gathering and processing of data increases, it also aims to improve and develop its own internal IT systems, through a two-year project worth €34 million. This will establish a set of “framework contracts”. Through these, each time the agency seeks a new IT service or system, companies selected to participate in the framework contracts will submit bids for the work. [5]

      The agency is also seeking a ’Software Solution for EBCG [European Border and Coast Guard] Team Members to Access to Schengen Information System’, through a contract worth up to €5 million. [6] The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the EU’s largest database, enabling cooperation between authorities working in the fields of police, border control and customs of all the Schengen states (26 EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and its legal bases were recently reformed to include new types of alert and categories of data. [7]

      This software will give Frontex officials direct access to certain data within the SIS. Currently, they have to request access via national border guards in the country in which they are operating. This would give complete autonomy to Frontex officials to consult the SIS whilst undertaking operations, shortening the length of the procedure. [8]

      With the legal basis for increasing Frontex’s powers in place, the process to build up its personnel, material and surveillance capacities continues, with significant financial implications.

      https://www.statewatch.org/news/2020/june/eu-frontex-splashes-out-millions-of-euros-for-new-technology-and-equipme

      #technologie #équipement #Multiannual_Financial_Framework #MFF #surveillance #Mobile_Surveillance_Systems #Maritime_Analysis_Tools #données #big_data #mer #Windward_Ltd #Israël #John_Browne #BP #complexe_militaro-industriel #Software_Solution_for_EBCG_Team_Members_to_Access_to_Schengen_Information_System #SIS #Schengen_Information_System

    • EU : Guns, guards and guidelines : reinforcement of Frontex runs into problems (26.05.2020)

      An internal report circulated by Frontex to EU government delegations highlights a series of issues in implementing the agency’s new legislation. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency is urging swift action to implement the mandate and is pressing ahead with the recruitment of its new ‘standing corps’. However, there are legal problems with the acquisition, registration, storage and transport of weapons. The agency is also calling for derogations from EU rules on staff disciplinary measures in relation to the use of force; and wants an extended set of privileges and immunities. Furthermore, it is assisting with “voluntary return” despite this activity appearing to fall outside of its legal mandate.

      State-of-play report

      At the end of April 2020, Frontex circulated a report to EU government delegations in the Council outlining the state of play of the implementation of its new Regulation (“EBCG 2.0 Regulation”, in the agency and Commission’s words), especially relating to “current challenges”.[1] Presumably, this refers to the outbreak of a pandemic, though the report also acknowledges challenges created by the legal ambiguities contained in the Regulation itself, in particular with regard to the acquisition of weapons, supervisory and disciplinary mechanisms, legal privileges and immunities and involvement in “voluntary return” operations.

      The path set out in the report is that the “operational autonomy of the agency will gradually increase towards 2027” until it is a “fully-fledged and reliable partner” to EU and Schengen states. It acknowledges the impacts of unforeseen world events on the EU’s forthcoming budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework, MFF) for 2021-27, and hints at the impact this will have on Frontex’s own budget and objectives. Nevertheless, the agency is still determined to “continue increasing the capabilities” of the agency, including its acquisition of new equipment and employment of new staff for its standing corps.

      The main issues covered by the report are: Frontex’s new standing corps of staff, executive powers and the use of force, fundamental rights and data protection, and the integration into Frontex of EUROSUR, the European Border Surveillance System.

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

      A new standing corps of 10,000 Frontex staff by 2024 is to be, in the words of the agency, its “biggest game changer”.[2] The report notes that the establishment of the standing corps has been heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19. According to the report, 7,238 individuals had applied to join the standing corps before the outbreak of the pandemic. 5,482 of these – over 75% – were assessed by the agency as eligible, with a final 304 passing the entire selection process to be on the “reserve lists”.[3]

      Despite interruptions to the recruitment procedure following worldwide lockdown measures, interviews for Category 1 staff – permanent Frontex staff members to be deployed on operations – were resumed via video by the end of April. 80 candidates were shortlisted for the first week, and Frontex aims to interview 1,000 people in total. Despite this adaptation, successful candidates will have to wait for Frontex’s contractor to re-open in order to carry out medical tests, an obligatory requirement for the standing corps.[4]

      In 2020, Frontex joined the European Defence Agency’s Satellite Communications (SatCom) and Communications and Information System (CIS) services in order to ensure ICT support for the standing corps in operation as of 2021.[5] The EDA describes SatCom and CIS as “fundamental for Communication, Command and Control in military operations… [enabling] EU Commanders to connect forces in remote areas with HQs and capitals and to manage the forces missions and tasks”.[6]

      Training

      The basic training programme, endorsed by the management board in October 2019, is designed for Category 1 staff. It includes specific training in interoperability and “harmonisation with member states”. The actual syllabus, content and materials for this basic training were developed by March 2020; Statewatch has made a request for access to these documents, which is currently pending with the Frontex Transparency Office. This process has also been affected by the novel coronavirus, though the report insists that “no delay is foreseen in the availability of the specialised profile related training of the standing corps”.

      Use of force

      The state-of-play-report acknowledges a number of legal ambiguities surrounding some of the more controversial powers outlined in Frontex’s 2019 Regulation, highlighting perhaps that political ambition, rather than serious consideration and assessment, propelled the legislation, overtaking adequate procedure and oversight. The incentive to enact the legislation within a short timeframe is cited as a reason that no impact assessment was carried out on the proposed recast to the agency’s mandate. This draft was rushed through negotiations and approved in an unprecedented six-month period, and the details lost in its wake are now coming to light.

      Article 82 of the 2019 Regulation refers to the use of force and carriage of weapons by Frontex staff, while a supervisory mechanism for the use of force by statutory staff is established by Article 55. This says:

      “On the basis of a proposal from the executive director, the management board shall: (a) establish an appropriate supervisory mechanism to monitor the application of the provisions on use of force by statutory staff, including rules on reporting and specific measures, such as those of a disciplinary nature, with regard to the use of force during deployments”[7]

      The agency’s management board is expected to make a decision about this supervisory mechanism, including specific measures and reporting, by the end of June 2020.

      The state-of-play report posits that the legal terms of Article 55 are inconsistent with the standard rules on administrative enquiries and disciplinary measures concerning EU staff.[8] These outline, inter alia, that a dedicated disciplinary board will be established in each institution including at least one member from outside the institution, that this board must be independent and its proceedings secret. Frontex insists that its staff will be a special case as the “first uniformed service of the EU”, and will therefore require “special arrangements or derogations to the Staff Regulations” to comply with the “totally different nature of tasks and risks associated with their deployments”.[9]

      What is particularly astounding about Frontex demanding special treatment for oversight, particularly on use of force and weapons is that, as the report acknowledges, the agency cannot yet legally store or transport any weapons it acquires.

      Regarding service weapons and “non-lethal equipment”,[10] legal analysis by “external experts and a regulatory law firm” concluded that the 2019 Regulation does not provide a legal basis for acquiring, registering, storing or transporting weapons in Poland, where the agency’s headquarters is located. Frontex has applied to the Commission for clarity on how to proceed, says the report. Frontex declined to comment on the status of this consultation and any indications of the next steps the agency will take. A Commission spokesperson stated only that it had recently received the agency’s enquiry and “is analysing the request and the applicable legal framework in the view of replying to the EBCGA”, without expanding further.

      Until Frontex has the legal basis to do so, it cannot launch a tender for firearms and “non-lethal equipment” (which includes batons, pepper spray and handcuffs). However, the report implies the agency is ready to do so as soon as it receives the green light. Technical specifications are currently being finalised for “non-lethal equipment” and Frontex still plans to complete acquisition by the end of the year.

      Privileges and immunities

      The agency is also seeking special treatment with regard to the legal privileges and immunities it and its officials enjoy. Article 96 of the 2019 Regulation outlines the privileges and immunities of Frontex officers, stating:

      “Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union annexed to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to the TFEU shall apply to the Agency and its statutory staff.” [11]

      However, Frontex notes that the Protocol does not apply to non-EU states, nor does it “offer a full protection, or take into account a need for the inviolability of assets owned by Frontex (service vehicles, vessels, aircraft)”.[12] Frontex is increasingly involved in operations taking place on non-EU territory. For instance, the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states, primarily in the Western Balkans, concerning Frontex activities in those countries. To launch operations under these agreements, Frontex will (or, in the case of Albania, already has) agree on operational plans with each state, under which Frontex staff can use executive powers.[13] The agency therefore seeks an “EU-level status of forces agreement… to account for the partial absence of rules”.

      Law enforcement

      To implement its enhanced functions regarding cross-border crime, Frontex will continue to participate in Europol’s four-year policy cycle addressing “serious international and organised crime”.[14] The agency is also developing a pilot project, “Investigation Support Activities- Cross Border Crime” (ISA-CBC), addressing drug trafficking and terrorism.

      Fundamental rights and data protection

      The ‘EBCG 2.0 Regulation’ requires several changes to fundamental rights measures by the agency, which, aside from some vague “legal analyses” seem to be undergoing development with only internal oversight.

      Firstly, to facilitate adequate independence of the Fundamental Rights Officer (FRO), special rules have to be established. The FRO was introduced under Frontex’s 2016 Regulation, but has since then been understaffed and underfunded by the agency.[15] The 2019 Regulation obliges the agency to ensure “sufficient and adequate human and financial resources” for the office, as well as 40 fundamental rights monitors.[16] These standing corps staff members will be responsible for monitoring compliance with fundamental rights standards, providing advice and assistance on the agency’s plans and activities, and will visit and evaluate operations, including acting as forced return monitors.[17]

      During negotiations over the proposed Regulation 2.0, MEPs introduced extended powers for the Fundamental Rights Officer themselves. The FRO was previously responsible for contributing to Frontex’s fundamental rights strategy and monitoring its compliance with and promotion of fundamental rights. Now, they will be able to monitor compliance by conducting investigations; offering advice where deemed necessary or upon request of the agency; providing opinions on operational plans, pilot projects and technical assistance; and carrying out on-the-spot visits. The executive director is now obliged to respond “as to how concerns regarding possible violations of fundamental rights… have been addressed,” and the management board “shall ensure that action is taken with regard to recommendations of the fundamental rights officer.” [18] The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation.

      The state-of-play report says that “legal analyses and exchanges” are ongoing, and will inform an eventual management board decision, but no timeline for this is offered. [19] The agency will also need to adapt its much criticised individual complaints mechanism to fit the requirements of the 2019 Regulation; executive director Fabrice Leggeri’s first-draft decision on this process is currently undergoing internal consultations. Even the explicit requirement set out in the 2019 Regulation for an “independent and effective” complaints mechanism,[20] does not meet minimum standards to qualify as an effective remedy, which include institutional independence, accessibility in practice, and capacity to carry out thorough and prompt investigations.[21]

      Frontex has entered into a service level agreement (SLA) with the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) for support in establishing and training the team of fundamental rights monitors introduced by the 2019 Regulation. These monitors are to be statutory staff of the agency and will assess fundamental rights compliance of operational activities, advising, assisting and contributing to “the promotion of fundamental rights”.[22] The scope and objectives for this team were finalised at the end of March this year, and the agency will establish the team by the end of the year. Statewatch has requested clarification as to what is to be included in the team’s scope and objectives, pending with the Frontex Transparency Office.

      Regarding data protection, the agency plans a package of implementing rules (covering issues ranging from the position of data protection officer to the restriction of rights for returnees and restrictions under administrative data processing) to be implemented throughout 2020.[23] The management board will review a first draft of the implementing rules on the data protection officer in the second quarter of 2020.

      Returns

      The European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) – a network of 15 European states and the Commission facilitating cooperation over return operations “as part of the EU efforts to manage migration” – is to be handed over to Frontex. [24] A handover plan is currently under the final stage of review; it reportedly outlines the scoping of activities and details of “which groups of returnees will be eligible for Frontex assistance in the future”.[25] A request from Statewatch to Frontex for comment on what assistance will be provided by the agency to such returnees was unanswered at the time of publication.

      Since the entry into force of its new mandate, Frontex has also been providing technical assistance for so-called voluntary returns, with the first two such operations carried out on scheduled flights (as opposed to charter flights) in February 2020. A total of 28 people were returned by mid-April, despite the fact that there is no legal clarity over what the definition “voluntary return” actually refers to, as the state-of-play report also explains:

      “The terminology of voluntary return was introduced in the Regulation without providing any definition thereof. This terminology (voluntary departure vs voluntary return) is moreover not in line with the terminology used in the Return Directive (EBCG 2.0 refers to the definition of returns provided for in the Return Directive. The Return Directive, however, does not cover voluntary returns; a voluntary return is not a return within the meaning of the Return Directive). Further elaboration is needed.”[26]

      On top of requiring “further clarification”, if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate. Statewatch has launched an investigation into the agency’s activities relating to voluntary returns, to outline the number of such operations to date, their country of return and country of destination.

      Frontex is currently developing a module dedicated to voluntary returns by charter flight for its FAR (Frontex Application for Returns) platform (part of its return case management system). On top of the technical support delivered by the agency, Frontex also foresees the provision of on-the-ground support from Frontex representatives or a “return counsellor”, who will form part of the dedicated return teams planned for the standing corps from 2021.[27]

      Frontex has updated its return case management system (RECAMAS), an online platform for member state authorities and Frontex to communicate and plan return operations, to manage an increased scope. The state-of-play report implies that this includes detail on post-return activities in a new “post-return module”, indicating that Frontex is acting on commitments to expand its activity in this area. According to the agency’s roadmap on implementing the 2019 Regulation, an action plan on how the agency will provide post-return support to people (Article 48(1), 2019 Regulation) will be written by the third quarter of 2020.[28]

      In its closing paragraph, related to the budgetary impact of COVID-19 regarding return operations, the agency notes that although activities will resume once aerial transportation restrictions are eased, “the agency will not be able to provide what has been initially intended, undermining the concept of the EBCG as a whole”.[29]

      EUROSUR

      The Commission is leading progress on adopting the implementing act for the integration of EUROSUR into Frontex, which will define the implementation of new aerial surveillance,[30] expected by the end of the year.[31] Frontex is discussing new working arrangements with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). The development by Frontex of the surveillance project’s communications network will require significant budgetary investment, as the agency plans to maintain the current system ahead of its planned replacement in 2025.[32] This investment is projected despite the agency’s recognition of the economic impact of Covid-19 on member states, and the consequent adjustments to the MFF 2021-27.

