• #Niger : Europe’s Migration Laboratory
    (publié en 2018, pour archivage ici)

    Mahamane Ousmane is an unrepentant people smuggler. He makes no effort to deny transporting migrants “countless times” across the Sahara into Libya. When he is released from prison in Niger’s desert city of Agadez, he intends to return to the same work.

    The 32-year-old is even more adamant he has done nothing wrong. “I don’t like criminals. I am no thief. I have killed no one,” he says.

    As Ousmane speaks, a small circle of fellow inmates in filthy football shirts and flip-flops murmur in agreement. The prison at Agadez, where the French once stabled their horses in colonial times, now houses an increasing number of people smugglers. These “passeurs,” as they are known in French, have found themselves on the wrong side of a recent law criminalizing the movement of migrants north of Agadez.

    Aji Dan Chef Halidou, the prison director who has gathered the group in his office, does his best to explain. “Driving migrants out into the Sahara is very dangerous, that’s why it is now illegal,” he interjects.

    Ousmane, a member of the Tubu tribe, an ethnic group that straddles the border between Niger and Libya, is having none of it. “Nobody ever got hurt driving with me,” he insists. “You just have to drive at night because in the day the sun can kill people.”

    A powerfully built man who speaks in emphatic bursts of English and Hausa, Ousmane worked in the informal gold mines of Djado in northern Niger until they were closed by the military. Then he borrowed money to buy a pickup truck and run the route from Agadez to Sebha in Libya. His confiscated truck is now sinking into the sand at the nearby military base, along with more than 100 others taken from people smugglers. Ousmane still owes nearly $9,000 on the Toyota Hilux and has a family to support. “There is no alternative so I will go back to work,” he says.

    “We need to implement this law gently as many people were living off migration and they were promised compensation by Europe for leaving it behind, but this hasn’t happened yet.”

    While the temperature outside in the direct sun nears 120F (50C), the air conditioner in the warden’s office declares its intention to get to 60F (16C). It will not succeed. As mosquitoes circle overhead, Halidou’s earlier enthusiasm for the law evaporates. “Agadez has always been a crossroads where people live from migration,” he says. “We need to implement this law gently as many people were living off migration and they were promised compensation by Europe for leaving it behind, but this hasn’t happened yet.”

    Ali Diallo, the veteran among the inmates, blames Europe for his predicament. Originally from Senegal, he made his way across West Africa to Libya working in construction. His life there fell apart after the Western-backed ouster of the Gadhafi regime. The steady supply of work became more dangerous and his last Libyan employer shot him in the leg instead of paying him at the end of a job.

    “In Senegal there are no jobs, in Mali there are no jobs, but there were jobs in Libya and that was all right,” he says. “Then the West killed Gadhafi and now they want to stop migration.” Diallo retreated two years ago to Agadez and found a job as a tout or “coxeur” matching migrants with drivers. This was what he was arrested for. He has a question: “Didn’t the Europeans think about what would happen after Gadhafi?”

    The Little Red Town

    Niger is prevented from being the poorest country in the world only by the depth of misery in Central African Republic. It was second from bottom in last year’s U.N. Human Development Index. Niamey, the country’s humid capital on the banks of the River Niger, has a laid-back feeling and its population only recently passed the 1 million mark.

    But the city’s days as a forgotten backwater are coming to an end.

    Along the Boulevard de la Republique, past the machine-gun nests that block approaches to the presidential palace, concrete harbingers of change are rising from the reddish Saharan dust. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have vast new embassy complexes under construction that will soon overshadow those of Libya and France, the two traditional rivals for influence in Niger.

    Further north in the Plateau neighborhood, the development aid complex is spreading out, much of it funded by the European Union.

    “What do all these foreigners want from our little red town?” a senior Niger government adviser asked.

    In the case of the E.U. the answer is clear. Three-quarters of all African migrants arriving by boat in Italy in recent years transited Niger. As one European ambassador said, “Niger is now the southern border of Europe.”

    Federica Mogherini, the closest the 28-member E.U. has to a foreign minister, chose Niger for her first trip to Africa in 2015. The visit was seen as a reward for the Niger government’s passage of Law 36 in May that year that effectively made it illegal for foreign nationals to travel north of Agadez.

    “We share an interest in managing migration in the best possible way, for both Europe and Africa,” Mogherini said at the time.

    Since then, she has referred to Niger as the “model” for how other transit countries should manage migration and the best performer of the five African nations who signed up to the E.U. Partnership Framework on Migration – the plan that made development aid conditional on cooperation in migration control. Niger is “an initial success story that we now want to replicate at regional level,” she said in a recent speech.

    Angela Merkel became the first German chancellor to visit the country in October 2016. Her trip followed a wave of arrests under Law 36 in the Agadez region. Merkel promised money and “opportunities” for those who had previously made their living out of migration.

    One of the main recipients of E.U. funding is the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which now occupies most of one street in Plateau. In a little over two years the IOM headcount has gone from 22 to more than 300 staff.

    Giuseppe Loprete, the head of mission, says the crackdown in northern Niger is about more than Europe closing the door on African migrants. The new law was needed as networks connecting drug smuggling and militant groups were threatening the country, and the conditions in which migrants were forced to travel were criminal.

    Loprete echoes Mogherini in saying that stopping “irregular migration” is about saving lives in the desert. The IOM has hired community officers to warn migrants of the dangers they face farther north.

    “Libya is hell and people who go there healthy lose their minds,” Loprete says.

    A side effect of the crackdown has been a sharp increase in business for IOM, whose main activity is a voluntary returns program. Some 7,000 African migrants were sent home from Niger last year, up from 1,400 in 2014. More than 2,000 returns in the first three months of 2018 suggest another record year.

    Loprete says European politicians must see that more legal routes are the only answer to containing irregular migration, but he concludes, “Europe is not asking for the moon, just for managed migration.”

    The person who does most of the asking is Raul Mateus Paula, the E.U.’s top diplomat in Niamey. This relatively unheralded country that connects West and North Africa is now the biggest per capita recipient of E.U. aid in the world. The European Development Fund awarded $731 million to Niger for the period 2014–20. A subsequent review boosted this by a further $108 million. Among the experiments this money bankrolls are the connection of remote border posts – where there was previously no electricity – to the internet under the German aid corporation, GIZ; a massive expansion of judges to hear smuggling and trafficking cases; and hundreds of flatbed trucks, off-road vehicles, motorcycles and satellite phones for Nigerien security forces.

    This relatively unheralded country that connects West and North Africa is now the biggest per capita recipient of E.U. aid in the world.

    Normally, when foreign aid is directed to countries with endemic corruption – Transparency International ranks Niger 112th out of 180 countries worldwide – it is channeled through nongovernmental organizations. Until 2014 the E.U. gave only one-third of its aid to Niger in direct budget support; in this cycle, 75 percent of its aid goes straight into government coffers. Paula calls the E.U. Niger’s “number one partner” and sees no divergence in their interests on security, development or migration.

    But not everyone agrees that European and Nigerien interests align. Julien Brachet, an expert on the Sahel and Sahara, argues that the desire to stop Europe-bound migration as far upstream as possible has made Niger, and particularly Agadez, the “perfect target” for E.U. migration policies. These policies, he argues, have taken decades-old informal migration routes and made them clandestine and more dangerous. A fellow at the French National Research Institute for Development, Brachet accuses the E.U. of “manufacturing smugglers” with the policies it has drafted to control them.

    Niger, which has the fastest-growing population in the world, is a fragile setting for grand policy experiments. Since independence from France in 1960 it has witnessed four coups, the last of which was in 2010. The regular overthrow of governments has seen political parties proliferate, while the same cast of politicians remains. The current president, Mahamadou Issoufou, has run in every presidential election since 1993. His latest vehicle, the Party for Democracy and Socialism, is one of more than 50 active parties. The group’s headquarters stands out from the landscape in Niamey thanks to giant streamers, in the party’s signature pink, draped over the building.

    The biggest office in the pink house belongs to Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s interior minister and its rising political star. When European diplomats mention who they deal with in the Nigerien government, his name is invariably heard.

    “We are in a moment with a lot of international attention,” Bazoum says. “We took measures to control migration and this has been appreciated especially by our European partners.”

    Since the crackdown, the number of migrants passing checkpoints between Niamey and Agadez has dropped from 350 per day, he claims, to 160 a week.

    “We took away many people’s livelihoods,” he says, “but we have to say that the economy was linked to banditry and connected to other criminal activities.”

    “Since independence, we never had a government that served so many foreign interests,”

    E.U. officials say privately that Bazoum has taken to issuing shopping lists, running to helicopters and vehicles, of goods he expects in return for continued cooperation.
    By contrast, the World Food Programme, which supports the roughly one in ten of Niger’s population who face borderline malnutrition, has received only 34 percent of the funding it needs for 2018.

    At least three E.U. states – France, Italy and Germany – have troops on the ground in Niger. Their roles range from military advisers to medics and trainers. French forces and drone bases are present as part of the overlapping Barkhane and G5 Sahel counterinsurgency operations which includes forces from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania. The U.S., meanwhile, has both troops and drone bases for its own regional fight against Islamic militants, the latest of which is being built outside Agadez at a cost of more than $100 million.

    “Since independence, we never had a government that served so many foreign interests,” says Hamadou Tcherno Boulama, a civil society activist. His organization, Alternative Espaces Citoyens, often has an armed police presence outside its gates these days to prevent people gathering. Four of Niger’s main civil society leaders were jailed in late March after 35,000 people took to the streets in Niamey in the biggest demonstrations Niger has seen in a decade. Much of the public anger is directed against this year’s budget, which hiked taxes on staples such as rice and sugar.

    Foreign aid accounts for 45 percent of Niger’s budget, so the austerity budget at a time of peak foreign interest has stoked local anger.

    Boulama calls Bazoum “the minister of repression” and says Issoufou has grown fond of foreign travel and spends so little time in Niger that his nickname is “Rimbo” – Niger’s best-known international bus company.

    “Issoufou uses international support related to migration and security issues to fortify his power,” Boulama says.

    The E.U. and the International Monetary Fund have praised the government for this year’s budget, saying it will ease dependence on donors. The most that European diplomats will concede is that the Nigerien government is “bloated” with 43 ministers, each with an expensive retinue.

    European leaders’ “focus on migration is 100 percent,” says Kirsi Henriksson, the outgoing head of EUCAP Sahel, one of those E.U. agencies that few Europeans have ever heard of. When it was conceived, its brief was to deliver a coordinated strategy to meet the jihadi threat in Mali, but its mandate changed recently to prioritize migration. Since then its international staff has trebled.

    Henriksson, whose term ended in April, compares the security and development push to a train where everything must move at the same speed: “If the carriages become too far apart the train will crash,” she says.

    As one of the few Europeans to have visited the border area between Libya and Niger, she is concerned that some European politicians have unrealistic expectations of what is achievable. The border post at Tummo is loosely controlled by ethnic Tubu militia from southern Libya and no Nigerien forces are present.

    “Ungoverned spaces” confuse some E.U. leaders, she says, who want to know how much it will cost to bring the border under control. These kinds of questions ignore both the conditions and scale of the Sahara. On the wall of Henriksson’s office is a large map of the region. It shows the emerald green of West Africa, veined with the blue of its great rivers, fading slowly to pale yellow as you look north. If you drew a line along the map where the Saharan yellow displaces all other colors, it would run right through Agadez. North of that line is a sea of sand nearly four times the size of the Mediterranean.

    The Development Delusion

    Bashir Amma’s retirement from the smuggling business made him an Agadez celebrity after he plowed his past earnings into a local soccer team, where he makes a show of recruiting migrant players. Bashir once ran a ghetto, the connection houses where migrants would wait until a suitable ride north could be found. These days a handful of relatives are the only occupants of a warren of rooms leading off a courtyard amid the adobe walls of the old town.

    He is the president of the only officially recognized association of ex-passeurs and has become the poster boy for the E.U.-funded effort to convert smugglers into legitimate business people. The scheme centers on giving away goods such as cheap motorcycles, refrigerators or livestock up to a value of $2,700 to an approved list of people who are judged to have quit the migration business.

    Bashir is accustomed to European questioners and holds court on a red, black and gold sofa in a parlor decorated with framed verses from the Quran, plastic flowers and a clutch of E.U. lanyards hanging from a fuse box. Flanked by the crutches he has used to get around since a botched injection as a child left him with atrophied legs, he says his conscience led him to give up smuggling. But the more he talks, the more his disenchantment with his conversion seeps out.

    Some of his colleagues have kept up their trade but are now plying different, more dangerous routes to avoid detection. “The law has turned the desert into a cemetery, for African passengers and for drivers as well,” Bashir says.

    You either have to be foolhardy or rich to keep working, Bashir says, because the cost of bribing the police has increased since Law 36 was implemented. As he talks, the two phones on the table in front of him vibrate constantly. His public profile means everyone is looking to him to help them get European money.

    “I’m the president but I don’t know what to tell them. Some are even accusing me of stealing the money for myself,” he says.

    His anxious monologue is interrupted by the appearance of man in a brilliant white suit and sandals at the doorway. Bashir introduces him as “one of the most important passeurs in Agadez.”

    The visitor dismisses the E.U. compensation scheme as “foolish” and “pocket money,” saying he earns more money in a weekend. The police are trying to stop the smugglers, he says, but they do not patrol more than 10 miles (15km) outside the city limits. When asked about army patrols north of Agadez, he replies, “the desert is a big place.”

    After he leaves, Bashir hints darkly at continuing corruption in the security forces, saying some smugglers are freer to operate than others. The old way was effectively taxed through an open system of payments at checkpoints; it is unrealistic to expect this to disappear because of a change in the law.

    “We know that the E.U. has given big money to the government of Niger, we’re seeing plenty of projects opening here,” he says. “But still, one year after the conversion program launched, we’re waiting to receive the money promised.”

    But his biggest frustration is reserved for the slow pace of compensation efforts. “We know that the E.U. has given big money to the government of Niger, we’re seeing plenty of projects opening here,” he says. “But still, one year after the conversion program launched, we’re waiting to receive the money promised.”

    Even the lucky few who make it onto the list for the Action Plan for Rapid Economic Impact in Agadez (PAIERA) are not getting what they really need, which is jobs, he says. The kits are goods to support a small business idea, not a promise of longer-term employment.

    “National authorities don’t give a damn about us,” he says. “We asked them to free our jailed colleagues, to give us back the seized vehicles, but nothing came.”

    There is a growing anti-E.U. sentiment in Agadez, Bashir warns, and the people are getting tired. “Almost every week planes land with leaders from Niamey or Europe. They come and they bring nothing,” he says.

    Agadez is not a stranger to rebellions. The scheme to convert smugglers is run by the same government department tasked with patching up the wreckage left by the Tuareg rebellion, the latest surge of northern resentment at perceived southern neglect that ended in 2009. The scheme sought to compensate ex-combatants and to reduce tensions amid the mass return of pro-Gadhafi fighters and migrant workers that followed from Libya, in 2011 and 2012. Many of them were ethnic Tubu and Tuareg who brought vehicles and desert know-how with them.

    The offices of the High Authority for the Consolidation of Peace in the capital have the air of a place where there has not been much to do lately. Two men doze on couches in the entrance hall. Inside, Jacques Herve is at his desk, the picture of a well-ironed French bureaucrat. He bristles at the accusation that the PAIERA program has failed.

    “The media has often been negative about the conversion program, but they have not always had the right information,” he says. Herve is one of the legion of French functionaries rumored to be seconded to every nook of Niger’s government, and is well-versed in the complaints common in Agadez.

    “During the preparatory phase, people did not see anything, so they were frustrated, but now they are starting to see concrete progress,” he says.

    Herve says 108 small business kits have been given out while another 186 were due to be handed over. When a small number of four-person projects are added in, the total number of people who have been helped is 371. The pilot for the conversion scheme that Bashir and others are waiting on is worth just $800,000.

    If the program was rolled out to all 5,118 ex-smugglers on the long list, it would cost $13 million in funding over the next three years, according to a letter sent to the E.U. Delegation in Niamey. There are other E.U.-funded cash-for-jobs schemes worth another $7 million in Agadez, but these are not related to the former passeur.

    This leaves an apparent mismatch in funding between security, in effect enforcement, and development spending, or compensation. The E.U. Trust Fund for Africa, which European leaders have earmarked to address the “root causes” of migration, has allocated $272 million in Niger.

    Money, Herve acknowledges, is not the problem. He says the principle has been to “do no harm” and avoid channeling funds to organized smuggling kingpins. He also says the task of compiling a roll call of all the workers in an informal economy in a region larger than France had been enormous. “The final list may not be perfect but at least it exists,” he says.

    Herve’s struggles are part of the E.U.’s wider problem. The bloc has pushed for the mainstay of northern Niger’s economy to be criminalized but it remains wary of compensating the individuals and groups it has helped to brand as criminals. There is no precedent for demolishing an informal economy in one of the world’s poorest countries and replacing it with a formal model. Some 60 percent of Niger’s GDP comes from the informal sector, according to the World Bank.

    As a senior government adviser put it, “When you slap a child you cannot ask it not to cry.”

    According to an E.U. official who followed the program, “the law was imposed in a brutal way, without any prior consultation, in a process where the government of Niger was heavily pressured by the E.U., France and Germany, with a minimal consideration of the fact Nigerien security forces are involved in this traffic.”

    “exodants” – a French word used locally to denote economic migrants who fled poverty and conflict in northern Niger to work in Libya or Algeria.

    The group listens as Awal presents the latest draft of an eight-page plan featuring carpentry, restoration, tailoring and sheep-farming ideas. Making it a reality would cost $160,000, they estimate.

    “Some of us have been jailed, some vehicles are lying uselessly under the sun in the military base, but the reality is that we don’t know any other job than this.”

    All those present listen and pledge to respect the new law but they are not happy. The oldest man in the group, a Tuareg with a calm and deep voice, speaks up, “Some of us have been jailed, some vehicles are lying uselessly under the sun in the military base, but the reality is that we don’t know any other job than this,” he says.

    Then his tone turns bitter, “I feel like we have been rejected and the option to move to Libya, like we did in the past, is not there anymore.” Before he can finish, one of the frequent Agadez power cuts strikes, leaving everyone sitting in darkness.

    Unintended Consequences

    Alessandra Morelli uses the fingers of her right hand to list the emergencies engulfing Niger. The country representative of the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) starts with her little finger to represent the 240,000 people displaced by the Boko Haram crisis in Niger’s southeast. Next is the Malian refugee crisis in the regions of Tillabery and Tahoua, a strip of land that stretches northeast of the capital, along the border with Mali, where 65,000 people have fled conflict into Niger. Her middle finger is the situation along the border with Algeria where migrants from all over West Africa are being pushed back or deported, often violently, into Niger. Her index finger stands for the thousands of refugees and migrants who have retreated back into Niger across the border from Libya. And her thumb represents the refugees the U.N. has evacuated from Libya’s capital Tripoli under a tenuous plan to process them in Niger ahead of resettlement to Europe.

    “I can no more tell you which is more important than I can choose a finger I don’t need,” says Morelli, the survivor of a roadside bombing in Somalia.

    Her depiction of a country beset by emergencies is at odds with the E.U. officials who talk of security and development benefits for Niger from its burgeoning international partnerships. UNHCR opened its office in Niger in 2012 and had been attempting to identify refugees and asylum cases among the much larger northward flow of economic migrants. The agency already has tens of thousands of refugees scattered across camps in the region, where many have already been in the queue for resettlement to the rich world for more than 15 years.

    Her depiction of a country beset by emergencies is at odds with the E.U. officials who talk of security and development benefits for Niger from its burgeoning international partnerships.

    A delicate negotiation with the government of Niger – which is aware that European money and plaudits flow from stopping migrants, not identifying more refugees – led to a fledgling project in Agadez, which in partnership with IOM was meant to identify a small number of test cases.

    But the concentration of international resources in Agadez can also have unintended side effects and the UNHCR guest houses were overwhelmed soon after they opened their doors.
    In December a trickle of young Sudanese men started to appear at the IOM transit center. When they made it clear they did not want passage home to Darfur, they were moved into the guest houses as soon as these opened in January. Hundreds more Sudanese quickly followed, the majority of them from Darfur but some from as far away as South Sudan. Most of them had spent half a lifetime in camps in Sudan or Chad and brought with them stories of hardship, abuse and torture in Libya, where they said they had either worked or been seeking passage to Europe.

    By February the first of the men’s families started to arrive, some from Libya and others from camps in neighboring Chad or from Darfur itself. By the time the number of Sudanese passed 500, UNHCR and its partner – an Italian NGO, COOPI – saw their funds exhausted. The influx continued.

    By early March more than 1,500 Sudanese had gathered in Agadez, many camped in front of the government’s office for refugees. The government of Niger wanted to expel them, said an E.U. security adviser. They were suspicious of possible links with Darfuri rebel groups who have been active in southern Libya. “They gave them a 10-day deadline to leave then revoked it only after a delicate negotiation,” the security adviser said.

    Rumors that the Sudanese were demobilized fighters from the Justice and Equality Movement and Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi spread in Agadez. In the comment section of local media outlet Air Info, anger has been rising. “Agadez is not a dumping ground,” wrote one person, while another said, “we’re tired of being Europe’s dustbin.”

    Still only 21 years old, Yacob Ali is also tired. He has been on the run since he was 8 years old, first escaping the bombs of Sudanese government forces in al-Fasher, northern Darfur. He remembers battling for a tent in Zam Zam, one of the world’s biggest camps for displaced people. The eldest of six children, he left for Libya at 20, hoping to find a job. After being abused and exploited on a farm outside Murzuq, an oasis town in southern Libya, he decided “to cross the sea.”

    Agadez is not a dumping ground,” wrote one person, while another said, “we’re tired of being Europe’s dustbin.

    Once again there was no escape and “after hours on a dinghy,” Ali says, “a Libyan vessel with plainclothes armed men forced us back.”

