• Coronavirus : l’Algérie se dit « surprise » par les restrictions de voyage préconisées par l’UE
    https://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2020/08/03/coronavirus-l-algerie-se-dit-surprise-par-les-restrictions-de-voyage-preconi

    Le Conseil de l’UE a annoncé, jeudi, le retrait de l’Algérie de la liste des pays exemptés de restrictions aux voyages. Cette liste, basée notamment sur des critères épidémiologiques et soumise à une révision tous les quinze jours, précise les pays pour lesquels les restrictions aux frontières extérieures de l’UE « devraient graduellement être levées ». La recommandation européenne n’est pas contraignante : chaque Etat membre reste responsable des voyageurs qu’il laisse entrer sur son territoire. L’UE tente toutefois de se coordonner pour maintenir la liberté de circulation au sein de l’espace Schengen

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#espaceschengen#UE#algérie#frontière#sante#paysarisque

  • WATCH: Viral video claims to show ‘Trump’s border wall’ COLLAPSE under the wrath of #Hurricane_Hanna

    A section of the US-Mexico border wall in Texas allegedly failed to withstand the power of nature, according to a viral video. While its authenticity has been questioned, the clip sent President Trump’s critics into overdrive.

    A viral video purportedly showing a partial collapse of the border fence between the United States and Mexico was widely shared online on Sunday. While it was not immediately clear where it was recorded and which segment of the fence was affected, several local journalists and media reports indicated the incident happened somewhere between Texas and the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas as the storm battered the region.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/495928-texas-border-wall-collapse-hurricane

    #murs #barrières_frontalières #destruction #walls_don't_work #les_murs_tombent #frontières #USA #Etats-Unis #Mexique

    –—

    ajouté à la métaliste sur les murs qui tombent...
    https://seenthis.net/messages/823380

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      State-of-play report

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

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

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

      The new standing corps

      Recruitment

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

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

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

      Training

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

      Use of force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Privileges and immunities

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

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

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

      Law enforcement

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

      Fundamental rights and data protection

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Returns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      EUROSUR

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

      Summary

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

      Jane Kilpatrick

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

      It was updated on 1 July with some minor corrections:

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

      Endnotes

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

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

      [3] Section 1.1, state of play report

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

      [5] Section 7.1, state of play report

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

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

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

      [9] Chapter III, state of play report

      [10] Section 2.5, state of play report

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

      [12] Chapter III, state of play report

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

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

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

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

      [17] Article 110, 2019 Regulation

      [18] Article 109, 2019 Regulation

      [19] Section 8, state of play report

      [20] Article 111(1), 2019 Regulation

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

      [22] Article 110(1), 2019 Regulation

      [23] Section 9, state of play report

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

      [25] Section 3.2, state of play report

      [26] Chapter III, state of play report

      [27] Section 3.2, state of play report

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

      [29] State of play report, p. 19

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

      [31] Section 4, state of play report

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

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

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

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

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

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

      What is the standing corps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The size of the standing corps

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

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

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

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

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

      What are the profiles?

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

      Tasks to be carried out by these officials include:

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

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

      Recruitment for the profiles

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

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

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

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

      “Never touch yourself with gloves”

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

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

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

      Fit for service?

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

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

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

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

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

      Jane Kilpatrick

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [8] Annex II, 2019 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

      [14] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Frontex seeks company for drone flights

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

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

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

      Aircraft from arms companies

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

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

      Three EU maritime surveillance agencies

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

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

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

      New interested parties for drone flights

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

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

      Information to non-EU countries

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

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

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

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

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

      Drones enable ‘pull-backs’

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

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

      Matthias Monroy

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

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

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #drones

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

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

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

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

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

      From external to internal surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

      Legal provisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Sources of data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Operational activities at the internal borders

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

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

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

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

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

      A European Parliament study published in 2016 highlighted that:

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

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

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

      Chris Jones

      Endnotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      [9] Article 26(4), 2019 Regulation

      [10] Article 25, 2019 Regulation

      [11] Article 26, 2019 Regulation

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

      [13] Article 24(3), 2019 Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      #mouvements_secondaires #hotspot #hotspots

  • Recrudescence alarmante des cas de Covid-19 au Japon
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/08/01/japon-recrudescence-alarmante-des-cas-de-contagion-par-le-covid-19_6047892_3

    En dépit de l’augmentation des cas d’infection, le Japon a néanmoins décidé, jeudi 30 juillet, de lever à partir du 5 août les restrictions à l’accès de son territoire frappant les résidents étrangers. Cette mesure destinée à limiter la propagation du virus est fortement contestée car elle enfreignait le principe de réciprocité dans la mesure où les résidents japonais peuvent, eux, revenir en Europe ou aux Etats-Unis comme ils le souhaitent. Le Japon est le seul pays du G7 à afficher une telle rigueur. Près de 90 000 résidents étrangers au Japon – salariés de grandes entreprises, étudiants, stagiaires – de plus 140 Etats, dont la France, qui se trouvaient hors du Japon lorsque cette décision de fermeture de l’archipel avait été prise, étaient jusqu’à présent dans l’impossibilité d’y retourner. Des conditions précises sont exigées pour ces retours. Dans le cas des Français, ceux qui ont quitté l’archipel avant le 26 mars − date de l’inscription de la France sur la liste des pays soumis à l’interdiction d’entrée − sont désormais autorisés à y retourner. Mais à certaines conditions (précisées sur le site Web de l’ambassade de France à Tokyo) qui tendent à limiter la portée de cette mesure ressentie par beaucoup comme discriminatoire. Quant aux Français résidents au Japon, qui ne peuvent toujours pas le quitter sans prendre le risque de ne pouvoir y revenir. L’autorisation peut être donnée dans des cas exceptionnels, mais ceux-ci doivent être dûment justifiés et présentés par l’ambassade de France aux autorités japonaises.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#japon#france#ressortissantetranger#reciprocite#frontiere#sante

  • Un policier condamné pour violence contre un mineur malien qui se réfugiait en France

    Deux agents de la #police_aux_frontières ont été condamnés à Gap, jeudi, pour « #violence » et « #soustraction_de_fonds ». « Dans un contexte de déni des violences policières par le pouvoir politique […], cette décision est un signal de justice fort », réagit l’avocat du mineur victime.