      Summary

      Drafted and published as the world responds to an unprecedented pandemic, the “current challenges” referred to in the report appear, on first read, to refer to the budgetary and staffing implications of global shut down. However, the report maintains throughout that the agency’s determination to expand, in terms of powers as well as staffing, will not be stalled despite delays and budgeting adjustments. Indeed, it is implied more than once that the “current challenges” necessitate more than ever that these powers be assumed. The true challenges, from the agency’s point of view, stem from the fact that its current mandate was rushed through negotiations in six months, leading to legal ambiguities that leave it unable to acquire or transport weapons and in a tricky relationship with the EU protocol on privileges and immunities when operating in third countries. Given the violence that so frequently accompanies border control operations in the EU, it will come as a relief to many that Frontex is having difficulties acquiring its own weaponry. However, it is far from reassuring that the introduction of new measures on fundamental rights and accountability are being carried out internally and remain unavailable for public scrutiny.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Note: this article was updated on 26 May 2020 to include the European Commission’s response to Statewatch’s enquiries.

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

      “the Council of the EU has signed or initialled a number of Status Agreements with non-EU states... under which” replaces “the agency has entered into working agreements with Balkan states, under which”
      “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in any detail in the Regulation beyond monitoring the agency’s ’compliance with fundamental rights, including by conducting investigations’” replaces “The investigatory powers of the FRO are not, however, set out in the Regulation”
      “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it further exposes the haste with which legislation written to deny entry into the EU and facilitate expulsions was drafted” replaces “if Frontex is assisting with “voluntary returns” that are not governed by the Returns Directive, it is acting outside of its legal mandate”

      Endnotes

      [1] Frontex, ‘State of play of the implementation of the EBCG 2.0 Regulation in view of current challenges’, 27 April 2020, contained in Council document 7607/20, LIMITE, 20 April 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/may/eu-council-frontex-ECBG-state-of-play-7607-20.pdf

      [2] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

      [4] Jane Kilpatrick, ‘Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards’, Statewatch Analysis, March 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-355-frontex-recruitment-standing-corps.pdf

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

      [6] EDA, ‘EU SatCom Market’, https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/eu-satcom-market

      [7] Article 55(5)(a), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex 2019 Regulation), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [8] Pursuant to Annex IX of the EU Staff Regulations, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:01962R0031-20140501

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

      [11] Protocol (No 7), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2016.202.01.0001.01.ENG#d1e3363-201-1

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

      [13] ‘Border externalisation: Agreements on Frontex operations in Serbia and Montenegro heading for parliamentary approval’, Statewatch News, 11 March 2020, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/frontex-status-agreements.htm

      [14] Europol, ‘EU policy cycle – EMPACT’, https://www.europol.europa.eu/empact

      [15] ‘NGOs, EU and international agencies sound the alarm over Frontex’s respect for fundamental rights’, Statewatch News, 5 March 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/mar/fx-consultative-forum-rep.htm; ‘Frontex condemned by its own fundamental rights body for failing to live up to obligations’, Statewatch News, 21 May 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/may/eu-frontex-fr-rep.htm

      [16] Article 110(6), Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

      [21] Sergio Carrera and Marco Stefan, ‘Complaint Mechanisms in Border Management and Expulsion Operations in Europe: Effective Remedies for Victims of Human Rights Violations?’, CEPS, 2018, https://www.ceps.eu/system/files/Complaint%20Mechanisms_A4.pdf

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

      [24] ERRIN, https://returnnetwork.eu

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [28] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

      [30] Matthias Monroy, ‘Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders’, Statewatch Analysis, February 2020, http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-354-frontex-drones.pdf

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

      [32] Section 7.2, state of play report
      Next article >

      Mediterranean: As the fiction of a Libyan search and rescue zone begins to crumble, EU states use the coronavirus pandemic to declare themselves unsafe

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/eu-guns-guards-and-guidelines-reinforcement-of-frontex-runs-into-problem

      #EBCG_2.0_Regulation #European_Defence_Agency’s_Satellite_Communications (#SatCom) #Communications_and_Information_System (#CIS) #immunité #droits_fondamentaux #droits_humains #Fundamental_Rights_Officer (#FRO) #European_Return_and_Reintegration_Network (#ERRIN) #renvois #expulsions #réintégration #Directive_Retour #FAR (#Frontex_Application_for_Returns) #RECAMAS #EUROSUR #European_Aviation_Safety_Agency (#EASA) #European_Organisation_for_the_Safety_of_Air_Navigation (#EUROCONTROL)

    • Frontex launches “game-changing” recruitment drive for standing corps of border guards

      On 4 January 2020 the Management Board of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) adopted a decision on the profiles of the staff required for the new “standing corps”, which is ultimately supposed to be staffed by 10,000 officials. [1] The decision ushers in a new wave of recruitment for the agency. Applicants will be put through six months of training before deployment, after rigorous medical testing.

      What is the standing corps?

      The European Border and Coast Guard standing corps is the new, and according to Frontex, first ever, EU uniformed service, available “at any time…to support Member States facing challenges at their external borders”.[2] Frontex’s Programming Document for the 2018-2020 period describes the standing corps as the agency’s “biggest game changer”, requiring “an unprecedented scale of staff recruitment”.[3]

      The standing corps will be made up of four categories of Frontex operational staff:

      Frontex statutory staff deployed in operational areas and staff responsible for the functioning of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) Central Unit[4];
      Long-term staff seconded from member states;
      Staff from member states who can be immediately deployed on short-term secondment to Frontex; and

      A reserve of staff from member states for rapid border interventions.

      These border guards will be “trained by the best and equipped with the latest technology has to offer”.[5] As well as wearing EU uniforms, they will be authorised to carry weapons and will have executive powers: they will be able to verify individuals’ identity and nationality and permit or refuse entry into the EU.

      The decision made this January is limited to the definition of profiles and requirements for the operational staff that are to be recruited. The Management Board (MB) will have to adopt a new decision by March this year to set out the numbers of staff needed per profile, the requirements for individuals holding those positions, and the number of staff needed for the following year based on expected operational needs. This process will be repeated annually.[6] The MB can then further specify how many staff each member state should contribute to these profiles, and establish multi-annual plans for member state contributions and recruitment for Frontex statutory staff. Projections for these contributions are made in Annexes II – IV of the 2019 Regulation, though a September Mission Statement by new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urges the recruitment of 10,000 border guards by 2024, indicating that member states might be meeting their contribution commitments much sooner than 2027.[7]

      The standing corps of Frontex staff will have an array of executive powers and responsibilities. As well as being able to verify identity and nationality and refuse or permit entry into the EU, they will be able to consult various EU databases to fulfil operational aims, and may also be authorised by host states to consult national databases. According to the MB Decision, “all members of the Standing Corps are to be able to identify persons in need of international protection and persons in a vulnerable situation, including unaccompanied minors, and refer them to the competent authorities”. Training on international and EU law on fundamental rights and international protection, as well as guidelines on the identification and referral of persons in need of international protection, will be mandatory for all standing corps staff members.

      The size of the standing corps

      The following table, taken from the 2019 Regulation, outlines the ambitions for growth of Frontex’s standing corps. However, as noted, the political ambition is to reach the 10,000 total by 2024.

      –-> voir le tableau sur le site de statewatch!

      Category 2 staff – those on long term secondment from member states – will join Frontex from 2021, according to the 2019 Regulation.[8] It is foreseen that Germany will contribute the most staff, with 61 expected in 2021, increasing year-by-year to 225 by 2027. Other high contributors are France and Italy (170 and 125 by 2027, respectively).

      The lowest contributors will be Iceland (expected to contribute between one and two people a year from 2021 to 2027), Malta, Cyprus and Luxembourg. Liechtenstein is not contributing personnel but will contribute “through proportional financial support”.

      For short-term secondments from member states, projections follow a very similar pattern. Germany will contribute 540 staff in 2021, increasing to 827 in 2027; Italy’s contribution will increase from 300 in 2021 to 458 in 2027; and France’s from 408 in 2021 to 624 in 2027. Most states will be making less than 100 staff available for short-term secondment in 2021.

      What are the profiles?

      The MB Decision outlines 12 profiles to be made available to Frontex, ranging from Border Guard Officer and Crew Member, to Cross Border Crime Detection Officer and Return Specialist. A full list is contained in the Decision.[9] All profiles will be fulfilled by an official of the competent authority of a member state (MS) or Schengen Associated Country (SAC), or by a member of Frontex’s own statutory staff.

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

      border checks and surveillance;
      interviewing, debriefing* and screening arrivals and registering fingerprints;
      supporting the collection, assessment, analysis and distribution of information with EU member and non-member states;
      verifying travel documents;
      escorting individuals being deported on Frontex return operations;
      operating data systems and platforms; and
      offering cultural mediation

      *Debriefing consists of informal interviews with migrants to collect information for risk analyses on irregular migration and other cross-border crime and the profiling of irregular migrants to identify “modus operandi and migration trends used by irregular migrants and facilitators/criminal networks”. Guidelines written by Frontex in 2012 instructed border guards to target vulnerable individuals for “debriefing”, not in order to streamline safeguarding or protection measures, but for intelligence-gathering - “such people are often more willing to talk about their experiences,” said an internal document.[10] It is unknown whether those instructions are still in place.

      Recruitment for the profiles

      Certain profiles are expected to “apply self-safety and security practice”, and to have “the capacity to work under pressure and face emotional events with composure”. Relevant profiles (e.g. crew member) are required to be able to perform search and rescue activities in distress situations at sea borders.

      Frontex published a call for tender on 27 December for the provision of medical services for pre-recruitment examinations, in line with the plan to start recruiting operational staff in early 2020. The documents accompanying the tender reveal additional criteria for officials that will be granted executive powers (Frontex category “A2”) compared to those staff stationed primarily at the agency’s Warsaw headquarters (“A1”). Those criteria come in the form of more stringent medical testing.

      The differences in medical screening for category A1 and A2 staff lie primarily in additional toxicology screening and psychiatric and psychological consultations. [11] The additional psychiatric attention allotted for operational staff “is performed to check the predisposition for people to work in arduous, hazardous conditions, exposed to stress, conflict situations, changing rapidly environment, coping with people being in dramatic, injure or death exposed situations”.[12]

      Both A1 and A2 category provisional recruits will be asked to disclose if they have ever suffered from a sexually transmitted disease or “genital organ disease”, as well as depression, nervous or mental disorders, among a long list of other ailments. As well as disclosing any medication they take, recruits must also state if they are taking oral contraceptives (though there is no question about hormonal contraceptives that are not taken orally). Women are also asked to give the date of their last period on the pre-appointment questionnaire.

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

      Frontex training materials on forced return operations obtained by Statewatch in 2019 acknowledge the likelihood of psychological stress among staff, among other health risks. (One recommendation contained in the documents is to “never touch yourself with gloves”). Citing “dissonance within the team, long hours with no rest, group dynamic, improvisation and different languages” among factors behind psychological stress, the training materials on medical precautionary measures for deportation escort officers also refer to post-traumatic stress disorder, the lack of an area to retreat to and body clock disruption as exacerbating risks. The document suggests a high likelihood that Frontex return escorts will witness poverty, “agony”, “chaos”, violence, boredom, and will have to deal with vulnerable persons.[13]

      For fundamental rights monitors (officials deployed to monitor fundamental rights compliance during deportations, who can be either Frontex staff or national officials), the training materials obtained by Statewatch focus on the self-control of emotions, rather than emotional care. Strategies recommended include talking to somebody, seeking professional help, and “informing yourself of any other option offered”. The documents suggest that it is an individual’s responsibility to prevent emotional responses to stressful situations having an impact on operations, and to organise their own supervision and professional help. There is no obvious focus on how traumatic responses of Frontex staff could affect those coming into contact with them at an external border or during a deportation. [14]

      The materials obtained by Statewatch also give some indication of the fundamental rights training imparted to those acting as deportation ‘escorts’ and fundamental rights monitors. The intended outcomes for a training session in Athens that took place in March 2019 included “adapt FR [fundamental rights] in a readmission operation (explain it with examples)” and “should be able to describe Non Refoulement principle” (in the document, ‘Session Fundamental rights’ is followed by ‘Session Velcro handcuffs’).[15] The content of the fundamental rights training that will be offered to Frontex’s new recruits is currently unknown.

      Fit for service?

      The agency anticipates that most staff will be recruited from March to June 2020, involving the medical examination of up to 700 applicants in this period. According to Frontex’s website, the agency has already received over 7,000 applications for the 700 new European Border Guard Officer positions.[16] Successful candidates will undergo six months of training before deployment in 2021. Apparently then, the posts are a popular career option, despite the seemingly invasive medical tests (especially for sexually active women). Why, for instance, is it important to Frontex to know about oral hormonal contraception, or about sexually transmitted infections?

      When asked by Statewatch if Frontex provides in-house psychological and emotional support, an agency press officer stated: “When it comes to psychological and emotional support, Frontex is increasing awareness and personal resilience of the officers taking part in our operations through education and training activities.” A ‘Frontex Mental Health Strategy’ from 2018 proposed the establishment of “a network of experts-psychologists” to act as an advisory body, as well as creating “online self-care tools”, a “psychological hot-line”, and a space for peer support with participation of psychologists (according to risk assessment) during operations.[17]

      One year later, Frontex, EASO and Europol jointly produced a brochure for staff deployed on operations, entitled ‘Occupational Health and Safety – Deployment Information’, which offers a series of recommendations to staff, placing the responsibility to “come to the deployment in good mental shape” and “learn how to manage stress and how to deal with anger” more firmly on the individual than the agency.[18] According to this document, officers who need additional support must disclose this by requesting it from their supervisor, while “a helpline or psychologist on-site may be available, depending on location”.

      Frontex anticipates this recruitment drive to be “game changing”. Indeed, the Commission is relying upon it to reach its ambitions for the agency’s independence and efficiency. The inclusion of mandatory training in fundamental rights in the six-month introductory education is obviously a welcome step. Whether lessons learned in a classroom will be the first thing that comes to the minds of officials deployed on border control or deportation operations remains to be seen.

      Unmanaged responses to emotional stress can include burnout, compassion-fatigue and indirect trauma, which can in turn decrease a person’s ability to cope with adverse circumstance, and increase the risk of violence.[19] Therefore, aside from the agency’s responsibility as an employer to safeguard the health of its staff, its approach to internal psychological care will affect not only the border guards themselves, but the people that they routinely come into contact with at borders and during return operations, many of whom themselves will have experienced trauma.