    For the next five months he was trapped in a warehouse in Tripoli, where he and hundreds of others were sold into forced labor. Eventually he managed to free himself and was told that Agadez “was a safe place.”

    Any hopes Ali or other Sudanese may have harbored that Agadez with its presence of international agencies might offer a swifter and safer route to resettlement are vanishing.
    “For refugees who are stuck in Libya, coming to Niger is the only way to safety and protection,” Morelli says, “but it’s difficult to offer them a real solution.”

    Fears that the Sudanese may be deported en masse intensified in early May, when 132 of them were arrested and removed from the city by Nigerien authorities. They were transported to Madama, a remote military outpost in the northern desert, before being forcibly pushed over the border into Libya.

    The accusation that Niger has become a dumping ground for unwanted Africans has become harder for the government to dismiss over the past six months as its neighbor Algeria has stepped up a campaign of pushbacks and deportations along the desert border. Arbitrary arrests and deportations of West Africans working without documents have long been a feature of Algeria’s economy, but the scale of current operations has surprised observers.

    Omar Sanou’s time in Algeria ended abruptly. The Gambian, who worked in construction as a day laborer, was stopped on the street one evening by police. When he asked for the chance to go to his digs and collect his things he was told by officers he was just going to a registration center and would be released later. Another policeman told him he was African, so had “no right to make money out of Algeria.”

    That is when he knew for sure he would be deported.

    Without ever seeing a court or a lawyer, Sanou found himself with dozens of other migrants on a police bus driving east from the Algerian city of Tamanrasset. The men had been stripped of their belongings, food and water.

    The bus stopped in a place in the desert with no signs and they were told the nearest shelter was 15 miles (25km) away. Although several of the men in his group died on the ensuing march, Sanou was lucky. Other groups have been left more than 30 miles from the border. Some men talk of drinking their own urine to survive, and reports of beatings and gunshot wounds are common. As many as 600 migrants have arrived in a single day at Assamaka border post, the only outpost of the Nigerien state in the vast Tamesna desert, where IOM recently opened an office. Survivors such as Sanou have found themselves at the IOM transit center in Agadez where there is food, shelter, healthcare and psychological support for those willing to abandon the road north and go home.

    After nearly five years, Sanou now faces returning home to Gambia empty-handed. The money he earned during the early years of his odyssey was given to his little brother more than a year ago to pay his way north from Agadez. Now 35 and looking older than his age, he admits to feeling humiliated but refuses to despair. “A man’s downfall is not his end,” he says.

    After nearly five years, Sanou faces returning home to Gambia empty-handed. Now 35 and looking older than his age, he admits to feeling humiliated but refuses to despair. “A man’s downfall is not his end.”

    Algeria’s brutal campaign has hardly drawn comment from the E.U., and a Nigerien diplomat said U.S. and European anti-migrant rhetoric is being parroted by Algerian officials. At a recent gathering of Algerian military commanders, discussions centered on the need to “build a wall.”

    The perception among senior figures in the Niger government that they have allowed themselves to become a soft touch for unwanted refugees and migrants has created acute tension elsewhere.

    In March a small-scale effort to evacuate the most vulnerable refugees from Tripoli to Niamey before processing them for resettlement in Europe was suspended. The deal with UNHCR hinged on departures for Europe matching arrivals from Libya. When only 25 refugees were taken in by France, the government of Niger pulled the plug. It has been partially reactivated but refugee arrivals at 913 far outweigh departures for the E.U. at 107. Some reluctant E.U. governments have sent asylum teams to Niamey that are larger in number than the refugees they are prepared to resettle. Meanwhile, people who have suffered horrifically in Libya are left in limbo. They include a Somali mother now in Niamey whose legs are covered in the cigarette burns she withstood daily in Libya at the hands of torturers who said they would start on her two-year-old daughter if she could not take the pain.

    The knock-on effects of the experiments in closing Niger as a migration corridor are not felt only by foreigners. Next to the rubbish dump in Agadez, a few hundred yards from the airstrip, is a no-man’s land where the city’s landless poor are allowed to pitch lean-to shelters. This is where Fatima al-Husseini, a gaunt 60-year-old, lives with her toddler granddaughter Malika. Her son Soumana Abdullahi was a fledgling passeur who took the job after failing to find any other work.

    What had always been a risky job has become potentially more deadly as police and army patrols have forced smugglers off the old roads where there are wells and into the deep desert. Abdullahi’s friends and fellow drivers cannot be sure what happened to him but his car got separated from a three-vehicle convoy on a night drive and appears to have broken down. It took them hours to find the vehicle and its human cargo but Abdullahi had struck out for help into the desert and disappeared.

    His newly widowed wife had to return to her family and could support only two of their three children, so Malika came to live with al-Husseini. Tears look incongruous on her tough and weatherworn face but she cries as she remembers that the family had been close to buying a small house before her son died.


    All that remains of Mamadou Makka is his phone. The only traces on the scratched handset of the optimistic and determined young Guinean are a few songs he liked and some contacts. It is Ousman Ba’s most treasured possession. “I have been hungry and refused to sell it,” he says, sitting on the mud floor of a smuggler’s ghetto outside Agadez.

    Makka and Ba became friends on the road north to the Sahara; they had never met in Conakry, the capital of their native Guinea. The younger man told Ba about his repeated attempts to get a visa to study in France. Makka raised and lost thousands of dollars through intermediaries in various scams before being forced to accept that getting to Europe legally was a dead end. Only then did he set out overland.

    “It was not his fate to study at a university in France, it was his fate to die in the desert,” says Ba, who was with him when, on the last day of 2017, he died, aged 22.

    “It was not his fate to study at a university in France, it was his fate to die in the desert”

    The pair were among some 80 migrants on the back of a trio of vehicles roughly two days’ drive north of Agadez. The drivers became convinced they had been spotted by an army patrol and everything began to go wrong. Since the 2016 crackdown the routes have changed and distances doubled, according to active smugglers. Drivers have also begun to take amounts of up to $5,000 to pay off security patrols, but whether this works depends on who intercepts them. Some drivers have lost their vehicles and cash and been arrested. News that drivers are carrying cash has drawn bandits, some from as far afield as Chad. Faced with this gauntlet, some drivers unload their passengers and try to outrun the military.

    In Makka and Ba’s case, they were told to climb down. With very little food or water, the group did not even know in which direction to walk. “In that desert, there are no trees. No houses, no water … just mountains of sand,” Ba says.

    It took four days before an army patrol found them. In that time, six of the group died. There was no way to bury Makka, so he was covered with sand. Ba speaks with shame about the selfishness that comes with entering survival mode. “Not even your mother would give you her food and water,” he says.

    When they were finally picked up by the Nigerien army, one of the officers demanded to know of Ba why he had put himself in such an appalling situation and said he could not understand why he hadn’t gotten a visa.

    Half dead from heat stroke and dehydration, Ba answered him, “It is your fault that this happened. Because if you weren’t here, the driver would never abandon us.”

    Four months on and Ba has refused the offer from IOM of an E.U.-funded plane ticket home. He is back in the ghetto playing checkers on a homemade board and waiting to try again. He used Makka’s phone to speak to the young man’s father in Conakry, who begged him to turn back. Ba told him, “Your son had a goal and I am still following that goal. Either I will reach it or I will die. God will decide.”


    #laboratoire #migrations #asile #réfugiés #externalisation #frontières #Agadez #modèle #modèle_nigérien #loi_36 #loi #IOM #OIM #Giuseppe_Loprete #risques #retours_volontaires #Raul_Mateus_Paula #European_development_fund #fond_européen_pour_le_développement #Allemagne #GTZ #Mohamed_Bazoum #France #Italie #G5_Sahel #Action_Plan_for_Rapid_Economic_Impact_in_Agadez (#PAIERA)

  • EU mulls more police powers for west Africa missions

    The EU wants to further prop up anti-terror efforts at its overseas civilian missions in places like #Niger.

    Although such missions already seek to counter terrorism, the latest proposal (framed as a “mini-concept” by the EU’s foreign policy branch, the #European_External_Action_Service, #EEAS), entails giving them so-called “semi-executive functions.”

    Such functions includes direct support to the authorities by helping them carry out investigations, as well as aiding dedicated units to prosecute and detain suspected terrorist offenders.

    The concept paper, drafted over the summer, points towards a European Union that is willing to work hand-in-glove with corrupt and rights-abusing governments when it comes to issues dealing security and migration.

    This includes getting EU missions to seal cooperation deals between EU member state intelligence and security services with the host governments.

    And although the paper highlights the importances of human rights and gender equality, the terms are couched in policy language that clearly aims to boost policing in the countries.

    From helping them develop systems to collect biometric data to preserving and sharing “evidence derived from the battlefield”, the 14-page paper specifically cites the EU missions in Niger, Mali, Somalia, Libya, Iraq and Kosovo as prime examples.

    In Niger, the EU recently handed its mission a €72m budget and extended its mandate until September 2024.

    That budget includes training staff to drive armoured vehicles and piloting drones.

    Another EU internal document on Niger, also from over the summer, describes its mission there as “the main actor in the coordination of international support to Niger in the field of security.”

    It says Niger’s capacity to fight terrorism, organised crime and irregular migration has improved as a direct result of the mission’s intervention.

    The country was given €380m in EU funding spread over 2014 to 2020.

    In Mali, the EU mission there already supports the country’s dedicated units to intervene and investigate terror-related cases.

    But it had also temporarily suspended in April the operational training of formed units of the Malian armed forces and National Guard.
    Clash with Wagner in Mali

    The suspension followed reports that EU security trained forces in Mali were being co-opted by the Kremlin-linked Russian mercenary group Wagner, which was also operating in the Central African Republic.

    Mali has since withdrawn from the G5 Sahel, an anti-jihad grouping of countries in the region currently composed of Niger, Burkina, Mauritania, and Chad.

    And an internal EU paper from May posed the question of whether Malian authorities even want to cooperate with the EU mission.

    The EU’s mission there was also recently extended until 2024 with a €133.7m purse.

    The EU’s mini-concept paper on fighting terrorism, follows another idea on using specialised teams at the missions to also tackle migration.

    Part of those plans also aims to give the missions “semi-executive functions”, enabling them to provide direct support to police and carry out joint investigations on migration related issues.


    #sécurité #migrations #asile #réfugiés #EU #UE #Union_européenne #externalisation #anti-terrorisme (toujours la même rhétorique) #Mali #mini-concept #semi-executive_functions #services_secrets #coopération #biométrie #données #collecte_de_données #Somalie #Libye #Kosovo #Irak #drones #complexe_militaro-industriel #G5_Sahel #budget #coût #police #collaboration

    ping @rhoumour @isskein @_kg_

  • L’aide française au développement arme des militaires accusés d’exactions au Sahel

    Expertise France, un établissement public lié à l’Agence française de développement (AFD), fournit des armes à des militaires sahéliens impliqués dans des exécutions sommaires et des viols. Lire l’article

  • Les faux comptes #Twitter pro-Barkhane - Par Maurice Midena | Arrêt sur images

    En janvier 2020, les dirigeants du #G5 Sahel et de la #France se sont réunis lors du sommet de Pau pour redéfinir le cadre de leur coopération dans la lutte contre l’État islamique dans le Sahara. Alors que la présence militaire française était vivement critiquée au Sahel par les populations locales, une cellule de cyber-activistes a œuvré sur Twitter pour améliorer l’image de Barkhane en ligne, en marge du sommet palois. S’y mêlent des « vrais » comptes et des alias montés de toute pièce. Ainsi que des articles signés par de prétendus journalistes dans des médias africains. Selon les informations d’ASI, une agence de communication parisienne, Concerto, influente en Afrique, est derrière cette opération. L’état-major de l’armée française nie « tout lien contractuel » avec Concerto. Concerto dément avoir coordonné les faux comptes et affirme qu’ASI est l’objet d’une manipulation.


    ASI a pu consulter des documents qui nous ont permis d’identifier une de ces « #usines_à_trolls » constituées en faveur de l’action française dans le Sahel. Une cellule de #cyber-activistes a ainsi été formée en Côte d’Ivoire, et a été coordonnée par une agence de communication parisienne, #Concerto. Cette cellule a œuvré de décembre 2019 à janvier 2020 en marge du sommet de Pau, qui réunissait la France et les dirigeants du #G5_Sahel (Mauritanie, Mali, Burkina Faso, Tchad et Niger) en janvier 2020, afin de « redéfinir » l’action conjointe des armées française et locales dans le cadre de l’opération Barkhane. Cette opération d’e-activisme, intitulée « opération Terre-Sainte » par Concerto, avait pour but de mener une campagne anti fake news sur Twitter et Facebook, en faveur des #opérations militaires françaises dans le Sahel.


    Outre les manifestations à Bamako, des étudiants nigériens ont déchiré un drapeau français en décembre 2019. Cette animosité n’est pas seulement le fait des citoyens lambda : elle circule également dans le plus hautes sphères. En juin 2019, le ministre de la Défense du #Burkina Faso, Chériff Sy, se déclarait « étonné » que la France n’ait pas réussi à « éradiquer cette bande de terroristes » et se demandait si elle n’avait pas « d’autres priorités », comme le racontait Jeune Afrique dans une longue enquête sur le sentiment anti-français dans le #Sahel.


  • #Fonds_fiduciaire de l’UE pour l’Afrique : 115,5 millions d’euros pour renforcer la #sécurité, la protection des migrants et la création d’#emplois dans la région du #Sahel

    La Commission européenne a adopté cinq nouveaux programmes et trois compléments pour des programmes actuels, pour un montant de 115,5 millions d’euros au titre du fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique, afin de compléter les efforts actuellement déployés dans la région du Sahel et du lac Tchad.

    Neven Mimica, commissaire chargé de la coopération internationale et du développement, a tenu les propos suivants : « Nous avons assisté au cours de ces dernières semaines à une recrudescence de la violence et des attentats terroristes dans la région du Sahel et du lac Tchad. Les nouveaux programmes et les compléments à des programmes existants de l’UE, pour un montant de 115,5 millions d’euros, viendront renforcer davantage nos actions sur les fronts du développement et de la sécurité. Ils contribueront également à renforcer la présence de l’État dans des régions fragiles, à créer des emplois pour les jeunes et à protéger les migrants dans le besoin. Afin de poursuivre, dans un futur proche, le bon travail réalisé dans le cadre du fonds fiduciaire, il convient de reconstituer ses ressources qui s’épuisent rapidement. »

    Dans un contexte de précarité croissante de la sécurité au Sahel, l’UE s’engage à poursuivre sa coopération aux niveaux régional et national. Elle soutiendra les efforts déployés par les pays du #G5_Sahel (#Burkina_Faso, #Tchad, #Mali, #Mauritanie et #Niger) afin d’apporter une réponse commune aux grandes menaces transfrontières et aux principaux besoins régionaux en matière de #développement. Une enveloppe supplémentaire de 10 millions d’euros viendra renforcer les capacités de défense et de sécurité des pays du G5 Sahel, tandis qu’un montant de 2 millions d’euros sera alloué au soutien de la coordination de l’#Alliance_Sahel. Au Burkina Faso, une enveloppe supplémentaire de 30 millions d’euros sera allouée au programme d’urgence Sahel en place, afin de renforcer l’accès aux services sociaux de base et encourager le dialogue entre communautés.

    D’autres mesures renforceront les efforts de protection des migrants, de lutte contre la traite des êtres humains et d’amélioration de la gestion des migrations. Une enveloppe supplémentaire de 30 millions d’euros sera allouée à la protection des migrants et des réfugiés le long de la route de la Méditerranée centrale et à la recherche de solutions durables dans la région du Sahel et du lac Tchad. Elle permettra d’accroître encore le nombre de migrants bénéficiant de mesures de protection et de retour volontaire tout en veillant à leur réintégration durable et dans la dignité. Au Niger, l’équipe conjointe d’investigation a démantelé 33 réseaux criminels et 210 trafiquants ont été condamnés au cours de ces deux dernières années. Elle bénéficiera d’une enveloppe supplémentaire de 5,5 millions d’euros afin de capitaliser sur ce succès. Au #Ghana, un montant de 5 millions d’euros consacré au renforcement des capacités et aux équipements permettra de renforcer la gestion des frontières du pays.

    Deux mesures visent spécifiquement à créer des débouchés économiques et des possibilités de développement. Au Ghana, des nouvelles activités, pour un montant de 20 millions d’euros, permettront d’améliorer les perspectives d’emploi et d’encourager la transition vers des économies vertes et résilientes face au changement climatique. Au Mali, une enveloppe supplémentaire de 13 millions d’euros s’inscrira au soutien de la création d’emplois et de la fourniture de services publics par l’État dans des régions à la sécurité précaire autour de #Gao et de #Tombouctou.

    Historique du dossier

    Le fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique a été créé en 2015 en vue de remédier aux causes profondes de l’instabilité, des migrations irrégulières et des déplacements forcés. Actuellement, les ressources allouées à ce fonds fiduciaire s’élèvent à 4,2 milliards d’euros, qui proviennent des institutions de l’UE, des États membres de l’UE et d’autres contributeurs.

    L’aide annoncée aujourd’hui s’ajoute aux 188 programmes déjà adoptés pour les trois régions (nord de l’Afrique, Sahel et lac Tchad, et Corne de l’Afrique). L’ensemble de ces programmes représente un montant total de 3,6 milliards d’euros. Ces fonds étaient répartis comme suit : Sahel et lac Tchad 1,7 milliard d’euros (92 programmes) ; Corne de l’Afrique 1,3 milliard d’euros (70 programmes) ; nord de l’Afrique 582 millions d’euros (21 programmes). Ce montant inclut cinq programmes transrégionaux.

    #Sahel #Fonds_fiduciaire_pour_l'Afrique #externalisation #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    • Fondos de cooperación al desarrollo para levantar un muro invisible a 2.000 kilómetros de Europa

      Abdelaziz se escabulle entre la gente justo al bajarse del autobús, con una alforja en mano y rostro de alivio y cansancio. Tiene 21 años y es de Guinea Conakry. Acaba de llegar al centro de tránsito de la Organización Internacional de Migraciones (OIM) en Agadez (Níger), desde Argelia. La policía argelina le detuvo mientras trabajaba en una cantera en Argel. Se lo requisó todo y lo metió en un autobús de vuelta. Lo mismo le sucedió a Ousmane, de Guinea Bissau. “Fui al hospital para que me quitaran una muela y allí me cogieron. Hablé hasta no poder más, pero me dijeron que no tenía derechos porque no tenía papeles. Me lo quitaron todo y me enviaron al desierto”.

      Les abandonaron en pleno Sáhara, después de maltratarles y humillarles. “La policía nos trató como animales, nos pegó con bastones”, afirma Mamadou. Todos tuvieron que andar 14 kilómetros para llegar a Níger, uno de los países más pobres del planeta, convertido en frontera de la UE. El “basurero donde se tira todo lo que la UE rechaza”, en palabras del periodista nigerino, Ibrahim Manzo Diallo.

      La arena y el calor sofocante marcan el día a día en este lugar, principal cruce migratorio de África. Los migrantes expulsados de Argelia, más de 35.000 desde 2014 y solo 11.000 en 2018, coinciden aquí, en las instalaciones de la OIM, con repatriados de Libia. La mayoría pasó por ambos países, no siempre con la voluntad de llegar a Europa –según la ONU, el 70% de las migraciones de África Subsahariana se dan en el interior del continente–. “Podría estar aquí dos semanas explicándote todo lo que he vivido en Libia y no acabaría. Vendían a personas como ovejas”, relata Ibrahim, de Senegal. “Estuve en Libia dos años y luego trabajé en Argel durante tres más. Un día, la policía llegó, me atrapó y me expulsó. Hemos sufrido mucho”, narra Ousmane.

      En las infraestructuras de la agencia vinculada a la ONU juegan al fútbol, reciben atención médica y psicológica y esperan su turno, a menudo lento, para su repatriación. “La capacidad del centro es de entre 400 y 500 plazas, pero a veces hemos tenido que gestionar hasta 1.800 personas por el retraso en la obtención de documentos”, describe el director de la instalación, Lincoln Gaingar. Con fondos europeos, la OIM recoge a los migrantes en el lado nigerino de la frontera con Argelia y organiza caravanas de vuelta a sus países de origen. A este programa lo llama “retorno voluntario”. Buena parte de la sociedad civil y expertos lo califica como regresos “claramente forzados”. “No se deciden de forma libre, sino condicionados por una expulsión previa”, explica el sociólogo burkinés Idrissa Zidnaba. “Argelia hace el trabajo sucio de Europa, que luego se cobra en sus negociaciones con la UE”, afirma Mahamadou Goita, activista maliense pro derechos humanos.

      El aumento de las deportaciones es una de las estrategias de la UE para construir su particular valla en medio del desierto. Otras pasan por el refuerzo del control de fronteras, las trabas a los defensores de los migrantes o la utilización de fondos de ayuda al desarrollo condicionados a frenar a quienes intentar alcanzar las costas europeas. Todo un dispositivo de contención desplegado en Níger, que ejerce de muro invisible de Europa.

      Un pequeño hangar de tela intenta protegerles del sol ardiente a media mañana. Algunos han salido, pero otros, la mayoría, pasa el día en el gheto –albergue clandestino, propiedad de traficantes– sin saber muy bien qué hacer ni cómo seguir. “Estamos bloqueados, pero no queremos volver atrás, nuestro objetivo es Europa”, explica Hassan, de Guinea Conakry. “La vida en África no merece la pena, queremos ir a Europa para ganar dinero y regresar”, afirma Mahamadou, de Gambia.

      En una habitación adyacente, el pequeño Melvin duerme plácidamente. Su madre ha salido a buscar trabajo con el fin de reunir la cantidad necesaria para pagar un pasaje hacia el norte. “Los precios dependen del traficante, pero están entre 800.000 y un millón de FCFA –unos 1.500 euros–”, según Daouda. La ruta está cada vez más difícil por los obstáculos que la UE y el Gobierno de Níger imponen a la travesía.

