• Des appareils de #surveillance de #Frontex sont utilisés par les #gardes-côtes_libyens pour intercepter illégalement des migrants

    « Le Monde » a identifié l’origine de sept images aériennes publiées par les gardes-côtes libyens sur leurs pages Facebook. Elles ont été réalisées par des appareils de surveillance de Frontex, et démontrent comment les activités de l’agence européenne facilitent des #interceptions illicites par les Libyens en Méditerranée. Frontex a toujours soutenu ne pas collaborer avec les garde-côtes libyens.

    « Le patrouilleur #Fezzan a porté secours à un chalutier en feu et a sauvé son équipage de huit personnes. » Le 24 août 2021, la page Facebook « Gardes-côtes et sécurité portuaire » publie le bilan d’une opération de sauvetage menée au cours de la journée par les gardes-côtes libyens. Pour l’illustrer, la page publie une photo du chalutier en feu.


    La présence d’informations temporelles et de localisations sur l’image indique qu’il s’agit d’une prise de vue réalisée par un appareil de #surveillance_aérienne, et non par un simple appareil photo. Ce genre d’images, entre 2018 et 2022, les gardes-côtes libyens en ont publié une douzaine, sur différents comptes et réseaux. Sauf que la #Libye n’est pas dotée d’appareils capables de réaliser ces images. Qui en est à l’origine ?

    Pour identifier leur source, Le Monde a recoupé les informations qu’elles contiennent avec des données #ADS-B, un signal émis par les #avions en vol, ainsi qu’avec les journaux de bord de plusieurs ONG actives en Méditerranée, dans les airs ou en mer. Dans le cas du 24 août 2021, par exemple, les informations présentes sur l’image indiquent les coordonnées, l’altitude et l’heure précise à laquelle l’appareil se trouvait lorsqu’il a réalisé cette image. Elles donnent aussi la position approximative du chalutier observé par l’appareil.

    Nous avons reconstitué le trafic aérien au-dessus de la Méditerranée dans la matinée du 24 août 2021. En comparant les parcours des différents appareils avec les données disponibles sur l’image, nous avons ainsi pu identifier un appareil qui se trouvait précisément aux coordonnées et à l’altitude à laquelle la photo a été prise, lorsqu’elle a été réalisée : le #drone AS2132, opéré par Frontex.

    Pour d’autres images, nous avons eu accès aux observations d’ONG, comme SeaWatch ou SOS Méditerranée, consignées dans des journaux de bord. Ceux-ci sont librement accessibles ici. Au total, ce travail nous permet d’affirmer que sur cinq dates différentes les images publiées par les gardes-côtes libyens ont été réalisées par des appareils de Frontex. Au moins une autre l’a été par un appareil de l’#EunavforMed, la force navale européenne en Méditerranée, qui collabore avec Frontex.

    Des interceptions impossibles sans renseignements extérieurs

    Sollicitée, l’agence de garde-frontière l’assure : « il n’y a pas de collaboration entre Frontex et les gardes-côtes libyens », ce qu’affirmait déjà en mars 2021 son ex-directeur Fabrice Leggeri. L’agence précise, en revanche : « Chaque fois qu’un avion de Frontex découvre une embarcation en détresse, une alerte – et une image, le cas échéant – est immédiatement envoyée au centre de coordination des sauvetages régional. L’information envoyée inclut notamment la position, la navigabilité du navire et la probabilité qu’il n’atteigne pas sa destination finale. »

    De fait, dans les cinq cas identifiés par Le Monde, les images de Frontex ont pourtant bien fini entre les mains des gardes-côtes libyens. Et certaines ont vraisemblablement rendu possible l’interception d’embarcations, autrement impossibles à localiser pour les Libyens. Dans le cas du 8 mai 2019, par exemple, l’avion de Frontex découvre une embarcation en route pour l’Europe en Méditerranée centrale. Un contact est établi entre les autorités libyennes et l’agence, mais il n’émet pas de Mayday. Ce message d’urgence aurait pu être capté par tous les avions et navires à proximité à ce moment-là, dont le Mare Jonio, de l’ONG Mediterranea Saving Humans, spécialisé dans le sauvetage. Frontex dit n’envoyer des Maydays que « lorsqu’il existe un danger imminent pour la vie des occupants ».

    Les gardes-côtes libyens retrouvent finalement sans difficulté l’embarcation, pourtant située à plus d’une centaine de kilomètres de leurs côtes. A 17 heures, ils font monter les migrants à bord de leur patrouilleur avant de les rapatrier en Libye. Une interception que les informations de Frontex ont vraisemblablement facilitée, voire rendue possible. Pendant toute la durée de l’opération, l’avion de Frontex continue de survoler la zone, et de filmer la scène. Des images auxquelles les gardes-côtes ont aussi eu accès.

    Frontex souligne que, conformément au règlement européen relatif à la surveillance des #frontières_maritimes_extérieures, ses alertes ne sont pas adressées aux gardes-côtes libyens, mais au « #centre_régional_de_coordination_des_sauvetages (#RCC) [libyen] (…) internationalement reconnu ». Une fois l’alerte envoyée, « Frontex ne coordonne pas les opérations de recherche et de sauvetage (...), c’est la responsabilité des centres de secours régionaux« . Reste à savoir si ce RCC existe réellement. Frontex s’en tient à la position de l’#Organisation_maritime_internationale (#OMI), qui a reconnu officiellement l’existence d’un RCC en 2018.

    Plusieurs enquêtes ont pourtant mis en doute l’existence d’un tel RCC libyen. Derrière les adresses e-mail et les numéros de téléphone du RCC se trouvent en réalité les gardes-côtes, selon les différentes ONG impliquées dans des opérations de sauvetage en mer Méditerranée. Et le 8 novembre 2022, le vice-président de la commission européenne, Josep Borrell, lui-même affirmait : « Le centre de coordination des secours maritime n’est pas encore opérationnel. »

    Parmi les règles européennes, que Frontex dit respecter, figure le principe du non-refoulement : « Nul ne peut être (…) débarqué, forcé à entrer, conduit dans un pays ou autrement remis aux autorités d’un pays où il existe (…) un risque sérieux qu’il soit soumis à la peine de mort, à la torture, à la persécution ou à d’autres peines ou traitements inhumains ou dégradants. » Des situations courantes en Libye, de sorte qu’en 2020 la Commission européenne affirmait que le pays n’était pas un « lieu sûr » vers lequel il serait possible de renvoyer des migrants. Dans un rapport de 2018, l’ONU constatait que « les migrants subissent des horreurs inimaginables en Libye (…). Ils s’exposent à des meurtres extrajudiciaires, à la torture et à des mauvais traitements, à la détention arbitraire (…), au viol (…), à l’esclavage et au travail forcé, à l’extorsion et à l’exploitation ».

    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/11/23/enquete-comment-des-appareils-de-surveillance-de-frontex-sont-utilises-par-l

    #garde-côtes_libyens #frontières #asile #migrations #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée

  • EU funds border control deal in Egypt with migration via Libya on rise

    The European Union signed an agreement with Egypt on Sunday (30 October) for the first phase of a €80 million border management programme, a statement from the EU delegation in Cairo said, at a time when Egyptian migration to Europe has been rising.

    The project aims to help Egypt’s coast and border guards reduce irregular migration and human trafficking along its border, and provides for the procurement of surveillance equipment such as search and rescue vessels, thermal cameras, and satellite positioning systems, according to an EU Commission document published this month.

    Since late 2016, irregular migration to Europe from the Egypt’s northern coast has slowed sharply. However, migration of Egyptians across Egypt’s long desert border with Libya and from Libya’s Mediterranean coast to Europe has been on the rise, diplomats say.

    From1 January to 28 October this year 16,413 migrants arriving by boat in Italy declared themselves to be Egyptian, making them the second largest group behind Tunisians, according to data published by Italy’s interior ministry.

    In 2021 more than 26,500 Egyptians were stopped at the Libyan border, according to the EU Commission document.

    Egypt is likely to experience “intensified flows” of migrants in the medium to long term due to regional instability, climate change, demographic shifts and lack of economic opportunities, the document says.

    The agreement for the first 23 million-euro phase of the project was signed during a visit to Cairo by the EU’s commissioner for neighbourhood and enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi.

    It will be implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and CIVIPOL, a French interior ministry agency, and is expected to include the provision of four search and rescue vessels, Laurent de Boeck, head of IOM’s Egypt office, said.

    The EU Commission document says that to date, Egypt has addressed irregular migration “predominantly from a security perspective, sometimes at the expense of other dimensions of migration management, including the rights based protection migrants, refugees and asylum seekers”.

    The programme will seek to develop the capacity of the Egyptian ministry of defence and other government and civil society stakeholders to apply “rights-based, protection oriented and gender sensitive approaches” in their border management, it says.

    https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-funds-border-control-deal-in-egypt-with-migration-via-libya-on-rise

    #EU #UE #Union_européenne #migrations #asile #réfugiés #contrôles_frontaliers #frontières #externalisation #Egypte #accord #border_management #aide_financière #gardes-côtes #surveillance #complexe_militaro-industriel #réfugiés_égyptiens #CIVIPOL #IOM #OIM

    • EU funding for the Egyptian Coast Guard (Strengthening a Partnership That Violates Human Rights)

      The Refugees Platform in Egypt (RPE) issues a paper on the European Union’s decision, last June, to fund the Egyptian Coast Guard with 80 million euros, an amount that will be paid in two phases with the aim of “purchasing maritime border control equipment”, but there are no details about what the equipment is and how it is going to be used, and without setting clear indicators to ensure accountability for potential human rights violations and protect the rights of people on the move.

      The paper notes that the EU has previously provided funding to strengthen migration management in Egypt, but in fact, the funds and support of the EU have contributed to tightening restrictions on irregular migration in Egypt, by using law No. 82 of 2016, the law in which among several things, it criminalizes aiding irregular migrants and contradicts with other laws that expand the circle of human rights violations against people on the move. RPE paper also criticizes the EU’s demand to enhance cooperation between Egypt and Libya in the field of migration, especially since the two countries have a long record of violations of the rights of migrants and refugees.

      In the paper, incidents are tracked on the Egyptian side’s sea and land borders, and falsification of official figures related to the sinking of migrant boats, or the announcement of deaths of people who later turned out to be alive and being held in unknown places, and the violations that follow arbitrary arrest from medical negligence and forced deportation, and the paper also adds another monitoring of the refugee situation inside the country.

      Paper contents:

      – Ambiguous and worrying funds
      – EU cooperates with authoritarian regimes to suppress migration movements
      – Egypt’s successive failures in search and rescue operations and in providing the necessary protection to migrants and refugees, both at the borders and within the country
      – More funds without transparency, independent monitoring mechanisms, or prior assessments of their impact on migrants’ rights
      - Recommendations to (the EC, the EU and its Member States, and the Egyptian government)

      https://rpegy.org/en/editions/eu-funding-for-the-egyptian-coast-guard-strengthening-a-partnership-that-viol

  • EU to provide €80 million to Egyptian coast guard

    The European Commission has confirmed that €23 million will be allocated in 2022 and €57 million in 2023 to provide equipment and services to Egyptian authorities for “search and rescue and border surveillance at land and sea borders”.

    Following a Parliamentary question (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2022-002428_EN.html) submitted by MEPs Erik Marquardt and Tineke Strike (of the Greens), the Commission stated that while it is “developing an action in support of border management… in close coordination with Egyptian authorities… no overview of equipment or services to be delivered to Egyptian authorities is available at this stage.” (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2022-002428-ASW_EN.html)

    Responding to Marquardt and Strik’s concern over the “dire human rights situation in Egypt,” and the fact that this funding will go towards preventing Egyptians, 3,500 of whom have fled the country to Italy since January last year, from being able to exercise their right to leave their country, the Commission states that it:

    “...stands ready to support Egypt in maintaining its capacity to prevent irregular migration by sea, as well as to strengthen the control of its border with Libya and Sudan. This is of particular importance in light of the six-fold increase of irregular arrivals of Egyptian nationals to the EU in 2021 (9 219), of which over 90% to Italy, mostly via Libya.

    An ex ante risk assessment will be conducted and monitoring will take place throughout the action to ensure that it does not pose any threats to the respect of international human rights standards and the protection of refugees and migrants."

    The two paragraphs would appear to directly contradict one another. No answer was given as to what indicators the Commission will use to ensure compliance with Article 3(5) of the Treaty of the European Union on upholding and promoting human rights.

    Commenting on this response, Erik Marquardt states:

    "The commission wants ’to prevent irregular migration by sea’. Therefore, they are willing to work together with the Egyptian military-regime. The European Union should not cooperate with the Egyptian Coast Guard in order to prevent people from fleeing. We should use the tax payers money to prevent suffering and to support people in need of international protection - not to build a fortress europe

    “The Commission needs to tell us what exactly the €80 million are going to be spend on. We need to know if the funds will be used to buy weapons and see how exactly they plan to prevent people from fleeing. In Libya, we saw how funds were used to arm militias, we cannot let something similar happen again.”

    The €80 million allocation for border control makes up part of a €300 million total in short and long-term EU funding for Egypt.

    Après les #gardes-côtes_libyens... les #gardes-côtes_égyptiens

    #EU #UE #union_européenne #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #Méditerranée #mer_Méditerranée #externalisation #Egypte #financement

    ping @isskein @karine4 @_kg_

  • Plateforme « drift-backs » en mer Egée

    Une enquête de #Forensic_Architecture et Forensis menée avec une grande rigueur –recoupements de photos et de vidéos, géolocalisations, recoupements de témoignages- révèle que, entre mars 2020 et mars 2020, 1018 opérations de refoulement -la plupart par la méthode dite ‘#drift-back’- ont été menées en mer Egée, impliquant 27.464 réfugiés. Remarquez que ce chiffre concerne uniquement les refoulements en Mer Egée et non pas ceux effectués d’une façon également systématique à la frontière terrestre d’Evros.


    https://forensic-architecture.org/investigation/drift-backs-in-the-aegean-sea

    –—

    Présentation succincte des résultats de l’enquête parue au journal grec Efimérida tôn Syntaktôn (https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/dikaiomata/352169_pano-apo-1000-epanaproothiseis).

    Plus de 1 000 opérations de refoulements en mer Egée répertoriés et documentés par Forensic Architecture 15.07.2022, 10:26

    Dimitris Angelidis

    L’enquête des groupes Forensic Architecture et Forensis est très révélatrice. ● De mars 2020 à mars 2022, 1 018 cas de refoulement d’un total de 27 464 réfugiés ont été enregistrés, dont 600 ont été recoupés et documentés de façon qui ne laisse aucune place au doute ● « Des preuves d’une pratique assassine qui s’avère non seulement systématique et généralisée, mais aussi bien planifiée émergent », rapportent les deux groupes.

    Plus de 1 000 opérations illégales de refoulement de réfugiés dans la mer Égée, de mars 2020 à mars 2022, ont été enregistrées et documentées par le célèbre groupe de recherche Forensic Architecture et l’organisation sœur Forensis (fondée à Berlin, 2021).

    Les résultats de leurs enquêtes depuis plus d’un an sont aujourd’hui publiés en ligne (https://aegean.forensic-architecture.org ), sur une plateforme électronique qui constitue l’enregistrement le plus complet et le plus valide des refoulements grecs en mer Égée, alors que sa mise à jour sera effectuée régulièrement.

    « Des preuves d’une pratique de meurtre systématique, étendue et bien planifiée émergent », rapportent les deux groupes, notant que le déni des refoulements par le gouvernement grec manque tout fondement.

    Les preuves qu’ils ont croisées et documentées avec des techniques de géolocalisation et d’analyse spatiale proviennent de réfugiés et d’organisations telles que Alarm Phone et l’organisation Agean Boat Report, la base de données Frontex, le site Web des garde-côtes turcs et des recherches open source.

    Il s’agit de 1 018 cas de refoulement d’un total de 27 464 réfugiés, dont 600 ont été recoupés et documentés d’une façon si complète que leur existence ne peut pas être mise en doute. Il y a aussi 11 morts et 4 disparus lors de refoulements, ainsi que 26 cas où les garde-côtes ont jeté des réfugiés directement à la mer, sans utiliser les radeaux de sauvetage (life-rafts) qu’ils utilisent habituellement pour les refoulements, depuis mars 2020. Deux des personnes jetées à l’eau mer ont été retrouvées menottées.

    Dans 16 cas, les opérations ont été menées loin de la frontière, dans les eaux grecques, soulignant « un degré élevé de coopération entre les différentes administrations et autorités du pays impliquées, ce qui indique un système soigneusement conçu pour empêcher l’accès aux côtes grecques », comme le note l’ enquête.

    Frontex est directement impliquée dans 122 refoulements, ayant été principalement chargée d’identifier les bateaux entrants et de notifier leurs présences aux autorités grecques. Frontex a également connaissance de 417 cas de refoulement, qu’elle a enregistrés dans sa base de données sous le terme trompeur « dissuasion d’entrée ».

    Lors de trois opérations le navire de guerre allemand de l’OTAN FGS Berlin a été présent sur les lieux.

    https://www.efsyn.gr/ellada/dikaiomata/352169_pano-apo-1000-epanaproothiseis

    voir aussi la vidéo introductive ici : https://vimeo.com/730006259

    #architecture_forensique #mer_Egée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #push-backs #chiffres #statistiques #Grèce #Turquie #refoulements #gardes-côtes #life_rafts #abandon #weaponization #géolocalisation #recoupement_de_l'information #contrôles_frontaliers #base_de_données #cartographie #carte_interactive #visualisation #plateforme

    –—

    pour voir la plateforme :
    https://aegean.forensic-architecture.org

  • Migrants : enquête sur le rôle de l’Europe dans le piège libyen

    Des données de vol obtenues par « Le Monde » révèlent comment l’agence européenne #Frontex encourage les #rapatriements de migrants vers la Libye, malgré les exactions qui y sont régulièrement dénoncées par l’ONU.

    300 kilomètres séparent la Libye de l’île de Lampedusa et de l’Europe. Une traversée de la #Méditerranée périlleuse, que des dizaines de milliers de migrants tentent chaque année. Depuis 2017, lorsqu’ils sont repérés en mer, une partie d’entre eux est rapatriée en Libye, où ils peuvent subir #tortures, #viols et #détentions_illégales. Des #exactions régulièrement dénoncées par les Nations unies.

    L’Union européenne a délégué à la Libye la responsabilité des #sauvetages_en_mer dans une large zone en Méditerranée, et apporte à Tripoli un #soutien_financier et opérationnel. Selon les images et documents collectés par Le Monde, cela n’empêche pas les garde-côtes libyens d’enfreindre régulièrement des règles élémentaires du #droit_international, voire de se rendre coupables de #violences graves.

    Surtout, l’enquête #vidéo du Monde révèle que, malgré son discours officiel, l’agence européenne de gardes-frontières Frontex semble encourager les #rapatriements de migrants en Libye, plutôt que sur les côtes européennes. Les données de vol du drone de Frontex montrent comment l’activité de l’agence européenne se concentre sur la zone où les migrants, une fois détectés, sont rapatriés en Libye. Entre le 1er juin et le 31 juillet 2021, le drone de Frontex a passé 86 % de son temps de vol opérationnel dans cette zone. Sur la même période, à peine plus de la moitié des situations de détresse localisées par l’ONG Alarm Phone y étaient enregistrées.

    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/video/2021/10/31/migrants-enquete-sur-le-role-de-l-europe-dans-le-piege-libyen_6100475_3210.h
    #responsabilité #Europe #UE #EU #Union_européenne #Libye #migrations #asile #réfugiés #pull-backs #pullbacks #push-backs #refoulements #frontières #gardes-côtes_libyens

    déjà signalé sur seenthis par @colporteur
    https://seenthis.net/messages/934958

  • Si formano a Gaeta le forze d’élite della famigerata Guardia Costiera libica

    Non bastava addestrare in Italia gli equipaggi delle motovedette libiche che sparano sui migranti nel Mediterraneo o li catturano in mare (oltre 15.000 nei primi sette mesi del 2021) per poi deportarli e torturarli nei famigerati centri di detenzione / lager in Libia. Dalla scorsa estate è nella #Scuola_Nautica della #Guardia_di_Finanza di #Gaeta che si “formano” pure le componenti subacquee di nuova costituzione della #Guardia_Costiera e della #General_Administration_for_Coastal_Security (#GACS).

    La presenza a Gaeta delle unità d’élite della #Libyan_Coast_Guard_and_Port_Security (#LCGPS) dipendente dal Ministero della Difesa e della GACS del Ministero dell’Interno è documentata dall’Ufficio Amministrazione - Sezione Acquisti della Guardia di Finanza. Il 18 giugno 2021 l’ente ha autorizzato la spesa per un servizio di interpretariato in lingua araba a favore dei sommozzatori libici “partecipanti al corso di addestramento che inizierà il 21 giugno 2021 presso la Scuola Nautica nell’ambito della Missione bilaterale della Guardia di Finanza in Libia”. Nell’atto amministrativo non vengono fornite informazioni né sul numero degli allievi-sub libici né la durata del corso, il primo di questa tipologia effettuato in Italia.

    Dal 29 agosto al 29 settembre del 2019 ne era stato promosso e finanziato uno simile a #Spalato, in Croazia da #EUNAVFOR_MED (la forza navale europea per le operazioni anti-migranti nel Mediterraneo, meglio nota come #Missione_Irini). Le attività vennero svolte in collaborazione con la Marina militare croate e riguardarono dodici sommozzatori della Guardia costiera e della Marina libica.

    A fine ottobre 2020 un’altra attività addestrativa del personale subacqueo venne condotta in Libia da personale della Marina militare della Turchia, provocando molte gelosie in Italia e finanche le ire dell’(ex) ammiraglio #Giuseppe_De_Giorgi, già comandante della Nato Response Force e Capo di Stato Maggiore della Marina Militare dal 2013 al 2016.

    “In un tweet, la Marina turca riferisce che le operazioni rientrano a pieno nel novero di attività di supporto, consultazione e addestramento militare e di sicurezza incluse nell’accordo raggiunto nel novembre del 2019 tra il GNA tripolino e Ankara: non può sfuggire come questo avvenimento sia un ulteriore affondo turco a nostre spese e l’ennesimo spregio all’Italia”, scrisse l’ammiraglio #De_Giorgi su Difesaonline. “Nelle foto allegate al tweet, infatti, sono presenti le navi che proprio l’Italia nel 2018 aveva donato alla Libia in seguito all’accordo siglato con il primo #Memorandum che avrebbe previsto da parte nostra la presa in carico della collaborazione con la Guardia Costiera libica, non solo per tenere a bada il fenomeno migratorio in generale, ma soprattutto per dare un freno al vergognoso traffico di esseri umani. In particolare, si può vedere la motovedetta #Ubari_660, gemella della #Fezzan_658, entrambe della classe #Corrubia”.

