#eaux_internationales

  • Friends of the Traffickers Italy’s Anti-Mafia Directorate and the “Dirty Campaign” to Criminalize Migration

    Afana Dieudonne often says that he is not a superhero. That’s Dieudonne’s way of saying he’s done things he’s not proud of — just like anyone in his situation would, he says, in order to survive. From his home in Cameroon to Tunisia by air, then by car and foot into the desert, across the border into Libya, and onto a rubber boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Dieudonne has done a lot of surviving.

    In Libya, Dieudonne remembers when the smugglers managing the safe house would ask him for favors. Dieudonne spoke a little English and didn’t want trouble. He said the smugglers were often high and always armed. Sometimes, when asked, Dieudonne would distribute food and water among the other migrants. Other times, he would inform on those who didn’t follow orders. He remembers the traffickers forcing him to inflict violence on his peers. It was either them or him, he reasoned.

    On September 30, 2014, the smugglers pushed Dieudonne and 91 others out to sea aboard a rubber boat. Buzzing through the pitch-black night, the group watched lights on the Libyan coast fade into darkness. After a day at sea, the overcrowded dinghy began taking on water. Its passengers were rescued by an NGO vessel and transferred to an Italian coast guard ship, where officers picked Dieudonne out of a crowd and led him into a room for questioning.

    At first, Dieudonne remembers the questioning to be quick, almost routine. His name, his age, his nationality. And then the questions turned: The officers said they wanted to know how the trafficking worked in Libya so they could arrest the people involved. They wanted to know who had driven the rubber boat and who had held the navigation compass.

    “So I explained everything to them, and I also showed who the ‘captain’ was — captain in quotes, because there is no captain,” said Dieudonne. The real traffickers stay in Libya, he added. “Even those who find themselves to be captains, they don’t do it by choice.”

    For the smugglers, Dieudonne explained, “we are the customers, and we are the goods.”

    For years, efforts by the Italian government and the European Union to address migration in the central Mediterranean have focused on the people in Libya — interchangeably called facilitators, smugglers, traffickers, or militia members, depending on which agency you’re speaking to — whose livelihoods come from helping others cross irregularly into Europe. People pay them a fare to organize a journey so dangerous it has taken tens of thousands of lives.

    The European effort to dismantle these smuggling networks has been driven by an unlikely actor: the Italian anti-mafia and anti-terrorism directorate, a niche police office in Rome that gained respect in the 1990s and early 2000s for dismantling large parts of the Mafia in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy. According to previously unpublished internal documents, the office — called the Direzione nazionale antimafia e antiterrorismo, or DNAA, in Italian — took a front-and-center role in the management of Europe’s southern sea borders, in direct coordination with the EU border agency Frontex and European military missions operating off the Libyan coast.

    In 2013, under the leadership of a longtime anti-mafia prosecutor named Franco Roberti, the directorate pioneered a strategy that was unique — or at least new for the border officers involved. They would start handling irregular migration to Europe like they had handled the mob. The approach would allow Italian and European police, coast guard agencies, and navies, obliged by international law to rescue stranded refugees at sea, to at least get some arrests and convictions along the way.

    The idea was to arrest low-level operators and use coercion and plea deals to get them to flip on their superiors. That way, the reasoning went, police investigators could work their way up the food chain and eventually dismantle the smuggling rings in Libya. With every boat that disembarked in Italy, police would make a handful of arrests. Anybody found to have played an active role during the crossing, from piloting to holding a compass to distributing water or bailing out a leak, could be arrested under a new legal directive written by Roberti’s anti-mafia directorate. Charges ranged from simple smuggling to transnational criminal conspiracy and — if people asphyxiated below deck or drowned when a boat capsized — even murder. Judicial sources estimate the number of people arrested since 2013 to be in the thousands.

    For the police, prosecutors, and politicians involved, the arrests were an important domestic political win. At the time, public opinion in Italy was turning against migration, and the mugshots of alleged smugglers regularly held space on front pages throughout the country.

    But according to the minutes of closed-door conversations among some of the very same actors directing these cases, which were obtained by The Intercept under Italy’s freedom of information law, most anti-mafia prosecutions only focused on low-level boat drivers, often migrants who had themselves paid for the trip across. Few, if any, smuggling bosses were ever convicted. Documents of over a dozen trials reviewed by The Intercept show prosecutions built on hasty investigations and coercive interrogations.

    In the years that followed, the anti-mafia directorate went to great lengths to keep the arrests coming. According to the internal documents, the office coordinated a series of criminal investigations into the civilian rescue NGOs working to save lives in the Mediterranean, accusing them of hampering police work. It also oversaw efforts to create and train a new coast guard in Libya, with full knowledge that some coast guard officers were colluding with the same smuggling networks that Italian and European leaders were supposed to be fighting.

    Since its inception, the anti-mafia directorate has wielded unparalleled investigative tools and served as a bridge between politicians and the courts. The documents reveal in meticulous detail how the agency, alongside Italian and European officials, capitalized on those powers to crack down on alleged smugglers, most of whom they knew to be desperate people fleeing poverty and violence with limited resources to defend themselves in court.

    Tragedy and Opportunity

    The anti-mafia directorate was born in the early 1990s after a decade of escalating Mafia violence. By then, hundreds of prosecutors, politicians, journalists, and police officers had been shot, blown up, or kidnapped, and many more extorted by organized crime families operating in Italy and beyond.

    In Palermo, the Sicilian capital, prosecutor Giovanni Falcone was a rising star in the Italian judiciary. Falcone had won unprecedented success with an approach to organized crime based on tracking financial flows, seizing assets, and centralizing evidence gathered by prosecutor’s offices across the island.

    But as the Mafia expanded its reach into the rest of Europe, Falcone’s work proved insufficient.

    In September 1990, a Mafia commando drove from Germany to Sicily to gun down a 37-year-old judge. Weeks later, at a police checkpoint in Naples, the Sicilian driver of a truck loaded with weapons, explosives, and drugs was found to be a resident of Germany. A month after the arrests, Falcone traveled to Germany to establish an information-sharing mechanism with authorities there. He brought along a younger colleague from Naples, Franco Roberti.

    “We faced a stone wall,” recalled Roberti, still bitter three decades later. He spoke to us outside a cafe in a plum neighborhood in Naples. Seventy-three years old and speaking with the rasp of a lifelong smoker, Roberti described Italy’s Mafia problem in blunt language. He bemoaned a lack of international cooperation that, he said, continues to this day. “They claimed that there was no need to investigate there,” Roberti said, “that it was up to us to investigate Italians in Germany who were occasional mafiosi.”

    As the prosecutors traveled back to Italy empty-handed, Roberti remembers Falcone telling him that they needed “a centralized national organ able to speak directly to foreign judicial authorities and coordinate investigations in Italy.”

    “That is how the idea of the anti-mafia directorate was born,” Roberti said. The two began building what would become Italy’s first national anti-mafia force.

    At the time, there was tough resistance to the project. Critics argued that Falcone and Roberti were creating “super-prosecutors” who would wield outsize powers over the courts, while also being subject to political pressures from the government in Rome. It was, they argued, a marriage of police and the judiciary, political interests and supposedly apolitical courts — convenient for getting Mafia convictions but dangerous for Italian democracy.

    Still, in January 1992, the project was approved in Parliament. But Falcone would never get to lead it: Months later, a bomb set by the Mafia killed him, his wife, and the three agents escorting them. The attack put to rest any remaining criticism of Falcone’s plan.

    The anti-mafia directorate went on to become one of Italy’s most important institutions, the national authority over all matters concerning organized crime and the agency responsible for partially freeing the country from its century-old crucible. In the decades after Falcone’s death, the directorate did what many in Italy thought impossible, dismantling large parts of the five main Italian crime families and almost halving the Mafia-related murder rate.

    And yet, by the time Roberti took control in 2013, it had been years since the last high-profile Mafia prosecution, and the organization’s influence was waning. At the same time, Italy was facing unprecedented numbers of migrants arriving by boat. Roberti had an idea: The anti-mafia directorate would start working on what he saw as a different kind of mafia. The organization set its sights on Libya.

    “We thought we had to do something more coordinated to combat this trafficking,” Roberti remembered, “so I put everyone around a table.”

    “The main objective was to save lives, seize ships, and capture smugglers,” Roberti said. “Which we did.”

    Our Sea

    Dieudonne made it to the Libyan port city of Zuwara in August 2014. One more step across the Mediterranean, and he’d be in Europe. The smugglers he paid to get him across the sea took all of his possessions and put him in an abandoned building that served as a safe house to wait for his turn.

    Dieudonne told his story from a small office in Bari, Italy, where he runs a cooperative that helps recent arrivals access local education. Dieudonne is fiery and charismatic. He is constantly moving: speaking, texting, calling, gesticulating. Every time he makes a point, he raps his knuckles on the table in a one-two pattern. Dieudonne insisted that we publish his real name. Others who made the journey more recently — still pending decisions on their residence permits or refugee status — were less willing to speak openly.

    Dieudonne remembers the safe house in Zuwara as a string of constant violence. The smugglers would come once a day to leave food. Every day, they would ask who hadn’t followed their orders. Those inside the abandoned building knew they were less likely to be discovered by police or rival smugglers, but at the same time, they were not free to leave.

    “They’ve put a guy in the refrigerator in front of all of us, to show how the next one who misbehaves will be treated,” Dieudonne remembered, indignant. He witnessed torture, shootings, rape. “The first time you see it, it hurts you. The second time it hurts you less. The third time,” he said with a shrug, “it becomes normal. Because that’s the only way to survive.”

    “That’s why arresting the person who pilots a boat and treating them like a trafficker makes me laugh,” Dieudonne said. Others who have made the journey to Italy report having been forced to drive at gunpoint. “You only do it to be sure you don’t die there,” he said.

    Two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s government, much of Libya’s northwest coast had become a staging ground for smugglers who organized sea crossings to Europe in large wooden fishing boats. When those ships — overcrowded, underpowered, and piloted by amateurs — inevitably capsized, the deaths were counted by the hundreds.

    In October 2013, two shipwrecks off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa took over 400 lives, sparking public outcry across Europe. In response, the Italian state mobilized two plans, one public and the other private.

    “There was a big shock when the Lampedusa tragedy happened,” remembered Italian Sen. Emma Bonino, then the country’s foreign minister. The prime minister “called an emergency meeting, and we decided to immediately launch this rescue program,” Bonino said. “Someone wanted to call the program ‘safe seas.’ I said no, not safe, because it’s sure we’ll have other tragedies. So let’s call it Mare Nostrum.”

    Mare Nostrum — “our sea” in Latin — was a rescue mission in international waters off the coast of Libya that ran for one year and rescued more than 150,000 people. The operation also brought Italian ships, airplanes, and submarines closer than ever to Libyan shores. Roberti, just two months into his job as head of the anti-mafia directorate, saw an opportunity to extend the country’s judicial reach and inflict a lethal blow to smuggling rings in Libya.

    Five days after the start of Mare Nostrum, Roberti launched the private plan: a series of coordination meetings among the highest echelons of the Italian police, navy, coast guard, and judiciary. Under Roberti, these meetings would run for four years and eventually involve representatives from Frontex, Europol, an EU military operation, and even Libya.

    The minutes of five of these meetings, which were presented by Roberti in a committee of the Italian Parliament and obtained by The Intercept, give an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the events on Europe’s southern borders since the Lampedusa shipwrecks.

    In the first meeting, held in October 2013, Roberti told participants that the anti-mafia offices in the Sicilian city of Catania had developed an innovative way to deal with migrant smuggling. By treating Libyan smugglers like they had treated the Italian Mafia, prosecutors could claim jurisdiction over international waters far beyond Italy’s borders. That, Roberti said, meant they could lawfully board and seize vessels on the high seas, conduct investigations there, and use the evidence in court.

    The Italian authorities have long recognized that, per international maritime law, they are obligated to rescue people fleeing Libya on overcrowded boats and transport them to a place of safety. As the number of people attempting the crossing increased, many Italian prosecutors and coast guard officials came to believe that smugglers were relying on these rescues to make their business model work; therefore, the anti-mafia reasoning went, anyone who acted as crew or made a distress call on a boat carrying migrants could be considered complicit in Libyan trafficking and subject to Italian jurisdiction. This new approach drew heavily from legal doctrines developed in the United States during the 1980s aimed at stopping drug smuggling.

    European leaders were scrambling to find a solution to what they saw as a looming migration crisis. Italian officials thought they had the answer and publicly justified their decisions as a way to prevent future drownings.

    But according to the minutes of the 2013 anti-mafia meeting, the new strategy predated the Lampedusa shipwrecks by at least a week. Sicilian prosecutors had already written the plan to crack down on migration across the Mediterranean but lacked both the tools and public will to put it into action. Following the Lampedusa tragedy and the creation of Mare Nostrum, they suddenly had both.

    State of Necessity

    In the international waters off the coast of Libya, Dieudonne and 91 others were rescued by a European NGO called Migrant Offshore Aid Station. They spent two days aboard MOAS’s ship before being transferred to an Italian coast guard ship, Nave Dattilo, to be taken to Europe.

    Aboard the Dattilo, coast guard officers asked Dieudonne why he had left his home in Cameroon. He remembers them showing him a photograph of the rubber boat taken from the air. “They asked me who was driving, the roles and everything,” he remembered. “Then they asked me if I could tell him how the trafficking in Libya works, and then, they said, they would give me residence documents.”

    Dieudonne said that he was reluctant to cooperate at first. He didn’t want to accuse any of his peers, but he was also concerned that he could become a suspect. After all, he had helped the driver at points throughout the voyage.

    “I thought that if I didn’t cooperate, they might hurt me,” Dieudonne said. “Not physically hurt, but they could consider me dishonest, like someone who was part of the trafficking.”

    To this day, Dieudonne says he can’t understand why Italy would punish people for fleeing poverty and political violence in West Africa. He rattled off a list of events from the last year alone: draught, famine, corruption, armed gunmen, attacks on schools. “And you try to convict someone for managing to escape that situation?”

    The coast guard ship disembarked in Vibo Valentia, a city in the Italian region of Calabria. During disembarkation, a local police officer explained to a journalist that they had arrested five people. The journalist asked how the police had identified the accused.

    “A lot has been done by the coast guard, who picked [the migrants] up two days ago and managed to spot [the alleged smugglers],” the officer explained. “Then we have witness statements and videos.”

    Cases like these, where arrests are made on the basis of photo or video evidence and statements by witnesses like Dieudonne, are common, said Gigi Modica, a judge in Sicily who has heard many immigration and asylum cases. “It’s usually the same story. They take three or four people, no more. They ask them two questions: who was driving the boat, and who was holding the compass,” Modica explained. “That’s it — they get the names and don’t care about the rest.”

    Modica was one of the first judges in Italy to acquit people charged for driving rubber boats — known as “scafisti,” or boat drivers, in Italian — on the grounds that they had been forced to do so. These “state of necessity” rulings have since become increasingly common. Modica rattled off a list of irregularities he’s seen in such cases: systemic racism, witness statements that migrants later say they didn’t make, interrogations with no translator or lawyer, and in some cases, people who report being encouraged by police to sign documents renouncing their right to apply for asylum.

    “So often these alleged smugglers — scafisti — are normal people who were compelled to pilot a boat by smugglers in Libya,” Modica said.