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

      [1] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [2] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [3] Frontex, ‘Programming Document 2018-20’, 10 December 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/feb/frontex-programming-document-2018-20.pdf

      [4] The ETIAS Central Unit will be responsible for processing the majority of applications for ‘travel authorisations’ received when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System comes into use, in theory in late 2022. Citizens who do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for authorisation to travel to the Schengen area.

      [5] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [6] Article 54(4), Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [7] ‘European Commission 2020 Work Programme: An ambitious roadmap for a Union that strives for more’, 29 January 2020, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_124; “Mission letter” from Ursula von der Leyen to Ylva Johnsson, 10 September 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/mission-letter-ylva-johansson_en.pdf

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

      [9] Management Board Decision 1/2020 of 4 January 2020 on adopting the profiles to be made available to the European Border and Coast Guard Standing Corps, https://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Key_Documents/MB_Decision/2020/MB_Decision_1_2020_adopting_the_profiles_to_be_made_available_to_the_

      [10] ‘Press release: EU border agency targeted “isolated or mistreated” individuals for questioning’, Statewatch News, 16 February 2017, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2017/feb/eu-frontex-op-hera-debriefing-pr.htm

      [11] ‘Provision of Medical Services – Pre-Recruitment Examination’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-documents.html?cftId=5841

      [12] ‘Provision of medical services – pre-recruitment examination, Terms of Reference - Annex II to invitation to tender no Frontex/OP/1491/2019/KM’, https://etendering.ted.europa.eu/cft/cft-document.html?docId=65398

      [13] Frontex training presentation, ‘Medical precautionary measures for escort officers’, undated, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-presentation-medical-precautionary-measures-deportation-escor

      [14] Ibid.

      [15] Frontex, document listing course learning outcomes from deportation escorts’ training, http://statewatch.org/news/2020/mar/eu-frontex-deportation-escorts-training-course-learning-outcomes.pdf

      [16] Frontex, ‘Careers’, https://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/careers/frontex-border-guard-recruitment

      [17] Frontex, ‘Frontex mental health strategy’, 20 February 2018, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/89c168fe-e14b-11e7-9749-01aa75ed71a1/language-en

      [18] EASO, Europol and Frontex, ‘Occupational health and safety’, 12 August 2019, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/17cc07e0-bd88-11e9-9d01-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-103142015

      [19] Trauma Treatment International, ‘A different approach for victims of trauma’, https://www.tt-intl.org/#our-work-section

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/frontex-launches-game-changing-recruitment-drive-for-standing-corps-of-b
      #gardes_frontières #staff #corps_des_gardes-frontières

    • Drones for Frontex: unmanned migration control at Europe’s borders (27.02.2020)

      Instead of providing sea rescue capabilities in the Mediterranean, the EU is expanding air surveillance. Refugees are observed with drones developed for the military. In addition to numerous EU states, countries such as Libya could also use the information obtained.

      It is not easy to obtain majorities for legislation in the European Union in the area of migration - unless it is a matter of upgrading the EU’s external borders. While the reform of a common EU asylum system has been on hold for years, the European Commission, Parliament and Council agreed to reshape the border agency Frontex with unusual haste shortly before last year’s parliamentary elections. A new Regulation has been in force since December 2019,[1] under which Frontex intends to build up a “standing corps” of 10,000 uniformed officials by 2027. They can be deployed not just at the EU’s external borders, but in ‘third countries’ as well.

      In this way, Frontex will become a “European border police force” with powers that were previously reserved for the member states alone. The core of the new Regulation includes the procurement of the agency’s own equipment. The Multiannual Financial Framework, in which the EU determines the distribution of its financial resources from 2021 until 2027, has not yet been decided. According to current plans, however, at least €6 billion are reserved for Frontex in the seven-year budget. The intention is for Frontex to spend a large part of the money, over €2 billion, on aircraft, ships and vehicles.[2]

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

      The upgrade plans include the stationing of large drones in the central and eastern Mediterranean. For this purpose, Frontex is looking for a private partner to operate flights off Malta, Italy or Greece. A corresponding tender ended in December[3] and the selection process is currently underway. The unmanned missions could then begin already in spring. Frontex estimates the total cost of these missions at €50 million. The contract has a term of two years and can be extended twice for one year at a time.

      Frontex wants drones of the so-called MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) class. Their flight duration should be at least 20 hours. The requirements include the ability to fly in all weather conditions and at day and night. It is also planned to operate in airspace where civil aircraft are in service. For surveillance missions, the drones should carry electro-optical cameras, thermal imaging cameras and so-called “daylight spotter” systems that independently detect moving targets and keep them in focus. Other equipment includes systems for locating mobile and satellite telephones. The drones will also be able to receive signals from emergency call transmitters sewn into modern life jackets.

      However, the Frontex drones will not be used primarily for sea rescue operations, but to improve capacities against unwanted migration. This assumption is also confirmed by the German non-governmental organisation Sea-Watch, which has been providing assistance in the central Mediterranean with various ships since 2015. “Frontex is not concerned with saving lives,” says Ruben Neugebauer of Sea-Watch. “While air surveillance is being expanded with aircraft and drones, ships urgently needed for rescue operations have been withdrawn”. Sea-Watch demands that situation pictures of EU drones are also made available to private organisations for sea rescue.

      Aircraft from arms companies

      Frontex has very specific ideas for its own drones, which is why there are only a few suppliers worldwide that can be called into question. The Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1, which Frontex tested for several months on the Greek island of Crete[4] and which is also flown by the German Bundeswehr, is one of them. As set out by Frontex in its invitation to tender, the Heron 1, with a payload of around 250 kilograms, can carry all the surveillance equipment that the agency intends to deploy over the Mediterranean. Also amongst those likely to be interested in the Frontex contract is the US company General Atomics, which has been building drones of the Predator series for 20 years. Recently, it presented a new Predator model in Greece under the name SeaGuardian, for maritime observation.[5] It is equipped with a maritime surveillance radar and a system for receiving position data from larger ships, thus fulfilling one of Frontex’s essential requirements.

      General Atomics may have a competitive advantage, as its Predator drones have several years’ operational experience in the Mediterranean. In addition to Frontex, the European Union has been active in the central Mediterranean with EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. In March 2019, Italy’s then-interior minister Matteo Salvini pushed through the decision to operate the EU mission from the air alone. Since then, two unarmed Predator drones operated by the Italian military have been flying for EUNAVFOR MED for 60 hours per month. Officially, the drones are to observe from the air whether the training of the Libyan coast guard has been successful and whether these navy personnel use their knowledge accordingly. Presumably, however, the Predators are primarily pursuing the mission’s goal to “combat human smuggling” by spying on the Libyan coast. It is likely that the new Operation EU Active Surveillance, which will use military assets from EU member states to try to enforce the UN arms embargo placed on Libya,[6] will continue to patrol with Italian drones off the coast in North Africa.

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

      In addition to Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) are also investing in maritime surveillance using drones. Together, the three agencies coordinate some 300 civil and military authorities in EU member states.[7] Their tasks include border, fisheries and customs control, law enforcement and environmental protection.

      In 2017, Frontex and EMSA signed an agreement to benefit from joint reconnaissance capabilities, with EFCA also involved.[8] At the time, EMSA conducted tests with drones of various sizes, but now the drones’ flights are part of its regular services. The offer is not only open to EU Member States, as Iceland was the first to take advantage of it. Since summer 2019, a long-range Hermes 900 drone built by the Israeli company Elbit Systems has been flying from Iceland’s Egilsstaðir airport. The flights are intended to cover more than half of the island state’s exclusive economic zone and to detect “suspicious activities and potential hazards”.[9]

      The Hermes 900 was also developed for the military; the Israeli army first deployed it in the Gaza Strip in 2014. The Times of Israel puts the cost of the operating contract with EMSA at €59 million,[10] with a term of two years, which can be extended for another two years. The agency did not conclude the contract directly with the Israeli arms company, but through the Portuguese firm CeiiA. The contract covers the stationing, control and mission control of the drones.

      New interested parties for drone flights

      At the request of the German MEP Özlem Demirel (from the party Die Linke), the European Commission has published a list of countries that also want to use EMSA drones.[11] According to this list, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal and also Greece have requested unmanned flights for pollution monitoring this year, while Bulgaria and Spain want to use them for general maritime surveillance. Until Frontex has its own drones, EMSA is flying its drones for the border agency on Crete. As in Iceland, this is the long-range drone Hermes 900, but according to Greek media reports it crashed on 8 January during take-off.[12] Possible causes are a malfunction of the propulsion system or human error. The aircraft is said to have been considerably damaged.

      Authorities from France and Great Britain have also ordered unmanned maritime surveillance from EMSA. Nothing is yet known about the exact intended location, but it is presumably the English Channel. There, the British coast guard is already observing border traffic with larger drones built by the Tekever arms company from Portugal.[13] The government in London wants to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel. The drones take off from the airport in the small town of Lydd and monitor the approximately 50-kilometre-long and 30-kilometre-wide Strait of Dover. Great Britain has also delivered several quadcopters to France to try to detect potential migrants in French territorial waters. According to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, eight gendarmes have been trained to control the small drones[14].

      Information to non-EU countries

      The images taken by EMSA drones are evaluated by the competent national coastguards. A livestream also sends them to Frontex headquarters in Warsaw.[15] There they are fed into the EUROSUR border surveillance system. This is operated by Frontex and networks the surveillance installations of all EU member states that have an external border. The data from EUROSUR and the national border control centres form the ‘Common Pre-frontier Intelligence Picture’,[16] referring to the area of interest of Frontex, which extends far into the African continent. Surveillance data is used to detect and prevent migration movements at an early stage.

      Once the providing company has been selected, the new Frontex drones are also to fly for EUROSUR. According to the invitation to tender, they are to operate in the eastern and central Mediterranean within a radius of up to 250 nautical miles (463 kilometres). This would enable them to carry out reconnaissance in the “pre-frontier” area off Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Within the framework of EUROSUR, Frontex shares the recorded data with other European users via a ‘Remote Information Portal’, as the call for tender explains. The border agency has long been able to cooperate with third countries and the information collected can therefore also be made available to authorities in North Africa. However, in order to share general information on surveillance of the Mediterranean Sea with a non-EU state, Frontex must first conclude a working agreement with the corresponding government.[17]

      It is already possible, however, to provide countries such as Libya with the coordinates of refugee boats. For example, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that the nearest Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) must be informed of actual or suspected emergencies. With EU funding, Italy has been building such a centre in Tripoli for the last two years.[18] It is operated by the military coast guard, but so far has no significant equipment of its own.

      The EU military mission “EUNAVFOR MED” was cooperating more extensively with the Libyan coast guard. For communication with European naval authorities, Libya is the first third country to be connected to European surveillance systems via the “Seahorse Mediterranean” network[19]. Information handed over to the Libyan authorities might also include information that was collected with the Italian military ‘Predator’ drones.

      Reconnaissance generated with unmanned aerial surveillance is also given to the MRCC in Turkey. This was seen in a pilot project last summer, when the border agency tested an unmanned aerostat with the Greek coast guard off the island of Samos.[20] Attached to a 1,000 metre-long cable, the airship was used in the Frontex operation ‘Poseidon’ in the eastern Mediterranean. The 35-meter-long zeppelin comes from the French manufacturer A-NSE.[21] The company specializes in civil and military aerial observation. According to the Greek Marine Ministry, the equipment included a radar, a thermal imaging camera and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for the tracking of larger ships. The recorded videos were received and evaluated by a situation centre supplied by the Portuguese National Guard. If a detected refugee boat was still in Turkish territorial waters, the Greek coast guard informed the Turkish authorities. This pilot project in the Aegean Sea was the first use of an airship by Frontex. The participants deployed comparatively large numbers of personnel for the short mission. Pictures taken by the Greek coastguard show more than 40 people.

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

      Human rights organisations accuse EUNAVFOR MED and Frontex of passing on information to neighbouring countries leading to rejections (so-called ‘push-backs’) in violation of international law. People must not be returned to states where they are at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. Frontex does not itself return refugees in distress who were discovered at sea via aerial surveillance, but leaves the task to the Libyan or Turkish authorities. Regarding Libya, the Agency since 2017 provided notice of at least 42 vessels in distress to Libyan authorities.[22]

      Private rescue organisations therefore speak of so-called ‘pull-backs’, but these are also prohibited, as the Israeli human rights lawyer Omer Shatz argues: “Communicating the location of civilians fleeing war to a consortium of militias and instructing them to intercept and forcibly transfer them back to the place they fled from, trigger both state responsibility of all EU members and individual criminal liability of hundreds involved.” Together with his colleague Juan Branco, Shatz is suing those responsible for the European Union and its agencies before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Soon they intend to publish individual cases and the names of the people accused.

      Matthias Monroy

      An earlier version of this article first appeared in the German edition of Le Monde Diplomatique: ‘Drohnen für Frontex Statt sich auf die Rettung von Bootsflüchtlingen im Mittelmeer zu konzentrieren, baut die EU die Luftüberwachung’.

      Note: this article was corrected on 6 March to clarify a point regarding cooperation between Frontex and non-EU states.