    “Oltre al danno, anche la beffa di veder usare le nostre navi per un addestramento che condurrà un altro Stato, la Turchia”, concluse l’ex Capo di Stato della Marina. “Mentre Erdogan riporta la Tripolitania nella sfera d’influenza ottomana si conferma l’assenteismo italiano conseguenza di una leadership spaesata, impotente, priva di autorevolezza, inadeguata”.

    Le durissime parole dell’ammiraglio De Giorgi hanno colpito in pieno il bersaglio; così dal cappello dell’esecutivo Draghi è uscito bello e pronto per i sommozzatori libici un corso d’addestramento estivo a Gaeta, viaggio, vitto e alloggio, tutto pagato.

    Il personale dell’ultrachiacchierata Guardia costiera della Libia ha iniziato ad addestrarsi presso la Scuola Nautica della Guardia di Finanza nella primavera del 2017. Trentanove militari e tre tutor giunsero in aereo nella base dell’aeronautica di Pratica di Mare (Roma) il 1° aprile e vennero poi addestrati a Gaeta per un mese. “A selezionarli sono stati i vertici della Marina libica tra i 93 militari che hanno superato il primo modulo formativo di 14 settimane, svolto nell’ambito della missione europea Eunavformed, a bordo della nave olandese Rotterdam e della nostra nave San Giorgio”, riportò la redazione di Latina del quotidiano Il Messaggero.

    Nella scuola laziale i libici furono formati prevalentemente alla conduzione delle quattro motovedette della classe “#Bigliani”, già di appartenenza della Guardia di Finanza, donate alla Libia tra il 2009 e il 2010 e successivamente riparate in Italia dopo i danneggiamenti ricevuti nel corso dei bombardamenti NATO del 2011. Le quattro unità, rinominate #Ras_al_Jadar, #Zuwarah, #Sabratha e #Zawia sono quelle poi impiegate per i pattugliamenti delle coste della #Tripolitania e la spietata caccia ai natanti dei migranti in fuga dai conflitti e dalle carestie di Africa e Medio Oriente.

    Per la cronaca, alla cerimonia di chiusura del primo corso di formazione degli equipaggi libici intervenne a Gaeta l’allora ministro dell’Interno #Marco_Minniti. Ai giornalisti, #Minniti annunciò che entro la fine del mese di giugno 2017 il governo italiano avrebbe consegnato alla Libia una decina di motovedette. “Quando il programma di fornitura delle imbarcazioni sarà terminato la Marina libica sarà tra le strutture più importanti dell’Africa settentrionale”, dichiarò con enfasi Marco Minniti. “Lì si dovranno incrementare le azioni congiunte e coordinate per il controllo contro il terrorismo e i trafficanti di esseri umani: missioni cruciali per tutta la comunità internazionale”.

    Un secondo corso di formazione per 19 ufficiali della Guardia costiera libica venne svolto nel giugno 2017 ancora un volta presso la Scuola Nautica della Guardia di Finanza di Gaeta. Nel corso del 2018, con fondi del Ministero dell’Interno vennero svolti invece due corsi della durata ognuno di tre settimane per 28 militari libici, costo giornaliero stimato 606 euro per allievo.

    Nell’ambito del #Sea_Horse_Mediterranean_Project, il progetto UE di “cooperazione e scambio di informazioni nell’area mediterranea tra gli Stati membri dell’Unione di Spagna, Italia, Francia, Malta, Grecia, Cipro e Portogallo e i paesi nordafricani nel quadro di #EUROSUR”, (valore complessivo di 7,1 milioni di euro), la Guardia di Finanza ha concluso uno specifico accordo con la Guardia Civil spagnola, capofila del programma, per erogare sempre nel 2018 un corso di conduzione di unità navali per 63 libici tra guardiacoste del Ministero della Difesa e personale degli Organi per la sicurezza del Ministero dell’Interno.

    Istituzionalmente la Scuola Nautica della Guardia di Finanza di Gaeta provvede alla formazione tecnico-operativa degli allievi finanzieri destinati al contingente mare, nonché all’aggiornamento ed alla specializzazione di ufficiali impiegati nel servizio navale. In passato ha svolto attività di formazione a favore del personale militare e della polizia della Repubblica d’Albania e della Guardia Civil spagnola.

    L’Istituto ha partecipato anche a due missioni internazionali: la prima sul fiume Danubio, nell’ambito dell’embargo introdotto nel maggio 1992 dal Consiglio di Sicurezza dell’ONU contro l’allora esistente Repubblica Federale di Jugoslavia; poi, a fine anni ’90, a Valona (Albania) per fornire assistenza e consulenza ai locali organi polizia nella “lotta ai traffici illeciti”.

    Adesso per la Scuola di Gaeta è scattata l’ora dell’addestramento dei reparti d’élite delle forze navali di Tripoli, sommozzatori in testa.

    http://antoniomazzeoblog.blogspot.com/2021/11/si-formano-gaeta-le-forze-delite-della.html

    –-> Articolo pubblicato in Africa ExPress il 30 novembre 2021, https://www.africa-express.info/2021/11/30/addestrata-in-italia-la-guardia-costiera-libica-accusata-di-crimini

    #Gaeta #formation #gardes-côtes_libyens #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Italie #Libye #frontières #Méditerranée #plongeurs

    –---

    Ajouté à la métaiste sur les formations des gardes-côtes lybiens sur le territoire européen :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/938454

    ping @isskein

  • L’industrie de la #sécurité tire profit de la crise climatique

    Les pays riches, pires contributeurs au #changement_climatique, dépensent bien plus d’argent à renforcer leurs #frontières qu’à contribuer au #développement des pays pauvres : c’est ce qu’a étudié un rapport du Transnational Institute. Les habitants de ces pays sont pourtant les premières victimes de l’alliance occidentale entre business du #pétrole et de la sécurité.

    Le changement climatique est bon pour le #business. Du moins celui de la sécurité. C’est ce que démontre un #rapport publié ce lundi 25 octobre par l’organisation de recherche et de plaidoyer Transnational Institute. Intitulé « un mur contre le climat », il démontre que les pays les plus riches dépensent bien plus pour renforcer leurs frontières contre les migrants que pour aider les pays pauvres, d’où ils viennent, à affronter la crise climatique.

    Il décortique les #dépenses, dans ces deux domaines, des sept pays riches historiquement les plus émetteurs de gaz à effet de serre que sont les États-Unis, l’Allemagne, la France, le Japon, l’Australie, le Royaume-Uni et le Canada. Ils sont à eux sept responsables de 48 % des émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans le monde. Le Brésil, la Chine et la Russie, qui font partie des dix plus gros émetteurs aujourd’hui, ne sont pas inclus car, s’étant enrichis beaucoup plus récemment, ils ne sont pas considérés comme des responsables historiques.

    2,3 fois plus de dollars pour repousser les migrants que pour le climat

    Pour les États étudiés, les auteurs ont regardé leur contribution au « #financement_climatique » : prévu par les négociations internationales sur le climat, il s’agit de fonds que les pays riches s’engagent à verser aux pays dits en développement pour les aider à faire face à la crise climatique. Ils ont ensuite traqué les sommes allouées par chaque pays aux contrôles frontaliers et migratoires. Résultat : entre 2013 et 2018, ces sept pays ont en moyenne dépensé chaque année au moins 2,3 fois plus pour repousser les migrants (33,1 milliards de dollars) que pour contribuer au financement climatique (14,4 milliards de dollars). Et encore, les auteurs du rapport signalent que les pays riches ont tendance à surestimer les sommes allouées au financement climatique.

    Une disproportion encore plus criante quand on regarde en détail. Le Canada a dépensé 15 fois plus, l’Australie 13,5 fois plus, les États-Unis 10,9 fois plus. À noter que ces derniers sont en valeur absolue les plus dépensiers, ils ont à eux seuls mis 19,6 milliards dans la sécurité de leurs frontières sur la période, soit 59 % de la somme totale allouée par les sept pays réunis.

    Le cas des pays européens est moins explicite. La France pourrait avoir l’air de bon élève. A priori, elle dépense moins dans les contrôles aux frontières (1 milliard) que dans le financement climatique (1,6 milliard). Idem pour l’Allemagne (3,4 milliards dans la militarisation des frontières contre 4,4 milliards dans le financement climatique). Mais ce serait oublier qu’une grande partie des dépenses sécuritaires est déportée au niveau de l’Union européenne et de l’agence de contrôle des frontières Frontex. Celle-ci a vu son budget exploser, avec une augmentation de 2 763 % entre 2006 et 2021.

    Cet argent est très concrètement dépensé dans diverses #technologies#caméras, #drones, systèmes d’#identification_biométriques, et dans l’embauche de #gardes-frontières et de #gardes-côtes. « Il y a aussi une #externalisation, avec par exemple l’Union européenne qui conclue des accords avec les pays d’Afrique du Nord et des régimes totalitaires, pour qu’ils empêchent les migrants d’arriver jusqu’à leurs frontières », décrit Nick Buxton, un des auteurs du rapport interrogé par Reporterre. Ces partenariats contribuent à la multiplication des murs anti-migrants partout dans le monde. « La plupart des grands constructeurs de murs du monde ont reçu une aide des programmes d’externalisation de l’Union européenne ou des États-Unis (ou des deux, dans le cas de la Jordanie, du Maroc et de la Turquie) », pointe le rapport.

    L’édification de ces murs empêche-t-elle les pays riches de voir le drame qui se déroule derrière ? À travers divers exemples, les auteurs tentent de montrer l’injustice de la situation : en Somalie, à la suite d’une catastrophe climatique en 2020, un million de personnes ont dû se déplacer. Pourtant, le pays n’est responsable que « de 0,00027 % du total des émissions depuis 1850. » Au Guatemala, l’ouragan Eta ainsi que les inondations fin 2020 ont provoqué le déplacement de 339 000 personnes. Le pays « a été responsable de seulement 0,026 % des émissions de gaz à effet de serre ». Nombre de ces migrants Guatémaltèques tentent désormais d’atteindre les États-Unis, responsables à eux seuls de 30,1 % des émissions depuis 1850.

    Pourtant, parmi les pays riches, « les stratégies nationales de #sécurité_climatique, depuis le début des années 2000, ont massivement présenté les migrants comme des « menaces » et non comme les victimes d’une injustice », indique la synthèse du rapport. Le 11 septembre 2001, en particulier, a accéléré la tendance. Qui s’est maintenue : les budgets de militarisation des frontières ont augmenté de 29 % entre 2013 et 2018. Une orientation politique mais aussi financière, donc, saluée par l’industrie de la sécurité et des frontières.
    Taux de croissance annuel : 5,8 %

    « Des prévisions de 2019 de ResearchAndMarkets.com annonçaient que le marché de la sécurité intérieure des États allait passer de 431 milliards de dollars en 2018 à 606 milliards en 2024, avec un taux de croissance annuel de 5,8 % », indique le rapport. Une des raisons majeures invoquée étant « l’augmentation des catastrophes naturelles liées au changement climatique ». Il cite également la sixième entreprise mondiale en termes de vente de matériel militaire, Raytheon. Pour elle, l’augmentation de la demande pour ses « produits et services militaires […] est le résultat du changement climatique ».

    Transnational Institute, qui travaille sur cette industrie depuis un certain temps, a ainsi calculé qu’aux États-Unis, entre 2008 et 2020, les administrations de l’immigration et des frontières « ont passé plus de 105 000 contrats d’une valeur de 55 milliards de dollars avec des entreprises privées. » Si le mur de Trump a défrayé la chronique, « Biden n’est pas mieux », avertit Nick Buxton. « Pour financer sa campagne, il a reçu plus d’argent de l’industrie de la sécurité des frontières que Trump. »

    L’Union européenne aussi a droit à son lobbying. « Ces entreprises sont présentes dans des groupes de travail de haut niveau, avec des officiels de l’UE. Ils se rencontrent aussi dans les salons comme celui de Milipol », décrit Nick Buxton.

    #Pétrole et sécurité partagent « le même intérêt à ne pas lutter contre le changement climatique »

    Le rapport souligne également les liens de cette industrie de la sécurité avec celle du pétrole. En résumé, il décrit comment les majors du pétrole sécurisent leurs installations en faisant appel aux géants de la sécurité. Mais il souligne aussi que les conseils d’administration des entreprises des deux secteurs ont beaucoup de membres en commun. Des liens concrets qui illustrent, selon Nick Buxton, le fait que « ces deux secteurs ont le même intérêt à ne pas lutter contre le changement climatique. L’industrie pétrolière car cela va à l’encontre de son business model. L’industrie de la sécurité car l’instabilité provoquée par la crise climatique lui apporte des bénéfices. »

    Autant d’argent dépensé à protéger les énergies fossiles et à refouler les migrants, qui « ne fait que maintenir et générer d’immenses souffrances inutiles » dénonce le rapport. Les pays riches avaient promis d’atteindre 100 milliards de financements climatiques annuels pour les pays en développement d’ici 2020. En 2019, ils n’en étaient qu’à 79,6 milliards selon l’OCDE. Et encore, ce chiffre est très surévalué, estime l’ONG Oxfam, qui en déduisant les prêts et les surévaluations aboutit à environ trois fois moins. C’est cette estimation que les experts du Transnational Institute ont adoptée.

    « Il est évident que les pays les plus riches n’assument pas du tout leur responsabilité dans la crise climatique », conclut donc le rapport. Il prône des investissements dans la lutte contre le changement climatique, et des aides pour que les pays les plus pauvres puissent gérer dignement les populations contraintes de se déplacer. À l’inverse, le choix de la militarisation est « une stratégie vouée à l’échec, même du point de vue de l’intérêt personnel des pays les plus riches, car elle accélère les processus d’instabilité et de migration induite par le climat dont ils s’alarment. »

    https://reporterre.net/L-industrie-de-la-securite-tire-profit-de-la-crise-climatique

    #complexe_militaro-industriel #climat

    –-

    déjà signalé ici par @kassem
    https://seenthis.net/messages/934692

    • Global Climate Wall. How the world’s wealthiest nations prioritise borders over climate action

      This report finds that the world’s biggest emitters of green house gases are spending, on average, 2.3 times as much on arming their borders as they are on climate finance. This figure is as high as 15 times as much for the worst offenders. This “Global Climate Wall” aims to seal off powerful countries from migrants, rather than addressing the causes of displacement.

      Executive summary

      The world’s wealthiest countries have chosen how they approach global climate action – by militarising their borders. As this report clearly shows, these countries – which are historically the most responsible for the climate crisis – spend more on arming their borders to keep migrants out than on tackling the crisis that forces people from their homes in the first place.

      This is a global trend, but seven countries in particular – responsible for 48% of the world’s historic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – collectively spent at least twice as much on border and immigration enforcement (more than $33.1 billion) as on climate finance ($14.4 billion) between 2013 and 2018.

      These countries have built a ‘Climate Wall’ to keep out the consequences of climate change, in which the bricks come from two distinct but related dynamics: first, a failure to provide the promised climate finance that could help countries mitigate and adapt to climate change; and second, a militarised response to migration that expands border and surveillance infrastructure. This provides booming profits for a border security industry but untold suffering for refugees and migrants who make increasingly dangerous – and frequently deadly – journeys to seek safety in a climate-changed world.
      Key findings:

      Climate-induced migration is now a reality

      - Climate change is increasingly a factor behind displacement and migration. This may be because of a particular catastrophic event, such as a hurricane or a flash flood, but also when the cumulative impacts of drought or sea-level rise, for example, gradually make an area uninhabitable and force entire communities to relocate.
      – The majority of people who become displaced, whether climate-induced or not, remain in their own country, but a number will cross international borders and this is likely to increase as climate-change impacts on entire regions and ecosystems.
      – Climate-induced migration takes place disproportionately in low-income countries and intersects with and accelerates with many other causes for displacement. It is shaped by the systemic injustice that creates the situations of vulnerability, violence, precarity and weak social structures that force people to leave their homes.

      Rich countries spend more on militarising their borders than on providing climate finance to enable the poorest countries to help migrants

      – Seven of the biggest emitters of GHGs – the United States, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Australia – collectively spent at least twice as much on border and immigration enforcement (more than $33.1 billion) as on climate finance ($14.4 billion) between 2013 and 2018.1
      - Canada spent 15 times more ($1.5 billion compared to around $100 million); Australia 13 times more ($2.7 billion compared to $200 million); the US almost 11 times more ($19.6 billion compared to $1.8 billion); and the UK nearly two times more ($2.7 billion compared to $1.4 billion).
      - Border spending by the seven biggest GHG emitters rose by 29% between 2013 and 2018. In the US, spending on border and immigration enforcement tripled between 2003 and 2021. In Europe, the budget for the European Union (EU) border agency, Frontex, has increased by a whopping 2763% since its founding in 2006 up to 2021.
      - This militarisation of borders is partly rooted in national climate security strategies that since the early 2000s have overwhelmingly painted migrants as ‘threats’ rather than victims of injustice. The border security industry has helped promote this process through well-oiled political lobbying, leading to ever more contracts for the border industry and increasingly hostile environments for refugees and migrants.
      - Climate finance could help mitigate the impacts of climate change and help countries adapt to this reality, including supporting people who need to relocate or to migrate abroad. Yet the richest countries have failed even to keep their pledges of meagre $100 billion a year in climate finance. The latest figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported $79.6 billion in total climate finance in 2019, but according to research published by Oxfam International, once over-reporting, and loans rather than grants are taken into account, the true volume of climate finance may be less than half of what is reported by developed countries.
      – Countries with the highest historic emissions are fortifying their borders, while those with lowest are the hardest hit by population displacement. Somalia, for example, is responsible for 0.00027% of total emissions since 1850 but had more than one million people (6% of the population) displaced by a climate-related disaster in 2020.

      The border security industry is profiteering from climate change

      - The border security industry is already profiting from the increased spending on border and immigration enforcement and expects even more profits from anticipated instability due to climate change. A 2019 forecast by ResearchAndMarkets.com predicted that the Global Homeland Security and Public Safety Market would grow from $431 billion in 2018 to $606 billion in 2024, and a 5.8% annual growth rate. According to the report, one factor driving this is ‘climate warming-related natural disasters growth’.
      – Top border contractors boast of the potential to increase their revenue from climate change. Raytheon says ‘demand for its military products and services as security concerns may arise as results of droughts, floods, and storm events occur as a result of climate change’. Cobham, a British company that markets surveillance systems and is one of the main contractors for Australia’s border security, says that ‘changes to countries [sic] resources and habitability could increase the need for border surveillance due to population migration’.
      – As TNI has detailed in many other reports in its Border Wars series,2 the border security industry lobbies and advocates for border militarisation and profits from its expansion.

      The border security industry also provides security to the oil industry that is one of main contributors to the climate crisis and even sit on each other’s executive boards

      - The world’s 10 largest fossil fuel firms also contract the services of the same firms that dominate border security contracts. Chevron (ranked the world’s number 2) contracts with Cobham, G4S, Indra, Leonardo, Thales; Exxon Mobil (ranking 4) with Airbus, Damen, General Dynamics, L3Harris, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin; BP (6) with Airbus, G4S, Indra, Lockheed Martin, Palantir, Thales; and Royal Dutch Shell (7) with Airbus, Boeing, Damen, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Thales, G4S.
      – Exxon Mobil, for example, contracted L3Harris (one of the top 14 US border contractors) to provide ‘maritime domain awareness’ of its drilling in the Niger delta in Nigeria, a region which has suffered tremendous population displacement due to environmental contamination. BP has contracted with Palantir, a company that controversially provides surveillance software to agencies like the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to develop a ‘repository of all operated wells historical and real time drilling data’. Border contractor G4S has a relatively long history of protecting oil pipelines, including the Dakota Access pipeline in the US.
      - The synergy between fossil fuel companies and top border security contractors is also seen by the fact that executives from each sector sit on each other’s boards. At Chevron, for example, the former CEO and Chairman of Northrop Grumman, Ronald D. Sugar and Lockheed Martin’s former CEO Marilyn Hewson are on its board. The Italian oil and gas company ENI has Nathalie Tocci on its board, previously a Special Advisor to EU High Representative Mogherini from 2015 to 2019, who helped draft the EU Global Strategy that led to expanding the externalisation of EU borders to third countries.

      This nexus of power, wealth and collusion between fossil fuel firms and the border security industry shows how climate inaction and militarised responses to its consequences increasingly work hand in hand. Both industries profit as ever more resources are diverted towards dealing with the consequences of climate change rather than tackling its root causes. This comes at a terrible human cost. It can be seen in the rising death toll of refugees, deplorable conditions in many refugee camps and detention centres, violent pushbacks from European countries, particularly those bordering the Mediterranean, and from the US, in countless cases of unnecessary suffering and brutality. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) calculates that 41,000 migrants died between 2014 and 2020, although this is widely accepted to be a significant underestimate given that many lives are lost at sea and in remote deserts as migrants and refugees take increasingly dangerous routes to safety.

      The prioritisation of militarised borders over climate finance ultimately threatens to worsen the climate crisis for humanity. Without sufficient investment to help countries mitigate and adapt to climate change, the crisis will wreak even more human devastation and uproot more lives. But, as this report concludes, government spending is a political choice, meaning that different choices are possible. Investing in climate mitigation in the poorest and most vulnerable countries can support a transition to clean energy – and, alongside deep emission cuts by the biggest polluting nations – give the world a chance to keep temperatures below 1.5°C increase since 1850, or pre-industrial levels. Supporting people forced to leave their homes with the resources and infrastructure to rebuild their lives in new locations can help them adapt to climate change and to live in dignity. Migration, if adequately supported, can be an important means of climate adaptation.

      Treating migration positively requires a change of direction and greatly increased climate finance, good public policy and international cooperation, but most importantly it is the only morally just path to support those suffering a crisis they played no part in creating.

      https://www.tni.org/en/publication/global-climate-wall

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

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

    Key findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    –-

    Five case studies document that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • MIGRANTI : “AUMENTANO DI NUOVO I FONDI ITALIANI ALLA GUARDIA COSTIERA LIBICA”

    Crescono di mezzo milione di euro i finanziamenti destinati al blocco dei flussi migratori: passati da 10 milioni nel 2020 a 10,5 nel 2021. In totale 32,6 milioni destinati alla Guardia Costiera libica dal 2017.
    Impennata delle risorse destinate alle missioni navali che non prevedono il salvataggio dei migranti in mare. Dall’inizio dell’anno, oltre 720 vittime lungo la rotta del Mediterraneo centrale, almeno 7.135 dalla firma dell’accordo tra Italia e Libia. Oltre 13 mila i migranti riportati in Libia.