    Documents of over a dozen trials reviewed by The Intercept show prosecutions largely built on testimony from migrants who are promised a residence permit in exchange for their collaboration. At sea, witnesses are interviewed by the police hours after their rescue, often still in a state of shock after surviving a shipwreck.

    In many cases, identical statements, typos included, are attributed to several witnesses and copied and pasted across different police reports. Sometimes, these reports have been enough to secure decadeslong sentences. Other times, under cross-examination in court, witnesses have contradicted the statements recorded by police or denied giving any testimony at all.

    As early as 2015, attendees of the anti-mafia meetings were discussing problems with these prosecutions. In a meeting that February, Giovanni Salvi, then the prosecutor of Catania, acknowledged that smugglers often abandoned migrant boats in international waters. Still, Italian police were steaming ahead with the prosecutions of those left on board.

    These prosecutions were so important that in some cases, the Italian coast guard decided to delay rescue when boats were in distress in order to “allow for the arrival of institutional ships that can conduct arrests,” a coast guard commander explained at the meeting.

    When asked about the commander’s comments, the Italian coast guard said that “on no occasion” has the agency ever delayed a rescue operation. Delaying rescue for any reason goes against international and Italian law, and according to various human rights lawyers in Europe, could give rise to criminal liability.

    NGOs in the Crosshairs

    Italy canceled Mare Nostrum after one year, citing budget constraints and a lack of European collaboration. In its wake, the EU set up two new operations, one via Frontex and the other a military effort called Operation Sophia. These operations focused not on humanitarian rescue but on border security and people smuggling from Libya. Beginning in 2015, representatives from Frontex and Operation Sophia were included in the anti-mafia directorate meetings, where Italian prosecutors ensured that both abided by the new investigative strategy.

    Key to these investigations were photos from the rescues, like the aerial image that Dieudonne remembers the Italian coast guard showing him, which gave police another way to identify who piloted the boats and helped navigate.

    In the absence of government rescue ships, a fleet of civilian NGO vessels began taking on a large number of rescues in the international waters off the coast of Libya. These ships, while coordinated by the Italian coast guard rescue center in Rome, made evidence-gathering difficult for prosecutors and judicial police. According to the anti-mafia meeting minutes, some NGOs, including MOAS, routinely gave photos to Italian police and Frontex. Others refused, arguing that providing evidence for investigations into the people they saved would undermine their efficacy and neutrality.

    In the years following Mare Nostrum, the NGO fleet would come to account for more than one-third of all rescues in the central Mediterranean, according to estimates by Operation Sophia. A leaked status report from the operation noted that because NGOs did not collect information from rescued migrants for police, “information essential to enhance the understanding of the smuggling business model is not acquired.”

    In a subsequent anti-mafia meeting, six prosecutors echoed this concern. NGO rescues meant that police couldn’t interview migrants at sea, they said, and cases were getting thrown out for lack of evidence. A coast guard admiral explained the importance of conducting interviews just after a rescue, when “a moment of empathy has been established.”

    “It is not possible to carry out this task if the rescue intervention is carried out by ships of the NGOs,” the admiral told the group.

    The NGOs were causing problems for the DNAA strategy. At the meetings, Italian prosecutors and representatives from the coast guard, navy, and Interior Ministry discussed what they could do to rein in the humanitarian organizations. At the same time, various prosecutors were separately fixing their investigative sights on the NGOs themselves.

    In late 2016, an internal report from Frontex — later published in full by The Intercept — accused an NGO vessel of directly receiving migrants from Libyan smugglers, attributing the information to “Italian authorities.” The claim was contradicted by video evidence and the ship’s crew.

    Months later, Carmelo Zuccaro, the prosecutor of Catania, made public that he was investigating rescue NGOs. “Together with Frontex and the navy, we are trying to monitor all these NGOs that have shown that they have great financial resources,” Zuccaro told an Italian newspaper. The claim went viral in Italian and European media. “Friends of the traffickers” and “migrant taxi service” became common slurs used toward humanitarian NGOs by anti-immigration politicians and the Italian far right.

    Zuccaro would eventually walk back his claims, telling a parliamentary committee that he was working off a hypothesis at the time and had no evidence to back it up.

    In an interview with a German newspaper in February 2017, the director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri, refrained from explicitly criticizing the work of rescue NGOs but did say they were hampering police investigations in the Mediterranean. As aid organizations assumed a larger percentage of rescues, Leggeri said, “it is becoming more difficult for the European security authorities to find out more about the smuggling networks through interviews with migrants.”

    “That smear campaign was very, very deep,” remembered Bonino, the former foreign minister. Referring to Marco Minniti, Italy’s interior minister at the time, she added, “I was trying to push Minniti not to be so obsessed with people coming, but to make a policy of integration in Italy. But he only focused on Libya and smuggling and criminalizing NGOs with the help of prosecutors.”

    Bonino explained that the action against NGOs was part of a larger plan to change European policy in the central Mediterranean. The first step was the shift away from humanitarian rescue and toward border security and smuggling. The second step “was blaming the NGOs or arresting them, a sort of dirty campaign against them,” she said. “The results of which after so many years have been no convictions, no penalties, no trials.”

    Finally, the third step was to build a new coast guard in Libya to do what the Europeans couldn’t, per international law: intercept people at sea and bring them back to Libya, the country from which they had just fled.

    At first, leaders at Frontex were cautious. “From Frontex’s point of view, we look at Libya with concern; there is no stable state there,” Leggeri said in the 2017 interview. “We are now helping to train 60 officers for a possible future Libyan coast guard. But this is at best a beginning.”

    Bonino saw this effort differently. “They started providing support for their so-called coast guard,” she said, “which were the same traffickers changing coats.”
    Rescued migrants disembarking from a Libyan coast guard ship in the town of Khoms, a town 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of the capital on October 1, 2019.

    Same Uniforms, Same Ships

    Safe on land in Italy, Dieudonne was never called to testify in court. He hopes that none of his peers ended up in prison but said he would gladly testify against the traffickers if called. Aboard the coast guard ship, he remembers, “I gave the police contact information for the traffickers, I gave them names.”

    The smuggling operations in Libya happened out in the open, but Italian police could only go as far as international waters. Leaked documents from Operation Sophia describe years of efforts by European officials to get Libyan police to arrest smugglers. Behind closed doors, top Italian and EU officials admitted that these same smugglers were intertwined with the new Libyan coast guard that Europe was creating and that working with them would likely go against international law.

    As early as 2015, multiple officials at the anti-mafia meetings noted that some smugglers were uncomfortably close to members of the Libyan government. “Militias use the same uniforms and the same ships as the Libyan coast guard that the Italian navy itself is training,” Rear Adm. Enrico Credendino, then in charge of Operation Sophia, said in 2017. The head of the Libyan coast guard and the Libyan minister of defense, both allies of the Italian government, Credendino added, “have close relationships with some militia bosses.”

    One of the Libyan coast guard officers playing both sides was Abd al-Rahman Milad, also known as Bija. In 2019, the Italian newspaper Avvenire revealed that Bija participated in a May 2017 meeting in Sicily, alongside Italian border police and intelligence officials, that was aimed at stemming migration from Libya. A month later, he was condemned by the U.N. Security Council for his role as a top member of a powerful trafficking militia in the coastal town of Zawiya, and for, as the U.N. put it, “sinking migrant boats using firearms.”

    According to leaked documents from Operation Sophia, coast guard officers under Bija’s command were trained by the EU between 2016 and 2018.

    While the Italian government was prosecuting supposed smugglers in Italy, they were also working with people they knew to be smugglers in Libya. Minniti, Italy’s then-interior minister, justified the deals his government was making in Libya by saying that the prospect of mass migration from Africa made him “fear for the well-being of Italian democracy.”

    In one of the 2017 anti-mafia meetings, a representative of the Interior Ministry, Vittorio Pisani, outlined in clear terms a plan that provided for the direct coordination of the new Libyan coast guard. They would create “an operation room in Libya for the exchange of information with the Interior Ministry,” Pisani explained, “mainly on the position of NGO ships and their rescue operations, in order to employ the Libyan coast guard in its national waters.”

    And with that, the third step of the plan was set in motion. At the end of the meeting, Roberti suggested that the group invite representatives from the Libyan police to their next meeting. In an interview with The Intercept, Roberti confirmed that Libyan representatives attended at least two anti-mafia meetings and that he himself met Bija at a meeting in Libya, one month after the U.N. Security Council report was published. The following year, the Security Council committee on Libya sanctioned Bija, freezing his assets and banning him from international travel.

    “We needed to have the participation of Libyan institutions. But they did nothing, because they were taking money from the traffickers,” Roberti told us from the cafe in Naples. “They themselves were the traffickers.”
    A Place of Safety

    Roberti retired from the anti-mafia directorate in 2017. He said that under his leadership, the organization was able to create a basis for handling migration throughout Europe. Still, Roberti admits that his expansion of the DNAA into migration issues has had mixed results. Like his trip to Germany in the ’90s with Giovanni Falcone, Roberti said the anti-mafia strategy faltered because of a lack of collaboration: with the NGOs, with other European governments, and with Libya.

    “On a European level, the cooperation does not work,” Roberti said. Regarding Libya, he added, “We tried — I believe it was right, the agreements [the government] made. But it turned out to be a failure in the end.”

    The DNAA has since expanded its operations. Between 2017 and 2019, the Italian government passed two bills that put the anti-mafia directorate in charge of virtually all illegal immigration matters. Since 2017, five Sicilian prosecutors, all of whom attended at least one anti-mafia coordination meeting, have initiated 15 separate legal proceedings against humanitarian NGO workers. So far there have been no convictions: Three cases have been thrown out in court, and the rest are ongoing.

    Earlier this month, news broke that Sicilian prosecutors had wiretapped journalists and human rights lawyers as part of one of these investigations, listening in on legally protected conversations with sources and clients. The Italian justice ministry has opened an investigation into the incident, which could amount to criminal behavior, according to Italian legal experts. The prosecutor who approved the wiretaps attended at least one DNAA coordination meeting, where investigations against NGOs were discussed at length.

    As the DNAA has extended its reach, key actors from the anti-mafia coordination meetings have risen through the ranks of Italian and European institutions. One prosecutor, Federico Cafiero de Raho, now runs the anti-mafia directorate. Salvi, the former prosecutor of Catania, is the equivalent of Italy’s attorney general. Pisani, the former Interior Ministry representative, is deputy head of the Italian intelligence services. And Roberti is a member of the European Parliament.

    Cafiero de Raho stands by the investigations and arrests that the anti-mafia directorate has made over the years. He said the coordination meetings were an essential tool for prosecutors and police during difficult times.

    When asked about his specific comments during the meetings — particularly statements that humanitarian NGOs needed to be regulated and multiple admissions that members of the new Libyan coast guard were involved in smuggling activities — Cafiero de Raho said that his remarks should be placed in context, a time when Italy and the EU were working to build a coast guard in a part of Libya that was largely ruled by local militias. He said his ultimate goal was what, in the DNAA coordination meetings, he called the “extrajudicial solution”: attempts to prove the existence of crimes against humanity in Libya so that “the United Nation sends troops to Libya to dismantle migrants camps set up by traffickers … and retake control of that territory.”

    A spokesperson for the EU’s foreign policy arm, which ran Operation Sophia, refused to directly address evidence that leaders of the European military operation knew that parts of the new Libyan coast guard were also involved in smuggling activities, only noting that Bija himself wasn’t trained by the EU. A Frontex spokesperson stated that the agency “was not involved in the selection of officers to be trained.”

    In 2019, the European migration strategy changed again. Now, the vast majority of departures are intercepted by the Libyan coast guard and brought back to Libya. In March of that year, Operation Sophia removed all of its ships from the rescue area and has since focused on using aerial patrols to direct and coordinate the Libyan coast guard. Human rights lawyers in Europe have filed six legal actions against Italy and the EU as a result, calling the practice refoulement by proxy: facilitating the return of migrants to dangerous circumstances in violation of international law.

    Indeed, throughout four years of coordination meetings, Italy and the EU were admitting privately that returning people to Libya would be illegal. “Fundamental human rights violations in Libya make it impossible to push migrants back to the Libyan coast,” Pisani explained in 2015. Two years later, he outlined the beginnings of a plan that would do exactly that.

    The Result of Mere Chance

    Dieudonne knows he was lucky. The line that separates suspect and victim can be entirely up to police officers’ first impressions in the minutes or hours following a rescue. According to police reports used in prosecutions, physical attributes like having “a clearer skin tone” or behavior aboard the ship, including scrutinizing police movements “with strange interest,” were enough to rouse suspicion.

    In a 2019 ruling that acquitted seven alleged smugglers after three years of pretrial detention, judges wrote that “the selection of the suspects on one side, and the witnesses on the other, with the only exception of the driver, has almost been the result of mere chance.”

    Carrying out work for their Libyan captors has cost other migrants in Italy lengthy prison sentences. In September 2019, a 22-year-old Guinean nicknamed Suarez was arrested upon his arrival to Italy. Four witnesses told police he had collaborated with prison guards in Zawiya, at the immigrant detention center managed by the infamous Bija.

    “Suarez was also a prisoner, who then took on a job,” one of the witnesses told the court. Handing out meals or taking care of security is what those who can’t afford to pay their ransom often do in order to get out, explained another. “Unfortunately, you would have to be there to understand the situation,” the first witness said. Suarez was sentenced to 20 years in prison, recently reduced to 12 years on appeal.

    Dieudonne remembered his journey at sea vividly, but with surprising cool. When the boat began taking on water, he tried to help. “One must give help where it is needed.” At his office in Bari, Dieudonne bent over and moved his arms in a low scooping motion, like he was bailing water out of a boat.

    “Should they condemn me too?” he asked. He finds it ironic that it was the Libyans who eventually arrested Bija on human trafficking charges this past October. The Italians and Europeans, he said with a laugh, were too busy working with the corrupt coast guard commander. (In April, Bija was released from prison after a Libyan court absolved him of all charges. He was promoted within the coast guard and put back on the job.)

    Dieudonne thinks often about the people he identified aboard the coast guard ship in the middle of the sea. “I told the police the truth. But if that collaboration ends with the conviction of an innocent person, it’s not good,” he said. “Because I know that person did nothing. On the contrary, he saved our lives by driving that raft.”

    https://theintercept.com/2021/04/30/italy-anti-mafia-migrant-rescue-smuggling

    #Méditerranée #Italie #Libye #ONG #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité #solidarité #secours #mer_Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #violence #passeurs #Méditerranée_centrale #anti-mafia #anti-terrorisme #Direzione_nazionale_antimafia_e_antiterrorismo #DNAA #Frontex #Franco_Roberti #justice #politique #Zuwara #torture #viol #Mare_Nostrum #Europol #eaux_internationales #droit_de_la_mer #droit_maritime #juridiction_italienne #arrestations #Gigi_Modica #scafista #scafisti #état_de_nécessité #Giovanni_Salvi #NGO #Operation_Sophia #MOAS #DNA #Carmelo_Zuccaro #Zuccaro #Fabrice_Leggeri #Leggeri #Marco_Minniti #Minniti #campagne #gardes-côtes_libyens #milices #Enrico_Credendino #Abd_al-Rahman_Milad #Bija ##Abdurhaman_al-Milad #Al_Bija #Zawiya #Vittorio_Pisani #Federico_Cafiero_de_Raho #solution_extrajudiciaire #pull-back #refoulement_by_proxy #refoulement #push-back #Suarez

    ping @karine4 @isskein @rhoumour

  • JE VAIS COMMENCER ICI UN NOUVEAU FIL DE DISCUSSION, SUR LES SAUVETAGES ET LES NAUFRAGES EN MEDITERRANEE.