    Deux agents de la police aux frontières (PAF) ont été condamnés, jeudi 30 juillet, par le tribunal correctionnel de Gap, à de la prison avec sursis pour des faits de « violence commis par une personne dépositaire de l’autorité publique » pour l’un, pour « usage de faux en écriture publique » et « soustraction de biens d’un dépôt public » pour l’autre.

    Les faits remontent à 2018, à une époque où ils étaient basés au poste de Montgenèvre (Hautes-Alpes), au niveau d’un col qu’empruntent de nombreux exilés pour franchir la frontière qui sépare l’Italie de la France. Le premier, un gardien de la paix, est condamné à deux ans de prison avec sursis, 1 000 euros d’amende, et une interdiction d’exercer toute fonction publique pendant cinq ans, pour avoir frappé un mineur malien, Moussa*, qui venait juste d’être refoulé et se plaignait d’un vol d’argent à la PAF. Il devra également verser 900 euros de dommages et intérêts à l’adolescent.

    Le second, un ancien adjoint de sécurité, écope de 18 mois de prison avec sursis, 1 000 euros d’amende et une interdiction d’exercer toute fonction publique pendant cinq ans, pour avoir gardé l’argent d’une contravention après l’avoir annulée, sans explication claire.

    « Cette décision intervient dans un contexte de déni des violences policières par le pouvoir politique et rappelle que nul ne doit échapper à la loi, réagit l’avocat de Moussa*, Me Vincent Brengarth, auprès de Mediapart. Elle est un signal de justice fort à l’adresse des victimes. »

    Nous republions ci-dessous le compte-rendu du procès, qui s’est tenu il y a un mois.

    Gap (Hautes-Alpes).– L’audience était très attendue. Jeudi 2 juillet, deux agents de la police aux frontières (PAF) étaient renvoyés devant le tribunal correctionnel de Gap pour des délits commis au col de Montgenèvre, où des migrants tentent presque tous les jours de rallier Briançon : un gardien de la paix, âgé de 51 ans, était jugé pour des « violences volontaires par personne dépositaire de l’autorité publique » sur un adolescent malien passé en France à l’été 2018, Moussa* ; le second, un adjoint de sécurité dont le contrat n’a pas été renouvelé en 2020, était poursuivi pour « usage de faux » et « soustraction de biens d’un dépôt public », en l’occurrence 90 euros.

    Après cinq longues heures d’audience, le procureur de la République de Gap, Florent Crouhy, a requis à leur encontre respectivement deux ans et 18 mois de prison avec sursis, ainsi que l’interdiction d’exercer une fonction publique pendant cinq ans.

    Au départ, les soupçons d’abus commis à la PAF de Montgenèvre étaient bien plus larges. Depuis des années, non seulement des associations signalaient des récits de violences et de vols commis aux dépens de migrants, mais un réserviste de la PAF avait, lui aussi, tiré la sonnette d’alarme. En janvier 2019, enfin, un rapport du directeur départemental de la police aux frontières remis au procureur de Gap a pointé une série de dysfonctionnements liés à l’interpellation de migrants, dont l’argent disparaissait, ainsi qu’au contrôle d’automobilistes et au détournement de l’argent de contraventions. « À plusieurs reprises, peut-on y lire, des migrants auraient indiqué qu’il leur manquait de l’argent lors de notifications de refus d’entrée [en France – ndlr]. » Or, à chaque fois, « le gardien de la paix et l’adjoint de sécurité [jugés jeudi – ndlr] étaient présents lors des interpellations ou des notifications ».

    En janvier 2019, une enquête de l’Inspection générale de la police nationale (IGPN) était diligentée, qui s’est vite resserrée autour de l’histoire de Moussa, interpellé une nuit d’août 2018 lors d’une tentative de passage en France et renvoyé aussi sec en Italie, alors qu’il avait 15 ans, qu’il était isolé et que la France avait obligation de l’accueillir.

    Recroisant deux policiers sur sa route cette nuit-là, Moussa s’était plaint du vol de son argent à la PAF et avait eu le réflexe d’enregistrer la conversation. Diffusé à l’audience, cet échange de cinq minutes permet d’entendre des menaces, puis des bruits de coups : « T’accuses la police de vol, ce soir t’es en garde à vue et demain t’es dans un avion, hein ? […] Et c’est Tripoli-Paris ! » « T’arrêtes de nous traiter de voleurs parce que je t’en colle une, hein ? Moi je te dérouille ! » Ou encore : « Tu me traites encore une fois de voleur et je te jette là-dedans [un trou – ndlr]. T’as compris ? » Identifiés par l’IGPN, ce sont ces deux policiers qui étaient jugés jeudi.

    Avant que ne débute l’audience, Moussa échangeait encore avec Agnès Antoine, en terrasse d’un café, une militante des droits des étrangers, bénévole de l’association Tous migrants et de l’Anafé (Association nationale d’assistance aux frontières pour les étrangers), qui a été l’une des premières à le rencontrer après sa traversée réussie en France.

    « Je l’ai accueilli chez moi après qu’il est passé par le refuge solidaire de Briançon », confie celle qui participe également aux maraudes organisées pour venir en aide aux exilés sur la frontière, avec des élus parfois, pour contrôler les pratiques de la PAF. Elle se souvient d’un jeune homme « traumatisé », se plaignant de douleurs au ventre et au bas du dos résultant des coups reçus. « Il était incapable de comprendre comment la police française pouvait faire une chose pareille. »

    Le jeune homme a quitté le Mali, son pays d’origine, fin 2017, dans l’espoir « d’une vie meilleure ». « J’ai mis sept mois à rejoindre l’Europe. Avec un ami majeur, on a tenté plusieurs fois de passer la frontière à Montgenèvre, jusqu’à cette fameuse nuit », confie Moussa, qui assure que cinq autres migrants les accompagnaient.

    À sa première « rencontre » avec les policiers de la PAF, il n’a pas voulu fuir. « Ils nous ont interpellés et ramenés au poste, où ils nous ont demandé nos papiers. J’ai donné un acte de naissance prouvant que j’étais né en 2002. » Mais la police n’en tient pas compte, évoque une date de naissance « incohérente », selon la notification de refus d’entrée signée par un brigadier à minuit ce 4 août. Lui et son ami sont ramenés à la frontière après avoir été fouillés et contrôlés. La loi est pourtant claire : un étranger mineur « ne peut faire l’objet d’une mesure d’expulsion ».