    Continuano ad aumentare gli stanziamenti italiani alla Guardia Costiera libica. Il Governo ha infatti deciso di destinare 500 mila euro in più nel 2021 per sostenerne le attività, per un totale di 32,6 milioni di euro spesi dal 2017, anno dell’accordo Italia-Libia. Sale anche a 960 milioni il costo sostenuto dai contribuenti italiani per le missioni navali nel Mediterraneo, (nessuna delle quali ha compiti di ricerca e soccorso in mare) e nel paese nord africano, con un aumento di 17 milioni rispetto al 2020 per la missione Mare Sicuro e 15 milioni per Irini.

    Tutto ciò, nonostante si continui a morire lungo la rotta del Mediterraneo centrale – con oltre 720 vittime dall’inizio dell’anno – e siano oramai ben note le modalità di intervento della cosiddetta Guardia Costiera libica, come testimoniato dal video diffuso in questi giorni da Sea-Watch.

    È l’allarme lanciato da Oxfam, alla vigilia del dibattito parlamentare sul rinnovo delle missioni militari italiane. In un anno che vede il record di persone intercettate e riportate in Libia: più di 13.000. Dato che non ha suggerito evidentemente al Governo, né una profonda riflessione sul destino dei migranti, tra cui donne e bambini, che una volta rientrati nel paese nord-africano sono destinati ad essere vittime di abusi e torture sistematiche dalle quali stavano scappando, finendo nei centri di detenzione ufficiali e in altri luoghi di prigionia clandestini. Né tantomeno si è attuata una revisione dello stesso accordo con le autorità libiche, nonostante numerose inchieste e testimonianze abbiano confermato il coinvolgimento della Guardia Costiera libica nel traffico di esseri umani.

    “Mentre lungo la rotta del Mediterraneo centrale si continua a morire, come dimostrano i continui naufragi di queste settimane, con l’ennesima tragedia avvenuta a Lampedusa pochi giorni fa, – sottolinea Paolo Pezzati, policy advisor per le emergenze umanitarie di Oxfam Italia – il Governo Draghi sta agendo in perfetta continuità con gli esecutivi precedenti sulle politiche migratorie, come dimostrano anche le recenti richieste al Consiglio europeo per un maggior coinvolgimento dell’Unione nel rafforzamento degli accordi con le autorità libiche. In sostanza si va avanti nella stessa direzione, in un paese dove “l’industria del contrabbando e tratta” è stata in parte convertita in “industria della detenzione” con abusi e violenze oramai note a tutti, anche grazie a questo considerevole flusso di denaro”.

    L’appello all’Italia

    “A pochi giorni dalla discussione parlamentare sul rinnovo delle missioni militari italiane all’estero, – conclude Pezzati – chiediamo perciò ai partiti di maggioranza di interrompere immediatamente gli stanziamenti per il 2021 diretti alla Guardia Costiera libica, che solo quest’anno ha intercettato e riportato in un paese non sicuro il triplo dei migranti, rispetto allo stesso periodo dello scorso anno. Assieme è necessaria una revisione delle missioni che contengono iniziative legate alla sua formazione e al suo supporto. Quello che serve è un cambio deciso di approccio, una gestione diretta dei flussi e non la mera chiusura delle frontiere delegata a paesi come la Libia o la Turchia”.

    https://www.oxfamitalia.org/aumentano-i-fondi-italiani-alla-guardia-costiera-libica

    #gardes-côtes_libyens #Libye #Italie #financement #complexe_militaro-industriel #business #externalisation #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #budget #2021 #2020

  • How Frontex Helps Haul Migrants Back To Libyan Torture Camps

    Refugees are being detained, tortured and killed at camps in Libya. Investigative reporting by DER SPIEGEL and its partners has uncovered how close the European Union’s border agency Frontex works together with the Libyan coast guard.

    At sunrise, Alek Musa was still in good spirits. On the morning of June 25, 2020, he crowded onto an inflatable boat with 69 other people seeking asylum. Most of the refugees were Sudanese like him. They had left the Libyan coastal city of Garabulli the night before. Their destination: the island of Lampedusa in Italy. Musa wanted to escape the horrors of Libya, where migrants like him are captured, tortured and killed by militias.

    The route across the central Mediterranean is one of the world’s most dangerous for migrants. Just last week, another 100 people died as they tried to reach Europe from Libya. Musa was confident, nonetheless. The sea was calm and there was plenty of fuel in the boat’s tank.

    But then, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., Musa saw a small white plane in the sky. He shared his story by phone. There is much to suggest that the aircraft was a patrol of the European border protection agency Frontex. Flight data shows that a Frontex pilot had been circling in the immediate vicinity of the boat at the time.

    However, it appears that Frontex officials didn’t instruct any of the nearby cargo ships to help the refugees – and neither did the sea rescue coordination centers. Instead, hours later, Musa spotted the Ras Al Jadar on the horizon, a Libyan coast guard vessel.

    With none of them wanting to be hauled back to Libya, the migrants panicked. "We tried to leave as quickly as possible,” says Musa, who won’t give his real name out of fear of retaliation.

    Musa claims the Libyans rammed the dinghy with their ship. And that four men had gone overboard. Images from an aircraft belonging to the private rescue organization Sea-Watch show people fighting for their lives in the water. At least two refugees are believed to have died in the operation. All the others were taken back to Libya.
    Frontex Has Turned the Libyans into Europe’s Interceptors

    The June 25 incident is emblematic of the Europeans’ policy in the Mediterranean: The EU member states ceased sea rescue operations entirely in 2019. Instead, they are harnessing the Libyan coast guard to keep people seeking protection out of Europe.

    The European Court of Human Rights ruled back in 2012 that refugees may not be brought back to Libya because they are threatened with torture and death there. But that’s exactly what Libyan border guards are doing. With the help of the Europeans, they are intercepting refugees and hauling them back to Libya. According to an internal EU document, 11,891 were intercepted and taken back ashore last year.

    The EU provides financing for the Libyan coast guard and has trained its members. To this day, though, it claims not to control their operations. “Frontex has never directly cooperated with the Libyan coast guard,” Fabrice Leggeri, the head of the border agency, told the European Parliament in March. He claimed that the Libyans alone were responsible for the controversial interceptions. Is that really the truth, though?

    Together with the media organization “Lighthouse Reports”, German public broadcaster ARD’s investigative magazine “Monitor” and the French daily “Libération”, DER SPIEGEL has investigated incidents in the central Mediterranean Sea over a period of months. The reporters collected position data from Frontex aircraft and cross-checked it with ship data and information from migrants and civilian rescue organizations. They examined confidential documents and spoke to survivors as well as nearly a dozen Libyan officers and Frontex staff.

    This research has exposed for the first time the extent of the cooperation between Frontex and the Libyan coast guard. Europe’s border protection agency is playing an active role in the interceptions conducted by the Libyans. The reporting showed that Frontex flew over migrant boats on at least 20 occasions since January 2020 before the Libyan coast guard hauled them back. At times, the Libyans drove deep in the Maltese Search and Rescue Zone, an area over which the Europeans have jurisdiction.

    Some 91 refugees died in the interceptions or are considered missing – in part because the system the Europeans have established causes significant delays in the interceptions. In most cases, merchant ships or even those of aid organizations were in the vicinity. They would have reached the migrant boats more quickly, but they apparently weren’t alerted. Civilian sea rescue organizations have complained for years that they are hardly ever provided with alerts from Frontex.

    The revelations present a problem for Frontex head Leggeri. He is already having to answer for his agency’s involvement in the illegal repatriation of migrants in the Aegean Sea that are referred to as pushbacks. Now it appears that Frontex is also bending the law in operations in the central Mediterranean.

    An operation in March cast light on how the Libyans operate on the high seas. The captain of the Libyan vessel Fezzan, a coast guard officer, agreed to allow a reporter with DER SPIEGEL to conduct a ride-along on the ship. During the trip, he held a crumpled piece of paper with the coordinates of the boats he was to intercept. He didn’t have any internet access on the ship – indeed, the private sea rescuers are better equipped.

    The morning of the trip, the crew of the Fezzan had already pulled around 200 migrants from the water. The Libyans decided to leave an unpowered wooden boat with another 200 people at sea because the Fezzan was already too full. The rescued people huddled on deck, their clothes soaked and their eyes filled with fear. "Stay seated!” the Libyan officers yelled.

    Sheik Omar, a 16-year-old boy from Gambia squatted at the bow. He explained how, after the death of his father, he struggled as a worker in Libya. Then he just wanted to get away from there. He had already attempted to reach Europe five times. "I’m afraid,” he said. "I don’t know where they’re taking me. It probably won’t be a good place.”

    The conditions in the Libyan detention camps are catastrophic. Some are officially under the control of the authorities, but various militias are actually calling the shots. Migrants are a good business for the groups, and refugees from sub-Saharan countries, especially, are imprisoned and extorted by the thousands.

    Mohammad Salim was aware of what awaited him in jail. He’s originally from Somalia and didn’t want to give his real name. Last June, he and around 90 other migrants tried to flee Libya by boat, but a Frontex airplane did a flyover above them early in the morning. Several merchant ships that could have taken them to Europe passed by. But then the Libyan coast guard arrived several hours later.

    Once back on land, the Somali was sent to the Abu Issa detention center, which is controlled by a notorious militia. “There was hardly anything to eat,” Salim reported by phone. On good days, he ate 18 pieces of maccaroni pasta. On other days, he sucked on toothpaste. The women had been forced by the guards to strip naked. Salim was only able to buy his freedom a month later, when his family had paid $1,200.

    The EU is well aware of the conditions in the Libyan refugee prisons. German diplomats reported "concentration camp-like conditions” in 2017. A February report from the EU’s External Action described widespread "sexual violence, abduction for ransom, forced labor and unlawful killings.” The report states that the perpetrators include "government officials, members of armed groups, smugglers, traffickers and members of criminal gangs.”

    Supplies for the business are provided by the Libyan coast guard, which is itself partly made up of militiamen.

    In response to a request for comment from DER SPIEGEL, Frontex asserted that it is the agency’s duty to inform all internationally recognized sea rescue coordination centers in the region about refugee boats, including the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC). The sea rescue coordination center reports to the Libyan Defense Ministry and is financed by the EU.

    According to official documents, the JRCC is located at the Tripoli airport. But members of the Libyan coast guard claim that the control center is only a small room at the Abu Sitta military base in Tripoli, with just two computers. They claim that it is actually officers with the Libyan coast guard who are on duty there. That the men there have no ability to monitor their stretch of coastline, meaning they would virtually be flying blind without the EU’s aerial surveillance. In the event of a shipping accident, they almost only notify their own colleagues, even though they currently only have two ships at their disposal. Even when their ships are closer, there are no efforts to inform NGOs or private shipping companies. Massoud Abdalsamad, the head of the JRCC and the commander of the coast guard even admits that, "The JRCC and the coast guard are one and the same, there is no difference.”

    WhatsApp Messages to the Coast Guard

    As such, experts are convinced that even the mere transfer of coordinates by Frontex to the JRCC is in violation of European law. "Frontex officials know that the Libyan coast guard is hauling refugees back to Libya and that people there face torture and inhumane treatment,” says Nora Markard, professor for international public law and international human rights at the University of Münster.

    In fact, it appears that Frontex employees are going one step further and sending the coordinates of the refugee boats directly to Libyan officers via WhatsApp. That claim has been made independently by three different members of the Libyan coast guard. DER SPIEGEL is in possession of screenshots indicating that the coast guard is regularly informed – and directly. One captain was sent a photo of a refugee boat taken by a Frontex plane. “This form of direct contact is a clear violation of European law,” says legal expert Markard.

    When confronted, Frontex no longer explicitly denied direct contact with the Libyan coast guard. The agency says it contacts everyone involved in emergency operations in order to save lives. And that form of emergency communication cannot be considered formal contact, a spokesman said.

    But officials at Frontex in Warsaw are conscious of the fact that their main objective is to help keep refugees from reaching Europe’s shores. They often watch on their screens in the situation center how boats capsize in the Mediterranean. It has already proven to be too much for some – they suffer from sleep disorders and psychological problems.

    https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/libya-how-frontex-helps-haul-migrants-back-to-libyan-torture-camps-a-d62c396

    #Libye #push-backs #refoulements #Frontex #complicité #milices #gardes-côtes_libyens #asile #migrations #réfugiés #externalisation #Ras_Al_Jadar #interception #Fezzan #Joint_Rescue_Coordination_Center (#JRCC) #WhatsApp #coordonnées_géographiques

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_ @i_s_

    • Frontex : l’agence européenne de garde-frontières au centre d’une nouvelle polémique

      Un consortium de médias européens, dont le magazine Der Spiegel et le journal Libération, a livré une nouvelle enquête accablante sur l’agence européenne des gardes-frontières. Frontex est accusée de refouler des bateaux de migrants en mer Méditerranée.

      Frontex, c’est quoi ?

      L’agence européenne des gardes-frontières et gardes-côtes a été créée en 2004 pour répondre à la demande d’aides des pays membres pour protéger les frontières extérieures de l’espace Schengen. Frontex a trois objectifs : réduire la vulnérabilité des frontières extérieures, garantir le bon fonctionnement et la sécurité aux frontières et maintenir les capacités du corps européen, recrutant chaque année près de 700 gardes-frontières et garde-côtes. Depuis la crise migratoire de 2015, le budget de l’agence, subventionné par l’Union Européen a explosé passant 142 à 460 millions d’euros en 2020.

      Nouvelles accusations

      Frontex est de nouveau au centre d’une polémique au sein de l’UE. En novembre 2020, et en janvier 2021 déjà, Der Spiegel avait fait part de plusieurs refoulements en mer de bateaux de demandeurs d’asile naviguant entre la Turquie et la Grèce et en Hongrie. Dans cette enquête le magazine allemand avait averti que les responsables de Frontex étaient"conscients des pratiques illégales des gardes-frontières grecs et impliqués dans les refoulements eux-mêmes" (https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/eu-border-agency-frontex-complicit-in-greek-refugee-pushback-campaign-a-4b6c).

      A la fin de ce mois d’avril, de nouveaux éléments incriminants Frontex révélés par un consortium de médias vont dans le même sens : des agents de Frontex auraient donné aux gardes-côtes libyens les coordonnées de bateaux de réfugiés naviguant en mer Méditerranée pour qu’ils soient interceptés avant leurs arrivées sur le sol européen. C’est ce que l’on appelle un « pushback » : refouler illégalement des migrants après les avoir interceptés, violant le droit international et humanitaire. L’enquête des médias européens cite un responsable d’Amnesty International, Mateo de Bellis qui précise que « sans les informations de Frontex, les gardes-côtes libyens ne pourraient jamais intercepter autant de migrants ».

      Cet arrangement entre les autorités européennes et libyennes « constitue une violation manifeste du droit européen », a déclaré Nora Markard, experte en droit international de l’université de Münster, citée par Der Spiegel.

      Une politique migratoire trop stricte de l’UE ?

      En toile de fond, les détracteurs de Frontex visent également la ligne politique de l’UE en matière d’immigration, jugée trop stricte. Est-ce cela qui aurait généré le refoulement de ces bateaux ? La Commissaire européenne aux affaires intérieures, Ylva Johansson, s’en défendait en janvier dernier, alors que Frontex était déjà accusé d’avoir violé le droit international et le droit humanitaire en refoulant six migrants en mer Egée. « Ce que nous protégeons, lorsque nous protégeons nos frontières, c’est l’Union européenne basée sur des valeurs et nous devons respecter nos engagements à ces valeurs tout en protégeant nos frontières (...) Et c’est une des raisons pour lesquelles nous avons besoin de Frontex », expliquait la Commissaire à euronews.

      Pour Martin Martiniello, spécialiste migration à l’université de Liège, « l’idée de départ de l’Agence Frontex était de contrôler les frontières européennes avec l’espoir que cela soit accompagné d’une politique plus positive, plus proactive de l’immigration. Cet aspect-là ne s’est pas développé au cours des dernières années, mais on a construit cette notion de crise migratoire. Et cela renvoie une image d’une Europe assiégée, qui doit se débarrasser des migrants non souhaités. Ce genre de politique ne permet pas de rencontrer les défis globaux des déplacements de population à long terme ».

      Seulement trois jours avant la parution de l’enquête des médias européens incriminant Frontex, L’Union européenne avait avancé sa volonté d’accroître et de mieux encadrer les retours volontaires des personnes migrantes, tout en reconnaissant que cet axe politique migratoire était, depuis 2019, un échec. L’institution avait alors proposé à Frontex un nouveau mandat pour prendre en charge ces retours. Selon Martin Martiniello, « des montants de plus en plus élevés ont été proposés, pour financer Frontex. Même si le Parlement européen a refusé de voter ce budget, celui-ci comporte de la militarisation encore plus importante de l’espace méditerranéen, avec des drones et tout ce qui s’en suit. Et cela fait partie d’une politique européenne ».

      Les accusations de novembre et janvier derniers ont généré l’ouverture d’une enquête interne chez Frontex, mais aussi à l’Office européen de lutte antifraude (OLAF). Pour Catherine Woolard, directrice du Conseil européen des Réfugiés et Exilés (ECRE), « On voit tout le problème des structures de gouvernance de Frontex : ce sont les États membres qui font partie du conseil d’administration et de gestion de Frontex, et ces États membres ont fait une enquête préliminaire. Mais cette enquête ne peut pas être profonde et transparente, puisque ces États membres sont parties prenantes dans ce cas de figure ».

      Pour la directrice de l’ECRE, une enquête indépendante serait une solution pour comprendre et réparer les torts causés, et suggère une réforme du conseil d’administration de Frontex. « La décision du Parlement concernant le budget est importante. En plus des enquêtes internes, le Parlement a créé un groupe de travail pour reformer le scrutin au sein du conseil administratif de l’agence, ce qui est essentiel. Nous attendons le rapport de ce groupe de travail, qui permettra de rendre compte de la situation chez Frontex ».

      Certains députés européens ont demandé la démission du directeur exécutif de Frontex. « C’est un sujet sensible » souligne Catherine Woolard. « Dans le contexte de l’augmentation des ressources de Frontex, le recrutement d’agents de droits fondamentaux, ainsi que les mesures et mécanismes mentionnés, sont essentiels. Le Parlement européen insiste sur la création de ces postes et n’a toujours pas eu de réponse de la part du directeur de Frontex. Entretemps, l’agence a toujours l’obligation de faire un rapport sur les incidents où il y a une suspicion de violation du droit international et humanitaire ».

      https://www.levif.be/actualite/europe/frontex-l-agence-europeenne-de-garde-frontieres-au-centre-d-une-nouvelle-polemique/article-normal-1422403.html?cookie_check=1620307471

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tragedy and Opportunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Our Sea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    State of Necessity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NGOs in the Crosshairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Same Uniforms, Same Ships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Result of Mere Chance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @karine4 @isskein @rhoumour

  • Immigration Enforcement and the Afterlife of the Slave Ship

    Coast Guard techniques for blocking Haitian asylum seekers have their roots in the slave trade. Understanding these connections can help us disentangle immigration policy from white nationalism.

    Around midnight in May 2004, somewhere in the Windward Passage, one of the Haitian asylum seekers trapped on the flight deck of the U.S. Coast Guard’s USCGC Gallatin had had enough.

    He arose and pointed to the moon, whispering in hushed tones. The rest of the Haitians, asleep or pretending to be asleep, initially took little notice. That changed when he began to scream. The cadence of his words became erratic, furious—insurgent. After ripping his shirt into tatters, he gestured wildly at the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) watchstanders on duty.

    I was one of them.

    His eyes fixed upon mine. And he slowly advanced toward my position.

    I stood fast, enraptured by his lone defiance, his desperate rage. Who could blame him? Confinement on this sunbaked, congested, malodorous flight deck would drive anyone crazy—there were nearly 300 people packed together in a living space approximately 65 feet long and 35 feet wide. We had snatched him and his compatriots from their overloaded sailing vessel back in April. They had endured week after week without news about the status of their asylum claims, about what lay in store for them.

    Then I got scared. I considered the distinct possibility that, to this guy, I was no longer me, but a nameless uniform, an avatar of U.S. sovereignty: a body to annihilate, a barrier to freedom. I had rehearsed in my mind how such a contingency might play out. We were armed only with nonlethal weapons—batons and pepper spray. The Haitians outnumbered us 40 to 1. Was I ready? I had never been in a real fight before. Now a few of the Haitian men were standing alert. Were they simply curious? Was this their plan all along? What if the women and children joined them?

    Lucky for me, one of the meanest devils on the watch intervened on my behalf. He charged toward us, stepping upon any Haitians who failed to clear a path. After a brief hand-to-hand struggle, he subdued the would-be rebel, hauled him down to the fantail, and slammed his head against the deck. Blood ran from his face. Some of the Haitians congregated on the edge of the flight deck to spectate. We fastened the guy’s wrists with zip ties and ordered the witnesses to disperse. The tension in his body gradually dissipated.

    After fifteen minutes, the devil leaned down to him. “Are you done? Done making trouble?” His silence signified compliance.

    Soon after, the Haitians were transferred to the custody of the Haitian Coast Guard. When we arrived in the harbor of Port-au-Prince, thick plumes of black smoke rose from the landscape. We were witnessing the aftermath of the CIA-orchestrated February coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the subsequent invasion of the country by U.S. Marines under the auspices of international “peacekeeping.” Haiti was at war.

    None of that mattered. Every request for asylum lodged from our boat had been rejected. Every person returned to Haiti. No exceptions.

    The Gallatin left the harbor. I said goodbye to Port-au-Prince. My first patrol was over.

    Out at sea, I smoked for hours on the fantail, lingering upon my memories of the past months. I tried to imagine how the Haitians would remember their doomed voyage, their detention aboard the Gallatin, their encounters with us—with me. A disquieting intuition repeated in my head: the USCG cutter, the Haitians’ sailing vessel, and European slave ships represented a triad of homologous instances in which people of African descent have suffered involuntary concentration in small spaces upon the Atlantic. I dreaded that I was in closer proximity to the enslavers of the past, and to the cops and jailors of the present, than I ever would be to those Haitians.

    So, that night, with the butt of my last cigarette, I committed to cast my memories of the Haitians overboard. In the depths of some unmarked swath of the Windward Passage, I prayed, no one, including me, would ever find them again.

    In basic training, every recruit is disciplined to imagine how the USCG is like every other branch of the military, save one principle: we exist to save lives, and it is harder to save lives than to take them. I was never a very good sailor, but I took this principle seriously. At least in the USCG, I thought, I could evade the worst cruelties of the new War on Terror.