    CE FIL DE DISCUSSION COMPLÈTE CELUI COMMENCÉ ICI :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/768421

    Ici la métaliste complète:
    https://seenthis.net/messages/706177

    ping @isskein

    –------------

    Ecco il decreto sicurezza-bis: multe per ogni migrante trasportato e per chi non rispetta le norme Sar

    Salvini si attribuisce la competenza a vietare il transito delle navi ritenute pericolose e prevede che a indagare possano essere solo le Dda. Pene più pesanti per chi aggredisce le forze dell’ordine. Il M5S: «Il ministro dell’Interno copre così il fallimento sui rimpatri».

    È un vero e proprio blitz quello con il quale il ministro dell’Interno Matteo Salvini vara un #decreto_sicurezza_bis che prevede sanzioni pecuniarie pesantissime contro chi soccorrse i migranti in violazione delle norme #Sar ma soprattutto con cui attribuisce al Viminale e alle Direzione distrettuali antimafia competenze che erano del ministero dei Trasporti e delle Procure ordinarie.

    Il provvedimento consta di dodici articoli, la maggior parte dei quali dedicato ancora al contrasto dell’immigrazione clandestina. Con norme clamorose destinate a spaccare il consiglio dei ministri.
    La prima prevede sanzioni a chi «nello svolgimento di operazioni di soccorso in acque internazionali, non rispetta gli obblighi previste dalle Convenzioni internazionali», dunque i comportamenti che Salvini attribuisce alle navi umanitarie. Le sanzioni previste sono di due tipi: da 3.500 a 5.500 euro per ogni straniero trasportato e, nei casi reiterati, se la nave è battente bandiera italiana la sospensione o la revoca della licenza da 1 a 12 mesi.

    L’articolo numero 2 va a modificare il #Codice_della_navigazione. Salvini attribuisce al Viminale quelle che sono al momento competenze del ministero dei Trasporti, in particolare la limitazione o il divieto di transito nelle acque territoriali di navi qualora sussistano ragioni di sicurezza e di ordine pubblico. E, come già scritto nelle direttive fin qui emanate, Salvini ritiene che tutte le navi che trasportino migranti siano una minaccia per la sicurezza nazionale.

    Il decreto modifica anche il codice di procedura penale estendendo anche alle ipotesi non aggravate di favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina la competenza delle Direzioni distrettuali antimafia e la disciplina delle intercettazioni preventive. Di fatto togliendo alle Procure ordinarie la possibilità ad indagare.

    Tre milioni di euro vengono stanziati per l’impiego di poliziotti stranieri in operazioni sotto copertura contro le organizzazioni di trafficanti di uomini.

    Un altro pacchetto di norme inasprisce le sanzioni per chi devasta o danneggia nel corso di riunioni in luoghi pubblici e al contempo trasforma da sanzioni in delitti, con il conseguente inasprimento delle pene, le azioni di chi si oppone a pubblici ufficiali con qualsiasi mezzo di resistenza attiva o passiva, dagli scudi alle mazze e ai bastoni. Modifiche al codice penale aggravano il reato e dunque le sanzioni per violenza, minaccia e resistenza a pubblico ufficiale soprattutto se commessi durante manifestazioni in luogo pubblico. Soppressa la causa di esclusione della punibilità per particolare tenuità del fatto.

    L’articolo 7 è la norma già annunciata come «#spazzaclan» e prevede l’istituzione di un commissario straordinario con il compito di realizzare un programma di interventi finalizzati ad eliminare l’arretrato delle sentenze di condanna da eseguire nei confronti di imputati liberi. Previste le assunzioni a tempo determinato di durata annuale di 800 unità .

    L’ultimo articolo infine prevede l’impiego di altri 500 militari a Napoli in occasione delle #Universiadi.

    Fonti del M5s hanno commentato: «Salvini copre così il fallimento sui rimpatri». Secondo altre fonti «c’è fortissima preoccupazione che il ministro dell’Interno si spinga sempre più su temi estremisti».

    https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2019/05/10/news/ecco_il_decreto_sicurezza-bis_pene_piu_pesanti_per_i_trafficanti_di_uomin
    #decreto_sicurezza #décret #Italie #Salvini #migrations #réfugiés #Méditerranée #amende #sauvetage #mourir_en_mer #ONG #eaux_territoriales #eaux_internationales #frontières #militarisation_des_frontières

    • Message d’@isskein via la mailing-list Migreurop.
      Chronique 9-10 mai 2019 en Méditerranée :

      9 mai Le Mare Jonio (Mediterranea Saving Humains, RescueMed) sauve 29 passagers (1 enfant de 1 an, 3 femmes dont une enceinte) d’un bateau pneumatique endommagé dans les eaux internationales, à 40 miles des côtes libyennes. Ils demandent un port sûr au centre de coordination italien, le ministère de l’Intérieur leur enjoint de contacter les gardes-côtes libyens...

      10 mai Le Mare Ionio accoste à Lampedusa, les 29 rescapés débarquent. 20h45, la « saisie préventive » du MareJonio, réclamée depuis le matin par l’Intérieur, a été notifiée. Le capitaine Pietro Marrone et Luca Casarini, chef de mission du #Mare_Jonio, font l’objet d’une enquête pour facilitation de l’immigration clandestine

      10 mai le navire militaire italien #Cigala_Fulgosi débarque dans le port d’Augusta (Sicile) 36 migrants secourus sur une embarcation à la dérive

      10 mai Au moins 70 personnes disparues dans un naufrage au large des côtes tunisiennes

      Il n’y a aujourd’hui plus aucun navire d’ONG en Méditerranée centrale.

      Sur le #naufrage au large de la #Tunisie, v. plus ici :
      https://seenthis.net/messages/780298

    • Dl sicurezza bis, cosa prevede il decreto che introduce multe da 5.500 euro a chi salva i migranti

      Il Ministero dell’Interno nella serata del 10 maggio 2019 ha messo a punto il “decreto sicurezza bis”, che prevede multe per chi soccorre i migranti, ma non solo.

      Il decreto si compone di 12 articoli.

      Il nucleo centrale prevede l’inasprimento delle misure contro i trafficanti di esseri umani e il potenziamento delle operazioni sotto copertura per contrastare l’immigrazione clandestina.

      Qui abbiamo spiegato cosa prevede il decreto sicurezza bis, punto per punto:
      Multe per chi soccorre i migranti

      L’articolo 1 del decreto sicurezza bis prevede che chi, nello svolgimento di operazioni di soccorso in acque internazionali, non rispetta gli obblighi previsti dalle Convenzioni internazionali – con particolare riferimento alle istruzioni operative delle autorità SAR competenti o di quelle dello Stato di bandiera può incorrere in una “sanzione amministrativa del pagamento di una somma da 3.500 a 5.500 euro per ciascuno degli stranieri trasportati”.

      Nei casi “più gravi o reiterati è disposta la sospensione da 1 a 12 mesi, ovvero la revoca della licenza, autorizzazione o concessione rilasciata dall’autorità amministrativa italiana inerente all’attività svolta e al mezzo di trasporto utilizzato”.
      Modifiche al codice della navigazione

      L’articolo 2 del decreto sicurezza bis prevede alcune modifiche al codice della navigazione, e nello specifico viene attribuito al ministro dell’Interno il potere di “limitare o vietare il transito e la sosta di navi mercantili o unità da diporto o di pesca nel mare territoriale per motivi di ordine e sicurezza pubblica e comunque in caso di violazione” di alcune delle disposizioni della Convenzione di Montego Bay.
      Favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina

      All’articolo 3 il decreto sicurezza bis vuole contrastare a monte l’organizzazione dei trasporti di migranti irregolari. I reati associstende ai
      Finanziamento da 3 milioni per le forze dell’ordine

      Il decreto sicurezza bis all’articolo 4 prevede lo stanziamento di 3 milioni di euro nel triennio 2019-2021 per il finanziamento degli “oneri conseguenti al concorso di operatori di polizia di Stati con i quali siano stati stipulati appositi accordi” per lo svolgimento di operazioni sotto copertura “anche con riferimento alle attività di contrasto del delitto di favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina”.
      Universiadi

      Tra le novità del decreto sicurezza bis c’è l’arrivo di 500 militari in più a Napoli in vista delle Universiadi 2019.
      Inasprimento delle sanzioni per i reati di devastazione

      L’articolo 5 del decreto sicurezza bis interviene sul Tulps, il Testo unico delle leggi di pubblica sicurezza, inasprendo le sanzioni conseguenti ai reati di devastazione, saccheggio e danneggiamento, commessi nel corso di riunioni effettuate in luogo pubblico o aperto al pubblico.

      Inoltre, prevede espressamente l’obbligo di comunicazione immediata, non oltre le 24 ore, all’autorità di pubblica sicurezza delle generalità delle persone ospitate in alberghi o in altre strutture ricettive.

      Tutela degli operatori delle forze dell’0rdine

      L’articolo 6 del decreto sicurezza bis prevede maggiori tutele per gli operatori delle forze dell’ordine impiegati in servizio di ordine pubblico, attraverso l’introduzione di nuove fattispecie delittuose. Il decreto inoltre trasforma quelle che attualmente sono contravvenzioni in delitti e prevede inoltre l’inasprimento delle sanzioni.

      Ad esempio, “chiunque nel corso di manifestazioni.. per opporsi a pubblico ufficiale o all’incaricato di pubblico servizio.. utilizza scudi o altri oggetti di protezione passiva ovvero materiali imbrattanti o inquinanti è punito con la reclusione da 1 a 3 anni”.

      Ovvero, “chiunque lancia o utilizza illegittimamente, in modo da creare un concreto pericolo per l’incolumità delle persone o l’integrità delle cose, razzi, bengala, fuochi artificiali, petardi, strumenti per l’emissione di fumo o di gas visibile… ovvero bastoni, mazze, oggetti contundenti è punito con la reclusione da 1 a 4 anni”.
      Commissario straordinario e assunzione di 800 persone

      L’articolo 8 del decreto sicurezza bis prevede l’istituzione di un commissario straordinario e l’assunzione di 800 persone con impegno di spesa per oltre 25 milioni di euro: permetterà di notificare sentenze ai condannati attualmente in libertà e garantire così l’effettività della pena. Inasprite anche le misure per chi aggredisce operatori delle forze dell’ordine.

      Il commissario straordinario, nominato dal Consiglio dei ministri su proposta del ministro dell’Interno, ha il compito di realizzare un programma di interventi finalizzati ad eliminare l’arretrato relativo ai procedimenti di esecuzione delle sentenze di condanna divenute definitive da eseguire nei confronti di imputati liberi.

      https://www.tpi.it/2019/05/10/decreto-sicurezza-bis-cosa-prevede

    • Decreto sicurezza bis, ennesima proposta in contrasto con i principi fondamentali

      Nelle stesse ore in cui apprendevamo dell’ennesima strage avvenuta nel Mare Mediterraneo a causa delle politiche di chiusura ed esternalizzazione dell’Italia e dell’Unione europea, i mass media hanno anticipato i contenuti di un possibile nuovo decreto d’urgenza proposto dal Ministero dell’Interno che dovrebbe andare nuovamente a modificare alcune delle norme sulla disciplina dell’immigrazione in Italia.

      Il testo appare essere l’ennesimo stravolgimento dei fondamentali principi di diritto internazionale e un ulteriore contributo alla politica posta in essere da questo Governo, così come da quello precedente, finalizzata a colpire coloro, specialmente organizzazioni non governative di chiara fama, che non vollero ubbidire alla regolamentazione della salvaguardia del diritto alla vita.

      Tra esse la previsione di nuove sanzioni (ed addirittura la sospensione o la revoca della licenza alla navigazione) a carico di chi a certe condizioni ponga in essere “azioni di soccorso di mezzi adibiti alla navigazione ed utilizzati per il trasporto irregolare di migranti, anche mediante il recupero delle persone”. Ovvero sanzioni per chi, nell’adempimento di un dovere etico, giuridico e sociale, salva vite umane altrimenti destinate alla morte.

      Nonostante i gravi dissidi istituzionali determinati dall’ultimo Governo Conte e dalle politiche dell’attuale Ministro dell’Interno, con l’attuale ipotesi di decreto legge (a cui sono evidenti a tutti la mancanza dei requisiti di necessità ed urgenza), si persegue pervicacemente nella strada intrapresa e, addirittura, si decide di portare la guerra agli esseri umani anche in acque internazionali sbeffeggiando le convenzioni internazionali in materia di ricerca e soccorso in mare.

      Riservandoci una compiuta analisi normativa se e quando (malauguratamente) quel testo dovesse prendere formalmente vita, riteniamo doveroso evidenziare che :

      sino ad oggi la magistratura italiana ha ritenuto che le operazioni di salvataggio in mare da parte di navi private sono state svolte per adempiere a precisi obblighi internazionali e per rispondere ad evidenti condizioni di necessità

      La situazione generatasi in Libia nel corso degli ultimi anni è degenerata ulteriormente nelle ultime settimane impone di intervenire per salvare la vita dei civili e dei migranti presenti nel Paese e di interrompere le politiche di sostegno alla Libia relative alle operazioni della Guardia costiera libica

      Salvare vite in mare è un dovere che risponde a precisi obblighi umanitari e non può e non dovrà mai essere considerato un crimine.

      Prendere posizione contro questo ennesimo attacco al rispetto della vita umana, ai diritti e alle libertà fondamentali è un dovere a cui non è più possibile sottrarsi.

      https://www.asgi.it/primo-piano/decreto-sicurezza-bis-ennesima-proposta-in-contrasto-con-i-principi-fondamental

    • Il teorema #Zuccaro sulle ong è fallito

      Il giudice per le indagini preliminari (gip) di Catania, #Nunzio_Sarpietro, ha accolto la richiesta di archiviazione della procura di Catania per l’inchiesta a carico del comandante della nave umanitaria Open Arms Marc Reig e della capomissione Anabel Montes Mier, accusati di associazione a delinquere finalizzata al favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina in seguito al salvataggio di più di duecento persone, il 15 marzo 2018, al largo della Libia. Durante l’operazione la nave umanitaria si era trovata a dover affrontare momenti di tensione con una motovedetta libica, che rivendicava il coordinamento delle operazioni.

      In quell’occasione gli spagnoli si erano rifiutati di consegnare ai guardacoste libici i migranti appena soccorsi e per questo, dopo essere approdati nel porto di Pozzallo, erano stati accusati di diversi reati e la loro nave era stata sequestrata. Con l’archiviazione di questa inchiesta, cade uno degli ultimi pilastri del cosiddetto “teorema Zuccaro”, la tesi sostenuta dal procuratore di Catania Carmelo Zuccaro secondo cui ci sarebbero stati dei contatti tra le navi delle ong e i trafficanti di esseri umani. Resta aperta, invece, l’inchiesta della procura di Ragusa contro Reig e Montes Mier accusati di favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina e violenza privata per lo stesso caso. Rimane aperta anche l’inchiesta della procura di Trapani contro la nave Iuventa dell’ong Jugend Rettet, sequestrata nell’agosto del 2017. Il gip dovrebbe decidere l’eventuale rinvio a giudizio nelle prossime settimane.