      Endnotes

      [1] Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Border and Coast Guard, https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/PE-33-2019-INIT/en/pdf

      [2] European Commission, ‘A strengthened and fully equipped European Border and Coast Guard’, 12 September 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-coast-guard_en.pdf

      [3] ‘Poland-Warsaw: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Medium Altitude Long Endurance Maritime Aerial Surveillance’, https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:490010-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML&tabId=1

      [4] IAI, ‘IAI AND AIRBUS MARITIME HERON UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM (UAS) SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED 200 FLIGHT HOURS IN CIVILIAN EUROPEAN AIRSPACE FOR FRONTEX’, 24 October 2018, https://www.iai.co.il/iai-and-airbus-maritime-heron-unmanned-aerial-system-uas-successfully-complet

      [5] ‘ European Maritime Flight Demonstrations’, General Atomics, http://www.ga-asi.com/european-maritime-demo

      [6] ‘EU agrees to deploy warships to enforce Libya arms embargo’, The Guardian, 17 February 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/17/eu-agrees-deploy-warships-enforce-libya-arms-embargo

      [7] EMSA, ‘Heads of EMSA and Frontex meet to discuss cooperation on European coast guard functions’, 3 April 2019, http://www.emsa.europa.eu/news-a-press-centre/external-news/item/3499-heads-of-emsa-and-frontex-meet-to-discuss-cooperation-on-european-c

      [8] Frontex, ‘Frontex, EMSA and EFCA strengthen cooperation on coast guard functions’, 23 March 2017, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-emsa-and-efca-strengthen-cooperation-on-coast-guard-functions

      [9] Elbit Systems, ‘Elbit Systems Commenced the Operation of the Maritime UAS Patrol Service to European Union Countries’, 18 June 2019, https://elbitsystems.com/pr-new/elbit-systems-commenced-the-operation-of-the-maritime-uas-patrol-servi

      [10] ‘Elbit wins drone contract for up to $68m to help monitor Europe coast’, The Times of Israel, 1 November 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/elbit-wins-drone-contract-for-up-to-68m-to-help-monitor-europe-coast

      [11] ‘Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the European Commission’, https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2019/12/E-2946_191_Finalised_reply_Annex1_EN_V1.pdf

      [12] ‘Το drone της FRONTEX έπεσε, οι μετανάστες έρχονται’, Proto Thema, 27 January 2020, https://www.protothema.gr/greece/article/968869/to-drone-tis-frontex-epese-oi-metanastes-erhodai

      [13] Morgan Meaker, ‘Here’s proof the UK is using drones to patrol the English Channel’, Wired, 10 January 2020, https://www.wired.co.uk/article/uk-drones-migrants-english-channel

      [14] ‘Littoral: Les drones pour lutter contre les traversées de migrants sont opérationnels’, La Voix du Nord, 26 March 2019, https://www.lavoixdunord.fr/557951/article/2019-03-26/les-drones-pour-lutter-contre-les-traversees-de-migrants-sont-operation

      [15] ‘Frontex report on the functioning of Eurosur – Part I’, Council document 6215/18, 15 February 2018, http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6215-2018-INIT/en/pdf

      [16] European Commission, ‘Eurosur’, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/border-crossing/eurosur_en

      [17] Legal reforms have also given Frontex the power to operate on the territory of non-EU states, subject to the conclusion of a status agreement between the EU and the country in question. The 2016 Frontex Regulation allowed such cooperation with states that share a border with the EU; the 2019 Frontex Regulation extends this to any non-EU state.

      [18] ‘Helping the Libyan Coast Guard to establish a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre’, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-000547_EN.html

      [19] Matthias Monroy, ‘EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean’, 7 July 2018, https://digit.site36.net/2018/07/03/eu-funds-the-sacking-of-rescue-ships-in-the-mediterranean

      [20] Frontex, ‘Frontex begins testing use of aerostat for border surveillance’, 31 July 2019, https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news-release/frontex-begins-testing-use-of-aerostat-for-border-surveillance-ur33N8

      [21] ‘Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission’, 7 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002529-ASW_EN.html

      [22] ‘Answer given by Vice-President Borrell on behalf of the European Commission’, 8 January 2020, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2019-002654-ASW_EN.html

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2020/drones-for-frontex-unmanned-migration-control-at-europe-s-borders

      #drones

    • Monitoring “secondary movements” and “hotspots”: Frontex is now an internal surveillance agency (16.12.2019)

      The EU’s border agency, Frontex, now has powers to gather data on “secondary movements” and the “hotspots” within the EU. The intention is to ensure “situational awareness” and produce risk analyses on the migratory situation within the EU, in order to inform possible operational action by national authorities. This brings with it increased risks for the fundamental rights of both non-EU nationals and ethnic minority EU citizens.

      The establishment of a new ’standing corps’ of 10,000 border guards to be commanded by EU border agency Frontex has generated significant public and press attention in recent months. However, the new rules governing Frontex[1] include a number of other significant developments - including a mandate for the surveillance of migratory movements and migration “hotspots” within the EU.

      Previously, the agency’s surveillance role has been restricted to the external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or “selected third-country ports.”[2] New legal provisions mean it will now be able to gather data on the movement of people within the EU. While this is only supposed to deal with “trends, volumes and routes,” rather than personal data, it is intended to inform operational activity within the EU.

      This may mean an increase in operations against ‘unauthorised’ migrants, bringing with it risks for fundamental rights such as the possibility of racial profiling, detention, violence and the denial of access to asylum procedures. At the same time, in a context where internal borders have been reintroduced by numerous Schengen states over the last five years due to increased migration, it may be that he agency’s new role contributes to a further prolongation of internal border controls.

      From external to internal surveillance

      Frontex was initially established with the primary goals of assisting in the surveillance and control of the external borders of the EU. Over the years it has obtained increasing powers to conduct surveillance of those borders in order to identify potential ’threats’.

      The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) has a key role in this task, taking data from a variety of sources, including satellites, sensors, drones, ships, vehicles and other means operated both by national authorities and the agency itself. EUROSUR was formally established by legislation approved in 2013, although the system was developed and in use long before it was subject to a legal framework.[3]

      The new Frontex Regulation incorporates and updates the provisions of the 2013 EUROSUR Regulation. It maintains existing requirements for the agency to establish a “situational picture” of the EU’s external borders and the “pre-frontier area” – for example, the high seas or the ports of non-EU states – which is then distributed to the EU’s member states in order to inform operational activities.[4]

      The new rules also provide a mandate for reporting on “unauthorised secondary movements” and goings-on in the “hotspots”. The Commission’s proposal for the new Frontex Regulation was not accompanied by an impact assessment, which would have set out the reasoning and justifications for these new powers. The proposal merely pointed out that the new rules would “evolve” the scope of EUROSUR, to make it possible to “prevent secondary movements”.[5] As the European Data Protection Supervisor remarked, the lack of an impact assessment made it impossible: “to fully assess and verify its attended benefits and impact, notably on fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data.”[6]

      The term “secondary movements” is not defined in the Regulation, but is generally used to refer to journeys between EU member states undertaken without permission, in particular by undocumented migrants and applicants for internal protection. Regarding the “hotspots” – established and operated by EU and national authorities in Italy and Greece – the Regulation provides a definition,[7] but little clarity on precisely what information will be gathered.

      Legal provisions

      A quick glance at Section 3 of the new Regulation, dealing with EUROSUR, gives little indication that the system will now be used for internal surveillance. The formal scope of EUROSUR is concerned with the external borders and border crossing points:

      “EUROSUR shall be used for border checks at authorised border crossing points and for external land, sea and air border surveillance, including the monitoring, detection, identification, tracking, prevention and interception of unauthorised border crossings for the purpose of detecting, preventing and combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime and contributing to ensuring the protection and saving the lives of migrants.”

      However, the subsequent section of the Regulation (on ‘situational awareness’) makes clear the agency’s new internal role. Article 24 sets out the components of the “situational pictures” that will be visible in EUROSUR. There are three types – national situational pictures, the European situational picture and specific situational pictures. All of these should consist of an events layer, an operational layer and an analysis layer. The first of these layers should contain (emphasis added in all quotes):

      “…events and incidents related to unauthorised border crossings and cross-border crime and, where available, information on unauthorised secondary movements, for the purpose of understanding migratory trends, volume and routes.”

      Article 26, dealing with the European situational picture, states:

      “The Agency shall establish and maintain a European situational picture in order to provide the national coordination centres and the Commission with effective, accurate and timely information and analysis, covering the external borders, the pre-frontier area and unauthorised secondary movements.”

      The events layer of that picture should include “information relating to… incidents in the operational area of a joint operation or rapid intervention coordinated by the Agency, or in a hotspot.”[8] In a similar vein:

      “The operational layer of the European situational picture shall contain information on the joint operations and rapid interventions coordinated by the Agency and on hotspots, and shall include the mission statements, locations, status, duration, information on the Member States and other actors involved, daily and weekly situational reports, statistical data and information packages for the media.”[9]

      Article 28, dealing with ‘EUROSUR Fusion Services’, says that Frontex will provide national authorities with information on the external borders and pre-frontier area that may be derived from, amongst other things, the monitoring of “migratory flows towards and within the Union in terms of trends, volume and routes.”

      Sources of data

      The “situational pictures” compiled by Frontex and distributed via EUROSUR are made up of data gathered from a host of different sources. For the national situational picture, these are:

      national border surveillance systems;
      stationary and mobile sensors operated by national border agencies;
      border surveillance patrols and “other monitoring missions”;
      local, regional and other coordination centres;
      other national authorities and systems, such as immigration liaison officers, operational centres and contact points;
      border checks;
      Frontex;
      other member states’ national coordination centres;
      third countries’ authorities;
      ship reporting systems;
      other relevant European and international organisations; and
      other sources.[10]

      For the European situational picture, the sources of data are:

      national coordination centres;
      national situational pictures;
      immigration liaison officers;
      Frontex, including reports form its liaison officers;
      Union delegations and EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions;
      other relevant Union bodies, offices and agencies and international organisations; and
      third countries’ authorities.[11]

      The EUROSUR handbook – which will presumably be redrafted to take into account the new legislation – provides more detail about what each of these categories may include.[12]

      Exactly how this melange of different data will be used to report on secondary movements is currently unknown. However, in accordance with Article 24 of the new Regulation:

      “The Commission shall adopt an implementing act laying down the details of the information layers of the situational pictures and the rules for the establishment of specific situational pictures. The implementing act shall specify the type of information to be provided, the entities responsible for collecting, processing, archiving and transmitting specific information, the maximum time limits for reporting, the data security and data protection rules and related quality control mechanisms.” [13]

      This implementing act will specify precisely how EUROSUR will report on “secondary movements”.[14] According to a ‘roadmap’ setting out plans for the implementation of the new Regulation, this implementing act should have been drawn up in the last quarter of 2020 by a newly-established European Border and Coast Guard Committee sitting within the Commission. However, that Committee does not yet appear to have held any meetings.[15]

      Operational activities at the internal borders

      Boosting Frontex’s operational role is one of the major purposes of the new Regulation, although it makes clear that the internal surveillance role “should not lead to operational activities of the Agency at the internal borders of the Member States.” Rather, internal surveillance should “contribute to the monitoring by the Agency of migratory flows towards and within the Union for the purpose of risk analysis and situational awareness.” The purpose is to inform operational activity by national authorities.

      In recent years Schengen member states have reintroduced border controls for significant periods in the name of ensuring internal security and combating irregular migration. An article in Deutsche Welle recently highlighted:

      “When increasing numbers of refugees started arriving in the European Union in 2015, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Hungary quickly reintroduced controls, citing a “continuous big influx of persons seeking international protection.” This was the first time that migration had been mentioned as a reason for reintroducing border controls.

      Soon after, six Schengen members reintroduced controls for extended periods. Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway cited migration as a reason. France, as the sixth country, first introduced border checks after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, citing terrorist threats. Now, four years later, all six countries still have controls in place. On November 12, they are scheduled to extend them for another six months.”[16]

      These long-term extensions of internal border controls are illegal (the upper limit is supposed to be two years; discussions on changes to the rules governing the reintroduction of internal border controls in the Schengen area are ongoing).[17] A European Parliament resolution from May 2018 stated that “many of the prolongations are not in line with the existing rules as to their extensions, necessity or proportionality and are therefore unlawful.”[18] Yves Pascou, a researcher for the European Policy Centre, told Deutsche Welle that: “"We are in an entirely political situation now, not a legal one, and not one grounded in facts.”

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

      “there has been a noticeable lack of detail and evidence given by the concerned EU Member States [those which reintroduced internal border controls]. For example, there have been no statistics on the numbers of people crossing borders and seeking asylum, or assessment of the extent to which reintroducing border checks complies with the principles of proportionality and necessity.”[19]

      One purpose of Frontex’s new internal surveillance powers is to provide such evidence (albeit in the ideologically-skewed form of ‘risk analysis’) on the situation within the EU. Whether the information provided will be of interest to national authorities is another question. Nevertheless, it would be a significant irony if the provision of that information were to contribute to the further maintenance of internal borders in the Schengen area.

      At the same time, there is a more pressing concern related to these new powers. Many discussions on the reintroduction of internal borders revolve around the fact that it is contrary to the idea, spirit (and in these cases, the law) of the Schengen area. What appears to have been totally overlooked is the effect the reintroduction of internal borders may have on non-EU nationals or ethnic minority citizens of the EU. One does not have to cross an internal Schengen frontier too many times to notice patterns in the appearance of the people who are hauled off trains and buses by border guards, but personal anecdotes are not the same thing as empirical investigation. If Frontex’s new powers are intended to inform operational activity by the member states at the internal borders of the EU, then the potential effects on fundamental rights must be taken into consideration and should be the subject of investigation by journalists, officials, politicians and researchers.

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

      [1] The new Regulation was published in the Official Journal of the EU in mid-November: Regulation (EU) 2019/1896 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2019 on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Regulations (EU) No 1052/2013 and (EU) 2016/1624, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32019R1896

      [2] Article 12, ‘Common application of surveillance tools’, Regulation (EU) No 1052/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 establishing the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32013R1052

      [3] According to Frontex, the Eurosur Network first came into use in December 2011 and in March 2012 was first used to “exchange operational information”. The Regulation governing the system came into force in October 2013 (see footnote 2). See: Charles Heller and Chris Jones, ‘Eurosur: saving lives or reinforcing deadly borders?’, Statewatch Journal, vol. 23 no. 3/4, February 2014, http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=33156

      [4] Recital 34, 2019 Regulation: “EUROSUR should provide an exhaustive situational picture not only at the external borders but also within the Schengen area and in the pre-frontier area. It should cover land, sea and air border surveillance and border checks.”