      El principal escollo llegó en 2015 en forma de ley, la 036, muy conocida en el país, que establece como delito el tráfico ilegal de personas para desmantelar redes en Agadez. Se confiscaron 200 vehículos, se detuvo a decenas de transportistas y se asestó un duro golpe a la economía regional, históricamente dedicada al contrabando –desde tejidos, oro y sal en la Edad Media hasta armas, drogas y personas, en la actualidad–.

      “Hemos practicado una represión enorme, lo admito. En Agadez, la población rechaza la ley y pide su modificación, pero somos inflexibles y no la cambiaremos. Agadez dice que su economía se fundamenta en el tráfico ilícito de migrantes, pero yo me pregunto. ¿A pesar de que la droga sustente a centenares de familias se tiene que autorizar? La respuesta es no”, afirma la directora de la agencia contra la trata de personas de Níger, Gogé Maimouna Gazibo.

      Las autoridades locales, por su parte, denuncian falta de previsión y de entendimiento, así como que se priorice la visión securitaria por delante del desarrollo en una de las regiones más necesitadas del planeta. “El bloqueo brusco del comercio sin atender las necesidades de nuestra población ha comportado el despliegue de vías alternativas que mantienen el tráfico de manera más informal, mucho más peligrosa y extremadamente cara”, asegura el vicealcalde de Agadez, Ahmed Koussa.

      Algunos han dejado de formar parte del negocio con el programa de reconversión de traficantes lanzado por la UE. “Me dieron tres motos y ahora trabajo como taxi-moto. Ahora no me pongo en riesgo, pero nos dan muy poco. Nosotros estamos habituados a ganar mucho dinero”, explica Laouli, extraficante, durante una reunión de la asociación que han creado para canalizar las ayudas europeas. Los retrasos y la insuficiencia son sus quejas recurrentes. “Nos prometieron un millón de FCFA para poner en marcha una actividad empresarial y abandonar el tráfico con el que ganábamos dos o tres millones de FCFA por semana –unos 3.000 euros–. Pero hasta ahora, no hemos recibido nada”, asegura Ahmed, exconductor de la ruta hacia Libia.

      El Estado reconoce que, de las más de 5.000 personas que debían recibir fondos, solo se ha apoyado a 370. “Aunque las medidas son escasas, nuestra voluntad es que el Estado esté presente, que estas personas vean que no les dejamos, porque el riesgo en el norte es que se incendie [que grupos rebeldes de la zona vuelvan a coger las armas]”, asegura el director de estabilización de la Alta Autoridad para la Consolidación a la Paz de Níger, Hamidou Boubacar.
      Los flujos a través de Níger se han reducido un 90%, según la OIM

      Tanto la UE como la OIM afirman que los flujos a través de Níger se han reducido notablemente, en un 90%, pasando de 330.000 personas en 2016 a 18.000 en 2017 y a menos de 10.000 en 2018. El tráfico continúa, pero de forma menos visible. Los vehículos siguen agolpándose al comienzo de la semana a las afueras de Agadez para iniciar su viaje, en “el convoy de los lunes”, pero hay menos coches y más militares en el puesto de control. Los viajeros se apean antes de la barrera, cruzan a pie y vuelven a subir al vehículo, corriendo. Unos palos en la parte trasera de la pick-up sobresalen. Son su apoyo para evitar caídas durante el trayecto, a gran velocidad para evitar ser vistos.

      Cada coche acoge a unas 25 personas hacinadas. El desierto aguarda y la muerte acecha. “Dicen que ahora ya no hay migrantes en Agadez, pero sí los hay, aunque más escondidos”, reconoce Bachir, que mantiene su actividad ligada a la migración. “Antes la gente iba en convoy por la vía principal y no podías estar un día sin ver a alguien. Ahora, en cambio, si tienes una avería por las rutas secundarias, por las dunas profundas, nadie te ve, no hay puntos de agua y puede resultar fatal”, asegura Djibril, que dejó el tráfico como consecuencia de la ley. “Desde su implementación todo se hace de forma encubierta y clandestina. Han llevado a la gente a la ilegalidad y eso aumenta la vulnerabilidad de los migrantes, que pasan por caminos más complicados”, confirma el responsable de Médicos Sin Fronteras en Níger, Francisco Otero.

      Las organizaciones humanitarias procuran identificar los nuevos itinerarios, aunque resulta difícil porque se bifurcan por la inmensidad del Sáhara, hacia Chad y sobre todo hacia Malí. El país vecino, sumido en una crisis securitaria y sin presencia del Estado en la mitad de su territorio, es un espacio de proliferación de grupos armados. El cerco en Agadez desvía las rutas hacia esta ’tierra de nadie’, a través de la ciudad de Gao.
      “Traslada el problema a otro país, sin resolverlo”

      “Si se cierra una vía, otras se abren”, admite el consejero técnico del Ministerio de Malienses en el Exterior, Boulaye Keita. La Casa del Migrante de Gao ha registrado un incremento notable del movimiento por la ciudad, de 7.000 personas en 2017 a 100.000 en 2018. Para Sadio Soukouna, investigadora del Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) en Bamako, esto demuestra que la mano dura contra la migración en Níger “traslada el problema a otro país, sin resolverlo”.

      En la misma línea, Hamani Oumarou, sociólogo del LASDEL, el centro de estudios sociales más importante de Níger, afirma: “Cuanto más cerramos las fronteras, más vulnerables hacemos a los migrantes, porque rodean los puestos de control y toman rutas menos seguras y mejor controladas por los traficantes. Este es el gran riesgo de los dispositivos de control”.

      Los migrantes se enfrentan a la presencia de grupos terroristas en la zona. “Interceptan sus vehículos y les dicen que pueden ganar algo de dinero si les siguen y algunos lo hacen. Otros, en cambio, son secuestrados en contra de su voluntad y su familia debe pagar el rescate. El año pasado liberamos a 14 personas”, revela el responsable de la Casa del Migrante de Gao, Eric Alain Kamdem. “Hay familias que una vez en la frontera se dividen para que al menos uno de los dos sobreviva”, asegura el activista Mahamadou Goita.

      Las autoridades vinculan en ocasiones el terrorismo con la migración para justificar el refuerzo de fronteras con controles biométricos. “Ayudamos a las autoridades a securizar sus fronteras e instalamos programas muy sofisticados para el registro de la gente que entra y sale. Estamos muy contentos de tener una cooperación tan estrecha en este ámbito”, afirma el jefe de la misión de la OIM en Níger, Martin Wyss. Reconoce la voluntad europea de empujar las fronteras hacia Níger y trabajar por “una migración regular, segura y ordenada”, en la línea del Pacto Mundial de migraciones.

      Níger es uno de los beneficiarios de la ayuda europea al desarrollo, no solo por su vulnerabilidad sino también por sus esfuerzos en el control fronterizo. Hasta 2020, prevé recibir más de 1.800 millones de euros procedentes del Fondo Fiduciario de Emergencia para África (EUTF), un mecanismo que emplea recursos destinados a la cooperación al desarrollo para frenar la llegada de migrantes a Europa.

      La mayoría de este fondo –que cuenta con 4.200 millones– proviene del principal instrumento de cooperación de la UE, el Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo. Sin embargo, casi la mitad de este dinero no se está dedicando a erradicar la pobreza: cerca del 40% de su presupuesto está siendo desviado directamente para control migratorio en terceros países, según han constatado las ONG europeas en 2018, tres años después de su creación.

      El fondo fiduciario fue ideado en la Cumbre de La Valeta de 2015 para “atacar las causas profundas de las migraciones”. Desde entonces, la UE apuesta por la formación militar de ejércitos africanos –a través de misiones como EUCAP Sahel– para desmantelar redes de tráfico y promueve proyectos de desarrollo local para intentar evitar desplazamientos.

      En Níger, el fondo dedica 253 millones de euros. Entre ellos, la UE destina 90 millones al proyecto de apoyo a la justicia y la seguridad en el país, que proporciona ayuda directa a las autoridades nigerinas. Parte de este dinero ha dependido de una serie de condiciones, como elaborar una estrategia nacional contra la migración irregular, adquirir equipos de seguridad para mejorar los controles fronterizos, rehabilitar o construir puestos fronterizos en zonas estratégicas, crear unidades especiales de policía de fronteras o levantar centros de migrantes, según ha documentado la red de ONG europeas Concord. El programa incluye establecer un equipo conjunto de investigación compuesto por agentes de policía franceses, españoles y nigerinos para apoyar a las autoridades del país, de acuerdo con su investigación.

      Los riesgos que acarrea esta política de reforzar los servicios de seguridad e imponer controles fronterizos más estrictos en Níger son varios, según las ONG, desde impulsar “prácticas corruptas” por parte de policías hasta la detención “sin pruebas suficientes” de presuntos traficantes de personas.

      La Unión Europea niega el concepto de “externalización de fronteras”, pero admite un despliegue de todos sus instrumentos en el país por su importancia en cuestión migratoria. Su embajadora, Denise-Elena Ionete, asegura que “Níger ha hecho mucho para disminuir el sufrimiento y la pérdida de vidas humanas en el desierto y el Mediterráneo y eso explica el poderoso aumento de nuestra cooperación los últimos años”.

      Organizaciones de la sociedad civil africana y europea denuncian que se condicionen fondos de desarrollo al freno migratorio y el desvío de estos hacia programas de seguridad. Para el periodista Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, se trata de “un chantaje en toda regla, una coacción a África y a los pobres”. Las entidades también consideran las donaciones escasas e ineficaces, puesto que “el desarrollo está vinculado a una intensificación de la movilidad” y no al revés, según el director del grupo de investigación sobre migraciones de la Universidad de Niamey, Harouna Mounkaila. No son las personas más pobres las que migran ni proceden de los países más vulnerables, como demuestra el propio Níger con índices ínfimos de migrantes en Europa.

      Otros colectivos sociales señalan que el refuerzo de fronteras obstaculiza la movilidad regional mayoritaria y vulnera el protocolo de libre circulación de la Comunidad de Estados de África Occidental (CEDEAO), similar al Espacio Schengen. Consideran que la contención va en contra de la apuesta de la Unión Africana (UA) por la libertad de movimiento continental y rompe consensos propios.

      Las autoridades nigerinas rechazan estas acusaciones y defienden que la ley contra el tráfico proporciona mayores garantías a las personas en tránsito y no quebranta, en ningún caso, el derecho a moverse. Solo exigen, explican, viajar con documentación identificativa y rechazan un incremento de las muertes en el desierto como consecuencia del aumento de los controles. “Si me quieren decir que debemos abrir nuestras fronteras porque los migrantes que atraviesan Níger cambian de ruta, se desvían y mueren, pues digo que no. Ningún responsable político podría decir eso y, además, no tengo pruebas de que ahora haya más muertos que antes”, asegura Gogé Maimouna.

      Tanto la UE como la OIM alaban la “mejora” de la gestión migratoria en Níger y comparan los posibles efectos negativos con la ilegalización de la droga. “Está claro que cuando conviertes algo legal en ilegal obligas a que lo responsables se escondan. Europa tenía que hacer algo en este tema, porque la falta de una gestión ordenada de la migración ha facilitado el auge de los extremismos y ha dividido a nuestro continente”, afirma Wyss, de la OIM. Las migraciones son cada vez menos visibles, mientras los mecanismos de control se expanden por la región de forma más perceptible.

      La frontera llega a #Mali y Burkina Faso

      El edificio es nuevo, se inauguró en 2018, con capacidad para 240 personas. Las decenas de habitaciones contienen literas, un gran comedor preside el lugar y una bandera de la República de Mali ondea en lo alto. Es uno de los centros donde opera la OIM en Bamako, pero su titularidad es del Estado. Esa es la diferencia con Níger. “La OIM tiene serias dificultades en asentarse en Mali. Hace años que lo intenta pero no tiene centros de tránsito propios, sino que colabora con asociaciones locales. El factor clave es la importancia de la diáspora maliense”, asegura Eric Kamden.

      Cinco millones de malienses viven en el extranjero, un 15% en Europa, sobre todo en Francia. Es una diáspora dinámica y movilizada que con sus remesas aporta más que toda la Ayuda Oficial al Desarrollo (AOD). “Mali tiene una tradición migratoria muy larga. Es un país de origen y de tránsito, a diferencia de Níger. Eso significa que para tomar cualquier decisión en Mali, se debe tener en cuenta a la diáspora, no solo desde un punto de vista cuantitativo sino porque los migrantes son escuchados y respetados en sus pueblos, familias y comunidades, porque las sustentan”, afirma el asesor del Ministerio de Malienses en el Exterior, Boulaye Keita. Este mayor margen de negociación de Mali ya tumbó los acuerdos de readmisión promovidos por la UE en 2014.

      No obstante, el país es uno de los principales receptores de fondos europeos con 214 millones de euros y la inversión se percibe en el crecimiento de la OIM y su dispositivo de contención. Las nuevas edificaciones que gestionan los “retornos voluntarios” lo demuestran. A ellas llegan migrantes malienses expulsados de Argelia o repatriados de Libia, Gabón, Angola o Francia. “Para mí Argelia es agua pasada, no volveré a allí. Ahora, por fin, estoy en casa y me voy a quedar aquí”, asegura Moctar, nacido en la región oeste de Kayes y visiblemente cansado tras el largo viaje en autobús desde Niamey. Algunos habían estado también en Agadez y repiten sus historias sobre malos tratos recibidos en Argelia, aunque sin cerrar la puerta a volver a partir.

      “Quizás vuelvo a irme a otro país, pero no a Argelia. Son muy racistas con nosotros y eso no está bien”, atestigua Kalidou. Para ellos, sin reconocimiento del estatuto de refugiado o solicitante de asilo, a pesar de la guerra abierta que azota el norte de su país, Bamako supone el fin del periplo organizado por la #OIM, forzado por las circunstancias. Este organismo internacional, critica el antropólogo y activista Mauro Armanino, “acaricia por un lado y por el otro golpea”. Por una parte protege, sensibiliza y apoya a los migrantes más necesitados, pero por el otro “ejerce de brazo armado de las políticas europeas” y “agencia de deportación”, sostiene el investigador de la Universidad de Bamako Bréma Dicko.

      El responsable de programas de la OIM en Mali, David Cumber, se defiende asegurando que no quieren frenar la migración, aunque admite la voluntad de la institución de “reducir la migración irregular”. Sus argumentos apuntan “la necesidad de que las personas viajen con documentos”, a la vez que reconoce su incapacidad para reclamar “más vías legales y seguras”, al tratarse de una agencia intraestatal financiada por potencias internacionales.

      En #BurkinaFaso, el discurso disuasorio y a favor del retorno ha calado en el régimen surgido de la revolución de 2014, inestable, ávido de recursos y víctima creciente del terrorismo. Este país es lugar de paso de las rutas hacia el norte, punto de avituallamiento previo a Níger. Abdoulaye, por ejemplo, de Costa de Marfil, salió a la aventura hacia España, pero se quedó en Ouagadougou, capital de Burkina Faso, para ganar un poco de dinero y seguir su camino.

      Hoy trabaja en la cafetería de una estación de autobuses de la capital donde ya lleva casi un año, pero no renuncia a pisar suelo español. “Intentaré hacerme el visado, pero me faltan recursos. Tengo amigos que viven allí y por eso quiero ir”. Los burkineses en Europa son minoritarios, solo hay pequeñas comunidades en Italia y escasas en España. La OIM, junto a ONG locales, intenta disuadir la movilidad explicando los peligros del camino. “Estamos subcontratados por la OIM, nos pagan para ir por los pueblos a exponer los riesgos del viaje. Eso no nos impide denunciar que el cierre de fronteras europeo provoca más curiosidad y más ganas de partir a las personas. Si las fronteras estuvieran abiertas, mucha gente iría y volvería sin problema”, expone Sebastien Ouédraogo, coordinador de la entidad Alert Migration.

      Para Moussa Ouédraogo, responsable de la ONG burkinesa Grades, su país se ha convertido en la “prefrontera, donde cerrar el paso a cuanta más gente mejor”. Los puestos de control policial se han propagado por todo el país bajo el pretexto de lucha contra el terrorismo, pero “sin duda es por la migración, porque la intensificación de la vigilancia intimida a la gente de partir”, afirma. Se han instalado controles biométricos en la frontera entre Burkina Faso y Níger, en Kantchari, además de puntos de vigilancia en todas las carreteras del territorio, lo que aumenta también la corrupción. “Muchas veces los migrantes tienen los papeles en regla, pero los policías les piden dinero igualmente”, explica el presidente de la ONG local Tocsin, Harouna Sawadogo.

      La colaboración entre la UE, la OIM y las autoridades parece funcionar. La vinculación entre migración y desarrollo va en sintonía y el Gobierno la asume, aunque reclama, de forma tímida, una flexibilización en la concesión de visados para reducir los flujos irregulares. “Los Estados son soberanos para aceptar o no la entrada de extranjeros, pero los burkineses queremos viajar para aprender y traer capital humano que ayude a desarrollarnos. Por eso, Europa debe dar más visados”, argumenta Gustave Bambara, director de política de población del Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas. El Gobierno de Níger apoya esta visión y reivindica una mayor recompensa a sus esfuerzos por aplicar sus recetas.

      “Níger está haciendo lo que puede para frenar los flujos, pero si Europa sigue cerrando sus fronteras, habrá más gente descontenta de la que ya hay y esto, a la larga, no será rentable para nuestro Estado”, advierte Gogé Maimouna Gazibo, responsable de la agencia contra el tráfico de personas.

      En un centro de acogida en Ouagadougou, Jimmy, de 19 años, originario de Liberia, repite una posición extendida entre quienes regresan. “Sigo queriendo ir a Europa, porque yo no quería volver a mi país. En cuanto regrese, volveré a probar la ruta de Marruecos, intentaré saltar las vallas: entrar o morir”.


  • L’Union européenne renforce son soutien au développement du #Sahel

    La nouvelle enveloppe comprend :

    – Une contribution de 70 millions d’euros, visant à renforcer les conditions de vie des populations dans les espaces transfrontaliers, grâce à l’amélioration de la qualité des services de base et au renforcement de la résilience. Ce programme sera mis en œuvre par plusieurs partenaires de l’#Alliance_Sahel.

    – D’autres actions pour un montant de 55 millions d’euros viseront à renforcer les capacités des institutions des pays du G5 Sahel en matière de #justice, de #sécurité et de défense des #droits_de_l'homme, ainsi qu’à lutter contre le trafic d’êtres humains et à améliorer la représentation de la #jeunesse dans le débat public.

    Ces fonds supplémentaires s’ajoutent à une enveloppe de 672,7 millions d’euros d’actions en cours qui s’inscrivent également dans les priorités identifiées par le #G5_Sahel. Au total, la #coopération_au_développement de l’Union européenne et ses États membres avec les pays du G5 Sahel s’élève à 8 milliards d’euros sur la période 2014-2020.


    On parle de lutter contre le #trafic_d'êtres_humains... mais il faudrait voir dans le détail ce qui se cache derrière, car, très probablement, comme toujours, il s’agit d’augmenter les #contrôles_frontaliers et lutter contre les #migrations tout court...

    #aide_au_développement #développement #G5_Sahel #frontières #Europe #UE #EU

    v. aussi la métaliste :

  • Sudan, Libya, Chad and Niger sign border protection agreement

    The Foreign Minister for the Libyan Government of National Accord, Mohamed Taher Siala, said an agreement to control and monitor borders among Libya, Sudan, Chad and Niger has been signed in Ndjamena.

    In a statement issued on Friday, Siala said the agreement was reached to promote cooperation, to protect the joint borders and in order to achieve peace, security, economic and social development.

    He said the agreement would enhance joint efforts of the four countries to secure the borders, stressing Libya’s keenness to support all efforts to fight against terrorism, illegal migration, human trafficking and all forms of cross-border crime.

    In a meeting held last April, Sudan, Chad, Libya and Niger agreed to “coordinate the actions” of their armed forces to fight against the transnational “crime” in the region.

    The four countries agreed “on the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for border security and the fight against transnational organized crime”.

    Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and Boko Haram pose a serious threat to Niger and Chad while Sudan seeks to prevent trafficking of arms to Darfur and migration of mercenaries to Libya.

    Sudan is not part of the multi-national military force in Africa’s Sahel region dubbed “#G5_Sahel force” which includes Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

    The UN-backed force is tasked with policing the Sahel region in collaboration with 4,000 French troops deployed there since intervening in 2013 to fight an insurgency in northern Mali.


    #frontières #contrôles #frontaliers #surveillance_des_frontières #accord #terrorisme #militarisation_des_frontières #Sahel #Burkina_Faso #Mauritanie
    #Soudan #Libye #Tchad #Niger
    cc @isskein

    Les liens sur ce fil de discussion ne sont pas tous en ordre chronologique.
    Portez donc une attention particulière au date de publication de l’article original (et non pas de quand je l’ai posté sur seenthis, car j’ai fait dernièrement des copier-coller de post sur d’autres fils de discussion) !


    Niger : Europe’s Migration Laboratory

    “We share an interest in managing migration in the best possible way, for both Europe and Africa,” Mogherini said at the time.

    Since then, she has referred to Niger as the “model” for how other transit countries should manage migration and the best performer of the five African nations who signed up to the E.U. #Partnership_Framework_on_Migration – the plan that made development aid conditional on cooperation in migration control. Niger is “an initial success story that we now want to replicate at regional level,” she said in a recent speech.

    Angela Merkel became the first German chancellor to visit the country in October 2016. Her trip followed a wave of arrests under Law 36 in the Agadez region. Merkel promised money and “opportunities” for those who had previously made their living out of migration.