    Mais arrivés sur place, Moussa et le second migrant découvrent qu’il leur manque de l’argent. « J’avais 600 euros et mon ami 200 euros. L’argent avait disparu de nos portefeuilles alors qu’on l’avait avant d’arriver au poste. »Il décide de retourner à la PAF de Montgenèvre et tombe sur deux policiers, qu’il dit reconnaître, le gardien de la paix et de l’adjoint de sécurité. « J’ai enregistré pour avoir une preuve de tout ça, car je sentais que ce n’était pas clair. Cet argent, je l’avais économisé en travaillant dans les marchés en Italie, je le gardais pour pouvoir manger et dormir. » En plus des menaces verbales, le policier lui aurait asséné des coups de poing et de pied.

    Si Moussa ne tarde pas à raconter sa mauvaise rencontre avec les forces de l’ordre à Agnès et à lui faire écouter l’enregistrement, celle-ci ne lui conseille pas de porter plainte dans l’immédiat. « On se méfiait même de la justice… On craignait que la reconnaissance de sa minorité lui soit refusée s’il y avait une plainte. » Reconnu mineur et pris en charge par le conseil départemental, comme le veut la règle pour tous les mineurs étrangers non accompagnés (MNA dans le jargon), Moussa a finalement déposé plainte en mars 2019.

    Au tribunal, jeudi, il joue nerveusement avec ses doigts. À la barre, la présidente appelle le gardien de la paix, résume les faits, puis hausse le ton :

    « Il vous dit que son argent a disparu et vous me dites que vous entendiez ça très souvent dans le discours des migrants à cette époque. Vous auriez pu lui laisser le bénéfice du doute ! »

    – Ça n’arrivait pas qu’à Montgenèvre, rétorque le gardien de la paix en référence aux vols.

    – Vous vous enfoncez, Monsieur. […] Vous appelez ça discuter, vous ?

    – J’étais exaspéré, c’était très tendu avec le problème migratoire. […] J’ai eu des phrases malheureuses, ce n’était pas malin. »

    Concernant les coups, à l’écoute de l’enregistrement, le gardien de la paix affirme avoir repoussé le migrant vers un panneau métallique. Il reconnaît toutefois ne pas s’être senti menacé par les exilés à ce moment-là. « On entend clairement plusieurs coups », contredit la juge, qui cherche à savoir « dans quel cadre procédural » se situe alors l’agent. « Logiquement, vous auriez dû les ramener à nouveau au poste pour suivre la procédure. De quel droit estimez-vous que c’est inutile ? D’aucun ! Vous êtes un exécutant, c’est illégal de prendre ce genre d’initiatives. »

    Selon Me Vincent Brengarth, conseil de Moussa, cette affaire démontre « le caractère indispensable des vidéos pour qu’il y ait justice ». « La question des violences policières sur les migrants est exploitée de façon assez secondaire, alors qu’elle a un caractère tout aussi systémique, plaide l’avocat. Elles sont exercées à l’encontre de personnes vulnérabilisées et ce ne sont pas des cas isolés. » Me Brengarth rappelle le rapport du Défenseur des droits ou celui de la CNCDH (Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme), avant de dénoncer un « tandem » spécialisé dans la répétition de ces comportements.

    Devant le tribunal, l’ex-adjoint de sécurité n’est toutefois poursuivi que pour des faits sans rapport avec les exilés, simplement pour avoir gardé l’argent d’une contravention après l’avoir annulée, sans explication claire. « Vous dites d’abord avoir rempli la quittance sans prendre l’argent, puis vous évoquez une erreur de remplissage, insiste la juge. Vous avez paniqué ? Vous êtes un élève de maternelle ou un professionnel de la police ? » « Vous faites vraiment n’importe quoi dans cette brigade ! Plus on ment, plus on s’enfonce », assène-t-elle, sans être convaincue.

    Pour l’avocat du prévenu, le dossier aura eu « le mérite » de révéler les défaillances du commandement de la brigade et de la PAF au moment des faits. « Il ne faut pas que le ministère public et la partie civile fassent l’amalgame entre les violences dont est accusé le gardien de la paix et les autres faits qui concernent mon client. »

    « Tout ce qui compte pour moi, c’est qu’on me rende mon argent et que ça ne se reproduise plus avec d’autres », insiste Moussa, fier aujourd’hui de voir que sa situation se débloque en France. Cette année, il s’est inscrit dans un centre de formation et d’apprentissage (CFA) en Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Il passe en deuxième année et s’apprête à fêter ses 18 ans.

    « Il est apprenti cuisinier dans un restaurant et ça se passe très bien, précise le travailleur social qui l’accompagne depuis janvier 2019 pour l’association PlurielS. Il a son récépissé et devrait obtenir son titre de séjour travailleur temporaire dès septembre prochain. »

    Dans un rapport intitulé Persona non grata et publié en février 2019, l’Anafé dénonçait les pressions, violences policières et vols dont faisaient l’objet des personnes exilées. « On est rassurés que la justice se soit saisie de cette situation aujourd’hui car la question est d’autant plus grave quand les violences sont commises par les forces de l’ordre », note Laure Palun, directrice de l’association, qui relève que l’interdiction d’exercer peut avoir un effet dissuasif, en plus de la prison avec sursis. « S’ils sont condamnés, j’espère que cela empêchera d’autres policiers d’avoir des comportements similaires, que ce soit à Montgenèvre, Menton, ou toute autre frontière ou zone d’attente française. » Réponse le 30 juillet.

    https://soundcloud.com/mediapartpodcast/policier-de-la-paf-taccuses-la-police-de-vol-demain-tes-dans-un-avion-paris-tripoli/s-ZLMnohIShj6

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/300720/un-policier-condamne-pour-violence-contre-un-mineur-malien-qui-se-refugiai

    #France #condamnation #justice #police #violences_policières #PAF #frontières #migrations #Alpes #asile #réfugiés #Montgenèvre #frontière_sud-alpine #montagne #Italie

    #cartographie #carte #visualisation

  • Pourquoi les Algériens sont interdits d’entrée dans Schengen
    https://www.afrik.com/pourquoi-les-algeriens-sont-interdits-d-entree-dans-schengen