      [5] European Commission, ‘Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard and repealing Council Joint Action no 98/700/JHA, Regulation (EU) no 1052/2013 and Regulation (EU) no 2016/1624’, COM(2018) 631 final, 12 September 2018, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2018/sep/eu-com-frontex-proposal-regulation-com-18-631.pdf

      [6] EDPS, ‘Formal comments on the Proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard’, 30 November 2018, p. p.2, https://edps.europa.eu/sites/edp/files/publication/18-11-30_comments_proposal_regulation_european_border_coast_guard_en.pdf

      [7] Article 2(23): “‘hotspot area’ means an area created at the request of the host Member State in which the host Member State, the Commission, relevant Union agencies and participating Member States cooperate, with the aim of managing an existing or potential disproportionate migratory challenge characterised by a significant increase in the number of migrants arriving at the external borders”

      [8] Article 26(3)(c), 2019 Regulation

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

      [12] European Commission, ‘Commission Recommendation adopting the Practical Handbook for implementing and managing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)’, C(2015) 9206 final, 15 December 2015, https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/securing-eu-borders/legal-documents/docs/eurosur_handbook_annex_en.pdf

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

      [14] ‘’Roadmap’ for implementing new Frontex Regulation: full steam ahead’, Statewatch News, 25 November 2019, http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/nov/eu-frontex-roadmap.htm

      [15] Documents related to meetings of committees operating under the auspices of the European Commission can be found in the Comitology Register: https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regcomitology/index.cfm?do=Search.Search&NewSearch=1

      [16] Kira Schacht, ‘Border checks in EU countries challenge Schengen Agreement’, DW, 12 November 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/border-checks-in-eu-countries-challenge-schengen-agreement/a-51033603

      [17] European Parliament, ‘Temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders’, https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2017/0245(COD)&l=en

      [18] ‘Report on the annual report on the functioning of the Schengen area’, 3 May 2018, para.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-8-2018-0160_EN.html

      [19] Elpseth Guild et al, ‘Internal border controls in the Schengen area: is Schengen crisis-proof?’, European Parliament, June 2016, p.9, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/571356/IPOL_STU(2016)571356_EN.pdf

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/2019/monitoring-secondary-movements-and-hotspots-frontex-is-now-an-internal-s

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • Budget européen pour la migration : plus de contrôles aux frontières, moins de respect pour les droits humains

    Le 17 juillet 2020, le Conseil européen examinera le #cadre_financier_pluriannuel (#CFP) pour la période #2021-2027. À cette occasion, les dirigeants de l’UE discuteront des aspects tant internes qu’externes du budget alloué aux migrations et à l’#asile.

    En l’état actuel, la #Commission_européenne propose une #enveloppe_budgétaire totale de 40,62 milliards d’euros pour les programmes portant sur la migration et l’asile, répartis comme suit : 31,12 milliards d’euros pour la dimension interne et environ 10 milliards d’euros pour la dimension externe. Il s’agit d’une augmentation de 441% en valeur monétaire par rapport à la proposition faite en 2014 pour le budget 2014-2020 et d’une augmentation de 78% par rapport à la révision budgétaire de 2015 pour ce même budget.

    Une réalité déguisée

    Est-ce une bonne nouvelle qui permettra d’assurer dignement le bien-être de milliers de migrant.e.s et de réfugié.e.s actuellement abandonné.e.s à la rue ou bloqué.e.s dans des centres d’accueil surpeuplés de certains pays européens ? En réalité, cette augmentation est principalement destinée à renforcer l’#approche_sécuritaire : dans la proposition actuelle, environ 75% du budget de l’UE consacré à la migration et à l’asile serait alloué aux #retours, à la #gestion_des_frontières et à l’#externalisation des contrôles. Ceci s’effectue au détriment des programmes d’asile et d’#intégration dans les États membres ; programmes qui se voient attribuer 25% du budget global.

    Le budget 2014 ne comprenait pas de dimension extérieure. Cette variable n’a été introduite qu’en 2015 avec la création du #Fonds_fiduciaire_de_l’UE_pour_l’Afrique (4,7 milliards d’euros) et une enveloppe financière destinée à soutenir la mise en œuvre de la #déclaration_UE-Turquie de mars 2016 (6 milliards d’euros), qui a été tant décriée. Ces deux lignes budgétaires s’inscrivent dans la dangereuse logique de #conditionnalité entre migration et #développement : l’#aide_au_développement est liée à l’acceptation, par les pays tiers concernés, de #contrôles_migratoires ou d’autres tâches liées aux migrations. En outre, au moins 10% du budget prévu pour l’Instrument de voisinage, de développement et de coopération internationale (#NDICI) est réservé pour des projets de gestion des migrations dans les pays d’origine et de transit. Ces projets ont rarement un rapport avec les activités de développement.

    Au-delà des chiffres, des violations des #droits_humains

    L’augmentation inquiétante de la dimension sécuritaire du budget de l’UE correspond, sur le terrain, à une hausse des violations des #droits_fondamentaux. Par exemple, plus les fonds alloués aux « #gardes-côtes_libyens » sont importants, plus on observe de #refoulements sur la route de la Méditerranée centrale. Depuis 2014, le nombre de refoulements vers la #Libye s’élève à 62 474 personnes, soit plus de 60 000 personnes qui ont tenté d’échapper à des violences bien documentées en Libye et qui ont mis leur vie en danger mais ont été ramenées dans des centres de détention indignes, indirectement financés par l’UE.

    En #Turquie, autre partenaire à long terme de l’UE en matière d’externalisation des contrôles, les autorités n’hésitent pas à jouer avec la vie des migrant.e.s et des réfugié.e.s, en ouvrant et en fermant les frontières, pour négocier le versement de fonds, comme en témoigne l’exemple récent à la frontière gréco-turque.

    Un budget opaque

    « EuroMed Droits s’inquiète de l’#opacité des allocations de fonds dans le budget courant et demande à l’Union européenne de garantir des mécanismes de responsabilité et de transparence sur l’utilisation des fonds, en particulier lorsqu’il s’agit de pays où la corruption est endémique et qui violent régulièrement les droits des personnes migrantes et réfugiées, mais aussi les droits de leurs propres citoyen.ne.s », a déclaré Wadih Al-Asmar, président d’EuroMed Droits.

    « Alors que les dirigeants européens se réunissent à Bruxelles pour discuter du prochain cadre financier pluriannuel, EuroMed Droits demande qu’une approche plus humaine et basée sur les droits soit adoptée envers les migrant.e.s et les réfugié.e.s, afin que les appels à l’empathie et à l’action résolue de la Présidente de la Commission européenne, Ursula von der Leyen ne restent pas lettre morte ».

    https://euromedrights.org/fr/publication/budget-europeen-pour-la-migration-plus-de-controles-aux-frontieres-mo


    https://twitter.com/EuroMedRights/status/1283759540740096001

    #budget #migrations #EU #UE #Union_européenne #frontières #Fonds_fiduciaire_pour_l’Afrique #Fonds_fiduciaire #sécurité #réfugiés #accord_UE-Turquie #chiffres #infographie #renvois #expulsions #Neighbourhood_Development_and_International_Cooperation_Instrument

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur la #conditionnalité_de_l'aide_au_développement :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

    Et à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765319

    ping @karine4 @rhoumour @reka @_kg_

  • La régularisation des sans-papiers est nécessaire

    OPINION. Dans la capitale internationale des droits humains, une partie de la population ne parvient pas à se nourrir, écrivent Gabriel Barta, Emmanuel Deonna, Wahba Ghaly et Jean-Marie Mellana. La moitié n’a pas de statut légal

    Les images de queues interminables de personnes affamées venant recevoir une aide alimentaire ont fait le tour du monde. Pour de nombreux observateurs étrangers, le droit à l’alimentation semblait assuré en Suisse. La presse internationale a donc évoqué avec une relative stupéfaction la distribution d’aide alimentaire par les collectivités publiques, les ONG et les associations au Centre sportif des Vernets. Depuis bientôt un mois, cette distribution ne cesse de prendre de l’ampleur. Dans la capitale internationale des droits humains, deuxième ville d’un Etat régulièrement loué pour son organisation économique et sociale, une partie de la population ne parvient pas à se nourrir ! Ceux qui ne considéraient pas les droits fondamentaux comme menacés dans notre pays ont soudainement pris conscience que la #nourriture est un droit fondamental, et qu’au besoin, c’est à la collectivité de l’assurer.

    Les sans statut légal (« sans-papiers ») représentent plus de la moitié des personnes qui reçoivent de l’#aide_alimentaire aux Vernets. Or, celles et ceux qui sont familier·ère·s avec leur problématique savent depuis de très nombreuses années qu’en Suisse, oui, même chez nous, les #droits_fondamentaux sont non seulement en danger, mais en partie ignorés. En réalité, nous ne parvenons de loin pas toujours à traiter tous les êtres humains comme des êtres humains. Sans le rappel que constitue l’accablante vision des Vernets, nous pourrions aussi continuer à ignorer que des milliers de personnes à Genève, 100 000 en Suisse selon les estimations, n’osent notamment pas dénoncer une agression ou un vol. L’Etat de droit ne s’applique en réalité pas à tous, mais bien prioritairement à celles et ceux qui ont des papiers en règle.

    Les faits, pourtant, sont têtus

    L’écrasante majorité de nos concitoyens estime peut-être qu’il est de notre devoir d’assurer que chacune et chacun puisse se prévaloir de la justice, manger à sa faim, se faire soigner et ainsi de suite. Il est aisé d’affirmer que, bien sûr, tout le monde en Suisse a le droit de dénoncer des agressions, qu’il est possible de se faire soigner à l’hôpital et d’être aidé en cas de perte de son emploi, etc. Les faits, pourtant, sont têtus et évoquent une tout autre réalité. L’absence de #solidarité et de possibilités de faire valoir ses droits éclate au grand jour lorsque la société est soumise à des contraintes extraordinaires comme celle que nous vivons actuellement avec le Covid-19, et les populations les plus précaires et les plus vulnérables sont les premières à en faire les frais.

    Certaines autorités et les organisations actives dans le domaine de l’action sociale et de l’intégration ont reconnu l’existence d’une zone de non-droit inacceptable depuis longtemps. Elles font des efforts pour y remédier. Ainsi, il y a déjà trente-cinq ans, Dominique Föllmi, conseiller d’Etat genevois, accompagnait personnellement une petite fille sans statut légal à l’école. Depuis, suivant l’exemple de Genève, le droit fondamental des enfants à fréquenter l’école est respecté à maints endroits de la Confédération. A Genève toujours, la Consultation ambulatoire mobile de soins communautaires de l’hôpital cantonal (CAMSCO) est disponible pour assurer des soins médicaux, indépendamment du statut du patient. Mais la crainte d’une dénonciation et d’une expulsion a pour conséquence que d’autres droits fondamentaux – comme le droit à une vie privée et familiale, à un accès correct à la justice, à la protection contre l’exploitation – ne sont en pratique pas assurés.

    Le succès de Papyrus

    Les efforts consentis par quelques autorités, comme par un grand nombre d’ONG et d’associations, sont notables et doivent être loués. Cependant, en même temps, ils doivent être considérés au mieux comme une mosaïque non coordonnée, au pire comme du bricolage. Au vu de ces données, et du sort des celles et ceux qui font la queue aux Vernets, il est évident que la seule démarche qui pourrait garantir le respect des droits fondamentaux est la régularisation des sans-papiers.

    Non seulement la régularisation est nécessaire, mais l’expérience récente a prouvé qu’elle est possible. Avant le projet pilote de Papyrus (2017-2018), on entendait souvent l’argument fallacieux selon lequel la régularisation représenterait un « #appel_d’air », c’est-à-dire un encouragement à d’autres immigrants illégaux à affluer vers la Suisse. Les résultats de l’opération Papyrus, scientifiquement évaluée par des experts, ont prouvé que ce n’était pas le cas. Aujourd’hui nous n’avons pas besoin d’une continuation de Papyrus, opération test limitée dans le temps. Il nous faut une démarche sensée à la fois humainement et légalement. Elle consiste à régulariser les sans-papiers sur la base de critères clairs et prévisibles. Les exemples récents d’une régularisation massive de sans-papiers en Italie et au Portugal confirment en outre qu’une autre politique est possible.

    https://www.letemps.ch/opinions/regularisation-sanspapiers-necessaire
    #Suisse #régularisation #sans-papiers #migrations #opération_papyrus #Papyrus

    ping @karine4

  • Mobilisation contre le retour des expulsions, des coupures d’énergie et des remises à la rue
    https://www.bastamag.net/Mobilisation-droit-au-logement-moratoire-expulsion-coupure-energie-remise-

    La suspension des expulsions locatives prend fin ce 10 juillet. Une manifestation est organisée le 11 juillet à l’appel de 20 organisations et syndicats pour demander à ce que « 2020 soit une année blanche des expulsions et coupures d’énergie ». Voici leur appel. La crise sanitaire a révélé à nouveau et aggravé les effets dramatiques au plan social et humain de la crise du #Logement, conséquence de politiques du logement désastreuses : sans-abris avec ou sans papiers, réfugiés, mineurs ou jeunes (...) ça bouge !

    / Logement, #Droits_fondamentaux, #Luttes_sociales, #Garantir_l'accès_au_logement

    #ça_bouge_ !

  • Deux agents de la PAF jugés pour violences sur un exilé mineur et détournement de fonds publics
    https://www.bastamag.net/police-racket-violence-sur-mineur-detournement-de-fonds-publics-refugies-p

    Le procès de deux agents de la Police aux frontières (PAF) s’est tenu au tribunal de Gap (Hautes-Alpes) ce jeudi 2 juillet. Parmi les pièces confondantes, l’enregistrement sonore fait par un mineur exilé, que Bastamag avait déjà rencontré, rend compte de menaces et de coups. C’est un dossier judiciaire qui contribue à sortir de l’omerta les atteintes récurrentes aux droits humains à la frontière franco-italienne des Hautes-Alpes. Des atteintes documentées depuis 2017 par voie de presse et par des (...) #Décrypter

    / #Violences_policières, #Droits_fondamentaux, #Migrations

  • Isolement et contention en psychiatrie : bientôt un contrôle par les juges
    https://www.bastamag.net/psychiatrie-contention-isolement-conseil-constitutionnel-libertes-droits-d

    Enfermer à clé des personnes dans une chambre ou les immobiliser à leurs lits sont des pratiques répandues en psychiatrie. Le Conseil constitutionnel vient de décider qu’elles devront à l’avenir être contrôlées par les juges. Le vendredi 19 juin, le Conseil constitutionnel a rendu un jugement décisif sur les pratiques d’isolement (enfermement dans une chambre) et de contention (fixation d’une personne à un lit) en psychiatrie. Les sages ont décidé qu’au delà d’une certaine durée, ces pratiques devraient (...) En bref

    / #Atteintes_aux_libertés, #Droits_fondamentaux, #Discriminations

  • La durée d’instruction des demandes d’asile et ses effets de long terme sur l’#intégration des réfugiés

    Les variations de la #durée_d’instruction des demandes d’asile peuvent expliquer, toute chose égale par ailleurs, pourquoi les réfugiés de profil similaire s’intègrent différemment. En s’appuyant sur l’Enquête longitudinale sur l’intégration des primo-arrivants (ELIPA), qui suit sur trois années (2010, 2011, 2013) les immigrés français ayant signé le Contrat d’Accueil et d’Intégration (CAI) en 2009, on constate que plus la durée d’instruction est longue, plus l’intégration (une fois le statut de réfugié obtenu) est lente — un effet qui ne disparaît pas complètement dans le temps.