    One of the main recipients of E.U. funding is the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which now occupies most of one street in Plateau. In a little over two years the IOM headcount has gone from 22 to more than 300 staff.

    Giuseppe Loprete, the head of mission, says the crackdown in northern Niger is about more than Europe closing the door on African migrants. The new law was needed as networks connecting drug smuggling and militant groups were threatening the country, and the conditions in which migrants were forced to travel were criminal.

    “Libya is hell and people who go there healthy lose their minds,” Loprete says.

    A side effect of the crackdown has been a sharp increase in business for IOM, whose main activity is a voluntary returns program. Some 7,000 African migrants were sent home from Niger last year, up from 1,400 in 2014. More than 2,000 returns in the first three months of 2018 suggest another record year.

    The European Development Fund awarded $731 million to Niger for the period 2014–20. A subsequent review boosted this by a further $108 million. Among the experiments this money bankrolls are the connection of remote border posts – where there was previously no electricity – to the internet under the German aid corporation, GIZ; a massive expansion of judges to hear smuggling and trafficking cases; and hundreds of flatbed trucks, off-road vehicles, motorcycles and satellite phones for Nigerien security forces.

    At least three E.U. states – #France, Italy and Germany – have troops on the ground in Niger. Their roles range from military advisers to medics and trainers. French forces and drone bases are present as part of the overlapping Barkhane and G5 Sahel counterinsurgency operations which includes forces from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania. The U.S., meanwhile, has both troops and drone bases for its own regional fight against Islamic militants, the latest of which is being built outside Agadez at a cost of more than $100 million.

    #Niger #asile #migrations #réfugiés #laboratoire #agadez #frontières #externalisation #externalisation_des_frontières #modèle_nigérien #cartographie #visualisation
    #OIM #IOM #retours_volontaires #renvois #expulsions #Libye #développement #aide_au_développement #externalisation #externalisation_des_contrôles_frontaliers #G5_sahel #Italie #Allemagne #IMF #FMI

    Intéressant de lire :

    ❝As one European ambassador said, “Niger is now the southern border of Europe.”
    #frontière_européenne #frontière_mobile

    Il y a quelques mois, la nouvelles frontière européenne était désignée comme étant la frontière de la #Libye, là, elle se déplace encore un peu plus au sud...
    –-> v. mon post sur seenthis :


    Voilà donc la nouvelle carte :

    • Europe Benefits by Bankrolling an Anti-Migrant Effort. Niger Pays a Price.

      Niger has been well paid for drastically reducing the number of African migrants using the country as a conduit to Europe. But the effort has hurt parts of the economy and raised security concerns.

      The heavily armed troops are positioned around oases in Niger’s vast northern desert, where temperatures routinely climb beyond 100 degrees.

      While both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have branches operating in the area, the mission of the government forces here is not to combat jihadism.

      Instead, these Nigerien soldiers are battling human smugglers, who transport migrants across the harsh landscape, where hundreds of miles of dunes separate solitary trees.

      The migrants are hoping to reach neighboring Libya, and from there, try a treacherous, often deadly crossing of the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

      The toll of the military engagement is high. Some smugglers are armed, militants are rife and the terrain is unforgiving: Each mission, lasting two weeks, requires 50 new truck tires to replace the ones shredded in the blistering, rocky sand.

      But the operation has had an impact: Niger has drastically reduced the number of people moving north to Libya through its territory over the past two years.

      The country is being paid handsomely for its efforts, by a Europe eager to reduce the migrant flow. The European Union announced at the end of last year it would provide Niger with one billion euros, or about $1.16 billion, in development aid through 2020, with hundreds of millions of that earmarked for anti-migration projects. Germany, France and Italy also provide aid on their own.

      It is part of a much broader European Union strategy to keep migrants from its shores, including paying billions of euros to Turkey and more than $100 million to aid agencies in Sudan.

      Italy has been accused of paying off militias in Libya to keep migrants at bay. And here in Niger, some military officials angrily contend that France financed a former rebel leader who remains a threat, prioritizing its desire to stop migration over Niger’s national security interests.

      Since passing a law against human trafficking in 2015, Niger has directed its military to arrest and jail migrant smugglers, confiscate their vehicles and bring the migrants they traffic to the police or the International Organization for Migration, or I.O.M. The migrants are then given a choice whether to continue on their journey — and risk being detained again, or worse — or given a free ride back to their home country.

      The law’s effect has been significant. At the peak in 2015, there were 5,000 to 7,000 migrants a week traveling through Niger to Libya. The criminalization of smuggling has reduced those numbers to about 1,000 people a week now, according to I.O.M. figures.

      At the same time, more migrants are leaving Libya, fleeing the rampant insecurity and racist violence targeting sub-Saharan Africans there.

      As a result, the overall flow of people has now gone into a notable reverse: For the last two years, more African migrants have been leaving Libya to return to their homelands than entering the country from Niger, according to the I.O.M.

      One of Niger’s biggest bus companies, Rimbo, used to send four migrant-filled buses each day from the country’s capital in the south, Niamey, to the northern city of Agadez, a jumping off point for the trip to the Libyan border.

      Now, the company has signed a two-year contract with the I.O.M. to carry migrants the other way, so they can be repatriated.

      On a recent breezy evening in Niamey, a convoy of four Rimbo buses rolled through the dusty streets after an arduous 20-hour drive from Agadez, carrying 400 migrants. They were headed back home to countries across West Africa, including Guinea, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

      For leaders in Europe, this change in migrant flows is welcome news, and a testament to Niger’s dedication to shared goals.

      “Niger really became one of our best allies in the region,” said Raul Mateus Paula, the bloc’s ambassador to Niger.

      But the country’s achievement has also come with considerable costs, including on those migrants still determined to make it to Libya, who take more risks than ever before. Drivers now take routes hundreds of miles away from water points and go through mined areas to avoid military patrols. When smugglers learn the military is in the area, they often abandon migrants in the desert to escape arrest.

      This has led to dozens of deaths by dehydration over the past two years, prompting Niger’s civil protection agency and the I.O.M. to launch weekly rescue patrols.

      The agency’s head, Adam Kamassi, said his team usually rescues between 20 to 50 people every time it goes out. On those trips, it nearly always finds three or four bodies.

      The crackdown on human smuggling has also been accompanied by economic decline and security concerns for Niger.

      The government’s closure of migrant routes has caused an increase in unemployment and an uptick in other criminal activity like drug smuggling and robbery, according to a Niger military intelligence document.

      “I know of about 20 people who have become bandits for lack of work,” said Mahamadou Issouf, who has been driving migrants from Agadez to southern Libya since 2005, but who no longer has work.

      Earlier this year, the army caught him driving 31 migrants near a spot in the desert called the Puit d’Espoir, or Well of Hope. While the army released him in this case, drivers who worked for him have been imprisoned and two of his trucks impounded.

      The military intelligence document also noted that since the crackdown, towns along the migrant route are having a hard time paying for essential services like schools and health clinics, which had relied on money from migration and the industries feeding it.

      For example, the health clinic in Dirkou, once a major migrant way station in northern Niger, now has fewer paying clients because the number of migrants seeking has dwindled. Store owners who relied on the steady flow of people traveling through have gone bankrupt.

      Hassan Mohammed is another former migrant smuggler who lost his livelihood in the crackdown.

      A native of Dirkou, Mr. Mohammed, 31, began driving migrants across the desert in 2002, earning enough in the process to buy two Toyota pickup trucks. The smuggling operation grew enough that he began employing his younger brothers to drive.

      Today, Mr. Mohammed’s brothers are in prison, serving the six-month sentences convicted smuggler drivers face. His two pickup trucks are gathering dust, along with a few dozen other confiscated vehicles, on a Niger army base. With no income, Mr. Mohammed now relies on the generosity of friends to survive.

      With Europe as a primary beneficiary of the smuggling crackdown, the European Union is eager to keep the effort in place, and some of the bloc’s aid finances a project to convert former smugglers into entrepreneurs. But the project is still in its pilot stage more than two years after the migrant crackdown began.

      Ibrahim Yacouba, the former foreign minister of Niger, who resigned earlier this year, said, “There are lots of announcements of millions of euros in funding, but in the lived reality of those who are in the industry, there has been no change.”

      The crackdown has also raised security concerns, as France has taken additional steps to stop migration along the Niger-Libya border that go beyond its asylum-processing center.

      From its military base in the northern Nigerien outpost of Madama, France funded last year an ethnic Toubou militia in southern Libya, with the goal of using the group to help stop smugglers, according to Nigerien security officials.

      This rankled the Nigerien military because the militia is headed by an ex-Nigerien rebel, Barka Sidimi, who is considered a major security risk by the country’s officials. To military leaders, this was an example of a European anti-migrant policy taking precedent over Niger’s own security.

      A French military spokesperson said, “We don’t have information about the collaboration you speak of.”

      Despite the country’s progress in reducing the flow of migrants, Nigerien officials know the problem of human smugglers using the country as a conduit is not going away.

      “The fight against clandestine migration is not winnable,’’ said Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s interior minister.

      Even as Libya has experienced a net drop in migrants, new routes have opened up: More migrants are now entering Algeria and transiting to Morocco to attempt a Mediterranean crossing there, according to Giuseppe Loprete, who recently left his post after being the I.O.M.’s director in Niger for four years.

      But despite the drawbacks that come with it, the smuggling crackdown will continue, at least for now, according to Mr. Bazoum, the interior minister. Migrant smuggling and trafficking, he said, “creates a context of a criminal economy, and we are against all forms of economic crime to preserve the stability and security of our country.”

      For Mr. Mohammed, the former smuggler, the crackdown has left him idle and dejected, with no employment prospects.

      “There’s no project for any of us here,” he said. “There’s nothing going on. I only sleep and wake up.”


    • Le 25 Octobre 2018, le Chef de Mission de l’ OIM Niger, M. Martin Wyss, a remis à la Police Nationale-Niger ??️via son Directeur Général Adjoint, M. Oumarou Moussa, le premier prototype du poste frontière mobile, en présence du #Directeur_de_la_Surveillance_du_Territoire (#DST) des partenaires techniques et financiers.

      Ce camion aménagé avec deux bureaux et une salle d’attente, des climatiseurs et une connectivité satellitaire, est autonome en électricité grâce à des panneaux solaires amovibles et une turbine éolienne. Il aura pour fonction d’appuyer des postes de contrôle aux frontières, établir un poste frontalier temporaire ou venir en soutien de mouvements massifs de personnes à travers les frontières.

      Ce prototype unique au monde a été entièrement développé et conceptualisé par l’unité de #gestion_des_frontières de l’#OIM_Niger, pour l’adapter au mieux aux contraintes atmosphériques et topographiques du Niger.

      Il a été financé par le Canada’s International Development – Global Affairs Canada ??️

      Crédits photos : OIM Niger / Daniel Kouawo

      source : https://www.facebook.com/IBMNiger/posts/1230027903804111

      #OIM #IOM #frontière_mobile #Canada

    • Remise du système MIDAS et inauguration du parc de vaccination à Makalondi

      L’ OIM Niger a procédé à la remise du #système_MIDAS au niveau du poste de police de #Makalondi (Burkina Faso - Niger).

      MIDAS saisit automatiquement les informations biographiques et biométriques des voyageurs à partir de lecteurs de documents, d’#empreintes_digitales et de #webcams. Il est la propriété entière et souveraine du Gouvernement du Niger.

      Le sytème permet d’enregistrer pour mieux sécuriser et filtrer les individus mal intentionnés, mais aussi de mieux connaître les flux pour ensuite adapter les politiques de développement sur les axes d’échange.

      A la même occasion, le Gouverneur de Tillabéri et l’OIM ont inauguré un par de vaccination le long d’un couloir de transhumance de la CEDEAO.

      Ce projet a été réalisé grâce au don du peuple Japonais.

      #surveillance #biométrie #MIDAS

    • Le mardi 28 aout 2018, s’est tenu la cérémonie de remise du système MIDAS au poste de police frontalier de Makalondi (frontière Burkina faso). Cette cérémonie organisée par l’OIM Niger dans le cadre du projet « #NICOLE – Renforcement de la coopération interservices pour la sécurité des frontières au Niger » sous financement du Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan a enregistré la remarquable participation du gouverneur de la région de Tillabéri, le directeur de la surveillance du Territoire (DST), les responsables régionaux, départementaux et communaux de la police Nationale et de l’élevage, les autorités locales et coutumières du département de #Torodi et de la commune rurale de #Makalondi ainsi que de l’#Eucap_Sahel_Niger. MIDAS (#Migration_Information_and_Data_Analysis_System) qui est un système d’information et de gestion des données migratoires développé par l’OIM en 2009 et opérationnel dans 19 pays est aujourd’hui également opérationnel au niveau du poste frontière de Makalondi. Cette cérémonie était aussi l’occasion d’inaugurer le parc de vaccination pour bétail réalisé dans le cadre du même projet par l’OIM afin de soutenir les capacités de résilience des communautés frontalières de la localité.
      toutes les autorités présentes à la cérémonie ont tenues à exprimer leur immense gratitute envers l’OIM pour son appui au gouvernement du Niger dans son combat pour la sécurisation des frontières.


    • Niger grapples with migration and its porous borders

      Europe has been grappling with the migration problem on its side of the Mediterranean for several years now with little sign of bringing the situation under control, but there is also an African frontline, on the edges of the Sahara, and the improverished nation of Niger is one of the hotspots. The situation here is similarly out of control, and EU funds have been made available to try and persude people smugglers to give up their business. However, much of the money has gone to waste, and the situation has in some ways evolved into something worse. Euronews’ Valerie Gauriat has just returned from Niger. This is her report.

      Scores of four-wheel drives have just arrived from Libya, at the checkpoint of the city of Agadez, in central Niger, Western Africa’s gateway to the Sahara.

      Every week, convoys like these travel both ways, crossing the thousand kilometers of desert that separate the two countries.

      Travelers are exhausted after a 5-day journey.

      Many are Nigerian workers, fleeing renewed violence in Libya, but many others are migrants from other western African countries.

      “When we get to Libya, they lock us up. And when we work we don’t get paid,” said one Senegalese man.

      “What happened, we can’t describe it. We can’t talk about everything that goes on, because it’s bad, it’s so bad !” said another, from Burkina Fasso.

      Many have already tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

      “We paid for it, but we never went. They caught us and locked us up. I want to go home to Senegal now, that’s my hope,” said another man.

      Mohamed Tchiba organised this convoy. This former Touareg rebel is a well-known figure in Agadez’s migration business, which is a long-standing, flourishing activity despite a law against irregular migration which made it illegal two years ago.

      EU-funded reconversion projects were launched to offset the losses, but Mohamed refuses to give up his livelihood.

      “I’m a smuggler, even now I’m a smuggler! Because I’ve heard that in town they are giving us something to give up this job. But they did not give me anything. And I do not know any other work than this one,” he told us.

      We head to Agadez, where we find dozens of vehicles in a car park. They were confiscated from the smugglers who were arrested by the police, and are a slowly-rusting symbol of the fight against irregular immigration.

      But that didn’t go down well with the local population. The law hit the local economy hard

      Travelers departing for Libya were once Ibrahim’s main source of revenue, but now customers for his water cans are scarce. The layoffs of workers after the closure of gold mines in the area did not help.

      “Before, we sold 400 to 500 water cans every week to migrants, and cans were also sent to the mine. But they closed the road to Libya, they closed the mines, everything is closed. And these young people stay here without working or doing anything, without food. If they get up in the morning, and they go to bed at night, without eating anything, what will prevent them one day from going to steal something?” wonders trader Oumarou Chehou.

      Friday prayers are one of the few occasions when the city comes to life.

      We go to meet with the President of the so-called Association for former migration workers.

      He takes us to meet one of the former smugglers. After stopping their activity they have benefited from an EU-funded reconversion programme.

      Abdouramane Ghali received a stock of chairs, pots, and loudspeakers, which he rents out for celebrations. We ask him how business is going.

      "It depends on God ... I used to make much more money before; I could get up to 800 euros a week; now it’s barely 30 euros a week,” he says.

      Abdouramane is still among the luckiest. Out of 7000 people involved in the migration business, less than 400 have so far benefited from the reconversion package: about 2000 euros per project. That’s not enough to get by, says the president of the Former Smugglers’ Association, Bachir Amma.

      “We respected the law, we are no longer working, we stopped, and now it’s the State of Niger and the European Union which abandoned us. People are here, they have families, they have children, and they have nothing. We eat with our savings. The money we made before, that’s what feeds us now, you see. It’s really difficult, it’s very hard for us,” he says.

      We catch up with Abdouramane the next morning. He has just delivered his equipment to one of his customers, Abba Seidou, also a former smuggler, who is now a taxi driver. Abba is celebrating the birth of his first child, a rare opportunity to forget his worries.

      “Since it’s a very wonderful day, it strengthened my heart, to go and get chairs, so that people, even if there is nothing, they can sit down if they come to your house. The times are hard for immigration, now; but with the small funds we get, people can get by. It’s going to be okay,” the proud father says. Lots of other children gather round.

      “These kids are called the” talibe “, or street kids,” reports euronews’ Valerie Gauriat. "And the celebration is a chance for them to get some food. Since the anti-smuggling law was implemented, there are more and more of them in the streets of Agadez.”

      The European Union has committed to spending more than one billion euros on development aid in a country classified as one of the poorest in the world. Niger is also one of the main beneficiaries of the European emergency fund created in 2015 to address migration issues in Africa. But for the vice-president of the region of Agadez, these funds were only a bargaining chip for the law against irregular immigration, which in his eyes, only serves the interests of Europe.

      Valerie Gauriat:

      “Niger has received significant funding from the European Union. Do you believe these funds are not used properly?”

      Vice-President of the Agadez Regional Council, Aklou Sidi Sidi:

      “First of all the funding is insufficient. When we look at it, Turkey has received huge amounts of money, a lot more than Niger. And even armed groups in Libya received much more money than Niger. Today, we are sitting here, we are the abyss of asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, displaced people. Agadez is an abyss,” he sighs.

      In the heart of the Sahel region, Niger is home to some 300,000 displaced people and refugees. They are a less and less transitory presence, which weighs on the region of Agadez. One center managed by the International Office for Migration hosts migrants who have agreed to return to their countries of origin. But the procedures sometimes take months, and the center is saturated.

      “80 percent of the migrants do not have any identification, they do not have any documents. That means that after registration we have to go through the procedure of the travel authorisation, and we have to coordinate this with the embassies and consulates of each country. That is the main issue and the challenge that we are facing every day. We have around 1000 people in this area, an area that’s supposed to receive 400 or 500 people. We have mattresses piled up because people sleep outside here because we’re over our capacity. Many people are waiting on the other side. So we need to move these people as quickly as possible so we can let others come,” says the IOM’s transit centre manager, Lincoln Gaingar.

      Returning to their country is not an option for many who transit through Niger. Among them are several hundred Sudanese, supervised by the UNHCR. Many fled the Darfur conflict, and endured hell in Libyan detention centres. Some have been waiting for months for an answer to their asylum request.

      Badererdeen Abdul Kareem dreams of completing his veterinary studies in the West.

      “Since I finished my university life I lost almost half of my life because of the wars, traveling from Sudan to Libya. I don’t want to lose my life again. So it’s time to start my life, it’s time to work, it’s time to educate. Staying in Niger for nothing or staying in Niger for a long time, for me it’s not good.”

      But the only short-term perspective for these men is to escape the promiscuity of the reception center. Faced with the influx of asylum seekers, the UNHCR has opened another site outside the city.

      We meet Ibrahim Abulaye, also Sudanese, who spent years in refugee camps in Chad, and then Libya. He is 20 years old.

      “It was really very difficult, but thank God I’m alive. What I can really say is that since we cannot go back home, we are looking for a place that is more favourable to us, where we can be safe, and have a better chance in life.”

      Hope for a better life is closer for those who have been evacuated from Libyan prisons as part of an emergency rescue plan launched last year by the UNHCR. Welcomed in Niamey, the capital of Niger, they must be resettled in third countries.

      After fleeing their country, Somalia, these women were tortured in Libyan detention centers. They are waiting for resettlement in France.

      “There are many problems in my country, and I had my own. I have severe stomach injuries. The only reason I left my country was to escape from these problems, and find a safe place where I could find hope. People like me need hope,” said one of them.

      A dozen countries, most of them European, have pledged to welcome some 2,600 refugees evacuated from Libya to Niger. But less than 400 have so far been resettled.

      “The solidarity is there. There has to be a sense of urgency also to reinstall them, to welcome them in the countries that have been offering these places. It is important to avoid a long stay in Niger, and that they continue their journey onwards,” says the UNHCR’s Alessandra Morelli in Niamey.

      The slowness of the countries offering asylum to respect their commitments has disappointed the Niger government. But what Niger’s Interior minister Mohamed Bazoum most regrets is a lack of foresight in Europe, when it comes to stemming irregular immigration.

      “I am rather in favor of more control, but I am especially in favor of seeing European countries working together to promote another relationship with African countries. A relationship based on issuing visas on the basis of the needs that can be expressed by companies. It is because this work is not done properly, that we have finally accepted that the only possible migration is illegal migration,” he complains.

      Estimated from 5 to 7,000 per week in 2015, the number of migrants leaving for Libya has fallen tenfold, according to the Niger authorities. But the traficking continues, on increasingly dangerous routes.

      The desert, it is said in Agadez, has become more deadly than the Mediterranean.

      We meet another one of the smugglers who for lack of alternatives says he has resumed his activities, even if he faces years in prison.

      “This law is as if we had been gathered together and had knives put under our throats, to slit our throats. Some of us were locked up, others fled the country, others lost everything,” he says.

      He takes us to one of the former transit areas where migrants were gathered before leaving for Libya, when it was allowed. The building has since been destroyed. Customers are rarer, and the price of crossings has tripled. In addition to the risk of being stopped by the police and army patrols, travelers have to dodge attacks by arms and drug traffickers who roam the desert.