      “Siamo felici di apprendere che un ulteriore passo verso la verità è stato fatto”, ha commentato l’organizzazione spagnola Proactiva Open Arms in un comunicato. “Ribadiamo di aver sempre operato nel rispetto delle convenzioni internazionali e del diritto del mare e che continueremo a farlo mossi da un unico obiettivo: difendere la vita e i diritti delle persone più vulnerabili”. L’avvocata Rosa Emanuela Lo Faro chiarisce di non aver ancora preso visione delle motivazioni che hanno spinto la stessa procura di Catania a chiedere l’archiviazione. “Dal 3 maggio 2019 sapevamo però che il gip aveva archiviato questa indagine”, conferma Lo Faro.

      Già nel marzo del 2018 lo stesso gip Sarpietro aveva confermato il sequestro della nave, ma aveva escluso il reato di associazione a delinquere contro il capitano Marc Reig e la coordinatrice dei soccorsi Anabel Montes Mier, lasciando in piedi invece l’accusa di favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina. Questo elemento aveva fatto decadere la competenza territoriale del tribunale di Catania che ha una specifica autorità per i reati associativi e aveva fatto intervenire il tribunale di Ragusa, che deve ancora esprimersi in merito all’inchiesta per favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina e violenza privata.

      In questo caso giudiziario è stata particolarmente importate la decisione del gip di Ragusa nell’aprile del 2018 di dissequestrare la nave, ferma nel porto di Pozzallo per un mese dopo il salvataggio. Nel decreto di dissequestro infatti il gip di Ragusa Giovanni Giampiccolo aveva riconosciuto lo stato di necessità nel quale era avvenuto il salvataggio e aveva inoltre stabilito che la Libia non è un posto sicuro in cui portare le persone soccorse in mare. Il giudice Giampiccolo ha riconosciuto che la Libia è “un luogo in cui avvengono gravi violazioni dei diritti umani (con persone trattenute in strutture di detenzione in condizioni di sovraffollamento, senza accesso a cure mediche e a un’adeguata alimentazione, e sottoposte a maltrattamenti e stupri e lavori forzati)”.

      “Quella decisione ha fatto scuola”, sottolinea l’avvocata Lo Faro. Da quel momento infatti non sono stati più disposti sequestri preventivi, ma solo sequestri probatori.

      Le indagini della procura di Catania
      Una figura centrale in questa vicenda è stato il procuratore generale di Catania Carmelo Zuccaro, alla guida della procura della città siciliana dal 2016. Dopo aver annunciato l’apertura di un fascicolo d’indagine conoscitivo sull’attività di queste organizzazioni, nella primavera del 2017 aveva rilasciato numerose interviste ai mezzi d’informazione italiani e stranieri. Il 22 marzo 2017 il pm era anche intervenuto in un’audizione al comitato parlamentare di controllo sull’attuazione dell’accordo di Schengen dichiarando di aver aperto delle indagini sui profitti delle ong e affermando di ritenere sospetto il “proliferare così intenso di queste unità navali”.

      “Noi riteniamo ci si debba porre il problema di capire da dove provenga il denaro che alimenta, che finanzia questi costi elevati. Da questo punto di vista, la successiva fase della nostra indagine conoscitiva sarà quella di capire quali siano i canali di finanziamento”. In quell’occasione aggiungeva di trovare “anomalo” che le navi non approdassero nel porto più vicino, bensì nei porti italiani, e sosteneva che ci fosse un rapporto tra la presenza delle navi umanitarie e l’aumento del numero dei morti. L’altra questione che il procuratore sollevava era quella della necessità della presenza a bordo delle navi di poliziotti e autorità giudiziarie impegnate nel contrasto al traffico di esseri umani. Questo è stato un tema caro ai magistrati, perché il materiale raccolto dalla polizia giudiziaria nel periodo della missione umanitaria Mare nostrum aveva aiutato le procure a condurre diverse indagini contro i trafficanti.

      La stessa preoccupazione ha ispirato anche uno dei punti del codice di condotta voluto dal ministro dell’interno Marco Minniti. Dal 2013 la procura di Catania si era trasformata nell’epicentro delle indagini sul traffico di esseri umani nel Mediterraneo, grazie proprio alla missione Mare nostrum. Prima i barconi con i migranti si spingevano sotto costa e arrivavano a Lampedusa, l’isola italiana più vicina alla Tunisia, oppure sulla parte occidentale della Sicilia, nella provincia di Trapani, che in linea d’aria è più raggiungibile dalle spiagge nordafricane. Ma in quello stesso periodo la marina militare e la guardia costiera italiana avevano cominciato a effettuare soccorsi in alto mare, nel canale di Sicilia, e poi nelle acque internazionali davanti alle coste libiche, quindi diversi porti siciliani, soprattutto quelli orientali come Catania, erano stati coinvolti negli sbarchi.

      Anche per questo Zuccaro si diceva preoccupato del grado di collaborazione tra le ong e la polizia giudiziaria: “Vogliamo cercare di capire se da parte di queste ong vi è comunque quella doverosa collaborazione che si deve prestare alle autorità di polizia e alle autorità giudiziarie al momento in cui si pongono in contatto con l’autorità giudiziaria italiana”. In questa prima audizione per il procuratore di Catania risultano sospetti soprattutto i finanziamenti che le ong ricevono, mentre in diverse interviste successive si concentra sui presunti contatti tra i trafficanti e le navi.

      Circa un mese dopo, durante la trasmissione Agorà su Rai 3, il pm si spinge oltre, affermando che l’obiettivo delle navi umanitarie potrebbe essere quello di destabilizzare l’economia: “A mio avviso alcune ong potrebbero essere finanziate dai trafficanti, sono a conoscenza di contatti. Forse la cosa potrebbe essere ancora più inquietante. Si perseguono da parte di alcune ong finalità diverse: destabilizzare l’economia italiana per trarne dei vantaggi”.

      Accuse a cui il governo, tramite i ministri dell’interno Marco Minniti e quello della giustizia Andrea Orlando, reagiva con fermezza, chiedendo le prove. Zuccaro rispondeva di “avere denunciato un fenomeno e non singole persone”, perché se “si aspetta troppo tempo si rischia di produrre elementi deleteri non più controllabili”. Parlava di “deroga” al riserbo, ma anche di “un dovere per chi deve fare rispettare la legalità”. In un’intervista con la Repubblica del 28 aprile 2017, il procuratore afferma però una cosa nuova: finalmente ha “la certezza” dei contatti tra le ong e i trafficanti, ma si tratta di materiale non utilizzabile in sede giudiziaria. Si parla di tabulati telefonici e conversazioni nelle mani dell’intelligence. Zuccaro si dice certo di un rapporto di complicità tra le ong e gli scafisti.

      Per due mesi nella primavera del 2017 il procuratore è molto presente sui mezzi d’informazione nazionali e internazionali con dichiarazioni di questo tenore, in tanti lo accusano di violare il segreto istruttorio e di produrre affermazioni che hanno un valore più politico che giudiziario. Mentre Zuccaro concede le sue interviste è aperta un’indagine conoscitiva sulle ong della Commissione difesa del senato, guidata dal senatore Nicola La Torre. Interpellato dalla commissione parlamentare, il generale Stefano Screpanti, capo del III Reparto operazioni del comando generale della guardia di finanza, smentisce le affermazioni del procuratore capo di Catania: “Allo stato attuale delle nostre conoscenze, non ci sono evidenze investigative tali da far emergere collegamenti tra ong e organizzazioni che gestiscono il traffico di migranti”.

      Dopo due anni d’indagini, il 13 agosto 2018 l’inchiesta “madre” di Zuccaro (che intanto aveva ipotizzato anche il reato di associazione a delinquere) è avviata all’archiviazione, nel caso Open Arms viene archiviata l’accusa di “associazione a delinquere”, ma ormai la campagna di discredito ai danni delle ong ha fatto il suo corso e le dichiarazioni del pm hanno influenzato in maniera irreversibile l’opinione pubblica italiana, che considera “accertati” i contatti tra ong e scafisti, in barba a qualsiasi garantismo.

      https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/annalisa-camilli/2019/05/15/amp/open-arms-zuccaro-ong?__twitter_impression=true

    • Des migrants débarqués à Lampedusa, Salvini furieux

      Quarante-sept migrants ont été débarqués dimanche soir à Lampedusa, une île au sud de la Sicile, après la saisie sur ordre de justice de leur bateau de sauvetage, provoquant la colère du ministre italien de l’Intérieur Matteo Salvini.

      Le navire affrété par l’ONG allemande Sea-Watch battant pavillon néerlandais, qui stationnait dans les eaux italiennes tout près de l’île de #Lampedusa, a été saisi dans la journée par la police financière italienne sur ordre d’un procureur de Sicile.

      Puis, les migrants à bord ont été transférés par moto-vedettes vers la terre ferme en fin de soirée. Une décision que M. Salvini —également vice-Premier ministre et chef de la Ligue (extrême-droite)— a semblé découvrir en temps réel à la télévision, l’amenant à demander qui au gouvernement avait pu prendre une telle décision contre son avis formel.

      Déjà à couteaux tirés avec lui, son partenaire gouvernemental du Mouvement 5 étoiles, Luigi Di Maio, a rétorqué qu’il n’acceptait pas ses insinuations, rappelant qu’il était obligatoire de faire débarquer les passagers d’un bateau saisi par la justice.

      Parallèlement à ce nouveau couac gouvernemental en pleine campagne pour les élections européennes, des échauffourées ont eu lieu dimanche soir à Florence (centre) entre forces de l’ordre et 2.000 personnes venues protester contre la présence de M. Salvini qui tenait un meeting politique dans la ville.

      Dimanche, le chef de Ligue avait jugé risibles les critiques du Haut-Commissariat aux droits de l’Homme (HCDH) de l’ONU contre un projet visant à durcir la législation anti-migratoire en Italie.

      L’ONU, « un organisme international qui coûte des milliards d’euros aux contribuables, qui a comme membres la Corée du Nord et la Turquie, et qui vient faire la morale sur les droits de l’Homme à l’Italie ? (...) Cela prête à rire », a commenté M. Salvini.

      Un projet de décret-loi, qui pourrait être soumis lundi au conseil des ministres, propose de donner au ministre de l’Intérieur le pouvoir d’interdire les eaux territoriales italiennes à un navire pour des raisons d’ordre public.

      Le texte prévoit aussi une amende de 3.500 à 5.500 euros par migrant arrivé en Italie pour tout navire de secours n’ayant pas respecté les consignes des garde-côtes compétents dans la zone où il serait intervenu.

      Dans sa lettre envoyée au ministère italien des Affaires étrangères, le HCDH demande à l’Italie de ne pas approuver ce nouveau décret-loi.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/depeche/des-migrants-debarques-lampedusa-salvini-furieux.afp.com.2019

    • Sea Watch, sbarcati i migranti. Salvini accusa i M5s: «Chi ha dato l’ordine?». Di Maio: «Non dia la colpa a noi»

      Sequestrata la nave Ong. Il ministero dell’Interno: i migranti non scenderanno. Ma il pm ordina che vengano portati sull’isola. E scoppia lo scontro tra i partner di governo. I primi a scendere una donna incinta e suo marito.
      La prima è una donna incinta, sorretta dal marito. A piedi nudi. Poi via via, tutti gli altri. Sorrisi, abbracci e saluti. Sono scesi tutti. Nonostante Salvini. “Fino a quando sono ministro io quella nave in un porto italiano non entra e non sbarca nessuno”, aveva garantito il ministro dell’Interno quando la Sea Watch 3 aveva ignorato la sua diffida e si era presentata davanti al porto di Lampedusa ottenendo l’autorizzazione all’ancoraggio alla fonda.

      Ventiquattro ore dopo, i 47 migranti rimasti a bordo della nave della Ong tedesca sono scesi a terra. Sequestro della nave d’iniziativa della Guardia di finanza, perquisizione e contestuale sbarco di tutti i migranti. Lo stesso “modello” già seguito per due volte per sbloccare i precedenti soccorsi della Mare Jonio, rimasta sequestrata per alcuni giorni e poi sempre liberata dai pm di Agrigento. Che questa volta si sono mossi di concerto con la Guardia di finanza forzando la mano ad un inferocito Salvini, incredulo di essere smentito proprio alla vigilia di quel consiglio dei ministri in cui intende portare all’approvazione il suo contestatissimo decreto sicurezza-bis.

      Un braccio di ferro senza precedenti quello tra la Procura di Agrigento e la Guardia di finanza da una parte e il Viminale dall’altro, conclusosi alle otto di sera quando due motovedette, dopo aver notificato al comandante della Sea Watch i decreti di sequestro e perquisizione firmati dal procuratore aggiunto Salvatore Vella che per tutto il weekend ha seguito personalmente sull’isola l’evolversi della vicenda, hanno scortato in porto la nave umanitaria.

      L’accelerazione nel primo pomeriggio quando il comandante Arturo Centore fa sapere alla Guardia costiera che la situazione a bordo è di assoluta emergenza. Alcuni migranti hanno indossato il giubbotto di salvataggio e minacciano di buttarsi a mare. “Se entro le nove di sera la situazione non si sblocca, levo l’ancora ed entro direttamente in porto”, annuncia il comandante della Sea Watch.

      A quel punto Guardia di finanza, guardia costiera e Procura decidono di notificare i sequestri e far sbarcare tutti. Anche contro il volere del Viminale.

      Salvini, che già poche ore prima, in un comizio a Sassuolo aveva attaccato a testa bassa “una procura e un giudice che invece di indagare gli scafisti indaga me”, incassa malissimo il colpo e ancor prima che la Sea Watch attracchi al molo di Lampedusa mette le mani avanti e sottolinea che lo sbarco avviene contro la sua volontà. “La magistratura faccia come crede ma il Viminale continua e continuerà a negare lo sbarco da quella nave fuorilegge. Il ministro dell’Interno si aspetta provvedimenti nei confronti del comandante della nave dal quale è lecito attendersi indicazioni precise sui presunti scafisti presenti a bordo”.

      Alle otto di sera, quando i 47 migranti toccano terra e vengono portati nell’hotspot di contrada Imbriacola, una nota firmata dal procuratore di Agrigento Luigi Patronaggio (il pm del caso Diciotti che per primo ha contestato a Salvini il sequestro di persona) spiega la “ratio” della scelta degli inquirenti: “Il sequestro probatorio è stato eseguito per violazione dell’articolo 12 del Testo unico sull’immigrazione ponendo la nave a disposizione di questa procura che ne ha disposto, previo sbarco dei migranti, il trasferimento sotto scorta nel porto di Licata. Le indagini proseguiranno sia per l’individuazione degli eventuali trafficanti di esseri umani coinvolti sia per la valutazione della condotta della Ong”. Come sempre. A sbarco avvenuto, quando anche l’ultimo migrante era già sceso a terra, Salvini ricara: «Per me possono stare lì fino a ferragosto. Gli porto da mangiare e da bere ma stanno lì». E al procuratore di Agrigento: «E’ quello che mi ha indagato per sequestro di persona. Se li farà sbarcare, ne prenderò atto e valuteremo nei suoi confronti il favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina».
      Salvini attacca i 5s: «Chi ha dato l’ordine?»
      Matteo Salvini ha assistito in diretta tv allo sbarco dei migranti dalla nave Sea Watch 3, ospite in studio su La7. «Qualcuno l’ordine lo avrà dato. Questo qualcuno ne dovrà rispondere», si irrita il ministro. Il M5s fa sapere a stretto giro che non sono stati i suoi ministri. Ma Salvini insiste: «Chi è che li ha autorizzati a
      sbarcare? Io no, non ho autorizzato niente, deve essere qualcun altro. Io sorrido ma è grave. Perché siamo un Paese sovrano con leggi, regole, una storia e nessuna associazione privata se ne può disinteressare. Qualcuno quell’ordine lo avrà dato. Questo qualcuno ne deve rispondere».