    La période d’instruction de la demande d’asile est une période de grande #incertitude et de #stress pour les demandeurs d’asile. C’est une source supplémentaire de #démotivation et de #désillusion. De plus, ne possédant qu’un permis de séjour temporaire, les demandeurs d’asile sont pratiquement exclus du #marché_du_travail, ne peuvent pas suivre les cours officiels de langue et n’ont pas accès à d’autres formes de #droits_fondamentaux et d’aides disponibles pour les réfugiés. Ils ne sont pas en mesure de construire et de planifier leur avenir, d’investir dans le capital humain et social de la société d’accueil. En outre, leur capital humain pré-migratoire se déprécie et devient obsolète.

    Les données de l’enquête ELIPA permettent de quantifier les #coûts_socio-économiques liés à la durée d’instruction de la demande d’asile et de mettre en évidence la persistance de ses #effets_négatifs sur l’intégration des réfugiés à long terme, une fois le statut de réfugié obtenu.

    Si nous prenons pour exemple l’#intégration_économique, les résultats montrent que plus les réfugiés vivent longtemps en #France, plus ils ont de chances d’être en #emploi, mais cet impact positif sera réduit par les effets négatifs liés au temps qu’ils ont passé à attendre la reconnaissance officielle de leur statut de réfugié. On constate également que, pour chaque réfugié, la période d’attente se « dilue » progressivement avec le temps et donc que l’ampleur de son impact négatif s’estompe elle aussi peu à peu. Une fois le statut de réfugié obtenu, on pourrait ainsi s’attendre à ce que l’effet négatif de la période d’instruction disparaisse après quelques années et mette tous les réfugiés sur un même pied d’égalité vis-à-vis de l’intégration.

    Tel n’est pas le cas. Ce point est illustré sur le graphique ci-dessous. Pour les réfugiés qui ont connu des délais d’instruction différents, les chances d’intégration dans le marché de l’emploi connaissent une convergence dans le temps mais avec la persistance d’importants écarts. Si nous comparons un réfugié qui a passé 5 années à attendre la reconnaissance de son statut avec un individu qui aurait obtenu un titre de séjour dès son arrivée, les chances du premier d’accéder à l’emploi après 10 années depuis l’obtention de son statut de réfugié seront de 22,2 points de pourcentage (p.p.) inférieures, toute chose égale par ailleurs. Et même après 40 ans de résidence permanente, bien qu’il diminue, l’écart persiste avec un niveau de 7,4 p.p. Pour les réfugiés ayant connu un délai d’attente d’un et de dix ans, ces écarts s’élèvent à 1,6 p.p. et 13,3 p.p. respectivement après 40 ans. Ainsi, plus la durée d’instruction est rapide, plus les chances d’une intégration économique réussie sont élevées.

    Les implications politiques de ces résultats sont importantes. Ils soulignent la nécessité d’une réduction de la durée d’instruction des demandes d’asile, parce qu’elle augmente les risques d’apparition d’une trappe de « #non-intégration » pour les personnes dont le statut de réfugié serait reconnu trop tardivement.

    –-> Lecture du graphique

    Ce graphique présente le nombre d’années depuis l’obtention du statut de réfugiés (sur l’axe des abscisses) et l’écart de probabilité d’être en emploi avec l’individu de référence (sur l’axe des ordonnées). Trois réfugiés avec des délais d’attente d’un, de cinq et de dix ans sont comparés avec une personne théorique (l’individu de référence) qui aurait reçu son permis de séjour immédiatement après son arrivée (période d’instruction = 0). Des valeurs négatives sur l’axe des ordonnées signifient que des réfugiés avec des durées d’instruction strictement supérieures à zéro ont moins de chance d’être en emploi par rapport à l’individu de référence pour lequel la durée d’instruction est égale à zéro. Par exemple, au moment où les trois réfugiés ont reçu leurs permis de séjour permanents (0 sur l’axe des abscisses), leur probabilité d’avoir un emploi était de 66,5 p.p. inférieure par rapport à l’individu de référence (l’axe des ordonnés). Si l’on s’intéresse à leurs chances d’être en emploi 5 ans après, les écarts des probabilités par rapport à l’individu de référence ont diminué mais à des rythmes différents pour s’établir à 11,1 p.p., 33,3 p.p. et 47,5 p.p. respectivement pour chacun de ces trois réfugiés.

    http://icmigrations.fr/2020/06/08/defacto-020-04
    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #procédure_d'asile #durée

    ping @karine4 @isskein

  • Communiqué de presse : Mettre un terme à la #détention_arbitraire des migrants en Tunisie : le tribunal administratif est saisi du cas du centre d’#El_Ouardia

    Tunis, le 8 juin 2020-

    Un groupe de migrants détenus au centre d’El Ouardia viennent de saisir le tribunal administratif en urgence pour dénoncer leur détention arbitraire. Ils sont détenus depuis des semaines, voire des mois, dans un lieu considéré d’un point de vue légal comme un #centre d’hébergement et d’orientation. Un centre dont ils ne peuvent pourtant pas sortir et qui opère concrètement comme un centre de détention illégal. Les migrants y sont privés de liberté sans aucun respect de leurs #droits_fondamentaux, en l’absence de procédures judiciaires conformes à la Constitution et aux standards internationaux. Ils sont accusés par l’administration d’entrée ou de séjour irrégulier sur le territoire tunisien, mais une telle infraction ne peut suffire à justifier leur #détention en dehors de toute procédure légale et contrôle juridictionnel, d’autant que certains d’entre eux avaient déjà étaient jugés et emprisonnés pour ces faits avant d’être internés à #Ouardia.

    En Tunisie comme ailleurs, on ne peut détenir un individu sans que cette #privation_de_liberté soit strictement encadrée par une loi organique et qu’elle soit assortie de garanties procédurales à même d’assurer que la détention n’est pas illégale ou arbitraire. Or, en Tunisie, aucun texte de loi en vigueur ne permet de soumettre des migrants à une forme de #détention_administrative. Quant au respect des garanties procédurales,ils n’ont pas été notifiés par écrit du fondement juridique de leur détention, ni de la durée de leur détention, ni de leurs droits à être assisté d’un avocat et d’un interprète et à contacter leur consulat, ni de leur droit à saisir la justice pour qu’elle contrôle immédiatement la légalité de leur détention.Leurs avocats n’ont pas été autorisés à leur rendre visite et n’ont même pas pu accéder à leur dossier.Avec l’assistance d’un groupe d’avocats, plusieurs détenus saisissent aujourd’hui le tribunal administratif de Tunis afin qu’il joue son rôle de garant des droits et ordonne, sans délai, la cessation de la détention arbitraire dont ils sont victimes.

    Au-delà de la détention arbitraire des plaignants concernés par ces recours, c’est l’existence même du centre de El Ouardia comme centre de détention de facto qui doit être remise en question, de même que l’ensemble de la législation régissant le statut des étrangers nécessite d’être repensée. La dépénalisation de l’entrée et du séjour irrégulier,la revue des modalités d’octroi des titres de séjour et du traitement des demandes, l’instauration d’une procédure d’asile sont parmi les nombreuses mesures qui devraient être inscrite comme une priorité gouvernementale.Ces réformes apparaissent comme de véritables obligations au regard de la Constitution qui garantit notamment le #droit_d’asile et le droit de ne pas être détenu arbitrairement mais aussi au regard des traités internationaux relatifs aux droits de l’Homme ratifiés par la Tunisie

    Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Économiques et Sociaux FTDES

    Avocats sans frontières ASF

    Terre d’Asile Tunisie

    OMCT Tunisie

    https://ftdes.net/communique-de-presse-mettre-un-terme-a-la-detention-arbitraire-des-migrants-e
    #Tunisie #justice #rétention #migrations #asile #réfugiés
    ping @_kg_

  • Crise alimentaire mondiale : « Nous sommes au bord d’une pandémie de faim »
    https://www.bastamag.net/Crise-alimentaire-mondiale-pandemie-de-faim-pauvrete-extreme-revenu-crique

    Un risque de pénurie alimentaire n’est, pour le moment, pas à craindre. Mais des dizaines de millions de personnes sont menacées de ne plus pouvoir manger à leur faim, du fait de l’absence de revenus, de protections sociales et de rupture des chaînes d’approvisionnement. C’est une donnée qui résonne comme un terrible avertissement. Le nombre de personnes au bord de la famine pourrait doubler, de 135 millions en 2019 à 265 millions d’ici la fin de l’année 2020, a prévenu l’ONU dans un rapport publié (...) #Décrypter

    / #Droits_fondamentaux, #Alimentation, #Agriculture, A la une

  • « Nous ne nous laisserons pas dicter en silence les mesures de "l’après" » : journée d’actions féministes le 8 juin
    https://www.bastamag.net/appel-mobilisation-deconfinement-feministe-8-juin-metiers-essentiels-juste

    « Confinement et déconfinement ne font que renforcer cette assignation des femmes à la sphère familiale et domestique : rien n’a changé́, tout s’est exacerbé. » Une journée d’actions féministes est prévu le 8 juin partout sur le territoire à l’appel de plusieurs mouvements. Voici leurs revendications. Nous ne nous habituerons jamais au décompte de nos mort·e·s. Le déconfinement tel qu’il est organisé montre que pour nos dirigeant·e·s, limiter les mort·e·s n’est plus la priorité, « l’économie » passe (...) ça bouge !

    / #Droits_fondamentaux, #Féminisme, #Luttes_sociales, #Inégalités

    #ça_bouge_ !

  • « Nous n’avons pas d’électricité et tout le monde est malade » : auprès des femmes réfugiées dans le camp de Moria
    https://www.bastamag.net/femmes-Moria-Lesbos-Grece-camps-refugies-migrations-reportage

    Depuis le début de la crise sanitaire mondiale, les ONG appellent les pouvoirs publics grecs, européens et des autres pays du continent à évacuer les immenses camps de réfugiés des îles grecques de la mer Égée. Dans le camp de Moria, 20 000 personnes vivent dans des conditions sommaires. Parmi elles, de nombreuses femmes. Reportage en images. L’épidémie les a encore plus invisibilisé.es. En mer Méditerranée et dans les camps de réfugiés de Grèce, des milliers de personnes sont toujours en transit. (...) #Résister

    / #Europe, Quel avenir pour la construction européenne ?, #Reportages, #Migrations, #Guerres_et_résolution_des_conflits, #Droits_fondamentaux, A la (...)

    #Quel_avenir_pour_la_construction_européenne_ ?

  • #Sans-papiers, mais pas sans #droits

    Sans-papiers, mais pas sans droits s’adresse aux sans-papiers et aux personnes qui les accompagnent.

    Contrairement à ce que l’on croit trop souvent, les étrangers et étrangères en situation irrégulière ou précaire sur le territoire français ont des #droits_fondamentaux.

    Cette note pratique recense et explicite ces droits.

    Elle est constituée de #fiches_synthétiques et thématiques réunies par catégorie de droits ou de thèmes : #Citoyenneté (aide aux sans-papiers, contrôle d’identité, droit d’association et droit syndical), #Santé (assurance maladie, AME, dispositif soins urgents et vitaux, lieux de soins, IVG), #Vie_quotidienne (domiciliation, compte bancaire, services postaux, impôt, aide juridictionnelle, culture), #Couples (mariage, pacs, concubinage), #Enfants (naissance et reconnaissance, ASE, PMI, école, bourses scolaires, cantine et activités périscolaires), Aides diverses (collectivités locales, transports), #Hébergement, #Logement, #Travail (accident du travail, emploi illégal, régularisation, conseil de prud’hommes).

    Sans-papiers, mais pas sans droits a aussi pour vocation d’inciter à faire valoir ces droits, notamment au moyen d’actions collectives, à ne pas s’arrêter aux éventuels risques encourus et, surtout, à ne pas céder aux abus commis, notamment par les autorités administratives.

    Cette publication est une invitation à un #combat_citoyen.

    A télécharger ici :
    http://www.gisti.org/spip.php?article6247#tele
    #manuel #guide #migrations #Le_Gisti #Gisti #France

    ping @karine4

  • Appel à l’annulation d’un contrat entre l’#UE et des entreprises israéliennes pour la surveillance des migrants par drones

    Les contrats de l’UE de 59 millions d’euros avec des entreprises militaires israélienne pour s’équiper en drones de guerre afin de surveiller les demandeurs d’asile en mer sont immoraux et d’une légalité douteuse.
    L’achat de #drones_israéliens par l’UE encourage les violations des droits de l’homme en Palestine occupée, tandis que l’utilisation abusive de tout drone pour intercepter les migrants et les demandeurs d’asile entraînerait de graves violations en Méditerranée, a déclaré aujourd’hui Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor dans un communiqué.
    L’UE devrait immédiatement résilier ces #contrats et s’abstenir d’utiliser des drones contre les demandeurs d’asile, en particulier la pratique consistant à renvoyer ces personnes en #Libye, entravant ainsi leur quête de sécurité.

    L’année dernière, l’Agence européenne des garde-frontières et des garde-côtes basée à Varsovie, #Frontex, et l’Agence européenne de sécurité maritime basée à Lisbonne, #EMSA, ont investi plus de 100 millions d’euros dans trois contrats pour des drones sans pilote. De plus, environ 59 millions d’euros des récents contrats de drones de l’UE auraient été accordés à deux sociétés militaires israéliennes : #Elbit_Systems et #Israel_Aerospace_Industries, #IAI.

    L’un des drones que Frontex a obtenu sous contrat est le #Hermes_900 d’Elbit, qui a été expérimenté sur la population mise en cage dans la #bande_de_Gaza assiégée lors de l’#opération_Bordure_protectrice de 2014. Cela montre l’#investissement de l’UE dans des équipements israéliens dont la valeur a été démontrée par son utilisation dans le cadre de l’oppression du peuple palestinien et de l’occupation de son territoire. Ces achats de drones seront perçus comme soutenant et encourageant une telle utilisation expérimentale de la #technologie_militaire par le régime répressif israélien.