      “Often the military are on a mission, they don’t want to waste time, so sometimes they will tell you,’we can find an arrangement, what do you offer?’ We give them money to leave. We must also avoid bandits. There are armed people everywhere in the bush. We have to take byways to get around them. We know that it’s dangerous. But for us, the most dangerous thing is not to be able to feed your family! That’s the biggest danger!”

      We entered one of the so-called ghettos outside Agadez, where candidates for the trip to Europe through Libya hide out, until smugglers pick them up. We are led to a house where a group of young people are waiting for their trip to be organized by their smuggler.

      They have all have already tried to cross the desert, but were abandoned by their drivers, fleeing army patrols, and were saved in the nick of time. Several of their fellow travelers died of thirst and exhaustion.

      Mohamed Balde is an asylum seeker from Guinea.

      “The desert is a huge risk. There are many who have died, but people are not discouraged. Why are they coming? One should just ask the question!” he says. “All the time, there are meetings between West African leaders and the leaders of the European Union, to give out money, so that the migrants don’t get through. We say that’s a crime. It is their interests that they serve, not the interests of our continent. To stop immigration, they should invest in Africa, in companies, so that young people can work.”

      Drogba Sumaru is an asylum seeker from the Ivory Coast.

      “It’s no use giving money to people, or putting soldiers in the desert, or removing all the boats on the Mediterranean, to stop immigration! It won’t help, I will keep going on. There are thousands of young people in Africa, ready to go, always. Because there is nothing. There is nothing to keep them in their countries. When they think of the suffering of their families, when they think that they have no future. They will always be ready, ready for anything. They will always be ready to risk their lives,” he concludes.


    • Europe’s « Migrant Hunters »

      The checkpoint on the way out of the Saharan town of Agadez in Niger is nothing more than a long metal chain that stretches across the road. On a Monday afternoon in March, a handful of pickup trucks and lorries loaded with migrants mostly from southern Niger waited quietly at the barrier to embark on the long journey up through the Ténéré desert. An overweight officer inspected the vehicles and then invited the drivers to show him their paperwork inside a somber-looking shack on the side of the road, where money most likely changed hands.

      Every Monday afternoon a convoy, protected by an escort of three military pickups, two mounted with machine guns, begins its arduous journey toward Dirkou, 435 miles away, on the road to the Libyan border. Protection has long been needed against highwaymen—or, as they’re called locally, coupeurs de route. These disgruntled Tuareg youths and former rebels roam the foothills of the Aïr Mountains just beyond Agadez. If a vehicle slips out of view of the escort for even a moment, the coupeurs seize the opportunity, chasing and shooting at the overloaded vehicles to relieve the passengers of their money and phones—or sometimes even to take the cars. A cautious driver sticks close behind the soldiers, even if they are pitifully slow, stopping frequently to sleep, eat, drink tea, or extract bribes from drivers trying to avoid the checkpoints.

      The first 60 miles out of Agadez—a journey of about two hours through the mountains—were the most hazardous. But then we reached the dusty Ténéré plain. As darkness fell, lighter vehicles picked up speed, making good headway during the night as the cold hardened the sand. Sleepy migrants, legs dangling over the side of the tailboard, held on to branches attached to the frame of the vehicle to keep from falling off.

      The following day, there was a stop at Puits Espoir (“Hope’s Well”), midway between Agadez and Dirkou. It was dug 15 years ago to keep those whose transport had broken down in the desert from dying of thirst. But the well’s Arabic name, Bir Tawil, which means “the Deep Well,” is perhaps more apt. The well drops nearly 200 feet, and without a long enough rope to reach the water below, migrants and drivers can perish at its edge. The escort soldiers told me that the bodies of 11 who died in this way are buried in the sand inside a nearby enclosure built from car scraps. Travelers took a nap under its shade or beside the walls around the well, which were graffitied by those who had passed through. There was “Dec 2016 from Tanzania to Libya” or “Flavio—Solo from Guinea.” After Espoir, most vehicles abandon the slow convoy and go off on their own, risking attacks by coupeurs for a quicker journey toward Libya.


      Before mid-2016, there were between 100 and 200 vehicles, mostly pickups, each filled with around 30 migrants heading for Libya, that were making such a journey every week. Since mid-2016, however, under pressure from the European Union, and with promises of financial support, the Niger government began cracking down on the northward flow of sub-Saharans, arresting drivers and confiscating cars, sometimes at the Agadez checkpoint itself. Now there are only a few cars transporting passengers, most of them Nigeriens who have managed to convince soldiers at the checkpoint—often with the help of a bribe—that they do not intend to go all the way to Europe but will end their journey in Libya.

      “To close Libya’s southern border is to close Europe’s southern border,” Marco Minniti, Italy’s interior minister, said in April at a meeting in Rome with representatives of three cross-border Saharan tribes, the Tubu, Awlad Suleiman Arabs, and Tuareg. The leaders agreed to form a border force to stop migrants entering Libya from traveling to Europe, reportedly at the demand of, and under the prospect of money from, the Italian government. All three communities are interested in resolving the deadly conflicts that have beset the country since the fall of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011 and hope Italy will compensate them monetarily for their casualties (in tribal conflicts, a payment is needed to end a fight) as well as fund reconstruction and development of neglected southern Libya. Italy, of course, is keen on halting the flow of migrants reaching its shores and sees these Saharan groups, which have the potential to intervene before migrants even get to Libya, as plausible proxies.

      Some tribal leaders in southern Libya—mostly Tubu and Tuareg—look favorably on Italy’s and Europe’s overtures and suggested that the EU should cooperate directly with local militias to secure the border. But their tribes largely benefit from smuggling migrants, and they also made clear this business will not stop unless development aid and compensation for the smugglers is provided. “The EU wants to use us against migrants and terrorism,” a Tubu militia leader told me, off-the-record, on the side of a meeting in the European Parliament last year. “But we have our own problems. What alternative can we propose to our youth, who live off trafficking?”

      With or without the EU, some of the newly armed groups in Libya are selling themselves as migrant hunters. “We arrested more than 18,000 migrants,” a militia chief told me, with a hauteur that reminded me of the anti-immigrant sentiment spreading across Europe. “We don’t want just to please the EU, we protect our youths and our territory!”

      It seems rather reckless, however, in a largely stateless stretch of the Sahara, for Europe to empower militias as proxy border guards, some of whom are the very smugglers whose operations the EU is trying to thwart. The precedent in Sudan is not encouraging. Last year, Khartoum received funding from the EU that was intended to help it restrict outward migration. The best the government could do was redeploy at the Sudanese-Libyan border the notorious Rapid Support Forces, recruited among Darfur’s Janjaweed militias, which have wreaked havoc in the province since 2003. In due course, their leader, Brigadier General Dagalo, also known as “Hemeti,” claimed to have arrested 20,000 migrants and then threatened to reopen the border if the EU did not pay an additional sum. The EU had already given Sudan and Niger 140 million euros each in 2016. And the Libyan rival factions are catching on, understanding well that the migrant crisis gives them a chance to blackmail European leaders worried about the success of far-right anti-immigrant groups in their elections. In February, with elections looming in the Netherlands and France, the EU made a deal to keep migrants in Libya, on the model of its March 2016 agreement with Turkey, with the Tripoli-based, internationally recognized Government of National Accord, despite the fact it has little control over the country. In August, the GNA’s main rival, eastern Libya’s strongman Khalifa Haftar, claimed that blocking migrants at Libya’s southern borders would cost one billion euros a year over 20 years and asked France, his closest ally in Europe, to provide him with military equipment such as helicopters, drones, armored vehicles, and night vision goggles. Needless to say, Haftar did not get the equipment.

      THE HUB

      Dirkou became a migrant hub about 25 years ago and remains a thriving market town whose residents make a living mostly off of road transport to and from Libya. Smuggling people across Libya’s southern borders became semiofficial practice in 1992, as Qaddafi sought to circumvent the UN’s air traffic embargo. This, in turn, opened up an opportunity for ambitious facilitators who could get their hands on a vehicle, a period that came to be known locally as “the Marlboro era.” Planes and trucks, contravening the embargo, delivered cigarettes to Dirkou, where there was already an airstrip long enough for cargo planes. They then sold their contraband to Libyan smugglers, who took them north with help from Nigerien authorities.

      Smuggling was possible at the time only if the government was involved, explained Bakri, one of the drivers I met in Dirkou (and who requested his name be changed). Gradually, cigarettes were replaced by Moroccan cannabis, which was driven down from around the Algerian border through Mali and Niger. Tuareg rebels, who had been involved in sporadic insurgencies against the governments of Mali and Niger, began to attack the convoys to steal their cargoes for reselling. The traffickers eventually enlisted them to serve as their protectors, guides, or drivers.

      That process began in the 1990s and 2000s when the Niger government and Tuareg rebels held regular peace talks and struck deals that allowed former insurgents to be integrated into the Niger armed forces. Hundreds of fighters who were left to fend for themselves, however, fell back on banditry or drug trafficking, and it wasn’t long before the authorities decided that they should be encouraged to transport migrants to Libya instead. Many now own vehicles that had been captured from the army in the course of the rebellion. These were cleared through customs at half the normal fee, and the Ministry of Transport awarded a great number of them licenses. It was decided that the new fleet of migrant facilitators would take passengers at the bus station in Agadez.

      In 2011, after the NATO-backed revolution in Libya had toppled Qaddafi, newly formed Tubu militias took control of most of the country’s arms stockpiles, as well as its southern borderlands. Many young Tubu men from Libya or Niger stole or, like Bakri, who dropped out of the university to become a smuggler, bought a good pickup truck for carrying passengers. The new wave of drivers who acquired their cars during the turmoil were known in Arabic as sawag NATO, or “NATO drivers.”

      “If the number of migrants increased,” Bakri told me, “it’s mostly because NATO overthrew Qaddafi.” Qaddafi was able to regulate the flow of migrants into Europe and used it as a bargaining chip. In 2008, he signed a friendship treaty with Italy, which was then led by Silvio Berlusconi. In exchange for Libya’s help to block the migrants, “Il Cavaliere” launched the construction of a $5 billion highway in Libya. Crucially, however, Qaddafi’s regime provided paid work for hundreds of thousands of sub-Saharans, who had no need to cross the Mediterranean. Since 2011, Libya has become a much more dangerous place, especially for migrants. They are held and often tortured by smugglers on the pretext that they owe money and used for slave labor and prostitution until their families can pay off the debt.

      In May 2015, under EU pressure, Niger adopted a law that made assistance to any foreigner illegal on the grounds that it constituted migrant trafficking. Critics noted that the legislation contradicts Niger’s membership in the visa-free ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), from which most migrants traveling between Niger and Libya hail (they numbered 400,000 in 2016). The law was not enforced until the middle of last year, when the police began arresting drivers and “coaxers”—the regional term for all intermediaries on the human-smuggling routes up through West Africa. They jailed about 100 of them and confiscated another 100 vehicles. Three months later, the EU congratulated itself for a spectacular drop in migrant flows from Niger to Libya. But the announcement was based on International Organization for Migration (IOM) data, which the UN agency has since acknowledged to be incorrect, owing to a “technical problem” with its database.

      Saddiq, whose name has also been changed, is a coaxer in Agadez. He told me that migrants were still arriving in the town in the hope of heading north. “The police are from southern Niger and they are not familiar with the desert,” he said. “For every car arrested, 20 get through.” The cars have gotten faster. One of Saddiq’s drivers traded his old one for a Toyota Tundra, which can reach 120 miles per hour on hard sand. Meanwhile, groups of migrants have gotten smaller and are thus lighter loads. New “roads” have already been pounded out through the desert. Drivers pick up migrants as far south as the Nigerien-Nigerian border, keeping clear of towns and checkpoints. “Tubu drivers have been going up with GPS to open new roads along the Niger-Algeria border,” said Saddiq. “They meet the drug traffickers and exchange food and advice.”

      On these new roads, risks are higher for drivers and passengers. Vehicles get lost, break down, and run out of fuel. Thirst is a constant danger, and, as drivers and the IOM warned, deaths increased during the 2017 dry season, which began in May. Drivers pursued by patrols are likely to aim for a high-speed getaway, which means abandoning their passengers in the desert. “Because we couldn’t take the main road, bandits attacked us,” Aji, a Gambian migrant, told me as he recounted his failed attempt to get to Libya last December. “Only 30 kilometers from Agadez, bandits shot at us, killed two drivers and injured 17 passengers, including myself.” They took everything he owned. He was brought back to the hospital in Agadez for treatment for his wounded leg. He was broke and his spirits were low. “I no longer want to go to Libya,” he said.

      New liabilities for the smugglers drive up their prices: the fare for a ride from Agadez to Libya before the Niger government decided to curtail the northward flow was around $250. Now it is $500 or more. People with enough money travel in small, elite groups of three to five for up to $1,700 per head. Migrants without enough cash can travel on credit, but they risk falling into debt bondage once in Libya. Even with the higher fees, smugglers’ revenues have not increased. Saddiq’s has fallen from $5,000 a month to around $2,000. Costs, including lavish bribes to Niger’s security forces, have risen sharply. Still, the pace of the trade remains brisk. “I have a brand-new vehicle ready for 22 passengers,” Saddiq told me. That evening, as he loaded up his passengers with their light luggage and jerry cans of water, a motorbike went ahead of it with its headlights off to make sure that the coast was clear.

      “Many won’t give up this work, but those who continue are stuntmen,” grumbled one of Saddiq’s colleagues, a Tuareg former rebel who has been driving migrants for more than 15 years. Feeling chased by the authorities, or forced to pay them bribes twice as much as before, Tuareg and Tubu drivers are increasingly angry with the Nigerien government and what they call “the diktat of Europe.” He thought there might be better money in other activities. “What should we do? Become terrorists?” he said, somewhat provocatively. “I should go up to Libya and enlist with Daesh [the Islamic State, or ISIS]. They’re the ones who offer the best pay.”

      #Agadez #réfugiés #Niger #désert_du_Ténéré #passeurs #smugglers #smuggling #Dirkou #routes_migratoires #parcours_migratoires

    • Sfidare la morte per fuggire dal Niger

      In Niger i militari inseguono i migranti. Ordini dall’alto: quello che vuole l’Europa. Che per questo li paga. I profughi cercano così altri percorsi. Passano per il deserto, per piste più pericolose. Con il rischio di morire disidratati



    • A line in the sand

      In late 2016, Agadez made headlines when Niger became one of the European Union (EU)’s prime partners in the fight against irregular migration. The arrest of human smugglers and the confiscation of their 4x4 trucks resulted in a decrease in the number of migrants travelling through the region.

      Given Agadez’s economic dependence on the migration industry, Clingendael’s Conflict Research Unit investigated the costs of these measures for the local population, their authorities and regional security. We invite you to work with our data and explore our findings.

      #économie #économie_locale

    • Quel lunedì che ha cambiato la migrazione in Niger

      Nella prima storia della sua trilogia sul Niger per Open Migration, Giacomo Zandonini ci raccontava com’è cambiata la vita di un ex passeur di migranti dopo l’applicazione delle misure restrittive da parte del governo. In questa seconda storia, sfida i pericoli del Sahara insieme ai migranti e racconta come la chiusura della rotta di Agadez abbia spinto la locale economia al dettaglio verso le mani di un sistema mafioso.

      #fermeture_des_frontières #mafia

      En anglais:

    • In Niger, Europe’s Empty Promises Hinder Efforts to Move Beyond Smuggling

      The story of one former desert driver and his struggle to escape the migration trade reveals the limits of an E.U. scheme to offer alternatives to the Sahara smugglers. Giacomo Zandonini reports from Agadez.


    • Agadez, aux portes du Sahara

      Dans la foulée de la ’crise des migrants’ de 2015, l’Union Européenne a signé une série d’accords avec des pays tiers. Parmi ceux-ci, un deal avec le Niger qui provoque des morts anonymes par centaines dans le désert du Sahara. Médecins du Monde est présente à Agadez pour soigner les migrants. Récit.


    • « A Agadez, on est passé de 350 migrants par jour à 100 par semaine »

      Journée spéciale sur RFI ce 23 mai. La radio mondiale propose des reportages et des interviews sur Agadez, la grande ville-carrefour du Nord-Niger, qui tente de tourner le dos à l’émigration clandestine. Notre reporter, Bineta Diagne essaie notamment de savoir si les quelque 5 000 à 6 000 passeurs, transporteurs et rabatteurs, qui vivent du trafic des migrants, sont en mesure de se reconvertir. Au Niger, Mohamed Bazoum est ministre d’Etat, ministre de l’Intérieur et de la Sécurité publique. En ligne de Niamey, il répond aux questions de Christophe Boisbouvier.


      Des contacts sur place ont confirmé à Karine Gatelier (Modus Operandi, association grenobloise) et moi-même que les arrivées à Agadez baissent.
      La question reste :

      Les itinéraires changent : vers où ?

    • Niger: la difficile #reconversion d’Agadez

      Le Niger est un pays de transit et de départ de l’émigration irrégulière vers l’Europe. Depuis fin 2016, les autorités tentent de lutter contre ce phénomène. Les efforts des autorités se concentrent autour de la ville d’Agadez, dans le centre du pays. Située aux portes du désert du Ténéré et classée patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco, Agadez a, pendant plusieurs années, attiré énormément de touristes amoureux du désert. Mais l’insécurité a changé la donne de cette région, qui s’est progressivement développée autour d’une économie parallèle reposant sur la migration. Aujourd’hui encore, les habitants cherchent de nouveaux débouchés.


    • Au #Sahara, voyager devient un crime

      La France s’est émue lorsque Mamadou Gassama, un Malien de 22 ans, sans papiers, a sauvé un enfant de 4 ans d’une (probable) chute fatale à Paris. Une figure de « migrant extraordinaire » comme les médias savent régulièrement en créer, mais une figure qui ne devrait pas faire oublier tous les autres, « les statistiques, les sans-nom, les numéros. » Ni tous celles et ceux qui n’ont aucune intention de venir en Europe, mais qui sont néanmoins victimes des nouvelles politiques migratoires européennes et africaines mises en œuvre à l’abri des regards, à l’intérieur même du continent africain.

      Les migrations vers et à travers le Sahara ne constituent certes pas un phénomène nouveau. Mais à partir du début des années 2000, la focalisation des médias et des pouvoirs publics sur la seule minorité d’individus qui, après avoir traversé le Sahara, traversent également la Méditerranée, a favorisé l’assimilation de l’ensemble de ces circulations intra-africaines à des migrations économiques à destination de l’Europe.

      Ce point de vue, qui repose sur des représentations partielles et partiales des faits, éloignées des réalités de terrain observées par les chercheurs, sert depuis lors de base de légitimation à la mise en œuvre de politiques migratoires restrictives en Afrique.

      Le Sahara, zone de contrôle

      L’Europe (Union européenne et certains États), des organisations internationales (notamment l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM)) et des structures ad hoc (#Frontex, #EUCAP_Sahel_Niger), avec la coopération plus ou moins volontariste des autorités nationales des pays concernés, participent ainsi au durcissement législatif mis en place dans les pays du Maghreb au cours des années 2000, puis en Afrique de l’Ouest la décennie suivante, ainsi qu’au renforcement de la surveillance et du contrôle des espaces désertiques et des populations mobiles.

      Le Sahara est ainsi transformé en une vaste « #zone-frontière » où les migrants peuvent partout et en permanence être contrôlés, catégorisés, triés, incités à faire demi-tour voire être arrêtés.

      Cette nouvelle manière de « gérer » les #circulations_migratoires dans la région pose de nombreux problèmes, y compris juridiques. Ainsi, les ressortissants des États membres de la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (#CEDEAO), qui ont officiellement le droit de circuler librement au sein de l’#espace_communautaire, se font régulièrement arrêter lorsqu’ils se dirigent vers les frontières septentrionales du #Mali ou du #Niger.

      Le Niger, nouveau garde-frontière de l’Europe

      Dans ce pays, les migrations internationales n’étaient jusqu’à récemment pas considérées comme un problème à résoudre et ne faisaient pas l’objet d’une politique spécifique.

      Ces dernières années, tandis que le directeur général de l’OIM affirmait – sans chiffre à l’appui – qu’il y a dorénavant autant de décès de migrants au Sahara qu’en Méditerranée, l’UE continuait de mettre le gouvernement nigérien sous pression pour en finir avec « le modèle économique des passeurs ».

      Si des projets et programmes sont, depuis des années, mis en œuvre dans le pays pour y parvenir, les moyens financiers et matériels dédiés ont récemment été décuplés, à l’instar de l’ensemble des moyens destinés à lutter contre les migrations irrégulières supposées être à destination de l’Europe.

      Ainsi, le budget annuel de l’OIM a été multiplié par 7,5 en 20 ans (passant de 240 millions d’euros en 1998 à 1,8 milliard d’euros en 2018), celui de Frontex par 45 en 12 ans (passant de 6 millions d’euros en 2005 à 281 millions d’euros en 2017), celui d’EUCAP Sahel Niger par 2,5 en 5 ans (passant de moins de 10 millions d’euros en 2012 à 26 millions d’euros en 2017), tandis que depuis 2015 le Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence pour l’Afrique a été lancé par l’UE avec un budget de 2,5 milliards d’euros destinés à lutter contre les « causes profondes de la migration irrégulière » sur le continent, et notamment au Sahel.

      Ceci est particulièrement visible dans la région d’Agadez, dans le nord du pays, qui est plus que jamais considérée par les experts européens comme « le lieu où passe la plupart des flux de [migrants irréguliers] qui vont en Libye puis en Europe par la route de la Méditerranée centrale ».