      Il vicepremier Luigi Di Maio prende le distanze parlando A che tempo che fa: «Il sequestro lo esegue la magistratura quindi non credo sia un espediente» per far sbarcare i migranti a bordo «perché la magistratura è indipendente dal governo. Quando arrivano qui contattiamo i Paesi Ue e chiediamo la redistribuzione. Io credo che la politica delle redistribuzioni è l’unica strada che abbiamo per fronteggiare il fenomeno. Poi c’è il tema dei rimpatri che si devono fare. La Chiesa Valdese stamattina ha lanciato una disponibilità, lavoriamo nel senso della redistribuzione» e «non scontriamoci con la magistratura, tutte queste tensioni non fanno bene al Paese».

      E dopo le accusa di Salvini replica: «Non accetto che il ministro dell’Interno dice che se stanno sbarcando dalla Sea Watch è perché i ministri 5 Stelle hanno aperto i porti. La nave è stata sequestrata dalla magistratura e, quando c’è un sequestro, si fanno sbarcare obbligatoriamente le persone a bordo».

      Duro anche il ministro Danilo Toninelli: «Salvini, se ha qualcosa da dirmi, me la dica in faccia. Non parli a sproposito del sottoscritto in tv. È evidente che l’epilogo della vicenda è legato al sequestro della nave da parte della magistratura, non serve un esperto per capirlo. Magari il ministro dell’Interno si informi prima di parlare. E trovi soluzioni vere sui rimpatri, non ancora avviati da quando è il responsabile della sicurezza nazionale».
      Lo sbarco per Salvini è una sconfitta politica
      Comunque la si guardi, la conclusione del braccio di ferro per Salvini è una sonora sconfitta che il ministro dell’Interno cerca di capitalizzare puntando tutte le sue carte su quel decreto sicurezza-bis che l’Onu chiede di ritirare ritenendolo una “violazione dei diritti umani e delle convenzioni internazionali”.

      Dopo aver irriso la lettera dell’alto Commissariato dell’Onu invitandolo ad occuparsi “dell’emergenza umanitaria in Venezuela anziché fare campagna elettorale in Italia”, Salvini ribadisce: "Resta un tema fondamentale: la difesa dei confini nazionali e l’ingresso in Italia di un gruppo di sconosciuti dev’essere una decisione della politica (espressione della volontà popolare) o di magistrati e Ong straniere? La vicenda Sea Watch 3 conferma una volta di più l’urgenza di approvare il decreto sicurezza bis già nel Consiglio dei ministri di domani per rafforzare gli strumenti del governo per combattere i trafficanti di uomini e chi fa affari con loro”.

      I 47 migranti sbarcati aspettano adesso di conoscere il loro destino. Le chiese evangeliche hanno dato la loro piena disponibilità ad accoglierli tutti nelle loro comunità in Italia ma anche all’estero.

      https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2019/05/19/news/via_libera_per_la_sea_watch_puo_attraccare_a_lampedusa-226674239

    • Italy: UN experts condemn bill to fine migrant rescuers

      UN human rights experts* have condemned a proposed draft decree by Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, to fine those who rescue migrants and refugees at sea, and urged the Government to halt its approval.

      “The right to life and the principle of non-refoulement should always prevail over national legislation or other measures purportedly adopted in the name of national security,” said the independent experts, who conveyed their concerns about the decree in a formal letter to the Italian Government.

      “We urge authorities to stop endangering the lives of migrants, including asylum seekers and victims of trafficking in persons, by invoking the fight against traffickers. This approach is misleading and is not in line with both general international law and international human rights law. Instead, restrictive migration policies contribute to exacerbating migrants’ vulnerabilities and only serve to increase trafficking in persons.”

      Earlier this month, Mr. Salvini announced a proposal to issue a decree that would fine vessels for every person rescued at sea and taken to Italian territory. NGO and other boats that rescued migrants could also have their licences revoked or suspended.

      The UN experts said that, should the decree – yet to be approved by the government – enter into force, it would seriously undermine the human rights of migrants, including asylum seekers, as well as victims of torture, of trafficking in persons and of other serious human rights abuses.

      They also asked for the withdrawal of two previous Directives banning NGO vessels rescuing migrants off Libya’s coasts from accessing Italian ports. In particular, the second Directive singled out the Italian ship Mare Jonio for helping those at sea.

      Declaring that Libyan ports were “able to provide migrants with adequate logistical and medical assistance” was particularly alarming, the experts said, especially given reports that Libyan coastguards had committed multiple human rights violations, including collusion with traffickers’ networks and deliberately sinking boats.

      The experts said any measure against humanitarian actors should be halted. “We are deeply concerned about the accusations brought against the Mare Jonio vessel, which have not been confirmed by any competent judicial authority. We believe that this represents yet another political attempt to criminalise humanitarian actors delivering life-saving services that are indispensable to protect humans’ lives and dignity.”

      The UN experts said Italian authorities had failed to properly consider several international norms, such as article 98 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, on the duty to help any person in danger at sea. “Article 98 is considered customary law. It applies to all maritime zones and to all persons in distress, without discrimination, as well as to all ships, including private and NGO vessels under a State flag,” they said.

      The Directives stigmatize migrants as “possible terrorists, traffickers and smugglers”, without providing evidence, the experts said. “We are concerned that this type of rhetoric will further increase the climate of hatred and xenophobia, as previously highlighted in another letter to which the Italian Government is also yet to reply.”

      The experts have contacted the Government about their concerns and await a reply. A copy of the letter has also been shared with Libya and the European Union.

      https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24628&LangID=E

    • Des ONG accusent la marine italienne de ne pas avoir porté assistance à des migrants en détresse

      L’ONG allemande Sea-Watch et le collectif Mediterranea accusent un navire de la marine italienne d’être resté à distance d’une embarcation de migrants en détresse au large des côtes libyennes, alors qu’il ne se trouvait qu’à plusieurs dizaines de kilomètres. Les 80 personnes en difficulté ont finalement été interceptées par les garde-côtes libyens et renvoyées en Libye.

      « Le navire P492 Bettica de la marine italienne est à proximité d’un canot pneumatique en détresse avec environ 80 personnes à son bord mais il n’intervient pas ». Ce message a été posté sur Twitter jeudi 23 mai en début d’après-midi par l’ONG Sea-Watch qui alerte sur la présence d’une embarcation dans les eaux internationales, au large de la Libye. C’est son avion de secours, le Moonbird, qui a repéré le canot en difficulté. « Notre avion a envoyé un message de détresse et a confirmé que des personnes sont accrochées à l’embarcation qui est en train de se dégonfler », continue l’ONG allemande.
      https://twitter.com/SeaWatchItaly/status/1131652854006067200?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E11

      Un peu plus tôt, Alarm Phone, la plateforme téléphonique qui vient en aide aux migrants en mer, avait donné l’alerte sur les réseaux sociaux. « Depuis 12h40, nous sommes en contact avec un bateau en détresse en Méditerranée centrale […]. L’eau entre dans le bateau. Nous avons transmis leur position au MRCC de Rome. Nous demandons une opération de sauvetage rapide ».

      Selon les ONG, la marine italienne n’est pas loin de l’embarcation. Elle ne serait pas intervenue.

      Un tweet de la marine italienne confirme, en effet, sa présence dans la zone, à 80 km du canot en difficulté. « Nous envoyons notre propre hélicoptère pour soutenir le Colibri [également sur zone, ndlr] », écrit la marine italienne sur le réseau social. « Avec un hélicoptère de la région, nous avons vérifié que les migrants ont été récupérés par un bateau de la patrouille libyenne ».

      « Le gouvernement sera responsable de ses actes »

      Seulement voilà, les ONG accusent ainsi les Italiens d’être « restés à distance » sciemment, pour laisser « le champ libre » aux garde-côtes libyens. « Encore un refoulement par procuration en Méditerranée centrale » a réagi Alarm Phone. « L’UE continue de violer le droit international, d’ignorer les bateaux en détresse et de repousser les gens en zone de guerre ».

      https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1131612656341852161?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E11

      Des accusations qui inquiètent plusieurs personnalités politiques en Italie. « Si c’est vrai, ce serait très grave car il est absolument impensable que des hommes, des femmes et des enfants soient renvoyés dans cet enfer qu’est la Libye », a déclaré le sénateur du mouvement 5 étoiles (M5S) Gregorio De Falco, également officier de la marine.

      Même son de cloche chez Massimiliano Smeriglio, candidat du Parti démocrate aux élections européennes. « Nous ne pouvons pas croire qu’’un navire de notre marine, qui a accompli tant de missions de secours international, peut apporter son aide sans intervenir dans une tragédie. Intervenez sans délai sans quoi le gouvernement sera responsable de ses actes », a-t-il insisté.
      Début mai, un navire militaire italien avait subi les foudres du ministre de l’Intérieur après avoir secouru des migrants en mer sans avoir attendu les garde-côtes. Matteo Salvini refuse systématiquement le débarquement des migrants sur le sol italien.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/17114/des-ong-accusent-la-marine-italienne-de-ne-pas-avoir-porte-assistance-

    • Dl sicurezza bis, I pescatori continueranno a salvare i migranti

      Michele e Salvatore Casciaro, padre e figlio, sono pescatori di Novaglie, Salento. Salvatore assiste alla tragedia dei migranti nel canale d’Otranto sin dal grande esodo degli albanesi negli anni Novanta. E da allora partecipa con la propria imbarcazione alle operazioni di soccorso e salvataggio dei naufraghi. Oggi i flussi principali provengono dal nord africa. Nell’ultimo salvataggio ha salvato con il figlio Michele una somala che altrimenti sarebbe annegata. Ma con il decreto sicurezza bis, continueranno a salvare i naufraghi o si volteranno dall’altra parte? (M. Tota)

      http://www.la7.it/tagada/video/dl-sicurezza-bis-i-pescatori-continueranno-a-salvare-i-migranti-21-05-2019-27242
      #pêcheurs

    • Il cambio di rotta di un Paese che perde l’onore
      Finora la Marina militare aveva sempre risposto alle chiamate di

      naufraghi in difficoltà.

      OGGI le cose in Italia non sono facili e quindi è proprio oggi che dobbiamo amare il nostro Paese, rispettarlo, dobbiamo dialogare, confrontarci, litigare sapendo che il suolo che calpestiamo ci restituirà solo ciò che avremo seminato e curato. Ogni parola è un seme, ogni ragionamento è un seme e noi italiani restiamo quello che siamo sempre stati: persone fatte di terra e mare. Conosciamo il mare, gabbia e occasione, limite e infinito, siamo uomini e donne di mare. Ecco perché, quando già l’Europa trattava l’immigrazione come un problema, l’Italia continuava a salvare vite in mare. E le salvava perché un uomo, una donna, un bambino che dall’Africa prendono il mare per venire in Italia, se in pericolo, non sono migranti, ma naufraghi. È la legge eterna del mare: ogni naufrago va tratto in salvo. Sempre.

      Qualcuno mi dira’, non possiamo salvarli tutti noi. Se nessun altro li salva, vi rispondo, allora li salveremo noi! Esistono le Zone Sar (Search and Rescue, ovvero “ricerca e salvataggio”) di competenza dei diversi paesi, perché dovremmo farci carico di recuperare i naufraghi anche laddove non sarebbe di nostra competenza? Perché per prima cosa dobbiamo rispettare la vita umana, è una regola universale alla quale se ci sottraiamo iniziamo a modificarci. Lasciare che una persona anneghi significa perdere qualsiasi cosa abbiamo raggiunto. Empatia, leggi, diritti, morale, convivenza. Perdiamo tutto. Non è sentimentalismo, è misura di ciò che sta accadendo. Non possiamo sottrarci dal salvare le persone in mare perché ogni vita perduta, quando poteva essere salvata, è sofferenza che si moltiplica, è odio. E l’odio diventa rancore, e il rancore vendetta.

      Ma non possiamo accoglierli tutti, mi direte. Manca il lavoro per noi, come possiamo farci carico di centinaia di migliaia di persone in cerca di un futuro migliore? Ma noi non dobbiamo accoglierli tutti: noi dobbiamo salvarli tutti, è nostro dovere farlo. Non facciamoci fregare dalla propaganda: salvare e accogliere sono due cose diverse, due momenti diversi che possono e devono essere gestiti in maniera diversa. Il salvataggio risponde a una necessità immediata, non c’è tempo per la strategia. L’accoglienza viene dopo e su quella si può discutere e cambiare passo, ma senza mettere in dubbio la necessità di salvare. Anzi, direi, senza mettere in discussione il diritto che noi italiani abbiamo, il privilegio che viviamo nel salvare vite umane. Salvare vite è come donare vita, come è accaduto che lo abbiamo dimenticato? Qualcuno oggi pensa di poter girare la faccia davanti a queste storie, pensa che tutto sommato la quotidianità sia già così difficile che non serve complicarsi la vita con questo strazio; non invidio queste persone perché per loro il risveglio sarà ancora più duro. E non le invidio perché non sanno quanto l’Italia abbia fatto la differenza, perché non sanno che l’Italia non ha mai girato le spalle a chi, in pericolo, chiedeva aiuto.

      Mi sono sentito orgoglioso di essere italiano quando ho visto il lavoro titanico che la Marina militare italiana ha sempre fatto, prima da sola, poi con l’Europa ma da capofila, poi insieme alle Ong, poi di nuovo da sola. Sono orgoglioso dei pescatori italiani che, nonostante andassero incontro a sanzioni gravose e al sequestro delle loro imbarcazioni che sono per loro sopravvivenza stessa, hanno sempre obbedito alla legge del mare, quella legge che impone di prestare soccorso a chiunque si trovi in pericolo tra le onde, a qualunque costo e senza pensare alle conseguenze. “Noi gente in mare non l’abbiamo lassata mai!”: questo era il principio dei pescatori lampedusani e a questo principio non si sono sottratti; se l’avessero fatto, avrebbero negato ogni singola parte della loro vita.

      Ma le cose sono cambiate ora, dirà qualcuno tra voi. Oggi la Marina sta agendo diversamente, direte. Sappiamo che il 23 maggio scorso, e lo sappiamo dagli unici testimoni rimasti nel Mediterraneo a darci queste informazioni, ovvero le Ong, un uomo è morto durante un’operazione di salvataggio, anzi, prima ancora che l’operazione iniziasse. Nel video girato da un velivolo della Sea-Watch si vede un gommone in avaria che sta imbarcando velocemente acqua. La Sea-Watch contatta prima la Guardia costiera libica che non risponde e poi la nave della Marina militare italiana Bettica, che si trova a meno di trenta miglia dal gommone.