    « Il est scandaleux pour l’UE d’acheter des drones à des fabricants de drones israéliens compte tenu des moyens répressifs et illégaux utilisés pour opprimer les Palestiniens vivant sous occupation depuis plus de cinquante ans », a déclaré le professeur Richard Falk, président du conseil d’administration d’Euromed-Monitor.

    Il est également inacceptable et inhumain pour l’UE d’utiliser des drones, quelle que soit la manière dont ils ont été obtenus pour violer les droits fondamentaux des migrants risquant leur vie en mer pour demander l’asile en Europe.

    Les contrats de drones de l’UE soulèvent une autre préoccupation sérieuse car l’opération Sophia ayant pris fin le 31 mars 2020, la prochaine #opération_Irini a l’intention d’utiliser ces drones militaires pour surveiller et fournir des renseignements sur les déplacements des demandeurs d’asile en #mer_Méditerranée, et cela sans fournir de protocoles de sauvetage aux personnes exposées à des dangers mortels en mer. Surtout si l’on considère qu’en 2019 le #taux_de_mortalité des demandeurs d’asile essayant de traverser la Méditerranée a augmenté de façon spectaculaire, passant de 2% en moyenne à 14%.

    L’opération Sophia utilise des navires pour patrouiller en Méditerranée, conformément au droit international, et pour aider les navires en détresse. Par exemple, la Convention des Nations Unies sur le droit de la mer (CNUDM) stipule que tous les navires sont tenus de signaler une rencontre avec un navire en détresse et, en outre, de proposer une assistance, y compris un sauvetage. Étant donné que les drones ne transportent pas d’équipement de sauvetage et ne sont pas régis par la CNUDM, il est nécessaire de s’appuyer sur les orientations du droit international des droits de l’homme et du droit international coutumier pour guider le comportement des gouvernements.

    Euro-Med Monitor craint que le passage imminent de l’UE à l’utilisation de drones plutôt que de navires en mer Méditerranée soit une tentative de contourner le #droit_international et de ne pas respecter les directives de l’UE visant à sauver la vie des personnes isolées en mer en situation critique. Le déploiement de drones, comme proposé, montre la détermination de l’UE à dissuader les demandeurs d’asile de chercher un abri sûr en Europe en facilitant leur capture en mer par les #gardes-côtes_libyens. Cette pratique reviendrait à aider et à encourager la persécution des demandeurs d’asile dans les fameux camps de détention libyens, où les pratiques de torture, d’esclavage et d’abus sexuels sont très répandues.

    En novembre 2019, l’#Italie a confirmé qu’un drone militaire appartenant à son armée s’était écrasé en Libye alors qu’il était en mission pour freiner les passages maritimes des migrants. Cela soulève de sérieuses questions quant à savoir si des opérations de drones similaires sont menées discrètement sous les auspices de l’UE.

    L’UE devrait décourager les violations des droits de l’homme contre les Palestiniens en s’abstenant d’acheter du matériel militaire israélien utilisé dans les territoires palestiniens occupés. Elle devrait plus généralement s’abstenir d’utiliser des drones militaires contre les demandeurs d’asile civils et, au lieu de cela, respecter ses obligations en vertu du droit international en offrant un refuge sûr aux réfugiés.

    Euro-Med Monitor souligne que même en cas d’utilisation de drones, les opérateurs de drones de l’UE sont tenus, en vertu du droit international, de respecter les #droits_fondamentaux à la vie, à la liberté et à la sécurité de tout bateau de migrants en danger qu’ils rencontrent. Les opérateurs sont tenus de signaler immédiatement tout incident aux autorités compétentes et de prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour garantir que les opérations de recherche et de sauvetage soient menées au profit des migrants en danger.

    L’UE devrait en outre imposer des mesures de #transparence et de #responsabilité plus strictes sur les pratiques de Frontex, notamment en créant un comité de contrôle indépendant pour enquêter sur toute violation commise et prévenir de futures transgressions. Enfin, l’UE devrait empêcher l’extradition ou l’expulsion des demandeurs d’asile vers la Libye – où leur vie serait gravement menacée – et mettre fin à la pratique des garde-côtes libyens qui consiste à arrêter et capturer des migrants en mer.

    http://www.france-palestine.org/Appel-a-l-annulation-d-un-contrat-entre-l-UE-et-des-entreprises-is
    #Europe #EU #drones #Israël #surveillance #drones #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Méditerranée #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #militarisation_des_frontières #complexe_militaro-industriel #business #armée #droits_humains #sauvetage

    ping @etraces @reka @nepthys @isskein @karine4

  • Ecoute des utilisateurs par Apple : un ancien prestataire alerte les autorités européennes
    https://www.bastamag.net/Siri-lanceur-alerte-Apple-assistants-vocaux-surveillance-ecoutes-vie-prive

    Des centaines de personnes sont chargées d’écouter les conversations d’utilisateurs de Siri, l’assistant vocal d’Apple. C’est ce qu’ont révélé en juillet dernier des médias britanniques et espagnols [1]. « En principe, leur déclenchement [de l’enregistrement et de l’écoute] devait respecter l’une des deux conditions suivantes : soit quelqu’un donnait une commande à Siri, soit la personne dictait un message. Nous entendions pourtant une quantité invraisemblable d’enregistrements qui sortaient de ce périmètre », (...) En bref

    / #Surveillance_et_biométrie, #Droits_fondamentaux, #Atteintes_aux_libertés, Lanceurs (...)

    #Lanceurs_d'alerte
    https://www.bastamag.net/IMG/pdf/public_statement_siri_recordings_tlb-1.pdf

  • Noyés du Canal Saint-Denis : « Préfets et maires, à vous d’empêcher d’autres drames »
    https://www.bastamag.net/mort-noyade-migrant-sdf-canal-saint-denis-harcelement-policier-destruction

    La situation des personnes exilées et sans domicile - déjà catastrophique - s’est aggravée de façon dramatique en Ile-de-France. Trois personnes sont mortes noyées aux abords du canal Saint-Denis depuis début avril. Monsieur Leclerc, préfet de Seine-Saint-Denis, Monsieur Lallement, préfet de Paris. Madame Hidalgo, Maire de Paris, Monsieur Russier, Maire de Saint-Denis, Madame Derkaoui, Maire d’Aubervilliers, Un homme est mort. Jamal avait 35 ans. Il était originaire de Tizi-Ouzou en Algérie et (...) #Débattre

    / #Droits_fondamentaux, #Accès_à_l'eau, #Migrations

  • Tri des patients : des dérives laissent penser que les personnes en situation de handicap sont discriminées
    https://www.bastamag.net/tri-des-patients-covid-handicap-reanimation-deces-etabissements-medicaux-s

    Les chiffres du ministère de la #Santé_sont de plus en plus confus sur les personnes en situation de handicap mortes du Covid sans avoir pu être prises en charge à l’hôpital. Plusieurs documents officiels montrent que ces personnes ont pu ne pas été considérées comme prioritaires pour accéder aux soins. Or, le handicap ne constitue pas en soi un facteur de comorbidité aggravant face au Covid. Depuis début avril, le ministère de la Santé communique chaque semaine le nombre de décès dus au Covid dans (...) #Résister

    / #Discriminations, #Inégalités, Santé , #Droits_fondamentaux, A la une

  • Ficher les patients Covid et leur entourage : des médecins dénoncent « un précédent très dangereux »
    https://www.bastamag.net/contact-Covid-pistage-fichage-medecins-generalistes-secret-medical-brigade

    Demander aux médecins généralistes de saisir dans un fichier les noms et coordonnées des personnes contaminées au Covid-19 et de leurs contacts : c’est ce que prévoit le projet de loi de prolongation de l’état d’urgence sanitaire. « Soigner n’est pas ficher, soigner n’est pas contraindre ! » dénoncent des médecins. Les médecins généralistes n’avaient pas vraiment été intégrés dans la stratégie de lutte contre la contamination. Le gouvernement fait désormais appel à eux pour pister, voire ficher, les patients (...) #Décrypter

    / Santé , #Droits_fondamentaux, #Atteintes_aux_libertés, #Surveillance_et_biométrie, A la (...)

    #Santé_

  • #Pierre_Bühler | #Asile et #coronavirus : l’actualité au prisme de l’éthique

    Pierre Bühler, contributeur régulier de la revue Vivre Ensemble, nous livre une analyse fine de la gestion de la crise sanitaire vis-à-vis des populations de personnes exilées. Il scrute ainsi l’actualité de ces dernières semaines en nous aidant à la comprendre à travers le prisme de principes philosophiques éclairants. De la situation dans les camps sur les îles grecques, en évoquant le manque de sauvetage en Méditerranée, pour revenir sur la décision de maintien des procédures d’asile en Suisse, l’auteur interroge les notions d’éthique et de morale qui peuvent entrer en conflit et la façon dont ces conflits sont tranchés. La déontologie est-elle sacrifiée aux diverses finalités politiques ? Ou en d’autres termes : le fait que “chaque être humain doit être protégé” préside-t-il aux décisions et mesures prises dans ce contexte de crise ? S’inspirant de Paul Ricoeur et de John Rawls, Pierre Bühler rappelle que : “ce n’est pas au prix de la déontologie que nous pouvons viser ‘une vie bonne avec et pour l’autre dans des institutions justes’, mais bien plutôt avec elle pour fondement et pour référence. “

    –-------

    L’actualité s’est précipitée, ces dernières semaines, et il est bon de prendre un peu de recul, pour tenter de réfléchir à ce qui se passe du point de vue de l’asile en ces temps de #crise_sanitaire.

    Un petit modèle théorique

    Dans sa grande Théorie de la justice[1], le philosophe anglophone #John_Rawls distingue deux perspectives fondamentales qui peuvent s’entrecroiser et entrer en conflit l’une avec l’autre. Nous avons des visées, des velléités de #justice, nous nous efforçons vers des buts : c’est l’aspect téléologique (du terme grec telos, le but, la finalité). Sous cet angle, #Rawls est en débat avec l’#utilitarisme, une position très répandue dans le monde anglo-saxon et qui peut dire que le #sacrifice de quelques-uns est légitime, si cela contribue au plus grand bien pour le plus grand nombre possible. Selon la formule traditionnelle : la fin justifie les moyens. Pour Rawls, une telle position entre en conflit avec la perspective qu’il appelle déontologique (du grec deon, ce qui doit être, le devoir) : au nom des droits et devoirs humains, il n’est pas légitime de sacrifier qui que ce soit, chaque être humain étant à protéger. Ainsi, pour lui, toutes nos téléologies doivent être constamment soumises à la déontologie.

    Pour faire court, il en déduit deux principes de justice : le premier, c’est que toutes les personnes sont égales de droit et doivent avoir des chances égales ; le second dit que si des #inégalités sont nécessaires, elles doivent toujours être organisées de manière à améliorer la situation des plus défavorisés (c’est ce qu’il appelle la #règle_du_maximin : « #maximaliser_les_minima »).

    Dans ce qu’il a appelé sa « petite éthique » dans son livre Soi-même comme un autre[2], le philosophe français #Paul_Ricœur a repris cette idée, en articulant éthique et #morale : l’éthique est portée par ce que nous visons : nous voulons « une vie bonne avec et pour l’autre dans des institutions justes » ; la morale nous impose un certain nombre de #normes et d’#obligations indispensables auxquelles nous devons nous plier. Le troisième moment de la « petite éthique », c’est ce que Ricœur appelle la « #sagesse_pratique » : parce que les visées et les normes entrent constamment en conflit, il faut apprendre à assumer notre action concrètement, en affrontant les #conflits avec courage.

    Ce petit modèle théorique me permet de relire certaines réalités vécues ces derniers temps, car nous sommes en régime de sagesse pratique, et dans les conflits que nous vivons, c’est bien souvent la déontologie qui est sacrifiée aux diverses téléologies.
    Les mesures d’urgence sanitaire

    Les gouvernements ont pris, plus ou moins rapidement et plus ou moins judicieusement selon les pays, des #mesures_d’urgence contre la propagation du coronavirus. La #protection_sanitaire de la population constitue, certes, une #exigence_déontologique, mais elle menace temporairement la #déontologie plus fondamentale. Elle suspend certains #droits_fondamentaux qui nous sont, en temps normal, garantis constitutionnellement : la #liberté_de_mouvement, la #liberté_de_rassemblement, etc. Pour faire passer l’état d’urgence du #confinement, on peut parler massivement d’une #guerre à mener, comme l’a fait le président Macron. Mais il n’en reste pas moins la nécessité de veiller à la déontologie, car la fin risque ici aussi de justifier trop rapidement les moyens (par exemple, la #surveillance_numérique des rassemblements ou des relations interpersonnelles pour le bien du #traçage de la propagation – danger du « Big Brother is watching you », à l’aide des smartphones !). Comme le confinement, le #déconfinement contient un grand risque de #discriminations, et il faudra y veiller !

    Du point de vue du système démocratique, cette tâche de veilleur reviendrait au pouvoir législatif, et heureusement que les parlements vont enfin reprendre leur travail, après une pause déontologiquement problématique. C’est encore plus catastrophique lorsque le parlement donne plein pouvoir à l’#exécutif, comme c’est le cas en Hongrie !

    La crise sanitaire a révélé des dysfonctionnements majeurs. J’aimerais en évoquer deux, avant d’en venir aux implications pour les questions d’asile.
    a) En amont : ces dernières années, le #système_de_santé a subi d’énormes pressions économiques : il fallait le rentabiliser, et donc le réduire au minimum, en économiser les coûts. La pandémie a montré le danger de ces #téléologies_économistes et souligné la nécessité déontologique d’un système de santé solide, digne de respect (quand on voit des néo-libéraux applaudir à 21h l’héroïsme du personnel soignant, on a juste envie de les pousser de leurs balcons – pardon pour cette parenthèse : elle n’est pas « déontologiquement correcte » !).

    b) En aval : certes, l’économie a souffert, et il est donc légitime de penser à l’avenir de celles et ceux qui sont au chômage, qui ont perdu leur travail, etc. Mais je me demande si ceux qui réclament à grands cris des investissements pour la relance économique pensent aux plus défavorisés et portent le souci déontologique d’un « maximin ». Je crains qu’ils ne songent plutôt à leur propre profit, à se refaire une santé financière, ou tout simplement à faire remonter d’urgence le sacro-saint PIB ! Retour aux affaires, alors que la crise serait une bonne occasion de faire le point, de se demander ce que nous voulons et ce que nous devons (krisis, en grec, signifie le jugement). Et déjà on soupçonne les démunis de vouloir profiter : « l’aide d’urgence ne doit pas devenir un oreiller de paresse », dixit Guy Parmelin.
    Asile : pas de « maximin » !