    C’est ce jeudi 30 juillet que le Conseil de l’Union Européenne, dans un communiqué, a annoncé retirer l’Algérie de sa liste actualisée des pays sûrs avec les lesquels les voyages sont autorisés. En clair, l’Union Européenne ferme de nouveau ses frontières avec l’Algérie.Pourtant, le 1er juillet dernier, l’Algérie figurait dans la liste des 15 pays établie par l’Union Européenne et avec lesquels les voyages étaient autorisés. Que s’est-il passé ? Cette décision qui fait face à une recrudescence des contaminations au Coronavirus depuis fin juin, avec un pic de nouveaux cas, entre 500 et près de 700 nouveaux cas quotidiens. Il n’y a pas que l’Algérie qui exclue de la liste des pays autorisés à avoir accès à la zone Schengen. Il y a eu en effet la Serbie et le Monténégro qui ont été soustraits de la liste, du fait de la dégradation de la situation sanitaire sur leurs territoires, avec notamment une nouvelle explosion des cas de Covid-19.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#algerie#UE#espaceschengen#frontiere#contamination#sante

  • Coronavirus : pays par pays, qui a rouvert ses frontières en Europe ?
    https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2020/06/16/coronavirus-pays-par-pays-qui-a-rouvert-ses-frontieres-en-europe_6043031_435

    De son côté, la France estime que des « fermetures complètes notamment des frontières sont à éviter autant que possible au sein de l’Europe et de l’espace Schengen ».En revanche, l’entrée dans l’espace européen (les pays de l’UE ainsi que la Suisse, la Norvège et l’Islande) est toujours interdite aux voyageurs sauf aux ressortissants d’une douzaine de pays (liste établie le 30 juillet). Pour figurer sur cette liste, ces pays ne doivent pas dépasser un taux de nouveaux cas pour 100 000 habitants proche ou en dessous de la moyenne de l’UE, ce qui fait que l’Algérie en a été sortie du fait de la recrudescence de l’épidémie sur son sol :

    🇦🇺 Australie,
    🇨🇦 Canada,
    🇬🇪 Géorgie,
    🇯🇵 Japon,
    🇲🇦 Maroc,
    🇳🇿 Nouvelle-Zélande,
    🇷🇼 Rwanda,
    🇰🇷 Corée du Sud,
    🇹🇭 Thaïlande,
    🇹🇳 Tunisie,
    🇺🇾 Uruguay.
    La liste ne comprend pas les Etats-Unis – où l’épidémie est galopante – et laisse en suspend la question de la Chine dans l’attente d’une réciprocité de sa part. En revanche, depuis le 15 juin, les ressortissants européens peuvent venir passer leurs vacances en France, et les Français ont eux aussi accès à la majorité des pays de l’espace Schengen à l’exception de certains pays nordiques. Les pays scandinaves, après avoir imposé des règles draconiennes à l’entrée de ressortissants européens, ont revu les conditions. Les politiques évoluent vite en matière de voyages internationaux

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#UE#espaceschengen#restrictionsanitaires#frontière#sante#reciprocité

  • La Corée du Sud confirme le retour au Nord d’un transfuge soupçonné d’être porteur du Covid-19
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/07/28/la-coree-du-sud-confirme-le-retour-au-nord-d-un-transfuge-soupconne-d-etre-p

    Après avoir exprimé des doutes sur la véracité de l’annonce par Pyongyang, dimanche 26 juillet, du retour au Nord, le 19 juillet, d’un transfuge « soupçonné » d’être porteur du Covid-19, les autorités sud-coréennes ont confirmé, lundi 27 juillet, qu’un réfugié avait effectivement franchi la zone démilitarisée (DMZ) qui sépare les deux Corées sans corroborer toutefois qu’il serait contaminé. Selon l’agence de presse sud-coréenne Yonhap, l’enquête menée par la police dans la communauté des réfugiés du Nord (environ 33 000, arrivés surtout depuis le milieu des années 1990) a permis d’établir qu’il s’agissait d’un homme de 24 ans, dont il a été communiqué seulement le nom de famille, « Kim », réfugié au Sud depuis 2017.Habitant à Gimpo (banlieue de Séoul), il était recherché à la suite d’une plainte pour viol déposée par une autre transfuge. Ce M. Kim n’a jamais subi de test de dépistage et ne semble pas avoir été en contact avec une personne contaminée. Deux de ses proches ont été déclarés négatifs.Selon la version nord-coréenne, l’homme a été appréhendé dans la ville de Kaesong (300 000 habitants), non loin de la zone démilitarisée. La ville a été immédiatement confinée, et le pays placé en « état d’urgence maximal ». D’après l’enquête menée au Sud, M. Kim a franchi l’une des frontières les plus surveillées du monde, truffée de champs de mines et de bunkers, en empruntant une conduite d’évacuation d’eau passant sous une zone de barbelés dans la partie nord de l’île de Ganghwha, située à l’ouest de Séoul, dans l’estuaire du fleuve Han. Un sac lui appartenant a été retrouvé à proximité. Puis, il a traversé à la nage le fleuve qui, à son embouchure, sépare les deux Corées avant de se jeter dans la mer Jaune.
    C’est en suivant la même route, en sens inverse, qu’il avait fait défection au Sud trois ans auparavant.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#coreedunord#coreedusud#transfuge#sante#test#contamination#frontiere

  • Casablanca : le cri du cœur des chauffeurs sénégalais bloqués à la frontière marocaine
    https://www.dakaractu.com/Casablanca-le-cri-du-coeur-des-chauffeurs-senegalais-bloques-a-la-frontie

    Bloqués au Maroc, les chauffeurs sénégalais ruent dans les brancards pour dénoncer leur situation au niveau de la frontière marocaine. En effet, les autorités marocaines ont brandi un communiqué interdisant tout déplacement de populations entre Casablanca et la frontière Maroco-mauritanienne. Ils sont actuellement à 80 km de la frontière de Casablanca. Ces sénégalais ont profité de l’occasion pour exprimer leur désarroi et sont dans tous leurs états. « Les bagages qui se trouvent au niveau des véhicules ont été chargés avant le mois de ramadan, et jusqu’à présent nous n’arrivons pas à passer », précisent-ils. Selon eux, les autorités marocaines ont refusé leur accès à la frontière de Casablanca. Ainsi, les chauffeurs sénégalais se disent prêts à mourir. « Les marocains nous ont expulsé de nos hôtels. Parce qu’ils veulent rentrer chez eux pour la fête. Nous n’avons plus rien à manger », pestent-ils.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#senegal#mauritanie#maroc#sante#frontiere