    Perhaps I should have done more research on the USCG’s undeclared long war against Haitian asylum seekers, in order to appreciate precisely what the oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” would demand of me. This war had long preceded my term of enlistment. It arguably began in 1804, when the United States refused to acknowledge the newly liberated Haiti as a sovereign nation and did everything it could to insulate its slaving society from the shock waves of Haiti’s radical interpretation of universal freedom. But in our present day, it began in earnest with President Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order 12324 of 1981, also called the Haitian Migrant Interdiction Operation (HMIO), which exclusively tasked the USCG to “interdict” Haitian asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States by sea routes on unauthorized sailing vessels. Such people were already beginning to be derogatorily referred to as “boat people,” a term then borrowed (less derogatorily) into Haitian Kreyòl as botpippel.

    The enforcement of the HMIO and its subsequent incarnations lies almost entirely within the jurisdiction of federal police power acting under the authority of the executive branch’s immigration and border enforcement powers. It does not take place between nations at enmity with one another, but between vastly unequal yet allied powers. Its strategic end is to create a kind of naval blockade, a fluid maritime border around Haiti, which remains under ever-present threat of invasion by a coalition of U.S. and foreign military forces.

    Adding to its asymmetry, the “enemies” to be vanquished on the battlefield are also unconventional: they are not agents of a state, but rather noncombatant individuals who are, in one sense or another, simply acting to save their own lives. During their incarceration aboard USCG cutters, they automatically bear the legal status of “economic migrant,” a person whom authorities deem to be fleeing poverty alone and therefore by definition ineligible for asylum. The meaning of this category is defined solely by reference to its dialectical negation, the “political refugee,” a person whom authorities may (or may not) deem to have a legible asylum claim because they are fleeing state persecution on the basis of race, creed, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. These abstractions are historical artifacts of a half-baked, all-encompassing theory of preemptive deterrence: unless USCG patrols are used to place Haiti under a naval blockade, and unless botpippel are invariably denied asylum, the United States will become flooded with criminals and people who have no means of supporting themselves. By 2003 John Ashcroft and the Bush administration upped the ante, decrying botpippel to be vectors of terrorism. On January 11, 2018, President Donald Trump, during efforts to justify ending nearly all immigration and asylum, described Haiti (which he grouped with African nations) as a “shithole country” where, as he asserted several months prior, “all have AIDS.”

    Haiti is now facing another such crisis. Its president, Jovenel Moïse, having already suspended nearly all elected government save himself, refused to step down at the end of his term on February 7, 2021, despite widespread protests that have shuttered the country. Moïse’s administration is currently being propped up by criminal syndicates, but they are slipping his grasp, and kidnapping for money is now so prevalent that people are terrified to leave their homes. So far, the Biden administration’s response has not been encouraging: though it has instructed ICE to temporarily halt deportations to Haiti, naval blockades remain in force, and the U.S. State Department has expressed the opinion that Moïse should remain in office for at least another year, enforcing the sense that Haiti is once again a U.S. client state.

    With regard to the Coast Guard’s longstanding orders to block Haitians seeking asylum, the modality of killing is not straightforward, but it is intentional. It consists of snatching the Haitian enemy from their vessel, forcing them to subsist in a state of bare life, and finally abandoning them in their home country at gunpoint. Of course, many may survive the ordeal and may even attempt another journey. But especially during acute phases of armed conflict and catastrophe, it is just as likely that—whether at the behest of starvation, disease, or violence—a return to Haiti is a death sentence.

    This banal form of murder is analogous to what Ruth Wilson Gilmore offers as her definition of racism in Golden Gulag (2007): “the state sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death.” Based on the extant documentary record, I estimate that the USCG has interdicted at least 120,000 botpippel since the HMIO of 1981 took effect. Those who fell prey to an untimely demise following deportation died because the United States, though repeatedly responsible for undermining Haitian democracy and economic stability, nonetheless refuses to acknowledge that these actions have made Haiti, for many, mortally unsafe. The true death toll will never be known. Countless botpippel have simply disappeared at sea, plunged into a gigantic watery necropolis.

    Since 2004 U.S. officials have brought their forms of border policing strategies and tactics against Haitians to bear on land-based immigration and refugee policies against non-white asylum seekers. One of the most significant technical innovations of enforcement against Haitians was the realization that by detaining them exclusively within a maritime environment, the United States could summarily classify all of them as economic migrants—whose claims for asylum de facto have no standing—and prevent them from lodging claims as political refugees, which are the only claims with any hope of success. They were thus proactively disabled from advancing a request for asylum in a U.S. federal court, with all claims instead evaluated by an INS-designated official aboard the USCG vessel. The New York Times recently reported that, since late 2009, similar techniques have been adopted by Customs and Border Control agents patrolling sea routes along the California coast, which has resulted in a notable escalation of CBP naval patrols and aerial surveillance of the region. And in fact, the USCG has cooperatively supported these efforts by sharing its infrastructure—ports, cutters, and aircraft—and its personnel with CBP. All of this has been with the aim of making sure that asylum seekers never make it to the United States, whether by land or by sea.

    The Trump administration made the most significant use of this set of innovations to date, insisting that asylum claims must be made from camps on the Mexican side of the U.S. border—and therefore automatically invalid by virtue of being limited to the status of economic migrant. Thus, hundreds of thousands of non-white asylum seekers fleeing material precariousness, yes, but also the threat of violence in the Global South are, and will continue to be, caught in carceral webs composed of ICE/CBP goon squads, ruthless INS officials, and perilous tent cities, not to mention the prison guards employed at one of the numerous semi-secret migrant detention centers operating upon U.S. soil for those few who make it across.

    From the perspective of Haitian immigrants and botpippel, this is nothing new. Thousands of their compatriots have already served time at infamous extrajudicial sites such as the Krome detention center in Miami (1980–present), Guantanamo Bay (1991–93), and, most often, the flight decks of USCG cutters. They know that the USCG has long scoured the Windward Passage for Haitians in particular, just as ICE/CBP goon squads now patrol U.S. deserts, highways, and city streets for the undocumented. And they know that Trump’s fantasy of building a “Great Wall” on the U.S.–Mexico border is not so farfetched, because the USCG continues to enforce a maritime one around Haiti.

    The Biden administration has inherited this war and its prisoners, with thousands remaining stuck in legal limbo while hoping—in most cases, without hope—that their asylum claims will advance. Opening alternative paths to citizenship and declaring an indefinite moratorium on deportations would serve as foundations for more sweeping reforms in the future. But the core challenge in this political moment is to envision nothing less than the total decriminalization and demilitarization of immigration law enforcement.

    Botpippel are not the first undocumented people of African descent to have been policed by U.S. naval forces. The legal architecture through which the USCG legitimates the indefinite detention and expulsion of Haitian asylum seekers reaches back to U.S. efforts to suppress the African slave trade, outlawed by Congress in 1807, though domestic slaveholding would continue, and indeed its trade would be not only safeguarded but bolstered by this act.

    This marked a decisive turning point in the history of maritime policing vis-à-vis immigration. Per the Slave Trade Acts of 1794 and 1800, the United States already claimed jurisdiction over U.S. citizens and U.S. vessels engaged in the slave trade within U.S. territorial borders (contemporaneously understood as extending three nautical miles into the ocean). By 1808, however, the United States sought to extend its jurisdiction over the sea itself. Slaver vessels operating around “any river, port, bay, or harbor . . . within the jurisdictional limits of the United States” as well as “on the high seas” were deemed illegal and subject to seizure without compensation. The actual physical distance from U.S. soil that these terms referred to was left purposefully vague. To board a given vessel, a Revenue Cutter captain only had to suspect, rather than conclusively determine, that that vessel eventually intended to offload “international” (i.e., non-native) enslaved people into the United States. The 1819 iteration of the law further stipulated that U.S. jurisdiction included “Africa, or elsewhere.” Hence, in theory, after 1819, the scope of U.S. maritime police operations was simply every maritime space on the globe.

    Revenue Cutter Service captains turned the lack of any description in the 1808 law or its successive iterations about what should be done with temporarily masterless slaves into an advantage. They did what they would have done to any fugitive Black person at the time: indefinitely detain them until higher authorities determined their status, and thereby foreclose the possibility of local Black people conspiring to shuttle them to freedom. During confinement, captured Africans were compelled to perform labor as if they were slaves. For instance, those captured from the Spanish-flagged Antelope (1820) spent seven years toiling at a military fort in Savannah, Georgia, as well as on the local U.S. marshal’s plantation. As wards of the state, they were human only insofar as U.S. officials had a duty to force them to remain alive. Of those “rescued” from the Antelope, 120 ultimately died in captivity and 2 went missing. Following litigation, 39 survivors were sold to U.S. slaveowners to compensate Spanish and Portuguese claimants who had stakes in the Antelope and her enslaved cargo. Per the designs of the American Colonization Society, the remaining 120 Africans were freed upon condition that they be immediately deported to New Georgia, Liberia.

    This anti-Black martial abolitionism was therefore a project framed around the unification of two countervailing tendencies. While white planters consistently pushed to extend racial slavery into the southern and western frontiers, white northern financiers and abolitionists were in favor of creating the most propitious conditions for the expansion of free white settlements throughout America’s urban and rural milieus. Black people were deemed unfit for freedom not only because of their supposed inborn asocial traits, but because their presence imperiled the possibility for white freedom. To actualize Thomas Jefferson’s “Empire of Liberty,” the United States required immigration policies that foreshortened Black peoples’ capacities for social reproduction and thereby re-whitened America.

    This political aim was later extended in legislation passed on February 19, 1862, which authorized President Abraham Lincoln—who intended to solve the contradictions that led to the Civil War by sending every Black person in America back to Africa—to use U.S. naval forces to capture, detain, and deport undocumented people of East Asian/Chinese descent (“coolies”) while at sea. Henceforth, “the free and voluntary emigration of any Chinese subject” to the U.S. was proscribed unless a ship captain possessed documents certified by a consular agent residing at the foreign port of departure. At the time, the principal means for Chinese emigrants to obtain authorization would have been at behest of some corporation seeking expendable, non-white laborers contractually bound to work to death in mines and on railroads on the western frontiers—Native American lands stolen through imperialist warfare. White settlers presupposed that these Asians’ residency was provisional and temporary—and then Congress codified that principle into law in 1870, decreeing that every person of East Asian/Chinese descent, anywhere in the world, was ineligible for U.S. citizenship.

    Twelve years later, An Act to Regulate Immigration (1882) played upon the notion that non-white immigration caused public disorder. Through the use of color-blind legal language, Section 2 of this law specified that the United States must only accept immigrants who were conclusively not “convict[s], lunatic[s], idiot[s], or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge.” The burden of proof lay on non-white immigrants to prove how their racial backgrounds were not already prima facie evidence for these conditions. Section 4 also stipulated that “all foreign convicts except those convicted of political offenses, upon arrival, shall be sent back to the nations to which they belong and from whence they came.” By which means a non-white person could demonstrate the “political” character of a given conviction were cleverly left undefined.

    It was not a giant leap of imagination for the United States to apply these precedents to the maritime policing of Haitian asylum seekers in the 1980s. Nor should we be surprised that the logic of anti-Black martial abolitionism shapes present-day U.S. immigration policy.

    Political philosopher Peter Hallward estimates that paramilitary death squads executed at least a thousand supporters of Lavalas, President Aristide’s party, in the weeks following Aristide’s exile from Haiti on February 29, 2004. The first kanntè (Haitian sailing vessel) the Gallatin sighted one morning in early April had likely departed shortly thereafter.

    The first people from our ship that the Haitians met were members of the boarding team, armed with pistols, M-16s, shotguns, and zip ties. Their goal was to compel the hundred or so aboard the kanntè to surrender their vessel and allow us to deposit them on the flight deck of our ship. Negotiations can take hours. It is not uncommon for some to jump overboard, rather than allow boarding to occur uninhibited. If immediate acquiescence is not obtained, we will maneuver ourselves such that any further movement would cause the small boat to “ram” the Gallatin—an attack on a U.S. military vessel.

    On the Gallatin, we waited for uptake, outfitted with facemasks and rubber gloves. One at a time, we aided the Haitian adults to make the final step from the small boat to the deck of the cutter. We frisked them for weapons and then marched them to the fantail to undergo initial processing. Most of them appeared exhausted and confused—but compliant. Some may have already been in fear for their lives. One night aboard the USCGC Dallas, which hovered in Port-au-Prince Bay as a deportation coordination outpost and as a temporary detention site for Haitians awaiting immediate transfer to Haitian Coast Guard authorities, my friend and his shipmates asked their Kreyòl interpreter how he managed to obtain compliance from the botpippel. “I tell them you will hurt or kill them if they do not obey,” he joked, “so, of course, they listen.”

    Boarding all the Haitians took from midday until midnight. One of the last ones I helped aboard, a man dressed in a suit two sizes too large, looked into my eyes and smiled. He gently wept, clasped my hand tightly, and embraced me. I quickly pushed him off and pointed to the processing station at the fantail, leading him by the wrist to join the others. He stopped crying.

    Three things happened at the processing station. First, Haitians deposited the last of their belongings with the interpreter, ostensibly for safekeeping. Who knows if anyone got their things back. Second, a Kreyòl translator and one of the officers gave them a cursory interview about their asylum claims, all the while surrounded by armed sentries, as well as other Haitians who might pass that intelligence onto narcotics smugglers, paramilitary gangs, or state officials back in Haiti. Lastly, they received a rapid, half-assed medical examination—conducted in English. So long as they nodded, or remained silent, they passed each test and were shuffled up to the flight deck.

    We retired for the night after the boarding team set fire to the kanntè as a hazard to navigation. The Haitians probably didn’t know that this was the reason we unceremoniously torched their last hope for escape before their very eyes.

    About a week later, we found another kanntè packed with around seventy Haitians and repeated the process. Another USCG cutter transferred a hundred more over to the Gallatin. Our flight deck was reaching full capacity.

    We arrived at one kanntè too late. It had capsized. Pieces of the shattered mast and little bits of clothing and rubbish were floating around the hull. No survivors. How long had it been? Sharks were spotted circling at a short depth below the vessel.

    The Gallatin’s commanders emphasized that our mission was, at its core, humanitarian in nature. We were duty-bound to provide freshwater, food, and critical medical care. During their time aboard, Haitians would be treated as detainees and were not to be treated, or referred to, as prisoners. The use of force was circumscribed within clear rules of engagement. The Haitians were not in any way to be harmed or killed unless they directly threatened the ship or its sailors. Unnecessary violence against them could precipitate an internal review, solicit undue international criticism, and imperil the deportationist efficiency of INS officials. We were told that our batons and pepper spray were precautionary, primarily symbolic.

    It sounded like all I had to do was stand there and not screw anything up.

    Over the course of several watches, I concluded that, in fact, our job was also to relocate several crucial features of the abysmal living conditions that obtained on the kanntè onto the Gallatin’s flight deck. Though the flight deck was 80 feet by 43 feet, we blocked the edges to facilitate the crew’s movement and to create a buffer between us and the Haitians. Taking this into account, their living space was closer to 65 feet by 35 feet. For a prison population of 300 Haitians, each individual would have had only 7 feet 7 inches square to lie down and stand up. On the diagram of the eighteenth-century British slaver Brooks, the enslaved were each allocated approximately 6 feet 10 inches square, scarcely less than on the Gallatin. (Historian Marcus Rediker thinks that the Brooks diagram probably overstates the amount of space the enslaved were given.)

    Although some cutters will drape tarps over the flight deck to shield the Haitians from the unmediated effects of the sun, the Gallatin provided no such shelter. We permitted them to shower, once, in saltwater, without soap. The stench on the flight deck took on a sweet, fetid tinge.

    The only place they could go to achieve a modicum of solitude and to escape the stench was the makeshift metal toilet on the fantail. (On slave ships, solitude was found by secreting away to a hidden compartment or small boat to die alone; the “necessary tubs” that held human excrement were contained in the slave holds below deck.) They were permitted to use the toilet one at a time in the case of adults, and two at a time in the case of children and the elderly. For what was supposed to be no longer than five minutes, they had an opportunity to stretch, relax, and breathe fresh sea air. Nevertheless, these moments of respite took place under observation by the watchstander stationed at the toilet, not to mention the numerous Haitian onlookers at the rear of the flight deck.

    Despite our commanders’ reticence on the matter, the ever-present fear of revolt hovered underneath the surface of our standing orders. We were to ensure order and discipline through counterinsurgency protocols and techniques of incarceration that one might find in any U.S. prison. The military imperative aboard the Gallatin was to produce a sense of radical uncertainty and temporal disorientation in the Haitians, such that they maintain hope for an asylum claim that had already been rejected.

    In this context, there were four overlapping components to the security watch.

    The first component of the ship’s securitization was constant surveillance. We were not supposed to take our eyes off the Haitians for one moment. During the watch, we would regularly survey the flight deck for any signs of general unrest, conspiracy, or organized protest. Any minor infraction could later contribute to the eruption of a larger riot, and thus needed to be quickly identified and neutralized. We also had to observe their behavior for indications that one of them intended to jump overboard or harm another Haitian. All that said, we found a used condom one day. Surveillance is never total.

    The second was the limitation we placed on communication. We shrouded all USCG practices in a fog of secrecy. Conversing with the Haitians through anything other than hand signals and basic verbal commands was forbidden; physical contact was kept at bare minimum. Nonofficial speech among the watch was proscribed. Watchstanders were stripped of their identity, save their uniform, from which our nametags were removed. It was critical that botpippel forever be unable to identify us.

    Secrecy preemptively disabled the Haitians from collectively piecing together fragments of information about where our vessel had been, where it was now, and where it was going. Officially, the concern was that they might exploit the situation to gather intelligence about our patrol routes and pass this information to human or narcotics smugglers. We militated against their mapping out how the ship operated, its layout and complement, where living spaces and the armory were located, and so on. These were standard tactics aboard slaver vessels. As freed slave and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano observed, “When the ship we were in had got in all her cargo . . . we were all put under deck, so that we could not see how they managed the vessel.”

    On the Gallatin, the command also strove to maintain strict control over the narrative. They blocked sailors’ access to the open Internet and censored letters from home that contained news of global or domestic politics (and even just bad personal news). Knowledge of whether a particular asylum claim had failed or succeeded was hidden from all. A watchstander harboring political solidarity with—as opposed to mere empathy and pity for—the Haitians might compromise operational capacities, good judgment, and core loyalty to the USCG.

    Our third securitization strategy was to produce false knowledge of the future. The Haitians were led to believe that they were merely waiting aboard the ship because their asylum claims were still being vigorously debated by diplomatic entities in Washington. Their continued compliance was predicated on this differential of knowledge. They could not realize that they were moving in circles, being returned slowly to Haiti. If they lost all hope, we presumed they would eventually resist their intolerable conditions through violent means.

    Hence, our fourth securitization measure: USCG personnel were permitted to inflict several limited forms of physical and symbolic violence against the Haitians, not only in response to perceived noncompliance, but also as a means of averting the need to inflict even greater violence in the future.

    If it were not classified as a matter of national security, we might have a better grasp of how many times such instances occur aboard USCG vessels. I open this essay with a story of how we subdued and punished one person for resisting the rules. But it is known that punishment is sometimes inflicted on entire groups. A telling example took place on January 30, 1989, when the USCG captured the Dieu Devant with 147 Haitians aboard. One of them, Fitzroy Joseph, later reported in congressional hearings that, after they expressed a fear of being killed if returned to Haiti, USCG personnel “began wrestling with the Haitians and hitting their hands with their flashlights.” This was followed by threats to release pepper spray. Marie Julie Pierre, Joseph’s wife, corroborated his testimony, adding:

    [We were] asked at once if we feared returning to Haiti and everyone said yes we did. We said ‘down with Avril, up with Bush.’ We were threatened with tear gas but they didn’t use it. Many people were crying because they were so afraid. [Ti Jak] was hit by the officers because he didn’t want to go back. They handcuffed him. The Coast Guard grabbed others by the neck and forced them to go to the biggest boat. My older brother was also hit and treated like a chicken as they pulled him by the neck.

    Counterintuitively, our nonlethal weapons functioned as more efficient instruments of counterinsurgency than lethal weapons. Brandishing firearms might exacerbate an already tense situation in which the Haitians outnumbered the entire ship’s complement. It could also provide an opportunity for the Haitians to seize and turn our own guns against us (or one another). In contrast, losing a baton and a can of pepper spray represented a relatively minor threat to the ship’s overall security. In the event of an actual riot, the command could always mobilize armed reinforcements. From the perspective of the command, then, the first responders on watch were, to some extent, expendable. Nevertheless, sentries bearing firearms were on deck when we approached Haiti and prepared for final deportation. That is, the precise moment the Haitians realized their fate.

    Like the enslaved Africans captured by the Revenue Cutter Service, botpippel were human to us only insofar as we had to compel them, through the threat or actuality of violence, to remain alive. The Haitians ate our tasteless food and drank our freshwater—otherwise they would starve, or we might beat them for going on a hunger strike. They tended to remain silent and immobile day and night—otherwise they would invite acts of exemplary punishment upon themselves. The practices of confinement on the Gallatin represent a variant of what historian Stephanie Smallwood describes as a kind of “scientific empiricism” that developed aboard slave ships, which “prob[ed] the limits to which it is possible to discipline the body without extinguishing the life within.” Just as contemporary slavers used force to conserve human commodities for sale, so does the USCG use force to produce nominally healthy economic migrants to exchange with Haitian authorities.

    The rational utilization of limited forms of exemplary violence was an integral aspect of this carceral science. Rediker shows how slaver captains understood violence along a continuum that ranged from acceptably severe to unacceptably cruel. Whereas severity was the grounds of proper discipline as such, an act was cruel only if it led “to catastrophic results [and] sparked reactions such as mutiny by sailors or insurrection by slaves.” In turn, minor acts of kindness, such as dispensing better food or allowing slightly more free time to move above deck, were conditioned by these security imperatives. Furthermore, they exerted no appreciable change to the eventuality that the person would be sold to a slaveowner, for kindness was a self-aggrandizing ritual performance of authority that intended to lay bare the crucial imbalance of power relations at hand. This was, Rediker maintains, “as close as the owners ever came to admitting that terror was essential to running a slave ship.”

    The USCG’s undeclared long war against Haitian asylum seekers is but one front of a much longer war against people of African descent in the Americas. The entangled histories of the African slave trade and anti-Black martial abolitionism reveal how this war intimately shaped the foundations and racist intentions that underlay modern U.S. immigration and refugee policy writ large. And the Gallatin, her sailors, and the Haitians who were trapped on the flight deck, are, in some small way, now a part of this history, too.