    Venons-en aux conséquences dans le domaine de l’asile. Ici aussi, le second principe de justice ne s’est pas appliqué. La pandémie a, certes, suscité un grand mouvement de solidarité, mais elle a aussi révélé des disparités dans l’exercice de cette dernière. Ce ne fut pas de la « solidarité sans frontières » … Donnons quelques exemples.

    Je viens de parler de celles et ceux qui ont perdu leur travail, et les requérant-e-s d’asile en sont. Ils risquent de se retrouver parmi les plus défavorisés des plus défavorisés, car on ne se souciera d’eux qu’en tout dernier, si personne ne prend leur défense.
    Nous avons pu observer combien l’idée de l’école à la maison a mis des familles de requérant-e-s d’asile en situation difficile : manque de matériel informatique, connaissances lacunaires de la langue d’enseignement, et donc grandes difficultés d’assumer les tâches déléguées d’enseignement. Il y a un danger de fracture sociale.
    Les plus exposés à la pandémie sont les plus fragilisés, et il était donc du devoir de la société d’appliquer les règles de confinement là où elles sont le plus nécessaires, notamment dans les centres d’accueil de requérants d’asile. Mais combien a-t-il fallu insister, et insister pour que cela se fasse, et à l’heure où j’écris ces lignes, il y a des lieux où cela n’est toujours pas fait.
    Enfin le droit d’asile lui-même est devenu victime de la pandémie. En effet, on a déclaré les frontières fermées, même si les frontaliers pouvaient la passer tous les jours, même si on pouvait rapatrier par milliers des citoyens bloqués à l’étranger. Mais elles sont résolument fermées pour les requérants d’asile : plus de possibilité de déposer une demande d’asile – violation du droit international, et donc problème déontologique fondamental.

    Le sauvetage en mer : une déontologie à la dérive

    J’étends quelque peu les perspectives. Le droit marin est absolument clair : toute personne en danger de se noyer doit être sauvée, qui qu’elle soit. Comment se fait-il que cette déontologie marine soit devenue aussi impossible en Méditerranée au fil des ans ? Au point où il faut lutter pour avoir le droit de faire une opération de sauvetage, puis obtenir un accueil dans un port sans devoir forcer les barrages, puis éviter la mise sous séquestre du bateau ? Alors qu’on compte depuis 1993 à 2018 environ 36’000 naufragés dont la mort a pu être documentée. Pour celles et ceux qui peuvent lire l’allemand, je recommande vivement, sur ce sujet, les livres publiés par les deux jeunes capitaines allemandes Carola Rackete et Pia Klemp, qui se sont battues et se battent encore sur ce front[3].

    La déontologie maritime a été disqualifiée par l’Europe : les sauveteurs sont accusés de faire du trafic d’êtres humains, en collaboration avec les passeurs. Et l’approche du problème se fait économique : si nous offrons un sauvetage, cette offre provoque un appel d’air ; plus il y a de navires de sauvetage, plus il y a de bateaux de fugitifs qui arrivent. Pour « réguler ce flux » (oui, c’est comme ça qu’on parle…), il faut réduire l’attrait. Il n’y a donc plus qu’une téléologie : renforcer la surveillance des frontières extérieures, et donc développer Frontex, à coup de milliards, et quant aux fugitifs sur leurs barques de fortune, la meilleure attitude, c’est de « laisser mourir » ou de « refouler vers les camps de la Libye »[4]. Ce faisant, l’Europe trahit ses principes fondamentaux, la déontologie qui constitue sa base.

    L’arrivée du coronavirus a permis de renforcer cette fermeture de la forteresse Europe. Un à un, les pays déclarent leurs ports pas sûrs et donc fermés à toute arrivée de rescapés (comme s’ils avaient été très ouverts auparavant…) ; les bateaux de sauvetage sont mis en panne ; les sauvetages sont bloqués. Mais les bateaux de fugitifs continuent de partir en mer, ce qui, d’ailleurs, contredit tragiquement la théorie économique de l’offre et de la demande… Mais la téléologie de la fermeture des frontières a pris le pas sur la déontologie du droit marin.
    Les camps des îles grecques : un utilitarisme à outrance…

    Environ 40’000 hommes, femmes et enfants vivent dans des camps prévus pour environ 6’000 personnes, dans des conditions innommables : la gale et d’autres maladies se répandent, la nourriture, distribuée dans des longues queues d’attente, est souvent déjà avariée, l’hygiène est rudimentaire ou inexistante, la violence sévit, les femmes subissent des viols, les enfants s’automutilent ou se suicident par désespoir, et régulièrement des incendies dévastent des parties des habitations, tandis qu’aux alentours, des groupes d’extrême-droite répandent la terreur. La description que fait Jean Ziegler dans son livre Lesbos, la honte de l’Europe[5] est sidérante. Mais ce qui est peut-être encore plus frappant, c’est comme il montre que cette misère est délibérément voulue : l’Europe laisse croupir les fugitifs entassés dans ces camps pour dissuader d’autres de venir, en montrant combien peu attractive et non accueillante est l’Europe. Au sens de Rawls, un utilitarisme à outrance : 40’000 personnes utilisées pour protéger l’Europe d’un « flux migratoire » (toujours le « flux » …) incontrôlable. On signalera en passant que Mme von der Leyen a intégré au département européen pour la migration la tâche de « la protection du style de vie européen ». D’ailleurs, lorsqu’une délégation de Bruxelles est allée visiter la frontière gréco-turque, elle a félicité la Grèce dans sa fonction de « bouclier de l’Europe », et l’aide qui lui a été promise à cette occasion, c’était « plus d’équipement technique, comprenant des bateaux, un avion de surveillance maritime, ainsi que des véhicules (équipés de dispositifs de vision nocturne) avec lumière thermique ». Donc, en somme, plus de Frontex, plus de militarisation des frontières ! Une fois de plus, une téléologie s’est imposée par rapport au devoir moral : l’Europe doit se protéger d’une menace à ses frontières extérieures, et dans l’Est de l’Europe, on entend même dire que ces fugitifs souilleraient la pureté ethnique de la population.

    Une possible propagation du coronavirus dans ces camps de la honte serait une catastrophe, car un confinement est impossible (longues queues d’attente, un robinet d’eau pour 1’300 personnes, familles nombreuses dans de petites tentes de fortune, etc.). La menace de la crise sanitaire a été l’occasion pour les autorités grecques de fermer complètement les camps, si bien que même le personnel des ONGs ne peut plus y entrer. Ce bouclage protège peut-être provisoirement du virus, mais suscite surtout une grande peur dans les camps, qui se décharge facilement dans des émeutes et des affrontements avec la police omniprésente.
    En réponse aux appels de Pâques : « pas de crise »

    La misère qui règne dans les camps grecs, amplifiée par la menace de la pandémie, a conduit de nombreux mouvements à lancer des appels de Pâques au Conseil fédéral, lui demandant de poser un signe clair, susceptible de faire bouger l’Europe, en accueillant immédiatement plusieurs milliers de fugitifs en Suisse, l’impératif déontologique étant d’évacuer ces camps le plus vite possible[6]. La réponse est négative. Comme elle l’avait déjà annoncé depuis plusieurs mois, après une procédure assez compliquée, la Suisse se contentera provisoirement d’accueillir mi-mai 21 ou 22 mineurs non accompagnés ayant de la famille en Suisse, comme le Luxembourg qui vient d’en accueillir 12 et l’Allemagne 47. Comme le disait une journaliste dans le journal allemand Die Republik, le message de telles actions est en somme : « Rassurez-vous, nous vous protégeons des réfugiés. »

    Mais la pression continue, car les appels de Pâques sont portés par une forte vague de sympathie. Je vous propose de relire la petite description de la misère dans les camps des îles grecques faite ci-dessus, puis de lire la réponse aux appels de Pâques de Mario Gattiker, secrétaire d’État aux migrations, dans une interview de la NZZ : « La situation en Grèce est difficile, mais il n’y a pas de crise. » Le gouvernement grec peut et doit faire son travail, et la Suisse l’aidera : en améliorant et en accélérant les procédures d’asile, on résoudra le problème des camps. Que faut-il de plus dans ces camps pour que le fonctionnaire bernois inamovible reconnaisse qu’il y a une crise ? Et surtout, que fait-il de la thèse de Jean Ziegler que ces camps doivent rester pour continuer de dissuader, que la téléologie européenne, c’est que ces « hot spots » doivent rester brûlants, incandescents ?
    L’État de droit – sous plexiglas …

    Dans le cadre du confinement, toutes les procédures judiciaires en Suisse ont été interrompues, sauf en matière d’asile. Même si c’est dans des conditions difficiles, les auditions de requérant-e-s d’asile et les prise de décision au SEM et au TAF ont continué, en mettant en danger la santé des personnes impliquées. Des décisions de renvoi ont été prononcées (en Grèce, notamment !), même si le renvoi ne peut pas se faire. Suite à de nombreuses protestations, appelant à interrompre ces procédures, elles furent brièvement interrompues pour aménager les salles d’audition selon les règles de confinement, notamment par l’installation de vitres en plexiglas, ce qui a permis de les reprendre de plus belle dès le 1er avril (et ce ne fut pas un poisson d’avril !).

    Pour justifier cette poursuite des procédures dans des interviews, Mme Keller-Sutter et Mario Gattiker ont invoqué l’État de droit, je dis bien : l’État de droit ! Joli paradoxe : pour poursuivre leur obsession administrative de liquidation des requêtes d’asile, ils ont revendiqué la déontologie : « Particulièrement en temps de crise, l’État de droit doit se montrer fort. » Même si les juristes et les traducteurs sont à distance – ou manquent –, même si les conseillers juridiques sont en télétravail et s’efforcent du mieux qu’ils peuvent de mener à bien leur mission, même si les médecins luttent contre le virus et n’ont pas le temps de faire des rapports médicaux, l’État de droit sous plexiglas continue son travail… Seule concession : on allonge un peu les délais de recours…

    On prétend d’ailleurs respecter les efforts sanitaires des autorités supérieures, mais les contradictions n’ont pas manqué. Un seul exemple : un requérant d’asile kurde du nom de Sangar Ahmad travaillait depuis plusieurs semaines avec son entreprise de nettoyage à désinfecter les locaux hospitaliers vaudois, mais il a dû interrompre ce travail fort utile le 13 avril, parce qu’un rejet de son recours l’obligeait à quitter ce travail et à entrer dans le régime de l’aide d’urgence. Rendu attentif à ce problème par une pétition, le SEM a prolongé le délai de deux mois : on espère que la crise sanitaire sera terminée ou qu’un vol de renvoi sera possible. Obsession de la téléologie, quand tu nous tiens…
    En guise de conclusion : Dürrenmatt et la Suisse

    Pour parler avec Ricœur : les conflits relevant de la sagesse pratique conduisent souvent à la défaite de la déontologie. Or, ce n’est pas très sage. La sagesse doit nous appeler à tenir tête à cette hégémonie des velléités qui contournent le devoir, qui font que si souvent ce qui doit être n’est que ce qui devrait être et n’est pas. La sagesse pratique nous appelle donc à être des veilleurs de la déontologie, dévoilant sans cesse les fausses téléologies, car ce n’est pas au prix de la déontologie que nous pouvons viser « une vie bonne avec et pour l’autre dans des institutions justes », mais bien plutôt avec elle pour fondement et pour référence.

    Le jeune Dürrenmatt, dont nous fêterons le centenaire en janvier prochain, l’exprimait dans un texte de 1950 dans lequel il se demandait quel serait l’avenir de la Suisse dans l’Europe en train de se construire. J’en cite quelques phrases qui me paraissent encore d’actualité et qui me serviront de conclusion :
    « Seule une Suisse qui garantit aux réfugiés toute la protection et toute l’aide possibles a un droit d’exister. C’est notre premier devoir politique de penser d’abord aux autres, puis à nous. Nous ne pouvons jamais faire assez pour les exilés, car nous justifions ainsi notre existence. Chaque cuillérée de soupe que nous leur donnons a plus de valeur que tous les discours de nos pères de la patrie et de nos professeurs. […] Aucun État ne repose autant sur la justice que la Suisse. Ce n’est qu’en justice qu’une liberté est possible qui ne soit pas le règne de l’arbitraire. La justice est la plus haute tâche de la Suisse. […] Nous devons comprendre que nous sommes à un tournant de l’histoire. Une Suisse future n’est pensable que comme l’État le plus social du monde, sinon elle sera mentionnée occasionnellement comme une curiosité dans l’enseignement de l’histoire des générations futures. »[7]
    Pierre Bühler,
    Neuchâtel/Zurich

    [1] Publiée en anglais en 1971, elle a paru en traduction française en 1987 (Paris, Éd. du Seuil ; 667 pages !).

    [2] Paris, Éd. du Seuil 1990.

    [3] Carola Rackete, Handeln statt Hoffen. Aufruf an die letzte Generation, Munich, Droemer, 2019 : Pia Klemp, Lass uns mit den Toten tanzen. Roman, Augsburg, MaroVerlag, 2019.

    [4] Cf. l’excellent dossier à ce sujet dans la Gazette de Vivre ensemble #5 que nous venons de recevoir.

    [5] Paris, Éd. du Seuil, 2020.

    [6] Ces appels peuvent être lus sur le site www.asile.ch.

    [7] Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Meine Schweiz. Ein Lesebuch, Zurich, Diogenes, 1998, p. 240-241 (trad. P. Bühler)

    https://asile.ch/2020/05/06/pierre-buhler-asile-et-coronavirus-entre-deontologie-et-teleologie
    #migrations #réfugiés #covid-19 #applaudissements #économie #école_à_la_maison #fermeture_des_frontières #sauvetage_en_mer #droit_marin #Etat_de_droit #Dürrenmatt

    ping @isskein @karine4 @thomas_lacroix