  • Coronavirus : maintenir les frontières fermées n’est pas viable à moyen terme, prévient l’OMS
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/maladie/coronavirus/coronavirus-maintenir-les-frontieres-fermees-n-est-pas-viable-a-moyen-t

    « Cela va devenir presque impossible pour les pays de maintenir dans un futur proche leurs frontières fermées », a ainsi estimé le docteur Michael Ryan, directeur des situations d’urgence à l’OMS. « Les économies doivent rouvrir, les gens doivent travailler, le commerce doit reprendre », a-t-il admis, tout en reconnaissant que chaque Etat devait prendre en compte individuellement les risques d’ouvrir ses frontières. Il est très difficile d’avoir une politique qui convienne à tous. Si je suis une petite nation sans cas de Covid-19, un seul cas (importé) peut représenter un désastre. Dans un pays où l’incidence de la maladie est importante, fermer la frontière peut ne faire aucune différence.docteur Michael Ryan, directeur des situations d’urgence à l’OMS. A l’heure actuelle, de nombreux pays dans le monde ferment leurs frontières à des ressortissants venant de zones à risques ou imposent des quatorzaines et des tests, mais sans stratégie concertée. « Seules en tant que telles, [ces mesures] ne sont pas efficaces pour limiter les mouvements du virus, qui est partout », a ajouté le responsable de l’OMS. « Mais il est très difficile de définir une politique globale », a-t-il ajouté, soulignant que la nature du risque était déterminée par les situations locales et nationales.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#sante#frontiere#quarantaine#politique#economie#santeglobale#incidence#test

  • Bounds of possibility: writing at the edges of Europe | Essay | Architectural Review
    https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/bounds-of-possibility-writing-at-the-edges-of-europe/10042741.article

    The conflict-strewn past of the borderlands of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey belies a depth of human spirit poignantly captured by Kapka Kassabova

    Europe used to be divided, apparently, neatly and cleanly by an east-west border – an internal line of barbed wire and concrete. It was quickly dubbed, first by Goebbels and then by Winston Churchill, an ‘iron curtain’, running, according to Churchill, from ‘Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic’. Conversely, Daniel Trilling, author of Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe (2018), recently described the current borders of ‘Fortress Europe’ via the metaphor of the zones used by London Transport: ‘Zone One comprises the wealthy states of northwestern Europe, Zone Two the poorer countries on the EU’s southern and eastern periphery, and Zone Three countries just outside the EU, such as Morocco, Libya, Turkey and Ukraine. The aim, as it were, is to prevent as many unwanted migrants as possible from reaching the inner core, while preserving the passport-free travel that most EU citizens enjoy under the Schengen Agreement.’ So ‘the frontline states of Zone Two, such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Bulgaria, patrol the EU’s external borders, largely with national border forces supported and co-ordinated by the Warsaw-based EU agency Frontex’.

    #frontières #bulgarie #grèce #turquie

  • La Corée du Nord reconnaît un premier cas de coronavirus
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2020/07/26/la-coree-du-nord-reconnait-un-premier-cas-de-coronavirus_6047316_3210.html

    La personne qui, officiellement, n’est encore que « suspectée » d’avoir été infectée est, selon les autorités, un fugitif qui serait passé en Corée du Sud il y a trois ans et serait revenu clandestinement au Nord le 19 juillet en franchissant la zone démilitarisée qui sépare les deux pays. Il a été découvert à Kaesong, ville frontalière avec la Corée du sud, qui a été immédiatement confinée. Lui-même a été placé en « quarantaine ». Malgré la fermeture du pays depuis début janvier, « il semblerait que le virus soit entré dans le pays » a déclaré le dirigeant.Vu de l’étranger, c’était plutôt l’absence de tout cas de contamination en RPDC par un virus qui sévit à travers le monde qui était étonnante. Selon l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS), depuis le début de l’épidémie, il a été procédé en RPDC à un millier de tests de dépistage avec du matériel fourni par la Russie. Tous étaient négatifs. Il n’a pas été précisé si l’homme « suspecté » d’être porteur du virus a fait l’objet d’un test.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#coreedunord#coreedusud#chine#sante#frontiere#isolement#confinement

  • Where Will Everyone Go ?

    ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center, have for the first time modeled how climate refugees might move across international borders. This is what we found.

    #climate #climate_refugee #migration #international_migration #map

    ping @cdb_77

    https://features.propublica.org/climate-migration/model-how-climate-refugees-move-across-continents

  • Coronavirus : les voyageurs en provenance de seize pays à risque seront testés à leur arrivée en France
    https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2020/07/24/coronavirus-en-france-lente-reprise-de-l-epidemie-jean-castex-en-deplacement

    Jean Castex s’est rendu vendredi après-midi à l’aéroport de Roissy pour faire le point sur les dispositifs de tests déployés pour les passagers au départ et à l’arrivée. Le premier ministre a annoncé que les voyageurs en provenance de 16 pays, dont les frontières avec la France sont actuellement fermées, devront soit présenter un test de dépistage négatif effectué dans le pays de départ moins de 72 heures avant leur trajet, soit se soumettre à un test à leur arrivée. En cas de résultat positif, qui leur sera transmis par email ou par téléphone dans les 24 heures, ils devront se mettre en quatorzaine. Seuls les ressortissants français et les résidents permanents pourront prendre ces vols vers la France, qui restent interdits aux touristes.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#france#testnegatif#liaisonaerienne#quarantaine#sante#paysarisque#frontiere

  • « J’irai l’année prochaine » : les impossibles vacances « au pays » de la diaspora africaine de France
    https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2020/07/24/en-france-la-dechirure-de-la-diaspora-africaine-de-ne-pas-partir-en-vacances