    The Biden administration has the power to decisively end this war—indeed, every war against non-white asylum seekers. Until then, botpippel will continue to suffer the slave ships that survive into the present.

    https://bostonreview.net/race/ryan-fontanilla-immigration-enforcement-and-afterlife-slave-ship

    #esclavage #héritage #migrations #contrôles_migratoires #Haïti #gardes-côtes #nationalisme_blanc #USA #Etats-Unis #migrations #frontières #asile #réfugiés #USCG #Haitian_Migrant_Interdiction_Operation (#HMIO) #botpippel #boat_people

    #modèle_australien #pacific_solution

    ping @karine4 @isskein @reka

    • Ce décret de #Reagan mentionné dans l’article rappelle farouchement la loi d’#excision_territoriale australienne :

      But in our present day, it began in earnest with President Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order 12324 of 1981, also called the Haitian Migrant Interdiction Operation (HMIO), which exclusively tasked the USCG to “interdict” Haitian asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States by sea routes on unauthorized sailing vessels. Such people were already beginning to be derogatorily referred to as “boat people,” a term then borrowed (less derogatorily) into Haitian Kreyòl as botpippel.

      Excision territoriale australienne :


      https://seenthis.net/messages/416996

      –—

      Citation tirée du livre de McAdam et Chong : « Refugees : why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not » (p.3)

      “Successive governments (aided by much of the media) have exploited public anxieties about border security to create a rhetorical - and, ultimately, legislative - divide between the rights of so-called ’genuine’ refugees, resettled in Australia from camps and settlements abroad, and those arriving spontaneously in Australia by boat.”

  • What happens to migrants forcibly returned to Libya?

    ‘These are people going missing by the hundreds.’

    The killing last week of three young men after they were intercepted at sea by the EU-funded Libyan Coast Guard has thrown the spotlight on the fate of tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers returned to Libya to face detention, abuse and torture by traffickers, or worse.

    The three Sudanese nationals aged between 15 and 18 were shot dead on 28 July, reportedly by members of a militia linked to the Coast Guard as they tried to avoid being detained. They are among more than 6,200 men, women, and children intercepted on the central Mediterranean and returned to Libya this year. Since 2017, that figure is around 40,000.

    Over the last three months, The New Humanitarian has spoken to migrants and Libyan officials, as well as to UN agencies and other aid groups and actors involved, to piece together what is happening to the returnees after they are brought back to shore.

    It has long been difficult to track the whereabouts of migrants and asylum seekers after they are returned to Libya, and for years there have been reports of people going missing or disappearing into unofficial detention centres after disembarking.

    But the UN’s migration agency, IOM, told TNH there has been an uptick in people vanishing off its radar since around December, and it suspects that at least some returnees are being taken to so-called “data-collection and investigation facilities” under the direct control of the Ministry of Interior for the Government of National Accord.

    The GNA, the internationally recognised authority in Libya, is based in the capital, Tripoli, and has been fighting eastern forces commanded by general Khalifa Haftar for 16 months in a series of battles that has developed into a regional proxy war.

    Unlike official detention centres run by the GNA’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM) – also under the Ministry of the Interior – and its affiliated militias, neither IOM nor the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has access to these data-collection facilities, which are intended for the investigation of smugglers and not for detaining migrants.

    “We have been told that migrants are no longer in these [data-collection] facilities and we wonder if they have been transferred,” Safa Msehli, spokesperson for IOM in Libya, told TNH.

    “These are people going missing by the hundreds. We have also been told – and are hearing reports from community leaders – that people are going missing,” she said. “We feel the worst has happened, and that these locations [data-collection facilities] are being used to smuggle or traffic people.”

    According to IOM, more than half of the over 6,200 people returned to Libya this year – which includes at least 264 women and 202 children – remain unaccounted for after being loaded onto buses and driven away from the disembarkation points on the coast.

    Msehli said some people had been released after they are returned, but that their number was “200 maximum”, and that if others had simply escaped she would have expected them to show up at community centres run by IOM and its local partners – which most haven’t.

    Masoud Abdal Samad, a commander in the Libyan Coast Guard, denied all accusations of trafficking to TNH, even though the UN has sanctioned individuals in the Coast Guard for their involvement in people smuggling and trafficking. He also said he didn’t know where asylum seekers and migrants end up after they are returned to shore. “It’s not my responsibility. It’s DCIM that determines where the migrants go,” he said.

    Neither the head of the DCIM, Al Mabrouk Abdel-Hafez, nor the media officer for the interior ministry, Mohammad Abu Abdallah, responded to requests for comment from TNH. But the Libyan government recently told the Wall Street Journal that all asylum seekers and migrants returned by the Coast Guard are taken to official detention centres.
    ‘I can’t tell you where we take them’

    TNH spoke to four migrants – three of whom were returned by the Libyan Coast Guard and placed in detention, one of them twice. All described a system whereby returned migrants and asylum seekers are being routinely extorted and passed between different militias.

    Contacted via WhatsApp, Yasser, who only gave his first name for fear of retribution for exposing the abuse he suffered, recounted his ordeal in a series of conversations between May and June.

    The final stage of his journey to start a new life in Europe began on a warm September morning in 2019 when he squeezed onto a rubber dinghy along with 120 other people in al-Garabulli, a coastal town near Tripoli. The year before, the 33-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker had escaped from conflict in his village in the Nuba Mountains to search for safety and opportunity.

    By nightfall, those on board the small boat spotted a reconnaissance aircraft, likely dispatched as part of an EU or Italian aerial surveillance mission. It appears the aircraft alerted the Libyan Coast Guard, which soon arrived to drag them onto their boat and back to war-torn Libya.

    Later that day, as the boat approached the port, Yasser overheard a uniformed member of the Coast Guard speaking on the phone. The man said he had around 100 migrants and was willing to sell each one for 500 Libyan dinars ($83).

    “Militias buy and sell us to make a profit in this country,” Yasser told TNH months later, after he escaped. “In their eyes, refugees are just an investment.”

    When Yasser stepped off the Coast Guard boat in Tripoli’s port, he saw dozens of people he presumed were aid workers tending to the injured. He tried to tell them that he and the others were going to be sold to a militia, but the scene was frantic and he said they didn’t listen.

    “Militias buy and sell us to make a profit in this country. In their eyes, refugees are just an investment.”

    Yasser couldn’t recall which organisation the aid workers were from. Whoever was there, they watched Libyan authorities herd Yasser and the other migrants onto a handful of buses and drive them away.

    IOM, or UNHCR, or one of their local partners are usually present at disembarkation points when migrants are returned to shore. The two UN agencies, which receive significant EU funding for their operations in Libya and have been criticised for participating in the system of interception and detention, say they tend to the injured and register asylum seekers. They also said they count the number of people returned from sea and jot down their nationalities and gender.

    But both agencies told TNH they are unable to track where people go next because Libyan authorities do not keep an official database of asylum seekers and migrants intercepted at sea or held in detention centres.

    News footage – and testimonies from migrants and aid workers – shows white buses with DCIM logos frequently pick up those disembarking. TNH also identified a private bus company that DCIM contracts for transportation. The company, called Essahim, imported 130 vehicles from China before beginning operations in September 2019.

    On its Facebook page, Essahim only advertises its shuttle bus services to Misrata airport, in northwest Libya. But a high-level employee, who asked TNH not to disclose his name for fear of reprisal from Libyan authorities, confirmed that the company picks up asylum seekers and migrants from disembarkation points on the shore.

    He said all of Essahim’s buses are equipped with a GPS tracking system to ensure drivers don’t deviate from their route. He also emphasised that the company takes people to “legitimate centres”, but he refused to disclose the locations.

    “You have to ask the government,” he told TNH. “I can’t tell you where we take them. It’s one of the conditions in the contract.”

    Off the radar

    Since Libya’s 2011 revolution, state security forces – such as the Coast Guard and interior ministry units – have mostly consisted of a collection of militias vying for legitimacy and access to sources of revenue.

    Migrant detention centres have been particularly lucrative to control, and even the official ones can be run by whichever local militia or armed group holds sway at a particular time. Those detained are not granted rights or legal processes, and there have been numerous reports of horrific abuse, and deaths from treatable diseases like tuberculosis.

    Facts regarding the number of different detention centres and who controls them are sketchy, especially as they often close and re-open or come under new management, and as territory can change hands between the GNA and forces aligned with Haftar. Both sides have a variety of militias fighting alongside them, and there are splits within the alliances.

    But IOM’s Msehli told TNH that as of 1 August that there are 11 official detention centres run by DCIM, and that she was aware of returned migrants also being taken to what she believes are four different data-collection and investigation facilities – three in Tripoli and one in Zuwara, a coastal city about 100 kilometres west of the capital. The government has not disclosed how many data-collection centres there are or where they are located.

    Beyond the official facilities, there are also numerous makeshift compounds used by smugglers and militias – especially in the south and in the former Muammar Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid – for which there is no data, according to a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI).

    Yasser told TNH he had no idea if he was in an official DCIM-run detention centre or an unofficial site after he was pulled off the bus that took him to a makeshift prison from the port of Tripoli. Unless UN agencies show up, it is hard for detainees to tell the difference. Conditions are dismal and abuses occur in both locations: In unofficial facilities the extortion of detainees is systematic, while in official centres it tends to be carried out by individual staff members, according to the GI report.

    Between Yasser’s description and information from an aid group that gained access to the facility – but declined to be identified for fear of jeopardising its work – TNH believes Yasser was taken to an informal centre in Tripoli called Shaaria Zawiya, outside the reach of UN agencies. Msehli said IOM believes it is a data-collection and investigation facility.

    During the time Yasser was there, the facility was under the control of a militia commander with a brutal reputation, according to a high-level source from the aid group. The commander was eventually replaced in late 2019, but not before trying to extort hundreds of people, including Yasser.

    Several nights after he arrived at the centre, everyone being held there was ordered to pay a 3,000 Libyan dinar ransom – about $500 on the Libyan black market. The militia separated detainees by nationality and tossed each group a cell phone. They gave one to the Eritreans, one to the Somalis, and one to the Sudanese. The detainees were told to call their families and beg, Yasser recalled.

    Those who couldn’t pay languished in the centre until they were sold for a lower sum to another militia, which would try to extort them for a smaller ransom to earn a profit. This is a widely reported trend all across Libya: Militias sell migrants they can’t extort to make space for new hostages.

    Yasser’s friends and family were too poor to pay for his release, yet he clung to hope that he would somehow escape. He watched as the militia commander beat and intimidated other asylum seekers and migrants in the centre, but he was too scared to intervene. As the weeks passed, he started to believe nobody would find him.

    Then, one day, he saw a couple of aid workers. They came to document the situation and treat the wounded. “The migrants who spoke English whispered for help, but [the aid workers] just kept silent and nodded,” Yasser said.

    The aid workers were from the same NGO that identified the data-collection facility to TNH. The aid group said it suspects that Libyan authorities are taking migrants to two other locations in Tripoli after disembarkation: a data-collection and investigation facility in a neighbourhood called Hay al-Andulus, and an abandoned tobacco factory in another Tripoli suburb. “I know the factory exists, but I have no idea how many people are inside,” the source said, adding that the aid group had been unable to negotiate access to either location.

    “We were treated like animals.”

    Msehli confirmed that IOM believes migrants have been taken to both compounds, neither of which are under DCIM control. She added that more migrants are ending up in another unofficial location in Tripoli.

    After languishing for two months, until November, in Shaaria Zawiya, Yasser said he was sold to a militia manning what he thinks was an official detention centre. He assumed the location was official because uniformed UNHCR employees frequently showed up with aid. When UNHCR wasn’t there, the militia still demanded ransoms from the people inside.

    “We were treated like animals,” Yasser said. “But at least when UNHCR visited, the militia fed us more food than usual.”

    Tariq Argaz, the spokesperson for UNHCR in Libya, defended the agency’s aid provision to official facilities like this one, saying: “We are against the detention of refugees, but we have a humanitarian imperative to assist refugees wherever they are, even if it is a detention centre.”

    Growing pressure on EU to change tack

    The surge in disappearances raises further concerns about criminality and human rights abuses occurring within a system of interception and detention by Libyan authorities that the EU and EU member states have funded and supported since 2017.

    The aim of the support is to crack down on smuggling networks, reduce the number of asylum seekers and migrants arriving in Europe, and improve detention conditions in Libya, but critics say it has resulted in tens of thousands of people being returned to indefinite detention and abuse in Libya. There is even less oversight now that asylum seekers and migrants are ending up in data-collection and investigation facilities, beyond the reach of UN agencies.

    The escalating conflict in Libya and the coronavirus crisis have made the humanitarian situation for asylum seekers and migrants in the country “worse than ever”, according to IOM. At the same time, Italy and Malta have further turned their backs on rescuing people at sea. Italy has impounded NGO search and rescue ships, while both countries have repeatedly failed to respond, or responded slowly, to distress calls, and Malta even hired a private fishing vessel to return people rescued at sea to Libya.

    “We believe that people shouldn’t be returned to Libya,” Msehli told TNH. “This is due to the lack of any protection mechanism that the Libyan state takes or is able to take.”

    There are currently estimated to be at least 625,000 migrants in Libya and 47,859 registered asylum seekers and refugees. Of this number, around 1,760 migrants – including 760 registered asylum seekers and refugees – are in the DCIM-run detention centres, according to data from IOM and UNHCR, although IOM’s data only covers eight out of the 11 DCIM facilities.

    The number of detainees in unofficial centres and makeshift compounds is unknown but, based on those unaccounted for and the reported experiences of migrants, could be many times higher. A recent estimate from Liam Kelly, director of the Danish Refugee Council in Libya, suggests as many as 80,000 people have been in them at some point in recent years.

    There remains no clear explanation why some people intercepted attempting the sea journey appear to be being taken to data-collection and investigation facilities, while others end up in official centres. But researchers believe migrants are typically taken to facilities that have space to house new detainees, or other militias may strike a deal to purchase a new group to extort them.

    In a leaked report from last year, the EU acknowledged that the GNA “has not taken steps to improve the situation in the centres”, and that “the government’s reluctance to address the problems raises questions of its own involvement”.

    The UN, human rights groups, researchers, journalists and TNH have noted that there is little distinction between criminal groups, militias, and other entities involved in EU-supported migration control activities under the GNA.

    A report released last week by UNHCR and the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) at the Danish Refugee Council said that migrants being smuggled and trafficked to the Mediterranean coast had identified the primary perpetrators of abuses as state officials and law enforcement.

    Pressure on the EU over its proximity to abuses resulting from the interception and detention of asylum seekers and migrants in Libya is mounting. International human rights lawyers have filed lawsuits to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the UN human rights committee, and the European Court of Human Rights to attempt to hold the EU accountable.

    Peter Stano, the EU Commission’s official spokesperson for External Affairs, told TNH that the EU doesn’t consider Libya a safe country, but that its priority has always been to stop irregular migration to keep migrants from risking their lives, while protecting the most vulnerable.

    “We have repeated again and again, together with our international partners in the UN and African Union, that arbitrary detention of migrants and refugees in Libya must end, including to Libyan authorities,” he said. “The situation in these centres is unacceptable, and arbitrary detention of migrants and refugees upon disembarkation must stop.”

    For Yasser, it took a war for him to have the opportunity to escape from detention. In January this year, the facility he was in came under heavy fire during a battle in the war for Tripoli. Dozens of migrants, including Yasser, made a run for it.

    He is now living in a crowded house with other Sudanese asylum seekers in the coastal town of Zawiya, and says that returning to the poverty and instability in Sudan is out of the question. With his sights set on Europe, he still intends to cross the Mediterranean, but he’s afraid of being intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard, trafficked, and extorted all over again.

    “It’s a business,” said Yasser. “Militias pay for your head and then they force you to pay for your freedom.”

    https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2020/08/05/missing-migrants-Libya-forced-returns-Mediterranean

    #chronologie #timeline #time-line #migrations #asile #réfugiés #chiffres #statistiques #pull-back #pull-backs #push-backs #refoulements #disparitions #torture #décès #morts #gardes-côtes_libyens #détention #centres_de_détention #milices

    ping @isskein

    • The legal battle to hold the EU to account for Libya migrant abuses

      ‘It’s a well known fact that we’re all struggling here, as human rights practitioners.’

      More than 6,500 asylum seekers and migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard so far this year. Since the EU and Italy began training, funding, equipping, and providing operational assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard in 2017, that number stands at around 40,000 people.

      Critics say European support for these interceptions and returns is one of the most glaring examples of the trade-off being made between upholding human rights – a fundamental EU value – and the EU’s determination to reduce migration to the continent.

      Those intercepted at sea and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard – predominantly asylum seekers and migrants from East and West Africa – face indefinite detention, extortion, torture, sexual exploitation, and forced labour.

      This year alone, thousands have disappeared beyond the reach of UN agencies after being disembarked. Migration detention in Libya functions as a business that generates revenue for armed groups, some of whom have also pressed asylum seekers and migrants into military activities – a practice that is likely a war crime, according to Human Rights Watch.

      All of this has been well documented and widely known for years, even as the EU and Italy have stepped up their support for the Libyan Coast Guard. Yet despite their key role in empowering the Coast Guard to return people to Libya, international human rights lawyers have struggled to hold the EU and Italy to account. Boxed in by the limitations of international law, lawyers have had to find increasingly innovative legal strategies to try to establish European complicity in the abuses taking place.

      As the EU looks to expand its cooperation with third countries, the outcome of these legal efforts could have broader implications on whether the EU and its member states can be held accountable for the human rights impacts of their external migration policies.

      “Under international law there are rules… prohibiting states to assist other states in the commission of human rights violations,” Matteo de Bellis, Amnesty International’s migration researcher, told The New Humanitarian. “However, those international rules do not have a specific court where you can litigate them, where individuals can have access to remedy.”

      In fact, human rights advocates and lawyers argue that EU and Italian support for the Libyan Coast Guard is designed specifically to avoid legal responsibility.

      “For a European court to have jurisdiction over a particular policy, a European actor must be in control... of a person directly,” said Itamar Mann, an international human rights lawyer. “When a non-European agent takes that control, it’s far from clear that [a] European court has jurisdiction. So there is a kind of accountability gap under international human rights law.”
      ‘The EU is not blameless’

      When Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2017 with Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) “to ensure the reduction of illegal migratory flows”, the agreement carried echoes of an earlier era.

      In 2008, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi signed a friendship treaty with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi that, among other things, committed the two countries to working together to curb irregular migration.

      The following year, Italian patrol boats began intercepting asylum seekers and migrants at sea and returning them to Libya. In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights, an international court based in Strasbourg, France – which all EU member states are party to – ruled that the practice violated multiple articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

      The decision, in what is known as the Hirsi case, was based on the idea that Italy had established “extraterritorial jurisdiction” over asylum seekers and migrants when it took them under their control at sea and had violated the principle of non-refoulement – a core element of international refugee law – by forcing them back to a country where they faced human rights abuses.

      Many states that have signed the 1951 refugee convention have integrated the principle of non-refoulement into their domestic law, binding them to protect asylum seekers once they enter a nation’s territory. But there are divergent interpretations of how it applies to state actors in international waters.

      By the time of the Hirsi decision, the practice had already ended and Gaddafi had been toppled from power. The chaos that followed the Libyan uprising in 2011 paved the way for a new era of irregular migration. The number of people crossing the central Meditteranean jumped from an average of tens of thousands per year throughout the late 1990s and 2000s to more than 150,000 per year in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

      Reducing these numbers became a main priority for Italy and the EU, and they kept the lessons of the Hirsi case in mind as they set about designing their policies, according to de Bellis.

      Instead of using European vessels, the EU and Italy focused on “enabling the Libyan authorities to do the dirty job of intercepting people at sea and returning them to Libya”, he said. “By doing so, they would argue that they have not breached international European law because they have never assumed control, and therefore exercised jurisdiction, over the people who have then been subjected to human rights violations [in Libya].”

      The number of people crossing the central Mediterranean has dropped precipitously in recent years as EU policies have hardened, and tens of thousands of people – including those returned by the Coast Guard – are estimated to have passed through formal and informal migration detention centres in Libya, some of them getting stuck for years and many falling victim to extortion and abuse.

      “There is always going to be a debate about, is the EU responsible… [because] it’s really Libya who has done the abuses,” said Carla Ferstman, a human rights law professor at the University of Essex in England. “[But] the EU is not blameless because it can’t pretend that it didn’t know the consequences of what it was going to do.”

      The challenge for human rights lawyers is how to legally establish that blame.
      The accountability gap

      Since 2017, the EU has given more than 91 million euros (about $107 million) to support border management projects in Libya. Much of that money has gone to Italy, which implements the projects and has provided its own funding and at least six patrol boats to the Libyan Coast Guard.

      One objective of the EU’s funding is to improve the human rights and humanitarian situation in official detention centres. But according to a leaked EU document from 2019, this is something the Libyan government had not been taking steps to do, “raising the question of its own involvement”, according to the document.

      The main goal of the funding is to strengthen the capacity of Libyan authorities to control the country’s borders and intercept asylum seekers and migrants at sea. This aspect of the policy has been effective, according to a September 2019 report by the UN secretary-general.

      “All our action is based on international and European law,” an EU spokesperson told the Guardian newspaper in June. “The European Union dialogue with Libyan authorities focuses on the respect for human rights of migrants and refugees.”

      The EU has legal obligations to ensure that its actions do not violate human rights in both its internal and external policy, according to Ferstman. But when it comes to actions taken outside of Europe, “routes for those affected to complain when their rights are being violated are very, very weak,” she said.

      The EU and its member states are also increasingly relying on informal agreements, such as the Memorandum of Understanding with Libya, in their external migration cooperation.

      “Once the EU makes formal agreements with third states… [it] is more tightly bound to a lot of human rights and refugee commitments,” Raphael Bossong, a researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, told TNH. “Hence, we see a shift toward less binding or purely informal arrangements.”

      Lawyers and researchers told TNH that the absence of formal agreements, and the combination of EU funding and member state implementation, undermines the standing of the EU Parliament and the Court of Justice, the bloc’s supreme court, to act as watchdogs.

      Efforts to challenge Italy’s role in cooperating with Libya in Italian courts have also so far been unsuccessful.

      “It’s a well known fact that we’re all struggling here, as human rights practitioners… to grapple with the very limited, minimalistic tools we have to address the problem at hand,” said Valentina Azarova, a lawyer and researcher affiliated with the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), a nonprofit organisation that pursues international human rights litigation.

      Uncharted territory

      With no clear path forward, human rights lawyers have ventured into uncharted territory to try to subject EU and Italian cooperation with Libya to legal scrutiny.

      Lawyers called last year for the International Criminal Court to investigate the EU for its alleged complicity in thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean, and legal organisations have filed two separate complaints with the UN Human Rights Committee, which has a quasi-judicial function.

      In November last year, GLAN also submitted a case, called S.S. and others v. Italy, to the European Court of Human Rights that aims to build on the Hirsi decision. The case argues that – through its financial, material, and operational support – Italy assumes “contactless control” over people intercepted by Libyan Coast Guard and therefore establishes jurisdiction over them.