      La migration criminalisée

      La mission européenne EUCAP Sahel Niger, lancée en 2012 et qui a ouvert une antenne permanente à Agadez en 2017, apparaît comme un des outils clés de la politique migratoire et sécuritaire européenne dans ce pays. Cette mission vise à « assister les autorités nigériennes locales et nationales, ainsi que les forces de sécurité, dans le développement de politiques, de techniques et de procédures permettant d’améliorer le contrôle et la lutte contre les migrations irrégulières », et d’articuler cela avec la « lutte anti-terroriste » et contre « les activités criminelles associées ».

      Outre cette imbrication officialisée des préoccupations migratoires et sécuritaires, EUCAP Sahel Niger et le nouveau Cadre de partenariat pour les migrations, mis en place par l’UE en juin 2016 en collaboration avec le gouvernement nigérien, visent directement à mettre en application la loi nigérienne n°2015-36 de mai 2015 sur le trafic de migrants, elle-même faite sur mesure pour s’accorder aux attentes européennes en la matière.

      Cette loi, qui vise à « prévenir et combattre le trafic illicite de migrants » dans le pays, définit comme trafiquant de migrants « toute personne qui, intentionnellement et pour en tirer, directement ou indirectement, un avantage financier ou un autre avantage matériel, assure l’entrée ou la sortie illégale au Niger » d’un ressortissant étranger.
      Jusqu’à 45 000 euros d’amende et 30 ans de prison

      Dans la région d’#Agadez frontalière de la Libye et de l’Algérie, les gens qui organisent les transports des passagers, tels les chauffeurs-guides en possession de véhicules pick-up tout-terrain leur permettant de transporter une trentaine de voyageurs, sont dorénavant accusés de participer à un « trafic illicite de migrants », et peuvent être arrêtés et condamnés.

      Transporter ou même simplement loger, dans le nord du Niger, des ressortissants étrangers (en situation irrégulière ou non) fait ainsi encourir des amendes allant jusqu’à 30 millions de francs CFA (45 000 euros) et des peines pouvant s’élever à 30 ans de prison.

      Et, cerise sur le gâteau de la répression aveugle, il est précisé que « la tentative des infractions prévue par la présente loi est punie des mêmes peines. » Nul besoin donc de franchir irrégulièrement une frontière internationale pour être incriminé.

      Résultat, à plusieurs centaines de kilomètres des frontières, des transporteurs, « passeurs » avérés ou supposés, requalifiés en « trafiquants », jugés sur leurs intentions et non leurs actes, peuvent dorénavant être arrêtés. Pour les autorités nationales, comme pour leurs homologues européens, il s’agit ainsi d’organiser le plus efficacement possible une lutte préventive contre « l’émigration irrégulière » à destination de l’Europe.

      Cette aberration juridique permet d’arrêter et de condamner des individus dans leur propre pays sur la seule base d’intentions supposées : c’est-à-dire sans qu’aucune infraction n’ait été commise, sur la simple supposition de l’intention d’entrer illégalement dans un autre pays.

      Cette mesure a été prise au mépris de la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples (article 12.2) et de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme (article 13.2), qui stipulent que « toute personne a le droit de quitter tout pays, y compris le sien ».

      Au mépris également du principe de présomption d’innocence, fondateur de tous les grands systèmes légaux. En somme, une suspension du droit et de la morale qui reflète toute la violence inique des logiques de lutte contre les migrations africaines supposées être à destination de l’Europe.
      Des « passeurs » sans « passages »

      La présomption de culpabilité a ainsi permis de nombreuses arrestations suivies de peines d’emprisonnement, particulièrement dans la région d’Agadez, perçue comme une région de transit pour celles et ceux qui souhaitent se rendre en Europe, tandis que les migrations vers le Sud ne font l’objet d’aucun contrôle de ce type.

      La loi de 2015 permet en effet aux forces de l’ordre et de sécurité du Niger d’arrêter des chauffeurs nigériens à l’intérieur même de leur pays, y compris lorsque leurs passagers sont en situation régulière au Niger. Cette loi a permis de créer juridiquement la catégorie de « passeur » sans qu’il y ait nécessairement passage de frontière.

      La question des migrations vers et à travers le Sahara semble ainsi dorénavant traitée par le gouvernement nigérien, et par ses partenaires internationaux, à travers des dispositifs dérivés du droit de la guerre, et particulièrement de la « guerre contre le terrorisme » et de l’institutionnalisation de lois d’exception qui va avec.

      Malgré cela, si le Niger est peu à peu devenu un pays cobaye des politiques antimigrations de l’Union européenne, nul doute pour autant qu’aucune police n’est en mesure d’empêcher totalement les gens de circuler, si ce n’est localement et temporairement – certainement pas dans la durée et à l’échelle du Sahara.

      Adapter le voyage

      Migrants et transporteurs s’adaptent et contournent désormais les principales villes et leurs #check-points, entraînant une hausse des tarifs de transport entre le Niger et l’Afrique du Nord. Ces #tarifs, qui ont toujours fortement varié selon les véhicules, les destinations et les périodes, sont passés d’environ 100 000 francs CFA (150 euros) en moyenne par personne vers 2010, à plusieurs centaines de milliers de francs CFA en 2017 (parfois plus de 500 euros). Les voyages à travers le Sahara sont ainsi plus onéreux et plus discrets, mais aussi plus difficiles et plus risqués qu’auparavant, car en prenant des routes inhabituelles, moins fréquentées, les transporteurs ne minimisent pas seulement les risques de se faire arrêter, mais aussi ceux de se faire secourir en cas de pannes ou d’attaques par des bandits.

      Comme le montre l’article Manufacturing Smugglers : From Irregular to Clandestine Mobility in the Sahara, cette « clandestinisation » (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0002716217744529) généralisée du transport de migrants s’accompagne d’une diminution, voire d’une disparition, du contrôle social jusque-là exercé sur les différents acteurs, entre eux, mais aussi par leurs proches ou par les agents de l’État qui ponctionnaient illégalement leurs activités.

      Il était en effet aisé, jusqu’à récemment, de savoir qui était parti d’où, quel jour, avec combien de passagers, et de savoir si tous étaient arrivés à bon port. Ce qui incitait chacun à rester dans les limites morales de l’acceptable. Ces dernières années, entre les risques pris volontairement par les transporteurs et les migrants, et les abandons de passagers dans le désert, il ne serait pas étonnant que le nombre de morts sur les pistes sahariennes ait augmenté.
      Une vraie fausse réduction des flux

      Récemment, l’OIM a pu clamer une diminution des volumes des flux migratoires passant par le Niger, et des représentants de l’UE et de gouvernements sur les deux continents ont pu se féliciter de l’efficacité des mesures mises en œuvre, clamant unanimement la nécessité de poursuivre leur effort.

      Mais de l’accord même des agents de l’#OIM, seul organisme à produire des chiffres en la matière au Sahara, il ne s’agit en fait que d’une diminution du nombre de personnes passant par ses points de contrôle, ce qui ne nous dit finalement rien sur le volume global des flux à travers le pays. Or, malgré toutes les mesures sécuritaires mises en place, la toute petite partie de la population qui a décidé de voyager ainsi va sans doute continuer à le faire, quel qu’en soit le risque.

      #Afrique_de_l'Ouest #mobilité #libre_circulation #frontières #externalisation #fermeture_des_frontières #migrations #asile #réfugiés #IOM #contrôles_frontaliers #déstructuration #passeurs #smugglers

    • Déclaration de fin de mission du Rapporteur Spécial des Nations Unies sur les droits de l’homme des migrants, Felipe González Morales, lors de sa visite au Niger (1-8 octobre, 2018)

      L’externalisation de la gestion de la migration du Niger par le biais de l’OIM

      En raison de ses capacités limitées, le gouvernement du Niger s’appuie depuis 2014 largement sur l’OIM pour répondre à la situation des personnes migrantes expulsées de l’Algérie ou forcées de revenir de pays voisins tels que la Libye et le Mali. À leur arrivée dans l’un des six centres de transit de l’OIM, et sous réserve qu’ils s’engagent à leur retour, l’OIM leur offre un abri, de la nourriture, une assistance médicale et psychosociale, des documents de voyage/d’identité et le transport vers leur pays d’origine. Depuis 2015, 11 936 migrants ont été rapatriés dans leur pays d’origine dans le cadre du programme d’AVR de l’OIM, la plupart en Guinée Conakry, au Mali et au Cameroun.

      Au cours de ma visite, j’ai eu l’occasion de m’entretenir avec de nombreux hommes, femmes et enfants vivant dans les centres de transit de l’OIM à Agadez et à Niamey, inscrits au programme d’AVR. Certains d’entre eux ont indiqué qu’ils ne pouvaient plus supporter les violations des droits de l’homme (ayant été victimes de discrimination raciale, d’arrestations arbitraires, de torture, d’expulsion collective, d’exploitation sexuelle et par le travail pendant leur migration) et de la situation difficile dans les centres de transit et souhaitaient retourner dans leur pays d’origine. D’autres ont indiqué qu’ils s’étaient inscrits au programme d’AVR parce que c’était la seule assistance qui leur était offerte, et beaucoup d’entre eux m’ont dit que dès leur retour dans leur pays d’origine, ils essaieraient de migrer à nouveau.

      En effet, quand le programme d’AVR est la seule option disponible pour ceux qui ont été expulsés ou forcés de rentrer, et qu’aucune autre alternative réelle n’est proposée à ceux qui ne veulent pas s’y inscrire, y compris ceux qui se trouvent dans une situation vulnérable et qui ont été victimes de multiples violations des droits de l’homme, des questions se posent quant à la véritable nature volontaire de ces retours si l’on considère l’ensemble du parcours qu’ils ont effectué. De plus, l’inscription à un programme d’AVR ne peut pas prévaloir sur le fait que la plupart de ces migrants sont à l’origine victimes d’expulsions illégales, en violation des principes fondamentaux du droit international.

      L’absence d’évaluations individuelles efficaces et fondées sur les droits de l’homme menées auprès des migrants rapatriés, faites dans le respect du principe fondamental de non-refoulement et des garanties d’une procédure régulière, est un autre sujet de préoccupation. Un grand nombre de personnes migrantes inscrites au programme d’AVR sont victimes de multiples violations des droits de l’homme (par exemple, subies au cours de leur migration et dans les pays de transit) et ont besoin d’une protection fondée sur le droit international. Cependant, très peu de personnes sont orientées vers une demande d’asile/procédure de détermination du statut de réfugié, et les autres sont traitées en vue de leur retour. L’objectif ultime des programmes d’AVR, à savoir le retour des migrants, ne peut pas prévaloir sur les considérations en lien avec les droits de l’homme pour chaque cas. Cela soulève également des préoccupations en termes de responsabilité, d’accès à la justice et de recours pour les migrants victimes de violations des droits de l’homme.

      Rôle des bailleurs de fonds internationaux et en particulier de l’UE

      Bien que les principaux responsables gouvernementaux ont souligné que l’objectif de réduction des migrations vers le nord était principalement une décision de politique nationale, il est nécessaire de souligner le rôle et la responsabilité de la communauté internationale et des bailleurs de fond à cet égard. En effet, plusieurs sources ont déclaré que la politique nigérienne en matière de migration est fortement influencée et principalement conduite selon les demandes de l’Union européenne et de ses États membres en matière de contrôle de la migration en échange d’un soutien financier. Par exemple, le fait que le Fonds fiduciaire de l’Union européenne apporte un soutien financier à l’OIM en grande partie pour sensibiliser et renvoyer les migrants dans leur pays d’origine, même lorsque le caractère volontaire est souvent discutable, compromet son approche fondée sur les droits dans la coopération pour le développement. De plus, d’après mes échanges avec l’Union européenne, aucun soutien n’est prévu pour les migrants qui ne sont ni des réfugiés ni pour ceux qui n’ont pas accepté d’être renvoyés volontairement dans leur pays d’origine. En outre, le rôle et le soutien de l’UE dans l’adoption et la mise en œuvre de la loi sur le trafic illicite de migrants remettent en question son principe de « ne pas nuire » compte tenu des préoccupations en matière de droits de l’homme liées à la mise en œuvre et exécution de la loi.

      #droits_humains #droits_de_l'homme_des_migrants #Niger #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    • African migration ’a trickle’ thanks to trafficking ban across the Sahara

      The number of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean for Europe has been dropping and that is partly because of tougher measures introduced on the migrant routes, as Mike Thomson reports from Niger.

      In a small dusty courtyard near the centre of Agadez, a town on the fringes of the Sahara desert, Bachir Amma, eats lunch with his family.

      A line of plastic chairs, clinging to the shadow of the mud walls, are the only visible furniture.

      Mr Amma, a former people smuggler, dressed in a faded blue denim shirt and jeans, has clearly known better days.

      "I stopped trafficking migrants to the Libyan border when the new law came in.

      "It’s very, very strict. If you’re caught you get a long time in jail and they confiscate your vehicle.

      “If the law was eased I would go back to people trafficking, that’s for sure. It earned me as much as $6,000 (£4,700) a week, far more money than anything I can do now.”
      Traffickers jailed

      The law Mr Amma mentioned, which banned the transport of migrants through northern Niger, was brought in by the government in 2015 following pressure from European countries.

      Before then such work was entirely legal, as Niger is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) that permits the free movement of people.

      Police even provided armed escorts for the convoys involved. But since the law was passed many traffickers have been jailed and hundreds of their vehicles confiscated.

      Before 2015, the Agadez region was home to more than 6,000 people traffickers like Mr Amma, according to figures from the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) .

      Collectively they transported around 340,000 Europe-bound migrants through the Sahara desert to Libya.
      Migration in reverse

      Since the clampdown this torrent has become a relative trickle.

      In fact, more African migrants, who have ended up in Niger and experienced or heard of the terrible dangers and difficulties of getting to Europe, have decided to return home.

      This year alone 16,000 have decided to accept offers from the IOM to fly them back.

      A large and boisterous IOM-run transit centre in Agadez is home to hundreds of weary, homesick migrants.

      In one large hut around 20 young men, from a variety of West African countries, attend a class on how to set up a small business when they get home.

      Among them is 27-year-old Umar Sankoh from Sierra Leone, who was dumped in the Sahara by a trafficker when he was unable to pay him more money.

      “The struggle is so hard in the desert, so difficult to find your way. You don’t have food, you don’t have nothing, even water you can’t drink. It’s so terrible,” he said.

      Now, Mr Sankoh has given up his dreams of a better life in Europe and only has one thought in mind: "I want to go home.

      "My family will be happy because it’s been a long time so they must believe I am dead.

      “If they see me now they’ll think, ’Oh my God, God is working!’”
      Coast guards intercept vessels

      Many thousands of migrants who make it to Libya are sold on by their traffickers to kidnappers who try and get thousands of dollars from their families back home.

      Those who cannot pay are often tortured, sometimes while being forced to ask relatives for money over the phone, and held in atrocious conditions for months.

      With much of the country in the grip of civil war, such gangs can operate there with impunity.

      In an effort to curb the number of migrants making for southern Europe by boat, thousands of whom have drowned on the way, coast guards trained by the European Union (EU) try and stop or intercept often flimsy vessels.

      Those on board are then taken to detention centres, where they are exposed to squalid, hugely overcrowded conditions and sometimes beatings and forced hard labour.
      Legal resettlement offers

      In November 2017, the EU funded a special programme to evacuate the most vulnerable refugees in centres like these.

      Under this scheme, which is run by the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), a little more than 2,200 people have since been flown to the comparative safety of neighbouring Niger.

      There, in a compound in the capital, Niamey, they wait for the chance to be resettled in a European country, including the UK, as well as Canada and the US.

      So far just under 1,000 have been resettled and 264 accepted for resettlement.

      The rest await news of their fate.


      Commentaire de Alizée Daouchy via la mailing-list Migreurop:

      Rien de très nouveau dans cet article, il traite des routes migratoires dans le Sahara mais ne s’intéresse qu’au cas d’Agadez.
      L’auteur qualifie les « flux » dans le Sahara de « migration in reverse ». Alors qu’avant l’adoption de la loi contre le trafic de migrants (2015), 340 000 personnes traversaient le désert du Sahara vers la Libye (sans préciser pour quelle(s) année(s)), en 2018, 16 000 personnes ont été ’retournées’ dans leur pays d’origine par l’#OIM.

      Pour autant, des ’trafiquants’ continuent leurs activités en empruntant des routes plus dangereuses pour éviter les forces de l’ordre. A ce sujet la représentante de l’UNHCR au Niger rappelle que : la communauté internationale ("we, the international Community, the UNHCR") considère que pour chaque mort en Méditerranée, il y en aurait au moins deux dans le désert". Mais toujours pas de sources concernant ces chiffres.

      #migrations_inversées #migrations_inverses

    • After crackdown, what do people employed in migration market do?

      Thousands in Niger were employed as middlemen until the government, aided by the EU, targeted undocumented migration.

      A group of women are squeezed into a modest room, ready to take their class in a popular district of Agadez, the largest city in central Niger.

      A blackboard hangs on the wall and Mahaman Alkassoum, chalk in hand, is ready to begin.

      A former people smuggler, he is an unusual professor.

      His round face and shy expression clash with the image of the ruthless trafficker.

      “We’re here to help you organise your savings, so that your activities will become profitable,” Alkassoum tells the women, before drawing a timeline to illustrate the different stages of starting a business.

      Until mid-2016, both he and the women in the room were employed in Agadez’s huge migration market, which offered economic opportunities for thousands of people in an immense desert region, bordering with Algeria, Libya and Chad.

      Alkassoum used to pack his pick-up truck with up to 25 migrants at once, driving them across the Sahara from Agadez to the southern Libyan city of Sebha, earning up to 1,500 euros ($1,706) a month - five times the salary of a local policeman.

      All of us suffered with the end of migration in Agadez. We’re toasting peanuts every day and thinking of new ways to earn something.

      Habi Amaloze, former cook for migrants

      The women, his current students, were employed as cooks in the ghettos and yards where migrants were hosted during their stay in town.

      At times, they fed 100 people a day and earned about 200 euros ($227) a month.

      For decades, the passage of western African migrants heading to Libya, and eventually to Italian shores, happened in daylight, in full view - and in most cases with the complicity of Niger security forces.

      According to a 2016 study by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), migrants in transit had injected about 100 million euros ($113.8m) into the local economy,

      But the “golden age” of migration through Agadez ended abruptly in the summer of 2016 when the government of Niger launched a crackdown on people smuggling.

      More than 300 drivers, middlemen and managers of ghettos, have been arrested since then, convincing other colleagues - like Alkassoum and his students - to abandon their activity.

      The driver’s new career as a community organiser began right after, when most locals involved in the smuggling business realised they had to somehow reinvent their lives.

      At first, a few hundred men, former drivers or managers of ghettos, decided to set up an informal association, with the idea of raising funds between members to launch small commercial activities.

      But the project didn’t really work, Alkassoum recounts. In early 2018, the leader of the group, a renowned smuggler, disappeared with some of the funds.

      Alkassoum, at the time the association’s secretary, got discouraged.

      That was the moment when their female colleagues showed up.

      Most of them were wives or sisters of smugglers, who were cooking for the migrants inside ghettos and, all of a sudden, had also seen their source of income disappear.

      Resorting to an old experience as a youth leader, Alkassoum decided to help them launch new businesses, through lessons on community participation and bookkeeping.

      As of mid-2018, more than 70 women had joined.

      “At first we met to share our common suffering after losing our jobs, but soon we realised we needed to do more,” says Fatoumata Adiguini at the end of the class.

      They decided to launch small businesses, dividing themselves into subgroups, each one developing a specific idea.

      Habi Amaloze, a thin Tuareg woman, heads one of the groups: 17 women that called themselves “banda badantchi” - meaning “no difference” in Hausa - to share their common situation.

      The banda badantchi started with the cheapest possible activity, shelling and toasting peanuts to sell on the streets.

      Other groups collected small sums to buy a sheep, chicks or a sewing machine.

      “We started with what we had, which was almost nothing, but we dream to be able one day to open up a restaurant or a small farming activity,” explains Amaloze.

      While most men left Agadez to find opportunities elsewhere, the women never stopped meeting and built relations of trust.

      Besides raising their children, they have another motivation: working with migrants has freed them from marital control, something they are not willing or ready to lose.

      According to Rhissa Feltou, the mayor of Agadez, the crackdown on northbound migration responded to European requests more than to local needs.

      Since 2015, the European Union earmarked 230 million euros ($261.7m) from its Emergency Trust Fund of Africa for projects in Niger, making it the main beneficiary of a fund created to “address the root causes of migration”.

      Among the projects, the creation of a police investigative unit, where French and Spanish policemen helped their Nigerien counterparts to track and arrest smugglers.

      Another project, known under its acronym Paiera, aimed at relieving the effect of the migration crackdown in Agadez, included a compensation scheme for smugglers who left their old job. The eight million-euro ($9.2m) fund was managed by the High Authority for the Consolidation of Peace, a state office tasked with reducing conflicts in border areas.

      After endless negotiations between local authorities, EU representatives and a committee representing smugglers, a list of 6,550 smuggling actors operating in the region of Agadez, was finalised in 2017.

      But two years after the project’s launch, only 371 of them received small sums, about 2,300 euros ($2,616) per person, to start new activities.

      The High Authority for the Consolidation of Peace told Al Jazeera that an additional eight million-euro fund is available for a second phase of the project, to be launched in March 2019, allowing at least 600 more ex-smugglers to be funded.

      But Feltou, the city’s mayor, isn’t optimistic.

      “We waited too much and it’s still unclear when and how these new provisions will be delivered,” he explains.

      Finding viable job opportunities for thousands of drivers, managers of ghettos, middlemen, cooks or water can sellers, who lost their main source of income in a country the United Nations dubbed as the last in its human development index in 2018, is not an easy task.

      For the European Union, nonetheless, this cooperation has been a success. Northbound movements registered by the IOM along the main desert trail from Agadez to the Libyan border, dropped from 298,000 people a year in 2016 to about 50,000 in 2018.

      In a January 2019 report, the EU commission described such a cooperation with Niger as “constructive and fruitful”.