    ’Lactuelle crise sanitaire mondiale a obligé une partie de la diaspora africaine installée en France à renoncer, la mort dans l’âme, à passer ses habituelles vacances d’été « au pays ». Même si certains territoires tels que le Sénégal ou le Maroc commencent à ouvrir leurs frontières − généralement aux seuls ressortissants ou aux étrangers titulaires d’un titre de séjour −, cette diaspora raconte sa profonde « déchirure » de ne pas fouler à nouveau la terre natale tout en exprimant, également, quelques « peurs ». « Ce virus nous a empêchés de nous organiser pour cet été. Moi, je n’ai pas d’argent pour acheter un billet à 2 000 euros à la dernière minute. Je ne peux pas, lance-t-elle. Et, une fois là-bas, je ne suis pas sûre qu’on respecte les gestes barrières. » Le Cameroun a officiellement recensé plus de 16 500 personnes contaminées et plus de 380 décès. « J’irai l’année prochaine, s’il n’y a pas un autre malheur », promet-elle. C’est exactement ce que se dit Saïd qui ne reverra pas, cet été encore, les montagnes algériennes de Kabylie. (..) « Tout était prévu, mais c’est la pagaille en Algérie. A la place, on ira peut-être au Danemark en camping-car », confie-t-il « dégoûté ». En effet, les frontières terrestres, maritimes et aériennes de l’Algérie sont fermées et elles vont le rester jusqu’à la fin de la pandémie de Covid-19 ou plus précisément « jusqu’à ce que Dieu nous libère de ce fléau », a annoncé le chef de l’Etat algérien, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, le 28 juin. En France, ces annonces ont été très mal vécues par une partie de la diaspora algérienne, alors même que l’Union européenne (UE) a annoncé, le 30 juin, la réouverture de ses frontières aériennes avec le pays. Mais l’Algérie fait face depuis le début du mois de juillet à une flambée de contamination : le nombre officiel dépasse les 500 cas par jour, contre 250 fin juin. Un chiffre sous-estimé, selon les médecins, qui multiplient les appels de détresse sur les réseaux sociaux, s’alarmant d’une situation catastrophique dans plusieurs hôpitaux.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#afrique#ue#diaspora#retour#frontière#sante#crisesanitaire#mesurebarrière

  • Dans l’est de la #Turquie, le trajet tragique des migrants afghans

    Fuyant les talibans, de nombreuses familles partent trouver refuge en Europe. En chemin, elles sont souvent bloquées dans les #montagnes kurdes, où elles sont à la merci des #trafiquants d’êtres humains et de la #police.

    Le dos voûté sous leurs lourds sacs à dos, la peau brûlée par le soleil et les lèvres craquelées par la soif, Nizamuddin et Zabihulah sont à bout de forces. Se traînant pesamment en bord de route, près de la petite ville de #Çaldiran dans l’extrême est de la Turquie, ils cherchent désespérément un moyen d’abréger leur trajet. « Nous marchons presque sans arrêt depuis deux jours et deux nuits. Nous avons franchi sept ou huit montagnes pour arriver ici depuis l’Iran », raconte le premier. Affamés, les pieds enflés, et dépités par le refus généralisé de les conduire vers la grande ville de #Van à une centaine de kilomètres de là, ils finissent par se laisser tomber au sol, sous un arbre.

    « J’ai quitté l’#Afghanistan il y a huit mois parce que les talibans voulaient me recruter. C’était une question de temps avant qu’ils m’emmènent de force », explique Zabihulah. Originaire de la province de Jozjan, dans le nord de l’Afghanistan, où vivent sa femme et son très jeune fils, son quotidien était rythmé par les menaces de la rébellion afghane et la misère économique dans laquelle est plongé le pays en guerre depuis plus de quarante ans. « Je suis d’abord allé en Iran pour travailler. C’était épuisant et le patron ne m’a pas payé », relate-t-il. Ereinté par les conditions de vie, le jeune homme au visage fin mais marqué par le dur labeur a décidé de tenter sa chance en Turquie. « C’est ma deuxième tentative, précise-t-il. L’an dernier, la police iranienne m’a attrapé, m’a tabassé et tout volé. J’ai été renvoyé en Afghanistan. Cette fois, je vais rester en Turquie travailler un peu, puis j’irai en Grèce. »

    Pierres tombales

    Comme Nizamuddin et Zabihulah, des dizaines de milliers de réfugiés afghans (mais aussi iraniens, pakistanais et bangladais) pénètrent en Turquie illégalement chaque année, en quête d’un emploi, d’une vie plus stable et surtout de sécurité. En 2019, les autorités turques disent avoir appréhendé 201 437 Afghans en situation irrégulière. Deux fois plus que l’année précédente et quatre fois plus qu’en 2017. Pour la majorité d’entre eux, la province de Van est la porte d’entrée vers l’Anatolie et ensuite la Grèce. Cette région reculée est aussi la première muraille de la « forteresse Europe ».

    Si le désastre humanitaire en mer Méditerranée est largement documenté, la tragédie qui se déroule dans les montagnes kurdes des confins de la Turquie et de l’#Iran est plus méconnue mais tout aussi inhumaine. Régulièrement, des corps sont retrouvés congelés, à moitié dévorés par les animaux sauvages, écrasés aux bas de falaises, criblés de balles voire noyés dans des cours d’eau. Dans un des cimetières municipaux de Van, un carré comptant plus d’une centaine de tombes est réservé aux dépouilles des migrants que les autorités n’ont pas pu identifier. Sur les pierres tombales, quelques chiffres, lettres et parfois une nationalité. Ce sont les seuls éléments, avec des prélèvements d’ADN, qui permettront peut-être un jour d’identifier les défunts. Un large espace est prévu pour les futures tombes, dont certaines sont déjà creusées en attente de cercueils.

    Pour beaucoup de réfugiés, la gare routière de Van est le terminus du voyage. « Le passeur nous a abandonnés ici, nous ne savons pas où aller ni quoi faire », raconte Nejibulah, le téléphone vissé à la main dans l’espoir de pouvoir trouver une porte de sortie à ses mésaventures. A 34 ans, il a quitté Hérat, dans l’ouest de l’Afghanistan, avec douze membres de sa famille dont ses trois enfants. Après quinze jours passés dans des conditions déplorables dans les montagnes, la famille a finalement atteint le premier village turc pour tomber entre les mains de bandits locaux. « Ils nous ont battus et nous ont menacés de nous prendre nos organes si nous ne leur donnions pas d’argent », raconte Nejibulah. Son beau-frère exhibe deux profondes blessures ouvertes sur sa jambe. Leurs proches ont pu rassembler un peu d’argent pour payer leur libération : 13 000 lires turques (1 660 euros) en plus des milliers de dollars déjà payés aux passeurs. Ces derniers sont venus les récupérer pour les abandonner sans argent à la gare routière.
    Impasse

    La police vient régulièrement à la gare arrêter les nouveaux arrivants pour les emmener dans l’un des deux camps de rétention pour migrants de la province. Là-bas, les autorités évaluent leurs demandes de protection internationale. « Sur le papier, la Turquie est au niveau des standards internationaux dans la gestion des migrants. Le problème, c’est le manque de sensibilité aux droits de l’homme des officiers de protection », explique Mahmut Kaçan, avocat et membre de la commission sur les migrations du barreau de Van. Le résultat, selon lui, c’est une politique de déportation quasi systématique. Si les familles obtiennent en général facilement l’asile, les hommes seuls n’auraient presque aucune chance, voire ne pourraient même pas plaider leur cas.