      “Jurisdiction is not only a matter of direct, effective control over bodies,” Mann, who is part of GLAN, said of the case’s argument. “It’s also a matter of substantive control that can be wielded in many different ways.”

      GLAN, along with two Italian legal organisations, also filed a complaint in April to the European Court of Auditors, which is tasked with checking to see if the EU’s budget is implemented correctly and that funds are spent legally.

      The GLAN complaint alleges that funding border management activities in Libya makes the EU and its member states complicit in the human rights abuses taking place there, and is also a misuse of money intended for development purposes – both of which fall afoul of EU budgetary guidelines.

      The complaint asks for the EU funding to be made conditional on the improvement of the situation for asylum seekers and migrants in the country, and for it to be suspended until certain criteria are met, including the release of all refugees and migrants from arbitrary detention, the creation of an asylum system that complies with international standards, and the establishment of an independent, transparent mechanism to monitor and hold state and non-state actors accountable for human rights violations against refugees and migrants.

      The Court of Auditors is not an actual courtroom or a traditional venue for addressing human rights abuses. It is composed of financial experts who conduct an annual audit of the EU budget. The complaint is meant to encourage them to take a specific look at EU funding to Libya, but they aren’t obligated to do so.

      “To use the EU Court of Auditors to get some kind of human rights accountability is an odd thing to do,” said Ferstman, who is not involved in the complaint. “It speaks to the [accountability] gap and the absence of clear approaches.”

      “[Still], it is the institution where this matter needs to be adjudicated, so to speak,” Azarova, who came up with the strategy, added. “They are the experts on questions of EU budget law.”

      Closing the gap?

      If successful, the Court of Auditors complaint could change how EU funding for Libya operates and set a precedent requiring a substantive accounting of how money is being spent and whether it ends up contributing to human rights violations in other EU third-country arrangements, according to Mann. “It will be a blow to the general externalisation pattern,” he said.

      Ferstman cautioned, however, that its impact – at least legally – might not be so concrete. “[The Court of Auditors] can recommend everything that GLAN has put forward, but it will be a recommendation,” she said. “It will not be an order.”

      Instead, the complaint’s more significant impact might be political. “It could put a lot of important arsenal in the hands of the MEPs [Members of the European Parliament] who want to push forward changes,” Ferstman said.

      A European Court of Human Rights decision in favour of the plaintiffs in S.S. and others v Italy could be more decisive. “It would go a long way towards addressing that [accountability] gap, because individuals will be able to challenge European states that encourage and assist other countries to commit human rights violations,” de Bellis said.

      If any or all of the various legal challenges that are currently underway are successful, Bossong, from SWP, doesn’t expect them to put an end to external migration cooperation entirely. “Many [external] cooperations would continue,” he said. “[But] policy-makers and administrators would have to think harder: Where is the line? Where do we cross the line?”

      The Court of Auditors will likely decide whether to review EU funding for border management activities in Libya next year, but the European Court of Human Rights moves slowly, with proceedings generally taking around five years, according to Mann.

      Human rights advocates and lawyers worry that by the time the current legal challenges are concluded, the situation in the Mediterranean will again have evolved. Already, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, states such as Malta and Greece have shifted from empowering third countries to intercept people at sea to carrying out pushbacks directly.

      “What is happening now, particularly in the Aegean, is much more alarming than the facts that generated the Hirsi case in terms of the violence of the actual pushbacks,” Mann said.

      Human rights lawyers are already planning to begin issuing challenges to the new practices. As they do, they are acutely aware of the limitations of the tools available to them. Or, as Azarova put it: “We’re dealing with symptoms. We’re not addressing the pathology.”

      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2020/08/10/Libya-migrant-abuses-EU-legal-battle

      #justice

  • Portland, ville symbole de la résistance à Trump
    https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/manifestations-portland-ville-symbole-de-la-resistance-trump

    Voilà plus de cinquante jours que les manifestations contre le racisme et les violences policières se succèdent à Portland, la plus grosse ville de l’Oregon. Le récent déploiement de forces spéciales du gouvernement fédéral n’a fait qu’envenimer les choses.

    #paywall

    • Cinquante-deux jours consécutifs de #manifestations. Si la #mobilisation contre les #violences_policières à la suite de la mort de George Floyd a fléchi dans les rues des autres grandes villes et des petites villes américaines, à Portland, dans l’#Oregon, « la détermination des manifestants va croissant », rapporte le New York Times.

      Et pour cause, la ville est devenue un #symbole du #bras_de_fer engagé par Donald Trump pour mettre un terme aux troubles et aux manifestations en déployant des #forces_spéciales de #police_fédérale.

      « Flagrant #abus_de_pouvoir »

      Le locataire de la Maison-Blanche a encore dénoncé sur Twitter ce dimanche 19 juillet les « anarchistes et agitateurs » qu’il considère comme « une #menace_nationale » et qu’il désigne comme responsables du « #chaos et de l’#anarchie » qui règne dans cette ville de la côte Ouest. Or « davantage de manifestants sont sortis dans les rues de Portland pour protester contre la #militarisation du #maintien_de_l'ordre », rendue palpable par le déploiement de forces spéciales de police fédérale dans la ville depuis le début du mois de juillet, souligne le quotidien new-yorkais.

      Dans un second article, le New York Times décrit plus précisément ces forces spéciales de police fédérale : « Des #agents_fédéraux vêtus de tenues camouflage et d’équipements tactiques, usant de #gaz_lacrymogène et de #brutalité, et embarquant à l’occasion des manifestants dans des véhicules banalisés », ce que la gouverneure démocrate de l’Oregon, Kate Brown, a qualifié de « flagrant abus de pouvoir ».

      La procureure générale de l’État a également indiqué que ses services avaient ouvert une #enquête à la suite de #violences sur un manifestant et avaient enregistré une #plainte devant un tribunal local contre les méthodes répressives illégales des agents fédéraux.

      Les agents présents à Portland font partie des « équipes à déploiement rapide mises en place par le ministère de la Sécurité intérieure ». Il s’agit d’une demande expresse du président américain auprès de différentes agences fédérales d’envoyer des renforts pour « protéger les #statues, #monuments et bâtiments fédéraux pendant les manifestations ».

      Tout un symbole

      Ces équipes incluent environ « 2 ?000 hommes issus de la #police_des_frontières, mais aussi du ministère des Transports et des #gardes-côtes qui viennent prêter main-forte au #Federal_Protective_Service », une agence fédérale peu connue chargée de la #protection_des_propriétés du gouvernement fédéral sur tout le territoire américain.

      Ces renforts fédéraux « ont été déployés à #Seattle, à #Washington et à Portland », souligne le New York Times. Depuis, les images chocs, les vidéos amateurs et les témoignages se multiplient sur les réseaux sociaux et dans les médias américains pour dénoncer la violence de la #répression à Portland.

      Parmi les images les plus frappantes qui ont fait le tour de la Toile figure cette vidéo d’un groupe de mères casquées venues protester contre la présence des agents fédéraux aux cris de « Feds stay clear. Moms are here ?! » ("Allez-vous-en les fédéraux, les mères sont là !").

      Ou encore les photos et vidéos de cette manifestante nue exécutant un drôle de ballet devant les forces de l’ordre. Une manifestante anonyme qualifiée par le Los Angeles Times d’"Athéna", en référence à la déesse grecque de la guerre, émergeant « telle une apparition au milieu des nuages de gaz lacrymogène lancé par les agents fédéraux et ne portant rien d’autre qu’un masque et un bonnet noir face à une dizaine d’agents lourdement armés et vêtus de treillis militaire ».

      Le symbole même de la « vulnérabilité humaine » face à une répression disproportionnée.

      #résistance #Trump #USA #Etats-Unis #plainte #Naked_Athena #Athena

      ping @davduf

    • A Portland, la « milice personnelle de Trump » à l’œuvre

      Ils jaillissent de voitures banalisées, vêtus d’uniformes kaki tout neufs dignes de la guerre d’Irak, pour interpeller des manifestants, ou, trop souvent, de simples passants soupçonnés d’être de « dangereux anarchistes ». Une vidéo montre un de leurs commandos maîtriser à dix, avec l’aide d’un chien policier, un tagueur devant la cour de justice fédérale de Portland, Oregon.

      Ces forces de l’ordre inconnues, dénuées du moindre insigne déclinant leur identité ou leur administration d’origine, côtoient depuis près de deux semaines la police de Portland pour disperser les rassemblements de militants Black Lives Matter, toujours actifs depuis la mort de George Floyd. S’ils coordonnent parfois officieusement leurs actions avec les policiers locaux, connus pour leur brutalité, ils ne prennent leurs ordres que de Washington. Essentiellement du Department of Homeland Security, l’administration de la sécurité intérieure fondée après le 11 Septembre, aujourd’hui étroitement contrôlée par Donald Trump en personne – au grand désarroi des autorités locales, qui assurent n’avoir jamais demandé un tel renfort. « Ces dizaines, voire ces centaines d’officiers fédéraux qui débarquent dans notre ville ne font qu’envenimer la situation, a déploré Ted Wheeler, le maire démocrate de Portland. Leur présence ne fait qu’accroître les violences et le vandalisme. »

      Pour toute réponse, Donald Trump a annoncé qu’il entendait poursuivre ces déploiements dans d’autres villes, telles Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphie, Baltimore et Oakland (en Californie), ainsi que…New York, qui ne connaît plus de manifestations d’envergure, pour rétablir l’ordre dans des municipalités « mal dirigées par des Démocrates de gauche ».

      Aucune compétence sur la voie publique

      L’offensive de la Maison Blanche, décrite comme une manifestation d’autoritarisme et une crise constitutionnelle par l’Aclu, importante association de défense des droits civils, provoque un choc dans l’opinion. Révulsée, Nancy Pelosi, la présidente démocrate de la Chambre des représentants, demande le retrait des « troupes d’assaut de Donald Trump ». Tom Ridge, premier directeur du Homeland Security Department entre 2003 et 2005, a pour sa part rappelé que cette agence de l’Etat fédéral n’a pas été conçue « pour servir de milice personnelle à Donald Trump ».

      Le maintien de l’ordre est traditionnellement la responsabilité des autorités locales : des Etats mais plus couramment des maires des villes, des shérifs élus et des dirigeants de comtés. Les forces fédérales, tels le FBI, la Drug Enforcement Administration et les agences de lutte contre l’immigration clandestine, ne sont compétentes que pour les crimes et délits impliquant des mouvements entre plusieurs Etats ou dûment inscrits en raison de leur gravité dans une liste approuvée par le Congrès. Hormis pour la protection des bâtiments fédéraux, un prétexte largement utilisé à Portland, ils n’ont aucune compétence sur la voie publique, alors qu’ils quadrillent la ville impunément sans autorisation des autorités locales.

      Donald Trump, brutalisé par les sondages et en mal de démonstration d’autorité, a fait son miel du slogan de Black Lives Matter « defund the police », soit retirer ses financements à la police. Le mot d’ordre appelait à la fin de la militarisation du maintien de l’ordre local et au rééquilibrage des fonds publics vers les services sociaux ou de prévention de la criminalité. La Maison Blanche y voit l’occasion de se présenter comme la championne de la loi et de l’ordre face au prétendu laxisme des élus démocrates, quitte à attiser les conflits locaux avant les élections de novembre.

      Rempart contre le prétendu chaos

      Le Président n’a eu de cesse, depuis trois ans, de stigmatiser les « villes sanctuaires » qui limitent leur appui à ses campagnes d’arrestation d’immigrants clandestins. Il trouve maintenant une nouvelle occasion de monter sa base électorale, largement rurale, contre les zones urbaines, majoritairement démocrates, et de s’imposer comme un rempart contre le prétendu chaos. Donald Trump avait évoqué Chicago et son taux de criminalité terrible dès son discours inaugural apocalyptique de janvier 2017 pour promettre la fin de ce « massacre américain ». Mais on ignore l’impact qu’aura sa centaine d’enquêteurs fédéraux dans une ville qui a connu 62 attaques armées entre gangs le week-end dernier. Le maire de Detroit, comme celui de Philadelphie, demandent quant à eux poliment d’où le Président tire ses informations sur le désordre et la criminalité locale.

      Plus perfidement, Trump profite de la colère des polices locales, notamment à New York, ou le maire, Bill de Blasio, à réduit le budget du NYPD sous la pression de Black Lives Matter, pour tenter de déstabiliser les élus démocrates au moment où, certes, la criminalité augmente depuis le déconfinement sans pour autant renverser vingt ans de progrès spectaculaires dans la sécurité de la ville.

      Le Président a, de plus, accru son emprise sur les forces fédérales usant non du FBI, qu’il déteste en raison des enquêtes sur sa possible collusion avec Moscou, mais des agences qui lui sont dévouées, comme la police des frontières et l’Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responsable des arrestations de clandestins. Ces officiers, dénués de toute expérience en matière de contrôle des désordres sur la voie publique, constituent la majorité des troupes en uniforme kaki qui traquent les tagueurs de Portland et pourraient bientôt imposer la marque Trump dans les ghettos du South Side, à Chicago.

      https://www.liberation.fr/planete/2020/07/22/a-portland-la-milice-personnelle-de-trump-a-l-oeuvre_1794940?xtor=rss-450

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

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

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

    Une réalité déguisée

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

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

    Au-delà des chiffres, des violations des #droits_humains

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

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

    Un budget opaque

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    ping @karine4 @rhoumour @reka @_kg_

  • EU pays for surveillance in Gulf of Tunis

    A new monitoring system for Tunisian coasts should counter irregular migration across the Mediterranean. The German Ministry of the Interior is also active in the country. A similar project in Libya has now been completed. Human rights organisations see it as an aid to „#pull_backs“ contrary to international law.

    In order to control and prevent migration, the European Union is supporting North African states in border surveillance. The central Mediterranean Sea off Malta and Italy, through which asylum seekers from Libya and Tunisia want to reach Europe, plays a special role. The EU conducts various operations in and off these countries, including the military mission „#Irini“ and the #Frontex mission „#Themis“. It is becoming increasingly rare for shipwrecked refugees to be rescued by EU Member States. Instead, they assist the coast guards in Libya and Tunisia to bring the people back. Human rights groups, rescue organisations and lawyers consider this assistance for „pull backs“ to be in violation of international law.

    With several measures, the EU and its member states want to improve the surveillance off North Africa. Together with Switzerland, the EU Commission has financed a two-part „#Integrated_Border_Management Project“ in Tunisia. It is part of the reform of the security sector which was begun a few years after the fall of former head of state Ben Ali in 2011. With one pillar of this this programme, the EU wants to „prevent criminal networks from operating“ and enable the authorities in the Gulf of Tunis to „save lives at sea“.

    System for military and border police

    The new installation is entitled „#Integrated_System_for_Maritime_Surveillance“ (#ISMariS) and, according to the Commission (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000891-ASW_EN.html), is intended to bring together as much information as possible from all authorities involved in maritime and coastal security tasks. These include the Ministry of Defence with the Navy, the Coast Guard under the Ministry of the Interior, the National Guard, and IT management and telecommunications authorities. The money comes from the #EU_Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa, which was established at the Valletta Migration Summit in 2015. „ISMariS“ is implemented by the Italian Ministry of the Interior and follows on from an earlier Italian initiative. The EU is financing similar projects with „#EU4BorderSecurity“ not only in Tunisia but also for other Mediterranean countries.

    An institute based in Vienna is responsible for border control projects in Tunisia. Although this #International_Centre_for_Migration_Policy_Development (ICMPD) was founded in 1993 by Austria and Switzerland, it is not a governmental organisation. The German Foreign Office has also supported projects in Tunisia within the framework of the #ICMPD, including the establishment of border stations and the training of border guards. Last month German finally joined the Institute itself (https://www.andrej-hunko.de/start/download/dokumente/1493-deutscher-beitritt-zum-international-centre-for-migration-policy-development/file). For an annual contribution of 210,000 euro, the Ministry of the Interior not only obtains decision-making privileges for organizing ICMPD projects, but also gives German police authorities the right to evaluate any of the Institute’s analyses for their own purposes.

    It is possible that in the future bilateral German projects for monitoring Tunisian maritime borders will also be carried out via the ICMPD. Last year, the German government supplied the local coast guard with equipment for a boat workshop. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/194/1919467.pdf), the Federal Police carried out 14 trainings for the national guard, border police and coast guard, including instruction in operating „control boats“. Tunisia previously received patrol boats from Italy and the USA (https://migration-control.info/en/wiki/tunisia).

    Vessel tracking and coastal surveillance

    It is unclear which company produced and installed the „ISMariS“ surveillance system for Tunisia on behalf of the ICPMD. Similar facilities for tracking and displaying ship movements (#Vessel_Tracking_System) are marketed by all major European defence companies, including #Airbus, #Leonardo in Italy, #Thales in France and #Indra in Spain. However, Italian project management will probably prefer local companies such as Leonardo. The company and its spin-off #e-GEOS have a broad portfolio of maritime surveillance systems (https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/sea/maritime-domain-awareness/coastal-surveillance-systems).

    It is also possible to integrate satellite reconnaissance, but for this the governments must conclude further contracts with the companies. However, „ISMariS“ will not only be installed as a Vessel Tracking System, it should also enable monitoring of the entire coast. Manufacturers promote such #Coastal_Surveillance_Systems as a technology against irregular migration, piracy, terrorism and smuggling. The government in Tunisia has defined „priority coastal areas“ for this purpose, which will be integrated into the maritime surveillance framework.

    Maritime „#Big_Data

    „ISMariS“ is intended to be compatible with the components already in place at the Tunisian authorities, including coastguard command and control systems, #radar, position transponders and receivers, night vision equipment and thermal and optical sensors. Part of the project is a three-year maintenance contract with the company installing the „ISMariS“.

    Perhaps the most important component of „ISMariS“ for the EU is a communication system, which is also included. It is designed to improve „operational cooperation“ between the Tunisian Coast Guard and Navy with Italy and other EU Member States. The project description mentions Frontex and EUROSUR, the pan-European surveillance system of the EU Border Agency, as possible participants. Frontex already monitors the coastal regions off Libya and Tunisia (https://insitu.copernicus.eu/FactSheets/CSS_Border_Surveillance) using #satellites (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2018-003212-ASW_EN.html) and an aerial service (https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/26/frontex-air-service-reconnaissance-for-the-so-called-libyan-coast-guar).

    #EUROSUR is now also being upgraded, Frontex is spending 2.6 million Euro (https://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:109760-2020:TEXT:EN:HTML) on a new application based on artificial intelligence. It is to process so-called „Big Data“, including not only ship movements but also data from ship and port registers, information on ship owners and shipping companies, a multi-year record of previous routes of large ships and other maritime information from public sources on the Internet. The contract is initially concluded for one year and can be extended up to three times.

    Cooperation with Libya

    To connect North African coastguards to EU systems, the EU Commission had started the „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ project two years after the fall of North African despots. To combat irregular migration, from 2013 onwards Spain, Italy and Malta have trained a total of 141 members of the Libyan coast guard for sea rescue. In this way, „Seahorse Mediterranean“ has complemented similar training measures that Frontex is conducting for the Coastal Police within the framework of the EU mission #EUBAM_Libya and the military mission #EUNAVFOR_MED for the Coast Guard of the Tripolis government.

    The budget for „#Seahorse_Mediterranean“ is indicated by the Commission as 5.5 million Euro (https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-000892-ASW_EN.html), the project was completed in January 2019. According to the German Foreign Office (http://dipbt.bundestag.de/doc/btd/19/196/1919625.pdf), Libya has signed a partnership declaration for participation in a future common communication platform for surveillance of the Mediterranean. Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt are also to be persuaded to participate. So far, however, the governments have preferred unilateral EU support for equipping and training their coastguards and navies, without having to make commitments in projects like „Seahorse“, such as stopping migration and smuggling on the high seas.

    https://digit.site36.net/2020/06/28/eu-pays-for-surveillance-in-gulf-of-tunis

    #Golfe_de_Tunis #surveillance #Méditerranée #asile #migrations #réfugiés #militarisation_des_frontières #surveillance_des_frontières #Tunisie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #Algérie #Egypte #Suisse #EU #UE #Union_européenne #Trust_Fund #Emergency_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Allemagne #Italie #gardes-côtes #gardes-côtes_tunisiens #intelligence_artificielle #IA #données #Espagne #Malte #business

    ping @reka @isskein @_kg_ @rhoumour @karine4

    –—

    Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765330

    Et celle-ci sur le lien entre développement et contrôles frontaliers :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

  • Petrolio e migranti. Il « patto libico »

    Decine di navi e depositi per il contrabbando attraverso Malta e i clan siciliani. Business da oltre un miliardo. Ispettori Onu e Ue: a comandare sono i boss del traffico di esseri umani.

    «Oil for food» la chiamavano in Iraq. Export di petrolio in cambio di cibo. Era l’unica eccezione all’embargo. Le milizie libiche hanno cambiato i fattori: «#Oil_for_migrants ». Dovendo rallentare la frequenza dei barconi, hanno ottenuto cospicui “risarcimenti” mentre imbastivano un colossale contrabbando di petrolio. « Oil for migrants ». A tutto il resto pensano i faccendieri maltesi e la mafia siciliana.

    Le ultime tracce della “Libia connection” sono del 20 gennaio. In Sicilia, per questioni di oro nero, sono finiti indagati in 23, tutti vicini ai clan di mafia catanesi. Il 5 dicembre 2019 la Procura di Bologna aveva messo i sigilli a 163mila litri di carburante. Solo due giorni prima i magistrati di Roma avevano arrestato 16 persone e bloccato 4 milioni di litri di gasolio. Abbastanza per fare il pieno a 80mila utilitarie. Secondo la procura di Trento, che aveva chiuso un’analoga inchiesta, nel nostro Paese l’evasione delle imposte negli idrocarburi può arrivare a 10 miliardi di euro. L’equivalente di una legge finanziaria.

    Per venirne a capo bisogna ficcare il naso a Malta, che «rappresenta anche uno snodo per svariati traffici illeciti, come quello dei prodotti petroliferi provenienti dai Paesi interessati da una forte instabilità politica», si legge nell’ultima relazione al parlamento della Direzione investigativa antimafia. L’episodio chiave è del 2017, quando la procura di Catania porta a termine l’operazione “Dirty Oil”, che ha permesso «di scoprire – ricorda sempre la Dia – un traffico di petrolio importato clandestinamente dalla Libia e che, grazie ad una compagnia di trasporto maltese, veniva introdotto sul mercato italiano sfruttando il circuito delle cosiddette pompe bianche». In mezzo, però, c’è l’omicidio di Daphne Caruana Galizia. La reporter maltese era stata eliminata con una bomba il 16 ottobre 2017, due giorni prima della retata che da Catania a Malta avrebbe confermato tutte le sue rivelazioni sui traffici illeciti tra la Libia e l’Europa via La Valletta. Messo alle strette, il governo dell’isola aveva chiesto sanzioni internazionali contro i boss del contrabbando di petrolio. Ma è a questo punto che accade un imprevisto. Uno di quegli inciampi che da solo permette di comprendere quale sia la misura e l’estensione della partita. Ad agosto 2019 il Cremlino, a sorpresa, annuncia di voler porre il veto al provvedimento con cui il Consiglio di Sicurezza Onu si apprestava a disporre il blocco, ovunque nel mondo, dei patrimoni della gang di maltesi, libici e siciliani. Un intrigo internazionale in piena regola. Un anno prima il Dipartimento del Tesoro Usa aveva disposto l’interdizione di tutti gli indagati da ogni attività negli Stati Uniti.