      Improvvisamente e per quasi un’ora le comunicazioni tra la Marina militare italiana e la Sea-Watch si interrompono, quando riprendono la Bettica avverte che la Guardia costiera libica si sta recando sul posto. È prassi che la Guardia costiera libica non risponda alle richieste di soccorso. È prassi che i salvataggi siano fatti all’unico scopo di riportare i migranti nei campi di prigionia libici dove ricomincia il loro calvario, dove vengono torturati e dove viene estorto loro denaro: ogni migrante preso dalla Guardia costiera libica è guadagno doppio per i trafficanti (che, detto per inciso, non sono le Ong ma la guardia costiera libica finanziata dall’Italia e dall’Europa) che li lasceranno tornare nel loro paese solo in cambio di denaro.

      È ormai appurato che la Libia non è un porto sicuro. E allora perché la nave della Marina militare italiana Bettica non è intervenuta? Perché si infanga l’onore (che bella parola quando porta con sé il rispetto per la vita umana) dei militari della Marina che hanno sempre, secondo coscienza, risposto prima ancora che alle convenzioni internazionali, che pure stabiliscono il dovere di salvare vite, alla superiore e universale legge del mare? Oggi possiamo dividerci su tutto, ma non sulla necessità e sul dovere di salvare vite. Quando un uomo, una donna o un bambino sono in pericolo in mare, noi abbiamo il dovere di salvarli e se l’alternativa è la Libia, dobbiamo essere consapevoli che li stiamo condannando all’inferno. Per sfuggire a questo ragionamento, la propaganda inventa scorciatoie ridicole ma funzionanti: parole da buonista, parli bene dall’attico a Manhattan; si bersaglia chi racconta, non il racconto, perché quello è oggettivo e non può essere messo in discussione. Ma quell’uomo che annega è vita reale, non la finzione spacciata per realtà sui social.

      Facile dire la solita balla buonista parli tu dall’attico a Manhattan… no, parlo da meridionale, nato e cresciuto nelle terre più martoriate d’Italia, più saccheggiate, terre dimenticate da Dio e dagli uomini, ma non dai politici avvoltoi e sciacalli. Quelli, di noi meridionali, non si dimenticano mai. Promettono acqua agli assetati e intanto condannano le nostre anime per l’eternità. Parlo da uomo che non può accettare che il confine tra la vita e la morte sia una linea convenzionale e invisibile tracciata nel mare. Ciò che resta, alla fine di tutto, è l’onore. L’onore riscattato dal significato abusivo che ne danno le mafie per indicare nell’uomo d’onore l’affiliato. Onore inteso come rispetto dei nostri principi umani più profondi al di là delle conseguenze, nonostante le conseguenze.

      Onore è ciò che permette ancora di guardarci l’un l’altro e di sapere che io mi posso fidare di te perché tu ti puoi fidare di me, qualunque sia la tua condizione sociale, qualunque sia il luogo da cui provieni, il tuo quartiere, la tua religione e il colore della tua pelle, la tua condizione sociale, il tuo lavoro, il tuo conto in banca, la scuola che frequenta tuo figlio, il lavoro che fai. È facile: se mentre tu soffri e muori io giro lo sguardo dall’altra parte, se io soffrirò e rischierò di morire mi ripagherai con la stessa moneta. Salvare per essere salvati. Salvare per salvarsi: nel nostro mare, se smettiamo di salvare, finiremo annegati noi.

      https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2019/06/01/news/il_cambio_di_rotta_di_un_paese_che_perde_l_onore-227596448

    • Appel au secours d’un capitaine, coincé en mer avec 75 migrants malades

      Le capitaine d’un bateau égyptien ayant recueilli vendredi 75 migrants dans les eaux internationales, a lancé un appel aux autorités tunisiennes pour qu’elles le laissent accoster, alors que les vivres commencent à manquer et que des migrants sont malades.

      Le remorqueur égyptien #Maridive_601, qui dessert des plateformes pétrolières entre la Tunisie et l’Italie, est arrivé vendredi soir au port de Zarzis, dans le sud de la Tunisie, après avoir récupéré dans la matinée les migrants à la dérive.

      « Je demande aux autorités tunisiennes de nous permettre d’urgence d’entrer dans le port de Zarzis », a déclaré à l’AFP le capitaine #Faouz_Samir, ajoutant que « l’état de santé des migrants est mauvais, beaucoup sont atteints de la gale ».

      Un médecin a pu monter à bord, a indiqué la branche locale du Croissant-Rouge. « Quatre personnes sont dans un état qui nécessite une intervention médicale », et la plupart d’entre eux sont atteints de la gale infectieuse", a déclaré à l’AFP Mongi Slim, responsable du Croissant-Rouge dans le sud de la Tunisie.

      Selon l’organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), les migrants, 64 Bangladais, 9 Egyptiens, un Marocain et un Soudanais, dont au moins 32 enfants et mineurs non accompagnés, « ont besoin d’urgence d’eau, de nourriture, de vêtements, de couvertures et surtout d’assistance médicale ».

      L’agence de l’ONU a indiqué être prête à aider la Tunisie pour accueillir ces candidats à l’exil, partis de Libye dans l’espoir d’atteindre l’Europe.

      « Nous comprenons les difficultés et l’ampleur des défis que les flux migratoires peuvent poser et nous travaillons à appuyer les capacités de secours et d’assistance », a souligné Lorena Lando, chef de mission de l’OIM en Tunisie.

      « Nous restons toutefois préoccupés par les politiques de plus en plus restrictives adoptées par plusieurs pays du nord de la Méditerranée », ajoute Mme Lando.

      Le gouvernement et les autorités locales tunisiennes, sollicitées par l’AFP, n’ont pas souhaité s’exprimer.

      En août dernier, un autre bateau commercial, le Sarost 5, était resté bloqué plus de deux semaines en mer avec les 40 immigrés clandestins qu’il avait secourus. Soucieuses de ne pas créer un précédent, les autorités tunisiennes avaient souligné qu’elles acceptaient ces migrants exceptionnellement et pour raisons « humanitaires ».

      Le 10 mai, 16 migrants originaires en majorité du Bangladesh avaient été sauvés par des pêcheurs tunisiens, après le naufrage de leur embarcation qui avait fait une soixantaine de morts.

      La majorité des bâtiments de la marine qui ont patrouillé au large de la Libye ces dernières années se sont retirés tandis que les navires humanitaires font face à des blocages judiciaires et administratifs.

      https://www.voaafrique.com/a/appel-au-secours-d-un-capitaine-coinc%C3%A9-en-mer-avec-75-migrants-malades/4943716.html

    • Tugboat carrying 75 migrants stranded off Tunisia for 10 days

      The #Maridive_601, an Egyptian tugboat that rescued 75 migrants in international waters over one week ago, is still stranded off the Tunisian coast as Tunisian authorities refuse to let it dock.

      The Egyptian tugboat Maridive 601 rescued the migrants off the southern Tunisian coast on May 31 after they embarked from Libya.

      Sixty-four of the 75 migrants are Bangladeshi and at least 32 of those on board are minors and unaccompanied children, according to the International Organization for Migration.

      The Maridive 601, which services oil platforms between Tunisia and Italy, picked up the migrants who were drifting in international waters near the Tunisian coast, and headed to the closest port of Zarzis in southern Tunisia.

      “I request that the Tunisian authorities allow us to make an emergency entry to Zarzis port,” appealed Faouz Samir, captain of the Maridive 601 shortly after the rescue.

      Since then, the crew has not received entry permission. An official from the Tunisian interior ministry was quoted as saying Monday that „the migrants want to be taken in by a European country." The official did not want to be quoted by name.

      Cases of infectious scabies

      Earlier last week, a Red Crescent team based in the southern Tunisian city of Zarzis delivered aid and medical care to the migrants, some of whom were ill, according to the Red Crescent.

      They “urgently need water, food, clothes, blankets and above all medical assistance,” the IOM added. According to AFP reports, the IOM added it was ready to help Tunisia provide for the migrants.

      Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official in southern Tunisia, told InfoMigrant last Thursday that cases of scabies were on the rise and that there were around thirty people affected. The second captain of the Maridive 601 added that the Red Crescent was not allowed to board the ship to provide scabies medication. Instead, the crew had to contact its chartering company, Shell Tunisia, which in turn delivered medication in addition to food, water, mattresses and blankets. “We’re in telephone contact with the Red Crescent and they give us instructions on how to treat the migrants,” the captain informed InfoMigrants.

      Video footage

      Photos published online by the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, an NGO, showed migrants lying on the deck of the boat, while sailors attempted to feed them. A video by the same NGO shows migrants shouting: “We don’t need food, we don’t want to stay here, we want to go to Europe.”

      https://www.facebook.com/ftdes/videos/189765251957864

      Tunisia’s central government and local authorities did not wish to comment to media requests.

      “We understand the difficulties and the scale of the challenges that migration flows pose and we are working to support relief and assistance capacities,” said Lorena Lando, the IOM’s head of mission in Tunisia. “But we are worried by the increasingly restrictive policies adopted by several countries,” Lando told AFP.

      Last month, around 60 migrants, most from Bangladesh, drowned off the coast of Tunisia after leaving Libya on a boat bound for Europe.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/17413/tugboat-carrying-75-migrants-stranded-off-tunisia-for-10-days?ref=tw
      #Tunisie
      ping @_kg_

    • Méditerranée : le navire #Sea_Watch_3 de retour dans la zone de détresse

      Après avoir été bloqué par la justice italienne pendant près d’un mois, le navire humanitaire Sea Watch 3 est de retour dans la zone de détresse (SAR zone) au large de la Libye. Il est actuellement le seul bateau de sauvetage en mer.

      Le navire humanitaire de l’ONG allemande Sea Watch, le Sea Watch 3, est de retour dans la zone de sauvetage au large de la Libye, la SAR zone.

      Le Sea Watch 3 était bloqué depuis le 20 mai par la justice italienne dans le cadre de poursuites pour aide à l’immigration illégale. Il a reçu samedi 8 juin l’autorisation de repartir en mer, a annoncé l’association.

      "Le Sea Watch 3 est libre ! Nous avons reçu une notification formelle sur la libération du navire saisi et son retour aux opérations" en mer, s’est félicitée l’organisation humanitaire sur Twitter.

      Malgré la politique de "fermeture des ports" du ministre italien de l’Intérieur Matteo Salvini (extrême droite), le Sea Watch 3 avait pu débarquer les 65 migrants qu’il avait secourus à la mi-mai ; ils ont été autorisés à débarquer sur l’île de Lampedusa.

      Cette opération de secours avait provoqué la fureur de Matteo Salvini, qui a semblé la découvrir en temps réel à la télévision. “Je suis le ministère des règles et des ports fermés. Si un ministre du mouvement 5 étoiles a autorisé le débarquement, il devra répondre de ses actes devant les Italiens”, avait-il notamment lâché.

      Matteo Salvini estime que les migrants qui partent en mer à partir de la Libye doivent être remis aux garde-côtes libyens, conformément à un accord conclu entre l’Union européenne et Tripoli, mais les organisations humanitaires qui portent au secours des migrants refusent de s’y conformer.

      Hormis le Sea Watch 3, à la date du 10 juin, aucun autre navire humanitaire n’est présent au large des côtes libyennes.

      Les navires humanitaires qui sont bloqués dans des ports européens :

      – Depuis un débarquement en juin 2018 à Malte, le Lifeline de l’ONG allemande eponyme est bloqué au port de La Valette, à Malte, où les autorités contestent sa situation administrative.

      – Depuis le mois de janvier 2019, l’Open Arms de l’ONG espagnole Proactiva Open Arms est bloqué à Barcelone par les autorités espagnoles. Au printemps 2018, ce navire avait été placé un mois sous séquestre en Italie avant d’être autorisé à repartir.

      – Début août 2017, la justice italienne a saisi le Juventa de l’ONG allemande Jugend Rettet, accusée de complicité avec les passeurs libyens mais qui clame depuis son innocence.

      –Le Mare Jonio, un navire battant pavillon italien qui entend avant tout témoigner de la situation en mer, est actuellement bloqué en Sicile par les autorités.

      Les ONG qui résistent :

      –Dans les airs, les petits avions Colibri de l’ONG française Pilotes volontaires et Moonbird de Sea-Watch mènent régulièrement des patrouilles pour tenter de repérer les embarcations en difficulté.

      –L’Astral, le voilier de l’ONG Open Arms, est actuellement à Barcelone.

      Les navires humanitaires qui ont renoncé :

      Des ONG engagées au large des côtes libyennes ont suspendu leurs activités, face à la chute des départs de Libye et face à une intensification des menaces des garde-côtes libyens, qui considèrent les ONG comme complices des passeurs.

      – Suite aux pressions politiques, privé de pavillon, l’Aquarius de l’ONG SOS Méditerranée – qui a secouru près de 20 000 personnes en deux ans et demi - a mis fin à ses missions en décembre 2018. L’ONG espère toutefois trouver un nouveau bateau pour repartir rapidement en mer au printemps 2019.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/17410/mediterranee-le-navire-sea-watch-3-de-retour-dans-la-zone-de-detresse

    • Italy to fine NGOs who rescue migrants at sea

      The Italian government has decided to impose stiff fines on rescuers who bring migrants into port without authorization. It also gave the interior ministry, led by Matteo Salvini, power to demand the payment.

      A decree adopted by the Italian government on Tuesday would force non-governmental organizations to pay between €10,000 and €50,000 ($11,327 – $56,638) for transporting rescued migrants to Italian ports.

      Rescuers who repeatedly dock without authorization risk having their vessel permanently impounded. The fines would be payable by the captain, the operator and the owner of the rescue ship.

      The Italian government is composed of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and right-wing populist League Party. The League leader Matteo Salvini, who also serves as the interior minister, has been spearheading an effort to clamp down on illegal immigration.

      Delayed decree

      The adoption of the decree has been delayed due to criticism from the United Nations and the office of the Italian president. Following the cabinet session on Tuesday, however, Salvini praised it as a “step forward the security of this country.” The populist leader also said he was “absolutely sure about the fact that it is compliant” with all national and international laws.

      The decree allows police to investigate possible migrant trafficking operations by going undercover. It also makes it easier to eavesdrop electronically on suspected people smugglers. Other sections of the decree impose stricter punishments on rioters and violent football fans.

      Read more: Italian court rules Salvini can be charged with kidnapping

      Additionally, the decree gives Salvini’s ministry the power to order the NGOs to pay the fines, this was previously the area of the transport and infrastructure ministries.

      Salvini has pushed through several anti-migrant decrees since becoming interior minister a year ago, including one in December which ended humanitarian protection for migrants who do not qualify for refugee status. Earlier this week, Salvini blasted three judges who opposed his hardline policies.

      Risking life at sea

      Since 2014, more than 600,000 people have made the dangerous journey across the central Mediterranean to reach Italy, fleeing war and poverty in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. More than 14,000 have been recorded killed or missing when attempting the trip.

      Without a legal way to reach Europe, they pay people smugglers for passage in unseaworthy boats. The UNHCR and IOM recently said that 1,940 people have reached Italy from north Africa since the beginning of 2019, and almost 350 have died en route — putting the death rate for those crossing at more than 15%. The number of new arrivals has dropped off in recent years, but Rome is still faced with hundreds of thousands of people who migrated illegally. Pending asylum claims as of May 31 this year were 135,337.