      Just like other women in her group, Habi Amaloze was disregarded by Brussels-funded programmes like Paiera.

      But the crackdown changed her life dramatically.

      Her brother, who helped her after her husband died years ago, was arrested in 2017, forcing the family to leave their rented house.

      With seven children, ranging from five to 13 years old, and a sick mother, they settled in a makeshift space used to store building material. Among piles of bricks, they built two shacks out of sticks, paperboard and plastic bags, to keep them safe from sand storms.

      “This is all we have now,” Amaloze says, pointing to a few burned pots and a mat.

      In seven years of work as a cook in her brother’s ghetto, she fed tens of thousands of migrants. Now she can hardly feed her family.

      “At that time I earned at least 35,000 [West African franc] a week [about $60], now it can be as low as 2,000 [$3.4], enough to cook macaroni once a day for the kids, but no sauce,” she says, her voice breaking.

      Only one of her children still attends school.

      Her experience is familiar among the women she meets weekly. “All of us suffered with the end of migration in Agadez,” she says.

      Through their groups, they found hope and solidarity. But their future is still uncertain.

      “We’re toasting peanuts every day and thinking of new ways to earn something,” Hamaloze says with a mix of bitterness and determination. “But, like all our former colleagues, we need real opportunities otherwise migration through Agadez and the Sahara will resume, in a more violent and painful way than before.”


  • Une dizaine de nuances de kaki : les opérations contre-insurrectionnelles au #Sahel

    En 2011, plusieurs États africains ont tenté de mettre en garde contre les risques probables d’une intervention militaire internationale visant à renverser le dictateur libyen Mouammar Kadhafi. Aujourd’hui, six ans après sa mort, l’insécurité au Sahel est plus préoccupante que jamais.

    #militarisation #armée #insécurité #MINUSMA #MNJTF #G5_Sahel #opérations_militaires #EUTM-Mali #Mali #Niger #Allemagne #USA #Etats-Unis #EU #UE #France #opération_Barkhane #opération_Serval

  • Paolo Gentiloni : « L’esercito italiano sarà impegnato in Sahel contro il terrorismo »

    «Partiremo con un’operazione bilaterale con il Niger che naturalmente ha un interesse specifico anche per quanto riguarda i flussi migratori dalla Libia»

    #armée #sahel #migrations #asile #réfugiés #Niger #Italie #accords_bilatéraux #accord #terrorisme #anti-terrorisme #Sahel #Sahara #opération_militaire

    Je traduis cela, le chapeau :

    «Partiremo con un’operazione bilaterale con il Niger che naturalmente ha un interesse specifico anche per quanto riguarda i flussi migratori dalla Libia»

    –-> « on partira avec une opération bilatérale avec le Niger qui naturellement a un intérêt spécifique aussi concernant les flux migratoires de la Libye. »
    Le titre disait : « L’armée italienne sera active dans le Sahel contre le terrorisme »
    Et voilà qu’en quelques mots l’#amalgame est faite entre terrorisme, migrations et #criminalité. Un chef d’oeuvre de la propagation des #préjugés

    cc @reka

    • Il governo manderà soldati italiani in Niger

      Saranno inviati 470 uomini e 150 veicoli per addestrare le truppe nigerine e per combattere il traffico di migranti


      –-> 470 soldats italiens envoyés au Niger pour « former les troupes nigérianes et combattre le trafic de migrants »
      –-> et voilà que c’est dit : pour arrêter les flux migratoires (ici ils parlent de trafic de migrants, mais bon... l’autre article parlait bien de flux migratoires)... on envoie l’armée... comme si on était en #guerre contre les migrants.

      #it_has_begun, et c’est très très triste

    • J’ai vu ce matin que la presse française se félicitait de la création d’une Europe militaire :

      info qu’on trouve surtout sur la presse économique, boursière, pour la press généraliste on fait dans le story telling dans le monde ils disent que c’est pour remonter le morale des européen après le brexit et pour répondre à une demande de trump...
      C’est le soir.be on raconte des belles histoires avant de nous envoyer nous coucher :
      « Ceci n’est pas une armée européeenne » affirme lesoir.be
      c’est très très dégulasse
      #fascisme #racisme

    • Campagna italiana d’Africa nel Sahel sulle strade dei migranti

      Campagna d’Africa a fare cosa? Paolo Gentiloni: “L’esercito italiano sarà impegnato in Sahel contro il terrorismo”. Ma la frase che spiega veramente viene dopo,”Partiremo con un’operazione bilaterale con il Niger che naturalmente ha un interesse specifico anche per quanto riguarda i flussi migratori dalla Libia”.


    • Niger: la missione militare italiana, un nuovo corso

      Al margine del vertice del G5 Sahel di Celle-Saint-Cloud, vicino a Parigi, Paolo Gentiloni ha annunciato l’invio di una missione militare in Niger con compiti di addestramento delle forze anti-terrorismo congiunte G5 Sahel. L’Italia sta approfittando dell’arretramento del sedicente Stato islamico, l’Isis, per alleggerire il suo impegno in Iraq e mandare circa 470 uomini nel terreno africano.


    • Commentaire de Sara Prestianni sur FB :

      Qualche riflessione sull’intervento militare nostrano in Niger, fermo restando che si tratta di una operazione di contrasto all’immigrazione che cela interessi economici e geostrategici:

      1) che nozione di urgenza si applica per questa missione al punto da spingere Gentiloni a volerla far passare solo in commissione difesa senza discussione nelle Camere e alcuni rappresentanti PD a chiedere che venga rinviato lo scioglimento delle Camere a questo fine ?

      2) perché, se ancora non è chiaro se e come questa missione verrà approvata, un primo nucleo di parà è stato già inviato a Niamey

      3) Si definiscano le competenze della Folgore per una missione di controllo delle frontiere

      Queste le domande che si dovrebbero porre oggi a Gentiloni che su Ius Soli rimanda e su Niger accelera ....

    • Gentiloni in Niger come Cavour in Crimea?

      A metà dicembre, nel suo blog su HuffPost, Sara Prestianni scriveva che «la relazione tra militarizzazione, lotta ai migranti e al terrorismo - già emersa con il finanziamento della missione #EuCapSahel finalizzato alla formazione dei poliziotti di frontiera per il controllo dei migranti nella regione di Agadez – diventa strutturale. Il Niger diviene il nuovo avamposto militare dell’Occidente. Alle basi con i droni americani con licenza di uccidere si aggiungono oggi i mezzi europei. Nel mezzo migliaia di uomini, donne e bambini ostaggio della guerra ai migranti».


    • Lettera aperta. L’Italia in armi sulle vie del Niger: una storia scritta sulla sabbia

      «La svolta africana. Soldati italiani in Niger non solo per addestrare (…). Con 470 uomini e 150 veicoli le nostre truppe svolgeranno anche «attività di sorveglianza e di controllo del territorio». All’inizio coi francesi, tra miliziani, contrabbandieri e migranti». Così Gianluca di Feo su «Repubblica» del 14 dicembre del 2017 ha anticipato ciò che il Ministero della Difesa ha sostanzialmente confermato il giorno seguente e che il presidente del Consiglio Paolo Gentiloni ha ribadito nei giorni di Natale. Nel Niger, dove mi trovo da quasi sette anni, il 18 dicembre si è celebrata la proclamazione della Repubblica, avvenuta 59 anni or sono. Mi vengono in mente una Repubblica di carta e l’altra di sabbia.


    • Commentaire de Francesco Floris sur FB (29.12.2017) :

      Sulla questione Niger bisogna leggere i siti dei militari, dei veterani militari, degli amici dei militari, di quelli con le entrature militari, dei wanna be militari e derivati vari.
      Non per sposare le tesi ma per comprendere che cosa bolle in pentola.
      Dicono tutti le stesse cose.
      1. Non serve a niente a fermare i migranti perché «La missione in Niger rischia infatti di rivelarsi utile a ridurre l’impegno e i costi di Parigi nell’operazione Barkhane senza però scalfirne la leadership di Parigi nel Sahel mentre circa il contrasto ai flussi migratori illegali non va dimenticato che i trafficanti potrebbero optare per rotte alternative, aggirando il dispositivo militare italiano grazie alle le piste desertiche che attraversano il confine algerino per poi sconfinare in Libia a sud di Ghat, area in cui da alcuni mesi è stata registrata la presenza di miliziani dello Stato Islamico.» Oppure perché «Mi sembra velleitario pretendere di fermare i flussi migratori provenienti dall’Africa sub-sahariana sorvegliando solo il confine Niger-Libia perché i migranti muovono in piccoli gruppi diradati seguendo dei passatori (quindi per antonomasia profondi conoscitori del territorio in cui muovono) i quali possono contare sulla complicità di tutta una popolazione che lucra su tale fenomeno; non ci vuole nulla a by-passare quella regione». [http://www.analisidifesa.it/2017/12/luci-e-ombre-sulla-missione-italiana-in-niger/]

      2. Si domandano che senso abbia andare in zone altamente instabili senza poter premere il grilletto (loro scrivono «missione combat» ma tradotto significa «adoro l’odore del napalm al mattino»).

      3. Giungono tutti alle stesse conclusioni. E qui li lascio parlare: «In fin dei conti per bloccare i flussi migratori illegali l’arma più efficace (e la meno costosa) in mano all’Italia è rappresentata dai respingimenti sulle coste libiche dei migranti soccorsi in mare in cooperazione con la Guardia costiera di Tripoli». E ancora: «il metodo più adeguato alla bisogna, l’unico in grado di dare garanzie di riuscita é il blocco navale». [http://www.congedatifolgore.com/it/missione-in-niger-meglio-un-blocco-navale-che-svegliare-i-gruppi-jihadisti-dormienti-nel-sahel/]

      Purtroppo purtroppissimo le loro facili soluzioni (blocco navale e respingimenti collettivi) sono illegali oltre che disumane anche se avrebbero l’indubbio merito di gettare finalmente la maschera che copre i volti dei nostri governanti.
      E poi sarebbe brutto attuare un blocco navale e due mesi dopo presentare ad Oslo la candidatura di Lampedusa al Nobel per la Pace. Davvero brutto. Anche se in fin dei conti uno come Gentiloni potrebbe sempre rispondere che era pacifista negli anni ’80 ma che oggi, all’alba del 2018, «fra la vostra fede e la mia Glock, scelgo la Glock» (per citare un altro noto pacifista di Hollywood).
      Gentiloni: da pacifista militante a finanziatore di dittatori e guerre
      Speciale per Africa ExPress Antonio Mazzeo Catania, 11 dicembre 2016 Paolo Gentiloni l’ha spuntata: il ministro degli affari esteri e della cooperazione…

    • Il ministro Alfano in missione in Niger

      “Questa visita a Niamey giunge al culmine di un anno intenso di incontri ai massimi livelli fra Italia e Niger, che hanno portato i due Paesi ad avere rapporti sempre più stretti. Il Niger è oramai divenuto un alleato strategico nel quadro della nostra politica estera in Africa. L’Italia ha aperto l’Ambasciata a Niamey che ho inaugurato personalmente nel corso della missione odierna. Presto rafforzeremo i rapporti di cooperazione in materia di sicurezza con particolare attenzione alla formazione e supporto delle forze nigerine per il controllo del territorio ed il contrasto dei traffici illeciti, ad iniziare da quello di essere umani. Nel 2017, l’Italia ha destinato al Niger il 40% delle risorse a valere sul Fondo Africa, contribuendo ad affrontare le cause profonde del fenomeno migratorio. I dati dell’OIM evidenziano, infatti, una netta riduzione del numero di migranti che dal Niger entrano in Libia e un aumento dei rimpatri volontari di migranti dal Niger verso i Paesi di origine”.


    • Quali interessi sul Niger? Una intervista a Giacomo Zandonini

      «A mio avviso si utilizza la “questione migranti” per interessi geopolitici molto più ampi. Il Niger è diventato un paese importante, una base logistica e un paese sicuro per garantire gli interessi occidentali. L’Italia, alla fine del febbraio scorso ha aperto una propria ambasciata provvisoria a Niamey (la capitale Ndr) ma l’ambasciatore era già stato nominato nel dicembre 2016. Ora l’ambasciata è stata trasferita in altri locali e inaugurata alla presenza del ministro degli esteri Angelino Alfano ma, a quanto mi risulta il personale è ancora limitato. Non ci sono ancora funzionari addetti a occuparsi delle relazioni economiche e non c’è un ufficio consolare. Ma insieme a questo aspetto di forte visibilità si è mosso anche altro. Un percorso iniziato già nel 2010 col ministro dell’interno Roberto Maroni e con i primi interventi dell’Oim che si è accelerato negli ultimi due anni. L’Italia è il principale donatore del fondo fiduciario d’emergenza per l’Africa dell’UE, di cui il Niger è uno dei primi destinatari. Il nostro governo ha concesso 50 milioni di euro come supporto al budget dello Stato del Niger, un contributo in fase di erogazione, in più tranches, che serve anche per accreditarsi come partner. Non ci sono veri e propri obblighi rispetto all’uso che verrà fatto di questi soldi ma unicamente vincoli. In primis il fatto che questi soldi dovranno essere destinati ai ministeri della Giustizia e degli Interni. Perché si continui a versare le diverse tranche è necessario il soddisfacimento di alcuni indicatori molto ampi che vanno dalla riduzione del numero di migranti che passeranno dal Niger all’aumento di guardie di controllo alle frontiere. Di fatto però il contenuto dei contratti fra UE e Niger e fra Italia e UE non é stato reso pubblico. L’unico documento che ho potuto visionare è il decreto che stanzia il cobtributo, parte del “Fondo Africa” della Farnesina. Fra gli indicatori specifici che rientrano nell’accordo fra UE e Niger c’è l’allargamento e la ristrutturazione di una pista di atterraggio a Dirkou, un avamposto commerciale e militare nel nord del paese. Dirkou è un punto chiave della rotta verso la Libia, la pista di atterraggio attualmente è usata per voli militari e rari voli umanitari ma le ragioni del suo ampliamento vengono spacciate dai funzionari italiani come “umanitarie”. Dovrebbe servire a facilitare l’evacuazione di migranti dalla Libia e a garantire un supporto ai soccorsi nel deserto, realizzati dall’Organizzazione Internazionale per le Migrazioni con la Protezione Civile del Niger. A Dirkou si prevede anche di realizzare un nuovo “centro di transito” per migranti. Un altro requisito, per la prosecuzione del finanziamento italiano, è che il Niger adotti una Strategia nazionale per la sicurezza e una Strategia nazionale contro le migrazioni irregolari, documenti effettivamente redatti negli ultimi mesi».


    • Il Niger e i veri motivi del prossimo intervento militare italiano

      Cosa succede in Niger? Perché l’Italia sta portando un proprio contingente militare? Il motivo è il controllo dei flussi migratori oppure c’è altro? Vita.it raccoglie la testimonianza del giornalista e ricercatore #Giacomo_Zandonini, che ha passato due degli ultimi sei mesi nel Paese africano oggi al centro dell’attenzione europea. Zandonini è stato soprattutto nella regione di Agadez e nei villaggi sparsi nella zona predesertica sia per reportage (a questo link un suo contributo per Openmigration) che per il rapporto sul Fondo fiduciario della Ue per l’Africa promosso dalla rete di ong Concord Europe e per un lavoro di documentazione per l’Oim, Organizzazione internazionale delle migrazioni.


    • La camera approva la missione militare italiana in Niger

      La camera dei deputati ha approvato il decreto missioni con una larga maggioranza. Hanno votato contro Liberi e uguali e il Movimento 5 stelle. Si è astenuta la Lega nord, mentre il Partito democratico e Forza Italia hanno votato a favore del decreto, che prevede il ridimensionamento della presenza militare italiana in Afghanistan e in Iraq e l’intervento militare in Niger, nell’ambito della missione del G5 (Mali, Ciad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania) nel Sahel, in cui l’Italia ha chiesto di essere membro osservatore. Nel complesso nel 2008 l’Italia spenderà 1,5 miliardi di euro in 31 missioni e in 21 paesi, ma solo una parte di questi fondi è stata approvata dal parlamento.

      In Iraq sarà ridotta la presenza italiana: i militari passeranno da 1.500 a 750, mentre in Afghanistan si passerà da 900 a 700 soldati. I contingenti italiani saranno spostati in Africa, in particolare in Libia e in Niger. In Libia si passerà da 370 a 400 soldati, mentre in Niger saranno mandati 470 soldati, centoventi nel primo semestre del 2018.


    • L’Italie veut envoyer des soldats au Niger, refus de Niamey

      L’Italie avait annoncé, fin 2017, son intention d’envoyer des militaires au Niger afin de lutter contre l’insécurité. Paolo Gentiloni, le Premier ministre italien, avait précisé que cette décision faisait suite à une demande venue du gouvernement nigérien. Un premier contingent de 120 hommes devait partir pour le Niger en ce début d’année. Mais le gouvernement nigérien nie avoir été consulté à ce sujet.


    • Niger: mistero sulla missione italiana?

      Il 30 gennaio scorso, però, è arrivata una doccia fredda da parte del Governo nigerino: secondo l’emittente francese ‘Radio France International‘ (RFI), le Autorità di Niamey avrebbero negato di aver richiesto l’intervento di Roma e persino di essere state informate della missione dal Governo italiano. Inoltre, il Governo della Repubblica del Niger si sarebbe detto contrario alla missione italiana sul suo territorio e avrebbe dichiarato di essere già supportato da esperti statunitensi e francesi.


    • Ministro Interni del Niger: nessun accordo con l’Italia per una missione militare

      Il ministro degli Interni nigerino Mohamed Bazoum definisce «inconcepibile» la missione militare italiana approvata a fine gennaio dal parlamento. Ai microfoni dell’inviato di Rainews24 Ilario Piagnerelli, Bazoum spiega come non ci siano mai stati contatti in merito tra Roma e Niamey e racconta di aver appreso la notizia dai media. Resta aperto lo spiraglio per una «missione di esperti», ma non con ruoli operativi e non «nell’ordine dei quattrocento». Questo, dice il ministro, "non è concepibile, semplicemente”


  • Une nouvelle force antiterroriste dans le Sahel

    Le Burkina Faso, le Mali, la Mauritanie, le Niger et le Tchad ont décidé de faire front commun en créant la #Force_conjointe_du_G5_Sahel (#FC-G5S), une armée constituée de 5 000 soldats qui sera déployée dans cette région particulièrement agitée pour affronter les combattants islamistes. Mais une nouvelle réponse militaire à la crise est-elle la solution ?

    #sahel #anti-terrorisme #armée #G5_Sahel #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique
    cc @reka

    Et en anglais :
    New Sahel anti-terror force : risks and opportunities

    • @kassem: quelques réponses à ta question ici:

      The European Union’s partnership with the G5 Sahel countries

      On 23 February 2018, the European Commission is hosting the International High Level Conference on the Sahel in Brussels, with the African Union, the United Nations and the G5 Sahel group of countries, to strengthen international support for the G5 Sahel regions.

      Why is the EU working with Africa’s “G5 Sahel countries”?

      In 2014, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger set up the “G5 Sahel” group of countries to foster close cooperation in the region and tackle the major challenges that these countries face. Since then, the EU has stepped up cooperation with this African-led initiative to build a strong partnership on many fronts: from political dialogue, to development and humanitarian support, to strengthening security and tackling irregular migration.

      The Sahel region faces a number of pressing challenges such as extreme poverty, frequent food and nutrition crises, conflict, irregular migration and related crimes such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling. Violent extremism also poses a serious security challenge to the region and has potential spill-over effects outside the region, including Europe.

      What are the EU’s main areas of support to the G5 Sahel countries?

      The EU is now supporting the G5 Sahel countries on 3 main tracks:

      Political partnership: The EU is a strong political partner of the G5 Sahel countries and has set up regular “EU-G5” dialogues. High Representative Vice-President Federica Mogherini has held annual meetings with G5 Sahel Foreign Ministers to strengthen cooperation in areas of shared interest such as security, migration, counter-terrorism, youth employment, humanitarian response and long-term development. The EU is also strongly engaged in the Mali peace process.
      Development assistance: The EU, together with its Member States, is the biggest provider of development assistance to the region with €8 billion over 2014-2020. It uses all its tools to support development efforts in the region, notably the ’EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa’ under which €843 million has been committed so far. The EU is also a member and key supporter of the newly formed Alliance for the Sahel, set up to coordinate existing EU and Member States development assistance better in the region, in a faster and more interlinked way than before through joint action.
      Security support: The EU supports concrete regional-led security initiatives. The EU has already provided an initial €50 million to establish the African led G5 Sahel Joint Force which aims to improve regional security and fight terrorist groups. The EU is itself a key security player in the region, with its 3 active Common Security and Defence Policy missions; EUCAP Sahel Niger, EUCAP Sahel Mali, EU training mission (EUTM) in Mali.

      How is the EU involved in the Alliance for the Sahel?

      The EU is a member of the Alliance for the Sahel, launched and signed by the EU, France and Germany in July 2017. It is currently composed of 9 members: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, the EU, UNDP, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the World Bank. It aims to coordinate and deliver aid quicker and more efficiently in the region. It will have a particular focus on peripheral, cross border and fragile zones of the Sahel. Since its launch, the Sahel Alliance has identified priority six priority areas: (1) youth employment; (2) rural development, agriculture and food security; (3) climate, notably energy access, green energy and water; (4) governance; (5) support for return of basic services throughout the territory, including through decentralisation; (6) security.

      What security support does the EU provide in the Sahel?

      The G5 Sahel Joint Force

      The EU has fully supported this African led initiative from the very beginning and provided an initial contribution of €50 million to help set it up. This EU funding is provided through the African Peace Facility and can only cover non-lethal equipment.