    Tra le persone che Malta, dopo l’uccisione di Caruana Galizia, avrebbe voluto vedere con i sigilli ai conti corrente ci sono l’ex calciatore Darren Debono e i suoi associati, tra i quali l’uomo d’affari Gordon Debono e il libico Fahmi Bin Khalifa. Nomi che tornano spesso. I tre, con il catanese Nicola Orazio Romeo, sono sotto processo perché ritenuti responsabili di un ingente traffico di gasolio sottratto ai giacimenti libici sotto il controllo della milizia Al-Nasr, quella del trafficante-guardacoste Bija e dei fratelli Kachlav. Dallo stabilimento di Zawiyah, il più grande della Libia, praticamente a ridosso del più affollato centro di detenzione ufficiale per migranti affidato dalle autorità ai torturatori che rispondono sempre a Bija, l’oro nero viene sottratto con la complicità della “ Petroleum facility guard”, un corpo di polizia privato incaricato dal governo di proteggere il petrolchimico. Ma a capo delle guardie c’è proprio uno dei fratelli Kachlav. Il porto di Zawyah è assegnato alla “Guardia costiera” che, neanche a dirlo, è comandata sempre da al Milad, nome de guerre “Bija”, nel 2017 arrivato con discrezione in Italia durante il lungo negoziato per fermare le partenze dei migranti.

    A sostenere la connessione tra smercio illegale di idrocarburi, traffico di armi ed esseri umani sono gli esperti delle Nazioni Unite inviati in Libia per investigare. Il gasolio «proviene dalla raffineria di Zawiyah lungo un percorso parallelo alla strada costiera», si legge nell’ultima relazione degli ispettori Onu visionata da Avvenire. Molte foto ritraggono proprio Bija alla guida di gruppi combattenti o impegnato su navi cisterna. Le conclusioni confermano inoltre che l’area di Zuara, dove spadroneggia il clan Dabbashi – a seconda dei casi alleato o in rotta di collisione con i boss di Zawyah – «è stata la principale piattaforma per le esportazioni illecite via mare di prodotti petroliferi raffinati». Nei dintorni ci sono almeno 40 depositi illegali di petrolio. Da questi impianti «il carburante – si legge ancora – viene trasferito in autocisterne più piccole fino al porto di Zuara, dove viene caricato in piccole navi cisterna o pescherecci con serbatoi modificati». A disposizione dei contrabbandieri c’è una flotta ragguardevole: «Circa 70 imbarcazioni, piccole petroliere o pescherecci da traino, sono dedicate esclusivamente a questa attività». Dalle stazioni di pompaggio i trafficanti utilizzano condutture che trasportano il carburante alle navi che sostano «tra 1 e 2 miglia nautiche al largo».

    I nomi dei vascelli sono noti e riportati in diversi documenti confidenziali. Impossibile che in Libia nessuno veda. In totale «esistono circa 20 reti di contrabbando attive, che danno lavoro a circa 500 persone», spiegano gli esperti Onu. Manodopera da aggiungere alle migliaia di libici arruolati dagli stessi gruppi per controllare il territorio, gestire il traffico di esseri umani, combattere per le varie fazioni.

    Le inchieste, però, non fermano il business. Il catanese Romeo, indagato nel 2017 per l’indagine etnea “ Dirty Oil”, in passato era stato ritenuto dagli investigatori in contatto con esponenti della famiglia mafiosa Santapaola–Ercolano. Ipotesi, in attesa di un pronunciamento dei tribunali, sempre respinta dall’interessato. A confermare l’interesse di Cosa nostra siciliana per le petroliere sono arrivati i 23 arresti di gennaio. Tra gli indagati vi sono ancora una volta esponenti dei clan catanesi, stavolta della famiglia Mazzei, tornata ad allearsi proprio con i Santapaola– Ercolano. «Abbiamo riscontrato alcuni collegamenti con personaggi coinvolti nell’indagine Dirty Oil, dove era emersa proprio l’origine libica del petrolio raffinato», ha commentato dopo gli arresti il procuratore aggiunto di Catania, Francesco Puleio. Alcuni degli indagati hanno anche «cercato nuovi canali di fornitura e sono entrati in contatto con l’uomo d’affari maltese Gordon Debono, coinvolto nell’indagine Dirty Oil».

    Il collegamento tra mafia libica e mafia siciliana per il tramite di mediatori della Valletta è confermato da un’altra rivelazione contenuta nel dossier consegnato al Palazzo di Vetro a fine 2019. A proposito della nave “Ruta”, con bandiera dell’Ucraina, sorpresa a svolgere attività di contrabbando petrolifero, gli investigatori Onu scrivono: «Secondo le indagini condotte dal Procuratore di Catania», il vascello è stato coinvolto in operazioni illegali, compreso il trasferimento di carburante ad altre navi, «in particolare la Stella Basbosa e il Sea Master X, entrambi collegati alla rete di contrabbando di “Fahmi Slim” e, secondo quanto riferito, ha scaricato combustibile di contrabbando nei porti italiani in 13 occasioni ». Quello di “Fahmi Slim” altro non è che il nome di battaglia di Fahmi Musa Bin Khalifa, il boss del petrolio di Zuara, in affari con Mohammed Kachlav, il capo in persona della milizia al Nasr di Zawyah.

    A ostacolare il patto tra mafie dovrebbe essere l’operazione navale europea Irini «che ha già dimostrato l’utilità in termini di informazioni raccolte, e per l’effetto deterrenza anche sul contrabbando di petrolio», ha detto nei giorni scorsi il commissario agli affari Esteri Josep Borrel. E chissà se l’aumento del 150% delle partenze sui barconi sia solo una coincidenza o non sia uno degli effetti di «Oil for migrants».

    https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/petrolio-e-migranti-il-patto-libico
    #pétrole #migrations #Libye #pacte #extractivisme #accord #Malte #Italie #contrebande #mafia #Libia_connection #Dirty_Oil #Daphne_Caruana_Galizia #Darren_Debono #Gordon_Debono #Fahmi_Bin_Khalifa #Nicola_Orazio_Romeo #Al-Nasr #Bija #Kachlav #Zawiyah #Petroleum_facility_guard #gardes-côtes #Dabbashi #Zuara #Zawyah #Romeo #Santapaola–Ercolano #Cosa_nostra #Mazzei #Ruta #Stella_Basbosa #Sea_Master_X #Fahmi_Slim #Fahmi_Musa_Bin_Khalifa #Mohammed_Kachlav #Irini

    –—

    voir aussi :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/849512

    ping @isskein @albertocampiphoto @wizo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ping @etraces @reka @nepthys @isskein @karine4

  • Privatized Pushbacks: How Merchant Ships Guard Europe

    To hinder migrants crossing the Mediterranean, European navies stopped rescuing them. Now commercial ships are tasked with saving lives — and returning migrants to war-torn Libya.

    The #Panther, a German-owned merchant ship, is not in the business of sea rescues. But one day a few months ago the Libyan Coast Guard ordered it to divert course, rescue 68 migrants in distress in the Mediterranean and return them to Libya, which is embroiled in civil war.

    The request, which the Panther was required to honor, was at least the third time that day, Jan. 11, that the Libyans had called on a merchant ship to assist migrants.

    The Libyans could easily have alerted a nearby rescue ship run by a Spanish charity. The reason they did not goes to the core of how the European authorities have found a new way to thwart desperate African migrants trying to reach their shores from across the Mediterranean.

    And some maritime lawyers think the new tactic is unlawful.

    Commercial ships like the Panther must follow instructions from official forces, like the Libyan Coast Guard, which works in close cooperation with its Italian counterpart.

    Humanitarian rescue ships, on the other hand, take the migrants to Europe, citing international refugee law, which forbids returning refugees to danger.

    After the Panther arrived in Tripoli, Libyan soldiers boarded, forced the migrants ashore at gunpoint, and drove them to a detention camp in the besieged Libyan capital.

    “We call them privatized pushbacks,” said Charles Heller, the director of Forensic Oceanography, a research group that investigates migrant rights abuses in the Mediterranean. “They occur when merchant ships are used to rescue and bring back migrants to a country in which their lives are at risk — such as Libya.”

    The coronavirus crisis has made arguments about Mediterranean migration policy seem peripheral to the European moment, as governments focus on restricting not just external migration, but also the internal movement of their own citizens.

    But long before the pandemic hit, European leaders were mainly consumed by preventing Mediterranean migration, hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2015 migration crisis. And that approach remains topical, with hundreds of migrants crossing the Mediterranean already this week, either oblivious to or unconcerned by the coronavirus outbreak.

    Since the 2015 crisis, European governments have frequently stopped the nongovernmental rescue organizations that patrol the southern Mediterranean — like the Spanish ship, Open Arms — from taking rescued migrants to European ports.

    European navies and coast guards have also largely withdrawn from the area, placing the Libyan Coast Guard in charge of search-and-rescue.

    Now Europe has a new proxy: privately-owned commercial ships. And their deployment is contested by migrant rights watchdogs.

    Although a 1979 international convention on search and rescue requires merchant ships to obey orders from a country’s Coast Guard forces, the agreement also does not permit those forces to pick and choose who helps during emergencies, as Libya’s did.

    “That’s a blatantly illegal policy,” said Dr. Itamar Mann, an expert on maritime law at the University of Haifa in Israel.

    But commercial shipowners say that after saving migrants from drowning, their legal duty is to do as they are told by the Libyan Coast Guard, as decreed by a separate convention on search-and-rescue signed in 1979.

    “This is in accordance with international law,” said John Stawpert, a representative for the International Chamber of Shipping, a global shipowners’ association.

    Between 2011 and 2018, only one commercial ship returned migrants to Libya, according to research by Forensic Oceanography.

    Since 2018 there have been about 30 such returns, involving roughly 1,800 migrants, in which merchant ships have either returned migrants to Libyan ports or transferred them to Libyan Coast Guard vessels, according to data collated by The New York Times and Forensic Oceanography.

    The real number is likely to be higher.

    During the height of the crisis, ships like the Panther would have transferred rescued migrants to the Italian Coast Guard or humanitarian organizations.

    But in 2017, Italy gradually relinquished responsibility for search-and-rescue coordination in the southern Mediterranean to the Libyan Coast Guard, neatly absolving Italy of the legal obligation to rescue and admit every migrant entering international waters north of Libya.

    The next year, merchant ship crews began to return migrants to the Libyan authorities, which had been persuaded to take on the role by the promise of more equipment and international legitimacy.

    The Panther ordinarily supplies a cluster of oil rigs roughly 50 miles north of Libya. On Jan. 11, the Libyan Coast Guard engaged the Panther instead of the Open Arms because only the Panther’s owner had agreed to abide by a restrictive set of regulations drawn up by the Libyan Coast Guard.

    “All the ships who work in search-and-rescue have to follow this code of conduct,” Commodore Masoud Abdal Samad, the Libyan Coast Guard commander, said by telephone.

    Consequently, only the Panther was considered an “acceptable” rescue vessel on Jan. 11, he added.

    The pattern of using commercial ships has increased in recent months, said Anabel Montes Mier, the head of mission aboard the Open Arms that day.

    “These commercial ships follow the orders,” Ms. Montes Mier said. “We refuse to return people to places that are unsafe.”

    Rights groups fear Libya’s refusal to work with humanitarian rescuers has put more migrant lives in danger at sea.

    The number of people reaching Italy has dropped by more than 90 percent since 2017, while the death-toll in the southern Mediterranean has roughly halved in the same period.

    But the number of people drowning, as a proportion of those trying to cross, has sharply risen — from roughly 1 in 50 in 2017, to 1 in 20 in 2019, according to data compiled by the International Organization for Migration.

    The forcible return of the migrants, a practice known as refoulement, has also put many of them in lethal danger on land, because of Libya’s civil war.

    In February, an airstrike hit the dock used by the Panther to disembark migrants in Tripoli. Once ashore, migrants are imprisoned in detention camps run by an assortment of militias. Often, these lie in areas under attack. Last July, one camp was bombed, killing 53 prisoners.

    In a lawless land that provides few rights to foreign laborers, migrants are often tortured, raped, held for ransom, or treated as modern-day slaves.

    Steven, a 20-year-old from South Sudan, described being shot and beaten by Libyan officials after he was returned to Libya by a commercial ship in November 2018.

    “Why did they rescue us and take us back to Libya?” said Steven, who asked to be identified only by his first name for fear of legal repercussions. “It was better to die in the ship.”

    The question of culpability is complex.

    Since 1951, international refugee law has stipulated that migrants should not be returned without due process to the countries they fled. But in cases involving merchant ships, migrants are often rescued in international waters, before reaching Europe’s maritime borders.

    The authorities in Italy and European Union say they should therefore be returned to Libya, since Libya coordinates search-and-rescue operations in these international waters.

    Critics argue that Italy and its European allies still bear responsibility. In the view of humanitarian monitoring groups, the Europeans never relinquished their role in orchestrating search-and-rescue missions — undermining the rationale for surrendering control to Libya.

    During at least part of 2019, Italian navy officers aboard an Italian vessel docked in Tripoli’s harbor oversaw rescues on behalf of the Libyans, according to documents published during a court case in Sicily last March.

    “They coordinated the rescue activities,” Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister at the time, said in an interview with the Times.

    In one instance in November 2018, logbooks show how Italian Coast Guard officers contacted a cargo ship, the Nivin, “on behalf of” their Libyan counterparts. But the logs also reveal that the Nivin’s captain could only reach the Libyan authorities by contacting the Italian Coast Guard.

    And though European navies have withdrawn from the area, their planes still direct the Libyan Coast Guard to migrant vessels, recordings published by The Guardian show.

    In March last year, one such military plane ordered a merchant vessel to return a boatload of rescued migrants to Tripoli, without any intervention from the Libyan Coast Guard, according to recordings reported in The Atavist, a digital magazine.

    In one of several recent phone interviews, Commodore Abdal Samad of the Libyan Coast Guard said an Italian ship docked in Tripoli, once used as a search-and-rescue control center, no longer directs Libyan Coast Guard activity.

    But Libyan Coast Guard crews still sometimes use the Italian ship’s equipment to communicate with merchant vessels, Commodore Abdal Samad conceded, particularly when their radios break down.

    One of the most recent instances, he said, was the weekend in January when the Panther rescued 68 migrants from the southern Mediterranean.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/world/europe/mediterranean-libya-migrants-europe.html

    #push-backs #refoulement #refoulements #bateaux_marchands #privatisation #externalisation #Méditerranée #Libye #Mer_Méditerranée #refoulements_privatisés #sauvetage #privatized_pushbacks #gardes-côtes_libyens

    ping @reka

  • Comment l’Europe contrôle ses frontières en #Tunisie ?

    Entre les multiples programmes de coopération, les accords bilatéraux, les #équipements fournis aux #gardes-côtes, les pays européens et l’Union européenne investissent des millions d’euros en Tunisie pour la migration. Sous couvert de coopération mutuelle et de “#promotion_de_la mobilité”, la priorité des programmes migratoires européens est avant tout l’externalisation des frontières. En clair.

    À la fois pays de transit et pays de départ, nœud dans la région méditerranéenne, la Tunisie est un partenaire privilégié de l’Europe dans le cadre de ses #politiques_migratoires. L’Union européenne ou les États qui la composent -Allemagne, France, Italie, Belgique, etc.- interviennent de multiples manières en Tunisie pour servir leurs intérêts de protéger leurs frontières et lutter contre l’immigration irrégulière.

    Depuis des années, de multiples accords pour réadmettre les Tunisien·nes expulsé·es d’Europe ou encore financer du matériel aux #gardes-côtes_tunisiens sont ainsi signés, notamment avec l’#Italie ou encore avec la #Belgique. En plus de ces #partenariats_bilatéraux, l’#Union_européenne utilise ses fonds dédiés à la migration pour financer de nombreux programmes en Tunisie dans le cadre du “#partenariat_pour_la_mobilité”. Dans les faits, ces programmes servent avant tout à empêcher les gens de partir et les pousser à rester chez eux.

    L’ensemble de ces programmes mis en place avec les États européens et l’UE sont nombreux et difficiles à retracer. Dans d’autres pays, notamment au Nigeria, des journalistes ont essayé de compiler l’ensemble de ces flux financiers européens pour la migration. Dans leur article, Ils et elle soulignent la difficulté, voire l’impossibilité de véritablement comprendre tous les fonds, programmes et acteurs de ces financements.

    “C’est profondément préoccupant”, écrivent Maite Vermeulen, Ajibola Amzat et Giacomo Zandonini. “Bien que l’Europe maintienne un semblant de transparence, il est pratiquement impossible dans les faits de tenir l’UE et ses États membres responsables de leurs dépenses pour la migration, et encore moins d’évaluer leur efficacité.”

    En Tunisie, où les investissements restent moins importants que dans d’autres pays de la région comme en Libye, il a été possible d’obtenir un résumé, fourni par la Délégation de l’Union européenne, des programmes financés par l’UE et liés à la migration. Depuis 2016, cela se traduit par l’investissement de près de 58 millions d’euros à travers trois différents fonds : le #FFU (#Fonds_Fiduciaire_d’Urgence) de la Valette, l’#AMIF (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund) et l’Instrument européen de voisinage (enveloppe régionale).

    Mais il est à noter que ces informations ne prennent pas en compte les autres investissements d’#aide_au_développement ou de soutien à la #lutte_antiterroriste dont les programmes peuvent également concerner la migration. Depuis 2011, au niveau bilatéral, l’Union européenne a ainsi investi 2,5 billions d’euros en Tunisie, toutes thématiques confondues.

    L’écrasante majorité de ces financements de l’UE - 54 200 000 euros - proviennent du #Fond_fiduciaire_d'urgence_pour_l'Afrique. Lancé en 2015, lors du #sommet_de_la_Valette, ce FFU a été créé “en faveur de la stabilité et de la lutte contre les #causes_profondes de la migration irrégulière et du phénomène des personnes déplacées en Afrique” à hauteur de 2 milliards d’euros pour toute la région.

    Ce financement a été pointé du doigt par des associations de droits humains comme Oxfam qui souligne “qu’une partie considérable de ses fonds est investie dans des mesures de #sécurité et de #gestion_des_frontières.”

    “Ces résultats montrent que l’approche des bailleurs de fonds européens vis-à-vis de la gestion des migrations est bien plus axée sur des objectifs de #confinement et de #contrôle. Cette approche est loin de l’engagement qu’ils ont pris (...) de ‘promouvoir des canaux réguliers de migration et de mobilité au départ des pays d’Europe et d’Afrique et entre ceux-ci’ (...) ou de ‘Faciliter la migration et la mobilité de façon ordonnée, sans danger, régulière et responsable’”, détaille plus loin le rapport.

    Surveiller les frontières

    Parmi la vingtaine de projets financés par l’UE, la sécurité des frontières occupe une place prépondérante. Le “#Programme_de_gestion_des_frontières_au_Maghreb” (#BMP_Maghreb) est, de loin, le plus coûteux. Pour fournir de l’équipement et des formations aux gardes-côtes tunisiens, l’UE investit 20 millions d’euros, près d’un tiers du budget en question.

    Le projet BMP Maghreb a un objectif clairement défini : protéger, surveiller et contrôler les #frontières_maritimes dans le but de réduire l’immigration irrégulière. Par exemple, trois chambres d’opération ainsi qu’un système pilote de #surveillance_maritime (#ISmariS) ont été fournis à la garde nationale tunisienne. En collaboration avec le ministère de l’Intérieur et ses différents corps - garde nationale, douane, etc. -, ce programme est géré par l’#ICMPD (#Centre_international_pour_le_développement_des_politiques_migratoires).

    “Le BMP Maghreb est mis en place au #Maroc et en Tunisie. C’est essentiellement de l’acquisition de matériel : matériel informatique, de transmission demandé par l’Etat tunisien”, détaille Donya Smida de l’ICMPD. “On a fait d’abord une première analyse des besoins, qui est complétée ensuite par les autorités tunisiennes”.

    Cette fourniture de matériel s’ajoute à des #formations dispensées par des #experts_techniques, encore une fois coordonnées par l’ICMPD. Cette organisation internationale se présente comme spécialisée dans le “renforcement de capacités” dans le domaine de la politique migratoire, “loin des débat émotionnels et politisés”.

    "Cette posture est symptomatique d’un glissement sémantique plus général. Traiter la migration comme un sujet politique serait dangereux, alors on préfère la “gérer” comme un sujet purement technique. In fine, la ’gestionnaliser’ revient surtout à dépolitiser la question migratoire", commente #Camille_Cassarini, chercheur sur les migrations subsahariennes en Tunisie. “L’ICMPD, ce sont des ‘techniciens’ de la gestion des frontières. Ils dispensent des formations aux États grâce à un réseau d’experts avec un maître-mot : #neutralité politique et idéologique et #soutien_technique."

    En plus de ce programme, la Tunisie bénéficie d’autres fonds et reçoit aussi du matériel pour veiller à la sécurité des frontières. Certains s’inscrivent dans d’autres projets financés par l’UE, comme dans le cadre de la #lutte_antiterroriste.

    Il faut aussi ajouter à cela les équipements fournis individuellement par les pays européens dans le cadre de leurs #accords_bilatéraux. En ce qui concerne la protection des frontières, on peut citer l’exemple de l’Italie qui a fourni une douzaine de bateaux à la Tunisie en 2011. En 2017, l’Italie a également soutenu la Tunisie à travers un projet de modernisation de bateaux de patrouille fournis à la garde nationale tunisienne pour environ 12 millions d’euros.