    Pour ceux qui obtiennent le droit de rester, les conditions de vie n’en restent pas moins très difficiles. Le gouvernement qui doit gérer plus de 4 millions de réfugiés, dont 3,6 millions de Syriens, leur interdit l’accès aux grandes villes de l’ouest du pays telles Istanbul, Ankara et Izmir. Il faut parfois des mois pour obtenir un permis de séjour. L’obtention du permis de travail est quasiment impossible. En attendant, ils sont condamnés à la débrouille, au travail au noir et sous-payé et aux logements insalubres.

    La famille Amiri, originaire de la province de Takhar dans le nord de l’Afghanistan, est arrivée à Van en 2018. « J’étais cuisinier dans un commissariat. Les talibans ont menacé de me tuer. Nous avons dû tout abandonner du jour au lendemain », raconte Shah Vali, le père, quadragénaire. Sa femme était enceinte de sept mois à leur arrivée en Turquie. Ils ont dormi dans la rue, puis sur des cartons pendant des semaines dans un logement vétuste qu’ils occupent toujours. La petite dernière est née prématurément. Elle est muette et partiellement paralysée. « L’hôpital nous dit qu’il faudrait faire des analyses de sang pour trouver un traitement, sans quoi elle restera comme ça toute sa vie », explique son père. Coût : 800 lires. La moitié seulement est remboursée par la sécurité sociale turque. « Nous n’avons pas les moyens », souffle sa mère Sabira. Les adultes, souffrant aussi d’afflictions, n’ont pas accès à la moindre couverture de santé. Shah Vali est pourtant d’humeur heureuse. Après deux ans de présence en Turquie, il a enfin trouvé un emploi. Au noir, bien sûr. Il travaille dans une usine d’œufs. Salaire : 1 200 lires. Le seuil de faim était estimé en janvier à 2 219 lires pour un foyer de quatre personnes. « Nous avons dû demander de l’argent à des voisins, de jeunes Afghans, eux-mêmes réfugiés », informe Shah Vali. Pour lui et sa famille, le voyage est terminé. « Nous voulions aller en Grèce, mais nous n’avons pas assez d’argent. »

    Lointaines, économiquement peu dynamiques, les provinces frontalières de l’Iran sont une impasse pour les réfugiés. Et ce d’autant que, depuis 2013, aucun réfugié afghan n’a pu bénéficier d’une réinstallation dans un pays tiers. « Sans espoir légal de pouvoir aller en Europe ou dans l’ouest du pays, les migrants prennent toujours plus de risques », souligne Mahmut Kaçan. Pour contourner les check-points routiers qui quadrillent cette région très militarisée, les traversées du lac de Van - un vaste lac de montagne aux humeurs très changeantes - se multiplient. Fin juin, un bateau a sombré corps et biens avec des dizaines de personnes à bord. A l’heure de l’écriture de cet article, 60 corps avaient été retrouvés. L’un des passeurs était apparemment un simple pêcheur.

    Climat d’#impunité

    Face à cette tragédie, le ministre de l’Intérieur turc, Suleyman Soylu, a fait le déplacement, annonçant des moyens renforcés pour lutter contre le phénomène. Mahmut Kaçan dénonce cependant des effets d’annonce et l’incurie des autorités. « Combien de temps un passeur res te-t-il en prison généralement ? Quelques mois au plus, s’agace-t-il. Les autorités sont focalisées sur la lutte contre les trafics liés au PKK [la guérilla kurde active depuis les années 80] et ferment les yeux sur le reste. » Selon lui, les réseaux de trafiquants se structureraient rapidement. Publicités et contacts de passeurs sont aisément trouvables sur les réseaux sociaux, notamment sur Instagram. Dans un climat d’impunité, les #passeurs corrompent des #gardes-frontières, qui eux-mêmes ne sont pas poursuivis en cas de bavures. « Le #trafic_d’être_humain est une industrie sans risque, par comparaison avec la drogue, et très profitable », explique l’avocat. Pendant ce temps, les exilés qui traversent les montagnes sont à la merci de toutes les #violences. Avec la guerre qui s’intensifie à nouveau en Afghanistan, le flot de réfugiés ne va pas se tarir. Les Afghans représentent le tiers des 11 500 migrants interceptés par l’agence européenne Frontex aux frontières sud-est de l’UE, entre janvier et mai.

    https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/07/20/dans-l-est-de-la-turquie-le-trajet-tragique-des-migrants-afghans_1794793
    #réfugiés #asile #migrations #parcours_migratoires #itinéraires_migratoires #réfugiés_afghans #Caldiran #Kurdistan #Kurdistan_turc #morts #décès #Iran #frontières #violence

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Desperate living conditions on Venezuela/Colombia border plumb new depths, amid COVID-19 fears - Colombia | ReliefWeb
    https://reliefweb.int/report/colombia/desperate-living-conditions-venezuelacolombia-border-plumb-new-depths-ami

    he arid and over-crowded conditions of La Guajira on the Venezuela/ Colombia border are a potential death trap for the thousands of Venezuelan migrants living in temporary shelters in fear for their lives because of COVID-19 and the lockdown, says HelpAge International today.
    Most at risk are the almost 5,000 older migrants living in La Guajira. According to a survey of the region - carried out by HelpAge in January 2020 - 84% of them have no handwashing facilities and 78% have no access to safe drinking water. This has not improved since the outbreak of COVID and creates serious obstacles to protecting a population at risk from the virus.