      Building on the EU’s defence planning capacity and expertise, the EU has set up a one of a kind Coordination Hub to gather together the many offers of international support to the G5 Joint Force. The Hub is already up and running and enables donors to channel much needed assistance. In practice it works by matching the offers of donors to a Recognised List of Needs provided and determined by the Joint Force.

      The Joint Force will be comprised of troops from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, and will operate in all five countries. To step up action on security, particularly in border areas in the Sahel countries which face terrorist and security threats, the G5 Sahel countries have set up their own regional security force. Concretely, the G5 Joint Force will have permanent forces deployed along the borders, able to operate together under a centralised command and communication structure. This will help tackle the pressing terrorist and security threat in the region, which is a cross-border issue for all the countries concerned.

      Missions under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

      The EU currently has three CSDP missions in the Sahel:

      EUCAP Sahel Niger is a civilian mission supporting the Nigerien security institutions/forces (Police, Gendarmerie, National Guard, Armed forces) to reinforce the rule of law and Nigerien capacities to fight terrorism and organised crime. Since May 2015, its mandate has been enlarged to a fifth objective related to migration. Niger has opened a field office in Agadez, with a permanent presence activated from May 2015.
      EUCAP Sahel Mali is a civilian mission providing expertise in strategic advice and training to the Malian Police, Gendarmerie and National Guard and the relevant ministries in order to support reform in the security sector. A renewed mandate extends the mission until January 2019 and includes a reference to ‘the Accord for Peace & Reconciliation’ and instructions to contribute to the inter-operability and coordination of the internal security forces of the G5 Sahel countries and the Malian internal security forces.
      EUTM Mali is a military training mission providing advice to the Malian authorities in the restructuring of the Malian Armed Forces, through the training of battalions (8 between 2013 and 2017) and support for the elaboration of the first Defence Programming Law ever adopted in Mali. Since July 2017, two security experts – one military and one civil – have been deployed in each of the five Sahel countries as part of the regionalisation of the CSPD missions. Their mandate currently runs until May 2018.

      How does the EU support the peace process in Mali?

      The EU is actively supporting Mali’s peace process and is a guarantor of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement signed in 2015. The EU supports the United Nations Resolution for targeted sanctions against those who threaten the Mali peace agreement, and is a major partner of Mali on security. Two EU CSDP missions, one military (EUTM) and one civilian (EUCAP Sahel Mali) provide strategic advice and training to Mali’s Armed and Security Forces and relevant ministries in order to contribute to the restauration of Malian territorial integrity, the protection of the population, and to support reforms in the security sector. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini visited Mali in June 2017 and announced EU support of €500,000 to the ’Comité de suivi de l’accord pour la paix et la réconciliation au Mali’.

      How does the EU support the region with humanitarian assistance?

      The European Union is one of the largest providers of humanitarian aid to the Sahel countries (including Nigeria and Senegal). In 2017, the European Commission allocated €234 million, including €90.2 million for food assistance, €56.7 million for nutrition, €22.5 million for health and €11 million for protection. Furthermore, the EU also supports disaster risk reduction initiatives to enhance emergency preparedness and response. Thanks to EU support, over 1.9 million vulnerable people received food assistance in 2017. The EU also supported the treatment of 455,000 children for malnutrition and in need of assistance.

      EU assistance per G5 Sahel country:

      Burkina Faso

      European Development Fund: €628 million (2014-2020): support for good governance, health, food security, agriculture, water, employment, culture, sustainable energy, public services, including budget support
      EU Trust Fund for Africa: €154,5 million (since 2016) plus regional projects
      Humanitarian aid: €6.5 million (2017)


      European Development Fund: €542 million (2014-2020): support for (i) food security, nutrition and rural development; (ii) management of natural resources; (iii) strengthening the rule of law
      Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: €113.3 million (since 2016) plus regional projects
      Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace: €6.9 million
      Humanitarian aid: €53 million (2017)


      European Development Fund: €665 million (2014-2020): support for (i) peace consolidation and State reform, (ii) Rural Development and food security, (iii) education and infrastructure
      African Investment Facility: €100 million for the construction of road and energy infrastructures
      Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: €186.5 million (since 2016) plus regional projects
      Humanitarian aid: €34 million (2017)
      EU CSDP missions: EUCAP Sahel Mali, EUTM Mali


      European Development Fund: €160 million (2014-2020): support for (i) rural development, (ii) good governance and (iii) the improvement of the health system.
      African Investment Facility: €20.5 million for the construction of infrastructure.
      Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: €54.2 million (since 2016) plus regional projects.
      Humanitarian aid: €11.8 million (2017)


      European Development Fund: €686 million (2014-2020): support for (i) food security and resilience (ii) supporting the State in delivering social services (iii) security, governance, and peace consolidation (iv) road infrastructure for regions at risk of insecurity and conflict.
      Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: €229.9 million (since 2016)
      Humanitarian aid: €42.6 million (2017)
      African Investment Facility: 36 million (2017)
      Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace
      CSDP mission: EUCAP Sahel Niger

      #Mauritanie #Mali #Tchad #Burkina_Faso #business #argent

    • Vu du Burkina Faso. L’armée française encore endeuillée, le G5 Sahel a besoin d’aide

      Deux soldats français ont été tués au Mali, mercredi 21 février. Selon ce site d’information burkinabé, c’est le signe que le sommet sur le G5 Sahel, qui se tient à Bruxelles vendredi, doit proposer des avancées concrètes pour lutter contre le terrorisme dans la région.


    • Donors pledge $500 million for troops in West Africa’s Sahel

      BRUSSELS (Reuters) - International donors pledged half a billion dollars for a multinational military operation in West Africa’s Sahel region on Friday, as Europe seeks to stop migrants and militants reaching its shores.


    • New funding for Sahel confirms link between development efforts, security and migration control

      In the context of the High Level Conference on the Sahel, an international commitment of 414 million Euro’s was announced by the European Commission on February 23. The ambition of tackling root causes of instability and irregular migration resembles the focus areas of the EU Partnership with Sahel.

      The announcement of funding confirms the willingness of EU and Member States to commit substantial economic and political investment in the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger) including 8 billion Euro in development assistance (2014-2020), and 100 million Euro additional contribution to the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel.

      The EU is already active in the region with three Common Security and Defence Policy missions in the region (EUCAP Sahel Niger, EUCAP Sahel, Mali, EUTM Mali) and 843 million Euro committed through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

      From the EU-G5 Sahel strengthened partnership, created in 2014 to the Sahel Regional Action Plan (RAP), adopted in 2015, and to the German French led Alliance for the Sahel in 2017, migration management and security are constant and interlinked areas of focus.

      “It is positive that Europe is increasing funding for the Sahel region where the needs are evident and urgent. However, it is vital that the focus is on the long-term development, with the SDG as the yardstick, and on the security of the people in the region. Focusing spending on prevention of migration to Europe doesn’t tackle root causes – and may even exacerbate them by disrupting local economic migration. There are multiple development, human security, and sector reform activities, run by local populations and authorities across the Sahel, in which the EU could invest,” says ECRE Secretary General Catherine Woollard.

      The increased focus on security and migration control was criticized by Francesco Rocca, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) after a recent visit to Niger meeting stranded migrants unable to reach Europe and unable to return home: “When we talk about European migration policies, it is only about security – how they are not allowed to enter – and not about the dignified manner in which you have to treat human beings,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

      France is heavily engaged in Sahel and has 4000 troops in the region, is conducting asylum procedures in Niger as the first European country to do so on the African continent and a French draft law on immigration and asylum put forward by the Macron government on February 21 defines Niger as a safe third country.

      The European Commission (February 27) as well as the Council of the European Union (February 26) have announced additional substantial funding packages with a focus on migrant management.

      #développement #migrations #sécurité

    • Rencontre à Niamey sur la migration - Déclaration conjointe suivant la réunion de coordination de la lutte contre le trafic illicite de migrants et la traite des êtres humains

      Les Ministres de l’Intérieur et des Affaires étrangères d’#Allemagne, du #Burkina_Faso, de la #Côte_d’Ivoire, de l’#Espagne, de la #Guinée, de la #France, de l’#Italie, de la #Libye, du #Mali, de la #Mauritanie, du #Niger, du #Sénégal, du #Tchad, ainsi que l’Union européenne, l’Organisation des Nations unies, la Commission de l’Union africaine, les Secrétariats du G5 Sahel et de la #CENSAD, se sont réunis à Niamey le 16 mars 2018, à l’invitation du Niger assurant la Présidence du G5 Sahel, pour améliorer la coordination de la lutte contre le trafic illicite de migrants et la traite des êtres humains entre les Etats d’origine, de transit et d’arrivée de migrants. Ont participé à cette réunion l’Organisation Internationale des Migrations et le Haut- Commissariat aux Réfugiés des Nations Unies et l’Office des Nations unies contre la drogue et le crime.

      2. Rappelant que le Niger, le Tchad, la Libye, l’Union européenne, la France, l’Allemagne, l’Italie et l’Espagne ont affirmé, dans une déclaration conjointe adoptée à Paris le 28 août 2017, leur volonté de lutter contre les réseaux de passeurs afin de limiter les migrations irrégulières vers l’Europe et de protéger les migrants contre les atteintes aux droits de l’Homme et les conditions dégradantes qu’ils subissent. Ils sont également convenus à cette fin de renforcer leur soutien opérationnel aux efforts des pays de transit des migrations.

      3. Soulignant que ces objectifs ont été réaffirmés lors du Sommet Union européenne-Union africaine d’Abidjan le 29 novembre 2017 qui a permis l’adoption d’un plan en neuf points pour renforcer la coopération entre les services de police et de renseignement pour lutter contre les réseaux de trafiquants et des passeurs et mettre ainsi un terme à leurs activités, y compris les circuits financiers et leurs avoirs, et aux crimes subis par les migrants.

      4. Reconnaissant les efforts en vue de la réinstallation des réfugiés identifiés et évacués de la Libye, en coopération étroite avec le Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés et ce conformément aux priorités de l’UE, de l’Allemagne, de l’Espagne, de la France et de l’Italie qui avaient convenu de mener des missions de protection au Niger et au Tchad, en étroite concertation et en accord avec leurs gouvernements.

      5. Se basant sur les engagements pris dans le cadre du Plan d’action conjoint de la Valette, des Processus de Rabat et de Khartoum, de la Déclaration de Malte et se félicitant des résultats atteints dans ces cadres ;

      6. Soulignant la nécessité d’une approche globale et solidaire pour la gestion intégrée de la migration et ce, à travers notamment le partage équitable des responsabilités entre les pays d’origine, de transit et de destination, et selon leurs capacités nationales, en l’occurrence par le financement de projets d’investissement, en particulier dans les zones d’origine et de transit des migrants ;

      7. Rappelant la volonté de poursuivre une approche coordonnée au développement durable dans le but de s’attaquer aux causes profondes de la migration irrégulière et des déplacements forcés dans les pays d’origine ;

      8. Relevant les efforts consentis par les différents pays se trouvant sur la route de la Méditerranée centrale, en particulier par les communautés locales dans les pays de transit, pour lutter contre les passeurs, prévenir la migration irrégulière, assister et rapatrier les migrants bloqués et coopérer à l’identification et à la protection des demandeurs d’asile et réfugiés ;

      9. Mettant en exergue la nécessité de développer les conditions d’émergence d’une économie alternative à l’économie souterraine du trafic illicite des migrants et de la traite des êtres humains par la création de nouvelles sources de revenus au profit des communautés affectées par le trafic ou en passe de l’être dans les pays de transit.

      10. Saluant les efforts déjà fournis dans la gestion et la gouvernance de la migration par les pays africains, l’UE et ses Etats membres à travers la mise en œuvre du Plan de la Valette et les dialogues politiques migratoires nationaux et régionaux.

      11. Rappelant le soutien continu offert par l’UE et ses Etats membres qui ont déjà permis, entre autres, en partenariat avec l’Organisation Internationale pour les Migrations et le Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés, le retour volontaire et la réintégration de 15 000 migrants et l’évacuation de plus de 1000 réfugiés de Libye en accord avec les engagements pris lors du Sommet Union Africaine – Union Européenne d’Abidjan.

      12. Les participants ont convenu d’engager ensemble les actions suivantes :

      1) Renforcer les cadres législatifs nationaux en matière de lutte contre le trafic illicite et la traite d’êtres humains

      13. Continuer de soutenir l’élaboration de stratégies migratoires nationales cohérentes visant à garantir les droits des migrants et permettant de judiciariser l’ensemble des formes de criminalité associées au trafic illicite de migrants et à la traite des êtres humains, de lutter contre le blanchiment d’argent et de saisir les avoirs criminels.

      14. Promouvoir notamment la Convention des Nations Unies contre la criminalité transnationale organisée et en particulier la ratification de ses deux protocoles, l’un visant à prévenir, réprimer et punir la traite des personnes, en particulier des femmes et des enfants, l’autre à lutter contre le trafic illicite de migrants par terre, air et mer.

      15. Faciliter davantage le partage d’expériences, la conduite de missions techniques d’assistance menées par les Etats déjà parties à ces protocoles et l’établissement d’un mécanisme de suivi de l’élaboration des cadres législatifs nationaux visant à cette ratification.

      16. Encourager la ratification par les Etats membres de la CEDEAO impliqués dans la lutte contre le trafic de migrants de tous les protocoles et conventions de cette organisation contre la traite des Personnes et le Trafic illicite de Migrants, afin de disposer d’un arsenal juridique uniforme pour développer la coopération policière entre ces Etats.

      2) Renforcer les outils nationaux de lutte opérationnelle contre le trafic illicite de migrants et la traite des êtres humains et mieux coordonner ces outils nationaux au niveau régional

      17. Soutenir, dans les pays africains d’origine et de transit des migrants la création d’équipes conjointes d’investigation (ECI), coordonnées étroitement avec les forces de police et de gendarmerie nationales, les forces armées et les gardes nationales, ainsi que la Force Conjointe du G5 Sahel, ayant pour mission d’identifier et d’interpeler les membres de réseaux d’immigration irrégulière et de traite des êtres humains, et assurer un financement pérenne du fonctionnement de ces structures.

      18. Soutenir, dans les mêmes pays, la création de groupes d’action rapide – surveillance et intervention (GAR-SI), destinés à stabiliser les zones isolées et les régions transfrontalières pour faire cesser les trafics de migrants et lutter contre la traite des êtres humains. Assurer la durabilité et la bonne intégration de ces dispositifs par les autorités nationales dans le maillage national des forces de défense et de sécurité, ainsi que la coordination régionale de ces dispositifs nationaux, afin de pouvoir lutter efficacement contre les réseaux transnationaux.

      19. Appuyer l’évolution des mandats des missions EUCAP SAHEL Niger et EUCAP Mali, ainsi que EUBAM Libye, dans le cadre d’une approche coordonnée aux actions de l’Union Européenne de sécurité et de défense commune dans la région, en vue de renforcer le soutien aux forces de sécurité intérieure contre les réseaux de passeurs.

      20. Sur la base d’AFIC (Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community), renforcer la coopération avec l’Agence Européenne de Garde-Frontières et de Garde-Côtes (Frontex) et établir des partenariats opérationnels entre les pays d’origine et de transit des flux migratoires et l’Agence Européenne de Garde-Frontières et de Garde-Côtes, notamment en développant davantage l’échange d’informations et le travail analytique conjoint concernant la gestion des frontières, y compris la lutte contre le trafic illicite de migrants, la traite des êtres humains et d’autres activités illicites affectant la sécurité des frontières..

      21. Assurer une coordination régionale entre équipes nationales d’investigation pour assurer le démantèlement effectif des réseaux transnationaux. En particulier, établir une matrice recensant des points de contacts nationaux en charge de la lutte contre les réseaux de trafic de migrants et de traite des êtres humains, pour assurer des échanges réguliers entre services de sécurité intérieure.

      22. Assurer la bonne appropriation et le fonctionnement des systèmes d’échanges et de partage d’information- qui pourront être favorisés par la mise en place dans chaque pays d’un système électronique centralisée d’information policière pour assurer la coordination de la lutte contre la criminalité organisée, y compris en matière de trafic de migrants et de traite des êtres humains, qui sont actuellement développés en Afrique de l’Ouest, tels que la plateforme de coopération en matière de sécurité (PCMS) du G5 Sahel et le Système d’Information Policière pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest (SIPAO/WAPIS).

      3) Renforcer les capacités technique et matérielle des Forces de défense et de sécurité en charge de la lutte contre le trafic illicite et la traite de personnes dans les pays d’origine et de transit.

      23. Développer et intensifier des formations des membres des Forces de Défense et Sécurité chargées de la lutte contre le trafic de migrants dans tous les pays pour qu’elles développent un savoir spécifique dans le domaine. Les activités de formation menées par EUCAP Sahel Niger et Mali peuvent servir de référence pour l’élaboration et la conduite de ces programmes de formation (détection de faux documents, enquêtes sur réseaux, etc.).

      24. Soutenir la mise en place des infrastructures et l’équipement des Forces de Défense et de Sécurité dans le cadre du contrôle des frontières dans des zones névralgiques sur la route de migration irrégulière de la Méditerranée centrale (Nord Niger et Nord Tchad).

      4) Renforcer la coopération judiciaire

      25. Soutenir la mise en place et le renforcement de dispositifs de coopération judiciaire à l’échelle de l’Afrique de l’Ouest. En particulier, assurer la consolidation du réseau d’Autorités Centrales et de Procureurs d’Afrique de l’Ouest (WACAP), établi au sein de la CEDEAO et qui associe la Mauritanie, notamment en appuyant financièrement le développement du dispositif.

      26. Travailler à la coordination des réseaux judiciaires avec les mécanismes d’entraide judiciaire qui existent dans les pays de destination des migrants et des victimes de la traite afin de disposer d’un cadre cohérent associant pays d’origine, de transit et de destination des migrations irrégulières. Promouvoir des mécanismes d’entraide judiciaire et d’extradition entre les Etats où de tels mécanismes n’existent pas.

      5) Renforcer le contrôle des frontières

      27. Renforcer les dispositifs nationaux de contrôle des frontières, associant à la fois les forces de défense et les forces de sécurité intérieure, pour identifier les voies empruntées par les flux migratoires irréguliers et permettre l’interception des moyens de transport utilisés par les réseaux de trafic illicite de migrants et de traite des êtres humains.

      28. Renforcer les dispositifs régionaux de surveillance des frontières dont l’action doit contribuer à la lutte contre l’activité des réseaux de trafic de migrants et de traite des êtres humains. A cet égard, appuyer la pleine mise en œuvre du mandat de lutte contre les trafiquants de migrants et la traite des êtres humains au sein du G5 Sahel, en particulier par le développement au sein des PC de fuseau d’une composante police et justice afin d’assurer la continuité de la chaîne pénale et un traitement judiciaire approprié des personnes interpelées.

      6) Protéger les migrants irréguliers et les victimes de la traite

      29. Appuyer le travail conjoint de la Task Force tripartite UA-UE-ONU mise en place au Sommet d’Abidjan afin de faciliter la protection internationale des demandeurs d’asile actuellement en Libye et au Niger, en vue de leur prise en charge dans les meilleures conditions humaines et matérielles par le HCR et l’OIM et dans ce cadre, soutenir les programmes de retour volontaire assisté des migrants

      30. Respecter les termes des engagements pris dans la déclaration conjointe adoptée à Paris le 28 août 2017 et réaffirmés lors du Sommet Union européenne-Union africaine d’Abidjan le 29 novembre 2017 concernant la réinstallation par les pays européens des réfugiés et des demandeurs d’asile évacués hors de Libye.

      31. Mettre en place des mécanismes de référencement, d’orientation et de prise en charge des victimes de la traite des êtres humains afin d’éviter qu’elles soient à nouveau la cible de réseaux criminels de traite. Mettre en place des dispositifs d’accompagnement des migrants interpellés avec les passeurs afin d’éviter de nouvelles sollicitations ou tentatives de migration irrégulière.

      32. Continuer de soutenir les migrants vulnérables sur le chemin du retour pour faciliter leur intégration économique dans leurs communautés locales ;

      7) Assurer le développement durable et la promotion d’une économie alternative pour la maitrise des flux migratoires.

      33. Continuer la mise en œuvre effective du plan de la Valette par la prise en compte des programmes de développement durable pour s’attaquer aux causes profondes de la migration irrégulière et des programmes pour la maitrise des flux migratoires et le développement d’une économie alternative.

      34. Promouvoir des alternatives économiques au trafic dans la région et développer la résilience des populations locales à travers l’amélioration de l’accès aux services de base et la création d’opportunités d’emploi, notamment pour les jeunes.

      35. Renforcer les mécanismes de suivi et d’évaluation des projets FFU et des autres partenaires entrant dans le cadre de la lutte contre le trafic illicite de migrants et la traite de personnes ;

      8) Assurer le suivi des engagements

      36. Instituer un mécanisme permanent de suivi des engagements pris pendant la présente réunion.

      37. Organiser le 18 juin 2018, à Niamey, un atelier de concertation régionale sur la lutte contre le trafic de migrants et la traite des êtres humains, qui réunira les directeurs généraux des services de défense et de sécurité intérieure, les directeurs généraux chargés de la migration, les points focaux nationaux en charge de la lutte contre les réseaux de trafic et de traite des Etats participants, pour accompagner la mise en œuvre pratique des engagements contenus dans cette déclaration.

      38. Informer les pays partenaires des progrès effectués dans la mise en œuvre des engagements contenus dans cette déclaration par le biais des points de contact des participants.

      STATEMENT/18/2067, Bruxelles, 16 Mars 2018


  • Au #Mali, « la #France impose une lecture fermée de la crise »

    Yvan Guichaoua © DR Alors que de nouvelles attaques ont fait neuf morts au Mali le 14 août, le chercheur Yvan Guichaoua, spécialiste du Sahel, décrypte les failles de l’opération #Barkhane au Sahel, la plus importante de l’armée française hors des frontières nationales.

    #International #France #G5_Sahel #intervention_militaire