      With official search-and-rescue missions canceled, the burden of assisting the shipwrecked migrants falls on rescue NGOs. The Italian coastguard estimates NGOs have brought in some 30,000 people per year since 2014.

      https://www.dw.com/en/italy-to-fine-ngos-who-rescue-migrants-at-sea/a-49143481

    • L’UNHCR chiede all’Italia di riconsiderare un decreto che penalizzerebbe i salvataggi in mare nel Mediterraneo centrale

      L’UNHCR, l’Agenzia delle Nazioni Unite per i Rifugiati, esprime preoccupazione per l’approvazione da parte del governo italiano di un nuovo decreto contenente anche diverse disposizioni che potrebbero penalizzare i salvataggi in mare di rifugiati e migranti nel Mediterraneo centrale, compresa l’introduzione di sanzioni finanziarie per le navi delle Ong ed altre navi private impegnate nel soccorso in mare.

      Salvare vite umane costituisce un imperativo umanitario consolidato ed è anche un obbligo derivante dal diritto internazionale. Nessuna nave o nessun comandante dovrebbe essere esposto a sanzioni per aver soccorso imbarcazioni in difficoltà e laddove esista il rischio imminente di perdita di vite umane.

      “In una fase in cui gli Stati europei si sono per lo più ritirati dalle operazioni di soccorso nel Mediterraneo centrale, le navi delle Ong sono più cruciali che mai,” ha dichiarato Roland Schilling, Rappresentante regionale a.i. per il Sud Europa. “Senza di loro, altre vite saranno inevitabilmente perse”.

      L’UNHCR è inoltre preoccupata per il fatto che il decreto possa avere l’effetto di penalizzare i comandanti che rifiutano di far sbarcare le persone soccorse in Libia.

      Alla luce della situazione di sicurezza estremamente volatile, delle numerose segnalazioni di violazioni di diritti umani e dell’uso generalizzato della detenzione nei confronti delle persone soccorse o intercettate in mare, nessuno dovrebbe essere riportato in Libia.

      L’UNHCR ha ribadito più volte che il rafforzamento delle capacità di ricerca e soccorso, in particolare nel Mediterraneo centrale, deve essere accompagnato da un meccanismo regionale volto ad assicurare procedure di sbarco rapide, coordinate, ordinate e sicure. La responsabilità per i rifugiati e i migranti soccorsi in mare deve essere condivisa tra tutti gli stati che li accolgono, invece di ricadere su uno o due.

      L’UNHCR chiede al governo italiano di rivedere il decreto e al parlamento di modificarlo, mettendo al centro la protezione dei rifugiati ed il salvataggio di vite umane.

      https://www.unhcr.it/news/lunhcr-chiede-allitalia-riconsiderare-un-decreto-penalizzerebbe-salvataggi-mar

    • Migrants bloqués au large de la Tunisie : les Bangladais refusent le rapatriement

      Quinze jours après avoir été secourus, 75 migrants - dont la moitié de mineurs - sont toujours coincés à bord d’un navire commercial égyptien près des côtes tunisiennes. La Tunisie refuse de les laisser débarquer et souhaite les faire « rentrer chez eux ». Seuls les migrants africains ont accepté d’être rapatriés. La majorité des rescapés, des Bangladais, s’opposent à toute expulsion.

      Les 75 naufragés secourus il y a quinze jours par le bateau commercial égyptien Maridive 601 sont toujours bloqués au large de Zarzis, sur la côte tunisienne. Quelque 32 mineurs se trouvent à bord du navire.

      Les autorités tunisiennes refusent de les laisser débarquer depuis le vendredi 31 mai, jour du sauvetage. « Le gouverneur de Médenine insiste pour qu’ils rentrent chez eux », explique Mongi Slim du Croissant rouge tunisien, joint par InfoMigrants vendredi 14 juin.

      Informés de cette décision par le Croissant rouge, seuls les Égyptiens, les Marocains et les Soudanais présents à bord ont accepté un rapatriement dans leurs pays.

      La Tunisie demande l’aide du Bangladesh

      Les 64 autres naufragés, des Bangladais dont de nombreux mineurs, ont refusé cette offre. « Ils demandent de rejoindre l’Italie ou de pouvoir rester en Tunisie avec une permission de travail », raconte Mongi Slim.

      « Les autorités ont sollicité l’aide de l’ambassade du Bangladesh. Elle va intervenir pour résoudre le problème », ajoute-t-il.

      « Rien pour se mettre à l’abri du soleil »

      En attendant, à bord, la situation psychologique des naufragés se dégrade. « Il fait très chaud en cette période de l’année dans le sud de la Tunisie, et sur le bateau les migrants n’ont rien pour se mettre à l’abri du soleil. Ils risquent la déshydratation. Ils sont emprisonnés en mer », déplore Ben Amor Romdhane, du Forum tunisien pour les droits économiques et sociaux (FTDES) également contacté par InfoMigrants. Le militant s’inquiète aussi des cas de gale signalés à bord.

      Pour la première fois depuis 15 jours, jeudi, une équipe médicale du Croissant rouge tunisien a pu monter sur le Maridive 601 avec des médicaments et des vivres. Jusqu’ici, le navire était ravitaillé en eau, en nourriture et en médicament anti-gale par la compagnie Shell Tunisie qui affrète le bateau. Le Croissant rouge était néanmoins parvenu à faire acheminer un stock de médicaments. Les premiers soins avaient été prodigués par l’équipage, guidé au téléphone par le Croissant rouge.

      Le médecin du Croissant rouge, qui a pu examiner les 75 migrants jeudi, a déclaré qu’il n’y avait pas de maladie grave ou d’urgences, seulement des cas de diabète, selon Mongi Slim.

      D’après le représentant du navire égyptien, joint par InfoMigrant, la situation reste pourtant « très tendue ». « La seule solution est de laisser ces migrants entrer en Tunisie », estime-t-il.

      Cet incident rappelle celui qu’avait connu le Sarost 5 l’an dernier. Le navire commercial, qui avait secouru 40 migrants en mer Méditerranée, avait dû attendre 17 jours l’autorisation de débarquer à Zarzis. Les autorités avaient finalement cédé titre exceptionnel « pour des raisons humanitaires ».

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/17533/migrants-bloques-au-large-de-la-tunisie-les-bangladais-refusent-le-rap

    • Migrants stranded at sea for three weeks now risk deportation, aid groups warn

      Group of 75 people survive prolonged ordeal but could now be made to leave Tunisia.

      https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/235b366ca8ef3c06feec045df894e482906510c0/0_0_1280_768/master/1280.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=35a960601e803a971255f0

      A group of migrants who spent nearly three weeks trapped onboard a merchant ship in torrid conditions face possible deportation to their home countries after they were finally allowed to disembark in Tunisia, aid groups have warned.

      The 75 migrants, about half of whom are minors or unaccompanied children, were rescued on 31 May by the Maridive 601 only to spend the next 20 days at sea as European authorities refused to let them land.

      “The migrant boat was ignored by Italian and Maltese authorities, though they were in distress in international waters”, said a spokesperson for Alarm Phone, a hotline service for migrants in distress at sea that was alerted to the ship’s plight by crew members. “This is a violation of international law and maritime conventions”.

      Heat and humidity onboard the Maridive 501, an Egyptian tugboat that services offshore oil platforms, were insufferable, said aid groups. Food and water were scarce, scabies broke out and spread, and several people suffered fractures and other injuries during the rescue operation.

      Witnesses said the psychological strain was immense for migrants and crew members alike.

      The brother of one Bangladeshi man said on 3 June: “Today is Eid [the festival marking the end of Ramadan]. But the day is not for me. My brother is on the ship. I can’t take it any more. How is he? How can I explain my feelings to you? When I get good news, this will be my Eid gift and that day will be my Eid day.”

      Six days later, he said: “How many days will they stay there? Who can take care of him? I am depressed, every day my mother is crying.”

      The ship’s captain, Faouz Samir, asked repeatedly to be allowed to land at the nearest port, in Zarzis, but was initially refused permission. Regional authorities said migrant centres in Medenine were too overcrowded.

      On 6 June, the migrants staged an onboard protest, asking to be sent to Europe. Video of the protest was published by the Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et Sociaux.

      The closure of Italian and Maltese ports to rescue ships has seemingly had a ripple effect, with Tunisia closing its own harbours to rescued people in order to avoid an overwhelming influx of migrants.

      On Tuesday evening, however, the Tunisian authorities relented. The migrants, who are mainly from Bangladeshi but also include Egyptians, Moroccans and Sudanese, will now be transferred to a detention centre.

      Aid groups, however, who had been demanding an immediate disembarkation in view of the medical emergency onboard, are concerned people may be sent back to Libya or even deported to their home countries after landing in the port of Zarzis. The governor of Medenine had previously said the boat would be allowed to dock only if all the migrants were immediately deported.

      “We are happy for the survivors. They are exhausted, some are traumatised, but we will accompany them so that we can finally find respite and reflect on the different alternatives available to them,” said Wajdi Ben Mhamed, head of the International Organisation for Migration’s Zarzis office.

      The IOM said its protection team would assist the survivors with “their protection needs and provide, for those who have requested it, assistance for voluntary return to their country of origin’’.

      Relatives claim some of the Bangladeshi survivors were told that food, water and medical treatment would be withheld if they did not accept deportation.

      One man who spoke to his brother on 18 June said fears of imminent deportation had been exacerbated by the visit of a Bangladeshi envoy to the boat. The envoy’s visit followed a meeting five days earlier with the Tunisian minister of the interior.

      Another relative said of a Bangladeshi migrant aboard the tugboat: “In Bangladesh there are people who want to kill him. He paid all the money and went to Libya to get away from the problems in Bangladesh. Then he escaped from Libya because of the problems there. He wants to go to Europe.”

      Médecins Sans Frontières warned that Tunisia could not be defined a safe haven for migrants and refugees, given that it had no functioning asylum system in place. “The nearest places of safety for rescues in the central Mediterranean are Italy or Malta,” said a spokesperson.

      A dangerous precedent would be set if an agreement was found to deport those rescued to their countries of origin quickly after disembarkation in Tunisia. Aid groups warn that boats like the Maridive would turn into migrant holding facilities until deportations were arranged. Many more boats could thus turn from places of rescue to prison islands, floating along north African shores.
      More than 70 million people now fleeing conflict and oppression worldwide
      Read more

      Giorgia Linardi, of SeaWatch in Italy said: “After this episode we should reflect on whether Tunisia qualifies as a place of safety, as our sources suggested that the migrants could be immediately repatriated or expelled from the country. The situation aboard the Maridive is very much confronted with the situation faced right now by the SeaWatch vessel with 53 migrants on board which is still floating in front of Italian territorial waters. As of now, the attitude of the Italian authorities is no different from the attitude of the Tunisian authorities towards the Maridive despite the two states having a different framework in terms of protection of human rights and in terms of asylum system in place.”

      With sea conditions currently favourable, thousands are preparing to leave Libya, where war and political instability have been aggravated by floods caused by heavy rain.

      Without rescue boats, however, the number of shipwrecks is likely to rise further. Only two of the 10 NGO rescue boats that were active in the Mediterranean are still present.

      According to data from the UN and the IOM, about 3,200 people have reached Italy and Malta from North Africa since the beginning of 2019, and almost 350 have died en route – putting the death rate for those crossing at about 11% along the central Mediterranean route.

      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jun/19/migrants-stranded-at-sea-for-three-weeks-now-face-deportation-aid-group

    • Italy’s redefinition of sea rescue as a crime draws on EU policy for inspiration

      https://www.statewatch.org/analyses/no-341-italy-salvini-boats-directive.pdf

      –-> analyse de #Yasha_Maccanico sur la première directive de Salvini contre la #Mare_Jonio et la façon dans laquelle il essaye (avec part de raison) justifier la criminalisation systématique des secours en mer en base aux instructions issues de la Commission dans le contexte de l’Agenda Européenne, plus des problèmes de base dans les représentations contenues dans la directive.

    • Maridive : les 75 migrants bloqués depuis 18 jours au large de Zarzis ont pu débarquer en Tunisie

      Après 18 jours d’hésitation, les autorités tunisiennes ont finalement laissé les 75 migrants du #Maridive débarquer au port de Zarzis, ce mercredi. Ils ont toutefois imposé leurs conditions : les migrants ont tous accepté préalablement de rentrer dans leur pays.

      « C’est enfin fini, c’est un soulagement ». Mongi Slim, membre du Croissant-rouge tunisien, s’est réjoui, mardi 18 juin, du débarquement des 75 migrants bloqués depuis le 31 mai au large de Zarzis. Les autorités tunisiennes refusaient en effet de laisser débarquer en Tunisie ces personnes secourues par un navire commercial égyptien, le Maridive 601, au large de la Libye.

      Après 18 jours de blocage, ils ont enfin pu toucher la terre ferme. « Nous sommes heureux pour les survivants. Ils sont épuisés, certains sont traumatisés mais nous les accompagnerons pour pouvoir enfin trouver du répit », a déclaré Wajdi Ben Mhamed, chef de bureau de l’agence de l’Organisation internationale des migrations (OIM), dans un communiqué.

      Un premier vol vers le Bangladesh jeudi

      Cependant, ce débarquement s’est fait sous conditions après de longues négociations entre les ONG, les organisations internationales et les autorités. Tunis a finalement autorisé leur débarquement à condition que les migrants acceptent tous d‘être renvoyés dans leur pays d’origine. Parmi les 75 migrants secourus, 64 sont de nationalité bangladaise, neuf égyptienne, un est originaire du Maroc et un autre du Soudan.


      https://www.facebook.com/iomtunis/posts/354908018559713

      Samedi 15 juin, des représentants de l’ambassade du Bangladesh sont montés à bord du Maridive et ont convaincu les Bangladais de retourner chez eux. Selon Mongi Slim, du Croissant rouge tunisien, un premier groupe de 20 Bangladais devrait être renvoyé dès jeudi 20 juin.

      Aucune demande d’asile déposée

      Une information que ne confirme par l’OIM, qui est chargée d’organiser les retours volontaires de ces naufragés. « Nous avons effectivement dit aux autorités qu’un vol commercial avec une vingtaine de places partaient de Tunisie demain vers le Bangladesh. Mais nous n’organisons pas de retours forcés », précise à InfoMigrants Lorena Lando, chef de mission de l’OIM en Tunisie. « Mais, nous attendons de faire un point avec les migrants et savoir qui veut profiter d’un retour volontaire », insiste-t-elle.

      Malgré l’accord, l’OIM rappelle que les migrants qui veulent demander l’asile seront redirigés vers le Haut-commissariat des Nations unies aux réfugiés (HCR). Mais pour l’heure, selon l’agence onusienne, aucun des migrants du Maridive ne souhaite déposer une demande d’asile en Tunisie.
      Le 10 mai dernier, 16 migrants, majoritairement du Bangladesh, avaient été sauvés par des pêcheurs tunisiens, après le naufrage de leur embarcation ayant fait une soixantaine de morts. Deux d’entre eux avaient décidé de rentrer dans leur pays.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/17614/maridive-les-75-migrants-bloques-depuis-18-jours-au-large-de-zarzis-on

    • Working Paper: Guidelines on temporary arrangements for #disembarkation

      Given the voluntary nature of participation in the mechanism, determination of persons to be relocated will be based on the indications by the Member States of relocation of the profiles that these Member States are willing to accept (variable geometry)."