    L’#Allemagne est aussi un investisseur de plus en plus important, surtout en ce qui concerne les frontières terrestres. Entre 2015 et 2016, elle a contribué à la création d’un centre régional pour la garde nationale et la police des frontières. A la frontière tuniso-libyenne, elle fournit aussi des outils de surveillance électronique tels que des caméras thermiques, des paires de jumelles nocturnes, etc…

    L’opacité des #accords_bilatéraux

    De nombreux pays européens - Allemagne, Italie, #France, Belgique, #Autriche, etc. - coopèrent ainsi avec la Tunisie en concluant de nombreux accords sur la migration. Une grande partie de cette coopération concerne la #réadmission des expulsé·es tunisien·nes. Avec l’Italie, quatre accords ont ainsi été signés en ce sens entre 1998 et 2011. D’après le FTDES* (Forum tunisien des droits économiques et sociaux), c’est dans le cadre de ce dernier accord que la Tunisie accueillerait deux avions par semaine à l’aéroport d’Enfidha de Tunisien·nes expulsé·es depuis Palerme.

    “Ces accords jouent beaucoup sur le caractère réciproque mais dans les faits, il y a un rapport inégal et asymétrique. En termes de réadmission, il est évident que la majorité des #expulsions concernent les Tunisiens en Europe”, commente Jean-Pierre Cassarino, chercheur et spécialiste des systèmes de réadmission.

    En pratique, la Tunisie ne montre pas toujours une volonté politique d’appliquer les accords en question. Plusieurs pays européens se plaignent de la lenteur des procédures de réadmissions de l’Etat tunisien avec qui “les intérêts ne sont pas vraiment convergents”.

    Malgré cela, du côté tunisien, signer ces accords est un moyen de consolider des #alliances. “C’est un moyen d’apparaître comme un partenaire fiable et stable notamment dans la lutte contre l’extrémisme religieux, l’immigration irrégulière ou encore la protection extérieure des frontières européennes, devenus des thèmes prioritaires depuis environ la moitié des années 2000”, explique Jean-Pierre Cassarino.

    Toujours selon les chercheurs, depuis les années 90, ces accords bilatéraux seraient devenus de plus en plus informels pour éviter de longues ratifications au niveau bilatéral les rendant par conséquent, plus opaques.

    Le #soft_power : nouvel outil d’externalisation

    Tous ces exemples montrent à quel point la question de la protection des frontières et de la #lutte_contre_l’immigration_irrégulière sont au cœur des politiques européennes. Une étude de la direction générale des politiques externes du Parlement européen élaborée en 2016 souligne comment l’UE “a tendance à appuyer ses propres intérêts dans les accords, comme c’est le cas pour les sujets liés à l’immigration.” en Tunisie.

    Le rapport pointe du doigt la contradiction entre le discours de l’UE qui, depuis 2011, insiste sur sa volonté de soutenir la Tunisie dans sa #transition_démocratique, notamment dans le domaine migratoire, tandis qu’en pratique, elle reste focalisée sur le volet sécuritaire.

    “La coopération en matière de sécurité demeure fortement centrée sur le contrôle des flux de migration et la lutte contre le terrorisme” alors même que “la rhétorique de l’UE en matière de questions de sécurité (...) a évolué en un discours plus large sur l’importance de la consolidation de l’État de droit et de la garantie de la protection des droits et des libertés acquis grâce à la révolution.”, détaille le rapport.

    Mais même si ces projets ont moins de poids en termes financiers, l’UE met en place de nombreux programmes visant à “développer des initiatives socio-économiques au niveau local”, “ mobiliser la diaspora” ou encore “sensibiliser sur les risques liés à la migration irrégulière”. La priorité est de dissuader en amont les potentiel·les candidat·es à l’immigration irrégulière, au travers de l’appui institutionnel, des #campagnes de #sensibilisation...

    L’#appui_institutionnel, présenté comme une priorité par l’UE, constitue ainsi le deuxième domaine d’investissement avec près de 15% des fonds.

    Houda Ben Jeddou, responsable de la coopération internationale en matière de migration à la DGCIM du ministère des Affaires sociales, explique que le projet #ProgreSMigration, créé en 2016 avec un financement à hauteur de 12,8 millions d’euros, permet de mettre en place “ des ateliers de formations”, “des dispositifs d’aides au retour” ou encore “des enquêtes statistiques sur la migration en Tunisie”.

    Ce projet est en partenariat avec des acteurs étatiques tunisiens comme le ministère des Affaires Sociales, l’observatoire national des migrations (ONM) ou encore l’Institut national de statistiques (INS). L’un des volets prioritaires est de “soutenir la #Stratégie_nationale_migratoire_tunisienne”. Pour autant, ce type de projet ne constitue pas une priorité pour les autorités tunisiennes et cette stratégie n’a toujours pas vu le jour.

    Houda Ben Jeddou explique avoir déposé un projet à la présidence en 2018, attendant qu’elle soit validée. "Il n’y a pas de volonté politique de mettre ce dossier en priorité”, reconnaît-elle.

    Pour Camille Cassarini, ce blocage est assez révélateur de l’absence d’une politique cohérente en Tunisie. “Cela en dit long sur les stratégies de contournement que met en place l’État tunisien en refusant de faire avancer le sujet d’un point de vue politique. Malgré les investissements européens pour pousser la Tunisie à avoir une politique migratoire correspondant à ses standards, on voit que les agendas ne sont pas les mêmes à ce niveau”.

    Changer la vision des migrations

    Pour mettre en place tous ces programmes, en plus des partenariats étatiques avec la Tunisie, l’Europe travaille en étroite collaboration avec les organisations internationales telles que l’#OIM (Organisation internationale pour les migrations), l’ICMPD et le #UNHCR (Haut Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés), les agences de développement européennes implantées sur le territoire - #GiZ, #Expertise_France, #AfD - ainsi que la société civile tunisienne.

    Dans ses travaux, Camille Cassarini montre que les acteurs sécuritaires sont progressivement assistés par des acteurs humanitaires qui s’occupent de mener une politique gestionnaire de la migration, cohérente avec les stratégies sécuritaires. “Le rôle de ces organisations internationales, type OIM, ICMPD, etc., c’est principalement d’effectuer un transfert de normes et pratiques qui correspondent à des dispositifs de #contrôle_migratoire que les Etats européens ne peuvent pas mettre directement en oeuvre”, explique-t-il.

    Contactée à plusieurs reprises par Inkyfada, la Délégation de l’Union européenne en Tunisie a répondu en fournissant le document détaillant leurs projets dans le cadre de leur partenariat de mobilité avec la Tunisie. Elle n’a pas souhaité donner suite aux demandes d’entretiens.

    En finançant ces organisations, les Etats européens ont d’autant plus de poids dans leur orientation politique, affirme encore le chercheur en donnant l’exemple de l’OIM, une des principales organisations actives en Tunisie dans ce domaine. “De par leurs réseaux, ces organisations sont devenues des acteurs incontournables. En Tunisie, elles occupent un espace organisationnel qui n’est pas occupé par l’Etat tunisien. Ça arrange plus ou moins tout le monde : les Etats européens ont des acteurs qui véhiculent leur vision des migrations et l’État tunisien a un acteur qui s’en occupe à sa place”.

    “Dans notre langage académique, on les appelle des #acteurs_épistémologiques”, ajoute Jean-Pierre Cassarino. A travers leur langage et l’étendue de leur réseau, ces organisations arrivent à imposer une certaine vision de la gestion des migrations en Tunisie. “Il n’y a qu’à voir le #lexique de la migration publié sur le site de l’Observatoire national [tunisien] des migrations : c’est une copie de celui de l’OIM”, continue-t-il.

    Contactée également par Inkyfada, l’OIM n’a pas donné suite à nos demandes d’entretien.

    Camille Cassarini donne aussi l’exemple des “#retours_volontaires”. L’OIM ou encore l’Office français de l’immigration (OFII) affirment que ces programmes permettent “la réinsertion sociale et économique des migrants de retour de façon à garantir la #dignité des personnes”. “Dans la réalité, la plupart des retours sont très mal ou pas suivis. On les renvoie au pays sans ressource et on renforce par là leur #précarité_économique et leur #vulnérabilité", affirme-t-il. “Et tous ces mots-clés euphémisent la réalité d’une coopération et de programmes avant tout basé sur le contrôle migratoire”.

    Bien que l’OIM existe depuis près de 20 ans en Tunisie, Camille Cassarini explique que ce système s’est surtout mis en place après la Révolution, notamment avec la société civile. “La singularité de la Tunisie, c’est sa transition démocratique : l’UE a dû adapter sa politique migratoire à ce changement politique et cela est passé notamment par la promotion de la société civile”.

    Dans leur ouvrage à paraître “Externaliser la gouvernance migratoire à travers la société tunisienne : le cas de la Tunisie” [Externalising Migration Governance through Civil Society : Tunisia as a Case Study], Sabine Didi et Caterina Giusa expliquent comment les programmes européens et les #organisations_internationales ont été implantées à travers la #société_civile.

    “Dans le cas des projets liés à la migration, le rôle déterminant de la société civile apparaît au niveau micro, en tant qu’intermédiaire entre les organisations chargées de la mise en œuvre et les différents publics catégorisés et identifiés comme des ‘#migrants_de_retour’, ‘membres de la diaspora’, ou ‘candidats potentiels à la migration irrégulière’", explique Caterina Giusa dans cet ouvrage, “L’intérêt d’inclure et et de travailler avec la société civile est de ‘faire avaler la pilule’ [aux populations locales]”.

    “Pour résumer, tous ces projets ont pour but de faire en sorte que les acteurs tunisiens aient une grille de lecture du phénomène migratoire qui correspondent aux intérêts de l’Union européenne. Et concrètement, ce qui se dessine derrière cette vision “gestionnaire”, c’est surtout une #injonction_à_l’immobilité”, termine Camille Cassarini.

    https://inkyfada.com/fr/2020/03/20/financements-ue-tunisie-migration
    #externalisation #asile #migrations #frontières #Tunisie #EU #UE #Europe #contrôles_frontaliers #politique_de_voisinage #dissuasion #IOM #HCR #immobilité

    Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation des frontières :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765330

    Et celle sur la conditionnalité de l’aide au développement :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/733358#message768701

    ping @karine4 @isskein @_kg_

  • Migrants : des #enregistrements attestent de la #collaboration entre #UE et #gardes-côtes_libyens

    Pour la première fois, des conversations captées au-dessus de la Méditerranée illustrent la #coopération cynique entre les États européens et Tripoli, destinée à bloquer les traversées de migrants. Obtenues par The Guardian et le collectif The Migration Newsroom, dont Mediapart est partenaire, ces enregistrements de 2019 font entendre les conséquences, en pleine mer, d’une politique qui interroge jusqu’au patron de Frontex, d’après des courriers confidentiels.

    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/120320/migrants-des-enregistrements-attestent-de-la-collaboration-entre-ue-et-gar
    #EU #Frontex #union_européenne #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Libye #externalisation

    Ajouté à cette métaliste sur l’externalisation, et plus précisément avec la Libye :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/731749#message765324

  • En #Libye, les oubliés

    #Michaël_Neuman a passé une dizaine de jours en Libye, auprès des équipes de Médecins Sans Frontières qui travaillent notamment dans des #centres_de_détention pour migrants. De son séjour, il ramène les impressions suivantes qui illustrent le caractère lugubre de la situation des personnes qui y sont retenues, pour des mois, des années, et celle plus difficile encore de toutes celles sujets aux #enlèvements et aux #tortures.

    La saison est aux départs. Les embarcations de fortune prennent la mer à un rythme soutenu transportant à leur bord hommes, femmes et enfants. Depuis le début de l’année, 2300 personnes sont parvenues en Europe, plus de 2000 ont été interceptées et ramenées en Libye, par les garde-côtes, formés et financés par les Européens. Les uns avaient dès leur départ le projet de rejoindre l’Europe, les autres ont fait ce choix après avoir échoué dans les réseaux de trafic d’êtres humains, soumis aux tortures et privations. Les trajectoires se mêlent, les raisons des départs des pays d’origine ne sont souvent pas univoques. En ce mois de février 2020, ils sont nombreux à tenter leur chance. Ils partent de Tripoli, de Khoms, de Sabrata… villes où se mêlent conflits, intérêts d’affaires, tribaux, semblants d’Etat faisant mine de fonctionner, corruption. Les Libyens ne sont pas épargnés par le désordre ou les épisodes de guerre. Pourtant, ce sont les apparences de vie normale qui frappent le visiteur. Les marchés de fruits et légumes, comme les bouchons qui encombrent les rues de Tripoli en témoignent  : la ville a gonflé au rythme des arrivées de déplacés originaires des quartiers touchés par la guerre d’attrition dont le pays est le théâtre entre le gouvernement intérimaire libyen qui règne encore sur Tripoli et une partie du littoral ouest et le LNA, du Maréchal Haftar, qui contrôle une grande partie du pays. Puissances internationales – Italie, France, Russie, Turquie, Emirats Arabes Unis – sont rentrées progressivement dans le jeu, transformant la Libye en poudrière dont chaque coup de semonce de l’un des belligérants semble annoncer une prochaine déflagration d’ampleur. Erdogan et Poutine se faisant face, le pouls du conflit se prend aujourd’hui autant à Idlib en Syrie qu’à Tripoli.

    C’est dans ce pays en guerre que l’Union européenne déploie sa politique de soutien aux interceptions et aux retours des ‘migrants’. Tout y passe  : financement et formation des gardes côtes-libyens, délégation du sauvetage aux navires commerciaux, intimidation des bateaux de sauvetage des ONG, suspension de l’Opération Sophia. Mais rien n’y fait  : ni les bombardements sur le port et l’aéroport de Tripoli, ni les tirs de roquettes sur des centres de détention situés à proximité d’installation militaire, pas davantage que les témoignages produits sur les exécrables conditions de vie qui prévalent dans les centres de détention, les détournements de financements internationaux, ou sur la précarité extrême des migrants résidant en ville n’ébranlent les certitudes européennes. L’hypocrisie règne  : l’Union européenne affirme être contre la détention tout en la nourrissant par l’entretien du dispositif libyen d’interception  ; le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les Réfugiés condamne les interceptions sans jamais évoquer la responsabilité des Européens.

    Onze centres de détention sont placés sous la responsabilité de la Direction chargée de l’immigration irrégulière libyenne (la DCIM). La liste évolue régulièrement sans que l’on sache toujours pourquoi, ni si la disparition d’un centre signifie véritablement qu’il a été vidé de ses détenus, ou qu’ils y résident encore sous un régime informel et sans doute plus violent encore. Une fois dans ces centres, les détenus ne savent jamais quand ils pourront en sortir  : certains s’en échappent, d’autres parviennent à acheter leur sortie, beaucoup y pourrissent des mois voire des années. L’attente y est physiquement et psychologiquement dévastatrice. C’est ainsi le lot des détenus de Dar El Jebel, près de Zintan, au cœur des montagnes Nafusa, loin et oubliés de tous : la plupart, des Erythréens, y sont depuis deux ans, parfois plus.

    La nourriture est insuffisante, les cellules, d’où les migrants ne sortent parfois que très peu, sont sombres et très froides ou très chaudes. Les journées sont parfois rythmées par les cliquetis des serrures et des barreaux. Dans la nuit du samedi 29 février au dimanche 1er mars 2020, une dizaine de jours après mon retour, un incendie sans doute accidentel à l’intérieur du centre de détention de Dar El Jebel a coûté la vie à un jeune homme érythréen.

    Nous pouvons certes témoigner que le travail entamé dans ces centres, l’attention portée à l’amélioration des conditions de vie, les consultations médicales, l’apport de compléments alimentaires, mais aussi et peut-être surtout la présence physique, visible, régulière ont contribué à les humaniser, voire à y limiter la violence qui s’y déploie. Pour autant, nous savons que tout gain est précaire, susceptible d’être mis à mal par un changement d’équilibre local, la rotation des gardes, la confiance qui se gagne et se perd, les services que nous rendons. Il n’est pas rare que les directeurs de centre expliquent que femmes et enfants n’ont rien à faire dans ces endroits, pas rare non plus qu’ils infligent des punitions sévères à ceux qui auraient tenté de s’échapper  ; certains affament leurs détenus, d’autres les libèrent lorsque la compagnie chargée de fournir les repas interrompt ses services faute de voir ses factures réglées. Il est probable que si les portes de certains centres de détention venaient à s’ouvrir, nombreux sont des détenus qui décideraient d’y rester, préférant à l’incertitude de l’extérieur leur précarité connue. Cela, beaucoup le disent à nos équipes. Dans ce pays fragmenté, les dynamiques et enjeux politiques locaux l’emportent. Ce qu’on apprend vite, en Libye, c’est l’impossibilité de généraliser les situations.

    Nous savons aussi que nous n’avons aucune vocation à devenir le service de santé d’un système de détention arbitraire  : il faut que ces gens sortent. Des hommes le plus souvent, mais aussi des femmes et des enfants, parfois tout petits, parfois nés en détention, parfois nés de viols. L’exposition à la violence, la perméabilité aux milices, aux trafiquants, la possibilité pour les détenus de travailler et de gagner un peu d’argent varient considérablement d’un centre à l’autre. Il en est aussi de leur accès pour les organisations humanitaires.

    Mais nous savons surtout que les centres de détention officiels n’abritent que 2000, 3000 des migrants en danger présents en Libye. Et les autres alors  ? Beaucoup travaillent, et assument une précarité qui est le lot, bien sûr à des degrés divers, de nombreux immigrés dans le monde, de Dubaï à Paris, de Khartoum à Bogota. Mais quelques dizaines de milliers d’autres, soit par malchance, soit parce qu’ils n’ont aucun projet de vie en Libye et recourent massivement aux services peu fiables de trafiquants risquent gros  : les enlèvements bien sûr, kidnappings contre rançons qui s’accompagnent de tortures et de sévices. Certains de ces «  migrants  », entre 45 000 et 50 000, sont reconnus «  réfugiés ou des demandeurs d’asiles  » par le Haut-Commissariat pour les réfugiés : ils sont Erythréens, Soudanais, Somaliens pour la plupart. De très nombreux autres, migrants économiques dit-on, sont Nigérians, Maliens, Marocains, Guinéens, Bangladeshis, etc. Ils sont plus seuls encore.

    Pour les premiers, un maigre espoir de relocalisation subsiste  : l’année dernière, le HCR fut en mesure d’organiser le départ de 2400 personnes vers le Niger et le Rwanda, où elles ont été placées encore quelques mois en situation d’attente avant qu’un pays, le plus souvent européen, les accepte. A ce rythme donc, il faudrait 20 ans pour les évacuer en totalité – et c’est sans compter les arrivées nouvelles. D’autant plus que le programme de ‘réinstallation’ cible en priorité les personnes identifiées comme vulnérables, à savoir femmes, enfants, malades. Les hommes adultes, seuls – la grande majorité des Erythréens par exemple – ont peu de chance de faire partie des rares personnes sélectionnées. Or très lourdement endettés et craignant légitimement pour leur sécurité dans leur pays d’origine, ils ne rentreront en aucun cas ; ayant perdu l’espoir que le Haut-Commissariat pour les réfugiés les fassent sortir de là, leur seule perspective réside dans une dangereuse et improbable traversée de la Méditerranée.

    Faute de lieux protégés, lorsqu’ils sont extraits des centres de détention par le HCR, ils sont envoyés en ville, à Tripoli surtout, devenant des ‘réfugiés urbains’ bénéficiant d’un paquet d’aide minimal, délivré en une fois et dont on peine à voir la protection qu’il garantit à qui que ce soit. Dans ces lieux, les migrants restent à la merci des trafiquants et des violences, comme ce fut le cas pour deux Erythréens en janvier dernier. Ceux-là avaient pourtant et pour un temps, été placés sous la protection du HCR au sein du Gathering and Departure Facility. Fin 2018, le HCR avait obtenu l’ouverture à Tripoli de ce centre cogéré avec les autorités libyennes et initialement destiné à faciliter l’évacuation des demandeurs d’asiles vers des pays tiers. Prévu à l’origine pour accueillir 1000 personnes, il n’aura pas résisté plus d’un an au conflit qui a embrasé la capitale en avril 2019 et à la proximité de milices combattantes.

    D’ailleurs, certains d’entre eux préfèrent la certitude de la précarité des centres de détention à l’incertitude plus inquiétante encore de la résidence en milieu ouvert  : c’est ainsi qu’à intervalles réguliers, nous sommes témoins de ces retours. En janvier, quatre femmes somalies, sommées de libérer le GDF en janvier, ont fait le choix de rejoindre en taxi leurs maris détenus à Dar El Jebel, dont elles avaient été séparées par le HCR qui ne reconnaissaient pas la légalité des couples. Les promesses d’évacuation étant virtuelles, elles sont en plus confrontées à une absurdité supplémentaire  : une personne enregistrée par le HCR ne pourra bénéficier du système de rapatriement volontaire de l’Organisation Internationale des Migrations quand bien même elle le souhaiterait.

    Pour les seconds, non protégés par le HCR, l’horizon n’est pas plus lumineux : d’accès à l’Europe, il ne peut en être question qu’au prix, là encore, d’une dangereuse traversée. L’alternative est le retour au pays, promue et organisée par l’Organisation internationale des Migrations et vécue comme une défaite souvent indépassable. De tels retours, l’OIM en a organisé plus de 40 000 depuis 2016. En 2020, ils seront probablement environ 10 000 à saisir l’occasion d’un «  départ volontaire  », dont on mesure à chaque instant l’absurdité de la qualification. Au moins, ceux-là auront-ils mis leur expérience libyenne derrière eux.

    La situation des migrants en Libye est à la fois banale et exceptionnelle. Exceptionnelle en raison de l’intense violence à laquelle ils sont souvent confrontés, du moins pour un grand nombre d’entre eux - la violence des trafiquants et des ravisseurs, la violence du risque de mourir en mer, la violence de la guerre. Mais elle est aussi banale, de manière terrifiante : la différence entre un Érythréen vivant parmi des rats sous le périphérique parisien ou dans un centre de détention à Khoms n’est pas si grande. Leur expérience de la migration est incroyablement violente, leur situation précaire et dangereuse. La situation du Darfouri à Agadez n’est pas bien meilleure, ni celle d’un Afghan de Samos, en Grèce. Il est difficile de ne pas voir cette population, incapable de bouger dans le monde de la mobilité, comme la plus indésirable parmi les indésirables. Ce sont les oubliés.

    https://www.msf-crash.org/index.php/fr/blog/camps-refugies-deplaces/en-libye-les-oublies
    #rapport_d'observation #torture #détention #gardes-côtes_libyens #hypocrisie #UE #EU #Union_européenne #responsabilité #Direction_chargée_de_l’immigration_irrégulière_libyenne (#DCIM) #Dar_El_Jebel #Zintan #montagne #Nafusa (#montagnes_Nafusa) #attente #violence #relocalisation #Niger #Rwanda #réinstallation #vulnérabilité #urban_refugees #Tripoli #réfugiés_urbains #HCR #GDF #OIM #IOM #rapatriement_volontaire #retour_au_pays #retour_volontaire

    ping @_kg_