    #Covid19#migrant#migration#venezuela#colombie#frontiere

  • India coronavirus: How Kerala’s Covid ’success story’ came undone - BBC News
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-53431672

    Kerala took 110 days to report its first thousand cases. In mid-July, it was reporting around 800 infections a day. As of 20 July, Kerala’s caseload had crossed 12,000, with 43 reported deaths. More than 170,000 people were in quarantine, at home and in hospitals.One reason, say experts, for this sharp uptick is that nearly half a million workers returned to the state from the Gulf countries and others parts of India after the grinding countrywide lockdown, which shut businesses and threw people out of their jobs. Some 17% of Kerala’s working-age population works outside the state. Unsurprisingly, more than 7,000 of the reported cases so far have a history of travel. “But when the lockdown travel restrictions were lifted, people came flocking back to the state, and it became impossible to curb the re-entry of infected cases,” says Shashi Tharoor, a senior Indian opposition politician and member of parliament from Trivandrum. Mr Tharoor remembers a conversation he had with Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan soon after the first repatriation flights carrying Keralites working in the Gulf countries landed in Kerala. “He lamented that not only the virus was coming in, but infected people were transmitting the contagion to fellow passengers on the plane.”"I think this was unavoidable, since every citizen has a constitutional right to come home to India, even if they are ill. But that made a major difference," Mr Tharoor told me. The influx has possibly sparked a surge in local community transmission - since early May, reported cases without any travel history have gone up. More than 640 of the 821 new cases reported on Sunday, for example, were contracted locally, officials said. The source of 43 of them is untraceable

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#inde#kerala#travailleurmigrant#rapatriement#sante#etatdugolfe#contagion#confinement#frontiere

  • #Santé_mentale des #migrants : des #blessures invisibles

    Une prévalence élevée du trouble de stress post-traumatique et de la #dépression

    Les #migrations, les migrants et leur #santé ne peuvent être compris indépendamment du contexte historique et politique dans lequel les mouvements de population se déroulent, et, ces dernières décennies, les migrations vers l’#Europe ont changé. L’#immigration de travail s’est restreinte, et la majorité des étrangers qui arrivent en #France doivent surmonter des obstacles de plus en plus difficiles, semés de #violence et de #mort, au fur et à mesure que les #frontières de l’Europe se ferment. Ils arrivent dans des pays où l’#hostilité envers les migrants croît et doivent s’engager dans un processus hasardeux de #demande_d’asile. Ce contexte a de lourds effets sur la santé mentale des migrants. Ces migrants peuvent être des adultes ou des enfants, accompagnés ou non d’un parent – on parle dans ce dernier cas de mineur non accompagné*. S’il n’existe pas de pathologie psychiatrique spécifique de la migration1 et que tous les troubles mentaux peuvent être rencontrés, il n’en reste pas moins que certaines pathologies sont d’une grande fréquence comme le trouble de stress post-traumatique et la dépression.

    Facteurs de risque

    Pour approcher la vie psychique des migrants et les difficultés auxquelles ils font face, nous distinguerons quatre facteurs à l’origine de difficultés : le vécu prémigratoire, le voyage, le vécu post-migratoire, et les aspects transculturels.

    Vécu prémigratoire

    Avant le départ, de nombreux migrants ont vécu des événements adverses et traumatiques : #persécution, #guerre, #violence_physique, #torture, violence liée au #genre (#mutilations, #viols), #deuils de proches dans des contextes de #meurtre ou de guerre, #emprisonnement, famine, exposition à des scènes horribles, etc. Les violences ont fréquemment été dirigées contre un groupe, amenant une dislocation des liens communautaires, en même temps que des liens familiaux. Ces traumatismes ont un caractère interhumain et intentionnel, et une dimension collective, témoignant d’une situation de violence organisée, c’est-à-dire d’une relation de violence exercée par un groupe sur un autre.2, 3 Cette situation de traumatismes multiples et intentionnels est fréquemment à l’origine d’une forme particulière de troubles appelée trouble de stress post-traumatique complexe. Les nombreuses pertes, deuils et pertes symboliques fragilisent vis-à-vis du risque dépressif.

    Départ et #voyage

    La migration est en elle-même un événement de vie particulièrement intense, obligeant à des renoncements parfois douloureux, déstabilisante par tous les remaniements qu’elle implique. Ce risque est pris par ceux qui partent avec un #projet_migratoire élaboré. En revanche, l’exil dans une situation critique est plus souvent une fuite, sans projet, sans espoir de retour, bien plus difficile à élaborer.1 Vers une Europe dont les frontières se sont fermées, les routes migratoires sont d’une dangerosité extrême. Nous connaissons tous le drame de la Méditerranée, ses morts en mer innombrables.4 Les adolescents venant seuls d’Afghanistan, par exemple, peuvent mettre plusieurs années à arriver en Europe, après des avancées, des retours en arrière, des phases d’incarcération ou de #prostitution. Durant ce long voyage, tous sont exposés à de nouvelles violences, de nouveaux traumatismes et à la traite des êtres humains, surtout les femmes et les enfants.

    Vécu post-migratoire

    Une fois dans le pays hôte, les migrants se retrouvent coincés entre un discours idéal sur l’asile, la réalité d’une opinion publique souvent hostile et des politiques migratoires contraignantes qui les forcent sans cesse à prouver qu’ils ne sont pas des fraudeurs ou des criminels.5 Les réfugiés qui ont vécu un traumatisme dans le pays d’origine vivent donc un nouveau traumatisme : le déni de leur vécu par le pays d’accueil. Ce déni, qui est pathogène, prend de multiples aspects, mais il s’agit d’être cru : par les agents de l’Office de protection des réfugiés et des apatrides (Ofpra) qui délivre le statut de réfugié, par les conseils départementaux, qui décident, avec un certain arbitraire, de la crédibilité de la minorité des jeunes non accompagnés. L’obtention d’un statut protecteur dans un cas, l’obligation de quitter le territoire dans l’autre. Mais raconter en détail des événements traumatiques que l’on n’a parfois jamais pu verbaliser est difficile, parfois impossible. Lorsque des troubles de la mémoire ou des reviviscences traumatiques les empêchent de donner des détails précis, on leur répond...

    #migration #mental_health #trauma #depression #violence

    https://www.larevuedupraticien.fr/article/sante-mentale-des-migrants-des-blessures-invisibles