      “Member States that relocate voluntarily (a lump sum of 6000 EUR per applicant).”

      The Council of the European Union has produced a new “Working Paper” on: Guidelines on temporary arrangements for disembarkation (LIMITE doc no: WK 7219-19):

      “The Guidelines are based on best practices used in previous disembarkation cases, and rely on a coordinating role of the Commission and support by relevant agencies. The framework is of a temporary nature and the participation of the Member States is on a voluntary basis. This document has a non-binding nature.” [emphasis added]

      The circumstances for “triggering” Temporary Arrangements (TA) are:

      “type of arrivals covered

      – a search and rescue operation; and/or

      – other sea arrivals where there is a humanitarian ground at stake.”

      On the face of it the idea would appear to refer to just about every rescue. However the idea relies on the state of first disembarkation - for example, in the Med: Spain, France, Italy and Greece - allowing a safe port of arrival. These states then make a “relocation” request to other Member States. This is entirely based on voluntary participation.

      “Workflow in the Member State of disembarkation

      The following procedural steps should be undertaken in the Member State of disembarkation, where appropriate with the assistance from EU agencies, and where relevant with the involvement of the Member State of relocation, in agreement with the benefitting Member State:

      (...) Initial identification, registration, fingerprinting and swift security screening: Registration and fingerprinting of all arriving migrants as category 2 in Eurodac system; check against national and EU information systems (such as Eurodac, SIS, VIS, Europol and Interpol databases) to ensure that none of the persons arriving to the EU is a threat to public policy, internal security or public health.

      Assessment regarding possible use of alternatives to detention or detention, on a case by case basis, pending further processing (in the context of border procedure, where possible, or otherwise)”

      Member states will be allowed to set conditions on acceptable refugees to relocate:

      “Given the voluntary nature of participation in the mechanism, determination of persons to be relocated will be based on the indications by the Member States of relocation of the profiles that these Member States are willing to accept (variable geometry).”

      The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCGA) will:

      “provide assistance in screening, debriefing, identification and fingerprinting;

      – deploy Return Teams (composed of escort, forced return monitor and/or return specialists);”

      Financial support

      "Under the AMIF Regulation, funds are to be made available for:

      – Member States that relocate voluntarily (a lump sum of 6000 EUR per applicant, applying the amended Article 18 of the AMIF Regulation 516/2014);

      – support to return operations;

      – Member States under pressure, as appropriate, including the possibility of a lump sum per relocation to cover transfer costs.

      – When MS make full use of the lump sums available under the national programmes, additional financial support could be provided.

      http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/jun/eu-council-disembark.htm

    • La #marine_italienne sur le banc des accusés

      En octobre 2013, un bateau de pêche chargé de réfugiés syriens fait naufrage près de Lampedusa, île italienne proche de la Sicile. Si 212 personnes ont pu être sauvées, 26 corps ont été repêchés et environ 240 sont restées portés disparus dont une soixantaine d’enfants. Ce drame ne restera pas impuni.
      Un procès se tiendra en 2018 avec, sur le banc des accusés pour homicide involontaire et non-assistance à personnes en danger, des officiers de la marine italienne. C’est la première fois qu’un procès de ce type est lancé. Ce jour-là, un médecin syrien qui se trouvait à bord avec ses deux enfants -tous deux morts noyés- a appelé plusieurs fois au secours les garde-côtes italiens. Ceux-ci retransmettaient le relais à leurs confrères maltais et peu après lançaient un message signalant la situation aux navires se trouvant dans la zone. C’était le cas du navire Libra de la marine italienne, à moins d’une heure de navigation mais qui, au lieu de se précipiter, s’est éloigné en laissant intervenir les Maltais, ce qui prenait beaucoup plus de temps. Le bateau des migrants a fini par chavirer à 17h07. Les secours dont, le Libra, sont arrivés vers 18h00. Trop tard.

      https://www.arte.tv/fr/videos/080337-000-A/la-marine-italienne-sur-le-banc-des-accuses

    • Bangladeshi migrants in Tunisia forced to return home, aid groups claim

      Relatives say more than 30 people stuck at sea told to go home or lose food and water.

      More than 30 migrants from Bangladesh who were trapped on a merchant ship off Tunisia for three weeks have been sent back to their home country against their will, according to relatives.

      They were among 75 migrants rescued on 31 May by the Maridive 601, an Egyptian tugboat that services offshore oil platforms, only to spend the next 20 days at sea near the Tunisian coast.

      The International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental organisation linked to the United Nations, said the Bangladeshis “wished to return home”.

      But relatives and aid groups claimed that when a Bangladeshi envoy visited the boat the migrants were forced to accept their repatriation under the threat of having food, water and medical treatment being taken away.

      One relative told the Guardian: “When all the people were on the boat, they were told by the Bangladeshi embassy that if they didn’t agree to sign, they would not get any food or water any more. The people were afraid to die on the boat. The Bangladeshi embassy forced them to sign.”

      On 18 June, the 75 migrants, who included Egyptian, Moroccan and Sudanese people, were taken off the Maridive 601 and transferred to a Tunisian detention centre.

      The IOM confirmed that a few days later the first 17 individuals were returned to Bangladesh, and on 24 June, another 15 migrants were sent back.

      It said “more migrants will be travelling in the coming days, according to their decision”.

      The Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et Sociaux (FTDES), an independent organisation that aims to defend economic and social rights, said: “We doubt that the decisions to return were made voluntarily by the migrants.

      “We have tried to visit the migrants in the reception centre in order to inquire about their wellbeing but despite making repeated inquiries and requests, the whereabouts of the detained migrants was not revealed.”

      Another relative said: “I spoke with my brother this morning in the centre. He is scared to be returned to Bangladesh, like all the people there. Nobody wants to return to Bangladesh; everyone who is returned is forced.”

      The IOM’s head of mission in Tunisia, Lorena Lando, rejected the accusations. “None of the migrants has been deported; [they] wished to return,” she said. “IOM does not do deportation, nor force anyone to return.”

      Lando said the IOM “did not have access” to the migrants until 19 June, after the Tunisian authorities allowed their disembarkation.

      She added: “Remaining at sea was not a solution either. It is up to the person to also apply for asylum if they fear persecution … or seek help to return home or take time to decide.”

      A spokesperson for Alarm Phone, a hotline service for migrants in distress at sea that was alerted to the ship’s plight by crew members, said: “The IOM refers to such deportations as voluntary returns but what is voluntary about telling survivors that they can leave their prison merely if they agree to be returned?

      “Do we really believe that these Bangladeshi people risked their lives to move to Libya and then to try to cross the Mediterranean, only to then be ‘voluntarily’ returned to Bangladesh?”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/25/bangladeshi-migrants-in-tunisia-forced-to-return-home-aid-groups-claim

  • The #Leaky_Boats (Documentary)

    A moving documentary about how the Australian Government used the Refugee Boats as a mechanism to boost it’s standing in the Polls during the election to clinch a victory and keep John Howard in Parliament

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c_phJsx1NE

    #documentaire #film #migration #asile #réfugiés #Australie #refugee_boats #haute-mer #externalisation #Manus_island #Nauru #Pacific_solution

    • J’ai enfin réussi à regarder le documentaire, je vais mettre ici la trame et quelques extraits...

      26.08.2001 : 433 réfugiés s’approchent des côtes australiennes.
      Le « #Tampa » boat (un cargo norvégien) répond à un appel des secours et s’approche du bateau de #réfugiés pour le sauvetage.
      Les réfugiés sont sauvés et montés à bord du Tampa, mais le capitaine du Tampa reçoit l’ordre de ne pas s’approcher des côtes australiennes.
      Tampa était un bateau norvégien, s’il avait été australien, son capitaine, #Arne_Rinan, aurait été emprisonné en Australie dès son entrée sur le territoire australien.

      L’opinion publique et les politiciens s’enflamment (c’est temps d’élection). John Howard disant notamment que les réfugiés n’ont qu’à faire la queue dans les ambassades pour demander un visa...

      7’50 : Mais "some basics facts have been left out of the loop :
      – in Afghanistan or Irak, there was no Australian embassy. The idea of a queue was a fantasy
      – The people on the boats were not « illegals », Australia’s laws gave them the right to seek asylum
      – the most basic fact : the numbers :
      Brigadier Gary BORNHOLDT, Head of Military Public Affairs « In defence, it was not a big deal, because the number of the people was very very small. That’s why they did not represent a security threat »
      Admiral Chris BARRIE, Chief of Australian Defence Force : « We don’t actually remember that much of the illegal immigration takes place at airports »

      8’50 : Carmen LAWRENCE, Labor member of the Parliament : « It has to be described as a ’moral panic’ »

      3 jours après le sauvetage, le capitaine du Tampa décide d’entrer dans les eaux australiennes (surtout car certains réfugiés nécessitaient d’une assistance médicale urgente). Il a fait cela « to get the reaction ». Et la réaction a été que... l’Australie a envoyé le counter-terrorism squat (SAS).

      15’50 : Major Peter TINLEY : « I said, well, they are a bunch of refugees. I can’t help to feel that the Prime Minister John Howard viewed the SAS as something that would resony politically to the message of border security. You can’t amp it up more in the public’s mind that in saying ’we’ve gonna send the SAS, we’ll show how though we are in border security ».

      Mais... le Tampa n’a pas pu être renvoyé dans les #eaux_internationales par les SAS.

      La Nouvelle Zélande a offert son aide en disant voulant accueillir les enfants et les familles de réfugiés. Mais quid des autres réfugiés ?

      The island of #Nauru was a place that most Australians never heard about. It was 4000 km from Sidney. The smallest Republic in the world. A nation of just 12’000 people, living on 21 km2, and an economy based on guano mining. The guano was running out, and Nauru was closed to bankrupcy.
      Phone calls were made to Nauru’s President. 8 days after they have been rescued, the refugees left the Tampa for an Australian navy ship.
      But... there was actually an issue in Australia’s arrangment with Nauru : when the Australian ship took on board the refugees, there was no agreement between Australia and Nauru.

      Peter REITH, Minister of Defence, was sent to Nauru : « I said to John : ’I think we should give them whatever the want ».
      Le Président de Nauru a demandé 20 mio. de dollars australiens... qui lui ont été donnés !

      From now on, the boats would be stopped. The government would sent the navy to turn them back in a new operation called #Operation_Relex. The arrival of boats has past from an immigration issue into a defence issue. The leaky boats were now called #SIEV (#Suspected_illegal_entry_vessels). With the Operation Relex, when SIEV would approach, the navy executed the order.
      Within a week that Relex started, the navy had nearly 1000 refugees in their hands.
      –-> L’ordre donné par les militaires « retourner en Indonésie » n’était jamais exécuté par les réfugiés, qui restaient donc juste en decà des eaux internationales australiennes, sans bouger.

      A decision came from Canberra : bring the people to #Manus_Island.

      Jenny McKERRY, Head of public affairs, Department of Defence : « We were told not to say anything in the public form which would humanise those people »
      Head of military public affairs : « They wanted to portray that these were not normal people »

      Entre temps... 11 septembre 2001.

      Et SIEV 4 s’approche des côtes... et encore une fois les personnes à bord ne veulent pas retourner en Indonésie.

      Et là, l’histoire de la couverture médiatique de SIEV 4.

      Le bateau militaire HMAS Adelaide s’approche de SIEV 4 pour leur dire de retourner en Indonésie. A l’équipage on dit qu’il pourrait y avoir des terroristes à bord. Quand HMAS s’approche de SIEV 4, ils tirent des coup en l’air. Quelques réfugiés décident de se jeter à l’eau. D’autres montrent soulèvent des enfants, pour montrer à HMAS qu’il y a des enfants à bord. L’équipage de HMAS appelle Canberra pour dire que des adultes se sont jetés dans l’eau et qu’il y a des enfants à bord. Canberra averti les médias en disant que les réfugiés jettent les enfants à l’eau... L’indignation s’empare du pays « qui peuvent bien être ses sauvages qui jettent leurs enfants à l’eau »...
      En réalité, le HMAS a attendu que le SIEV 4 coule pour pouvoir sauver les réfugiés...

      Able Seaman Bec LYND, membre de l’équipage du HMAS : « We thought that when we would return to Australia, we would have commend for the job we did » (i.e. rescuing the refugees), « but the captain told us that some photos that has been sent from the ship had been misinterpreted. From that came the story that the people we rescued had thrown the children overboard. He said he was absolutely obviously not true, but we were told not to talk to the media or to our families »

      Les réfugiés sauvés ont ensuite été envoyés sur les îles de Nauru et Manus.

      A refugee : « Actually, we felt that we are not on the world anymore, we are somewhere wehre nobody had an idea ».

      3 weeks before elections, Relex was not achieving its objective : not a single boat had been turned back. The government’s response : escalate Relex. From now on, instead of trying to turn boats back, the navy would board them and send them all the way back to Indonesia.

      Témoignage d’un réfugiés qui était dans un bateau, arrivé après SIEV 4 : « We thought we had to throw the children in water, becaue in the other boat they did and the navy accepted them ».
      –-> en réalité, ce même réfugié a fait seulement semblant de jeter son enfant, pour attendre la réaction de la marine.

      « We created a high risk situation, where it is the interest of the people in the boat to sink the boat »

      Quelques jours/semaines après, un bateau avec 353 réfugiés à bord a coulé à cause d’une tempête. Tous les réfugiés sont morts.
      –-> John Howard : « This has been a terrible tragedy. Terrible. It was heart breaking, with little children. But we sent them a message ’Don’t try in the first place, because you’re not going to succeed ».
      (et, assez insupportable, Howard a les larmes aux yeux en disant cela !!! ARRRGHHHH)

      Et 3 jours avant les élections, les médias annoncent la nouvelle comme quoi l’histoire des enfants « never happened ». Pourtant, malgré cela, cette annonce, au lieu de plomber Howard dans les projections électorales, l’a boosté.

      « In the end, in the people who came on boat in the spring of 2001, 70% were found to be genuine refugees. Today the majority of them are living in Australia. People we spent hundreds of milions of dollars to stop »

      cc @reka

  • Australie : les embarcations de réfugiés repoussées hors des côtes
    http://www.brujitafr.fr/article-australie-les-embarcations-de-refugies-repoussees-hors-des-cotes-1

    Photо : EPA Par La Voix de la Russie | Les autorités australiennes ont reconnu qu’elles obligeaient les navires avec des réfugiés indonésiens à bord à quitter les eaux territoriales, annoncent les médias se référant au ministre d’immigrations et de garde-frontière du pays Scott Morrison. Australie : tous les migrants qui arriveront désormais sur le territoire australien seront envoyés… En australie, les premiers demandeurs d’asile renvoyés « C’est la politique et la pratique de notre gouvernement. Nous ne laissons pas entrer les navires illégaux dans nos eaux », a indiqué M. (...)

    #ACTUALITES

  • Campagnes bateau — Women on Waves
    http://www.womenonwaves.org/fr/page/2582/ship-campaigns

    Pour ses campagnes, Women on Waves affrête un bateau pour naviguer vers les pays où l’avortement est illégal. Sur le bateau, nous pouvons pratiquer des avortements médicalisés précoces (jusqu’à six semaines et demi de grossesse) en toute sécurité, de manière professionnelle et légale.

    #avortement #droits_des_femmes #bateau #eaux_internationales #méditerranée #Maroc #Irlande #Portugal #Espagne #Pologne